THE WORLD WE LIVE IN NOW - my very own series 6

The world we live in now - my very own series 6

The arrival
Smoke was amanting in ringlets from some places in the city. Screams echoed through the air and faded over the ocean. People ran around like ants, except they didn’t seem to have a track to follow. It was pandemonium. “All those people…people like us…” the young woman with long blond hair whispered with tears brimming in the corners of her eyes. Another blond woman with zulu styled hair put an arm around her shoulders and whispered “Its okay to cry Ellie…” Ellie looked to their leader. Amber. Image of a tough female. Survivor of so many fatal times. But now her face was slurred with make up and grime from the streaks of tears as she looked back to the cities harbour they just left an hour ago on a tiny trader speed boat.

“Good bye Bray…” she whispered in a very low voice and Ellie felt her heart clench. Of course. For Amber it was not only leaving their home. For Amber it meant leaving places of happiness and memories of the big love of her life - Bray- behind. “Amber! We´re all taking our loved lost ones with us. They are here!” she said, laying a hand over her friends heart.

Amber sniffed “I know Im stupid. I just feel like I am betraying him and everything he believed in… and not only him but all of them. We have fought so hard for a life in this city. We have lost so much… Im taking away my son’s chances to ever see the same places like his dad. Cross the same streets as him. See the same ocean.” She looked sideways where Trudy and Salene sat with Brady, little Bray and Lottie playing some silent teddy bear theatre. Both adults looked worried enough, Lottie was outright confused about being on a boat all out of sudden, but together they managed to keep the little ones entertained. Ellie closed her eyes, feeling more tears burning her eyes. Loosing Bray had changed Amber. Like loosing Alice had changed herself. But while she herself had gotten tougher, more the fighter like her sister had been, Amber had become sensible and emotional. But of course she had become a mother aswell. That changed women a lot. Bray had been a fighter, as had Alice. Both had never given in to threats and injustice. Gripping control back over her, she openend her eyes “Dont be stupid! You - we that is- had no choice! You’re giving him and all of us a chance to survive, to live a better life! Im sure… Im damn sure…” she laid all her strength in her voice to prevent it shacking with emotion “…Bray is watching over us and is proud of you! Its all he ever wanted…the tribe sticking together. The place we live won’t matter as long as we stay together. As mall rats!” Amber looked back at the younger woman “Youve become more an adult then me!" she said with a weak smile and hugged Ellie "Youre right Ellie… we will do this!” “Together Amber!” “Always!”

“Guys?! Erm…guyyyyyys? is this…erm…a mountain in the ocean? If it is, were in trouble!" a young voice screamed from the other side fo the boat and they broke off sharing a puzzled look “A mountain?” Ellie mouthed to a non plussed Amber. Both turned around, a young man with shoulder long black hair came running from the front “Dont be stupid Sammy! Were not the Titanic!” he joked sarcastically, but he stopped dead in his tracks “Erm…RAM?! JAY?! What the fuck…?!” Jay, his blond hair flying softly in the breeze, came running. Due to the fact that the sun burnt so intensely he had rolled up his black cargo pants and changed the usual tight black functional shirt for an armless shirt that once might have been red, but now was more a light pink. His face was set and concentrated what stopped Lex to say something, so he just goggled at the other and raised his eyebrows taking in the summer holiday edition of the ex-techno general. Jay put a binocular to his eyes “Its…fuck…its an aircraft carrier!” he shouted, not able to contain a tiny bit of excitement to his voice "And it’s moving!” “An aircraft carrier? Like…like in Top Gun or what?” Lex asked with even higher raised eyebrows. Amber and Ellie moved beside him “Thats weird…” “No…thats damn impossible! An aircraft carrier? Whats next? Tom Cruise jumping down on us screaming APRILS FOOL! ?”

“Tom Cruise? Oh I would love that! He is so gorgeous!” A girl in all pink and violet squealed. Taking a deep breath Amber said “Gel! Get a grip for heavens sake! Tom Cruise was already old as we were born. His movies had been old classics then! And now he is by the ashes anyway due to the fact that he was an adult…you remember? The virus?” Ellie stiffled a giggle and Amber grinned at Trudy who joined them with a smirk.
“I am having kind of De-ja-vu here…” The two of them burst out laughing “Zandra…” Salene grinned aswell, even more happy that it seemed that her old friends could overcome the episode of Jay and Trudy. Ellie looked a bit confused, she never got to know Zandra and didn’t know what the others where revering to. Jay on the other hand looked annoyed, he could not see how they could make jokes now. “Hey…its no time for jokes…or bitch mode!" he shot warningly at Gel, sensing that she was getting ready for a dramatic tantrum. Gel puffed her cheeks and turned around to move back to the other side of the boat, not caring for aircrafts or whatever. She bumped directly into a beautiful woman with long braids in a tight black and red leather pants and a red polka dot bikini “Beware where you go Barbie girl!” the woman hissed and Gel stuck her nose even higher, ignoring the other. “Talking about bitch mode …” Lex huffed annoyed, Amber took a glance at the other woman “You could think she is on a fancy yacht in St. Tropez…” “Thats Ebony… always take the advantges out of even the darkest moment!” he sighed, but unable to stop himself he asked “Hey Ebony, where did you get that bikini?” Grinning in a sexy sort of way she answered “Zac has a few things down there… but I fear Jay got the best male shirt…” wiggling her eyebrows she looked short at her ex boyfriend in pink “But maybe you’ll want to try a bikini? There is a nice one with violet hearts…” Amber rolled her eyes “Heaven if that aircraft carier caries no danger to us… surely staying on that little boat with all of those is going to kill me!” she hissed moving closer to Jay, who embraced her grinning “I will find a way to disctract you…being on a tiny boat can have advanteges!” “Mr general! Stay focused!” she said with a small smile "Whats up?” “I don’t know but I am sure well find out, if we want to or not.”

Suddenly the radio set inside the boats cabin echoed “Olympus calling all boats on the flight…stop your engines, pull in your sails… stay where you are! You’re contaminated and will be brought straight back into the city due to quarantine. Dont worry, you all will be vaccinated and any of you who shows any signs of illness will be isolated and medical trained personal will take care. No one has to die, were here to help you!" All on board shared irritated looks till a booming noise sounded up. Three aircrafts and two helicopters were taking off from the carrier and heading for the city. A message sounded over the ocean towards the city "Stay where you are. Youre under quarantine and we will help you… do as we ask and no one comes to harm…” Amber felt goosebumps errupt on her skin. What if someone didn’t do as those people asked?

Back on board of the aircraft carrier named Olympus, people in navy blue cargo pants and shirts in different shades of blue ran around. All of them knew what to do, following a strictly worked out military routine. “Pegasus 1 and 2 left for the city… followed by Falcon 1 to 3, Lieutnant General Athena!” a young man shouted to a woman dressed in a light blue high waist coat, taking position and saluting her “It’s okay private…please go around and make sure everyones wearing their masks.” Taken aback he lost his strict position and tumbled away. With a sigh she watched him go. Most of their privates still werent used to the six highest ranks of them being friendly. But the general insisted that being organized and strict doesnt mean to boss people around and treat them like they were dirt on your shoes. And right he was. They were the mos efficient union of their organisation. A dark skinned girl with a long, thick plait made of many small braids, lots of them in all possible shades of blue, joined her.

“Liuetnant General…” “Captain…” they greeted each other and shared a grin. They went along with the military structure but didn’t approve of it for real. It just made operations like that easier, a strict command structure helped to nake missions clean and successful. A young blond the age of the captain in an also long coat came hurrying over to them “You wont believe it! Here! LOOK!" unceremosly he pressed a binocular into the captains hands “Ouch…thanks dear Colonel!” he ignored her sarcastic tone and all military protocol and urged her “Go on sweetheart! LOOK!” Wondering what on earth could make her boyfriend so eager she let the binocular swift over the many boats that had came to an halt once they had made their appearance. Many were already returning to the city. One boat caught her look. There was no mistake. “AMBER!” she breathed watching the zulu haired leader discussing with other familiar and unfamiliar persons on board “Oh its them. The Mall Rats! Oh they are alive… seems they pretty got away early… hopefully none did catch it… Oh quick lets get a speed boat, before Amber and your brother form one of their figting plans! They dont know its us… they might think were just like the Technos or even worse…” Together and without another word to their superior they left for one of the boats. She sighed again. She could understand their friends joy, but she also knew there would be problems awaiting them. Two other people joined her. A strong built guy and an asian woman. Their majors. “Were going with them…” the guy spoke “You’re coming too Tara?” She loved that he never cared to use her operation code-name, she was Tara to him and that was better then anyone she could be. "No you four better go alone…they know you. Dont explain too much when the soldiers are with you. We can have a long talk tomorrow. No one has to know about the generals condition! I am joining you later together with him!” “Of course… see you darl…” he kissed her hand affectionately and hurried off after the others, just jumping on board right in time. Smiling she watched them speed off to a meeting that surely would be surprising and emotional.

Suddenly she noticed the silence around her. The therefore busy noise of clearing off the standings of the three jets and the two helicopters after their departures to the city moments ago had faded and the soldiers had retreated to their usual working areas.
“This was close…” a soft and calm, but yet strong voice said to her. She turned to see a man, almost two heads higher then her, dressed in a dark blue cargo pants, a tight well fitting white shirt, a soft short brown leather pilot jacket, completed with a navy coat. With his stricking ocean blue eyes, his wavy brown hair and his athletic built he just seemed to be made for their uniforms. It werent uniforms strictly sopken, but more a way to show unison by wearing same colours and tribal, but giving your own outfit a unique twist. They all wore dark blue cargos and a shirt a different shade of blue depending to their working unit. He as their general wore a white shirt, so he stood out even when he wasnt wearing jacket or coat. But he would have stood out anyway due to his physic, charisma and his brown wavy hair that reached his neck lightly, decorated with some blue bands and feathers bound into one braid on his left side. They all had army styled jackets, silver and golden strips on their shoulderblades showing their rank, but apart from that everyone styled his/her jacket the way they wanted. Some did glittering buttons and decorative stones or paintings, some did nothing, some studs, spikes or even nails. Their tribal was a lightning bolt on their right temple, nothing more. Everyone was allowed to use more make up to if he/she wanted. Tara herself laid her eyes with a white eyeshadow and blue glitter. Some even had a tattoo. The general had one himself. A simple pentagram on his right hand. She knew the history behind it, as their captain had told her. Seeing it alwas made her believe that he hadn`t lost everything due to the Technos.

“Yes we just came right in time. An hour later and the people might have been lost and the virus might have been on the way in other parts of the world by those who went on boats…” she answered him, by taking the mask he gave her. Every city they had been sent to so far had been in danger of a virus. No matter if it was some hundred years old epedemic or a new, they mostly managed to prevent deaths and the spreading of the virus. It was everytime the same routine. Arrival, convince people that they were there to help, seperate ill from healthy, vaccinate the healthy, heal the ill if possible. They then taught the people medicinal knowledge, installed real working electricity, built up a hospital and the start of a school. Before they left, the general made some of the troop to be stationated at the city for further help, but all in all the city was then left to its own pace of thriving. This was the fith city they were sent to save, this time because of an artificial mutation of the virus that killed all adults and changed the world forever more nearly six years ago. “That Mega guy must have really lost his marbles!” she said headshacking. If the organisation wouldnt watch all cities with military significance , no one would have known. This new virus could have settled in for real and spread in the whole area, if not the world. The generals eyes fixed on the speed boat with his other high ranking officers. He nodded “Dont know how far into crazy world one must be to create and unlash a deadly virus onto the world… in full purpose and accepting that people will die. On innocent people… children!” he gribbed his mask tight “This crazy maniac could have killed everyone in my hometown! My…my tribe…my family…” he mumbled. Surprised she looked at him. Till now he had been quiet indifferent about that this was the city he came from. The others have been excited to come back home and finally meet their friends again. Even more so as they just rescued two of the other people of their old tribe that had been kidnapped by the Technos. For him it was different. Or had been. She noticed that he had changed by meeting the other two. Something had openend in him, there had been a horror in his eyes as they told them of their ordeal as if he knew exactly what they had went trhough. And she knew he did. Even more. But still he wasnt too emotional aboput going home. He was different, they had told him that he always had been emotional and passionate. Well you still could call him passionate, but in a distanced way. Controlled. Always controlled. She knew that deep inside him, he knew himself that he was changed. It was shown in his eyes when he talked with the others and they remembered the old times with them. It was always like he never fully could grab why they were sad or why they laughed about a particular memory. She felt so ashamed knowing that it had been her old tribe - the Technos- who did that to him. Whatever experiments they did on him, changed him deeply. But she also knew that he wasnt lost. Somewhere inside was his old self. Deep inside was everything of him and they just had to break it free. Right now every try they did, started a big fight and ended him having fits and attacks, making him scream in pain and agony. He never remembered on the next day. Luckily,because she was sure it would make anyone insane. But maybe they would be able to break whatever block he had in his mind, here, surrounded by his friends and family.

The general shook his head as if he needed to focus himself back “Shall we get going? The others have enough of a head start… I want to be there in person before they tell them…” “Dont you trust your troops?" she joked. Raising his left eyebrow he smirked “Trust? Me? You know I never trust…if you want something done the right way, better do yourself…” he twinkled at her, taking away the earnest message of his words. Of course he trusted them. He trusted them and only them with his life.

“Get that mask on liutenant general Athena, weve got an appointment with the Mall Rats!” “Aye, aye general Zeus!” Putting on the mask she followed him to a magnificent speed boat that was only to his use. It`s white surface was kept spotless clean at all times, the silver letters of its name “Lighting arrow” gleaming in the sun.
“Are we going alone? No extra guards? No driver?”
"What? To a meeting with my old friends? Taking away the fun of driving myself for a while?” he said starting the motor of the boat. His eyes sparkled mischivious as he drove on “Keep yourself save…” she laughed as she fell back into the squashy sitting bank as he drove off in high speed…

Amber was having trouble tp keep her tribe focused. Everyone was confused, everyone shouted questions at each other. “Lex…Lex… please…Trudy calm down! Jack…Jack! I dont know if there adults among those people…" she tried answering and consoling three at once AND I TELL YOU,IF THERE ARE ADULTS AMONG THEM I AM SO GOING TO KICK THEIR ASSES! she thought in a mix of fury and worry to herself. “Lets just stay calm and wait whats goping to happen…”

“Pff…waiting? Amber really when did waiting us any good? Like…well ever? Also I know whats going on… Amber! Its some of his…their nasty world conquer shit!” Lex said outraged, showing his best I-AM-SO-DAMN-MORE-THE-LEADER attitude while looking accusingly at Ram and Jay. Jay put his hands up “Whooaaa…wait a minute?! World conquer shit? Really? How old are you? Five? Come off it! That is a high class air craft carrier!” he pointed his forefinger to the now that o far away big ship. “That…” he moved his fingers into the air “…are two high class military helicopters and three jets! JETS Lex! J-E-T-S!!! You dont just on board of a jet and start it…nnormally people used to have years of training to even get the chance for Jet piloting… it was like the top job you could do at air force! Every Techno equipment we had looks childish against that!”

Amber was happy her boyfriend was fighting back, but looking at Ram she saw something in his eyes she didnt like. Knowledge. He wasnt surprised… or at last not as much as they were. Ebony met her eyes and she knew that the ex Loco and Techno queen thought the same. They often stood on different sides, but both were used to lead people and see through them, both excellent readers of others behaviour. But before either she or Ebony could start on Ram, Lottie screamed “There is a smaller boat coming to us…” They ran over to the side, the sudden movement of that many people making the little trader boat swaying dangerously on the waves “Damn it you horde of landlubbers…!” Zac the owner of the boat appeared from his stearing cabine “Thats no damn cruise yacht here…keep a bit of balance in weight, or some of you have to swim!" Jay shoved some tribe members back, while Jack held the binoculars to his eyes and looked at the upcoming boat


"Its a small speed boat… four of them looking impressive in long coats, for more like soldiers…kind of military tribe? Blue seems to be their color… look a bit Techno like but still different…, more individual…” “Their age?” Salene asked with a certain stray of hope. “Our age I´d say… hard to tell exactly, they are wearing masks… but young hands… the way they hold each other straight looks young…” Some moments later the boat stopped beside them and the four soldiers jumped effotlessy on board “Stay calm, were here to vaccinate you..." Lex moved up in front of his tribe "Wait..no one does anything here to any of us without explaining...!" before he could finish one of the soldiers had moved swiftly and pressed a small titan tube to Lex's neck and shot a golden liquid into it. “Hey… what…” he screamed outrageous , clapping a hand over hte place where the tube had touched him. “Lex! Keep calm and let the guys do their job…” a soothing voice came from one of the highher ranking strangers “…and you…” he turned to the soldier “…better take care to be more polite or the general will have to hear about you acting rude and respectless to people!” the soldier blushed which they could even see under his mask. “Sorry mayor Herakles…” the guy was of strong built and something on him really let Lex keep his mouth.

With a raised eyebrow Jack whispered “Herakles? Like the hero of the greek mythology?”
“Talk about being humble…” Ellie whispered back. The starnger smirked, being used by such reactions to their chosen mission names.

Ebony - just getting ready to fight off anyone who dared coming near her- asked “Why or better HOW do you know his name?” Amber was happy she had asked because that was the most pressing question she had aswell “We know all your names and more EBONY…” one of the two females snorted " and we also know your many little bitchy tricks… so spare them!” To a sign of her two of the soldiers grabbed Ebonys arms, crossing them behind her back so that a third could enter a shot into her neck. " Well done mayor Gaia…ntalking about politness!" the guy growled “She deserves no politness!” The other Mall Rats watched the exchanged stupidfied, all too confused to even consider to protest to someone acting on a member of their group that way.

“You see we mean business… we can do that in a friendly and painless way or…” one of the soldiers started, but was cut short by the female “Private… Ebony is a different character… but the rest are more sensible… be polite to my friends or you can swim back to the Olympus!” she hissed sharply, making the soldier jump a little “Yes maam!" She turned back to the even more confused Mall Rats “Mall Rats, please…that is just the antidote for the virus Mega released over the area. Really it means no harm! When you all had it, we can take off those stupid masks and face you…and say hello like FRIENDS should do!” Something in her voice rang a beel in Ambers mind, so she nodded “Do as they ask…”

“But Amber! That is insane! Our children…” Trudy started “TRUDY! Neither Lex nor Ebony seem to be harmed in any way…they seem perfectly well. We are way behind what is insane…”
"Yeah Trudy…remeber as we made the first antidote to the old virus? It was you who told worried mothers and older siblings to save the children by taking out antidote…thatt all we ask you to do now…” the younger female now spoke up. Trudy could just make out that she was dark skinned and as an exciting thought crossed her mind she gave in, steped forward and let herself and Brady get a shot. Soon all Mall Rats queded up and got a shot from the mysterious antidote.

“So now after thats done…WHO THE HELL ARE YOU? WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? WHERE DO YOU COME FROM? WHY NOW?" Jay rounded on the starngers, now suddenly completely in the role of the leader. He was - after all- the ex general of the technos and used to commanding people. Those starngers reminded him so much on the technos that he found it really easy to flip back into his old military behaviour. He stood straight, legs lightly parted, shoulders square, armes crossed. Yes they seemed a bit techno like, but very different to the same time. There were no obvious weapons or laser tags on them, but he had a feeling that they all could fight. The sound of an anchor left to water made them all jump. Even the starngers had be so engrossed by the happenings on board that they didnt notice the second speed boats arrival. “Whoaaa…call that a boat! Holy moly!” Slade said silently and Ruby and Sammy beside him nodded stunned, Sammy even with an open mouth. “General Zeus! Liutenant general Athena!” the fours soldiers shouted saluting, standing straight, facing the two new comers. The Mall Rats looked at each other in wonder, some with a certain amusement. The so called general saluted back “Thank you privates…please return back to the Olympus and journey on to the cities harbour… the others and me will follow with my boat…!” “Aye sir…” the soldiers left with the first boat and the Mall Rats now looked unsure. The general seemed to be very respected. There was something about him that even kept them quiet. Curious they waited. The whole situation seemed so weird “So what is going on here? Secret military mission?” Jack tried a joke, no one laughed about the feeble attempt.

“Why are we still wearing those stupid masks?” one of the guys asked and took his off at the same time. His resemblence to one of them was striking “VED!!!” Jay screamed, a scream that didnt fail to touch everyone. All questions and most of all, all carefulness and dignity forgotten, he stumbled forward and pulled his younger brother into his arms. Hughing him tight he spilled silent tears “Oh god if thats a dream, dont let me ever wake up!” Ved laughed and pinched his older brother hard into the stomach “Not a dream…and I love you too, big bro!” he said and hugged tightly back. “he was talking about this moment since days!” the younger of the two females said, revealing her face by taking of her mask “Oh my…god…CLOEEEE!” Salene could no believe it, pressing her hand to her mouth she touched the other girls cheek wiith a shacking hand "Its me Sal…really…” Squealing Salene hugged and kissed Cloe, Trudy joined in and Cloe giggled hugging both older girls back. The second male took of his mask “Nice to see that you havent forgotten us…” “RYAN? Is that really you?” Lex spoke in a hushed voice, looking as not daring to believe. As the other one nodded all coolness was forgotten and Lex pulled his long lost friend into a tight hug. Amber was watching with tears in her eyes, a hand over her heart. It raced in her as she turned to the other older female on board. She had a feeling who she was, but still as she took off her mask and turned out to be Tai-San she couldnt help not to break down crying on the asian girls chest. Tai-San hugged her, also crying and Lex just looked like someone had hit him with a brick stone. Even Ebony seemed to be so lost for words that she made no snide comment.

Ellie was looking round “Did…did any of you…dont get me wrong I am happy to see you…but did any of you maybe…?" “Your sister is safe on the Olympus. We rescued her and KC some days back on our way …” the general spoke up. His voice sounded strangely famliar without the military tone in it. Ellie put her hand over her mouth and stared at Amber "Amber doesnt he sound like…” Amber stared at him. Frozen in time it seemed. “Youve been so brave…dont break now…” Tai-San whispered, making Amber give her a quizzical look . Amber walked closer to the other boat. There was something on this man. The third woman was stanidng beside him. She alrady had taken off her mask to reveal long mahagony colored curls, green piercing eyes and a stunningly beautiful face with sweet freckles. A stranger. But him. The general. His position. The way he held himself. His body. It was if someone had pressed a button inside of her. The thought that whirled in her seemed so wrong. It couldnt be. He was dead. Well, did you ever see his dead body? a nasty voice spoke in her mind. No she had taken Rams word. And Jays. But she couldnt blame Jay. Not when he obviousily was so overwhelmed himself that his younger brother, who they had thought to be dead aswell, was well and alive. So this could be him. Meaning that deleted did not mean dead. They only ever assumed that. “Who…?” she asked, her voice only a faint whisper.

“You ask why we are here? Its our hometown…and we have the antidote to save you…why shouldnt we help… its what we always did or?” The general said, taking finally off his mask. A collective mask ran through all on board. His brown hair flew gently in the seas breeze, his ocean blue eyes sparkling, a so well known warm smile on his lips. Amber felt her heart stop a beat only to start pounding like mad directly. “Bray…” she wailed losing consciousness, before she hit the ground two strong arms closed around her “I am here Amber… don`t be afraid, everything is alright… I am here…”

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Brilliant. What a cracking start. Very intriguing.

This makes me want to start my S6 so much, but I am currently in the planning stages.

Thnx… I am planning to do chapters on Saturdays and Wednesdays… Already ha e finished some. But I am always rewriting things :joy: I am curious where this will take me… It’s the first long fan fiction I am writing since the old BB died! I started as secret Santa last year, thinking a nice short story will do no harm… But it made me thinking about this one that never was finished. And soon I was writing, rewriting, thinking…

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Authors note: So here it is…the second chapter to “The world we live in now” . I have a little explaining to do : Back on the old BB I started that story, were Bray came back acting as the evil one leading a military styled group. They more or less were just another splitted gang of the Techno Tribe. This story somewhere lost its pace and I gave up on it. But as I wrote for the secret santa last year, writing about something and in a way I had never done before, the idea came back to me. Inspired by greek mythology, some sci fi themes, distopian novels…the story took ones again form in my head. I don`t know where it will lead to. Back in the days, I planned a story completely out before writing. But not now. I only have some scenes in my head…some ideas that need to be told. So we will journey together with the Mall Rats into the world they live in now…here we go with the 2nd chapter !!! I hope you enjoy!

2. Ram`s tale

“What the hell is happening here?” Jack hissed to his girlsfriend who sat beside him on a squashy bank, racing along the ocean on an exclusive speed boat to the aircraft carrier Olympus in near distance. “I don’t know…I just…just…Oh GOD! I just hope it is true!” she squashed his hand and he winced a bit "ELLIE! Youve seen them. If Bray says they rescued Alice and KC...why would he lie?" Her eyes filling with tears she shrugged her shoulders "It's just...so weird!" That was it. It even was an understatement. The arrival of the Olympus, the message promising to safe everyones life, the meeting with friends they had believed dead, Bray being the leader of a strange but high efficient military structured troop. To Jack that had been kind of a blow. Bray had always been independent. He had stood up to everyone, had even told them to fight the chosen, told them to not give in to them and faced his own execution for that bravery. And now this man was ordering people around at his leisure? Bray working as a general for some tribe? Why? What for? Bray was the one he never thought of taking something like a military live ...and now? Now he was the one who saluted minors and ordered his liemnnutenant general to bring Ellie to the Olympus to meet her sister. Of course he had joined her. He wouldnt let them get seperated. Not now with things being like they were. He felt a bit torn, he was so curious about their other friendsstory. How did they came into that group? Tribe? Whatever it was. Something had been off about Bray aswell. He looked good, even better then before. More manly, all look of a boy gone. Earnest, his smile didnt seem to reach his eyes completely, like he kept some distance. But why would he? They were his friends, his family. They had missed him, mourned for him. All of them, not only Amber. It had felt as if someone was wearing a mask of someone he once had known so well. He hoped it had been no mistake to trust and leave the others behind.

Tai-San was spounging Ambers forehead whispering softly “It´s okay Amber…you’re safe…we`re here…we will make it…”

Outside the little cabin Lex was eyeing Bray confused “Don’t you want to…well…sit with her? Be there when she awakes?” “What? Why? That wouldn’t be approbiate or? She has a boyfriend, doesn’t she?” the ex leader answered by looking around at them all. His eyes stopped on Jay, he looked him up and down “That would be you? Jay? Ex Techno general?” Jay looked back at the man in whos shadow he had lived so long and couldn’t help not to swallow. Hell the guy was impressive! If all ex prisoners of his old tribe looked like that…wow. He had the same height as him, but sure Bray was more muscular.Or not more but better proportioned. Without a soft spot it seemed. He had known that Bray had charisma, but it seemed all stories had not grabbed the truth. Those eyes. He felt like being x-rayed. His voice had been indifferent, calm, not a trace of fury or any of that. But still asthe guy made a step towadrs him, he felt himself tense up, preparing for getting the beating of an angry man. As Bray extended his hand and smiled “Nice to meet you, I heard you did your best to keep the Mall Rats safe. Thank you for that!” Jay did a little surprised jump. Suspicious Jay shook the offered hand. What was up with the guy? Lex was obviously thinking the same “YOU’RE SHACKING HIS HAND?!” Ryan grabbed for Lex wrist and wringed it hard “Lex…please shut up!” he groweld silently. Outraged Lex stared at Ryan, but again something in the look of his friend made him stay put. " Can’t have been easy, knowing Lex nehaviour towards other men…" Bray teased jokingly, not even registering Lex confusion “…and taking the place of a dead parent!” he finished getting earnest again. The ex techno swllowed again, but Bray just looked at the little boy in Salenes arms “Is that him? Ambers son?” He moved over and gently touched the little boys head “Hy little mister…did you take care of your mom? She is the best or? Your dad was a good man…a real friend!” then he turned round to Trudy who stared at him, as if he had just announced to have been on the moon. “And this is Brady? Gosh…youve grown so much young lady!Do you still know me?" he kneeled down to her to look her straight into her eyes. Suddenly all the distance he had kept before was gone, hos eyes sparkling lovingly at his niece. "But still not washing your ears I see..." he said by pulling a colorful lollypop from her ear. Back in the start of their tribe he had entertained the little ones with magic tricks a lot. Sure he still had a hand for it. Brady giggled happily grabbing for the lollypop "BRAYYY!" she squealed falling into his arms. His laughter joined hers as he rose with her in her arms, whirling her around "I am so happy to see you again little princess!" Cuddling her he leaned over to kiss Trudys forehead "And you aswell...Ive missed you more then I can tell…” Trudy wiped a tear from her eyes. Once she would have given everything for him being that affectionate towards her, but now it just felt wrong. Wrong when he kind of ignored his own son. “I can count now!” the little girl stated proudly pronouncing her words as if they would be so deep important then his loving words. Raising his left eyebrow he sat down, pulling her onto his lap “Really? Count? Up to where?” “100!!” “NO WAY!” “I can, I can! Shall I?” “Go on then!” ONE…TWO…THREE…" the girl counted up slowly and careful but still confident, making Bray look at her in happy amazement.
Lex stared at him as if he was about to kick him somewhere. Ryan touched the friends arm “Dont start that fight...please... it's complicated..." "COMPLICATED? Algebra is complicated but not that! He just ignored his own son, to listen to his niece count?! That's...it's...how dares he? What's he playing for a game? Is that your kind of jokes now? It's not funny...I am going to..." Sensing that his friend was going to do something really stupid Ryan pulled him with him up to the ships bug, making signs to Trudy, Salene and May to follow. Ebony, Ved and Cloe followed suit. "Please Lex...you don't know what is going on, so stay calm!" Salene whispered, she was shocked aswell but the Techno invasion had taught her to keep a cool head and better collect as much informatiomn as possible before acting. "What is up with him Ryan? I am honest....that can't be Bray!" "It's him...believe me...its just…well…the Technos have done things to him…you wont believe the state he was in as we rescued him...I am still amazed he survived...They did experiments on some prisoners...brain experiments..." Trudy gasped, Cloe looked sombre "Listen: we will come to you first thing tomorrow morning and tell you our story, but for now: Bray DOESN'T know its his boy!” “DOESN#T KNOW?” Lex exclaimed, forcing Ryan to step hard onto his foot “For the mercy of god Lex…keep it down, will you?” Looking worried over at Bray who was still occupied with Brady he then sighed “Youre lucky..." Hopping onefooted on the spot, nursing his painful foot Lex mumbled an apology "Sorry...but I don't get it...how can he not know? He cant hardly have forgotten about her pregnancy or how it came to it…he was involved you know?” “Wow! You don’t say? Really? And here was me thinking babies come by stork!!” Ryan said sarcastically. Before they could start a discussion Cloe stepped in “Brays memory is different then ours…up to the choosen he has the same as us. From there they are altered. They never got together again, Amber staying with Pride. Bray hoping to find Danni.To him they just stayed friends.!” “That is impossible!” Jay spoke up, making the others look at him “…you can confuse memories…can bury them …but to plant completely false memories into ones mind …making him to take those for real…” “Don’t you dare telling me what is possible or not you techno scumbag!” Ryan snapped “You don’t have a damn clue what was done to us prisoners do you? You didn’t care enough to ask…Bray is my friend and if I would have my way you wouldn’t touch his girl or his son with those filthy hands! Better be happy that Bray doesn’t remember!” there was a hatred in his voice that made Lex freeze " I wish I could make you suffer the same way as we did…" “Ryan please…” Ved said consoling noticing that his older brother had gone pale “Jay didn’t…” “I know, I know…he didn’t know. But maybe so he better keeps his mouth when we tell him what happened to us?” glaring he went on “Everytime we try to unearth the real memories it gets us fighting. And it always ends with Brays body going rigid at some point only to start shacking like mad then. He screams and wails till he is horse and finally gets unconscious- The next day he can’t remember any of it. But we can! You’ve never seen a friend scream and wail in agony or trashing around in nightmares he wont wake up from for hours!" he had told himself breathless, so he took a deep calming breath. "That's sick!" May said, looking over to Bray who still was busy with his niece. With her he seemed completely the old one. Gentle, calm, good natured. Just like he had only been away on one of his scoutings. *"Listen...I always had a natural feeling for truth and lies...it's definitively Bray...it's just...there is missing something...something is keeping him back...like he is standing behind a veil and we can't see him, touch him completely..." "What is absolutely logical if he misses certain memories..."* Trudy said tears in her eyes. "Well...he doesn't seem unhappy..." Ebony said thoughtfully making the others look at her in disbelieve "Don't give me that look!Who cares if he has different memories then us? Look at him...he seems healthy enough...more then that..." she let her eyes drift appreciating over her high school crush, taking in his appearance.He had taken off coat and jacket and was showing his muscular torso in his tight shirt. She licked her lips absently and spoke on "Maybe it's better this way...after all he might get a tad mad at Amber for hooking up with the enemy..." she finished with a nasty grin at Jay. Ved rolled his eyes "That's bit rich coming from you, or Mrs Technoqueen?!" "I didn't have a boyfriend as you all arrived--if Bray would have been mine I would have moved every stone to find him..." "BITCH!" Salene hissed "It was you who sent Bray and Amber away. Without you he maybe would have never been kidnapped in the first place. So you better keep that snotty mouth of yours shut and don't you dare to look at Bray like he is a nice new toy to play with! He wouldn't touch you anyway!" Ryan stared at his ex girlfriend with raised eyebrows "SAL!" "What? Don't you dare to tell me how I have to talk to her...youve have no idea…” Before Ebony could retort anything, Lex interupted “Ladies, ladies…as much as I enjoy a nice cat fight -and I am sure I will witness a few more now our heartbreaker is back - please lets stop that conversation now…we’re reaching the city soon.Just let get back home, settle in and talk tomorrow morning.” He turned to Ryan who looked at him wondering "What? I grew older aswell…I am not all inpatient like before…I can be sensible you know? And don’t think I forget any question. Youve got a lot more to explain the Brays behaviour! Like why you're here, acting like some squad team and where you got all that..." "Yes we have a lot to tell you and surely you've got news for us aswell. We meet you tomorrow morning at 1000 sharp..." "Come again?" grinning she explained "Oh sorry...it's military time...means 10 a.m...." "Oh...yeah...I remember it from movies...but you better remember the mall is no military station.It's our home and we do the planning there!" "Sorry..." Cloe said rolling her eyes at Lex´ bossy tone "Lex? Would it be okay to meet you all at 10 a.m. tomorrow?" "Yes Cloe that would be nice!" he answered her with a smirk "Good because it IS Brays plan to work closely together with you...no matter if the mall is a military base or not! And you might need to get used to our operating language!" Her tone didnt fail, Lex looked impressed at the girl he knew so long.She really had become an impressive woman that stood her ground. “Brays plan…” May mumbled absent “does anyone have the feeling that we are part in a bad movie aswell?” Thoughtfully Trudy looked at the others “Well…don’t know what you say, but I’d say we have been in worse ones…” she pressed her lips together, as she caught Salenes grin but couldn’t help it.She giggled and suddenly all were laughing hard…

The sound of their laughter made Bray look up curious. He felt weird to be back amongst the Mall Rats. It was easy to concentrate on Brady instead of talking to the others. He didn’t understand his own feelings, he had dreamed meeting his tribe again for months, but now he felt like he rather would be alone. He loved them, he knew he did. But why couldnt he really say it? The only ones he found easy to greet and be affectionate too, were Trudy and her daughter. They were familiy after all. He caught Lex eyes and the other guy grinned at him "Don't sit there like a left out school boy...come here!" the dark haired young man shouted, waving Bray to come to them. Thinking that it could do no harm to try for some small talk, he raised."Is it okay when I go talking with the others for a while princess? I will meet you tomorrow and then you can show me all your toys and everything!" "You stay?" cuddling her close, he whispered "I am Brady...I swear I am...no one is ever taking us apart again!" That seemed to be enough for the little girl "GOOD!I am happy!" she kissed his nose and then ran over to Lottie showing her the lollypop her uncle had given her. He walked over to them and smiled a little smile "Lex, May, Salene...sorry I haven't said hello to all of you...it's just..." "There is enough time to have chats with all of us the next days, weeks, months...no offence man but I don't really think I want a hug from you anyways!" Lex joked, poking Bray into his non existent stomach "Man...you've been to the gym a lot? Is that were you've been? Training camp?" "Oh yeah I really felt the need to got myself tuned up a bit..." Bray said with a sarcastic air, making Lex laugh "Awww...still a softy!" he shouted, laying an arm around Brays shoulder by going on tiptoes and squeezing him a bit. Laughing Bray copied him "And you're still an insensitive tward...good to know!" Ryan hugged both "Awww...don't pretend...I know you two are deeply in love!" Salene giggled and twinkeld at Bray "We can talk whenever you feel like it!" "Thanks Sal..." Oh dear, he had missed that caring and sweet girl. She always made anyone feel loved and cared for. Something he hadn't had in ...well..felt like eternity. "Don't you're going to say HELLO to me?" Ebony said walking close, stopping just in front of him. A hand on his upper body, she gave him a seductive smile. Grabbing her hand in a hard way, he pushed it away from him, steppig a step back to the same time as if he did want to be as far away from her as possible. "Hello Ebony...." he said with a voice made of ice "...who did you blackmail to get a place on board? Or did you save someones life again just in time to make the Mall Rats take you with them? Shame...it would have been a good opportunity to get rid of you once and for all." Ebony turned pale, taking three steps back. "What..." the others around them stood frozen. Lex face was a mix of shock and wicked amusement. He never had heard Bray talk like that. “But well…” he sighed “Seeing that my troop is eliminating the virus it would not have killed you anyways…” he sighed again “…well,well…I can’t have anything, but I musn’t give up hope!” Never had anyone of them seen Bray like that.Cold as ice, eyes flaming with a dislike that made you froze. It wasn’t even hate. He just looked at the ex Loco queen as is she was some dirt on his feet that he wanted to have wiped away.

A sound from the cabin made him turn around and his attitude changed as fast as lightning, as he saw Amber leaving supported by Tai-San. Ebony still looked shocked, Cloe leant close “Well,well…did I mention that he has memories of you banning him -alone- from the city? Whatever or better whoever changed his memories didn’t change anything about you…” there was a nasty tone in the young womans voice that made Salene and Trudy change a look. Swiftly Bray hurried along the boat to embrace Amber "Amber! I am so, so sorry...I didn't want to shock you...I didn't think...It's so good to see you!" On Ambers look the others understood that Tai-San must have filled her in enough to make her act the right way. She just hugged him back by grabbing his shoulders, maybe rather harder then she normally would do in a friends hug. "Bray...you don't know what it means to us youre back…youre alive..." His lips touched her hair lightly "I am so sorry about Pride...I couldn't believe he was killed as we found out...weve heard a great deal of all your doing…I am so proud of you! Leading a rebellion and raising your boy without his father…that can’t have been easy!" he finished, laying a hand on her cheek and stroking it softly with his thumb. Cloe grabbed Salenes hand “Of course he assumes the boy is Prides…” the red haired Mall Rat sighed “Dear me, what a mess!” “I can tell you!” Cloe agreed “Well I haven’t been alone…Trudy has been with me…and Salene…” the leader mumbled, looking Bray straight into his eyes. I had nearly forgotten how beautiful those eyes are He looked back, his hand still on her cheek. Something sparked in his eyes, they became darker, richer; like they always had when they had been alone together. She could feel it. Her body responded to his. His body responded to hers. Without noticing, without planning she took a step closer as did he. “But I’ve missed you…” she whispered so silently that he wasnt sure if he really heard her say it, a tear rolled down her cheek, she just couldn't stop it. Seeing what was maybe going to happen and knowing that would be not good at all, Tai-San hemmed tactfully. Bray reacted by looking up, staring at his asian friend as if he was mad about being interrupted. But then he looked back at Amber, noticed his hand on her cheek, how close they were and let go in an instant, moving away from her as if burnt "Sorry...I didn't want to ...". Amber felt all cold out of sudden and hugged herself. Jay was stepping forward but Tai-San was faster and put an arm around her shoulders "You see? It's still in him...YOUre in him…we are going to put it right!" Amber swallowed hard and by catching Jays hurt sad look she asked herself, if she wanted to find a way to Bray. Did she really want him to remember?

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“Well…we…we better be off then…it’s some work waiting for us and you must settle back in the mall…Hopefully you thought about boarding it up? Lex?” Taken aback by the sudden change into business tone the ex sheriff nodded “We’re not beginners you know?!” “I know my friend, but I also know that when we’re in a hurry we often forget things like that…then we are off…you’ll hear from us during the day!” He pointed the others to the LIGHTNING ARROW that just arrived with Jack,Ellie, Alice and KC. Cloe, Ved, Ryan and Tai-San joined Tara who stood on the steering wheel. Bray turned “It is good to see you…all of you…we’re going to talk later…I promise. Just let me state this : I am proud of you Mall Rats. You’ve stood by our principles…you’ve suffered for them, you’ve managed losses…you’ve kept the dream alive!” He nodded to them and turned around to enter his speed boat, but before he could set off Brady was there hugging his leg “BRAY!Don’t go!” “I am only going to bring my new friends into a new home princess…I will be with you tomorrow! really, I promise!” he bent down and kissed her little nose, raising up with her and giving her into Trudys arms. Turning back to enter the Arrow he once again stopped, this time out of his own will. He reached a hand to Amber, who took it without really being aware of it and pulled her back into his arms “I’ve missed you too…I don’t can even…more then…I…just want…NEED you to know that!” he whispered nearly toneless into her ear and kissed her gently onto her cheek, before he finally jumped over and gave the sign for the boat to leave.

There was joyful hugging on the little trader boat as the Mall Rats greeted Alice and KC, but Trudy with Brady on her arm and the other one layed around Ambers shoulders just followed the Arrows process. While the others waved to them, Bray turned around and walked to the boats bug, staring to the harbour. This was coming home? Shouldn`t he be happy? Why did he feel so sad? Why was all he was wishing for a hole to hide in? Shacking his head he angrily wiped away a tear that had dared to leave his eye. He was the master of his emotions. He would’t ever let emotions rule him. He would finally achieve his goal. Make the world a better place to live in.


“Guys it’s pretty good weve boarded the place up, some hopeless really tried to break into...imagine coming home after this crazy shit and being greeted by some dirty streetkids sitting on our beds!" Lex shouted trhough the malls entrance hall as he came bak in from a round around the building. "LEX!" Salene said reproachful from the cafe. Lex rolled his eyes at Jay who stood onthe stairs smirking a bit "Yeah Ive seen it aswell on my controll of the parking lot entrance. Come to the cafe…we’re having a meeting soon…” Again rolling his eyes Lex mumbled a “Big surprise!” and yawning loudly as he entered the cafe “Please tell me we’ve got some coffee or I might call it a day!” “Don’t you worry…while you guys have been out some of those soldiers or whatever they are, where here bringing care packages!” Salene answered by poiting to a table ladden with the most extraordinary things. “Is…hell is that real coffee?” Lex said taking up the dark powder and sniffing on some of it already bubbling through a coffee maker “Yep indeed it is! And fresh flour, fruits, vegetables, chocolate…and for some reason even ketchup!” she winked at Jack, who grinned a little and got up “Oh well Bray was always very good at organizing food and stuff…I absolutely can figure him finding out how to make chocolate…” “And wine gums!” KC stated shacking a glass full of colorful bears “You won’t believe how tasty those are…they’ve got stuff on the Olympus I haven’t had since…well…you know…” “You can make your own treats without high technology…it are skills as old as humanity!As long as you have the right indrigents and resources…mind you!” Jack went on glaring at KC because of being interrupted.Grinning a lopsided grin KC put a gummy bear into his mouth “Still a little MR Know-it-all , aren’t you?” “Better that then a parrot halfway through his moult!” Jack fired back referring to KCs hair, that really looked like he had gotten an electric shock. It needed a trim and new color. Ruefully smiling the guy offered a gummy bear to Jack “Peace man!” With dignitiy Jack took one and dropped it in his mouth. As he swallowed he sighed, grabbing another. Catching KCs grin he had to grin back. “You’re right those a good…” he leant over to the table “But this…” he held up a banana “Fresh bananas…and I see mangos, pineapples…those are fruits that usually dont grow in every corner...and coffee...that's nothing you just find in the nature. Someone has to harvest it...the fruits need to be brought in...that's really an achievement!" "The Olympus gets such fresh things every other day...there are always coming in smaller boats or planes..." Alice explained twisting her hair into a thick plait "You wouldn´t believe how organised life is there...Bray is like...well...Dumbeldore!" "What? The old wizard guy from Harry Potter?" Lex choked on his coffee "I am impressed, you really have some cultural knowledge Lex!" she said with a raised eyebrow "But to clearify....Dumbledore was Harrys principal...the one who taught him everything he needed to fight Voldemort..." "Yeahyeah...that was this "dont say my name or I kill you type”…got it!" Rolling her eyes she shared a look with her sister “Forget that…it just wanted to tell you, that Bray seems to be a master of everything. There just isn’t anything he can’t do. As they rescued us we had a long talk and he felt that I felt really down and worthless and…well…” blushing a litte she went on “…he organised that girl helping me to search through a mountain of clothes…do my make up…even make my hair…it was wellness at its best…” with raised brows Jack looked at KC who snorted “Man…would you let a girl do your style? No I am going to take care of myself…I am no princess, don`t need a good fairy…” “Shut your mouth, fuzzy head!” the older girl growled, clapping him onto his back head. Laughing Lex sat down his coffee cup “Still a charmer KC, eh? You’ve got a hand for women!” Laughing along Jack poured out some more coffee as more and more of them were entering the cafe and sitting down on the small tables.Ruby gave Jack a thankful smile as she took her cup and KC tried smoothing down his hair a bit as she looked at him “Oh hi…I am Ruby!” she held her hand out and KC hurried to shake it. “You look a bit out of order…I have a hand for styling. I’d love to help you …a nice young man like you, should make the best out of himself. You won’t know yourself when I am done!” Eagerly nodding, he agreed “That would ever be so wonderful…thanks!” As she sat down, Jack mouthed over to KC who seemed like being hit “WONDERFUL?” “Ah shut up!” Again Lex and Jack grinned. Before they started laughing again, Ellie asked “Alice…you were talking about Bray…go on…it’s not like we can’t see the boys acting like kindergarten everyday…” that shut the guys up for good, both glared at the blond Mall Rat who stuck out her tongue towards them. “I see somethings really never change in here…” Alice laughed and then went on with her story “Everyone on the Olympus is absolutely loyal towards Bray…he is deeply respected, even loved I’d say. Some of the guys there told me that they had been used to leaders who had been mean and violent. But Bray acts with respect for everyone being in his troop. He taks care of them, makes sure they get what they need. He thanks them with giving hours off and such stuff. But still he is strict, I saw him reprimanding a guy for not having cleaned out his sleeping place absolutely neat. He has thrown out people - what means sent back into the organisation they are part of- when they can’t fulfill and follow his training plan…He never shows emotion. He is nice and charming like he always was…but not from his heart I’d say. Today …that with Brady and Amber…I’d say that is our Bray, but the one KC and me have seen the last days…well…lets say it felt like a stranger was trying to act Bray!” “Yeah…it’s even kind of scary or? A Bray not madly in love with Amber! I was excited as he said goodbye on the boat…I thought he surely was going to kiss her then…” “He would have if Tai-San wouldn’t have intercepted…but you know what happens if the past catches realy up with him…” Gravely nodding KC bite into an apple. “What do you mean?” Trudy asked “Well…the evening they rescued us, we sat all together and they didn’t had time to tell us about Brays…well… condition, so we asked him…about Amber…the expected Baby…what happenend to them…he was all like What the fuck? and we spoke about it and told him of the time we remember and well…it was …scary. There is no other word. He went beserk screaming at us what a nonsense we were talking and so on…you know me…I am not the one staying calm then…I shouted back…not caring for the warnings and pleadings of the others. I told Bray I’d never believed that he is a guy pretending …that he would run away from the duty as a father…that he would just shove the love of Amber aside…” looking down on the table, she went on “…he went rigid…his body stiffed only to shake like mad then…he screamed…it was pure agony…” KC shuddered “I’ve never seen anything like that. I was scared of him…of Bray, can you imagine that? And listen…the next day at breakfast he was a little tired but all friendly politness overing us scrambled eggs! I…” “SHH!” Ruby hissed from behind and KC stopped, just in time to see Amber and Jay entering. Jay looked a little concerned, as he watched Amber sitting down on a table. They could see that she had cried, but of course no one said something about it.

“There is much to tell…” she started without preamble “…and as much as I like to hear your story Alice and KC - and let me say again how happy I am to have both of you back!- " she gave both of them a smile, that was honest and nearly let you oversee her sadness " but I fear there is something I need to talk about first. I want to speak to you Ram!” “Me?” spluttering on his coffee, the ex Techno leader sat up straight “You cant honestly think that it's me, who is behind all of this? Why would I tell you to leave the city, if I knew those people were coming..." Tossing her long braids over her shoulder Ebony sat down on a chair next to Ram "Maybe you didn't knew they were coming, but your weren't as surprised to see people like them as the rest of us has been!" she demanded, nodding to Amber showing that she had checked the same. She looked strong and it seemed as if her meeting with Bray hadnt left a spot on her. “Don’t mess with us Ram, dont even try or you won't know what hit you!" Ram looked helpless from Ebony to Amber "Jay?! Jay would you please tell them they are crazy?!" "Sorry Ram, but usually both have excellent instincts on those things, so better spill the beans!" Jay sat down opposite Ram, placing his arms on the chairback. Ram looked over to Slade "Slade...you're my friend, tell them they are..." Holding up his hands Slade said "Don't get me into this...if Amber has a feeling you're hidding something I am the last to don't believe her. Better open up...MY FRIEND!" his tone wasn't a friendly one and Ram looked at him with knitted eyebrows "Is that because of Mega? Listen I didn't know...and I surely didnt tell him to act the daredevil…” Ruby laid a hand on Slades and whispered consoling to him “Don’t …now is not the time…” “You’re right…” the blond ex bar tender looked at Ram, a hard blaze in her eyes “You better just talk or…” As Ram tried again to catch Jays eyes for support the ex techno looked away from him and tried to catch Ambers eyes instead. But the leader was only concentrating on Ram. She had kept her distance to him, since they arrived back, since she had seen Bray to be honest. He had felt it. There was something between those two, even if Bray didn’t remember. It had looked private and intimate how they had looked at each other, as if there eyes were talking a language only they could understand. It had taken him all his will not to step between his girlfriend and her ex boyfriend. Well, could you even call Bray an ex boyfriend, considering that they had never broken up, but been seperated by other humans? With a mighty effort of his will he forced himself back at the problems at hand. he knew there would be time to talk to her later, now there were more pressing matters and so he turned back towards Ram “Better talk…NOW!” he comanded, Lex chiped in " Yeah just better make it a good story…you’ve got to explain aswell how it is possible that people you said are deleted - which again you sound to mean dead- are running around perfectly healthy!” “The prisoners really were Megas business…I…” “WILL YOU LEAVE MY BROTHER OUT OF THIS?” Slade flared up, making a move towards the other guy. Ruby again held him back. But she stared Ram down aswell “Just be honest…tell us everything for once!” Nodding Lex agreed “and…I…come to that…i just remembered…before Mega…well…he told me precisely that deleted didn’t mean dead…” he looked apologetically into the round “Sorry guys I just forgot in the chaos…” Noone jumped on Lex, everyone was absolutely aware that this morning there had been more concerning matters then Megas last words. “Well KC and me are living proofs of that…as are our friends, the ELITE…” “Sorry the WHAT?” Ellie asked her sister “Oh…didn’t I mention before? It’s their name …ELITE, Brays troop is referred to as ELITE ALPHA…I guess thats why they use all those operating names from the greek mythology…” Ram now stiffed up “ELITE? You’re quiet sure that’s the name?” “Well as it not such a complicated name, I’m positive …” Alice answered lifting her right eyebrow in an eccentric way. Ellie grinned a little, as long as Alice was able to act that way, she would get over everything she had suffered. Alarmed Ebony leaned over to Ram “Hey…what’s going on? Why is that name of importance of you?” “Erm…well…it’s…” realizing that all eyes were on him and that he had no chance to wriggle out of that, Ram sunk back into his chair “oh …well…o-okay…just listen, will you? Don’t kill me…” That statement made Amber roll her eyes “Ram! When have you ever seen us kill someone? Just tell us!” Taking a deep breath Ram started…

“Back in the days of the first epedemic there were many organisations - public and private ones- who tried to find an antidote. But as you all know time was faster. Some people had tought so from the start and so they had different ways of ensuring humanitys survival. They knew only humans above the age of 18 would die. Everyone under 18 years would be safe. Only due to natural mutation the second epedemic also attacked younger ones. Every nations goverments made individual plans for surviving, only trusting their own scientists, accusing other countries for the virus. I know you did reserach and think you’ve found the culprit, but I am not so sure it’s all to it. I resure you, I’ve read every paper about the virus from every nation I could get hold of…and it all has a dozen theories and more about the outbreak and the reason of it. Well, so most nations were balming each other for the upcoming apocalypse, soon the leaders of the bigger nations made all up plans for go into hiding…” seeing the questions onto the others faces, he hurried on “Those plans said the children should go on living above earth. Cleaning the world, not only of the virus but of all the mess humanity had produced over centuries. By most fo the adults dying out, it was clear that things like air pollution and with that the warming up of the earth would come to a halt. They even would go back. I am sure you all would agree that the qualitly of the air around us indeed improved even over the short periode since the adult extinction. The adults - mostly politicians and such - would hide under the earth in high securty vaults originally created to save people from atomic catasrophes…” “BASTARDS!” KC growled, making people jump in their seats, they all had been listening intendly to Rams tale. "They go the disaster running and we should clean their mess?" Sammy nodded vigorously. KC wasn't back a day, but the younger Mall Rat seemed already had taken him as a new idol."Well...nearly everywhere they started to round up hopeful youths in special camps. Some for technical education, some agricultural, some military knowledge...to make sure there were people knowing how to work stuff..." "That explains a lot..." Jack mumbled looking onto the ladden table, others nodded and Lex clapped his hands together "Ryan and me have been in a military styled camp! They taught us surviiving skills and such things..." Smirking Ram nodded "Yeah...you see the term **hopeful youths** is stretched very thin here..." "What do you want to say with that, you piece of..." "LEX!" Jay grabbed Lex before he reached Ram "Slade?! Slade do you mind to help me here?" Slade jumped up and moved over, taking over to hold Lex in a tight grib "Nananaa...Lassie, don't go biting such rotten bones..." Hardly breathing Lex, shook Slade of himself and sat down, looking surprised as Amber reached for his hand, pressing it gently. Her eyes pleaded him to keep it together and he understood. She needed him. Really needed him to listen, to be on her side and not act as headless as he often did. Giving her an ensureing smile he pressed her hand shortly. Who would ever had told him that they would be really friends someday? Ram murmured a "Barbars" to himself, taking a sip of now cold coffee. Before he could complain about it , Jack piped up "I was told to go into a camp aswell...but I decided I rather hid...here in the mall, in my dads shop..." Forgetting about the cold coffee Ram nodded, this time a apprecitaing smile on his face "Now that makes sence, you've got high potential looking at what you achieved here without high tech equiment!" "Bray had an invitation into a camp aswell..." Trudy suddenly spoke up excited "I only remember now. He told em as we met after I've ran away from the Locos. I wanted to know why he disappeared so suddenly after his parents deaths...he told me had decided not to go. So he left before they came for him. I told him he had been stupid, I thought camp meant a certain amount of safety...." she closed in a whisper "That makes sence again...Bray surely qualified with his good physics. I was told he is charismatic and I sure have seen something of that today. There are people born for leadership. People who get other people to follow them no matter what. " "Bray had a lot of different interests...he read every book he could get his hands on...every stuff...world history...genetics...biology...astronomy...just on his birthday before the virus he got a lot of books about stones.." Ebony remembered silently "You usually think that sportsmen got good marks because they are just that: sportsmen. But not Bray. He loved school and he loved learning. I sometimes got my pants bored of listening to him..." she blushed as she ralised the wondering looks on her "Well...yeah...we talked...well he tried to talk to me I guess...I was more..." "Interested in his physics?" Ram helped out with a hard to place frown. He coughed and then turned to Amber "I am ready to bet you've got an invatation as well?" With some kind of embarassment she nodded "Yeah I had...and so had Dal.Oh it's obvious, or? We both had been good at biology, and medial training was on my education since junior high. Dal was the kid of famous doctors.We decided not to go any camp. His parents died really fast because they had tried to help so many ill people, my dad died shortly after his...we wanted to go far away...I had nothing holding me here...my sister had already left before my father died..." "You've got a sister?" Amber looked at Jay who had spoken in a accusing way, the others were looking at her in wonder also. "Yes..." "I never knew..." Salene said "Well...there was no reason to talk about that, or? She went away. Honestly...even before the virus turned out to be what it was! It's okay..." "You never talked about it with anyone?" "Well...Dal knew...and so did..." "Bray! You've talked with him about it!" Jay concluded, crossing his arms over his chest, staring furious at her. "Of course I did..." "Of course you did? Aha..." "We've been a couple" "Oh and what do you call it what we are? Next door neighbours?" There was a silence as the lovers stared into each others eyes, each of them furious with the other. Hemming a bit Alice turned back to Ram "Ram...better go on...now!" she hissed and the ex Techno hurried to follow her advise " "So...erm...I for myself went into camp, thinking it would be better to be surrounded by intelligent people when the worst would happen. There I've met Jay and Ved. Both excellent with technic...Jay more the type for practical use, as handling weapons, cars, planes...and Ved a high inventive hacker. He absolutely made up his youth with his cleverness. Mega was there too, highly engimatic and full of ideas abot mind controlling..." Ruby laid a hand on Slades shoulder as he swallowed "Java and Siva were there too. Both being treated like the queen as extremely good looking females in a camp mostly made of young men...there were bets who could deal with them...tame them. Stupid bastards...no one could ever tame Java..." here Ram stopped, closing his eyes a moment. Feeling sympathy, as he obviously mourned Ebonys eldest sister, Amber stood up to fill some glasses with some fresh water to give him a bit of time to collect himself. After drinking a deep sip he went on "Back in those days, we just were trained how to built programes, how to use the electric firms...to use the old technologies or be able to reinstall them after they would break down. I soon found a group talking about higher aims. A guy, an american, had found out that there where plans to sent some of us into space to conquer a planet in the galaxy next to hours which was to be supposed to be earth like." "WHAT?" Ellie jumped up,the old gleam from back of the days of the amulet in her eyes "But that's...that's..." "I know...sounds incredible or? They wanted to sent people there and when they were settled they might have followed. Youve got give them credit. Educating those with high potential, letting some try to restore our planet and others conquering space…that gives two possible ways of humanities survival." “And all that time they wanted to sit safely in a bunker? That could have been years!” the blonde Mall Rat stated, looking like she wanted to take notes on an interesting interview topic. “Exactly…there had been strategic military bases where they had the space to hide and keep contact with the outside world and control the space mission” “EAGLE MOUNTAIN! I just knew it! I knew that it is more then an obsavatory it was parft of the project!” Jack shouted clapping his hands together. Ram gave him a cheer with his glass “Cheers mate!100 points to you!That’s why I decided to came here…I wanted to see if…well…I was curious and I knew there was good technic stuff hidden…” he looked sheepish “I never knew…” Jay mumbled “Seems like you could fill a book with everything you didn’t knew!” KC mumbled so silently that only Lottie heard him, she looked scanadlized at the guy. How did he dare to be so mean about Jay? But before she could speak out her mind, Ram told on “No one did.As the virus fully hit, those plans had been in the making, but most of them hadn`t even started. I think they underestimated the fast hitting of the virus. I abonded the idea of working with strangers on a brave new world. I already had the idea of Paradise. Why stress ourselves to make an unperfect world fit for living, if we could built our perfect world in digital space? I was absolutely focused on that, to be true…I…well I lost it a bit or more lost myself in it…” he admitted , making the others share grins beside the earnest story. “I let Jay deal with the people, let Ved programme the eyeryday business …and gave much responsibility to Mega. Now I’m sure he must have known. He must have been dealing with the organisation -the last I know is that the other people I had had contact to had built up an ally with an organisation- that planned the space project” “I don’t understand!” “You soon will Amber! The original plan had been to train youths in mind programmes for a life in space or taking over here on earth. They needed far more education as a few months could give. Years really. So it was necessary to give them knowledge in a way thousand times faster…producing an ELITE. Highly trained to take over complete leadership. I wasn’t interested in that. What did I care for the adults? I was sure they would not surive anway, and as we saw the virus hit way too fast to …” “You’re sure there not hiding any adults anywhere?” Ram looked at Lottie who had asked that, he almost gently stroked her head “I am absolutely sure my dear…believe me…I have checked and rechecked everyhing…” he sighed “Little did I know that people would go on with the plans…without adults who lead them…” “What plans for heavens sake?” “Well, conquer the world, take poeple with potential, fiddle with their minds and brains…sent them into space…” “Are you telling us, there is some maniac trying to fullfill this insane plan and that Mega worked alongside, giving them prisoners to use to their leisure?” "I fear you’ve not grabbed the whole…remember it was also a part of the plan to reinstall a working society here on earth, so there must be people to work on earth, rule here, people that must be highly trained and controllable to the same time. “Bray!” Salene clapped a hand over her mouth “That’s what you’re trying to say…someone has fiddled with his mind. Taken those strong memories of his love to Amber…his son…so he won’t have a reason to rebel, but follow instructions by thinking it’s for the best…” “Agreed Salene! Don’t get me wrong …” he hurried to say, as he saw Ambers look of fury on him “I am not saying that Bray or the others are the evil ones here…not the slightest. I just think it fits…they are used by someone in the backround. If it are those guys from back the days or even someone else I am not able to know…I am sorry…” he closed with an apologetic look.

“That is incredible!” Jack said “Incredible sick, if you ask me!” KC spoke out what was on many minds. Getting suddenly up, Amber said “Well…it was a long day…of course you all can stay up and keep on talking…but I…I need to look after my son!” without a look on anyone, she left. Taken aback everyone went silent, following his or her own thoughts. Drop by drop they really left the cafe in little groups, soon after Ambers swift departure. No one in the mood to have long talks. Jay told them, he would take the nights duty and it was a big sign of the confusion in everyone as nobody told him, that he couldn’t take a whole nights duty. Sighing he set on another filter with coffee and sat down watching the black liquid dropping into the holder. There was a lot to think about.

Watching her little boy snuggling in her arms, the leader of the Mall Rats let her thoughts drift. She had let her hair down amd was wearing one of her ex boyfriends shirts. She had left everything of him behind by leaving the mall only this morning, but now she was back and back was the heardache for him that she had thought gotten over since a while. Bray.Bray not remembering the same things as her. A voice inside, sounding very much like Ebonys, told her it might indeed be better if Bray would not remember. That it would be good if he never realized that she “Hooked up with the enemy” as her old rival had called it, while he had went missing. She sighed. her life was a mess again. Just as she had decided to move on. “What I am supposed to do?” she whispered to herself, as tears started rolling down her cheeks again.

In the hotel Bray was finally sleeping. But it wasn’t a peaceful sleep “Amber…” he sighed her name full of emotional wist. Far, far away on a small secret island a sign beeped on a big monitoring board “Target Zeus…” a male voice stated “Again memories?” a bored voice asked “I told you it might get harder to keep people in check if you sent them home…expecially him. He is the strongest we have! Not only you gave him old friends as crew…no you’ve sent him right there where all the memories orignated. I can’t guarantee…” “If you can’t guarantee to keep people in check here on earth, how will you do so in space?” The guy opened a high complicated looking programme and looked glaring over to the guy who sat in the shadows “I`ll do my best!” “Better do it fast…” the other said, poiting on the monitor captured with ZEUS where they saw Bray in a barn with a blond girl obvioulsy in labour “It’s alright Amber…we can do that…” “DAMN IT!” he tipped in some lines and codes in a fast pace and the scene changed into a room where a young brown haired girl was screaming in labour “Just one push more Trudy…you can do it…come on!” Bray was speaking encouranging…"

“Close call I’d say!”“We will need a lot more power to keep Zeus in check from now on!” “Take everything you need…as you said…he is our best man! Our best hope to fullfill project Elyson. We need him!” the guy still hidden in the shadows said to his companion who nodded and kept on staring on his big monitor board.

Bays breathing became regular and deeper, the sweat dried on his skin. A smile appeared on his lips, as in his dream, he held Brady for the very first time…

Hello everybody. I have no clue if anyone is even interested in this….but I am going on :wink: The thrid chapter is really Long, so I Posting it in two parts. Part one today…have fun and let me now what you think if you read it!

  1. New world

" He’s gone !" “What do you mean by " he is gone ?” ?" “I mean it as I say it…Bray is gone! His bed is empty and the bed is done neatly…it looks like he is gone a while because the bed is cold!” Jays younger brother spluttered over his coffee “You tried his bed if it is…what?” “VED! Really? AS if I would share a bed with Bray…- what’s comepletly disgusting, he is like my older brotherr—so big “EWWWW” . I used my common sense and felt the sheets with my hands. They’re cold, what means he must have gotten up very early …” Ryan came rushing into the suite the six had decided to take as a kind of common room. Bray normally made everyone eating together what the troops cook had made, but he agreed that now - where they were to stay longer - they could do with a bit of privacy. Considering that their old friends surely would often come around. It wasn’t necessary to let everyone of the troop now, how close they really were to that city. It wouldn’t be good, if people thought they acted different here. “CLOE! For heavens sake, please don’t shout around like that. Do you want a panic?” “But Bray is gone!” “I’ve heard…the whole troop heard you! Captain or not, get a grip on yourself or I am going to ask Tai-San to give you something for nerves!” “OI!” Ved stood up from his chair, pulling Cloe behind him “Don’t you dare to touch her…” Both glared angrily at each other as Tara came in “Hell I need a coffee infusion today…are all beds in this hotel are rotten through or was is just mi…?” wondering she stopped talking in midsentence, taking in the scene. A towel around her head showed that she had taken a shower and hadn’t noticed anything was going on. “What is going on here? Ryan? Ved?” as both ignored her, she sighed “CLOE?” “Well I just went to get Bray for breakfast, I was a bit worried because he wasn’t already up, drinking his usual early strong coffee. I feard that he maybe had an attack, after all being back here…we don’t know what it will do to him…” the other woman nodded, unwrapping her long red curls from the towel, to show that she was listening. “He didn’t answer to my knocking and we all know that is more then weird, so I openend the door silently in case he was really still sleeping. But I didn’t need to be silent, because his bed was empty…” Tai-San walked in “Good morning… Tyler from my medical maintance just asked me what the shouting here is about? Does any of you need medical treatment?” the asian girl looked around “Wait…where is Bray?” Ryan rolled his eyes, sighed “Somethings really never change!” and sat down onto the ladden breakfast table, pulling a pan of scrambled eggs to himself as Cloe started her story once more. Grudginly chewing he watched the others listen to Cloe till she was done. Tara turned to him “What did you mean by your somethings never change comment?” Swallowing a portion of scrambled eggs Ryan raised his shoulders helpless “Just meant…well…back the days when we had just founded our tribe…it happenend more then once that Bray disappeared. Sometimes for days in row…especially Amber was always pissed of because of that…Trudy went sometimes in histerics about it…” he smirked “But to be fair, he had his reasons…back in those days I didnt understand, but now I do..." "You do?" "Oh yeah...Zoot was his brother, the father of Brady and he wanted his brother take responsibility..so he tried to convince his brother...to the same time he tried to keep Trudy save. And beside that he still was only 16 years old and as lost as we all were in the new world. There wasnt anyone he could really trust too and all girls acting like it was a competion to get him…” “Excuse me?” Cloe said, hands on her hips. Laughing he got up and hugged her, "Awww…not you Cloe, you’ve been to young then, but you must have noticed that it was a chase for him sometimes…I guess he often felt like a hare hiding for the preeing eye of the older girls who had a crush on him. Tai-San copied Cloes position and words “Excuse ME? I’ve never had a crush on Bray!”

Grinning Tara and Ved watched the three old Mall Rats discussing while the devoured themselves some pan cakes. Ved hemmed subtly “Hrmhrm…that is not important now, or? Who had a crush on Bray and how he maybe was all but a misunderstood hurt boy? Besides - I understand what you’re getting at Ryan…have you ever noticed how many of the women in the organisation have an eye on him? Remember that girl from the technic maintance? I thought she was undressing him with her eyes last week at the jets check up!” he pulled a face and poured out some more coffee. Tai-San sat down and took a cup “You’re speaking about Val? The one with the long lilac hair? Oh yeah…she is all about Bray…she even asked me if Bray maybe has preferences in the look of girls, because he never makes a move on her…pfff…as is he would go for a cheap like her…” “Whoa…jealous Tai-San?” Ved teased “Jealous? Ved! Bray is my friend…our friend…he might not be completely himself at the moment, but still I would do everything for him! Didnt he save all our lives? He has suffered enough and if he never can remember what was taken him, then at last he deserves a real woman that is on eyes height with him and not such a...such a..." "Slut yeah!" Cloe growled "CLOE!" Tara said "Don't call other girls..." "What? She is one! She even said that if Ved would be a bit older, she might go for him if she can't have Bray..." "Wha..." her boyfriend coughed over his coffee, Ryan clapping him on the back "Careful mate...careful! Cloe don't shock your boyfriend like that!" "No worries sweetheart...I've told her if she dares to even think of you in that way I am going to take care of her..." "You did what? CLOE!" burrying his fcae in his hands he sighed "Wonderful....just wonderful..." Giggling she kissed his cheek "Awww...don't be mad..." wandering with her lips to his ear, she whispered "Or do you maybe want her to make a move on you?" Looking up he caught her eyes who gleamed mischievous "You're a witch..." he laughed and pulled her over for a long kiss. Rolling his eyes but also smiling good hearted Ryan looked at the other two girls "I dont think we have to worry…Bray knows the city!” “But what if he remembers something and has an attak?” Cloe asked, unwrapping herself from Ved “Well it’s bound to happen more often being here and maybe it must…” “Are you crazy? You’ve seen what it does to him!” the red haired girl spoke up angrily “Yes I have, but maybe he needs the shock to be fully able to remember. Please Tara…you know I am no one for torture and such things…but I also klnow that certain pain is necessary sometimes. I really want him back…back with Amber, being a father to his son. I truly believe Amber and Bray are matched by a higher reason. Together they are …well…just…” “Perfect!” Ryan agreed. Thankfully the asian girl nodded “But do not worry…I think Bray maybe is just checking something…” “What should I be checking?” his strong, but calm voice came from the doorframe. Dressed in black training pants, a towel around his shoulders, his hair damp and sweat drops gleaming on his musucular athletic built torso “BRAY! Where have you…” the dark skinned girl took in his appearance “don`t tell me you did train?” “Yes I did, well sort of…I woke up early, had a coffee but I felt restless…so I went down into the old gym room here and made it fit for training sessions…” “Oh well…well…good, I searched you because…erm…” Not taking in Cloes stammered explanation he looked sideways out of the window “It’s weird to be back here…I thought my …heart might explode in joy ever being back here…but it’s just…don’t know…” he mumbled “Aren’t you happy? See our tribe again?” “Are they still? Our tribe? Our ways have been so different…they will never fully understand…” His hands formed tight fists, as he took a deep calming breath “Sorry of course I am happy…it just was such a long way to come back…it takes time to settle I think. But I am happy we finally can give this city what we always dreamed of back then. Now I am going to have a shower and then return for breakfast…” Already out of the room, he poked his head back in “And don’t you dare to eat all those pan cakes Ved!” Ved grinned by stuffing a whole fluffy pan cake into his mouth. Bray left for good with a amused laughter that somehow sounded unnatural. Ved swallowed hard “Oh dear…” he sighed, slumping back ion his chair “It already seems to get to him…” “Yeah, we need to go to the mall and talk to the others…we can’t risk an uprepared meeting…” Ryan said from beside him…

In the mall Amber was feeding her son some mashed bananas, which he seemed to enjoy immensly “Do you like it?” she laughed as her little one openend his mouth wide for the next spoon. Almost greedily he chewed and licked his lips then “Jamjam…” he said happily, before taking the next spoon his mother held out to him. “Your father sent those, can you believe it? Your father…” With big eyes the little boy watched his mother who sat before him, spoon raised in mid air, her eyes filling with tears “Mommy?” his little hands reached for her “mommmy? Mo…mmyyyyy?” As she didn’t react - something he wasn’t absolutely used to - he tried to reach the bowl of banana mash, but couldn`t. Noticing his mother didn’t even notice, he started crying “Mommy…hunry…jamjam…mommy…” Looking alarmed Jay entered the cafe “Amber? Amber!” he shook the blonde softly, who came back to herself in an instant. Little Bray was now crying in earnest, what let Trudy who just entered with Brady on her hand, hurry up to him. “Awww…come here my little sweetie…shh…evyrthing is okay…shh…” she whispered, taking him up in her arms. “Amber what’s got into…” she hissed angrily, but noticing Ambers teary eyes, she stopped midsentence. “Salene?!” she called for the Mall Rat girl who just had just started breakfast preparations “Would you mind to take little Bray?” she turned to her daughter “Brady, you can help Lottie making the fruit salad, can you?” “I can!” her little daughter said eagerly and ran over to the other mall rat girl in the pantry. Lottie took her to her side “First thing in the kitchen?” “awsh your hands!” Brady shouted enthusiastically and ran over to the tap, waiting for the older girl to help her up.

Salene came over, took Ambers son in her arms “Awww…why you’re crying darling?” and cuddled him “Hunry…jamjam…” he sniffeld unhappy and Salene understood by seeing the bowl of mash, he pointed his little finger on. “Ohhhh…banana mash! You’re right little mister, that is yummy! Come with me, we eat that delicious stuff!” Taking up the bowl aswell, she went over to the table on which Jack, Ellie and Alice just had taken place. Jack was pouring coffee into three cups and went to take a fourth for Salene. Alice looked at the little boy with a kind smile and Salene introduced him to Alice as there hadn’t been time for it yesterday. “Look who that is Bray…it’s Alice! Alice this is our little Bray…” Bray stopped crying and looked curious back at Alice. “Awww…such a little heartbreaker! Dear me…he has exactly Brays eyes…that colour in a childs eyes. Dear me! I am sure he knows how to wrap us around his little finger?!” Taking him on her lap and tipping his nose with her finger, she made him giggle. He grabbed for her finger tightly “Whoaa…tight grip already…” she said, shacking ehr finger with him holding on. He giggled even more. “Yeah he is a little fighter…” “No wodner with those parents…” “True…” Carefully Salene started to feed the little boy, who seemed to enjoy the attention he got. Chewing he looked up at Alice and suddenly smiled charmingly. “Yep…he looks mighty much like Bray. Amber will get busy when he is a teenager. Flock of girls I say…” Alice grinned, touching his little nose again, what again made him giggle. He obviously felt taken to her as he cuddled up confortably in her lap. With a smile Salene moved the bowl over to the other girl and let her continue the feeding, while she went back to Lottie and Brady. Alice noticed Jay watching them with a stern look and leaned a bit over to her sister beside her “What is up with Mr. Surferboy?” With raised eyebrows Ellei locked at her “Mr.Surferboy?” Foloowing Alice eyes, she stiffled a giggle with her hand “Jay is always a bit sensitive about any mention of Bray…” “He’s Ambers son! I thought he loves her, how can he…?” “Not little Bray…dear me that will get confusing with both Brays around…!He doesn’t like us to speak a lot about his father!” “Oh I see…well now he has to live with it. Bray is alive and I am sure he will be back with us once his memory returns. Even if he might not want to be with Amber or she with him, he is the boys father. Bray has been so looking forward to be a dad…he won’t give up on that!” Ellie took in the mean gleam in her sisters eyes “Alice…Jay is really nice! He is not mean at all…he is fair and he always tries to do the right thing. He truly loves Amber…” “Ellie! May that be…but still, he was a Techno! You’ve got no idea what those…those…what they did to us! You aren’t aware of a quarter of it! And I am happy about it, because just the thought that you might have went through the same as me, kills me! I don’t care that he didn’t know…the truth is : he didn’t care enough to know! He diidn’t WANT to know! He ignored things and that make sit even worse!” Her words had gotten louder and so she had gotten all Mall Rats attention. Amber, who had found back her composure, stood up “Alice! Please no one of us does indeed now what you and KC went through, or the others come to it. But I knpow a bit of it. I have been captured a while too. I don’t underestimate your suffering. I never would. And you can tell us, we will listen! But I assure you, Jay really didn’t realise what happened to the prisoners. He hoped to achieve something good with all the things they were able to do. Hospitals and schools…” “Yes, go just on pretending your ,lover is a victim of his good heart. All innocent! For heavens sake open your eyes ASmber…realise who the man you proclaim to love, is! Don’t you undertstand? It’s the same excuse people used through history. Didn’t lots of people in germany claim they didn’t know what happened in the concentration camps? Didn’t people just look away as millions of afrcians were forced into slavery? Looking away is no excuse! It is even worse! You never look away Amber, we never did! We always fight against injustice! Bray even risked his life as the Chosen got him, by telling us not to accept their ways…and he did so with the Technos. Did you know he started a rebellion in the first camp he was brought to? They promised him to let him back into the city if he convinced the other prisoners to follow the technos wishes…” Weirdly little Bray didn’t cry by the sudden loud outbreack, he just chewed on his little thumb looking from Alice to his mother, who stood there frozen. Amber took a deep breath. “You’re right Alice, we never looked away…but we also give people second changes. Bray always did. He believed that everyone can make mistakes and that everyone deserved to have a chance to do better.” “And a hell good it did him…” Lex mumbled, looking over to Ebony who tried to act normal, but seemed to be shaken by Alice words. “It’s all I ask…give Jay that second chance…talk to him…” “I am here…I will listen to everything you tell me…you can beat me up if it makes you feel even better…I’d do anything!” Jay said, looking her straight into the eyes. Taking in the look of the blond guy “I try…”

“Maybe someone takes the children and looks after them and we can talk like adults should do? Without shouting?” A soft and calm voice said from the cafes entry. All heads turned around to find Tara there, followed by Tai-San, Ryan, Ved amd Cloe. The Mall Rats looked at each other, in their faces written that no one really wanted to miss that talk. “Claire…would you be so nice?” A maybe fourteen year old girl appeared at the side of Tara, looking quiet like her, only that her long mahagony hair felt down her back sleek instead of curly and that she was of even more petite built. She wore the same blue coloured mix like the older ones, but with an rebellious touch as she wore a skirt instead of a cargo trouser. “Claire is my younger sister and really good with children. Would you allow her to look after them? What we’re going to talk about is nothing for an innocent childs ears.” Claire smiled and walked over to Lottie “Hi…I like your style!” That simple but honest statement made Lottie beam “Amber…I’ll go with them!” As no one spoke against ist, the two girls took Brady and little Bray amd some foood with them and left the cafe.

“Looks like Lottie has found a friend…” Salene said with raised eyebrows “Claire was delighted to hear that there is a girl of her age with her. She hates the fact that most younger ones in our troop are some sixteen year old boys, which she finds childish.” Tara laughed and her melodic voice was like a balm that smoothed the tensend air from the former argument out. All relaxed a bit. Ved went over to Jay and hugged him, while Cloe sat down next to Salene. Ryan took place right next to Lex who had sat down on Ambers table. Tai-San rather chose a place next to Alice. The two had easily rubbed alond the last days on the Olympus and where back to be good friends. "Do you want anything?"Jack asked, taking a spoon of the fruit salad Lottie had made. He offered with a hand raising along the packed kitchen pantry “No thanks we already breakfasted…but some water would be nice…” Tara answered and Jack poured out some glasses. “So how did you explain to Bray that you’re going to talk to us without him?” “Oh easy enough, when we enter a new city, Bray usually takes at least two hours working on his laptop in the beginning. As we arrived late yesrteday and it took a good while to settle in the hotel he didn’t have time for it. He is just onto it and will come later” “Bray? On a laptop?” "You wouldn`t believe it Jack! I don’t know where he gets it from or if he always could do it…but he is really good with calculations and stuff. But our software and programmes are made by Ved. " Ryan explained and Ved nodded “Bray does the working sheets by himself and reads the analyses I do…he usually talks them through with me. He is good…” “Bray hates computers!” Ebony said her eyebrows knitted “Or Trudy?” It was weird to have Trudy nod to Ebony with the same expression “He told me he only took a course in school because he needed it for his college application…” “Well…maybe …” Jack eyes found Ram, who nodded “That settles my theory of yesterday, don’t you think?” “What are you talking about?” Tai-San asked “No…you’re going to talk first…if there is time before Bray comes, Ram tells you!” Lex said “So he didn’t even want to break his routine for us? This is not just any city, we’re not just any tribe. We’re his family!” Ambers voice was full of emotion and Trudy laid a comforting hand over hers “Please…it is all confusing enough: Maybe one of you can start at the beginning?”

“Well maybe I start first as left the mall a while before the Techno invasion?” All looked at Ryan who took the silence as agreement to his question. "I’ve made it into the next big city from ours, that took me some weeks. On the way I laways was able to get some food by hunting and helping out on the little farms all over the country side. I had never given it a big thought, but then i realised that there were a fair number of people living on farms like Alice and Ellie had. " The siters nodded, that weren’t news to them. “I stayed for a while in the city, working in a bar as I…” he looked around at his old friends “…got homesick. I had reasons to leave, but soon found that headache isn’t a good enough reason to leave my family” His eyes settled on Salene and his smile showed her that he hold no bad feelings towards him. Giving him a small smile she signaled him that they could start over a fresh leave. Being friends. “So I left after a few months and headed back home. One day - I haven’t been far away from here - I heard the noise of airplanes. I was confused. I looked uo and there they were. Airplanes. Heading into the directiomn of our hometown. I ran for it. Suddenly I noticed some of the planes dip down and while they landed I hid myself. I had a feeling that those people might be dangerous. I watched as six heavy armed people elft each of the two planes and attack some farmers who had ran out of their home to see what was going on. I could not hold back I had to help. I got zapped.The next thing I knew is wacking up on the back of a truck, surrounded by other prisoners. We were transported into a camp. No one really explained anything. We were pushed into small cells, treated like garbage. I can’t tell you that miuch about the first days. It is jut a blurr of hinhumanilation, pain and fear…” his voice broke a tiny bit and Lex hurried to offer him a glass of water. Thankfully he took it and took a deep sip. After drinking he went on "Days just passed by by being forced into cyber space realities. I didn’t even know that such technoligy excisted. Later I learned that Ram and some over smart ones invented it. The Ex Techno leader tensed his shoulders, but Ryan didn’t attack him “Sometimes it were even nice sceneraries…beaches…famous sights of the world like the Grand Canyon…Ayers Rock…the Eiffel Tower. But we also had battlefields, arenas were you had to fight like the gladiators in the ancient rome. It was in such an arena I saw Bray the first time. He was the champion and someone…I don’t know if this was a real person or a part of the cyber reality we were in…personatig like a ceasar made him fight against any of the other men there. Bray fought like a berserker. I just hope those weren’t all real people because if…” he swallowed “…he might have killed a fair few of them!” “Ryan…people…” Ram started, but stopped asking “May I say Ryan?” “What? Are you asking me if you have to call me sir?” “I…well…we don’t know each other and you might not want me to be so personal with you…” “Who might have ever guessed the so called evil Ram is that polite?” Ryan asked, his eyebrows expressing his wonder by being raised very high. Ram shuffled a bit on his chair and that made Ryan grin “I am Ryan!” he hold out his hand and offered it to Ram who took it akwardly “Ram…erm…nice to meet you…I think…” “He maybe polite…but he is not charming!” Lex explained. The old friends shared a grin. “What did you want to say?” Tai-San asked, noticing how unconfortable Ram seemed “Ah…erm…I wanted to state that you can’t die in cyber space. Well you can die…but that doesn’t mean you die in reality. Though of course dying in cyber space or killing someone will maybe leave some shock on your mind…” “You’re sure? Sure that no one changed that?” “I…” " "Well either way…I lost hope then. If even Bray was a prisoner…who else might be a prisoner? Who else had been captured? I just went a bit apathic at that time. Didnt really care anymore for anything. One day on our rare times outside I was trying to get as much sunlight as possible and praying that my next round of cyber space would be a nice one. Then I heard a girl screaming. Screaming and shouting wasn’t uncommon among the prisoners so I didn’t take much care at first. But then I heard her scream “Don’t you dare to touch me, don’t you know who my sister is?” I openend my eyes and saw a young girl in techno unifrom surrounded by maybe ten guys “We don’t care for your sister little techno bitch. You’re going to pay for everything we suffer…” One of them started to open his trousers while the others pulled the girl into a dark corner. Ellie gasped and Alice hit her fist on the table “Assholes! Nothing excuses such a behaviour…I hope you have them what they deserved?! Raping a girl…” "Of course I stepped in, I pulled the leader back and screamed for the other Thecnos I knew must be around. As they arrived a brwal broke out. They hadn’t noticed what happened and so they attacked me as well. But the girl went in front of me…told the guards what happened. I wondered that the guards stopped at her orders, because she was way younger. But then another one came running “Claire?Claire! What the hell happened?” “Tara…please…tell them not to hurt this guy…he saved me. Those others tried to rape me…if he wouldn’t have come to my rescue…!” §“Trued to…what?” Furious she turned to the guards “How can any guy be able to try hurtign my sister or any other woman come to it? That will have consequences be sure of that! And now bring those away! She looked at me and though she is that much smaller and more petite she made me take a step back with her look. And damn were those beautiful eyes burning!” Ryan eyes settled on Tara who blushed a little as she noticed that all eyes were on her now. The Masll Rats looked at her curious but without hate. That was a first for her. Usually people acted worse towards her when they found out she had been a Techno. “I’ll take over from here darling…” she said in her soft voice, that made Ryan now blush as now all eyes went to him.

I am reading but you knew that. Will read part 3 later on. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Well it’s still nice to get a reply from time to time :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: It’s good for the ego :joy::joy::joy: And I am always interested in readers opinions! I hope you enjoy chapter 3, part 1

( So Folks…here we go again….I am proud that I am keeping up ! The words are just flowing out. So enjoy part 2 of chapter 3 and maybe you let me know whatever you think? I would really appreaciate it !)

**Chapter3, part2 **

“Let me first explain to you how Claire and me ended up being Technos. Both us are emphatic and can get almost anyone to trust us. Our father was a famous psychologican, so as the virus broke out we had been transported into a special camp. We were told it was to teach us certain important things for the future of the world, but I honestly don’t know if that was all behind it…” the Mall Rats threw looks at each other and with a raised eyebrow Tara said “…and your reaction shows me that my feelings might be right?!” Ram coughed “Please…erm…just continue…I need to figure things out…” “Okay. As it seemed all adults were indeed dead, people left the camp. Some already formed tribes. Claire and me stayed, I was afraid to leave the safety of the enviroment. It was clean and there was stocked food and medicines and…” she took a deep breath “My sister is suffering from cystic fibrosis.” There was a intake of breaths from Amber, Jack and Ram. The others looked quiet non plussed “Excuse me…cystic…whatsit?” Lex spoke out the question on most minds. “Its a genetic disease. Patients with cystic fibrosis suffer from thick mucus that cloggs their lungs and other organs. All humans prduce a thin film of mucus that regulary cleans our lungs and other organs from bacteria. Cystic fibrosis patients have an error in the their chlorid channels. Means their cells cannot get enough or sometimes no salt into their organs. That means the mucus thickens more and more and that is the perfect enviroment for bacteria to live in. They suffer from pneumonia and infects a lot. It’s a progressive disease leading to more and more lost of lung function, leading to an early death. Life expentancy has been somewhere in the twenties or thirties or so as the virus happened I believe…but there were also kids dying on it. Sometimes a transplantation was the only way to give a patient a bit more time…sure enough without the right medicine and therapy it is an early death sentence” Ram explained, it was the first time the Mall Rats saw something like real compassion in his eyes. “That…how did she survive till now?” Jack asked, biting his lip almost in an instead “Forget it…that was insenstive…” “No it wasn’t. You’ve every right to ask that. Well my dad had stocked on as many medicaments as possible. Claire is very good in her daily therapy and also does sports to keep her lungs as healthy as possible. Till now she hasn’t suffered a really bad time and is doing quiet good. Though she has a little problem with keeping weight…” “You’ll just need see how much this girl can eat!” Ryan laughed and catching the scandalized looks of his old friends got earnest “Hey…Claire is coping…she is living and enjoys life as much as possible. She won’t give up, so please never make her see you pyting her…you won’t know what hit you!” Nodding Tara agreed "Ryan is right. Claire is to be treated like everyone else. But of course I did make sure if we were to join a tribe, to find one who could handle. One day the camp was invaded by Technos. There was a lot of technology worth getting their hands on. That’s when I met Cyber. He told me he is a leading officer of the Techno Tribe and that they would be the best place for Claire and me. That we also could be really useful to fullfill the dream of a new future. It sounded like it was exactly the tribe that Claire needed. A lot of people with knowledge in all bases of life. " “Wait,wait,waiiiiiiit…did you say Cyber?” Ram exclaimed “How has this maniac become a Techno Officer? JAY?” accusing he looked at his ex general, who looked completely non plussed. “I’ve got no idea…you’re sure his name was Cyber? Big and lanky, neon green spiked hear?” “Yeah and a shark fang pierced into his ear…” Jay ruffled his hair “Listen…as general personal lied in my responsibilty. We had a lot of different troops and I only made trustworthy people with some kind of certain qualities to officers. And I sure did not make Cyber to one! He was a genius hacker, but crazy …I would have never given him a troop to lead and recrute people!” With crossed arms Ebony raised one eyebrow "First: It’s a bit rich coming from you Ram, calling someone maniac. Second: Jay, we already know that you didn’t know a lot that happenend and went on behind the scenes " before he could start to argue, she put a hand up “I am not accusing you…just telling. You’re one of those naive good people, who believe that everyone follows the spoken for rules. I am sure there was a whole gang around Mega who let you do all the dirty frontwork. People concentrated on you as enemy, as you came big in the invasion, second in command. No one - including us- ever looked behind Ram and you. You’ve been public enemy nr.1 !” “She’s got a point…” Amber said silently. Jay looked at her disbelieving and hurt “You’re saying I am an idiot?” “No Jay I am not!” her tone changed into a sharp one "But open your eyes! Neither you , nor Ram had a clue about Mega! Even Java worked a while with him behind your backs. You never knew about the experiments on people, you thought most prisoners were sent to work. FACE IT! You both lost it…Ram with his dream of a perfect world in cyber reality…you in your dreams that with a bit of suffering, we would have hospitals and schools and everything. You lost sight of the whole thing! " A dead silence followed Ambers words, which was broken by Ved “Jay…you know it is true. You even didn’t notice I was working on different things for Ram.” “Ved…” “Shh…it is okay. You’ve had the best intentions. I know. How often did we fight, because I thought you’re too soft and dream too much?” he pressed his brothers hand “And I apologize for that…I was just too blind to see that it is no solution to make people suffer just because I was angry and lost. And now let Tara continue, it is still a long story!” Jay nodded, leaning over to his girlfriend and kissing her forehead “Sorry Amber…” “No need to be sorry!” she said softly kissing his cheek.

Tara talked on “Well he promised Claire would have everything she needed , so I finally agreed…” the looked around apologetic “I didn’t really understand what I was agreeing to…I was so lost and it was a time Claire had a bit of a down. The coughed a lot suffering a cold and I was unsure which antibiotics she really might need…and how long everything would last…and what if someone else attacked us…” Salene leaned over , touching her arm “No one is accusing you Tara. You did what you needed to do…you’ve been afraid for your younger sister. We all had to take decisions to survive, you did nothing wrong!” Thankful Tara looked at her “Due to my ability with people I have risen up the ranks really fast. I was kind of psychological worker. I checked on prisoners in the camps. I often ordered more food, medicine, made the guards respect the need to sleep and fresh air. I told them when a prisoner wasn’t fit for cyber space and opened up a camp for pregnant girls. There weren’t be hold experiments, but just simple work like sewing and such. I did my best to help where I could. I just was shocked. I hated it and Claire pleaded regulary to just leave the Technos. But I could not. I was too afraid for my sisters life. The day we met Ryan I had already been there for a few days. I had been called in for a girl that seemed to be aphatic. I couldn’t help anymore…” “Why?” Trudy asked, already consumed so much in the story that she was biting her nails “She was dead…” Tara whsipered and all of sudden burried her face in herhands, sobbing hard “It wasn’t the first I saw…it…God I…how could I? I’ve tried to help…but…I…” Ryan got up and took her into his arms “Shhh…you did everything you could to that time my love. You’re a victim as well…” Trudy struggled the strange girls back “Yeah…I know what it means to be in such a stress situation…I did something really disgusting to my tribe, but I did it for my daughter…it doesn’t make everything good what we maybe did, but it is a better reason as just wanting to rule or whatever…” “You see what you did to innocent people? And what for? Your crazy idea of Paradise…” Ellie rounded on Ram, who had gotten pale. “I swear I never thought of…” “Not thought of anything for real, eh?” she attacked him again, but was silenced as he looked into her eyes openly and answered her “No I did not. You’re right. Honestly I didn’t care for anyone, as never anyone cared for me!” “Java cared for you!” “Java was a Techno herself.” “Ellie!” Amber said sharply as the younger one openend her motuh again “Keep your tongue! What’s done is done, no argument will make the past unhappen. Tara please go on!” They could see that Amber was pretty stressed out, so Ellie kept her mouth and turned her eyes back on Tara “Well I was pretty upset about it and of course that what nearly happened to Claire did not make things better. Ryan was my beam of sunlight then. If someone could still be like him. Helping even if the one needing help was an enemy, not looking away, but risking his own health…well it lifted some weight from my shoulders. Claire pleaded for him, but she didn’t really need to. I almost directly decided to take him with us. As a guard. The other Technos thought me crazy but I told them that a prisoner would do almost everything to avoid further experiments. That he would be a guard who would fear what I could do to him if he let me down…” smirking she let her eyes swift over everyone “I’ve been always excellent in convincing people…so in the end I was allowed to take Ryan away. Of course he didn’t trust us in the beginning…but after a while we…well I take it all of you understood it, that we are a couple.” she let Ryan hug her closer " And then we met the others…"

Cloe took over “I had been sent into a camp where the prisoners haven’t suffered too much. It was more about how much time in paradise one could do. It was almost tiring. Then Ved was sent after me, he had rebelled against Ram and Ram had ordered Mega to take care of him. We had a different status then the other prisoners. It was said that we had broken Techno rules and so we had received a condemnation with a few months in working camp. We had better food and more free time, but still it wore us out. One day Tai-San arrived. I was so happy! A friendly face I knew, someone more to talk to. Someone more to fight with! She told us that she had been working alongside Mega for a while…” Here the asian girl interrupted “As you know I was kidnapped just as the invasion happened. I had been outside the mall as they arrived. I tried to speak to them, plead them, but they just attacked. I fought but they zapped me and next I knew is waking up in a camp. I had it different then the others. I thought and came to the conclusion that rebelling would be of no use. Not when I was all alone, without any of you. Mega was in that camp for an inspection and I succeded in make him see me. He thought having a Mall Rat on his side, would be a help. I convinced him that I wanted to be a Techno. That the brainwash was of sucess on me. But of course it wasn’t. Through mediation I kept a clear head and stayed myself, only acting that the brainwash was funcionating. I had my wish and came back to the city. But meeting Lex…well…” her eyes fastened on Lex, who stared back “I’ve messed up for you? Oh gosh…Tai-San…why you let me believe you had changed sides?” “Lex…I thouht it would bring you into trouble…I wanted to meet you…tell you, but Mega found out. He realised I had been acting on him and sent me away again…to be more brainwashed. After being a while in that second camp, I was suddenly sent into a third one. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. There I met Cloe and Ved. I was happy to find Cloe still her oldself…well…” she smiled a bit “…maybe a bit more adult. WE told each other what we knew and came to the conclusion that Mega might be way more dangerous then Ram. And we knew none of you had a clue. We decided to act. Not to stay put till maybe you succeded in a rebellion , but make a run for it out of our own. " Cloe nodded " So we decided to break out, Ved made some clever deals behind the scenes to get his hands on a laptop, we were just about to leave at the next guards change as we saw Ryan arrive on a truck. We didn’t know that he wasn’t a prisoner anymore and decided we had to free him. Tai-San of course slowed down our rush to help and first made contact with Ryan. He told us that Tara and Claire are different and well…in the end we five decided to leave together. We made up a plan that Tara would take the three of us for further and more servere treatment, telling we were hard cases. That would have worked because the Technos on duty always were happy to get some prisoners out of their way, but just as we were about to start the plan Ved had shocking news…” she looked over to her boyfriend who straightened up and went on.

"I had decided to better check everything I could, including to check the cells in the case there might be Mall Rats. I had no big hopes, thinking we might have met before if there were some of them there, but then I found him. Deep down in the cellar of the camp were high security faults. Marked with the words “leader Mall Rats, rebellious, severe treatment, brainwash " …” “Bray!” “Indeed …it was Bray…of course I told the others and of course we decided we could not leave without Bray. But that put us into mysery. How should we break into the high security fault, that even wasn’t existing officially? There were only certain Technos going in and out and we were sure Tara wouldn’t be allowed into. There were checkpoints where the Technos had to use their fingerprints and iris recognition…really like in those James Bond or Mission Impossible movies. Finally we decided we had to take one of the guys hostage, to get trough to Bray and get him out. But we really didn’t have to worry, because this time we were lucky…the camp was attacked. We thought that it maybe were rebells fighting the techno regime. People trying to free loved ones, but as those guys were also heavy armed we took care and made a run for Bray… “He was a mess …” Ryan said in a sombre voice " beaten up, looking like he hadn’t slept in ages…bones showing…but worst were his eyes…I’ve never seen that dead eyes…I never thought I might ever see Bray without that fire in them. Or more I thought I had already saw him the lowest the time after Eagle mountain, as he mourned Amber…” the Mall Rat leader looked down on her hands , she could not look into anyones eyes, sure to see accusations. "But still…he was alive and after I made him believe that I am no dream, he really got up by himself! He needed our help, but he was willed to go…we were about to leave as he suddenly screamed out “Wait…Rhys!” " “RHYS?” Lex said with wonder “Whose Rhys?” “We didn’t know…but Bray hurried to tell us that there is a guy kept in the cell next to his…he said we had to save him and he was so adamant that we went. We found a guy nearly looking as bad as him and so we had real work to do…But then we were found by the attackers. They were all around us but they didn’t do anything to us. A guy told us that they were there to help, that they would take us to a place were we could heal and learn and become a part of an organisation that had the aim to make the world a better place. That’s how we came into the organisation NEW WORLD” Ryan finally finnished, looking at his old friends.

“Let me explain on more Ryan…” Tai-San took over. “NEW WORLD is an organisation that was founded before the virus really hit. The people in it understood that all adults might be dead in due time and that the children would be not only left behind without their parents…they understood that were facing times where diseases would spread, epedemics due to less hygical things. A time without education. A time were kids mihght die of hunger. Might fight for the best place to live in. They understood, that if they wouldn’t take care, many of the mankind skills and its knowledge might be lost forever. They collected children over the whole world into a network and taught them as much as possible in all fields you can think of. Agriculture, medicine, history, languages, politics, technic, physics…today we are existing of troops in every area of the world. That is why we have access to such things like fresh coffee and so on. We even have people doing medical researches and producing things likle insulin for people with diabetes…there are even people with knowledge about Claires disease…There are programmes filled with every knowledge the world ever had. After the adults perished the older kids decided to go on. As we arrived we all were sent into a sleep for some time. Ryan,Cloe,Ved and me for only 5 days. It cleaned our brains from the negetaive effects of paradise. Bray and Rhys have been longer. We didn’t see Bray for two months. I feared the worst but as we finally met him again, he looked even better then us. We all had started to learn more and even trained in the gym. But Bray looked like he had been away years, really. He told us he had been awake after five days as well, but it was decided that he would need more time to heal completely. Bodylike and soullike. He had been feeded up with really nutrious stuff and trained his body. Over night he had learned in mindprogrammes…” “Wait? Mindprogrammes?” Jack asked in an awed voice “Indeed…those are the programmes I told you of, you leanr in a kind of sleep…I did a few myself about medicine and nature…we all did those we really felt good with…but Bray just had gotten different things I think. He had a way more structured knowledge and well…could really do things he couldn’t before…” “That explains the PC stuff…” "Maybe, I never asked him…Rhys was the same. We were told that Bray and him qualified for higher aims…we started our education and due in a few months we got our own troop. Bray even being one of the higher up generals. He is totally cracking it. I always said he has leadership in his genes. We were made to help cities and villages with epedemics, bring medical knowledge and such. Rhys left for his old village with special permission. He had a pregnant girl like Bray, as he was captured. Sadly he found out that she had died giving birth to their daughter Lucy. Luckily the child was saved by some Technos who secretely worked for the organisation and so he returned with his daughter. " “Seems like Bray and him got something in common…” "Indeed, that was why they made friends in the beginning. Both wanting nothing more then return to the women they loved and their child. But after they rebelled and were brought into the other camp, Rhys says Bray suddenly became weird. Not knowing who he was talking of sometimes and sometimes saying that he wasn’t becoming a dad…that his girl had been killed by the Chosen…of course Rhys couldn’t understand. The organisation told us that Bray had been used almost 24 hrs each day in cyber reality and if he was free of it he was often mistreated. At some point he must have stopped eating and only drink a bit. They thought he maybe had been given drugs as well. But luckily - as they called it - it only concerns certain memory areas of his brain. Ever since we went on our first mission we try to wake those memories. Sometimes they come to him. But sadly they never stay with him. " “So…this organisation …sends you off, helping some city or village and then give them …” "“enough knowledge to thrive…they are well left alone…we think…” “You think…?” “Listen…there isn’t time for everything now…Bray is due to come. We can catch up with time. Its not like we in a hurry here.”

Again there was silence. “NEW WORLD?” Jay clarified “Does this sound familiar to you Ram?” “Indeed…” the ex techno leader declared, making the five members of ELITE swift their heads at him “It’s how those people named themselves…” “What people?” “Well…beware for a story that sounds even more movielike then yours…” Lex told them and gave Ram a sign to tell his story. But before he started, Amber got up “I’ve already heard it…is it okay with all of you, if I’ll go checking on my son?” “I’ll come with you!” Trudy hurried to get up aswell. Cloe nodded to them “But keep in head that Bray will come…” she switched on a little smartphone like device “…he might be here in half an hour…” a little pling sounded up and she opened a text message “It’s from Bray…yep…half an hour…you can set your clock after him…” “We will be here!” Trudy said, pulling Amber with her out of the room.

Both stopped at the light fountain in the malls entrance hall. “Oh my god Trudy…I…that…” Amber sat down on the foundtains wall and burried her face in her hands “I know Amber…I know…” Trudy said in a soothing voice and hugged her tightly “Its way too much to understand…” “I should have searched him…maybe I could have rescued him…maybe I…” “Stop that Amber! What do you think you could have done? Walk into techno camps and demanding to get your boyfriend back? You know how it was back then…you’re were held prisoner yourself!” “Yeah and I knew I had seen Bray in cyber reality…you all told me straight i was imagining things! It was him!” Amber spoke up angrily “For heavens sake…and what would if had changed if we said that you have been right? Nothing!” Trudy hissed back “Don’t you dare putting it as we didn’t miss him, as if we didn’t mourn him…” Tears started to roll down Trudys face. Amber hurried to wipe them away “Oh no Trudy…don’t cry…I am sorry…so sorry…for everything…I…if I would have stayed true to Bray…you and Jay maybe…” “Don’t start that now…you believed him dead! As he believed you dead and went on with Danni. Thats life. You win, you lose. And still you walk on! There are more pressing matters now then our love lifes or?” Talking a deep, calming breath Amber agreed finally “You’re right…of course you are. So…what do you think?” “I wanted to ask that!” Trudy said with a little pout, making Amber grin a little “You’re first now!” “Oh well…maybe this organisation is called like that what Ram talked of…but you’ve heard Tai-San and the others. They were saved by them! Those poeple brought Bray back into life. Made him fit and gave him the oppurtunity to make more out of himself. Listen I know Bray…I knew him before the virus and Ebony is right what she said yesterday. Bray had such big plans, he wanted to know and learn so much. He was interested in so many things…the virus took that away from him. That responsibility he suddenly held without asking for it…and it’s not only him…didn’t you ever feel its a shame that someone like Jack would never have the access to all that knowledge in the world? That it would be lost to him? And now there is this organisation. Maybe they are really establishing a new world order. Would that be so bad? Save cities. Save energy. Enough food. Education.?” “But Brays memories…” “You’ve heard Tai-San saying that this Rhys guy told them, that Bray had started to get weird in their time as they were kept in that vaults. You never know what they did there…maybe he will tell us of what he remembers of that.” “So you defintively think it were the Technos who…?” “Of course. What would that organisation get from stealing Brays memories?” “He might have been easier to control…” “Na…If you want to control someone, just take advantage of someone they love…I learned that the hard way with the Chosen!” Trudy stated, rembering the time the crazy tribe that had honoured Zoot, had held Brady away from her to make her do the guardians biding. “And this space programm?” Shacking her head, she answered “You don’t really believe that part of Rams story? I ask you…sending people to a far away planet? Waiting years, holding contact and if they were sucessful journey there? Why? The earth has lost high numbers of inhabitants due to the virus. There is a big chance that nature has thrived the last years. The earth is more clean , even when there is debris around everywhere. Why leave earth then?” "Trudy…that’s exactly what I thought about the whole night! " Amber exclaimed hugging her friend again “Oh thank you…thank you for …well just for everything!” Patting her back a bit, Trudy smiled “No need to…so now lets look after the children and then back to the cafe…where do you think they went?” “Maybe…don’t know…lets check the kids room first…” Hearts considerably lighter, two mothers hurried back up the stairs.

Outside the mall on the little playground that was nearly hid from trees and greens, little Bray sat happily in the sand that Jay had gotten from the beach to fill up the little sandpit a while back. He was building and moulding things, only he could recognise. Brady sat on the very swing Bray once had repaired that many years back as Cloe and Patsy had played there. Lottie and Claire were busy talking about everything that comes to young girls minds, as they jumped up hearing someone approach through the bushes “Got you…thought I’ve heard Bradys voice!” a man said with a grin. He started to shake his hair from leaves “Man this greens need a trim!” “Bray, for heavens sake don’t give us a heartattack!” Claire said sternly, staring him down. Bray saluted “Aya,aye ma’am-…sorry ma’am!” He walked over to them as Brady already had jumped of the swing and ran over to hug him. “Hey princess!” he said happily and took her high into his arms “Do we play now?” “Well…the big ones and me have to speak a bit…but I have taken off the whole afternoon. So how about that…you let me talk with the big ones and then we make some pizza for lunch and spent the rest of the day together?” “Pizza?” Brady looked troubled , Bray raised his eyebrows “Dear me…you don’t know that sweetheart? No worries…You’ll love it…” His eyes felt on the little boy who stared high at him. Letting Brady down, he kneeled to him “You’re invited too little mister!” as the boy reached out his little arms, Bray automatically took him high into his arms, laughing as the boy grabbed for his hair “Aww…Brady did that always too…ouch…” “He is my cousin!” the little girl stated, as if it was natural that little Bray did the same as her. “Of course you…what? Cousins?” he said irritated.Lottie acted fast and walked in between while Claire said “Oh look Brady…a butterfly…” making the girl ran after that “Brady doesn’t really understand what cousin means…Amber and Trudy are so close and well…and Brady calls her aunt…” “Oh I see…oh well…it’s kind of…well…” he took in the younger girl “Oh I didn’t introduce myself to you young lady…I am Bray, nice to meet you. You’re acting as my nieces babysitter a lot?” Lottie took the offered hand and shook it, nodding transfixed “Yeah…I do…I mean I am Lottie…nice to babysit…i like to meet you…er…” “Lottie…that’s a pretty name! So you two…is it really okay to ask you to look after the little ones a while longer? Do you need anything Claire?” He tactfully ignored her confused stuttering “It’s okay Bray and no we got everything…” Nodding he let little Bray down again, who directly went chasing after Brady and the butterfly too. Bray smiled watching them and then turned round waving “See you later then…” As Lottie kept on standing there frozen, her hand still outstretched, Claire started giggling. Lottie came to herself “Oh…gosh does he look wonderful…those eyes! Is he always that polite?” “Bray is nearly a gentlemen…and indeed he does look pretty good…we have a few good looking guys with us. But good looks isn’t everything…at last my sister says so!” “Well…so you…don’t look at them?” Lottie asked sheepishly “Are you crazy? When the guys do their training I always watch…hell…Bray without shirt…best when he is sparring his best friend Rhys…yummy!” “CLAIRE! They are old!” "Old? Lottie…old? " the other girl giggled “They would never be interested in us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the show…or?” Giving it a thought Lottie grinned “Yeah…true…and we have to check out…to know what we want one day in our guys…” “Exactly…” giggling they sat down onto the grass, grabbing for some water…

“Where the hell are they?” Trudy asked angrily, following Amber down the stairs again “As they aren’t in the common room and not in the kids room I bet they are outside…the weather is nice enough!” “We should have told Lottie to stay inside…if anything happens…we don’t know that Claire…” “Trudy you just told me that this organisation people are good ones…and now you’re freaking out just because you can’t find your daughter at once? Lottie is not stupid…come lets check the playground…I bet you anything that Brady asked to go for the swing!” Amber walked over to the side entrance which was a short cut into the grounds and directly walked into a guy. “Hey…careful…” Bray hurried to catch her in his arms as she nearly fell over from the sudden stop “Bray…you’re here already?!” she asked unnecessarly and bite her tongue directly. How stupid was that? “Well seems like it?!” he said also unnecessarly. He let her go as she stood straight again but kept her hands in his “Nice to see you…” he mumbled and stared into that eyes he felt like knowing better then anyone elses. “I…we…we were just looking for Brady and Bray…” “They are outside…I’ve just seen them in the playground with Lottie and Claire. Everythings fine there, don’t worry. Claire has a commuication pad on her, like everyone of my troop. She will be able to alert everyone if something happens…” Trudy coughed silently and walked over giving Bray a swift hug, who let go of Ambers hands reculant. “Okay then…we’re not going to look after them, it might just set them onto the issue that their mothers aren’t with them…we better go up to the others…” Trudy turned back to the stairs “You’re coming?” she asked seeing that both had stayed on the spot “Yeah we are…” Amber said finally breaking the eye contact and walking over, but a hand grabbed for hers making her stop “What?” she turned back to him “Why did you name him Bray?” Looking at Trudy she sent a silent call for help “Hasn’t…hasn’t Cloe told you why…?” she tried to find out if they had already given Bray a reason why Ambers son was called after him. Bray shook his head. “It was Prides idea!” Trudy said thinking fast “We were all shocked by Ebonys ban on you and decided to go and get you back into the city…we could not let you leave…but then Amber went into labour and things got tough…and after their son was born, we went to the Ecos. The Technos were also just invading.It was so chaotic! We didn’t know what was happening and well…of course we were sad. We didn’t know what happenend to you, you were no where around and we thought you would maybe try the Ecos searching shelter. But obviously you had been kidnapped. After a few days Pride said they should name their son a good, strong name and he said it should be Bray…because you’re one of the bravest he knew. And a good friend. And that the Mall Rats would need a Bray in the future!” She finished a little breathless, having spoken very fast as if that would make the lie easier. Bray looked at her with searching eyes, but finally he nodded “I am honoured! Really…but…I think it might be very confusing to have two Brays running around…does the boy have a second name?” Amber shook her head “Well…then you better refer to me as Zeus whenever you talk about me…” “Yeah…yeah we’ll do that…” Amber mumbled, following him as he started to go upstairs “Gosh it looks like it always has…” Bray said thoughtfully “I feared the Techno time might have take a change on the mall…” he let his hand glide along the smooth banister and took a breath “It even smells like it always did…”

Trudy giggled “Oh Bray you’re so funny…” trying to alert the others for his arrival. He looked after her, as she walked along him and then turned with a raised eyebrow back to Amber. She couldn’t help, she had to giggle. Too much was it like in the old days, when Bray had been working hard to understand Trudys sudden mood swings. He grinned a little sheepish “Am I that amusing to you?” “Oh well weren’t you always…” she said loftily, giving him a wink as she also walked along him. Grinning even more he followed.

There was a big hello as he entered the cafe which he gave back heartily. He moved over hugging each of the old Mall Rats, changing some words with each of them. He introduced himself to Sammy, Slade and Ruby who he hadn’t talked to the day before and even had a smile for Jay and a handshake for Ram. As Amber sat down beside Jay she said. She looked careful at him, but he just leant over and kissed her softly “I tell to you later about our talk…” Nodding she turned her head back into the middle of the cafe where Bray stood.

( authors note : I am a CF patient myself so I know what I am writing about. In my first draft Claire - who actually didn’t exist in my first edition of that story many years back- was suffering “just” asthma. But I decided to go the full way and take in my own disease!)

( Hello its sunday again and that means a new part !!! You can take every part I post as one Episode of my series 6 :wink: I again had to cut the chapter in two parts. I sometimes work with music , it inspires me for certain scenes. Always when this will be the case, I will post the music that inspired me, so that you can check it ! So now enjoy chapter4, part 1 )

4. One moment of time ( inspired by ONE MOMENT OF TIME by W.Houston )

All eyes on him, he suddenly felt a little insecure. How long had it been that he had talked to them? Really talked? Not like yesterday, but giving them instructions? Orders? Maybe not orders as they would not suffer by not following…just…it would make things way more complicated. Damn it, he was the general of a highly trainend troop. He was more then just the guy that once was banned for speaking out the truth! He took a breath, closed his eyes and imagined himself to be unbreakable. He imagined that nothing could ever stop him, he either would stop that something or someone for trying to stop him. As he felt ready he openend his eyes, giving each of them a short but strong glance into the eyes, he showed that he was the one doing the talking now. That he and only he would tell them about the organistations plans and that only his word was important now. This was it, his one moment of time. “Well I take it that the others already told you, how we were saved by NEW WORLD and what we achieved till then. Whatever I know it is quiet alot to take in, so whatever question might be on your minds…I ask you to speak.” “What did the Technos do to you?” Lex just blurted out “No one of them could really tell us…they only told the state they found you in!” With furrowed eyebrows Bray looked at the black haired guy “I am not talking about that…not here in front of everyone…” he said in a very cold voice “I decide who of you deserves to hear and who not…I won’t speak about it to everyone of you. And it doesn’t matter anyhow…I am over with that dark time of my life. I have survived it. I am through with pain and suffering. It’s now or never. I want to achieve something this time. I live each day, trying my best and a little more. I won’t fail again. Ever!” “But…” Lex demanded and it was Alice who gave him a hard clap onto the back of his head “Bray is not an animal in the zoo you goggle at! It’s nice that you’re obviously caring for what everyone of us went through…but it’s also personal to speak about it!” “Thanks Alice!” Bray said and gave her a smile that lighted up his before dark face. “So…erm…” Jack spoke before anyone else could “What happens now Bray? I mean…not that we aren’t thankful but from where does your organisation get information that a virus spreads somewhere? And what is the plan after the hold off of the virus? Are you here to stay? Are you here to lead the city?” “Jack!” Bray looked really shocked. “When did I ever…” he stopped " forget that. Of course I went to lead the city back in our days…but it was always in times of trouble. I wanted to achieve peace and democracy. I now can give that. We always help with fighting the virus, then we help to built hospitals, let people get the medical education they need. Help building schools and a market. Built up a station point where two or three of our troop stay behind and help keeping contact to the organisation. Getting the world back together isn’t done in a few days! The organisation keeps a spot on every area with military significance. Eagle mountain keeps a lot of technology that can be useful and dangerous at the same time. Now that it all went downhill here and a virus nearly killed people again, we were sent here. I just had a meeting over the NEW WORLD net this morning - that is kind of an intranet- where I was told that it is necessary to check up Eagle Mountain more closely. It is to say that it holds maybe some very dangerous weapons. We don’t want anyone to get those. Even if we are kind of trying to reestablish old technologies, it doesn’t mean we want back the times of war of the days before the virus. We never use technology for weapons and stuff. I am the leader of my troop and nothing else. I won’t decide anything for the city. All habitants are asked to take place in a town council. Each tribe can choose one of their number to replace them in the council - not necessary the leader, but the one the tribe trusts to replace them best. The council votes on a speaker. Thats the one who keeps close contact with the organisation. We bring together the speakers of towns and villages in a messenger chat, where they can ask for certain resources in exchange for others…we provide the ships and planes…we help buliding up an infrastructure. Of course when there are very big decisions -like lets say…this town here would decide to go into fishing. You could do a deal with a town that is into producing fabric, exchanging a certain amount of fish against a certain amount of fabric and so on- you can hold a democratic vote. If anyone would get into trouble by being attacked by some people outside the organisation we would help. We would do the fighting. We will also help whenever there are arguments among the towns. " “Sorry…but that sounds a little like you’re organisation is the follower of the USA…world police!” Slade spoke up, his arms crossed tightly "I am not going to follow a group of army styled people, just because they say are doing us a lot of good. " “We don’t ask you to follow us! If you don’t want to have anything to do with us…well…we just leave. But I am afraid before that, we really will have a look into Eagle Mountain. Otherwise…we don’t need to built a school and whatever and take you into the NEW WORLD network. Just stay outside of it, if that’s what you want!” There was movement as the members of the Elite stood up to place themselves behind Bray. “We stand together as one. We believe in the organisations dream. We believe we can bring back on the interacting between different nations, we believe no one has to die because medicine is missing. We believe we can bring back the knowledge that we once had, but was lost due to the perishing of the adults. We would never force it on anyone. But I always believed it was the Mall Rats dream? Interact in democracy? Never have to fear attacks of violent tribes again? Having back regular food, no need to search through broken down pharmacies to maybe be lucky and get some paracetamol that is alreay expired. Since I was rescued I wake up everyday, determinded to make it the best day. Give the best I have inside of me. I know I am only one man, but I am not alone! I have a whole army made of people with the same dream! Together we can do it. I was broken so often. I have suffered so much pain. I handled more then a man in my age should have to. And again I am not alone with that. We all are the same in that way! I always thought I am not strong enough, I am not good enough to lead the tribe, to bring the new order we wished. To unite people in piece. But I have found that I stood in my own way. I understood, that after every fall I suffered, I rose again, fighting on. I understood that my finest day is still to come. Do you understand? Live is so precious and hopefully our lives will be long and so there are very much days to come which each can become the best day of our live. The day were we ourselves are the best. Who is perfect in everything? No one! But we try to be perfect and thats all it is about. Giving the best you can each day. The answers aren’t out there somewhere far away…no…” Laying a hand over the place where his heart beat, he finished “…the answers are here. We are the answer. Each one of us! Our dreams are only a heartbeat away, come with us Mall Rats…join us!”

Dead silence followed his speech and Bray thought for just a second he had lost them, but then Alice raised and clapped her hands “True spoken Bray! We also never give up…we also always rise like the phoenix from the ashes! Changes in the world can only be achieved if each of us does something to it!” “Fuck! I’ve got goose bumps all over my body!” Ram whispered over to Jay who stared at Bray as if he couldn’t quiet believe how fast that man had the Mall Rats on his side, as it usually took long discussions to get decisions for the simplest things. “That man can make speeches!” “Yeah… maybe you should ask him out? But I don’t think you’re his type…” the ex techno general said crossly, taking in the others all clapping now and Amber even hugging Bray. It was a small hug, but still a hug. “I take it that you’re in?” The ex Mall Rat leader asked “OF COURSE WE ARE!” KC shouted “We are, or?” he then asked the others sheepishly “Remebered you’re not the Mall Rats leader?” Lex said acting the boss, but winking at Bray. Bray laughed softly “It’s okay if you want to speak about it…if you need to vote for it…” “No we don’t need to…or do we?” Amber asked Lex, her eyes questioning more then just his opninion to join in NEW WORLD. Jay felt again a little stitch in his heart. Why didn’t she ask his opinion? Did she think he wouldn’t be objective? Or maybe she thought he had no right in that decision? Lex nodded at her, looking at Salene, Jack, Ellie, KC, Alice, Ruby, Slade and even Ebony. He also ignored Jay and Ram. The ones he looked at nodded too and so either way it would be the majority. Amber smiled at Bray “Count us in then!” “Great…it will help to convince other tribes when the Mall Rats agree with us. Thanks!” “And what happens now?” “Well…tomorrow I will have a long day, walking from tribe to tribe speaking to the members of each.” "Wouldn’t it be more efficient to invite the leaders into the hotel? " “No that might give the impression that I am planning to lead them…inviting them into my terrotory…leaving out the majority of the cities habitants by only speaking to the leaders. It would produce mistrust if the leaders come back telling their tribes of us, without having heard what we have got say by themselves. Or the leader might tell his/her tribe whatever he/she likes and turn the tribe against us if that’s what the leader wants.” Looking impressed Amber laid a hand on his shoulder “That sounds like you thought that through a lot!” "Hmmm…I’ve learned a lot from the past…this way worked in other towns. " “How many did you do so far?” “Five…the last one was a bit tricky. There was a city leader. She…well…she…” It seemed like he didn’t want to say it out loud, so Ved explained “She took a liking on our general…” “Oh…erm…” “Tell them everything Ved, they deserve it!” Bray said, walking over to the kitchen pantry and grabbing a bottle of water which he downed in deep gulps. “Well, you know the city leader…this will come as a shock I fear. Her name is Danni” “WHAT?” there was indeed shock among their faces and Cloe walked over to Bray, patting his arm “You better tell yourself Bray!” Sighing he sat down on the surface of the kitchen board “Well…imagine my shock! Finding Danni, leading a city…what of course isn’t the main point. She always had a hand for it…but…I mean I thought she was killed by the Chosen!” “Tell me about it…dead friends coming back healthy and all? No way!” Lex joked with a certain amount of sarcasm “I bet Danni was delighted to see you?” Ebony dared to speak up and to everyones surprise Bray answered her “Indeed…I mean…I am happy she did survive. She was saved by some people of the Chosen, who were forced to burry dead bodies by orders of the guardian. A girl realised that Danni had survived and took her with her. After a while they formed a little group, who finally left the Chosen who had remained behind the group that was controlling our city. She seemed to think, we just might pick up where we were before…” he shook his head. “And that is when she obviously had went on pretty fast after Bray…” Cloe couldn’t hold herself back “Cloe…” Bray said warnignly, but she just went on “She has twin boys! And she dared to tell Bray it are his!” “WHAAAAT?” Amber was propelled out of her seat, there was shock and fury in her eyes, what made Bray look at her in wonder. “It aren’t my kids…the boys are way too young to be mine. And well, the organisation has access to the technical sciencific examinations of the old days…” “You let them do a parternity test?” Jack asked being all scientist. Nodding Bray crossed his arms over his chest “She was all in tears…finally telling me that the kids father was killed by the Technos. Really killed. She had witnessed it. I asked her why she wanted me to believe I am the father…and well…sorry…erm…” Tai-San finished “That is really private and intimate…you aren’t to tell anyone if you don’t want!” “Yeah…it is…just…” A pling sounded up and he hurried to take a little smartphone like device from his jacket “Sorry…got to answer that…” he left the cafe. “Zeus talking…what’s up?”

They couldn’t understand what he was saying, but there was enough to speak about as long he was busy. “Damn that is hard stuff …” Slade said “Poor guy…I mean…telling him the kids are his… he would have taken responsibility if he hadn’t have the possibility of that test or?” “Of course!” Ryan agreed “We’re talking about the man who even took responsibility for his niece. He let us all believe that he is her father to keep her and Trudy save.” “Danni suffered herself…” their asian friend explained “I had a long talk with her. She really loved the kids father and seeing the man you love being killed out of the blue…only because he dared to speak against the Technos… and then meeting Bray again. The man you once loved…she just saw a chance to give her children a father. I told her about you Amber…told her that he really is a father , but that he doesn’t remember that.” “What did she say to that?” “She told me to tell you - if I ever meet you again- not to give up on him… that he is worth the fight!” “She…she did?” “She always knew that a part of his heart would be forever with you. She understood that you two made it up. I mean she also found someone to be with, as she thought that she never would make it back into our city. She didn’t have acess to sources telling her how the fight with the Chosen ended. Or how the Technos acted here.” Jay got up “Hello? I am still here! I understand that you are all obviousily thrilled to have you dream couple back, but I am Ambers partner! I am the one that her son knows closest to a father figure…and you all acting like the two just have to kiss and live happily ever after…” “Jay no one said that…” Ved said alarmed “Maybe you didn’t Ved, but I see it in their faces…” he stared accusingly at the old Mall Rats “They think it would be so wonderful if Bray and Amber would be together, happy family reunion …father,mother,child. But I won’t stand back…I won’t give up on Amber!” “Jay…” Amber reached for him, but he attacked her as well “And you…hugging him…acting like he is a knight in shining armour bringing what you all waited for…him and that organisation…you don’t know anything of it…what if he…” “What? Do you think they are evil? Do you believe your brother follows another crazy man?” “No…I…” “You have no right to act like that…it was your tribe that stole him from me…and you may not be true to yourself, but did you ever think about to maybe get him back here in the beginning? Way before we were a couple? No you just didn’t even think about getting the father of my little boy back here!” angry tears spilled down her cheeks and she left the cafe crying. Jay followed “Amber…wait…” . His eyes following the leaving couple Ved slumped down in his chair “Dear me…” “Welcome to the new season of your favourite drama series MALL RATS, enjoy the millionth reapeat of “WILL OR WILL NOT BRAY AND AMBER FIND EACH OTHER?” !” Ebony said with a smirk, before she bite into an apple “Keep your mouth shut! Or you might find it stocked with dirt!” Lex hissed at her “That’s a promise sweetheart?” Before he could argue, Tai-San laid a hand on his arms “Lex…please…” with a sigh he stopped himself saying what he liked to fill Ebonys mouth with…

Bray had just finished his call and was sending a message to Claire, as he noticed Amber running along “Amber what…?” he caught her in his arms “Hey…why are you crying…what…did anything…?” “No…no just…just…let me go!” despite her words, she leaned herself onto his chest and cried even harder. Closing his arms around her, he whispered “Let go? Thats difficult when you kind of snuggle up to me…” “Hmmm…then just hold me a while?” “Hmm okay…” Seeing both of them in that way let Jay lose it completely, he ran over and pulled Amber out of Brays arms “What for a man are you? Charming another ones girl in front of him?” “Excuse me? Amber and me are friends…we know each other since years,…we founded this tribe…how dare you acting that way on me? I was comforting her as she obvioulsy is upset…what did he do to you Amber?” he said, looking at the blonde who had freed herself from her boyfriends grip. “I…” noticing that Brays eyes had changed their colour, becoming dark and cold, she held her tongue "Its…a lovers quirrel…it…was …it is very much to take in Bray…maybe…well…Jay and me better talk in private? " Her eyes searched Jays who melted all along, seeing her so pleading and sad. Nodding he agreed “I think that would be better!” Bray obviously didn`t agree with that, but he gave in and walked back into the cafe. Amber looked at Jay “Come with me…” she said and walked up to their room, him following feeling that he might face the worst fight he ever faced.

Bray entered the cafe finding all very quiet. All eyes went to him. “Erm…Amber and Jay…seem to have some…problems to solve. Erm…would it be okay if I , well…I promised Brady to spent the day with her. But maybe it is too tensed here…would it be okay if I take her with me to the hotel?” he asked Trudy, who looked surprised “I promised her we make pizza…” “Pizza?” “Hmmm…of course…I would be happy if you join us?” A little flustered Trudy looked at Salene “Would that be okay?” “Of course…Bray and you have a lot to talk about…Brady has missed her uncle…there is nothing to do here anyway…” "And little Bray? " “Oh I can look after him…” “Maybe Lottie and Claire will like to join us too…and you Sammy? We could take the little one as well…or do you think Amber won’t allow it? We could take the boy with us giving you time to catch up with the others” he looked at Trudy “Or do you think Amber might not agree with that?” Giving Tai-San a look, who nodded behind Brays back, Trudy answered “It will be okay for her…I am with you. I know Bray by heart!” That made Bray laugh “Do you?Hmmm…” Noticing how weird that sounded being said to a man named the same as the boy she meant, she laughed too “Of course…don’t make fun of me!” The girls entered together with the kids “Mommyyyyy…we are huuuungryyyy” Taking up the little girl in his arms Bray told her “Your mother kindly agreed to join is in making Pizza…we are about to leave for the hotel…” “We’re not baking here? And what will the others eat?” “Oh you’re worried for the others? They are big enough to make something for themselves” “Someone must take of everyone!” she said importantly what made Bray laugh softly again. Trudy laughed too, struggling her daughters hair “Salene is still here…she can make some food… the big ones will talk so much…that will be boring for you!” “Okayyyyyy…” Brady gave in “Then I and Bray have to get our favorite toys!” Her uncle let her down and taking the little boys hand, she pulled him to their playroom. Watching the little boy stumble behind his niece touched Bray somehow “He can walk really well already…” “Hmmm…he is qiuet fast in learning…” Trudy said carefully, walking fast to Salene to whisper “Is it really okay to leave?” “Go with them Trudy, you can take care that no one says something that confuses Bray. You know him the longest time and you both carry memories of the time before the virus. Maybe it helps him to open up to the things that he lost. And maybe he will…well…get a connection to his son. That might help as well.” “Okay…”

“You’re going to stay here a while?” Bray asked Tai-San who nodded “And you, Cloe? Ved? Ryan? Tara?” “Of course Ryan stays…he has to tell me much more…and I have got to check out, if he has chosen the right girl!” Tara, taking in Lex scanning look of her, shared a look with Tai-San “Dear me he is excactly how you told me…” “Hmmm…I see my hope, that he might have matured, was wrong…” the asian beauty sighed dramatically , what made everyone expept Lex laugh. “I am going to have to talk to Jay a bit more…” Ved said apologetic. Bray just nodded at that “Of course…I’d give anything for the possibility to talk to Martin once more…maybe you can again tell him that I am not intending to steal his girl.” “Did he say that? Erm…” “No worries…I know that it is just a lot to take in for everyone. That’s why I think it is really better to leave things a bit off for a while now. Just talking, laughing together. Putting minds of plans for the future.” “It’s okay when I stay as well Bray? I really want to spent some time here…” “Of course Cloe…it was your home for so long…” “IT IS HER HOME!” Salene corrected him “And I don’t see why she should not move back here!” “Salene…we are a new tribe…” “You call yourself a troop all the time…thats not the same as a tribe!” Cloe stepped in “Salene…really…as long as we live close…just lets all take time to really catch up with one another. Step by step!” “God…you’re really arisen!” the older Mall Rat girl said, hugging her “Sorry Bray, didn’t want to attack you!” "No need to be sorry Sal. I can handle " he winked at her “Bray will you help me carry my toys?” Bradys voice sounded up and turning round he started into her direction “Comming princess…ah wait…nearly forgotten…” he turned back around “I am planning to have a celebration. Just for us. There will be a big one after we have sorted things out here, but I think it might be nice if we have a private celebration. So I am expecting you at 1800 sharp tomorrow…” “Come again?” Lex asked again being dumbfolded by the use of time “Oh sorry…6 p.m. …” “Will your troop cook for us?” “You really think I living a kings live? We have a team that cares for our food and nutrition, but we sometimes cook for ourselves…so tomorrow I am going to be your chef and you all will sit on the chefs table!” “Erm…I don’t remember you being a great cook…” KC said doubtful, Ved raised his eyebrows “You’re making jokes or? I am always looking forward when Bray cooks up something!” “I learned cooking from my father…he always said a decent guy should be able to knock off at last a good pasta dish to impress a lady!” “Oh…so that is why you never cooked here? Not to impress the ladies even more?” “KC!” Salene reached to pinch him, what made him yelp. But Bray wasn’t angry, he just laughed “Oh well…there wasn’t much to do about cooking with all the tin food we lived of or? And either way…maybe you didn’t notice, but I was to be outside most of the time getting indrigents for meals in the beginning and than I had to struggle with the new outbreak of the virus and such?!” Blushing KC apologized “Sorry, that is true…” “No problem…so I am seeing you tomorrow!” he walked off finally going to Brady. “What? You want me to take all of that?” they heard him shout wondering, what made his niece giggle.

As Bray and Trudy had left with Claire, Lottie, Sammy, Brady and little Bray, it was silent in the malls cafe for a while. Each of them throwing looks at each other, sometimes looking fast away from one another, other times sharing a small smile. “Well…” everyone looked up at KC “…anyone seen a good movie the last weeks?” there were surprised looks, little grins and soon they all were laughing the hardest. The laughter made Amber and Jay look curious at everyone as they entered. Hand in hand they stood there, watching the laughing crowd. “Seems like we missed a pretty good joke!” Jay whispered “Damn it…I could do with one!” “Knock,knock!” giving him a raised eyebrow but not wanting to be harsh on him, she asked “Who is there?” “Jimmy?” “Jimmy who?” “Jimmy a little kiss, will you huh?” It actually was pretty cute to do such a silly joke, just to take her mind a bit off things. So she giggled and getting on her toes gave his nose a little kiss. That made everyone look at them “Cleared things?” Ebony said rolling her eyes “Hmmm…well…we have come to the decision to just take step after step. We are a couple. That doesn’t change just because Bray is back. Just like it doesn’t mean that Tai-San and Lex start where they left off before the Technos. Of course I will support that Bray gets back his memories. Memories are very important, they teach us, they stay with us and help us to make decisions. They can be a comfort, they can make us strong. And of course my son has a right to know his father. We just have to act like the adults we are supposed to be…take it with time and see what will come to us! And that is all you as our tribe and friends have to know. Everything else is private!” Salene moved over and hugged her friend “Of course it is! We will see what time might bring…” then she also hugged Jay “Bray told Ved to tell you that he doesn’t intent to steal your girl. And thats what you have to keep in mind. He isn’t wielding his sword in revenge. Maybe he will remember, that doesn’t mean he will be all in love with Amber again. It might be…well…both changed. Both have walked different paths and maybe they are too far away from each other anyway.” “What do you mean with that?” Amber asked “Well, Bray…I don’t know how to place it…but even if he gets back his memories…will he be like he was before? I don’t think. He has changed Amber. There is…kind of a wall around him.” Nodding Tai-San agreed “Thats exactly Salene. You’ve seen him with Brady. Together with her he is like he should be. A caring and loving uncle. When you see him with Rhys…those two are indivisible. Towards us he is a good friend, but with him thats like brotherhood. Thats the only moments you can maybe catch him off guard. He is always careful, controlling his emotions…” “He seemed pretty angry at me before as…” Embarrased Jay stopped, Ebony smirked “I wouldn’t put that to much towards emotion. Bray has always been a gentlemen and rushing to help any damsel in distress.” Deciding to ignore the pick of her old rival, Amber turned to Salene “Where is Bray?” “Huh? In the hotel…” “Not him…my son! That is really stupid…both being named that way…” “That will be rightous confusing…” “Bray - the big one - told me to refer to him as Zeus. We can use that. It will be different when we are all together in the same place, but we will figure out.” “Didn’t he ask why your son is called after him?” Ellie asked knitting her brows together “Oh yes he did. Trudy did some really fast thinking, telling him it had been Prides idea to honour Brays memory.” “Oho…a little brownnosing?” “Can’t you ever shut up?” Ruby hissed at Ebony. Before the girls could start to hack at each other, Jay took the word “So where is he? Little Bray?” “Oh…erm…” blushing the red haired girl turned back into the kitchen “…well…Br- erm Zeus asked, if he and Trudy maybe should take him with them. He felt the tension and he had promised Brady to make pizza for her and so…well…Lottie and Sammy went with them too…I thought…erm…” “It might help him to spent time with Trudy. She knows him since school. They have a history together before they came to the mall. And Lottie and Sammy are just new to him, so he can relax around them and doesn’t feel the need to speak of so earnest things…” Tai- San explained. Taking a breath the leader of the Mall Rats nodded. “Okay.” “We’re invited to a diner party into the hotel tomorrow. Bray is going to cook.” Lex told her “Bray? Cooking?” “Obviously he can do it…” “He really can!” Cloe said with a sigh "I absolutely would die for his penne all’arrabbiata … " “Yeah and his panna cotta and his spaghetti bolognese…” her boy friend laughed, standing up to get out of her hands reach, as she made a move on him. Getting serious again he said “But really…its delicious!” “We were surprised as well…” Ryan explained “But I guess Bray is right… when did he ever have a big oppurtunity to cook of his own leisure?” “Well…do you remember the diner we once did after the whole Danni business?” Ellie said thoughtful “Didn’t he cook then Salene?” “Hmmm…gosh…thats ages ago…but hmmm…yeah.” “Hello? Can you switch your brains on please? Just ask me…” swinging her braids onto one side, Ebony threw her superior look at them. It was obvious that no one wanted to give Ebony the satisfaction that she knew more of Bray then they did, so no one said something to her bait. Rolling her eyes she grabbed for an orange and started to peel it “Well, lets say it that way : If you would have gotten Bray for a husband in the old times, you’d never need to worry about cooking. He can really do it!”

“I almost forgot that you like cooking…” Trudy laughed as Bray was entertaining the kids by throwing the pizza dough into the air “I almost forgot myself…” he said as he laid the now round formed pizza on a working plate. Brady waited for Lottie to put on the tomato sauce Claire had thrown together in a swift. Then the little girl started to lay vegetables onto it “That is for mommy…she is vegetaaariaaaan… she can’t eat any chicken or pork …” “I don’t want to Brady, but I could!” Trudy said sternly. “Yeah,yeah…” the girl said, not fully listening because she was concentrating to make beautiful patterns out of red and yellow bell peppers. Bray smiled at his niece and mumbled “After we were rescued by NEW WORLD…Trudy I was a mess. Not only my body, but my soul. I felt useless, I was afraid of strangers, I felt weak. I had psychological therapy. We have people who studied since before the virus in special medical camps. They told me to go back to what I love doing. Rewake good memories of my life. So I started to cook again, remembering the good times with my dad. My mothers face when she enjoyed whatever we came up with. Martin acting like he hated it, but secretely eating triples when he thought I didn’t see.” Trudy smiled softly and moved closer to him, to lay an arm around his back. Squeezing him she said “I am happy that worked for you!” “Me too!” he replied before kissing her softly on her hair. There was such a hidden gentleness in it, that she felt tears in her eyes. “Whats with him anyway? Is he shy?” he asked nodding his chin at the red haired boy sitting a bit lost on one of the tables. He had been very silent since they entered the hotel. “Don’t you want to lay your own pizza Sammy?” Trudy asked , mumbling in an undertone to Bray “He indeed is a bit shy. He usually hates also to be sent away with the kids. I sometimes think we are acting a bit weird. We never sent Dal or Jack away, when something was to speak about. And now we often do it with Lottie or Sammy, even when they are as old as they have been back in our beginnings.” “Hmmm…I think that is because we are adults now. Beeing under eighteen years, thirteen and fourteen years don’t sound so young. But when you’re over eighteen it sounds like much too young suddenly. I am twenty one now and I always have trouble with sixteen year old boys serving in my troop. I always think that they are kids and then I remember what I had been doing with sixteen. Fighting. Leading rebellions. So if I handled this, why shouldn’t todays sixteen year olds handle too?” He walked over to the working board again “There is still some dough…that has your name written on Sammy!” Jumping up the boy looked a little frightened “Me?” “Do you see another Sammy? By the way is that your nickname or are you actually called that way?” Walking over beside Bray, Sammy shook his head “My name is Samuel, but I don’t like that…people made Sammy out of it…but…” he blushed “It does you make feel like a little boy, or? Tell you what I am going to call you Sam. That sounds way more arisen and cool.” Looking delighted at the older one, Sammy nodded “Cool, I like that. So…erm…sorry but I don’t know how to do this.” he pointed at the dough ball in the cup. “I am going to show you.” As Sammy kneated the dough and then formed it again into a ball, Bray whispered “Look at Claire and Lottie…those beautiful girls will appreciate it a lot if a guy can make a good pizza…” Swalloing but looking determinate the boy nodded and threw the dough. “Wow…” he laughed as he succeded to spin and form it “Well done!” Bray told him as the girls applauded. Trudy watched as Bray helped to transport the first pizzas into the ofen, while Sammy laid his pizza together with the girls. That was Bray as she knew him. From before the virus. Charmful. Beloved. Feeling good with people, acting nice with everyone. So, would it really be that bad if he would’t remember? But then she saw him holding his son in his arms and whispering something in the boys ears, who giggled highly amused. Oh yeah, she told herself, it would be sad.

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First, so glad to see you around hug

Secondly, I just read the first chapter and you had me spellbound. Can’t wait to catch up :purple_heart:

Awww…hugs back

Thanks. I just hope it’s not too sci-fi for some people😅

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Little teaser : Lex and Amber are talking about intimate stuff👀

Bray and Rhys have a besties talk :eyes:

The Mall Rats are going to have a memorable diner with the ELITE :eyes:

:eyes::eyes::eyes::eyes::eyes::eyes::eyes::eyes::eyes::eyes:

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Hello…there will be a little delay this time. New part will be posted tomorrow. I kind of need a bit of fine Tuning the part :wink:

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So I am just finished the part and hell I am in tears myself :sob: Beware for some drama tomorrow!!!

The next day started early as usual for Bray. Drinking a strong coffee after a work out in the gym, he sat on his laptop, working out a strategically clever route for his visits of the other tribes. “Hmmm…the Roosters, the Mosquitos, the Doves…ah no better do the Doves before the Roosters…hmm…” he mumbled making notes on the little device that so much reminded on a smartphone, throwing looks on his monitor from time to time, checking facts and informations. A green sign lighted up, showing him that someone was calling him through the organisations intranet. Opening the chat, he took a sip of his coffee and chocked disgusted on it, noticing that it had gone stone cold while had been working. “Forgot the sugar?” an amused male voice asked , what made him look at the monitor. Taking in the dark skinned guy with neatly lined corn rows over his head , the ice blue eyes and a grin made of perfect gleaming white teeth, he smiled “RHYS! How are you? And you know full well I don’t use sugar in my coffee…ewww!” “Yeah you’re drinking coffee as black as your soul. I know!” “Haha… better that then the muck you call coffee with five spoons of sugar in a poor little espresso cup!” “Ah I am a sweet guy, what can I do?” Grinning Bray got himself a new cup from the jug. “So how are you?” he asked, sitting back in front of the monitor “And where are you?” “I am fine, I am actually not far from you. I really hope I get my wish and will be soon a permament member of your team!” “You know they made you do the short acts because of your daughter!” “Yeah I know. But I think I’ve got worked it out now. And I really don’t want her to grow up in the organisations headquarters. It would be way better for her to live in a city, with other children…and her dear godfather close by! Look at her…” Holding up his own little device up to the monitor, he showed Bray the photo of a little baby girl with fluffy black curls, dressed in a sweet set of baby blue and rose, a big smile on the little face. “Awwww…I miss her so much! Give her a kiss from me!” “I will. And? How are you my friend?” “I am okay. The operation went pretty smooth. We arrived here right in time to stop people to really get out of the area. Got everyone back into the city. Vaccination ran yesterday till into the night. Our medical maintance of course will have to do for a while, but till now there doesn’t seem anyone deadly ill.” “Do you think there wasn’t a virus after all?” “Why would we have been sent here then?” “True. But I asked how you are?” “And I told you!” “No you did not, you gave a report how the operation worked so far. That doesn’t interest me, that is something for the organisation council. I - as your best friend- am asking how you feel being back in your hometown, seeing your old tribe?” With a sigh Bray took another sip before answering “Brady did grow so much. She is the sweetest girl. Seeing the others, well…it was weird. I am really found of them. But it is only Trudy I really feel comfortable with.” “Your nieces mother? Well that is natural or? She is family, you’re bound through Brady. And…hmmm…seeing Amber?” Knitting his eyebrows Bray hemmed “Why do all of you care that much how I feel about her? She is my ex, and? Ebony is my ex aswell - nothing I am proud of-, I just met my other ex in the last town, who tried to foist her twins at me. None of you asked then a lot how I felt.” "Man…I don’t know that Ebony but after what you told me, there is not much to ask how you feel seeing her again. And that Danni business…you know I was shocked about that. I even told you might come to stand beside you. But you didn’t want that. But Amber, she is your first love. " “We have been together some mere months. Only weeks if you count out the time Ebony held me hostage. We only made up short before…” his voice broke suddenly as he remembered kissing Amber so passionately after she held him back from leaving and Lex had told them to not give up on and kiss each other. He had been so happy then. So blissfully happy. But then, only seconds later so it seemed remembering it, he had been more unhappy then he could ever thought possible. Like from far he heard Lex sombre voice :

**“She is dead. Amber is dead.” “You’re lying that can’t be true.” “It is true!” "How? She was right behind me after we heard that noise " “I don’t know. You’ve got hit by debris from the explosion, there was chaos, everyone wanted to get out…” “Oh yeah, the good old everyone for himself or Lex?” He couldn’t hold back to say dispiteful “Without the help of others you would be dead too. How dare you saying such crap? Believe me.I know how you feel” “How could you?” he gave the other one a hard stare, but then it dawned on him “Zandra?” Lex nodded “I don’t know if you knew, but she was pregnant” that had made him feel even worse. Of course losing Amber was heart breaking, but for Lex losing Zandra AND their unborn child? He hadn’t been able to accept, he had sat down and cried. “WE must keep it together Bray. We need you. The tribe does need you!” “What does the tribe interest me?” he had screamed and Lex had then left him to his grief f
**

“Bray? You’re alright?” Shacking his head he came back to the present “Of course I am. As I just said, we had made only up with a kiss before the explosion on Eagle Mountain. The lie of Ebony made her believe the both of us have a child and so she decided to leave for the country side. We found her as the Chosen conquered the city and Dal, Lex, Ebony and me had to flee.” “Didn’t they rescue you from a pire?” “Yes, with the help of Pride, who turned out to be Ambers new guy. I had a girl myself. So…story over.” “You’re sure? I mean, didn’t you ever feel like you want to have a restart with her then? I mean you loved her, you didn’t break up for real, there was just that stupid lie…” “Yeah a stupid lie and that did it. When she was able to believe that I have a child which I abandon, after all she had seen me doing for Trudy and Brady…after she had seen that I had taken responsibility for them…I came to the conclusion that we aren’t meant to be. I couldn’t be with a girl not trusting me.” “But you…feel good with her around?” “She is a friend, that is still true. We have worked fine before we became a couple. We share the same believes…why shouldn’t we work as friends?” Rhys watched him silently “Okay if you say so…” “I do…so how about you? I heard rumours about you and Aphrodite…” His eyes twinkled but Rhys just pulled a face “That woman is a pure nightmare!” “Hey she is called after the godess of love and beauty!” “Yeah she may be beautiful, but is stupid as a piece of…” shacking himself Rhys bite his lip “We won’t talk disrespectful about a member of our organisation or?” “We? NEVER!” crossing his heart he gave his friend a grin who returned it. “And how are those ex Technos? I mean…both were the highest in ranks…” “Well, Ram really seems to be a bit… special. But I am sure he is the genius we were told off. Just a bit…well… I remember this from Jack as well. They concentrate so much on something that they only see this. Ignoring consequences and if they maybe cross the line.” “Jack? Ahhh, the Mall Rat genius who achieved so much without electricity?” "Thats him. He has grown. Not only in actual height, but also in behaviour. As I told Tara to take Ellie back to the Olympus to get her sister, he was at her side. He didn’t even ask me if its okay. He just climbed the LIGHTNING ARROW and went with her. " “Good guy!” “Indeed! I am curious how they all changed, if they changed, if we might still be able to be friends…” “You think you might don’t like any of them?” “The Mall Rats are a special tribe. While all other tribes exist mostly of people who believe in the same things, share the same likes in music, colour, animals or whatever - the Mall Rats exist of very individual characters. Seeing maybe Lex and Ebony, I think before the virus Amber would haven’t even talked to them” he smiled a bit “She is still so fierce, but yet so sensitive. You should have seen her yesterday. She had a fight with that Jay… man I wouldn’t have liked to be in his shoes! That fire in her eyes, she could always make me feel like standing on a pire about to be burned!” “That does sound like she still means pretty much to you?!” He looked confused “Sorry, I don’t know where that came from. Guess I am becoming a bit sentimental in the current enviroment and situation. Well, I really need to get going, I am doing my tour through the tribes.” He stood up “But not alone? You’re taking guards with you?” “I am taking Ryan and Cloe, the people know them. We won’t need guards here…” “Bray I appreciate your optimism, really I do. But don’t be foolish. There are always people who think we mean them harm and will attack.” A sound from outside let Bray move to the door. A member of the security came in “General? There is a man outside, he says he wants to see you. His name is Lex.” “Ah, yes well, let him in and please inform Captain Artemis and Mayor Herakles!” “Yes sir!” the private left and Bray turned back to the monitor, where Rhys was watching “Seems like we just got our security guard!” “You’re taking him with you? An outsider?” “He is not outsider, he is a member of the Mall Rats. A famous fighter. He has been in all fights of this city, even if he is a show off and macholike…I would trust Lex with my life, if there would be a fight it is him I’d choose to stand in my back!” “Ouch…that hurt. And he is little me thinking you only love me! You’re cheating on me Bray?” Laughing Bray went to switch the laptop off “Shut up joker! We speak later…” “Take care my friend!” “You too!”


Later that day Lex was roaming through his clothes. He had just taken a shower and would have loved to just crawl into his bed and sleep. It had been a long day with Bray, Cloe and Ryan. But he was expected to diner. If it would only be Bray, he wouldn’t be ashamed to not attend. And he was sure, Bray wouldn’t be angry. But there was his ex wife. Was she his ex wife anyway? They didn’t end their marriage. Or was this promise they had given long ago even worth something? Sighing he threw aside a blue shirt. Blue was her favorite colour, but he would only wear a blue shirt if the world was about to explode. He had once had a blue leather jacket. But he didn’t know where that got too. And somehow he felt blue was now the color of the ELITE. Might it seem like he was ass kissing, if he wore blue? He looked thoughtful at the shirt “I’d take the grey / red checkered shirt with the tight black leather vest. Together with your black trouser it will look a bit suit like and elegant. But still in your usual Lex coolness.” He turned around to find Amber standing in his doorframe. But it was Amber as he hadn’t seen her before. She had let her hair completely down. Open it laid down her shoulders in soft waves. She wore a turqiouse marbled corset covered in silky silver lace, a silver pencil skirt with a cut out part that was embroidered in the turqouise colors of her corset. To that she wore short boots with a small heel. Her eyes were laid with silver glitter, her lips a dark red. In her hair he realised the feather accesoires she had wore as eagle. “WOW! Amber! GOD DAMN IT!!! YOU LOOK HOT!” The words had left his mouth,before he could think straight. This could get embarassing. But she didn’t look mad, not the slightest. Was he imagining it, or was she really blushing a bit? “Thanks. Trudy insisted on a new style. Gel was out of her mind to find us all new styles. Maybe you should ask her?” “When hell freezes over!” he snorted and took the tight shirt and the armless vest Amber had mentionend. Holding them onto his body, looking into the mirror he had to agree “That will look really good…you’ve got an eye!” “As a mom…I choose my boys clothes!” “Hey…are you comparing me to your little rugrat?” Smiling she walked over and sat down onto his bed “You’re nervous, or?” Walking behind his room-devider, to change into his clothes he replied “Nervous? Why should I?” “Come on Lex, you’re the one closest to my situation…but Tai-San still remembers your time together and Siva…” biting her lips, she looked out of the window “Is dead, yeah. I would hurt no one, if I would court Tai-San. While you…” He came back around and sat down beside her “What did really happen between you and Jay? You’re not really planning to pretend a happy couple while there…” “We decided to sleep in seperate rooms. To see how we feel about it. If we miss each other. If I miss him…” “More then Bray?” Nodding she sighed “Lex I don’t even know if I miss Bray. If I want him to…well… you know…” “Love you senseless, make you breathless and scream his name in passion and lust?” he asked with a wicked grin “LEX!!!” “Come on, don’t LEX me, I always asked myself how you both…” “You imagined us having sex?” “Na…erm…I just…well okay. I have lived with him and Danni and let’s say those two were…erm…busy…often.” She grinned “And just because you never caught us in the middle of something you think…?” she couldn’t help, she just giggled silly. Taking deep breaths she calmed herself “Dear me…hihi…Lex…really…hihi…what do you think how our son came into being?” Shrugging his shoulders he let her grib some strands of his hair and form it into braids that she arranged softly on the sides of his head “That looks good…I always thought you have a little native american side in you! And be sure : Bray and me were busy with each other as well. That night we made up…well, we couldn’t leave our hands of each other.” “Was it different with him?” as he had asked looking serious, she didn’t tell him off. Nodding a bit she blushed “With Bray…I think there are more then one human for each of us, with whom we can be happy and have a relation. But I believe there is only one human that completes you. That makes you crazy for them. That makes you want to stop time…” “I understand!” he stood up and looked at her. “You feel that way about Tai-San?” “I think I do” “So you’re going to court her?” there was such happiness in her eyes, that he smiled “Of course I do. When have I ever given up?” “That’s the spirit Lex! You look really handsome!” “And you look like pure sex, if Bray doesn’t remember and Tai-San ignores me, maybe we both…” “Ewwwwwww…” she pulled a scandalized face “In your dreams Lex, in your dreams!” “That will be hot dreams then!” he laughed pinching her bum “Lex…” hiting him none to hard, she followed him as he walked swiftly out of his room into the malls entrance hall.

The rest of the tribe was already gathered at the fountain. All dressed up in new styles. As Lex and Amber closed up to them, both laughing they all looked at them. “Oh…erm…hi…Lex and me just…erm…” Amber caught Jays look - who looked adorable in a grey jeans,a black long seelve and a grey lose vest. Together with his long boots over the trouser legs he was showing a Han Solo style- and walked over giving him a hug “You’re not worrying because of Lex or?” she whispered in his ear, getting a soft goose bump on his neck he shook his head, embracing her tightly “You never looked that sexy before. You can’t expect me to not envy a guy for being alone with you in that outfit!” “Well he has seen me in it…but never will see me without, if you get my hint!” Moving his lips a little along her neck and grinning against her skin, noticing that his butterfly kisses did their work on her, he whispered “So that is my silver lining then…” Trudy - who was dressed in a long violet skirt printed over with white and black roses, together with a black tight shirt that only had one arm which was made of black light transparent lace and glittered softly - looked around “Are you sure you want to come with us? I didn’t strike me that Bray is really craving your company?” she shoot at Ebony, who stood among them. Dressed in a flaming short red leather dress and kneelong high heeled black boots you might have said she looked like a cheap one. But she dress was fitting her exactly and was not too short, but short enough to get on a mans fantasy. It was emroidered with black flames in a line from the right upperbody to the left hem of the dresses skirt and was hold by soft straps round her neck that were bound to a big loop on the left side. The straps of it gently carressing her arm. She had done her hair in a one side way. Her braids laid down her right side, the left side held back by a black glittering comb. She looked superb, Amber had to admit and she knew the other girls were thinking the same. “Oh well he didn’t say that the invintation only was for certain ones, so I am coming with you. If he doesn’t want me there, he can send me away or? What I don’t think he will do, seeing me in this!” Head shacking Amber looked at her best friend giving her a toneless “Don’t start a fight!” Sighing Trudy moved to her daughter, who looked sweet in a pastel lilac dress with glittering butterflies in all shades of pink and a big butterfly on a hair clipper that held her hair in a soft tail, “Come Brady…we are going to have a look what Bray did for us!” “YAY!” reaching for her hand and taking Lotties in the other the girl lead the tribe outside.

It was a strange procession to the hotel. People stared at the Mall Rats tribe, dressed up finer then ever before. As the tribe was so individual there was no common line in their dresses, everyone wearing the colour they liked. They looked like a rainbow walking through the streets and still there was some unison in their style you couldn’t deny. All were sporting the pentagram on their hands and everyone was wearing a brooch in form of the planet earth. Silver and delicate but gleaming impressive, those were signs the organisation gave out to the people working together with them. Lex had brought them with him from his day with the ELITE and had told them that they were the first in town to get them. Amber - who had thrown over a long dark turquiose cardigan and was caring her son, who looked really cute in a blue cargo and a white shirt with little anchors in all shades of blue printed on - had a feeling as if they were watched more closely then ever before. A feeling that she didn’t appreciate grabbed for her. Were they making the right decision? Was it right to trust the organisation? Or was her tribe, were the Mall Rats bringing another time of foreign regime over their beloved home?

Her dark thoughts were forgotten, as they arrived on the hotel and took in the new appearance of it. It was amazing what Brays troop had achieved. The whole building facade was cleaned off, gleaming a soft white. The window frames of each floor had been paintend in another shade of blue and Amber guessed that each team was stationed on the floor thats windows matched their shirts colors. That was well thought through. If you maybe searched for someone of Tai-Sans team members, you just went on the second floor where the window frames were light blue. Light blue was the color of the medical trainend members of the Alphas. There was a gleaming new sign above the entracde which said :

            NEW WORLD, 
         SECTION ELITE,
          TROOP ALPHA,

Commander: GENERAL ZEUS

A silver earth was set on it, just looking like their brooches.
Tai-San had explained that the organisation had named itself NEW WORLD, ELITE was the name of the people that were active outside in the world. Doing rescue missions and helped reform and reestablish the worlds interaction. There were also the TITANS who formed kind of a committee of the whole organisation. They were the people were everything lead together. And then there were the ASCLEPIUS, who did all the research of viruses and epidemics and were able to produce medicine and vaccination stuff. The DAIDALOS were the ones who invented things and made education on technical needs. The MUSES were the ones who kept art and culture alive. They collected art that had survived the last years and new art that had been produced. They were the ones that held all knowledge of the worlds culture and gave out education if wished for. And the DEMETERS were the ones who held all knowledge of every agriculture structure. They could help people to grow their own vegetables, produce coffee, flour and such. There were some more, but those were the most important as Tai-San had told them. The ELITE were the top - right under the TITANS - because they were the ones educated in the most ranges. Each troop of the ELITE had members trainend in a special field, but all of them had a stock of common knowledge that was so wide-ranging that they could work high efficiently without always asking for help of one of the other specialized sections. The ELITE could work mostly alone and only needed other section like the ASCLEPIUS to deliver medicines. They were also the band between the elusives sections and the people outside in the world. They made the connection and brought every achievement to the habitants. With all those mythology names, Amber had a feeling as if the ELITE were acting like the demigods. Not gods high above everyone, but still so much more sophisiotcated and blessed then the other humans. “You okay?” Salene asked worried from beside her and with a shake of her head she came back into the moment “Yeah, just thinking…” “Its weird or? Seeing the hotel that prestine, no graffities…just like it is comepletely new” “Hmmm…I wonder how it looks in side!” “Me too!” Before anyone made a move on the entrance, the door openend automatically and two members of the security squad - wearing dark blue shirts like Ryan who was head of them - stepped out, taking postion beside the door. Standing there in a strict postion, arms on the back they said “Welcome to the ALHPA TROOP command…you’re late!” Sharing amused looks the Mall Rats seemed not to be very concerned about that. “General Zeus told you 1800 sharp and that means 6 p.m. on point and NOT five minutes after…” “Listen…are we talking about a diner or a business meeting? Either way…I ask you…five minutes? You can’t tell me Bray is mad about it…” Lex flared up, Jay moved over grabbing his arms “We are really sorry privates. Its just, you see we have kids among us. Surely you can figure that it isn’t so easy to command a troop like that?” That made them obviously thinking and Amber was thankful for the first time that her boyfriend had been a commander himself. Using the tiniest bit of military structure and language seemed to achieve more. But then Ryan came flying outside “PRIVATES! HOW DARE YOU ACT THAT WAY ON THE MALL RATS?!” Noticing the security cameras on the entrance Jack mumbled “Ryan might have seen them…ohoh…Jay better move in, or those two guards will always hate us!” Taking Jacks advice, Jay moved right up to Ryan “Mayor Herakles! Those fine men are only doing the jobs they are told to do. If you didn’t give them precisely different information, how should they know that our meeting is a more private one?” Wind taken out of him, Ryan stared at the ex Techno. The two privates who knew they had been about to be told off in a very hard way, where looking at Jay with new respect. Coughing a little Ryan tried to regrain composure “That is true…erm…I am sorry privates. Really I should have told you. From now on : all Mall Rats are welcomed here as friends. To any time.” “Yes sir, we aplogize sir!” Saluting they stood there and Ryan saluted back. Then he turned with a sheepish grin round at his old tribe “Follow me!” Finally entering the entrance hall their mouths clapped open. Everything looked prestine and spotless. There was laid out a soft navy blue carpet, the reception gleamed in a silver blue. There was a sign telling which floor was the area of which troop section, just as Amber had thought. There were squashy big pillows laid out as if for resting or waiting. And their were books laying on little also silver blue tables. The old drinks automat had been repaired and was holding bottles of water and some bags that obviously contained some kind of snacks. The elevators signs blinked, showing that someone was using them. The lobby hummed with life. There were privates following their chores, but also some enjoying free time obviously. There were ones playing billard, others doing a match of table tennis. Others again seemed to watch a movie. “We aren’t done now…we still have to renovate the restaurant so that we can eat all there. And the outside area needs a lot of work, the third and fourth floor aren’t ready too, but first and second are done. But we are on to it…” Ryan explained “Are you crazy? You…you did that all in not three days?” Lex asked awed “Erm…” “RYAN! WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU? DO YOU HAVE FUCKING SUPERPOWERS?” Ellie giggled behind her hand about that outbreak and Amber had a hard time not to do so too. “Well Lex…no. I just have a team of very, very educated people who work after a strict routine and do everything to effort the aims they are set!” Ryan said with a superior air in his voice and walked over to press the elevator button “Bray is on the top floor.” “The penthouse?” Ebony asked “Sure, he is the general or?” “Aww Bray always had taste!” “Always?” Trudy said silenlty as she followed Ryan into the elevator throwing a dirty look on Ebony. They had to use the two elevators each two times to bring all of them up to the old penthouse. “Here we have a common room only for the six of us. We never had that before, but we decided we need a private room this time. There is a kitchen here, that Bray had them renovate the moment we arrived. But it was our luck that the penthosue floor was kind of locked. It looked like it must have had in the days before the virus…” “Yeah you couldn’t acess it. It was closed with a code door!” Ebony explained and threw a look at Ram “Even Ram coulnd’t open it…” “Pfff…I don’t need luxury!” the expression in his eyes showed that his words were a big lie, but noone contradicted him. Everyone awing at the side for themselves. Laid with the same carpet like the entrance hall, but with silver wallpaper, the floor sported six also silver doors. One signed as kitchen, one with common room, one with operating room, one with meeting room, one with bathroom and one with general private room. The floor held posters of famous art works. There was one of Leonardos Mona Lisa, Klimts The Kiss, Monets Water Lilies, Van Goghs Sunflowers… all beeing signs of Brays other long forgotten liking of art. Amber rembered him doing the painting in the mall together with the kids that long time back. He had told her then he liked art. How could she ever forget the many interests the man she loved held? How could she let all of this die? The door to the private room opened and they saw Cloe welcoming them heartily “Come in, come in…Bray is just changing!” There was a delicious smell wafting at them and there were all inhaling it. She looked beautiful in a sky blue dress patterend with sequins that glittered softly in the light of a flood of candles that had been placed all over the room. It was a magnificent room with a big window, two squashy sofas, a beamer stood ready in a corner. A big table was sporting a big variety of dishes that emanted the good smell. Two other doors lead to Brays sleeping room and a bathroom to his very own to be sure. “See I was right!” Cloe told the other of the ELITE meembers looking at the Mall Rats “Hmmm?” it was Ellie who looked now curious “I told them that you all use that oppurtunity to dress up! So I told them to take a chance aswell!” Amber noticed that Tara was wearing a dark blue long dress. It was laid with transparent silk and the skirt flowed softly down her body. Tai-San was wearing an even so nice dress in light blue, printed with little stars from her right hip swinging down to the left hem. Ryan was indeed wearing kind of a dark blue suit with a beige shirt and Ved was dressed up in a suit that was grey to what he wore a royal blue shirt. “Bray said I would exparate and had chosen to stay just in his normal uniform. But as I showed him the video of you coming into the hotel, he decided…” “Yeah I well decided if my friends dress up for me, I should do the same for them. Thanks Cloe!” there was a little reprimanding tone in Brays voice as he spoke up from the doorframe of his sleeping room. They all turned round and noticed that he was grinning loopsided, taking away the eage of his words. Cloe made a funny face and sticked her tongue out to him , then she took in his appearance “But Bray…you’re still in uniform!” she sighed “Hey its my gala uniform!” “Yeah but still…” he wore dark navy dress pants and a white tux shirt with a navy blue tuxedo vest. Over that he had a long uniform jacket also in dark navy blue on which arm hems were done three rows of golden embroidered lines. On the shoulders sat golden eaupalettes. Golden and silver chains hung down from his right shoulder, being fastened on the right side of the jackets reverse. The buttons of the jacket gleamed silver, all showing a small planet earth impressed on them. “…its only an uniform!” Cloe closed with a pout. “I don’t mind him in an uniform!” Gel let out a little sigh, goggling at him. “Me neither…” Ruby said , making Slade look at her “What? There is nothing more attractive and sexy as a man in a good fitting uniform!” “Oh yeah? Never knew you were in for the uniformed guys…” “Well we lived close to a military base and I always loved to watch the parades…they looked great!” With a sigh Slade turned back to Bray “Mate seems you need to lend me some uniform!” Grinning amused Bray told him “Ah, sorry but I am quite fond of mine. Even if I don’t wear gala usual. Don’t tell the TITANS by the way, rule normally is I have to wear it everytime I represent them. But it is just not practical enough. " shrugging Slade said “I can understand that…I rather would take the pilot jacket you wore anyways!” “No way…I love that jacket!” Walking over and laying a hand on Slades shoulder he looked him up and down “But when Rhys joins us you maybe lucky to take one of his…he has a dozen or so…that will fit you!” “I take your word on that!” doing a fast hand grab that was so usual for guys their age they seemed to make a deal. “So and now…why don’t we eat?” Bray said moving round to the Mall Rats “Come and be our guests!” “You need to say that with a french accent!” May piped up, who looked at the most as they stared non plussed at her. “Don’t come telling me you don’t know? Be our guest, be our guest - Put our service to the test…? Really? Not one?” shocked she looked at Bray “Bray this a serioius cultural flaw…those people don’t know BEAUTY AND THE BEAST of Disney! You need to act on that!” “Dear me…shocking business!” Bray entered her mocking tone “I hope you all know at last who Mickey Mouse is?” Salene laughed “Stop it you two…of course we…well I DO KNOW Disney. I just have no brain for lyrics!” Bray extended his hand to Salene who reached him hers and kissed it lightly “Excusez moi madame!” With the adults being acting so strange in her eyes, Brady used the time that she wasn’t watched and sneaked off onto the table. Realizing the sweet sides of the table she grabbed for one glass in which sat a brown kind of ball. Sniffing she realised it smelled after chocolate and tasted it “It is cold!” she shouted and then licked another time “But I like it!” All turned in her direction seeing her with the little glass in her hands, her mouth already covered with chocolate “BRADY!” Trudy shouted embarassed “WHAT DID YOU DO?” “I am hungry mommy and you all are acting strange!” Laughing Cloe moved over and took the girl into her arms “You’re right…we are small talking while there is so delicious food. And that is ice cream young lady! It has to be cold!” “I LOOOOOOVE IT! Can I have some more?” “Ah later, first we need to eat something real…like pasta…” “Hmmmm…” looking at all the different pasta shapes and sauces Bray had provided Brady nodded and went together with Cloe to get a plate. That was the sign for everyone to finally approach the long table “Ice cream?” Lex said wondering “Yeah it is held at temperature by this clever plates!” Bray explained pointing on silver plates on which the ice stood. They were indeed cold to prevent the ice of melting. The warm dishes were all kept in heat tanks and gaveaway a mouthwatering smell. Taking a deep breath Lex sighed “Hmmm…what do you present us here?” “Oh I had done some preparations right yesterday after I left you , so I only had to cook as I came back today. You can do fresh pasta a day before you cook it. You can dry it, it only cooks a little longer then as if you do it fresh made into the hot water. I am presenting you spaghettis, farfalle, maccaronis, shell noddles…there is pesto to go with it, bolognese or sauce all’arrabbiata. Then we have caprese and brushettas and vitello tonnato - thats veal in tuna fish sauce, believe me…its delicious even if it sounds strange- tortellini filled with ricotta and spinach, ravioli filled with meat…there we have antipasti - black and green olives with herbs, peperoni, filled mushrooms… - And then the desserts with fresh ice creams in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry and the most typical italian sweet dishes : tiramisu and panna cotta. I went with italian kitchen because that is the one most people like. I realised I don’t know the food preferences of the most, so I told myself noddles and such finds lovers everywhere” “Dear me, did you even sleep?” “Sleep is overrated!” Bray answered lightly, moving over to Gel as she looked scanning on some bread in a basket. “May I help you?” blushing rapidly the girl nodded " I am allergic to nuts…so…are those nuts in that bread?” “Oh yeah…its with pistachios, but this here is baked with olives and dried tomatoes, and this here with rosemary…”

Lex watched him with a worried frown. Where did Bray get the energy to do so much without sleeping? Or with sleeping less? Was it because he was hunted by nightmares? Had the techno ordeal taken the possibility to relax from him? “Lex…its all getting cold!” “Oh yeah…yeah…just thinking what I want!” he said to Tai-San who was looking at him with a certain curiousity. He moved closer and whispered to her “Does Bray never sleep?” “Not much…I know it sounds weird, but he does sport, eats mostly healthy…he has always good test results. So no need to be worried right now. Now eat something or he really will be annoyed!” winking at him she put an olive into his mouth which he chewed hastily “I don’t like olives!” “Opps…” she smiled and he smiled back, feeling that there might be a chance on her after all.

It was nearly silent while everyone devoured the food. There where joyful sighs and even little delighted moans as the Mall Rats tested ice for the first time since the virus. “I am going to explode!” KC said after eating triples of almost everything “Pfff…you weakling!” Claire told him, eating on a plate of olives. She had eaten triples of everything herself and was still devouring the salty drupes with much gusto. Being called weak by a pretty girl wasn’t something KC liked to hear, but before he could tell her something, Gel intercepted “I wish I had that cystic thing like you…you are lucky that you can eat all of that without having to worry!” The silence grew stronger, Amber hid her face in her hands, what her son copied giggling. Bray raised an eyebrow and “psht” the ones that were about to start a telling off and nodded his head on Claire and Gel. There was a fire in Claires green eyes that let her seem nearly witch like. But she just smiled a charming smile, took a bottle of pills and counted out ten of them. Then she dropped them into her mouth and swallowed them with a sip of water “Yeah you’re right…I mean what does it mean to take up to fourty pills a day, as long as you can eat everthing without getting or keeping weight. Imagine I even get nutrions over night!” with that being said, she lifted the top that she was wearing showing a button that seemed to raise from her thin stomach. “Is that a feeding tube?” Ellie asked in a hushed voice and as Claire nodded Gel blushed "Oh I am so…so stupid. I didn’t think… " “Theres something new…” Ebony mumbled what got her a stare of Trudy “At last Gel has feelings in her and the ability to apologize! On that part you could take a leaf out of her book!”

Bray left the conversation as he noticed that the little boy that had sat on his mothers side was yawning widely. Without further ado he lifted him up and moved over with him onto one of his sofas “Poor little guy…so tired?” Confused Amber turnend around, as she noticed her sons absence and stared at Bray speaking silently to their son. He was telling him a good night story. How sweet and caring was that? He didn’t even know him for real, but everyone could see that there was a connection between them already. Little Bray snuggeld up onto the strong chest, hiding a bit in the jacket. There was a moved smile on Brays lips while he watched the boy slowly falling asleep. He then put him gently onto the pillows and enclosed him tightly into a blanket "Its only kids that can sleep in any area and surrounding. " he said with a bit of envy, sitting down to them again. He pressed a button on a controller and a kind of wall flared up. It was transparent but looked stable “Its a noise wall…using clever arranged sound waves it blocks noise from the area. He can sleep now without being disturbed by our talking!” taking in the looks on him he asked “What?” Noticing tears gleaming in Ambers eyes he leaned closer to her “Hey…whats wrong? Did I do something? I mean…he seemed so tired…and…it’s not like I have no clue of kids, I am also the godfather of Rhys daughter. I like babies…you know that!” “I do…I am just…erm…sentimental when I see him with a man acting good with him because …” “Because of Pride? He should be the one doing all that?” It broke Ambers heart and she felt like she couldn’t stand it any longer. She wanted to tell him, wanted him to realize that it was his son he was speaking about. “Its hard to grow up without your dad…” he said looking back at the little one “But he has a wonderful, strong, tough woman for a mother and a good guy loving him and acting father like to him…and he has a family…” “But you are his daddy! Thats why we are soooo happy we have you back. My daddy is gone into heaven but luckily we have still you!” Brady suddenly blurted out. Shook ran through all faces. They had forgotten that Brady of course knew that her uncle was the father and that she didn’t know that she wasn’t to say anything like that. The wonder that ran over Brays face, was worth a fairytale. “What? Amber? What is Brady telling there? How would that be my son…we…we never…I…” Suddenly there was thunder outside and lightning let the room gleam blue. And Bray was propelled back into another thunderous night.

*(Dream scene)
Lightnings let his sleeping place be filled with blue light, a blonde girl in a green silk negligee wake him from a light sleep. She didn’t say a word…
(Dream scene end)

The scene vanished from his brain, he recoiled. “What…I…” standing up, he breathed like he had been on a run. Pain rushed his brain and he held his head in a hard grip as if he must keep it together “Damn…whats that…?” Everyone had jumped up, Tai-San was the fastest, taking his hands in hers “Bray…look at me…that will be painful…but you’ve got to remember…” “Tai-San…” Cloe pleaded “Cloe its already happening…we can’t stop it now…but maybe we can push it into the right direction!” she concentrated on Bray “Bray…please…I am trying to help you…close your eyes…” He closed them only hoping the pain would subside “What did you see just now?” “A girl…a girl coming to me , waking me up…I was sleeping on some cot…I don’t know where…I…oh please…stop it…” he winced, gritting his teeth “Look at the girls face…try it Bray…try it…” “She is beautiful…I…I love her? I am happy she is there? Hopeful?..I…” with a scream he tucked his hands from her again clutching his head “Please Tai-San…do something…my head…”

On the far away island a sign on the monitor of ZEUS blinked and a beeping noise sounded up. Rushing in from another room the keeper of the monitors took in the pictures. “DAMNDAMNDAMN…” he hissed and tipped in a few codes. But the pictures showing a man making out with a blonde girl didnt subside, they got more stable. “Oh fuck…sorry Zeus, got to send you in hell!” he said with a real trace of regret in his voice.

“Come on Bray…who is the girl?” “I can’t see her face somehow…I don’t recognize…” “Try Bray, you’re close!” Opening his eyes wide of shock he looked straight at Amber “It’s you…” but then he was stopped, as his body collapsed and started shacking like mad. Amber went down on her knees, her face streaked with tears “Oh Bray…oh Tai-San…why did you let that happen…oh my god!” she stroked his face and tried to comfort him but he was in another world, were only pain excisted. His screams became more and more agonised and made Trudy knee down to him aswell “What can we do to stop it?” she screamed at Tai-San and Ebony rounded on the asian girl “DO SOMETHING NOW! OR YOU MIGHT REGRET IT!!!” With shacking hands Tai-San pulled some vial from her handbag and a syringe. She oulled the liquid into the syringe, placed it on Brays neck and pushed it into him. He stopped trashing and screaming in an instant. His breathing slowed down. Finally he lay still. “What did you give him?” Jack asked shacken “A strong sedative. It makes him sleep a few hours. Tomorrow he won’t remember anything” she said hoarsly “How can someone forget…that?” Lex asked, taking his ex wife into his arms. She let it happen and even burried her face on his neck “I don’t know…really…we have tried so much…I can’t stand that any longer…we have to solve that! One day I am going to kill him with too much sedative!” she started to cry, all composure gone. Brady had been watching everything, there were tears on her face and she looked frightened, but to the same time she sat down beside her uncle stroking gently along his cheek “Mommy…he needs us! We must care for him! He is ill!” Taking her little girl in her arms she whispered “I am sorry Brady…I shouldn’t had let you see that!” “Why not mommy? How can I help if I don’t know?” she kissed her mothers cheek who cuddled her closer “You’re an angel my sweetheart!” "Maybe it will be really good if you stay Trudy…you could frame it for him when he asks himself how this evening ended. " “You ask me to lie even more to him?” “What do you think? What do you think how I feel about it?” Tai-San flared up “I can’t look at myself…I want nothing more as to help him. I feel ashamed I am too stupid to find a solution…how dare you all looking at me like that it my fault? Its theirs!” she screamed pointing on Ram and Jay and running out of the room. “Think about whom you acussing!” Lex said angrily to the others and followed her out. “Dear I didn’t want that…” Trudy said ashamed “Thats okay Trudy. You two can talk tomorrow…will you stay? The sofas are sleeping sofas…or we also have guest rooms?” Trudy looked at Bray. She was indeed his family. He had stand so often beside her, forgiven her even he chosen time. This was Bray. Taking a decision, she nodded “Yes Brady and me will stay. And no : I don’t need a guest room. We are sleeping here on the sofas. Its high time someone helps you all with that. Thats no living condition he has!” Being all the caring mother Trudy walked over and hugged Amber “Don’t worry…take your son and try to grab some sleep…” Hugging her back Amber whispered “Thanks, take care!” Slade moved to help Ryan to carry Bray to his bed and open up the sleeping function of the sofas and then the Mall Rats left the hotel.

The mood was low as the Mall Rats walked back home. Everyone shacken from the display of Brays problem. As they entered the entrance and Jay was about to tip in the security code of the brand new alarm system the ELITE had installed today, they heard a girls shout “Wait…let me in please!” It was Claire who stopped then in the hall, breathing hard and coughing even harder. Lottie moved fast reaching her some towels out of her handbag “Claire why did you run that fast? Sammy…get her a water” “No,no…its okay…I just…” coughing up some more mucus she finally could breathe free again "Ah thats better. I wanted to reach before the entrance is armed up. “Does Tara know you followed us?” Salene asked worried “Yes she asked me to follow you to be true…she thought that maybe some of you need something for shock.” she held up medical looking packages “We aren’t taking any drugs without really knowing what…” “Don’t worry May, those are natural!” “Ah…then…then…erm…I might…take some?!” Indeed May looked very pale and Salene laid an arm around her friend “Hey…its okay…” “Oh no its not…I’ve seen such attacks before…in my cousin who had a rare form of epilepsy…that reminded me on it…” she whispered. Taking some of the packages Salene whispered “Come…I bring you to your room and then we speak about it…” The two disspeared into Mays room which was in the ground floor. “Come lets bring Bray to his room aswell…” Jay said reaching for Ambers hand. “Don’t touch me! Don’t touch my son!” she spoke looking disgusted at him. “Amber what…” “DON’T TOUCH ME; DON’T LOOK AT ME; DON’T TALK TO ME. EVER AGAIN!” she said with hate in every word. “But you can’t accuse me of…I did nothing…” “Yeah you did nothing! THAT is exactly the point! Nothing to stop things like that happening!NOTHING!” he made to move towards her but Ebony stepped in, arms crossed “You’ve heard her!Go!” Ram pulled his old general away from the scene and Amber breathed out “Thank you Ebony!” “You’re welcome…I am pissed off aswell!” there was such a pain in Ebonys eyes “You’ve done so many things to us…” “But never…Amber believe me…I wish that on no one and especially not Bray!” she stroked little Bray -who just had woken up and looked around beady eyed - “Your dad will remember you…he just has to!” she whispered and then left with a “Good night” to Amber.

“That is almost scary…” Ellie whispered following the leaving ex Loco queen with her eyes. Her sister nodded “Indeed, she has a heart after all.” Throwing a look at Amber she said “Ellie? Would Jack and you mind to look after Bray? Then I can take care of Amber!” “Of course we do that! Or Jack?” “Of course!” they took the boy who already had fallen into sleep again with them. “Claire…would you give me some of these?” “Here you go Alice…drink them with pure water!” “Thanks…” Everyone started going upstairs, but Amber still stood there, not knowing where she could go too. Alice touched her shoulder “Amber? Its okay…I am here…” and without any word Amber turned around and threw herself in Alice arms, crying the hardest, breaking down completely. “Oh Alice…what have they done to him? Why haven’t I done something more to rescue him…how could I let that happen? How could Jay…how? OH I HATE HIM!!!” “No you don’t. You still feel love for him. And thats why you’re so angry…come sweetie…come on…” she pulled her with her into her room and there they took place in Alice bed. Drinking some strong tea and talking about love…

On the far away island the keeper was still controlling Zeus monitor. Heart rate, brain currents…everything was back to normal. Having been put out with sedative there weren’t dreams in his sleep. Just blissfull blackness. “Anything of importance happened Cerberus?” a cold voice asked from the doorframe “Erm…no…no nothing. Just a little attack of Zeus…but got that right away!” There was no need to tell Kronos of the ferocity of the attack. He had stopped it before Zeus could really unearth something of his most deepest and mind formings memories. If he would ever unearth them, they wouldn’t be able to control him in anyway. He would fight a lions fight to rip them apart. Bone from bone. Having see him fight in the arena, Cerberus was sure of that. He had never knew you could love so deeply and so loyal. It had almost made him sad to bury that love. But he had to. What else did he have as follow Kronos and the TITANS??? And on the other hand it wasn’t like he didn’t feel a bit of satisfaction that he kind of was in control. A part of him even thought the Mall Rats deserved to suffer. For not finding him as he was lost. And for her …

(Authors note : I had to post in two parts. I am really writing to long for the replies. lol. It Always tells me I entered to much. Hihi. It makes Posting a bit complicated, but well…here we go. Uhuuuuu…something to think about in the end. Who is “her” ? Does Cerberus know the Mall Rats??? I hope I can give more of the ones on the far away Island in the next part and also will start to show more other the other characters. )

( So here we go again! Next chapter! Enjoy!)

**
5. Hate and worry
**

Trudy woke up, sitting up straight. Panic flooded her mind, not recognizing the room. But then she noticed Brady sleeping right beside her and the memory got her. She was in the hotel. In Brays rooms. Careful not awake Brady she got up and tiptoed to Brays bedroom door, opening it a crack. There he laid, still sleeping deeply. Closing the door again, she let her eyes drift. After they had Bray safely in his bed and the Mall Rats had left, she had cleaned up. There wasn’t much food left, but she had took care that the tasty things were brought down so that the members of his troop could taste the generals cooking. Bray had obviousily given out Trudy as someone special right from the start. The female member of the security guard she had summoned to take the food had been ever so politeful and told her she and the other memebers had been told to wo do anything to her wishes by precise orders of the gerneral. She threw a scanning look at her daughter and decided then it would be okay to make some coffee and cacao. In the kitchen her mouth dropped open taking in the surfaces and all the prestine kitchen appliances. “WOW!” letting her hand glide softly along the bean to cup coffee maker “I can’t believe it…” she mumbled taking the bag that contained coffee beans. She spilled some of them into the opening on top of the maschine and closed it. Then she pressed the button and soon enough the smell of fresh roasted coffee beans filled the air. As the roasting process was done she changed the beans into the grinder and pressed another button to start the grinding. After it was done she filled in the coffee powder into the filter and soon black liquid was dropping in a small jug under it. Closing the jug, she took a tablett, placing it onto it. She took three cups aswell. Then she seached milk in the refrigerator and was again awing at the things it was filled with. She took the milk, found a jar of cacoa powder and a little kettle and cooked up some sweet cacao for her daughter. Brady deservd a good treat after her behaviour last night. She was still amazed how arisen her daughter had acted. Far beyond her age. Careful not to spill anything she walked back into Brays rooms. “Mommy!” Brady jumped up, pulling on the night shirt that Cloe had organised “There you are!” “Oh sweetie…I am sorry, you’ve been sleeping and I thought I make some coffee…” “Ewwwww” Laughing she walked over “I have some cacao for you!” “Jippieh…do we gonna wake Bray?” Setting the tablet aside, Trudy kneeled down to face her daughter. “Yes we will, but Brady: you have seen that Bray has a problem. He can’t remember that he was in love with Amber before he was taken away by the technos. He doesn’t remember that little Bray is his son. He thinks Pride is his daddy. Do you understand that?” “We can’t speak about it…we have to be careful!” the little girl nodded “But mommy…will he never remember? Will he always have so much pain?” Tears brimmed in her blue eyes and Trudy hugged her closely “We hope we can find a way. Tai-San believes that spending time with old friends and with you will help Bray to relax more and with a more relaxed mind he might be able to break through his true memories.” “How could he forget?” “I don’t know for sure sweetheart, but those technos must have done terrible things. You know when you take away a humans freedom, deprive them of sleep and food, if you are violent on them…it mijght be that they build walls around them. To protect their souls…you know what your sould is?” “Yeah…you told me. Our soul is the part that never dies and goes to heaven after we die!” “Exactly and our soul carries all our memories, good and bad ones. Its all what we really are. Your body loses its youth and beauty when you become older, but your soul will always stay beautiful and sparkling.” “We must Bray remember on his soul? Heal it?” “Hmmm…yes…somehow. We gonna find a way!” “Okay! Lets do it!” the girls simple enthusiasm made Trudy smile and so she took the tablet and followed her to Brays bedroom door. Brady had been delighted to find that all doors opened if you pressed the button beside the doorframe on the night before and so she pressed it now. The door flung open automatically and Brady jumped into the room. “Don’t shook him Brady!” Trudy said setting down the tablet on one of the bedside tables and moved over to the windows curtains to let in some sunlight. Brady crawled onto the bed and kissed Brays nose “Wake up my fairytale prince!” Opening his eyes slowly Bray smiled at his niece “Hey…what did you call me?” “Hihi…you’re my fairytale prince…because I am your princess!” Hugging her close by sitting up he laughed “Thats a nice way to wake up!” “Good morning Bray!” Trudy said, struggling a hand through his hair “How do you feel?” “I am good…I…” blinking he realised he still wore his trousers and tuxedo shirt. They only had taken off his jacket and shoes “Wait…what…?” scratching his head, he seemed to try to rebuild how he came here. “You…erm…got unconscious last night…” “What? Really? How…I…I don’t remember…” “What do you remember?” “I…am not sure…it…” pressing his eyes together for a moment he took a thought “Brady said something about being happy that I am with you…?” “Yeah I did! I said that my daddy and uncle Pride are gone to heaven, but that I am happy to have still you. And erm…that you will be an uncle for little Bray too!” Trudys mouth clapped open. Hell where did her daughter learn to lie that way? “And then I just…?” Regraining composure back fast, she nodded “But why?” “Maybe you had to much chamapagne?” “I took two sips…if I remember correctly. Alcohol isn’t really my thing…” They heard the door open and Tai-San walked in “Oh hi…I wanted to have a look on my patient!” she gave Trudy a nod “What happened to me Tai-San? Was I drunk? Please tell me I wasn’t. That would be embarassing!I’ve got to be an example to my troop” “No Bray…it was all my fault…I forgot that you took one of the painkillers round midday…remember? Your headache?” nodding slowly he just waited for her to continue “That doesn’t work with alcohol…the tiniest drop can make you…” “Lose concious? Wow. Strong stuff!” “I am so sorry!” “Ah no…come here. I could have asked also if there are counteractions known of. I also tasted the sauces and desserts…the tiramisus for the older ones was with amaretto. Oh well I think I ruinied the party? Damn it!” “We can have many parties!” Brady said comforting what made him smile “True again…soon is a young ladies birthday!” “YEAH MINE! Its only 21 days away!” “How clever you are! I am going to give a magnificent party for you! DEAL?” DEAL!YAY! Mommy did you hear? Bray is giving a party to my honour!" Grinning Bray took a cup and poured himself a coffee “Really Trudy were did she learn so many words and expressions? She has a language far beyond her age!” “I think its because she spends a lot of time with older ones…” Trudy said shoulder shrugging. “Its not like there is a kindergarten around here…” “Hmmm…maybe we should that make a priority. On my tour I found that at least in every second tribe are small children. We should care for an enviroment in which those little ones can play together and built friendships. Salene for an example would be a good child care worker and I bet there are other ones being interested in such a job.” “Thats a wonderful idea! But you might need to provide some of your security team, so that people feel safe to let their kids attend.” “That can easily be arranged.” He got up and opnened his shirt “I am going to take a shower, I somehow don’t feel after training and work today. I am going to take a day off. Some of the tribe leaders asked for a few days of thinking anyways. Not much to do for me, my troop knows their chores better then me” he grinned “Maybe we can spend the day together? It would be good to have your view on the city…” “You’re asking my opinion?” “Of course! You’ve lived here while I didn’t …whose opinion should I ask instead?” He vanished into his bathroom and soon they heard the shower. Taking his absence for a chance Trudy turned to Tai-San “I am so sorry Tai-San. I know it is not your fault and I am sure you did and do everything you can…” “It is okay Trudy, really! I shouldn’t have lost composure. It was after all the first time you witnessed it…how did Brady take it?” the asian girl looked at the little girl who had found pencils and paper on Brays working desk and was drawing a picture of colorful flowers “She takes it adorable. She thinks we need to do everything to help Bray. Sh even made up a lie…told him that last night she had said that her and little Brays dad are dead and that was why they are lucky to have Bray because he would be an uncle to the both of them.” “Really? Wow! She is really intelligent!” “I know…she shows wisdom…” “Yes, maybe more then we do…listen I am going down to my team. We have work to do…there just came a pregnant girl who obvioulsy has some trouble…” “Oh you’re doing that kind of stuff too?” “Of course, now that we’re here we’re going to help with anything that requires medical knowledge.” “Good to know…good luck! Oh wait…did Lex find you?” “Hmmm…” there was a small smile on her full lips and Trudy laughed “You two are going to date?” “Oh I am sure he wants to…but we will see what time might bring…” Tai-San said, her eyes sparkling in a way that told Trudy that Tai-San wanted it too.

Bray left his bathroom, only dressed in his usual cargo pants “Hmmm…sorry…but my shirt…hmmm…” he searched through his cupboard and took a new one from a pile of white shirts. "“You can take a shower too…I could organize you some other clothes…or were you planning to use your dress as your actual day to day style? Not that I would comnplain about that, you looked stunning…I don’t think I told you yesterday. I was a little nervous, I now remember in shame that I didn’t compliment any of the girls on their dresses…but you know I never was a big hands on fashion…” wondering why she didn’t respond, he turned round and found her staring at him “Trudy? Whats…?” she moved over “Bray really…you can’t just walk in here when I am here, looking like that!” “Huh?” “Are you really that unknowing of the effect you’ve got on women?” Like in trance she touched his six pack “How did you come to such a torso?” As her fingers trailed along his abs higher his chest he grabbed for her hands “Trudy…I don’t think that is a good idea!” Looking embarrassed she moved a bit away “I…sorry…don’t know what came over me…its just…seeing you again…and then even that…hot…God what I am talking?” “Hey…hey…” he grabbed her hands back in his “you’re confused…I am aswell believe me. I don’t even realise when womem like me. Or when I irritate them. Of course girls can look at a man aswell as guys can stare at any good looking girl. Thats no crime. And believe me…in our school days…if I wouldn’t have realised that Martin had a crush on you…but we’re so much more now. We aren’t teenagers full of hirewired hormones. We have responsibilty. You’re my brothers ex, the only one he ever loved. My nieces mother. I just can’t take the risk to fool around with you for the fun of it…it would destroy us if it won’t work. I love you Trudy, but as a friend. Its a purer love, a love where to forgive is so much more simpler. A love that won’t die just through a simple heartache!” “Bray…that was honestly the most wonderful and romantic thing a guy ever said to me! I will also always love you…and you’re right. We both are way over the time we would have worked as lovers. It was just…well…maybe I have some hormones still hirewire!” giggling a little she threw a look into the other room where Brady was still painting. “Its just so hard…to find a man…and then there was you looking like that…knowing you…knowing that you’re one of the decent guys…” Dressing on his shirt he asked “Didn’t you ever…I mean why are you still single? You are beautiful, you are clever, caring, you can cook…what would a guy wish more for?” “Maybe a girl that doesn’t have a daughter?” “Na…Rhys is a single dad and he can’t meet all the ladies who want to have a date with him!” Laughing she shook her head “Bray…women tick different, they see a man being a single dad, caring for his daughter and think that he is a good man, perfect to get a family with. But guys think a mother is boring and will always relate them to the guy their child is off…really…” “I would never do that…If I would fall for a girl and she had a child…” Throwing a look at him, she said in an off hand tone “Amber has a child…” “Amber and me…that is over!” “Why?You’ve been so in love…I still remember how you suffered because she wanted to leave with Sasha…” she stopped herself before she could mention Pride. That would do no good. “Hmmm…its just…it is over. Done. History!And besides you’ve just given proof that a girl with a child can find a guy…she’s got Jay, or?” he said, grabbing his pilote jacket from the wardrobe and entered his living room “How about some pancakes Brady?” “Yay…jippiiiiieh! With chocolate?” “Whatever you like princess!” he laughed and took her high into his arms “You’re coming Trudy?” “I’ll just take a shower…Tai-San will surely have some clothes for me…” “See you then!” Trudy took her dressclothes and walked out of Brays rooms to find help in any of the girls.

On the island Cerberus awoke in his big bed. Stretching his arms over his head he yawned heartily. With a look on his alarm clock he noticed that he had still half an hour. But it would be no use to try to sleep or even doze. That would make him even more groggy. So he got up,pulled open the curtains of his panorama window and openend it. The sun was just dawning and everything was dipped into morning red. A little mist hung over, what was usual on an island surrounded by the ocean. It was a bit of cold as always in the early morning hours, but the air was fresh and salty. He watched the birds awaking and some herd animals munching peacefully away on the gras of the fields. It was peaceful on Tartaros, nothing here jusatified that it was named after the prison of Hades in the greek mythology. But it was Kronos thing to name everything after certain mythology places or persons. And because Tartaros was the place were they took the people they needed to programm it was maybe a fitting name after all. They suffered. But he didn’t want to think about it, he just wanted to enjoy the peace. He had always loved mornings the most. The world was silent then. He didn’t need to listen to anyone. He didn’t need to concentrate. He just could stare at the world and took in its silent beauty. People who weren’t like him would never understand that. Even she never did. She had been his protector, even before the virus. Sign language wasn’t common with kids, so she had translated so that he could play together with other kids. He had liked board games the most then, because you needn’t your ears in them. He had been good at those. While he watched some girl in the distance obviousily getting the cows in to milk them, his mind drifted back into the days long ago. It had been a morning like this, but not quiet the same. He had been scared. Scared of Lex. Of course he was just bullying and looking back he felt ashamed that he had let that made him run away. He hadn’t even left a letter. Had not said goodbye. She shouldn’t have him as a bruden all her life. He would have been always the reason why she was to blackmail. She would always had fought his fights. So one morning he had packed a few things and left the mall. The very mall the Mall Rats still lived in, still laughed in, still cried in. He hadn’t come too far. He had ran into the arms of some strange guys. Soon he realised as they bounded him and took him away that they were slavers. Hopeless he had followed, only one thought in hi scared mind. WHO ON EARTH WOULD BUY A DEAF BOY? One morning there was commotion among the slavers, they ran and screamed, words he couldn’t make out. Armed guys stormed the little camp and finished the slavers off. A girl maybe as old as the older ones in the mall had freed him and took him gently into her arms. He didn’t understand what she said, but didn’t are anyways. He was save. It turned out that those were spy teams of the organisation. They saved lost kids all over the world. Freed slaves and took them with them to be educated in all ranges. It weren’t way enough kids and teens educated enough to bring about the plans of NEW WORLD. After research and training a team of older boys - older then 18, gotten into the risky age just as the virus stroke or shortly after - who only made it through the virus because they had enough of the antidote, had succeded to implant a cochlear into his ear. He had never thought that he might be able to hear one day. His family hadn’t been able to afford the operation before the virus hit and who would have thought that after all the adults died, there would be people being able to do it? As he heard someone talking to him the first time, he had cried. Not because it was so wonderful. No. Because it wasn’t her voice. He turned to his bed and sat down, taking a picture that stood there in a silver frame. Him and her, happily together in times before their parents perished. It had hurt so much, to leave her, but it had hurt even more as he found out she had been killed. Killed by some maniacs who had hailed Zoot. Killed in the act of spying for the Mall Rats. How clould they let that happen? How dare they to went on with their live? He had went away out of free will, no one made him leave the mall. But her…he stroke away a tear that ran down his face and took the implants controller from his table. He pressed it and suddenly there was sound. He heard the typical noise on the floor. People doing their work. He needed to get going also, so he stood up and took his clothes to get ready in the bathroom. As he left he threw one last look on the photo of his twinsister and him…