A vast, gray expanse of starry patterns and a thin blue haze is all that can be seen in the distance as well as the foreground. Pieces and fragments of machines and circuitry aimlessly drift along the dull scenery. Alaire finds himself in a trance, floating through this chaotic environment. From somewhere, a familiar voice calls out to him.
"Help us!" the disembodied voice proclaims. "We are prisoners. Help us! Alaire! Robowarrior! Hear us!"
The Chinirian youth turns on his side, still drifting along with the rubble in this strange place. He seems to revive from his trance and focuses more intently on one region in the midst of the haze. Slowly, a shadowy figure forms, becoming a dark aparition against the fog surrounding it. The figure never develops into a full person with color, but Alaire recognizes the figure only by his shadow.
Alaire tries to communicate with the hazy shadow, "Jimeno! Can you hear me? Where are you? Where am I? Jimeno!"
The voice again call to Alaire, this time through the shadowy aparition before him, "Alaire, We are prisoners. Diyoni plans to use all of us to reach some weird place. Help us! I'm here, too. Robowarrior, help!"
A towering eruption of star-shaped objects quickly flood the area. The shadowy figure of Jimeno is torn into pieces as well as the entire background. They are replaced by a pitch black hue devoid of any other color. Alaire cannot see a thing. A new voice replaces the old, disembodied, familiar tone. This new resonation is none other than the sinister voice of Diyoni.
"So I see my captives are more clever than I thought. Who is this new Robowarrior? It cannot be the exact same person as the one I fought so many years ago. Whereas I was seeking refuge in an age-reducing chamber, he was not priviliged with such a gift. This new opponenet shows great promise. I may be able to use him. Yes."
Alaire balls his hands into tight fists. He yells at Diyoni with sheer rage, "I'm not afraid of you, Diyoni! Come out and fight me! Hand over Jimeno and the other people you stole from Galacticpalace!"
Only Diyoni's diabolical laughter responds. The background hue changes slightly from its pitch black to a surging red. A huge hand, the size of a moon, pierces the strange coloration and reaches for Alaire. Alaire throws both arms in front of him to shield from the coming grasp. Instinctively, his palms are thrown open. In the hollow of his right hand rests the Robostone of legend. A thunderous sound of an explosion soon emanates from the hand's vicinity. When Alaire opens his eyes, he finds the hand gone, and the background hue now a light blue. A small beam of light is coming down from somewhere high above him. The light beam rests on the old jewel in the palm of Alaire's hand. The small shaft grows gradually into a broad spotlight before swallowing the entire scene in its glory.
Alaire shakingly awakens from this unusual dream to find himself in a cold sweat.
"What was that all about?" he mutters to himself. "Did it have some meaning? And Jimeno."
The ancient, but still in perfect condition, jewel in his right hand asks, "Alaire, is there something wrong? What has happened?"
"I don't know. I just had a dream about Jimeno. Then, Diyoni appeared and everything went wacko." Alaire answers.
"Diyoni was able to capture several people from Galacticpalace just moments before we were united, if my memory serves me right. Jimeno was one of them. It's possible they were attempting to send a sort of telepathic message to you that was interrupted."
"Jimeno said something about Diyoni using them to get to 'some weird place.' "
The stone pauses for a moment, before continuing with, "A strange place, you say. I wonder. No, it's not possible. Diyoni can't have found the entrance, not even a trace of it."
"A trace of what?"
"Nothing, child. Try to get some more rest."
Alaire takes a brief second to glance over at the screen set in his wall which diplays the time.
"It's already 8:45. I can stay awake for the rest of the day. Besides, I don't think I can sleep with that dream fresh in my mind."
Alaire slips out of bed, not quietly, but not in such a manner as if to awaken someone in the next room. There is no need for caution here, for Alaire lives alone in his small quarters of the great technological wonder that is the space colony Starcore. He trudges along to the water receptacle where he quickly directs the flow of water through the small tubing. Alaire collects a scoopful of water into his cupped hands and quickly throws it onto his face. Wearily, he puts on his clothes and plods back into his bedchamber. He sits back down on his bed, resting his face in both of his hands. The Robostone is pushed against his forehead roughly.
The jewel quickly interjects, "Are you attempting to suffocate me?"
Alaire throws his head back before looking into the palm of his hand. He manages a half-tired, "I'm sorry. I guess I forgot you were there. I'm not exactly used to having strange objects in my hands."
"It's okay, Alaire. You have lost your best friend. For that, I can offer my condolensces. I do not believe Jimeno is very far away. Diyoni has never murdered anybody in the history of this colony."
"That makes me feel a little better." Alaire adds.
"Alaire, is there anything we can do today? Is there any place we can visit?" The jewel implores.
Alaire cranes his neck to look out the window behind him. He gazes out across the vastness of space for several minutes. With each passing minute, the jewel in his palm grows more and more impatient.
"Alaire, pay attention!" it demands. "Have you been listening to a word I've said?"
The jewel's last stament attracts Alaire's attention. He quickly stands to his feet, brushing his moist shock of hair backwards.
With a firm resoluteness, he answers, "I heard you. You might have a very good idea. Maybe a stroll through Galacticpalace will cheer me up. You, my friend, are very wise."
"It comes with age."
A few moments later, Alaire is fully dressed and seated on a metal bench in the great amusement facility known Galacticpalace. Children of all ages, races, and species are running to and fro throughout the park, their parents and/or guardians lagging somewhere behind. He sits there eating a sort of cupcake-like dessert, holding a whole bag full of them in his left hand. The century-old Robojewel gives him several health warnings concerning the dessert.
"Alaire, if you consume those rumcakes at that rate of speed, your stomach will explode!"
"Ah, come on. They wouldn't sell them if they were dangerous, would they? And why do I feel so lightheaded?"
"They are 85% intoxicating material, and you wonder why they make you feel giddy?"
"I don't know what you're talking about. This was your idea. Rumcakes just happen to cheer me up, that's all."
"Yeah, cheer you up by knocking you senseless!"
Alaire pays no attention to the stone in his palm. He continues to gorge himself on the rumcakes, eating the whole bag in minutes. Alaire finds himself stuffed and woozy after eating all of them. His plane of vision begins to swirl around and around, reforming into patterns and strange new colors.
The Robojewel tries to bring him out of it, "Alaire, snap out of it! Alaire!"
Alaire still pays no attention as a security guard approaches him. The feminine figure clad in navy blue vestige looks down at the boy, who is swaying from side to side, at times singing a song in his native Chinirian tongue.
"Kid, what have you been eating?" the guard inquires.
Alaire, clearly drunk, just speaks out of his head, "Oh hi...rumcake...do-diddly...robot...rock breath...fine?"
Looking repulsed, the guard answers, "Okay kid. You've had one too many rumcakes. I'm going to have to remove from the premises."
The guard picks the drunk youth up and carries him toward the front doors, Alaire muttering things right and left along the way. The guard sets Alaire down near the lost and found station by the two monstrous metal doors which are the opening to Galacticpalace from the rest of the colony.
The guard takes one long look at Alaire and asks, "Okay, kid, what's your name and where do you live?"
Alaire just stares drukenly at the lady before blurting out, "You're one fine-looking lady!"
"Alaire, you embarass yourself! Shut up now before you say something that gets us both in trouble!" the Robojewel exclaims, revealing to the security guard that it can, indeed, speak.
"Wow! Must be one of those new wrist companions that I've seen around. I've never seen one quite this complex before. Maybe you can help me. Tell me a little something about this kid." the security guard requests.
"His name is Alaire, and he is a Chinirian. He lives in C-block 183."
"Thanks, whatever-you-are. I'll have to escort him there at once."
The guard bends down and picks up the youth. She carries him to a holding station for many twin-pod vehicles which are issued to security guards around the amusement facility. These vehicles are basically two regular chairs each terminating with a single wheel beneath each of the chairs. The guard sets Alaire in one chair, and she takes the other one. After a few presses of the buttons on the control panel to her right, the twin chair vehicle is sent rolling down a corridor toward Alaire's apartment. The corridor in which they traverse is a long tube-shaped one with windows on all sides. By the time they reach Alaire's apartment, Alaire is sound asleep and has been so for about twenty minutes.
The security officer shakes the Chinirian youth, hoping to wake him. "All right, kid. You're home now. Wake up."
Alaire just groggily manages, "Can't go in. Miss Jimeno. Want to sleep."
"I'm sorry, madam. He's got his mind set on sleeping, and that's what he's going to do until he decides to wake." the Robostone takes the liberty to answer for Alaire.
Looking really confused, the lady says, "Then I'll have to wait here until he does."
Alaire turns over from one position in the chair, muttering, "I'll kill the person who captured Jimeno!"
This attracts the attention of the security guard. Until now, this has been just escorting one kid to his home, now it has the possibility of protecting someone from being killed.
"Who is Jimeno?" she asks the stone. "And why does he want the person who kidnapped him to be killed?"
"Jimeno was his best friend. It's a long story about how he got kidnapped." the stone answers.
"Was he kidnapped in that whatever-it-was that took thirty or forty other citizens with it?" the lady asks.
"Madam," the stone answers. "Thanks for saving me the trouble of having to explain it to you."
"What was that anyway?"
"Look in the history archives for records of the events prior, during, and after the founding of this colony. Search for records of a person named 'Diyoni.' What that flash and those explosions were is simply this, they were the signals of his return to try to take hold of this colony."
Upon hearing this the lady's eyes widen and her mouth drops open in amazement. "Diyoni, Returned? If so, what is keeping him from taking Starcore and enslaving us?"
"Read the archives' files. They will tell you."
After this statement, Alaire stirs greatly in his sleep, enough to fully awaken him. He sits up in the chair and looks around him, confused.
"Where am I?" he asks. "What happened? How'd I get here?"
The lady guard answers, "I had to escort you back here because of unacceptable behavior in Galacticpalace. You ate too many rumcakes and became intoxicated."
"I'm sorry. I don't remember any of it." the Chinirian responds, embarrassingly.
The lady rises from her side of the twin-pod vehicle and activates the opening mechanism on the small apartment's door. The metallic door slides open with a hum. Alaire enters his home with an embarrassed look on his face.
Before closing the door, the lady comments on one last thing, "Kid, that companion device of yours is pretty smart."
"Thanks. My friend programmed it." he resonds.
This statement is, of course, a lie, because Alaire has no idea where the stone was manufactured before he received it. It doesn't matter to the lady at the door, for she does not know the difference.
The glow in the center of the stone changes to a deep blue. The stone says rather proudly, "Thanks, madam. The current time is now 9:38 PM. Alaire needs his rest. If you will excuse us..."
The security turns to the twin-chair vehicle and places a Galacticpalace Security Force cap on top of her hand. Before taking off down the long, windowed corridor, she adds, "My name is Lusa. I'll see you around kid, if you continue to misbehave, that is."
With the sound of a microengine purring, the wheels of the vehicle are sent rolling down the hallway. The double chair turns to face the direction of movement as the vehicle enters the windowed corridor.
The door to Alaire's small apartment closes quietly. Alaire trapses wearily back to his bed and he takes a seat on it.
"I need to get some sleep." he says to himself. "But what if I have another dream like last night?"
The ancient artifact in his hand replies, "What are you concerned about? You might see Jimeno again. Of course, you could see Diyoni, but I don't it's anything to worry about. Just get to rest."
Alaire retires his head to his pillow at this latest remark, and within mere seconds is fast asleep.
"I have to admire that quality in Chinirians." the stone comments to himself. "They can be fast asleep anywhere at any time. It comes in handy. I'm sorry Alaire, but I have to examine your dreams. If Diyoni is searching for what I think he is, it concerns me in a matter of life or death."
A blue circle of light swirls around Alaire's limp hand. The jewel is causing the appendage to levitate slightly, bringing itself directly in front of Alaire's face. The glow in the stone's center changes again, this time to a bright, irridescent green. The gem releases several different colored energy bolts, each sickle-shaped and circling around the stone. From the center of the stone, two colorless beams of light are emitted. The connect to the boy's eyes and enable the gem to see into his dreams.
What the ancient stone sees troubles it greatly. "It can't be possible. Diyoni, you must be stopped! I will not allow you to torment innocent lives, and I will never let you vandalise my home!"
A sinister voice laughs uproariously in response, seemingly from nowhere. "Little rock, who's going to stop me? Not you! I have almost everything I need in my search."
"Yes, and I will make sure you never have everything you need!" the stone interjects.
A sinister laughing pervades the entire room. Everything the Robojewel is doing to observe Alaire's dream quickly shuts down. The stone also lowers Alaire's arm back to its position. The green brightness in the stone's center is quickly gone and replaced by nothing. The stone is now sleeping along with Alaire.