Previous: "Mirash"

 

Series 1 Episode 8
"Loyalty"

“Is the pod ready?” Bella questioned. The final preparations were being made, and finally they were ready to test their experiment. It had been a long journey to get to this point, but they had actually done it. The perfect insider.

“Yes ma’am,” the engineer responded, “On your command.”

Bella pressed her hand on the pod, ready to be launched out of the Mirashi spacecraft. She saw the cutesy green eyes and floppy hair of a teenage boy. A human teenage boy.

“Is he a true Mirashi?” the engineer questioned, “I’ve always wondered, because he looks human.”

“That depends on how well he serves us,” Bella responded. Though she believed in this experiment, named 3-4-2, he was purposely programmed with free will. He was a living and breathing specimen, so she had to hope and pray he was a loyal one.

“Are you sure he shouldn’t be wearing the ring?” the engineer wondered. Bella didn’t even know his name, but he was serving his purpose well.

“You heard what they said. If he’s conscious for the descent, he could end up shell-shocked. Fifty years of work would amount to nothing,” Bella justified, “The ring is in the pod with him. He’ll find it as soon as he lands, and when he puts it on, we'll know it’s safe to join him. Once his feet are firmly under the table.”

Bella kissed the pod; a signal of her high hopes and expectations.

“Commence descent,” she commanded.

“Yes ma’am,” the engineer said, typing away at the computer. He slammed the giant blue button adjacent to the pod and it slipped out of its holder, down to the planet below.

Bella smiled gleefully. The plan had begun, but they still had a long way to go.

The gun had fired. Ava didn’t know where to look. The terrifying blast of electricity was on collision course with Arlen and Newton. Her heart stopped, and time suddenly seemed to freeze entirely.

The grip on her arm had been released, but escaping was far from Ava’s top priority now. She had to be sure her friends were okay. Isaac was stunned just like she was.

Suddenly, much to Ava’s disbelief, the bolt fired back in the direction they came. Ava dashed sideways as the bolt slammed into the man like a boomerang. In front of Ava’s eyes, he disintegrated into a small pile of dust.

Gobsmacked, Ava looked back over to the boys. Arlen was holding his phone in mid-air – the screen had reflected the blast like a mirror.

Not wasting a single second, Ava ran over to them and wrapped her arms tightly around the two out-of-breath lads. Isaac joined them too, all four of them enjoying the sweet sense of relief.

“That was amazing,” Ava gushed.

“It was Newton’s idea,” Arlen graciously admitted.

“You had a pretty good aim,” Newton complimented.

“Okay, we really are in a crisis, you’re both getting along,” Ava smiled. She glanced round at a lonely-looking Isaac.

“Where’s your partner in crime?” she casually queried.

“I don’t know,” Isaac worriedly replied, his eyes fixated on the ground, “Bella took him, I don’t know where they went, she teleported.”

“Come on, let’s go inside,” Ava consoled, “Time to brainstorm.”


As the crowd gathered at the top of the hill, Harry quickly began to realise that Bella was their leader. Everyone circled around them; a crowd of one hundred or so, all facing Harry.

Harry used the term “people” loosely, of course, because they were all-but-confirmed to be Mirashi. Sure, they were technically his people, but Harry had no association with them. That said, it was best to keep that to himself. It was time to make like Miranda and do some acting.

“Thank you all for joining,” Bella began, her voice carrying over the chit-chat of the Mirashi people as they waited, “As you can see, we’re finally reunited with our insider. This is 3-4-2.”

Harry watched on as every one of the Mirashi people made eye contact with him. He turned around, completing a full circle, observing their gawping faces. He felt like an artefact in a museum. It was uncomfortable.

“We have a one-up on the precinct, now we have an army to infiltrate and conquer, and 3-4-2 will lead us straight in,” Bella explained.

Huh? This was news to Harry. He hadn’t been told his new purpose, though it was clear Bella needed him for a reason.

“They won’t go down without a fight,” Harry warned.

“We have weapons beyond their abilities, and they know that,” Bella responded, “Wipe out the precinct and this can be our home, they are the only people in-the-know.”

Harry gulped. Despite her deal, that almost definitely included his friends.

“You will help us, won’t you?” Bella spoke quietly to Harry on his own, “We wouldn’t want you to be a traitor, after all.”

“Of course,” Harry nodded. He had to go along with it, because anything else would get him killed.

“You need to get back inside, lower security, and we’re in,” Bella informed. Harry nodded, but little did Bella know that his mind was ticking away at the best way to get him and his friends to safety.

That said, Harry still felt the guilt rising inside him. He shouldn’t have even pretended to be on Bella’s side. Isaac would be so disappointed in him.


Emotions absolutely wrecked, Isaac had moved past the dwelling stage of Harry’s kidnap and was now more determined than ever to rescue him. There was one huge problem, though: none of them had any knowledge of where he would be. Bella had taken him via teleport, an ability that Harry didn’t seem to have on his own ring; they may not even have been on the planet.

Ava, Arlen and Newton were stood alongside Isaac – his back-up both physically and emotionally – facing the grey-suited lady and Jenkins. They all had a similar objective – save Harry and stop the Mirashi plan. However, Isaac expected each side had very different ways of doing so, especially knowing the history of the precinct.

“We can disperse guards all over Riverhampton, someone is bound to get lucky,” the lady suggested.

“Which is exactly what they will expect you to do,” Ava hit back, “Leave the precinct unguarded so they can storm in easily. We must outthink them, because they knew you would fall for Bella’s threat and release the imprisoned Mirashi people. They’ve seen your hand and are using it against you.”

“What do you suggest, Ms. Reilly? We’re on the verge of war, there are few options left,” the lady debated.

“Something less morally complicated than your usual fare,” Ava sniped.

“We could trace his phone,” Arlen brought the conversation back on topic.

“He doesn’t have one,” Isaac responded, defeated. He really wished he’d pushed for Harry to get even a basic phone so they could communicate in an emergency.

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” Ava replied as her phone buzzed. She showed Isaac a text she had received… from himself.

“I’m okay,” Isaac read the text aloud, “But I didn’t send that? How could I?”

Isaac was baffled. He had been stood in front of Ava the entire time; he simply could not have sent that text.

Then Isaac remembered. He felt his jean pockets – his phone wasn’t in either of them. He had given it to Harry in town and never retrieved it back.

“Can you track that?” Isaac felt the adrenaline running through his veins. He had a chance to track Harry down.

“Yes. Jenkins, would you mind?” the lady requested.

“Sure, pass the phone here,” Jenkins asked. Ava handed her phone over. Isaac was buzzing with a cocktail of nerves and excitement, but he felt optimistic. He wasn’t playing nice any longer.


With Bella and the Mirashi people dispersed, Harry was putting his plan into action. He sat down at the highest spot he could, enjoying the soft, ticklish feel of the grass against his legs. It was strange, Harry thought, that he knew exactly what grass was, but this was the first time he’d ever felt it against his skin. He knew very little about how the Mirash ring worked and what its true capabilities were, but he couldn’t deny how much he appreciated the help it had given him with language.

Harry also prayed that the text he had sent to Ava would be enough for them to track him. Thank goodness Isaac hadn’t asked for his phone back. If the text had been read as soon as Harry sent it, they would have been on their way.

It made Harry feel sick to think he was helping Bella in even the tiniest way. He wanted to be loud and proud about his true alliance, but it was for his own safety. He needed everybody to think he was on their side.

“Harry!” the delightfully familiar voice of Isaac excitedly called over as he carefully stepped his way up the hill. He threw his arms around Harry, almost landing on him in his elation.

“Hey, I’ve missed you,” Harry smiled, enjoying the warm hug they were sharing.

“Are you okay? Did they hurt you?” Isaac desperately quizzed just as Jenkins followed him up the hill.

“I’m fine, I got away for a couple of minutes. We need to stop them, they want to wipe out the precinct,” Harry revealed. He was telling Isaac the truth, but as far as Bella knew, he was playing them for fools.

“Come on, we need to get back,” Jenkins reminded, having followed Isaac up. Bella’s plan was being put into motion, but Harry was desperately trying to figure out an alternative of his own.


Spotting Ava slouched on the floor in the corner of the room, Newton figured she might need to vent. She had been part of a pretty terrifying experience, so she was bound to need a moment or two to process it. A non-invasive familiar face might not be such a bad thing for her to have.

Newton was finding it hard to believe they had only spoken properly for the first time the day before. So much had happened in that time and they had been by each other’s side throughout it all. Somehow, Newton found it strange to imagine a time before he had Ava to scold him, or console him, or often both at the same time.

“A penny for them?” Newton sat down next to her.

“You don’t know what you’re unleashing,” Ava replied half-jokingly, “What have we gotten in to? You’re only here because of me. It’s such a mess. I’m so sorry.”

“Shut up, I could have left at any time. Except when we got locked up, obviously,” Newton brought a sprinkling of light into his response. Ava raised a slight smile – a win given the circumstances.

“Thanks for the moral support,” Ava smiled.

“Any time,” Newton replied, “Besides, I can’t let you get kidnapped on your own. That’s our shared activity.” Ava raised an eyebrow, trying her best to conceal her laughter.

“For what it’s worth,” Newton began a surprising and rare serious statement, "I don’t know Isaac like you do, and I’ve still not spoken to Harry, but that doesn’t matter. I know what’s right and what’s wrong, and this is so wrong.”

“Thanks,” Ava placed her hand on his knee. Newton enjoyed the comforting feel it brought. Ava soothed his emotions better than anybody else could.

Newton gently placed his hand on top of Ava’s. They had each other’s backs through anything, and Newton truly believed that.

He also couldn’t ignore the strong feeling of butterflies taking over his stomach. He knew what that meant, and he wasn’t willing to avoid those feelings.


Racing back into the precinct, Isaac knew the worst was about to begin. Sure, Harry was safe, but it wouldn’t have taken a genius to figure out where they had taken him. Sure, the precinct was the most secure place around, but it was the most obvious too.

“Quick, seal the doors,” Isaac yelled as he and Harry safely passed into the sparse central area of the precinct.

“Woah dude, where’s the fire?” Arlen was confused.

“They’re coming here, Harry escaped but they’ll know where he is now,” Isaac explained.

“Then we take him elsewhere,” Arlen logically reasoned.

“This place has guards, they can’t get in,” Isaac justified. It was the most secure place in town.

“Dude, she teleported him out of here, nowhere is safe,” Arlen reminded, “Look, get him as far away from here as possible. We’ve got the precinct covered.”

“Have you? How?” Isaac didn’t understand how they apparently had it under control from an oncoming army.

“No, it was a clever line, just go,” Arlen clarified, gesturing in the direction of the door.

Though he still felt on edge, it made sense to Isaac. Arlen’s suggestions were based on gut instinct, and he had a better gut instinct than anyone else Isaac knew.

“Where are we going?” a concerned Harry wondered as Isaac ushered him back out of the precinct.

“Home,” Isaac answered. It was the only place he knew well enough to find an effective hiding place.


The night was drawing in, and Harry really felt the spookiness of living right alongside the forest. Every tiny sound that came from that direction put Harry on edge. Every snap, crackle or pop that was likely just the result of the wind made him anxious. Isaac seemed to be blocking it out as he led Harry up to the front door. He was envious of Isaac’s focus.

Harry could hardly cope with himself anyway. He knew what he had told Bella, and they were expecting him to get them inside the precinct. That was the plan he had thought out – get them inside and try to double-cross them. However, now he wasn’t even at the precinct. He couldn’t enact any part of the plan. Now he felt like was double-crossing his friends instead.

Inside the house, Isaac locked the door and led Harry directly upstairs, into Harry’s bedroom. It had only been one night since he moved out of that room and into Arlen’s house, but it still felt like home to him. Isaac opened the wardrobe, checking it out for size.

“This will do, come on in,” Isaac grabbed Harry’s hand.

“Wait,” Harry nervously replied. He had to come clean. Maybe Isaac would hate him, but he couldn’t keep a secret any longer.

“What’s up?” Isaac could instantly sense the mood. Together, they sat down on the edge of the bed.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know what to do,” Harry stammered as he spoke, feeling a runaway tear slipping down the slope of his cheek.

“What is it? Tell me, we can fix it, like we always do,” Isaac caressed his knee, performing his usual comforting routine.

“I told Bella I’d help her out and let them in. They thought I was on their side. I had to stop them killing me. I’m so sorry, Isaac,” Harry explained. He couldn’t bear to look Isaac in the eye.

“It’s okay,” Isaac immediately said, still gently strolling his knee, "You did what you had to do to survive. I’d have done the same.”

“What about Arlen and the others? They’re not safe,” Harry couldn’t stop picturing what sort of situation they’d be in. Outnumbered by the Mirash and in grave danger.

“They’ll be okay, they’re ready for an attack,” Isaac calmed him down, wiping away the streams of tears from his cheek. It felt just as special as the moment they first met, “I’ll always stand by you, for as long as we have each other.”

“I like that,” Harry started to perk up a little bit, “I love you.”

“I love you too, doofus,” Isaac teased. Harry couldn’t believe how understanding Isaac was being, but he was so relieved.

“Hey, 3-4-2, I know you’re in there, traitor,” Bella’s soul-destroying voice barked from outside.

“In the wardrobe. Now,” Isaac whispered.

“Come out, or I’m coming in,” Bella yelled again. Harry did his best to ignore, but his heart was beating so fast. He was terrified.

Isaac pulled the wardrobe door shut. They were intimately close to each other, with only the gap between and either side of the double doors providing speckles of moonlight. All they had to do was keep quiet.


“Any news from Isaac?” Ava approached Arlen, who was nervously watching the CCTV cameras ready for the attack he knew was coming. Isaac was right – the Mirash would know Harry had gone to the precinct, but it was the perfect trap now he wasn’t there.

“He’s taken Harry home, they’ll be safer there, but we’ve got incoming at any moment,” Arlen warned.

“We need an advantage, something that gives us the upper hand,” Newton considered.

“Any ideas? Because I’m sorry, but I’ve got nothing,” Ava admitted.

“We’re screwed,” Arlen sighed. He was hoping Ava might have had a brainwave, because she was usually so good at plans. Equally, he knew he was useless at logical thinking on his own.

“No, we’re not,” Newton was surprisingly adamant, “Come on, they’re all wearing rings. They must have an off-switch or cheat code.”

“They do,” a male voice came from behind. Arlen spun around to see someone who looked familiar, but he couldn’t quite figure why. However, it wasn’t every day he saw a man with silky black hair that trickled down his back as low as his waist.

“It’s you,” Ava identified, “We saw you in the pod.”

“You were blue,” Arlen found himself saying before he could stop himself. That was why he recognised him – he was the Mirashi man lying in the pod. One of the victims of the precinct’s experiments.

“I want to help, please,” he asked, “Sorry, my name is Taylor.”

“How can we trust you?” Arlen was quick to ask. He didn’t want to take risks.

“I’m ashamed of my people. The others here have scarpered, but I’m still here to stop them. They’re a small faction of our kind, and I want to use the kill switch,” Taylor reasoned.

Arlen was convinced. His gut didn’t give him any worrying signs, especially considering he was wearing a ring of his own too.

“They’re coming,” Arlen noticed on the screen. A small group had appeared outside each of the doors. A rush of adrenaline shot through his body, enough to overcome the pure fear that bubbled down underneath.


Isaac’s experience of fright and terror had certainly expanded in the past week, but none of that compared to his current state of mind. He could hear the thumping of his heart, accelerating in speed like a race car. He felt Harry’s breath against his skin. Other than that, pure silence. That was good news, but Isaac was well aware Bella had the ability to teleport using her ring. She could appear directly outside of the wardrobe without a sound being made.

Creak. The noisy step on the staircase sounded. She was inside. Harry looked up to Isaac – the fear had never been so evident in his eyes. Isaac wished he could console him, but he had absolutely no way of doing so when he was just as scared himself.

The faint noises grew louder and louder as Bella reached the top of the stairs.

WHAM! She knocked a door open. Thankfully, it wasn’t the door to Harry’s room, but there were only four rooms on the top floor – she would reach them before long.

WHAM! Another door. Even closer this time. It sounded like it came from next door – Isaac’s bedroom. Harry clasped Isaac’s hand as tight as he could.

“I’ll find you both,” she taunted. Isaac gulped. His mouth was so uncomfortably dry. He could barely stand to look through the gap in between the doors.

WHAM! Harry’s bedroom door was kicked open and crashed against the bed. Bella’s shoes slammed against the laminate flooring. She was just outside the wardrobe. Isaac felt a tear escape down his cheek. They were toast.

The door swung open. Bella had found them. Isaac looked directly into her eyes. He saw the determination staring him back. She was ruthless.

“Nice try, traitor,” she smiled. The gun fired. Isaac looked away, but never lost grip of Harry’s hand.


Stepping into the centre of the main operations room, Ava was apprehensive about the plan. Would it work? Potentially. Could it backfire? Absolutely.

Ava, Newton and Arlen formed a triangle in the middle, back-to-back so every angle was covered. Jenkins had just released the door security, unleashing the Mirash unto the precinct.

Her left hand grabbing Arlen and her right hand grabbing Newton, Ava wasn’t letting them go down without a fight. They had each other above all else.

“Positions,” a guard called out. Ava caught eyes with the grey-suited lady, hiding well out of view behind the guards. After all she had done to keep this tension going with the imprisonment of the Mirash from fifty years before, she certainly didn’t seem to be up to facing the consequences.

The Mirash filtered in, gathering in a circle around the trio. Ava saw their collection of faces. All of them looked human, but she was well aware by now that it was a simple disguise.

“Gather the humans,” one woman commanded. Bella wasn’t in sight, so she must have been the second-in-command.

“Drop your weapons,” Arlen tried to take charge instead.

“I don’t think so,” she replied. She primed her weapon directly in Ava’s direction.

“I do,” Ava smirked. Her attitude shifted as the neon blue light on the gun powered off, as if it had run out of battery. The lights went out in every gun around the room, the guns looking like little more than props.

“What have you done?” she cried out, examining the ring. Ava felt confident suddenly. They had the upper hand.

“Taken back control,” Taylor pushed through into the circle. Ava watched as the Mirash all bowed down, shocked and stunned by his arrival. He was their leader.


Blinking frantically, Harry wasn’t sure if his plan worked. In his hand was Isaac’s phone, having just reflected the blast back at Bella. How had the blast not killed her?

Isaac was still tightly gripping his free left hand. They were both okay, but not out of the woods yet.

“You missed,” Bella grinned smugly.

“I think you were the one who fired the shot,” Harry hit back. He stepped out of the wardrobe and faced Bella eye-to-eye. He was fed up of Bella antagonising him, “You made one big mistake, Bella. You made me real. You let me build relationships, and I won’t let you break promises and hurt my friends.”

Harry looked down at the ring on his finger. It powered down, as if it had been switched off. Bella’s gun did the same thing. She was defenceless.

“You haven’t got it in you,” Bella almost looked scared of him.

“No, I don’t,” Harry responded, taking Isaac’s hand back and pulling him forward to stand by his side, “That’s what makes us so different from you.”

“You’re still a Mirashi traitor,” Bella was fuming. Even now, she couldn’t see what was so bad about her plan.

“We want the same thing, Bella,” Harry reasoned, “But I haven’t murdered anyone.”

“You’ve lost,” Isaac grinned, backing him up.

“I have an army,” Bella continued to back herself, trying to wriggle out of her tight spot.

“You have a herd of sheep,” Harry debated, “Who are too scared to go against you.”

“I can still kill you without a gun,” Bella foundered. She was desperately searching for a way to get herself back on top.

“Not on my watch,” another voice interjected, just as a frying pan whacked her around the head. Bella collapsed to the floor with a loud thump. Stood behind her was Elenore, holding the weapon in question, “I’m making a habit of this.”

Harry felt so relieved. He had finally stood up to her, and it felt amazing. He pulled Isaac in for a supportive hug. They had survived, and they did it together.


Returning to the precinct after the soldiers had picked up Bella and restrained her, Isaac was so pleased to see Ava, Arlen and even Newton again, without even a scratch on their skin. He couldn’t wait to tell them just how awesome Harry had been. He had broken the hold that Bella had over him and finally proved his independence away from his original purpose. Isaac had never felt prouder of him.

It appeared everything was all good at the precinct, too. Arlen was right – they did have it all under control after all. Somehow, five teenagers had just saved the precinct, and quite possibly, the entire world.

“Is it over?” Arlen wondered, jogging over to see them.

“I don’t know,” Isaac replied truthfully. It wasn’t like Bella was dead, she could have one more trick up her sleeve, “But I think we won the battle. Where are the rest of them? Did they come?”

“We had a special weapon,” Ava answered, “Taylor ran the kill switch for the rings. He’s transporting them back to their ship now, reactivating the rings on the other end.”

Isaac caught Harry’s eye as his relief turned into disappointment.

“Me too?” Harry worriedly queried.

“That’s up to you,” Taylor interrupted, “You’re Mirashi, even if you look human. You are welcome to come back with us.”

“They won’t accept me,” Harry thought aloud. Isaac was terrified by his words – surely he wasn’t actually considering this? He couldn’t just leave, after everything they went through together.

“Bella doesn’t represent our kind, there are more of us out there, every one of us looking for a new planet," Taylor explained, “We’re obviously not ready for a new society yet and I feel ashamed. A lot can change in fifty years.”

“This doesn’t represent us either,” Ava mentioned as the entire group saw Jenkins escorting the grey-suited lady off the premises, wearing handcuffs.

“Sure, some of us are idiots,” Arlen added, shooting a cheeky smirk to Newton, “But not everybody. Not most people.”

“I know. You four have served your kind well,” Taylor smiled.

“Five,” Harry corrected, “It’s five. Thank you for the offer, Taylor, but my home is here. I was born in the sky, and I belong with my friends.”

“Then please, keep in touch,” Taylor pointed at Harry’s newly reactivated ring, “If you need help, please call me.”

Isaac breathed a sigh of relief, wrapping his arm around Harry and pulling him in closer, their foreheads touching in a cute, intimate moment.

The last one left, Taylor disappeared. The precinct now felt pretty empty. The adventure was over.

“What now?” Ava chuckled, “We have school on Monday.”

Isaac sighed, but he couldn’t find it in himself to care much. He had Harry for good, and all he wanted to do was celebrate.


Sunday night had arrived. A full week had passed since Harry’s arrival, and Isaac was lying on the sofa in front of the latest Big Brother episode cuddling up with Harry. He hadn’t let go of him all day, and he never wanted to again. It was the best feeling ever to know there was no threat left and Harry was officially there to stay.

Much of their Sunday had been spent relocating Harry back into his original room, at Isaac’s house. Finally, it was safe for him to move back home. Elenore had officially adopted him too, thanks to the precinct producing adoption papers for him. Harry Simpson was now a legal, living person. No more secrets.

“I’m closing the curtains,” Elenore stated, “Because I’m not having any shooting stars interrupting our viewing tonight.”

“Hey, I said I’m sorry,” Harry laughed.

“You’re better than any Big Brother episode,” Isaac defended.

“Lucky Harry, you’d never say that to me,” Elenore teased, “I hope I don’t need to lay down ground rules for what’s acceptable under my roof.”

“Mom, please don’t go there,” Isaac groaned. He wasn’t ready to hear her lay down the law for kissing in the house, or even worse, for sex. They had only known each other a week after all.

“I’m saying nothing,” Elenore backed off, concealing a jokey smile.

“Thank you,” Harry smiled at her, “I know I’m not family, I shouldn’t be here.”

“I’ll hear no more of that,” Elenore corrected, “You’re just as much a part of this family as everyone else in the room. No more silliness.”

Isaac looked at Harry’s face. He was overcome with happiness. The past week had been an adventure, but all of Harry’s self-discovery revelations were laced with bad news. Finally, he had a place to belong.

As the Big Brother recap began, Isaac kept his head lying under Harry’s chin. He felt more comfortable being himself than ever. He had love, acceptance and care from the people closest to him. All the while, Harry had his hand on Isaac’s knee. He rubbed it gently, his fingers intertwining as he massaged Isaac’s skin.

Isaac had everything he ever wanted.

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