Project Sidus: Final Zodiac
Chapter #1: All in the beginning...

By Kia Purity

The year is 2004.
Twelve people are fated to unite in the face of destruction.
A destruction that threatens to wipe out the Zodiac.
All hope rests on the twelve teenagers to save the Zodiac from the ultimate destruction that would forever wipe the Zodiac from memory.
This is the secret Project Sidus...

    "Hrm?" Lillian Dream looked out from behind her locker door, wondering what was it that she heard just now.
    There was nothing there, but when she turned her head back to her locker, getting ready to close it. Her eyes widened in shock at the note that was suddenly there on the door. A crowd of girls giggled as they walked by Lillian while she ripped the note off of the locker door, annoyed.
    She took a fast glance at the note and groaned in utter mental pain over the cheesy poem.  Okay, so who was this guy who decided to start liking her? For goodness' sake, she didn't want to fall in love!
    Lillian mumbled to herself as she crumpled up the note and flung it into the nearest trash can, making her way out of the door.  Somehow, this week looked like it would get worse.

    "I'm home."
    Lillian glanced around the small hobby shop which boasted shelves full of model kits along with few anime items, video games, and what else happened to be cluttering up the shelf.  So far, the shop was starting to look less like a hobby shop and more like an anime store. Her uncle was starting to order pretty strange stuff as of late, she thought.
    "Ah! Lilly! You scared me!" Citan Dream jumped up from behind the counter. "So, Lilly, how was your school day?"
    "Meh, got a love note."
    "Ah, young love..."
    "Why should I care about the love note?"
    "Lillian." Citan's tone turned serious. "You're a teenager, you should care about love. You don't have all the time in the world."
    "What's with that time crap again, uncle!?"
    "Ah, sorry! I forgot!" He laughed. "But yes, you need to stop worrying and be happy."
    "Maybe. Maybe I'll join a club!" She exclaimed sarcastically.
    "That's the way to go, Lilly! Maybe you would become a natural leader..."
    Lillian sighed and propped her elbows on the counter, staring at the assortment of anime dvds stocked against the wall. "I don't get it... why is it that they're so popular?"
    "Well, it's just that the teenagers want to get away from reality..." Citan glanced at Lillian. "If you wanted to, you could always watch the DVDs."
    "I don't---"
    "Have the time." He shook his head. "Really, Lillian... I thought I got it through ya..."
    "Fine, fine!" She exhaled loudly and grabbed a random dvd from the shelf, storming off to the 'back room' which led to the main house.
    Once in her bedroom, she eyed the dvd that she had grabbed from the shelves and wondered why she had grabbed this particular anime. It was a story about vampires? The title of the dvd was really weird... what kind of title was Hellsing?!

    Citan nearly fell over at the voice and he looked up from behind the counter.  A wide eyed girl stared up at him, smiling innocently, holding two boxes of Gundam Wing model kits.
    "Sir, I'd like to purchase them."
    "Ah, yes..." He rang up the price on the items.
    "Say, are you related to Lillian?"
    "Yeah, I'm her uncle... you a friend of hers?"
    "Oh, just a classmate of hers in a history class." The girl sighed. "She seems such a nice person, but she's so quiet! I would like to get to know her better."
    "Hm." He shoved the boxes in a paper bag while he dashed the girl's check card through the slot.  He peered at the card for the name.
Celesta A Nethers
He pulled out the receipt and gave it to Celesta complete with a pen. "I'm sure you know the standard process."
    "O'tay!" Celesta quickly signed her name on the receipt and gave it back to Citan in exchange for her card. "Thanks!"
    "By the way, could you do me a favor?"
    "Hang out with Lillian sometime?"
    "Sure! No problem!"
    Citan sighed and polished the counter as Celesta shuffled out of the shop.
    "Going to have to restock the Gundam Wing model kits... Shenlong and Altron?" Citan looked at the signed receipt, puzzled. "Eh, must be a Wufei fan." He shrugged and went through his order checklist, checking several items off the list.

    Lillian rubbed her forehead in a daze from watching Hellsing.  It was just... weird... but the story was very interesting! Just that... the episode previews were very bizarre. Still, she was amused by the anime and really understood why people liked watching anime.  It could be serious but yet, hilarious as well as providing a safe escape from the harsh reality.
    "Yeah, uncle?"
    "Should I order some pizza for dinner?"
    "Sure, I don't mind..."
    "How was Hellsing?"
    "Well. Interesting, but the episode previews... disturbed me."
    "Haha! That's because the comic book version was like that! They just made the anime version be so serious... so the episode previews have to offset the seriousness!"
    "...oh." She wasn't sure if she wanted to know so she shooed her uncle to the telephone.

    Lillian locked her bedroom door and slipped into her bed, sighing loudly to herself.  Randomly, she looked up at the ceiling and realized that she never noticed that Citan decorated the ceiling just for her. Since her parents' death, she had never looked upwards because she felt like her life had been robbed.  It seemed that she had just taken her first step in changing her life... just by looking up.  The ceiling was painted dark blue with glow-in-dark stars arranged in constellations and she could only recognize the twelve constellations.  Of course, she recognized them because her uncle insisted that she should learn all about the zodiac and be familiar with it.
    He never would tell her, simply saying that she had to wait for the day.
    The day?
    Why was she thinking about the zodiac right now?
    Maybe... maybe, that was all she could think about...but why?
    She yawned as she turned the light off, still staring at the ceiling.  The stars instantly glowed, but the constellation for Leo was glowing especially bright.  Somehow, that comforted her as her eyes closed, drifting off to sleep.

    "Leo... Leo! LEO!"
    She blinked, not quite sure where she was and she gasped once she looked down. She was standing on a floating platform in what seemed to be a place full of darkness but yet, there were candles lighting the way. There were also more platforms as she staggered around, trying to figure out who was yelling for her zodiac...
    "Who's there?!" She yelled back.
    The candles flared brightly on a platform above her, revealing her classmate from her history class, Celesta.  Lillian blinked in surprise, wondering why she was there.
    "We're dreaming, Lillian. This is my special realm, so all I can do is really guide you through it. Um, I think it'd be for the best if we stayed on our platforms and not move..."
    "Dreaming?" She sputtered. "Why can't we move?"
    "Er... I'm not sure if it's safe to... but anyway! Do you remember me?"
    "You're in my history class?"
    "Right, Leo!"
    "Why do you keep calling me that...? I'm not..."
    "Yes, you are. I'm not clear on this, but it seems that we are a part of Project Sidus. I'm Cancer!"
    "What is Project Sidus?"
    "I don't know. I'm trying to find this out by hopping in as many dreams as I can!"
    "This is just a silly dream. I know I'll wake up and it'll all be over. Just like that." Lillian exhaled angrily and stepped off the platform.
    Lillian froze and looked beyond the platform.  There was no ground, but endless darkness.
    " you see? There's nothing below us. I can't promise you that there's a ground because I have no idea what this place is."
    "Ohh... but dreams... they're just dreams! If you fall, you don't die, right?"
    "Well, yes... but sometimes, your mind can consider the dream to be real. It's odd, but people have actually died from dreaming. Still, it's rare."
    That was not comforting.  Lillian sputtered again. "So, what do we do?"
    "Ahaha..." Celesta laughed nervously. "So... we find the other zodiac---huh?"
    They looked upwards to the top platform which was occupied by a shadow which was starting to glow with a red aura.  Lillian realized why they couldn't move was because all of the platforms were occupied by shadows.  She wasn't sure to consider the shadows safe or dangerous.
    "Oh, don't worry... they're the same as us... only they haven't waken up."
    "Waken up?"
    "Yes. You and I are aware of our zodiac abilities... are you not?"
    "I... yes..."
    "Then, we should wake up the other ones... oh! It looks like Aries is waking up on his own."
    "His...? You mean, Aries is a guy?"
    "And he's in our history class too!"
    "..." Realization smashed into Lillian as her memory quickly flashed back to the love note which was signed by the letter A. "..."
    "Ah, are you okay?"
    "Er, yes, I'm fine..." Purple aura glowed on the platform below her. "...Virgo?"
    "This doesn't make sense..." She muttered to herself. "Celesta, is there any explanation?"
    "I'm not sure, but it seems that we're aware of them waking up through dreams. It's harder to sense them in real life."
    "Water signs are sorta psychic..."
    "Time to wake up! School's in the morning!"
    The candles blew out in an instant, leaving Lillian all alone in the darkness as bright light surged out of the "ceiling" of the darkness and dove down to hit her.  She rose her arms as if she was trying to block the onslaught of the lightness.

    Lillian gasped as she shot out of the bed. "THE HELL WAS THAT DREAM?!"
    "Lilly? Are you okay?" Citan opened the door. "I heard you yelling."
    "It's just that... well, I had a weird dream... it's nothing important."
    "Nightmares about your parents?"
    "Really? The nightmares have stopped?"
    I haven't had any more nightmares ever since the first day of school... odd... Lillian pondered to herself.
    "Yeah, uncle. Everything's ok..." She eyed the clock, realizing that Celesta was right. "...that was an odd dream."

    Lillian walked up to her locker, opening the door and was greeted twelve yellow roses.  She stared in surprise and yanked the note off of the roses.  It could only be from the same guy.
    Okay, so, roses in the locker was a very dramatic move.
    ...twelve roses...
    Twelve roses?
    She wasn't sure, but she could've sworn that particular shade of the roses was also her zodiac color.  Might have to ask her uncle about the zodiac colors again.
    "Uh?" Lillian turned around and blinked at Celesta. "Celesta?"
    "Yes. ... Oh, who are the roses from?"
    "Well! Whoever it is, he's sure a hopeless romantic!"
    "... it's disturbing..."
    "He introduced himself to you before."
    "Did he?"
    "You were cold towards him... so he didn't bug you for a year."
    "...I... I don't remember."
    "Anyway, he's gotten bolder now."
    "I see. I guess I'll have to apologize for my attitude. It's just that I'm not comfortable with romance. In fact, I don't even want to try to care too much about people."
    "I... well... my parents were killed."
    "Oh! I'm sorry!"
    "No, it's ok. I shouldn't have reacted so harshly. They were only bystanders in that bombing."
    "Er, which one?"
    "Oklahoma City Bombing." She sighed.
    "In any case, I want to find the other zodiac."
    "Yeah, that's good, but..."
    "We've got to be careful about doing this, you know."
    "Bad feelings, I suppose. If we can hunt down the missing members, we should be fine!"
    "I see. So where do we start?"
    "I hope we're going in the right direction... but I've noticed the thing about our names. The puns, specifically."
    "The first letter of our names are the same of our zodiac signs. I'm going to try tracking down the others this way."
    "What if they're not?"
    Celesta frowned. "I hadn't really thought of that."
    Lillian nearly fell over as the bell rang the 5 minute warning that sent chills down any student's spine. "I hate that bell." She glared upwards at the clock.
    "Alright, I'll talk to you later at lunch!"

    Chewing on her pencil had never seemed to be an option to Lillian, but, there wasn't anything else that she could do to calm down her nerves.  Damnit, I'm going to really kick Citan's butt for this. He seems to know so much but won't reveal anything that I need to know. DAMNIT, UNCLE! What the hell are you hiding from me!?
She looked down at her desk to see a note on the desk and she groaned inwardly as she opened it.
Hey! Did you see the roses? I'm sorry if I scared you too much with them!
She smiled and wrote a reply on the note.
It's okay. I'm so sorry I was so cold to you last year. I was just not in the mood to start a relationship. Long story. No, it doesn't have to do with abusive boyfriends. It has to do with losing people.
Suddenly, her thoughts wandered back to her uncle and she swore that she was going to pry every damn secrets out of him if possible.
    The note was quickly returned to her and she frowned, puzzled.
Okay. I can understand that. My father died when I was eleven.
Lillian nodded sadly.
Yeah. I lost my parents in OKC bombing.
She suddenly realized that the only reason why the note trading was going by so fast... Angelo was sitting behind her.  Her face turned bright red upon that realization.  Her mind was now devoid of coherent thoughts and a vague image of a yellow butterfly fluttered around.  She quickly regained her composure and a measure of sanity.
    Lillian was already staring at the algebra teacher. "Uh... yes?"
    "Miss Dream. Are you feeling alright?"
    "No. May I be excused to the bathroom?" She stood out of her desk, handing out her agenda planner which was turned to the famous page which the teacher proceeded to sign.
    "Alright, but hurry back."
    Lillian quickly slipped out of the classroom, dashing down the A hall. "Good grief... I can't believe I'm getting jittery... what is wrong with me?"
    "Lilly, don't worry!"
    "Celes! How did you--?"
    "Mind-synching is hard... good thing I was able to pick up your brain pattern in the dream. It'd have been harder if I didn't because you know how we teenagers are."
    "...mind-synching WHAT?"
    "You know, psychic stuff."
    "So, what's up?"
    "I just need to wash my face." She sulked into the bathroom as Celesta followed, slightly puzzled. "It's just that I've realized few weird things."
    "Like what?"
    "Angelo and I were writing notes. Funny, he was sitting right behind me."
    "You never noticed? You're really dense as hell."
    "Thank you." She replied sarcastically.
    However, her next thought was of her uncle who would often talk about Zodiac signs as if he was entirely familiar with them, but yet, there was something else to it.  She wasn't sure why, but she could feel a kind of power around him.
    "Are you really okay?"
    "Yeah, just that I'm thinking that my uncle really knows a lot about the zodiac stuff, but... maybe it is my fault that I haven't paid enough attention to him."
    "I'm not THAT dense!"
    "Heheh... but really." Celesta sighed. "You've been really shut off..."
    "I know, it's my fault. I just don't feel like I'm ready for the responsibility."
    "The way you mention that there's bad stuff out there, I'm not sure if I could handle everyone being hurt and all."
    "Also, we're not quite formed, so..."
    "...that too..."
    "What is it now?"
    "I forgot to mention this. It's about Angelo."
    "Spill it, Celesta."
    "He's on the football team."
    "Um, the star quarterback?"
    Lillian paled as everything went black.  She wasn't aware of what just happened but it felt as if she was running and slammed hard into a brick wall full-force.

To be continued...
"It's Just Normal!"