Carpathia III: Episode 144: The Only Way Home

The Portal

Jaze: What the hell just happened?

The others stood, looking around cautiously. Power was still on and the most of the computer terminals seemed to be functional.

Ryuu: I think Wishmaster is dead. I think Thirteen just killed him.

The others instinctively moved closer to Ryuu.

Kaoru: Are you sure? I mean, it sounded like Thirteen killed him, but...

Ryuu nodded.

Ryuu: I can't be sure. For all I know, this could be some sort of trick. Demigods can separate into two forms, a physical form and an ether form, but one cannot exist without the other. If you kill the physical form, the ether form dies too.

Adell: I hope that's what happened. We should keep a lookout in case we're wrong, though.

Azrael placed his hand on Adell's shoulder.

Azrael: I shall be on guard as always, Master Adell. I would like an escape route, however. How do I open outside doors?

Toma: No need for any code to open them from the inside. Just push the big red button next to the doors.

Azrael trotted off to do as he was told while the others refocused their attention on the computer consoles with Toma being the only one confident enough in their operation to start pushing buttons.

Artemis: Toma, this stuff is pretty old. Are you okay using it?

Toma: To tell the truth, Tokkastran technology hasn't changed much in a very long time. Most of this is still pretty familiar.

Toma continued tapping buttons until he paused and looked inquisitively at one of the monitors.

Toma: That's weird...

Artemis immediately sidled to Toma's side and looked at the same monitor as though he could read it.

Artemis: What is it?

Toma pointed to a line of script.

Toma: There's an active video log file right here.

Artemis moved back to his own computer.

Artemis: Okay, send it over here. I'll play it with the universal translator... if I can get it working. My computer is having a hard time interpreting this code.

Toma and Artemis went to work on the file while the others looked on with curiosity. Suddenly, on one of the large monitors, a slightly distorted image of a young and quite unnerved tokki appeared.

Artemis tapped a few more buttons on his computer and the file began to play. For several moments, he did not speak, but looked around frantically like a frightened animal. Finally, he sighed heavily and spoke.

Tokki: I hope nobody is watching this, because it will mean that I have failed. The others are dead. I am the only one remaining. Something manifested in the wormhole generator energy stream, causing havoc in all of our systems. Soon after, the beast appeared and began to destroy us all, one by one, as though divine retribution upon us for driving the nekomi from their home. This beast possesses incredible powers of destruction and must be stopped. This facility must be destroyed and I am the only one left to do it. Attached to this file are schematics of the twin power cores deep within this facility and instructions on how to destroy them. The self-destruct system was disabled, so this has to be done manually and there is no chance of survival. I am leaving this video and schematic so that anyone watching this can do what I failed to do.

The others watched in rapt attention as the tokki looked away from the camera and sighed heavily again.

Tokki: I would ask for you to bestow a blessing of fortune upon me as I undertake this task, but if you are watching this, it will mean that I have had none. Please, dear stranger, do the right thing. Destroy this facility and forgive us our wrongdoings.

The tokki stared at the screen for a moment in contemplation before he appeared to reach for something in front of him. Everyone watching the video gasped and jumped as suddenly an intense growl nearly blew out the speakers. The tokki looked to his right and squealed in terror just before disappearing from view. Soon after, the video went black.

The others continued looking at the screen, waiting to see if anything would appear. When nothing happened, they looked at each other in silence, momentarily unable to think of anything to say. The silence was suddenly broken by the sound of a tablet ejecting from the console, causing everyone to jump. Artemis carefully reached for the tablet and removed it from its slot.

Artemis: I think this is the schematic he was talking about. Is that right, Toma?

Artemis looked around at the others and found that Toma wasn't there.

Artemis: Toma?

Toma wasn't hard to find. A quick scan of the room revealed him just a short distance away, crouched over a pile of old bones. Before anyone could say anything, Toma slipped backward into a seated position and leaned up against the console clutching a pair of cracked glasses.

Toma: I'm sorry, Jaze. It seems that my people did something awful to the nekomi a long time ago. I had no idea.

Artemis handed the tablet to Phobos and Deimos while Jaze rushed to Toma's side.

Artemis: Guys, can you take a look at this? See if there are any alternatives to blowing up the building like he said.

Phobos and Deimos reached out together and took the tablet.

Phobos: We got it, Dad.

Deimos: If there's another way, we'll find it.

Jaze kneeled by Toma's side and put his arms around him.

Jaze: Whatever happened was a long time ago. Let's talk about that tokki scientist, though. He was very brave to do what he did, wasn't he?

Toma sniffled and lowered his head.

Toma: Yeah. Probably not much older than me. An intern or junior researcher at most.

Jaze opened the largest pocket in his backpack and scooped out all of the supplies he had been carrying, leaving them on the floor.

Jaze: Obviously, we can't do this for all of them, but let's take this one back with us. He can be laid to rest as he deserves.

Toma raised his head and stared longingly at Jaze, who made no attempt to rush an answer from him. Finally, Toma scanned the floor and picked up an old sock that Jaze had just pulled from his backpack. Carefully, Toma slid the glasses inside and wrapped the sock around itself as much as he could before handing it to Jaze. Accepting the glasses, Jaze opened one of the outer pouches on his backpack, the same one with the doll, and slid the glasses inside. Together, they began to gather up the bones of the young tokki.

Adell motioned to the others to gather around, leaving Jaze and Toma to their work.

Adell: Perhaps we should make a fire outside. We have a lot of work to do and decisions to make.

Commissioned art in this episode from:
Atomic Clover

All city pictures from SimCity 4

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