Chapter 1: Taton Falls
The sun’s light barely reached across the sky. It was early in the morning, everything was quiet and those in the orphanage were getting up to live out yet another day. Upon the third floor of the orphanage, the highest floor off the ground, there sat a boy with short brown hair, who was watching the stars slowly disappear from the sky. He awoke before everyone in order to stare up at the stars; it was one of his favorite activities. He would unlatch the window and slowly open it, so he did not disturb the others while they slept, then lean on the windowsill and just watch. Many of the other children didn’t understand why he did this. There was never a big reason behind it despite what they thought; he simply enjoyed stargazing, it gave him a sort of calm feeling.
Soon, the others awoke too. The orphanages top floor housed the children, one room for all the boys, one room for all the girls. Then there were a bunch of classrooms on the second floor, where teachers would travel in between orphanages and schools to educate youth on various topics regarding the world in which they lived. The first floor had the offices, where adoptions were handled, and finally the basement is where a small cafeteria is set up, where Rob prepares meals for the orphans. Rob rarely starts a conversation and doesn’t show much emotion at all, which makes some of the younger orphans a little fearful of him.
Today that boy was very excited, because a man named Ecanoya was coming to visit. Ecanoya Takara is the man who found him when he was still an infant. He took care of him for a small while before finally handing him over to a proper orphanage. He still feels a responsibility for him however, and visits him whenever he finds the time. His position as a city guard would usually mean that he would be inclined to train himself in martial arts. He does not however; as he believes that there is a peaceful answer to everything. His gentle and caring personality is what makes the boy look up to him so much. Not knowing his real name, Ecanoya named him at a very young age “Crimson.” It is a strange name in and of itself, but very few people know the truth behind it, not even Crimson himself.
Crimson did not know many people within the orphanage, aside from his best friend Paul. Paul was a human boy, like Crimson, who was much taller than the other children at the orphanage, and had dark brown hair and eyes, also like Crimson. There were two other boys he knew at the orphanage, Derek and Jason. Jason, who was also human, was the poster boy of the orphanage. He had the personality of a great leader and the ideals of a hero. He was also the oldest and most athletic boy in the orphanage, with two siblings. His little sisters, both three, and both had the same color blond hair and blue eyes that he did. The two younger sisters always played together and Jason watched over them protectively. He was a great person to be around and it was a surprise to Crimson that no one offered to adopt him. The other boy, Derek was a bit of an oddball. No one knew if Derek was a human or something that looked like it, as there were many races that did, but people usually didn’t pay it much mind. Derek was very awkward and didn’t talk much. He was much smaller than all the other boys, despite being the same age as Crimson and Paul. He stood about half a foot below Crimson, and he had dark black hair and very pale skin. When he did speak it was in a dark, almost threatening tone that has kept many people from approaching him.
In a strange way, the kids at the orphanage had bonded in a short time to become their own little family. The orphanage caretakers almost didn’t want to let them go because of this. Jacob in particular, the saiyan who is responsible for the older children, really bonded with everyone. Daphne, who was the caretaker that dealt with the younger children, was a very elderly woman who always seemed happy. Both of them handled adoptions and visits from the potential families. They cared about the children in a way that it would be hard to imagine them letting go of them without being absolutely sure the adopters would show them an equal or greater kindness.
It was still early morning and everyone was barely awake. Crimson and Paul went all the way to the basement, practically sliding down the spiral staircase. In the basement was a small cafeteria with one large dining table and a small kitchen in the back. The cook of the orphanage was named Rob, a Namekian man. Namekians were the first aliens to arrive on this planet. They were like humans, but their skin was green and they had pink, muscle like texture in areas on their biceps, outer forearm and shoulders. they almost looked like the plates on a bug. They also had two giant antennas rising from their head that helped them perceive things better. One of the strangest things about them is that they didn’t eat, they only drank water. Many people would make comments on how strange it is that a Namekian, was a cook, and a good one at that. Rob would pay them no mind however; he was not one for small talk. When Crimson and Paul reached the room, Rob gave them both a slight nod as a greeting, and Daphne said “Good morning” To the two of them in a very enthusiastic, almost singing tone. When they both sat down at the table they began conversing with the others at the table. All of them discussed various things, from news about what is happening around the city to the dreams they had the previous night.
As usual, Derek distanced himself from the conversations. Whenever someone would attempt to communicate with him, he would give them short responses, or just not talk at all. Jason on the other hand was very boisterous, and loved to laugh and shout at the top of his lungs. He played with his two younger sisters all the time, even when they were eating he would goof around. This is what made him a fun person to be around, and why all those in the orphanage, children and caretakers alike, really enjoyed his company. Even the silent Rob and antisocial Derek crack a smile or even laugh with him. Crimson envied him; he compared himself to Jason often and felt unimportant and overshadowed by him.
Paul and Crimson were the first to leave the table and head back upstairs, but they parted ways at the first floor, so Crimson could wait in in the visitors section for Ecanoya. He pushed open the heavy door that lead out of the staircase and made his way through a small hallway that lead to the lobby. On the way he looked around at his environment, taking in some of the details that didn’t matter and thinking about them for a moment before moving on to another subject. He did not have a long attention span, and he had a knack for completely zoning out at any given moment. This habit annoyed the educators who visited the orphanage. He reached the end of the hallway and pushed open yet another big door, this time entering the backroom. It was where the documents on all of the people who had ever been in or worked in the orphanage were kept.
He weaved his way past the maze of scattered documents and boxes and reached the other side of the room.He pressed his ear to the door to listen for anyone. He sat there and waited for about fifteen minutes, counting the seconds. He finally heard the front door open and he ripped open the door as fast as he could and ran out to the lobby, but, to his surprise it was not Ecanoya. It was a strange alien man of a species he had never seen before. He was about a foot shorter than Crimson, although he had the attitude and posture of a full grown adult. His head was round at the top and moved down in almost a straight line to form a square shape. His chin protruded from the bottom only slightly.. He had bleach white skin covering his face like a layer of fat. On the top of his head was almost a perfect half circle, but some of it was covered in the white skin. The sphere was almost completely green, and it shined like the neatly waxed skin on a bald mans head. Horns protruded from the top of his head, right on the edge where the white skin met the sphere. They were the first feature anyone would notice as they were almost the length of his entire head and stuck out straight, but pointed upward just a bit. On the sides of his eyes, facing these outgrowing horns, there was a pinkish-green muscle like flesh that ran down the length of his face, but was stopped at the bottom of his rectangular head because of more of the white skin that came down from his head, almost like it was a chin strap. At the midpoint from one side of his eye to the other, the rectangle of the muscle like flesh stopped, and there was a thinner, more sunk in layer of the white skin. It was slightly tinted green, and it was where his mouth and nose rested in around the same spot a humans would, if he could be compared to one. As for the rest of his body, it was difficult to tell what he looked like. He was wearing a sort of armor, with its shoulder pieces protruding outwards, both of them about the length of his body each. The shoulder pieces were colored brown on some spots, with little indents that sunk in every two inches. This pattern and color was on every piece of armor he had on, covering the part of his gloves that faced away from his body, and his boots facing forward with his feet. The rest of his torso piece covered every muscle on his chest, one on both pectoral muscles, and one on the side of his abdomen. These pieces shined like his head, and had the same green coloration. His gloves and boots were insignificant because they were simply a flimsy white leather, but he did notice his arms, which had the same muscle like texture that his cheeks had.. When Crimson looked behind the alien as he stepped forward, he noticed a tail. It was a giant thing, about as long as he was tall, and it was about as thick as his head at the starting point. It slimmed down to a sharp, shiny green point at the end. It had the same muscle-like skin texture that arm and cheeks had, but in a lighter coloration. He was unlike anything Crimson had ever seen before.
The alien studied Crimson and looked at him with a hint of disgust. He spoke up, but seemed to be talking to himself. “Is this what an orphanage is like? Such a dull little place, I don’t know how anyone could stand living here.” He spat the words as if the very foundation of the place made him want to hurl. Crimson narrowed his eyes and looked at him. He had not been here long, but he enjoyed this orphanage, and he disliked this stranger walking in the front door and insulting it. He followed Ecanoya’s example however, and did not respond with violence, or harsh words. Instead he patiently went over to a chair and sat down. The alien seemed a little displeased that he couldn’t get a rise out of Crimson, and continued to bash the orphanage. He mentioned how it reeked, and went on to talk about how its barely functioning at all. When he realized that Crimson would not be swayed from his peaceful ways, he shrugged and left.
“What a strange alien.” Crimson thought to himself as he sat in wait. He had met a decent share of different species, but he had never seen anything remotely like him. He assumed that it must have been from one of the richer districts of the city because of how he acted. The city was very massive and he silently confirmed to himself that not everyone was friendly, or by his standards, normal. Daphne shuffled out of the backroom and adjusted her glasses. She tilted her head up and looked down her nose at Crimson and then shuffled over to him.
“Did I hear the door sweetie?” She asked in a kind voice. Crimson looked at her, and shrugged. He looked at her and told her that no one came in, he was just looking outside. She ruffled her eyebrows and shuffled towards the door to the back room, opening it slowly, and closing it behind her. Crimson sank in the chair and thought about what he and Ecanoya would do today. When he was young, Ecanoya would take Crimson all over the city. He would go to parks, and see movies and strange buildings that he knew were from a foreign land. It amazed him to no end, but it stopped once Ecanoya was demoted in the guard. He barely had enough money to survive before, but now he was dirt poor. He was the lowest ranking official in the guard itself, which was the district watch. They were considered the weakest of those trained in Ki manipulation. Crimson knew about Ki techniques, and he had heard the stories, but personally he had never seen anyone truly use them. He believes them to be nothing but tall tales, spread by people who believe the guard to have some mystic power. To him, it was something that people of the city were told so they wouldn’t dare think of stepping out of line. It seemed to work effectively at some times, but poorly at others. His speculation grew from him asking Ecanoya to show him one day, and he refused to, not because he was weak, he stated, but because he had a personal code that he would never use them in anything but the defence of himself or others.
Crimson became so enveloped in his thoughts that he completely lost touch with the world. He was only brought back by hearing a soft “Hello” that came from directly in front of him. Crimson jumped and looked up at the face of a middle aged man, he could recognize his large stature and soft brown eyes. He gave Ecanoya a soft smile. His hair had grown to considerable lengths since the last time the two of them met, as it almost reached his shoulders. His beard was unkempt, and it was starting to grow out of being just a shadow. He wore a blue uniform, so Crimson assumed he had just gotten off of work. His blue uniform showed everyone that he was a watch for this city district in specific. Other districts had different colorations or symbols to set their uniforms apart. It was a simple button up long sleeved shirt with blue dress pants and shiny shoes. His job was to simply patrol around the streets and make sure everyone was behaving. He has expressed, that despite how mundane the job is, that he rather enjoys it.
The two sat silently and stared at one another for a while, both of them having grins on their face. It had been four months since they had seen one another, which is the longest Crimson had gone without a visit from Ecanoya. Ecanoya sat down in the chair next to him and the two began to catch up. It started with typical things such as how their day was going, then it gradually moved onto school work, and finally what they wanted to do that day. The two discussed the option of either going to a restaurant, or going possibly sightseeing in one of the other city districts. Crimson always had a fascination with different cultures, and despite how big the city was, Taton had rapid changes in the culture as the districts shifted, gradually adjusting to whatever race what prominent there. Personally, Crimson found the architecture of Zenkons to be the most beautiful. Zenkons were short little blue humanoid creatures with giant bug eyes. They usually kept themselves concealed beneath cloaks except for their face, which is their traditional attire. Through some study, Crimson learned that Zenkons were a very strange, but interesting race. For instance, he found that the fact they seemed to be able to live for almost four hundred years appalling, and he learned how their skin slowly shifted to a purple tone as they got older. Their buildings were made of a shining porcelain substance on the outside, but a tough steel on the inside, and they were usually painted with sorts of elegant designs
In the end, Ecanoya decided that they would do both options, and travel across the city to try some alien cuisine. This idea didn’t really appeal to Crimson, as alien cuisine wasn’t always completely digestible to the average human, yet somehow Ecanoya could stomach it. He remembered watching him consume an entire squid-like tentacle and almost puked. There were thousands of different animals on the planet, which appeals to the different aliens due to the vast amount of different diets. One of the earliest races to arrive on the planet were Zenkons, and they chose to call the planet Soluris, which in their dialect means “Sun sized planet.” While no one has fully explored the planet, it can be estimated that due to the currently explored areas it is living up to its name. Another confirmation of this is when aliens are visiting and they confirm the size to the first people they communicate with on the planet. Taton is the largest and most diverse city on all of Soluris, and neither Ecanoya nor Crimson have ever stepped outside its walls. Despite this, they both have an understanding of the many creatures outside, as experienced through this strange form of cuisine they indulge in from time to time.
Ecanoya went up to the front desk and waited for a bit. He tapped the bell and sat there, nodding his head back and forth and humming a small tune. After a little bit he tapped it again and continued to hum and nod. When he was about to tap it a third time, Jacob came out of the back room, holding some large heavy boxes. He was looking past them at Ecanoya before he said “Oh right, sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it, I can see that you were busy.” Ecanoya responded kindly. The two got along well, which made things go smoother when all the paper work was being filled out. Ecanoya spent about a half hour signing papers that asked that he would take full responsibility for Crimson and that, return him no later than the date he promised, which would be this evening, and in the event of an accident, he would be liable for everything that happens. After that was done he went into the bathroom by the lobby, changed out of his uniform and into some more casual wear, and left with Crimson. The two walked down the sidewalk for a while until they came upon a car rental shop. Ecanoya exclaimed that he had a little bit of extra cash he had been saving up for today, and that he wanted to head farther out into the city. Crimson agreed and Ecanoya filled out even more paperwork. He joked to Crimson, “Jeez, I have to sign papers to return everything I have picked up today, what’s next? Do I have to sign a paper saying that I have to return my food at the restaurant too?” They both cracked a smile and jumped into the car. Cars around Taton maintained the same general look. They were like three dimensional ovals cut in half that had four circular wheels sticking out of their sides that held them in the air while they hovered down the road. There were cars with wheels, but those couldn’t run on anything but gas, which would be more expensive than just renting a hovercar in the first place.
Crimson sat next to Ecanoya as he took the wheel. He looked over at Crimson and told him to put on his seatbelt. When he tried to complain Ecanoya glared at him a little and he stopped. Once he was buckled in Ecanoya leaned back in his chair, got comfortable, and started driving. Crimson looked out the window and watched the buildings pass by. He thought about what was going on in some of them and about the lives of the people in them and, before he knew it, he was daydreaming. When Ecanoya called his name and he snapped out of the daydream, almost an hour had passed. He looked at Ecanoya and was about to respond, when he noticed that they were now driving into one of the farther out districts, about halfway across the city. Crimson gazed in wonder at the strange buildings and people that they passed. It was his first time being so far out from his usual district, and he couldn’t contain his excitement. Seeing Crimson’s eyes light up, Ecanoya smiled brightly. Within a short time they found what looked like a small restaurant for tourists that came from across city. Ecanoya parked the car and the pair jumped out and looked around their surroundings. The building they were approaching was a half circle that stretched about the length of seven of their cars, which wasn’t particularly large in retrospect. It was colored pink on the outside with strange symbols that neither of them could recognize. Ecanoya took a few steps forward with his hands in his pockets before he immediately stopped. Crimson shuffled over next to him, wondering why he stopped. He looked up at his face and saw that he was changing to a bright shade of red. “Why is he blushing?” Crimson thought to himself. That’s when Crimson stopped and heard a sound coming from inside the building. It was a strange music that he didn’t recognize, but it had a loud repeating drum. When he stepped forward to see what was going on, Ecanoya grabbed him, spun him around, and pushed him back to the car before he could protest.
Ecanoya scratched the back of his head and laughed as they sped off from the place and Crimson gave him a confused look. “My alien dialect isn’t as good as I thought, that wasn’t a restaurant, sorry Crimson!” he laughed. Crimson shrugged, as he was unsure of why Ecanoya was being so awkward. It took them a while, but they eventually did manage to find a restaurant. Ecanoya parked outside the new building. It looked a lot like the last one, except taller and purely white on the outside without any symbols. They went inside and sat down at a table with a window side view. A tall alien man walked over to the two of them. He spoke in his native tongue, which sounded like a bunch of gurgles. Ecanoya spoke to him in a more human version of it that sounded even more ludicrous. Most species can’t make some sounds the others use for their language, so a system was developed so that all types of citizens could understand and communicate. This involved having them all learn the separate ways that different species of aliens would use their language. As part of the city guard, Ecanoya had to learn all sorts of dialects, which he doesn’t use much as a district watch now. When the Alien gestured to me with one of his long green tentacles, Ecanoya spoke again. Crimson looked at him strangely and Ecanoya leaned forward. “I told him that you would like some water.” He smiled
Crimson picked up the menu and stared at it blankly. He had no clue what it was saying at all, and he asked Ecanoya “What are all these options, and are any of them edible?” Ecanoya looked away from his menu and turned Crimson’s to him so he could compare.
He pointed at one of the options and stated “This is Algetarian Squid tentacle, which comes fresh from the Algetarian sea on the port side districts of Taton.” Crimson gagged a little at the thought of another squid tentacle. Ecanoya smirked and continued “This is Tetradon steak, which comes from one of their four heads and is served well cooked with their horns as a side.” Crimson raised an eyebrow at that one. Tetradon’s were the staple animal for ranching and butchering as they were edible by nearly all the races, but he had never heard of a meal where one would eat its horns. He decided that he would get the Tetradon meal because it was the most normal sounding item on the menu. Ecanoya spent some time browsing over his menu while Crimson looked around. The restaurant wasn’t particularly busy, there were only a few people seated all around the place and they were rather quiet. One of them was staring at Crimson, and it made him uncomfortable. Ecanoya pulled on his arm and made Crimson turn his gaze back. “Pay that one no mind, he is a Saiyan.” Ecanoya Scowled. “They descend from a brutal warrior race, when they arrived on this planet they almost destroyed the peace, luckily they were convinced to settle down peacefully after some skirmishes. They have since abandoned their brutal lifestyles, but are still usually incredibly harsh.” Crimson looked at Ecanoya in shock, it wasn’t often that he was judgemental to others.
Crimson slowly opened his mouth and said “You know that Jacob, one of the caretakers from my new orphanage is a Saiyan right?” Ecanoya blinked and looked at Crimson. There was a short silence while Ecanoya tilted his head to the side and scratched his beard.
“Really?” He asked in slight surprise “He doesn’t act like a lot of the saiyans I know, they are usually pretty aggressive. Put that aside, it is still strange, you usually find saiyans out on this side of the city. Are you sure he is a Saiyan? Did you see his tail?” Crimson nodded his head from side to side. He had not seen the monkey like tail that Jacob supposedly had, but he did believe him. To Crimson, someone lying about their race is pointless, especially if it did not matter to those around them. For this reason he decided to defend Jacob and expressed this to Ecanoya
“It just wouldn’t make sense for him to lie about it.” He explained “Especially since no one at the orphanage would really care what he is.” Ecanoya nodded and decided on what he was going to get. He called over the waiter and leaned back in his chair. He spent some time making strange sounds so that the alien understood what he wanted. As it set down Crimson’s water he watched as a green slime slowly crawled its way down the side of the glass, and it really disgusted him. He didn’t want to be judgemental though, so he tried to ignore it as best he could. However, his eyes did not move from the ooze as it continued its descent. Ecanoya reached across the table, grabbed the glass, and cleaned the slime off without saying a word. When he set the drink back down, Crimson thanked him in a silent hush. The waiter and Ecanoya spoke for a long time before the waiter finally left with their order.
Crimson looked at Ecanoya, his expression was asking what they had spoken about. Ecanoya smiled and replied to his gaze “I knew that waiter from a while back. He was evicted from his home because his species secretes a green ooze every now and then that they don’t have control over. Anyway, as city guard I had to forcefully remove him from the establishment. I felt bad for the poor guy however, and helped him find somewhere just as nice that would not shun him just because of that. He still hasn’t let go of the fact that, well as he puts it ‘I took away his life’. At least he is not like some other people who still hold a grudge against me because of some of the things I did in the guard. They can be nasty.” Crimson nodded and looked at his glass, which was now almost empty. Ecanoya changed the subject back to the ooze and went on to say “His species excretes ooze because its like an internal cooling system for them, they get rid of excess water and nutrients and the result is that slime. Believe it or not, it is actually edible.” Crimson made a fake hurling noise and Ecanoya narrowed his eyes at him, but retained his smile. Ecanoya laughed, knowing what Crimson must be thinking. “No, I have not eaten it. I eat exotic food from time to time, but I don’t think I could consume something that comes from a sentient being.” They laughed and continued their talk until the waiter brought their meal.
Ecanoya’s meal wobbled back in forth in a gelatinous pool. It was like a very thick soup that you could practically jump on. Inside of it were strange little fish that Crimson barely recognized. His meal looked far better though, it was a steaming serving of tetradon meat. He looked at the horns and realized that they were seasoned like the meat itself. Quickly, Crimson asked Ecanoya “How are you supposed to eat these?” Ecanoya shrugged and continued to eat the strange wobbly fish with fish in it. With less confidence than before, Crimson took a bite out of the horn. It crunched under his teeth, and to his surprise it tasted good. It was like eating a crunchy meatloaf, and he enjoyed it. The two ate in silence, exchanging some words now and then. Ecanoya finished before Crimson and he leaned back to relax. Crimson broke the silence and asked “Hey Ecanoya, that place we went to before, what was in there?” Ecanoya’s face turned a bright shade of red again and he stopped leaning in his chair. He straightened his shirt and leaned over on the table.
“Crimson, there are some things in this world that just aren’t good. Whether it’s from a place, or a person, I feel like it is my job to protect you from those evils. We went to a place that I didn’t recognize at first until I heard the music. It was a club that is a center for all sorts of underground crime. Even outside of the city there are places like that, in the small towns and villages that dot the landscape. Not everyone enjoys the rules of the city, and so places like that are used to take advantage of people like you, who don’t know any better. I have had to take out quite a few of them before, it can be ugly business. Plus if you walked in with a city guard to a place like that.” He stopped and shuddered. “I can’t imagine what they would do…”
The silence continued for a bit before Crimson finally spoke out abruptly “Ecanoya, when will you stop sheltering me?” Ecanoya recoiled a little in surprise and looked to the side for a second before turning to Crimson with a confused look. He thought for a bit, trying to come up with a response, but he couldn’t. Crimson laughed a little and leaned back in his chair, looking out the window onto the street, watching cars slowly drive by and people make their way from one place to another. It had begun to get dark, and Crimson alerted Ecanoya to this.
Ecanoya stood up, coughing to break the silence. He took some money out of his pocket and placed it on the table. Crimson looked at it and counted it in his head. He smirked, seeing Ecanoya had left an unusually large tip. It was typical for Ecanoya to go out of his way to help someone in need, which is partly the reason as to why he was so poor. The two of them left and walked towards the car. They both got in and Ecanoya had to fight with Crimson a little about wearing his seatbelt. Ecanoya won of course, and the two made off back to the orphanage. Crimson watched the scenery pass by, which consisted of building after building with a few parks down the way. They were on a large overpass through the city that would take them back to their district, and it gave the best view to both sides of the city. Crimson thought for a bit and turned to Ecanoya. “Are you going to answer the question?”
He remained silent and Ecanoya looked at him. Ecanoya sighed and leaned on one arm, steering the car with the other. He turned to Crimson and opened his mouth to answer. Crimson looked back to the road and noticed that the oncoming traffic has stopped. Ecanoya turned and noticed it too. As the car came swerving around a bend on the highway, there, in the middle of the road, stood a figure. Behind it were several crashed cars, burning and clogging the overpass on both sides. Crimson leaned in closer and his eyes grew wide. It was the strange alien from earlier, and he was smiling right at Crimson. Ecanoya tried to swerve the car out of the way, but he couldn’t budge the steering wheel. The car was slowly lifted off of the ground by an unseen force. The alien tipped the car so he could look inside of it. His gaze shifted from Ecanoya, who was holding his arm protectively over Crimson, to Crimson himself. The alien leaned forward, looking directly at him. His smile widened, and with a flick of his wrist, the car was flung off the overpass like a ragdoll. Time seemed to slow down as it descended through the air. Ecanoya pressed his arm so hard against Crimsons chest that he could barely breath. The next thing Crimson saw was the pavement right in front of their car.
Noises rushed all around him, noises he couldn’t quite make out. When he finally tried to focus on one, a sharp pain jutted into his side. He yelled out, but his ears were ringing, and he couldn’t hear his own voice. Slowly, he looked to his side, trying to focus his blurry vision. Ecanoya lay unconscious right next to him, with his arms hanging upside down. Thats when Crimson looked up to see the roof of the car, which is where gravity seemed to be pulling him at that moment. With effort, he lifted his head and looked out the front of the car to see the world upside down. Glass was shattered all over the car. Crimson saw blood and immediately looked at Ecanoya, but he saw that he was relatively unharmed. He turned his gaze back down and saw it was his hands that were bleeding. His guess was that he cut himself on the glass while he was upside down. He reached up for his seatbelt and grabbed at the buckle. Once loosened he fell down, hitting the ground hard, sending spikes of pain throughout his entire body. He shimmied his way out of the car. Slowly he stumbled to his feet and looked around. He swayed back and forth, trying to catch his balance. People ran up and down the streets, screaming and yelling. A building nearby was in flames and the sky had darkened. Smoke pillars reached for the clouds on nearly every city block Crimson could see. He limped his way over to Ecanoya’s door, unlocking the latch through the broken window, and then prying it open. He slide his arm past Ecanoya to the his seat belt buckle. He slowly put his arm below him in hopes of softening the fall he would take. Suddenly Ecanoya moved his hand over Crimson’s and coughed. He moved his hand back in front of his face and noticed the blood, and he immediately tried to check on Crimson. The buckle came loose and Ecanoya fell to the ground. He groaned and rolled out of the car.
Slowly, they both stood and used one another as support. Ecanoya led Crimson over to a wall, and the both of them leaned on it to try to gain their bearings. Together they spotted a street sign and got an idea as to where they were. The orphanage was only a fifteen minute walk from where they were. It was at this point they realized how far their car was flung, because they were at least thirty minutes out by car. They slowly supported one another through the hell torn streets, trying to avoid the crowded areas as much as possible. About halfway through their journey Crimson started to gain his senses back, and the situation they were in became more and more clear to him. He began to panic, and Ecanoya did his best to calm him down, but even he was slightly afraid. As they got closer to the orphanage, both of them noticed the city seemed less touched. They both sighed in relief and began to chuckle to each other upon seeing this. Their pace increased and their hearts fluttered with hope when they finally saw the orphanage.
Crimson opened the door and helped Ecanoya in. When Daphne saw the two of them, she nearly fainted. She started screaming and Jacob burst through the back room door and immediately rushed to Crimson. He caught him as he fell, and Ecanoya tripped back into one of the chairs in the front room. Jacob rushed Crimson to the second floor, where they kept their medical supplies. Crimson was set in a chair and he looked around for a bit and listened to Jacob curse over and over again. “Damn… Damnit… Son of a… We only have medical supplies for cuts and bruises, not stuff like this!” He continued. He brought over some bandages and disinfectant. He poured some of it on Crimson’s hands and treated those first. As soon as the alcohol touched his skin Crimson screamed in pain, not expecting such a sharp sensation. His body had grown numb from all the pain he already had, and it was not a comfortable sensation. Jacob patted it down a couple times and wrapped it. Soon after he screamed, Paul and Jason peeked their heads into the room. Crimson must have been in worse shape than he felt, because their eyes were wide with horror. He tried to speak, but all that came out was a hushed gurgle. Paul sat next to his friend and Jason stayed in the doorway. As soon as the other kids started to rush and see what all the commotion was about, Jason move to stop them. He was only able to stop his sisters however, as the rest of them peaked in with major curiosity and all of them made the same horrified face. Even Derek, who expressed about as much emotion as Rob, was completely in shock. As Jason worked on patching him up, the kids parted way as Daphne helped Ecanoya into the room. Jason picked Crimson up and set him on the recovery bed, before he went over to Ecanoya.
Ecanoya leaned his head back as Jason gently tried to help him with his wounds as well. “The entire city is under attack. I don’t know…” He squinted in pain as Jason applied more disinfectant to his wounds. “… by who, but they have hit almost every district except for this one.” With that he stopped and Jacob and Daphne looked at one another.
Without a word they confirmed to one another that if this district wasn’t attacked yet, there was a high probability that it would be soon. They quickly hashed out a plan, and all the children were rushed to the basement cafeteria. The only ones that stayed were Derek, Paul and Jason. They were all concerned for Crimson’s well being, and sat next to the bed. A short time passed before Rob came upstairs quickly and peeked into the room, letting jason know that all the children were safely locked in the basement aside from the ones up here. Jacob sighed in relief and started to laugh a little. Crimson sat up a little and looked at Jacob. He could see that he was trying to remain calm for the children, but his laughter proved that he was pretty shaken by all of this. Ecanoya perked up from his chair and drearily swooped his head over, looking at Crimson. “I told you… to wear your seatbelt.” He laughed. Crimson tried to join in on the laughter, but he ended up coughing and his head fell back down on the pillow.
A couple hours passed before Crimson was finally able to stand. Rob had taken over watching over him, as everyone else in the room had passed out. He was intently looking out the window, and helped support Crimson a little. Rob leaned in closer to the window, as if trying to focus on something. He suddenly shoved Crimson to the ground and shouted to everyone “Wake up! All of you!” Ecanoya jumped to his feet and Jason startled awake. Jacob, who was asleep next to Ecanoya quickly opened his eyes, and sprung up, knocking the medical supplies onto the floor. Derek and Paul didn’t get up in time to see what was happening. The entire buildings foundation shook hard. Everyone in the room was holding onto something as the building shook. There was a humongous crash, and the buildings shaking stopped. Crimson looked to his left and saw everyone was getting up. Rob slowly opened the door and his eyes widened with horror. Dust and smoke filled the room and everyone coughed. Jacob swatted the dust away and cracked open the window to the room. When he did it simply fell apart and went crashing onto the street below. The dust cleared slowly and all of them stumbled out of the room to see that an entire half of the orphanage was completely caved in. There was a group of men marching down the street, with a couple standing outside. All but one were aliens, with the most intimidating one being human. They were wearing similar armor to the alien that Crimson had seen walk into the orphanage earlier that day, the same one that was there before their car crashed as well. The shiniest parts of their armor was black however, while the humans’ was red. This man looked up at the group of survivors and he smirked. He tapped one of the aliens on the shoulder, said something quietly, and they all aimed their guns. Jason suddenly came to the realization that his sisters were in the basement.
With that Jason was gone, and the only thing the others heard were his footsteps as he tromped down the steps. All the aliens holstered their guns, while the man crossed his arm. They poured into the remains of the orphanage and immediately went to work. The soldiers came barreling up the stairs and aimed their guns at the group. Everyone but Rob put their hands up. They were marched out to the man, and they all had to get on their knees with their hands behind their heads. They all turned their heads at the sound of struggle. Jason was screaming at the top of his lungs, kicking and pushing away from the two soldiers that were holding him. It was clear that the guns were all these soldiers had, because Jason was nearly dragging the both of them back down the stairs. Crimson’s heart was crushed as he listened to Jason scream. “The room is caved in! They could still be alive! Let me go! Let me go you bastards!” They dragged him over to the man in reds feet.
The man bent over and looked at Jason, who was squirming to get free from the two aliens at his feet. “I must apologize for turning your orphanage into the another one of the many new rubble supply stores being set up across the city.” He snickered to himself. His snickering turned into downright maniacal laughter. Jason started to tear up, and he spit right on the mans face. The laughter died immediately, and he grabbed Jason by the chin and lifted him straight off the ground. Jason struggled to get free, but it was like he was being held by a statue. The man put his hand in front of Jason’s face and the wind began to pick up. Slowly a light began to form in front of Jason’s head and his eyes widened. Ecanoya and Rob both began to panic, knowing what this was. They both nodded to each other, and leaped forward incredibly fast. Crimson’s eyes could barely track them as they sped through the air. Both of them his the man on both side of his head. He didn’t even budge but his eyes did shift to the side. He backhanded Ecanoya, sliding him along the ground to Crimson’s feet. He released Jason and his hand grabbed the neck of a startled Rob. “Now you have done it green man.” He yelled. “Your group has ruined all the fun. Now I am going to have to roast you instead of the boy. Oh yes, I will have me some nice fried Namekian Legs” He laughed in that same lunatic way as before.
“You’re sick…” Rob choked. Slowly the man stopped laughing.
“Am I now? No, it seems like you are the sick one.” Rob’s expression turned to one of confusion. The man’s hands firmly grasped both sides of Rob’s head. Crimson looked on in absolute horror. “Because I am pretty sure, my confused green man, that your neck is not supposed to bend this way.” With that there was a sickening crunch and Crimson closed his eyes in hopes of not seeing it. There was a whimper from right next to him, and he assumed it was Paul. Crimson listened and closed his eyes tighter, not thinking he would ever open them again. His curiosity got the better of him, however, and when he opened his eyes again, Rob’s body lay in the street, it’s head turned completely around like an owl’s. The man brushed his hands off on his armor, then looked down the street and continued to talk as if what he just did was no big deal. “If anyone asks who destroyed your home and killed your family and friends, just tell them his name was Darwin McDarloss.” With that, the smart talking madman took a short bow, and then quickly left. The soldiers started shouting things and forced everyone to stand up. Ecanoya had recovered from the attack and marched in line behind Crimson. Soon their march joined others, and more and more people started packing into one area and marching down the streets. Crimson could barely breath from how tightly packed it was. Every now and then he heard the laser rifles that the soldiers held go off and a body would drop. He stuck as close to Ecanoya as he could, and Paul kept close to him. Jason, Jacob and Derek were close by, but Jacob was having trouble moving Jason, as he just didn’t want to walk. After almost two hours of that exhausting state, and they were at the city center. The main government tower was ablaze, and all aside it were spaceships from across the galaxy.
A voice rang out through the air, suddenly silencing all noise. It was a voice Crimson recognized. The same alien that was at the orphanage was speaking through a speaker system to the crowd gathered around him. Crimson began to fit the pieces into place, and understood the strange events of the day. It all seemed like a bad dream, and he wanted to wake up as soon as possible. He hadn’t had the time to fully recover after the car accident, but during the two hour walk his mind became less hazy. The pain he still felt from his injuries confirmed the legitimacy of the madness around him. That is when another question popped into his mind, one that pushed past the other countless worries. The ball of light Darwin had made in his hand looked like what the people had been describing Ki to look like. Could the things he thought were fantasy actually be real? He wasn’t sure what to think now, this all seemed unreal to him. He knew in his heart that it was real, but it was hard for his brain to comprehend it. After a while, he could understand the voice. He listened closely to the words. At first they were in another alien dialect, Zenkonian, he thought. It sounded like it at least. Next he moved on to a less recognizable dialogue. As he went down the list of different languages and repeated whatever message he had, the crowd began to panic more and more. People pushed to the back, but the soldiers shot anyone who tried to leave the main area. Crimson looked up and saw a man flying overhead in an attempt to escape. Crimson’s jaw dropped and he watched in total awe as this man tried to flee. In a flash, Darwin was in front of him. A dark smile crawled across his lips like someone bending a rusty bar of metal. The cruel man grabbed the head of the escapee, and began to say something to him. Crimson couldn’t hear it over the constant screaming and yelling, but soon after he saw a ball of light. This confirmed that his theory on Ki being nothing but a method of controlling citizens as false. Ecanoya quickly grabbed Crimson and pulled him to the ground, and covered him by getting on his hands and knees right above him. There was a humongous explosion, one very similar to the attack used back at the orphanage. It shook the ground with its force, and Ecanoya tucked his head in hopes that they would not get hit. When the quakes had subsided, Ecanoya stood, and helped Crimson up. Crimson whined in pain, as his wounds had not fully recovered.
Crimson looked in the sky and saw that Darwin was brushing himself off. There wasn’t even a trace of the man left, and for the first time, Crimson felt absolutely helpless. He looked over and saw Jacob helping Derek and Paul to their feet. Jason was standing there, unfazed. He just lost the only family he had left, and he must have felt like Crimson. There was nothing he, or anyone else could do in this situation. He watched Darwin slowly float through the air back onto the top of the giant, two dimensional circle that was the ship in which the alien was talking. After a brief wait, he had finished his speech and began a new one in english. “To all surviving citizens, my name is Sobrium, but you will all refer to me as King Sobrium. I hail from the northern section of the galaxy and I am here to deliver my demands. Being as this is the largest and most resourceful planet in the galaxy, I am officially claiming it as the sole property of me. Of course I will still let you all trade amongst yourselves, but most resources that are mined or grown will be given to me and my army.” He stopped and scanned the crowd, taking amusement in seeing even more frightened expressions. “I will not however, be the reigning government of this planet. I have many things to do, and I cannot be here to play babysitter over you all. I shall leave that in the charge of some of my most trusted men.” The four soldiers standing next to him, except for Darwin, took a small step forward, while he and Sobrium took a step back. They were too far away from Crimson to tell whether he had seen them before, or what they looked like. Sobrium continued. “These four men will be the ruling powers of this planet until such time as I decide otherwise, in which case they will be replaced by a new governing party, but I don’t need to worry about that do I?” The soldiers nodded their heads, and he smirked. “Good, now to finish things off quickly as I grow tired of this, every two months I shall come here and take the most able bodied people and train them to be soldiers in my army. Resisting this act is punishable by death, and furthermore…” before he could finish the entire crowd started an uproar. All english speaking people spat insults at him, while the other alien races sat silent as they had already had their fill earlier when he had said it in their tongue. Sobrium turned to Darwin, and he got his horrible smile again. Without even a word, Darwin fired a ball of energy, an attack of pure Ki, at the crowd. Many people tried to jump forward to slow it down, but they were merely vaporized. Crimson watched as person after person was disintegrated in hopes of stopping it from hitting the crowd. Brave men and women willing to risk their lives for the majority, turned to ash before his eyes. A couple of surviving city guards finally crawled out of their hiding spots and were able to collectively stopped it. Crimson grew furious, knowing that they could have done it sooner. He held onto Ecanoya, trying to calm himself down, but he was overtaken with fear.
The guard pushed the ball of Ki back at Darwin and he laughed as if it was all a game to him. King Sobrium stepped forward, and without even visibly moving, he made the ki blast vanish as if it wasn’t even there in the first place. The guard charged after the pair, but were stopped dead by the four who were appointed as the governing party. Two of the four were tall blue skinned men with white hair. These two were the first to attack, with the smaller one grabbing a guard by the neck and beginning to choke him, and the bigger one kicking a guard straight into a building at the far back end of the crowd. There was a loud snapping sound as he did, and Crimson assumed that it was the man’s ribs, or what was left of them at this point. The other two men were strange looking as well. One was a hulking behemoth, at least five times the size of a normal human, and his muscles were incredibly defined, but the only other abnormality about him was his red skin. The other was like a walking lizard with purple skin. These four jumped into battle quickly. The best of the guard were confronting them head on, but seemed to be gaining no ground.
The smaller blue skinned one came behind one of the city guard and put a ball of Ki up against his back. The man tried to turn, but before he did the skinny one shoved it straight through his chest and out the other side. The larger one showed no reaction, and simply pulled the man off the smaller ones hand and tossed it down to the crowd. As the fight raged on, only four city guard were left, with the rest of their bodies limp somewhere in the crowd or mangled on buildings they were tossed through. Sobrium seemed displeased with this interruption to his speech, and he yelled something to the men. They all turned and nodded to him and then continued fighting the city guard. One of the guards got on the side of the purple skinned one and used a Ki blast to sever its armed. Crimson cheered silently, and he looked at Ecanoya. His face was grim, and Crimson remembered that Ecanoya was also part of the city guard. How much he feel about this? Crimson wondered if he knew how to do the things the guard was doing. The things he once thought impossible. His attention turned back to the fight and he saw that the purple one was fighting even after losing one arm. A guard was thrown back by one of his attacks and the giant red skinned one grabbed him using one hand. He could almost hold his entire torso in his hand. The giant man squeezed the guard and his screams echoed throughout the crowd. People were crying and pleading for their lives. They were so scared and it began to affect Crimson. He wanted to break down and cry too. He turned and saw Jacob trying to comfort Paul. Derek and Jason were standing nearby, and the both of them had tears in their eyes, Derek probably from fear, but Jason for most likely another reason. Crimson shuddered and looked back up at the fight with his misty eyes. He noticed something far out of the ordinary then. The purple one had gained its lost arm back! Crimson began to see them as more of monsters than men, and he wanted the madness to just end. The other two guard were killed quickly by kicks from the larger blue skinned man and the smaller one. The last guard was grabbed by the giant red skinned one and brought to Sobrium.
“Thank you Gunlder.” Sobrium said coldly. He grabbed the man and spun him around. He smiled when he saw the symbol on the back of his uniform and then turned him around and put the loudspeaker closer to his mouth. “You are a recruiter aren’t you? You know almost all members who are, or are going to be in the guard.” The man nodded in fear for his life. “Good.” Sobrium nodded. “That means I will have use for you. Quickly tell me any member of the guard off the top of your head.” Crimson focused and looked at the man on the ship, but couldn’t quite make out what was happening. It looked like the man was hanging his head, contemplating whether he should tell Sobrium or not. Through the speaker, Crimson could hear the man started whispering names. His heart shattered and he asked Ecanoya to run, to get away. He didn’t get the chance. Sobrium announced “Any city guard whose name was just listed, I want you to point yourselves out. If you give yourselves up, I will give you a choice on whether to join my army or die. Do this quickly, I have little patience.” He scanned the crowd and a few people started flying up. “I promise that if you give yourselves up, I will not blow up a section of the crowd or kill this man to make a point.”
Darwin laughed and spoke in his dark, comedic way. “Oh boy, King Sobrium you are the greatest! Blackmailing them to their own deaths! I love it!” Crimson watched intently and saw a smile crawl across Sobriums lips. As the guards flew up, a member of the four governing soldiers would approach him quickly, and speak to him. Then he would either be grabbed and forcefully taken to one of the ships, or killed. Crimson turned to his left and saw a man bend down and hug two little girls, who assumed to be the man’s daughters. They were crying, and quickly one of the blue skinned ones, the larger one, approached him. He noticed his uniform and grabbed him, dragging him away from the little girls. Crimson noticed the faintest hint of sadness in the soldier’s eyes as he took the man from his family. He squinted his eyes and tried to confirm what he had just seen. The blue man spoke to him shortly, and Crimson couldn’t make out the exact words, but their gestures made it clear to him what was about to happen. The blue man grabbed him with force and dragged him quickly away. Even if it made him a bit angry that people would sell themselves to Sobrium, after seeing the man with his daughters, Crimson finally understood the sadness in that soldier’s eyes. They were people too. People who had their homeworlds taken over as well, and made the same choice in hopes that one day they would see their loved ones again. These men weren’t all monsters, but they had to act like it in order to return home. Even still, no matter how much he tried to convince himself, Crimson would never believe them to be innocent. Just by serving Sobrium they have sold their lives to the sake of hurting others.
Luckily for Crimson, no one came looking for Ecanoya, and he was obviously unwilling to throw away his life. Sobriums voice rang out of the speaker “Now then, apologies for the rude interruptions. Where was I again…? Oh yes, I was speaking about the bi-monthly selections. Originally these weren’t mandatory, sometimes I would grab soldiers, but unfortunately there are other powerful parties in the galaxy, and I will need every soldier I can get my hands on. You all have my promise that the faster I can crush these parties and make myself the sole dominating party in the galaxy, the faster your loved ones will return to you.” He paused for a second and turned around as the government tower started to creak slowly. The all-consuming flames that covered it began to wither away its support beams. Sobrium turned back to the microphone and finished his speech. “I guess that is my cue. Whatever you all do from now on is of no concern to me, just serve me loyally, and you shall experience no problems.” With that they left, with many of the ships taking off, but two of the largest ones stayed. The four governing soldiers left behind by Sobrium got into these ships, and they took off to move out of they way of the burning capitol building.
The building continued to creak and people started to pour out of the area. Any soldiers that stayed behind to watch the crowd simply flew silently with them now, not doing anything to protect the people who could be hurt. Crimson watched the tower lean forward a little and he desperately tried to push Ecanoya through the crowd. Ecanoya grabbed onto him tight and tried to get a view of Jacob. When he spotted him, he pushed through the crowd, barreling into people as they trampled over one another in a desperate attempt to escape with their lives. Once Ecanoya got to Jacob the two tried to talk to one another, but the screams coming from the entire city’s population had deafened out any noise they tried to make. While the two were trying to talk, Crimson looked to Derek and saw him staring at something. He followed his gaze and, before his brain even clicked with what was happening, he heard the government building finally giving way. The entire crowd almost went dead silent, and as the towering building leaned forward, the noise picked up two fold. Jacob pulled Paul and Derek along, and Jason trudged quickly behind them, still completely detached from the world. Ecanoya was practically dragging Crimson through the crowd, but they weren’t fast enough. They were too many people to make any real progress, and they kept getting rammed and shoved by people making their way past them. There was a humongous crash as the building fell, and the resulting shockwave sent a domino effect through the crowd. Rubble was blown everywhere, crushing people all around. As Crimson tried to sit up, he was suddenly struck in the head by an unseen force, and knocked completely unconscious.
When he finally opened his eyes again, his head felt like it had been split open by a man using a chisel. He tried to sit up, but his entire body ached. His wounds from earlier, on top of any wounds he may have received from the more recent accident. It took him a couple minutes to comfortably open his eyes, and he looked around his surroundings. Besides the pain, feeling was returning to him. He examined his surroundings, it was unusually dark. He felt the surface below him and it was soft and cushy, and he realized that it was a bed. How’d he end up here? He slowly pushed himself off the bed. When he tried to support himself on both feet, his legs gave out from under him and he was sprawled out on the mattress again. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he saw light bouncing off the walls down the hallway. He started to gather his strength again, hoping to get up as soon as he could and look at the source of this light, and maybe get a better idea as to where he was.
Meanwhile in the hallway, Ecanoya was speaking with Jacob. “I can’t believe it is all gone.” Jacob exclaimed. “Everyone from the orphanage, the children… Oh god.” His voice cracked. Before he could continue Ecanoya cut him off.
“We won’t get anywhere by panicking Jacob. We need to think about things a little more-” He was cut off abruptly
“Think Ecanoya? The only place the kids knew their entire lives is nothing but a bunch of rubble now and you want me to think? No, we need a plan. There is apparently a rally further down in the mines come tomorrow morning, I suggest we both attend it for the sake of the kids, we need to know what everyone else thinks of the situation and go from there.” Ecanoya agreed, and with that, the two separated. Ecanoya made his way to the makeshift hospital. He entered the first door on the right, and looked down both sides of a humongous hallway that nearly went so far that his eyes couldn’t see. It was an old room used to provide air to deeper areas of the mines. He followed down the path, looking at the mattresses on the floor, and looking at the names that were beside the curtains. Adam, Ryan, Ezekiel, Novic, Onitz, Duff, V’sop. All these names and the list just kept going on on. So many people were hurt in the fall of the city, and only the lucky ones had friends or relatives who could identify them for the rag tag medical team at this refugee camp. It had taken Ecanoya and Jacob almost a full day to get out of the hellish city, and he was thinking the entire way that one of the kids might not make it. Paul was also injured when the capitol building fell, as a piece of rubble had crushed his leg. Ecanoya passed by his bed, and stopped to check on him a little. Unlike the other kids at the orphanage, Paul was more familiar with Ecanoya as he had been transferred around with Crimson for quite a bit, and he and Crimson were close. After a brief walk past Paul’s resting station he stopped by Crimson’s. It was darker in this area as it was further from the openings in the side of the hill. He inched forward quietly to check on him, but when he reached Crimson’s bed, he noticed it was empty. He looked around quickly and saw a shadow in the nearest light source down the hallway. He jogged over to check on it and there sat Crimson, staring out the opening in the hill side, leaning on the small makeshift window sill. Ecanoya approached him and patted him on the back. There was a clear view of the burning city from where they were. Ecanoya looked at Crimson’s face and noticed his eyes were directed somewhere else. He looked back to the city and watched the pillaring smoke climb upward and looked where Crimson was looking.
“Crimson… what are you looking at?” Ecanoya asked him, trying to figure out where his eyes were pointed. The smoke from the city continued to blanket the night sky.
Without even looking at him, Crimson replied “The stars are gone.”
Thank you a ton for reading! It would mean a lot to me if you were to comment what you thought about this chapter. And to see the much longer Chapter 2 (70,000 words long to be more precise) follow this link!
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