Chapter 1: The Pilots' First Encounter
Space is full of unknown things. Mysterious, yet wonderful.
So many unknown world. Different life-form and cultures they never encounter. Or, learn.
Inquisitive if there are life in space. No one knows.
Until, one mission, on the planet called Kerberos.
Shiro though he and his crew just collected ice sample on planet Kerberos, but didn't expect to encounter an alien warship. Or, being rescue by a giant, flying red lion. And, shooting beams from its tail.
"I don't believe it." Shiro manages to find his voice. "This can't be happening."
"I afraid I'm going to disagree with you, Shiro." One of his crew replied. "Cause, what we saw is taking place."
Shiro couldn't argue that. Neither him nor his crews predicted this outcome. Nor prepare them.
"Sorry, Dad." Another crewmen, revealed to be his son, spoke. "But I kinda agree with Shiro. This isn't what the Garrison taught us in class."
"Agree." Shiro understand what he meant. But can't find the words describe how he felt.
"Well, whatever the Garrison teach you two," Narrow his eyes beneath his space-helmet. "This is the discovering of a lifetime. Matt, get the camera."
Without hesitated, the young known as Matt, run back to the shutter and grab the video-camera. And, begin to shot.
"Man, Iverson wouldn't believe this." Rolling the scene as the red lion continue its battle against an alien warship.
His father walk aside him, suddenly he chuckled. "I know, Matt. But, at least, we'll bring proof to the Garrison. Right, Shiro?"
Before Shiro could reply, an explosion caught their attention. Once they turn their heads, flames overran the warship. Lost-for-words, the burning warship crash-landed on the surface of Kerberos. Thankfully, it landed a few meters way from them.
"My goodness," Matt's father became shocked. "I hope everyone in that ship is alright?"
"Let's check it-" A roar interrupted Shiro as the red lion came out from the flames of burning and broken warship. Which, give it quite impression to them.
Awestruck by it, Shiro and his crew remain still as the red lion walk out of the burning flames. Then, stare back to them.
At a moment, they expected the red lion is planning to killed but instead it just stared. Nothing more, and nothing less. Confused, also unsure for both of them.
"Why hasn't it attacking us?" Matt wondered, but in his tone his frightened. "Dad? Shiro?"
"I can't explain, son." His replied, poorly. "But whatever it is, be ready."
Can't figure how, but neither them didn't count what happened next. The red lion didn't do anything but staring. Later, it flew. Once more, giving them quite an impression.
"Did that lion just flew?" Shiro manages to get his voices.
"Apparently, it did." He answers back. "Though, I can't explain why."
"Maybe it doesn't think of us as a threat." Matt stated, giving them his point of view.
"Could be, Matt." He agrees with his son. "But where did it came from? And, it save us?"
"I don't know, Sam." Shiro retorted, revealing the last crew men's name. "But what reason it has, I'm sure we'll found our answer, very soon."
Chapter 2: The Garrison
The mission was success. But when Shiro came back, he got a strange phone call.
As promise. This chapter is over a thousand-words. Hope you enjoy it.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
A year later,
"I can't believe." A young cadet name Lance had failed his simulation test. Along with his team. But that wasn't the reason why he's beating himself. "I still can't believe I show Shiro my poor example of my flied."
You guess it. Takashi Shirogane (Shiro for short) decided to watch and checked how the next generation pilots are doing. And, with his luck, he failed, badly.
You see, not only he crash but he also argues with his teammate. Even, his best pal, Hunk. Who, presume, to have motion sickness in fly class and vomit during the simulation.
"Look, man. It's not that bad." Tries to calm his friend. "I'm sure Shiro didn't notice your bad piloting skill."
"Are you sure, Hunk?" Lance wasn't certain. "I mean, I did mess-up. And, I'm certain Iverson did yell at us for not working as a team. Mess-up the rescue mission, arguing with each other or piloting so reckless."
Hunk don't want to admit it, but Lance has a point. True, he's piloting hasn't improve.
"Okay, you're right." Hunk tries to figure a way to his friend feel better. "But why else, your in fighter class? I mean, you're better than your last class, right?"
"True," Lance smile but soon turn into a flown. "But the real reason, why is because the best pilot disappear. Or, presume died because no one had him yet."
"Oh, right?" Hunk forgot. "He mentions that, didn't he?"
"Yep, he did." Lance stand up. "Right after he gives us a harsh comment."
Hunk got up and followed his friend. "Okay, bad example. But the good part is, Shiro wasn't paying attention after Iverson bring out the 'best pilot' and 'disappear' in the same sentence, you know."
That got Lance's attention. "Wait, you mean, Shiro presume he still alive?"
"Well, yeah." Hunk replied. "He even calls him out during the lecture."
Lance stop as he tries understands for a moment. "It's been four years, Hunk. How could Shiro still consider that?"
"Don't know." He answered. "Guess he hadn't given up or admit defeated until he's body is found."
"I see." Lance narrow his eyes, with a sad expression. "I wondered what Shiro and the other senior are doing now?"
"Who knows?" Hunk response back. "But whatever it is, I'm sure it's nothing bad."
Hunk was wrong. Shiro and the senior officers argue in the Instructors' Lounge.
"You're being disrespectfully, sir!" He scolded his senior commander.
"Calm down, Shiro." Iverson held his hands as he tries to calm Shiro. "I understand I went too far. But you don't have it serious."
"If it involve 'the missing cadet'," Shiro hissed. "He might still be alive."
Iverson sighed, deeply. He made a mistake by using 'the missing cadet' for his lectures."I get it that uses him but isn't it time let him go?"
"If you think I'm giving up on him, you're wrong." Shiro snapped. Which, cause every senior in the Garrison to turn. "Until, his corpse is found, I'll move on."
"That's quite enough, Shiro." said the female officer. "I understand why you refused but you need to stay calm. The Garrison wouldn't allow this kind of behavior, understood?"
"I understood, Admiral Sanda." Shiro narrowed his eyes. And, took a seat.
"Good," Sanda proceeds. "Now then, shall we begin?"
The seniors nodded and begin their meeting. However, Shiro's mind is somewhere as he pay no attention. In his mind, only one remain inside. The missing cadet.
Though everyone, expected Shiro, admit that the missing cadet is die. He feels he's out there. And, he promises to never give up on him. No matter what other say about him.
A few hours later, the meeting end. Shiro, immediately, dismissed himself from the lounge. Refuses to listening, only to be grab by the shoulder. He grinds his teeth before he turns, expected Iverson or Admiral Sanda. Only find Sam Holt.
"Hey, Shiro." Sam greeted him with a warm smile. "Ruff day, isn't it?"
Shiro sighed, deeply. "You have no idea, sir."
Later, he explains. "First, Iverson uses 'the missing cadet' to remind why he's in fight class. Got an argue with him, but Admiral Sanda's order us to stop."
"I see." Sam seems worried. He understands what Shiro been though, if something to his kids and assume die. "Sorry to hear that, son."
Truly, he is. "I'm sure he's still alive. We'll just need to wait."
Shiro smile as he nodded to his response. "Thanks, Sam."
Before Shiro could leave, an idea came from Sam. "Hey, Shiro."
Got his attention. "If you want, you can over for dinner tonight."
"Are you sure?" Shiro sound surprise by Sam's requested. "Don't want to cost a problem for Colleen?"
"I'm sure she doesn't mind." Sam was positive. "And, I'm also sure that Matt and Katie are excited to you again."
After hearing that, Shiro had no choice but accept Sam's request. "Sure, why not? I'm getting tired eating from the Garrison."
"Good to hear." Sam beamed at his response. "Dinner at 7 o'clock. Don't be late. See you tonight."
"Yeah," Shiro waved. "Same here."
As Shiro and Sam headed their separate way, Sam made a quick call. "Hello, Colleen. Set a plate for one more tonight?"
In his quarter, Shiro throw himself in his bed. While he relaxes, Shiro turn as he spotted a few picture frames beside his bed. One of them got his attention, it's picture of him with a young boy. He has messy hair, uneven-cut bangs and eyes that's purple in a certain lights.
Shiro stand as he walked and grabbed the photo as he stared. With a sad expression. "Keith."
While he stares at the young boy, Shiro remember the first they met. And, how Keith's first impression got his attention.
A few year ago
"I've brought a special guest with me today. I'm sure you recognize him." Shiro stand as the principal introduces him to the class. "He's the youngest pilot ever to lead a mission into space, Takashi Shirogane."
"Thanks for having me." He thanks the principal and greet the class.
"Shiro broke the record for the fastest orbital velocity, beating the old heliocentric speed by about 50 kilometers per second." The principal inform the students of Shiro's success.
Shiro explained his reason why he's here. "The Galaxy Garrison sent me to schools in the area to help find the next generation of astroexplorers." Saw the excitement in their eyes.
As he predicted, everyone in class raise their hands. But t he students moan as Shiro mention a test. Until, he tells them what their test is. "By playing a video game."
And, the students became excited. All, but one.
Shiro lead the students outside and to the hexagonal trailer. "Introducing the Orbit Axiom X, the Galaxy Garrison's most advanced the flight simulator." He explained before he asked. "Let's see what you got."
With numerous students tries the flight simulator, they failed. "We've had some great tries, but nobody's made past the third level." Then, turn his attention to the last student (one in the photo). "Looks like you're the only one who's left."
Surprisingly, he's past the fifth level. Everyone was impressed, expected one. "No way! Keith made it past level five?" said the kid with one-sided bangs. He didn't believe that. "Thing's gotta be broken."
While Shiro watches, the principal came and give him a tablet. "I've complied a list of students I think would make the best candidates for the Garrisons."
"Is this guy on there?" he wondered. "Looks like he's just about ready to fly the real thing."
"Keith?" The principal sound less delight. "He's a bit of a discipline case. I don't think he'd necessarily fit in with the rigid Garrison culture."
Unaware that Keith was listening. He grits his teeth, furiously.
"This is James Griffin." the principal introduce Shiro to a different student. The same boy from earlier. "He has the highest grades in school."
Before Shiro could do anything, the simulator sound got his attention and notices Keith has vanishes. But the sound of his car, made him figure where he's at. Which, surprise Shiro. "Is that your car?"
A few hour later, at the Juvenile Detention Center. Shiro help Keith as he walks him to his car. Which, confuses Keith.
"I don't get it?" Keith questioned Shiro's acted. "I steal your car and you respond be helping me out?"
Shiro open the door as he gets in. "Yeah, so you owe me one." Later, he gave Keith a card. "Be at this address tomorrow at 0800 hours."
Strangely, Keith took it. But confuse as he looks at Shiro.
"You're getting a second chance." he responds, shutting his shuttered as he drives.
The phone rang, interrupt Shiro, snapping him back from the past to present. He walks, grab the phone and answer it.
"Hello?" He answers. "This is Takashi Shirogane. But friends call me 'Shiro'. Can I help you?"
No answer. Shiro repeated say 'hello' but still nothing. Then, the phone hand hang.
"Weird." he replied, looking at the phone. But this wasn't his first, he remembers he has numerous strange calls when he came back from the Kerberos Mission. "I wondered who keeps calling me?"
Shiro was unaware that someone was calling him though the payphone. And, was unable to speak to him.
Guess who been calling Shiro when he came back from the Kerberos Mission. :)
Chapter 3: Dinner
Shiro has dinner with the Holt family.
Sorry it took me long. I was going writing work on a different website. Enjoy.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
At the diner room, the Holt family was setting the table. Plus, one more. And, getting the food on the table.
"I can't believe you invited Shiro for dinner, Dad." Matt smile, cheered.
"Same here." Matt's young sister, Katie, whom Matt sometime call her 'Pidge' when they were young. "I wondered if I'll tell him about my online friend."
"I'm sure he will, Katie." Sam, their father, chuckled. "Especially, his user-name. I wondered where and how he came up that name?"
"Don't worry, Dad." Katie smirked, devilishly. "I text him. And, ask."
"I see." Sam intrigued. "Mind telling us?"
"Not a chance," she replied. "After all, it wouldn't be fair for Shiro."
"Point taken," Sam grumbled, along with Matt. He, too, was curious about his sister's online friend.
"But you'll tell us once we mention him," Matt implied. "Cause, we can't handle secretly from you, sis."
"Of course," she promised. Then, change the subject. "So, when will Shiro be here, Dad?"
"Soon," Sam read his digit-watches. "About ten more minutes, precise."
"Cool." Matt and Katie excited unison said.
Sam smiled. But his wife, Colleen seems concerns. "A break from the Garrison."
"Yeah, that too." Sam scratch his head. "The Garrison give Shiro a hard time in work today."
Colleen realizes what her husband meant. "Are they talking about the missing cadet?!"
"Afraid so, Colleen."Sam sighed. "And, Shiro wouldn't let it go. He's still believe Keith's alive."
"Well, I won't blame." She admitted, understand Shiro's suffering. "If I'm in Shiro's shoes, I would do the same."
"Same here." Sam agrees with his wife. "But there's nothing we can do. Besides, being there for him."
"And, comfort for him." Colleen places her hand on her husband's shoulder and give him a warm smile. He smiles back at her.
Ten minutes later
Outside the Holt's residence, Shiro parked beside the Holt's vehicles and gently slam the door. "Here goes nothing."
He inhaled and begin to walk. There he heard the children's laughter as they run passes the Holt's residence. Shiro smile, but soon frown.
"Keep it together, Shiro." He told himself, calmly. "You're a guest, and Sam invited you to dinner with his family for tonight."
Once more, Shiro inhaled and continue to walk. Until, he reaches to the front door and gently knock.
Inside the Holt's house, a knock caught the attention of two young member of Holt family. As they run and answer it.
"Shiro's here!" Matt shouted, begin to run.
"I'll get it." Katie yelled, racing against her brother. But someone beat them as he open the door.
"Hey, Shiro." Sam greets as he welcome him inside. "Make yourself in a home."
"Thank, Sam." Shiro walk in, notices the expression on Matt and Katie's face. "I'm guesses I miss something here?"
"You have no idea." Katie muttered, making a pouting face.
"Yeah, what she said." Matt shared his sister's pain.
"Well, neither way." Sam tries to change the subject. "Dinner will be ready in twenty minutes. So, we can talk while we wait."
"Good idea." Shiro agrees, walking alongside with his superior to the dining room. Then, sit in the middle as Matt and Katie sit beside him. "So, what should we talk about? Any interesting to shared?"
Matt and Katie look beside themselves, wondering who goes first. Thankfully, Shiro help them.
"Sam mention you made a friend." Shiro shared his compression to Katie. "An online friend, right?"
"You mean, 'Cosmic Wolf'." Katie smiled, widely. "Sure, he sound pretty cool. And, open-minded."
Shiro chuckled. "I see. I wondered where he thought of that name. Sound unique."
"I know." Katie agrees, then explained. "He told he's interesting astrology and cosmologies. Not to mention, he has a pet wolf named 'Sirius'."
"You're kidding, right?" Shiro assumed. Until, Katie give him a serious glance in the eyes. "You're not kidding, aren't you?"
"Nope." She replied.
Shiro blinked, surprisingly. "When or how he has a wolf?"
"I know, it's crazy and yet, cool." Katie was overwhelmed. "When I ask him, he replied that he found and rescue a pup. And, raise the wolf pup as a pet."
"Well, that explain it." Shiro was surprised and speechless.
"Yeah," Katie agreed, continuously. "But when I told him what you, dad, and Matt found in the Kerberos Mission, he freaks out."
"Yes, he would." Shiro agreed, laughingly. "After all, we were surprise as well. Who know, finding a flying red lion in space be quiet an amazing discovered."
"Wish I could him." Katie moaned, lower her head to the table. "But I can. Cause the Garrison confiscate it."
"Yeah, sorry." Shiro apologized. Wondered what he could do to help. "But I'm sure everyone will have a chance to see it."
"You think so." Katie mumbled.
"Positive." Shiro sound confident.
After having dinner with the Holt family, Shiro head to his car and left home at the Garrison. Hoping to get a good night rest.
Once Shiro enter his quarts, he changes out of his Garrison uniform and into his pajamas. As he hangs his uniform, Shiro wear a pale-white sleeveless shirt and a dark gray sweatpants, Shiro was ready for bed. As he pulls his sheets, another phone rang.
"Who's calling me in this hour?" Shiro complained, surprisingly. There he stops and answer the phone, but as usual, nothing came.
While Shiro tries to get a response, nothing happen until the line was dead. "This is ridiculous. Who's keep calling me?"
After Shiro hang up, he wondered who and why this person keep hanging him up. He hopes he'll find his answer soon. But now, it's time for bed.
As Shiro went to sleep, his mind wander on the mysterious caller. And, why this person keep on calling him and leave no reply.
So, what do you think?
Chapter 4: A Surprise Discovered
After having a dinner with Holt last night. But Matt's younger sister, Katie, send him a text and a picture. There they discovered something shocking.
Just two more chapter until Refuge Town. Guess who'll be the first to make an appear?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Outside the Garrison, Shiro was cleaning his hover bike when he heard a familiar voice. "When were you gonna tel me?"
"Oh, Hey, Keith." Shiro turn his attention away. Begin to discusses with Keith as he walks.
"So, what is it?" Keith didn't change the subject. "Are you sick or something?"
Shiro became confuse. "I'm not sure I follow--"
"I was outside your office." He interrupted, getting straight to the point. "I overheard you and Commander Holt talking with Admiral Sanda." He demands. "Tell me the truth. Tell me what's wrong. I'm not a little kid. I can handle it."
Shocked, and a little surprised. Shiro begin to explain the reason. "I have a disease... and it's getting worse." He admitted. "I'll only be able to maintain my peak condition for a couple more years. After that..."
Shiro pause, turning to his hover bike as he places his hands on it. "The Garrison doesn't want me up there. Neither does Adam."
Keith seems concerns. Whether it's Shiro's condition or his flight. "So, what are you gonna do?"
"I'm going on the mission." Shiro sound serious and determine.
"You're really serious." Keith's surprise, and unsure."So, are we still on that race?"
Shiro smiled. "Yeah, we still are." Then, remember something. "Just let me get helmet, I left it in my quarter."
"Okay," Keith supported. "Meet you at the canyons?"
"Sure." He approved. "I'll met you there."
"Later, Shiro." Keith left, waving goodbye.
"See ya." Shiro went back to his bike. In hopes he finishes in time.
"I've left sooner." Shiro groan, wake from his sleep. "So Keith--"
Shiro still blame himself, wondered if he'll ever find Keith. Or, discovered his remains? "Quite putting these things in your mind, Shiro. You know, he still out."
He clear his mind, get off his bed and start getting ready. "Another day, another morning but same thing. Wish it was different, thought."
After Shiro got dress in his Garrison uniform, then walk out and begin his daily work. Until, his stomach made a grumble sound. "First thing first, breakfast."
Shiro feel embarrass. Hope no one hears it. "I wonder what they got in the menu."
"Their food some work," Shiro stated, after finished his breakfast and walked out cafeteria. "No wondered the cadets prefer eating at home."
Shiro recalled numerous students who lived near the Galaxy Garrison, even though Sam loves their food, no one can compare his wife's cooking skills. Same with Matt. Nothing compares to Colleen's.
"Commander Holt!" he said, turning his attention. "How are you, sir?"
"I'm fine." Sam retorted. "But I should ask you, though."
"I'm alright." Shiro, replied. "A little tire, but I'm okay."
"Nothing bad, I hope?" Sam got curious and yet, worry.
"No," he answered, but can't lie or keep secrets from him. "Only getting phone calls from an unknown caller."
"An unknown caller?" Sam sound surprised. "Does that recently? When?"
"Since we got back from the Kerberos Mission." he retorted.
"I see." Commander Holt places his hand on his chin. "And, this continues to happen."
"Pretty much." Shiro recalled, but seem curious. "Why you ask?"
"No reason." Sam reassured. "This caller? Cause, no problems with you?"
He shook his head. "To be honest, I don't know who's keep me?"
"What do you mean?" Sam became curious.
"I mean, I can't figure if it's a male or female." Shiro explained. "The caller keep hanging up."
Sam sound surprised and yet, curious. "Possible a fan."
"Maybe." Shiro figure the same. "Well, it's time work."
"I understand," he smiled. "See you later, then."
Before they departed, someone was calling them. "Dad! Shiro!"
"Matt?" Shiro sound surprises.
"What on-" Sam sound surprises and confuses. "Matthew, no running in the halls. Are you planning to get yourself expelled from the Garrison?"
"No, Dad." Matt replied, out of breath as he was looking for them. "Katie send me a text. And, at first, I didn't believe her until she sends me the picture."
"What do you mean?" Shiro asked.
"I can't explain," Matt digging through his pockets until he found his phone. Then, turn it on. "But look!"
Sam and Shiro staring at the screen, their eyes widening in disbelief. Neither of them say a word, until Shiro got his tongue back. "Is that--"
"It might be," Sam shared the thought. "But how?"
In the screen was a picture of a young man with messy, black hair with an uneven cut bangs and blue-gray eyes that seem purple in a certain light. And, one word came in mind. A name, actually.
Hope you enjoy it.
Chapter 5: The Searches
Shiro still convince that Keith's still alive. And, when Katie send her a picture, they were surprise.
Glad that everyone enjoy my stories. Hope you'll continue reading until it ends.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Katie couldn't believe it. Her mother made her go on an errant. On a Saturday. She wondered why her mother couldn't do it herself.
"Man, this bites." she said to herself. "Why me? Should Dad or Matt do this? They are on their breaks."
As she walks, a red-and-white hover bike passes by her as it caught her attention. On the hover bike, two people (a young man and woman) rode as they stop at a bakery store.
"Huh, nice hover bike." Katie comment their ride. "Wish I have one."
The young woman took her helmet off she revealed to have a waist-length, curly brunette, nut-brown and bright-blue eyes. Dresses in a blue jean pants, pink tank and a white jacket. And, white knee-high boots with a pink line. With a blue oval-jewel around her neck.
"She's pretty." Katie admitted but curious about the driver. "Who's her rider, though?"
Curious, Katie waited as the driver removed and place the helmet. Only to revealed a dark massy hair as he put on a black cap. He wore a dark blue-gray shirt with black pants. With a red, white and yellow jacket with large cuffs that rolled his sleeves. His boots were white with red and black accent.
Katie watches as they head for the bakery. But push aside by customs has their arms overfloat the bags. No harm has done, expected the driver drop his hat and show a surprise face that Katie recognizes.
"No way," Katie soundless sputtered. Unaware what she was doing.
It took a moment for Katie to realizes what she did as she sends a picture to her brother. "I hope Shiro doesn't take it too serious."
After taking the picture and tucking her phone. "Cause, there's no way I can handle this alone."
"How?" Shiro sputtered as he couldn't believe his eyes. He knew Keith is still alive. But didn't expect he'll show himself in town.
"You're not the only one, Shiro." Sam share inquisitive interests. "But I'm sure there's a logic reason."
Shiro didn't hear, his mind wondered where he disappears and why he now re-appears? "Where your sister take that picture, Matt?"
Matt surprisingly blinked before he gives his answered. "At the Bakery Store. Why?"
Sam figure what he's thinking, and he disapproved. "Shiro, don't."
"I need to, sir." Shiro retorted with a serious tone.
"Look, Shiro." Sam tries reasoning him. "He might not be Keith, only identical to him."
"You're not sure." Shiro protested.
"But you do." Sam deeply sighed. "I understand why you want to go and meet that boy. It won't change."
"Please, Sam. What happen Matt or Katie who disappear?" He turns. "And, one day, someone who identical to them appear out of nowhere. Don't you want to learn the truth?"
That response leave Sam speechless. Hearing what he say, Sam wondered if he would the same when one of his children disappear and re-appear. Would he do the same? Sam doesn't need to answer myself.
"Very well." Sam closed his eyes as he replied. "But it doesn't mean you should go alone. I'm coming along."
"Me too." Matt offer to come. Cause, a surprise and shocking reaction from both.
"Matt?" his father was curious.
"You're not the only ones who curious disappears and re-appears now, do you?" he begins to explain. "After all, it's a free-period for me. And, prefer not to be left behind."
"I understand, son." Sam allow it. Then, turn his attention to Shiro. "So, shall we go?"
"Yeah," Shiro quietly response. "Thanks for your support, you two."
Katie got admit. She never expect Shiro be here. Or, her father and brother. In a bakery.
"I keep telling you people, I don't know." the bakery owner annoying replied. "The young lady asks for a couple things; cookies, bread, and some chocolates. Though she ask milkshake. Can't figure why?"
"Since when do bakeries have milkshakes?" Shiro sound confuses. Same with Sam and his kids.
"I assuming she's misinform by it."
"I was going tt tell but her friend explain." The owner inform them. "Plus, they needed to head home soon."
The word home got their attention.
"So, where do they lived?" Sam wonders. "Not too far, I hope."
"Not here in town." the owner retorted.
"What you mean?" Shiro raises his eyebrow.
"They're from a different town." Sound unsure.
"What's it called?"
"Refuge's Town, I believe."
"Where is it?"
"Somewhere, in the desert." They became surprises.
"I see." Sam gasped his hand to his chin. "But it isn't far, right?"
"Never ask." he replied. "But can't be far. Not when they have a hover bike with them."
"Mm, interesting." Sam sound intrigued. Then, stare at Shiro with a serious and determine expression in his eyes. "Shiro, you're not serious, are you?"
Shiro immediately went out as he started his car. But before he moved, someone, or somebody was already inside with him.
"Want something you two?" Shiro figured. "You should ask with your parent before you come."
A nervous laugh came as Matt and his younger sister, Katie, revealed themselves.
"Hi, Shiro." Matt nervously wave. "How did you-"
"Gut instinct." He answers. "So, is anyone else coming beside you two."
"Well, Dad is." Katie replied.
Shiro sighed. "How long will the commander be here?"
"He won't be long." she retorted. "Though he should be here by now."
On cue, Commander Holt appear as he knocks the window. "See, he's here.
But not alone. With him is Commander Iverson, who appear be furious.
"Sorry, Shiro." Sam apologized as he explained himself. "I was leaving but Iverson find me and want an explanation."
"You told him where we're headed." He finishes his explanation as he narrow his eyes. "And, the reason why are we going?"
"Afraid so," Sam stumped his shoulders as he lower his head. "Again, I'm sorry."
"Not as sorry you're be if you don't explain yourself, Shiro!" Commander Iverson barked at his orders. "So, give me a good reason why I should let you?"
"Keith is there." He answered. "I need to know."
"Look, Shiro." Iverson tries reason him. "What you were saying it's true, there's no certain that Keith's. You confuse him."
"I need to be sure." Shiro sound serious. "You people give up on him easy. Let alone found his remains."
Commander Iverson deeply sighed, realizing he can't win. "If it makes you better, there's a training expedition for cadets. It's at the desert. You and Sam will searches and find this town called Refuge. Understood?"
"Crystal." Shiro beamed. "And, thank you, sir."
"Can I come?" Katie eager.
Near the afternoon, Garrison cadets walked out as they head inside the bus.
"Man, this trip is boring?"
"Quit complaining, Lance."
"How can I, Hunk?" Lance replied. "We're going to the desert!"
"Point taken." he admitted. "Hey you'll get a chance to spend time with Shiro, right?."
Lance hummed. "Yeah. Plus, Keith no longer here."
"Positive thinking, bud."
Lance and Hunk head inside. And, found their seats.
"Is everyone here?" the driver asked.
"Yep, everyone's here." Sam replied. "Let's go."
"Got it." the driver retorted, closing the doors.
There they move.
Guess who will Shiro met in the next chapter? :)