Mark blinked and asked, "What did that last part mean?"
Nate hmphed and replied, "He means that the power of Persona originally came from her, right?"
"That's right. When the Angels began their work, this city became...well, the best word I can come up with is a utopia. Lunarvale was a center for the Arts, medicinal advancement and most importantly, inner evolution. They stayed for five years, and then they left for a different world. However, when they did, Shalya opted to remain here. After that, she created what we now call the power of Persona."
Igor nodded and added to the tale, "After her demise, nobody with those powers appeared for many years...until two years before Guido changed our world with the Deva System."
Philemon said, "At that time, Victoria came to Igor with the same powers that the Angel Shalya had...and we learned that Victoria is a descendant of the Voice Angel."
Nate turned pale and said, "If this Ultimecia's controlling her, she and our world are in worse danger than when Mary was hooked up to that machine."
"Not just your world, but the entire multiverse. Now you see why we asked all of you to come here."
Atlus was quiet for a long moment, then said, "I can't speak for the rest, but I'll go for it."
"You can count me in," Nate added, "Victoria really helped us out in that fight a year ago. It's only proper we return the favor."
The other students replied similarly.
"You'll need someone that's familiar with the Voice Angels stories, so I'll tag along. They might be known by other names in the worlds," Chris said in a nonchalant tone, but the look on his face showed otherwise.
"Ha! Which one ordered you to come along, Philemon or Igor?" Alanna asked with her usual air-head giggle.
"What's it to you?" was the sharp reply.
Mark shook his head and said, "They both did."
Atlus gave them both a look, saying, "Quiet. Philemon, where do we start and how do we get there? Chris mentioned other worlds..."
The masked man nodded, replying and handing him a glowing, red slab the size of a clipboard, "Quite astute, as I expected from you. This item contains the names of the worlds you'll be going to and will also automatically add clues as you come across them...so you can keep things straight and not go to the same world twice by accident."
Atlus looked at the slab, seeing words form on it and said, "Lunar, Evolution, Zenogias..."
"The usage is quite simple, touch the name of a world to see the clues and a little information about each place," Igor explained, "As to the other part of the question...Ellen, Mary, come here."
Both girls obeyed, walking towards their two strange friends. When they arrived, Igor and Philemon placed a hand on the students' shoulders and all four began to glow for a couple of minutes.
When the glow faded, Philemon said, "We just gave you two girls one of my powers: to open doors to other worlds and to pass through them. To activate it...for example, if you want to go Lunar, one of you would say 'Open the way to Lunar'. I suggest that you start in Evolution, though."
Mark nodded and said, "Guys, can we eat before we go?"
Nate replied, "That sounds like an excellent idea, even if it came from you. Atlus?"
"Okay...I'm quite hungry myself. I'll go--" Atlus started to say when someone interrupted him.
The man that was usually at the piano stood and said, "I'll pick up the food from the Peace Diner. Order anything...this one's on us. In the meantime, you'd better buy some large backpacks, weapons and armor...you'll be carrying a lot of stuff."
One hour later, the group was assembled in a separate section of the Velvet Room, namely the very room where Personas were created.
"Now that you're prepared and have eaten," Philemon said to them, "The first world you should investigate is Evolution, as it is closest in appearance to ours. Keep in mind, the name of our world is Persona."
Mary and Ellen nodded.
"One other thing," he added, "You should take care in the other worlds. If you have to fight, your Persona powers will work, but it will shock most natives....and in some worlds, your powers will be...you would say 'warped'."
"All right," Igor said, "Now good luck...and bring her home, safe."
"We will," Atlus replied and nodded to Ellen.
She pointed to a section of bare wall and commanded, "Open the way to Evolution!"
Almost immediately, the group was surrounded by swirling blue light that appeared from the floor.
"This is cool, dudes!" Mark said as a high wind suddenly appeared.
Before there could be a reply, the entire group vanished in the blink of an eye.
"What is this place, exactly?" Citan asked as the strange vehicle he was riding in pulled up to a section of the place that Dena and Andrea called, "uptown".
Andrea, who was in the driver's seat, replied, "This is what's called a coffeehouse. Anime 99 performs here every week from Friday through Sunday. But for an hour before the place opens, we're allowed to rehearse here."
"That is interesting," he remarked.
"I hate to say this," Dena said, "But Angela coming down with strep throat may have been the best thing to happen. It'll fit right in with Citan's cover story."
Andrea made a face and said, "Remember, Dena, we agreed last night to call him Hyuga in public."
"It is quite all right. As I remember," Citan reassured her, "You spoke to Andrea on that strange machine last night and she said that it was all right to replace her for a while."
"That machine is called a telephone," Dena replied, "and it's a lucky thing you do know how to play the flute. Speaking of which, I didn't think Solaris was the type for advancement of the Arts."
"I have a feeling that Earth would be surprised about that misconception. By the way, after this 'rehearsal', perhaps I should make lunch before we go see the spacecraft--" Citan started to say.
"Ohhh, no!" Andrea suddenly said.
"No way, Jose," Dena agreed, "Everybody knows that you're no good at cooking. We'll eat out."
He looked at the two women and said, "Does Earth know everything about me? And what is the food in public places made of?"
They snickered and Andrea replied, "If you're asking if the food on this world was made with Soylent, the answer's no."
"That is good," he said as he pulled a lever upwards like the girls had shown him, causing the door to open.
"I guess it's a good thing you carry that flute with you at all times," Dena remarked as they got out, "By the way, that vehicle is called a car. I know you wanted to ask that."
He simply nodded and opened the door.
Inside, five people stood on the large stage, preparing the instruments for rehearsal.
One of them, a average-height woman with red hair said, "Any idea who Angela's temp replacement is? Dena and Andrea said that it's a big surprise."
"I dunno," a young man that was tuning the synthesizer replied, "Angela only said that we would know him right away and to keep a very open mind. I wonder if he's from outer space or something, Mitzi?"
The red-haired woman, Mitzi, replied, "If I were to use my imagination, I'd say someone from a game. Hey...I think that's Andrea and Dena now."
The others turned towards the coffehouse window and watched as three people got out of the car and walk towards them.
"Uh, Mitzi?" the young man asked.
Carlo replied, "I think that bit about him being out of a game was a bit more dead on than you thought."
"Hey, Dena," a short brunette said as soon as the trio had entered the door, "Are you playing one of your pranks on us?"
Andrea shook her head, replying, "It's no joke. I don't think I need to introduce this guy to any of you, but..."
The brunette said, "Ai yi! This town's more of a weird magnet than I thought."
Dena nodded and said, pointing as she spoke, "That's Carlo. He's on drums. She's Mitzi, one of the singers. Andrea's on the keyboard, like I said."
The mentioned people smiled and waved at the strange man that had come with Dena and Andrea.
Andrea said as she nodded to the brunette, "That's Allie. She's on guitar as well as one of the singers. Now guys, you better listen up. He'll be taking over Angela's spot for a while. Now this is important...yes, that's Citan, but in public, call him Hyuga, okay?"
Allie said, nodding, "For now...don't ya think that the others are gonna recognize it too?"
Dena shook her head, saying, "Are you kidding? Claytonville's a town for Sci-Fi and Anime, not console games....err, I mean...uh..."
"It is quite all right," Citan replied, "I understand what you explained last night.. I am not offended."
Mitzi nodded then asked, "It's true then...Hey, after the rehearsal, are you planning on us all going anywhere?"
Andrea replied, "Yes. We're all going out to lunch today and then we're going right to Talia's Souvenir Store."
"You mean the UFO that came here on Roswell Night? Oops..." Carlo asked then turned red.
"It's okay, he knows about it already. In fact, it just might help him on his mission here," Dena reassured him, "But for now, how about we start with 'Rainy Day Man' and then start Cita--I mean Hyuga in with 'Small of Two Pieces', okay?"
"Sounds good to me," Allie replied, "But how come you're not starting with 'Alien Dream'?"
"So that he can get a sample of our music before starting," Andrea replied before Dena could say anything.
Within the city commonly known as Manhattan, construction crews were hard at work, making repairs from the recent, and rather bizarre, siege.
All over the streets were bits of broken asphault, slime and burned objects near other places...such as Carnegie Hall.
Central Park had been closed off with all the animals of the zoo gone and the stench from the ampitheatre was still around, even though the slime had been completely removed.
In the Times Square, a rather high gust of wind appeared from out of nowhere, accompanied by a bright, blue sphere of light.
The few construction workers and police officers there gasped in shock, wondering just what would be invading their city so soon after the latest attack.
A minute later, with the sound of thunder, in place of the sphere were a group of teenagers...all in white pants and jackets that they had never seen before.
One of them, a Negro with a yellow hat on, said, "Aw, man! That tele-thingamajig's busted! This is New York!"
A red-haired girl replied, "I know I said it right. But this can't possibly be the right place...?"
A tall man with red hair looked at a plastic red slab and tapped on it. After a minute, he said, "This is the right place, all right. According to this, Evolution's timeline and culture is very similar to ours...but at one point, it splits. Instead of a Voice Angel coming to Lunarvale, it arrived somewhere else."
"Hmph. Didn't Philemon say that some of the destinations would be very similar to the home world?" a kid with purple hair retorted.
A woman with blonde hair looked over the red haired boy's shoulder and said, "The name of the angel that was taken from here...simple name for a place like this."
The Negro kid suddenly looked in one direction and said, "Uh, Atlus...guys...they've got police here, too."
"Of course they would," a kid with blonde hair that seemed to be a fancy dresser replied, "Since Evolution is almost identical to Persona--"
"No, no, stupid! I mean...there's cops here," he retorted and pointed to their left.
"Uh," Atlus stopped and looked in the direction indicated, "This probably looks strange to all of you, but we can explain..."
Right then, amidst the group of cops, a woman with short blonde hair stepped forward and aimed a weapon at them.
"It looks like they have guns here, too," Atlus added, "Look, we mean no harm."
"I'll be the judge of that," the woman replied, "What are you doing here and what do you want from us?"
"I'm Atlus," the tall kid, assumably the leader, answered calmly.
"Okay, then...Atlus," she asked, gun still pointed at him, "Just what did you come here for?"
"We're investigating a series of kidnappings that happened recently. One of them came from here."
"What are you, some kind of police?"
"Then what are those outfits?" another cop asked.
"Oh, these? They're school uniforms. This might seem like a shock, but...we're from another world called Persona."
"That sounds like a load of bull!" a construction worker scoffed.
"After what's happened these past few days," the blonde woman said, "I'd believe almost anything. Just to be sure though," she said, keeping the gun trained on him, "You're all going down to the station and we'll hear the whole thing there. We've just gone through one invasion and we won't tolerate a second one. Any dumb moves and I'll shoot. Got it?"
"Good," she replied and put the gun away.
"Uh, lady, are you really a cop? You sure don't look like one," the Negro kid asked.
"Nate!" the red-haired girl exclaimed.
"I don't suppose there are plain-clothes police officers on Persona...that is if you're not lying or crazy," the woman replied, "Either way, it won't hurt to introduce myself. I am Detective Aya Brea."
The red slab lighted up for a moment, causing Atlus to look down at it.
"What is that?" she asked as she lead the way.
"It's...kind of like a notebook. Aya Brea...according to this, you would know the most about the person that was kidnapped from here," he replied.
"Oh? Who might that be?"
She was not prepared for Atlus' answer.
"Her name is Eve...or to be more accurate, Mitochondria Eve."
Deona Lindholm's Fanfiction