From: "Adrian Tymes" <wingcat@pacbell.net> Subject: Re: [PW!] [SST] The Guest Talent Show Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 12:41 AM William Rendfeld wrote: > It was about that time that Alex, Cass, Kitsu and Keaton showed up. > > "Good shot, Derek," Alex noted. > > "Thanks," Derek noted, looking at the unconscious form sprawled at their > feet. "So, who is this guy?" > > Finally hearing a sound coming from the body, Cass realized, "I don't think > it's a guy." > > Kitsu knelt down, and removed the layers of disguise covering the fallen > being's head. Once the person's face was revealed, Kitsu gasped. "J-JORDAN?!?!?" The man blinked, looking up into Kitsu's astonished face, then shook his head. Before anyone could ask, he glowed and shrank, turning into a familiar purple-haired girl. "Who's Jordan?" Alex wondered. "My sister's boyfriend," Keaton answered flatly. "This has something to do with that kiss she owes you." Aerie nodded. "I...I knew she wasn't comfortable...with me, so I figured...but it just felt wrong...l-like I'd violate...something sacred." While no tears were on her face, several were in her voice. Kitsu's mouth worked for a moment, then she stood up and turned away. "Hmph! You got that right!" Aerie cringed at the wereninetails' harsh tone. "Kitsu!" Alex snapped. "No, don't." Aerie sat partway up. "Kitsu...I'm sorry. I was wrong to even try such a stupid thing." She hugged her knees. "I'm stupid. I can't...I can't do anything right!" She started crying again. Alex put a hand on Aerie's shoulder. "Now, now." #Aer-# #DON'T!!!!!!# Alex winced from the psychic yell that kicked her out of Aerie's mind. When she recovered, she felt Aerie blocking her probes. The ditto hybrid opened one eye and swivelled it towards Alex. "I need to try...but I can't. I can't even break out of my own shell. Why can't I break out of my own shell?" Derek, Cass, and Keaton exchanged confused looks. "Umm, could someone tell me what's going on here?" Derek eventually queried. "Da-Doppler...alternate Doppler taught me some techniques. When I'm sad, when everything's going against me, it brought me out of it. Nothing, not even lonliness, was supposed to get in my way. But it's not working, and now everything's coming apart." Derek scratched his head. "Say again? I only understood half of that." "Better than me," Keaton quipped. "And now Smasher's dead and mom and dad hate each other and Kitsu hates me and you're thinking I'm a crybaby and you're right and it's all my fault!" Aerie continued. Alex smiled. "You're wrong." "AM I? It was my shot that sent Smasher flying. Mom and dad wouldn't have fought if I hadn't been there. Kitsu hates me for trying to be her boyfriend. And I was just crying, like I've been for too long but I can't seem to stop. How am I not responsible for even the smallest bit of any of that?" She frowned. "You'd be better off without me!" "No, WAIT!" Alex leapt forwards, grabbing onto Aerie just before the pair disappeared. And reappeared on the Main Deck. "LEMMEGOLEMMEGO," the purple haired one demanded. "I CAN'T KILL MYSELF LIKE THIS IF YOU'RE HANGING ON BUT I DON'T WANT TO TAKE YOU WITH ME!" "You just gave me all the reason in the world to hold on," Alex countered, squeezing as hard as she could despite Aerie's attempts to slip out of her grip. They continued like this for several minutes, until Aerie slowly weakened. Eventually, Alex was left holding a motionless body; she almost paniced until she tought to scan telepathically. Aerie's mind was still there and very much alive, although her shields protected any further details than that. Several more minutes later, Aerie whispered, "Alex? What is it like?" "What's what like?" "Freedom. Being only who and what you make yourself, never running a program." "..." "I spend so much time using my powers, but they're all just routines I run. Most of 'em, I was given, the rest I made up myself. Body, mind, and soul...I spend so much time being them, I'm...I'm not sure what I am. And...I'm afraid...today, I found out. Found out I'm not anything, when you remove everything I become. Just like a ditto, and a human." TBC?