Eclipse Star: Chapter 72
“The Momentary Calm”
Recap: Last time, Chris and Derek managed to infiltrate the Regime’s last Zanrethan stronghold and completely topple it, causing Octavious to order a full retreat from the country, but not before forcing a confrontation with Syrus that left him spinning into the distance while Octavious and the Octa-Ranger rounded up their men. Could things finally be at a resolution point? You’ll have to read on, today, on Eclipse Star!
-Syrus slowly gets to his feet after being hurled miles and miles by Octavious’ blast. He dusts himself off, being more or less unharmed. A deep sigh, a few looks around, and some careful planning behind him, Syrus sets out for the south where the red light previously ripped across the sky.
-In the complete opposite direction, Chris and Derek land in the snow with a soft crunch outside the Northern Lodge, still wearing their stolen Octa-Ranger uniforms.
Chris: (Exhausted). Who’s up for some sleep?
Derek: I second that.
-As they walk through the main doors, they come across Austin, Kyle, and Joshua fast asleep on the couches.
Chris: Aw, isn’t that cute?
Derek: Well, at least they didn’t wait up for us.
-Jack and Lindsey walk in the back door, quietly giggling and looking half-froze.
-Once they see Chris and Derek they actually freeze.
Jack: Oh, hey guys, you made it back.
Lindsey: (Awkwardly making conversation). How’d it go?
Lindsey: Did you-
Chris: (Cutting her off). Were you two out in the woods this whole time?
Lindsey: What? What makes you say that?
Chris: You’re just walking inside now.
Derek: And your hair’s a mess.
Chris: And you’re half blue.
Derek: And your shirt’s not tucked in. (Points at Jack).
Jack: So? Since when do I have to tuck in my shirt?
Chris: Since always, especially when staying outside in below zero temperatures. The hell is this?
-As Chris becomes obviously bothered, the three sleeping beauties wake up.
Austin: What’s going on?
Kyle: Cinnamon buns are not currency…
Chris: These two are just now coming inside after doing…who KNOWS what.
Austin: And who cares? I’m happy to see you and Derek back safe.
Joshua: The pink outfit is a little much, though it is certainly slimming.
Chris: I know, right? (Shakes his head). Okay, to summarize, we managed to get into the Regime’s base, we imploded it, and that’s about it.
Derek: And we saw a red light waaaay to the south.
Chris: Yeah, we did see that.
Joshua: What sort of red light?
Chris: Some crazy light, like a pillar that shot straight into the sky. Looked like it nearly shredded thin air.
-Jack becomes rigid at this.
Jack: Hold on, a weird sky-piercing light appeared and you two, both of you, witnessed it?
Chris: Yes. Josh, have any ideas what it might be?
Joshua: Yes and no. (Looks to Jack, then to Derek, then to Lindsey and Chris). It just doesn’t exactly make any sense though.
Austin: So right when we resolve everything, something else pops up to create trouble?
Kyle: Isn’t that just always the way?
Jack: We might want to ask Max a few questions.
Chris: That actually makes sense. Derek, go get him.
Derek: Me? Why me?
Chris: Because I’m not done talking here with these two.
Lindsey: Chris, stop, stop it right now. I really don’t want to turn this into a thing, whatever it may be.
Chris: Just tell me what you two were doing.
Jack: Talking, making out, and more talking. We are dating; is that so surprising?
Chris: How much making out are we talking?
Lindsey: (Frantically runs her fingers through her hair). I’m not doing this. I’m getting some sleep. (She walks upstairs as Max and Glitch come down).
Glitch: Something wrong, Lindz?
Lindsey: Always, apparently.
Glitch: Well, hope you sleep well.
Max: (Walking up to a couch and slumping). Okay, so the robot overheard you guys saying you needed to talk to me. What ended up happening?
Chris: The Zanrethan Regime base collapsed.
Max: Good. I didn’t understand why we needed an underground base anyway.
Jack: They said they saw a red light in the sky to the south after blowing up the base. Any idea what that could be?
Max: Red light? (Thinks). Could be Stigma’s special buster?
Derek: This beam was a lot further south than the city, plus the beam was large enough that I can safely say none of the Octa-Jackasses fired it.
Max: Then I have no clue. (Snaps his fingers). Wait, didn’t some blue light blow up our base in the desert?
Jack: Yeah, but that was a result of chemicals.
Max: Chemicals? Really?
Jack: You didn’t get my debriefing while you were in the Legion?
Max: I didn’t think I needed to. Why? What’d you say?
Derek: That the crazy lightshow was caused by him mixing chemicals in a desperate attempt to escape.
Austin: I remember seeing that light. Scared the hell out of Syrus. It’s the reason he let us go, actually, otherwise he was ready to kill us.
Max: Well, there were four of you at the base. Who else was there?
Kyle: I was, but, uh, I was unconscious.
Chris: So was I.
Jack: And so was Lindsey.
Derek: You sure about that?
Austin: Hey! I’ve got it! Glitch, you’ve got our memories from that time, don’t you?
Glitch: I should, yes.
Austin: Maybe you can confirm what happened?
Glitch: I’ll give it a try. (Glitch holds his hand up to his right ear as he processes the data). Okay, I see you guys running, running, running, and I see the blue light from three angles, but none of them show where it’s coming from.
Chris: Can you look at individual memories?
Glitch: Sure. (Moments pass). Oh, oh wow.
Derek: What is it?
Glitch: Everyone at the base has their eyes closed, so the memories are black with just a bunch of noise. Except for yours. (Points at Chris).
Glitch: Yeah. Your memory is just super screwed up. I have no clue what I’m looking at.
Jack: He had just been implanted with the Locus Virus, so yeah, he would have been pretty screwed up.
Joshua: (Just sitting back, listening). Hm, this is so fascinating.
-Everyone turns to him.
Joshua: No reason. I’m just enjoying everyone talk.
Austin: (Getting up and stretching). So we don’t know what the red light is, and Max doesn’t know either, so what do we do next?
Jack: I want to see this thing for myself.
Derek: Not happening. The light’s already gone.
Jack: But you at least know where it was coming from, right?
Austin: South? Only thing from the south I know of is, well, was the Regime’s base. That and the Forest Temple.
Max: Wait, what Forest Temple?
Austin: You know, the one in the forest. It was like, what, hundred miles from your base?
Max: We didn’t know about anything like that. What did it look like?
Austin: This thing was huge. Looked like a structure made thousands of years ago. I mean even longer than that. The rock was pretty eroded, but you could see hieroglyphs all over the walls. Damnedest thing.
Chris: That’s right, you told me about that place. It’s where you got the spiritual stones, right?
Max: (Entirely fascinated). Can you point this place out on a map?
Austin: Maybe? What does it matter? You really want to do spelunking at this hour?
Chris: Glitch, can you access Austin’s memories?
Glitch: Sure. (Focuses again while he processes the data). Yup, this one’s totally clean.
Max: Robot, patch that through to the TV screen.
Glitch: Yeah, sure.
-Glitch slowly walks over to the large TV in the middle of the room and hooks himself up to the AV ports.
-The memory appears on screen as if it were coming through Austin’s eyes. He’s looking back and forth between Clinton, Willy, Scott, and Leena.
Austin’s Voice: You guys sure you don’t want to keep exploring?
Austin: (Watching his own memory, blushing). This is so trippy.
Austin’s Voice: Aw c’mon! When are we ever coming back here, huh?
Scott: Hey, we got some fancy rocks out of the deal. (Holding up the yellow stone). How much you think I can pawn this sucker for?
Austin’s Voice: No pawning the rocks!
Clinton: We should get going.
Austin’s Voice: Fine, fine. Everyone wave bye bye to the Forest Temple.
Everyone: (Mockingly). Bye bye.
-Austin’s POV looks up at the temple, getting it in full view.
Max: Wait, stop. Freeze the image.
-Glitch freezes the image on the Forest Temple. Max stands up, getting frantic.
Max: That’s it. That’s the shrine.
Max: (Extremely excited). You thought it was a temple? He thought it was a temple. I can’t believe it. I don’t even know what to say about this. Robot, what are those coordinates?
Jack: Shut off the image. You. (Points at Max). What is that temple, really?
Max: You don’t know?
Austin: It’s just a place we found some special stones.
Max: But not the special stone.
-Everyone seems to piece it together.
Kyle: Okay, I’m lost. Someone want to fill me in?
Jack: That’s where…?
Max: That’s where the Eclipse Star’s default resting place is.
Kyle: Oh. Well snaps.
Derek: That’s it? So what? The Eclipse Star’s gone anyway. Chris threw it out the window when your guys tried raiding the museum. It flew out into the sky and disappeared.
Jack: (Sighing). That would mean it would revert to its default location, correct?
Max: Exactly. The Regime’s been looking for this ever since the Eclipse Star got lost again. The archeologist who found it died shortly after returning.
Max: No, hung himself.
Chris: Glitch, if you had this memory, why didn’t the Regime know about it?
Glitch: Charles was the only one that looked over our memories. He reported only what seemed relevant. He must not have known what that place was. I certainly wasn’t programmed to know.
Joshua: This is most fascinating indeed.
Derek: Okay, then that’s where the Eclipse Star is. No problem. We head over there and go bring it back. Simple as that.
Austin: I suppose it really would be that simple. What do you think Chris? (Looks over. Chris is standing still, clearly thinking). Chris?
-We zoom into Chris’ memory. He’s thinking back to seeing the red light, then the second explosion (Octavious’ blast). The image of Syrus getting hurled by the blast flashes across his head. He gasps.
Chris: Oh shit.
Chris: The other explosion we felt.
Derek: What about it?
Chris: I just saw what it was.
Derek: How did you-?
Chris: (Pacing, panicked). Don’t-don’t ask me. I just know. It was Octavious. He hit Syrus with a massive energy blast that threw him south.
Derek: So he’s dead. That’s good news.
Chris: No he’s not. He’s fine.
Derek: Again, how do you-
Chris: Can’t explain. Oh God. Oh God oh God oh God. Syrus knows where it is, too. He went to the red light; he had to. Shit. SHIT! If he gets that…shit!
Jack: Then we need to go. Now. Glitch, go wake everyone up and tell them to meet downstairs ASAP.
Glitch: Right. (Runs upstairs).
Derek: Still, I don’t see the big deal. So Syrus gets the Eclipse Star; what’s he gonna do with it, huh?
Max: Hah, you really have no clue what that thing does, do you?
Derek: I know it’ll give him a power boost, but I’ve fought him multiple times and I know, he’s not that tough.
Chris: No, you’re wrong. You even understand how much he’s withheld? And add on whatever the Eclipse Star can add…I don’t want to think about that.
Max: Your friend’s right. If Syrus gets a hold of that stone, it’s all over for you and this little crusade of yours.
-Hundreds of miles to the south…
-The Forest Temple, now known to hold the Eclipse Star, stands quietly as the sun slowly comes up. Suddenly, the sounds of footsteps begin to pat through the brush. Dozens of figures step through the clearing.
Syrus: I need to get to the bottom-most chamber of that shrine. You’re not to touch anything unless otherwise advised. Am I clear?
-Around fifty soldiers salute to Syrus and nod.
Soldiers: Yes Syrus!
Syrus: Good. Now go find me that gem.
To Be Continued…