Seven’s face paled. Murderer, a voice echoed in his head. He shivered.
“Perk up, kid. No need to be scared. No one there’d mess with Hime. He’s got connections,” Sven said as he slapped Seven on the back. “Here let me help you up.” He grabbed hold of Seven’s wrist and pulled hard. Seven was launched a couple of feet, and he stumbled to regain his balance.
“Connections?” Seven said.
“Ever heard of Ahmed Mubai?” Josem asked. Seven shook his head. “Major crime lord. King of the Camellia House Mafia Group. Owes Hime here a favor.”
“And I was hoping I wouldn’t have to use it. The man’s mad. Never know how breathe around him. More trouble than he’s worth. Ug, I’ve been avoiding India for years simply because of him. Let’s move. We still have to get to our launch point by dark. Here kid, put these on. It’s going to be a long walk.” He threw over a heavy coat and a pair of thick boots before marching off. The people around him began to move.
“Launch point?” Seven whispered to Sven as he quickly slipped on the rather over-sized, but very warm boots and coat. He hurried a little to catch up to the group.
“Where we stowed our bird. Couldn’t get too close to Pandora without them noticing it, even with all the crazy roat mods Mevin managed to cram onto it.”
“What kind of mods?”
“Stuff like nitro, jet turbine, sick autopilot and navigation system, lots and lots of guns, a stealth cloak, super roat by the way. Way lot of other stuff I don’t know the technical terms to, but hey, Mevin even put in a jecking roat theater. That surround sound. It’ll blow you away, that’s for sure. But my all time favorite is the endless espresso machine,” Sven grinned.
Josem snorted at him. “Of course it would be.”
“Don’t make fun of it, you jecking roat. It’s the only thing that gets me going in the mornings.”
“More like the only thing to get you over a hangover. I know how much you drink at night. I’m surprised you haven’t keeled over yet.”
“You’re just a light weight.” The two continued to bicker as their pace slightly increased. They seemed to have forgotten Seven in their argument.
Seven’s own pace slowed. Was it really alright to go with these people? A sense of apprehension flooded over him. He had been so focused on trying to find a way to leave Pandora that he hadn’t considered why these people had helped him. What was their reason for doing so? There was no way that it was just out of kindness.
He realized then that his whole life had been centered around people who always had an ulterior motive. If, by some chance, these people were really acting out of goodwill, he wasn’t sure if he knew how to deal with it. On the other hand, he was scared that he might have once again put his trust in someone bent on trying to use him.
A hand touched his shoulder. He jumped slightly, then turned and looked up at the tan female face staring at him. She had a strong but silent aura about her, with a heavy gaze that seemed to look into every corner of him. He shook slightly under its load. She blinked, and the feeling of weight behind her gaze disappeared. Then, she slowly nodded, making it seem like she approved of whatever she had seen. She looked away as she moved on ahead.
“That’s Heva,” a voice said. Seven turn towards it. A man with kind eyes stared back. “She’s a quiet one, but everyone trusts her more than just about anyone. I’m Caleb. This all must be overwhelming to you.” Seven nodded slightly. “Don’t worry about Lex. He’s a good guy. You made the right call getting a hold of him. He’d go through just about anything to help out a kid. You don’t have to look so surprised. It’s just the type of man he is. If it’s alright, can I ask your story?”
“My story?” Seven stumbled over a hidden rock in the snow as he walked. Caleb reached over and steadied him.
“That might be a bit too much to ask all at once. Let’s start with a simpler question. What’s your name?”
“I don’t really have one,” Seven said. Caleb raised an eyebrow in question, and the group grew quiet. Seven could tell that while most of the others had their backs towards him as they all marched, they where all listening intently to what he was saying. It was a little unnerving to have so many people interested in what he had to say.
“I mean. I kind of have a name, but it’s more of a number. Number 7. I’ve always been Seven.” The air grew tense, and Seven was afraid he had said something wrong. “I’m sorry,” he said quickly, “I didn’t mean-”
“Kid, they’re not angry with you. You did nothing wrong, so don’t apologize. Your story might be a hard one for them to hear. It makes all of us angry to hear about those who abuse children. Pandora is… it’s not a nice place. Just know that their anger is not directed at you. Can you still go on?” Caleb said.
“Yes. I can try. But, I’m not really sure what to say.”
“How old are you, then?”
“Four. Almost five. Well, in a couple of months anyway.” Caleb choked and began coughing.
“Did you say four? You can’t be less than eleven years old. Kid, why are you lying?” A man walking behind them said.
“Blick, shut up. You can tell from his face he’s not lying. Let him speak. Don’t mind him. My name’s Tegan. Can I call you Seven? You said you were four? How does that work?”
“Um, yeah. You can call me Seven. It-it’d really be easier just to show you. I have a couple of data files that explain it. They’re about Project Whitehill. I wish I had them more in depth. They’re only surface files, so they don’t explain all the in depth stuff.” Seven pulled up his blue screen and sent the files to every meta-link in the vicinity. “Here.”
The group froze.
“You. How?” Tegan said.