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Nathan examines the photograph of the Earth. He recognizes it as the famous photograph taken during Apollo 11. It depicts the continents of Africa and Antarctica, he also notices that the photograph is apparently upside-down. That is, the south pole is at the top of the picture. He wonders if there is any significance to this. The paper it is printed on feels smooth, there is no indication of any ink or medium used to print it. It is a very soft paper, in fact, yet it feels durable. The frame it is made in appears to be actual gold, although Nathan is no expert on this matter. But judging from the lavishness of this house, it wouldn't be surprising. It has some ornate designs of curved lines and spirals, and appears to be all one piece of solid gold.

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Bryce whistles as he steps into the room.

"This is an awfully fancy house for a bunch of extraterrestrial kidnappers."

He lets out one short chuckle, before suddenly shouting "Hellooooo! Anybody home!"

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The words echo slightly, but there is no reply. Looking up and back the way he came, Bryce can see that the balcony of the room has several doors, presumably to other rooms upstairs. At the centre of the balcony is some tall wooden piece of furniture, but he can't tell what it is from here.

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"Shy buggers, are we?" Bryce mutters.

He straightens, and stretches his arms.

"Alright," he says to the people left in the room, "since the taboo on expoloration seems to be broken, I'm thinkin' it might be a good plan to see if we can't find whatever brought us here." He pauses thoughtfully, "Not sure what to do when we find 'em, but..."

He shrugs, and starts up the stairs to the balcony above.

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Climbing one of the staircases, Bryce goes up to the balcony. The hall curves around to the left and right through open doorframes, and there are eleven doors in the hall in all. Each one of them has the name of one of the eleven people transported here neatly carved into the wood. Bryce quickly finds his own name. In the centre of the balcnoy overlooking the living room is a grandfather clock. It appears to be made of equal parts wood and crystal, and like many things in this house feels both modern and classical. It is polished and new, yet the pendulum is not swinging. The hands are stopped at 11:59.

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As he passes through the living room to get to the kitchen to talk to Bruce, Sid realises that he has a piece of paper in his pocket that may be incriminating. On this sheet of paper are plans for the "bully bashing" attack at his high school. What if his captors were to find this? Or the other abductees even? He couldn't allow that to happen--it would jeapordize his entire predicament here, not to mention the attack itself. Making sure no one is watching, he pulls the paper out, walks toward the fireplace, and drops it into the flame.

"WAIT A FUCKING SECOND" Sid thinks to himself. He feels the lower left pocket in his jeans. "How the fuck could I be so thick? And how could no one else have thought to do this either?"

Sure enough, his cellular phone is still there. It's a testament to the technological addiction of the modern day that even teens with as few friends as Sid would carry a cell phone around. But, now more than ever, he is grateful for it.

He dials Jack's number into the phone and presses call.

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Bryce shouts over the railing, "You folks might wanna have a look at this."

In the meantime, he tries to open the casing of the grandfather clock, to give the pendulum a nudge.

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Sid hears a message from his cell phone telling him there is no signal. The pendulum swings once, then stops dead in the centre of the clock again.

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Giuseppe enters the ornate living room, with Jayne close behind in the hallway. Walking alongside the left wall, he takes in the enormity of the room. The ceiling was even taller than in the hallway; as he reaches the middle of the room, he sees that the balcony above the double doors led to rooms which must be above the hallway. Leaning on the wall, he looks at the others in the room, all who seem to be preoccupied. Now that it seemed they were all safe, as well as calm, Giuseppe took the time to observe these people he had somehow ended up with.

The level-headed young man, Nathan, was staring fixedly at the image of the world in the golden frame. He seemed lost in thought- whether he was thinking about the picture, or other, more important things in his head, Giuseppe did not know. The girl who had surprised him earlier was sitting on one of the couches, looking around pensively. Of all those who had ended up in this place, she seemed the most out of place. She gave off an aura of discipline Giuseppe would expect in few people, never mind one as youthful as her. She had spoken of a certain Mazda... he felt Hadi had mentioned the name before to him, something pertaining to Gnosticism, however he couldn't quite recall. Contrary to these two was the girl he had just spoken with, Jayne, standing at the door. She seemed quiet and thoughtful as well, yet also looked as though she was analysing everything around her with careful scrutiny. Jade was holding the youngling Tommy in her arms, attempting to be motherly in conforting the child while trying to satisfy her own curiosity.

Giuseppe shook his head. There is never any reason to studying people like this, he thought to himself. They will, without a doubt, show who they are better than he can guess. Still, however they all ended up here, they certainly seem to be a group of interesting characters.

He shrugged. Nothing to do but to continue, and see what happens next.

He looks up at the balcony again and sees the man he believes is named Bryce, and meets his gaze.

[updated]

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Hearing Giuseppe talking to her, and Bryce's yelling, Ciaraen comes out of her daze and walks slowly into the living room. Glancing around to see where Bryce was yelling from, she sees the nearby staircase and decides to head upstairs to find out what it is that's so exciting up there. She stops a couple feet away from Bryce and the grandfather clock

"What's this you've found? That's rather odd that it won't work. I wonder why..."

She then notices all the doors with names on them, and decides to open the door to what apparently is her room.

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Ciaraen opens the door to her bedroom...

END OF CHAPTER 1.3

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