Retvik rushed into the hospital room, only to find Arkay sitting in his bed, feeling incredibly content. He looked pleased to see the former general, and waved frantically.
“Are you alright, kid?” Retvik glanced round for a chair, found one and pulled it up to Arkay’s bed so he could sit down. Apart from a scratch above his eye, there was nothing obviously wrong with the young Rethan. “I know you were coming here this week, I did not expect a call saying you were in the emergency room!”
Arkay shrugged. “The medics keep on telling me it’s November. I don’t believe them.”
Retvik opened his mouth to say something, then couldn’t think of anything to say. “… Uh… It IS November.”
Arkay shrugged again, his happiness fading into confusion. “How comes it’s so warm then? This is like, July weather.”
Rather than answer Arkay’s question, Retvik thought to himself. Finally, he thought of something to ask. “Did you have that memory wipe procedure done today?”
Arkay’s face was blank. “… Memory wipe?”
“You were planning on having several months of memory wiped, due to… unusual events.”
More blank looks. “I don’t know what you’re on about, Retvik. Medics said I was here because of some Deitic thing, but I don’t remember anything.”
“What is the last thing you remember?”
Arkay sneered at Retvik’s question. “That’s all anyone keeps on asking me. I told them all the same damn thing. Last thing I remember was the Vice General taking me shopping for new armour. I don’t remember what armour I got, only that he was spoiling me because I didn’t want to do this stupid Stasis challenge.”
Retvik sighed loudly.
“No, clearly, something is up. Did we not win that challenge or something?” Arkay was beginning to realise that maybe, just maybe, all those medics were right. But how could he just… LOSE so many memories? Five months of memories, all gone. It was as if someone had snatched Arkay up, dragged him forward through time and dump him there, at the end of November.
Worse, Retvik seemed unwilling to answer Arkay’s question, which made him feel even more uneasy.
“Did we lose?”
Retvik rubbed his eyes. “No one won. We all lost. You lost…”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Do you believe me when I say that you have definitely lost some of your memories?” Retvik tried to change where the conversation was going.
“I…” Arkay hesitated. “I… I guess I have no choice. You’ve never lied to me before, why would you, or these medics, lie now? I think I’m confused and tired… They did say I had a concussion or something…”
“That is possible…” Retvik sighed. “I won’t say any more. I can’t. Things weren’t… great. The Challenge of Stasis, it… was not good for us. Things went wrong. Pain tore at us. Lives were lost. There is a lot you need to be told, but I don’t think I can do that for you.”
“But I trust you, Retvik. More than anyone. Except maybe Elksia.”
“I cannot tell you at this moment.”
Arkay sighed and pulled his blanket over him.
“So when can you?”
“The medics need to make sure you are alright. Then your main medic will probably want to speak to you to discuss the procedure that you were supposed to have and now can’t. Once they have given me the all-clear, I will tell you everything you want to know.”
Retvik tutted and got up to leave, only for Arkay to grab his hand.
“Can you stay for a bit, please?”
“I’m… kinda scared.”
Retvik hesitated, before sitting back down. “Of course. It is the least I can do…”