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A Break in Memory: Part Six


by appaloosa500

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Previously: C2 leaves the antidote with Kay and rushes back to meet up with XP as he gets off the return flight to Neopia from the Alien Aisha homeworld. DeSoni has a fleeting memory of Khargana, but dismisses it as fantasy. C2 waits pointlessly for an XP that hasn't returned, eventually looking for him himself, then remembers that Hardy was wearing a special charge-displacement uniform. Realizing XP is in grave danger, he steals an Alien Aisha cruiser and sets off for the Alien Aisha homeworld. XP tries to escape but it unsuccessful. Khargana and Rocky meet up with Mr. and Mrs. Sonix. XP is taken to Hardy's hideout. Khargana, Rocky, and the Sonixes get to the secret base, but Mrs. Sonix, at her husband's request, waits outside. Khargana, Rocky, and Mr. Sonix follow a set of faint footprints deeper into the base and are ambushed. All three are captured. On the bright side, C2 finds XP, releases him, and heals him with a potion. XP cleverly sets off an alarm by starting a small fire, Hardy's henchmen run away, and Hardy, enraged, charges at XP, ultimately crashing into a wall and collapsing. C2 and XP mutually apologize for their earlier judgments of each other, although XP says at C2's inquiry that they probably will never see each other again. The Alien Aisha Emergency Response Team arrives and XP slips out without notice.

     ******

The Mega Three escorted Chief Engineer Daniel Sonix, Ace-Detective Khargana, and superpowered Rocky down to the holding cell. Well, 'escorted' may be the wrong term for it.

     Brandy, the fire Alien Aisha, was grinning nastily and prodding Mr. Sonix forward, kicking the backs of his rear paws every few steps. The electric Alien Aisha, Volt was huffing with exertion while dragging the tall, strong, completely unconscious Ruki by two of his four feet. Secret, the mysterious shadow Alien Aisha, was calmly dragging the ends of the net Khargana was wound in, while the Wocky ineffectively continued her efforts to try slice through the resistant netting with her claws.

     They reached the cell and were roughly shoved or dragged in, a force field zipping up to lock them inside once the Mega Three stepped out of the cell's boundaries. Without a second glance, the three Alien Aishas exited.

     Mr. Sonix sighed and looked down at his scorched wrists. The fur was black and the skin stung painfully. He huffed and sat down on the bare cement floor.

     Khargana broke the silence. "How's Rocky? And can you get me out of this thing?" she asked, still messing with the netting.

     "He'll be fine. Volt's charges never last more than a few hours, and usually less than a few minutes. And I'm afraid the only way out of one of those nets is with a level 2 blaster or an open flame. I'm sure Secret's got another way, but she sure isn't telling."

     Khargana gave up sawing at the net and retracted her claws. After some struggling she managed to sit up, a huge improvement from lying prone on stomach. She seemed to be trying to maneuver her paws into her vest pockets, but the net pressed too tightly against her.

     "Just how well do you know these Mega Three?" she asked.

     "They're perhaps one of the biggest menaces from our homeworld, or they would be if they applied themselves to something. They're known for being rather lazy and small time, petty theft and the like. Brandy, Volt, and Secret - it's easy to link the name with which Alien Aisha, considering the way they're colored. Before you ask, I don't know how they gained their abilities."

     "What can you tell me about them?"

     "Brandy's the mean one. She likes to hurt people, thinks crime is fun, I'm sure you know the type. Secret's quiet and mysterious, always with a few tricks up her sleeve. She may be mute; as far as I know, no-one's ever heard her talk. Volt's actually supposed to be something of a nice guy with a mischievous streak."

     "What about Galba's sister? That Terramina?"

     "I've heard she goes by Mina, actually. And she's big time. Was one of the top spies in the Alien Aisha Military before it was discovered she was responsible for several thefts of what would have been scientific breakthroughs. Undoubtedly she did more than that, though; she's just too smart and good at what she does to get caught. She must've hired the Mega Three for something..."

     Khargana thought about it, then suddenly shook her head. "Interesting, but we have more important matters. Namely, your wife."

     Mr. Sonix suddenly jerked to attention. "Deanna! I'd forgotten - she's still waiting outside!"

     "I don't suppose there's any chance she thought to bring along that two-way timepiece communicator?" asked the green Wocky.

     Mr. Sonix frowned. "She might have. It's the sort of thing she'd remember. But can you reach yours?"

     "What do you think I've been trying to get at?" grumbled Khargana, trying again to reach a pocket. She growled in exasperation. "I can't move my paws enough. They might as well be glued in place, this stupid net's so tight. Could you get a paw through to it? Inner, left. The one nearest the hem."

     Mr. Sonix tried to squirm a paw in one of the gaps of the net, but yelped in pain as the netting scraped against his tender wrists. He reflexively yanked his paws back and gritted his teeth to try again. Before he did, though, Rocky groaned.

     Khargana and Mr. Sonix turned and the red Ruki slowly sat up. His large eyes were fuzzy for a second, but he shook his head and they cleared. "What happened?" he asked, looking around at the small, gray room, the force field blocking them in, the funny way Mr. Sonix held his paws, and the net Khargana was stuck in.

     Khargana quickly gave him a run-down of what he missed, ending with an impatient, "Now, for Fyora's sake! Get me out of this thing!"

     Rocky grabbed the netting between his claws and pulled. Nothing. It didn't even stretch. "Wow-tough stuff," he commented.

     The Wocky growled. Rocky correctly interpreted that as a "Hurry up or you'll regret it!" and got a tighter grip on the net. Then, using his enormous super-strength, heaved it apart with all his might. It still didn't break or tear, but it gradually began to stretch.

     As it loosened, Khargana was able to free her paws and help Rocky - though, as tough as she was, she knew it was the Ruki doing all the work.

     After several long minutes, Khargana was able to squeeze through one of the stretched out holes in the net. Her fur was bushy from a combination of anger, humiliation, and exertion. The Wocky shook herself like a Lupe and her fur mostly settled down.

     "There's an experience I never want to repeat," she commented tensely, stretching a few times and flicking her still-bushy tail in annoyance.

     "The timepiece?" asked Mr. Sonix, anxious to hear from his wife.

     As if she hadn't heard him, Khargana reached into a different, specially lined, pocket and pulled out a vial. She handed it to him. "Healing Potion. You'd be much handier to have around with full use of your paws."

     Mr. Sonix laughed, popped the cork, and drank the small potion. Instantly, the burns disappeared from his wrists and his fur grew back, good as new, though naturally his sleeves were still charred.

     "Faerie magic," he chuckled. "I never fully appreciated why you Neopians are so reliant on it. Nothing like this back on our homeworld."

     Khargana meanwhile had motioned Rocky to look over the force field while she took out the communicator and called Mrs. Sonix.

     Deanna Sonix answered on the first buzz.

     "Where are you guys?" she whispered fearfully.

     "Good news, DeSoni's here," said Khargana, watching Rocky as he scanned the force field and the walls on either side with his super-vision, trying to find a weakness, crack, or gap of some sort. He finished and shook his head. Khargana motioned him to look over the rest of the room.

     "Bad news," she continued, "so's this Mina Galba and a bunch called the Mega Three. Guess who we ran into first? We got jumped and are trapped in some sort of cell blocked off by a force field."

     "Oh dear," fretted Mrs. Sonix. "I read a briefing on those holding cells. They're designed to be inescapable, from the inside anyhow."

     Rocky backed up a few feet, then burst forward so fast he was a blur. He slammed the point of his shoulder against the wall, but nothing happened. On closer examination, there was a small dent. His mouth dropped open in astonishment. It should've crumbled! He'd crashed through cement walls before, easy.

     "Apparently you're right," sighed the detective. "Would a particle phase level 6 blaster be able to break through the force field?"

     "I don't know, but surely you don't have one of those on you."

     Mr. Sonix stared as Khargana pulled out just such a weapon from a pocket and tossed it to him. "You're probably the best guy to try," she commented casually.

     "It is fairly easy to break into such cells from outside. It's the main flaw with the internal pressure equalizer they use around the cell to redistribute - never mind. I could try to get in to get you guys out."

     Mr. Sonix had aimed the blaster at the exact center of the field and fired. Nothing happened. He sighed and tried in a few more places known to be weak points in force fields. Nothing. He glanced at the Wocky Detective and shook his head sadly.

     "You'd just get caught like us. What we really need is to find DeSoni. Is there any unmonitored way you could find and contact DeSoni? Air ducts, maintenance shafts?"

     The yellow Alien Aisha engineer brightened. "I believe this type of base has both, combined. They were called, rather unimaginatively, maintenance ducts. If Deanna could find the outside vent-"

     "Did you hear that, Mrs. Sonix?"

     "Yes."

     "Okay, find DeSoni first. And try figure out what they're planning while you're at it."

     "And don't get caught!" warned Mr. Sonix, the worry as clear on his face as in his voice.

     Rocky, who'd given up trying to bash their way out of the room, shuddered at the thought. If Mrs. Sonix was caught then they'd really be in trouble.

     "I'll try," said Mrs. Sonix bravely. The link ended and Khargana flicked the red button to turn off the device. Then she tossed it to Mr. Sonix, correctly assuming he'd feel better if he had a means of contacting his wife, even if not the opportunity to use it. He smiled in thanks and slipped it in one of his silver uniform's pockets.

     "What are our chances, Mr. Sonix?"

     He sighed. "Zero. Not even with this baby." He held the blaster out to return it to the detective.

     "Keep it," said Khargana. "I rarely use blasters. Rocky?"

     The red Ruki lowered his head and shook it miserably. It'd been a long time, pre-superpowers, since such a small thing as a wall had stood in his way. But most walls aren't designed incorporating Alien Aisha technology.

     "Just as well," sighed the Wocky. "If we're so absolutely out of their way, hopefully Mrs. Sonix can slip in without notice."

     ******

     Mrs. Sonix, from the words, "I'll try," had resolutely disconnected the communicator and started examining the sides of the entrance. Her husband was far better than her at the newer maintenance pathways, but she was his equal at the older bases. She had been a Chief Engineer as well until only about a year ago when she had been honored with the appointment of Ambassador to Neopia.

     There! She almost laughed with delight as she spotted the old vent cover.

     Deanna Sonix rushed over and pulled on the cover. It was old and rusted and, to her relief, popped right off. She got down on all fours and crawled into the small shaft.

     ******

     DeSoni, or Derek Sonix, I should say, was daydreaming again. It had been a long day-or he assumed it had been, since it'd been well into the afternoon when he'd woken up from whatever.

     His headache was pounding again, and he'd been bothered with some silly pictures of his mom, as an ambassador of all things! To the Space Station! She looked older too, but she was still beautiful. How silly - his mom was a Chief Engineer back on their homeplanet, working alongside his dad. His dad...

     He couldn't help wondering how his dad felt about him now. They'd fought so often growing up, but since he had left for college things had been a little better. Not that they were really on speaking terms, but the atmosphere was slightly less tense. When he'd visited his parents just before leaving for Neopia - when was that? A couple weeks ago? One week? A month? Wow, his brain was really fuzzy... Anyway, neither of his parents had been too happy with his assignment. But whereas his wonderful mother had kissed him goodbye and wished him the best, his dad had frowned doubtfully and repeated that going to Neopia was a bad idea.

     Of course... his dad hadn't been far wrong. His partner, Lieutenant Galba, had never warmed up to him. He was always playing tricks on him and degrading him in front of everyone. The other researchers were always crosschecking his work, never taking him at his word. As for Neopia itself, or at least the Neopians he'd met, they were horrible. Smelly, vastly overweight as often as not, cruel, suspicious - for good reason, Derek Sonix supposed. He was a spy, after all.

     Funny. He'd never used that word before: spy. Somehow... he didn't like it.

     What were other Neopians like? He had no business wondering, but he couldn't help himself. What about the faeries? That Queen Fyora everyone was so worried about? Something in him knew they weren't bad sorts. That they were compassionate, friendly, good-humored, just. Why, he was sure he'd be much happier on their side...

     Derek shook his head roughly to shake such thoughts out. Where had they come from anyway? He'd be branded a traitor if he let such wild ideas slip out. Not that he had any basis for such daydreams - he'd only been in Neopia a week, after all. Yes, definitely a week. He was sure of it. But...

     The small yellow Alien Aisha frowned and looked up. His reflection caught on the shining paint of the small cruiser on which he'd just finished repairing the landing brakes.

     He looked different... Not just the weird Neopian clothes, which he supposed could've been a disguise or something. What was it? He still looked like a Neopian, of course. That was a given. Yellow, two earstalks, and short. But somehow he didn't look like an Alien Aisha research/espionage agent. If he hadn't known better, he'd say he looked like a youthful, somewhat grubby shop owner...

     Mina burst into the room, interrupting his thoughts.

     "Sonix! Are you almost done?" she asked restlessly.

     Derek gestured around. There were a few more gadgets and a couple tools left that still needed some work, but the bulk was done.

     "Good," said the pretty, pink Alien Aisha, nodding in approval. "We leave in ten minutes. Is that enough time for you to finish?"

     DeSoni was astonished. "Ten minutes? Of course, Mina. But I thought we were leaving tomorrow morning...?"

     Mina hesitated for a split second, then smiled sweetly. "Oh, you can tell something's wrong? I just got a message from a contact of mine. The Space Station is upping security for some reason, starting tomorrow. We can get the new security plans, easy, but we'd have to scrap all our current plans, a lot of work down the drain and it would take another couple weeks if we start back at square one. So we leave tonight, ten minutes. Okay?"

     "Fine," said Derek Sonix, known to us as DeSoni, sighing and getting back to work.

     ******

     Kay was reading the latest Neopian Times, trying desperately to pass the time but failing miserably. Her eyes stared blankly at the pages, even following the words, but her mind kept reverting to how everyone was getting along. Had they even found DeSoni yet?

     The purple communicator-flower on her desk buzzed. The human teenager sighed, reached over, and twisted the top bloom.

     "Kay? I'm sure you know how long it's been. Four hours. I'm sorry, but remember what I told you?"

     "Fyora, please. What kind or rescue operation takes less time? Besides, I have the antidote, and half an hour ago the Sonixes told me they were joining up with Khargana and Rocky, who had located DeSoni."

     "Kay..."

     "I know you don't know Rocky or the Sonixes besides what you can read in a file, but you know me, Fyora. And you know Khargana. I wouldn't be asking for more time if I didn't think they would succeed."

     There was a short silence on the other end, then the Faerie Queen replied. "I'll give you another two hours, Kay. Then I'm sending in my agents."

     Kay considered it irritably. Two hours? 120 minutes? That wasn't much time at all. You couldn't read a good novel in that time. "Okay, Fyora," she replied testily. "I'll call you back with an update in two hours. If you're still of the opinion that our efforts have been inadequate, by all means call in the troops."

     "Now, Kay, I didn't mean-"

     The girl angrily twisted the bloom backwards, ending the connection. Fyora was one of her best friends, and a great and compassionate queen, but one of Kay's pet peeves was people 'pulling rank' on her. She respected her friend, but she was mad at her for belittling her with such things as 'time limits'. There was no harm in Fyora giving them until the next day, especially with her knowing of Khargana and Rocky's abilities, as well as the Sonixes's specialist knowledge. Just because someone doesn't work fast does not mean his or her work is any less efficient. Quite the opposite, in Kay's experience. And the last thing she wanted was for someone to make a blunder at this point.

     ******

     Mrs. Sonix crept through the ducts, peeking through every cover and maintenance point. She accidentally found the holding cell with Khargana, Daniel, and Rocky first, but, knowing it might take too long to free them, kept on going. She came to a hidden office, with none other then that terrible Terramina Galba within, mumbling over blueprints and computer printouts. Mrs. Sonix didn't bother to stick around.

     Finally she came to a vent that she could spot DeSoni through. Her precious little Derek. He was replacing a battery unit in an old 3-point blaster, humming softly to himself, his mind obviously drifting. She scanned the room, spying those three delinquents, the Mega Three, from back home. They were too far away to hear her she just whispered to her son. Actually, there was a maintenance opening just ahead...

     She crept forward, pulled it open, and stealthily dropped down, out of sight from the Mega Three but close enough to get DeSoni's attention.

     "DeSoni!" she whispered urgently. His earstalks flicked thoughtfully, but he shook his head and kept working.

     For Jierdana's sake! He didn't even acknowledge his Neopian name! But maybe...

     "Derek!" she pleaded softly.

     This time he stood up straight in attention and turned her way. He stared in shock for a second, glanced back at the lazy Mega Three - Brandy and Volt were whispering urgently, Secret listening attentively - then casually walked her way. Once out of their sight, he broke into a run, caught up to his mom, and hugged her tightly around the waist.

     They stood hugging for a while, then Deanna gently pushed him to arms length.

     "Oh, honey, I've been so worried," she said softly.

     There was something in her tone that scared Derek.

     "Mom? What's going on? What are you doing here? Where's dad?"

     "Oh, Derek. I'm so sorry, but there's no time to explain. You were exposed to something, love, and it's destroying your memory. We have to go now, honey - please."

     The small Aisha's eyes widened in horror. For a second, he didn't believe it - but this was his mom. The only person he had ever been able to trust. And he did trust her - completely, even if he didn't understand her.

     Her eyes met his, hers brimming with more than enough tears to convince him that something really was wrong with him. And it made sense too, more sense than Mina's story.

     "Okay, mom," he said softly. His eyes flicked back towards where the Mega Three were. "What do we do?"

     Mrs. Sonix opened her mouth to answer, but was cut off when Mina Galba entered. The pink Alien Aisha slammed the door open and charged in, glanced around, then stared in horror and rage at the female yellow Alien Aisha with Derek. She screamed in anger and suddenly the Mega Three had DeSoni and Mrs. Sonix surrounded.

     Deanna Sonix took her son's paw in her own and squeezed tightly.

     Mina grabbed a repaired photon-blaster from a worktable and marched over, stiff with annoyance.

     "I knew it was all too likely if that blasted Daniel Sonix was sniffing around, the missus wouldn't be too far behind!"

     Dad? Here? thought DeSoni. Just how much have I forgotten?

     He bravely lifted his own blaster and aimed it at Mina. "Don't you dare touch my mom!" he said warningly.

     Mina casually shot the blaster from his paw and it went spinning across the floor.

     "Take her to join the others!" Mina ordered Volt. The electric Alien Aisha nodded, approached Mrs. Sonix, and grabbed her forepaws, pulling them behind her back.

     Derek angrily lunged forward, but Secret had snuck up behind him and grabbed his shoulders, holding him back. He struggled, but it didn't take much in the way of brute strength to hold the tiny Alien Aisha in place.

     Mina gestured with her photon-blaster and Volt pushed Mrs. Sonix forward and out of the room. Then the pretty Alien Aisha turned and watched the struggling Derek Sonix for a few second before shaking her head sadly. "You aren't going to work for us anymore, are you, Derek?"

     "You let my mom go! And my dad!"

     Mina shrugged. "Don't worry about them, Sonix. We'll be leaving momentarily. When we do, the power will automatically shut down and I'm sure they'll find a way out eventually. Not soon enough to stop us, of course."

     Something in Mina's self-assured smirk raised DeSoni's suspicions. "You don't need me anymore. I've fixed all your junk. If we can't stop you anyway, you might as well lock me up with my family."

     "On the contrary!" laughed Mina, grabbing a utility belt and fitting it to her waist. "While not vital, I like to think of you as a pleasant factor in my plot." She began slipping equipment and weapons into the belt, including the large photon-blaster she'd been holding.

     "What?" asked DeSoni, just as much out of puzzlement as a reaction to her attitude. How could he possibly be included any further in her plans? He was a researcher, an engineer, even a messenger - certainly not a break-in artist or anything of the like. Besides, she still had the Mega Three.

     "You're coming with us. Unfortunately, shall I say, you won't be returning." She threw back her head and laughed. Brandy smiled nastily. Secret fidgeted, but her grip on DeSoni remained firm.

     ******

     Volt very slowly and thoughtfully escorted Ambassador Deanna Sonix to the holding cell to join her husband and those Neopians. He didn't even notice the glare she gave him or her look of disgust. She didn't make any attempts to escape, however, so it was a quick march to the room.

     The electric Alien Aisha opened the door, shoved Mrs. Sonix in, then entered himself, shutting the door firmly. But he didn't do anything. He stood there holding Mrs. Sonix's arms, completely oblivious to the groans of Mr. Sonix and Rocky or the low, exasperated growl of Khargana.

     He must've stood there a full minute thinking to himself. Absolutely still. Mrs. Sonix began fidgeting.

     Rocky, after the initial groan that Mrs. Sonix had been caught after all, was getting edgy. What was the electric Alien Aisha thinking? Why didn't he do something?! He glanced at Mr. Sonix, whose earnest eyes were locked with his wife's, then at Khargana, who suddenly seemed thoughtful.

     Volt nodded to himself, in confirmation of some decision he had reached, and pulled Mrs. Sonix over to a wall with pawcuffs. He cuffed her paws together and turned to look at everyone.

     Khargana was smiling ever so slightly, though everyone else was as confused as ever. Volt gently pressed down on Mrs. Sonix's shoulder and, taking the hint, she sat on the bench along the wall, probably meant for guards.

     "Derek's a good guy, and it's wrong for Mina to take advantage of him. Besides, something about her plan I just don't like. Wish I was sure what." He casually set a paw against a panel alongside the force field that blocked Mr. Sonix, Rocky, and Khargana's escape. Gold sparks flew from the panel, it whined for a second, then it buzzed and went dark.

     "Shield will be down in five minutes. That's how long until the power currently in the field runs out. Mina's greedy, ya know - we have five cruisers, but we only need four to get to the Space Station. Shame, isn't it? Derek has it fixed up all pretty, and I have every intention of making sure it doesn't need a key."

     He smirked and turned to leave, then twisted around just as he reached the door. He looked over the foursome - Mr. and Mrs. Sonix, Rocky, and Khargana - one more time, as if to impress them in his memory. "I don't expect to see you lot ever again, but you'll see Derek." He nodded, just as much to himself as to them. "You'll find him before the security team, long as you don't waste time."

     Volt slipped out, the door shutting firmly behind him.

     "What just happened?" asked Rocky, blinking his giant eyes as he tried to make sense of the situation.

     "It would appear Volt's loyalty to Miss Galba has its limits," said Khargana. "And he's giving us one last chance to save DeSoni before it's all too late."

To be continued...

Thanks for sticking around this long! As usual, all neomails are greatly appreciated, especially about the plot or the characters. Oh, and I would really like to know what you think of the Mega Three, but you might want to wait until after the next part to tell me that.

 
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Other Episodes


» A Break in Memory: Part One
» A Break in Memory: Part Two
» A Break in Memory: Part Three
» A Break in Memory: Part Four
» A Break in Memory: Part Five
» A Break in Memory: Part Seven
» A Break in Memory: Part Eight



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