Authors: Jack Parker
"How did you…?" she began, but she just didn't have the focus to finish her question, nor did she receive the time.
"Like I said," he cut her off. "When you've been around the organization enough, you learn a few things. I've heard a lot about you, the ace knight of the GRC." He motioned for Ray to remove her communicator, and she did so, handing it to him. Bye now, she had managed to get over her shock. She couldn't allow something to keep her surprised for too long.
"So…" she began as she started looking around the room, "you guys are a battling team, right?" He just smiled as he began working on her communicator.
"You saw our Genos, correct?" he asked her.
"Yes. They both look pretty modified. The standard black armor was replaced with white and red. Both are good armor types. I'm sure your team's doing well and that your pilots are capable." The doctor just smiled at the way she so plainly stated the facts.
"But not quite as capable as you, I presume?" he asked, glancing up at Ray over his glasses. It had been pretty easy to tell what she had been getting at. She just smirked in response.
"No one's ever beaten me before," she stated proudly.
"I can see why. Your Geno's amazing. It has no base form, so it's well rounded in all aspects. That and you have a mixture of every armor class there is. You've modified it beyond comparison." Her smile just increased as he praised her Geno, something she liked even more than praise that was directed solely at her.
"It's one thing I take a lot of pride in," she stated. That fact had been pretty obvious though.
"Yes, well, it would be nothing without a pilot, correct?" he asked with a smile. "I've heard a lot about you. Even without a Geno, you're a knight to be reckoned with." Ray began to fumble with her fingers, her attention currently focused on the ground. Her actions weren't out of coyness from the praise though. If anything, she seemed a bit troubled by something.
"Could you do me a favor?" she asked softly, already knowing his answer.
"Sure, anything," he said as he continued to examine her communicator while looking for the appropriate replacement parts.
"Please don't use my real name, you know, my full one. I'd rather not have people know who I am, and the less you know about me, the safer you'll be. Besides…" She raised her head and began looking around the room again. "People…tend to treat me differently when they know who I am." He just smiled and began laying tools out on his table. He would give her an answer, but after asking such a question, it was obvious what his answer would be.
"You have my word," he assured her, bringing a smile to her face. That had obviously been a rather heavy question. It was easy to understand why she didn't want people knowing. Even though she loved the praise she received as the ace knight, her title often brought along a lot of trouble. After all, with more power came more enemies, and out of all of the knights, she was the most sought after. She and everyone around her had to be careful.
"Now," began Dr. Solaris, drawing her attention. "While I'm working, you're welcome to take a look around the base. I'm sure that'd be more interesting than watching me." "Sounds good," Ray responded as she began slowly moving towards the exit. However, before she could get there, the door opened, and Chris poked his head into the room.
"Hey dad, where's…?" he began, but his father already knew what he was going to ask.
"He went to get groceries," responded Doctor Solaris. "He should be back soon."
"Alright," he said as he left the room. Ray hesitated a bit before skating to the door and leaving the room. She was hoping that Chris hadn't overheard their conversation. He most likely hadn't though. He wouldn't have been acting so calm when speaking if he had.
Ray began to head down the hallway, looking into each room as she passed by. Each one was just as spacious and beautiful as the next. It was no surprise. The Solaris family was rich, and she knew it. Doctor Solaris was an amazing scientist with vast knowledge on Genos and other rare mechanical devices. His base would have to be high maintenance.
Ray skated into the kitchen, taking a good look around. It was all so beautiful. Everything was clean and polished to the point where it was like looking into a mirror. They obviously took very good care of their base, and considering its size, cleaning it probably took a few days. After all, this was just one floor. There had been quite a few more passages in their hanger, and who knew where those all lead to.
Ray couldn't help but wonder why not many people knew where this place was. To be more precise, no one really knew where this base was. That was a bit hard to believe though. After all, it was a huge complex in the middle of nowhere. It'd be kind of hard to miss if you were out traveling the desert.
The door to the room opened, but Ray was too lost in thought to hear it. A man walked in, trying to balance three bags full of assorted items. He couldn't see where he was going, and Ray wasn't paying attention, her back currently towards him. He bumped into her, and because of her skates, she was shoved forwards into a spin, nearly falling. She quickly caught herself, but she put a little too much strain on her leg.
One of the bags the man had been carrying suddenly fell from his arms due to his sudden loss of balance, but Ray managed to catch it. She cringed as pain shot through her leg and her midriff from the added weight.
"I'm sorry," said the man as he set the two bags down on a nearby counter. "I didn't see you there."
"It's alright," she assured him, trying to keep the pain out of her voice. "I shoulda watched where I was going." Doctor Solaris walked into the living room, followed by Chris. Both seemed to be looking for something or someone. That or they had heard the door open. They both went to the kitchen, their eyes on the man who had just come in only seconds ago.
"Hey dad," he greeted with a smile, but his eyes returned to Ray, who was now pulling herself up. The bag of groceries she had caught was currently sitting on the floor since she wouldn't have been able to get up with the added weight. "You never told me we were having company."
"Ray, this is my son, Leon," introduced Doctor Solaris. Leon smiled and extended his hand.
"Leon Solaris," he greeted. After she was fully on her feet, she grabbed his hand.
"Ray," she introduced, not wanting to mention her full name. She smiled and took the time to look over the boy standing before her. He had dark, grayish violet eyes which were currently smiling right along with his lips. His short, sandy brown hair was kind of messy and fell to just above his ears. There was a red headband on his forehead that helped to tame some of the stray strands of hair that were just a little longer than the rest.
He wore a rather strange outfit considering the fact that he had just been out in the desert for quite a while. His pants were a dark brown, and his boots were black. His shirt was a navy color, but it was mostly covered by his brown trench coat which fell to his knees. It was hard to believe that even right now he wasn't roasting in that heavy looking attire.
They dropped hands, and Ray bent down to pick up the bag of groceries she had left on the floor. She placed it on the counter next to the others and then turned to Dr. Solaris.
"Is it fixed?" she asked, even though she knew it most likely wasn't. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was her communicator.
"Not yet," he responded. "In fact, I need to talk to you about that device."
"What is it?" she questioned, hoping he wouldn't tell her that it was impossible to repair. Her day had already gone from bad to worse. She didn't need any more bad news.
"I'm going to need a few parts to fix it," he informed her. "I know where to find them, but it may take a day or two to get it in full working order. It's a very complicated piece of equipment."
"It figures," she sighed, realizing that she had no way to get home yet. Hopefully Gordan and her fellow GRC officials wouldn't be too worried about her.
"Why not just get a new one?" he asked her, sounding rather confused. It was obvious that the GRC had more than one. It would be pointless to expect such a thing to last forever.
"Because this is my last one," she told him in slight exasperation. "I've already broken over five, and Gordan told me that if I broke this one, I wouldn't get another." Dr. Solaris just laughed at that statement.
"My, my, you should be a little more careful," he told her in good humor. He took in a deep breath, his smile still intact. "Anyway, you're welcome to stay with us until it's fixed."
"Thanks," she replied, bowing slightly to the doctor.
"I'll go get the parts if you tell me what you're looking for," Chris offered. It's not like he had anything better to do anyway. Doctor Solaris just smiled at his son's request. This would save him the trip.
"Very well," he said, walking off. "Come on. I'll tell you what I need." They went back towards his lab, leaving Ray alone with Leon, who had begun to put away the groceries.
"So Ray, what brings you here?" he asked without turning to her.
"Your father's fixing something for me," she told him while pulling herself up on one of the counters, now swinging her legs back and forth out of habit.
"Dad's always been good with machines," he said as he moved to the second bag of groceries. "By the way, how'd you get here? Not many know where this base is."
"Chris brought me," she explained. "I met him while I was in Torran."
"He goes there a lot nowadays," noted Leon as he put a few more things away. Ray looked at the third bag, debating on whether or not to help him put away the rest of the contents.
"I'd volunteer to help you," she began as she watched him put something high up in the cupboard. "However, I don't know where anything goes."
"That's alright," he assured her as he crumpled up and tossed the empty bag in the garbage. "It's the thought that counts." He walked over to her and began taking things out of the third bag. In the process he took a good long look at Ray, studying her face. He could only see one side of it since the left side was covered by her hair. Like most people who noticed, he couldn't help but wonder why she wore it that way. That, and she had a very interesting eye color. Not manly people he had met had natural red eyes. He couldn't help but study them a bit. She caught him staring right as he turned away.
"What?" she asked as he walked back to the cupboard.
"Nothing really," he replied. "It's just…your eyes are an interesting color. I've never met anyone with cherry colored eyes." She turned away, fuming silently.
"It's not that big of a deal," she retorted, sounding insulted.
"Sorry," he apologized as he continued stocking the empty shelves. He went to the next cabinet. It was also empty, a few crumbs being all that remained. He frowned and then sighed in frustration.
"I wish dad and Chris wouldn't eat so much," he said as he put away more of the food he had bought. Too bad it probably wouldn't last them more than a few days. "It seems like we're always out of food, and I always get stuck going to the store."
"Is it just the three of you?" she asked.
"Yeah. We're a two person Geno team, and dad's the tactician. It's a good thing most Geno battles are one on one or two on two. I pilot more than Chris does though. He's still new at it." He turned to her with a question. "Do you pilot?"
"Yeah," she responded as she began emptying the rest of the paper bag. She set the food out on the counter in a straight line. "I'm by myself though." She crumpled up the paper bag and threw it towards the garbage, making a perfect basket.
"You don't have a team?" he asked as he put a few more things into the cabinet.
"I have a team, but I'm the only one on it," she told him, not seeming too depressed about the situation.
"Doesn't that get lonely after a while? Wouldn't you rather fight two on two?"
"Not really," she said, but her voice spoke differently. Leon decided not to push the topic. Instead, he finished putting the groceries away and gave a sigh of satisfaction.
"All done," he announced happily. Ray just smiled and hopped off the counter. However, she came down a little hard on her injured leg, and she couldn't prevent the small yelp that escaped her lips.
Leon turned to Ray, her small cry instantly catching his attention. She was standing now, but her left leg was bent a bit. He quickly noticed that she was harboring quite a few bandages, some being around her upper leg. It was obvious that something was wrong. After all, she was holding onto the counter for support.
"Is something wrong?" he asked her, moving closer. She stood up fully, biting her bottom lip. She seemed ashamed of something.
"It was nothing," she told him. "I'm just fine." However, when she tried to take a step forward, pain shot through her upper leg. She stumbled and fell right into Leon. He took a step back to brace himself from her added weight. He quickly brought his arms up in order to support her since she didn't seem able to stand on her own.
"Are you alright?" he asked, seeming just a little nervous. However, Ray didn't respond. She couldn't even though she knew the answer. She wasn't alright; she was in pain. The newly received bullet wound was hurting her leg, and she knew it was bleeding again. She had her hand over the spot where she knew the blood was soaking through. This didn't go unnoticed by Leon. He held her up with one arm and grabbed her wrist with his free hand. Carefully, he pulled her hand away from her injury.