Chapter 2:

Welcome to the Only Thing More Evil Than IRS Headquarters

A Song to the Future (Mirai e no Uta)

2Bookmark here

Dr. Rosmärin’s Entry: on ‘devoids’, ‘distortio’ & ‘contamination’Bookmark here

My my, where do I even begin with the guys who single-handedly ruined my field of study.Bookmark here

They are total dickheads. These creatures seem to exist between dream and reality, meaning they can alter the later practically on a whim. We call this phenomenon distortio, as it doesn’t follow the laws of nature or make any logical sense.Bookmark here

Distortio is very dangerous for us humans, even if we are not the direct target of said phenomenon. Any distorted object becomes ‘contaminated’ and is charged with differing amounts of ‘radiation.’ Radiation may cause a chain reaction where nearby objects become contaminated or distorted again. It is advised that no human gets close to a contaminated object; currently the rule of thumb is the bigger the object, the wider its area of influence. Obvious example would be the Needle. There are some exceptions to this rule though. Bookmark here

Being the direct target of any kind of distortio is usually lethal to the human body. Depending on the situation we might be able to do something if we act quickly; still, the loss of one or several organs and/or body members is commonplace and expected.Bookmark here

The effects of radiation can be lessened by using anti-radiation equipment we’ve manufactured using different materials, but primarily fifth. After years of testing what we have now seems to be reliable enough.Bookmark here

Now onto the devoids themselves.Bookmark here

It seems they are what became of 99% of the human population after the ‘whiteout’. (AKA: doomsday, judgement day, apocalypse, blackout, death & rebirth etc.)Bookmark here

Devoids don’t appear to have any sort of intelligence and just act on instinct from what we can tell. Experiments on them have been incredibly scarce and lackluster, for they seem to quickly vanish after being captured. Like, completely out of existence.Bookmark here

This is well known but in fact they are not really empty at all. So far, their ‘bodies’ seem to be composed of a core (probably the real body, as it’s the only material part) and a thick layer of slime protecting it. I call it ‘slime’ but in truth it is just distortion. Thick distortion film. Bookmark here

Devoids are able to combine, shapeshift and so forth, again completely ignoring the laws of physics. The only way to dispose of them is by destroying the core, but the external body can also be damaged by using special armament or, specially, subject Zio’s blood.Bookmark here

Related Entry: on subject ZioBookmark here

I give up.Bookmark here

-----Bookmark here

Ara’s Diary: on the ‘Whiteout’Bookmark here

Here at the ship we just call it ‘Whiteout’ since we are not particularly religious, but it’s been given many different names. Depending on who you ask they might say something different but in the end we all understand each other, I think.Bookmark here

It is said this Whiteout took place around thirty years ago. Nobody except for captain Rich has any memories from before, save general stuff like language, your own name (not always) or basic knowledge regarding the world (not the old one though). Specific knowledge and abilities like, let’s say, Sonia’s studies can also be kept or restored with time. This process they call anamnesis.Bookmark here

It seems the world was quite a different place back then. The captain sometimes talks about big cities, ‘skyscrapers’ and so forth. Examples of these can be found in books, but it looks like big urban areas were utterly destroyed or, rather, distorted during the Whiteout. Maps of the old world are unreliable now as it seems the geography of the entire planet has changed somewhat. One of our duties is to look around and make new ones; Hazel and the Captain take care of that.Bookmark here

What else is there to say. Oh, since the Whiteout it’s been common to find people scattered around slumbering in some kind of ‘uterus bubble’ (we never gave it a proper name as it is destroyed as soon as the person inside awakens). Sometimes they wake up by themselves in which case we need to find them as soon as possible since they need food and shelter, or else they might die. They are usually easy to spot though since the bubble emits radiation and that can be detected by radars. The bubble itself is, however, not dangerous at all for us humans as far as we can tell. Bookmark here

The age of the individuals themselves doesn’t seem to follow any kind of pattern either. I was found at (estimated) age 7, but there’s also old people and middle-aged people. We think they might have been sleeping somewhere between realities ever since the Whiteout took place; in other words, not every survivor woke up at day one. The number of dormant people found this way keeps getting lower with time though.Bookmark here

The books say in the Old World there lived around 7 billion people, but we survivors are barely a couple thousands. We theorize those who didn’t make it are now what we call ‘devoids.’ They are very dangerous and usually attack us on sight. Sonia and the professor say they just act on instinct now, but I still don’t want to hurt them if they were once humans. I wish we could just avoid them during our missions.Bookmark here

I thank my friends for having taken care of me all this time, and hope we can all keep safe and doing our best!Bookmark here

-----Bookmark here

Cell RoomBookmark here

“Morning Guinea Man!”Bookmark here

“Hello Mr. Guinea.”Bookmark here

“Yo.”Bookmark here

It’s been two days since the attack. Because I cannot leave the cell yet, visits from these three have been fairly frequent. Zio in particular seems to have warmed up a little; he’s the only one allowed to enter the cell due to his peculiar (that’s what they told me) organism. After our victory last time he brought me cake and a couple of books (was probably forced to) but at least I don’t feel any murderous intent anymore coming from him.Bookmark here

“What is this?” I ask wary. Ara and Sonia have left the room for security reasons.Bookmark here

“Please undress.” Bookmark here

Zio is holding some new clothes and a crystal amulet. Up until now I had been given some periods of “absolute intimacy” to use a little urinal here or safely take a bucket shower. Only old man Castle has forgotten about it once, but he was listening to music and mumbling, so I don’t think he even noticed me. He just passed by.Bookmark here

“I won’t look,” the boy tells me.Bookmark here

“Remember how we said we were gonna take a small detour? Well, this is a small gift we just picked up for you!” The voice of the scientist can be heard from outside the room.Bookmark here

While Zio is looking away I put the clothes and the amulet on. The crystal gets opaque and dark barely a couple seconds after touching my chest.Bookmark here

“That won’t do,” Zio says. “Sonia, bring me some spares please.”Bookmark here

“Oh, we have plenty!”Bookmark here

Before I realize I am wearing five of those crystals. They look cleaner now.Bookmark here

“Zio please exit the cell!” I assume they are testing something outside and Zio’s presence may interfere. Still I want to tell him something before he leaves.Bookmark here

“Uh, Zio... thanks a lot for what you did the other day. Must be tough.”Bookmark here

“Only thing I’m good for, no worries. Thanks anyway.”Bookmark here

After a couple minutes of standing here in silence everybody enters the room again and, to my surprise, Ms. Sonia herself opens the cell’s door.Bookmark here

“Congrats! You are now a proper guest!” she says. Arabia also looks happy.Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

“We bought special anti-radiation clothes and a big cube of anti-radiation crystals to try and make your emissions tolerable. It seems you’re good to go!” Ara explains.Bookmark here

“But what about you all? Is it really safe?”Bookmark here

“Hehe. We all have one of these too.” Sonia shows me her neck and I see the same type of amulet I am wearing. “It’s the closest we can get to carrying your cell around. We thought we might just give it a try anyways if we are bringing you to town.”Bookmark here

“B-but didn’t the captain say anti-radiation crystal was very expensive?” I am honestly puzzled at the good will of this bunch. Are they really doing this just for me?Bookmark here

“Maybe for regular people. But we are the Albatross.”Bookmark here

“Since our ship is one of the safest methods to carry stuff around, colonies usually give us whatever we want in exchange for our services. Instead of payment, it’s more like they are investing, funding us. In return, we don’t usually ask for money when we complete a mission,” Ara explains again.Bookmark here

“You wearing one of these too?” I ask Zio.Bookmark here

“Nah, don’t need it” the boy says. “Also, Sonia thinks maybe just having me around helps to counteract the whole radiation thing.”Bookmark here

“I think you should carry one too! It’s like something we all have in common. Like wearing a uniform, but comfier,” Arabia tells him, to no avail.Bookmark here

“If something were to happen, we’d just kick you back in here immediately, Guinea Pig!”Bookmark here

“Now let’s show him the ship, shall we?” the wavy-haired girl proposes excitedly.Bookmark here

-----Bookmark here

First thing outside the ‘cell room’ is, as expected, the cargo hold. It’s stuffed with packages of different sizes; probably some for delivery and others supplies for the ship. Either this or the engine room must be the long hallway I saw semi-conscious when they first brought me here.Bookmark here

“I... I am very grateful for this. I’m sorry for causing so much trouble.”Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, it’s no problem at all!” the doctor answers. “As they say, cada uno es cada uno y dos una piragua.Bookmark here

“We visited some Spanish ruins not long ago” Zio tells me.Bookmark here

“Spanish?”Bookmark here

“Country from the old world. Means something like everybody’s different.”Bookmark here

At the end of the cargo hold there are some stairs going both up and down.Bookmark here

“We’re going up. Down there is Castle’s domains.”Bookmark here

First thing I see on the next floor is yet another hallway, but this time a proper one – meaning it connects to other places and not just boxes. There is a little door right behind us.Bookmark here

“This one leads to the library, it’s behind us” Ara explains.Bookmark here

“Quite ample if you like reading, Guinea. We try to save at least one copy of every book we find, if not the original.”Bookmark here

“Those five doors on the right are our personal rooms. On the left, we have the showers (say goodbye to the bucket!) and the infirmary in case of need. Now c’mon, let us head to the cafeteria!”Bookmark here

Arabia takes my hand and carries me towards two big doors at the end of the hallway. Inside, there he is: the only man who has probably seen me naked (wait, did they all see me naked while carrying me to the ship?). He is having a coffee.Bookmark here

“Well if it isn’t Guinea Man! What an artista.”Bookmark here

The place is completely gorgeous, the main reason being an enormous window to the sky in front of us. It looks even thicker than the cell’s. I notice this is actually the first time I have seen the outside ever since I first woke up here, cameras aside. The surface of the ship is quite imposing too, it looks almost like a big spaceship.Bookmark here

“This was indeed a prototype for a spaceship” Zio tells me. “By the way he just called you an ‘artist’, meaning like a good guy.”Bookmark here

“Vincent von Castle, are you already listening to those goddamned pasodobles.” The doctor asks.Bookmark here

Castle is sitting next to a big table at the center of the room, and now that she mentions it, he has on him a small music device. It’s OK music, pompous & somewhat majestic, but with a touch of elegance. It sounds exotic.Bookmark here

“This one is called Amparito Roca.” I look to my Spanish specialist in search of answers.Bookmark here

“Just the name of some guy” he says.Bookmark here

“That is a cassette player” Ara tells me; “he found it a while ago, restored it and claimed it for himself. Everything was fine till we found all these pasodoble tapes.”Bookmark here

“Now he’s listening to that crap all day,” Ms. Sonia explains. “This room actually has a decent music system and big speakers so he could stop wasting batteries on that accursed apparatus – he even repairs them sometimes when they malfunction – and still just refuses to learn anything that isn’t his own lousy portable player.”Bookmark here

“I’m all about the hard-ware, miss” the old man comments. “All that digital stuff is too complex for me. Besides I can’t spend much time on here anyways; should get back to work.”Bookmark here

“More like should be working now.”Bookmark here

“By the way” I ask out of curiosity, “who does the cooking here?”Bookmark here

“Zio does” the doctor rapidly answers. The boy blushes.Bookmark here

“Usually I do most of the cooking” Ara explains, “but yeah lately I’ve been trying to teach him some basic recipes. I could learn you too if you want, Mr. Guinea.”Bookmark here

Both Zio and I blush.Bookmark here

“I-is that your specialty, miss Ara?” I ask, obviously trying to hide my arousal.Bookmark here

“Specialty? Why no, I’m an herbalist! But since usually I don’t have as much work as the other crew members I thought I’d cooperate in some other way.”Bookmark here

“Don’t let her trick you; lady here is a wonderful cook” Castle says. “I’m going. By the way Mister, would you be interested in joining my band?”Bookmark here

“Me? Like a music band?”Bookmark here

“With the tapes, we also found some sheet music. He now wants to create a big symphonic band even when he himself has no musical studies whatsoever. Only five or six old guys in town have agreed so far” Sonia tells me.Bookmark here

“I-I’ll think about it.” That moustache has something in it that just won’t let me turn the old man down.Bookmark here

“Won’t regret it, Mister. Won’t regret it.” Bookmark here

Ara chuckles.Bookmark here

“What’s up?” asks the doctor.Bookmark here

“It’s... nothing. I was just thinking last time the place was this lively was during the Rabbit Island incident.”Bookmark here

“There would always be like two or three of those buggers roaming around the engine room, no matter how tightly I shut the place. Well I’m going young’uns.”Bookmark here

Castle takes his cassette player, puts an old red cap on his head and leaves the cafeteria. Amparito Roca slowly vanishes into the distance.Bookmark here

“Rabbit Island incident?”Bookmark here

“We’ll tell you some other time” the girl replies. “It’s just there was like this week we had to carry dozens of rabbits around; it was a lot of fun. Happened a couple years ago. Now, want something to eat, Mr. Guinea? Or shall we continue. There’s only the command room left.”Bookmark here

“I’m fine, thanks. Let’s move on.” These guys really look like a weird family, I’m glad I get to be here with them even if their generosity makes me feel a bit awkward. Bookmark here

-----Bookmark here

The command room is just next floor. It is massive and, just like the cafeteria, it has a gorgeous view of the outside. The Albatross looks even more imposing from up here.Bookmark here

“Hey there Mr. Guinea. Glad you could make it out. Name’s Hazel.”Bookmark here

The whole Mr. Guinea thing is starting to get old real fast.Bookmark here

“He’s our main pilot” Ara tells me. We are of course talking about Glasses. He is also wearing a crystal amulet; forgot to check on Castle but most likely he had one too.Bookmark here

“Glad you’re all getting along. Well, what does our guest think of the ship?”Bookmark here

“It’s honestly very impressing... but what surprises me the most about the whole situation is you guys. You’re all being so nice to me it’s almost scary, hehe.”Bookmark here

“No reason not to.” Glasses smiles. “As you were told, picking up stray people used to be very common. You’re the only one we’ve had in quarantine for more than a couple hours because of your radiation levels, but Sonia here came up with this solution.”Bookmark here

“By the way, if you’re wondering how I know you were told that...” he points at a bunch of monitors on the wall. I redden thinking about the implications.Bookmark here

“Haha, don’t worry! I try to eavesdrop as little as possible. And during your ‘absolute intimacy’ time we just turn the thing off.”Bookmark here

Relief.Bookmark here

“Well, now the only thing left for us is to decide how you’re going to spend your remaining time here, Mr. Guinea. We don’t have any rooms left as you saw, unless somebody wants to share–”Bookmark here

“Oh; I’m completely fine at the cell, I have everything I need. Well as long as you respect my absolute intimacy.”Bookmark here

“You sure?” the girl asks.Bookmark here

Now that I think of it... isn’t five rooms too few? If nobody was sharing, so far we have Hazel, Ara, Zio, Sonia, Castle, and...Bookmark here

“What about the captain?” I say. Bookmark here

“Oh, he lives above us.”Bookmark here

“Isn’t this the top floor?”Bookmark here

Hazel points at a narrow wall ladder camouflaged right next to the stairs.Bookmark here

“Although that would be the lame way in” he states.Bookmark here

“Lame way?”Bookmark here

“Because this, young one, is the cool way!”Bookmark here

We hear an implacable voice coming from above and the hugest chair fuckin’ comes down the cellar on a moving platform. It is the Captain.Bookmark here

“That’s the command chair” Ara explains. “Goes up and down, connecting this place and the captain’s chambers.”Bookmark here

“How are we doing, young Guinea Man. Hope you’re enjoying your first full look at the Albatross.”Bookmark here

“Y-yes Sir! Very much Sir!”Bookmark here

“No need to be so formal!” the Captain laughs. “As Hazel just said, we apologize for having you inside the cargo hold for so long. Christ you’re a man, not a goddamn packet!”Bookmark here

“Thank you so very much. But are you all completely sure just the clothes and amulets will be safe enough?”Bookmark here

“No, we are not,” the Captain says, keeping a cheerful attitude.Bookmark here

“Some kinds of radiation, in particular that found on stray humans, is usually inoffensive to us,” Dr. Sonia explains. “We all knew this from the beginning, but your levels were still too high to risk it.”Bookmark here

“Now that the levels are tolerable, we have no problem with you roaming around, Mr. Guest” the Captain says.Bookmark here

“I-it’s a huge honor Sir!”Bookmark here

“Haha! Just call me Captain. And calm down already, we don’t bite! Anyways we had to do this sooner or later” he continues; “we’ll be reaching town tomorrow afternoon, and we had to make sure regular people will be able to cope with your emissions if you plan on staying there.”Bookmark here

“Wait” I ask, almost by instinct. That last remark has suddenly taken all enthusiasm out of me. “So... you’re leaving me in town.”Bookmark here

“That’s what we always do with strays. Unless you’d like to–”Bookmark here

At that moment, the alarms go crazy for a second time.Bookmark here

“The sky is still blue... wait, what the hell are these lectures?” Hazel is talking to himself.Bookmark here

“Now, speaking about safety... everyone, you know what to do–”Bookmark here

“C-captain. Transmission coming in.”Bookmark here

“What in the seven hells...?” the old man murmurs.Bookmark here

-----Bookmark here

Command RoomBookmark here

“Tell Castle to check everything as always and come here as soon as he’s finished” the Captain orders Hazel.Bookmark here

“Yessir! Now about the call...”Bookmark here

“Let’s double down on it. Ask for video contact. Now everybody” he tells us, “stay as close to the door as you can. That way you won’t be seen. Ara, this time you can’t leave until we know what’s going on.”Bookmark here

“Yes, Sir” the girl murmurs.Bookmark here

We can see a big black cloud coming right towards us. If the radars are correct, that thing is even slightly bigger than the Albatross. I’m no expert, but they told me devoids come on big packs and the distortion they cause usually provokes storms. But this here looks too compact. Could it be solid...?Bookmark here

“Video call coming right in.” A monitor rises from the ground just before the Captain’s shoes. There is a lot of interference and we cannot see anything. As Castle enters the room, we tell him to stay quiet.Bookmark here

“This is Captain Leonhardt from the Albatross. Requesting ID.”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

The Captain repeats the message a bit louder. His voice is firm and composed.Bookmark here

“This is Captain Richard Leonhardt from the–”Bookmark here

“I know. I can read.” The unknown voice sounds clear and cutting. We all stand in silence.Bookmark here

“Sir, your transport is brimming with radiation. I request ID.”Bookmark here

“Radiation...? Huh, so that’s how you call it...” the voice tells us. Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“Oh, ID...? Just call me Null.”Bookmark here

The image then starts to clear. After a couple of seconds we can see the face of a young man wearing a red coat, not dissimilar to that of the Captain. His hair is long and messy, and shares color with his eyes: pale yellow. This ‘Null’ looks somewhat feral and is wearing a malicious smirk.Bookmark here

“Should be better now. Say, captain Leonhardt, you like my ship?”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

“I’ll get straight to the point then. You’re carrying something that belongs to us. Get it back or you’ll get hurt.”Bookmark here

“Carrying? We have dozens and dozens of boxes full of canned sardines if that’s what you want.” The Captain doesn’t crumble one bit; his soul really is made of pure steel.Bookmark here

Everyone knows the enemy is talking about me.Bookmark here

“I’ll say more – it’s right there, in the same room you’re talking to me from.” This Null looks quite sharp, I can almost hear the Captain’s thoughts. “And you see, I’m getting impatient.”Bookmark here

“Well I do like sardines.”Bookmark here

“Captain, two shots coming towards us!” Hazel exclaims.Bookmark here

“Intercept them with anti-radiation missiles.”Bookmark here

There is a huge explosion just a couple dozens of meters in front of us. The room shakes a bit. When the smoke goes away, the surface of the ship is again covered by devoids just like last time. No, there are far more.Bookmark here

“Are they being controlled...?” Hazel murmurs. The Captain gives Zio the thumb and he storms out of the room.Bookmark here

“That was only a warning,” our interlocutor states. Bookmark here

“You don’t want to engage against us.” The Captain looks dead serious. Everyone in the room gulps.Bookmark here

“Oho! Bold words Mr. Leonhardt. I actually like it better this way.”Bookmark here

Null hangs up.Bookmark here

-----Bookmark here

The OutsideBookmark here

Zio looked towards the other ship, which now could be seen much more clearly. It was as if it was containing a storm itself.Bookmark here

“What the hell is that. There could be thousands in there. Is the whole thing just distortion...?” Bookmark here

At that moment, he rapidly turned 180 degrees and slashed through thin air.Bookmark here

“Just my imagination?”Bookmark here

“Good reflexes.”Bookmark here

As soon as Zio heard this, his chest was pierced by a big, thick, archaic knife.Bookmark here

“T-teleport...?” he managed to mutter. He had blood on his mouth. His consciousness was quickly fading away.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry boy, I’ll send the crew regards. Oh, and thanks for showing me the way in.”Bookmark here

Null kicked Zio down the Albatross. He fell into the endless, darkening sky.Bookmark here

“ZIOOOOOOOOO!!” Ara screamed from inside the command room.Bookmark here

-----Bookmark here

Arabia is crying on her knees while Dr. Sonia embraces her tightly. Castle and me are both in shock, unable to even react to what is going on.Bookmark here

“Use the upper cannons to ignite the surface of the ship,” the Captain orders.Bookmark here

Our ship? The shields won’t be able to handle that! It would leave us completely open!”Bookmark here

“Do it now goddammit! We need to gain as much time as possible!”Bookmark here

Hazel presses a couple of buttons in frustration. The upper cannons move until they are all targeting Null and the devoids on the deck. He gets the missiles ready and then... nothing happens.Bookmark here

D-distortio...? Why are they not working!”Bookmark here

Castle shrugs, as confused as everybody else.Bookmark here

“Good try.” We hear his voice again. It comes from Zio’s walkie. “Would’ve probably worked against any of you monkeys.”Bookmark here

“God fucking dammit – CUT HIM RIGHT NOW!”Bookmark here

“Everything’s gonna be okay... shh...” we all stay in silence listening to Sonia’s comforting words. The Captain throws his hat away.Bookmark here

“Well, we’ll really need a miracle this time.”Bookmark here

-----Bookmark here

“What do you long for.”Bookmark here

The One was not convinced by the voice at all.Bookmark here

Chocotajas[1]” he answered mockingly.Bookmark here

“You are not being honest.”Bookmark here

Primero los chocos y luego las tajas.” Had all the time in the world. He was confident the voice didn’t.Bookmark here

“You are not being honest.”Bookmark here

Primero los chocos...” Bookmark here

They had been arguing like this for what felt like an eternity. The One hated the goddamned light. He hated the Voice even more if possible. He honestly just wanted to get out, but he had all the time in the world. And he knew every second he was getting closer to his goal.Bookmark here

“You are not being honest.”Bookmark here

“I don’t trust you for shit.”Bookmark here

“You are not–”Bookmark here

“...luego las tajas.”Bookmark here

How long can you keep going at it you fucking ratdick voice, cause I ain’t telling you shit. What the fuck is all this anyways, heaven? You pretend to tell me this bullshit nothing with a dude just asking you the same thing a billion times is heaven? I swear to God if I do make it out I’ll find whoever is responsible for this and gun his ass & balls down the street like the degenerate he is. Yeah you keep telling me I’m not being honest you fucking piece of shit retard voice, you ain’t getting shit from me you fucker. Get lost.Bookmark here

“System error. Activating emergency protocols.”Bookmark here

-----Bookmark here

Zio opened his eyes.Bookmark here

-----Bookmark here

The hatch was firmly shut and the shield was a bit stronger than expected, so Null was just patiently cutting through it with his knives like one would a big can of soda. The crew was terrified and had prepared some anti-devoid weapons, well knowing that they would not be nearly enough if the invaders got inside. All until–Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

Null heard a big explosion and stood up. It was his ‘ship’. Something had pierced right through it like a raging drill, making the whole thing look like butter and cutting it in two in the process. Now it was all set on fire and slowly tumbling down.Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

In that moment, the hybrid felt one of the seven aspects of death right behind him and turned around. Zio had just emerged from under the Albatross propelled by his own blood, which in that instant was flowing around him as if painting two devilish wings in the air. Bookmark here

“What the fuck?”Bookmark here

His body was instantly stabbed by Zio’s combined crimson blade which he had thrown seemingly a microsecond ago (Null didn’t even have time to react) and, just in the blink of an eye, the boy seemed to teleport to the hilt of the sword and took Null on an aerial extreme speed travel back to his own blazing ship, where he pinned his enemy’s body. The sheer force and speed of his charge had thrown most of the small devoids off the Albatross; the remaining just followed the big one.Bookmark here

His eyes were boiling red.Bookmark here

“Hoh. I see” the hybrid managed to say. “Your blood makes it so I can’t dart away anymore. Good one, kid.”Bookmark here

“...” Bookmark here

“We’ll see each other again.”Bookmark here

“ hell, maybe.”Bookmark here

Zio left his impaled enemy on the falling airship and somehow jumped back to the surface of the Albatross, where he collapsed right next to the hatch. Bookmark here

The crew needed a moment to process what they had just seen.Bookmark here

“Hazel, go help him. Quick” the Captain sighed. He didn’t look too surprised and was lost in thought.Bookmark here

“Y-yessir!”Bookmark here

A few seconds after that, they could all sense a tremendous explosion coming from below. The Albatross was safe once again.Bookmark here

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[1] ‘Chocos’ references a Spanish dish not dissimilar to grilled cuttlefish. Similarly, ‘tajas’ are just strips of fried bacon - thus ‘chocotajas’ would be a hypothetical dish combining the two. The One is only making fun of their interlocutor here.Bookmark here

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Ana Fowl
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