Chet Flash wuz here Circulation: 126,511,783 Issue: 256 | 8th day of Gathering, Y8
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by dan4884

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"Yeah! Woohoo!"

     The floor of the spaceship shook wildly as the craft shot away from the exploding star. The crew took a collective sigh of relief.

     "Great work, crew!" a white Blumaroo said, slumped in his Captain's chair. "Now we just need to figure out how we got into this mess in the first place. Commander Talinia?"

     An emerald green Eyrie straightened up. "Yes, sir?"

     "Scan the area for any other ships. Lieutenant Mipsy?" Rohane asked again.

     "Aye, Captain?" a bright blue Acara replied.

     "Double check all ship systems and make sure there's no other sabotage. Also check that the ship's computer is running normally," he commanded.

     "Yes, sir!" Mipsy replied, beginning to type on the keyboard in front of her.

     "Lieutenant Velm?" Rohane said when he was satisfied with Mipsy.

     "Sir?" A ruby red Techo replied from a computer to the left of Rohane.

     "Go through our computer logs and see if you can reconstruct what happened. We'll find out who's behind this and they'll pay for it," the Captain ordered.

     "Right away, Sir!"

     Rohane sat in his chair, watching stars and planets whiz by. He sighed. What a long day it had been. "Who knew simulations could be so taxing?" he thought to himself. The final fights against the monster, Terask, were incredibly difficult, and all Rohane wanted now was to get home. He had a nice containment unit on Kreludor, where he had lived his whole life, neighbor to his crew, Velm, Mipsy, and Talinia.

     "Captain!" said Talinia, bringing Rohane out of his thoughts.

     "Yes, commander?" he replied.

     "I've found our location. It seems that we are light-years from home. Whoever brought us here wanted us to be exterminated as far as possible from Neopia, Sir," she said grimly.

     What was going on? Who had done this?

     "Ok, Talinia, thank you. Velm? Any luck?"

     "No, sir. None at all. Our captor covered his tracks well, I'm afraid."

     "Well, keep working. No one can hide from you, Velm," Rohane said.

     "Aye, captain."

     A few minutes later, Velm shouted, "Captain!"

     "What is it?"

     "I've found another virus in our computer! It's erasing everything! I can't get past it nor can I find anything useful."

     "Do we still have our navigational computer, Mipsy?"

     "Yes, it seems fine; however, most of the other systems are offline, including the communication computer. We cannot call for help," the Acara replied after checking.

     "Well, it seems this mystery will have to wait until we return to Kreludor. I'm afraid we'll have to go back into the simulation booths. They're the closest we can get to a hyper sleep. It'll be quite a long ride home, I'm afraid."

     "But sir, isn't it dangerous in there?" Talinia said uncertainly.

     "I'm not sure. We ridded it of the virus earlier, so it should be monster-free now. However, the new virus might add more monsters. We'll just have to see, unfortunately."

     "We can take them," Mipsy said with certainty.

     Rohane chuckled. "We should be able to overtake any foe, yes."

     The captain and his crew were making their way through the metallic hallways from the bridge to the simulation booths. They were exhausted but pressed on nonetheless.

     "See you on the inside, Sir," Velm said. Rohane nodded and hit a switch near the sliding door, hearing it whoosh shut. Making his way over to the chair, he closed his eyes, yawning.

     "What a day," he said to himself. "Now we're going back for more. We must be insane."

     Without looking at the screen, he pushed the button and began to fall into a trance. He was so tired, and the chair he was in was so comfortable...

     ***

     Rohane opened his eyes. He was lying on the ground, on the main pathway of a small village. It looked vaguely familiar, but he couldn't quite put his finger on why. He sat up, groaning. As he became more acquainted with his surroundings, he noticed a crowd was watching him carefully. He groaned slightly and rubbed his temples. Being inserted into a simulation had always been painful. Rohane stood up and dusted off his gilded armor.

     He sauntered over to the crowd. "Hello, can you tell me where I am?" he asked genially.

     "Don't you remember, Sir Rohane?" an Ixi asked anxiously. "Or did the magic erase your memory?"

     "What?" Rohane asked. "How did you know my name?"

     The crowd murmured. "So he doesn't remember," a Draik whispered.

     "Remember what?" Rohane asked, beginning to show some frustration.

     "Pongoras, tell him," a female Lupe urged.

     The Ixi stepped forward and bowed slightly. "Sire, you are in the Village of Trestin. Your home."

     Rohane took a step back. Did he just say home? Rohane's home was on Kreludor. But it all came flooding back. He remembered his "mother," a Blumaroo with pure white skin, and all of the other villagers who had been so nice to him when he had first begun his journey through Neopia.

     "Oh!" he said, surprised. "I remember now."

     The group sighed as one, clearly contented. "We were worried you wouldn't remember anything after arriving in such an... unorthodox way," the Lupess said with a smile on her face.

     "What do you mean? How did I arrive?" Rohane asked.

     "Well, you just appeared, Sir Rohane," Pongoras stated. "You floated a few feet off the ground, as if you were lying in a chair of some sort, and then you fell to the ground. Please, sire, tell us what sort of magic caused this unnatural appearance," the Ixi begged.

     Rohane chuckled. "Why, I just pressed the button, and I-" he caught himself. "I mean, Queen Fyora herself sent me here with a spell," he stammered after some quick thinking.

     "Oh," they sighed. "Please, sire, tell us of your adventures!" the Draik requested.

     "I'd love to, but I would like to see my mother first, if that is ok with all of you." The group nodded firmly, and Rohane bade them goodbye, setting off for his "house." Why he wanted to see his "mother" so bad, he couldn't say. But as he was speaking with the villagers, an urge suddenly appeared inside of him, and he couldn't wait to see her.

     Passing through the small wooden gate, he grinned at the rows of vegetables populating the front yard of the house. He could make out the small signs labeling each row, each vegetable name written in small, flowing script. Pumpkins, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, all were in their neat little rows, not a vine out of place. The plants were still growing, and none of it was ready to be harvested, but it was pretty nonetheless. Her garden was her life, and it showed. Everything was flourishing. Rohane smiled. It was rare for him to see a plant on Kreludor.

     He made his way through the garden to the front porch. As he held up his hand to knock, he hesitated, suddenly nervous. He didn't know his "mother" very well, and it was with a slight twinge of trepidation that he rapped slowly on the door. Would she take him back in? Would she be proud of him? Why did he worry so much? This whole simulation thing was confusing, very confusing.

     The door swung open, and there stood the white Blumaroo that caused all this stress. She gasped slightly, and he hurried in to hug her.

     "Ma," he cried, lifting her off the floor a few inches.

     "Rohane," she said, shocked. "You're--you're home."

     "I'm home, Ma, I'm home."

     Suddenly all of the stress, all of the worry that had plagued him just seconds before melted away. It felt so good to be with someone who loved you, even if it was just a simulation. Life on Kreludor was barren and emotionless, but here, in Trestin, he truly felt at home. Here, with a mother, and a village that knew him, and with the life all around him was where he truly felt at home. And right at that point he knew that he would never leave again. He wouldn't come out of the simulation. For this wasn't just a simulation. This was what Rohane had subconsciously wanted his whole life. Rohane had wanted a home.

     "I'm home, Ma. And I'm never leaving again."

The End

 
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