Jasper retraced the vaguely familiar steps down to the air hangar, with Milton as his guide. The Library grew silent as they approached the 24th hour of their time. Their steps echoed off the metallic walls, but Jasper did his best to remain quiet, as a shadow to Milton.
As they approached the transport pod, it too was unusually quiet. Ciel was hunched over the controls of the ship and Odessa was tending to Adira’s glass splinters with a healing aid.
“That’s the last of it,” Odessa mumbled, capping the now empty bottle of healing aid. She eyed Adira’s quickly healing splinters, leaving behind only lighter scars. Looking up, she watched as Milton and Jasper entered the front of the vessel.
“Where’s the soldier?” Milton asked, immediately.
“He started causing some trouble,” Adira said with a pained smile. “Had to put him asleep for a bit. Locked him up in the back, just like he had locked me up.” Milton nodded, without any intimation of approval.
“This is everyone then?” Odessa asked.
“Yes,” Milton replied. He cleared his throat. “A Military Alliance vessel has entered proximity to the Library. I presume I will be called away in a brief amount of time to be told this information, where the Directors were face negotiations with the commander to determine a course of action.”
Adira’s eyes suddenly grew fearful, and Odessa clutched the girl’s shoulder to calm her. Ciel gazed back at them in concern, and then to Jasper with skepticism.
“Did you inform someone?” She asked.
“No,” Jasper replied calmly. “I promised I wouldn’t cause a scene and I didn’t- even after finding out the true nature of what is going on here.” He turned to Milton with bitter eyes, though the Director didn’t pay attention to the cyborg’s glares.
“As a Director, I will take part in negotiations,” Milton continued. “However, I can’t explicitly tell my superior that the Library is now harboring fugitives. Therefore, I am brining this.” He held up his communicator. “If I sense the events aren’t transpiring according to plan, I will send an alert to Odessa, and she will help to move on from Callisto.” Odessa nodded. It would all be according to plan.
“I repaired the back window that had been shattered,” Ciel said. She sat up straighter, though she gave fleeting glances at the control board. “I could not override protocol to cloak the transport though. Prison transports do not include such a devise, in case of events such as these.”
“Do you have a mechanic?” Jasper questioned, directing an answer from Milton.
“She is the mechanic, dumbass,” Adira chimed in. Ciel crossed her arms proudly.
“We all were trained in a technical skill. You and Odessa are medics, I’m a mechanic,” Ciel elaborated. Jasper nodded sheepishly, but fixed his gaze on Milton.
“Then, why am I here?” He asked.
“Because you know too much,” Adira added. “I trust Milton and thanks for saving my life, but I certainly don’t trust you.”
“She’s correct,” Milton agreed. “You were in the wrong place, at the wrong time, but I won’t have you jeopardize our cause.”
“And what is your cause?” Jasper asked, now fed up with the lack of answers. “You promised to explain to me the other side of the story, but I’m still confused on what that story is.”
Ciel stopped her tinkering and looked up. The pod went silent.
“There are two sides to every argument, some might say,” Milton began. “In the case of the story, however, there are more. Too many to count or to list off. In the case of this story, one side is that of Military Alliance. It is older than the Library, and with age comes fractures. In the case of this fracture, it stretches from the Alliance’s foundation, to the very top.” He looked to Adira. “That woman is righting those wrongs that she herself endured, so others will not have to face the same miserable fate.”
Odessa’s wristlet communicator pinged. Milton watched as Odessa lifted her wrist, read the message and then locked eyes with Milton.
“You were right,” she said. “Administrator Umbriel is calling for you- a covert meeting it would seem.” Milton nodded. He turned, blue robes swirling in his wake. Once on the main ground of the hangar, he turned momentarily to the crew aboard the ship.
“When I give the signal-“
“We leave, we get it,” Adira said. She nodded. “We know what to do, Milton.” Milton didn’t acknowledge Adira, and instead turned to Jasper.
“Jasper,” he said. “Remember what little I told you. You’re intertwined with this cause now, whether you like it or not.” He looked to Ciel, suddenly changing his tone of voice. “And watch that soldier. I don’t want him interfering with our mission, I don’t want him knowing anything, ever.”
The Director turned and stepped up the stairs briskly, never looking back.