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The Radical Adventures of Matt Holt

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CHAPTER ONE: WHEN IT COMES TO RESEARCH PAPERS, MAKE SURE YOU PROVIDE THE WORKS CITED PAGE

 

He looks at the sun as it set down below the horizon; it causes a red glow in the desert, cascading him and his ship in a red hue. Matt looks up from his notebook and stares at the bar that is close to him. After watching aliens enter and leave the bar, Matt goes back to his notebook and begins to sketch the scenery before him: a bar that's in front of the red sun with cactus-like things scattered around the plain. Once Matt finishes sketching, he flips to the next page and begins to write down notes of this planet. He is in a city called Rubia, which is an Earth-like planet. As far as he can tell, Rubia is mostly desert and the small city is dependent on exports and small business to thrive.

Matt looks at the bar again and watches as the red sun is setting lower. A sense of panic washes over him and he taps the side of his glasses. On the top right corner of his glasses is the time: 2013. He nods to himself, he only has a few minutes left before he can enter the bar. Matt flips to another page of his notebook and begins to draw the same scenery that was on the previous page, this time, he sketches out his family members and on the top corner, writes a small note, reminding him to pick up some paint or colors. He glances at the time again: 2020; and decides to go into the bar.

As soon as Matt enters the bar, he covers his nose. The smell of booze is strong and it doesn't help that there is this obnoxious red smoke covering the air; it smells like fruit punch. He gets used to it and finds an empty table near the back of the bar. He hurries to get the table and waits for his companions to arrive. Matt put his notebook away and reaches for his knapsack that he placed on the floor, he grabs his space phone and looks at the message he and his acquaintances sent each other. Matt was contacted first by them. Most rebels would leave their numbers or their coordinates engraved in walls or on tombstones. Matt made his contact info simple because he didn’t know how advanced space math was compared to regular Earth math. The two aliens that contacted him called themselves ‘Hagen’ and ‘Das’ and asked Matt if he would be near the Sudeun System. Matt stupidly said yes, which was a mistake because he hadn’t realized that the Sudeun System was several thousand light years away from where he was until ‘Hagen’ and ‘Das’ told Matt that they wanted him to be there in a three quintents for a mission. Matt had to push his little ship to make it there in three days. ‘Hagen’ and ‘Das’ gave him a little bit of information as he was arriving the Sudeun System; on the second day, they told him the name of the planet they were at and the name of the city, they also gave him a map of the system he was in, so that he could find the planet. On the day he was supposed to meet up with them, today, they gave him the time and the place of the meeting.

Matt is constantly checking the time now. He orders a drink and some appetizers and wonders if he had time to do some sightseeing once the mission is over. He looks around and sees that the bar has missing poster signs. Right next to the missing poster signs are wanted signs. Matt stares at the wanted signs for a bit, hoping to find his picture on them but he doesn't.

“Guess I’m not big of a deal…” he mutters to himself as he takes a sip of his drink. He coughs.

Every once in a while, he looks up. He told the other rebels that he would be wearing spectacles, along with an orange and purple outfit; ‘Hagen’ and ‘Das’  told him that they would wear the same color. Matt wonders if their purple and orange, is different from his; or if their purple and orange are other colors.

Matt doesn't need to wonder any longer because ‘Hagen’ and ‘Das’ to appear by the time Matt finishes his drink, there are two beings in orange and purple sitting in front of him. Offhandedly, Matt makes a mental note that to at least whatever species Hagen and Das are, space purple and space orange is similar to earth purple and earth orange.

Just to be sure, Matt asks them a question. A good portion of the rebels have codes to communicate with each other, to make sure they were part of the rebellion. Matt picked up a bunch when he had stayed with a large group of rebels that rescued him from the Galran base.

“Can the Glarans sing?”

The two beings answer at the same time, “Only when they're in pain.”

Matt stands up to greet the two aliens. They shake hands with each other and all sit down. The two aliens remind Matt of crows. They have black feathers instead of skin or fur, and their mouth is actually a beak. They stare at Matt with eyes that are similar to crows, they have a gleam of intelligence in their eyes.

“I’m Matt,” Matt says as he flags down a waiter to bring them drinks.

The first crow alien introduces themselves, “My name is Hagen and this is Das,”

The second crow lifts up their wing and flutters it to Matt’s direction. Matt waves back and they are all silent as the waiter brings them their drinks.

“So, what’s the mission about?” Matt decides to get straight to the point. The less time they are together, the higher the chances they have of staying alive.

Das takes a sip of his drink while Hagen takes something out from underneath their shirt. Hagen places an envelope on the table and Matt glances around the bar before opening it. There are words on the paper Matt can’t read, it looks like bird footprints; he reaches to the side of his glances frame and taps on the small button he had placed there.

There were two things that the Galrans gave him that he didn’t really appreciate. The first thing they gave him is a robotic leg that reminds Matt of what Shiro did. He knew that Shiro didn’t mean to slice close to a nerve on his leg but Matt won’t lie and say that it didn’t change his life. The operation was painful. The second thing the Galran gave was good eyesight. For some reason, the Galrans seemed appalled that Matt had glasses and they forcefully did eye surgery on him. He had to tamper with his glasses once he got out of the base to make them useful again. He landed on a junkyard type of planet and found the time and tools to change the lens so that it can translate the major languages spoken in space. He had to make the glasses a little bit heavier so that it can transform into a mask that can operate similarly to a space helmet.  

Matt reads the papers that are inside the envelope and looks up at the two beings, “You want me to kidnap a Galran?”

Das nods “This Galran is a danger to society; she wields so much power that the citizens of this planet tremble when they see her. She must be taken down.”

Matt frowns and anger fills up inside of him but he calmly asks if he could see a picture of the being he is supposed to kidnap. Hagen told him that it is inside the envelope and Matt flips the object upside down and a small picture falls out. The Galran looks human, with the exception of her purple skin and the white blotch that starts from her forehead and ends at the bottom of her right eye; her hair is in a long side braid, she has salmon colored hair with brown roots showing on top of her head. The Galren’s eyes are brown; when Matt squints at the picture and brings it close to his face, he can see that there are tints of bronze and gold inside of them.

Matt looks up and asks the name of the Galran and learns that the name of the being is Aznala. Matt nods and Hagen takes out another envelope. Matt feels his eyes widen but nonetheless accepts the envelope and opens it. This time, a picture comes out first and reveals an extremely scrawny Galran. The Galran, despite being scrawny, has an air of seriousness around him and his eyes are wide and alert. For some reason, Matt spots saliva on the corner of this Galran mouth but he dismisses it and asks who this Galran is. Das and Hagen answer him at the same time, creeping Matt out a bit, and informs him that this Galran is named Justy Ueki Tylor, a retired Galran soldier that now works with the Blade of Marmora but the two aliens believe that Justy is still in cahoots with the Galran empire.

“He too must be taken down,” one of the aliens says.

Matt sighs heavily, staring at the envelopes in front of him and at the pictures he is presented. Moments later, he tells two aliens that he needs about two weeks to complete the task handed to him.

The aliens look confused and with an awkward smile, Matt says, “Um, two… movements?”

Hagen and Das nod and they stand up. Matt quickly mimics their actions and they all shake hands with each other. Once they finish shaking hands, it is decided that Matt should leave first and then, a few ‘doboshs’ later, the other two would leave. Matt nods and heads out the door, muttering to himself to look at his notebook after he finds a place to sleep to remind himself how long a ‘movement’ is and what a ‘dobosh’ means. Matt looks around the area and walks in a random direction. In the city, the neon light blinks but the further away Matt goes, the lights became a dull throb. Matt is on the streets and he looks around, he sees that the houses on this street are broken and run down. He sees more missing poster signs and wanted signs. He walks up to the signs that are posted on a door and looks at it. There are several Galrans missing along with other aliens. On the wanted signs, he saw Hagen, Das, and strangely enough a llama whose name is Bob. Matt looks at the llama and wonders how it managed to go up to space. He rips the wanted sign of the llama and stuffs it in his knapsack, thinking that when he sees Kaite, it would amuse her.

Eventually, Matt manages to find a motel, rents a room, drops his things on the floor, and runs straight to the bed. He drifts into sleep. Matt wakes up the next day and did his business before Matt heads out of the motel and wonders around Rubia. He finds himself in front of a bar and Matt enters it; he finds an empty stool at the bar and waves at the bartender. He asks for water and food and the bartender nods, giving Matt what he ordered.

“So, I was hoping you could help me out with something,” Matt says to the bartender as he slips out his bag of G.A.C. from his pocket and the two images that he has with him. He places the images on the table, “Do you know one of them?”

The bartender looks at the images with a sigh and glances up at Matt, “Don’t know the half Galran but I do know Justy. He used to come here every day but when he got Bob, he stopped coming,”

Matt thought back to the llama and nods, “Do you anyone who could possibly know the half-Galran?”

The bartender nods, “You can ask Otsu; sweet old lady, helped me start my business. She’s one of the four Divas here in Rubia and been here a lot longer than anyone. Knows just about everyone in this shit city,”

“Know where I can find her?” Matt smiles at the bartender and the bartender takes out a napkin from his apron and begins to scribble something with a pen. The bartender shoves the napkin to Matt and Matt looks at it. It seems like directions to Otsu’s bar. Matt thanks the bartender and hands him a couple of extra G.A.C. The bartender thanks Matt and wishes him luck on his search. Matt goes outside and looks at the napkin, the directions resemble scribbles and Matt can’t make out what they were. He tries his best to follow the directions and later, find himself in front of another bar. He looks at the sign and sees that it reads ‘Otsu’s Bar’. Matt smiles and,  as he approaches the bar, he looks up and sees that there is another building on top of Otsu’s Bar; the sign simply reads ‘Odd-Jobs’. Matt ignores the other shop steps inside the bar. There’s hardly any patrons and there seems to be female bartender. The female bartender reminds Matt of snake; there’s two small circles by the side of her face. Once the female bartender notices Matt, she gives him a smile and the mouth opens wide, like a snake.

“Welcome,” the female bartender speaks quietly, “What would you like?”

Matt moves to the stool and gives the bartender a smile, “You wouldn’t happen to be Otsu, would you?”

The old bartender nods and repeats her question. Matt answers that he wants something non-alcoholic and the bartender, Otsu, huffs and nods. She hands Matt something that looks like chocolate milk.

“Usually keep some in stock for another patron of mine. Pain in the ass she is,” Otsu mutters.

Matt chuckles and takes a sip of his drink before taking out the first photo, “You wouldn’t happen to know who she is, would you?”

Otsu looks down at the photo and then glances up at Matt. Otsu’s expression changes to a guarded one.

“No, why?”

Matt takes another sip of his drink, even though it looks like chocolate milk, it tastes like strawberry, “Nothing, I’m just looking for her. Word on the street is that you know everyone here.”

Otsu scoffs and pushes the photo away from her, “They’re all exaggerating.”

Matt takes the picture, “Any clue where I might find her then?”

“Just said I don’t know her,”

Otsu waits for Matt to finish his drink. When Matt is done, he pays Otsu and leaves the bar. He needs another plan to look for Aznala and for Justy. Justy might be a bit harder, so Matt decides to look for Justy until he got a good layout of the planet.

Matt looks at the shop on top of Otsu’s Bar and decides to go up and check out what it is. He hears a voice behind the door and decides to knock on the door. The noise immediately goes away and Matt places his ear on the door and hears someone on the other side muttering, ‘Maybe if I’m quiet, they’ll go away,’.

“I can hear you, you know,” Matt shouts to the being that is on the other side of the door. Matt chuckles when he heard the being curse loudly and he goes downstairs and continues to wander around. After wandering around for hours and making a rough map of Rubia, Matt finds another place to sleep at. He takes a quick shower, orders some room service food, and goes to sleep.

When Matt wakes up, he sniffs the clothes he has on. He decides that it's good enough for one more day, then he has to go hunting for a new pair of clothes. He searches through his small knapsack and pulls out a notebook and the envelope that Hagen and Das gave him. He writes down all the information on his notebook and takes the envelope to the bathroom. He stands over the toilet and begins to rip the papers and picture into small piece. They land inside the toilet and he flushes the information down. Matt pays his bill and leaves the motel. He looks at his makeshift map of Rubia and sighs. He decides to go back to Otsu’s Bar.

“She knows more then she’s letting on,” and decides to stake out the place.  Matt tries to look for an abandoned building that faces directly in front of Otsu’s Bar. He can't find an abandoned building, so he instead climbs to the rooftop on a building that is in front of the bar and waits.

His efforts are awarded hours later. Out from the shop that is on top of Otsu’s Bar stumbles out a salmon haired individual. She walks in a zigzag motion down the stairs and stops for a few seconds once she reaches the bottom. Matt looks at the photo and squints at the salmon haired individual and confirms that it was Aznala. Aznala is throwing up, pushing back her dyed hair. When the Galran finishes throwing up, Aznala groans waves her fist at the sun and curses loudly. Otsu comes outside and yells at Aznala. Matt narrows his eyes at Otsu, pissed that Otsu has lied to him.

“The Galran probably told Otsu to stay quiet,” Matt deduces as he continues to see the Galran interacting rudely with Otsu.

The salmon-haired Galran yells, “ Sellac ! I’m already having a bad day and now that you showed your oef face, it got worse.”

Otsu doesn't flinch from the Galren’s response, “Give me my rent you eakma ! You’re several phoebs behind!”

“If you only worry about money, you’ll never be happy,” the Galran mutters she struggles to stand up. A moment later, the Galren goes back to the top floor and returns with a small bag and an umbrella. The Galran tosses the bag to Otsu, which Otsu catches. With that, the Galren leaves, opening her umbrella and walks down the streets which has become lively throughout the interaction of Otsu and the Galran.

Matt waits till Otsu is inside her bar before chases and tails the Galran. The first stop the Galran made is to a dinner, Matt follows her in and sits a few seats behind her. The Galran, done with her meal, gets up and opens up her umbrella which Matt finds odd because it isn't raining and the sun isn't that hot out. The Galran stops at a shop that reminds Matt of a hardware store. He hears the Galran talk to the cashier.

“You have any like,” the Galran makes a hammering motion and the cashier nods and asks what it will be used for.

Galran answers, “Have to fix a roof from a client of mine. I think he wants a specific kind because the roof is made up of some sort of special rock or soemthin’,”

The cashier tells the Galran that they’ll take a look. Another cashier walks to the Galran and greets her, “Aznala! Thought no one would hire no good piece of lazy etihs like you!”

“Shut up, Madeo. What about you, huh? Still gunna let Galrans in even though the rebels been ransacking stores that do?”

Madeo is an alien with brown fur and has shades on. Madeo leans over the counter and nods, “Got security; if anyone taps the glass, they get shocked,”

Matt looks at the glass and hears Aznala scoff and say, “That’s gunna get someone killed,”

Madeo shrugs and hands Aznala the hammer she needs. Aznala pays and leaves the shop, with Matt following her. Aznala walks a few more steps before she stops and looks behind her. Matt quickly goes back inside the shop and watches as Aznala stands still, her eyes gazing everywhere. Suddenly, Matt finds himself staring at piercing brown eyes. Matt waves at the Galran and picks up a small tool before he heads to the cash register to pay for it. Matt glances back and sees that Aznala’s eyes linger on him for a while before she turns around and leaves. Matt feels his heart hammer violently against his chest as he accepts the item he bought. He leaves the hardware store and stands outside for a while before following the only umbrella.

“Gotta be more careful,” Matt mutters to himself as he walks through the throngs of aliens. He follows Aznala until she reaches a house, then he hides in the small alleyway that is nearby and watches as the door opens and someone lets Aznala in. Moments later, the Galran is up on the rooftop with materials and the hammer she brought and is mending the roof. Hours pass and Aznala climbs back down and leaves the house with a small brown bag. Aznala walks away from the house and begins to count the money she made. As soon as Aznala passes him, Matt taps the side of his glasses and his full face mask emerges. Matt follows her until she went back to her place and he watches her door in a nearby alley for a few hours before he goes to another motel to sleep at.

The next day Matt continues to follow Aznala and he follows her for three more days. On those days, Matt discovers that Aznala did odd-jobs. She would do errands for anyone that would pay her, no matter how taxing it seemed or how boring it was. There was one day where she ditched her job and instead slept on the park bench and yelled at some kids that were being loud. The kids began to throw stuff at her and the Galran simply got up and left. Matt gave a sigh of relief that the Galren wasn’t going to harm the kids. There was another day where the Galran wouldn't except any payment from her patrons and instead told the beings that hired her to use the money to buy food or clothes. Most of the days ended with Aznala going inside a bar and coming out too drunk to even walk properly.

Matt spent about a week following and decide that tonight, he would kidnap her. Matt is on the rooftop again, a warm breeze moves his hair around, as he stares at Aznala's shop. He hears the sound of glass breaking and screaming down at Otsu's bar. He looks down and sees that the door burst open and aliens are running, crawling away from the bar. Out of curiosity, Matt goes down and before he can reach the door, he bumps into someone. Matt backs away, begins to apologize until he looks to who he had bumped into. It's Aznala, wearing a long blue shawl over her, she has her umbrella in her hands. Aznala glances back an mutters an apology to Matt before she enters the bar. Matt follows her in and sees that there is a group of aliens on top of a much larger one. The alien has purple skin, a Galran, and is smashing his back against the wall. Otsu seems unfazed and looks at Aznala.

“You finally arrived,” Otsu says as she poured herself a drink. The bar patrons are screaming and Matt gets ready to fight the Galran when Aznala steps forward. At this point, the aliens on top of the Galran have fallen to the ground, blood pouring of their heads; the aliens that weren’t fighting drag away the unconscious ones. Aznala steps in front of the Galran.

Aznala’s smaller than the tall, buff Galran. The buff Galran leans down and sneers at Aznala. Matt moves to the side and watches. To Matt’s surprise, Aznala punches the buff Galran on the nose. The Garlan falls backward and lands on the wall that is behind him.

Otsu yells at Aznala, telling her that she should’ve taken it outside. Aznala doesn't say anything but looks back at Otsu with a strange facial expression. Matt glances back at the hole in the wall. Rubble and dust float up and there’s a heavy grunt. Matt stares at it and realizes the buff Galran is getting up.

“Um,” Matt speaks up and turns to Otsu and Aznala. The rest of the patrons are running away, “Guys?”

The Galren tares a piece of the wall and throws it at them. Matt ducks and rolls to the side. He quickly looks for Aznala and Otsu. In their place is a red opened umbrella. It lowers and Matt sees that Aznala and Otsu are behind it. Aznala whispers something to Otsu and Otsu nods before ducking behind her bar. Aznala steps forward again and closes her umbrella as she points it to the buff Galran.

The buff Galran chortles and picks up another slab of the wall and tosses it to Aznala. Without thinking, Matt jumps in and kicks the slab away from Aznala. Aznala and Matt lock eyes for a brief second before the Galran charges towards them. Matt jumps out of the way. Aznala stays there and bullets come out of her umbrella. In that second, Aznala rushes to the Galran places her hands in front of her. The Galran recovers from the surprise attack and places his hands in front of him. Their hands touch and the two try to push each other to the ground. Aznala wraps her arm around the Galran and with a shrill cry, Aznala picks up the Galran and tosses him out of the bar. Dust explodes everywhere. There’s a quick celebratory yelp that ends when the Galran stands up and glares at Aznala.

“I’ll come for you,” with the threat lingering in the air, the Galran stalks through the hole that he made, leaving a trail of dust behind him.

Aznala walks over to Otsu and Matt run after the Galran, ignoring the calls of Otsu. Matt sees that the street is filled with aliens and Matt runs up to some, asking if they have seen a buff Galran covered in dust. Some aliens point south of Otsu’s bar and Matt thanks them before rushing off. Somehow, Matt manages to lose the big buff Galran and ends up near the rundown broken houses. Matt walks around the place, hoping to find a trace of the buff Galran but he doesn't. He stops in front of a one-story home and sit on the ground; Matt lets out a frustrated sigh.

There’s a noise and Matt looks to see that there’s trash can a few feet away from him. Matt turns around and glares at the ground. The metal noise seems to get closer to him and Matt looks up to see that the trash can has moved. Matt turns his head around and he hears a metallic noise moving to him. Quickly, he snaps his head to the side and sees that the trash can is closer to him. It's in front of him.

Matt doesn't react when an alien tries to hop out of the trash and lands on top of Matt, headbutting Matt in the process. Matt screams but the alien quickly gets up from Matt and helps Matt up.

“Forgive, I usually don’t spend most of my night inside the trash can,” the scrawny alien said as the being dusts their hands, “And who are you?”

Matt stammers, “M-matt. I guess… who are you?”

The alien nods and looks around, “Well, Sa Matt, my name is Justy Ueki Tylor and it is a pleasure to meet your acquaintance,”

Matt gives Justy a look. Justy stares back at Matt. Matt shifts around uncomfortably. Justy’s eyes don't leave him and Justy isn't talking. It’s not until Matt brakes eye contact that Justy speaks again.

“I won this time. Sa Matt if you wish to win the ‘eye locking’ contest, perhaps you should not blink,” Justy proclaims with a faint smile on his face. Matt glares at Justy and turns around to take out his notebook. He examines the photo and compares it to the Justy that's in front of Matt. Matt examines the picture a few more times until he confirms that the Justy in front of him is in fact, the Justy he is supposed to be searching for. An idea pops into Matt’s head.

“Hey, let’s find a place to eat,”

Justy looks at Matt suspiciously, but then with a small smile nods and agrees, “Of course Sa Matt, I can give you tips on how to improve ‘eye-locking’.”

“Yeah, sure. Let’s find a bar,” Matt suggests as he places a hand on Justy's shoulder and steers Justy to a bar.

Justy protests and it's not until Matt tells Justy that he's going to pay for the drinks that Justy become submissive. To Matt's surprise, Justy’s a light drinker. With only three drink, Justy's slurring his words and ranting about ‘eye-locking’. Justy mumbles more things about a person named Airam which Matt assumes was his ex or something.

“So, Justy,” Matt leans in closer to Justy, “What were you doing out the Galran base?”

Justy slurs something out and Matt can only make out the words, ‘checking’ and ‘area’. Matt nods and realizes his plan to get Justy drunk and learn his secrets isn't working. Matt decides to let Justy drone on. Occasionally, Matt tunes in and listens to what Justy is saying. Justy rambles about ‘eye-locking’, the time he was stranded on a planet and how Airam still owes him two G.A.C; it's not until Justy mentions that there's going to be a meeting for Galrans that Matt turns to Justy and asks for more information. Justy slurs out that the meeting will be held the day after tomorrow, and many Galrans that are in Rubia could attend.

“Why?” Matt asks as he pours Justy another drink.

“‘cause,” Justy hiccups and leans in closer to Matt, Justy cups his hands around his mouth, “we- we… I forgot why!” Justy screams into Matt’s ear. Matt flinches and backs away from Justy.

“But I do know we’re meeting the day after tomorrow!” Justy screams once again and then falls silent. Justy’s face lands on the table and Matt hears Justy snores loudly. Matt shakes Justy several times and then searches through Justy’s pockets. He finds a bag full of coins, a thin rectangular object that fits his palm, and some candy wrappers. Not knowing what else to do, Matt decides to take Justy with him, that way, when Justy wakes up, Matt can gather more information about this Galren meeting. He picks Justy up and drags the Galran to a motel, he rents a room and drops Justy on the floor. Matt walks to the bed and looks back at Justy. Matt walks back to Justy, picks him up and tosses Justy in the bathroom. Matt grabs a chair and places it underneath the doorknob so that Justy won’t escape. Then Matt goes to sleep.

He wakes up the next day with someone banging on the door. Matt sleepy gets up and opens the door, only to be surprised that no one's there. Matt stumbles back to his room and plops back to his bed. He lifts his head up when the knocking continues.

“This is some Supernatural stuff going on,” Matt mutters to himself as he searches around the room to locate the knocking. It's coming from the bathroom and for some strange reason, there's a chair underneath the doorknob. Matt cautiously pulls the chair away and slowly opens the door. Tumbling out of the bathroom is a body.

Matt screams as the body stands up and walks towards Matt.

“Sa Matt,” the body whispers and then vomits on the carpet.

“Justy? Holy shit, I forgot you were in the bathroom,”

Justy wipes his mouth and gives Matt a small smile, “Do not worry, Sa Matt, after all, I can handle all sorts of environments. I once slept in a basket surrounded by food. It was rather difficult because I kept inhaling some sort of dust, causing me to hallucinate.”

Matt steps around Justy and the vomit, “I think you inhaled drugs,”

Justy’s lost in thought as Matt gathers his belongings.

“Ah, it seems you might be correct,” Justy says a few moments later and begins to follow Matt. The two left the motel, Matt tosses extra G.A.C. for the poor maid that would have to clean up after Justy. The two went to a diner and order breakfast, all the while, Matt stares at Justy.

“Heard you were part of the Galren revolt. Why?” Matt looks at his menu after he asks his question. He doesn't glance up when Justy answers him.

“ … I suppose it is because of Ippan Airam.”

“Ippan? What does that mean?”

“Oh, it means General. Ippan is general in my language.”

Matt glances up and nods. The two are quiet until the waiter comes to them and asks what they want to eat. Once they give their orders, Matt speaks up.

“So, what’s this meeting about Galrans?”

“I suppose you haven’t heard but Galrans have been disappearing. I do not think the public knows and if they do, they simply do not care. It will be held at a bar, however, I do not know the exact location.”

Matt furrows his eyebrows, “So?”

Justy only stares at him and is quiet as they eat their breakfast. Justy finishes his breakfast first and dismisses himself, thanking Matt for inviting him to eat breakfast, Justy leaves a couple of G.A.C. on the table. Matt stares after Justy and then takes out his own phone like object to contact the two aliens that hired him to tell them about the Galran meeting. Hagen thanks him over the phone and asks if he has found Aznala yet. Matt gives them the information he gathered about Aznala and tells them that he will capture her tonight. With that, Matt hangs up on them and finishes eating his breakfast.

Matt walks around Otsu’s bar and finds Aznala with construction tools and planks of wood. She looks bored as she boards up Otsu’s wall. An alien walks to her, with smaller versions of the alien following behind the parent, the children are holding hands. Out of curiosity, Matt discreetly walks closer to them and wonders what is going on.

He only hears the alien stammer as Aznala drinks some water. It's not until Aznala tells the alien to calm down that he hears what the alien is saying.

“I-I wanted to know if you could t-take care of my kids!” the parent exclaims and hands Aznala a bag, “Please! I-they’re rather quiet and don’t cause any trouble! I-I need someone to look for them while I do my job!”

Aznala looks at the parent and then at the children who hide behind their parent. Matt walks a little bit closer to them.

He hears Aznala sigh out and scratches her eyebrow, “Isn’t there someone else that can do that? Like a babysitter or something?”

The parent shakes their head and explains how they went to everyone they know.

Aznala lets out another sigh and reluctantly nods. The parent thanks Aznala and then orders their children to do the exact same thing; they leave Aznala alone and she continues to fix Otsu’s wall. Matt watches Aznala from the distance and then leaves the Galran alone.

At the moment, Hagen and Das call him to ask Matt when he plans to kidnap Aznala.

“I can’t do it tonight...something came up,” Das demands to know why Matt wouldn’t act tonight.

Matt gives them a weak excuse and with hesitation, gives them Aznala location. He looks at Aznala who is given food by Otsu. The two give each other smiles and Otsu sits down next to Aznala and the older woman begins to speak.  Aznala pipes up every now and then but continues eating while Otsu keeps on talking about. Matt thinks back to the parent and decides that after Aznala babysat the kids, he will get Aznala. Matt goes to another motel room and lays in the bed. In his head, he reviews the information the beings gave him. Matt rolls over to his side and pulls out a photo of his family. He wonders what each one of them would do. His dad would want him to observe every possibility, all the alternatives to figure out what would be the best choice. His mom would give Justy and Aznala another chance along with cookies and milk; Kaite, on the other hand, would talk to them and interrogate them on what the two had done in the past. Matt hadn't done any of that. Slowey, Matt drifts into unconsciousness.

He arrives at Otsu's Bar the next night. The neon sign indicates that the bar is open. Matt enters the bar, he sees that no one is there. He finds Otsu, sitting on a stool with something in between her index and middle fingers and he finds the tables flipped over, glass on the floor, and liquor seeping into the wooden floor.

“Not open!” Otsu brings the joint to her mouth and puffs out a red smoke. She turns to Matt and sneers, “Said I'm not open,”

Matt apologizes and asks, “What happened?”

“Robbery of some sort,” Otsu takes another drag, “And threatened too,” Otsu fishes something out if her pocket and tosses it to Matt. It's a threat to Otsu, saying that if she allows Galrans into her bar, or let them rent a room, the will come after her. Matt hands the note back and asks where Aznala was.

“Taken. Kids she was supposed to take care of are gone too.” then Otsu stares at Matt as she breathes out the red smoke at his face. The intoxicating sweetness blown to his face causes Matt to cough and he waves the red smoke away, “You had something to do with this.”

It's not a question. Somehow, Otsu figured out that he's tied to this.

“Maybe,” Matt hangs his head and doesn't dare to look at Otsu's eyes. He can feel anger radiating from Otsu.

Finally, Matt looks up at Otsu, “I’ll get them back,”

Otsu takes another drag and watches Matt leave her bar. When Matt’s out of sight, she chuckles to herself and shakes her head.

******

Aznala wakes up with a raging headache. She looks around the room she's in and spots the children she's supposed to take care of. The parent, Ibosa, left their children with Aznala, all five little runts are under her care.

Aznala thinks back to what happened. Otsu helped Aznala planned out activities for the onins . When Otsu left, Aznala heard someone knocking on the door. She opened it and then she was knocked out, with the onins screaming in the background.

She's awake now and quickly counts all the small shadowy figures that are on the floor. All five onins are accounted for. The kids scoot to Aznala. She moves her arms but is greeted with pain. She hisses and looks down. She sees that she's tied to a chair, her arms are wrapped with rope.

There's a sound of a door opening and Aznala looks around to locate the noise. She hears footsteps coming from behind her. She feels someone kick the back of the chair and face plants on the ground.  

“Looks like Galrans don’t sing when they’re in pain,” a voice sneers.

“Maybe we need to inflict more pain on her,” another voice pipes in. This voice is in front of her.

Aznala lifts up her head, “I’m not really into bondage and pain.”

Her remark is rewarded with several kicks to the stomach and a few on the head. Aznala’s head stays down.

Someone lifts up her head and spits in her face. They let her face fall on the ground and she can hear them muttering something. She only catches a few words, ‘burn’, ‘traitors’, ‘Galren scum’, ‘sympathizers’. She stays quiet until she hears the door close and the mutterings of the aliens go away. She tries to wiggle out of her bonds. She stops for a second, catching her breath before she tries again, this time with more effort. The rope burns against her skin but she ignores it. She feels her skin slowly open and blood trickles down her arms. She ignores it all. Eventually, she manages to rip through the ropes. She looks down and sees that her legs are tied up too. She unties herself and moves towards the onins . She gives them a quick glance over and lets out a sigh. She gathers them all and moves them to a corner. Aznala sits in front of them and thinks.

******

It doesn't take long for Matt to find Justy. All Matt had to do was find a bar that was burning and run inside the burning building. Is it stupid? Oh, yes it is; but in the end, Matt finds Justy yelling at everyone, telling them to leave the building. Justy sees Matt and greets him.

“Sa Matt! It appears that you are late for the meeting. Do not worry, the meeting has adjourned long before you have arrived!”

Matt pauses and gives Justy a deadpanned look. It's a cry for help that causes Matt to jump into action. He and Justy lifts up the table that had crumbled under the fire. Once lifted, the alien underneath crawls away. Matt coughs, smoke fills his nose. Quickly, Matt taps the side of his glasses and his face mask covers his whole face. He taps the left side of his glasses and turns on the thermal sensors. There's no one else here and they have to leave now. He glances at Justy. Justy signals to him that they have to go. Matt nods and looks around for an exit. The smoke is heavier, the fire climbs higher and its intensity increases tenfold. Justy points at a wall and air punches it. Matt looks at the wall for a few seconds and waits for nothing. Stupidly, Matt thought that the air punch would cause the wall to fall, like in the animes he used to see but it doesn't. Matt powers up his Galran leg and runs to the wall. When he's close, he jumps up and does a roundhouse kick. The wall crumbles instantly. Matt comes barling out, he falls on the ground and then turns around and lays on his back. A weight crushes him and Matt gasps for air. He looks up and sees Justy on top of him. Justy props himself up with his hands.

“Forgive Sa Matt,” and Justy gets up and helps Matt up. Matt takes off his glasses and mask and gulps the night air.

He sits up and looks at the burning building. He stands up slowly, inhaling deeply.

“Sa Matt, I do believe it is time to find the perpetrators that caused this damage. If you will,” Justy waves his arm to a random direction and Matt follows it. The two walk for a while before they stop in front of a battered little house. Justy opens the door and lets Matt in. Matt whispers ‘excuse me’ as he steps in the house. There's a llama in the middle of the small house and it stares at Matt with its black, cold, beady eyes. Its head turns to Justy and the llama makes its way to the Galran.

“Sa Matt, this is Bob,” Justy turns to the llama, “Bob, this is Sa Matt, we will work together from now on,”

The last comment from Justy rips Matt's attention away from the llama, “Um, we're not working together,” Matt turns to the llama and waves his finger between him and Justy, “We're not working together,”

The llama doesn't say anything, instead, it holds up a sign that reads, “ Why the fuck are you here then?

Matt squints at the llama and the sign then stares at Justy. Justy simply chastises Bob the llama for using foul language. Justy turns to Matt and beckons him to sit down.

“Well perhaps now is not the moment to convince Sa Matt to join our team,” Justy looks at Bob the llama and then at Matt, “I think that our current problems are more pressing. Sa Matt, forgive for being blunt but I do believe that it was you who released the information about our meeting. Has there been more casualties caused by your actions?”

Matt purses his lips together and nods, “There was another Galran that I released info about and she had kids with her when they took her…”

Matt has been looking down as he told Justy the information. When he looks up, he sees that there's anger in Justy's eyes.

Justy speaks in a calm voice, “I see. Do you have information on who could have done the kidnapping?”

Matt fiddles with his glasses, “Some aliens. They contacted me and told me they wanted to hire me for something. They wanted to get you and the other Galran. I didn't- I didn't think I was would escalate this far.”

Justy hums and asks another question, “And do you have any information about their whereabouts? Names?”

“Hagen and Das,” Matt says.

Justy stands up, “They are rather violent rebels; they refuse the help from the Balde and dislike when others help Galrans,” Justy turns to Matt, “Come now, we must hurry,” then Justy turns to Bob the llama, “Bob, we will need your assistance, we will need you as backup,”

Bob the llama whips out another sign from thin air, “ Ready to munch on their dicks,”

Everyone runs out of the little house and Justy makes an offhanded comment, “Just be sure to not swallow the sperm. It’s incredibly salty,”

Matt ignores Justy’s comment and asks how they were going to find the kidnappers. Justy walks behind the small house, there’s a sound of an engine running and something akin to a sports car appears in front of Matt. Justy’s in the driver seat, wearing goggles and a helmet. Bob the llama shoves Matt to the sports car and the two hops inside.

“You do know how to drive right?” Matt asks as he put on his seatbelt.

Justy turns and faces Matt, “Absolutely not, Sa Matt,” Justy steps on the pedal and they all lurch forward, knocking down the house they were just in. Matt screams.

******

The only bad thing about kids being asleep is that they eventually wake up. Aznala tends to them, constantly reassuring them that they will be found. The kids won't pipe down and Aznala looks around the room. She hadn’t been able to get a clear look before now, she can see that they are in a jail cell.

“Anyone else in here?” Aznala calls out. Her voice echoes around, telling her that she's in a small room, there probably isn't a lot of stuff here too, if she can hear her echo. Basement, probably, because of how dark it is.

She calls out again, “ Aloh !”

A few ticks later there's response, a hesitant, “ … hello?”

“Hey, are you the only one here or are there more of you?” Aznala asks as she kept the kids close to her. They're shivering.

More voices join in slowly. One of them speaks up and tell her that they were scared to speak out loud, in fear that the ones that kidnapped them would harm them. Aznala tells them that she understands what they’re feeling.

“How many are held captive here?” Aznala asks.

Another alien speaks up, “I-i think around twenty? Including you? Twenty-one.”

“There’s five kids with me so it’s twenty-six,” Aznala can hear angry mummers going around.

“Let me try something out,” Aznala whispers to the kids and she can feel them shift away from her. Aznala rubs her hands over her arms. Her wounds have healed but her full strength hasn’t regained yet. Aznala approaches the metal bars that are in front of her and she spreads her legs apart. She tightly grips the bars and tries to pry them apart. She steps back and feels her progress. She didn’t pull them very far apart. For now, they’re stuck.

******

As soon as Justy stops driving the car, Matt stumbles out and threw up.

Justy wobbles out of the car as well and Bob the llama simply hops off. Justy takes them to a secluded place on Rubia. Matt, after he got everything out of his system, asked Justy a question.

“Why here? How come it’s just desert?”

“They say that this planet used to be full with vegetation. However, after the Galrans took our resources and depleted it, it became this,” Justy explains, “ This warehouse used to belong to the Galrans. Now it’s abandoned; if I were to take several citizens hostage and destroy them, it would be here,” Justy points to the warehouse that seems empty. Matt taps his glasses and turns on the thermal vision. There are two red blobs on the first floor. Matt glances down, and several more red blobs down below. Matt tells Justy about this. Justy nods and calls over to Bob. Bob goes to the trunk of the space car and pops it open.

“What's in there?” Matt jogs to the trunk. Excitement courses through his body as he thought of all the things that could be in the trunk, state of the art guns, something cool and high tech, like an evaporator or something. Justy pulls something out and Matt eagerly awaits and is disappointed when he sees that its clothes.

“We must blend in with the rebels,” Justy says as he tosses Matt a costume. It hits Matt on the face and Matt pulls it away from him. He lifts up the costume, surprised that it's a pirate costume. He looks at Justy and Bob, Justy has two eye patches covering his eyes while Bob has a scar on its furry face and a pirate hat.

“Put it on Sa Matt,” Justy and Bob turn around, “Don’t worry, we will not turn around.”

“Uh, that’s not what I’m really worried about… not like you can see with your two eyepatches,” Matt mutters the last part as he begins to strip and steps into the pirate costume, “Are you sure this is going to work?”

Justy turns around and with a confident smile, shrugs.


“Oh my God, we’re going to die,” Matt says as he is dragged by Bob the llama.

They're in the front door and Justy knocks on the door. There's a loud creak and the door opens.

“Yeah?” Das narrows their eyes at Matt, Bob, and Justy.

Justy bows, “Hello! We are space pirates and we would like a job!”

The door opens a bit wider and Matt sees Das come out.

“And what exactly does a space pirate do?” Das asks them.

Justy glances at Matt with wide eyes, Matt speaks up, “Um, well- haha- we do space pirate...things?”

Das gives them a look and turns around. Bob the llama gives them a sheet of paper. Das’ head pops back outside and gives them a small glare.

“We’re not hiring at the moment? How’d ya learn about us?”

Justy smiles and shoves the paper to Das’ face, “Look we even have our resumes at hand. Please take a look at it.”

“I said we’re-”

“Look at our resumes,” Justy punches Das square in the face and the alien crumbles to the ground.

“Pardon me,” Justy steps over Das and pushes door opened. Matt is behind Justy and sees Hagen hunched over the table. Hagen looks back and sees Justy and Matt and Bob. Hagen gives Matt a glare before he reaches a laser gun and fires at them. Justy pushes Matt to the side.

“You can go down below, Sa Matt, we will take care of this being!” Justy shouts and draws his own laser gun that's inside his pirate coat costume.

Matt runs downstairs. He turns on his thermal vision and takes off the eye patch that came with his pirate costume. He looks down and sees that the victims are more underground than what he expected. He runs faster.

Eventually, he stops running when he’s on the last floor. Matt pants and leans his weight at the door. Once he quickly catches his breath, he enters the room.

Matt’s tackled to the ground. His head hits the ground, causing him to yelp. He kicks the person that's on top of him and stands up. His stance falters when he saw Aznala on one knee, an arm in front of the five kids. Matt looks over Aznala’s shoulder and sees that there are more aliens behind her. Dread fills him.

Matt puts his hands up in the air, “I-I’m here to rescue you all,”

Aznala stands up and gives Matt a glare, “Yeah, sure. Is that why you were following me a few quintentes ago?”

Matt stammers and waves his hands around to explain himself but Aznala goes back inside the room. The five kids follow her inside. Once Matt finishes stammering, he follows Aznala inside and stands near the entrance.

“Well,” Aznala grunts out as she moves up to a jail cell and does a little squat, her hands’ grip around the steel bars, “what do you want?”

Matt sees Aznala pull the bars about an inch apart.

“I’m kinda here to rescue you guys,” Matt slowly approaches Aznala and the jail cell. Aznala looks at Matt before shrugging and stepping to the side, she waves at the jail cell she’s trying to break apart as if telling him, ‘Be my guest’. Matt turns on his Galra leg, hears the soft hum, once he feels that he has enough energy, he tells the aliens that are inside the jail to back up and kicks the bars. It doesn't work. The loud clang echoes around the small room, telling him that his plan didn’t work. Nervously, Matt glances up and wonders how Justy and Bob the llama are doing.

He looks at Aznala who has an eyebrow raised up, she says, “You brought help?”

Matt nods and Aznala continues, “How many floors down are we?”

“Like two or something like that.”

Aznala nods, “We need to free them fast then. Take care of the kids will ya’,”

“I have to help out too. I feel like this is my fault. I need to fight them too,”

“I’m glad you feel that way because it is your fault, you got onins in the middle of this.”

“I thought I was doing the right thing!”

Aznala stares at Matt. Offhandedly, Matt realizes that the two are the same height. The Galran finally brakes eye contact and sighs heavily as she runs her hands through her hair.

She opens her mouth to say something but Justy enters the room drenched with sweat.

“Forgive me Sa Matt but it seems that we underestimated the rebels,” Justy looks at Aznala, “Oh greetings Ippan,”

Matt’s head whirls back to Aznala who has her eyebrows furrowed together and looks to the side. He opens his mouth to speak but before he can say anything, Bob the llama comes crashing through the wall. Matt goes to a fighting stance. The two rebels enters the room with guns and begins to fire. Matt rolls out of the way. He sees Aznala flying across the room and hears the kids screaming. The other aliens also scream.

Justy fishes something out of his pirate costume and Matt sees that it's a small gun. Justy ducks for cover and from his hiding spot, fires at the two rebels. Matt powers up his leg and glances at Bob the llama. Bob the llama manages to stand up, holding sign that reads ‘ Arg! ’. Matt spots Aznala slowly standing up.

Matt runs to the two rebels and kicks their weapons out of their hands. Bob uses its sign to attack one rebel; Justy fires at the other one. Matt glances at what Aznala is doing, she's herding the freed prisoners up the stairs. The two rebels see this begins to avoid Bob and Justy’s hits. Matt dives to capture their guns but Das manages to get one and fires at Aznala. Aznala ducks the shot and runs to the rebel. Das fires at her but Aznala jumps up and kicks the rebel in the face. Hagen runs inside a jail cell and Bob locks the rebel in.

Justy and Bob free the other aliens. Matt and Aznala lead the victims upstairs, Matt tells them to wait outside. He runs back to the prison and sees that there are only two victims left. Bob and Justy quickly leads them away from the prison but is attacked by Das. Justy pushes Bob and the two victims out of the room. This causes Justy to get punched in the stomach but Justy recovers. Justy throws a right hook, sending the rebel sprawling to the ground.

“Sa Matt, Ippan, I do believe we should run,” Justy says as he glances at the rebel he punched. Aznala and Matt nod they run out of the prison.

As they are about to leave, they hear Hagen speak up, “We have bombs all over the place.” the rebel pulls something out of their pocket. Matt squints and sees that it's a remote control.

“with the press of this button-” Matt sees Aznala snatch the keys away from Justy and opens the door the rebel. Hagen walks out with a smirk on their face as if they won. Matt opens his mouth to protest but at that moment Aznala punches the rebel into unconsciousness, she tosses the remote to Matt and he put it in his back pocket. Aznala picks up the two rebels with a grunt and they all run upstairs.

Once they are out of the building, Aznala drops the rebels on the ground and she collapses to the ground. Matt does so as well and the building explodes. Matt fumbles out the remote.

Everyone stares at Matt. Aznala’s mouth is wide opened, Justy looks confused. Bob the llama doesn't have a facial expression but has a sign that reads ‘ Shook ’; the two rebels look surprised. Matt’s eyes widen and stare at the group. He stammers and looks back at the aliens he rescued, they're running away. Hagen and Das run away. Justy and Bob jump to the space car, Aznala follows them but not before picking up the five kids. As Justy begins to drive away, Bob the llama pick Matt up with its teeth and tosses Matt in the back seat. Matt sticks his head out the window and looks at the building that is now on fire.

They stop near Justy’s little shack and everyone tumbles out. Aznala first checks to see if the five kids are alright before glaring at Justy, Bob, and at Matt. Aznala turns to Justy and asks if he can take them back to Otsu's Bar. Justy agrees Bob drags Matt back inside the car. The ride there is silent, the red Rubian sun rises. When they arrived at their destination, Otsu and the kids' parent are waiting outside. The kids tumble out and run to their parent and they embraced each other. Aznala walks up to them and talks to the family. Matt, Justy, and Bob hover near the car. After a while, the family walks away and Aznala walks back to Matt.

“All's well that ends well?” Matt weakly chuckles as Aznala glares at Matt.

“You have a ship?” Aznala askes and Matt nods. Aznala demands to be taken to his ship and they all go back inside Justy's space car. Matt gives Justy direction's to his ship, which happens to be on the other side of Rubia, it is hidden between buildings and Matt rigged it to have an invisibility cloaking mechanism. Matt fishes out the keys and the invisibility mechanisms go away revealing an old beat up spaceship painted in different colors.

Matt stands near the gate and waits for Aznala to say something.

“So that's it huh?” Aznala raises an eyebrow, “You just dust off your hands and call it a day?”

Matt stays quiet and watches the Galran walk to the engine of his ship. Aznala looks up at him and shakes her head.

“You gotta make it up to them somehow,”

Matt frowns, “I made a mistake,”

“A mistake that could've gotten the onins dead,” Aznala snaps and raises her foot up in the air and brings it down. Matt watches with horror as Aznala begins to break the engine of his ship by kicking it.

“What are you doing?” Matt runs to Aznala and pulls her away, “There's nothing I could've done!”

Aznala whirls around, “You could've done more investigation! Instead of being an aotidi , you could've done your research right!”

“Don’t act all high and mighty!” Matt snaps back and leans to Aznala. Aznala doesn't budge, “What? Or did you forget you were a- what did Justy call you? Ippan? You were a Galran General! You have blood on your hands!”

Aznala’s nose flares and her eyebrows furrow together, “I haven’t forgotten that…” Aznala says in a quiet voice and then speaks up, “And don’t you ever think for a second that I view myself above others because I don’t!”

Aznala takes a step back and ruffles her hair, “Sorry,”

Matt notices that she doesn't sound sorry at all.

“See, Sa Matt,” Justy’s voice causes Matt to jump, “I knew you would win the eye lock-”

“I forgot you were here,” Matt mutters and ignores Justy; Matt walks to his ship and begins to examine it. The engine is damaged beyond repair.

Aznala turns to Justy, “Leave, please,”

Justy nods and bids the two goodbyes and he and Bob the llama hop onto the space car and drives away.  Matt looks at Aznala who's scratching her head, a few seconds pass before Aznala appraches Matt, her eyes shifting everywhere.

“You can stay with me until you get your ship fixed, I’ll hire your or something,” Aznala says, “Give you money so that you can get it fixed or buy a new one… and, you can make it up to the onins you traumatized,”

Matt stares at Aznala for a long time before reluctantly agreeing, the two head back to Otsu's Bar. They head upstairs and stops when Otsu speaks to Aznala

“You’re really going to invite him to your home?” Otsu eyes Matt, “After what he did?”

Aznala looks back and shrugs before she opens the door to her shop. She leaves the door open and Matt lets himself in. The room is dark and smells of alcohol. He sees Aznala picking up empty cans or kicks them to the side.

“Bathroom’s right there,” Aznala points to the small hallway that is right near the door, “Kitchen’s right across from it,”

Matt looks across the bathroom and sees a kitchenette. He follows Aznala to a bigger room. In back of the room is a desk. Right in front of the desk is one large sofa. In the corner of the room is a small T.V. and a coffee table. Aznala points to a door and says that her room was in there.

“Home sweet home?” Matt puts his belongs down and sits on the sofa. He hears Aznala scoff.

“You’re staying here until you can buy your ship, okay. You’re going to have to work for your money. Food and other stuff, I can buy that okay. Ehcon .” Aznala heads to her room.

“Okay, guess I’ll sleep at the couch…” Matt mutters and lays down on the sofa. He feels something soft hit him and he sits up and sees that on top of him is a pillow and a blanket. He looks at Aznala but the door to her room slams shut. Matt gets comfortable and drifts to sleep.

Chapter Text

 

ORIGINAL SIDE CHAPTER (OSC) 1: THE MAIN ANTAGONIST IS SUPPOSED TO BE ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

 

Otsu walks out of her house and looks down the road. It’s empty, just like her house. With a sigh, Otsu takes a step towards the road and closes the door behind her. She adjusts the basket that is in her hand and goes to the cemetery.

When she arrives, she goes to her family grave and looks down at the tombstones. Her husband and daughter lie there. Otsu feels nothing as she places a blanket down and sits down. She pulls plates and food out of the basket and gives the tombstones and herself food. She eats in silence. Otsu glances at the food she placed for her deceased loved ones and says.

“What in the…” Otsu leans forward. The whole plate is gone. She looks around the graveyard and sees nothing. Otsu listens carefully and can hear someone else eating.

Annoyed Otsu asks, “Who said you could eat my husbands food?”

The chewing stops and the alien responds, “Sorry, I haven’t eaten in a long time,”

Otsu sees a hand emerge behind the tombstone and the plate returns. The food is half-eaten.

“Well, you can have it now,” Otsu sighs as she eats her own food, “You almost finished it,”

The hand shoots out from behind the tombstone and snatches the plate. Otsu stands up and goes around the tombstone to see who is eating her husband’s food. To her surprise, she sees a Galran. The Galran doesn’t notice Otsu’s presences yet. The Galran is scarfing down the food. It’s not until the Galran finishes eating that the Galran looks up and stares at Otsu with her mouth full.

“‘M ‘rry,” the Galran says as she chews slowly.

Otsu makes a face, “Chew with your mouth closed and don’t speak when you’re eating,”

The Galran listens to Otsu’s instructions and apologizes again.

Otsu observers the Galran. The Galran is covered with dirt and her clothes are dirty and torn. The Garlan’s brown hair is in an unkempt braid. Strangely enough, the Galran’s umbrella is well kept and clean.

“What happened to you?” Otsu asks as she sits down next to the Galran. The Galran looks at her and shrugs.

“Okay, then, what’s your name?” Otsu asks

The Galran stammers, moments later, she gives Otsu a name, “It’s um… Aznala?”

Otsu stares at the Galran for a while and then shrugs, “Well… Aznala, if you want a place to eat or a place to stay, you should come with me,”

Aznala stares at Otsu for a few seconds and stands up. Otsu grabs Aznala arm, which causes the Galran to go into a fighting stance. Otsu drops the arm and stares at the Galran.

“Uh- sorry about that…” Aznala mutters and looks to the side. Otsu shakes her head and heads to the direction to her home.

“Come on, my bar is pretty far,” Otsu glances back and sees Aznala following her.

******

Otsu glances back and is torn between hitting Aznala or Matt. Otsu muses through her choices. If she hits Aznala, she knows that the Galran won’t hit her back, but Otsu will suffer from hearing Aznala complaining in the future. If she hits Matt, Otsu doesn’t think Matt will hit her back, but will most likely complain about it as well.

“It’s as if I have du kids,” Otsu grimaces as she stops walking and stares at Aznala and Matt.

The two ‘children’ are bickering with each other. Aznala is making fun at the fact that Matt is leaning on his left side, his Galran leg dragging the sand. Matt, who is carrying a basket filled with food, takes out Aznala’s snacks and began to throw them at her.

“Will you two cut it out!” Otsu decides to hit both of them. Matt and Aznala sulk and cross their arms.

“Well, the Galran started it!” Matt says out loud as he swings the basket filled with food up in the air. The few Rubians that are close to them duck and glare at Matt.

“I don’t care who’s fault it is,” Otsu stares at the basket, “Just be sure to behave when we arrive at the meeting,”

“Oh, I can behave but I’m not so sure about the otup ojednep can,” Aznala snides back as she glares at Matt.

“I’m the one that can behave, but you might want to be careful, General , wouldn’t want your hands to become more bloody now do you,”

Etse otup oluc ,” Anzala mutters and narrows her eyes, “Well, at least I don’t allow kids to get kidnapped and then when I save them, leave them to deal with their own traumatic experiences,”

“Oh yeah-”

“Both of you shut up!” Otsu shouts and takes the basket away from Matt. She points a finger at Aznala, “You need to hold your tongue,” she turns to Matt, “And you need to realize that while many Galrans do not accept their misdoings, at least she has and you haven’t done anything to make it up for the kids! Am. I. Clear?”

Both Matt and Aznala look to the side and glare at the dirt as she hears them both mutter something; Otsu repeats her last comment, “I said, ‘Am I clear?’”

“Crystal clear,” Matt sighs and glares at Aznala.

“Yes,” Aznala stretches out the ‘s’ and throws her head back.

With a sigh and shooting the two of them a glare, Otsu and the two ‘children’ continue walking. The rural streets of Rubia change into a suburban street. More Rubians are out and flying cars are spotted in the sky. Children run about while parents chase after them. As they get closer to the building the meeting was held, Otsu hears that the two continue to bicker with each other. There’s a large building in the distance that looks like a castle and as Otsu, Matt, and Aznala continue to walk, the building gets closer. Otsu glares back, they are now in front of the castle-like building. There are golden gates that protect the castle, and large spiraling towers touch the blue sky and covers the red sun. People enter and leave the castle, some being carried by men wearing black clothes, others being led with beings wearing name tags on their clothes. Otsu goes through the golden gate as is greeted by the aliens wearing name tags and they take the basket from her. Otsu thanks them and glances back at Matt and Aznala. Matt has his notebook out and has a pencil that dances around the page. Aznala glances everywhere, the umbrella is on the nook of her shoulder.

The inside of the castle is grander. A large chandelier hangs on the ceiling, there’s casino slots in the first floor and a grand staircase that roll up. Waiters and bell hoppers dance around the beings that are addicted to the slots. Loud, classical music plays and the slot machines chime along with the tune. Otsu is lead to a golden elevator and there is an alien with pointy ears bowing down.

“Madam Otsu, they are waiting for you,” the being is looking down and Otsu thanks the bell hopper that was carrying the basket. She takes from the bell hopper and them a tip then, she reaches inside her basket to give the alien inside the elevator a sweet treat.

Otsu smiles at the servant, “I heard your wife was pregnant, I thought she would like something sweet so I made her something.”

The servant glances up and gives Otsu the faintest of smiles before she looks down again. The bell hopper waits until they are all inside and she presses a button that leads all the way to the top. Like butter, the elevator glides up gently and when they look through the elevator’s window, they see how each floor is as marvelous as the first floor. Matt’s awes in amazement and his pen dances across the page like a madman. The elevators dings, informing them that they have reached their destination and they all step out. Otsu sees the marble walls and the pillars that stretch to the high emerald ceiling. In between the pillars, there are various works of arts, statutes, and a few of them have aquariums or small zoos in between them.

“So, what is this place exactly?” Matt asks as he stumbles forward

“It’s a casino,” Otsu replies as she guides them. They walk through carpeted hallways with only the sound of Matt’s pen echoing around

“This doesn’t look like any casino I know,”

“That’s because it’s a Quazam casino,” Aznala answers Matt.

Matt glances up and gives Aznala a strange look before he turns to Otsu, “What's Quazam?”

“Quazam is a race of beings. They're a rather wealthy,”

“What do they look like?”

Aznala speaks up, “You remember the lady in the elevator? And literally everyone else with pointy ears? That's how they look like.”

Matt nods and Otsu gives Matt a small smile as the human begins to sketch out the bell hopper.

The hallway transforms into a different on and is now dressed with gold, silver, and turquoise gems. There's a door in front of them that opens up, revealing three people sitting in velvet chairs. There's a lady in facing them and she gets up and the other two occupants also stand up. The lady gracefully make her way to Otsu. Her whole head is covered in a colorful emerald fabric and she is wearing a dress that is barely kissing the floor, her dress covers her arms as well, but Otsu sees the perfectly manicured fingernails and a red ring that sits on the lady’s hand,

“Jamila,” Otsu greets the lady with a hug.

“Otsu,” Jamila smiles, “I glad that you could make it. Please, your seat is waiting,”

Otsu smiles and the two link elbows, “Of course, let me just drop Aznala and Matt to the other room.”

Jamila glances over at Matt and gives Otsu a smile, “Yes, we will wait for you as always Otsu,”

Otsu guides Aznala and Matt to another room. She gives Aznala the basket of food and grabs hold of Matt’s elbow as Matt scribbles something on his notebook. She opens a simple wooden door and pushes Matt inside. Before she leaves, she turns to Aznala and says,

“Remember to share the food,” and shuts the door.

******

“First order of business,” Jamila sits down and smooths her dress, “Have any of you heard of the thief that is running around?”

Otsu and the other two nods. The alien that is sitting beside Otsu, is wearing a white wig and his eyebrows pink that matches with his pink eyeshadow. The alien, Huerta, scowls and cross his legs.

“Of course, the host clubs that are in my area are scared. Two already got robbed!”

The alien sitting beside the pink eyeshadow man crosses his arms. That alien has a scar that goes across his face and has a cigarette in his mouth “The same bastad ‘tacked two homes in ma area. Now all the folks in ma area worried.”

Otsu hums in thought, “Perhaps we should set up neighborhood watch? Or a community police force?”

The other Divas nod.

Jamila turns to Huerta, “Huerta, perhaps you should be in charge. I will gladly lend some of my men…”

Huerta shakes his head, his wig moves with him, “I was thinking the Galran has should be in charge.”

“Aznala?” Otsu scoffs, “She’d be difficult to convince but I’ll try,”

The alien besides, Gross, Huerta speaks up, “I’ll send ma men too. We tough too,”

“Very well,” Jamila says as she claps her hands, “Then I believe this meeting is adjourned… unless anyone else has something to say?”

The Divas shake their heads and they get up from their chairs. Otsu goes to Gross and shakes his hands, then goes to Huerta and Jamila to give them peaks on the cheek. Gross and Huerta go to the other room to pick up their companions. Jamila grabs Otsu’s arm.

“Otsu, I would like to talk to you about something,”

Otsu nods and waits to Jamila to continue, “Well, considering that you are nearing your… prime age, I believe it would be best if you retire.”

“Retire?” Otsu repeats the word.

Jamila nods, “Yes, you’re not as young anymore and with this thief going around Rubia, I’m afraid that something terrible will happen to you and your shop. I think it would be best if we make a business arrangement. You sell me your shop, and I will provide you with money and comfort.”

Otsu stares at Jamila and shakes her head and with a smile says

“I’m sorry, Jamila but that’s out of the question. I started that bar with my husband and daughter and that’s all I have left of them. Rain or heat, whether it’s popular or not, I will never sell it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to pick up my du kids,” Otsu storms off and closes the door gently.

******

Otsu sits on a bar stool with a glass of beer and looks at her table. She hears someone enters her shop and looks up to see Aznala and Matt behind her.

“Are you two ready?” Otsu asks as she gets up and walks to Aznala first. Otsu places loose hair behind Aznala’s ear. Otsu goes to Matt and fixes the loose sweater that Otsu gave him; she tucks it in his pants and ruffles Matt’s hair.

Matt nods and Aznala asks, “You’ll be okay without me, right?”

“Of course, the thief hasn’t attacked my area yet and with the bar about to be busy, the thief won’t have a chance to strike.”

“But if something does happen-”

Otsu pushes Aznala and Matt out the door, “You’ll be the first person to know. Go behave and cooperate with the others. And don’t fight you two,”

Matt and Aznala speak at the same time, “Yes, Otsu,”

They leave the bar. Aznala looks back from time to time as she swings her umbrella around.

“For a Galran you sure worry a lot. Or maybe you’re worried about losing your home?” Matt huffs out.

“For the time being, it’s your home too,” Aznala mutters back and she stops looking back when they are can’t see Otsu’s shop anymore. They go down the busy streets of Rubia that’s filled with neon lights and all types of aliens and food vendor's running around. After a few ticks, the two reach a different part of Rubia. The streets are silent and there are no neon lights illuminating the place. There’s a crowd of aliens hovering near a shop with flashlights in their hands. They form a circle and talk to themselves.

An alien with a blonde wig and pink eyeshadow emerges from the crowd, their tall structure overshadows the other aliens. The alien comes towards them and looks down at Matt and Aznala.

“I’m glad that you two have arrived,”

Aznala nods and puts out her hand, “Huerta. The small guy next to me is Matt,”

Huerta shakes Aznala’s hand while he eyeballs Matt, “Is he useful? He seems too skinny to be useful,”

“I’m a rebel and I’ve fought against the Galrans several times. I’m tough,”

The group of aliens behind them laugh and Huerta bellows out a laugh.

“I love your spirit! What's your name?”

“Matt. Matt Holt,” Matt shakes hands with Huerta. Huerta slaps Matt's back and brings

him to the other aliens. Aznala follows them. Huerta looks back and brings Aznala closer to the group, the half-Galran stiffens slightly.

“Otsu says you should be in charge of this community watch,” Huerta begins and narrows his eyes at Aznala, “While I don’t trust you, I trust Otsu’s judgment and I trust your ability as a soldier. So tell us Galran, what should we do?”

Aznala nods, “We should ask the victims what they got stolen, give us an idea of what the thief wants; that’s all I got through.”

The aliens' nod and they part ways in the night.

******

Otsu closes the bar with a sigh and goes upstairs to leave Aznala a note. She goes back downstairs makes sure the door is closed. Otsu goes the side of the wall that the Galran broke a few nights ago and she wonders if the thief does attack tonight, it's through the wall that Aznala 'fixed’; Otsu scoffs as she examines the wall, Aznala did a bad job, hammering the wooden planks unevenly and she even choosing the wrong colors.

         “Guess she's gonna paint it,” Otsu chuckles and heads home. She only gets a few feet when she hears the sound of glass shattering and Otsu storms back. Otsu notices the door wide open and she steps inside her bar. She grabs a broken a bottle that’s on the floor and puts it in front of her.

“Hello?” Otsu calls out as she looks around her bar. She travels further inside. Otsu hears something and glances everywhere. The bar is still neat, the only thing that is broken is the window. Otsu lowers the bottle and steps over the glass. She curses as she goes and gets a broom to sweep up the mess. Otsu goes outside to throw the trash away into the trash can and closes the lid, deciding to clean up in the morning.

Otsu comes back the next morning and is surprised to see Aznala sitting on a bar stool. Otsu takes another step and Aznala is in front of her, umbrella in hand. Aznala apologizes and lowers her umbrella.

“Were you up all night?” Otsu asks as she goes to the bar and begins to prepare breakfast for the two of them.

“No,” Aznala says but her yawn contradicts her statement.

Otsu smiles, “So did you and the others find something interesting about the thief?”

“Not really,” Aznala says as she places her head on the table, “I mean there was a red ring on the floor but it doesn't seem like the thief stole it, y'know,”

Otsu hums and hands Aznala her breakfast. The two eat together and when they finish, Matt appears and he groans when he places his head on the table.

“Long night?”Otsu asks and Matt gives her a muffled response.

Aznala turns to Otsu, “I'm going to buy the things to fix the window and paint. I saw that I got different colored wood,” then she glances at Matt, “And you're gunna start working today so be ready when I come back.”

Aznala gets up and leaves the bar. A few seconds later, Matt does the same. He comes back later, notebook in hand.

“Hey Otsu,”

Otsu hums as she picks up the plates and moves to the sink, she begins to wash the plates

“You know someone who has a red ring?”

Otsu turns around and shakes her head before continuing to wash the dishes. Matt makes a noise and Otsu hear pages turning. When Otsu finishes washing the dishes, she dries her hands and goes to Matt. Matt shows Otsu a page from his notebook and Otsu recognizes a drawing of Jamila and Otsu looks at Matt as if saying, ‘So what?”

“It's not colored in but the ring we found is similar to the ring in the drawing,”

“And?” Otsu says as she goes back to washing the dishes.

“And? This means we can't remember out Jamila,,” Matt argues and Otsu shakes her head.

“That doesn’t prove anything. Anyone can buy a ring like that. Besides, what if the person who found the ring is the thief? Or if the thief drops it there?”

Matt closes his notebook and puts it in his pants pocket, “You'd notice if you lose a ring like this…” Matt trails off and then looks at Otsu, “Maybe the Galran is the thief,”

Otsu sighs heavily, “Aznala wouldn't do that,”

“I wouldn't put it past her,” Matt mutters and out loud says, “I'm going to go and look around. Later,” Matt is gone. Shortly after, Aznala comes back and asks where Matt is. Aznala holds several bags that seem ready to rip and Otsu gives her a shrug, saying that the human left. Aznala curses underneath her breath and Otsu gives the half-Galran a pat on the back before leaving Aznala alone to get groceries for the night, which falls quickly. Otsu sees Aznala go upstairs to sleep and Otsu returns her attention back to her patrons. The bar is busy and Otsu runs around serving drinks and cooling food for those who entered her bar. At twilight, many of the patrons leave and Otsu kicked out the ones that wanted more drinks. She glances up to Aznala’s room and smiles when she sees that the lights are off. She closes up her shop and leaves. She only gets a few steps in when she hears someone come from behind her. Otsu turns around and sees Matt, along with Huerta and the mob boss.

“Hey,” Matt waves almost sheepishly, “Low-key told them about the theory I had and it turns out that Jamila lost it. So, it either means the Galran is the thief or…” Matt trails off.

Otsu scoffs and turns around as she continues to walk back to her home.

“Otsu, please allow us to integrate her,” Huerta speaks up and Otsu turns around.

“Absolutely not,” Otsu says firmly and crosses her arm, “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back home. Goeynoej ,”

Otsu feels someone grip her hand and sees that it’s the mob boss, cigarette in mouth. The mob boss puffs out smoke, hitting Otsu in the face and Otsu coughs.

“Would’n do tha if I were ya,” the mob boss says and begins to pull Otsu closer to him.

There’s a sound of a door opening and a red blur cuts between Otsu and the mob boss. Otsu sees Aznala with her red umbrella in front of her.

“Wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Aznala sneers back as she takes a step towards the mob boss. Matt goes around them and stands between Aznala and Otsu.

The mob boss sneers and breathes out smoke to Aznala’s face before he steps back and walks away. Huerta does the same thing but wishes Otsu goodnight before he leaves. Aznala and Matt stay in their positions before the two sigh heavily.

“Jesus, that was a lot more stressful than I thought it was going to be,” Matt says as he rolls his shoulders.

Otsu gives Matt a look before thanking and she turns to Aznala who seems lost in thought.

“Thank you, Aznala,” Otsu says as she squeezes the half-Galran’s shoulder

“Yeah, no problem,” Aznala looks up and lets out a heavy sigh, “Get home safely,”

Otsu chuckles and nods as she begins to head back home once again.

******

Matt looks at Aznala who is staring at Otsu. She only looks away once Otsu is out of sight then Aznal turns to Matt.

“You ready to make some money?”

The question stuns Matt for a moment before he nods, “What are we going to do?”

A smirk worms its way to Aznala’s mouth as she turns around and begins to walk. Matt jogs after her.

“We’re going to catch a thief atoidi ,”

Matt nods and steps to the side when a drunk alien goes between them. Matt wrinkles his nose when the strong smell of booze hits him, “Great plan, genius. How are we going to do that?”

Aznala looks at Matt and shrugs, “We won’t be able to. But what do you remember from, like, when we look all over Rubia?”

“A lot of things were stolen,” Matt says as he shakes his head at the prostitute that wanted to have sex.

“It was wiped clean. This thief likes to take everything valuable and she forgot one thing…” Aznala turns to Matt and something clicked in his head.

“The ring!”

Aznala nods, “So, as long as we’re out and she thinks we have the ring, the thief will come to us,”

“But, what if the thief thinks Otsu has the ring?” Matt asks as he continues to walk. He looks to his side and sees that the Galran stopped walking. He looks back and sees that the Galran’s face has turned pale.

Agnihc us erdam ,” the Galran mutters out and runs after Otsu.

“Shit… wait up!” Matt calls after the Galran.

******

Otsu locks the door to her empty house and sighs out. She moves to the living room and drops herself to the couch and stays there for a few seconds before she moves to the bathroom. After doing her business, she goes to her room, glances at the photo of her family, and changes into her pajamas. She slides onto the bed and looks at the ceiling before she sits up and looks around her room. She gets up and closes the window and goes back to bed.

She still can’t sleep. Something is off.

She hears a noise coming from her kitchen and she gets up to see what it is. As soon as she steps foot in the kitchen, something is thrown at her. She manages to duck in time and hears glass shatter as it hits the wall.

In front of her is a man with sunglasses, a leather jacket, and short spiky hair.

“Hello, I have come for the ring,” the man says as he points his gun at Otsu. Before Otsu says anything, Aznala and Matt burst through the door. Matt screams something about someone named Arnold Schwarzenegger while Aznala just knocks the man out. The man falls in front of Otsu, a loud THUNK goes around the room and everyone is still.

“Holy fuck!” Matt exclaims as he runs to the man, “You just knocked down the former governor of California!”

Aznala ignores Matt and asks Otsu if she’s okay. Otsu nods.

“Can you just take him away, please? And I’ll go to the bar later. I think I need the whole day off,” Otsu says as she goes back to her bed.

Matt and Aznala look at each other.

“Does this mean that Arnold Schwarzenegger was the thief the whole time?” Matt asks as he pokes the man.

“I don’t know who that is but I think so? I mean, that is what the title says…” Aznala mutters and sighs, “Look, let’s just go home,”

Aznala picks up the man and the two drag Arnold Schwarzenegger to the police station. At the police station, both Aznala and Matt explains the situation and the clerk nods. He takes Arnold Schwarzenegger into a jail cell and goes to the detectives' office. He makes his way to the back of the office and asks if Marlowe and Spencer are in the office.

“What?” a green-haired alien with dark circles makes his way to the clerk and the cleck explains what happened.

“Do you remember the bombings? Where the rebel Justy was?”

The green-haired alien, Marlowe nods and ruffles his hair, “What about it?”

“They walked right in and they left they their information as they dropped the thief that’s been targeting the Divas’ area,”

Marlowe’s ears perk up and he pulls a cigarette from his coat, “Spencer!”

A muffled ‘What?’ is heard and Marlowe continues, “Looks like we got a lead!”

*****

Jamila looks at Otsu who holds a basket in front of her and Jamila asks, "What is this?"

"An apology basket, from Matt," Otsu explains, "He believed that you were the thief because of the ring that was on the ground looked like yours,"

Jamila takes the basket, golden bracelets move along with her and her long dress flows as she shifts around. The two were at Otsu's bar, sitting as the sun lit up the bar. Jamila has something that looks like chocolate milk while Otsu has a glass of water. Jamila looks inside the basket and sees the red ring on top. She looks at Otsu and hands the ring back to her.

"I thank you for the basket, but that's not my ring," Jamila says with an amused smile, "My ring isn't as expensive as this, it's the first thing my father bought me when we arrived at Rubia. It's far too precious for me to leave carelessly, just like you cannot part with this bar."

Otsu takes the ring back and gives the red ring a confused look before she shrugs and shoves it in his pocket, "Well, then, let's give a toast, to your casino and my bar,"

Jamila raises her glass of chocolate milk and the glass clinks as Jamila says, "A toast,"