View Full Version : Aquapolis
30th March 2012, 9:50 PM
Note: There are one or two Pokemon in this story, which is why I chose to put this in the Pokemon section. Many places are also inspired by the Pokemon world.
A few years ago, I decided to take a one-year hiatus from Pokemon in order to see what life was like without it. Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly the worst year of my life, but my eyes were opened to other fandoms, books series, and whatnot that I still follow today.
Apparently, I couldn’t keep myself from writing. I just HAD to have some adventures playing out in my mind, but without Pokemon, what was I supposed to write about? Well, I had my theory of Aquapolians, I thought, why don’t I write a what if? kind of story.
So, what if Aquapolians and the country of Aquapolis were real? Many of you who had not read my fanfictions before may be thoroughly confused, but this story will probably prove the best introduction to the country and civilization you’ll ever get, because even the main characters themselves have to learn who and what are the Aquapolias.
Long story short, if you ever decide to read another of my fanfics, this would probably be a good reference manual for you (other than the Facts of the Chapter I currently run in How to Save a Life).
This is another of my live-action stories that contain characters I’ve picked and chosen from different fandoms. Since I’ve enjoyed posting links to the pictures of the actors I love working with (started also in How to Save a Life), I’ll give you pictures of each new character of the chapter before each chapter begins.
As always, here are a few things I need to get out of the way.
1. Constructive criticism is always encouraged. I feed off of it. Don’t be afraid to point out plotholes, grammar mistakes, etc. However, I’m also not out there to win awards. I write because I enjoy writing and having other people read my work. If you think my overall concept of a story sucks, you don’t have to read it. Seriously, no one’s making you. Long story short, please do not rudely bash my work or other reviewers (yeah, I’ve had that happen before).
2. Throughout this fanfiction, you’ll encounter characters whom I have pulled from different fandoms. Since I invest most of my research time into one fandom at time, I do not have an extensive knowledge of each of these fandoms. Thus, sometimes, characters may seem to act differently than they would normally under any circumstances.
3. So, I didn’t completely take Pokemon out of the story. There are some legendary Pokemon sprinkled here and there. That’s why this is in the Pokemon section.
4. The PM List will be kept here for future reference:
I now present to you Aquapolis, the story of how a group of seemingly ordinary people found they were destined for a higher purpose that would change history as we know it.
Every student of modern psychology has studied Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
At the very bottom of this pyramid of hierarchy lie breathing, food, water, and sleep, all processes needed to physically exist.
Next comes the issue of safety, with security of the body, family, health, resources, economy, and property. Safety from fellow men and the environment.
On top of safety lie love and belonging, friendship and family. Human contact. Beyond food and water, a person cannot live in isolation.
Then comes esteem. Self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others and respect of oneself. All important qualities in human relations, whether personal or professional.
And finally, at the top of the pyramid is self-actualization, which contains morality, creativity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of facts.
At the top lies this, what a person’s full potential is and the realization of this potential. To become everything that one is capable of being.
Though we never have the foresight to see exactly what, at the end of the road, we are truly fully capable of becoming, we still strive for that goal. Cutting time off of your mile, making that big business contract work, graduating at the top of your class. We strive to achieve higher and higher goals throughout our life, trying to gain a sense of self-worth.
“Why was I put on this planet?”
“What is the meaning of my life?”
“I have to achieve to make my life meaningful.”
All thoughts that cross through the human mind, either consciously or subconsciously.
“What a man can be, he must be.”
But what if our life is suited to a higher purpose than the goals we strive for? What if someone out there has another goal for us, something bigger than we can ever imagine?
What if, in one moment, our destinies changed beyond our wildest imaginations?
7th April 2012, 9:24 PM
I don't have actresses picked out for Katie and Sarah in the beginning.
Katie fiddled with the volume knob on her dash, turning her music down as she coasted into town, passing by people on their way to work. It was the middle of summer, and, as usual, her windows were lowered to let the wind from driving down the highway help cool her off in the Georgia heat. Swinging into her usual spot behind the vet’s office, she leaned back in her seat, trying to wake herself up with a swig of coffee. The dogs in the kennels in front of her went berserk, barking up a storm as they spotted her blue Mustang parked a few yards away from their cages.
A recent high school graduate, Katie Reeves stood at only a little over five feet tall, with long dirty blonde hair, grayish blue eyes, and a slightly plump complexion. While not the skinniest girl in her class, she was ghastly overweight, just enough to make her feel unconscious about ever walking around in a swimsuit around others. She had been at the top of her class in school, with only a few close friends at graduation, and had been accepted to one of the best engineering schools in the country. Now, sitting in the back of the vet’s office, staring at her own face in the rearview mirror, she wondered what changes would come to her in college.
The dogs’ barking woke her up, and she finally swung out of her car, grabbing her thermos, phone, and keys. Another long day of volunteering was ahead of her. As she entered through the side door of the office, she said a hello to the two ladies who sat at the front desk and immediately made her way to the back, where the operating room was.
Katie loved watching the vet perform operations. She aided in cleaning the animals up and wiping down the table before and after, but it also gave her a chance to sit down after standing up for so long during the day. She, the vet, and the vet tech would chat about this and that while she learned how to spay, neuter, castrate, amputate, and do dental work on cats and dogs alike. She learned more in the vet’s office than she did in the classroom.
This particular day, the animals were extra noisy, the cats wailing at the top of their lungs, and the dogs barking up a storm. Although the kennels were outside and the cages in the back were far from the front desk, everyone, even patrons, could hear the racket kicked up by every pet. Katie wondered aloud if something had the animals on edge.
The sky was starting to darken outside. A summer thunderstorm was looming on the horizon. Katie, who, as a child, had been extremely paranoid and terrified of even the thought of tornados, felt the usual nervousness tighten her stomach at the thought of such severe weather. She had read over and over again that animals were sensitive to storms. Her Himalayan always ran to the window when thunderstorms passed over. Perhaps something big was coming their way. After all, they were located only about two hundred or so miles inland from the coast and it was hurricane season. They never got the bulk of the storms, but did occasionally get the inland severe storms that came with them as they weakened in their journey over terra firma.
Sure enough, as she climbed into her Mustang at the end of the work day, the clouds were dark enough to make the summer sky look like night. Katie thought over her drive home. Fifteen miles of open country. It was dangerous during these storms, but what else was she going to do? She was tired, hungry, and the trip was only twenty minutes. She ignored the warning signals going off in her head as she made her way back out of town.
Panic struck three or four miles later as wind and rain tore through the countryside. She was temporarily blinded, the only thing keeping her from running right off the road was her thorough knowledge of the journey between town and home, driven many times during her eighteen years of life. She had two emergency stops, but the first one was still a few miles ahead. She tried to keep herself from panicking even more as the rain died off and the wind picked up with even more ferocious clouds in the distance. What if a tornado spun up before she could reach home?
During moments like these, Katie turned back to her old stand-by: prayer. Growing up in the Bible Belt, she had been raised Southern Baptist by her parents, both of whom were both devout Christians and extremely intelligent in many things history and science related. In fact, her father had attended the same engineering college she had been accepted to, and had stressed to her to never lose her faith, even though she was going into such a heavily scientific field.
She, however, was never a devout Christian, at least when it came to attending church. Her mother could only drag her so many times when she started high school, then decided to leave it up to her. While Katie still believed the basic Christian doctrines, she refused to accept that she had been put on the Earth to spread the Gospel. She was to be an example, not a teacher.
Thus, she tried desperately to disassociate herself from those Christians who forced their religion upon others. That just was not her thing. In fact, she was deeply interested in other religions and curious about atheism. Not curious in a way that meant she would become an atheist, just curious in the way that many children brought up in a Southern church were, an atheist being almost an alien to them.
As she mumbled a few prayers to God to carry her safely through the storm, she kept her eyes on the road, feeling her confidence boost upwards. She just needed to keep her eyes focused ahead until she got to her first safe spot. If it looked like a tornado was bearing down on her, she would rush across to a family friend’s home across the highway.
She made it home in one piece, pulling into the circular driveway in front of her house with a sigh of relief. Another storm traveled through safely.
“That was some storm last night, wasn’t it?”
“It sure was. Nearly blew me right off of the highway.”
The next day was one of Katie’s days off from volunteering, a bright and green summer day that sparkled in the aftermath of the storm. No tornados had spun off, no limbs had fallen, and the power hadn’t even gone off. She had been overestimating the urgency of things.
Sitting across from her in the café booth was her best friend Sarah, who was looking forward to her eighteenth birthday a few weeks in the future. That summer, she was traveling every which way with her family, making sure to catch lunch with Katie whenever she was in town. Standing a few inches taller than her friend, Sarah had long brilliant red hair and eyes that shifted between green and hazel from time to time. Her hair was the shade of red that was so natural, people thought that it just couldn’t be natural and constantly asked her if it was her real shade, a question that annoyed her quite often. She and Katie had been friends for years and were sad that they wouldn’t see much of each other after that summer. They would text every day that was for sure.
Katie wrapped her hands around her coffee cup, tilting her head up to watch the day’s weather report on the screen across from her. “I’m thinking of starting another story,” she muttered off-handedly. One of her guilty indulgences was writing fanfiction about any movie or TV show that caught her eye.
Sarah, who had heard her go on and on about plotlines for years, sat back in her seat patiently, asking, “What is this one about?”
“I’m thinking of basing it off of that Sherlock Holmes movie that came out last year,” she said, watching Sarah’s face to gauge her reaction. She and Sarah shared a love for action and adventure movies.
“You’re making a fanfiction of a fanfiction?”
“Yeah, why not?”
She laughed. “Let me know when you get started on it. I’ll be your first reader.” Sarah paused, her eyes looking outside as her expression shifted to one of confusion.
“What is it?”
“The sky was clear a few minutes ago.”
Katie shifted in her seat to gaze out the window. Sure enough, a storm was brewing outside. “That’s weird.” She shrugged. “Well, it is summer.”
Once again, Katie drove through a wild storm. And, once again, she muttered prayers under her breath.
She worked through the next day, casting no thought to the strange weather of the previous two days until another storm kicked up that afternoon. “Strange weather we’re having,” one of the ladies at the front desk muttered. “Did you hear that another hurricane is coming through in a few days?”
“They say the weather’s been acting up all over the place for the past week,” the other lady said. “Not just in America, but it’s been pretty weird everywhere.”
Driving home a third time with prayer was enough to get Katie’s mind racing. Something was going on here. She had a feeling that things were just not right.
That night she tossed and turned in her sleep, dreaming again and again about the different characters in her stories, each trying to tell her something desperately important. Something was wrong…She finally woke up in a sweat the next morning, much earlier than she had before. The house was empty save for her and her cat. Her mother was still in school, the high school she taught out just now taking their final exams. Her dad was out on the farm. She stumbled to her bathroom, washing her hands in the sink.
When she looked up, she thought she was still dreaming. She closed her eyes shut, then opened them again. No. She was awake. She wasn’t imagining what was in front of her. At first she thought it was simply a mark on her chest from sleeping in a funny position. But, no. It was cross-shaped. And blue. Like a tattoo. As if someone had tattooed her when she was sleeping.
She shook her head. She had to still be sleeping. She looked in the mirror, dead on at her eyes. They were a funny shade, a blue much brighter than usual, this one matching the blue on her chest.
She walked around the house in a daze, ignoring her cat’s protests for her to pick him up. She stepped back to one mirror after the other, the mark still on her chest. What was going on? Where had it come from? Her sheets weren’t even blue…
When she heard her dad’s car pull up to the house, she dashed upstairs to change from her tank top to a shirt that covered up the mark, not even knowing why she did such a thing. Once her dad left again, she shut the door to her bathroom, slid down onto the floor, and shakily texted Sarah.
“Something weird is going on. I don’t think you’ll believe me when I tell you.”
She waited with baited breath until Sarah texted back.
“Something weird is on my end, too. To all of us.”
“What do you mean?”
“Like, it’s really freaky.”
“I’m about to lose it freaky.”
“So. Do you have a cross-shaped blue mark on your chest…sort of like a tattoo?”
“No. Mine’s in the shape of a star.”
Her blood ran cold. This was really happening. It was freaking Sarah out, too. Apparently, the same had happened to her three siblings and her parents. She rushed to the TV in her room, closing the door as she switched on FOX News. The anchorwoman looked nervous herself, not dressed in her usual low-cut shirt. Her co-anchor, a man, was giving her strange glances as if he couldn’t believe what was happening. Along the bottom of the screen read the line: Millions wake up marked.
The man continued, his voice strained. “If you’re just joining us today, a very strange and baffling phenomenon occurred sometime at midnight eastern standard time last night…that affected millions around the world. People woke up this morning…marked with a strange blue star on their chests…”
“Are you watching the news?” Katie texted.
“Yeah. They’ve been going on all morning. This is way too freaky.”
Katie didn’t mention that her mark was different.
“Everyone at school was going on and on about it,” her mom commented that night at dinner. “They don’t understand why some were marked and others weren’t.”
Katie cast a nervous glance from her mom to her dad. “Were either of you marked?” She tried to ask nonchalantly.
“No,” her dad shook his head. “And, judging by what we’ve heard, it’s a family thing.”
“What?” Katie asked in a trembling voice. Something in her head told her not to tell them that she had, indeed, been marked with the weirdest one of all.
“It seems that everyone in a certain family is marked. As in, if parents are marked, so are their children.”
“Well, I guess no one in the Reeves family has been marked,” she said, playing it cool.
Her mom shook her head. “This is really strange. Perhaps this is a sign of the end times.”
After supper, Katie ran upstairs and buried her head in her pillow, panic flowing through her. What if these were the end times? Why was she marked and not her parents? Why was her mark so different? What is she was about to die?
Nothing catastrophic happened that day. Everything was calm around the world. No plane crashes. No wars. Nothing. Apparently, everyone went on with their lives as before, gradually getting used to the tattoos on their chests. No one singled out anyone else who was marked. In fact, things were the opposite of what Katie would have predicted had she known something like this had happened. The human society she knew would have freaked out and ostracized those who were tattooed. Even the extreme religious groups weren’t freaking out about what was going on. Some of them spouted stuff about the end times, but they were ignored as usual.
Katie, however, was completely shaken by the different shape of her mark and the fact that her parents hadn’t been marked. She drove swiftly into town to meet up with Sarah, hiding her mark underneath her shirt.
The waitress who served them had taken no steps to conceal the star on her chest, showing it brightly as if it were the most natural thing. In fact, the mark was not ugly in the least. It looked brilliant on everyone Katie saw. She had always hated the sight of tattoos, but this mark looked natural. It looked as if it belonged.
“So, yours is different?” Sarah asked cautiously.
“Yeah…” Katie mumbled as the waitress stepped away. “It’s cross-shaped.” Tears of frustration sprang to her eyes as her mind drifted back to her parents. Sarah gave her a look of concern, her green eyes fixed on her friend’s face as Katie took a deep breath and told her what was wrong.
8th April 2012, 3:04 PM
I seriously do not have the energy to properly review this at the moment, but it looks really well written and the plot is really good. If you kept up with this, I'd be really interested as I don't know much about the whole Aquapolis thing, to be honest. Hope to see the next chapter soon, especially as I've read your other stuff (like Angels and Demons) and I really enjoyed it.
9th April 2012, 2:17 AM
Ah, thank you, and it's good to know that you've read some of my other fics as well. :)
New chapter up soon.
3rd June 2012, 5:28 PM
Sorry about the delay in posting the new chapter! Even though I'm out of school now, I have a full-time job that takes up a good part of my week.
Damian Jones (http://www.halloffamememorabilia.com/images/products/p-83933-sean-connery-the-rock-color-8x10-photo-cotg-8celeb-sconn03.jpg)
Sarah shook her head. “The scientists could just be plain wrong. What do they know anyway? This is the first time in history something like this has happened.”
Katie stared at her hands. “I just…I want to know why mine is so different.”
Sarah shrugged. “Maybe it was just random?”
Katie crossed her arms over her chest, staring out the window.
In her sleep that night, Katie dreamed again. This time, faces of people that she didn’t know surrounded her. All of them were staring at her, telling her something that she couldn’t quite make out. Finally, after straining to hear for a few minutes, she could make out one word.
As soon as she woke up the next day, Katie booted up her laptop, researching all of the routes and plane trips to Tokyo. She hurriedly packed her bags and snuck downstairs, aware that her dad was still asleep. With one last long hug good-bye to Pika, she shoved her bags into her car and spun out of the driveway.
As soon as she hit the highway, she turned her music up really loud. The background noise from an anime soundtrack sounded out as she leaned back in her seat and smiled.
The first call came that night around eight o’clock while she was sitting in a diner at the edge of Alabama and Mississippi. Her stomach turned over as she read the caller ID of her house phone. She pressed ignore and immediately shut off her phone.
“More coffee?” The waitress asked.
“Yes, please,” she said, smiling.
As the waitress bent over to pour her coffee, she spotted an edge of the sapphire cross on Katie’s chest. “You were marked, too?” She whispered.
Katie nodded, unsure of what to say. “Yeah, this is all just…weird, you know?” She lifted her cup to her mouth in an effort to hide her red face, embarrassed that she didn’t have anything significant to say.
“I’ve heard reports that some pretty strange things are happening to people that are marked,” the waitress continued, worry straining her voice. “Be careful out there.”
“Will do,” Katie answered as she walked away. The teenager turned to gaze outside at her car.
The soundtrack to her favorite anime blasted through her speakers as she drove over the state line into Texas. It was growing dark outside, and even with the help of her glasses, she found it hard to see on the road. Suddenly, a thunderstorm started to blow up, and she tightened her grip on the steering wheel, muttered a few prayers aloud. Just as she started to relax, she barely made out headlights ahead of her on the wrong side of the road. There was a loud crash, and she blacked out.
She had to struggle to open her eyes, beeping sounds filling her ears as light from an overhead lamp swam into focus. Her whole body ached as she tried to focus on the far wall, where a picture of a mountain landscape was hung below a small flat screen TV.
“Good, you’re awake!”
She turned toward the sound, taking in the black-haired, blue-eyed nurse standing over her bed expectantly. She wore pink scrubs and looked both worried and relieved at the same time.
“Where am I?” Katie struggled to speak.
The nurse frowned. “You’re in the hospital, sweety. You had a really bad accident…”
“She’s awake!” A gasp came from a white-haired doctor behind the nurse. His grey eyes were wide with surprise, as if he couldn’t believe it. “Frankly, Miss Reeves, we didn’t expect you to pull out of your coma this fast.”
“Coma?” She frowned. “How long have I been out?”
“Just three days,” the nurse answered.
“You were hit head on by a drunk driver and spun into a tree. You would have died if someone hadn’t come to pull you out of your car,” the doctor said grimly.
“What?” Katie asked groggily.
“Your car burst into flames only moments after he pulled you out. He’s been waiting for you to wake up…to make sure you’re all right.”
“Should I go and get him?” The nurse asked the doctor and Katie simultaneously.
“If she’s up to it,” the doctor replied, glancing over at her.
She nodded. “Sure…” she said hesitantly.
The nurse and doctor both exited the room, leaving Katie to wait anxiously for her savior to enter. She was always nervous when meeting new people and didn’t know what else to say besides thank you. After a few minutes, the door opened. The man who entered was easily in his sixties, with white hair and a grey and white mustache. His eyes were a bright blue and he was dressed in a three-piece suit.
After entering, he closed the door and shot her a worried look. “Are you feeling okay?” He had a thick Scottish accent.
She nodded. “Yes…thank you,” she stumbled, half from nervousness and half from the drowsy feeling the painkillers were giving her. “They told me you saved me…”
He ducked his head. “Well, I’m just glad you’re safe. You woke up amazingly early from your coma. They didn’t expect you to wake up at all.” He shot her a funny look. “Of course…there is a completely rational explanation for that…but not one we could exactly apply to you.”
She frowned, confused by his cryptic language. “Um…I didn’t catch your name.”
“Oh.” His expression changed from worried to pleasant. “I am Damian Jones.”
“Please to meet you. I’m Katie Reeves.”
“Yes…you’re awfully far from home, Miss Reeves.”
“Yeah…” She squirmed uncomfortably. “How did you know that?”
“Your accent and the license plate on your car. Georgia Tech. A fine school.”
“Yes,” she sighed. “I guess I won’t see it again, though.”
“You will find your way back someday,” Jones assured her in an almost prophetic voice, as if he held all of the secrets in the world in his mind. He struck her as someone who was sure of everything he did. Sure of what to do in every situation. Katie wondered what his occupation was, but decided it would be too random a question to ask at this point in their conversation.
“I doubt it,” she said as she stared at her hands. Tears stung her eyes. “My parents will kill me once they found out I ran away and destroyed my car.”
“You didn’t tell them you were leaving?” He asked in a worried voice.
“No. They would try to stop me.”
“And where were you heading?”
She paused, hesitant to tell him. “Japan.”
“Ah…” He said as if he understood completely. “A lot of people who were marked are heading there these days. Why didn’t your parents come with you?”
“They…” She fought back a sob. “They weren’t marked.”
He frowned. “I was under the impression that the marks were hereditary. But, of course, no one has proven that yet.” He waved that topic away. “Now, I’m afraid that we must get you home. Perhaps you should plan a better strategy for getting to Japan. Perhaps go to Atlanta next time instead of driving all the way to California.”
She blushed, embarrassed that she hadn’t thought of that. “Okay…”
“Well, I should let you rest. I’ll speak with the doctor and see how long before you can be discharged.” He left the room. She felt a cold sweat come over her, panic gripping her stomach. For some reason she couldn’t explain, she just had to get out of there. It was as if another person was moving as she grabbed her bag beside her bed, hurriedly dressing in her street clothes, and opened the door to glance up and down the hallway. It was too full of nurses on one end, and on the other end, she could see Jones speaking with her doctor. She turned back into her room, staring at the window. At the same time that her brain said no, her body said yes, and she found herself flying through the glass and to the street below, a scream stuck in her throat. She squeezed her eyes shut, prepared for the impact, but instead found herself standing on firm ground, unharmed. It took her a few moments to recover from the shock of being unwounded before she rushed down the street, desperate to find some landmark that told her where a bus station was.
Meanwhile, Jones had returned to her room, taken one look at her empty bed and the broken window, and spun around, deftly moving down the hospital halls and out of the front entrance.
Outside, Katie caught strange looks from pedestrians on the street, all of which seemed to be both blurred in her vision and crystal clear in her mind. She wondered if she was getting some kind of high off of a combination of adrenaline and painkillers in her system. Regardless, she had never run this fast in her life. In fact, she had always been the slowest runner in her class. Now, it seemed as if she solicited stares from people who could barely understand how a human could physically move as fast as she was…so fast, her feet barely met the pavement as she tried to navigate the unknown streets. She wasn’t getting tired in the least, and she believed that she had a pretty good lead on whomever may be chasing after her.
Then she made the mistake of looking behind her. A couple of yards away from her ran Jones, catching up to her quickly. Her eyes widened at the sight of the older man running so quickly. Before she could react, he had caught up to her, grabbed her by the back of her shirt, and stopped her short. She was so stunned, she didn’t struggle against his grip. He let go of her and spun her around to face him. “I suggest not doing something like that again.” He held up her bag for her to take.
She stared at it. “You’re not taking me back to the hospital?” She asked, confused.
He shook his head. “It seems as if you have more important places to be. When you reach Japan, look up the school Sakurakoaka Academy in Tokyo. You’ll find what you’re looking for there.” He smiled. “Good luck, Katharine.”
“Th…thank you,” she stuttered as he walked away, motioning her in the direction of the nearest bus station.
Tokyo was swarming with people. She knew next to no Japanese, so finding her way through the city to a hotel was a hassle. Luckily, though, Jones had left some money in her bag for her to live off of for however long she would be there. After dropping her things off in her hotel room, she took to the streets to find Sakurakoaka Academy. It was near the outskirts of the city, a sprawling private school where the kids wore nicely tailored red, black, and white uniforms. They gave her strange looks as she tried to find the principal’s office.
“Looking for Principal Hideki’s office?”
She spun around at the sound of both English and an American accent. Standing behind her, dressed in the school uniform, was a boy her age with sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. She stared at him a moment before finally stuttering, “Yes…I am..”
“Follow me, then. It can get a little tricky navigating the halls of the school here. I got lost my first day, too,” he said as they wound through the hallways.
Katie opened her mouth to inform him that this was not actually her first day of school. She wasn’t even a student here. Some small voice in the back of her head told her to shut her mouth and follow the fairly handsome boy, ignoring the interested looks she garnered from the Japanese students passing by them in the halls.
14th October 2012, 10:43 PM
Eric Reed (http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m5qnvhapLZ1qe53u1o1_500.jpg)
Max Petalburg (http://i2.listal.com/image/740331/600full-ricky-ullman.jpg)
Katie tried to keep her head high as she walked through the corridors of the prestigious Sakurakoaka Academy, gorgeous Eric Reed strolling beside her. He was also from Georgia (born and raised near Atlanta) and had also had aspirations to attend the same college she was in the fall. Well, he had planned to until he had been marked. Apparently, she hadn’t been the only one drawn to Japan like a moth to the flame. Both Eric and his two roommates, once marked, had had dreams that sent them straight to Tokyo, looking for something…searching for a faceless object.
Katie hung on to every word that Eric spoke. She had battled with her weight and image her entire life…and suddenly this boy was paying an extraordinary amount of attention to her. She tightened her hands around the straps of her backpack to keep them from shaking too hard.
Finally, they found themselves in front of a common office door with the name Nagano Satoshi printed across it. At least…that was what Eric told her that it said. Though she had always been interested in everything Japanese, Katie could not read one single Japanese character. She felt her stomach tie in knots as Eric knocked on the door, the sound seeming to echo forever before the door opened. A Japanese high school student who looked to be a senior opened the door, glancing from Katie to Eric.
“We’re here to see Nagano about the mark,” Eric said plainly. No expression crossed the girl’s face as she shut the door. After a few moments, she reappeared again and said something to Eric in rapid Japanese. He answered, and they were allowed inside. Nagano sat at a large wooden desk, his eyes on the two teenagers as they took two seats in front of him. Eric didn’t speak until after the girl left. “This is Katie Reeves,” he said, gesturing to her. “She’s from Georgia, America, and she’s been marked.”
“Any developments?” Nagano asked, eyeing her cautiously.
“None that I know of.” The principal leaned back in his seat and studied her for a few moments.
“We will send word to him soon. In the meantime, Miss Reeves, we will set up living arrangements for you. And please know that every class in this school is open to you. How far did you advance in your education in America?”
“I was about to start college in the fall.”
“Then most of our curriculum will be too low-level for you. However, you are free to attend any class that you like.”
Katie didn’t know what to say. Something was going on here. She was the only person in the room without a clue about what was going on. Eric and Nagano could have been speaking completely in Japanese as far as she was concerned. A feeling of dread flew through her. What had she gotten herself into? Panic mode set in, and she sprang from her seat, her cheeks flaming with embarrassment as she thought about how rude she was being.
“I…I’m so sorry, but I have no clue what’s going on here…and I…I don’t think this was the best choice for me…”
Nagano and Eric stared at her as if she had suddenly sprouted wings from her back. The Japanese man leaned back in his seat, studying her intently with a blank expression on his face. “You want to know why all of these people were marked?”
She stared at him. “Of…of course I do.” Wasn’t that why she was there? To discover the truth behind the markings? No…she was there because the whispers in her dreams had told her to go to Japan. Now that she thought of it, she wondered if she were going insane. Who else would follow whispers in their dreams other than mental patients and serial killers?
“Our project here also strives to find these answers. If you wish to return home, you may sit with ignorance for years…or you could help us. Judging from the college you had chosen for yourself, it seems to me that you wish to be a scientist, correct?”
He had her there. Even as a kid, Katie loved to ask questions. She loved to gain knowledge. Unlike her classmates in high school, when chemistry, anatomy, or history period rolled around, she was ready and eager to learn. She always wanted to know more. But, they say, curiosity killed the cat… All she could do was nod her head, overwhelmed by the implications of his question. Was she in the middle of some secret experiment? It could be thrilling, but dangerous at the same time. What if they meant to hurt her in the name of science?
“This will be the biggest scientific project in the history of mankind,” Nagano continued. “I’m sure that you wish to be a part of it.”
She wasn’t an overly ambitious person, but she had chosen such a high-ranking school of technology because of its name, what it could offer her, what the diploma would say about her when she graduated. The second the headmaster spoke about this project being the biggest in the history of mankind…well, that sealed the deal for Katie.
The fear left her face. This was it. No more hiding. No more feeling sorry for herself. She would return to her parents one day, but this…this was what she was meant to do. She could hear a tiny voice in the back of her head telling her this choice was right. Whether it was God or her own spirit urging her on, she knew what she had to do.
“How do I become part of the project?” She asked without another moment’s hesitation. A smile crept across Eric’s face as if he knew all along that she would give in and agree to whatever Nagano had in store for her. The Japanese headmaster simply nodded in approval, removing a packet of papers from inside his desk.
“You will live with three other young adults who are part of the project. Their names, the address of the apartment, and further instructions are contained in here. For now, let Mr. Reed show you around the campus. He will explain things in more detail.”
She took the packet of papers from him so carefully, an observer would believe that there was a bomb hidden inside of it. Her few moments of determination had quickly worn off, leaving her shocked and unable to get even a few words out.
“And remember, Miss Reeves…” Nagano speared her with a sharp gaze. Her heart thudded in her chest, foolishly hoping that he couldn’t see right through her. “Do not speak of this project to anyone. Doing so will jeopardize our findings as well as put you in a world of danger.”
A wave of ice crept up Katie’s spine at his last warning, which seemed to be his closing statement to their meeting. Before she could ask why she was in danger…who would be dangerous to her…Eric gently led her by the shoulder out of Nagano’s office so that, for a few moments, she was distracted by his warm hand through the fabric of her shirt. A blush rose in her cheeks at the contact.
“Why don’t we go and talk out at the schoolyard?” Eric suggested, leading her through the eerily empty halls. All Katie knew about Japanese schools she had learned from watching anime over the years. Their education system was an extremely foreign concept to her, though, judging on their overall test scores as compared to American students, it must work very well.
The outside schoolyard was open-air with dozens of trees, flowers, and pretty shrubbery everywhere. Katie found herself staring at the fountains that dotted the huge garden, wondering to herself why such features were rare in American schools. She would have been much more eager to attend had she been able to spend her breaks and even class time in this beautiful space.
She was so enthralled by a batch of yellow and white flowers, she barely heard Eric ask her a question. Although she had always been a little hard of hearing, she still felt embarrassed when people had to repeat themselves around her. Her cheeks flaming, she turned back to the young man. “I’m sorry…what was that?”
Instead of giving her the annoyed look she was sure that she deserved, Eric simply smiled. “I asked where you were from. From your accent, I gathered that you’re from the Southern states?”
“Oh…yeah…Georgia,” she said, suddenly self-conscious about her accent. She had grown up around classmates whose accents where much, much thicker than hers, so she had never noticed her own until she had attended orientation at her college. Even other kids from the same state had a weaker accent than she had. “Where are you from?”
“I spent most of my life in the States, but I’m originally from Eastern Europe…I was born in Austria.” Eric replied, a slightly sad smile playing across his lips. Katie wondered if he missed his home country. She was already starting to long for her English-speaking, warm-hearted hometown…and homesickness twisted her guts every once in a while. By now, her parents would be searching for her…
“Oh, no…” She muttered, feeling sick. Had the hospital in Texas contacted her parents to tell them about the crash and to ensure them that she was still alive…only to escape to Japan out of an ICU room? How was she going to explain her actions? The most rebellious thing she had done in the past was to finish her homework at the last minute. And now…she had run away from home to Japan of all places. She felt so terrible for making her parents sick with worry…but something in the back of her mind told her that she couldn’t return home…at least, not yet.
“What’s wrong?” Eric asked, his eyes dark with concern. She felt embarrassed for getting him involved with her problems.
“I haven’t contacted my parents since I left home.”
“You mean, you ran away from home?”
“Yeah…” She shuffled her feet. “I just had this urge to up and leave one day.”
“Didn’t your parents want to come with you?”
“I don’t think they had the same urge.”
He looked at her, confused. “I thought all those who were marked wanted to come to Japan.”
“My parents…” She sighed. “Weren’t marked.”
His eyebrows shot up. “Maybe all of the scientists were wrong.”
“That’s what my friend Sarah says…” She said, crossing her arms in front of her chest.
Eric’s gaze made her feel as if she were an open book, easy to read and peruse at will. “Don’t worry too much about it, okay?” He grinned, an obvious attempt to make her smile herself. Instinctively, she smiled back, though her insides were tossing and turning with emotion.
He sighed and stood up, stretching and gazing up at the bright mid-afternoon sky above them. “Why don’t we head back to the apartment so that you can meet the others and find out a little bit about what’s going on?” He offered his hand gallantly to help her up, causing her to blush all shades of crimson. She could only nod at his suggestion, letting him lead her once again into a dim and hazy future.
The apartment building Eric led her to was much bigger than she had expected. What she knew beforehand about Tokyo was that people were jam-packed together into apartments the size of a college dorm room. Eric’s apartment, however, was a spacious four-person set of rooms. She wondered if Nagano paid their rent, and, if he did, how he did so on a headmaster’s salary…even if he were the headmaster at a private school.
“Here we are!” Eric declared, extending his hand toward her. “I’ll take your bag to your room.” He gestured over to a guy sitting at a computer bank across the room. “That’s Max. Don’t worry, he won’t bite.” As Eric passed by him, he patted him on the shoulder. “Say hello to our new roommate!” He shouted, forcing Max to take off his headphones and swivel around toward Katie.
After a few seconds, he gave her a warm smile. “Hey, what’s up?” Max had brown hair that fell over into his eyes, which were dark brown. He wore a simple black and blue collared shirt and black pants.
She shrugged. “Nothing much.” Extending her hand, she introduced herself. “I’m Katie Reeves.”
He shook her hand. “I’m Max Petalburg.”
Her eyebrows shot up. “Petalburg?”
“Hey, now, it’s a common name…somewhere,” he muttered.
“Where are you from?”
“New York. You?”
“I thought so.”
“Why?” Katie asked, surprised.
“Because of your accent,” Max replied. “Anyway, what strange things have been happening to you?”
“Like, do you accidently set things on fire or freeze things or what?”
“I don’t understand…”
“He means have you done something recently that’s humanly impossible?” Eric explained, emerging from the bedroom.
“Well…I did jump out a hospital window a few stories up and ran pretty fast through the streets of Houston.”
“I don’t know what to classify that as,” Max muttered, turning back to his computer screen.
“We’ve been keeping track of all of the others I the project and what strange things they’ve been able to do,” Eric explained.
“What, like the X-Men? Are we mutants or something?”
“Maybe…” Max muttered. “Maybe the whole planet was hit by gamma ray bursts and only a few people showed signs of mutation.”
“Along family lines? That’s too patterned to be a coincidence,” Eric argued.
“So what are y’all’s powers?” Katie asked.
“I accidently light things on fire,” Eric said.
“Sometimes, electrical devices go a bit haywire around me,” Max said.
“Oh my god, can’t people get any sleep around here?”
Katie turned to see a girl her age emerge from one of the other bedrooms. She had raven-black hair and brown eyes. She glared at the boys.
“Sorry, Zoey, I forgot you’re nocturnal now,” Max said, rolling his eyes.
“Is this a new recruit?” Zoey asked, gesturing to Katie.
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