Sunday, June 2, 2013

Chapter Thirty-Eight - Hopefulness

September 19th, 2022.
The night before the Solar Eclipse

The sun set over the town as Tom, Annabelle, and all the rest of the family members prepared for the next day. They had been formulating plans to face off against Jack Toomes and his army of drones, unaware of the fact that Jack was imprisoned by Dr. Vu, and the latter was now back in control of his robotic minions.

As the sun set, Keera sadly watched it vanish below the horizon, worried that it was the last time she or anyone else in her family would see the sunset. She's spent a lot of time reading the legends of the Genie Lamp, that if it got into the wrong hands then things could go very bad very quickly. With their cosmic powers, Genies could manipulate the world around them to suit their master's needs, whatever they were.

The sun disappeared completely, and stars were popping out of the veil of darkness that covered the land. Keera looked up at them, locking her eye's gaze on the first one she saw. "Star light, star bright, the first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight." The star glowed brightly in the distance, as though it was calling back to her. Keera kept looking at the star, and with a whisper under her breath, she started to speak. "I wish that tomorrow will go well for everyone I love and care about." The star glowed in response, and Keera cheerfully looked up as it did, taking that as a sign that all would be well.

Keera wasn't a disbeliever in superstition. If she walked by a black cat she was worried about having bad luck for the day, she never walked under ladders or spilled salt, and never broke a mirror. In fact one might say she was completely superstitious, and she constantly thought back to the morning of the explosion at the film studio to wonder if she did something horrible that upset the cosmic balance.

She didn't, but that's beside the point.

After the sun set, Keera walked back inside the house and into her room, lying down on the bed. She wasn't going to participate in the fight the next day due to her own beliefs that, with her lost depth perception and crippling fear of fire, she would be more of a target than a fighter. She figured this out a couple nights before, when the drones attacked. Keera realized that, if not for Annabelle's intervention with her spaceship, she probably would have died that night. She told this to Annabelle who admittedly was quite relieved that the teenager didn't want to go the next day. The last thing Annie wanted was her daughter being more injured, or even worse.

Keera stood up and walked to her door, about to open it, when she heard some sort of knock. She opened it anyway and saw the MIKE drone hovering there.

"MIKE? What's wrong? What do you need?"

"I have been traveling across this house requesting assistance, but it was to no avail."

"Assistance with what?"

"I seem to have an object loose in my chassis. It is rather, as a human would call it, annoying. Seeing as I do not have working arms, and my transport beam is out of commission since being damaged, I was hoping you could assist me in removing it."

Keera chuckled. When MIKE turned around, she reached into a loose panel on the drone's side and grabbed a pair of small damaged beam couplings. Keera deduced that they were damaged when Scarlett shot the drone with fire a few nights before and finally fell off. After eyeing them for a moment, she laughed and walked over to her bed, picking up a pair of old earrings she never wore off one of the end tables. After breaking off the top part, she clipped them to the couplings and put them on her ears as makeshift earrings.  

"So how do I look?"

"You do realize you're wearing part of what used to be me." MIKE said, rather sarcastically for what was supposed to be a drone without a personality. Perhaps that chip John placed inside it was working. "Aside from that existential horror, you look relatively fine."

Keera laughed. She needed that laugh, and she was sure the robot could tell she needed it, which is perhaps the reason he said what he said. "So are you going to go fight tomorrow?"

"Yes. I have to, considering my role that was played in the last encounter with the Vazir drones. It is, as one would call it, my destiny to face down my creator, Dr. Vu."

"While everyone else faces down Jack, right?"


"Well, what if you don't come back? What if no one comes back?" Keera almost teared up at the possibility of losing anyone close to her, especially considering she herself was almost lost a few months before and the reactions from everyone afterward. "What then?"

The robot analyzed her question for a moment, then replied. "I do not know. As I can be rebuilt, repaired, and refurbished, I do not fear death as sentient organisms do. However as I have interacted with you and your family and friends, I have come to understand the concept of fear regarding death of yourself or a family member."

"And? What did that understanding lead you to?"

MIKE hovered over to her, his connection disk stopping a few feet from Keera. "I too fear the death of those I have come to see as close friends, but there is a saying on this subject. 'Without fear, there can be no courage'." 

"What is classified as weakness for some can be seen as strength for others, though I do not believe fear can be classified as a weakness, rather another extension of one's personality. Since I am programmed to learn personality, I learn fear, and I understand it."

"And by that logic, you know courage as well."

MIKE made a nodding gesture with his robotic body. "Correct. And that combination of fear and courage leads me to understand another concept of humanity." 

"What's that?"

"Hope. I am hopeful for what's to come, as I believe everyone is. However, I am certain that things will be alright."

Keera smiled. Somehow talking to this robot made her feel better about everything, because if a lifeless android could be certain of good things happening, then so could she. As she lay down on her bed again and looked over to the robot, she said something. "Thank you. I needed to hear that, from someone."

"You are welcome, Keera Kethrin." The drone said, then hovered away. Keera closed her eyes as thoughts of hope filled her mind, and she drifted off into a nap.


A short time later, Collin Lyons was standing on the edge of the house looking out to town, which was a favored spot it seemed of many within the place as everyone would come upstairs and outside to think. Collin had been an outcast for the past day and a half, barely talking to anyone and keeping mostly to himself. For the most part, he was worried about everyone in the household either harming him physically or damaging him emotionally, as they knew he was the one inadvertently responsible for Keera being injured.

Collin didn't mean to leave that prop where it was back in Alaska, he honestly figured that the person scheduled to pick up the next shift would move the special effects prop out of the way for the filming of the next movie. He didn't count on the next shift being delayed because the actress Scarlett Keene wanted to give her niece a tour of the studio.

After the accident, Collin cried himself to sleep every night for a straight week upon realizing that if he didn't leave the studio then none of this would have ever happened. He was too worried what Keera Kethrin would do if she saw him face-to-face, so he left town and tried to get work elsewhere, not finding a single job at his qualified field as his reputation preceded him. After his wife left him and his grown-up son stopped speaking to him, Collin became a broken man, sleeping in every day letting the bills pile up enormously until finally one day he received a call from a factory owner in Starlight Shores.

The owner told Collin that he was picked for a job moving boxes of clay onto a truck to be sent off to art schools across the country. It was hard labor but it kept him fed, and it paid pretty well all things considering. Still, he encountered aggravation at work from the other co-workers, who had learned of what happened in Alaska. They kept whispering behind his back, pushing him into boxes when they walked past him, tricked him into going to the other side of town when they had parties.


They generally treated him terribly, which in his mind he deserved. Still, he could always drink his sorrows at a bar downtown, which just so happened to be the same bar he met Keera on that fateful night. He had never seen someone that angry before, and never wanted to again, and had spent most of his time trying to come up with a formal apology for her which she still hadn't properly accepted even after all this time.

After thinking all this over, he was surprised when he heard footsteps approaching him as no one seemed to want to chat with him. Collin turned around and saw Annabelle, her face not twisted in an angered demeanor as it had been every time he'd see her and she'd see him, but instead a blank expression that worried him even greater. She stood on the roof and looked out, as he had been doing. Then after walking over to get in his way, she spoke to him.

"So what happened?"

"If you mean the accident at the film studio, it's my fault. I left a special effects device next to some volatile containers and the timer was accidentally set on them." Collin looked at her, "When your daughter approached these containers, the device shot fire and caused the containers to explode. It could have happened to anyone, at any time, but it happened to her, and I'm responsible. If you want to keep hating me, then by all means go ahead."

"Maybe I've been too hard on you. Keera seems to have forgiven you, and that's enough for me to go off of. But what bothered me, and her, is that you didn't come forward and tell us the truth, you didn't explain how it was when it happened. If you had done that, then perhaps we could have helped you keep your job at the studio."

"What are you saying?"

Annabelle sighed. "If you had apologized when the accident happened, I'm pretty sure Keera would have accepted it no questions asked. But you waited over two months, and obviously had no intention of doing it in the first place, so you had to be confronted by her in the bar downtown."

"I know Keeki, she's a good person whose had some terrible things happen to her. She just needed the thought that you were apologetic after it happened, and she needed you to express that thought back then to have earned her forgiveness."

"I didn't know this. I wish I would have back then. Hell, while I'm talking about changing the past I'd throw myself in front of that explosion, that way I'd be the one who was burned and not her."

"Well no one can change the past, I don't think even with a genie lamp. I would if I could, but it's common knowledge that we just have to learn to live with what happens to us until the end of our lives." With those words, Annabelle strolled off back inside, leaving him alone in the night. He looked up at the sky and began to wonder where his life would end up at, for better or worse.


 Kelly, MIKE, Scarlett and John stood around a device that was sitting on a table. John pointed at it and looked at everyone else. "It's called the M-0. MIKE and I came up with it after we tested an EMP device last night. It turns out an electromagnetic pulse shuts down the Vazir drones for a few moments, but not permanently as it should. Good thing too, because we accidentally found that out. Sorry about that MIKE."

"Apology accepted." 

John nervously scratched his head and looked over at the M-0. "Moving on. This device instead blocks out communications between the drones so they don't know when to repair each other or even how to attack in a coordinated manner, this will give us an advantage against them. All we need to do is either get this inside that dome or get the drones to attack us outside and activate it. The more drones it affects, the better our chances are of defeating them."

Scarlett then spoke up. "That is to say if the drones are even still active. If I'm not mistaken, everyone destroyed quite a bit of robots the other night."

Kelly looked over to her. "With Jack Toomes, expect the unexpected. We just recently found out he's a Torran hybrid like Mirabelle and Annie. Who the heck knows how much else there is to find out about him."

Scarlett nodded, then MIKE spoke. "I have a plan regarding this object. I will infiltrate the dome and activate it within. If John can build something to protect my own communications device, I will be able to get in, turn it on, and get out before they even suspect I'm against them."

"What makes you think they won't spot you coming from a mile away?" Kelly asked, looking at his blue lighting. MIKE then hovered over to the device and turned blood red, matching the others that the family had become acquainted with for the past week.

"I'm good with disguises." 


"I have to do something." Deacon said as he stood in the living room with Isobelle. "Of anyone in this house, I was the one most hurt by Jack Toomes. He took me in and practically brainwashed me into being his little soldier to do his work. I'll kill him if I see him."

"Please don't do that." Izzy replied. "Besides you're not in the condition to fight, right? Aren't you still injured from falling off that roof back in Bridgeport."

Deacon rubbed his back in pain. The adrenaline of the past week had finally begun to wear off and Isobelle's words brought him back to reality, which was a place he actually wanted to be. He sat down next to Isobelle and admired her in secret, knowing that although she was a bit brash when they first met, she seemed to have simmered down. This may have attributed to or had been caused by the fact that her hair and eyes had finally returned to their natural color, which was for the most part a beautiful hue of teal that he had never seen before.

Deacon was the first to see her like this, and she had told him that was wholly intentional. She wanted him to lay eyes on her when she went back to her normal looks because she cared for him, and wanted to do something special. Admittedly he was shocked when he saw her like that, but that was also because she kissed him at the same time.

"Can I ask a question?" Isobelle asked, interrupting his thoughts.

"Go ahead."

"You already want to do something tomorrow against Jack, if you do... do you want me to come with you?"

"Even if I say no, I know you won't listen." Deacon laughed. "As long as we're together, I won't really care where we are, here or there. Admittedly that sounded a bit cheesy but I've never been in a relationship before. I don't know how to say things like that and make them sound not cheesy."

Isobelle laughed. "Yeah, neither have I. That's why I'm glad you're here. You're someone to give me hope for the future, to look forward to something great."

Deacon looked at her. "You too." They then sat there, watching the night outside the window as it passed, both hopeful for the next day.



Later that evening Kelly was walking down the hall when she saw Mirabelle just outside her room. She walked up to her alien girlfriend and held her hand. Mirabelle almost took her hand as the two were about to retreat into the bedroom, but stopped when Kelly heard something off in the other room. She walked over to John and Scarlett's door and knocked on it. Scarlett alone was the only one inside, as John was apparently putting the final touches on that blocking device upstairs.

"What's up, Kelly?" Scarlett asked after opening the door.

"Nothing much, but I was wondering something: Were you the only person in the room before I came inside?"

Scarlett nodded. "John's still busy. Why?"

Kelly looked around the room, then at Scarlett. "No reason, I thought I heard something from in here. Maybe I'm just tired."

Scarlett patted her shoulder. "Then you should get some sleep, cousin. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow, we all need to get some sleep. I'm just about to doze off myself when John gets back down here, should be a little bit."

"Okay, just wondering. Goodnight, Red."

Scarlett nodded, said her goodnights, and closed the door. Kelly walked back to her bedroom while Mirabelle was still standing by the door. "Everything alright?" Mirabelle asked, noticing a bit of issue with Kelly. "What's wrong?"

"Scarlett. I sensed something as I passed her room, it was like multiple people in the same location. I don't know what I felt. Maybe Red's right, I've been up for quite a while planning for tomorrow, I need to get some sleep."

Mirabelle smiled and grabbed her hand. The two had been busy for nearly twenty four hours straight preparing for the day of the solar eclipse, and being awake for that long was starting to get to the both of them. Realizing they need rest and relaxation before the next day, Mirabelle looked her in the eyes. "Then let's go to sleep." She then led her girlfriend into the bedroom and shut the door.


"I haven't heard a word out of Jack Toomes for the past few days." Annabelle looked over at Tom who was staring at an old map on his wall. "Hopefully that will be the case for tomorrow. It would make our job a whole hell of a lot easier if he just fell off the Earth."

Tom was barely listening to her as he looked at the map, then when he turned back to her, the words she spoke finally reached him. "Well perhaps he's planning like us, which would mean we have to keep pushing ourselves to stay one step ahead. "

"Well if we plan any more I think our plans might get broken. Wow that made no sense." Annabelle chuckled. "I think I might be tired. I gotta get to bed early tonight, I want to be wide awake for tomorrow. Big day ahead of us. Long day." She then sat down on the bed, and afterwards proceeded to lie down. Tom walked over to the bed with her and sat down. They didn't want to do anything else at the moment but sleep, and Annabelle was already on her way to doing that.

"Annabelle, there's something I want to say. I don't know why I haven't said it before to you, but I do want to say it."

"Hmmm?" Annabelle replied. Tom looked over to her and saw that she was fast asleep, her reply a mere half-dazed whisper, he then smiled.

"I'll tell you later." Tom said in a whisper as he too began to lie down on the bed, turning off the light as he did so. As Annabelle slept, he stayed awake, making sure she was safe and protected. He didn't know how long it took him to pass out as well, but he eventually did.


John walked into the bedroom and saw Scarlett watching a show on the television. With no words, he joined her. The two had gone through a strange week, starting with Scarlett's announcement to him that she might be carrying his child coupled with things such as Annabelle's kidnapping and return as well as the battle with Jack's Vazir units a few nights before. The encounter with the mysterious creature they saw that one night also added to the craziness.

After a short time, John looked over to her and thought back to the day they hugged as children after their mutual liking came to light, and five years after that when they finally realized they loved each other culminating with Scarlett's red lips locking with his after their long day together. From that moment on, they never left each other's side for a more than a day. John turned down business trips so he could be with her when she needed him. So he could comfort her when she blamed herself for Keera's accident. To sit with her when she watched that video of her parents.

In his mind, Scarlett was the most perfect human being on the face of the earth, and nothing could take him away from the red-haired woman. He then realized, with a cold sense of reality, that he would die if something took her away from him: Perhaps not physically, but John would not be John anymore.

Scarlett thought the same way. In many ways, they were exactly alike: Scarlett and John both loved video games, they both liked the same type of music and food, and they both realized that their lives would be cold and gray if they lost each other. One thing that really separated them was Scarlett's anger issues. She couldn't help herself getting so angry, and John's last bout of anger that she had seen was when he met the man who should have been his father, but wasn't in the most definitive term of the word.

Scarlett imagined herself being the one who threw that man over the bar because she didn't like to see him as violent as she could get. That night was the most memorable night of her life, though: not because of the fact that John again lost someone he never wanted to meet, but because it was the night that John and Scarlett made the vow to spend the rest of their life together, which they had already wanted to do.

John and Scarlett looked at each other on the couch before watching television again. Suddenly, the latter spoke up. "I took another test, and it was positive... I'm pregnant."

John smiled, cuddled his fiance, and they kissed. No more words were spoken that night between the two, and no more were really needed. They then turned to the television and looked to the future not as two separate people, as one fully-connected soul.


Later that evening, Jack was standing in his cell when Vu walked into the room. "Dr. Vu, you've come to visit me? You need a friend to pat you on the back and tell you you're doing things wonderfully and you should keep doing them?" Jack chuckled as the doctor looked at him angrily. "Sorry, a guy like me doesn't make friends."

"And what IS a guy like you? The criminal mastermind who kidnaps teenagers or the alien from another world?" Jack glared at him. Undaunted, Vu continued to speak. "I had Vazir scan you, it said you had a mysterious component in your DNA that wasn't found on Earth. The same component was also seen in the DNA of that woman you kidnapped and brought here. So I'm going to ask one more time: What are you?"

Jack smiled. "I knew one of these days you'd find out. My real name is Jetel Vaxul. I come from the planet Torra Sev, a distant world in this Milky Way galaxy. I'd tell you how I got here, but that would be pointless."


Jack looked at him with an angered face. "The people who adopted me destroyed the only known bridge between the two planets here on Earth, while I destroyed the other end of the bridge at Torra Sev as I left. Spectacular explosion I set up, I only wish I'd seen it. They adopted me because they couldn't have children of their own, and when they realized my true personality they left me in the city of Bridgeport to head off to France. I never saw them again. Never wanted to."

Keeping his guard up, Vu decided he still wanted to question Jack. "So why did you kidnap that teenager four years ago?"

"That teenager was the same woman you let get away just days ago. I kidnapped her back in 2018 because I knew she could be seen as an alien by the public. Thanks to some chromosomal difference between hybrid genders, she can be seen as a hybrid while I'm stuck as a human. I didn't even know she was an alien before developing glasses specifically designed to find them."

"I knew if I revealed her true nature, I could use that as an excuse that aliens were coming and I could develop a way to prevent that from happening. Every government around the world would give me executive order to do what I could to stop the invasion that was never going to happen. Of course, I would keep the power and use it to create my own perfect vision of a true Empire of Earth."

"So you kidnapped a teenager to take over the world. Classy... and insane. Yeah that's completely insane. Even better is the fact that the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over expecting different results, and look at what happened: You kidnap Annabelle Kethrin twice, and both times ended up with you being imprisoned. So yeah, you're the textbook definition of that word."

Jack smiled. "Perhaps I am. But guess what... I decided to try something different for once."

"What are you talking abo-GAAAAAH!" Vu screamed as an energy blast overtook him, forcing him to the ground. Still injured, he regained his composure and angrily stood back up while looking around him and the room. He began wondering where the blast came from, but saw nothing that he didn't see before. "What the hell was that?!"

Jack walked to the glass and looked at him in the eyes. "Nothing that you should be concerned with." He then smiled with an evil look on his face. "Nothing at all."


"Psst. Hey Cassie... you awake?" Gabriel stood in their shared room looking at his roommate. "Psst. Hey, my pillow fell off the bed behind you. I need a pillow. I don't have a pillow. You have a pillow? I am without pillows at the moment. I am gonna keep saying pillow until you wake up and give one to me. Pillow pillow pillow pillow."

Suddenly Cassie stood up and looked at him. "I take you need a pillow? I couldn't tell because those sentences contained other words than that. I really wasn't sure."

Gabriel chuckled and looked at her. "So can I get it or not?"

"Riiigght here." Cassie grabbed a bag of clothes from from under her bunk and slammed it into Gabriel's face, laughing as she did so. He quickly grabbed it from her and began using it as a weapon as she grabbed another from underneath and started using it in defense. The two continued their pillow fight, laughing the whole time, and then they Cassie grabbed Gabe's pillow that had fallen behind her bed and gave it to him. Gabriel climbed up the ladder to the top bunk and sat on it as Cassie lied back down.

"So how long do you think we'll be here?" Gabriel asked. "I have to get to Starlight Shores soon."

"Why is that? You've made mention of having to be there for the past few days yet never actually told me."

Gabriel shook his head, then covered up and turned over. "I don't know, actually, all I know is that I need to be there. Something's telling me to go. You wanna know something odd? I think someone is there for me, someone who can take me in, who knows me. It's strange I know, but I keep having this dream that this one person went to Starlight Shores, and I have to find her."

"Who is she? Do you know her name?"

"I always called her 'mom' in my dream. She's not like anyone else, that's why I'm so worried that she's merely a dream."

"Why do you say this?"

Gabriel sighed. He didn't want to say this out of worry that this woman would think she's crazy, but he continued. "She's green. Yeah, it's crazy I know. She's green and has purple eyes. That doesn't describe anyone... I mean who in the world looks like that?!"

Cassie stood up quickly out of shock, gasping. Gabriel was worried about her and climbed down from the bed. "What's wrong?"  

"Nothing. You just described... when I go back to Starlight Shores, I want you to come with me. It's essential. Your dream mom, the one you're talking about, she's real. I just hope she's alright when we get there."


  1. Great Chapter! May I ask where did you get Annie's high ponytail hair?

  2. The hair Annie wears in the side of the screen and when she chats with Collin is from the town Aurora Skies at the store.