A Break in Memory: Part Five
Previously: Khargana's plan works and she discovers where DeSoni is. Despite
the flyboy Manny's warning of sky pirates in the area, she insists they leave
at once. Almost as soon as things start, XP and C2's plan heads downhill when
one of C2's nemeses, a criminal informant named Hardy, takes the seat next to
XP and - thinking him C2 - orders him into a blind section as soon as they land. XP
follows orders, then turns the tables on Hardy, swiftly and efficiently taking
him out of commission and firing him with his own blaster. C2 watches in awe from
above, then dashes off to get the antidote from Kregor Geiger. XP is chased by
two heavies, but makes it to safety and attends the meeting with the Madam Commander,
making good C2's alibi. C2 collects the antidote. Kregor Geiger contacts Mr. and
Mrs. Sonix to assure them the antidote is on its way. They're relieved, but anxious
about DeSoni himself. Back on the Alien Aisha homeplanet, XP expects an ambush
but is unprepared for the intelligence of the attack itself. He soon discovers
the green Alien Aisha criminal he thought he'd taken out is perfectly all right
and, worse yet, wants to know who XP is and why he's posing as C2. Mr. and Mrs.
Sonix contact Khargana and Rocky, whose flyer is busy dodging shots from two sky
pirates. Khargana skillfully dispatches the pirates and makes plans with the Sonixes
to meet them on Main Street.
C2 knocked on the door to appaloosa500's Neohome and
a human girl opened it. She must be DeSoni's owner, known to her friends as
Kay. She looked slightly depressed, but that was understandable.
"Special delivery from Kregor Geiger!" he said
cheerfully, handing her the bag. "He said to mix it in a glass of water and
make the patient drink the whole thing."
"Thank you very much," Kay said with the beginnings
of a smile. She'd obviously been waiting for the antidote.
"Good day!" he said happily. He saluted, turned,
and ran off. He wanted to get back to the Space Station ASAP to meet XP as he
got off the ship.
DeSoni had a dull ache in the back of his mind.
He set down the blaster he was working on and massaged his temples. Something
wasn't right. He was missing something... or forgetting something. Something
He closed his eyes and tried to remember. There
was something... no, there wasn't. And all this trying to remember what simply
wasn't there was making his head hurt even more.
Was something wrong with him? Maybe he was just
tired. Or maybe he had a concussion or something from whatever had led to him
being passed out on that Neopian's couch.
The thought of that sofa, of that room, suddenly
gave him a pang of longing. Almost homesickness. He could just imagine living
there... Yeah. He'd have an owner. A girl. With long brown hair and a calming
voice. And a sister! Oh, wouldn't it be great to have an older sister? Someone
to tease and bicker with, but that you knew deep down would always love you
and protect you to the last fiber of her being?
He suddenly had an image of the green Wocky from
earlier; the one who he'd by chance remembered handing him the micro-stunner.
He pulled out the remarkable little gadget and stared at it.
Why would he think of someone like that now?
When he was daydreaming, taking a break from a mountain load of repairs? He
didn't even know who the Wocky was. A picture, nothing more. Of course, there's
no depth to a daydream.
The little yellow Aisha got back to work.
C2 watched every passenger get off the return
ship - and no XP. The blue Aisha sighed and folded his arms impatiently. Where
was he? That lab-pet couldn't have taken another ship. One, there was no reason
to. And two, that would just be plain rude. He should know C2'd be waiting for
He thought about it, and the more he thought
about the more he realized XP wouldn't have taken a different ship. It was totally
against that crazy agent's nature to stay on a mission after he'd already accomplished
his goal. For goodness' sake, the nut went and changed gender and species when
he finished a mission so he wouldn't be traced. Why would he hang around on
the Alien Aisha homeworld? Especially when doing so meant pretending to be C2.
C2 swung down from the top of the luggage pile
he'd been sitting on and rushed into the ship when no one was looking. Sure
enough, it was completely empty. No XP.
The blue Aisha frowned and plopped into one of
the chairs, thinking. What could have happened? It wasn't like Hardy could've
caused any more trouble; XP had shot him.
It came back in a rush. Charge displacement uniforms.
Hardy's gang had them; of course he was wearing one! Which meant he was by no
means out of the picture - and XP couldn't possibly have known! He ran off the
ship, looked around desperately, and spotted an Alien Aisha cruiser. Nobody
was near it, and a mechanic had given him a crash course a couple months ago.
Of course he was still in hot water with the
Space Faerie for crashing one of engineer's cruisers just a week or so ago.
And stealing an Alien Aisha cruiser certainly wouldn't help him mend the situation.
Whatever. XP was in trouble and it was his fault
for not warning him.
He ran over, flipped the top open, climbed aboard,
and played with some wires under the control panel. He lowered the top, the
engine roared to life, and C2 took off.
While being dragged along, XP gathered the names
of his captors. The one he'd knocked out earlier was respectfully referred to
as Hardy by his henchmen. The large white Alien Aisha holding him was Blanco
and the other, a shady purple Alien Aisha, was named Marx.
They reached some sort of park. It was actually
very pretty, with trees and flowers and shrubs and lampposts. It was still afternoon,
but everyone was either working or at school. It was completely deserted. Normally
XP would've loved it.
Not today though. What wouldn't he give for someone,
anyone, to come walking down the path...
Blanco yanked XP over to one of the thick lampposts
and shoved him against it. He relaxed his painfully tight grip for a split second
and XP shifted and bit his arm hard.
Blanco yelled and let go, and XP nearly escaped.
Except Marx, the purple one, grabbed him the instant Blanco released his hold.
The blue Aisha knew what was coming if he didn't get away - any undercover agent
would know - so he fought like a feral Kougra. Marx wasn't nearly as tough as
"Stop him!" Hardy shouted at a whimpering Blanco,
pointing to a kicking, biting, punching blur on which Marx's grip was slipping.
The big, white guy set down his bitten paw to
grab the Neopian around the waist and slam him against the lamppost. For a moment,
XP was too stunned to move, and Blanco used that moment to pull his arms behind
the lamppost and clamp them in place with his solid paws.
XP let out a sound half-groan, half-growl. He'd
almost gotten away! Marx certainly wouldn't have been able to hold onto him
another second! So close, and all he'd actually accomplished was making Marx
hate his guts. That he could do without.
"Nice try," remarked Hardy, grinning nastily.
XP ignored him completely and Hardy gestured.
Marx swung and smashed a fist into XP's stomach. Maybe he wasn't as strong as
Blanco, but it was enough to bash the breath out of the blue Neopian Aisha.
XP would've collapsed to the ground there and
then, if not for Blanco's mighty paws, still holding him in place as solidly
as if he was chained to the lamppost. As it was, he gasped in pain and lost
all self-support of his legs. He wanted to double-up on the ground, but Blanco's
grip was too tight...
"Who are you?"
XP narrowed his eyes stubbornly.
Hardy gestured again and Marx punched the side
of XP's head.
XP had always thought all those stories about
stars flashing before your eyes were garbage. Something started by people reading
too many comics in the NT. But he sure saw sparks of color and light as the
fist connected and his vision swam.
"And why is someone as talented as you covering
for a wimpy tattletale like that Agent C2?"
XP didn't answer. Marx swung.
Mr. and Mrs. Sonix were waiting when the flyer
Khargana swiftly climbed out, leaving the goggles
with Manny, and pulled out her wacky locator scroll, immediately falling into
conversation with the two Alien Aishas.
Rocky more slowly, and somewhat unsteadily, climbed
"Nice meeting you, Rocky! See ya, Khar! And I
still say you'd make one great flygirl! I dunno 'bout your friend though..."
The blue Kacheek waved goodbye and took off. Khargana barely even noticed, already
pointing out to Mr. and Mrs. Sonix where DeSoni should still be.
"I'm never getting in a flyer again," mumbled
Rocky shakily, eyes half-closed in relief of being back on the ground. "Sky
pirates. Ah, man..." He tore his eyes from the retreating flyer to attend to
DeSoni's parents and Khargana.
Mrs. Sonix tapped the location with a forepaw.
"I think I know this place. Secret Base E57, if I'm right. It was disabled shortly
after DeSoni left. I believe I read it in a report."
"That would perfectly explain DeSoni's going
there," said Khargana firmly. She rolled the scroll, shrunk it, and slipped
it into a vest pocket. "Hopefully he's still there. If not, at least we have
a starting point. Let's go."
XP wasn't being held against the lamppost anymore,
mainly because the threat of him getting away was quite a ways gone. Bruised,
battered, and unconscious, he was flopped over on the ground between Hardy,
the green Alien Aisha, and his two henchmen.
"I don't get it," growled the purple Alien Aisha,
Marx, massaging his left fist. "Why wouldn't he talk?"
Hardy scowled, spite written all over his face.
"He was insulting me. Like spitting in my face. By refusing to answer, he was
saying I couldn't get him to do anything no matter what I did."
Blanco, the huge white Alien Aisha, frowned doubtfully.
"But everyone has their breaking point."
Marx shook his head in annoyance. "I gave him
all I got. Lousy Neopian."
"There must be something," wondered Hardy.
"We don't even know his real name, let alone
what he is," growled Marx.
"Tie him up," ordered Hardy to Blanco, who nodded
and pulled a length of rope out.
The huge white Alien Aisha shifted the limp body
and pulled his arms around to bind them behind him. XP groaned and blinked open
Hardy knelt to meet those eyes. They were clouded
from pain and fatigue, but an uncompromising stubbornness and intellect still
flickered through. XP was nowhere near his breaking point.
Blanco finished securing XP's arms and tied his
rearpaws together. The blue Aisha fell back into exhausted and pained unconsciousness.
The green Alien Aisha, the clever informant C2
had exposed, thoughtfully got back up and dusted off the legs of his suit.
"We'll take him to the hideout. And we'll get
him to tell us who he is, where C2 is, and what he was doing here. If it turns
out he's someone important-"
Marx grinned cruelly and finished. "Then we suck
him dry of every Neopian secret he's got."
Rocky, Khargana, and Mr. and Mrs. Sonix soon
came to the entrance of E57. Mr. Sonix opened the control panel and flicked
a switch. Instantly the doors hissed open.
Khargana and Rocky went on in, but before Mrs.
Sonix could follow, her husband grabbed her paw to hold her back.
"Deanna, dear? Would you do something for me?"
Mrs. Sonix turned in concern to look at her husband.
His face was tense and worried.
"Honey?" she inquired.
"I- I can tell Der- sorry, DeSoni was here."
He gestured at the panel, which obviously had been tampered with. "But it's
"Daniel? What is it?"
"Would you wait out here, love? Please? I'll
come get you after we secure everything."
Mrs. Sonix smiled. "Don't worry, Daniel. There's
nothing to fret about an abandoned base."
Mr. Sonix pleaded with her with his eyes, squeezing
She sighed good-humoredly. "Okay. Okay, honey.
But don't keep me waiting! I'm just as anxious as you are about our son."
Mr. Sonix smiled in relief and rushed ahead to
join Khargana and Rocky.
Khargana was waiting just inside the entrance
and she quickly put a paw to her lips once Mr. Sonix caught up, gesturing for
him to keep quiet. Then she motioned him inward and pointed at some tracks in
the dust on the floor. Rocky was bent over, examining them.
"DeSoni was here. Is, if this is the only
entrance, which I somehow doubt, so never mind. He was involved in a struggle."
The Wocky Detective pointed to where the dust was all churned up. "And he lost,
not surprisingly. Has he ever won a fight?" She examined the prints for a second
more before continuing. "He was tied up, but then just as soon released." The
green Wocky bent and lifted a section of rope.
Khargana sighed and tossed aside the length of
rope, turning to face Mr. Sonix. "My guess," she began, "is whoever it was noticed
his plight and decided to take advantage of him. Likely he was recognized."
Mr. Sonix nodded. It made perfect sense. Khargana
motioned to Rocky to lead the way as they followed the pawprints in the dust.
The red Ruki had to use his super-vision to follow
the faint prints. As they got further into the secret base, they got harder
to see. Spyderwebs clung to the corners and the air smelled musty. The light
Eventually they came to a large panel in the
wall. The footprints led right up to it and stopped.
"A dead end?" asked Mr. Sonix.
"Can't be," mumbled Khargana, setting her paws
against the panel to examine it closer.
Rocky focused his super-vision and narrowed in
on a hairline crack between the panel and the rest of the wall. "A secret passageway!"
he whispered in awe. Khargana stepped back and he began looking for the way
to open it.
The green Wocky sighed impatiently. "Just yank
the whole thing out. This is no time to worry about damaging abandoned property."
Rocky dug his claws into the crack and yanked.
Thanks to his super-strength, the whole panel easily popped open and fell to
the ground with a loud clank that made the threesome flinch. They waited for
a second, but there was no sound to indicate they'd been noticed.
Mr. Sonix bent to look it over. "Hmm. You tore
this side with the hinges right off, and the bolt on the other side just snapped."
He laughed suddenly. "Oh well, we're in."
Rocky smiled nervously, embarrassed over letting
the panel fall. He still didn't know his own strength, all these months down
the line. "Compliments of DeSoni's XG12C," he said.
"Really?" said a mysterious voice. "Then we'd
better incapacitate you first."
Suddenly, three black-suited Alien Aishas dropped
from where they'd been hiding near the ceiling.
The electric-colored Alien Aisha landed directly
on Rocky's back and set his paws on Rocky's head. Before the Ruki could swipe
him off, a tremendous electrical surge zipped from his head to the tips of his
four feet. He wobbled, then collapsed.
The fire Alien Aisha had roughly taken ahold
of Mr. Sonix from behind. "Wait!" he shouted, before crying out and falling
to his knees in pain as the Aisha's tight paws turned to fire and burnt straight
through his uniform's sleeves to his paws.
Khargana whipped around, detracting her claws,
just in time to fling aside the shadow Alien Aisha that had leaped at her. But
it disappeared before she could follow up the attack.
"Where are you?" growled the Wocky, her keen
eyes searching the dimly lit corridor. Where had it gone?
Suddenly a net appeared out of nowhere and flew
over the detective's head. Khargana tried to yank it off, but the Alien Aisha
reappeared and grabbed the ends, then suddenly dashed backwards. Khargana tumbled
over and the shadow Alien Aisha had the ends tied in a tight knot in no time
Khargana clawed and fought the plastic-like net,
which easily withstood everything she could dish out, entangling her worse in
the process. To the Wocky's horror, it also seemed to have shrunk, pressing
tightly against her frame on all sides. She gave up fighting, knowing it was
"Who are you?" growled Khargana. "Where's DeSoni?"
"They're the Mega Three," gasped Mr. Sonix painfully.
"You know them?" asked the pretty voice they'd
first heard. A pink Alien Aisha appeared. She eyed Mr. Sonix thoughtfully, then
brightened in recognition and laughed. "Daniel Sonix! The Chief Engineer back
on our homeplanet - what a pleasant surprise."
"AND Terramina Galba!" exclaimed Mr. Sonix, even
more surprised then her.
"Miss Mina Galba, to you," said the Alien Aisha
"Galba?" asked Khargana angrily, sensing a connection
even from where she lay on the floor entwined in net.
"The ex-commander's spoiled baby sister," Mr.
Sonix practically spat. He hissed in pain as the fire Alien Aisha tightened
her grip around his burnt wrists.
The pink Alien Aisha looked insulted, but it
quickly cleared to a look of triumph. "If you're looking for Derek, he's busy
at the moment," she said sweetly. Her tone shifted to one of command. "Lock
C2 flew the stolen cruiser all the way to the
roof of what he knew was Hardy's hideout. Or at least what had been before he'd
been busted, but then Hardy wasn't one to change things.
Hardy had his sources, he had his methods, he
even had his list of Neopians and Alien Aishas he'd sell information too. C2
was willing to bet he still used all of them. You know what they say: if it
ain't broke, don't fix it. From what he'd been told, Hardy had been operating
for years when he, C2, had finally broken his cover and handed him over to the
Chances are, if Hardy had caught XP - which, at
this point, wasn't really an 'if' - he would've questioned him and brought him
C2 remembered the nervous, jittery lab-pet polishing
Fyora's desk, shaking his leg, tapping his armrests. The poor guy didn't stand
He flipped open the roof flap and lowered himself
silently into the attic of the old house.
Then he began wondering. He remembered the strength
in XP's gaze when he said he'd do anything to help his old partner, DeSoni.
His sureness in insisting very few were worthy of trust. The ease with which
he'd dispatched Hardy earlier. It all spoke of an experience at odds with his
C2 crept through the attic and slowly slid aside
the panel leading to the main house. There was a voice speaking, but it was
muffled. He dropped to the floor and pressed himself against the wall.
He knew he should've handled this himself!
Then XP would still be off on secret missions for the Faerie Protection Program
... and he would be Hardy's captive. He would've
been caught that first time, never gotten DeSoni's antidote and still been in
even more hot water for missing the Madam Commander's meeting. He owed XP a
lot at this point.
The young blue Aisha crept down the hall and
came to a railing. He was on the second floor, the staircase just ahead. The
muffled voice was clearer now, and definitely Hardy's. Hah! He'd known Hardy
wouldn't change hideouts!
C2 carefully snuck up to the railing on all fours,
keeping close to the dusty floor, and peeked through the bars. There they were!
XP was tied to an old-fashioned wooden chair,
barely conscious from the looks of it. Hardy was leaning in his face and seemed
to have just finished what'd he'd been saying. He turned on his heel and stomped
out of the room.
C2 climbed up on top of the railing and leapt
down, landing softly just behind XP's chair.
XP's two earstalks twitched and he turned his
head to try see over his shoulder, but C2 was positioned too far. He gave up
and let his head sag forward weakly.
"XP? You okay, man?" whispered C2, coming around.
He gulped, seeing XP's bruised and beat-up body.
XP lifted his head to glare at C2 in disbelief.
"Get out of here," he whispered weakly, though his eyes were still hard.
"Not without you!" insisted C2 in a whisper.
"I got you into this mess and-"
"No! Get out - now!" ordered XP harshly, but his
delivery lacked strength.
"If I remember correctly, Fyora put me in charge,"
said C2 softly, pointing the ends of his "A" collar at the rope binding and
pressing a hidden button at the top. A laser shot out and sliced through the
C2 quickly pulled it off and helped XP up.
"You don't understand," whispered XP weakly.
"The Madam Commander... she'll know you... didn't take the flight. We need a...
a reason. This... works."
"What are you talking about, XP?"
XP groaned and nearly slid right out of C2's
C2 fumbled to support XP's dead weight and clicked
another button on his collar. A secret compartment in the "A" popped open and
a vial slid out. C2 handed it to XP.
"Healing Potion XVIII, my favorite. Drink up."
XP took it in his own paw and swigged it whole.
In a second the bruises began fading and XP didn't need C2's support.
"Listen, C2 - we can't blow your cover now! You
stay here. I'll send an anonymous tip to the Madam Commander that that Hardy
fellow captured you."
"What?!" gulped C2. "Do you know what these guys
will do to me?"
XP stared for a second, then threw back his head
and laughed loudly.
Of course the noise startled Hardy and his henchmen,
who quickly rushed back into the room.
XP wasn't the least alarmed. "Know what they'd
do to you? In light of current circumstances, I should say so!" He chuckled,
then turned a perfectly cool face to the three bad guys.
Blanco and Marx were staring in wonder at the
two nearly identical blue Neopian Aishas. Same color, same height, both lithe
and athletic. The only difference was their expressions - C2 looked scared stiff
and XP amazingly calm and unruffled.
Hardy's eyes latched eagerly onto C2. "Finally,"
he whispered darkly, stepping forward.
XP smoothly stepped between C2 and Hardy. "You
know, I really hate old houses like this. Absolutely filthy, crawling with germs,
no security whatsoever, and the worst possible danger of all." He turned to
wink at C2 while Hardy paused to try figure out what he could possibly be getting
"They're absolute fire hazards," XP concluded.
He stared hard at an ancient wooden end table next to Blanco and it burst into
flames. An alarm began blaring and the giant white Alien Aisha ran shrieking
from the room.
Marx ran back into the kitchen and came back
quickly with several rags which he began ineffectually trying to use to beat
out the fire. Hardy looked from the table to XP in shock.
"Tell me, C2, how long before someone responds
to a fire alarm around here?" asked XP casually.
"Not more than two minutes."
"Then you'd best start coming up with a story
for the Madam Commander."
"What are you?" gasped Hardy, staring
at XP in horror and fear.
"A Neopian," he answered simply.
Hardy's expression turned harsh. Sirens were
suddenly heard in the background, getting louder by the second. "I'll get you
for this," he growled.
"You'll have to find me first," was XP's calm
As the sirens got louder and closer, Marx lost
his nerve and ran off, terrified of being caught. The end table got knocked
over in the process, but the floor was stone and grout, not likely to catch
on fire. There was still plenty of smoke and flames to keep the alarm wailing,
and it was just a matter of time before the rest of the house caught on fire.
The walls, ceiling, trim, and furniture were all wooden.
Hardy suddenly dashed towards XP, fists at the
ready. The FPP agent ducked aside at the last second. Hardy charged again, again
XP ducked aside.
The green Alien Aisha was raging now. He threw
himself so hard and so fast against XP the third time, he didn't notice the
blue Aisha had been standing in front of one of the walls. XP stepped aside,
and Hardy crashed and fell to the ground, unconscious.
"Transport?" asked XP to a very impressed C2.
"Um - cruiser. On the roof."
"I guess that's it, then." XP nodded and turned
to leave. There were loud noises outside and banging on the door off in the
kitchen - whoever passed for fire response on the Alien Aisha homeworld had
"Wait! XP, how did you do that?" asked C2, gesturing
at the still - flaming end table.
XP smiled. "Don't ever underestimate working
for faeries, though I guess with you under the Space Faerie it may be slightly
different. Remember the uber fire faerie is the head of the FPP? That was a
very special 'fiery gaze' at full strength. No Alien Aisha would see a Neopian
faerie - blessed ability coming."
"Will I ever see you again?" asked C2, eyes hopeful.
"Probably not," answered XP, starting up the
"Then thank you. And - I'm sorry about what I said.
You know, back in Fyora's office?"
XP hesitated, then turned back with a slight
The door back in the kitchen burst in from the
efforts of the Alien Aisha Emergency Response Team. The next time C2 glanced
back toward the stairs, XP was long gone.
To be continued...
That's about it for the C2/XP plotline, but don't think I'm done with them
yet! XP has a vital part to play at the climax and C2 returns at the ending - - but
I'm not saying any more! Thanks for getting this far - - only three more parts
to go! Sorry it's so long, but would you rather the plotline not be as good?
Neomail me with comments, and in case you forgot, C2 is owned by legoman8000.