For Disclaimers see Part 1

*Special Thanks to Amy and Tiffany for helping me with this story. Your input has helped me more than I can tell.

Chapter 16:

Priss walked down the stark white corridors of Ganath Labs where Makie was working away. Priss had been in Germany for 3 days now, the most exciting thing she'd done up to date was constantly avoid Greta at any and every turn. It seemed that no matter where Priss went Greta ended up being there too. Priss hadn't gone to a tavern yet for fear that the red head would have followed her. Lord knows the things that Priss would have done to the pushy woman if she were drunk.

On the first day in Germany everyone had to have their hand and retina prints stored into the database in order to access the labs. Priss considered it over cautious plus it took too much time to get into the place. Yeah especially when you have a stalker on the loose!

Priss heaved a sigh as she put her hand down onto the pad and let the retina exam begin. Hmm if I had my mech I could just smash the door down in less than two seconds. God I miss my mech! It was true, even though she was "seeing" Germany it wasn't as fun as she had thought it would have been. Then again it could have been the withdrawls she experienced every time she drove by a tavern and literally drooled all over herself and the window watching men take swigs off their overflowing mugs. Priss shook her head to dispel her depression over not experiencing the wiles of German beer and proceeded into the lab.

Makie was finally going to take a break and had agreed to go with Priss around the city. Priss wasn't sure if Makie was doing it to be nice to her or to guard her against the darker side of the force that lurked within the hollowed walls of Ganath Labs. Oh yes, there was a dark side. She just so happened to be married and extremely horny. Priss was actually excited that she and Makie would be going out. In a way she wanted to get to know Makie better. They didn't really talk but she felt that they had started to make a connection when they were on the plane. There was no it's you against me, it had simply been two people cracking jokes and making fun of each other. Truth be told, Priss preferred that type of relationship with people.. so long as it was her that was making fun and not the other way around.

"Yo Makie. Ready to go?"

Makie looked up from his workstation and grinned, which slowly slipped as he turned to Raven and Falcon. Falcon grumbled something incoherent and Raven nodded his head.

"You deserve the break Makie. Have a good time you two."

Makie grinned brightly and logged out of his terminal before stampeding Priss. Priss waved at the men and winked when they only grunted in response. Ahh what the world would be like without neandertal eggheaded men!

Both of them exited onto the street, Makie was about to hail a taxi when Priss put her hand on his shoulder and shook her head no. She pointed to something that was sitting at the curb not twenty feet from them. Makie's eyes went wide as he took in the gleaming silver motorcycle.

"Here, you're gunna need this." Priss tossed Makie a helmet that she had strapped to the bike when she'd went in to get him.

Priss threw her leg over the bike with practiced ease, slipping on her own helmet as she did so. Makie had a little trouble getting on the bike but soon he was situated, but wondering where he should put his hands. A little impatient about Makie's indecision, Priss turned on the bike revving the engine the grabbing his hands and putting them securely around her waist.

"Priss, Makie, wait!" Priss didn't need to turn in order to know who had uttered that particular sentence.

Priss hit the gas and eased into the traffic around the labs, dodging cars and traffic jams by going between the stopped vehicles. Makie's arms tightened around her when she took some of the turns quickly. Priss was enjoying riding a bike again. She loved that she was exploring Berlin on one and just shooting through alley's, parks and the like taking in the entire foreign atmosphere. She was glad that Makie was with her as she rushed through the new quarters, the historical sections and business districts. When she had walked down a few of these same streets it just hadn't been the same. She hadn't wanted to be alone, and now she wasn't. She was on a fast bike with another person to watch the world rush by them.

They decided to stop after two circuits around the city and both had their own ideas of where to go. Makie wanted to see the historic district so that was their first stop. They perused the old buildings, so ancient looking with their brickwork but also captivating. They had seen so much, been through even more and yet they still stood a testament to their own ability to survive the harsh realities of the world around them.

Priss took off her riding gloves, sliding them into her coat pockets as she approached the brick façade. She laid a palm against the cool stone and closed her eyes. She felt the textures of the material, rough and jagged in some places, smooth as silk in others. She trailed her fingers along, feeling every crease and crevice, while tilting her head to the side and listening to all that was happening around her. Soon everything melted away to just her and this piece of history. She felt a surge of calm surround her. She hadn't realized just how wound up she had been about everything that had been going on around her. She needed this trip, if not go get back her focus then to just be with herself and figure out just what it was that had seemed to cause such disquiet in her life.

Priss's head snapped up when she heard 'click click click' in rapid succession. She turned and found Makie snapping off pictures left and right. Argh.. must he proliferate the myth of us needing to take photos of EVERYTHING?!

They were off again riding through the streets, the wind wiping passed them but Priss's belly began to rumble so she pulled over at the first brewery that they stopped at.

As they walked through the door Priss could smell the barley in the air and swooned a little bit. Makie placed his hand on her shoulder.

"You okay Priss?"

A server interrupted them spewing off what Priss could only guess was polite German for asking them if they wanted a table. This has to be one of the most guttural languages I've ever heard! Priss was surprised when Makie replied and motioned for Priss to follow the man.

When they were seated Priss took off her jacket and stared at Makie.

"Okay wonder boy, where'd you learn German?"

"Oh here and there."

Priss made a very indelicate noise, which had Makie chuckling. Priss tried to ignore him as she opened her menu but found it to be in German as well. Gee I'm about to bat a thousand here. Umm, that errr could be interesting. What's a snitchel? Sauerkraut? That doesn't sound too appetizing.

"Okay Makie. I can't read this so could you order for me?" Priss put on her best puppy dogface.

Their server came back over and Makie ordered for both of them but then turned to Priss.

"What do you want to drink?"

"BEER!" Priss's eyes shinned as she looked expectantly at him.

Makie ordered Priss's beer and actually one for himself. He didn't have to be back to the lab so he thought what the hell. The server looked between him and Priss, as if to ask her if Makie was old enough but then just shrugged and went on their merry way. They sat in silence for a little while until Priss couldnít take it anymore but Makie interrupted what she was about to say.

"You don't like Greta much do you Priss?"

Don't like Greta much. Well let's recap. She got into my personal space, which is a no no, she flirted with me in front of her BROTHER in law.. umm the other day she came into my room unannounced and saw me naked as the day I was born then looked like one of those scary dinosaurs in a movie that has gotten a whiff of something tasty. Hmm do I dislike her..

"Well.. that's a hard question to answer Makie. I'm sure she's a very competent scientist with many erm assets. I just don't want to know what ANY of those assets happen to be!" Priss shuddered at the thought of ever being truly cornered by the woman. Somehow Priss knew that "no" wasn't in the woman's vocabulary. Makie grinned slightly.

"Granted she can be a bit pushy," Priss gave Makie a look, which he choose to ignore. "But we need her Priss. Right now she and her husband are the only people who can help us figure out what exactly is going on." Makie's voice sounded frightened which put Priss on edge.

Before she could delve any deeper into what Makie meant by that their meal came with two great big mugs of beer. Priss lunged at the mug and chugged it down in what seemed like less than three gulps, slamming the tankard down onto the table and belching in delight. The server stared at her mouth agape but it snapped shut as soon as Priss waved it in the air and the server left to get another tankard.

Priss sat back and closed her eyes, licking her lips and savoring the after taste. God that was good. Ungh what a relief!

Her eyes opened languidly and she looked over to see Makie staring at her, a blush covering his features, but he looked away. Priss shrugged then sat up straight to dig into her.. What in the HELL is THAT?! All that Priss could think was that somebody had gutted a pig, pan-fried all the gutted parts, smothered it in creamy brown stuff and put it on her plate. It looks like a baby shit on this..

"It's not as bad as it looks Priss." Makie took a bite out of his dish, which looked ten times better than what was before her.

"Aha.. if that's true then you can very well take a bite and SHOW me!"

Makie sighed then reached across to cut something in half, slather it in the brown stuff and then chew on it with delight. Priss face distorted in disgust and awe. She'd eaten some nasty things in her life and had surprised people with her horseradish and peanut butter sandwiches, but Makie simply astounded her with eating that glob of goo. Perhaps it wasn't as bad as it looked..


Makie laughed at Priss but just motioned for her to try some. Priss took her fork and poked at the concoction a few times. Well it's not moving. Priss took the smallest bit of it and placed it in her mouth. She spit it out as the server came back with her second round. The server looked alarmed and started talking in German so quickly that Priss had to put up her hand.

"Sushi, eggroll, BREAD something other than this!"

Makie said something to the woman who smiled and nodded her head then left, taking the ungodly food with her.

Priss took her napkin and rubbed it along her tongue for good measure. She wasn't going to be having that taste in her mouth while drinking the beer. Oh no, she could not possibly taint the sanctity of the alcohol gods!

She took a healthy swig and let it sit in her mouth before swallowing it. God that's much better.

The server came back with food that Priss could actually recognize and she smiled in thanks then shot daggers at Makie when the woman left.

"Hey I thought you might want to try something different." Makie winked them shrugged.

"Different yes, toxic, hell no!"

They both grinned at each other then tucked into their food. By the time they were finished Priss had had another three tankards and Makie was making headway on his second. Priss chuckled slightly as she noticed the slight pinkish hue to his skin and the way his movements were becoming.

"Hey Priss-"

"Hey Makie."

Makie made a face at Priss. This was important after all and he wanted to know about it anyway.

"Do you like Sylia? I mean do you consider her a friend?"

Priss sat for a moment. That had been what she was debating when she wasn't dodging Greta or being bored out of her mind. She'd finally come to the decision that she did like Sylia and that she would like to know her as more than a friend. Priss turned to look at him more fully and went to answer but Makie cut her off.

"Cuz I noticed that you two weren't getting along and I wondered why. I mean my sister can be a real pain in the ass in all but, she's a good person. I don't like to see her lonely." Makie grabbed his tankard and chugged the rest, wiping his mouth and motioning for a third one, which was promptly put in front of him. Priss wasn't sure what to say to him. What she felt for Sylia was too new to let anyone else know about.

Priss was standing in front of the window at her hotel room. She was looking out over the city, seeing the many lights of cars pass by, unknown people leaving and going to their destinations while Priss was there, all alone, in the night. It was the second night there and she had nothing but time on her hands to think. She'd grabbed the necklace she always wore and held it, talking to her brother as if he were standing right next to her.

"I'm here Kei.. but why does it feel so empty? I see these people, hurrying towards something and perhaps just hurrying for nothing. They all have something or someone but who do I have? I had you Kei but you're gone. You can't imagine how hard it is to go on without you here." Tears leaked out from Priss's eyes and she wiped at them angrily. Getting melancholy wouldn't help her any.

She sat down and looked up at the velvety night sky. All of the lights were turned out in her hotel room and the light spilling through the open window was almost a midnight blue in its hue. She smiled slightly thinking of another night where moonlight had been coming through a window casting everything in gradations of azure. She had been with Sylia. Well she hadn't really known her then but the encounter brought a smile to her now instead of embarrassment. I wonder what you're doing Sylia. Are you looking up at the same sky and thinking as well?

Priss wasn't sure what she was feeling with Sylia. Every time she was around the woman she felt.. it was just an overload of sorts. Her mind short-circuited and her emotions ruled her body, her mouth, her heart. She would lash out at Sylia for little things because to face the truth was too scary. And just what is the truth Priss. Be honest for once in your life.

Priss remembered some song lyrics that she had been looking over before she went on this trip. At the time she'd scoffed at doing the song. It was so sappy, but right now those same lyrics were what summed up how she felt with Sylia.

"And we too - will it not be soft and kind
That rest from life, from patience and from pain
That rest from bliss, we know not when we find
How can I have enough of life and love

In your eyes are my secrets that I've never shown you
In my heart I feel I've always known you
In your arms there's a comfort that I never knew
You're what I've been waiting for, there's no one like you

Sure as the sunrise, pure as a prayer
You fashioned hope right out of thin air
Ev'ry dream I abandoned, seems it could come true
I believe in miracles, there's no one like you

Innocent as a newborn in a world so fright'ning
It's as if my world's been struck by lightning
Ev'ry dream I abandoned, seems it could come true
I believe in miracles, there's no one like you"

There was no one like Sylia. She made Priss want to feel again, to be again and to know what it was like to have someone care back. But did Sylia care for Priss too, she just didn't know and maybe she'd never find out. Coward!

Priss came back from her reverie and saw Makie was halfway through his third tankard.. and nearly three sheets to the wind as well. She smiled at him; he really was a sweet guy. She motioned for him to follow her to the bar and soon there were in stools that were in front of gleaming mahogany. It was a beautiful site for Priss.

"Ya know. I like you Priss. You don't treat me with kid gloves like Sylia does. She loves me but it's like she doesn't know what to do about it. She tries to protect me from things but I probably know more than she does.." Makie burped none to quietly which made Priss laugh and grin at him while patting him on the back. He's just venting like most people do when they're drunk. They get truthful then blush about what they can remember in the morning.

She watched as emotions washed over Makie's face, nothing was hidden from her. She saw wistfulness, mournful till finally what looked like rage.

"If I had been able to I would have killed him for what he did to her.. nobody should treat another person that way!"

Priss was shocked by the vehemence in Makie's voice. The boy was usually as tame as a pussycat but right now he looked to be a lion with a thorn up its ass.


"He used her. He used everyone he ever knew for his precious projects. If it hadn't been for him.. if he hadn't.. Sylia wouldn't be this way! Fucking bastard."

"Makie who are you talking about?"

Makie turned bleary eyes her way, he wasn't focusing very well and it showed. He got a confused look on his face then took another swig of his beer before putting it back down on the bar top.

"You know he experimented on.. on people. Raven and Falcon didn't do anything to stop him. 'Course Quincy didn't care how he got his 'boomers' so long as he got them.. and Stingray just went right along with it. Everything else," Makie waved his hands to and fro nearly knocking over their drinks. "Went to the wayside. Including us. Sylia still has the scar ya know. Right here," He pointed to his head just below his hairline and Priss stared in horror. "He shaved her bald and stuck the probe in. She was the only one that was compatible ya know? Ya had to have the right genes!" He slammed his fist onto the bar rattling everything. An extremely sad look came over his face soon and he whispered so quietly that Priss wasn't sure she'd be able to catch it all.

"Mom wasn't com-com.. compatible anymore so pffft," He pulled his finger under his neck in a death signal. "Not like Stingray cared anyway." He picked up his drink and chugged the rest. Priss sat in stunned silence, watching Makie drink, trying to absorb what he had told her. She didn't have long because soon Makie's head came crashing down onto the bar, which made everyone around them jump.

"Err, guess he can't handle his liquor." Priss mumbled as she threw down some money and picked Makie up. Once outside she hailed a cab and put him in the back seat, saying the hotel name then getting out to follow on her bike.

They reached the hotel where she pulled Makie out of the car and paid the man. She carried Makie in her arms like a precious bundle to the elevators and soon was up at his hotel room putting him in bed. He mumbled something about 'taking care of Sylia' but then went out completely and started to snore. Priss sat in one of his chairs and thought about everything she'd heard.

If that bastard weren't dead right now I'd find him and kill him! There were many things going through her mind at the moment, first and foremost that Sylia had been hurt. Things that came in a close second was what could have been put into Sylia's head and why she would have needed the right genes for it.

Priss shook her head not coming to an answer so she went over to the bed and kissed Makie's forehead gently then went quietly back to her own room.

Unfortunately she was accosted before she got there. Greta met her before she could get to her door and Priss didn't want the woman to barge into her room if she opened the door.

"What do you want?"

"Oh I don't know.. perhaps just a moment of your time?" Greta smiled sweetly, that saccharine smile that has no substance or warmth. Priss arched a brow and indicated the elevators. I knew I couldn't run from her forever, might as well get this little session with her over with as soon as I can then I want to jump in the shower and get into that bed for a dreamless night.

They both boarded the elevator to go down to the main lobby and Priss was slightly surprised that Greta didn't try anything in the small, enclosed space that they were in. I wonder what she's up to?

Greta led them to the hotel bar and sat them down ordering drinks for them, which irritated Priss. She hated people who assumed they would drink whatever they chose. It was true that Priss was an avid beer drinker but there were other things she liked as well. Perhaps it wasn't that Greta had presumed to order for her but that it was specifically her that had ordered it.

They sat in silence for a while, the drinks arriving and Greta absently touching her glass and taking a small sip. Priss simply sat and waited for what Greta was going to say.

"I know you don't like me Priss. I've been coming onto you pretty strong but only because I'm very interested in you." She looked over to gauge Priss's reaction but saw only indifference into what she was saying so paused by taking another sip of her drink before continuing.

"Look, I know that you feel something towards me, I can tell everytime I've been near you. There's something holding you back from what I'm offering but I'm telling you now that no one need know. It can be as simple as you want it Priss, no strings attached." Greta searched Priss's face looking to find some spark of hope for getting the woman into her bed.

Priss sat in her stool mulling it over. Greta was a beautiful one but dangerous as well. Priss hated the duplicity that many people would use in order to get her into bed and Greta was by far the worst of all of them. Not only did she offend Priss with her no strings attached philosophy but she was also pursuing her openly and more than likely in front of her husband. Hell he'd have to be blind not to see the way that Greta had shamelessly went after her in one of the labs.

Priss grabbed her drink and downed it quickly, letting the burn of the scotch course down her throat and warm her chest. A gleam came into her eyes and she grinned rakishly, running her fingers over Greta's forearm, her blunt nails trailing over the woman's skin until goose bumps broke out. Priss leaned forward, her warm breath tickling Greta's ear as she flicked her tongue out to caress her ear lobe. Her voice dropped an octave as she whispered, "Not if you were the last person on this earth!"

She got up but then pressed against Greta's backside, pushing her into the bar and said more loudly, "Maybe if you were a grown up I'd have actually given you a chance." Then left the floundering woman at the bar to finally get into her own room and take that much-needed shower.

Why do I feel too old for all this high school bullshit? Priss thought before she drifted off to sleep.


A pounding on her door woke her up. She stumbled out of bed in her tank and undies and opened up the door to kill whoever was outside. Makie averted his eyes and blushed at seeing Priss in only her skivvies. Priss blinked her eyes at the boy wondering what he was doing up and looking so chipper.

Priss walked away from the door and flung herself back into the bed while Makie shifted from foot to foot and finally decided to enter Priss's room.

"Priss.. I ahh.. I'd like to apologize for getting so tanked last night." Priss rolled over onto her stomach revealing her g-string 'covered' backside. Makie gulped audibly and stuttered in a way that was indecipherable until Priss got up and put some pants on then sat down near him. She called room service and it was until the cart came that Makie got over her shock of seeing Priss's perfectly tanned backside that he started speaking again.

"I don't usually get so.. umm wasted. In fact, that was my first time drinking. I guess it's true what they say, when in Rome.." He watched as Priss drank the sludge that German's called coffee and heard her sigh in bliss. She was definitely an odd one!

"It's okay Makie. No harm no foul." Priss smiled at him but he averted his eyes.

"Uh.. what I told you can't be repeated to anyone. It was stupid of me Priss. No one should know about that, NO ONE! If Sylia knew I'd-" Priss waved her hand to ward off what Makie was going to say. She stood up and placed a hand on his shoulder and looked him dead in the eye, her stance and voice showing how serious she was.

"I won't break your confidence with Sylia. What we talk about stays just between the two of us. I won't let anything harm her Makie. She means too much to me to let anything hurt her that way." The last was said so softly that Makie strained to hear. But when he realized what she said he was elated. Maybe Priss would be the one to help Sylia. Lord knew that Sylia had feelings for Priss even if she was too pigheaded to admit it.

Makie tossed his arms around Priss and gave her a bear hug that had her gasping for breath. Priss was blushing profusely when Makie left. She sat down and had a second cup of coffee when another knock happened at her door. Priss grinned slightly.

"So are you going to tell me that we're going to go out for drink tonight too?" She said as she opened the door only to find Greta standing there with sunglasses on. Greta gave a wolfish smile.

"Since it's an invitation then yes I'll go have drinks with you tonight. Perhaps I could even be persuaded for dinner."

Priss sighed deeply. It was too early in the morning to deal with this crap. Couldn't this woman take a hint? Besides, all she really wanted to think about what she was going to do once she got back to Japan.

"I thought you were somebody else-"

"That's fine, I'll still go out with you."

"I need to wash my hair tonight." Priss gave her most faux disappointed look that she had in her arsenal. The one she used when she had to tell her manager she couldn't do a gig.

"Oh well, your loss. But that wasn't why I came by here anyway. Raven wants to see you in the lab and ask you about the mechs. He has the schematics from Makie but he wants a 'users' take on them."

"Okay.. I'll be over there in twenty minutes." Greta nodded her head then walked out the door.

"You know for someone that's married, you sure don't act it." Greta stopped and turned around. She walked right up to Priss, her breath warming Priss's skin.

"My husband has his lab and I have my dalliances, we both know where we stand in this union. We don't bother each other, no apologies and no expectations. However, I do know what I want, and what I want is you Priss. Believe me when I say I'll have you. You may have said no, but believe me it will turn to a yes. I have all the time in the world to take you." She leaned in and kissed Priss on the mouth, shocking her. Soon the only thing that marked she had been there was the lingering scent of her perfume.

Priss sank down into her chair. Greta had upped the ante it seemed. She was no longer flirtatious but bent on an objective and that appeared to be Priss herself. She didn't need anymore pressure, especially from someone she really didn't know. The kiss did disturb her for the simple fact that it seemed like Greta was laying claim to all that Priss was. Before when Greta was near her all she did was brush up against her, but this time she had stepped into Priss's bubble, something that nobody did without permission. Priss began to think that it wasn't such a good idea to have gotten as close as she did to Greta the previous night. Perhaps the woman had read too much into it than was really there. She shivered slightly at the thought of that woman thinking she truly wanted her.

Priss went into the bathroom and scrubbed her face vigorously in the shower. The hot water streaming down her body as she lathered it with sweet smelling soap, the suds drifting over her tanned flesh. Her mind flashed to a time when she had seen Sylia showering. She vividly remembered the tattoo running the length of Sylia's creamy back. Now she wondered what it would be like to see it up close, to run her fingers along Sylia's painted skin and trace the lines of the design.

Would Sylia let her touch her? Would she shiver in delight? These questions and more plagued Priss's mind as she soaped her body for the fifth time and realized that the water had run cold making certain parts of her body constrict almost painfully. She quickly turned off the water and toweled dry, the rough fabric brushing along her body stimulating things that were overly sensitized thanks to her fantasies. She shook her head to clear it of her lascivious thoughts and got dressed.

Jumping onto the bike she took off for the labs. She bobbed through the early morning congestion but instead of feeling alone, she felt full and content. She had let something loose that wanted to run into the streets and sing it's joy of everything around it. A smile curled Priss's lush lips as she breathed the word out that could possibly hold all joy for her.



Thunder streaked across the sky and a resounding boom shattered the once pristine silence. The rain pounded down hard and fast dousing everything in its path creating massive puddles that ran hard and fast down the streets. Rivulets of cool water sluiced down the gleaming metallic mech. It moved quickly through the rain, flashing in and out of the light from the buildings windows as it looked for its nemesis. Where the thing was hiding, it didn't know. They checked their scanners looking at the readouts as it cautiously began to round a darkened corner.

The mech's occupant fainted left when an object was hurled at them and they locked in on the rogue's position. Okay, your ass is mine!

She launched herself into the air, hoping against the side of the building and using her boosters to propel her at the boomer while performing a crescent kick that smashed in the boomers right shoulder. It's arm flailed out hitting her in the ribs sending her skidding down across the pavement. Damn, I didn't see that one coming. Turning she found the boomer charging her so she lifted her arm and fired off a few rail shots, jumping out of the raging boomers way as the rails exploded, blowing it's chest plate apart. She moved in quickly, pining it to the ground and setting a charge on its core, flipping up and away as the charge exploded destroying the boomer.

The view changed and static crackled as the occupant panted heavily, her suit opened into the harsh light of the lab, sweat glistened on her exposed skin that was finally getting out of the encounter suit.

"You can step down from there Priss." Raven said as he glanced at the screen before him. Interesting. He thought as he noticed the abnormality in Priss's readings. No wonder why you chose her for your team Sylia, but it won't be enough to save you or them. You used too many of your fathers ideas when creating those mech's.

Raven knew that Sylia thought her ideas were original, but they weren't. It was part of Stingrays sin, and his. He should have stood up to the man but he hadn't and now it was something that could get someone he cared about killed.

"Makie, why don't you take Priss out to dinner. The both of you have been here all day, besides you know all the good places to eat. I'll be fine here, I just need to finish a few things first." Makie smiled at Raven in thanks and walked out of the room to get Priss.

Raven sat back in his chair. The data Makie had brought him at his request made him ill. It was the data from the mechs that Sylia had. That the Knight Sabers were using. Sylia's data disturbed him the most. It's begun already. He sat forward and frowned. Perhaps if he talked to Sylia and told her what was happening, what was going on with her and how it was linked to the chip. No, you have to find a way to deal with it without letting Sylia know. She's already been through too much.

Ravens eyes flew over his revisions for the mechs. Actually it wasn't a revision it was a completely new system for the suits. They would have the same outward appearance but the inner systems would be completely different. The suits would specifically suit their owner.

He had devised a way to make an encounter suit become a mech. The encounter suit was like the one in the simulator except it was self sufficient, but with a limited battery time. The encounter suit would be put onto the owner, recording the data from them as they stood in it. Once the person was done it was put into a chamber and the liquid metal would mold and shape itself into the form that it would eventually have for all time. Sylia's suits were similar in the way they molded except for one thing.. they were based specifically on Sylia's data and not that of it's users. The only part that was specifically the users was their uplink with the system. Raven had devised a way to make the suits completely unique to their users and so that they wouldn't be inter-dependent upon the other suits.

The suits would be ten times stronger with a wider range of uses than the existing models. Plus these ones couldn't go rogue.

Greta came into the room as he shutdown the system and leaned up against the wall. Raven turned in his chair to stare at his wife. Wife.. more like roommate. There was no love loss between the two but Raven had become suspicious with Greta of late. As an extra precaution he'd taken to carrying around his click disk, which had all of his work, saved on it. He had engineered it to look like a credit chitt and it basically worked that way too. Only he had the passwords for it so that she couldn't get in. There was just something about the questions she had been asking lately that set him on edge.

The two of them worked closely on various assignments, but certain things that had been asked were things that he and only a few others that had been on Stingrays team would know about. He had a sneaking suspicion that Quincy had finally gotten his talons into her.

Her father hadn't been much different. Before he perished he had been bought by Quincy and had been the one to urge Stingray into rushing the Galatia and Dragon Line projects. In the end, the Dragon Line had proven a success, but at the extent of too many lives! He shook his head trying to forget the day that it all came crumbling down around them. The screams of terror, a full system shut down as the boomers inside the facility went rogue and killed people left and right. He could still hear the mingling of human and robotic voices howling in pain and freedom. The mass hysteria of them getting to the weapons lockers and some suiting up in K-10 armor to only find it inoperable.

Raven's dull eyes turned to Greta standing in the door, a testament to everything that went wrong.

"What's wrong husband. Not happy to see your wife?" Her tone dripped with sarcasm.

"What do you want Greta?"

"Just to know how long until we go to Japan." She picked at her nails as if it were of no interest to her when they were going to go.

"A few days, maybe less, maybe more, why does it matter?"

"Just curious. Can't wait to see Sylia." She nearly spat the name out, as if she had tasted something rotten.

Raven arched a brow. He knew about Sylia's past relationship with Greta. Had seen firsthand what the two women were like on one of his visits to Japan. He could even remember Amber and Yuri if he thought hard enough. They had been a good team, but too young to know what was good for them and wait until everything was tested before trying out the suits.

"I'm sure you can't love. I'm sure she's dying to see you too. I'll bet there's a lot that you two need to catch up on." He grinned as he got up and brushed past her.

"By the way. You won't get her.. she's loyal to Sylia and that's more than I can ever say for you." He walked out the door and was near the corner at the end of the hall when he heard the scream of rage coming from the exam room.

Chapter 16:

User Interface Complete: Transmission Signal Encoded

Session Status: Ready

DiamondFire: Are you there?

SlaveMaster: Of course. Is everything ready?

DiamondFire: Within a few days everything should be in place. Give me a week and a half after that to be ready for testing.

SlaveMaster: You have three weeks and that is final.

DiamondFire: Shall this be a trial run or will it be with full armament?

SlaveMaster: Full armor with explosive devices. If the testing on our end should fail, well who needed Tokyo2 anyway!

DiamondFire: I want my payment as planned. I haven't seen the portion you promised in my account yet. If it's not there before I'm scheduled to leave you can forget this contract.

SlaveMaster: You have no room for negotiating. The money will be wired to your account. But if for some reason it isn't, you will go through with the testing.

DiamondFire: Not without the sufficient funding that your corporation promised.

SlaveMaster: You would be wise not to say such things. I would have for you to meet an unfortunate end. If you believe I can not touch you from here then you are sorely mistaken. You are not the first person to be bought and sold nor will you be the last but you will follow my instructions to the letter! Failure to do so will end in termination.

..End Session..

The person on the other end stared at the end session flashing in their vision. SHIT! If they didn't get this done right they'd be toast. I should have never of agreed to this, but the ends certainly seem good enough to justify the means.

They would deliver come hell or high water. All that they had to do was establish a physical link between the suits and all would be well. Then it would be up to the combat boomer and it's pilot to prove that a human uplink was possible in terms of combat usage. Yes it would all go to plan and they would have everything that they wanted. All that they needed was time. Time enough to while away.


Priss and Makie were roughhousing in the hotel's pool after having a large dinner. They snuck into the room that housed the Olympic sized swimming pool and were now have a water war. Priss was winning.

"Okay okay, I GIVE!" A few more waves of water and Priss stopped, happy that she had won their sixth round.

"Are you S-U-R-E?"

Makie glared at her, his water logged hair nearly covering his eyes and shielding Priss from his gaze. They both got out of the pool and laid in some deck chairs to dry off.

"So what's the deal with you and Nene?" Priss looked over at Makie who was attempting to brush the hair away from his eyes but only succeeded in putting his hair in all directions.

"We're friends. Actually I haven't really heard much from her since we left. We used to email pretty regularly, but that kinda trickled off once she met Linna." Makie frowned slightly. It was true that he and Nene talked a lot but he had been hopeful for more. She was the first girl to really understand him and who was passionate about something he was too. But he had a sneaking suspicion that the only thing Nene wanted was friendship.

"Why the long face Mak?"

"Just thinking that some of us are alone in the world for a reason.. and perhaps it is better to be alone than ever hope for something that can never be."

Priss sat up and nearly glared at Makie.

"There may have been reasons for us to be alone at some point but you know what? Fuck it! We all deserve a chance at happiness so I say if you think it's there grab onto it with both hands and don't let go." Makie stared in shock at Priss but then started to laugh. Oh boy, sis you are in for one HELL of a ride. Makie gave Priss a sly smile.

"So.. how much DO you like my sister?" He waggled his eyebrows for good measure, which made Priss slightly defensive.

"I like her just fine."

"Mhmm, and there's nothing else huh?" He leaned over and nudged Priss playfully on the arm.

Priss was getting annoyed, not only because of Makie making fun of her but also for the fact that a blush was slowly making it's way up her neck. She could feel the annoying heat creeping into her cheeks, which was making her even more aggravated.

"Of course there's nothing else!"

Makie grinned widely at Priss and wriggled his eyebrows.

"I think the lady doth protest too much!" Makie then oh'd and ah'd Priss while making suggestive hand gestures. Priss wasn't in a blush anymore, she was simply fire engine red.

"Argh! What does it matter Makie? She's-she'sÖ I don't know." Priss sighed, a vague sense of disappointment flowing over her. Makie quit playing with Priss and simply took in her sad visage. He felt ashamed for doing that to her since he knew that she was such a solitary person. Even with what little interaction they had had, he never heard her talk of friends or family, the fact that she felt so strongly towards Sylia had endeared her to Makie.

Truth be known, he had noticed a subtle change in his sister. Whenever the raven-haired singer was around her she seemed to relax a bit, her features softening and her voice just seeming to be warmer than it usually was. Her eyes sometimes held a light that he hadn't seen except in the pictures of Sylia with their mother. His sister needed somebody in her life, someone that could bring her back, get back her smile and her energy. Perhaps even curb some of her tenacity when it came to Genom. Makie truly hoped that Priss would be that person.. and if he had anything to do with it, she would be..

"I'm sorry Priss, I didn't mean to push you.. its just that my sister likes you and I hoped that maybe you did too. That you would be friends.. she's so lonely Priss. Nobody should cut themselves off from other people. I may not be the best example of Mr. Social but at least I have a life outside the Sabers, that I have friends and I do go out. Sylia doesn't do that and I think it's wearing her thin. I-I'm actually a little afraid for her." Makie hung his head, he was afraid for his sister.

Priss placed her hand on Makie's arm, she didn't want him to feel badly because she wasn't entirely sure she could deal with what she felt. It was selfish of her to hide behind her façade that she kept up. It made her ill sometimes.. that sickening bravado that she used to keep people at bay so that they wouldn't see what she was really like. She'd come to realize that what she wanted was to let somebody inside. Wanted to let somebody know all of her, let them comfort and love her. She desired that above all else, to lose herself in another person and possibly find another sense of self after that; something lighter and with more substance.

"I do care for her Makie. But Sylia is Sylia. I don't know her very well but I know this.. we're very similar. If I knew someone cared for me I'd bolt. No second chance, do not pass go, do not collect two thousand dollars. We don't like upset or surprises in our lives. We're creatures of pattern. It's safe, it's boring and it won't get you hurt. I know how easy it is to live in anonymity and hide in the shadows." Priss gave him a pat on the shoulder and headed up to her room to go to sleep.


Priss knocked on Makie's door. It was their last day in Germany so Priss wanted to go out with Makie. They had bonded while in Berlin and Priss had to admit that she cared about the boy.

Makie's disheveled head appeared around the door as he motioned for her to come in. Priss grinned as she surveyed Makie's room; disaster area didn't even begin to cover it. Ah a boy after my own heart! Makie stumbled his way towards the bathroom as Priss snickered, watching the sheet he had around him tripping him up along with the clothes and shoes strewn across the floor. Priss sat down in a chair and looked at the papers on the table. Technical schematics swam before her eyes and sooner than she knew what was happening she was cross-eyed. Oy, I've really gotta learn what all this crap means. Maybe Makie could help me..

Makie came back out in his baggy clothes and shoved a cap over his messed up hair. He grunted as he passed Priss and made his way to the door. Hmm, who would have thought I would have been up earlier than him? Priss thought with a smirk.

They got downstairs and put on their helmets but Priss stopped Makie.

"You're going to drive us squirt."

"Wha-WHAT?!" Makie's face flushed and he looked a little panicky as he surveyed the traffic going by. It wasn't too bad because for once Priss had gotten up early. Of course early for Priss was anytime before three in the afternoon, so it was a relative term. Priss put her hand on Makie's arm and gave it a squeeze.

"Don't worry. We'll go easy okay.. in fact let's go find a parking lot and we'll let you start off there." Priss grumbled something along the lines of "I had to learn to do it on a hill you ungrateful lil-" but after that Makie couldn't understand. They got on the bike and were off. Makie paid close attention to all that Priss was doing, her hand and foot movements, which caused them to go faster and what helped them to slow down. How her body moved as they went into a turn and how she sat on the bike.

They reached a half-filled lot, Priss turning off the bike then getting off. She motioned Makie over to the bike and pointed out the ignition, the gas, breaks, the gages and just what they meant, the clutch and just how he was expected to be able to shift the gears. She had Makie get on and start it up before she got on.

Makie's hands shaked noticeably as he got ready to turn the engine over. Of course he didn't do too well till Priss came over to him and told him to relax. She helped him and it turned over just fine so Priss got on the back and instructed him how to slowly ease forward. They started and stopped for about ten minutes till Priss was satisfied. Priss then had him work more on turning and shifting gears as he did it, making sure he did it all right for the first few gears since they were in a parking lot and they couldn't exactly let the throttle out and go like a bat out of hell.

Once Makie seemed confident Priss had him go out into the city streets and battle against the traffic. He was nervous for the first few miles but then he got used to the hustle and bustle around them and shot off like a light.

"HOLY SHIT!" Priss screamed while wrapping her arms around Makie's waist, not really prepared for him to shoot off so quickly. They got onto the freeway and Priss nearly passed out at the way he was bobbing and weaving through traffic.

"Slow DOWN you crazy BASTARD!" She yelled over the rush of wind. Makie turned back to her and grinned.

"Did ya say go faster?"

Priss blinked a few times then laughed heartily patting Makie on his stomach as the boy pushed the bike to go faster and faster. God this kid's a natural!

They went back to the historic district where they had gone to together their first time out. Makie parked the bike and grabbed Priss's hand dragging her to the first building they had looked at, while taking out his camera. He spoke to an elderly gentleman in German then put his arm around Priss. She looked down at him and grinned realizing he wanted a picture with her. She put her arm around his shoulders and gave a little peace sign as the man took a picture. They took one more of the two of them grinning like idiots. The elderly man said something in German while giving Makie back his camera. Makie smiled at him and nodded his head.

"What did he say to you Mak?" Priss asked as they went back to the bike. Makie looked up at her and blushes slightly.

"He said 'it's nice to see siblings that care about each other so much in this day and age'. I didn't really feel like contradicting him."

Priss stood back and took a good look at Makie. They actually could pass for siblings except for the fact that Makie had the same hazel eyes as his sister Sylia. She smiled at Makie and ruffled his hair a bit.

"Hey Makie.. let me drive this time, there's a place I want for us to go so we can watch the sunset." Makie blinked then looked around realizing that they had been out the whole day. He was a little disappointed that he wouldn't be able to be in the driver's seat as it were with the bike but he didn't know where Priss wanted them to go. He nodded to her and she grinned back at them.

They eventually ended up at the roof of a nearby building and watched as the sunset on Berlin. Deep reds, oranges and pale purples swirled against the horizon as the sun went down. Makie shivered a bit and Priss took off her leather jacket, settling it on Makie's shoulders. He turned and gave Priss a goofy grin. They stayed well past the sunset and sat down.

"Makie.. I'd like your help with something." Priss blushes knowing that she hadn't studied the manual that had come with her suit, hell she didn't even know how her suit worked just that she could use it.

"Sure Priss.. anything you need I'll help you with." Makie nodded his head.

"Umm.. it's kind of embarrassing but. I need you to teach me about the suit. I really don't understand anything about it. I-I didn't even study the manual or any of those schematics that Sylia told me to. I couldn't do it, it wouldn't keep my attention." Priss cleared her throat slightly and squirmed a bit under Makie's gaze. A grin slowly spread across his face.

"I'll do it on one condition Priss."

"What's that?" Priss asked with a slightly distrustful look on her face. Knew there had to be a catch in there somewhere.

"I'd-I'd like to know more about bikes. Could you teach me about them n' everything?"

Makie was really cute with his eyes downcast playing with a little pebble on the ground as he pushed it around not looking at Priss as he asked his question in a timid voice. Priss was actually ecstatic. At least I won't be completely bored around him.

"Sure Mak. I wouldn't mind at all." They both grinned at each other then left, Makie trying to give back the jacket to Priss who waved him off as she zipped it up for him. They reached the hotel then went their separate ways to their own respective rooms.

The moment Priss got into her room she realized she wasn't alone. The light flipped on blinding her momentarily but she got her bearings and realized that Greta was in the room with her. Wearing next to nothing.

"Glad you're here Priss." The redhead got out of her chair with a fluid grace that Priss only associated with Sylia. Yeah only Sylia does it better! Priss smirked at the woman.

"I'm sure you are. I am not glad that you are in my room, so get your ass out of here Greta."

Greta ignored Priss's comment and came to stand in front of her. Her eyes glided over Priss's bare shoulders then down to take in the low cut, black leather vest and magenta riding pants. Priss's hair was tousled but in an appealing wild way. Her eyes burned Greta's body even though the women knew that the only thing Priss felt for her was derision. Greta brought her fingers to trail up Priss's pants to jump to the arms at Priss's side and glide on up to caress her shoulders.

Priss's jaw clenched in anger not only because the woman was touching her but Priss was letting her do it. Priss grabbed Greta's hands and locked them in a vice like grip. Greta didn't even flinch but seemed to get more aroused by it as she pressed her body into Priss's. Priss stepped back and gave Greta a little shove. She didn't really want to hurt the woman but she was really trying Priss's patience.

"Get out Greta, and I mean NOW!"

Greta looked like she was going to comply but as she was about to pass Priss her arm flew out, her hand behind Priss's head as she brought her forward for a crushing kiss. Greta bit Priss's lip before Priss could push the woman away.

"What the FUCK lady! Get out NOW!" Priss stalked to the door and opened it but Greta merely stalked over and slammed it shut.

"You know you want this Priss. I want it too. Just let me fuck you baby." She said as she attempted to put her hands on Priss again.

"I don't want anything to do with you.. if you don't leave then I will!" Greta stood firmly in front of the door her eyes burning with anger.

"She doesn't DO relationships you know. She's incapable of them. Cold to the core and about just that much fun in the sack." Greta's voice dripped with venom.

"What are you talking about?!"

"She got to you didn't she? She got to you like she does everyone. That façade; so beautiful, so unfeeling, so utterly seductive. Her voice gets to you doesn't it? That crystalline sound that comes from her lips as she talks to you, stalks you, draws you in until you're hers. Oh yes I know how it goes. You're not the first Saber to fall for her. Amber and Yuri did too and look where it got them. An early grave with nothing to show for it except little pieces that didn't even fit in a casket when they were lowered into the earth."

"I don't give a fuck what you think Greta, get the hell out of my room!"

Greta stalked to Priss and shoved her hard, forcing her to fall back into the glass table, shattering it on impact.

"I was her lover and I didn't even rate above a boomer. Who the hell do you think you are to even believe she'd want you? I know all about you Priscilla. You're a rat from the gutter and if you think for one damn minute Sylia would even stoop to your level then youíre an idiot. You should just get what you can from where you can get it and I'm telling you now that you will NEVER have Sylia because she won't let you." Greta screamed before she tore out of the room like a whirlwind, slamming the door behind her so hard that it reverberated through the walls.

Priss carefully got up and winced slightly. Fuck, I'm going to need a doc. Priss could feel pieces of glass in her right arm and some cuts on her back. She pushed herself up with her left hand but couldn't help getting some little glass fragments embedded in her palm. Fucking great.

Priss picked up the receiver and called for the hotel doctor explaining that she tripped and fell into the table in her room and needed the doctor now! As Priss waited, gritting her teeth against the fiery needles that were piercing her skin she thought of what Greta said. All it did was leave Priss with some things to think about but not until a later date when she wasn't so angry about letting her guard down.

Chapter 17:

"Sylia, remind me again why we're taking the bus like this?" Asked Nene through the comm system linked to Sylia's. The people on the bus were staring at the silver and red mech sitting at the back, the silver with it's leg crossed in a regal manner and the red one with it's legs draw together, slighting hunched over with it's hands in it's lap.

"Why not use the public transportation system to see the government. No need to use too much energy on them." Sylia smirked behind her visor, actually she just wanted to do it to see the reaction that they would get. Sylia wasn't disappointed. Besides, nobody was around to drive the vehicle, except for Linna and Sylia wasn't exactly happy with that Knight Saber anyway.

When Sylia had woken up from being out she couldn't remember where she was or what had happened. She saw Nene hovering above her and had smiled saying that she was all right. It took a lot of smooth talking on Sylia's part to keep Nene from calling Makie but she had managed it after much debate with her young friend. Sylia couldn't remember much that had gone on that day, in fact it seemed like her whole day was one giant fog where she couldn't get past it's misty blanket to recall what had gone on.

All that she knew was that when she saw Linna later on she'd felt an anger the likes of which she hadn't experienced in some time. She'd been curt with the younger woman and told her to just leave her alone until she was ready to talk to her. Linna had accepted that and left to use the simulator.

Sylia noticed their stop coming up and pushed the button that signaled the driver to stop for the next bus stop.

Sylia and Nene got off the bus, not noticing all the people piled on the one side to watch the two gleaming mech's walk to the guard post before the government installation.

Both mechs stopped at the gate waiting for the young man's attention. He couldn't have been any older than twenty, but looked to be somewhere around twelve with his acne marred features and gangly gait. Sylia cleared her throat waiting to get the man's attention from the little vid he was watching.

"Yeah yeah whatcha- STOP RIGHT THERE!" The flustered man said as he drew out his pistol. Sylia sighed loudly as Nene giggled over their comm link. Sylia reached out one hand and crushed the man's gun. He gulped audibly as he surveyed his mangled side arm.

"We're here to see Takahashi. If you want you can call him to confirm. Tell him the Knight Sabers are here."

The man nodded dumbly and scrambled to the vid phone punching in a number. It took less than a minute for him to open the gates for the two women. Nene gave him a little peace sign as she walked past. The man slumped into his chair and realized that he was in some serious need of a new pair of pants and underwear.

A military escort appeared not but ten feet after the gates and escorted both women to Admiral Takahashi. Nene fidgeted nervously next to Sylia who assured Nene over their private comm that everything would be okay.

"THAT'S admiral Takahashi?!" Nene started laughing over the private comm and Sylia was afraid that they'd be able to hear her since she was laughing so loudly. Sylia had to admit that she'd be laughing too if it weren't for the fact that they were being paid quite handsomely just for their presence there that day. Sylia quieted Nene and asked her to keep her scanners on in case the admiral tried to do anything funny.

"Hello, would you two.. err like to have a seat." The admiral gestured towards the seats in front of the Sabers but Sylia nodded her pale blue visored head 'no'. Sylia made an open comm so that the admiral could hear her.

"Why have you asked for the Knight Sabers assistance Admiral."

The admiral nodded his head, obviously pleased with the straight to the point attitude of the Sabers.

"We have lost something but it needs to be kept quite secret. It's something that we can not admit to even internally and from our understanding you are the best there is at keeping things secret and getting the job done."

Sylia nodded her head in the affirmative and asked for the admiral to continue.

"We have been working with Genom to create a semi-intelligent battle suit that could use a human pilot for it. We called it a D.D. Unfortunately the unit has turned up missing. We do suspect that Genom has taken it from us but most importantly we just need it back. We want you to find the device for us and to bring it back to our labs here on base."

Sylia pondered this for a time. She remembered what she'd read about the D.D. if she could get her hands on it and destroy it both Genom and the government wouldn't be able to use it.

"All right admiral-" Nene's voice broke out over the internal comm link.

"Sylia, we're being scanned, twelve o'clock behind the painting."

Sylia turned to the painting and opened her hand to blast it away. The admiral ducking behind his desk.

"That wasn't nice admiral. Because of this we will get back in touch with you on our decision. Good day."

Sylia turned as did Nene as they went out the door, the admiral peeking out from behind his desk at the remnants of what had been a watercolor painting that shielded a hidden vid recorder. They were the best. He just hoped that they had at least gotten a partial scan of their mechs before they left.


Nene and Sylia walked themselves out of the compound and waved to the young man still at the guard post who fell out of his seat when he saw them. They walked down the road because there wouldn't be another bus for a while plus Sylia needed to talk with Nene.

"What do you think Nene?"

"Well from what we already got from Omni Core and Raven's own personal notebooks I think it would be in our best interest to get the D.D. before Genom could use it. I mean come on Sylia, it has an automatic deadman switch. You kill the pilot and a nuclear bomb goes off!" Nene's voice went a little shrill at the end but Sylia couldn't blame the girl.

They were approaching an overpass when Nene stopped. Nene pointed up to the sky.

"They're still watching us Sylia."

Hovering in orbit was a satellite that had zeroed in on them and was watching then like a hawk sending the feed to the government compound not a few miles down the road.

"Paranoid wouldn't you say Nene?" Sylia turned to find Nene using her laser on the ground and laughed at what she saw. The soon went to the over pass and found a manhole cover which they picked up and dropped into.

The satellite's camera moved to follow them as they went under the overpass but scanned around when they didn't come back out. It went back over to where they last had been and found a pissed off drawing with the finger clearly being shown and the words "fuck off" burned into the pavement.

Nene and Sylia went to the regular sewer levels but then went down a level. They were going through the dragon line tunnels to get back to the shop. Originally intended to help Tokyo with its power problems they had been abandoned after the earthquake because of major damage. They were deep in the underground tunnels when they noticed the strange anomaly.

"Sylia, do you see what I see?"

Sylia brought up her own sensor readings and was perplexed by the energy signature that was being emitted. Something about it niggled a memory from long ago that Sylia was desperately trying to get a grip on. I've seen this before.. but where? They were using their night vision with the visors because of how dark the tunnels were and cautiously began walking again. Both were on guard and uneasy about the readings they were receiving.

They sloshed through the water that came to just below their knee's following the tunnel to a junction. Sylia was checking her map when something flashed by further down the tunnel to their right, a bright green blurb that was there then wasn't. The strange thing was it hadn't shown up on their sensor readings.

"Did you-"

"Yesssss!" Nene hissed in a frightened tone.

Sylia primed her weapons system, ready for an attack. Seconds ticked by but nothing happened. Nene fidgeted beside Sylia.

"Perhaps we should go up to the next level and find a manhole." Nene nodded her head vigorously at Sylia so they decided to head down the left passageway that lead up to the upper levels where they could get to a manhole.

The water that they had been originally plowing through was barely covering the ankles on their mech suits. In fact it looked like it was almost completely gone up further in the corridor. They got halfway down the passageway but had to stop because the tunnel ended. It wasn't that there was a fall in it was because there was a giant chasm in front of them. Sylia turned on the headlamps attached to her helmet and went to regular vision and shined her light around the walls. Water trickled past her feet and went over the edge to fall into the black abyss.

Surprising to Sylia was the fact that the walls were so smooth. She stepped closer to the edge and turned to run her hand over the slick walls. She brought her hand away and found a viscous slime coating her fingers. She raked her mind trying to determine what this was reminding her of when she noticed the little tentacles on the wall directly across from them moving slowly towards their position. Oh god!

"Nene, turn around and start going back.. now!"

"But Sylia-"

"No Nene, NOW!"

Nene turned and started walking in the direction they had just came from. Sylia watched the tentacles slithering across the wall, her temples began to pound to the movement that the tentacles were making. She shut down as many systems as she could observing that the thing on the wall across from her stopped moving. Sylia's breathing was slow and deep as she backed away, carefully from the edge. Keeping a close eye on what was in front of her. The water that had just been trickling soon became a steady flow as the chasm went out of sight. She sloshed backwards for a time then turned around, picking up speed as she ran through the water to get back to Nene. She re-initiated her systems as she neared the junction and saw Nene standing there.

Both alarms went off in the two mechs as Nene was slammed into the side wall by a creature.

"Sylia!" Nene screamed as she attempted to get up from under the creature. It looked like a large centipede only it had a great big mouth that opened up as if to swallow her. Nene threw a punch at it, knocking it away as she got up to run away.

Sylia ran toward Nene to help her but watched in horror as a tentacle shot out of the creature's mouth, latching onto Nene's mech encased leg. Veins slowly started to pop up, making their way up Nene's leg.

Nene could feel the creature corrupting her systems and shutting them down one, by one rendering her completely immobile. She strained as hard as she could but it was no use, her entire system was frozen and she couldn't move anything. Oh god, please help me. She silently prayed as she began to be pulled towards the creature. Nene's head began to pound violently.

Three more tentacles shot out, two latching onto her torso and the third going to her shoulder to pull her towards the gaping maw from which they had sprung. Her chest began to feel tight, her link to the suit making her feel the penetration of the tentacles into her suit as they merged with the outer shell and began to infect the hardwire. Her heartbeat sped up dramatically and she began to hyperventilate. It's going to get through and touch my skin.. it's going to eat me and I'll be dead! Nene screamed loud and long hoping that maybe if she did it long enough she'd pass out so she wouldn't have to watch as she got devoured.

Sylia's head felt like it was shattering into a million pieces, there were so many voices speaking to her at once it was deafening. She fell to her knee's grasping her visored head. It wasn't until Nene's scream reached her that she shakily lifted an arm, using her other to aim as she fired off a few rounds, severing the tentacles from Nene's body.

It's head whipped around, the maw seeming to get wider as tentacles shot out towards Sylia. She used her boosters to propel herself out of the water and over the creature's head. She crashed into the water, but came up to let out her entire arsenal at the creature. The creatures shook from the barrage it was being hit with. Fluid spurted from its torn carcass until Sylia finally was able to regain her balance and use her saber to slice it in two. She was possessed as she hacked the creature up, gore splattering her mech and sliding down to plop into the murky water.

Finally Sylia was able to stop, her breathing horse and ragged even to her own ear. She speared it one more time then fell back onto her ass in the water, barely keeping her head up.

"Sylia?" Nene asked across the comm. Her systems that weren't damaged were still online, it annoyed her that she wasn't able to get up and help her comrade.

"It-I'm okay Nene. Just give me a minute."

There was nothing but the sound of their breathing going over the comm. The pounding in Sylia's head had steadied to a dull roar and she hoisted herself to her feet. She scanned Nene's suit and realized that it wouldn't be a good idea to get completely in contact with it. So Sylia used her grappling hooks and attached them to Nene. She hoped that whatever was in her suit wouldn't be able to infect her since it's host was dead.

"Can you use your boosters Nene?"

Sylia waited a few moments but then Nene's suit back released and let out her "wings" that allowed her to hover. Nene was floating in the air and Sylia began the trek back the way they came with Nene in tow behind her. Sylia was feeling extremely weak, her legs didn't want to do much more but it couldn't be helped. Whatever it was it couldn't have been the only one down there and Sylia didn't want to be immobilized as Nene was.

The hairs on the back of Sylia's neck stood on end as the pounding began again in her head. No! Sylia established an unlink between her and Nene's suits making the boosters come online and hurtle them into the air so that they were flying down the tunnel at break neck speeds. Sylia would be in control of both suits as the flew down the tunnels. The speeds that they were going at siphoned the water up onto the sides and created a wake behind them.


Nene couldn't figure out what had spooked Sylia so badly, there was nothing on her sensors to indicate any threat. That's when Nene's scanners went through the roof with an overload of data and energy. Something was coming up behind them and fast.

"Come on, come on, come on, come on." Sylia chanted as they flew down the passageways. She feinted left down one corridor then right to see if she could fool the creature chasing them. They didn't need a comm to the outside to feel the vibrations of the roar of what was following them. It shook all that was around them till bits of concrete were raining down in a miniature storm, making everything a dusty blur in front of Sylia. She relied on her sensors and her extensive map of the Dragon Line tunnels.

Nene screamed as a tentacle shot past her head, nearly connecting with it. She had no desire to have those things inside her suit again.


Sylia watched the tentacle fly by on her right hand side. It was too close. She turned boosters all the way to the maximum level trying to get to one of the many crevices that led to the regular sewers.

"Nene.. when I tell you to disengage your boosters, you DO IT! I can't do this without help, the escape will be tight and I can't concentrate on everything at once." Sylia's mind was spinning with the necessary trajectory and thrust in order for her to catch Nene and propel them up.

"NOW NENE NOW!" Both women cut their boosters, Sylia catching Nene and letting them drop heavily to the ground then launched them up into the tiny crevice. It was a tight fit as they went up through the jagged space. Sylia flipped once she was free and engaged the boosters on her back to fly them down the sewers to a man cover. The walls shook around them as if there had been in explosion. Close, close it's too close!

They hurtled out of the sewers, flying high into the air above the waterfront. Sylia lost her grip on Nene but the cables between the two suits kept her in the air. Sylia propelled them up higher and higher, praying it was enough. They barely escaped the tentacles that lashed out from the manhole seeking out what had killed its progeny.

They flew up,up, up into the air, Nene and Sylia both breathing hard. They didn't quit their rigorous journey until they went in the back up entrance to the Silky Doll that the Sabers could use in case of emergencies. Sylia promptly powered both suits down as quickly as she could and flung herself from her own when she was able to. She shakily helped Nene from hers, both gasping for breath, their bodies covered in sweat.

She and Nene were lying near the launch pad panting with exertion as Linna rushed in. Linna had been going over her mech's schematics in the lab and accidentally pushed the comm button and overheard everything that had happened to the women. The screen in front of her had poured endless amounts of data and on the side of it a live feed of what was going on.

"Are you two okay?!" Her voice was breathy as she kneeled down next to both women. Nene was shaking very badly from fright and Sylia crawled over to the girl to cradle her in her arms. Nene began to cry and Sylia comforted her, shushing her in a warm tone, stroking Nene's sweat dampened hair. Nene had never been so scared in all her life.

Linna watched what was going on and felt decidedly uncomfortable. If it hadn't been for Nene kissing her and her reaction she would be the one with Nene in her arms and comforting her. Linna got angry at herself then stood and stalked out.

"Wha-What was that thing Sylia?"

"Not now honey, not now." She cooed as she drew Nene's tiny frame into her lap and rocked her gently. Trying to calm her own fears as she held her small friend.

Christ, I thought nothing had survived from the lab?!


On the other side of the world, just a few hours before Sylia and Nene went to their meeting. Priss was waking up to a world of pain.

DAMMIT! Hey body ached all over. The hotel doctor had insisted that she go to the local hospital so that's where she had ended up. Getting glass taken out of her flesh and being sewn back together again and then given a stern warning on watching out when it came to her wound.

Priss snatched one of the pain pills and popped it in her mouth, dry swallowing it as she rolled as best she could out of bed. Priss wasn't a stranger to passing out on her stomach but it aggravated her that there was a reason she'd have to STAY on her stomach when it came to sleeping now. Goddamn that bitch for doing this to me! She thought as she dressed as quickly as she could in the clothes she had set out last night for the return flight.

She dressed in some loose fitting jeans and an even looser white cotton tee that she had bought on her way into the hotel last night. Actually it was closer to thievery but what the hotel didn't notice wasn't her problem. She carefully slid her arms through her black leather jacket, hissing when the heavy leather pressed against her injured flesh. It's going to be GREAT fun taking that rental bike back.

Eventually Priss got downstairs and loaded her back into the trunk, grunting slightly when her stitches tugged in an uncomfortable way. She waved at Makie and told him she'd meet him at the plane, then put on her helmet and was off.

Being hunched over the front-end hurt like a bitch, but no more so than the damn stop and go traffic. Her patience was wearing very thin till she finally let the throttle loose and went right up the middle, zooming quickly through the cars and not caring if she got caught by the police. She wanted to be off the bike and in an upright position.. which was a first for her in many ways. Normally she'd have preferred to stay on a bike but for the pain she was experiencing she'd make an exception.

It didn't take her long to return the bike and pay off the balance for having used it. When she finally got on the plane she saw that she was the first one there and almost shrugged. She sat down very delicately, being careful not to put too much pressure back onto her wounds. She had placed her hands on the armrest when someone clapped her hard on the shoulder. She hissed and bit the inside of her cheek hard, her knuckles turning a ghostly white color from how hard she was gripping to ride out the pain. Perspiration dotted her forehead and she had no doubt that her face was as ashen as her knuckles.

God, how will I be able to stand this?! She thought.

"Priss are you okay?" Makie sat down across from her just like when they had first come over on the jet. Priss nodded her head and turned her eyes to the other people coming on board. Greta hesitated next to their seats as she was walking by but ended up passing them when Raven gave her a small nudge to move to their seats up ahead.

Priss gave up her death grip on the seats and moved her shaky hands to put on her seat belt. It was slow going because of how mindful she was of her throbbing shoulder. Makie watched her curiously for a moment taking it all in and feeling concerned. He'd never seen Priss even remotely close to what one might call sick. But she looked like she was death warmed over. He could see her concentration as she put her hands back on the armrests and steadied her breathing. Her eyes closed and her brow furrowed with each whispered ragged breath. He saw a brief tightening around her eyes and her jaw firm up as if she were gripped in pain. Before he could say anything the captain came over the comm as they began to taxi the runway preparing to take off.

They stopped for a few moments and Makie leaned back in his seat watching Priss, noticing that she was sitting slightly forward in her seat. The engines began to whine louder and louder as the jet rolled forward as it gradually picked up speed. As the nose nudged up into the air, Priss's white knuckled hold on the armrests got even tighter. She gritted her teeth hard because of her body being forced back against the seat, setting her tender flesh ablaze with endless torture. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck kill me now!

When they began to level off Priss felt the bile rise up and quickly unbelted before she ran for the bathroom. She tossed open the door and fell in to puke in the toilet. Her retching touched the ears of everyone in the plane and she was pitied by all save one. Being reduced to dry heaves her eyes watered and her hands tightened around the bowl, trying to steady her shaking body. Eventually she was able to stand up to rinse out her mouth. She swallowed some water after rinsing, the cool water soothing her ravaged throat. She splashed some water on her face and neck trying to cool herself down then patted herself dry. She debated with herself then grabbed one of the pills from her pocket and downed it as quickly as she could. I hope this works.. do I ever need it too!

She slowly made her way back to her seat, but decided to grab a pillow on the way there and put it down before sitting angled slightly to the side.

"Priss what's going on?"

Priss thought about if she wanted to tell Makie right then and there what all had happened to her but decided against it. There was no need to worry him and she had the feeling that if she did tell him he'd be over the seat, throttling Greta. Not that Priss didn't want to, but she preferred to do her maiming in private.

"I fell and hurt myself, but I'll tell you more about it later."

Makie looked like he was going to argue with her but she shot him one of her most intimidating glares. Makie seemed to shrink to the size of a little doll and once satisfied Priss looked out the window.

"Makie.. tell me what I need to know in order to understand the suits better."

He looked up at Priss who smiled slightly at him and he grinned back at her a little goofily before he launched into his knowledge on the suits. By the time they were touching down in Tokyo, Priss's back wasn't killing her as badly and she understood the principles of the mech's on a rudimentary level.

Chapter 18:

Linna went to her apartment and slammed the door as much as she could behind her, throwing her purse viciously against the wall. Dammit, dammit, dammit, DAMMIT! She was angry at herself and at Nene. Everything was going wrong and nothing made sense anymore, plus she had that stupid date with Yoshi that night and she was seriously considering canceling on the man.

Linna Yamazaki you will NOT cancel on that man. The voice sounded surprisingly like her mothers and Linna cringed. Her mother had been very overbearing. Always telling her who she could associate with, what she was to wear and what her profession would ultimately be. Too bad for her she didn't realize that when she let me go to college I'd find my way out of the boonies!

It was while at college that she was first introduced to the rumors surrounding the Knight Sabers. A girl she had befriended in her world history class was big into conspiracy theories and always talked about the latest updates on the vigilantes in Tokyo. God if she only what the Knight Sabers are really about! Linna laughed to herself thinking of her old friend Kumiko.

Come to think of it.. Linna tried to squash her thoughts of just how similar Nene and Kumiko were, but found that she couldn't run from her own memories.

All the late night study sessions at Kumiko's and how she'd sleep over, how she'd end up wrapped around her friend. The stolen glances and innocuous touches, If she had kisses me, would I have.. NO, I wouldn't have let her do that! Mom always.. Mom always what? Oh shut up you, I'm not talking to you. You're doing it again. You're hurting a wonderful person and for what?! A whole lotta nothing that's what. If you were honest- If I was honest I wouldn't have led them on! I'm not like that.. I'm not, I'm not- S-u-r-e, keep telling your self that. God dammit what do you want from me? The truth. You want to know what truth? I'm attracted to Yoshi and I will go out with him. I won't cancel on him and that's that.

No, she wouldn't cancel. She needed to prove to herself that she was as normal as the next person. There was nothing strange or abnormal about her. Everything was Nene's doing. Nene had done this to her, made her feel this way and it was about time that she get back to the person that she had once been.

Linna went through her apartment with a purpose, picking out her most alluring outfit and tossing it on the bed as she stripped to jump in the shower. She turned the water till it was almost scalding and scrubbed her body till it was red and jumped out to towel off. She put her perfume on some strategic locations and moisturized her face before brushing her hair and drying it. After she had it styled the way she wanted to applied her makeup then padded naked into her bedroom and put on her outfit.

As she surveyed herself in the mirror she had to admit that she looked pretty damn sexy. Any man in his right mind would want her. But is that what you want? Linna scowled at the voice. Of course it was what she wanted. Why wouldn't she want that?

Then why are you angry. I'm not talking about Nene but yourself. Nene's just an excuse. SHUT UP! I won't shut up because you know it's the truth Linna.

The doorbell rang before she could respond to her annoying inner voice. She took a few deep breaths to calm herself and grabbed her purse before opening the door to Yoshi. He was a gorgeous looking man. Not a hair out of place and his dark eyes just seemed to be endless. He wore a nice looking suit that accentuated his build just perfectly. Linna smiled in appreciation. Now THIS is a man. Yoshi handed her a single red rose, which Linna blushingly took.

"You look lovely this evening Linna. Shall we go?" He offered his arm to her, which she accepted, then they were off to a lovely downtown dinner.


Priss went with everyone back to the Silky Doll. They found Nene and Sylia up in Sylia's apartment. To say that things seemed strained would have been an understatement. Linna was nowhere around plus Sylia and Nene seemed shaken. They weren't really talking about what happened because the minute Raven came into the room he swept Sylia into his arms for a big bear hug. They shared a brief kiss that was a little too familiar for Priss's taste but she'd talk to Sylia about that when they knew each other a little better.

Sylia and Greta eyed each other warily before they gave each other little air kisses.



Sylia smiled warmly at Makie and drew him close to her suited form, ruffling his hair. Nene came to stand next to Priss and watched the reunion of brother and sister.

"I was only gone for a few days, sheesh."

"Yes well in big sister terms that can be an eternity!"

Makie noticed that his sister was paler than usual but decided to not comment on it. They smiled at each other then turned and looked at everyone standing about. Sylia's arm was hanging loosely on Makie's shoulder as she introduced the people present.

"Nene, this is Greta Langly and her husband Dr. Raven. They'll be here for a while and helping us with what we received from Omni Core. Raven is also going to teach you how to understand the systems better."

"I am?!"

Sylia smiled sweetly at her old friend and mentor.

"Yes.. you ARE!"

Everyone broke off and started their own conversations with various people when Greta off by the console near the table turned to them and told them the news she'd been listening to.

"Police scanners are showing a disturbance at 6500 West Market, downtown restaurant. Rogue boomer warning."

Everyone eyed each other for a moment but soon were in the elevator going down to the launch pad. Sylia, Priss and Nene went into the changing rooms. They quickly slipped into their encounter suits, Nene noticing the ravage that was Priss's back. Priss shot Nene a glare and Nene didn't say a word. They went back to the launch pad only to stop and stare and Nene's mech.

"You can't go Nene."

Despite everything, Nene had forgotten that her suit was inoperable.

"I'll use Linna's."

Greta came from a side room in an encounter suit and went up to Linna's mech.

"You don't have the body for it kid. I studied the data on this one. I could get by using it, you wouldn't. The suits new enough that it could accept me as a possible host."

Sylia hesitated but then nodded her head. The three of them went up to their respective mechs and got ready.

"Silver ready."

"Blue ready."

"Red-I mean Green ready."

Sylia nodded her head slightly. Makie, Nene and Raven stood in the control room.


The three mechs flew up and out of the building, nothing but brief, gleaming blurs on the rooftops of Tokyo2's buildings at twilight.


Why me? Why me, whyme, whymewhyme?! Linna's mind chanted as she ran for the second exit.

It would be Linna's luck that her date turned out to be not only a slime ball but a cowardly one at that. The minute the boomer struck he had be tossing people left n' right to get out of the door. Linna had joined the stampede but had nearly been flattened when the rogue boomer had thrown a few tables towards the mob of people at the door. She'd jumped out of the way to lay flat on the ground. Through all the chaos she saw the other exit and ran for it.

She could hear the boomer tearing up the place and was going through the door when a rod stuck into the wall next to her head. SHIT! The boomer was after her. The chase was on.

Linna climbed the fire escape as quickly as she could, her heals lost when she'd made a dash for the door the first time. The grating shook as the boomer stepped off onto it, twisting it under its bulky, heavy frame.

Move your ass Yamazaki! Linna's mind screamed at her as she rushed up the stairs. Thank god for training with Sylia. The woman was a grueling taskmaster and Linna was sure that she wouldn't be getting up the stairs as quick as she was if it wasn't for Sylia.

The screaming of rivets alerted her that she was going to have a bigger problem than the boomer that was after her. She stole a glance down below and watched as the metal twisted from the wall where the boomer was, it crushed the handrail in its meaty paws. It reached above its head and dragged itself up a level, not content with just doing a regular chase. Apparently the rogue boomer was part monkey and decided it would be fast to climb up the side. Just my LUCK!

The boomer latched onto the metal and began shaking it violently. Linna had to grab on in order to keep from falling down. The metal began to protest more, screaming like a banshee as more rivets were pulled from the wall. Linna yelled as the entire fire escape fell sharply then stopped. Her arms wrapped around the banister she was at was what kept her from falling to the pavement three stories below.

The boomer fell from the new, metal latticework that was draping between the two buildings and hit the ground. Good, I hope your dead! Linna's mind chanted, but she had no such luck. It got back up and it's beady, mechanical eyes zeroed in on her. It was poised to jump when a blast knocked it back to the ground.

Linna looked up and saw the most beautiful sight in the world. A blue mech with its cannon aimed down at the boomer. Next to it arrived Sylia's silver mech and the green one. Hey.. that's MINE!

She didn't have time to think about it became the metal finally gave from the side of the building and made a fast ascent towards the ground. The only thing that stopped it was the ground next to it. Linna opened her eyes to see the blue mech in front of her, hanging from the metal by one arm. Priss opened her visor and grinned at Linna, pointing down to where Sylia's mech was waiting. Linna watched as her own green mech dispatched the boomer with its energy ribbons then joined Sylia.

Linna looked back at Priss and shook her head violently from side to side.

"Yer nuts Priss.. NUTS I SAY!"

Priss' blue shoulders shrugged as she ripped the piece of metal Linna was holding onto away and let go. Linna rushed down, cursing Priss to hell n' back. She was caught by Sylia and eventually set down onto the ground.

"Meet us back at base." Sylia whispered to Linna then was flying back in the air, Priss and whoever was using Linna's mech following her.

"Police, FREEZE!"

Linna's hands shot into the air as she slowly turned around to see Leon in K-12 armor and Daily behind him with a megaphone. Oh yeah, this night just keeps getting better n' better!


Sylia felt weak, the heavy metal band in her head wouldn't leave her alone and was tearing her damaged psyche to ribbons, pummeling her with its incessant beat. They were so close to the Silky Doll. If she could make it, she could get out of the mech and crawl into her bed, sleeping for the next million years if need be if only to get rid of her throbbing head.

Priss was exhilarated and also in excruciating pain. It felt good to be in her mech again and flying out with the team. But that little hanging monkey stunt she'd done to get to Linna had pulled a stitch or twenty in a most displeasing way. She couldn't wait to get back to base and get out of her mech, the close confines of her suits making a fire rage across her skin.

They were soon down at the launch pad. Greta was already out of her mech and Priss had gotten her helmet off but only through slow, precise movements. Sylia stood completely still. Priss turned to her leader feeling vaguely uneasy about the way Sylia was just standing there.

The silver suit pitched forward and crashed to the ground. Priss rushed forward and took off Sylia's helmet. Blood was coming from the sides of her ears and nose, looking runny thanks to the sweat that dappled her nearly translucent skin. Greta unhooked the various pieces of the mech as Makie and Raven came down and stripped Sylia of her suit.

"SyliaÖ Sylia?" Raven had a penlight on him and drew up Sylia's lids, flashing the light briefly into her eyes, once, twice. It wasn't good, she wasn't responding.

"We've got to get her out of here people."

Everyone nodded and Priss lifted her up into her suited body, carrying her to the car and placing her delicately in the back seat. Gritting her teeth at the slightest jarring of her precious cargo. Makie and Raven got into the car, starting it up and then speeding away.

Priss stood there with Greta and Nene watching the headlights disappear from the underground garage. Nene voicing what Priss was thinking.

"Please be okay Sylia."

To Part 6

Return to Main Page