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The Real Ricdeau
By Chad 'Graeystone' Harger

Presented by: Xenogears: God and Mind

Fei literally barged into Citan's house with Elly behind him. He found Citan, Yui, and Midori eating dinner as if nothing was happening.
     Citan looked at Fei and said, "Hello Fei."
     "Don't 'hello me' Citan!" Fei shouted. "What in the hell do you think you are doing!?"
     "So you heard," answered Citan in his usual calm voice. He had hoped what was going to happen would happen before Fei and Elly found out. The two of them had wanted to live away from the rest of the world for a few years. After all they went through no one begrudged them their wish. The only two people who knew where they were living was Bart and himself. "I guess Bart told you even though I"
     "Of course he told me!" interrupted Fei. "Do you think with such a decision he would want to sit by while a friend"
     "Enough!" snapped Citan in voice neither Fei or Elly ever heard from this man. Citan was surprised by his own reaction. He thought he had proven he could control his dark side when he and the other invaded Solaris. Citan took a deep breath and felt Yui take his hold of his hand underneath the table. He gently squeezed her hand drawing strength and calmness from her.
     Yui smiled gently. "Please now is not the time. Now is the time for remembering the good times, not for talking about what is to come. We just sat down to dinner. You and Elly are welcome to join us."
     Fei nodded feeling his anger disappearing. Two more chairs were brought out and supper was eaten in silence.
     After dinner Fei and Citan stood outside the house. The sun was setting along with Fei's anger. He always felt it had something to do with being in Yui's presence. He did know he acted like a jerk when he and Elly bursted in like they did. With very little time left he interrupted precious time Citan should be having with his family. "Doc, I'm sorry for barging in like that."
     "I guess it could not be helped," said Citan. "I thought about getting word to you from the start but I know you well enough you would have done something rash that most likely involved Xenogears."
     "The only thing I needed to know was that the whole thing was a sham," said Fei.
     Citan shrugged. "I guess in a way it was a sham. I did after all request it."
     Fei looked at his friend in horror. "Why?"
     "For the world and its people to move on, everyone who has committed, or permitted crimes to be committed, has to be held accountable. Wether such actions happened in Solaris or on the surface."
     "Damn it Doc! No one said a word five years ago when we defeated Deus! Why bring up the past now!" demanded Fei.
     "You were away five years and so much has happened since then. Those of us who committed or permitted crimes to happen on Solaris' behalf decided to do this. The Elements, new and old, and the four members of that Solaris Special Op Forces who raided Bart's pirate layer and hassled you later on agreed to it. We even helped capture those who were on the run from justice."
     "I know all of that," said Fei. "But the rest were cleared. Bart even told me you spoke on Elly's behalf because she never did anything. . .except. . ."
     "Land her Gear in Lahan which many would feel was her fault," finished Citan. "Elly still feels responsible after all of this time does she not? To the point where she would turn herself in."
     "How did you clear her?" asked Fei.
     "While you were passed out after Lahan was destroyed, I checked the remains for survivors and the dead. I came upon a Gear that was hit from behind. I found it rather odd so I checked and discovered the flight recorder still intact. I never really did get around to looking at it until the trials started. I discovered that data contained shows that she was indeed hit from behind by a rather powerful missile. The energy source of the weapon is something I have only seen three times."
     Fei's eyes widened with understanding. "Id, Grahf, and myself. I didn't know until Grahf showed up in desert that he was the one from that night. Of course he knew where I was. I guess when Weltall was stolen he decided to use that as an excuse to try to awaken Id."
     "It could be," said Citan. "Anyway with what I discovered it cleared Elly of any wrong matter. On the whole it did not matter who Grahf shot at as long as whoever it was landed in Lahan so he would have an excuse to go after you."
     "Then what about you Doc? Why did you do this? What could you have done that would warrant your own sentence?"
     "How could I not?" asked Citan. "You remember what happened when we went through Solaris."
     Fei's body went numb. After what happened he and Elly became a vegetarians. Neither of them could eat meat again without remembering that horror they witnessed. "You had no control over that," said Fei. "What could you have done?"
     "I have asked myself that many times without any answer. Yes it is true I knew about it but I never did anything. Me who had the Emperor's ear and did not do anything. I could have asked the Emperor to stop it but I did not. In my own way I was just as responsible as those who ran the machinery."
     "Tell me what happened at your trial Doc. Please at least tell me that much," said Fei.
     "Yes I do owe you that much," said Citan.

* * * * *

     The last day of the trials were over. Although most of the people on trial were acquitted, only a couple of scientist who were involved with Krelian were found guilty. They made no excuses and were proud of what they did. Everyone knew if they were ever let free they just repeat what Krelian had created. For these two there would be no imprisonment, exile, or suspended animation. For them it would be death.
     Citan shook his head as they were taken away to their deaths. Everyone was relieved that it was finally over. The last nail had been hammered into the coffin so the nightmare could be buried. Unfortunately Citan had to remove that last nail for a brief time.
     "It has been a very long road," said Zephyr, who was the judge for these trials. "Now at long last we can finally move on and hopefully we shall move peacefully. I hope we have learned from the past"
     "Your Honor," interrupted Citan. Everyone in the courtroom looked at Citan. If it was one person least likely to interrupt it would be Citan.
     Zephyr blinked twice at the outburst. "Is there something wrong?"
     Citan's expression became grim. He realized his body was shaking. It was the first time that happened since he met the Emperor face to face. Taking a deep breath to calm himself, Citan said, "Your honor it is not over yet. There is one person who still needs to be tried."
     "Who is left to be put on trial?" asked Zephyr.
     Citan's hands clenched into fists. 'This is it. No turning back.' "I am," answered Citan. Around him the courtroom exploded with shouts. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Sigurd, Jesse, and Kahr look at him in shock.
     Zephyr was now totally confused. She had believed everyone who was to be tried had been so. Even Sigurd, Jesse, and Kahr turned themselves in because they were of Solaris. Sigurd and Kahr were found innocent because of the horrors they endured at Solaris' hands and it was decided Jesse was clear when it was decided that he had his families best interest at heart when he left. Jesse tried to live away from the conflict instead of dragging his family into it, but the death of his wife had dragged him back into it. But why would Citan want to? Zephyr stopped in mid-thought. Here before her was Citan the doctor, Citan the unassuming person who could make himself appear or disappear without anyone knowing it, Citan the person who is rumored to have been close to the Emperor himself.
     Zephyr banged on her gavel to restore order. "Citan," she said after the courtroom settled down in silence. "Please meet me in my chambers."
     In the Judge's Chambers, Citan sat in a chair across from Zephyr. The desk and chair Zephyr used were short because of her size. Citan was reminded of the tea parties he attended with Midori when she was younger. A pang of guilt shot through Citan. 'Will Midori see me not as her father but as a monster when this is all over?'
     "Citan are you absolutely sure about this?" asked Zephyr.
     "You of all people should know that we have to be responsible for our actions no matter what position we hold in the world. Many consider me to be a hero. What kind of hero would I be if I hid the truth about my past?"
     "You are right and I do understand," answered Zephyr. "It takes a man of conviction to do what you are about to do."
     "Am I a man of conviction?" asked Citan mostly to himself. "I doubt that is very much true. I think you will change your mind after reading this. These are the records of everything I have done."
     Citan placed a folder on her desk and Zephyr slowly pulled the folder to her. Fear shot through Zephyr at what she was about to read. She opened the folder and looked at the first and second pages. After a long minute she closed the folder. She felt chilled to the bone. There were only two other times she had that feeling. The first was hearing Sophia's words as she sacrificed herself and the other was when she finally saw Fei and Elly face to face.
     Zephyr looked Citan. She expected some sort of emotion in his eyes but she saw none. Just the eyes of a country doctor. After what she looked at she knew the rumors surrounding Citan maybe true after all. "Citan," she said in a soft voice. "Just looking at the first two pages you will lose many friends. When this is all over you may also lose your life."
     "I know. All I ask is for two things. I need a few days with my family. I have never told them any of this and I need to tell them before they find out through rumor or during the trial. The second is I do not want Fei and Elly to know of this. They are still in the middle of healing and understanding all that has happened to them. I do not wish to add anymore trauma."
     "You are correct that Fei and Elly do need time alone. As for having time with your family you do not even rate that much sympathy. The only reason I will allow you this is that Yui was not only a member of Shevat's Royal Court but also a very close friend," said Zephyr.
     Zephyr got up and placed the folder in a filing cabinet. Sitting back down she asked, "Do you have anyone in mind who you want as your lawyer?"
     "I do not need one," answered Citan.
     "You are representing yourself?" asked Zephyr with disbelief. "Doing such a thing is very dangerous."
     Citan shook his head. She still did not understand. "I will not be representing myself."
     "Citan. . .I. . .what will you do then?" asked Zephyr.
     "I shall simply tell the truth," answered Citan. "For that there is no defense at all. Unlike Kahr who was given drugs that gradually drove him insane, I have was never given such drugs. Unlike Elly when she was under Miang's hypnotic and telepathic control, everything I did was done out of free will. Unlike those who were in kept in the dark about certain things, I knew just about everything except what the Emperor and the Gazel Ministry kept to themselves. I am the last of the old who helped manipulate this world and I shall be the last to be judged."
     "I see then," whispered Zephyr. "You had best go home now. Your time with your family will go quicker than you think."
     Citan could hear Zephyr's sadness underneath her words. He remembered her own confession during the war with Solaris. At first he believed such 'punishment' was arrogant of her and the others. But who had she outlived? Her old friends most likely, and was she married with children? What would that be like? To outlive your own children and spouse, not for a few decades, but for centuries? Citan would prefer death over longevity.
     Citan got up and was about to leave the room when Zephyr said, "Citan is maybe premature but, may God have mercy on your soul."
     Citan left the chamber thinking, 'Do I even deserve mercy from Him?'

* * * * *

     One of Citan's hopes was that after the fall of Deus he would be able to spend the rest of his life with his family. With the decision he made to allow his own trial, he had little hope he would be able to see his family again when it was all over. Even if he was found not guilty he felt as though he could never come back to Yui and Midori.
     During the week he spent with his wife and daughter was the most fulfilling time of his life. On the last night he and Yui made love like never before. He put all of his energy into the act as did Yui. Afterwards he tried to fall asleep but could not. His wife sleeping beside him, Citan carefully got up, dressed, and went outside.
     It was warm and the night sky was clear and filled with stars. Citan stared at those stars lost in thought. 'I wonder what happened to the people who dared to play God and created Deus. Did they even know what they were getting into when they made that monster? Did they have the integrity to turn themselves in or did they run and hide? Or were they hunt down like animals and killed for their actions? Do I deserve any less?'
     Lost in his thoughts Citan did not feel Yui's arms embrace him from behind until she spoke. "Are you alright zi Twiel?" she asked.
     Citan smiled at the word Solarian words zi Tweil, which meant my Heart. It was so long since she called him that. "I do not know zi Yullic," he replied. The words zi Yullic meant, my Soul.
     "Something is bothering you," said Yui in her gentle voice. "I do not even feel you drawing strength from me."
     "I guess I am preoccupied with the trial," replied Citan. The broke Yui's embrace and turned to her. He took her hands and smiled. The love he had for Yui ran deeper than most couples. He felt it even ran deeper than all the lifetimes that Fei and Elly shared. Somehow in times of despair and sadness, Yui and Citan were able to draw strength from in such a way that was almost spiritual.
     "It cannot be that bad can it?" asked Yui. "You have already told me most of it. It will be hard on your old friends, but I am sure they will forgive you."
     Citan felt a chill go through him. He wondered why it got so cold so fast. "As you know I was 'Guardian Angel' to the Emperor and had many secrets. With the exception of the truth about Fei, Elly, what Krelian and Miang had planned, and the full details of the origins of humanity on this world, I know every little secret that Solaris has done. There are things that were worse than Krelian's genetic experiment such as the M project."
     "What could be worse than that?" asked Yui.
     Citan turned his head and looked at the stars. He could see them peering at him, unblinking, accusing, cold. It took of his willpower to turn his attention back to Yui. He decided to tell her the worse. It was one of the things that weighed heavily on his mind since he first found out about it. He never knew for sure wether or not it was right or wrong. But that fateful day in Solaris when he showed Fei and Elly the truth, he asked himself the question one last time after he saw Fei and Elly's reaction. It was then that he finally had the answer to the question. "Did you ever wonder during the time I hid you in Solaris why I explicitly told you never to eat any meat?"
     "I know," said Yui. "I figured the meat was drugged to keep the populace's minds dulled toward how they felt about Emperor Cain and the Gazel Ministry."
     "That was only part of it," said Citan. "Remember that most food had to be shipped up from the surface. You knew the population numbers as well as I do. How is it possible for all of that meat to come from the surface?"
     "Well it could have been cloned but it would take to long to produce the meat and to drug it," answered Yui. "I do not know how it could be done unless." Yui's eyes widened in horror. She said in a gasp, "Oh no! Citan, please don't tell me that. . ."
     Citan shook his head yes. Yui's hand slipped out his and her other hand covered her mouth in shock. In the dim moonlight, Yui's tears were reflected. Citan reached out to her but she slapped his hand away. "Don't Hyuga! Please keep away!"
     Citan looked at Yui and saw her other hand was clenched in a fist. He closed his eyes. He figured she was going to hit him or kill him on the spot. She had nearly killed him first time they met. This time though he would not defend himself. He closed his eyes and waited for the killing blow. Instead of a death blow he heard a door slam. Citan opened his eyes and found himself alone in the night. His mind told him to go into the house after her but his body refused to move.
     Moments passed and he heard Midori's confused telepathic voice in his mind. "Father!? Father what is wrong!? Mother is crying! She wants to leave!"
     Citan forced himself into calmness. "Midori," he sent out to his daughter. "Go with your mother and take of her. She needs you more than ever do you understand?"
     "But father what about you? What is going on?" Her telepathic voice was full of grief and confusion that cut Citan to the core of his being.
     "She will explain it all to you," said Citan in his mind, trying his best not to show his own grief and despair in his mind. "When what is to come is finally over I will understand if you will hate me. But always remember that no matter what I have done or what you may think of me forever after, I will always love you my daughter. Goodbye and take care."
     "Goodbye papa," cried Midori. Her sadness washed over Citan's mind. Midori broke the telepathic link and Citan fell to his knees and cried.
     An hour later Citan managed to drag himself back into the house. He slumped into a chair and felt the most vulnerable he ever did in his life. In the darkness he felt utterly alone. Not since those lone nights in Solaris when he realized he loved Yui did he feel such heartbreaking loneliness.
     Tired and exhausted, Citan fell asleep. The next thing he knew someone was calling to him. "Citan? Doctor are you alright?"
     "Yui?" he muttered in his half awake, half asleep state.
     "No Citan. I am with Shevat Military Police," said the voice. "I have come to take you to Fatima Castle."
     Citan snapped fully awake. Faima Castle, the only place on the planet that had the facilities to hold the trials. And the last one was to be his. Slowly he got up. For some reason he did not feel tired or drained after last night's events. 'Well at least the worse is over.' To the MP he said, "I am ready."
     Outside it the first light of dawn started to come up over the horizon. "I know this is asking to much, but may I watch the sunrise?" asked Citan.
     The MP thought about it. "I guess I can permit it Citan."
     Citan watched the sun come up over the horizon. He felt as though this would be the last time he would see one. As the yellow orb came up over the horizon Citan smiled. He recalled before invading Merkvana to rescue Elly, Fei had asked him, "What is at the end the of this long dark night that we are traveling through? What makes it all worthwhile?" Citan smiled and answered, "The sun always comes up Fei."
     Citan smiled as the sun came into full view. 'Indeed it does.'

* * * * *

     The jails in Aveh Castle were very nice. In a way they were compared to posh hotel rooms. Of course a jail by any other name is still a jail.
     A day and night passed for Citan as he sat in the cell. The only person who came to see him was the Wise Man Gasper who would be the prosecutor in his case. "Citan are you sure you do not want a lawyer? This is highly unusual."
     "As I told Zephyr there is no defense against the truth," said Citan. "I know you have read what I gave Zephyr. How can I even come up with an excuse for what I did? As I told Zephyr, I cannot."
     Gasper rubbed his chin thinking. "I know this much, if you go into court looking like you do, you will make yourself to be martyr. If you do that while on the stand people will despise you even more."
     Citan went to the mirror and looked at his reflection. Gasper was right. "What do you suggest?" asked Citan.
     "Control your emotions," answered Gasper. "If you look like you do not care or try to pass yourself off as a martyr you will make things worse for yourself and your family."
     Citan's heart sank at the mentioning of his family. "They stay out of this. Especially Midori! The only thing I will be talking about in regards to Yui and Midori will be the circumstances behind my first meeting with Yui and certain events that happened afterwards."
     Gasper nodded in agreement. "I have to go prepare," said Gasper. "Clothes will be given to you in the morning. As you already know I already gave my opening statement. To be honest I believe I did a to good of a job."
     Citan was not surprised by this. "It cannot be helped Gasper. You were speaking the truth nothing more. Gasper. . .please do not hold back in getting the truth. There are even times I may be tempted to hold back. You may have to treat me as a hostile witness."
     "I understand," said Gasper.
     Although he did not mean to hear it, Citan heard Gasper say to himself as he left, "At least you are doing the right thing. It took us longer than anyone thinks to admit what we did five-hundred years ago."
     'Do not think to highly of me Gasper. Like you and the others who betrayed Sophia, I have done the same. We all gave into the temptation.'

* * * * *

     The next day Citan sat in the witness chair. He was not surprised to see all of the familiar faces in the gallery. Everyone he fought with against Deus, except Fei and Elly, were there, the Elements new and old, and a whole bunch of other unfamiliar faces he did not know. Although he did not see Yui or Midori. In a way he was not surprised.
     "Today we begin the final war crime's trial," said Zephyr. "Yesterday opening statements have been given and today the questioning will begin. It should be known and recorded that the defendant has refused any council. I know this may be irregular, but the defendant has said that in this case there is no defense against the truth. In this case there shall be only one witness. That witness is now on the stand before us all."
     Zephyr banged her gavel three times and said the customary words that begins the questioning. "Gasper formerly of Shevat and prosecutor for this trial, you may now begin."
     Gasper walked to the witness stand. "Please state your name and occupation for the record," said Gasper.
     Citan took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. Now he knew it truly begins. "My real name is Hyuga Ricdeau but now I go by Citan Uzuki. My current occupation is doctor."
     "What was it did before you became a doctor?" asked Gasper.
     "I was what was once known as a Guardian Angel to Emperor Cain and the Gazel Ministy. Although I was more under Emperor Cain than I was the Gazel Ministry."
     Murmuring voices started to rise in the court room. Citan could see shocked faces of those who were closest to him. Fei and Elly were the only two who knew the real truth and he had asked them to keep it quiet. Although Jessie, Sigurd, and Kahr knew he was high up in the government they never realized how high until now.
     Zephyr banged her gavel to restore order. After the courtroom settled, Gasper continued. "How did you become a Guardian Angel? According to what is commonly known you grew up in Etrenank's third class system. I highly doubt that the Gazel Ministy and the Emperor would allow someone from the third class system to aspire to such a position."
     "That is correct," said Citan. "I am a pure blooded Solarian."
     "How can that be?" asked Gasper. "You do not look like it."
     "It was part of my duties not to look like a pure Solarian. My hair was dyed black and my eye color was changed so I could do my duties without anyone knowing the truth."
     "In the simplest terms what were your duties," said Gasper.
     "I was an extension of the Emperor and Gazel Ministy. Because they both lost the ability to act on their own, they needed someone to be their eyes, mouth, ears, and hands."
     "In other words you were a shadow agent," said Gasper.
     "Yes," said Citan.
     "Is there any other reason why you were chosen to become a Guardian Angel?" asked Gasper.
     "Yes," answered Citan. "I did not find out until much later. Like Fei, my Ether ability was unique."
     "Citan there is no mention of this in the records," said Gasper. Gasper looked at Citan carefully. He knew Citan was not lying. "Are you. . .could you possibly be . . .another Contact?"
     "No," answered Citan. "Although my powers were unique as Fei's, I am no Contact. Although we were never sure, the most logical reason is that not only did I draw Ether from the Zohar Modifier but also from nature itself. That is why my abilities were code named 'Arcane'. How and why such a thing is possible was never figured out. I myself did not know about it until just before I left to keep an eye on Fei while he lived in Lahan."
     "I'll bet the Gazel and Emperor were very interested," said Gasper.
     "Yes, but that is not what brought me to their attention at first. As we know now Solaris used limiters to keep the populace from trying a direct attack against the Gazel Ministry and Emperor Cain. Once again the truth did not come out until just before I left. Not only did Emperor Cain tell the truth about my abilities but also one other important piece of information. The limiter that was put into me at birth never took! Of course the Gazel Ministry and Emperor Cain knew this. Every time they tried to implant a limiter the same thing would happen. My unique abilities would destroy the limiter."
     The courtroom erupted with voices. Once again Zephyr banged the gavel to restore order.
     The rest of day was spent Citan talking about his early days. Life in the Solaris Royal Court and his training as a Guardian Angel. At the end of the day Citan felt more tired than we would have believed. In his cell he thought about how easy today was. Nothing really shocking was relieved except for his Arcane abilities and the lack of a limiter. But tomorrow he would talk about some of the terrible things he did. Tomorrow he would start losing his friends.

* * * * *

     "Tell the court about your duties as an Element," said Gasper.
     Citan took a breath and replied, "As you know from previous trials the Elements were formed by five people who were the strongest in each individual element. The fifth member was the leader of the Elements. In both cases of the old and new Elements, the leader was Kahr. Our duty was mostly special operations, but the Elements also served one other purpose. . .it was to keep an eye on Kahr and other people who were considered a risk to Solaris. These people were to risky to keep alive but powerful enough to still be a benefit to Solaris. It is true that the Elements were Kahr's idea, but the Emperor and Gazel Ministry almost balked at the idea. I-I. . .suggested. . .that we could use his idea to keep an eye on him and the others. I knew that the Gazel Ministry never trusted Kahr but never found out why until his origins were revealed."
     Citan paused waiting for an outburst from Kahr, Sigurd, and Jessie. He was surprised that none came. Although if he was correct, one should be coming soon.
     "Please tell the court how and why the original Elements broke up," said Gasper.
     "Kahr who had been abused by Krelian, Miang, and the Gazel Ministry naturally had a grudge against them. He decided to use the Elements to try and take over Solaris. If he got to close to succeeding, I was ordered to kill him. Of course that did not happen because Sigurd and Jessie became dissatisfied with Kahr's ideals. Rather than killing Kahr, I decided to make him look bad in front of the others. I told Jessie and Sigurd that Kahr was not going to do what he said he would do if he succeeded."
     Citan looked at Kahr. Kahr just stared back at him. He was gripping his armrest so hard his hands were white. Kahr shook his head in denial. Citan did not have to be a mind reader like his daughter to know what Kahr was thinking. Not only had Kahr been betrayed by a woman he loved but also by one of his closest friend.
     "I asked if Miang was part of elements," said Gasper.
     Distraced, Citan said, "Could you please repeat the question."
     "I asked if Miang was part of the Elements," said Gasper.
     Even though the question was asked in other trials, Citan knew it would be asked in his. "Yes she was."
     Gasper looked Citan straight in the eye. "Did you know the truth about Miang?"
     "No," answered Citan. "Although the Emperor did warn me to keep guard around her. He said that out of all of them, she was the one he trusted the least."
     "That is one thing that I have wondered since this trial started. How much did you actually know about the truth?" said Gasper.
     "Emperor Cain, Krelian, and the Gazel Ministry spoke very little on the subject. For example, Cain told me about the Gospel, which was to be the time of the rebirth of god, or as we know it, the repairing of the attack computer called Deus. The Gazel Ministry told me that humans on this planet came from another world, yet they never told me the full story. When the truth finally came out, I believe that Emperor Cain and the Gazel Ministry had their own type of limiters placed in them when they were created by Deus. These implants prevented them from speaking the truth. I also believe when Krelian improved Emperor Cain's clones and transferred the Gazel Ministry's mind into the computer, he was able to weaken their limiters somewhat."
     "I see," said Gasper. "Getting back to your time as an Element. There were times when you or the others would be ordered to take individual missions. Correct?"
     Citan's hands started to shake and he placed them on his lap. "Yes."
     "While you told other you were merely acting as a spy there was more to it than that," said Gasper.
     "Yes."
     "What were you really doing on those missions?" asked Gasper.
     Citan wondered why the room suddenly got so cold when he felt so hot. "While I did spy there was more to those missions than that. The intelligence gathering was merely a cover story. Even if I was not able to complete the cover mission because of the real mission, it did not matter. The Emperor or Gazel Ministry made sure that the cover mission got done one way or another so it would look like I did it."
     Citan was balking and Gasper knew it. Gasper faced Citan so that he could look at Citan so no one else could see his expression. Citan looked at the other's face. He could tell the expression that said it all. Gasper did not want to treat him as a hostile witness.
     Citan finally said, "For a lack of a better word. . .assassinations."
     Sigurd and Jessie looked at Citan in shock. Kahr shook his head denial and this time got up and left the courtroom.
     For the next two hours Citan talked about the people he assassinated. One of Elru's rebel leaders, the attempted assassination of the Kaiser of Nortune, who at the time kicked out the Ethos, and a whole list of other people who went against the grand schemes of the Gazel Ministry and Emperor Cain.
     "There are three other assassinations weren't there?" asked Gasper.
     "Yes," said Citan trying his best not to sound tired. "At the time Aveh had become to powerful for Solaris. Solaris also needed someone in control to keep the war between Nortune and Aveh going. Me, Shakhan, and a small squad"
     Bart shot out of his seat and yelled, "No! Goddamn you don't say it!"
     "Sit down!" ordered Zephyr banging her gavel.
     Citan looked at the court with vacant eyes. He saw both Sigurd and Bart's tears running down their good eye. They never knew who the man was that killed their father. "I was a member of the assassination squad. I was. . .I was. . .the one who killed King Fatima."
     Bart overturned his chair, swore, then stormed out of the courtroom. Sigurd sat in his chair in shock. Jessie squeezed his shoulder to make sure he was alright.
     Gasper said something to Zephyr then went to Citan and whispered, "Can you go on?"
     "I have to," answered Citan dulled voice. "No matter what I have to."
     Gasper paced back and forth for a minute. So much had happened in a short time it even took him by surprise. Finally he said, "Tell us about the others."
     "This one took place in Solaris," said Citan. His voice was low almost hoarse. "There was a man who had certain knowledge that would have. . .improved Gear functions one hundred fold. The orders were to take him and his family dead or alive. It never really mattered. Alive Solaris could have used the knowledge for themselves. If they were killed then people like Shevat could never use the knowledge. Myself and the squad where. . .I'm sorry. . .I. . .I Maria, God, I'm. . .so sorry! Your mother, I!"
     There is only so much confession a person can do at once. Seeing Maria break down in tears caused Citan's own emotional dam to burst and he himself started to cry.
     "This is enough for today," said Zephyr. "We are all tired right now. When everyone is has rested and has had time to absorb what has been revealed this day we shall continue the trial."

* * * * *

     That night Citan dreamed.
     Citan sat outside his house with his family eating a picnic. As usual Yui's cooking was excellent. Midori was dressed in white and had small flowers in her hair. It was peaceful, none of them had any cares in the world.
     "Hi Citan!" said a voice.
     Citan turned and saw Bart, Sigurd, Maria, and a group of people behind them. "Hi," said Citan. "Who are they?"
     "Don't you know them? Why they are the families of your victims," answered Maria.
     "Don't take it personal Hyuga," said Sigurd. "You never took personal when you killed my father and Maria's mother did you?"
     "Uh, Citan you might want to turn around," said Bart.
     The dream shifted and Citan was now standing in the desert. Yui and Midori were tied to posts. Maria's and Bart's Gears stood behind them.
     Citan knew what was to come next. "No! Don't! They had nothing to do with it!"
     "Neither did my mother," said Maria. "But that didn't stop you did it?"
     Citan watched in horror as the Gears lifted their leg. Citan yelled as the legs came down on top of his family.
     "Midori!" he screamed. "Yui! Zi Yullic! Zi Yullic!"
     Citan snapped awake. His heart pounding against his chest. He was not sure if his dream was a premonition or caused from the stress of the trial. Whatever the cause, Citan became concerned for his family. 'God. . .please let them be alright. If You or those who I have wronged are going to take vengeance, then please take it out on me.'

* * * * *

     The next day Citan laid on his back staring at the ceiling. He thought about everything and nothing. His past and what was to come. Mostly he thought about Yui and Midori and not for the last time wondered how they were doing.
     "You have a visitor," said the guard.
     "Yui?" asked Citan. But it was not.
     "I could always cross dress and come back later pretend to be Yui," replied Jessie.
     Despite the last few days Citan laughed. "Good," said Jessie. "You're still able to laugh at yourself. Means you haven't totally lost it." Jessie gripped the bars. "Damn it man! What the hell are you thinking? Don't you realize what kind of hell you are put everyone through?"
     Citan stopped laughing and looked at Jessie with solemn eyes. "How could I not? What made me any better than everyone else who went through their own trial? Am I special because I risked my life against Deus? Am I special because of my position as a respected doctor? If I did not go through this than all the good I did means nothing and the trials will mean nothing!"
     "Did you actually do good Hyuga? Everyone is wondering wether the 'good' you did was ordered by the Emperor. Some people even think your marriage is a sham," said Jessie.
     The cell seemed to darken as Citan stood up. His eyes narrowed and stared right Jessie. "You tell those bastards that I love Yui with all my heart and soul. You tell them if they think that they can come here and say it to my face!"
     "Calm down," said Jessie. He knew that Citan's dark side for a brief moment resurfaced. It was the only time Citan would swear. "I don't doubt for a minute your love for Yui."
     Citan took hold of one of the bars. "I know Jessie, I know. How are they anyway?"
     "Midori is confused," said Jessie. "With all she had witnessed during the war she still does not know how to handle this because it is so personal. I think she is trying to be strong but on the inside she still has to let it all out."
     Citan became concerned for Midori. With her unique abilities Citan was not sure how she would react. He should have prepared her better before the trial began.
     "How is Yui?" asked Citan.
     "You're kidding me right?" asked Jessie. "Trying to read her emotional state is about as bad as trying to read yours. All I know is that she is doing a lot of cooking. . .I have to admit she can cook."
     Citan breathed a sigh of relief. "She is doing well then. She must be getting over her initial shock."
     Jessie wanted to know how he knew but did not press the subject. He always felt that Citan's relation with his family was strange in some way.
     "How are Kahr, Sigurd, Bart, and Maria doing?" asked Citan.
     "Not to good," answered Jessie. "Kahr seems to have vanished along with Renee, Bart is extremely pissed off, Sigurd basically in shock, and Maria. . .Maria. . .they had to drug her Citan."
     "Oh no," said Citan with horror. He had thought, believed, that Maria had gotten over her tragic past. He and her grandfather had helped her move past the trauma after the war. "She told me soon after the war she was fine. I should have pressed her to make sure."
     "Hyuga there is something I need to know," said Jessie. "Did you. . .did you know about Stein's plan to kill my wife?"
     Citan looked at Jessie. By the way Jessie stood, Citan wondered if he had a gun hidden somewhere on him. "No I did not. Like Billy, I always believed it was just the Wels who killed her. No one, not even the Emperor and Gazel Ministry knew. He must have covered his tracks very well to hide it from everyone. How did you find out it was Stein?"
     "It was simple," answered Jessie. "The Wel's attack was to well co-ordinated. All I had to do was think of someone who hated me enough to make a deal with Wels."
     Jessie had one other piece of news to deliver. He knew Citan would not like it one bit. "Hyuga," said Jessie. "Yui and Midori received death threats."
     "What!" yelled Citan. His voice echoed throughout the jail. He the bars of his cell grabbed them. If he still had his Arcane abilities, he would have blown the bars right off and went after the people who threatened his family. In his anger he almost did not hear Jessie remind him of something. "Don't worry Hyuga! Yui can take care of herself and Midori. You know that better than anyone!"
     Citan's anger faded away but he still gripped the bars. "You are correct. I guess I just feel highly protective of the only real true thing that has happened to me."
     "I have to go Citan," said Jessie. On his way out, Jessie said, "I thought I knew you Hyuga. I guess I was wrong."
     'No ever truly knew me. Not even Yui. Do I even know myself anymore?'

* * * * *

     The trial resumed and Citan was in for a shock. Yui was sitting in the front row of the courtroom. It took all of his willpower not to bolt to her and embrace her. He tried to reach to her with the unique bond that he shared with her. While she seemed calm he could feel her confusion through the bond. Using what strength he had, which he found was very little, he reached out to her to try an comfort her. He felt Yui resist him with all of her might.
     "Citan I asked a question. Are you going to answer?" said Gasper.
     Citan apologized. He was distracted by Yui's presence. "I am sorry. Could you please repeat the question."
     "I asked about the last assassination attempt," said Gasper.
     Citan looked at Yui and she tilted her head slightly. Citan said, "At the time there was a spy from Shevat that was running rings around Solaris' Intelligence. No one could figure out the identity of the spy. I and ten of the Emperor's personal guards set up a trap. We discovered the spy's trail led to Solaris's underground and sewer system. Unfortunately for the guards, the trap failed."
     "What happened?" asked Gasper.
     "Somehow the spy knew about the trap. The spy killed nine of the guards and left the tenth paralyzed to the extent that healing through nano-technology could not repair his body."
     "Who was the spy?" asked Gasper.
     "Yui," answered Citan.
     With exception of Zephyr and Gasper, everyone looked at Yui. Even Jessie, the only member of the old Elements who still attended the trial, looked at Yui with his mouth wide open.
     "What happened after Yui took out the guards?" asked Gasper.
     "What else could I do? I faced her and we fought," answered Citan. "I was never sure but we fought for almost six hours straight. My sword against her staff. My unbending will against her unbending will. Near the end of the battle we were both tired and gravely injured."
     "How bad was the fight toward the end?" asked Gasper.
     Citan shuddered realizing how close it was at the time he had almost lost her when he did not even know her. "I had stabbed Yui in the left arm which punctured the vein at that elbow. I also managed to take a swipe at her when her back was turned to me and I had nearly severed her spinal column. On the same arm I had punctured the vein I had also stabbed her though the wrist."
     "She fought back didn't she?" asked Gasper.
     Citan smiled gravely. With what he was to say, then anyone who was foolish enough to try something against Yui and Midori would think twice. "As I said before we were gravely injured. She had managed to hit me in the left knee with her staff which caused it to shatter. She also pegged me in the ribs which broke four of them and caused two to puncture my right lung which caused internal bleeding. Yui had hit me in the head earlier which caused a concussion. I did not find out until later that two small pieces of my skull had punctured my brain."
     "How did the fight end?" asked Gasper.
     "All throughout the fight we did not give each other the chance to use Ether or Arcane in any form. At the end though we both knew one of us had to die or else we both would. Sometimes two warriors will meet each other in battle and will acknowledge each other on some level as equals without having to say anything. On that level Yui and I knew we had one chance for victory. Through unspoken agreement we would use our most powerful Ether attack. My most powerful used to be Crystal Water. Yui's most powerful move was Flair Flash."
     Citan took off his glasses and held them up. "I lost," he said. "Just before I reached Yui to use Crystal Water, Yui used Flair Flash. The move had caused retinal damage which is why I wear glasses now. I do not know how much time had passed until I was found."
     "What happened afterwards?" asked Gasper.
     "After I was healed, a process that took three days thanks to Krelian's nano-reactor which at the time was the most powerful in the world, I returned home. To my surprise I found Yui there."
     "What was her condition?" asked Gasper, his voice full of awe. He knew when Yui finally made it back to Shevat she said very little of what happen. She made the report of the information she found in Solaris and that was it.
     "She was dying," answered Citan. Citan paused for a second. It was one of the things he never even thought about let alone talk about. Slowly he said, "At first I was going to kill her."
     "Why didn't you?" asked Gasper.
     "For many reasons. At first it was curiosity," answered Citan. "I wanted to know more about this person who had bested me and almost killed me. While she was there I helped her recover. During that time we grew close. Soon after we fell in love and secretly arranged our marriage while she spent her time in Solaris. The Gazel Ministry found out about it and they were not happy. Fortunately for me the Emperor stepped in and defended my actions."
     "Yes, the Emperor," said Gasper. "How close were you to him? There were rumors floating around in Shevat at the time that Emperor Cain was acting odd. Reports from our spies said that he was acting the most benevolent for the first time in recent history."
     "Once again I can only offer a theory," replied Citan. "Remember that Emperor Cain and the Gazel Ministry were clones. Each one a duplicate of the previous version, and unlike Miang, they all possessed the memories of the previous clone. Emperor Cain told me that five hundred years ago the cloning facilities were destroyed and only his was able to be repaired."
     "That must be why Krelian stuck the minds of the Gazel Ministry into a computer," said Gasper.
     "Yes," agreed Citan. "It was the only way to preserve their minds. As for the Emperor you are correct. Something did happen with the last clone. Remember that the Gazel Ministry and Emperor Cain were directly created by Deus through the Eldridge's life support system. I also believe that Deus also created the cloning facilities that enabled Emperor Cain and the Gazel Ministry to replicate their bodies when their current bodies became to old or damaged. When Krelian repaired Emperor Cain's cloning device, he improved on it. Emperor Cain once told me that he could only exist fifty years in each body. Thanks to Krelian, the Emperor could live for roughly two hundred fifty years."
     "So what made this clone special?" asked Gasper.
     "All I can suggest is that the last one somehow broke free of some of his 'programming' because Krelian's repair job to the machinery was not to the specifications that Deus had intended. Remember that Emperor Cain and the Gazel Ministry had only one purpose: the rebirth of Deus. Emperor Cain was now able to think outside the perimeters set by Deus. While he could think of the plans to rebel, he could not act upon them just like someone with a limiter could not directly act against the Gazel Ministry or Emperor Cain. When he found out what I had done he approached me and told me some of the truth about this world and his plans to try to stop as he put it, 'The resurrection of god.' Soon afterwards I was sent to Shevet to 'spy'. This was a cover set by the Emperor to keep me safe while we worked on a plan to counteract Krelian and the Gazel Ministry. While I was in Shevat I stayed with Yui and studied to become a doctor. The reason I studied to become a doctor was by order of the Emperor."
     "You were ordered by the Emperor? Why is that?" asked Gasper.
     "At first I was not sure. It was not until I completed my 'mission' that I returned and found out the truth behind my medical training. It was then Emperor Cain told me about the Contact," answered Citan.
     "What did Emperor Cain say?" asked Gasper.
     "He said that the Contact was would either humanity's rescuer or destroyer. That he would be the slayer of god. He showed me. . .he showed me the tapes of Id destroying Elru. It was the first time in my life I knew genuine fear. Emperor Cain told me that Fei's powers were awakened in a harsh manner and the destruction of Elru was one of the results. Krelian had kept no notes of what he did to Fei and for a long time Emperor Cain was kept out of the loop when it came to Fei. I think that Emperor Cain did not find out about Fei until Elru was destroyed. I now believe that Krelian, Miang, and the Gazel Ministry suspected that this clone was different. Hence the creation of Kahr, the only man besides the Contact, who could kill Emperor Cain."
     "What were your orders concerning Fei?" asked Gasper.
     "Emperor Cain and I both knew that Fei was driven insane. We were going to kidnap him and try to cure him of the trauma that he had experienced and hopefully bring him to our side. That did not happen. It was not until Fei's mental condition was cured by the Wave Existence that I learned what happened. Grahf and Khan, Fei's frather, fought to see who would get Fei. Somehow Fei was gravely injured. How and who gave him the injuries is something Fei has not told me yet. For almost a month Fei had dropped from the face of the earth."
     "How did you find out he was in Lahan?" asked Gasper.
     "Pure luck I suppose," said Citan. "Fei must have had contact with a Data Crystal. The information was sent to Solaris' central computer. When it came to the Data Crystal, the information was instantly sent to both Emperor Cain and the Gazel Ministry. The Emperor and I had to scrap our earlier plans. We came up with new plan and we would 'assist' the Gazel Ministry in keeping an eye on Fei. At first the Gazel Ministry wanted Fei killed. Emperor Cain said no. After a lengthy argument it was decided that I would go and keep an eye on him. Another stroke of good fortune was that Lahan at the time had an outbreak of particularly nasty flu. A call had gone out for a doctor and it was decided that I would answer that call and integrate myself with the villagers while gaining Fei's trust."
     "Citan I only have two more questions for today," said Gasper. "Did the Gazel Ministry or Emperor Cain cause the flu outbreak?"
     "No. Like the genetic disease that wiped out the Zembiom Civilization, this was a natural occurrence," answered Citan.
     "Where you at anytime ordered to kill Fei?" asked Gasper.
     "Only if his power got out of hand," said Citan. Citan took a pause and looked at the people in the courtroom. He saw nearly everyone he fought by and against. It was now they would finally discover the reason why he did not want Fei at the trial. "I had to make a decision at Lahan when Grahf appeared. Everything was moving to fast when Grahf showed up at Lahan. When I saw Fei get into Weltall I made my decision. I had to stop him but it was to late. When Id took over in the desert, Sigurd had told me to escape the Yggdrasil as it sank into the ground and I failed there. I reported to the Emperor after I made my escape and we found out Fei was in Nortune's prison block. Emperor Cain told me that I had one last chance to stop him. If I failed at that then I was to try to keep him under control before Id could kill anyone else."
     Citan stopped talking and looked around the court. He saw Rico and a shiver went through him. Citan lowered his head in shame and said, "It was not Rico's associates that sabotaged Weltall. . .it was me."
     A low animalistic roar echoed through the courtroom followed by a loud snap. Citan looked up and saw Rico standing. His teeth bared and he was holding the arm of the chair he that he was sitting in. The courtroom was filled with deadly silence. Everyone was afraid Rico would go berserk. They all knew that his uncanny strength had nothing to do with Ether.
     Rico spoke in a deep growl. "I trusted you Citan and you lied to me! When you first told Fei and I it was the monster at the bottom of the sewers we fought that killed my associates I believed you! What happened then? Huh? You said that only to say it was Id who killed them later on! I should have known you were still talking out of both sides of your mouth!"
     Rico slammed the arm-rest on the ground. "Never again! Never again will I trust!" Like Kahr and Bart, Rico stormed out the courtroom. Another life shattered at the deceptions and lies that was Citan.

* * * * *

     Citan sat on the edge of his bunk in his cell. In all honesty he never did like Rico. But the demi-human did say something that was true, he was a liar through and through. All of his life he spoke through both sides of his mouth. Even when he tried to do good he only ended up lying through his teeth.
     "You have a visitor," said the guard.
     Citan wondered who it was this time who was going to yell at him. To his surprise and shock it was Yui.
     "I would like to be able to go inside the cell," said Yui.
     "I'm sorry ma'am, but I can't allow that. No one is permitted inside the cell with the prisoner," replied the guard.
     Yui smiled faintly at the guard. "You were at the trial today correct? I assure you everything my husband said was the truth."
     The guard's skin turned white. He started to stutter. "I-I think we can allow an exception in your case ma'am." Citan smiled knowing that his family would be safe from anybody trying to seek revenge.
     After the guard opened the door, he left leaving Yui and Citan alone in the cell. Citan got up and walked to over to her. He stopped just before her. His head lowered not sure what to do. "Raise your head and look at me," demanded Yui in a whisper.
     Citan raised his head and Yui slapped him so hard the sound echoed throughout the jail. "You lying bastard Hyuga!" whispered Yui. "What kind of life did you make Midori and I live? I only want to know one thing Hyuga. Do you truly love me or is it all a sham?"
     Citan looked at his wife in horror and disbelief. He looked closely at her face and saw that she was as bad as he felt. But still, how could she doubt it? How could she ever ask such a thing?
     Citan attempted to hold her hand but thought better of it. If she attacked him now he would not even bother to defend himself. Feeling weak Citan sat back down on the edge of his bed. "Yui. . .yes it is true that most of my life has been a lie. But through those damning lies there one absolute truth. I love you! When we fought that fateful day I realized there was something about you that I was attracted to. Even with the red haze of battle-lust, I knew if we both survived I would have wanted to see you again."
     Yui sat down beside him. For the longest time neither said or did anything. Finally Citan asked, "How is Midori?"
     "She is confused," answered Yui. "She has been crying herself to sleep. Even with her ah, talents, she cannot understand why you have done what you have done and still be a good man let alone a good father."
     "Am I good father?" asked Citan. "Elly told me how betrayed she felt when she found out about her father's involvement with. . .certain things. I told her that even though he did a terrible thing, he still loved her as his daughter no matter what. When he sacrificed himself at Solaris, he proved that his unconditional love for his daughter."
     "Then you are a good father," said Yui. "You are willing to say the whole truth. A good parent has to be an example to their children. You have done something right at a terrible cost and yes it will cost you. You have admitted that you have committed wrong and are taking responsibility for it."
     Citan smiled, "I wonder if she will ever talk to me?"
     Yui took hold of Citan's hand. "She will. Before it is truly over and what may come she will talk to you."
     "I am so tired," said Citan. "I never thought this would be so draining on so many levels."
     "I'm sorry that I pushed you away earlier," said Yui. "I was still hurting from everything that came out. Not only was I hurting you but myself."
     "And now?" asked Citan.
     Yui smiled and embraced Citan. They held each other tightly for a hour. Through their bond they shared their sadness, strength, and hope. If Ether was still in existence anyone who looked at the two lovers would have seen a faint white glow surround them which would represent their bond.

* * * * *

     The final day of the trial and Citan was ready talk about the biggest, most horrific secret of Solaris. Citan knew that even if people forgave him of his other crimes there would be no way they would forgive him of this.
     Yui once again sat in the front row of the courtroom with Midori sitting beside her. Citan looked at Midori and thought, 'I am so sorry I have wronged you my daughter. Please forgive me.'
     "I do," sang Midori's telepathic voice in his mind. Her mental voice was full of sadness that washed over Citan. "Father I know you may have done some bad things, but I know deep down within your mind and soul you have regret the things you have done."
     Citan tried his hardest not to cry. The last thing he wanted was for everyone to think he finally had a breakdown. "Oh my innocent child! I thank you so much. Always remember whatever happens I will always love you daughter."
     Citan looked at Midori and saw her wipe a tear. "Midori there is one other thing."
     "Y-yes father?"
     Citan frowned slightly. "Remember what I told you about using your telepathy without permission while in public?"
     "I know father but"
     "No 'buts' Midori," interrupted Citan. "Just like I have to take responsibility for my actions, so do you. It does not matter who we are. When we do wrong we have to own up to it. That is why I am doing this. One way or another the truth always comes out. In the case of what I and others have done we decided to do the right thing and admit to what we did. We all decided to allow the world to know what we did and to be judged. We could have taken the easy way out and say we were manipulated by the Gazel Ministry, Emperor Cain, and in some cases myself. Yet that would have been a lie. Everything we did, we did out of free will. Out of all of us, I was the one who did the most wrong. Do you understand?"
     "I-I think so," replied Midori.
     "Good," replied Citan. "Gasper should be coming soon and I need some time to think of what I have to say. Midori you take care of your mother, understood?"
     Instead of replying, Midori broke the mental contact with her father. Citan looked at Midori and smiled. Some things did not have to put into words, or in this case, telepathy.
     A few seconds later Yui looked at Midori. She gave her daughter a slight frown then looked at Citan. Citan simply nodded. Somehow through their bond, Yui must have felt Midori's contact with Citan. Citan, like Yui, was always worried for Midori when she first started to display her gifts. For obvious reasons they did not want Solaris to find about her telepathy. They were so worried for her daughter that they decided to keep it a secret from everyone. Although Midori almost let the secret out in Shevat. First was with Maria, then with Fei when Id took over when he was in suspended animation. Although Citan and Yui were upset afterwards, they understood it was necessary to do so. With Maria it was to help her prepare for the awful truth about the fate of her father, with Fei it was to warn Daniel to get him out of there before he was once again caught up in Id's wrath.
     Citan decided when Midori's abilities first manifested he would do anything to keep her safe. At the least he would lie about his daughter's telepathy, at the most he would kill. Unlike his trial, Citan would shed no tears for his action against anyone who would try to exploit his family. Of course in a way he knew he did exploit his own family. As he played family man around them, they never knew what kind of man he was until now. For keeping his family in the dark and causing them this harm Citan wondered if he could forgive himself.

* * * * *

     Five minutes after Citan's and Midori's talk, the trial continued. Gasper stood in front of Citan trying to hide his shock. What was to be revealed today made Citan's previous crimes look pale in comparison. He and the others in Shevat knew Solaris had done some horrible things, but this, not in a million years would he ever imagine that they were capable of such evil.
     Gasper took a very deep breath and started what he hoped was the last day of this nightmare. After this trial he hoped that maybe, just maybe, humanity could finally move on.
     "Citan," said Gasper. "Tell us how you were involved with Project M."
     "As we all know now, Project M was created to engineer humanity so they could return to Deus' body or become extensions of Deus like the Seraphs," said Citan. "Of course Emperor Cain did not know this. Originally Krelian told the Emperor that the idea behind Project M was to extend the human life span. He ordered me to become his assistant for awhile to make sure Krelian was actually doing what he promised. We all know the true results of his plans. Krelian was very carful to hide the truth from everyone except his partners who were most likely Miang and the Gazel Ministry."
     Citan's hands started to shake harder than ever. "At the time I joined, Krelian was facing a crisis that I did not even now about. Most people believe that Solaris and Etrenank in particular held twenty five thousand people from all three classes. The numbers were wrong. In order to keep control the Gazel Ministry was forced to lie. The actual population number was sixty thousand."
     "That's impossible," said Gasper. "There was no way Etrenank could held held sixty thousand people!"
     "At first it was a problem," replied Citan. "We were even on the verge of a famine. The choices were a mass raid of the land dwellers' food supply, quickly produced cloned meat but with lesser effective drugs that were used to keep the population calm, or a mass purge of all three class levels."
     "Our spies never reported any mass purges or mass raids on the land dwellers," said Gasper. "So I guess that Krelian was forced to clone the food."
     Citan's heart felt heavy against his chest. There were only two other people alive who knew the god awful truth. Their reaction to the truth had answered the question that haunted him for many years. "And what is in those reports are a lie."
     "Then what is the truth?" asked Gasper.
     Citan had to use all of his will to keep from shaking. "For five hundred years Krelian had preformed experiments on humans. The question remains what happened to his failures?"
     "That is a good question," said Gasper. "So what happened . . .to?" Like Yui, Fei, and Elly, Gasper realized the awful truth. The most heinous act of Solaris had just been revealed to the world. "My god Citan!" yelled Gasper. "He didn't dare, he couldn't have!"
     "Cannibalism," said Citan. "Ever since Krelian made his deal with the Gazel Ministry and Emperor Cain, he improved the food source of Solaris by turning his failures into food for the populace."
     The court erupted once again. It took Zephyr longer to restore order because she herself was staring at Citan in shock. She did not realize that the court was out of order until Gasper got her attention.
     Before Gasper could speak Citan lowered his head and closed his eyes. He then made his last confession. "Not only am I skilled as a doctor, but also as an engineer. . .I made a decision to help Krelian. Not only did I help Krelian solve the food crisis. . .but I also improved the machines that. . .that. . .converted Krelian's failures into food."
     Silence reigned the courtroom. The only sounds were Midori's sobs.
     Gasper slowly turned from Citan to Zephyr and said, "Your honor I have no more questions for the witness. . .the prosecution also rests its case." As an afterthought he said, "Thank God."

* * * * *

     Citan refused any visitors until the verdict came in. He needed time to think about himself, his past, the trial, and the future. He though about himself and he knew he was liar and manipulator through and through. The only time he was truly honest was when it came to his feelings toward Yui and Midori. He thought about his past and the people he fought and bled with. While he did have close friendships with the people he fought along side with, a small part of him had to keep them all at arm's length to protect them and himself. He thought about the trial. In a way he was sad that he went through it. All of those potential friendships he could have truly forged were now missed opportunities. He hoped Midori would understand why he did what he did. He hoped she would be able to live without thinking of her heritage as being tainted because of him. The thought about the future and his life without Yui and vice-versa. Wether it would exile or death, his bond with her would be shattered forever.
     The morning of the day of the verdict, Gasper came to see Citan. "You are a real piece of work!" said Gasper. His voice low with anger. "You set this whole damn thing up didn't you? All of these trials were your idea!"
     Citan sat up in his bunk and looked at Gasper. "I have no idea what you mean. Everyone of us who worked for the Solaris government agreed to this. It was hardly my idea."
     "Don't give me that! I'm pretty sure you approached the others before you all went to Zephyr as a group!" said Gasper. "Zephyr told me the conversation she had with you before your trial started. She said that you said, and I quote, 'I am the last of the old who helped manipulate this world and I shall be the last to be judged.' I never realized what you meant by it until last night! Those words proved it was no coincidence that you turned yourself in when you did! You could have done it at anytime!"
     Citan stared back at Gasper. "No one would believe you Gasper. Besides it is to late. You rested your case. Now all that is left is the verdict."
     "Then why!? Why put everyone through this!" demanded Gasper.
     "Absolution!" snapped Citan. "All of us that played a major role on Solaris' behalf at one point or another needed, no wanted, to be forgiven! Even though Zephyr let things slide after Deus fell it was not good enough for us! We all wanted to confess but we were afraid to! I suggested the trials as our confessional! I even suggested helping bringing those criminals who went underground to escape justice! Those of us who willingly gave themselves up promised to take whatever punishment was meted out! I knew also that my trial had to come last because what I did paled in comparison to what everyone else did! If I did not go last people would wonder about the others who did not yet go to trial!"
     "Zephyr almost forgot about you until you brought it up," said Gasper. "You could have lived in peace with your family, and instead you do this."
     "Two reasons Gasper. The first is that the truth always comes out sooner or later. The second is because what kind of father and husband would I be if I did not admit to what I did?"
     "I see," said Gasper. "I have to go talk to Zephyr. I should tell her what we just talked about. She might believe it but as you said no one else would. The verdict will be ready in about a hour or so."

* * * * *

     Citan was surprised to see the courtroom was packed. Even those who walked out during the trial were there. Their faces were impassive and even Citan's keen skills of observation could not tell what they were thinking. But he knew that no matter what they wanted to see what was to become of him.
     Zephyr entered the court without a sound. She banged her gavel which sounded like a gun going off. "Hyuga Ricdeau who is now Citan Uzuki." Zephyr paused then continued. "You have been found guilty of all charges."
     The courtroom erupted in loud voices. Some were cheering, others were stunned, and the only three who were crying were Yui, Midori, and to Citan's own surprise, Maria.
     It took Zephyr almost five minutes to restore order to the courtroom. After order was restored she turned to Citan and said, "Citan you deserve death but I cannot allow that for the simple fact that you faced death when you fought Deus. What I can do though is take away what is most precious to you just as you have taken away what is precious to others." Citan sank into his chair and his whole body became limp and cold. He knew what was most precious to him.
     He barely heard Zephyr continue. "Exile is out for the obvious reasons and we currently do not have the resources for life extending treatments. That leaves the last option." Zephyr closed her eyes and continued. "One of the few things that survived Shevat's destruction was the plans to the Carbonite Freezing System." Zephyr turned to Citan and he forced himself to look at her. Their eyes locked and Zephyr said, "You shall be frozen for two-hundred fifty years. By that time you will be as a stranger to any relatives of yours that may exist."
     Zephyr turned her attention back to the courtroom. "After this long hard rode the trials are finally over," she said.
     Zephyr then brought her gavel down. The gavel connected making its last sound and at the same time hammering the final nail into the coffin of this nightmare never to be opened again.

* * * * *

     Fei looked at Citan in shock, disbelief, and horror. The only other time he felt this way was when he learned the truth about himself and Id. After a long pause, Fei said, "Doc. . .Citan, why?"
     "I already explained why," answered Citan.
     "That's not what I mean," said Fei. "What I mean is that you had many opportunities to kill me. Between the transition of me gaining control when Id would sleep I would be unconscious. You had plenty of time to do it then."
     Citan looked at Fei and a sad smile formed on his face. "When Midori was born, she was hideously disfigured. She almost did not survive her birth. It took many months in a nano-reactor to repair the genetic damage. During that time I tested myself and Yui to find out if either of us had any problems. The tests showed something horrible about myself. My Arcane abilities came with an awful price that I never knew about until then. Like radiation, Arcane had damaged my sperm and any children I would have would have some genetic defect. At first I tried receiving treatment in a nano-reactor. I do not know if my sperm was too damaged or what, but it did not work. So I had only one option left and that was to make myself sterile."
     "But what does that have to do with me?" asked Fei.
     "When I first started to observe you, you were just another mission. After I helped with flu outbreak and helped you finish healing your wounds you became my patient. As those three years slowly passed you eventually became my friend. When Lahan was destroyed I almost did kill you as you laid helpless on the ground. Yet. . .something held me back. In Nortune when I sabotaged Weltall, I did a sloppy job. Again I did not know why. It was not after I forced Id into the open in Solaris that I realized the truth. Before I discovered the truth about my damaged sperm, Yui and I often talked about having a son a few years after Midori was born." Citan paused and looked at Fei. "Not to sound like some stupid cliche but, you had become like a son to me."
     Fei put a hand on Citan's shoulder and said, "Thank you Citan. What will happen now?"
     "In two days I will go where the Goliath was stored," answered Citan. "That storage facility is the one of the few areas that run on non-Ether energy sources. There I will be placed in suspended animation."
     Fei was shocked by Citan's casual demeanor. "Doc, how can you be so calm about this?" he asked.
     "I am not," said Citan. "Lets just say there are some things about me that are best left unspoken," he said referring to his dark side.

* * * * *

     It was their true last night together as a family. A few hours before dawn they agreed to watch the sunrise together one last time. They sat on the damp ground awaiting for the sun to rise. Minutes later Midori leaned against Citan and fell asleep.
     "She is exhausted," said Yui.
     "I know," said Citan. "I put you both through so much." Citan looked at Midori and realized something. He would never see her grow up into a beautiful woman. He would never be able to hold see his grandchildren.
     Through their bond, Yui felt Citan's sorrow. "Are you alright?" she asked.
     "Just thinking about missed opportunities," said Citan.
     Yui own sorrow built up. "Opportunities," she said. "Citan there is something I want you to promise me."
     "What is it?" asked Citan.
     Through their bond, Yui's sorrow was the most powerful Citan ever felt from her. "Citan," she said. "When you awake in the future you will be alone without friends or relatives. If. . .if you need to seek companionship then I will not begrudge you that. Do feel guilty for doing so because of your love for me."
     "Yui," stuttered Citan. "I-I don't know if. . .what will you do?" It was something he never even thought about.
     Yui took hold of Citan's hand. "I still have many friends and Midori. Even though it will still not be the same as our bond, it will be enough to keep me through the loneliness."
     Citan drew Yui close to him. "Zi Yullic," he whispered.
     "Zi Tweil," replied Yui.
     And for the last time they kissed as the sun rose up as if two shine on just the two of them.

* * * * *

     The only people who were at Goliath's old hanger was Fei, Emeralda, Yui, Midori, Zephyr, Gasper, and a few guards.
     "I thought Elly would be with you," said Fei.
     "She did not want to come," said Fei. "She told me there was something unique between you and I. I guess some part of Sophia showed through and saw how you thought of me as a son."
     "I see," said Citan. "Fei someday you may or may not achieve some type of position like I did in Solaris. If you ever do, remember what I have done and try not make the same damning mistakes."
     "Ok Citan," said Fei wiping a tear. "The others wanted to come. I guess they did not want to make things harder than they already are."
     "I understand," said Citan. "Tell them. . .them that I am sorry for all that I have done."
     Citan walked over to Emeralda. Citan smiled and said, "I am surprised to see you here."
     "Even though I still have yet to understand everything," said Emeralda. "I decided to make a promise for I do know what that is. When it is time Citan, I will be here for you when you awake."
     Citan smile widened. "Thank you Emeralda. Always remember that life offers many lessons. Some are easy and others are hard. Try to learn from each with equality and you will finally understand what it is like to be human."
     To Citan's surprise, Emeralda hugged him.
     After she let go, Citan walked to Midori. He hugged her tightly and whispered, "Talk to me in my mind."
     Midori nodded and used her telepathy. "Father?"
     "Midori when you were in contact with Fei in Shevat, you initiated it right?" asked Citan.
     "Yes," answered Yui. "I was worried for him."
     "I understand but you must never attempt contact with me. It will only make things harder for you. All I ask is that you always think well of me even though I have done some horrible things in my life. But there one thing that is true Midori. You are my daughter and I love with all strength that possible for a father to do so."
     "I will father," she said. In a whisper she said to Citan, "I will father and I love you."
     Citan walked to Yui. We wanted to say something but could not. Instead he hugged her hard and she returned the embrace. After some time passed, Zephyr said, "Citan it is time."
     Citan tried to let go but could not. "I-I can't," he said.
     Gasper took Citan's hand and tried to pull him away. Citan resisted. "Citan,"said Gasper in a gentle voice. "For both of your sakes you must let go and finish this."
     Slowly he pulled away from Yui. "You are. . .you are correct Gasper," said Citan.
     He walked over the device that would keep him asleep for two hundred fifty years. He turned to Yui and Midori one last time. They smiled back at him trying to leave him with the last impression of them being happy not sad. Citan forced that final sight of his family to be burned into his memory.
     Citan got into the chamber and took off his glasses and handed them to Gasper. He heard the sound of his wife and daughter crying followed by the sounds of machinery being activated. It gradually became colder and colder as Citan's body and mind started to dull.
     With the last of his strength he reached out one last time to Yui through the bond they shared. For the first time through the bond, words were conveyed. "I will always love you zi Tweil," said Yui.
     With the last of his strength, Citan sent back, "I wi. . .ll al. . ways. . .l. . .ov. . .e. . .you. . .my. . .Zi. . .Yullic.
     . . . .
     . . .
     . .
     .

     Author's Note: Well I don't if this the best I have ever written, but I think it is the most intense piece I have done. Just a couple of things. Renee, as mentioned way back in the story, is actually Dominia. I always felt that Dominia had to be nickname or code-name. The name she went by in the game felt to fake to be her real name so I just made up Renee. There was so much I wanted to put in, like a possible interaction between Citan and Grahf. I always felt that Citan being who he was and he never met Grahf. As for a sequel about Citan waking up 250 years in the future, well, not going to happen. Although I may or may not write a story about on the events mentioned during the trial. I'd like to thank the following hip cats who helped without even realizing it:
     Googleshng over at RPGamer who posted my letter about the three wise men, Citan's real last name, and how to spell Solaris' capital.
     Xenochick who was guest-hosting with Googleshng and answered my questions.
     As usual any constructive compliments or complaints are welcome. I'll shut up now.

* * * * *

     Xenogears and all related characters is copyright 1998 Square
     The Real Ricdeau is copyright 2000 Chad Harger
     This story is not to be reproduced onto any medium without the author's permission. This story is also not to be sold under any conditions whatsoever.

 

~ End ~