Deep in the woods, voices called out yelling, “Altea, Altea! Where are you?,”
Those were the calls of Alexander and his new friends as they searched for their lost friend. Knowing that Altea could’ve headed off in any direction, the group split into two pairs: Alexander partnered up with Sasha and Lucas with Nyle.
“I heard you and Lucas were like best friends or something,” said Alexander, “How come you were being really cold with him earlier tonight?”
“I just don’t like the way he’s been since Altea joined us.” said Sasha “He’s normally such an open and friendly guy but around Altea, he’s been pretty condemning and unfriendly lately and that’s just not like him. I tried to talk to him about what has been going on and why he’s doing this but he just keeps on finding a way to avoid answering my question or he changes the subject.”
“Ah, I see,” said Alexander, “Seeing how I’ve only just met you guys I can’t really say what I think might be happening since there are still some details I don’t know. However, I hope that once we find Altea, she and Lucas can resolve their quarrel.”
“Yeah, I hope so, too” said Sasha, “it really hurts to see my friends and family divided like this. By the way, how were things like for you before The Awakening?”
“Wait, what’s The Awakening?” ask Alexander, for he did not know what had taken place before he mysteriously woke up.
“That’s strange.” said Sasha, “That was the day everything changed for me, Lucas, for Nyle, for Altea, for everyone in the world really, mostly for all the minors for some strange reason.”
“Well, do you remember, your mom, your dad, siblings, anything?” asked Sasha.
“No, nothing. I just woke up in some kind of chamber filled with ancient technology and walked into the outside world with no memory of who I was and just set off to find who I am. All I have been able to remember so far was my own name.” Replied Alexander.
Sasha was surprised, then said “Wait, no, it can’t be, then you must be-” before she could finish what she wanted to say, the two of them saw something that utterly shocked them.
In the midst of the path beyond them were rows of tire tracks alongside trees and plants that were mowed down in the wake.
“What happened here?” said Alexander.
“Oh no,” said Sasha, “We need to find and tell Lucas and Nyle, go find Altea, and get out of here as quickly as possible, NOW!”
Meanwhile, Lucas and Nyle were traversing another part of the woods calling out the name of their lost friend.
“Lucas?” said Nyle, “Why did you have to be so mean to Altea? She was only trying to get along with us this whole time.”
“You wouldn’t get it,” said Lucas.
“What do you mean?” said Nyle, “ I’m your friend, I’m always here to support you and talk about anything if you ever need to,”
“I said, YOU WOULDN’T GET IT!” Exclaimed Lucas.
“Why do you have to be so rude like that?!” Yelled Nyle angrily, “You keep on saying that Altea was the one being rude, the one not helping, the one killing the vibe and the one ruining everything when really, IT’S YOU!
‘Why do you think she ran away from us? Because you kept on underappreciating her help, pushing her away when she just wanted to pitch in and be part of the conversation, and made her feel unwelcome by making her do more work than the rest of us and withholding warmth and affection from her!
‘And if you keep acting like this jerk you’re being right now, you’re going to make us run away too! I get that she’s also not perfect either but still, you need to tell me what’s wrong cause that’s the only way you can let go of hate and anger and heal the broken relationships around you!”
“Fine”, said Lucas, beginning to shed tears from his eyes, “You know the RV Gwen, before The Awakening, it used to belong to my parents. Every summer, we would travel on it to go to our lake house which was about three days away from our home. Every time we would go there, we would have the most fun kayaking, swimming, fishing, playing frisbee, exploring the wilderness around us, and heating s’mores at night.
‘Really good times they were, but then The Awakening struck and I lost my parents to it. Gwen was the only memory I had of them and the only semblance I had left of the simpler days. When Altea decided to upgrade and renovate her, it felt like that RV that my parents and I used to ride in was gone and along with it, countless memories worth clinging on to. Now, I have no way to turn back and instead, have to look completely straight forward to the dark reality we all have to live in.”
“I get how you feel,” said Nyle, “we have all lost something during these challenging times but do not worry, you still have a family. You’ve got me, Sasha and Altea once we’re able to work things out, and even the new guy who I think was called Alexander if I remember correctly.
‘Not sure if this might help but try to look at Gwen’s renovations as if it were the culmination of all you have experienced before and after The Awakening as opposed to the erasure of countless memories.
‘In other words, those memories of your parents and childhood are still present with you but at the same time, you’ve experienced so much over the past few years, that you’ve changed and grown to become a better and stronger version of yourself and Gwen has too.”
Feeling comforted and rejoiced, Lucas turned to and embraced Nyle. Shortly after however, he had to let go since Sasha and Alexander came rushing towards them calling their names.
“Wait, what’s happening? What’s going on?” said Lucas with great urgency in his voice.
“The Snatchers! The snatchers are here!” Exclaimed Sasha.
“Shoot,” said Lucas, “we need to hurry as quickly as possible!”
“Wait, who are the Snatchers?” said Alexander.
“Really bad people,” said Nyle, “They go around finding and capturing any kids and teenagers that they run into so they can take them to their base and they’ll go to extreme lengths to get what they want.”
“Why?” asked Alexander.
“We don’t know,” said Lucas, “But I reckon it has something to do with this.”
Lucas then showed off the steel ingot that he held during his initial meeting with Alexander and clutched it. When he did so, a yellow heart shape appeared on his chest and his entire body turned into the color of and adapted the texture and properties of the steel ingot that he held.
“Woah!” said Alexander in amazement, “Do all of you have powers like that?”
“Yeah, pretty much,” said Sasha who then had an orange heart shape emanating from her chest she proceeded to pick up and drop Alexander as if he were a feather.
“Well I’m not the team’s medic for no reason.” said Nyle as he let out a green heart shape from his chest and proceeded to touch one of the scabs Alexander received in his battle with the monster he had the other day and watched it heal fully.
“Just wondering but what are Altea’s powers then?” said Alexander.
“Super intelligence,” Said Lucas, “That’s how she was able to completely remodel and restructure Gwen. Whenever she taps into her abilities, her heart shape glows light blue.”
“Oh, okay,” said Alexander, “You said we need to find Altea as soon as possible, didn’t you? Well, let’s get going?”
Just as they were going to find their friend, the group heard a gunshot and scream for help in the distance. Recognizing the voice that called for help, the group knew that it was her; Altea was in trouble.
They rushed to the direction the scream came from and found some men and women dressed in gray suits and helmets with black visors blocking their eyes carrying Altea in a large net and packing her and their supplies up in their gray jeeps.
“Let go of me! Let go of me you dull headed freaks!” shouted Altea as she tried to struggle free.
“Don’t worry Altea, we won’t let them get away with you!” shouted Lucas as he and the rest of the group to keep on pace with the jeeps which were already starting to drive away.
Then from one the jeeps in front, one of the snatchers who was loaded up on one the vehicle’s built in cannons fired off a missile which made physical contact with the ground and sent the group back a few meters.