Chapter 1: Return

A small disc-shaped starship moved silently through the emptiness of space. The ship itself was small, its brushed-aluminum control room containing only three crewmembers. An old Asian man with a long thick mustache, his silver hair tied back, sat at one of the consoles, his small dark eyes scanning the text on the screen in front of him. He was dressed simply, in a white lab coat, tan slacks, and dark brown shoes.

Across the room, a robot typed busily at a keyboard, his attention on the screen that was above his eye level. He was about three feet tall, humanoid in shape, and covered in white body armor with purple trim at his joints. White pointed blades jutted out from the sides of his square shoulders, and a pair of long, purple horns curved gracefully up-and-inwards from the sides of his head, like the pincers of a stag beetle. A dark purple blaze of color began on the top of his head between his horns and ended just above the middle of his forehead, where it widened slightly. The lower portion of his face was hidden by a white faceplate, and his glowing red eyes were visible on a visor-like display. The lower portion of his left arm was heavily armored, while a golden sword was affixed to his right. The sword's blade had no center, and a groove at its tip indicated that the weapon split in half, allowing for a devastating grasp-and-throw maneuver.

A large red, yellow and green parrot -the third member of this ship's odd crew- fluttered from his perch, and alighted upon one of the robot's shoulder blades. The sound masked the soft whirling of gears and processors that indicated that this was not an ordinary parrot.

"Rokusho," the old man addressed the robot softly, turning in his direction. The white robot turned in his chair abruptly, and the parrot squawked in protest.

"Hush Baton," Rokusho said to the parrot, raising his other hand, his voice low and firm.

Gears inside the mechanical bird's body moved as Baton lowered his head, muttering in a squawking voice, "Well, if you hadn't moved so quickly-"

"What did you need, Professor?" Rokusho asked, ignoring the parrot who grumbled irritably in his right audio receiver.

"You remember my son Satoshi from when he came to visit, don't you?" the Professor asked.

"Hmmm, that wasn't long after you first activated Rokusho, was it?" remarked Baton, being the older of the two robots. "But I remember Satoshi."

"I remember Satoshi as well," Rokusho chimed in, a white hand resting under his chin in thought, "But I'm afraid my memories of that visit are cloudy at best."

Professor Hushi chuckled, recalling the days of that visit, and of Rokusho's youth. Rokusho was the final result of all of the Professor's research in the field of robotics, the first robot created using both the Medabot Theory he developed, and the first of the medals the archeologists had uncovered from the ruins. That had been many years ago.

Rokusho himself only partly understood his origins. He knew only the most rudimentary elements, and he had no conscious grasp of the knowledge and memories of his kinds' ancient past, and how they had been consigned to oblivion. Despite the fact that for a Medabot, Rokusho was quite old, the Professor still had great plans for him.

"But what of Satoshi, Professor?" Rokusho asked him. "Has he finally been found?" Satoshi had been missing for some time. He had vanished not long after returning to his home in America from a long war overseas, and there were rumors that the war had been what finally drove him to the brink of insanity.

"I'm afraid not, Rokusho," came the reply, "But his wife Nicole has sent me a rather long and interesting email.

"Is she well?" asked Baton.

"I believe she is well enough, although she is quite flustered," The Professor answered, turning to the message on the screen once more, as the other two moved closer to read for themselves. "It appears she is having a bit of a time with Argenta, her daughter. The girl's been getting into a great deal of mischief, both at home and in school. The girl is of age, and the majority of Nicole's family believe that she should be forced to pack her things and leave."

"Professor! How could they even consider it! " Rokusho exclaimed in shock. "After the fire that destroyed our old house, I wandered the country for years without a home. The dark city streets are hardly safe for an armed Medabot capable of defending himself, never mind a young woman!"

"What will be done with her, Professor?" Baton asked. "They feel they can't keep her around their family, but they can't just throw her out on the streets to fend for herself." The both of them looked to the man who was both their creator and friend for an answer.

"That is precisely why I would return to Earth -to Japan- and offer for her to come and live with us," The Professor said, and the others took a moment to digest his words.

"I have no objection to going back, but is allowing a miscreant under our roof wise?" Baton asked.

"Don't get your feathers ruffled, old friend," Rokusho chucked. "Besides," he added, "Who better to reeducate a miscreant than the Professor?" The old man and the Medabot exchanged knowing looks as they recalled a few of the more memorable incidents of Rokusho's youth.

"Very well," relented Baton, "But where are we going to live?" He looked to the Professor, examining the old man with one beady eye, then the other.

"Well if I recall correctly, there was a little neighborhood that Rokusho took a liking to during his years of wandering, wasn't there Rokusho?" The Professor asked him, despite knowing the answer. The old scientist took a private joy in the look of excitement that spread across his Medabot's face.

"Could we find a place there, Professor?" The white Medabot asked, a slight note of hope entering his elegant baritone voice.

The Professor smiled. "If fate permits," He clicked the reply button on the computer screen, and began composing a reply to the message. "If we are going to return to Earth, I believe the two of you have some preparation to do," he said.

Rokusho left the room and headed down one of the narrow hallways with Baton on his shoulder. Baton, being a robotic parrot, had no psychical possessions, Rokusho owned nothing but the beige silk cape he always wore outside, and the Professor had taken only the most basic necessities with him onto the ship. The Professor had a way of finding something for his assistants –as he often called the two of them- to do. After ensuring that everything was packed away as it should be, Baton left Rokusho and returned to his perch, his wings beating hard against the ship's stale, recycled air. Having nothing else to do, Rokusho made his way down the hallway again, stopping as he entered the door at the end of the hall.

The door opened automatically, revealing a small bedroom that was as meticulously kept as the rest of the ship. The room was bare except for a queen size bed in one corner and a small cot against the opposite wall. The bed was a simple brass one, with off-white sheets and a dark brown comforter, and the cot was made in the same fashion. The only difference between them was the expensive-looking beige silk cape that was lying on the cot, still on its hanger. Rokusho picked up the cape and removed it from the plain wire hanger carefully, and his silvery white fingers fumbled for the small clasp hidden in the cowl of the cape. The gold clasp came undone with a soft click, and the Medabot swung the cape onto his square shoulders. He held out his sword arm and glanced down at the deep red fabric of the cape's underside as it contrasted with his white armor.

Rokusho sighed. The cape that Karen Junemae had given him as a farewell gift looked as new as the day he had first worn it, but the same could not be said for him. He was nearly twelve years old, and the thought that he was even older than five still amazed him. Like any computer, the average Medabot body lasted about five or six years. After that point, most people bought a new body for their Medabot. After all, a Medabot's consciousness was held within the hexagonal medal that they carried inside them. A Medabot with an old body needed only to get another, have someone remove their medal and then reinsert it into the new body.

Some said that because of the way Medabots were made that they could live indefinitely - and this was true - in theory. However, accidents happened often - medals were sometimes broken or lost, or a suitable body could not be found. Rokusho's case was the last. He had been in the same body since he had first awakened, and he noted that it was beginning to show. The surface of his body wasn't smooth anymore; instead it was covered in millions upon millions of tiny nicks and scratches. There were noticeable chips and cracks in his armor and he noticed a particularly long, yet small crack had formed on the heavy Hammer Fist on his left arm. The white and purple coloring on his metal body was fading in places, and the once powerful Chambara Sword on his right arm was no longer as sharp. Even his eyes, which had been a brilliant ruby not long ago had faded to a dull garnet, and his vision had faded with it. Professor Hushi knew of his condition, but his body was beyond the old man's ability to repair. All the old robotic scientist could do was keep the slowly dying Medabot as comfortable as possible.

Rokusho crawled onto his cot, not even bothering to cover himself with the sheets. He tired so easily now, and the Medabot feared that one day he might simply not awaken. For now though, he put his fears aside and allowed sleep to overtake him. It will be a week until we get there…The Professor will need me to unload the ship's cargo bay… move everything into the house… The Medabot thoughts slowed as he closed his eyes and slept.