Decca: The Battle of Cards

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 8 (v.1) - Chapter 8: No Calm Before the Storm

Submitted: March 07, 2018

Reads: 145

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Submitted: March 07, 2018





Cassandra grabbed her light jacket and headed out after eating her meal. She had almost forgotten to get her digital sunglasses so that no one in public would recognize her and try to approach her. She remembers that it has happened before in the past. She set her digital sunglasses to outdoor mode and proceeded to exit her home.


Her house door slides open and Cassandra says a command to Debbie to arm their alarm system since no one would be home. When she stepped out, she could see the artificial Sun in the sky. It was a beautiful day. It was common knowledge of course, everyone on Saturn knew that the weather and every element to do with the weather was simulated so it had an earth-like feeling to it. The weather was just one out of many things that the Saturn world controlled and monitored. Things of that nature, every day, is taken for granted by the people of Saturn. They trust that the Saturn government maintains and monitors those kinds of things in a safe and orderly fashion for the good of all the people. Each of the four colonies individually enjoys pleasant randomized weather patterns.


Cassandra decided to take the public transportation to get to her destination. Over the holo-call she had with Sarafina, she had explained to her to get in contact with Daru and meet her at the Omnium Shopping Center. There, they would get together, walk around a bit, and head to the augmented interactive reality movie theater, also known as the A.I.R. Movie Theater.


The Omnium Shopping Center is a large out door complex that has many stores in which people could shop from. At the center of it all, was a lush beautiful garden people could walk through and enjoy. It's an area in the Solar Colony where people go to enjoy themselves, shop, and socialize.


Cassandra breathed in deep to fill up her lungs with fresh air. For once in a long while she felt calm and at peace. She had nothing she needed to worry about.


She proceeded to walk two blocks from her house to wait at a bus stop. Cassandra looked at her cellphone a bit as she walked to the bus stop. She suddenly got a text message from an endorsement deal she had within the whole Decca Tournament.


She read the message as she walked along. "Oh great. One of my endorsement deals decided to drop me because of my crazy loss in the tournament.”


Cassandra didn’t want to dwell on it at all. She quickly deleted the text message after she had read it and put all that in the back of her mind. She didn’t want anything to spoil her day.


When Cassandra got to the bus stop, she could see that other people we’re there waiting as well. She could hear people whispering the word terrorist in their conversations but she tried her best not to listen. Minutes later a large hover bus dropped from the sky and landed near her. Once Cassandra saw that the doors had opened up, she proceeded to walk right in. All the other passengers waiting as well, walked right in too. She scanned her cellphone on a console near the bus driver. Once all its passengers had sat down, the bus lifted itself in the air and took off to its next destination.


Cassandra finally arrives at her destination ready to enjoy her day. She had told Sarafina to meet her up with Daru at a certain location right in front of the Omnium Shopping Center. She stood right in front of the entrance, scanning the area up and down wondering if Sarafina and Daru would be late as usual. She stood under a giant chrome shiny ring structure that hovers high above Cassandra's head. That was the signature symbol of the place. Cassandra could see a lot of people walking around but when she looked towards the shopping plaza there wasn’t that many people in the area.


A large group of people got Cassandra's attention as she looked around for her friends. She could see them all now gathering around. She decided to go back to looking for her friends as she wondered what the large crowd was all about.


Eventually she spotted Sarafina and Daru in the distance and started to smile. Both had stepped off another hover bus and began to make their way towards her. However, they had no idea that she was already in the area, already standing there waiting patiently for them. She started to wave them over to her. She waved even faster hoping they would see her. Finally Sarafina looked around and saw her in the distance. She pulled on Daru’s shirt sleeve and pointed towards the direction where Cassandra was standing. Daru was able to see her and they started to make their way towards her. That’s when they all noticed that the crowd of people began shouting and crowding around a Saturn government building across the street from the shopping center.


Cassandra was wondering what was going on. The people lifted up signs in their hands. The people kept waving it around as hover cars speed on by them on the road.


“What is President Wilshire doing in such a crisis? Absolutely nothing!” Cassandra could hear a woman speaking from a portable hovering loudspeaker.


“What’s happening anyways?” Cassandra stared at the large mob of people.


“It’s what I’ve been telling you over the phone Cassandra. People are really upset about this terrorist attack.” Sarafina started to look up information on her phone.


“There’s barely anyone in the shopping plaza. There's only angry protestors running around the streets. These people are angry. But of course there are other people that are really frightened about this whole situation.” Daru had his augmented reality glasses on, called Holo-Glass. There he was able to watch the news about what was going on. He presses a button on the frame and turned them off for a moment to look at the entrance of the Omnium Shopping Center. They could all clearly see that there was hardly anyone around going into into the plaza.


“I had to even convince my parents that I wasn’t going to go anywhere dangerous. They advised me to stay away from Zin Cyber Centers and especially the Crescent Colony.” Sarafina had a frown on her face.


“I heard that attendance to the Decca Tournament dropped significantly today. People decided to leave Crescent and watch the rest of the tournament at home. Tickets to the Decca tournament isn't cheap either. So for people to just head home and not stay for the last day says a lot." Daru looked at Cassandra’s expression. She looked like she was worrying about something, staring at the ground. She then looked at Daru’s Holo-Glass.


“Hey, Daru what are you looking at on your Holo-Glass?” Cassandra really liked his device. She was planning on getting one eventually for herself. However, with her constant preparation and training for that tournament she hadn't had much time to herself.


“Oh, uh, it’s an interview going on live right now with some intellectual I guess. I… I really don’t know who he is, but he’s giving his opinion on the whole terrorist attack. I’ll show you.” Daru presses another button several times on the frame of his Holo-Glass. He searches for the proper settings. In an instant, the interview projects itself right in front of them. He decides to raise the volume so that they could listen in. But Daru and Sarafina didn’t notice that Cassandra didn’t really want to pay any attention to that.


Sarafina was in complete shock listening to it all, while Cassandra just zones out and thought about something else.


When Daru projected the hologram from his Holo-Glass, a young news anchorman began to speak first. “Well it is evident, first of all that many here on Saturn are frighten due to this terrorist attack. Bottom line is, they feel unsafe. Some feel that Mars is to blame for the attack, due to our shaky relationship with them. Many feel that war will break out soon. Some have also stated that the government, President Cassini Wilshire specifically in mind, isn't currently doing anything about the tragic situation. Some have even gone out as to say that Decca has a lot to blame for the attacks. As the brother of the famous Professor Frederick Decca Almis, the creator of Decca what are your feelings on this Professor Lee Almis?”  The old man next to the young anchorman nodded his head and crossed his fingers.


An old man with glasses and scruffy mustache was projected from Daru’s Holo-Glass. The man was sitting next to the anchorman. While the camera moved on him, he began to speak. “Yes, indeed Decca is to blame. Decca is the source of all this violence we are currently witnessing. It influences our youth and impacts our society as a whole in a negative way. And in my most humble opinion I feel that in all our colonies, here on Saturn, I say this also with Earth and Mars in mind, that Decca should be completely banned.”


"Why would his own brother talk bad about his game?" Sarafina scratched her head.


After the old man finished his sentence, Daru hit a button on his Holo-Glass frame and shut the projection off.


“Cassandra, so do you think the Saturn Colonies are going to ban Decca? ...Cassandra?” Sarafina asked Cassandra a question but Cassandra just stared at the ground.


Cassandra snaps out of her train of thought. “Oh, what?” She had absolutely no idea what to answer because she wasn’t listening. 


Sarafina decides to repeat her question to Cassandra but continues saying, “Some people are actually blaming Decca for the terrorist's actions. There are people analyzing the footage and strongly claiming that somehow that person is using cards of some sort to attack people, even though it’s not logical at all to think this.” 


Cassandra stayed quiet for a little while. “You guys…” Cassandra began to produce a slight half frown. “I just want to apologize for not saying, you know, goodnight last night before my dad dropped you guys off. It was real rude of me.” Her eyes were filled with sadness, Daru could clearly see it. She then half smiles and looks at them both.


Sarafina was thrown off guard with her sudden change in topic. “Oh. Uh, that’s… That’s okay Cassandra, you don’t have to apologize, we understand. Really, we do. Right Daru?” Sarafina turned to look at Daru with a menacing stare. She knew at that point that Cassandra must have been very upset about her lost in the tournament. Sarafina wanted to be a good friend and help her feel better about everything.


“Uh, yeah that’s right!” Daru agreed and looked down.


“I’m sorry to change the subject like that, but I really don’t want to think about these things, I just want to enjoy my day. Come on, let’s get away from all these screaming people. It’s honestly getting on my nerves.” Cassandra walked side by side with Daru and Sarafina while they went into the Omnium plaza.


Daru, while walking with them, decides to break the silence. “The media is saying that the government denies claims that weaponized cards have ever been created and that it is not possible for that type of technology to exist, but conspirators say otherwise.”


Cassandra stopped walking and turned to look at Daru. “Daru, can we please just not talk about the terrorist stuff and Decca for a while? I just want to this day to be normal for once. I just want to hang out with you guys. Consider it my day off. All athletes need a day off from their careers once in a while, right?”


“Uh, sure no problem. Not another word about the terrorist and Decca is coming out of my mouth, I promise.”


Sarafina now looked at Cassandra and placed her hand on her chest. “Yeah, me too. You do deserve a break from all that. And I want to thank you for inviting us both to go to the A.I.R. Theater. It’s going to be so much fun.”


“Oh, that’s right. I can’t thank you enough for inviting me too. Whenever I do go, I always pay for the reduced experience. I know it’s not the same as the full interactive one, but it’s just it cost so much. What if you end up not liking the movie, huh?”


Cassandra began to giggle and smile after Daru said that. They all started walking again, this time towards the Omnium Center’s map displayed on a large touch screen. A hologram projection of a girl welcomed them to the Omnium Shopping Center. Cassandra pointed towards the A.I.R. Theater they wanted to go to on the map.


“Okay, here’s the theater. It’s not too far from here.” Cassandra was excited just thinking about being able to experience something unique with her two most closes friends.


They began making their way to the theater. As they walked, they all had noticed that some of the stores they passed along the way were closed. Cassandra didn’t put much thought into it. Sarafina however, was connecting all the dots together as to why some of the places in the plaza were closed. “The terrorist attack must have really scared a lot of people. They didn’t want to even take the risk today and open their stores.” Sarafina looked at Daru with a concerned look on her face. Daru already knew what she was thinking. As she nodded to him he nodded back. It was very clear to both of them that everyone on Saturn had a different view of the terrorist attack. Some saw it as an extreme act and felt unsafe to be out and about, while others didn’t put much thought into it. 


“Oh…” The bright lights coming from a lit sign had caught Cassandra’s eye. She had stopped moving forward. Daru and Sarafina wondered what was happening. The sign was bright red.


Mizo’s Decca Card Shop? Hmm... Never been there before.” Cassandra thought about the store for a while and decided to check it out.


“Cool. You guys, I kind of want to take a look and see what they got.” Cassandra began walking towards the card shop after saying that.


"Wait, what?" Sarafina could not figure Cassandra out. She made a big deal about enjoying her day off, free of any Decca related thing, but there she was rushing towards the Decca store like it was a shiny new toy that a child really wanted.


With a big smile now on her face, Cassandra made her way to the shop. Deep down Cassandra couldn’t resist. She really enjoyed Decca growing up over the years. She wondered what incredibly rare cards the shop was currently selling.


“Cassandra, I thought you wanted to stay away from Decca stuff today.” Sarafina ran up to Cassandra to catch up with her.


“Yeah, I did. But what if they’re selling that one card that could give me the edge in the next tournament? I have to go in, look around, and find out.”


They all entered the medium sized store. The store owner saw all three of them step in to the store. The owner, however, was busy having a casual conversation with one of his regular customers at the stores counter.


The store owner had no interest in Cassandra and her friends at the time. The store owner, along with the customer was completely engrossed in the Decca League Tournament that both of them were watching on his extra-large TV on the wall.


Cassandra, Sarafina, and Daru walked around the store looking at all the rare and expensive Decca cards.


The cards were all on display behind glass, each one brighten by light so the customer could easily see them.


While walking around the store it was hard to ignore what the owner of the store and his customer was watching. Cassandra and company had noticed that they were watching the tournament. Daru's eyes lighted as he noticed what was on screen. "Hey guys, look." He pointed to the TV screen. "The last day of the tournament is on right now." At that moment they could all clearly see, when the camera pans out, that the crowd cheering in the stands wasn’t as much as the other days of the tournament before the terrorist attack.


Suddenly Cassandra smiles remembering that she had to watch Sumi's match later that day. "Yeah, I need to get home tonight on time to watch Sumi's match. We need to make sure we get out fast enough from the A.I.R. Theater. I don't want to miss her match."


"Sumi..." Daru looked as if he was trying to remember her, after Cassandra said her name. Daru already knew all about Sumi, even though he had never met her. 


"Oh that's right, it's that cute Japanese android girl. You told us that you met her in the last tournament. That's when she started competing in the Decca League." After Daru finished speaking, he thought about what he had just said and realized his mistake.


"Cute?" Cassandra noticed he threw in that word when he talked about Sumi. She smiled and raised an eyebrow. Cassandra couldn’t believe what she had just heard. She was wondering if Daru liked Sumi. 


"Yeah, you heard right Cassandra. I think Daru is in love with that Sumi girl you know in the tournament. You should have seen him during her last match. Daru was cheering like crazy. And he's completely head over heels on the fact that you know her. He probably wants you to even introduce her to him. Ha ha." Sarafina giggles as she looks at Daru who was now scratching his head and blushing.


Cassandra had only interacted with Sumi during the tournament and she hadn't introduced her to her friends yet. Text, and a once in a while phone call was the only thing Cassandra and Sumi had done so far.


Daru, now embarrassed, tried to defend himself in front of Cassandra."Sarafina! You’re exaggerating!" He couldn't believe that the word ‘cute’ had slipped out of his mouth when he talked about Sumi. "You twisted my words. I said that she's my favorite fighter so far in the tournament. I never said anything about liking her in that way. And so what if Cassandra knows her. Good for her, I couldn't care less." Daru quickly crossed his arms and had a serious look on his face.


“Well, I actually want to start training with Sumi. I haven’t invited her to it just yet. Maybe I'll introduce her to you guys.” Cassandra smiled and looked at Daru, who started blushing even more. Cassandra could see it in his eyes, that Daru really did like Sumi. “Oh yeah, I can see it alright.” She turned around and walked away to look at more cards. She whispered to herself, “You definitely like Sumi.” But Daru of course was able to overhear what she had whispered.


Daru points his finger sharply at Cassandra as he walked towards her to catch up. Putting emphasis on every word he says, he quickly denies everything Sarafina and Cassandra say about him liking Sumi. “Read my lips. NoIdon’t!


They all kept walking through the store and started to look around at the different cards on display. At the center of the store Cassandra saw a special display with a card that caught her eye. “Earthquake? Never heard of such a card.” Cassandra looked at the card with amazement. “It looks so cool you guys.”


There was a button on the side of the display to show how the card can be used in battle. Cassandra decides to press it to look at stats and any other interesting information about the card. Immediately after she did that, a hologram of a fighter projects itself next to the card and displays how to use it in battle. An artificial voice began to speak from the display. “This is an earth type card called Earthquake. This card produces a powerful seismic wave that travels slightly above the surface of the battlefield towards your opponent, upsetting his or her balance. The card is ideal for situations in which the fighter needs to slow the opponent down in order to execute an attack effectively.”


“Interesting effect.” Cassandra started to smile. “Hmm… I want it.” She began thinking of what crazy strategies she could come up with using the Earthquake card.


Daru looked at Cassandra’s eyes light up while she stared at the card. “Woah, are you serious right now?” Daru looked at the card himself stepping forward towards the display. ”This card’s got to be expensive. Look, the display says that this card was released this year too.” Daru looked at the price of the card on the display, his eyes widened.


I just bought new cards before this tournament a month ago. My dad will kill me if I buy more." Cassandra thought about it for a second. “That’s it, I got it. I’ll just explain to him that I really really really need this card. Cassandra, you're a genius. I’m sure he’ll understand”. Cassandra nods as she imagined how she would look like fighting in the next tournament with that new card in her possession.


“Okay, you do what you want. I’ll be down here looking at some other cards.” Daru stepped to the side and walked down another aisle full of cards on display. Sarafina decided to do the same.


Cassandra took out her wallet from her pocket. From the wallet she removed a special exclusive credit card that she got from the Decca League. Only those who are at the top can obtain this special card. On the card was the official insignia of the Decca League. When she held the card she began to smile. Cassandra felt that if she bought the new card, she would have the edge against all the top fighters in the next tournament. That’s when Cassandra began to overhear what the store owner and the customer were talking about at the counter.


Cassandra slowly moved closer to one of the store shelves to listen in on what they were saying.


Cassandra could clearly hear the store owner’s deep voice. “Look, I agree with you 100 percent. This year’s Decca Tournament has been crazy and unpredictable", the store owner removed his hat to scratch his head. "The matches overall aren't as nearly as exciting, not like years ago with Cassidy Zyta. It’s such a shame she’s no longer around. She sure was an iconic fighter.”


As Cassandra stared through the store shelves, the young customer began speaking to the store owner behind the counter. The young boy let out a big yawn as he stared at the TV screen. “So, I'm curious, whatever happened to Cassidy Zyta anyways? Cassidy, hands down made watching the tournament worthwhile.”


“Funny thing you ask. I heard, now this is a conspiracy theory floating around the net, that she went crazy because of all the fame and attention. So she took all her money and moved to a remote location out on Mars. Changed her name, face, everything. Now she lives a new life as an average person with no desire to ever return. She wants nothing to do with Decca anymore.”


“You really believe the garbage you read online old man? You must think I'm a fool to believe in something a 30 year old, living in his parent’s basement, wrote on his conspiracy blog.” The young customer began to laugh.


“Well, I also read that perhaps she fell in love with an android but her parents disapproved of their love so she ran away with her forbidden love and now they live in secret somewhere here on Saturn.”


After hearing the crazy things the store owner was saying Cassandra became upset. “None of that is true. People are such idiots. Why do people create such stupid lies? My sister isn’t crazy.”


“Ha, oh come on Charlie. Are you sure you weren’t just reading some sort of romance novel?” The young boy was laughing even more at him as the owner Charlie looked at him with a stern face. Suddenly something on the TV got his attention.


“Oh, look Eric, that’s one of the new favorites in the tournament this year. Towards the end of the tournament she's been turning heads with her performance.” The store owner Charlie, points to the TV screen as the customer, Eric, looked at the next match that was about to begin.


“Ah, yes, I’ve heard of her. Ara Meisha was her name, right? Straight from the planet Mars. Mars fighters are getting tougher and tougher each year." Eric nodded his head.


"I've noticed that myself actually."


"We've been underestimating them. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Saturn fighters used to be the best when it came to Decca. But now it seems that the tables have finally turned. I really don't mind that my favorite fighter is from Mars. You have to admit, she’s definitely proven herself in the last portions of the tournament. She’s so good, that she’s actually expected to win this year.” The customer Eric smiles as Cassandra looks up at the screen to see the match.


On the TV, Cassandra was able to see that a match between Ara Meisha and Kaito was about to begin. She noticed that news headlines were also appearing at the bottom of the screen. She didn't pay much attention to it because her attention was now on Ara and Kaito.


Cassandra had heard of Ara Meisha before. She was a new Decca fighter from Mars. It seems that in such short amount of time, after Cassandra left the tournament grounds from her defeat with Kaito, Ara Meisha completely won Decca fans over with her incredible wins and flawless moves.


“I wish they’d take all those words scrolling through the bottom of the screen off. It’s so distracting. I don’t know if you noticed Eric, but in the morning, the tournament activities were delayed because of the crazy terrorist attack. I heard that they were actually considering postponing or even worse, canceling the final day of the tournament because of the attack.” The owner pressed a button on his counter to raise the volume to the TV.


“Kaito?” Cassandra saw Kaito step into the battle arena. She still felt upset at what had happened during her match with Kaito. However, deep down Cassandra had no real reason to hold a grudge against Kaito. It was her own fault after all, for zoning out during her match with him. Cassandra looked at the screen with immense curiosity. In the back of her mind she secretly wanted Kaito to lose. She wanted to continue watching but she couldn’t focus her mind on that. She wanted to cause a scene and tell the store owner to stop spreading idiotic lies about her older sister.


Cassandra, however, knew that there was no way she was going to march over there, blow her cover as her younger sister and cause a commotion. She was able to keep herself level headed.


"All those things about Cassidy are all lies. I remember it all clearly, before her mysterious disappearance. Although I did tell the police that we didn't notice anything strange before her sudden disappearance, I did notice something with Cassidy that dad hadn't."


Cassandra now thought of the last memories she had of Cassidy. "We had made plans to train. But she didn't show up at the Decca gym. Mr. Evans at the gym noticed the whole thing. He asked me about Cassidy because he had noticed that I was alone and that I was waiting for her for hours to show up, but she never showed. I confronted her on the matter the next day but she just apologized for it and tried to make up for it. From that moment on it was clear, that she was changing.”


“"Cassandra, once you get to the level of Decca fighter that I am, you'll soon see how hard it is to balance your Decca career and your everyday life. It's isn't easy ya'know. But I'm truly truly sorry about that, forgetting about our training session." I didn't want an apology, I just wanted my best friend, that's all I wanted. She went on to say that she had so much on her mind and a lot to do. She completely forgot that she had made plans that day with me.”


“I was so upset with her. I remember how Mr. Evans felt bad about the whole situation. That day he said something to me that convinced me that Cassidy was not truly herself. "Cassidy is always punctual when it comes to training sessions with you. It isn't like her to just completely forget a one on one with her own sister." Mr. Evans was kind enough to give me a free space in his gym. He said it was on the house for being a loyal customer. I got the opportunity to train on my own. But that wasn't enough to cheer me up completely. I soon started to see that Cassidy's excuses to missing a date would eventually become a normal thing. I didn't like it, not one bit. The constant apologies right after the excuse, to me, were starting to get old.”


“I felt like I was losing a best friend, and I didn't know why. Was she hiding something from dad and me? Was it all really that stressful when she was one of the top Decca fighters? I mean I know now how difficult it can all be, to manage a Decca career and always fight to stay at the top. I remember the days when she would tell me, "Cassandra, no matter what happens in a match, win or lose, always be true to yourself. Always thank your opponents for a Decca challenge, because they can always teach you something new, not about Decca, but about yourself. There's nothing to be upset about when it comes to losing. Losing only means that you need to work more on yourself, to become a better, stronger you."”


“A better, stronger you. She always told me that. She believed in those words. I can always remember her words clearly, those exact words were always in my mind.”


“My dad was too busy with work to notice at the time the small changes that Cassidy was going through. Could the stress from her Decca career really be the only cause for her sudden change in behavior? I honestly felt like there was more to it than just stress.”


At the Decca Tournament stadium, Sumi went to sit on the lower exclusive bleachers where participants of the tournament are able to sit to observe matches at the most closes distance. She had noticed that other fighters were there as well but she paid them no mind. She did this right before Kaito's match was about to begin. Sumi decided to watch his match closely to see exactly how Kaito was able to win his match against a top Decca fighter like Cassandra.


"How? How could Kaito beat her so easily? It makes no sense. His ranking is just average at best. His match before Cassandras, shows that he just won by a thin margin." Sumi couldn't just ask Cassandra what had happened. She didn't want to pry into her business. 


Before the match began the announcer of the tournament started to speak. “Looks like a few of the fighters have taken interest in Ara’s match against Kaito! This new fan favorite from Mars is sure causing quite a stir during this year’s tournament.”


Sumi looked to her left and then her right after the announcer said that. She began to notice that a lot more fighters that were participating in the tournament really wanted to see Ara in action. Sumi knew that Ara was good but her interest was more into figuring out how Kaito won his match against Cassandra.


"If he used some sort of special card to defeat Cassandra, maybe he'll use it again against Ara and then I'll know his secret." Sumi knew that if she expects to make it to the finals, she will need to utilize her new secret card.


Sumi proceeds to remove a card from an extra deck she was carrying around. She looks at it with determination. She quickly tucks it away. “In my upcoming matches, I’ll have to rely on this new secret card. I can’t afford to hold back any longer.” Sumi made a fist with a serious expression on her face. She lifted her head up towards the battlefield to spectate Ara and Kaito’s match.


Back at the Decca Store Cassandra was still watching the TV screen. As Kaito’s match began, Cassandra overheard the store owner speaking again to his customer at the counter. This time it was about her.


"Hello, I'm Ivy."


"Woah!" Cassandra quickly turned around due to how sudden the hologram store assistant appears behind her.


"We have hundreds of cards on display. And if you cannot find what you are looking for, we can always order it for you. Is there anything I can assist you with today?"


"Oh. Oh my gosh. Umm, no, no I'm fine. I'm just peachy, thank you." Cassandra was startled by her.


“Argh. Peachy? That’s something dad would say.” Cassandra smiled trying hard not to give off a strange vibe to the store assistant AI. She didn’t want it to think she was trying to shop lift a card.


"If you need assistance or have any questions, just call. My name is Ivy."


"Yeah, yup I will, Ivy." Cassandra let out a big sigh of relief. She was glad that the store owner didn't catch her ease-dropping on their conversations. 


As soon as Cassandra placed her attention back to the store owner and the customer, it was too late. They had already moved on to another conversation.


“Darn. I wanted to know what they said about me.” Cassandra decided to forget about it and marched up to the front counter. She took her Decca League Zin credit card and placed it on the counter in front of the store owner and asked for the Earthquake card.


“Uh, hey, this is the official insignia of the Decca League. Just who are you anyways?” The storeowner Charlie raised his left eyebrow as he looked at Cassandra with curious eyes.


Cassandra pushed her digital sunglasses back closer to her eyes as the customer near the counter began looking at her as well. The Decca Zin credit card didn’t have a name and no actual information of the person was on the card.


“That’s rude. The card should be of no concern to you. I’m a customer who wants to buy a card and all you want to do is pry into my personal life. I don’t have to tell you who I am, that’s none of your business. I said I want your exclusive card over there, the Earthquake card. If not, then I’ll take my business elsewhere.” Cassandra was getting nervous. She didn’t really want them to know that she was one of the top Decca fighters in the Decca League. She didn’t want to give the man any bragging rights that an important Decca fighter was shopping around in his store.


“Alright, I didn’t mean to get all personal. One Earthquake card coming right up.” The storeowner Charlie pressed a few buttons on the electronic cash register he had in front of him. The Earthquake card appeared from a small door that had opened from the counter Cassandra’s Decca Zin credit card was on. The Earthquake card was in a deluxe special plastic case. The edges of the plastic case shined with a bright gold color. 


The store own proceeded to scan Cassandra’s Decca Zin credit card and handed it over to her. A console opened up and Cassandra, on a touch pad, placed her special 4 digit code to gain purchase authorization. Casandra pressed the following buttons on screen. 3…4…2…1. The screen lit up and said authorization successful. “Thank you very much sir, pleasure doing business with you.”


Cassandra grabbed her Earthquake card, called Daru and Sarafina, and left the store quickly. As they exit the card shop, the door of the store slides shut behind them, leaving both the storeowner and the customer scratching their heads.


“Hey, who do you think that girl was? She had a Decca League card, right?” The customer Eric at the counter just shrugs his shoulders wondering who Cassandra was.


Cassandra smiled as they all looked at her brand new shiny Earthquake card. “I got the card so I could use it in the next tournament. I’m sure it will come in handy.”


“I would have gotten something too but all the prices in there for even the basic cards are way out of my price range.” Sarafina sighed and frowned for a second as Cassandra tucked her new card away in her pocket.


“Oh come on Sarafina, cheer up. We have to go to the A.I.R. Theater now, we’ll have so much fun there and with that you’ll forget all about that stupid overpriced store. There are cheaper card shops all around Saturn you know. I think there’s one in the Lunar Colony actually or was it the Eclipse Colony? I’m not quite sure to tell you the truth but I can always look it up.”


“Woah, wait a minute. We’re not heading all the way out there today are we? I didn’t tell my parents we’ll be out there. Plus the Lunar Colony is really far.”


“Sarafina don’t worry. We’re not going there today. That will be for another day.”


Cassandra, Sarafina, and Daru finally get to the A.I.R. Theater and enjoy the rest of their day. As they were walking out the Omnium Shopping Center, they all had huge smiles on their faces.


“That was so much fun Cassandra. Thanks again for the invite. The movie felt so real at certain points! The part where Jason was hanging from the cliff… It was crazy! And the scene with the mutated huge creature… I couldn’t believe it… I had to like convince myself a few times that it wasn’t all real!” Daru’s face was glowing with excitement for the whole experience. He could barely finish a complete sentence without jumping to another train of thought. “I really want to do that again!”


“Ha ha, I know but you’re going to have to calm down Daru, you sound look like a crazy person right now.” Cassandra was so happy that the rest of her day went as expected.


When they stepped outside the Omnium plaza they all had noticed that the crazy crowd that was protesting earlier that day was gone. Hardly anyone was walking around in the street. Cassandra was thinking in that moment that they had to get some take out and rush home to watch Sumi’s next match. She quickly looked at her phone to see the time.


“I have to agree with Daru on this one, my heart was pounding from time to time especially in the really dire moments of the film, it was incredible.” Sarafina fixed her sight on a building down the street as they all stood right outside in front of the entrance to the Omnium plaza. Daru and Cassandra had their backs facing the building.


“And the best part is that almost the whole theater was for us to enjoy. There was barely anyone in that place. It felt as if we rented the whole theater to ourselves.” Cassandra stopped smiling as she looked a Sarafina looking towards the distance. “What… What is it?”


Cassandra and Daru turned around to see what was happening behind them. Nothing about the area looked strange to them. For a second they wondered why she was even looking in that direction in the first place.


Unexpectedly, a huge explosion goes off at the very same building Sarafina had her sights on. Daru gasped as Cassandras eyes widen and her heart sank. A part of the building in the distance was now engulfed in flames. 


“What just happened? ...Sarafina, what did you see?” Cassandra, along with everyone else froze when they first saw the flames coming from the burning building. A chill ran down Cassandra’s spine as the light emitting from the burning building lit up the night sky around them.


Sirens could now be heard from all around. People within the area stepped out the buildings on the street, others stepped out of their cars and started to crowd around the burning building. 


Cassandra, Sarafina, and Daru stood there at a distance in shock. Their minds could not process what was happening.





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