“Chloe?” that voice tugged at my heart as the figure of Jon and a stranger emerged from the shadows. Maria and Lena were behind them, both of them almost out of breath.
“Jon!” James exclaimed in happiness, he let go of my hand and extended it toward Jon. I stood and took some steps away, my eyes holding Jon’s gaze. I watched, with numbness overriding happiness, as he made his way toward James and knelt down beside him. His eyes were solely on his foster parent and guardian; he took his hands with both of his and kissed them. “Jon, I am glad you are here, safe.”
“James, I’m so sorry for making you wait and suffer pain…” Jon’s voice was barely audible to the rest of us, but a sigh of life to James’s ears. Yuuki landed beside; there was a look of recognition and wariness toward Jon and an immense curiosity toward the new cyborg.
“Hey Chloe, looks who’s back,” Yuuki said, “and he brought a cyborg along with him. I suppose he is on our side now?”
Jon looked up, straight to my eyes. “Welcome,” I spoke softly and turned my back on him, holding the tears back. The new cyborg stretched out his hand to me and I saw in his eyes a glint of sudden recognition.
“Captain Nikolaus,” he said, shaking my hand earnestly, “glad to finally meet up with all the rest of the cyborgs.”
“Welcome to the cause sir,” I replied. I looked at the rest of the team. “Well, for those of you who ignore the plan, we’ve just locked down Arweth’s army inside the abandoned military base camp. We discovered the insurgency is lead by a group of androids formerly under his command; apparently Arweth did and said something to annoy them. Tomorrow we will detain the androids of further advancement into the city and we will try to reason with them. They want Arweth and will go to all means to get him, including the extermination of the human beings inside the city’s wall.”
“Her name is Lilly,” Jon said. “She is the cyborg leading the rest of the group to revolt against humankind, last night she and her kinship left their camp in the middle of the desert and my supposition is that they’re heading toward this place…”
“You were there last night,” Yuuki whispered on my ear. I nodded and wondered what made him come back to us… to me?
“That being said, we better go back to our campsite,” I said wearily, as I stooped and scooped Charles unconscious body in my arms.
We sprinted and jumped from building to building until we reached the terrace of a two-story building, Lena opened the door to allow us inside the scantily furnished room. She immediately prepared the two lonely beds to accommodate the two scientists. Micah started the fireplace downstairs to cook some food..
“I found some alcohol,” Maria emerged from the restroom with a half-empty bottle of alcohol and a handful of cotton balls.
Jon exited the room, followed by Yuuki who was asking him endless questions about his whereabouts and change in mind. We were finally left alone.
“Is he your friend?” Maria asked with a warm expression in her face. “You seem to recognize him right away.”
“Yeah, he is,” I mumbled. “Our guardians knew each other; Charles invited James and his son to stay at our home until their project was finished…”
“I am glad he joined us,” Maria sighed, “he would’ve been a very dangerous enemy.”
I agreed. After healing and bandaging the two scientists, we descended the stairs to found the others in a circle, heartily eating and drinking.
“A German soldier, eh?” Declan asked amazed, and then turned his face to me, “I’m not much of a historian myself, but weren’t Germany and Britain opposing powers?”
“They were,” I replied, “but what does it matter now? It has been more than a century ago.”
“I was just saying,” Declan shrugged. There was an extra meaning to his words. I scowled and silent him with my cold gaze.
I sat opposite to Jon and watched him silently drinking of his soup and engaged in a conversation with Yuuki and Jandrain.
“You were very brave,” Nikolaus told me softly, “to go after him and follow him into the android’s camp.”
“I had to do what’s correct to end this,” I replied, unable to tear my eyes away from Jon. “All turned out all right in the end.”
“He left the androids to look for you.”
Warmth invaded my heart as it hammered inside my chest. Half robotically engineered, half nature’s creation, which was stronger? “I need some fresh air,” I practically choked in my words as I stood up and made my way outside the house. The night air filled my lungs and renewed my energies.
I turned abruptly to face Jon, who had just emerged from inside the house. His expression and demeanor were uncertain and almost shy as he stood before me, shifting his weight on his good leg.
“What happened there?” I asked, moving sideways to stand beside him.
“Lilly,” he replied. “Nikolaus kind of fixed it.”
“Glad he found you in time,” I looked up to him with friendly eyes, in hope that words weren’t needed to express my feelings.
“Chloe, I’m so sorry I acted like a fool,” Jon said. “I wasn’t thinking clearly and I truly abhor what I’d become, I don’t want you to see me as the beast I was…”
“I never saw you as a beast,” I said softly, “you’re my best friend…”
He smiled and came closer; his hand in search of mine. The wall beside us exploded, sending debris and big chunks of concrete and steel flying everywhere. Jon wrapped his arms around me and pulled me away. My heart was caught in fear at the thought that we were under attack.
Nikolaus had been blasted through the wall and was now lying on the ground, shaking his head. Declan emerged from the hole.
Declan, what the hell is wrong with you?” I asked.
“He insulted the British navy, my nation, your nation!” Declan shouted, “I wasn’t letting him go away with it.”
Nikolaus sneered, “insulted is a harsh word, I only commented their naval forces in the battle…”
“Can you please stop this? We have something more important to do than discuss about the past,” I retorted, “It is gone, live in the present.”
“Out of my way Chloe or I’ll hurt you too,” Declan warned.
“I’ll like to see you try,” I interjected, placing both my hands on each side of my hip. Fights among us would be the end of us.