As I mentioned in the previous thread, this chapter is going to be unique in the way it's handled and the first post in this thread will be dedicated to explaining how it'll work. I still have no idea what to put in this part but felt that one sentence wasn't enough, so let's try two!
First, I'm finally going to use the colored font and nobody can stop me because it's necessary right here.
Do not read this post until you've finished the chapter seven finale.
A bit of a recap, a year has passed since the Voyagers have been captured. In that year, the Crusaders (Pierre's group) have been working at fulfilling the Voyagers goal. Chelsea took over Zachary's position in Onyx and found herself the target of an attack, leading her to a new community.
The main focus of this chapter is going to vary depending on the point-of-view. The Crusaders will be focused on the former Voyagers and their goals. Chelsea's point-of-views will be focused on building a relationship with the new community and the members in it, some of which aren't exactly strangers to us.
Chelsea's going to have a choice for every point-of-view, whether it be something directly relating to another character, herself, or just planning where to go. Each of her point-of-views will end on a choice of where she'd go that night and where she'd spend the next day, building her relationship with certain characters if they're present in the location that's chosen. All of the community members have locations specific to them during the night and day so it's very unlikely Chelsea won't meet another community member unless it's chosen to not meet anyone.
After building trust with the members of the community, Chelsea can also visit them at home. Currently, she can only visit One and Fifteen but once she builds a relationship with the other members, she gains access to their home and has the opportunity for most members of the community to remove their masks and reveal their identity to her based on choices she made with them around.
Finally, the readers also get to influence her dialogue with Fifteen and ask about the members of the community whenever they want to and about whoever they want to. Say for instance someone wants to ask Fifteen about Three and someone else wants to ask about Thirteen, all they both have to do is post a comment saying "I'd like to ask Fifteen about Three" or "I'd like to ask Fifteen about Thirteen" and Chelsea will ask about both Three and Thirteen in her next point-of-view. Fifteen will also offer a learning opportunity to Chelsea multiple times, which will change their dialogue about characters.
This chapter is something new and a complete experiment when it comes to choices, but I've got a feeling it's going to be a lot of fun to work with.
Just as One had told her the day before, Fifteen stopped by in the morning and taken her back to the hospital.
Seven and Nine greeted her and introduced her to Two. She was immediately caught off guard by Two’s cold nature as they stayed relatively silent through the process.
It was apparently something new to Fifteen as well as they tried to make conversation with Two. “Hey, did Six put this outfit together as well?”
Two simply nodded, handing Chelsea a pair of gloves, a shirt, a jacket, and a pair of pants. They gave Seven the mask before leaving the hospital. “That was uncomfortable.” Seven commented while they took Chelsea to a room, Nine and Fifteen following behind them. “Has anyone talked to Two lately?”
“No, but Five said that One and Two had a pretty big fight the other night. They might not be over that.” Nine didn’t seem too confident in what they were saying, but Chelsea figured that if no one knew anything then that was probably the most likely.
Seven let her into an empty room to give her some privacy while she changed, keeping the mask until she came out.
She briefly looked in the bathroom mirror before she left the room noticing that like the other members she’d met, the clothes made a point to not give away her gender. She couldn’t help but wonder how the mask would work with her glasses but Seven explained it as soon as she left the room.
“Your dad told One the prescription for your glasses, One told Two, Two worked with Nine to have the lens of your goggles replaced with lens that match your prescription and then they tinted the lens.” They held out their hand. “Try the mask on, you’ll see it actually worked.”
Nine nodded. “We had to do it for One, Ten, and Twelve as well. None of them have complained about it yet.”
Chelsea took off her glasses, handing them to Seven. Seven then gave her the mask, waiting for her to put it on. She wanted to look over it but could barely see the inside of it without her glasses.
Nine moved behind her to hold her hair up while she put the mask on.
She slipped it over her head, her eyes adjusting to the goggles just in time to see Fifteen point to the left side of their head. “The button to activate your voice changer is just above your left ear.”
Chelsea hit the button, a slight ringing in her ear until she cleared her throat. “Is that noise normal?”
“No, it only happens the very first time the device is activated.”
“Now you’re finally one of us.” Seven crossed their arms. “Welcome aboard, Seventeen.”
“This is our hospital. It’s not much, but we’ve never really needed much. Seven and Nine are here during the day and unless there’s an emergency, nobody’s here during the night.” Fifteen turned and started heading towards the door. “If you’ll follow me, I’ll be giving you the official tour.”
Chelsea waved to Seven and Nine, following Fifteen out of the hospital. “There aren’t many residential buildings, but what about communal buildings?”
Fifteen led her the opposite direction of the residential area. “Six. Seven if you count the dance studio, which shares a building with the training center. Eight if you count the greenhouse.”
She nodded, staying quiet and observing the area as they walked.
They approached another masked person outside of a building. They were sitting at the bottom of the stairs as Chelsea and Fifteen approached. “I’d stay out of the community center for a bit.”
“One and Two still fighting?”
They shook their head. “Now it’s Five and Six. They’re trying to bring One and Two into it, though.”
“That’s not surprising.” Fifteen sighed. “Seventeen, this is Sixteen and probably the only time you’ll see them. Like ever.”
“It’s nice to meet you, I’m sorry you joined when everyone’s emotions are at an all-time high.”
Fifteen went around Sixteen, Chelsea following them up the stairs and into the building. The first thing that greeted them was yelling, which Fifteen tried to talk over. “This is the Community Center. Meals are made here every morning but nobody really comes to eat. Eight just does it because they like to and Two sometimes bakes here at nights.” They point to a glass door where most of the yelling was coming from. “That’s where One and Two work. Next to that is where our makeshift police station is.”
“This seems like the place people would be night and day.”
“One, Two, Eleven, and Sixteen are here during the day.” They paused. “The night is just a bit more complicated. We have children here who don’t have parents and not many of us have extra rooms or the time to foster a child, so they stay here at night.”
“And they’re just left alone?”
“Oh, no. Four is here overnight specifically to make sure they don’t cause trouble but to also help them with their school work. Three, Four, Twelve, and Fourteen can be found here at night time but most doors will be locked.”
Fifteen then went to the glass door they had pointed at earlier, opening it and poking their head in. “I need Five and Six.”
Chelsea half expected to hear someone yell at Fifteen just for going into the room, instead three people left the room, two of them staying with Fifteen and the other one going their own way.
Fifteen took the three out of the community center, going to the next building over. Chelsea immediately noticed there were two entrances to the building and a wall separating both sides of the building once they went inside. “This is the training studio side of this place. Five and Six are here all day. Nobody’s here at night but it’s left unlocked in case somebody wants to come in here.”
“No matter what job you pick up, you’re required to train with us at least once a week. Depending on the job, it’ll either be here with us during the day or you’ll have to be with One and someone else during the night.” Six spoke, their voice catching Chelsea a bit off-guard. It was still a robotic voice but there seemed to be a drawl in their voice.
“It’s also a requirement for two people to be training you at once, just as a precaution. If you’re here during the night, One will probably bring Seven or Nine with them since it’s pretty easy to get hurt here.” Five had their hands on their hips.
Fifteen and Chelsea left the building and went to the second entrance that Fifteen had to unlock themselves, switching on the lights as they went in. “This is the dance studio and where I can be found during the day. It’s locked on weeknights but open all day and night on weekends since Four or One will sometimes take the kids here to practice music.”
Chelsea nodded, looking over the mirrors on the walls and the wooden floor. “It does have pretty good acoustics in here so I can see why.”
Fifteen then turned out of the studio, waiting for Chelsea to leave before shutting off the lights and locking the door again.
They passed a building that Fifteen briefly pointed at. “That’s the greenhouse. Nobody’s there right now and there’s usually nobody there during the day, but Eight is there at night. Eight is responsible for our food source, so they’re usually out hunting during the day and tending to the greenhouse at night, then they go home.”
“And they supply enough food for all of the community?”
“Yep. Two’s kid is still young enough to be on baby food, so that’s technically one less mouth to feed and Sixteen’s kid is on a special diet that Sixteen also follows. That being said, they also don’t eat anything from the community supplies. One rarely eats and doesn’t eat much when they do eat, same with Seven.”
“That can’t possibly be healthy.”
Fifteen shrugged. “It’s what they do and they’re still two of the most active members of our communities, so I guess it works for them. It surely wouldn’t work for me, though.”
Chelsea noticed that most of the food growing in the greenhouse looked pretty healthy as they passed it, which she took as a good sign for the community.
They went into the next building through an open garage where Chelsea saw her car up on a lift, most of the damage looking to be irreparable. “Who works here?”
“A better question is who works AND lives here.” Another robotic voice spoke before Fifteen did, another masked person coming out of a back room. “I do.”
“This is the auto shop and that’s Thirteen. Surprise surprise, they work in the garage and live in the back room.” Fifteen crossed their arms. “Ten also lives in the back room but they spend their day at the school.”
“Is the school all you have left to show Seventeen?” Another voice joined the conversation from behind Fifteen and Chelsea.
Fifteen turned around to see who it was before nodding. “Yes, would you like to take it from here?”
“You should probably get back to the studio. Fourteen is waiting for you and I feel if I stall anymore, they’ll knock me out.” Fifteen chuckled, leaving the garage the same way they came in.
Chelsea was having a bit of a hard time figuring out who the other person was until they took their spot next to her. “Have you met Thirteen yet?”
Thirteen shook their head with a laugh. “Y’know, for someone named One, you’re usually the last to find things out.”
“That’s just a bit concerning.” One paused. “Maybe more than a bit.” They then turned to Chelsea. “Thirteen’s going to be fixing your car to the best of their ability, which is probably going to be pretty damn good. I’ve never met a better mechanic and we’re lucky to have them.”
“Trying to flatter me into working, I see your game.” Thirteen went quiet for a moment before turning to the garage table that was littered with tools. “It worked, I’ll see you guys later.”
One turned around, prompting Chelsea to do the same. They left the garage and started down the street again. “So is there a particular reason you decided to take over the tour?”
“Yeah, I want to introduce you to something that Fifteen might have overlooked if they had taken you.”
They went to a building that looked like it was once a house at a time, that time likely being a long time ago based on how the building’s current state wasn’t one Chelsea would send her child to learn in.
They went inside, confirming Chelsea’s thought of it once being a house. One led her to a back room where three smaller desks were set up and a fourth bigger desk was set up. Three children stood around them, turning their attention to One and Chelsea as soon as they entered the doorway.
“Seventeen, these are the students the community is teaching.” One went into the room, pulling the curtains that blocked the windows back. “Three, Twelve, and Fourteen are the children, Ten is a special circumstance. It’s not my story to tell, though.”
The sunlight came into the room, revealing just how dusty it really was. She nodded at the four people she’d just been introduced to and offered a slight wave. “It’s nice to meet you all. Is this your school?”
None of the children responded until Three stepped forward, picking up a journal that was on one of the desks. “Yes, this is it. We’re taught by whoever’s free for the day, which is nobody today so we’re sitting around.”
“When you should be studying up on what you’ve already learned.” One commented, taking their place next to Chelsea again.
The children made their way to their desks, the adult sitting in their desk too. They each pulled out a book and a journal, occasionally questioning each other on something.
One didn’t say anything the entire time they were there. They didn’t say anything walking home either, which Chelsea didn’t even know they were going to.
“You know Onyx’s stance on history, but you also know what the Voyagers say happened.” One broke the silence before Chelsea went into her house.
She briefly turned back and nodded. “Yeah, I was raised on Onyx history, I learned Jade history, and then eventually learned Voyager history.”
One got closer to her, lowering their voice. “They need a teacher. Someone who they know is going to be there every single day to help them learn. They’re not bad kids, they all actually love learning things but you saw it yourself, there’s no guarantee that they get to learn anything when they go because they might not always have a teacher. I want to give them a teacher that they can count on and I know you’re the reliable person I’m looking for.”
“I can understand that, but why were you asking about Voyager history?”
“They want to know whatever they can, they want to know the exciting things, the boring things. I’m not entirely sure if both Onyx and Voyager history are correct but I have a feeling you’re able to work it out yourself and share most of the complete truth.” One backed up a bit. “Just think on it, let me know what you decide in the morning.”
After that, One turned and walked away. They went past their own house, likely going to the community center.
Chelsea took a deep breath and went inside her home. One had given her plenty to think about, that much was for certain.
She thought back on everything Fifteen had told her that day before taking a seat on the couch, the first thing on her mind being what One had asked of her. She had to remind herself that while the community did feel pretty tight-knit, she knew absolutely nothing about any of them.
[Accept the position] [Refuse the position]
Here’s how the day and night choices will go, the night will go first so any place you choose to visit at night will be that night, the day will be the next day.
For the night choice, Chelsea can: [Go to the Community Center] (There: Three, Four, Twelve, Fourteen) [Go to the Greenhouse] (There: Eight) [Go to the Auto Shop] (There: Ten, Thirteen) [Visit someone] (Available: One, Fifteen) ~Please specify who you’d like to visit in your comment~ [Stay home]
For the next day choice, Chelsea can: [Go to the Community Center] (There: One, Two, Eleven, Sixteen) [Go to the Auto Shop] (There: Thirteen) [Go to the Hospital] (There: Seven, Nine) [Go to the School] (There: Three, Ten, Twelve, Fourteen) [Go to the Studio] (There: Five, Six, Fifteen) ~Please specify whether it’s training or dance studio~
Post by LiquidChicagoTed on Jan 21, 2019 2:18:51 GMT
We are one part in and the numbers already intrigue and confuse me equally At the same time, I like this, I honestly do. It gives the whole part a very unique feel and I can only presume it will be like this for a major part of the chapter. The fact that everyone is referenced to solely by their number, with not even a gender reveal is pretty clever and I dig it.
[Accept the position]
[Visit someone] One and Fifteen are both pretty interesting and I am fine with either. Since I don't want to create a tie, I say Fifteen will be it.
[Go to the Community Center] Here however I gotta make the tie, I am sorry! Since I like One and Fifteen the most out of the number people so far, I would like to be around One in this choice.
Chelsea will accept the position and teach the community's children.
For the night choice, she'll visit Fifteen and then for the first tie of the chapter, she'll go to the school during the day.
How the choices change her relationships with the characters involved will be at the end of the next part as to avoid spoiling certain aspects of the chapter before they come out.
The next part should be out today, sometime within thirty minutes to the end of the night but it'll mark the return of the Crusaders and put the new voting system to work with two choices for each POV just because it was easier than making 10 options under one choice.
Pierre had sent Marie to investigate a new community that was on the rise. She’d been providing Noelle with updates for the past six months, ultimately admitting that her investigation would be fruitless as everyone in the community wore masks in public.
When asked how she’d be able to see people without their masks, she said she would have to blow her own cover. She didn’t believe that it was worth it and recommended that he send somebody else.
She said she believed that Gus would do well with being undercover, but wouldn’t be able to cooperate with the leader of the community. She said Carlos would probably get along great with the group and be able to help them a bit since she didn’t consider them to be dangerous.
She didn’t recommend sending Jean Luc but said that the other community members had a chance of getting along with him since most of them seemed very fond of art. She also didn’t recommend sending Noelle because the Crusaders needed her at the motel to function.
She had a mixed opinion on Isabel, admitting that she wasn’t sure how well certain people in the community would take to her and her methods.
Conrad overheard the conversation between Noelle and Pierre while they were trying to decide who to send and quickly put in his opinion. “While none of your group are expendable, I would recommend taking a shot with Isabel. Gus may be good undercover, but his temper is difficult to track. Should he mess up and try to challenge someone there, their leader will demand to know his identity.”
“Is that a big problem, though? Gus is from France, what are the chances they’ll recognize him?” Noelle questioned, knowing Conrad would be truthful and helpful unless he was ridiculed for what he was saying.
“Gus was there with you when you tried to help Elizabeth with Zachary Bennington. Gregory Remey was there as well and nobody has a better memory than that boy. If they have anything to do with this new community, the chances of Elizabeth or Gregory recognizing him outweigh the benefits of sending him.”
“I feel like if Elizabeth and Gregory were involved then they would have tried to help the Voyagers.” Pierre crossed his arms. “Both of their families were in custody and by knowing the location of Zachary’s body, Isaac would have compromised a reward with them.”
Noelle shook her head. “Conrad’s right on this one. I heard what Luke had said before the electricity in the bunker went down and I heard what Zachary said when Gus and I got there. Isaac put a hit on him, he wouldn’t give Elizabeth and Gregory more than a pat on the back to chip them.”
Pierre seemed a bit surprised that Noelle backed up Conrad instead of him but tried to shake it off. “Let’s assume Elizabeth and Gregory are involved with this community, where’s Yvette? If she were with them, she would have forced them to act just because of how many people she’s lost.”
“When Yvette left, Elizabeth backed out at the last minute for the same reason she won’t act now; she was pregnant back then and likely has a baby to look out for now. Gregory stayed with her to protect her from Adam but Yvette wanted to get back to her people.” Noelle sighed. “I believe Yvette is dead simply because it’s been over a year since she disappeared and there’s been no trace of her. She hasn’t been here, she hasn’t been back to Adam’s bunker, she hasn’t been to the old bunker, she hasn’t been to her own base, she hasn’t been in the city.”
As Noelle should have seen coming, Conrad, the man who claimed to speak with the Earth, interjected. “I don’t believe that’s true. I also don’t believe Zachary Bennington is dead.”
“I believe we’re getting off topic, but I’m certain that Zachary is dead. Gus and I were there when he stopped breathing and Elizabeth told us that she couldn’t bring herself to come back here or go into the city.” Noelle had plenty of regrets from that day and a lot more from the year that came after it, her biggest regret being that she waited until the power had gone out before she and Gus went to help. She couldn’t help but feel that if they had been even a moment earlier, they could have helped Zachary and gotten Elizabeth and Gregory to stay with the Crusaders.
Pierre noticed the look on her face, knowing she was thinking about it all again. He uncrossed his arms, going on. “Conrad, who would you suggest we send and why?”
“I think you should send Noelle. She’s the one you need to send if you want to find out more about the people. They have to have some sort of technology and the easiest way of finding out about the community is through their own systems while completely taking the actual people out of the equation.” Conrad then looked to Noelle. “I also think you need to send the kids with whoever goes. Onyx knows our location and they’re just waiting for us to do something, then they’ll be raiding us probably within minutes.”
“We don’t know if the people are safe, why would we send the children to them if we’re blind to them as well?”
“Their parents gave themselves up for their children’s safety. Onyx is unpredictable, but the one certain thing that we can all agree on is that they’ll send the twins straight to Quarantine and Morgan will never see her mother again.” Conrad pushed back against Pierre, holding his ground surprisingly well. “Besides, if they’re an established community then there are likely children there as well and Marie’s safety among them for the past six months speaks well enough for them.”
Noelle knew she’d have to break Pierre and Conrad up. The problem with the people was there wasn’t much they knew about the community besides the fact that Marie was safe among them.
[Send Gus undercover] [Send Isabel undercover] [Send Jean Luc undercover] [Send Carlos undercover] [Offer to go undercover]
[Send the children with them] [Don’t send the children with them]
Chelsea figured out she was going to teach the kids and decided that she would tell One in the morning.
She got up from the couch, seeing it was only eight o’clock and she probably had some time to spend doing something.
She left the house, locking the door on her way out before taking in the sight of the neighborhood. The numbers that houses belonged to were marked on the mailboxes, likely to avoid confusion.
Heading down the street, she eventually stopped in front of Fifteen’s house. She went up to the door, getting an answer pretty quick. “Heya, would you like to come in?”
Fifteen held open the door, allowing Chelsea to come in and look around the house. They walked her through the house, the one thing standing out to Chelsea was that Fifteen’s house had more available space. “I feel like you took some furniture out just to give yourself some more space.”
They nodded. “I’m the type of person who can’t stop moving around, I always need space and I didn’t have much of it when I moved in. When Five and I were working on putting new floors in and painting the walls, I went through what furniture I didn’t need or want and gave it to some of the others.”
“If you don’t mind me asking, what made you join this group?” Chelsea turned to face Fifteen.
Fifteen reached up to their head, seeming to hesitate before turning off their voice modifier and slipping off their mask to reveal a woman with brown eyes and brown hair that stopped just below her chin.
Chelsea reached up to turn her own voice modifier off, though she couldn’t take the mask off as she had left her glasses with Seven earlier that day and didn’t realize until everyone had gone home. “You’re Cordelia Byrd, the dancer who was driven out of the city by pressuring through Onyx higher-ups.”
Cordelia nodded, giving a soft smile to Chelsea. “And you’re Chelsea Hampton, one of the few higher-ups who tried to stop my persecution and the only person who continued to try to help me when all Onyx higher-ups and investors had slandered me on every single platform they could. I believe it’s part of the reason somebody put a hit on you because we knew your father had told you to stop getting on the investors bad side. Why didn’t you listen to him?”
“Over the past ten years, especially the last three, I’ve learned that there’s so much more to me than my father or Onyx. They’re both still a big part of me, but I’m my own person and I’m capable of letting my beliefs known with my own voice. It’s gotten me in plenty of trouble before, it’s happened to people around me, and it’s going to continue to happen unless we can all work together to put a stop to it.”
“It sounds to me like you’re one of the neutral grounds between Onyx and the Voyagers.” Cordelia sighed, going into her kitchen. “The only bad part about being a neutral ground between two fighting groups is that you’re going to end up a martyr for one of them and a traitor for the other.”
Cordelia came back into the living room with a glass of wine before sitting on the couch, Chelsea sitting across from her. “Where did this group come from? Like, I’ve never heard about it until now and figured Onyx would know about a growing community.”
She smiled softly, taking a sip from her glass. “One, Nine, Eleven, and myself were considered pretty well off when we split from Onyx. I’m not really sure what everyone else did, but One welcomed whoever showed interest in joining and paid a significant amount of money for Onyx scouts to overlook the community and leave us alone.”
“What would a significant amount be considered?”
“Twenty thousand in cash for each scout that passed through and didn’t return. It is pretty mind-boggling, considering One was also the one who paid for repairs to buildings that we were unable to do and they’re the one who pays us for the work we do.”
Chelsea chuckled. “So they’re either an entrepreneur or a monopolizer?”
“A monopolizer for sure. I know them personally and I have for a bit, they never did much to earn their money other than getting quite lucky with their career and family.” She took another sip from her glass. “Where are your glasses?”
“I left them at the hospital today and completely forgot about it until maybe five minutes ago.”
Cordelia got up from the couch, setting her glass on the table in front of her and going back to her mask. “Then One probably has them and just forgot to give them back to you.”
She put her mask on, turning on her voice modifier and standing by the door. Chelsea joined her, turning on her own voice modifier as they left the house and went back down the street.
Cordelia rang the doorbell once they reached the doorstep where they waited for a minute. One came to the door, allowing them inside without a word. “We’re looking for Seventeen’s glasses, I figured you’d have them.”
They nodded. “They’re somewhere around here. Either in the kitchen or in the living room.”
One, Cordelia, and Chelsea went into the kitchen, looking around for a bit until One left the kitchen, going down the hall.
They returned with the glasses in hand, handing them off to Chelsea. “I forgot that I put them on my nightstand so I wouldn’t forget them tomorrow.”
Chelsea took in the aura of One’s house, noticing there was a significant difference from Cordelia’s house. Cordelia’s house got Chelsea ready to move and do something while One’s house made Chelsea feel tired, likely intentional on both One and Cordelia’s parts.
She and Cordelia left, heading back to her own house. She thanked Cordelia for her help in finding the glasses and then said goodnight, heading to bed as soon as Cordelia went back home.
The first place she went the next morning was to the community center, briefly running into her father on the way to talk to One and Two as he was leaving the room, likely not recognizing her on the way out.
She went up to the desk that One and Two seemed to share, overhearing what Two had to say to end their conversation. “We both need to approve of who he sends. If we can’t then we won’t allow them to join, same if they present a threat that we can’t neutralize with ease.”
One nodded along, their attention on Chelsea since she had walked in. “Seventeen, how can I help you?”
Chelsea pulled up a chair to sit across from the two of them. “I’ve been thinking about your question from last night regarding the school and I want to do it. I’ve got one condition, though.” They waited for her to go on. “The condition of the building isn’t the best and while there’s not much I can do about the exterior, I want to paint the inside walls and redo the floors.”
Two seemed to agree with her. “The interior can use a lot of work beyond just painting and flooring. It’s an unpleasant place to work and I’m sure it’s just as unpleasant to learn there.”
“I’ll talk to Five about getting it done and possibly working on the exterior as well.” One made a note of it on the paper in front of them before tapping the desk with their fingers, a quick sigh escaping them. “I have a few questions for you about some people in headquarters.”
Two took the paper that was in front of One, handing it to Chelsea. One thing that stood out to her about the names that were given was that they were mainly people that Zachary had been associated with quite a bit before he died. They were all honest people who were trying to make a living and often appealed to Zachary because he was sometimes easier to compromise with. Some of them were Voyagers who were working on reforming, her father likely seeing it easier to send them away. “They’re good people. Will they all still be chipped if they come here?”
Neither of them answered her, Two simply taking the list back from Chelsea before turning to One. “You need to tell her. It may not fit your idea, but you need to put the community before yourself.”
One took the list from Two, getting out of their seat and motioning for Chelsea to follow them. She got up and followed them to a back room.
They waited until she was in the room before shutting the door and flipping a light switch that not only turned on the lights but also turned on a set of monitors that displayed the footage of Onyx cameras.
“Most of those names were requested and your father was happy to get rid of them. The only person he seemed to heavily disagree with getting rid of was Alyssa Kowalska, but I found a way to get him to agree to that.”
“Alyssa knows who the father of her daughter is and it’s easier to send the both of them away so he doesn’t have to explain her past and eventually she’ll just forget about it and move on.” They looked over their own list. “I’m sure you understand why I asked for Marshal and Whitlock Kennedy.”
Chelsea nodded. “Because you already have Elizabeth and you know about the gene. You think she’ll cooperate with you if you bring her family to her, but I think you’re forgetting that you need my cooperation as well.”
“I’m not forgetting a thing. I don’t intend to use the gene because I know it does more harm to you, Elizabeth, and Whitlock than it helps anyone.” They paused. “I did have to tell your father that I was going to be using them and you for the gene, though. He’s expecting reports on progress, but those are easy to forge when you know what he’s looking for.”
“And you’re expecting me to help with that?” They shook their head. “Then what are you wanting from me? Why would you let me in on this?”
One put their hands in their pockets, immediately taking them out and crossing their arms. “I trust you and I know time can change a lot of people but you’re not one of those people. Two was pushing me to tell you the truth and I want to, but it’s going to take some time and I’m not ready to get into it yet. Instead, I’m going to make a promise to you that one day I’ll tell you everything. If for some reason our paths branch off and I haven’t told you a thing, feel free to track me down and knock some sense into me.”
One allowed Chelsea to look over the monitors some more before they both went to leave the room, One shutting the lights off and locking the door on the way out.
Chelsea stopped before leaving the community center, going back into the room where One and Two worked from. “I probably should have asked this before I left, but do you guys think I could sit in on whoever’s teaching today just to see how the students take to it?”
One and Two shared a look before they both nodded and One got up again. “Seven’s with them today. I think.”
Two looked over a paper on One’s side of the desk. “Yeah, Seven’s there. Thirteen was supposed to be there but apparently you told them to continue looking over the car.”
One gave Two a thumbs up, the same way they had done the night before, heading out of the office with Chelsea. “I didn’t really think of it until now, but you should probably talk to Thirteen soon since they have a pretty strong feeling over what happened to your car.”
“Is there anything else you could be forgetting to tell me?” Chelsea had noticed that among other things, One seemed to be pretty forgetful unless Two was there to remind them of something.
“Two can get pretty paranoid about it and I honestly agree with them; the children can’t be left alone and you’ll be with them until Four is finished with their patrol route. Ten is allowed to go because they’re not exactly a kid and they go straight to the auto shop from the school.” One paused. “Four usually finishes patrol once the sun goes down, so you’re going to be with the kids a lot. That being said, you’re going to be training with Nine and me at night. When you do that is up to you, but it’s required to be done weekly and there are records that are kept at the studio.”
“Tell me a bit about the kids.”
“Three is pretty easy-going and will go along with practically whatever you say so long as it’s within reason. Twelve is a bit difficult to see eye-to-eye with and I can already tell you, they won’t immediately warm up to you but will with time and genuine kindness. Fourteen is the one you have to watch out for because they will challenge you at every turn and won’t hesitate to get aggressive if they feel threatened. The only person that Fourteen likes is Fifteen and that’s saying a lot because they’re still pretty mean to Fifteen.” One sighed, putting their hands in their pockets as they walked down the street. “They’ve already nearly convinced Ten to drop school multiple times this year through some pretty cruel comments so they’re not to interact at all.”
“What about Ten?”
“Ten is in their late twenties and really got screwed over by their family. They gathered a lot of debt while trying to get an education and then their family just cut them off and threw them out of the house. They’re not too confident that seeking a middle school education is a good idea at this point and it doesn’t take a lot to break down what little confidence they do have, so pick your words with Ten very carefully.”
Watching over the students, Chelsea immediately found a problem that many of the other adults had run into while teaching them; they each seemed to have their own learning style.
She saw Ten furiously writing down whatever Seven said while Three looked to be completely out of it until Seven called on them, then they repeated most of what Seven had said. Twelve was focused on the textbook for a majority of the time. The only one Chelsea couldn’t figure out was Fourteen, who fidgeted around and tapped their hands most of the lesson then disappeared as soon as the break started.
Chelsea barely remembered what One had said to Cordelia the day before about Fourteen being at the studio, likely meaning that they had gone there to move around and get some of their energy out.
One later questioned if she had gotten anything out of sitting in on the lesson, which she did, but she wasn’t too sure what to do with the information she had gathered.
Chelsea went home that evening, coming to the conclusion that she could find a way to include all of their learning styles as well as keeping a decent pace. She knew she’d have to talk to One or Two about it but she had a feeling that they’d both go for it.
For the night choice, Chelsea can: [Go to the Community Center] (There: Three, Four, Twelve, Fourteen) [Go to the Greenhouse] (There: Eight) [Go to the Auto Shop] (There: Ten, Thirteen) [Visit someone] (Available: One, Two, Fifteen) ~Please specify who you’d like to visit in your comment~ [Go to the Studio] [Stay home]
For the next day choice, Chelsea can: [Go to the Community Center] (There: One, Two, Eleven, Sixteen) [Go to the Auto Shop] (There: Thirteen) [Go to the Hospital] (There: Seven, Nine) [Stay at the School] (There: Three, Ten, Twelve, Fourteen) [Go to the Studio] (There: Five, Six, Fifteen) ~Please specify whether it’s training or dance studio~
Because of the position, Chelsea’s day choice is slightly altered. The day choice will take place during her break when One or Two shows up to the school to give her and the students their daily break.
I want to clear up real fast that while going to the studio is an option, it won’t count towards her training as there won’t be enough time in her break to go through a full session.
Here’s how her relationships with the community members have changed:
(!) One and Two are thankful Chelsea took the teaching job. (!) Two is interested in seeing how well Chelsea will do in the community. (!) Three is excited Chelsea took the job. (!) Twelve and Fourteen are indifferent about Chelsea taking the job. (!) Ten is hopeful after Chelsea took the job. (!) Cordelia (Fifteen) had fun searching for Chelsea’s glasses and was happy that you warmed up to her quickly.
Noelle will suggest that Pierre send Carlos undercover and that the kids go with him.
Chelsea will spend some time with One and go to the auto shop during her break the next day.
Without spoiling anything, I can say that Noelle's choice was probably the best thing that could have been chosen and Chelsea's choice is going to influence her overall position in the community. It'll also going to help her better herself in the community.
The part should be out sometime between tonight and in the morning but because it's already shaping up to be a massive part, I can't give any 100% certain time but it sure won't stop me from trying.
Chelsea went next door, spending some time with One, who seemed to be a genuinely kind person who just had a bit of trouble expressing themselves.
She eventually thought of bringing up the idea that she had earlier with them. “I think I know of a way that we can maximize how the children learn. They all do something different, but I think I can combine their learning styles into one method that they all understand. I just need the go-ahead from you or Two.”
While Chelsea had stayed in the living room, One was all over the house trying to prepare for Isaac’s next visit. They stopped in the living room, studying Chelsea before nodding. “Listen, so long as you don’t get anybody hurt or killed and the change is made with good intentions, you can do whatever you want and whenever you want. Like I said earlier today, I trust you and expanding on that, I know you’re a good person who takes pride in what she does. The only condition is that if it fails, it’s your mess to clean up.”
She decided to change the topic before One could change their mind. “How many people is my dad going to bring?”
One noticed the change in topic but seemed to shrug it off. “Somewhere between six and nine if we’re lucky. Your dad already warned us that he’d be bringing the current supervisor for reformed Voyagers and that guy is probably the only person who can use their eyes to see through our masks so Four is going to be handling taking them in since Two and I would probably be killed over our identities. Your dad said he’d be around tonight to make things easier on us, but we’ll see if that happens.”
“I’m going to let you in on a little secret about my dad, they’re probably already here. Tonight more than likely means as soon as the sun went down.”
One went over to the phone on the wall, taking it in hand and then briefly turning to Chelsea. “I’m going to bet against that.” They dialed a number on the phone, clearing their throat after someone answered. “Four, are the new people there?” They nodded, looking back at Chelsea again. “Seventeen and I will be there in a few minutes.”
They ended the call and put the phone away, crossing their arms as they looked at Chelsea. “I’m not going to say you were right, but I will say that I was wrong.”
“Is admitting that I was right really that difficult?” One went back to their bedroom to get their jacket. “Also, why did you sign me up to go with you? I thought you couldn’t go.”
“I couldn’t go while your dad was there because he said that the next time we saw each other, I’d have to unmask.”
Chelsea chuckled, getting up and going to the door. “That definitely sounds like my dad.”
One joined her, both of them leaving the house and walking to the community center. During the walk, Chelsea noticed that occasionally One would sigh like something was bothering them, but they didn’t say anything about it.
Four met them outside of the community center. “There’s twelve new people in there.”
One stopped before going inside, turning back to Four. “That can’t be right, that’s way more than what we agreed on.”
“Isaac sent everyone you requested and apparently the Crusaders sent some people of their own. I’d recommend getting Two and Nine to find a way to deactivate the chips because there’s already plenty of problems between Milo and a number of people.”
“That’s not proof the chip is working, that’s Milo being Milo.” One chuckled while Four nodded and started down the street to go get Two and Nine.
They went inside and were joined by Three as they entered the room to see most of the people there were people they knew. “The people from the Crusaders got here right after Isaac left.”
One nodded, seeing that most of the people Isaac had sent were either unconscious or not in the right mindset so they went towards two men that Chelsea didn’t know who were seated with Kimber, Jude, and Morgan.
Chelsea turned her attention towards Whitlock, who was sitting in Marshal’s lap and staring at her as if he already knew who was under her mask. After thinking about it, she realized that he probably did know who was under her mask since she was pretty much the only person he’d known his entire life.
She turned back to One to see that they’d unmasked to talk to the kids. She couldn’t see their face, but she knew him just by his black hair and rather pale complexion alone.
It all kind of made sense to her now. Two was pushing One to unmask because Two was Elizabeth and she’d only be able to talk once Zachary unmasked. If it was that easy, why didn’t he just unmask earlier that day or while they were still at his house? It was a bit odd to her because Chelsea knew Zachary. Their relationship was pretty solid and he rarely hid anything from her, so why would he start hiding things now?
Her suspicions were confirmed when he finally spoke with the kids. “I’m not sure why you’re all here, but I promise that you’re going to be safe here.” His attention seemed to be solely on Kimber and Jude for a moment before he stood up and faced Three, motioning them over.
“Can I unmask for Morgan?” Three looked up to Zachary, who nodded.
The door behind Chelsea opened, Two and Nine quickly moving past her and grabbing one of the people Isaac had left at random, which happened to be Francine. They took her to the back room that Chelsea had seen that day.
Chelsea started looking over the other Voyagers, seeing that Milo and Marshal were the only two who seemed to be regaining their senses while Alyssa looked to be trying to keep her distance from the rest of the group. Marshal seemed focused on Chelsea, eventually speaking up. “I can’t tell whether you’re Elizabeth, Leah, or Chelsea.”
Milo looked at Chelsea after the comment, eventually chuckling as he looked away. “It’s not my mom because she’s on the other side of the room, but I couldn’t tell you if it were Chelsea or Elizabeth since they’re both pretty short.”
Zachary turned to the two, getting eye level with Milo. “Are you chipped right now?”
“If they were, they wouldn’t be talking about Elizabeth since she was completely removed from their memories while they were under the chip’s control.” Chelsea thought over something she could ask to prove her point. “Milo, what was Zachary’s alias while he was with the Voyagers?”
He crossed his arms and looked around the room, thinking over it for a minute. “James. He told us he came from California.”
“That’s true. I didn’t want to say Vermont so I thought West Coast instead of East Coast.” Zachary backed away from Milo, stopping in front of Marshal. “Who was your drinking buddy before you left Rocco’s group?”
“Grady, surprisingly the same person who told me Luke was trying to sleep with my wife.”
Zachary nodded. “I’m surprised you remember that bit about Luke.” He then looked to Alyssa and pointed at Milo. “What’s your relationship with him?”
She looked down at her baby before looking up at Milo, a look of disgust in her eyes. “Apparently he’s Nora’s father. I personally don’t believe that because I haven’t seen any proof to back it up.”
Zachary looked at Milo, seeing a look of surprise on his face. “This is the first I’m hearing of this.”
“And Marshal was in the city with me so he can’t really back up that statement.” He turned to Three, the kids, and the man from the Crusaders. “When did your group come into the picture?”
“Two or three weeks before the Voyagers disbanded. I didn’t know much about the individuals but Alyssa and Milo were together before Onyx came around.” He pointed at the two blonde children next to him. “Kimber and Jude can even back that up because they spent a lot of time with both of them.”
“I can too.” Morgan put her hands in her lap. “I was listening when Alyssa told Pierre. She said she only told him because she didn’t want her relationship to interfere in her leadership style.”
“If the question was if we had a relationship then I could have told you that we did.” Milo briefly looked over at Alyssa. “I just didn’t know about the baby.”
Zachary stood in the middle of the room, tapping his fingertips together until he went to kneel in front of Alyssa. “I get it, you don’t want to believe it because he was a Voyager. I already know you were because we were in the group together at one point but I want to be completely unbiased in this.”
“It’s difficult to be unbiased when you just admitted you were part of the group.”
“I know, that’s why I’m going to refer you to someone who’s actually unbiased.” He got up and point at the door Two and Nine had gone in. “My best people, Two and Nine, are in there with one of the Voyagers. Nine has experience in the medical field and Two is pretty crafty with the systems around here. If you’ll let me take your blood and some of Nora’s blood then I’ll have them test it and Milo’s blood just to give you a completely certain answer.”
She didn’t look completely sold on it as she pulled the baby closer to her. “What’s the catch?”
“If Milo really is the father, you have to let him be part of Nora’s life. That doesn’t mean you have to see him, it just means he can see her if he wants to.” He quickly started up again as he realized Alyssa was going to shut it down. “I get that it can be scary, but you need to at least give him a chance. If Nora is benefitting from having both of you around, I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong and that Milo shouldn’t be around her, then I’ll help enforce that.”
She sighed, knowing that Zachary wasn’t going to let it go. “Fine.”
A quick smile crossed Zachary’s face as he turned back to Three. “Go get Seven, quickly.”
Three left the community center, leaving the groups in silence until Two, Nine, and Francine left the back room. Francine took her seat between Alyssa and Kyle, who was still unconscious.
“They’ve been unchipped, which is why they’re all really drowsy.” Two pointed at Alyssa. “She hasn’t, though.”
“Had you been just five minutes sooner, you would have been breaking the news to us.” He walked to the door to the back room, passing Two and Nine. “Milo and Marshal are talking, find out whatever they can recall. Leave Alyssa alone for now and come get me when Seven comes around.”
He waited for Chelsea to join him before shutting the door to the back room. Chelsea took off her mask and put her glasses on, a slight feeling of disappointment creeping up on her. “Why did you try to keep it hidden from me?”
“Timing is everything and it wasn’t time yet. I had a plan and I honestly didn’t expect your dad to send Alyssa, which completely threw my entire plan.” Zachary moved to the monitors, watching the past hour. “I wanted to tell you but I also wanted to know what they told you about my death.”
“Why didn’t you just unmask and ask?”
“Because then you’d want to know what really happened and I wasn’t ready to tell you. That’s what Two was trying to get me to tell you today and I just wasn’t ready.” He froze the monitor’s playback on one specific screen. “I didn’t want to be here when your dad dropped the Voyagers off because I knew he’d bring Luke around to try and use him to figure out who was under the mask. Four offered to take the fall because he’s been relatively unknown to Onyx until tonight.”
She looked at what he was looking at on the monitor, seeing her father, Luke, and Alyssa guiding the Voyagers into the community center. Luke’s eyes were glowing red as he scanned over Four, who was occupied by Isaac. “They told me that you and one of the head guards went down to the bunker with Adam and he unarmed the guard. They said he shot both of you and by the time anyone figured something was up, you were both already dead and so they tracked Adam down and took him back into custody.”
Zachary looked away from the monitor, crossing his arms. “I did die and quite honestly, I’m still not sure how I’m alive. Elizabeth said something similar happened to Milo and that she could try to help me. The very last thing I remember from the bunker was two Crusaders coming, determining that I was a lost cause and trying to convince Elizabeth to leave with them. The power got cut and for a minute, I really think Elizabeth believed it was over. She and Gregory did what they could and tried to wait it out. The wound got infected and we tried treating it like normal, then Elizabeth recruited Seven and Nine to help once it turned into sepsis and I nearly died again.”
“Did Adam really do it?” Chelsea saw Zachary take off his gloves, knowing he did it because he had never liked wearing gloves and he wouldn’t wear them where he didn’t need to. “Adam had sworn up and down that he didn’t do it, he begged me to stop whatever my dad had planned for him and the night before his execution, he sobbed and begged for forgiveness but stood by the declaration that he was innocent.” Zachary frowned, a sad look on his face. “No, Adam didn’t do it. I was going to shoot Adam to keep him from being the scapegoat but I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger.” He scoffed and crossed his arms as he looked away from Chelsea. “I saw the look of terror in his eyes and I couldn’t do it. He wanted to live and I couldn’t drag him down with me.”
“Who really did it?”
He looked down at his wedding ring before nodding. “Before I tell you, I need you to know that it wasn’t their decision and I’ve long since forgiven them for it, I’ve forgiven the Crusaders who left and I don’t want you to hold any ill feelings to them.” He finally looked up to meet her eyes. “My performance wasn’t pleasing the investors so they had your dad put a hit on me. Luke Lowell was the one who was told to carry it out.”
Chelsea felt as if someone had just punched her in the chest as she processed what she’d been told. She then scoffed, running her hand through her hair to try and hide her anger, knowing it would only upset him. She briefly looked at him to see that he was fine. “How can you not be upset about that in the slightest?”
He pulled out a chair from the corner of the room, allowing her to sit down. “I should be upset, I know, but I nearly died three times in the course of two months and I was upset at that time. I had nothing to do but lay in an infirmary bed and be pissed off at the people who put me there and it helped me realize that I was wasting my time being angry. There was nothing I could do about it and it wasn’t even your father’s decision, neither was it Luke’s. I was to blame for my situation because I was the one who wasn’t holding up to standards.” He paused. “Do you know what my biggest regret is?”
“That I don’t know any of my family besides my aunt. My dad had three older children who were considered illegitimate because he wasn’t married to their mothers, who were prostitutes. I was the only legitimate one and then from what I know, there were two more illegitimate ones after me.” He uncrossed his arms. “I have no idea who my family is and after all the opportunities I’ve had to learn, I have no chance at finding out now.” He took a deep breath, seeming to get more upset as he spoke. “I never knew any of my siblings or that my parents were up to what they were, but that doesn’t change the fact that I miss them. If I could go back to change how things played out for my parents, I would. I get that you may be upset about what happened, but your dad isn’t to be blamed for it.”
“Zachary, he made a call for your life and you nearly died three times because of that one call. I can understand being remorseful over your family, but that doesn’t clear the thought that my father ordered an assassination in my husband.”
“It was going to happen either way.” He shrugged. “You were making the same wrong calls that I was and the investors wanted you out of power. They brought it up to your dad and he directly defied them by telling them he wasn’t going to order a kill on you so they ordered one themselves. When you crashed your car, it wasn’t an accident that you ended up here because the people after you decided that some town in the middle of nowhere was the perfect time to try you. They knew your brakes were tampered because they did it themselves and they made it a point to run you off the road. They got out of the car to finish you off, which is when Four and Six got involved and ran them off. Any day could be your last, are you really going to spend it mad at your dad over something you just found out about that ultimately failed?”
“You don’t want the other to face the same fate you nearly did, is that why you’re trying to get Alyssa to lighten up on Milo?”
He nodded. “I’m almost certain it is his baby and that speaks numbers for his relationship with Alyssa before this. He would have never thought about having a baby with someone unless he knew she would be able to protect herself and their kid if something happened to him.”
“I’m not too sure if that’s in his complete control, though. Accidents happen and I’m not entirely convinced that Marshal and Elizabeth planned to have Whitlock, what’s to stop the same mistake from happening to her brother?” Chelsea was hoping Zachary would accidentally confirm Elizabeth’s identity with the comment.
“Milo has way more self-control than Elizabeth does. Back when he was with Rocco’s group, he told me and Marshal that he just wouldn’t have sex unless he was sure that even if an accident did happen, they could handle it. That’s also why Samantha broke up with him and why Rocco couldn’t frame him for being Gregory’s dad, which was his original plan.”
There was a knock at the door, both of them putting their masks back on before he opened the door.
Seven handed him a kit and moved out of his way, allowing him and Chelsea to go back to Alyssa.
He gave Chelsea a needle and a tube. “It’ll go faster if multiple people are doing this. Can you get Milo?” She nodded, taking the needle and tube. He took Nora from Alyssa and handed her to Two. “Nine, please handle the baby.”
Looking over Milo’s arm, Chelsea realized that Seven had forgotten something. “Are there no tourniquets?”
Chelsea looked over to see that One and Nine didn’t have tourniquets either. “We can work around that but I’m not risking it with Nora. Nine, go get a tourniquet that’ll fit her and we’ll do it when you get back. Seventeen, use your belt and wrap it as tight as you can.”
Seeing that he was already doing it with Alyssa, Chelsea followed his lead and took off her belt and wrapped it around Milo’s arm, pulling it as tight as it could go. She was trying to be careful as it was something she’d never done before and the last thing she wanted to do was make them afraid once again.
After capping the tube of blood they’d gotten from Alyssa and getting their belt back, One went over to Chelsea to see how she was doing with Milo, they nodded slightly. “Not as bad as I expected.”
“So you expected something bad but you still put me here instead of Nine. To quote you, that’s just a bit concerning. More than a bit.”
“Well yeah, you’ve gotta learn sometime and Milo’s probably the only person here who wouldn’t chew you out for messing up. I obviously didn’t want you to mess with the baby or the experienced doctor.” One looked over at Marshal. “You can just be thankful that we don’t need Marshal’s blood for anything. He’s a wuss.”
“First, I liked you better in the city where you had no choice but to be kind to me, so I’d like to remind you that I’m a foot taller than you and we went through the same exact training. Second, I’m not a wuss I’m just not good with needles.”
One shook his head. “You’re a foot taller than your wife, at most three inches taller than me. You act like you’re feeling good, though.”
“Considering I don’t have people poking around in my arm and I’m not having to use my son to save my own life, I’m great.”
Alyssa looked over, seeming surprised. “You did what?”
“You already knew this.”
She scoffed, shaking her head. “I don’t know you but I can tell you that that’s one of the stupidest things I’ve heard.”
“That’s what you said when I told you the first time except it was in more of a friendly way, now it just sounds like you really dislike me.” Marshal crosses his arms, looking at One and seeing that he’d forgotten his gloves in the back room. “Speaking of wives, where’s yours?”
Chelsea quickly finished with Milo, giving him a reason to avoid answering the question. They waited a moment for Nine to return with a tourniquet for Nora and then got some blood from her.
One gave the tubes of blood to Nine as well as the tourniquet that they’d brought from the hospital. “Top priority, tomorrow morning at the latest.”
Nine nodded and left the community center, Seven going with them.
One of the men with the kids waved One over, having him take off his mask again. He started up a conversation with him, leaving Chelsea to talk to the Voyagers as they each came to.
Francine didn’t say anything until Three came back, then she would only talk to them but she seemed happy about it.
She talked with Milo until Leah came to, then he started talking to her. Two was talking with Kyle and Marshal, leaving Chelsea to talk to Vincent since Alyssa didn’t really seem interested in talking.
“I’m curious, what were you told before you came here?”
He shrugged, thinking on it for a minute. “Isaac Hampton told us that we were to be on our best behavior and if he heard that any of us were fucking around then he’d have us subject to punishment. He gave Marshal and Milo a really strict set of rules, which I can understand why.”
“Why would that be?”
Vincent looked at Milo, then at Marshal, then at Zachary. “Milo and Marshal have always been pretty close, probably even closer since Marshal married Elizabeth, and now that Marshal’s not in a leadership position, he’s more likely to act like himself. Zachary being in the mix surely isn’t going to help anything since they were kind of a trio back when Milo and Marshal were with Rocco’s group.” He chuckled, crossing his arms. “The only person who could make it worse is Grady Murphy.”
“I’m not too sure about that. They’ve both got kids now, maybe they’ll mellow out.”
“You would think so, right?” He shook his head. “Milo’s only as strict as he needs to be with the twins, which isn’t that often because once you tell them something then it sticks. Marshal’s only gotten more…” He stopped, staring down Marshal. “I don’t know the right word to explain it, but he changed a lot in general. Who do you know here?”
“About as many as you do. In fact, this is the only time I’ve seen Zachary unmasked.”
Before Vincent could respond, three more people came into the community center; Sixteen and two unmasked people. Both of the people looked pretty young, so she couldn’t place an exact age on either of them.
Zachary couldn’t either, so he waited until Sixteen introduced them. “Hallie’s a babysitter, I figured Two and I could use her help instead of leaving work every time something comes over the baby monitor. The boy was about to get into a fight with Four and I stepped in.”
He nodded, looking at the boy. “What’s your name?”
“Bodhi, but if you don’t want me to stay then I can go.”
He shook his head. “Where’s your family?”
“They’re not around.”
“I leave the choice up to you. We’re happy to let you join us, but it’s your decision.”
“I’ll join, only if you promise that I’ll be safe.” The boy seemed nervous. He looked rather thing, which told Chelsea that he’d been on his own for a bit.
“It’s a promise.” He then looked at Hallie, a shared moment of silence before he spoke. “There’s no way that’s not awkward to ask this, but how old are you?”
She seemed shocked for a moment before smirking. “Old enough, if that’s what you’re asking.”
He didn’t look to understand what she meant until he heard Marshal and Milo chuckling then his face went red. “Oh. I’m… flattered, but I meant are you still going to school?”
His response didn’t stop Marshal and Milo from laughing at him even more, sparking a sigh from Zachary. “No, I’m not. I was babysitting to save up to go back to school but I ended up liking what I did too much.”
“That’s respectable but are you alright with watching the kids who can’t go to school well into the evening? Their parents will be among the ones who work pretty late, so you'll have them from early morning to the evening.”
She nodded. “Sixteen already told me that and about your rules regarding privacy, which you’re breaking yourself right now.”
“Right. I am.” He turned to face Chelsea. “Seventeen, could I talk to you before you head out?” Chelsea followed him as he went back to the other room, putting his gloves on and his mask back on. “I’m probably going to be here all night, so I think you should head back to your place. Just don’t be late for your first day tomorrow.”
She wanted to say no and stay put but she also knew she was breaking a few rules by being present when the Voyagers showed up.
They left the back room, One turning their voice modifier back on before talking to Sixteen. “Could you escort Seventeen home?” Sixteen nodded, heading to the door and waiting for Chelsea. “Three, go back to your room.”
“But you know that-“ Chelsea didn’t hear everything Three had to say as she and Sixteen left the room, leaving the community center.
Chelsea was early to the school the next morning, finding that the number of students she’d have more than doubled overnight.
She could only tell which ones Kimber and Jude were based on how they stuck together the entire day.
One was there for the first half of the day to make sure she could handle it all on her own, especially after having four kids added to the mix.
She’d caught multiple comments that Fourteen had made towards Ten and didn’t make a big deal of it until they said something that seemed to be targeted towards multiple people in the room. “There’s nothing to your people after you die, that’s it, dead and gone.”
“That’s not true and what you’re describing is called history, a subject that you learn in school. I’m not the best person to talk about being forgotten, but the time I spent with the Voyagers taught me that there are people out there who fear leaving nothing behind. Sure, it’s not something you and I can relate with but it’s quite a common fear. In all honesty, I believe I married someone from Onyx who had that same fear.” Chelsea saw One cross his arms, knowing that he wouldn’t say anything to give away his identity. “In fact, it was a Voyager who taught me how important fear is something that motivates us so I want to ask you guys, what are you afraid of?”
She looked at the twins who went by Nineteen and Twenty. “Are you afraid of losing the person closest to you? Or are you afraid of letting go because change is going to be difficult?”
Going to the next table, there was Fourteen and Ten. She focused only on Fourteen for a minute. “Are you afraid of letting people get close because you fear they’re going to abandon you? Is that why you’re so hellbent on isolating yourself from the entire group? Because I can tell you exactly what it is Ten fears and how you’re only digging into what they fear.”
Fourteen didn’t say anything, staying silent as Chelsea got face to face with them. “What is Ten afraid of?”
“The exact same thing One is afraid of. They’re both afraid of equalling up to nothing because of what they’ve been through and so for Ten to be here and making an attempt at catching up in their life, it’s incredible but just like One, they take everything to heart. They’re not easy to hurt and you’re not stupid, I know you say what you do with the intention of hurting them.” Chelsea got closer to Fourteen, keeping very little space between them as she saw Fourteen start to panic. “You’ve been through something unforgivable and sickening, but you need to decide when it’s time to open up to the people with no intention of hurting you instead of shutting them down and feeding into their own fears just because you can’t get over yours.”
Fourteen shot out of their seat, making Chelsea back off as they turned to One. “It’s time for a break.”
They left the room in a hurry, leaving most of the others confused as One and Chelsea went out into the hallway. “What was that?”
“That was the same way Marshal, Joseph, Elizabeth, Eris, and Ethan made me come to my senses. Fear has always been Marshal’s thing, but Joseph tapped into mine with only knowing me for a few minutes. He told Marshal and Eris, those two took a different way of making me come to the realization and it didn’t work for a bit. The very moment I realized they were right was the first time I died.” She paused, coming up with a new idea. “If you want to work with the Crusaders to achieve the Voyagers goal, you’re going to need Joseph, Eris, and Ethan. Those three with Marshal and Elizabeth worked out great, things might even go better with Milo and Kyle.”
“You had me hooked until you said Kyle. He’s not in good condition and he’s-”
Chelsea nodded. “Yes, he’s not in good condition but he’s a genius. He’s extremely manipulative but he has no intention of working for Onyx now that they want him dead. Use him to your advantage while you still have him. Get Joseph here and use him, Marshal, and Alyssa because from this point on, you’re in control of the Voyagers.”
She could tell she reached him when he looked away from her, likely thinking over it as they split up.
Chelsea went to the auto shop, Thirteen pushing themselves out from under her car, which was still on the jack. “It’s my favorite person with a seven in their number! How are ya?”
“Pretty good, One said I should stop by and talk to you about the car and this was the soonest I can be here, so what’s up?”
Another person walked out of the back room, Thirteen ushering them over to shake Chelsea’s hand. “Seventeen, this Eighteen. Eighteen, Seventeen.”
“You really get a kick out of this number stuff, don’t you?” Eighteen crossed their arms after shaking Chelsea’s hand.
“The numbers are a blast once they get into double digits, my friends.” Thirteen chuckled before turning to Chelsea. “There’s no way to put this lightly, your car is fucked. It’s a death trap at this point and whoever messed with it intended for it to be like that. They cut your brakes, put bleach over your engine, put water in the gas tank- Well, it was water mixed with something.” Thirteen shrugged. “I hate to say this because it sounds rude, but it’s a good thing you crashed before you needed to fill up the gas tank again because they were looking to spark a reaction that Seven and Nine couldn’t have saved you from.”
Eighteen uncrossed their arms. “Is there anyone that you may have upset?”
“It would take me a week to get you a complete list.” Chelsea sighed.
“You may not have upset anybody, it could have just been an association thing.” Thirteen commented. “Your husband was the people’s favorite, but the investors had it out for him. Once you got his piece of Onyx, maybe they figured you weren’t suitable for it and they wanted your dad to have complete control.”
That was what her father and Zachary had both figured. She knew that they were both pretty paranoid when it came to her, but it was a bit disheartening to hear it from a stranger. “Where do I go from here?”
“You don’t go anywhere because you’re safe here. One’s deal with your father may have saved your life because if you were searching for a new member of our group, you’d think about starting with the last number, right? Thirty-One is now the last number and according to Eighteen, their physique is pretty similar to yours but their mannerisms are drastically different.”
“A red herring. Knowing One, it was planned as well.” Chelsea sighed, crossing her arms. “How do we know that there’s any danger, though?”
Thirteen seemed to stiffen up before giving off a nervous chuckle. “I don’t know. Wait, I didn’t say that. There’s no danger.”
Eighteen shook their head. “Tell them the truth.”
Thirteen chuckled again. “Wow, they’ve only known me for half a day and can already call out my bluffs!” After getting complete silence in response, they begrudgingly gave an honest answer. “Five and Six had to chase two guys away from the crash, Four reported seeing those guys three of seven days that next week. Four said it seemed like they were scoping out the area and the people but that they were frustrated because they couldn’t learn any identities.”
An alarm on Chelsea’s watch went off, signaling to her that it was time to return to the school. “Please don’t try to hide things or lie to me when it was an attempt at my life.”
They nodded. “Yeah, sorry about that it’s just that One didn’t want you to get freaked out over it all so they’re trying to keep you busy and nearby in case something does happen.”
Thirteen and Eighteen went to the back room, letting Chelsea leave the auto shop and head back to the school.
One didn’t say anything to her as he left, likely still thinking about what she’d told him before she left.
Fourteen looked to be more at ease, putting a large space between themselves and Ten.
One later returned with Twenty-Five. “There’s going to be some changes about how things go after school. Ten can still go on their own, but you’re going to have to learn the identities of the parents and kids.” They went into the room, picking out Three, Nineteen, and Twenty then went into a separate room, all of them unmasking.
Milo, who turned out to be Twenty-Five, chuckled once Chelsea took off her mask. “I guess Marshal was onto something after all.”
Zachary looked at the twins and at Gregory. “Kimber and Jude can go with Milo after they’re finished with their lessons and Greg can go with Francine when she comes around. Milo’s in the community center with the rest of us, so he should be around like half an hour after you’re finished. Francine could take anywhere from an hour to two hours so if Greg is all you have left, send him to the community center with Four.” He paused, crossing his arms to think. “Thirty has the same procedure and will come by once they’ve gotten rid of all the kids they’re watching or they only have Nora left.”
“I’m assuming the parents have to unmask themselves before I let the kids go with them?” He nodded. “What about Four and the kids who are in the community center?”
“I won’t make Four unmask because their mask is different and you’ll be able to tell.” He held up his own mask, as well as Milo’s. “Our goggles are tinted and the lens can be described as dark brown or even black, but Four’s goggles have a slightly green tint to them. They won’t be around until after the sun goes down so you can either stay at the school with them or take them to the community center yourself but they can’t be left alone under any circumstance.”
Chelsea nodded, giving a thumbs up. “I’ve got it.”
They put their masks back on, the twins leaving with Milo while Gregory went back into the classroom.
One looked over the kids Chelsea had left. “You could probably take them to the community center now that Nineteen and Twenty are gone. I’ll just tell Thirty to go there and take over until Four gets there.”
He didn’t wait for an answer and did it on his own accord, splitting away from her after they got to the community center.
For the night choice, Chelsea can: [Go to the Community Center] (There: Four, Twelve, Fourteen, Twenty-Nine, Thirty-One ) [Go to the Greenhouse] (There: Eight, Twenty-Eight) [Go to the Auto Shop] (There: Ten, Thirteen, Eighteen) [Visit someone] (Nobody’s available) [Go to the Studio] (Available: Zachary, Nine, Cordelia, Thirty) [Stay home]
For the next day choice, Chelsea can: [Go to the Community Center] (There: Zachary, Two, Eleven, Sixteen,Twenty-Two, Twenty-Three, Twenty-Four, Milo, Twenty-Seven) [Go to the Greenhouse] (There: Twenty-Eight) [Go to the Auto Shop] (There: Thirteen, Eighteen) [Go to the Hospital] (There: Seven, Nine, Twenty-One, Twenty-Six) [Stay at the School] (There: Gregory, Ten, Twelve, Fourteen, Kimber, Jude, Twenty-Nine, Thirty-One) [Go to the Studio] (There: Five, Six, Cordelia)
This part did turn out to be super long and it’s just one page away from the longest part to date. Future parts will definitely not be as long but for obvious reasons, I couldn’t fit a Crusader POV into this part. Rest assured, it’ll be in the next part.
There’s currently Thirty-One members of the number group and to make things easier, revealed members will be listed by their name on the choices and their pronouns will start being used on most occasions. They won’t be referred to by name in dialogue, but often will in most other situations. The biggest exception to this is going to be the twins, who will more often than not be referred to by their names and the same pronouns that unmasked members go by.
Some nights, such as tonight, certain characters will be in different locations and their availability will differ, the best example being how Two was available to visit the night before but not tonight. That’s because Two isn’t living alone anymore and Chelsea has to earn the trust of a majority of the household before they’re available to visit again.
(!) Zachary (One) is feeling pressured after his talk with Chelsea at the school. (!) Two credits Chelsea with reuniting a fair amount of the Voyagers. (!) Gregory (Three), Twelve, and Thirty-One were impressed that Chelsea stood up to Fourteen. (!) Ten is happy that somebody stood up for them. (!) Thirteen is just happy that Chelsea let them joke around. They’re also apologetic towards her for trying to keep what they knew a secret. (!) Fourteen is upset about what happened at the school. (!) Eighteen is annoyed that Chelsea didn’t immediately stop Thirteen’s antics. (!) Kimber and Jude (Nineteen and Twenty), along with Twenty-Nine, are afraid after hearing what Chelsea had to say about fear.
[Go to the auto shop] [Go to the Community Center]
Wow, a lot of things happened in this part! Zachary is alive! I had a feeling that he wasn't actually dead but this confirmed it. Now we know both he and Chelsea are in danger. This masked group is basically the witness protection program of the world. By the way, Is Alyssa going to be unchipped there? Where the voyager members chipped before they arrived, and they were then unchipped? If they don't unchipp Alyssa soon, and recover her memories, she may try to report in to Issac or another superior as an Onyx spy.
[Go to the auto shop] [Go to the Community Center]
Wow, a lot of things happened in this part! Zachary is alive! I had a feeling that he wasn't actually dead but this confirmed it. Now we know both he and Chelsea are in danger. This masked group is basically the witness protection program of the world. By the way, Is Alyssa going to be unchipped there? Where the voyager members chipped before they arrived, and they were then unchipped? If they don't unchipp Alyssa soon, and recover her memories, she may try to report in to Issac or another superior as an Onyx spy.
Zachary’s not dead but after a complete betrayal of his trust on Isaac’s part and a year of close calls, there’s definitely going to be a new side to him while he works to achieve his currently unknown goal.
Some Voyagers weren’t chipped to start with, but the ones that were had been unchipped before arriving. Alyssa’s situation is one that’s going to require all hands on deck and could severely jeopardize the community if she’s on her own for even ten minutes. She’s the only one who remained chipped as part of Zachary’s deal with Isaac and the decision of unchipping her currently isn’t up to Zachary, Isaac, or Chelsea.
Thankfully, Pierre’s attempt at using Nora to get Alyssa to realize her past wasn’t entirely fruitless and it’s going to help a lot to have two Crusaders who knew of the plan there.
Before this part starts, I want to issue an apology for how long I've been holding off on this part. For those who don't know, my Schnauzer had been sick for a while and passed away on Wednesday. I've been taking some time to focus on his health while he was here and my own well-being after his passing, but I've been working on the part in the background of it all. It's finally finished and to try and make up for the unannounced break I took, I'm going to try and release another part tomorrow that doesn't have choices since this part has plenty of choices.
Again, thank you all for your patience and I apologize for the lengthy break I took. 8.4
Noelle had been watching over Onyx cameras and reading certain emails to see what Isaac Hampton thought of the new community on the rise.
Pierre had told her that if Isaac was planning on taking on the community then they’d be pulling their people out and issuing a fair warning to the community ahead of time.
Isaac rarely spoke about the community to people both in person or in his emails but from what Noelle could gather, he seemed to support the community. He trusted them enough to send a fair amount of unchipped Voyagers to be with them.
Noelle noticed a pattern in the Voyagers that were sent almost immediately. She originally thought the connect was to Elizabeth, but a little more digging proved that the connection was to Milo.
Marshal, Whitlock, Leah, and Alyssa were pretty self explanatory in their direct connection to Milo. She had to remind herself that Kyle was Marshal’s father and very loosely connected to Milo. Vincent was a bit harder to figure out until Pierre commented that Samantha once dated Milo and that Vincent was her cousin, giving him a small connection to Milo. She found out through the community records the next day that the baby with Alyssa was in fact Milo’s child, further solidifying her theory.
She later learned through Isaac’s emails that One had asked for Kimber and Jude. That gave her the idea that while Chelsea Hampton was with the group, there wasn’t much communication with her over who Onyx had and didn’t have.
“It’s strange to me. Why does this group want the Voyagers and why does Isaac Hampton give them over without hesitation?” Noelle and Jean Luc would talk about her findings whenever he came around just because she knew Pierre would demand action against it instead of trying to solve something from afar.
“With Chelsea out of the picture, Isaac finally gets Zachary Bennington’s share of Onyx and with that, complete control over Onyx. It’s unlikely to be his main motive but a perk for him regardless.”
Noelle looked over the monitors then at her notes she’d been taking in an attempt to find out who was under each mask but came up short, only having Chelsea’s name next to the number 17.
She saw a few markings next to the numbers 28, 6, 9, 20, and 30. “Jean Luc, were you messing with my notes?”
Her cousin moved to look over the paper. “What notes?”
Noelle frowned, looking back at the monitors. “Very funny. At least I’m trying.”
“My inactivity is not to be blamed on me. There’s nothing much that I can do around here since we’re still in the early stages.”
She didn’t respond, instead focusing on a monitor that showed one of the masked people up and about the streets way after their supposed curfew. They kept looking behind them before they ran in one of the buildings in the town.
Noelle switched the camera to follow the person, immediately regretting doing so. She knew better than to have any interaction with them, knowing it would jeopardize what Marie and Carlos were working for but she sensed a genuine panic in the person as they started pacing the building.
She tried looking away but ultimately switched a few of her settings around to mimic the voices that the masked people had in their modifiers. “Is everything okay?”
Jean Luc shot out of his seat, rushing over to the system and covering the microphone. “What are you doing?! You’re going to get Marie and Carlos in trouble!”
“I’m not. Something’s not right with that person and I need to find out what it is so I can start to understand what type of people are in the group with Marie and Carlos.” She pushes Jean Luc’s hand away from the microphone, looking at the monitors to see the person looking around the room. “I’ll ask again, is everything okay?”
“The problem with the all black ensemble is that I’ve got no idea who’s talking to me and from where.” The person continued looking around.
“I’m just checking in. Are you okay or not?” Jean Luc was watching over her shoulder, a bit curious over what was going to happen.
“And where exactly would you be checking in from?”
Noelle rubbed the bridge of her nose, cursing herself for trying to check on the person. “You’re exhausting, I hope you know that.”
The person crossed their arms, spinning on their heel as they started pacing the room again. “I’m okay but I don’t think One is taking what I said about those two weirdos walking around town yesterday seriously.”
“What makes them weirdos?”
“They were just being really strange. They avoided everyone who tried to talk to them and when they talked to Six, they were asking about Chelsea Hampton. I don’t think she and Six have ever met so they told the guys that they didn’t know if she was there or not and they must have taken it as Six trying to hide something and stuck around for the rest of the day.”
Noelle reminded herself of how the number 6 had been marked and immediately wondered if there was a correlation to the two people wandering the town. “Did anyone else see them?”
“Two did and they were going to confront them until One found out and told them to just leave it alone.” They uncrossed their arms and stopped pacing, taking a seat on a bench. “They said that it was just more suspicious if we watch them like we’re trying to cover something up.”
“That is a bit true, I can see the logic in that.” Noelle paused, trying to think of another question.
She didn’t get a chance before the main doors opened again, someone Noelle didn’t recognize storming into the room without a mask. They seemed angry, but Noelle switched the camera, knowing that she shouldn’t speak with multiple people around.
She shut off the microphone and turned in her chair to face Jean Luc. “Nicolas can’t know about that but I have to keep digging. There’s something weird about what that person said and I need to know what they’re talking about it.”
He seemed conflicted over trusting her or keeping a secret from Pierre but he eventually nodded. “Don’t be afraid to back out if things get sketchy but don’t get Carlos and Marie in trouble.”
Thinking on it, she realized that what she was doing really could get Carlos and Marie in trouble if she wasn’t careful. She then thought over how it would be her fault if she got anyone in the group in trouble and Nicolas about it.
She knew she really only had two choices, but she knew there was going to be a third option, one that could keep everyone from getting in trouble. It felt wrong to her to hide things from the person in charge of her group but she was trying her hardest to think of ways that the groups could coincide.
[Continue talking to the group and tell Pierre about it] [Stop talking to the group and tell Pierre about it] [Stop talking to the group and don’t tell Pierre about it] Isaac Hampton
This wasn’t the first time he’d had Chelsea sent away, not even the second, but it was the most painful to come to terms with of the times she’d been gone.
Since she had gone to the community, Isaac had been in daily contact with the leader of the town.
He wanted to know who was behind the mask, but the leader seemed to get offended when Isaac even hinted at the idea so he backed off of it.
He didn’t want to send Alyssa with the Voyagers and he definitely didn’t want to unchip them before he knew the legitimacy of this group but the leader told Isaac he’d just have to trust them and that they had no ill intentions.
The doctors in the town were the first to tell him that it was likely a hit that had been put in Chelsea and that she shouldn’t return to the public eye until it all got worked out, then the leader backed up what they had said and assured Isaac that so long as Chelsea was in their town, her safety would be their first priority.
The masks were a great idea to protect the identity of people who needed it but it was difficult to get behind the idea when he didn’t know any of the people there himself.
He had to constantly remind himself that this wasn’t about him and it wasn’t about the community. It was about Chelsea’s safety.
They’d been closer over the past year than they’d been in a long time, only for everything they bonded over to fall through once she lost Whitlock. She claimed she was okay and that it was better for her work if she had no distractions, but it was clear as day that she took care of him as if he was her own son.
Her relationship with the boy was what made it difficult to take him away, even if it was what was best for the both of them.
Isaac hated to put her through everything she’d been through in the past year because he knew the deep down, it was taking a toll on her. Her only social contact after Zachary died was with Whitlock and Isaac himself, she became absorbed in her own little world and that’s what concerned Isaac.
Chelsea had always been a realist growing up, she was always willing to deal with the most difficult situations presented to her and she wouldn’t give anything a rest until she accomplished her goals. That never changed, instead her strive for perfection was gone. She’d do things just to completion, rather than to her usual mastering of whatever she was doing.
It was difficult to watch as she grew more distant but Isaac continued to tell himself that everything she had been through in the past year would better her as a person. That’s the only thought that kept him going through finding out that someone was after his daughter’s life.
The voyagers that Isaac and Luke handed over were given up on a Wednesday and it was that Friday that One requested to see Isaac again, but requested that Luke stay away from the town.
He went on Friday morning and met with One, who sent Two and another masked person out of the room while they talked.
“Thank you for making it on such a short notice and delivering all the people that I asked of you. They’re all fine and Chelsea’s adapting to the community quicker than any of us anticipated, but she mentioned three voyagers that she would have preferred I asked for.”
“And who would they be?”
One looked at a paper in front of them. “Joseph and Eris Duke and Eric Rikard.”
“Do you mean Ethan Rikard?” One nodded. “Why did she ask for them?”
“You already know we have Elizabeth Neil, but Chelsea said that Elizabeth, Marshal, Joseph, Eris, and Ethan were the first of the group she’d met and went as far as saying the Joseph and Marshal saved her life the day she met the five of them. She vouched for them and said they wouldn’t be trouble and while I’m not sure if you’re too inclined to believe that, I’m willing to take a chance on them.”
Isaac had been told that One didn’t know much about the Voyagers but they weren’t too interested in the history of the group and already told Isaac that there’d be no chance of the Voyagers misbehaving while they were isolated. “Eris and Ethan are in Quarantine, but I’ll see what I can do.” Chelsea Hampton
After going back into town, Chelsea went to the auto shop.
Thirteen would normally greet her with some pronounced gesture or joke, but instead they hugged her as soon as they saw her. They stopped her before she went into the back room where Ten and Eighteen were to have a quick talk.
“Ten told us about you sticking up for them today. Thank you for doing that.” They pulled away from the hug and crossed their arms. “Fourteen is a bit rough around the edges and we’ve all wanted to call them out on their attitude at some point and the target of pretty much all their outbursts is Ten and everyone else tries to keep the peace but at some point it just seems like another lecture to Fourteen.” They looked to the back room to see Eighteen was about to head out. “You’re welcome to come around here for whatever you need.” They paused. “Except crimes. That would kinda suck, I’m not gonna lie.”
Chelsea chuckled as Thirteen uncrossed their arms. “I’ll keep that in mind for when I need it. The same goes for you guys, whatever you need.”
After Eighteen left, Thirteen let Chelsea go see Ten in the back room. They sounded happy to see her, likely holding the same opinion on her that Thirteen did. “I’m glad you’re here! I need some help with Onyx history and neither of those two know it that well. I’d rather go with a certain answer than a guess, you know?”
She nodded, looking over the notebook Ten had. It was over the most recent investors meeting, which was back when Zachary was still with Onyx. “What’s the problem?”
“There’s fourteen investors and I can barely remember nine of them.”
She read over the names he already had, pointing one out. “Make that eight; Zachary Bennington was never an investor but he was leading the last investors meeting.” She paused, seeing that most of the problems Ten was having was listing the Dumonts. “Alright, you’re having the exact same problem I had a bit back. Don’t even worry about the last name of the Dumont family and their spouses because that can take a bit to work out. Just prove to me that you can list the first name of every investor and that’s fine with me.”
“I can do that.” Ten read their notes one more time before looking at Chelsea. “Isaac, Edefelic, Eddie, Georgie, Han, Michelle, Nikolai, Veronica, Sebastian, Irene, Naomi, Anthony, Louis, and Meredith.”
“That was great, you got all of their first names but now can you tell who’s married to who?”
Ten stayed silent for a moment. “Louis and Meredith are married, their children are Sebastian, Veronica, and Naomi. The spouses of the kids are Irene, Nikolai, and Anthony. Han and Michelle are married and I think that’s it.”
“You’ve got it. If something does come up about the four Dumont children, the fourth and final one is named Elias.” She paused. “How many times had Georgie Kenny invested?”
“Only the one.”
“And who led the latest investors dinner?”
Chelsea briefly tapped the notebook. “I’d recommend making a note over those two questions because they’re probably going to be asked. Remember those two names for sure, though, they caused plenty of trouble in their time with Onyx.”
Ten did as they were told and made a note of the two questions she asked, as well as Elias, Zachary, and Georgie’s names. “That’s all I had a question about. I love history, but I honestly suck at it. One and Two had to help me out with it ever since I started.”
Chelsea sat across from Ten, noticing that Thirteen had left the back room while they were talking. “Ten, what you’re doing is great and I want you to know that no matter what anyone else says, all that matters is that you’re happy with what you do. If you want to finish school and go on to do even more school, do as much as you want or find a job that fuels what you’re passionate about. I can help you as much as you need me to, I just want to ask that you stick with the schooling you’ve got going on right now and I promise you that it’ll all be worth it in the end.”
Ten nodded, closing their notebook. “I made a lot of mistakes while growing up and it’s an overwhelming thought to know that I could be so much better than I am right now if I just followed instructions for once in my life. Fourteen is right in saying that I’m a little old to just now be learning what I am but I want to prove them wrong. I want to show them that I’m better than what they believe.”
“Then do it. Show them that their comments and insults towards you aren’t going to phase you anymore and that you’re going to do this because you’re completely capable of this.” Chelsea got up from her seat, heading to the door. “You’re capable of so much more than people believe so don’t let anyone tell you how to live your life and don’t give them the satisfaction of dragging you down. Got it?”
“Got it.” Ten got up from their own seat, putting the notebook into their bag. “Have a nice night, Seventeen.”
Chelsea made a point to ask about things she knew Ten would know, just so they could feel the accomplishment that they likely didn’t get to feel with Fourteen’s comments. She knew the actual kids would be alright if she didn’t ask them many questions but she just wanted to build up Ten’s confidence in their decision.
“I’m wondering, can anyone tell me how many times Georgie Kenny invested in Onyx?”
“One time.” Ten answered.
Gregory nodded. “One time because he was curious as to how Zachary Bennington would do in his new position.”
“How many investors meetings had Georgie been to before he finally decided to invest?”
“At least twenty because the meetings used to be on a yearly basis.” Chelsea quickly picked up that Twelve was always going to remember whatever numbers she dropped on them.
Chelsea paused, thinking for a moment. “2189, who was the leader of the Voyagers?”
The twins jumped to answer the question, their answers overlapping each other but ultimately both being right. “Joseph Duke.”
“And who was the leader after him?”
“Marshal Kennedy.” At this point Chelsea was just questioning Jude, who Milo said was rather quiet in comparison to Kimber.
“After that?” Chelsea questioned, her eyes going to the door as One tried to enter quietly and let Chelsea start her break.
“Alyssa Kowalska.” Jude put his hands on the desk, his fingers tapping the wood. “If you’re being technical, there were two leaders between Joseph and Marshal. Rocco Remey and Elizabeth Kennedy were leaders for a short time.”
Chelsea was a bit surprised Jude knew that. She figured Milo wouldn’t tell the twins about Rocco after what he tried to do to Alyssa. “Those were actually the only two leaders I was there for.”
“You were there for Marshal too, we both were.” Chelsea saw Zachary crossing his arms, almost as if he were teasing her, which was a complete switch from his behavior the day before.
“Alright, I was there for Marshal for like a day, you got me there.” Chelsea looked at the kids, seeing that Fourteen was suddenly getting antsy in their seat. “That’s all for the morning, your fifteen minutes start now.”
She was going to talk to Fourteen until Fourteen immediately jumped up from their seat and ran out of the door. The kids that stayed with each other talked with each other, Twelve stayed on their own but Gregory and Jude ended up quizzing each other on what they knew.
Half-way through the break, Zachary made his way over to Chelsea. “I take it you enjoy it in the school?”
She nodded, looking over the children. “I still think it could use a good coat of paint, but yeah, I like it here.”
“Well if a coat of paint is what you’re looking for, I have good news and bad news for you. Let’s talk away from the kids for a minute.” He left the room, going into the hall and waiting for her to join him.
Chelsea went out, knowing that Zachary normally didn’t care about people overhearing things he had to say. “What’s your news?”
“The construction crew is going to start working here tonight and through the weekend and we’ve got a lot going on in the community center in general. That normally wouldn’t be a problem except for that leaves the twins here with you until Milo or Elizabeth finish what they’re doing. Leah and Alyssa are also busy and Alyssa doesn’t even remember the twins, so we have no options.”
“What about Kyle or Marshal?”
He thought over it for a minute. “Marshal’s busy but I don’t see the harm in Kyle picking them up. I’ll ask Milo if he’s okay with that and if he is, I’ll ask Kyle to do it but I can’t make any promises that you’ll be out at a normal time.”
Chelsea reached for the door’s handle to go back into the room. “So long as the room gets painted, I’m fine with staying the entire weekend if I have to.”
“You probably won’t have to do that but I admire the dedication.” He turned to the entrance to the school as Fourteen hurried past them and back into the classroom. “Looks like that’s your call to end the break.”
“I actually wanted to talk to Fourteen, so could you give me like five more minutes?”
He crossed his arms. “I guess I can spare five minutes, but please make it quick. There’s a lot going on at the community center and I have to be there.”
Zachary uncrossed his arms and went back into the classroom, sending Fourteen into the hall to talk to Chelsea.
Fourteen immediately tensed up and started looking everywhere but at Chelsea. “Is this about me leaving during the breaks? Because One and Two know that I leave and go to the dance studio with Fifteen and Fifteen tells them when I’ve been there so they know I’m telling the truth.”
“No, this isn’t about that, I’m fine with you going to see Fifteen so long as that’s where you’re actually going.” Chelsea saw Fourteen briefly look at her before looking away again. “I wanted to say sorry for what happened yesterday.”
Fourteen looked at Chelsea, staring at her before speaking in a voice quieter than she’d heard from anyone in the community. “Really? You actually want to apologize to me? To a child?”
“Well yeah, I believe you were owed an apology for the way I treated you yesterday and your age isn’t going to stop me from apologizing to you when you actually deserve one.” Chelsea took a deep breath. “I know what it’s like to feel like you have nobody that you can talk to. You don’t know what to do and so you just project all those negative emotions onto other people and you think that’ll make you feel better. It may for just a short time, but that doesn’t get rid of what you feel and what’s making you feel that way, so you’re stuck in an endless circle of feeling bad and making others feel bad. I just want you to know that if you want to talk to somebody, you can always talk to me and I’ll always do my best to help you, but putting other people down isn’t going to work anymore, okay?”
“Got it.” Fourteen acted like they didn’t want to say anything more on the matter and just needed some time, so they went back into the classroom.
Zachary briefly stopped to talk to Chelsea again before he left the school. “How’d that go?”
“As good as it could have gone. It’s just going to take some perseverance and time, but I’m sure I can get through to them.”
“It seems like you’re already chipping away at them. What you said yesterday had a bigger impact on them than what you thought since they ended up telling Four what happened. Four is the last person on Earth that Fourteen would talk to, so for them to tell Four about something that happened that made them feel upset is already a pretty big deal.” He paused. “That’s not to mention how quickly they wanted to end their conversation with you; they’re trying to shut you out.”
“I want to help them but I know there’s going to be a point where I can’t do it on my own, do you think you could help me when I run into a barrier with them?”
“Of course, but I really have to go right now.” He left before she could respond, which was something that was pretty weird for Zachary, but Chelsea assured herself that it was just because they were busy in the community center.
She went back into the classroom to see that everyone had returned to their seats and they were whispering to each other while either pretending to read over their notes or with their notebooks sitting on the floor. “I’m seeing way too many notebooks on the floor, what are we doing?”
Ten was the only one who could leave after school that day since the kids who went to the community center had to wait until Four or Zachary took them to the community center, Gregory couldn’t leave because Francine was still working and the twins couldn’t leave without Milo.
Cordelia and Thirty stopped by with Whitlock, Nora, and the other two children Thirty watched over the day. “One said it would be easier on the parents if they were here and that you’d probably need some help until they did get here.”
“We needed two people to carry Nora and Victor, so that’s why Fifteen tagged along.” Thirty watched as Whitlock and a little girl who seemed to be around his age ran around the classroom.
“I take it those two walked with you guys?”
Thirty chuckled. “Whitlock did, Joy tried to run here.” They turned to Chelsea. “You were Whitlock’s guardian for like six or seven months, right?” She nodded, making Thirty pass the baby in their arms to her. “You’re basically part of their family then, so I’d like to introduce you to Whitlock’s younger brother, Victor.”
Chelsea looked down at the baby, taking in the very few similarities between him and Whitlock. “That’s strange, I always thought that their second kid would be a girl.” Chelsea thought back to what Elizabeth had told her the day she brought Marshal back. She told her about Marshal’s mom, aunt, and sister but then told her that she’d been told that she would have a daughter next.
“It’s funny you say that, Elizabeth and Marshal said the same thing when I talked to them the other day. Why did you think that?”
Chelsea shrugged. “Just a hunch. Elizabeth’s mom had a son before she had a daughter, I thought maybe she’d have a boy and then a girl because of it.” It was a very feeble lie that Chelsea created at the last minute because she knew that she’d sound crazy if she told the truth.
“That makes sense. The past five generations on my mom’s side has always had a girl as their first child.” Cordelia had a sleeping Nora in her arms while Victor was awake and alert in Chelsea’s arms. “Do we know how much of a difference there is between the kids?”
Thirty nodded. “Joy is 20 months, Whitlock is 19 months, Victor is 4 months, and Nora is 3 months. I think it’s pretty cool that they’re all in the same age range, especially once they start going to school. They’ll have each other to lean on, which is a lot more than most people have nowadays.”
“If Elizabeth and Milo’s relationship is anything to base Nora’s relationship with her cousins, she’s going to learn to be pretty tough real fast.” Chelsea had heard that Milo and Elizabeth were always close with each other but she learned from Zachary that before they split from Rocco’s group, they didn’t settle many fights with words and that Rocco would often encourage the siblings to fight things out. They would fight but as they grew, they started to take a different stance with the both of them just walking away.
They didn’t have much time to talk before Thirty was pulled to the side by Sixteen and Two, prompting them to take Victor back to Chelsea and pass him to Two and gather Joy and Whitlock, giving them to their parents.
Not long after they left, Milo and Francine came around for their own kids, allowing Thirty and Cordelia to go home while Chelsea took the remaining kids to the community center.
Four was already there, sparking a bit of an annoyed reaction out of Chelsea. “How long have you been here?”
“About an hour, why?”
“Oh nothing, it’s just that I thought it was your job to pick the kids up once you finished with your work and had they been gone an hour ago, I wouldn’t have to walk home in the dark.”
Four shrugged. “I don’t see any harm in walking home in the dark.”
Chelsea shook her head, leaving the community center and walking to her house. She noticed that a lot of the lights weren’t on in the neighborhood, telling her that most others had gotten an early night.
As she went into her own home, she saw that her kitchen lights were on and the living room lights were on. She smelled something cooking as soon as she walked in, which was odd to her because nobody else should have had access to her house.
She shut the front door and walked into the living room, finding nobody there. She heard someone in the kitchen so she went to investigate, finding Zachary was the person who had been cooking.
He didn’t know she was there yet, so she cleared her throat and got a slight jump out of him before he turned to face her. “What happened to being super busy at the community center?”
He didn’t have his mask on, which was another thing that was weird to her. He gave off a nervous chuckle before turning back to the stove. “That was a little bit of a lie. I left town after I left the school and asked a few specific people to at least pretend to work a little late so I could get this done.”
“For what?” Chelsea took her mask off, grabbing her glasses from the kitchen table and putting them on to see the table had been set with plates she didn’t even know she had. “Wait, did they know why they were working late?”
“Francine works late either way, but everyone else was happy to play a part in this.” He then turned to her with a smile on his face, his blue eyes shining in a way she hadn’t seen since he was with the Voyagers. “It’s a date since I kinda owe you a lot of those for the past year.”
“But what did you leave town for?”
“Oh, right.” He paused, looking around. “To get some stuff.” Chelsea walked over to the stove to see that he had a pot of sauce going as well as a pot filled with boiling water. “Most of the vegetables and herbs were being grown in the greenhouse and Eight said we could spare some, so I did what I could with what I got. I mainly only had to get chicken broth and the actual pasta for the food.”
“That actually reminds me of something I meant to ask you.” Chelsea looked up at him, seeing he now looked a bit nervous. “Someone here mentioned that you’re responsible for all the financial stuff the goes around here and that you pay at least twenty thousand for Onyx scouts to ignore the town. My dad gave me access to your bank account after you allegedly died and nothing went missing from there, so how have you been doing that?”
His nervous look went away as he started smiling again. “After I got access to the account, I withdrew a hundred thousand a week and stashed it in the basement. The last withdraw I made was the day before visiting Doctor Dominguez, so I had plenty around when I needed it. I went back for it about four months ago and now it’s stashed away somewhere else.”
Chelsea chuckled, crossing her arms. “That’s kind of sneaky.”
“No doubt about that, but it paid off in the end.” He faced the stove again, stirring the sauce. “The community is pretty well off and with what’s happening in the greenhouse and the auto shop, we rarely have to leave to get things. We’ve built up a secure and private life, which is what a lot of the people here need.”
He seemed like he wanted to say something else, but he stayed quiet. “You know, I can’t help but feel that this isn’t just a date because if that was your intention, you would have told me who you were back when I was in the hospital. What’s really going on here?”
She studied him for a moment, seeing he looked conflicted on what to say. “A lot of the people here are in some sort of trouble. Elizabeth was the one person your dad needed before he started executing some voyagers and that was reason enough for her to want to go into hiding and we just couldn’t afford to lose her while I was recovering, but there was a point pretty late into her pregnancy that we didn’t know where we would go or what would happen with us. She was terrified for her baby and she said something about how hiding was just easier for us. I left them for two weeks to try to find a place and eventually ran into two voyagers who had slipped past Luke when he went to collect the group. They said the same thing that Elizabeth did like it was something they had picked up while I was away from the group, but they helped me find this place. When we went back for Elizabeth and Gregory, I already figured she had her baby just because of how far along she was when I left. We went there expecting two, maybe three people and instead we found five people, the baby included. We all had a reason to hide, whether it be to protect what we had now or protect what we needed to stay away from, so we started the masks.”
“To hide, like everyone wanted to. You and Elizabeth were hiding from my dad, Cordelia was hiding from the scandalous reputation that was just kind of thrown onto her. You’re trying to provide these people with a safe life, I get it.”
He nodded, turning away from the stove and back to her. “I don’t even know how to beat around the bush with this, so I’m just going to tell you this upfront. You’re in more danger than you believe. The people responsible for the attempt on your life are fully aware that you’re alive and somewhere in this community so they’ve been lurking around since the day you got here trying to figure out which one you are. Your dad knows about this threat but there’s nothing he can do without the investors calling for a hit on him and giving the Dumont family control of Onyx since your dad is pretty fond of Anthony and Naomi.”
Chelsea couldn’t quite describe what she was feeling, but she knew it wasn’t great. She crossed her arms and tried to for a reassuring smile when she felt a frown coming on. “How are you so sure they don’t already know who I am? I mean, I never left the hospital for a whole week and I’m sure they noticed that.”
“A number of people were going in and out of the hospital that entire week, including your dad. He stopped by the next two days after that, so from a bystander’s perspective, nobody can say that you were without a doubt in the hospital for a week.” He reached out and lightly put a hand on her arm, giving her the reassuring smile she was trying to force. “I wanted to do this tonight to get you used to the idea of having me around again because I don’t plan on leaving you alone until we get this worked out. It’s my job as your friend, as your husband, and as the leader of this community to provide you with the safety and discretion that I’ve been giving everyone else here for months now.”
She let out a brief chuckle as he pulled his hand away. “I don’t fully believe you’ve done what you’re doing for me before.”
“When we first got here, Elizabeth still wasn’t on board with it and she was pretty scared so Greg and I stayed with her for the first few days.” A smirk came across his face as he shook his head. “He’ll kill me if he knows you know but Ken joined when the auto shop wasn’t really a thing and he refused to stay on his own so I also stayed with him for about a week. I had to stay with Cordelia for a day or two because she was completely unhinged when she came to us. I’ve spent a lot of time with most people here just one-on-one, but Six is probably the only person who refuses to talk to me for more than five minutes.”
Chelsea uncrossed her arms, looking to the ground before looking back at him. “What about the gene? Does Elizabeth know that Whitlock isn’t impacted much?”
“The gene, right. About that..” She saw a frown cross his face as he turned back to the stove. “I’ve kept in contact with someone pretty high up in Onyx and convinced them to tell me more about it. They told me some pretty interesting things about the gene and the Voyagers as a group, the two most important things being that you and Elizabeth aren’t the first generation to carry the gene and the Voyagers were never a risk in your dad’s eyes. He and Leah were the first generation and the Voyagers had already been apprehended before. The question is, what do you want to know about first?”
”I want to know more about the gene.” ”I want to know more about the Voyagers.”
For the next day choice, Chelsea can: [Go to the Community Center] (There: Zachary, Two, Eleven, Sixteen,Twenty-Two, Twenty-Four) [Go to the Greenhouse] (There: Gregory, Twenty-Eight. Thirty-One) [Go to the Auto Shop] (There: Ten, Twelve, Thirteen, Eighteen) [Go to the Hospital] (There: Seven, Nine, Twenty-One, Twenty-Six, Twenty-Nine) [Go the School] (There: Four, Twenty-Two, Twenty-Three, Milo, Twenty-Seven) [Go to the Studio] (There: Five, Six, Cordelia, Fourteen, Kimber, Jude)
Because it’s a Friday, the day choice will be a little different and where there’s normally a night choice, there won’t be one this time around since Zachary’s with Chelsea. The location of a few characters has changed, but there’s not going to be a major difference.
“Why Elizabeth?” was the question everyone had for Luke after his termination. “Why did you have to pick her?”
Isaac told Luke he was willing to forgive it and consider it his first mistake in the number of years working with him, but it was Zachary who wouldn’t forgive the mistake.
Zachary was the one who blew up on Luke and Isaac over it and ultimately swayed Isaac to fire Luke. “It’s a dumb mistake, sure, but it’s also a rookie mistake. A rookie mistake that shouldn’t be coming from a senior Onyx employee and especially not the operator of the underworld activities. How long have you been hiding their location?”
“A month or two, but how long did you hide their location?”
Luke already knew Isaac and Zachary weren’t fans of his quips but he was too vital to lose over a few words so they would usually try and put it behind them.
This time was different, though. Zachary stopped pacing the room and faced Luke directly. “Let’s get one thing straight, Lowell, it’s not my job to keep a track on the Voyagers. That’s your job. The same job that you’ve failed to do multiple times over the course of months despite knowing what’s at stake not only for you but for every single person under Onyx territory. It’s because of your failure that we’re even here right now, it’s because of your failure that people are sympathizing with Marshal Kennedy for attacking you, and it’s because of your failure that you don’t deserve to keep this job.”
Luke has always known the right time to stop talking with Isaac, but it wasn’t easy to spot that time with Zachary. It was like he was baiting Luke to just say something else that would get him in trouble for a completely different reason. “So tell me, what exactly is a good plan once Onyx loses me? There’s no immediate threat that’s going to stop the Voyagers from acting because they sure as hell aren’t afraid of you two. Isaac, Marshal player you like a damn fiddle in the bar and you just let it happen.”
“Marshal also completely ruined your augmentations, so I don’t think you’re considered much of a threat anymore.” Zachary crossed his arms and looked at Isaac. “What’s the use in even repairing the augmentations to prime performance?”
Isaac stayed silent, staring Luke down. “There is none. It’s not worth it if we know that any Voyager holds the capability of destroying it in a matter of minutes. What concerns me the most is that everyone there said that Luke just let it happen.” He then looked at Zachary. “You know the group members personally, would you say that Luke would have been able to stop it if he fought back?”
Zachary nodded. “When I knew him, Marshal usually only acted once provoked so this wouldn’t have even happened if Luke stayed away from Elizabeth. Back to the question, someone like you or me couldn't take him on just because he’s bigger than both of us but Luke would have been able to at the very least stop Marshal, probably even apprehend him, if he had fought back.”
“There were ten other Voyagers there, I was at a disadvantage and there’s no telling who else would have stepped in if I fought back.”
Isaac turned to his computer, occasionally tapping his keyboard. “Nobody would have. In fact, they stepped in to try and stop Marshal before he snapped. What I’m seeing is that you instigated the attack, didn’t take the hint when the Voyagers tried to calm Marshal down, and allowed for your augmentations to be completely destroyed. This is on you, Luke.”
“Whether we like it or not, Luke is pretty valuable to Onyx.” Zachary uncrossed his arms with a look of defeat on his face for some reason Luke didn’t know. “I’d recommend a demotion. He’d learn his lesson pretty quick when he’s not in charge of his own unit and should consider it a warning.”
Isaac shook his head. “That’s not going to happen. You’re right about him not deserving the job and if this were his first offense, I’d think differently, but this is a man who’s going to illegal bars and clubs every night, bringing a different woman home most of those nights, and putting a bad name to the reputation we’ve built up for Onyx.”
“Is he hurting anyone in those bars or clubs? Is he hurting any of them women he takes home? Is he physically harming anyone other than himself by doing any of this?” At this point, Luke couldn’t tell whether Zachary was against him or Isaac more but he surely wasn’t on anyone’s side. “We’ve all done things that are considered wrong by law but he shouldn’t be punished for that, instead you should offer him help because this job is all that he has.”
“The job should have been the first thing on his mind, not what he was going to drink after work or which woman he’d be taking home.”
“But he’s done his job without a problem up until this point. He’s constantly cooperated with you, no matter what you send him to do, he’s always on time with his assignments, and he’s quite often done things that don’t even relate to him just because you told him to do it. It’s not right to punish someone so harshly over one mistake, even if it was a pretty big mistake.”
“Just as with your job and mine, there should be absolutely no mistakes, small or big. We’ve all been given a chance, Luke has been given a number of chances and continues to waste them all.” Isaac had already made up his mind and he knew all he would need to do to get Zachary to agree to it was to just keep pushing it onto him and eventually he’d break.
They sent him out of the room to make their final decision and called him back in within a matter of minutes, calling Amanda in as well.
Zachary looked upset, which told Luke that Isaac had gotten his way and he’d be losing his job.
He remembered that Isaac made it a point to push the blame onto Zachary, saying it was his original words were what swayed him to fire Luke. He said that he was more to inclined that Zachary personally believed that Luke should be fired because of his original statement, rather than how he felt after he’d had time to think it over.
Remembering that made taking Isaac’s command to kill Zachary easy.
Isaac personally reached out to Luke, saying that he only regretted firing Luke because he was good for keeping the Voyagers in check, whether his methods were unconventional or not. He told Luke that Zachary was very clearly straying from the beliefs he swore by when he assumed the position that his parents had left behind and that he wasn’t necessarily needed in Onyx anymore because of his marriage to Chelsea.
Luke had no regrets in the moment but realized that he’d made a huge mistake in doing it while Adam was still there. He told Isaac about Adam being there and had him change his plans of simply chipping Adam.
It wasn’t difficult to get Chelsea to agree to it because she was under the impression that Adam was responsible for Zachary’s death.
She eventually told Naomi that the whole situation didn’t feel right to her, pointing out a few flaws in the story that her father and Luke had told her. She mentioned that she was a bit upset with herself for not finding out more from Adam before signing off on his execution.
The next week was when Chelsea had gotten in an accident that had injured her only for her injuries to kill her in a nearby hospital two days later. Despite the news, Isaac didn’t seem to phased. It was business as usual with him.
Chelsea thought over the question and waited until they were seated and there was an extremely small chance of Zachary getting distracted. “I want to know more about the gene.”
“The gene..” He nodded, briefly messing with the food on his plate. “I’m still not sure why exactly it’s around, but it’s a lot more complicated than any of us knew. Your dad and my parents had been talking about it for a bit and it was originally supposed to be you and I who were going to be the second generation instead of you and Elizabeth but my parents backed out and said they didn’t feel right doing that to a child they didn’t even have yet. Isaac started talking to David, Milo and Elizabeth’s dad, and eventually trusted him enough to offer him the chance to be the first generation. He wasn’t sure of it and they eventually missed the mark to alter Milo’s genes, but Leah knew it was what she wanted and took it on herself. It worked out because they didn’t have to alter Elizabeth in any way, they just had to make sure she and Leah both survived the pregnancy. Leah hated every minute of it, apparently, but there was still the question of whether you’d get the gene or not considering it was your father that had it and not your mom. You were never altered but your mom had a super invasive pregnancy just to make sure that you’d be what your dad wanted.”
“And what would that have been?”
“Blonde hair, blue eyes, a carrier of the gene.” He shrugged slightly. “The one thing he wanted that he didn’t get was for you to be a boy. It didn’t make sense to him to have a daughter when Elizabeth had the gene but he eventually came around to having a daughter when he realized that the gene would only get stronger through generations and there was no immediate need to cut it at three generations. There’s been differing stories of why Leah and David tried to leave but Leah obviously did and that left the gene in a bit of a limbo state until Leah was taken into custody. Your dad already knew where Rocco’s group was because he could see into Leah’s mind but he also learned that not everybody who had the gene needed to be present for it to work, just the specific generation he was in.”
“That explains why Elizabeth and I were able to use it while my dad and Leah were in the city.”
“Kinda.” He paused. “There’s been instances of it working for you two, but it sort of spiraled out of control the day Rocco died. Elizabeth had made such a mess at the bar that people were aware that two women had been shot there and they were both supposedly dead and yet there were no bodies to be found once Onyx officials showed up. Things only got weirder when the bartender ended up dead and Marshal stole his stuff so your dad took Leah to see where exactly you and Elizabeth ended up. The day Marshal died was the day they were around and had they not been, Marshal would have stayed dead but by bringing him back, Elizabeth completely warped the gene and unintentionally brought Marshal into the connection as a second generation, just like you and her. The gene itself only became more stressed by having three connections as opposed to the two it’s supposed to have and that’s why Whitlock isn’t showing any signs of being afflicted by it but Victor is.”
Chelsea was already picking up on why that was. “Elizabeth was already pregnant with Whitlock when Marshal was introduced into the connection so the gene only took Whitlock as Elizabeth’s first child and then considered Victor to be Marshal’s first child.”
“Right. Whitlock still has the gene and is part of the connection but so is Victor, which is where there’s a problem. There should never be more than two connections because the talents and energy can’t be evenly divided between an odd number of people so the gene is just performing for whoever’s channeling it at the time. Say you’re all in a bit of a tense situation and you need to use the gene to get out of a tricky spot, if you all channel it at once then there’s a pretty high chance of at least one of you becoming weaponized or even killed because the gene isn’t used to performing after twenty-six years of remaining idle in a majority of you.”
“Do Marshal and Elizabeth know that Marshal and Victor are part of the connection now?”
He shook his head, seeming a bit tired. “No, I really can’t even imagine trying to explain all of it to Marshal because it took him a lot of time to process that Elizabeth was even part of this and that Whitlock was going to be part of it. He loves Elizabeth and the kids but I’m afraid that if I just throw all this on him, he’ll leave and that’ll only disturb the gene even more.”
“Does he normally try to run from his problems?”
“I wouldn’t say he’d see it as a problem, I think he’d be afraid and feel a little guilt because he’s directly responsible for Victor having the gene when Victor could have been the only normal part of their family. Either way, he’d try and distance himself from Elizabeth and the kids because he’d feel responsible for it.” He leaned back in his seat. “As of right now, the gene is putting all of you in a pretty dangerous position and I need to know everyone who has it so Nine is testing me, Milo, and Nora just in case there was any way it got past our parents.”
“I’m sure you didn’t just come here tonight to tell me about the gene, though. What else is going on?”
“I got a little tip today that told me that you’re in some pretty big danger tonight. It was honestly the weirdest experience of my life but I’d rather go through some weird ritual and be proven wrong for nothing to happen rather than go through some weird ritual and ignore the truth because I thought the guy I was talking to was a little off his rocker.”
“Does my dad know who you are?”
The question looked to catch him off guard but he shook his head. “He doesn’t and he can’t. He would take out everyone here if he knew and I can’t let that happen.”
“When was the last time you slept through the night?” Chelsea had already been told that he wasn’t eating right and with the way he was acting, she would easily believe he wasn’t sleeping either.
“Maybe like a month ago. I’m going to blame you for that part because it always seems like I never sleep through the night when you’re around.”
“Say what you want, but I’m also the person who’s going to let you sleep through tonight.”
He shook his head, a slight smile on his face as he scoffed. “I’ve noticed there’s a bit of a pattern with you. If you’re not keeping me up all night, you’re probably in the hospital and on the rare occasion that you’re doing both then I know I need to watch my back.”
“Now you can stay up all night for all I care, that was just mean.” Chelsea knew he could tell she was just joking around with him, which looked to make him a little more comfortable.
After they ate, Zachary cleaned up the kitchen and the dining room while Chelsea tried to go to sleep. She stayed in bed for about an hour before she got up once again and went into the living room where she could see that Zachary was barely staying awake on his own.
She crouched by the couch, putting her hand on his. “Zach, just come to bed.” She went on before he could protest. “This might sound crazy, but I think you’d have an easier time watching over me if you’re right next to me.”
He stayed quiet for a moment before sighing and flipping his hand around to hold hers. “For the second time today, I can’t say no you but now I have to ask that you give it a rest.”
“I’ll give it a rest when you give yourself a rest, how does that sound?”
“It sounds like you’re still as quick on your feet as ever with your quips.” He let go of Chelsea’s hand, getting up from the couch and going back to the bedroom. Chelsea was going to turn off the lights that he left on, but he quickly protested. “You should probably leave those on. If someone really is after you, the chances of them coming into a fully lit house and going completely unnoticed are pretty low.”
Chelsea figured she’d already pushed him enough just by getting him to go to sleep and that the lights weren’t that big of a deal, so she went to bed.
About two hours after she had fallen asleep, she woke up to the sound of thunder crashing outside the house as lightning lit up the dark room. She turned over to see if it had woken Zachary up as well, only to find he’d gotten up and left the room some point earlier.
She got up once again to go find him, expecting him to be asleep on the couch. Instead, she found the front door cracked open while the living room looked like it had been completely torn up. She shut the door, going back into the living room as quietly as she could.
She quickly spotted muddy footprints the had been imprinted into the carpet before looking behind the couch to find a broken lamp along with some blood.
She was going to go investigate it either way, but reacted as she heard the front door opening again. On instinct, she leaped over the couch and hid, deciding against trying to see who had come into the house.
She heard their footsteps going down the hall and into the bedroom before going back into the hall and then into the bathroom. They left the bathroom and went back to the front door.
They then came back into the house, a hushed sigh. “Chelsea, it’s okay to come out but you can’t stay here anymore.”
Knowing the voice, Chelsea stood up from her place, seeing Milo on the other side of the room. “Where’s Zachary?”
“I don’t know. He took a few others with him wherever he went but because Elizabeth and Marshal went with him, I have to get back across the street.”
“What does that have to go with me?”
Milo scoffed, motioning to the very mess that Chelsea stood in front of. “All I was told is that someone was in your house, Zachary managed to get them out but lost track of them and took a group after them. Based on the fact that somebody was in your house, you can’t stay here. Go get your stuff and let’s just get out of here before someone we don’t want to meet comes back.”
Chelsea moved past the mess in the living room, going back into the bedroom to grab her glasses and put on a pair of shoes, along with a jacket.
They left the house, their destination being just across the street, so Chelsea wasn’t too worried about it.
Halfway across the street, Milo grabbed Chelsea’s wrist, pulling her closer to him before slipping something in her pocket and getting close enough to her that whatever he said would only be heard by her. “The keys are in your right pocket, you need to run for the door as soon as I push you and don’t even think about turning around for absolutely anything.”
He let go of her wrist, briefly putting his hand on the small of her back before shoving her forward with as much force as her could.
She did what he said, making a run straight for the door. As she reached the door, she pulled out the keys and briefly looked back, seeing three men standing above two other men who were on the ground, Milo being one of the men on the ground.
Before she could unlock the door, it opened from the inside and whoever was in pulled her in, shutting and locking the door behind her. They grabbed her arm before she could catch her breath and pulled her away from the door, leading her to the bedroom.
Chelsea looked to see who had pulled her inside, seeing Kyle looked just as worn out as Chelsea felt. “Are you okay?”
He nodded, putting a finger up to his lips to tell her to be quiet. “It’s you they’re after. They knew where you were and they were going after you. Zachary put up a fight with two of them as best he could and he’s damn lucky Marshal was up with the boys. They went after the two that attacked Zachary and Elizabeth went to patrol with a few others, they just told me to stay with the boys and to watch for you and Milo.”
“How many are there?”
“None of those out there with Milo are the ones that Zachary and Marshal were after, so at least five.” Chelsea noticed a look of urgency cross Kyle’s face as he shut the bedroom door and locked it, rushing to the window and opening it, knocking the screen out as quick as he could. He then went to the two cribs, taking Whitlock out and setting him on the ground and setting Victor on the bed. “You need to leave. They know you’re in here and I guess they’re bored of messing with Milo.”
He acted as if he wanted her to go out the window first, sparking a reaction from her. “No, you’re going first. I can get out of a situation quicker than you can, so you’re going first.”
Kyle didn’t see the point in arguing, so he climbed out of the window with a boost from Chelsea. She then handed Whitlock to him, waiting until he sat Whitlock down before giving Victor to him.
Chelsea pushed herself out of the window, attempting to shut the window behind her before she turned to see Kyle staring ahead of himself, his skin going pale as he watched whatever was happening.
Chelsea looked the same way Kyle did, seeing that Whitlock had stumbled out of their reach and a man aiming directly at the boy.
Despite having his gun drawn on Whitlock, he was staring at Chelsea. His people forming a circle around him. “Get over here.”
Chelsea looked at Kyle, lowering her voice to a whisper. “You need to get away. I won’t let him hurt Whitlock, I promise.”
The man cleared his throat, taking another step closer to Whitlock. The boy only looked up at him, unaware that his life was in danger. “Now, Ms. Hampton.”
Chelsea started taking slow steps towards the man and Whitlock, she stopped once she finally saw Milo again. One of the men was aiming at Milo, leaving him completely powerless in the situation. “I won’t go any closer. Who are you? What do you want?”
“These people living here, they’ve been nothing but a pain in the ass for me. You fit in pretty well with them because of that part, but I’m sure you understand that we all have to do what we have to do to make a living.” The man was yelling over the rain, likely trying to get the attention of the other group members to send a message.
“You don’t have to kill the boy. You’re here to go through with your job on killing me so just do it but leave him alone.”
He seemed to take it as a challenge, stepping closer to Whitlock. “My original intention was to kill you; however, there’s more here for me than just you. I don’t think you can even begin to understand how much Zachary Bennington’s life is worth or how much Marshal Kennedy is worth to certain people. What’s best for them is to understand that I’m not playing games with them and if taking out a nosy little brat is what I have to do then that’s what I’ll do.”
He stopped looking at Chelsea, causing her to break into a sprint. She used the wet pavement to slide on her shoes and grab Whitlock, forcing him onto the ground and ultimately blocking his body with her own.
As she was expecting the man to shoot her, she felt him put the barrel of his gun on the back of her head with a chuckle. “You made that too easy for me.”
She heard two different sets of shoes hitting the pavement, running her direction from two different directions. The man took his gun away, leaving Chelsea confused over what was happening as she tried to focus on protecting Whitlock.
She heard a loud thud from behind her before the men started yelling, two shots going off from behind her.
Someone grabbed her arms as she clutched onto Whitlock, dragging her away from the scene as a few more gunshots went off in all directions.
Chelsea pushed herself off of her knees, holding Whitlock as tight and close as she could. The person who grabbed her keeping a strong grip on her arm as they pulled her away.
She heard a forced chuckle as the person let go of her arm. “We really have to stop meeting like this.”
It was Milo again. How he had gotten away from the armed men and who they were confronted by was a mystery to Chelsea.
They didn’t talk much as they ended up deciding to walk to her father’s house, which was a few good hours of walking. Once they got a fair distance away from the town, Chelsea thought it was safe to speak again. “Are you okay?”
“It’s not the worst thing that’s happened to me but I’m not going to say it’s even close to a good feeling.”
“What exactly happened back there?”
Milo didn’t seem upset, just in pain, but he wasn’t going to show that to Whitlock. “Pierre’s girlfriend is a real hardass, like I believe she’s scarier than he is. It was like she showed up out of nowhere and attacked the group from one side while Zachary had the boss distracted.”
“Do you think they’re all okay?"
“All of our people, yes. Any of their people, no.” He was taking a lot of caution where he walked, only confirming to Chelsea that he was hurt somewhere. “Because of their little show, a fair amount of people were out there and I think the person in the most danger was Zachary. I’m not worried about him, though. We always got in trouble with Rocco’s group so getting out of bad situations had to be a second nature for us.”
Occasionally she’d have to act as a crutch for Milo while they walked, something that was only difficult because she had Whitlock in her arms the entire time.
They made it to her father’s house by two in the morning and the rain had lightened up by the time they made it to her dad’s house. She rang the doorbell, standing in place until her father opened up the door.
He looked shocked, hurrying the three of them inside and ordering a woman nearby to bring clean and warm clothes for them. He brought out food for them and a crib for Whitlock to sleep in once he finished eating.
After they put him to bed, Chelsea stood face to face with her father. She remembered the panic in his eyes after they showed up and the concern that painted his face now.
She pulled him into a hug, burying her face in his chest as she tried to keep herself from being afraid. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, dad. I’m sorry that I caused this. I’m sorry for scaring you.”
He hugged her back, holding on to her as if it was the last time he’d see her. “You’re okay, Chelsea. I’m going to go get Milo and we’ll be downstairs, but you have to tell me what happened before I can fix anything.”
Chelsea held on for just a moment more before pulling away and nodding.
She went straight downstairs and waited in the living room for her dad and Milo, who had been getting his injuries looked at by one of the staff. She shared a look with Milo as he came in, the both of them knowing they’d have to tell Isaac about Zachary being alive.
Chelsea sat in the seat across from her father, Milo sitting on the couch between them. “Dad, I need you to just listen for a bit. I don’t want you to get mad at me or anybody else, okay?”
He held up a finger, ordering the staff back to bed so the three of them would be alone. He then returned to his seat. “Go ahead.”
“Zachary’s alive. Apparently the people who patrol the town had been reporting suspicious people and Zachary had gotten a tip that someone was going to try to attack me tonight. He stayed with me last night and when the storm hit its peak, I woke up to find he was missing from the bed. Milo got me from my house and explained to me what was happening and we got split up, then I ran into Kyle and found out that this is more than just one person trying to collect a bounty.” Chelsea took a deep breath, trying to put her overall nervousness behind her. “The guy in charge put a gun to Whitlock’s head and made me believe he was going to kill him, so I tried to protect him and he put a gun to my head. I can’t really tell you what happened from there other than the fact that Milo pulled me out of trouble for a second time and now we’re here.”
Isaac looked to Milo, likely waiting for him to tell him what he knew. “Zachary talked to me earlier last night and told me that he’d need me to help watch over Chelsea if something happened so I went to get her as soon as he told me something was up and she needed to get out of town. I was going to grab Whitlock and Victor and then leave but there were a few of them just waiting for her to walk out of the house. We got separated when I punched the first one that got too close for comfort. When Zachary and a few other community members came around, I saw the opportunity to get Chelsea out of town and I took it.”
“Where’s Victor now?” Isaac already knew about Victor from his conversations with One.
“I left him with Kyle and told him to take Victor and leave. Milo, Kyle, and Zachary were the only people I saw last night but Kyle mentioned that Marshal was with Zachary and Elizabeth went to help with-“
Chelsea was cut off by someone knocking at the front door, a sudden sense of dread coming over her as she thought of all the possibilities of who could be on the other side of the door.
Isaac got up and went to the door, Milo and Chelsea watching his every move. He looked out the peephole and undid the locks, allowing four people into the house. He then called for the same woman before, telling her to get more clean clothes. “Don’t move until she gets you dry clothes; I can’t have you two dragging mud through my home.”
Chelsea turned to Milo, seeing a look of frustration on his face. “Who is it?”
“I can’t tell, but your dad doesn’t look happy to see them.” Milo quickly moved to sit forward once Isaac started walking back to the living room.
“You can stay here tonight, I’ll go with you to the town to see the condition of it and determine if it’s worth sending you back.” He turned to look back at the door, leaving Chelsea and Milo in the living room once again.
He shut the door that separated the living room from the entryway, but that didn’t stop the two of them from hearing muffled yelling coming from her father on the other side of the door. “I don’t guess you can make out what he’s saying?”
Milo shook his head. The door opened and two children bolted into the room, running straight to Milo.
He didn’t hesitate on scooping the twins up into his arms and even seemed a bit relieved that they were with him again.
As the twins questioned Milo on the night’s events, Elizabeth went into the living room. Her eyes filled with tears as she saw Chelsea and pulled her into a hug. “Thank you for saving him, thank you so much.” She then pulled away, keeping her hands on Chelsea’s shoulders as she struggled to get her words out. “I saw it, I saw what was happening. I tried to reach him but you made it before me.”
“Elizabeth, he’s okay. He didn’t even realize what was happening literally the entire time.” Chelsea was trying to ease Elizabeth, even though she admittedly didn’t know how to.
Elizabeth took her hands off of Chelsea’s shoulder and chuckled, her hand covering her mouth for a moment. “That’s all Marshal, I swear.”
Milo seemed to be listening into the conversation as h shook his head. “Whitlock’s got plenty of Marshal’s quirks, undeniably more than he got from you, but that was all you.”
She rolled her eyes, a smile on her face as she crossed her arms and made her way to sit with Milo and the twins on the couch.
“How did you guys get here?” Chelsea pulled her legs into her chair, resting her head on her hand.
“We pulled in a favor from a Crusader who was keeping a pretty big secret from Pierre and didn’t want us to tell.”
Isaac returned to the living room, looking only at the people on the couch. “Elizabeth, I’ll show you where Whitlock is and where you can stay for the night. Milo, please gather the twins and follow me.” He then looked over at Chelsea. “You already know where your room is here.”
She watched her father take Elizabeth, Milo, and the twins upstairs before shutting off all the lights and going upstairs herself, heading to her old room.
The light was already on and when she went in the room, she saw Zachary looking around at the photos she had hanging on the wall. She shut the door behind her, a slight smile making its way onto her face as she watched him look over the photos with a genuine interest in them.
He eventually made his way over to her, breathing a slight sigh of relief once he saw her smile. “Thank God you’re okay…”
He seemed like he wanted to hold her, but he was holding himself back. “What about you? Are you okay? And the others?”
“Yeah, everyone’s okay. There’s a few conversations that need to happen between me and a few other members but I needed to see for myself that you were okay before I do any of that.” His smile faded. “That, and Elizabeth was in such a panic after seeing what happened with Whitlock. It was tough just to get her to come with me.”
“How did you know we’d be here?”
“It’s the one place that is safe for just the night and I know when I get scared, I just want to go home.”
Chelsea hugged him, just to show him that she was there and they were okay. He didn’t do anything back, which Chelsea figured was kind of weird since he had always been a rather physical person.
She was going to pull away until she heard him sigh and felt him put his hand on her back. “Chelsea, I-“ He paused, seeming to debate on pushing her away or holding her closer. “I know we had a marriage of convenience and by all laws, that’s over and it has been for the past year, but I can’t bring myself to get over you. This probably isn’t the best place or time to tell you but with what happened tonight, I don’t think I’d be able to forgive myself if something happened to you and I never told you.”
They pulled away from each other, the events of the night finally catching up to Chelsea. “You don’t think there’s going to be a third attempt at my life, do you?”
“Yeah, I do. Five, Six, Eleven, and Sixteen got all the people they could but I know for sure that there’s still more people out there, the boss included. As far as I’m aware, there were seven of them in the town last night and we only took four into custody with one of the four being in pretty bad shape.”
“Do you think he was really going to kill Whitlock?”
He looked like he desperately wanted to say no, even if it was lie, like he wanted to believe that nobody would stoop that low. “If you hadn’t covered him, probably. Marshal was with me and Elizabeth was even farther than we were so none of us could have done anything to stop it. Five and Six may have been able to but I just have a strong feeling that he would have shot him while his people dealt with Five and Six.”
“What about Kyle and Victor? Were they okay when you left?”
“I don’t know. We couldn’t find them or Eight, who was supposed to be patrolling, after everything happened. Marshal was looking for them when I left and I was going to help but he told me to take Elizabeth to Whitlock in the hopes that she’d chill out a little bit after seeing him.”
Their conversation stopped as the bedroom door opened, Isaac standing in the doorway. “Chelsea, a word please.”
“Why do I feel like you just got me in trouble by doing nothing?” Chelsea whispered to Zachary as she passed him, getting a slight chuckle as a response.
After she left the room, her dad shut the door behind her and crossed his arms as if he was waiting for her to explain something to him. “How long have you known about Zachary?”
“The being alive part or the part about you putting the hit on him?” Chelsea shocked herself with her own words, even catching a look of surprise from her father before he returned to the same annoyed look as before. “I’m sorry, I only knew about him being alive for like two days and he didn’t even choose to tell me, I just happened to find out.”
“I didn’t choose to put a hit on him, it was a decision that the investors made and required that I put through.” He uncrossed his arms. “Why didn’t he tell you?”
“He said he wanted to know what I knew before he told me his side of things, but I really think he was just afraid because I have a tendency to attract trouble.”
“At least you’re aware of that.” Chelsea rarely got to see Isaac throwing quips at other people because he usually took the high ground but she did find it pretty amusing whenever he did. “I’d recommend using an abundance of caution around him and Elizabeth. They both were already unpredictable, Elizabeth even being a bit unstable, but I’m sure things have changed now that they’re completely in charge. It’s yet to show if that’s for the better or the worse.”
“I’ll be as careful as I can.” She already knew that Zachary was being as open with her as he could and proved to have her best interest in mind by assigning someone to watch over her when he couldn’t, it didn’t hurt to ease her father’s concerns though. “Thank you for taking us all in for the night and I’m sorry if I scared you by showing up like that. Goodnight, dad.”
Chelsea went into the room again, Zachary leaving just a moment after she came back. He didn’t say anything about where he was going so Chelsea figured she should wait up, but she eventually fell asleep.
She woke up and saw it was almost noon and that at some point in the night, Zachary had come back to the room and gone to bed. She also saw that someone had washed their clothes from the night before and left them on the dresser so she got up and got changed before waking him up.
She stayed in the room while he got ready, intending on finding out what he’d gotten up to last night. “Hey, where did you go before I fell asleep last night?”
“Just to have a quick talk with your dad. That quick talk turned into a drink or two and I talked to him a lot longer than I expected.”
“That’s kind of weird considering you guys don’t really like each other.”
After he was done getting ready, the group left the house with Isaac following behind them as he said he would.
They split up once they made it back to the town, Sixteen meeting up with Zachary, Isaac, and Chelsea. “A total of eight people were here tonight, we already had four in custody and caught one that we didn’t know about after Twenty-Two found Eight.”
“What are the chances that these people are part of a mercenary group?”
“I’m not sure. I could have Two look into it if you’d like.” Sixteen stood with their hands to their side.
“No, that won’t be necessary. Go home and get some rest.”
Sixteen hesitated for a moment before leaving the torn up house, somehow reminding Chelsea of the keys in her pocket. “I’ve gotta go give something back to Elizabeth. Would the community center be my best guess?”
Zachary nodded. “Just listen to whatever Eleven says. Most of the people we have in custody are there and if Eleven tells you to leave then you need to leave.”
She left the house, walking to the community center and going into the room she knew Elizabeth and Zachary usually stayed. Eleven and Six were already talking to Elizabeth but ended the conversation once Chelsea came into the room.
Elizabeth seemed unaware that Chelsea even had the keys but took them either way.
As Chelsea was going to leave, she noticed the way Six watched her before they spoke up. “Seventeen, wait a minute. We’ve been questioning the people we have all night but they won’t tell us anything about it other than the fact that you were the target, which we already knew. They might be willing to tell you something and since your dad is coming in to see them later, do you think you’d be able to go in with your dad and try to get something out of them?”
”It wouldn't hurt to try.” ”I don’t think I should.” ”I’ll see what my dad and One think about sending me in.”
This part is so late and I apologize for that, but my personal life has been a series of ups and downs and I'm finally at a point where I can sit down and write more. However, I have a set of good news!
First, I've gotten a job so that's great. Second, I've started up a new story! It's in the original section and it's called Health and Omissions, it's basically a written medical drama with characters that you can submit and choices you make.
I understand that there's going to be the question of what happens to Voyagers now that there's a new story and a job, so here's the answer to that.
Short answer: Nothing should be changing.
Long answer: Again, nothing should be changing but I'm going to try and set up a schedule to release for both stories. Voyagers got an update this Monday, so Health will very likely be getting an update next Monday. I'm going to try to stick to that schedule as long as I can and I can guarantee a part will be release on Monday for either story. If I end up getting a part ready for either story before Monday then that's all fine and dandy, I'll release it but I want to be able to keeping voting open for both stories for a week so it gives me time to focus on whatever I need to be writing for and it gives people time to get their votes in.
That's about all I have to say for now so we'll see how well this schedule works out and I'll happily provide more information as it becomes available!
”I’ll see what my dad and One think about sending me in.”
I guess it wouldn't hurt to see what they have to say about it. This was quite the action packed part. I'm glad everyone was able to make it out alive. I'm curious to see what the ones they captured have to say.