A Clan for Momo
By: Robert Szkotak

    It was spring in Windia.  A spring so beautiful that its like had not been seen in a hundred years.  The flowers bloomed early, and they were full of color now that the spring rains had passed.  At the Biologics Plant, people worked with a renewed sense of energy, fueled by the beauty of yet another sunny day.  Everybody was outside digging holes to put the new 7A-Alpha strain of chrism crops in, so they could grow and multiply.  The chrism crop business had taken off, as almost three years ago, after the fiasco with their previous Chief, the taste of the altered crops suddenly became a lot better.  Everybody figured that it was his weird experiments with animating the dead that made the crops taste bad.
    Momo laughed as she stood on a hill overlooking the Plant, watching the workers below transplant the new strain.  They "figured" a lot of things.  When she had returned to the main continent two years ago, the people at the Plant had asked her to become their new Chief of Operations.  They wanted her to carry on her father's work, insisting that she would have time to work on her gadgets.  Of course that was a bald-faced lie - Momo accepted the position even knowing that she would have to devote most of her time to the Plant.  She needed to carry on her father's legacy - there was no one else left that would be able to do so.  Besides, her work at the Plant was helping a lot of people - already there was enough of a food supply to feed everyone in Windia.  But still she resented the fact that there was no time for her to do what she wanted to do - decipher the mysteries of the machines of the Lost Continent across the ocean.
    A man's yelling brought her out of her reverie.  The man, a Windian, complete with the moth-like wings that came with all of their species, was running up the now inactive conveyor belt, panting like a dog as he lost his breath.  He jogged the last few yards to where Momo was standing, and then began to say some unintelligible words.  Momo sighed and turned toward the man.
    "Now Tyros, calm down a second, catch your breath.  You're no help to me if you hyperventilate and pass out on me.  Just slow down, and when your ready..."
    Tyros stopped sputtering to catch his breath, and then began to yell again.  "Chief!  Chief!  There's a huge tiger-man thing down by the entrance, demanding to see you now!  He's huge, ten feet tall at least, with glowing red eyes and fangs that could bite off my head!  He..."
    Momo interrupted the man, already having a clue as to what was going on.  It was just like Tyros and the other workers to exaggerate what was going on - they hadn't ever seen the things she had seen.  Momo took a deep breath and then started talking.  "Tyros, did the "thing" give a name?"
    Tyros stared at Momo for a second, then began his hysterics once more.  "I think it gave a name.  Roy or something like that.  I couldn't tell, it was growling at us like it was going to eat us.  It's fangs were dripping saliva!"
    Momo sighed again and stopped the man from carrying on.  "Show the man, Rei, to the lounge.  Tell him I'll be there in a moment - I have some things I need to take care of.
    The man gaped.  "But... but... it's got fangs, and claws, and..."
    "DO IT!"
    "Yes, Chief." the man muttered, clearly unhappy with the situation.  He left much more slowly than he had some, not as eager to accept Rei as a person as he was to accept him as a monster.
    "Idiot."  Momo muttered, and turned back to overlook the Plant.  The took a lot for granted, Momo knew.  Like the Onions, which continued to pop up every so often.  They assumed that they were more genetic freaks.  But Momo knew the truth - they were extensions of Yaggdrasil's will, sent out into the world to be his eyes and ears and to do his bidding.  And the crop's sudden increase in taste - she knew that it wasn't her father's mad assistant, but was due to the replenishing of the land, both through Yaggdrasil's methods and through some she developed on her own.  And they all still believed that there was nothing across the ocean, even though Momo knew of the Lost Continent.  And most of all, they assumed they would always have a Clan.
    Momo started walking down toward the lounge, where her old friend Rei was waiting.  Here was another like herself - a person without a Clan, and yet not one of the "Normals", as Momo called them.  The Normals were what every clan eventually degenerated into - the Windians for instance.  They once had wings that would let them soar through the clouds with the birds. But over many years without flying, they lost their wings, and their flight.  But Rei had one thing that she didn't - he had a history.  One night, as they were crossing the Desert of Death, so aptly named by the locals, Momo had told Rei of the last great hero of his clan, the Tiger Clan, a woman named Katt who along with seven others helped to defeat an angry goddess, much as they were doing.  Momo had read through all the histories in her father's library, hoping to find out what Clan she was, but she couldn't find anything.  She knew of the Brood, and the Dragon Clan, and how they were one and the same.  She knew of the Windian Bird Clan, although they never used the term anymore.  She knew of the Mole Clan, and the Frog Clan, the Horse Clan, the Ox Clan, and the Normals.  But of herself she found nothing.
    Momo looked up and found herself in front of the lounge.  She paused a moment before opening the door, knowing what Rei was here for.  But she couldn't help him - she had her work here to do.  Sighing once again, she opened the door to the lounge.  Inside Rei was sitting on one of the couches, flipping through a magazine about how chrism could help to save lives.  Momo smiled and spoke up.
    "Well, long time, no see my friend!  How have you been?"
    Rei jumped up from the couch and gave Momo a huge bear hug.  "Hey Momo, how's it been!  Haven't seen each other in a while!  How is it, working here at the Plant?"
    "Oh, it's okay, I suppose.  The only problem is I don't get to a lot of tinkering now that I have to manage the Plant."
    "Yeah, it seems like it would suck."  Rei said.  Momo's smile turned into a scowl, and Rei quickly recovered, "No offense of course, but don't you wish that we could be out again, adventuring.  We could go looking for Ryu, we could pick up Nina..."
    Momo sighed, and turned away from Rei.  "You know I can't do that - neither can Nina.  We have responsibilities now.  And Ryu told us he would have to leave with the rest of the Brood.  There's nothing we can do - the days for adventuring are over."
    Rei walked behind Momo and put his hand on her shoulder.  "Momo... I know you too well.  You're not happy here, are you?"
    Momo took a few steps forward, head down, letting Rei's hand fall.  "It's not that simple.  Not anymore."
    "Look Momo, I'll be honest with you.  When me and Ryu and Teepo got separated, Ryu risked his life to find me.  He hadto deal with those Stallion brothers, with your tower, the Arena battle, only when he was a kid.  When we finally met again, and he told me of his adventures, I made a vow to find him no matter where he went.  'Cause me and him, we're family.  At least the closest thing to it.  And whether you know it or not, you're part of that family too."  Rei wiped a tear on his face,and then laughed quietly.  "Don't that just beat all... I'm cryin'".  Rei turned and walked to the door, then stopped.  "I need your help Momo, but I will go on without it.  I will find Ryu."  Rei turned again to leave, and said over his shoulder, "If you decide to help, I'll be at Rhapala.  I think I'll be able to find something at Kombinat."
    Momo turned to watch Rei leave, tears streaming down her face.  She knew she had to help Rei, but she also knew she had to stay and manage the Plant.  She turned to see one of the Plant workers running towards her with another problem, and Momo knew that she would have to stay if the Plant would continue.

    It was the middle of the night at the Plant.  Only a few people were still working, everyone else was asleep or gone back to their homes.  So nobody witnessed a giant onion sprout from the ground and start walking around.  "Ummm...  it's been a while since I've used this body."  The onion walked around a little more, and promptly tripped over a rock.  "Maybe a little too long..." the onion said, rising from the ground.  "Now let me see, where was that door..."
    The onion made his way over to the main building, the living quarters, and went to reach for the door, forgeting that he wasn't tall enough.  "Why do these bodies have to always start out young?" the onion said, and a green aura surrounded the little onion.  Within minutes the onion had grown to the size of a normal person, with skin as tough and thick as roots.  "Much better..." the onion said, as the glow faded away.  It opened the door and made his way for the stairs leading to the upper levels.  When it reached the third floor, the onion opened the door to the hallway.  In the hall were a man and a woman, kissing.  Thankfully they didn't notice me open the door, the onion thought, and took a deep breath.  When he exhaled, a cloud of pinkish gas came from his mouth, filling the hallway. Within seconds, the couple was asleep on the floor, unknowing of the onion-man that walked by them.  He found the door he wanted, and tried opening it, to no avail.  The onion looked around, and then punched the door, sending it flying backwards into the room.  He walked in, expecting it's occupant to be screaming or getting ready to cast a spell or something, but Momo wasn't there.

    Momo cursed herself for leaving in the middle of the night, but Rei was right - Momo was part of a family, and that was more important than any Clan.

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