REMY

NAME:

Remy - Previously "Reptile"

AGE:

Young Adult (20s)

SPECIES:

Daejiin resembling a hare with snake-like qualities

HEIGHT:

5'0"

ENGLISH PRONOUNS:

He/It

SEXUALITY (in human terms):

Gay

OCCUPATION:

???

LIKES:

Pinecones, plant & animal behavior, categorization

SMELLS LIKE:

Acidic and strange, like an unknown chemical

PLAYLIST:

LINK


CHILDHOOD

It's very dark in the cold, metal room, but the lights hurt its eyes. Though the bed is warm, it's just as much unfamiliar. Lifted off the ground by some sort of metal framing, the mattress is square, with two pillows at the top and a thick blanket. Strange as it seems, the creature cannot remember why this feels wrong.

It can't remember much about how it got here, aside from being dragged around for a while, struggling and swiping but eventually being subdued. There were a lot of others with it, but they were sent off somewhere, while it was kept behind. The only others in the lab now were some animals from its home-planet, and the human scientists.

Occasionally, one of the men in lab coats will walk in and talk to it in a condescending, babying voice, so they always leave the room with scores up their arms. They have fitted it in a lab coat to match their own. It's itchy and uncomfortable, but they get angry if it tries to take it off. It reluctantly keeps it on, but knows in the back of its mind that it could kill them all if it wanted to.

But there's one man who isn't so bad. He sits down quietly, on the floor rather than on the bed or chairs. The others call him Delwayo, but he says to just call him Norman. "How are you feeling?" he asks, speaking in Daejiin, but with a heavy accent.

There's something odd about him. His weary face reminds the creature of itself. "You don't belong here," it hisses.

"No, I don't," he replies, and then it's silent. They sit for about an hour, eyes closed, deep in thought. Finally, the man nods a goodbye, gets to his feet, and makes sure the door closes quietly behind him.

He starts coming back almost every night around the same time. When he's too noisy, the creature growls at him. If you hurt me, I'll hurt you. But please, don't make me hurt you. But it doesn't think he would do such a thing; he always remembers to keep the lights off, a courtesy the others would always forget.

It spends a lot of time thinking. After all, what else would it do? It doesn't like to read, or draw, or write, and it certainly doesn't want to learn a human language, or even worse, math. Worse yet, it hasn't chosen a name yet, so the men call it "Reptile". A harsh name, but it enjoys that aspect quite a bit.

One evening, Norman returns as usual, and the creature decides to speak first for once. "My name is Remy."

Norman seems uncomfortable for some reason. He stutters a bit, "Are you sure?"

"Yes," Remy responds.

Norman hesitates a bit, before pulling an unfamliar, crinkly rectangle out of his pocket. Remy widens its eyes in distrust. it hadn't liked any of the Earth foods it tried before. They taste fake somehow, like the ghost of food. But sweets, sometimes, were okay. Norman unwraps a dense-looking bar. Remy leans over and flicks its tongue over it. Not bad. It snatches the entire thing with its teeth and swallows it whole. The best way, it has found, to avoid textures.

"You might like it better if you chew," Norman laughs, and the creature growls in response. Don't tell me what to do. But Norman just smiles and adds, "It's okay, I'll bring you another one tomorrow."


THINGS BETWIXT

The days begin to pass in the blink of an eye, and yet very slowly. The animals in the other chambers are slowly released back to Daeji as the scientists finish studying them, and for a short while, Remy is the only alien left in the lab. Fast and slow, it learns to fend for itself. When anyone other than Norman walks in, it attacks. Considered dangerous, it is kept within the premises of the lab at all times, but is slowly introduced to the freedom to wander during the day, so long as it is back in its chamber at 8 PM so the scientists can lock the door before leaving for the night. When it attacks a scientist, it isn't allowed to roam for the rest of the day.

What is freedom? Freedom to work forty hour weeks, only to make barely enough money to survive? Freedom to attend school for eight hours a day, bullied relentlessly by your peers? Freedom to die when you can't afford your medication? Nothing Remy heard about the outside world appealed to it. So, dangerous it would continue to be, and in the lab it would stay.

Even Norman, the kindest man Remy had ever met, had only stopped struggling to feed his family after starting work at the lab. "That's why I'm here," he would say. But is it his passion? Does he really want to be here? Remy didn't think so, not based on Norman's demeanor. What would he be doing if he were living rather than just surviving?

What would Remy do if it were allowed to live? It thought about it quite often, but none of the "careers" Norman explained sounded interesting at all. It asks if it can just get paid to explore the world, and Norman thinks for a minute. "Maybe you can be an archaeologist." But that's not the same as exploring.

A new shipment of animals from Daeji are brought in by the soldiers today, a much larger selection this time. Mostly kaiju, an expansive family of predatory beasts of various shapes and sizes. Every few months, the creatures would be released, and other subspecies would be captured for study in their stead. Admittedly, Daeji's equivalent of a tiger didn't offer much in terms of friendship for Remy. Still, it often sits outside their chambers and watches their behavior. Each one moves and eats differently.

Remy often walks circles around the edges of the property. When an Earth animal can be seen in the distance, it is sure to remember its shape. They're very different-looking from the kaiju from Daeji. But some of them, oddly enough, resemble Daejiin if they were four-legged and far less intelligent. The day Remy saw a rabbit, it began to feel incredibly queasy and had to look away.

Norman's fluency in Daejiin gets better every day. They start to have longer conversations, though Remy still likes the silence sometimes. Norman tells it about different animals from Earth, their behavior and their habitats. "If I wanted to leave, I'd be an animal," Remy would say, "but not a rabbit." And Norman would laugh in response, "You can't be an animal, silly!" Remy would growl. But then Norman would lean down and whisper in its ear, "They already treat you like an animal, but you don't let them. You're better than that." Remy didn't really know what that meant.

As Remy ages, it begins to recognize certain patterns in the people around it. Norman's boss, despite being annoying as ever, is letting his guard down. Leonard is his name; Leonard begins to treat Norman like a friend, but Remy can tell Norman is a bit put off by this. Norman, on the other hand, is opening up more, sleeping more, eating more. As if he's working towards something.

It also begins to recognize patterns in the plants on this planet. It remembers what type of pinecone goes to which tree. Sometimes Norman brings it more pinecones to study, and sometimes they will talk about them for hours.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY

When Remy had first got here, it learned that humans measure time in "years", the time it took for Earth to once circle the sun. Such an abstract interval made no sense; one cannot see the Earth rounding the sun, so it would only learn that a new year had started when the humans celebrated it. Or, when they celebrated Remy's date of capture. A birthday, as they called it. So, it learns that night, it had been here almost thirteen years, meaning it is currently seventeen years old, almost eighteen. "You can check the calendar right here," Norman would always say, pointing to a page full of squares hanging on the wall in the hallway, but Remy didn't want to try understanding it.

Occasionally throughout those thirteen years, the other Daejiin children who had been brought to Earth with Remy would return to the lab for check-ins. After talking to the human scientists, they'd often sit out in the garden with it and talk about their lives outside these walls. But their stories would only reinforce what Remy already knew- it was in the right place, staying here. Sometimes, these children would be allowed to enter the portal room and briefly return to Daeji, if only for a few days. A vacation of sorts. But because Remy had chosen to stay in the lab, it was never offered such an opportunity. But it didn't feel like it was missing out. It knew the vacations were heavily monitored. There would be no opportunity to truly escape.

At one point, more Daejiin were brought in to the lab from Daeji, approximately fifty this time. But these ones were kept in the empty lab chambers, never released into human society. Norman never mentioned it. In fact, he didn't even seem to think about it, though he would often spend time with these new Daejiin, as he did with every patient who entered the lab. Perhaps he didn't think much of it because he never worked with them directly- it was the job of the biologists to study these Daejiin for "medical resources", whatever that meant, and Norman would always say he wasn't a trained biologist.

When Remy would talk to these new Daes, they would usually have chunks of skin missing on their arms, but nothing too painful looking. They, too, were educated in the ways of humanity, but Remy quickly learned there was no plan to ever release them from the lab. A few became friends that Remy would conversate with, but it was difficult. They were often touchy-feely and used a lot of overt body language, starkly different from any of the humans Remy usually interacts with. It didn't know how to respond to affection, or body language, and it didn't know any of the Daejiin sign language they'd often use, so Remy resorted to its usual silence. Still, they were nice company, and it would sometimes teach them about different types of pinecones, and in turn, they would teach it a few hand signs.

One afternoon, the tone shifts. Norman sits down next to Remy in the garden, as they always do, but he has an ecstatic expression on his face. "I need to talk to you," he says. But Remy hates when people say that without just getting right to the point. Why create the tension instead of just saying what you want to say? It shoots him a warning glare.

He understands and continues, "Do you want to go home?"

Home as in back to his home-world? It had seen the lab's portal room many times before, but the portal is almost always powered down. Clear instructions had been given; nobody in the lab now would return to Daeji. The humans were intent on "helping" Remy adapt to Earth, one way or another, and it still didn't understand what the other Daejiin were being used for. "If you were going to take me home, you would've done it already," it retorts.

But Norman shakes his head. "I can't. There's a keycard, and I don't know where Leonard keeps it. Locked up somewhere, I'd imagine. But I think he trusts me."

Remy doesn't know what a keycard is.

Norman elaborates. "If I can get him to promote me to co-manager, I believe I'll be able to open the portal."

Remy widens its eyes. A promise that could be kept. A measurable goal. "When," it demands.

"Soon, I hope."

"What about the others." The other Daejiin on Earth, it meant.

Norman stared at the dirt and sighed. "I'll come back for them someday."

And not many more days pass before Norman's prediction becomes reality. Remy is in its room, sitting in its favorite position against the wall with its knees to its chest, when Norman walks in and plops to the ground. He unwraps a protein bar and pretends to take a bite before whispering, "Would you like to leave tomorrow?"

The Daejiin's ears perk up, and it nods, mirroring Norman's attempts at being quiet.

He whispers a set of instructions. "I will sneak out of the control room with both keycards. When I leave for the night, I'll leave the portal card with you." Remy nods again in understanding. It will swallow the keycard to hide it, only spitting it back up when needed. The man continues, "When you hear the alarm, you'll know all the doors are unlocked. Then go to the portal and swipe the card. Understand?"

Remy nods once more, and they are quiet for awhile.

When Norman gets up to leave this time, he offers a smile even warmer than usual, hopeful and proud.


INCOMPREHENSIBLE VIOLENCE

It's nighttime. Norman will be here soon to give it the keycard. Remy sits in its corner and waits. But the time never seems to come.

Remy begins to pace and worry, occasionally opening the cover on its chamber window and peering down the hall in either direction. Nobody is around, except for the usual sounds, occasional scraping, shifting, and snarling of the animals and kaiju in the chambers nearby.

It knocks on the wall between its chamber and the chamber next door, containing one of the older Daejiin still here for "medical study". Remy hears the creature rolls out of bed, clearly having just awoken from a rest, before knocking back in response.

"Where is Norman?" Remy shouts through the wall. The sound doesn't travel well in the lab; it knows it is safe to yell without anyone hearing it upstairs.

"I'm not sure," the falcon-like Daejiin responds. "Did he not visit you today?"

It knows it can't say too much, and answers with a simple, "No." But it remembers that these other Daejiin do not want to be here. They, too, wish to go home. Often times they would communicate to Remy that being forced to live in separate chambers felt like torture after a lifetime of communal living and sleeping on Daeji. Remy couldn't imagine such a close culture, having slept alone since its arrival on Earth. But this meant it could trust them to keep Norman's secret.

So it continued, "We're supposed to go home tonight."

The falcon echoes a noise of shock and confusion. "What do you mean?"

So it explains the situation, hushed and increasingly frantic, and the falcon squeaks in increasing excitement.

Suddenly, the sound of frantic footsteps begins to echo from the staircase. Someone is coming down. But the steps are far too fast and too light to be Norman's.

Remy quickly moves back to his chamber's window and peers out. An unfamiliar Daejiin resembling a white borzoi is sprinting down the hall towards the portal room, gripping Norman's keycard in xyr hands. Remy cries out and bangs on the door in confusion, but the borzoi doesn't seem to notice.

More pounding down the stairs, this time a large group. The lab's security guard team, screaming threats and demands to halt, pursues the borzoi, drawing their weapons.

Remy pounds harder on its chamber door, hearing a fearful cry echo from its falcon neighbor's room.

An uncomfortably long time passes, and the guards get quieter and quieter as they, too, disappear into the darkness. And then, finally, the alarm blares. A hundred hefty clicks, and every chamber door is open. What happened? Where is Norman? It flings open its chamber door and begins sprinting towards the portal room, only to stumble into absolute chaos.

The borzoi stands completely still in front of the keycard slot. All the chambers containing kaiju explode open at once, the creatures vengeful and bloodthirsty. Teeth and claws easily sink through the guards' protective vests. Gunfire explodes out in bursts, missed bullets ricocheting off the walls.

Remy tries to scream, "SWIPE THE CARD!" but is drowned out by the drone of screams, explosions, and roars.

A massive shelled kaiju steps on a guard's head and crushes it instantly, and another's arm is torn off, blood splattering in front of the borzoi's feet as xe stares in horror. The shock snaps xem back into reality, and xe shoves the keycard into the slot, the portal room door sliding open. The portal buzzes to life, and the borzoi is gone.

The captive Daejiin in the other chambers are howling and screaming in both fear and delight, dodging and weaving between the violence, disappearing one by one into the portal and back home.

The falcon from the room next door grabs Remy's arm and starts guiding it through the mess. They scream as a bullet strikes their shoulder, forced immediately to release the smaller Daejiin, as golden yellow blood speckles their feathers. But they keep running, dodging beneath a kaiju's horns and slipping into the portal room. In the commotion, Remy trips on a guard's dislodged boot, but realizes this is a blessing in disguise as a kaiju launches a guard at the wall just inches in front of where it would've been had it kept pace. Leaping over the body and rolling into the portal room, it realizes the falcon Daejiin has waited for it. They exchange a nod before disappearing into the portal together.


THE EXPANSE

It's so bright, and so much. The small village that Remy and the other Daejiin had been taken from just over thirteen years ago. The deeply saturated blue-violet jungle. The nine moons, each shining a different color onto Daeji's landscape at night. Of course, very few Daejiin live here anymore- it is a renowned site of capture at this point. Its population is never any more than twelve, the lowest of any village on the planet. Remy no longer wears its labcoat and refuses clothes and accessories altogether.

But not anymore. The portal, supposedly, had been destroyed in the carnage, and the captives are free. For now, there is no way for the scientists to return. Or at least, thats what Remy's newfound friends are saying.

Most of the kaiju had scattered into the forest, and most of the captive Daejiin moved as far away from the capture site as possible, even the falcon, with many leaving the continent altogether. But not these five; Wyn, Hunter, Zeke, Zenikore, and Violaya were intent on rebuilding the village. Wyn, Remy quickly realizes, is the borzoi. Demanding an explanation of that night, Wyn begins to tell the tale, but Remy's head begins to feel fuzzy, and it violently lashes out halfway through the retelling.

Violaya takes the six of them on a worldwide trip around Daeji. She, too, had been a captive on Earth, but she had been able to arrange a deal to return to Daeji at sixteen years old. Naturally, she became the leader of the group, and began to sit down with Remy regularly, teaching it all that she had learned about life on Daeji so far.

But the closeness was as strange and new as it thought it would be. The six, as they traversed Daeji's continents, would always sleep together in a pile. In beautifully styled buildings, varying in architecture depending on location, lit naturally with lanterns, on an expansive mattress-like floor. Just like the captive Daejiin had described to Remy in the lab.

Whenever anyone mentioned the lab, Remy would lash out at them in much the same way it used to lash out at the condescending scientists.

By the end of the trip, nearly a year had gone by, or a "cycle", as they were called on Daeji. But this behavior still hadn't changed- occasionally, random Daejiin throughout their travels would recognize Wyn, Violaya, and Remy as three of the Daes who grew up on Earth, and every time, Remy would attack them.

Violaya sits down beside it after a particularly nasty one of these attacks. "Can I ask you something about the past?" she inquires.

Remy simply snarls in response. She already knows the answer.

But she presses on. "I'm angry too," she responds. "But I don't think you're angry in the right direction."

Remy swipes at her, and she pulls her arm away to dodge. That wasn't a fucking question.

"Stop treating others the way they treated both of us," she says calmly.

Something in Remy's mind clicks, but only halfway.

"Now, can I ask you something else?"

Remy wants so badly to tackle her to the ground, but it hesitates, takes a deep breath, and then nods.

"When do you think it gets better?" She looks at him with a gaze of sincere sorrow, and a hint of anxiety that had never before broken through her always-proud demeanor.

It says nothing, and the two sit in silence together, a strange familiarity.

Wyn sits, propped upside down against a log, chewing on a big piece of dried meat. Although xyr appearance is mostly the same, xe has grown taller, more muscular, and has adorned a deep maroon set of dragon-like horns atop xyr head.

"Why are you like that?" Remy demands.

"Like what?"

"Like normal all the time!" Remy growls.

Wyn seems entirely lost. "Dude, I'm like the least normal person here aside from maybe you. What are you talking about." Wyn is the only person Remy would allow to make friendly jabs at it.

"It always burns," it whines.

Wyn hesitates for a moment and swallows a mouthful of meat, flipping xyr legs around to sit upright. "Remy, do you wanna sit down for a second?"

It does so, and waits for Wyn to speak. But xe, too, waits for it to speak.

They both start talking at the same time, but Remy keeps speaking over xem, and xe lets it happen. "Are you angry like Violaya is?"

Wyn nods. "Hell yeah, I mean, I'm mad about everything pretty much all the time. Actually, like, do you ever think about how much shit we missed out on?" Xe pauses, emoting with xyr hands as xe speaks. "I mean, I guess we get to experience Daeji now, but like, I'm never going to get those thirteen years of my life back."

Remy's eyes start to water, a sensation so starkly unfamiliar that it is unsure if it has ever cried before. Wyn scoots closer and puts a hand around its shoulders.

When the group finally return to their little village in Tabigat, Wyn announces that the vacation had been the most wonderful and fulfilling experience of xyr life, but Remy just feels angry. It continues bickering with Zenikore, a sight that became increasingly common throughout the trip. Stuck-up and pretentious, she looks down on it for its reckless violence, and today, is finding its repeated noises incredibly annoying.

Wyn, quite literally holding them apart from tearing each other to shreds, demands they both grow the fuck up, but Zenikore laughs. "You and Remy are practically the same person, and yet even you can agree it's being ridiculous."

Wyn storms off, admitting defeat and announcing xe wants a snack and, sarcastically, comments that xe doesn't care who dies in the epic showdown.

"Do you really think that?" Remy asks quietly.

"What?" Zenikore sneers, crossing her arms.

"Wyn and I are the same?"

She taps her chin, clearly holding back from saying something else snarky. "Xe's you if you knew when to quit."

Remy, as usual, isn't quite sure what this means. Zenikore can tell, letting out an exasperated sigh.

The two sit down and have a long and detailed conversation about their pasts.

Remy doesn't quite understand why it feels strange to look at Hunter.

"I think you just like him," Wyn would sneer, giving it a playful punch in the arm.

"No shit," Remy would retort. It knew that well enough. It was just uncomfortable, the thought of putting any sort of emotion other than anger into the world. Violence had, in a twisted way, become comforting. Even Hunter wasn't safe from Remy's random attacks. In fact, not knowing what to do with its crush often made it worse.

"No offense dude, but he probably thinks you hate him," Wyn would say. "You have to be nice to him if you want him to like you back. Like, nice all the time."

First, Hunter would invite Remy to take small trips together to sit by the creek, or gather berries. Then they'd go down to the beach together. But every time, at least once, Remy would lash out and scream or scratch or storm off. Often times, Hunter didn't understand what he'd said wrong. All he had done was point out a strange looking alien pinecone.

"How do you do it?" Remy asks, approaching Wyn again.

"How do I do what?"

"Talk to people," Remy clarifies.

Wyn laughs. "I literally have no idea, can't help you there. The only friends I had in human school just kind of tolerated me. But Daejiin are like, different. They usually get me."

Remy whines. "Nobody gets me."

"Hunter, we have to be dating," Remy demands on a random quiet morning.

Hunter, who had been reading quietly alone in the sunlight, drops his book and squeaks in confusion. "What?! I- I mean yeah, yeah sure! But also, what?! I thought we already were!"

Remy's posture straightens in shock, standing very still for a moment. "Oh."

Daejiin often didn't ask each other out, rather simply started doing romantic activities together on their own accord. This didn't seem much of a problem for anyone, except Remy, and perhaps other Daes raised on Earth, where humans tended to have harder boundaries between the platonic and the romantic. Though not even Wyn seemed to mind despite xyr upbringing on Earth, so perhaps it was only Remy. It felt very alone for a moment.

"I don't want it to be anyone else," it says.

Hunter tilts his head.

"No one else, just us," Remy clarifies.

"Oh," Hunter gulps. Remy is asking for monogamy, an incredibly rare and strange occurrance among Daejiin. Hunter thinks for a moment before adding, "Okay... I can try that." He gets up and gives his new boyfriend a hug, and Remy cautiously hugs back.


THIS TIME

The Xorriyaddans had been keeping a close eye on human activity in the Four Provinces, and would report back to Daeji with their findings. This time, they discover, humans and the humans who had become beasts are preparing for war against the Provincian government, and are asking for assistance from Xorriyaddans, Daejiin, and dragons.

Wyn and Violaya huddle closely in one of the more private village dens, and Remy sits just outside, eavesdropping. It begins to cry once again as it discovers that Violaya is planning on opening a new portal and leading a large group of Daejiin back to Earth to help fight. But she was planning on leaving Remy behind. Wyn and Violaya murmured back and forth. "It's too unstable, it will just retraumatize itself if it ever returns to Earth." "Yeah, I love Remy, but I don't think it'd be able to handle it." "We'll have to tell it to stay here." "Maybe Hunter can stay behind with it. He doesn't fight anyway."

And when Wyn, Violaya, Zeke, and Zenikore departed for Earth, Hunter and Remy remained behind. For awhile, they were only two Daejiin left in town, except for the occasional traveling trader or artist who stopped by. They had been left a sort of Xorriyaddan cellular device which would update them on the war struggle- certain cities were occupied by the Provincian military, and one by one, the human workers and alien fighters would defeat them, claiming a city in the name of true freedom. But sometimes, the military would claim cities back. It isn't happening fast enough, and citizens are reportedly dying as their lives are uprooted beneath their feet. Remy hopes Norman, wherever he is, is still alive, and perhaps even safe, if that isn't too much to ask of the universe.

It was then that Remy realizes he can't do this anymore. The soft moments of domesticity it feels, alone with Hunter in the village, aren't enough to satisfy what it really needs. Vengeance.

"Hunter, we need to go to Earth."

Hunter is nothing like Wyn and Violaya. Soft, quiet, and a bit of a pushover. He isn't about to argue with his beloved boyfriend, though he is visibly upset by Remy's decision. "I don't... know if it's a good idea. But I'll always come with you."

They depart for Unzival, the capitol city of Tabigat, where the new portal to Earth has been opened. As they step through the dimensional rift, Remy's first breath of air back in the Four Provinces nearly makes it gag. But they press on and meet with a war front in a smaller city in southern Christophen, not too far from the lab. Remy desperately hopes it will see Norman fighting the good fight, but he is nowhere to be found.

They don't do much, just sit around together as they did in the village. War is incredibly tedious, they find, and is far more tragic than it is intense and dramatic. Hunter spends most of his time healing those wounded, and Remy begins to twitch every time it sits still, a deep-seated dread seeping into its bones. But slowly and carefully, their front works its way up towards the capitol of Christophen, where President Vincent Ashgrove, leader of the Four Provinces, would be sheltered away, closely guarded by the heaviest sect of soldiers.

It's today, the final push. The military has begun to expect nighttime attacks, but this time, a wave of earth dragons will be flying over the city at dawn and burying the tanks and war machines in soil. Then, Daejiin and larger Xorriyaddans and beasts will rush in to take out the ground troops. Humans, the strategic masterminds, will be waiting on the sidelines for the opportunity to burn the Provincian flag, a symbolic end to the war and beginning to a new age of peace.

Remy wonders if anything will really change. Will the capitol not return to power? Will the rich not try to rebuild their wealth? Will President Ashgrove, also the richest man alive, the man behind it all, the man who made the very decision to build the alien laboratory, make it out alive? Will the humans try to rehabilitate him, as they insisted on doing in most cases, or will he be punished? There is plenty of arguing about it among the ranks of the fighters. It isn't enough, Remy decides, and disappears before the sun rises, carrying only a basic set of tools.

Everyone is gathered in one place now. On its way towards the capitol, Remy spots Wyn and Violaya treating a human's wound in a nearby camp. "Remy, what are you doing here?! Come back!" Violaya screams."Dude, don't go in there!" Wyn adds. But it does not listen.

Being small has its bonuses. Remy weaves behind buildings and clambers over the military barricades until it is crouched at the foot of Christophen's capitol building. But if it proceeds towards any doors, it will be caught on film. Surely, the windows are locked down just as tightly. Scanning the building, it realizes the only way in will be through a vent, far too small for most living beings to fit through. But as a Daejiin, Remy presses itself inside after unscrewing the bolts, its skin liquefying and bones popping out of place to make its frame fit. A bit painful, but it is able to slide along the bottom of the vents at a snail's pace. The sun has risen by now, and most of the military would be busy depending the outside of the building. Now is the time

Ever so slowly, Remy turns corner after corner, occasionally passing by exit vents that lead into different rooms. First, a meeting hall, then a disgustingly lavish lounge where an armed guard is shoving his face with cheese crackers. Then, another meeting hall. It grumbles in discomfort as it is forced to climb upwards to reach the next area. But finally, it comes across what it has been looking for. Vincent's office. The President sits in a massive chair in the center of the circular room, surrounded by four excessively armed guards.

Remy begins unscrewing the vent cover from the inside, slowly and carefully so as not to attract attention. Vincent and the guards speak in fear- it seems they are losing this final battle. But not fast enough. A second boat of emergency tanks will be arriving down the river at any minute, and Vincent will be sending out a squadron to pick it up. Remy will need to hurry.

The final screw is loose, and when one of the men moves out of the room to go to the bathroom, Remy bursts through the vent and falls into the room, a horrific pile of bent bone and wrinkled skin slowly moving back into its proper place. Vincent screams, and the guards draw their weapons, but they are too slow, Remy has seen the soldiers at the lab adoring this type of helmet many times, and has realized that they don't fully protect the neck. It leaps on a guard, forcing the other guards to hold their fire lest they accidentally shoot one of their own, and forces the guard's helmet up before sinking its snake-like fangs into his throat. But once this guard is certainly going to die, the gunshots are no longer held back. Dodging most of the bullets, Remy takes a blast to the shoulder as it kills the second guard, and the last one left panics and phones for backup. President Ashgrove sprints to the furthest possible corner and puts up some sort of shield-like contraption around his body. Other guards are surely stationed in the halls, and sure enough, Remy can hear their footsteps pounding ever closer. Its eyes shoot to the locks- of course, this room can be locked from the inside, but has been left undone so soldiers an come and go. Weaving beneath the rapid fire, it leaps from door to door, locking each of the three. It won't last long, but it should buy just enough time.

Remy kills the final guard in the room, face stained red, before locking eyes with Ashgrove. "Coward," Remy spits. "You understand?"

Ashgrove nods fearfully. He does understand Daejiin, though he doesn't speak it fluently.

"Coward. Pussy. Horrible. Disgusting," it continues, baring its teeth and taking a step towards the President with each word. "You are the scum of every universe. You will burn. There is no Hell." Hell, as Remy had come to learn, was a common teaching among those who practiced Caethlon, the majority religion in the Four Provinces, but Remy had always rejected the idea of eternal torment. Except for Ashgrove. "There is no Hell. But I will make one for you." Remy easily tears the shield away from Ashgrove and grabs him by the neck, pressing him into the wall.

"Disgusting creature," Ashgrove chokes, desperately pulling at Remy's arm to no avail. But he is clearly terrified. "Lazy, stupid beast. How will your people live without profit? Without work? Without capitol? You're no better than I." A tear rolls down his cheek.

But Remy presses harder into the President's throat, screaming, "No. I'm worse," before delivering its killing blow, tearing out the man's windpipe.

The backup guards are starting to break the doors down. Remy lets Ashgrove's body crumple to the floor and fumbles for its tool belt, pulling two lighters out of the pockets. It slams one into the wall, allowing the lighter fluid to spatter across the sterile white wallpaper and drip down onto Ashgrove's unmoving face, then taking the other lighter and setting the wall alight. The fire quickly spreads onto the wooden baseboard and towards the desk, and Remy shoves itself back into the vent just as the doors come crashing open.


A RELEASE

Though most of those who fought in the revolution would often return to Earth to help the humans rebuild a new society, Remy would rarely return. It most often stayed in their small village on Daeji, resting and spending time with Hunter, who had been very frightened over its disappearance the day of Ashgrove's demise. But Remy assures the others that it's over now.

"It's never over," Violaya always corrects it. "It's just begun." The five others in the village often spend their days gathering food, medicine, and building supplies to take back to the human workers, and some especially adventurous Daejiin decided to move to Earth altogether. Slowly, the old lab portal near the village was rebuilt, repurposed for kinder usages. Unarmed humans are allowed to visit Daeji, and tours of the village become somewhat common. Wyn excitedly shows off xyr art to everyone who stops by. It isn't that they're famous- they are far from the only fighters in this war. But Remy is renowned for delivering the killing blow. The final symbolic gesture to the end of the Provinces. An era of solidarity and peace had begun.

"Did it feel good? Killing him?" Wyn asks once.

"No," Remy says.

"But do you regret it?"

"No."

That feeling that had partially clicked before when Violaya was talking to Remy very long time ago, had finally fully clicked into place. It no longer reacted violently when people asked about its past. Its shoulders still twitch, and so do its hands. It still looks fearfully over its shoulders in open spaces. It still shakes when it's alone for too long. It still cries, hard and often. It still starts screaming and thrashing when it hears anything too close to a gunshot. It still feels, sometimes, like it's locked in a small chamber. It still feels, however irrationally, that everyone is talking down to it. Mostly, it still feels like scratching people, but it resists. But it also begins to take back up its old interest in pinecones, studying unfamiliar species of the things found on Daeji. It starts taking longer and longer walks with Hunter, and the two consider taking a private trip to the crystalline beaches of Marathi.

"Oh, you'll love it there," Hunter smiles. "But uh, there aren't any pinecones... there aren't any trees at all actually. I hope that's okay." Remy nods, accepting this sad, sad truth.

One afternoon, Wyn is heard screaming from the village campfire. "Oh my god!" Did xe burn dinner again?

But when Remy peers out from the massive tree trunk's sleeping area, it makes eye contact with Norman Delwayo walking into the village.

"It's you! You're that guy!" Wyn is screaming, running up and shaking his hand aggressively.

Remy pounds down the stairs and barrels through Wyn, running head first into Norman's arms, tackling him to the ground in possibly the world's most aggressive hug.

"Remy!" Norman cries out, hugging it back so tightly, he nearly pops its shoulder out of place again.

Remy clambers to its feet, not even knowing where to begin. "What?! Where?! Where were you?!"

Norman tells the story of living life undercover until the end of the war- going by a new name. "Caesar Afflick."

Remy scowls. That name doesn't suit him at all.

Norman laughs. "Don't you worry. I hope I'll never have to hear it again, either." He pauses before putting one hand on Remy's shoulder and giving that familiar warm grin. "Remy, I am so proud of you."

Remy blinks in surprise.

He repeats himself. "I'm so, so proud of you." He drops to his knees and hugs it again.

Wyn, Hunter, Remy, Norman, Violaya, Zeke, and Zenikore sit down around the campfire for dinner.

APPEARANCE

Remy's current appearance

Remy is a short and skinny Daejiin resembling a white rabbit with an ovular head, bulbous slit eyes, smooth short fur, and a snake-like tongue. While born with more rabbit traits, Remy has shifted to have more snake traits over time, especially after his release from the lab. While his skin and internal organs are entirely green by default, they will flush red when he is angered.


CLOTHING

Growing up in the lab, he wore an oversized lab coat. But Remy never wears clothes after his release from the lab. This is not a problem on Daeji, as nudity is acceptable. Remy's objection to clothes is partially due to his severe sensory issues regarding most fabrics, and partially due to the fact that he views clothing as an accessory for humans, and rejects human customs.


Remy's childhood lab coat, featuring a small hole in the back for its tail
TRIVIA

♦ Remy will no longer talk about pinecones with anyone other than its boyfriend Hunter, or with Norman.

♦ Remy's view is that all forms of captivity, school, work, borders, prisons, should be abolished to obtain ultimate freedom.

♦ Remy and Zenikore hated each other after Remy's arrival on Daeji. But after Remy snaps at Zenikore, the two end up having a long conversation about their backstories, and find that they have more in common than they do differences.


GALLERY
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