Just the Beginning
At first, the environment was pitch black, but then all of a sudden, I appeared in the middle of a warzone, hiding behind a ruined Panzer tank trying to reload my M4 assault carbine. The magazine was being jammed by something unseen inside the chamber. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get it in. All around me, soldiers of both red and blue uniform fell to the ground as Death left six or seven bullets in each of their chests, legs or heads, but nobody could see where I was, no matter what, though every second or so I came in close contact with a stray bullet. It was as though I were a ghost, how I was being entirely ignored. Then, out of nowhere, an enemy soldier jumped over the downed plane and landed on top of me. As soon as he’d realized what he landed on, he pulled out his combat knife and stabbed downwards into my chest behind my collarbone before running out to fight the rest of the fight. Somehow, the wound didn’t cause any pain, nor did it kill me, though I had been utterly paralyzed, and could not move anything but my head. I saw the blood pouring out of the wound and around my head onto the ground. It didn’t hurt, it didn’t kill me, so there had to be only one explanation…
BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP! The shrill sound of the alarm clock had once more succeeded in removing me from the hell of a nightmare based on paralysis, one subject that frightened me to no end, even if some of the causes of the immovability of my body were out of context, and would kill me rather than leave me motionless. I scrambled to hit the snooze button and end the unnecessary torrent of continued screams in my ear. Another day, another bunch of senseless activities leading up to the end of my day, I thought to myself as I readjusted my body on the bed. It was still dark, much too early to get up for school, besides the fact that it was Saturday. I plowed sluggishly through my mind to remember why I’d set it so early in the first place the night before, and then it came to me almost too quickly; the new exhibit based around the laser-beam technology that had been developed just last year was being displayed at the museum today. Of course, it had been implemented in many American, European, and Asian weapons, medical devices, and mining tools already, but the exhibit had the whole device broken down so people who were interested could finally get a good look at how it worked.
I eventually got up, turned on the light (which blared into my eyes annoyingly until my eyes adjusted), and spun around to see my cluttered room. The room itself was relatively clean, but the furniture made the room difficult to navigate. I pushed the chair underneath my desk - which was still covered in the homework from the night before along with some reference books and a small lamp – clambered over my messy bed, and reached the dresser on the other side. First thing I grabbed was my pair of lucky dog tags from the top of the dresser. They weren’t really tags; just referred to them as tags because they’re small, thin plates of metal around a chain. The tags themselves were made of an ore unregistered on the table of elements, tinted a purplish-hue that shone blue in the light. After that, I opened up the chest of drawers and pulled out a new pair of jeans and a t-shirt that seemed light enough for a day such as this. With my shoes nowhere to be found, I grabbed my wallet off the desk; I picked my jacket from a hook on the closet door, and navigated my way out of the room and down the stairs.
That day, I’d expected to be the first one awake. To my surprise, however, Joseph was sitting at the table, drinking his usual cup of coffee and using his tablet-computer to read up on the news. Joseph wasn’t my real father; just a foster parent who took me in years back with his wife, Katherine, who may as well have been the real thing from the very beginning in my view. The Abercrofts were kind, nonetheless, and were as attentive to me growing up as they were their real daughter, Claire, whom they’d given birth to two years after they adopted me, making me about seven years older than she is.
In reality, my real age was unknown at the time, but I was easily assumed to be around five when I was adopted, and showed no signs that pointed otherwise. All I knew for sure was that I was born, I was put up for adoption a couple years after that, and then I waited around a year until the Abercroft family adopted me. By that time, I was old enough to start recording events in my mind, and had already known who I was, and that I never came out of Katherine’s womb. Despite, I treated them with respect they deserved, and until the age of fifteen, even called them ‘mother’ and ‘father’. And even then, had I continued calling them by their parental names, I would easily be able to pass as their child, with my brown hair, green eyes, and medium, piano-shaped fingers. Only difference here was the eyes, that being pointed out with Joe’s brown eyes and Katherine’s hazel eyes. Besides that, I passed as their son, and Claire’s brother.
On that particular morning, Joe had bags under his eyes still, and hadn’t shaven yet, meaning he’d also just awoken, but never bothered to get ready. More proof of that was that he still had his blue-striped pajamas on, wrinkled from nightly use.
“Morning, Joe,” I said with mucus still coating the inside of my throat, causing my voice to sound scratchy. I cleared my throat, then said, “what are you doing up so early?”
“Your alarm clock is set way too loud, James,” he replied, “I could hear it from my room across the hall. Your mother didn’t hear it, but I sure did. What do you have to do so early on a Saturday morning, anyhow? And please, even though I’m not actually, please call me ‘dad’ for once?”
“Okay, ‘Dad,’” I said as I went over to the kitchen cabinet and searched for some cereal, “the laser beam exhibit at the museum is opening today, and I’d like to have as long as I want taking a look at how it works. While I'm there, I'm sure something else will also pull me away from the laser beam display, so I'd like time to check those things out as well. I’ve already talked to Kath… ‘Mom’ about it, and she said she’d talk to you about it,” I picked out a box of Frosted Flakes from the cabinet and got a gallon of milk from the refrigerator, and sat down with a washed bowl and began to eat.
“Yes, she did talk to me about it,” he replied, “and I agreed with her, but I imagined at the time that you wouldn’t actually go this early in the morning. Thought you were exaggerating. You hardly even get up this early for school, let alone something far out of the way and unrelated to our lives like a museum exhibit. My only question is: why?”
“I dunno,” I replied after swallowing a mouthful of cornflakes, “school isn’t really something I’d rush on out to get to, especially since this semester, history is the first class of the day. I’ve heard about how Button Gwinnett was the second signer of the Declaration of Independence five years in a row now; since seventh grade; Read on how Lewis and Clarke explored the Louisiana Purchase with Sacajawea since about fifth grade; and did three reports about John Wilkes Booth killing Abraham Lincoln (in third, sixth, and eighth grade). Honestly, it’s all the same crap, but on a different day.”
“I suppose I can’t disagree with you there, James,” Joseph huffed, “but haven’t you considered taking Claire with you? Perhaps she’d like to learn up on the inner workings of a laser beam emitter as well.”
“No, sir, I’m not taking her along with me,” I said with hope that that would be enough to convince him, though I knew it wouldn’t, “she’s already argued with me about that. She wants to go over Livey’s house for her cousin’s birthday party. Funny thing is, her birthday isn’t even for another three weeks, or so I’m told. Whatever her reason is, I don’t want her tagging along with me. She likes Kurt, I think, and he thinks she’s a bug. At least, I hope he does.”
“No, she won’t miss her friend’s birthday party,” he said, “besides; wouldn’t you think the cousin would like her own friends and family to come to her own house instead of Livey’s friends and family, at her house? Look, I know you don’t want to take her, but she needs to get out of the house more often, and she doesn’t need to go to another girl’s house and just watch television, or do whatever it is she does over there. In particular, that girl’s brother, Max, frightens me somewhat. The things he does are looked down upon as it is, and who knows what other nasty things he could be doing with his younger sister?”
“Joe, Max is a year younger than me and three inches shorter, and should know better than to mess with my ‘baby sister’. Heck, for all we know, their parents could be saying the same thing about Claire and me. Besides, Claire would tell us about anything that happens between that jackass and herself on her own. I, uh, I’m not saying I’d condone it if I found out he was secretly sneaking stuff into her drink, or ‘accidentally’ squeezing her breasts, but right now… just keep her here until I get back, please? I’ll take her out for ice cream and get some small cakes and whatever for her then. I have the money to get it, I do. I dunno... she’ll just want to hurry the trip along and make me leave the museum before I’ve had my fill. There’s a lot I want to see, and I don’t want to miss any of it.”
“Fine, you’re allowed to go, but you have a promise to keep,” he said with a sigh, “more to her rather than me, though you said the words directly to me. You understand that, don’t you, son?”
I drained my bowl of cereal and got up to put the food away.
“I promise, I’ll walk her up there myself,” I said, “I won’t even take my car, unless she wants to go for a ride up there instead. Just please, don’t send her to go with me today.”
“Very well then,” Joe said, “I want you back no later than four o’clock this afternoon to take her out, understood? You don’t want to lose that stereo set again, do you?”
“No, I get it. I’ll be back by then to take her out for treats. Thanks, Joe, I appreciate this. I’ll be going out now, then. I’ll see you later.”
“Ah-huh, this coffee’s not working right, I guess,” Joe grumbled, staring into his cup as though he expected powdered caffeine to appear at the bottom of it, “I’m heading back up to bed. You turned off your alarm clock, didn’t you?” I replied positively to this, “Well then, I’ll expect you later.”
Joe went upstairs again, while I went to the front door. It didn’t take long for me to find my shoes (they were next to the umbrella stand), and as soon as I plucked the keys to my car from the key rack, I left the house. Right when I did that, I was immediately shone upon by the bright yellow light caused by the early morning sun. It was still cold outside, considering spring only just began the day before. I stood up and stretched a bit. Just seeing how young the day was made my body tired, wanting to turn around and go back to bed again.
I yawned, and then crossed the stone path onto the driveway. There, I saw my old, 2014 Ford Fusion, sitting in front of the garage on the left side of the driveway. There were small dents all around the rear border from me accidentally bumping into the side of the house during my first two months with a permit. The shiny blue paint had already begun to peel off from the side skirts of the car and the cover to the gas tank. It wasn’t anything like the newer 2023 Ford or Hyundai cars, with hydrogen-fueled engines, which was a major downside, considering gas stations were becoming rare these days from being converted into hydrogen fuel stations. Nevertheless, it was cheaper than those newer models, it was efficient compared to the more gutsy models made the same year, and it had decent acceleration and speed incase some idiot decided to insult my car because it was old.
I unlocked the car and got inside, put my seatbelt on and turned the key. Of course, old age made the car more difficult to start. After my fifth attempt at ignition, the normal roar of the engine descended to a hum. I was only able to move three feet forwards, however, before the frontal alarm went off, and forced the car to stop still until whatever small creature was in front of the car moved away. I left the car angrily and went around seeing what was sitting in front of the car. As it turned out, the blockage was the neighbor’s old, deaf cat, Handkerchief. He usually took to sitting under my warm car right before I moved away from the driveway, and I had expected this to happen. Unfortunately, Handkerchief was very uncooperative, and made the process of getting him away from my car challenging, but the fact that he was de-clawed made things a bit better than they could’ve been.
“Goddamnit, Handkerchief,” I muttered to myself, “move the hell out from under there, or so help me I’ll get a knife on you.”
I reach out under the car for him, but as soon as I touched his belly, he woke up and became startled. He hissed at me and bit my fingers, then ran further under the car. I swore under my breath and cradled my wounded hand. I kept watching, saw that Handkerchief had burnt himself on the motor, and quickly ran out from under the car. I laughed at the miscalculation on his part, but I knew he’d be back for revenge, so I hurried back into my running car and drove off.
Three minutes passed quickly before I arrived at my first destination. I parked in front of a brick-and-cement house with a neat, symmetrical lawn that had a swerving path going up to the front porch, but it was large enough for you to just walk straight up the middle and still have enough room to step around the lawn. As I left my car, I was able to catch a glimpse of a jungle gym in the backyard, and a few yards behind that was a barn that acted as a shed to hold tools. I walked up the stairs of the porch and knocked loudly on the front door. I was standing there two minutes or so before the door opened wide and revealed the form of a middle-aged woman of about 40 or so. She seemed tired and miserable from having just been woken up. She just stood there and stared at me, saying absolutely still.
“Hello, Mrs. McClane,” I said to her, “would Sunny be awake yet?”
“Uuugh, yeah,” she grunted sleepily, “just got up, actually. She told me last night you might be comin’ ‘round about now; just gimme a moment to go and tell ‘er, all right? For the minute, come on in and sit on the couch in the living room and wait there.”
“Thank you, ma’am, I appreciate it” I said to her as I entered.
As directed, I went into the living room and sat down on one of the flower-patterned sofas as Mrs. McClane walked up the stairs. The room itself was quite normal when you think of a person’s house: two sofas, parallel to each other and separated by just a rectangular coffee table. On one side of the sofas, there was a large entertainment center with a television and a sound system attached to it, while on the other side was a fireplace, boarded up for preparation for the spring and following seasons. In each of the corners was a tall lamp, all of which were more for show than performance since they were almost dwarfed by the lights from the ceiling fan in the center of the room, directly above the coffee table. All around the room were countless smaller decorations, such as picture frames, trophies, and other trinkets. On the table itself, there was a small vase holding a bouquet of false flowers, and a tablecloth underneath that - a typical private living room, to be blunt.
I sat there, staring down an unknown man in a picture on the mantel above the fireplace to pass time, when I heard someone hurry down the steps behind me.
“James, you damned, rushing fool,” said a voice coming from the spot the person running down the stairs had stopped at, “You move too fast for anyone to even get prepared. I haven’t even eaten or gotten changed yet, idiot.”
I turned around and saw the small, girly form of Winifred McClane standing there, still in her pajamas consisting of a boy’s undershirt and pajama shorts. Her body was complimented by long, elegant, black hair; bluish-green eyes; pinkish, plump flesh; a small nose; and most of all, seven long, thin scars along the right side of her face and two more visible on the part of her chest that could be seen exposed underneath her undershirt.
“Hey, Sunny,” I replied, “I’m sorry about being so early. Uh, what time is it?”
“Seven-Thirty A.M.” she said with a yawn, “You’re really a whole half an hour early. What’d you do, turn your alarm clock that early, or did you skip the shower? Ah, whatever, it’s good you’re here anyways. I would like to consult you about something while I get changed, would you mind that?”
“No, not at all,” I answered, “what do you want to talk about?”
“It’s about my jackass boyfriend, Sean,” she said, “c’mon; you can sit outside my room and talk.”
“What happened this time?” I asked as I followed her up the stairs, “did he try and go all the way before you were even together one whole damn month?”
“No, he’s cool about me wanting to wait,” she continued softly, “but my bet is still on me staying a virgin until I’m at least twenty. No, we were holding each other and stuff like that. We were calm and slowing down for the night, and then he said the effing rudest thing when he got to the good stuff,” she entered her bedroom door and closed it behind her, while I sat down on the floor and leaned myself up against the wall. She continued talking after she shut the door, but she put on a voice mocking a boy, “‘Oh, wow, your boob feels all weird and stuff, kinda like a squishy baseball. It’s so cool, y’know, but it’s probably a good thing I’m not looking at it right now. Could be, like, nasty… no offense.’
“Oh, no shit I got offended. I mean, who wants to be told one of their body parts feels like a squishy baseball, and that they probably look disgusting? I’m trying to find a damn boy that I like that doesn’t care for bullshit like one of my boobs being somewhat deformed by scars. Anyways, as you could guess, that was the end of that, and I yelled at him about it. Then, he has the nerve to go and say how I have a whole troupe of boyfriends swarming around me like a horde of zombies. I told him that you were just friends; that I didn’t even like you like crushes. I said to him, ‘If I’m such a whore, and you hate how I have two male friends that seem like my goddamn pimps, then why bother dating me in the first place. You must be rather screwed up for all this crap, and you know what? I would rather be seen as a whore than go out with a dipshit who really believes that I am one.’ After that, he shut right the fuck up and became all quiet, up until his mum called a few minutes later telling him to get his arse home before she called the cops on him like he was a serial rapist,” Sunny began to laugh aloud, “Yeah, Sean, nice mum you got there. While we’re on the subject, I don’t wanna date your arse anymore. Why? Because having an in-law that spits acid on her own son isn't really something I'd see as a good thing. I feel sorry for the guy, though, ‘cause I think she wanted a girl instead, but since she got him, she’s been giving him shit and shit about being in relationships, and to not chase the nice woman away.
“I feel sorry for Sean, though. His mother is such a bitch to him, you know, but I don’t want to keep dating him just for his bitchy mum. I was just about to break up with him before he left, too… alas. Just letting you know now, James, don’t rush in with a girl when you haven’t even seen what their family is like yet. Simply be nice to her, go on cute dates, have her home by nine, nine-thirty, and say good night until she’s ready to do that stuff.”
“Sunny,” I began finally, “if you haven’t already noticed, I’ve never become interested in a girl once in my entire life, or anyone for the matter of love overall. It’s like, I’ve never had the need or urge to go up to a girl and ask if she’d go out on a date with me. I’d actually rather become friends with a girl for the sake of being friends. I’ve never wanted to go out with them, or have sex - not even once. I know it might sound weird to you, like I’m some kind of frigid idiot or something, but people are just people to me. You’re a friend to me, Sunny, and even though some guys with girls for friends that are also around this age, they might think that there’s a shot between them and the guy wants to try and go out with the girl, as an experiment or whatever. Me, I like you as a friend only, and I don’t want to make out with you or anything. We have fun together, some boys might like girls who show them good times, and over time, they might grow an intimate connection if they’ve known them their whole life. Yeah, our relationship as friends has grown – hell, you might even have feelings for either Kurt or me deep down or something – but I’ve never had an intimate feeling of love for you, or anyone. Uh…. Wow, I just heard myself say that, and I sound like a bit of a douche bag, but it’s true. Nonetheless, I’m sorry for saying it.”
“James,” she muttered, “James, you… have no idea what you’re saying, do you? I know what you’re like, and I… haven’t any feelings for you or Kurt. I don’t like either of you like that. Just friends… like you said, right?”
“Right,” I replied, though I noticed her lie easily from her tone of voice, “anyways, I wouldn’t excuse what he did, either. A boyfriend who calls you a whore, that’s not acceptable. If I were in your position, I’d confront him quickly and tell him you can do better than his frail ass. Honestly, Sunny, don’t let him push you around. Don’t let anyone push you around, not even Kurt or me. You’re a sweet and caring, but strong and incorruptible girl, Sunny, and I’d hate to see you fall so hard on the ground from such a typical child as him. I want to see him intervened from your life, even if I have to do it myself. You’ve grown a lot, Sunny, from the small, fragile, scared outcast girl with the scars on her face; you deserve someone much better than Sean, and we both know it.”
Then, it was silent for a few moments. For a moment, I realized I’d probably hit a soft spot, but before I could ask about it, Sunny emerged from her room, redressed in a red hoodie, a blue t-shirt, and a long, green skirt with a garden pattern on it that went down to her calves. There was more about her than her change of clothes, however; her face was shaking from anxiety. It was apparent she wanted to say something, but something else was keeping her from saying what she wanted to, and so strained her. Instead, for a minute or so, she simply stood there, staring at me with glossy blue eyes.
“James,” she muttered finally, crouching down to my eye-level and looking right at me, “thank you for your input. It was ennobling, truly, and it makes me realize how lucky I am, not just because you saved me from the gloom of my potentially horrible existence, but because you’re a great man who has already earned the world for himself, and I can tell that you’re going to be something great in the future. Just from your attitude, I get this great and powerful leader emotion from you. Maybe you should consider going for a non-civilian role, like the military, or law enforcement.”
“Thanks, Sunny,” I said sarcastically, “It’s good to know you’re making me run right to the more dangerous roles in society. What’re you trying to do, kill me?”
“I’m being serious here;” Sunny growled, “If anything, I’d just be a plotter, not someone who’d be good at directing the traffic. However, for a role even closer to home, just being around you makes me warmer – as if I can say anything to you and not have any consequence come of it from you. I only get that feeling from you, not from Kurt. I wasn’t even going to say a thing about the whole incident with Sean, but then you came early, and I wanted to tell you. I just had to tell you about it. I can trust you to be there when the going gets tough, but also I can trust you to hold back when fighting over something just isn’t worth it.” She stood back up and held out her hand to me, and I used it to pull myself up off the floor, “However, when you do meet him in class on Monday, please give him a… mild slap-around; intimidate him from being such a jerk to me again. By the way, if you’re only a friend and you’re so good to me, then why do I have to lower those standards for a lover? I want a man who’s better or equal to you, at the very least. It’s over between him and me, and I’ll tell him that when we meet next.”
“That sounds like a plan,” I said with a smile.
The next quarter of an hour was spent working on Sunny’s biology report in the living room. Of course, we hadn’t forgotten about the museum, but there was one more person we were waiting on, so we decided to waste time doing this (it was more me doing the writing while she told me what to write, since she’d misplaced her reading glasses and could barely read or write properly without them.)
“… ‘with some more rare cases, the infection can spread to both ovaries and cause the walls of both to swell, blocking the ova from leaving, and overall, cause a false infertility within the female. Proper treatment and medication, however, can allow temporary relief from the ailment, long enough for the impregnation process to complete.’… did you get all that?”
“Yes,” I said as I scratched down all the words she recited, “Although, this subject is making my own groin feel like it’s burning, even though I’m not a woman. Could we take a short break while I go to the bathroom?”
“Yeah, my neck’s killing me, and I have to think up more to put down anyways,” she said while rubbing the back of her neck, “Go ahead; just make sure you lock the door behind you, because my step dad doesn’t really pay attention to the fact that, if the door’s closed, someone’s probably in there. While you’re up there, I’ll make something for me to eat.”
“Thanks,” I said, and climbed up to the bathroom upstairs.
After finishing my business, I turned on the sink and put my hands under the running water to wash. However, when the water touched the palm of my right hand, I felt a sharp pain similar to that of a blister or bruise under hot water, or exposed to something acidic. I automatically yelped and winced from the pain, which caused water to fly everywhere. I held my clenched fist in my left hand and gritted my teeth until the pain subsided. Something big inside my hand was throbbing, and prevented me from forming a full fist. Slowly, I opened up my hand and saw on my right palm a large, round, yellow cyst that covered my whole hand. When I poked at it, it was hard and durable like an egg, but at the same time, it felt unpleasantly sensitive to touch. The first question that came to mind was ‘what is this thing?’ Anybody would wonder what something like this would be doing on his or her body in the first place. I retraced my steps mentally, and could only come up with the solution that there must’ve been something on the alarm clock’s snooze button, or that something had stung me while I was reaching around for the button this morning.
Then, there was a loud banging on the bathroom door.
“James!” Sunny cried, “Are you alright in there? I just heard you scream, and I thought you might’ve been attacked by something. Are you ok?”
“Yeah,” I panted in reply, “I’m just fine. Just give me a moment; I’ll be right out.”
I shook my head, and then instinctively tried to use my right hand to open the door. It still stung from exposure to the water, and the pressure from the doorknob made it worse. Once again, I cried out in pain and pulled back from the doorknob, but it didn’t last as long as the pain caused by the water had. I took a deep breath and used my left hand this time to open the door. On the other side, I saw Sunny, scared from my cries of pain.
“Sunny, I’m alright,” I said to her kindly, “all that’s wrong with me is this big thing on my hand, see?”
I held my right hand up for her to see. She took it in her own hands and examined it more closely. She was about to press her fingers to it before I immediately pulled it away from her.
“Oops, sorry about that,” she said, putting her hands back into a pose more fitting of curiosity, “but how did this happen? How could something like this happen? It’s not a normal infection or sting, that’s for sure. Plus, it’s on the palm of you hand, and nothing ever grow on the palm of a person’s hand - not hair, not acne - nothing but skin. What’d you do, James?”
“I dunno, it just happened,” I told her, “just in today’s course, Nevertheless, I’m fine to go to the museum still. Speaking of which, where’s Kurt? He said he’d be here by now, and it’s almost time to get going.”
“Oh, he’s been here about a minute or so,” Sunny replied lightly, “Just got in while you were screaming the first time, that’s why it took me so long to get up here. Anyways, we have a short while before the museum opens, so I’m going to eat a bacon sandwich, then we’ll go, ok?”
“Alright, meantime I’ll go meet up with Kurt.” I said.
I began to walk, but before I could move a foot, Sunny grabbed onto me, stopping me in my tracks.
“James,” she whispered, “don’t tell Kurt about Sean, or he’ll flip out.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell him a thing,” I replied, and began to walk down the stairs once more.
Down in the living room, I found that my other friend, Kurt, who had settled down on one of the couches already and had turned on the television on the other side of the room. His dark, lean-muscular body was shrouded under a light jacket of his own. He, too, was coming along with us to the museum, but unlike Sunny and me, his motive was weaponry, particularly firearms. Kurt was about level with Sunny in terms of friendship, and had been one of my best friends since the first day I was in school. I even shared a gibberish language I made up at that age with him, and to this day, he remembers every word I taught him, and he occasionally teases me with it. Of course, everything I shared with Kurt, I shared with Sunny, so she knows the language as well, though she never uses it besides in little meetings we have in public in which she doesn’t want to disclose any personal stuff to anyone besides us.
“Yo, James,” he said, “seems like you’re the first one awake, as usual. You were here a while before I got here. Don’t tell me anything happened between you and Sunny did it?”
“No,” I replied, even though I knew he was joking, “I’m still as innocent with girls as a five-year-old, you should know that. And besides, even if I were to break loose my perversion, Sunny still has a barrage of stupid guys left for her to sift through before she’d get to me.”
“Aw, man,” Kurt laughed, “you don’t even think she’d give you a first-class priority, considering where you are in her life? You know, not all girls are stingy brats, and even those types of girls have their soft spots where boys are concerned. Now, I may not be the type of guy who likes girls like Sunny – not because of her face, but because she’s just not my type – but if I were, she’d probably give me a good shot above a guy she’s about to start dating, unless that guy happens to be you. In that case, ah… Y ceif jhezuzdawatn atfeha uceyh ni zunnha (I would probably still have you beaten). Hahahahaha!”
“Whatever,” I said in English, “Sunny’s free to date whoever she wants. I’m not going to shepherd her into doing what I want her to do, even if I wanted her to like me. I’m not her dad, and I’m not her chaperone; I’m just her friend. Of course, I care about her, probably even more than I care about Claire, or Joseph or Katherine. I care about both of you guys, and would seriously go out of my way to keep you guys safe.”
Kurt sat back in his seat, actually mulling these words over. He pulled his hood off from over his head and then stuffed his hands into his jacket pockets. Sunny chose this moment to finally come in with her sandwich and sit down on the far end of my sofa while we spoke.
“You know, James,” he said in a low tone, “if you were any dumbass off the street, or even any of my other friends, I’d take it as a joke and say that that was the corniest, most clichéd thing I’d heard come out of your mouth. But, since you really are that kind of messed up dude to just go and stick up for a random person who needs it, I say ‘thank you, James, for looking out for us, and I hope I speak for both Sunny and me when I say that we’ll do our best to stick up for you whenever you’re in need, as well.’ Am I right, Sunny?”
“Aya-meh,” Sunny cheered while there was still food in her mouth. Quickly, she swallowed before repeating, “Amen!”
“Thank you, both of you,” I said gratefully, “the fact that I can count on either of you at a particular time of need gives my mind a feeling of ease. I won’t belittle Sunny because she’s a girl, because whatever choice she wishes to make is her own, and I will respect that. And if Sunny chooses to back down at anytime, I won’t crucify you for it, either. I’m not going to obligate you two to being my protectors, just letting you know now. You don’t have to hurt yourselves for me, because I’d feel terrible if anything happened to you. Just make sure that, whatever you’re doing to help me out, you don’t have too much of a risk yourself doing it.
“Anyways, as soon as Sunny’s done her sandwich, I think we should get moving, because the line for the exhibit’s going to be way too long if we stick around any longer.”
Minutes later, we piled into my car and began our trip to the museum. With the exception of some reports on the radio, the car ride was quick and uneventful. Not long after we left, we arrived at the museum’s front doorstep. The car was parked in the lot around the rear and we walked to the front. There was already a small group hanging around, waiting for the doors to open, but they weren’t eagerly gathered and waiting in line to see one new exhibit; more likely, they were just here for research projects and other things of the sort. To support that theory, so many of them had shoulder bags and schoolbags slung around their shoulders that held considerably light loads, possibly a few notebooks and a pencil case or so. We climbed the long staircase leading to the large building front, which contained so many more people than I’d originally seen coming up.
“Aw, damnit,” Kurt groaned, “oh, well, I thought we were supposed to be one of the first ones here today, but there’re so many other tourists here even before the museum opens, I wonder how many of them actually staked out here waiting for a spot. I’m not being for real about that, but seriously, how many people besides us would come to the museum before it opens? And as it is,” he said while taking his arm up and uncovering his wristwatch, “watch says it’s just about time for the doors to open up anyways. How did we take so long getting here, by the way?”
“Remember, Kurt,” Sunny answered, “we agreed that we’d here by the time the museum opened, or just before it opened, since we knew we’d be wandering around bored otherwise, and when the museum opened, we’d still have been somewhere else, dilly-dallying, and we’d be at the back of the line anyways. This way, we have more sleep, and we’re at the middle of a large group instead. It’s still possible for us to be very near the front if we position ourselves properly before the rush inside begins. You have our money for the entrance fee still, right James?”
“Yeah, I’ve got it,” I said, pulling my wallet out and revealing the contents to them, “I’m just going to give the cashier a 20 instead, though, because it’s easier than…. HEY!”
A young boy appeared from out of nowhere and stole a large amount of the money in my wallet before running off to the left. I folded my wallet back up and ran after him just behind Kurt, who had started after him while I was stowing my wallet. The child weaved in and out of the loosely grouped crowd, but because of our size, we were unable to chase after him efficiently. Nonetheless, we kept track of him, and went around the crowd. At one point in the chase, I cried out; “hey, catch that kid! He stole my money!”
The boy quickly jumped down from the platform onto the ground. I initially thought that he’d fallen, and that that’d been the end of the chase. But when I went to see what had happened, I realized that he landed on top of a Dumpster about halfway down and safely dropped to the ground below. With continuous flow, I skipped off the lid of the dumpster as well and hopped to the pavement. Kurt, on the other hand, lagged behind from hesitation. He wasn’t far ahead of us, and the distance between us was closing fast. There was only a couple feet, then a few inches, and then, finally, I caught up to him and wrapped my arms around his body.
“LET ME GO!” the boy yelled out, “DANGIT, I WAS SO CLOSE TO GETTING AWAY, TOO! LET ME GO!”
“Give me my damn money back, you little shit,” I growled, “you brought this upon yourself. If you would have just asked, I might have given you ten dollars depending on what you wanted it for. Give me the money, and I’ll let you down.”
“No! I want the money for myself. All for myself! You can’t have it! You… can’t have it! NO!”
The boy began to cry loudly, and all around, passersby turned their head to face us, as though we were a circus act. The situation started becoming awkward as two police officers, one tall, but moderately shaped officer, and a short, stumpy, hairy one that looked as though he were a gorilla trying to wear the skin of a human overtop.
“Good morning, boys,” said the skinny officer, “what might the problem here be, huh?”
Kurt finally approached us, and quickly became involved.
“Jim, what the hell is going on?” he asked before turning to the policemen, “hey, what’s up, officers? I know this looks bad, but…”
“Don’t worry, son,” said the fat one, “we’ll get to you soon. Just sit tight and wait for us to get finished with these two hooligans.”
“What were you two doing in the first place, anyhow?” asked the skinny one, “it probably seems to be one of two things to the open public; a game of cat-and-mouse, or a small chase between a thief and his victim, though who is which varies. Fortunately, for time-related reasons, we have a pulse-checker with us to use as a lie detector. A quick couple of questions and you’ll be free to go. We’ll be taking you for five minutes each, at the most. First you; the chaser,” He directed his attention to me, “put the boy down, and we’ll have a short conversation about what went on here. Then, we’ll proceed to the boy himself, and finally your friend here. Spare us fifteen minutes, and we’ll be out of your hair. That is, depending on the situation here.”
“I don’t need fifteen minutes!” the boy cried out in fear, “this guy was chasing after me, trying to steal my money! Uh, my mom gave me money to go buy a… um, old Activision Fusion (A game system from the near future. You can’t say that you don’t predict this type of thing) and a couple games from the store over there, and, er, this man saw the dollar bills sticking out of my pocket and decided to chase after me for it. That’s why he came after me!”
“Is this true?” asked the skinny officer in a childish tone, though he directed this to me, “what’s your story about the situation, son?”
I took a moment to calm myself down, composed myself while still holding the boy tight, and then explained the whole situation to the officers.
“…My friend and I followed him until just a minute ago, when I finally caught him. That’s just about the time you two came in at.”
“Ah-huh…” said the skinny cop, now turning to Kurt, “now you. Do you support this story, son?”
“Yeah, that’s exactly how it went,” Kurt replied calmly, “the kid came up out of nowhere, ran past us at the speed of light and stole his money, then ran off from the museum down this street. Though, when it comes to James’ part, I suppose you could say what he did was kind of dumb.”
The fat cop leaned over next to the skinny one and whispered something in his ear. The skinny one nodded a couple times before standing back up straight.
“Yes, it does seem relatively foolish of a boy so old to be holding his wallet out in the open like that,” said the skinny officer, “though any mother giving her… 8-year-old son or however old he is hundreds of dollars to buy a game system worth about $50 today seems even more foolish, even though the crime rate in Columbus has dropped by a lot since 2013. Sorry, kid, your story was too sketchy for the pulse detector’s liking, and these guys seemed to have told the truth, unless they’re holding about 20 magnets each. Hand the money back to these two gentlemen please, kiddo, and I’ll see if I won’t have to drive you back to your home and tell your parents about this.”
“Ngh! Grr!” grunted the boy as he squirmed, “I’m nine, you dumb flatfoot! And I’m not giving that money back to them, no way. What makes them deserve it? Just because they worked for it, does it mean all that money’s theirs to keep?”
“Actually, it does,” I muttered, “put yourself in my shoes, kid; what would you do if you worked really hard for $10, would you like it if someone came by and stole that from you?”
“Ugh, no…” the boy sighed, finally easing up, “fine, whatever. I guess I’m not getting away with this. Let me go so I can get the money out of my pockets.”
Hesitantly, I put the boy down on the ground, and as soon as I had, I immediately regretted it. The boy took off down a nearby alleyway, out of view of the policemen. I chased him down the alley and down the block, back towards the museum. This time, the boy ran in and out of alleys, trying to tire me out. This time, he had trash bags, rabid animals, dumpsters, wire fences, and many other factors slowing me down during the chase. Once or twice, I lost track of him shortly before seeing the tip of his hoodie poke out from the mouth of another alleyway a bit up, or a man stumbling as the boy ran by him trying to get away.
Then, in the alleyway just behind the museum about seven minutes after the chase started, I finally caught up to him and tackled him to the ground. With hardly a thought about it, I shoved my hands deep into his pocket and pulled out a handful of large dollar bills that originally made up a big portion of my wallet’s contents.
“Get… Ah, offa me,” the boy cried, “there’s glass getting into my throat. Agh! COUGH! It’s really sharp.”
“Be quiet, you little shithead,” I said furiously as I put the money into my own pocket, “this alleyway’s as clean as Abraham Lincoln’s head at the Lincoln Memorial, pigeon shit and all. No glass, no nails, nothing. And don’t think for a second you’re going to be fooling me into not kicking the living shit out of you now.”
I held the boy to the ground using one arms and stood up. Then, I took my arm off and stomped him on the buttocks, but not hard enough to injure him critically.
“Honestly, kids these day,” I muttered to myself, “what the hell gets them so riled up over stealing people’s money today, anyways. There’re more crimes revolving around the kids as the perps instead.”
I pulled my wallet out of my pocket and replaced the stolen money, then I plucked a $10 bill out before stuffing the wallet back into my pocket. I dropped the money on top of the boy, then took my foot off of him.
“Go buy yourself some ice cream and soda with that,” I said to him, “You’re lucky I even gave you that much, shithead.”
I began walking around to the front of the museum when I heard the boy begin to gag. I turned around and saw he had begun poking at his throat with a long fingernail.
“Hah, I’m going to make it look like you really did have me face down in a pile of glass,” he said quietly in between fake gagging noises, “I’ll have my mom sue you for that money, and your dad’s money, and your mom’s money. You’ll be so super poor then, and I’ll have that Activision Fusion Pro I want.”
I simply shook my head and laughed at the thought of what would really happen. I turned back around and began walking again.
“It’s not going to work,” I said as I turned to corner, “those nail marks will be gone before you get home to tell your mother about it.”
I turned the corner and walked up the street. Out of nowhere, I heard what sounded like a blowtorch sped up from where he was, but I disregarded it entirely. About the same time I reached the halfway spot around the building, the boy began to scream at the top of his lungs.
“Ohmigod!” he cried, “AH! GET IT OFF OF ME! GET THIS THING OFF OF ME! PLEASE, IT BURNS! MY BODY….”
“Shut it, kid,” I laughed again, “You’re only going to attract bad attention with this ‘boy who cried wolf’ routine. I just gave you ten bucks. Go away.”
A few more false, howling cries, and then it was all silent again. I shrugged my shoulders as I ascended the stairs to the museum once again; at the time, I supposed the boy had finally run out of breath and had finally given up. Upon arrival, I saw that Sunny was leaning up against one of the pillars, while Kurt, who was still out of breath from running, was sitting on the short pedestal the pillar was standing on. I stomped up the stairs, awaiting my lumps from her, though they never came.
Instead, Kurt began, saying, “Did you get the money back?”
“Yeah,” I replied, finally beginning to crumble under fatigue, “I got it back, and the good news is that there’s no more line, so even though we lost our early-morning advantage, we gain a late-morning advantage since all the early risers are gone inside, and the larger crowd won’t wake up for another half hour, so there’s no more line. It’s funny, but I would have expected a larger crowd than this one this morning, and the line to be a lot longer.”
“A lot of people were turned away,” said Sunny, “nobody with a bad criminal record was let in, so the line went faster. It’s somewhat sad how now; people have ID chips in their skulls. I guess it’s for security reasons, but it still seems like the government is taking advantage of everyone now. But with them, they can find you wherever you go in the world. You kill a man in Maine in the morning, hop on a plane and get to Paris an hour later, you’ll have French Police on you before you make that one small step. The world is definitely becoming much cleaner, but too restrictive at the same time.”
“Hey, James, you can forget about going inside; that candy bar you stole way back when made you into an outlaw, as well,” Kurt joked, “Maybe for an adult, it’s not a serious crime, but little kids doing little things is the same as big people doing big things.”
“Kurt, that was terrible,” I said dully, “anyways, let’s get inside before the second wave arrives. We always take years to get our conversations to end normally. C’mon.”
On the inside of the building, we saw many things to begin with, including vases, fossils, crystals, and meteors that crashed around this area under glass boxes, and two dinosaur skeletons in the main lobby, along with banners and posters advertising different, unpopular exhibits. One displayed ‘come view the first holo-base 30b’ with a cut through the middle of the banner, while a poster on the side said ‘ancient armor made of unknown materials found inside Antarctic comet/iceberg by archeologist crew last year, exhibit starting 3/14/22, ending 4/15/22.’
There were three spinning gates blocking our way, locked by devices that needed a ticket in order to allow passage. On either side, as well as in the center, were booths with young teenagers inside, about our ages. We went up to one of them, and I took out a twenty-dollar bill.
“Three tickets please, and hold the change,” I told the cashier, not once looking up to look her in the face.
“Here you go… sir,” she said, slipping three tickets under the booth glass, “would you like a pamphlet for a quarter more?”
“No, thank you,” I said to her, still focusing on looking at the counter, “just the tickets, thanks.”
“Have a nice visit, then,” she said, and our group moved on to the gate.
I swiped my ticket over the beam for the gate, and it spun around for me until it sensed my chip under the fence before it stopped.
“Which one was it?” I asked Kurt as he swiped his own ticket.
“It was Christine,” he said, walking through the gate, “Dora wasn’t standing in any of the booths, don’t worry about that. Just focus on the inside, because she may have gotten up this early.”
“Yeah, and now she’s super pissed at me and Sunny for no reason,” I told Kurt, “She thinks we’re together, even though I told her so many damn times, I don’t like anyone yet. Of course, as usual, nobody really believes me and always gives both of us a hard time.”
“Yeah,” she said coming through the gate herself, “as if I don’t have enough shit going for me just with my face and my deformed breast, I also have trouble getting guys because they think one of you guys, or both, are screwing me, and they don’t feel like doing that kind of thing with a girl. I got lucky with the ones I did get, and most of them already bailed. Jerk off bastards. And I’m really sorry for you, James; you have no reason to have her stalking you like she is. She got a job at your store just to be near you, she changed her roster around at school so she’ll be in the same classes… You have a huge pest problem. To top that off, she’s angry at you for going out with me, even though it’s not true. Honestly, if these people think we’re together, why don’t they just piss off and leave us be...? Hey, I just got an idea, James. If this relationship bails out, I’m just going to say to hell with everyone and tell them that yes, we are together. It keeps everyone out of our hair, and all you’ll have to do is spend more time with me. No more Dora, and no more having boyfriends calling me a whore for hanging out with you guys. That is, until we find our own people that we like.”
“Honestly, Sunny, that sounds like a pretty feasible plan,” I said to her, “but what happens when we finally do find that special person, and we’re still in our make-believe relationship? We just break up, and that certain person will just accept you, even though they know you just broke up with someone you’ve been with for how long? As a protection agent, it’s very good, but the aftermath could be against what we want in the end.”
“Fine, whatever,” Sunny groaned, “it was just a suggestion. Alas… Look at the huge group in front of the laser exhibit.”
We turned into the section with the laser display, and all around it, there stood most of the people who had stood outside, in front of the museum before it opened. There were three separate glass cases with a laser example inside, but I could have hardly guessed behind the crowd; for all I knew, there may have been even more samples, bit I couldn’t see.
“Damnit, I should’ve known it’d be swamped here,” Kurt said out loud, “why did God have to force us to run around with that crack baby out there, huh? Whatever, there has to be something we can do while we wait for the crowd to loosen up. Any other things we want to see? I’ve already been to the arsenal section here and read up on all the blue prints and histories for every gun in existence, or ever existed, and already exposed to the public. I even have a couple makeshift flintlock pistols at home and a hand-made, BB firing Desert Eagle with appropriate settings and parts for power, and some reconfigured AirSoft© guns to act better in terms of FPS and power just from those blueprints. I’m out of reasons to be here.”
“How about the sarcophagus in section C-6?” Sunny asked, holding a pamphlet she’d gotten from the front, “’I’ve heard that it’s a replica of the real one they found far under Manchu Picchu for that king’s body guard that worked for three kings straight. The locks and designs are way different from Egyptian, Asian, or other Mayan coffins discovered before, but I never saw it before. Should we go see that?”
“Eh, you two can go,” I said, “that poster up front about the armor got my attention, and I wanted to see what it looks like. The poster said it was made from a material never before discovered on Earth, so what I’m thinking is that it’s an alien’s suit of armor. If it is, then maybe the design could be used to make our armor suits better against threats. Then again, if someone here makes a replica of that armor, someone over in China or Russia or Iran would definitely get that design as soon as someone wearing a prototype in the battlefield dies and doesn’t get recovered quickly enough…. Whatever, I just want to get a good look at it.”
“When you say it like it’s a possible design for soldier armor, James, you make me want to see it, as well,” Kurt added, “I’m in, if you don’t mind.”
“I might as well come along too,” said Sunny, “I don’t want to be left behind. The last time was bad enough for me.”
I began heading towards the section where the suit of armor was located. Sunny and Kurt were right behind me.
“Let’s just hope this thing isn’t a replica already,” I said while walking, “otherwise, it’s just going to be a bum-out for me all the way.”
When we got to the room with the suit of armor, it was empty except for the displays inside. The exhibit itself was relatively new to this museum, and was very likely to have many people hording around them. But the room was completely empty, the lights were turned off, and the laser systems, which would normally reflect somewhere on any of the glass cases, were also turned off. The whole room was inactive, as though there was nothing here being displayed. Nevertheless, there was a glass case with a suit of armor inside. Kurt and I walked over to it, while Sunny stood still near the entrance.
“Guys,” she said, “I can’t see a thing in this room. Is it just me being unable to see in the dark, or is this room completely empty? I can’t see anything in those glass cases.”
“What d’you mean, Sunny,” replied Kurt, “your eyes are perfect; 20/20 vision. But I guess it’s where you’re seeing this from, because the suit of armor is black, and it’s kinda hard to see, but…”
“No, I mean there’s nothing there. I can see right through the glass case, guys. That one you’re headed towards is completely empty. I can’t see a thing, even when I move around. It’s completely empty.”
“Then move closer,” I said as I myself moved in further, “I can see it perfectly, and so can Kurt. If you’re scared, just hurry up with us. We won’t let anything happen to you.”
Sunny mumbled something under her breath, then, very hesitantly, she moved forward until she caught up with us in the middle of the room. Together, we moved towards the glass case with the black armor inside of it. We took no more than three steps before a loud BANG roared out through the room from behind us. We all turned around quickly and saw that a large, thick wall had fallen over the entrance to the room. We were trapped inside, with no way out besides a skylight on the ceiling, which was about thirty feet above us. And then, all of a sudden, all the lights in the room turned on. The artificial light blared into my eyes as harshly as the sun would have if I looked into it too accurately.
“What the hell’s going on?” Kurt roared, “Why are we being kept in here!”
“I told you,” Sunny yelled, “that glass case is empty! Look at it!”
“No, there is a suit of armor, girl,” said a voice coming from above, “it’s just that only these two little heroes can see it. You’re unable to see anything made from that type of material simply because of your heritage.”
“Show yourself,” I yelled out loud, “You cowardly bastard! Come out of hiding!”
The voice said something in reply, but I could hardly hear it because a large shockwave began emanating from the suit of armor as soon as he spoke. I had to close my eyes to shield myself from the blast of dust coming from the display room floor. I felt small crumbs and particles of dust fly over my face, preventing me from opening my eyes at all. Moments later, the dust died down, and I was finally able to open my eyes to what had caused the shock wave. Standing there, atop a large crater in the floor, stood a tall man whose facial flesh was as white as a cloud, but his bodily flesh besides his torso – which was also white – was pitch black. He was mostly covered in a thick, sage-green armor that looked as though it could distract any projectile and deflect any sword, but his hands, the base of his neck, and his face were bare so far as I could tell.
“Two in one location, this is rare,” said the entity, “what’s more, you aren’t even from this planet, boy,” His yellow eyes stared right into me as he said these words, “You’re both just pre-births, as well; a leniency for me, since I don’t know how I’d fare against two, even if you were just newborns.”
“What do you mean by ‘not from this planet’?” I demanded from the juggernaut, “I know I’m adopted, but I’m not an alien or whatever. I’m a human, just like the rest of the Earth.”
“Yes, you are, as this planet calls the species, a ‘human’. However, have you never taken one moment to think where the species itself spawned? Many variants of ‘humans’ have taken root on many planets across the galaxy, but you… You’ve a privilege not a single ‘hero’ on this planet or any of the nearby systems have. Your body and mind are advanced beyond the abilities of those two beside you, particularly that girl. Ah, now your name… you’re an old target, boy, from about ten kilocycles ago. I should remember you; you were my first failure… oh, yes, you’re Fuwal Ninaiz. And how much the name suits you now, with your willingness to sacrifice yourself for your friends.”
“What are you talking about?” I said to the entity, “of course I’d fight for my friends. They’re the two greatest people I know, and I’m positive they’d jump in front of a bullet for me, too, if it came around to that.”
“Eridasians,” he said, “they have a strong war-worn bond as a species, and they have a symbiosis with any human they come in contact with. The woman behind you, however, doesn’t have the resolve to battle even when her life depends on her involvement in this conflict. Ah, whilst on the subject of close women, my Eridasian target, you have one in particular who has been waiting for you since the day you were knocked halfway across the galaxy; net Fæih.”
“Net Fæih?” I repeated, “My... sister? Claire hasn’t been waiting ten years for me, she’s only been waiting an hour or so, and I promised I’d be… wait, my language! How’d you learn my language? I made that up by myself, and I only taught it to Sunny and Kurt!”
“Your memory seems to have only been skimmed if you can remember the Eridasian language, though if that is all you remember, I have hardly a thing to fear from you based on vengeance. I have a proposition for you, Eridasian, if you’d be willing to cooperate; if you so choose, I could induct you into Our Leader’s army as one of the highest warriors, and in exchange, you’ll be able to join a reunion with your last-remaining true family member, and stay so until the end of her days. The offer is only extended to you, not these two Terrans, though.”
“I have no fucking idea what you’re talking about,” I said to him, “and I don’t care about whatever it is you’re talking about in the first place. I’m from Earth, you insane bastard, just like the rest of us. My family and life are here, and so is your life. This is ridiculous. I want to get out of here and see the rest of the museum, now. Please, put the door back up so we can leave this room.”
“Ah, you’ve been reduced by the memory compression, as anyone would,” said the man, “perhaps if I break your compression, you’ll be more accepting of my offer…”
He walked towards me. I backed away as quickly as I could, but he moved even quicker in response, and grabbed me by my jacket. I pulled my small pocketknife out and sliced the zipper in two, but he was a step ahead of me, and before I could escape, he had his whole palm wrapped around my head.
All of a sudden, it was like a sort of dam inside my head burst, and a lake of information ran right in. My brain was relieved of a huge limit to my intelligence, and I remembered things that happened in the first two years of my life. As soon as the flow began, I was astounded that I could forget any of this, and yet another part of me believed that all this was a hoax, and he was somehow implanting new information into my mind telepathically. But it felt like I’d actually done these things, and that I really did have a real sister, with eyes as green as mine. I saw her being born; I saw myself learning my made-up language, which wasn’t really made-up at all, but was a language reserved to a whole race of humans of its own. Everything from a life I’d had before had rushed back all at once, even if that life was only a year or so long. I couldn’t see anything but the inside of my mind for a whole minute, but I could still hear perfectly what the man was saying now;
“As you can see, child, you’ve been under a heavy amnesia-type mental seal. Up until now, you’ve forgotten everything about who you were, because you were sent past a seal ring that was created around a large tri-system close to the center of this galaxy, which you could look towards as the source of all ‘human’ life in the galaxy. Now, reconsider the proposition for me; would you be interested in becoming one of Lord Death Stroke’s Fejpun (soldier) in exchange for a lifetime with net laita fæih (your younger sister). A fair exchange, I’d say, and I believe you’ll make the wise decision of joining forces with us.”
“Death Stroke,” I muttered, still blinded, “ugh… Ja-Jamien… The Hero killer, Death Stroke… Fy la ânha atfeha pa nahha watnudyná, la’c p'uffehp, tet pyfjina. Fajatputn, la’u p’weta fetffyatfa pa du fyniunyet wuytnatutn, an la hafettuynha wu fæih ceif ânha vetnaix pa’u shàha quy t'jeihhuyf juf zeikah uzfatn pa Wehn Unnuqua. La hasifah net essha, sifbnâna; suyha net jyha… (If I were still of earth mentality, I’d agree, no argument. But, I’m much more aware of the situation now, and I know my sister would be ashamed of a brother who couldn’t stay away from Death Stroke. I decline your offer, fuckhead; do your worst…)”
I spat on him from in between his fingers. I couldn’t tell if I hit or missed him, but I knew he’d become enraged by my words at the least. My head exploded with random information in one short moment, and I was easily tossed to the ground like a ragdoll. My head hurt too much to focus on anything but physical touch, and all I could feel was the cold floor. My eyes were still functionally blinded, and my ears were useless from the overflow of memory. Out from my ears flowed a warm, loose liquid that formed a small puddle around my head, and that same liquid unraveled out of my eyes. Blood, I was bleeding from my eyes now. And my worst fear had come to realization, with the total immobilization of my body. If I could hear myself, I’d hear an earsplitting yell come from my mouth, depending if my mouth could still move, and my vocal chords still functioned properly. I had to get up. I had to begin moving towards something of use… The armor! That’s all that popped into my mind at that moment was the suit of armor in the glass case, which was at least a yard-and-a-half from where I laid. I tried as hard as I could to focus on the armor, practically reaching out with a mental arm and touching the armor with it. It seemed like minutes, hours… days, even, that I laid there motionless. My mind lost it’s grip, and I slipped easily into whatever awaited me next…