AFD~2

The new Chapter Two, ready and waiting for your approval! Please read!

In Jake's house, there was no TV, no couch, and no coffee table. There were no basement steps.

Jake walked through the open front door, which closed itself behind him. He hung up his backpack, took off his shoes… and fell through the floor.

He landed on his feet on a padded black platform. He walked calmly and quietly onto the concrete floor.

Heather, his twin sister, looked up from her lunch at the table (the only piece of furniture, besides the two chairs, in the room) . "Oh, thank goodness! What took you so long?"

"I wanted to do my assignments before returning. No point in bringing them here." He looked at her lunch. "How much chane is left?"

"Not much. We'll have to manage with Earth food." Heather frowned. "These people make no sense. You can't buy any decent food here. Why is everything so low in nutrients?"

"I guess they don't know how to make anything like that. They're a little backward, but it's not our fault. Remember Mission Tammela." Jake took a crumb of the blue rice-like chane. "My lunch."

Heather looked at him in confusion. "Is that all you're going to take? You need at least twenty vins!"

"I'm not really hungry." His stomach rumbled, contradicting his words.

"Why don't you eat? You haven't been eating Earth food, have you? It's so bad for you!"

"Well, if we're really running low… Heather, you know how things are…"

"Know how things are!" Heather stood up and faced her brother angrily. "If you starve yourself, there will be no hope for Kaen!"

Jake nodded, a half-smile stealing across his face. "Okay, okay! I won't starve myself! Just ten vins, though; we need it to last."

He took his sister's hand. "Heather, I've sent a message to Blue Falcon. We're going back."

"Karn, check the receptors. A message is coming through."

Karn flipped a lever on the receptor panel. He knew every button's function by heart; after all, he'd been in charge of Message Reception & Transmission for fifteen years.

A little yellow box appeared directly in front of him. He extended his hand, and the box "fell out of the air," as he liked to think. He tossed it to Yair, the only member of Team Epsilon with the authority to read yellow messages, and the Sensor supervisor.

Yair turned the box over. Her eyes widened as she read the symbols engraved on the bottom.

"Karn, Misha, Labon! It's from the Zoyl!"

Misha, who operated the Transporter, turned her chair around. Labon from Weapons strolled over. They watched as Yair gently shook the box and placed it on the central table. A holographic page appeared, bearing the words:

I AM COMING HOME. THERE WILL BE MANY WITH ME. BLUE FALCON MIGHT NOT RETURN.

When all four had read the message, the holograph shut off and the box turned black.

Team Epsilon was ecstatic. Their own Zoyl was coming home to them!

Misha picked up the box; she had a collection of message-boxes (A/n: Get it? Like stamp collecting, except not). "What a pity the dear Zoyl didn't write more."

"Come on, Misha. You know he can't afford to make it any longer. The…" Yair broke off with a shudder. "They might trace it to him."

The foursome looked at each other nervously.

Labon scratched his head. "Why do you think he's bringing a bunch of other people, but not Blue Falcon?"

"Who knows? Maybe something happened to Blue Falcon. I certainly hope not; he's a wonderful man, even for an Earthling. Anyway, the danger will be greater with a lot of people. We'll have to mass-transport, and they might be intercepted, like the-" Karn noticed Misha's expression. "Oh, Misha, I'm sorry! I forgot!"

Misha's hazel eyes were filled with hot tears. "My brother did a very brave thing, taking the Zeta pilots to the base… Well, no matter what, the Zoyl will come through, even if he brings two thousand others with him. He will not die like Norvo!"

Labon placed a hand on Misha's shoulder. "I remember how brave Norvo was. Remember, my sister is one of the pilots. Your brother died to save Theta, and I'll never forget it."

Misha dried her tears. "You're right, Labon. I should have remembered Theta. Norvo is not forgotten."

Yair smiled. "He will never be forgotten, Misha, not while Kaen exists. In memory of his sacrifice, we shall transport the Zoyl and his companions safely to the base, no matter what the cost."

When Misha had returned to her panel, Karn whispered to Yair, "I hate to say this, sister, but I'm afraid the cost will be our lives!"

Brenna was studying for her science test (and having a snack, which distracted her considerably) when she heard a knock at the door. Probably Carl, she thought as she closed her book. Pushing aside her pretzels, she headed for the door.

She was startled to see Jake outside. She knew him from school, but she'd never spoken to him.

"Oh… hi. You're Jake, right?"

The younger boy nodded. "May I come in?" he asked politely.

Brenna silently gestured towards the kitchen.

As Jake followed her into the house, Brenna tried to think of reasons for him to be here. Homework trouble? No, he wouldn't come to her for that. Something at school? Unlikely. There wasn't a good reason in her mind… but here he was.

She heard herself saying, "Have a seat. Would you like some pretzels?"

"No, thank you." Jake sat down on the chair next to her former seat.

Sitting down beside him, Brenna wracked her brain for a conversation opener.

"So… any particular reason you're here?

Jake smiled. "Of course. Now that the formalities are over, we can get down to business."

"You do know who I am, don't you?"

"Yes, you're Brenna Smith, in eighth grade at Toland Grade School. You don't know who I am, though."

"Yes, I do! I said at the door-"

The boy shook his head. "No, you don't know. No one here does, except Blue Falcon…and he may soon be gone… Oh, sorry, I've gotten off-subject. My name isn't Jake."

Brenna was mystified. "Then who are you?"

"Darre. Zoyl of Kaen."

"Darre? Zoyl? Kaen? What on earth…?"

"Not on Earth, Brenna. In the forgotten dimension. I'll tell you about it, because I need your help to save it."

"Let me get this straight. You're the emperor, or Zoyl, of a world in another dimension?"

"Yes, I am."

Brenna shook her head. "It's too weird to be true, but, for some reason, I believe it. Almost."

Jake (Darre?) laughed. "You do credit to my convincing skills. You want to believe the unbelievable? I'm flattered."

"But… how can you be an emperor? You're just a kid!"

"No, Brenna. You're relying too much on what you see. Do I seem like a kid to you?"

"No… you're really… serious. Adult, really."

"You're very observant," Darre grinned. "Everyone thinks that. And rightly so; I'm actually 20 proks, which equals about… um… 300 Earth years."

Brenna's eyes widened. "But that's impossible!"

"On this world, yes, but, on Kaen, it's normal. We never look like your adults. In 60 proks, I'll still look the same." He sighed. "If the Gomes haven't gotten me by then."

"Who are the Gomes?"

Darre shuddered. "The enemies of Kaen. I'd… I'd rather not talk about them." His eyes glimmered with tears. "They have done terrible things to my people."

Brenna felt sorry for him. Well, now I'm sure he's telling the truth. He's so sincere.

"Just one thing: Why are you telling me all this?"

"I need you to help me. The Gomes want to destroy our planet and annihilate the dimension."

"How can I help, though?"

"It's a long story." Darre closed his eyes, remembering. "For a prok - fifteen years - I've been traveling around your planet, looking for someone to help us in our plight. I finally found someone with the power to fight with us: Samuel Osborne."

"Mairin's dad? No way!"

"I knew you'd say that. Yes, he's Mairin's father. He has many superhuman powers, but he didn't know about them when I met him. Thanks to the Silent Eye, he learned how to utilize these powers to help us. We returned to Kaen, but we had underestimated the Gome forces. They intercepted our transport and took us captive. Sam was faced with a terrible choice: fight with the Gomes… or with us."

Brenna frowned. "Why is that such a tough decision? Aren't the Gomes the bad guys?"

"You don't understand. When a human joins the Kaenors, there is no escape from their doom."

"Their doom?"

"If the dimension is destroyed, every Kaenor will cease to exist." He looked solemnly at Brenna. "To join the Kaenors, you must be one of them."

Brenna looked at him in horror. "You mean, Mairin's dad is going to die if you guys lose?"

"If we lose… well, Sam was brave enough to choose our fate. We were held captive until Team Epsilon set us free. You'll meet them later. Anyway, we came back to Earth to get more help. Then…" Something like a sob thickened Darre's voice. "Sam had a heart attack yesterday."

"No! Oh, that's awful! Poor Mairin, she must feel terrible." Brenna touched Darre's arm lightly. "Is he…?"

"He's alive. He can't help us, though, and, without help, Kaen will be destroyed."

"How… how many people will be… you know… affected by this?" Brenna asked uncertainly.

"You mean, how many Kaenors? Six hundred forty three, including Sam, my sister, and I."

"Oh, no!" Up until now, Brenna had vaguely assumed that there were just a few people on Kaen. She realized how silly she'd been to think that… Well, she hadn't really been thinking.

"Brenna." Darre's voice was almost caressing. "I need your help. With Sam incapacitated, I must find others with the power to defeat our enemies." He leaned forward. "You have that power."

Brenna recoiled in shock. "Me?"

"You." Darre patted her hand soothingly. "I've been testing you with the Silent Eye. You have great possibilities."

Brenna shook her head. "There must be some mistake. I'm no superhero."

"That's exactly what Sam said!" laughed Darre. "You're smart, Brenna, but you must believe." He stood up. "Your friend, Carl, is coming. I'd appreciate it if you'd tell him about this. He has promising abilities, too." He pulled a little metal gadget from his pocket (it resembled a music box's inside), squeezed it, and disappeared. The air shimmered where he'd been standing.

Brenna hardly heard Carl walk in without knocking, as he always did, or his friendly "Wazzup?" Her mind was a million miles away, in another dimension.

That's the soppiest ending ever… whatever. Remind me to tell you why it's called the 'forgotten' dimension. Keep reading!