Star Ocean The Second Story

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

* Chapter 6: The Plot is Served with Fava Beans and a Fine Chianti *

Meanwhile, far away, on an island far west of Armlock, the Wise Men had placed the house that was formerly encased in the Eternity Space.

"Giver of life...embodiment of perfection..." Indalecio said, staring at a small, glowing box inside the house. "Gift from the gods themselves...bless me with your divinity!"

The box dinged, and Indalecio pulled from within it a small bag of microwaveable popcorn.

"Hot, buttered goodness..." he said, pouring the popcorn into a bowl and plopping down on the sofa in front of the television. He turned the television on to find one of his favorite movies was playing. He was about to savor the first few kernels when a horrific sound came from the garage, not unlike the sound produced when one places a cat in a blender.

"What the devil is going on in here?" Indalecio shouted as he stormed into the garage.

"Nothing," Cyril said, holding a sleek black electric guitar. "We're just practicing."

"Practicing what?" Indalecio said. "Seeing how obnoxious a sound you can make?"

"No," said Decus, holding a guitar much like Cyril's, only red in color (and for practical reasons, made completely out of asbestos). "That was Master of Puppets by Metallica."

"We kept asking you if you wanted to be in our band, but you refused," Vesper said, sitting behind a large and unnervingly complex looking drum set. "So we asked Ruprecht here instead, and he accepted." He pointed to Ruprecht, who was busy tuning his bass guitar.

"Fine," Indalecio said. "So what's the name of your 'band'?"

"Lantis," Cyril said matter-of-factly. "We play all kinds of rock, but we concentrate on metal."

"Fine, fine, whatever..." Indalecio said. "Have fun with your little 'band'. Just turn it down a little bit." He walked out of the garage right as the four-piece group started a driving rendition of Rage Against the Machine's Guerrilla Radio, except completely devoid of rhythm, tone, or overall talent.

* * *

Claude, Rena, and Chisato climbed the stairs that led to the top floor of City Hall in Central City. As they got there, they found that their spaceship had not yet been moved, and their only path to Narl's office would, to their horror, invade the secretary's protective bubble. Nevertheless, they braved the onslaught of "Please stay on the other side of the desk"-s until they came to the outside of Narl's office, where they ran into Noel.

Actually, Chisato ran into Noel, knocking her to the ground. "Oh, I'm sorry!" Noel exclaimed, helping her back to her feet. She gave him a little smile, which made him blush a tiny bit.

"So, Noel, why are you here?" Claude asked.

"I heard there was a reward for information on the whereabouts of Chisato and myself. I tried to cash in, but it didn't work," Noel said. "Why are you here?"

"We need to talk to Narl," Rena said. "We learned about the Wise Men's plan."

"What plan?" Noel said, laughing nervously.

"Don't play stupid, Noel," Chisato said. "I told them."

"What?" Noel exclaimed. "Why'd you do that?"

"Simply put," Chisato said, "they're innocent victims in this whole shebang, and they deserve to know. If you want it complexly put, then talk to me later."

"But I..." Noel stammered.

"No buts," Chisato said sternly. "It's too late for buts. If you had any objections, you should have brought them to my attention earlier..."

"All right," Noel said, dejected. "I give up..."

"You wouldn't happen to know where the Wise Men are, would you?" Rena asked.

"Actually, I do!" Noel exclaimed. "In fact, I can take you there."

"Maybe our meeting with Narl can wait," Claude said. "Wait...does going there involve passing through the secretary's office?"

"Yes, of course," Noel said.

"Hold on," Claude said, taking out four pairs of earplugs. He handed one pair each to the three, and inserted the fourth into his own ears. "Ready," he said.

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