- March 13, 2021
Guardians: Heroes of the Milky Way Chapter 3
Chapter Three: Hideo TriVi Die-Ve Eron
The sun’s rays burn my skin. I was meant for nocturnal life, as was the rest of my people, but we still have to push on. I have to walk the barren and steaming deserts to the frozen part of Acoustica that always faces away from the sun, where the water is now ice, all with several containers meant to hold water on my back.
I lead hundreds of Waverite scavengers as the only one who can send sound waves out far enough to keep proper track of our location. The scavengers are armored in their own protective gear to protect them from the sun’s rays. I could have asked for something to protect my own hide, but as the Guardian I can stand up to the pain. Being able to bring one more able body along means more tanks of ice can be filled and brought back to the others who are in danger of running out of water.
This trek takes almost half a day, or what used to be a day on this planet before its rotation slowed. Right now, I have the chance to notice the barren wasteland, and reminisce over how beautiful this colony planet used to be. It was once covered in varying kinds of plants and animals across many different shapes and sizes. Even though I am nocturnal I would sometimes come out during the day to get a sense of what life roamed the planet. Now that was all gone and replaced by bland rock formations.
My people have been stuck on this planet for the last three years without assistance. We are without most of our ships, which were lost or scorched with our homeworld. We have been without allies to bring us food and supplies for the past few months. Then me, without the ability to leave my people here to negotiate with Riverteria. To leave can be a death sentence to many dying off here who need my help to provide for them, and to stay is only delaying the inevitable. My shelter is more populated than others on Acoustica, and we have to overcome the heat instead of the cold simply for being on the wrong side of the planet.
“Hideo,” I hear one of my scavengers say. “How much longer until we reach the other side?” It is Kuraiso, a scavenger dedicated to bringing as much water back as possible.
I inform her that, “We have a couple more miles.” I don’t think the others heard it, but I can hear the sad sigh come from her.
“We’re here!” I tell everyone
When we reach the cold side of the planet, I go from feeling my skin peel from the burns and heat, to feeling my bones slow and shake as goosebumps rise up all over my body. I can feel my stomach toss and turn, like I’m ready to throw up because of the swift and unforgiving change in temperature.
‘Raugh,’ my demon growls. He is not much of a talker, but more feral. I can feel his essence reaching at my consciousness. Clouding my thoughts.
Kuraiso takes notice of my ailing body right before she starts picking at the ice. The others have started kneeling to the ground to begin releasing soundwaves to cause cracks in the surface of the ice. They have to open their face mask and let in the cold. This will make the ice easier to pick out of the ground though. Thankfully, all mature Waverites can propel sound like I can, but none with the same power, range, or high pitch.
She walks over to me on the palms of her wings. “Are you alright Hideo?” she asks me. For a moment, I think she is concerned for my wellbeing, but then she tells me, “We need you to get moving. You can break the ice faster and more efficiently than the rest of us. At best we’re only getting enough ice that we can use to replenish ourselves. You need to push through.”
I hold up my hand and ask for a moment. I explain that, “Please just, give me moment. I can’t concentrate or create sound waves if I’m going to throw up.”
“Don’t throw up,” Kuraiso warns. “It’s likely to freeze as soon as it touches the space outside of your mouth.”
I groan, trying to take her advice. I feel the bile coming up, but when it reaches my throat, I swallow it back down and cough for a while. Eventually, during my coughing fit Kuraiso walks away from me to try and break the ice to drink herself.
It takes some time but I eventually gather myself back together. I’m already bent over on the ground, so I release a powerful sound wave that purposely vibrates wildly. This causes the ice to crack all around my scavenger party in random directions. The others remove the containers they have been carrying on their backs, and place the ice in the containers where the ice will melt into water. The containers use heat from the dead plains we walked over.
The members of my scavenging party first melt the water for themselves and then try to get more of the ice I prepared for them with some pickaxes. The ice will be put into one container so that it melts, and then transfer into another attached container to make sure everything is filled to the brim.
This process goes on for several hours, with a lot of downtime where my body sits and spends time freezing. We have to wait for the ice to melt into the second container before trying to add another block of ice.
‘Rarg,’ my demon says. He rarely spoke before our homeworld was destroyed. I use to try and get sentences out of him, but I eventually learned that it was a futile effort. At first, I thought of him as if he was a growing child, but eventually I realized that he is more of a senile old man.
I’m sorry, but we have nowhere else to go, I think to myself, trying to communicate with him. My demon doesn’t always acknowledge my words.
Eventually we have enough water in the containers to stave off the thirst of our people for at least a week. We collect everything and start the trek back to give everyone their water. When we get back, we’ll distribute the water and then rest up. We’ll make this same trek within the next two days to get water for other activities besides drinking.
Better get a move on now.
We come back to the cave around what should be the middle of the night. No one is able to tell though, the entrance to our caves are eternally blanketed by the light of day.
As we proceed through the caves, I don’t bother checking the layout. I’ve walked through them so many times that I know them like the back of my wing. We walk to the iron door which lets us into the old cleansing chamber. Well, it used to be a cleansing chamber before survivors need to live here, as this whole cave used to be a research and testing facility. Now it is, like many other places across the planet, a refugee haven for those who escaped the Acoustica’s approach towards the solar system’s sun.
I wait for the scavengers with me to remove their suits, which used to be for Waverites to survive in deep space. I still have my own containers of water on my back when I feel someone tap on my shoulder. I turn around to see Kuraiso halfway out of her suit, gesturing her hand out to me.
“Let me take your containers, I’ll give out the water for you,” she offers. It’s a little surprising considering she didn’t care to give me a rest before. “The hard part is over for today, Guardian. Go rest or whatever you like to do.” Maybe I have misjudged her.
‘Garr,’ Yarg growls. Yarg is what I like to call him when in happier moods. Yarg is the sound he made in confusion this one-time years ago; to this day I consider it one of the most comical sounds I have ever heard. Now he is trying to elevate my hormones, trying to get me to act out. He does this around females he thinks should further my bloodline. This makes me want to get out of there faster.
I nod and thank her before I slip the containers of water off my back. I ask if I can leave them there and she assures me that she would get them later. I thank her one more time and then she tells me to get going.
I continue to the door to the rest of the station. I move my face over the scanner and the door opens. I whistle to familiarize myself with where everyone is. This refugee camp is probably more of a refugee town. There are thousands of people here.
This place also happens to be a gigantic chasm that has twenty levels of rooms, two levels for labs, two levels for storage, and one level for the cafeteria. Railing and walkways form around their floors, with bridges connecting one side to the other to save time on walking. I don’t feel like sleeping in my personal quarters just yet, especially since I find my three roommates to be quite disgusting. I can visit my brother, Lideo, in the laboratory where he works as an engineer, or see if my sister-in-law, niece, and nephew are in their own room.
Family time sounds more interesting than watching-my-smarter-brother-work time.
I unwrap my wings to fly up off the platform and over the side of the railing. Then I stop maintaining altitude and transition straight into a nosedive. The entrance is on the fifteenth level and my family’s apartment is on the third so I have some distance to fly. This entails bobbing and weaving through the bridge platforms and around other people flying around. Some curse me out for almost knocking them over while others greet and laugh. Two small children realize I am coming down and try to race me. They don’t last long in the race before they realize they will never be able to keep up with me. Before I know it, I’m on the third level and land in the middle of that level’s bridge into a firm and loud squat.
I stand on my feet as I wrap my arms back around me. Then I proceed forward and around to my family’s room. I quickly find the door numbered in braille, C23. I knock on the door and heard some fumbling before a woman says, “One second! Sizu, throw out your trash!” When the door opens both the occupant and me whistle to see who it is.
“Hideo!” Tizuki exclaims. My sister-in-law quickly hugs me. “Sizu and Eizu! Take break from the game to say hello to your uncle!” she calls back into the room.
“Uncle Hideo!” the two kids yell in tandem from the back of the room.
My niece Sizu, comes flapping her wings right at my face, very excited to see me. I unwrap my arms in time to wrap them around her when we connect. She is 8 years old, but she’s short like her mother. My brother and I are tall for Waverites at 5’10”, while Tizuki was 5’6”. Sizu is cute at her small height of 2ft.
“Well aren’t you excited, shorty? Did my favorite niece miss me?” I tease her.
“Mm hmm,” she mumbles as she nods her head yes. It’s been a couple of weeks since I had time to visit. We have all been living in this same facility since I first came back to Acoustica, give or take a couple of attempts to go to Riverteria. My job as lead scavenger doesn’t leave me much time or energy to spend with my family as I would like. Then Sizu tilts her head. “Wait, I’m your only niece!”
“That might not be for long,” I say gesturing towards her mother. Tizuki is pregnant, but it’s too early to tell the sex.
“You don’t know that for sure. Now stop standing outside and come in,” Tizuki tells me. Holding Sizu in my arms, I walk into the small apartment. It’s bigger than the other rooms at least to accommodate the incoming family member and Eizu’s condition.
The room is a little bigger than mine, and mine is the size of decent hotel room. There are two full beds and two perches from the ceiling. The beds are for Tizuki and Eizu, while Sizu and Lideo sleep hung upside down like most grown adults. Sizu is young to be doing it, but she didn’t want to sleep in the same bed as her mom.
Then I look over to Eizu, who’s sitting upright with a board game in his lap. His right wing has huge gaping holes burned through it, and that same arm was bone thin. The skin all over his back from his head to his toes is permanently scarred in third-degree burns.
When the fatal expansion of the Dion had changed this solar system, its gravitational force pushed the star closer to Acoustica. Waverites on the surface facing star could feel the temperature rise and start to burn them. Lideo had been at work, while Tizuki and Sizu were at home in their cave sleeping. They barely survived the extreme rise in temperature as their cave’s air conditioning was easily overcome. Being a sixteen-year-old teenager, Eizu had been out late with friends, and he got caught outside. Lideo had gotten home with proper transport to bring Tizuki and Sizu to the facility where he worked. They couldn’t find Eizu after days of searching and thought he was dead. When I got back home, they thought I had come to plan a funeral, but I set out anyway being the only one who could, and traveled far and wide in search for my nephew. Eventually I began to think I was looking for a body, but I then came upon Eizu and his friends hiding in a cave on the verge of death. They were hiding in a cave that was deep enough where there was still oxygen and some cooler temperatures.
All the kids had third degree burns and worse. Eizu will never fly again with the holes in his wing, and moving at all hurts. He has to be on depressants to withstand the pain, but these leave him unable to move far distances. Usually he just stays in the room unless he’s carried to his doctor appointments. That has been pretty hard on his parents too since he can’t really go anywhere on his own. With Lideo’s busy work schedule trying to piece together necessary projects for the species survival, and Tizuki’s pregnancy, they aren’t sure how they’re going to be able to care for him. I’m gonna do my best to try and help whenever I can, but I don’t think that will be enough.
Eizu still has his smile and all of his teeth though. “Hey Uncle Hid,” he says. “We’re in the middle of a game of Zak, but we can start over if you want to join.”
“I’m fine just watching. I suck at that game,” I admit.
Sizu begs, or really screams, into my ear, “Please play Uncle! Please!”
“You just want to kick my butt, don’t you?”
She shakes her head and lies, “No…” Then she smiles and admits, “Yes…”
“We have to stop anyway to go eat dinner,” Tizuki tells them.
“Want my help getting there?” I offer. I know that if I don’t, she’ll have to act as Eizu’s crutch up the stairs. “If I help, we can just carry Eizu on the stretcher and fly him up.”
“Really? You don’t mind?” she asks apologetically. “That would really help. Better than trying to bring food here.”
“Of course. It’s no problem,” I assure her.
“Thank you, Uncle,” Eizu says to me.
I turn around and pat him on the shoulder. Then I turn to Sizu, still on my other arm, “Time to get down. I got to help your brother.” She nods and moves down onto the bed next to her brother. Then I move to pick him up after he moves the blankets off of his scarred legs. I slip one wing under his legs and the other down around his back. His mom has the stretcher she usually uses with Lideo and goes outside the room to lay it down on the ground. I lift him up and he groans, still feeling some pain even with the drugs. I carry him outside and lay him down on the stretcher, then Tizuki straps him in. “I’ll get him from the back.”
I move behind to wrap my toes around the back bar and Tizuki from the front. Together we flap our wings and elevate Eizu above the ground. We fly upwards at a relatively slow pace to get
from the third floor to the tenth. Sizu just zips about around us. It takes us awhile to get up because Tizuki and I have to coordinate together. At least Eizu really isn’t that heavy to carry between the two of us.
When we get to the right level we move to hover over the landing and spend some time making sure to let Eizu down carefully. Once that is done, Tizuki takes time for a breather. This is a tiring process, but now thinking about it I realize that she shouldn’t be trying to make this trip in her condition. Soon she’ll be just as unable to fly as Eizu when she gets farther along in her pregnancy.
“Tizuki, are you all alright?” I ask with concern.
She turns around as if feigning surprise. “Of course. I’m just a little out of shape being cooped up in here. Used to fly a couple miles at the start of every night,” she tries to say.
“Ok,” I reply hesitantly. I then move to unstrap Eizu from the stretcher and then start carrying him again. “Sizu!” I call to the little rascal. “Come carry the stretcher.” She is running around like a nut on all four limbs. Sizu turns around when I call her and groans as she comes back to take it up in her hands. She holds it sideways against her and waddles on two feet towards the cafeteria doors. She’s adorable.
“I can carry it Sizu,” Tizuki calls to her.
“Let her help,” I suggest. “What could it hurt?” Tizuki looks at me and sighs.
Tizuki and I follow Sizu and We all whistle as we come in to see how many others are here. We proceed into the large cafeteria that reaches around the whole floor with several different kitchens to split up the lines. In reality, for my people this really isn’t bland in design, but it is compared to other species. My kind generally prefer smooth surfaces with few convex or concave structures.
The four of us have come pretty late so there aren’t a whole lot of people. We follow Sizu to a table where I sit Eizu down in a chair.
“Uncle,” he starts solemnly, “I can walk on my own. You don’t need to carry me.” He probably feels like a burden.
‘Agghhh,’ Yarg growls threateningly. He doesn’t have nice opinions on the physically disabled. Ironic considering he’s mentally disabled.
“Sorry, sometimes I forget,” I say to make seem like I know he can. When Sizu takes a seat after laying the stretcher against the table, I turn to Tizuki before she sits down too. “Why don’t we go get food while they stay here?”
Tizuki turns her head and replies, “Hmm? I guess that’s fine. You two stay here and don’t go running off anywhere.”
“I promise!” Sizu squeals. “I hope we get that meat on wheat meal again.”
“Sizu, they make that every Wednesday, and it’s called a sloppy kone,” Eizu reminds his sister. “It’s just double leftovers from the meat they used on Monday, like school used to.”
“No way! This actually tastes good!” she declares. Eizu shakes his head over his sister.
Tizuki and I realize that they would be fine and we walk down to get in line for dinner. I turn to Tizuki and tell her, “When we finish let me find someone else to help me take Eizu back down. You shouldn’t be carrying him around in your position.”
Tizuki sighs. “You and your brother are the same like that, thinking that I need help. I’m fine, I can take care of my son.” I offended her, I didn’t mean to.
“I’m not saying anything about your abilities, but Tizuki, you’re carrying for two. What if something happens?”
“What could possibly happen?” she questions me.
“I don’t know, but something could happen to your next kid. How would you feel if something happened? How would Eizu feel if his sibling got hurt because you were trying to take care of him?” She faces away from me and moves to get a couple trays.
This time in a quieter voice, even though everyone can hear us if they want to, Tizuki says that, “Nothing is going to happen. I won’t let it.”
“Then let someone help you,” I say.
Then she chuckles sarcastically before she whispers insultingly, “Who’s going to help me? Everyone here is busy with their own problems, just as serious as mine. Everyone here is homeless and suffering. Who has time to help me? You barely have time to visit during the week, and my husband has been commissioned to spend every day trying to keep us alive. Who’s going to help me after tonight?” I don’t have a response for that because she isn’t wrong. “Hmm? No answer? That’s what I thought.” I have to find a way to be here. This is be the only way to make sure everyone’s okay.
Tizuki and I don’t speak as we get four sets of sloppy kones on the walk back to the table. At the table we get a welcome surprise.
“We’re back,” Tizuki says as we come up on the table.
“Hey hun,” says a male voice. Tizuki and I whistle to see that my brother is seated next to Eizu.
“Lideo, how did you get out of the lab so early?” Tizuki asks.
“Told them I had a pregnant wife at home. I think I’ll start using that excuse more often,” he jokes. Tizuki shakes her head and scoffs. “What?”
I tell him, “Later.” Then I pass the meals I am carrying to Eizu and then to Lideo. “Here take mine.”
“Thank you, but this is yours,” Lideo says as he tries to pass it back.
“No, take it. I doubt you ate since this morning,” I tell him.
“I doubt you did too.”
“Just sit down and share it,” Tizuki grunts all annoyed. I sit down next to my brother and wait for him to cut the sandwich in half.
We eat in silence until Sizu asks what her dad did at work today. She doesn’t really care for the tension between the adults. The tension is partially my fault.
Okay, all my fault.
The cute conversation between father and daughter goes on until dinner is finished. As we are all heading out a voice comes on over the intercoms. “Guardian Eron, report to the Director’s office. Guardian Eron report to the Director’s office.” I am being summoned apparently.
“What’s that all about?” Eizu ask.
“You didn’t leave work, early did you?” Tizuki asks half angry, half worried.
“No, I promise. I have no idea what it’s all about. I’ll go after I see you guys home,” I reply.
Then much to Tizuki’s dismay, Lideo and I carry Eizu home on the stretcher. Once they are all situated back in their room, I move to say my goodbyes.
Before I can leave their room Sizu tackles my face once again. “Don’t wait too long before visiting again, Uncle Hideo!”
“I won’t,” I assure her.
Then Tizuki hugs me and then apologizes. “I didn’t mean to seem rude or anything earlier so I’m sorry. No hard feelings.”
“None at all,” I make sure to say, “but if you ever need my help…”
“Ask you, I know,” she says with a small smile.
“I’ll see you soon!” I call to the others as I start walking out the door.
“Don’t be a stranger!” my brother calls as he sits down on the bed to play a game with Eizu. I nod and then continue out the door. I have a meeting with the director of this facility apparently.
The Director’s office is at the top of the facility. I guess those in charge always have to be able to look down on those they lead.
I walk out to the middle of the bridge and unwrap my wings. It’s late so there aren’t as many people flying between the levels. I squat down and then jump into the air flapping my wings. I fly upward and fast, trying to make up for the lost time spent with my family. The Director isn’t too bad, but she can still be a bit of prick when her orders aren’t followed to a tee.
I am able to move much faster now by myself. Almost so fast that when I get to the 1st level I almost slam into the ceiling before I then descend onto the landing. This level is the smallest, having only one room on it. I quickly walk into the door to the Director’s office. I notice that it’s twice the size of a normal apartment as it holds her office and sleeping quarters.
I open the door and whistle. If I had eyes, they would spread wide open. I run quickly into the room and around the corner where the Director is sitting with someone at her desk. “Captain?!” I exclaim.
Alloya smiles at me and turns her head back while in a chair. She rests her feet on the Director’s desk as she says, “Good to see you too, Soundwave. Sit down, I got a story for you.”
Alloya just finished filling me in on everything wrong with the galaxy, all the way from time no longer working properly to a corrupt regime who is taking advantage of it.
“I need you back, Hideo. I’m rectifying my mistake in disbanding Team Sunset,” Alloya tells me. I sit next to her in another seat in front of the Director’s desk. The Director has been listening quietly, not yet giving her opinion.
“I can’t just leave,” I say hesitantly. I need to be here for my people and my family. I literally just vowed to myself to be there for my family more often. “I have duties that help my people here survive.”
The Director speaks up to inform me that, “The Captain here has given supplies from her ship that should make up for the loss of you for some time.” It surprises me that the Director is willing to get rid of me so easily. What is it that I don’t know about?
Alloya then informs me that, “If we succeed in our first goal you should gain the support of the Rivertans.”
“What do you mean by that? What’s our first goal?” I ask the Captain.
She continues to explain, “After we get Clay, we’re going straight to Riverteria. There we’re going to do what should have done a long time ago.” I realize what she means but I want to hear her say it. I lean in closer to listen to her speak. “We’re putting an end to the apartheid against the Watree, and I would stake a lot that once we do so, there won’t be as much resistance against helping the Waverites there, or joining the galaxy at large. If we’re going to have any chance against the Regnorian Regime we’re going to need the support of both the Waverites and the Rivertans. If we can uproot both species and somehow fix this time dissonance, relocating the remaining Waverites shouldn’t be too difficult.”
“That’s what we’re calling them now? A Regime?” I ask jokingly.
“Be serious Eron,” the Director orders.
“Sorry, but Captain, the Waverites and Rivertans don’t have that many spacefaring ships between the two species. The Rivertans actually have none. Even if we gave our own designs to the Rivertans, we’ll never catch up to the numbers of the Regnorian armada,” I point out.
“I highly doubt all Regamorphs, and especially not all Techanots, are going to side with the Regnorian leadership once they see their Guardians and the other species turn against them. Even then, Team Sunset will be there to make up the difference,” she argues. I am taken aback by Alloya’s fighting words.
“Are you willing to fight against your own kind, Captain?” I ask her.
Then Alloya’s eyes narrow as her face hardens into one of anger. “I am very much willing to do what needs to be done. Believe it or not they haven’t been a friend to me in the time I’ve been gone. This is personal for me too.”
“Of course, if these issues can be solved peacefully you will do so?” the Director asks for assurance.“This is potentially a galactic war you want to start. As far as I’m concerned Waverites need the Rivertan alliance to maintain security and the health of our people. The part where we fight doesn’t seem all that necessary, yet.” The Director is only the leader of this facility, but still she handles herself well when speaking of matters important to the galaxy as a whole.
Alloya warns her, “If you think the Regnorian Regime isn’t preparing to subjugate or control you as they do the Techanots, you’re being very naive. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. You make sure to cement your security and survival, but don’t forget about the possible threat.”
“But if conflict can be avoided, you will do so,” the Director tells the Captain coldly. I must admit that I have never seen someone try and tell the Captain how to do her job. Most would be afraid and intimidated by her power. “No one will come to support you if you’re out for revenge.”
The Director is right in her reasoning, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s surprising that Alloya submits to her, “If conflict can be avoided, it will.”
“Good. So, it’s decided, Eron, you get to rejoin Team Sunset and help the other remaining half of our people.” The Director says this as if I want to go.
“I can’t just leave,” I tell the two of them.
“Why not? You’re needed more with Team Sunset for your people’s sake than you are here,” Alloya points out.
“But my family here needs me. My nephew and sister-in-law, they-” I am interrupted by the Director, who becomes visibly angry with me.
“Your family is not more important than your duties to your people, Guardian Eron.” The Director speaks coldly and slowly. Then she leans back in her chair.“They will survive without you. You will go with your Captain,” she commands of me.
“My nephew is physically handicapped, and my sister-in-law is pregnant. They need me to be here, or someone at least,” I plea.
“You’re not getting a choice,” the Director grits through her teeth at me. Then she takes a breath and says, “Everyone in here is suffering. Everyone on this planet is suffering. Your family is no more important than anyone else’s so stop acting like it. You are the Guardian; you are supposed to serve us all. Your family will survive as the others here do. If you really want to help them, complete your duties faster and I’ll have them put on the first ship off of this planet.”
“That’s it then, I don’t get a say?” I question the Director angrily.
“No, you don’t, and if you don’t get a move on, I’ll have you kicked out before you can say goodbye, so question me again,” she tells me coldly.
I open my mouth to argue, but Alloya places a hand on my shoulder. I’m angry that my family is being shoved to the side, and I want to argue. I lean forward to start moving, but then Alloya gives my shoulder a real tight squeeze and shakes her head. Then she stands up and gives me a pull, signaling me to leave. I try to resist but she manhandles me by pulling me straight up out of my chair. I try struggling and then she whispers in my ear, “You’re only going to make this worse. Let’s talk outside.” I ponder my options and decide to stop struggling. When she puts me down, I walk out with her.
When we are outside of the Director’s office, she lets me go. “Listen to me, we’ll-”
“No, you listen to me!” I interrupt the Captain to say. “You can’t just come here and interrupt my life. You walked out on us, and now I have responsibilities to people I care about-”
“They can come with us,” Alloya interrupts.
“What?” I ask with stupid confusion.
“You’re right, I shouldn’t be uprooting your life, but we’re needed. The Director was right saying that our people are the most important, and that we work for them.” Then with a tilt of her head and a smile she tells me, “I just don’t see why we can’t move your family now.”
“But we-, you-, why-,” I am confused. Then I just agree, “Good idea.”
“I know, you don’t get to be Captain if you never have ideas that people like,” Alloya says. Then I just stand there, with a smile slowly coming over my face. “Well, go get them. We’re going now.”
“Oh, yeah, right! I’ll be right back!” I say as I excitedly walk backwards and fall over the railing. I quickly fix myself to fly and begin my quick descent downwards all in mid-air. Alloya quickly runs to check over the edge and smiles at my back as I fly down the chasm that is this facility. Then she jumps over to follow me.
I fly to the third-floor bridge with Alloya flying after me. When I land on the bridge with a slam, I am slightly startled when Alloya lands right behind me.
“You’re coming with?” I ask.
“This isn’t going to be an easy sell,” she warns me. “Figured I could be here to help. Also, I’m interested in meeting your family.”
I then walk with Alloya following me; I hadn’t considered the idea that they may not be able to go, or want to in the short time that I’ve had to think about it. When I get to their door I start knocking. It’s a few minutes before someone opens.
Lideo is very much surprised to see me at the door, or maybe it’s the 6’2” Regamorph standing behind me. Nah, it is probably me.
“Ah, Hideo, who’s your tall and intimidating lady friend?” Lideo ask.
Alloya leans forward to introduce herself, “I’m Alloya Ra’non, the Captain of Team Sunset. I’m friends with your brother. You are his brother? It’s been a while.”
Befuddled Lideo, looks at her. “Yep, I’m his brother. It has been, quite a while since we last met. Uh, come in, I guess.” As Alloya and I walk by, Lideo mutters, “I’m not getting any sleep tonight.”
I walk back into my family’s apartment to hear Tizuki trying to tell Sizu to go take a shower now instead of waiting until morning. Halfway through her sentence they both hear me step into the room and whistle. Sizu gets excited and flies at me excitedly. “Uncle, you’re back!” she yells as she grapples onto my face. “Hi, I like jumping on your face.”
“I can tell,” I mumble to her.
Tizuki is a little speechless and Eizu is rousing himself from sleep. Alloya comes up behind me and whispers in my ear, “Why don’t you introduce me so everyone can stop being so weird about the giant in the room?”
“Oh yeah, um, everyone, this is Alloya, the Captain of Team Sunset. She’s a Regamorph, so that’s why she’s nearly a foot taller than everyone else!” I exclaim awkwardly. This whole situation is awkward, I’m literally seconds from asking them to get their stuff and move.
“Why is she here?” Tizuki asks. She sounds off because she is speaking through an awkward smile.
Alloya informs them, “I’m here to take Hideo with me. Team Sunset is coming back together, and we need him back.”
“You mean to take him to leave?” Lideo says as he walks around Alloya. “Where would you go?”
“I would take him to go to Riverteria,” Alloya tells my brother. “We need to get Wombinal, and work things out there so that Waverites can either live there, or at least leave.”
Lideo scoffs when she says that, but she didn’t flinch. “We’ve had promises like that before. How is this going to be any different?”
Alloya smiles and holds up her hand. In seconds she forms a ball of cosmic energy that is shaped like a vibrating atom. “Let’s say that we have deterrents that no one else has, and our own connection into their hierarchy.”
I realize that she is talking about Womby and a show of force. This attitude is very different from the Captain I know. “That, that’s how you want to go about everything?” I ask as I move to put Sizu down a bed. “We’ve never tried to use force to get the Rivertans to do anything before.”
“The stakes have changed as you know, and with Womby on our side there shouldn’t be any reason for them to think they’re in the right,” she tells me. “And you know what? It’s about damn time we stopped turning our backs on the Watree who suffer there.” Her words remind me of what Clay used to yell and complain about whenever the Rivertans came up, and I’d be lying if I say that I never agreed with him. Violence just never seemed like a realistic option. If this was the path Alloya wants to take, can I really take my family with us?
“What are you two doing here then?” Tizuki questions. “You two can make your plans and have your arguments somewhere else. What do you want here?”
Alloya replies, “Hideo has something to ask you.”
“What is it?” Tizuki asks.
Can I ask them to come with me? Is that a better idea than leaving them here? The answer is as clear as it was a few minutes ago, but the other way around.“I just wanted to say goodbye.” They probably would have said no anyway.
Eizu confusedly asks, “But she just said you wanted to ask us something.”
“That was a mistake,” I reply.
Alloya is swift to agree, “Poor choice of words.Sorry.”
“Oh,” Eizu goes.
Tizuki becomes angry. “That’s it. You came here just to say goodbye? Nothing else?”
Lideo looks confused, “What else would he say? What? You want him to bring us along?” Now I wonder how he would have taken the offer.
“Nothing, I didn’t want anything,” Tizuki replies quietly but coldly. “Say goodbye to your Uncle kids, because who knows when he’s coming back.”
I realize then that I should leave before I make things worse. Before I can move Sizu has leaped at my face again to hug me. She doesn’t say anything this time, and afterwards she quickly flies back to her perch upside down and facing away.
I move to place my palm on Eizu’s head. “Hopefully it won’t take too long,” I tell him.
“Hopefully,” he mutters.
I turn to Tizuki who has turned away. I guess I shouldn’t expect a hug. I turn to my brother and he says, “Let me walk you out.” He places his hand on my back and we follow Alloya out of the door. When we get out, my brother and I turn towards each other and hu. “You be safe out there, little brother.”
Still embracing each other I point out to him, “That’s kind of the opposite of my job.”
My brother grunts, “Don’t be a smartass. Just get back here alive.”
“Will do. I promise,” I swear. Then we separate.
My brother turns to face Alloya, who has her side to us and is looking away for a moment. She’s kind of giving us a semblance of privacy and kind of not. “Bring my brother back,” he tells her with a point of his finger.
Alloya turns her head back and assures him with a smile, “I wouldn’t worry. Your brother’s pretty hard to kill.”
“He better be,” Lideo comments right before turning back to me. “I’d better get inside and fix whatever was happening in there.”
“Yeah,” I reply plainly.
“Good luck,” he says as he pats my back and goes back into his apartment.
Then I walk onto the bridge with Alloya and lean on the bar to face her. I ask her, “What now Captain? Are you going to tell me how you plan to help my people, or are you still planning?”
She nods her head around and tells me, “I’ve got a basic outline, but I’d rather wait to get Clay before I explain what we need to do. It’s going to require the three of us if it goes sideways.” Then she looks and asks me, “Ready to go get your best friend?”
Sarcastically I tell her, “Why would I want to see that prick?” We both smile at that.