Star Ocean The Second Story

2001: Another Star Odyssey (Home Again)
By Paul Beaudoin

* Chapter 17: Infiltration *

The four, armed with their new weapons, made their way to the top floor of City Hall, in order to discuss matters with Mayor Narl. When they reached the secretary's office, Claude stopped.

"You go on. I'll just wait here," he said, staying still. The barrages of "Please stay on the other side of the desk" continued, like they always had, but Claude kept his ground. The other three, not completely sure of what he was thinking, entered Mayor Narl's office.

"Welcome!" Narl said. "I trust that Mirage gave you your weapons?"

"Uh huh," Noel said. "Rather unconventional, too..."

"Good, good..." Narl said. "We've determined the location of Orin's hideaway."

"Great!" Rena shouted. "Where is it?"

"An island just west of Fun City," Narl said. "We've already set up a ship ready for your departure. We can leave whenever you're ready."

"Excellent," Rena said. "I have just one more question for you... could you possibly watch the twins while we go and fight?"

"Ummm...I guess so..." Narl said. Suddenly, an explosion rocked the building, sounding like it came from the next room over. Claude, blackened from the blast, ran into the room happily.

"I knew it!" he shouted. "Everyone ready?"

As the five walked into the secretary's office, she was nowhere to be found. In one piece, that is. Numerous robotic pieces that looked remarkably like her were strewn violently about the room. Where she once was laid her head, quietly repeating the words she repeated so often.

"I knew she was a robot. She had a one-track mind even simpler than even the simplest townsperson," Claude said, proud of his accomplishments.

"That's funny," Narl said. "She didn't mention she was a robot on her job application..."

* * *

Approaching an island just west of Fun City, a lone ship cruised the seas.

"The island should be within view soon," Narl said, standing at the bow of the ship. "So should his hideout..."

Almost immediately after he said this, the island and fortress appeared through the sea's mist. It was--

--a house. It wasn't even a rather large house. It looked like it had been hastily put together.

"You're kidding..." Rena said.

"Nope," Narl responded. "This is the place..."

"You're telling us," Claude said, "that a psychotic villain who's threatening the entire universe is holed up in a little shanty?"

"Maybe he's crazier than we thought," Noel said.

"Whatever," Chisato said. "What's important is that we get in there and fight!"

* * *

The ship landed on the island, and the four quickly departed the ship and entered the house. There, waiting for them, was Orin. Behind him was a Quadratic Sphere and the Crest of Annihilation, a pair that proved to be extremely dangerous in the past.

"You're late..." Orin said, looking at his watch.

"You don't mean you've already invoked the crest, do you?" Claude shouted.

"Of course not," Orin said. "If I had, we probably wouldn't be standing here right now..."

"Then why are we late?" Rena asked.

"The heroes always turn up just as the villain is about to begin the final phase of his plans," he said. "It was just a matter of waiting in the case of you guys."

Chisato walked up to him calmly. "Well, wait no more..." She raised the electric joy buzzer.

"What, now you're fighting me with toys?" Orin said. "I should say you're the crazy ones..."

"Not really," Chisato said, pressing the joy buzzer against his neck.

The smell of burning flesh filled the room, as Orin went wild with convulsions. Chisato let go, and Orin fell to the floor, thrashing violently.

"What the hell...?" he gasped, as he struggled to regain composure. Waiting for him was Noel, who belted him solidly across the face, sending him flying. Waiting on the other side of the room was Rena, who gave him another solid punch, right in the small of the back. He staggered around the room for a bit, finally collapsing straight on Claude's sword.

"Give it up," Claude said, pulling the sword out of Orin's chest. "You've lost..."

Orin clutched the hole in his chest and grinned. Blood poured from the wound like water from a garden hose. "I'll never lose," he said, leaning against the wall. "I can't be killed...I'm immortal!"

"Oh, you're a demon," Claude said condescendingly. "How original..."

"Not a demon..." Orin said, grinning.

"A god of Destruction," Claude mocked. "That's so much better!"

"Closer, but not quite..." Orin said. He then folded, and fell to the ground. From his lifeless body came a twitch.

"...The hell?" Noel said, as Orin's body continued twitching. Soon, it lifted from the ground and hovered in midair. A bright flash came from Orin's body. When the light subsided, an entirely new figure stood before them.

"Oh crap..." Claude said, staring at the new opponent.

Author's note: This chapter break has been brought to you by the Department for Suspenseful Chapter Breaks, a subdivision of Cliffhanger Enterprises, Inc. These same fine people are responsible for two-part television programs, books that don't quite make complete sense unless you've read previous entries in the series, and minor plot discrepancies in movies that can only be resolved in the sequel. Blame them, please.

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