Vihn Kasigira is a spaniel boy from Liberty City, a developing hub business and modern industrialism when he is struck by a wisp, absorbing the being. But this is no ordinary wisp, the inter-dimensional creature takes permanent rest in the boy, granting him permanent wind abilities and dragging him into a world of shady scientific research and an extraterrestrial conspiracy. To the spaniel's chagrin, the world is flooded by more of these wisps, infecting more and more people, some of which who lash out and cause chaos. This makes Vihn a target of the government. Vihn must take refuge and discover both why the alien beings have inhabited his planet and save those affected and driven mad by the wisps before the same fate befalls him.
Memories of Enigma
Chapter I - Steel Breeze
Liberty City was painted with light and darkness. The tall, steel structures of the business district leaned overhead, casting their façade onto the busy streets below while the suburbs baked in the sun. Their only respites were the stubby trees spread judiciously throughout the urban living spaces and a thick breeze that careened from the hills and ridges northward. Summertime haze rose from the dark, glimmering cement and the afternoon drudged along in the lazy heat.
Suddenly, with a click and high, metal wail, a screen door broke the silence. A pink hat and pair of floppy, blond ears emerged from the abode. This boy, a teenage spaniel, traversed from the quaint front steps to the sidewalk with a ripped piece of notebook paper in hand. As he walked along the road, the streets were completely bare, at least in this neighborhood.
“Hmm, it must be a Sunday”, the Mobian dog thought.
Without school, it was hard to keep up with which day was which, especially since most days were far too hot for plans. Today was different though. A high pressure-system made a walk to the city far more bearable.
The spaniel had made it to the first block outside of his street. It was there that the crackling, thin road crossed the smooth, well-manicured boulevard leading into the main section of Liberty City. He stood at the crosswalk for a moment, waiting for a handful of cars to speed along and clear a path.
In the distance, the whirring of a police siren resonated until and echoed from Liberty. The city itself wasn’t exactly the kindest or safest, so the pink-garbed spaniel shrugged it off. But the ear-piercing alarm grew louder and louder. It was almost as if a herd of cops were racing down main street.
“They’d better not be chasing them down here.”
The pink-garbed canine sighed, dreading the thought of having to deal with the secondhand results of criminal activity.
His mental disdain was ripped away though, as just before the spaniel took his first step on the pavement, a wave of jet-black coupes blasted down Main Street. He recoiled back in shock, but before the dog could even think, they had already flown out of sight. The boy took off his oversized hat and fanned the smoky, charcoal-reeking air.
He peered down the avenue in wonder, “Well.”
His aggravation at the careless, death-wishing drivers left him speechless. In fact, the whole block was quiet now. Even the sirens had faded away.
After a moment, the rattled Mobian shrugged off the near death-experience and took another step, only to be greeted by a bright-green blast of light and pain. With a loud grunt, the dog twisted and rocketed back. His lower body fell onto a stranger’s yard, but the rest of him collapsed on solid sidewalk. It was all a blur, but after a moment his chest and left arm throbbing in a dull ache.
As he staggered and tried to regain his footing, another set of silent, black cars drove down the street slowing for a bit. While the windows were tinted, the spaniel could tell that the passengers were eyeing him, but after an awkward moment, the cars sped off the same. Then, a familiar voice called out to him.
“Oh, Vihn! Oh man, is everything ok?”
Even with the acute ringing and blurry, concussed vision, Vihn could recognize that purple figure and accent anywhere. It was a classmate of his, Amasis Khnum wearing what looked like a Middle-Eastern shawl and glyph-like jewelry, or maybe his head was messing with him.
“Erg, I think I’m fine. Everything just; what are-”
The purple acquaintance cut him off there.
“I can’t even understand you. Come on, I must get you some help.”
Before he could think, Vihn was suddenly being dragged by the arm into a nearby car. His vision cleared a bit more and realized that the jackal was frantically speeding to Liberty. The rattled spaniel didn’t have time to think whether the jackal had a license or not.
It took a few minutes to traverse through the daily traffic, but the vehicle finally parked. With the click of the car doors, the spaniel was dragged in the doors of a compact medical clinic. Within seconds, neuropraxia set in once more, and Vihn collapsed on the plush carpet. The entire waiting room was aghast and staff rushed to the duo’s side as Amasis struggled to help up his schoolmate. The nurses and crew hoisted the unconscious dog onto a pad and wheeled him down the long corridor of examination rooms. Amasis ran along as well, being the only witness to Vihn’s fall.
At the end of the corridor, however, one of the staffers, a tall elephant with neatly manicured tusks turned around, halting the jackal in his tracks. As he pressed the button, he muttered:
“The emergency hall is reserved for patients and staff only. Wait here. We’ll bring him out once he’s revived.”
“But, I saw what happened, I can,”
The elephant cut the jackal-boy off
“It’s a liability. Sorry.”
The Large, brass doors parted and the nurses pushed the unconscious spaniel in. the doors parted once more as the group descended. Amasis sighed, a bit disheartened and worried about the fate of his friend. He looked up and started to turn back around, and as his shoulder turned, he saw that same elephant holding a phone and typing on it. Not a modern, corporate issue phone either. It was some cheap flip phone.
Amasis furled his brow, but walked back to the waiting room. As he stepped away, he turned to look at that elevator door. With apprehension and one final gaze, he closed the door and placed himself on a nearby couch. The lack of clarity was almost saddening.
Chapter II - Cold Air
The curtains were drawn to an absolute shut. The ghostly, pale lights of the surrounding monitors glazed the dark laboratory. Dimly lit silhouettes of a wide variety of Mobians gathered around a semi-circle of tables, each clicking and typing away in their own individual projects.
Suddenly, a large series of digital beeps resounded from the computer room’s hallway. Various mechanisms on the front of the metal door clicked and spun and after nearly ten seconds of puzzling, the contraption quickly collapsed to the side. The researches flinched as natural light flooded into the quiet space. Looking towards the hallway, the fellow scientists were greeted by a tall blue sheep and a glass, boxy backdrop of scurrying clouds.
The convoluted door instantaneously, yet daintily slid back into place. What was once a clear, lucid figure faded into the ghostly gleam; leaving only the shape of jewelry-laden ears, an afro, and a leather-coated figure. The dim shadow moved and took seat near the front of the chamber. As it unzipped a bag and pulled out various devices, a feminine voice pierced the uncomfortable silence:
“How’re we doing here?”
An energetic monkey swiveled around, unearthing his own tablet from an unsightly pile of paperwork, throwing a handful of forms hither and yonder. As the boy entered a passcode on the device, he began speaking as he shuffled through a seemingly infinite list of software and applications.
“The bot-guided automobiles and agents we’ve put in Liberty and Paraiba haven’t picked up much until yesterday. There was one in Liberty suburbs that we got a trail on, but if you look here”, he said pointing to a complex pattern atop a map program, “The half-life trail just sort of faded away at this point.”
The fashionable shadow raised an eyebrow.
“Did the dash-cams catch the moment it ‘faded off’?”
The other scientist pressed a button at the bottom of the screen, the tone in his voice shifting into a mood of slight disgrace.
“Err, unfortunately we didn’t quite catch it, it was far too fast for our equipment. The wisp had to travel over a hill. We even sent over a few units to block the next intersection, but it must have known. We got outsmarted by a one-foot tall alien”
The monkey’s voice trailed off into disappointment. Like watching his favorite team blow a clean pass, it was a bit sad to watch AI built with his own two hands fail at their one job.
Sped up, thermal footage looped on the tablet of a bright white trail, everything around was dull and gray, practically impossible to see. It was clear that they were picking up something, but the path just vanished, fading into the black of the footage.
The boy bit his lip, and looked down. While he expected some sort of reproach, or even a passive-aggressive jab at his machinery’s screw-up the woman reached down, turning the display off. She smiled at her colleague and rubbed his shoulders instead.
“Don’t beat yourself up, Heath. While we don’t have this specimen, we still got a lot of intel from the chase. We now know that at least some of them have intelligence at least parring that of a Mobian. These aren’t mindless creatures we’re dealing with.”
The monkey looked up.
“So, Bliss, does that-“
With a slight snicker, Heath was cut off.
“Yes, that means I’m not mad. You did what you could for now. This just means we’re going to have to be more creative in our approach now. We’ll worry about that in a bit, but for now, just stay positive. We won’t get anywhere sulking.”
“Ah yes, thank you!”
A smile returned to Heath’s face as he returned to his seat.
As Heath walked and swiveled back to his seat, Bliss dug further through her bag even more, pulling out her own tablet and a twinkling, light blue gem. The sheep cleared her throat, and the room of busybody scientists shifted attention. When all eyes were on her, Bliss typed a command on her tablet, which switched the display from the mobile device a large screen board at the front of the laboratory. She pushed her chair aside and leaned against the wall.
“Now, through my own research and expeditions, I’ve just found something big! It happened at home when a wisp flashed by and approached me from outside of my office.”
A key was pressed, and a blurry image of a shimmering, baby-blue blur expanded on the screen.
“Funny thing is, that it swirled and circled around my place for a while. The satellite at my house detected that this thing orbited around the place many times over before I could go outside and engage it. Apparently, it was there so long that the energy started to manifest as weather. The whole place had dropped about ten degrees and the windows were even iced over!”
A walrus researcher lifted his hand and spoke out.
“What do you mean by ‘manifest’, ma’am?”
Bliss smirked, “As in, this thing was so powerful, that the neutral energy that it naturally gave off from existing was enough to manipulate the temperature of the place. It wasn’t even trying to cause anything, yet it’s fallout energy was enough to alter its immediate environment.”
After expanding a satellite chart of Bliss’s property, showing a drastic temperature change in two hours, she clicked once more.
“I had observed it long enough, and I captured the thing. It’s in Spinell lab C-4R right now under Russo’s and my observation.”
The next page depicted a choppy, live video feed of a byzantine, alien creature. It was bright blue in some sort of mechanical pod. The creature itself was shaped like a choppy snow cone, but it seemed at peace. It was odd for a being in captivity to act this way, but the image showed a constant, reassuring smile popping up on the wisp’s face every ten-or-so seconds.
“Since we got the funding for this project, the C (confidential) lab that’s housing it is equipped with weather-smart devices that neutralize the wisp’s innate power. It won’t be breaking out.”
She paused for a moment and let the video play, enthusiastically spouting scientific jargon and terms that were probably only meaningful to those devoted to high science as this group. After a good fifteen minutes, Bliss concluded the presentation dealing with the wisp itself. She placed her tablet aside and revealed a bright blue, tear shaped gem from her coat-pocket.
“Now, I took all of that research and used this plus captured energy to develop this. It’s still in testing, but this gem can safely scan, absorb, and display information gathered from the wisp. With it, we can even utilize their power and harness the process through machines. Imagine a weather machine, a device that keeps,”
Her rant was cut off by a piercing ringtone, and her dedicated focus dissolved into a flurry of impatience as she dug through her purse for her phone. After an awkward exchange of eye contact between her colleagues, she finally uncovered the device.
“Sorry guys, this is a correspondent from Liberty at Doctor- “
Bliss’s voice trailed off as she read the message and the energy in her body and voice faded into a strange mixture of annoyance and gravity.
“Heath,” she said matter-of-factly, “The cars you sent as a trap, can you show me footage of that?”
Unsure of what was running through Bliss’s mind, the monkey returned up to the front of the room with his tablet. After flipping through files, the duo stared at dashcam footage through a moderately poor neighborhood. There was a bright pink flash near the side of the capture.
“Woah! There, pause there!”, the sheep exclaimed.
Heath rewound a bit and paused the video. While it was blurry, the footage depicted a teenage dog with floppy, sand colored ears and large, pink hat. After gaping for a moment, Bliss snatched the device from her monkey coworker.
“Shut up for a second I have to think!”
Bliss pulled up the energetic trail map from when the wisp was being chased. From the surrounding area and GPS position, the end of this trail and the point paused were at the same place as this boy. A lump started to form in her throat. She slowly handed the tablet back to Heath as he puzzled, trying to figure out what his boss was so worked up over.
The air was tense. The computers hummed and whirred, as if they took it upon itself to try to break the darkness and silence of the lab. Their efforts were in vain. The company, even Heath didn’t quite understand what was quite going on, but nevertheless they were still scared to the edge of their seats. Finally, she dropped her head.
“No. This is bad.”
There was one more pause. Bliss hastily packed her things once more and ran out of the laboratory. She took the elevator down that would lead into the parking garage of the facility, leaving the staff to look at each other, scratching their heads at the whole fiasco. It was quiet once more, but after a fearful minute of thought and reflection, the team eventually returned to their own work. It would be what Bliss would want them to do anyway.
Chapter III - Whispers
Perhaps it was the rhythmic tinge of a heart monitor or the drug-numbed pain of being smashed by a moving vehicle. Either way, Vihn was in a muffled, yet agonizing stupor. He slowly craned his neck and moved to the right. While his vision was blurred, he could make out a few nondescript IV bags branching together to the needle in his arm. On his left, there was a hat and his two discarded shirts. Even in a depressant-induced trance, he could tell that he may be up the creek without a paddle.
As he returned to an idle position and closed his eyes, the floodgates of that proverbial creek busted wide open. With a loud bang, a pair of swinging doors slammed against the wall with two figures approaching from this entryway. One looked like an elephant and the other, a personified snow cone.
“Here he is, ma’am.”
“What’s his status? Is he glowing? Is he conscious? Alive? In control?”
The elephant looked at this snow cone, er, ewe woman for a moment. “Sheep… Spaniel…,” he thought “dysfunctional family, I guess.”
“So, Ms. Babbage, do you know this boy?”
“Yeah, the EMS guy called me here, so I came as soon as possible.”
The doctor tilted his head a bit.
“I called his emergency contact in his phone, his parents I guess, but there was no answer. How’d you know then?”
“Uh, I was friends with the rescue guy. He’s a family friend that knew both of us.”
Did the doctor believe her? Maybe he wouldn’t question how she could be an emergency contact. To her favor, the doctor seemed to be on board, simply nodding his head and scribbling something on a clipboard. He flipped to a back page and read a few notes left from the nurses and the emergency crew that took him in. He also glanced at Vihn’s vital statistics on a small monitor nearby.
“So, the good news with this boy is that he’s awake now. He’s a bit groggy at the moment, but he’ll get over it soon. Other than that, he’s one of the luckiest car crash victims that’s been wheeled through this hospital.”
The afro’d sheep looked up.
“Hmm, what do you mean?”
“The guy driving the car must have either braked right before he hit the guy or a guardian angel flung him out the way instead, because there’s no broken bones, internal bleeding, nothing.”
“So, how long are you going to keep him?”
The elephant doctor was baffled by the woman’s lack of concern. After all, this was some kind of god-sent miracle. There’s no way this spaniel just ended up unconscious and bruised after getting slammed by an SUV. Or maybe she’s just anxious. That could always be an option.
“If everything is okay then, doctor, could I get some alone time with him? I just want to talk to him a bit once he wakes up all the way.”
“Uh, sure”, the elephant replied. There wasn’t really much else he could do in the way of treatment. Vihn’s recovery was going pretty well, after all.
“Sure, just give a heads up when you’re done.”
Bliss smiled. “Will do.”
As the doctor exited the room, the blue sheep’s friendly smile suddenly melted into a stone-cold glower. She kept her eyes on the swinging doors for a moment after his departure, and after a few seconds of silence, she approached the blond spaniel.
Bliss looked down at the boy, almost creepily for a few more minutes. He had already fallen back to sleep, so there was no recourse or awkward glance her way.
“Hmm, nothing,” the snow cone-head murmured to herself. There was no visible or immediately detectable sign of wisp energy on this child, despite what the readings from the car traps read. Searching for more clues, Bliss pulled a complex remote from an inner coat pocket and pointed the device at Vihn.
After a sharp click of a button, a sine wave tone hummed from the device and her phone vibrated in response. With cell in one hand and remote in the other, her eyes scanned a large wall of text and graphs. While the data would be complete mumbo-jumbo to most observers, Bliss’s eyes seemed to mechanically follow the important parts of the reading, as if they were programmed on a set path. If Heath was good at one thing, it was writing and explaining a brand new data-system.
Her thoughts began to unfurl.
“So the wisp energy is still in him, but there’s not really any adverse side effects. Did the wisp just kind of disappear when it hit him? Can a being of energy die from trauma? Nothing…”
Suddenly, a loud snore escaped from Vihn. Waking him up and scaring the bejesus out of the scientist lady. Bliss had jumped back out of fear, for as he exhaled, a powerful gust of wind pulsed in the air and rattled the room a bit. The sheep’s phone dinged once more, but she had dropped the device.
“W-who are you?” the spaniel groggily asked.
Bliss paused for a second to scramble for an excuse. Did it still count as privacy invasion if the trespassed one was in a public place?
“My name is Dr. Babbage, and I’m here to ask you a few questions. I can use your info to help you heal up, okay?”
Vihn slowly blinked at the snow cone lady. She assumed that was an affirmative gesture.
“So,” she inquired, “Do you know where you are right now?”
“Alright; good, good. Do you know why you’re at the doctors?”
Vihn muttered an indiscernible word-salad.
“Say that again, please.”
This didn’t answer Bliss’s question. Was he hit by a wisp or a car? She probed further.
“So, what, uh, color was the thing that hit you?”
Vihn had to take a moment to answer this.
“Green? Not really neon, but kind of darkish…”
This was all that Bliss needed to make her diagnosis. The cars her team had set up were jet black, thus impossible to mistake for any other color. With this knowledge in mind, she had to think fast. The hospital wouldn’t just let her go, but how was she going to sneak this spaniel out of here? She puzzled for a bit. As she kept thinking though, the color of Vihn’s eyes churned and changed from a placid periwinkle to a menacing, galvanic green.
Bliss gasped as she turned and saw the boy sitting up on the bed. Something was odd about his movement. It was if his body was operating at a slower framerate as the rest of the world. Either way, there was a sort of fluid strength with his movement.
The spaniel finally pulled the IV out of his arm. His blood clotted almost immediately for some reason.
“You… Stay away!” His voice was considerably lower than normal, as if he jumped several years in age.
Bliss backed up further, but the entranced dog simply stood up and approached.
“You’re the one who took Gliera and Sulomba, aren’t you?” Vihn looked down at a coat pocket where the outline of her tear-cut gem.
“Give her back, you fiend!”
The spaniel threw his hand out, as if striking with a palm, and a blast of green energy erupted from his fingertips. The blade struck Bliss, nearly missing her heart but striking the pocket where her gem was kept. She was staggered a couple of feet, and she could feel a cold surge of energy enter her body, but nothing else was harmed. Regardless, the woman was terrified, and sprinted out of the room as fast as possible.
This angered Vihn, and suddenly, there were riptides and blades of wind flying about, displacing and destroying everything that wasn’t hooked or attached to the walls. Panicking, Bliss fled to one of these walls and pulled the fire alarm, suddenly the other nurses, doctors, and patients walked from their rooms.
After they saw the angry glowing spaniel though, their brisk walk revved into dashing as soon as they looked him over. The hallway itself was long, so Bliss was able to buy time until everyone was out. Something inside of her told her she had to fight this wisp-possessed beast, but how?
Vihn eventually caught up with her before, giving her no other option though. The spaniel lifted up his hand, summoning a miniature storm at his fingertips. The trapped sheep closed her eyes and help up her hands. Was this the end?
“No!” An unfamiliar voice called out in her mind.
As the dog-boy launched the sharp cloud of gales at Bliss, the entire room suddenly became cold and hazy. There was a rush of emotion, what felt like a mix of dopamine and anger, through her system. Both Vihn and his projectiles were frozen midair. The sheep was trembling, completely in awe for a moment, but after a moment realized this was her chance to escape. Sparing no more seconds, she picked herself from the ground and ran from the room. She was almost near the door to outside freedom, but as she looked back, she noticed that the fog was fading and Vihn’s projectile had fallen to the ground and cracked.
She had stepped outside just in time, for the chilling field had just faded from reality. The possessed spaniel must have awakened too, as she saw angry currents of green energy breaking windows and ravaging through the building. The wisp inside of him probably wasn’t smart enough to try looking outside.
Bliss ran to the car lot and frantically searched her pocket for a key fob, entering her vehicle and driving away shortly after. She looked back as she exited the hospital campus to notice that part of the hospital had collapsed on itself.
Bliss sighed in relief. It was a fearful, tense, and stressed relief, but a relief nonetheless.
“That… I’ve got to stop that.” Her fear and anxiety started to form into antipathy.