• Celica was dreaming vaguely about characters from a TV show she used to watch when Peter's voice punctured the dream, causing the contents to leak into her deep subconscious, never to be purposely remembered again.

    "Hey." Celica said groggily, a dull ache in her leg. The sunlight pouring in through the windows of her small hospital room implied that she had slept through the night. "What time is it?" She asked, Peter's figure still not in total focus.

    "It's almost noon." Peter said, sounding almost apologetic. "Are you still aching?" His voice grew clearer as he spoke, as did her surroundings. "You were screaming so loud last night, I was really scared."

    "Just a little bit. I can still go with you." Celica said confidently, sitting up, ready for action. A dull throbbing struck her temple, and she winced slightly, but hid it quickly. The last thing she needed was more bed rest, and Peter seemed like the kind of person who would make her lay there forever. "I promise, no more emergency stops." She added with a wink.

    "You're already thinking of leaving? The doctor said you'd be immobile for days, considering the strength of the poison." He seemed a bit skeptical.

    "Of course! You know me, I just hop right back up!" She sounded a bit too cheerful, and it made her uneasy.

    "To be honest, you're still a total mystery to me." Peter said with a chuckle. "But if you're ready, I suppose we can have you signed out."

    Peter called a nurse over and they arranged to have her released. A few minutes and a few pages of paperwork later, Celica and Peter exited the hospital, and Peter lead them South, using the map as a reference.

    As promised, they left the city and continued a few miles on the gravel path with no injuries or emergencies from Celica. They came a little farther away from the mountains this time, but the hulking mounds of earth were still clearly visible above the treetops as they trekked. It was mostly silent as they walked, but not out of awkwardness. It was becoming more bumpy and hilly as they went, and they were both out of breath, a condition which declared only the most important topics of conversation worth mentioning.

    After a few hours of hiking, Celica decided that she had thought of something worthy of the little breath she could control. "Why did you and Amos live together?"

    "Huh?" Peter said, hiking steeply upwards a few feet ahead of her. "Oh." He grunted, as he registered what she had said. "He's supports the Unknown, and he agreed to house me and another kid like me. He was arrested, though. We don't know if he's still alive."

    "I'm sorry to hear that." Celica said between pants, "Have you heard of him since?"

    "Here, let's sit." Peter replied after a deep sigh, which was difficult because of his small lung capacity. He pointed to a flat rock, which he sat on, and signaled for Celica to follow.

    Peter looked thoughtful, not looking at Celica as he spoke. "His name was Adrian, and he was about my age. I don't remember much of him, we only knew each other for a few weeks. A mere 35 days after we had been hidden away with Amos, the police came and took Adrian away. As we had agreed, Amos was to claim that he had not known that Adrian was in his house, and that he must have snuck in."

    At Celica's inquiring look, he elaborated. "No, not the POCC, just the regular police force. The Unknown weren't hunted as strictly back then. It was before the Harrison incident. That was one of the worst Unknown outbursts ever recorded. Two twin boys, Nathan and Cole Harrison, lost control while at school. The whole school burned down, no one escaped, except for the Harrison boys themselves. It looked like they had done it on purpose, so they were both sentenced to death. They were both age 7."

    Celica felt sick. An entire school filled with children, burned to the ground. "What did you and Amos do after that?" Celica asked quietly, nausea still tickling her esophagus and stomach.

    "Well, we stayed just as we were for a year or two. About that time, the POCC was declared a branch of the police department and was told to exterminate the Unknown. That was when you showed up."

    They both sat in silence for a few minutes, listening to the birds singing and the rustle of wind in the trees. Celica took a deep inhale, which she noted was much sweeter than the air on Earth, and then decided it was a good time to speak. "We're losing sunlight, we should start moving."

    In silent agreement, Peter stood up slowly and picked up his bag. He led the way back onto the trail, which was still fairly steep. They walked for another few hours until the sun was setting.

    They set up camp just as the last rays of sunlight were sealed below the horizon, allowing the stars to emerge from their hiding places, illuminating the black sky with serene brilliance. Everything seemed to be better in Terra. Excluding encounters with the police and the POCC, she was very much enjoying herself.

    "What did I say about being careful about that poison." Peter said, in a tone that clearly resounded "I told you so."

    "You're still going to go on about that?" Celica asked, exasperated, although the ache in her leg had been worsened by the day's strenuous hike. "I'm fine, whoever tried to kill me didn't succeed."

    "They got damn near," Peter grumbled, not yet accepting defeat.

    "But they didn't. I'm walking, talking, just like I always have. Forget it. It's in the past." Peter spread out his sleeping bag, and they both laid down.

    It was now quite dark, and all light was nonexistent, the only exceptions being the reach of the fire, and the bright sky above.

    "There's no moon." Celica said, shocked, as she scanned the sky, searching for some sign of a heavenly body.

    "You're right. That's one thing I enjoyed about visiting Earth. Terra doesn't have one." Peter said, a bit contemptuously, also looking up at the sky.

    "Yeah," Celica said dreamily, and rolled onto her side to look at him. "What were you doing on Earth, anyway?"

    "Well, Amos sends me to do all sorts of odd jobs." Peter said quickly. Celica was a bit skeptical.

    "Odd jobs? Okay, give me an example. What were you doing the night I chased after you?"

    "Nothing major, just talking to a friend of Amos's, transferring information, that kind of thing."

    "Oh. Well I think I'm going to go to sleep." Celica said, feeling the weights of exhaustion tugging on her limbs and eyelids. "It's been a long day."

    "I agree. You probably need the rest now more than ever. Being poisoned and then hiking for six hours is pretty demanding on one's body." He laughed, and Celica joined in for a few seconds before rolling over, her back to Peter, and closed her eyes.