“Nurse Linley I’m here; my apologies for the delay. Why was I called in at such a late hour?”
“It’s for a female sir; she’s right in this room.”
“My goodness”. The doctor paused for a moment and surveyed the damage. “What happened to her?”
“Well… we don’t exactly know” the nurse responded nervously.
“What do you mean we don’t know?”
“We weren’t told anything! Commander Grant himself came with the patient along with the Spectrobe Master Rallen and his partner. When we asked what happened, the Commander refused to answer any specific details except the extent of her injuries. He did tell me to say that this was a code orange situation however. What does that mean?”
“……Nothing important. Look at these injuries. We could get so much more done if we were just told half of what went around here” the doctor sighed. “Were you at least able to scan her fingerprints for an ID so we can access her medical records?”
“Yes doctor” the nurse replied. “…And?” The nurse began to shift uncomfortably once more. “There’s no record of her in any of the databases sir.”
“How on Kollin are we supposed to help her then!” the doctor practically yelled. “What if she is the one person who is allergic to anesthetic? We also need to know her blood type. A blood test’s result takes time and time is what she does not have with these injuries.”
“Don’t worry sir, on your way here we were able to identify her blood type and administer enough to stabilize her condition. We cleaned the wounds the best we could and were able to run a few scans based on the information Commander Grant gave us, so we know exactly where to operate.”
Relaxing just a little, the doctor looked at the papers the nurse handed to him and glanced over at the girl. “Well she’ll need to be completely under due to the wounds on her abdomen. Let’s just hope that there will be no need to amputate. I don’t like the shade of color on the right leg.” Running his hand through his hair, the doctor sighed. “While I get dressed, call the anesthesiologist into the room, and if possible, contact Grant and tell him Dr. Strall needs to speak to him. This is going to be a long night.”
Now early in the morning, Rallen and Jeena trudged into Commander Grant’s office, with Grant following a minute later. Motioning to the chairs, all three walked over to the large desk and took a seat around it.
“I apologize for keeping you up so late after a stressful mission, but there are some questions that must be answered due to the recent events.” Taking a moment to gather his thoughts, Grant faced the two. “I sent you both to go and gather data, but instead of just statistics, you also brought back a near fatally wounded girl while setting off level three alarms. The last time we had a level three was when krawl attacked the city.”
“I wish I could ask what on Kollin happened at Hyoga but I need a much more specific answer than ‘krawl attacked’. Let’s just begin with the original goal I gave you: What did you see and were you able to locate the box the krawl were escorting?”
“As we suspected, there was a large amount of krawl on Hyoga. However instead of consuming, they were gathered at one specific location for the sole purpose of collecting ice-encased krawl. The fact that they had and followed a purpose means that there had to be a leader. And….” Jeena looked away uncomfortably, unable to complete her report.
“Krux is alive sir” Rallen finished, maintaining eye contact with Grant. “From what we could gather, he traveled to Hyoga for the purpose of increasing his army by using some sort of energy source to melt the krawl out of the ice, with no ill side effects. While we couldn’t find the source, we did find the container, but it was empty by the time we reached it.
“Were you able to bring the container back for examination to see if we could possibly discover its contents?” Grant inquired.
“No sir. Because of the girl, we had to rush back to the ship. Also…the cavern we were in ended up collapsing when we fought Krux.”
“WHAT!?!” Grant stood, unable to maintain his emotionless mask. “I specifically told you to not purposefully engage the enemy! Fighting Krux without any backup; what were you thinking?”
“Sir we had no choice!” Rallen replied standing up as well. “We didn’t find the girl in some prison cell; she was being actively tortured by Krux! Not to mention that to continue safely in our scouting mission, there was a time where we had to call out the Spectrobes and destroy a room of krawl.”
Sighing, Grant shut his eyes and took a breath to calm himself, slowing returning to his seat while Rallen followed suit. “It appears that we will have to wait for our guest to wake up if we want a clue to what Krux is planning. Right now I’m just glad you are safe. When I discovered it was your ship and not the base that was emitting the SOS, I feared the worst.”
“How is she doing by the way sir? I’m no medical expert, but I didn’t think I could keep her alive as we raced back” Jeena asked.
“Before you came here to be debriefed, I was called by the head surgeon who was not pleased. The girl had massive blood loss which almost caused her to go into hypovolemic shock on the table. She also had severe burns on both her arms and legs and until she wakes up, they won’t know if there is any nerve damage. Also, Dr. Strall had to remove toxic Flor thorns from the back of both legs. Luckily, it was only a paralyzing agent, but due to the length of time and dose, the skin will remain dyed in the general area. Due to the depth, she will also have scarring from the gashes she received; our technology can always only do so much it seems.”
Grant paused for a moment, recalling the state of the girl as she was rushed from the cruiser into the hospital. “In my personal opinion, it is a miracle she was even alive when you found her.”
“Well luck may not be the only reason” Jeena said looking over to Rallen. “Honestly, I still don’t believe what we saw, but it could explain her strength against the krawl”.
“What do you mean?” Grant asked.
“Well, when we encountered Krux, he attempted to use her as leverage against us so that we would surrender. But uhh...” Rallen faltered as Grant’s face darkened with anger. “Ahem, but ah, everything worked out since the girl broke free in the battle…and uh, ended up helping us… by turning into a Rydrake and wiping out his forces causing him to flee”.
As quickly as the anger came to Grant did it wash away in the sea of confusion and disbelief. “I’m sorry Rallen, but did you say she turned into a Spectrobe?”
“Yes, both Jeena and I watched it happen. I didn’t believe it either until it began the offensive and we had to dodge attacks that wiped out the krawl in the room."
"Not that I don't believe you, but could it be possible that it was simply a Spectrobe that lives on Hyoga?" Grant asked.
"We're positive it was her sir" Jeena piped in. "After the attack, she changed back and collapsed on the floor away from the wall she was chained to".
"Then her recovery and our eventual meeting with her is top priority. Hopefully she will be willing to help us in our fight against Krux since we have no data on this apparent Spectrobe ability. That also means the announcement of the krawl at the next NPP meeting we agreed on is postponed until accurate information can be given".
"If I may sir?" Jeena quickly asked. "I think that we should at least send a report to all active officers to be wary of a potential krawl presence, but withhold the data of Krux until we have enough information".
"That sounds fine. I am going to set up a meeting with Aldous, Professor Kate, and Professor Wright to see to the beginnings of a plan in case we are attacked once more. Also with the recent fossilized weapons discovered, maybe there is something new that we can use. If there is nothing else, I’m going to call them right now.”
“Actually sir” Rallen said, “I would like permission to return to Hyoga later this week; the sooner the better.”
“Completely out of the question” Grant responded. “It was a big enough risk to send you out before, but now that we know that Krux is alive and active, sending you back to his last known location would be even more risky. We need you and Jeena here.”
“But sir” Rallen pleaded, “When we retreated, we left behind hundreds of frozen krawl! Yes the cavern collapsed, but we never found the energy source. He could just come back and start up again if it survived!”
“I’m sorry Rallen, but the answer is no and that is a direct order” Grant said sternly. “Once we get a better grasp of the situation, maybe I can dispatch a group but for now, unfortunately we are at war again.”
Rallen slouched into his chair with disappointment plastered on his face, too tired to try to argue. “Yes sir, I understand”.
“Good. Also, as soon as the girl awakens I would like you to be present with me. Dr. Strall said that she is only a year younger than you two, not to mention she may remember your rescue efforts and be more open to conversation.”
“Alright, that is all, please go and get some rest. It has been a long evening for all of us and I’m sure you don’t want to start the paperwork now Jeena. I doubt the girl will wake anytime soon, but once she is deemed stable for visitors you both will be the first to know. For now, keep up with your training.”
Nodding their heads, the two stood up and left the Commander’s office. Walking down the empty halls to the housing section, both remained silent; each lost in their own thoughts until they approached the suite door.
“Man, it has been a wild few days” Rallen whispered as he unlocked the door and the two entered.
“You’re telling me” Jeena replied, closing the door behind her and flicking on the lights. “It certainly isn’t boring anymore”.
“I almost wish it was. Almost” Rallen said as he removed his armor and stored it away. “At least we get to sleep in since Grant took us off duty for today.”
“Well when you wake up, you better go and apologize to the poor people in the hanger you practically crashed into with the cruiser”.
“Yeah, Yeah I know…I just wish it wasn’t the same people as the last time” Rallen sighed, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly.
“Well at least they’re used to you” Jeena giggled, electing another sigh from Rallen as they went to their respective rooms.
“Good night Rallen”.
“Good night Jeena”.
Sunlight streamed into the room through the slits of the window shades, slowly creeping up the side of the bed until reaching the occupant, causing Sarah to stir and open her eyes. Instead of the cool blue walls of her bedroom and the annoying yet familiar morning songbirds greeting her sight and vision, the continuous beep of a monitor and emotionless white walls came into focus. Confused, Sarah lifted her head, realizing that she was in a small hospital room with a single window, door, and bed that she was currently resting on. Other than a few machines, the connecting IVs, and a bedside chest, the room was completely barren.
"Mmmph, what happened?" Sarah wondered as she attempted to gather her thoughts. "Man I’m so tired. Everything is fuzzy. All that comes to mind is Krux...and krawl...and... That had to have been a bad dream from playing too much Spectrobes...right?"
Glancing down at her covered body, Sarah attempted to move her arms but found she was unable to as they felt like lead bars. “Probably isn’t a good idea to move the right one anyway, there are a bunch of tubes in them” she thought. “Wow. When was the last time I ever felt this weak?”
Trying once more, Sarah slowly moved her left arm to reach for the top of the sheets and slightly lifted them. Gasping, Sarah found herself unable to breathe as she used the gravity of her arm falling to the side of the bed to rip the blanket away from her and onto the floor, nearly pulling the tubes out from her right arm. Besides the IVs attached to her, her entire upper torso, right arm, and both legs were gratuitously wrapped in layers of bandages and gauze.
"What HAPPENED to me?" ran like a broken record as tears fell from fear and confusion. "Alright Sarah, focus...fooocuss. Breathe in and out. Stop thinking about it and calm down or else that STUPID heart rate will just keep getting louder."
Looking around the room for any sort of distraction, Sarah noticed a nurse passing by her door out of the corner of her eye.
"WAIT, PLEASE WAIT!" Sarah cried out. After a moment, the face reappeared and the nurse walked in with a clipboard.
"Good morning Miss! Is everything alright? Are you in any pain? Was umm, the sheet not comfortable?"
"What?" Following the nurse's eyes she looked at the floor. "No, no the sheet is fine. Can you please tell me what’s going on? Where am I, how long have I been unconscious, is my family here, why am I covered in bandages?”
"Ma'am, please calm down; you have nothing to worry about. You are currently in one of the best hospitals on the planet. When you were brought in we didn't have any information on you so we couldn't notify any immediate family, but now we can since you are conscious."
Looking down at the clip board, the nurse jotted a few notes. "Do you have any allergies?"
"Umm, none that I know of, why?"
"Since you are awake, we can remove the feeding tube so you can have real food and it wouldn't be fun for either of us if you had a bad reaction."
"Yeah..." Sarah said quietly before two thoughts clicked. "Wait, a feeding tube? How long have I been out?”
"Today would mark a week and five days.”
Sarah froze. "Miss? Is everything ok?" The nurse asked worriedly.
“Oh I’m just peachy.” Sarah thought. “I’m fine. I’m not in any pain if that’s what you’re asking. Twelve days is such a long time and I just can’t remember how I got here; my memories are all jumbled.”
“I’ll make sure to mention that to the doctor, he’ll be visiting you shortly now that you are awake.” Picking up the sheet the nurse carefully covered Sarah again. “Do you have a favorite soft food? I might be able to get it for you.”
“Well, I really love mac n’ cheese and deli turkey sandwiches if I’m able to eat them.”
“I’ll see what I can do. Until then, get some more rest, your body needs it.”
“Alright, thank you” Sarah smiled as the nurse left. Once the door shut, the feigned joy quickly vanished and darker thoughts arose.
“How can I get rest if I still know absolutely nothing? I’m in a normal hospital, which must mean that the krawl were just a bad dream. But then how did I get these injuries? I wish mom and dad were here; I’m sure they’re worried sick. Heh, I’m worried sick.”
Sighing, Sarah sank down into the pillows behind her and closed her eyes, using happy memories as a source of peace until sleep finally took her.
The preceding week passed monotonously in Sarah’s opinion. While most of the time was spent sleeping, once a day, the same nurse from before would come to help her bathe and change the wound dressings. While awkward, it helped her to see the full extent of her injuries, even if she couldn’t look at them the first two days. The only reason she hadn’t been seen by the doctor was because he had been called to a different hospital for an emergency. However, according to the nurse, today he was back.
Thus, the only remaining concern was the fact that the hospital could not locate Sarah’s family. After giving her full name and her parent’s names, the nurse attempted to look up the data, but was unable to find any information. While the nurse assured her it had to be a simple computer error, there had been no updates as of late which caused old thoughts about her faulty memory to rise.
In the afternoon, Sarah woke up from her nap to the sound of voices outside of her room door. Due to the window covering, she couldn’t see who was there but was able to distinguish at least four different voices. Glancing to the left, she saw a tray with water, macaroni, and some strawberry jello had been placed on the chest.
“The nurse must have brought that in when I was asleep. That was nice of her” Sarah thought as she reached for the water. Relaxing, she watched the shadows dance around the window until a man in a white coat entered and shut the door.
“Good afternoon Miss, my name is Dr. Strall. How are you doing today? Is there any pain or numbness in any areas that is bothering you?”
“Well, not as far as I can tell. I’m mostly just achy and stiff from not moving around much. The medicine to reduce the pain is working really well” Sarah said as she shifted around in the bed.
“Good, good” The doctor began to jot notes on his chart before moving his attention to the bandaged areas. “According to Nurse Briar’s notes, everything is healing and there are no signs of infection, but I am going to go over everything myself just in case Miss Sarah”.
“How did he…oh right the chart. I gave the nurse my name” Sarah thought as Dr. Strall began to unwrap both leg’s bandages.
“You know you are very lucky Miss Sarah, when you came into the operating room, I didn’t think you would survive.” Grimacing slightly at the legs, Dr. Strall quickly donned a neutral mask, but it was too late.
“What’s the matter? Is something wrong? Please don’t lie to me.”
Sighing, Dr. Strall continued examining. “No, nothing is wrong; I was just hoping that the discoloration would not be as prevalent as it is.”
“Discoloration? I thought those were just really bad bruises.” Sarah frowned. “What exactly is wrong with my legs?”
“How about this: I’ll describe every injury, but if you have to wait until the examination is complete to ask any questions. Is that alright with you?”
“Yes, as long as there is no sugar coating of any sort” Sarah responded.
“That would be insulting to me and you” the doctor laughed. “I promise. Now let’s begin”.
Reaching for a roll of gauze and what Sarah assumed to be some ointment out of his bag, the doctor slowly began to treat the wounds. "Your legs and arms were both burned by some sort of chemical and electric shock, the second of which can cause permanent nerve damage. Since you haven't had much trouble moving and grasping with your arms, there doesn't seem to be any nerve damage. We have to wait until your start walking again for full leg confirmation. The chemical burns should leave no scarring and there was no need for a skin graft thankfully.
As for the discoloration, your legs were injected with a powerful paralyzing toxin. Whoever did it had no concept of amount limitations, so due to that and the time the excess remained in your legs is why the color is so dark. Think of it like a tattoo: it may lighten slightly, but it will not fade away completely.
"Well I can never wear short dresses again....or shorts" Sarah thought somberly. "At least it doesn't go above the knee and is only on the back of my legs. Maybe I could use industrial strength makeup or something..."
"Alright, now that your legs are rewrapped, let's move on to your more serious injuries: the gashes on your torso and right shoulder. Thankfully, your shoulder wound was only a deep cut; the major arteries were missed but it was still the main contributor to your blood loss due to the size. The gashes in your torso, however, damaged the muscle tissue underneath. Thankfully there wasn't a full separation so surgery was not required besides the stitches, but it will take another week or so to heal before you even attempt any strenuous activities. I will be setting up appointments for physical therapy once I deem you stable enough for it."
Dr. Strall grabbed the patient chart again and began to make a few notes before standing up and smiling. "Based on the condition of the stitches, I'd say we could take them out in another week, possibly sooner for your shoulder. While it may seem upsetting that you were unconscious for a decent amount of time, you were able to dodge all of the discomfort that post-surgery and the healing body can loving provide you."
"Anyways, you are healing up quite nicely, and much of that is because you have allowed your body plenty of bedrest. Your body and I thank you; patients here are usually very impatient and try to check out before they’re ready."
"Well I haven't really wanted to move much; I've always been so tired" Sarah replied.
"I'm not surprised." Dr. Strall glanced over to the door. "I know that I have given you a lot to think about, but there are a few people who have requested to visit you once you were stable. They have some questions that they would like to ask you, but I won't let them in unless you verbally agree to it."
Immediately interested, Sarah looked to the door. "Is it the police?" Was she finally going to get some answers?
"The police?" Dr. Strall appeared confused for a moment before relaxing. "Oh, you mean the Patrol. Yes, they're here to ask about what happened when you were injured."
"Oh..." Sarah looked down dejectedly. "I can't remember exactly what happened. All I remember when I try is a really vivid dream I had before waking up here. It can't be true though because it has imaginary creatures in it."
"The nurse mentioned you were having memory problems, but since you know your name and other personal information, it could be a very mild case of amnesia. Would you still be alright speaking with them? Information they have may help bring something back."
"Yes, I want to talk to them. Anything is better than the nothing I have."
"Alright; I'll bring one officer in, and the other two in shortly after."
Walking to the door, the doctor slightly opened it. "She is ready to see you sir".
Quickly looking at a nearby monitor, Sarah attempted to fix her appearance as the guest entered the room. As she turned her head to greet with a smile, Sarah's demeanor morphed into shock as her fragile concept of reality crashed around her.
"Good afternoon Miss, my name is Commander Grant. I hope your recovery has been as pleasant as possible and...umm, Miss?"
"No..." Sarah mumbled, her eyes began to widening in disbelief as thoughts clashed in her mind.
"Perhaps this was an unwise decision" Dr. Strall said as he nervously motioned Grant towards the door.
"No wait!" Sarah exclaimed. As the two faced her, she took a deep breath, attempting to calm herself and prevent the tears that were threatening to fall.
"This isn't a joke is it; someone in a costume? You really are Commander Grant, head of the NPP?"
"Yes, I assure you I am not a fake" Grant stated calmly; mentally noticing the chance for a breakdown rising rapidly with his words. "If I may ask, and I will take no offense to your answer, why is my appearance so shocking?"
With tears now falling down her face adding to her growing frustration, Sarah looked straight at Grant before shaking and looking at her hands.
"Because, that means what I remember....everything....wasn't just a bad dream. It. Was. Real. And that can't be possible. It just can't".
Besides the hitched sobs, silence reigned as Sarah's words were processed by the two professionals. Studying his patient, Dr. Strall weighed the options and turned to the Commander.
"Sir, I know you told me that she was attacked by krawl, but she did not show signs of any trauma until right now. For some reason, she is connecting her memories to your face."
"How is that possible?" Grant whispered back. "The only people she could have possibly seen conscious would be Rallen and Jeena. The first time I saw her was when she was rushed into the ER and by then she wasn’t awake."
"Well considering how she is reacting to you now, I don't think that you should ask her anything today. In fact, I don't think Rallen or Jeena should come in at all; they might trigger an even worse response. Her health is above anything at the moment and you know I can and will kick you out".
Grant furrowed his brow, unsure of how to continue. Dr. Strall was correct: her well being was important, but no one would be safe if Krux successfully made it past their forces. Rallen was only one Spectrobe Master; he couldn't be everywhere at once. At the sudden quiet, the Commander glanced towards the girl. No longer crying, she was still staring at her lap, unwilling to make eye contact towards the two. If only there was a way to help her calm down and distract her from her ordeal...
"Jared I have an idea" Grant whispered. "You're the doctor, so if you deem it unwise we won't do it, but if we do and it doesn't work, then I think it would be best if you asked her my questions and I left."
Quickly explaining the plan, Dr. Strall frowned, but slowly began to express a more neutral face.
"It isn't the best plan Grant due to my previous concerns, but because of my personal experiences with them, it's worth a shot. Miss Sarah? May I ask you something?"
Snapping out of her negative spiral, Sarah looked up nervously and nodded.
"Have you ever seen an adult Spectrobe before?" A nod. "What about a child form?" Another nod. "Do you have a favorite?"
Confused as to where this was going, Sarah thought for a moment. “My favorite is Ryza. Why?”
Mentally sighing in relief, Grant walked to the door. “Well, it just so happens that I brought some Spectrobes with me and one of them is a Ryza. Would you like to meet her?”
“A real Spectrobe?”
“That is correct.”
“….Yeah, that would be neat.”
The Commander slipped out while Sarah continued to stare at the door, as if he would vanish if she looked away. After what felt like centuries, a bright flash lit up the hallway and the door reopened, much to Sarah’s combined disappointment and curiosity. While this reality was further cemented as truth, the fact that he was holding a real life Ryza overrode anything else at the moment.
“They are so much cuter in person” Sarah thought as the child form opened its eyes and proceeded to yawn, bringing a smile to her face.
Relieved at the mood switch, Grant slowly walked forward and extended his arms. “Would you like to hold her?”
“Oh could I?” Sarah exclaimed before recoiling, embarrassed at her volume and forwardness.
Chuckling, Grant allowed the Ryza to hop out of his arms and walk up the bed into Sarah’s lap. Still as statues, the two stared at each other until Sarah reached up and scratched behind the Ryza's ear. Immediately beginning to purr, Ryza curled up on her lap, smiling as she was pampered.
Brushing the side of her hand against one of the head spikes, Sarah was surprised to find that it was cool to the touch. Upon further inspection, although they appeared razor sharp, the spikes were more akin to professionally cut gems: hard, strong, and durable. The legs plates however felt rough; like someone grabbed a stone by the side of the road and carved a specific design.
Shifting down her back, Sarah discovered the Ryza's blue fur, despite its shortness, was as soft and plush as a chinchillas. When the Ryza shifted, the fur appeared to shimmer slightly in the light, as if a coat of gloss covered the body. Moving closer to Sarah, Ryza was able to fit perfectly in her lap without causing any discomfort.
"Heh, just like a cat" Sarah thought, allowing herself to enjoy the fleeting moment of peace the two shared. The questions raging in her head abhorred this quiet however, screaming for answers like spoiled children.
"Well I acted like an idiot when Grant came in" Sarah thought, mentally face palming. “Instead of asking questions and controlling my emotions, I blubbered like a baby. I really need to work on that. *Sigh* I still don’t know what to think, but whatever happens, I need to remain positive.”
“Hmm, yes?” Sarah looked up, breaking her train of thought.
“I would like to apologize for causing you distress when I entered the room.”
“No, no, you didn’t do anything wrong Sir!” Sarah interrupted. “I just didn’t accept what happened as truth until you came in. I never thought anything like this could ever happen to me.”
“Well that is one of the reasons I came today” Grant replied, his voice taking a more serious tone. “The fact that this did occur is inexcusable. I am sorry for our failure as the NPP to protect you.”
“I really don’t think anything could have been done”, ‘Considering this isn’t even my solar system’ Sarah thought, “But thank you.”
“You’re quite welcome. Now for the other reason; we don’t have to do it today, as enough painful memories have resurfaced for you, but I would like to ask you some questions about what happened before my officers found you.”
Sarah tensed slightly. “If it’s ok with you, I’d be more comfortable speaking with you about it tomorrow. I’m still tired and you’re correct, today has been overwhelming.”
“That is fine. If you don’t mind, I’ll come tomorrow evening, and I’ll be bringing the two officers that found you with me. They have been concerned for your well being and would like to meet you.”
“That’s fine with me; I would have asked for them on my own so I could thank them personally.”
“Excellent. I have to take my leave now as I have a few meetings this evening, but I will have plenty of time tomorrow. If I may have Ryza…” the Commander gestured to the now sleeping form.
“Of course; here you go. Would it be alright if she was here tomorrow?”
“No that isn’t a problem at all. Thank you. Miss Sarah, Doctor, have a good evening.”
As Commander Grant left the room, Dr. Strall turned to Sarah. “Unfortunately I must leave as well. There are a few patients that require my attention and everything here physically is in order. If you need anything at all, please just press the button on the nightstand and a nurse will come to help.”
“Alright, thank you doctor.”
“It’s my pleasure”.
Once the door closed, Sarah collapsed into her pillow, sighing, and running her fingers through her hair. “Great, what on Earth am I going to do now? Heh, on earth; that phrase isn’t even valid since I have no clue what planet I’m on…..UGH! It doesn’t even matter! What am I supposed to tell them? Oh hi! Yes I’m from another world, which may seem old hat to you, but here’s the twist! Where I come from, all of this: Spectrobes, Krawl, space travel, is a video game. You’re technically not real! Yeah that would go well.”
“I don’t want to lie though. After all they are the reason I’m safe, healing, and far away from that monster Krux. Maybe they didn’t even have those adventures and this is just coincidence…but Ryza is real, and so is Grant…..and Krux. With my luck, the two officers he was talking about are Rallen and Jeena and everything in the games is true. Under any other circumstance this would be the coolest thing to happen to me ever.”
Sarah massaged her temples as a headache began to form. “Ugh wonderful, another headache. And since I’m complaining to myself, I want to get out of this room. Bedrest stinks, especially if no one comes to visit and they don’t give you anything to do.” Sarah turned to face the window and watched the sun sink into the horizon. “I wonder what mom and dad think happened. I just up and vanished into thin air. I don’t even know how long I’ve been gone. Krux knocked me out so many times, it could have been weeks. I shouldn’t be so calm about this fact, but I’m currently just too tired to care.”
Looking around the room for the desired item, Sarah located the hand mirror attached under a monitor and brought it to her face. “Oh don’t I look sexy”. Her normally bouncy brown hair hung limply against the sides of her pale face. While she was never a tan individual, her skin had lost its healthy glow, looking more white than peach. Her eyes had bags underneath even though she was near always asleep and her cheeks were slightly gaunt, giving a weak, starved appearance. “Well besides the fact that it looks like the reaper touched my face, I still seem to be the same age.”
Sarah returned the mirror and slipped farther under the covers. “Tomorrow is going to determine everything. No screw ups Sarah, or else it could be worse than when you were with Krux…probably. Stay positive and be truthful, well mostly truthful. Maybe if I ask nice enough, Nurse Briar will wheel me to a shower somewhere so I can actually clean myself; sponge baths are dumb. You can do this Sarah; you can do this…”
“So how did it go Sir? We never got a chance to go in” Rallen said as the group travelled down the hall.
“And it’s a good thing you didn’t or we might have had a real problem on our hands” Dr. Strall retorted.
“At ease Jared; we didn’t know what would happen to begin with so out of all the possibilities I think it went well” Grant replied, attempting to diffuse the situation.
“Well? Well!? She was seconds away from an emotional meltdown and that was well? Hah, I’d like to see horrible then!”
“Sir, what exactly happened?” Jeena cautiously asked”.
“My office is the next right. You three come talk in there so there is still some semblance of patient privacy” Dr. Strall grumbled. “I need to go check on a few other patients and don’t have time for this.”
A few turns later and the group slipped in the office. Saying farewell to Grant, the doctor left leaving the three alone.
“Man what was his problem?” Rallen muttered.
“While he appears standoffish, Dr. Strall is one of the best; I’ve known him for a very long time and would trust him with my life. He was promoted to the top due to the fact he cuts no corners. However, it doesn’t help his mood when officers who are put here try to get out as soon as possible.”
“Hey that was one time!” Rallen exclaimed, before realizing his mistake. “Eheheh…ahem”.
“Please continue sir” Jeena said.
“Yes. We were originally granted permission to visit our guest, Sarah, because the nurse caring for her deemed her stable enough for visitors. After a quick examination, Dr. Strall agreed. However, unbeknownst to the staff, she considered the conditions you found her in just a horrible nightmare. My entrance changed this to reality.”
“So that’s why you asked Rallen for a Ryza; you were using her to help calm Sarah correct?”
“Correct Jeena. As it has been successful in the past for recovery, I hoped it would help her, and it thankfully did. Due to this reveal, I was unable to ask any questions so we are coming back tomorrow evening.”
“I said this earlier when we were about to depart for here and I will say it again: these next few days will determine everything. We need information. If we cannot find and keep Krux away, this could be the time the Nanairo system falls. Sarah was almost the first victim, this cannot happen again. Tomorrow you two must be on your best behavior and she must be treated with respect. She has been through enough.”
“We understand sir. We won’t let you down” Rallen and Jeena stood and saluted.
“I know you won’t. It is time to head back to headquarters. Be ready to leave by four o clock tomorrow evening.”