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Sonora rushed into the living room and found the men hovering around a footstool with papers scattered across it. She pushed herself through them only to see the writing was Atlantian.

Jorah glanced at her disappointed face and translated them. "Ian has written about the possibility of a research lab inside the Marine Center? He is unsure. His best guess." Jorah looked up and squinted. "What is the Marine Center?"

Sonora gasped. Blake grabbed her shoulder and said, "It is a local aquarium and museum. They also study marine—marine animals." Blake shook his head. "But my son-in-law works there, my daughter too. It can't be there. They would have reported anything remotely like that."

Sonora agreed. "And I've been in there a million times. I would have seen something. It's not where you were, is it, Grandpa?"

"No. I mean, I don't think so. I never really saw the outside of it, and your grandmother never told me. We didn't talk about it."

"Okay," Sonora said, turning back to Jorah. "Is there anything else? We have to hurry. I'm losing him!"

"Reach out the same way you did before," Jorah said with concern. He would not lose touch with his son, but he knew what it meant to Sonora to have Ian with her.

"I can't. That was so desperate."

"And you are no longer desperate?"

At his soft reminder, tears welled in Sonora's eyes, and she stretched out pulling Ian back. It was work for her, hard work. Her forehead glazed with sweat. She glanced at Jorah and nodded. Was it as hard for a full Atlantian as it was for her?

"Why are they doing this, Grandpa?" Sonora asked even though she knew the answer.

"It is as it always has been, people focus on the differences instead of the similarities. We are all one people, but there are those who won't see that, who only take what people have instead of learning from what they would offer.

Jorah nodded. "All Atlantians are brother and sister regardless of city or race," he put a hand to Sonora shoulder. "but you, little guppy, we have not treated well. You have my apologies for that. You are my son's Intended, and for that reason alone you deserved respect. When all is well, and we return to Atlantis, it will be different. I will make sure it is."

Sonora threw herself into Jorah's arms, after hugging him she stepped back. "Thank you! Now please, can we make sure all is well?"

Jorah picked up Ian's notes. "This is where we start."

Blake's brows drew together. "If it's there, it isn't in any part of the official building. We've never seen anything remotely suspicious, and my daughter, Claire, would have for sure. If you want, I can go nose around. We can get into some of the employee areas."

"No," Jorah said. He had a different plan in mind. "that won't be necessary."

Blake narrowed his eyes. "What do you mean? What are you thinking, Jorah?"

"Pup! You may look older than me, but you are hardly out of boyhood. It is not up to you to question one of the council."

Blake took a small step back and lowered his gaze. He didn't want to fall out of Jorah's good graces so soon. "I only worry—"

Jorah's full voice sounded around the room. "You should have worried long ago when you carried another name. These evil ones have no respect for our kind and what we are capable of. Do you think I will let them abuse my son? When I have them in my grasp?"

Blake reached out a hand. "Jorah, there are good people in this town!"

"I am aware, and they will not be harmed. But the evil will now stop."

Jorah took a firm step toward Blake, his eyes lighting within, and his guards raised to their full height. "Atlantis is rising. This world will see it's full power."

Blake looked from Jorah to the guards and back again. "But, this was never the plan, this—"

"There is no longer a plan, Blake, the box is home, but the cure is not. There is only one way to save these vulnerable people. We have to come to land and take it."

Sonora's grandfather blanched even while a fire lit in her. If this is what it takes to rescue Ian to keep him safe, then let them come.

But Blake knew the strength of the Atlantians. He knew what a single one could do, what he himself had done in his prime. His destruction still littered the history books. An army of them? He shuddered. This was his fault, his doing. He stole the Artifact and now the cure was gone. 

"Jorah," Blake entreated. "With respect, I ask you to temper your actions. This world, these people, can be fragile."

"Consider this. If we do not come to land, we do not save the humans. Then they will not be fragile. They will be dead." Jorah waved a dismissive hand at Blake. "The decision has been made. My son and the cure. If we do not succeed, we sink back into the ocean and leave this world to its own destruction."

Blake quieted. There was nothing else to say.

Eager to know her share in the plan, Sonora took a step closer to Jorah. "What is my part?"

Jorah smiled at her willingness to help Ian. "Your part is to stay safe so that my son has someone to return to. Let my army deal with this."

"Your army is going to storm into the Marine Center and demand Ian? That is the plan? There will be innocent people there. I can look for him without arousing any suspicion."

Jorah gave Sonora a parental smile and shook his finger at her. "No, dear. I will bring Ian to you when this is done. I will return tomorrow."

Sonora watched Jorah's wagging finger. On the one hand, she could understand why he might treat her like a child, on the other the hot flush of irritation flooding her seemed quite reasonable. But given her grandfather's reaction to Jorah's scolding, she didn't want to upset her soon-to-be father-in-law.

She gave him a hard smile. "I understand. We will be waiting for you."

After a quick nod, Jorah strode out of the house with his guards. One could only wonder what passersby thought of the three towering men in strange clothing making their way to the beach.


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