Voyagers of the Storm - An Interactive Story



  • (!) Voting is closed!

    Elizabeth will convince Karen to bring back Marshal.

    Now while this was said in the part itself, this choice will have some consequences, just as major as the other options would.

    I can’t really say much about this choice without spoiling the long term, so just know that the next part can be expected sometime soon!

  • edited April 2018


    Half past midnight, Milo had looked into Elizabeth’s room to see she had finally fallen asleep. He went back to the condemned building where Filip, Horatio, Vincent, and Alyssa had unblocked one of the doors and gotten out just a few minutes earlier.

    Alyssa was looking over the others who had gone in to make sure nobody else had gotten injured during the process. They hadn’t had much time to talk between what happened with Rocco, Leona’s surprise appearance, and going into the building. Part of him worried she might resent him for killing Rocco, knowing she was usually against killing for any reason.

    She normally put her job before anything else, meaning Milo would have to wait until she finished with the others before he could talk to her. It didn’t bother him, though, he would rather someone with a job as important as hers put their work first.

    Once she cleared the others and made sure they were okay, she slipped away from them, pulling Milo to the side. “Have you told her?” He nodded. “What about Kyle?”

    “I didn’t even think to tell Kyle, but I think it’s a little too late now. I’ll talk to him first thing in the morning.”

    She stayed silent for a moment, a look of sadness crossing her face while looking around the others. When she did speak, her voice had lowered significantly. “I need to talk to you in private, please follow me.” She turned away from the motel and started walking.

    The two of them went to the creek, keeping an eye out for Leona to make sure she wouldn’t be listening in on the conversation.

    Once they were sure they were in the clear, Alyssa took what seemed to be a breath of relief before sitting under a tree close to the water, prompting Milo to sit near her. “I’m worried about how things are going to go once Chelsea goes back home.” She crossed her arms. “They seem real close and I don’t mean to offend when I say this, but I don’t think Elizabeth can handle this all.”

    “All of what?”

    “She’s been in the city for five months, she just found out about the gene and that it’s going to pass to the child that she’s pregnant with, and her husband died the very same day he came back with two missing children. That’s not even mentioning the fact that the Voyagers don’t have a leader, what Rocco did, and what can be expected from Horatio and Leona’s groups.” She paused, uncrossing her arms. “We’re all in a bad place because no matter what group were up against, we’ll never have the upper hand. We need to be smarter if we’re going to make it.”

    She was right. As much as it hurt him to admit it, she was right. “How do you suggest we start bettering our odds?”

    She went silent, avoiding his eyes. “It’s not my suggestion. Vincent and Marshal talked before he…” She sighed, a frown now fixed on her face. “It’s better you talk to Vincent about what he said, I didn’t listen in on it because it wasn’t my place to be.”

    “I’ll do that.” After Milo gave his decision, Alyssa got up as if to excuse herself from the conversation. “Alyssa, wait a minute, I need to talk to you about something important.”

    She stopped and faced Milo. “What is it?”

    He got off the ground, brushing the dirt off of his pants before looking up to meet her eyes. “I wanted to say sorry to you. About what happened with Rocco.” He tried to pick up on what she was thinking, but she knew how to keep her negative emotions hidden to keep others from worrying. “I know your stance on violence and there were better ways I could have handled him, but in that moment, I wasn’t thinking about it. I-“

    He stopped when she gave a slight smile. “You don’t have to convince me that what you did was justified.” Her smile faded. “I was willing to give Rocco a chance after seeing the rest of you guys give him a chance when none of you wanted to, I even thought he was a good leader for a time because I trusted Pierre’s judgement. Rocco played all of us like we were fools. You’re right, there are different ways you could have handled him, but he was a danger to the group and I understand why you did it.”

    “How comfortable are you around his people?”

    She put her hands in her pockets and looked back at the water, a small smile forming on her face. “I think they’ve all got some good in them. Francine, James, and Samantha obviously know what Rocco did was wrong and they want to try and live the way the rest of us do. Vincent and Grady, I’m not really sure about those two if I’m being honest. Horatio may have been loyal to Rocco, but he could have let me die when I fell off the roof. I want to believe that they can all work with us instead of against us.”

    “I think we might have a better chance as a group once we all figure out where we stand.” Milo’s eyes followed the creek which went deeper into the woods. “Are you up for some exploring?”

    Her eyes followed his before she went to his side. “Only if you’re willing to answer some questions.”

    He started the walk alongside the creek, doing his best to watch their surroundings in the dark. “I thought Onyx already told you everything about me, what more could you possibly want to know?”

    “They told me things I might have needed to know to keep you contained, which obviously didn’t work, but I’d argue there’s still a lot for me to learn.” She stayed close behind him to stay safe, knowing they would defend each other if something happened.

    “What is it that you want to know?”

    She figured it would be best to start off simple but personal. “What’s something you want in your future”

    She was caught off guard by the immediate silence that greeted her. “Do you want what the Voyagers want to hear or what I really want?”

    “I want to know what you really want.”

    “For me, what the Voyagers want to do with Onyx isn’t one of my first priorities. It is for the others, but I don’t mind the place we’re in now and I don’t want to risk what we have now when we’ve already lost so much.” He paused for a minute. “I guess what I want is whatever makes the group happy.”

    “It explains why you put up with as much as you do.” She looked to her feet, trying to keep going. “I’ve heard a few rumors about you and some members of Rocco’s people. Which of them are true?”

    “That’s assuming I know any of them. I could just tell you my history with them.” He stopped walking and turned around to face her, Alyssa stopping right after him. “You already know what it was like with Rocco, but Horatio was always a more violent version of Cyrus. Marshal, James, and I would always play tricks on him because we knew he couldn’t catch us before we made it back to someone who would protect us. The one time he did catch us was the last time we ever played a joke on him. Francine never really liked me from the start, kind of like Grady. James and I were best friends until things started getting worse before the split, he would always do things with me that Elizabeth wouldn’t do because she was too afraid. There was a time before the split that Samantha and I had dated until I called it off and Vincent beat me up for it.”

    He started walking once again, Alyssa following behind him. “You haven’t said much about Elizabeth being pregnant, what are you thinking now that you know you’re going to have a niece or nephew?”

    “I’m pretty excited for it and I think it’s just what we need to boost morale around the motel.” A slight frown passed his face. “Though, things could have been done differently in that case as well.”

    “What do you think we should do about Joseph, Eris, and Ethan?”

    “I think we need to wait a bit before we make a move to get them. Chelsea needs to go home first, then we wait for them to lower their guard.” They stopped where the creek water tried to run through some rocks, making a slight waterfall. “It’ll take time, but I’m sure we’ll get it done.” He looked over to her after she yawned, a small smile on his face. “I take it you’re ready to go back?”

    She nodded, turning back and starting the walk back. “I didn’t realize I was this tired yet…”

    He held out a hand, stopping her from getting any farther. “It makes sense considering you do the most around here.” He moved in front of her, crouching with his back to her. “You might get back to your room quicker if you’re not dragging your feet.”

    “Are you offering to carry me?” He nodded, causing her to burst out in laughter. “That’s ridiculous.”

    “It’s efficient, thank you very much.”

    She rolled her eyes, climbing onto his back. “Fine, but only because I’m interested in seeing the world from a higher standpoint.”

    He waited until he knew he could safely get up again before he started back to the motel or responded. “I’m not even that much taller than you.”

    “But you’re tall enough to give me a better perspective.”

    “Yeah, whatever you say.”

    Elizabeth Kennedy

    “Bringing Marshal back would be the best for the group and our kid, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

    Karen studied over her before nodding. “Very well. As when you and Chelsea chose to reanimate in the present, he’ll deal with the same effects, but it’ll only be temporary.”

    The connection was cut, sending Elizabeth back to where she laid.

    She woke up and quickly got out of bed, heading for the door. It was still night out but Milo was gone, which she didn’t know whether that was good or bad just yet.

    Her best guess would be the condemned building, but she also barely understood how coming back to life worked despite doing it twice herself.

    She stopped by the condemned building, going in through the door Vincent and Alyssa unblocked.

    As she was walking in, someone else was attempting to walk out, both of them stopping in place. “Leona, what are you doing in here?”

    Leona pulled something out of her pocket and dropped it to the floor, putting her hands in the air. “I’m unarmed.” She did a slight spin around to prove it before kicking what she had dropped towards Elizabeth and lowering her hands. “I saw your people got this place opened and I’ve always been interested in what this place has to offer, so I thought I’d stop in.”

    She sighed, looking at what Leona had dropped, which was a knife. “Do you have a flashlight?”

    “Yes.” At the click of a button, a beam of light shined straight to the floor.

    “Pick up your knife, I need your help.”

    Leona slowly moved to take the knife and go to Elizabeth’s side. “What do you need help with?”

    “I’ve got reason to believe somebody’s in here, do you know anything about that?”

    Leona clicked the flashlight again, the light going off. “If that’s what you’re here for then consider the mystery solved. Your husband was here but he left once we ran into each other. Did you two get in a fight or something? He was acting pretty weird.”

    Leona moved past Elizabeth, her hand on the door handle. “No, he died.”

    “I feel like death was the least of his problems, but I don’t even know his name so I could be wrong.” Leona swung the door open, holding it open with her foot.

    “Thanks for not trying to kill me this time around.”

    “Sometimes just observing is the best course of action, that and it’s clear I’m not going to get it done with that girl around, so I’m still waiting on it.” Leona walked away without another word, the door slamming behind her.

    Elizabeth took a moment to put some distance between Leona and herself before she left the building as well.

    Grady was on watch duty, which was another setback for Elizabeth. She and Grady had always had a rocky relationship because they were complete opposites from each other and neither of them were willing to see things from the other’s perspective.

    “Grady, have you seen Marshal?”

    He wouldn’t even look at her, especially not after she stormed out on him. “Nope. Saw your brother though. You know he’s with the redhead?”

    “That’s not what I was asking, and no, I don’t know about his relationships.”

    “Hmmmm, I thought you’d’ve cared more about your brother, but some people never change and you’re one of the ones that don’t.”

    She sighed, crossing her arms. “You’ve got no clue what we went through after the split and you’ve got no idea what your actions caused other people.”

    “What my actions caused other people?” Grady turned around, a look of shock on his face. “You’re the reason the split happened in the first place. You couldn’t keep your mouth shut and because of that, Marshal took on Rocco. That’s what caused the split. Do you understand how your actions have consequences just like the rest of ours?”

    “Of course I do.”

    Grady looked her up and down before looking away from her. “You sure don’t act like it.”

    “And what about you?” Elizabeth took a few steps closer to him, noticing Leona didn’t get too far and was hiding out in a tree. “After what Rocco did to Alyssa, you never said a word about it. In fact, you let him get out of the dining room to do it. You were a distraction while Horatio got the bindings loose enough for him to get out himself.”

    He chuckled, turning around once again. “You had it figured out all this time, what kind of help are you to not say anything about it?” He was furious, just by being around her. “You're not doing anyone any good by hiding what you know, the only person it benefits is you because you’re staying out of conflict.”

    Marshal Kennedy

    After running into Leona for the first time that night, Marshal left the motel and went for a walk.

    By the time he returned, he found Leona hadn’t gone far from the grounds and had put herself in a tree.

    She stopped him before he went back. “There’s about to be a fight.”

    “Between who?”

    He could hear two voices but couldn’t tell who they belonged to. “Your wife and some guy with a silver streak in his hair.”

    “That could be two people, you’re going to have to be more specific.”

    “He used you’d’ve when he was talking earlier. It seems like he has a drawl.”

    “That’s Grady. He’s not too dangerous.”

    She jumped down from the tree and put an arm out before he could go. “He’s got something against her and you’re part of the problem, it might not be a good idea for you to get involved.”

    “Are you suggesting that I let you handle this?”

    She nodded. “Yep. Let me handle this and he won’t step out of line again, it’s a promise.”

    [Let Leona handle it]
    [Keep Leona out of it]

  • [Keep Leona out of it]
    I think Marshal might be able to handle it. Plus, I think his appearance alone would calm Elizabeth down after everything she's gone through recently.

    4.8 Half past midnight, Milo had looked into Elizabeth’s room to see she had finally fallen asleep. He went back to the condemned buildin

  • I forgot to ask something. Who would Elizabeth consider being in a relationship with if we brought back Persephone instead of Marshal?

    [Keep Leona out of it] I think Marshal might be able to handle it. Plus, I think his appearance alone would calm Elizabeth down after everything she's gone through recently.

  • That’s something I kind of forgot to explain, so thank you for reminding me!

    At first, she wouldn’t have picked anybody and attempted raising her son on her own. Once she figured out she wouldn’t be able to do it alone, she would take some help from Horatio that would eventually progress into a relationship.

    I forgot to ask something. Who would Elizabeth consider being in a relationship with if we brought back Persephone instead of Marshal?

  • Wow, that would have been a very unexpected relationship. Especially, since they are currently at odds with each other.

    That’s something I kind of forgot to explain, so thank you for reminding me! At first, she wouldn’t have picked anybody and attempted rai

  • There’s some major differences in all of the timelines but Horatio and most of Rocco’s people, Leona and the Hunters, and occasionally some people in the city are all able to change for better or worse based on choices and so far, Horatio hasn’t really been given a reason to go further against the Voyagers. Time will tell, though!

    Wow, that would have been a very unexpected relationship. Especially, since they are currently at odds with each other.

  • [Keep Leona out of it]

    I really liked Milo and Allysa interaction.

    4.8 Half past midnight, Milo had looked into Elizabeth’s room to see she had finally fallen asleep. He went back to the condemned buildin

  • (!) Voting is closed!

    Marshal won't let Leona intervene.

    I wanted to go ahead and let you guys know about a little change in plans I've made. Chapter five is no longer going to Onyx reliant like I've previously said. Instead, it's going to focus on something major that'll be explained in the next part which is going to take plenty of time in the story. I'll expand more on it after the part is posted to avoid spoiling anything.

    Now, as for this choice, neither of them would have been better than the other. Had Leona stepped in, she definitely would have kept her word of Grady not stepping out of line again by using force, though she wouldn't have actually hurt him. Elizabeth would appreciate Leona stepping and the pair's relationship wouldn't be as negative as it is now. However, the group wouldn't be so certain about Marshal's leadership and a few would even upset about it after finding out he allowed Leona to step in. The choice chosen is going to give Marshal the opportunity to become more comfortable in his position, which he's going to need.

    The next part with a better explanation for future plans should be out within the day unless a distraction comes around, which is pretty unlikely in the current moment. Until then!

  • 4.9

    “You’ve been here since we were with Rocco, I’m sure you can understand where we both failed.” Not long after Joseph and Cyrus agreed on Marshal becoming the new leader, Joseph had started to try to offer guidance to him whenever he could. “Rocco failed because he was driven by lust, it clouded his entire perspective. I failed because I put Eris first and because I constantly thought of her, I was too afraid to take risks of my own. You can’t properly lead people if you’re separated from them and have no idea what they’re doing.”

    “Can’t you fix it now that you know it’s a problem?”

    “I would if I could, trust me.” Joseph sighed, taking a seat next to Marshal. “Because of the reliance the people here built on me, I can’t do much. I wish I could change the way this group is going, but I’m afraid it’s too late for me to change direction without some consequences. There’s nothing holding you back, though.”

    “What do you have in mind?”

    “Once you gain leadership, I want you to do better than I did. Don’t bother telling me you can’t, because I know you can.” Joseph showed him the contents of a notebook, showing him a plan he had made long before he lost his chance to do it. “If you decide to do this, you’ll be going to every state that Onyx controls, spending a week in each state and a day in seven cities and towns. You’re going to have a group with you and start rallies while you’re in each city or town. Eventually somebody’s going to tip off Onyx, it’s inevitable, you’re going to have to avoid whoever they send. You won’t be able to keep in contact with whoever you leave behind, which is why I haven’t been able to do it.”

    “Fifty weeks, that’s eleven and a half months. How am I going to convince an entire group to up and leave for nearly an entire year?”

    “You’re not going to convince them. You might not like it and they surely won’t either, but you’re going to have to make them go.” He frowned, shutting the notebook. “Milo won’t want to leave Elizabeth and vice versa, but let it be a lesson about taking chances to them.”

    Present day

    Marshal thought over Leona’s offer for a second before shaking his head. “No thanks. I think I’ve already told you that I don’t want you around my group, whatever your plan was is included in that.”

    She crossed her arms. “Fair enough.” She uncrossed her arms, stretching out to grab a tree limb. “Good luck.”

    Leona’s offer already cost him some time, but he knew Elizabeth wasn’t going to be much of a problem once he showed up. Whatever happened between the two was personal and he’d been told that there was an issue when he talked with Alyssa.

    Grady’s back was to him and once Elizabeth locked eyes with Marshal, she didn’t seem happy to see him, she seemed angry. “You were his best friend, you deal with him.”

    Grady turned and glanced at Marshal before turning back to Elizabeth. “Am I going to have to tell him what you know? You’re already in the conflict, you might as well stop hiding everything you know.”

    “Don’t you think that I’m hiding it for a reason?”

    As he got closer, Marshal could smell the alcohol on Grady. “Elizabeth, leave him alone, he’s drunk.”

    “You want me to leave him alone when he’s the one who decided to be confrontational in the first place?”

    “Yeah, I do and I’ll tell you why later.” Marshal stopped between them. “Grady, I have no idea who put you on watch duty when you’re completely plastered, but you need to go to bed.”

    Grady looked between the two, fixing his eyes on Marshal. “Listen, I don’t particularly care much what your opinion on me is, but you need to get her to confess. She knows how Rocco got loose.”

    Marshal looked over to Elizabeth, seeing a guilty look on her face before she turned back to the motel, going her own way. He turned to Grady to see Grady had already started heading back to his own room.

    “Your tactic is to just let them act out?” The same woman he’d tried to send off at least two times in the same day came back once again. “I was a bit interested to see how you would handle it because I’ve never really seen you as a leader and I gotta say, you need help.”

    “Did you show up again just to ridicule me? If it isn’t evident, I’ve got some stuff to work out.”

    As Marshal went to walk away, Leona sprinted in front of him, stopping in his way. “What is your plan? Do you even have a plan?”

    “I do but Leona, I need you to understand that right now my first priority isn’t solving whatever issues Grady and Elizabeth have, they’re going to act out either way. I know Elizabeth and Grady both, they’re always going to challenge each other and make things personal, it’s part of why they don’t like each other. I couldn’t fix that if I focused my entire life on it.”

    She didn’t move. “I’ve got no idea what your people get into, but if I’ve heard right, your wife is pregnant. If she wasn’t reason enough to fix that problem, think about your kid.”

    “What do you mean problem?”

    “You didn’t hear what I heard.” She seemed to ease up once she realized he wasn’t going to walk away from her. “Before you and the kids showed up, they had Rocco handled here. At one point, he got loose from dinner and tried to get hold of the doctor. Grady admitted that he distracted the Voyagers while Horatio loosened the bindings and Elizabeth knew.”

    “I don’t see how that’s connected to her issues with Grady.” Marshal stepped to the side, going past Leona. “I’ll handle it. Don’t you have your own group to worry about?”

    She smirked, putting a hand on her hip. “They’re not at each other’s throats all the time, it’s not nearly as entertaining.”

    “I figured most of them were dead after our last run in, let me know how many more I have to take out to get a point through to you.” Oddly enough, having Leona around now wasn’t as stress inducing as it had been earlier. “Wait a minute.” He stopped walking and faced her, waiting until she faced him. “What are you afraid of, Leona?”

    Her smirk faded before she scoffed. “As if I’d tell you. You seem to forget that it’s my trust you should be earning right now.”

    “You can’t forget what you didn’t know. I’m almost certain I was the one who told you to bring me proof of that outlandish claim of yours.”

    “Why do you care about my fears?” She crossed her arms, staying in place when he expected her to leave.

    “I consider fear to be the biggest motivation, everybody has some fears whether they admit it or not.” Marshal stopped and looked her in the eyes. “I guess what I’m actually trying to ask is what your motivation is.”

    She uncrossed her arms and looked as if she were actually considering telling. “I’ll tell you when you tell me how you’re not dead after your wife said you died.”

    “I’ll have to get back to you on that, I’m really not even sure of how it happened myself.”

    She looked to be more easy going now than she was earlier until she waved a hand in the air and walked away.

    He stood in place for a moment, whatever levity that was there quickly dying down as he came to the realization he’d have to tell Elizabeth about the trip. He knew she wasn’t going to like it because of the baby and she was going to like it even less when she found out the only reason she couldn’t go was the pregnancy.

    He hated to leave, despised the idea of anything happening to Elizabeth while he was gone and knowing he was going to have to miss the birth of his first born was something that he knew he was going to have to accept if he wanted to get anything done.

    Staying wasn’t an option. No matter how many alternate ideas crossed his mind, he knew that was exactly what happened to Joseph. Joseph put Eris first and lost his grip on leading the group. He had heard it time and time again and it was only after he and Elizabeth started seeing each other that he realized it was going to be difficult to keep from making the same mistake.

    It’s why he tried putting as much distance between them as he could.

    He tried staying away, he tried being rude at the hopes she would stay away, but it only taught him that she was more than persistent.

    Back in the city and after everything they had been through together, he wanted to tell her about the deal and Joseph’s plan. There had even been times he wanted to tell Milo, but the fear of losing everything he had worked for before he even had it was what prevented him from telling.

    “Marshal?” He shook his head, bringing himself back to where he stood. “Marshal.” He looked to the source of the voice, finding Elizabeth leaning over the railing to the second floor walkway. “Are you planning on sleeping anytime soon? You’ve done quite a bit since you’ve left the city and if I’m right, you have a lot to deal with tomorrow.”

    He nodded, causing a small smile to cross her face before she turned and went into the room she stood in front of, leaving the door partially open for him. He went upstairs, moving as quietly as he could out of caution of waking people in nearby rooms.

    She greeted him with a bright smile, which told him that she was already over what had happened with Grady. She waited until he shut the door before saying anything. “I know you told me not to bring you back and I know you didn’t want me to, but I really think it’s for the best.”

    “I need to talk to you about that.” He moved to sit at the foot of the bed, waiting for her to sit next to him before he went on. “I need to leave as soon as next week.” Her smile immediately faded and turned into a look of sadness that she quickly tried to hide. “You remember how he mentioned Joseph’s leadership plan last night?” She nodded. “His plan was to gather a small group and go to a number of places in every state over the course of a week per state and start rallies to better our odds. It’s eleven and a half months, but I can’t put it off, that’s how Joseph lost everything and I’m not prepared to do the same.”

    She frowned, a somber sigh escaping her. “Who are you going to take and how are you going to get them to go?”

    “Cyrus, Vincent, Samantha, Milo, and there’s two others that I haven’t decided on.”

    “Who are the other two options?”

    “Alyssa or Horatio.” While he had told her it was something he hadn’t made up his mind about, it wasn’t going to be his decision. It was going to be Alyssa’s input that decided who he brought along. “Alyssa’s been through Onyx’s best training and as a former member, she knows how people from Onyx have been instructed to deal with things like rallies and can help us avoid them or, worse comes to worst, she could save a life. Horatio has a basic, if not better than basic understanding of medical things too. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s the one who delivered Gregory.”

    She nodded, slowly looking away from him. It told him that she understood that he had to do it, she just didn’t want him to. “And what about things here? How are we going to scavenge if you’re taking most of the experienced scouts?”

    “I’m not. Filip and James are going to stay, scouting and scavenging is something that can be done with two people and probably work out better in smaller numbers. Francine and Lecia are going to be here to help you through the pregnancy.” He could tell she was looking for a way to convince him to stay without directly saying she wanted him to stay. “Leona isn’t going to be an issue and Onyx is going to be focusing more on the group that goes out once they find out about it.”

    She went quiet for a moment and her face turned slightly red before she took a deep breath, feigning a smile. “Okay.”


    “I can’t talk you out of it because it’s the right thing to do.” She stood, hiding her face as if she had been embarrassed by something. “I need to get something to eat, don’t wait up for me.”

    She left the room in a hurry, leaving him there on his own. ‘She just wants some space and I think she’s earned it after tonight.

    He took her leave as time to shower, which he would admit that he needed after being out of the city for four days now. Back in the city, there were plenty of comments about the Voyagers and how they must lack personal hygiene because they didn’t live in the city. It was one of the things Marshal took personally that he wouldn’t tell anybody about.

    Milo was the first one to learn about Marshal’s intolerance to any sort of messes. It was how he was raised and he had constantly been told that it was one of the habits he shouldn’t replace as he got older.

    Elizabeth, on the other hand, had never been a too worried about keeping things clean, especially since she worked in the lab and with all the sensitive documents she had, just one missing page could be enough to set back months of work. Instead, she learned to live with the mess she created and make it work out for her.

    He ended up falling asleep once he changed after the shower, which wasn’t in his plans. Elizabeth had told him not to wait up, but he at least wanted to know she made it back into the room okay.

    Alyssa Kowalska

    Most people in the motel woke up around and hour before their day normally started. For Francine and Lecia, they were awake at six and in the kitchen at seven. Alyssa’s situation was a bit different because somebody could get hurt or sick at any moment, so she was encouraged to get sleep whenever she could.

    It was one of those things that was easier said than done. Since she left the city, there had been few nights that she would sleep through completely. They were usually following nights where she didn’t get any sleep.

    She had spent most of the day with Morgan after Lecia mentioned that Morgan had always had an interest in taking care of people’s health.

    After lunch, Milo met up with her, something clearly on his mind. “The gene Chelsea and Elizabeth have, can it bring back people besides them without causing a disruption in time?”

    “I don’t think it can bring people other than them back at all.” She noticed his nerves didn’t ease. “Why do you ask?”

    “Are you certain Marshal died last night?”

    She nodded. “Yes, Vincent found him and stayed with him until I was able to say with absolute certainty that he was dead. I know how to do my job, Milo.”

    “I know you do and I trust your opinion, but Marshal’s not dead. I saw him this morning and put it off as a coincidence but since then, I’ve seen him at least four more times.”

    “Do you think anybody else saw him?”

    “Of course.” He sounded stressed out. “He talked to Samantha the first time I saw him and Horatio, Cyrus, Kyle, and Vincent were around the next few times I saw him.”

    “Did Vincent react in any way?”

    He paused, his panic slowing down for the moment. “I don’t recall. I’m not crazy, I know what I saw.”

    “I’m not saying I don’t believe you, but I want to talk to the others before I say anything else.” Vincent was the one of the two people she decided to go to because he’d seen more than what Alyssa saw the night before. “I’m going to walk around for a bit and see who I can find. Do you want to come with and clear your mind?”

    “Yeah, sure.” While she tried picking up on what his voice told her, rather than his words, she heard a bit of drowsiness. He didn’t sleep much in the city and Elizabeth mentioned before that he didn’t sleep for too long because he was so used to being on high alert.

    Alyssa took a moment to convince herself that he was just tired and still in shock before they left the dining room, heading to the courtyard.

    Vincent and Samantha usually stayed in the courtyard because of the garden, which Samantha had taken to tending to. Vincent stayed with her because he wasn’t particularly close to anyone else and only took guard duty every Sunday.

    She stopped once they found the part of the garden Samantha was working in, finding she was working on her own today. She didn’t seem bothered, even almost at peace.

    Alyssa took a deep breath, the sweetness of the flowers growing around her quickly taking her over and relieving some of her stress. She approached Samantha, Milo staying by her side. “Samantha, I had a few questions for you.”

    Samantha looked up, squinting to see without the sun getting in her eyes. “Oh, sure.” She got off the ground, a smile on her face. “What do you need?”

    “Have you seen Marshal today?”

    “I talked to him during breakfast, he was talking about a plan to keep Leona away for a super specific amount of time. He wanted my opinion on it, but I’m not really completely against having her around.” She looked back to the flowers she had just been working on planting. “You know how if you leave a spider to weave a web, it catches flies and mosquitoes? I feel it’s similar to that. Leona seems to know plenty about Onyx and since her goal is to become the leader of the Voyagers and Onyx both, I don’t think she’d let us get raided.”

    Milo crossed his arms, a sour look on his face. “You’re right about her being a spider, just not a harmless house spider.”

    “Then let’s just agree to disagree and drop it.” Samantha shrugged, getting back on the ground to start working on the garden again. “By the way, Vinnie was looking for you two earlier. He gave up and went to talk to Horatio.”

    Alyssa spun on her heel, a slight sense of dread coming over her. Milo quickly followed behind her. “Do you think James would know where Horatio is?”

    “Probably. We should just ask him since Horatio makes it a mission to avoid most of us.”

    They stopped to look around once they made it out of the courtyard.

    Alyssa locked eyes with Leona, who wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the motel. She motioned Alyssa over before ducking behind a bush.

    Milo led Alyssa to the bush, letting her know that he’d also seen her.

    Once they reached the bush, she jumped back up to be eye level with them. “You two are looking for something, what is it?”

    Milo and Alyssa shared a look of uneasiness before Alyssa crossed her arms and looked back at Leona. “We’re looking for Horatio. Have you seen him?”

    “Which one is he?”

    Alyssa looked over at Milo, holding a hand next to his shoulder. “About this high, brown hair with a silver streak.”

    “Not Grady?”

    “Yeah, not Grady, Horatio.” Alyssa heard Milo trying to stifle a laugh while she tried to explain it to Leona.”

    She did look like she understood, though. “He’s looking for you guys too.”

    “Do you know who’s with him?”

    She nodded. “Yep, most of the scouts from the Voyagers, the pacifist, and the guy who could probably kill somebody with a look.”

    Milo pulled Alyssa away, immediately cracking a laugh once they got away from Leona. “I’m guessing the pacifist is James and the other one is Vincent.”

    A shrill whistle rang out through the area, making them stop in place. Filip waved them over from in front of one of the rooms. He stayed in front of the doorway until they got there, letting them in the room and shutting the door behind them.

    Horatio, Vincent, James, Cyrus, and Filip were all in the room. The same people from the night before.

    Alyssa looked over them, taking in their looks of confusion, concern, and even fear. She noticed Milo’s smile faded as well. “What’s going on?”

    James crossed his arms, giving a nasty look to Horatio. “I’d like to know as well. I’m supposed to be on guard duty today and I don’t have much time to waste.”

    Cyrus seemed to be studying Filip, Alyssa, and James. The room went silent until he spoke up. “You three didn’t see him, did you?”

    “See who?” Filip must have been the third person Cyrus was talking about.

    “Marshal.” Horatio turned to Vincent with an accusatory glare. “Vin, you said he was dead and he doctor backed it up. How is he not only alive, but in perfect condition?”

    Vincent looked to be in a panic worse than what Milo was in earlier. He was trying to stop his hands from shaking by holding onto his knees and taking some deep breaths. “He got impaled and bled out. I stayed with him until Alyssa came around. She was there when he died.”

    The group immediately looked over to Alyssa, expecting an explanation. “He stopped breathing, his heart stopped beating, and his pulse couldn’t be found. That’s dead and the fact that he’s around right now is unsettling.”

    “I think what’s even more concerning is that he acts like he doesn’t remember it.” Cyrus added. “I tried to talk to him about it and when I mentioned that we lowered them into the building, he got pissed off and told me that it was the stupidest idea he’d heard of.”

    “He also said that on the way into the building, though.” Vincent’s voice lacked the annoying confidence it typically had. He only looked and sounded unnerved now.

    James didn’t seem too convinced in what the others were saying. “Are you guys sure you’re not just in shock or something? I’ve always heard the more traumatic and sudden the incident, the harder the shock hits.”

    “While there’s some truth to that, I don’t think all of them would be claiming the exact same thing because of shock.” While she was completely baffled by the claims, it wasn’t her job to ignore the others. It was her job to help them. “Samantha said she talked to him too, so something’s definitely going on. I haven’t seen him yet, but if he is around then I need to figure this out.”

    They looked over each other before James stood, moving past Alyssa and Milo to get to the door. “She’s better qualified than any of to do it, we might as well trust her.”

    Once James left, everyone else went to go.

    Alyssa stopped Horatio briefly, knowing Milo would stay around. “I don’t think I said thank you last night.”

    “For what?”

    “You saved my life.”

    He looked a little shocked for a minute as if he didn’t remember it. “Well yeah, I don’t like you guys, but even I understand that you’re the one Voyager it was benefit my people to have around.”

    “Whatever reason you did it, thank you.”

    He gave a slight nod before leaving.

    Alyssa left the room, shutting the door behind her. She caught up to Milo, noticing he looked more at ease. “Are you still answering questions or am I going to have to wait another six months until you offer?”

    “Depend on the type of question, what is it?”

    The two started walking towards the dining hall. “It’s about Samantha. When she was talking about Leona, you didn’t hesitate to disagree with her opinion on her but you acted normal when we ran into Leona herself, what was that about?”

    “If you think it’s because Samantha said it, you’re wrong. We didn’t end on bad terms and she’s a nice person, it’s just that we’re not compatible in anything romantic.” He pausd, knowing he’d eventually have to answer about Leona. “I don’t personally like having Leona around, especially knowing she’s responsible for drowning my sister, but I’m not going to challenge her because she’s shown me that she’s unstable and extremely dangerous.”

    “Samantha’s the only girl you grew up with that isn’t your sister, married, or nearly twice your age. I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be compatible with her.”

    “She didn’t really like me scouting because it was dangerous, but I loved scouting at the time. Vincent didn’t like me from the start and I didn’t like him, so that was only a little more pressure on her.” He sighed. “There was a conflict of interest in nearly anything we talked about and the farther we went to try to keep things together only made us realize there was no point in keeping it together because we had nothing in common.”

    “I don’t get it, Samantha seems to be kind enough, she’s into gardening, I’ve heard her mention interior decorating once or twice, and she’s really pretty, what’s not to like about her?”

    “Everyone’s different behind closed doors and everyone’s got their own type, you know?”

    They both stopped in front of the door to the dining hall, Milo grabbing the handle. “If she’s not your type, I’m extremely curious as to what is. You’ll have to tell me someday.”

    “No promises on that one.”

    Once they finished talking, they went into the dining hall, immediately running into Elizabeth and Chelsea.

    They both seemed a little upset. “Marshal needs to talk to you guys in the dining room.” Chelsea spoke up, avoiding eye contact as she walked past Milo and Alyssa.

    Elizabeth looked over to Milo, a frown taking over her. “Ahead of time, I’m sorry I can’t change his mind.” Elizabeth went after Chelsea while Milo and Alyssa went into the dining hall, heading straight to the dining room.

    Just as Chelsea said, Marshal was waiting there. Cyrus was with him, but he seemed to be in a better mood than Elizabeth and Chelsea.

    They approached the table, taking a seat. “Hang around for a few more minutes, we’re waiting on some more people.”

    As they waited, a bad feeling came over Alyssa. Not only was Marshal alive after he clearly died the night before, but his calling a meeting was something that made Alyssa a bit suspicious.

    Vincent and Samantha came in next, the both of them taking a seat at the table. He ordered them to wait as well, saying they were only waiting for one more person.

    Horatio was the last to arrive, but he looked as if he was just as nervous as Alyssa. None of them were going to question how he was alive because Samantha didn’t know he had died in the first place.

    “I’m going to cut straight to it because there’s no time to waste in preparation. Cyrus, Vincent, Samantha, and Milo.” He looked over each of them as he said their names. “You four are coming with me at the end of the week to start a long term job. Eleven and a half months and it’s not an option.” Vincent looked angry at the order while Samantha’s face went pale. “We’ll be in a new state every week and a new town every day, we’ll be starting rallies in every new location. We’ll also be taking Chelsea back to the city on the way.” He looked between Horatio and Alyssa. “You two stay, the rest of you already know what you need to. Be ready by Sunday.”

    The group looked around, seeing they all had a mutual feeling of shock and anger. They took the order, leaving only Horatio and Alyssa with Marshal. “Is this why you were asking Samantha’s opinion on how to keep Leona away?”

    He nodded. “But that’s not why I have you two here. You both have medical experience and while Alyssa has a bit more experience, I’m not sure which group is going to need a doctor more. This trip has the potential to end catastrophically for us once Onyx finds out about it and we’re going to need a doctor. However, it’s already clear that they’re going to need a doctor here as well. I’m leaving the decision of who goes up to you two, but I need to know immediately.”

    Alyssa looked at Horatio, weighing in the options. He looked as if he didn’t want to decide. “I’ll leave it up to you.”

    Marshal was right about all of the possibilities this trip had, but there was also a number of ways things could go badly at the motel as well. “Horatio, how much have you done as a doctor?”

    “Whatever I needed to. Stitches, staples, you name it.”

    “Aren’t you the one who delivered Francine’s baby?”

    “That was me. Rocco didn’t get a real doctor out in time and I had no option.” He looked towards the kitchen. “Since the kid’s still alive, I consider it a success.”

    Alyssa took a deep breath, resting her chin on her hand.

    [Alyssa goes with the group, Horatio stays at the motel]
    [Horatio goes with the group, Alyssa stays at the motel]

    Note: Now that the part is released, I can say how the next chapter is going to work. All the chapters so far have had eleven parts and if I kept going at the passage of time at the rate I am, we would probably be in act three before the first month passed. That’s why chapter five is going to be split between Onyx, the motel, and the group that left.

    The group that left will be in every part just so the whole thing can be done at a reasonable pace. That being said, after every part in chapter five, a month is going to pass. It’s a bad explanation, but I’ll explain more after this chapter ends and things get put into place to start the next chapter.

  • [Alyssa goes with the group, Horatio stays at the motel]
    Marshal's group might be in more danger, and they might need an experienced doctor more. Apparently, Horatio knows how to deliver a baby, and that is the most apparent medical situation that we know for sure will be happening soon, at the Voyager base. I think this is the right choice.

    4.9 “You’ve been here since we were with Rocco, I’m sure you can understand where we both failed.” Not long after Joseph and Cyrus agreed

  • [Alyssa goes with the group, Horatio stays at the motel]

    4.9 “You’ve been here since we were with Rocco, I’m sure you can understand where we both failed.” Not long after Joseph and Cyrus agreed

  • (!) Voting is closed!

    Alyssa will go with the group and Horatio will stay.

    So I closed this voting pretty early compared to other ones because I've actually already got the part in the works and it's pretty close to be done actually and I'm going to try to finish the chapter by the end of this upcoming week, which shouldn't be too difficult if I pace myself.

    Now, this choice would have multiple effects and without saying too much, having either one of them around would have benefited both groups in their own ways.

  • 4.10

    “I’ll go. You guys are probably in more danger with the unknown.”

    Marshal looked to Horatio. “Are you okay with this?” He nodded in response. “Then that’s the plan. I can show him the infirmary you were working on setting up while you get ready.”

    She pulled a key out of her pocket and set it on the table, excusing herself from the dining room.

    Once she left the dining hall, she ran into James again. He looked like he had something on his mind. “James, are you okay?”

    He looked back at her, putting a smile on his face. “Yeah, I just have something I really need to do today but it would literally be suicide to do it alone. That, and I’m on guard duty all day.”

    “What do you need to do?”

    He hesitated for a minute before pulling a piece of paper out of his pocket, encouraging her to come closer before he passed it off to her. She took the paper from him and looked over it, immediately noticing that the writing came from a typewriter, which was incredibly rare where they were. The letter mentioned information about Pierre, which not even Joseph would have had. It gave directions that seemed to be nearby. “I’m beyond certain it’s from Leona, but I want to know what she has to offer. What do you think?”

    She thought back to the last confrontation the group had with Leona, in which she was offering valuable information about testing Onyx was doing in exchange for her life. “There’s no question about who sent it, but why would she offer you information on Pierre?”

    “There’s something off about that man and while I don’t know what it is, it’s enough to make me uneasy every single time he comes around. I can’t tell any of the Voyagers these things because they’re directly under his order.” He stopped, a sudden look of shame crossing his face. “You’re a Voyager… Please forget I said anything or showed you the letter.”

    He reached out to take the letter back. Alyssa put the letter in her own pocket, looking around. “Wait here for a minute.” After that, she started running to the courtyard.

    “Wait! Where are you going?!” James called out to her, but knew better than to abandon his post to follow her.

    In the courtyard’s garden, she found Samantha, Elizabeth, and Francine. She approached Elizabeth and Francine, trying to keep herself from looking suspicious. “Elizabeth, I have a favor to ask of you and I need you to be as unbiased as possible when I ask this.” She pulled the letter out of her pocket and handed it to Elizabeth, allowing her and Francine to look over it.

    She could tell it was going to be tough to convince her based on the look that came over Elizabeth’s face. “Okay, what is the favor?”

    “James got that letter and he doesn’t have long to check it out, but he’s on guard duty today. Is there any way you could take over for him?”

    “No.” She handed the letter back to Alyssa. “It’s from Leona and following anything you get from her is only a recipe for disaster, which is why I can’t let either of you go.”

    Alyssa saw that Francine looked a bit intrigued by it, but she wasn’t going to say anything about it just yet. “It’s not going to be a problem if two people go and somebody here knows where we went.”

    “She has an entire group and you expect me to be okay with sending two people out there on their own?”

    Samantha got off the ground, going to Alyssa’s side. “Pardon me for listening in, but could I see that letter?” Alyssa nodded, handing over the letter. They all stayed in silence while Samantha read over it. “How long are we going to let her keep information away from us when it could help us gain an advantage?”

    Samantha gave the letter back to Alyssa, crossing her arms and looking to Francine for backup. “They’re right, Elizabeth. There won’t be a problem unless Marshal and Horatio find out, plus Leona is already on thin ice and she knows it. She’s not going to hurt them but if you’re so unsure of it, then send Samantha with them.”

    Elizabeth sighed, closing her eyes for a moment. “If it gets out that I let you guys do this, I’ll make certain that none of you are allowed off grounds again. Make sure you’re back during dinner so you can come back without raising alarms.”

    They all left the courtyard, Francine going into the dining hall once they passed it. James looked nervous once he saw Elizabeth with Alyssa and Samantha. “Hey there, is everything okay?”

    “Yes, hurry up and leave so you guys don’t get caught.”

    He stood in place until Samantha and Alyssa passed him, prompting him to go with them.

    Alyssa gave the letter back to James, allowing him to lead herself and Samantha. “What did you say to Elizabeth?”

    “Just that she needed to relieve you so you could handle this. She wouldn’t let just the two of us go, so Samantha offered.” She looked over to Samantha to see she had already started to look into their surroundings. “Well, Francine offered her up. It was a compromise.”

    “I don’t think she’s going to tell Marshal, but Milo is a different story. Back when they were with us, you couldn’t tell one Neil sibling something without the other finding out immediately after that. Luckily, they only told each other and left it at that, it was Eris that you wouldn’t want to trust any of your secrets with.” He chuckled slightly. “She was close with everybody and she didn’t see the harm in building relationships by spilling your secrets for you, even after everyone got onto her for it. Vin and Samantha made a game out of it at one point.”

    Samantha looked forward, a bright smile coming over her face. “It was a great game. We would come up with ridiculous secrets and see if Eris could tell the real ones apart from the fake ones based on which ones she told. Joseph didn’t like it because it was too deceptive, as he claimed.”

    “It does sound a bit deceitful, but I suppose it’s just kids being kids.”

    “What was it Marshal wanted to talk to you guys about?” James sounded anxious, but he normally did.

    Alyssa looked over to Samantha, both of them waiting for the other to start explaining. Samantha hesitated before deciding she should be the one to tell him since they were closer. “In terms of leading, he’s between Pierre and Joseph. Pierre managed to take it without going anywhere, Joseph didn’t get any results and he didn’t go anywhere, but Marshal’s plan is to go throughout the entire country and start rallies. He already told us we can’t say no to it, but he kept Alyssa and Horatio a little longer than the rest of us.”

    James looked back at Alyssa, waiting for her to say why she was kept later. “He needed a doctor and wanted us to choose which of us goes with the group and which of us will stay here.”

    “Who’s going?” Samantha questioned as James looked down to the letter, taking a curve that Alyssa and Samantha would mimic.

    “I am. Horatio knows how to deliver a baby and that’s the worst thing that’s going to happen once we leave South Dakota.”

    “Who else is going?” James asked before Samantha could respond.

    “Both of us, Vin, Cyrus, Milo, and Marshal.” Samantha paused. “I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to go, but he’s already made up his mind. Vin’s not too upset about it and he thinks it’s a great idea.” She sighed. “He’s not a plain archer, though.”

    James took another turn, Alyssa and Samantha following once again. “Now that you mention it, everyone going has some extremely different views and talents. You’re an archer and a gardener, Alyssa’s a doctor, Cyrus can handle pressure better than anyone in the group, Milo’s the most agile out of everyone going, Vincent’s threatening enough to make intimidation a talent, and I’m willing to bet money that Marshal is only going because he has to. He and Samantha have similar skill sets, what’s the point of going and sending Samantha?”

    “You’ve got a point there.”

    The three went silent while James followed directions, eventually ending up in front of a small concrete building that could hardly be considered a building.

    As the three of them stood and watched the building, the door swung open with Leona on the other side, a welcoming smile on her face. “Somebody actually took me seriously?” She sounded happy, her cheerful aura backing it up. “Please, come in.”

    They stayed in place for a minute to allow Alyssa the chance to decipher if she was being serious or if it was some trick. “Where’s your people?”

    Her smile stayed in place as she stepped out of the doorway to allow them to look in. “They’re all downstairs, where we'll only be going briefly.”

    “And what is the information you have over?”

    “Pierre.” She answered firmly.

    She seemed to convince Samantha, who stepped forward with James following after her shortly. Alyssa took one last look at the outside of the building before going in with them.

    Leona was silent as she took the tree of them downstairs, going into a room to the immediate right of the stairs. Alyssa got a brief look at the downstairs area, which seemed a lot bigger than the part of the building they’d seen when they first arrived.

    In the room, there was a man about Samantha’s height that seemed startled at their appearance. Leona looked at him, a slight look of anger forming on her face. “Leave, this is my business.”

    “They’re Voyagers, why are you helping them?” The man had immediately raised his voice at Leona, who hardly showed any response to it. “Is this some sort of trick to get ransom?”

    Why was she doing this? Why didn’t her own people know about it?

    After a moment of silence, Leona pulled out a pocket knife, flicking out the blade and holding it between herself and the man. “Question my integrity one more time and I swear to you, it’ll be the last time you’re able to question any of my methods.” She gripped on the knife, her knuckles turning white. “Leave immediately.”

    He pushed past her, leaving the room and slamming the door behind him.

    Leona closed the knife and slipped it back into her pocket. “My apologies, some people are less civilized than the Voyagers, surprisingly.” The room was empty besides a desk, a chair, and a safe under the desk. She ducked under the desk and started entering the combination to the safe. The door popped open and she grabbed a folder. There was another folder under that one that she left alone.

    She shut the safe and went to James, handing him the folder. “Leona, do you already have information about Onyx using biological weapons?”

    “Yes, but I’m not going to give it up just because he told me to. He needs to prove to me that he trusts me before I consider helping the Voyagers. Your first proof of biological weapons is Elizabeth and Chelsea. They’re biological weapons, genetically altered is just an umbrella term for them.”

    “How do you know so much about it?”

    Leona moved between them, opening the door and holding it. “That’s enough questions.” She escorted them out of the building, leaving them once they got outside the front door.

    The walk back to the motel was eerily quiet, a tension lingering over the three of them.

    “I’m going to hand over the information, if that makes a difference to either of you.” James broke the silence once the motel was in sight. He hadn’t looked through the folder and seemed a bit uncomfortable carrying it around.

    He immediately gave it to Elizabeth once they got back and went to his room. Samantha went after him, leaving Alyssa and Elizabeth.

    Elizabeth’s earlier annoyed attitude had shifted to one of concern while they were gone. “You’re needed in the infirmary as soon as you can get there.”

    “What’s going on around here?”

    “I wish I knew.” She sighed. “Vincent found out that you guys left and he got upset about it and Marshal caught on to it. He does know so don’t lie if he asks you about it.”

    “Is he mad?”

    She shook her head. “He doesn’t care that you guys went, he’s just a bit disappointed that you guys didn’t tell him before you went. He’ll get over it by the morning, so I’d just give him some space if I were you.”

    “Right. Thank you, Elizabeth.” Alyssa excused herself from the conversation, going straight to the infirmary like Elizabeth had told her.

    When she went inside, she found Horatio and Milo. Horatio noticed her first, a look of relief quickly hitting him. “This is going to sound bad because I assured you that I could handle this earlier, but I need your help.”

    “What’s the problem?” For once, she didn’t see an actual problem. Milo was slouched in a chair in front of Horatio. There was no blood, no obvious broken bones, and Milo was overall pretty healthy from what she knew.

    “There’s plenty of them.” Horatio glared at Milo, obviously annoyed with him. “First, he’s the most defiant person I’ve ever met and is letting that defiance keep me from finding out what’s wrong with him. Second, Marshal’s already told me that Milo isn’t allowed to leave this room until someone finds out what’s wrong with him.”

    “The first one sounds like Milo being himself, defiance is basically his version of adrenaline.” She saw Milo roll his eyes. “I’ll figure out what’s going on, you can go to dinner.”

    Horatio went without hesitation because he knew he wasn’t going to be of much use.

    Milo straightened up after Horatio left. “Defiance is my adrenaline, huh?”

    Alyssa chuckled once she saw Milo smirk. “Yeah, defiance, is there a problem with me calling it as I see it?” She stopped, studying over him. He obviously didn’t want to be there. He was tapping his foot and he probably didn’t even know it. His face was a little pale, but not enough to make her think it was anything but exhaustion. “Do you wanna tell me why you’re here or are you going to make do every test that comes to mind?”

    “As tempting as that might be, I wanna be able to eat sometime and Marshal’s not letting me leave until someone finds out.” His smirk faded. “He thinks there’s something wrong with me.”

    She nodded, moving over to the dresser, bringing out a bag that held most of her equipment. “I picked that much up already. Why does he think there’s something wrong with you?”

    Milo slouched back in his chair again. “I passed out before dinner.”

    Alyssa quickly picked up on a bit of shame in his voice. “Milo, you don’t have to be embarrassed about admitting you need help or you have a problem…” She looked over the things in her bag. “Tell me some things. How have you been doing otherwise?”

    He shrugged. “Good days and bad days but nothing that raises an alarm.”

    “Have you been sleeping well at night?” She pulled out the stethoscope and moved over to him, only waiting for his answer before she did anything.

    “Would you blame me if I said no?”

    “It’s a stupid question but probably the easiest one to answer and somehow you avoided answering it.” She looked for permission putting the stethoscope to his chest, immediately getting thrown off by what she heard. “Deep breaths.”

    He clearly saw the expression on her face but took her orders. She could see a mix of emotions on his face when she pulled away. “What do you say?”

    She frowned slightly, going back to the medical bag. “I’ve got an idea, but it’s not a good one. Go ahead and lay down, we’ve got some more tests to do.”

    Chelsea Hampton

    Chelsea had gone for a walk by herself everyday after dinner just to clear her mind and get some space.

    She left after she finished her meal to find that Elizabeth was still on guard duty. When she returned, however, she found James had returned to his post and he looked upset.

    She didn’t want to leave him like that, especially since he was alone. “James, are you alright?”

    It was clear that while he was on guard duty, his focus was far away from his assigned task. “I guess I am. It’s best to be wise about what information I share with you because of your connection to Onyx, it’s nothing personal.”

    “That’s exactly what I’d describe as personal.” Chelsea scoffed. “I’m just saying that I’d listen if you wanted me to listen.”

    Chelsea turned to walk away, James quickly changing his mind. “Chelsea, wait. I’ll talk.” She spun on her heel, walking back over to him. “I have no idea what you’ve heard today, but I went to see Leona with Samantha and Alyssa. She said she had information that I wanted and to be in her base was just unnerving, seeing the way she controlled people and the way her people put ideas into her head was just anxiety inducing, but once I had the information in my hands, something just felt wrong. I figured it was just the folder, so I passed it off to Elizabeth once we got back and distanced myself from it. She’s acting completely normal and I still don’t feel any better.”

    “Wait, back up for a minute, you thought a folder was inducing your negative feelings?”

    He frowned, an immediate look of regret hitting him. “That… I think that’s what I said, but it’s not what I meant. What I meant was having this information that came from a woman who drowned Elizabeth, got you shot twice, got Elizabeth shot, used two children for ransom, verbally and emotionally abused said children, then tried to kill some more people in the group. I’m not supposed to accept any sort of help from her because of her irredeemable actions, but I wasn’t thinking about it in the moment, I was thinking about myself.”

    “You feel like you’re going against the group because you accepted her help, right?” He nodded. “I’ve only been around your people for a week at most and I was raised to despise you guys because you were the opposition, but you’ve all helped me see a bit from your perspectives. That being said, it’s not the worst thing in the world to get involved with the other groups. In fact, Marshal said he was going to start easing things with Leona to try and build relations. You may have made it easier for him by accepting her information, you just need to be cautious.”

    A soft smile crossed his face as he finally looked her in the eyes. “I knew there was a reason I talked to you about it.” His smile quickly faded. “You’re one of the people she’s actively trying to kill, what are your thoughts on building relations with her group?”

    “I should be upset, but right now there’s so much more on my mind.”

    He checked his watch, his smile returning before he looked to her. “This is completely up to you but Vincent takes over watch duty in ten minutes. Hang around for a bit and you and I can head into the dining hall for a drink. It should be pretty empty since dinner’s already over and you’ll be able to get all your thoughts out to someone who won’t even remember them in the morning.”

    Chelsea smirked. “Is that your way of telling me you’re a lightweight drinker?”

    “Contrary to stereotypes, most of us in the group are. I know the people from the bunker didn't drink much because none of them had a taste for it and they wanted to support Marshal’s recovery, so most of them all abstained from it. I have no idea what Kyle and Alyssa can handle, though. Before we rejoined with the Voyagers, every weekend was basically a free-for-all when it came to liquor except nobody could handle it.”

    “Do you ever stop rambling?” She watched his face go read as soon as she asked the question before he laughed it off.

    [Agree to get drinks and sort out your thoughts with James]
    [Skip out on drinks and take some time to figure out your thoughts for yourself]

  • [Agree to get drinks and sort out your thoughts with James]

    4.10 “I’ll go. You guys are probably in more danger with the unknown.” Marshal looked to Horatio. “Are you okay with this?” He nodded

  • [Skip out on drinks and take some time to figure out your thoughts for yourself]

  • [Skip out on drinks and take some time to figure out your thoughts for yourself]

    4.10 “I’ll go. You guys are probably in more danger with the unknown.” Marshal looked to Horatio. “Are you okay with this?” He nodded

  • [Agree to get drinks and sort out your thoughts with James]

    4.10 “I’ll go. You guys are probably in more danger with the unknown.” Marshal looked to Horatio. “Are you okay with this?” He nodded

  • [Agree to get drinks and sort out your thoughts with James]

    You had me at drinks.

    4.10 “I’ll go. You guys are probably in more danger with the unknown.” Marshal looked to Horatio. “Are you okay with this?” He nodded

  • (!) Voting is closed!

    Chelsea will agree to get drinks with James.

  • edited May 2018

    4.11- Chapter 4 Finale

    Ever since she was young, Chelsea had a talent for ending up in places she didn’t belong. It was a sense of adventure that led her.

    Her mother had always been the more active parent, her father had focused on work.

    It was after her mother’s disappearance that her father had to start trying to split his time, which never really worked. She had been raised around tutors and service around the house, so she wasn’t always on her own.

    On one of the few days they had together, she was reading a book while in his office as he worked at his desk like normal. The room was silent except for the occasional turning page from both of them.

    After sitting in silence for nearly an hour, the home phone started ringing, causing Isaac to leave the office. She could tell he would be a while by his tone while talking to the other person, along with the fact that he was talking about work.

    She looked up and stared at his empty desk and the files on top of it.

    Chelsea put her book to the side and leaped out of her chair, tiptoeing to the other side of the room and sitting in his desk chair, her eyes immediately wandering to the files.

    Ben Lowell. Subject, CC Improvement. Lowell has been cooperative in testing, but has claimed of unexpected side effects after initial connection. Bradly Richardson has been tasked with keeping a further eye on him and taking notes to further advance chip technology.

    Hunt. Subject, CA.

    “Chelsea Hampton!” She tore her eyes away from the files and looked to the doorway to see her father, his face immediately going red with anger. “You belong in your seat, not mine.” She quickly got out of his seat and ran to her own, putting her book in her lap. “You know you’re not supposed to be looking through stuff that isn’t yours, so explain to me where you thought it would be okay to look through my work.”

    “I’m sorry, I won’t do it again.”

    She saw his angry look slowly fade away as he took a deep breath and returned to his seat without another word.

    Present Day

    Chelsea thought over the offer before showing off a smile. “Sure, I’ll get my frustrations out and you’ll have someone sober watching after you so you don’t cause anymore trouble.”

    “I’ll have you know, I’m the easiest person to deal with when-“ He stopped as if he just realized what Chelsea had said. “Wait, anymore trouble? Is that really the reputation I’ve picked up?”

    “No, but it’s not better than the one you just picked up by believing it.” Chelsea chuckled once she saw a look of relief in his eyes.

    “And here I thought I could trust you to be completely honest with me.” He checked his watch then crossed his arms. “Two minutes gone and you’ve already tricked me, I hope that’s not a show of how the entire night is going to go. Say, come to think of it, where’d you pick up the trickster part of you? I feel like Isaac would have sent you away before he dared allow you act like a normal child.”

    “You’re part of a group that’s considered to be among the rowdiest revolutionary groups, I fear your normal isn’t the same as my father’s normal.”

    “That’s what they’ve said about Marshal, but it’s only teasing since he joined as late as he did.” Vincent joined the two, taking the gun James had from him. “I say everyone here is a little weird in some way.”

    James smirked before turning away from Vincent and heading towards the dining hall, Chelsea following behind him. “I have no idea why he showed up early but I’m not complaining”

    While they walked to the dining hall, Chelsea took the time to get a reading on him. Something about him was so familiar, but she couldn’t place it. “James, do you mind if I ask you something before you get drunk? It’s the one thing I’m going to need the sober truth for.”

    His happiness turned into some nervousness that he tried to subdue. “Sure, what is it?”

    “Where are you from?”

    He went silent until they got into the dining room, which made Chelsea think she had overstepped a boundary. “Vermont.” After a moment of silence he finally spoke up. “I’m from Vermont, but I feel like you already knew part of that.”

    She nodded. “I had a few guesses, but you’re too familiar to be a complete stranger. Where do I know you from?”

    He looked around the dining room before lowering his voice. “Your dad owned three fourths of Onyx, my parents owned the rest.”

    Chelsea looked over him, trying to spot a lie. Nobody knew about her father only owning three fourths except for Isaac himself and his closest companions. The last people to own one fourth of Onyx before it turned to “investor control” was a couple. They did have a son that resembled what James would now, but his name was Zach and he ran away after his parents got caught for fraud.

    “Zachary Bennington. Coincidentally from Bennington, Vermont.”

    “Where have you been for the last ten years? Why would you hide who you are from the Voyagers for so long but immediately tell me?”

    “The very night Onyx reps showed up and took my parents away, I knew they weren’t going to come back, I even heard the representatives promising them that they would only see the inside of a cell for the rest of their lives. I was told to wait for child protective services with one of the representatives and I took off the second he turned his back to me because I was afraid.” He rolled up his right sleeve, showing her a scar that trailed up his forearm. “Unfortunately, word had already got out about my parents screwing Onyx over and some people weren’t happy about it. On the way to South Dakota, some guy cut me when he found out who I was. Since the cut was bad enough that it should have been fatal, I took the chance to assume a new identity to protect myself. As for why I haven’t told the Voyagers, you and I both know that the Bennington name is one of the few that’s not accepted by Voyagers and Onyx alike.”

    Families that were higher-up often had the reputation for setting up marriages among their children to one another so they would be able to keep power in their hands.

    Leaders and owners of organizations were no exception to setting their children up.

    Isaac had been in talks with the Bennington family ever since Chelsea was born. Zachary was barely an infant when his parents took one fourths of Onyx, leaving Isaac with three fourths of it.

    He tried to buy it from them before offering to set up a marriage between Chelsea and Zachary. Karen hated the idea of it and didn’t hesitate to make her opinion on it known. Zachary’s parents weren’t too fond of the idea either and disagreed to it for years until they finally gave into Isaac’s idea after Karen’s death and allowed him to set up a meeting between their son and his daughter.

    Their first meeting was fine, nothing memorable since the two were eleven and twelve, but it was once they found out their parents plans at thirteen and fourteen that things went wrong, the both of them disagreeing to it and ultimately causing Zachary’s parents to back out of the deal.

    Not long after they did, they were caught with fraud accusations and quickly sent to trial, being found guilty. Zachary disappeared after they were caught and nobody knew what happened to them after being found guilty.

    Their home and everything in it were abandoned the second word got out and the portion of Onyx that they owned went to Isaac.

    “You never answered me as to why you’re telling me.”

    “You were going to find out either way and I want you to know the complete truth about what’s going on inside Onyx.”

    “How would you know what’s going on inside Onyx?”

    He was caught off guard by her sudden defensive attitude. “Because every leader around here has somebody working on the inside. Leona does, Pierre does, Marshal does but he doesn’t know it, information goes through everyone to get back to the leaders. There’s a group of higher-ups working to take Onyx from the inside by any means necessary. You need to know this before you go back, your father is in danger.”

    Before he could go on, the dining room doors opened and Gregory bolted into the room, causing a jolt of surprise from the both of them, making James rush to lower his sleeve again.

    He basically ran circles around them before Francine followed him into the room, an exhausted look in her eyes. “Sorry you two, he’s having trouble sleeping and he’s saying if he gets a snack then he’ll sleep, so I’m just taking his word for it.”

    James looked between Francine and Chelsea before sliding out of his seat and heading towards the door. “No matter, we were just about done either way. Have a nice night, Francine.”

    Without saying another word to Chelsea, he left the room and the dining hall. She jumped out of her own seat and ran out of the building, trying to catch up to him. “Is that really all you’re going to say? You’re going to drop all of that onto me and just leave?”

    He gave off a slight frown but continued walking. “I want to help you, I do, but there’s no way I can do that without giving myself up and if there is a time to do that, it’s not now. The Voyagers will kill me if they find out who I am and so will Onyx, I have no choice in the matter.”

    “You do.” Chelsea could tell she had his attention when he stopped after she did, turning to look at her. “Come back with me and you don’t have to tell the Voyagers who you are. I can work out a deal with my father to arrange your protection if that’s what you’re worried about. If you know something, I’m not letting you shake me off that easily. It’s happened too many times for me to just brush it off.”

    He looked as if he was thinking it over before a sudden look of sadness came over his face. “Okay… I’ll do it. Whatever deal you make for me runs by me first, got it?”

    “You’ll be in the room when the deal is done, you’ll have your own voice but don’t expect my father to change anything for you.” She looked him up and down. “Do you have any way to prove that you’re who you say you are?”

    “Anything besides my blood, no. If your dad is the same way he was back when I knew him then he’ll require a blood test before he even talks to me.”

    She nodded, turning back to the motel. “You’re probably right. Pack up by Sunday and when Marshal goes to leave, tell him you’ll come with and take me back and bring the truck back to the motel once they get the van Vincent’s been talking about. We’ll have to figure out a way to get the truck back once you go, though.”

    “Give me time to think on that, I’ll get it worked out.” A small smirk crossed his face. “I bet your mind is pretty clear now, isn’t it?”

    Chelsea scoffed. “Thanks to you there’s more going on in my head than before.”


    By Sunday, everyone who was leaving had packed up and said their goodbyes to everyone else.

    It didn’t take much to notice that Elizabeth wasn’t handling it well. She was more upset that seven people would be leaving, her brother and her husband being two of them. She was concerned about the communication that wasn’t going to happen. She didn’t want this to happen and she’d started to protest it multiple times until an hour before they left.

    James had talked to Marshal about taking Chelsea home and talked him into letting him do it to spare some time, then he talked Filip into going with them to the city so he could take the truck back.

    Once debriefing started, Marshal started to become more transparent. Anytime Kyle was near him, he looked like he wanted to back out of the trip. Anytime Elizabeth ended up touching him, he would stop what he was doing to pay attention to her, which was only making it more painful for the both of them. He apologized to Kyle and Elizabeth multiple times before they left.

    “We’re going to run into people that’ll start trouble with us purely because we’re Voyagers, don’t even bother messing with them. We’re not going to get aggressive in any way, including your fists. If we’re stopped by anyone, we comply.”

    Those were the guidelines everyone that would be going would have to follow, whether or not they wanted to.

    After debriefing, they started putting their bags in the back of the truck and immediately started out to the van Vincent knew about. It was apparently Rocco’s van that he never used, so it wouldn’t be a problem if they took it after they took the keys from Rocco’s old room.

    James and Chelsea stayed long enough to say goodbye to everyone else before they took the truck back to the motel, picking up Filip then heading to the city. They explained why James wouldn’t be able to go back to the motel before he agreed to take them.

    They spent the ride in silence, the both of them thanking Filip once they reached city boundaries and decided to walk to keep Filip from getting in trouble.

    “It’s strange, I don’t remember the city looking anything like this.” He looked to Chelsea. “Never mind that, how are you doing?”

    “If you’re talking about how I feel now that Elizabeth and I are separated, I feel more vulnerable but also human again. What we went through certainly wasn’t enjoyable for either of us and I’m glad it’s over.”

    “That’s good, I’ve only heard about the effect it was having on her and it apparently wasn’t that good for her either.” He paused, looking forward again. “I hope you know that I’m here to help your father, but my loyalties still lie with the Voyagers and-“

    He stopped in his place, a sudden look of sadness hitting him as he went pale. Chelsea stopped and attempted to follow his eyes, spotting a small woman with blonde hair in a wheelchair. “Is that who I think it is?”

    “Eris...” He quickly tried to regain himself before going ahead again, Chelsea following after him. “They hadn’t talked about her recently, but I didn’t think that meant she was here. I figured she finally gave in to her sickness.”

    Once they got closer, Chelsea saw how unhappy Eris looked. She moved away from Zachary, making him stop and see her get close to Eris. “Excuse me.” She waited until she saw a sign that Eris was looking towards her. “How are you doing?”

    Eris didn’t answer, looking away from Chelsea. “She’s dying so I can only assume she’s not doing good.” A different woman spoke up from a nearby bench, causing Chelsea to look up and see a woman in a purple skirt with a white blouse. She had blonde hair like Eris but has brown eyes and glasses. Chelsea had known Lyla since she was a child. “You’re about two weeks late for orientation.” Her eyes narrowed at Zachary. “I’ve never seen you around here, who are you?”

    “Before we answer anything, I need you to take his blood and test it, then we’ll both do what we’re supposed to.” Lyla seemed confused by the request, but got up from the bench either way, going to the doors into headquarters. Chelsea looked at Eris, a frown coming over her again. “Are you just going to leave her there?”

    Lyla waved a hand in dismissal. “She’s not strong enough to push herself anymore, she’ll be fine.”

    Zachary took Lyla inside, giving Chelsea a moment alone with Eris. She kneeled in front of her, catching her eyes for the first time since she arrived. “Hold on just a little bit longer, I’m going to help you.”

    “Find Joseph and Ethan.” Her voice was small, weak. “They’ve been chipped and they’re trying to use their memories to find the Voyagers again.”

    The door opened again, causing Chelsea to jump up and meet the blue eyes of her father. “Come in, Chelsea, we need to have a talk about the guest you brought with you.”

    Chelsea waved to Eris before stepping past her and going inside with Isaac. Despite being pretty good at hiding whenever he was upset, it was clear as day to Chelsea that he was upset.

    They took the elevator up to the fourth floor, where he took her to the conference room, making her sit at one end of the table while he sat at the other end. “You need to explain where you found Zachary Bennington immediately.”

    “He was with the Voyagers but he went by a different name. I didn’t know who he was until Friday night.” She tried to think of what Zachary was going to say so their stories wouldn’t cross each other. “I told him to come back today.”

    “Why today in specific?”

    “There was no reason for today in specific, it was just the day we agreed on.” Her heart started racing. Lying to her father was something she never did, but she already knew she’d immediately lose Zachary’s trust if she gave up Marshal’s plan.

    “And the Voyagers just let you two go?”

    She nodded. “One of them took us to city boundaries to spare us the two day walk.”

    “Alyssa Kowalska, Milo Neil, and Kyle Kennedy. Are those three with the Voyagers as well?” She hesitated answering, Isaac immediately noting her hesitation. “I’ll assume so. Marshal Kennedy. Did he go back to the group?”

    “Why are you asking me these things as if I’m supposed to know who any of these people are?” Chelsea immediately put on a defensive front. “I met Marshal, Elizabeth, Joseph, Eris, and Ethan once. I don’t know them personally.”

    “But you know who they are, you just admitted that, who’s with them and who’s not?” A knock on the door stopped Chelsea from answering and Isaac from yelling at her again. He cleared his throat, taking a deep breath. “Come in.” Lyla came in with Zachary by her side and a piece of paper in her hands. Isaac motioned for Zachary to take a seat next to Chelsea, which he did, and for Lyla to give him the paper before she left. Lyla excused herself from the room once Isaac started looking over the paper, shutting the door behind her. “I’m quite surprised, Zachary. Despite being exposed to carriers of a deadly illness for the past ten years, you’re the only one who’s not showing any sign of the illness through a blood test.”

    “Deadly illness?” Chelsea spoke up, a dreaded realization quickly coming to her.

    “What Eris has is contagious and airborne.” Zachary spoke up, Chelsea immediately able to pick up on the tension between him and her father. “In fact, it’s the same disease that nearly wiped out the entire population.” He sighed, looking Isaac in the eyes. “But that’s not why we’re here.”

    “Correct.” Isaac seemed that while he didn’t want to be around Zachary and he didn’t particularly like him, he still respected him. “I’ll only ask one more question before I go on, who is leading the Voyagers?”

    “Nobody.” Isaac looked a bit intrigued by Zachary’s answer. “They killed him after he got up to something they didn’t approve of.”

    Isaac nodded before looking over the paper before him once again. “Mr. Bennington, as of this moment, you own one quarter of Onyx Organization.” He pushed himself out of his chair, going straight to the door. “As the sole heir of Herald and Agnes Bennington, you’re entitled to their estate in Vermont, the belongings in it, and their share of Onyx.”

    “That’s great, but I’m not leaving South Dakota yet.” Isaac rested his hand on the door handle. “I still have business with you and I won’t leave until it’s done.”

    Chelsea could see that Isaac was going have a difficult time with Zachary around because he saw him as a threat to his work. “So be it. I’ll have to allow you to handle whatever you need without me, I’ve got meetings for the rest of the day. I look forward to hearing from you later.”

    Isaac left the room without saying anything else, leaving Chelsea and Zachary there. “Did you know you’d be getting what you did?”

    He shook his head, getting out of his chair and going to the other side of the table to get the paper Isaac had left. “I figured they’d already sold it and worked out a loophole to allow your dad to keep what my parents owned.”

    “What’s your plan now?” Chelsea stayed seated while he looked over the paper.

    “They’ll be in Bennington three months from now, so I’ll work the best I can until then. I’ll take a leave a day or two before they get there and I’ll go down to Vermont and work out what I need to when I get there.” He shrugged. “I didn’t really have a plan for this because it wasn’t what I expected.”

    “You don’t think they’re going to chip us, do you?”

    “I wouldn’t let them if they tried to.” He folded up the paper and put it in his pocket, going to the door. “If you’ll excuse me, we both need to prepare for tomorrow.”

    End of Chapter 4.

    • “I’m going to check the bunker like you tried to tell James to do and you’re going with me.”
    • It was when they reached Vermont that they’d finally learned that Onyx had heard rumors of what they were doing and intended to investigate.
    • While Zachary was working on finding out who in Onyx was trying to take Isaac down, Chelsea worked to try and complete the task Eris had asked of her, finding it far more difficult than she thought it previously would be.
    • “It could save her life at the cost of our own, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take on my own if I need to.”
    • It was only a matter of time and Chelsea knew it. Some day she was going to have to stand in front of Luke again, but she had no idea how she was going to handle it.
  • Chapter four is now finished and while I did try to let you guys know the outcome of choices you guys didn’t pick, I’m afraid there were some choices that I might not have done or couldn’t have done without spoiling some of what’s to come since some choices (ex. Alyssa or Horatio) wouldn’t have changed the plot, only who was involved in it. I don’t have the alternate choices worked out just yet, but I’ll make an attempt to have them done and the Google Docs updated by the end of the day!

    Now, I apparently forgot to do these after the last chapter, which was totally my bad.

    1) Who is your favorite character?

    2) And your least favorite?

    3) Who is a character you want to see more of?

    4) What is a theme you want to see more of?

    5) Where do you believe the main story is going for the Voyagers?

    6) Where do you believe the main story for the Onyx Organization is going?

    7) Are there any plot points you believe I neglected that you would like to see covered?

    8) Is there any speculation you’d like to provide on the next time segment?

    9) Lastly, do you have any questions or comments of your own?

  • A lot of interesting developments in this finale. Eris's disease was a virus that nearly wiped out a population of people (humanity or a certain country, state, or city?). Also, James is actually Zachary Bennington, and he comes from a rich family that owned 1/4 of Onyx, which he just inherited. Things are getting more and more interesting. I might go over those questions later.

    4.11- Chapter 4 Finale Ever since she was young, Chelsea had a talent for ending up in places she didn’t belong. It was a sense of advent

  • Eris's disease was a virus that nearly wiped out a population of people (humanity or a certain country, state, or city?).

    This was a detail that was pretty important that I kind of skipped over, but humanity is your answer! It’s been mentioned a few times in previous chapters, but I have noticed I haven’t gone into too much detail about it.

    It did nearly wipe out humanity and the organizations that are around in present day were instated to try and make things better.

    I’m not too certain if I’ve mentioned what happens next or not in the story, so I’ll have to bite my tongue, but rest assured that it’ll be talked about more within the story through multiple perspectives.

    A lot of interesting developments in this finale. Eris's disease was a virus that nearly wiped out a population of people (humanity or a cer

  • That's interesting. That explains how the organizations came to be and how they came to power. No wonder Onyx is unhappy about keeping Eris alive.

    I just came up with a theory. What if the elites and their families, that founded these organizations, actually created the disease themselves but they had some sort of immunity. They then released it on the world. Eventually countries governments failed and the organizations "came up with" a cure and saved the day. The people then placed their trust in the organizations to rule them, and that's how the organizations took over the world. However, that's just a theory I came up with, but that doesn't really explain why they don't just cure Eris.

    Eris's disease was a virus that nearly wiped out a population of people (humanity or a certain country, state, or city?). This was a

  • That's an interesting theory and there's probably evidence to support it in previous parts.

    I can't say anything for certain, but more Onyx POVs can be expected from Chelsea and Zachary, one of which will be working very closely with scientists like Lyla and Bradly, so it's only a matter of time before what happened is found out!

    That's interesting. That explains how the organizations came to be and how they came to power. No wonder Onyx is unhappy about keeping Eris

  • 5.1

    The first month was the most difficult for the group. Nearly everyone got homesick after the first week, which they spent in Minnesota.

    Spending as much time in the van as they did taught them how to figure out the more important things they each said without actually paying too much attention to the conversations they were having, knowing any instruction they miss could jeopardize the entire trip.

    While originally hesitant on the trip, Samantha took a liking to it faster than anyone else did because she enjoyed sightseeing while they drove and wherever they went.

    On the other hand, Vincent couldn’t stand it because of the close quarters they had to deal with. It was the one thing everyone could agree was the worst part of the trip.

    Alyssa was able to pick up on important days based on how people were acting on that day. She knew Elizabeth’s birthday was sometime in October, but she only found out it was the sixteenth that day because of how Milo and Marshal were acting. She found out Samantha’s favorite holiday was New Year’s Day after hearing her complain about Halloween when it came around. It was the small details she could figure out that told Alyssa all about the others.

    She enjoyed the rallies because it gave her the chance to see people that didn’t have to worry about seeing from Onyx everyday. They seemed more at ease than the people in South Dakota, but more defensive at the same time. She noticed it took a bit of convincing from everyone in the group before they would listen to one person.

    As anticipated, there were a number of people that refused to hear them out and started issues with them. It showed the patience the group members had when it came to having specific guidelines that prevented them from handling it the way they wanted to.

    Alyssa had heard that most of the group had their own guesses on who would snap first, but everyone seemed to be handling it well enough.

    After Minnesota, they went to Wisconsin.

    The people there were a lot more likeable and approachable than they were in Minnesota, which gave them a bit of hope for the next ten months.

    It was in Illinois that the group started opening up to each other more.

    Alyssa finally learned that Samantha and Vincent were cousins that were raised with each other. She learned Cyrus was pretty interested in mechanical engineering, which was one of the reasons Marshal wanted him to go along.

    Milo and Marshal weren’t the easiest to get to know, the former because Alyssa already knew a lot about him and the latter because after rallies, he’d become unresponsive for hours at a time besides a simple yes or no to answer questions.

    Though even they would occasionally mention something. In a bit of irony, it turned out that Marshal didn’t really like the idea of marriage before he got married and Milo had a tendency to get extremely carsick as a child.

    Even with all she learned about everyone in the group, she still knew the least about Vincent, which was strange considering how easy it was for Samantha to open up.

    It didn’t really bother her, she knew everyone went at their own pace and since they still had ten and a half months after October, it was bound to happen sometime.

    Chelsea Hampton

    When Zachary first returned, he made a comment about Isaac pushing both him and Chelsea past their limits in an attempt to get them both to back out of Onyx. She had figured it was a joke until her first day back to work, immediately getting a two month list of things she had to do.

    She had heard Zachary’s workload wasn’t any easier and that he had somehow been booked for a different meeting every thirty minutes he was working while Isaac had one every two hours.

    They occasionally ran into each other in the elevator while they both handled their tasks and would check in every once in awhile.

    After mentioning the list she got, Zachary offered to look over it and was able to mark off a significant number of tasks that she didn’t need to do at all or rework the date they were needed by so she could focus on what was closer.

    They had both been on the lookout for Ethan and Joseph, but neither of them had been seen. Eris seemed to be slowly improving since they got there, but she had her days where nothing felt right.

    Eris had mentioned to Chelsea that it was possible they’d been taken to quarantine because they were showing symptoms of illness the last time she’d seen them. Following the lead, she decided to head to quarantine after she got permission for an extended lunch so she could make the trip.

    She already knew going to her father would end up with more tasks on her list and a denial on her request, but she could tell that Zachary was getting a bit tired of constantly having Isaac getting onto him for what he had been doing for Chelsea and others in Onyx.

    Chelsea didn’t have to ask Isaac’s opinion on Zachary because any mention of work would cause Isaac to bring up things that Zachary had done that he didn’t like, interfering with tasks he assigned people being the biggest offense he didn’t like.

    While Chelsea worked on the first floor, she often had to go to different floors and talk with different higher-ups to have them confirm that she completed her tasks.

    Lyla Richardson was one of the higher-ups that Chelsea often went to because Lyla would usually just sign off without requesting anything new. She was one of the few people that figured if she needed something done, she could do it herself.

    Her son was different from her but he didn’t need things done often and it was something small, like a coffee, when he did, so he was another person who would sign off without expecting much in return.

    Bradly and Amanda Richardson were last resorts when getting something signed off because nearly every time Chelsea walked into their area, they would request her help with whatever it was they were doing. It usually took longer than Chelsea had to spare, but it was always interesting for her.

    Anytime she would ask Isaac to sign off on something, he would quiz her on the task before he would sign anything, which was another thing she didn’t often have time for.

    Zachary would do it if nobody else would or if she was within a day of when the task needed to be turned in because he knew Isaac didn’t want him interfering with Chelsea’s tasks more than he already did. He helped in his own way, though. Because he was never in his office, he would usually leave it open for Chelsea if she needed to do something relating to Joseph and Ethan or if she just needed to get away for a few minutes.

    There was only one higher-up that Chelsea hadn’t gotten to sign off on anything yet. Luke Lowell. She couldn’t approach him, no matter how many times she tried. She didn’t know if it was just a lack of confidence or if it was really happening, but it seemed to her that anytime she tried to approach him that he would counter it by avoiding her and disappearing for the rest of the week.

    She figured she would ask Zachary about the extended lunch once her lunch started, which was after a meeting they would both be in along with Isaac, Lyla, Bradly, and Amanda.

    Meetings were one of the few things she didn’t need to get signed off because Isaac or Zachary would be there to monitor the meetings and a transcript would show she was there.

    This meeting was on an attempt to combine cybernetic augmentations and genetic manipulation, which is why the people in attendance were the higher-ups of most science sub-departments.

    Lyla was the Chief Geneticist and would likely be the one leading the challenge if they decided to do anything. Amanda was one of the people working on robotics and engineering, making her input just as valuable as her mother’s opinion. Bradly was the head of all science departments, which meant he had to be just about everywhere at once. Chelsea’s job was supposed to be Chief of Cyber Security until she realized she’d be getting involved with more than just security.

    Bradly, Isaac, and Zachary’s opinions on the proposition would be the most important, but the latter two would have to take in all inputs to make a decision based on what the other people in the meeting felt that they could handle.

    Amanda was in favor of testing it and figured they could make a decent attempt whether they tried it in a lab or immediately went to testing on a person, which was mostly a joke.

    Lyla also thought they’d have a fair chance about it if it was the only thing they’d be focusing on, pointing out that it wouldn’t work if Chelsea had to be all over the building instead of focusing on the experiment.

    Bradly and Chelsea were both hesitant about it for different reasons.

    Chelsea only hesitated because Lyla was right about the project needing everyone’s full attention, something she couldn’t give right away.

    “Mrs. Richardson has a good point and Isaac, if you’ll allow it, I think there’s something we need to discuss while most of the higher-ups are here.” She didn’t have the chance to voice her hesitation before Zachary spoke up. She’d only been in one or two meetings with him, but speaking out of turn wasn’t something he did unless he was required to.

    “Is it crucial to the project we’re discussing right now?”

    “Extremely.” He waited for Isaac’s nod of approval before he went on. “I mean no offense in your leadership when I say this, but the biggest problem that’s going to happen with this project is Chelsea running around like an intern. She’s Chief of Cyber Security and she could do so much more if she had the opportunity. Instead, you’re assigning her minor tasks that could be completed by anyone with a grade school education.”

    A sudden uneasiness came over most the people in the room. Meeting conduct prohibited anyone from speaking out of turn, especially any normal employees. “We already have a secretary and to be fair, most of the things I’ve had to sign off for Chelsea are secretary tasks.” Amanda’s voice was barely audible.

    Isaac looked over the people at the table. “Lyla, Bradly, and Amanda, could you excuse us for just a moment? Return to your stations, I’ll have this meeting rescheduled once this issue is resolved.”

    They did as Isaac said, leaving without another word. Chelsea could usually read her father better than most people could, but she wasn’t getting any specific emotion off of him.

    The instant the door shut, Isaac cleared his throat and straightened his posture. “Zachary, you and I are both aware that the middle of a meeting is not the appropriate place to bring up issues we have with each other’s leadership, but since you feel the need to derail an entire meeting for it then please, let’s discuss it.”

    “I didn’t derail the meeting, Lyla mentioned it first. That aside, I do have a problem with you giving Chelsea things that we have interns for. I’ve looked over her list daily to monitor what you’ve been adding and it’s ridiculous. She’s been instructed in the field of Cyber Security and was the Chief back at Jade. Georgie Kenny himself recommended her, that’s a big enough accomplishment considering she didn’t need to sleep with him for the recommendation.”

    “I want you to think about it this way.” Isaac leaned forward, his arms resting on the table. “You two came from the Voyagers, she’s the carrier of a gene that has the potential to wipe out the humanity inside her if she’s reunited with one Voyager and I’m sure they know that. If their plan is to use my daughter to their advantage, I won’t allow it and I’m not going to idly wait for them to conduct an overthrow just to get their hands on her.”

    “And so your solution is to have her all over the building so if they do plan an attack then nobody, including us, knows where she is?” Zachary quickly got out of his seat. “I fail to see the logic in that. By having her do intern jobs, you’re slowing down any progression possible in Cyber Security and wasting one of the most useful people here.”

    Zachary left the room, Isaac’s professional nature turning into pure anger before he got out of his own seat and left without saying a word to Chelsea. She sighed, leaving the table and the room.

    She ran into Amanda during lunch. She seemed really concerned about what happened after they left. “Nothing too important happened, why do you ask?”

    “Zachary cancelled the rest of his meetings and went home for the day. He didn’t even explain why, just that he wasn’t going to be there.” Amanda was normally a joyful person, but even she couldn’t pretend she didn’t break meeting protocol and speak against Isaac. “Isaac had to take the meetings he left and I was part of the first one he cancelled on and your dad is livid, I’ve never seen him this mad.”

    “Amanda, can you handle one or two of my tasks? There’s at least three that are in your lab, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.”

    Amanda seemed to think about it for a minute. “I’ll do you one better. You pay for lunch tomorrow and I’ll even sign off on the tasks.”

    “Deal. I’ll be back in two hours.” Chelsea left from lunchroom to keep the secretary from seeing her leave.

    She knew where Zachary lived, but had never been there because there was never a reason for her to go. He wasn’t nearly as outgoing as people expected him to be, mostly because he was completely exhausted whenever the work day was over.

    He hadn’t made a formal public appearance yet and hadn’t been part of any press conferences, which left people to speculate who he was. Some people figured he was like his father, some rich playboy, which Chelsea knew wasn’t true. Some had voiced their concern about him being part of Onyx because of his parents, but trusted Isaac’s judgement enough to give him a chance.

    The drive was short since Zachary had put a lot of thought into the exact location he considered to be a good place to live for him. Because of that, he was one of the few higher-ups that didn’t live in Dumont Estates.

    Chelsea had to pay attention to the addresses she passed since she didn’t know what exactly the house looked like. She eventually found it and confirmed it was his by the car in the driveway. She pulled in next to the car and left her own car, pocketing the keys as soon as she locked it.

    She took in the neighborhood while she went to the door. It wasn’t a bad neighborhood. It seemed pretty quiet and the houses had just enough space between them to give the owners some privacy.

    Once she got to the door, she stopped looking around and started to focus on why she was there. She rang the doorbell, waiting for a moment until the door opened.

    Thankfully she hadn’t started talking yet, because the person who opened the door wasn’t Zachary. It was a woman who was a bit taller than Chelsea. She had black hair that was put up into a bun. “Can I help you?”

    Chelsea backed off the doorstep, her face flushing red. “I think I got the wrong house, I’m sorry.”

    The woman opened the door some more, studying Chelsea before her eyes widened in surprise. “Are you Chelsea?”

    Chelsea stopped moving, trying to figure out where she might know this woman from. “Yes, that’s me, how do you know that?”

    The woman smiled before opening the door. “I’m almost afraid Mr. Bennington wouldn’t let me keep the job if I didn’t know who you were. It’s as if it’s an unspoken rule.” She motioned Chelsea back forward. “He’s upstairs, I can send for him if you’d like.”

    She went inside, the woman shutting the door behind her. “I’m sure you’re busy, I can find him on my own.” Chelsea gave a sincere smile, the woman dismissing herself afterwards.

    The stairs were a few feet away from the front door and if she focused hard enough, she could barely hear the taps of a keyboard coming from upstairs.

    She followed the sound of the keyboard, only stopping briefly to look around once she got upstairs. The place was spotless, which didn’t come as a surprise. There were six open doors, most of the light coming from open windows instead of lamps or ceiling lights. The tapping of the keyboard was coming from one of the open doors. It led her to a room that looked like an office.

    She poked her head into the office, finding that Zachary was behind the typing and whatever he was doing was important to him since he hadn’t noticed her yet. “So you ditched your work office for a home office?” He looked up, a smile crossing his face once he saw her. “Aren’t you the same Zachary Bennington that said bringing work home only causes negativity because you’re living and breathing work?”

    “In my defense, I don’t get to do my actual job at work.” He seemed better from the last time she’d seen him. “Why are you here, though?”

    Chelsea went into the office, taking a seat in a chair across from Zachary. “I came to check up on you after you decided to rebel against Onyx in the worst way.”

    “Skipping work?”

    She nodded. “Skipping work. That and storming out of a meeting after breaking protocol.”

    “You make it sound like I had an eventful day.” He slightly frowned and turned away from the computer, facing her. “I got pissed off with your dad. The looks and general attitude, I don’t know if you caught it but I did. What we have isn’t going to work out because not only does he not respect me as a person but he doesn’t even respect me as a coworker and I can’t work under those conditions.”

    “I’ve been doing these intern tasks for a month and it hasn’t bothered you until today, so what happened?” He turned back to the computer, typing in a few words before motioning Chelsea over to his side of the desk.

    A spreadsheet was pulled up on the computer. She recognized most of the codes as complaints. “Over the course of the month you’ve been doing intern tasks, I’ve been getting complaints from the actual interns that Isaac hired who think he might be picking favorites and preventing them from reaching their best potential because of it. One of them already tried to quit and the others are threatening to quit if something doesn’t change.”

    “And you can’t directly tell him that because he can just look up who filed the complaints.” She looked over the spreadsheet, taking in most of the codes before she went back to her seat.

    He nodded. “Exactly. I want to get this worked out as quick as I can, but I need to know if you agree with me. If you do, I’ll keep pushing it. If you don’t then I’ll leave it alone, apologize to your dad for making a scene during the meeting, and work something out with the interns.”

    “Before I say anything, I need to know your plan for Joseph and Ethan.”

    “Do we know where they are?”

    “I think so.” She could see he didn’t like that answer, which meant she’d have to find more proof. “Eris thinks they might be in quarantine. If that’s the case, I think we need to go check it out.”

    “I can look up some records to confirm whether or not they’re there, but if they’re not then you’ll have to keep looking. It’ll take me a few days before I can give you any answers, so just give me some time.” He scowled. “I still haven’t met anyone in quarantine, so it might be difficult to do immediately either way.”

    “Next month is when you’ll be formally introduced to all Onyx employees and investors, then the city. It would be for the best if we waited until after the event.” He seemed to agree with her on that. “And your search on the people who are after my dad?”

    “It’s still going, but it’s more difficult than I thought it would be.” He sighed. “They’re pretty good at covering their tracks and I was never the best with cyber stuff in general.”

    It was only their first month back and neither of them had the time to give all of their attention to what they needed to in order to find answers, there were no big results to be expected.

    Chelsea looked around the room one last time, thinking of what she was going to decide on Zachary’s earlier offer.

    [Tell Zachary to leave everything the way it is]
    [Allow Zachary to continue talking to Isaac about improvements]

    Note: Choices in this chapter are going to be a bit confusing because there’s a month between each part and there will be up to four different short Voyager perspectives in one part later in the chapter. That being said, most choices are going to be Onyx choices with the exception of one or two Voyager choices.

  • [Tell Zachary to leave everything the way it is]
    I don't think his improvement recommendations are going to help improve his relationship with Isaac. Even though he just inherited 1/4th of Onyx, I still wouldn't push his luck much more. Afterall, his parents ownership/status didn't help them.

    5.1 The first month was the most difficult for the group. Nearly everyone got homesick after the first week, which they spent in Minnesot

  • This update is a little late, but I want to announce that I’ll be taking a break for the month of June. It’s planned to be hectic enough already and I don’t think I can write on top of it, especially after a bit of a block going on.

    Voyagers should resume in July, if all goes to plan.

  • edited June 2018

    I got past my block! Instead of waiting until July to post the part, I’m just going to post it now and leave voting open for an extended amount of time, mainly because things are going to be going slower on my end.


    At the beginning of the month, Zachary had informed Isaac about the leave he’d be taking at the end of the month, telling him that he needed to check back in with his aunt and get the house back to presentable standards.

    The leave didn’t bother Isaac, probably because what he wanted was some space away from Zachary. The only problem with the leave was that November and December were usually busy months for Onyx because of the holidays that most employees got off unless they would rather work.

    Isaac had planned a formal welcoming for Zachary on a Friday to be mindful of those in attendance, which would be all of the most important investors of Onyx. That alone was enough pressure for Zachary and it became clear as the day approached that despite it meaning he would finally get away from constant meetings, he wasn’t looking forward to it.

    Chelsea and Isaac were the first to show up, which seemed to relieve Zachary a bit. Chelsea had been given a very specific set of rules since it was also her first semi-public appearance since transferring from Jade. Isaac also instructed Zachary on how he should act in the public eye during the current appearance and anything after.

    Anthony Richardson showed up not too long afterwards with his wife. “The media’s attention is already all over this and it’s my job to make sure they only hear the best things about it. Not just anybody is going to be let in and we’ve got the best people on security to make sure nobody sneaks by. Tonight is only the investors and employees, tomorrow is the general public.”

    Chelsea waited until Isaac had started talking to Anthony and Naomi before she pulled Zachary back a bit. “Naomi’s the daughter of Louis and Meredith Dumont. They’re not here yet, but you can’t risk screwing up any relations with them. They enjoy people who are confident and bold, two things you’re definitely not being right now.”

    “I already had your dad lecturing me until Anthony distracted him, I really don’t need any more lectures.”

    “Apparently you do because you’ve already messed up.” He looked a bit upset by the comment before trying to hide it. “You didn’t even introduce yourself to Anthony and Naomi, which is the entire reason we’re having this event.”

    “What else do I need to know?”

    She looked at a couple who just walked through the door. The woman was wearing a black dress that paired well with her black hair and the man was wearing a tuxedo that everyone knew cost about as much as an education. “That’s Meredith and Louis. They run Dumont Estates, which is where you don’t live so they’ve got no reason to like you yet. Naomi is their daughter, Anthony is their son-in-law, and I’ve heard rumors that their other daughter, Veronica, and one of their sons will be attending. If either of them asks you about your relationship status, do not tell them you’re single, they see that as a bad thing for someone in your position and at your age. If Meredith mentions her age, you’d better tell her she doesn’t look a day over twenty, nothing more and nothing less. Louis is probably going to try to talk business with you, please try to act like you know what you’re doing.”

    “Alright, what about Naomi and Veronica?”

    Chelsea looked over to Naomi, going quiet for a minute. “I don’t Naomi all that well, but let her take the lead in any conversation you have with her. She’s a socialite, she knows how to have conversations.” She quickly looked away from Naomi to avoid being spotted. “I’ve only met Veronica once and she’s a little… too much. Let her lead the conversation too, but if you feel like she’s trying to bait you into something, she probably is but you shouldn’t fall for it.” She paused, her eyes following a man who had just walked into the room. “That’s Eddie Russo.”

    “The Nascar guy?”

    She nodded. “I’m shocked you know that. Anyway, Eddie is probably the easiest person to talk to here. He likes cars, obviously, but he’s also interested in talking about the stock market.”

    “Chelsea, I have no idea about cars or the stock market.”

    “You know what Nascar is and that’s enough to get him going on a conversation of his own, you only need to listen and learn, then contribute what you learned as things you already knew.” After Eddie, Luke came into the room.

    Zachary must have noticed the pained expression on Chelsea’s face. “You’ve been carpooling to work with your dad, right?”

    “Yeah, it’s been easier since we live in the same house.”

    He pulled a set of keys out of his pocket, handing them to her. “If you don’t want to be here then you can go wherever you want to. Just try to be back before this thing ends.” He looked at his watch, then to Chelsea. “We’ve got some time before this officially starts, follow me.”

    Before she could say anything, he left the room through a side door, encouraging her to follow. They went to the main lobby and carefully made their way to the elevator to avoid being seen by Isaac or Anthony. “Where are we going?”

    He hit the button to go to the top floor and seemed to lighten up once the elevator doors shut and took off for the top floor. “You’ll see.”

    She put the keys he had given her into her bag before the elevator stopped moving and the doors opened, allowing them to exit. He walked down the hall before making a fist and dragging it along to wall. “What are you doing?”

    He smirked, looking up at the ceiling. “Laugh all you want, it’s worth the humiliation.” He stopped in a spot where the wall looked to be a bit torn up before reaching up to the ceiling line and pulling on the wall to open up a small room.

    “How did you find this?” Chelsea looked into the room, seeing a narrow wooden staircase.

    “I heard about it through the grapevine.” He took out his phone to use as a flashlight before he went into the room, waiting until she stepped in before he reached over her to shut the wall. “Not everyone knows about this and it might be for the best if it stays that way.” He went up the stairs, Chelsea following him. “Do you still have my keys?” She took the keys out of her bag and gave them to him. He stopped in front of a door and looked over the keys, picking one out almost immediately, unlocking the door and stepping out of the staircase. He showed Chelsea the key he used once she stepped out of the stairway. “This key is for rooftop access.”

    In all the time she’d been around Onyx, she’d never actually been to the roof. Her father would always tell her that there was no way up to the roof and it was intended to be that way because it was dangerous to be on the roof, which was the truth. “It’s amazing up here.”

    Chelsea looked over to him to see that for once, he seemed to be enjoying himself. “Only your father and I have access to the roof because it can only end up a distraction or a disaster if everyone had the ability to come up here.”

    Because after work hours had just started, it was only sunset. The sun had already hidden behind some buildings ahead of Onyx, but the color of the sky was enough for Chelsea. “I wanted to ask you something before we went back downstairs.” She seemed to have his attention. “Did you hire Gillian because you’re lonely? I mean, you’re never home to make a mess and you rarely even eat at home either way so why do you need a maid?”

    His smile faded as he looked away from her. “I guess so.”

    “And it’s the same reason you agreed to take part in Amanda’s latest project?”

    “Partially.” His smile came back. “I feel it would be just a little weird for your dad to be nearing fifty years old and having a child with a robot.”

    “I don’t think his age is the weirdest thing about that sentence.” Chelsea crossed her arms. “Do you honestly think it’s a good idea to try and manipulate every single thing about the child like that before it’s even conceived?”

    “They did it with you, Anthony, and Elizabeth and they coded your gene with enough precision to have it set up like an ability. I trust Lyla and Bradly with this and I want to give Amanda the opportunity to show that she can handle bigger tasks.”

    “What else is bothering you?” He may not have been able to tell, but he had a way of projecting negative emotions better than anyone Chelsea knew.

    He took a deep breath and started fidgeting with his hands. “I feel that this is my only chance to have what I want. My parents expected me to have a family of my own early on just to be certain the portion of Onyx that we owned would be passed on to someone we knew understood how to do the job. Obviously, there’s nobody to pass it on to yet.” He tried to steady his hands. “I’ve been thinking about it non-stop since I came back and I’ve been trying dates, but I don’t feel an actual connection with any of the people I’ve seen and if I wait forever for a connection to show up, it might be too late by the time I find it.”

    “Are you afraid that because my dad is a target that you’ll be considered a target after tomorrow?” He nodded. “Believe it or not, those two issues have a lot to do with each other. You’re not used to being in any higher-up position. When you were younger, you tried to convince your parents to have another kid so you didn’t have to take over any of Onyx and being with the Voyagers hasn’t helped with any of those nerves, has it?”

    “No, but we’ll have to pick this up another time unless we want to be late.” He gave her the keys back before going back to the door and into the stairwell.

    Chelsea followed after him, stopping to lock the door before they went through the wall again. “Zach, listen, you don’t-“

    She was cut off by his phone ringing. He shrugged before answering the call. “Hello?” He seemed happy once he heard who was on the other end of the call. “Aunt Marcella, I’ll be coming next month. I’ve already got the details worked out and I’ll help you with packing when I get there.” She briefly heard the woman’s voice while they were on the elevator. Her voice sounded hoarse and Chelsea heard a few coughs before Zachary frowned a little. “Aunt Marcella, don’t get too worked up, it’s not good for you.” He looked up to see the elevator rapidly approaching the first floor. “I have to go, but I’ll call you back after dieci. Addio.” He ended the call, handing his phone to Chelsea. “Don’t let me have it back tonight under any circumstances.”

    “Why not?” She put his keys and phone in her bag.

    “She’s not going to remember I told her ten and she’s going to call again. I can’t get distracted tonight.”

    “What’s wrong with her?”

    The elevator hadn’t stopped yet, giving them just a few more seconds to talk. “You can’t tell anyone you know because if you do, they’ll send her to quarantine. She’s got a bad memory, which is why she’s going to try to call again sometime before ten, but I have to keep her from getting worked up because she’s got lung problems and if she gets too excited then she might faint. Her live-in nurse is retiring at the end of the month, so they’re working on packing right now and hopefully everything will be close to done by the time I get down there so we can focus more on getting her things here.” The elevator doors opened, the both of them stepping out.

    They separated once they reached the ballroom, Zachary going to talk to the investors while Chelsea stayed around Isaac. She studied her father a few times through the night as he watched Zachary, waiting for him to make a mistake. Instead, he seemed a bit impressed by his performance with the investors.

    Like he said it would, Zachary’s phone went off multiple times before Chelsea left the room to answer it, a slight worry that something may have happened and it was the only reason they were calling as often as they did.

    Before she could say anything, the woman on the other end started yelling. “Zachary, why do you not answer when I call you the first time? Do you know how worried I was that something happened to you?!”

    It was the same hoarse voice as earlier, which meant it was his aunt. “Marcella?”

    She heard a gasp on the other end. “My apologies, I must have hit the wrong button, I thought I was calling my nephew.”

    “Wait, you don’t have the wrong number, he’s just not available right now. My name is Chelsea and I’ve got his phone while he’s hosting something, but is there something going on?”

    “Chelsea who? I’ve never heard of a Chelsea.”

    She found it a bit strange how Gillian knew her but his aunt didn’t, but quickly reminded herself that she had a bad memory. “Chelsea Hampton. I’m a friend from work. Could you tell me who you are?”

    “Marcella Accardo.”

    “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Marcella. Did you need Zachary for something?”

    “I was hoping he would call the nurse to remind her about my medicines, but I see that won’t be happening.”

    “Hold on, I can do it for you, what’s her name?” Chelsea started heading towards the security room, taking her own keys out of her bag.

    “Alana.” She hung up once she gave the name.

    Chelsea locked herself in the security room and used the computer to try to access the phone. It took a few tries, but she eventually got in, going straight for the contacts.

    She found Alana almost immediately and called, getting an answer instantly. “Hello?”

    “Is this Alana?”

    “Yes, who are you?”

    “Chelsea Hampton. I’m calling because Marcella just called and she needed someone to call you and remind you about her medicines.”

    Alana sighed, her voice sounding very annoyed. “She already got her medicine, she just doesn’t remember. Please do not to worry about her. Contrary to what she says, she’s being taken care of. Have a good night, Ms. Hampton.” She didn’t wait for an answer before she ended the call.

    Chelsea stayed looking at the phone, her curiosity eventually getting the better of her.

    Most of his texts were from Alana, Marcella, and people from work, which wasn’t too surprising to Chelsea. It was apparent that Marcella wanted a dog when she moved out to South Dakota based on how many pictures of dogs she’d sent Zachary and how many times she had asked him about it. He agreed to it and he’d also been talking about it with Alana while doing some research on specific breeds.

    He’d also apparently went through Onyx records on cybernetics and genetic manipulation before he agreed to work with Amanda, Lyla, and Bradly on their latest project.

    Despite hiring Gillian for company, he rarely sent any messages or made any calls to her.

    Before she could go any deeper into the phone, Marcella called again. “Hello? Chelsea?”

    She was a bit surprised that Marcella remembered her after Zachary and Alana both commented about her having a bad memory. “I’m here Marcella, what do you need?”

    “Thank you for calling the nurse for me, I wanted to let you know that I got my medicines.”

    “You’re welcome, I’ll let Zachary know you’re doing okay the next time I see him.”

    “I would appreciate that. Tell him not to call, I’ll be asleep soon.”

    “Will do.” Chelsea hung up and put the phone back in her bag before she left the security room.

    After she locked the door, she turned around to find the person who brought her back to Onyx in the first place. It was her first time seeing him in person since she’d been back because of his tendency to avoid her. He seemed so different from the last time she had seen him.

    Wherever Luke was, Isaac typically wasn’t far behind, which meant Luke couldn’t get away with much trouble. He had a flask, one of the many items that wouldn’t be allowed on Onyx grounds.

    Chelsea had to pass him in order to get back into the ballroom. She didn’t intend on saying anything to him until she smelled the alcohol from feet away. “How long have you been working for Onyx, Luke?”

    She stopped and faced him, making sure some distance between the two of them remained. He didn’t even look at her. “Too long.”

    “Then you know the policy on alcohol, right? The policy that stays into effect on these grounds at all times.” He didn’t seem to like her attitude, but she had to admit that she wasn’t a fan of the one he had been showing her for the past two months.

    Instead of saying anything, he shook his head and walked away.

    She went into the ballroom, finding herself in the middle of one of her father’s addresses to the investors. Despite being gone for years, Chelsea could still place the faces of all the investors and their connections to each other.

    Zachary wasn’t too far from Isaac, but he seemed far more exhausted than Isaac did. That told Chelsea that in the short time she was gone, he had tried to get everything done and it didn’t work.

    After Isaac finished talking about plans for Onyx now that Zachary was involved, he made his way to Chelsea. “I’m going to give him the chance to handle this on his own and if he can’t do that much then he’s not ready for this. You’ve got five minutes to decide if you’ll be coming with me or staying before I leave.”

    He stayed at the doorway for a few seconds, Chelsea immediately making her choice when she locked eyes with Georgie Kenny. “Don’t worry about waiting, I’ll just stay here to make sure everything goes along smoothly.” She saw him smile as he turned away to leave.

    She learned from working with him that Georgie rarely went to events unless there would be something in it for him, which was the main reason she stayed. If Zachary overstepped any boundaries with Georgie, he wouldn’t hesitate to not only call him out on it but make a forceful attempt at getting him fired.

    Georgie made his way over to her and lowered his voice to be barely audible over the different conversations in the room. “You should lose the confusion on where your own loyalties lie. Your buddy may be sticking with the Voyagers for now, but there’s nothing in that group for you. Your family have been Onyx representatives for generations and I don’t intend to let you be the one to fuck it up.”

    Someone put their hand on Georgie’s shoulder from behind him and slightly pushed him away. “Lay off, Georgie, she’s not your employee anymore.”

    He looked back at the person, making brief eye contact before he slowly walked away.

    Once Georgie moved, Chelsea saw Luke staring daggers at him before he crossed his arms. “You’re still a pretty bad liar. Georgie found out where you’ve been and he’s trying to work out a deal with Isaac and Zachary. All I know is that one of them hasn’t agreed to it yet.”

    She was a little thrown off at Luke not only helping her but talking to her at all. “What kind of deal?”

    “One to send you back to Jade.” He seemed upset about Georgie being around. She’d heard rumors that the two never got along in the few times they had met, but she didn’t really believe them until now. “He pitches it to Isaac as saying that you couldn’t be trusted to work in Cyber anymore because you’d been with the Voyagers.”

    “That makes absolutely no sense.” Chelsea scoffed. “I was around them for a week and they have no access to any sort of technology in their new place, they’re not a threat to Cyber anymore.”

    “But you’re defending them.” Luke scowled, uncrossing his arms. “Georgie wants you to either be chipped or be sent back to Jade. That’s all I know.”

    Luke left, Chelsea immediately noticing Eddie standing nearby. He was just as honest as her, but he was a bit nosy. He was also another person to be rumored to not like Georgie based on the way he treated other people.

    He made his way over to Chelsea. “Of all the things I’ve heard of the night, Georgie’s little request has been the most ridiculous.” Eddie was more of an investor turned family friend, which meant he wasn’t acting as sophisticated as the rest of the investors present. “He tried to say that you lied to him about leaving and forged the papers.” He shook his head. “Neither of them bought that part but your father did seem a little interested in his propositions.” He pointed to Zachary. “Your best chance at even staying here is winning him over. He stayed undecided on it and a few higher-ups are waiting for his decision and reasoning before they say anything.”

    “I’m assuming the higher-ups that said anything agreed to it because my dad thought it was a good idea?”

    “Most of them. Anthony and Amanda didn’t make any comment, but their parents were for it.”

    She wanted to ask about Luke but saw one of the few moments the Zachary would be free was approaching. “We’ll talk later, Eddie, it’s good to see you again.”

    While she approached Zachary, he gave a half hearted smile once he saw her. He waited until Naomi finished talking before he excused himself to talk to Chelsea. “I thought your dad already left.”

    “He did, I’m staying to make sure everything goes okay.” It seemed clear to her that he could tell something was wrong. “Do you mind if we talk somewhere private?”

    He looked around the room, leading her to the closest exit. It put them out in the parking lot, which seemed to be empty. “What’s up?”

    “I need to know what exactly Georgie is proposing.”

    His half hearted smile from before turned into a genuine one. “He just went through his third wife and now he’s starting to see things from a business perspective. He wants a woman but he also wants more power than what he has now. Unless something happens with the Voyagers, you’re in line to get three quarters of Onyx once your dad dies and if something happens to me, I’ve already set it up so that you get my piece of Onyx instead of your dad. Georgie knows this, he thinks it’s plenty of power for one woman, and he’s also attracted to you because he thinks you’re playing hard to get. The first proposition he had for Isaac was that you marry him and he gives Isaac half of Jade. The second was you come back and work for him, which Isaac benefits from for his own reason. A little suggestion he threw in there was that you get chipped for being involved with the Voyagers.”

    “How can you smile while you deliver news like that?”

    “They need my cooperation before they decide to send you anywhere because I’m an Onyx owner and rest assured, I’m not going to let you get switched around just because Georgie wants you.” He looked back to the exit. “I’ll take you home after this is over and we’ll talk more about it then, alright?”

    She stopped him before he got too far. “Did Luke agree to any of it?”

    He shook his head. “Isaac told him to leave the conversation when he started getting riled up about it.”

    They went back into the building through the same doors they left. Zachary had gone back to talk to Naomi while Chelsea slumped into a free seat next to Luke. “I was told you disagreed with Georgie’s stupid little proposition.”

    He looked over to her as if he was contemplating on if he should leave or not before he leaned back in his chair. “You haven’t been doing your job for most of the time you’ve been here, but that’s not your fault. If you were assigned to your job, you’d probably be doing your part and more around here.” He crossed his arms, a slight look of distaste coming across his face and his eyes slightly glowing red as he glared at Georgie. “Georgie wants to use you to his advantage and I’ll be damned if I let some pervert get his way around here.”

    Milo Neil

    It was during the second month that the homesick feeling the group had not only kicked into full effect, but hindered most of their abilities.

    Samantha and Vincent finally found a topic they disagreed on and spent most of the time at each other’s throats about it. They occasionally brought others into it until a majority of the group had worn themselves out on it and Marshal put an end to any talks of the topic.

    The rallies in New York were exhausting for the entire group because they had arrived just in time for the temperatures to start rapidly dropping.

    Marshal had learned to keep talking outside of the rallies to a minimum so he could save his voice, but there had been a few times Alyssa had taken over for him during rallies at her own order.

    Alyssa herself seemed to finally be getting comfortable in the group, seeing that there was an extremely low chance of someone like Rocco taking over again, let alone being part of the group.

    Vincent and Milo had been tasked with getting genuine readings on the people at rallies while Samantha would keep an eye out for any sign of Onyx.

    After rallies, Vincent, Milo, and Samantha would report their findings to Marshal and he would decide whether it was safe to stay just a little bit longer or if immediately leaving would be better for them.

    There were some people who didn’t take kindly to them, but not many of them were willing to get physical because they didn’t know if the Voyagers were willing to defend themselves and each other.

    On their last day in New York, Marshal decided early on that immediately leaving would be best for them and that the others should distance themselves from the rally because of how hostile the people seemed to be.

    They left after he assured them that he’d be fine and encouraged them to take in some sights before they went on to Vermont.

    “The only condition is that you don’t come back with more people than you left with.” That was the one rule they had when they went out on their own, which they understood was for the safety of the group.

    The rallies typically took an hour, which gave them plenty of time to wander, just as long as one of them knew how to get back to either the rally or the van afterwards.

    Dinner was Samantha’s first priority and it didn’t seem like a bad idea to the rest of them, so they stopped by a restaurant. After spending half an hour in the restaurant, five men strolled in, immediately heading to the bar portion of the restaurant.

    The men seemed to be in high spirits as they ordered their drinks. One of them was wearing a fancy tuxedo, which made it seem like they were coming from a wedding.

    Alyssa tuned out of her conversation with Vincent as the men laughed about something, a nervous look coming to her face as she realized she’d seen them near the rally before the group left. “It’s a shame that some spineless rats-“

    It was all she heard and all she needed to hear before she jumped out of her seat. “We need to go back to the rally.”

    The rest of the group didn’t question it. Cyrus paid for the meals and they followed Alyssa out. Samantha had been told to remember the way back, which meant she would be leading them to the rally.

    They arrived to an empty lot, no sign that the rally even happened.

    As they looked around, a woman wearing a wedding dress came out of an alley. She had been crying, which was evident through the makeup that ran down her face. She was barefoot, despite the freezing temperatures and the high quality dress she wore that was dragging along the ground.

    She only said something once Alyssa had gotten close to the alley. “Are you loyal to the Voyagers?” Alyssa gave a hesitant nod before the bride took her hand and led her down the alley. “You need to help your friend, I’ll tell your group whatever I must.” She let go of Alyssa’s hand once they passed a dumpster where she had hidden Marshal. “He’s quite pushy, even when hiding would undoubtedly be the only possibility at saving his life.”

    Alyssa kneeled next to Marshal, seeing he was barely conscious. She looked at the bride, who was waiting for an order. “There’s a man back at the lot with brown hair and green eyes, he’s average height and wearing blue jeans, a heavy red coat, and black boots. His name is Milo, tell him that Alyssa’s in the alley with Marshal and she’s going to need her supplies from the van.” The bride nodded before turning around and running off.

    She took a moment to determine what all was wrong, seeing a few open cuts on his face that weren’t there the last time she’d seen him. She pieced together what she already knew and came to the conclusion that the men at the restaurant had started trouble at the rally.

    He seemed to be alright for the moment, but she didn’t want to take the chance of relying on an assumption. Looking around, she found the bride’s veil and shoes lying nearby and no sign of anyone else in the alley, which confirmed that it was the bride who helped Marshal.

    There was some blood on the wall behind him, which looked fresh to her. She ran a hand through his hair and quickly found where the blood was coming from.

    Her attention was derailed by the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps. She turned to look at the alley’s entry where the bride was leading Samantha, Vincent, and Milo.

    “Cyrus went to get the van.” Vincent kneeled next to Alyssa. “Do we know what happened here?”

    She looked at the bride, then back to Marshal. “She might, but all I know is that I need to get the bleeding under control as soon as I can.”

    The bride approached Samantha and put out her arm, using her free hand to point to the sleeve of her dress. “Silk used to be used for medical bandages so cut my sleeve and use it to bandage the more critical injury.”

    Samantha looked to Alyssa for approval, getting a quick nod. She took her pocket knife and carefully cut the bride’s sleeve loose, then got it off and passed the sleeve to Alyssa.

    “What happened to get him here?” Milo started questioning the bride while Alyssa used the silk sleeve to bandage Marshal’s head.

    She cupped her hands in front of her. “My fiancé is a heartless man, but he’s one with money. His family donates to Onyx and when he heard about the rally, he canceled our wedding just to gather his friends and derail the rally. He and his friends confronted your guy and they got upset when he wouldn’t fight back, so they hit him over and over again.” She moved to the dumpster and opened the lid, pointing out a bar. “One of his friends took that bar and hit the back of his head, which is when they knocked him out.” She shut the lid and turned back to Milo. “They wanted to do more but I was already fighting with them to get them to stop, so my fiancé called for the fight to stop and told me not to follow them.”

    Alyssa briefly looked up to see how genuine the bride was being. “Your fiancé and his friends, do they drink?”

    “Yes, occasionally.”

    “Then they’re probably the same group from the restaurant.” She look back at Marshal. “Someone’s going to need to take over the rallies for a few weeks.”

    The van pulled into the alley, stopping just before the group. Cyrus bright out Alyssa’s supplies and passed them to her.

    Vincent stood up, looking between the other members of the group. “Considering you’ve already done it multiple times and have control if something happens to him, I’d say it should be you.” He paused, a slight look of distaste crossing his face. “But after what happened tonight, I don’t think we should put you in any danger.”

    The bride uncupped her hands and put her arms to her side. “I went to the rally in Long Island, I can help.”

    Samantha leaned against the wall while she waited for someone to give an order. “No offense, but we don’t even know your name. Why don’t you tell us those details before we trust you with our entire mission?”

    She went silent. “I’ll do whatever it takes. I’ll even give you guys my resume if that’s what you want, but I won’t trust you with my identity before I know that I benefit from trusting you.”

    “So what is it that you want?” Cyrus seemed to grow impatient with her, but most of the group assumed it was only because of the idea of a stranger performing the rallies.

    “I want to come with your group.” She turned her view to Cyrus. “If I stay here then I not only have to go home to a man I loathe, but I have to marry him too. After watching what he did to your friend, I don’t think I could stand the fear of knowing that my thoughts would be enough to trigger an attack like that.”

    Alyssa made sure the silk sleeve was firmly in place before she stood up and faced the bride, finally getting a good look in. She was thin and short, her hair that went down her back was curly and blonde, her eyes were a darker green. “Has something already happened to make you want to leave him?”

    The bride looked thrown off by the question, but immediately crossed her arms as if to defend herself. “I’m not sure I understand the question.”

    Vincent and Milo moved back to Marshal, picking him up off the ground.

    Alyssa slowly started approaching the bride. “You understood the question completely, you just don’t want to answer it. However, you need to trust us if we’re going to trust you.”

    She looked over the Voyagers before forcing her arms back to her side, clenching her fists. “He’s cheated before, lied plenty of times, and has an awful temper. I can’t stay in a relationship where I feel unsafe.”

    “Isn’t there someone you know here that could help you?” Samantha questioned.

    “I’ve tried.” She looked to the ground. “But nobody believes me because of how wonderful a person that Jordan is.”

    Samantha looked over to Alyssa and shook her head. “That’s the only thing we know about her, it’s not worth the risk.”

    Alyssa saw Vincent’s face turn red for a moment before he sighed. “I would normally agree with that, but she’s completely powerless right now and in her relationship. She doesn’t want to give up her name because there’s the chance that we turn around and tell some Onyx person that she was trying to make deals with us, then she’ll be jailed for treason.”

    “But that’s not our problem.” It was the first time Cyrus had raised his voice around most of the people present. “It’s a problem with her relationship, not any of ours. We need to focus on our goal before we take on a complete stranger’s problems.”

    “Again, she’s powerless. Nobody believes her on it, the group has had the same problem countless times on major issues.” Alyssa stopped moving towards the bride and faced Cyrus, a fierce look of determination in her eyes. “Nobody believed that Rocco was a problem, despite multiple women describing what he’d done to them in detail and if you’re certain that justice was done by them, think of where they are now, what was going on when he got caught, and how long he got away with it.”

    Cyrus immediately backed down, seeming to regret what he said. Samantha looked a bit upset for a minute before she spoke up again, her voice quieter than before. “Even if we wanted to, one of the two rules that Marshal has been serious about is bringing someone new. He even told us no before the rally.”

    “He left a loophole in it.” Vincent didn’t hesitate to counter Samantha once again. “If it’s urgent enough, we put it to a group vote except he’s not allowed to have a say in it unless he feels certain that we made the wrong choice.”

    Samantha scoffed. “How is he going to deny the decision if he’s unconscious?”

    “He’s not, obviously.” Vincent sounded frustrated with her, as if he didn’t want to be dealing with her at the moment. “I don’t think he’ll deny it, but if he does then the least we can do is get her away from here and let her have a chance at starting her own life.”

    She didn’t seem to be moved by his words, instead she looked bored. “If you want to put it to a vote then it’ll be put to a vote. Alyssa, you’ve got the authority to call a vote, let’s get this over with.”

    The group turned to Alyssa, giving her no option. She looked at the bride one last time to see her pleading eyes. “In the decision of bringing this woman on the rest of our trip, I’m for it. Samantha?”

    “Against. Cyrus?”

    “Against it. Milo?”

    Milo froze up, the last thing he would have expected from them was a vote. “Undecided, but if I may say something.” Alyssa nodded. “The Voyagers have been set on helping people for decades before now, we’d be stupid to not help somebody on a trip where we’re supposed to be proving ourselves. Vincent, your say?”

    “For it.”

    All eyes went back to Milo as they waited for an answer from him.

    ”For it.”
    ”Against it.”

  • ”For it.”

    I got past my block! Instead of waiting until July to post the part, I’m just going to post it now and leave voting open for an extended amo

  • ”For it.”

    I do think Milo brought up a pretty solid reason already just a couple moments ago, I'd like him to follow up on it, even if he seems to prefer having the decision taken out of his hands. But hey, I've been a tie breaker more than enough, I can sympathize on how difficult that can be :D

    I got past my block! Instead of waiting until July to post the part, I’m just going to post it now and leave voting open for an extended amo

  • ”For it.”
    I think we can trust her.

    ”For it.” I do think Milo brought up a pretty solid reason already just a couple moments ago, I'd like him to follow up on it, even if he

  • edited June 2018

    An instant edit: I just realized that I didn’t close the voting but it’s better late than never.

    (!) Voting is closed!

    Milo will vote to have the bride join the group.

    Now, the part that immediately follows this does explain a bit of who she is, but I’ll outright say it here.

    The bride’s name is Cecilia and it definitely won’t be a name you guys want to forget since she’s going to be a major help in later chapters, assuming she and the rest of the group finish the rallies without causing too much trouble.


    With a new person in the van, it had gotten more crowded and a bit awkward for the two who had voted against her.

    As the group expected, Marshal was furious about them taking authority into their own hands. He was set on just getting her out of New York and leaving her with someone else until she showed a resume, just as she said she would.

    He looked over the resume that he and the rest of the group thought was a joke and heard what Alyssa had to say about the situation before changing his mind.

    Cecilia was given stricter guidelines than the rest of the group because there was a high chance she’d be recognized if she went out. She had to cut and dye her hair as soon as they got to Vermont, wear hats that would cover her face if she went out to a rally, and she had to report to Alyssa about how she was handling the transition on a daily basis.

    After the group questioned Cecilia about what she’d done before that was enough to convince him to chance her mind, she admitted to being a gymnast and studying veterinary, which is how she knew about silk being used as bandages.

    She didn’t hesitate to ditch the wedding dress at the first opportunity, trading it for a pair of leggings and a plain shirt. She offered to let the group keep the dress and use it for materials, which they agreed would be for the better.

    It wasn’t difficult to tell that while she wasn’t entirely comfortable around the group yet, she would warm up pretty fast. She spent a majority of the time in the van taking in information about the others and giving information when it was asked of her, otherwise she would keep to herself.

    Once they stopped in Bennington, she asked Samantha and Alyssa to go with her to get their opinions on what she should do with her hair.

    They went to a small shop that seemed empty, giving Cecilia a chance to handle the task she’d been given without getting recognized. Samantha and Alyssa gave their inputs on what they thought would look good on her and determined that a simple dark brown would work for her.

    They opted to do what they had to immediately in the shop’s restroom, which wasn’t a place any of them particularly wanted to be.

    The only one of them that had anything close to cosmetology experience was Samantha’s gardening hobby, which only barely helped with cutting her hair. “He was pretty specific about what she could and couldn’t have, so there’s an extremely slim chance that I can get it wrong.”

    “There’s always going to be a chance of failure, might as well risk it for something that it’s worth.”

    The two of them worked towards getting the cut and dye done without permanently damaging any part of Cecilia or themselves.

    Alyssa could tell by the way Cecilia was looking at herself in the mirror that she wasn’t sure of herself. “A hat is a requirement for you, so a bad haircut is the least of your worries.”

    She gave a soft laugh with a sigh afterwards. “It really is the least of my concerns. I think the whole runaway bride thing is always going to be at the top of my list of things to worry about.”

    “Is having a list of things to worry about normal?” Samantha tried to keep her comments to a minimal. “It just sounds unhealthy.”

    “It’s extremely unhealthy.” Alyssa had been tasked with quickly cleaning up the dye in the sink before it stained. “But I can’t deny you’ve got the right thing at the top of your list.”

    “Do any of you guys have a family? Or is running around just what you guys do?”

    The two stayed silent for a moment before Samantha looked in the mirror to judge how she’d done on the cut so far. “Most of us don’t have family, but some of us are lucky.”

    Samantha went quiet again as she focused on the cutting once more, making Alyssa explain what she’d been vague about. “She and Vincent are cousins. That’s the only blood relation there is in the current group.”

    “I feel that because you specified on blood relation that there’s probably more ties?”

    Alyssa nodded. “Milo is Marshal’s brother-in-law, which he’s only just now accepting since the circumstances weren’t that great for Milo.”

    “There’s another part of the group?”

    “Yep.” Samantha looked at the mirror again. “Marshal picked the people he did for a specific reason, which we don’t even know. He refused to bring certain people along for his own reasons.”

    “Some weren’t in ideal health either physically or mentally, two of the women have children and a third is expecting, and there needed to be some people capable of protecting the group, so there’s a few there for that.”

    “If there was one person from either parts of the group that you had to say you know the least about, who would it be?”

    Samantha answered without hesitation. “Cyrus isn’t close to anybody, nobody really knows much about him. For the group back home, I would say Filip just because I’ve heard some shady things about him.”

    “If you’re talking about him stabbing Elizabeth then yeah, he did that but he doesn’t remember and he’ll probably stab her again if he finds out.” Samantha put her hand over her mouth, a muffled laugh escaping her before she regained her normal face and went back to cutting. “Elizabeth may be over it, but Marshal would have been pissed to hear me say that.”

    Samantha jokingly put her hands up. “What happens in a Vermont bathroom stays in a Vermont bathroom.”

    “Were all of you born into the group or did some of you come from other groups?”

    “Vincent and I are from Michigan, thankfully we only had to go back for a week when we passed through. The Voyagers used to be part of a bigger group that split into multiple groups after a major falling out. Some people were born into the group, some were transferred, and some joined at their own choice.” Samantha shook her head and took a stand once again, putting the scissors on the counter.

    Cecilia looked to Alyssa awaiting her answer. “I joined the group when Milo rejoined them.” She paused. “I don't even think I’ve been with them an entire year yet.” Alyssa stopped working at dye that the sink had collected. “How many groups did they break into?”

    Samantha looked a bit surprised that Alyssa was asking a question instead of Cecilia. “I figured you would have known that. There used to be three different groups. Rocco had the first one, Joseph had the second, and we lost contact with the third group a long time ago, so they probably disbanded.”

    “That reminds me, who is Rocco?”

    “Rocco used to be our leader.” Samantha frowned, looking over to Alyssa. “He was into some gross stuff that he had no problem forcing other people into.”

    “He got what was coming to him.” Alyssa crossed her arms. “Elizabeth overthrew his leadership in a matter of hours, most of his people turned against him, and like I said earlier, he was caught doing some unforgivable things and he was killed for even participating in those things.”

    Cecilia seemed to notice that Alyssa’s answers had gone vague, which told her it was something she wasn’t supposed to touch on.

    Samantha gave a sympathetic smile to Alyssa. “Marshal’s a better leader either way. I can’t say anything about Joseph since I didn’t go with him, but I’m sure he was just as good.”

    She uncrossed her arms and shrugged. “I wasn’t around long before those five disappeared, but I heard Joseph was inactive in leadership. He surely wasn’t a predator, though.”

    “You’ve all been through leaders, huh?”

    Alyssa laughed, her mood quickly bouncing back. “In nine months with the group, I’ve seen five different leaders with five different leading styles. We’re making decent progress right now, so hopefully he sticks with his plan.”

    Cecilia seemed to be taking in every word that they both said, but she didn’t have much to say herself. “If it’s okay with you two, I think I should go look for a hat now.”

    “It’s probably for the best.” Samantha started cleaning up the mess she had made from the hair cut.

    Cecilia looked to Alyssa, getting a slight nod of approval. “It was a nice talk, though, I hope I can become closer to you all as time goes on.”

    She excused herself from the room, leaving Samantha and Alyssa.

    The two stayed in an awkward silence until Samantha stopped cleaning, something clearly on her mind. “Alyssa, I want to apologize to you.”

    “For what?”

    “For not helping you with Rocco.” She sighed. “I know it’s over by now and you’re trying to forget, but I owe you a major apology for not doing what I could to help you deal with him.”

    She was right. Alyssa had spent the past three months trying to forget what had happened with Rocco because there was no way to bring closure now that he was gone. She didn’t regret the fact that he was gone, she regretted the fact that he had gotten away with everything he’d done to her and the people before her.

    But Samantha had no part in that. She wanted him dead just as much as everyone else did when the truth came out about what he’d been doing.

    “I’m trying to forget, Elizabeth spent year after the split working on forgetting, and we all have regrets.” Alyssa decided to try and ease whatever guilt Samantha was feeling. “You have no reason to apologize to me because you haven't done me wrong. I appreciate the thought, but it’s okay.” She smiled, hoping it would seem genuine. “Thank you, Samantha.”


    The paper was delivered to quarantine every morning at six. Whoever was delivering to the guards had to be granted access by security.

    They would give the people at security their papers, then their newspaper bags would be search for any contraband. Once cleared, they were allowed to go in the main lobby and deliver the papers to the staff.

    Six in the morning was still considered the night shift, so not many staff would be around. Seven was when the shifts changed and more doctors came in.

    Just like every morning, the buzzer went off at six. The guard at the control center switched to the camera at the door to see two women dressed in the outfits that the local newspaper delivery service provided their workers.

    He buzzed them in and had them stop at the security checkpoint where he got a better look at them.

    They both had their hair put up in their caps and wore the required outfits of green pants that stopped before their knees, white button up shirts, brown shoes, and the green cap. One looked excited, for a reason the guard didn’t know, and the other looked as if she were dreading being around quarantine. They were allowed heavy coats because of the December weather.

    They handed their paper bags over to the guard, allowing him to look through. He found nothing but newspapers, letting them step through security and go to the lobby.

    The guard went back to his desk where the woman who had seemed nervous earlier stopped to talk to him, the other woman going straight to the lobby. “Can I help you, miss?”

    She nodded, keeping her hands out of sight. “Yeah, you can.” She paused, looking behind him. “Could I get a cup of water? It’s absolutely miserable out there and being in the shape I am isn’t really helping.”

    He looked her up and down before turning his back to her and reaching to the water cooler, grabbing a cup. “Pardon my prying eyes, but I don't see anything wrong with the shape you’re in.”

    He heard a nervous chuckle come from her as he started filling up the cup. “I try to keep it hidden, otherwise it’ll just get in the way.” The guard turned back to give her the cup, immediately staring down the barrel of a gun. “Empty your pockets and pass any weapons you have across the desk.”

    He froze, setting the cup of water on his desk and emptying his pockets as she had ordered. “Do you really think you’re going to get away with robbery in an Onyx building?”

    “It’s not a robbery.” She looked as if she could be talked down. “Your weapons, pass them over.”

    He took his gun out of the holster and slid it across the desk, standing up and slowly spinning around to show her that he was now unarmed. “If it’s not a robbery then what is it? Because whatever it is, I don’t think you understand the trouble you’ll be getting into.”

    “Your actions decide what this is going to be. Don’t cause any trouble and you don’t have to die, it’s as easy as that.”

    The other woman briefly looked into the room. “Cells three, six, and eight.” After that, she disappeared once again.

    The woman in front of him was distracted for a moment, giving him the chance to act.

    The guard grabbed her arm and twisted it, making her drop the gun. He let go of her arm and grabbed the gun before she could recover, turning it around on her. She didn’t seem afraid, only mildly annoyed as she sighed and put her hands in the air.

    “Turn around.” She took the command, the gun’s aim still fixed on her. “Go to the lobby.” She started walking and he followed close behind her, stopping in the doorway.

    He looked around for the second woman, the empty lobby greeting him.

    He turned to look back in the security room, a gunshot ringing out moments before he collapsed on the floor.

    “Three, six, and eight. Hurry up.”

    The woman kneeled down, taking her gun back from the guard.

    “I told you it didn’t have to be like this.” She whispered before put the gun to his head and fired.

    She got up and stepped over the body, going back to the guard’s desk to look over her options. ‘Three, six, and eight.

    Looking up at the monitors, she saw that Leona had put the staff in the sixth cell and needed the door shut so they could make an escape. She flipped a switch under the number six and watched the door slide shut on the monitor.

    She flipped the switches under three and eight, then left the security room, going back into the lobby.

    Leona was holding the door to the hallway of cells with an angry look on her face. “Elizabeth, you had one job to do and you couldn’t even do it yourself. I’m not doing this for me so step up.”

    The two of them went into the hallway, stopping in front of the third cell.

    They looked in, both of them remaining in place until Leona pushed Elizabeth forward. “Ethan?” She cautiously approached him, reminding herself of what Eris had accused him of. “Ethan, it’s Elizabeth, I’m here to help you out.”

    Leona stood in the doorway, her gun ready to protect Elizabeth if she had to. Ethan didn’t seem to respond to her, but he was conscious. “Your group was supposed to help me the first time around.” Leona stepped forward, putting herself between Elizabeth and Ethan. “I got caught because of a woman who’s probably dead. Do you know how much of a waste that is?”

    “She’s not dead, just out of reach.” Elizabeth moved past Leona once again, reaching out to Ethan. “We did mess things up with you, but provide us the opportunity to fix this, please.”

    He got up without a word, going past Elizabeth and Leona. They looked out into the hallway to see he was going straight to the eighth cell. He paused and looked at the door frame. “This is Joseph’s cell but the door’s stuck.”

    Elizabeth and Leona shared an unsure look before going to his spot and confirming for themselves that the door was stuck. “How do we fix this?”

    “They have to get him to pull from the inside and two people from the outside.” He pointed to a small opening at the bottom of the floor. “I don’t think he’s awake, but that’s where they have to pull from.”

    Leona turned to Elizabeth with a frown on her face. “We’re already cutting it close with shift changes, we need to take a small victory.”

    “It’s all or nothing.” Elizabeth turned away from the door. “You two stay here and get ready to pull on my mark.”

    She hurried out of the hallway, trying to make it back to the security room in time. She had noticed some advanced controls around the panel, making her question what they did and if they would be any help to what they needed done.

    Looking at the panel, she tried to make a decision. She looked to the monitor and hit a button close to the eighth switch. She saw a reaction, which made her do it again.

    Shift changes are going to be trouble for us but not if we find a way to avoid them.

    Reminding herself that the staff had been locked in the sixth cell, she flipped every other switch and watched the doors slide open with ease on the monitors.

    She left the security room and went back to the hallway, an immediate crowd greeting her. Leona and Ethan had gotten Joseph out and stayed with them until Elizabeth got back. “We already know about these two, but what do we do with the rest of them?”

    “These people don’t understand why they’re here, they haven’t done anything wrong other than being sick. Get them out of here, I’m going to copy the files and cut the power once you’re all out of here.”

    The three took her orders and split up, gathering the people from quarantine and leading them out while Elizabeth went back to the security room.

    Copying the files was easy, it was something she’d done countless times before. She corrupted the files once she was done and cut the power, taking a flashlight from the security guard Leona had shot.

    She got out just before shift changes were to be expected, making a run to catch up to the group.

    Leona was leading them back to the motel through an alternate route, which was longer but more discreet. She paused for just a moment to let Elizabeth catch up, then went back to walking. “How do you expect for these people to get better without your doctor?”

    “A lot of them aren’t even sick anymore, Onyx just doesn’t want people to know how bad quarantine really is.” Ethan looked back at the crowd of about twenty people, a slight frown on his face. “There’s some with illnesses like the flu and some with incurable illnesses, but what they all need right now is to get to a shelter.”

    “The first thing we need to do is learn who the new lady is.” Joseph looked at Leona, completely aware she could hear him and hoping she would answer.

    “That’s Leona and while she’s a complete pain in the ass, she’s the only reason this was possible.” Elizabeth answered, only because she knew Leona wasn’t going to answer for herself.

    Joseph nodded slightly, continuing on as normal. “Did Marshal make it back and follow the plans?”

    “Yes, he took a group with him and they’ve been gone for three months now.” Elizabeth knew something was going on with Joseph based on the way he was acting. It wasn’t normal for him. “We know Eris is in headquarters and we’re going to wait a bit before we make an attempt at reaching her.”

    “Who did he take with him?”

    Leona noticed him ignoring the part on Eris, but didn’t say anything about it. “He took Alyssa, Milo, Samantha, Vincent, and Cyrus. We’ve had no contact with them since they left.”

    Joseph seemed momentarily shocked. “Samantha and Vincent? Does that mean that Rocco’s around?”

    Leona smirked. “Nope, Rocco’s dead. His people are still around yours, though.”

    “They’re all really adjusted.” Elizabeth paused, a sigh escaping her. “Most of them, anyway.”

    Chelsea Hampton

    In the midst of dealing with Georgie’s unwanted advances, an alert had gone out that quarantine was out of power and shift changes couldn’t happen because of the lack of power.

    Zachary had told her that Joseph and Ethan were in quarantine before he left but convinced her that they shouldn’t act until he got back.

    Chelsea and a few others from cyber security started working on restoring the power as soon as they got the call, knowing most of the doors in quarantine were operated by electricity.

    She got it back up in a matter of minutes, which she figured meant that there had been an incident that made the guard manually turn off the power.

    The first thing she saw when she switched to the cameras was the security office, the guard lying just barely in the camera’s view. She tried going back into the camera’s records, only getting a notification saying it was an invalid command.

    She knew well enough that she’d have to get Luke involved because it was looking to be a cyber attack done by a rebel group.

    She sent out a notice and got herself ready to go with, silently hoping that whoever was behind it had already gotten away or wouldn’t cause a problem whenever they were caught.

    Amanda Richardson

    Amanda had grown to appreciate what Zachary was doing for Onyx more than her parents did.

    She understood that he wanted to try new things in a new way, giving them room to improve before the Voyagers could.

    Her parents didn’t trust him because he had spent so much time among the Voyagers and he wasn’t chipped, which meant he probably had more knowledge on the group than he was ever going to give away.

    She didn’t like the idea of keeping major secrets like that but she enjoyed the new opportunities that were being presented to her.

    She had previously done work on Luke’s cybernetics, but only recently had she been given the chance to make a new person.

    Not one with flesh or with blood, instead it was to be made of plastic. Anything inside would be mechanical, just as the blood would be crafted in her mother’s lab.

    Since she started working on it three months ago, she had finished putting the body together while her mother worked on crafting the blood, which was a process that took a long time.

    She had gotten the mechanical parts ready to activate once the blood was introduced, which was expected to bring life to the machine.

    Her mother had met her in the lab, the both of them watching as the blood went through an IV and slowly went through the more critical components.

    They noticed parts of the body seeming to glow once Amanda starting activating the parts inside the body.

    Amanda stepped away from the computer and closer to the body that was being held on display as it slowly opened its eyes, attempting to identify the surroundings.

    “Look forward.” It did so as soon as Amanda ordered. “Identify yourself.”

    It stayed silent, giving Amanda a slight worry that something had gone wrong during programming. “I am an upgraded Gillian model. My primary functions are to keep my owner’s home and work clean and orderly to prevent clutter from making success unachievable.”

    “Excellent, Gillian.” Amanda looked back to her mother, noticing she seemed pleased with the results. She turned back to the Gillian model. “Do you provide security functions?”

    “Indeed. I’m able to watch over security systems at any time necessary and alert the proper authorities if anything goes wrong. I also have a built-in security measure to use as a last resort against any intruders.”

    Amanda looked back to her mother, waiting for her verdict. She looked impressed, but also disappointed at the same time. “You can teach a dog to react to its name, but you have to train it with tricks, otherwise you’ve got a dog who thinks its name is sit.”

    That meant she wanted proof that the new Gillian would be better than the old one, which was a task that wasn’t meant for Amanda to handle on her own.

    She’d have to wait longer to ensure the functions were working the way she wanted them to before she would present the newer model.

  • O my! A lot of interesting things happened in this part. We have a new member in Marshal's group. I'm curious to see her contributions. We had a prison break with Elizabeth and Leona. I'm afraid this attempt might unintentionally cause an outbreak of disease in the city. Most surprise of all, Zachery's maid Gillian is an android!!! I can't wait to see what happens next.

    An instant edit: I just realized that I didn’t close the voting but it’s better late than never. (!) Voting is closed! Milo will vote

  • 5.4

    Once the group reached Maine, they had been told that Onyx was completely aware of what they were doing and intended to send someone to check into it sooner or later.

    Unfortunately, it was sooner.

    After a rally in Maine, Marshal was confronted by Luke Lowell. Luke didn’t seem to thrilled to be there and Marshal didn’t act particularly happy that he was there either.

    “I would think that you’d be smart enough to stay in your place after the experience you had in South Dakota. Are you just trying to get in trouble?”

    “I’m not doing anything illegal, how is that trouble?”

    Luke smirked and shook his head. “You left when you were in middle school, the only law you were taught is that jaywalking is wrong.”

    Cecilia recalled that Samantha had mentioned that most of the Voyagers had a limited education depending on when they left the city, which was early on for most of the group.

    She had been told that Alyssa and Milo were pretty knowledgeable, mainly because of how long they stayed in the city. She’d been given a few other names, Marshal being one of them, of people who probably knew more than they let on.

    “I hate that you had to come all this way to remind me of the laws that we’re not even breaking, but I guess I should say thank you.”

    “I’m impressed that even you can find a loophole in the law, but there’s one major law that you’re forgetting about.” Luke looked over the group. “All of you are breaking it and have been since you joined the group. There’s to be no forceful revolts, all issues are to be handled in civil court.”

    “A civil court run by Onyx in a case against Onyx.” Samantha spoke up before Marshal had the chance, her face red with anger. “Is it as rigged as it sounds?” Luke looked to her with a momentary look of surprise before resuming his normal angry look. “Do you have any idea as to how many cases against Onyx there’s been and how many have been won? Over hundreds have happened and a total of zero have been won.”

    Cecilia noticed Luke preparing to get closer to Samantha, which made her out herself between the two. “They’re not doing anything wrong and your attempts at making them look to be in the wrong aren’t going to work.” She redirected Samantha and Marshal’s attention to a group of three people nearby that had been working on getting closer to the group to see what was going on.

    They both instantly eased up as Luke backed off. “It wasn’t my intention but I wouldn’t mind it.” A twisted smirk came across his face as he met Cecilia’s eyes. “Just so you’re aware, none of you are in the clear. All eyes are on you people and the second any of you mess up, it’s done.” He looked past the group, straight at Alyssa. “There’s still a spot for you in Onyx if you give yourself up.”

    He made a quick move with his arm, making Cecilia jump back and run into Samantha. He shook his head and chuckled as he walked away from the group.

    Nobody moved until Marshal turned back to address the group, a sudden look of exhaustion on his face. “Next time something like that happens, I need you guys to stay out of it. I understand what he was trying to do and that you guys were just trying to help, but I can handle Luke on my own.”

    While the group didn’t agree with the decision, they knew he had his reasons for telling them to stay out of it.

    They stayed in town for the night, giving the group some time to roam around.

    Marshal asked Milo to stay with Alyssa because of Luke, which was an idea that Milo and Alyssa agreed on.

    The two of them went on a walk to clear up their thoughts on having Luke around. Milo could tell Alyssa was upset about it, but there was nothing he could do about it in the current moment.

    She didn’t seem like she wanted to talk, which was completely new to him. “If you want to go back home then I can talk to Marshal about it and work something out with him.”

    She shook her head, continuing on her walk. “That would leave you guys with no doctor.” She looked back with a smile that he could see right through. “Besides, I committed myself to this, I’m not just going to back out because of Luke.”

    “Alyssa, could you wait up a minute?” She stopped, but made it clear that she just wanted to move on. “I understand that this is upsetting for you and you don’t feel safe, but I’m not going to let anything happen to you. I swear on it.”

    She seemed to hesitate in saying anything, but allowed herself to smile. “When I was tasked with watching over you, I thought it was pretty stupid. I didn’t like you much either.” She crossed her arms, refusing to meet his eyes. “I would have stayed with Onyx if I was given the option, mainly because of the chip.”

    Alyssa looked back to Milo to see his focus was somewhere else. “I’m going to get Luke away from you and I know just how to do it.” She followed his view to see a few familiar faces from New York standing across the street. “Cecilia’s ex has been following us and he’s just waiting for the right time to make a move. It might be easier for him now that Luke is around, but I won’t let anything happen.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    It was as if he completely forgot she was there, he looked back to her with a smile. “It’s nothing for you to worry about, you’ve already got more than enough on your plate.”

    She sighed, moving past him to start heading back to the group. “Just don’t do anything you’re going to regret.”

    What Alyssa didn’t know is that what Milo was planning was beneficial to the entire group with the exception of himself.

    After their talk, he started acting strange. He was more alert, but more withdrawn from the group. He started staying around Marshal more, which concerned Alyssa until she hit a breaking point and asked Marshal about it when they had some free time.

    “I know you don’t like idle conversations, but this is important to me and it involves you.” Catching Marshal was hard to do whenever they were wandering the town, mainly because he prefered to mind his own business and stay out of everyone else’s way. “ It’s really not my business, but I’m worried about Milo. He’s been weird since Maine and I’m just a bit worried that he might be planning something that wouldn’t help anyone but Onyx.”

    “Milo’s the last person who would do that.” Just as Alyssa had feared, Marshal was quick to dismiss her concerns. “Even if he was planning to do something like that, there’s literally nothing I can do about it. He and Elizabeth are both extremely impulsive and destructive, but they also go through their own moods.”

    “Are you saying that it’s just a mood?”

    He nodded. “That’s exactly what I said. I’ve been around the both of them for over fifteen years now and those are the three things about them that mirror each other and probably won’t change. He’ll be over whatever’s keeping him down in a matter of days.” He gave a soft smile that reassured her a bit. “It’ll be fine, you’ve got my word.”

    “And what about Cecilia’s ex? You know he’s been following us, right?”

    “Of course I do. I don’t like it but there’s nothing I can do about it now that Luke’s around because the second one of us steps out of line, we’re all going to be arrested. If one resists, we all die.” He shrugged and looked away from her.

    Marshal was never one for drawn out conversations, but the short conversation they had only left Alyssa feeling more suspicious of everything going on.

    After a moment, he sighed and looked back to her. “You know that if anything happens to me then you’re in charge, right?” She nodded. “That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to continue the rallies. If you want to take the group home then fine, it’s your call, but I need you to know that our future is in your hands.”

    “Is there something going on that I don’t know about?”

    He shook his head and forced another smile before he stopped responding.

    Luke and Cecilia’s ex, Jordan, stayed around until the final rally in Rhode Island.

    The group seemed miserable leading up to the end of the rally, which was usually when the group was at their best.

    Samantha and Cecilia stayed near the van and only came around once the rally was over and Marshal rejoined the group.

    All eyes were on Milo once the group was together again and for a brief moment, there was silence.

    “Today marks a big change for the Voyagers. We’ll see the dedication each of you have to the group in just a few minutes.” He paused, looking down before he looked at Alyssa. “Dedication to the group and the members of the group.” He scanned the group again. “I’m certain you’ve all heard whispers of some plan expected to happen tonight and if it is true, Marshal and I have worked out a plan of our own to secure the safety of the group for a few more months.”

    Alyssa saw Cyrus frown before he spoke up. “What if you guys fail?”

    “Then we die.” Milo quickly took on a bitter smile. “After tonight, Marshal will be in Onyx custody and I’ll be a fugitive. You guys will be somewhere close to North Stonington, hopefully.”

    “What exactly are you two planning?” Alyssa questioned, finding her voice smaller than ever.

    Milo focused on her once again, his bitter smile seeming more genuine. He moved past the group, Alyssa following after. They got a fair distance from the group before he stopped and turned to her. “I didn’t want to tell you, I really didn’t. Marshal kept pushing for me to tell you, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.”

    “Is it really that bad that you couldn’t tell me at all?”

    He nodded, a frown coming over him. “You’ve seen how handsy Jordan’s been lately and how nosy Luke has been. It’s not safe for the group if Luke knows our every move and it’s not safe for Cecilia if Jordan’s still around.”

    “Marshal said there was nothing he could do about that, though.”

    “Because the plan was already in works.” He sighed. “If Jordan grabs Cecilia tonight, which I’m almost certain he will, I’ll shoot him. Luke is going to run after me and Marshal’s going to stop him by getting in a fight with him, which is going to get him arrested. On the off chance that it doesn’t work and Luke catches up to me, I’ll be given no choice but to shoot myself and keep Onyx from using my knowledge against the group.”

    Alyssa froze for a moment, a sudden rush of sadness, shock, and anger flowing through her. “And you didn’t tell me.” She scoffed and looked to the ground. “Why not?”

    “I didn’t want you to worry about it.” He moved closer to her before embracing her, holding her close as he could. “There’s a bigger chance of Marshal and I living than either of us dying and it’s a risk I’m willing to take if it means the group will be safe again.”

    As upset as she was, Alyssa didn’t pull away. She found his presence comforting, despite all he had to say. “And what about Marshal’s knowledge? How do neither of you expect them to not use him?”

    “He’s built up a stronger immunity to what the chips have in them and Onyx knows that from the last time he was in custody.”

    “Did the rest of the group know about the plan?”

    She already knew the answer based on how slowly he responded to the question. “They did. Cyrus swore to Marshal and I that he would get the rest of you out of there as soon as the chance presented itself.” He paused, a small sigh escaping him. “You’re going to be in charge, what do you think you’ll do?”

    “I’m not sure, I didn’t exactly expect to be thrown into the position this soon.”

    He chuckled before finally letting her go, seeming a bit more at ease himself. “I’ve spent twenty-five years protecting Elizabeth when she didn’t need it. I completely underestimated her abilities and once I came back from the city, I finally realized it.” He looked at her once again. “I hated my time in the city, but I wouldn’t have met you if I wasn’t there and I think about that every single day. Elizabeth might not need me anymore, but I want to be able to protect you. I want to give you a life that none of our people have, even if it means I have to die trying.”

    Alyssa shook her head, a small smile forming on her face. “That’s pretty contradictory to your whole plan for tonight.”

    “I know that much, but I also know Marshal. I trust him with doing his part right and finding a way to get back home.” He lifted her head to look into her eyes. “I need you to make me a promise. You can take the group home after tonight or you can keep doing the rallies. Whatever you choose, I need you to promise me that you’ll stay safe.”

    She nodded. “I promise, but only if you do the same.”

    “I swear I will. I’ll try to be back in South Dakota before the rallies end.” His smile faded as he looked past Alyssa. “It’s almost time, but you’ve got my word.”

    She looked over her shoulder to see Jordan and Luke talking to the group, Jordan being especially close to Cecilia.

    She expected him to go as soon as he realized their time was coming to a close, but he was still directly in front of her when she turned back around.

    His focus stayed on the group until he looked back to Alyssa, a smile fixed on his face. “I won’t let you down.”

    They turned back to go to the group, staying close to each other.

    He stopped before they got too close, but she kept walking. “Alyssa, there’s one more thing I want to get out before I do this.”

    She turned back around and went back to him, immediately noticing that he seemed nervous. “What is it?”

    He didn’t say or do anything until she got closer. They were just a few inches away from each other when he leaned down and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. “It’s not all I want to do, but I can’t let myself get distracted right now, otherwise I’ll put you in the exact trouble I’m trying to avoid.” He moved past her to go back to the group.

    Alyssa followed after, arriving back to the group just in time to see Marshal pass Milo the gun while all eyes were on Jordan.

    Cecilia looked extremely uncomfortable as she tried getting closer to the Voyagers and away from Jordan. He clearly noticed but hadn’t said anything on it yet.

    The group made some idle chats while they waited for Jordan to mess up, which they all knew wouldn’t be too far away.

    Luke was nearby, keeping an eye on them. He knew Milo had the gun but he didn’t look too worried about it.

    When the group got ready to give up, Jordan snapped. He grabbed Cecilia’s wrist and pulled her to make her look at him. “Are you over this phase yet? It’s time to go home and you’re refusal to go is just annoying me.”

    “I’m not going back with you, I’ve already told you this.” She tried pulling away, making him pull back harder.

    Milo raised the gun, aiming directly for Jordan. “She already said no every single day for the past two months, do you really think she’s going to change her mind because you decide to rough her up?”

    Jordan didn’t seem threatened, he saw it as a challenge. He kept a tight hold on Cecilia’s wrist as he looked over to Milo. “You’re pretty stupid to draw in a civilian when an Onyx official is keeping an eye on you, don’t you agree?”

    “I would agree if it came from anyone but you. The problem is that I don’t want to agree with a man who thinks it’s okay to lay his hands on a woman who said no sixty-two days in a row and make demands from her when she’s over him.”

    A smirk came across Jordan’s face as he let go of Cecilia’s wrist. “This is about your beliefs? You pulled a gun in a civilian because of your beliefs?”

    Milo looked past Jordan, seeing Luke running over to the group. “That’s exactly it.” He looked back at Jordan, firing a single shot before turning around and running.

    Jordan’s body collapsed on the ground, creating an obstacle for Luke.

    Alyssa turned to Marshal to see him take a deep breath before tackling Luke as he ran by.

    Vincent grabbed Alyssa’s wrist and pulled her along when Cyrus led them away from the scene.

    He took them back to the van, Alyssa taking Marshal’s seat in the front as she tried to process how quickly everything had happened.

    “Where do we go?” Cyrus started driving as soon as the group had gotten into the van in an effort to distance them from the situation. “Alyssa, it’s your call.”

    What Milo and Marshal did may have protected the group, but it surely isn’t going to help the public view on the group.

    [Quit the rallies and go back to South Dakota]
    [Continue the rallies and go to Connecticut]

    Milo Neil

    He ran as long as he could and made a fair distance before he started going through alleyways and crowded streets to avoid being spotted. There was no time to think about what he’d done.

    Luke wasn’t following him, but there was no assurance that he was going to be safe after what he did.

    The direction he’d gone so far was out of the way of the next rally and home, which wasn’t the best path for him to go on.

    He took a break after nightfall and tried to map out where he was going to go, only finding three options.

    He could go back home and try to help Marshal, he could go to the next rally and help the group there, or he could continue on a path away from both groups to avoid Onyx catching them.

    [Go back home]
    [Go to the next rally]
    [Continue on a different path]

  • [Continue the rallies and go to Connecticut]

    We wouldn't want Milo and Marshal's sacrifice to be for nothing. She needs to continue the mission.

    [Continue on a different path]

    This is probably the safest option for Milo and the other voyagers. He wouldn't want to lead Luke to the next rally location, or the Voyager base, if he ends up getting tailed by Luke.

    5.4 Once the group reached Maine, they had been told that Onyx was completely aware of what they were doing and intended to send someone

  • [Continue the rallies and go to Connecticut]

    Awww, that was so adorable between them. I hope he comes back for the reunion.

    [Continue on a different path] He promised to stay safe and I think this is the best option for now.

    5.4 Once the group reached Maine, they had been told that Onyx was completely aware of what they were doing and intended to send someone

  • (!) Voting is closed!

    Alyssa will continue on with the rallies and Milo will take his own path.

    I didn’t keep this voting open that long and that’s because I’m finally getting back into the writing mood lately. I finished this next part pretty early and I figured that I might as well release it now since I’ll be busy the next two days.

    I also wanted to share a little update!

    I finally sat myself down yesterday and updated the main post and the chapters on Google Docs. I realize now that I never even told you guys who the character for this chapter would be, but I think it’s better off that I don’t share the character until after their biggest choices or sometimes after the whole chapter, which does sound pretty harsh. Anyway, I was going to catch up on the alternate choices, however I had to go back and check the last choice I put in the document was in November of last year, so I definitely have work to do on that.

    After this part is out, we’ll be over halfway through Act 1, which is pretty exciting, in my opinion. Act 2 is already in planning and it’s going to be a little different from Act 1, but I’ll touch more on that at a much later date.

  • 5.5

    There was always something Marshal wouldn’t share with certain members of the group because he could predict their reactions.

    He didn’t tell Milo the real reason Luke would prioritize capturing him over Milo.

    While he had just watched Milo commit a crime, Marshal was wanted for the murder of the bouncer back in the city and he would take Marshal because his crime was connected to the Hampton family.

    “You did put up a good fight, but I think you already know what’s coming next, right?”

    “I’m gonna take a wild guess and say that Isaac orders my execution.” He saw Luke nod in the seat in front of him. “I’m curious, Luke, what would have happened if I didn’t shoot the bouncer?”

    He shrugged. “You wouldn’t be where you are right now, that’s the one thing I know for certain. Isaac may have let you live after you killed the bouncer, but you fucked up big time by taking over the group.”

    “Well that’s just a matter of opinion, isn’t it?”

    Luke didn’t talk to Marshal much during the ride back to the city, but he occasionally would try and pry information out of him and claim that it might save his life if he would cooperate.

    He knew giving away a slight clue to any Voyager would result in their capture, whether it be Milo, someone back at the base, or someone with the group.

    They stopped a few times on the way back to South Dakota, but it wasn’t for long. They made it back to Onyx headquarters within three days, which was good enough for Isaac.

    Luke escorted him into the building, where he saw most of the same faces he saw the last time he was there. He was taken to the same conference room where Isaac sat in the same exact place as last time.

    “I’m almost impressed, Mr. Kennedy.” Isaac looked almost exactly the same from when Marshal last saw him. The same long blond hair, almost the same white suit. “Even after becoming the most hated people and your capture, your people are still rallying. It’s a shame you people don’t realize that nobody wants to put their trusts in murderers.”

    “If they only knew that that’s what they’re already doing.” He wasn’t going to wait for Isaac to turn it around on him. “You and I’ve gotten pretty close through the countless times you’ve failed to keep people in line, why not tell an old pal what you did to David Neil? Or would talking about Owen and Susanne Hunt be easier for you?”

    Isaac seemed to study Marshal before getting out of his seat and dusting off his white suit. “It’s clear I’m not going to get any answers from you, so I’ll make you a deal.” He walked around the table. “You give up your people or you die. It’s as simple as that.”

    “Then pick a date for my execution.”

    He nodded, going back to the door to the conference room. “If our records are right, your wife is expecting or has already given birth at this point. Are you really going to choose death over giving your family a normal life?”

    “The life you’re providing these people isn’t a normal life and I want no part of it for me or my family.”

    Isaac opened the door and waved someone in the hall down to the conference room, waiting in the doorway.

    Luke came in and whispered something to Isaac, getting a nod in response.

    Alyssa Kowalska

    Once in Connecticut, Alyssa has started encouraging Samantha and Vincent to focus more during the rallies in the case that something happened to her, which seemed more and more likely each day.

    The whole group expected Cecilia to want to leave after watching Jordan die, but she claimed to have never felt more alive and free.

    She reminded Alyssa that she hadn’t sworn allegiance yet, which prompted her to swear in Cecilia after brushing up on how exactly the words went. If anything, it was more a way of keeping herself busy and from asking any questions that she would regret.

    She noticed that Cyrus was staying close to her in the same way he stayed close to Marshal. He rarely said anything, but always had an answer for whenever Alyssa hesitated on something.

    “Cyrus, you know Marshal and Milo pretty well, why would they make a decision that bad?” He stayed around during free time as well. Even if she dismissed him, he would stay in the general area.

    “It was more of Milo’s idea. Marshal isn’t a fan of unnecessary violence, but Milo just picked the right time to talk to him about it and Samantha agreed with Milo, so it’s what Marshal agreed to do.” He paused, a sigh escaping him. “That’s not to say that Milo enjoys the violence either, but he knows when words can’t win. There was no way we could talk Jordan and Luke into going back home, so he did what needed to be done.”

    She nodded, a frown coming over her. “Just like he did with Rocco. What’s going to happen with Marshal?”

    “Nobody’s sure about that.” He chuckled soft enough for Alyssa to confuse it with a sigh of a scoff. “Onyx wanted to execute him immediately so they could scare the rest of us back into hiding for another hundred something years. They were going to do it last week, then they postponed it to this week, then they postponed it to next week.”

    “Do you think Chelsea has something to do with it?”

    “I’ve got no doubts that she or Zachary are involved somehow. Despite their separation, if Chelsea or Elizabeth cross into each other’s bad sides and one of them is strong enough, they can render the other completely useless. If Chelsea’s playing smart, she’ll stay in Elizabeth’s good graces because she knows that once Elizabeth had her baby, she’ll find a way to have the power of two.”

    “She wouldn’t do that.”

    “She wouldn’t do it to hurt anybody but she would do it to protect her child.” He paused to think. “I’ve got no experience with parenting or any gene like that, but there’s not much she can do to protect her kid when they both have the gene. It’s as simple as that.”

    “And why would Zachary help Marshal?” Alyssa knew Cyrus wasn’t going to constantly give her answers, but she wanted to know all that he would give up so she would be able to piece the rest together by herself.

    He didn’t take well to the question, a grimace taking him. “He’s been lying to the whole group for close to ten years now, he at least owes Marshal three weeks.”

    “Three weeks for Leona to try and orchestrate an escape, right?” He nodded. “Getting into headquarters is going to be more difficult than getting into quarantine, do you really think she can do it?”

    “It doesn’t matter if she can or not, she’s the most valuable alliance we have right now and because she’s still trying to prove herself, she’s going to do it.”


    After she found out about Marshal being back with Onyx, she informed the Voyagers. She delivered most of the information she got to them already since their only scout was gone for days at a time and Elizabeth constantly worried.

    She didn’t really care that Elizabeth was worried until Horatio confronted her and told her to give up whatever she knew or keep stressing Elizabeth out, which wasn’t good for her or her baby.

    She had to tell Joseph information once he returned since he had assumed temporary leadership, which was what the group lacked after Marshal left.

    When she told Joseph about Marshal and Milo, he asked her input on sending a group to search for Milo and sending a different group to get Marshal out.

    “I think it’s a pretty bad idea. They’re looking for all of your people and they know most of your people so to send two groups out further risks Onyx tracing the groups back to the motel. Let me handle Marshal, Milo can handle himself.”

    He didn’t particularly agree to the idea, but he gave in and allowed her to take control.

    Leona took her own people to headquarters, none of them armed and all of them willing to surrender.

    At the very beginning of the day, she and her people went into the lobby. They stood side by side, blocking the doors out.

    The receptionist looked up to the sight, her light blue eyes going wide as she grabbed the phone on her desk and quickly dialed a number. “Sir, I’m sorry to bother you but there’s a problem in the lobby. You might want to bring Lowell with you when you come down.”

    Leona showed her hands with a smile on her face. “We’re not here to hurt anybody, but we demand answers.”

    She didn’t say anything in response, instead she looked to the elevator as the number up top started counting down.

    Leona’s people watched as well, thinking of it as a countdown to their deaths. She thought of it as a countdown to a new future.

    There were a few civilians in the lobby that watched the scene from behind the receptionist’s desk. After a moment, the doors to the security room opened and Chelsea looked out, immediately locking eyes with Leona.

    She left the room and confronted Leona, her voice almost to a whisper. “What are you doing here?”

    Leona looked at the elevator, which had just reached zero as four men stepped off. She immediately recognized three of them, but the fourth was unknown to her.

    She looked at Chelsea before looking over her people, most of them seeming completely hopeless. “As I told the receptionist, we’re not here to hurt anybody. We’re here to make a statement.”

    Isaac seemed tense as he whispered something to the man Leona didn’t know, making the man take the elevator once again.

    Luke did the talking since it was his job to keep groups like Leona’s under control. “What statement could that be?”

    “I stand before you and deliver a message from my own group and from the Voyagers. Both groups are willing to be completely peaceful if you’ll release Marshal Kennedy.” She kept her hands showing, prompting her group members to do the same. “If you fail to meet our demands, we won’t hesitate to spill blood.”

    Luke scoffed, putting himself in front of Isaac and Zachary. Chelsea moved away from Leona once she saw how serious he was taking it. “That’s not an option. Hand over all the people from quarantine that you released, the people you’ve stolen from Onyx custody, and the workers you’ve taken hostage and then we’ll talk about releasing someone.”

    “Turning them over once again would be a death sentence for them. The same death sentence you keep putting off for Marshal.” Luke’s eyes seemed to be glowing red as he looked over Leona and the group. “If he’s such a menace to Onyx, why do you keep postponing the only way to get rid of him?”

    Leona noticed the glare Isaac sent Zachary before returning his attention to her.

    Luke’s eyes went back to their normal brown as he eased up. “I had my suspicions but now I know for sure, you’re the same woman who broke into quarantine. You made a mistake by coming here because you’re not allowed to leave.”

    She froze, her confidence gone in a heartbeat.

    The young woman next to her noticed her hesitance before stepping in front of her. “If you arrest her then you’ll have to arrest all of us, I won’t let it happen.”

    The elevator hit the bottom floor once again, multiple armed guards swarming into the room to line up across Leona’s people. The last one out of the elevator was the man Leona still didn’t know.

    He returned to his spot with Isaac and Zachary as Isaac pulled Luke back, taking a step forward. “Chelsea, take Debbie and the citizens into the security room and enter an active invasion procedure.”

    Chelsea looked between Leona and her father, a look of sadness briefly crossing her as she and Debbie took the citizens into the security room and locked the door.

    After a minute, Leona heard the doors behind her people lock, trapping them in the situation.

    Isaac strode over to stand behind the armed guards, meeting Leona’s eyes. “I’m willing to cut you a deal. If you surrender, I’m willing to let your people go home without any added injury. Or you could give up the location of the people from quarantine, I’ll let you go home with your people.”

    Leona remained frozen, thinking over her options. ‘I give up the Voyagers, they might go easy on them. Elizabeth will be safe because of the gene and there won’t be a reason to hold them captive anymore.

    She looked at her people. ‘I give myself up, they continue the search for the Voyagers. They’ll probably follow my group most of the way and track them the rest of the way.

    She then looked at the young woman standing in front of her. ‘I could always continue a passive stance. Chelsea and the civilians might be watching in the security room and they’ll see we didn’t do anything.

    Finally, she looked at the armed guards in front of her. ‘I could just try to take a gun from one of them. My group will back me up, but I’m almost certain there will be casualties.

    [Give up Leona]
    [Give up the location of the Voyagers]
    [Refuse to take action]
    [Try to steal a gun and take action]

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