As a boy of eight, Seth finds his life changed by a dark secret … something that he can’t possibly understand.

Years later, old faces, memories, and an envelope, draw Seth back into the web.


34. 34 - Connection

       34  -  Connection



May 16, 2383


Jullian frowns. “But, I thought you said that you weren’t going to file a lawsuit?”

Seth stares at the screen, shaking his head. “I didn’t file it.”

“But how …”

“I don’t know. I have to speak to Carry.”  He looks to Jullian. “Would you mind if I call her from here?”

Jullian hesitates a moment. “No, I don’t mind.” She reaches past Seth, touching the screen to bring up her personal directory. She touches the screen a second time and stands, moving from the couch as the call connects.

Seth looks back to the screen. He wasn’t sure what he’d say to Carry. He wanted to talk, not to meet. After his strange experience, last visit, he didn’t want to go back to her penthouse if he could avoid it.

A system message appears …


Connection Failed - Unknown Contact Number


He blinks “Jullian?”

She sits down on the couch and looks at the screen. “She changed her number. It’s not unusual. She usually changes it every couple of weeks.”

“Let me check something.” Seth touches the screen. “My saved messages were transferred when you had my mail forwarded here. I still have Carry’s message with her penthouse number and the entry code.”

“Are you going there?”

He leans over, giving her a kiss and a smile. “I have to. She’s got me in some serious trouble with Dolly Incorporated.”

Julian looks away for a moment, looking like she’s fighting some indecision. She turns back to Seth, her eyes not quite meeting his. “Do you want me to come with you?”

He feels her discomfort. “No Jullian. Thanks for the offer. I’ll speak to Carry.”

Seth regrets his words as he speaks them. He really would like her to come with him, to be with him. He sees the look of relief in her eyes as they meet his.


Seth steps from the gate and walks quickly, through the main district of Aquatica. He reaches the apartment terminals, enters Carry’s apartment number, and presses the call icon. There’s no response.

He hesitates. Carry would know who was calling, simply by looking at her screen. Perhaps she was avoiding him. He had the penthouse entry code… No, not yet.

He turns from the terminal. A man, dressed in a light colored suit, stands by the entrance to the apartments. The man turns away quickly, and disappears into the passage.

Seth blinks, feeling uneasy. Detective Bresh said that he would be watched. Perhaps the man was an undercover officer, but he looked familiar somehow.


“Hello Jullian.” Seth smiles at the pretty face on the screen of the public call terminal.

“Hi Seth. Where are you?”

“I’m still on Aquatica. Carry doesn’t seem to be home. Had you seen her recently?”

Jullian pauses a moment, thinking. “About a week after you disappeared, I saw her at a Guardian rally in Manhattan, but not since.”

Seth sighs and smiles. “Alright, I think I’ll wait a while. Maybe she’ll show up. I’ll see you at the restaurant later.”

“Seth …” Jullian hesitates, biting her lower lip. “I’ll get in touch with my mother. She’ll know where Carry is. Call me again in about fifteen minutes.”

His smile grows. “Thanks Jullian. I’d like to meet your mother some day.”

“You’ve already met her. Talk to you soon.”

Seth blinks as the screen goes dark. Already met her?


“Thank you, sir.”

Seth smiles at the woman behind the counter and picks up his cola, taking it to a table by the windows.

He takes a sip and looks out across the water, letting his mind wander. What had Carry done? She’d shown him some legal documents, but he didn’t agree to help. He didn’t sign anything. Carry knew his parents, and had given him some information about his father that his mother had never mentioned. He had been with the Secret Service Branch. She talked about documents, but he can’t see how the contents of his mother’s envelope have anything to do with the Dolly Factor.

He needed to find Tristan. He didn’t have time to play Carry’s games. If he couldn’t find Carry today, he’d have to go to Dolly Incorporated himself, without really knowing what was going on.

Seth stands from the table. It was time to call Jullian. As he leaves the restaurant, he catches sight of a man in the distance. The man in the light colored suit.


“Seth, Carry is dead. She’s perma-dead.”

Seth looks at Jullian’s image in silence.

“About two weeks ago.”

He finds his voice. “But ... How?”

Jullian shakes her head. “I don’t know. Come home Seth.”

He nods slowly “Alright Jullian. I won’t be long.”

She manages a small smile. “Please hurry.”

Seth turns from the public call screen, and heads for the apartment terminals. He didn’t want to do this. The penthouse codes he had probably wouldn’t work anyway. But just in case they did, he had to try. Carry was gone. He had to try to find out more. He steps up to the terminal, hesitates a moment, and enters the codes.


There is a smell.

Daylight streams through the large windows, overlooking the Aquatica Sea.

Seth walks across the large room. A chair lies on its side. A small shelving unit lays toppled, beside it. He looks at the vid-terminal. An alert blinks on and off, indicating waiting mail and messages.

He turns from the screen, looking around the room. Why was everything still here? Jullian said that Carry had died two weeks ago. Why had nobody come to clean out the penthouse? And the smell …

He hesitates a moment before moving to the door, leading to the room where he last spoke to Carry. He touches the pad and the door slides open. It’s dark, but the light from the main room streams in. The smell almost overpowers him.

The room is burnt and scorched. Charred paper and ash form a thick carpet on the floor. Metallic shelving units remain on the walls, their contents reduced to small, dark piles.

Seth steps into the room. He walks slowly, his steps causing small clouds of ash to take to the air. A few steps in, he looks to the back of the room. The safe is open, its contents burnt. He turns back, leaving the room and coughing as he feels the ash in his nose and throat. He touches the pad, closing the door. He needed to get out, needed to get some fresh air.

Seth walks quickly to the penthouse gate, leaving dark, sooty footprints on the rich, blue carpeting. He stops suddenly, staring at a nearby wall ...

There is a small, crudely painted symbol in a rusty brown. The Blood Creed.

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