You stare at Thrigon in a blank state for a few seconds before speaking up, "Eh, I'll pass. I'm more interested in finding out what's been happening this last year."
Thrigon puts his palms up in a defensive manner, "Alright, alright. No big deal. Guess I'll catch you later." You give him a stern nod and he quickly retreats, leaving you alone.
You plop down on your bed and grip your forehead with both hands. After a short rest, you find yourself walking through the halls and heading towards Rem's room. Valkyrie is quite different than it was before the war. You figure it must have had something to do with the Red Ribbon Army attacking while the majority of the fighters were at tbe Saiyan Empire.
Most of the walls have paintings and decorations scattered about, making the area much less bland. Feeling the walls, it's clear that they have been reinforced with much more durability than before. Furthermore, the entire volume of the Forte just appears to be much greater than it ever was.
Multiple Soldiers pass by during your walk, all of which stop and salute you without hesitation. Though it hasn't been long since you've returned, you find yourself surprised that only Echo and Thrigon have seen you so far. Reunions are never what they are made out to be in one's mind.
Now at a large door that is painted dark brown with swirls of blue scattered throughout, you give yourself a nod of approval. This simply must be Rem's room, despite it being in a different location than before.
You give the door a few knocks and after a short wait, it's answered. Rem stands before you, looking identical to how he appeared one year ago. His clothes consist of a white dress shirt with small black stripes running through, plain black dress pants and a pair of white socks. The length of his hair is still the same, flaking around his symmetrical head.
"Welcome back, Kiryu. I've been waiting for you." He says briefly before turning around and walking towards a living room with multiple couches, chairs, and a large table in the middle of them all. You figure this is where the Commander's have their meetings.
Both of you have a seat across from each other, examining each other without spouting a word. Finally, you break the ice and speak up, "You don't seem at all surprised to see me, Rem."
"I imagine that is because i'm not." You squint your eyes at him and start stroking your chin with your left hand. "I can sense your Ki signature, Kiryu. Just because the Radar is no longer in my private quarters, that does not mean I'm completely ignorant to what is transpiring around Valkyrie."
"Fair enough. Sensing one's Ki would be a neat trick to pick up. Perhaps I should learn it."
"Do as you wish, but it would not benefit you very much. Nonetheless, we have a substantial amount of figures to discuss."
"Yes, we do." You quickly reply, taking in the scenery of Rem's new room. His bed is in the far corner of it, along with a closet and nightstand close by. His treasured Computer and desk are just behind where he is sitting, and the last thing of interest in the room would be the meeting area. "So why don't you start with the changes around Forte Valkyrie."
"Okay." He takes a deep breath and clutches his hands together, obviously thinking of how he is going to start. "My previous duty of covering security of the Forte, our next move as a super power, covering data on worldly events, recruiting fighters, punishing fools, renovating the Forte, and so much more became too overwhelming for me to handle. Especially without Pitou or you to assist in matters. I made do with what we had when Ex Commander Loukar was murdered, but this was just too much."
"I can imagine."
"Indeed. Because of this, I assigned each Commander to their own position around the Forte. Commander Echo is in charge of security of the Forte. Commander Kaiba is in charge of communication of everything that transmits in and out of Valkyrie. Dysect is head of invasions and offensive forces, particularly involving the Red Ribbon Army. Right now he is away from the Forte, studying for any possible openings in the Red Ribbon's security. And finally, Commander Joseph Pike is in charge of everything involving the prisoners, as well as Forte Valkyrie's supplies. He imports everything we need to live on, and whatever else I tell him to get a hold of. I am in charge of everything else."
"Hmm, alright. And what exactly do you have planned for myself?"
"To tell you the truth, I do not know. What with you being gone for an entire year, I couldn't exactly hold a slot open for you. Same goes for Pitou. For now, just do as you please. I shall assign you work soon enough."
"Sounds fun." You sarcastically agree.
Rem scowls at this, but doesn't go into detail with his displeasure. "I was told that you were training on an island. How did it go?"
"Quite well. Both my understanding and technical abilities in anything involving Ki have greatly improved."
"Splendid. I figured that you would need to branch off your understanding of Ki eventually, but I am far from capable of assisting you, which is why I refused to bring it up."
"I see. So continue; fill me in on everything."
"Don't fret about it. You will be informed shortly. First, I want to congratulate you on your great achievements in the war against the Saiyajin Empire. Well done, Kiryu. And thank you." You give him a short nod, signalling him to continue. "Aside from the near collapse of Valkyrie, matters went smoothly defending against the Red Ribbon Army."
Him mentioning the RRA reminds you of what Thrigon said and you snap your fingers on impulse. "About that, I was unable to keep up with any events that transpired around the world during my year of training. What happened with the Red Ribbon Army? And everything else for that matter."
"I won't tell you irrelevant news stories, but anything that matters...I'll thoroughly explain." You give him another nod, and he goes on. "They were attacked. Over four thousand soldiers were killed on that day. This assault took place at their main headquarters, and the damage was so extreme that they were forced to completely abandon two other bases close by, in order to cut their losses. They are gaining strength once again, but this happened last month. Of course, a significant amount of resources were lost so they are still building back up."
"...Wow. Wouldn't that mean now is the best time to attack them?"
"Theoretically, yes. But according to my sources, only one Executive was killed. Everybody else was below that rank, mainly consisting of fodder. Right now, they expect us to attack. I have no doubt in my mind that all of their top fighters are at the ready, preparing for us."
"Very true. And who attacked them?"
A grim face writes itself on Rem's face, so he stands up and walks over to the kitchen and takes a pot of coffee out. He offers it to you, but you shake your head, having no interest in the caffeine. "That's the problem," Rem begins, his cup nearly filled to the brim. "I do not have proper information on this matter as of yet. All of the Frontier Agents that were stationed at the Red Ribbon Army were killed, leaving me with only guess work and rumors."
"All of them? It sounds to me like it was a plan to take care of all of the spies." You examine.
"Believe me, that thought has crossed my mind multiple times. But it just seems so...so implausible." Rem has a seat on the leather couch, coffee in hand, and slurps some of it up. "Ah, tasty." He says with a smile.
"Rem...What information do you have on it?"
"...One man." You give him a look of confusion, squinting one of your eyes. "Apparently, the damage...the attack...It was done by one man. One soul. Just one person...alone."
Practically jumping out of your seat, you shout back at Rem, "What!? That's...Not possible!" Both of your eyes bulging out of the sockets, you calm yourself and lean back against the chair, awaiting a reply.
"Nearly. It would explain why only fodder was destroyed but so much damage done by one person. I wonder if even I could have managed to do that. It's not like they were able to capture this man. He disappeared without a trace moments after the damage was done!"
"...Incredible. Every step I take, it just becomes clearer that there are so many people above my level. This world is so vast...!" You think silently.
"Whoever did it, we have not heard the last of them. I fear that they will strike Forte Valkyrie next. Which is another reason why I haven't initiated anything against the Red Ribbon Army as of yet." You give him a nod, and dart your eyes to the floor, thinking of any possibly candidates who could have done this. Nobody comes to mind though.
Silence impedes, but Rem finally shatters it. "Oh, yes. About Agent 86, formerly known as General White." You pick your eyes back up and glare at Rem, anticipating his next words. "General Blue brought him back about ten months ago now. Since then, he has sworn allegiance to us. He is currently working under Commander Pike in the prison."
"Ha! And you believe that piece of trash? He's probably been crossing you since he got back."
"That was my first impression, but I doubt it. He's told us a vast amount of information about the Red Ribbon Army, and has even let us to experiments on that chip he has inside of his body. The one that allows him to change shape. Furthermore, Agent 86 has put in continuous effort in order to protect the Forte since he swore allegiance. Perhaps he was just fed up with how the Red Ribbon Army treated him..."
"Peh, whatever. What information did you get out of him?"
Rem smiles briefly and puts his cup of coffee down. "For starters, the Red Ribbon Army has been undergoing the process of experimenting on children and turning them into artificial killing machines. Giving them numbers to assign who they are. For Agent 86's case, it was slightly different."
"He already mentioned this to me." You cut in with not a hint of enthusiasm.
"Not entirely. #86 was captured, had his memory wiped clean, and turned into a numbered soldier. No artificial enhancements needed. But for the children that they have been kidnapping, they have been turned into complete killing machines that have no choice but to obey whatever the Red Ribbon Army instructs them to do."
"That's sickening," you quickly reply. "But what does it have to do with us? All it does is show that the RRA does some despicable acts under the table."
"Very well. Perhaps it is not completely relevant, but if anything, it signifies that he is willing to cooperate and shows us who his true allegiance is for."
"Hardly. He gave me similar information before he wanted anything to do with us. He's playing you, Rem."
"I doubt it."
"I guarantee it."
The two of you glare at each other, strongly disliking each other's point of view. This goes on for what seems like several minutes until Rem speaks up. "Moving on, it appears that a diplomat will be coming to Valkyrie in due time."
"A diplomat? Representing whom?"
"The Red Ribbon Army."
"What!? Why would-"
"Because we have a prisoner." Rem boldly cuts you off. "And they want this particular one back at all costs. As a result, Kaiba contacted me two days ago and said that their plan is to bring three people in to discuss the future of this prisoner. If anything happens to him, an all out war will unfold, evidently."
"I have doubts...The Red Ribbon Army as a whole doesn't give two s***'s about anybody. If I was captured back when I was there, they wouldn't have sent a diplomat to retrieve me. President Red would want to, since in all honesty, he's a very kind and generous man...But he's highly influenced by those under him. And those under him...Are very corrupt."
Rem stares at you with sympathy, putting his hand over the bottom half of his face. "Kiryu, President Red was assassinated." You try to speak, but not a word comes out. Nothing but a face of shock, mixed in with fear. "Just under two months ago. As of now, his advisers back when he had power are in charge. The perpetrator is still unknown, as of now."
"It's...It's the end of all of us...!" You say in shock, gripping your forehead tightly.
"Hmm? What are you going on about, Kiryu?"
"President Red...He was the only thing containing the Red Ribbon Army. Think of it like a bottle of wine and a cork. The prior which represented the corrupt nature of Red's advisers. President Red himself was the cork...Containing all of that evil. In order for his advisers to get what they wanted, they had to use sneaky methods to get around Red so he wouldn't know what they were doing. As a result, the Red Ribbon Army was more or less, a just corporation. But if he's dead...Nothing will contain them anymore."
"Nothing out of the ordinary has transpired so far."
"Doubtfully. Nothing known has happened, but his advisers, otherwise known as the Fleet Executives...They're a whole new level of corrupt. Rem, why are they coming to Forte Valkyrie!?"
An unusual look of worry now on Rem's face, he quickly answers. "I have a prisoner. His name is Phoenix Graham. During the Red Ribbon Army's assault on Valkyrie, he was in charge. I had everybody else killed, and kept him as a prisoner. I tried to get him to talk in a numerous amount of ways but...Nothing. And right when I had thoughts of having him executed due to him being useless, Commander Kaiba relays a message to me saying the Red Ribbon Army wants him back and they are coming to negotiate terms."
You search your memory while rubbing both of your hands together, heating them up with the friction. "...Chief Executive Phoenix Graham. I remember him..."
Rem stands up with an empty cup of coffee in his left hand. He walks back over to the kitchen and pours more liquid into the cup, finally replying. "You're welcome to speak to him, Kiryu."
"Where is he?"
"Over at the prison. Same place as before." Says Rem, putting some sugar into his coffee. "Although I would be careful if you do decide to speak to him. He's dangerous."
"I am not positive how exactly, but he appears to be a master of Manipulation Ki. Somehow...He has the ability to invade another's mind. Because of this dangerous ability, I haven't had too much of a drive to speak to him."
"Invading another's mind...How did you figure this out?"
"Commander Pike told me. If you're curious of the details, i'm sure he'll be glad to go over them with you."
"Rem," you cautiously say. "When the Red Ribbon Army comes to negotiate terms, do not allow them to take Phoenix Graham. If these corrupt bastards are going through the trouble of getting him back, he's very important. And THAT my friend, makes him extremely dangerous..."
"I may not have a choice. After all, there is a high probability that they have their own prisoners. Prisoners that belong to the FBM. And if this man is as dangerous as you say...I can't imagine that this is all the ammo they have to get him back."
"Just don't give him back..." You warn.
Rem makes a sigh and puts his empty cup back down. "I think that pretty much covers everything I wanted to speak to you about. Unless you have any other questions?"
"Hmm, do I?"
1) Yes, I have more questions.
- What are they?"
2) No, that's everything.
Afterwards, you walk out of Rem's quarters and find yourself in the halls of Valkyrie. Multiple soldiers are still roaming the halls, but none in particular that you recognize.
Suddenly, you see the Saiyan Shugesh exit the elevator across the hall and turn to the left, walking down the hall. You walk across the hall and peak into the direction he's going in, seeing him enter a room called "Communication Center."
Shaking it off, you begin walking back to your room until you realize that there is no particular reason of going there. "What to do next...?" You wonder aloud.
A) Visit the prisoner - Phoenix Graham - to speak to him.
- Bonus: Any questions in particular?
B) Follow Shugesh into the Communication Center to see what he's doing.
C) Search Forte Valkyrie for some old buddies to catch up with them. (Choose 4).
Author's Chapter Notes: