Well, this is my first published fanfiction, and it's none other than Jak and Daxter! I had started this way back on y!Gallery, but never continued it due to life's funny little circumstances. I have not visited that site in a while, so I took it down and I am finally getting back to working on it here on my shiny new account. Enjoy.
"If we do not act soon, his rage will consume him and, subsequently, darkness the world."
Three blackened figures huddled around a circular pool. Instead of water, the pool contained images from countless locales bleeding amorphously into each other. In the surge of scenery, a young man was the common trait.
"Well chyeah, but, like, what can we do? Fat lotta good the White Eco did."
The man in the pool succumbed to a white tint, twisting and swirling furiously in pulses of electricity. The pool seemed to fracture into jagged purple lines in several spots as if glass struck with stones.
"Eco conduits are powerful but fragile. Just look at the sages – only a handful throughout history managed to keep their sanity intact."
"If only Eco and humans weren't so damnably temperamental."
The pool grew more agitated. Tremors unfelt rippled through the liquid chaos, a puddle reflecting an apocalypse yet to be.
"The Eco responds to inner turmoil. The stronger the emotional tumult, the more volatile the Eco becomes. It doesn't take much to break even the most resilient minds."
"So uh, what's eatin' Jak?"
"The boy has suffered as all heroes do. He's lost the world he loved and his youth to cold and unforgiving imprisonment. He's endured torment others could scarcely dream of. He kills in the name of a destiny he wants nothing to do with."
"But these things he has come to terms with. With the death of Praxis and the time spent with his younger self, he understands his place even though he does not favour it. There is something else. Something deeper..."
The largest figure dipped a finger into the pool and the waves spread and left the visuals crystallized, showing the subject of their scrutiny: Jak, asleep, with Daxter curled up on his chest.
Jak woke with a start, his skin beaded with dread sweat. As the last vestiges of another night terror lifted, reality seeped in bringing his dreary little underground room with it. Through the knotty tangle of green branching down his face, he found two eyes in the dim, wide and worried. He'd awakened to the same eyes for weeks now and he didn't like seeing them expressing so much fear.
"Another one?" said Daxter from the edge of the stale cot as Jak wearily leaned up to rest on his elbows.
"Yeah," the larger said, rubbing his eyes with one hand. He would never tell anyone what the dreams showed him; the twisted things convulsing in his subconscious, screaming for attention in the dead of night. Not even Daxter.
Jak slumped back down and groaned and Daxter crawled back to him and leaned against his side.
"They're gettin' worse," he said, uncharacteristically serious. It wasn't a question so Jak didn't answer.
Some silence passed, punctuated with the usual hollow dripping sound echoing through the underground. Then Daxter said, "Let me guess, a recurring dream where you walk in on Krew gettin' undressed?"
Jak chuckled briefly and said, "Don't say that! The next one probably will be now."
They both laughed and fell quite once more. Without thinking Jak reached out and began scratching Daxter behind the ear. Had this been anywhere else at any other time his hand would have been slapped away. After all, Dax was no pet. But now, in the quiet and the dark, when the ottsel put the pieces of the shattered calm back into place, he allows Jak this comfort.
He breathed a small contented sigh and it reminded Jak of the distant waves of Sandover and the memories came rushing back. Samos' crooked hut and the restful village that breathed the ocean air through arching doorways or oblong windows; the rolling green of hills sloping into sun-bleached sand; the great cliffs and jungles containing countless legends.
The redheaded boy he explored it all with.
"Sorry," Jak said, trying to unravel the knot that had suddenly formed in his stomach and not knowing what else to say.
"Fer what?" said Daxter, his head still angled forward, leaning into the soft scratches.
"Keeping you awake," Jak said at length, deciding that was in fact what he was apologising for. "You should really get your own bed or…drawer or something," he continued hesitantly. He was afraid he might go Dark in his sleep and hurt Daxter, or worse, but the thought of waking up, half lost in the last nightmare to visit him and not having that familiar warmth to feel terrified him even more. He idly wondered if that was selfish.
"Nah, gets too cold," Daxter said. "Soon as this place gets central heating though, I'm kickin' yer ass outta my room." Jak chuckled and silently thanked Daxter for saving him every single day.
The door creaked open and a silhouette was framed in the doorway. With a spark of a match, Torn's face was illuminated in orange-red as he lit another cigarette in the chain. He wove the flame out and took a drag and exhaled.
"Get up, get dressed. It's time."
The trial was over in under an hour; merely a show to precede the verdict that had already been reached. After the destruction of the palace, a makeshift stronghold had been built to contain the new leaders of Haven City. The so-called Council was nothing but drug barons, arms dealers, and gang lords – the remaining mad dogs tearing at the vast corpse that was Haven City, Jak had thought as the smell of smouldering and rot pervaded the imposing fortress.
The armoured transport jarred suddenly and interrupted Jak's recollection of the morning's prosecution. As they sped towards the Wasteland, he sat in restraints and looked around dully, seeing his escort of faceless figures in cobalt metal, Ashelin standing with folded arms and furrowed brows in the corner, Daxter looking sullen on his shoulder plate and finally Veger, standing nearest the door, smug, arrogant and relishing his underhanded victory.
"This Eco freak is more dangerous and unpredictable than any Metal Head," the Count's proclamation to the Council still hissed in Jak's mind. "He doesn't care about this city or its inhabitants. He used his connections with the rebels to further his plans for revenge against the late Baron Praxis, leaving hundreds murdered in his wake." Jak had flinched at that, because it was true to some extent. To Hell with the KG, but how many bystanders had been caught up in his anger or recklessness? He tried not to think about it.
"Jak is a valuable asset to this city's defences," Ashelin had protested, much to Veger's chagrin. "He should be out there helping to stem the tide of Metal Heads and Death Bots who are still warring in the streets, killing thousands. What he did in the past is done; let him help us save our future.
"Respected members of the council," Veger said and approached the elevated semi-circular table at which they sat, "if Haven is to be returned to glory, it cannot continue to rely on blasphemous experimentation and dealings with monsters. Let us cast out this…thing"–he spat and gestured to Jak–"and send a clear message to those who would seek to destroy us."
"That's it!" Daxter screamed from Jak's shoulder plate, no longer able to hold his tongue after he had been warned to keep quiet during the trial. "Talk about Jak like that one more time and I'll take that fancy stick o' yer's and cram it up ya so far you won't be able to bend over and pray to the Precursors for a new one!
"Daxter," Jak said sternly to ottsel before being interrupted by Veger.
"Ah, yes, the talking rat," he said sardonically. "Another twisted product of Dark Eco, no doubt."
"You wanna dance, Count Vulgar?" Daxter shot back and jumped down from Jak's shoulder, marching towards Veger and the Council, attempting to be threatening despite his size and appearance. Jak stood and watched, stunned and touched by his friend's outrage. "I'll show ya just how twisted I can be. And maybe after I slap some sense into you and yer cronies, you'll be able to squeeze out a thought between ya and realize that Jak's the guy that saved all yer useless asses!"
Only then did Jak notice that the Council had not made a sound throughout the trial; slight movements being the only signs of life from the figures made vague by grey, hazy light.
One of the blue enamelled guards stepped forward and seized Daxter by the scruff of the neck as Veger turned to the judges and rested his case. Daxter was shoved roughly into Jak's bound arms where he held the ottsel firmly but carefully, tight enough to silently demand silence. The verdict was passed in uninterested tones and before he knew it, Jak was whisked away to his banishment.
"Jak," Daxter said, his wistful tone bringing Jak out of his reflection. "I probably don't say this often enough, but…" The ottsel stared distantly as his friend turned to look at him perched upon the iron should plate, intrigued by his longing demeanour. "I would live between those things." Jak was confused before looking to the direction Daxter's eyes were focused and saw Ashelin, folded arms emphasizing her prominence. Jak sighed, rolled his eyes and lifted his shackled hands to flick the ottsel's ear, eliciting a pained gasp and an oblivious "What was that for?"
Just then, their forward movement stopped and the vehicle descended. End of the line. They landed roughly and the doors opened and the assault of rough heat scratched at Jak's throat and made pained slits of his eyes.
Before he could adapt, he was hauled to his feet and marched into the unforgiving expanses of sand. Daxter was too busy coughing and shielding his eyes to brace for the sudden movement and tumbled from his should to the steel floor.
"By order of the Grand Council of Haven City," Veger followed and recited. "For heinous acts and crimes against the people, you are hereby banished to theWasteland for life." He emphasized the end through a growing smirk. Before he could return to the hovercraft, Ashelin spoke out once more.
"This is a death sentence, Veger," the Baron's daughter said. "There must be another way."
"Your protest was overruled," Veger growled back before turning his gaze to Jak. "This Dark Eco freak is dangerous. Drop the cargo!" He shouted the command and sternly boarded the waiting vehicle. Daxter emerged by the side of the open doorway as the Count walked by and looked with uncertainty to Jak.
"Jak?" he asked, hesitantly.
"Go back to the city, Dax," Jak replied immediately. Whatever happened to him, he would not, could not, allow his best friend to share his fate. Saying those words, however, sent a chill down his spine despite the tremendous heat around him.
"I'm sorry," Ashelin said, an unusual and genuine apologetic tone in her voice, as she removed the condemned man's restraints. "The Council is too powerful. There was nothing I…"
"I know," Jak interrupted, tired of empty apologies. He rubbed his chafed wrists and sighed wearily. Ashelin took hold of his hand and placed a glowing, quietly beeping device in it.
"You just stay alive, you hear me?" she said, and closed his fingers around it. "That's an order. Someone will find you, I promise." Jak met her eyes and was surprised to see concern there. Maybe she wasn't as cold as everyone thought.
As she walked back to the transport, Veger chimed in and voiced the last word. "May the Precursors have mercy on you," he preached, that same smirk still plastered on his gaunt face. They lifted off and as the dust stirred and clouded around him, Jak silently swore to remove that sneering little grin permanently.
As the sand settled, Jak perked his ears up to hear coughing from within the thick, grainy air. His heart lifted at the sight of Daxter wiping the dust from his eyes.
"Daxter!" Jak said, unable to keep the relief from his voice despite fearing over Daxter's safety.
"Don't look at me," the ottsel said, pawing the last of the grit from his chest. "I'm only here 'cause you wouldn't last a second without me." Daxter approached the larger of the duo and quickly ascended to his shoulder plate. "Alright, tough guy," he said, settling in his usual spot, "you got us into this mess, now ya gotta get us out." He did his best to sound accusatory and Jak smiled briefly before issuing his plan of action, such as it was.
"Let's just get moving," he said, before looking dubiously around. "…But which way?" The blistering sun hung overhead and each horizon held nothing but simmering, barren white. As they set off, he slipped the faintly pulsing trinket Ashelin had given him into his pocket, wondering if they would be found alive.