1 Nomura Hoki

The Earth is the home of all mankind. It is the guardian and destroyer of countless species, the oasis in the desolate expanses of space. It is the place from which humanity originated and the one place, which all can call their birthplace.

History itself serves as a testament to how man has progressed through the ages. From single-celled organisms, to apes and finally to the modern human being. As humanity progressed - inventing countless technologies and manipulating the elements themselves – they have always been an inquisitive species that looks for the answer for everything. Some put their faith in religion, choosing to look to a higher being for support and guidance. Some look to science, seeing their concrete theories and supportive evidence to explain the universe. And some simply don't care whatsoever and would rather spend their lives asleep in their beds, exhausted from indulging in their hobbies.

This is the story of one such person, whose journeys and experiences led him to stand at the top of existence itself and still be passed out on his bed.

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It all starts with a small apartment in England. The curtains are shut tight so that not a sliver of light can sneak through and attack this pitch-black garden of serenity. Clothes were flung around the room, stained with ketchup and mayonnaise and god knows what else. In the small kitchen – that somehow occupied the bathroom – there was the remains of what may have been chicken, but was now nothing but a lump of charcoal. On the desk was an open-faced textbook and a half-eaten pot of noodles sitting by the side. The aromas of old food and discarded clothes mixed in the air, producing a smell so ungodly that if a dog was to take a whiff, they would probably keel over. However, none of that was enough to disturb the apartment's occupant – face buried in a pillow with the alarm blaring at the side.

About twenty minutes after this, the unconscious body began to twitch and slowly push himself up, only to lose his balance and flop onto the floor. His hair in complete disarray, the young tenant rubbed his bleary eyes open. Nomura's slowly sat up and wobbled to his bathroom/kitchen to splash himself with some water.

His apartment was – needless to say – not the most ideal place for someone who had just graduated from a reasonably large room with a bunch of people and edible food. However for someone who had come from a small orphanage, it was - at the very least - liveable.

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Nomura had been an orphan ever since he was 5. His parents were very loving people, who were well-known in their neighbourhood for being kind. His mum – a woman of around 30 named Sandra Hoki – was a easily the main power in the household. Both he and his father had no choice but to bend to her whims and follow her orders. One time, his dad tried to make the joke that his mum was a commander and we were her privates. His mum proceeded to knock him out with one punch. Thus she gained the title of 'One Punch Woman' in the household. His dad - a year younger than his wife named Clark Hoki – was an extremely sweet man was a sucker for everything concerning his wife and was generally submissive to her every order. But the one thing that both of them shared was that they loved their son to the bottom of their hearts. Nomura wished he knew just how much a little sooner.

One day Nomura and his parents drove down to the beach because of Nomura's persistent begging. They set off early in the morning to reach there before any other families arrived and stole all of the good spots. As they were on the highway, a nearby transport truck in the other lane started swerving uncontrollably. He still remember the look on the driver's face – one of sheer terror and alarm. The truck then crashed into the divider, accidentally hitting the family's car in the process. As a result they were knocked off the highway into the river down below. As they crashed into the riverbed, the air bags popped out, pinning his mother and father to the seats. Their seats belts just wouldn't disengage and the car was rapidly filling up with the grimy water of the river. Seeing no other course of action, the couple told Nomura to swim to the surface and try to get help. But the sad smile on their faces told otherwise. He smashed the window open and swam out, and – as he did – he could hear his mother and father telling him to not be afraid.

By the time that Nomura reached the surface, the police had already been called and the rescue vehicles had already came. But it was all for naught, as both Sandra and Clark Hoki's cold lifeless bodies were recovered, both with a small smile on their lips, even in death. Nomura couldn't remember how long he wept – all he could think about was that he would never be able to see his parents again. He would never taste his dad's delicious food again. He would never be able feel his mother's warmth again. But, perhaps, the thing that hurt him the most was he never managed to tell them how much he loved them.

After the funeral, Nomura was truly exposed to the darkness of society that his parent's light supressed. All of his relatives wanted nothing to do with him, considering him as an unnecessary expense and brat that should have stayed with his parents instead of saving himself. Due to no-one wanting to raise him, he was sent to a nearby orphanage. For days on end, he never left his room and stayed buried under his quilt, hugging his knees and sobbing. This continued until the rest of his parent's unclaimed correspondents came. In one of the boxes was an old letter addressed to him. Inside was a letter from his mum and dad, telling him to never give up and – no matter what happened – to remember that they loved him and knew that he loved them.

Since that day he got up and started living his life once more. But since then he was seen as being quite lazy. He would complete all of his assignments and do well on tests, but he was a text-book introvert. He barely ever went outside, he mostly stayed in his room and often went to sleep straight after school. And the most obvious change was that he rarely smiled. Without his parents, he felt that the world had lost its shine and there was nothing but bleakness. Most kids avoided him. The ones that didn't found him to be boring and eventually did so too. He felt truly alone in the world.