Origins Part 1: Indoctrination
“This isn’t going to be like Germany. It sounds like you had it very easy there. In England though we are much more deadline oriented. Don’t worry, you’ll be provided the space and equipment required. Your house is nearby although it is one bedroom. I had not realised Juliette was now a part of your operation,” Jacob replied, his voice somewhat tight on the last sentence.
“I had detailed as such in my report, the one you did request I write.” Jacob’s jawline hardened further at Heppenheim’s reply.
“You’ll have to make do until I can find something bigger,” Jacob replied stiffly. “I’ll speak with Kellen’s uncle this evening to let him know she arrived safe and sound with us. I’ll let him know you did a good job protecting her on the journey over.”
“I did hardly anything. Juliette is the one who kept an eye out for any risks,” Heppenheim replied. Jacob blinked before shooting me a look. I didn’t know how to decipher it, but it only inspired not so good feelings in me.
“Like mother like daughter?” he asked. I felt my eyes widen at the words.
“The chimera process makes any VNG testing unreliable, you know that,” Heppenheim replied. Jacob nodded, frowning.
“How old are you Juliette?” he asked, speaking directly to me for the first time. I hesitated, glancing at Heppenheim. He didn’t do or say anything though and my mouth grew dry.
“Twelve,” I replied. Jacob considered this for a moment before scribbling something on a notepad which he quickly shut.
“Well, that’s about all I needed to say. There’s more details in the envelope. Keith will take you to the house,” Jacob said.
“What about Kellen?” I asked. Heppenheim shot me a surprised glance.
“She will remain here until we receive the next set of instructions. This building is the easiest to secure,” Jacob replied, somewhat thrown by my question.
“Let’s go,” Heppenheim, rushing me out of the office before I could ask anything else. I knew Kellen was safe, Jacob didn’t strike me as trustworthy in any sense, but there was no way he would cross a line like that. Still, I had a feeling she would be safer with me. Keith joined us shortly and this time the car was a ford, something much more average looking. Apparently Jacob just liked to enjoy his money and power a bit more than he should.
“So, what was Germany like?” Keith asked as we drove. Apparently this driver was more talkative than the last. I could see he had slicked back blond hair and dark eyes. He had to be in his mid-twenties. He must be a hell of a asset if he was already working closely with Jacob. Although it wasn’t unheard of for a new boss to do a cleanse and re-hire, especially if there was a possibility that they had used less than honourable means to get the role.
“Depends which area,” Heppenheim replied. “It certainly has cleaner cities than what I’ve seen of Newcastle so far,” he added.
“Heh, wouldn’t surprise me,” Keith replied.
They continued talking and I concentrated on the city passing by. Row upon row of different kinds of take away, tattoo places, hairdressers, pawn shops and off-licences made up the nearest high street. We passed a park that had been overrun with graffiti, as had a nearby bridge where I could see the remains of bonfires and beer cans. Youth gangs happened everywhere. I wonder how many were in some way involved with the syndicate. Nearly every human criminal caught and locked away over the past twenty or so years had some involvement in the syndicate. Any other human organisation who tried to encroach on our territory were taken care swiftly. The only type of groups who could challenge us were parahumans who we left alone.
“Welcome to Newcastle,” Keith said as he pulled up beside a row of close-knit semi detached houses.
“Thank you,” Heppenheim said, getting out. I joined, sending a small wave as Keith left. We were in house number 41, a dingy place that obviously hadn’t been cleaned or repaired in a while, not that this was a permanent place of residence since Jacob was looking into a bigger place.
“I’ll crash on the sofa,” I offered as we put our stuff on empty kitchen counters. The place had minimum furnishings and curling wallpaper, mold embedded between tiles in the bathroom. Our house back in Germany hadn’t been brilliant but it had been better than this.
“Jacob didn’t organise a school for you. I’ll call around tomorrow to see where there are spaces,” Heppenheim said. I rolled my eyes but didn’t argue. We ordered in since neither of us felt like cooking, nor did the kitchen have enough supplies for anything half-decent. There was a distinct possibility some of the tinned food was actually past its use-by date as well.
“Are you going to tell me what’s been bugging you?” I asked as we ate, taking Heppenheim by surprise.
“It’s nothing you need to worry about for now,” he replied. I cocked an eyebrow at the ‘for now’.
“Jacob knew my parents,” I said. Heppenheim sighed, putting his burger down to meet my questioning gaze.
“It’s not worth thinking about,” he murmured, meeting my gaze with his blue eyes.
I could remember being a child and trying to call him father. He’d always corrected me, insisting he was not my dad even though he raised me. I’d always had the feeling he knew exactly who my real parents were, but even now he will never tell me who they were. I dropped the subject and soon enough I was on my own lying on the sofa, questions running through my mind.
What was going to happen here in England?
Could I get Jacob to tell me about my parents?
Was it a good idea to learn about them if I could?
What was bothering Heppenheim?
And lastly, was Kellen okay?