Chapter VI: What Now?

We all stand in the middle of the Hub, looking around awkwardly. A few whisper at us, being awkward and obviously outcasts. "Should we go get some food?" I ask, quietly. The other six look at me as if my suggestion is stupid. I throw my hands up in the air. "Yeesh, sorry for suggesting it." Soon after I speak those words, everyone's stomachs growl. "Ha! I was right!"

"Shut up kid." The pit viper grumbles before crossing her arms. "Where was the kitchen again?" She asks all of us. We all shake our heads, not remembering the tour. After what we had just gone through, remembering where the kitchens are is the least of our worries. Sheila on the other hand nods, stepping forward.

"Follow me." We all do, wanting our stomachs to stop growling. As we make our way through the crowd, I can't help but notice the people who stare us down. And the people we stare down. I continually get looks from parents, wondering what I'm doing with a bunch of lost teeagers and young adults. Wondering why the Imperium would do this to a child. Teens and young adults examine me as well. Wondering how a kid could be so, different. I ignore almost everyone, but can't keep my eyes off the children. The kids who've never been stolen. Or beaten down. Children who play and giggle. But I never got a chance too. It gives me hope. Sad hope. But hope nonetheless.

Scout is walking next to Ryker, her hand in his, her posture tall and strong, glaring at almost everyone she passes. It's like everyone is her enemy in her mind. The tough guys glare back at her mostly. They all seem unsettled at her looks, looking away, shrinking into themselves, nervous at the girl who's analyzing them in a way that makes you feel like she'll kill you. Ryker glances over at Scout, smiling, and shaking his head at her glares. Then he manages to catch most of the people's eyes that she glared at, and gives them an apologetic look. They brighten up at his look. Others who look at Ryker first just smile, his red hair flopping in his eyes.

Ryker is just naturally a person who could make your day slightly better because he's so dorky looking almost. Especially with Scout next to him. He smiles slightly at everyone who glances at him. And mostly he tries to catch the eyes of the teens around our age. Most look back, then see Scout glaring, look away.

Jason just keeps a stoic expression, walking right behind Sheila. He glances at most of the men near his age. They glare at him. Most of which have weapons and other things that can inflict pain. He tenses when one looks like he can rip Jason apart. Though after what I saw during the simulation, I think it might go the other way. Now as for the looks he's receiving. Let's just say, I never really understood his affect on girls until now.

It's like they're stalking prey. And quite frankly it's freaking me out. But to my surprise, not only do women look at him like he's a prize, men do as well. Jason seems quite practiced at ignoring them. He even dodges the glares sent to him by men and women wishing they could receive attention like it. Personally, I'm okay living without it, attention is my nightmare.

Cade looks down, sometimes looking at me smiling shyly. She's receiving similar looks as Jason was. But the fact that she knows makes the people's reaction far different. She continues looking down, following the feet of Ryker and Scout.

Jordan just gets casual glances. And he smiles back at everyone. Not that that surprises me. He's so fun and kind. His sister on the other hand ignores everyone, only focusing on her way towards the line of tables with food set on them. Looks like the kitchen and where you get your food aren't the same. We file into the line with everyone else. When it finally gets to us, we grab a tray and a bowl. Something similar to soup gets dropped into it, and a small rock that's supposed to be a dinner roll is placed onto the tray as well.

We all head to a table in the corner and all sit down. I scoop the soup into my mouth, trying not to think about the taste. It's mediocre. But it probably has a lot of nutritional value. We sit there in silence, still a little shaken up by the whole facing our fears thing. I sigh and take another spoonful of soup. Gasping when the taste of glue hits my taste buds. The others laugh at my reaction to the terrible soup. And Jordan pats my back.

"You ok Seth?" He asks amused. Nodding slowly I place the spoon on the table. That should be good for now. I trail my eyes to the others. All of which are swallowing down the disgraceful soup anyway. I watch Ryker and Scout as they lean into each other sweetly. And my mind goes straight to the money in my vest pocket. Guess it's kind of pointless now that we pay for things through labor. In a good way, kind of.

We continue to sit in silence, listening to the other people in the hub as they laugh, shout and smile. I wish I could have been here from the beginning. Well, except for the food. We sit there a little longer until someone speaks. Yet, no voice I recognize.

"I'm guessing you're all new?" I hear from behind me. I snap my neck around, along with Cade, Jordan, and Sheila. My eyes meet four people. One, a tall, pale brute. Blonde hair and blue eyes glaring at someone behind me. Next to him stood an asian female, with half her head shaved and the other half gelled into blue spikes. Behind the two of them, stood two dark skinned men. With comically identical looks. No hair, sunglasses and spikes on plaid shirts. All of them had some form of spikes or leather. The one in the front was the owner of the deep voice. Of course, Jason is the one to speak.

"Yeah, you?" He speaks clearly as he stands up, to look at the fellow blue eyed man directly. The tension in the air picks up and the brutes goons look as nervous as my friends and I feel. The muscled blonde steps closer to the table as Jason leans across it slightly.

"Been here a year. So don't try anything." He warns, voice hitting a dangerous octave. Jason rolls his eyes and slowly steps over the table as if it were a bridge. Luckily, his feet dodge the food. He jumps in front of the man with a cocky confidence.

"Now why would we do that?" He asks, mockingly. The blonde brute glares at him before gesturing to the males and females oogaling over the ebony haired man in the crowd that had slowly begun to form around the pointless cammotion.

"No idea. But from the looks of it, You've already started." He brings his glare back to Jason who laughs. And keeps laughing. Wholeheartedly. And before I can warn him, the blonde's fist slams into Jason's chin. There's a moment of silence as Jason realizes what just happened. His eyes dart to the blonde. And then it starts, Jason growls as he sends a punch of his own to the other man's face, which the brute blocks and kicks his legs forward. Jason jumps over them before jabbing the guy in the gut. Causing the man to lose his breath. I don't even notice the crowd cheering and hollering as I watch Jason take another punch.

The group and I stare wide eyed as the fight continues. Jason leaving more bruises, fist's, and feet on the other man, yet still getting damaged, albeit minimally. When Jason gets socked in the arm, I snap out of this. This was absolutely pointless. I launch off my feet and jump in between the two immature men after Jason sends another punch. They stop for a moment when they realize their targets are being blocked by a fifteen year old kid. "Stop! You're being idiots. Jason, you should get some sleep anyway. We should leave." I explain, hoping to get through too the two bloody, bruised morons. They both stare at me, when the blonde speaks.

"Jason? That's your name?" He laughs, even though It's not all that funny. "What? Is this your little brat. Your friends sure are lacking." His words makes a flash of anger spark in my brain. But I resist the urge to hit the blonde, wanting to prove to Jason this was absolutely pointless. Jason's eyes turn even darker and he forgets I'm there.

"You son of a bitch!" Jason shouts before his fist flies. It heads towards the brute causing me to duck. But before the fist goes far, a figure jumps in front of me and tan knuckles meet an unintentional target. Jordan. I look down at the dark skinned male as he lies on the cement floor, clutching his jaw in pain, grumbling curse words under his breath. I scrambled to my knees, gently placing a hand on the boy's arm.

"Jordan are you ok?" I ask, worry flooding my body. I really liked him. He was level headed, which made everyone of my friends calm down sometimes. The black haired boy nods and slowly tries to sit up, using my arm to assist him. Jason stares down at us in shock, not saying a word, letting his wide eyes do the talking. The brute was in shock as well. Silence filled the air as I helped the older man up. When he was on his feet, Sheila rushed towards us.

"Brother..."

"I'm ok, Sheil." He reassures her, forcing a smile. The girl isn't fooled and helps me in holding him up. I glare at Jason.

"See what happens when you do idiotic things like fight for NO reason. We're taking Jordan to your room. Hopefully, by the time you come back, you won't punch him again." I growl, making my ways towards the metal stairs. It was going to be a long life.