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The Recollection Of Meira

Chapter 1

I never saw our home world, though Randon used to tell me of it, quite often. He said that it had once been a place with beautiful scenery, and the scariest monsters. Toward the end, however, it had become riddled with chaos. The ground shook uncontrollably, with four, sometimes even five quakes a day. The weather became horrid. It was hot, and no rain fell for several years. In the days before the launch of Pioneer 2, the sky even became clouded with the toxic gas being emit from various locations about the globe.

But that is supposedly behind us all, now. Now, we're settling a new planet. They say that Ragol is a stable planet, with a lot of features similar to our home world-- even having a few similar creatures. This is probably why Ragol was chosen. It's a shame that just about the time that we got there, our sister ship, Pioneer 1, converted into a local city, blew up. Sort of. They couldn't really figure out just what happened to it. The structures were fine... But there was no one left alive! I guess that's why it's lucky that Pioneer 2 had the Hunters' Guild aboard.

Randon Bragwin was a member of the Hunters' Guild. He used to tell me that he came from a long line of Hunters, going back more generations than he was ever able to track back. He was rather skilled, too. He took me in when I was only a handful of weeks old. I don't remember much of anything about what happened. All I recall is men in white jackets when I was very very young, whom, in retrospect, I believe were biologists. I assume that I was probably genetically engineered, and gestated in a large tube, as most Newmans are. Randon always told me not to worry about it.

Though Randon trained me in various martial arts styles, and also in the arts of all the major weapon forms, I never became a hunter. Not until that day, at least... that day that I received the message on the BEE system. It was horrible.

It was eight months ago, today. I had gone grocery shopping, in anticipation of Randon returning after a three-day-long guild mission. I wanted to treat him to a home-cooked dinner, but had left for shopping a little late, so I totally expected Randon to be home when I got back.

I strolled up the corridor to our apartment, groceries in arms, and a big grin across my face. I stopped at the door, and shouted into the microphone, "Meira!" though; this was much trouble to express, without giggling my way through it. Only a syllable and a half my name may be, but a giggle-fit will still mutilate it into a mess. Thankfully, the Voice ID system recognized me, or else I may have never gotten in.

As I stepped in, I giggled. "Randon?" I shouted. "Randon, are you home??" Still no answer. I was slightly disappointed, but had just really kind of figured that he was just later than his last message had suggested. Either that or I was early. The time was roughly @146 beats, so I figured he still had time to get home before it was too late.

I walked into the kitchen, and set the bags of groceries down. That's when I noticed the light blinking on the BEE box. So, I went over and hit the button.

"Meira," it said, "This is a message from the Hunters' Guild. We've received a message from Randon." At this point, I thought that he was just sending a message that he'd be late. Though I did wonder why he would've sent the message to the guild, and not directly to me. There was more, of course. It said, "He told us he was unable to complete the mission. Meira, I'm sorry, but he didn't sound very good. We have sent a search party out for him, but it the odds of finding him aren't favorable, as we are not receiving a signal from his MAG. We're sorry, Meira. If you'll come to the guild, we can give you the belongings that he left in his locker."

I was distraught. I didn't know what to do. Eventually, I just curled up on the couch and cried. It was all I could think to do at the time. I don't think I ate anything for the next couple of days. Guess I didn't need to go grocery shopping that day, after all.

I finally went up to the Hunters' Deck, Viridia section. This was where Randon had been assigned. I stepped up to the desk. "Excuse me," I said, "I'm Meira... Meira Bragwin... I'm here concerning Randon Bragwin?"

"How can I help you, Meira?" she asked. Like she cared.

"Um... You... you haven't heard anything about him since the other day, have you? The search parties haven't found anything?" The butterflies in my stomach desperately wanted to jump out of my throat and beat me senseless.

"Let me check the quest log," she replied. I remember being rather insulted that she didn't know off hand. I was of the opinion that she should have been keeping track, trying to find out every little detail she could. I was wishing that the butterflies in my stomach would jump out and beat her senseless. "It appears that the mission has been cancelled. Three parties of four set out, but none could find him," she eventually told me. "The record here says that he's been officially declared deceased. Would you like to take his release papers to the check room, and claim his belongings?"

I didn't know whether to be angry or sad. I had to make a decision quick. I determined that my only options were to either yell, and potentially become violent, or squeeze a tear. I chose to yell and potentially become violent. "What do you mean he's been declared deceased?!?" I screamed. I reached over the counter and grabbed her by the collar of her unreasonably low-cut uniform, and nearly pulled her over to my side of it. Then I growled in her face.

After a few moments of this, I finally gave up, and let her go. I'm told that I've normally got a harmless expression on my face, but when I get angry, I suddenly get quite intimidating, somehow. Much like how a cute little kitty cat can suddenly become a big sprawling ball of fur, claws, and teeth when it feels threatened, I guess. "Fine, just give me the stupid papers," I said, though, perhaps not quite that politely. Anyway, I took the thing and walked out.

I looked down the walkway, over to the left, and saw the big "CHECK ROOM" sign. I always thought it was kind of funny that the checkroom and the Hunters' Guild weren't part of the same building, but I suppose that they're probably owned by different people. I wouldn't be surprised, however, if the person that owns the checkroom, also owns the shops. Though, it is fitting, I guess, that the money-storage place is so close to the money-spending place.

So I walked over to the checkroom, and presented the papers. The lady looked over them, and then looked up at me. "So you're here for Randon's things? I heard about what happened to him. I'm really sorry," she said. She continued, "Would you like a bag to carry the stuff in, or would you rather just take custody of the locker?"

This caught my attention. I'd never really thought about it before. There really probably wasn't anything in the locker that I could possibly have any use for at home. I mean, I suppose I could've taken the photon saber home with me, and used it as a steak knife, but then again, I like my steak rare, not well done. This got me thinking more. There were about three thousand mesetas in the locker, as well. This, and the three hundred I had left at home would be about all that I'd have left, before the funds run out. With a burger costing, on average, roughly two hundred ninety mesetas, and a single can of cola costing seventy-three, doing the math, that left me with only nine days worth of food money. Of course, there were those groceries that I'd bought, but those had already gone bad, anyway. As much as I'd love to get into the home economics of it all, quite simply, it was cheaper to live off of colas and burgers than to live off of home cooking.

Tangent aside, I told the secretary, "I think I'll just take over the locker."

"Okay then. Can I see a section ID?" she asked. The trouble was, I didn't have one.

"Um... I don't have a section ID... I'm not a licensed hunter..." I replied.

"I see," she said, "Well, I'll tell you what. We can place the locker in your custody for a thousand beats, but by then you must have a section ID, and a hunter's license." I was set. I was going to become a hunter.

"Do you have an application that I can fill out?" I asked. She promptly produced one from behind the desk. "Thank you," I said. "Just fill this out, and turn it in at the guild?"

"Yes, of course, but there is a small registration fee."

"A registration fee?"

"Yes, you'll find that information on the application. It's a thousand-one-hundred-thirty mesetas."

My first thought, was that I could eat for a day on that. But, of course, it's a small price to pay to achieve a steady income. "Okay, then! I shall return with my section ID, tomorrow!" By this time I had pretty well made up my mind. I was going to become a hunter.

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