Tryst, Chapter 2: When I met you...
Anthdragn noticed a group of people loitering around the entrance to Fourside, which was recently blocked off.
He landed a short distance away, reverted, defused the armour, and walked towards them.
After they introduced themselves to him, they moved to the next matter at hand: getting into the city.
"Well, I can try breaking in at a weak point," Anthadd commented, "but I'd need someone to freeze it."
"I know PSI Freeze," Paula said.
"How many levels?"
"Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Omega."
"Does it matter what level she uses?" Rusty inquired.
"Not really, but I need at least Gamma."
"Where's she going to use it?" Amzan asked.
Anthadd made a partial fist with his left hand, all but the middle and index fingers in the fist. He placed the tip of his index at the top of his nose.
The others gathered around, wondering what was going to happen.
Anthadd pointed with his right hand to a small point on the brick wall.
"Pavo Sight?" Amzan asked.
"It's a Stellar Skill. I know a few others. Centaurus Flare, Scorpius Blade, and Sagitta Halt. I'll be using Centaurus Flare once Paula freezes that bit of the wall."
Paula placed her hands where Anthadd had pointed.
"PSI Freeze Gamma!" she cried, quietly.
The red bricks became encased, on one side, by ice.
"Keep on doing that." Anthadd placed his hands in the position a mime would, to feel an invisible box. "Centaurus Flare!" he yelled, causing the brick considerable stress, since it was being bombarded by two of the four old "elements": Earth, fire, water and air.
Once it collapsed...
Anthadd slumped to one knee, gripping his left shoulder.
"Are you okay?" Rusty asked.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm all right. Let's just get going."
Mike, Luna, Unity, and Dan were walking around, checking the departments out.
"Hmm, this looks very interesting," was all Mike could say. "I don't see a whole lot, though. Maybe if we get to the manager's office, we'll find something."
"Hey, yeah! Let's go there instead of wandering around in the food court trying to find food!" Luna replied.
"Aww, well, okay." Mike walked to the north. "Hey, this looks like a set of stairs. Wanna go up?"
"Yeah. Let's go." Luna said. A message flashed on Unity's bracer.
"Hmm.. interesting. 'Prepare for battle'" Unity said to nobody in particular. That was the reading on her gauntlet.
"Uh, guys, I think that we should watch ourselves up there. It could get crazy." Dan then proceeded up the stairs. The others followed.
Mike then added, "I hope that nothing time consuming is up here, because I'm really, really hungry..."
Jakob watched Anthadd and Paula take out the wall. He felt very scared all of a sudden. And who wouldn't? After all, these people - whom he had only just met - seemed to be insanely powerful. Jakob's vision blurred for a second.
Something else was happening... to him?
But the moment passed, and Jakob found himself following the others through the wall, and staring with surprise at what Fourside was becoming.
Some of the more intact buildings were glowing a bright purple. Senior Mooks ordered Lesser Mooks around, Starmen teleported about, and Atomic Power Robots exploded occasionally, when the Spinning Robos ran into them. "Giygas' troops," muttered Jakob under his breath. Everyone turned and stared.
Jakob stared back, then asked, "Did I just say what I think I said?"
"When did you learn about Giygas, Jakob?" asked Anthadd.
"Giy... gas?" Jakob rolled the word through his mouth, showing none of the recognition he had before. "I... just said that, didn't I?"
Jakob couldn't tell who was talking. As soon as the word "Yes" hit his mind, he was swept into a vision. A man, with a black jacket... giving an order. "Yes, turn it on." Jakob didn't know what "it" was, because he was inside it, they were using it on his mind... something hidden, that somebody vaguely important didn't want him to know; and in the middle of it all, someone telling him he was now a schizophrenic so he'd better get used to it...
Jakob woke up, staring up from the ground. "Are you okay?" asked Paula, with genuine concern.
"Yeah, yeah, it's okay. I'm a schizophrenic," Jakob heard himself explain, "so this kind of thing happens." He smiled weakly and got up from the ground.
He heard a voice in his head... Nobody needs to know the truth, least of all you. Jakob shook his head back and forth.
Must be hearing things, he thought.
Anthadd gasped. He knew Stellar wiped him out. But this much?
"If you'll excuse me," he said politely, excusing himself, "I have previous engagements at the Department Store."
"But hasn't it been wrecked?" Amzan inquired.
"That's the point. I'm going to investigate."
About an hour later, Anthadd was near collapse.
Dragging himself to the Bakery, he quickly bought a few Lucky Sandwiches with what little money he had, and BOY was he lucky! He was back to max HP quickly.
Feeling revitalised, he walked into the department store, trying to make sense of the mayhem.
"Is anyone here?" he cried. His voice echoed around the rubble.
Amzan searched through the rubble of the Department Store for clues.
"Strange, I didn't think they had a basement," said Amzan, as an escalator caught his eye.
He walked over to it and stood on the stairway for three minutes.
"What's taking so long?" Amzan sighed and decided to go downstairs manually.
Little did he know that he had a visitor waiting for him...
A teenage boy gasped in pain as the blood flowed from his leg. He didn't have much time, but he had to fend off that crazy woman... at all costs. He sighed at the loss of his squad. How could she have killed them all so easily? We had so much protection, and yet... they died. But why didn't I die as well? Why didn't I stick around for them? Then, he heard approaching footsteps from upstairs. Fearing the worst, he hid behind a crate and pulled out his .45 automatic.
Amzan made it to the basement and sighed. He didn't find any clues.
"What a waste of my time," he sighed.
When he was about to turn around, he slipped and fell to the ground with a thud.
"Ow. What happened?" he groaned in pain.
He got off the floor and looked at his hands. There was blood on them. That was acceptable, but... the blood was still fresh. The building was destroyed 2 hours ago, by that time the blood should have stained the tile floor. He turned around and looked at the floor. He slowly moved in the direction of the bloody footprints.
"Come out," Amzan said.
The boy jumped up from behind the crate, pointing his .45 automatic at Amzan. "Don't move! Stay where you are!" screamed the boy.
"Hey. It's okay. I'm the good guy," said Amzan with a cool voice.
The boy cocked the gun and said, "I'm warning you. If you have any relation to that Minch woman, I will shoot you."
Amzan sighed and then swung his fist, knocking the gun out of the boy's hand.
"I thought it was against the law for anyone under the age of 18 to be in possession of a firearm," said Amzan.
The boy coldly stared at Amzan. He moved his hand slowly to his back...
"What are you doing now? Stop this. I'm not a friend of Lardna Minch," Amzan said in frustration.
"How did you know her first name?" the boy asked.
"She's very well known. Now, what is your name?"
The boy looked at the ground and then quietly said, "Rockwell."
"Pleased to meet you, Rockwell. We best be getting out of here. This place could fall in anytime."
"Sure. Let me get my gun first," said Rockwell as he limped to pick his gun up.
After he was done, the two went back upstairs and the place caved in.
"See, I was right," Amzan chuckled.
Rockwell didn't say anything, he just stared at the rubble of the Department Store.
"I can't believe that Lardna destroyed those beautiful dolls! Why?!" Unity cried in agony.
"Enough about the dolls. You've been talking about them the whole time!" Mike sighed.
"Hush, we need to find out what to do now," said Mike.
Luna tapped Unity on the shoulders and whispered, "I swiped some dolls. Would you like some?"
Unity's eyes brightened up and nodded her head happily.
"Oy vey," Mike sighed.
"Oh fine, continue talking about the dolls. It's kinda relaxing, actually..." Mike added as an afterthought. He then jumped back.
"Something the matter, Mike?" Luna asked.
"Naw. I thought that doll moved, had glowing eyes, and stuff. But, I'm probably just tired or something. Let's keep going."
"Right. So... do you think Lardna is even still here?"
"You know, I never thought about that... we'll find out, won't we?"
With Lardna, in the manager's office... "Ahh yess, this is going to be goo-" Lardna was talking to the air when she was interrupted. "What is this? Many people seem to be nearby. What I don't understand is how I'm able to know that... no matter. I'll just make myself go away." She started to glow, then she cackled. She disappeared into thin air, and a moaning and a groaning of a tortured being, Giygas, emanated throughout the room.
"Aaaaooooohhhh.... aaaaaaaaoooh.." Giygas continued to moan, then finally stopped. He then started to laugh...
Anthadd hid behind another crate, seeing some shadows coming up.
He tentatively looked at them.
One looked familiar.
"A... Amzan?" he cried, aghast. "Didn't I tell you to stay...? No, I didn't."
"I felt kind of bad letting you go ahead," Amzan replied.
"I see. And who's this?" Anthadd motioned to Rockwell.
"That would be Rockwell."
"Ah. Greetings, Rockwell."
"And same to you, uh... uh...?"
"...Anthadd," Rockwell finished.
"Well, what are you doing here, Rockwell?" Anthadd asked.
"I was a member of one of the squads sent to this department store. I think I'm the only survivor."
But Anthadd never finished that sentence.
An explosion rocked the area!
When the dust cleared...
A Department Store Spook?
"The Tryst can not be broken..." it hissed.
"What? Tryst?" Anthadd cried, abashed.
"The Tryst. The Tryst is Giygas' key to ultimate victory."
"And the point?" Rockwell seethed.
"You stand in the way of the successful accomplishment of the Tryst."
"We can't let the Tryst be accomplished, can we?" Azman queried.
"No, we can't. Ke Bao Dragon Armour Infuse!"
The four scientists watched the continued news reports from the safety of the Grapefruit Bunker. Wondering what they could do, Apple Kid rose from the couch and proceeded toward the kitchen.
"Does he only ever think about food?" complained Orange Kid. "He's going to deplete our larder before we actually need it!"
"Oh," said Jeff, "go easy on him. The Mr. Saturns were kind enough to provide us with as much food as we need."
"Speak of the devil," commented Dr. Andonuts, as a Saturn trundled through with a paper sack on his head.
"Still," continued Orange Kid, "we don't have a cornucopia..." A glint flashed through his eyes. "...I've got an idea. Can you help me in the lab, Doctor?"
"You've been watching too much Star Trek," said old Andonuts, "but I'll see what I can do." He stood and exited the room with the young inventor, leaving his son alone in the television room.
"Hmm..." thought Jeff. "There must be something I can do to help... I'll head to the comm console." He got up and ambled toward the atrium. The room opened up into a cavernous hall, which housed the communications systems. He pressed a sequence of keys, and a few blips appeared on a map.
"Huh," wondered Jeff. "Ness isn't there. Hey! There's Amzan! Maybe he'll know." He hit a few more buttons, and connected the call. He was surprised when Frank answered.
"Frank?! What are you doing there?" inquired Jeff.
Frank paused. "Why does everybody keep asking me that?"
"Never mind. I'm watching the ship while everybody else is out looking for Lardna. What can I do ya for?"
"Do you know where Ness is?"
"Not a clue. His house was empty."
"Hmm... well, thanks anyway. Tell everyone the scientists are at the Grapefruit Bunker, would you?"
"Sure thing," replied Frank.
Ness lay exhausted in Peaceful Rest Valley.
"That's the last time I try to take a shortcut," vowed Ness. "Why'd the bridge have to be out again?"
Unity held her staff tightly to her chest, and she started to cry. "But that thing is creepy! I don't want to touch it! And what's a Tryst???"
She threw herself at Luna, sobbing. When she did, Luna dropped a plushie that she was holding in her hand.
The Department Store Spook picked it up and tossed it back and forth in his hands. "Plush toys, foolish mortal tools of entertainment," he said, ripping the head off, and tossing it at Unity's feet.
"A grown woman should not reminisce about such childish implements. You are not fit to be a warrior at all. In fact, none of you are! Look at you!" He looked around, and saw Luna desperately trying to support Unity, Mike moving his foot around in the dust, and Rockwell barely standing up correctly.
"You fools! You dare try and break the Tryst?"
Unity looked down at the severed doll at her feet. "You... idiot!" she said, glowering. "Y... You aren't fit to walk this beautiful Earth, you foul creature! I'll make sure you don't walk any planet ever again!" She grabbed her staff and jumped high up into the air, her eyes glowing bright green. She brought it crashing down on the bluish creature with a dull thud, sending it careening into a wall.
Luna clapped appreciatively. Unity suddenly dropped to her knees.
"What's wrong?" Luna said, rushing to her friend.
"Did... I do that?"
"Yes, and you did a pretty thorough job of it."
"Wow! I can be a warrior like you guys?" she said, gripping her staff tightly. "You know, I think I'm beginning to remember some stuff from my time in the other plane. I can be a warrior!"
A gunshot went off and Luna screamed in surprise.
"What was that?" Anthadd asked.
They looked at where the Department Store Spook last lay. A trickle of blood appeared from its forehead. Rockwell turned and walked away.
"What did you do that for?" Amzan asked.
"It's my job to make sure that all threats are disposed of," Rockwell said as he walked away.
Everyone looked at each other.
"His... job?" Mike asked.
"He's a member of one of the SWAT squads that was killed by Lardna," answered Amzan.
"Oh... I see."
"Whatever, but it doesn't give him the right to shoot someone like that without a warning," said Unity as she looked at the Spook.
Soon, Rockwell came back... but something was different about him.
"Hey, are you okay?" Mike queried.
Rockwell raised his gun and pointed it at them.
"I'll kill every single one of you," said Rockwell, in an unfamiliar voice.
"What are you doing and why does your voice sound so different?" Luna asked, with a frightened voice.
"What? You don't remember my voice already? It's me, the Department Store Spook! I managed to get into his mind and control it and... I'll teach him to shoot my beautiful body," Rockwell growled menacingly.
"Put the gun down and we won't hurt you," said Anthadd with a firm voice.
"No! You get back now! I have a gun and I'm no- What's this? He's trying to regain control?" said Rockwell.
Rockwell pulled the gun away from the group and put to his head.
Dan, who hadn't been seen by the Spook, managed to sneak up behind what was normally Rockwell.
"Foolish mortal--I'll kill us both!" The two voices raged at each other. Dan raised his Zapper, steadied his aim, and a hollow click was heard as the laser was fired. It hit the gun square and the firearm fell to the ground. Both "Rockwell" and Anthadd dived for it. Luckily, the Spook came up empty. Dan took this as an opportunity.
"PSI Hypnosis!" he called, and Rockwell's body fell unconscious.
"Quick, before they wake up!" Luna said in a loud whisper. "What can we do?"
Mu was silent. A lone figure sat upon the place of emptiness. His eyes were shut, his face devoid of emotion, his entire being still. Not even the gusts of wind caused him to stir.
Fleetingly, his face registered a slight twinge.
"I am needed."
He stood, brushing dust from his pants. Stepping back, he ran off the cliff and vanished.
Carpainter kneeled on the ground, tending the violets around the former cult center. He glanced up to see a young red-capped figure collapse just outside the tunnel from Peaceful Rest Valley.
He ran over to the barely-conscious boy to see what was wrong. "No wounds," he pondered. "I'd better take him to the doctor."
Ness awoke in the office of the Happy-Happy Village doctor.
"Wha..." he tried to speak. "What happened?"
Carpainter approached. "We don't know. What were you doing in Peaceful Rest Valley?"
"I was trying," Ness explained, "to take a shortcut to Saturn Valley."
"Why didn't you just teleport?" inquired Carpainter.
"That's the thing. My teleport hasn't been working right. I ended up in Twoson."
At that moment, Poo walked through the door.
"I sensed something was wrong," he explained. "What's happened to Ness?"
"Poo!" Ness exclaimed tiredly. "Something's happened to my teleport. Can you help me?"
"You need rest," Poo responded. "I'll stay here with you until you recuperate."
"Hmm... at times like this, you need to use your surroundings..." Mike said, and his statement trailed off as he was looking around. "Ah hah. Just what we need..." Mike walked over to a pile of rubbish and pulled approximately 6 feet of wire from the pile. He then walked over to the unconscious Rockwell and tied him up. "There, that deals with this problem for now. Anyhow, are you guys alright?" Mike asked.
"Just fine," Unity reported.
"Peachy," Luna said.
"Good. That was some fine shooting, Dan. Heh heh, better than I could do. I don't really appreciate fighting like that, actually, but when it comes down to it, I'm game. Anyhow, what should we do about Rockwell?" Anthadd then cleared his throat. "Oh, and what about these new... comers... don't I know you from somewhere?" he asked Anthadd.
"No, I don't believe that we've met," Anthadd replied. "But I do believe that the girl that you called 'Unity' may have the tools that we need to take care of Rockwell." Unity walked over to Rockwell, and her gauntlet sprang to life. It analyzed the situation and presented a solution.
"Well, according to my gauntlet, it appears as if he's being controlled. The point of control is right... here." She pointed to the back of his neck. At that point sat a small device that had attached itself to the neck, and presumably the brain stem. "So, now that we know what the problem is, what should we do about-" Before Unity could finish, Dan had pulled the device out of Rockwell's neck. "Okay. That works. Now, time to wait for him to recover." While waiting, everybody took the time to introduce themselves.
"I'm Mike, and this is Unity and Luna. We're just a bunch of adventure seekers, I guess you could say. Well, me and Luna are. Unity just sorta... dropped in on us. Heh heh..." Unity and Luna nodded. "This is Dan. He likes to explore too, apparently." He nodded as well.
"I'm Anthadd. This would be the first time that we have met, I believe. The gentleman beside me is Amzan. That person lying on the ground is Rockwell. He was, as previously mentioned, a member of the SWAT team." At about that time, Rockwell began to stir.
"Ugh... aah..." Rockwell moaned.
"Hang on, in all seriousness, what's a tryst?" Unity asked. Rockwell continued to try to recover himself.
"Ahh yes, Rockwell looks to be alright. Oh, and a Tryst is a deal or an agreement for 2 people to meet in a certain place."
"I still don't understand," Unity responded.
"Well..." Anthadd began. "...I remember reading an article a while ago... It was an interview with Monotoli. He said he'd been coerced into a Tryst by someone named Pokey Minch. That Tryst was with something called 'Giygas'. And he said this 'Giygas' told him to send a 'Department Store Spook', to the Department Store to capture someone... I don't remember the name."
"Paula Polestar," Rockwell finished. "I remember this. I was a member of Monotoli's Special Task Force, back when he ran the city."
"Ah, Paula. Well, it took Paula to break the Tryst. But Pokey, it seems, had entered into such a Tryst too. And now, his mother, Lardna, has entered into a Tryst," Anthadd said, "leaving us one question: Why?"
Paula, Rusty, and Jakob were sitting on the dock of Fourside throwing rocks into the water.
"I wonder why Anthadd wanted us to stay back...." Paula said with a sigh. "I know I can fend for myself. Rusty, you're the strongest and biggest person I've ever seen. Jakob, you can hold your own..."
"Ah! Don't worry ya lil' head, Paula! Anthadd has a reason for this. If he finds sumptin' then he'll know where we are. And what if he runs in ta sumptin? It's best that we don't all get in trouble. He's jes checkin' things out."
"Hmmmmm.... I'm hungry, let's grab something to eat! I wonder what's in Amzan's spaceship..." wondered Jakob.
Jakob walked up to the door of the spaceship and was trying to open it. He tried kicking it and pushing it. He even tried to cast a magical spell, but nothing would work. Jakob turned around to ask his friends for help, but he saw them tied up with tape over their mouth. He quickly turned to the left and there she was.... Lardna was staring dead at Jakob.
"How'd you get here? How come I didn't hear you? How come...."
Lardna smiled and said, "Prepare to die, fool."
"Prepare to die?! But... I'm only... uhhh, wait a second." Jakob paused in mid-frightened-gesticulation. "How old am I? Let's see, I was born in eighty-seven, then came the big blank spot in my memory that I can never seem to fill, and now I appear to be a fully-grown adult male, about 27 years old..."
Lardna blasted Jakob with a beam. Jakob fell, unconscious.
Almost immediately, Jakob awoke again. Now, he was in some kind of cell... another nightmare? He called out, "Helloooo?"
A Starman materialized in front of him. It was blue. A blue Starman, thought Jakob, this is definitely a delusion.
"Greetings," began the Starman. "I am the Blue Starman, the last of my design from the Giegue assault on this world. You are on board the evil Ship of the Tryst, which Giygas and Lardna control."
"Giygas has entered into a Tryst with Lardna, because they share some common goals. I am programmed for revenge upon Giygas. When Giegue was attacked, he lost control of the Starmen, and Giygas took us over... whether Giegue is Giygas, or if they were separate, we could not tell. But Giygas destroyed many of the very powerful Blue Starmen, fearing their intelligence and power."
"There were still many of us, but we were then attacked by a boy named Ninten, who destroyed all but myself. It was tragic."
The Blue Starman sighed. Carbon-based lifeforms were so... inefficient.
"You know the name Giygas, correct?"
"That stupid Giygas, I'll get him back if it's... uh, no. Never heard the name."
"Interesting. It seems the counter-agents can trigger memory loss."
"Counter-agents? What's going on? And aren't you supposed to be grey, or silver, or some kind of normal robotic colour?"
"The blue colour of my series was a side effect of the alloy used to create us. As for your own composition, all shall be revealed in due time. Come. Your friends are waiting for us."
Blue Starman teleported into Jakob's cell, then teleported the two of them out of the Ship of the Tryst. They reappeared in front of Amzan's ship. Paula and Rusty were gone.
"I suspect Lardna took them away," said Blue Starman.
"I suspect Lardna really sucks," added Jakob.
"I believe you are correct."
Standing in front of the schooner, snores could be heard from within.
"I bet that's Frank," grumbled Jakob. "Sleeping on the job."
The unlikely pair approached the door, this time opening on its own.
The ill-lit laboratory was briefly illuminated by a welding torch. Orange Kid sat in front of his subject, sparks reflecting off the dark lens of his mask, while Dr. Andonuts worked diligently on the other side of the room.
"Well," sighed Orange Kid, lifting his mask, "there's the shell. You finished with the replication drive yet, doctor?"
The doctor looked up from his work. "I'm getting there," he said. "Don't get impatient. Shouldn't be too much longer..."
"I know! I know!" Luna cried hyperactively. "I read it in the papers! She lost both her kids and her husband!"
"O...K..." the others all intoned.
Rockwell massaged his temples, trying to relieve some of the pain.
"Are you okay, Rockwell?" Anthadd queried.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm all right. Just need to get my headache out of the way."
"Well," Mike said. "What do we do now?"
"Lardna's got something going on," Anthadd said. "I suggest a monitoring of the city, to determine the extent of her plans. My Ke Bao Dragon Armour can cover the air. I suggest you people cover the ground."
"I'm fine with that," Amzan said.
"Same here." Luna winked.
Outside, Anthadd looked at his medallion.
"Ke Bao Dragon Armour Infuse!"
He suited up in the armour.
"You may want to start exploring now. We meet back here in an hour?" Anthadd referenced the exploration time.
Focusing, he transformed into Anthdragn, as the others walked off.
Flying high above the city of Fourside, Anthdragn could make out moving objects. He knew them to be Unity, Mike, Amzan, Dan, Rockwell, and Luna.
Noticing construction in progress near the western border, he began to descend in that direction, slowly bringing out the reversion to Anthadd, in the Ke Bao Dragon Armour.
He called out the armour's wings, and began to descend to behind a warehouse near the construction area.
He peered around the corner, only to see....
...some weirdo wearing blue armour with his sword drawn.
"Who... what... are you?" asked Anthadd, cautiously.
Cyan was taken aback. "Anthadd? That you? Uh it's... me, Cyan...."
"I've never met you before. How would you know me?"
"You don't know me?"
"Honestly. I have no memory of ever meeting anyone like you in my life."
This surprised Cyan. "Uh.... kay... If you're not my friend Anthadd, where the heck did I end up this time?"
"You're in the city of Fourside."
"That's not in North America, is it?"
"Hoo boy.... I'm really in deep this time," groaned Cyan. "I guess I'm in some other alternate dimension, or something like that...."
"Alternate dimension?" asked Anthadd, interested. "I've always suspected the existence of separate existences. But I've never seen them in action..."
"I think this is the third I've been to."
"Three dimensions? Truly astounding."
"And I still haven't found a way to get back to the one I started from, permanently, yet."
Anthadd opened his mouth to say something, but he heard a noise in the warehouse.
"Did you hear something near here?" he asked Cyan.
"I think so. In the warehouse, correct?"
"Yeah. I think we should investigate."
The warehouse was dark.
Except for one light bulb suspended at the very top, the entire warehouse was bathed in darkness.
"This is eerie," Anthadd said, charging his Ditel as he went, and hoping it would work this time.
Cyan had his sword wielded. He recognised the similarity of certain aspects of this dimension to his birth dimension.
"Now, where was that noise?" both of them said simultaneously.
Both stopped in their tracks. A smile appeared on Cyan's lips.
Unity, Amzan, Mike, Rockwell, Dan, and Luna walked along. As they walked, Luna picked up a large chunk of asphault from the sidewalk.
"She.. did this? This is incredible!"
Presently, a loud groan was heard from a pile of wood near the APE building. Dan ran for it, and grabbed aside plank after plank until he saw a face underneath.
"Is that... Ness?"
Unity picked up a plank, and stared into the face.
"I don't get it. Something's wrong!"
Luna looked at him for a minute, then she snapped her fingers.
"Look! Look how young he is! That can't be Ness! He just... looks like him!"
Mike leaned down to peer at the boy as well, and he saw a note attached to the boy's wrist. He gingerly unwrapped it, and began to read it aloud.
"So... we have to protect this kid?" Unity said, scratching her chin. "I'm completely lost. Apparently, there's a normal future, but that's not the REAL future, and if Lardna is wreaking havoc, only Matt can stop her?"
The note on the boy
As of writing this, I, Lardna Minch, am sending my
final child on the most important voyage of his life. My husband has left me;
he did not know I had a final son with him. His name is Matthew; he is the
true chosen one. I have sent him down the stream of time to reach the past, to
correct the errors that may occur. I do not trust what I may become; I fear
that this is not the true future. Please protect him, and raise him to be a
Lardna Minch, date 200X-7
Amzan rubbed his temples soothingly. "I guess... I don't get this at all. The Lardna of today doesn't have a third child, but the faux Lardna does. This boy must be pretty strong, because for some reason he's withstood the obvious fact that his very existence is void due to Giygas' interference."
"So, we protect him? But he's the child of the enemy!"
"You're a pretty little girl. Are you?" Lardna asked Paula, who was cuffed to the wall.
"What do you want??? All these questions are irrelevant! Get a life, Lardna!" screamed Paula.
"Feisty one are you.... your body is much stronger than mine. And you know PSI... the perfect body for my taking. With your body and my evilness, I could have any man wrapped around my little finger..... So how about it? LET'S SWITCH BODIES!"
"What?!?!?!? Back off, Lardna. Don't step closer or I'll pop you in the mouth! Now, where's Rusty, Frank, and Jakob? What'd you do to them?"
"Jakob and Frank are.... around. As for Rusty, he's my new personal slave! Oh honeybuns!"
At that second, a bald man with a black bushy beard walked into the room. It was Rusty! He had no shirt on and there were cuffs over his head. His eyes were completely glazed over.
"Rusty? What are you doing? Rusty? RUSTY!"
Rusty just cocked his head towards Paula and gave a possessed stare. He walked very slowly up to Lardna and sat down on the floor.
"What do you want, master?" Rusty asked.
"Start the body changing machine."
"RUSTY! FIGHT BACK!" begged Paula.
Rusty didn't flinch.
"Well, child of the bad guys or not, he's still a child, so we do have an obligation to protect him," Mike stated plainly. He then bent down and helped the child out of the rubble. "Are you okay?" The child let out another groan, then pulled himself up.
"Poor kid," Dan said. Luna walked over to him and helped treat the scratches that the kid had on his body.
"Hmm. This is very interesting. Look at this mark on the back of his neck." Luna pointed to the back of Matthew's neck. Mike leaned in closely to check it out.
"Wow, it looks all freaky-like. But that's okay. Anyhow, are you alright, Matthew?" The child nodded. "Good. Very good." An explosion then rocked the general vicinity. Everybody dived for cover. After a minute of lying on the ground, everybody got up and saw that a power generator had exploded. "Heh, looks like a power generator exploded." Everybody just blinked a bit.
"Anyhow, what do we do with Matthew? He's coming with us, but I don't know how we can help him to become a warrior," Unity said.
Her gauntlet then came to life, and a message scrolled across it: <He will grow with unusual speed. In a weeks time he will be the age as you are, formidable as any warrior indeed. Craft him a weapon, and ask him where his mother may be...>
Unity smiled. "Aww! He's gonna be all grown up like! That's so cute!.. but how old is he now?"
Mike stood, puzzled. "I think he looked about 3 when we pulled him from the pile..."
Luna looked at Matt, then sweatdropped. Matt now looked as though he could fit in finely with any group of 6 year olds.
"Should we.. do something?"
"Let's go find Anthadd. He's normally pretty intelligent in situations like this."
Cyan could barely keep from laughing. "You are definitely related in some way to the Anthadd I know."
"How do you know that?" queried Anthadd, puzzled.
"What we just did is something that has been termed a 'CyAnth'. It's when we hit the same thought wavelength and say the exact same thing simultaneously. The Anthadd I know and I do that all the time."
"I see," replied Anthadd.
"One thing the Anthadd from my world doesn't have is that armour. Anyway, let's find what was making that noise...."
The pair wandered around quietly for some time before Anthadd broke the silence.
"Why is it your armour is glowing like that, and what do the symbols mean?"
"Later, I think I heard it again... and close this time...."