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The Recollection Of Meira

Chapter 11


When I woke up, Zeirom was standing in the corner, in more or less of a power save mode. First I groaned a few noises, then I yawned. Then I stretched and determined that stretching wasn't a good idea. "Zeirom?" I called.

Zeirom's eyes lit, and he looked up to see me. "Meira," he said, "You're awake!" He clanked over to me. "Going by my internal clock, it's been three days."

I questioned, "Three days?" Surely I hadn't slept for three days. I couldn't imagine sleeping that long, let alone, do it.

"Well, if you want an exact number, it's been three days and two-hundred sixty-seven point two-three-eight beats." he explained.

"Egad!" I yelled, and quickly hopped out of bed, now noticing, I was still fully dressed, though shoeless. Then I remembered what I'd done to get myself in this situation, and I grew concerned over the other results. "What happened to Dragoon??" I asked, somewhat frantically. I didn't mean to kill him, but I didn't have much choice.

"Lynn said she'd get Dragoon to the hospital, and have him repaired." Zeirom said.

This made cartoony images of Lynn trying to lift Dragoon appear in my head. This posed an odd problem to me, and I looked back at Zeirom and said, "But... Lynn's not much bigger than I am, and Dragoon weighs over a ton!"

Zeirom shrugged. "That's not a problem. She said she'd get Dragoon to the hospital, she didn't say she'd carry him. She can get help from the hospital staff to get him relocated."

"Oh," I said. "So have you heard anything about him?" I asked.

"No, I haven't. I've been here, watching over you," he said.

I wandered about my room, looking for my shoes. "So why don't we head over there, right now?" I asked, as I picked them up. They were at the foot of my bed, of course. It was about at this point, that I started to notice how weak I was at that current moment. "Ugh," I groaned.

"Actually Meira, I was going to suggest that we go get something to eat. You haven't eaten anything in three days, so I'm sure you're feeling quite weak. A basic physiological need of organic creatures is food to burn as fuel.

"All right then," I said, "We go get food, but then it's straight to the hospital, Mister."

Zeirom chuckled. "Yes, ma'am."

As I laced up my shoes, I replied with, "That's right!" then I promptly got up, stumbled a bit, grabbed his hand, and lead him out of my apartment. We took the elevator down to the ground floor, though the abrupt stop of my apartment complex's cheap elevator nearly made me lose my balance.

As we walked out the door, and the light of the streets hit my eyes, I nearly fell over, but Zeirom caught me. "Meira," he said, "Why don't you ride on my shoulder? That should be considerably easier for you."

I looked up at him in somewhat of a daze. "Sure, Zeirom," I said, then paused before finishing with, "I think I'd like that." With that, he hoisted me up on his shoulder, where I quickly took residence. He even held me in place up there by keeping his hand in my lap, like a seat belt. Zeirom's such a nice guy, he really is. "So where are we going?" I asked, as he clanked along down the street.

"I'm taking you to that cafe where we first met. I know you seem to like that place," he answered. Indeed, I do like that place. They make the best burger on Pioneer 2, in my not so humble opinion.

Before long, we were there, and Zeirom lifted me from his shoulder, to set me down in a chair. "What do you want? I'll go get it for you." he said.

I tried to think of what I usually like to get, only to discover that I have a variety of things that I like to choose from when I go there. This made my decision difficult, until I thought, "I haven't eaten in three days. I'm darned hungry!" So I nodded to myself, and looked at Zeirom to say, "Zeirom, whatever I've ordered the last three times we've been here together, I'll have that."

"You've ordered something different every time we've been here, Meira," he replied.

"Exactly," I said with a smirk. Zeirom chuckled, and walked over to the counter.

While Zeirom ordered the food, I looked around. It was a pleasant place to eat. Tables with parasols sitting out in front of the building, people chatting away while they sip at their beverages, and snack on pretzels. The atmosphere of the place is quite friendly, and it always reminded me of times when Randon and I would meet with his friends, and to discuss previous adventures, and plan upcoming treks.

I hadn't seen a lot of Randon's old friends since Randon went missing, though. Except for Dux, who I noticed just happened to be wandering by at that present moment. "Dux!!" I called to him, and waved frantically. He stopped on the sidewalk, and looked around to see where the calling of his name came from. He didn't seem to see me, so I yelled again, "Dux! Come here!!" and this time, he saw me, and hands in his pockets, he went ahead and came over.

He greeted me with some variety of standardized social greeting. "Hey, Meira. How's it going?"

"Ugh, I am hungry!" I said. "I've got Zeirom over there ordering me some food. I haven't eaten in three days!"

Dux lifted an eyebrow at that. "Three days? What possessed you to not eat in three days?"

"I was, um, asleep."

"Asleep? For three days? How'd you manage that?"

"I, uh... Got into a pretty bad fight."

"Oh... With what? Surely those Sinow Beats aren't that much of a problem to you."

"Well, no, the Sinow Beats and Sinow Golds, I can handle just fine... It's just... I, um,"

At this time, Zeirom walked back to the table with a little number plate, which he placed at the edge, so it was plain to see. The number was 28, by the way. "Hello, Dux," he said, offering a hand.

"Hey, Zeirom," Dux replied, then just stared at Zeirom's hand for a moment, before shaking it. My impression was that he was trying to figure out what, precisely, the gesture meant.

"Sit down, Dux. You don't have to stand when there's a perfectly good chair right there," Zeirom demanded.

Dux stood there for a moment, then with a shrug, he complied, pulling out the chair, and having himself a merry old seat. "I was trying to decide if I was in a hurry or not, before I sat down. Evidently I'm not."

"Where were you going?" Zeirom asked.

"To a bar, I believe. As I recall, I planned to meet up on a blind date with a rather attractive glass of alcohol. Fine dame she is. Makes you totally forget that life has no real meaning or purpose," replied Dux.

Zeirom capped off with, "You're depressing, Dux."

Dux shrugged, "No, I'm not depressing. Now Ragol. Ragol is depressing. You're a member of the Hunters' Guild. You understand. We go down there, and we kill things. Over. And over. And over. And. Over. And it just doesn't stop. It makes me ask... What's the point? Do you have any idea how many Beta772's I've killed? DeAD Rol Le, man." As Zeirom shook his head over this, Dux looked over back at me, "So what was the deal with this fight that you speak of?"

"I, um, killed Dragoon," I said. "I, I didn't really want to, but I had no choice-- he was trying to kill me."

Dux asked for confirmation, "Dragoon tried to kill you?"

Zeirom interjected with, "We were fighting Vol Opt, and somehow or another, Vol Opt took over Dragoon. Lynn had said something about a circuit board from a Gillchic being healed into his head. Sounds kind of strange to me, but I suppose that it very well could happen."

Dux blinked for a moment. "That does sound about like Dragoon's luck. But I've never heard of that happening before. And mind you, I've spanked Vol Opt in the company of a great number of androids, in the past." Then Dux looked back at me. "You KILLED that thing? Great mother of brains! How'd you manage that? Dragoon's built like a, uh, big, um, heavy armored, tough thing!"

"I used Megid on him, actually. He had me up against a wall by my neck, and if I hadn't, he would've crushed my head with his fist," I said.

Dux blinked again. "Huh. Figures that a burst of Megid would take him out that easily. Urg... I don't like that technique, though. You have to be so full of bad emotions to cast it. Sure makes you feel better afterward, though." Dux paused and thought for a second. "Meira, how'd a happy-go-lucky girl like you manage to cast Megid?"

"Well..." I said. "I'd rather not say." I was embarrassed to tell him that it was because Dragoon was preventing me from continuing to go down to search for Randon. I was also a little worried that if I told him, he might warn me against going down there, and I didn't want to hear that from Dux.

Just then a waitress came out with my food. "Number twenty-eight?" she said. I nodded enthusiastically, and she set her tray down with one hand, as she reclaimed the number. "Thank you!" I cheered, and she nodded to me, before walking away.

"So where's Dragoon, now?" asked Dux.

"Supposedly, Lynn took him to the hospital," Zeirom said. "So we were going to check there. Even if he's not there, we can at least find out where he wandered off to after they fixed him. Nurse Marina's sure to know, at least."

I mumbled something about how good the food was, while I scarfed it down. I didn't realize how hungry I was, until I smelled the fried potatoes in front of me. I ate like an animal, that day.

“Maybe I'll go with you to the hospital, then," said Dux. "I didn't really want to see that glass of alcohol anyway. Last time I spent the night with her, I woke up with a horrid headache."

After I finished my food, we proceeded to the hospital, though I demanded to ride on Zeirom's shoulder again, simply because it was just so much fun. He didn't mind, though. In fact he seemed happy to do it. For all you other HUnewearls out there, I tell you, on a RAcast's shoulder is the only way to travel.

When we got there, Nurse Marina was handling some log entries in the computer. "Ahem," Zeirom said to get her attention.

"Oh!" She exclaimed. "How can I help you?"

"Have you treated an android named 'Dragoon' here, recently?" Zeirom inquired.

"As a matter of fact, yes. He left yesterday, but if you'd wait here, Dr. Oscar would like to talk to you about him."

"Oh, well, all right, then." Zeirom replied. We all looked at each other, curious about why the doctor would want to talk about it. I think Zeirom assumed, as did I, that he wanted to ask about the Gillchic circuit board, though Dux may have just assumed that the doctor wanted to rant about how strange Dragoon is. The nurse walked through a door, into the hospital ward.

After a few moments, she came back out, followed closely by a well-built man, who I assume, had he been a hunter, probably would've been classified as a HUmar. He had long grey hair, and wore a long white coat. He walked over to Zeirom. "Ah, Zeirom," he said. "I'd like to speak with you about Dragoon."

"So I hear," Zeirom said. We all walked away from the front desk, and stood about in the middle of the room. "What exactly are you so curious about?" Zeirom asked.

"Well, Zeirom, I know that you've known Dragoon for a good long time, and you know that I've always been the doctor that's had the responsibility of rebuilding him whenever he's been hurt."

"Yeah, what's your point?"

"Well, when I took him apart to fix his power systems, something didn't quite seem right about him."

"Well, reportedly, he got a Gillchic's circuit board healed into him."

"I don't know about that, Zeirom. All his parts were perfectly in tact. I checked everything specifically, as well. His parts were his own, that's for sure."

"But Lynn said that a Gillchic's circuit board got healed into him, and that he was acting strange. Sure enough, Vol Opt took control of him."

"I'm telling you that there was no part of a Gillchic in him at all. Is Lynn the young woman that brought him in?"

"Yes, she was supposed to have brought him. I suppose she may have been mistaken about the Gillchic's circuit, though. But still, Vol Opt took control of him, and I find that to be quite strange."

"Well, what I did find, was that inside he was covered with some sort of a greasy film."

"Well, I dunno, he was eating things we killed in the caves just a few weeks ago. Think that may have caused that?"

"Ha, no, I don't think so, Zeirom. It would take something far more corrosive than anything that would be found in the body of an altered beast to spill through his internal matter combustion system."

"So what do you think it was?"

"I don't know, but I do believe that I can tell you that what Lynn told you was a lie. You'd better be careful about her."

"Yes, Doctor."

I stared at the doctor for a moment. I wasn't too happy with him, after all, he'd just called my friend a liar. But, being a somewhat forgiving person, I passed it off as a misunderstanding, and just stood there, content to hear what else Zeirom might have to say.

"Well Doctor, do you have any idea where Dragoon might have went from here?"

"You may as Marina, she was the nurse that checked him out of the hospital. She's likely to know."

"Thank you, Doctor."

When I heard that, I didn't wait for Zeirom. I went straight over to Nurse Marina to ask her, discovering that Dux had been over there the whole time.

"Well, see nurse, I ask because I've had this cramp right here in my neck," he was saying to her, pointing to part of his neck, "And I was hoping maybe you could help."

I couldn't help but be distracted by Dux's complaint. "You've got a cramp in your neck, Dux? Why didn't you tell me? I can help you with that!" With that, I reached over and started to massage his shoulders.

"Hey, hey, Meira, you're cra--- ooo... Nevermind, go for it..." he said, and he almost started to seem to lose his balance there. Just then Zeirom walked up from behind us.

"Nurse Marina, did Dragoon say where he was going after he left?" he asked. I guess Zeirom really is a lot taller than the nurse. He got so close, he had to look almost straight down to see her. I let go of Dux, remembering why I went over there to begin with, to wait for the nurse's answer. Dux fell down.

"Actually, he said he had a score to settle at the zoo, as I recall. He's such a weird HUcast," she answered.

I slapped my forehead, "Oh my god, that poor Orangoo!!" I yelled. "Zeirom, we've gotta get to that zoo!"

"Orangoo," he said, "What's Dragoon's problem with an Orangoo?"

"He says that it looked at him funny with it's third eye-- but just its third eye."

"That's absurd! An Orangoo can't look at something with just its third eye!"

"That's what I tried to tell him, but he wouldn't listen!"

Dux, back on his feet, interjected, "Um, don't worry about finding him at the zoo. They caught him, quite literally speaking, red-handed."

"Eeeewww," I said. Zeirom started walking out. "Zeirom! Wait up! Where are you going?" I started running to catch up with him.

"I'm going to the law enforcement center. I'm certain that he's going to want someone to post bail for him," he said. After that, I caught up with him, and leaped up onto his shoulder, albeit, in a rather sloppy fashion.

Zeirom's figuring was right on the money. As it turned out, they'd gotten Dragoon on one count of hunting of an endangered species, one count of disturbing the piece, and another account of resisting arrest. He actually took down four Type-Os from WORKS, before they got him to settle down. Surprisingly enough, his fine was only 5,000 mesetas, so we just paid the fine for him. The chief at the law enforcement center explained that his fine was so low because he was a registered hunter.

As we were walking away, Zeirom asked Dragoon, "Dragoon, why didn't you pay your own fine?"

Dragoon looked at Zeirom like he was crazy and said, "But that would be like admitting that I did something wrong!"

"You killed a member of an endangered species, then howled at Ragol's moon like a Savage Wolf, tossing its innards about, all while kids were watching. Then, when they came to stop you, they had to call WORKS in, and you crushed four of their mindless Type-Os. You don't think you did something wrong? I mean, the property damage alone was worth well more than 5,000 mesetas."

"That Orangoo was looking at me funny with its third eye!"

Zeirom stopped walking and grabbed Dragoon, lifting him into the air and shaking him, "It can't look at you with just its third eye!" Zeirom yelled in Dragoon's face, "The eyestalks are all controlled by the same motor nerve impulses from its brain!! They all move synchronously!!"

Dragoon retorted, "It wanted a fight, I tell you!"

Zeirom dropped his head, shook it, and put Dragoon back down on the ground. "I give up."

After that, I hopped back on Zeirom's shoulder. It had been a few hundred beats since we'd been to the cafe, so we sung by a sandwich shop, and got something to eat, before we all departed, and went our separate ways, to our own homes.

Zeirom walked me home. When we got there, I invited him in, and we sat down, and just talked. Eventually, the conversation led to our previous trip to the Mines. "Meira," he said, "About that face you said you saw."

"What about it?"

"Could you tell me a little more about it? In more detail, I mean."

"Well... It was really creepy. It carried with it, this odd sense of danger... Fear, hate... All kinds of mean things like that."

"Really, now? Have you ever seen anything like it?"

"Well, no, but..."

"But what?"

"Now that you mention it, Zeirom, I got the same feeling from De Rol Le, and Vol Opt. Actually, in fact, Dragoon started to make me sense that when I was fighting him. Of course, that could've just been Vol Opt that I was sensing."

"Indeed. This is interesting, Meira, because no android or human ever sees or feels those things."

"Huh?"

"Well, sometimes a FOmar or FOmarl will pick up on the sense that you've described, but an android never has."

I was dumbfounded. "Well that's, um, really, really weird, Zeirom. I've been able to feel things like that my entire life. I always knew when Randon had a bad trip to Ragol, by the time he was down the block. In fact, I always knew he was coming, once he got nearby. I even learned to notice when his friends were coming, once I got to know them."

"Well, you see Meira, since ancient times, Newmans have always had a certain degree of extrasensory perception. I've just never seen it occur right in front of me, myself. It makes me wonder why Lynn never said anything about it."

"Lynn's been all over Ragol. I'm sure she doesn't mention it because she's used to it."

"Hm. I suppose that may be so."

"You know, Zeirom, now that I think about it, that feeling I sensed... It's a lot like Megid, in its nature... It's made up of only the worst emotions you might experience in life."

"Hm. Indeed, that's true. It sounds like it has a link with the energy emit by Dark creature types."

"Dark types... That's what's found in the Ruins, isn't it?"

"Yes, it is... Meira, I know you plan to go to the Ruins. But I warn you now, don't go there alone. There you will find the same sense that you felt come from that Sinow-class, and from Beta772, and Vol Opt. Only it will be stronger, because everything down there emits that, and the deeper into the Ruins you go, the more threatening it becomes. Roughly only half of the Hunters that've gone into the depths of the Ruins alone have been able to promptly return to Pioneer 2. They say that the Ruins are a space ship, built by the ancients, and that it has an awful secret locked away inside. That's why it's been sealed all this time."

"Sealed, Zeirom?"

"Yes. To open the seal, one must activate the monuments we saw in the Forest, the Caves, and in the Mines."

"But I didn't see a monument in the Mines..."

"It's there, trust me. The monuments act each as a third of a three part seal-- Red, Blue, and Green, or rather, Muut, Ditts, Poumn."

"Mutt Ditts Poumn? Does that mean anything?"

"As far as we know, it's just an incantation on the seal."

"Well that's interesting."

"Once the seal has been opened, it only stays that way for half an hour at a time, but we've already rigged a teleporter structure down there with our own signal, so all you need to get in subsequently after you've been down there, is the permission on your gate pass."

"Do you have permission for the Ruins on your gate pass?"

"I do."

"Will you... Take me down there tomorrow, Zeirom?"

"I suppose I could. We'll round up Dragoon and Dux."

"What about Lynn?"

"If we're going down there to find Randon, then we're going to need Dragoon's blood lust, and Dux's knowledge of where Randon had gone. Only parties of four are allowed into one area of Ragol at a time. Though, I suppose that if someone can't make it, we can invite Lynn."

"I suppose you're right."

"Another thing, Meira... I'm sorry, but I don't completely trust Lynn, now. She may have tampered with Dragoon, to make him fall under the control of Vol Opt."

"Why do you say such things??"

"Dr. Oscar told me that there was no sign of any Gillchic parts in his body, which Lynn had claimed."

"She must've been mistaken, then. Lynn would never lie about such an important thing."

"Time will tell us the truth, Meira. We'll have to wait and see." This part of the conversation made me shed a tear. I'd heard the same evidence that Zeirom did, and I didn't want to believe that Lynn would do such a thing. The logical machine, however, could only see things as they logically fit. "In any case," Zeirom said, "If we are to go out tomorrow, you'd better get some sleep. I'll contact Dragoon and Dux, and we'll meet in the Purplenum section in the morning."

"Okay, Zeirom," I replied. I wasn't going to argue with him on this. I knew he was right, and he was acting in my best interest, to help me in the Ruins. As Zeirom recommended, I went ahead and went to bed.

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