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Chapter OneEdit

Arriving at the EndEdit

The punch was like being hit by a truck, slamming into his face with an explosive force that left thousands of tiny stars dancing before his eyes in near blinding fireworks. Impaired and disoriented, the ground quickly rose up to cushion his fall, hard concert connecting with the sides of his cranium as colors seemed to merge and light erupted in his vision.

Pain, no thoughts, no comprehension, no understanding. All conscious thought revolved around the here, now and most especially the torment of his screaming nerves.

Agony was too much to bear and for a second his stomach roiled and threatened to release its contents but still he tasted only the sting of cooper in his mouth. It wasn't until the warm, oddly dripping drool began to seep from his lips and the crunch of something hard against his cheek did he realize several teeth had been knocked from his jaw.

“Stupid bastard!” Another kick in the face and the crack of bone resounding in the air. Blood splattered back into his eyes as his broken nose bled profusely.

“What are you going do, freak!” A different voice laughed, egging his attacker on like a baiting Hyena. “Hit him again! Hit him harder!”

The kick landed hard into his ribs, taking his breath away as the skin that had taken the blow began to bleed and bruise. He cried out, an involuntary reaction as all the air in his lungs escaped at once and his shout only seemed to encourage another strike.

“What? You like that don’t you?” someone chirped as he was struck in the chest.

He could barely notice, his breathing was ragged and the throbbing burn through his whole body was intense. He wanted it to just end already, no matter what it was the pain he was feeling through his whole body was too much to comprehend…

~8~

This is the final announcement for passengers disembarking at Ellis Island rail station,” a monotone, almost pre-recorded overhead voice echoed through the car, “the train will be coming to a stop momentarily.”

He rolled his head, trying to wipe the sleep that stung at his eyes and squint into the bright overhead lights. A glance at his watch told him it was almost three a.m., nineteen hours on this godforsaken train and it wasn’t until the last five hours he had finally managed some sleep.

Just freaking perfect, Riley thought to himself, rising up to grab the bag under his seat and make his way into the aisle, only to have to wait as a crowd of passengers had already formed in front of him.

Most of them were like him, tired, yawning, fighting sleep back as they gathered up the single carry-on they had been allowed and waiting for the train to deliver them to the destination they had all been avidly waiting for since they boarded.

“All those disembarking to Ellis Island station must have their passports, travel papers and residency cards ready for inspection by the conductor once you’re off,” a towering man in a train company uniform shouted over the assembled group, so loud that a few of the passengers who weren’t getting off at this station flinched awake. “Anyone without proper papers can be detained indefinitely until return transit can be made ready.”

The squeal of brakes screamed over him for a second as the momentum tried to pull their bodies a little farther, forcing them to firmly plant their feet onto the tacky industrial carpet or hang onto whatever handholds were within reaching distance. The hanging glow of the night time moon disappeared as the train pulled into a brightly lit station, an arching ceiling seemed to swallow up their train and lose it in the sea of other arriving locomotives.

Ellis Island!” the towering conductor shouted into their car. “Ellis Island! All those with tickets may now disembark, please watch your step.”

The crowd began to push and no matter how many times he tried to watch his step he still found himself being jostled and pushed onto the waiting platform. Even if it was still the dead of night the terminal was a beehive of activity, groups of people going too and fro, flatbeds loaded with luggage being pulled in every which direction and the sound of a dozen different languages all filled the air.

Among other things that were not so visual or vocal but just as loud and jarring. Even now he was starting to get a headache from all the sounds surrounding him. It was just going to get worse and louder as he settled in.

The station was not a quiet place by a long shot and and it wasn't just the noise his ears could hear…

Should I buy the red one or the blue one?

When is the weekend going to be here already?

I can’t believe he cheated on me.

The thoughts were just random but no matter what he tried he always heard them, loud to him as words. That was the burden of being a telepath, other people’s minds were an open book to him whether he wanted to read them or not.

And he did not.

A conductor began to break up the group of passengers, directing some who already had active resident cards off to gather up their bags and head off, while the rest of them were huddled together and directed up the imposing stairs that dominated the far wall of the station.

First test, he thought to himself.

He knew from all the stories he had heard back home that this was where many new arrivals to Ellis Island lost out first. Three white coat doctors stood between the four doors at the top of the steps, each one holding a clipboard and a scowl that could make your blood curdle. This of course was matched by the dozens or so security guards that backed them up, just itching for an excuse to exert some sort of authority.

They were charged with weeding out the most notable ailments among the arrivals, the ones that limped, or held old injuries a little too tightly or coughed a little too loudly. They didn’t need the sick or infirm spreading something into the city, not when it could be prevented.

He held his breath, hoping that he wasn’t hurriedly lead away by some young orderly looking to instantly please his superior. He payed attention to the stairs, hoping not to trip and bring attention to himself... But quickly stopped since they’d think he was hiding something...

Through the doorway he made it with an intense sigh of relief at his fortune, yet others were not too lucky. One man, Riley remember he had been hacking something badly since he had boarded the train in Cleveland, was slightly taken by the arm and though he protested loudly, the young man in white scrubs never made a sound as he lead him away.

“Die Ankommen vom Bundesrepublik Deutschland Gestell in dieser Linie!” a translator called out in German, ushering a few who acknowledge him into one line.

Another quickly matched him in French, even if he had only a few lessons he could still pick up the gist of what the woman was saying as she waved a few people towards her.

“Ces arriver des territoires français du Royaume-Uni s'il vous plaît position dans cette ligne!” she smiled as a few older women gratefully hugged and thanked her for the simple fact she spoke something they could finally understand after being stuck on their train for so long.

But a few of the words that went into the air were in no way any language Riley knew, or for that matter most humans.

The hooting and bleating sounds of two Sasquatches rang out, both of them carrying some kind of leather satchel on their furred shoulders as they filed into line before a Human interpreter that was a good three feet shorter than the both of them.

Behind them a group of Vampires marched by, all dressed in black robes and as white as the glow of a full moon, following the rapid hand motions of their guide with almost predatory interest.

“All those arriving from the continental United Territories of America please stand in this line!” his head finally snapped back to reality as a burly man in a navy blue officer’s uniform waved them forward.

He was pleasantly surprised when it was only himself and a few others that gathered into a haphazard line, considering the load of train passengers he had arrived with had been several times larger. But considering the moment he had boarded he had been locked into his car without any chance to explore, he wasn’t surprised he had overestimated the number of travelers.

Next came the medical inspections, though it was far from any doctor’s visit he had been to as a child. He was forced to toss his bags onto a waiting table with five other men, told to strip down to his underwear and left to stand there in line as one doctor with an incredibly sour expression looked them over with nothing short of sharp grabs and forceful turns.

Lights were flashed into his eyes, gauging his pupil reactions, looking for signs of infection, trying to see if he was trying to shirk away for fear of something being discovered that had made it through the initial inspections. Skin was pricked and poked, a few times he was left with nasty stinging needle points in his arms, where only tiny dots of blood could collect.

By far it was the worse time of his entire life, being treated more as annoyance then a patient. And the questions were even worse. What had you eaten today? When was the last time you used the bathroom? Drank any unfiltered water? Visited a brothel or whorehouse? Last time you had sexual intercourse? Ever had sex outside your species?

He tried not to balk at any of them, that would have just been the one and only strike he needed to be handed his clothes and bag before being very quickly and none too lightly sent back on the next train out.

But he had to offer up his darkest secrets. No one could afford to let in someone carrying a deadly disease, mental illness or fatal allergy that could possibly endanger themselves or the rest of the city.

Honesty would get him everywhere... Dishonesty would land him in bigger trouble then just deportation.

No, Three-hours ago. Never. Never. Two-years ago... Absolutely never! were his answers. Though it ashamed him to no degree his answers seemed to suffice, though that didn’t mean the doctor gave him any clear hint of the fact. However two men, who seemed to be holding their arms across their stomachs too tightly, suddenly found themselves being escorted out of the room for the most dreaded words of all.

Quarantine.

They wouldn’t be packed onto the next return train home. No, they’d be stuck here, left to wait in the isolated barracks on the far side of the island with people too ill or too dangerous to be left to travel. Only when they were healthy or a proper transport could be mounted would they be allowed to return home.

Somehow he made it through it all, though with a lot less dignity than he had when he went in.

Gathering up his now wrinkled and rumpled clothes he was shoved into another long line, that unlike the overzealous medical examiner, was just a never ending game of bureaucratic monotony.

Thankfully they gave him just enough time to get his clothes back on before he was shoved in, though they still kept him under a microscope. By now he didn’t know what they were looking for but during those two-hours he stood on aching knees and screaming ankles two more people were quietly escorted from the line, both ladies protesting loudly to know the reason for their removal and getting silence as the absolute answer.

Slowly they were merged back in with other crowds, though this time the non-humans were also being trickled in. Somehow he managed to find himself behind a Gorgon who smelled of rotting meat and in front of an Elf who would not keep his six-inch high pet Imps, under control who delighted in poking him in his shins and shrieking with laughter.

He almost missed his cue when he reached the front of the crowd, standing behind the yellow line that divided the awaiting mass from a lone length of wooden booths, covered in thick bulletproof glass and guarded by men with very large guns carrying an charging need to use them.

“Do you speak?” the man asked as he approached.

He was about to make a snide comment that as a Human he’d know how to speak, after all this bureaucratic nonsense and having himself humiliated in the name of medical safety he believed he really deserved it.

That is until he noticed the pair of leathery wings that flexed on the man’s back and knew he was dealing with a Siren.

“Yes,” he was quick to answer.

“Language?” the questioner asked, paging through his paperwork he’d place on the counter like he skimming through a boring book.

“English,” Riley replied in earnest, wondering why the man didn’t look at his papers, which he had right in front of him.

“Name?” again the interview continued.

Riley Wassen,” he was starting to feel a bit uncertain about this interview.

“Age?” the question came with a voice of un-interest, of wanting to be anywhere but here.

“25, next Monday,” he knew the man didn’t care but still he was so bored with this process and a bit afraid of talking to his first, real Divergent that he couldn’t help but spill the beans.

Divergence?” the Siren inquired.

“Human,” he could have also tacked on that he read minds but even after reading his mandatory copy of ‘Divergence and Me’ he knew without a doubt he couldn’t tack on a ‘I don’t know’ and still get into the city.

“Has anyone in your immediate ancestral bloodline was or is married to a Divergent that is not your declared species,” well that was the question of his life, considering he was the only member of his family that he knew of he could read anyone’s mind like the common man could read a book.

“No,” the questions of his paternity could have been proven during his medical examination and since he was still in line, obviously it hadn’t been a problem.

“Original point of departure?” the siren didn’t even look up, for some reason rolling the pen across his desk top was more interesting.

“The Territory of Michigan, Detroit” he tried to ignore the pang of guilt and with little effort squashed it.

“Michigan is on the Superior Ocean,” he glanced at him for barely a second, “have you consumed any Lake Sturgeon or Freshwater Dolphin prior to your trip?”

“No, hate seafood,” he tried to grin but a sudden glare snapped his mouth shut.

“Michigan is along the maritime border with the hostile Canadians,” now he was tapping the pen across the desk. “Have you recently traveled into non-annexed Canadian territories of Quebec, Nova Scotia or Ontario?”

“No,” he shrugged, starting to become a bit confused by where the questions were ultimately leading.

“Have you traveled to the annexed territories of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, Alberta, Columbia, Yukon or Northwest?” the Siren posed.

“This is my first time outside of the Michigan territory,” it was the truth, though he wasn’t too proud saying it out loud.

“Have you visited any of the other 38 states?” the Divergent asked again.

“No,” again that embarrassment sprung in his voice, cracking it just a bit.

“What is the name of the closest person of contact from your previous location?” he must have zoned out but suddenly the Siren was eating the end of his pen, literally snapping off bits and chewing on them. “This can either be a parent, family member or close friend.”

For just a second he was going to say his family back home... but that thought was quickly squashed with a healthy amount of anger and fury. He tried to keep the flush in his face down.

Stephanie Willard,” he answered. “118 East 77 Street, Manhattan.”

The Siren didn’t even seem to notice, finishing off the remains of the pen before sliding another from the breast pocket on his government issue blazer.

“Have you reviewed your state complementary, state-provided materials on all Freezone cleared Divergents?” he asked again, starting to nibble on the end of his pen.

“I’ve studied it from and-”

“A yes or no will suffice,” the siren cut him off.

“Yes,” he gave the answer that was expected of him, but a bit perturbed all his hard work memorizing the damn book was now going to go un-rewarded. “You can see that on my papers.”

He had been on a train for the better part of a day, poked and prodded while being completely ignored and now after all this his patience was starting to fade, even if he was fighting to keep his accompanying anger reigned in.

He had already applied for residency and a job, approved there, passed his Freezone application test, passed on his first try, and completed his pre-boarding physical. Short of actually bribing someone he had done everything he was suppose to and the last one hadn’t been attempted because honestly he wasn’t carrying any cash on him, as was the instructions for when he started this journey.

The siren glanced at him, the first time he really looked at Riley with any more interest than at a person would give an ant. A glint of a smile hinted on the edge of his lips and took him a second to remember his studies of Divergents.

Sirens had an eidetic memory... they also only showed respect to those that asserted themselves.

“Mister Wassen,” the creature leaned forward, perching his elbows on the countertop and giving Riley a good view of the powerful muscles that covered his wings, “you are now entering the domain of Freezone Eleven, known by your native population of Humans as New York City and among Divergents as Crossroads or Port Humanity. Understand that as a Human you are designated a Class-HD species, standing for highly dangerous. Said ranking is not a judgement of your character but of your species totality score against the Council’s ranking system. It is not a discriminatory factor but merely a protective measure against Divergent classes ranked as more fragile than you. Because of that you are barred from entrance into areas classified as Class-P residents, including all Mermaid breeds. If at anytime you enter such an area you will be informed to remove yourself without pause or question. Failure to comply will result in your immediate arrest, deportation or termination for the safety of the residents. Do you comprehend?”

“Yes,” he was a bit more forceful this time, making sure to lock and hold eye contact, so the Siren would not question his reaction as a simple outburst.

“You are allowed unlimited access to Class-M, A, D,” the Siren wasn’t acting any kinder to him but at least now it was keeping him in its sights, “along with access to UD areas only during designated visitor hours without supervision. However as stated above, personal and business interactions with Class-P residents outside their zone is forbidden unless under supervision of a Council approved intermediate. Failure to comply will result in your immediate arrest, deportation or termination for the safety of the residents. Do you comprehend?”

“Yes,” Riley tried to push up a bigger front but it was starting to crack, he didn’t want to push the limit because he knew that while most Sirens had converted to vegetarians under the Council’s tenure they still were masters with their vicious sharp claws and teeth, of which they regularly filed and sharpened for some sort of lost religious reason.

“Most importantly,” he tried to suppress a sigh of relief in front of the Siren and keep up his doubt-able tough guy front, “if at anytime you encounter a Class-DNA species within the boundaries of the Freezone, you are not to engage the belligerent and to inform the nearest law enforcement and Council official of the danger. Failure to comply will result in your immediate arrest for public endangerment. Is that understood?”

“Yes,” he knew from his readings that such an encounter was improbable but the simple fact it could happen was enough to get a tightening in his chest going.

“Finally, if you encounter the Elemental of Freezone Eleven you are to remember one thing. Stay out of his way and do as he tells you. Failure will result in immediate termination, no questions asked, no inquiry, no trial. To defy the Elemental is to directly defy the Council itself. Is that understood?”

He managed to answer yes but he couldn’t help but be giddy.

There’s an Elemental in the city, he was too excited and surprised to form a proper response.

Everything he had read on the Elementals, which was astoundingly little, placed them as the oldest members of the Council. No Divergent questioned their edicts or laws, the mere mention to the contrary was considered a sign of absolute insanity. They were also the most exotic, alien and powerful of the Divergents, also the only non-corporeal race to be known to exist in the thousand or so dimensions the Council had visited.

He had heard there was one held permanent residence on Earth... he’d never have guessed it was in Freezone Eleven!

“Riley Wassen,” a stamp appeared in the Siren’s talons from somewhere, with a forceful amount of power it slammed down on his paperwork. “You are currently cleared for entrance into Freezone Eleven. Your identification cards, an identification badge that must be worn at all times when outside and your citizen number. You are expected to have these materials on you at all times or an equivalent thereof.”

“Thank you-”

“NEXT!”

~8~

"… we’re almost there!" Riley jumped to attention, squinting in the bright afternoon light as he fought the sleep from his eyes. The cab driver barely noticed his sleeping passenger, continuing jabbering away on the bluetooth device wrapped into his left ear.

"Thanks," the younger man accepted, trying to ignore the foreign assault to his ears as the man and catch a glimpse of how far along they were on their trip.

Those were his own thoughts as the cab pulled up in front of the towering apartment building that was soon to be his home.

“That be nineteen fifty,” the burly drive said, his sentence thick with a foreign drawl Riley couldn’t quite place.

It took him a second to guess that the man meant Riley should hand over the voucher he had in his wallet for giving him transportation. He quickly handed it over without so much as a glance in the other man’s direction. He knew it came off as rude, especially after this guy had helped him load a dozen boxes into his back seat, but it had to stay that way.

Direct eye contact made reading other people’s minds easier and this one individual was broadcasting several unpleasant thoughts very loudly.

“Watch yourself,” he said, quickly counting the bills he had just received to make sure everything matched up. “New humans don’t do well in the Freezone... Divergents love to get their claws on the newbies.”

He said it with distinct dislike, as if being Divergent was a dirty thing, the warning more like admonishing a child to stay away from the neighborhood hoodlums.

He did not want to know a thing further as he quickly grabbed his bag, the few boxes he had and was out on the street in a second.

The cabbie wasted barely a breath of time before he was speeding recklessly off into the sea of yellow cars and screaming drivers. He barely paid the departure any real attention, more because he quickly had to adjust his packages and avoid the crowds that seemed to swarm him from all directions.

This corner of Mercer and Waverly was only a short walk east of NYU, the throngs of college students carrying backpacks and lattes crowded the streets and outweighed the suit-clad office workers that usually dominated Manhattan during the day.

But they were just the human faces he recognized... Save for a towering Cakal that jogged passed in bright blue running shorts, its tongue lagging out of its dog-like mouth even as it ran on two muscular human legs. A short bit away a Banshee hissed and cawed into a cell phone, her nearly hyper-sonic voice an almost sickening echo of sounds from her cold blue lips.

Even a tiny Fairy flutter past, cursing at him to watch where he was going as she flitted away on her tiny insect-like wings, flipping him the finger with her tiny hand.

It didn’t matter that they were Human or not, it didn't make it any better. It did help with the Divergents, they thought in their native languages, meaning that all he heard was chattering and never was he invading their personal privacy since he could never hope to understand even a fraction of what he heard.

Balancing his few possessions as best he could he started inside, trying to avoid bumping into one of the surging crowds. That was easier said then done, but somehow he managed, though at several points he nearly wrenched his arms back to avoid brushing up against some wayward mind.

Inside the dark lobby he found the elevator broken, forcing him to begin a long walk upstairs. The building was huge, bigger than anything he had ever lived in before. He already was hating this idea as he caught a few wayward thoughts clicking in his mind from the structure’s numerous inhabitants.

Floor ten, apartment 11B. He checked the paper when he was almost to his floor, just to be safe.

He did that a lot, checked things twice and even three times. It was a nervous habit of his. And lately he had been really nervous. Most obsessive compulsive would even tell him he was overdoing it.

He was only recently an escaped native of suburban Detroit and out on his own for the first real time in his entire life.

Oh, how his mother had wept at the mere idea of him moving out... Then thrown a hissy fit when she found out it was to a Freezone. Sure Freezone Eleven, or New York City as most of its original human natives called it, was one of the safer places to call home before the arrival of the Divergents but still, crime rate plummeted when the Council made it clear to Humanity that most Divergents were deathly dangerous when they didn’t mean it, invoking their wraith would be a short, bloody affair with the Human almost certainly being picked out of the victim’s teeth.

Yet still his Evangelical parents believed willing living beside any Divergent was like living in the ultimate sin.

They’d been part of the lynch mobs that had marched for not only barring the Divergents from access to Earth but also calling for the extermination in their home dimensions. The religious right rarely got along with the idea of evolution, facing down the a dozen ways that evolution had split from the Human race on a daily basis was a consistent test to their faith.

A test they thankfully the general public did not wish to take.

They didn’t deal well with the idea that in some dimensions it was other creatures entirely who evolved to sapience.

Thankfully as he started to get higher into the building it seemed to quiet down, both vocally and mentally. Even the staircase up, probably the only exit in and out, was empty of everything but the dust that muddled it’s wooden surface.

“Oh crap,” the words left his mouth in a combination of shock and a groan, just as the box atop his pile decided to begin to slip. In his haste to try and keep the package where it was he threw off his own balance. Almost in slow motion his heel dropped past the edge of the step and without a real footing he began to fall backwards. But suddenly there was something stopping him.

“Hey superman, lets not try flying unless you’re a licensed pilot or really drunk… or both.”

Riley’s eyes traveled upward, staring into gray blue eyes that seemed to scream with an electricity that wasn’t there. The person that saved him was smiling down at him with a big grin, his arms holding Riley’s body from the perilous fall down the staircase.

God those are great eyes, he thought to himself. But as quickly as the thought appeared he beat it back down. Where had that come from anyways, it was so sudden he was almost taken aback.

“New to the building?” his would be savor asked.

Yet Riley only managed a stammering, “Yes.”

The grin on the man’s face grew a little wider, revealing rows of clean ivory teeth. “Sort of guessed since most of our residents don’t try a suicide dive until the week rent is due.”

He helped Riley back upwards, holding on until he was completely on his previous step, before letting go.

“Here, let me help you with these,” his savior didn’t even wait for the approval from the still confused Riley before he was removing the uppermost box, the one that had caused this whole incident, taking it under his arm and moving onward without so much as a look back.

Who was this guy, Riley thought frantically, why was he so dumbstruck around him?

His mind continue to reel back and forth as they moved to his apartment door. Fumbling with his load and finally managing to get the key into the door he swung the barrier back and drop his boxes into the room, with no regard to what breakables he had probably shattered. He was more preoccupied with the man, his neighbor, behind him.

“Well… thanks,” Riley managed to stutter out again, feeling like a total idiot for his lack of confidence. But the stranger’s smile only grew more.

“No problem,” he said as he handed over the last package, “name’s Jay, I live down the hall. Knock anytime.”

Then with a quick turn he was gone, walking away.

Say something, his brain was screaming to his mouth, don't just be a lump on a log.

“My name is Riley Wassen!” he called after him… not noticing until he had spoken his voice had cracked like a puberty ridden teenager.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, his brain was now kicking his mouth. If only for once something would go his way he'd finally begin to think there really was a higher power. Maybe even if it were to be so kind as to make his geeky voice forgotten for just an instance that would be enough.

There must have been a God because the man barely stopped moving, only waved over his shoulder and yelled.

“Welcome to the building!” Then the door to his own apartment closed behind him and he gone.

Riley watched the door for a good minute before he remember he was staring and finally started to close his own door. The second the click of the lock sounded he laid back against the wood surface and let loose a mighty sigh.

Whatever, forget about it. He had more important things to do then to worry about how he had just made a glorious ass out of himself in front of his new neighbor, like unpacking his stuff and making this space a home. But it was just as his hands came to rest on the package Jay had taken from him it finally hit him.

The whole time he had been talking to Jay he heard nothing.

No, he had heard Jay talking but he never heard even a tiny wisp of mental chatter from man. He had been a telepath since as long as he could remember, he had never been around someone he couldn’t read the thoughts of.

What was made this Jay so different that he was so nervous around him and now unreadable to Riley? This was definitely an interest to him, like finding a diamond after a life time of living in sand, he was more dumbfounded then surprised.

However his thoughts were cut short again as a knock came at his door. For a moment his heart started to race, the nervous feeling began to return. Maybe it was Jay, being a little more neighborly.

He certainly hoped so as the heat suddenly began to rise in his cheeks.

What is with me, it’s just my neighbor, he scolded myself thoroughly.

Squelching all his inhibitions his hand reached forward and turn the handle. But even before it was completely open a pair of arms were being flung around his neck.

“I can’t believe you’re here!” a feminine voice screamed as her arms crushed into his spine. The force of the impact readily told him who it was. No one he knew was as affectionate as her, especially when she was excited.

“Stephanie, calm down,” he tried to get out as his friend’s hug pushed the last bit of the air from his lungs. Yet try as he might to push her off she kept hanging on and talking.

“You’re actually moved to New York! This is so amazing!” her voice was going a mile a minute.

Riley had to stifle a moan as he was not only bombarded by Stephanie’s high pitched voice but her very loud thoughts.

Though he tended to avoid those that broadcasted as loudly as they talked, Stephanie was a truly good person. Her thoughts were not trivial, conceded or harsh like most common people televise, they were almost always clean, happy, a bit on the simple side but when you consider all the complex emotions people could thrown out that was an amazing relief.

I wonder if I should get a cat. I do like kittens. They smell good. Good like that guy across the hall from me. Maybe I should paint my door. Red, no green. I like green.

He had known Stephanie since he was a freshman at Wayne State University, both on the same floor with each other. His roommate was dating her roommate and they bonded over the mutual fact of being regularly kicked out of their respective rooms due to the incessant screwing the two young college kids had. Even after that world-wind romance of two-weeks that culminated in the usual drunken frat party breakup, the pair of them had been inseparable even as their roommates despised the sight of each other.

Three hours later, after spending twenty minutes trying to extract himself from Stephanie’s crushing embrace, another cardboard box collapsed into itself, a cloud of spent dust and dirt signaling its death as it joined the growing pile of used cubes. With its demise an aged clay pot joined the newly arrived coffee table, one of the few knickknacks that had an actual place to go. Cereal bowls were stacked on the couch, next to the washroom towels and all right above all the sheets and comforter for his bed.

Stephanie giggled as she pulled an old family picture from one of her designated boxes, an image of him at three years old with his mother. A very bad Christmas with a Santa Claus cap squarely on his head with a smiling blonde holding him up to the camera.

“God, I hate that thing,” Riley groaned as he tried to make a grab at the picture. “Mom always puts it in my stuff whenever I travel. I’m honestly surprised she didn’t chain my bedroom door to keep me from moving.”

“Oh, no you don’t” Stephanie laughed as she pulled the frame out of his reach. "This is going on the mantle.”

His attempt to regain the picture was interrupted as the call of nature began to tug at his bladder.

“I’m sending that back to Detroit,” he jokingly threatened as he got up from the floor and made a beeline for the bedroom and the single bathroom it held.

He never made it far, a quick swing of his bedroom door was stopped suddenly, something blocked its path.

That's odd, he thought to himself, nothing was in the bedroom, the movers should have just dropped everything in the living room and left.

"Strange," he muttered to himself before sticking his head in through the little space opened from the door... and instantly regretted when he saw what had blocked the door.

His legs must have given out and he most definitely made a sound somewhere between a yelp and gasp or maybe a failed attempt to scream but instantly he found himself on his behind and trying to catch his breath.

"What?" Stephanie was up and moving from his picture on the mantel but before he could manage a warning, she had already placed one hand on the door and pressed with her usual bout of disregarding strength... enough to bring the headless body lying on his bedroom floor into full view.

He didn't think much else after that as Stephanie left out the most earth-shattering scream he had ever heard her manage, even more than the time she found a molded dish in her college clothing hamper.

Chapter TwoEdit

It was Stephanie's scream that brought the police, even after he finally managed to realize what he was truly staring at stanch his cellphone from the nearby end table and dial 911. The time between the operator telling him they were already on their way and when the first uniformed body came through his front door could have been minutes or months, he still couldn't remember how long it took them to get there.

He did however notice that just as quickly the police officers in black disappeared and instead another uniformed body of officials arrive, these dressed red uniforms now appeared. At first he thought fire fighters had arrive but they didn't carry any kind of firefighting gear he had become accustomed to when he was a child being toured through the local fire house by an old and wizens Chief beyond his prime.

Instead one glance up to see the black and red eyes of a Vampire did he know he was dealing with the Council Security, the Divergent police force that dealt any crimes or incidents of a 'beyond local law enforcement'-nature. In effect, they were the FBI-esque organ of the Council.

"Mister Wassen," he managed to drag his eyes upward to catch the blood-red glare of the Vampire officer before him. "Could you explain how this body came to be in your bedroom?"

"I..." it took him a moment to find his own voice, like something had been pressing on his throat and it took a conscious effort to force energy back into it. “I just moved in today, it's the first time I've seen the apartment until this morning."

"So Gnarusis Councilor is dead in your bedroom and you don't know how he got there?" the man looked at him like the next thing he was going to do was pull the moon out of his nose.

Riley looked up at the office and without a doubt he could feel the glare he was sporting through shock still brimming inside of him.

“Leave him alone,” Stephanie snapped at the man, who quick shot her a look enough to get her to clam up.

“If you want, here is my ticket,” he pulled his wallet from his pocket and extracted the pink piece of paper for the man to look. “I arrived today and have only been in the city for barely half the day.”

The other officer, Riley would have guessed a Fury from the horizontal black tattoos covering his face and long talons on his fingers, took the ticket and scrutinized the time on it… before snorting and slipping out a plastic bag to drop the ticket into.

“Councilor Inatay’s body is still warm,” the Fury declared. “I’d guess he’s been dead for less than an hour.”

Riley could feel the bottom drop out of his stomach at the implication. If that was true, this Councilor Inatay had been literally lost his head while Stephanie and him had been gossiping and emptying boxes barely fifteen-feet away.

“I’ll ask you again,” the Vampire’s eyes flared and Riley could see the hints of fangs starting to peek out from between his lips. “What was the Gnarusis Councilor doing in your bedroom?”

“Nothing kinky,” he slapped a hand over his mouth when he realized his slip of the tongue and instantly regretted it when he saw the eyes of the Fury’s flare in outrage.

“How dare you!” the man spat with venom, Riley wasn’t actually sure if Furies really could spit venom. “Councilor Inatay has been a happily married man for three of your centuries! He is also one of the most anti-Human Elves ever known. So I wonder what a virulent anti-Humanist is doing dead in the home of two Humans?”

“We don’t know anything!” Stephanie reiterated, this time with a stricken ail in her voice, the sound Riley associated with her cool slowly starting to wither away.

He was about to try something to calm her when suddenly the Vampire officer stepped before Stephanie. It was as if he was giving her a stiff glare when Riley realized the red was missing from the man’s eyes, only the black had replaced everything in those sockets, as if his pupils had dilated to a size no Human had ever managed at the optician.

His friend abruptly lost all her fluster, her attention even seemed to have become listless and with another moment her head dropped as if she was too exhausted to keep it up any longer.

“Did you just glamor her!” Riley snapped, the anger suddenly replacing the shock and giving him back some of the courage his ego so often said he could muster. “Glamoring is illegal! You can’t-“

The Vampire turned towards him again and those endless black orbs stared back at him, teeth barred, canine fangs full extended and snake-like tongue peeking out between those razor sharp instruments.

One second, then five, then ten passed and Riley suddenly realized the look of anger in the Vampire’s eyes was turning to confusion. After another beat the man was taking a step back and shooting his partner a look of concern.

Something isn’t right here, the Vampire’s thoughts were clear as if he had spoken and the look he gave his comrade him seemed to be the unspoken response.

He’s not Human, the Fury thought with only a quirk in his eyes, what the hell is he if he says he’s Human but he’s not.

“I’m normal,” he blurted out and instantly knew his fright in the situation had just betrayed him.

Both men’s head snapped around at him and he knew he had just made a colossal blunder. He was well accustomed to the fact that people reacted badly when they realized what his abilities were, now with two entirely different species he was completely in the dark and terrified what it could mean.

He was about to say something, anything that could have downplayed his response as a fluke, or to set them off kilter to take their attention off of him when suddenly his rapid train of self-preservation thought ended with the sound of a voice.

“Officers,” a voice, a voice that he vague could place suddenly spoke.

“Lieutenant Collior,” the Vampire offered before tipping his head towards his companion. “My partner Lieutenant Aesch.”

Whoever it was enough to get both the dangerous looking Fury and Vampire to suddenly back down, both ducked their heads like two school boys who had suddenly been caught by the headmaster.

He turned his head, to see the person who had managed to bring some shame to these two brutes.

“Riley Wassen,” Jay nodded as he entered, then noticed Stephanie with her head down, eyes blinking listlessly trying to focus and slowly giving up. “Report.”

“Yes, of course,” Lieutenant Collior was quick to appease him, handing over the notepad he had been scribbling into the whole time. “We arrived less than one hour ago to investigate an apparent homicide.”

“A Councilor?” Jay nodded, flipping through a few pages of the notepad without any real interest.

“Yes,” Lieutenant Aesch offered. “Identification shows the body to be that of the Gnarusis Councilor.”

“Inatay?” Jay asked again.

“Yes,” the Fury confirmed.

“Inatay hasn’t been on Earth since the first review by the Council when the portals were established,” Jay observed. “What could bring someone who was so against Humanity being allowed even one portal be doing in an Earth Freezone?”

“No idea, sir,” Collior conceded and from his tone seemed a bit frustrated that he couldn’t provide a more concrete answer.

“And when did you find it appropriate to glamor a Human?” Jay now looked up and squarely at the Vampire who had subdued Stephanie.

“I am sorry,” the Vampire honestly looked like he was mortified by the discovery, as if his own mother was admonishing him. “If you so desire I will put myself up for immediate deportation to Lilitu at the earliest convenience.”

“Save your clan the trouble,” Jay waved him off. “Just don’t go around glamoring another Human girl.”

“But sir,” Aesch’s voice suddenly became very quiet, closest to a whisper. “He just didn’t try to glamor the girl…”

His voice trailed off and it didn’t take a detective to notice those red and black eyes were now staring intently at Riley, and slowly Jay’s eyes turned to stare at him.

“Divergence,” the words were barked and no one could miss the commanding tone in Jay’s voice.

But Riley was at a loss, he could feel his lips moving very quickly with on the sound of escaping air to answer.

“Divergence!” Jay shouted again.

“Human,” he managed out in a crock.

But Jay was not appeased.

“Divergence!” he said again louder than ever before.

“I don’t know!” again his tongue had been disloyal to him and instantly he snapped a hand over his mouth to keep anything else from escaping and betraying him.

“He doesn’t know?” Aesch actually seemed confused, even scratching at the side of his head trying to comprehend it. “What is he if he’s not Human?”

A glare shot from Jay managed to cause the Fury to snap his mouth shut and even the Vampire to put his head down, mumbling some sort of half curse at his partner.

“Escort the young lady home and secure the site,” Jay commanded, instantly Aesch and Collior jumped into action, Aesch moved to help Stephanie off the couch and Collior moved into the bedroom, pulling a cellphone from his pocket.

“Let me-“

Riley’s proposition and move towards his listless friend however was stopped when a startling strong hand slapped down on his shoulder.

“Not so fast,” Jay stopped him before he could move an inch. “You are going to have to answer some questions.”

“I don’t know anything about that headless man,” he stammered and promptly snapped his mouth shut.

“Not about that and you know it,” the man admonished him.

“What is going on?” he demanded, finally putting a foot down. “You tell me right now or I am not going another inch with you.”

“Are you refusing a direct order from the Elemental of Freezone Eleven?” the dark smile on Jay’s lips was enough to melt titanium into slag.

Riley could feel the blood boiling into his face, his heart suddenly jackknifing in his chest and a cold sweat was breaking out on his spine.

Elemental, he thought desperately and knew every precious second he was quiet he was in worse trouble than before, I knew they could be corporeal but I never thought they’d have such a nice-

He squashed that thought when the fear and outrage at the whole situation after only half a day in the city along with another day spent on a train without any real chance to sleep.

“Yes!” he didn’t know why he said that, he knew he could be killed on sight for ever suggesting anything of the such. “I refuse to go another inch without you explaining what is going on!”

He expected the worse, that anything could happen right now, he could be sent to prison without trial, he could be sent to the most brutal interrogation that even the Geneva Convention would shiver at or worse, killed on the spot and have his body tagged for pickup by his parents.

Yeah that’d be fun to think about, he bitterly wondered to himself.

Instead of being burned to a crisp, a broad smile spread on Jay’s lips.

“Less than three people I know would ever refuse an Elemental,” Jay grinned. “I guess today I can make that four.”

Knowing that he wasn’t going to die, Riley managed to cross his arms and wait for the other man to continue.

“Fine,” Jay sighed, scratching a thumb on his forehead before continuing. “Rawl Inatay is… was the Gnarusis Councilor to the Council… what you Humans would call Elves. Next to their Grand King, Inatay was the most powerful Gnarusis in the known dimensions. Also next to the Grand King he was the anti-Human in the known dimensions. He only was on Earth once before during the review of this planet to be added to the portal network and was the only nay vote on the post-review ratification. So the fact that he appeared on Earth dead-“

“Headless,” Riley added grimly and Jay gave him a look, obviously that hadn’t been in Lieutenant Collior’s notes.

“So the fact that he appeared on Earth headless after avoiding all contact with this world is just as confusing as it is concerning,” Jay expounded. “The fact that he appeared in the bedroom of a newly arrived citizen of Freezone Eleven… and one that obviously isn’t Human and doesn’t even know his divergence adds to that concerning confusion.”

“I don’t know anything honestly,” Riley helplessly tried to offer up, feeling as if his whole launch into a new life had just taken a nose dive right off the cliff. “I came to the Freezone to start fresh, I didn’t know that entailed a fresh corpse.”

“You would only be here if you weren’t like us,” Jay said innocently. “How else could you get past the immigration officers on Ellis?”

“Like us?” perplexed did not begin to explain what was going on inside his head. Rolling on the floor and babbling like a moron would be the best way to comprehend his brains efforts to understand.

“You’re different,” the words were short and simple but for some reason Riley felt as if someone had struck him over the head. His mind froze; stopping its effort to ascertain what was going on and finally start to listen to the words, not the meaning, coming out of Jay’s mouth. “There’s something about you that you can’t quiet put a finger on. You know it separates you from everyone else you think is normal, it sets you apart but you never choose for it to happen. You came here because you know everyone else here is like you. But what you don’t know is that everyone here is also different from you. You’re unique whether you like it or not, even among those you have the most in common with.”

“And what would I have in common?” Riley asked in a meek voice.

“A gift…” the other man left the words hanging in mid-air, as if Riley knew their real meaning.

“The what?” he countered.

“A gift, the spark of creation, a mutation, alien, the Divergence,” Jay rattled off. “You Humans call it what you want but in the end it is the same more or less. An ability that makes that makes different next the average man. You can do something no one else you know can possibly do.”

Riley grew very timid. Should he do it, should he say it? The few times he had ever admitted it people always had one of two reactions, they thought he was crazy or they believed him but got very afraid to be around him very fast. Biting the inside of his cheek so hard he could feel the nerves screaming in pain he finally swallowed his fear and said it.

“I hear things,” he whispered barely loud enough to hear. “Things I shouldn’t hear.”

But Jay only continued to stare. “And what do you hear?”

“Thoughts,” he said in the weakest voice he could manage, making a whisper seem like a scream in comparison.

But Jay’s smirk expanded over his face.

“A mind reader, a telepath, a psychic. Take your pick,” he announced as if it was comical knowledge to not understand it.

Riley was dumbfounded. No one had ever realized what he was and then laughed at its simplicity. “You know what I am?”

With a wave of his hand to fight the smile off Jay managed to explain. “Funny thing your gift is the one that most Humans try to forge to make a quick buck, yet in real life you’re much rarer then you know.”

Now here was the shocker, “There are other people like me!?”

“I’ve only met a few telepaths in my life,” Jay confirmed, “most tend to go insane after the first weeks of receiving their Gift and end up either in an institution or dead.”

“I’m not crazy,” Riley said in a defeated tone again, feeling his heart sink.

But like the switch of a light Jay managed to turn his depressing attitude into a happy one with a flip of his internal switch.

“No you’re not. You’re very much sane,” taking a look around himself to the surrounding club scene Jay seemed to receive a grand idea, as another smile overtook his lips. “Now in the interim I suggest we arrange to have this scene released back to the local police and I’ll have Officer Collior take you to a hotel for the time being.”

He turned back towards Riley’s bedroom and started to head in to the room.

“Officer Collior, could you…” his voice trailed off to silence. “Officer Collior?”

Riley knew from the tone of his voice that the question was more confusion than actual conversation and made a beeline behind Jay to stand in the doorframe of his bedroom… his very empty bedroom.

“Where’s the body?!” he nearly felt his heart jump into his throat again as not even the floor showed any sign of blood, where once it was in a side-long puddle, inching towards the west side of his bedroom floor. “Not just that, where’s all my stuff?!”

The room was cleaned bare, where once his mattress and bedframe occupied on wall and a series of stack boxed held the other, not even a hint of dust could indicate anything ever occupied the floor.

“And where is our Lieutenant Collior?” Jay’s voice tapered off, eyes searching the room, trying to find where the Vampire police officer could have gone in the one window room with a headless corpse and an entire bedroom furniture set.

~8~

Riley had expected that the exhalted Elemental of Freezone Eleven would take him to some lavish mansion or grand yet ancient building when he said hotel.

Instead he got something that appeared to be a bookstore, possibly the first bookstore ever built in the city, possibly even America, probably just young enough that it could probably vaguely remember when the printing press came along and everything didn't have to be hand written.

The door creaked open with a sound that made it appear as if the wooden object was going to fall from its hinges at any moment and the long, pained moans of the floorboards below his feet really didn't make Riley want to venture any further inside.

Candles are lite, he thought to himself as he noticed the few thick white pillars of wave scattered around the room, someone must have been expecting us.

"This way," Jay breezed past him, towards the back of the shop.

Now Riley somehow imaged a dusty storage room or a warped staircase to take them somewhere that would have ended in a dusty coughing spell but was honestly and pleasantly surprised when the blackened and almost empty book shelves suddenly changed to several very plush arm chairs, all of which were certainly made this century, most probably fresh from the show room floor.

"What is this place?" he mumbled out loud, again snapping his teeth down on his tongue in order to control his disorderly mouth.

"Somewhere that will help you understand what your apparent sanity entails,” Jay announced.

"And when the hell have you ever given a damn about sanity?" a woman's voice declared, as a short, thin brunette breezed by the two, getting a jump out of Riley and a hearty chuckle out of Jay.

"Riley Wassen," he gestured to the woman who was blowing the steam off a hot mug of ramen soap, twirling two chopsticks in her hand. "Allowing me to introduce Sara Tupta, owner of this fine establishment."

"It was fine in the 19th century," Sara grumbled, testing the noodles in her cup with a finger and quickly snapping it back with a hiss at its heat. "Now the place is a death trap. Only own the damn thing until I can scrap up the funds to rennovate it."

Riley tried to hide the snicker at her comment but eyes quickly dropped onto him.

"And what's got the giggles out of the Human?" she observed and from the deadpane expression on her face, Riley couldn't tell if he had overstepped his bounds.

"Where are Chase and Danielle?" Jay sidestepped the question like an expert at dodging bullets.

"We're here," Riley snapped his head around as a very tall brown haired man and a average height blonde woman walked by him, completely ignoring him and taking a seat on the nearby chairs.

"And now we have Chase Gilder and Danielle Allison," Jay declared, taking a position on the arm of a nearby chair while Riley slide into the only open one left.

"Now why the hell did you call us here so urgently," Sarra said, finally getting a chance to slurp up some of her noodles. "I had plans tonight."

"I didn't" Danielle sneered. "It was either a summons from the most powerful authority on this planet or a night of playing my first-person shooter against those damn Koreans again. Seriously, I'm getting my ass kicked by middle-school girls and its-"

"Councilor Inatay was found dead about an hour ago," Danielle halted in mid tirade at Jay's announcement and even Sara halted in trying to twirl up another batch of noodles with her chopsticks. "He appears to be the recent subject of a beheading."

"What?!" Chase's face suddenly became very red as he worked his mouth up and down a few times soundlessly before snapping his head towards Riley. "Was it this Human, did he kill him?"

"Hey!" Riley knew instantly that Chase and him were never going to be friends. "I only found him in my bedroom, before that second I had never seen an Elf outside of books or the televisison."

"Inatay's body appears to have appear in Riley's bedroom," Jay added, ignoring Chase and Riley's exchange with only a quirked eyebrow in acknowledgement, "and then just as quickly disappeared."

"Disappeared?" Sara said the words outloud, as if trying to work them over in her head for a bit. "How the hell does he turn up dead and then gone?"

"Elf have been known to survive dismemeberment," Danielle said absently, obviously from her paled expression she was not enjoying this exchange.

"Not decaptiation," Riley pointed out, remembering that part in the books he read. "That's the only one they can survive."

He suddenly noted that all three pairs of eyes were on him and quickly he realized how it sounded.

"I'm not helping my case am I?" he asked towards them.

"Not in the slightest," Chase's stare bore a hole into him and Riley knew even begrudge aqiantiances was now off the table with this man.

"How did you know it was Inatay?" Sara inserted herself back into the conversation, locking a tight glare on Chase with the clear signal to back the hell off.

"The crest he was wearing," Jay reached into his pocket and removed the gold medallion that had been given to him by Officer _ and handing it over to Sara.

"This is definitely the crest of the Gnarisus," she announced after examining it intently for a moment. "Gold plated invodium. Only the Grand King, the royal family or the Councilor would have one of these."

"Can you get anything off of it?" Jay inquired, an eager glint in his eyes.

"I'm a Seer," it was more of an admonish than a declaration of fact when Sara said that. "I can divine the future up until death after that it just becomes static. And don't ask me to look into the past, you know only Sons of Adam can do such a thing."

"Sons of who?" Riley turned his head to Jay, not knowing that term from his books.

"Sons of Adam," he clarified, "male Seers. Sara is a Daughter of Isobel, a female Seer. Isobels sees the future, Adams see the past."

"Jay," Chase interjected, a sour look on his face from the exchage. "Why did you bring this Human into here? I understand this was a murder but we've made it clear to the Humans we will handle any capital crimes again Divergents. He should be removed and remanded back to our security forces."

"First off," Jay declared to his friend, "he’s not Human."

That got a few eyebrows raised around the room, and notably a scowl from Chase.

"I do admit you bring me the most interesting things from all over the dimensions," Sara smirked at him. "But I'd expect any Divergent to atleast wear the proper identification when they are out and about the Freezone."

It was then that Riley realized he had forgotten his identification tag at his apartment, his very crime scene apartment.

"Oh he is very much from this dimension," Jay took his mind back to the reality of now and again eyebrows went up around the room, even Chase's raised a good centimeter.

"Not liking being referred to as a case study," Riley stage whispered to the man in the chair beside him.

"Sorry," Jay declared with some feigned guiltiness.

"Not Human," Sara rolled those fact over outloud as she thought, "but from this dimension. I don’t know any other sentient humanoids that inhabited this dimension in the last eleven-thousand years that weren’t Humans. What makes you think he’s not?"

"Care to explain?" this time Jay deferred to him at the one time when Riley suddenly was the center of attention, not the subject of discussion.

"I can hear thoughts," he said slowly, waiting for some disbelieving laugh to erupt from the group. When none did not, he pressed on, feeling the knot in his throat suddenly starting to losen after twenty-six years of being there. "I can hear what other people are thinking."

"A telepath…" Sara said. "Hasn’t been one of those for around eight-hundred years.

"837-years to be exact," Danielle added.

"I’m 26," Riley shrugged.

"A 26-year old supposed Human," Jay appended, "that could resist the glamor of a Vampire or the anger induced by a Fury."

Again eyes turned to him, expecting as if he were going to spring wings from his head at any moment and take a flight around the room.

"They just didn’t affect me," he shrugged, now suddenly realizing why Stephanie had been so hysterical, the Fury was feeding into her aggression and other negative emotions, trying to get a passionate confession out of his best friend. Too bad it had failed on him and instead turned Stephanie to the defense.

"I know the pheromones of a Fury doesn’t translate to all species," Sara said, "but only four humanoid corporeal species are immune to a Vampire glamor."

"Five actually," Jay declared after a beat.

The reaction took only a moment and it was Sara's mug of noodles shattering on the floor.

"You can’t be serious," the woman paid no heed to the broken glass and her dinner that now scattered the wooden floor. "You think this boy could be an Anders! Did you lose your head with Inatay too!"

"He’s not a Gargoyle, Bukit Timah, Gorgon or a Fairy," Jay listed them off on each of his fingers.

"Well," Danielle smirked, "from what I can tell he could be the non-traditional kind of-"

"Shut it, Danielle," Jay snapped and Riley could feel a hottness spreading on his cheek, the sight of which gave Danielle a nice small laugh of glee. "Now seriously, he’s not reptilian like a Gargoyle or a Gorgon, too tall to be a Fairy or Bukit Timah. So what could he possibly be?"

"He’s not an Anders," Chase scolded the group like they were some out of place students. "No one has seen an Anders in nearly six-thousand years. The only people they talked to since their portals closed is the Elementals."

"And even then," Sara turned to regard Jay, "you get only a postcard every… what…. Three years."

"It’s been ten since the last Elemental saw an Anders," Jay deadpaned expression only belied how serious that topic was, "forty since we spoke... a century since it was a full sentence."

"And your suggesting," Chase still found the idea to be ludacris, "that suddenly an Anders drops into your lap on one of the most removed worlds in the known dimensions. Not even thinking that, why bother to dump one here when Purgatory is so much easier."

"Why the hell would a Anders-"

"Hey!" Riley cut off Sara and every other conversation before this argument could spiral out any father. "I may not know what the hell I am but I’m not deaf. Talk to me, not around me."

"He’s feisty," Sara snapped a sideways grin towards Jay, "I can see why you like him."

"Thanks?" Riley didn't know if he was just complimented or objectified.

"And why he’s not an Anders," Sara declared matter of fact to Jay. "They were possibly the most cold, unemotional and logical Divergent any of our kind ever encountered. He definitely not an Anders."

"What the hell is an Anders?" Riley snapped, finally sick of all this deposition of information and nothing being handed to him directly.

Damn Human is very uppity.

I’ll show you what this uppity Human is going to do with his boot in five-seconds.

Stop being confrontational Chase. The Anders were the most powerful member of the Council, even we Elementals coytow to their orders and declarations.

They tamed the Werewolves, silenced the Banshees, stopped the wars between the Fairy and the Dwarves.

They brought calm to the chaos of the Elementals, before we were worse aspects of nature incarnate. We never knew civilization before the Anders found us… before they founded the Council to unite the first hundred dimensions.

And the boy still hasn’t a clue what an Anders is. I believe your modern day and wholly misinformed archeologists call them Neanderthals.

I’m a freaking cave man,

Of course the propaganda of ancient Atlantis would make believe the most advanced, enlightened and civilized Divergent was a stupid, cave hopper.

Put a lid on it, Chase. We are not implying you’re a cave man, just maybe one of your immediate family. How much do you know about your ancestry?

Very little, my mom would only say my grandparents are dead and I never really pried into it.

Are you adopted?

No,

How much do you remember about your childhood?

Listen the whole reason I came to the Freezone was to find someone, anybody like me. Second best to that, was to disappear into a population of strange that would mean I’d be less noticed. I hadn’t a clue that less than a day here and I’d be found out. After all those reason, the final one was to get away from two very overbearing and controlling parents who regarded me with more fear then love in their crazed acts of parenting.

I am sorry if we were harsh. You have to understand that the Anders were one of the most powerful Divergents ever, their psychic abilities have never been matched or even rudimentrally equated to. Only offspring of Anders have ever been able to compete on even a minisucle level and the last one died out nearly eight-hundred centuries ago.

I don't know if that is good?

Anyone that can be compared to an Anders save for using the words 'not' or 'farthest from' should consider it to be the highest compliment possible.

So at one point in my family-line someone wasn't Human?

Most probably,

But why them, why a Human? I mean the Anders were the one's the locked off Earth the first time. Why the hell would one of the most powerful beings end up getting it on with a species that for the last two-thosand years was basically on probation.

Better yet, Riley is 26-years old. The portals to Earth were only reopened fifteen-years ago.

No one could open a portal to Earth without anyone noticing.

So that begs the question, how our Mister Wassen ended up hear.

I think for the time being we should focus on the fact that instead of him being here in front of us, how a dead Council-member he had never saw before ended up in his bedroom.



Humans are a catylst race.

A what race?

Anyone interbreeds with them doesn't create a hybrid race, they create a whole new race. The Merpeople inbreeding with Humans created the Lumerians, Elves and Humans made the Seers, even the reptilian Gargoyles mating with your kind created the Gorgons. The Council has had species intermarry and have children before, usually a hybrid or a child with one dominate feature of their parents or another. We never had interially new species springing out the woodwork.

In only a millenium with Human contact twelve new species were born, never before had the Council ever dealt with new races springing up inside their territory, not even new ones being found outside of it had sprung up that fast.

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