Disclaimer: I do not own Phantasy Star Online. PSO is owned my Sega and Sonic Team. And if I miss any other disclaimer things, tell me, cuz I don't know exactly what I'm supposed to do with these.
She was standing before a large stone monument, the wind making her bangs wave in the wind. Seventeen-year old Danielle Sterling stared at the monument, a distant look on her face. What was she doing here? Then she remembered her father, and looked around for him. She felt a presence near her, and she looked up into the eyes of her father. His brilliant blue eyes comforted the teen, and she felt like she could cry. But why? What was there to cry about? She became confused, trying to clear her head of the fog that shrouded it. What was going on? Her memories rushed back to her like a tidal wave, and she was paralyzed with fear. She remembered this place, and what had happened. She looked around for her father, who had suddenly vanished. A fog had settled in, so it was hard to make anything out. The large stone monument she had seen before loomed ahead of her, and it began to glow a brilliant white. Danielle winced and covered her eyes. The monument shattered, and a wave of darkness swept forward towards her. She barely had time to scream before a dark being invaded her body.
Chapter 1: A New Mission
Rico Tyrell's House
Danielle awoke with a start, breathing heavily as she tried to make sense of the nightmare. "Okay. Now that was freaky," she muttered to no one in particular. She'd had the occasional bad dream, but this one confused her more than scare her. The teen had absolutely no clue what it meant. She rubbed her face with her hands and listened carefully. There were the sounds of someone walking around in the kitchen, which meant Rico had already woken up. Danielle stood up and stretched out, yawning tiredly. She pulled her long brown hair back in a ponytail elastic and pulled on a t-shirt and jeans. She had hazel eyes, and was around five feet tall. The teen looked around and spotted her glasses case near her computer desk. It was just last month that she had needed glasses, since her eyesight began to deteriorate.
She smelled something cooking, and smiled. Rico Tyrell, the most famous hunter aboard the Pioneer 2, had taken Danielle under her wing after the battle with Dark Falz eight months ago. They had sworn to Principal Tyrell that they would never tell anyone about what had really happened on the surface of Ragol. Personally, Danielle thought it was a good idea. If the citizens knew about the dangers on the surface, they would panic, and there would be chaos everywhere. Danielle slipped on her blue-rimmed glasses and opened her door. Rico was surprised to see the Ranger up already, since she usually slept in on days she didn't have work to do.
"Hey, Danielle. What are you doing up so early? I know it couldn't have been breakfast, since nothing can wake you up when you're dead-to-the-world."
The teen grinned, but it fell away as the memory of her dream came back. She sat down on one of the chairs at the counter. "I just couldn't sleep, that's all." Rico took one look at her tired face and understood immediately what had woke her up. She decided not to bring up the subject of Maximillian Sterling, since it was so painful for Danielle. Her father was a great hunter. Even Rico had looked up to him, but she never admitted it. Heathcliff Flowen was her teacher, and he wouldn't have been too happy if he heard that.
"Had another nightmare?" Rico asked. When Danielle nodded, the older hunter placed an arm around her shoulders. "I know how you feel. I've been having them, too. Some really nasty ones that I'd rather not have again. They'll go away after a while." The Ranger looked up into Rico's eyes, grateful for such a nice friend.
"Thanks Rico. I really hope they go away soon. I really need to get a good night's sleep for once." Rico rubbed the girl's shoulders before going back to making breakfast. She could only imagine what kinds of nightmares were haunting the girl. She had gone through things that not even anyone twice her age should go through. The past few months must have been harder on her mentally than physically. Danielle adjusted her glasses, staring off into space. It was hard to believe she was only 17. People who saw her would think she was around 20 or so.
It was a few minutes later that breakfast was ready. Rico fixed their plates and sat next to the teen. If there was one question that still eluded her, it was this: How did the virus in Danielle's body be cured, when no one even had a vaccine? Since the death of her mother, Danielle had been diagnosed with an incurable disease. It was slowly destroying her body, and it was predicted she wouldn't live past 20. When Rico had brought her into the hospital after the battle with Falz, they told her that the virus was completely gone. But despite the news, things were still looking grim. A leg that could take years to heal, a scar in her lower back from a Delsaber's sword, and multiple puncture wounds from all the Grants attacks. An average person would not have survived, but there was something special about Danielle. The thing was, not even the two hunters knew what it was.
Rico noticed that Danielle hadn't touched her food, and she sensed something was really wrong. "You need to eat. We have a mission this morning, you know." The Ranger snapped out of her daze and turned to Rico.
"We have a mission? From who?" The older hunter swallowed her food before replying.
"Chief Natasha Milrose of the Pioneer 2 Lab. She wanted to leave this job in some capable hands. There are a couple of other hunters going, so chances are we may find someone we know there." Danielle smiled at the thought of seeing Draslushee and Jaden again. They were her two old friends she met back in the military academy, and had joined up with while exploring Ragol. "So," Rico continued, "you'd better hurry up and eat. We have to be there in an hour or so."
Danielle nodded. "Alright. Won't take me long to get ready. It's you who always takes three hours to get ready." Rico punched her lightly on the shoulder, a mischievous grin on her face.
"And just who is it who has to have a bucket of water dumped on her head just to wake up in the mornings? Reality check, girl. You take the longest to get ready." Danielle tried to think of a comeback, but none came to mind.
"Fine, Rico, you win." Danielle quickly finished the rest of her food and went back to her room, putting on her armor and slipping the photo of her and her dad into her pocket. She never left it behind, since it was the only possession to remember him by. Deep in her thoughts, she turned around to walk out the door and winced as she placed a little too much weight on her right leg. "I seriously need to stop doing that," she muttered. Being a bit more careful, she walked out her room and waited for Rico.
Pioneer 2: The Lab
There were only two hunters in the lab when Danielle and Rico arrived. One was a tall man with black spiked hair, white robes, and glasses. The other was a girl with waist long brown hair, violet eyes, and purple armor. They turned to the two girls, and smiled when they recognized them.
"Well what do you know? It's Danielle and Rico," Draslushee said cheerfully. It had been a long time since they had last seen each other, but now was not the time for reunions. It seemed that a transmission had been received from an island not too far away from the Central Dome. The message was from Heathcliff Flowen, Deputy Commander of the Pioneer 1 military forces. The government decided to send hunters to try and look for Heathcliff while searching the island for other survivors.
"We require hunters to go through a Hunter's Exam before allowing them to go to Gal De Val Island. I have read your files, but I still want you to take the exam anyway."
Jaden shrugged. "I'm okay with it. Needed to get some practice, anyway." The others nodded in agreement.
"Very well then. The exam will take in the Lab's new VR Simulator. Walk down the ramp and enter the door on your left. The teleporter is in there. The first area is the Temple, which is divided into three parts: Alpha, Beta, and Final. I wish you luck." The hunters walked down the ramp, talking to each other as they went.
"So Danielle, think you're up for this?" Dras asked, trying to pick on her. She only smiled and stepped into the teleporter.
A/N: Hope you like it. I wrote this fic while in school, so it's kinda not as good as my other one. Hope you still enjoy it.