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.


48. 48 - Beach House

48  -  Beach House



May 20, 2383



It takes Seth a moment to recognize her.


Instead of a hood, her long, blond hair is revealed. Instead of a robe, she wears a tight fitting, black vest and pants. Before he can make a sound or show any sign of surprise, Linsey steps out, glances in the direction of the cliff face gate entrance, grabs his arm, and pulls him down, close to the wall.


She gives him an apologetic look and speaks quickly, keeping her voice at a whisper. “I’m sorry Mister Tarot, but I need to ask you a big favor.”


Seth blinks. “Wha...”


“Please don’t tell Jax that you met me in the Guardian’s HQ, or that I work for them, or that you ever met me before.”


Seth shakes his head. “Bu…”


She smiles. “I’ll explain later, promise.”


There’s a familiar voice in the distance “Linsey?”


Linsey pulls Seth back up into a stand, still whispering. “Thanks Mister Tarot.”


Seth shakes his head. “But, what are …”


She steps out from the wall, waving in the direction of the cliff face. “Right here, Jax.”


Seth steps away from the wall. He sees Jax approaching from the direction of the gate.


 “Why did you run ahead like that?” Jax picks up his pace, balancing four large travel bags. “Seth!”


Seth glances at Linsey. She gives him a wink.


Jax drops the bags, pulling Seth into an uncomfortably tight hug. “Hey buddy!” He pulls out of the hug, turning to give the blonde in black a smile and a wink. “So, you’ve met Linsey.”



The beach house was incredible.


 The entrance led to a large, central room. The walls were decorated with wide, vertical panels of a dark wood, alternating with thinner panels of brushed aluminum. Three large couches, five comfortable chairs, and several low tables were placed around the room. Half of the west wall was recessed, accommodating a bar with a long, shiny, steel counter top. The east wall boasted a huge vid-screen of the size normally reserved for public places. To the right and left of the main entrance, short corridors led to longer ones, extending down the sides of the house. Along each corridor were the doors to six guest bedrooms, for a total of twelve.



“I thought I heard voices outside.” Jullian smiles and spreads her arms. “Hello Jax.”


 Jax drops the bags he carries as Jullian gives him a hug “Hey Jullian.” He turns to Linsey. “This is Linsey Trillyn.”


Linsey smiles, looking from Jax to Jullian. “Hi Jullian, it’s great to meet you.” She gives Jax a wink and walks to the center of the room, holding out her arms and turning a full circle. “Like the beach house?”


Seth stands in the entrance, silent.



Seth watches the door slide shut as Jax and Linsey head out for the beach. He goes to the room Jullian picked for them, in the front corner of the beach house, and opens the door. “Jullian, about Linsey …”


 Jullian looks up from the small carry bag she’s packing. He stops speaking, seeing the happy sparkle in her eyes. Looking past her through the large, tinted window, he sees Jax and Linsey in the distance.




He blinks and smiles, not wanting to spoil her happy mood. “Oh … Trillyn. I’m sure I’ve heard that name before. You?”


She shakes her head. “No. Let’s go.” She runs past him, grabbing his hand and pulling him along.



That evening, they head back to the cliff-face gate.


 Linsey points out a small travel terminal. Of the dozen choices available, six of them were restaurants. She explained that these restaurants were not available to those living on Espen or the tourists. They were exclusively available to those who owned beach houses and their guests.


Seth figured that there had to be a lot of beach houses to support exclusive restaurants, shopping, and attractions. He was surprised that there were that many people, rich enough to own them.



The best pizza was New York pizza. Seth had never doubted it, until now. He sat, looking down at the last piece of the second pie he’d ordered, seriously thinking about eating it, against the strong protest of his stomach.


Jullian stands from the table and smiles. “Bathroom break.”


“Good timing. I’ll join you.” Linsey stands.


Jax watches the girls as they walk away. He turns to Seth and smiles, giving him a wink. Seth knew that Jax had had a few brews, but he seemed far from drunk, at least, by Jax’s standards.


Seth grins. “So, it looks like the LED has settled you down. A steady girlfriend?”


“Right, buddy.” Jax gives Seth’s shoulder a slap. “You’re one to talk. The Seth I knew was a bloody hermit. Now look at you. You have a steady girl, and not only that …” Another shoulder slap. “You live with her!”


“Well … touché.”


Jax lets out a loud laugh, drawing no attention from the other noisy patrons.


Seth’s tone turns more serious. “Jax, about Linsey …”


“Unbelievable! That’s what she is, fraggin unbelievable! She’s so hot, and her family is richer than …”


“I know, but …”


“Oh, hey buddy.” Jax reaches across the table to put a hand on Seth’s shoulder. “Don’t be asking me about the LED when Linsey’s around. Okay?”


“Why not?”


Jax shrugs and grins “I’m not really on leave. I’m suspended for two weeks. Don’t say anything to Linsey. Okay?”


“Suspended? For what?”


The girls approach the table.



It was almost 11 pm when they return to the beach house. Everyone agrees that a drink on the beach would be a great way to end the day.


Jullian stands at the front entrance, smiling, drink in hand “Coming Seth?”


He gives her a smile. “Go ahead. I’ll be right out.”


Seth looks through the window, overlooking the beach, watching Jullian as she joins Jax and Linsey by the water. He goes to the huge vid-screen’s terminal, links into the public information database, and starts a search for ‘Trillyn’.


He sits back on one of the plush couches, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. Jax had a secret to keep from Linsey. Linsey had a secret to keep from Jax. Jax’s secret wasn’t really unexpected. He knew Jax. Linsey’s secret was still a mystery. Why did she invite them here? What was she up to?


A low tone comes from the vid-screen. Seth opens his eyes, looking at the search results …


Derek Trillyn – Holder of three patents for technologies vital to the modern-day biocell. The first patent was filed in June, 2371. An improvement on the previous


The vid screen goes dark for a few seconds … and then, glows with a strange, blue light.


Seth looks to the window, wondering whether the light can be seen from the beach. When he turns back to the screen, Tristan’s face appears. Her eyes turn to look at him. On the huge screen, they look like windows, portals, looking out into a deep blue sky with twinkling stars.


Seth takes a breath “Tristan?”


Her voice comes in an urgent whisper. “Seth, be careful. There’s someone close to you that isn’t what they seem.”


Seth looks from the screen to the window. Linsey is coming toward the front entrance. He looks back to the screen. “I know.”


The vid-screen goes dark.

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