"IT'S GONNA BLOW!!!" cried someone about Bison's palace.
"We gotta get out before the explosion!! Alex, any ideas?" asked Armina as the N Team raced to find the exit to the building.
Alex spotted an exit. "There's one!! Right there near those front doors!!!" he yelled. The Team dashed to the golden doors that were about to close, but Armand, with his sledgehammer kept them open. Sandra and Keisha held open the doors while the rest busied themselves with the guards and screaming people. Armina and Roberta kept fifty guards at bay, while Lana, Simon, Kid Icarus, Mega Man and Greg hustled the people to safety. The boys were outside making sure that the people got out all right. When all of the people had left, the Team members began to file out. It was only then that Roberta heard a soft cry. She followed the sound, and gasped.
The sound came from a wounded Cammy. "Cammy!!! You're hurt!!" she cried, tending to her wounds.
"I'm fine, Roberta," she answered, "I've been in worse scrapes than this."
"We're getting you to a hospital, now."
"Roberta!!! Get out now!!!" was Armina's cry.
"We're coming!!" She hoisted Cammy on her shoulder and flew out with her butterfly wings as fast as she can. Then the palace exploded as they, the last two good people, flew out just in time to survive it.
At the Shadaloo hospital...
"She's suffered some major burns and bruises, but I think in a month's time, she'll be okay," the doctor suggested as Cammy lay on her bed. "We gave her a sedative, so she won't run around and hurt herself."
"Thank you, doctor," Lana replied. "Cammy was our informant and leader for that mission. I'm just glad she survived."
"She also seemed to have some memory fragments, too. If there's any hope of regaining her memory, now is the chance."
"We'll see what we can do to make her feel better."
"Cammy, can you hear me?" asked Keisha.
"Yes, I hear you loud and clear."
"Do you remember what happened to the palace?"
"It blew up. Bison put the bomb on timer."
"Do you know why?"
"He must have seen my face when we were freeing the hostages. I know because he said something about getting back at me."
"Why would he say that?"
"I don't know. I can't remember anything before that plane wreck, before the British Intelligence found me."
"Why are you named Cammy?" asked Alex, hoping that she'd remember that.
"I don't know," she replied with frustration.
"You don't remember anything before the wreck, anything at all?" asked Lana.
"Now that you mention it," Cammy replied, "there are some images in my mind that I don't understand."
"Like why I'm saluting Bison when I've just killed 300 people." Cammy searched deeper into her mind. "Like why I stood on, watching with a smile as Bison killed a couple of people. I remember the woman's face. She looked like me. And the man ... it's like we're close, you know. I also remember making faces at the guts of the two bodies. So gross!!!" A picture appeared in her mind, of Bison, brutally murdering the two people that she described. A young Cammy was smiling, and only made a face when Bison pulled out the bleeding organs of the two bodies for her to see. The woman was young and resembled Cammy. The man was also young and thin. He looked old enough, though, to be her father. Maybe he was, but this Cammy would not remember him.
"Is there any more?" asked Alex.
"No. Please leave me now. I want to rest."
They did as she requested and left for the Palace.
"Armina, what's wrong?" Lana asked a troubled Armina, sitting on the couch and moping.
"I don't know. Can we call a group forum?"
"Sure, why not?"
When everyone assembled in the living room, Armina looked at all the troubled faces, and she knew what things that Cammy's memories had brought up.
"I know what you all must be here for," she said. "It's Cammy's memories that brought up our own painful pasts. I want you to tell everyone here what you told us back home. Maybe then we'll all feel better. Keisha, you may go first."
"Okay," she said. "Here it is: I was born on June 15, 1990, to my mom, sister Moni and brother Damien. I never knew my dad, just that we would be in big trouble if Mom got caught, or something. Well, the highlight is this. It started on a cold, gloomy night when the cops came."
April 17, 1996
A doorbell sounded.
"Who's there?" asked Keisha in a red sundress. She went to open the door.
"No, Keisha," cautioned her brother, Damien, in a grey sweater and blue jeans.
"Don't. You never know who's behind the door."
"Open up!! This is the police!!! Open up now!!!" called a male voice.
"Go check for Mom. Hide her if you have to!!" ordered Damien.
Keisha went upstairs. Unfortunately, the police heard her brother, and broke the door down. A female officer searched the area while the man shoved the youth against a wall and handcuffed him.
Upstairs, Keisha found her mom in her room.
"Mommy!! Mommy!! Mommy!! We gotta go now!! They're here!!" Keisha's mother, a tall, slender woman of 30, got up from her bed and looked downstairs. She shouldn't have.
"My boy!! They got my boy!" she cried as the man led Damien to the car and arrested him. She thundered down the stairs, despite her little girl's efforts to keep her upstairs. Moni came from her study, saying "What's going on?" Then she cried "MOM!!!" and burst into tears as the cops led her mother away.
"Abigail Davenport, you are under arrest for the murder of Steven Davenport, for illegal possession of a weapon, and for possession of marijuana," informed the female cop. "You have the right to remain silent. If you deny the right, then anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. You also have the right to an attorney..."
A cop stayed with the kids for the night, and Damien was released on that same day, to the crying arms of his two sisters.
"Since then, we were never the same. Moni already had an office job, and it was this job that gave us money to live on, so we were okay financially, but there were other things that we couldn't live without, so Damien dropped out of school to get a full-time job. Then court came and found my mom guilty. I would never see her again, because we had to move to Toronto because Moni's company moved. Damien knows some of the guys at the arcades, so that's how I got to play. We had to leave all luxuries like NES systems behind. And that's what I've got for a story."
"I know how I got to Dexter's Lab," said Sandra. "Well, you see, I was from a prestigious school, you know, and they put a lot of pressure on you to do great. Not good, but perfect. I was a slacker, though. Even though I got good grades, I enjoyed playing video games, but that wasn't enough for my super-strict mom. I'll tell you of the day I ended up at the Lab..."
May 14, 1995...
"Sandra Tolera!!" boomed her mother at the bottom of the stairs. "Get your butt down here, this instant!!!"
"Coming!!" Sandra finished the game of Donkey Kong on her NES, and fled down the stairs to meet her ungodly mother.
"You bitch!!! Look at your test!!!" she bellowed. It was an A.
"So it's an A. What's the big deal?"
"THE BIG DEAL IS THAT IF YOU DON'T GET AN A+, YOU WON'T GO TO HARVARD, AND WE CAN'T MARRY YOU TO RICH DIAMOND, THAT'S WHAT!!!"
"Oh, like you want a robot for a daughter, do you?"
"Maybe if you stop playing those stupid games and started studying more, we wouldn't have this fight!!"
"Yeah, well I need time to relax. All work and no play sure doesn't make me productive!!"
"Don't you talk back to me like that, young lady!!" Mom was on the verge of breaking down. "My daughter would listen to me, understand???"
"Then maybe I'm NOT your daughter!!!"
"YOU BITCH, TAKE THAT BACK NOW!!!! I'M YOUR MOTHER, YOU DO AS I SAY!!!"
"NEWS FLASH!!!! YOU'RE NOT MY MOTHER!!!"
"I don't know how many times we had that fight, but that was the last I saw of her. The next thing you know, Dexter showed up at school, and I was not on speaking terms with my mother. I poured out my sorrows and he offered to set me up in NASA. I was like, 'Shit!' I couldn't get consent since I have no dad, and it was Mom and me, so I just packed up when she wasn't around and left. I didn't leave a note, so the cops came and I told them to tell her that she can stuff her face with more food because the last thing I wanted was to kiss up to her fat ass again."
"I've got a story," offered Roberta. "This will surprise everyone. I wasn't always the English freak that you see today. I wasn't always into literature. You see, my parents wanted me in the sciences, and I wanted to be there, too. However, my grades in high school were poor for math and science, and excellent in English and English Writing." She paused. "But my parents wanted more. They were like 'Show those white people'! I didn't want to show anyone anything. I just wanted to be myself, a teenage girl who loved shopping and friends. But come University, I had to choose my major..."
April 31, 1989...
"So, Roberta, which science major are you going to choose for university?" asked her mother.
"Ummm, I don't know..." she answered.
"You have to decide soon, dear. Your application's due next week."
"I know, Mother, but I can't decide on any major."
Roberta's mother pulled out a pamphet showing mechanical engineers. "Here's a good one. Mechanical Engineering."
"No, not that one," Roberta declined.
"No, not that one either,"
"Math? Physics? Genetic Engineering?"
"Well, you have until next week to decide, but I hate to leave things at the last minute." She left the room.
That night, Roberta had a dream. She was standing in the downtown campus of the University of Toronto, and an English professor came to her.
"Roberta," he said to her.
"How do you know my name?" she asked him.
"You're one of my students. The best. How can I forget my best student?"
"I'm in U of T. But if you're my professor, then, what do you teach?"
"Now, don't tell me that you forgot your major. It would be a sin to forget that." He smiled. "You're a student in the Department of English and English Literature. You're in my class, and we have an essay due in two weeks. I know you'll do your best, because you like this major."
"English?? Not Computer Science??"
He laughed. "You? A computer scientist? Surely you jest!! No, you're an artiste, someone who is not limited by today's technology. It's in your blood." Then he walked away and Roberta woke up.
"That's when I enrolled into the University of Toronto, with my major as English. My parents weren't as thrilled, but I persevered and here I am now."
"Pretty lame for a painful past, Roberta," commented Alex. "You look like you've had a happy life."
"It was a shocking revelation, that dream," Roberta answered him, "but it was painful because I had to give up what I wanted to follow my calling."
"Like a young girl gives up her social life to be a nun," said Carrie. "My parents were killed in a car crash when I was 8. That was about ten years ago. I lived with my grandparents since then. Boy, were they so old!! Not old physically, but their view on men and women were so ancient, I couldn't bear it anymore. I wanted to take sports, but they said a girl shouldn't do guy things, and to them, sports was a guy thing. So they tolerated all the mandatory stuff up to grade 10. Then I had to follow their rules. I did for two years, immersing myself in sports games when they weren't around. Then, with the help of my boyfriend, Rick Woo, I finally stood up to my grandparents. I didn't get the reaction that I expected..."
September 9, 1997...
"I'm taking gym class, Grandmother. The one that involves football, baseball, and stuff." she announced to a shocked Grandmother as she came home from school.
"This can't be!!! How could you defy the role of woman?" she asked, angrily.
"Times change. So does the role of woman."
"So you say that woman is to take man's games?!?!?"
"What's going on, Ah-Lai?" Grandfather came down the stairs.
"Our granddaughter dares to defy the role of woman and dishonour us!!"
"WHAT!?!" he shouted.
"I do not mean any dishonour, Grandfather," said Carrie, "Even in China women work outside the home. Even in Hong Kong, you see working women. Here, women can do more. And I am going to have my cake and eat it, too."
"Who is doing this to you?? Who??" asked Grandmother. "I have had this desire to be myself since my parents died. They taught me to live to the fullest, which is why we moved to Canada. Rick Woo, the son of the Chinese president who is studying here, has encouraged me to live on after Mother and Father died."
"Rick Woo??? That nice boy, Rick Woo??" said an astonished Grandfather. "I cannot allow this! Either you quit sports or you go away and never come back!!"
Rick came to her side. She cried on his shoulder. "Get my bags, Rick." she commanded. He obliged and came back with packed suitcases. "Well, if this is what you want, then you've lost your only grandchild. Good-bye." She hauled her bags to her car, and Rick to his car. Carrie drove off.
"And I never saw them again," she sobbed, "for the next few days I drove to almost every state in America and parked my car at the NASA parking lot. Rick had packed my passport, lucky me. Fresh from home, I didn't know what to expect, but Lonnie and some scientists helped me out of the car and showed me to you guys, and helped me train there."
"You must be some gutsy girl," commented Alex, "Here's my story. I was born on the reserve to a native Cree woman and a rich American man. I never really got anything tragic except for those that you know. But here's the scoop. All the sad stuff happened after I joined the Defenders and became the leader. I was an inexperienced snob, you see. I was raised in a mansion with people tending to my needs. So you can guess my surprise when I had to do stuff for myself. Then there was that jail incident. And the FBI stuff, you really don't wanna know the rest, so I'll stop there."
"OK, Armand and I saved our story last," said Armina. "Armand was 13 when Dad screamed him out of his mind for hanging with gay people, even though he's like, not gay..."
December 15, 1987...
"I can't believe you're going with those freaks!!" shouted Dad. "They're abnormal, they're evil!! What's with you, son??"
"First off, Dad, they're not freaks. They're my friends!!" defended Armand.
"Just because they're gay doesn't mean they're evil, Dad. You got them all wrong!"
"Maybe I have YOU all wrong, you son-of-a-bitch!!" he cursed his son. "Maybe YOU'RE one of THEM!!!"
"That's not true!! I don't have to be gay to have gay friends!!!" Armand shouted back.
His father then whispered in a tone that was trouble. "If you don't ditch these friends, then I'll ditch you, ya catch my drift??" Armand said nothing.
"That fight would repeat itself until the day I ran away, which was two months after the fact," Armand stated. "Then I met this guy that had some money, and he put me up for all of high school. At night, though, I heard him fooling around with the girls that he said were his friends, but later found that they were prostitutes, and that he was a pimp. The climax came when my sister burst into the room and caught me and some girl having sex with him watching us."
"That girl was a friend of mine," Armina followed him. "Her name was Nicole and she went missing. I was looking for her and my brother. My brother, as soon as he disappeared, and Nicole, as soon as she was on the news. I hit the street, hoping to find them and I did and it was shocking..."
November 14, 1992
"Stop it!!" cried Nicole. "Stop it!! You're hurting me!!"
"No way!!" cried a man. "No!! Go further!!"
"No!! I want it to stop!!" she cried.
"Ignore the bitch!! Go for her ass!!"
Armand was on top of Nicole, speechless and half-naked, as was Nicole. The man coaching him to have sex was the pimp that he was living with. Nicole screamed, and Armand was scared. He backed off.
"NOO!!!" shouted the guy, who proceeded to whack both of them. "You idiot!! You're supposed to fuck her!!"
"I don't know what that word means, Gordon," answered Armand, "but I'm not going to lay another hand on this woman."
"Listen to my brother!!" shouted Armina at the door. "He means business!"
"Your brother??" cried Gordon, and he attacked her. Armand and Nicole got away, and Armina followed, leaving a bloody Gordon behind."
"We got Nicole back to her folks, but we could never face our dad again," stated Armina. "So Armand and I hit the streets, this time, as aimless wanderers, trying to find a life."
"Yeah," Armand chipped in, "It took us almost six years to find good friends like you, and Armina became a great leader, even though we were the last to join you. I personally believe that it was sibling love that helped us endure everything."
"I agree, dear brother. I couldn't live on without you to support me."
"Same for you, dear sister."
"Well, let's call it a night, and see if Cammy's all better in the morning," announced Lana. "Those were very touching stories, and when we have time, maybe I can tell you my story."
Then everyone went to bed. In the morning...
"Doctor? This is Queen Lana ... She's all right?? She's here?? Good, let's see her!"
Cammy walked in to see the Queen. Everyone gathered around her.
"Nothing like Megaland medicine to get the body up and running," she commented. "How was your night?"
"First off, do you still remember your past?" asked Keisha.
Cammy's face fell. "Yeah. A bit, but it doesn't matter anymore. I just can't believe Bison murdered my parents!!! Then he got me and trained me, but I still can't believe it!!!"
"Don't worry, you'll remember in time!" said Armina.
"But I have to know, how was your night?? Were you okay, or did you stay up worrying about me?"
"Well, let me put it this way," Roberta put her arm around Cammy. "It was a memorable night, one we'll definitely remember!"