Unruly: Part VII

Several hours later, I woke when I felt a presence nearby. My head didn’t feel right and I instantly could recognize what was happening. I knew I’d been pushing myself too much and that this was going to happen. I just didn’t think I’d be around others when it did. I also thought that I’d be able to overcome it this time. Unfortunately, my own hunger was just feeding into it more and more.

When I saw light before me, I couldn’t remember where I was. My mind felt like fog and I couldn’t place a name to the other student who was just sitting at the table minding his own business. I did my best to try and keep myself in order and go over to make some coffee. It was going to happen eventually, though. I couldn’t hold it off forever. I was much too exhausted, anyway.

“Hey.” He said with total disinterest.

“Yeah?” I looked over at him, the name still not coming to me.

“Just saying hi…I’m Ryland, if you haven’t heard.” He said, his tone revealing he was on guard.

At that time, someone else had come into the room as well, but I couldn’t break my focus. For some reason, I now saw Ryland as a target along with the other one he’d been with last night. The hunger I felt was just unreal and it was then I knew I had no control anymore. My other side had its own ideas and I had no say in it. I’d just have to pick up the pieces later…if there were any, that is.

“I know who you are. You had that totally delicious-looking shadow last night, yeah? Where’s he at?” I asked the second the last bit of my guard was forced down. It kept showing me flashbacks of Kioshi and how vulnerable he’d been.

“Delicious?” Ryland stared at me in disbelief and with anger in his eyes. “You’re like four years older than us, you creep…”

“Oh, there’s no need for that. Just stating the obvious.”

“Well, don’t you dare make a move at Kioshi.” He stood up, clearly angry.

“Or…What?” I smirked, a part of me loving this kind of attention.

“What is wrong with you?”

“Who says there’s something wrong with me?” I asked, my voice still lighthearted despite all this.

The last thing I saw was Ryland standing up and then my mind once again covered over by haze. I thought that would’ve been the end of it and maybe he had some sort of ability that could overcome this terrible other personality of mine. It felt like hours had passed while I was in that fog until it cleared up a bit. That same feeling was there, too, meaning my other half wasn’t done with me yet…

I came to and took in what happened. The confusion and lack of answers ticked me off. Ryland had also gone. I tried to put up a fight when I noticed that Nalar had came downstairs and I’d wandered over to him. Things were going to just get worse…I hoped he’d forgive me after all of this.

“Oh, hey there, hot stuff…” I couldn’t believe what I was saying.

“Had an epiphany about me during the night?” He grinned before going over to the other side of the counter. “Someone’s messy.”

“Epiwhat? You’re really funny, mister.” Shut up! Shut up!

Nalar laughed, brushing it off. “You would think as a human you would have a better mastery of English then I have.”

“Welllll, I’m sooo sorry. Maybe just tell me what it means, yeah?”

He looked at me and then to the other student who’d joined us. I think it was Leo, but I wasn’t sure.

“Bardiche, scan for dimensional anomaly, I believe I may have been transported to another earth.”

“Sir, I must remind you that is not one of my current functions.” The weapon replied and my attention went to the voice.

“I was joking…” He said back to it.

“Ooo…Who’s that handsome voice?” I said, my stupid other half revealing a lot more than they, or anyone would ever need to know.

I was caught off-guard when I was grabbed and held against the counter by him. “You are either a terrible imposter, or playing a game with me that I do not enjoy.” He snarled.

“My, my. Aren’t you a little rough? Are you suuuure that’s good for you?” I said, that stupid smirk still on my face.

He took the weapon in his hands. “Force Blade activated.” The weapon says and a thin forcefield axehead formed at the edge of it.

“Oh, you’re a fighter, are you? I’m sure you’ll show me a good time in that case, yeah?” I really wanted this to just be over already…

I didn’t even get that last word out as I’d been thrown down on the ground, with Bardiche inches away from me. “Firing mode, ionic.”

“Yes, Sir.” The weapon reconfigured itself.

“What game are you playing?” He asked in a serious tone.

“Clearly one you’re losing, mister…” I glanced at the weapon and felt the familiar anticipation in the form of lightning run up my arms.

“Woah, man,” Leo’s voice could be heard coming from somewhere. “What’s going on here?”

Nalar took notice to what was happening and fired his weapon without remorse. I would’ve let it hit me if I had even an ounce of control, as it definitely would’ve been enough for me to regain control. My other half saw this coming and got out of the way, seemingly taking note of Nalar’s inexperience in battle.

“So, I assume you’re taking this serious, dear? One of us has to, yeah?” My guard rose and excitement filled my mind along with all the other hellish nonsense that was taking place there.

“Seriously, guys…? It’s way too damn early for this crap.” Leo groaned from annoyance.

Nalar’s expression had gone cold as he came in close and fired again. I had enough control at that point to hold myself down and take the hit point blank. My other half attempted to block it with the limiters on my arms, which Bardiche ended up shattering them from it’s might. I was also thrown back a bit and I expected to regain myself, but for some reason, it only entertained my other side even more.

“You know, I once knew someone like you. Killed him dead, I did!” I said with excitement and this had me wondering just who the hell I was even talking about.

“Is that all you’ve got? Even he gave more of an effort.”

When he fired again, my grip on myself slipped away. It didn’t allow me to get hit this time. Right now, it was planning to get a hold of Bardiche to use as explosion-fodder. I felt sick just thinking about doing such a thing!

Fortunately, it all came to a stop once a number of blades appeared in front of us. “If you two are going to fight, do it outside.” Leo said in a tired, yet ticked voice.

“Would you mind helping me get this idiot cold?” Nalar says to Leo, a little annoyed. “So I can get his stupid head checked?”

When I felt it stare down the swords, I felt something strange, yet familiar. Something like this had happened before? For some reason, my other half finally stood down and I regained control of myself. The fog in my mind came quickly after and my recollection of what had just happened was wiped clean.

I wasn’t sure how long I had been out, but I assumed it must’ve only been a few seconds as I saw Nalar and Leo in front of me, both standing at the ready with their weapons out. I had no idea what was going on and I backed away. It must’ve taken over…that was the only explanation I could come up with right now.

“Uh…what…are you two doing?” I asked, hoping that my suspicions weren’t correct.

“Trying to stop two kids from destroying the kitchen.” Leo groaned as he touched his head. “Can you please just not…?” He shook his head and looked over at Nalar and I.

“What are you even talking about, hero?” Feeling some rather intense pain, I looked down and saw some pretty serious-looking burns all over my arms where the limiters would usually be. “What…happened here?” I asked out of disbelief.

Nalar relaxed slightly. “You were being aggravating and aggressive, you even did something to anger Ryland by the looks of how you were when I found you.”

I took a moment to process this. The swords Leo had summoned faded away. Nalar forced me to my feet while looking bothered and annoyed. “We’re getting your brain checked.”

“Ow, geez…what’s wrong with you? I don’t remember doing anything.” I flinched from the burns being touched.

Nalar’s expression relaxed slightly. He took out something from his pocket which seemed to be like some kind of spray. It stung a little when it made contact with the burns, but the sensation along with the pain died down quickly.

“Good. And sorry about being a bit grumpy, Nalar. Had a long night and seeing a fight this early doesn’t help.” Leo said, for once his voice was oddly reassuring.

“Better?”

“Yeah, a little…thanks. Everything’s all fuzzy…” I rubbed my head and felt a strong headache coming on.

“Come, let’s get you to the medic. Maybe a chaplain, exorcise whatever that was that was controlling you.”

“Um…controlling? No, that was…he’s a part of me. I’m sorry you had to see that.” I said in the most apologetic way I could manage.

I saw Leo take off at this point, not saying anything else. I didn’t think he’d be one to see me like that, either. There was a bit of shame in the back of my mind whenever I thought about it.

“I’m not taking a no.” Nalar said, pushing me towards the door.

“There is nothing wrong with me, that sort of thing always happens.” I tried to convince him even though I knew it was pretty freaking pointless.

“Nine.” He snarled in a way which had me give in.

“Okay…I’ll…go along with it…” I replied as the fatigue started to take its toll on me.

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Unruly: Part VI

When I woke up, I was in the living room, or one of them at least. It took me a second or two to remember what had happened. I’d met a few of the others after talking with that girl. Her name escaped me currently. Her kindness still put me off and I didn’t want to risk anything else happening, so I’d decided to keep my distance from her. I didn’t like seeing such genuine purity in someone. It had me thinking I was hallucinating, or something.  Also, I couldn’t see how a person like that could exist in a world like this. I get someone could be as blind as Leo, but that girl made no sense to me at all.

I checked the time and noticed that I’d slept a good few hours. I doubted if I could get anymore in that night and went into the kitchen for another round of coffee. Once again, I’d seen the very same thing in my dreams. I was still shaking from it, but this died down once I felt the familiar warmth of the cup in my hands. Taking in the silence, I enjoyed the peace somewhat. It didn’t last though, as someone came downstairs and poured a cup for themselves.

“Can’t sleep, either?”

“Yeah…” I replied, not paying much attention to who it was.

“It’s been four years and I still haven’t adjusted to the days on this world.”

I then realized his voice was familiar and saw that it was Nalar standing there without a shirt on. I did my best not to stare, but my face betrayed me before I could control my stupid emotions.

“Sleep is for the weak.” I mumbled, trying to hide the redness in my face.

“Is everything alright?”

“Yep. Great. Just fine.”

“If you say so. Tell me, what do you do on these sleepless night?”

“I do a lot of thinking. Too much of it. What about you?” I replied, not really wanting to go into the details.

“Usually, find someone to mate with.” He said without an ounce of shame. “Or get high.” He then raised the coffee cup.

“Oh…You sure are honest, hah. And , uhh…coffee makes you high?”

“My species, we believe in being open about these things. And Caffeine has a quite enjoyable effect on my species, makes us happy and excitable, although not much with merely coffee.”

“Ah. What else will do it for you, then?”

“I once drank one of those energy drink as you call them, I was quite…affectionate. I also spent an hour amazed at the wallpaper.”

“Heh, sounds like a good time.” I gave a faint smile.

“Not that I need help to be affectionate, just ask Kayla.” He grinned in a sly way.

“Oh, right. I heard most people need alcohol to feel that way…?” I wasn’t sure if I’d even met the person he’d mentioned, but decided to leave it be as he might give too much information about what happened between them.

“You have heard that most humans require alcohol to mate?”

“No, to feel affectionate, I mean. Like some would have…doubts whether to just hook up with someone they just met, let alone let their guard down in front of them.”

“That’s one place where our species differ.”

“There’s so much I don’t know about you. Pretty much everything they told me about, uh, the “Invaders” has turned out to be nonsense.”

“Then ask away, it is not like I have anything else to do.”

“What about…what was its name? Brad…no…Bardiche?” I struggled to remember what name he’d given it. “I’m sure he took a hit after fighting Rook.”

“I’ve already seen to him. He’s fine, he’s very sturdy.”

“Of course. Um…” Again, my mind kept pulling a blank, the lack of sleep probably getting to me a little. “Wait, um…I guess I shouldn’t be calling you “Invaders”, right? I don’t remember what they’d said other than that…”

“We’re called Tzari. That would do.”

“Sounds really cool. How far away is your…planet?”

“About a thousand light years away, took us two of your years to cross the span between stars.”

“Wow. So, like…why come to Earth? They’d told me that you all were invading, but not why.”

“Well, it wasn’t exactly my decision.” Nalar laughs. “The higher ups wanted to uplift your species, bring you into the fold, end your conflict and division.”

“That would’ve been for the best, I think…I still stand by my opinion of some people getting what they deserve.” My voice took a bitter tone.

“Living here has been hard at times, it’s very different. I was confused the first time I had to purchase something.”

“It’s really shitty if you’re unlucky, too. I recall sometime in the past, I had decided to bail on those I worked for That time I spent on my own was…well fuck, even worse!” My memories from that time were blurry, but I remembered feeling cold, hungry and alone.

“I could return back to the settlement, but I prefer it out here, so much to discover.” Nalar said with fondness in his eyes.

“I’m sure you’ll get the time to see it all.” I shrugged while looking away.

I knew I’d never be free from those I worked for. They were sure to remind me of this at any given moment. It just made me wonder even more why they’d let me come here in the first place. Was it all some kind of joke? Because, I knew it as fact that they’d never let someone like me go.

“What about you? Now that you’re away from your superior, what will you do?”

“Hah…I won’t ever be free of them. It’s a nice thought, though.” I scratched at the collar which served as a reminder of my fate.

“What’s the collar for?” Nalar asked once he noticed I was irritated by it.

I just stared at him at first. It didn’t really look that out of place, did it? Maybe all my scratching at it would have the stupid thing stick out eventually.

“Uhh…It’s so I…uh…behave, I guess.” I avoided his gaze. I already knew he didn’t approve.

“Why don’t you remove it?”

“I don’t think I can. It’ll be much worse if I do…”

“Maybe I could help, deactivate it?”

“They’ll know. I think the guy they have watching me is a tinkerer. Thank…you, though. The offer means a lot.” Looking down, I realized it made more and more sense why they’d have a guy like Turner watch a wreck like me.

“I could shoot him with Bardiche, I need to test out the ionic stunner.” Nalar suggested and I wasn’t sure if he was serious or not.

“You’re…really funny, you know that?” I sighed, not even bothering to muse the thought in my mind.

“I did not intent that as a joke, but I shall accept the compliment.”

“I mean, you’re a good person is what I was trying to say.”

“Lord Kiorga would probably disagree. I’m fairly certain she approved my application just to keep me on a leash.”

“I’m still not sure why they even let me come here…Like, the last thing you let someone like me do it…Just let them outside and be around other people…” I continued, my voice going low. “I feel like I’ve done something horrible…”

“What’s that?”

“I don’t know, but it’s why I haven’t been able to get much sleep. I keep seeing myself kill this hero over and over…It’s freaking exhausting, yet I can’t shake the feeling that I might have actually done it.”

“It may be nothing but a dream, I had a dream I was mating with Raskhan himself, did not make it true. I’m sure there would have been a reason if you had.”

“I don’t know who that is. I’m clueless with that sort of thing, remember? As for the dream stuff, I gotta figure it out soon…”

“Our supreme leader, he’s quite attractive…Very tall and strong in build.”

“Ah, so he looks like you?” I said before I realized how stupid my words sounded.

“Not much, he is a Rangrol, I’m a Qurhal.”

“O-Oh…Right.” I looked away, not knowing what any of that meant.

“But then again, I’ve heard we all looks alike to humans.”

“No, I didn’t mean it like that, I…nevermind, it was stupid.”

“No offence taken, we are different species, perhaps we have different way to recognize individuals. I’ve learned that Venusians identify each other by scent rather than sight, hence their close similarities.”

“Not sure if I’ve met one of those yet or not.”

“Big and blue creatures that look like earth lizards.”

“Hrm…I can’t remember anything. It’s kind of overstimulating being around so many people so suddenly. I may as well have just walked past one recently and not know it…” I said, trying to remember, but once again I came up with nothing.

“Are you alright, Nine?”

“Eh, I don’t know…I think I’ve bothered you enough for one night, don’t you think?”

“Well, it’s talking to you or staring at the walls all alone.” Nalar said in a way which had me feeling a little sad for him.

“I don’t know what’s better.” I said bitterly. Surely, there were other ways he could be spending his time other than talking to trash fire like me.

“You certainly are better looking, that is for sure.”

I said nothing and looked at him in disbelief. “I don’t get you at all…”

“In part the feeling is mutual, you are somewhat of an enigma.”

“What makes you say that?”

“The way you act, your mysterious masters, your attitude.”

“Oh, I doubt any of that’s interesting.” I said even though I didn’t want to talk about it any more than I already had…

“I disagree with you.”

“You’re just being nice.” I sighed from frustration.

“Others would say I’m just trying to get into your pants, but I do genuinely find you interesting. And adorable. I want to chew those silly ears of yours…That might be the coffee speaking.”

“That is most likely the coffee…” At least, I sure hoped it was…

“I have not had that much.”

“Oh…” I felt quite embarrassed and my face showed it before I had any objections.

“I better stop, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

“No…I just don’t know how to take that sort of comment. Like I’ve said, I’ve mostly dealt with people who think I’m a burden to be around.”

“Well, I do not.”

“I…well…thanks.” I said, too tired to disagree with him.

Nalar said he was going to stay up for a bit longer, but I really was exhausted and decided it was better to try and get some more sleep. I didn’t have much time to think about our conversation as I’d fallen asleep the second I found my way over to the couch.

Unruly: Part V

After I got through the door, I was too tired to even try the stairs and contemplated just passing out on the couch in an attempt to get some sleep. I felt sore once I sat down and shifted uncomfortably. I’d wandered into the kitchen and was about to give up and try going upstairs when another student walked into the room. She wasn’t familiar and greeted me with a smile which I found odd and off-putting.

“Hey, there.”

“Yeah?” I really didn’t feel like talking about the crap day I’d had.

“How did you like your first day?”

“Was fine.” I cringed a little and looked away.

“Something wrong?” She asked with genuine concern.

“No.”

She took a seat across from me. “You can talk to me. I’m a good listener. I even have four ears.” She said as if it were a joke.

I didn’t quite get it until I noticed a ghost-like figure beside her.

“What…What was that? Don’t tell me this place is haunted…”

“Oh, sorry, I thought everyone saw me fight Rook.” The ghost figure appeared next to her. “This is my power, Oversoul.”

“Right, sorry. I have a lot on my mind.” I couldn’t remember much about the combat class other than my own pitiful failure.

“You can let it out if you need to. I think it’s just me and you anyway.”

“Uhh…I don’t know…” I looked around the room, feeling a little nervous.

“Whatever you say stays between us. But, I won’t force you. I just want you to know I’m here if you need to vent. Everyone needs to from time to time.”

“Why would you do that for a stranger?”

The girl smiles. “You don’t need a reason to help people. Whether you’re a stranger or my closest friend, I want to help you. It’s just what I want.”

“What’s in it for you?” I stared at her skeptically.

“I would like to say nothing, but honestly I feel good when I know someone else feels better because of me. It’s why I wanted to become a hero.”

“Right.” I sighed and relaxed a bit. “I guess that’s a noble cause.”

“I’m glad you think so, but I don’t feel noble.”

“Would be hard to have that and not also feel a bit of pride, I think. Anyway, you are…who? I don’t believe we’ve met.”

“I think everyone has a bit of pride. Not so much as Leo but…” She stands up and holds her hand out to me. “Anyway, I’m Vicky.”

I stared at her hand, unsure of what to do. I was probably supposed to do something as she was staring at me expectantly, but nothing came to mind.

“Uh, I go by Nine, it seems. It’s nice to meet you.” I nodded to her.

She took the hint and lowered her hand. “Well, it’s good to formally meet you, Nine.”

“Yeah, likewise. Sorry, my manners are a bit rusty…” I scratched the back of my head of out embarrassment.

“Well, I think you’re doing fine so far.”

“Uh, thanks…So, what was that thing before? Oversoul, you called it?”

“It’s…well it’s kind of like my soul given physical form. Would you like to see it again?”

“Sure.” I did my best to give a genuine smile.

Vicky focused and summoned Oversoul. It seemed like a bundle of energy somehow given life. “Feel free to touch her. What’s your ability, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Oh…it certainly is polite…?” I asked, noticing that it had pulled out a chair. “As for the touching thing, I think I’ll pass. I’d rather not corrupt something so pure.”

She laughed a bit. “I doubt a touch from you would corrupt anything.”

“Hm, a lot of people have thought the same thing…”

“Well, don’t sorry. I feel like I’m pretty safe. Want to talk about it?” She said, dismissing Oversoul.

“What do you have in mind?” I asked, hoping she wouldn’t pry too much.

“Why do you feel you’ll corrupt me?” She asked, sending Oversoul into the kitchen for something.

“Oh, I…I’ve done a lot of things in my past that some would consider to be villainous. My abilities made the work easy, but it still haunts me.”

She took a serious expression. “I don’t know what those things were -not do I need to – but I think it doesn’t matter anymore.” Vicky took the glass from Oversoul before it vanished. “All that matters is what you do from here on out.”

I took a moment to think. “Yeah, I wish things were that easy. I feel like I’ve done something terrible. The dreams are having me lose sleep.”

“If you have, don’t you think it’s more important that you make things count from now on? To make up for everything? Of course, I don’t know what you’ve been through and I won’t pretend to. I just think you could become something great. You’re here, aren’t you?”

“I still don’t know why I’m here. I’m starting to think that the company is just fucking with me at this point.” I replied bitterly.

“I don’t think it matters why you came here, just that you made it here.”

“Mhh…” I still didn’t buy it and looked away from her, my own thoughts catching my attention.

It was quiet for a moment before I heard others come down the stairs. They weren’t familiar, either. One of them seemingly hid behind the other. I couldn’t hear what they’d been talking about, but the one in front seemed to light up upon seeing us.

“Vicky sure-Oh, speak of the devil.” They waved to her.

“Hey, Ryland!” Vicky waves back, smiling.

“Hey Vicky, hey…Ivan was it?” Ryland asks, coming over to us, the other student seemingly hiding behind him.

“Uhh…I prefer Nine, thanks.”

“Okay…” I saw him raise an eyebrow at my answer and I looked away, not really wanting to engage with him.

“Kioshi, right? Hey, I’m Vicky.” She greets the other student who was still behind Ryland.

“Hi-i.” The one who I assumed to be Kioshi gave a quick nod to her, but nothing else.

“Did you ever go to see the doctor, Ryland?”

“Yeah.” Was all he answered, clearly he didn’t want to talk about it.

“Sorry, should I have not said anything?”

Kioshi asked Ryland something but I couldn’t hear it. Their conversation didn’t interest me much, anyways. I was too exhausted to focus on too much right now.

“Good.” Vicky said, catching my attention as I’d sort-of dozed off for a second or two there. “Would you two like to sit down? I think everyone else went off to do their own things.”

“Sure.” Ryland replied. “What were you two doing?”

“Nothing important.” I mumbled, still not wanting to talk.

“Just talking to pass the time.” Vicky gave me a reassuring smile which I didn’t really understand what the point of it was. “So, I don’t think we’ve formerly met, Kioshi. It’s nice to meet you.”

“Yeah. Nice to meet you, too.” Kioshi gave a small smile in return.

“Hey.” I gave him a quick glance and he returned with a nod.

“Are you guys liking Ravenhold so far?” Vicky asked.

“It’s strange. Rook is mean.” Kioshi said.

“Yeah, I totally agree with you there.” She laughed a little.

“Yeah, a lot of heroes are dicks.” I mumbled, knowing I should’ve at least expected Rook to have been that way seeing as he was a known hero.

“It’s something, not sure what I was expecting.” Ryland shrugged. “At least there’s nice people here.”

“And some really nice teachers. I think it’ll only get better, though. The first day is always tough.”

“Yeah.” Ryland nodded. “So, you guys want to do something? We could play a game or something…”

“Did you have anything in mind?” Vicky asked with excitement clear in her voice.

“I think I saw some board games in the living room?” Ryland replied.

Vicky looked over at Kioshi and then to me. “What do you guys say? What to play a board game?”

“I guess. I doubt I’ll be getting any sleep anyway.”

Kioshi just nodded and they followed Ryland closely while we went over to the living room. He looked through the games, frowning at some. “How about Risk? I don’t feel like Scrabble or Trivia Pursuit would be fair.”

I didn’t really know what any of those these as I didn’t recall playing such a thing before. I chose to mostly just follow along with what the others were doing while holding open my tired eyelids.

“Truthfully…I’ve never played any of them. Father had me training too much to play. So, I’m good with anything.” Vicky said, looking somewhat ashamed.

“I’ve never heard of any of them…” I admitted even though I probably wasn’t missing out on much.

“How is it played.?” Kioshi asked.

“Well, it’s a war game, you need to take control of the world-” Ryland said before going over the rules.

“Oh, so we get to be supervillains? Sounds awesome.” I said, liking that idea.

“More like conquerors, it seems.” Vicky said. “I’m interested.”

“Yeah, you’re like a general, or something.” Ryland replied.

Kioshi looked confused still.

“Looks like you’re our guide, Ryland.” Vicky said with a laugh.

“Okay. Let’s set up and I’ll teach you as we go?” Ryland offered.

“Sounds good.” Vicky said with a smile.

Kioshi just nodded again.

The game was long and tedious. I barely gave enough effort to pass for being actually interested in what was going on. The only thing that surprised me was that somehow, Kioshi had ended up winning in the end.

“Well, congratulations Kioshi. You’re official the ruler of two thirds of the world.” Ryland says with a laugh. “It’s getting late, I think we should call it a night?”

Vicky seems distracted by something for a moment before replying. “Yeah, I’ve gotta find my roommate anyway. Good work, though Kioshi.”

“Thank you.” Kioshi says before blushing and looking away.

“Let’s play again sometime?” Vicky offered.

“You had some serious dice skills and sure.” Ryland said with a grin.

“It was good meeting you Kioshi. Don’t be afraid to come see me or just say hi.” Vicky said with another smile.

Kioshi returned her kind gesture. “You’re nice.”

Vicky turned to Ryland and I. “The same goes for you two as well.”

“Thanks.”

I blinked awake after I realized I’d been in an out of sleeping while they’d been talking.

“Save it for bed, ok?” Vicky waves to us. “Goodnight guys.”

“Somebody needs coffee.” Ryland laughed.

I mumbled something to him before I dozed off again.

Unruly: Part IV

Unruly

Part IV

I walked over to the right counter with him and got the same thing he did even though I still wasn’t hungry at all. We sat down at one of the tables and he seemed delighted with what he’d got while I just picked at mine.

“I spent some time in the south of this country, became quite fond of it.”

“Where else have you been? I mean, like, other than space. Which I also want to hear about sometime.” I replied, kind of falling over my words in an embarrassing manner.

“A good deal of Europe, I’ve spent the past two of your years travelling; Spain, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherland, Germany. I came to America a few months ago, then I was thinking I might visit Africa. You may find it funny, but I have seen more of your world than I have of Resh.”

“What’s it like? I mean, compared to here?”

“Hot and dry. Our oceans are smaller. Our cities are much more impressive and developed, however.”

“You mean like…floating cars and stuff?” I asked, instantly feeling stupid.

Nalar laughed at my question, “Well they do exist, although by and large most Tzari do not own vehicles. On the other hand, our public transport infrastructure actually works.”

“Umh…yeah. Okay.” I still felt embarrassed over how lame I’d sounded just now.

“But the best place I have ever been is without a doubt space. There is nothing quite like experiencing microgravity.”

“I hear it messes up your bones and stuff. Or are they just saying that because it’s truly so awesome?”

“It does, but we have an array of biological augmentation process that protects against bone density loss, increase the brain’s ability to maneuver in three dimensional space, and make many biological process more efficient.”

“Of course. What’s it like travelling through space? Is it sorta like the movies?”

“Slower, I spent most of the voyage in stasis, I was woken a few months before arrival to help with the preparations.”

“Must’ve been unreal.” I replied, trying to imagine it for a second.

“Quite so. Atmospheric entry is another experience, quite intimidating.”

“Plummeting to earth in a ball of fire would freak anyone out, I guess.”

“The ship I was assigned to is still in the English Channel, good place to get components  if you can sneak past security and can dive.”

“Me, break the law? As if I’ll do that again.” I shrugged with a smile on my face even though deep down I didn’t like the thought of diving at all.

“Of course, but it’s not stealing if it was mine to begin with, was it?”

“I’m sure they’ll consider that before shooting…” I said with a hint of sarcasm in my voice.

“The trick is just to approach underwater.”

Yeah. Not happening.

“Why haven’t you done that? Like, if it’s just sitting there?”

“I have, but there’s a bit more than I could carry with me. Bardiche’s core once computer jump trajectories for that armoury frigate.”

I blinked, not quite understanding. “Um sure. Of course.”

“I went diving off the coast of Spain too, found some old Aldaar wreckage where I got power cells for Bardiche, it’s how he can do so much while being portable. And some useful composite materials for the shaft.”

“It sounds like you’ve been everywhere…” I felt a little bitter after realizing how long I’d been locked away and how much of my life had been practically taken from me.

“I was lucky. Have you been anywhere?”

“Nowhere too exciting, that’s for sure. And if I have, I don’t remember.”

“A shame, but I’m sure you’ll get the chance soon.”

I shrugged again, not really believing him.

“Maybe I should try my and at making a spacecraft, that would be entertaining.” Nalar said in a lighthearted tone, as if he weren’t really serious.

“That would be awesome!” I said, already liking that idea.

“Could show you space.”

“I’d love that for sure.” I gave him a genuine smile.

“I guess I will have to try now.” He grins, taking the last bite out of his food before setting it down. “Umm, there’s still time before our last class of the day.”

“Oh, yeah I guess there is. Do you have any plans?”

“That depends, I guess…” He pauses. “I know your species can be quite…prudish and I don’t want to seem too forward…”

“Too forward with what?”

He took another pause before answering me. “I’m asking if you’d like to mate.”

I wasn’t really sure how to take that. He probably just had no shame when it came to that sort of thing, I assumed. His bold proposition was flattering at most, but I wasn’t sure what to think about it beyond that.

“You’re joking. Again, I mean.” I gave him a blank, unamused stare.

“I am not. But if you’d rather not, then I understand.”

“I just…don’t see why. I’m hardly worth anyone’s time.”

“I disagree.”

“I think I’ve just been bothering you since we’ve met and you’ve only been nice just to be polite…”

“Need I remind you that I approached you first? Also, I shamelessly admit, the horns are quite attractive…” He said with a grin after glancing at them.

I sighed. “Most find me repulsive. I wasn’t even told that the black blood would result in this sort of thing happening.”

“Black blood?”

“Yeah, it’s umm…altered matter from space, or that what they told me. Said ‘nothing would go wrong’ and that I’d ‘be better’ for going along with it.”

“That sounds quite irresponsible of them.”

“They just wanted to use it was a weapon like they always do…”

“And you in the process?” Nalar snarled, clearly upset.

“It…was what I was hinting at, earlier. I was a villain and I came here on parole. My only other option was to rot in that cell forever. I had to do whatever they asked of me. Even if it meant erasing whoever I’d been in the past.” I really couldn’t believe I was telling him all of this.

He nodded slowly. “You’ll find no judgement from me, I did come as a part of an invasion force intent of subjugating your species.”

“I still think some of us deserve to be invaded and wiped out…”

“Wiping out was never our intention, although having seen your world, the bad and the good it offers, I do say a lot would have been lost.”

“Yeah, I guess. I do have doubt over if it’s worth saving at this point…”

“Understandably so, I can tell that you have seen much of the worst but little of the good.”

“It could also be my fault for not seeing the good, either.”

“Seeing the light is very hard when one is at the bottom of a deep hole.”

“I guess I have to change that, right?”

“Hopefully this place will help, perhaps friends could help, too.”

“Do you think they could get over how I am…? I mean, I know I’m not the easiest person to be around.”

“I have met much harder people to be around. Got arrested for fighting some of those even.”

“Oh, what happened?”

“They were improper to some human ladies, their advances were unwelcome and so I stepped in.”

“Heh, like a true gentleman.”

“This kind of behaviour is not tolerated on Resh. Although, if your females had claws, surely they would not be subjected to such improper behaviour.”

“Well, I don’t know about them, but I’m not going to get mine dirty by clawing some guy’s eye out. I’ve got other ways to deal with them.”

“I admit, these claws can be quite a bother to wash, they stain so easily.”

“Mine just make it easier to use my abilities, so I’ve gotta keep them intact.”

“I see.”  He was about to say something else until the bell rang, ending our break. “We better get to class. And I guess the question of mating will have to be answered another time. Such a shame.” Nalar said, once again in a lighthearted tone.

“Uh…Um, yeah…” I looked away, not really sure what to say.

While in class, I found it even harder to focus. My hands and arms continued to feel tingly and restless.

I did realize that I’d stopped noticing it after I’d got talking with Nalar, so I guess that counted for something. Right now, I couldn’t get the sensation out of my head and tried to dig my nails into my skin in an attempt to have some relief.

We were supposed to be reading over some English and math work which I did to the best of my ability. I was still incredibly rusty with both seeing I had almost no prior experience with it that I could recall. I didn’t want to bother the instructor as I was confident that I could figure this out, myself. In the end, I really had little to show for my efforts.

After that, we were supposed to get our ID’s done that the admin building so I had to wait in line with a bunch of other people around me while my freaking limiters didn’t work. Needless to say, it wasn’t a pleasant experience. My photo had me looking tense and uptight as I was too distracted to notice that they’d asked me to smile.

Later, I separated from the others and took out my phone. Looking it over, it took me a good minute or two to figure out how to use it to call someone. The interface was clunky and lazily done. I came across Turner’s number and tried to call him. It was hard enough going throughout the day without the limiters on. I felt as if I had no control of my abilities and that I could hurt someone.

To my disappointment, Turner wouldn’t pick and and I was much too self-conscious to leave a message. I paced around for while and was about to head back before I saw his familiar car pull up in a nearby parking space. He came out and walked up to me, he seemed to be talking on his phone with someone, but ended the call just as he got to me.

“You called earlier, right?”

I nodded and gestured towards where the limiters were. “They, uh, broke.”

“Tried to be rebellious?” He suggested, raising an eyebrow.

“No, I grew upset and tore them off when I fought that hero who teaches the class.”

“Oh. It’s the Rook, then?”

“Yeah, it was him. Anyway, they’re busted and I don’t know what to do about it.”

“So, you went throughout the whole day without harming anyone after they broke?”

“I…I guess.” I looked away.

“Hm.” He said, pondering for a moment.

“Right, there are replacements back at headquarters. Come on.” He gestured me to follow him and I reluctantly did so.

I didn’t want to go back there. I hated that they were going to limit me again. Even though I’d chosen to tell him about it, I couldn’t help but be annoyed with his lack of confidence when it came to me.

It was a quiet ride over. I didn’t really want to talk about how my day was and neither did he. For the most part, I was fine with that, yet that stupid needy part of me wasn’t. I followed him quietly and kept my guard up as we walked through the facility. Turner nodded at the few people he saw before going up to a secured room. He entered a code which I didn’t bother to remember and went through and had me follow him.

Inside, there were a number of crates and labelled boxes everywhere. Everything was so tightly locked up I had no idea what anything was. Looking over at Turner, I saw him stand in front of one of the larger cases with a sorrowful look in his eyes. He then blinked and went over to a different case to unlock it and search for what we’d come here for.

I went up to what he’d been looking at before. The label had simply said it was some type of experimental weapon, but upon closer look it read a string of numbers/letters, some jargon and at the end said “gunblade”. I wondered what it looked like. Reaching out towards it, I was caught off guard when the collar shocked me seemingly from nowhere.

“Don’t touch that.” His voice was tense and angry.

“Ugh, fine.” I took a few steps away and chose to refrain from looking around the room any further.

I waited for a while longer before he came over to me with seemingly identical limiters.

“Hold out your hands.” He asked even though this clearly wasn’t a question.

“I, uh, changed my mind.” I backed away.

“And what gave you the idea that this is voluntary?”

“I just don’t want them on again, okay?”

“You told me you were afraid of harming others and you won’t with these on, or at least it’ll be difficult.” He shrugged and held them out to me.

I continued to be hesitant and heard him sigh out of frustration.

“If I do it, you have to tell me why you snapped at me just now.” I said, hoping I could get some damn reason why he’d done that.

“No.” He glared at me. “Like I said, this is not a choice.”

“Oh, isn’t it?” I walked over to where that case was and ran my fingertips over it, marking it for explosion-fodder.

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“Then you better start talking. And don’t bother with the collar. The second it stings will be the same one you lose whatever is in here.” I poked it some more and saw him get uncomfortable and agitated.

He just stood there, pondering on what to do.

“Well? Anything? Or, I guess you don’t care that much about it, then?”

“Fine. Just…take your hands off of it.” He tried, approaching me.

“Uh, no, old man. That’s not how this works. Once I’ve touched it, it’s pretty much being ‘held’ until I let go, yeah? Just tell me why it means so much to you.” I backed away a little more, but still stayed near the case.

“It belonged to someone I knew.” He quickly said.

“Who?”

He looked away, his hands had become fists and his side. I crossed my arms and kept staring at him, waiting for an answer.

“One of those I helped a while ago, it belonged to him.” Turner mumbled quietly.

The surprise was enough to get me to release the mark I had on the target. Damn. I wondered which one he was talking about. Something felt a deep sorrow deep down. With that came a strange pain in my chest which I don’t recall feeling before. Yet, it was familiar.

“Is that good enough?” He asked.

“Y-Yeah, sure. Let’s just get this over this.” I held my hands out towards him.

He hesitated before coming up to me and had the look of uncertainty in his eyes. I sighed and went over to him before taking the stupid things into my hands and doing them up myself. I’d seen him do it before, so it hadn’t been too difficult. When I looked back at him, he was over at the case I’d almost destroyed.

“What happened to the scary, stoic old man from before? Come on, let’s get out of here, already.” I said as I went over to the entrance.

He didn’t budge and just stood there while staring down.

“Ugh, the fuck’s the matter with you? It’s just a stupid case.” I shrugged.

“To you, maybe.” He said before going up to the door and went through without another word.

The air was really freaking thick on the drive back to the dorms. Before, it had been stagnant and boring, but I could feel it to a point that it bothered me. I’d overdone it back there. That’s why he was upset. It had to be. I did want to make it right, but then again, I couldn’t find it within myself to care too much about it right now.

Once we arrived, I turned and got out and heard him speak behind me.

“Try something like that again, and you won’t live to regret it.” His words were bitter and filled with hate.

Turner looked down at something on his phone, said something I could hear and drove off. What a freaking drama queen. I headed back inside, wanting only to get some sleep now.

Unruly: Part III

Unruly

Part III

For the next few hours, I played the handheld console I’d been given just the other day. Turner said it wouldn’t be a “destructive distraction” and I went along with it. I had to turn the volume off as Grant was still sleeping. I didn’t matter much, though. My thoughts were mostly elsewhere, anyway. Nalar had said we had combat training at some point today. So, not only did I have to hear a hero boast about their beliefs, but get the shit kicked out of me by them, too. Wonderful.

It was still fairly early when the others started to wake up. Soon after, nice smells were coming from the kitchen, but I just wasn’t hungry. I was still a bundle of nerves and I thoughts didn’t even stop not for a second. I could hear them talk down there and I contemplated introducing myself. I’d eventually decided against it as my anxiety overcame those logical thoughts that had told me not to worry.

I’d probably fallen asleep again because it was quiet when I woke up. Checking the time, I realized I was going to be late and set off out the door in a hurry. If it weren’t for those blasted limiters, I could just teleport there, if only a bit of distance at a time. Then again, I didn’t think it would work if I hadn’t seen the place before. It was also a really strange sensation that I didn’t think I needed on top of what I was already dealing with.

Somehow, I hadn’t arrived late and came through the door with just seconds to spare. I found some seat near the back and sat down. Apparently this was some kind of Ethics class and Leo once again made his stance pretty clear. I could hear Gloria stifle a laughter at his antics. I didn’t really think I could be bothered with that and tried to pay attention to the lesson as best I could

With that headache of a class over, I didn’t think things would get much worse from there, but oh, they did. Next was combat training or whatever against the hero known as the Rook. I had vague memories about him, but they were too far away and hazy in my mind for me to properly remember.

I watched the others take turns going at that hero, some doing better than others and a few even ending the match in a stalemate. I grew anxious just by watching. Just seeing the hero and my peers fighting had me all antsy and on edge. I felt lightning run up my hands from excitement. When was the last time I felt this? Hell, I didn’t even know if this was a good thing.

When my turn came up, that excitement came back, but I was hesitant. Something was telling me to hold back and try and talk my way out of it. I really didn’t think this would work and I was proven right as I didn’t even had a chance to speak before the Rook threw something on the ground, which made it difficult to see him. It made the air thick and my abilities practically begged me to grab hold and mark him for explosion-fodder.

I rejected that thought and backed away, not wanting any part in this. Hearing that hero behind me, I was knocked away by something I couldn’t see. He clearly was experienced and moved like lightning. I’d be surprised if it turned out that he didn’t have any abilities at all. All of this felt familiar, though. I knew as a fact I’d fought heroes in the past, I was just being stubborn and not allowing myself to embrace those memories. As long as I had control, nothing was going to happen. I was going to get my ass handed to me and surrender. No one would have to get hurt.

The Rook seemed bored with me and had asked why I wasn’t attacking. He didn’t accept my answer of “not wanting to” and kept up his relentless assault. I was already very sore and extremely tired. This wasn’t a good mix. Why wouldn’t he just take my word for it and leave me alone? My exhaustion turned to frustration and I noticed the lightning had appeared again. When the Rook had used that trick before with the fog, I couldn’t stop myself from prying off the limiters, appearing behind him and felt the power surge from my hands.

I was about to let it loose until a familiar vision came into my mind. It was from the dream I kept having. The one that had the blood everywhere, only this time it showed me what happened seconds before then. I’d done to same to another hero, appearing behind them with the lightning coursing over my arms. The vision had shown me the shock in his eyes. The fear. This was enough to stop me in my tracks and lower my guard.

I couldn’t get it out of my head! Why did I have to keep seeing this? Had I actually killed a hero? That felt too damn real to have been a dream. Was that why I was here? In that case, it would’ve just been easier to lock me away forever, right? Just put the air conditioning on full blast in there and that would be it, I’d no longer be a problem. I wouldn’t be here making a fool out of myself and having Turner believe I actually had a chance.

“Disappointing.” Was all the Rook said after seeing I could no longer fight.

When I found the strength again, I got up and retrieved the limiters. Yep, they were broken. How I even got them off to begin with was still a mystery to me. Was I really holding that much of a grudge towards heroes, or it could be something else? I slipped the stupid things back on even though they didn’t really work and kept my participation with the rest of the class at a minimum. I couldn’t risk anything. I continued to have that tingling sensation all over my hands long after the fight had ended.

I hadn’t noticed the bell ring and just sat there in my misery. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Standing up, I was about to head outside to be alone until Nalar came over to me with a cheerful expression on his face. I recall the Rook being really hard on him too. He was only able to hold his own because of Bardiche, apparently.

“Meal time, my favourite part of the day.” Nalar said with a grin.

“Huh? Oh, yeah…” I really wasn’t feeling it.

“Are you alright, Nine?”

I hesitated, thinking I’d told him enough already. “Just…fine.”

“Are you sure, you were quite hesitant it seemed to me. And that device around your wrists has been broken.” He said, prying just a little more.

“Yeah, it broke while I was fighting that hero…What’s it to you?” I hoped he’d back off, already…

“Perhaps I was mistaken, but I was under the impression we were to become comrades?” Nalar looked a little hurt and I couldn’t help but regret what I’d said.

I ran a hand through my hair out of frustration. “Yeah, sorry. I’m not really used to it.”

“You looked quite upset.”

“I can’t seem to use my abilities without seeing something terrible…And with these broken, I can’t control them that well.”

“That does sound quite concerning and undesirable.” Nalar arched an eyebrow, that concern still clear on his face.

It was strange having a friend for once, or at least someone to talk to. Turner was as sociable as a porcupine and he’d just brush off what I’d say most of the time. I wasn’t sure what else to talk to Nalar about or how I open I could be about what was bothering me. There was a line I didn’t want to cross that would result in him hating me, or anyone else in that case.

“I guess. What about you? Everything okay on your end?”

“Well, there is an obvious need for more training on my part, which is unsurprising as I was an armourer, not a warrior.”

“I thought you did really well.” I said as I recalled several times he’d used that axe like it had been a part of himself.

“You can thank bardiche. He’s rather versatile.”

“Well, I’m sure the one who made him should be proud too, yeah?” I replied with a faint smile.

“Perhaps.” Nalar grinds. “So, what do you like eating? I’ve been experimenting much with the food of this world.”

My mind drew a blank as I couldn’t even remember what I liked or hated in that case. I hadn’t had anything too terrible yet, though.

“There’s not much I don’t like.” I shrugged.

“I see, not surprising. There are things your people do better and I would say food is one of them.”

“They didn’t let me learn too much about your culture, said it wasn’t worth the time even though I really wanted to.”

“Well, human culture certainly has more variety in most of its aspect when compared to ours. Perhaps a symptom of being such a fragmented people.”

“I guess I haven’t seen the best of humanity.” I mumbled, looking down.

“You said ‘they’ did they not let you learn about us, who would that be?”

“Oh, these people I used to…work for. They’d kinda limit what I could do back then.”

“What kind of work did you perform?”

“Err…I, uhh…helped them deal with those who’d conflict with their plans.”

“I see.” Nalar said, not sounding suspicious or bothered by it. “What do you think of Mexican food?”

“Sounds good. Never had it, though.”

Unruly: Part II

Unruly

Part II

When I woke up again, there wasn’t any light outside. My thoughts went to what had happened last night. I recall waking up from that nightmare and going downstairs to clear my head. I’d met two other students, Gloria and Leo who had rather interesting ideals of their own, they were like complete opposites, almost. As neat as I found their abilities, I didn’t think it was wise to encourage either too much and end up on either one’s bad side. It might be too late in Leo’s case, though I doubted he’d resent me for it in the first place. Gloria had told me that the instructors here were really pro-hero and nothing else, meaning I’d have to not only deal with other students like Leo, but heroes who believed that they were, without a doubt, right about their black-and-white ways.

It was far too early, but I had the feeling I’d get that dream again if I were to go back to sleep. For now, I had to deal with this and went to look for some coffee. They had to have some, right?

It was nice how quiet it was this early in the morning. I was lost in my many thoughts while I went about making some coffee. It took me a second to remember how to do it and I might’ve made it a little too strong. Sitting down with it, I relaxed slightly. Of course, I couldn’t afford even that as my phone rang and I reluctantly answered it.

“Yeah?” I asked, already knowing who it was.

“I just thought I’d remind you to stay in line today. It seems you could do with a reminder from time to time, from what I hear.” Turner said, sounding serious as always.
“What’s that supposed to mean? They gave you more dirt on me, or what?”

“Just don’t do anything rash or stupid. It will make us look bad.”

“Sounds like you hardly know me, old man. Being rash is how I got here, I bet.”

There was silence for a moment. “If you’re to become someone, or even just fit in there, it’ll require you to change, whether you like it or not.”

“The fuck? There is nothing wrong with me! They did tell you something, didn’t they?”

“That doesn’t change anything.” He said after another pause.

“It changes everything if you’re gonna be freaking biased.”

Turner said nothing, but in response I received a pretty nasty shock from the collar. I’d almost forgotten I was even wearing the damn thing. I bit down on my lip and stifled a groan. What was his deal, anyway? I saw that he’d been different before, like he’d opened up when we were talking about those heroes he’d saved. I don’t know. Maybe, like the others with that company, it was better if they hated me as saw that I was constantly below them. In a way, I couldn’t blame him for wanting this, but something deep down both hated him and…was really hurt, I guess.

“Whatever they told you…was it worth fucking me over?” I asked, trying to keep my emotions in check. So far, I was losing.

“Like I said, it doesn’t matter. I need you to focus on the task at hand.”

“Maybe it doesn’t matter to you, but…” I hesitated and silently hated how sappy and stupid I was sounding.

“It does to me. If…you’re going to just push me away, I can almost promise you things will not go as you or as they had planned. And no one has to suffer because of that. Or do they? You tell me.”

He was quiet again and I expected another shock in response.

“You really are a difficult one, you know that?”

“What about it? I’m sure they let you know that, at least.”

Silence again. This was really freaking wearing me down.

“Don’t be late today.” Was all he said before he hung up.

I mumbled angrily to myself and set the stupid phone away. Yeah, if this didn’t deserve another dose of coffee, then I don’t know what did. I stood up to make some more, my thoughts escaping me again. It still stung where the collar was and I scratched it out of irritation. My attention was then drawn to the limiters. I briefly wondered how hard it would be to pry them off. I inched my hand towards the right one but pulled back when I heard something resembling a machine nearby.

I assumed that the others would be waking up and went back to sit down with the cup in my hands. After a few more minutes of pleasant silence, I heard someone come into the kitchen, but I paid no attention to whoever it was. Apparently, they were trying to use that machine of theirs to get a cup which ended up with it shattering. It reminded me of when I’d tried to do the same with my ability. The result had also been the same, pretty much.

“Hello there.”

“Uhh…hello.” I replied as politely as I could.

“You are quite distinctive. I’m Nalar.”

I turned to look at then and realized that he was one of what the company called “Invaders”. What I’d learned about them once only came from what those above me had dictated, but I later found out that it wasn’t quite as black and white as they’d had me believe. I hadn’t met one before and wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to at least be nice.

“Thanks, I guess? I could say the same for yourself.” I said, reminding myself not to piss off the tall, mysterious stranger in front of me.

“Do you happen to have a name?”

“It’s…Nine. I’ve already forgotten the other one, it seems.”

“Nine? That sounds like there’s an interesting story behind that, or did your parents love numbers?” He asked, which had me feeling slightly amused.

“Oh, my parents didn’t give me this name.”

“We have something in common then.” He says with a grin.

“How’s that?”

“I was Ankiran before the name I have now.”

“Interesting. Nice to meet you, then.” Feeling a little worn out already, I went back to trying to down whatever was left of the possibly cold coffee. Like I expected, it was terrible and I felt no buzz from it.

“Something wrong with your drink?” Nalar asked which had me wondering why he was still watching me.

“It’s so bitter…” I sighed.

He took a drink from the cup and didn’t seem bothered by it. “I have seen others add sugar or milk to theirs, perhaps you should try that?”

“If I add any more, it’ll be mostly that.” I laughed under my breath.

“Different tastes, I guess.” He shrugs and took another sip.

“I’m still so exhausted.” I admitted once I felt my eyes feel heavy again.

“What from?”

“…Not enough sleep.” I chose my words carefully. He didn’t need to know anything else.

“That seems like an easily solvable problem to me, and if not perhaps you should look for a medic?” Nalar said, the concern could be heard on his voice.

“It’s not so simple…” I looked down at the limiters and scratched the skin around them out of irritation.

“Interesting contraptions. What are they for?”

“Well…” I hesitated because I didn’t know whether I should tell him or not. “I don’t know if you want to hear about it as it wasn’t really my choice to wear them to begin with.”

“Why would I not? And if you do not want them, why not remove them?”

“I can’t remove them. I’ll get punished.” I frowned.

“By whom?”

“Eh, just some people I used to work for sort-of. It’s complicated.

“That sounds quite like it.”

I shrugged and took notice of his weapon. It had a strange technology and design I wasn’t familiar with. That company had told me that the “Invaders” had barbaric technology and were an uncultured race. I guess that’s another thing they’d be mistaken with.

“Cool axe.”

“That’s Bardiche. Bardiche, say hello.”

“Greetings, sir.” The weapon replied in an accent I wasn’t familiar with.

“It…talks?” I found Bardiche to be really neat and even kind of cute but I wasn’t about to admit that.

“He does, yes. Bardiche has its own artificial intelligence to calculate and operate his different functionalities.”

“That’s really cool.” I gave a brief smile.

“Made him myself. He’s very versatile.”

“Wow, no wonder you’re here. They’d be blind to not see potential there.” I sure hoped I wasn’t coming on too strong with my words.

“Oh, but I’m just a humble armourer.”

“You’re being too modest, sir.” I said as I looked over the cool axe again.

“What about you, surely you have skills worthy of being here aside from your dashing good looks.”

In no way had I been expecting that and almost choked on my coffee when he’d said it.

“W-What…? You’re joking, right?”

“Why would I?” He seemed confused.

“Cuz, I’m a mess and I look like a rolling dumpster fire?”

Nalar snickers at my comment. “We have different opinions on that, here perhaps I have different views than you humans.”

“I doubt I’m much of one anymore.” I sighed, not wanting to think about it.

“You look much closer than many of the humans I have met.” He shrugs.

“I guess that’s a good thing, right?”

“It is.”

“Well…thank you, then.” I said in the most sincere way I could manage.

“Well, I better finish turning Bardiche, I hear we have combat training today.”

“Right. Was nice meeting you.”

Nalar gave a wave farewell before walking off. I decided it was best to go back to my room and try and look less terrible. My hair had fallen into my eyes as it usually did and I was wearing the same thing from yesterday. I went to have a quick shower and change into a fresh set of clothes. It felt strange to be near such a fast running faucet. I could never get used to it, even back when I worked that company. I assumed that something might have happened before that had me wary of the thing, but that was yet another thought that had to sit for another day.

Unruly: Part I

Nine Arc I: Unruly

Part I

The car ride over to the bus stop was awkward and quiet. It was strange being out in the world again, though. Seeing the trees pass by along with the people on the street had many thoughts come and pass in my mind. I was all giddy and anxious. I had no idea how to fit in here and I damn well knew I couldn’t just “be myself”.

“Don’t be nervous.” Turner spoke up from beside me.

“I can’t help it…”

“I know, but over thinking it won’t help you at all. Just try and relax and focus on getting your situation in order. Don’t forget, you’re not alone.” He brought out a phone and handed it to me. “That reminds me, this is for you.”

“Um, thanks…?” I accepted it and turned it on. There was a single number in there.

“It’s for whenever you want to talk. It’s currently on a pay as you go sort of plan. I’m sure you’ll see its’ use once you make some friends.”

“I…doubt it, sorry. But thank you, anyways.” I set it away and looked out the window.

“We’ll be there soon. Are you sure you want this?” He glanced at me out of the corner of his eye as he drove.

“Yeah, I do. I think it’s the only thing I’ve ever really wanted. Or least, all I can remember wanting, anyway.”

Turner was quiet for a moment, his disposition tense.

“Thank you for…uhh…believing in me. I’m sure you know that you’re the only one who has.”

“Well, I hope that’s changed now, even just slightly?”

“Yeah. Maybe a little.” I found that there was a faint smile on my face before I blinked and went back to be tense.

When we arrived there, I caught sight of a number of other students. If I thought I was nervous before, it was nothing compared to the anxiety I felt now. One thing I didn’t have to worry about, though, was sticking out. It seemed that this Academy accepted all types and creeds. I guess the doubt I still had applied to myself because that really was the one thing I knew I couldn’t trust.

Turner and I sat in silence for a brief moment.

“Hang onto your acceptance letter, alright? Be sure to call me once you get there, alright?”

“Y-Yes, okay. Thank you, o-I mean…Turner.” I hesitantly got out and looked back at him once more before walking off.

I slept most during most of the bus ride despite how noisy the other students were being. Some had tried to talk to me, but I wanted no part of it. I decided to sleep on the way there instead of continuing to stress out over it. I woke up several times on the way due to the others being noisy and I was really close to letting my irritation show, but I told myself over and over that I couldn’t afford to be so reckless.

After an awkward arrival and a forced shopping trip, I was too exhausted to go meet the others I was going to be living with. It turns out that even if I didn’t use my abilities, the limiters drained my energy. I don’t know what kind of cruel double-edged-sword type of shit they were trying to pull with them, but I had to admit that it made getting to sleep hell of a lot easier. I didn’t think it was worth having my other side too close to taking over all the time, though…

I hadn’t even bothered to put anything away and just left them in the bags before going to sleep for a bit. I didn’t want to make a bad impression if I was tired and stressed as fuck. I found I wasn’t pleasant to be around when that was the case. While I slept, though, I did sometimes get a few glimpses of those memories that had been supposedly erased. They’d fade away second after I woke and would leave me dazed and confused.

My rest had been cut short when the door to the room slammed behind someone who’d came through. It took my eyes a second or two to adjust to see who it was. I assumed he was another student and I kind of panicked over what to say.

“Wow, are all of you this noisy?” I asked, sounding a lot more nervous than I intended.

“Yep.” Was all he said.

“Riiiight…So you are who?”

“Grant.” He replied in a disinterested tone.

“Okay. I’ll try to remember that. They want me to go by Ivan, but you can call me Nine if you want.”

“Cool.”

The other student didn’t look at me and I was kind of disappointed that he didn’t want to talk. My guard went up when I noticed something coming towards me. I had no idea what it was supposed to be, but it was small and furry.

“Oh, what is this? Some…kind of cat?” I asked, taking a wild guess.

“Killer is a fennec fox.” He looks over at me with a serious look in his eyes. “Hurt him and I will kill you.”

“Wasn’t planning on doing that…They say I’m supposed to ‘Maintain a low profile’.”

“Heh, I was told some similar.”

I wasn’t really sure how to take that.

“Yeah, so I’m not here to cause any trouble, okay? Or, at least I’ll try not to…”

Grant was quiet for a painful amount of time before he finally replied, “I won’t cause any trouble for you so long as you leave me alone.”

“Alright. I can agree to that.”

“Good.”

“So, why aren’t you with the others?” I asked, instantly feeling stupid because he’d practically just told me he didn’t want to be bothered!

“I’m not…a people person.”

“Oh. Okay, I get that. I just, sort of fell asleep when I got here…”

“I can see that.”

“All I ask is that, uh, maybe keep it down while I’m asleep?”

“Sure thing.” He replied, still in an absent tone.

“I get a little…bitchy otherwise.” I said as I took notice to the fox who clearly wanted to be petted.

“You can pet him if you want.” He sighed.

“O-Okay. Thank you.” When I reached out towards the fox, it came over and curled up next to me.

I spent a while thinking about everything. Just this morning I was continuing to rot away in that cold cell and now I was here…To say it was overwhelming would be an understatement. Feeling tired once more, I glanced over to where Grant was, seeing that he turned away.

“I’m gonna head back to sleep, so g’night my friend.” I said in the most genuine way I could manage.

“Yeah.” He replied and the fox went back over to him, as if it had been called.

Before I drifted off, I did ponder for a moment if I should go down and meet the others. I decided against it as I was just too exhausted currently. I knew that if I was going to do more than just sit around all day that this was how things were going to be. Or, at least as long as I wore the limiters. I wasn’t sure how long I’d had this fear of taking them off, but somewhere deep down I didn’t want to risk it. An awful feeling of dread came over me before I eventually fell asleep.

I woke in the middle of the night. It seems I was unable to escape that dream. Seeing that red everywhere and the surprise in an unfamiliar person’s eyes…Where could that have been from? Had I done that? Either way, it wasn’t possible to head back to sleep when I was this upset. Heading over to where the others had been earlier, I hoped to at least talk to someone. I didn’t think I could be alone right now, as pathetic as that sounds.

“Yo.” Someone said from nearby.

It took me a second to realize they were talking to me.

“Um, hello?”

“Who’re you?” She asked, sounding rather standoff-ish.

“I could ask you the same thing.”

“Yeah, but I asked you first, so common sense would dictate you answer first.”

“Common sense? Whatever could that be?” I replied, sort-of second-guessing my choice to come down here.

“Who are you?” She asked a little more forcefully.

“Ehh, fine. They want others to refer to me as ‘Ivan’ here, though I prefer Nine. Good enough for you?”

“Yep. I’m Gloria, or 098-X.” She shrugged. “Depends on if you wanna be my friend, or my enemy, which one you call me.”

“I’d rather not be anyone’s enemy here…”

“Then, I’m Gloria.” She smiled.

“Cool, then.” I took a moment to think. “So, what are you up to? That is…what friends ask, right?”

“Yeah. I’m hanging here.”

“You can’t sleep, either?”

“Circadian rhythm’s all fucky! I sleep seven hours every two days, so I’m up for the next…18 hours.”

“Wow, I’m totally jealous.”

“Don’t be jealous, I hate it!”

“How, though?”

“Because I gotta do this! When everyone’s asleep.”

“You could, like, learn a new language, or master a hobby…?” I suggested even though I assumed she wouldn’t take it seriously.

“Hah! What, you expect me to learn at a school?”

“Isn’t that what it’s for?”

“As far as I’m concerned, no.”

“They’re just gonna try and teach me not to use my powers, given what they are.”

“O-Oh…Yeah, I can imagine that being the case for some of us…” I started to feel a little nervous as I didn’t really want to think about it that much.

“I’m very killy. Ravenhold does not like killy.”

I sat down across from her, but didn’t say anything else. I wasn’t sure if I could encourage such a thing here without being punished for it later.

“Anyways, what’s your power?”

“Um…it’s a couple of things. On that paper, I’d written down ‘matter manipulation’, which I know is rather broad…It’s more like the ‘touch things, they explode’ sort of deal.”

“That is…certainly manipulation. I suspect most things do not explode when regular people touch them.”

“Taking the sort of reactions it gets, I’m guessing not.”

“Cooler than what I can do.”

Before I could ask, my eyes could barely pick up the sight of something being shot towards me. It landed just inches away. “That. Conotoxin, it’ll stop your heart, muscles, your nervous system, everything.”

“I mean, I’m damn accurate with ’em, and they kinda…grow back but other than that, nothing special.”

“That’s interesting, to say the least. I mean, it’s not something you see every day.”

“Eh. Killy!” Gloria shrugged.

“I won’t lie, there are people who’d deserve it.”

“Try telling a teacher here that. Hell, I have, I’ll save you the trouble: they disagree. Violently disagree.”

“Are they really like that? Like, all of them?” I asked, feeling discouraged.

“Everyone I’ve met.”

“Shame.” Was all I could think of to say. It certainly would be such a drag if I had to deal with the cut-and-paste sort of ideals heroes tended to have.

“Yep!” While, I wasn’t paying too much attention, I saw her fall over out of the corner of my eye.

“Are, uh…you okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine. I just…fell. All fine.” She cracked her neck and knuckles, having me flinch at the noise.

“Ehh…good to know.”

While we were both silent, I noticed someone else walk into the room. Another unfamiliar face.

“Whoa, didn’t expect anyone else to be up this late.” He said.

“I take not many of us actually sleep here when we should be…” I frowned, starting to feel a lightheaded from exhaustion.

“Who’re you?” Gloria asks.

He grinned, “I’m Leopold Dean! Future Legion member. Just call me Leo.”

“I just slept too much after classes.” Leo sat down next to Gloria. “I got bored in my room. Who are you two.”

“Gloria, or 098-X. Here on parole, you?”

“Im, uh…eh, just call me Nine.”

“Nine and Gloria…good to know! I’m here on recommendation.”

“What brings you here? What sets you apart from the unwashed masses outside this school?” Gloria smirked, her tone was sarcastic, yet cocky.

“I’m going to be the best here there ever was It’s only natural I go to the best school.” He boasted so proudly, it almost made me feel sick.

“Oh…oh dear. But…what can you do?”

He smiled brightly and before us appeared a sword seemingly out of thin air. “I can summon any weapons I want. As many as I want.”

“Another hero, huh…” I said, mostly to myself while a number of unpleasant thoughts entered my mind.

“Cool.” Gloria reached out towards the sword and as if in response, it fell into her hands.

“It’s up to me if I have it float or fall. You like it?”

“Eh, it’s a lil’ too big for my tastes.”

“I’ve got all sizes.” Leo said as he summoned several more for example.

“So, why do you wanna be a hero?” Gloria asked.

“It’s what I was meant to be.” He replied, somehow completely confident in his answer.

“What makes you think that?”

“You sure you don’t wanna be a villain? I hear it’s a pretty slick gig depending on who you’re with.” I said as I recalled a few moments in the past where I’d actually enjoyed playing that same role.

“I just know.” He summoned a sword of black metal. “As for villains…my blade will taste a lot of their blood. Despicable is all they are.”

“Then you’ll hate me.” Gloria chuckles.

Leo laughed and stood up. “I don’t hate. I just serve justice.” His tone then went serious for a moment. “Anyone who thinks it’s right to rape, murder, steal, or any other horrid crime needs a blade through every limb.” He smiled brightly.“Don’t worry, you’ll see.”

“So who decides if it’s justice? You?” I asked, doubting that Leo really believed in his own words.

“The masses. The good of the many outweigh the good of the few.” He walked towards the door. “I want to protect everyone, though. That’s what the best does.”

“So, you’d leave behind those who, in some case wouldn’t have had any other choice? Or leave them to your ‘justice’ as you put it?” There was no possible way he could be so blind. There just wasn’t!

“If their demise saved many more, I would in a heartbeat.” He smiled again.

“Then you really are an idiot.”

“You’re welcome to believe what you want.” He said, releasing control of the blades and having them disappear. “Just don’t cause harm to anyone and we will be just kosher.”

“Whatever, Hero.” I mumbled.

“Enjoy your night. I think I’m ready for sleep. It was good meeting you two. Let’s be the best of friends!”

Oh, for fuck’s sake. He really was serious. I knew heroes had their ways, but this really was something else. Back when I’d done work for that company, I just thought it was a joke or a game to them, but this guy actually believe in everything he thought heroes were.

“Am I the only one who can’t stand that fucker?” Gloria, speaking for the both of us, pretty much.

“Ugh, I know, right? I wonder how many of -those- we’ll have to deal with?”

“I wanna beat him up.” She said and I wasn’t sure if she was at all serious.

“I don’t think they’d allow that. Not saying that I wouldn’t join you, though…”

“Don’t worry, I’ll just set up a fight between him and me.”

“He doesn’t know one dart would be enough, right?”

“Absolutely! I could kill him, or paralyse him. Fun fact about the paralytic: you’re still conscious, you just can’t move for shit. I ‘unno, Ravenhold might be a little taken aback if I ‘accidentally’ kill what seems to be a model hero for them.”

“What can I say? ‘Accidents’ happen.” I shrugged.

We spoke for a bit more, the air was still awkward and uneasy. I thought that what Leo believed in could be dangerous in the long run for him. With those beliefs, he would make a hero, no doubt. A stupid one, but one nonetheless.