Jak And Daxter Fan Fiction ❯ Strange Existence ❯ Memory Unlocked ( Chapter 8 )
Disclaimer: Jak is owned by Naughty Dog. I am not profiting from this fanfiction.
Jak5: Strange Existence
Eight: Memory Unlocked (Sunni’s POV from this point on)
It had happened very suddenly, as she’d been told it might. Something about the sight of Davril, snug in his mother’s arms, and the warmth he must be feeling had sent her reeling mentally. For a long moment, as her ears recognized the voices around her but not the words, she saw flashes in her mind’s eye that she couldn’t identify.
Then, gradually, she realized that she was seeing her own life – the parts of it she could never remember before. She wore badly sewn clothes; saw others like herself, heard words spoken in a language she could only barely translate. She understood, now, exactly why she was here. Why she had lived in the desert. Why everything – good and bad alike.
She came out of it realizing that Jak and Dax had both left already. She wondered how long she’d been standing like that, staring blankly. But she wasn’t at all surprised to find that no one else noticed her silence, with all the excitement over Davril going on.
She smiled at the boy, gave her congratulations to Ashelin and Torn, and excused herself.
Only two places were on her mind to go visit: firstly, the garage, where she’d been living for the past three years; second, to see Jerro, as she found herself liking him very much. She had only just hopped on the jetboard when it occurred to her – all of the things she hadn’t let herself see before about the other boy.
She stopped immediately, filing them through her mind. No, she’d been an idiot; she admitted it with difficulty. Everything Jerro had said, his body language, every aspect of him had had darker purposes. He was always too close to her, near her ear, an arm around her waist, a sly touch to her thigh. . .
He’d been trying to seduce her.
This meant she had an entirely new reason to visit him. She threw down the jetboard with ire this time, glad that the air pressure kept it from slamming into things no matter how hard she rode it. Now, Jerro would likely be in the machine shop where his father worked, or hanging out with his other friends in the Scarlet Café. When she didn’t see him in the café (as it was closer) she headed for the machine shop.
His father, Reynold, was working on an engine near the entrance. He waved jovially at her. “Welcome, Sunni! Jerro should be in his room.” He hooked a thumb over his shoulder. “Should I get him for you?”
“Please,” she nodded. “Meanwhile, let me take a look at that.”
Reynold laughed. “Go right ahead; I know it’s in good hands with you.” He went through a back doorway, bellowing for his son.
Sunni had taken off one of three fans and had an arm halfway buried in the engine when both men returned. She held up a finger with her unused hand for another moment, then pulled out a wrench and bolt from inside. She put them aside. “You should be able to unhook some of the frame now,” she told Reynold, wiping her hands off on a rag that only seemed to make them dirtier.
Jerro shook his head, which she might’ve mistaken for amusement yesterday. But now she could see the annoyance he tried to keep hidden. “What’s up, sweetie?”
“Sweetie” was the pet name he’d given her after he discovered her passion for sweet foods.
She got up and inclined her head towards the door. “I wanna talk for a minute, is that okay?”
“Lead on,” he said, sweeping an arm ahead of him.
She wondered what his ulterior motives were for her going ahead of him. Once outside, she didn’t bother to bat around the subject. “I think it’s time we stopped hanging out.”
He looked utterly shocked, then narrowed his eyes. “Did your father get to you? He just has it out for me, that’s all!”
“Jerro,” she interrupted, “I won’t stand for you to insult him.” She shook her head. “This is a decision I made for myself. I don’t want us hanging out anymore.”
Confusion crossed his features. “Why? I thought we were having a great time together.”
“We were,” she agreed, nodding. “But, Jerro. . . I like to think I’m not a child. And you’re a child’s toy.”
Now he was all anger. “A child’s toy?” he repeated. “What the hell is that supposed to mean? Back up – you’re not making any sense!”
“Let me put it this way,” she explained, “growing up happens in an instant, right? One moment you’re a kid, and the next you’re an adult. Well, that happened to me today. Metaphorically, I’m putting away all my old toys. And you, Jerro, are a child’s toy.”
He grit his teeth, fury evident in his eyes. “Usually, when a girl becomes a woman, she’ll fuck her boyfriend, not dump him! Where the hell is my tail, tail-girl?!”
Her eyes widened, hearing that retort. “What?” she echoed breathlessly. “Wait, you’re telling me that you were only interested in me because – because --”
“You have a tail!” he all but screamed, throwing his arms wide. “Why else would I want you?!”
The slap was reflexive.
She hadn’t meant to draw her arm back, hadn’t meant to put all the force she could into a swing, hadn’t meant to hit Jerro hard enough that he stumbled back.
“Despicable,” she whispered, unable to strengthen her voice any further. It took only a second more and she was on the jetboard, trying to make it go as fast as it could. Hours later, once she’d had a good cry in an out-of-the-way crevice she hadn’t known existed before then, she found herself hoping Reynold had heard their spat. Maybe the father could knock some sense into the son.
That thought brought up images of Jak. The one person she’d been avoiding thinking about since earlier, when all of her memories lined up and made sense for the first time. But of course, she had a very good reason for avoiding thinking about him. After all, he’d been the equivalent of a father to her, even if she hadn’t said the word aloud before. She could remember dozens of times where she had enjoyed the security of his arms, could distinctly recall the feel of his favorite shirt under her cheek, and most of all, she remembered the look in his eyes when she told him she hated him.
All of these things brought up another tear as she considered them – because she hadn’t met him with the intention of becoming his daughter.
She had come here to kill him. And it tore her up, knowing this, knowing him, knowing that she’d never be able to do it.
Times, she found, certainly had a habit of misinterpreting things, degrading facts and implementing theories. The first story she’d ever heard of Jak had been that he was the tyrant ruler of Haven City, whom she now knew was the deceased Baron Praxxas. Stories of his exploits included attempts to destroy the rogue Spargus City, destruction of several sacred temples, and the absolute fear everyone else had lived in.
But then, a thousand years was a long time for history to degrade. When most of it was hearsay, it was no surprise that facts became blurred.
Yet there was no other choice that she could see. One millennia from now, Jak and Keira’s descendant – Deise, the known world’s crowned Emperor – was untouchable. The nobles adored him for his wealth and corruption, the army under him follow him blindly, and all the renegades were far too weak to ever reach him. But a man like Deise simply had to be slain; he would never give up his throne.
His bloodline, weak though it was, allowed him to absorb Dark Eco and harness its power. In combat, no one was his equal, because no one else could even find Eco, let alone use it. He used his power like a spiked whip, inflicting multiple wounds to anyone who disobeyed. A mere twenty years on the throne, and he had nearly accomplished what his father could not: utter destruction of every rebel on the planet.
Which is why she’d been chosen to go back in time, to kill the only person in history they “knew” as an Overlord. She had been sent back to stop the terrifying lineage before it could begin.
She had to tell him.
It was like throwing salt on an open wound, knowing that she had to tell him. . .because there was no other way.
- - - - -
She felt smaller than ever before, sitting with her tail curled around her ankles, head buried in her arms.
She found Jak in the somewhat-retired Command Center she’d visited many times in the past. It had taken almost three months for her to gain enough courage to tell him what she knew, and once started, the flow of words had taken over. Somehow she avoided crying, once she reached the part where she told him she’d been sent to assassinate him.
She supposed it was luck alone that she had found Jak alone here, which is why she’d been so shocked to find she’d completely overlooked Daxter. Both of them now wore disbelieving expressions, seemingly unable to look away from the ball she’d turned herself into, sitting across from Jak, the table between them.
“Assassin?” Jak said at last, once her tale was over.
She nodded meekly, not trusting herself to speak again just yet.
Though Daxter had been standing on the table through most of the story, he eventually fell on his rear in stun. His jaw worked now, trying to form words.
“But you were just a kid,” Jak went on. “You were – what, eight?”
“Nine,” she corrected quietly. “I’ll be sixteen in another four months.”
“Why would they send a kid?” Daxter finally voiced.
Sunni shook her head. “They figured I would be pitied, and then I would adapt. My. . .mother seemed to have faith that I could do this.” She didn’t bother to explain why she had difficulty using the word ‘mother’ when she wasn’t talking about Keira.
Jak propped his elbows on the table, clasped his hands, and rested his chin in the makeshift cradle. After a moment, he shut his eyes, which she supposed meant he was thinking deeply. She bit her lip, unwilling to distract him.
Daxter glanced over at his longtime friend, frowning – something she didn’t see often on the Ottsel’s face. But he only looked at Jak for an instant before turning back to Sunni, saying, “Then, do you have any idea what you are?”
She raised her brows, surprise overriding any fears she might be fighting back. “That’s insulting,” she commented, wondering if Daxter simply couldn’t say things nicely. “Yes, I know what I am.”
“You didn’t bring that up,” Dax countered.
She narrowed her eyes. “I didn’t think it mattered.”
“We’re still curious, that’s all,” Jak piped up, defending his friend before he could get into trouble.
She shook her head again. “I’m. . .a genetic manipulation,” she tried, lacking the full knowledge of how to explain it. After all, she’d only been told so much, and memories faded quickly for children. “And it’s not just me; most of the rebels are, too.”
“Genetic manipulation,” Jak echoed quietly, not in question.
Dax gave a whistle. “Does that mean you’re like. . .a mixed breed?”
She nodded. “Uh-huh. I think it was five hundred years ago – years from now – and. . .insanity, I think, was on the rise. Scientists and stuff found out everyone’s DNA was too close together, so there wasn’t enough variation. And the only other intelligent life on the planet was Ottsels, so. . .”
She let the sentence trail off, knowing she wouldn’t have to finish for them to understand.
“So they, what?” Jak asked. “Pulled a few strands of DNA from humans and Ottsels, then mixed them together?”
“Meticulously,” she answered, “but yeah. They were very careful to create as many totally unique DNA codes as they could. Then came in selected breeding, more gene therapy, et cetera. . . And now we have people like me.”
“Are they all like you?” Dax threw in. “I mean, exactly?”
“Oh, no,” she began. “Actually – we’ve been calling ourselves Otts, by the way – it’s like fingerprints with us. We can be very alike, but none of us are carbon copies or clones or anything.” She shrugged. “From what I can remember, very few of us have this kind of nose,” she said, tapping her small, rounded Ottsel nose.
“And. . .the tail?” Jak went on.
She shrugged. “Hardly any of us don’t have a tail. Everything else is kind of fifty-fifty.”
“So it’s common, a thousand years from now?” Dax asked.
“What, Otts? Yeah, like two-thirds of the population are us. You could say we’re thriving.”
“Then why is there a war?” Jak interrupted sharply. “If all the rebels are Otts and you outnumber the humans two-to-one --”
“Did I ever say that all Otts are rebels?” she snapped. “There’s plenty of us on Deise’s side. We don’t have any advantages – if anything, the numbers are even. We’re starved, we’re tired, we’re scrounging to survive, we don’t have weapons to fight back with – we’re on the losing side!”
“You had the technology to be sent back in time!” Jak argued.
“Once!” she shot back. “We only had enough power to do it once, for someone small, easy to move! They sent me back without any intention of me ever returning!” She was standing now, hands planted on the table. Odd, new feelings were creeping through her mind and down her back, as though something was getting ready to tear her open and burst through. She didn’t understand it, and neither did she have any idea how to react to it.
She chose to chock it up to swaying emotions, blaming it on her crazed hormones.
After a moment of silence, Jak got to his feet as well. He said, quietly, “Don’t worry yourself, Sunni. Leave it up to me.”
“Us,” Dax correctly, puffing out his chest in pride. “We can solve this.”
Her heart sank despite the reassurances. “Don’t tell anyone else,” she murmured. “I don’t want them knowing.”
Jak shook his head, then tilted a smirk at her. “Only if you agree to stop seeing that boy.”
“Jerro?” she asked, looking up in surprise. “I broke it off with him months ago.”
Now it was Jak’s turn to look surprised. “Months ago? Why?”
She couldn’t help her smile. “Because my father was right about him.”
For one lengthy moment, silence reigned. Then Jak smiled wide. “Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting for you say that?”
“What, ‘father’?” she asked.
He shook his head. “That I’m right.” Shrugging a shoulder, he added, “I always knew who I am to you.”
She couldn’t stop herself then, not even if she’d wanted to. With a joyous hop, she cleared the table, and then she was hugging him, a grin on her face. She felt him ruffle her hair, coercing a giggle from her at his playfulness.
She knew now, even if she didn’t before, how foolish she’d been. How could she ever have agreed to kill a man she only knew rumors about? How would she ever hate him for looking out for her? Why had she been so reluctant to call him her father, when he clearly was?
She decided, then, to set history straight. She didn’t know how she would do it, but she would change the future for the better – and make sure the history books knew who Jak really was.
With a glance over at Daxter, appraising them both with a raised brow, she added silently, “And Daxter.”