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.

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8. Episode Seven: Strongh asks a ridiculous question.

 

The boys calmed down sufficiently for Jaliq's liking until Strongh's 10th birthday, in November. That was when, somewhere in between sitting at Mrs. Jure's feet and sitting in a history lesson, Strongh's thirst for adventure combined with Liart's inquisitivity made way for trouble.

'And then,' Mrs. Jure continued excitedly, 'I tripped over the rock the kids had thrown, and hit my head. Next thing I knew, I was in a hospital bed! They were very worried at first, because they thought I wouldn't remember anything, but then they realised I was fine. So you see!? That's how I ended up falling down the stairs. I had a repercussion, and blacked out for a minute.' She winked. 'I didn't tell the doctors that though... I don't want to be put in hospital again, and I know I'm fine.'

The boys smiled at her story.

'Mrs. Jure,' Liart suddenly began. 'Where were you born again?'

'In the Ocean Galaxy.' The woman proudly explained. 'On the planet Home.'

'That's right! That reminds me what I wanted to ask you: why is it called Home?'

Mrs. Jure shrugged. 'Haven't got a clue. Maybe you'll find out one day.'

'Mrs. Jure.' Strongh interrupted, shifting in an attempt to make himself more comfortable. 'How long have you lived on RaJuno for?'

'Twenty-five years at least, if not more!' The woman replied vehemently. 'Why do you ask?'

Strongh seemed thoughtful - a rare sight. 'Well... I wanted to know where the Lysa station was.'

Mrs. Jure immediately frowned. 'Why? Where do you want to go? I'm sure your father would be more than happy to take you anywhere.'

Strongh scowled. 'Father won't take us anywhere! All we do is stay at home all week and come here on Saturday! I'm so bored, and we don't have any friends!' Then, in a sudden burst of emotion, he buried his head in his hands.

Mrs. Jure softened a little at this sight, though she was wary of Strongh's impulsive character. 'Why don't you just tell him that?'

'Because we're meant to be hiding!' Strongh cried, frustrated. 'And he won't even tell us why!'

'I'm sure your father has a very good reason, Strongh. Just be patient.'

'Do I look patient to you!?' Strongh suddenly screamed.

Mrs. Jure's eyes flash at once, and she stood up in a rage (though she did not stand on her broken leg). 'Don't you dare speak to me like that!' She returned, her voice calm, but severe.

Strongh was taken aback by this response, and froze for a while. Then, slowly, he muttered, 'I'm sorry. I'm just... frustrated.'

'That doesn't matter.' Mrs. Jure replied, sitting back down. 'It doesn't matter if you're frustrated, angry, or sad. You need to learn self-control, my boy. Self-control.'

Strongh nodded, a little scared of the woman, though he liked her very much.

There was a long pause before he finally began speaking again. 'D-do... you think father would take us to...' he stumbled. '...to some-where far away?'

Here Liart grew excited. 'You mean Zraiatormma!?' He cried. 'So we could see our friends?!'

Strongh seemed embarrassed, and he shook his head. 'No... That’s not where I want to go...'

'Don't ask me, Strongh.' Mrs. Jure answered his question. 'Ask your father. He loves you both very much, and I'm sure he'll listen to you.'

Strongh nodded, looking thoughtful once again. 'All right. I suppose I will then.'

Jaliq arrived almost as soon as his son had finished speaking, and Liart rushed to open the door.

'Daddy!' He cried happily.

Jaliq seemed to be in an exceptionally good mood, and - setting down his brief-case - picked up his son and swung him over his shoulder. The boy giggled delightedly, and was surprised when he was not set back down. Jaliq held him upside down on his shoulder, picked his brief-case back up, and eyed his other son.

'Ready to go?' He asked brightly.

Strongh nodded, and turned to Mrs. Jure. 'Thank you for having us again, Mrs. Jure.'

'Thank you, Mrs. Jure!' Liart squealed from his upside down position.

Mrs. Jure smiled lovingly. 'You're welcome, boys. And thank you for cleaning my house once again!'

Jaliq smiled at his children and then at the older woman. 'Thank you, Mrs. Jure. See you next Saturday?'

The woman laughed at his question - he always asked her if she was available - and nodded. 'As always, Jaliq. As always.'

The man smiled brightly, nodded, and shut the door as he left.

Strongh led the way for most of the trip, until Liart eventually asked, 'are you going to put me down?'

Jaliq actually jumped then, and turned to face the boy, startled. 'Oh!' He cried. 'I forgot I threw you up there! Would you like to come down?'

Liart nodded, which looked peculiar when he was upside down. 'Yes, please.'

Jaliq chuckled - it was more like a giggle really - and gently let his son down. Then, suddenly, Strongh asked,

'Father, would you take us some-where?'

Jaliq stopped where he was, and turned to face the older boy. Crouched down, he was just below the boy's eye level.

'Like where? Did you want to go back to Zraiatormma, to see your friends? I'm sorry you haven't been able to have any friends here...'

'No, I don't want to go there.'

'Where do you want to go?' Jaliq asked, his eyes bright with a mysterious happiness.

'I want to go to...' Strongh hesitated. 'Qui...'

Jaliq's face fell immediately. 'No.' He breathed, unable to believe his ears. 'Quixas?'

Strongh froze, but his eyes confirmed that fact.

Jaliq simply didn't know what to say. 'Why?'

'I want to know why they haven't started a war for years!' Strongh cried, his eyes shining. 'I want to know how they can some-how end up on different planets causing revolutions when they're not allowed on the planet!'

Jaliq glanced at Liart. 'Are those your questions? Or Liart's?'

Strongh frowned, and his eyes flashed with anger. 'I do think, you know.' Then the realisation of what he'd just said hit him, and he sighed. 'I'm sorry. I... I don't think before I speak.'

Jaliq smiled a little at this and nodded. 'But I'm sure you can work on changing that if you know about it. But going back to Quixas... can't you find your answers in a book?'

Strongh shook his head. 'Everyone thinks you're evil if you ask about Quixas. There aren't any books anywhere. It's like you're evil if you even say the name!'

Jaliq seemed to understand this, and stared thoughtfully into the boy's eyes. Then, slowly, he replied, 'I'll think about it.'

Strongh was disappointed by this answer - to him it was as good as a no.

Jaliq stood up and began leading the way home. As he did, Liart whispered to his brother, 'why didn't you tell me you wanted to go there?'

Strongh only shrugged. 'Coz you'd answer my questions.'

The boys did not believe their father could hear their hushed conversation, but he could. As they continued speaking, he listened intently.

'But don't you want them answered?' Liart asked, totally baffled by his brother's reasoning.

'Not by you.' Was all his brother gave in reply.

This disturbed Jaliq, and it was soon clear on his face. Strongh obviously wanted to visit the planet Quixas... but why? Everyone knew that was the most evil planet in the entire Scatorian Universe. Then there was the fact that he wore a red and black T.B. cover. This still bothered Jaliq, though he had supposedly approved of it. What was with his son's morbid fascination with Quixas? He remembered what the old man had said about his sons and shuddered. He would not let Strongh be the destroyer.

Wait. He paused as he walked into his bedroom. Did that mean he wanted Liart to be evil? Why was he even asking himself this question?

'T-...' he stammered. 'T-that's... ridiculous.'

Then why didn't he believe it?

'Daddy.'

Jaliq jumped, and turned around to see Liart.

'Yes?' He asked, feeling guilty as he looked into his son's eyes.

'Why were you so happy before?'

Jaliq was taken back. 'H-happy? Did I look happy?'

Liart nodded. 'Very happy.'

Jaliq looked away, blushing a little, and laughed. 'I... can't imagine why. Nothing happened at work today.'

'What about on the way to work?'

Jaliq realised he felt shy, and this struck him as strange. Smiling peculiarly, he turned to face his son. 'What do you think happened?'

Liart smiled at him teasingly, thoughtfully. 'Something good. In fact, if you give me five minutes I could work it out.'

Jaliq did not believe this at all, but was incredibly amused. 'All right. Go ahead. Try your luck.'

Liart stared at his father for a while, smiling smugly. Then, after about a minute, he said, 'you got offered a job as an administrative doctor, didn't you?'

Jaliq's face filled with shock at once, as he cried, 'how did you guess?!'

Liart smiled mysteriously. 'It was written all over your face. So - did you accept? You did, didn't you? - because you're happy. Why did you quit in the first place? Oh, wait, I suppose it was so you could look after us. Right?'

Jaliq was a little frightened now. 'Who told you I was an administrative doctor?'

'Our tutor. It was one of the only things he ever told us about your life before you had us. So you did accept?'

Slowly but surely, Jaliq smiled again and nodded. 'But I thought I might skip the travel.'

'No!' Liart cried, surprising the man with his enthusiasm, 'it's a good thing! Please, take us with you! I could look after Strongh... father, he gets so bored of being in the one place. And - by the way - you know if you don't take him to Quixas he'll take himself there. Besides, we don't have any friends anyway. Why shouldn't we travel?'

Jaliq shook his head. 'I can't tell you to look after your older brother! You know how good he is at dragging you into trouble with him. But what you say intrigues me... you think he would really go to Quixas - himself?'

'No. With me. He'd con me into it somehow.'

'You must not agree to that then, Liart.'

'I know. But if you travelled a lot, he might not be so naughty all the time... he just gets bored, you know?'

Jaliq frowned. 'Maybe he should learn to stay put. After all, that's life.'

'Maybe. But you understand him don't you? That's why you hated your job as a doctor. That's why you were an administrative doctor in the first place.'

This did not please the boy's father at all. 'What are you saying? Are you accusing me of something?'

Liart panicked, and cried, 'no! I was just saying... maybe Strongh is like you - only naughtier! I didn't mean to be rude. I like to travel too!'

Jaliq seemed deflated now, and suddenly sat down on his bed.

'Oh!' Liart cried, concerned, 'now I've upset you. I'm sorry, daddy! I didn't mean to!'

Jaliq sighed. 'I know, Liart. Don't worry, I'm fine. But I suppose you're right. Though you got the part about you wrong. I think you'd like to stay in one place. Would you really want to travel around the universe?'

Liart nodded.

'Is that just because you think it will make Strongh and I happy?'

'No. But either way, if you and Strongh are happy, I'm happy.'

Jaliq smiled tiredly and nodded. 'Good for you, Liart. But I still don't think I'll say yes. After all, who would teach you if we were always travelling?'

'We could teach ourselves.'

Jaliq laughed. 'You might, but Strongh wouldn't. Though I suppose I could hire a tutor who could act as a sort of nanny... that way you and Strongh might not get into any trouble.'

'Oh yes!' Liart cried happily, clapping his hands. 'I like that idea very much!'

Jaliq smiled again, 'well I suppose I'll try that, then. In the meantime, I have to work out what to do about Strongh's request.' He sighed heavily and threw himself backwards onto his bed. 'I don't even know if it's safe to visit Quixas!'

'It has to be, doesn't it?'

'In theory, yes. But you never know... if we were... harmed.... in any way, people would probably just say it was our own fault. So you see, it would be a dangerous position.' He sat back up and rested his chin on his hands, his elbows propped up on his knees. 'I've never been to Quixas before. Never even been in the Black Galaxy. It's dangerous you know, because it's filled with worm holes.'

Liart nodded. 'I know.'

Jaliq did not seem to appreciate this, but did not say anything. In fact, he did not say anything for several minutes, until Liart felt obliged to leave the room.

He sat on his bed for thirty minutes before making a decision. He struggled, in honesty, as he did not want to disappoint his child, but he also did not want to throw him into harm’s way. And, of course, he had to consider Liart's safety. No doubt, if Strongh went to the incredibly dangerous planet of Quixas, Liart would want to come too, and that would be even more risky. Still, he thought, wasn't Liart right? Wouldn't Strongh find his own way to the planet if he really wanted to visit? Jaliq decided there was only one thing he could do.... and he pulled out his phone. 

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