Fields of flowers stretched before my eyes, wavering in a warm breeze. Fifty meters away sat medium sized wooden house and barn, horses playing in their pastures. Trees guarded the perimeter creating the calming scent of pine and oak. Birds soared through the azure sky, heralding the coming of summer.
"What are you doing?" a silky voice giggled. I turned to the right to see my sister sitting in the flowers, her yellow sun dress making her glimmer like a diamond. It was Alena, I gave her a calm smile and sat next to her. Everything was perfect.
"Little Ally, I am enjoying the beauty of the fatherland that we have been bestowed." Then quietly I added, "Before I have to leave." Alena hugged me tightly and gave me a kiss on the cheek before standing.
"Don't worry big brother, I will always love you not matter where you go. We'll see each other again! Promise?" She held out a hand to help me up. My stomach knotted up as I replied.
"Promise." As the words left my lips everything changed. Fire was now tearing up the fields. The horses lay dead, bullet holes pumping blood onto the dead flowers. What had once been my home was now ashes. I shouted for Alena but she had gone.
"Kid...KID...Hey Wake up!" I jumped awake, realizing I was no longer in Germany. No longer in the same century. All the memories of the war in Gendarnium rushing through my head like a cascade of water. My breathing slowed as I looked to where I was. The room was small and disorganized, it looked a lot like an old workshop. Tools lay abandoned on an old table, a glimmer of crimson liquid reflecting in the light. The sound of the gunshot filled my ears as I looked at my thigh, fearing the worst. The wound in my leg was bandaged well with gauze, nothing had been replaced.
"Don't worry, I didn't have to amputate. You're lucky I found you when I did, else you'd have died." My gaze sharply fell upon the voice's owner. My eye's cybernetics immediately identified that the man's entire lower body was cybernetic along with his left hand. Another cyborg? They were all supposed to be in Arcadia. I swung my legs over the side of the bed.
"You should have left me there to die...it would have been better for everyone." My voice had lost all it's confidence and determination, I was just a shell.
"That's not how a soldier of Germany should speak." I gasped, how did he know? As if reading my mind the man stepped from the shadows and flicked a light switch. Piercing blue eyes and a sharp jawline encompassed his most distinguishable features.
"Nikolaus," he grinned, shaking my hand "I am a son of the fatherland too. A captain in her glorious army. " Nikolaus pulled back his sleeve revealing the same eagle that I bore on my shoulder. Pulling a chair up next to the bed, he sat looking at me intently. "Now I know you wanted to die but from what I heard you say, at least before you passed out...there are people you care about." I looked to the dusty floor. "Why aren't you with them now?" A lump caught in my throat, making my voice weak.
"I...I'm a cyborg...I guess I just made some bad choices and..." I sighed "I hurt too many people for anyone to ever forgive me. I never intended to get shot but I figured that if I were dead, Chloe could find a better man and James could find a better son."
"Why?" Nikolaus asked. Question of my life. I recounted my tale from the flashbacks, my first meeting with Chloe, and when we found out that we were not completely human. Throughout the story, Nikolaus took in every word silently watching. As I neared the end where I last saw Chloe, my eyes teared up and my voice chocked. I took a few deep breaths and continued to where I had fallen in the park hoping to die and repenting for all my sins.
"And that's where you found me." I fell quiet, fidgeting with cybernetics as I waited for my fellow German's verdict. Nikolaus let out a whistle and leaned back in his seat.
"Jon, I don't know how you're so blind to it. You think after all of what you've been through that death is the way out." He shook his head. "Listen Jon, everything you have told me shows one thing very clearly. James and Chloe love you very much, why would Chloe abandon her captors and risk her life? Why would she plead with you, in enemy territory, to come with her? She never tried to hurt you and neither did James. Sure on a few occasions their hands were forced but that's also the problem with the androids.
Humanity forced their hand and what did they do? The only thing the could, they responded with violence because it would catch humanity unaware. The androids wanted to send out a message. It's just like your protest against Lilly, you were sending a message. Now the cyborgs are out-gunned, out-numbered, and short on friends. Will you let your family and friends suffer at the hands of tyrants while you sit on the sidelines? Would you become the traitor you fear and sit here doing nothing? Jon?" My mind reeled from everything Nikolaus had told me, it hurt realizing how blind and careless I was. But even more, it hurt to know that I wasn't helping. I shut my eyes and settled my mind.
"I never intended to become that monster I was, mindless and consumed with rage. Now I see that, but I cannot leave my friends to die while I sit here. I would rather die fighting at their side than to stand before their graves and wish I could have done something." I stood. "We have to go and find them!" Nikolaus placed a hand on my shoulder and gave me a nod of approval.
"Do you know where they would be?" I thought hard, remembering the map room in the androids compound. Arcadia!
"Arcadia, there's a military base and a power plant. Both Arweth and Lilly will be gunning for the power plant. Neither side can last this war without it."
"Good, there's an old Mag-Lev transport in the back of this workshop. It will get us withing running distance of base. Come on." Nikolaus led me through the abandoned building, into and out of dusty rooms. Finally in the last room was an amber colored Mag-Lev transport system. Hang on James, Chloe. I'm coming. I just hoped that I'd reach them in time.
After a few moments we were on the corner of a street, ten blocks from the base. As we started forward all the electricity surged then shut down. Did the androids already have control of the facility? I began sprinting, my legs carrying me faster and faster. Nikolaus only being a few years older than me kept pace. Suddenly three figures appeared in the darkness. I slowed my pace to a walk, Nikolaus walking at my side. My ears picked up an all too familiar voice.
"Where’s Jon?" It was James, he sounded fearful and anxious. The second figure shook her head and squeezed James's hand.
"I’m sorry James, but he…" She stopped and looked in my direction. I stopped, unsure if I should continue.
"Chloe?" I asked uneasily, remembering how disgusted she had been with me during our last encounter. She stood from Dr. Greenwood's side, her expression covered by the darkness.