R E S E T
“Well? Going to answer the question?”
After a day of being introduced to the wide, urban city of Kamakura, being stalked down by a man in a suit was not what Kyo, Yuna, Chiro or their respective Stitches, either plush or “Joker”- wanted to be faced with. This man felt like he came from the FBI or something in the same league, though his mannerisms certainly didn't seem so. He seemed... shadier.
“Uhh... Hey! Did we do anything wrong, dude?” Kyo had asked the male, this person's sunglasses masquerading his true intent. “I've noticed your Stitch plush toy there, the lifelike detail and make of it makes me certainly interested... perhaps it's a little... too real...” he had explained. Chiro tried to find the words, but couldn't come up with anything.
The words “real” and “Stitch” in the same sentence hit a sting with Yuna and Kyozuki especially. “Dude, my Stitch plush isn't for sale, you know? I know collectors like being die-hards or whatever, but he's simply not for sale!” Kyo exclaimed, protecting his own Stitch “plush” in his arms. Kyo had been through enough of a journey with his fellow Stitch already. They were true blue “ohana”, no way no how would a suit standing here ominously in a Kamakuran night split the two up...
“Then what about the other one here?” this male continued. “Other one?!” Chiro exclaimed, masking the fact she knew of both Stitches so easily. Yuna instantaneously came to arms- she knew exactly what “other one” he was talking about, but she also knew she didn't want to blow her cover. “Hey, if you're talking about Joker, leave my good bro alone! He's got no beef with you... whoever you are!”
The man's manners dropped at that moment- “Drop the act right now... clearly you don't know what you're dealing with here”.
Yuna and Kyo looked at one another in anxious way. This black suited adult called them out of the blue so easily? Even if he did, Yuna didn't care, putting on her ordinary voice. “Okay, fine! But you're not taking anybody here! Or at least, not without a fight!” she said, taking up a karate kata after with the raise of her palm.
The man didn't react to this move of Yuna's to try and defend her friend. “Well... I didn't expect this. But I suppose it's nothing we can't handle”. He snapped his fingers following this.
It was at that moment, smoke bombs dropped around the group, spreading a layer of thick gray smoke around the street area. In the midst of this, Kyo, Chiro and Yuna all coughed away, trying to see what was going on in the dark. All they could hear was the hiss of this fog and one minor detail that was drowned out by the obnoxious hiss...
By the time the smoke had cleared, the group looked around and immediately noticed one thing missing- “Joker”. Yuna's Stitch was gone, vanished into thin air!
Yuna gasped at the sight of this- “No! You give him back this instant or I'll make you, you jerk!”, she dashed forward, trying to pummel him a new one, but Kyozuki and Chiro had restrained her well. “Let go of me! Let go!!” Yuna growled to Chiro and Kyo relentless in her attempt to pry free, looking to the man still standing there amidst the anger.
“One of them had to be ours, you know? One of them crashed a few days ago and it couldn't have been sheer coincidence that reality would collide with fantasy. Try as you may, girl... but your alien friend belongs to P.S.Y.C.H. Pleasure doing business with you”, this man explained before turning around and walking away down the street in casual form. Not only did he show up out of the blue, but he stole Yuna's Stitch after the entire day was going so well.
Yuna thrashed about in the duo's hands, the girl's rage not subsiding in any way. All the while, Kyo held her and his own Stitch like the toy he was meant to be in public. “Yuna, there's nothing we can do! Calm down!”, “NO! Stitch told me never to leave him behind and I'm not gonna do that! Not even now!” Kyo and Yuna argued and argued, the younger soul wanting to give chase and show this suited adult something else.
Chiro on the other hand smiled to herself. Kyo and especially the angry Yuna caught wind of this out of left field move- “Chiro, why are you smiling like that? Now's not the time for this!”, “Yeah, my “ohana” just got kidnapped and all you can do is smile!?”
Chiro's smile later turned to a chuckle, then to a hysterical laugh. Yuna and Kyo looked incredibly confused, looking to one another and then back up front at Chiro's odd move. Did this incident just turn this fangirl mentally insane?
Kyo piped up, though you could tell his stress on the whole situation was getting to the mellow teen- “Chiro! We don't have time for this”. Chiro finally piped up after this. “Ohh... you know, we aren't really leaving Stitch behind... not when good ol' Chiro Yokoi here knows who that sharp dressed bully was!”
Kyo and Yuna's response to the fangirl Chiro's answer were very simple, downright done in unison...
“Hold up! You know that guy!?”
♦ ♦ ♦
“His name is Mr. Crux, sorta the city's resident kook on aliens, you know?” Chiro explained. Back at the Yamada home and inside Kyo's room after his Uncle had went to bed, Kyo and Yuna sat on their knees, listening to Chiro elaborate herself on the mysterious man who encountered them and took “Joker” or Yuna's Stitch with relative ease.
“Mister... Crux”? Yuna asked, not even changing out of her “Flo” disguise upon returning. Chiro had to explain more.
“Mr. Crux was known around here as being in cahoots with Detective Shinichi Ogadaiwa. Ogadaiwa hated our flash mobs and would always try and find any way possible to shut them down, but he was just a bumbling inspector, nothing too important. However, if anything weird were to happen, he'd call Mr. Crux in to investigate. Of course, you remember what happened a few nights ago, right?”
“That was when my Stitch arrived... wrecked up the Edoshima Electrical! They're still fixing that up after what happened”, Kyo explained. Kyo's Stitch, knowing he was in privacy, spoke timidly- “Meega... caused harm?”, “What? Oh, no no! Dude, you never meant to do that... It was all one big accident, you know?” Kyo and his Stitch exchanged. Luckily, Kyozuki had such a link with his Stitch that it was certainly easy to try and quell him down when he got upset. And knowing how uneasy his Stitch was, it was a blessing this would happen.
“Right! Stitch arrives in Kamakura! News flash, the Edoshima Electrical is thrown off the trail and undergoes repairs! Meanwhile, brave teenage soul Kyozuki Yamada goes in and--”, “CHIRO! I appreciate the fun commentary, but get on with this, dude?”, “Oh... yeah, sorry!” Chiro chuckled nervously, after Kyo had cut in. She continued after.
“Anyways, back to Crux! See, Crux is linked to a crazy alien agency here in Kamakura called P.S.Y.C.H! Otherwise known as the Planetary Soldiers for Your Chosen Hope”. Yuna cut in- “Seriously? That's their name? They could've found a better one, you know? Like A.S.T.R.A.L or S.T.A.R.S or something like that”, “I know, Yuna, I know... their agency name isn't the best, but that's not what's important here...” Chiro had paused after.
“Crux became obsessed with aliens, and lemme tell you- he was never really a fan of them. He wanted to try and purge any extra-terrestrials from entering Kamakura. From what I gathered from my Dad, who serves him every other day at our bread shop, he captures these aliens so he can put them in their place. Heck, there was rumors years ago that one alien that entered the city, an enormously powerful one at that- got tortured to the point of no return! Nobody's ever heard anything on that alien since it was brought into P.S.Y.C.H HQ!”
Yuna immediately looked shifty-eyed after this. “How the heck do you know all this? Wouldn't all this be classified information to some kinda super-secret alien agency like this one”. Chiro simply giggled- “Let's just say Mr. Crux dropped one of his P.S.Y.C.H documents one time. My Dad was about to give it back to him, but he didn't turn back around! Poor dude simply forgot about it! Dad told me about it and told me to keep it a secret, so... here I am telling you guys after what happened!”
Kyo asked another question- “What about a real name? Does Mr. Crux at least have one of those, Chiro?”, “Yeah, he does... Dad knew him from school and he went under the name of Jonathan Pride. He always got the name “Pride Rock” from my Dad back when he was younger, but nowadays, knowing he's with P.S.Y.C.H was an entirely different story, dudes...”
Kyo looked to himself after taking all this news of the alien agency in. One last question dawned upon his head- “Hey, Chiro? If you know so much about this alien agency...what about their secret base? Do they have one?”
Chiro immediately nodded- “It's not that much of a secret base... it's Kotokan Tower! Their secret document Dad found by accident actually made the mistake of listing their location in geometrical numbers and after entering it in on my phone one time, it amounted out to Kotokan”. “Hold on, Kotokan Tower? Isn't that that crazy big radio tower off in the distance of the city, Kyo?” Yuna perked up, reflecting on the Kamakuran tour she went on earlier in the day. “Dang! Good eye, Yuna! Yes, that's Kotokan Tower... and what a weird place to be throwing secret bases into...”
Kyo thought for a moment before making his mind up, him and Chiro exchanging their words. “Well... if they're in Kotokan Tower, then it's settled. We march in there and get Yuna's Stitch back before the worst happens!”, “Would they even be open at this hour?”, “Oh yeah, totally, dude! It's just the reception desks that would be off-duty!”, “Well- in that case, what's the worst that could happen? They can't revert him back to pod form!”
As soon as Chiro said that, Yuna stepped in- “I know what the worst is!”. She slid her hand into her disguise's blue shorts. From out of the pocket, she took out her Good Deed Memory and pressed a few of the buttons on it, ending with the yellow star button. The display showed a counter sitting at “23” atop a Stitch head, its background akin to Yuna's trademark Okinawan floral shirt. “The worst is if this Crux guy takes off Stitch's Good Deed Counter! You see that “23” there? If he takes it off, that's it! We have to start back from square one!”
Kyo nodded at this dedication of hers. Having watched the TV shows and movies his “idol” Yuna came from before she arrived, he knew quite well that the deeds were important. Of course, he couldn't promise to her they'd get there before the device was off Stitch's hand, but he knew what he had to say. “Well, there's no time to waste. It's either we head to Kotokan Tower or worse things happen to our friend Stitch... and believe me, I wouldn't want the worst for your “ohana”, Yuna”.
Yuna smiled and nodded with him, the group all getting up and putting their hands in the middle over top of one another before they all chanted one big hearty call... “One! Two! Three! Four! Here we come to settle the score! Five! Six! Seven! Eight! Bring him 'round before it's too late!!”
♦ ♦ ♦
Kotokan Tower stood tall like the Eiffel Tower would in Paris through the Kamakuran cityline, its lights around the metal build of the tower fitting in like another tower in Tokyo would've. Set near the far-northern edge of the city, it was the center of the telecommunications grid for not just the TV in Kamakura, but radio and phones. Even cell phones, like Kyo's Disney Mobile for example, were powered by this distant icon...
As night seemed to linger, the Astral Jumpers made no hindrance to hide here as well, hanging around the beams of the building and nearby a fellow dumpster that not just the Kotokan staff, but that of the assumed P.S.Y.C.H would've used often. For some reason, the Astral Jumpers (after the scare down at the Kamakura Dock) scoured through the trash for anything noteworthy while Yai schemed. This was a rarity since the two worked as a duo, but for an instance like this, it didn't matter.
“Have you found anything in that pile worth salvaging for our own use, Kyohaku?” Yai asked. Kyohaku shook his head, tossing away object after object in his search through this dumpster. From food wrappers to pencil sharpeners to other unmentionables, they were finding nothing worthy of their use. It was all office unusuables.
The reason they were looking so much into the garbage is because of Yaiko herself. See, Yai always had the tendency to tinker in her life and always strived to invent new things out of recycled remains. As proven when Kyohaku and her first met, Yai had invented the card-reading mechanism on her arm and on Kyohaku's arm, all the same as the red crystals atop their devices. Certainly, her inventions proved to be innovative for the greater good, but there was always the catch- a criminal was inventing these things and not that of your usual scientist.
“Guh! The smell's not only getting to me, Kyohaku- but I can't handle this anymore! If we really wanted to invent something new in our prodigious rebellion against the Federation, we might as well have headed back to the Akostas Junkyard!” Yai gruffly said, boasting the Astral Jumpers' own accomplishments. Kyohaku Stitch had no interjections this time- then again, he was searching through trash. “But we naga have moved from this place though since tay arrived here to get away from those mooks at Galassia Grano...”
“Yes, yes... I know...” Yai had said, giving a tired yawn afterwards. From being spotted once by “the girl from the Tri-Rune” to their hobbling around the Kamakuran city, Yaiko was getting sleepy from the excitement of today. And while she was a powerful mind of her own- there was the fact that she was still a human being and a young one at that.
The other Stitch took notice of this. “Tay think we should hide and rest for tonight, Yai?”, “As much as I'd want to say “no”... if I keep standing around here, I'm gonna fall asleep as is, so... yeah, I think we should pack it up for tonight... my apologies, I just don't wanna end up sleeping on you, Kyohaku”, Yai had agreed, following up with a mutter of “mataku”, a Japanese word she had used often in her tribulations...
Kyohaku Stitch closed up the dumpster nearby as Yai had wandered ahead, heading for a backwater alley in the Kamakuran streets. She knew it would've been another harsh night of trying to sleep for the two... however, something caught his eye among the clatter of something coming down Kotokan Tower's pipe work...
Laying there near the far left column of the tower, nearby the dumpster they were searching for, a tiny object had landed on the ground onto the concrete. Kyohaku Stitch hobbled closer and closer to the column and picked this minuscule object between his two fingers curiously.
In his left hand, he held what looked like a tiny sphere of blue and red color mixed together. Its colors were faded, but clearly visible. As the Stitch doppelganger inspected this, the numbers “000” were written on the front. He could have sworn he had seen this object before somewhere, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. Kyohaku typed in a few co-ordinates into the stolen prototype UGF technology sitting on his arm, wondering if he could match the signature that this object had to it. “04-08-15-16”, “06-18-20-12”, “06-26-20-17”, the list went on and on through Kyohaku's large list of co-ordinates until he stopped at “03-26-10-15”, his claw aglow per the normal blues it accompanied.
Yai barged into his moment of inspection, pushing him along with the sound of her voice- “Kyohaku! I'm not gonna be standing around all night! If you want me to do that, I'll go sleep by myself”. “One sec! Sokka!” Kyohaku called back. He decided his searches had turned nothing, so he decided to chuck away the “000” sphere from the Kotokan Tower and run off to the opposite Astral Jumper.
What Kyohaku Stitch hadn't noticed was during his running to catch up to Yai and retire for the night, his prototype claw cut a small crack into a dimensional passage and his toss of the “000” sphere had sent the small ball careening into this portal, itself closing upon the ball's entry into it. The Variated Experiment was very intelligent and critical, yes- much like the original Experiment 626, but this mistake slipped by his person. Wherever this tiny ball of unknown identity was headed had the numbers “03-26-10-15” attached to its intergalactic co-ordinates, but where that was in relation to Kamakura's universe or even beyond? Where wasn't clear at the moment.
Kyohaku looked back a moment to double check if anything bad had happened with his leave, but found nothing but the trash bin and the ordinary columns of Kotokan Tower, not even the remain of the accidental portal. After that, he cocked his head forward and left with Yaiko into a hidden alleyway between two close-by Kamakuran shops, hoping to find a place for the young yet notorious one. Despite their effort for a night's rest, the real question that lied on Kyohaku Stitch's mind was “just what was that ball”? Was it fate that this weird spherical object came down from Kotokan Tower? Or was it something else completely...
♦ ♦ ♦
Some time after the Jumpers had left, Yuna, Kyo and Chiro ran to the Kotokan Tower, looking up at the building's towering self over that of Kamakura as the night drew close to the midnight hour. Kyo didn't bring his own Stitch with him, in the worry that Mr. Crux would take him too if he wasn't careful enough. Of course, worry aside, the reason the group was here was to get back Yuna's loyal “ohana” Stitch from the hand of an organization of bad intent.
“Well, here we are... where'd the P.S.Y.C.H base be then?” Yuna asked, fixing the bubbly hat atop her head and keeping her pigtails down with her “Flo” disguise. “Well, first we gotta go inside, dudes... right?” Kyo said, the others nodding in agreement as they entered the Kotokan Tower.
The inside of the building looked high-class, white being the dominant color of the room. Oddly, there was no receptionist there present at the front desk. “Hey, how 'bout that? Kyo was right. Nobody's here...” Chiro said. A lucky occurrence for the group. Taking this opportunity, Kyo and his two friends ran across the way down the hall right of them to an elevator before any security managed to come around the corner.
Inside the elevator, Yuna looked to the nearby keypad, wondering which of the 9 numerical buttons would've took the elevator down as opposed to up all as Kyo bobbed his head to the techno music playing in the elevator (not his own for once). “Hey, Chiro- you think you know which buttons would bring this down too?”, “Yeah, you're kinda our key to finding this odd job agency!”
Chiro scanned the keypad up and down and pressed the buttons for Floor 6, Floor 2, and Floor 6 again in that order. A ding resounded after that, the elevator starting on its descent downward. Kyo raised a brow at the results, Chiro smiling at this- “626? Seriously? Is that saying Mr. Pride's some kind of a Stitch fan too, 'cuz I never got that vibe from him!”, “Well... think about it. Kamakura loves Stitch. I don't think he'd peg anyone to press the number six twice in an elevator though, especially in such a combination”. Yuna shrugged. “Whatever, at least we're getting a move on...”
The elevator took slow time going down. Yuna's impatience was getting the best of her as she tapped her foot much the same as Kyo bobbed his head to this “elevator techno”. “I just hope we're not too late though...” Yuna said, checking her Good Deed Memory once more to see if their dash to the tower didn't dash their chances to save her and Stitch's progress towards the Spiritual Stone... However, the sight she saw on the Memory's display wasn't one she wanted to see, her expression looking downright crushed. “Yuna? Yo, what's the matter?”, Chiro asked.
“0”. That was the number that popped up on the Good Deed Memory display showing Stitch's Good Deed Counter count. There was only one explanation for this- Mr. Crux took off Stitch's Counter in his doings. What's worse is that Jumba had only invented the Counter for it to stay on Stitch's hand, not off. Yuna fell to her knees after seeing this, gravely disappointed. “It's over... He took off the Counter, we've gotta start back from “0” again”, she said, stuffing away the Good Deed Memory into her shorts' pocket once again...
Yuna balled her hand into a fist, her disappointment being replaced with rage. Kyo grew uneasy hearing her growling grow louder and louder in that moment. “That's it!!”, she got herself off the elevator floor, “Nobody steals Stitch and sets us back days of deeds and gets away with it! This Mr. Crux guy's crossed the line and that's not one line you want to cross with Yuna Kamihara”. One could easily tell the blackbelt meant business.
Kyo, on the other hand- didn't want Yuna to do something she'd regret later. So he instantly grabbed Yuna by her shoulders. “Yuna... I know it sucks you guys have to start over from the beginning, but--”, “But what, Kyo?!”, “Yuna, for crying out loud, listen! Would you want it to be Stitch gone instead of the deeds?!”
Yuna stopped in place, Kyo's shout at her cutting through her thick skin. “Kyo...”, “Look... I'm sorry for yelling, clearly having your Stitch stolen over mine's been stressful on me”. Yuna shook her head, her eyes hanging low after- “No, no, it's not that... you're right, Kyozuki. I shouldn't be worried about those deeds right now... I should be more worried about Stitch. We're “Ichariba Ohana”, always have and always will. And that means putting him over one more deed reset... you saying that is what I should've done in the first place...”
Kyozuki smiled at her, patting the bubbly hat Yuna wore as part of her “Flo” disguise. He thought that with Yuna's headstrong nature, things would escalate to worse standing, but luckily it wasn't so. “Somehow, I knew with the right words, it'd crack that shell of yours, dudette”, Yuna nodding at him with a smile coming around. “Well, I dunno about any shell, but... you definitely know the words to turn things around, Kyo”, she chuckled after.
A ding resounded in the elevator between the three, it stopping its descent equally. “Guess this means we're at our stop. P.S.Y.C.H HQ...” Chiro said. Yuna and Kyo nodded at one another as they turned around, preparing themselves for what lied ahead in the headquarters of this alien agency... Yuna said some confident words in response- “Hold on, Stitch... we're coming”.
As soon as the doors of the elevator opened, the trio ran down the way, their feet going along that of a checkerboard floor as they trekked forward. The hall they continued down wasn't long, but it was more the adrenaline of getting their friend back that made this feel more intense than it already did.
The doors to the hidden headquarters burst open, Kyo, Chiro and Yai standing where the doors had flung. “Alright, Mr. Crux! Gig is up, dude!”, “Yeah! Give us Stitch back!” Kyo and Chiro said.
P.S.Y.C.H's home base looked like a normal office space, computers and desks around the area in evenly fashion. The only things that served to throw that seemingly normal look into a U-turn was that of what was written on whiteboards in the room, that being algebraic formulas, algorhythms and complex figures all pointing towards that of alien life in the stars.
What was more to this was a tube-like incubator in the center of the room, a pile of clothes meant to be the “Joker” disguise nearby alongside the golden Good Deed Counter. Yet inside of the tube was the blue Experiment, sensors attached all over his body. He looked weak, hurt from the sensors attached to him, like they were shock emitters. Of course, standing before the tube with his back turned was the suited man himself- Mr. Crux.
He heard the calls of Chiro and Kyo and turned around, unphased by their tones. “Well... you sure know how to make an entrance... how'd you all get clearance into here”, he questioned. Yuna jumped right in, throwing aside the usual chance to disguise her voice- “That doesn't matter! You know why we're here!”
The Experiment inside of the tube hunched up slowly to see who that was from afar, his sensitive ears picking up on familiar voices. “Y-- Yuna...” her Stitch muttered out of his pain. “...Well, you found your alien, or should I say one of the two I know your group has. I must say, I'm impressed with his strength, he's lasted longer than other test specimens P.S.Y.C.H has picked up”, Crux explained. “He's no test specimen! He's a living, breathing being like the rest of us, dude! The more you hurt him, the worse he's going to get!” Kyo yelled.
Mr. Crux reached for the button to the tube behind him. “I'd feel lucky our usual enforcers are off-duty, among those one who retrieved this alien a few hours ago. The equipment they carry around would make short of work of your efforts... of course, you're a bunch of young children, maybe excessive force wouldn't be necessary”, the P.S.Y.C.H head laughing after.
Yuna wasn't having any of it. She swiftly punched Mr. Crux across the face as he was caught off guard, channeling into that blackbelt of hers for an instant. “Whoa, whoa, whoa- Yuna!” Kyo exclaimed. With Crux on his feet, she glared down at him. “I don't think you know we're just more than “some kids”! We're a lot more than that... And what you've done is set us back some, especially me...”, Kyo and Chiro looking to her for a moment, thinking she was going back on what she said, especially after the karate punch.
Yuna continued, “However... what you've set us back isn't what I'm concerned about. I'm more concerned with my best friend... Stitch. My “ohana” sits there in that tube as you torture him! And if you don't let him go, that torture's gonna kill him! You can't just go around killing aliens like this, especially when they've got a good heart!”
Mr. Crux rebutted right back to Yuna- “You forget these are extra-terrestrials we're talking about here. They're the unknown. They deserve this treatment, especially those that could potentially destroy things like our first test specimen was going to. And how can you go around becoming friends with them? The real world is dangerous, threatening even! You think you're doing a favor making friends with these monsters when in reality, when you're not looking, they could be calling in an invasion!”
Yuna was about to open her mouth and argue back when Kyo spoke up, stepping forward, lightly pushing Yuna back. “You're wrong... You're dead wrong, Jonathan!”, he said, Mr. Crux surprised Kyozuki called him by his real name (just as Chiro told Kyo)- Jonathan Pride.
“Aliens aren't always meant to be specimens locked up for you to test on. Nor do they deserve to be hated! If you've done your so-called research... Not all of them can be bad. Look at Stitch in there. Have you ever watched the original movies or the TV shows he starred in, dude? I don't care if you're too old for cartoons, that was proof that “aliens can't all be bad”. And if they are, they can learn all the same as we can. With our help, aliens won't always against us... no, they'll be with us, fighting on our side when danger comes! But if people like you keep hurting them, then what does that make us? A bunch of savages! And Kamakurans aren't meant to be savages!”
Kyo stopped a moment in his words to Jonathan. He knew there was a risk his words would or wouldn't make a difference- “You keep this up and no alien would want to stop by Earth! No alien would want to fight for us because people like your agency will be there with their technology to kill them all the same! Not even if there was a Galactic Federation out there! You don't want that on your conscience, do you? The lives of aliens in pain when all they want to do is learn of our cultures, our media and furthermore... ourselves, dude?”
Kyo panted loudly after the speech he made, turning around. “But what good is it? You've been like this since that alien from before came down... and you tortured it to no return... If that's the case... there's no swaying you...” Kyo wiped his eyes after taking his glasses off a moment, a few tears forming at his eyes. You couldn't see it through his shades, but Jonathan was impressed with the Kamakuran teen...
“Kid... how did you find out of all of this?” Jonathan asked. Chiro spoke up truthfully- “With all due respect, sir... it was me. You left a piece of your agency in our bread shop one day. Never came back for it either, so we kept everything a secret until tonight when I told Kyo and “Flo” here. Don't worry, no one else knows”. Yuna took off her bubbly hat for a moment, since it seemed like everyone was telling the truth and there was no use hiding. “Actually... it's not “Flo”, it's Yuna. Apparently, TV's gone and made me a celebrity here, so I've been trying to keep things secret while I'm here, you know? Don't ask why me and my Stitch are here, it's a long story.”
More and more, Jonathan seemed to take all of this in. He got up off his feet and walked over to the tube a moment, showing nary an emotion to the group of friends. That was until he entered the code into the tube to open the glass and grabbed Yuna's Stitch, ripping him from the sensors. Chiro looked surprised- “Jonathan?”
He walked over to Yuna, handing her her Experiment back to its rightful owner. Yuna quickly hugged Stitch and held him close to her, patting his back as he weakly returned the favor. “Yuna... tay oki--”, “Hey... don't strain yourself, go ahead and rest... you're safe”. Jonathan looked to Yuna and gave a nod to her- “Nice hook. I was expecting your karate punches to be hard from that one episode I saw during one of my lunch breaks... and I can safely say I wasn't wrong. My rib's still stinging from that one”. Yuna looked on, in awe that this man just complimented her karate skills.
Jonathan took of his shades, revealing a set of hazel eyes to match his short hair. He then walked over to Kyo as Yuna grabbed up the rest of her Stitch's disguise. “Kid... I was like you once. Full of energy and believing in the good of everything. That includes aliens not being of impure mind. And then there's me... who went so far against it after one cursed night that I forgot the one thing that made the universe so unique... You know, you've got courage to be standing up to me like that. And it takes a lot more to keep the secrets you have been keeping, between Yuna Kamihara and both of the aliens you've had hidden...”, “What? What are you... getting at, dude?”
“What I'm getting at is... you've convinced me”, Jonathan said, tapping the intercom he had on his ear. “To all of P.S.Y.C.H, this is Mr. Crux... I'd like to inform you all when you get this message that P.S.Y.C.H will be undergoing some changes within the agency. Any and all violence-based rulings against aliens underway will be rewritten and revised. Furthermore, this agency will be changing its “chosen hope” to overlook any and all alien kind that enters Earth over capturing it. More will come in the morning. And finally, I'd like for you abolish of my nickname... Mr. Crux is no more. Call me Jonathan”, stopping in his message for a moment- “After all, Jonathan's my name... that is all, members of P.S.Y.C.H. Jonathan out”.
“W-- Whoa... are you saying P.S.Y.C.H just pulled a complete 360 tonight because of us?”, Chiro asked as soon as Jonathan took his fingers off the intercom. “The phrase “we've got nothing to hide anymore” comes to mind...” Jonathan said, looking at Kyo. “Kid... you're doing the universe a favor with that outlook in life. I only wish I hadn't gone and thought aliens were always meant to be evil monsters years ago when the first one entered our office... let alone left that one document in Yokoi Breads, but I suppose I have your friend here to thank for keeping it so secret”.
Kyo looked up, wiping the light tears from his eyes and meeting Jonathan's own. “Dude... you don't have to regret anything in the then... you've changed in the now, right?” Jonathan Pride nodded- “It's better to be brought back into the light by mistakes... rather than dwell upon them and further depress yourself down the road. For the record, kid... I do dabble into Stitch once in a blue moon. And I'm more than impressed that you managed to get to him before we did... heaven knows if it was the old us back there, that poor blue soul you have would be in far different standing”. Kyo smiled at him saying this, knowing his efforts in finding Stitch weren't in vain.
“Do both of you kids have names? Just so I know I'm talking to human beings here?”, Jonathan asked the group, Yuna aside. “Chiro Yokoi”, “Kyozuki Yamada, dude- call me Kyo”, the two Kamakura teenagers replying.
Jonathan looked at the two with a honest smile. “Never forget your roles in life, Kyo and Chiro. You've shown tonight you're braver than you think standing up to a what-used-to-be corrupt alien agency...”, “Heh, thanks! Though... I feel like something worse could be coming” Kyo said, his tone changing.
Jonathan looked sternly at the mention of “worse”, he remembered what happened a few nights back- the screeching, the interruption over all matter of Earth technology in Kamakura and of course, the call of wanting a certain “Experiment 626” by an unknown yet alien species. “I know exactly what you're getting at, that incredibly noisy interruption of all technology in the city the other day, correct? I thought it was some marketing stunt, personally... While I don't think we can analyze it given how widespread the effect is, but we'll try to see if we can gather anything out of it beyond what the being has to say”.
Kyo was curious though- “How are we gonna keep in touch, Jonathan? Especially if anything uncool happens the next while involving whoever wants Stitch... or in case you, you know, wanna catch up sometime over coffee or whatever your poison is”. Jonathan was right on the case, handing both Chiro and Kyo personal business cards with his phone number on them. “Heh... I don't think you'll be inviting me to coffee with my schedule, but just keep these handy, you two,” he paused, then looked over to Yuna and Stitch near the urban Kamakuran kids- “And don't worry... your secret's going to remain safe with me... I promise”. Yuna gave her nod back with a smile, fixing her hat and her pigtails for her “Flo” disguise as she held Stitch. She held a pinky finger up as if she knew he was going to promise her that. “Don't worry, we know you won't blab us out to the world!”
Yuna's mind dawned on something else though- “Wait... if we came down here like this, how the heck are we gonna get back out? Isn't there security in Kotokan Tower?” Jonathan chuckled a laugh through his rough voice. “Oh, leave that to me... Yuna, get your friend into his ruse and I'll lead you out. Besides... it's getting rather late for young souls like yourself to be up”. Seemed like Jonathan knew strings he pulled as to how he got in and out of Kotokan Tower. In one night after mistakes of the past came to bite back, him and his agency were turned around by a bunch of kids who knew the good in anyone, even extra-terrestrials. Jonathan Pride knew in his heart he'd be seeing more of these kids, even the Izayoi Island celebrities...
♦ ♦ ♦
Back home at Kyo's house, the clock struck 1 in the morning. And Kyo's Stitch heard the group return with his ears perking, worried as soon as Kyo and Yuna came back in, her own Stitch dressed in his disguise in her arms. “Kyozuki... Yuna... tay came back” he timidly murmured as Chiro slid the door shut behind them. Chiro already figured out she was gonna be sleeping over in the Yamada place. After all, her father trusted her with Kyo. “Of course we're back, dude... we even brought back other “yuuga” too. Wasn't like a life or death mission”, Kyo explained.
Yuna set her Stitch on the mattress Haka laid for them to sleep on nearby, who had fallen asleep on the walk home. His snoring would've been like Yuna's, had she not still been awake. She smiled to him for a moment- “Kinda funny he fell asleep so fast after that so much punishment”. “Kiddin' me? Stitch takes a lot of punishment in his time, Yuna... I'm sure that's common knowledge to you though, dude” Kyo retorted, looking a little off.
Yuna immediately caught wind of his off look, as did Chiro. “Kyo? Is something up? You don't look... happy to be back home after what happened” Yuna asked him, taking off her bubble hat and allowing her pigtails to shoot back up to her usual. Kyo sighed, something was clearly on the teenage mind. “I'm... glad we were able to come back home like this, but... that whole time... I was so worried we were going to lose your Stitch...”
“But we didn't lose him! He's right here... little on the sleepy side, yeah- but here! So, why's that got you so worried, Kyo?” she asked, trying to reassure her down friend. Kyo looked back to Yuna and Chiro, whom were both concerned for him in their own ways.
“Because... I was worried you'd end up losing Stitch like I lost... my Dad...”
Yuna and Chiro looked at each other in shock, though Yuna was the first to speak up. Yuna remembered how hesitant he was to talk about any other parents but his Uncle Haka. “Your Dad? You... lost your Dad? How, Kyo?”
Kyo sighed, tearing up as he had to explain himself. “He got sick a while ago with a disease that baffled doctors... and then fell into a coma. What's worse is he's been stuck in that coma years up to now. You don't know how it feels to stop by Kazuka Hospital every week to see if his condition improves only to find out it hasn't! Every time, it's “we're sorry, Kyozuki- your father's still sick! Y-- You can always try again next week!”
Kyo covered his eyes and sniffed in his tears, the poor soul in a rare sorrow. Clearly this was something he never wanted to tell anyone, something a mellow and laidback soul like him shouldn't be having to hide given the circumstance. But he had it hidden on his person, like a weight on his heart. Chiro, as Kyo's close friend, spoke up. “Why didn't you tell me or Yuna though, Kyo? You know we'd be able to help you through anything, dude... why keep it a secret for so long?”
“Because I didn't want to have you two worried... I didn't want to have the pity or the woe from you guys and I especially didn't wanna drop that load onto you when it was my burden to carry...” Kyo said, wiping his eyes. Chiro looked worried, putting a hand on Kyo's left shoulder. “Kyo... I know you've had your Uncle to look after you since your Dad went into the hospital... but remember, me and my Dad are always around for you if you feel like this. Yamadas and Yokois, remember?”
It was then that someone put a hand on his right shoulder. One look over from Kyo revealed that to be Yuna. “And you don't have to hide or run away from your problems... I know how it feels to have one of your parents up and leave your life entirely...” she said, looking away in disappointment. “You don't mean... your Mom, do you?” Kyo asked her. Yuna nodded to herself, the thought stung.
Back when, Yuna's Mom died in a freak typhoon on a boat back to Izayoi Island, oddly along with a photo album of her Mom's own. This meant when she was younger, it was just her grandparents and her Dad looking after the young Kamihara. And we know what ended up happening to her Dad, work taking over his life...
However, Yuna didn't let this get her down. She'd already gotten past the death of her Mom years ago and she wasn't going to let it get her down now. “That's why I want you to know that you can trust me with anything, Kyo. I'm here for you... 'cuz that's what “ohana” does, right? Stitch always told me that “ohana” is there for each other...” she said. Kyo nodded with her, knowing his “idols” well enough to know they would say something like that. “Ichariba Chodei, right?”, “Right... I-- Ichariba Chodei...” Yuna and Kyo said to one another.
A tug at Kyo's usual floral shirt came after all the drama. Kyo's own version of Experiment 626 was left standing there curiously as both Yuna and Chiro helped quell the mellow teen's emotions. “Kyo... issa Dad... important to tay?” he asked. Kyo gazed at his own Stitch.
“Why... of course, he's important to me. He's my Dad, he raised me! He was the one who did so much for me in my life after I was born. He got my surfboard, he taught me how to surf as masterfully as I do, he taught me how to drown out whatever bullies thought! He... meant so much to me that watching him go into the hospital and never come back out still makes me feel terrible, dude...”
Kyo's Stitch nodded understandingly at what he had said about his own father, raising his hand to Kyo. “Then... meega will help Dad. Naga know how, but... meega will”, his Experiment said with a smile looking to help the teenage surfer all the same as Kyo had done for him. Kyo did one better to the Experiment, hugging him much to his Stitch's surprise. “You're helping already, dude,” he said, looking to Yuna and Chiro after with a returning smile, “In fact, you're all helping me. And I'm glad I have you guys and my Uncle Haka to help me out of this slump. I just hope someday... that my Dad can wake up from his coma, dudes...”
Yuna gave a meaningful smile to Kyo- “Maybe sometime he will, huh? Never say never”. Kyo had to grin back with Yuna's optimism, Chiro smiling at her friend's recovery. “Right. Never say never. Very good advice, Yuna! Heh!”
Of course, the sentimental moment they were having had to be cut in by a myriad of flickering and phasing that affected the Earth technology around the house. The computer screen in Kyo's room, even though it was turned off began acting up too, turning on and glitching out of control. This was only partnered with a familiar and loud screech that struck the city's electronics all the same, deafening as ever. Everyone save Yuna's Stitch covered their ears, the loudness coming back as it lingered into Kamakura's city again.
“W-- What is that racket!?” Chiro yelled over the static noise emanating from the inner city. Yuna yelled all the same, remembering what happened last time- “I think I know what! And it's not something I wanted to rear its head right now!”
The group looked over to Kyo's computer screen, as the slender spire-headed figure appeared yet again over the signals of Earth's technology, the sound cutting down to just static. It was obvious he had something to say to all of Kamakura at this ungodly hour...
“Greetings citizens of... Ka... makur... ah? No matter. It has come to my attention that that thing we've kept an eye on last time has somehow multiplied. Either you are hiding two Experiment 626es or you have cloned him for your own personal use... I asked you before to contact me with this monstrosity before we landed before. Now I'm going to have to alter the deal... send me one of these creatures, the REAL one of these 626es... and your planet will be spared. But if you do not give me either... then your fate is sealed and you will incur our wrath. Mass destruction will sweep your Earth cities like nothing before it. Never forget this... we'll be watching you... and you will know our cause soon...”
After he faded from the static imagery, Earth's devices returned back to normal, the noises that were made during the abnormal activity quelling. As Kyo's Stitch began to growl again, recalling the figure once more- Kyo looked to Yuna shocked at what it said. “D-- Did... he just figure out there was two Stitches on Earth?” Kyo asked. Yuna nodded alike the first time- “Uh-huh... though... I hope that he was just counting one of those plushies in the store and not mine”. Chiro looked just as shocked as the others having seen this interruption for the first time, as last time she had only heard the deafening noise- “If neither you know what that is... then we've got aliens coming our way from the looks of it”.
Kyo retorted back to Chiro with a chuckle- “Ya think, Chiro? I don't know what he wants, but that's the second time! I certainly hope there's some kinda Galactic Federation where we live that can take this guy before he makes it to Earth”, “Yeah, dude... if Stitch is here, there has to be a Federation out there, right?”
That moment, Kyo's Stitch's eyes perked up at the mention of “Galactic Federation”. He remembered something about the Federation, but it wasn't fully pieced together in his mind. Before he could spit out the words though, Yuna gave a big yawn. “I... I dunno about you guys, but we should be getting some sleep...” she said, Kyo agreeing. “Yeah, we should be hitting the hay, dudes... this is way late for us, especially with our heck of a day”.
Kyo was right. It had already been a wild day for the group between the Kamakuran tour Yuna and Stitch were on, the conundrum with P.S.Y.C.H (and ultimately turning the agency around for the greater good) and one more of those strange transmissions on top of everything else. Of course, Kyo's Stitch remembering something would have to wait until tomorrow while the others rested, including Yuna's Stitch who was already tuckered out, old P.S.Y.C.H electro-torturing aside. Yet while the rest of the team was going to sleep, just what was it that Kyo's Stitch began to recall out of nowhere? Could it be his memories were coming back to him? If it had to deal with the Galactic Federation of this alternate universe, it had to be of importance...