Chapter 3 (Zack Zettize Rooy)

A shaft of warm sunlight flowed like a spotlight from an aperture in the roof. Zack walked on the echoing marble floor with Jon's hand locked tight on his shoulder. He reached into his pocket and felt the comforting touch of his clockwork gun. The gun was made completely out of carbon-diamond, mostly –but with some fullerenes for lubrication and energy-storage. There were no metals or explosives in the gun; no circuitry. Only intricate levers and retches, greased by fullerene spheres. It fired spin-stabilized diamond flechettes, drawing its power from the relaxation of fullerene springs coiled almost to its breaking point. You wound it up with a key, like a clockwork mouse. There were no aiming devices, stabilizing systems or target acquisition aids.

"Now I know what I should buy you for a birthday present." Jon said after Zack released his grip on his gun.

A group of aristocrats were having a formal conversation unaware that secret organizations were in state of having war between each other. There were cheerful people; chatting in cafes and drinking cocktail. Jack wanted to have fun and drink until he reaches into an ethereal state but he was on an urgent mission. Of course, there were also other people around. Soldiers were going around and brandishing their laser guns at some people. The soldiers have galvanized their muscles and their tattoos camouflaged on their arms. Jon and Jack were careful not to aggrandize their muscles so that they would not look like active soldiers. Although no muscles were needed to carry the new-model weapons that even a child could have carried easily, some soldiers preferred to have big muscles for intimidation.

The two boys reached to another hall which has strange designs which were surreal. Paintings were hung on the walls which showed Arinc Joana: one of the members who opposed the sinorues. Arinc Joana killed thousands of them and in return the aliens had spread the disease by indoctrinal virus.

If infected by the virus, the person goes into a state of frenzy and tries to kill him/herself. After a month or two (If the person survives) the person calms down and another problem starts. The person's left hand may shrink and shrivel or he/she may have another hand growing from the back-bone. After this stage the person dies.

"I think we should visit three hand serafim" Jon murmured

"Who's that?"

"He is a friend of mine but he got infected by the virus while he visited his girlfriend's planet"

"Isn't he going to die?"

"He was …but he stopped his third from growing. Anyway don't call him three hand rombie in front of him"

"Got it" Zack said

Jon paused in front of a white door as if reconsidering if he should turn back. After a moment, he knocked at the door and waited.

With a soft click, the door opened slowly and Jack saw a pallid man smiling at them from his chair.

"Please be seated" the man said with a French tone in his voice

As Zack and Jon sat down, a robot compy entered from another room and served them coffee although they were not in a mood to drink.

"My name's serafim and what would you gentleman want" Serafim said in a rich voice

"My friend here is Jack" Jon introduced

Serafim held out his hand and Jack took it. The pale man looked weak but his hand was firm and held Zack's for a long time.

"Sera, can you arrange us a transport to Mars?" Jon said after the introduction

"Oh… I see…"

Serafim stood up and walked to a window which showed a clear view of the city. His third hand hung limp from his back. The hand was small and it was not fully grown yet…

Serafim turned around and saw Jack's interest in his third hand.

"The process was stopped when my hand was not fully-developed. I was lucky that the surgery was done in time. Some people got rid of their third hand but died because of the surgery"

"It was also thanks to Jon's navigation skills on the ship that I arrived to hospital on time. And it was also a time of war so it was difficult to travel."

"That was nothing"

"I owe you one so take care of yourself until I repay you your kindness"

Jon smiled softly. He was wearing a fedora on his head and looked as if he was on a vacation.

Serafim started explaining his story of how he got the virus but Jon interrupted in the middle of the story.

Jon cleared his throat.

"Sorry to keep you here for long. You can leave now, I am really sorry to waste your time" Serafim apologized.

Like a waiting rocket, Jon launched himself out of his seat, said "Bye sera" and he walked out of the room.

After Jon went out of the room, Jack lowered his head to Serafim in salute and hurriedly followed Jon as he didn't want to lose himself in the growing crowd.

Author's note

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