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Those Who Go Unremembered
by Shining Guy

Michael Iranor gazed at his opponent, and fought a losing battle with the hysteria welling up inside him. The creature returned his stare and made a strange buzzing sound, which seemed strangely hypnotic. He caught himself falling asleep, and shook his head dazedly.

The entire situation was ridiculous, Mother Brain should never have allowed any of these creatures to exist, let alone attack him. Even if she had somehow missed this creature in the massive Motavian forests, there were always at least four Poleziax on the well-worn road between his small house, and the bustling city of Paseo. There were never any Palmans attacked, it just didn't happen!

For all that, he did pause to consider for another moment, it had been a bout of extreme luck he had brought his walking staff with him today. It might not have been the laser he was wishing for, but it was certainly better than nothing. Thinking of the staff returned his thoughts to the strange creature in front of him. The thing's wings buzzed rapidly, and it bobbed and weaved following strange patterns in the air.

The beast could best be described as an enormous insect, with a menacing tube-like appendage emanating from the area just below its eyes. The bulbous head of the creature attached to the body by a long, elastic neck, which was in turn connected to the fat abdomen. It was colored unnaturally, being a light purple and teal blue. Its red eyes seemed to stare with more than a hint of malice, though that might have been Michael's imagination. In later times, it would come to be known as a Stinger.

He considered this creature to be exceedingly evil, and (mistakenly) labeled it, as all that was evil in Algo. He wondered if the agents knew of this creature's very existence. It seemed unlikely that such a thing would be allowed to exist.

Unexpectedly, the stinger lunged for him, extending its neck and attacked him seemingly without moving. Only reflexes he did not know he possessed saved him. He leapt to his right, and brought his staff up in what he hoped was a convincing defensive posture. He whirled the staff end-over-end, as he had been wont to do during his free time (much to his friends' anxiety, and more than once his own chagrin).

The stinger lunged at him again, and this time he sidestepped and dealt a blow to its head with the staff. It buzzed in pain, and flew back several meters. The stinger continued to stare at him, assessing this change of situations. It bobbed its head a few more times, feigning attack, and each time the staff whistled down where the stinger's head would have been. It paused for another moment and then charged directly at Michael, moving its entirely body hurtling. Michael evaded again, diving to the side, but proceeded to drop his staff in the process. The solid metal cylinder fell to the ground with a clank, and rolled away from him.

Michael's first thought upon impact with the ground, was of his own ineptitude. His second, was of the injustice Mother Brain was doing him. However, his third was much more pressing, and in fact, wouldn't have occurred to him at all except for the fact that he was still alive. That thought was, the beast had flown away.

Not wishing to tempt fate, he dove for his staff, and came up clutching it to his chest. From a crouching position, he scanned the road for signs of anything moving. He thought of chasing after the creature, but quashed that thought beneath mountains of desire for his continued survival. Instead, he broke out in a sprint for his house, which he reached a mere eleven minutes later.

He burst through the front door, with every intention of hugging his wife, to prove to himself that he was still alive.

Instead, the sight that greeted him was more grotesque then any nightmare he had ever dared believe possible. On the floor, his wife lay, paler than he had ever seen her before. He saw a large hole in her shoulder, and where blood should have been flowing, not even a trickle escaped her flesh.

Michael ran to her, and shook her violently. Her head flopped, and her long golden tresses flew in front of her face, but she did not move. He clasped her body to him, and began to cry into her shoulder. He remembered all of the good times they had spent together, and all of the little arguments they always used to have. Now she was gone, and Mota was a colder place for it.

A loud buzzing sound greeted Michael's ears as he lay his wife down on the floor again, and he snapped his head up. A creature identical to the one he had fought earlier emerged from the kitchen, though this one looked much larger, and had a slightly reddish hue about its abdomen. At first he gazed at it wonderingly, and it him. Then realization overwhelmed him, and his face contorted with rage.

Michael reacted with ferocity completely unknown to him. He grabbed his staff, and jumped at the stinger, screaming a wordless battle cry as he did. The stinger seemed to be more confused than anything, and hesitated before lunging forward with its head. The delay put the attack off-target, and it missed entirely. The same was not true of Michael's staff, which impacted with one of the stinger's wings. The force with which he hit the wing, and the rapidity with which it was moving, ripped the wing apart.

However, it also wrenched the staff from Michael's hand, and threw him back several paces. The stinger fell on the ground, and feebly tried to lift itself with its remaining wings. It managed to get off the floor, but could barely maintain a height of three feet. It lunged at Michael again, and this time hit him in the left arm. He dragged his wounded appendage off of the tube, but not before he felt a sudden weakness flow through him. The stinger's venom went to work with amazing speed.

Michael gasped for breath, as he stared facing his opponent. This thing had attacked him on the road (he had no proof it was the same stinger, but it would not have mattered), this thing had poisoned him, and THIS THING had killed Marie! His eyes glazed over with rage, and he moved his arms in a manner he had seen only once before. He said strange words he could only remember hearing once. Then he thrust out his right arm, palm flat and facing the ground, and shouted

"A L'aeril Moriandain GiFoi!"

A searing column of flame burst forth from his fingers, and struck the stinger. The creature writhed in agony, and eventually the fire burned a hole through its neck. The hole widened, until the head fell from the rest of the body, and crashed to the ground seconds before the body followed suit.

Michael Iranor remained in that position for several minutes, not knowing he did so. Eventually, he blinked several times, and lowered his arm. He gazed around the house, and seemed to notice for the first time that many of his treasured possessions were aflame. He did not bother to extinguish them. Instead, he strode towards the stinger's body, and retrieved his staff. He then began to beat the creature again and again. Tears were welling up in his eyes, when he suddenly heard the fire alarm sound. He turned, and realized that the building might well burn down if something was not about the fire quickly. He was just about to start towards an area covered by the sprinkler system, when several robots broke down the door with their strong metallic arms. Darkness overwhelmed Michael as a Poleziax reached out to grab his falling form.

Michael awoke in a hospital, a quick glance at the sign above his door told him he was in Paseo. He felt drained, and could barely muster the strength to lift his head. Doing so caused an overwhelming dizziness to come over him, and he passed out again. When he again regained consciousness, there was an old doctor standing over him.

"Ahh," he said, "You're finally awake! You have been asleep for quite some time now!"

Michael blinked several times, before replying "How long has it been since I was attacked?"

Now the Doctor looked surprised. "Attacked? Why my dear boy, have you hit your head as well? You were in a fire! We treated you for smoke inhalation, and nothing else." Michael's eyes widened.

"But I encountered a giant insect, and it had killed-" he stopped in mid-sentence. "Oh doctor!" He pleaded, "How is my wife? Were you able to save her?"

The doctor looked at him severely, before answering, "The robots found your wife's remains on the floor of your house. She was burned to ashes, along with the rest of your house. I am truly amazed that you were not burned by the blaze. Now if you will excuse me, I have other patients that require my attention, your account has been billed, good day."

Michael stared at the doctor's retreating form, and then remembered something seemingly insignificant. The reason all doctors seemed so similar was that they were in fact, all androids with human-like faces stretched over their "heads." It was supposed to promote trust in patients.

He dismissed the thought as insignificant the moment it came, though later he would come to regret doing so. Mother Brain's campaign of deception was just beginning, and concealing the existence of bio-monsters was key to its success.

Nobody ever remembers those who defend what is theirs alone, and fail. Nobody ever sings the praises of those who overcome the shadow, but seem to herald the beginning of the darkness. Very few even remember Michael Iranor even existed, and fewer still remember what he has done. He is one of the many unsung heroes of the Great Collapse, who are now long forgotten. He is one of the multitudes, who fought to protect the universe from evil, and whose exploits go unremembered.

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