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Shooting Star Sonia 3: Red Joker
Pahrak Model ZX posted a topic in Off Topic CultureChapter 1 Luna scowled up at the sky as gray clouds rolled over Vista Point. Tapping a finger against the umbrella hanging on the railing, she thought, It had better hold out a little longer… She set the matter aside for the moment and looked back at the device in her hands. The terminal, dubbed the Hunter-VG, was the newly-released replacement of the Star Carrier, and was being advertised as so upgrade-friendly that there would never need to be another new terminal again. If she was being honest, Luna didn’t think it looked particularly revolutionary: it was little more than a thick disk with a narrow tray sticking out of one side, though the holographic interface it projected had worked very smoothly thus far. As she examined it, her eyes sought out the clock on their own. “What’s keeping her?” she huffed. In a flash of bluish-white, Ophiuca appeared on the other side of the railing. “She did say that she was unsure how long the meeting would take exactly. Though, by now, I’m sure she’s on her way if nothing else.” Luna tensed a little in surprise. “Huh…I’m still getting used to being able to see you.” Looking down at herself, Ophiuca said, “Yes, this Real Wave body will definitely require some adjustment, but it is exquisitely-made. What gives me more pause is this new classification of EM beings…I’m not truly sure I like the sound of ‘Wizard’.” “Well they had to pick something easy to remember. You’re going to have to get used to it.” Ophiuca dramatically raised her arm over her face. “My, how dreadful…but, if I must.” She vanished, only to reappear on the Hunter’s screen. “You know, I have a hunch that Sonia wouldn’t mind terribly if we were to move the rendezvous point.” Luna puffed out her cheeks. “Really, where is she? She knows I don’t appreciate being kept waiting!” A flash from behind the deck caught her attention. A familiar voice followed with, “Sorry, sorry, I know I’m late.” “I’ll say!” Luna replied. She deactivated the Hunter’s screen and pocketed the device, and then walked over to the corner of the deck. “I hope you have a good explanation for…” She stopped as Sonia stepped into view and began to climb the stairs. She was still Wave Changed, but the form looked slightly different: her golden bracelets were thinner than they used to be, and on each greave were two vertical white stripes like the ones on her dress. Her sleeves were totally different, with white patches on her shoulders that each spawned a single vertical line down the front of her arm and another down the back, dividing the pink on the outer side from the black that colored the inner sleeve and the area around her collarbone. There was also something coming off of the bottom edge of her helmet—a headset mic, by the look of it. Sonia reached the top stair and paused for a moment. Averting her gaze just a little, she asked, “Um…does it look good?” Realizing she was staring, Luna blushed and said, “O-Oh, yeah. You look great. But, what…” Hearing Luna’s answer, Sonia brightened up. “This is what Mr. Boreal wanted to see us about.” “I thought he was just adding Hunter functions to your guitar?” “He did, but apparently the Hunter-VG has a function for streamlining Wave Changes to enhance them. They wanted to see how it turned out, which is why he wanted Bud and Geo to come too.” Lyra materialized beside her, adding, “I must say, I feel more energized than I’ve felt in a long time! The humans have really outdone themselves.” “So that’s why you look different,” Luna said. “Wait, where is your guitar?” “Oh, right!” Sonia said, raising her left hand. Luna realized that the bracelet on that wrist was pale blue with a heart decoration on it. A second later, it returned to the familiar gold, and Sonia’s guitar appeared in her hands. The instrument had also gotten a minor change, with the face and microphone at the head being replaced by a large heart with pink light shining in its center, a light which flowed in a single line down the length of the neck before splitting and encircling the main body. There were also a few knobs added at the point where the body was at its widest. Striking a pose, she said, “So, what do you think?” Luna placed her hands over her heart and smiled wide. “Amazing!” Sonia blushed, scratching her head. “Heheh…well, I guess that’s enough showing off for now…” As Sonia undid her Wave Change, Ophiuca asked, “Then this affects every Wave Change? We should expect something different as well?” “Oh, let’s try it out!” Luna said, reaching for her Hunter. “The Wavehole’s over there, right?” “Actually, we don’t need Waveholes anymore! You can Wave Change wherever you want.” With a nod, Luna initiated the transformation, and Sonia stepped forward to take a look at her. The new Queen Ophiuca wore a triangular black breastplate over her torso, and her shoulder armor was much smaller, now looking like the heads of two purple snakes clamping down on her arms. “Wow, you look great!” Pointing, Sonia added, “Your…’hair’ is different.” Luna touched her helmet. “Really?” “Yeah, it doesn’t come out as much, and it’s more flat. Actually, it sort of makes you look like a cobra. It’s neat!” Satisfied, Luna returned to normal, and then took a look at her Hunter. The screen came up and displayed some sort of notification, a window that looked like a gray card with the Satella Police emblem on it. “What’s this…Transcode 007: Queen Ophiuca?” “Ah, I forgot!” Sonia said. “NAZA is…er, no, WAZA, is going to be keeping a registry of everyone who can Wave Change. Mr. Boreal said it’s part collecting data and part public safety. I’m 004, Geo’s 003, Bud’s 005…” After a moment, she muttered, “Wait, who’s 006, then?” Turning to her, Luna asked, “You don’t know?” Sonia shrugged. “I’ll have to ask next time I see Mr. Boreal, I guess.” “Wait, what about 001 and 002?” She thought she saw a slight shift in Sonia’s expression, but she didn’t quite know what to call it. “001 is registered to a new Satella Officer testing a Battle Wizard made with Wave Change capabilities. I’ve met him a few times—I keep meaning to introduce you, we just haven’t gotten the chance yet. 002…they said I’d meet him soon, and kind of pushed me on to the next topic. I’m not sure what that was about.” Luna waited a moment before saying, “A Battle Wizard made to Wave Change, huh? I didn’t know WAZA had that technology.” “He’s still experimental,” Sonia said. “They decided to base him on data they collected from Mega, since his lock-on works so well with Battle Cards and the Satella Police are already so used to using those. The two of them look like brothers, almost.” “You can imagine how thrilled he was to learn that,” Lyra said. “Oh, I’m sure,” Ophiuca laughed. “Now I want to meet him all the more!” Luna was about to say something when she felt a drop fall on her. Holding out her hand, she began to feel more, and realized the rain had finally started. “Oh shoot…” She went back for her umbrella and quickly opened it, and then turned back around to see Sonia frantically pulling her hood up while hunching over her guitar. “…You don’t have an umbrella, do you?” Flashing an embarrassed grin, Sonia said, “You know I can never remember.” Luna sighed. As she walked over, she said, “If you’d gotten here sooner, we could’ve been gone before this started.” Sonia stepped underneath Luna’s umbrella, defending herself with, “Hey, we had a lot to cover! I did say the timing was more of an estimate.” “You still should’ve tried harder to make the time you decided on!” “Yeah…” They walked side by side, staying close as they could so neither would get wet, and slowly made their way back into Echo Ridge. At one particularly long wait for a crossing signal, Luna glanced tentatively at Sonia—she was leaned up against her with a look of pure contentment. “…It’s been a while since we shared an umbrella, hasn’t it?” Luna mumbled as she tried not to blush. Sonia giggled softly. “A little while, yeah.” Luna could feel her heart pounding. C-Calm down! There’s no reason to make a big deal out of this. It’s only natural we’d share an umbrella, since we’re…w-we’re… “Hey,” Sonia said, “would you…be mad at me if I said I took a little longer getting back because…I was hoping we could do this?” The blush became too strong for Luna to hold off. “I…well, I guess that’s okay…” “Hmhm…” “Wait a minute, is that why you never remember your own umbrella in the first place?” “No, that’s just honest forgetfulness.” She paused, and then: “Darn, I should’ve thought of that.” “Geez!” The light finally changed, so they continued on. “So, have you started preparing for the election yet?” Sonia asked. “Well, I guess I should ask if you’ve started on your victory speech yet, huh?” When she didn’t get a quick response, Sonia lifted her head off Luna’s shoulder and looked at her. Luna stared ahead with a solemn expression, and soon mumbled, “I’m…actually wondering if I should…” “Huh?!” “It’s just…I’ve been Class President every year, and each time fewer and fewer people run against me.” Not sure what she was getting at, Sonia grasped for something to say. “People probably just figure you’re going to win again, so…” “Exactly. I’m pretty much unstoppable at this point.” “…Um, is that bad…?” Luna’s footsteps slowed, so Sonia slowed down to match her. “Shouldn’t I let someone else have a chance?” Luna asked, turning slightly. “If I just keep taking charge, then no one else has much opportunity to do what they can to help the student body. I’m…” She paused to wring her hands around the umbrella handle. “I guess I’m worried I’m pushing everyone else out of the way to do what I want.” “Oh,” Sonia said. She thought a moment, and then smiled and wrapped her arms around Luna. “Come on, don’t overthink it so much.” Luna stumbled a bit. “Wha…?” “Quick: why do you like being president?” “Well, I get to help improve conditions for the students and get their voices heard, so—“ “There you go.” “What?” “What do you mean ‘what’? You want to be president because you want to help your classmates out. So, it’s not that you’re being pushy, you just want what’s best for the students and think you can provide that. Right?” Luna looked up as she considered this. “…Well, yes. But I don’t necessarily need to be in charge to do those sorts of things.” “I think the reason everyone keeps voting for you is because they think you’re very good at being in charge. No one knows how to motivate and organize people like you do, and you’ll never back down from something once you’ve made up your mind. They love having someone like that fighting for them.” She returned her head to Luna’s shoulder as she finished, “I know I love having you on my side.” For a while, Luna watched the raindrops fall without saying anything. Then, she smiled, and she said, “Hmph. Well, if I’m worried I’m blocking good ideas, then I should be looking for better ways to take in the class’s opinion rather than just stepping aside. I’ll have to pay attention to what pieces of my opponents’ platforms get the most support—after the election I can approach them to negotiate implementing their plans.” She glanced at Sonia. “…Thanks.” “Don’t mention it!” They both looked up as they approached the building Luna lived in. Sonia started to reach for her guitar screen, saying, “Guess I should get going. I’d love to call you later—what time would be good?” Luna stared at the building for a few seconds. “U-Um…you know, we really didn’t get to spend much time together…” “Yeah, I know, I was late.” “What I mean is…for you to go so soon…” Sonia tilted her head. “…Well…why don’t you come inside for a while? I-I mean, if you want to…” It took Sonia a minute to absorb this. When she did, her eyes went wide in surprise, and she blushed slightly. “Oh…really? Yeah, I’d love to! It’s no problem?” “Of course not!” They both stood there nervously for a moment before Luna cleared her throat. “Come on, then. I’ll make us some tea.” The apartment Luna lived in was near the top floor of the building, and each room was stocked with expensive furniture and lavish decorations. Luna immediately went to the kitchen to prepare the tea, Ophiuca following to assist her, meanwhile Sonia and Lyra wandered down the hall marveling at the place. “Woah…” Luna craned her neck, barely hearing the distant remark. “What is it?” “All these trophies…” “Oh,” Luna muttered, remembering the case at the end of the hall. “Y-You don’t have to pay attention to those, they’re just—“ Sonia poked her head around the corner, a bewildered look in her eyes. Luna stopped what she was doing and waited. “…You play the piano?” Sonia finally asked. “That’s what…” Luna sighed and returned to making tea. “I’ve told you that before, haven’t I?” “Hm, have you?” Ophiuca mumbled as she set a cup down next to Luna. She playfully ignored the glance Luna gave her. “You definitely haven’t!” Sonia said, walking into the room. “How has that not come up in all this time?!” Luna grunted as she grabbed the cup. “Well, come on, what sort of person brags about putting on piano recitals when talking to an actual award-winning idol? It’s nothing.” Sonia leaned to one side in disbelief, and then turned around. “Lyra, how many of those trophies are for piano competitions? “ Lyra could be heard muttering, “Let’s see, everything on this shelf, that one too…quite a lot of them, actually.” Leaning back towards Luna, Sonia said, “It hardly sounds like nothing! Let’s play something together!” Luna nearly lost her grip. “Huh?!” “Come on, it’s perfect! Getting to play music with you, it’d just…” She trailed off. Latching onto Luna’s arm, she bat her eyes and quietly asked, “Please?” Luna thought about it for a moment, but then closed her eyes and pushed a cup towards Sonia. “For now, let’s just drink tea. I need to warm up after being out in the rain.” Sonia slumped against Luna, moaning, “Aww…” But, she took the cup she was offered, and sulked after Luna as she headed out into the living room. Lyra soon reappeared, and she and Ophiuca came to rest just inside the room as Luna and Sonia sat down on the massive sofa. “Anyway,” Luna said, “how’s your drama going? You said you were starting to film the season finale, right?” Sonia took a sip and nodded. “Mm-hm. We’ve got most of it done. Next week is the final scene and wrap party—I was actually going to see if you and everyone else wanted to come.” “Really? I’d love to!” “Great! I’ll talk to the studio about getting some passes, and then I’ll let you know the exact details.” After pausing to take a drink, Luna asked, “So?” Sonia turned to her. “When you first agreed to do the show, you weren’t entirely sure, and you said you’d try it for a season before deciding if you were going to continue or not. So, how do you feel about it now?” Sonia looked up at the ceiling, resting her teacup in her lap as she thought. “Hmmmm…I don’t know that my feelings have really changed all that much. I still think there are some benefits—people can relate to some of the show’s events, so I can try to inspire more people this way. We’ve gotten a lot of support, and I’m really thankful for all of it, and I don’t want to let anyone down.” Leaning towards her, Luna said, “If you don’t enjoy it, you shouldn’t keep at it just to please other people.” “It’s not…” Sonia started, but then stopped. “…I know. I know, I’m not going to be able to please everyone. But I don’t mean to sound like I hate working on the show. It can be a lot of fun, and they’ve given me tons of creative freedom.” She sighed and took a drink. “I guess I’m kind of indifferent. It’s weird, you’d think I’d have a better idea by now, right?” “Maybe. I don’t know, it could just be a relative thing. You seem to enjoy it, but not as much as you enjoy music. Comparing the two, the drama must come up short.” “Huh, maybe that’s it…” She shrugged. “Whatever it is, I actually haven’t decided if I want to do a second season yet. I’d like to give them an answer before we finish production, but…” Luna watched as Sonia rotated the cup in her hands, staring at the tea as it swirled around. Reaching out, she tugged on the sleeve of her hoodie and said, “Don’t let them rush you into any decision. If you need a little more time to know for sure, then you take it, alright?” “I’d hate to keep them waiting.” “If they have to wait, they have to wait! A little hiatus never hurt anyone. You’ll have an answer for them when you’re good and ready. That’s all there is to it!” Shifting her attention to Lyra, she added, “Make sure she remembers, okay?” Lyra nodded. “You can count on me, dear.” A smile slowly broke across Sonia’s face. Looking between the both of them, she said, “Thanks.” Luna let go and took another drink. “Well of course.” “Either way, I was thinking I’d like to go on tour soon,” Sonia said. “It feels like it’s been forever since I put on a show someplace new. I already picked out a few possible cities, actually.” “Oh…um, so…” Luna started, hiding her mouth behind her cup. “H-How far were you thinking of going?” “At this point, I almost feel like a world tour, buuuut maybe that’s going overboard.” After thinking a moment, she turned sharply and added, “Uh, so I probably won’t be going too far. And even if I do, we can just use the Wave Roads to get back and forth in a snap, so it’ll be like I never even left in a sense!” “Ah, that’s right,” Luna mumbled. “Heck, considering that, you could come and see me anywhere and get back home in no time. I’ve always got a ticket with your name on it, you know.” A small smile could be seen behind Luna’s glass. “Heh. I’ll keep that in mind.” Sonia giggled. Finishing her cup, she said, “The tea’s delicious, by the way!” She set the glassware on the coffee table and then grabbed her guitar, taking a moment to tune it and verify it hadn’t been damaged in the rain. Once she was satisfied with the instrument’s condition, Sonia thought for a moment, and then started to play slowly, while Luna watched intently and she pretended not to notice. Lyra and Ophiuca floated quietly on the other side of the room. Sonia’s music lazily wove around them all, set against the faint roaring of the rain hitting the roof. Luna stared, mesmerized by the gentle melody coming from Sonia’s guitar. She moved from one note to the next so fluidly, like it was happening on its own, like she could produce such expert sound without even needing to put conscious thought into it. Luna’s eyes wandered over Sonia’s face, her expression neutral but still having a cheery air about it. She thought she saw her eyes move her way, just a little, but wasn’t sure—the hypnotic sound gave everything a dreamlike quality. Luna wanted to move closer to Sonia, but all she could do was shift slightly before she froze up. What’s holding me back? She wanted to be closer, but when she tried, a nervous shock swept through her, rudely waking her from the dream. So Luna stayed where she was, and she listened. After some time there was a flash at the window—headlights, she assumed, and they reflected off of the trophy case for a brief moment. Remembering Sonia’s request, Luna decided to try something else and downed the remainder of her tea. “Hey,” she whispered, almost feeling wrong for ending the tranquility of the moment. Sonia immediately stopped playing and faced her. “Let’s…I-I mean, if you still want to…we could play together…” Light filled Sonia’s face. Eagerly, she leapt to the edge of her seat and near-shouted, “I’d love to!” They both blushed a little. Luna cleared her throat as she stood, and then headed down the hall to her room. Sonia followed, while Lyra and Ophiuca decided it best to stay put. Rounding the corner, Luna reached through the doorway and flicked on the lightswitch, and then stepped over to the piano and carefully lifted the cover off the keys. Sonia sat down on the bench next to her, facing the opposite direction so that she could hold her guitar without it poking Luna in the face. Luna ran her hand down the keys, and they each sounded off. “I, um, I’m not really used to being part of a duo, you know. So…what should we play?” Sonia tapped her finger against the neck of the guitar. “How about…” She started playing a simple tune. Luna listened for a few bars, and then began to mimic the notes on the piano. The two instruments strived to match each other, but the timing didn’t exactly match up, so the sound came out wrong. “Hold on,” Luna said. They both stopped, and after a few seconds, she motioned to start again. The two of them began playing at the same time, and were able to keep pace with each other much better. This time, rather than playing the exact same notes, Luna adjusted her playing to produce a slightly different sound that rose and fell just the same, and the resulting fusion sounded much better than their previous attempt. “Great job,” Sonia said as they finished. “I think I’ve got the hang of it now,” Luna said. “Let’s try something else.” “Okay. You want to start this time?” Luna nodded. When she had an idea, she played a piece of it for Sonia to listen to. It was more complex than the first tune, but nothing especially difficult; Sonia joined her when she restarted it, her guitar lining up perfectly with the piano and strengthening it with their harmony. They exchanged a glance, and then Luna altered the notes just a bit. Sonia matched her. They returned to the basic form for a short time, and then Sonia took her turn to improvise, and Luna followed her lead. They continued going back and forth like this for a while—neither was sure how long, but they enjoyed it so much they didn’t entirely care about the time. Eventually, they wrapped up the performance and let the instruments grow silent. Sonia laughed, and said, “You really are incredible, Luna.” Luna closed her eyes and straightened her back. “Hm. Well, it takes someone incredible to notice.” She turned slightly, her eyes locking with Sonia’s. As they held their gaze, rain continued to pound against the roof above, though Luna could swear the pounding of her heart soon overtook it. Unconsciously, she just barely leaned towards Sonia. Sonia slowly came to meet her. Mere inches separated them. Luna felt herself freeze up again, and seeing this, Sonia stopped where she was as well. No, I… She wanted to keep moving. Reaching within herself, Luna searched for the power to move her body those last few inches. Her concentration was broken by a sudden sound from the piano—her hands were shaking, and they had hit one of the keys by accident. Both of them recoiled in surprise. Luna pulled her hand close and clenched it into a fist, grabbing the wrist with her other hand, while Sonia looked down and awkwardly fumbled with her guitar. “I-I’m sorry,” Sonia said, “I shouldn’t have—“ “N-No,” Luna interrupted, “you have nothing to apologize for, I’m the one—“ “No, no, it’s fine!” “It’s not that I—I just—“ “It’s okay, really. It’s…it’s okay.” They stared off in opposite directions, a deadly wave of embarrassment washing over both of them. The pounding of the rain sounded deafening. What’s wrong with me? *** The door groaned gently as it swung open. A tall, slender woman slipped into the room, scanning her surroundings with a narrow glance from beneath the pink hair that framed her pale face. Her shoulders and arms were covered in gleaming white sleeves, while the rest of her dress was a deep reddish-brown sporting a faint argyle pattern, each piece of the design housing one of the four suite symbols found on playing cards. Her fingerless gloves were the same color, though her boots were a much lighter shade of red, and from her neck hung a massive piece of jewelry, made of blood-red gemstones encased in gold. Heartless barely made a sound as she strode purposefully across the green-carpeted floor, moving past the enlarged poker chip decorations on the wall and setting her sights on the vault at the other end of the room. There was someone waiting at its door, a middle-aged man with thinning black hair slicked back in neat rows and a long, spindly mustache sprouting from just above his mouth. He wore a high-collared dress suit that was a very dark shade of blue, accented by gold buttons and ornaments, and beneath that there was a comparatively plain white shirt topped by a red ascot. White gloves sheathed his hands, and over his eyes was a mask made of thin metal that curved upward into two sharp points just beneath his hairline. He sat encased in a floating chair made of black and gold metal, its front coming up to his waist before flattening into a desk that projected a series of holographic screens before him. When he saw her approaching, he spread his arms out welcomingly. “Ah, my dearest Heartless!” he greeted. “Thank you ever so much for responding so quickly to my summons.” Heartless bowed slightly. “Of course, Mr. King. What can I help you with?” King moved his hands to either end of the row of screens before him, and then moved one towards the other in a single sweeping motion. The screens moved at his command, shrinking so that they all fell into a single stack in his palm, and then he swiped his fingertip across the top of the deck to send one screen flying out towards his associate. It came to a stop a few feet in front of her and grew into a full display once more. The image she saw was of a field of stars, and in one corner was an ominous blot of red light. “This image was captured about an hour ago,” King said, shuffling the screens in his hand absent-mindedly. “It’s close now—almost close enough.” Heartless grinned. “What wonderful news. It would seem you were able to lure it successfully, as we all expected.” “Naturally,” King said with a flourish of his hand. “However, the plan is still far from complete. We have only a fraction of the Crimson we need. Therefore, I believe it is time to escalate our efforts.” “A very wise decision, Mr. King.” “Ha ha ha! Heartless, gather the children, if you would be so kind. It’s high time we had a family meeting.” As she turned to leave, King drew the top screen of the deck he held and smiled at it. “You should prepare your wager, WAZA. True, I may no longer have an ace up my sleeve, but now we’ll be playing by my rules. And here, the house always wins! Ha ha ha ha!” (Review)
Shooting Star Sonia 2: Tribe
Pahrak Model ZX posted a topic in Off Topic CultureChapter 1 Sonia paced the lobby of NAZA HQ. The metallic white walls were covered in screens that displayed a mix of mission records and data feeds and news events—she would stop and look one over every so often, but she inevitably lost focus and got moving again. Her gaze found its way to the yellow reception desk flanked by two staircases. Both were still empty. “I told you we shouldn’t have come so early, dear.” She put on her Visualizer and turned to Lyra. “I know, I couldn’t help it. I haven’t been without it this long in years—I’m not entirely sure what to do with myself.” Lyra chuckled. “You know Mr. Boreal is working on it with the utmost care.” “Of course! I trust him more than anyone else to take good care of it.” “But then, taking extra care in a task does tend to increase how much time said task requires.” Sonia thought a moment, then sighed. “Right. You’re right, I should take it easy.” She started pacing again. Lyra said, “You don’t get many chances to relax these days, dear. You haven’t forgotten how, have you?” “I wouldn’t say I’ve forgotten,” Sonia laughed. “But, maybe I should focus on something else…oh, what about the ambassador?” Lyra rolled her eyes. “You’re still thinking about work.” “I’m curious, though. Is there anything I should know about Goat before we receive him?” “I only met him a few times, so I can’t really say. He was only a mid-ranked soldier when I was on Planet FM. Truthfully, I was a bit surprised to hear he’d been given the ambassador position.” “Cepheus said in his message that Goat was curious about Earth. Maybe that was the motivation he needed?” Lyra shrugged. She looked up at the sound of footsteps, and Sonia followed her gaze to see Boreal coming down one of the staircases carrying her guitar. Removing her Visualizer, she rushed over to meet him. “Hope you weren’t waiting long,” Boreal said, holding the instrument out. “Not at all!” She took the guitar and looked it over gleefully. “Thank you so much for doing this!” “My pleasure! I’ve had so much paperwork lately; getting to actually work on something was a nice change of pace.” Lyra appeared on the guitar’s screen. “My, it’s far more spacious in here than it was before! Quite the renovation!” “The guitar now has all the functions of a Star Carrier,” Boreal said. “A couple components couldn’t be replaced—I didn’t want you to lose all your data—so the processing power isn’t quite up to the commercial model’s standards. The only probable effect is that a few operations might run a little more slowly, but if it gets serious or you notice any other problems, be sure to let me know.” “I will, but I doubt I’ll need to,” Sonia said. “It’s amazing you were able to make a big new terminal when you’re busy running NAZA! Everybody’s so excited about the new features that you hardly ever see a Transer anymore.” “Well, it wasn’t all me! We had a whole team working on it, and the most interesting feature is the Matter Waves that Dr. Vega invented.” He frowned for a moment, and then said, “Also, there’s something else you should know about. We asked Tom to help us make the Star Carrier, and with the data he gathered from examining the Wave Balls two years ago, we came up with something that should be a big help for you.” “Oh?” “The terminals are equipped with Z Wave Amplifiers. Now, when you’re Wave Changed, you can become tangible and visible at will!” “Really? Wow, that’s incredible!” “We’d better tell Bud before he switches it on accidentally,” Lyra said. “…Helpful as this may be, isn’t it somewhat dangerous?” “There are a few concerns,” Boreal said, his eyes on the floor. “Still, with the FM-ians being our allies now, we don’t have any real reason to be suspicious of EM beings misusing it.” “I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Sonia said. “You worry too much, Lyra!” “Perhaps I do,” Lyra said. “In this case, I do hope that’s all.” Sonia turned, gesturing for Boreal to come with her. “Let’s go—they should be here soon!” Sonia and Boreal strolled out of the lobby. NAZA HQ was within a mountain crater, its multi-tiered silver form built right into the wall, with the majority of the brown stone floor left open as a sort of courtyard. At the far side was a metal-lined tunnel guarded by a few Satella Officers, from which emerged two children: one of them wore a pale-yellow, sleeveless jumpsuit with blue lines coming up the side of the legs and then meeting in an angle on the chest, along with a red vest and a red beanie that didn’t do a very good job of covering his spiky brown hair. The other was a bit taller and had darker skin than his companion—he wore a light green gi with thick yellow stripes on the sleeves and legs, with a symbol on the left side of his chest and high white boots on his feet. A black belt was tied at his waist, its ends adorned with blue medallions, and the long tails of a purple headband fluttered behind him, their shared center showing a white symbol. The shorter one waved. “Sonia, over here!” Approaching, she greeted, “Hey Claud, I haven’t seen you in a while! How’ve you been?” “I’m doing great! Oh, I should introduce you! Sonia, this is the friend I told you about: Kidd!” The other child bowed. “It’s very nice to meet you, Miss Sonia, Mr. Boreal. Thank you for allowing me this privilege.” “Nice to meet you too, Kidd,” Boreal said. “Claud told us you were fascinated when he told you about the FM-ians, but he didn’t say why you volunteered to partner with the ambassador. Is it just curiosity?” “It’s partly that. But also…well, I’ve been considering going on a journey.” “He’s gotten bored beating everyone at the local dojo,” Claud said. “It’s not boredom! I’ve just begun to feel that I’ve learned all I can here, and that seeing more of the world might be good.” Kidd grinned excitedly as he continued, “I want to see what other opportunities are out there, and how I might be able to keep growing if I take advantage of them! I know I have so much more potential, but I just don’t know how to tap into it…it’s frustrating, but I want to turn that into drive!” “I see,” Boreal said. “I can appreciate your motives, but why do you need an FM-ian to do that?” “I suppose I don’t, but…” Kidd shrunk back. “The main reason I haven’t left is because I worry it’d be very lonely to travel by myself.” “Ah.” Sonia smiled. “You want to take a friend with you. Well, it’d probably be good for Goat to see as much of Earth as possible, so this could work out well for him too.” Claud lightly jabbed Kidd with his elbow. “And with you off on your little quest, I’ll be top of the dojo in your place!” “I’m not sure you’ll be able to secure it that easily,” Kidd said with a smirk. “Just be a little cautious,” Boreal said. “The FM-ians only recently started learning to trust people—you shouldn’t be discouraged if you and Goat don’t hit it off right away.” “Understood,” Kidd said. “I will keep that in mind.” “Hey,” came a voice from Claud’s Star Carrier, “we’ve picked it up pretty quickly if I do say so myself!” “That isn’t the point, Cancer,” Lyra replied. “And, as I recall, you weren’t too sure about this planet until several months into your immersion.” “Ah! Well, uh…” Boreal’s Star Carrier beeped. He looked at it quickly, and then turned towards the sky and put his Visualizer on. Sonia did the same. A streak of light had appeared, difficult to see but definitely growing closer, arcing straight towards the crater where they all waited. “He’s right on time!” Boreal said. “Let’s try to clear some space!” The group moved closer to the crater wall. The light continued to fall towards them, its speed increasing until it ultimately hit the ground with a soft thud, kicking up a small cloud of dust that lingered only a few moments before it began to disperse. Floating in its place now was a being made of blue energy, with a white, horned mask and hoof-shaped gauntlets at the ends of his arms. He spotted the humans and paused to straighten himself, and then he swiftly advanced. “You must be Goat!” Sonia said, coming forward to meet him. “My name is Sonia. This is Mr. Boreal, Claud, and Kidd.” Goat stood up even more stiffly. “It is a pleasure to meet you all! FM King Cepheus sends his warmest regards, and he hopes my visit will provide us with a way to further ties between our two planets—as do I.” Lyra emerged from the guitar and nodded to the new arrival. “Welcome to Earth, Goat. May I ask how things are back home?” “Planet FM is doing as well as can be expected, ma’am. King Cepheus has shown admirable zeal in his efforts to reform it, and a large portion of the populace has responded very favorably. There are several dissenting groups, of course, but they make up a relatively small piece of the planet’s population, and His Majesty expects they will come to see reason in time.” Sonia frowned. If they were no problem at all, he probably wouldn’t be telling us. Maybe I should ask Cepheus about it the next time we send a transmission… Cancer was out now. “Uh, hi, Goat! You probably don’t remember me—I’m Cancer. We served together in the Sigma Cluster a few years back.” After a short delay, Goat inclined his head. “Ah, yes! Good to see you again.” Boreal took a step forward and said, “We’re honored to have you here, Goat. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have!” “If it’s no trouble, I believe I would like to meet my assigned partner first,” Goat said. He looked over the two boys. “Is it one of them?” Boreal handed his Visualizer to Kidd. The boy put on the visor and, upon seeing Goat, nearly jumped. Bowing instead, he said, “H-Hello! My name is Kidd, and I have been offered the chance to be your partner, if you will have me. I hope that we will get along!” Goat came closer and squinted. “Hm…so, I am assigned to him?” “He was the first candidate we wanted to present, at least,” Boreal said. Goat raised an eyebrow. “I assumed I was going to be ordered to a specific partner.” “We don’t want to be that strict,” Sonia said. “The main point of you coming here is to get a closer look at how relationships are formed, right?” Goat nodded. “Well, you can’t force a relationship—you and Kidd are both going to need to decide if you’re willing to give each other a shot.” Goat turned back to Kidd. “I see. Forgive me, but I don’t feel that I have much information to go on…” “I’m afraid that’s just the way things are sometimes,” Kidd said. “For what it’s worth, I think we could become great friends, and I’m willing to try! And if things don’t work out, then we can decide where to go from there.” Goat thought for a while longer. When he finally nodded, he said, “Very well. I would like to attempt being friends with you, Kidd. I hope that we will get along.” The FM-ian bowed, and then disappeared into Kidd’s Star Carrier. Kidd returned Boreal’s Visualizer as Goat looked around the screen. The alien commented, “This storage unit is most intriguing.” “I’m glad you like it!” Boreal said, grinning a bit wider than usual. “Kidd, if it is acceptable, I believe I would like to attempt a Wave Change. It would be a good way to estimate our compatibility.” “Of course!” Kidd said, practically shaking with eagerness. “What do I have to do?” “Why don’t I show you?” Sonia volunteered, putting her Visualizer back on. She took a quick look and spotted a Wavehole near the front corner of NAZA HQ. “Come on, over here!” As she and Kidd crossed the crater, she explained, “To Wave Change, you need to find what’s called a Wavehole. They’re sort of like whirlpools where the Real World and Wave World get mixed together. Mr. Boreal didn’t have time to make you a Visualizer, but Goat should be able to direct you to a Wavehole anytime you want to transform.” She stopped and held her guitar in one hand. “Now, you’re going to want to stand right here and hold out your Star Carrier. And then…you ready Lyra?” “Always, dear.” “EM Wave Change! Sonia Strumm, On The Air!” Sonia shut her eyes to block out the flash of light that accompanied her transformation. When she stepped out of the Wavehole, she was surprised to find she was still on the ground. She could see a Wave Road above them and scanned it in confusion; it eventually led to a ramp that sloped down into the crater, and she made a low hum. I guess the Wave and Real Worlds have gotten a little closer with all this new technology. Speaking of which… She wasn’t entirely sure how to activate the Z Wave Amplifier, so she just focused on Kidd and hoped he would be able to see her. When he stepped back in shock, she assumed it had worked. “Amazing!” he exclaimed. His fingers tightened around his terminal. “Okay, now it’s our turn!” Stepping into the Wavehole, he raised his Star Carrier high and took a breath. “EM Wave Change! Kidd Gruff, On The Air!” Blue light wrapped around Kidd for a moment before spitting him out in a new form. He wore a blue bodysuit with green swirls on the sleeves and legs, and tan lining on the edges and around his shoulders and waist. Across his chest was a black X shape. There was a silver cowbell hanging from his hip, and his feet and hands had been changed to hooves—his head, also, had become that of a goat, covered in white fur and with two long yellow horns. Kidd’s jaw dropped as he looked down at himself. “Wow…this feeling is incredible! Can you still hear me, Goat?” “I can,” Goat replied. “We appear to have merged without any difficulty. It seems we may indeed make an effective pair.” “Come on, Kidd, let us see what you look like!” Claud called. “Huh?” He turned to Sonia. “You can only be seen in this form when you want to be,” Sonia said, trying to sound like it had always worked this way. “Just focus, and it should happen on its own.” Kidd turned to Claud and was still for a moment. Claud soon shouted, “Oh, wow! You look so cool! See, I told you you’d be perfect for this!” Taking a few steps, Kidd said, “I feel much stronger than usual!” “We should test that,” Goat said. “Sonia and Lyra. If we may, I would like to request a sparring match. It would be an excellent chance for us to learn to work together, and I would also like to see your power for myself.” Sonia giggled. “It’s been a while since we last sparred with someone, so maybe you shouldn’t expect too much. But I’d be happy to give it a shot!” Kidd bowed and took up a fighting stance. Sonia bowed back, and then readied her guitar. “So, what sort of abilities do you have, Goat?” Kidd asked. “Truthfully, I’m little more than a melee fighter,” Goat said. “I am built for quick and precise physical strikes.” “Really? That’s perfect!” Suddenly he was in front of Sonia. She threw herself back as soon as she realized he was there—a hoof was thrust over her shoulder, missing her by an incredibly slim margin. Yikes! He’s way faster than Bud! Sonia flipped backwards and kicked off of NAZA HQ, strumming her guitar a few times as she floated over Kidd. Musical note-shaped energy blasts flew towards her opponent, but he nimbly dodged each one, waited until she landed, and ran at her again. Sonia summoned two speakers, each to the side and a bit ahead of her, facing each other; when Kidd was in front of her again, she played, and he was caught between the notes launched from the extra equipment. Kidd was stunned, so Sonia used a sound pulse to send him soaring across the crater. She winced as he landed. “Ah, sorry, maybe that was a bit much!” Kidd picked himself up, shaking his head as if he were dizzy. “No, that’s quite alright…if this is what these battles are like, then I must get used to it!” “I wanted to take it easy on you at first, but you’re a natural! I’m already having trouble keeping up!” Smiling, Kidd ran forward. Sonia readied herself, but her foe suddenly launched into a flying kick, catching her by surprise and knocking her back. She recovered in time to dance around a few punches. Finding an opening, she played one note, and then put some distance between them before playing more. Kidd was able to dodge them at first, but she soon summoned a new pair of speakers, and he found himself gradually overwhelmed by the storm of sound. When she stopped playing, he said, “Why did you stop? I would have found a way out!” “Sorry, it just seemed like I had you trapped—it didn’t seem fair.” Kidd renewed his stance. Goat advised, “I do possess a special ability that we can use, but since this is our first battle, you may find it a bit taxing.” “Even so, let’s give it a try!” Kidd said. Sonia watched closely. Kidd moved in again, and she sidestepped his next punch. Something materialized beside him, however: a shadowy replica of Kidd that appeared to flicker in and out of existence, and it mimicked his action, landing its own punch on Sonia. She jumped back, noticing Kidd was breathing somewhat heavily. The image soon vanished. “You can make duplicates of yourself?” she asked. “That’s going to be really unfair once you master it! I’m a little jealous!” Kidd prepared to strike, but had to dig in to avoid being flung away by the sound pulse that battered him. Managing to hold his ground, he lashed out with a punch. Sonia stumbled back. A duplicate of Kidd appeared in front of him to knock her further back, and then a second duplicate appeared, sending her back another step. Kidd steadied himself as they were dismissed, and then threw himself into another kick. Sonia ducked and he flew over her. Aiming her guitar, the strings shot out from it and wrapped around Kidd; as his momentum faded, Sonia pulled on the line and spun around, swinging Kidd through the air and ultimately smashing him into the stone wall. He fell to the ground and laid there, sprawled out in a dazed state. Sonia rushed over. “Sorry, sorry! I definitely got carried away that time!” “That’s alright,” Kidd grunted. “You’re just as strong as Claud said…we’ll need to train quite a bit if we’re going to be a match for you!” As Sonia helped him up, Goat said, “Thank you, Sonia and Lyra. It was an honor to see you in action.” “What do you think of your new partner, dear?” Lyra asked. “I am impressed. He is already an accomplished fighter, and he was using my powers more effectively than I thought he would. This is most promising indeed.” “Thank you!” Kidd said. “It was a thrill being able to use your power! I hope I will continue to exceed your expectations.” “Are you two always going to be this formal with each other?” Sonia laughed. “Anyway, I think you should get some rest, Kidd—Wave Changing can take a lot out of you before your body gets used to it. Mr. Boreal will answer any more questions, and tell you how to keep in contact with NAZA during your journey.” “Journey?” Goat repeated. Kidd stepped back into the Wavehole, reverting to normal. “Well, I was hoping to leave home and explore the world a bit. As long as you’re okay with it, that is.” “Where will we be going?” “Nowhere in particular. I just want to see what’s out there!” Goat paused. Kidd looked at his Star Carrier, finding the alien staring at the side of the screen. “…If that’s not acceptable, then—“ “No, it’s not quite that,” Goat interrupted. “I’m simply…nervous to embark on a directionless quest. It sounds like the goals are less defined.” Sonia stepped out of the Wavehole next, looking past Kidd so as not to rush him. “So that’s your concern,” Kidd said. “I don’t want to push you into anything you don’t want to do…maybe if we picked a few specific places? Would you be more comfortable then?” “I…suppose…” Goat said. He nodded, and then continued, “Actually, my assignment does require me to step outside of what I am comfortable with. Please carry on as you intended.” “No, I can be more exact without it causing any problems! We’re going to work together, so I’m ready to make compromises.” “…Of course. Thank you, Kidd.” Claud ran over, shouting, “That was awesome! You and Goat go together perfectly—you’re gonna be one of the toughest out of all of us, I can tell!” As they talked, Sonia nodded to Boreal. He nodded back. “Well,” she said, “if you’ll excuse me, I need to get going.” “Already?” Claud said. “Sorry, but I’m trying to plan my next concert right now, and we’ve still got a lot to do. I’ll mail you later, though!” “Alright. Good luck with the plans!” “Thanks. It was great to see you! And nice to meet you, Kidd, Goat.” They shared their good-byes, and then Sonia made her way towards Boreal. “Hope you don’t mind me dropping the rest of the work on you.” “Not at all,” Boreal laughed. “You go on, I can—“ He stopped as his Star Carrier beeped again. Taking a look at the screen, he frowned, and then surveyed the crater. “…Something wrong?” Sonia asked. “Not sure,” Boreal murmured. “We’re starting to think it might be an error in the Z wave detector program we’re using. It keeps going off, but we haven’t seen any unfamiliar EM beings no matter how hard we search.” “Huh. Do you want us to look around?” Boreal shook his head as he pocketed his terminal. “No, that’s alright, we don’t need to hold you up when we don’t have any real proof. But you might want to keep an eye out.” “We’ll do just that,” Lyra said. “Here’s hoping you’re able to find the problem.” “Right,” Sonia said. “In that case I really will get going. See you later—I’m sure I’ll find some reason to be back here soon enough!” (Review)
Shooting Star Sonia
Pahrak Model ZX posted a topic in Off Topic CultureChapter 1 The unarmored blue FM-ian yawned loudly. His tiny gray box of an office was empty, as it always was. The giant, glowing portal to the Astro Wave was clear, as always. And the stretch of Wave Road leading from the portal out into the distance was, predictably— KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK The guard snapped to attention. Floating just outside his office was an FM-ian shaped like a large harp, eyeing him with a bored expression. “Oh, Miss Lyra!” the guard said, quickly saluting. “My apologies, I didn’t see you coming!” Lyra smirked. “Nodding off, perhaps?” The guard gulped. “Oh, don’t worry, dear, I won’t tell anyone. I hardly blame you: guarding this place must be dreadfully tedious.” “Y…yes, ma’am. Thank you very much, ma’am.” Lyra moved a pace away. “I’m here on official business. Could you open the gate for me, please?” “Oh, of course! I’ll get it immediately, ma’am.” As the guard reached for the lever, Lyra casually floated towards the portal. The blue pillar of light turned green, the bars surrounding it disappearing one by one. Poking his head out, he said, “It’ll only take a moment, Miss Lyra. If I may ask, where are you going? Hardly any off-planet assignments have been handed down these days—do you have some kind of special mission?” Lyra watched the locks continue to open. “Something like that.” A light on the control panel flashed. The guard turned to a viewscreen, which soon flicked on to display a large yellow FM-ian. “Gemini, sir!” Lyra spun around. “This is an alert for all Astro Wave guards,” Gemini said. “One of our elite soldiers, Lyra, has betrayed the FM King.” She turned back to the portal. Only one more lock to go. “We believe she is trying to make it off-planet. Should you see her, you are ordered to turn her in to the authorities.” The guard looked up. “I-I see. Um…sir?” The last lock disappeared. Lyra leapt into the portal before the guard could do anything, feeling the world rush past her as she was transported to Planet FM’s upper atmosphere. “Yes? What is it?” Gemini asked. Staring at the portal, the guard said, “Um…I’ll let you know if I hear anything…” *** Sonia walked down the dirt path cutting through the park, staring up at the stars. She had hoped to explore the city a little more, but she was so recognizable lately that she couldn’t go anywhere without attracting a mob. No one was in the park except her—she had some room to breathe here. Of course, she might have been able to look around if she had her staff with her, but her manager didn’t even know she was out. He had insisted she stay in and spend the next few days practicing, regardless of the fact that she knew all these songs backwards and forwards and could play them in her sleep. (She had played in her sleep once—for how unnerved her manager had been she thought he would’ve remembered.) She stopped in front of a large flowerbed and looked at the open field beyond it. “So that’s where the stage is going to be?” she mumbled. “Hm…this looks good. We should be able to get a lot of people out here.” So many people. She shook her head. Sonia walked to the nearest bench and sank into it, pulling her guitar onto her lap and exhaling loudly. At the instrument’s head was a small screen that displayed a Transer menu—she touched through the options and skimmed her email to pass time. This is still boring, but…I guess it’s better to be bored out here. She picked at the guitar for a bit, and then looked down at the sunglasses clipped onto the neck of her hoodie. She held them up and examined them: they had wide, pink, oval-shaped lenses that mashed together at the center, with concentric semicircles etched into their surface. Sonia slipped them on. “Haha…they’re not very fashionable, but I guess I shouldn’t complain.” She started playing again. About half-way through the song, something caught her eye; her fingers stopped and she looked up at the sky, seeing a bright white light streak across it. She leapt to her feet. “A shooting star?” The light kept moving, seemingly growing brighter by the second. “Weird, they’re not supposed to last this long…well, more time to make a wish, I guess!” She closed her eyes and thought. An image of her mother came to mind—she tried to think of something else, but that was all that came. …I guess, she thought, I wish I had a chance to know more about her. She didn’t think shooting star wishes really came true (not for several years now), but she still felt silly for not wishing for something a little more realistic. When she opened her eyes, she saw that the light was still getting brighter… And it appeared to be angling towards her. “Huh?” She took a step back and bumped into the bench, falling onto it. When she looked back up, her sunglasses started flashing, forcing her to shut her eyes. “What’s going on?!” She opened her eyes just enough to see the bright light barreling down on her. “Ah!!” Sonia was knocked off the bench by some blunt force and hit the ground. She was dazed for a few seconds; when she could see straight again, she grabbed her guitar and was relieved to see it was unscathed. “Whew, that’s good…” She stood up and dusted herself off. Stooping to pick up the sunglasses, she wondered, “What the heck was that?” “Hello there.” She spun around. No one was there—even the strange light had disappeared, leaving the park just as dark and empty as it had been a minute ago. “Weird,” she said, putting the sunglasses back on. She blinked. The glowing neon platforms in the sky didn’t go away. She took the glasses off, and the lights disappeared. She put them back on—they came back. “…Huh,” she said. “Excuse me, dear?” She turned around without taking the glasses off, and now saw a large, flaming harp with a face floating in front of her. “…Oh, um, you mean me?” Sonia said after a short delay. The harp smiled. “Yes, you. I know you can see me with those.” Sonia ran a finger along the glasses. “Is that it? Why? This has definitely never happened before…” The harp frowned. “You don’t know what the Visualizer does?” Sonia shook her head. Is this a dream, maybe? “I see…well, put simply, it lets you see EM waves, which humans normally can’t perceive. I’m an EM lifeform from Planet FM—it’s only because of your Visualizer that you are able to see me. They were off, so I jumpstarted the battery for you. Apologies for the rude landing, but I was having some trouble aiming.” Sonia crossed her arms. This being was being polite enough, but somehow she couldn’t help but feel…patronized. “So you’re an alien?” “Yes.” “Okay.” The alien raised one eyebrow. “You’re being awfully calm about this.” Sonia smiled nervously. “Well, even if this isn’t a dream, panicking won’t really get me anywhere.” The harp laughed. “What an interesting human…my name is Lyra, by the way.” “I’m Sonia. Sonia Strumm.” Lyra’s eyes widened. “Did you say Strumm?” Sonia cringed—having her name recognized was a bit concerning even when talking to humans, let alone sentient instruments from outer space. “Um…yes?” “I see…” “…So, um, what brings you to Earth? I mean, if it’s okay for me to ask.” “Considering how I made my entrance, I believe you’re entitled at least to that,” Lyra replied. She spoke a bit slowly. “Some brutes from my home planet are looking for me. Earth is sort of out of the way, and…” She trailed off. Sonia waited expectantly, but all she got was, “It just seemed like a place where I could find a friend.” “Really?” Sonia said. “Is there anything I can do to help you?” “Hm? You want to help out an alien you just met?” “It sounds like you’re in trouble. I might not be able to do much, but if most people can’t see you then I feel like it falls to me to at least try to help.” Lyra looked at her for a moment, and then grinned. “…Thank you. I think I’ll take you up on that.” The alien disappeared in a burst of pink flame. Sonia looked around, and then heard laughter coming from the screen on her guitar. “The EM technology of you humans is still a bit primitive,” Lyra’s voice said, “but this should do for now.” Sonia looked at the screen—Lyra was floating inside it. “Huh? Hey, please be careful! This was a gift from my mother!” Lyra’s face shifted. It bothered Sonia in a way she couldn’t articulate. “Really…did she give you the Visualizer as well?” “Huh? Well, yes, but…” “Forgive me if this is sudden, but can I meet your mother?” Sonia blinked. A pit began to form in her stomach. “…Um…” “She must have some experience with EM waves if she had access to a Visualizer,” Lyra explained calmly. “Such a person would definitely be able to—“ “I can’t.” “Hm?” “I’m sorry, but…I can’t take you to Mama.” Lyra eyed Sonia warily. “…And why not?” Sonia lowered the guitar and looked up. “She’s in Heaven.” After a moment, Lyra asked, “And where is Heaven?” “What?” “Is it someplace far away? Is that why you can’t take me?” “You…don’t know about Heaven?” “I have some basic knowledge of this planet, but nothing in-depth. Is it on another continent, or the other side of the world?” Sonia shook her head—her chest was starting to sting. “No. Heaven is, um…it’s where you go, when you…pass on…” Lyra had been edging closer. She now recoiled, wide-eyed. “…Oh. Oh, dear, I’m so sorry.” She sounded far more sincere now. “That’s alright,” Sonia said, and her unease began to subside gradually. She started walking back towards town—no use standing around in the park all night. “But, you really don’t know about Heaven on your planet?” “…Our beliefs are a bit different,” Lyra quietly returned. “We FM-ians have a legend that says when we die, our waves drift through space and eventually coalesce with those of our ancestors in the form of a star, or maybe in a larger constellation if you have a prestigious lineage.” Sonia brightened up a bit. “That sounds beautiful.” “In a way, I suppose.” Sonia hummed. “I’m not really sure where to take you. You say it might help to see someone who has experience with EM waves, but I don’t know anyone like that.” “…I hope I don’t seem rude in asking, but…you don’t know any co-workers or friends your mother might have had?” “No, sorry. She did used to be a scientist, but she left that job about three years ago; she never really talked about it much.” “I see.” “There was one friend she had who I met a few times after that, but I don’t know how to get ahold of him. I could try looking him up.” “That’s alright, dear; thank you anyway. I’ll figure something out.” As they reached the park exit, Sonia became aware of a strange buzzing sound. She looked up at the buildings that loomed above, and her eyes were drawn to their brilliantly-flashing signs, which were pulsing with an odd frequency she had never seen before. “That’s strange…” Suddenly, one of the signs burst apart, raining glass shards and live sparks on the road below. Sonia jumped. “Ah! That’s definitely not normal!” “Rats,” Lyra said. “Looks like this wasn’t the best place to hide after all.” “What do you mean?” Another sign burst. “This can only be the work of EM viruses.” “Viruses? But viruses are easy to keep in check—they’ve never caused problems like this.” Lyra shook her head. Well, her whole body, really, but Sonia assumed it was an equivalent gesture. “These are EM viruses from Planet FM. The entire planet is made up of strong EM waves, so our viruses are a lot more powerful. Some of them must have been on my tail; I can’t believe I didn’t notice…” More signs began to erupt. Sonia dashed away from the dim street light she was standing next to. “So we have to stop the viruses, right? Can you do that?” “Normally it’d be a breeze. But, the EM waves on this planet are so much weaker, I don’t have access to my full power. These viruses picked brawn over brains—they don’t get as bad a penalty as intelligent waves like me.” Sonia ducked behind a bush as the streetlights in the park started popping. “Isn’t there anything you can do?!” Lyra hesitated for a moment. “…Do you see that? Over there, on the ground?” Sonia looked. A whirlpool of orange light was spinning on the ground a few feet from her, right next to an old tree at the edge of the park. “What is that?” “It’s a Wavehole. Distortions like that link the Real World and the Wave World, and—oh, there’s no time for the specifics. If you want to stop this, then step into the Wavehole!” Sonia nodded and ran. She entered the Wavehole a bit tentatively, but didn’t feel a thing. “Now,” Lyra said, “no matter what happens, just follow my lead, alright?” “Alright,” Sonia said. A bit reluctantly, she added, “I trust you.” Lyra faltered. “You…a-alright. Good. Raise this device and say ‘EM Wave Change! Sonia Strumm, On the Air!’” Sonia raised her guitar, then: “Wait, what?” Another streetlight exploded. “Er, I mean…EM Wave Change! Sonia Strumm, On the Air!” Light blinded Sonia, and a feeling like a mild static shock ran through her whole body. The sensation lasted for what felt like a long time, and when it passed, she looked around and discovered she was now standing on the Wave Road above the park. “How did we get up here?” She then looked down at herself. She was wearing a pink dress with a large heart-shaped armor plate over her chest, and black fabric over her legs and shoulders; her lower legs were encased in thick pink armor, and the fabric on her arms was striped pink and white. She held up one hand and looked at the yellow cuff and pink glove now adorning it. “…What is…?” She touched her head—it was now covered by a helmet, and the Visualizer had transformed into a visor. A long white scarf was hanging from her neck, and she saw that her guitar had changed to look more like a light blue harp with a microphone stand growing from its top, a face carved into the head just above the mic. “I’ll explain as we go,” Lyra replied, her voice coming from the guitar. “Just brace yourself. They’re going to come to us now.” Sonia nodded. “…Um…is this…permanent?” “No, this is a temporary transformation.” Sonia wore an exasperated grin. “Well, I guess I always did dream of being a magical girl…” The lights that were still flickering returned to normal, and a creature appeared on the Wave Road in front of each one. All of them looked like black dots with nothing but eyes and feet, hiding under oversized hard hats that sprouted antennae. They advanced down the road like a mob. I’m so sick of mobs. “We’re going to have to fight them,” Lyra said. “I thought you said you didn’t have your full power here?” “I don’t. But when you EM Wave Changed, we fused together to create this new form. It restores my power, but you’re the one who has to use it.” Sonia looked at her guitar and exclaimed, “I don’t know how to fight!” “You know how to play this instrument, correct?” “Well, yes.” “Then you’re in luck! No one is better than me at weaponizing sound waves. Just play something and I’ll handle the rest.” The viruses kept moving forward. Sonia faced them, took a breath, and strummed her guitar. A large musical note appeared before her and flew at the viruses, plowing into a small group of them; they exploded on impact, and the shockwaves knocked over a few of their companions. “Whoa!” Sonia said, taking a half-step back. She played a chord, sending out a few more notes that thinned the oncoming group even more. “Wow. But, there are so many of them…if only we had—“ Before she could finish, two box-shaped speakers appeared on either side of her, and at the next note she played, they sent forth additional notes that wiped away the majority of the surviving force. One of the viruses summoned a pickaxe. It struck the Wave Road, sending out a shockwave that destroyed one of the speakers. Sonia jumped back, avoiding another shockwave, and sized up the threat: fewer than ten viruses remained, but they had successfully closed the distance and could attack her at any time. “Now might not be the best time to test your evasion tactics,” Lyra said. “I can take them out in one go, but since you’re new to this, the strain might be a bit much.” The viruses raised their pickaxes. “Fine with me!” Sonia said. “If you say so.” Sonia raised her arm high and then brought it down on the strings. A massive, heart-shaped shockwave pulsed out from her, sweeping away the viruses and the smoke and flames that they burst into one-by-one. “Amazing…” She began to feel lightheaded. Stumbling to the side, she sat down on the remaining speaker and caught her breath. “You okay, Sonia?” “I think so.” “Sorry to throw you into this headfirst. For what it’s worth, you handled it quite well…I’m actually impressed.” Though the FM-ian sounded somewhat condescending, Sonia was too drained to care. “Haha…thanks…” She went back to examining her outfit. This was a lot to take in: aliens, super-viruses, magical transformations, battles…Lyra was already seeming like a lot of trouble. …But…she needs help. And she doesn’t seem that bad. After resting another minute, Sonia stood up. The speaker vanished. “So?” she asked. “I’m sorry?” “So, what do we do now? If those viruses were able to follow you here, then the others you’re running from will probably be here soon too.” “Yes, probably…and they’ll surely want to pick a fight. I guess I’ll just have to be ready for them.” Sonia nodded. “Alright. How do we do that?” “Hm? Wait, do you mean you still want to help me?” “Well, yes. I said that I would, didn’t I?” “Yes, but that was before I said anything about actually fighting. I’d hardly be offended if this was a deal-breaker.” Sonia shook her head and smiled. “It is sort of scary, but…I want to do what I can, I guess. Besides, Mama always told me that I had to keep my word!” It was a while before she received a response. “You truly are an interesting human…” Lyra laughed. “Very well, then! I’ll teach you how to use my power so that you can defend us both. But, for now, I think we could both use a little sleep.” Sonia yawned. “Yeah. How do I get off the Wave Road?” “Just step back into the Wavehole, dear—that’ll separate us again.” Sonia walked back into the swirl of energy. Another flash, another shock, and she was back in the park, looking like her normal self. She took off her Visualizer and sighed deeply, and then headed back towards her hotel. Well…I’m certainly not bored. (Review)
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JiMing posted a blog entry in blogs_blog_1804All I have to say is thank goodness for emulators! EDIT: Yeah, this is probably a phase, but we all go through those. =P
The Center of EverywhereA new comic by King Joe! Character Sheet! COMICS: Comic 1: The Center of EverywhereA "The Center of Everywhere" Christmas SpecialComic 2: Disembodied voices.Comic 3: DreamingComic 4: OutdatedComic 5: Gettin' his Rear in Gear PGS: 1. Dragon Knight Silvinity (BZP username Dragon of Wind) 2. ThatDevilGuy/TDG 3. Sybre 4. Hordika22 5. Zerothemaster 6. Ptolemaic/Ptoley (BZP username Comrade) 7. Pirok the Va-Matoran 8. Pony Hank (formerly known as Reptor, but shhh, we don't know that yet.)9. Cravix (BZP username Silver the Hedgehog) Name (If different from your username) Spritesheet (Any and all kits accepted! The more the merrier! Personality (Tell me the little quirks about your character that make him HIM! What's his favorite food? What's he good at? Is he obsessed with anything (those are always good) The more info I have, the more likely he will be used often) Also, tell me if he's an employee of the Center and living there, an employee without living there, or just a tenant, simply living there while working elsewhere. I will be asking my PGSs questions via PM as they apply to specific situations that I have in mind. Note that the more comments and criticism you post, the more you will be featured. More will be coming. All C&C will be appreciated and probably used to better these comics! Awards From Pirok the Va-Matoran, the "tiny award for making a comic that stars me! From Sybre, the OVER 9000!!!!! award!