The Next Generation Part 13


By Krazy Sam

Maro gasped and Lana buried her face in her hands. “What are we going to do?” she wailed. Maro shrugged.

“Maybe Sari came back or something…” he murmured thoughtfully. A discouraging look from Lana quickly shut him up, though. He shrugged. “What ARE we going to do?”

Robo shrugged. “My sensors say that it’s nearby. I wonder where?”

Lana gasped. “Maybe Mom knows!”

Maro smacked his forehead. “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Lana dashed inside her house and stood for a while, panting heavily. “Mom…someone took the Epoch!” Lucca looked up from the small wooden kitchen table. She gazed at Lana and her eyes suddenly snapped open in sudden realization.

“Oh yeah!” she cried. “Your father has it at his lab. It turns out that the little doohickey inside it that makes it time travel is broken. He’s also going to fix it so you don’t have to fly to get it going!”

Lana narrowed her eyes. “It’s not like you to be this forgetful, Mom…” she said suspiciously.

Lucca shrugged. “Old age?” she suggested lamely. Lana sighed in exasperation.

“Never mind. We’re going over to the lab.”


The glistening lab was full of banging and crashing as Lana, Maro, and Robo walked in. The sparkling white interior was full of wires and men walking around in white coats. Vincent and the Epoch stood in the middle of the mob, with Vincent wearing an identical white coat and his long hair pulled back in a ponytail. A pair of wire-rimmed spectacles sat upon his nose, and he muttered softly as he ran his quill pen down a list.

“Never thought I’d turn out like him…” he murmured. He looked around and noticed his daughter. Seeing her, he smiled and waved, striding over to her. “Hi, Lana!”

Lana nodded. “Hi, Dad. We just came to see what was wrong with the Epoch and how long you’d have it fixed.”

Vincent nodded. “It’s a good thing we caught this when we did. If you made another trip, you all would’ve been scattered through a million different time periods!” He smiled. “The main point is that we DID catch it, so you better just stick to Gates until we fix the Epoch, all right?”

Maro shrugged and smiled. “Sounds good to me!” A sudden crash was heard, and Vincent whirled around angrily.

“HEY! That equipment cost one hundred thousand gold pieces, and you’re paying for it if it is broken!” he screamed. As he rushed over to the blameworthy scientist, Lana, Maro, and Robo quietly exited and walked back to Lana’s house.


“Mom, do you know of any gates in the area?” Lana asked. Lucca smiled.

“There’s one in the oven…” she laughed. Maro grinned.

“Neat… Robo, why don’t you have the honors?” he said formally. Robo nodded and opened the large oven, pushing himself inside. There was a great flash of light, and he was gone quickly.

Lana turned to Maro. “You’d better go, too…” Maro bowed his head quickly and crawled into the oven, disappearing, also. Lana turned to her mother and sighed.

“Mom… we need to talk.”

Lucca raised an eyebrow. “About what?”

Lana lowered her head in shame. “I’ve become weak, Mama…” she said softly, deliberately calling her mother what she did ten years ago.

Lucca put her hands on Lana’s shoulders. “How do you mean?”

Lana’s eyes filled with tears. “I’ve fallen in love, Mama…”

Lucca smiled. “That’s not weak! Who’s the lucky man?” she asked excitedly.

Lana turned away. “Maro,” she answered barely above a whisper.

Lucca laughed. “Does he love you?”

“Yes,” Lana replied, her voice louder. Lucca turned her daughter around so she could gaze into her eyes.

“Did he say that?”

Lana lowered her head. “No. But… why else would he kiss me?”

Lucca’s eyes widened. “He kissed you? How cute!”

Lana smiled. “It was in a stream in 560 BCE.”

“Hold on… you bathed with him?!?” Lucca asked, suddenly shocked. Lana blushed, putting her hand over her mouth.

“I didn’t know he was even there until I turned around!” Lana shrieked in self-defense. Lucca laughed.

“As long as he loves you… and if he didn’t ask you to lie with him, I’m okay with it.”

Lana smiled weakly. “He didn’t ask, Mama…”

“That’s good, dear. Now, run along… you have places to see!”


Somehow, getting that weight off of Lana’s chest made her feel better- as if she could do anything. However, there was another secret gnawing at her insides. Memories came flooding back, even ones from her past that she didn’t know that she even had. She remembered a shadowy man… and he was trying to pull off her shirt… She immediately shook off the memory. “That’s why Maro didn’t die!” she suddenly cried. She then blushed, realizing that he was standing right in front of her.

“What?” he asked, confused.

“…Nothing…” Lana replied softly. She frowned and pushed her way out of the room, stopping when she stood directly in front of Sari.

“You want to go someplace fun,” Sari stated unemotionally. Lana nodded.

Stal grinned. “That sounds great!” His hair was now short, and Lana did a double take, looking at him.

“You cut his hair!” she remarked to Sari.

“Yeah…” she grinned. “How do you like it?”

Lana smiled. “He looks incredibly cute!”

Stal blushed and turned away, speechless. Sari leaned over and whispered in Lana’s ear.

“I just found out that he’s shy,” she breathed. Lana nodded.

“I see…” she whispered back.

“Don’t forget that I can read minds, Sari!” Stal called. Sari laughed and looked back at Lana.

“Let’s go back to 65,000,000 BCE!” she cried. Lana grinned.

“Do you even have the spot picked out?”

Sari sighed and leaned back. “Yep.” She strode into the room with the portals with Stal right on her heels.

“It’ll be fun!” Elena cried, following Sari. Lana shrugged, and soon, everyone short of Spekkio was heading for the gate room.


It was noon at 65,000,000 BCE, and Sari smiled, inhaling the warm air. She had brought everyone there for a reason. Not only did she want to have fun, she wanted to lift a part of her curse.

“Where to, Sari?” Lana asked. Sari shrugged

“Anywhere you want!”


As the sun set, the group was crowded around a large fire. “I want to remember this moment forever…” Lana sighed. Sari snorted.

“Believe me, you will.”

Lana laughed and sighed again. “I’ll be happy.”

Stal smiled. “Sari, I need to talk to you…”

Olana grinned from her position near the blaze. “Go ahead…”

Stal blushed. “In private.”

Sari stood and nodded deeply. “Be right back!”


Lana curled up by Maro. “I love this fire…”

Maro smiled. “Me, too.”

Elena sighed. “Where are Sari and Stal going?”

Robo quickly scanned the area, and his eyes suddenly flashed in an awkward pattern. “I don’t know… but I guess I can scan brain waves, too… and I think that they need some time to… talk.”


Sari sighed as the sun dipped below the horizon. “This is so pretty.”

Stal nodded. “It sure is…”

Sari turned to Stal. “You want to say something.”

He turned away… “Sari… I…” he trailed off, his face flaming red.

“Stal… I guess that…” Sari started.

“Sari, you know how I feel…” Stal murmured. Sari turned away.

“…Yes,” she answered. Stal placed his hands on Sari’s shoulders.

“Your mind screams for Tavi, but deep down, you’re shielding something. What?”

Sari turned to Stal and lowered her eyes. “It’s called privacy,” she said coldly.

Stal looked away. “Yes, but…”

“You want to know my private life?!?” Sari shrieked.

“No…” Stal said, barely above a whisper.

Sari slapped him and turned around, sprinting away. The pain stung in Stal’s cheeks, and he instantly regretted what he had said. He groaned unhappily and sank down onto a large rock.

“Sari…” he pleaded. “After all those years…”


Kash yawned apathetically, and stared at a point within the fire. The surroundings bored him, and quite frankly, everything bored him.

“What are Sari and Stal doing?” Elena finally cried out, voicing everyone’s thoughts. Lana shrugged and grinned.

“Something I wish I’d thought of first,” she joked. Maro gave her a hard elbow in the ribs, and she gasped at the pain. Kash looked up at her, seemingly interested for a second, and went back to staring at the fire.

“Hey, Kash, what’s wrong?” Olana called. Kash glanced up and shook his head.

“I’m going for a walk,” he announced, standing up. He shrugged and walked the way Sari and Stal had gone.

He had only walked a few meters when a figure slammed into him at full force. “What the…?!?” Kash grabbed the person’s shoulders roughly and looked him…or her… in the face. “…Sari…right?”

The person lifted her head and Kash saw that she was extremely angry. “Yeah…”

Kash frowned. “What happened?”

Sari snorted. “Nothing…” she turned away and punched a nearby tree, smashing a hole through it.

Kash shook his head. He wasn’t about to fall for that. “What really happened?”

“Nothing of importance to you,” Sari snapped. She squirmed out of his grasp and ran back to the campsite. Kash sighed.

“Only trying to help…” he muttered. He walked a bit further and soon found Stal sitting glumly on a large rock. “Who are you?”

The blushing teen gazed up at Kash. “I’m Stal.”

Kash narrowed his eyes. “What happened?”

Stal shook his head. “Nothing of importance to you…”

“Funny, Sari said the same thing…” Kash laughed. Stal glared at him and narrowed his eyes.

“What else did she say?”

“Nothing,” Kash answered truthfully. Stal sighed and sat back.

“It’s funny… how people change over long periods of time…” Stal muttered thoughtfully.

Kash nodded, sitting next to him. “I know the feeling.”

“What do you mean?”

Kash shrugged. “When the Mammon Poisoning took effect, Mother seemed different. She was always forgetting things, and she gradually began to lose her memories. She often didn’t recognize me… and since Father died in the war, nothing was really the same.”

“What war?” Stal questioned, suddenly interested.

“There was a war between the former Enlightened and Earthbound people, and it was pretty devastating, because my father was Earthbound, and Mother was Enlightened, as was my uncle. The war started two months before I was born, and ended three days after my sixteenth birthday…” Kash trailed off and stared at the stars. “They’re lovely here… In this era, you can see many clouds where galaxies are forming.” He then pointed at a few bluish blobs.

“In my era, some of the brightest stars went nova, but the light reaching us is about four hundred years old. At night, the light isn’t brighter than the moon, but it still casts a purple glow on everything. It’s like having two kinds of daylight… but the night light is seen even in the daytime, but with much difficulty,” Stal sighed.

Kash smiled. “I’d love to see it. I’ve always been interested in stars.”

“Me too.”

Kash laughed. “I rather like this group. My uncle told me about how the people he was with were boring and was overly cautious. He described them as a bunch of ‘irksome oafs’ that never seemed to get along.”

Stal snorted. “Good thing that SOME of us seem to get along…” he sighed. Kash leaned back and grinned.

“Things will get better. You and your friend might be fighting now, but you’ll be friends again,” he assured. Stal turned to face him.

“When I first saw you, you seemed to be just like your uncle, and you also seemed to hate everything. Now that I’m actually meeting you, it’s like you’re a different person,” he stated thoughtfully.

Kash chuckled. “Never judge a book by its cover,” he quoted.

“I read minds. Your personality seemed to be dark, and I wondered why Spekkio didn’t give you Shadow magic…”

“I’m always like that at first glance…or so it seems,” Kash breathed.

“Ah…” Stal murmured. “I seem primitive at first glance, for I have been in the Dorino Jungle for nine years. However, I can speak with little difficulty, and I know most of what a normal person should know at my age.”

Kash nodded. “I was a slow learner as a child.”

“Really? I couldn’t tell, even with mind reading. Your thinking is so profound and intelligent… it’s hard to believe that you weren’t always that way!” Stal cried. Kash laughed softly.

“My mentors thought that I would be slow for the rest of my life, but I changed. I wonder why?”

Stal tried to smile, but ended up shivering. “It’s cold out here.”

Kash nodded in agreement. “Let’s go back to the group. I guess that I needed to get away for a minute.”

“After you.”


Sari thought about going back, but not just yet… her anger swelled inside her like a balloon, and she could feel it grow with every step she took. To ease her tension, she tried swearing under her breath. With every curse she uttered, she felt better, but she still felt irritable. She opened her mind to thoughts, and although she was somewhat far away from the group, Lana’s one thought pierced through her brain.

“Maybe she went exploring…” were the words that Lana were thinking at the moment. Sari grinned. What a great idea!

“That seems like fun…” she murmured thoughtfully. She lifted herself high above the trees and began to float around high above everyone and the landscape below her stretched out to eternity. Suddenly, Sari frowned.

“If only I could look like a bird or something…” she muttered. A sudden idea coursed through her brain and she lowered herself gently to the ground. Quickly scanning the area, she gathered the information on the flying animals around her and she shut her eyes, concentrating on the form. Slowly, she felt her body being pressed into a smaller form until she was a tiny prehistoric bird. Sari chirped happily and flew up to a small twig. As soon as she landed, however, the whole branch snapped and she tumbled to the ground in surprise.

“Of course! My weight would be the same… after all, I was just pressing myself into a smaller form…!” she thought. She chirped once again and flew around the area. She swooped gracefully down into the forest, all the way into a large clearing with many huts and fire pits. Purple-haired people danced around a gigantic bonfire, bowing rhythmically and gracefully. It truly was a sight, and they were oblivious to the feathered spy swooping erratically above them. Sari trilled and flew away quickly. Soaring around the ancient landscape was exciting and relaxing, and the cool breeze brushing her green feathers felt wonderful.

Swooping down to the Ioka village proved to be rewarding. As Sari flew past, she was able to catch a glimpse of an Ioka ceremony being performed. Unlike the other tribe’s party, this one was energetic and more like a real celebration unlike the strict ceremonial structure of the other. The blazing bonfire in the middle was much higher than the other, and this one seemed to lick the sky with its orange flame. Sari trilled and flew in closer to get a closer look.

“Ioka lakana… lakana shash morta!” they cried out. By her powers of mind reading, Sari learned that they were saying, “Ioka is strong, and the strong survive!”

Sari twittered loudly and decided to call it a night. The excitement was getting to her, and her present form was beginning to actually be quite uncomfortable! She began to flap her seemingly lead-filled wings and flew back to the camp where she knew the rest were waiting… but an idea suddenly came over her. Why didn’t she eavesdrop? Sari tried to grin and glided down to spy on her friends.


In her present form, Sari could only make out a few words, but nothing interesting was happening until Kash and Stal showed up. She softly crept forward and morphed into a large lizard. That form was much more comfortable, and she rather liked it. Sari cautiously crept closer to Olana and perked her head forward.

“Where did Kash go?” Elena asked softly. Sari saw Maro shrug.

“Maybe he went off to search for Sari and Stal.” Olana shook her head.

“Kash is a big jerk,” she murmured under her breath. A laugh was heard behind her and she whirled around.

“Thanks.” Out of the shadows, Kash and Stal emerged, making Olana blush a deep scarlet.

“I… I meant…” Olana stammered. Kash smiled.

“It’s okay. I know that I was acting rather odd. Mother’s death is beginning to get to me, I guess.”

Olana sighed. “I’m sorry.”

Stal looked around. “Where’s Sari?” he asked softly. Maro shrugged.

“Don’t know. I thought that you knew…”

Stal shook his head. “Nope.”

Sari tried to grin and she slowly crept next to Stal. She uttered a small squeak and Stal looked down at her.

“Aww… it’s so cute…”

Lana scoffed. “It’s nasty looking.”

Stal frowned at her and began to stroke Sari’s head. “You’re a cute fella, aren’t you?” Sari squeaked again and couldn’t hold her smiles- or her shape- any longer. She morphed back into her normal self and laughed.

“Hi!” she cried out happily. Stal gasped and blushed. Sari laughed again.

“You scared me!” Stal shrieked. Sari gazed at the ground.

“Ain’t I a stinker?” she murmured. Stal laughed and nodded.

“Yes, you are.”

Sari frowned. “Never, ever, tell me that.”

Stal saluted. “Yes Ma’am,” he barked. Sari nodded her head.

“That’s better,” she joked. Lana laughed and turned away.

“Well, that sure woke me up,” she stated, stifling a yawn.

“I’m still sleepy,” Maro argued. He turned to Elena, but she was fast asleep by the fire. “At least one of us has some sense.”

Sari nodded. “I came back to get some sleep. I’m really tired…”

Stal bobbed his head in agreement. “Me, too.”

Maro sighed. “Good night, everyone.”

“Yeah, same here,” Lana called. Kash frowned.

“You’re all tired already?”

Olana yawned. “We’ve got a big day ahead of us tomorrow. We’d better get some sleep.”

Kash scowled, but sat down on the ground. “Fine,” he muttered. He sat for a while, and then uncontrollably yawned loudly. “Oops.”

Stal laughed and lay on a rock. “Good night, everyone.”

“Good night…” Sari whispered. She lay down on the cold ground and levitated herself slowly. “Much better.”

“Hey, Sari…” Stal suddenly called. “Why didn’t I realize it was you?”

Sari grinned wickedly and hovered above him, her face directly over his. “Mind shielding.” Stal laughed a little and sighed.

“Friends?” he questioned sheepishly. Sari furrowed her brow in thought.

“I guess. It’s hard to stay mad at a person I hardly know,” she joked. Stal grinned.

“That’s reassuring.” Sari yawned. “Good night.”


Deep within the forest, a shadowy shape moved silently around the leaves and trees. It smelled people- humans- but they weren’t its kind… It sat down and decided to rest for the night and investigate in the morning.



Lana slowly opened her eyes and stared blankly at the face above her. It was hardly sunrise, and she wanted to know why she was being awakened… “Maro…?”

The person nodded. “Yep.”

Lana sighed. “What are you doing up? You’re supposed to be the one who sleeps away the day!” she cried out softly. Maro laughed.

“I… want you to come with me for a second…” he whispered, blushing. Lana sighed and pulled herself out of the moist ground.

“Okay… but you better let me sleep after this…” she moaned. Still groggy, she stumbled alongside Maro. The warm air smelled of sulfur, and the dampness of the grass soaked through her shoes and chilled her.

“Lana…” Maro mumbled. Lana turned to face her childhood friend.


“I… I want you to know that…?” he started. Lana sighed.


Maro nervously wrung his hands together. “I…”

Lana stamped her foot impatiently. “I’m tired! Maro Guardia, just tell me!”

Maro sighed. “Sorry, but I…”

“Who you?” a loud female voice called loudly. Maro whirled around and gasped.

“What?” he questioned, his voice wavering.

“You hear me! Who you?” the figure retorted.

“Excuse me, but we’re just visitors…” Lana cut in. The figure stepped forward and the pair came face to face with a tall woman that could have been six inches taller than Maro. Her skin was the color of cocoa, and her long, shiny, jet black hair covered her right eye and cascaded down her back. Her dark eyes flashed angrily. She wore a short green cloth skirt and matching top, and her boots matched perfectly.

“Who you?” she repeated. Lana bowed slightly.

“My name is Lana, and this is Maro,” she murmured, gesturing to Maro. The woman nodded.

“I Nika,” she replied. “I guardian of North Forest, and Ioka chief’s best friend.”

Lana studied Nika. “You seem smarter than the rest of the people we’ve met.”

Nika grinned. “I smartest. I no rush into battle without thinking. I always think.”

Maro nodded. “Yeah, you say ‘I’ instead of ‘me.’ Why is that?”

“I think that ‘me’ sound stupid,” she spat. Lana shrugged.

“Sounds good to me.”

Maro shrugged. “If you will excuse us, but we have to talk,” he snapped. Nika frowned.

“You visitors don’t look so tough,” she murmured. Lana snapped to attention.

“What are you trying to say?” she challenged. Nika grinned.

“We fight. If you win, you strong.”

Maro nodded. “Sounds reasonable.” Lana elbowed him roughly.

“We’re not looking for a fight,” she argued. Nika laughed.

“You weak. I know all along…” she taunted. Lana’s lips formed an O of surprise.

“How DARE you?” she shrieked, insulted. Nika grinned.

“We fight?”

Lana sighed. “I guess so.” She drew her gun and aimed. Nika laughed again and lunged for her. The next thing that Lana knew, she was lying flat on her back gasping for air. Maro turned and shot a gigantic ball of ice at Nika. Nika gasped at the sudden cold, but she retaliated with a sharp kick to his head.

Lana slowly crawled to her feet and aimed her gun once more. She fired, and the shot went wild, grazing Nika’s arm. She gasped at the sudden pain and sat down, examining the wound.

“You have fire shooters? You not only strong, but you smart…” she murmured. Maro strode over and placed his hand over the bleeding hole, healing it. Nika’s eyes went wide in admiration. “You can heal? You doctors???”

Maro laughed. “We have the power.”

Nika smiled. “You maybe can help…”

Lana narrowed her eyes. “What’s wrong?”

Nika lowered her eyes. “Reptites kill our people. Maybe you help me kill them?”

Maro nodded. “We’ll try.”


Go To Chapter 14

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