It was that cold, awkward silence that made Aquadia slump in her chair and made her wish that she never opened her mouth. Pete and Alice just blinked and stared at her, clearly processing the question while holding up their guard. Looking down at the table, she silently prayed that this situation would be over quickly and fantasized about running out of the room and into her's on the other side of the building. The sound of the door locking behind her never sounded to wonderful.
Would someone please say something? Aquadia thought
"What," Pete paused "...is she talking about?" Pete carefully glancing over at two possibility parties in front of him. " 'Cause me and Alice, never been locked inside of those glass walls."
There was another deafening silence before Alice's turned head slowly toward the men to her side, like an owl out of a horror movie. Aquadia half expected a hell raised screech and a thunder storm to flow into the room upon her opening her mouth.
"It's you, isn't it?" Alice said, stating it as more of a fact then a question. "Jack Maddon, you've been an inmate in those walls, haven't you?"
"I have no ide-"
"Give it up Jack." Avier slumped in his chair with a defeated look on his face. "If Aqua could figure it out, there's no chance of hiding it from anyone else."
Feeling slightly offened, Aquadia looked up and stared at them too. It was pride, her brother once told her a long time ago, that makes you focus on your friend when a Bengal tiger is about to eat you.
Jack silently sat back and crossed his arms. "What do you want to know?"
"Why?" Aquadia asked before her mind could process what came out of her mouth. She stopped to check that is was her that asked the the question, not her necklace.
"Baysil said he'd give me my freedom if I protect you."
"What'd you do?"
"Classified." Jack and Avier said in unison. The three who didn't speak at that moment glared at Avier.
"Excuse me?" Pete glared across the table "What do you know Avier?"
"Enough." Avier said "Or too much from the look on your faces."
"You can say that again." Pete shifted his sight from Jack and Avier trying to find words. Alice was just sitting there quietly, in a calm fury looking at absoluely nothing. It was unnerving to say the least. "You want us to judge how much you know about Jack?"
"Not really, no."
Alice and Avier seemed to have a private conversation though two intense stares, which signaled Pete to move on.
"Why you of all people?" Pete asked looking at Jack. "Why did Baysil pick you to protect Aquadia?"
"You got me on that one."
"Is there anything you can tell me about this?" Pete's frustration was rising at a suprisingly fast rate.
"Baysil is a very smart man and is doing whatever he has to protect his sister." Aquadia looked straight at him. He didn't blink once in that entire moment. "So if he sent me to protect her, I think it's very important that you keep me around."
"If my brother sent you, answer this question for me." Aquadia said looking at him. "Not a lot of people know my brother very well, dispite being passed off at the Promised. So if you met him, you'll know this answer." She paused just to see who was listening. Turned out, it was all of them. "When did my brother call to see you and what was he doing?"
"It was early in the morning. He was trying to eat spagetti with a spoon."
Even Avier looked over in confusion as Aquadia smiled. "That'd be my brother." She looked over at Avier. "He's met him." People still stared at her. "He also had my necklace, which when I last checked, was hanging from my brother's neck at the last fireworks display for Independence Day a week ago." She pulled at the necklace around her neck.
Pete grabbed the tablet off the sidetable and started surfing though pictures to find such proof. Alice simply leaned forward, glared at Jack, and tapped her finger four times on the table. Then she leaned back as Pete handed her the tablet.
"He's clean." Aquadia insisted.
"Well yeah, he has a past with Avier." Pete said jokingly. Alice elbowed him, Jack silently agreed and Aquadia smiled. Avier wasn't amused.
"Well, let's see it then." Alice said getting up from the table. She quickly made her way over to Jack. "Shirt. Off."
"Aren't you married?" Jack looked over at Pete. "To him?"
"She is." Pete said "But that prison tattoo is placed over a person's heart." He carefully shifted his eyes between Alice and Jack.
There wasn't much more arguing from anyone else as Jack removed his shirt. It was there, in indigo ink right over his heart about the size of his palm, a circle with eight spikes and lots of little lettering in the middle of it in a rather dead language. It was just like the ones her mother and father got when they were found harboring her, Baysil, and possible information as to where she had gone. But as slowly Aquadia noticed that it was different from theirs, Alice had held her tablet over it, took a picture, and groaned.
"Mycroft's got nothing." She said sliding the tablet over to Pete.
"Well, whole 'home' deal has been settled. Yay. it's been a long night, hasn't it?" Aquadia said quickly getting up from the table. "I'm going to bed. Good night, sleep tight, don't let the convict bite."
There was a faint response to Aquadia's sudden sprint away from the room. That didn't seem to matter so much as trying to get to her room, which she had promptly forgotten where it was. It took a good deal of wandering to find it again, but at least, she realized as she flopped herself on the bed, that now she had a decent idea of how this part of the building was built.
Alice's senses must have failed her the next day, for she had sent Avier, Aquadia and Jack all out to see their surroundings and to pick up a few things. Aquadia did her best to push what she knew to the back of her mind, to listen to his words and forget what she knew. Aveir had wandered off to an electronic store they had seen when they had entered town and refused to leave, leaving Aquadia and Jack to hunt for missed supplies.
And as a small blessing, it was almost over.
Aquadia fully intended to walk home quietly with Jack, side by side, without saying a word to each other, that unspoken distrust and tension holding stong all the way home. She had done it a million time over when her parents when they had agrued about anything, including Aquadia herself. She had been dragged through far worse with them, and the usual tactic of ignoring his existance and looking in various shop windows was working rather well for the first couple blocks. The thoughts of buying a Whiteberry Bubble with gummy balls tomorrow or getting some new clothes were just of the few scattered thoughts before Jack broke the silence.
"You ever going say anything?" Jack asked as they crossed the street.
"Hm?" Aquadia glanced at him before finding the next shop window. "What's there to say?"
"How about..." Jack paused. "How'd you know I wasn't lying to you earlier?"
"You wouldn't be asking that question if you were lying." She said, listening to her feet click on the pavement
"So you didn't know till now?"
"Know that I was on your side."
"No, I knew a long time ago."
"So...you're angry about me going to prison?"
"Nope. I figured out what that was about before I got up from the table."
"Then why are you so quiet?"
Aquadia stopped and pulled his shirt to reveal the insignia on his chest, which he quickly recoverd. "I can read that."
"What do you mean you can read that?"
"Those little ticks and checkmarks around the insignia tell me what you did and when you went in." Aquadia stopped to glare at him, only for her to stop and stare at him in pure confusion and curiosity. "If you've been to prison for any length of time you'd know...how do you not know that?"
"Ah. I guess it doesn't tell you everything, does it?" Jack smiled.
"How do you not know that?" she whispered looking straight into his eyes trying to find some clue to this mystery.
"Good question." Jack said smiling. "How can you read them?"
"My parents were sent to prison when they refused to tell the authorites where I had vanished." She explained. "How do you not know that?"
"Simple." Jack smiled and moved unconfotably close to Aquadia. "I've never been to prison."
"HOI." A loud voice called out to them from up the street. Aquadia turned her head and moved to see Avier running toward them.
"Hi Alex." Jack grinned. "Wanna join? I can always make room for you."
"Stop flirting with my cousin." Avier commanded
"I was just answering her question." Jack said plainly, if not mildly defensive
"That's you flirting." Avier said, clearly annoyed
"Hate to see what you flirting actually looks like." Aquadia said looking at him. Jack turned to her and raised an eyebrow, which warranted Avier to punch him in chest, which didn't even faze Jack. "Well, okay, it's not like I would mind seeing it."
"See?" Jack said "She doesn't mind."
"Yes she does." Avier glared.
"No I don't." Aquadia said in her own defence
"You don't?" Avier was rendered annoyed and speechless.
"Grazie, bella donna." Jack smiled at her. She smiled and walked forward toward home with the things they bought in hand, wondering when the last time she had heard someone speak Italian, or if anyone still spoke Italian anywhere.
There was also the mystery of Jack's tattoo. She ran it through her head thousands of times, each time it required him to be in prison. For him to know. None of it made sense, except that maybe that he was lying. Yes. He's lying. He has to be.
Alice broke Aquadia's train of thought as she sat down across for her taping on a hardscreen in her hands, about the size of a square dinner plate.
"Meet Mycroft." Alice said handing Aquadia a tablet. "Say hello Mycroft."
"He's a hardscreen." She said tapping on the tangable screen in her hands. Anything resembling a tablet was converted into a hologram projected from an arm accessory a very long time ago. Hardscreens were, without a doubt, a sign of outdated tech. She wondered if it was going to be as odd to operate as the book.
"Yeah, he is. But he's so much more then that." Alice said before clearing her throat. "Mycroft, she's the new Aquadia."
"Hello Aquadia." A face popped on the screen. He looked like a seventeen year old boy with dark black hair swept to one side wearing one earing on his one visable ear.
"Hi. So what's so special about you?"
"I can have an intelligent conversation with a human being?" He responded "I also have facial expressions?"
"Oh, your programmer is good." She smiled and tried looking for some buttons. "Too bad no AI has ever passed the Turning Test."
"Oh, well, they never met me." Mycroft responded. "And they never will. The world is best left with only one of me. And having someone root around in your system looking for ways to make a copy is something I wish on no one."
"You can understand what I'm saying?"
"Of course I can. I'm the only thinking computer." Mycroft smiled. "Ask me anything."
"What rhymes with orange?"
"Nothing rhymes with orange. Except maybe lozenge. Sorta."
"Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"
"Egg. Duh. Chicken was just a genetic anomly that kept reproducing."
"If a store is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, why do the doors have locks?"
"Because anyone who wants to come in to a store at 3 in the morning looking for groceries should be locked out for safety purposes." Aquadia raised an eyebrow. "Also, you know, people lie."
"Do AI's have dreams?"
"Sorta like how people have dreams, from what I understand. I often don't remember them after I'm powered on, but they most just consist of random strings of code twisted together my system needs to sort out for a later date."
"Tell me about one."
"There was this one where I fened off this hord of zombie desktops with a dust bunny and strip of bacon." Mycroft smiled. "What does bacon taste like, Aquadia?"
"Like bacon." She shrugged. "Do you eat or feed on anything?"
"Electricity. I live it, eat it, breath it. Makes life really simple and boring as hell."
"我的媽和她的瘋狂的外甥都." Aquadia sat back and looked at Mycroft like most people look at Bayil for the first time. "You really can understand me."
"Xie Xie." Mycroft's head bowd forward
"That sounded horrible." Aquadia said smiling as she found the paint button on the side of the screen.
"Now you know why we don't speak Chinese." Alice commented.
"You really can't speak chinese?" Aquadia asked as she painted a pink bow on his hair, which made Mycroft glare at her and erase the screen.
"I know...some...chinese." He said pausing between words. Aquadia raised her eyebrows and looked at Alice. "What? I never learned!"
"He doesn't have a translation program." Alice said. "He can break into any computer, turn off any security system, find an internet signal in any environment, do hours of research for a paper under minute, but can't speak or read anything outside of English or computer code."
"Seriously?" Aquadia asked painting a pink bow tie on him. He glared, turned the bow tie red and pulled it onto his avatar.
"You can't upload or download programs into him either." Alice sighed. "It gets annoying sometimes."
"Why not?" Aquadia drew a purple fez on his head, which he also turned red and placed on his avatar.
"Programs are like memories." Mycroft said adjusting his bow tie. "I can't just put new memories in your head for you to use without you freaking out. Put new memories in me and I'll do way more then freak out."
"So you can't learn new languages?" Aquadia started erasing the fez, which caused him to disable the erase button. "That really sucks."
"Never said I can't learn new things." He said taking the half erased fez off his head and started to fix it by taking over the paint controls. "I can get new programs if someone wants to manually put in the code." A black box popped up on the side of the screen with the daunting little white blinking bar.
"That's okay." She said as he put the fixed fez back on his head
"Ya know, I kinda like this thing." He said as Alice came around to look at him.
"What in the universe is that on your head and around your neck?"
"It's a fez and a bow tie." He smiled at her. "I wear fezes and bowties now. They are cool."
Alice took Mycroft away from Aquadia and started typing something into him.
"What are you doing? Hey...hey! HEY!" He hollered as she finished typing. Aquadia looked over and saw that Alice had set them both on fire. He deleted the flaming the objects and sulked.
"That'll teach you."
There was a special ring of hell, which was agreed upon later in the lunch room, for people like Cyrus who got angry at the Promised, Savior of the World, for being happy for a job ill done. But Baysil didn't care, he wasn't the Promised away, and the real Promised had successfully gotten away from him. She also couldn't be located in any way, shape, or form. They had tried, several times. And Cyrus was not just angry to tell him this, but embarrassed. It was absolutely wonderful. The only way this day could be better if someone had walked in, told him he could smoke and beat Casanova at his own game again.
But he took what he could get and enjoyed it with a nice bottle of wine, usually reserved for celebration and important events. This bottle was usually followed with him dressed in white, yellow and green robes, with him reading from an old book and into a microphone. But this was an important event in history, and very casual. His favorite kind of event. He had even offered some to Cyrus before he had left with the door sounding unusually loud when it shut.
But Baysil sighed, pulled back the curtains, took a seat at the couch that had been build into the window itself, and enjoyed the wine. This wouldn't be the last time that Cyrus would try to find and capture Aquadia, he was sure of that. Cyrus couldn't cope with the current state of affairs, and he was the only one. Everyone wanted a man, not a woman, to be the Promised. No one really cared what the truth was, they just wanted what they expected it to look like.
So Baysil swished the wine around in the bottle in this hand before taking another drink and another thought. Cyrus was, ironically, the best way to keep his sister safe and keep tabs on her. If some wack-job thought there was a conspiracy around her to keep her hidden, there would be Cyrus to keep them away. If they thought it was all for her, or their safety, there would be Cyrus to tell them otherwise. If someone tried to kill her, he would kill them first. If someone else tried to get into the program to find her, Cyrus would eliminate them for Baysil even knew about it. He would never give up, totally believed she was the Promised, and never let anyone help him. He was perfect.
On to more pressing matters. Baysil thought. How do I punish Cyrus for murdering my sister?
"Hey, uh, Alice...where are we going?" Jack asked as all of them marched down the street early in the morning. Aquadia was far too sleepy to barely keep up and Avier was far too grumpy to talk. Alice and Pete just kept marching on down the street, turning corners with precision, and promptly swinging the door of the Pynchardon Detective Agency building open.
"Answer your question Jack?" Pete asked as Alice walked up the the secretariat in the center of the hall with an excitement. Aquadia yawned loudly, not truely caring who or what viewed the trio standing the middle of the hall. They all had been pulled out of bed, made to quickly dress, and made to follow Pete and Alice in the cold icy feel of the air pushing against them and their empty bellies.
"Hello, how are you? Mr. Pynchardon in?" Alice asked as she pulled off her gloves and smiled
"Uh...he is, but he's a very busy man-"
"Could you tell him that Alice and Pete are back? Just like that. Short, sweet, to the point. Alice a nd Pete are back." Alice smiled as she politely cut him off.
"Do you have an appointment or a badge, Ma'am?"
"You can stop calling me Ma'am. And no, no appointment or badge. Just friends of the family that's come to talk and claim some things."
"Ma'am, I don't know what you're selling, but he's a very busy man. He has no time for-"
Alice slammed her hands down on the table hard enough to rock the table with a loud 'bang', knock over a few small objects, and somehow open a jolted Aquadia awake at the sudden sound. "Listen, you." Alice's stare could take out Beralin's entire military complex. "My name is Alice McKenzie. I am a fearful legend among the Pynchardons. And in five minutes you will be working for me. Now tell him we're here."
Surprisingly, the man did get up and not call the police, walked into Pynchardon's room, said the very short phrase, and the silence from that room echoed loudly around them. This pleased Alice like nothing else in the world. The secretary came back, closing the door behind him.
"He'll see you now." He sat down at his desk and just stared at them as they walked into the office.
"Hello. I'm guessing you've heard of me." Alice said as Jack closed the door behind thme.
"Heard of you?" Mr. Pynchardon looked rather surprised. "I've met you. I've seen what you can do!" There was a pause as the tall, middle-aged Scottish man looked at all of them. "Look at both of you! Neither one of you have aged a day since the last time we've met! Sit! Please, sit! "
Pete looked at him with a face that clearly made all the wheels in his head turn to try and remember as everyone else sat down on the sofa in the middle of the room.
"Well, can't say I didn't see this coming, saw you're bank accounts suddenly making movement. But I've grown up and changed quiet a bit since then." He said with a smile. "I was a little boy last time you saw me. I had something of a crush on Alice, if that jogs your memory."
"Craig." Pete said instantly "Craig Pynchardon. Allen's son, he used run around an call everyone 'cheeky monkeys' all day. Remember?" Relieved, he sat down as well.
Something clicked in Alice's brain. "Wow, we've been away for a little while then."
"Yeah, it's amazing forty-something years can do to a person." He sat down at his desk looking that them. "Didn't think I'd see you guys again. Certainly scared the daylights out of Geoff, though."
"He didn't want to do what I said, he had it coming." Alice said with a smile.
"So who are these three? The new Aquadia and her sidekicks?"
"We're not sidekicks." Avier and Jack said at the same time.
"She's the new Aquadia." Pete nodded. "Give her the tutorial, will you?"
"Ah, the tutorial." Craig said leaning forward. "Congratulation, Aquadia, after being chosen at complete random, you are the new Savior of the World, or the 'Promised'. But before you get on with that, you have to learn everything about people you possible can and make a name for yourself. The current way of going about this is solving the crimes here at the Pynchardon Detective Agency. Yay!" Craig waved his hands in a silly manner and smiled. "There is nothing like murder, theft, and various other horrible things to make you understand how people think."
"Various...other...horrible...things?" Aquadia shifted uncomfortably in her seat
"You know, like kidnapping or parking in the loading zone of a grocery store."
There was a brief silence to let Aquadia's brain catchup.
"This will be you're first case." He said folding up the file he was reading on his desk and handing it to her. "Missing kid. Kyron Hormon. Went to school, made it through the front doors, never made it to class."
"Why do I get cases?" Aquadia said as she opened the file "I'm nowhere near smart enough to figure these things out or even know what to do in these things." She stared in disbelief to the people around her. "This in the Pynchardon Detective Agency, the whole nation sends the cases they can't crack to you! I can't figure these things out!"
"That's where you're wrong." Craig said with a smile on his face "You have something others don't, the cheatsheet to these cases. You can hone your skills, do some good, and solves these cases."
"You're a god, Aquadia, don't think I don't know." Aquadia started to wonder who didn't know about this. "And gods have the ability to see all the intentions and actions of us mere mortals, all past, present, and future. Cheatsheet."
"Cheatsheet." Aquadia said looking back at the file. "I can't see into the past, I never have."
"You will." Alice said.
"Think of this place as a training ground." Craig said. "C'mon, even Fira had to preform some miracles before he was recognized as the Promised. It was just easier then, carnies didn't exist yet."
Aquadia stared at the closed file. "But I still can't..."
"Let's face something, you're a god, and if you're anything like the last one, all you can do right now is control water as well as a garden hose. If you're powers don't expand and become more powerful, you won't stand a chance at whatever catastrophe is heading your way."
Aquadia stared at Craig, still slightly unsure about this.
"You'll be taking a garden hose to a nuke fight."
"You sure I'll develop it?"
"You, and only you short of those mad raving Psychs that the police have, are the only person who can see everything and keep their sanity."
Aquadia thought back to when she was younger, she had seen the Psychs on a school trip. They could see the past and the future of anything they wanted, when they wanted it. It wasn't fuzzy or vague, they could explain everything they could see with precision and accuracy. The problem was, they often didn't tell anyone what they saw. Showing little interest of the people around them and lacked interest in anything, not even socializing with anyone around them. They avoided communication, eye contact, and any form of attachment. The ones that formed bonds with others often went insane, seeing all the terrible things that would happen to the people they cared about.
"You're telling me I won't go insane?" Aquadia didn't want to think about all the things that she could see
"Nope, because unlike those cuckoo puffs, you can turn it on and off." Craig nodded "You can choose what you want to see." He picked up a pen off the desk. "When a Psyche picks up this pen, they will automatically see when I bought it, where I bought it, how it was made, and when I'm going to throw it in the trash can. You, on the other hand, can choose if you want to see that. Or what parts of it you want to see."
"Careful, Craig, we still have to get her to open the power first."
Aquadia stepped into the hallways of the school, and it seemed like any other elementary school she's ever been to. Lockers lining the walls, posters of hand made messages and flyers for the teachers covering up the blank spaces, and the office for all complains needs in middle of the hall.
"Okay, Aquadia, this is the fun part." Pete said placing himself in front of Aquadia.
"What do you mean?" Aquadia looked around from side to side for clues.
"You're going to get your brand new powers." Alice said placing both hands on her shoulders.
Pete's hands started to glow with a faint shimmering ribbony white light. Aquadia's fight or flight response started to kick in as her breath quickened as he came closer and closer to touching her face. Alice's grip tightened.
"Pete, what are you doing?" Jack asked with an air of authorized caution.
"Don't be scared." Pete said as he gently placed his hands on her temples. She didn't feel anything initially as the energy touched her.
"What are you doing to her?" Avier demanded
That was the last thing she heard before the world just seemed to break away from itself. It was like the backdrop of the world was paused, fast forward and rewind at the same time.
Aquadia could see it all. She could physically see the events of time, all corners of the universe, and anything inbetween. It gave her a rush of emotion between overconfident, being carefree, and the greatest sensation of freedom. There was nothing her brain or her body couldn't do in that one moment with the greatest of ease, and right now she could see what happened in that school with clarity of being there. She had no wants, she had no needs. This kind of power made you just drop to your knees and forget everything, relax, and just giggle as you watched all of time unfold.
But there was something twitching inside her. What is this feeling? It was a rather unpleasant feeling. It didn't let her relax. What was it? Has she forgotten something? No...it was something else. It was a reason. She was here for a reason. But what was the reason?
Think, Aquadia, what was it? What is your reason for being here?
...wait. Where did the name Aquadia come form?
Kyron Hormon jumped out of the green minivan in the loading zone of the school. It was hour before school started. She followed Kyron out of the parking lot, down the hall to his locker, and watched him prep for class. His books fell out of his locker, and looked straight at her.
Something was wrong. Something extremely very not right. Knowledge flowed into her head against her will and made her realize that he shouldn't be able to see her. He was a ghost, an imprint of what has happened. She's not really in the moment of when this happened. She can't be.
She turned around as she felt pain and sickness flowing through her with the movements. She saw school kids running around in the halls, teachers running in and out of the office, overprotective parents saying goodbye to their kids. It all seemed so reasonable to her.
"What do you see, Kyron?" She whispered looking though the crowd of people. "What's wrong with this picture?"
The air suddenly chilled and rolled over like it was water. She looked up and around, expecting to see someone, but nothing bu the memory surrounded her. It was crazy. Someone was calling her name. Someone was screaming for Aquadia and directing it at her. For the first time, she felt confusion and fear in the timestream.
The world fell back into what it was the same way a bag of marbles hit the floor; scattered and everywhere, but still whole objects in a defined area. She could feel her skin beginning to boil and sweat coating her body. Her heart raced out her chest and she gasped for air. Alice put that grip on her to good use and led her outside. Every smell that passed under her nose disgusted her. Every sight made her had ache. Every inch of her felt disgusted and unclean. Aquadia leaned over the metal rail Alice had lead to and threw up. Alice then laid her down on the concrete and listened to Aquadia's heart. Aquadia wheezed and prayed that this would all be over soon as her stomach did another back flip.
"Your heart's beginning to slow down." Alice smiled. "You'll be fine."
"What was that?" Jack asked as Aquadia's breathing slowed down. The great thing about being able to control water is that you never need to ask for it, so Aquadia pulled some out of the fountain nearby and rinsed her mouth out as her stomach thought about pushing Aquadia's gag reflex.
"The punishment for looking into the timestream." Alice said. "You don't think you can look into what is all and forever and get away with it, do you?"
"Pete made her look into the timestream?" Jack astonishment came though as he stared at Pete
"Then why'd you tell her to do it?" Avier asked
"I'm not doing that again." Aquadia gasped
"I know. I wouldn't let you if you wanted to. But it gives us a great start to find this kid and some brand new abilities for you to use."
"Told you it was the fun part." Pete said
"New abilities?" Aquadia thought about what she had seen in the timestream. "What new abilities?"
"Aquadia." Alice propped her up against her, as Aquadia was still feeling the side effects of her body reeling from the time stream. "I want you to think about that forest. I want you to think about what would happen if we all got up and started searching that forest for Kyron."
"What?" Aquadia asked trying to get herself up by her own weight. "Didn't the cops already do that?"
"Yes, but you have to think about it for a minute." Alice said carefully. "Close your eyes and imagine. Think about what would happen if you made that choice to get up and go search the forest all day for Kyron."
Tiredness set in. She couldn't fight it, and she was feeling rather annoyed that Alice was asking something ridiculous. She just wanted to go home, so she sat there and imagined what Alice told her too. She thought about her getting up and everyone going to the forest to find Kyron.
And then she saw it. She physically saw, felt, and heard everything that she would have seen if she had gotten up. The twigs crunching under her feet, the sickness protesting as she kept walking, everyone shouting Kyron's name into the forest with no response. She talked and listened to the conversation that they would have had in that forest. Avier explained the timestream to Jack. Pete explained how he put the timestream in her head. Alice would help her the entire time to stave off the sickness. Jack carried her back home because she was running a fever and night had set in. She briefly would see flashes of the cops taking the same path as everyone would though the entire thing, protesters looking later in the same area, and tour guide talking about how Kyron went missing to a bunch of campers.
"Blasted Hell." Aquadia pulled herself forward and put her head between her knees. "Oh bloody Blasted Hell."
"Aqua." Avier bent down and put his hand her back. "You alright? What did you see?"
"I don't know if I'm alright." Aquadia said looking up. "But I just saw what the next six hours would look like if we went into the forest right there."
"You...what?" Jack asked getting down to eye level with Aquadia. "What do you mean?"
"I don't know what I mean." Aquadia said. "I just...I think I know what I saw? I don't know."
"It's alright." Alice told her. "You saw exactly what I told you to go and see."
"She saw the future?" Avier asked looking at Alice funny.
"A version of it." Alice said "A version of the future if we got up and went into the forest right when I asked her."
"Is it?" Pete asked stepping forward. "Aquadia, how did I put the timestream in your head?"
"You and Alice are timestream anomalies." Aquadia thought about what she saw. What she heard him say, or at the very least would have heard him say. "Because of the seal placed around the school spits in the face of the timestream, you two are soaked these pulling particles it as it tries to correct itself. Summoning a few up and throwing them at people isn't hard when you're a prog like you, but it's a bit more of a trick for Alice."
"Timestream? Like the timestream continuum? Like all of time?" Jack asked
"All of space time." Avier and Aquadia said. Aquadia stared at Avier with a blank dead look.
"The space-time continuum is a single continuum combining all of time and all of space for one specific affected area. Earth has one, Saturn has one, and the whole Milky Way can be considered one if you put it on a big enough scale. In a very simplistic sense, there is light and particles traveling away from the Sun and creating copies of every moment that's ever happened and spreading it through out space. Find the correct copy, and you just traveled to the past. Figure out what a future copy looks like, and you just saw the future." Her dead look extended to Jack. "You're confused, I know. Avier will try to explain using a water metaphor, but that's going to fail, and then he's just going to have to resort to using science fiction tv to explain, and then it'll work."
"Aqua, how do you know that?" Avier asked. "How do you know any of that?"
"You told Jack." Aquadia smiled. "I listened. I just repeated what you said. I saw the future."
"Repeated what I said?" Avier looked shocked and facinated "How can you repeat something I haven't said yet?"
"Because you did say it!" Aquadia groaned. "I saw it. I heard you explain it to Jack. Please, just accept it and move on."
"I think I have an idea." Jack said pulling out a piece of paper and a pencil. He wrote down something on it and placed it in his pocket. "If she can see the future, she can see me showing her later what I wrote down, right?"
Avier nodded. "So you have her jump into the future and tell you what she saw?"
"Yup." Jack smiled. "So, Aqua. What did I write down?"
Aquadia groaned and focused. There was going to be some useless conversation, some disbelief, and some of Avier's stubbornness. She groaned and watch Jack hold up the paper, fading in and out as the background changed from night and day. Her mind focused on the paper in his hand. She slowly read the flickering words over in her head until she snapped her eyes open and saw Jack standing there.
She created a solid ice ball in her hand the size of baseball and pitched it at Jack's head. And had he been something not a militas, it would have done something more then knock him over and give him a headache. He just started laughing.
"Aqua!" Pete shock lead him to slowly walk up to Jack as Alice quickly shifted over to check if Jack was seriously hurt.
"Check his pocket!" Aquadia barked as he laughed. "That 那妓女的儿子 pocket!"
Pete just kind stood there and traded looks with Alice, which led Avier to walk over and pull the piece of paper out of Jack's pocket.
"It says 'That scar between your breasts is kinda cute.'!"
Aquadia had dressed much more quickly then anyone ever should that morning, seeing as Alice had marched into her room and virtually ripped her out of her comfy bed. Not entirely knowing where and what she was doing, she simply threw on a pair of jeans with her white tank top she was already wearing. Of course, at just the right angle when she was glaring at him from being curled up in a ball, you can see a little more of Aquadia then she wanted to expose.
Avier opened the piece of paper, raised an eyebrow, and promptly kicked Jack in the face.
"Would you look at that." Avier said flipping the paper over to Alice and Pete "She's right."
"Oh, come on. I'm allowed to have a little fun, aren't I?" Jack asked while smiling up at Avier. It was the slightly sincere sort of smile that made a person want to kick them again.
"Okay, we have better things to do." Alice said pulling Jack up.
"You feeling okay?" Pete asked Aquadia. She shook her head, as the sickness seemed to level off at a slight feeling of having the flu.
"Lets get you home then." Aquadia nodded with the idea, and soon enough found herself on her bed curled up under the covers in her pajamas, quietly wishing to either get better or lay down and die already.
Between the sneezing, coughing, the monster headache, and a stomach that was convinced that it was an Olympic gymnast, all her senses were just a blurred and numbed. Which was exactly why she didn't notice Jack was sitting in the chair next to her bed until she rolled over to go to the bathroom for the tenth time.
"Hi Aqua." Jack smiled as Aquadia jumped and screeched something akin to the sound of stalling car breaks. "Hey, breathe."
"What...are...you doing here?" Aquadia asked as she got her breath back to some kind of useful. Her heart was smashing against her chest so hard, she was sure if she opened her mouth Jack could hear her heartbeat instead of her voice.
Memories of previous encounters of people sneaking into her bedroom usually involved sharp knifes or unregistered guns. Strangely she saw concern in those blue eyes, which opened up a whole new level of thought at the moment. She wasn't entirely sure if what she was feeling was her sickness or some kind of emotion. To be safe, she wrote it off as both and kept her guard up.
"I came to see if you're alright."
Huh. Okay. She thought Assassins don't usually sit and talk first. Don't talk any of his pills.
"In the creepiest way possible?" Aquadia shifting herself to sit against the wall.
"I came in here with Avier and brought you tea." He motioned to the mug on her desk. "You were asleep. I waited."
Sleep? She thought fighting back the confusion When did I sleep?
"No." She said heavy disbelief "I didn't sleep."
"What time is it then?"
"It's ten..." She looked over at the clock. "One thirty." She paused and processed. "Huh."
He grinned, and had he not totally invaded her room with what is now probably cold tea, she would have found it something that maybe, possibly, attractive. But then again, she's slightly delirious from being so sick. And he had totally snuck into her room. That was illegal somewhere, she was sure.
"AVIER!" Aquadia shouted as loud as she could. Which couldn't be very loud when it feels like there's a wet paper towel down her throat.
"Aqua?" Avier opened the door almost instantly. If it was one thing in the universe that she seemed to be able to rely on was Avier's distrust of everyone. "You okay?"
"You let him in here?" Aquadia motioned to Jack. "什么地狱的人吗？!"
"Believe it or not, you are actually fine." Avier groaned. "And he's the only one who can watch you, and make sure you don't fall over and die. I have to do interrogate Alice, Pete, and Mycroft. So Jack-" Avier's eyes narrowed. "Клянусь Emara, что если вы ей больно я буду придерживаться бомбу в кишечных трек и превратить вас в пудинг. Понимать?"
"Yup." Jack nodded. "Threat and order noted. Thanks."
"Aqua, drink the tea. It'll make you feel better." Avier groaned again and shut the door to Aquadia's surprise. She couldn't believe that he had approved this. But then this could all be a mass hallucination that was there to distract her from going to the bathroom.
Speaking of which, she waved Jack off and slugged herself over the bathroom and did whatever she the sickness was telling her she had to do. When she opened the door back into her room, he was standing right there with the little mug of tea.
Oh, why not. She thought taking the tea. Death has to be better then this.
"It's still warm." She commented after taking a sip. The heavenly taste of southern vanilla hit her nose and taste buds. Her favorite.
"Yup." He said helping the wobbly girl back to her bed. "No one said I've been here long."
"Thanks then." She said putting her back against the wall, facing Jack, legs pulled in, and mug of delicious safely held close for further drinking.
"No problem." Jack said taking his seat. "Tea's good?"
"Yeah, Avier said it was your favorite." He awkwardly smiled. That, she was sure, was cute. "So how was the timestream?"
"Wonderful." She groaned. "I was as great as I am sick right now. It was so freeing. So much...time."
"Ah, I see." He nodded. He looked at her, and she could see the wheels turning in his head.
"What?" She asked taking another drink of her tea.
"I was just thinking."
"I noticed that." She reached for tissue to blow her nose. "What about? Not often the wheels of a militas gets to turn."
"Hey, it was deep philosophical thought, thanks." Jack protested, which made Aquadia raise an eyebrow.
"Then speak, oh enlightened one."
"I was thinking what you'd be like in Goddess Mode." He smiled dreamily. "Ya know, all made of light and beautiful and stuff. Not that you're not already beautiful."
The tea stirred around in her stomach and mind focused."You think I'm-" She stopped herself and took another sip. "You're only saying that because of that blasted tattoo. Win the favor of the powerful god-creature in the room and the government will think twice about taking a sword to your neck in the middle of Kingdom Square." She looked down at her half filled mug and avoided his gaze.
He was cute, okay, sure, she can own up to that. Charming, okay. Also a convicted felon. Sociopaths have those qualities plus some, which really sucked, considering.
"Can't just take a compliment, can you?" Jack watched her relax a bit start to lean to one side.
"Sorry." She shrugged. "Did Avier ever tell you how many times someone has tried to kill me?"
"Nope." Jack took the empty cup from her and placed back on the desk. "I figured it was about a dozen."
"Six times. Exactly six time." She felt herself getting drowsy. "The first time, it started out as them gathering information." She yawned and refocused her attention on Jack, trying to kick her brain into high gear. "A guy. My age. He said such nice things and was more of a charmer then you."
"And he tried to kill you?" Jack noticed her head bobbing forward in an effort to keep herself awake. He pulled the covers over and helped Aquadia get under them. "He stabbed me in the neck with a syringe hoping to force an air bubble into my system would kill me." She yawned again laying down on the pillow. "There I was, with a syringe the size of my thumb in my neck, with the guy I liked saying that it was pity that I was so pretty." Her voice started to struggle to keep a sound. "So I'm sorry if I can't take a compliment. I don't mean to be terrible."
"No problem." Jack whispered pulling the covers over her. "I still think your beautiful, if you take away the bedhead and the icky sickness and the unflattering pajamas."
"That's much better, thanks." Her eyes grew heavy.
"You really think I'm beautiful?"
"Yep." She could see him grin in that subtly attractive way.
"Then what did you put in my tea?" She was losing the fight with sleep. She didn't know how to write this off as a good or bad thing.
"Cold medicine that Avier brewed up." Jack sat back in his chair. "Don't worry, it's fly...flex..."
"Floax." She tried to groan as she realized the bed was really really comfortable. "Jerks."
"Yup." Jack crossed his arms. "Get some sleep, beautiful."
Darkness swallowed her whole. Admittedly, chemically induced sleep felt a lot better then being conscience and sick. But it didn't stop the timestream, wait no, the leftovers of the timestream from invading her dream space. She could feel the beautiful wisps of it swirl around her, popping in and out of existence. She could feel them soaking into her bones and mixing with body.
Human bodies weren't meant for this. her thoughts told her.
You're not human.
But you have a bright future.
You'll feel every emotion under the sun and experience many things.
And Jack? He's rather vital.
You're going to need him.
In how many ways? Well, that's up to you.
"Aquadia?" Jack asked. He was suddenly standing next to her. She didn't know what to make of this.
"We have to find Kyron."
"I know." She said. "I just don't know where to start."
"Go ask the parents." Baysil's voice came out of nowhere, with him walking up next to her. "He has a mom, dad, and a step-mom. One of them should know something."
"Reading the case file wouldn't hurt either." Jack leaned over and commented.
"Reading the case file wouldn't hurt." Baysil mocked.
"Children, play nice." Aquadia split her glare between the two of them. "But if we are going to act like that, why in the world did you send him?"
"We all make mistakes." Baysil shrugged.
"Was this mistake named Jack Daniel?" Aquadia turned to face her brother, arms crossed
"No!" Baysil face forward, avoiding looking at his sister. "His name was Jim Beam."
"Of course it was." Aquadia sighed. "Who gave it to you?"
"I couldn't have bought it myself?"
There was a silence as Aquadia stood there looking at her brother. It wasn't awkward, it was defiant, and spoke volumes of Aquadia's argument. "You haven't bought anything -"
"I don't remember, okay?" Baysil cracked and finally faced his sister. "It was a crazy afternoon and vaguely remember that she was pretty."
"She. Okay." Aquadia sighed and looked over at Jack. "Care to shed some light on this?"
"She was pretty." Jack shrugged.
"Oh?" She raised an eyebrow and watched his face.
"Nothing else you care to add?"
"Huh." She turned back to her brother. "So you really sent him?"
"Yeah." He groaned. "You know that he's-"
"Know that too." He raised a hand to stop her words.
"And I'm suppose to trust him."
"'Parently." He glared at Jack, who towered over Aquadia quite bit. "But if you hurt her-"
"Avier already said this bit, thanks."
"Did he tell you what I can do with a stalk of celery and twelve volt battery?"
"Sounds like a fun time."
"Not if you're the stalk of celery." Aquadia said without a hit of emotion or sarcasm. She had seen her brother pull that trick before on someone who had tried to kill her. She took a deep breath and looked into the sober eyes of her brother. They were cold, locked, and calculating. She wondered when the last time he had a drink was.
"We have to find Kyron." She waved it off and looked at her hands. She was sparkling with blue and white light, but the wisps were gone.
"You look like a -" Aquadia immediately slugged Jack in arm before he could complete that sentence.
"Not a word."
"But-" Aquadia punched Jack in the arm again.
"That was a word." She looked up and glared at Jack
"Kyron?" Jack said apprehensively. Aquadia waited for the rest of the sentence. "He had to be taken, right? I mean, kids don't just up and vanish on their own."
"Sometimes they do." Baysil touched Aquadia's shoulder, which she released her glare and relaxed a bit. "But not this one. When kids disappear on their own, they'll be in the area of when they were last seen. They don't wander too far."
"He wasn't anywhere, was he?" Aquadia asked quietly as she turned to Baysil
"Nope." Jack shook his head. "But then again, we wouldn't be here if he was, right?"
She groaned and started pacing around. Besides sparkling like a disco ball or taking a glitter bath after taking a questionable night out, she felt good. Her joints didn't hurt, her stomach didn't turn, her voice wasn't scratchy, and her head felt clear. It wasn't so bad when you felt like you had been tumbling in a washing machine a moment ago, but it does throw your head for a loop when it happens. Her body did expects these things to happen gradually, not for it to happen in spikes. But then again, in dreamland, your body wasn't really there. Her head still felt funny, though.
"Hey, Jack..." She looked up only see her brother. "Jack?"
"You're not sparkling anymore, Amy." Baysil said flatly. She looked down at her hands. They were the same pale flesh at they normally were. Maybe it was the timestream talking, but she knew she didn't have much longer.
"Nice seeing you again, sis." Baysil smiled. His sober smile was so much...sadder. It wasn't as dorky as she remembered. "Take care of yourself. Mom and Dad say hi. Rose says 'hurry up' and Tyler just wants Rose to shut up."
"Ah. I'm working on it." She groaned. "Always about her, isn't it?"
"Always." He was still smiling. "You were going to ask Jack something?"
"Jack..." She sighed "Later."
"Later." She was rather groggy when she opened her eyes.
Light poured into her open eyes and it made her head spin coming off the Floax. She was better then she was before she went under though, so there's a plus. Problem was that Floax can put you out for a few minutes to a few years.
"...Jack?" She groaned out looking around the room. There was a chair, a desk, a mug. A good sign it was still the same year. Possibly the same day, assuming that someone would move something from the last time she was conscience. "Jack?"
It wasn't until she completely pushed herself up did she realize that she was staring down the barrel of a Glock .22 prepared to put an end to her right then and there.