Uncovering Truths – Lost Chapter 4
prequel to The Chronicles of Xannia: Time’s Tempest by M.J. Moores
Dezmind stepped up to the high counter. The Jeridan woman, of black skin and yellow coliths, speaking into her head-set communicator and flipping through files on her virtual monitor, did not see him. This was the smallest CWA, Child Welfare Agency, he’d been to but they all looked the same. A large semi-circular desk occupied by one Assistant battling a foster care question or looking for a missing child – oblivious to any kind of street traffic. The blue on blue tonal quality of the décor differed only in the placement of happy children running into the arms of new adoptive parents.
He rested his arms on the counter and tapped his fingers. The silvery white hue of his skin reflected the dark blue of the counter giving his hands a blue, Balanis tinge. This time, he’d opted for his usual business-casual dress. No hats, no hoods or overcoats. They’d only make the Assistants wary. She glanced over her shoulder at the drumming sound.
Her speech faltered as she lost track of what she was saying, “Yes, I know – I mean I’ll look into it. Could you send it by fibermail? I have to go.” Her once-busy monitor froze in time with her hand. He could see her watching him from the corner of her eye. This was his cue.
“Excuse me, I was hoping you might be able to help me find someone.” He asked. She blinked and rolled her chair over to where he stood – forgetting her still frozen hands hovering in the air before a non-existent screen. She visibly shook herself and rested her hands in her lap. She tried several times to make eye contact, but couldn’t hold his gaze. She settled on the top button of his long-sleeved T-shirt.
“Are you a registered Care Provider?”
She knew the answer to that question. No Talian was in the system but it was the first question out of their mouths every time.
“No. I’m looking for someone who should be of age. Could you do a name search for me?” The first time Dezmind spoke with an Assistant at one of the public agencies, he fumbled for the right words and spent over thirty minutes trying to convince the woman he was serious and not trying to hoax her.
“I’ll need to enter your name into the database in order to activate a search.” She slid back over to her virtual monitor, selected an icon and waited with fingers poised.
“Diaz Mindexid Lisle.” He hated the sound of his full, formal name but it was necessary in order to confirm his true identity. She typed his name into the virtual keyboard projected onto the lower tabletop behind the desk. His graduation photo from four months ago popped up on her screen, along with his race – Talian. She knew he wasn’t faking it now. He watched her swallow twice.
“And the name of the child for whom you search?”
“Jadis Matheson. J-a-d-i-s.”
“Thank you. Mr. Lisle.”
“Please, call me Dezmind.” She gave a full-body twitch. She’d probably never seen a Talian in public before, let alone have one speak to her so casually. Generally his race chose to ignore the rest of civilization and hide behind the walls of the Compound. He was tired of hiding, tired of the half-truths and lies spoken by his father and the rest of the bureaucracy.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Li- um, Dezmind. No one age sixteen or older is registering in my system.”
“Sixteen? Age of Majority is twelve.”
“Um, no sir. For the general public it’s sixteen.”
The curse he swore in his mind flared across the structure of his face and in his eyes. The woman drew a breath and held it. Dezmind flattened the palms of his hands against the counter top. The black tracings of his s-shaped coliths rippled across his knuckles. Eighteen CWAs in five days and this is the first time someone mentions a discrepancy? Mentally pushing down his anger and surprise, he tried again.
“Okay. Can you do me a favour then?”
“Well, that depends, sir.” She seemed to feel better with the more formal address than using his name.
“I know you only have permission to access the databases directly linked to this agency,” she nodded her head in agreement. “But I also know you do have the ability to do an interconnected search with permission from a superior.”
“Yes, but if she’s under age, there’s nothing–”
“Not true.” He interrupted. He’d tried this before but his initial introduction to the Assistant at that branch had not gone well. “I just need to know if she’s in the system. I don’t need you to tell me who her foster or adoptive parents are or give me any kind of personal information. This is critical.” He said and then added, “Please.”
Having a Talian beg for assistance must have undone something inside of her. The set of her brow changed and her lips softened. I just need to know if she exists.
She whispered, “I know the code.” And her fingers flew over the keyboard once more. It took every ounce of Dezmind’s will power not to lean forward. Most people startled easily in his presence but she seemed particularly susceptible.
She frowned, and then turned to him with her hands folded in her lap. “I’m sorry, sir.” Is she dead? “But she doesn’t appear to exist. There’s no record of her anywhere in our databases. Have you tried the Government Facilities? She might be registered there.”
He shook his head and rubbed a hand over his face and through his black wavy hair. No.
“No. Her parents wouldn’t have done that.” Would they? “Thank you. You’ve been extremely helpful.” He nodded to her and turned to leave.
“Good luck.” She said as he opened the door on the absurd idea that the girl might be in a government facility.
* * *
Dezmind walked into the small café for the third time that week. The most remote CWAsso, Child Welfare Association funded by the government institution of the Kronik and his Advisors, stood across a quiet residential street. In fact, the building was designed to look more like a boarding house than an institute.
For five days Dezmind tracked the comings and goings of the staff. Tonight he’d do a dry run – walk the perimeter to check for surveillance equipment and possible points of entry. Being connected to the Kronik made going in bald-faced impossible. If for some reason Lady Lynnia agreed to give her child up to the very government trying to silence her, he didn’t think they’d take kindly to one of their own dredging up secrets carefully buried.
* * *
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M.J. Moores is a high school English teacher turned author, editor and freelance writer. Her love of books stems from being one of the top readers in her class at the age of 7. Her passion for writing ignited at the age of 9 when she learned that both kids and adults enjoyed her adventure stories.
M.J.’s first science fiction novel Time’s Tempest: The Chronicles of Xannia is now available through Amazon and Barnes & Nobel. In anticipation of this achievement has been offering readers one free Lost Chapter a month until its release. The Lost Chapters are glimpses into the world of Time’s Tempest looking at scenarios spoken about but not delved into during the course of the main story.