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The Recollection Of Meira

Chapter 3


In the newspaper, I read about a wedding aboard Pioneer 2, just recently. I find it funny, that at weddings, when it's time for the women to try to catch the bouquet, it's a huge tooth-and-nail fight over who grabs the flowers, and the thing never touches the ground, but someone always leaves with a black eye. Next up, the bachelors doddling about the party form a group to catch the garter. This is what I find most amusing about the whole thing, especially when contrasted to the women and the bouquet.

The groom will take the garter off of his new bride, then toss it gleefully into the air. As this loop of cloth falls to the ground, the men will part into a circle, and just stare blankly at it, until someone builds up the nerve to gently kick it away with his foot, and finally, someone will carefully kneel down and claim it. I've always thought that was funny.

At some time on the day after my encounter with Zeirom and Dragoon, I received a message on the BEE System. I was to report to Principal Tyrell's office. My first thought, was that I'd done something terribly wrong, and he was going to demean me for it. Then, however, my logic prevailed, and I realized that I couldn't have possibly done anything wrong, so I proceeded to his office without fear.

The principal's office is big. And cold. Very cold. I think the huge domed windows on the roof let a little too much heat escape. Silly me, I was wearing shorts when I blindly ran in there. Have you ever gone from a lukewarm room, into a meat locker, in a pair of shorts and a light shirt? That's something what this was like. Except that there are no doors to the principal's office, and the whole floor is levitated in the middle of the enclosure, so you have to teleport in, which means that the sudden change is even more shocking. I guess the floor is levitated to give some extra inertial dampening. Either that, or to remind the Principal that he's on a ship. Great Light forbid that something should go terribly wrong with the levitation device's power supply. Everything in the room would go crashing down. Stupid sound wave emitters, they're out to kill us all!

In any case, I walked down the walkway, toward the principal's desk. The dome-ish design of the office gave the click of my high-heeled boots on the ground a particularly loud echo. At the end of the walkway (there are, by the way, no walls in here, aside from the exterior walls), there are actually three desks. The one in the middle, and directly forward from the teleporter at the opposite side of the walkway, is Principal Tyrell's. The Principal is an aging man. He's already over the hill, and from the way things have been going lately, it looks as if he's already starting to tumble down the other side. His hair is a very dark gray, though I suppose it was solid black at one time. It's interesting how these high-ranking officials dress, to look somewhat formal, at all times. The collar sticks up and encompasses his head, up to his ears, allowing him a place to look outward and breathe, only in front. Hard vinyl shoulder pads, and a thing that looks like a big, green poncho with sleeves. Of course, he also seems to have a turtle necked sweater on underneath it. No wonder he looks so old-- he has GOT to be hot in that crazy thing. He also has an odd glare that he'll stare at you with, while he's talking to you.

As you're coming in, the desk on the right belongs to an oddly short-skirted woman named Irene, who I assume is the Principal's assistant. I sometimes wonder what exactly she assists him with. I guess part of her purpose is to slowly take over the simple tasks that he slowly becomes less capable of, as he gets older. She isn't chewing his food for him yet, so I guess he's still reasonably young, as of yet.

The desk on the left is the desk of the Science Administration, aboard Pioneer 2. I imagine that the goober behind that particular desk isn't really as much a scientist, as he is a politician that would've been an old fashioned researcher, if he hadn't screwed up so much. I think that's best. If they can't do it right themselves, then put them in a position where they're telling other people to do it for them. Come to think of it, I think that this idea is somewhat similar to Irene's role with the principal, in that respect.

Next to the Science Administrator's desk, there are always two more guys standing there. More white coats with big hair, and growing foreheads. Between the three of them, there is no one they can't confuse. In my own experience, I have seen two of them argue over whether the subject was black or navy blue, then the third one come in and tell them it's dark gray. I shudder to think of the trouble one would be, if someone had to take him down to Ragol. I swear, not a one of them would have the sense to even eat a monomate, if he was within an inch of his life.

So, anyway, I walked up to the Principal, and stood at attention. I don't know exactly how formal this meeting was, but I figured that I might as well try to pay the Principal some respect. His is the Principal, after all. From here, there are only two places to go, if you are to get deported-- either out the airlock, or down to Ragol. All things considered, there's no air in space, and everyone that was on Ragol is either dead or unaccounted for.

Then the Principal spoke to me. "Are you Meira, the Hunter? I'm Principal Tyrell," he said. I guess I needed to be introduced to him, but really, did he really have to inform me of who he was? He continued, "We have a bad situation... We need to act quickly. Did you hear about the explosion on Ragol?" I nodded yes. He carried on, "Very well. Pay attention and listen to me. We've lost contact with Pioneer 1. We have no idea what has happened. We've sent unmanned search units, but communication seems to cut off near the surface. What happened on Ragol? What occurred on Pioneer 1? Are the people on board alive? The council made a decision to send a manned search team. You are a skilled Hunter. We need your help. We have no choice... We need a place to settle on." There's that mighty council at work, again. Just who ARE these people?

"I gotcha," I said.

"Uh, could you..." he stuttered. I looked at him expectantly, but his mouth kept moving, and no sound was coming out. He eventually just said, "No, it's nothing. Take care, and good luck."

"Sir?"

"I didn't say anything. Go talk to my secretary. Irene will help you."

"Okay, Sir..." What could I do? I walked over to Irene's desk.

"Well, let me brief you on your mission. Once you're on the surface of Ragol, check the status of the residential area. Checking the status of the Central Dome is a good idea. A transporter was launched earlier. You can go down to Ragol directly from the city. It may be a little risky, so please be careful. That's all," she said. Then she piped up again, as I was about to say something. "Um, excuse me... Oh, sorry... no, nothing. I wish you the best of luck." Now I was getting slightly bothered.

I looked at her like she was a maniac, and said, "You, too? What is the matter with you people?"

Then she came clean. "This is just between us, OK? The Principal's daughter was on Pioneer 1. After that explosion, he's been constantly worrying about her. He can't even sleep. This is a personal request. If it's possible... Find out what happened to her. He isn't in a position to ask you such a personal favor. Red Ring Rico... A famous hunter and a top scientist on Pioneer 1. Rico's his only daughter. Please, look for her!"

"I'll, uh, hm. I'll keep an eye open..." I said. Depressing office people. I promptly left. I guess they were giving this lecture to just about every hunter on the ship, because Zeirom and Dragoon eventually told me about their trips in, and there was also another hunter going in as I came out.

After talking to the principal, I decided to visit the Hunters' Guild, to see if there was a quest available that caught my interest. After that cold visit to the principal's office, I was eager to get down to Ragol, and get some sun.

I walked up to the counter. Sometimes I wonder if the Hunters' Guild cruised first food restaurants for their secretaries. Upon arrival at the counter, I was greeted with an inhumanly friendly smile, and a, "Welcome to the Hunter's Guild, how can I help you?"

My first thought was to draw back and make a "Gah!" noise, but in a wild attempt at being polite, I just said, "Can I see the available quest list, please?" She did, of course, show me the list.

There weren't a whole lot of options really. Maybe five or six quests available, but I managed to find one that interested me. I should note that it is about this time, when I took this quest, that a major series of events in my life really began to take hold. The quest was titled, "The Dragon's Heart." Basically, the job was to go down with another hunter to help avenge a friend's death by a dragon on the surface, and for some peculiar reason, retrieve its heart. Thinking nothing of the retrieval of the dragon's heart, I put the list back down on the counter and told the lady, "I want that one."

With that, the lady behind the desk paged a HUnewearl by the name of Lynn Darkstrike. After a few moments, she walked in. She was considerably taller than me, and wore a tight-fitting brown top and shorts. Her eyes were brown, and slightly slanted in shape, which looks real funny, next to my huge green eyes. Her hair was a dark, dark purple, and at the time, it was long and straight. I'll reveal now, that this would not be the last time I saw Lynn. In fact, after this quest, Lynn and I became good friends.

Lynn seemed to have somewhat of a complex concerning her hair. She just could never decide how she wanted it done. She must've spent thousands of meseta on hair stylists every month. Myself, I never change my hair. At some point when I was younger (though, come to think about it, we're only speaking of about 2 years of my life), I found that I looked rather pleasant with my purple hair tied back in two ponytails, behind each ear, near the base of my skull. Somehow or another, I also figured out how to fan out my hair in those ponytails, and absolutely loved that. I've gone with that ever since.

So Lynn walked up to me. "You're the one that took my quest?"

"Um, yeah," I said. Seemed a simple question to me.

"Okay then. Let's go kill us a big fire-breathing lizard."

It was strange. She said it like it was no big deal. I didn't think much of it at the time, though from what I would figure out over the next several months, in retrospect, it would make far more sense. She looked me up and down, then we ran off for the teleporter.

Down on the surface, I noticed her MAG. It was big, and from a distance, somewhat resembled a cape. After clearing a courtyard of Boomas and Giboomas, I asked her, "What is that MAG?" My own, I had fed and raised into a Varaha, which I liked, because it somewhat resembled a big, blue pair of angel wings.

Lynn replied, "It's an Apsaras. I raise them."

"You raise Apsaras?"

"Yes. Every time I find a baby MAG, I raise it into an Apsaras, and usually end up selling it to someone." I couldn't believe she sold MAGs. Though, giving it further thought, people sell dogs too, so why should a Hunter's pet sell any differently than a civilian's pet.

I should comment, I suppose, that I love my MAG. It has saved my life in a great many battles, and I like to believe that the vast amounts of money I spent raising it to its current state was not wasted. Of course, if that weren't enough to make me love it, the big blue angel wing look is just so cute!!

A special bonding occurs between a hunter and her MAG. I guess any hunter would tell you this. I suppose that it has a great deal to do with the MAG being there as your support, as you run around and risk your hide. How can I describe this? It is, on a structural level, a giving relationship. You give your MAG food, and your MAG helps you survive. When things get tough, your MAG may gain enough energy to create a barrier field around you, to keep you from getting hurt. That's not all, though. Your MAG may also cast techniques like Shifta and Deband on you, to make you stronger and tougher, respectively. If your MAG really likes you, it may even go so far as to heal you, and revive you, when you are about to kick the bucket. That is, of course, assuming that it has the energy to do so. Sometimes it just doesn't.

MAGs were invented some years ago, as a Hunters' Companion. They give you one, when you join the Hunters' Guild. A MAG is, for all intensive purposes, an evolving robot. I guess they must have some organic parts or something, but after they've consumed enough substance, they can reshape themselves into any of a number of forms. A different form may react to a food differently, and it may also have different abilities. Such as being able to cast Shifta and Deband, the barrier field, casting Resta on you, or even casting Reverser on you. Which makes me wonder; if a MAG can cast techniques, and is a robot, then what's to say that this technology can't be integrated into an android? Anyway, enough with the MAG tangent. I love my MAG, my MAG is a Varaha, and Lynn's MAG is an Apsaras.

It was at that point, that I saw this for the first time. A chubby little fowl fell from the sky, and sat on the ground, a scant ten meters away from us. Lynn was unaffected, but I, however, was shocked and amazed. "Oh my god!" I screamed. "It is so cute!!" I turned off my saber, shoved it in a pocket, and ran over to the thing. It got up, and started to move toward me too, so my first thought was oddly enough, that it was as happy to see me, as I was to see it. So I ran up to it, grabbed it, picked it up, and hugged it. Then it tried to peck my eyes out. Luckily I was quick enough to dodge its beak, scream, and drop it, before it could eat my eyeball. I do believe that this is the leading cause of HUnewearls with eye patches on Pioneer 2.

I pulled my saber out, and beat the heck out of it with the hilt. It was pretty much all I could do with it, with it turned off. It eventually dropped itself, and stopped moving. Lynn walked over next to me, and we both watched the thing. "Is it... Dead?" I asked.

"No, it's just playing dead," said Lynn. Evidently, Rag Rappies are actually pretty tough creatures. They can take a beating without getting killed, though they normally play dead for a while, until they feel it's safe to run. Lynn tossed her sword on the ground to the side of her, and pulled out some variety of handgun. "All rappies must die!" she said, then took aim.

I guess the rappy heard this, and even understood it, because it looked up at her, jumped to its funky little feet, and started to run. "Yeah!" I shouted. "Shoot it! Blow its brains out!!" It didn't get very far, before a photon bullet found its way to its pelt. It slid across the ground, but nonetheless, still managed to get away, albeit, wounded. From what I gather, Lynn strongly dislikes rappies, possibly because they quite specifically are indeed very cute, when they're not trying to peck your eyes out. All subsequent Rag Rappies were exterminated immediately.

After wandering around the courtyards of the Central Dome for some time, and putting several large, horned, ape-like creatures known as Hildebears to sleep, we figured out how to open the last gate, and get inside the building, where a number of dragons had been known to take rest. The inside of the Central Dome was quite hot. Everything inside had been wrecked, from what we saw. In fact, it was as though a volcano literally erupted in there. I rather suspect that it was largely due, in part, by the dragon fire.

Somewhere in there, Lynn tossed me a Photon Brand, to replace my Saber. The Brand was noticeably stronger, and using this weapon, Lynn and I together hammered away at the Dragon's ankles, until it fell on its chin, and nearly bit its own tongue off. Then we smacked it for a while like that, until it stumbled back up to its feet, and took flight.

We couldn't hit it in the air, except for the use of our Zonde techniques, which disturbed it greatly by summoning bolts of lightning from the roof to fry it mid-flight. A pity though, we couldn't really do a whole lot to it like that. For the most part, our Zonde techniques weren't quite enough to get through its thick scales, and even beyond that, our photon weapons only charred the scales. Luckily, of course, that's not to say that we weren't cramping its style. It quite obviously wasn't very happy with us, when it started spitting huge fireballs at us.

Lynn and I separated, and ran around, trying to avoid the massive flames. It's a good thing that they died away quickly, after hitting the ground, or we'd have been in trouble. It eventually landed, stumbled around on its feet for a bit, tried to spit fire at us, then took off again, after we'd beaten up on its legs some more, trying to get it to fall down again.

This time, however, it didn't stay in the air for long. It took a spinning nosedive straight into the ground. It didn't stop at the ground, though. It went right through it, and underneath, in a gush of flame. Now, I don't know if everything underneath there was molten lava, or if it was just the dragon melting the rock as it got to it, but when it splashed through the ground, it shot lava all over the place. Then it would move quite quickly underneath the ground, tossing around everything above it. It wasn't completely blind about it, though. That's the part that gets me. It hit Lynn once, and threw her across the room in the process, and caught me a couple of times, as well, before it finally shot back into the air. There were now two pools of lava in the room.

We were fortunate, however. As it landed, it was quite evidently tired. Lynn and I this time, instead of going for its feet, grabbed a hold of scales on its chin, climbed up on its neck, and attacked at the base of its skull. As exhausted as it was, it didn't have the energy to throw us off, and we were able to attack the base of its skull until it finally gave one last shriek of pain, and dropped on its side to die.

I almost felt sorry for it, for a moment. But then I thought about how it would've killed us, if we hadn't killed it, and thus, I didn't feel very sorry for it anymore. As they say, the big dog eats the little dog. This is also the point where Lynn started to gross me out. She put away her weapon, and laid out a teleporter, to return to Pioneer 2, while I was collecting the loot. A few minutes later, she returned with a large chainsaw, and proceeded to cut open the dragon's chest.

"What the heck are you doing, Lynn?" I questioned her.

"I'm getting the heart, Meira." she said.

"What do you want the heart for, anyway?"

"I want it for a... trophy." You'd think that most people might be satisfied with a claw, or perhaps a tooth. No, Lynn had to get a chain saw, and cut out the thing's heart.

"Okay..." I said. I watched as Lynn peeled away scales, and grinned with a peculiar delight, as she tore its ribs out of her way. The dragon's body then lay dead in a rancid puddle of its own blood, littered with scales and parts of its ribs. Lynn squeezed her way into the chest of the beast, and after a moment of gooey sounds, she came out with a laugh, drenched head to toe in the creature's blood, with parts of its internal organs stuck to her. She held up the heart, triumphantly.

"I've got it!" she yelled, and giggled. "I'm going to go clean up, and do something with this, Meira. I'll meet you at the guild."

"All right, Lynn," I said. "See you at the guild, then." With that, I returned to Pioneer 2, and put my weapons in the checkroom. I also put away my MAG. I puttered around the shops for a little while, and had the Tekker identify a couple of items for me. He identified a sword-type weapon that I found in the Central Dome as a "Heart Breaker." That is to explain, a Breaker-type sword, with the Heart attribute, meaning that every time I use its special trigger on the hilt, it sucks some energy out of whatever I hit, and returns it to me. Really, I don't especially like to use swords. They're big, bulky, and slow. They can be convenient, though, especially when a bunch of those worker droids in the mine down on Ragol group up together in front of you, to try to beat you senseless. I really liked the name though, so I kept it. A Heart Breaker. I loved it, so I kept it. In fact, I still have it, even to this day.

After a while, I returned to the Hunters' Guild, and met up with Lynn. She thanked me for my help, and told me that I could get my reward at the guild counter. A nice 15,000-meseta reward. One of the better rewards I've ever seen. Lynn paid out nicely. Of course, I suppose I should point out, as someone else once did, that taking quests isn't really the biggest part of making money for a hunter. They're good for a quick boost in funds, but really most of the money a hunter earns, is in loot from Ragol. Finding weapons, frames, and maybe a few miscellaneous items to sell at the shops provides far more cash than any quest. In fact, for that 15,000-meseta quest, I sold 70,000 mesetas worth of loot, including meseta cubes I found scattered around.

In any case, after collecting my reward, I walked back over to Lynn. "That was a lot of fun," I said to her. "I'd like to go adventuring with you again tomorrow, if you're interested."

"That sounds like a great idea to me, Meira."

"All right! Meet up here again, at @790 beats, maybe?"

"Sure. I'll be here."

Thus it ended, but the next day would prove to be rather fun, as well.

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