Return to Origins

Author: One of my several takes on Brad Hunter's past. I own: Amera, Jacoby, Marianda, Sphinx & the Wind Wolf. See my description of a Wind Wolf in my other Zoid story "Hunter & Hunted." R&R plz

The Hover Cargo trudged slowly through the desert as it did on many occasions, the Blitz team inside. "Dad, where are we going? Because all I see is sand." Leena asked.

"I don't think he heard you." Jamie said, glancing over his shoulder. Dr. Toros was busy playing with one of his zoid figures. Bit stared at him and Brad rolled his eyes. Then something on screen caught all their attentions. "There's a zoid coming from behind us on the right." Jamie said, trying to lock on it.

"It's fast." Bit muttered. Then the zoid dove just past the front of the Hover Cargo. Brad's eyes locked on the pilot and he disappeared.

"Jamie launch Shadow Fox." he said, slipping into his black and gold zoid's cockpit.

"Huh? Why? Okay." the teen asked.

"I know the pilot and zoid." he explained, as his zoid went flying out of the Hover Cargo. It was off and running the second it hit the ground, chasing the mysterious zoid.

"Who do you think it is?" Leena asked.

"Don't know. But it could be anyone, Brad's a mercenary so he knows a lot of people. Maybe some ex-employer or someone with an axe to grind." Dr. Toros reminded his team.

"You know his zoid isn't fast on long runs Fox, so just keep on his tail." Brad told the Shadow Fox. It gave no response but a burst of speed with kept it just behind the other zoid. Finally after a few minute long chase the zoid spun to face Shadow Fox. "Jack Sisqo." Brad said.

"No surprise that you chased me down, considering where we are." he muttered. They both glanced around.

"The Badlands." Brad whispered.

"The group is still here, Amera and everyone." Jack told him.

"Really." he said. Jack nodded.

"Come on." Brad said, as Shadow Fox ran off. Lightning Saix pulled even with it.

"Where are we going?" he asked.

"To the Hover Cargo. Naomi's going to come by later. She knows we're in the Badlands, so she'll want to go back." he explained.

"I never said I do." Sisqo told him.

"You didn't have to Jack." Brad reminded him.

An hour later, they were in the dining room playing cards.

"You said Naomi was going to come by." Jack said.

"Unless she already beat us there, which it seems she did." Brad told him as they stopped. They tossed down their cards and brought their zoids out of the Hover Cargo. Naomi stood waiting for them.

"It's about time." she said, western accent still thick.

"Red comet." Jack said.

"Sisqo and Brad." she whispered, looking them over. All three glanced over at the buildings in front of them.

"Come on. Amera's been wanting to see you." she told them. Brad motioned for the rest of the Blitz team to follow. They walked into one of the bigger buildings where they could hear someone shouting.

"Don't feed me an excuse, I told you not to go out and get into a fight."

"Who is that?" Jamie asked.

"The top dog around here. Don't cross her path when she's in a bad mood." Brad warned. She turned to face them and came over.

"I should knock both of you senseless. Hunter, Sisqo." she said.

"Hello to you too Amera." Jack muttered. Brad raised an eyebrow at the outline of a zoid that was hidden under a tarp.

"Don't even think about it." Amera warned.

"Too late. Curiousity killed the cat, not the canine." he told her.

"Then I'll have to flay you alive." she growled.

"First you'll have to catch me or did you forget that?" he asked. The woman sighed as the zoid came to life and shook the tarp off.

A black Zaber Fang came over. Brad reached up and touched the Zaber's nose. It purred, reconizing him, Jack and Naomi. "Gone, but never forgotten." Naomi whispered as she patted the zoid.

"How exactly do you guys know each other?" Bit piped in.

"Jack, Brad and I grew up together. Amera took us all in as children and trained us to be zoid pilots. Afterwards we all went our own ways, but we always get together sooner or later." Naomi admited.

"And we always come back to the Badlands." Jack added.

"Just don't call her their mother. That's someone else's job." A dark skinned, light haired woman came up.

"How you doing Sphinx?" Naomi asked her.

"Good. Good, it's nice to see you three back home again. Jacoby and Marianda will be happy to see you." she said, magenta eyes shining.

"I would have thought that Jacoby left when he was old enough." Jack muttered.

"And leave Marianda here alone, I doubt it." Naomi said, as they all walked towards one of the many houses that made up the community of people of every imaginable age.

"All these people are pilots?" Jamie asked.

"At some point and time. The elders are retired, the little ones aren't old enough and everyone does what they can to help the community. When we're not training and defending our territory." Amera said.

"It's amazing." Leena said.

"Nobody remembers how long our people have lived this way." Sphinx said.

They opened a door and carefully stepped inside.

"I don't think anyone's home." Bit whispered.

"Someone's in here alright." Brad hissed, walking into the living room. A tall, muscular, pale man was slumped on the couch asleep. Sphinx peered around Jack at him.

"If he's here asleep, where's Marianda?" Naomi asked.

"Hello Amera, I didn't know you were coming over." They all turned to face a short, skinny, older woman with grey hair in a ponytail.

"I thought you might want to know that three of your wayward children came home." she told her.

"We're not wayward. Just independant." Brad corrected her. She went to cuff him in the back of the head, but he stepped just out of her reach.

"Jack, Brad and Naomi. I don't know how many times I've wished for you three to come back to us." Marianda said, tears forming in her silver eyes.

"Don't cry Mom. We'll stay for a bit and visit with everyone. Amera and Jacoby might murder us next time if we don't." Naomi said. The older woman hugged them all and went to wake the sleeper.

"Get up Jacoby." she told him. He shifted his weight slightly. "Jacoby get up. We've got company who you've wanted to come back." she insisted. He sat up, brushing his dark hair from blue eyes and glanced at Brad, Jack and Naomi.

"Looks like none of us've changed." Sphinx said.

"The Hunter, The Red Comet and the Sisqo kid all came home." he said as he got to his feet.

"Didn't we grow out of calling him the Sisqo kid?" Naomi teased.

"Never, how ya doing girlie?" he asked.

"Good." she said. He pulled Brad and Jack into a brief one arm hug each before heading out.

"C'mon, there's something I wanna show ya." he called. They made quick introductions on the way to a hanger. He opened the door and turned on the lights.

"What is it?" Jamie asked.

"A pile of scrap, because I don't think there's anything that could be salvaged from it." Bit said.

"What had it been?" Jack asked.

"Used to be, get this, a Wind Wolf. Found it in a ravine out in the eastern desert." he told them.

"A Wind Wolf. Those are rare, not alot of people see even one in their life." Sphinx piped in.

"I've seen several." Brad muttered. Amera looked at him.

"When? Where?" she asked. He ran his hand over the weather-beaten body of the wolf zoid.

"After I left here, I ended up in the eastern desert with a pack full of wolf zoids and their pilots. For several years, we were a family, every wolf having it's place in the pack. Until one of our own made a deal with one of the other groups that had been after our turf, that if he got leadership: they could roam freely." he said.

"Who won?" Amera asked.

"Not sure. I got dumped off a cliff. Command Wolf couldn't fight and I was too badly hurt." he admited.

"So this was one of your packmate's zoids?" Marianda asked.

"Yeah, but there were about five Wind's in the pack, which numbered around fourty or more." he said.

"I'll see if I can find out who's it was. 'cause I don't think you'll find anything on the body." Jacoby told him. He nodded.

Author: Yeah it does kinda follow Hunter & Hunted. R&R. No Flames.