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Phantasy Star Zero

Chapter 6: The Phantasy Revealed

SC 337.03 / EY 1875 / BW 211

Months passed. Not so much of a whisker from a Musk Cat was seen, and even though Stephen knew that their “treaty” was technically broken, he never felt that niggling sensation in the back of his head that he now knew meant his mind was being read. It was as if the Musk Cats had never existed.

Some of the colonists were still fearful of the animals, and once a “hunting party” was illegally formed using weapons a rogue peace forcer supplied to apparently avenge the slain colonists, claiming that the Musk Cats had struck first. They were never heard from again. When Stephen learned of this, he organized his own forces to track down the would-be hunters. All they ever found was a pile of the rogue hunters’ weapons dumped haphazardly near Camineet.

As for the colony itself, it was rapidly expanding. As more and more colonists began moving out of the pod and into actual dwellings, and settling into their individual trades and professions, Camineet began feeling like a real city.

One day, while inspecting a new water purification system set up near one of Palma’s lakes, Stephen Ossale heard a familiar voice.

“Hello, Captain Stephen Ossale.” came the recognizably high-pitched voice of Kalewm.

“Kalewm!” Stephen could barely contain himself,” how I’ve wanted to speak with you! Although, I’m not Captain anymore. It’s ‘Administrator’ now… I was elected in a democratic vote. I guess your race is eminently familiar with that concept, though, right?” he half laughed, mostly to cover his awkward remark.

“Yes,” Kalewm answered halfheartedly, “Listen Ossale, the Musk Cats have decided it’s time we made lasting peace and finally told you about the secrets of the Algo Solar System. After observing the actions of your people more distantly, we really do see that it was merely a few of you that were the aggressors; not your species as a whole. Besides, you willing to kill your own people on our behalf was sort of flattering.”

“So you’re not upset about that hunting party that slipped out-”

Kalewm cut him off with a raise of his paw, “You did decree that death would come to any whom tried to harm a Musk Cat. We were merely assisting in the execution of your law.”

“Well then….thanks,” Ossale remarked hastily, “I guess then our peoples are still open to diplomacy?”

“Yes. However, like I once mentioned before, there are things I must tell you about. I still think it would be best if your senior staff were present.”

“Alright. Give me ten minutes.” Stephen took off in a quick jog.

Kalewm simply waited. Although he understood human speech and some of their customs, their units of time measurement still perplexed him. Hopefully ten “minutes” was not a long time.

It wasn’t. Soon four human figures approached the awaiting Musk Cat.

Stephen Ossale, Melissa Maxim, Shea Keller and Gregory Young all stood side by side, gazing down upon Kalewm, who merely returned their stares with a look of deadly seriousness.

“What I am about to tell you is not only true, but essential to the future survival of not just your species here but all of the species of the Algo Solar System.”

“You mean the other planets are inhabited by intelligent life too?” asked Gregory, suddenly excited.

“Yes, but please let me explain,” pleaded the Musk Cat. He then sighed, and sat back on his haunches,” but where to begin…?”

“The beginning…?” Shea shrugged.

“Alright, then. This solar system, as I’ve told you before, is special. Very special. Billions of years ago, there was a powerful spiritual entity, a godlike existence you could say, whom split into two separate beings: the Great Light and the Ultimate Darkness.”

“Oh come on! Science proved beyond a reasonable doubt that God and Creationism don’t exist in the mid twenty-first century back on Earth, old calendar.” Melissa spat, disgusted at the mere concept of some all-powerful being that created the universe by sheer force of will. Stephen just shook his head and hoped Kalewm didn’t take offense. Besides, it was never actually proven that a higher being never existed. It was just a theory.

“I never said either of these entities were creators of the universe,” Kalewm calmly replied “they may seem as gods, but they are neither invulnerable nor the only ones out there. Do you doubt the possible existence of powerful entities composed of energy rather than matter, that could possess powers beyond that of any flesh creature?”

“Umm….” Melissa was reluctant to answer.

Satisfied that he now had their undivided attention, Kalewm proceeded to explain how the Great Light trapped the Profound Darkness in an alternate dimension, and chose the Algo solar system as a seal upon the dimension. He described that starting one hundred thousand years ago, every thousand years the seal weakens enough to allow the most destructive aspects of the Profound Darkness to slip into our dimension and materialize as the “Dark Force.” Kalewm shuddered as he whispered the name.

“The Great Light created the Palmans, the Motavians, and the Dezorians, each residing on their respective worlds, to combat this threat. Knowing that more than physical strength and techniques might be needed, select members of each race called ‘Desans’ were also chosen. They wield powers that would be closer to your concept of “magic” than our comparatively limited techniques. Desans from each race, for the last hundred thousand years, have successfully defeated the Dark Forces that entered our dimension every thousand years.”

“Who are these Palmans, Motavians, and Dezo-whatevers?” Greg inquired once more, enthusiastically. The thought of all this sentient life was almost too much for the Chief Science Officer. He didn’t care about old stories, he just wanted to learn about the intelligent life that now shared the Algo Solar System with the colonists.

“We Musk Cats are the Palmans,” Kalewm stated matter-of-factly, “The Motavians are blue-furred, desert-dwellers who walk on two legs like yourselves. The Dezorians are also bipeds, but are hairless and have green skin. They live on the frozen planet Dezo,” Kalewm trembled, “I‘ve never been there, but I’ve heard it’s pretty cold.”

Stephen wanted to get back on track. The way Kalewm reacted when he mentioned this “Dark Force” was quite unsettling.

“So where are these Desans now?” he asked the Musk Cat.

“As I was saying, they managed to defeat Dark Force during every single encounter,” Kalewm paused, eyes downcast,” except for this last time.”

“What happened, Kalewm,” Stephen asked softly, suddenly a little frightened.

“With their powers the Desans from all three races could travel to each planet by sheer force of will, and combat the threat of Dark Force wherever it went. But about five hundred years ago, this last Dark Force spread its powers slowly, taking each races’ Desans by surprise and killing them all, except for a few that were off at….” and then he trailed off, his slitted, gleaming eyes now looking toward the sky.

“Off where?” Gregory asked.

“Never mind. The point is that here, on Palma, we Musk Cats were facing a very grave crisis. Dark Force had manifested itself here and began systematically wiping out all life. The remaining Desans came to confront the Dark Force, and defeated it, but only one Desan survived. A Palman Musk Cat born on Dezo was the only Desan left.”

“So where is this Desan now?” Stephen asked encouragingly. He could see Greg itching to inquire about all kinds of details.

“He or she was here, apparently. The encounter was so traumatic that the poor Palman didn’t even remember who he or she was. I’m told that some of the Musk Cats have suspicions about who the Desan was, but are unwilling to share their thoughts with others. That was five hundred years ago. The Desan has since passed away.”

“So now, with no Desans left, how are you going to combat this ‘Dark Force’ when it comes back in five hundred years?”

“We don’t know.” Kalewm just crouched sadly, his bushy tail limp,” and there’s another problem.”

The four humans merely stared at Kalewm, digesting this news.

Kalewm continued,” Dark Force won for the first time. It was finally eliminated, but because there was only one survivor, and that Desan didn’t remember anything, we have surmised that…. A tiny part of the Dark Force survived and is still here on Palma.”

“How can you tell, Kalewm?” Melissa wondered.

“We can feel the evil emanating from the northwestern continent. It is greatly reduced from that of a full Dark Force, but upon closer inspection we discovered what actually happened. The final Desan wiped out almost all of the Dark Force, but because by then his or her powers were so drained, all the poor survivor could do was trap the last remaining dark energy in a force field, the plan apparently being to finally destroy the final remaining evil energy when the Desan had recovered sufficient strength. Unfortunately, the Desan used up the last of their energy containing this tiny scrap of Dark Force. As I mentioned earlier, that was five hundred years ago. The evil is still trapped there, and has been slowly growing and regaining strength.”

“So I guess then there’s no hope at all?” Shea asked softly.

“Yes and no. The Musk Cat who wielded Desen powers apparently rejoined our society, and later mated and had offspring, and those offspring mated and so on. However, only one ever inherited the powers.” Kalewm paused, made a sighing noise, and continued, “That Palman that inherited the Desan legacy is… me.”

Kalewm looked up at the colonists expectantly, as if expecting to be bowed to, or at least adulated. The four humans simply stared at the Musk Cat disbelievingly. Kalewm turned, and gestured at a nearby boulder. Shakily at first, it slowly rose into the air, spun a few times, then disintegrated. The tiny granules of rock then formed the shape of a Musk Cat, that leapt and danced about. The four humans merely stared, Melissa’s jaw dropping lower every second. Apparently satisfied with his demonstration, Kalewm lowered his paw and the former boulder fell back to the ground as dumped sand.

“The seal left to guard this remaining dark energy is weakening. In five hundred years, another Dark Force will emerge, and will doubtlessly absorb this extra energy to increase its power. I will be gone then, but there is no guarantee I will have a Desan heir. The Motavians and Dezolians will be almost helpless without Desan assistance, and so will we.”

“So why don’t you just go destroy the remnant then?” Melissa sounded almost sarcastic.

“It has regained much of its strength in the past five hundred years,” Kalewm admitted, appearing admonished, "and we didn't even know it was there until recently. As I said, the Desan forgot everything, and didn't mention that there was a remnant of the Dark Force."

“So what do we do?” Gregory now sounded quite worried. They all were, and not attempting to hide it.

“We need your help. This last residue of Dark Force must be destroyed, but the land nearby is becoming so tainted that we can’t get close enough to engage the remnant en masse, and I can’t risk attacking it myself. Were I to perish, all hope for Algo would be lost forever.”

“So that’s what the anomaly was…,“ Stephen weighed this new information carefully, and continued, “We’ll help in any way we can. Assuming this is our planet too, right?” Stephen asked, suddenly hoping the Musk Cat would agree. After all, if it’s not partially their planet, then that would mean…”

“Yes, if you help us then Palma is now your home as much as ours,” the Cat acquiesced.

“Then let’s head out. This ‘Dark Force’ doesn’t frighten me one bit,” Melissa was back to her normal, levelheaded self again.

“First, let me teach you how to use techniques,” Kalewm stood on his hind legs now, “each of you, bend closer to me.” Tentatively, one by one, they did, and he touched a paw to each of their foreheads. As contact was made, Stephen’s brain seemed to explode in a brilliant flash of light. All at once, he understood. The divine force of the seal left to protect against the Profound Darkness permeated the entire system with a kind of unseen energy that could be drawn upon…

“Now that you all have the power of techniques, spread them among your colonists. There are many different kinds, many beneficial, many destructive, and different individuals can use different types, usually depending on their personality,” the Musk Cat looked very serious now,” use them wisely, and make sure to quickly take care of anyone that abuses this power. It is here for all the peoples of Algo to use for the greater good of all.” and with that, he began to stride off.

Suddenly Kalewm stopped. “I’m going to train myself to help focus my power to the fullest. I suggest you do the same with your techniques. When I’m ready, I’ll come for you.” He spoke without turning around, and once again disappeared into the brush.

The four humans turned to look at each other.

“Want to try one?” asked Shea excitedly.

“Sure,” replied Stephen,” the techniques are all in my head, just waiting to be unlocked…,“ he closed his eyes, mentally straining, trying hard to realize one of them. Better to start with a basic one.

“Well here goes…”he sighed deeply, eyes still shut tight,” RYUKA! Stephen shouted, the unfamiliar word passing his lips easily. Suddenly there was an unsettling, jolting sensation and when his eyes finally opened, he found himself and his senior staff standing in the central square of Camineet. Looking around dazedly, he noticed that all of the colonists were staring at his group, many of them aghast.

“Everybody, come closer!” he encouraged,” I’m calling an official colony meeting. We have something we’d like to share with everyone!” The joyous tone in his voice helped alleviate any consternation on the part of the colonists, and in ones and twos, then in dozens and hundreds, and finally almost all seven thousand had gathered in a kind of mass, awaiting whatever momentous event their elected Administrator was about share with them….

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