Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or the concepts of the Xenosaga games. I'm just playing with them, and then I'll put them back in their boxes, Mommy, I promise. I'm making no profit out of this story, and if you sue me, you'll only get a few lint balls. I wouldn't bother with it, really.

I do own this story, and plagurizing it would make you a sad, sad, creepy little person. It'd also make me angry, and I bite. So save yourself some rabies shots and don't even try to nick it, okay?

Currently unbeta-ed. If you'd like to volunteer for the position I'd love you forever.

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Prologue: Soap Bubbles

MOMO sat on the dock of the Fishing Laboratory swinging her legs as the sun set over the Foundation. It had been only a scant week since she and Mommy had settled into a house to live together. MOMO sighed, leaning forward and letting her peach colored hair shade her eyes as she half-heartedly blew soap bubbles with the bottle and wand some well meaning adult had pushed at her. It was wonderful, living with Mommy, but... "Daddy," she whispered, "I wish..." Words failed the small Realian, and she shook her head hard. I feel so useless right now. I feel so alone. I wish you could be here, and tell me what I need to do... Tears pricked bright amber eyes the same color as the setting sun.

She watched the bubbles, bright and fragile as dreams, float upward and pop.

"Hey!" The loud, childish exclaimation had MOMO whirling around so fast that she nearly fell into the water. A girl and two boys stood on the dock. The girl had her hands on her hips, and she was regarding MOMO curiously."Did you lose your handkerchief down there, or something?" the girl crouched down beside the young Realian, leaning as far over as she could to peer into the darkening water. "I can't see anything... it's too dark." She glanced over her shoulder. "Hey, Dominic, lemme see one of those flares you've got."

"Aww, Claudia, no way! I've got plans for these, and--"

The girl, Claudia, put her hands on her hips. "Do you want me to tell your mom that not only did you steal stuff from the emergency box in Butch's boat, but that you've been playing with matches, and you made a girl cry?" Claudia put her hand out imperiously. "She'll ground you until you're like ninety. So just fork one over and save yourself the trouble."

Dominic did, grumbling something about stupid tattletale girls as he did so.

MOMO's eyes widened as she took in the flare in the small girl's hand. Claudia snapped her fingers and a flame sputtered to life. Grinning at MOMO, she gestured expansively with the explosive held negligently in her hand. "Don't worry about it. We're all uberhumans or Recycs here. Theodore's a clone, even." The aforementioned boy waved shyly, "You don't have to be shy. You're like us, if Little Master and Master Gaignun brought you here. We'll find your hankie! Right, Maki?"

Another girl trotted out of the shadows. "Un!" the girl agreed enthusiastically, "We're all friends here. Welcome to the Foundation!"

MOMO stuttered, overwhlemed as Maki and Theodore came over, Theodore shaking her hand gently while Maki exclaimed over her hair and cheered Claudia on. Claudia lit the fuse of the flare, chattering excitedly with Donovan over where to hold it. MOMO broke free as the fuse burned closer and closer to the end.

"Watch out!" she cried, tossing the flare as far away as she could; which, being a Realian, was pretty far -- the flare went up in a massive explosion of noise and light as the children watched. "Those aren't regular flares," MOMO explained, breathing a sigh of relief upon taking stock and realizing no one had been hurt. "Those kind are supposed to be shot in a flare gun."

"That totally kicked butt!" Claudia crowed, punching the air. Dominic nodded solemnly, looking at MOMO with newfound respect. "Didja see that throw? Man, I claim her for the Reds when we play alleyball."

MOMO blinked incredulously. What? Didn't they realize how close they had been to blowing themselves up? What on earth... She shook her head, giggling softly. For some reason, Claudia reminded her of a female Junior.

"So what's your name?" Theodore piped up, brown eyes kind. "It's hard to thank you for not letting Claudy and Dom fry us without knowing that."

MOMO's giggles burst out, ringing merrily around the dock as the flare's light died, like fireworks sinking into the sea. "I'm Mizrahi MOMO," she said, clasping her hands together with a polite bow. "It's a pleasure to meet you all."

The loud clatter of running footsteps and the clamor of voices became audible. "Uh-oh," Claudy said, eyes wide. "It's the parents! Scramble, guys!"

The group began to scatter as MOMO watched with wide eyes. A hand caught MOMO's wrist and began to tug her along. "Come on!" Claudy whispered, leading MOMO behind a row of crates and tugging the reluctant Realian along. "You're one of us now! And if you stick around too long, the parents'll lecture you to death!" Claudia shot MOMO a grin full of pure mischief over her shoulder. "Us kids have to stick together, ya know! Teach the grownups a thing or two about loosening up and having fun once in a while."

MOMO's pure laugh echoed into the newly born night.

Her heart might be as fragile as a soap bubble at the moment, but there was always time to get stronger. And there were so many people she wanted to protect... And right now, the best thing she could do was embrace hope, and live like her father would want her to.

"Un!" MOMO agreed, beginning to run alongside the black-haired girl.