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An Outlaw Star story
by DB Sommer

Any and all C+C is appreciated. You can contact me at sommer@3rdm.net.

Disclaimer: Outlaw Star © Morning Star - Sunrise/Shueisha - Sotsu Agency. English Adaptation © Bandai Entertainment

Time to see how an OS fic will do. Major spoilers for the series since this takes place after it.

As I snip another tiny, delicate branch off the bonsai tree that sits in front of me, I ponder something I overheard today. I had just finished shopping, and was heading back to the warehouse that's my home, when I overheard a couple talking. They were two lovers, judging by the way they stood so close, yet so comfortably together. They were just talking to one another in idle conversation, and I caught a snippet of it as they passed by. It was the woman who spoke, telling the man that it was said that to truly love another is to be a part of something greater than just yourself. Somehow, those words rang true to me.

That is probably why I fear love so much.

I, perhaps more than anyone else in the entire universe, know what it means to be part of something much greater than myself. Much greater than just about anything that existed in the galaxy. I was a part of the much talked about 'treasure' that composed an object… device… whatever one would call the technology left behind by an ancient alien race, a part of the thing that was known by the more common name of the 'Galactic Leyline.' It was not by accident that I was connected to it. On the contrary, it was in a quest for this precious treasure that I was created not in a womb of flesh and blood, but in the depths of a sterile chamber of glass and metal that was filled with wires and fluid. I was to be the tool that would enable my creators to track down that elusive myth. They outdid themselves when they created me. I was multi-functional: I could walk, talk, linkup with a ship, map, and eventually bond with the Galactic Leyline in an effort to locate and access the power that resided within its mysterious confines. I was a very valuable item in my unique versatility. Some people claim they feel like they're treated like tools, but in my case, it was the basis of reality for my existence.

But I am a tool no longer, the Leyline has been shut down and departed, its purpose having been fulfilled, the half of me that was a component of the Leyline traveling with it. For other people, losing half of what they were might have been tragic, even crippling. For myself, I can think of no greater relief that to have that burden removed from me.

I pull back several of the tiny leaves from one of the branches of the bonsai. I make a small cut that would be unnoticeable save to one who had examined it for as long as I have. It might be tiny, but it is necessary, for it is one more piece in the shape it must take.

The hard reality of the matter is that my true awakening was not at Gene's (or perhaps more appropriately Hilda's) hands, nor even those of my creators, Gwen Kahn and Thomas Rue among them. It occurred when that other piece of 'myself' departed from my form. Oh, Gene and the others; caring Jim, vibrant Aisha, composed Suzuka, even Harry, poor, sweet, insane Harry, helped redefine me from what Gwen Kahn and the others wanted me to be. It was because of them that I became more than a mere tool keyed to a specific function, that of the 'Maiden of the Leyline.' I questioned my existence. I discovered I could do more than what they had planned for me. I learned what it meant to be happy, frightened, loved, and to be in love. I grew, often in leaps and bounds at times.

The adventures my friends and I went through were intense trials that few could say they had experienced -let alone survived- in their lives. It was made all the more remarkable in the short amount of time they took place. It was not all rushed. There were slow moments, quiet moments, tired moments, but overall we traveled through the great river of live at a breakneck pace, swimming against the current as much as with it. Every experience I went through, or even saw the others go through, helped change me from what I was at my creators' hands to what I became as part of the 'Outlaw Star' and its crew in our quest for the greatest treasure in the galaxy. It was an awakening of sorts, but not my true one.

What had those experiences help me change into? I look back and am uncertain of exactly what that was.

Sometimes I question if what had left with the Leyline could ever have really been considered a part of me. Yes, it had been with me since I was born. It was why I was created: Melfina the Construct. We were one from the moment of conception, although there were times when I felt it was more apart from me than a part of me. It made me do things I did not want to, did not understand. It was more instinctual than conscious thought, but it was real. It made me more than I was, while at the same time limiting what I could become. Did it hinder or did it help? Even now I'm unsure of what the true answer is, though I know which state I am happier in.

There are some that believe there is no greater hell than being alone, but from personal experience, I don't believe that always having someone there is any better.

However, I am now free of those limitations put on me by my other half, though it is true that I can no longer expand in certain ways when it was an integral part of me. Regardless, I am better off on my own. The ways I have grown are much more satisfying than what I could have become when it was a part of me. At least, when I compare the two, that is what I feel now. We were so different, it was a miracle we could have been bonded at all, let alone functioned as one whole. But somehow we did, and like a child born in a prison, I did not know what I was missing until I experienced freedom, true freedom, for the first time. In those first few days when the doors to my cell were thrown open and I discovered what life was like without my other half, it felt like a new world presented before me. Oh, there were things that had been present before that were absent after separation, a song playing in the back of my mind, a grasp of some of the infinitude that composes the universe, the ability to navigate cyber-space without feeling the emptiness and unreality of it all, but I discovered that I did not miss them, at least not for long. The things that were gone were irrelevant or so insignificant as to be barely noticed in the new awareness I now possessed. I was set free, truly free, for the first time in my life. I would never accept that distant part of back again. Never.

I break off that line of thought as I return my attention to the bonsai tree in front of me. It's a hobby that I've picked up since my return from the Galactic Leyline. I took to it automatically. It's the first, and only hobby, I've had. I'll spend hours looking at the trees, alone and in silence. There is an unrivaled peacefulness in pruning the tiny branches, peeling them away to reveal the forms that are hidden within. My friends think it's boring and can't understand why I would spend so much time with inanimate objects when I could be doing other, more exciting things. Gene is the most critical of all, stating that 'watching tress grow' is no different from watching the grass grow, and there's a reason why everyone uses that in clichés about boredom. Only Suzuka has any appreciation for the art, though she claims she lacks the patience for practicing it. She was the first to receive a tree from me, one that I judged worthy and suitable for a person of her unflappable disposition. All of my friends have received theirs in turn, all save Gene. Like the man himself, his is the most intricate and particular to shape.

I adjust the light as I ponder the tree that sits before me. It's finally getting close to what I want it to look like. No, what it needs to look lie Coaxing the shape from it is proving problematic. I know what form I want it to take, I knew it from the moment I first laid eyes upon it among its siblings in Oshikan's greenhouse nursery three months ago. It was one of the first trees I purchased, and certainly it has been the most difficult to shape. The image I saw within proves elusive at times. I have spent hours on end staring at the plant, unable to prune even a single twig for fear of cutting it wrongly and forever losing its ability to take on the image I see of it in my mind. The worst part is, as much as I want it to be exact, the image that means so much to me proves difficult to picture far too often. It leaves me, or is out of focus, and I dare not try shaping during those times. It can be that way for days, and just when I give up hope of it ever returning, it's suddenly as clear as day. It's during those times that I work on it, sculpting as much as I can with its evasive design. But when it leaves me, I show patience and wait. The tree must match the image exactly. There is no margin of error. Not with this one.

As I wait for the image to tell me what to cut next, I begin pondering questions that continue to plague me. Sometimes I wonder if the Leyline Melfina felt the same way about me as I did with her. Does she now view me as limiting what she could have been without me? Did I staunch her growth as much as she did mine, or was I the one that carried all the good parts of us? Was every change that happened to us as we traveled alongside Gene and the others the result of my handiwork? Is she on the far side of the galaxy, cursing my existence for her stagnation, or has she reached a level of enlightenment that I could never hope to attain? Most of the time I hope it's the latter, but during dark times when I'm feeling low, it's the former. I wish I wasn't so petty -I never was when we were one- but I am now. It's one of the few drawbacks I've discovered after my second awakening. But I can live with it.

I'll admit, during moments of weakness, when things look dark and helplessness seizes my heart, I sometimes wish I was still the same Melfina that emerged naked from a suitcase at Hilda's command. I tell myself that if I had remained so, I would never have made the mistakes that led me to the depression that I would be suffering from at that instant. It would have been so much safer and simpler the way I was in the beginning. But those moments of weakness pass and I am once again grateful for my solitude. Always.

I have grown in ways no one could have imagined, myself most of all.

Another branch falls. It's close now. Very close.

I still remember the first time I swore. It was at the dinner table, and I had foolishly dared to sample one of Aisha's outrageous dishes. One bite of the near toxic substance, and the curse slipped out. Yes, it was rude of me, but simply put, human anatomy, even one created like mine, is not fit to consume Ctarl-Ctarl cuisine. I remember the looks everyone gave me when they realized it was me, and not Gene, that had uttered the curse. Despite the difference in their faces (which are as different as possible), each look 'said' the same thing: "Melfina doesn't swear." It was true and not true. Old Melfina did not swear, but the new Melfina that was quickly evolving from what was leftover from the old, did, at least when the situation demanded it, or when she simply lost her cool. Not as bad as Gene, perhaps, but the old Melfina's tongue had been exchanged in favor of the sometimes more colorful language of the new.

Gene was the first to laugh and slap me on the back, stating he could not have put it better, then excused himself from the table. I think even then he began to suspect what was happening, but he did nothing to hamper my continued development. The others did, though they did not realize it. Many times I did not realize it either, save in hindsight. It was done out of concern for the changes I was undergoing, changes that would have been unnatural for someone that was created differently from me. From someone that had been one at birth instead of two.

The attempts by everyone but Gene to staunch my growth were subtle. I doubt they were even aware of what they were doing, and would have protested fiercely if confronted with the fact. However, it was the truth. When I wanted to do something they were suspect of, like getting the butterfly tattoo on the back of my shoulder, they would say, "Are you sure you want to do this?" or, "This isn't like you at all." And they were both right and wrong. It had not been like the old me, and sometimes it turned out that it would not be like the new me either.

There were mistakes I made in my continued development, things I tried but did not prove quite as enjoyable as I thought they would before actually engaging in the activity. I purchased some rather expensive body paints and delved into the new fad of 'Spectrum Dancing,' where wild dances occurred in clubs where special lights would react with the body paint and produces holographic images that were far more removed from reality than even cyber-space was. I did not enjoy it in the least. It was too wild and untamed, and the images hurt my mind. There were other too, such as rocket boarding, which proved to be about as enjoyable as one would envision skidding across concrete on their stomach at sixty miles an hour would be. But I needed to make mistakes, for that is the only way I could discover what my limitations are. Something I am learning now more than ever before.

After a while, it seemed my friends began to get the message. As I said, Gene understood from the beginning, or perhaps with his own sometimes outrageous behavior (which has not changed, in spite of all we had undergone), he felt it hypocritical to criticize someone else for their behavior. Aisha simply wrote it off as yet another thing about humans she didn't understand. Suzuka, well, who really knows what goes on in the mind of someone that can remain so calm under almost circumstances? But eventually she stopped questioning as well. Perhaps she even discovered the truth. It's hard to say, and I'm not one to concern herself with guessing, just so long as the results are acceptable.

I clip the tip of another branch. Three cuts in a half hour. I'm nearly there.

Jim, sweet Jim, was perhaps the one most affected by my changes (besides myself), and the one who understood them the least. It was small surprise, since he is so young, though it seems he grows bigger by the day with his latest growth spurt. He tried the hardest to make me fit back in the mold he had grown accustomed to. But once I had evolved beyond what I had been, I would never go back in it, could not go back even if I wanted to. It just wasn't possible. That's the way life is. But Jim, for all of his maturity for one his age, was still too young to possibly understand. Change has to be experienced firsthand to truly be understood.

As was inevitable, the problem with Jim reached a breaking point. There was an incident several months after my separation. I had come back very late from bar hopping (another mistake I do not intend to repeat. It's beyond me how Gene can do it almost every night), and had just staggered into the warehouse, and was surprised to discover Jim had waited up for me. The glare he gave me was one that he had unleashed upon Gene on a hundred different occasions since I have known them, but for the first time, I found it directed at myself, and shifted uncomfortably under the weight of the glare.

He said, and there was no mistaking the accusation in his voice, "Where have you been?"

Of course, the redness of my face and the smell of alcohol and smoke (a habit I have not even considered indulging in) from the bar that clung to me told the story. In my inebriated state, I decided to engage in 'drunken humor,' something no drunk should attempt to do since a person's ability to engage in actual humor becomes less with the increasing amount of alcohol that flows in their system. I said, no doubt slurring most of the words, "I went out drinking and whoring, just like Gene. Next time you can come along." What came next from me was a series of drunken snickers at the very idea of uptight Jim ever getting drunk, though I excluded thoughts about the fornicating since the truth was I had only been out drinking.

My joke had the exact opposite effect of what I intended. Luckily, I recovered enough of my senses to see Jim was not laughing along. Focusing my attention (a surprisingly high degree, given the amount of alcohol I had in me) I realized there were tears in his eyes. He gave a cry of "I hate you!" in the way that only children his age can muster, and rushed out of the room.

I was momentarily stunned by the reaction. I decided to follow to see if I could cheer him up and discover what I had done that had been bothering him so much. I entered his room only to seem him on his knees, crying into his bedsheets. The instant he became aware of my presence, he shouted to me to get out. I, of course, did not obey the order, which prompted him to rush at me, pounding his fists into my stomach. Despite his emotionally charged state, his small size meant the blows were little more than symbolic, and were uncomfortable, but not debilitating. Still, in time they would be if I did not do something.

I grabbed his wrists and used some leverage from a move Gene taught me. It was a move solely for defense, and not intended to hurt the recipient at all. I made certain to angle the shove so that Jim landed on his bed. Rather than returning to his feet and attacking again, he remained facedown on the mattress. He shouted a muffled "Just get out!" through his bedspread.

The old Melfina probably would have obeyed this second request and left the room, crying in confusion at what she had done wrong. However, the me of the present, in conjunction with my alcoholic courage, decided to remain and resolve this matter, rather than allow the illusion of this incident to pass and assume that there would be no consequences from it. Pretending it had blown over would have only hidden it beneath the surface, allowing it to roil and fester like an infection underneath the skin rather than lancing it and allowing it to dry out in the air of truth.

I sat down on the bed next to him and asked him in a soft, and admittedly confused voice, "What's wrong? What did I do to upset you so much? Tell me, and I'll set it right. I promise you."

The answer was, thankfully, straightforward in that way that only children, who have not learned the art of hiding what truly bothers them, can give. "I hate the way you've changed since we got back from the Galactic Leyline. I wish we had never gone there, and then you'd be normal."

The vehemence in his voice surprised me almost as much as the answer itself. My first instinct was to blurt out that I had not changed. Quick on the heels of that was the urge to laugh at the absurdity of my first instinct. Not changed? I had prided myself on all of the changes I had undergone. But it wasn't until Jim said it aloud that I took a step back and looked at myself to see what had happened to me in the last few months.

Not changed? Nearly everything had changed. My style of dress. My outlook on life. What I spent my money on. Even my laugh had changed. It had gone from a soft, demure feminine giggle to a hard, almost biting, snicker. How much of it was natural, and how much was in rebellion to the former image of what I once was? I was disturbed to discover how much of it was the latter, rather than the former.

I held Jim's head to my bosom. Much to my relief, he did not resist. Soft sobs escaped from him as I held him in a gentle embrace. "Oh, Jim. You're right. I have changed a lot. Maybe even too much, but that's what happens to people as they get older."

"But not like you have. Not everything all at once," he protested.

"But most people don't have half of their identity leave them either." I rocked him gently in my embrace. "I see the world through different eyes now. Some things have remained the same, but so many others haven't. Many of the changes are small. I still like chocolate, but I prefer it richer and darker than before. Some of the changes are bigger. I really don't like the softer, lonely music I used to listen to. I get depressed when I hear it. Now I prefer music that has an upbeat tempo."

"Not that noise Gene listens to?" Jim said, completely aghast at the idea. I have to admit, I was equally appalled.

"Definitely not! I dislike it as much as before. That's something that's remained exactly the same. But many other things haven't. Did you know blue's not my favorite color anymore? It's red now. I hadn't even realized it until I looked in my wardrobe one day and realized over half the clothes I bought since we got back were red, and I liked it that way. There was hardly a blue one in sight. Do you think I wanted that to change? I didn't. Change for me, after what happened at the Leyline, was inevitable. I hope you can understand that. I have no more choice in remaining as I was than you would in trying to stop growing.

"If you care about me, and I know you do, you have to accept the fact that I won't be, can't be, the same person I was when we first met; I've gone through too much. Do you think you can do that? It would mean a lot to me, more than I know how to say. Please, for me?"

Jim looked away from me, and stared down at the bedsheets, his eyes avoiding mine. "Red is a nice color," he finally said.

It took a moment to understand what he had meant. There was no force in the universe, not even Hazanko himself, that could have prevented the smile that found its way across my lips.

I held him again with even more affection than before. His acceptance meant more than I had realized when I asked it of him. "One thing that hasn't changed are my feelings for you."

I felt him shift slightly in my embrace, resisting the urge to hug me back, since boys at his age still have difficulty in thinking of girls as women instead of just another person. But he gave up the fight and hugged me back.

Perhaps that was an unspoken part of his fears, that with my other more obvious changes, I had changed my feelings concerning him as well, and he was afraid of losing me. I feel flattered that he cares about me so much. Being cared for is a wonderful feeling. Even the old me realized that. Another thing about me that has not changed, that simple and basic truth; it's always good to be loved.

What I had told Jim was true, as I looked more closely at my feelings now and compared them to what they were before. I felt the same way about him as when I was the old Melfina. It was that mix of affection one would feel with a cross between a younger brother and that of a child of their own. In a way, I think I felt as reassured as Jim by that realization. I also made a note to cancel my hair appointment the day after that. I had intended to get extensions added to my hair, to give it a more wild and untamed look, like Aisha's has when she allows to flow unbound. However, just because Jim had accepted the idea that I needed to change, didn't mean I should continue doing these more outwardly dramatic ones. In hindsight, it was for the best, since I must have been crazy to think I'd look good with a wild mane like that.

However, as reassuring as it was to know that my feelings for Jim had remained untouched after my metamorphosis, the same could not be said in regards to others.

I make one more cut to the tree, and then it happens. All at once, it matches the image in my mind. Perfection. Every tiny branch, every miniature leaf, absolute perfection. It will not last. The tree will grow, and the image will be lost, but that is part of the nature of the bonsai. Like myself, it changes its form, though it only happens on the outside, where a person's happens within. Still, there is an unmistakable symmetry there. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to the bonsai, seeing a reflection of myself in the miniature trees. And now, the representation is perfect. I bask in the sight before me as imagination and reality have coincided into one. It is temporary, but it is there, even if I am the only one to see it.

I pick it up by its pot, taking a moment to admire it once more. I can feel a tear start to come to my eye as I realize the job is now complete and all my efforts, long patient hours over the months, have been worth it. It is time to give this gift to whom it was always intended for.

Gene Starwind. A name I once held above all others, even my own. A man who dared all to save my life, my very soul. Oh, he helped save the galaxy and our friends from the terror of the Leyline-empowered Hazanko, but I was the one that was foremost in his mind, even as he was the one foremost in mine. Both parts of me felt that. I can recall all the times we shared beforehand. How he had saved the life of a complete stranger who was an enigma, even to herself. How he went out of his way to help me get on my feet, to protect me from harm, even at the risk of his and Jim's life. His quiet resistance to the growing attraction he felt for me, who was innocent to the ways of… well, of everything. He was the polar opposite of me. Wild and reckless, basking in life and knowing what he wanted out of it. Hedonistic to the extreme and not ashamed to admit it. Jaded on life, of everything. But the barriers that he placed between the two of us came down over time, and so did the few that I created as I asked the question, "Is this feeling I have for Gene love?" and discovering it to be true.

And then came the separation.

As final as it was with the Leyline part of me, so too was it with Gene. We were lovers afterwards, as though there could have been any other outcome after what we had shared at the Leyline. I will not deny that my first experiences were wonderful, thanks to Gene. He was gentle with me, and slowly introduced me to what it meant to be a woman with a man. However, the pleasures of the flesh also served to drown out the little voices in my head. As the weeks progressed, I began to question what I had known before separation to what I knew now. In time, the pleasures I shared with Gene could not silence those voices that grew ever louder in my mind. I was forced to confront the questions they asked. Denial worked for a while, but then I discovered (much to my relief and sorrow) that I am not very good at that art, like I am in the bonsai. In time, I eventually forced myself to accept the truth.

I was no longer in love with Gene. The new me had never been in love with him.

It was more difficult than perhaps anything in my life, even worse than fighting in the unique reality of the Leyline, to acknowledge that simple truth. Oh, I still cared for him, would still give my life for him without hesitation a thousand times over, but what I feel now is the same caring as I would a friend. A close one, one I would feel comfortable sharing anything with, even my body, but it was definitely not a romantic sort of love. Not anymore.

It was nothing Gene did, he was not the one that had changed. It was me. The part of me that was the Leyline was what had fallen in love with Gene. His wry smile. His lewd sense of humor. His direct approach to everything. Anything about him. Everything about him. But I did not feel the same way, not quite. I have found him, at times, exasperating beyond belief, and unfortunately the good points did not always outweigh the bad. There are so many things he does that drive me to distraction. He drinks too much. He takes too many chances. He spends too much money and has no overall outlook for life. His idea of planning ahead is to think about what to do next week. And his eyes stray so far when a good-looking woman goes past that I'm surprised they don't fall out of his head.

All of these things add up, and they take their toll. I've tried to think about how to make it work, to perhaps overlook these characteristics (I resist the powerful urge to call them flaws) in light of what we have gone through for each other. I've tried, the Lord above knows I have tried, which is why it has dragged on for the last couple of months, but I cannot do it any longer. All that facets that make Gene Starwind the unique individual that he is, all the good attributes as well as the foibles, are too much for me to live a lifetime with, at least as a romantic partner.

Nor do I believe for one second he is interested in settling down. There is still a whole galaxy out there to experience, and he wishes to swim through its ethereal currents and allow them to take him to places and adventures far away. That is the way he is, the way he has always been since long before I ever met him. Even if I thought I had the ability to change him, I would not try it; I respect him far too much for that. He has as much right to be what he is as I do, and since the Leyline, I am far more sensitive to that right than anyone I know.

As I walk up the stairs to his room in the warehouse we share, the bonsai in hand, I know it's time to inform Gene of my decision. I still want us to work together. I still want to be friends (though even I have learned by now that that is the most cliché request a woman can give a man when breaking up with him), but I will respect his decision no matter what he chooses. Although, to be honest, I think he already knows.

There has been a respectful distance between us, and Gene, as coarse and as dense as he can be, sometimes is more perceptive than anyone I know. We have not had sex, have not even been out together alone, for three weeks now, and we had grown distant before then. He has made no attempts to hide the ways in which he has been entertaining himself since then (ways that I most assuredly do not approve of), and is aware that I know of it, and has not acted puzzled in the least at my lack of reaction. Perhaps it was a test to see how I would react to his carousing and philandering, to see how strongly I might wish to salvage our relationship. Four nights ago he went out of his way to tell me he was going to party long and hard and might not be back until the next day. It was not intended as an invitation; merely as a statement of what he was going to do. I looked up from the tree I was working on (in truth it was more like looking at the one in my hands that had been vexing me for so long) and smiled at him, telling him to enjoy himself, but not too hard. For just one instant, there was a sadness in his eyes, but it was one mixed with a sort of expectation, perhaps even acceptance, but it passed in a heartbeat. Perhaps I imagined it, but I don't think so.

He ruffled my hair and told me not stay sitting too long, lest I take root just like the trees I was working on. I actually laughed at that, for it did strike me as amusing, and told him once again to have a good night. I thought about the situation for all of five minutes before returning to work on my tree. It was sad, in a way, to know so quickly and confidently that I had made the right choice in allowing him, someone that had once meant everything to me, to go without a word of protest, with encouragement, to be more accurate. However, it is for the best. Neither of us is ready for a commitment, and the relationship could not continue as it had been. It was time for a decision on what course to navigate next, and I believe I have made the right choice for both of us. I am not ready to truly love someone.

Unlike the rest of humanity, I have no desire to be a part of something greater ever again.


Author's notes: Ah, my first (and probably only) Outlaw Star fic. Just some thoughts on what the long term repercussions of Melfina's experiences at the Galactic Leyline might have been. It's been a while since I saw the end, so my memory was a bit hazy, and that might have affected things. Still, I thought it a possibility. Admittedly it's a downer bit of a story, but that was the intention. Not quite angsty in my opinion. Just sort of sullen and perhaps a touch on the sad side, but I think most self-revelations pieces tend to be. But other's reactions could very well be different.

No prereaders this time out either. Haven't done a first person narrative in a while. This one proved a bitch to come out, despite its small size. Idea of the bonsai tree representing Melfina came to me after starting it, and I'm not sure of the pacing on where I interrupted the flow of thought was decent enough. Not used to using symbolism, even if it is a subtle as hammer to the head. Not sure if I like the sentence I end it on either. Can't help but think there is a better, more, I guess poignant, for lack of a better word, way to end things. Not completely satisfied with the flow either, or if it rambles too much in the beginning, despite the fact it is supposed to be a bit rambling since it's first person. Aside from that, everything's cool. ^_^

Thanks for reading.

D.B. Sommer

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