Bit 7 Not what it seems

Slowly the hours passed by as we ventured through the cityscape and into the town centre.

You'd think that for a planet this big there would be A lot of people busing about. No. The silence hung heavy in the city. No one in sight unless it was their job. Many of the shops were very moderate. Not much colour.

Though from what Irene told us yesterday, I realized that even though all the most of people around me where were wearing the same white clothing, on the heart was a square of coloured fabric with their name and occupation. Each was a different colour depending on the occupation. Though this only applies to the adults and older teens.

A flash of white passed me and I whipped my head back. A small child, maybe six years old was running around the fountain. There was something different about him compared to his little group of friends. I couldn't put a finger on it until Kisa, creep up behind me and explained it.

"That small boy you're looking at is a Hybrid. I didn't know Earth had any."

"Hybrid?" I cocked my head at her, confused at the term she had used.

"Captain, on your planet it may not be so common. But in many other planets, Hybrids are everywhere. They are generally considered to be halfs."

"Halfs?" I asked.

"Children from two different races. Like the waitress from Tercanna. She was probably a offspring from a half and a whole Elyrian. Today genetic engineering can do the same thing. I would guess than the boy is half human, half Agurianna. You can tell from his eyes and sight blue colouring in his skin."

Now that she mentioned it, I could see the bluish tint and as he turned the corner towards me, our eyes caught each other. His, a light green that could be described as a hue of lily pads. Mine, a tint of sapphire oceans in the moonlight. I smiled and waved to him. Instantly a huge smile appeared, then he turned and ran away.

Hmmm

I shrugged as we continued on, down the road, pass shops, occasionally popping in. We finished after exiting a flower shop. I stepped out into the light. Holding onto my flowers, a type of blue hydrangeas. Fortunately, the first generation had found a way to planet crops and keep them alive.

I glanced at my watch, only to find out that it was 6:30. I gestured to the others that we needed to get back to our hotel.

---later---

As soon as I open the door, I notice the large white box, sitting in the bed.

Kallie rushs by me as she sits on the bed, picking up the box in the process. "Oh...Cordelia. It's for you. From a Mr.Zarim. Who's that?"

"The head of government I was talking to yesterday. He requested my presence today at seven. What's in the box?" I walk over and slide down beside her.

She passes me the box and waits for me to open it anxiously. I left the top off and gasp at the contents of it.

In the box lay a white dress, I pick it up and hold it up to myself. It had a college and 3/4 selves. It draped to the floor and had a slit up the leg. It felt kinda wrong for him to give me such a dress.

"Oh my god. Cordelia, go put it on." Karle looked up and down at it then pushed me into the bathroom.

I pulled my shirt over my head and slipped my shorts off. I slip into the dress and pull it up. I check my reflection in the mirror and step out.

Karle looks me over and nods, "Cordelia you look hot. You sure that Mr.Zarim isn't interested in you?"

"Karle, Mr.Zarim is 58. And there's something strange about him. There was something off about him last time, but I couldn't put my finger on it."

"That's odd. Well you should hurry on your way it's 6:50." She opens the door and gestured to the clock on the wall.

"Thanks, girls. I'll see you later," I yell over my should as I head out.

-----later-----

I hesitantly knock on Mr.Zarim's door. The seconds seem to pass slowly as I wait. Then comes, "Come in," from the other side of the door.

Slowly, I turn the hand and enter the room. He sat in the corner, looking out his window to the cityscape below.

"Ah miss Cordelia. I hope you found the dress fit?" He smiled and with a flick of his finger, gestures to me to come over.

"Um, yes. But why did you send it to me. My clothes are fine. I don't understand. I was hoping you would be able to tell me why?" I was now standing next to him.

"Well I just thought that it would look good on you, so I got Irene to deliver it to your room." Chuckling he looked to me.

It was beginning to get get awkward between the two of us. To me it felt like he was flirting with me and it was starting to make me feel uncomfortable. So I decided to change the topic.

"So have you gotten any closer to finding BlueLark?" I ask him as I weave my curls through my fingers nervously.

His eyes clouded over and seemed to harden before clearing and turning to me. "Yes, we got some information about where they might be staying, but I can't check it out for myself. So that's where you will come in. I was thinking that maybe you'd like to go undercover and see what you can find. That's if you want to help."

I thought it over for a moment, counting the pros and cons. Before deciding my decision, I stared into his eyes. There seemed to be something lurking under that I couldn't decode. It bothered me, but if I could help the children getting kidnapped, I would take the risk.

"If I can be of use. Then I would love to help." I answered with a steady voice.

He clapped his hands together. "Ah. That's a relief. I wasn't sure if you would want to help, considering this is a visit. I'm sure that the people of Neo Gaia would be deeply appreciative of your willingness to help. I'll get Irene to fill you out. She'll get you clothes and information."

"Ok..." I didn't know to say. This whole ideal was making me uneasy. I thanked him and left to talk to Irene.

<><>

Shrouded in darkness I crouched at the corner of a street, hidden by the street wall. Only a few feet away was the warehouse that Mr.Zarim believed that BlueLark met in. I was nervous but if I was helping those children. I could do it at least for them.

I had explained to the others that I was going out for a little stretch. I may have been pulling the truth but it still had some legit ness to it.

I pull the zipper down on my sweater as the digging feeling on my neck comes back making me feel uncomfortable. Quickly, I tiptop closer trying not to make any sudden movements. Cringing at the squeak the doorknob makes as I turn to open it.

Placing my palm on the door I lightly push it forward, peering into the darkness. If I squint my eyes, I could see a light from far within the building.

I silently slip through the door and into the front room, almost expecting someone or something to jump out at me.

Wandering I move from the first room down the hall towards the light. Fragments of voices echoing out through the walls.

I place my ear on the wall, trying to cipher the loose words through it.

"We'll.......move soon. There....empty docks upstairs. Somewhere.....hold....children...not......safe"

I switch over to my other ear. Pressing my hands into the wood harder as if it'll make a imprint. I was missing too many of the words.

Suddenly a cold chill runs from my toes upward as I hurriedly turned to see who or what was there. Shadows danced in the corner of my eye where I'm afraid to look. Where I never want to look.

Roughly a large, rather calloused hand stuffs a cloth in my face as I turn to face my attacker. It's a sweet scent that ascends and calls me to the darkness that's waiting for me. I don't even remember hitting the floor.

<><><><><><><><><><><>

My head feels jumbled with a million things at once trying to figure out what happened to me. My eyes refuse to open so soon, they feel hot behind their lids and I can feel the heat on them.

Then comes the pain of cutting raw skin. My Arms are bent at weird angles to keep them from moving while a tight rope on my wrists stops them from struggling. I can't feel my fingers, numbness has taken over. Which means the rope around my wrists is cutting off the blood circulation to them.

Finally after what seems like forever, I pry my eyelids open, taking in the setting around me. It was a old armoury room - at least that what it looked like with all the black military shelving and boxes placed on them. A lone chair propped up in the corner of the room by the shiny steel door.

No one was here but me and I was tied to a cold chair.

"What did I do to deserve this?" I sigh as I relive all my interactions with humans throughout my trip here. Nothing seemed to strike a chord.

"Wondering what you did to get here, hey little Missy?" A unfamiliar voice cuts through the air.

Whipping my head in its direction I spot its owner. A older looking man. Maybe in 40s. He look normal but something was tugging my sixth sense that something about him was wrong.

I decided to play along with his playing. "Yes? I don't remember doing anything to offend earth.. Sorry Neo Gaia."

"Hm.." Was all he could make out.

"Is there a reason why I was taken here? I mean there's probably no one coming for me. So It shouldn't hurt to tell your hostage why they've been taken right?" I shot at him, hoping for something to brew in his eyes.

I waited a few moments before he pulled his chair over to mine and sat across from me.

"So little Missy, what's your name?" It was as if he was going to find out more about me before making a decision about what he was going to do with me.

"Cordelia. And if I can what's yours?" I asked attempting to make small talk or any talk from him to lessen my anxiety about my situation.

"Sure, I'm Dante. So where are you from Miss. Cordelia?" He asked.

"Arcana, from the Icarus SS. I was just passing by with my crew and decided to stop here. It's been a really long time since I've been here last." I use the cover story but add some truth to it.

"And why where you sneaking around the warehouse last night?" Dante leans forwards and eyes me suspiciously.

Without realizing it I sigh before diving into how I ending up in the warehouse. "And so Mr.Zarim asked me to scout out if BlueLark was really here..." I trail off as Dante murmurs under his breath.

"So they found us again, heh?!"

I sit still, shocked at the words that came from his mouth.

"Hold on, are you saying that you're BlueLark?" I try to keep the nervousness out of my voice but I even I can hear it plain as day.

"Dante De Arc, Leader of BlueLark, at your service." He chuckles as he attempts a bow.

"But Zarim says that you kidnap children and you don't look like you could do that?!" I let out. Hysterical breaching my voice.

His expression turns sour as he interlocks his fingers under his chin. His carefree demur from before is gone and replaced with a calm one.

"Is that what he told you? That we kidnap children?!" The disgust dripping evident in his tone.

"Um..Yes?" I quietly reply afraid of his quick change.

"Miss. Cordelia. We do not kidnap children as much as we take them back."

"Take them back?" I ask now confused at this new information.

"In the past few years Neo Gaia was calm until That man, Atlas Zarim came in and changed the government. It's all just a cover for what he's really doing." He slowly explained to me.

"What is it that he's really doing that he doesn't want others to know about?"

"Zarim has always had a hard past. His parents where killed by some passing by visitors. He never did forgive them and his hate festered inside him to a point where he started his kidnapping of the hybrid children to extract their data and have them killed. He needs their data for some biological weapon he plans to use on the rest of the universe." Dante sighed and looks me in the eye. Waiting for my answer.

"Oh my god. I can't believe he would do that. To all those poor children who did nothing but be born." I think back to the little boy in the city centre. I hope he's alright.

"So whenever we find out that he's taken a child we step in and retrieve them before he has the chance to kill them. Though I regretfully have to say that their are some that we just simply cannot save." Dante gave me a queasy smile and turned to my hands.

"How about I untie you? It must be painful. I just didn't want you run away. I apologize in advance if you're hurt." He says as he sets toWork on the ropes.

Slowly they come off and I can't resist the urge to rub my reddened wrists. "It's okay. I see it from your point of view." I convinced him that it wasn't a big deal and that he didn't need to worry about it.

"Well at least i can get one of the boys to see to your wrists, at least." I smiled and took his offer.

I was lead down a twisting hallway, constantly changing direction.

Eventually Dante stopped in front of a large bolted metal door and scanned some sort of card over the scanner to the right of the door.

Beep

The door opened with a silent hiss as Dante entered. I followed after. It was a medic bay. White sheets, rows of beds and the distinct scent of rubbing alcohol in the air.

Dante walked over to the figure sitting at the table in the far corner of the bay.

"Hey, Kim can you tend to this girls wrists?" He called out.

I poked my head out from behind Dante to see who it was.

As they turn my breath hitched and my heart skipped a beat at the young man in the seat.

"Seung -Gi?" Was all I could get out.

His face changed to one of disbelief. "You...?"

We continued to stare at each other for what seemed like forever. It was as if we were the only ones in the universe at that moment. I felt weird. But was a good weird.

Bit 6 Bit 8

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