Part 5: Morph Stone
I didn't leave my room for days. I didn't feel like doing anything. When I did finally come out to eat dinner, it was quiet at the table. It was Cashel's turn to make dinner and he made himself busy in the kitchen as everyone sat at the table, putting food on their plate and eating quietly.
I didn't look at anyone but I could feel eyes glance at me once in a while. I ignored them and stood up to leave the table with most of my food still on my plate.
"Are you done? You barely touched your food." Kiko asked in a disapproving tone.
"I'm full." I answered simply, still avoiding any eye contact.
"I think you should eat at least a little-"
"I'm full alright! Don't pretend like you care what happens to me!" I snapped at her.
"Fine! Then starve to death!" she yelled back before storming away.
I glared at Tammy and Rei who were still sitting at the table. Cashel simply ignored our commotion and continued working in the kitchen. Tammy just stared at me with a blank face but I could see Rei's eyes swell up with tears.
All of my pent up emotions were leaking out and I was furious as I stormed away from the kitchen back to my room.
I was lying back down on my bed when the door slid open. It had to be Tammy because I had just locked it and she was the only one who could override the system.
I sighed, "What do you want?" asking without bothering to give my full attention to her.
"You miss them" she said.
"What does it matter? They're all dead."
She paused, and then pictures of Breccan and his crew began appearing on the wall I was staring at.
"What are you doing?" I said, starting to get angry again. I got up from my bed and walked over to the door to leave but it slammed shut and locked. "Open the door Tammy!" I started banging on the door, hoping it would open.
"You liked her didn't you?"
I kept banging on the door in frustration and a picture of the kiss Lux and I shared, appeared on it. I couldn't hold back the pain any longer and I cried as soon as I saw the picture.
"We all liked the Breccan crew Sarth." She said, and then she put up other pictures of both the Jago crew and Breccan crew enjoying each other's company in the brief two weeks we spent with them. "We all feel the same pain, but you're trying to ignore it completely. It's not good to push away your emotions." She spoke in a sincere voice, one I've never heard from her before.
I slid down against the door, huddled there, crying like I haven't done in a long time. Losing friends was something no one should ever go through.
She walked over, sat down next to me, and leaned her head against my shoulder, consoling me in her own way.
I felt so stupid for acting the way I have been since the incident. Tammy was right. I wanted to ignore the pain of losing our friends completely. I couldn't stand the thought of it, but it was changing me and I was lashing out at the others because of it.
We sat there until the tears stopped pouring out of me.
"You think she'll forgive me?" I wondered aloud. I knew she would know that I was talking about Kiko.
"Yes," she responded, reading my mind. "She knows how you feel; she just doesn't know how to approach you."
I knew I had to make up with the others somehow.
"I'm sorry." I apologized genuinely.
"It's alright. That's what friends are for."
I found Kiko and Rei in the sky deck and tried to think of the best way to approach them without getting myself killed.
"You don't need to say it." Kiko said first.
After hearing her words, relief spread throughout my entire body.
"You gonna join us?" Rei asked from the bed.
"Yeah" I replied happily.
The next day, I remembered that I had the stone the entire time since I first grabbed it on Fargon and yet no one's asked me about it.
I went to the jacket that went through the two week journey with me and took out the illuminated red stone. It instantly reminded me of my kiss with Lux as I stared at the spot where I pressed my lips against it.
The door opened. "Hey you busy?" came Rei's voice.
Those thoughts fled my mind. "Uh, no not really." I said.
"Ohh is that the stone? I wanna see!"
I handed her the stone and it stopped glowing. Instead it looked like a regular red ruby stone.
"Aww I guess it doesn't like me," she frowned, and I shrugged my shoulders. "Let's go show Tammy!"
She walked the stone over to Tammy who was working on the now-thrashed-thanks-to-Kiko PSL in her room.
"Tammy! Hold out your hand!" she ordered, hiding the stone behind her back.
Tammy turned in her chair with her usual straight-working face and held out her hand. Rei placed the stone on her palm and we all watched as the stone turn pitch black once it touched her.
"uhh..." Rei and I said in unison.
"What happened to it?" I questioned.
"The stone doesn't resonate very well with me," she explained as she picked up the stone to examine it. "I knew this would happen."
"Aww, why doesn't it like you?" Rei asked with pity.
Tammy ignored her condescending tone, "Considering this is an elemental stone, I figured it wouldn't respond well to someone who lacks most elemental genetic makeup."
That made sense. Tammy was more suited to technology rather than nature. She gave the stone back to me and it illuminated with life once again.
"Then why does it work so well with Sarth?"
"Humans are one of the most basic beings," Tammy explained and a hologram of what looked like a tree with many branches appeared. "Almost all species in the galaxy began with humans." She pointed to a figure that looked like me at the bottom of the tree. Then she pointed to figures that looked like Kiko and Rei further up, and one that looked like her towards the top of the tree. "So it shouldn't just work well with Sarth, but with any human. He was the only one in the expedition group who would've been able to activate the stone."
"How did you know this was an elemental stone? Are they all like this?" I asked.
"I was able to take a look at all the research that Breccan had accumulated about the race. I was surprised at the amount of extensive work they had done. It must've taken them years to collect that much data, but they lacked someone who could piece it all together." She brought up panels full of text in front of her. "Apparently each stone each exhibits a type of theme that is seemingly randomly chosen to be the center of its power. It can be anything. I simply put it into a category I thought would fit it best."
"So there are four different types of stones somewhere in the galaxy?"
"Yes, and I won't know more about them until I can better assess where it's located."
I glanced at Rei, and Tammy went back to working on the PSL again.
"How's the tracker coming along?" Rei asked this time.
"It'll be a few days until I can find another signal, other than that it's working perfectly."
"The PSL, however, needs extensive work. But I knew it would come back in this condition after having Kiko carry it."
Rei and I laughed.
Weeks had passed on the ship and still no word from Tammy about the next stone.
The only interesting part about drifting along in space was stopping at a few nearby planets to re-stock or just to take a break for a day or two.
Each planet we stopped at was completely different and the others had been to most of them during their bounty hunting years. I wish I could've been there with them, they always had some sort of story to recall at each planet.
"Hey Aki, remember when we crashed the ship in one of those hasin holes?" she burst out laughing and Kiko giggled with her as they pointed to a large hole with brown filled substance in the ground. We were on one of the planets they had stopped at before.
"Yeah it took us all day to clean the ship, and Tammy wasn't happy when she got back with Cashel." She recalled.
Rei was rolling around laughing now, "That's right! She left us on the planet for three month after that."
Tammy joined in, "It was cheaper to just leave you both there. I wanted to leave you longer but Cashel insisted we pick you two back up."
I thought about all the time I spent with them. I wasn't sure exactly how long I've been with them but I've made many happy and sad memories with them already. I couldn't imagine myself without them anymore. We were like a family and I wanted to be able to recount memories with them in the future.
I was meditating with Kiko in the training room one day when I asked without thinking, "Do you have family on your home planet?"
There was no response. I figured she was ignoring me.
"I used to."
I opened my eyes. She sounded different, not like her usual self. I saw her still sitting there meditating, eyes still closed.
Interest got the better of me and I asked again, "What happened to them?"
Again it took a moment but she answered simply, "I killed her."
"You… killed her?"
I didn't know what was going on but I knew the normal Kiko would never answer me so simply like that about her past. It must've been because she was meditating, then I remembered her number one rule she told me after allowing me to meditate with her. 'Do not talk' she told me. I see why she said that now.
"Yes. It was my fault… I killed her… my fault…"
Something was definitely wrong. Her aura was starting to change.
A loud beeping noise rang in the room and it started to darken. The room began removing the obstacles that were scattered about. I had no idea what was happening when Rei exploded into the room.
"AKI!" she cried out as soon as she saw her.
This jolted Kiko back to reality and she opened her eyes, looking around. Rei was by the door still trying to catch her breath, probably from running all the way from the flight deck.
The alarm and room stopped moving as soon as Kiko opened her eyes. Her gaze found me.
"What did you say?" she asked me with a stern look.
I was caught red handed. "I didn't-"
"It doesn't matter Aki, he won't do it again." Rei interjected as she walked over to me and dragged me out of the room.
She dragged me all the way to her room before finally letting me go and a second later Tammy walked in.
"Are you crazy? Do you really want to die?" Rei got straight to the point.
I didn't know my questions would lead to my death at that moment.
"He didn't know the consequences Rei" Tammy defended me.
I was still slightly confused, "I don't even know what's happening."
Rei sat down on her chair and explained, "Aki meditates for a reason, not just because she likes to." She thought about how she should explain this. "You know her species is bred to fight. It's in her blood to kill, but she doesn't want to. It's hard for her to fight against her natural urges and meditating is one way of helping her to keep her instincts under control."
Ok, that made sense.
"You do not want to be around if she loses control."
"Have you ever seen her… lose control before?" I wondered.
She didn't like that question but she still answered, "I've seen what she's capable of, but I've never seen her lose complete control... nor do I ever want to."
I brought back bad memories as her eyes down casted to the floor.
"I'm sorry. I won't bother her again" I said honestly.
She shook off her sorrow, "It's fine. No harm done. I'm just glad we caught it in time."
I left her room and headed to mine with Tammy following me there.
I turned to her, "Did you need something?"
"Let me see your hand," she requested.
I didn't really understand but I held out my hand for her. She put one of her glowing braids on top of it and it flickered sporadically.
"What're you doin'?" I asked curiously.
She was still fixated on my hand when she answered, "A check-up".
I let her do whatever she was doing and then she left. She came back an hour later and handed me a small bottle.
"Use this when you shower." She told me.
"What is it?" I held the bottle up. It had a thick white substance inside.
"It's for your hair."
"What's wrong with my hair?" I asked running my hand through it.
She just turned around and left.
I did what she said and used it for my hair in the shower without a second thought.
Afterwards, I walked into the kitchen for dinner and sat down in front of Rei. She was the only one there reading something and then she took a sip of her drink. When she saw me she spit her drink out all over me and was laughing hysterically.
"What's so funny?" I asked in disgust of her drink all over me. I had to wait for her to catch her breath.
"What's with the new look?" she finally managed to ask pointing to my hair.
I remembered what Tammy gave me and ran to look for a mirror. My eyes widened with horror at my snow-white hair. It was affecting all of my hair, even my eyebrows were white and I don't remember washing my eyebrows. It made me look ten years older, like I was Cashel's younger brother or something.
"Tammy!" I yelled angrily. Rei took out her memory flasher and I heard her taking many images of me. I ignored her as she tried to get every angle.
A hologram of Tammy appeared in front of me. "Yes?" she said like she didn't notice my hair.
"What did you do to my hair?!"
I heard Cahsel suddenly burst out laughing in the background of the hologram at the pictures Rei had just sent him.
"It's not permanent" was all she said.
I was speechless. Dang it, she got me good.