"Jeena?" I spoke into my comlink, hoping she would pick up. "Jeena, do you read me?"
"Loud and clear, Rallen," came her reply. "Have you found anything?"
My eyes scanned over the capsule in front of me, trying to figure out if the man inside was dead or alive.
"Yeah. I've found an escape capsule from a ship… there's someone inside it," I said.
"What?" she shouted frantically. "Are they alive?"
"I don't know," I replied. "Do you think you can take a look at it?"
"Yeah," she said. "I'll do my best."
"Alright. Thanks, Jeena. I'm preparing him for transport now."
After transporting the capsule back to the ship, I mostly just bummed around for a while until Jeena called me down to the cargo hold. Apparently, there was something urgent with the capsule. I went down in the elevator and walked toward the back of the hold…
…and almost screamed. The man inside the capsule was alive, but looked a little dazed. He was shouting and screaming like an idiot, and Jeena was trying to calm him down. She was so brave.
I mean, that man was much taller than her, and outweighed her by at least one hundred pounds. Plus, who says he wasn't armed?
"Shh," Jeena said calmly, gently touching his arm. "Calm down, sir. Just relax…"
The old man was tall with red hair and a bushy red beard, and it was easy to see that he was muscular. He was beginning to calm down, but he still seemed to be teetering on the edge of sanity, like a teacup about to fall off the edge of a table.
He sighed. "W-where am I?"
"You're in our ship. Your capsule crash-landed on Daichi," Jeena explained. "Who are you? Where are you from?"
The old man sighed again. "I am Aldous," he said after a long pause. "I come from the Giorna system."
"W-what? Giorna?" I blurted out. "But that's impossible! The Giorna system disappeared over sixteen years ago!"
"Is it true?" Aldous asked.
I nodded. "Yes. It disappeared without a trace."
He held his head in his hands and rubbed his temples. "I'm too late, then…" He looked up and saw the diamond-thingy on my wrist. "Where did you find that?" he asked.
"This? I found it outside your capsule… then I got swallowed up into this black vortex-"
"Wait, did you say black vortex?"
"Uh… yeah," I said. "A huge black vortex."
"Oh, no… this isn't good…" Aldous shook his head. "So, just as a refresher… this isn't Giorna, right?"
"Last time I checked, it's the Nanairo system," I replied. "And the Giorna system was destroyed, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say: no, it isn't."
Aldous sighed. "Then the Krawl have found a new target…"
"Krawl?" I implored. "What're Krawl?"
"Krawl are planet-devouring creatures of the shadow," Aldous replied. "They attacked and destroyed Giorna, and have set their sights on the Nanairo system."
"Are those the red things that I fought in the vortex?"
"Those were a type of Krawl," Aldous said.
"My weapons… they didn't do anything against them… but the creatures that came out of this… thingy. They killed the Krawl."
"Ah, so you managed to awaken the Spectrobes?" Aldous asked curiously.
"Yeah, Spectrobes," I said. "They… seemed to talk to me. Like, with mental telepathy or something."
The old man's eyes widened with surprise. "They talked to you? They only speak to their true masters, and even then, only ones who carry a great destiny…" He snapped his head up, as if he had a sudden revelation. "That means… you are the one who is destined to save the Nanairo system."
"Me? Save the Nanairo system?"
Say what? I couldn't be! I'd more than likely get the system blown up!
"Me? I'm supposed to save the Nanairo system?"
I glanced at Jeena, then at Aldous, trying to see if he was kidding. He had a serious expression. Uh-oh.
"We're doomed!" I screamed.
"What are you talking about?" Aldous asked, confused. Obviously, he didn't understand.
"Well, Rallen doesn't really have much faith in himself," Jeena replied disapprovingly.
"Hey!" I shouted, glaring. "I have plenty of faith in myself."
"Oh, yeah? Then why did you shout," she mimicked my facial expression. "'We're doomed!'" She started to laugh, waving her hands like an idiot.
At that moment, I felt like I hated her.
But I didn't. I couldn't.
So, I just sighed and shook my head. "I'll do my best,"
"I would hope so," Aldous muttered. "Otherwise, we're all dead."
I walked toward the elevator and went up. "Talk about Mr. Sunshine," I muttered.
I turned around and saw Jeena standing behind me. I turned a deep red. "Oh, J-Jeena… you heard that."
"Yeah, I did," she said, grinning. "Mr. Tomato."
I blushed. "What are you talking about?" I asked nervously.
"Well, you look like a tomato when you blush." She smiled and took a step forward.
"H-how would you know? I'm not blushing…"
"Shame… I think it would look cute on you." She grinned. "Just like it does now."
I knew for sure that I was blushing. My cheeks were hot, and I felt blood rushing to them.
Jeena leaned in close and pushed a strand of pink hair out of her face.
I tried not to make my surprise known. "I think you're really…"
I didn't get to finish the sentence. Jeena pulled me close and kissed me softly.
"Listen, you know I wasn't putting you down in front of Aldous on purpose, right?" she asked.
"Yes," I replied.
"Good," she sighed. "Because you're my best friend… well, honestly one of my only friends, and I don't want to lose you…"
I smiled. "You're my best friend, too…" I leaned in and kissed her again.
She was taken by surprise from that kiss, but she smiled. "Also, Aldous said that you need to go find minerals, fossils, and cubes. Cubes have valuable info on Spectrobes, minerals help Spectrobes grow, and fossils… well, you can restore them to make Spectrobes."
I looked down at a red creature in her arms. "Uh… Jeena? What's that?"
"Oh, this is Komainu, or Kom, for short. He's a child Spectrobe Aldous regenerated. He's supposed to be able to find buried minerals and cubes and fossils and stuff."
"Yes!" squeaked a voice in my head. "I am Komainu! And I will thank you not to call me a boy, because I am not!"
Jeena looked around. "Rallen? Did you hear something?"
Did she just hear the voice of Komainu?
"Umm… what did it sound like?" I implored.
"It sounded… squeaky."
"Yes! She heard me!" Komainu squeaked.
Jeena looked Komainu straight in the eyes. "Kom? Was that you?"
"It was!" the red Spectrobe said. "It is me!"
"Uh…" Jeena stared at me.
"Ask Aldous," I said, stepping out into the torrent. "I'll see you later, Jeena…"
"See you, Rallen…" She smiled.