The Archives of the Heroes: Series One - Foundation.

This is the story of two brothers growing up in our Universe. They manage to find themselves all kinds of trouble and adventures while travelling from galaxy to galaxy with their father.
Or, in some cases, by themselves.


5. Episode Four: In which the boys get T.B.'s.


Neither of the boys were sure where they were running to. After all, they had a Lysa. There was no reason to be running through the streets of Yohin.

'Daddy!' Strongh groaned eventually, 'where are we going? Why can't we take the Lysa? I'm so tired!'

'Me too!' Liart added, rubbing his eyes.

'We're going to the EFT.' Jaliq replied, not slowing down even a little. 'We have to organise some things.'

'The EFT?' Strongh repeated. 'Who goes there? Everyone just... goes.'

'Yes, but do you have bands?'

Strongh uselessly checked his wrist and shook his head. 'Do you?'

In reply, Jaliq nodded to his left wrist, where there was a watch-like bracelet. Strongh grimaced. 'Do I have to wear one?'

'What is it?!' Liart cried, confused. 'Will I have to wear one too!?' He eyed the thick silver band uncertainly, not sure as to whether or not he would enjoy wearing one.

'Yes.' was all their father said in reply.

They continued running through the streets until even Strongh felt sorely tempted to cry. Both boys had an incredible stitch, and their arms hurt from dragging around the heavy suitcases.

'Where are we going?' Strongh asked. 'After the EFT?'

'We're from Zraiatormma, the most influential 'good' planet in the Scatorian Universe. We can go anywhere – even Quixas.'

Strongh grimaced. 'We're not going to an evil planet are we?'

'Of course not. That's the last place we'd go.'

Liart was still confused. 'Why are we leaving our home planet? And what's an EFT? Why do we have to go there?'

Jaliq continued to ignore Liart's questions, and so – rolling his eyes – Strongh answered for him.

'The EFT is the Embassy For Travel. You go there for tags, which contain all your basic information. Each planet – or at least every advanced one – has tag-scanners...'

'T.B. Scanners.' His father corrected.

'Yeah, that's it. Travel Band Scanners... that scan your band. That way the natives know who's coming and going on their planet. Because we're Zraiatormmaein we can go anywhere – even Quixas. You see, if you brought bombs or something onto – say – Refuge, it would be seen as an act of war, and that's what would start: a war. So they kindly assume we won't be that stupid. As for the Quixaseux, they assume we won't attack them because they know that would start a terrible war, as we have so many allies that would be dragged into the mess as well.

'There are some planets though, like Tretātorix, that won't let us land on their planet. Basically – in theory – if we tried to go there, we'd be met by several soldiers and guns the minute we hit the ground. That's because they don't have much of a reputation – not like Quixas – and they're not as strong either. They wouldn't make it through an attack like the Quixaseux would.'

Liart began to grasp things now. 'Oh, I see. So Quixas will let us in, as they're the second biggest planet in the Scatorian Universe... but Tretātorix won't, as they're one of the smallest.'

Strongh nodded. 'Exactly. Now keep running and don't make me drag you.'

As soon as he said this Jaliq stopped running and dragged the boys into a small building marked 'Embassy For Travel'.

'Fancy that.' Strongh muttered, relieved. 'We're here.'

As soon as they had entered, Jaliq walked straight to the front desk. Not surprisingly, he didn't have to wait, as no-one else was around at this time of the night.

The woman at the counter seemed to have a better idea of what was going on than either of the boys, and appeared to be dismayed.

'Leaving so soon?' She asked, beginning to sort through various baskets behind her.

Jaliq nodded, puffing heavily. 'I need them now.'

The woman nodded too, and pulled down a basket marked 'Hero'.

'Would you like covers?' She asked. 'They're usually quite popular with children.'

Jaliq hesitated. 'Will it take long?'

'Not at all. And tell you what? I'll give them to you for free – a sort of going away present.'

Jaliq smiled warmly, one of his smiles that no-one could resist, and the woman could not help but smile right back at him.  'Thank you. That's very kind of you.'

'It's the least I can do.' Then, brightly, she turned to Strongh and Liart. 'Ready to get a T.B.?'

'Isn't T.B. a disease?' Liart asked, though he knew what the woman meant.

'Yes, it is.' The woman affirmed. 'But this isn't, I assure you. Strongh, you first?'

Strongh nodded, and held out his right arm.

'First of all,' the woman began, looking the boy in the eyes, 'which hand do you write with?'

Strongh thought for a moment. Then, timidly, with a little shame, he waved his left hand. Then, as an afterthought, he also waved his right hand.

'It depends which hand hurts less.' He replied. 'But I use both.'

The woman was impressed. 'Ambidextrous, are we? Well then, which hand do you think you use least?'

Strongh thought for a moment. 'Well.... in sword lessons my trainer makes me use my right hand. So I suppose it should go on the left.'

The woman nodded. 'Good reasoning. Now, stay still for a minute. This shouldn't hurt, but it generally does if you wriggle. The clasp could get caught on your skin.'

'Do these come off?' Strongh asked, as the lady gently leant his left arm on her leg.

'They can.' The woman replied. 'But they usually aren't removed. You see, T.B.'s grow with the arm – they're extendible. They can only extend so far though, so people with really thick wrists have to come and get them taken off and fixed.' She smiled cheekily at Strongh. 'Do you think you'll grow up to be that big and strong?'

Strongh smiled cheekily back at the woman. 'Yes.'

She chuckled, and locked the band into place. 'There you are. You know, the best part about the T.B.'s is that they automatically update your information if it changes. Well, I suppose, technically speaking, they don't update it at all. The government – or the hospital – does. But I suppose you understand what I mean.'

Liart frowned curiously. 'You meant that, if I were sick and the hospital wrote so in its records, my T.B. would instantly be able to access that information?'

The woman was impressed. 'Yes! That's exactly what I meant! Aren't you a bright little thing? But of course, it only works if the hospital scans your T.B. to begin with. That's why getting your first band takes so long – we have to manually retrieve all your information. But it's easier for children than for adults, because they haven't lived as long.'

Liart smiled, and the lady knelt down next to him.

'Can you write?' She asked kindly.

Liart nodded. 'And read.'

'Really? Do you have a favourite book yet?'

Liart nodded.

'What's it called?'


The woman was taken back. 'That's an impressive book for a five year old! Why do you like that novel?'

'Because. It's interesting. I feel sorry for the monster.... but Frankenstein is nice too. And the monster is evil in the end.'

'Yes,' the woman entertained the topic, 'but isn't Frankenstein evil too?'

Liart nodded. 'They both are, at heart. But at least Frankenstein was evil by accident.'

The woman smiled. 'So did you read it in English?'

'English? Is that an Earth language?'

The woman nodded. 'I take it you didn't read it in English.'

'No. I can't speak any language other than Zraiatormmaein.'

The woman smiled smugly, and her eyes flitted over to meet Jaliq's. The man smiled timidly when her eyes met his, and he quickly said, 'I have every intention of fixing that, though.'

Liart was a little confused by this, and turned to face his brother. He was comforted a little to find that his brother was equally confused. How come this woman seemed to know so much about them? And what made her think she could practically just tell their father to teach them something?

'Who are you?' Liart asked, before the woman had time to ask him another question. She seemed taken back, but replied generously.

'My name is Rose.'

'Rose what?'

'Rose Eye.'

Liart squinted. 'Your name – it's not Zraiatormmaein is it?'

The woman's smiled faded, and she looked away. 'No. You are very bright indeed.' Then, before Liart could question her further, she smiled brightly and asked, 'so which hand do you write with?'

Liart stared at the woman before replying, 'my right hand.' Rose promptly, gently, took his left hand and began her job.

Liart was amazed by the woman's smooth, dark skin – she was certainly not from Zraiatormma. He would have like to know where she was from. But what amazed him most about her was her eyes – they were incredibly expressive, large, brown eyes. At least he thought they were brown at first. Upon staring into her eyes for a longer amount of time he realised they were purple, green, and gold.

'I like your eyes.' He complimented the woman quietly.

She smiled shyly at this, and replied, 'thank you'. For the most part, though, she did not seem to appreciate Liart's keen eye.

Liart liked Rose, he decided, which was quite a large step for him to take. He went to an all boys' school, and the teachers were all men, so he didn't really know any women at all.

'How old are you?' He asked, as she finished clipping on his T.B. 'Because you know how old I am.'

Jaliq seemed embarrassed by his son's curiosity, and shot him a look. Rose only smiled pleasantly and replied, 'twenty-three.'

'That makes you eighteen years older than me.'

'Why, you're quite good at maths too. Well done!' Then, standing up, the woman fetched another box marked 'covers'. 'You can pick anyone you like.' She explained briefly, seeing that she had taken too long already. 'They're covers for the T.B.'s. Some of them are a little...' she held up a black cover with an evil looking skull on it and finished her sentence. '...menacing. But we have to make sure we have a cover for everyone. The Skulletians usually go for that one.'

'Aren't they evil?' Strongh asked. 'Why would they even be allowed here?'

Rose shrugged. 'We're not paid to think logically. We just have to cover everything. Besides, you'd be surprised how many Skulletians are allowed on our planet. Fortunately they've never caused any trouble.... yet.'

Strongh had been sorting through the covers in the box throughout the woman's speech, and now held one up. He felt peculiarly drawn to this cover, just as he had felt drawn to the strange ball he had found in the storeroom. He felt a little surprised when he realised that the band was black and red, just like the ball.

'Could I have this one, please?' He asked politely, looking at both his father and Rose. He was surprised and disturbed by their reactions.

Jaliq's face was askew, and suggested repulsion, as well as worry. Rose's face was completely frozen in a look of horror and shock. 

'Is something wrong...?' Strongh asked, lowering his choice a little.

'Don't you know?' Rose explained quietly. 'Those are the colours of Quixas.'

Strongh immediately dropped the cover as if it were on fire, giving a small cry of distaste as he did so.

'Don't you like any of the others?' Jaliq asked eventually.

Strongh was slow to reply, but soon shook his head. 'No. But that's okay. I'll just keep my T.B. plain.'

Jaliq sighed, and looked uncertainly at Rose. The woman shrugged a little, and remarked, 'they're just colours....'

Then, sighing, Jaliq put his revulsion aside and said, 'if you really want to you can have it. They are just colours.'

Strongh wasn't too sure whether or not to accept this offer at first. After all, while it was true that it was the only cover he liked, he didn't want to be mistaken for a Quixaseu. But, after a little more thought, he figured no-one but him would really notice the cover, and took up his father's offer.

'All right. Thank you, father.'

Jaliq smiled warily, and Rose quickly attached the cover. There. It didn't look so bad after all. The red was on the sides of the T.B., and hardly visible from most angles. Jaliq and Rose noticed this too, and relaxed a little. Then, in an attempt to hurry things along, Rose turned to Liart.

'Have you chosen one?' She asked.

Liart nodded, and held up a very curious band. The background was black – no, dark blue – and the surface was decorated with what appeared to be running water. The streams were blue, green, and various mixtures of these colours, as the intricate lines and swirls blended together, creating a marble effect.

'Wow.'  Jaliq remarked, astounded by the difference between Liart's choice and Strongh's. 'That's... different.'

Rose seemed impressed too. 'Most people are fascinated by that one. However, they usually don't overcome the fascination, which is why it's still in the box.'

Liart looked at the cover thoughtfully, and then replied, 'no. I like it. I like it a lot, actually. They're my favourite colours.... the same as Galileo.'

Rose glanced instantly at his bear, and he wondered how she knew he had been referring to it. Then, remembering she had a time limit, the woman quickly applied the cover and stood up.

'Well, I suppose you have to go now. Sorry this took so long – I just got carried away talking to you both! It was very nice to meet you, though.'

Liart squinted yet again, as he curiously asked, 'meet us? Had you heard of us?'

'Of course!' Rose replied brightly. 'Your father had to come in and order your bands, didn't he? So I learned a lot about you while sorting out your records.'

Strongh could sense a cover-up just as easily as Liart, and so he tried testing the waters. He asked, 'so do you know who our mother is?'

In an instant Jaliq had grabbed his hand and Liart's, and began dragging them out of the building. The boys quickly took their suitcases and tried to keep up with their father, who was obviously angry.

Liart would have liked to see what Rose's reaction was, but he did not get to. All he saw was his father's angry, distressed face.

They travelled a few blocks before he cried, 'I don't ever want you to bring up that subject again, all right?!'

Strongh frowned, while Liart was surprised. 'Why not?' The former asked defiantly. 'All the other children know who their parents are – why can't we!?'

Liart was concerned that Jaliq would start crying again, and tried to stop his hot-headed brother. 'Strongh...' he muttered. 'Stop! We know why he won't tell us... he says it hurts!'

'So what!?' Strongh cried angrily. 'It hurts me not knowing!'

'Strongh,' Jaliq said, suddenly stopping. Liart screamed a little as he was smothered by suitcases and people coming to a halt. 'Listen to me.' His father continued, not noticing his predicament. 'There are some questions in life that are better left unanswered. Some questions should not even be asked. This is one such question. Leave it alone, and you may be safe, happy, and productive. Maybe one day, when you are older, I will answer all your questions. But for now... please, do not endeavour to answer them.'

'Where's your family?' Strongh returned defiantly, as if he had not heard a word his father had said. 'Where are your friends?'

Jaliq's eyes flashed with rage, though he quickly controlled it. 'I don't know. I see them around from time to time. But they all left me a long time ago.'


The father looked away sadly, and replied quietly. 'I don't know exactly. But I have a rough idea.'

'Does it have something to do with our mother?' Liart asked, finally freeing himself of people and luggage.

Jaliq hesitated. 'N-no... but... perhaps it does. Maybe it should. I don't know... it's hard to explain.'

'Is Rose your friend?' Liart continued. 'Cause she seemed to know you pretty well.'

Liart had obviously hit a nerve with that question, as his father looked away agitatedly and his colour changed.

'I don't have any friends anymore.' Was all he said before walking again.

'Not that you'll tell us why.' Strongh muttered, following behind his father.

The three walked in silence for five more minutes before a friendly honk of a horn caught their attention. It was their tutor, in their Lysa.

Jaliq's face brightened a little when he saw the man, and he promptly began packing their luggage into the vehicle.

'Why did we have to carry our luggage if we were being picked up?' Strongh asked before climbing into his seat.

Jaliq sighed heavily. 'I- I don't know. I wasn't really thinking clearly.'

'Why didn't we just take the Lysa?' Strongh added.

Jaliq shook his head. 'Please... no more questions. I can't answer them all.'

Strongh sighed, but compliantly sat in his seat.

The boys' tutor scrambled out of the vehicle, and waved as they left Zraiatormma.

'See?' Liart offered, trying to brighten the mood. 'He's your friend.'

Jaliq smiled. 'He doesn't count. He's paid to be my friend.'

Liart was disappointed by this reply, and fell into the despondent silence that had already swallowed his brother and father.


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