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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12. Episode Three: In which there is a skate-board chase.

 

Jaliq nursed his son's wounds carefully, lovingly, avoiding any discussion of the battle that caused the wounds.

The left side of Liart's face had turned completely black and blue, and Jaliq wondered whether or not it would ever heal properly. As for Strongh, he had gotten off completely scot free. This concerned Jaliq. So long as Strongh avoided injury he would constantly drag Liart into dangerous situations. And one day, Liart might not get so lucky.

'Did it hurt?' Jaliq asked, daring to refer to the battle.

Liart shook his head. 'Not at the time. But it hurts now.'

Jaliq understood that. Lots of patients said that to him.

'C-could you please never do anything like that again?'

Liart only looked away. 'We did what was right, father. I had to do it.'

Jaliq sighed and nodded. 'Yes, I'm very proud of you. But I'm so scared for you. Please... be careful.'

Liart nodded.

Jaliq finished his work and left the room, turning off the light as he went. The older his sons grew the more one thing became clear to him: he couldn't take care of them. Oh, he could never take care of them!

He wondered which would be better for his sons. Should he pin them down, or should he let them run around like wild animals?

Jaliq shook his head. He had to get some sleep.

 

A few weeks passed before the boys started to grow restless. Jaliq only hoped they wouldn't run away again.

Finally, one morning, Jaliq awoke to the sight of Liart at the end of his bed, wide-eyed and hopeful.

'Father, may we visit Mrs. Jure?'

Jaliq groaned. 'Well, good morning to you too, Liart.'

Liart smiled brightly. 'Good morning, father.'

Rubbing his eyes, Jaliq sat up. 'What brings this on so suddenly?'

Liart decided to answer honestly. 'Well, Strongh and I found I that Home was only discovered five years ago, but Mrs. Jure said that that was where she was from. So we thought we'd ask her some questions.'

Jaliq sighed deeply. 'Liart!' He cried. 'You can't just go prying into other people's business!'

'Why not?' Liart returned. 'Is it wrong?'

'It's rude.'

'That was another question I had, father. I know what we did on Cerebrum was for a good cause – but how do we know it was good?'

'We just do, Liart.'

'Really? That's it? Coz that scientist seemed to think it was right to do what we think is wrong.'

Jaliq opened his mouth to reply, but nothing came.

'That's what I mean.' Liart pressed. 'And so I've decided to look into it. I will find out why there's a right and a wrong, and while I'm at it I might find out why I believe there's a right and a wrong. I'd also like to find out what the meaning of life is, and why everyone wants there to be a meaning in life.'

Jaliq burst out into fits of laughter. 'Good luck with that, my boy. Philosophers have been searching for the answer to those questions for centuries.'

Liart only shrugged. 'It's worth a try.'

'Liart!' Strongh suddenly shouted crossly. 'You weren't meant to go all deep and meaningful! Just get the question answered!'

Liart frowned. 'How come I always have to ask!?'

Strongh did not reply, so Jaliq decided to force an answer. 'That's a good question, Liart. Strongh, why do you always make Liart ask me for things?'

Strongh stepped shyly into the room. 'Just because.'

'Because why?'

Strongh knew why. Oh, he knew exactly why. He had learned very early on that he was his father's favourite, but even then his father wasn't so indulgent as to grant all his ridiculous requests. And so he sent in Liart, to introduce the idea to his father. Jaliq nearly always said no to these requests, but it was never a waste of time. For after saying no to Liart he nearly always said yes to Strongh. But perhaps, Strongh thought, he would have to mix things up a bit. He didn't want his father to catch on.

'Because he's braver than I am.' Was all he said in reply.

'Are you scared of me?'

'No. Not really. Just... I don't like asking.'

Jaliq groaned again and nodded. 'Fine!' He cried. 'We'll all visit Mrs. Jure.'

Liart hid his disappointment well, whereas Strongh's was written all over his face. Liart rolled his eyes within himself. Typical Strongh, giving everything away.

'What's wrong, Strongh?' Jaliq asked sternly.

'Nothing.' The boy replied quickly. 'That sounds great.'

He left the room quickly, and Liart followed.

 

'Strongh!' Liart hissed, shutting the door to the kitchen. 'Why do you always do that!?'

'I'm sorry!' Strongh cried. 'I didn't mean to! But at least we got our way.'

'You mean you got yours.'

'Hey! This was your idea too; you wanted this just as much as I did!'

'I didn't want father to tag along! How are we meant to do anything when he's around?'

'You know we can. We'll just give him the slip. No big deal!'

Liart roared frustratedly and stormed out of the room. Strongh stared after him for a moment, his keen eyes staring at the doorway where he stood before. Then, lazily, he shrugged.

 

He was at it again, Strongh thought: book learnin'.

Strongh couldn't think of a moment when Liart was not reading a book; a quiet moment that was. And he couldn't think of a subject he didn't read on either. Science, humanities, philosophy, religion... you name it, he read it all.

Strongh occasionally felt a little guilty about not reading as often as his brother, but he soothed himself by giving himself reminders that he was better at physical activity. Still, Strongh thought, what was that compared to brains? Where would brawn really get him in life?

Every now and then he would quote the books he had read, mainly to impress his brother. He knew he was his father's favourite, so there were no issues there.

Something that bothered him incredibly – and yet pleased him greatly – was the fact that Liart would tone down his speech when he was with him, or when he was in public in general. The boy had a vocabulary full of words that Strongh couldn't and probably would never understand, but could just as easily throw it away. Strongh wasn't entirely sure why that bothered him.

'What are you reading now, Liart?' Jaliq asked, obviously feeling a little bored. Driving a Lysa was not the most exciting activity in the Universe, and the man was already sipping highly-caffeinated coffee.

Liart replied slowly. 'Crime and Punishment.'

Jaliq swallowed – the liquid went down the wrong pipe – and began gagging. 'What!?' He cried. 'Why on earth are you reading that book?!'

Liart was more than surprised at his father's reaction, and Strongh tried not to smile too much. It didn't make a difference though – Liart could see the smugness all over his face.

'Because.' He said simply. 'It's a classic. I like it.'

'It's about a criminal!'

Liart only blinked in reply.

'Glesi, would you take that from him?'

Glesi nodded. 'I don't mind if I do,' and snatched the book before the boy had time to protest.

'B... but that's my book! Now I'll never know how it ends!'

Jaliq didn't seem to care. 'Liart, won't you ever stop reading?'

'I thought reading was a good thing.'

'It is, in moderation. See, I read books, and look at me.'

Liart turned to Strongh.

'Stuck with us?' Strongh asked, echoing his brother's thoughts.

Jaliq panicked. 'No! Just – a friendless geek!'

Liart shrugged. 'Well, I don't mind. Strongh's my friend.'

'I'm not your friend, idiot.' Strongh objected. 'I'm your brother.'

'So? You can be my friend too.'

'No I can't.'

'Then I have no friends, just like father! But it's not my fault – I had friends in school, and even on RaJuno.'

Jaliq winced at that – he obviously felt a little guilty. A strange look entered his eyes - one that worried Liart. He'd gotten some crazy idea, Liart could just tell.

The rest of the trip was almost silent, but it didn't take long for Strongh to pick up on his brother's change of mood. He could see it in his eyes, his usually sea-blue eyes, with aqua shades of green mixed in. They had turned ice blue, all traces of green were gone. That was the first sign. The other sign was his mouth – he had a tight mouth. And his jaw, already quite angular, was now even more so, as it was firmly set – in anger, Strongh supposed. But perhaps the most obvious sign to Strongh was his speech. He had broadened his vocabulary.

'So,' Jaliq asked, trying to make up for his previous outburst, 'what was it you were hoping to ask Mrs. Jure?'

'Well,' Liart began quickly, lest Strongh should reply first. Oh dear, the latter thought. That meant his brother was mad – seething in fact. 'She had informed us of her previous habitation, or, rather, her cultural heritage, her background, and identified herself as an alien – she claimed citizenship from the planet Home. The afore mentioned subject further informed us that she had been living (comfortably no less) on the planet RaJuno for approximately ten years, though we have gleaned information contrary to this supposed fact; as Dr. Manges declared to us that the planet of Home was completely unheard of until half a decade ago. And so, in conclusion, we wish to inquire of the afore mentioned subject who goes by the name and title Mrs. Jure as to her citizenship – i.e. is she really from the planet Home, or was she lying and or not disclosing the truth or – more likely – the entire to my confidant, but not friend, in short, my brother Strongh, and I, your younger son, Liart Hero.' He blinked for emphasis, but anger flashed in his eyes.

Glesi was totally confused, and turned to Jaliq, who translated rather sarcastically. 'So you're telling me that Mrs. Jure told you she was from Home, but said she'd been living in RaJuno for about ten years, whereas Home was only discovered five years ago, and you want to ask her if she was lying to you?'

'In effect, yes.'

'Why didn't you just say so!?' Glesi cried exasperatedly. 'Was it really easier for you to speak like that?'

'It comes just as effortlessly, yes.'

'But it's not easier.' Jaliq said sternly. 'You're just showing off. And so, I order you to stop.'

'It is easier.' Liart objected, but he obeyed anyway.

Everyone was glad when they finally reached RaJuno, and travelled in a tense silence to Mrs. Jure's house.

'Does she know we're coming?' Liart asked suddenly as they climbed the stairs.

Jaliq sighed. 'I knew I forgot to do something.'

Strongh reached the door first, but he did not knock. He left that job for Jaliq.

The door was opened almost immediately, and the woman's eyes widened in joyous surprise.

'Jaliq! Liart! Strongh!'

Liart beamed, and couldn't help but glance at his older brother. Ah, he was scowling, good. That meant he had noticed she had said his name first. Still, Liart thought, he'd always liked Mrs. Jure more than Strongh.

'Come in, come in!' The woman cried, ushering the three she knew inside. Then, before inviting in Glesi, she eyed Jaliq warily. 'And who is this?'

'I'm the boys' tutor ma'am,' Glesi replied, the most polite he had ever been. 'But if you don't mind, I have a few errands of my own to run. Hope you all have nice little visit.' He nodded – a sort of head-bow – and walked off before any-one could object.

Mrs. Jure relaxed once the man was gone, and turned her attention to her old friends.

'Well!' Was the first thing she said once everyone was inside. 'How have we been?'

'Good thank you!' Was the almost unanimous reply.

'How have you been?' Liart asked without even thinking.

Mrs. Jure smiled. 'Very well, thank you, but even better now that you're here. Liart, you must be eight now. And Strongh, are you nearly eleven?'

The two nodded eagerly, and the woman smiled proudly. 'See? I have a very good memory.'

The older woman sat Jaliq down and ran around serving up biscuits, cakes, and beverages. When at last she sat down, Strongh and Liart sat faithfully by her feet. Mrs. Jure smiled and patted her lap, which caused both boys to smile.

'You can't hold me anymore.' Strongh informed her. 'I'm too big now.'

Liart's smile only widened, as he got Mrs. Jure all to himself.

It was nearly hour until Strongh finally asked, 'Mrs. Jure, you know how you said you were Home?'

Mrs. Jure nodded proudly.

'Well, we learned it was only discovered five years ago. How does that work?'

The woman only frowned thoughtfully. 'Well... from memory... the Quixaseu invaded once... and I was kidnapped. But I escaped, caught a Lysa to Neuron, and then another to RaJuno.'

Strongh raised an eyebrow. 'Ten years ago?'

'Thereabouts, yes.'

He shrugged. 'Well I guess that makes sense. Thanks for answering the question.' Then he stood up. 'Can we go now?'

Jaliq's eyes flashed.

'Strongh!' Liart cried. 'Don't be rude! We're having a really nice time with Mrs. Jure, and I don't want to leave.'

'Well, actually,' Jaliq interrupted, 'I'm afraid we have to. I have some … errands... to run. And I'm afraid I need you two with me.'

Liart seemed dismayed, as did Mrs. Jure, but Strongh seemed a little pleased with this idea. And so, after a long goodbye, the three made their way out into the streets of RaJuno.

'That was very rude, Strongh.' Jaliq said almost immediately.

Strongh only shrugged. Liart scowled when his father said no more.

'Where are we going?' Liart asked, attempting to distract himself.

'Somewhere important.' Was all his father said in reply.

The three continued for half-an-hour, until they finally met up with Glesi.

'Did you do it?' Jaliq asked immediately.

Glesi only nodded.

'Do what?!' Strongh cried, becoming as curious as his brother.

'Something important.' Jaliq replied, more or less repeating himself.

Suddenly, the small group stopped. Strongh crashed into his father, and Liart crashed into Glesi, who rolled his eyes and pulled him to the front.

They were looking at a building – a tall building – that could have been 19th Century English, if it weren't on RaJuno.

Liart panicked at once.

'No!' He cried. 'Please! I'll be good for a thousand years! No!'

Jaliq sighed. 'It'll only be for three months – Glesi needs a holiday. You've run him to the ground!'

'No!' Liart cried again, his eyes beginning to water. 'Please, anything but that! Besides, I'm not the naughty one – Strongh is!'

Strongh frowned. 'Oh no you don't! You're not dumping me by myself at some boarding school!'

'Why not?' Liart returned. 'We're not even friends!'

'You're by brother, imbecile! I told you!'

'Ooo, Strongh. That's a big word.'

'I picked it up off Swiftwar.'

'Who?' Jaliq interrupted.

Liart replied quickly. 'Just a character. And it's not a nice word, Strongh.'

'Enough!' Jaliq cried, beginning to lose his temper. 'To be quite honest I think boarding school's your best option. Glesi can't look after you, I can't look after you – the only time you were ever out of trouble was when you were at school!'

'You took us out!' Strongh replied hotly. 'Don't blame us.'

'Don't talk to me like that!'

Liart's eyes widened, and he attempted to interrupt. 'Father!'

'Silence, Liart! Strongh, it really is about time you learned some manners, and you're bound to learn some at boarding school...'

'Father!'

'Liart!'

'I don't wanna go to boarding school!'

'Father, it's urgent!'

'Liart!!! Strongh, you're going whether you like it or not!'

'NO!'

'Father!'

'Um.... sir?'

'What?!'

Jaliq was facing Glesi now, wild-eyed and breathing heavily.

'It's him. At least, he fits the description.'

Jaliq panicked. 'What?'

Liart frowned deeply. 'That's what I was trying to tell you.'

'We have to get out of here.' Jaliq stated the obvious. 'Last time we saw him... it was bad.'

'Why exactly did we run again?' Strongh asked facetiously. 

'He's just dangerous, okay?! Now come on, we have to run.'

'He's already seen us.' Liart pointed out.

It was true, the man was approaching.

'Quick!' Jaliq cried. 'We have to run.'

'That's what we're good at.' Strongh replied. 'But you'll have to follow us.'

'Enough cheek, just run!'

Strongh sighed and turned to his brother. Then, smiling a little, the two took off.

They ran through the crowded streets, dodging pedestrians and vehicles, looking back occasionally to find that the man – and his nine minions – were growing closer.

'We can't stay here!' Strongh cried, using the chase to his advantage. 'They obviously know where we are – or were at least.'

'Oh, as if I'd dump you here!' Jaliq returned hotly.

Liart cheered up a little bit. 'Are you dumping us on Zraiatormma!?'

'Ssh!' Jaliq warned. 'But yes.'

Strongh only scowled at his failed efforts.

'They're gaining on us!' Liart cried. 'We have to move faster!'

'I can't!' Glesi cried. 'Why do I have to run anyway? I don't even know who these people are!'

'Look!' Jaliq shouted suddenly. 'Skateboards!'

'I can't skateboard!' Liart put in, catching on straight away.

Strongh rolled his eyes as his father handed the salesman a ridiculous amount of money and shoved a skateboard in his little brothers' face. 'Well you'll have to.'

Then, as a kind gesture, he jumped on his own and pulled Liart behind him.

Jaliq was amazingly good at skateboarding, and zigzagged through the bustling crowd with ease. Glesi was clumsy, as expected, and looked as if he were about to fall off at any given moment. As for Strongh, he was quite good, especially when it was taken into account that he was pulling his younger brother behind him. Liart himself possessed no skill whatsoever, which amused Strongh greatly.

'One day,' he said, avoiding a few stubborn pigeons, 'I'll teach you how to skateboard. Then maybe you'll be able to ditch baddies yourself.'

Liart was terrified, afraid that Strongh might let go of him, and only managed to stammer, 'I'd like that.'

The group reached the Lysa just as the men caught up to them. Quickly, each individually jumped off their skateboard, caught it, and piled inside the Lysa.

'Drive, drive, drive!' Glesi cried, while Strongh dragged Liart in.

Jasper's eyes flared with rage as he realised he and his men had failed.

'I'll get them!' He roared, as the Lysa began moving. 'I'll get them yet! If not both of them at least one!'

Jaliq shuddered, and put his foot down. 

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