SF-A2. That was her real name; SF-A2. It was in English, though, and pure nonsense. But it was the closest she got to the way her name was really spelt.
It was better than the kana she had chosen for her name in Japanese. In Japanese, every symbol meant something different, and the closest she got to her name in Japanese was insulting.
She did not want to be 'Ra' elephant –gate 2. That wasn't even close.
S was her family. She was born S, a family of poverty.
F meant that she was a girl.
The dash and then the 'A' meant that she was a young, living member of the family. Once she became a teenager of her kind, she would become 'H', and eventually, when she became an adult, she would be 'M'.
Rarely did a member of the S family ever get farther than 'M' before dying. Then they became, for example, SF+M2.
2 meant that she was the second born in her family. Her elder brother, however, was currently not around. And if an elder sibling died, then your number changed. She was supposed to be SF-A3 now.
But she did not want to forget her brother.
At first, SF-A2 had a different code name. Kimi.
It seemed good. Almost everyone in Japan called her 'kimi' when they spoke to her. Except for some who called her 'anata'. She liked both of the names, really. But kimi just sounded better to her; nice and short.
But Kiyoteru Hiyama did not agree. He insisted that she find another name, because the one she chose was confusing for others. He said that she was calling herself 'you over there'.
She did not want to be 'you over there'.
So she switched the kana used to write 'kimi', and became 'miki'.
She met Kiyoteru Hiyama and Yuki Kaai on her first day.
She had been asleep at the time, and Kiyoteru Hiyama and Yuki Kaai were on a field trip to a mountaintop. The very mountaintop that she had floated upon.
Yuki found her first, and she went:
Sensei! Sensei! There is a girl-tree here!
And Kiyoteru went: A girl-tree? Yuki, trees do not have gender.
Yuki: But this one must be a girl tree! She is much taller than I am!
And she was right. SF-A2 miki was 7 feet tall. To humans, she was strange.
To her brother, she was just about average.
But when Kiyoteru came, he had panicked. miki was much more different when he met her than the way she was now. Now she was a bit more 'normal'.
She soon learned that everyone on Earth must be normal.
miki decided to become human.
She could not change her species; that would be too risky. Science on Earth was highly developed, yes, but it went in a different direction than miki's.
miki's science believed in magic.
So she changed her appearance. With the help of Kiyoteru and Yuki, she managed to look like a regular human.
She wore earmuffs to hide her ears.
She put on high heels to hide her nonexistent feet.
She 'scanned' regular human school uniforms to put on.
She wore a string and pretended the star on her chest that changed her outfit was a necklace.
She wore contacts to hide the stars in her eyes.
She pretended her birthmarks were tattoos.
She used hair-gel to keep her cowlick down.
She became normal.
miki decided to become a Vocaloid.
She was sworn into secrecy, so no one would remember her, recognize her, or even know she existed before she was revealed to the world.
She would be the next Japanese Vocaloid, or Japloid. Because she spoke Japanese.
miki was given the ability to choose what she would look like as a Vocaloid. That was good.
She chose her astronaut outfit.
After miki became a Vocaloid, she went to learn about the other Vocaloids.
They were all strange. Especially the Engloids.
Leon could sparkle.
Lola could change her skin color.
Miriam had silver hair (which was not normal for someone of her age).
Sweet Ann could shoot lasers from her eyes and had stitches all over her body.
Prima had violent mood swings.
Sonika had hair that changed color with her mood.
Big Al had stitches like Sweet Ann, but also had the mind of a young child.
The Japloids weren't any weirder, but weren't entirely normal either;
Meiko was violent and drank too many alcoholic beverages.
Kaito had no 'common sense'.
Miku could fly with her pigtails.
Rin had super-strength.
Len was a child genius.
Gakupo was a 'samurai'.
Luka could breathe underwater.
Gumi was part rabbit; hence, she could jump very high.
miki absentmindedly wondered if Gumi and Sonika were related.
Then came miki.
miki knew she was already plenty weird enough for the Vocaloids. She would fit in just fine… she hoped.
She wasn't sure what would happen to Kiyoteru and Yuki. They were normal. They were a teacher and Student for a homeschooling division. Kiyoteru was Yuki's legal guardian. They were a father and daughter, happy as could be.
And they had made a momentous discovery in SF-A2 miki.
But they refused to tell anyone.
They wanted miki to be surrounded by people just as weird as she was.
They wanted her to have friends.
SF-A2 miki already had friends. She knew them by name:
Kiyoteru Hiyama and Yuki Kaai
SF-A2 miki tried to run away.
She had learned that the Earth's sun was a Red Dwarf Star.
Her body refused to move. Her heart was what controlled her movements. Her heart wanted to stop, but still had to pump blood through her veins. But still, it was too much for her heart to bear.
The memories were too much. She didn't want to relive them.
She didn't want to lose any of her new friends. She didn't want to lose:
She didn't want to see her friends and family die. She didn't want to watch her home die. She didn't want to watch the planet die.
Once was enough.
So she ran away as soon as she gained the strength to. She jumped right through the doorway, trying to get back.
Back to the house Yuki and Kiyoteru had.
Back to the mountain that she and Len had hiked on uncountable times.
Back to the top where she first met Yuki.
Back to the star-board that had brought her here.
Back to the vastness of Space.
But she was stopped.
She was stopped by Kaito; he had run right in front of her and used himself as a barrier to keep her here. She tripped over him and tossed and turned on the ground.
She wouldn't let them stop her. They were merciless.
Meiko hit her with her microphone staff.
She wished she had learned earlier.
Gakupo swiped his sword in her direction.
She wished she had known before she made friends.
Yuki threw an apple at her head.
She wished she had known before she made a new family.
Len set up a trap for her.
miki got snarled in the trap.
She just hung there, unable to move again. The male Vocaloids carried her back to her room in the AH house, where she, Yuki, and Kiyoteru were housed.
He didn't do anything.
He just stared at her and walked.
Everyone was walking.
Then Yuki began to ask questions.
Yuki: Why did you run away, miki?
miki: Because I was scared.
Yuki: Why were you scared?
miki: Because of your sun.
Yuki: What's so scary about the sun?
miki: It is evil.
Len: Why would you want to leave us?
Len and miki had a staring contest. Still the men walked. The summer night was cool, enough to keep the cicadas away for the rest of the night. But between miki and Len, everything felt like it was on fire.
Len: Aren't we your friends?
miki: I have no friends.
miki: Not anymore.
The next day, miki ran away again.
This time to Sonika's house.
Sonika had been kicked out of the Zero-G house months ago. She had been given all of her positions and told to go somewhere else. Gumi would not accept her in the Internet house, and Big Al would not accept her into the Power-FX house. So she made her own house. She was alone.
miki knocked on Sonika's door and waited.
There was rustling.
Sonika opened her door and began to talk. Her hair turned a peculiar shade of blue-green. miki had long since learned what her hair colors meant.
Green meant she was happy.
Blue meant she was confused.
miki asked her why, and Sonika said:
No, it's no big deal. I'm just not sure why you're here.
miki: I just… want to be alone for a while.
Sonika: Did something happen?
Sonika: Do you want to talk about it?
miki: No. Do you have a bed?
Sonika: Yeah, yeah… There's a spare room somewhere to the left. I think…
miki smiled at her and walked over. She had to bend down a little to fit through the door, but it was okay. She was used to that by now.
There was one really large, soft bed right in front of her. miki walked over to it and collapsed, making sure her chest-star changed her clothes into nightclothes.
That night she dreamed of her home and her brother and her old friends and Kiyoteru and Len and Sonika and everyone and cried.
And cried and cried and cried.
The next day, the Engloids came to visit.
They talked about things. They talked about what life was like for them, being less popular than the Japloids were, and how no one could agree on a look for Lola, so she had to keep changing the most.
Sometimes she was even different skin colors.
miki never realized how difficult it was not to be popular. When she had come, she had been thrust into the spotlight, and became a very popular Vocaloid overall, perhaps even rivaling that of Kaito, who was the fourth most popular Vocaloid.
Here, no one was popular.
Well, maybe except Sonika.
And there was a new person to the group: Tonio.
Tonio was very strange.
He owned an Ant Farm, and never wore formal clothes properly; he always forgot to tie his tie or tuck in his shirt. He had hair on his face, and needed contact lenses. Sometimes he wore crazy-colored lenses just to be fun.
miki like Tonio. He was a lot of fun to talk at. But he never talked back, he just laughed or smiled or frowned. He wasn't very talkative, it seemed.
Sonika said it was because he had a sore throat.
Prima said it was because he was just shy.
miki wondered what Tonio was thinking right now.
Then Sweet Ann asked her a question:
So are the rumors true?
Sweet Ann: The rumors. There are tons of rumors about you, miki.
miki: Like what?
Sweet Ann: I think it's because of how tall you are. Or maybe it's because of those tattoos you have on your arms and legs. What are those anyway?
miki: My family markings.
Sonika: Family markings?
miki: I am born with markings that define my family. These markings are markings of poverty.
Prima: That must be terrible!
She stroke a dramatic pose when she said this.
miki: Not really. It doesn't matter much right now…
Leon: Why not?
Sonika: Are you okay? Do you think you need anything?
Miriam: Is something making you sad, miki?
Sonika: Maybe if you talked about it, you would feel better.
miki: I don't want to talk about it.
Tonio: Maybe you could draw it.
miki shot her head up and looked at him. This was the first time he had said anything the entire time he was there. She stared at him, and he stood, walking over to a cupboard.
He pulled out a large piece of paper and a pencil, and placed it on the wide coffee table they were all sitting at.
Then miki took the pencil and drew a circle with two other circles, rings, around it. She wrote the word 'home' inside it, in Kanji. Sonika took the pencil when miki was done and translated.
Then miki took the pencil again, drew an arrow to blankness. It stayed blank. And then she wrote:
No one said anything for the rest of the day.
Then Lola took the pencil and drew many small spaceship-looking things shooting lasers at the planet:
miki shook her head no.
Prima took it next. She drew yucky sticks and other blobs of some sort of webbing everywhere:
Again miki shook her head no.
The day went on from there.
Leon: Monster Attack?
Miriam: Radioactive Bomb?
Sweet Ann: No Sunlight?
miki: Not even close.
Big Al: Too Much Trash?
Then it was Tonio's turn. He didn't draw anything. He just sat there and thought, stroking his chin every so often. Then he took the pencil…
And wrote down all of the titles of her songs that had to do with space.
And then wrote:
miki thought for a moment. Then she circled the one that was true:
Later that night, Len and Rin came knocking on Sonika's door. Sonika went over and opened it.
They were sobbing.
They were asking over and over again if she had seen miki. Sonika shot her an irritated look, and her green hair turned an odd shade of yellow. She was feeling left out. As though there was something she wasn't a part of. Nobody liked it when that happened.
miki showed herself to the twins.
They hugged her tight and told her:
Len: We're sorry
Rin: We won't try to hurt you again
Len: If you have to go, then go
Rin: We will miss you…
Len: But you know what is best for yourself
Rin: Just remember one thing;
Len: We all love you, miki.
miki smiled at them: