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A Break in Memory: Part Seven


by appaloosa500

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In our last episode: Khargana, Rocky, and Mr. Sonix are escorted to the holding cell, where all efforts at escape prove futile. But they manage to contact Mrs. Sonix, who agrees to enter through the vents and look for DeSoni herself. Mina charges in on a daydreaming DeSoni and says they're leaving in 10 minutes. Fyora tells Kay that DeSoni holds vital information about the FPP, information that she cannot allow to fall into the Alien Aisha Military's hands, and says she'll be sending out her own agents to find and rescue DeSoni if Khargana, Rocky, and the Sonixes don't succeed within two hours. Kay angrily agrees to contact her at the deadline, but is angry at Fyora for not understanding the situation from her side. Mrs. Sonix finds DeSoni and persuades him that something is wrong with him, but Mina bursts in at the crucial moment before they can escape and splits them up, sending Volt to escort Mrs. Sonix to the holding cells with the others and leaving some cryptic and malicious hints with DeSoni about his immediate future. Volt escorts Mrs. Sonix to the holding cell and cuffs her paws, but doesn't lock her up. After a few minutes of deep thought on his part, he decides to help Khargana, Rocky, and Mr. and Mrs. Sonix rescue "Derek, " voicing his own suspicions about Mina's plot.

     ******

Mina and Brandy were loading the four cruisers they were to take. Secret had slipped a funny-looking set of black pawcuffs from her personal nearly-invisible utility belt on Derek's forepaws, then slipped out another set and locked them around his rear paws. Strangely, the shadow Alien Aisha seemed even more withdrawn then usual, and her face seemed, if anything, sad.

     "Secret?" asked DeSoni softly, pleading with her. "What's wrong with me?"

     The shadow Alien Aisha glanced around - Mina and Brandy were too busy packing to pay any attention. She knelt in front of the small yellow Aisha, meeting his eyes earnestly. Hers were deep and silver, just as much pleading with him to understand as he was her for information. Slowly she tapped her temple, then closed her eyes and gestured behind herself.

     "My memory?" whispered DeSoni. Just as his mom had said.

     Secret nodded.

     "How?"

     She shrugged. The shadow Alien Aisha clearly didn't know what had happened to Derek. His mom had said he'd been exposed to something... but what? How? Was there anything he could do? His head began aching just from trying to remember what had happened, so he changed the subject.

     "What's Mina planning? Why won't she leave me behind?"

     Secret stared at him sadly, her beautiful silver eyes slowly brimming with tears. She glanced nervously back, then tapped one of her earstalks - once, twice, three, four times.

     "Alien Aishas. Okay, I guess."

     She shook her head, then reached over and tapped each of his own earstalks. Two.

     "Neopian?"

     Secret nodded sadly.

     "Are you saying I'm a Neopian?"

     She nodded.

     "But I'm not! You saw my mom."

     She shook her head with her eyes squeezed shut. Then she opened her eyes, met his own, and tapped her head.

     "In my head?"

     Secret nodded and placed her paws over her chest and slightly to the left.

     "And in my heart?"

     She nodded eagerly, watching as DeSoni struggled to put together the pieces.

     "But I can't be a Neopian... unless... Unless I... But I couldn't have... " He looked up and met Secret's eyes, suddenly terrified. "Did I? Did I betray the Alien Aishas?"

     The shadow Alien Aisha nodded sadly, then gestured to the cruiser Mina and Brandy were in. She made an angry fist, turned back to DeSoni, and made several consecutive gestures so fast he couldn't catch what she was trying to say.

     "What?"

     She slowly repeated them. A gesture around herself, as if in a cell. Then she pulled her paws straight down as if around bars. Then she took hold of those imaginary bars and shook them.

     "Prison? Galba's in prison. Mina's going to save him."

     She nodded yes. Then she pointed at DeSoni, shook the imaginary bars again, and shook her head no.

     "Galba's getting out, but I'm going in?"

     Another nod. She held one paw out to her left, then flipped over her right paw and held that one out too. Then she crossed her paws over each other, her left to her right and her right to her left.

     "Switching... Mina's exchanging me for Galba?"

     The shadow Alien Aisha frowned and seesawed a paw back and forth. Something like that.

     "Bang," whispered DeSoni to himself, not even sure where he'd gotten such a weird phrase. (It's an expression his Neopian sister, the Wocky Detective Khargana, is known for using when things go wrong.) He had obviously been on Neopia much longer than a week. He'd betrayed the Alien Aishas, and Mina was going to switch him for Galba - so he was as good as imprisoned for life. "I'm in big trouble."

     Secret nodded in agreement, eyes downcast.

     Suddenly, DeSoni's head began pounding again, as hard as ever. He gasped and squeezed his eyes shut in pain, not noticing Volt's return.

     The electric Alien Aisha and the shadow Alien Aisha met eyes. Secret quickly made an inquiring gesture Volt's way. He nodded.

     "If they hurry, they'll just miss us but get there in time to get Derek out."

     DeSoni didn't hear a word. His head was splitting and there was a loud ringing in his ears.

     Secret quickly glanced back towards Brandy and Mina - who had finished loading the ship and were coming over - and quickly made several rapid gestures that only Volt could see.

     "He knows? That's good. Wish we could help him more, though."

     They couldn't say any more. Brandy and Mina had come right up, clearly ready to get moving.

     Mina noticed the pained look on Derek Sonix's face and laughed. "It's shifting to the final stage," she said to herself, smiling widely.

     Volt, Secret, and Brandy turned to stare at her. How did she know what was happening to him?

     Mina didn't explain, just grabbed DeSoni around the waist and pulled him to her cruiser.

     "What are you waiting for?" she yelled back at the Mega Three. "Load up! Let's go!"

     The Mega Three locked eyes, shrugged, and went to their individual cruisers. No one noticed Volt slap the hood of the extra cruiser as he passed, and with Mina's cruiser already taking off, no one heard the purr as the engine was jolted on.

     ******

     DeSoni shook his head roughly. It was still pounding, but it had lessened enough for him to get some grip of what was going on. He was on the floor behind Mina's pilot seat, forepaws and rearpaws still cuffed.

     Mina heard him shuffling around, smacked the autopilot button, and spun her seat around to watch him. She was still pretty, but her looks were spoiled with the ugly smirk across her face. All sense of mystery or sweetness was gone; she looked absolutely evil.

     "Go ahead," she told DeSoni, grinning. "Ask."

     He shook his head in confusion as he looked back at her. "Why?"

     Her eyes got dark as she glared at him. "I've been waiting to tell you this since the second I figured out Galba had succeeded in drugging you after all! Why? Because I want you to suffer!"

     The poor little yellow Aisha was completely bewildered.

     She smirked. Derek Sonix no knowing his own crime made her revenge all the sweeter. "My brother's in prison because of you. Not Fyora, not Jierdana, not anyone else: you. You got on Jierdana's sweet side by 'exposing' him or whatever, but let's see that hold up when you're discovered in his jail cell! Especially with no memory of how you got there."

     She threw back her head in delight and laughed. DeSoni groaned: the sound cut right into his already aching head. She continued.

     "See, I'm what some have called a 'corporate' spy. Criminals? Too boring. The real money's with the scientists. When Galba first told me of his plan to kidnap and experiment on you, I started 'researching' your friend, Dr. Kregor Geiger, knowing, of course, that that's who big brother was planning to steal his potions from. One of those potions was quite remarkable."

     DeSoni was so lost. Galba had kidnapped him? Tried to experiment on him? Kregor Geiger's a doctor?

     She continued. "You match every symptom, Sonix. And with those headaches, and with the way you've been zoning out and daydreaming all day, you know as well as I do that it's not amnesia or concussion. I'm positive you were exposed to that Z59B potion, which means, if I estimate correctly, you'll be blacking out in about 45 minutes. And when you awaken, you truly will remember nothing."

     Virtupets Space Station came into view and Mina cheerfully spun around and took over from the autopilot. But she maliciously kept on talking. "And you know the best part? Even though your ability to recover your memories will be completely destroyed, your brain will still retain those memories. Once the Alien Aisha Military figures out that sweet tidbit, which shouldn't be long with the tests they run on suspicious prisoners!" She giggled at her own cleverness. "Back under the microscope for you, you Neopian freak. I'm sure the AAM will find all sorts of ways to extract what exactly you've been doing on Neopia these past six years!"

     By all rights, DeSoni should've shuddered in horror. His entire childhood had been spent being experimented on - doctors and scientists trying to figure out why he was so tiny and what had happened to the two extra earstalks all Alien Aishas are supposed to have. But the pounding in his head had come back as hard as ever. Since he couldn't follow half of what Mina was babbling on about, he'd tuned her out, groaning and resting his head in his cuffed paws.

     Pictures started flashing one after another through his mind, and for the life of him he couldn't figure out a single one. The green Wocky... A red Ruki... A teenage human girl... A Neohome... A shop... A beautiful, royal purple faerie. Names too - but he couldn't link them with anything. What in the world did FPP stand for? Appaloosa500 - what was that, a race? And who in the world was DeSoni? The name kept fluttering into his mind. And why... why did everything seem so vague? Like a dream, but he was still in it.

     ******

     C2's room was in a very awkward spot; the door was actually a blank panel down a highly secured corridor near the center of the Space Station. It took XP three tries to find the exact spot. The FPP agent had experience in a lot of things, but space stations weren't anywhere on the list.

     XP fully meant to simply leave C2's badge on the side table and leave, but he couldn't. Not from any sense of sentimentality, but simply because the room was as messy as when he and C2 had left it earlier that afternoon. Bed unmade, clothes on the floor, equipment all over the place. It really nagged him, and besides, he knew C2 couldn't possibly be back within the hour. Why not?

     It took the lab-pet only about 15 minutes to straighten up. When he finished, it looked like an army of maids had been through the room. He nodded in satisfaction, set the badge on the clear and wiped-down side table next to the immaculately made-up bed, and decided to allow himself the pleasure of being a complete nobody for the rest of the day. Why play another part when he was just going to zap himself after he checked in with Fyora? He might as well just be himself - well, a watered down, not-quite-so-high-strung version of himself.

     As he thought about it, anything was better than being C2 any longer. He wouldn't have to skip down the hallways as the picture of absolute childish innocence and cheerfulness. No more saluting people instead of saying a decent farewell. No more shaking paws and warmly greeting people he'd never met before and certainly would never meet again. He could be himself - as fluid as the concept may be to a lab-pet.

     For a second, XP got a funny image in his mind of greeting C2 as a female Strawberry Usul. What in the world would that crazy kid think? He smiled to himself; C2 would probably laugh his head off, enjoying the crazy unexpectedness of life. Then he frowned and turned around to look at himself in the mirror.

     "Why am I even thinking that? I'm certainly never going to cross paths with him again. I'm going to check in with Fyora, get zapped into something completely new, and head on back to my old desk at FPP Headquarters."

     XP sighed, straightened a lampshade, and left the room. The passageway had been empty when he entered, but now there were at least 20 security officers running past. There was an alarm blaring in the background and all the officers' faces were tight with anxiety.

     Naturally, the blue Aisha slipped into the crowd and followed.

     ******

     The source of the commotion was a fire Alien Aisha - Brandy. Simply, she was trashing a few shops - throwing things around, setting fire to anything remotely flammable, laughing hysterically, and scaring the living daylights out of all the tourists. Alarms were blaring, lights flickered, and the smoke was getting out of hand.

     Every security officer on the Space Station had joined together to form a perimeter around the crazy Alien Aisha, but none were quite brave enough to actually face the wild flamethrower. She was laughing maniacally and branding a broken off table leg as XP approached from the sidelines. As the blue Aisha reached the perimeter, the table leg burst into flames.

     XP watched the Alien Aisha for a few seconds, frowning all the time, then casually slipped up next to a captain of the security team.

     "What's the news?" he asked in a calm, undemanding voice, eyes on the Alien Aisha instead of the yellow Gelert in the Captain's uniform.

     Without even taking the time to glance at who had asked the question, the captain shook his head.

     "Just some super-powered nutcase. The Defenders are on their way. My guess, she just wanted the attention."

     "I'd say the same thing," said XP thoughtfully. "Though perhaps for different reasons as you were thinking."

     Without another word, the blue Aisha slipped back into the crowd. The captain turned to ask whoever what he meant, but he was too late.

     ******

     Between Volt and Secret, the security system was a piece of cake. With all the guards off watching Brandy, they'd made their way onto the Alien Aisha prison ship. Volt blew all the electric locks; Secret handled the rest.

     They pulled aside a sliding cargo door for the entrance of Mina and her prisoner.

     DeSoni seemed barely conscious. He was mumbling to himself and his body and face were dripping in cold sweat. The tiny yellow Aisha could barely put one paw in front of the other, and Mina had been forced to half-carry him along with her.

     Mina dropped him with a look of disgust and motioned Volt to take over carrying her captive.

     "Where is he?" Mina asked Secret anxiously.

     Secret motioned with her paws - just outside the door, down a ways, on the left.

     Mina nodded and ran off. Volt and Secret exchanged a glance and hurriedly followed.

     ******

     "Hurry up!" said Khargana restlessly, pacing back and forth beside the waiting cruiser. "Volt said we needed to hurry!"

     "Are we sure we can trust him?" asked Mr. Sonix, and he unlocked the pawcuffs on Mrs. Sonix.

     "He overloaded the lock on our prison, left the keys to free Mrs. Sonix in plain sight, and even started this last cruiser for us. He even told us where to go - the Space Station. And even if we didn't have reason to trust him, may I remind you DeSoni has very little time left?!"

     They quickly loaded into the cruiser.

     ******

     Well, what do you know, thought XP to himself as he spied on the odd group around the corner from him.

     Three Alien Aishas - a pink one in charge, an electric, and a shadow. And the fourth, a tiny yellow Aisha, semiconscious and obviously ill, that XP would recognize anywhere.

     After all, wasn't he the one real friend in Neopia he'd told C2 about? DeSoni - the one person who'd never called him a freak or talked bad about him. The one person to have ever been able to put up with him - well, besides C2. But he hadn't known that silly, young blue Aisha then. DeSoni had been there when he had no one.

     He watched, staying quiet and out of sight.

     ******

     Volt overloaded the last security check box on the prison door and Secret clicked open the last of the many locks.

     Mina eagerly shoved the door open and burst in.

     "Torro!" she squealed, running up to a stunned, large red Alien Aisha with shackled paws, dressed in a horrible bright green prison suit.

     Ex-commander Galba couldn't hide his smile of delight in seeing his baby sister. "Terra! What are you doing here?"

     "Saving you, you big dummy!" laughed Terramina Galba, slipping a set of old fashioned skeleton keys from a pocket and unlocking the shackles, freeing her brother.

     Galba was too surprised to do much, so Mina excitedly grabbed his paw and pulled him out of the dark cell.

     "I hired the Mega Three to help me break you out and, of all things, Derek Sonix tumbled into old E57, where I'd been hiding out. Had no clue what had happened to the place. Naturally I remembered what you'd told me about testing Geiger's potions on him and the one I'd researched that actually destroyed the neural-"

     Galba smiled meanly at the dizzy, confused look on Derek Sonix's face, but turned and hushed his excitable little sister. "Terra, you'd better tell me later. I'd rather not head back there." He gestured behind himself to the cell.

     "Okay. Volt, lock Sonix in and let's get out of here."

     The electric Alien Aisha sighed and shook his head. He stepped in front of the dazed yellow Aisha protectively.

     "Sorry, princess. The contract was very specific - we were to help you rescue your brother. Nothing about Derek."

     Mina stared at him in astonishment, then turned to Secret. The shadow Alien Aisha folded her arms stubbornly, clearly standing on Volt's side.

     "Now, Miss Mina," continued Volt. "You and your brother had better leave before security comes by. Brandy should have given them the slip by now - though, considering her method of escape is burning through walls, she leaves quite a trail. Sonix stays with us."

     Mina scowled and swiftly yanked a small phaser from a holster attached to her utility belt.

     "Now, Volt, you didn't think I'd hire a trio of super-powered freaks if I didn't take a few personal precautions."

     Volt laughed mockingly, the insult rolling right off him. "Didn't do your homework, princess. Energy weapons can't hurt me. I just absorb the charge."

     "Who says this is an energy weapon?" Mina answered mockingly in return.

     A look of worry came over Secret's face, but Volt stood firm.

     "You're bluffing."

     "I don't bluff." Terramina Galba fired and an ice-blue cord of sorts shot out and twisted several times around him.

     The electric Alien Aisha gasped in pain and fell to the ground. The ice-blue cord began crackling with electricity that it drained from him.

     Secret leapt forward to help, but she couldn't get close enough to Volt to tear off the cord. The electric charge was too strong to allow anyone within a foot of him. The shadow Alien Aisha angrily turned back to Mina and suddenly was gone - invisible to the naked eye.

     Mina flicked a switch on her belt and slipped on a sort of eye-mask from a pouch in her belt. She casually exchanged the power drainer for a normal blaster, glanced around, and fired into the shadows on her right.

     Secret cried out as the energy blast struck and flung her backwards. She slammed hard against the wall, then crashed into the floor, sprawled unconscious on the ground.

     Ex-commander Galba clapped his sister on the back approvingly and walked over to Derek Sonix, who had slipped into a faint himself. The large red Alien Aisha easily lifted the tiny body and tossed it into the cell, closing the door behind him.

     "When he comes to, he won't remember anything," explained Mina. "You can imagine what the military scientists back home will do to him to try get the story out."

     Torro Galba laughed and gestured for his brilliant sister to lead as they ran off.

     ******

     XP turned the corner and rushed to the prison door. When Galba had slammed it, the door had locked automatically thanks to a back-up safety catch. He bent to examine it closer - you couldn't even really call it a lock. What lousy security! The blue Aisha slipped a lock pick from under his A-collar and had the door open in less then a second.

     He anxiously rushed over to his unconscious friend and pulled him out of the cell, allowing the door to swing shut once they were in the hall. But before he could do anything further, a fire Alien Aisha - the very one that had been destroying the shops, likely the same "Brandy" the other Alien Aishas had spoken of - burst into view and gasped at the scene.

     Volt was crumbled on the ground, the crackling ice-blue cord still draining his energy, and Secret was sprawled on the floor completely out cold. And a blue Neopian Aisha stood over that dumb Derek Sonix.

     Brandy jumped to the expected conclusion: that XP had attacked her friends. She charged angrily.

     XP smoothly sidestepped.

     "Notice anything, ma'am?" he said politely, dodging Brandy's furiously swinging paws and wild charges. "Your boss happens to be missing. I'd say she dumped you guys."

     Brandy stopped short. "What are you saying?" she demanded.

     "I don't know much about Alien Aishas - but I do know I was walking this way and heard a fight. Apparently your boss decided she didn't like you or your friends."

     Brandy's eyes blazed at the very thought - but the anger wasn't directed at XP.

     "She went that way," said XP helpfully, gesturing down the hall.

     Brandy shot off in the indicated direction.

     XP leaned over to lift DeSoni up when he heard running footsteps and voices. He quickly flicked out his lock pick, slipped the catch on the cell door, and hid within, holding the door propped ever so slightly open.

To be continued...

I can't believe this is finally almost done! PLEASE let me know what you think so far! And, nope, I'm not spoiling the ending!

 
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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 Six
» A Break in Memory: Part Eight



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