Chapter 1 – Page 2

Alicia’s clones grew fast, both in body and in mind. By the time Number 7 was two years old, Pandora found that he his body and mentality were several years older. It was at this time that he started to take notice of the world. He was a very quiet child. He preferred watching others and would sit very still when any examinations were done. It, quite frankly, unnerved the doctors.

Even when Seven was very young, he hardly ever made a sound, unlike his sibling clones. It almost seemed as if each one were noisier than the last. It got to the point where Number 5 once cried for four days straight, nearly driving everyone in the complex mad. Having gotten used to loud infants, Number 7 was… unnerving, to say the least.

All of Alicia’s clones had similar coloring to her, extremely pale skin, white hair,watery blue eyes. Except Seven. He had a set of bright green eyes. Julia Parkins, the resident secretary and personal assistant of the Director of Pandora, was often jealous of those eyes that reminded her of emeralds. They seemed to swallow everything into a world of his own making.

It was also at this time that strange things began to happen around him, things that Pandora could have never predicted. It was first noticed by Doctor Johan Hektate, the lead scientist overseeing the conspicuously named Whitehill Project, when he found Seven in the morgue where Pandora stored the preserved bodies of Alicia and her clones.

When relating the incident later, Dr. Hektate said he had been walking past the morgue when he heard voices. Finding it strange, he opened the door to find Number 7 standing in the middle of the room talking to himself.

“Seven,” Hektate said, “What are you doing here? In the first place, how did you even get out? Your room is always locked. It should have been impossible for you to… how?” He stared at Seven, who seemed momentarily startled before a strange gleam appeared in his eyes. All of a sudden, he darted over to Dr. Hektate and pulled on his sleeve, leading him further into the morgue.

“Jo! Jo, look, look, look! I found them!” Seven spoke as excitedly pointed his small finger at the dimly lit, glowing tubes of liquid. “That’s Mama isn’t it? They’re here like they said they were!”

At first, Hektate was surprised. He had never seen Seven act this way. The boy was a dull child. There were a few that even speculated whether or not he was mentally disabled. To hear more than one word out of him at a time was as rare as finding diamonds on the side of the road.

Only after his initial surprise passed did Seven’s words register. Confusion filled Hektate’s eyes. Where had Seven learned about Alicia? This breach in information highly concerned him. He would very quickly need to plug this breach. If Seven was able to find out such things, then who knows who else it might have leaked to.

“Seven, who told you about your mama?”

“They did,” Seven stated simply. Hektate’s brows wrinkled.

“Who is they?” Seven looked at the doctor like he was stupid.

“They did,” Seven said again, this time emphasizing it with the point of index finger. Hektate’s followed the direction he was pointing. He found himself looking at the bodies peacefully floating in the vats of yellowish-green liquid.

Hektate shuddered quite forcefully.

“You mean t-them?”

Seven was exasperated. Who else could he have meant? Carefully studying the boy, Hektate felt a bit silly. He let what Seven said shake him up, and now, he was annoyed at himself for it.

“Explain. How did they tell you?”

Number 7 paused for a moment, as if debating whether or not to tell the doctor.

“I found Two first,” he paused once more before continuing. “She’s really nice to me and talks to me the most. Then I met Five and Three and Four and One and Six. Six, he’s the one that told me about this room. Two helped me find it.”

Hektate was quiet. His mind swiftly calculated the possibilities that arose from Seven’s words. His eyes lit up when he settled on a conclusion. Number 7 was watching him during this, watching the changes in his expression as his thoughts ran. When Seven saw that sparkle, the corners of his mouth pulled up slightly. He took a deep breath and asked the question that had been burning through his veins.

“Jo, why didn’t anyone tell me about them? Why didn’t anyone tell me about my Mom and brothers and sisters?”

“They’re dead. That’s the only reason. Who cares about dead people,” Dr. Hektate said in a distracted manner. His mind was obviously elsewhere. Seven’s heart frosted over. His fingernails dug sharply into his small hands. A dark look passed over his eyes.

All of a sudden an alarm sounded and green lights began to flash, swiveling like search lights hanging from the ceiling. Both of them started. Dr. Hektate sighed in relief when he noticed the color that was flashing. Threat level green was a low level threat, an internal problem that was usually of an inconsequential nature.

A second later his old fashioned comm crackled to life. He refused to use any of the updated meta-links. Having something inserted into his brain was just asking for the government to come digging. Julia was the only one who put up with it. As such, she was the only one who ever talked to him over the old thing.

“Dr. Hektate, I was told to inform you of the current situation.”

“Green, huh? I think I know the reason. But go ahead and tell me, Julia.”

He motioned at Seven to not move anywhere and stood blatantly in front of the morgue door. Seven’s face grew grumpy. Clearly, Dr. Hektate was not allowing him to go anywhere.

Seven turned and stared at the glowing tubes. A sad expression flitted across his face. He wished he could stay here for just a bit longer.

 

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