Voyagers of the Storm - An Interactive Story



  • I must apologize, like I am so sorry I haven’t updated. I’ve been sick for the past few weeks and I’ve been focusing more on resting than writing. That’s only really the start of it, but I won’t delve too much into details because even I’m a little confused on it all.

    The part isn’t really even close to being done, if I’m honest, but it’s in the works. I know it’s really no consolation, but please bear with me.

  • It's fine. Just focus on getting better first.

    I must apologize, like I am so sorry I haven’t updated. I’ve been sick for the past few weeks and I’ve been focusing more on resting than wr

  • Hey guys, self-advertisement here. Sorry haha. I've just started a Hunger Games fanfic, an everybody's participation would be great! There's still plenty of character submission slots open!

  • edited February 2018


    Seven years ago

    Back then, the scouts were around main base more than they were sent out. As annoying as it was, it was Rocco’s order and they had no choice to follow.

    “We aren’t looking to expand any time soon, but I swear that when we do, we’ll be ready to move as soon as opportunity presents itself.”

    Milo sighed, arms crossed. “Not if you keep your scouts held up twenty-one days of the month.”

    “That wouldn’t be a problem if it was any month but February, but come on, this is getting ridiculous.” Filip spoke up. “Do you understand that every single day we’re stuck here, nothing’s getting done and our reputation as scouts is getting dragged through the mud?”

    Rocco rolled his eyes, a fake smile plastered on his face. “That’s absolute nonsense.” He directed his attention to the two. “You boys are being dramatic and there’s no need to get so worked up over something so little.” He gave a sympathetic look to Filip. “I pity you. Onyx Organization tried to-“

    At that moment, a tennis ball flew over from the far side of the room, hitting Rocco in the back of his head, then bouncing back to whoever threw it. Rocco’s eyes filled with fury as he turned to find out who threw it. “Now you’re just asking for all of us to get in trouble. You know for certain that there’s details that other people don’t know, so don’t casually talk about them.”

    Without responding to her, Rocco stormed to the other side of the room, grabbing Elizabeth by the wrist and pulling her along. Most of the scouts went along, having speculated an issue between the two for awhile now. “I want you to tell me where you find the right to pull a stunt like that?”

    “You know Filip doesn’t know about Onyx. You can’t just tell him like that or else the rest of us are going to get in trouble.” Elizabeth pulled away from Rocco, stopping herself in place. “I get it, you like the people who would break their own necks for you, but I have value for my own life and I’d rather not lose it because you can’t shut your mouth.”

    Elizabeth turned on her heel and walked away, Milo following after her. Before Rocco could follow, Cyrus put himself in the doorway to prevent Rocco from going anywhere. “I’m not going to stand here and be disrespected by you people any longer. One more offense from any of you and all of you are gone.”

    Filip chuckled. “I don’t know, it looks to me like you’re either going to have to stand there or turn around.”

    Cyrus sighed, glaring at Filip. “Really?” He turned away once a bright smile crossed Filip’s face. “I don’t see how you expect us to be okay with the inaction that you force us to take.”

    “You want to talk about inaction?” Rocco motioned behind Cyrus. “Your buddy over there hasn’t said anything on the matter, meaning a minority of the scouts are upset on the situation.”

    “I haven’t said anything because I know you’re not going to listen to me so I’m not going to waste my time with you.” Marshal quickly answered. “I’m more upset with the fact that you’re harassing your own people because they don’t agree with you.”

    Filip’s smile faded and turned into a rather angry look. “Let’s touch on that. We’re fine with your remarks toward us because we already know you hate us and the feeling is mutual, but you overstepped a boundary when you grabbed Elizabeth.”

    Rocco smirked, somehow only upsetting the three of them even more. “It’s quite hypocritical you defend her when she’s the one who hit me first?”

    “She hit you with a tennis ball because you were about to give out confidential information.” Milo’s voice caught the others off guard, but he looked absolutely furious. “Of course you think you’re justified for that, but let’s talk about the other things you’ve been doing to her and Lecia.”

    Marshal and Filip quickly grabbed Milo before he could push past Cyrus, knowing he had no intention of talking civilly. Rocco looked as if he was almost amused by Milo being restrained. “They’re both two power-hungry women and you expect them not to prey on me for my position?”

    Filip lost his grip as soon as Milo started pulling, nearly causing Marshal to lose his grip as well. “Elizabeth already holds more influence than you do and you know it, that’s why you’re stuck on her.”

    Marshal motioned for Filip to move to fully block the doorway with Cyrus to prevent either of them from getting to each other. “Milo, calm down, you’re going to bring unwanted attention.”

    Two women came from the kitchen, one being Lecia and the other Francine. “Can even one of you explain what’s going on here?”

    Francine was a blonde woman with an awful attitude. She was loyal to Rocco since the first day. “Lecia, you know the routine.”

    Lecia frowned slightly. “They’re not talking to you and they’re only talking to Rocco because they have to.”

    She scoffed, putting her hands on her hips. “I can’t believe how childish you’re all being. Having her telephone messages like I did anything wrong to any of you.”

    “You’ve slapped all of us because we talked bad about Rocco.” Milo snapped back. “You’ve slapped Lecia more than any of us so you should be grateful she hasn’t hit you back like we told her to.”

    She quickly turned around to face Lecia, causing Filip to move from the doorway and go to her defense.

    Just as Milo slipped from Marshal’s grip, a shrill whistle chimed through the area. “Rocco, what the hell is going on here?!”

    Everyone stopped in their tracks, Marshal giving a sigh of relief. “Joseph, you really need to work out something with Rocco because as of now, there’s no such thing as peace between us and him.”

    Before Joseph could respond, the sound of a sharp slap came from Rocco’s area. “All of you need to split up for a bit. Francine, I’d like a word with you immediately.”

    “She’s not one of yours, you’ve got no right.” Rocco’s smirk hadn’t faded.

    “No, but she just slapped one of mine so I’ve got every right.” Joseph moved past Cyrus and went into the kitchen with Francine.

    The group split up, everyone going to their own area to cool down. Milo went for a walk while Marshal took over watch duty just to get out of the building.

    After a bit, Elizabeth came out. She seemed upset, but from what he knew, Marshal didn’t blame her. “Is Milo upset with me?”

    He shook his head. “No, he’s pretty mad with Rocco.”

    She looked like she had a lot going on in her mind and couldn’t pick an emotion. “I shouldn’t have told him what I did. I’m sorry, I’ve only made more problems for you guys.”

    He and Elizabeth weren’t really close, barely even able to be considered friends. “I have a feeling that you want to talk to someone other than Milo about what’s going on.”

    She crossed her arms, hesitating for a minute. “I guess you’re right.” She sighed. “Where do I start? Like, the past few months have been awful for me because of Rocco. I’ve felt like I can’t tell anyone what’s happening because everyone’s going to believe the leader over some girl.”

    “I’ve got an open mind on the situation. What’s he been doing?” Despite being completely against Rocco, he had no allegiance to Joseph at the time, he was just friends with the other scouts.

    A look of shame took over her face. “His response to getting hit was the least of my concerns. He’s grabbed me before, just about all over and told me over and over that nobody’s going to believe me if I say something about him. He threatened to tell Francine that I was after him and have her ‘handle’ me if I don’t agree to whatever he wants.”

    “And what is it that he wants?”

    “To be wanted by somebody else.” She frowned. “I don’t even enjoy him as a person, but I know I have to put up with him or I’ll lose my job and risk getting thrown out.” She looked shocked, as if she said something she shouldn’t have. “I need to go inside, but please don’t tell Milo what I said. I’m sorry for wasting your time.”

    Watching her hurry off as she tried to fight tears was when Marshal decided his allegiance to Joseph’s side of the group. In an act of defiance to Rocco, he left his position and went back inside. The man who was supposed to be in watch quickly took notice and went to confront him. “You said you would cover for me, what are you doing?”

    “I changed my mind, better hurry out there before you miss something.” The man, Horatio, looked a bit angry before storming off to go back to his position.

    The other people in the room consisted of Lecia, Joseph, and James. James looked a little suspicious. “You never usually toss people their jobs back, what’s up?”

    “I’m done with the usual.” He crossed his arms and looked to Joseph. “I need to talk to you about Rocco.”

    Joseph sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “That’s the fourth time I’ve heard that today. I don’t know what he did to upset you, considering you’ve been neutral since day one, but I’ll handle it. I’ve got a talk with him planned for after dinner.”

    Marshal forced a fake smile. “I can handle that if you want. You’ve got a lot going on and I’m sure you have no time to deal with such an issue.”

    Joseph looked him up and down before cupping his hands. “I suppose you’re the most impartial to the subject.” He looked to Lecia and noticing she was studying Marshal. “What do you think?”

    She stayed quiet for a moment before nodding and leaning back in her seat. “I guess we can trust him with it.”

    “You say it like you’re just meeting me.”

    “I basically am just meeting you.” She crossed her arms. “All I know is that you’re friends with Milo and James and you’re one of the scouts.”

    Joseph looked like he was thinking her new comment over for a moment. “James is pretty loyal to Rocco and Milo’s loyal to me, so unless James can tell me that he’s in any way unfair to him or Milo, he’s still the only neutral.”

    They all looked at James, expecting an answer. “He’s pretty fair to the both of us, but I’m friends with both of them as well. That’s like asking me to accuse him of nepotism or say I’m jealous of Milo.”

    “Not exactly, but I can understand why you’d think of it that way.” Joseph turned back to Marshal. “Just know that if you mess this up, you could very well be thrown out.”

    “There’s not going to be any mistakes.” Marshal smiled and turned to leave.

    He told Milo about it before dinner and got a few more details from Joseph. Milo insisted that he be there, but mentioned a few times that he had something to do beforehand.

    When the time came, it was clear Rocco wasn’t happy to see Marshal. “You’ll have to come back later, your pals aren’t here and there’s about to be a meeting. In other words, shoo.”

    “Joseph had better things to do with his time, so we’ll start with that. The lack of respect you have for Joseph.” He scoffed. “Rocco, you say you’re better than that so prove it. Stop pushing all of your responsibilities onto a man who needs to care for his dying wife just so you can go around and harass the women who don’t want you.”

    Rocco stood from his seat, the statement obviously upsetting him. “And who are you to act like you have any sense of what’s going on around here? You stayed out of today’s disagreement until Milo came around, then you defended me from him, am I mistaken?”

    “No, you’re not, but you’re giving yourself too much credit. I only defended you because I’m not going to let him and Elizabeth get split up because of someone by the likes on you.” He went on before Rocco could respond. “Let’s talk about your actions towards Elizabeth and Lecia. I’ve been told that you lay your hands on Elizabeth any chance you get, do you want to try and justify that?”

    “I don’t have to justify my actions, you just need to pay more attention.” He furrowed his brows, getting more worked up as he went. “Neither of those two have any issue with what I’m doing, otherwise they would have said something.”

    “You make them live in fear. I can’t stand you, but you’re smart, I’ll give you that. You infuriate Milo so one day he’ll snap and attack you, then Elizabeth has nobody to protect her and she’s even told me herself that you’ve threaten to throw her out if she turns down your advances. You target Lecia because you know she’s not going to do anything that puts Morgan at risk, especially not after what happened to Jonas. They’re your targets because they’re considered the weak links of the group. You wouldn’t dare try with Eris because you know Joseph wouldn’t stand for that.”

    Rocco stopped responding, his face burning red as he went to leave. When Marshal reached out to stop him, he balled up a fist and sent it straight for him. “You’re one to talk about keeping your hands to yourself, boy. Do you know who you’re dealing with?” The punch left him dazed for a moment, but Rocco led himself into a lecture, allowing him to recover.

    As soon as he recovered, he returned Rocco’s punch with one of his own. The fight was a blur to him, all he remembered was Milo, James, and Elizabeth had to split them up.

    “You’re going to regret what you just did.”

    “I’d do it again in a heartbeat.” It took the three of them to force Marshal out of the room.

    The three of them looked unhappy with the current situation. They met up with Lecia and briefed her on the situation since she was involved. “He’s going to throw you out now, you do know that, right?”

    He scoffed, trying to calm himself down. “He doesn’t have the guts. Rocco’s all talk, but kicking anyone out is a mistake that’s going to force him to admit his wrongdoings. That being said, I’d like to watch him try.”

    A small hint of a smile was on Lecia’s face. “I don’t know how Joseph was the only one who didn’t see straight through you earlier. After you both left, James started freaking out and saying you were going to kill Rocco.”

    James still looked nervous. “He probably would have if we hadn’t stopped him.”

    Milo grinned, his unsettled feelings being replaced with joy. “A mighty show of power, my friend.”

    James looked at Milo with a frown. “Am I really the only one concerned with the fact that Marshal could have killed Rocco and would have?”

    “Yes.” Elizabeth answered, her tone defensive. “He only did what needed to be done for years and Rocco would be stupid to throw him out.”

    The next day proved that Rocco wasn’t going to do anything.

    He had lied to Joseph about what happened and said he was attacked by an Onyx Organization member but fought them off. The people who knew what actually happened could help but get a kick out of how ridiculous his story was.

    He kept his distance from Marshal and eventually started distancing from Elizabeth and Lecia, along with Milo.

    Rocco had been kept at bay, but Francine was a different story. She had no reason to stay only loyal to Rocco, which meant she was mostly loyal to herself but she would use Rocco whenever opportunity presented itself.

    During the day, anyone could tell that Francine was upset with Lecia and it was only a matter of time before she snapped.

    Lecia was another one who was iffy on the entire situation. While she considered herself loyal to Joseph, she had always been afraid of where a split would put her and Morgan.

    Most people woke up in the early morning and stayed in their rooms until breakfast because it was one of Rocco’s orders to make security an easier thing to deal with.

    Francine and Lecia were exemptions to that rule because they had to make breakfast.

    A few days after what happened between Rocco and Marshal, Joseph found out the truth and he wasn’t pleased by it. He was a bit impressed that someone took on Rocco and won, but he was also disappointed that someone took him on in the first place.

    He had told Marshal to keep a low profile until something else happened to Rocco and he wasn’t in as much trouble.

    Instead, a few select people started becoming more defiant. They were out before curfew had ended and being as unruly as they could, defying any order Rocco gave them as soon as he gave it.

    One of those nights, Lecia and Francine were making breakfast when there was a scream from the kitchen. It wasn’t from either Francine or Lecia, but someone much younger.

    Milo was the first one to reach the scene. “Francine, what are you doing?”

    The blonde woman seemed upset. Lecia was directly in front of her with Morgan behind her. The little girl was trembling in fear. “She wants to kill me.”

    The second Elizabeth arrived, she moved to get Morgan out of the situation. Milo tried to talk Lecia down while leaving Francine alone, hoping to keep her from getting even more upset. “She’s right. I’d love to get the kid out of the way. She’s nothing but a problem.”

    Milo quickly grabbed Lecia, holding her back. “All she wants to do is upset you so Rocco can throw you out, don’t fall for it.”

    “Did you just say you want to kill a child?” Filip was the next to enter the kitchen, shock on his face. “Is that why she screamed?”

    “She’s crying because Francine cut her hand open.” Elizabeth sounded like she was trying to fight anger because Morgan was around.

    Lecia struggled against Milo, obviously just waiting for his grip to slip so she could attack Francine. “The shrew tried to kill a three-year-old because she got in the way one night.”

    Cyrus arrived, whispering something to Filip before Filip rushed out of the kitchen. Francine jumped back to face Cyrus. “What did you tell him?”

    Elizabeth and Milo took Lecia and Morgan out of the kitchen the second they had the chance, leaving Cyrus alone with Francine. “Nothing that concerns you.”

    “Every one of you is the same person. You’re all trying to take down the movement from the inside.” She scrunched up her nose. “Rocco might ignore that, but I’m not stupid enough to just let you people get away with it.”

    Filip hurried back into the kitchen with Joseph, Eris, and Marshal with him. “Francine, no matter what way you look at it, you’re outnumbered and you’re always going to be outnumbered.”

    Eris questioned Cyrus on Lecia’s whereabouts and went to help her with Morgan. Francine looked over the three remaining. “Your people keep leaving like that and soon enough it’ll just be one on one. Don’t expect me to go easy on any of you.”

    “Speaking of leaving.” Marshal looked over to the other side of the kitchen, seeing Milo waving him over. “I’ll be back.”

    As he passed Francine, his eyes wandered to the counter behind her where she had a knife hidden behind her. Her face went pale the second she realized someone had found the knife and scrambled to grab it before he did.

    The handle of the knife was in both of their hands, with only Francine pulling on it. ‘If she pulls hard enough, she’ll get it away from me, but she’ll end up hurting herself.

    He let go of the knife, secretly hoping she didn’t let it hit her. She stopped it just before it reached her chest. “Are you trying to kill me?”

    “No, not really.” Francine flipped the knife to have it pointing at Marshal. “I’m trying to keep you from killing other people.”

    She took one step forward, he took a step back. “You’ve got one way of keeping the peace. Don’t act like you didn’t do anything to Rocco.”

    Almost as if he took that as his cue, Rocco entered. He and Francine had Marshal cornered, which mad Joseph panic a bit. “Rocco, I’m taking half the group and going my own way.”

    He turned to Joseph like he expected it earlier. “Who might those people be?”

    “Whoever wants to get away from you.”

    The room went silent until Filip made the first move. “I’m going with Joseph.”

    Filip left the room to go gather his things, followed by Cyrus. Joseph looked to Marshal with pleading eyes. “I know you’ve been neutral this entire time, but I need to know if I’ve earned your trust.”

    He nodded, moving past Francine. “As if I’d stay here.”

    “Morgan and I are going as well.” Lecia stood in the opposite doorway. “I’ve lost any respect I had for this group and I’ve had no trust with them for the longest time.” She had Morgan in her arms, the young girl’s hand had been bandaged.

    Elizabeth took a spot next to Lecia, a bright smile on her face. “Jonas, Joseph, and I even had a place in mind for whenever we left.”

    “That’s nine people. Half the group, so we’ll be going our own way.”


    By early May, the people who worked in the diner could be recognized by anyone who had gone there, as they were required to introduce themselves for the first month.

    Passing people on the streets became no big deal since they were quickly becoming known.

    Usually it was a quick wave to people they knew and then they’d continue on, but every once in awhile they would run into people that wanted to stop and talk.

    Occasionally, Isaac would order that the diner to be closed for cleaning or a holiday. Those were the days that the group would go out and about and do whatever they needed to do.

    Because that was their free time, Marshal would take Elizabeth out and then focus on whatever he needed to do.

    On their way to dinner one of those days, they ran into a regular from the diner. “Closed today?”

    She was a real cheerful woman, always upbeat with a smile on her face. “Closed for cleaning.”

    The woman nodded as they passed, but her young son turned and started walking with Marshal and Elizabeth. “You gonna be open tomorrow?”

    His mother sighed as if it were a normal occasion and turned to wait for her son. “Sam, come on, leave them be.”

    Marshal and Elizabeth stopped to keep from putting distance between the boy and his mother. “Yes, we’ll be back tomorrow.”

    “What do you guys do when you’re not at work?”

    Elizabeth seemed a little shocked. It was usually the older people who stayed around to talk, but never a child. “We spend some time together since we don’t really see each other much during work.”

    The boy looked at Elizabeth and started snickering. “Are you guys dating?”

    At that point, the boy’s mother rushed over and took his hand. “Sam, that’s more than enough.” Her face went red with embarrassment as she turned to Marshal and Elizabeth. “I’m so sorry, he doesn’t know his boundaries.”

    Elizabeth responded with a bright smile before laughing along with the boy. “It’s fine, I understand.”

    Marshal gave a sigh of relief as the woman and her son turned and started walking on their way. “How do you do it?”

    The two continued on their walk. “Do what?”

    He wrapped a hand around her waist and pulled her closer. “You know fully well that most people here hate us more than anything and you’re so kind to them. You let yourself be vulnerable around people who can’t stand you.”

    “It’s not vulnerability, it’s showing these people that I can change and I’m willing to change.” She sighed, her smile quickly turning into a frown that she was trying to hide. “We’ve been caught and we’re going to be stuck here for a long while. The least we can do is try to be peaceful.”

    “How much do you trust everyone here?”

    “Like our group?” She questioned. “I feel like something has changed in the dynamic.”

    “Considering a dynamic is something that’s always changing, I would think so.”

    She shot a look up at him, seeing something looked wrong. “What do you know?”

    He sighed, looking away. “Eris thinks Ethan killed somebody and I’m not too surprised that he was accused.”

    “I’m not too sure if I believe that…” She crossed her arms. “We hardly know him, but I know he wouldn’t kill anybody.”

    “I’m just telling you what I heard.” Marshal quickly defended himself, knowing that she wouldn’t let him hear the end of it. “You’re right about us hardly knowing him and that’s what bothers me. We’ve been around him for months now and we still don’t know more than a few things about him.”

    “Do you trust him?” Once silence greeted her, Elizabeth questioned again, her voice more firm than before. “Marshal, do you trust him or do you not?”

    He stayed quiet, but he knew she wasn’t going to take silence for an answer. “I don’t know.”

    She crossed her arms, her frown stuck on her face. “Do you know for certain that he killed anybody?”


    A small smile crossed her face as she seemed to lighten up. “Even if he did, it’s our beliefs that we hear him out before we make any decisions, remember?”


    Most of the people in the apartment had mixed opinions on working the diner. It was an escape from a fate that none of them wanted to face, but it was one the drained each of them on a daily basis.

    It would turn out to be a major stressor on Elizabeth once people found out their past, since she was typically the one dealing with the same people that had always been taught to hate the Voyagers for what their superiors told them, rather than their own experiences.

    She never really let others know how much it actually upset her because she didn’t want anybody else to get upset or feel obligated to defend her.

    On one of the rare nights the group decided to go out, Elizabeth had backed out at the last moment, simply saying she was too tired to go out.

    “You don’t have to come with me, you know that, right?” Marshal often went home with her whenever she went on her own but could tell when she needed her space.

    The two walked hand in hand, Elizabeth slightly leaning on him while they walked. “Yet here I am. What’s going on with you?”

    She stayed quiet for a minute before letting out a sad sigh. “I’m tired of our past defining our present. As far as anyone knows, we’re no longer loyal to the Voyagers and working towards redemption, so it begs the question of why they continue to treat us as outsiders.”

    “Because we are outsiders. No matter how much we want to change or try to hide ourselves, we’re still Voyagers.” He squeezed her hand lightly to reassure the both of them. “We might not have chosen our paths, but we owe it to ourselves to stick to those paths.”

    “What if things can never go back to the way they were before we left?” He looked over to see a frown on her face. “We’ve already been gone for five months, there’s no telling what’s happened while Joseph was gone. We don’t know who’s there and who left because they lost hope.”

    Her voice was a mixture of frustration and sadness and as much as he wanted to comfort her, he knew well enough that the streets weren’t the place to talk about the Voyagers. “We’ll talk more about it when we get home.”

    She took it as it was meant and stopped talking about it, occasionally looking around and surveying their surroundings out of habit.

    Once the returned to the apartment, Elizabeth immediately went to get changed while Marshal went to fix them something to eat.

    After a few minutes, she joined him in kitchen. “Do you ever get tired of cooking?”

    “I can only commend your attempt to make me forget about our last topic, but it’s not going to work.” He caught a slight frown on her face before she crossed her arms. “Why are you the one defending the choice to stay here now? You wanted to go back up until today, what happened?”

    “If we’re going to have a baby, maybe we should consider staying here. They’ve got a team of doctors that the Voyagers couldn’t even begin to think about having.”

    “Sure, we don’t have a team of doctors. Instead, we’ve got the greatest doctor they’ve seen.” He sighed, his attention going back to his former task. “I don’t want to stay here and let them use our child against us and you know they will, then we’re going to have no choice but to go against our beliefs and our people.”

    She took a seat at the kitchen table. “What if there’s nobody to go back to? We don’t know if Alyssa’s alive or not. If we go back in hopes that she’s there and she’s not, there’s no way we can deliver a baby. Nobody has as much medical experience as she does and the only people who have any medical knowledge are the people who’ve been taking care of Eris.”

    He frowned, moving to the stove. “What is it that you want, Elizabeth? I need you to be upfront with me.”

    “I know I want to have a baby and I don’t want to stay here.” She still seemed unsure of what she wanted. “I trust Alyssa with my life, she’s already saved me before, but I don’t know if just one person is capable of it all.”

    “She was able to keep you from going into shock when you should have died. You admitted it yourself, there’s no reasonable explanation for why you’re alive right now other than Alyssa’s work.” He turned to face her once again.

    Her frown turned into a smile as she uncrossed her arms. “I’m not winning this, am I?” He shook his head. “Fine, you can have this one, but don’t get used to it.”

    He scoffed, his own frown being replaced with a grin. “How many disagreements have I let you have now? It’s about time I get one.”

    “Congratulations, honey, you earned it and I’m proud of you.” She paused, her sarcastic voice being replaced by one questioning with genuine interest. “I know it’s a little early to be thinking about it, but have you been thinking about names?”

    “Not really, have you?”

    Her face flushed red as a nervous look came on her face. “Well yeah, I have.”

    He turned a few dials on the stove before moving to sit across from her. “This is something I should put all my attention into, so tell me what you’ve got so far.”

    Present Day

    After getting back to the apartment, most everyone took a brief rest before Eris started to get a bit concerned on Elizabeth’s whereabouts. It was quickly agreed upon that they would go out and look for both Chelsea and Elizabeth.

    They spent the entire day searching before Marshal sent the others home. He continued searching until he ended up at the edge of the woods.

    Someone from Onyx would usually stop him at that point, as there was always somebody on guard.

    He shook his head with a sigh. ‘With any luck, she got out of here.

    He stopped by the diner close to one in the morning, checking to see if they had been there as well, with no results.

    Going into the office, there was a stack of papers that he had been neglecting for a few weeks that sat on the desk.

    Nobody really went into the office because of the lack of time they all had.

    He slid into the seat and looked at the papers, reading through as much as he could and signing what he needed to.

    The last time he looked at the clock, he read two thirty. He intended to leave by three, but ended up falling asleep at the desk by the time he was going to leave.

    The rest of the group came to the diner at their usual time and opted to let him sleep, deciding they needed to try and run the diner on their own in case they ever needed to.

    He had woken on his own by ten and found the others to be running the diner without a problem.

    “Did you find her?” Eris was running orders, but found a quick moment to talk to him while she was moving.

    “I probably wouldn’t have stayed here if I did.” He shrugged. “I have no idea where they are, but I have a feeling Isaac is going to find out whenever he gets back.”

    Eris seemed shaken at the mention of Isaac. “He didn’t want to talk to me or Ethan. He said he would wait for you.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    Ethan came into the kitchen, taking the next plate of food. “You should get going, he’s been waiting for an hour. He’s got a lead scientist with him, but he says he’s here to talk to you.”

    Marshal moved past Eris and Ethan to leave the kitchen, immediately catching Isaac’s eyes when he went into the dining room.

    He made his way to the table, trying to decipher Isaac’s intention there before he got there. “Mr. Kennedy, you’ve been out for a while today.”

    Isaac motioned for Marshal to take a seat across from him. He tried to figure out who the woman he brought along was and he barely remembered seeing her at the weddings. “My apologies, sir. I was out late last night and I slept a little late. May I ask the reason of your visit?”

    “We need you to make a visit to headquarters with us. It’s quite urgent and we’ve spent enough time waiting here, so we’d like to leave now.”

    At the command, the three of them stood. The woman in the purple skirt slowed down for a moment to match Marshal’s speed. “I remember your fake name, what’s your real identity?”

    She spoke in a way that showed she had no time for games. “I was going to ask you the same thing. Marshal Kennedy.”

    She nodded as if she was taking a mental note. “My only identity is Lyla Richardson, Head Geneticist for the Onyx Organization.”

    “Nice to meet you.”

    Isaac spoke once he got in the car. “If you two are done, I want to know something from you, Marshal.”

    Lyla climbed in the driver’s seat and Marshal in the seat behind the driver’s seat. “What would that be?”

    “Do you know where your wife was last night?” Isaac sounded a little upset by the tone in voice.

    “No sir, I can’t say I do.” Isaac looked back at him as if he owed him an explanation. “I assume you already know she and Chelsea have been hanging around each other. They went for a walk after an Organization Officer started a scene with Eris and they never showed back up. We went out looking for them, but we didn’t find anything.”

    Isaac nodded slightly, a silent fury building in his eyes. “Correct. Is that why you were near the boundaries late last night?”

    “Yes, but I was on my own at that point.”

    Marshal saw Lyla shoot Isaac a look before he stopped the questions.

    After arriving at headquarters, Isaac allowed Lyla to go in first before he stopped Marshal. “Are you aware that your mother was expecting when she passed?” Isaac must have noticed Marshal tense up as a small look of pity crossed his face momentarily. “I’m assuming not.”

    Isaac led him to the security room where they met with Lyla again, along with Luke and Amanda. Lyla ordered her daughter to bring up a tape, a command that looked to sadden her.

    The tape was one from a bar. Chelsea and Elizabeth were there and made multiple attempts to leave, only to be stopped by the bouncer multiple times. They were eventually escorted to the bar by the bouncer. He passed a drink to Chelsea and allowed them to move without getting in their way.

    As soon as they got close to the door, the bouncer stood with a twisted smile on his face and raised a gun towards them.

    He fired a shot and Elizabeth immediately hit the ground.

    He fired another shot and Chelsea went down with her.

    Marshal felt a pressure pounding against his chest, but he didn’t know if it was sadness or anger.

    Lyla spoke up, but she didn’t seem to be fully on Isaac’s side. “Let’s not forget that Elizabeth was pregnant, so this man murdered three innocent people in cold blood.”

    Luke scoffed. “Don’t get ahead of yourself, Elizabeth was the furthest from innocent that you could get. She was a Voyager responsible for the death of at least six Onyx Organization members. She said it herself.”

    Amanda furrowed her eyebrows. “She was working towards changing, we all know she swore off any ties to the Voyagers. Even if she was cheating us, what about the baby and Chelsea? I have a difficult time believing that Chelsea was up to no good, regardless of the crowd she was hanging out with.”

    Marshal saw Luke look taken aback for a moment before Isaac spoke again. “You’re all rightfully upset and have a right to know who the bouncer is working for.”

    “Why do we need to know? It’s not like there’s anything we can do about it.”

    Isaac looked to Marshal and that’s when he started to understand why Isaac was really telling them. “Marshal, I’m sure you want to know who’s behind the death of your wife and child, am I correct?”

    Luke looked to Marshal, both of them expecting an answer. “Of course I do, but that’s not saying that I’m going to forgive what they did for any reason.”

    “They don’t deserve forgiveness.” Isaac responded in a cold tone. “The bouncer is part of an organization that Luke has been looking into as of late. The organization seeks to kill the most powerful people that Onyx has to offer and the Voyagers have to offer. With Chelsea being my daughter, they took it as an attempt to drag me down.”

    “Elizabeth only had you and Milo, but she proved her role by being in control of security. The way they saw it was that her death would scare the Voyagers into submission.” Amanda sounded like she was deducing it all in her head. “They want us to unchipped Leah Neil, but we’re in no position to do that just yet.”

    Eyes went to Isaac as he flattened his suit with his hands before speaking. “I’m going to cut a deal with you, you can accept it or deny it, but either one is not going to hurt me. Onyx is quite powerful and the Voyagers are very illusive. I’m going to give you one chance to find your group and convince them to assist us in taking down this group.”

    “I don’t think he’s in the best condition to make such a decision right now.” Lyla folded her hands, a frown now on her face. “Neither of you are. You haven’t even taken a moment to address the fact that your daughter is dead.”

    Isaac glared at her before regretfully nodding. “Very well. Marshal, you’re free to go back to your home.”

    Leaving Headquarters, he found Lyla was sticking around him. “What do you want?”

    “I want to help you.” She crossed her arms. “Because I programmed Elizabeth’s genetics, I know some things about her that she doesn’t even know yet.”

    “Like what?”

    She looked a little nervous, but continued on. “Isaac thought David was never going to turn on him. After Milo was born, Isaac had an idea that he asked me to take care of. He knew David and Leah wanted another child, so he made plans to program a weapon out of her. After it was relatively successful, he asked that I do the same thing with Chelsea, so I did. The gene created a link between the two of them that won’t allow one to stay alive and functioning if the other died of unnatural causes. Chelsea might be alive, but not for long. There’s been multiple occasions that they both should have died and they were still alive and well. So long as they’re together, they’re stronger mentally than physically, it’s separation that strengthens them physically. The gene is programmed to pass to their first born, regardless of the circumstances.”

    “What does it do?”

    “I’m not sure how well it’ll work, if at all, because of how long they’ve been separated.” Her voice sounded shameful. “If it works like it’s supposed to and they end up in the same allegiance, they’ll become useful weapons. They can both alter time to what they both agree on. If Elizabeth agrees to stay dead, which I have strong doubts that she will, then they’re both done. If she disagrees to the circumstances, they’ll both be back in no time. We might be set back to before they died, but anyone who knew the details is going to remember it.” She paused. “I don’t know what they’re going to do, but killing the man who killed them will prevent the Hunters from gaining an advantage. He’ll remember killing them and he’d do it again if it meant just getting to Onyx and the Voyagers.”

    “Are you telling me to kill a man?” Marshal crossed his arms.

    She nodded. “They’ll find a way to hurt Elizabeth and Chelsea if they returned, so that’s something you need to do.”

    “And what do I get out of it?”

    Lyla scoffed, a sour look crossing her face. “I’m giving you the opportunity to kill the man who killed your wife and child, which will also give you a way out of the city. There’s nothing you don’t get by taking the risk.”

    He turned and started walking to the apartments once again. “I’ll think about it.”

    Thinking is what brought him to the conclusion that someone needed to kill the bouncer.

    He went through Eris and Joseph’s room until he found the gun Eris had recovered the day before. On the way to the bar, he continued to try and tell himself that he was doing this for Chelsea and Elizabeth, but there was always the voice in the back of his head that told him he was doing it for himself.

    He stopped by the diner when he reached it and confronted the rest of the group. “You guys are going to be down two people, so you’ve gotta fend for yourselves. I’m sorry to leave you guys like this, but you’ll know the details in due time.”

    “Did you find out where Elizabeth and Chelsea are?” Eris questioned, a hopeful look in her blue eyes.

    “No, but we’ll all know soon enough.”

    Ethan frowned a bit. “You’re really not telling us anything, are you?”

    “Not a thing.” Marshal smiled before heading to the back door. “I’ll see you guys again sometime. My past and future are dedicated to the Voyagers, no matter what. Good luck, you guys.”

    He arrived at the bar and stayed out for a bit, watching for the bouncer.

    Half an hour after he got there, a larger set man entered with a red backpack around his shoulder. That was him.

    Marshal went in and immediately found the bouncer, but kept an eye out for the red backpack. The bouncer made his way over to him after a few minutes. “You got a name?”

    He nodded. “Yeah, Marshal.”

    The bouncer’s eyes lit up and the same twisted smile crossed his face. “Kennedy?”

    “Yep.” Before Marshal could find the red backpack, the bouncer draped his arm around Marshal’s shoulders and started leading him forward. “Excuse you, what do you think you’re doing?”

    He grinned as Marshal pulled away from him. “I’m offering a good guy a drink.”

    “Judging by the way you dragged me, that’s forcing, not offering.” His grin turned into a look of anger. “Either way, I don’t drink.”

    “Huh.” He turned away from Marshal. “A scoundrel who doesn’t drink.” Marshal started walking towards the door, spotting the red backpack. “Where’re you going?”

    Just as the bouncer called out to him, he quickly drew the gun and raised it towards him, pulling the trigger without a second of hesitation. Watching the bouncer topple to the ground, he started running for the door once he knew the bouncer was dead, grabbing the red backpack as he passed it.

    Chelsea Hampton

    “You weren’t supposed to kill them!” A woman’s voice greeted Chelsea. “We can’t get any ransom for them if they’re dead.”

    Chelsea took a moment to focus on herself. She had been shot in the shoulder; an injury that should have killed her sooner. Her breathing had slowed to labored breaths while the bleeding had also slowed.

    A man stood over Chelsea, looking down at her. “This one isn’t dead, but I don’t think she’ll make it much longer.”

    ‘This one isn’t dead.’ Chelsea mulled over his words, a wave of sadness taking her over. Elizabeth shouldn’t have died with where she was shot, at least not as soon as she did, so why did she?

    Chelsea felt another pair of eyes on her before the woman from before sighed. “What a waste. Put her out of her misery.”

    The world around Chelsea toned out, her blurry eyesight being replaced by darkness.

    Then she found herself on a familiar path.

    She shot up and took off down the path, the structure she was expecting welcoming her eyes.

    Two women turned their attention to Chelsea as she arrived. “Elizabeth?”

    She gave a soft smile that relieved Chelsea a bit. “What took you so long?”

    The woman sat across from Elizabeth had a frown fixed on her face. She sighed, folding her hands in front of her. "You weren't supposed to be back so soon and company wasn't expected. To fix this, you'll have to settle your differences and work together. I can guide you, but I can't do it by myself."

    “Differences?” Chelsea cautiously approached the scene, unsure of what to expect.

    Elizabeth shrugged, her smile fading. “We’re not really playing for the same team, so there’s bound to be communication errors.”

    Chelsea focused on her mother, attempting to get a reading on her. “What about her baby?”

    She noticed a sad look go over Elizabeth after she asked the question. Karen looked to Elizabeth before answering. “It all depends on how she died, that’s why I need both of your cooperation. Elizabeth, where were you shot?”

    She shrugged, looking to Chelsea. “It was a shot that should have paralyzed her at worst, not kill her.”

    Karen slowly nodded, taking in the details. “There’s two ways we can handle this, and I’m leaning towards the safer way. That comes with its own issues, though. Eight people are aware of the details of your deaths and that’s not something they’re going to just forget.”

    “Eight people?” Elizabeth sounded a bit suspicious. “I don’t think there were that many people in the bar.”

    “Amanda Richardson was the first to know. She let Isaac know, to which he told Lyla Richardson since she was the geneticist that worked with your mother. Luke Lowell was informed because he was in charge of the Voyagers stationed in the city. Your husband was the last to know.”

    “That’s five, though.” Chelsea added.

    Karen sighed. “I know. The bouncer was one who knew, but the other two are unknown to me. I’m unsure of who they are.”

    “You said we had two choices, what are they?”

    “One of them is very risky. You two share a connection that could pose a disastrous response if just one of you is dead. You were both average women before you ended up in each other’s presence. It’s quite a work of irony that you two ended up with the connection, but that’s why I’m trying my best to save the both of you.”

    Chelsea thought on it before crossing her arms. “I experienced a lot when she wasn’t around before.”

    “Because you were in her home with one of her friends.” Karen immediately went on. “You were able to see events that happened with the Voyagers because she was involved with them in some way. If she wanted to, she could go back into your history in the same manner if she wanted to.”

    “That means she doesn’t really need me to find out about Luke, right?” Elizabeth sounded a bit excited by the idea of distancing herself from Luke.

    Karen looked regretful. “Sure, she doesn’t need you. What you two aren’t understanding is that you were both genetically altered to be weapons. You were both meant to stay with Onyx and train with Lyla, but nobody kept a close enough eye on Elizabeth and she slipped off. Neither of you have any clue of your capabilities and it would be rather dangerous to play around with them.”

    “Will it pass on to her kid?” Chelsea looked to Elizabeth.

    “That… I’m not sure.” She seemed genuinely sad. “I feel pity for you girls. It’s a big deal, whether you truly understand it or not.”

    “What are our options?”

    “Regardless of your choice, the eight will always remember. One option sees you closer to the Voyagers with no change in time, your forms will regenerate as if nothing happened. The other sees you back in the city at a time of your mutual choosing, but your bodies will still feel the effects of the shots.”

    Elizabeth thought over it for a moment. “If we go back to the diner, we’re going to be in undeniable pain.”

    “And we might end up in pretty bad condition.” Chelsea turned to her mother, arms crossed. “Do you know what condition the Voyagers are in?”

    “Pain that you’ll learn to control in time. As for the Voyagers,” She shook her head. “I can’t say I do, but she can find out if she puts her mind to it.”

    Elizabeth went silent for a few minutes before sighing. “If you want honesty, they’re not doing great. They could use our help, but if the eight who already know are going to remember no matter what, then I want to be able to ease the ones that matter.”

    Chelsea turned to Elizabeth, noticing she looked extremely unsure. “I’ll go with whatever you say.”

    “What do you want, Elizabeth?” Karen questioned her.

    She sighed. “I want to go back to the Voyagers, in all honesty, but I don’t want to put Chelsea in a situation that she loses.”

    “Either way, one of us loses.” Chelsea frowned. “Going into the city is going to cost your freedom, going with the Voyagers is going to cost my freedom, but there’s still a choice to be made. We can’t stay dead, that’s not an option.”

    Elizabeth perked up, a smile coming over her. “Yeah, you’re right. So what’ll it be?”

    [Go back in time] (City)
    [Continue moving on] (Voyagers)

  • I have a question. If we pick moving on, will their original bodies disappear from their current location and just regenerate somewhere close to the voyagers? Also, these new revelations are also quite shocking and interesting! I didn't think time travel would be a thing in this series! Another quick question about their powers, can they only see the past or future of the other person (ex: Chelsea only sees situations regarding Elizabeth's future and vice versa)?

    4.1 Seven years ago Back then, the scouts were around main base more than they were sent out. As annoying as it was, it was Rocco’s or

  • By moving on, their bodies will regenerate somewhere close to the Voyagers. Either way, whoever knew about the bodies is going to know that something's up.

    Currently, they can only see each other’s past and future, but like Karen and Lyla said, they’re pretty inexperienced and they’ve got a lot to learn.

    I have a question. If we pick moving on, will their original bodies disappear from their current location and just regenerate somewhere clos

  • [Continue moving on]
    I feel that this has fewer potential consequences than the other choice.

    4.1 Seven years ago Back then, the scouts were around main base more than they were sent out. As annoying as it was, it was Rocco’s or

  • We can’t stay dead, that’s not an option.

    I don't know why, probably because this part has been quite the massive game changer, but that final line caused me to crack up a little. I was like... Yeah, no shit, Sherlock :D

    [Continue moving on]

    Oh man, I really don't like these situations XD Thing is, I would have probably leaned closer to the city option, but that would have created a vote tie and that would not be particularly helpful of me. I find myself quite fine with the Voyagers option too, so it's not too bad, but a couple more votes would have been great here, because I can see how this is definitely one of the most major choices in the story.

    4.1 Seven years ago Back then, the scouts were around main base more than they were sent out. As annoying as it was, it was Rocco’s or

  • At least with this choice their bodies will not have residual effects of the gunshots. Unlike, the choice to go back in time.

    We can’t stay dead, that’s not an option. I don't know why, probably because this part has been quite the massive game changer, but

  • but that final line caused me to crack up a little. I was like... Yeah, no shit, Sherlock :D

    [Go back in time] (City)
    [Continue moving on] (Voyagers)

    I’m afraid to say that it’s quite literally not an option this time around. While I wouldn’t advise intentionally trying to kill either of the two just to play time games, I guess it’s a valid option.

    Thing is, I would have probably leaned closer to the city option, but that would have created a vote tie and that would not be particularly helpful of me. I find myself quite fine with the Voyagers option too,

    I’ll address this part when I close the voting.

    We can’t stay dead, that’s not an option. I don't know why, probably because this part has been quite the massive game changer, but

  • (!) Voting is Closed! Chelsea will agree to go to the Voyagers with Elizabeth.

    Alright, so this choice is the second of three major choices between Chelsea and Elizabeth and (in my opinion) the biggest one of the three. Don’t get me wrong, it’s major to the plot and it brings on a whole new situation for the Voyagers and Chelsea.

    I do want to go ahead and share the results of going to the city, though. By going to the city, Chelsea and Elizabeth would have been reunited with the Voyagers in the city, but also with Isaac later on. Lyla and Marshal would have been the only two who knew for certain what happened, but everybody’s favorite bouncer would still be alive and still have his backpack, which is of moderate importance. Chelsea and Elizabeth would have been in extreme pain as a result of the shots, which would have revealed some more about their connection.

    I can’t say too much about the next part, other than it’s in the works and due pretty soon. :)

  • edited February 2018


    Chelsea thought back to what Elizabeth said earlier. “If we go back to the city, we’re going to be hurt and people are going to remember that we died. We’ll be forced to expose something about ourselves that we don’t even know.”

    “I take it you’ve chosen to go to the Voyagers?” A small smile now rested on Karen’s face. Chelsea nodded, confirming the statement. “Very well. There’s something I want to teach you two before you go, though. Chelsea, hold out your right hand with your palm facing up.”

    Chelsea took the order, feeling a bit suspicious of it. “What are you teaching us?”

    “Elizabeth, put your left hand over her right hand with your palm facing down.”

    As Elizabeth did what Karen said, she noticed the ring on Elizabeth’s hand for the first time.

    Looking up from the ring, Chelsea didn’t see Elizabeth in front of her. She saw a little boy, probably around five or six years old. He had black hair, but she couldn’t see his face with the way he was sitting. He was sitting on the concrete floor, head buried in his hands and it sounded like he was crying.

    A pair of hands cupped his face and gently pulled his head up. “Whitlock, you’re too young to understand what’s going on with you and you don’t have to forgive me for giving it to you, but you’re already doing so much better than I did.” She brushed his hair out of his face with her hand and wiped away his tears. “You’re not weird, you’re not crazy, and you’re not a freak. It’s a gift, whether you believe it or not.”

    The boy had green eyes and light freckles like Elizabeth did. “What if people don’t like me because I’m different?”

    “That doesn’t matter.” Chelsea recognized the voice to be Elizabeth’s, which likely meant the boy was her son. “Everybody’s different. Dad didn’t have any real friends until he was twenty-three because he was different.”

    He paused and started counting under his breath. “Does that mean I’m not going to have any friends for seventeen years?” Tears started welling up in his eyes again.

    “Not at all. You can only have as many friends as you let yourself make.” She put a hand on his shoulder and gave it a soft squeeze. “I know how sensitive you can be, but I also know how funny you are. You’re a very loyal friend, which is what a lot of people need right now.” The boy gave off a bright smile and a sniffle. “Don’t give up, Whit, okay?”

    He nodded before getting off the ground and giving Elizabeth a hug. “I won’t, momma, not if you don’t.”

    After that, he pulled away and ran back towards a playground. Elizabeth sighed and turned away, looking at the ring on her finger.

    Looking down, Chelsea saw Elizabeth pull her hand away, which made her realize she was back. “What was that?”

    She looked to Karen, awaiting an answer. “That was something you learned before Elizabeth went away, which was quite a long time ago. You can see into each other’s deepest concerns using that method. In time, you’ll learn how to do it with other people, but for now it’s exclusive between the two of you.”

    “Did she see it too?” Chelsea looked to Elizabeth, getting an affirmative nod in response. “Did any of that seem familiar to you?”

    She hesitated for a moment. “A little bit of it. I don’t know the location, but Whitlock is a name that Marshal and I talked about.”

    “What is it you were concerned about?” Karen asked before Chelsea could respond to her.

    “Chelsea asked you earlier if it would pass on to my kid and I couldn’t really get it out of my head since she asked.” Elizabeth paused. “So how do we get home?”

    “Take each other’s hands.” The two took Karen’s order. “Close your eyes and sync your minds.” After a minute of silence, Chelsea felt a link between them. “Elizabeth, you need to command the order and Chelsea will follow suit.”

    Elizabeth didn’t respond, but Chelsea could hear her thoughts. ‘Joseph mentioned a motel in between the bunker and main base. The motel on Dakota Avenue is probably what they were talking about, it was always in the plans.

    In a flash, Chelsea found herself on the ground, a pile of colored leaves surrounding her. She eased herself off the ground and looked around, the cold breeze pushing her to get moving.

    She leaned on a tree, nausea taking over her. “I don’t think I should do that again…”

    She felt someone put a gentle hand on her back and pull her hair back. “You look like you’re about to puke.”

    “You’ve got Whitlock and coming back from the dead working against you, how are you still standing?” Chelsea clenched her fist and covered her mouth.

    “I feel great.” Elizabeth chuckled. “But now I’ve got a theory for the next time we die.”

    Chelsea scoffed and pushed herself off the tree. “There better not be a next time, I’m not doing this again.”

    Elizabeth let go of Chelsea’s hair and put her hands to her hips. “Duly noted.” She looked like she was ready to go somewhere, but stayed in place. “Before we go to the motel, we need to talk about your plan. Depending on who we run into first, we might be separated. If we are, you can’t let them know you’re a Hampton. Whatever story you agree on is the one we both stick to.”

    She thought for a minute before crossing her arms. “My mother’s maiden name is Murphy. Chelsea Murphy. Our story is that you got out of the city and took me with you.”

    She nodded slightly. “Kyle, Milo, and Alyssa spent enough time in the city to where they might recognize you. What is your plan if they do recognize you?”

    “I’ll be honest.” Chelsea saw a look of shock in Elizabeth’s eyes. “If I lie and even one of them tells someone else because I’m deemed an untrustworthy liar, there’s no way you’ll be able to help me.”

    “You’re right.” Elizabeth started walking forward. “We’re likely not too far, if I got the right location.”

    Chelsea followed after her, staying close in the case either of them were spotted.

    They soon came up on a motel that looked like it had been around long before Onyx had taken control. Chelsea took in the sight for a minute before realizing she had put some distance between herself and Elizabeth. She rejoined Elizabeth when she ducked behind a bush, looking at the motel through the bush.

    James is on watch duty… I think that’s James, but I sure hope it isn’t. If he’s around then that means- Rocco. Dammit.’ Chelsea looked over to Elizabeth, seeing a frustrated look on her face while she looked at a red headed man across the lot, which confirmed that those were her thoughts that Chelsea was hearing. ‘Kyle and Cyrus are over there, Milo just went upstairs. Alyssa and Filip are out of sight. I don’t see anyone else around. If I’m nice about it, James will let me go through, but do I really want to risk that?

    “I wouldn’t suggest taking an action that you don’t see a certain success.” Chelsea commented, getting an appreciative nod from Elizabeth.

    “Then we’ll make a run for it.” Elizabeth crouched, watching the man with black hair. “If we can get to Cyrus and Kyle, they’ll protect us.”

    Chelsea picked up on a bit of nervousness coming from Elizabeth. “I think we’ll be able to go back in time if we screw it up, so what do we have to lose? I’ll follow your lead.”

    Elizabeth kept watching the man with black hair until he turned to face the opposite direction. As soon as she started running, Chelsea followed after her. They went behind the motel, but still made it a point to duck under the windows.

    What were all those names she was using earlier?’ Chelsea ended up getting distracted, but continued on her path.

    “I’ll tell you later.” Elizabeth answered in a hushed whisper. As they approached the corner of the motel, Elizabeth peeked around it, a sudden look of panic in her eyes. “We gotta move fast.”

    The two of them left cover and sprinted to two men, quickly stopping as soon as they reached them. The taller man looked a bit surprised as the two of them skidded to a stop next to them. “You can’t be here.”

    Chelsea scoffed, crossing her arms. “Don’t tell her she can’t do anything, she’ll challenge you on it.”

    “I’m totally going to challenge you on that.” Elizabeth grinned. “I’d like to see Rocco try to tell me to leave.”

    “He’s going to do a lot worse than telling you to leave.” The older man spoke up. He sounded agitated, but looked fine. “Rocco has it out for you and Marshal. I don’t know what you two did to him, but he’s out for blood.”

    Elizabeth frowned slightly. “We’re not here to cause problems. Marshal isn’t even with us and Rocco’s upset with me by association, I bet it.”

    The older man sighed and shook his head. “Why did you come back?”

    “I know you hardly know me, Kyle, but I came back because these are my people.” Her voice was defensive. “I swore to protect them with my life and I’m going to stick to that.”

    Kyle looked between Elizabeth and the other man before looking to Chelsea. “Are you going to introduce who you’ve brought?”

    Chelsea put on a smile. “No need.” She held her hand out towards Kyle. “Chelsea Murphy.”

    He shook her hand and for a second she expected to be able to go into his mind, but that didn’t happen. “Kyle Kennedy.”

    The other man held out his hand, shaking Chelsea’s whenever she turned to him. “Cyrus Capello. Where do you come from?”

    “The city.” Chelsea answered, seeing Elizabeth looked more nervous than she did. “Elizabeth got me out of there when she left.”

    Cyrus smirked, looking over to Elizabeth. “Of course she did.”

    “It sounds like you’re doubting me.” She crossed her arms, looking over to Kyle. “Kyle, can I talk to you for a minute?”

    He nodded and the two stepped to the side. That’s when Chelsea saw pure sadness on Kyle’s face.

    The sight was enough to drag down Chelsea’s mood. “What’s his story?”

    Cyrus looked over and frowned himself. “That’s… Kyle’s had it pretty rough. He joined us because he had no choice and whenever he got here, he spent maybe a few days at most with his son before he disappeared. Since then, he’s been doing his own thing. The man’s a genius and he wants to help us get rid of Rocco, but there’s only so much that can be done with the few people we have.”

    Chelsea met eyes with the man who was on guard earlier, a look of anger coming onto his face as he started storming over. “Hey! Where’d you come from?!”

    Cyrus looked around for a moment before grabbing Chelsea’s wrist and leading her upstairs. “What’s going on?”

    He moved quickly while the man downstairs started running to the stairs, saying something into a radio that he had taken from his belt. “Kyle’s got Elizabeth covered, but I can’t defend you. I’m already on a thin line and there’s only one person James won’t start something with.” He knocked on a door, shoving Chelsea in the room when the door opened. “Milo, Alyssa, that’s Chelsea and James is about have her head.”

    The woman in the room, Alyssa, pulled Chelsea into the room, ushering her towards the bathroom. “It’s going to be uncomfortable, but I think you can fit under the sink.”

    She opened the cabinet and waited for Chelsea to climb in before shutting it and opening the window to make it seem like Chelsea had climbed out. She left the bathroom, shutting the door behind her.

    Chelsea tried to slow her breathing, which wasn’t too difficult with the lack of room she had.‘Chelsea, what just happened?

    Chelsea had her doubts that a conversation could be made through their minds, but she was willing to give it a shot. ‘You were right about the guard being James. He saw me and I’ve got no idea what he was going to do, but Cyrus took me upstairs. Alyssa’s not missing, she’s in the room Milo went into.

    Does that mean you’re safe or not?

    She listened to whatever was happening outside the bathroom, picking up bits and pieces. ‘I'm in the last place I would have looked, but I don’t know these people. There’s another man in the room, I haven’t heard his voice before.

    It’s Rocco, I can see him. Whatever you do, don’t move. His people are surrounding the room. Keep an open mind, I’ll get back to you.

    Before Chelsea could respond, she felt the connection get abruptly cut.

    The bathroom door opened and someone with heavy feet walked in. Chelsea could tell they were looking towards the window based on where their heel was. “I told you she wasn’t in there so you can kindly escort yourself out, Rocco.”

    “Francine, I’m begging you, shut him up.” The man in the bathroom spoke, his voice sounding exhausted.

    He stepped closer to the cabinets, causing Chelsea to hold her breath. “James, don’t just let them walk through!” A woman in the room yelled.

    After a brief pause, Chelsea heard a sigh from the open bathroom door. “Glad to see you still can’t do things for yourself, Francine.” It was Elizabeth. She was on Chelsea’s side. “Rocco, lay one more hand on my brother and you’re going to end up dead. I don’t care who quotes me on it, I’ll happily admit that I did it. Get out.”

    The man turned away from the cabinets, facing the doorway. “Elizabeth Neil, it’s been way too long!”

    Chelsea heard Elizabeth take a step into the bathroom. “I wish I could say the same, but I could have used some more time.” Elizabeth stopped talking and Rocco took a step back, still facing the door but getting closer to the cabinets. “I’m going to tell you only one more time. Leave.”

    Two more steps entered the bathroom, one of them heavy, the other light. Chelsea thought about Rocco’s position. He was directly in front of the cabinets and if she threw the doors open, she’d likely knock him over or at least confuse him.

    Before anyone could move, Chelsea threw the doors open with her elbows, refusing to get out until she saw the results.

    The doors knocked into Rocco’s legs, catching him off guard and making him stumble backwards, barely catching himself on the sink. Two of the three people moved, one of them disarming Rocco and the other pinning him against the wall.

    “I always knew you were weak, James.” Rocco snickered, his face against the wall. “But turning on the people who have the upper hand? That’s just stupid.”

    A woman with black hair stepped away from Rocco as soon as she disarmed him, rejoining Elizabeth in the doorway.

    Elizabeth traded the knife in her hands for the gun the woman had taken from Rocco and motioned towards Chelsea. “Please help her.”

    The woman pocketed the knife, moving carefully around James and Rocco, crouching next to the cabinets. “I’m not going to judge if you’re comfortable in there, but we could use your help right now.”

    She held out her hand and started pulling Chelsea out of the crowded space whenever she took her hand. Chelsea dusted herself off once she got out and looked over to Rocco, a disgusted look crossing her face. “You still think you have the upper hand?”

    She saw James push him closer to the wall before he could respond. “He doesn’t have anything worth your time to say.”

    Chelsea turned back to the woman with black hair to find her studying her. “You can just ask my name.” She commented, drawing the woman back. “Chelsea Murphy.”

    The woman nodded and nearly went on her way before her face flushed red. “The scouts and Elizabeth are usually the ones going out and talking to people, it’s been so long since I’ve had to introduce myself to anyone, people usually do it for me. My name is Lecia Albero.”

    Chelsea chuckled before leaving the bathroom. The room was mostly clear besides Alyssa and Milo. Alyssa was tending to some cuts on Milo’s face. “You’ve gotta stop do this, Milo.”

    Lecia walked past Chelsea, taking the knife out of her pocket before leaving the room. Milo looked towards Chelsea and his eyes immediately lit up. “I won’t have to now that we’ve got numbers.”

    “Yeah, numbers, not majority.” Alyssa frowned. “Kyle’s physically incapable of fighting and we’re not sure how long Chelsea is here. We don’t know where the rest of our group is, so don’t get your hopes too high. Just saying it as I see it.”

    Chelsea left the room, finding out where everyone else was. Elizabeth, Kyle, Cyrus, Lecia, and another man stood in the courtyard with a second group of people in front of them. Elizabeth had a gun pulled on a blonde woman who had a gun pulled on her. There were discarded weapons on the ground in front of the groups, the only other person there with a weapon being Lecia.

    She moved quietly, going downstairs and joining the group in the courtyard. “Put the gun down, Francine, you’re at a disadvantage.” One of the men next to the blonde woman whispered.

    “I should just kill you, shouldn’t I?” Elizabeth questioned, her eyes fixed on Francine. “You’re quite an abusive person when you don’t get your way. If I don’t let you kill me now, you’ll just find some other time. Watch, I can prove that you’re in trouble.” She nodded towards Cyrus. “Horatio.”

    Cyrus grabbed a gun from the pile and aimed it at one of the men. “Get on the ground, Horatio.”

    The man looked upset, but did as he was ordered. Chelsea stopped thinking for a moment, feeling her mind link with Elizabeth’s. ‘I know this looks really bad, but I can’t explain to you how bad these people really are. Do you trust my judgement?

    She nodded and got a smile out of Elizabeth before their minds unlinked.

    Francine threw her gun to the ground, tears falling. “I can’t do this anymore.” She fell to her knees and covered her face. “Rocco’s an evil man.”

    Elizabeth lowered her gun, a look of concern crossing her face. “Then why are you willing to murder for him?”

    She looked to Elizabeth, her eyes puffy and red. “He won’t let me get away from him. Do you really think I want to be this way?” She looked to the man next to her with anger in her eyes now. “Rocco and Horatio have been blackmailing me for years and I’m sick and tired of being Rocco’s personal slave.” Francine climbed off the ground, delivering a swift kick to Horatio’s stomach while he was still on the ground, causing him to writhe in pain. “Rocco won’t let me say it, but I have a child of my own. The Hunters took him and Rocco is choosing to do nothing about it because he doesn’t want anyone to know about him.”

    Chelsea saw a look that consisted of sadness and anger on Lecia’s face. Elizabeth didn’t back down from her position in front of Francine. “What’s causing this choice?”

    “If James can do it, then I can too.” Francine sounded unsure of herself, but she was trying to be confident. “Don’t consider me loyal to you, but don’t consider me loyal him.” She looked towards Lecia. “He knows the Hunters have your daughter as well.”

    “Filip, grab her!” Elizabeth called out to the new man, a sudden sense of urgency in her tone. “Lecia, we can’t just take off. I know you’re upset and I’m sorry, but please listen to me.” Lecia quickly pulled away from Filip, grabbing one of the guns from the discard and running upstairs. “Kyle, watch these people like a hawk. If even one of them leaves your sight, we’re done for.” Elizabeth ran after Lecia, Francine and Cyrus going after the two women.

    Chelsea, Filip, and Kyle shared a quick moment of shock before Kyle took a gun from the discard and handed it to Chelsea. “I don’t see why she trusted me with it, eyesight isn’t one of the things I’ve got going for me.”

    Filip took the last gun, the group in front of them now sitting on the ground.

    Chelsea looked towards the balcony, seeing Elizabeth, Lecia, Francine, and Cyrus. “Lecia, nobody but Rocco knows where the Hunters are, we need him for this.”

    There was a sudden ringing in Chelsea’s ear that sent her to the ground. She looked to the balcony to see Elizabeth clutching onto the railing with one hand, her face burning red as she held onto her head with her other hand.

    Nobody in area . . .’ A ghostly voice sent shivers down Chelsea’s spine before she was pulled off the ground by Filip.

    Her body felt heavy, but she knew to fight the feeling. “What’s happening to her?” Filip questioned, a panicked look on his face. “Can you hear me?” Chelsea nodded. “I need you to fight whatever this is. I’m going to get Alyssa so just hold on for one more minute.”

    He rested her against the wall before taking off in the other direction. She could barely see that Cyrus had gone downstairs to keep from leaving Kyle alone with the group.

    As Chelsea’s head cleared up a bit, she heard a voice familiar to her. ‘One of you two tried to make a connection with someone who’s too far away or their mind is too crowded. While it might have been unintentional, I wouldn’t recommend doing it again.

    The red headed woman from before came downstairs, a concerned looked in her light green eyes. “Chelsea, are you okay?”

    Chelsea gave a weak nod, attempting to push herself off the wall. “I’m fine, I just got a little dizzy.”

    Alyssa frowned, seeming a little sad. “Then you don’t need to be out here. A lot of things could go wrong in the current situation and either way, you might have gotten dizzy because you’re in a situation that’s overwhelming you.”

    Alyssa spun, heading back upstairs and motioning for Chelsea to follow her. The two went back to the bathroom where Rocco and James were. “Rocco, where do you keep the room keys?”

    Seeing Rocco wasn’t going to answer, James gave his leg a slight kick. “Answer her.”

    Rocco groaned and crossed his arms. “I keep them in my room.”

    “Let me guess, you’re going to make them do some perverted favors to get your key from you?” James sounded mildly annoyed with Rocco. “Cut that part and give them the key.”

    “You’ll have to take it from me, Captain.” Rocco grinned before James reached into his pockets without hesitation.

    James tossed the key to the ground, along with the rest of what was in Rocco’s pockets. Alyssa picked the key up, along with a pill that was also tossed to the ground.

    A look of anger sparked in her eyes as she looked over the pill. “Have you been using medicine for the Voyagers on yourself?!” She put the pill on the edge of the sink. “I know that pill because it belongs to Eris!”

    Rocco shrugged, a smirk on his face. “It’s not like she’s using it.”

    Alyssa clutched the key until her knuckles turned white and left the bathroom, Chelsea following after her. “I take it you’re the doctor here?”

    “I’m not supposed to be, but Rocco’s people can’t help themselves, so they stay here and use our resources because Rocco’s in charge.” She sighed, stopping in front of a door on the second floor. “Rocco hasn’t even sent the scouts out for nearly six months. We’re living off rations of rations because he hasn’t thought on what we need compared to what he wants.” She shook her head before unlocking the door and going in. “I have a feeling Elizabeth’s going to be a better leader than Rocco.” She went towards the nightstand and looked through the drawers, pulling out a shoebox from one of them. “Do you prefer a second floor room or first floor room?”

    Chelsea chose a second floor, more confident in being able to stay silent and out of the way. Alyssa got her set up before letting her rest for a while.

    She ended up taking a short nap before getting back up for dinner.

    She left her room and stumbled up on Elizabeth, leaning over the railing with a somber look on her face. She had cleaned up since earlier and changed her clothes, ultimately leaving her hair down. “Alyssa mentioned something about you being the new leader. What are your thoughts on that?”

    Elizabeth looked over to her and chuckled. “I don’t think I have to answer that since you can literally read my mind.” A small smile was fixed on her face, but her eyes still seemed sad. “They started dinner early tonight, you should head down.”

    “With a Civil War going on within your group and me not knowing anybody? I’m gonna have to take a hard pass on that one.” Chelsea stood next to Elizabeth, hanging her own hands over the railing. “The whole reading your mind thing isn’t working right now, so why don’t you just tell me?”

    Elizabeth looked towards her hands with a sigh. “I have so many negative feelings and that’s not me. In March, there was a vote on whether to keep me in the Voyagers or not and now I’m the leader. It’s not a position meant for me, but because I was the one to convince the others to stand up to Rocco, it’s a position I got.” Her fake smile turned into a frown. “Four of my group members are missing and one of them is my husband-“ she stopped, but Chelsea picked up on the disbelief in her voice. “Don’t even get me started on whatever kind of freaks we are.”

    Chelsea’s arm went cold as she remembered what she saw earlier when they connected. “Aren’t you the one who was telling your son that he’s not a freak?”

    “Yeah, like five years in the future, it doesn’t count yet.” Elizabeth smirked, finally seeming a bit better. “Let me know whenever you want to go back to the city. I obviously can’t go with you, but I’ll make sure the scouts get you there. This upcoming week won’t work, though, they’re already set up to head out and get some supplies.”

    “What is your plan for Rocco and anyone still loyal to him?” Chelsea questioned, feeling a bit nervous with the news of the scouts leaving. “Is it safe for the scouts to leave so soon?”

    It looked as if that was something that crossed her mind before. “The only person still loyal to Rocco is Horatio. The others are following Francine’s lead and even she’s under my command, so Rocco himself and Horatio are the only people against me here. I would be a lot more worried if it was Francine and Rocco, though, Horatio is hardly a threat. Francine wanted to make sure they don’t hurt anybody, so she and Lecia are guarding the room they’re in on twelve hour shifts.”

    Chelsea nodded, taking the information in. “What about your people in the city?”

    “Rocco’s former people weren’t known by anyone in the city because they came from North Dakota, so I’m probably going to send a few of them to get them back soon. I’ve got no idea how well that’ll work, but that’s my only choice besides waiting and hoping they get out on their own.” She shrugged. “After that, command goes back to Joseph and things go back to normal.”

    Chelsea looked out to the empty courtyard. “Do you think you could tell me about Luke now?”

    She turned to Elizabeth, seeing a smile on her face. “I think you’ve been kept in the dark about Luke for far too long.”

    Joseph Duke

    A few hours after Marshal left, Isaac Hampton came back to the diner, a greater amount of people by his side. He told Joseph to close up as soon as the current customers were served and hand over the key to the diner.

    “Do you think this has something to do with what Marshal was talking about earlier?” Eris seemed afraid of being around Isaac.

    Joseph had taken over cooking while Ethan ran between helping him and Eris. “I’m not sure. It could have something to do with Marshal, it could have something to do with Elizabeth, it could just be an us thing.”

    Ethan crossed his arms. “Whatever it is, it’s not good and we need to leave.”

    “You can’t be serious.” Joseph turned to Ethan. “Right?”

    “Dead serious.” Ethan furrowed his brows. “Marshal and Elizabeth are both gone after some heavy involvement with Chelsea Hampton and now her father is here, telling us to close as soon as possible. It’s suspicious and we need to get out of here before they have the chance to take us too.”

    Eris seemed unsure of what Ethan was saying. “Marshal said he would be back, though…”

    “He phrased it in a way that told us that he was going away.” Ethan snapped back. “He didn’t tell us a thing about what he and Hampton talked about before he left either.”

    “Elizabeth did disappear when she went with Chelsea.” Eris faced Joseph. “What are the chances the Chelsea gave her up?”

    “It’s a small chance.” Joseph was stunned by the accusation. He knew Chelsea wasn’t there for any bad reason, but he also knew she was pretty powerful.

    Ethan leaned against the wall. “Joseph, it’s your choice. We can stay and talk to Isaac under the impression that he just wants to talk, which I doubt with all my heart, or we can take the back door and run before he even knows we’re planning.”

    “What if he has people out there?” Eris sounded impatient. “If he really wants something from us, he’d have people out there in case we tried to run.”

    “But not many people.” Joseph looked towards the paring knife on the counter. “Not everyone from Onyx works on Sundays.”

    While she still seemed unsure, she sighed. “It’s up to you.”

    [Attempt to leave]
    [Talk to Isaac]

    Marshal Kennedy

    After leaving the city, he kept running until he was at a fair distance where he felt safe. Once he reached that safe place, he ducked down and started searching through the red backpack.

    One of the first things he pulled out was a notebook that looked to be pretty old. Flipping through the pages, he found that most of them had something written on them.

    He put it to the side and pulled a piece of paper out of the bag. It was a map that started at the city and stopped where South Dakota met Wyoming. There was an outline that covered the city, a circle over a location in Ludlow with a line that went to Belle Fourche and Spearfish. He recognized the locations as places the Voyagers had either been or talked about. The one place he didn’t recognize was symbolized by a crown over Huron.

    Next was a folder that had fifteen sheets of paper in it. It didn’t take long to figure out that the papers were files on people. Most of the sheets were front and back. Going through the sheets, Marshal found information on Joseph, Eris, Lecia, Cyrus, Elizabeth, himself, Filip, Alyssa, Kyle, Isaac, Luke, most of the Dumont family, and two members of the Richardson family.

    Before he could grab anything else from the bag, he heard leaves a fair distance behind him crunching under someone’s feet. He put everything back in the backpack and put it over his shoulder, taking cover behind a nearby tree.

    Looking behind the tree, he eventually saw a man and a woman, both with silver hair and both of them armed but neither of them from Onyx.

    “There’s no children to take and they surely don’t care for the children either way, our best chance would be to start gathering the leaders, then go to their seconds, the closest people, and eventually both groups will be obedient to us.” The woman’s voice sounded scratchy.

    The man scoffed at her suggestion. “How’ll we get to the leaders? Joseph is in Onyx hands, Rocco is in the verge of being overthrown by his own people, and Isaac is constantly guarded. We might have had a chance while we had Hampton’s daughter or the computer chick, but that chance died with them.”

    Marshal stopped listening and focused on putting distance between himself and the two.

    The tree lines would eventually turn into plain terrain, which is where traveling would become riskier while on foot.

    Just before reaching the fields, he stopped one more time to look through what he didn’t get to see before.

    He took out what he’d already seen before grabbing a thin plastic bag. Being hesitant to open it, he put it to the side.

    The last thing in the bag was a small box that was only being locked by a small switch on the front.

    He flipped the switch and the top of the box popped open, various small objects coating the bottom of the box. One item on the top immediately caught his eye.

    An emerald pendant.

    He pulled out the pendant and looked it over for a moment before coming to the conclusion that it was Elizabeth’s. She rarely took it off and he knew she had it on earlier in the day, which made him believe the bouncer took it off her body and kept it for himself.

    The next thing that caught his attention was a pocket watch that he knew belonged to Lecia since he was the one who gave it to her after Jonas died.

    He put the pocket watch back in the box and the pendant in his pocket before shutting the box, latching it shut, and putting it back in the bag.

    He put everything but the plastic bag and the notebook back, skimming through some more pages in the notebook to find extensive reports on high profile members of Onyx and the Voyagers.

    Luke Lowell, formerly Hunt.

    Biological father: Owen Hunt, mother: Susanne Hunt. Taken in by Ben Lowell. Orphaned by Onyx because-

    The reason had been scratched out by a pencil, but the story continued on.

    Owen was a generous donator to Onyx, even going as far as giving up his own servants at Isaac’s request. Susanne was often left out of anything that happened in Onyx at Owen’s request, but her main job was to oversee Luke’s education.

    Ben Lowell was a driver, his wife was one of Susanne’s best servants. After being summoned to Onyx, there’d been reports of Ben acting different until the night everything changed.

    The rest of the page had been ripped off, along with the page behind it, likely to keep from anyone trying to find out the story through imprints left on the sheet.

    He put the notebook up and opened the plastic bag, pulling out the contents of it.

    A number of Polaroid pictures were in the bag. Each one had a picture of everyone that had a file, one the back was their name, age, threat level, and status.

    He sorted through the pictures and in the midst of trying to get them in order, one of them fell to the ground. It landed face down, but the back was easy to be read.

    Morgan Grace Albero

    9 years old


    Marshal felt his body go cold as he read it over and over again, hoping he had read something wrong.

    He grabbed the corner of the picture, hesitating to flip it over. When he did, he saw Morgan’s face. He sighed, shaking his head. ‘I don’t know what I expected.

    The picture had been taken after she disappeared and that was clear based on the background, but also supported by Morgan’s hair being matted and her outfit being ragged. Lecia would never allow Morgan to live in such circumstances.

    He took another picture from the back of the stack.

    Chelsea Hampton

    23 years old


    Flipping it over, he confirmed for himself that it was Chelsea’s face.

    Her picture was different from Morgan’s in just about every way. Morgan was in awful condition, while Chelsea seemed to be in great shape. Morgan’s picture was taken right in front of her, Chelsea’s was taken from a distance.

    The next was Elizabeth’s. Her picture was like Chelsea’s, taken from a distance and she looked to be in better conditions than Morgan.

    He looked through the front pockets of the backpack, coming across a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.

    If Lyla’s right, the Hunters are going to remember Chelsea and Elizabeth dying. There’s no logical way to dispute the fact that they died and came back, but there’s a way to delay the discovery.

    He took the lighter from the backpack and started a flame, holding Chelsea and Elizabeth’s Polaroids about an inch away from the flame.

    Alyssa Kowalska

    It was during dinner that Rocco tried to sway people back into his side. His arrangements weren’t going into effect until the next day.

    “James, you remember what happened once Joseph got control.” Rocco tried to reason with his former people.

    At some point, most of the people in the dining room had stopped listening, but Alyssa couldn’t just sit by while knowing he was actively trying to overpower Elizabeth. “What happened when Joseph gained control? Did somebody actually do something for the movement?” She went on before he could snap at her. “I’ve learned a lot about you in the past five months, but I’ve also learned one important lesson from you.”

    He looked dumbfounded for a minute before a smirk came over his face. “Do you wanna tell the group what that lesson is?”

    “Sure!” Alyssa feigned a smile. “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that some people are more capable leaders, you’re not one of those people. You used your people and abused our people because you couldn’t use us. You knew where Francine and Lecia’s kids were this entire time and you didn’t have even a shred of decency so you kept the location a secret.”

    “You’re lucky Elizabeth’s in control, anyone else would have thrown you out.” Lecia sounded reasonably spiteful. “Some of us would have taken action to assure you don’t return, but as I said, we’re not in control.”

    Alyssa turned to face Lecia, a sympathetic look on her face. “Lecia, I understand you’re upset and I’m not taking his side, but threatening him might not be the best course of action if we want actual answers from him.”

    “She’s right.” An overly cheerful voice joined the crowd in the dining room. “You can be upset with me for having him stay, but I just ask that you work with me. We don’t have to be friends or even acquaintances.”

    Rocco leaned back in his chair, his hands binded to the arms of the chair. “Why don’t you address your people, Jezebel?”

    Elizabeth frowned, turning to Rocco. “It’s a shame that you’re resorting to calling me a prostitute. I knew you weren’t better than that but I would have thought you’d have better insults by now.” She turned back to a majority of the group, a genuine smile on her face. “I’m not going to lie to you guys, we’re in a pretty inconvenient position and there’s not much I can do to fix that without the full cooperation of everyone here-“ She paused, looking to Rocco and Horatio, then shaking her head. “Well, most everyone. My first concern is supplies. We’re extremely low on just about everything, which means that the scouts are going to have to go out. The Voyagers are missing a scout and your group only has one scout, so it works out perfectly.”

    “What about the missing people?” Francine questioned, likely before Elizabeth even finished talking.

    “The scouts are being sent out for a week, they’ll rest for half a week when they return, then they’ll make an attempt to go into the city to get the four Voyagers that are still there.” She looked Francine in the eyes. “As for Gregory and Morgan, I’ll be handling getting them back myself.”

    Alyssa saw a look of shock go over Milo’s face, which prompted her to say something. “Elizabeth, you can’t do that. We have no idea what you’d be up against and you’re really in no condition to handle something like that on your own.”

    “What kind of temporary leader would I be if I didn’t handle the unknown myself?” She could tell by the tone of her voice that she was joking. “In all seriousness, I don’t want to risk sending anyone into the unknown without at least getting a look at what we’re dealing with.”

    “It’s a great plan.” Rocco spoke up, obviously trying to antagonize Elizabeth to make her look bad in front of the group. “But what happens when you get caught because you thought you could handle it all?”

    “That’s not going to happen and I would appreciate it if you would stay out of this.” She sighed, seeing annoyed with Rocco. “It’s time we discuss who the enemy is.” She looked to Francine and Lecia. “The people who took Gregory and Morgan aren’t just in it for ransom, they’re in it for control. Right now, both the Voyagers and Onyx are their targets and they’re pretty ruthless. They’ve got people in the city working for them, which begs the question of the allegiance of everyone in this room.” She seemed to scan the people in the room, her eyes falling on one of Rocco’s people. “Somebody here is against every one of us. Somebody literally gave Gregory away to the enemy because they knew Rocco wasn’t going to protest it.”

    The man had brown hair with one silver streak. “Are you accusing me?”

    “No, I’m just looking at you.” She turned to Milo, a slight nod to him as she did so.

    The scouts now consisted of Filip, Cyrus, Milo, and James. The four of them gathered on the far side of the dining room once Elizabeth said something to Milo and left the dining room.

    It was only then Alyssa realized that Chelsea had never shown up to dinner. Alyssa looked to her left, seeing Rocco at the end of the table, staring her down.

    She got up and left without a word, knowing Rocco only wanted attention from certain people.

    The courtyard was completely empty for once. Most days, even during dinner, somebody was posted in the courtyard.

    For now, she was just going to enjoy the night.

    Milo Neil

    As dinner ended, the scouts waited for Elizabeth to get Rocco before they left the dining room themselves.

    While everyone was leaving, Horatio joined the scouts to talk. “I want you four to understand that there’s no way I’m working with Elizabeth Neil. She’s as much of a traitor as the rest of you.” He looked at James. “You only turned because you knew you were on a thin line with Rocco.”

    “Kennedy.” Milo looked Horatio straight in the eyes, his anger turning to confusion as soon as Milo spoke. “Her last name is Kennedy and she won’t hesitate to knock you flat if you get it wrong.”

    “You’re really trying to get on my last nerve, aren’t you?” Horatio took a step closer to the table, blocking Milo’s view of the dining room.

    James looked around the dining room, a sudden look of fear in his eyes. “Horatio was a distraction.” He jumped up from his seat, causing a chain reaction. “Rocco’s gone. Cyrus, Filip, do not let Horatio leave this room.”

    With that, James ran straight for the door, Milo following after him.

    The courtyard was nearly empty with the exception of Francine, Kyle, and Chelsea. “You talk to them, I’m going to look.” James called out when he noticed Milo looking over the three.

    Milo moved quickly to the three, his haste grabbing their attention. “Have any of you seen Rocco? We lost track of him after dinner.”

    They looked over each other before Kyle shook his head. “We all just got here. Francine can help you look, Chelsea will go tell Elizabeth.”

    Chelsea got up and went towards the main building while Francine got up and took lead towards the abandoned end of the lot. “Rocco thinks he’s sneaky by going places where nobody with common sense would go.”

    Milo stopped in place. “Francine, do you have this covered?” She nodded, but seemed like she wanted to question him. “Lecia said she was going to bed after dinner and Chelsea’s with Elizabeth, but I have no idea where Alyssa is. You stay in Kyle’s view, please, he won’t let anything happen to you.”

    “You’d better move quick then, Rocco doesn’t like to waste his time with women.” Francine turned to continue on her way.

    Francine’s words sent a chill over Milo. When she turned away, he started a run for the main building, passing Kyle as he went. “Keep an eye out for Francine!”

    He went upstairs and into Rocco’s old room to find Elizabeth sitting on the floor, surrounded by papers while Chelsea stood next to the dresser. “I’m looking for a permanent way of getting rid of him, Chelsea. If I find out where Gregory and Morgan are, there’s no need to keep him around.”

    “You’re not keeping him around.” Milo said the first thing that came to his mind. “I don’t care what you do with his people, but he’s not staying. We can find the kids on our own, but for now we need to find Rocco himself.”

    Almost as if on a cue, something crashed against the wall that separated Rocco’s old room from Alyssa’s room. “Whatever it was, it wasn’t an accident.” Elizabeth jumped to her feet, leading Milo and Chelsea to Alyssa’s door. She tried to push it open before sighing. “It’s locked.”

    Milo moved between Elizabeth and the door, grabbing the handle. “Then help me push it open, don’t just give up.” Chelsea and Elizabeth shared a look before they both lined up against the door. “On my lead. Three, two, one.” At the end of the count, the door flew open with a force Milo couldn’t expect from the three of them.

    The scene the three of them stumbled into once the door opened was enough to make Milo’s blood boil. “You get Rocco, we’ll get Alyssa.”

    Rocco had Alyssa pinned to the bed, which was as far as he’d gotten. It was clear that he had messed with her clothes, but wasn’t able to get them off before now.

    Without a second of hesitation, Milo moved closer until he was able to wrap his arm around Rocco’s neck and pull him away while Chelsea and Elizabeth got Alyssa back up. He looked over for a second, seeing a mark on Alyssa’s neck. “Do you not understand how to behave, Rocco?” He pinned Rocco against the wall, tuning out everyone else in the room. “You think you’re immune because Elizabeth needs information out of you, don’t you?”

    Rocco tried to push back against Milo and regain some sense of control. “If you’ve got as many brains as you think you do, you’ll let me go.”

    Milo lightened his grip, stumbling back as Rocco pushed against him and eventually got free of his grasp. Before Rocco could react, Milo pulled a cord in the wall that unplugged a lamp sitting on Alyssa’s desk. He took the lamp and swung it with the intention of hitting Rocco.

    Glass shattered as the light bulb broke once the lamp made contact with Rocco’s head and he hit the ground. “Milo, stop!” Elizabeth was the first to try to stop him, but he was well past reasoning with her.

    After Rocco collapsed, Milo positioned himself above him and started punching. Even if he wanted to stop, everything was telling him not to.

    Pure fury is what it was.

    Rocco had been an abusive man from the start and what he tried to do to Alyssa was the final straw.

    After a few punches, someone wrapped their arms under Milo’s and dragged him away from Rocco. “You’re going to kill him!” James sounded frantic as he pulled Milo away.

    “That was the plan.” Milo tried to pull away from James.

    Elizabeth walked past the two, sliding her hand into an unconscious Rocco’s pocket, emptying it before checking his other pocket. She stood with a crumpled sheet of paper in her hand, quickly unfolding it and smoothing it out to the best of her ability.

    She read over it in silence before she looked at Rocco, a mournful look in her eyes. “This is the paper I was looking for.”

    “That’s great, now we’ve got no reason to let someone like him live.”

    Elizabeth looked at him. “Milo, we can’t just kill people because they did us wrong once or twice.”

    “Once or twice?” Milo pulled out of James’s grasp. “Elizabeth, that man is a predator. Whether you send him off or leave him here, the people in our group are going to be at risk.” He motioned towards Alyssa, who seemed to be shaken up pretty badly. “If we were even a minute later, he would have earned death in your books, but he gets to live because he didn’t get to do what he intended to do? Where’s the justice in that?”

    She furrowed her eyebrows, her sadness turning to anger. “This isn’t about justice! I’m not supposed to be in this position, so it’s not my call to make!”

    “Joseph would agree with me and you know this, so why are you trying to defend him?”

    “I’m not defending him!” Milo knew Elizabeth pretty well, despite their time apart from each other. He knew she was getting upset and it was only because she couldn’t handle death. “I don’t think we’re in the position to waste a life when we’re being targeted by two different groups.”

    “It’s not like it’s a life that can’t be replaced and improved upon.”

    Chelsea stayed by Alyssa’s side. “He’s right, Elizabeth. Your baby, that’s a replacement for Rocco. Nobody here is going to let it even come close to Rocco’s behavior, which would mean it’s doing better than Rocco already.”

    Alyssa peered over the side of the bed, a disgusted look crossing her face whenever she looked at Rocco. “He might live with those injuries, but Horatio will have to treat him. I’m not helping him after what he did to me.”

    Elizabeth turned to Chelsea. “Let’s assume my child is a replacement for Rocco. What about Ethan, Joseph, Eris, Marshal, Gregory, and Morgan? That’s six people besides Rocco.”

    “You’ve got the paper in your hands that tells us where Morgan and Greg are.” James commented. “I don’t know if I believe he deserves death, but he surely doesn’t deserve to stay here.”

    Elizabeth sighed, sensing defeat. “Do what you want, Milo, just keep me out of it.” She left the room in a hurry, leaving Chelsea, Alyssa, and James with Milo.

    He looked over the three, knowing that James was loyal to Rocco at a time and Chelsea hardly knew him.

    [Kill Rocco]
    [Abandon Rocco]

  • [Talk to Isaac]
    We should see what he wants. I don't think he's going to execute them or anything. He might need them for something. Plus, running away will make them fugitives, put a bigger target on their backs, and make it even more difficult for them to reunite with Marshal and the rest of the Voyagers.
    [Abandon Rocco]
    I'm going with this choice for now. I might change my mind later, but I feel that this choice shows we are the better people. The only major problem I see with this is if he eventually gets caught, by Onyx, he might rat out everyone to get revenge on them. Although, if he were to do that, he would have to turn against his core beliefs and the fight he has so far dedicated his life too.

    4.2 Chelsea thought back to what Elizabeth said earlier. “If we go back to the city, we’re going to be hurt and people are going to remem

  • [Attempt to leave]

    [Kill Rocco]

    Better get rid of him when having opportunity, especially after what he tried to do.

    4.2 Chelsea thought back to what Elizabeth said earlier. “If we go back to the city, we’re going to be hurt and people are going to remem

  • [Talk to Isaac]

    Pretty much agreeing with what Tales said here, that approach makes sense to me.

    [Kill Rocco]

    That piece of shit, I always expected it to come to that one day. It was really satisfying to have Milo go all out on him though, he definitely deserved it. So, I think he crossed a line, they can't afford to keep him around. Just abandoning him could mean he comes back, maybe with a vengeance this time and I won't risk it, not for that guy. Better safe than sorry.

    4.2 Chelsea thought back to what Elizabeth said earlier. “If we go back to the city, we’re going to be hurt and people are going to remem

  • (!) Voting is closed! Joseph will agree to talk to Isaac.

    (!) Voting is closed! Milo will kill Rocco.

    I can’t say what would happen with Joseph’s choice, because it would give a lot away about how it’s actually going to go, but I can comment on Milo’s choice.

    By killing Rocco, Milo’s actually protecting the rest of the group, despite Elizabeth’s claims. Had Rocco been spared, he would have ended up taking a page out of the Hunters book and taking Elizabeth’s child, telling the Voyagers that he’d only give it back if he was allowed to resume leading, causing a huge panic within the group and members to start distrusting each other.

  • Alright, so it’s very late and the part isn’t really close to being done, it may take one day or it may take five days, I have no idea.

    In the meantime, I’m going to do something new and announce that a new story has started up and it’s pretty interesting so far.

    It’s a Walking Dead fan fiction written by @MollyAvast, it can be found right here

    The story has just started, which makes it a great time to join. It’s a choice driven story, which makes every vote critical. Despite that, it’s already setting up to be a great story, so I would seriously recommend it to anyone interested.

  • edited February 2018


    Despite having left the group, Lecia followed the group to the motel and had camped close by to keep an eye on her people while distancing herself from Rocco.

    She was a fair enough distance that only James knew where she was, but he wouldn’t tell on her. The two of them had talked for a bit each night so she could learn his stance on the merge.

    He wasn’t in favor of it at all. By the fourth month, he was already expressing his concerns about Alyssa, saying that Rocco had taken an interest in her because he knew that Milo was also interested in her. “He thinks she’s something that he can just take. He doesn’t understand that you can’t just claim people as your own without their say in it because he’s so used to getting whoever or whatever he wants without a word.”

    Whenever Filip left the group, the two of them met up and were told by Cyrus to wait for Milo’s command. He didn’t give many details, but said that Kyle came up with something and they were just waiting for the right time, then Milo would give them more details.

    They had both been keeping to themselves since word of a plan got out, which likely raised suspicion from James.

    The day they thought to expect the command was the day Elizabeth returned.

    They were already on high alert and ended up reaching the end of the line when they noticed Elizabeth didn’t have anyone with her besides a woman nobody knew.

    Once James got distracted, the two snuck onto the grounds and went to confront Elizabeth.

    They were greeted with pure joy from both Kyle and Elizabeth. Elizabeth mentioned that her friend needed help and the four of them went off.

    Kyle stayed in the courtyard at Elizabeth’s order. James was the first one to turn on Rocco by letting three of them in.

    Francine questioned them, to which Lecia earned her allegiance by letting her know what she knew about the Hunters.

    Those two were the only loyal ones the group needed. The others would follow suit as soon as they made their loyalty clear.

    Now they all stood outside Alyssa’s apartment. Everyone but Elizabeth.

    James and Milo grabbed Rocco and dragged him out of the room. James didn’t seem happy with what everyone knew was coming, but all the Voyagers knew Milo has been waiting months for this.

    Lecia gave a knock to Elizabeth’s door after Milo told her to get her. “You’ve got to be present for whatever happens.”

    Elizabeth sighed, leaving the room and locking the door behind her. “I know…”

    Lecia followed her once she started down the stairs. “After all Rocco’s done to you, I’d figure you’d be overjoyed at what’s happening.”

    “It’s just been a long day.” She have a fake smile that quickly faded when she saw that Lecia saw right through it. “Sure, we know where the kids are now, but there are conditions for getting both of them out that only he knows. We’re risking everything by killing him and if we lose everything, it’s my fault.”

    “You’re not the one pulling the trigger and you were the only one who tried to keep Milo from doing it and everyone there saw it.” Lecia struggled to keep up with Elizabeth. “I’ll be sure to tell Joseph exactly that if he asks.”

    She chuckled and put her hands in her pockets. “Coming from you, that’s pretty surprising.” She turned to Lecia, but hesitated on saying anything for a moment. “You know I always worked to try to find Morgan, right?”

    As the two drew closer to where Milo and James had gone, Elizabeth stopped in her tracks. “There isn’t a person in the group who would let me forget it. I didn’t believe them and I lost trust in you because you showed no progress. No matter how hard you claimed to work, anytime I asked you about it or anyone else, it was always ‘I’m getting closer, I know I am.’ or ‘She’s trying her best.’ After some time, I started to expect you to tell me that she was dead and you’d just been hiding it from me.”

    Elizabeth cupped her hands in front of her, a sad look in her eyes. “It was a result I expected as well. I could never find her because I found out from the letter that the Hunters are marked by coordinates that bring up nothing on a map.” She looked back at the motel, then to Lecia. “Lecia, I’m sorry if I was the reason you lost hope in all this, but I’m more sorry in the fact that I couldn’t help in the search.”

    Lecia froze, trying to think about what to say. “I understand now that it wasn’t your fault, but I would appreciate it if you do what you’ve told Francine and James you’re going to do and make something out of this group. You have the coordinates, but Rocco had them at a time. You both have the opportunity and motive, so make it a priority.”

    She nodded slowly and started talking in a whisper. “I’m not the only one who has the coordinates either… In fact, he has a map..”

    “You’ll have to speak up, Elizabeth, especially with your new position.” Lecia crosses her arms and started walking again. “Rocco’s people aren’t loyal to you yet and it’s going to be the biggest task you’ve faced just to get them to handle being in the same room with you.” A smirk came across Lecia’s face as Elizabeth caught up to her. “Milo didn’t really take in the comment about you being pregnant, so you’ve got a second chance at that.”

    She turned to Elizabeth to see a slight blush go over her cheeks as she looked to the ground. “In retrospect, we really chose an awful time to start trying.”

    “I thought the same thing with Morgan. In your case, you might be better off here than you were in the city. If I know Marshal, he’ll find a way to make it back.” Lecia stepped past some bushes, heading down towards the creek.

    Elizabeth looked back up, looking around her to see if anyone else was around. “It’s not him I’m worried about, I’ve got a feeling that he’s already out of the city. It’s Joseph, Eris, and Ethan that I’m worried about. They both want what’s right for Eris, but they’ve got conflicting views. One of them may want to leave, the other won’t. They’re going to go back and forth with each other until something happens and they have to listen to each other.”

    “Thanks for finally joining us.” Milo spoke up immediately after Elizabeth finished. As the two got closer, Lecia could see that Milo still looked angry.

    She saw James look at Elizabeth while she was looking over Rocco. “Can we just get this over with?” They waited for her to respond. “Elizabeth?”

    She looked up to the three people around her before looking at her watch. “No.”

    She kept her eyes on her watch before going to the very edge of the creek. Lecia followed her down, a slight panic creeping up on her as Elizabeth looked up from her watch and took a step into the water. “What are you doing?”

    James looked down at the two, whispering something to Milo before running back towards the motel.

    Elizabeth used her other foot to push herself towards the other end of the creek, quickly grabbing a tree root and pulling herself out of the water before she went too far down the creek. “Something’s not right here.”

    Lecia mimicked Elizabeth’s actions, hoping for the same result. She made it look easy, though. The part she decided to cross was the thinnest part of the creek, but the waters could easily push anyone to the deepest part and take the life of someone who couldn’t save themselves. Once they crossed the creek, they wouldn’t be able to be seen from Milo’s position.

    She followed closely behind Elizabeth as she looked back to her watch and started walking with caution. “If the watch is right, there should be somebody a few feet ahead.” She lowered her watch and patted her hip before her eyes went wide. “Milo has my gun, we can’t do this.”

    “Do what?” A woman’s voice rang out. The voice wasn’t familiar to Lecia and seemed to scare Elizabeth a bit. “I believe you were the one who pushed somebody into that same creek a few years back, am I wrong?”

    Elizabeth turned to Lecia before trying to figure out where the voice was coming from. “No, you’re not wrong. After Morgan and Milo disappeared, I went far past the motel but I had to cross the creek. When I got here, there was this guy with silver hair. He kept getting closer after I told him to get away and I panicked.”

    “You pushed a man into the creek because you panicked?” The woman snickered.

    “Is that not what I just said?” Lecia could tell Elizabeth was getting upset. She was never big on repeating herself and it looked like that was all the woman wanted from her.

    Lecia leaned in close to Elizabeth. “Calm down, you’re giving her what she wants.”

    Elizabeth locked eyes with Lecia before sighing and nodding. “Right.” The two put some distance between themselves and started looking for the woman. “Who are you?”

    The two of them heard the tree branches above them rustling before something hit the ground behind them with a heavy force. They both turned around to see a woman with shoulder length silver hair. “Leona, leader of the Hunters and the greatest woman you’re ever gonna meet.”

    She wore a white tracksuit, but didn’t make an effort to hide a knife she had on her. “That’s great, what do you want?”

    “I was going to ask our mutual pal Rocco why he hasn’t responded to our demands, but I see your people got to him before I did.” She put her hands on her hips and showed off a wide smile. “I couldn’t just leave once I noticed your brother was getting ready to execute him. I had a better view from up there, but I’m never one to keep from a show.” She turned to Elizabeth, slightly cocking her head. “What gave me away?”

    “The watch you stole.” Elizabeth held out her hand. “It’s programmed to give away the location of whoever it belongs to. You took the least believable watch and I’d appreciate it back.”

    Leona looked over Elizabeth’s hand before grabbing her wrist and lifting up her hand to look at her ring. “Wait a second… you’re supposed to be dead.” She let go of Elizabeth’s wrist, a look of shock in her eyes. “You got shot, I saw your dead body.”

    “Lots of people will say they did if it puts money in their pockets.” Any sign of fear in Elizabeth faded away as she took a defensive stance. “Where did you get the watch?”

    Leona responded by taking to her own defense. “Your necklace is gone because we let whoever took someone down keep one thing from the victims. He chose your necklace and look at what you don’t have on.” She started to get angry. “I stole the watch from a thief, a murderer. He killed one of ours but we couldn’t kill him because he already knew we were around and he was armed.” Elizabeth took a step back as Leona reached for her knife. “I’m going to ask you one more time, why are you not dead?”

    Leona pulled her arm back as she was getting ready to slash at Elizabeth. Lecia caught her arm and pulled it farther back until she released the knife. “You’ve got some more explaining to do. The kids, why’d you take them?”

    When Leona didn’t answer, Lecia put more pressure on her arm and continued to do so until she gave in. “It’s common sense that people are going to want their children back, we just didn’t think you’d be such a mother who’d be grateful to get rid of her daughter.”

    Lecia kicked behind Leona’s knee, sending her to the ground. “I’m not that mother, it’s your people who sent the information to the wrong group.”

    As Lecia waited for Leona’s response, Elizabeth got closer to her. Lecia looked over Elizabeth, seeing she looked extremely unsettled.

    Elizabeth grabbed Lecia’s wrist and started running back towards the motel, only stopping at the edge of the creek, taking a moment to look for a branch to get back across.

    With one hard shove, they both went into the creek.

    They were helpless in the current.

    Lecia couldn’t grab onto any of the passing branches and Elizabeth was one of the few Voyagers who couldn’t swim.

    Elizabeth’s grip on Lecia’s wrist loosened before she let go completely.

    Any sign of light faded before someone reached into the water and grabbed the same wrist that Elizabeth had let go of. They were able to pull her above the water and allow a second pair of hands to grab her other wrists and make an attempt at getting her out.

    “I think her shoe is caught in something.”

    “Then get it unstuck.”

    “That’s not helpful. Here, give me your hand and I’ll go under to try to fix it.”

    At the command, the sound of splashing water greeted Lecia’s ears before whoever went into the water pulled on her leg, trying to get her free.

    At least that’s what she thought happened.

    She opened her eyes to find herself in front of the tree that Leona had dropped from with Elizabeth again.

    The two shared a mutual look of confusion before they both started a walk towards the creek. “What just happened?”

    After getting far enough away from the tree, Elizabeth stopped walking. “You remember what Leona said, right? That I should be dead?” Lecia nodded. “That’s just it, I died again. There was no way we were both getting out of that alive and as far as I know, I couldn’t bring you back.”

    “Elizabeth, what are you talking about?”

    “Leona pushed us into the creek and if I didn’t let go of you then you would have drowned.” She looked really confused and a bit scared. “Chelsea said that whenever she got to Milo’s position, Rocco had gotten free and shot her whenever she came around.”

    “How can you be talking about this like it’s normal?”

    She shrugged, looking at the other side of the creek. “I don’t know what’s going on, I really don’t. All I know is that there’s somebody out there who does know what’s going on.”

    The two crossed the creek, but they were both uneasy about it because of their latest memories.

    They reached Milo’s area and saw a panicked look on his face. “Where did you two go?”

    “We just went for a talk.” Elizabeth feigned a smile. “We need to handle Rocco now.” Milo turned to Rocco and aimed the gun at his head, pulling the trigger on Elizabeth’s command. She looked at her watch. “The time of death is 8:26.”

    The three of them walked back to the motel, James, Chelsea, Alyssa, and Francine immediately greeting them.

    Milo reached out, pulling Elizabeth back before she rejoined the group. “What did you two do at the creek?”

    “We just went across the water for a talk, it’s not a big deal.”

    “Then explain to me how Lecia got stuck underwater, you just disappear and com back to act like it’s nothing big.”

    Francine froze in place, looking back at the siblings. “You saw it too?”

    James looked to Chelsea, then at the siblings as well. “Rocco got free, how do you explain that?” He paused for a moment before turning to Chelsea again. “You know what I’m talking about.”

    Elizabeth sighed and looked at her feet, slightly kicking the dirt before she looked up again, refusing to even fake a smile. “I disappeared because I died. If you go back to the creek, you’ll see proof that Lecia got stuck and if you check my watch, you’ll see that Marshal’s watch is in the area. He doesn’t have it, but the woman who does have it is the one who pushed us into the water.”

    Francine looked like she was getting ready to dispute something Elizabeth had said, which prompted Lecia to take to her defense. “Her name is Leona and she’s apparently the leader of the Hunters. She was talking about how Elizabeth got shot, which none of us have any memory of.”

    Chelsea nodded but seemed a bit reluctant to join the conversation. “We both got shot yesterday and we both died, but she went first. There’s a link that prevents one of us from dying without the other dying as well.” She turned to James. “Rocco did break free and he shot me, you saw it too. When Elizabeth and I are dead, we’re posed with multiple options. We can both return to a few moments before the first death, we can go further in time, one of us could stay dead and allow the other to go back and live a relatively normal life, or we could both stay dead.”

    Lecia saw Milo’s face go pale as he took in the information. Elizabeth looked afraid, but she continued on with the topic. “I didn’t want to further time because I didn’t know if you guys could get Lecia free.”

    Francine looked between Chelsea and Elizabeth. “And you can do this freely?”

    They both shook their heads. “Going further in time puts us a fair distance from our target location, going back means our bodies will feel the effects of how we died.”

    “Words really can’t describe it right now.” Elizabeth looked back at the ground.

    Alyssa had kept quiet, only taking in information up until that point. “I know the gene you two are talking about.”

    They both looked at her with surprise. “You do?”

    She nodded. “It was given to a few select individuals. It was given to Elizabeth as insurance that the Neil’s would stay in the city, but it didn’t work out as planned. It’s a sensitive gene that can cause major issues for Elizabeth and Chelsea both. It was programmed to pass on to the first born of those affected, just so it wouldn’t die out, but instead of forming a new connection, the child would be linked to whatever connection their mother has and would have to learn from their connectors. I’ve got something I want to test.”

    She looked to Elizabeth for permission. “What are you going to do?”

    She didn’t answer before smacking Elizabeth’s arm and testing her reaction. “When those linked together are united, their mental strength is stronger than their physical strength. You didn’t feel when Filip stabbed you a few months ago because your physical strength was heightened, but you felt that slap because now that you and Chelsea have finally met, your connection has been finalized. Before you met, either of you could have died and the other would have been fine since the connection was basically nonexistent.”

    Chelsea looked a bit confused. “The first night we met, I thought I’d died and Joseph and Marshal even commented that they were pretty certain I was dead, but nothing happened to Elizabeth. What’s the deal with that?”

    “I’m not sure I’d trust their judgment on that, though. Joseph’s very quick to make a call and observant isn’t an adjective that I’d use to describe Marshal.” Elizabeth paused to think. “Either way, they were the ones keeping you around for a majority of the time.”

    Alyssa crossed her arms. “From what I’ve heard, all of the scouts have been put through some pretty twisted training, but they know how to save lives. Joseph’s wife is terminally ill and he was the leader, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume he knows a thing or two about saving a life. You may have died, but there was nothing that could have killed her before you got brought back.”

    “How does the gene work?” Francine questioned, her voice giving away her nervous feelings.

    “From what I’ve heard, they’re inexperienced and the gene can’t do much damage. If they become too reliant on it, it’ll take control. They were supposed to go through training that would make them reliant on it because when they did, they would become weapons. They wouldn’t feel anything and there would be nothing going through their heads. Their bodies would continue on and become fiercely loyal to their alignment but nothing could really stop them. You can’t reason with somebody that’s not there.” Alyssa twirled a stray lock of hair around her index finger. “The gene is capable of a lot more than just time games, but progressing any further will take more from them. If a child were to be born to a weaponized mother, he’d fall under her alignment unless somebody else separated them and raised him for their own.”

    Lecia looked to Elizabeth and saw tears building up in her eyes. Chelsea looked to be in complete shock, her entire face having gone pale. James looked like he was going to be sick. “And if the person who separated them was the child’s father?”

    “Unless the father was part of the gene’s connection, it wouldn’t matter much, the child would remain under what it’s taught from the father.” She shrugged slightly. “It’d be better than being a weapon since the day you were born, though.”

    The group went silent before Francine spoke again, sounding more confident in herself. “It sounds to me like there’s more than one connection going on.”

    “It’s possible.” Alyssa faced her now. “There were multiple attempts at constructing the perfect gene and a lot of them were failed attempts. I’ve done a lot of research on the gene and met people who’ve had similar designs, but I’ve never seen a confirmed connection for myself until now.”

    “What about Milo?” Elizabeth’s voice cracked. It was the quietest Lecia had ever heard her. “We were both genetically engineered, so what about him?”

    “As far as I know, he doesn’t have that specific gene. You were both engineered by the same geneticist, but the gene wasn’t even thought of until after Milo had been born.” Alyssa looked to Chelsea, Lecia could see she was suspicious of something. “It was a trick to keep your family around by forming a connection between Elizabeth and Isaac’s own daughter.” She frowned a little. “Chelsea, I hate to call you out like this, but I need you to be honest with these people about who you are. I know who you are and Elizabeth does, but it’s not fair to keep the others in the dark.”

    All eyes turned to Chelsea as she looked to the ground. “I haven’t been honest with your group on my identity. My name is Chelsea Hampton, daughter of Isaac Hampton. I haven’t come to the Voyagers to cause trouble, I’ve come to get away from trouble.”

    Francine turned to Elizabeth, her face red. “You lied to us?!”

    Elizabeth stayed quiet before she sighed. “Yes, I lied and I did it to protect Chelsea. I knew you guys wouldn’t accept her as Chelsea Hampton, so I made her lie about who she was. With Rocco around and the Hunters being an unknown threat, I didn’t want to risk you guys throwing her out or letting him have her.”

    Lecia could read the emotions of the other people in the group, most of them. Milo was the only one who seemed like he had cut a tie between himself and the current situation. “Did the others know?”

    She looked to her brother and a pained expression crossed her face. “The others in the city? Yes, they knew.”

    James seemed to be indifferent towards the whole subject, but still nervous. “I don’t know if I can trust a leader like that…”

    Chelsea forced a smile. “Then don’t. If you’re so concerned about it, don’t trust her leadership. Marshal’s heading this direction and he’s a day out on foot at most, so trust him, trust Francine, but don’t start a panic over it all. Once the scouts return in a week, I’m leaving. I don’t intend to hurt anybody or anything while I’m here.”

    Milo looked at his sister and frowned. “I don’t think we have much of a choice for the next day then. She may have lied, but she did it to protect Chelsea. There’s no denying anyone here would have just given her to Rocco if she was completely honest about who she was.”

    James crossed his arms and looked at Chelsea, a look in his eyes that Lecia couldn’t decipher. “We don’t know how long she was with the others in the city or with Elizabeth alone, but it’s safe to say that she’s had time to betray them or get Elizabeth chipped. I don’t think she’s in the wrong for getting away from trouble or staying away from Rocco. Things would have turned out a lot differently today if she outright said she was Isaac’s daughter.”

    Lecia crosses her arms and glared at Elizabeth. “Were you planning on mentioning this to any of us?”

    “Um… maybe.” She knew the answer was an unpopular one. “There’s no way we would have been able to hide her identity forever, but you guys need to remember that she’s a target too.” She looked over all of them. “I hate to say it but I think you guys are the only ones who can really be trusted with such a secret.”

    “Chelsea, is there anything else about Marshal’s whereabouts that you do know?” Alyssa redirected the conversation at the right time, nobody noticing the shift in topic.

    Chelsea folded her hands in front of her. “I know he left because he killed the man who killed us the first time. My father informed him of our deaths and the head geneticist talked him into it and gave a distraction at headquarters.”

    “How did you find this out?” Milo seemed unwilling to trust Chelsea’s word.

    “I can answer that.” Alyssa chimed in with a smile on her face. “Chelsea’s able to access all of Elizabeth’s knowledge on any topic or any person she wants whenever they link minds, Elizabeth can do the same. Back to the question at hand, she knows what happened to Marshal and where he is because Elizabeth and the baby, their first born, already have a strong connection with him and by Elizabeth and Chelsea linking minds, she was likely able to access some of his memories through Elizabeth.”

    James looked a bit confused, much like the rest of the group. “What?” He shook his head. “Never mind, I think I’ve got it. You said the first born is afflicted with the gene, but I’ve got a few questions regarding that.” He waited for Alyssa to turn her attention to him. “I’m guessing since not many people have the gene, it’s only programmed to what should be expected. How do we know it’s not going to get passed on to any other kids either of them has?”

    “It’s pretty complicated, but in Elizabeth’s case, I can say that I’m pretty certain only the first born will get it. I wouldn’t be so sure if Marshal was a carrier, but Kyle and Dawn were both in the system and neither of them had a trace of the gene. There were some efforts to see what would pass on to the child Dawn was carrying but they stopped looking into it after Kyle questioned the morality of it all.” She paused, thinking for a moment. “It doesn’t really matter who has it, it’s set up to always pass on to the first born, even with conflicting genes. I’m not sure how it’s going to react with conflicting genes, but I know that Kyle had a gene that conflicts with it. Dawn didn’t and Marshal wasn’t in the system, so I’m not sure if he has it or not.”

    “It’s going to pass onto their first, but what happens to it after that?”

    Alyssa looked like she was trying to process the question. “Are you asking if it’ll pass on to further generations?” James nodded. “Yeah, the first of anyone afflicted. The two ways to get rid of it would be to have no children or have the gene forcefully removed, which is a pretty dangerous task. It was programmed to be almost like a virus and called a gene to keep from raising any suspicions.”

    “Say two people with the gene have a child, what would happen?”

    “It wouldn’t be great, not even ideal.” She frowned. “The child would be weaponized immediately. That was the intention with the gene, obviously not with Chelsea and Elizabeth, but further down the line whenever it had a chance to evolve. It would be easier to become reliant on it as it evolved and would make weaponization more likely.”

    Lecia looked over to Elizabeth to see a guilty look on her face. “Getting it removed would require the mother to go in to a geneticist while she’s still expecting. If it does work, won’t it just pass on to the next child?”

    “I’m not sure on that one.” Alyssa faced Lecia. “I didn’t look too much into the removal of it because there was no intention of removing it. There’s a three year difference between Elizabeth and Chelsea, but I’ve got no idea when they left for the Voyagers.”

    “When Elizabeth was three.” Milo was hesitant to join the conversation and likely didn’t see any reason to join it, but Lecia knew he just wanted to see where it was going.

    Francine scratched the back of her neck, a giveaway that she was thinking back. “If I’m remembering right, Onyx doesn’t recommend altering any genes after the second trimester. If there’s a three year difference, then Chelsea’s mother was well past the second trimester or had already had her whenever they left.”

    “I don’t think that’s the case.” Chelsea looked to the ground. “Marshal told me Elizabeth is turning twenty-seven in the next month, so there’s nearly a four year difference between us.”

    Alyssa seemed thrown off, a bit confused. “Milo, when exactly did your family leave the city?”

    “A few months after Elizabeth turned three.”

    “Then this isn’t adding up.” James thought on it for a minute before saying anything. “They would have had plenty of time to remove the gene from Chelsea. Do you think they gave it to somebody else to make up for Elizabeth leaving?”

    “If Chelsea really is a Hampton then her mother would have gotten the best medical treatment possible, there wouldn’t have been an issue removing it while she was still expecting.” Francine looked to the motel and lowered her voice whenever she spoke about the Hamptons.

    “That can’t be it because those two were genetically altered before they were implanted.” Alyssa noticed the look she got from James. “Milo, Elizabeth, and Chelsea weren’t naturally conceived.”

    Elizabeth sat on the ground, the others doing so once they realized they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon. “I know what she’s talking about.” Chelsea looked to Milo and Elizabeth. “Your parents couldn’t have kids of their own, but I was modified specifically for the gene in question.”

    Gregory Remey

    Time with the Hunters had been hard.

    As their servant, Gregory had to handle anything they didn’t want to do, which was a lot of things with Morgan.

    In his time spent, he realized how cruel they were towards Morgan and would have rather they continued pushing anything to do with her into him.

    Whenever she was even a second slow on doing what they wanted, she’d get hit upside the head. If she wasn’t doing something right, they’d scream at her until she broke down or she finally got it. If she was in the wrong place, they’d force her wherever she needed to be an scream at her some more.

    There had been days where the Hunters decided that Morgan didn’t deserve food because of how she messed something up. She said it happened to her a lot of times in the two years she’d been there. On those days, Gregory would sneak her some food just to make sure she wasn’t starving like they intended her to be.

    After a few weeks with them, there came a day when Leona had told him he needed to be ready to leave as soon as she gave the command.

    It caught him off guard because it was two in the morning when she ordered he be ready, but he knew he needed to wake Morgan up, otherwise she’d just get screamed at later.

    Once the two had gotten ready, they were put in a car with Leona and two other Hunters.

    “Where are we going?”

    The seating arrangement was made so that one of the Hunters was between Gregory and Morgan so either of them could be grabbed if they started something.

    “To visit one of Morgan’s old friends.” Leona was the one driving. “Your father is in no position to meet our demands anymore, so we’re not waiting for him. Instead, we’re taking the challenge straight to a Voyager.”

    Gregory was seated behind her. He saw a watch on her wrist that he hadn’t noticed before. “Where did you get the watch?”

    “Why does it matter to you?” That was Leona’s way of telling him to stop talking or she’d get mad.

    “Why can’t my dad meet your demands?”

    “Because he’s dead.” He saw her grin in the rear view mirror. “Overthrown and executed by his own people, isn’t it grand?”

    He knew better to respond to her question. She’d get mad with an answer she didn’t like and only continue the remarks if he said something she did like.

    The drive was only a few hours, but Morgan had fallen asleep around thirty minutes into the car ride.

    When they stopped, Leona and the Hunter in the passenger seat got out and started walking around.

    They wandered out of Gregory’s view, but he knew Leona’s whistle when he heard it. It was the call to get out of the car.

    He got out of the car, letting the Hunter in the middle get out from his side. He tried to wake her up before the Hunter did.

    The Hunter opened her door and pulled her out of the car, dragging her to Gregory’s side of the car.

    He stopped paying attention when a gunshot rang through the fields. He looked to Leona and noticed an angry look on her face as she yelled into the fields. She turned to him and pointed, motioning him and Morgan to her.

    She grabbed Morgan by the shirt whenever she got close enough and pulled her in front of her. “Just like I said, she’s here! Come out!”

    “Which one are we looking for?” The Hunter from the backseat joined the three of them.

    She looked to him. “The Sharpshooter. He’s around and already fired a shot once Joey got too close.”

    Gregory heard a small gasp from Morgan before she covered her mouth. “What is it?”

    Before she could answer, Leona shushed the both of them and called out to the fields again. “I’m willing to forgive what you did to my friend if you come out.”

    The Hunter started walking closer to the direction where Leona was yelling, slowing down once he got closer to any potential hiding spots. He looked around for a bit before calling back to Leona. “The only person here is Joey. Well, he was here when he was alive. A clean shot through the head.”

    Gregory looked over to Morgan and saw her smile turn into a look of pure sadness.

    “He left?” Leona scoffed, sounding a bit upset. “He kills the first person he sees and then just leaves?!” She grabbed Morgan’s shoulders, spinning her around to face her. “Your buddy just set you up for a death sentence. Joey is dead because of you, do you understand that?”

    He saw the tears in Morgan’s eyes and knew that her crying would only upset Leona more. “She didn’t have anything to do with it, we weren’t even away from the car when Joey got shot!”

    Leona shoved Morgan away from her to stand face to face with Gregory when another shot rang out.

    The two of them stumbled, Leona immediately looking to her other Hunter to make certain he was still alive. When she faced the other direction, she found the culprit. “You missed.”

    “I’d rather miss and not potentially kill a kid than the other way around.” It was a man’s voice. Gregory wouldn’t look his way out of fear, so he kept an eye on Morgan. She sat up off the ground and faced the man, her face remaining neutral. “You got me out of cover, so what do you want?”

    Gregory saw the other Hunter coming back to Leona. “I was wondering what brought you and your wife together, but now I see that you both waste no time.” He heard a chuckle from Leona. “Good for you two.”

    “Can you hurry up and say what it is that you want? I’ve got places to be and people after me, I don’t plan to spend much time with you.” The Hunter stopped next to Leona. “By the way, if he gets any closer, I’m shooting him.”

    Leona grabbed Gregory’s shoulder. “Craig, I want-“

    “Greg.” He looked Leona straight in the eyes. Her eyes were a piercing blue.


    “My name is Greg, not Craig.”

    He could tell Leona wasn’t going to do anything to do him. Whoever this man was, he had nothing to do with Gregory and probably didn’t care whether he lived or died. She faked a laugh and pushed him towards the man. “You’re going to go over there and talk with our friend for a bit, okay?”

    Gregory looked to the man and saw he looked just as confused with the order as Gregory felt. “You’re sending a kid to negotiate for you?”

    Leona put her hand in the air. “As of right now, I am unaware of your existence. Greg will tell me what the two of you discussed and I’ll come up with a negotiation then.”

    After looking around for a bit, he lowered his gun and put some distance between himself and the Hunters, only allowing Gregory to follow. “What’s part of negotiating?”

    “I never did the negotiating because someone always gets screwed over in the end.” The man commented, refusing to look back at Gregory. “I know what she wants from me, but I’m telling you right now that I’m not giving it up.”

    “What does she want from you?”

    “My people.” He sounded angry, but any interactions with Leona typically left anyone feeling the same way. “She’s got the wrong person, though, I’m not the leader of anything.”

    “Even your marriage?” It was an attempt at calming the man down.

    He knew it worked a little bit when he heard the man chuckle. “Sometimes.” He went silent before he stopped, judging the distance between the Hunters and himself. He slightly nodded before finally looking at Gregory. “So what’s your story?”

    Gregory thought back to what the man said about having people after him and places to be with no time to waste and felt it important that he didn’t waste his time. “I was supposed to be used for ransom like Morgan but my dad didn’t want me in the first place, so the Hunters decided I would work for them.”

    “Who’s your dad? And what about your mom? I’ve never seen you around.”

    “My dad’s name is Rocco and my mom is Francine. Nobody was supposed to know he was my dad in the first place because it was bad for his reputation.” Gregory frowned slightly. “My mom did a lot to cover for him. She even dyed my hair and made up a story about how my dad was one of the people who split from the group.”


    Gregory nodded. “I got my mom’s blond hair, but it was a strawberry blond and he told her that it was too risky and had her dye my hair. The last time my mom and my fake dad were in a room together, she had a knife pulled on him. She told the rest of the group it was because he didn’t want to be a dad and he left the group because of that. I was always told to remember that his name was Marshal but I didn’t take his last name because he didn’t want me in the first place.”

    “I’m glad you know that it was just a story, because that’s not why I left.” He paused. “I did leave because she pulled a knife on me, but not because I didn’t want to be a dad.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    He stopped himself before he went on. “Nothing important.” He looked over Gregory for a moment before sighing. “Listen, I’m not leaving you with the Hunters and I’m not leaving Morgan either.” He started walking back to Leona. “Come on.”

    She was watching them the entire time, but her face lit up once they started back. She waited for them with Morgan and the other Hunter. “Did you two reach an agreement?”

    “I’m not negotiating with a child.” He crossed his arms. “I wanted to ask you a few questions.”

    “Go ahead.” She sounded pleased for once, like she was finally getting her way.

    “I can’t give you the group because I’m in no leadership position and I wouldn’t give them to you either way, do you understand that?” She nodded. “Great. You already know I have some of your records from a backpack that one of your goons carried around, you have my watch. Here’s the deal, I get the watch back and I take the kids, you get anything you want from me.”

    She looked him up and down. “I’ll give you two options. I want the entire backpack back or your fingers.”

    “My fingers?”

    She nodded and held up two fingers on her right hand. “Your right index and middle fingers. I want you to cut them off.”

    “So I don’t pose any threat with a gun to you guys, I get it.” Gregory saw the man’s face go pale as he said something inaudible under his breath. “Will you people give up if I comply with either of those demands?”

    Leona scoffed. “I thought you were smart people. We’ll stop messing with you for the day but that’s it.” She crossed her arms as well. “If you do decide to cut off your fingers, you prove to us that you earned that information, the watch, and those kids, we make sure you don’t bleed out, then we leave.”

    The man kneeled to look Gregory in the eyes and lowered his voice to a whisper. “This is what I meant when I said somebody always gets screwed over in negotiating. I lose in either of those options.” He sighed. “My group needs that information more than anything, but I obviously need my fingers.” He looked to Morgan and Leona before looking back to Gregory. “Take this as a lesson in gambling, what do you say I do?”

    ”Give up the backpack.”
    ”Give up your fingers.”

  • ”Give up the backpack.”
    Marshal has already seen the contents of the backpack. He probably won't remember everything and he won't have the physical copies of the files, at the Voyager base, but hopefully he would remember the most important stuff he saw. Also, he needs his fingers. Especially, if he is going to be involved in future fights. Which, I'm pretty sure he will.

    By the way, this was an interesting part with a lot of new information. These mysterious Hunters are continuing to be more mysterious and threatening. Greg being Francine and Rocco's kid was interesting. Also, my earlier theory of people wanting to use Chelsea as a weapon if they found out about her gene was confirmed; it's just that they would need Elizabeth now too.

    4.3 Despite having left the group, Lecia followed the group to the motel and had camped close by to keep an eye on her people while dista

  • ”Give up the backpack.”

    4.3 Despite having left the group, Lecia followed the group to the motel and had camped close by to keep an eye on her people while dista

  • Marshal has already seen the contents of the backpack.

    And destroyed some of them, so neither groups will be getting everything that was important, but they’ll surely have an advantage over the other groups.

    Also, he needs his fingers. Especially, if he is going to be involved in future fights. Which, I'm pretty sure he will.

    I can’t really deny this part. Out of all the Voyagers, he’s been in the most physical fights so far and he’s probably the quickest to react in such a way. Rewrite, I personally think Filip takes that title after thinking back a bit. However, it’s reasonable to assume that once Gregory and Morgan are around the group more and he has his own child that he’d calm down a bit. It could really go either way.

    By the way, this was an interesting part with a lot of new information.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it! The Hunters are a much bigger threat than either of the groups are anticipating. Leona is nothing short of a maniac, but just pushing two people into the creek isn’t the worst she can do. Gregory, Rocco, and Francine’s relationships are going to be explored a bit in due time. Currently, Gregory is close to eleven years old, so he’s got a lot to catch up on with the inactivity Rocco took in his life. I hate to say it, but given Elizabeth’s history, it wouldn’t be too hard to get her. Chelsea is a different story, though, she’s a lot tougher than most people would think.

    Actually, I can reveal the critical character for next chapter by now, it wouldn’t hurt much. Milo’s the critical character of chapter five, but I’m going to go ahead and say two things on the critical characters. They don’t have to be alive to be a critical character, much like a planned chapter, and the choice might not always be theirs to make. I actually don’t think there was a choice for Elizabeth in the first chapter, despite her being the critical character. Oops, rewrite. I was wrong, her choice was at the end of the chapter, that’s my bad.

    I’m glad you enjoy it, though, thanks for the encouragement!

    ”Give up the backpack.” Marshal has already seen the contents of the backpack. He probably won't remember everything and he won't have the

  • Voting is closed! Greg will convince Marshal to give up the backpack.

    I hate to say it because of how one choice was literally to cut two of your own fingers off, but they both had their benefits. I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t the choice I would pick either, though.

    The next part can be expected in the next two days, I’ve got company coming over today and I’m just not sure I’ll be able to get it out today.

  • I seriously hate to make this post, but I’ve reached a wall in my life and this is the only thing I can do with Voyagers for the current moment.

    Starting today, this story will be on hiatus for a time limit unknown to me. I will not be able to vote on any other stories, so I apologize for that, and my presence will be significantly decreased. I can’t give too many details, but I’m doing okay at best and I need to work on getting better and fixing some problems that I’ve caused for myself.

    I apologize if this comes as a disappointment to anyone, but it’s something I need to do for myself.

  • edited March 2018

    NOOOO!!!! I really enjoy your story, and I always look forward to reading the newest parts.O well, I (and the other readers) should still be here, whenever you come back. I hope you can get everything sorted out, and I hope things get better for you. I'll be somewhat patiently waiting for your return.

    I seriously hate to make this post, but I’ve reached a wall in my life and this is the only thing I can do with Voyagers for the current mom

  • Tales, this is a very kind comment and I actually wasn't able to check it out when I got on the other day, but I'm glad I was able to catch it at all because it made my night. I try my best to keep in contact with the people I can, which hasn't worked out so I'm going to make a quick comment right here for you and the others.

    I'm doing better and there's no reason to worry. While I tried to keep in contact, I've failed with that, but I don't want anyone to worry because I've just disappeared. I'm doing better, things are returning to normal, and I've finally gotten some much needed time for myself. I also want to thank you and the other readers for your support through these times. September started a string of rough times that put me into some awful conditions but through it all, I've never once regretted getting back into writing. You've all been very patient with me and I really can't thank you guys enough for that.

    Voyagers has been a mean of escaping difficult times and I certainly have no plans to quit the story or make any long term pauses, that's a lose-lose situation for myself and you guys, so that's something I'm trying to avoid doing at all costs. With all that happened, I haven't gotten much work done but rest assured that I'll find a way to get a part out before this time next week.

    NOOOO!!!! I really enjoy your story, and I always look forward to reading the newest parts.O well, I (and the other readers) should still be

  • 4.4

    “Do you know what you need from the backpack?” Gregory’s voice was a whisper while Leona waited for an answer.

    Marshal sighed and nodded. “I know enough, but I think we’ll be in a better position with the two of you back with us.”

    “Give her the backpack. She said you’re the best shot from your group and you don’t know if that’s going to come in handy.” Gregory chuckled to himself for a moment, picking up on the joke he’d accidentally made.

    “I’ll do it.” Marshal stood back up and brushed the dirt off his pants. “I mean no offense when I ask this, but how old are you?”

    “Eleven.” He looked back to Marshal to see a slight frown on his face before he turned the other way. “Where are you going? What did I say?”

    Gregory felt a sudden pang of sadness while watching him walk away. ‘Did I do something wrong?

    He looked back to Leona and Morgan to see a smirk on Leona’s face while she crossed her arms. “He’s going to give up the information. I always knew he wouldn’t give up the only thing he’s good at.” She turned her head to look at Gregory. “You shouldn’t be clingy with the Voyagers for plenty of reasons.”

    He looked between the two of them before sighing. “Why?”

    “Because they’re always going to leave you behind.” She took a few steps closer to him, leaving the other Hunter with Morgan. “That one’s never around their base for much more than a day, just like the other scouts. His wife is around just barely a bit more than he is. Her brother is a scout, but he’s been hanging around the doctor.” She started walking back to Morgan once she saw Marshal returning. “You’ve got a wide variety to choose from but you’ll probably end up a worthless kitchen worker like your mother. Being clingy with them is only going to get you hurt, don’t say nobody warned you.”

    Marshal stopped next to Gregory, the backpack in his hands. “Let Morgan come over here and I’ll toss it to you.”

    “Do you really think I bite?” Leona faked a frown before pushing Morgan towards the two of them. As he said he would, he tossed the backpack to Leona. “Pleasure doing business with you! Though, I would have preferred you lose the fingers, you’re pretty useless without the information.”

    “That’s the least of my concerns.” He seemed a bit suspicious of her. He leaned down to talk to the two kids. “Head towards the car, stay in a straight line, and don’t listen to a word she has to say. When you get to the front of the car, I want you both to head for cover and be ready to run when I say so.”

    Gregory nodded, leading Morgan closer to the car while Marshal followed behind them both.

    As soon as Gregory passed the hood of the car, he ducked down and made his way towards the tree line. He put himself behind a tree and Morgan put herself behind the tree opposite of his.

    Gregory could tell something was going to go wrong with the situation.

    He peeked out from behind his tree to see that Marshal was still at the car, but he’d stopped there because Leona had drawn a gun.

    She didn’t move from her spot, but she didn’t need to. She wasn’t known to miss many shots.

    He looked back to Morgan, fearful for what would happen. He could tell she had also looked from behind her tree by the look on her face. “What do we do?”

    “We can’t do anything…” That moment was a reminder of Gregory of what it felt like to be hopeless. “If she kills him then we need to run.”

    He heard a car door open before a gunshot rang out. As he turned to look out from the tree, Marshal ran by, grabbing him and Morgan as he passed.

    The three of them kept either in the trees or near them in case Leona had taken the car to follow them.

    They stopped after an hour of sneaking around whenever Morgan complained about being tired of running.

    When they stopped, Gregory could tell that Marshal was trying to understand him. “What did she say to you?”


    “Silver hair.”

    “Oh, Leona?” While the memory was still fresh in Gregory’s mind, it was something he wanted to forget. “She just insulted me and told me I was worthless, that’s nothing new.”

    He looked down to the ground, kicking a rock that sat at his feet. He heard Marshal sigh. “I hope you didn’t take it to heart, because you’re not worthless. I heard her mention that we all have our talents and that’s true, we do, but we’re supposed to help you find your own and support you through it.”

    “She always told me that I wouldn’t amount to anything and that’s why my dad didn’t care that I was gone.” He paused to keep his cool. “My dad knew where Morgan was and didn’t say anything just to spite the people who left and whenever I got taken, it was like a burden off his shoulders. He didn’t want me because I’m just a useless kid.”

    “Rocco hid you because he was ashamed of you. He had no reason to be ashamed of you and he should have been ashamed of himself because of his actions towards other people. Your dad wasn’t the best role model if he was even considered a role model, but there’s more to you than just your dad.” He must have seen the confused look on Gregory’s face. “I’m speaking for myself here, but I’m not going to let you act anywhere near the way Rocco did. There’s plenty of people back at the base that you can learn from, so don’t let it be someone bad.”

    He heard Morgan laugh a little. “I got a different lecture when my dad died but I prefer your lecture to mine.” Gregory looked up, seeing a genuine smile on Morgan’s face. “I can’t treat you like a parent would treat you, but I can treat you like a friend.”

    “Your dad died?”

    She nodded. “A while back, like before I ended up with the Hunters.”

    Gregory could tell by the look on Marshal’s face that it was a sensitive topic and he didn’t want to talk about it. While he had lots of questions about it, he didn’t want to overstep his boundaries. “What did your dad do?”

    “He was a scout.” Morgan wanted to talk about it, that much was clear. “And a good one too.”

    Gregory saw Marshal nod a bit. “I hate to break up the conversation, but we should get going.”

    They had already been told the walk would be a long walk and that there would be few stops. Marshal seemed a bit sympathetic every time one of the two would complain about being hungry but told them time and time again that there was nothing to offer and the quicker they moved the sooner they could eat an actual meal.

    After she had complained more than what both Gregory or Marshal could endure, Marshal ended up carrying Morgan to make her stop complaining about her feet being tired.

    It was only after it reached that point that Gregory realized he was growing pretty tired too. “When are we going to be there?”

    “Soon enough.”

    Something about this man was just strange to Gregory. He had no idea how long Marshal had been out, but he doubted he’d been getting much sleep or food while he was gone. Despite that, he was still going and even carrying Morgan most of the way. “Are you tired yet?”

    “No, but let me guess, you’re hungry and tired.”

    “That’s not what I said!” Gregory crossed his arms, continuing his path. “But yes.”

    “Marshal, was I ever bad growing up?” In the brief time of silence the three would get, Morgan spoke up, her voice almost as quiet as a whisper.

    “Why would you ask that?”

    Gregory hadn’t known Morgan longer than a month or two, but he knew Leona was ruthless towards her at any opportunity. “Nobody showed up for three years. Leona always said my mom was happier while I was gone because she didn’t have to worry about me taking away what she really loved the most… her freedom. She said my dad would be embarrassed to have a daughter like me and that everyone who had taken care of me only did it because they felt bad for me.”

    Gregory looked over once he heard Marshal sigh, seeing he looked a bit upset with the question. “That’s not true at all, Morgan. You’ve been told all those things by a complete stranger and you’re willing to listen and believe them, but are you willing to at least listen to what I have to say about it?”

    He felt the question was a little odd, but he figured there was a reason Marshal had asked it. Despite being a bit skeptical, Morgan nodded. “Okay…”

    “You’ve probably been told more than you’re letting on and I can tell that you don’t trust me anymore. You think you were just abandoned, but the truth is that we had no chance at getting to you any sooner. When we split up, the Hunters sent a message to Rocco instead of our group. The day you and Milo went missing, all of the scouts went out and stayed out. Filip went back after a few days to mess with the computer, but Elizabeth never really gave up, even after going back to the bunker. Once a month, the scouts would go out for an entire week to make an attempt at trying to find you that nobody besides us knew about.” He scoffed. “To say that anybody’s been happier since you left is insane, I’ve never seen the group at a lower point.” Gregory saw him look over to him before he went on. “The people who stepped up after your dad died are the ones who are going to be sticking by your side for the rest of your life. They’re going to teach you and help you become the best person you can become, which is something we’ve always tried to tell you. I plan to do the same thing for Gregory that I’ve done for you, but I know that somebody would do the same for my child if something does happen to me.”

    “So my mom doesn’t hate me?”

    “No, she doesn’t hate you.” He chuckled. “She hates Elizabeth because she couldn’t find you. You’re the only thing she’s got left in this world, Morgan.”

    Marshal let her down so she’d walk on her own again, giving himself a bit of a break.

    By mid afternoon, they’d come up on a building that looked empty. They would have passed it if they hadn’t seen somebody.

    Gregory and Morgan stayed behind at Marshal’s command, but watched from their hiding spot while he talked to the person they’d seen.

    The person was a woman with blonde hair. She seemed to be an average height from where they were watching, but they knew they couldn’t be sure from where they were. She was dressed in a casual shirt and jeans. She pointed to a door on the building before looking around her surroundings.

    After talking to her for a bit, Marshal went back to the kids. He didn’t seem as nervous turning his back on her as he did turning his back on Leona, which told Gregory that he knew this woman. “This is the place, but I need you two to stick with me for now. They’re on high alert for now, but you two need to check in with the doctor as soon as possible. After that, I’ll take you guys to the kitchen and if your moms aren’t already there, I’ll find them. Sound good to you two?”

    “Are you sure I’m allowed here?” Gregory stayed behind for a moment while Morgan went to Marshal’s side.

    “The worst person you could run into isn’t here, so I’m certain you’re allowed.” Gregory hesitated a little longer before leaving his spot, but stayed close to Morgan and Marshal once he did.

    They went up a set of stairs and stopped in front of a door. A few seconds after Marshal knocked, a woman with red hair opened the door.

    She looked a little surprised when she opened the door, but held it open for the three of them, allowing them into the room. “Welcome back, what do you need?”

    “I need you to look over these two, I don’t trust the basket case they were with and wouldn’t be surprised if she hurt either of them.” He crossed his arms. “That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get treated, though.”

    “Agreed.” The woman turned to the kids, a bright smile on her face. “My name is Alyssa Kowalska, I’m a doctor and as of right now, my priority is making sure you two are in the best health possible. I’m sure it’s a little weird, having some lady you don’t even know poking at you and asking you questions, but I need your cooperation. We can start with your names and ages.”

    Morgan looked to Marshal, a small look of fear in her eyes. “You’re going to stay, right?” He nodded, she looked back at Alyssa with a timid smile. “I’m Morgan and I’m nine.”

    Alyssa then looked at Gregory, waiting for him to answer her. “Gregory, eleven.”

    Her smile turned into a frown as she looked at Marshal. “Albero and Remey, those last names should sound familiar to you.”

    She gave a slight nod before something on Morgan’s wrist caught her eye. She carefully grabbed Morgan’s hand and lifted it up so she could see her wrist. “These are some pretty bad bruises, where’d you get them?”

    “Whenever I was bad, Leona would yell at me and correct my mistakes.” Alyssa followed a trail of bruises that led to a bigger bruise on her shoulder, along with a few scratches on her back.

    Gregory saw that both Alyssa and Marshal looked upset about the bruises. “Do they hurt you?”

    She shook her head. “Not anymore, crying is bad and I’ll only get corrected more for it.”

    “That wasn’t the question, Morgan.” Alyssa went into the bathroom and brought a box back with her. She put some pressure on one of the bruises with her hands and saw Morgan wince a bit. “Does it hurt when I do that?”

    “Yes.” She watched Alyssa take the lid off the box and pull something out of it. “What’s that for?”

    Gregory recognized it as a stethoscope. “It’s going to let her listen to your heart.”

    Alyssa smiled, putting the stethoscope on. “That and your breathing.”

    She continued looking over Morgan for a little longer before she switched to Gregory. She pointed out that he had fewer bruises, but seemed concerned once she listened to his breathing with the stethoscope.

    After she looked over the kids, she took Marshal outside the front door.

    The kids both knew it was wrong to listen to the adults when they were talking to each other, but they did it anyways. “Neither of them are in good condition. They’re both malnourished, Morgan’s suffering severely mentally, and Gregory’s lungs don’t sound right in the slightest.”

    “Those are all things that we can work on, what do you say?”

    She scoffed. “Whatever you do, you’re going to need to make some quick decisions with those two. You may not be related to them, but the group already has plans to put you in a leadership position once they know you’re back.”

    “Gregory’s lungs, back to that, what do you mean they don’t sound right?”

    “Right, I’m sorry. I’ve checked a few more common symptoms and I’m going to run them through my books tonight, I’ll have a certain diagnosis by dinner.”

    “Thanks, Alyssa.” He sighed. “You work on that, I’ll tell their moms after this.”

    “I need to talk to you on your own later and probably Francine whenever I come up with a clear diagnosis for Gregory.”

    “Then I’ll talk to you later.” The two went back into the room with the kids.

    They left after that and went into a kitchen.

    It was clear somebody had been cooking since the smell of fresh food filled the air whenever they walked in.

    An older man stood at a table with his back turned to the three of them. Marshal sidled up next to the old man, the kids following his lead. “How does this setup work?”

    The older man looked back, an annoyed look on his face until he saw who had asked the question. He set the plate in his hands down and pulled Marshal into a hug, refusing to let go. “I thought you were dead, boy.”

    A small smile crossed Marshal’s face as he patted the older man’s back. “Not yet, but they’re sure trying to take me out whenever they get the chance.” The older man pulled away with tears in his eyes. “I need to get these two to their moms, but I’ll talk to you in a second, I swear.”

    He led the kids farther into the kitchen, seeming a bit lost himself. “Who was that man?” Morgan questioned while the walked.

    “That was my dad. Since you two are going to be around now, you should know that his name is Kyle.”

    They continued walking until they heard glass shatter behind them. “Francine, get in here!”

    Before the kids had a chance to react, both of their mothers were smothering them with affection.

    “I promise I’m not going to make you do anything like that again.” Gregory knew his mother was referring to all he’d done to hide who his father was.

    He looked over to Morgan and her mother to see hey were both sobbing, but they seemed happy. “I’m not letting you out of my sight again, Morgan, I’m so sorry that I failed you.”

    His mother looked up, finally noticing Marshal’s presence. “Did you find them?”

    He shook his head. “No, but Alyssa says they’re both malnourished, I think you two are the best people to handle that. I’ve got some of my own calls to make, if you’ll excuse me.”

    Gregory watched Marshal leave the kitchen, avoiding the shattered glass. He wondered why Marshal had lied about finding them.

    In a matter of minutes, the mothers had collected themselves and gotten a plate ready for their child.

    Marshal Kennedy

    After leaving the kitchen, he and Kyle decided to go for a walk around the motel’s lot so he could get a look around the place.

    It was quiet until Kyle spoke up. “You can lie to their mothers but you can’t lie to me, I know you found them.”

    “I helped them, I didn’t find them.” Marshal looked to the ground. “Even then, I may have helped them, but I lost all the information I had on the Hunters.”

    “It was always about the technicalities with you two, never about logic.” Kyle caught the look Marshal gave him. “I’m just saying, you’re more Dawn’s child than you are mine.”

    While the comment would have rubbed anyone else the wrong way, Marshal understood what he meant. “I guess you pick up the behavior of the people you’re around the most.”

    “You’ve been around the Voyagers for sixteen years and you’re no heathen just yet.”

    Marshal rolled his eyes with a sigh. “Yeah, I’m leaving that much up to you.” He looked around, spotting someone familiar. “So what do you think of all the new people?”

    Kyle looked at the man Marshal had spotted. “All of them were difficult day one, but after they saw Rocco for what he really was, most of them became somewhat bearable. That man is not one of the bearable ones. He’s constantly challenging Elizabeth and anyone loyal to her. In fact, he was involved in an argument with Chelsea earlier about the scouts.”

    “An argument with Chelsea? About the scouts? There’s no correlation between Chelsea and the scouts, I don’t see why he would take it up with her.”

    “Because he couldn’t find Elizabeth and take it up with her.” Kyle crossed his arms. “He nearly got in a fist fight with James last night over how he thought Elizabeth was picking favorites. She reasonably explained it and didn’t resort to insults, but he wasn’t buying it. He got a few inches away from her and James got there quicker than Milo did.”

    Kyle uncrossed his arms and the two moved on. “James could have taken him if he wanted to, he just doesn’t fight.”

    Kyle’s smile faded, his entire aura turning sour. “Marshal, I’ve wanted to talk to you about something for a bit. Never had the chance, obviously, but I have that chance now and I’m not going to miss it. Since being around the Voyagers, I’ve heard so much about you that I never would have expected from my own son. Your mother running away showed me how worthless of a husband I was and the fact that I was hearing stuff about my own child from people I didn’t even know only told me that I was an awful father. You’re thirty years old now, but I can’t remember any of the years before you ran off because I was so caught up in my own stuff that I never thought of being a father to my son before being a worker. When I found out you and Elizabeth were married, I was terrified you’d turn out the way I did and I’ve even talked to her about everything that happened to be certain she doesn’t let you turn out that way, but she doesn’t have many bad things to say about you. Sure, you do minor things to annoy her, but you never outright abandoned her because you wanted better things. There’s things that I’ve done that I’ll never get forgiveness for and there are things I won’t forgive myself for, but I want to ask for your forgiveness.”

    Marshal slowly nodded. “I think we can work towards that. You weren’t the best father I could have had, but I know you tried when you wanted to. I want to be able to trust you and have you around more, so we’re going to work on that.”

    Kyle looked a bit surprised. “Wait, you’ll try?”

    “I know you wanted the best for me, you just had a really weird way of showing it.”

    “What? Was me having your mother ask you about girls too much?” Kyle smirked. “I’ll have to make some changes based on the fact that you were fourteen years old when I saw you last and now you’re a married thirty year old.”

    “A single fourteen year old boy who wasn’t expecting a child, I can’t believe I was ever that kid.”

    When Kyle didn’t answer, Marshal turned to see his father staring at him with wide eyes. “What did you just say?”

    “I haven’t had much time to tell you and I’m sure she’s had other things on her mind but yeah, Elizabeth’s pregnant.”

    “That’s amazing news, but why the hell are you standing here talking to me instead of her?” Kyle crossed his arms. “Go talk to her for a bit.”

    Marshal checked back with Chelsea to see if she might know where Elizabeth was.

    “She’s been all over the place since she woke up, but last time I saw her she said something about going back to the creek.” She checked her watch. “That was like an hour ago, though.”

    “I’ll check it out either way, thanks.”

    “You went to the kitchen for the kids and talked to Alyssa for them as well, but have you done a thing for yourself since you’ve been back?” He shook his head, getting an odd look from Chelsea. “Elizabeth’s going to be mad about that.” She paused, looking down to the ground. “If you have a minute, there’s something I need to talk to you about.”

    “I’ve got all the time in the world, what’s going on?”

    “Elizabeth has been acting kind of weird since we got back here and I think last night just broke her. She’s had a lot going on since she got back and while it would be reasonable to put her in her current position, she hates it.” Chelsea frowned, seeming a bit sympathetic towards whatever was going on with Elizabeth. “She saved my life and they made her the leader because of it, but she’s not happy. I’m not sure if they don’t notice that or if they just don’t care. Rocco and Milo got in a fight last night and she tried to stop it, she tried to prevent Milo from killing him, but it didn’t work. She said it was necessary that she be there. After that, Alyssa told us everything she knew about the gene and since then, she’s been really off.”

    “If there’s one thing you should know about Elizabeth, it’s that she’s her own worst enemy. She’s too hard on herself and she punished herself for years over anything that she did wrong. She’s always done it because other people do it to her too, she thinks it’s normal at this point.” Marshal turned to walk away. “But thank you for letting me know.”

    He followed Chelsea’s orders and went down to the creek.

    Elizabeth sat at the edge of the water. Marshal knew that while she couldn’t swim, she enjoyed the sound of the creek water flowing and that it often gave her some peace and time to think.

    He reached into his pocket, pulling the pendant that he’d taken from the backpack out before going to sit next to her. She didn’t react at all, keeping her eyes focused on the water.

    “Rumor has it, you lost something pretty important to you.”

    She didn’t look at him, but nodded.

    “Was it this?” He held out his hand in front of her, showing her the pendant.

    Her eyes lit up in a matter of seconds before she turned to him and pulled him into a tight hug. “I’m so glad you’re back.”

    He gave her a quick hug back before putting the pendant back on her. “Back and not going anywhere this time around.”

    “Chelsea says you killed the bouncer, is that true?”

    He sighed, trying to think of a way to tell her that he lost all of the information. “I did. I had the information he had, but I lost it when I ran into some lady named Leona earlier this morning.”

    “Leona?” She sounded like she knew the name. “I had an encounter with her last night. Did you know she has your watch?”

    “I knew and I-“ He looked to his wrist to find that he didn’t get his watch back. “Well, it was part of the deal that I did get it back, but I guess I wasn’t paying attention to what she gave me.”

    “You made a deal with her?”

    He saw a slight panic in Elizabeth’s eyes. “Let me explain. She caught me off guard and brought Morgan and Gregory with her. I wasn’t thinking and I shot one of her people, so I gave myself up to keep her from hurting the kids. She told me that I needed to give up the information I had on her people or give up two fingers and I know you’re going to disapprove of my choice, but I’d rather have kept my fingers.”

    She gave a shy smile before looking to the water again. “I don’t disapprove of that choice at all.” She froze, turning to him with wide eyes. “Wait a minute, did you say Morgan and Gregory?” He nodded. “Where are they now?”

    “With Francine and Lecia.” He put an arm around her, pulling her close. “Don’t worry about taking everything on by yourself anymore, I’m not going to let you do it all.”

    She stayed silent before resting her head on his shoulder with a small chuckle. “It’s only been two days since we overthrew Rocco, but I’m terrified of the idea that Pierre and he had something going on and Pierre’s going to come back.”

    “Nobody’s going to let Pierre near the group again after what he pulled.”

    “How can you be so sure?”

    He hesitated telling her for a moment before he stood, holding out his hand to help her up. “It’s a real unbelievable claim, so I’m just going to show you.”

    They went back to the motel and found the room Rocco had stored Joseph, Eris, and Ethan’s things. It was clear Elizabeth didn’t feel comfortable going through their bags, but Marshal knew that the papers he was looking for would be in Joseph’s bags. “What is it that you’re looking for?”

    “Some files of Joseph’s.” He sorted through the bag, eventually reaching the bottom of it. “Do you know if Rocco went through the bags? The files were something he’d want to destroy if he wanted to keep his power.”

    “I don’t know if he did or not, everyone said all of the bags have been in here since the group got here but nobody said if anyone went through them or not.”

    “Something’s not right then, somebody went through the bags.”

    Elizabeth moved to look in the bag, her eyes going straight to the far corner of it. “You missed something.” She pointed to a zipper at the far corner, not touching it so she could remain blameless if anything went wrong. Marshal unzipped it, finding an orange folder under the sheet it was holding closed. “Is that it?”

    “Maybe.” He took the folder and looked inside, quickly scanning through the papers. A sudden look of shame went over his face. “Yeah, these are the papers and they detail every bit of the deal we made.”

    “Another deal?” She frowned. “I know we told you that any way you could cope would help, but we didn’t mean gambling.”

    “It’s not like that, Liz.” He passed the papers to her and started putting everything back in the bag. “Take a look through those and you’ll understand.”

    She looked over the paper, immediately noticing that it was Joseph’s handwriting for sure. The first page gave backstory on what brought the deal to light. A talk over dinner with Pierre and Cyrus. Pierre was worried about not having anyone to pass leadership over to in case something happened to Joseph. They both agreed that Cyrus should be the second hand man, but he refused citing he would be an awful pick due to his age and occupation.

    She flipped the page. Cyrus recommended Marshal, saying that his coming clean was proof enough that he was capable of plenty. He brought up what happened with Rocco and told Pierre that if something did happen to Joseph and Marshal did something wrong, that he’d take the blame for it.

    The next page was notes regarding the deal itself. Joseph told Marshal about the discussion they had at dinner, saying he would only agree to pass leadership onto him under a specific set of circumstances that somebody in the group already knew about. The first rule was that nobody could know about it until it happened, the second said that Marshal had to stay clean, the third said he couldn’t give up scouting and would have to figure out a way to do both, the fourth said he would have to put the group’s best interest before his own, the fifth said he would always need more than one plan and would always take the safest plan for anything, the sixth said that he would give his own life before any of the other Voyagers gave theirs, and the final said he understood that the only other person who knew about the details would constantly be watching him. Should he fail at any of the conditions, leadership is passed to Cyrus.

    Elizabeth lowered the papers. “I’m sure the people from Rocco’s group count on these conditions as well, don’t they?”

    “Most of them.” Marshal zipped up the bag and the two of them left the room, Elizabeth keeping hold of the papers. They kept quiet about it until they went back to their own room. “We made that deal about five years ago, the only people who know about it are Cyrus, myself, you, and whoever the person is that’s constantly watching.”

    She seemed unsure of the whole situation. “It could be Cyrus himself since he goes scouting with you. Or Lecia.”

    He saw a look of sadness in her eyes. “I wanted to tell you about this, I was going to because I knew you wouldn’t tell. After we first hooked up, even after I told Joseph that there was nothing going on between us, he said he’d be looking into your research to see what you knew and I couldn’t risk it. That’s the only thing I couldn’t tell you and haven’t told you.”

    She gave a soft smile. “I believe you. How do we get this put into effect?”

    “So long as there’s someone around who knows about it, it’s considered to be in effect.” Elizabeth put the papers to the side, breathing a sigh of relief. “For now, I only want for you to focus on yourself and the baby. Be selfish for once, it’ll benefit you for the better. I’ve got to go talk to Alyssa again, but I’ll be back later.”

    She looked like she wanted to disagree with him going out, but gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Guess I’ll see you at dinner then.”

    “Of course.”

    He left the room and found himself face-to-face with a man he hadn’t seen in years. “What’s up, man? You look like you seen a ghost.”

    “Get away from me.” Marshal straightened his posture. “Better yet, why don’t you tell me what you heard?”

    “Nothin’ important, the door’s pretty thick, couldn’t hear anything if I wanted to.” The man’s name was Grady. He had dark brown hair with a silver streak in it. His eyes were a lighter brown than his hair was. “I had a favor for you.”

    Grady and Marshal used to be best friends while they were both with Rocco. It was the most unpleasant time in Marshal’s life for more than just Rocco. “What is it?”

    “I saw you were back and I was just hopin’ we could catch up sometime soon.” The two were close to the same age and made most of their strongest bad choices together.

    Long before Marshal admitted he had a drinking problem, he and Grady would go drinking together every single night. They drank until one of them quit, like it was a competition, they normally didn’t quit until they were both well past tipsy. After they drank, they would make bets with each other. It was Milo who caught the first hint that something was wrong. He tried to help Marshal, only to be turned away.

    Over time, Marshal realized that Milo was right. There was a problem. He tried to talk Grady into taking it easy, but he refused and said the only problem was Milo’s jealousy over their bond.

    He tried to stop himself, but he always gave into Grady easily since they were as close as they were. After two years of trying to get sober on his own, Milo caught word of what he was trying to do and got a little support system together to encourage him.

    It took him six years to get sober and he swore to those who helped him get clean and himself that he wouldn’t drink again.

    “What’s there to catch up on?”

    Grady looked towards the door Marshal was standing in front of. “Rumor has it, you got a wife and a baby now. That all true?”

    He didn’t want to tell Grady all of the details, as he didn’t trust him anymore.

    While he hesitated to come up with something, the door behind him opened and Elizabeth looked out, a look of pure anger in her eyes. “Marshal, I seriously need you to focus on the immediate job at hand for once! It won’t even take you five minutes and you’re putting it off already!”

    Grady looked between Marshal and Elizabeth and lowered his voice to a whisper. “Listen, if you wanna meet up again, I’ll be in the dining room ‘til after dinner.”

    He turned and went back downstairs before Marshal faced Elizabeth. “What did you need me to do?”

    Her face lightened up again, the anger in her eyes turning back into happiness. “I didn’t need you to do anything, I just thought you needed some help with Grady.”

    “Give me a little bit of a warning next time.”

    “You’re welcome, I guess.” She shrugged, going back into the room.

    ’Great, something new to do and with Grady of all people..’ Marshal sighed, heading downstairs. ’I still have to talk to Alyssa and I’m sure she’ll be okay if I prioritize things but I’m not sure I want to list Grady as a priority. If I talk to him, I just might be able to make Rocco’s people feel more at ease, but Alyssa was really adamant on talking to me so I’m sure what she needs is important.’

    [Talk to Grady]
    [Talk to Alyssa]

  • [Talk to Alyssa]
    This is more important, since it probably concerns the health of Gregory and Morgan.

    By the way, glad to see your back.

    4.4 “Do you know what you need from the backpack?” Gregory’s voice was a whisper while Leona waited for an answer. Marshal sighed and

  • [Talk to Alyssa]

    4.4 “Do you know what you need from the backpack?” Gregory’s voice was a whisper while Leona waited for an answer. Marshal sighed and

  • [Talk to Alyssa]

    While I wouldn't really go as far as to call talking to Grady a complete waste of time, I really doubt it is all that much of a pressing matter. Might not be a priority, talking to him really sounds like something that can wait for a bit. As such, I consider talking to Alyssa to be far more important. Grady can wait, she probably can't, so that one's one of the rare easy choices for me =)

    4.4 “Do you know what you need from the backpack?” Gregory’s voice was a whisper while Leona waited for an answer. Marshal sighed and

  • (!) Voting is closed! Marshal will talk to Alyssa.

    So it’s really no secret that this is going to have effect on the relationship of the two groups as a whole as well as Marshal and Grady themselves. It’s undeniably the better option, though, and I’ll explain why once the chapter ends.

    The part about to be released is shorter than usual and won’t tell what Marshal and Alyssa talked about, but that’ll be looked into soon enough, rest assured that the choice wasn’t for nothing.

    After the part, 4.6 will see the return of an Onyx POV that’s been out of the loop for a few chapters and a character who has been to the side since their introduction. Other POVs can be expected later on in the chapter and I can say with certainty that chapter 5 is going to be an Onyx reliant chapter.

  • 4.5

    By dinner, things had calmed down.

    Kyle was normally one of the first people there because he had a pretty clear schedule and didn’t like to be late to one of the few planned events the group had.

    Elizabeth, Chelsea, Francine, and Lecia joined him at the table whenever they finished with what they were doing.

    The five present now, along with Alyssa and the scouts whenever they were around, was the group they’d gotten used to sitting with to avoid any run-ins with Rocco’s people despite Francine and James being two of them.

    The two kids sat with their mothers, which constantly remind Kyle of what Marshal had told him earlier. He meant to take it up with Elizabeth but decided against it when he noticed a sour look on her face. While the two were acquainted with each other, he didn’t want to question her on her mood, so he left that alone too.

    Most of them ate in silence, a clear burden weighing over each of them.

    “Mom, what’s wrong with everyone?” Kyle barely heard the boy next to him when he whispered to his mother.

    Francine looked around the table and other tables, noticing it was only their table that seemed to be in a down mood. “I’m not sure.” She gave a slight frown before looking over the people at the table. “I can understand Marshal missing dinner, the kids have been complaining about being tired all day, but where’s Alyssa?”

    “She and Marshal went out to get something.” Elizabeth spoke up from the other end of the table, idly messing with her silverware rather than actually eating her food. “He didn’t give me any more information than that.”

    Does that play a part in why she’s upset?’ Kyle looked over to her, studying her for a minute. His time at Onyx introduced him to all types of personalities and gave him plenty of situations to learn body language. She was visibly upset, trying to keep herself busy by messing with the silverware.

    He didn’t get the time to finish his thoughts on her before Grady slid into the seat next to her. “Looks like we were both ditched by the same person.”

    She refused to look at Grady but the resentment building up on her face gave anyone watching a tell of how she really felt about Grady. “No offense but I would rather he ditch me to do something beneficial to the group. What did you want from him?”

    “Just to catch up for old time’s sake.” Grady picked up on her tone and while it might have gone unnoticed to the others, Kyle could tell he was getting upset with her. “There a problem with that?”

    Chelsea leaned over to Elizabeth, whispering something into her ear. She still looked nervous whenever she pulled back and Elizabeth still looked angry. The table went silent as everyone watched Elizabeth try to contain herself.

    Just as nearly everyone expected her to lash out, she took a deep breath, got up, and left the dining room.

    Grady looked a bit disappointed. It was as if he knew he could get under her skin with just his presence and he enjoyed it. “Guess the years change everyone.”

    Chelsea looked past the empty seat next to her and over to Grady. “Is there something you want?”

    He seemed to ignore her as he leaned on the table to look at Lecia. “I was hoping one of them could answer that for me.”

    Kyle briefly saw Chelsea give him a look before getting up and motioning for him to follow. They went to an empty corner and Chelsea crossed her arms. “I don’t trust him. What would he need from Marshal, Elizabeth, and Lecia? The only thing they have in common is that they left Rocco’s group, but so did Milo, Cyrus, and Filip but he didn’t try to pull anything while they were here.”

    “He’s more intimidated by the scouts, you can tell by the way he acts around them.” Kyle knew it was true, but even hearing it from his own mouth made him feel like something was wrong. “He didn’t take Elizabeth seriously from the start because she’s not the type of person to hold a strong lead and he knows that much. He doesn’t take the rest of you seriously because Rocco was insistent on destroying the reputation of everyone here. He had an easier time with the people he already knew, which was everyone but you, Alyssa, and I.”

    Chelsea went silent for a minute, uncrossing her arms and her eyes going wide. “You picked all that up from him sitting there for three minutes?”

    “No.” Kyle crossed his arms. “Say what you will about Onyx, most of it is true either way, but they have some great classes for workers to take. If your father lets you work with them when you go back, I recommend you look into them.”

    “It’s not like you had anything to do but work for sixteen years.” Chelsea’s look of surprise turned into a frown. “How did you stay sane for that long after losing your entire family in the same day?”

    “The same way Marshal did.” Kyle started going back to the table. “He found a support system with the Voyagers, I found a support system of people in Onyx. We both kept ourselves distracted fairly well, but there’s just a few things we did differently from each other.”

    When they returned to the table, Grady was still talking to Lecia, his tone still pretty negative.

    The rest of dinner went on smoothly.

    The kids eventually fell asleep at the table, knowing they would have to stay until their mothers had cleaned up the dining room before they could go to sleep.

    Elizabeth returned when Marshal and Alyssa came back from their trip. Grady turned his attention to Marshal when he was around, giving Lecia a break from his pestering.

    Kyle noticed that he was trying to be friendly with Marshal, more so than he was with Elizabeth or Lecia earlier.

    Just a dinner was coming to a close, the scouts came into the dining room. They all seemed bothered by something and said they needed to talk with Marshal.

    “They’re not supposed to be back this soon…” Elizabeth grew more concerned without answers.

    For once, Grady seemed to agree with her. “They’ve only been gone for a day. Does that mean something went wrong?”

    “I don’t want to think so, but it’s more likely than we think.” Alyssa frowned. “The Hunters are pissed because of Marshal. We had a run-in with one of them and they went on about how they should be following orders and shoot us before they stormed away.”

    Elizabeth and Chelsea shared a look before they both got up and left the dining room.

    Lecia looked at Morgan and stood, whispering in her ear. “Stay here.”

    The other tables noticed people leaving with a sense of urgency, turning their attention to the other people remaining.

    “What’s going on?” One of Rocco’s people questioned Grady.

    He got up without a word and followed them out.

    Francine was the final push everyone else needed. “Kyle, stay here with the kids.” After she left, the others followed. Some out of concern, fear, or just being nosy.

    When they got outside, they found Grady and Marshal had gotten face to face with a woman with silver hair.

    She was doing most of the talking. “Have you told these people what you did to get those children back?” She looked to the group that just went through the doors. “How you gave up all the information you had just so you could protect yourself and get those two back? Or how you murdered two people in cold blood?”

    A young boy pushed his way to the front, anger on his face. “It wasn’t cold blood, it was justified.”

    She smirked and kneeled to meet his eyes. “Gregory, you have no mind to be defending these people after they abandoned you.” She looked past Greg to look at Morgan, who was peeking behind the corner. “And you, you’ll find that even after so long apart from you that they still don’t want you here.”

    One of Rocco’s people, a woman with black hair named Samantha, pulled Greg behind her, putting herself between Greg and Leona. “What are you going to get out of damaging the kids? If you need a memo, you’re the one who kidnapped them, they’re innocent.”

    Leona got off her knee and dusted off her pants, looking Samantha in the eyes with a fake smile. “I don’t think I know you, who might you be?”

    “Samantha Carlyle.” She straightened out her posture, trying as hard as she could to keep from showing the fear she was feeling.

    In the short time Greg and Samantha interacted with Leona, Marshal and Grady were able to slip away.

    Leona looked Samantha up and down before nodding. “Who do you belong to?”

    “There’s no rift between former groups here.” Elizabeth spoke up, knowing Samantha’s answer would only fuel Leona. “So stop trying to create one.”

    “I don’t think you need to get involved with this, I’m sure these people don’t know your little secret, do they?” Leona practically jumped to face Elizabeth.

    “Most of them don’t.” A small smirk came across her face. “But if it’s a challenge you want, then I’ll take you on.”

    “It’s your entire reputation, I don’t expect someone like you to risk it all like that.”

    Elizabeth turned to the group, a sigh before she spoke. “Alyssa, you remember what happened at the creek the other night, right?” Alyssa nodded in response. “And some of you might even remember Rocco getting free that night. That night, Chelsea and I died for the second time since we’ve met each other. We carry a gene that practically makes us weapons.” Samantha saw a frown come over Elizabeth’s face and gave her a reassuring smile. “When we’re around each other, almost nothing can kill us and keep us dead. When Leona talks about my little secret, she means that. There’s no secret behind it, anyone who was with Onyx or had access to their records knows about it.” She turned to Leona. “What next?”

    Greg laughed, looking at Leona from behind Samantha. “You didn’t think she was going to do it, now you’ve got nothing on the group.”

    She crossed her arms and rocked herself on her feet. “That’s not true.” Her tone was less ‘playful’ now as she scanned the group in front of her. “Did any of you know that Samantha here once pulled a gun on the very child she’s protecting?” Her eyes narrowed at Milo and she let out a laugh. “You… you. The things you did while you were with Onyx, did you think nobody would find out?”

    “That’s not fair.” Samantha was trying to keep Leona from turning around, knowing Grady and Marshal were setting something up. “It’s different when they with Onyx because they’re not in their right mind, they’re under control.”

    “Uh-huh…” She took a step towards Samantha, watching to see if she would move or flinch. “They remember everything from Onyx, so what’s to say the chip has no effect and they haven’t turned on you people already?” She looked back at Milo. “It’s real strange how once he comes back and the doctor comes with him, Onyx found the Voyagers, don’t you all agree?”

    Her eyes danced between people before landing back on Samantha. “No, I don’t agree. The Voyagers have been in the same place for seven years, the scouts have been all around, there’s no way they would have been able to go much longer without being found.”

    “You’re really defending these people.” Leona balanced herself on her heels before spinning around, her eyes closed. “I guess you’re all just a waste of time then.” Once she opened her eyes, she found herself staring down the barrel of a gun. A slight panic arose out of her. “I have information you people want, just listen to me.”

    Marshal looked over the group, seeing their reactions to her statement. Most of them seemed curious of what she said. He looked back to Grady with a nod. “Don’t shoot, don’t lower.” Grady kept his eyes on Leona, but took the command. Marshal looked at Leona, the area in complete silence for a moment while she looked back with pleading eyes. “Talk. I don’t trust you enough to have him lower the gun, consider yourself lucky nobody’s shot yet.”

    She gave a hesitant nod, putting her hands up. “Onyx is working on more biological weapons. They consider Chelsea and Elizabeth’s gene to be a failure, so they’re working on producing new weapons in animals, rather than humans.”


    She nodded, trying to keep Grady from pulling the trigger. “They’ve kept it under wraps for years because they didn’t know what was going to happen with those two but after they got shot at the bad, they decided it would be easier to inject various animals at once. Nobody will know what is inflicted at that point and we’ll all face the same fate.”

    Marshal sighed, looking to Grady. “Drop it.” He looked back to Leona. “Find certain proof. I don’t trust you and I have no reason to trust you but from what I hear, you’re hardly a threat.”

    Grady lowered the gun and backed away from Leona. “She’s all talk, huh?”

    “She won’t take a shot herself because she can’t face being wrong. Instead, she commands other people when to shoot and lashes out at them in the case they’re wrong.”

    Leona narrowed her eyes, clenching her fists. “That sounds familiar, does it not?”

    “It sounds like you, I don’t know who else you’d be referring to.” James spoke up.

    “The first thing you tried to do was call a shot on us.” Milo joined in, his voice frustrated. “You gave us an ultimatum of bringing you here or getting killed.”

    Marshal looked to Chelsea and Elizabeth, knowing they were Leona’s actual problem. Chelsea seemed a bit concerned, as the rest of the group did, but she looked to be holding it together. Elizabeth gave a reassuring smile that he could see right through. “Like I said, bring some evidence next time you come around and consider yourself lucky.” Grady moved out of Leona’s way. “Leave.”

    A small smirk found its way onto her face. “Fine, I’ll go, but don’t expect me to give you any of my information.”

    Nobody moved until Leona had disappeared, it was then they knew they could take a deep breath. They split into their own groups after that, talking among each other.

    “I’m sure you don’t like me much, but you should know these people don’t have a leader worth a damn to follow.” Grady confronted Marshal once everyone has split off. “They’re all confused right now but once the confusion wears off, you better hope you have a grip on most of ‘em.”

    “And where do you stand on that?”

    “James already likes you guys, Francine and Greg are practically your people already, and I don’t really have anything against any of you.” He looked across the yard to Samantha. “Samantha’s nervous about bein’ with you guys. Vince don’t like any of you and he don’t like James for sticking up for Elizabeth, only difference between him and Horatio is that Horatio will barely tolerate James.”

    Before Marshal could respond, the scouts approached the two. They looked about each other before Milo started talking. “We’re sorry for bringing her here, it’s just-“

    “Don’t worry about it, she gave you guys a choice and you chose the option that benefits the group.” James looked to be taken by surprise by the interruption. “She would have had all of you killed and the only person that benefits is her. She’s not an ally, not even a potential ally, so steer clear of her.”

    “What about her group?” The group had settled down a bit, their initial panic and confusion turning to a search for answers.

    It was then he realized that no matter who said it or how many times they said it, there was a undeniable rift between Rocco’s people and the Voyagers. “The one thing we can all agree on is that there’s no reason one of her people should be around here. For now, we won’t be letting any of her people into the group, there’s no benefit to taking the risk.”

    Horatio nodded slightly but kept his silence. Samantha shifted her weight between her feet before looking down. “I know I said that there was a rift, but what about the people who don’t want to stay here?”

    Marshal shrugged. “It’s your choice, I don’t want to keep you here if you don’t want to be here. All I ask is that whoever decides to leave gives a warning in advance.”

    He looked back to the Voyagers, seeing that most of them seemed satisfied with what he was saying. Milo was an exception, but his reason was no secret. He just wanted the best for Elizabeth and Alyssa, a task that seemed difficult after Rocco.

    “It’s best we clean up the dining room and head to our rooms for the night. I understand it seems a little ridiculous to have someone tell you when to go to your rooms, but I want all of you to know that it’s in your best interests. The kids can back me up when I say this, Leona isn’t someone we want to piss off. We don’t want to engage her in areas where she’s most at ease, an area like this, because we hardly know the area like she does.”

    Lecia pulled Morgan closer to her, keeping her hands on the girl’s shoulders. “She’s not above using our weaknesses against us either.” She looked to Elizabeth for permission to continue. “The only people who knew that Elizabeth couldn’t swim before two days ago were the scouts. Only them. It was almost as if Leona knew it herself when she pushed us into the creek.”

    Elizabeth looked a bit embarrassed. “Nobody knew for five years and I don’t think it would have casually come in any recent conversation.”

    “We have no idea how long they’ve been watching us and what they know.”

    “But we know they’re willing to resort to cheap tactics to get rid of us.” Horatio crossed his arms, seeming to agree with what everyone else was saying. “From now on, we work with the Voyagers. So long as there’s a greater threat out there, we can’t be too picky.”

    After Horatio delivered his verdict, the group split up once more.

    While the kids helped their mothers clean up the dining hall, the scouts and Marshal tried to think of a way to fix their housing situation.

    “There’s some small beds in the condemned area, but that begs the question if we’re willing to go into there.” James saw the looks he was getting from the scouts. “It’s condemned for a reason, guys. The door is blocked off by rubble that fell as the building got over so unless you guys want to go through the windows, there’s no way in.”

    “I’m not sure, Chelsea and Elizabeth nearly took a door of it’s hinges the other day with just one shove.” Milo glanced towards Marshal. “Chelsea will do it if Elizabeth does it.”

    Cyrus frowned and sighed. “I still think it’s too risky. Nobody knows what limits their power holds and if they go overboard, we risk losing them and putting the group in a more unfortunate situation.”

    “Cyrus is right.” Filip added, but he still seemed unsure. “I don’t doubt what Alyssa was saying about the gene, it’s dangerous and a huge gamble.” He looked to Milo and Marshal. “If Chelsea really is leaving soon then we need to use it while we still can.”

    James and Cyrus shared a look before James spoke again. “What if one of them ends up weaponized because of it? There’s already been an effect on Chelsea and there’s no way we can know the effect of being pregnant with a child that carries the same gene, let alone how it’s going to affect her after she gives birth.”

    “Chelsea had already been using the gene before we even left the city.” Marshal sighed, finding himself leaning more towards keeping Elizabeth and Chelsea out of it. “We can figure it out by the end of the night without involving them. It’ll have a big effect on them and the actual building. For all we know, the doorframe is the only thing keeping the entire wall up.”

    Milo frowned. “If you say so, but this is your last chance to change your mind on it…”

    [Convince Chelsea and Elizabeth to help]
    [Leave Chelsea and Elizabeth out of it]
    [Let Chelsea and Elizabeth decide on their own]

  • [Let Chelsea and Elizabeth decide on their own]

    4.5 By dinner, things had calmed down. Kyle was normally one of the first people there because he had a pretty clear schedule and didn

  • [Leave Chelsea and Elizabeth out of it]

    See, I want to leave them out of this. While it might be fair to let them decide on their own, the thing is that I have the feeling they would decide to help. But this could cause way more problems if something unexcpected happens. Cyrus brought it up, they really don't know much about limits and risks of their powers yet and until this is clear, I think it is way too dangerous to have them help out, unless a situation absolutely cannot be resolved in any other way.

    4.5 By dinner, things had calmed down. Kyle was normally one of the first people there because he had a pretty clear schedule and didn

  • (!) Voting is closed!

    I consulted an online wheel to make the choice and it decided that Marshal will leave Chelsea and Elizabeth out of it.

    I didn’t leave this vote open too long because I had already started on the part not long after the previous one was posted. I did, however, go to the wheel earlier today and got that choice settled.

    This upcoming part is a lot shorter than usual and that’s just because I found a decent stopping point. There is no vote, either.

  • edited April 2018


    “Joseph, Eris, Ethan.” A man in a perfectly tailored suit with blond hair shook each of their hands as he addressed them. “Thank you all for agreeing to meet with me.”

    The three of them seemed a bit confused, even more so as Isaac took a seat next to Anthony, across from the three. “We weren’t really given much of a warning of what to expect. What do you need from us?”

    Anthony felt Isaac look over to him, almost as if it was a test. “Security cameras showed one of your own leaving you guys, I need to know the details of the conversation.”

    The woman across from him quickly took on a look of shock. “You mean Marshal? What happened with him?” She looked at the two men next to her. “We’ll tell you if you tell us why you need to know.”

    Isaac leaned forward, looking along the three. “Marshal, Elizabeth, and Chelsea are dead.”

    While it wasn’t the truth, Anthony knew what Isaac was trying to accomplish. “That and before he was caught, Marshal murdered a man and stole his stuff. We need to know how he got a weapon and what caused him to do it.”

    The three of them went silent, shock taking each of them over. “You’re sure they’re really gone?” Eris questioned, getting an affirmative nod from Isaac. “What happened to them?”

    Isaac cupped his hands, leaning forward. “You people have been given more than enough chances, even what we have you doing right now is generous for what you all deserve.” His eyes shot over to Ethan for a moment before he looked back to Eris. “We can attempt to forgive your previous allegiance and even try to help you reach towards a brighter future, but murder is something that we simply cannot forgive.”

    “Is that your way of telling that you killed him?” Joseph’s shock quickly turned to anger. “And what about Chelsea and Elizabeth? Did you kill them too just to set him off?”

    For once, Anthony saw Isaac look taken back for a minute before he composed himself once more. “Joseph, the issues behind us are in the past, but if you dare insinuate that I had anyone killed again, there’s going to be troubles for you.”

    Anthony saw Eris slip her hand into Joseph’s under the table, almost as a reminder of what he had left in the city. Joseph didn’t respond to Isaac, prompting Anthony to continue. “Chelsea and Elizabeth snuck out to a bar and a man there made some unprompted attempts at both of them and shot them both when they attempted to leave. He took their bodies and we’re still trying to locate them.”

    “That… doesn’t make sense.” Eris looked down, trying to hide her tears. “Elizabeth was pregnant and extremely against alcohol in the first place, why would she go to a bar?”

    “We don’t have answers for that, we can only tell you what the security tapes showed us and the witnesses told us.” Anthony started making notes on what they had said before and their reactions to certain statements. “Think about your last conversation with Marshal, what did he have to say?”

    The three looked to each other before Joseph took his hand away from Eris with a sigh. “He said he’d be back. He didn’t tell us anything about what he was planning.” He looked up to Anthony. “What about the man who murdered Chelsea and Elizabeth?”

    Isaac answered before Anthony got the chance. “He’s already dead. Marshal killed him.”

    Eris shot up out of her seat, wiping the tears from her eyes. “Four people died and none of them needed to. Isaac said murder was an unforgivable offense, why kill the man responsible for a justified killing of someone who murdered two people?”

    Isaac didn’t flinch as she slammed her hands on the table. “What Marshal Kennedy did was anything but lawful, we can’t have vigilantes acting on a whim of passion and if one does it and gets away with it, others will rise up and expect the same result.”

    “And what if someone like Luke Lowell did it? Would he get a pass because he’s an Onyx despite being so easy to upset that any word will cause him to get physical with someone?” Eris refused to look at either of the men with her, her eyes fixed on Isaac.

    “How did he get the gun, Eris?” Isaac stood, raising his voice. “The tapes showed that you stole a gun after your husband assaulted an Onyx officer. How do you explain that?”

    Joseph and Ethan shared a look before they both jumped out of their seats. They each grabbed hold of Eris and started for the door.

    Once they opened the door to find Luke on the other side, they all stopped.

    Isaac moved to stand closer to the three. “You can thank your friends for the situation you’ve been put in now, there’s no way any of you will resume a normal life.” He looked past them and to Luke. “Take Mr. Rikard, Anthony will get Mrs. Duke, and I’ll get Joseph.”

    Vincent Chalmers

    Vincent had been wandering the motel’s grounds since after dinner. He noticed more people had been falling in line with the Voyagers and while he couldn’t excuse what Rocco had done to the doctor, he couldn’t forgive what the Voyagers had caused by leaving.

    “I’m not changing my mind, Milo.” Leadership had been a mess since Pierre left. Most of the group was a bit confused as to who was leading after Rocco died since they knew Elizabeth wasn’t a permanent fix for the situation.

    He stumbled into the others by chance, the small group going silent when he came into their view. “What’s going on here?”

    Marshal looked him up and down, going quiet. “I understand you don’t like me, but I also know you’re quite the risk taker. I need your help.”

    “Why should I?” Vincent crossed his arms, looking over the group to see that the only person he really knew there was James. “How do I know this isn’t some setup?”

    “It’s to help Francine and Lecia, I don’t benefit from it at all, there’s your motivation to help.”

    Milo slipped past the two, a nervous look on his face. “I’ve got a feeling we should keep Alyssa on standby.”

    Vincent watched Milo walk away before turning back to Marshal. He had to admit, he was a bit curious as to what he had planned. “What is it?”

    He pointed to the top of the condemned building. “You can see a hole up there that came around once the building became as worn down as it is. We’re going to lower two people down with some rope so they can go in to get what we need. That’s going to be the easy part and I need someone capable of taking some dangers to go in with me.”

    James approached the two. “Are you sure it’s a good idea?”

    “No, I’m not.” Marshal shrugged. “It’s the best we have for now, though.” Even though he was talking to James, he continued looking at Vincent as if he knew they were questions he had. “Are you in or not?”

    “What’s with the rush?”

    “We’ve only got until they finish in the kitchen to get this done, otherwise it’ll have to wait until tomorrow. It’s more convenient for everyone if it gets done now.” There was something he wasn’t telling him. After spending nearly all his life with Samantha, Vincent learned how to see past the best barriers.

    Unlike Samantha, Vincent couldn’t push Marshal for answers. They weren’t that close and probably would never be. “Yeah, okay, I’m in.”

    Once Alyssa and Milo came back, Marshal sent James to get Horatio and waited for them to return. He explained the situation to Horatio and led them to the top of the building using half a ladder and objects that probably shouldn’t have been used as climbing gear.

    Vincent was a bit confused as to why Marshal would call for Horatio, someone who couldn’t stand to agree with him, instead of Grady, someone who seemed to be okay with him, but he put the thought out of his mind.

    Most people there tried to talk the two out of it, saying it was the stupidest way of handling the job. None of them were able to get through once their mind was made up.

    They tied themselves to a rope with the other five people working to lower them to the ground, all of them knowing that there would be a bit of damage but hoping for the least.

    Alyssa had also been tied to a rope but was only told to come down if she was called for. She, Horatio, and Milo had hold of Vincent while James, Cyrus, and Filip had hold of Marshal. “You only called for Horatio so the numbers would be even, right?”

    “That and he didn’t try to talk me out of this because he would rather me fail at it.” He looked at Horatio, seeing a smirk on his face. “But he wouldn’t sabotage it if you were down there too.”

    “That’s about the only good idea involving the whole situation.” Vincent rolled his eyes and got closer to the weathered part of the roof as the group gave all three of the ropes a quick test.

    After they finished testing the ropes, Filip told Marshal this would be his last chance to back out of it, to which he gave Vincent the chance to make the decision.

    Being so close to the edge was enough to make his heart race and while he wasn’t too confident in the ropes being able to hold, it was always the thrill of the adventure for him. “We’re doing this.”

    They waited for the rest of the group to get into position before they took the first step down themselves. They tried to stay in range of the wall so they could help with getting down and in the worst case, they had something to grab onto when the rope snapped.

    Once they passed the third floor walkway, Vincent looked over to see that Marshal wasn’t looking at his own rope, instead his vision had focused on Vincent’s. It made him a bit nervous and made him look at the rope as well. “Do we know how old these ropes are?”

    “They were in a storage shed, so they’re pretty old unless you guys brought them.” His eyes went wide for a minute. “Cyrus, don’t let go, no matter what’s about to happen. Alyssa, watch your footing!”

    Alyssa readjusted herself, giving Vincent a second to catch the nervous look on her face.

    Marshal sighed, shaking his head. “This was a terrible idea…”

    “It only took us being halfway there for you to realize that?”

    “In my defense, it sounded better in planning than having my wife and her friend break down the door.” He leaned back a bit, catching a look at the door on the first floor. “Judging by the look of the wall, it was still a better idea.”

    “You couldn’t think of a window or something? You had to-“

    Before Vincent could finish, he felt himself dropping quicker and heard a commotion on the roof as he rapidly approached the ground.

    The world started to move in slow motion.

    While their attention had drifted away, Alyssa had gotten closer to the edge and one pull sent her into the collapsed building. The commotion was Horatio letting go of Vincent’s rope to catch her rope. Vincent’s rapid decline was because Milo was the only one holding onto his rope at that point.

    He watched Marshal push himself off the wall and reach for the rope, just barely grabbing it. “James, help Milo!”

    “What do you mean help Milo?! She’s going to fall!” Vincent looked down, finding he stopped just above the second floor.

    “She’s going to fall either way, you’re closer to the ground and I have a better chance of catching her rope than yours if you start slipping again.” He sounded like he was struggling already. “Horatio, start lowering her. Cyrus, you make sure they both get out of this situation.”

    James moved to help Milo with Vincent’s rope, a wave of relief hitting him once he felt the two pulling the rope.

    He looked back to Alyssa, seeing Horatio lowering her towards Marshal. She had pure panic on her face but she looked as if she was trying to stick through with it. “I may have agreed to not tell Elizabeth earlier, but I’m taking it back. I hope you understand how stupid this was with only six people holding two grown men.”

    “You falling was not in the plan.” Marshal grabbed hold of Alyssa’s rope as she got closer. “Start lowering Vincent, hold Alyssa in place.”

    Her panic turned into nervousness. “Marshal, you need to let go of someone, your body can’t handle the pressure of our ropes pulling down and your rope standing still.”

    He went silent for a minute before looking down. He looked back up before hesitantly letting go of the ropes. “Filip, help Horatio.” Filip moved to grab hold of Alyssa’s rope, Cyrus now working to hold Marshal on his own. “Cyrus, let go of the rope.”

    “What?!” Vincent turned to Marshal to see he was completely serious. “If you fall from there, there’s an even chance that you’ll die or break your bones.”

    Alyssa looked down, a frown crossing her face. “Specifically your back or some ribs.” She pointed down. “There’s a railing to a walkway under him. No telling if it’s rotted enough to break once he hits it or sturdy enough to handle his weight.”

    “Cyrus, let go of the rope.” He cleared his throat. “I know what I’m doing, just let go.” The group on the roof looked to Cyrus, waiting for his decision. “You can’t hold on forever so let go of me and help them lower those two.”

    Cyrus whispered something as he let the rope slip through his hands, Marshal quickly disappearing from Vincent’s view with a crash as he hit the railing Alyssa had pointed out.

    Alyssa covered her mouth as she grabbed her rope with her free hand. The urge to look down was there for both of them, but neither could bring themself to do it.

  • Ahh... Leaving us with quite a literal cliffhanger there.

    4.6 “Joseph, Eris, Ethan.” A man in a perfectly tailored suit with blond hair shook each of their hands as he addressed them. “Thank you

  • Now that I think about it, a room full of organization members and two people getting lowered through a decayed building sounds like the setup to a really cold joke.

    Rest assured, the cliffhanger won’t last long! The time between parts will get shorter!

    Ahh... Leaving us with quite a literal cliffhanger there.

  • 4.7

    Most kids saw popularity as a contest, teenagers saw dating as gathering numbers, whoever with the highest number won whatever unspoken contest was going on.

    Long before she had a child, Dawn had told herself that she was going to raise whatever child she had in a way most parents didn’t.

    “Most people don’t value others in the way they should anymore and to start a trend, you’ve got to-“ She sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose. “Marshal, are you listening to me?”

    The boy looked around the room before shaking his head.

    Nobody told her it would be easy, though. Even if someone did, she would have called them a liar whenever Kyle went back to work, leaving her to handle the baby and work at the diner all on her own.

    She had tried to teach her son as soon as he started toddling. As much as she loved him, she had to admit that constantly repeating the same sentence to get it into his head got exhausting after the first what felt like a hundred times.

    She made it a point to have basic manners down by seven and proper behavior down by ten, which was cutting it close since she was the only actual active parent in her son’s life.

    Living the life he did, Marshal didn’t have to worry about friendships. Plenty of the other children claimed he acted robotic and cold, making just associating with him an offense.

    It didn’t bother him most of the time, though. He’d seen the way some kids treated others and he was usually glad to not be part of it.

    It wasn’t an issue to anyone until he was eleven.

    The year was the most important for children, as it determined their paths for the rest of their lives. It was also the year Marshal stopped wanting to go to school and drew further away from everyone he knew.

    “Do you want to go see Gramma this weekend?”


    That was constantly the answer, no matter the question. It drove Dawn and Kyle both mad.

    “What’s the issue?” One day, Dawn broke. She didn’t know if what made her break was the defiance or seeing her own son in the state he was. “If there’s something going on at school, you can tell us.”

    He looked between her and the car before sighing and climbing out of the car, taking himself into the building.

    Dawn sat there for a solid minute before resting her head on the steering wheel. “What am I doing wrong?” She took a deep breath. “He’ll be fine, Dawn, he always is and you know this.”

    It was that same day that Kyle and Dawn had both been called from work about an issue at the school.

    “Both of the boys are telling a different story and nobody else saw the incident, so we’ll need to look into camera records to figure out what really happened.” The principal had called both of them, along with another student’s parents to the school. “Until we figure out what actually happened, both of the boys are suspended. We’ll give you all a call whenever it’s settled.”

    The other set of parents and Dawn went to leave, but Kyle stayed in place. “Considering only one of them is in the hospital, it should be clear who did it.” Dawn turned back, keeping her silence. “Don’t worry about suspending Marshal, he’s not coming back when you decide to lift the suspension.”

    Kyle turned on his heel, leaving the office without another word. The principal looked at Dawn before shaking his head. “Mrs. Kennedy, I am sorry about what happened with your son, but I can’t make such a decision without proper evidence. It’s a serious accusation and it’ll be on the wrong record if I get it wrong.”

    She understood what it was that upset Kyle and in truth, it upset her too. “He’s right, I’ll be homeschooling until the next school year, which is when I’ll be enrolling him in a different school.”

    She left before the principal could respond, heading to the car. It was clear to her that Kyle was angry about the principal’s decision, behind his anger was a panic. They had no idea what condition their son was in, only that he had to be taken to the hospital because of what the other boy had done. The principal had told them what both of the boys had said, but they wanted to hear it from him himself.

    It was a situation they both dreaded. She told herself day after day that he would be fine and nothing would happen, which was normally the case, but she knew deep down that it would change one day and there was no way she could stop it because she was the one who unintentionally set it up.

    They were told to wait a few minutes before they could go back to the room. A few minutes turned into an hour, which didn’t do anything to ease their fears.

    After about an hour and a half, a nurse came into the lobby to get them. “I’m sorry for the wait, one of our doctors is out today and it’s taking a lot to pick up his workload on our already short staff.” She led them to a room close to the operating room and explained that he was in that room because he wasn’t dealing well with one of the medicines and the doctor wanted to keep an eye on him.

    She opened the door, letting them go in. The doctor stood next to the bed, working on the computer.

    Once he saw his parents, the boy immediately perked up, waving to them as they entered the room. The doctor looked over, giving the parents a nod to let them know they could come into the room. “Kyle, you just can’t stay away from the hospital, can you?”

    “I’d rather visit a hundred times with someone else than have my son be stuck up in one of these rooms.” Kyle stayed at the foot of the bed while Dawn moved in closer. “What can you tell us about it?”

    “He’s pretty lucky, anymore force could have resulted in something disastrous.” The doctor crossed his arms, staring at the boy. “He’s obsessed with trying to touch the wound no matter how many times I’ve told him not to do it. As for the situation, we only know what the school told us. He’s been pretty adamant on not telling us anything and has said the principal told him not to, but I feel most of what he’s saying and doing is a reaction to the medicines.”

    Dawn crouched next to the bed, immediately getting his attention. “How are you feeling?”

    He frowned once their eyes met. “They cut my hair.”

    She chuckled, trying to keep herself from getting upset about the situation, knowing it would only upset him. “They did me a favor, I was going to cut your hair this weekend either way.” She looked to Kyle and the doctor, waiting for a moment to talk. “When do you think he’ll be able to go home?”

    The doctor moved back to the computer, looking over what he had typed out and the records he’d gotten from the nurses. “He’s fine right now, but we want to keep him overnight to watch him. Some symptoms don’t start showing until at least six hours after the injury.”

    Following the doctor’s orders, Kyle stayed overnight.

    They had both left work early once again whenever the doctor called Kyle and told him it was safe for Marshal to go home.

    It was quiet for most of the day until dinner, which is when Kyle decided he wanted to know what happened. “Marshal, you’re going to have to tell us what happened so the school knows you didn’t do anything wrong.”

    He frowned, moving the food on his plate around. “Do I really have to?”

    “It would be helpful if you did.” Dawn knew how to get something out of Marshal and it wasn’t Kyle’s way of ordering him around. It was convincing him that he’d be helping by saying something.

    “Okay…” He set his fork down, refusing to look at either of his parents. “Toby asked me if I wanted to play with him after class and told me to meet him behind the school when I said yes. He wasn’t there when I showed up, so I waited around and I got hit on the head when I went to get on the bus. When I woke up in the ambulance, one of the teachers was asking me questions and I tried to answer them, then the principal told me to stop answering the questions and he told the teacher to stop asking the questions. The doctor tried to ask me what happened but I didn’t know if I could answer, so I told him what the principal told me.”

    Dawn looked over to Kyle, seeing a look on his face that she had never seen before. “Marshal, Toby used your trust and I hope you understand what he did was wrong.”

    He nodded. “Can I be excused?”

    He looked to Kyle for permission, only getting silence in return. “Kyle, he asked you a question.”

    Whatever was going on in Kyle’s head had completely changed his demeanor. “Go ahead.”

    Present day

    After Vincent and Samantha had been lowered into the building, the group on top of the roof agreed that Milo needed to go talk to Elizabeth and let her know what had happened. He waited a bit to see if they would come back to confirm or deny what everyone knew had happened but ultimately left after the group continued to push him to go.

    No matter how close he and Elizabeth were, he couldn’t think of a way to tell her that her husband was probably dead on his own order. It was something he couldn’t believe no matter how many times he repeated it in his head, not just because he was his sister’s husband but because he was once the closest friend Milo had.

    He went to the room with a feeling of dread that Elizabeth immediately picked up on. “I thought you were helping out with that thing for Francine and Lecia.”

    “I was, but I see you weren’t told much about it.”

    “Nope, I was only told to not wait up because it could take all night.” She smirked and shrugged.

    Milo took a deep breath, finding himself in a situation where he couldn’t look his own sister in the eyes. “Elizabeth, something happened. It all happened so fast and I don’t know where to start in explaining it, but we were trying to lower Vincent and Marshal into the abandoned building with a rope. Alyssa fell while they were still being lowered and Horatio was the only one holding onto her. Marshal told Cyrus to let him go and Cyrus said no, but he just kept pushing it.”

    She went silent, as if she was trying to process what he had told her. “Okay… what are you saying?”

    He could tell she knew, she just didn’t want to believe it. “Alyssa pointed out that he was above some railings and he still told Cyrus to let him go. The railing broke and we don’t see a way that he would have survived the fall after getting injured that way.”

    Milo saw a wave of emotions flood her face before she scoffed. “That’s not funny, Milo.”

    “It’s not a joke.”

    “Then you’re lying! Stop lying!” Milo put himself between her and the door once he realized she was going to try to leave as soon as the opportunity presented itself. It didn’t stop her from trying to push past him, though. “Milo, stop it! This is one of the stupidest things you’ve ever done! Are you that upset about everything that you’re actively trying to hurt me?”

    He saw tears building up in her eyes as her face grew red. It wasn’t in anger, though. It was sadness and denial, two feelings she’d have to live with from that moment on. “I’m not trying to hurt you, Elizabeth please just take my word for it. I’m not letting you go out there because I know you’re going to try to intervene in some way, but you need to understand that you can’t reverse a death that isn’t yours.”

    It was after that that she stopped trying to push past Milo. She broke out into tears after she stopped trying. Milo tried to reach out to her, only for her to push him away, a sudden look of anger in her eyes. “Why didn’t you do anything?” She took a few steps away from him, her anger quickly returning to sadness. “Why didn’t I do anything?”

    It took him a moment to realize it since she hadn’t stood still for one moment before then, but he saw her trembling, something he’d never seen his sister do before. “There was nothing you could have done, if you want someone to blame then blame me.”

    She collapsed on the bed and pointed to the door. “Please just leave, I can’t deal with you right now…”

    He stood in place for a minute before he took the order. He stayed outside the door for a few hours just to make sure she didn’t leave or try to do something she would later regret.

    Vincent Chalmers

    Vincent and Alyssa got lowered down to the second floor, both of them making a sprint for the stairs to the first floor as soon as their feet touched the ground.

    The first floor was said to be the most dangerous. Instead of debris from the roof falling onto the walkway of the other floors, most of it gathered on the first floor. The stairs were hardly reliable, wallpaper had been torn from the wall, and there was hardly any light going into the floor.

    Vincent reached the first floor before Alyssa did. He moved to walk along the wall and paused to listen. Alyssa mimicked his moves and they both froze next to the stairs.

    Silence greeted them before they heard a hum that they would have missed had they kept moving.

    Vincent started shuffling along the wall towards the hum, a rhythmic snapping soon coming to his ears.

    He looked up to find they were directly under the railing that Marshal had landed on when he fell, but Marshal himself wasn’t in sight.

    Alyssa snapped her fingers at Vincent, drawing him back from his thoughts.

    The two continued on until the humming and snapping stopped. Vincent went to move forward some more after the noises stopped until his shuffling was brought to a stop by something in the way.

    He crouched, Alyssa doing the same. He reached forward, only for his hand to be grabbed by someone else. Their hand was freezing. “Please don’t touch, it’s a lot worse than it looks, I can promise you that.”

    Alyssa moved to Vincent’s side, prompting him to take out his flashlight.

    He hesitated on pushing the button because he knew the voice was Marshal, he knew the circumstances weren’t good, and he knew the situation could only deteriorate from there.

    He took a deep breath before turning on the flashlight. The light was aimed at the ground, giving him a brief moment to prepare himself.

    He moved the light as far as he could, stopping once he saw blood. Marshal let go of Vincent, almost as if granting him permission to look further. He brought the light to his stomach, his own body going cold once he saw the problem.

    “You may have been right about it doing some damage,” Marshal took a breath. “but I’m not dead yet.”

    Alyssa looked on in shock for a moment. It was mortifying for Vincent to see a man impaled by wooden railing, but he couldn’t imagine how Alyssa was handling it. She and Marshal seemed to be friends, which would only put more pressure on the situation. “Alyssa, tell me what to do and go get help.”

    Marshal shook his head, directing his attention to Alyssa. “Can Chelsea and Elizabeth handle going back one more time?” She nodded. “Then the plan wasn’t a total failure…”

    Vincent noticed Marshal’s hands shaking while lying on the ground, his skin had gone pale. He didn’t have much time left. “What plan?”

    “Plan B, of course.” He tried to chuckle, his shortness of breath preventing him from doing so. “Halfway down, I realized we wouldn’t be able to get out once we got in…but for some weird reason, nothing gets moved around when they go back. The intention was to get down and unblock one of the doors.”

    Vincent looked at the railing piece. “Was that part of the plan?”

    He looked down at the piece himself, a frown coming over his face. “No, not really…”

    Alyssa got off the ground and dusted off her pants before hurrying away, catching Vincent’s attention. “What was that about?”

    “I feel like you’d have a similar reaction if one of your friends ended up in this same position.” He sighed. “Impaled, waiting to bleed out.”

    Vincent finally pried his eyes off the railing piece. “If I take it out, will you bleed out quicker?”

    “That would have been a question for the doctor, not me.” Marshal smirked. Even when he was trying to seem cheerful, it was clear that there was something going on in his head.

    “You’ll probably be gone in five or ten minutes at this rate, how are you feeling?”

    He went silent for a moment, his smirk fading. “Like I’m dying, I guess that’s the best way to put it… I’ve been put through plenty of physical pain for training but I’m not going to lie to you, it’s real painful.” He frowned, pushing himself against the wall. “I’m afraid something’s going to prevent Chelsea and Elizabeth from going back… that I’m not going to be there for my wife,” he scoffed. “my child, my father. My group…” In what little light Vincent could see Marshal’s face in, he saw tears building up in his eyes as he gave a weak laugh. “Probably should have thought of that before I told him to let go, huh?”

    As much as he wanted to ease Marshal’s fears, he had a point, something could easily go wrong in such a sensitive plan. Elizabeth wouldn’t need any convincing to go back, but Chelsea seemed to be skeptical once she was told more about the gene. “What do you want me to do if things don’t work out?”

    “Stop thinking there’s two different groups… that’s the idea that keeps us all from trusting each other.” He sounded a bit angry now, but Vincent couldn’t see his face anymore. “Help Cyrus and Horatio. Don’t let Elizabeth get forced into some position she doesn’t want or can’t handle.” He looked in Vincent’s direction. “There’s a lot of things you can do, it’s just a matter of if you’ll do them or not. You know what’s right, Vincent, so don’t let them down.”

    Vincent moved, taking a seat next to him. “You know, I always hated you guys for leaving the way you did. No goodbye, no letter, you guys just up and disappeared I swore I’d never forgive you guys for abandoning us after hearing what Rocco had to say about it.”

    “Have you ever heard of letting bygones be bygones? It should help you out now that you’re practically stuck with us.”

    He sighed, looking to the wall ahead of him. “I don’t know, after hearing about what Rocco tried to do to that lady, I don’t think you guys did anything wrong. I think it was all in his head.”

    “Glad to see you finally understand that Rocco was full of shit. First, you should probably learn their names and tell someone who’s going to survive the night.”

    Alyssa looked into the room before Vincent could respond. “Vincent, we need to get out of here. Horatio and Filip are being lowered in and I have a feeling Marshal doesn’t feel like keeping company in this state.” Vincent pushed himself off the wall and started into Alyssa’s direction before she walked past him. “Give me a minute, I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

    Lyla Richardson

    She had been told to do some testing on Eris to see if her sickness was still there and prevalent as the last time she’d seen her.

    “Is it still active in her?” Luke was the one to get the results from her because he was in charge of dealing with groups like the Voyagers.

    She nodded. “Apparently what they tried to treat her with only made it more aggressive. If it still runs like it used to and they all stayed in the bunker for a few minutes, then all of the Voyagers should have gotten in by now.”

    Luke crossed his arms, looking over the sheet Lyla had offerened. “You’ve got a record of the others from when they were here, right? What can you get from that?”

    “Confirmation that most of them are already afflicted. It’s not showing much Ethan or Marshal, likely because they didn’t much time in close contact with Eris, but it’s there.” She leaned back, looking away from the papers. “Hell, it’s in all of us already. The difference between the rest of us and Eris is that it’s out of control for her. I’m sure the Voyagers don’t know they have it, though.”

    “How could they know? Records were removed from the system to prevent anyone without authorization from finding out.”

    “Exactly. Eris is the only one who knows she’s infected but we can’t let Ethan and Joseph know, the Voyagers have been playing a risky game lately and if they find out about it, there’s no doubt they’d use it against us.’’ She turned to him. “The results stay between us and Isaac, am I understood?”

    Elizabeth Kennedy

    She knew Milo was still outside the room, she was just waiting for him to give up before she tried anything. Right now, her mind was more cluttered now than it had ever been. Who was going to tell Kyle? How would he take it? Where would they go from there?

    She stayed in bed, staring at the ceiling while she waited for Milo to leave, trying to gather herself.

    Before she could check if Milo had gone, she was hit with a sudden wave of sleepiness, despite fighting it all night. “You’re useless if you sleep now.” It was what she had tried to tell herself time and time again so she would stay awake.

    You’re more useful if you’re asleep. Don’t you trust me?’ Anytime she called herself useless, she heard the same response. A voice she knew, but just couldn’t place.

    It took her no time to fall asleep but when she did, she found herself in Karen’s garden once again. She looked down at the path and considered severing the connection just so she could be left alone for once.

    “Are you going to join us, Elizabeth?” Karen’s voice pulled her attention away from severing the connection, causing her to look up and see that the only people around were Karen and Chelsea.

    She gave a soft nod and started walking along the path until she reached Chelsea. “What are we doing here?”

    Karen put herself in front of the two women, folding her hands in front of her. “I want to help train you two while there’s still time. Elizabeth, I’ve noticed your sense of smell is your worst sense, Chelsea, yours is quite the opposite. You’ll be going into some deep memories of two Voyagers as one person where you’ll attempt to identify the Voyager based on your sense of smell. Keep in mind, the scent will come naturally and you might miss it if you constantly try to find it.”

    Chelsea looked to the ground, hiding her eyes from her mother’s gaze. “Won’t that drain us, though?”

    “It drains the one that leads the experience, which would be me in this case.” Karen smiled. “I’m glad you’re thinking about that.” The scene around them went dark but they still heard Karen’s voice. “You two are going to have to get used to sharing a body in case a situation like this ever arises. Determine who’ll be in control for this experience right now.”

    I’m the one who’s supposed to be looking for the scent, maybe it’s best that you take control for now.’ Elizabeth could tell it was Chelsea’s voice but now it sounded like her own thought.

    Once they agreed on it, they found themselves in a dark bedroom, the only light being the light the shined into the room from under the door. They took a minute to get used to having one body before they slipped out the bedroom, going into a hallway.

    “Hey lady, how’d you get in here?” The hallway led to a living room where five people had gathered. The one speaking was a man who quickly stood up once they met eyes. “Do you know what’s going on out there?”

    “No, I’m afraid I don’t.” Elizabeth raised their hands to prove they weren’t a threat. “Could you tell me where I am?”

    There were a few things that immediately stuck out to Chelsea. First, was the conflicting senses. She could hear a fire crackling nearby, but all she could smell was something rotting. She noticed that all five of the people were wearing masks over their noses and mouths. ‘Ask them about the masks.

    “You’re in our home and you’d better think of a way to explain why you’re here.” The man moved away from his people and closer to Elizabeth and Chelsea.

    Elizabeth nodded, putting their hands back down. “I’m just having trouble remembering. What are you wearing those masks for?”

    The room went silent with the exception of the fire until a little boy jumped out of his seat. “Papa says the air outside is bad and we’ll die if we smell it so we have to wear our masks to be safe!”

    The older woman next to him pulled him back into his seat. “Jojo, you’re not to talk with strangers, you know this!”

    He frowned, meeting eyes with Elizabeth and Chelsea. “But she’s already in the house, we can’t just send her out like she’s a stranger.”

    Jojo.. Does that sound familiar to you?

    No, not really. It could be short for Joseph, but he looks nothing like Joseph. Plus, Joseph was with Onyx until his late twenties.

    As Chelsea tried to think of another option, a scent hit her. It wasn’t difficult for her to pick it out from the scent of rot or fire.’*Vanilla. It would make sense for it to be Lecia because she works in the kitchen, right?”

    That must be Jonas then, her husband.

    The scene returned to Karen’s garden, the both of them immediately looking over their own bodies. “Very well done, you two.” They both looked up to Karen, seeing her bright smile that told them they had gotten the right answer. She looked at Elizabeth, her smile turning into a puzzled look. “Elizabeth, I want to challenge you.”

    “Huh? To what?”

    Karen moved to stop directly in front of Elizabeth. “I’m aware you’ve recently been hit with tragedy. You’re out of your game, so I want to challenge you to a third identification experience that you do on your own. If you get it right, I’ll give you the one thing you want the most. You won’t be drained from either of them. Think on it over this next experience.”

    Chelsea and Elizabeth were immediately thrown into the next experience.

    Chelsea could tell something was different with Elizabeth. ‘What was that about?

    She felt take a deep breath before Elizabeth responded. ‘I guess you didn’t know yet… Milo said there was an accident that Marshal was involved with and he’s dead. I don’t believe it, though.’ Elizabeth led them out of the room they had started off in, which told Chelsea that she was already done talking about it.

    The place looked like it belonged to an organization building. Chelsea quickly recognized it from pictures she had seen at her father’s desk. ‘This is the quarantine area. It’s where sick people get put.

    Common knowledge tells us who that is already.

    Elizabeth walked down the hall, looking in the glass of every door they passed. They stopped in front of one door that was partially cracked open with two people talking inside. “You know you’re not supposed to be in here. You’ll get infected and they’ll trace it back to me.” It was a woman’s voice.

    They heard a man scoff inside the room. “They can’t trace sickness to just one person, Diana, especially when multiple people have it.”

    “Maybe not the sickness, but you know they’ll check the cameras and see you coming into my cell.”

    “Then leave with me.” The man immediately responded to her, his voice filled with excitement. “Do you really want to spend the rest of your life alone in a cell because you got a sickness that you have no control over?”

    She went silent, a slight sigh escaping her. “No. How certain are you that we’ll survive out there?”

    “Beyond certain.” The man quickly crossed the room, swinging the door open. “All there needs to be is a yes from you.”

    They’re going to catch us.’ Even in thought, Chelsea sounded nervous.

    No they’re not.’ Elizabeth quickly spun back around, hurrying back the way they came. She ducked behind a corner when she realized they weren’t allowed to leave the building they started in.

    A few minutes after they hid, they heard two sets of feet running down the hall as fast as they could.

    They didn’t spot them, likely only looking out for guards in their endurance. As soon as they passed, the scent of honey greeted Chelsea, only confirming which she already suspected.

    I’m pretty sure we’ve both come to the conclusion that Diana is Eris, right?

    She’s never mentioned some alternate identity but she and Joseph did leave from here.

    Pretty ironic her scent is honey, if you ask me.

    Are you about to go on some tirade about how all Voyagers are murderers and it’s ironic because honey is super sweet?

    They heard a laugh and suddenly they found themselves separated again, back in Karen’s garden, seeing Karen herself in front of them with a bright smile on her face. “I don’t think that’s what she meant, Elizabeth.”

    Chelsea crossed her arms, a smirk coming over her face. “Would I be wrong, though?”

    “Maybe if you were talking about anyone but Eris.” Elizabeth responded with a half-hearted laugh.

    Karen’s smile faded, her face taking a darker look to it. “Elizabeth, are you ready for your solo task? You’re going to want as much time as you can get, which means starting as soon as you can.” She looked at Chelsea, her face lightening up. “Chelsea, you can head back now.”

    Chelsea looked to Elizabeth with an unsure look on her face before slightly waving to her and turning back to go to the garden’s entrance. “Good luck.”

    Elizabeth sighed, looking back at Karen. “I guess I’m ready.”

    This time was different from the other times. What happened with Chelsea was strange enough because they were both to enter a body at the same time, but Elizabeth had never felt what she did right then.

    After telling Karen she was ready, at the snap of Karen’s fingers, she felt herself leave her body, like she was being pulled away from the real world. Then, just as she thought it couldn’t get any worse, she collapsed.

    One by one, her senses slowly returned to her. Cold was the only thing she felt, bleach was what she smelled, darkness was all there was to see.

    She pushed herself off the ground and looked around. While she waited for her vision to return to normal, she noted that she was alone and sitting on a bathroom floor. She grabbed the sink’s counter and pulled herself up. Looking in the mirror showed her that she was in her own body, she just didn’t feel like it.

    She looked to the door directly next to her and reminded herself of what Karen had told her about wanting as much time as possible, leaving the bathroom once she gathered her thoughts.

    It was another house, but this one seemed familiar to her. She went down the hall to the living room, which was empty. Looking around, there were tons of pictures from different generations, different objects from different generations. It was definitely a family home.

    She went through the living room and stopped in a doorway that looked into the kitchen where one woman and one baby were in. The woman was a bit shorter than Elizabeth herself, her hair a solid black. She seemed to be baking something, a wide smile on her face while she did it.

    The baby in the bassinet by the woman didn’t look very old, less than three months if she had to guess. The bassinet was decorated in pink ribbons with little stuffed animals hanging from a mobile above it, which led Elizabeth to believe it was a baby girl.

    Elizabeth frowned looking on before she sighed, shaking her thoughts away. She put on a neutral face and slowly went into the kitchen. “Excuse me, could you maybe let me know where I am?”

    The woman looked up, her smile instantly fading as she met eyes with Elizabeth. “Who are you?” She moved to put herself in front of the bassinet as if to shield the baby. “I don’t mind explainin’ a few things to you, but you gotta explain some to me.”

    “I understand completely.” Elizabeth patted her pockets to show they were empty and then raised her hand. “My name is Elizabeth and please don’t ask me how I got here because I have no answer for that.”

    The woman’s face immediately lightened up and turned into a smile as if she knew Elizabeth. “I’m sorry for the hostility, it’s not often we get strangers around here. I’m Dawn.” She took a step away from the bassinet and waited for Elizabeth to get closer before saying anything else. “This is Persephone.”

    Elizabeth herself waited until she was a few feet away from Dawn to study her, using baby Persephone as the excuse to get closer. Even in a brighter light, Dawn’s hair still looked black, her eyes kind and gentle. Elizabeth knew Dawn’s features, but she didn’t know Dawn. She then looked to baby Persephone, seeing her hair was lighter than Dawn’s but her eyes were brown. “I’m guessing she took more after dad?”

    Dawn chuckled, putting a hand on her hip. “The eyes and the hair are just the beginning. Both of ours took his eye color but my son ended up getting my hair.” Dawn leaned in a bit closer. “Don’t tell him I said this, but I don’t think he could have pulled off blond hair either way.” She went back to the counter that was coated in flour. “Most everyone else is in the dining room, go ahead and get yourself acquainted.”

    It was only after Elizabeth looked into the dining room that she realized Dawn didn’t answer her question. In the dining room, there were two tables. The first table was mostly women, knitting or reading books and laughing along with each other. ‘Things really are traditional around here…’. At the other side of the room, there was a poker game going on at a table filled with older men and their alcoholic beverages.

    She felt a gentle hand on her shoulder before hearing Dawn again. She pointed at one of the women. “That’s my husband’s mother. Her name is Tabby and she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.” After that, she let go of Elizabeth and went back to the counter.

    Elizabeth moved quickly to the table, immediately catching the women’s attention. They stopped laughing and looked among each other before eyes stopped on Tabby.

    Tabby had curly hair that stopped before her shoulders and seemed to be really thin. Her eyes were brown, just as Persephone’s were. She squinted, looking Elizabeth up and down before doing some hand motion Elizabeth didn’t understand. “Are you gonna introduce yourself or are you gonna make the elder do it first?”

    “That’s Elizabeth!” Elizabeth placed the voice as Dawn once again, turning back to the doorway to see her wave with a spatula before walking off.

    Tabby looked a little surprise, slowly getting out of her seat. The entire room went silent as she cautiously approached Elizabeth. “Is that true?” Elizabeth nodded, sparking a giant smile to cross Tabby’s face as she hurried closer and hugged her. “Welcome, welcome!”

    There’s no doubt that woman in the kitchen was Dawn Kennedy, but how did she and Kyle’s mother know me? I’ve never met them in my life or any of my deaths.

    She hugged Tabby back, seeing the many faces in the dining room cheering up and returning to their activities. Once Tabby pulled away, she hobbled back to her seat and motioned to an empty chair. “Here, sit, join us for a little bit.”

    As soon as Elizabeth sat in the chair Tabby motioned to, all eyes turned to her. For once, she was at a loss for words and completely embarrassed. One of the women giggled, causing Elizabeth to look up and meet eyes with her. “After all we’ve been told about you, this sounds really unlike you.”

    Elizabeth nodded, a slight smile coming across her face. “It is, I’m not going to disagree. This feels a little strange to me, to be honest. You guys all know me, you know each other, you know where you are, and I know absolutely nothing about what’s going on.”

    The woman had light hair with brown eyes, exactly like Kyle. She looked to be in her mid-forties. “We’ll be spending lots of time together, so we might as well introduce ourselves. Penelope Kennedy, your husband’s aunt.” Penelope must have seen the sudden shock in Elizabeth’s eyes. “You do know you’re married, right?”

    Elizabeth nodded. “Of course, I just don’t know where my husband is.” Tabby and Penelope shared a look before they both got up, motioning for Elizabeth to follow them.

    Penelope had a hold of Tabby’s arm to hold her up while they walked. They passed the other table and ended up back in the living room. “He hasn’t been taking the being dead thing well and the only person he’s willing to talk to is Persephone, we just listen in because a baby can’t take notes on a conversation.”

    There was a slight whistle before Penelope and Tabby stopped, Elizabeth stopping a few feet behind them. Dawn left the kitchen with baby Persephone cradled in her arms. She stopped in front of Elizabeth and passed baby Persephone to her. “He’s unpredictable, but he’ll never be able to say no to his wife and baby sister.”

    Penelope nodded with another giggle. “She’s right.” She looked to Dawn as she walked back to the kitchen once again. “Thanks, Dawn!” Penelope looked down to baby Persephone, her eyes immediately going soft. “The best part of having in-laws is the cute babies they give you.”

    Tabby nudged her arm, her once joyful face going serious again. “Focus.”

    Penelope grabbed hold of Tabby’s arm again and led them down the hall once more, stopping at the end where three doors met, one of which being the bathroom Elizabeth started out in. She pointed at the door on the right. “He’s been staying in there for the past few hours. We don’t know if he’s angry, sad, sleeping, or dead again.” Tabby started walking the other way, pulling Penelope along with her. “You should probably handle this, we’ll be in the dining room.”

    Elizabeth waited until they were out of sight before lifting baby Persephone up to eye level with her. “You better be a team player, I’m too nervous to carry both of us.” The baby giggled, a toothless grin coming across her face. “I’ll take that as a ‘Yes! I’ll help!’ and thank you while I’m ahead.”

    She went back to cradling Persephone and took a deep breath, staring at the door. She knocked the best her shaky hands would allow. After a few seconds that felt like an eternity, the door opened. Pure silence stood between the two. She could tell he was looking her over. His eyes stopped on Persephone. “I see you’ve already met at least two people here.”

    She chuckled. “You’ve talked tons of times about how cool your mom was, but I really just thought it was because of the way your dad was.”

    He moved out of the doorway, allowing her her into the room then shutting the door behind her. “Sounds like you’re agreeing with me about how cool she is.” In a split second, he quickly moved to hold her, only giving her a little room because of Persephone. “Why are you here?”

    As much as she wanted to return the embrace, she knew she had to keep hold of Persephone. “Karen was training us again and she mentioned something I would do on my own, then sent me here. Why are you here?”

    She heard him sigh before he pulled away, a sad look on his face. “I’m here for the same reason everyone out there is. I died, that’s just about all I can say to answer that question.” He noticed her look down at Persephone. “She was the baby my mom was pregnant with. How the pregnancy progressed after my mom died and she stopped aging at three months, it’s a mystery to everyone here.”

    She looked back up, their eyes instantly meeting. “What Milo said about the abandoned building, it’s true then?” He nodded, waiting for her to go on. “Out there, they’ve been saying that you’re not talking to anyone but Persephone. Why are you doing that?”

    He reach to take Persephone from Elizabeth, holding the baby close once he got her. “Because babies don’t tell secrets. This one is especially secretive because she only babbles nonsense that nobody can decipher.”

    “You sound just like Penelope, you know that?” Elizabeth awkwardly put her hands to her sides, not knowing what to do with them now that she didn’t have the baby.

    “Give it another month and we’ll basically be carbon copies of each other.” He chuckled, the sadness that as once in his eyes slowly fading away. “Liz, I love that you’re here and I’m glad you get along well with my family, but you and I both know that you don’t belong here yet. They don’t know that.” He looked down at Persephone for a second before turning away from Elizabeth and going across the room.

    He continuing talking but she heard someone else’s voice. ‘Now’s the time to test the future. You couldn’t do it with Persephone in either of your arms because it’s two conflicting futures. Reach out to him again.

    “It’s strange, she apparently just doesn’t realize that she’s dead. She doesn’t need anything, but her brain thinks that she needs what every living person does.” She quickly realized he was talking about Persephone and she hadn’t missed much while she zoned out.

    “Is she the only kid here?” She could tell by his reaction that it was something he wasn’t supposed to talk about.

    He crossed his arms, avoiding her eyes as he looked around the room. “I’ve only been here a few more hours than you have, how do you expect me to know?”

    “Look me in the eyes and say that again.”

    He looked her in the eyes and frowned, uncrossing his arms. “I can’t say it again because it’s not true, I do know.” His frown faded as he went back to her side, reaching for her hand. “Just telling you about them wouldn’t do justice, though.”

    Elizabeth dodged his view for a moment. “It’ll have to wait until after this.” She grabbed his hand before he could question what she meant, both of their minds going blank while the scene around morphed to a completely different one.

    They looked around the moment, the room drastically different from the one they were just in. The only thing in the same place as before was the crib, which Elizabeth briefly looked into when she crossed the room to look out the window. “That’s not Persephone and I have no idea where we are.”

    “You planned this, how can you not know where we are? Whose baby is that?” While Elizabeth immediately looked around, Marshal stayed in place, clearly uncomfortable with the idea that they might be in someone else’s house. “I have to admit, this place is really nice. A bit too clean to belong to any of the Voyagers.”

    Elizabeth stood at the window for a few more seconds before spinning around, looking at the nightstand. “It’s in such a condition because it’s in the city, specifically in Dumont Estates.”

    “Alright no, come on, we’re leaving.” Marshal went to the door, knowing she would reluctantly follow him.

    On the other side of the door was a walkway that overlooked most of the house. They were both caught off guard for a moment until Marshal pointed out the stairs, leading her on. “There’s something really weird about this place… Don’t people usually put up pictures of their family?”

    “I’d settle for a child’s wall scribbles before I would agree on blank walls.” In truth, the blank walls made the home feel weird to her. Like it was hiding something.

    “Duly noted.” They stopped at the foot of the stairs, to the left was a kitchen where a young boy was seated, his attention on a paper in front of him.

    To the right was the front door. Marshal took Elizabeth’s hand and went to the right, but she stayed in place, her vision fixed on the boy in the kitchen. “Marshal, I know that kid, I just don’t know how.”

    He stopped, looking between her and the boy before he sighed, letting go of her hand. “And you think we should find out?”

    She nodded, sneaking into the kitchen and sliding into the chair across from the boy. He looked up at her, a bright smile crossing his face when their eyes met. “What’s your name?”

    “Whitlock Tobias Kennedy.” The boy’s smile remained as he looked back at his paper. “I think I’m a little too old to forget my name now.”

    “Who’s the baby upstairs?” Elizabeth continued questioning the boy while Marshal looked over the house.

    “Delilah.” He looked back up from his paper, his smile gone. “Are you okay?”

    She thought back to the first time she saw Whitlock through Karen’s training. He seemed a bit older now than he did the first time. “Yeah, I’m fine. What are you working on?” He slid the paper over to her. It was an article over Onyx and the Voyagers. “Hold on, I’m going to steal this from you for a minute.”

    She got out of her seat and left the kitchen, going back upstairs to the room they started out in. Marshal was there with the baby, but he looked a bit upset. He tried to hide it once he noticed Elizabeth was there. “What did you find out?”

    “Karen said this was time to test futures and apparently in this future, the Voyagers bested Onyx.” She moved to sit next to him on the bed, handing him the paper and taking the baby from him.

    He read over the article in silence until he put it to the side and laid down, covering his eyes. “None of this makes any sense.”

    Just as she went to respond, they heard the sound of Whitlock charging up the stairs before he looked into the room with a sense of urgency. “You guys are from the past, aren’t you?” He held up a journal. “Who died?”

    “What kind of question is that?” Marshal uncovered his eyes and sat back up.

    Whitlock opened the journal and flipped through the pages before heading to them and handing the journal to Marshal. “In every timeline, at least two people die. Who died?”

    “As far as we know, he’s the only person who died.” Elizabeth looked over to Marshal, then back to Whitlock. “Can you explain what you’re talking about?”

    Marshal gave the journal back to Whitlock, allowing the boy to flip to a different page. “There’s multiple timelines that people with our gene can switch through, it just takes a lot of energy. What month and year is it in your timeline?”

    “September 2189.”

    A pleased look comes across Whitlock’s face. “This is the right future then. Every timeline has a different future and so far you guys are part of the original timeline, which leads to this future. In this timeline, you choose to bring dad back and he leads the way Joseph intended him to, eventually convincing Pierre and Leona to help him to take over Onyx. Since you and Chelsea were friends, you were able to have her help you from inside Onyx.”

    Elizabeth found herself completely dumbfounded by what the boy was saying. He was treating it as if it was normal, completely different from the first time she’d seen him. “What do you mean if I choose to bring him back?”

    “I guess she didn’t tell you yet and I spoiled the surprise.” He frowned. “You get three options on who to bring back tonight. Dad, grandma, and aunt Persephone. This is one of the timelines where you bring him back, but because there’s thousands, maybe millions of timelines, this is the one you get to see. You’ll see other timelines with grandma and aunt Persephone later tonight.”

    Elizabeth looked over to Marshal, seeing he was just as shocked as she was, if not more. “What are the consequences to this timeline?”

    Whitlock flipped to a different page in his journal before looking back at them. “I can’t tell you guys. I can tell you that the personal results for this timeline include you guys having Delilah and working for a reformed Onyx. I don’t know about your friends, though.”

    Marshal looked like he was hesitating on asking something before he crossed his arms. “I can understand why I would talk to Pierre, but why would Leona get involved?”

    He switched to a different page and looked it up and down. “She’s responsible for at least two deaths now, she’s sneakier than any of the Voyagers, and she doesn’t understand it yet but she’s working to the same goal as you guys, she’s just really unlucky and has her moments. Your latest experiences with her ended up scaring her pretty bad and she’s not going to mess with you guys for a while.”

    “Afraid?” For some reason, Marshal didn’t seem too convinced in what Whitlock was saying, even though Elizabeth knew it to be true. “She doesn’t really seem like the type of person to become of things just because she had a confrontation.”

    Whitlock shrugged, shutting his journal. “I only know what you guys have told me in the past, so you really shouldn’t try believing me, but believing yourselves.”

    He moved to put the journal on the nightstand before going directly in front of them, holding out his hands palm first. Elizabeth knew the trick, she just didn’t know how well it would work in a fourth mind layer.

    Marshal waited to see if she would do anything and only reached out his hand when she seemed to be fine after putting her hand on one of Whitlock’s, leaving the other for Marshal.

    As expected, the scene changed right in front of their eyes, the only thing remaining being the baby in Elizabeth’s lap and Whitlock.

    Now they were outside on a bright day, the only thing around them being a few trees. Whitlock took his hands back, putting them to his side. “Mrs. Hampton told me I could show you guys one of my favorite places if I explained everything to you beforehand.” The boy went to the closest tree, pulling himself up on the lowest branch. “You guys didn’t really have a lot of time for me when you got closer to going for Onyx and for like a year afterwards. Once you finally became a little free, this is where you guys took me because you thought I had too much energy from being in the house all the time. It was my first time out of the house since we moved into it.’

    The two felt content just watching the boy play in the tree, the both of them easily being able to tell that this was the boy’s favorite place, just as he had said.

    Elizabeth could tell Marshal was finally having second thoughts about staying dead. He was trying to hide it, though. “I guess we actually did something right for some unruly street rats, huh?”

    He could tell she was trying to make conversation to distract him long enough to keep him from changing his mind again, but he was grateful for the attempt. “I’m still trying to figure out how desperate we have to be to go to Leona when all I’ve wanted to do so far was kill her.”

    “I guess some people really are willing to do anything to survive and both you and her are one of them.”

    Whitlock dropped from the tree, landing flat on his feet. “She’s right. Apparently it was a really bad time for both of your groups and working together was the only option.” He approached them, wrapping an arm around each of them. “Maybe I’ll be able to see you both again…”

    It was as if he knew they were running out of time

    As soon as they were placed into the memory, they were back to the original room. Whitlock and the baby had both disappeared, making Elizabeth move to the crib to see that it was Persephone in the crib.

    She turned to Marshal a slight sigh of relief. “Any thoughts?’

    He scoffed, sitting on the bed. “Too many. Apparently you’re supposed to have more of those with two other people, so you should probably go find them.”

    “I already found one of them.” She looked back at Persephone while holding onto the railing of the crib. “He said my options were you, Persephone, and your mom.’

    “Didn’t you already have Persephone alone and in your arms? Shouldn’t that have sparked something?”

    She shrugged. “I have no idea at this point. I was only told I could do that after you put Persephone up. Maybe she needs to have a clear mind like Chelsea and I do.” She paused. “How do you get a baby to clear her mind?”

    “You just hope she agrees with you at that moment.”

    Elizabeth looked down at Persephone, who had just woken up and likely slept the entire time she and Marshal were out of it. “Here goes nothing, I guess.”

    She took the baby in her arms and the scene changed once again.

    She looked around, noticing they were back at the motel. She looked down at Persephone to find she had disappeared, a sudden feeling of shock hitting her. “Don’t worry about it! You can’t really convince a baby to see the future, so you’ll be the only one seeing this.” It was Whitlock again, he was right by her side with the same bright smile as before. “Follow me.”

    He went forward to the room ahead of them, going straight through the wall. “You know, this is just really different from the last one, I don’t know about this anymore..”

    He reached back through the wall, grabbing her hand and pulling her through the wall as well. It was Kyle’s room, but it looked extremely different from when she had last seen it. Whitlock moved past the bed, looking into the bathroom. Elizabeth followed after him, seeing Kyle braiding a young girl’s blonde hair in front of the mirror. “That’s aunt Persephone right there!” Whitlock pointed to the mirror. “She’s like nine here.”

    “So that would mean this is eight years in the future at least.” Whitlock nodded. “The same as the last future we saw?”

    “Yep, exactly the same. All of the futures you’ve seen, are seeing, and are going to see happen at the exact same moment.” He crossed his arms. “In this future, you brought back Persephone at the end of the night. You guys didn’t get the upper hand on Onyx, but you still have the opportunity. Leona doesn’t exactly hate you guys but she’s only working with you guys because Greg has blackmail on her.” A slight frown came across his face. “I’m really happy here, but I know sometimes you’re not. You moved on and at this point, you’re considering a second baby with one of the most unlikely people.”

    “It’s probably because I feel old, isn’t it?” Whitlock nodded, laughing a bit. “Take notes, that’s not the best reason to have a baby. It’s not even a good reason.”

    “You asked me if I wanted a little brother or sister first if that changes anything.”

    She shook her head. “No, it really doesn’t.” The last look into the future told her that there were certain things Whitlock couldn’t tell her, which probably meant they were things she would rather not know. ‘How are the other Voyagers doing in this future? What about Chelsea?”

    He uncrossed his arms, looking away from Kyle and Persephone. “The Voyagers are doing well but supplies are always an issue. Chelsea went home and she’s doing really good for herself. She turned down special privileges for being Isaac’s daughter and worked her way up on her own and by now, she’s the lead programmer at Onyx.”

    Elizabeth got one last look at Persephone and Kyle, both of them seeming really happy. She faced Whitlock again. “Are you allowed to show me your favorite place in this future?”

    He seemed to perk up after the question. “In this future and the next one, I’m allowed to show you memories that I have that have lasted even farther than just the eight years. Before I do, though, I have to remind you that every future has a set of consequences, even if I can’t tell you what they are.”

    He then held out his hands facing palm first. She reached out without hesitation, the room soon changing to a different one in the motel. It was dark, which probably meant it was night time. The clock on the nightstand read 3:41, confirming Elizabeth’s suspected time.

    They could barely see somebody moving around in the dark before their eyes adjusted to the lighting. The person moving around was Whitlock himself. “Mom, are you awake?” He looked a bit younger in this scene than he did now, but older than the first time she’d seen him, which told her he was around six or seven. After shaking her awake, Elizabeth put a hand on his shoulder which told him that she was listening. “Can I sleep with you tonight?”

    They heard a sigh. “Why did you have to wait until four in the morning to ask if you knew you were going to ask anyways?” She moved over, letting him climb into the bed. “Next time just ask me when I tell you to get ready for bed.”

    She looked down to realize that Whitlock was still holding onto her hand as he watched the scene as well. She didn’t understand why it was important to him or even why it was his favorite, but she turned her attention back to the memory, hoping to see an answer soon.

    The room went silent until Elizabeth pulled Whitlock into a hug, giving him a kiss on the head. “I’m really proud of you, you know that, right? I know things have been difficult, but you’re what’s been keeping me going all this time. I hope I haven’t been too mean to you and if I have been, I need you to know that I didn’t mean it. I love you more than anything in this world and I would be devastated if anything happened to you and you didn’t know it. I’m going to work as hard as I can to make sure that the world you grow up in is far better than my own.”

    She felt him squeeze her hand before the memory ended. “No matter who you bring back, I promise you’re always going to have me. You already know who I want you to bring back, but I know you’re looking for more reasons than just what I want and I know you’re trying to look out for everyone.” He sighed. “Grandpa really likes having Persephone around and she’s a lot of fun, the group really likes her too.”

    Once he let go of her hand, she was sent back to the original room with baby Persephone in her arms. The two locked eyes for a minute before the baby lit up with a smile, wriggling around in her arms. She looked at the end to see that Marshal had left the room, which meant she would have to take Persephone back to Dawn herself.

    She left the room and shut the door behind her, going to the dining room to see that Marshal had joined Tabby and Penelope in what they had started after splitting up from the other tables.

    She went to the kitchen and carefully put Persephone into the bassinet before moving a chair to sit closer to where Dawn was working. “How are you gettin’ used to it here?”

    Elizabeth chuckled, she could tell that she was showing the exhaustion that she was feeling. “I’m not, actually. It’s been quite the ride and I’ve been here for like two hours.”

    “Hmm, well you’ll lose track of time once you realize it doesn’t matter here. There’s no such thing as holding your breath and timing it because you’re already dead, there’s nothing inside you telling you to catch your breath or you’ll die.” She put what she was working to the side and pulled up a chair next to Elizabeth. “I don’t know how you got him out, but thank you for doing it.”

    She could tell it was going to be a problem and extremely awkward to try and make contact with Dawn. She didn’t seem like Tabby, in the terms of hugging Elizabeth purely because she was married to Marshal.

    Dawn must have noticed the look on Elizabeth’s face as she suddenly looked a bit concerned herself. “Is something the matter?”

    Elizabeth put out her hands facing palm first, hoping it wouldn’t mess anything us but feeling it was the only way it could work. “I need to test something. This is going to sound weird, but put your hands on mine.”

    Dawn looked at Elizabeth’s hands and hesitated on raising them. “You’re right, it does sound weird. What could you need my hands to test?”

    “She hasn’t pulled any tricks yet, Dawn.” Penelope had come into the kitchen, going straight for the cupboard with cups. ‘Might as well trust her now if you’re going to trust her at all.”

    She looked at Penelope, unamused, before looking back to Elizabeth and putting her hands over Elizabeth’s.

    As soon as she did, they ended up back at the motel, Whitlock by Elizabeth’s side once again. “Welcome to the third timeline!” He bounced in front of them, turning in the middle of a jump to face them. “This is a future where the Voyagers remain where they are. Leona has no interest in helping you guys and no reason to, but she’s not a threat. In this future, like Persephone’s there’s always the chance you can bend it a little bit and change the favors to work for the Voyagers to try to make a change but it probably won’t happen in either of your lifetimes.”

    Dawn seemed petrified of what as happening in front of her. “Who’s that child?”

    Whitlock crossed his arms, his smile remaining. “Your grandson. Anyway, grandpa always ends up happy in this future, determined to make a change. The Voyagers are pretty happy and supplies aren’t really an issue.” He looked to Elizabeth with a frown. “This is the one future that you’re miserable in… You never move on, you don’t consider a second kid, and eventually you shut everyone but me and uncle Milo out.”

    “Maybe not that I know about it now.”

    His frown remained. “I wish that were the case. No matter who tells it to you, you never really believe it and you’re usually not willing to make a change.”

    He held out his hands the same way Elizabeth did, sparking an odd look from Dawn. Elizabeth put one of her hands on his, then looked to Dawn. “He’s only going to show you something that’s his favorite. It was his part of the bargain with the person behind this and after all he’s had to see through these timelines, I think he earned it.”

    Dawn gave a soft laugh before lightening up a little bit, putting her hand over Whitlock’s free one.

    The motel around them turned into the creek’s area, trees suddenly looming over them. “It’s a little cruel that this is your favorite place in this timeline, don’t you think?”

    He laughed a little bit before sitting next to the water, Dawn sitting down next to him. “What do you think of coming back, grandma?”

    Elizabeth saw a frown cross over her face before she looked into the water. “I think it’s a little too late for me. Maybe with someone else, they’ll be able to live a fuller life but not with me. I already lived my life and I’m happy where I am right now.”

    He gave her a puzzled look. “You’re happy being dead?”

    She nodded. “As bad as it sounds, I am. I have a sense of freedom now that I never had in my own life. If you’re wondering if I would come back, the answer is no. Especially not if it lands everyone in this future where more people are unhappy than they are happy.”

    As Dawn delivered her verdict, they were returned to the kitchen. Dawn left her chair and got back to work without a word.

    Elizabeth got up and left the kitchen, going into the dining room with everyone else. After he noticed she was around, Marshal went to her side. “You’re not sure what to do, right?” She shook her head. “Do whatever feels right to you. You know what everybody else wants, but think about yourself for a minute. What do you want?”

    “I don’t know what you want.”

    He sighed, grabbing her hand. ”I want you to be happy, I don’t care who it’s with. I would rather you bring back Persephone or my mom to give my dad a greater chance at being a better father or husband from the very start.’

    She nodded, giving him a quick hug. “I need to get going.”

    “Don’t worry about making the wrong choice because there is no wrong choice. None of us are going to be mad regardless of what you do, okay?” He let go of her with smile on his face. “Go on, you probably don’t want to be late.”

    She spun around, rushing out of the dining room and hurrying through the living room, shutting herself in the bathroom she started out in. “I’m ready, Karen.”

    She forced her eyes shut and only opened them once she was sure she was back in Karen’s garden. “You seem quite determined. What is your choice?”


  • ”Marshal.”
    This choice makes the most sense. It leads to the best timeline, and I don't want Marshal to stay dead. He is one of my favorite Voyagers, and according to the timeline is instrumental in causing the Voyagers to succeed. Bringing back Dawn or Persephone doesn't make that much sense. Persephone is a baby that doesn't know she is dead and Dawn has already said she is happier staying dead. Plus bringing one of them back would separate Dawn and her daughter Persephone. This was quite a long and intriguing part that expanded on Elizabeth and Chelsea's abilities. Also, apparently Eris's sickness is highly contagious. Maybe, Alyssa can find a cure if they find out there infected once the Vouagers reunite. Can't wait to find out what happens next.

    4.7 Most kids saw popularity as a contest, teenagers saw dating as gathering numbers, whoever with the highest number won whatever unspok

  • ”Marshal.”

    4.7 Most kids saw popularity as a contest, teenagers saw dating as gathering numbers, whoever with the highest number won whatever unspok

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