Where there's a Weewoo, there's a way Circulation: 128,455,649 Issue: 262 | 20th day of Collecting, Y8
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A Break in Memory: Part One


by appaloosa500

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In recent series: (or, For your Information in case my story otherwise makes no sense:)

     DeSoni is an abnormally small yellow Aisha and Neopia Central's favorite Mr. Fix-It-or so everyone thinks. Really, he's an Alien Aisha, Derek Sonix, who had been tragically born without the two extra earstalks that separate Alien Aishas from Neopians. He was an Alien Aisha spy and researcher until his conscience could take no more of the wicked dealings his associates considered commonplace. He turned traitor and gave himself over to the mercy of Queen Fyora. She took pity on the young Alien Aisha and granted him Neopian citizenship, a shop in Neopia Central, and even created a much-needed agency, the Faerie Protection Program, to protect him and others in similar dangerous positions. For a while he worked in the FPP as an actual agent, but as time passed, so did his active participation. He continues, on occasion, to help the FPP in small ways, such as by giving technical advice.

     The breaking point that had completely shattered DeSoni's loyalty to the Alien Aishas had been the misuse of his 'superpower' potion, XGC12, which he'd recently reformulated and tested on his best friend, Rickster_Rocker. A tall and lanky red Ruki, the somewhat shy and nervous Rocky easily became best friends with the slightly eccentric, but undoubtedly genius, little Aisha. Though granted superpowers by XGC12, Rocky tends to forget he has them.

     Khargana is a green Wocky and an ace-detective. She's streetwise, tough, and has nearly unlimited resources when it comes to fact-finding. Kay is her owner, appaloosa500. A human (of course), she teaches at a local Neoschool, is one of the chief advocates Petpet rights, is known to tinker with gadgets and inventions, and has the privilege of being a close friend of Fyora and several other faeries. The two of them now make up DeSoni's adopted Neopian family.

     Recently, the Madam Commander has granted permission to Deanna and Daniel Sonix, DeSoni's parents, to visit him on Neopia. They are respectively an Ambassador and a Head Engineer back on the Alien Aisha homeplanet.

     This story takes place about a week and a half after DeSoni and Rocky's last adventure, in which they tangled with one of DeSoni's worst enemies: Ex-Commander Galba. The huge red Alien Aisha had captured DeSoni (having lured him with one of his closest old friends, a Dr. Kregor Geiger) and been about to experiment on him when Rocky, Khargana, and a few others burst in to rescue the little guy at the last second. But were they too late? Galba had managed to get a spritz of potion on the helpless DeSoni just before being slammed away by a Rocky fully utilizing his super-strength. No one noticed it in all the excitement--even DeSoni didn't spare it a second's notice.

******

DeSoni was in a fantastic mood, happily whistling as he poured two mugs of hot borovan. The light cheery tune wound up and down the musical scale almost haphazardly. He stirred in some cream.

     "Man, Soni, I can't remember seeing you so happy!" laughed a tall, red Ruki, leaning in the kitchen doorway as he waited for his best friend.

     "I don't know if I've ever been so happy, Rocky!" laughed the tiny yellow Alien Aisha, lifting the mugs and hopping down from the chair he'd been standing on to fix the borovan. They companionably left the kitchen to join the rest in the family room.

     "Everything's just perfect," DeSoni added softly, standing for a second to look over the scene. His parents were lounging on the wide sofa across from Khargana and Kay, both in comfortable armchairs. The foursome, his Alien Aisha parents and his Neopian family, were chatting warmly. It was a dream come true for the little Alien Aisha turned Neopian.

     They made for a rather odd group. The green Wocky, Khargana, was dressed in only a suede vest. She was his new big sister, the ace-detective with the rough personality and the calculating mind. The brown-haired, brown-eyed human girl, Kay, was his new owner--appaloosa500. She wore jeans and a T-shirt, much the same as DeSoni but without the tears and stains. DeSoni's Alien Aisha parents wore the typical silver-suit uniforms of Alien Aishas. Rocky was the only normal Neopet, not bothering with clothing.

     DeSoni didn't bother to hide his huge smile as he handed his parents each a mug and sat on a lightweight bamboo bench he'd pulled into the room earlier for just that purpose. Rocky plopped down next to him and they both just sat back to let the conversation flow around them.

     "And the treaties? I heard there was some debate about that last trading agreement," asked Kay, DeSoni's new owner.

     "Oh, absolutely wonderful," answered his mom, Deanna Sonix. "Madam Commander Jierdana has agreed to forego-"

     DeSoni turned his earstalks to listen to Khargana, his green Wocky 'sister', and his dad, Daniel Sonix.

     "So the secret the entire time was hidden in the project's source code? Incredible!" commented Daniel Sonix, all four earstalks perked in interest.

     "Not half as remarkable as what the code led me to! I actually had to purchase a couple potions for underwater breathing, but I eventually came to this hidden underwater trove filled with ancient treasures--and one more recent one," said Khargana slowly, enjoying her story as much as Mr. Sonix.

     "The camouflage cloak?"

     "Yes, sir! So I-"

     DeSoni's smile dropped and he put a paw to his forehead, as if suddenly tired from all the conversation.

     "You okay, Soni?" whispered Rocky, who'd noticed his friend's abrupt movement.

     DeSoni lowered his paw as he heard the worry in his friend's voice. "It's nothing. Just a-ah!" He raised the paw back to his forehead and squeezed his eyes shut.

     Mrs. Sonix and Kay heard DeSoni's yelp and turned. "DeSoni?" queried his mom worriedly.

     "Nuh-nothing," said the tiny Aisha quickly. "Just a headache. I probably stayed up too late last night."

     Mrs. Sonix and Kay nodded as if that made perfect sense and went back to their conversation.

     Rocky put a hefty claw on his friend's shoulder. "You don't fool me, buddy!" he whispered fiercely. "I happen to know you went to bed early last night!"

     "It's nothing! I'm fine!" DeSoni whispered back, then raised his voice. "Uh, mom? Dad?" He yawned widely. "I'm going to go catch a nap upstairs--that okay?"

     "Sure, son," answered Mr. Sonix with a smile.

     "As long as you're down for dinner in an hour," said Mrs. Sonix. "Kay said she's taking us somewhere fancy called 'The Golden Pawkeet,' so don't be late!"

     DeSoni laughed and left the room, quite relieved to hear the conversation resume as he exited. Once he turned the corner to the staircase, it was another story. The tiny Aisha weakly allowed himself to sit on the bottom step and squeeze his head. He gritted his teeth, trying to work out the throbbing ache.

     "C'mon-go away..." he whispered faintly to himself, obviously in pain but trying hard to deal with it.

     "What's wrong?" asked Rocky, unexpectedly following him around the corner. He rushed over when his eyes fell on his upset friend.

     "I'm fine!" said DeSoni angrily, stumbling to his rear paws and grabbing the handrail of the stairs. He started up, then suddenly whimpered as he reached the fourth step. The little yellow Alien Aisha fell to his knees, his paws pressing against his temples.

     "DeSoni! Please--It's me, Rocky! And if you don't tell me what's wrong I'm going to tell the others you're sick!" said the Ruki, rushing over and helping DeSoni back into a sitting position on the staircase.

     "It's just a headache--I can handle it," whispered DeSoni tensely. Suddenly tears sprung to his eyes and he grabbed his head again.

     "Aw, man, Soni--surely we can get a potion to help?"

     DeSoni shakily stood up and climbed a few more steps before stumbling again. Rocky rushed over and supported him.

     "I-I tried," whispered DeSoni weakly. "Three days now," he moaned, clutching his head in pain. "Today's the worst," he mumbled, sounding a little out-of-it. "It comes, it goes, it comes..."

     "That's it! I'm telling Kay and your parents! This is ridiculous--you need help!"

     DeSoni grabbed Rocky's claw as he turned to go back to the family room. "Please, Rocky--I've been waiting so long for today! And things are going so well! Just--just help me to my room. I'll be fine, really!" He dropped Rocky's claw to support his head.

     Rocky chewed his lips in indecision. "Well, okay--but if you don't admit to this migraine or whatever before dinner, or if this continues much longer, I'm telling and we're getting you to the Neohospital whether you like it or not."

     DeSoni weakly nodded in agreement and Rocky scooped up his tiny friend and dashed easily up the stairs and into DeSoni's room, where he plopped the little Aisha in bed.

     "I'll give you half an hour," said Rocky quietly, as he slipped out the room.

     After a minute or so, DeSoni sat up and rubbed his temples feverishly. "As if I have a chance in a billion of falling asleep with this," he groaned, scooting back on the bed to lean against the wall. The best day of his life--getting to spend it with both his parents and his new family, and here he was, hiding in his room so no-one would know something was wrong with him. It had started out so well too; he'd actually been thinking maybe the headaches were gone for good--when that colossal hammer had started pounding in his skull downstairs. At least he'd slipped out before anyone other than Rocky had gotten suspicious. He really wanted today to be perfect for everyone, even if he couldn't enjoy it with them.

     Suddenly the pounding in his head increased nearly double, causing tears to spring to his eyes as he laid down and curled up on top of the covers, cradling his head and just wishing for it to stop already.

     "This can't go on," he whispered weakly to himself, his voice nearly cracking. "Surely it'll stop soon... surely..." The throbbing increased again and DeSoni found himself with tears pouring down his face and taking a mouthful of pillow to keep himself from crying out. Through the throbbing pain, DeSoni realized one thing--it was getting worse, much worse.

******

     Rocky tapped his left feet nervously as he stared at the clock hands ticking second by second. He pretended to be listening politely, even smiling lightly whenever someone glanced his way. Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes... Why couldn't time move faster?

     He focused his super-hearing towards DeSoni's room and caught a whimper. This was ridiculous! The Ruki decided not to wait a minute longer. He got to his four feet, smiled at the others, and slipped out of the room.

     Once he was out of their sight around the corner, he let loose his super-speed and zoomed up to DeSoni's room. He slammed the door open, scared as to what he might see.

     DeSoni was curled in a tiny yellow ball, like a kitten, arms clutched over his head. His shuddering body was such a pale shade of yellow it was nearly white, and his fur was slick with sweat.

     "DeSoni!" cried the red Ruki, dashing forward and putting a comforting claw up against his buddy's quivering back.

     Slowly the small figure uncurled, and, still shuddering, the Aisha turned his eyes to meet the Ruki's.

     Rocky nearly stumbled back at the alien look in those hazy, swollen, red eyes. It... wasn't DeSoni.

     DeSoni clenched his jaw and pushed himself up into a sitting position. He looked down at his clothing--a shabby T-shirt and jeans, same as he always wore-in shock, then turned his face back to meet Rocky's incredulously.

     "Just who are you?"

     "Wh-what?" stuttered Rocky, taken aback.

     "Who are you?" repeated the Alien Aisha, getting to his rear paws. "Although 'what' are you, besides a Neopian, may be a better question."

     Rocky subconsciously took a few nervous steps backward, seriously thinking about shouting for Khargana. A Wocky Detective could come in handy when your best friend loses it, especially if she's that friend's big sister. He gulped and buried the impulse, thinking maybe the headache had just left DeSoni a little confused... or something.

     "It's me, buddy--Rocky. I'm a Ruki; you know that. Are--are you feeling better? Your--your head?"

     DeSoni frowned and brought a paw to his temple. "Not too bad. But I'm still disoriented from my trip over--never mind. Now, why are you calling me DeSoni? And where's my uniform?" He looked back down at his outfit in confusion, then back at Rocky as if not quite believing something.

     "Aw, Neoflakes," groaned Rocky, suddenly realizing what had happened to DeSoni. His little buddy seemed to have readapted his old identity--an undercover espionage/research agent for the Alien Aisha Military.

     "No, seriously," said DeSoni pleasantly. "You don't seem like the kind of guy to run around kidnapping pets. Maybe a case of mistaken identity? That seems most likely. My name's Derek."

     "S-s-s-Sonix?" stuttered Rocky in horror.

     "Yes, actually. How'd you guess?"

     The big red Ruki couldn't stand it anymore. He leaned over, snatched DeSoni up in one arm, slung the little guy over his shoulder, and sped all the way back to the family room.

******

     "Oh my goodness!" shouted Deanna Sonix as Rocky dashed into the room and dropped her son in the middle of the room.

     DeSoni's fur was still a few shades too light and slick from sweat, but he casually stood up and dusted himself off, as if to say 'no harm done'. He suddenly noticed his parents.

     "Mom! Dad! What are you guys doing here? I haven't seen you in ages!"

     "Something's wrong with DeSoni!" said Rocky urgently.

     "Really? I hadn't noticed," said Khargana sarcastically.

     "What's going on? Where am I?" said the small yellow Alien Aisha, staring at his parents and the other occupants of the room. He seemed to be getting wary, of all things.

     "You're in my Neohome," said Kay slowly. The human girl decided to explain further, seeing as that meant nothing to him. "Yours too. You've been living here several months now. Your parents are here because you got special permission from Fyora to have them over."

     "What, on the planet? You must be insane!" He laughed uncertainly. "I only came to Neopia a couple weeks ago! And I'm certainly not on speaking terms with the Faerie Queen herself!"

     Khargana, Rocky, Kay, and Mr. and Mrs. Sonix all groaned.

     "He hasn't even met with Fyora yet, in his mind anyway," said Kay.

     "Forget Fyora," groaned Mrs. Sonix. "He hasn't even designed XGC12!"

     Mr. Sonix cleared his throat. "DeSo-er, Derek? What year is it?"

     "Year 2, of course. They only recently officially reset the Neopian Calendar to better reflect-"

     Mr. Sonix tossed DeSoni his interstellar timepiece, which clearly had a Neopian Year 8 across the top of the screen.

     "Wh-what?" whispered the Alien Aisha in surprise, knowing his father would never lie to him--not deliberately anyway.

     Khargana picked the latest Neopian Times up off the side table and tossed it to her adopted little brother.

     Clearly printed in the corner was the date: 4th day of Relaxing, Y8.

     "Wh-what's going on?" whispered DeSoni in horror, his paws trembling.

     Rocky spoke to the others. "He really went upstairs because he had some sort of migraine. Worse than that, actually--I had to help him up the stairs! When I went up just a minute ago, he was curled up all sweaty and pale and shivering-then he sat up and started acting like he is now!"

     DeSoni pressed a paw against his forehead for a second, then nodded to himself. "Of course--it's another of those ridiculous 'loyalty' tests. Galba must've stashed me in a simulator while I was sleeping."

     "G-Galba?" asked Rocky slowly.

     "Lieutenant Galba, my partner." He suddenly laughed. "Why am I explaining myself to a computer simulation? Come on, Galba--let me out already! We have work to do!" DeSoni turned and started for the front door.

     Khargana got to her paws and blocked his way. "Your 'friend' Galba is in prison back on your homeworld for kidnapping Kregor Geiger and attempting to experiment on you against direct orders from the Madam Commander herself. That was a little over a week ago."

     The little Aisha shivered at the word 'experiment' and met the Wocky's eyes. "No... I--he..." but now he didn't seem so sure of himself.

     She set a paw on each of his shoulders and bent over to be on eye level with him. "You're in there, DeSoni. Come on."

     He met her eyes and, all of a sudden, the old, familiar DeSoni looked back out of them. The small yellow Aisha wobbled as images started flashing through his brain-recent memories triggered by Khar's words...

     Kregor, years older, dressed as a Head Doctor, was chained to a concrete bench in a sort of prison. Galba, tall and erect and wearing a commander's uniform, was glaring at him with a sort of malicious pleasure. There was Rocky, breaking down a door in an Alien Aisha Mission base. He saw himself, laughing and handing Rocky a potion of sorts. Khargana, giving him a file with his name in red letters stamped across the front, along with the words 'ex-agent' and 'top secret'. And there was Kay, opening the door to her Neohome and welcoming him in with a bright smile. His Fix-It Shop--he loved it so much! Fyora, the Faerie Queen; how could he forget all she'd done for him? How could he forget any of them?

     Khargana steadied him.

     "Khargana! It--it can't be," he mumbled, meeting her eyes again. Suddenly terrified, he looked around at everyone watching him. "Something's... I--ahh!" he yelped, falling to his knees and squeezing his head, his eyes tightly closed.

     Deanna Sonix rushed to her son and folded him in her arms. "What's happening to him?!" she pleaded to the others. DeSoni was shaking and trembling uncontrollably, not even aware of the fuss around him.

     "Whatever it is," said Daniel Sonix firmly, worry written all over his face, "it's serious. And it's hurting him." He turned to Khargana, who he knew had several gadgets, tools, and potions stashed in her vest pockets. "Tranquilizer?" he asked.

     Without another word, Khargana pulled a dart from her vest and handed it to him. Mr. Sonix took a deep breath, sat next to his terrified wife and his quaking son-still squeezing his head and now mumbling nonsense to himself-and jabbed DeSoni in the shoulder.

     DeSoni immediately let out a sigh of relief and slowly collapsed. Mrs. Sonix lifted him and laid him on the sofa.

     Mr. Sonix turned to Khargana and Rocky. "Galba attempted to experiment on him, yes? He didn't actually have the chance to do anything to him?"

     Khargana waved an arm in exasperation and lowered her head guiltily. "I was helping Kregor Geiger," she said in an angry, helpless tone. It was an incredible confession, seeing as she prided herself on never missing anything.

     Rocky scratched his antennae, trying to remember the exact sequence of events. "I broke down the wall, Galba was holding some sort of sprayer in DeSoni's face, I saw he was about to pull the trigger, I charged and knocked it from his paws. I was sure I got there in time, but... "

     "But you could be wrong," finished Khargana, frowning thoughtfully. "Sir?" she addressed Mr. Sonix. "Can you contact Kregor from here? Now?"

     He shook his head. "Only from a proper station."

     The Wocky immediately turned to her owner, who had been with Mrs. Sonix, fussing over the unconscious DeSoni. "Kay! Did you ever finish that souped-up communicator DeSoni requested?"

     She nodded. "Yes, but how can DeSoni's old friend help? Even granting that, yes, he is a doctor."

     "The potions Galba had stolen that he was going to use on DeSoni were from Kregor's lab; Kregor told me so himself. Perhaps he knows which potion Galba threatened DeSoni with. If he does, we can know for sure if that's what's affecting him or if it's something else."

     "Excellent idea," approved Mr. Sonix. The others nodded in agreement.

     They all rushed to the laboratory/workshop in the basement to contact Dr. Kregor Geiger.

******

     Kregor Geiger, a slim blue Alien Aisha, was on his knees humming to himself as he watered his herb garden, which was odd considering the way he was dressed. He wore the basic silver uniform, but with a gold collar, signifying his rank as a councilman to the Madam Commander herself. A simple stethoscope was draped around his neck--the only indication that he was a doctor on a short break.

     Of course, if you knew Dr. Geiger that well, you wouldn't think his having an herb garden was weird in the least. He was a sweet, sincere Alien Aisha who loved nothing more than helping others and was always on the lookout for medicines and cures--thus the herbs. Rank, titles, and appearances were nothing to him, and, as is often the case with such people, all three came easily to him and sat comfortably across his shoulders.

     One of the herbs, an unusual one with blue leaves, small purple flowers, and vicious red thorns, suddenly beeped and grew another three inches.

     "*Fzzzt* Geiger. Come in, Kregor Geiger," a somewhat warped, fuzzy voice came from a flower at the top of the herb.

     Kregor let out a sigh of relief as he recognized the voice. "Kay!" he laughed, taking a seat in the dirt of his garden and speaking to the herb-thing. "I should've known anything you sent me would serve a dual purpose. How are Mr. and Mrs. Sonix taking to your Neopian ways?"

     "Just fine, Kregor. They-" Before the human girl's voice finished, Khargana's voice broke in.

     "Kreg? Something's wrong with DeSoni."

     The Blue Alien Aisha sat up straighter. "Der--sorry, DeSoni?! What?!"

     "I think he may have come in contact with one of those experimental potions of yours at our last meeting."

     "But--but I was sure he--"

     "Just listen, Geiger!" scolded the Wocky Detective's voice. "Rocky says he's only just found out DeSoni's been having these pounding migraines for several days now and has been hiding them from us. You know how he is. Only now whatever it was that was giving him those headaches has wiped out his last six or so years here on Neopia!"

     "You don't mean he... he thinks he's an agent again?"

     "I'm not sure--I snapped him out of it, then he had some sort of fit and we tranquilized him. He's asleep on the couch upstairs. But after that attack, I'd say it's very likely he'll forget us again."

     "Oh--by Jierdana!" fretted Kregor, all four of his earstalks drooping. "He could get in so much trouble! What can I do?"

     "Were any of your experimental potions that Galba stole--?"

     "Yes! Of course--Z59B! The one Galba pointed in DeSoni's face--oh no! It was designed as a particularly potent cure for amnesia and trauma patients, but we couldn't get it quite right. Though it helped recover old memories, sure enough, it clouded the present and recent past! If left unchecked-" he gulped, "it completely erases all memories. I was working on it..."

     "What can we do about it, Kreg?" said Khargana, jolting him back to the urgency of the present situation.

     There was a long pause. Then the young doctor spoke.

     "I need to get to Neopia. Call me back in 2 hours."

     Kregor Geiger, the young councilman and Head Doctor, got to his rear paws and, heedless of the dirt and debris clinging to his suit, ran off.

     He needed to speak with the Madam Commander. Now.

******

     DeSoni gradually came to in an empty room, lying on a sofa. His head was pounding, but he sat up anyway and slipped onto his paws.

     Where am I? he thought. My cover can't possibly be blown already! The small Alien Aisha looked around. No, it couldn't be that--no guards. He was free to go whenever he wanted. But... what? Something was missing here...

     He put a paw to his aching head. Maybe he blacked out. Or he had met with a gang leader who'd decided he didn't want to negotiate with the Alien Aishas after all. Either way, obviously a normal, kindhearted Neopian had taken him in for the night or whatever.

     He headed for the front door, then paused just in the entryway. He really should say goodbye or something and thanks. But they might question him. And headquarters would be waiting for his report.

     And so, completely oblivious to current circumstances and living six years in the past, DeSoni--again Derek Sonix--walked straight out of the Neohome of appaloosa500, his owner.

To be continued...

Author's Note: Sorry it took me so long! And thanks a ton to everyone who neomailed me asking to know what the potion did to DeSoni. As usual, neomail me with questions, comments, ideas, or just because. Thanks to scarrift for helping me with the title!

 
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