Chapter One

My name is Rayn (Pronounced as 'Rain').

I was my mother's last ray of hope on that rainy day of darken skies. My poor mother who never saw past its charcoal mood and windless sorrow when complications arose and no help was to be found. You see, the place I was born into was a sorry sight of mucky hues and perpetual sundown living. The place we call earth, came into the role of the innocent victim of the mortal men's game of corruption and destructive wars. The very ground we stepped, seeped with spilt blood of the once living folk that roamed the grounds.

2052 AD.

A sad place to be.

After my mother's passing, I grew up in the limited care of the orphanage with many other kids of 'mysterious' parentage. We were a lot that carried little of our past and treasure only the gift of today. The group I grew close to was an oddish group of Ruby - our illustrious big brother know-it-all, Cali - the mothering smothering one who played the maternal figure a lot and Genious - our little freckled bespectacled lovable crapper. Typically, that was all that made up our group. There were others but they came and went. How and why is left to your own interpretation and imagination. Let's just say most walked over to the side of eternal peace. We love each other but we also need our own space. It was just a thing that we all shared - a need for privacy and to live an identity that is uniquely ours. Our name, pride and attitude were all we had for heritage. It was all we needed to survive in this war-trodden place.

Ruby, the big guy came to be the main breadwinner. By the time we were kicked out of the orphanage because we came of age (16 years), he was the one who pulled strings (and some ropes) to find us a home and some decent living. The law in his hands was putty clay that could be bent, curled and artistically turned upside down to his favor. It was his streetwise crack-ass attitude that ensured us food and clothes. Ruby was our man.

Cali became the main care-taker who ensured that we actually ate the food that came to the table. She maintained a decent job doing what she did best - managing people in one of the hotels. After all, with several years of managing us, she knew how to handle people and soon worked her way up from office girl to someone who had her own chair and table. Great stuff. Especially for someone as petite as her.

Genious, named so for her bespectacled look, worked in the sole museum in town. She had an eye for art and a quirky sense of humor that kept the tourists entertained and happy. She was also the entertainer that got rid of the work blues at home because her klutzy behavior and predictability made her the clown. But a clown that we all love anyway. Life would be dull without her to mess up our routines and just be the one whom we can always call to pig out with when bored. She always did say that we ought to love her more.

And me? Yeah, well I lead a rather erm, different life from the rest. I somehow landed up working as a combat medic. Told you it was different. The lazy-ass me (who hates running period) got a job where I not only have to haul my body all over the place. I also had to be one of those who were sent out to run across to save others' asses. Argh. It's a wonderful life I am living. The pay's good but man, I swear I have lost at least 10 years of my life crossing live-firing areas and dodging sharp things just to save other people's behinds. It also meant that I was home the least and when I am home, I spend most of the time sleeping and trying to get as much sleep as I can. But of course, my love for my beloved 'family' meant that I do try and spend time with them. Just that I usually favored not moving when I do make it home in one piece (if I am lucky!).

And that's basically the story of my life in a much summarized version.

It's the background bit to what follows after this.

You see, there was one day when a freak accident happened. Cheesy and clique but seriously, I really didn't know that trying to save a private's bum would cause me to end up in another place. I mean in another entirely, very different world from the one that I spend my last 22 years in.

What happened was that my team was in sector four, a trashed out zone that was beyond saving when suddenly out of the blue some guy in black cloak appeared and practically tried to cut my men into dog food chunks, literally.

And what set off the alert alarms was first of all, he wore no identifiable uniform that branded him as the usual enemy. Second, he went after my poor men. Third, he tried to mince me into unrecognizable pile of stuff. The stranger of questionable roots wore a weird ninja suit (stuff kids are told to get them to sleep) and a straw hat (hello! A straw hat in my time? You have got to be kidding me).

He chased me down an alley, uttering inaudible shit under his breath and ready to use that lovely Kantana on me. A good leap got me some space advantage and of course I used it to flee as fast as my legs would go! I wasn't exactly a great combat person. There is a reason why I was combat medic! But no, the bugger in black cloak patterned with red clouds refused to leave me alone so I had to figure a way to lose him. I commemorate his great ability to keep it through the nooks and cranny of the towns, his speed and his insatiable thirst and sadistic need to kill me but I really don't like putting my life on the table and wondering of I lived it up to the best. Not yet. Later yes, but not now! He finally cornered me in one of the alleyways where there was a dead-end. (Yes, brilliant me ran into a dead end!) For a spilt moment I really considered surrendering. My bloodied sides, cracked ribs and sprained ankle were aching for me to give up. But somehow to die without knowing why I was to be killed was not appealing and so, the brave side of me came forth (or what's there is to show) and fought.

Cold steel against cold steel.

Arms and legs flew in grandeur art house-worthy style and the rain lent a lovely backdrop for my struggle for survival.

A pouring storm for background and murky dimmed arena was the setting for my grave.

I knew in my heart that my skills were below him but still the notion to die with honor appealed and that's why when he had me at his mercy, I was satisfied. At least I tried. It did feel good and was thinking of how I should thank my dead instructor when I met her on the other side when the weirdo bit his finger. With the blood dripping, he pressed down it down on a rolled out scroll and mutter something "-jutsu" and 'Poof'.

In smoke, we moved.

And the next thing I knew, I woke up in the middle of the Sahara dessert with someone with a pair of specs looking down at me.


Author's note:

Hey everyone,

Just thought I should post this little ficlet that I wrote for a trade for my friend's story. All right. I'll be off. The rest of the fics will be updated soon but do give your comments about this one.

Ps. the name genious was deliberate. It's a pun for genius. winks!

Cheers!

Arte