Chapter 11:

EPISODE 3: 00001011:ELEVEN


    Quil wasn't exactly happy about the location; a densely packed mall filled with everything he never even knew people wanted. From supplies for whatever tiny apartment the dwellers of the artificial satellite lived at to clothing for the dwellers, their children, their teenagers, their young adults and parents, and even their grandparents. Plus there was clothing options for their dogs, cats, rabbits; and Quil was certain if he looked hard enough there was probably clothing for fish too.
   In fact, most of the entire mall was filled with clothing. Who would have thought that the more "touristy" section of the colony would mostly cater apparel rather than possible cultural novelties?
   Most of the storefronts allowed Lilli and Quil to sweep through their catalogue right at the front desk. They browsed through each two-dimensional panel and three-dimensional catwalk. And of course, it asked if they wanted to ping the store with their signature so they could get exclusive deals on fashion fit for any part of the universe they wanted to travel to.
   As a result of the vast variety of stores available, Quil wound up getting dragged by the cowlicks to each store as Lilli tried to search first for clothing similar to Quil's.
   Eventually she did find the clothing at a young boys clothing store. Not only did the clothes not suit her at all, but Quil felt compelled to rush her out of that story quickly from all the strange stares he received from the other shoppers. The smiling girl walked out of the changing room with a tightly fit hoodie that didn't cover her completely and shorts that, on Lilli, were no longer shorts but perhaps an undergarment alternative (She also lacked certain necessities specific to a woman).
   Since her hope of dressing like Quil had been dashed, they searched other stores; ranging from clothing stores for cold climates to warm climates and then the cultural equivalent of climates in Telkian and Sanrenese flavor.
   Lilli was of course impressed with the traditional clothing style of the Telkians; the loose fitting clothes with bright colours and patterns. She tried on a variety of Telkian styled clothing but none seemed practical to Quil. His disapproval of her clothing choices made her quickly agree with him, as she smiled and would make some sort of remark along the lines of "Rabbit knows best."
   "Stop saying that." Quil grumbled as they left another store. "Wear clothes that you like, not what I like."
   Lilli latched onto Quil's cowlicks, shaking her head with her smiling eyes. "I want you to be happy. I want you to reach your dreams, Little Rabbit."
   Quil rolled his eyes. "It's just clothing."
   Three floors, and about four kilometers of walking around the massive mall they finally arrived at a store that Lilli had fallen completely in love with. Not only were there plenty of options that came in rabbit flavors - from rabbit ears and tails, or just rabbit patterns on clothing - but it was a store that catered specifically to the rising pop idol. Sure, it was pretty expensive, but every bit of clothing was custom tailored and fantastic in colour and style.
   Quil's cowlicks lowered as he huffed. Yes, a part of Lilli wanted to listen to Quil and move to a different store, but then she remembered that he had told her to get whatever she likes. She loved everything in there, it was simply too difficult for her to listen to the part of her mind wanting to cater to Quil and instead the compulsive side of her took over as she rushed to the desk of the store where a customer service representative planned her costume.
   Meanwhile, Quil found a spot to sit down at, pulling his goggles over his eyes as he flicked through his watch, seeing if any new information had developed on the situation with the Federation and the G.I.E.
   As he flipped through the different pages, there was a part of his mind that nagged him. There was someone he should call. Someone important. Someone he had left behind, and yet that person still took care of him. Each time that thought came up in his mind it was like a blow to the back of his head as his eyes would lose focus on whatever meaningless article or page he browsed.
   Part of him did feel like maybe it would be a good idea to call her, yet the other part of him felt like maybe it was better if he didn't. He had pretty much ignored her at this point. He had broken his promise with her. He had treated her like dirt and it was probably better if he didn't contact her. It was a safe assumption she was probably pissed.
   His eyes refocused the blurry image of her contact ready to be called. It would only take a single tap and he could ask for her forgiveness. He raised a finger, preparing to tap his watc-
   "Rabbit," she spoke before pulling the curtain shyly over her face. "Uhm -" a pause while she composed herself behind the curtain. "What do you think?" She pulled the curtain back revealing the rather flashy clothing complete with layers of skirts and frills that would be perfectly suitable for exactly what the store specialized in; everyone's inner pop idol.
   Quil cocked an eyebrow. If she had plans of achieving her dream of being some sort of 'universe saving pop-idol' then she had made the perfect choice.
   The large ribbon tied into a large bow in her hair helped accent this radiance from her as she stepped forward. A radiance that only seemed to shine brighter as each step she took brought with it more confidence until she was finally able to stand proud. Yes, she stood proudly tall primarily from the pop-idol shoes, but also knowing that dressing like a pop idol was the only way for her to save the universe (it makes sense in her mind).
   Lilli certainly was happy now that she was prepared to save the universe, but there was something missing. Something incomplete about her costume.
   As they walked towards the exit of the mall, Lilli grimaced, looking over Quil's head. There resting upon Quil's head was the crown of authority. No right universe saving pop-idol could possibly save the universe without commanding authority.
   And clearly the universe (the same one that needs saving) wished the same for the rising pop-idol as the two walked past the perfect store for those who had trouble sleeping (probably brought on by the calamity running amuck in the universe).
   She dragged Quil by his cowlicks into the store where she stopped and stared at the soft, frilly eyepiece. Her eyes were glowing (metaphorically) with excitement as she stared longingly at the object on the rack.
   Quil cocked an eyebrow. "You want a sleeping mask?"
   She gave one energetic nod in agreeance, "Just like yours, Rabbit!"
   "I don't wear one of those," a cowlick would have cocked with his criticism; however, it was still being chocked by the embrace of Lilli.
   He didn't want to argue with her, though. She wanted it, and so while he went to go pay for it, before the transaction was even complete, she had strapped it to her head where it rested there on top of her hair, ready to be pulled over her eyes at a moment's notice.

    Outside of the mall, a bag stuffed with Filth's jacket, Lilli was still magnetized to Quil's cowlicks. Quil checked his watch. He hadn't received any notifications from Filth yet. Presumably, he was still taking care of whatever it was that he was dealing with.
   "Rabbit," she leaned forward, draping her hair and a sweet scent over Quil.
   The smell was different. It filled Quil's nose, it filled his eyes, it filled his head with her as her (oddly) warm hair tickled his neck. "Did you buy perfume?" he wrinkled his nose, trying to step away from the intoxicating aura of Lilli.
   She stood up to smell herself. "No, I think the lady put it on me."
   "It smells bad." Quil grimaced as he stepped further away to hide his face from Lilli.
   She leaned forward again, pulling herself close to Quil's face, "uhm, but," her deep blue eyes looked into Quil's sincere eyes which he kept focused ahead of him, "you never really answered me earlier about your dreams. I want to -" she stuttered - "tabete -" another stutter - "with you -"
   Quil cocked an eyebrow as his face turned red, "What?"
   "Dreams of chi fan -" she stopped in place before ultimately collapsing on top of Quil, her eyes were dazed as drool dripped from her mouth.
   Quil snapped as he struggled under her weight. "What is your problem?" He shouted as he flailed underneath her.
   He didn't receive a response; he could only feel the drool from her very limited consciousness drip onto Quil's back.
   He rolled her off of his back allowing him to stand up to see for himself the dim star, her eyes in a dazy haze. He would have been confused about what was happening had it not been for the rather loud and audible growl that came from the hungry star's stomach.
   First, an exhausted sighed and a roll of his eyes. He checked around the area and noticed a cafe not too far from where they were. So he did his best dragging her across the ground, through the maze of people (who, of course, had to stare at Quil and the girl he was dragging), and eventually landed her at a table of the cafe.
   He watched her initiation as it went through its steps: first, her nose wiggled as the wafts of the sweet bread entered her nose. Then her eyes lit up (literally and metaphorically) as she took in the plump and squishy shape of the bread. Finally she leaned in with one cautious nibble of the edge of the bread before realizing just how outstandingly delicious it was (one can only assume) as she ripped the bread out of Quil's hand and chomped viciously large bites out of the bread, only stopping once to cough up nearly a whole, completely unchewed bite of bread which landed almost perfectly intact aside from a little bit of slobber on it.
   Quil's eyebrows parted. "You should consider chewing your food," he poked the slobbery clump with a utensil just before Lilli hoovered the chunk back into her mouth and swallowing it (without chewing - again).
   As soon as the horrific bread dismemberment ended, Lilli sat still and stoic. Her eyes stared a thousand kilometers away, her lips in a loose grimace implying that little was going through her mind at the moment.
   Quil braced for her to fall over again. He watched her body fidget a little, preparing Quil for her collapse. But, rather, instead, he was only met with one faint and quick burp that escaped the stars mouth.
   Quil's entire head cocked (including his cowlicks) as she continued to stare into the distance a moment longer.
   "Rabbit!" Her sudden life made Quil jump. "I've been wondering what type of rabbit you are," her eyes looked to her mind as she imagined the different 'breeds' of Quil. "Are you a Lionhead? I don't think you are fluffy enough for an Angoran. Your ears certainly like to lay low like a lop, but I don't think you're a lop. Maybe a Harlequin! Or - or a Hotot!"
   Quil's cowlicks lowered. "I'm not a rab -"
   Bingo! Lilli cut Quil off as she nailed her point into her first. "I'm sure you a Hotot! I will call you Hoto!"
   Quil's cowlicks sank as Lilli danced in her seat. "Hoto-Rabbit, Little-Little Hoto-Rabbit."
   "Please don't call me Hoto-Rabbit," Quil spoke despairing, knowing it was a lost cause.
   Lilli's deeps eyes stopped as she looked at Quil's despair (his cowlicks hung like a lop-eared bunny).
   She saluted Quil. "Yes, Rabbit. I will not call you Hoto-Rabbit."
   Quil rolled his eyes.
   "Rabbit?" her deep eyes looked through Quil.
   Quil moved his gaze toward Lilli, as he remained relaxed in his chair across from the star.
   Lilli hopped out of her chair and dragged it across the table, smashing the arm of her chair into Quil's. "I like being close to you," she gave Quil her typical charming yet innocent smile, complete with her smiling eyes.
   Quil awkwardly looked away from her, prepared to shrug off her charm with a nonchalant scratch of his head, however he couldn't lift his right hand.
   Lilli gasped. "Rabbit! I'm sorry!" she pulled her chair away, freeing Quil's hand along with the bruise and the very light blood that was draw from being smashed between the two chairs.
   Quil lifted his hand to his own eyes as he examined the fingers. His middle finger being the most damaged, though some radial damaged done to the fingers close to the spot where the chair had compressed his skin. There were only light drops of blood; most of the damaged must have been internal. But to Quil, none of that is what was interesting to him. He felt nothing. He still felt nothing.
   He wiggled his fingers in front of his eyes and not a single bit of any sensation was sent to his brain. No pain signals were triggered. No pressure signals were triggered. He didn't even really feel any sort of resistance. He felt nothing.
   The hand moved from his eyes as soft (he presumed) pale hands lowered it from his face. The concerned blue eyes of Lilli greeted him from the other side of the pale hands. "Are you okay, Rabbit?"
   Quil's eyes danced from Lilli's concerned gaze to his hand that was held in his lap by two small hands and back to Lilli. "I'm fine." he spoke soft yet staccato.
   "Do you feel anything?" Lilli cocked her head.
   "My right arm has been numb since I left the Lotus," he spoke quickly, trying to move past the subject.
   "Why?" She leaned her inquisitive eyes closer to Quil.
   "I don't know." still rushing his answers.
   "What happened?"
   "I'm not sure. Something happened to the augmentation and curiosity got the best of me."
   "hmm?" Lilli leaned even closer to Quil to close in on her inquisition. "Why did you do it?"
   Quil pushed Lilli away from his face before taking a heavy sigh. "I don't know. I was looking for something on the Lotus."
   "And what were you looking for, Rabbit?"
   "I wasn't looking for anything specific. I was just looking."
   "So, were you happy?"
   Quil took in a breath to give a simple answer to a simple question, yet, he froze mid inhale. Was that question so simple? He shook his head. "I wanted something more."
   Lilli's eyes lit up (metaphorically), "Ah-ha!" She smiled. "So you had a dream?"
   Quil's cowlicks cocked in confusion, "Yeah. So what's your point?"
   "It's what I wanted to ask you earlier, Rabbit." Her innocent smile glowed bright. "You never gave me a complete answer. What are you dreams?"
   Quil's eyes looked to his mind as he thought about the question for a minute. "Well, on the Lotus I wanted to get off of it."
   "And what do you want to do now, Rabbit?"
   Quil's eyes drooped downward, sinking as each moment passed that he couldn't come up with an answer to the question. It was yet another simple question, yet he found it so difficult to answer.
   Lilli leaned back into her chair, giving plenty of space in preparation for her grandiose speech. "Your dreams are important. Right, Rabbit? Maybe it's hard for a person to find their purpose without a dream. Their dream becomes their identity," she grimaced, her blue eyes looked deep into Quil's sunken eyes. "And maybe when their dreams seem unobtainable, they lose their purpose."
   Quil followed the lattice of the table, tracing over the lines from one side of the table to the other and back again. It wasn't that the table was so interesting; it was that those words sank into him. Or, more truthfully, they drilled into him.
   Every action he had made was to one day lead him to what he wanted. He had pursued it. He didn't give up and he didn't let things get in the way. He had reached his dream, so what now?
   And now that he was here, on Platinum Star rather than the Lotus, he hadn't truly lost his purpose. So what now? Answers beget questions. And his curiosity is what drove him to want to leave the Lotus. So what truly was his dream?
   "I want to know more about you." He spoke soft and concise.
   She smiled, leaning closer to him. "Right! I know!"
   Quil's forlorn eyes drifted to Lilli's smiling eyes. "You know?"
   She gave one exaggerated nod. "Yes!" She clasped Quil's hands into her own eager hands.
   Quil cocked an eyebrow.
   "How can you find your purpose if you don't know what your dream is?" She reached out with a hand taking Quil's right hand into her own. "I don't want you to lose your purpose."
   From his cowlicks to his shoulders, every bit of Quil relaxed a little as Lilli pulled her hands away from him. Her deep, innocent eyes stared intently at him, as they looked so eager and bright upon him - perhaps a beacon of reassurance. She stared into Quil and Quil stared into her. He stared into her and she stared into him. She stared further into him and he stared further into her. He stared annoyed into her she stared excited into his cowlicks.