Phantasy Star Zero
Chapter 11: The Espers Arise
SC 337.03 / EY 1875 / BW 211
Stephen awoke with a start. He was covered in sweat, and almost naked. Was… was this a dream? He looked around, gathering himself. A hospital. He was in a hospital bed. Did he imagine everything? He must have gone mad! He had dreamt of fighting a demon! Wiping sweat from his brow, he found he was suddenly very thirsty. Locating a water fountain, he drank deeply.
Wiping his chin, Ossale went to go find the Doc in charge and find out exactly what the hell happened. He glanced around again, and…what? There was Shea Keller, in a bed just like his. Beside her were Gregory Young, Melissa Maxwell and Thomas Odin. What where they all doing here? Was his dream… did it really happen?
Suddenly dizzy, he sat down on a nearby bench. A nurse approached, an older lady in immaculate white neo-scrubs. She noticed him immediately, her wrinkled face filled with concern.
“How are you feeling, sir?” She asked nervously.
“Fine, I guess,” he tried to sound casual, “ What happened to me?”
“You were victorious, sir!” A huge smile crossed her face, and she continued excitedly, “The Dark Force remnant was destroyed, and the entire world was bathed in this radiant light! It was the most spectacular thing ever! The entire colony has been celebrating for days. As for you and your team, Kalewm brought all of you back here with his magic!”
“Technique,” Stephen corrected. It bothered him when people referred to techniques as magic. After all, it.. Wait! He quickly glanced up at her.
“So you mean… I wasn’t dreaming?”
“No sir, you were not.”
He slouched back in the bench, feeling very limp. Slowly he replayed the battle in his mind… he saw the hideous half-formed Dark Force remnant, remembered their desperate attack with modern weaponry, and how the thing had merely flung them about like rag dolls… and then Kalewm… and the energy….
He suddenly shot straight up, and stood so quickly it made him a little lightheaded.
“Kalewm…. Where’s Kalewm?” He pleaded, “I need to see him.”
“He vanished after bringing your group here,” the nurse answered, still sounding very pleased,” and a Musk Cat has been here every hour, checking up on you. I don’t know if it was Kalewm, I have trouble telling them apart. But…”
He cut her off, “I need to see Kalewm!” Stephen growled, not meaning to sound so menacing.
The kindly nurse was taken aback. Her smile vanished.
“Well, the Musk Cat said that as soon as you and your senior staff were better, to come see them.”
“Where?” Stephen had never been to a Musk Cat dwelling before, and had no idea where they lived.
“He said you’d know where to find him.”
A few days later, Stephen, Shea, Melissa, Greg and Odin were physically if not emotionally recovered and walking together toward a forest south of Camineet.
“Tell me again why we’re doing this?” Greg complained. He still had dark circles under his eyes, a testament to the sleeplessness he’d recently had. In fact, all of them were still weary and mentally worn from their encounter with the remnants of the Dark Force the Desans had almost finished off five hundred years prior. Even Shea looked less attractive, as her normally self-confident swagger had shifted to a moping gait.
“I told you, it’s for Kalewm!” Stephen snapped, turning to stare accusingly at Greg. The Chief Science Officer looked abashed and said nothing, his eyes downcast.
“I’m sorry, Greg,” Ossale apologized, his brief anger quickly dissipating into weariness, “It’s just….” and he trailed off. Nothing more needed to be said. Everyone understood what their Administrator was going through, as they all were as well, each in their own way. Melissa hadn’t said a word since she’d awoken, and Odin just avoided making eye contact with anyone.
Their victory had felt hollow, somehow, and the bodies of the slain soldiers whom shielded the Avenger from the monsters were never recovered. The evil creatures themselves had immediately fallen, lifeless, and their twisted corpses littered the North Western continent and had been found scattered among the other two. The land was beginning to heal, however, and the dead landscape nearby the Dark Force’s former prison was no longer poisonous.
Still, Stephen told himself, the alternative would be far worse. He and his team, along with Kalewm, ensured the survival of not only Camineet, but Palma and the Algo Solar System as a whole.
Soon they entered the forest, whose beautiful trees would normally inspire thoughts of awe at nature’s wonder, but for the five of them, they might as well had been traveling through a cemetery. Stephen could sense Kalewm near, and without fully understanding how, knew exactly which path to take thought the trees and around underbrush. Just a little further…
Suddenly the trees and other shrubbery opened up into a small meadow, with a small, picturesque spring situated near the south side. There, in front of the spring, lay Kalewm. He was on his side, eyes closed, and appeared to be sleeping. Stephen could tell this was a very sacred location, at least to the Musk Cats. He had been led here for a very important reason.
“Kalewm…? Stephen called out tentatively, hoping the Musk Cat actually was sleeping and not the alternative.
“Ossale….” came Kalewm’s weak reply,” come, gather around.” Kalewm rolled onto his feet, and sat down on his haunches. His eyes opened. The seemed heavy and somehow very sad.
“Are you okay Kalewm?!” Stephen rushed over to his alien friend, and sat down in front of him, so that their faces were even.
“I’m dying, Stephen,” Kalewm stated matter-of-factly,” but I feel better than ever before, to answer your question,” the Musk Cat managed a weak smile.
Too puzzled by this remark to reply, Stephen simply stared at Kalewm. Vaguely he was aware of his four companions also sitting down nearby.
“Do you remember how you and I destroyed the remnant of Dark Force?” Kalewm asked.
“Vaguely…,” he answered,” It was like….my being was being projected.”
“Correct,” replied the Cat,” can you still use that power?”
Stephen paused for a minute, closed his eyes, and searched his soul.
“As I thought,” sighed Kalewm, “the power is still with you, but dormant. That day, when our powers combined, that light not only destroyed the Dark Force remnant down to its last malevolent atom, but bathed the entire world in the same light. I then used Ryuka to take us all home.”
“What was that light?” Greg inquired.
“That was me expending every ounce of Desan power left inside me. I shared it not only with Stephen, but with all the creatures of Palma. Your energy and that of your friends allowed me to magnify the force tenfold. Of all the world’s creatures, however, only you humans managed to retain some of it, and only a few of you at that,” Kalewm’s voice was beginning to weaken, “and that’s how the Dark Force remains were eliminated. I shared our light with it. As a being of pure darkness, it was utterly destroyed,” Kalewm coughed, and turned his small head to gaze at each of them in turn,” however, without your weapons weakening it, the light would not have been enough. Thank you all.”
The humans simply sat, digesting the information Kalewm had just imparted to them.
“So what are you saying?” It was Shea this time,” are you saying some of the humans have Desan power now?”
“No,” answered Kalewm,” Only the three original races of Algo had Desan powers among them, and our time is over. I was the last, and I have no offspring. You humans, however, that managed to retain some of this power, have the potential to be as powerful or greater. It is a power far stronger than any common technique. We refer to the power as ‘telemental,’ and it’s as close to actual magic as you’d ever find.”
“So if these people have this power, but aren’t Desans, than what are they?” Melissa questioned. Stephen turned in shock. Those were the first words she had spoken in three days.
“In your language…I think the word is ‘Esper’…,” Kalewm trailed off, before taking a deep breath and continuing,” some that have the power will know it. Others won’t. Some will pass it down through the generations, the power laying dormant until awoken by a great need.”
“So these ‘Espers’ are among us now…,“Stephen whispered, “To prevent Dark Force from threatening Algo again.”
The Musk Cat closed his eyes, “yes, and you are one too, although your powers now lie dormant as I said before. Remember, only the bravest and most pure of heart can carry the power, or use it. It is never to be used for evil, only good….” his high pitched voice was now barely a whisper.
“We Musk Cats pass this world on to you. We will still live here, peacefully coexisting, assisting when we can, but the future now depends upon you humans. It was no fluke that your colony ship survived, but destiny,” Kalewm lay down, “Remember something…. you are not Earthlings any longer, but Palmans. Your fate, the fate of this planet, and the Algo solar system, are intertwined now…” Kalewm closed his eyes for the last time.
“Goodbye friends. I’m glad we met…” Kalewm’s meek voice trailed off and he stopped breathing.
“Kalewm! No, not yet! There’s still so much we need to know!” Without thinking, Stephen picked up Kalewm and cradled him in his arms. When the warm, furry body did not respond, Stephen yelled and even shook the small corpse. The Musk Cat’s head and limbs were limp. With a stifled cry, he gently placed his departed friend in the exact spot he was sitting when they arrived.
“Sir…I’m sorry…” Shea hugged him tightly, and Greg put a reassuring hand on Stephen’s shoulder.
“Hey guys….” Odin’s deep voice had carried a hint of concern, and it caught their attention. He merely pointed, and the others turned to see Musk Cats gathering all along the edge of the small meadow. They were all looking sadly toward their fallen leader.
“Maybe we should leave,” he suggested.
Still not very knowledgeable on the mysterious Musk Cat culture, the others began to shrink back into the trees. Only Stephen remained. He was weeping openly now, shuddering with each sob. Not really knowing how to react to their leader in this state, the other four just watched. Finally, Shea Keller decided this situation required a woman’s touch. She approached Stephen, and with an arm around his shoulder, whispered reassurances into his ear. Slowly, he stood up, and turned to join the others. He tried in vain to hide his reddened face, tears still streaming.
“Let’s go home everybody,” Greg finally declared somberly, “RYUKA!” In a white flash they were gone from the sacred meadow.