Chapter 2

He opened his eyes slowly. As soon as he sat up, he regretted it as a sharp pain shot through his head. He rubbed it while looking around.

His team mates were all accounted for except…wait, where was Sora? He shook his head and shakily stood. The first person he came to was Arashi, still unconscious. Everybody was.

Rei shook her gently and made sure she was alright. Her eyes snapped opened, then she closed them tightly as the pain settled in.

"Are you okay, Arashi?" Rei asked.

She sat up and nodded slowly. "Yeah, I think. Are you?"

"Yes,"

"Good. What about everyone else?" She stood next to him and looked around. There didn't seem to be much damage to the inside of the ship due to the shields having been at minimal power when they crashed. They were the only things that kept them from combusting, too.

The lights were off but she could easily make out all of her team mates. Jet groaned and awoke. "What happened?" he mumbled. Arashi went to his side.

"We crashed. Remember?"

"Oh, yeah." Rei went to check on Questin and Sega while Arashi helped up her brother. Once everyone was awake and had gotten over the worst of their pains (nobody seemed to be horribly injured, only knocked out from slamming their head into the wall or floor when the ship was spun around), they instantly realized somebody was missing.

"Where's Sora?" Arashi asked.

"I think she fell into space," Questin said. He half-smiled to show he was joking and everyone rolled their eyes.

"Maybe she woke up before the rest of us?" Jet suggested.

"Then why wouldn't she try to wake us up?" Arashi countered. Jet frowned, unable to provide an answer, and shrugged. She sighed. "Let's go outside and look for her. We can see how much damage was done to the ship out there anyway,"

As soon as they walked out, each and every one of them gasped.

"Look at that!" Sega exclaimed. They were looking upwards. The sky was a bluish shade of black and silver dots of light dotted it. They were everywhere. It was so clear. Rei took a breath. The air was crisp, cool, refreshing.

It wasn't the first time any of them had seen a night sky, but one this clear was rare. Especially since seeing it from their usual space point-of-view showed nothing special. This sky had patterns and puzzles and they could actually see the stars twinkle. It was amazing.

It was a full five minutes before they were snapped back to reality. Arashi glanced around. "I don't see her."

"Me neither," Rei said.

"Neither do I," Jet told them, after exploring all around the outside of the ship.

"No, I don't either," Questin said.

"What about you, Sega?" Arashi turned to face her. Sega shook her head. "Where could she of gone?"

"I see lights over there and some really tall buildings. Maybe she went there. We should check." Rei pointed ahead of them, past a couple trees, to a barrage of lights. They each took another glance around before nodding and taking off for this new city.

Half an hour went by and they finally reached the edge of the city. For the second time that night, amazement swept through them. Lights on everywhere, hustle and bustle, people getting where they need to be even at this hour. Whatever hour that was.

Cars pulled into makeshift parking spots on the side of clubs. Music blasted loudly as the five teenagers passed by it. Cars sat in mile-long lines for the "until midnight" drive-thru fast food joints. People talked and walked in groups across the streets as the cross-walk sign turned into a glowing white person. They joined the group across. Red and blue sirens wailed as the police chased after their culprits.

"We are we?" Sega breathed.

"Oh, I think we just hit twilight zone," Questin replied.

Some girl, who had overheard their short conversation, slowed to a walk next to them all. "You really don't know what city you're in?" They shook their heads simultaneously. The girl made a face. "Wow. Are you guys like runaways or something?"

"Uh, you could say that," Arashi said before anyone else could answer.

"Jeeze. There's a lot of you then. Are you all related or something?"

"No,"

"What's with his weird costume?" The girl pointed to Rei's fox ears and tail. Arashi mentally slapped herself.

"Uh, could you just tell us what city we're in please?" Arashi was beginning to get impatient. This girl was too nosy.

The girl frowned, unhappy at not knowing their business. "New York City, of course."

"Thanks." Before the girl could ask any more questions, Arashi rushed the rest of the group across a separate street.

"Something wrong?" Rei asked her.

She shook her head. "No. It's just that…I know what planet we're on. And now that I know what city we're in, I realized it's going to suck trying to find Sora."

"Why?" Sega questioned.

"Because, last time Jet and I were on this planet, we watched some TV. And this city here has its own station. Many of them. It's that big and busy. More importantly—it's really dangerous. Especially for a group of kids our age at this time of night,"

"Oh, so that's where we are. Earth?" Jet added, just coming into realization of this. "I thought it looked familiar,"

"Yeah,"

"You guys were here before?" Questin asked. The rest of them felt sort of left out, having next to no idea where they were or what Arashi and Jet were talking about.

"Yeah," Jet said.

"This is Sora's home planet," Arashi told them.

"Really? That's cool."

"What's so dangerous about here?' Rei looked around cautiously. These people all looked normal enough. He was still looking around when Arashi grabbed his arm and lead the group to a street of open stores.

"Where are we going?" he asked.

"We're getting you a hooded jacket." She paused and blinked at his stuck out tail. "A big one,"

"Why?"

"Because the humans here have never seen a kid with half-animal genes. That might be normal on your planet or any other planet, but here, there are animals and there are humans. No in-betweens like you." She dragged him into a clothing store. "Now start looking for an extra large."

After paying for the clothing with loose cash they had (money was obviously universal), they began to wander the streets again. The others had to keep themselves from laughing at Rei. The jacket was completely huge and floppy on him. The hood almost covered his eyes and he still had to make sure his tail was kept low in order for it not to show. He felt completely ridiculous, to say the least.

"You look fine, Rei." Arashi was about to say for what seemed to be the fifth time when three large men stopped the group of teens.

The men looked at them and smirked. One man stepped forward and they took a step back. He did not look like the nicest man in the world. None of them did.

He had a bald head with a snake tattoo on it. That's the first thing any of them noticed. As he neared—the other two standing a couple feet behind him—Jet stood in front of Arashi and the rest of the group protectively.

"Can we help you?" Jet asked tentavly.

"Yeah. Back off brat, we want the girls." The man had a gruff voice. Not as deep as most had expected, but when added to the size of him, he still managed to seem quite frightening.

"Uh, I don't think so,"

The man brought out a large knife. The one to the left of him in the back, also wearing the snake tattoo around his neck, took out two knives while the other, with the tattoo moving down towards his chest, pulled out a gun.

"I suggest you walk away now," Rei deadpanned.

The man let out a gruff laugh. "What are you gonna do? With that jacket, you'll just trip over yourself anyway!"

Rei growled and reached for the sword hiding on his back. Arashi lowered his hand and stopped him. "Don't. On this planet, shedding blood is the last thing we need before we find Sora,"

"But he's going to hurt us. We need to do something," Sega reasoned.

"Yeah. Besides, he came up to us," Questin added.

Arashi shook her head. "On Earth, that doesn't matter. You kill, or even harm, you get years in prison,"

"What if they hurt us?" Sega growled.

"They'll get put in jail if they're caught. But they will probably still have time to—"

"Hey! Shut up or we'll kill you right here and now!" The man in the front glared at them. They instantly shut up. The man smirked. "Good, now ladies, get your asses over here before this gets nasty." Neither Sega nor Arashi moved.

Questin lowered his arms slowly. He twitched his finger slightly. The ground froze all the way up and ice covered the three men's feet without them realizing it.

"I'll give you a countdown. If you girls don't get over here," the first man grabbed Jet and swung him over to the one with the gun, who held him at headshot, "we'll shoot this kid."

"Jet!" Arashi growled. She hesitated and locked eyes with Jet. He was practically pleading with her to let him use his powers just this once. She slowly nodded.

The man wasn't paying attention and took this nod as a defeat. He started to reach for her wrist and that's when Jet acted. The man holding him suddenly let out a cry of pain and dropped the gun. Jet kicked the first man in the back, making him rock back and fourth, just realizing the ice covering his feet. He face-planted the cement and dropped his own weapon, which Arashi gladly took and tossed to Rei.

The final man managed to break his way out of the ice blocking his feet and held up his long butcher's knife. He swiped at the nearest person—Jet—who, caught by surprise, flamed up his hands and blocked himself.

The entire group of thugs saw this and completely freaked. They scrambled up and back, wide-eyed.

"Fuck this!" The third man slammed his knife on the ground and the three made a run for it, out of sight.

"Good job, Questin!" Arashi complimented.

"Thanks." Questin smiled.

Jet crossed his arms. "Oh, and I suppose I was just the third wheel in all this, huh?" He looked up and all of them were already walking away. He growled, annoyed at being ignored. "Hey!"

--

"It looks like they did land on Earth. Hmph, good job,"

Inside the lead ship, the Kurai Hukai watched her own mystical monitors. The Chaos Force team was displayed walking away from the little ambush that just took place.

"Thank you, my liege," A figure answered.

"Commander Arnulfo, I want you to send half your fleet down to Earth and…wait a sec…" The Kurai Hakai turned back to the screen and smirked. "They've lost Sora." The screen flickered at the mention of this name and energy signature and showed a wandering Sora. She was nowhere near the others. She didn't look very lost. "Change of plans,"

"Yes, my liege?"

"I want you to go to Earth and kidnap Sora. Bring her here as soon as possible. Understand?" He nodded.

"What about my fleet?"

She turned in her chair and smirked again. "Send them down there for a little…fun."

"Yes, my liege."

The Kurai Hakai continued to watch the monitors a moment longer, the smirk frozen on her lips.