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Aberrant: Stargate Universe - The Totally Cool Adventures of the Izumi Twins

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June 7, 1988, Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya

It had seemed like such a good idea from their dining room at the house in Berkeley. With the bright pamphlets for the Masai Mara Game Reserve laid out before them, it had been the natural and perfect place to go. Ollie would enjoy the connection to her heritage; Wakiki liked animals. Together, the two should cause some bonding between the kids. It had all been so clear, three months ago.

The reality of two surly kids in the back of a rented Land Rover was eons away from that quaint dream. Daleyeh glanced back sadly at the twelve-year-old boy who was staring stonily out the window. Ollie was sitting behind her, and Daleyeh twisted around to look at her daughter. Ollie was clearly upset by her half-brother's reaction to her presence. He'd barely looked at her since they'd picked him up at the airport. Delayah had tried to warn her, but she knew that Ollie had gotten her expectations up; she'd forgotten the way he'd been when they were six and had gotten excited about meeting her brother again.

Ollie felt her mother's gaze on her and turned to give her a smile. Delayah smiled back; Wakiki scowled harder and scooted an inch closer to the door, achieving contact with it.

Harry looked at her and Delayah gave him her best smile. He returned it, though she hoped hers had been less troubled than his. He too had harbored high hopes for this trip; it was his first with his son, without his ex-wife along. He wanted Wakiki to have fun, but the boy seemed determined to sulk and pout. Delayah wouldn't mind, normally; it was the boy's choice to not have fun. But she'd prefer him to be happy; it would make Harry happy, and maybe Ollie would get to have some fun with her half-brother. It angered her, a little, that she was helpless to make Wakiki have fun, and so could do nothing to help her family be happy.

A sign ahead caused her husband to slow; his prudence was rewarded when it was the turn for their resort. The term 'resort' had given them odd perceptions of what they'd be staying in, so no one in the family was expecting the wide, high-ceiling huts clustered on the edge of a river. For a moment, worries and sulks disappeared as even the children were charmed by the trees and flowering plants that grew thick around the huts, watered by the abundant river. Other families watched their arrival from the other huts, but no one approached.

Then Delayah said, "Let's get the car unloaded" and the surliness returned, this time to both children. "Mom!" Ollie whined, her long-practiced tone reaching the perfect level of annoyance, designed to make her parents capitulate. "Can I go look at the flowers first? And the trees? I should see Africa's flora so that I can do reports on it next year in class. Please?" She clasped her hands together and bounced up and down eagerly.

"You'll have plenty of time to see the flowers later," Delayah told her daughter, smiling wryly as she added, "But the mention of schoolwork was a nice touch. Now go."

Moaning and grumbling, Ollie went to the back of the Land Rover and grabbed her suitcase. She let it clatter to the ground, then dramatically tried to right it. "Too... heavy!" she groaned.

"Brat," Wakiki said scornfully, pulling a bag out.

"You're the brat!" Ollie snapped, straightening up and releasing her suitcase.

"You're both brats," Delayah said sharply, earning a glare from both children. She'd finally lost her grip on her temper; she was privately surprised it had taken this long. "We're on vacation. For the love of God, can't you stop fighting and have fun? Now, get your bags inside, into your room, and then you go play."

They obeyed her, their faces screwed up in irritation. "At least they are united in this," Harry said in Japanese.

"Maybe I should have been harder on them earlier," she sighed in English. As her husband laughed humorlessly, she began to unload the rest of the luggage.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ollie was disgruntled with the world. This vacation was supposed to be fun. And this was supposed to be the funnest part, because the Japan part wasn't going to be. She knew that her grandmother hated her, along with most of her Japanese family. Angrily, she kicked a stone, sending it careening into the river. "Stupid Wakiki," she muttered, feeling tears threaten. They were tears of anger and of disappointment, but they were still tears, and she swiped her hand at them. It was stupid to cry, and she wouldn't let stupid Wakiki see her cry.

She'd hoped so hard that her half-brother would like her. She didn't tell her parents, but sometimes, when she was lonely and tired of being lonely, she would stare at the photo of Wakiki that hung on the wall with the other pictures of the family. She'd dream of him living here, being her buddy and her brother. They had great adventures together, in her imagination.

And then when he'd gotten off the plane, he'd scowled at them all. Wakiki wouldn't talk to her, even when she patiently spoke to him in Japanese. And her Japanese wasn't at fault; she spoke it well. Daddy said so.

Scooping up a rock, she threw it angrily into a bush. Immediately, a voice howled in pain, and a familiar boy stood up from where he'd been hiding, rubbing his head. "You stupid bitch!" Wakiki snapped.

Ollie had heard others use that word, but never someone her own age. She felt a tiny amount of admiration; what else could she feel for another kid cursing so beautifully and so boldly? But she was also pissed that he called her that, and in her brief struggle, anger won. "I'm not a bitch!" she shouted, leaning forward into an aggressive stance and clenching her fists. "You're an... asshole. My family's been so nice to you-"

"My family! My father!" Wakiki roared, storming out of the bushes at her. Ollie felt tears start but she choked them back painfully.

"My father, too," she said, summoning her anger despite the shocking rage that was she faced. "You have to share him with me!"

"Only because your mother is a black-skinned whore," Wakiki shouted at her. His face was red, and he was flushed with the elation of finally telling his half-sister what he thought. "You're a whore's daughter, ugly monkey-face! You're not only ugly, but you're the proof that she's a home-wrecking gaijin nigger whore!"

Ollie stumbled backwards, but didn't fall. Instead, she threw herself at the boy, howling, "Don't you call her that!" She slammed into him, all passion and no precision. He was at the same level of experience, and they rolled back and forth on the ground, grunting and cursing, with the occasional cry of pain as one managed to land a blow.

"Hey!" The shout didn't stop them, but the park ranger pulling Wakiki off of his half-sister ended the hostilities as only an adult could. "What is going on here?" His Kenyan accent made it hard for Wakiki to understand well, so Ollie shouted, "He called my mother names!"

"Half-breed tattle-tale!" Wakiki spat at her in Japanese. He strained to get at her, but the ranger held him back with strong hands.

"Full-breed asshole!" Ollie shouted. Sadly for her, she defaulted to English, and had the bad timing to do so right as her father walked up.

"Orhivia Sachi Jenings-Izumi!" Harry snapped, and she flinched.

"They were both fighting," the park ranger said quickly, aware that he'd stepped into something personal that he probably wanted no part of.

"You are both in trouble!" Harry informed them in Japanese. "Go to the cabin! Now!"

The children obeyed, sullen and aware that Harry was trailing them. When they entered, Delayah's eyes widened at their dirty clothes and scuffed skin. "What did you two do?"

"Olivia called Wakiki a bad name," Harry told her.

Delayah looked at her daughter. "Oh?"

"He-!" Ollie cut her words short as she remembered being called a tattle-tale.

"He... what?" Delayah asked, crossing her arms.

"Nothing," Ollie said, dropping her head. Her pose was contrite, but she fumed inside.

"Both of you, up to the loft. I don't want to see either of you until dinner." Delayah's voice was firm.

Fighting tears at the unfairness of it all, Ollie sulked up to the loft, ignoring her half-brother doing the exact same thing.

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