Silver and Finnian boarded the old floatplane and made a beeline for the cockpit, where the computer system and instrumental panel were positioned. Silver marveled at the interior of this cargo plane. It was old, indeed, and could be what Serge would have called vintage or even antique. But the interior was almost similar to that of a modern jet plane, with its functions that allow the plane to arrive at certain destinations. Finnian stopped at the control panel and started clicking away. Flying a plane, especially one of these, where no trouble to him at all, having grown up watching his father fly it. The interior was coated with some shiny substance and there were only two metal chairs, one at the cockpit and the other in the middle of the aircraft. An antique model of the Perkins Brailler as well as a Morse Code Machine lay beside the instrument panel. The panel itself was nothing but a keyboard with a small screen accompanying it and then a few switches as well as a few buttons here and there. Silver let out a silent gasp when he noticed what was embossed on the screen. Just a series of curves and lines. Moon type. He cast a quick glance at the keyboard. Blank. A telegram and cable machine was positioned directly beside the instrument panel. After pressing for a few seconds, Finnian hit the button labeled “Base 2” before turning to Silver.
“Before he died, Hansel told me that he had changed nothing regarding this plane’s controls and navigation routes. It hurt him to do such a thing. After dad died due to a parasitic infection, Hansel took over the base we had at one of the islands near Canada’s Baffin Island. He used this plane for the trip there before storing it at where we found it. Dad and I used to frequent that base so this plane knows the way. It’s got autopilot.” Finnian’s expression had turned serious.
“Then what about the grunts?” Now Finnian had his back to Silver and was frantically clicking away.
“The ones we’re going to face are not as tough as those before at Hansel’s base. Just beware of those gone berserk like those in the previous laboratory. Based on our skills, we’ll make quick work of them. These are Serge’s orders. “His eyes were entirely glued to the screen. Silver couldn’t shake off the unexplainably sour taste in his mouth as well as the heavy stone in his heart. Over the few weeks, or months they have been together, they have been close like twins. Just to distract his mind from the feeling, Silver cast a quick glance at the computer screen noticing that Finnian was now examining the telegram and cable machine and testing out the Morse code machine.
“Now…Silver, have you seen a book or memo or something similar to that?”
“No.Why? Oh, and what were you typing just now?”
“Eh, the coordinates of the island. It’s rather deserted though.”
“Then why are you searching for the book?”
“Well…it’s something my dad left here so…I want to check it out. I don’t know if Hansel removed it but I’d like to find it.” Now he was rummaging through the almost empty drawers of the cockpit. Silver put his hand under his chair and gasped when his fingers came into contact with paper. He quickly pulled out the item and showed it to Finnian, who hugged the book, tears streaming down his face. Wiping away the tears, Finnian was quick to flip to the page of the old memo of sorts.
“Here it is! Professor Herman’s account of one such trip to the current base we are visiting.”
“Wait a minute, what’s with all those alphabets and numbers you were typing in just now?”
“Hey, Silver, see this? I’m using that to allow the plane’s autopilot system to find its way to the base.”Finnian pointed to the row of numbers on the screen. Silver nodded, studying the numerals with a half-puzzled look. The screen had a surprisingly high resolution and Silver quickly made out what Finnian had been typing.
Silver turned to see Finnian waving a little intently at him, his eyes sparkling.
Professor William worked intently at the instruction panel and his assistant, Zephyr looked on with great interest. This is one such flight conducted to the bas. The Albatross Seaplane, the model with the most functions as compared to majority of the planes was in use for this trip. The Albatross is a mixture of a World War 2 plane, a seaplane and a cargo plane. It has the speed and agility of a WW2 plane, being able to fly above thunderclouds and through thunderstorms, the capacity of a cargo plane and the ability to be amphibian like a seaplane. A Morse Code Machine, the basic autopilot system, a Perkins Brailler and a telegram and cable machine are such machines at the instruction panel. The autopilot system is designed to recognize and type characters in Moon type and the keyboard has no labels. Switches and buttons are kept to a minimum and a safety kit with expandable hang gliders and parachutes with the basic medicine kit and maritime flares equipped with a flare gun as well as a special compartment for trivial items are found in the plane interior at the below places. The safety kit is under the fake floorboard at the instrument panel. The medicine kit is under the either one of the chairs. The flare gun and flares are found at the sideboard and in the medicine kit for the latter. In case of emergency, a nautical sea light lamp can be used to send help signals. The plane is big enough to hold up to five passengers, namely the two pilots and a few trivial persons. The passengers are allowed to carry a maximum weight load instructed by the pilot or operator and the plane will send out a beeping signal if the weight in the plane has exceeded its maximum. The computer system is personally created and supervised by Arielle, wife of Professor William. The lab, situated at the most southern point of the small scale archipelago, goes into an underground path leading to a subway station of a certain town. Much has been suspected of Assistant Sird, having a few unexplained paranormal accidents under her belt as well as the sudden introduction of her Seer niece, Seraphim. The northern-most base goes from the northern-most point of the lab to the coasts of the islet. However, modes of transport have to be used to reach the second base. The lab is currently testing out new species of non-miasmatic creatures under the supervision of Zephyr and Sird. These creatures are expected to be domestic and tamed, fit for living alongside humans without long evolution processes, unlike modern day domestic animals. One such example is the Grunts, blue humanoid creatures that can often go rampage or even berserk, but can be predictable, unlike the Parasites and Prehistoric insects. However, there has much come to attention that something bad is bound to happen with the parasites, though we keep frozen samples for examination and the rest are in the Spore Forest. The plane is bound to alight soon and a user’s manual will be present for future pilots in the case of queries. Best wishes.
Signed, Herman S. Marty.
Finnian turned to Silver, who was sniffling a little, shock apparent in his eyes.
“Wait… I’m confused. You grew up here, didn’t you, Finnian? Tell me about Prof Herman. About Nyra and this Sird. And about these weird creatures…” Silver turned to Finnian who nodded solemnly.
I waited for Finnian to start. He took a deep breath and popped a sugar cube into his mouth. He opened his mouth once again and for a moment I though he really was going to talk. But instead all that came out was a small whimper. I went to Finnian’s side and knelt down beside him, handing him a small cup of lemonade that Acnolgia handed me. Even he was worried too. I had to know. I just had to know. Finnian took a grateful swig of the juice before turning to me.
“Alright then. When I grew up, there was a special place in here. There was a nice place for the creatures and us to live alongside one another, so it was like a really nice… super-duper large tree house in the middle of a prehistoric Mediterranean forest. Well my house was a really lovely facility that resembled a manor house teleported into a forest. All these years, my father revived and altered much, if not all of the diversity you see here. Ma used to say, when we came here, it was barren land but Dad grew everything and brought life to this place. It was wonderful. On the money part Ma and Pa got it settled, Ma selling her electrical systems and Pa selling his new and perfectly safe stuff to the market. We eventually got Nyra and her Pa to come with us. Let me tell you one thing. The parasites and the bugs here are extremely sensitive, though their action mostly comes from instinct but they are able to see the true you, just like your Seer powers do. I don’t know what they saw in us but the instant Sird came in, they didn’t like her. True, she was the one who indirectly killed my parents after being suspected of releasing the rampaged Parasites on my parents so they would eventually die of infection if the bite didn’t kill them. I have no idea why she did it. After Pa died, Ma sort of… died of an untreated infection wound. Zephyr took over the facility but he was depressed after the death of his childhood friend and got brainwashed by Sird. When the parasites attacked, my parents had me to consume this liquid that enabled me to be immune to parasitic bites as well as mind-link to them, indirectly letting me gain control of them. But not absolute control, though. Sird was probably after the liquid, since the parasites are the second strongest after the Wood Giants. When she knew about that, I was tortured and only escaped with the help of Serge, Herman’s assistant and was found by you. She had probably wanted to extract the liquid with the intentions of gaining it from my dead body. I was hunted. You have a strong mind but also a one, just like the Wood Giant, that can sense the needs of others. I have lived with them in my childhood and they remind me of you. Even the once useful spores have turned into miasmatic plant life. We are here to stop this, Silver. I know that Nyra loves her father just as well as she loves her guardian, Prof Herman and Heren. Let’s just say this shall we? Stop Sird! Stop the Wood Giants!” He brought forward a hand to bump fists with me. I can see the determination in his eyes…
“Then what about Seraphim?” I couldn’t help but question. She was truly gone forever, I knew, but her presence in such a place irked me. Finnian nodded, brows furrowed.
“She is a distant relative of Sird. However, I heard from her that she was adopted, being forced to be a Seer after numerous failed experiments with her body. The other few tested with her died. She was the only one that lived. After the trauma, her brown eyes turned purple and Sird brought her over. When she was here, she was trained on non-elemental attacks, according to what you mentioned earlier. She… isn’t strong… is she?”
“She isn’t. For a Seer who lacks a proper weapon, or even a little bit of weapon transformation as well as more than one type of elemental attack, she sure is weak. She was so strong just now because of some type-enhancing tool that increases her power present in the room or on her. She isn’t that hard to defeat. I just had to immobilize her to stop her from teleporting and launch an inevasible attack at her, such as firing rocket launchers.”
“So that was why…” Finnian looked a bit sad, actually.
“Hey… she’s not entirely gone yet…” Finnian looked up at me. I could hear my heart breaking. Had I done something bad? No… Tears were streaming down his face…
“Really?” I nodded faintly.
“I guess… but according to Tag, she’s being taken care of.” Finninan smiles a little.
“She was brainwashed by Sird. She wasn’t like that before.” Finnian tells me and I can hear my heart breaking even more. I had to find this Sird. I wanted to prevent any more innocent from being brainwashed. Everyone had their right to live their lives to the fullest, with no regrets as well as to stretch their potential. Not be the very slaves of life itself. That was when I noticed something. A small lighter. It was in my pocket all along. Then there another one tucked in my sleeve. The one in my pocket was purple while the one in my sleeve was beige. Finnian’s eyes brightened almost immediately.
“That’s a memory lighter! The brown one must be Prof Herman’s while the purple one must be Seraphim’s! Use it, Silver!” I took Prof Herman’s lighter and lit it up. A small fire flickered. A young child in a cradle. Prof Herman. I watched intently. One event caught my eye. The meeting of Finnian’s father, Zephyr and him. It was hard trying not to cry while knowing very well what happened to the three friends. He had no children. The special bonds he shared with everyone. It was like seeing the life of someone on film. From a playful boy he grew to a knowledgeable man that everyone respected. Moments of nostalgia when he met me. Tears were coming to my eyes. A sudden image came to my mind and the lighter was knocked from my hands. Three stones, emerald, ruby and sapphire. Three friends. I notice something else on the lighter. A small green smudge that had appeared after the flame had snuffed out. Emerald. A small flap had unlocked itself right under the smudge. A small data chip. Half a piece of it, though. I placed the lighter in my pocket and noticed that Finnian had handed a second lighter to me. A lilac one.
“I think you’d like to see this. This is Pa’s. “ Finnian smiled. I lit up the lighter and watched the flames. The same thing happened, though there was one extra image. Three energies, coming together to unlock something. A distant red fire, like a will o’ wisp, flickering in the air. The lighter was once again knocked out from my hands. This time, instead of a green smudge, a red one appeared. A complete data chip was inside. Finnian smiled.
“Pa said that only one person, a Seer would be able to unlock the Soul Fragments. I believe that person is you. But he said I would be with the Seer. He said that I would unlock the Fragments with the Seer. I believe that Seer is you. He also said that three souls would come together. Your hair is red. My eyes are green. Nyra has a blue energy. I believe in that. We’ll do that, shall we? After this…” He smiled. He reached out to bump fists with me. I returned the fist bump. This time, a turbulence gently shook the plane. Finnian handed me the purple lighter. I started up the lighter. The flame flickered, but no memories were clear. The soul doubted. Questioning what she really was. All of a sudden, a clear image burst from within the blurred images. It was me, attacking her. A small whisper came from within. Thank you. It was her true voice. I… really had changed someone… I had stopped that one soul from doubting. She was Seraphim. The one person she was from the start. She would not change, no matter what. A small thank you echoed in the back of my mind. A girl with brown hair and purple eyes in a white dress smiled at me. She walked away, waving. She had smiled. I tried not to cry. Finnian tapped me on the shoulder.
“Hey… Seraphim will be fine.” Finnian said to me, tucking the lighter in my pocket. His voice was cracking.
“Let’s… do it, shall we? And stop Sird.” Mine was cracking, too. I couldn’t bear to let Finnian, Prof Zephyr, Herman and William down. As well as Seraphim. I could not bear to let them down. A tinkling voice echoed in my head. Do your best, Silver. A voice that I recognized. Ma. Tears subconsciously welled in my eyes. I had to.
“Hey, we’re here.” Finnian helped me up. He handed me a small tube that resembled the maritime flares I had seen onboard the plane.
“There. We’ll be meeting Nyra and Serge here.” He pointed to the sky. There was a large shadow looming above us. Heren. She landed with grace and precision and Serge with Nyra clambered off, Nyra nuzzling Heren’s beak before waving her off. Nyra smiled and made her way to me.
“Hey, you okay?” She asked and I could feel my heart pounding furiously in my chest.
“Yeah…I’m fine.” She smiled before tapping me on the shoulder.
“Let’s get going then.” I made my way towards a giant forest, following Nyra.
The sight that greeted me almost instantly was amazing. Rays of sunlight was filtered through branches of odd-looking trees. Spores flecked the area. There was almost nothing… save for the plants. That was when I noticed the giant bugs patrolling the sky above. They were really huge.