It took a few seconds for Isa to realize just what exactly Kachi had meant. Her true name was Achi, the same name as that ‘holy woman’ who had ruined his parent’s lives. The same name as the woman who had given his father the blood that turned him into a monster, which Isa had unfortunately inherited. Achi, Kachi, only a single letter apart, had they been one and the same the entire time? “Kachi, that name, it’s the same as…” Isa struggled to find the words.
“I still can’t remember everything, but now I know I was that person. The one who caused everything with your parents. It was only when I told you just now that I remembered that part,” Kachi confessed. She looked off into the horizon, her hands behind her back. The sunlight and clear water made the sunken ruins seem almost beautiful as the Keepers swam beneath the surface, doing their best to preserve what remained. It was a far cry from how New York City looked when Isa’s father was done with the place. Which had been Achi’s fault. Kachi spun on her feet and turned to Isa. “I’m so sorry Isa. The old me was a terrible, manipulative person. Those memories I regained are of me doing awful things. Please keep calling me Kachi. I don’t want to be Achi again.”
Isa’s grip had been on his cannon sword the entire time without him realizing it. He felt ashamed of himself and holstered his weapon, still prepared to draw at a moment’s notice. It looked like the Keepers no longer considered Isa and Kachi a threat after that battle in space, judging by how they flew and swam past them with no reaction. Isa usually liked being appreciated, but it was a cold comfort after the bombshell that got dropped on him. “How much do you remember exactly?” Isa asked. Kachi looked at the ruins beneath the calm waters.
“I can remember when your parents turned against me. I deserved it for trying to manipulate them. The Ruffian Outbreak that ruined your homeworld was my doing, but I don’t know how I did it or what I was trying to accomplish. My plan involved spreading the blood of outer space to find someone who could become a god of war, but I don’t remember why I wanted that,” Kachi said. She turned her gaze towards the skies and dropped her gun. The sound of the gun falling into the shallow water that blanked the rooftop just made the following silence more noticeable.
Isa took a deep breath and took his hand away from his cannon sword. He trusted Kachi, but he had hated Achi ever since he had gotten that name out of his mother. Back when he first saw Kachi, Isa had figured there was no way that curious alien could really belong to the same category as the woman who turned his father into a monster. Yet now it turned out they were one and the same. Had he really come all this way for the one who cursed him with the blood of outer space? Trusting Kachi had brought him past the point of no return already, if she said her memories really had been lost he had to believe her. His thoughts drifted to something his mother had mentioned once.
“Hey Kachi, do you know about the ship of Theseus?”
“No, who’s Theseus?” Kachi asked. She titled her head, the usual sign she was curious.
“That’s not really important. The ship of Theseus is this thought experiment, humans like to make stuff like that to figure out how exactly they work,” Isa said. “Basically, there’s this ship that people want to preserve, so they replace any parts that start to decay. Over time none of the parts that the boat was originally made with are part of the boat. With that in mind, is it really the same ship?”
Kachi put her finger to her chin, head still tilted. It was like she had forgotten how tense things were between them. Isa felt relieved to see her still acting the way she had when they first met. “I guess not. It would have the same name, but people who only knew the original wouldn’t be able to recognize it if you kept on changing out parts. And the way it sailed wouldn’t be the exact same either, I think. But what does this have to do with my past?” Kachi asked.
“Humans are constantly changing. Our cells keep on dying and being replaced. So, maybe you really aren’t Achi anymore after all that time without your memories.”
“But now I do have those memories. What if I go back to being Achi? Then everything we’ve done so far would be pointless,” Kachi said. Isa looked around for something that could give a clue of what to say. There were just ruins and Keepers. Which actually was enough to help him.
“I… I can’t forgive Achi for what she did to my family. And it sounds like you don’t either. But look at the Keepers, they used to constantly attack us, but now that we’ve saved the planet they like us. They knew to change their judgement of us in response to our actions. You don’t need to lose your memories to change. You’re still not a monster or Achi, you’re just Kachi,” Isa said. Kachi looked up at a Keeper that was flying overhead.
“Thank you, Isa. I promise I won’t go back to being Achi, and I’ll keep on changing for the better,” Kachi said. She looked Isa in the eyes and smiled warmly. Isa walked over to her and picked her gun off the floor, he handed it back to her. Kachi put the gun on her belt. She didn’t seem to mind the fact that it was still wet. Thankfully it was an advanced enough model for that to not actually hinder the functionality.
“So, I know what I said earlier up in space sounded cool, but where exactly do we go next? We have to strike back at the creators eventually, but I’m not sure how. Guess we could sit around and wait for them to come to us, nothing freaks them out more than people with outer space blood on an earth,” Isa said. He scratched his head and let out a small laugh.
“Outer space… That’s it,” Kachi’s face lit up, then darkened. “No, that won’t work.”
“What is it?”
“I was thinking maybe we could go to outer space for help, but now I don’t think it’s a good idea. Most of my recovered memories are of my-Achi’s mission on your earth. But I remember now that outer space and humans don’t mix. My real mission was to find out the weaknesses of humans. The leaders of outer space might get mad if they find out I didn’t fulfill my mission due to forgetting it,” Kachi said. Isa thought back to all of his training. He just had his own experience with letting down his superiors after all. Fighting the outer space counterpart of the Nebulox didn’t sound appealing.
“Well here’s something they might find interesting. Do you know what the best way of taking apart a human army is?” Isa asked.
“Wait Isa, don’t. Outer space doesn’t like humans, if we give them anything they’ll use it. We can’t go to them, just forget I ever brought it up,” Kachi said. She leaned towards Isa, then pulled herself back.
“Hear me out Kachi. They’re only after humans because we’re the frontline soldiers for the creators. A lot of humans don’t actually like the creators, Deko hated the way humans of his earth were treated. That’s why he and the Nebulox really hunted us down. They wanted to end the oppression of humans by the creators, and they’re far from the only ones who would kill for that,” Isa explained.
“I guess since we killed the Nebulox the people of their earth are still being oppressed then. And considering who I turned out to be, maybe they were right about me,” Kachi said. She put her hands behind her back and looked down at the water and rooftop.
“Don’t get started on that again Kachi, they were wrong about you. And we might be able to free all humans if we keep on fighting the creators. But I know we can’t win alone, so we need help, and the defenses around populated earths are too much for us to get through. Where else can we go for help? But you know outer space better than me, even one memory is more than what I have. So I’ll trust your judgement.” Kachi was about to say something, then closed her mouth. She paced for a few seconds, each step accompanied by a small splash.
“It’s impossible to get to the creators without going through at least one earth. However, there aren’t any humans left on this earth. So they don’t even need to touch this one. If I return to outer space while you keep this planet safe, they can bypass fighting humans entirely and go right for the creators.” Kachi said. She readied her flightboard and was about to get on it.
“Wait hold on a second. I want to go with you to outer space. You can’t go back there alone,” Isa said. He grabbed her hand.
“Humans can’t survive in outer space. Even then people there don’t like humans, I can’t let them hurt you,” Kachi said.
“And how do you plan on getting there? Right now my Ruffian form is the only way we can even leave this planet. If that flightboard of yours could get out of orbit we wouldn’t have gone through all of this trouble,” Isa said. He let a smug grin appear on his face. Kachi pouted as Isa took his hand back and she picked up the flightboard.
“You win this time Isa. Just, be very careful. Don’t tell anybody you’re really a human until you’re sure they can be trusted,” Kachi said. Isa held out his hand, Kachi took it. In a flash of light Isa was back in his Ruffian form. Right as he was about to take off a Keeper flew over and tapped him on the shoulder. It gestured to a fallen pillar on one of the other rooftops that remained just under the water’s surface. Isa flew over to the pillar and held it upright as the Keepers secured it back in place.
“Stay safe guys, we’ll be right back,” Isa said. With that Isa took off for outer space, quickly leaving the atmosphere of Earth-4 behind. Now that there was no immediate threat about to destroy the planet Isa could appreciate the sights. It felt liberating to go through the clouds and continue even further upwards, the chains of gravity shattering in the face of the power of Isa’s ‘tainted’ blood.
“Hey Isa, I’m sorry for dragging you into all of this. Part of me is still worried that Achi planned all of this,” Kachi said. Isa could feel her regret, a consequence of the fusion they had undergone. Because of that all doubt had been erased from his mind, Kachi had told him the truth from the start.
“Don’t be. I never liked the creators, that’s why I call them that while others call them gods. My mother always told me a god was supposed to be kind and look after humanity. That doesn’t match up with anything the creators do.”
“So a god is a being that looks after humans?” Kachi asked. Isa could picture her head tilting in his mind.
“Yeah. If any exist there’s no way they would let the creators use their name like that.” Earth-4 became a distant blue dot as they flew further and further away from inner space.
“I still don’t know what Achi thought a god was, even though she wanted to make one. But if a god is such a good thing, then maybe creating one wouldn’t be so bad if we were nice about it?” Kachi proposed.
“By now humans are sick of people calling themselves gods. That’s the secret weakness we’re going to let outer space know about. To take down an army, you attack their morale. If people decide they like outer space better than the creators, they’ll defect all on their own,” Isa said.
“I see. If we take out the creators, then outer space and inner space don’t have to be at war anymore. I’d like to see that,” Kachi said. Isa hadn’t thought of it that way, but now that Kachi said it he liked how it sounded. The two of them were proof that it was possible.
“Let’s make that our mission then. Peace between outer space and humanity. And until then, we’ll keep fighting.” Gradually Isa could feel the transition from inner space to outer space. He didn’t know what lay ahead of him. It didn’t matter. They would keep going no matter what.