BGC Post 2040 File 1 – 21: Dominant Species
The Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 Continuation Fanfic Series
by P. Kristen Enos
Most of these stories take place AFTER the TV Series! So DON’T blame me if I ruin the ending for you because you read these stories first!
Lesbian/Yuri/Shoujo Ai Warning! (Non-explicit — at least in the “PG13″/”R” sort of way.) Just not written for children because they probably wouldn’t get half of it. All rights belong to JVC/AIC, ADV Films and the other creative powers that be. I just want credit for writing the story.
Chapter 61: Square One
Sylia leaned back in her chair and watched the datastream fly across her terminal. From her position in the command booth, she glanced down and watched Mackey maneuver the scanner over the boomer’s form while Nene watched the readings on the nearby monitor station.
Per Sylia’s instructions, Reika would hold off contacting Quincy until the very end of the three days, hopefully allowing the addition of a couple more days for “delivery” time, which would be sorely needed. So for the time being, Quincy still thought Reika and her sources were “looking”, and for the moment that was good enough.
The sound of the elevator door opening as well as the pleasant aroma of much needed coffee piqued her senses.
“Thank you, Hen–“ she said but stopped when she turned around and saw Nigel carrying a tray instead. “Well, hello.”
He smiled and handed her a cup of coffee while taking a sip from his own. “Henderson is dealing with cleaning out Sylvie’s room, not that she left any mess to begin with. But he’s a little depressed by the whole thing.”
“Aren’t we all?” she mused as she returned her attention to the view below. “It’s just a cold reminder that with all of the money I have at my fingertips, the one thing I can never buy is time.”
“Well, getting a complete download as she is now is a start,” he said, referring to the screen of blurred text.
Sylia sighed and said, “You know as well as I do that even with the data-file snapshot, it’s still a long shot to making a perfect recreation of her. All of the nuances that made her personality were embedded in her core and the cell-matter that formed the base of it.”
Nigel frowned as he mulled over the puzzle as well, his eyes never leave the activity in the pit below. “Is it part of the deal that we have to return her to Genom intact? After all, they don’t know how the battle actually ended because of the blackout.”
Seeing where he was leading, Sylia suddenly sat up, her mind starting to buzz with an idea. “That is true. And it is our M.O. to crush cores, isn’t it? And we’d have to keep her core in a stasis chamber until we can create a body to house her. But it’s not a guarantee since so many things can still go wrong.”
“But it is a chance,” he pointed out with a quirk of a smile. “And I’ve never known Sylia Stingray to pass up on a chance. We don’t have the time and resources to create a dummy boomer, but we do to create a small stasis chamber.”
The woman continued to mull over the options, her mental wheels clearly spinning faster as her enthusiasm level increased. “We’d have to keep it confidential though, especially from Priss. I’d hate to give everyone hope and then disappoint them, either because she didn’t survive the transfer, or because she didn’t turn out to be exactly Sylvie in the end. At least we can deal with the last option by giving her a completely different exterior design if we have to and just accept that she’s a different person.”
“I’m sure you’ll come up with the best option, one that’ll make it work,” he said as he stood behind her chair and gently hugged her shoulders. “I have faith in you.”
Sylvie looked around, confused by the realizations that she was in the Pit and that she was still sentient. She turned her head to see Sylia standing over her.
“Yes, Sylia?” the boomer asked, not sure of what else to say given that she had resigned any hope of every being truly conscious again.
The woman smiled down at her and said, “I have one final chance that I’d like to offer you before we continue with the downgrade process.”
The boomer tilted her head curiously, intrigued by that opening.
“Nigel and I think there may be a chance to recreate you but it’s not a fool-proof method. At the very least, your core would have to be put in a stasis chamber until we can create another boomer shell for you. As you’ve heard before, this could take a year at the most, six months at the least. There’s also a strong chance your core will not survive being in stasis that long, or even the transfer process itself. Another risk is that when you are finally embedded in a new body, you may not be the Sylvie you know yourself to be, even though we’ll try our best to download the snapshot of our data files as they are now. That would mean you’d become someone else.”
Sylvie was quiet as she absorbed those words, her eyes never leaving the woman’s face as she spoke. Finally, she said, “It sounds like I have three possible scenarios: I could die later rather than now, I could become someone else, or the desired goal is that I could become me once more but at the earliest six months.”
“That’s why I wanted to talk to you now before we did anything. This choice is yours, as it always has been. And like before, I don’t want to force the hardships of living on you without your consent. Especially for a process that even I don’t feel extremely confident will work and that may cause you to suffer unnecessarily painful repercussions.”
Sylvie smiled softly and said, “Yes, you did warn me the first time that there are bad things to living, however, you also told me there would be the good things. And since I’ve experienced both, I would like to take this chance, no matter how slim the odds may be. But this time I do have one request if it is at all possible.”
“Yes?” Sylia answered, her own curiosity now piqued.
“If I’m to be in a stasis chamber, I would like to see if there is some way I can still be aware of the world as time goes on. A year is a long time to be away from the people you care about, and so much can happen to them during then. I would still feel as if I was a part of their lives by being an observer if I can’t actually participate.”
Sylia nodded and said, “I’ll see what we can do.”
“And, Sylia, if we really never speak again with me as Sylvie, thank you for everything.”
Sylia smiled and squeezed her hand. “You’re very welcome. You’ve taught me a lot as well. Now relax because I will have to turn you off again…”
“And so she’s back?” Madigan asked over the phone as she called from her sister’s home in Germany.
“Yes, in pieces though. But of all four of them, she was the most salvageable. Dr. Yuri estimates they should be able to have her up and running in two months time and no one else will be the wiser,” Quincy explained from his office as he watched the view on his terminal of Dr. Yuri and his team fussing over their new delivery. “Ms. Chang said she didn’t know why they kept her, but I think it’s pretty obvious they were planning to study her components in the hopes of getting as much technology information possible without her being fully functional. By her escape, she obviously proved too much for them to handle the first time around.”
“This ultimately means of course that Ms. Chang also knows who the Knight Sabers are. Should we keep an eye on her?”
Quincy thought about that for a moment and then shook his head. “Direct surveillance on the head of the Hou Bang Clan is almost impossible, as you know from your own experience with the late Mr. Chang. And finding out such information that way almost feels like someone else filling out a crossword puzzle for you in that the sense of accomplishment is gone. No, I’d rather we figure out something when we’re ready to deal with them once and for all. In the meantime, it’s just good to know she’s a source of information if we need to go that route.”
“Then what now?”
He grinned at her and said, “Say hello Fred Jr. for me and enjoy the rest of your vacation, Madigan. Meanwhile, Iris and I are going to take the kids to Australia for our own getaway. Like I said, there will be plenty of work to do when we get back.”
Madigan smiled back at him and said, “A hello to Iris as well. And have a good trip yourself, sir.”
— End Chapter 61 —
Chapter 62: Past Perfect
Under the gentle heat of the afternoon sun, Leon felt his heart tighten as he drove the car up to the stretch of road that led to the perfect spot with a view of the city from the tall hill. He saw the lone figure standing in the extremely familiar stance of almost four years ago, when he had tried an unsuccessful attempt to pick her up by pointing out that he wasn’t going to give her a ticket for speeding.
Like then, Priss was dressed in her biker garb and leaning against her motorcycle. And also like then, her attention was focused on the view of the city, seemingly unaware of anything else even though the man had slowly learned that that was rarely the case.
Leon pulled up the car to the curb and got out, anxious to have this conversation and yet dreading it as well. It was hard to believe that it had been only a week since their last talk, which was the fight on the beach.
When he had finally gotten the call that morning that she wanted to meet, he tried grilling Nene for any details to prepare himself. Surprisingly, his coworker and friend actually seemed leery of providing any additional information other than to hint rather bluntly that he needed to hear things from Priss herself.
As he came near, he saw her head tilt as his footfalls apparently caught her hearing.
“Hey, is that a new bike?” he asked in the lightest tone possible.
“A loaner from Nigel’s shop. He and Mackey are working on my regular one.”
“Ah. So what happened?” he prompted as he leaned against it from the back.
“It took a tumble when I tried hunting down a boomer,” she answered simply. Showing that things were indeed different between then and now, she actually turned to him. She gave him a sad look and a simple “Hi.”
“Hi,” he answered back, trying not to be too focused on the bruise that still swelled her cheek and corner of her mouth. At least he had gotten a preliminary glimpse of it in their phone call, when she said it was a ‘training wound.’ “So how are you doing?”
“Better. And you?”
“Nuts from missing you like crazy,” he admitted softly. “Praying that this won’t be the last time we really talk. And if it is… well, hoping that just once you’ll be completely honest with me, and don’t edit even if you think I’ll misunderstand or not get the point at all.”
Priss studied him for a moment and then turned her attention back to the view before them. “Would you believe me if I told you that I thought you were kind of cute when you tried to give me that cornball line about not giving me a ticket for speeding? Your charm was definitely goofy, but I admit there something endearing and honest about your effort.”
Leon blinked in surprise and said, “Well, then why did you let me think you weren’t interested?”
“Because that part was also true,” she answered simply. “At the time, I was seriously interested in someone else, and was just waiting for the slightest sign that it was mutual and okay to act upon it. I had been brushed off by that person when you came by that day, and I guess the attention was what I needed at the time to salve my bruised ego and heart. And so, I thought ‘If I can’t have what I really want right now, a little fantasy material wouldn’t hurt to tie things over until the situation changed.’
“But since it wasn’t really serious for me, I didn’t want to give you hopes that it could lead anywhere real. In the meantime, I enjoyed your attention and your company since you seemed to be okay at the best, and amusing at the worst. At the very least, I thought that maybe we could be friends since I was starting to realize that friends were a good thing to have in your life after all.
“However, even if there wasn’t someone else, I still wouldn’t have pursued anything real with you. Being attracted to someone isn’t the same as wanting the same things, or having the same life vision. I knew back then that you were probably the kind of guy who saw a future with a stable routine, a nice home and children. At the time, my future consisted of singing, riding my bike and kicking boomer ass. I didn’t want to start something that I knew would have resulted in a no-win situation for both of us. And I honestly didn’t want to hurt you, which would have been inevitable.”
Leon swallowed against the knot building in his throat as he said, “Well, four years later it seems that you were right after all about the kind of guy that I am. Does that also mean that your vision of your own future changed to allow you to take a chance on us, and now it’s changed back?”
Priss was quiet for a moment and then said, “I don’t think I have to tell you that a lot of things were happening at that time, Leon. When you and I went out on the beach that night and talked, I was struggling with the fear of losing these women who had become so important to me despite all of my guards against having someone get too close. Then there was the issue about the hardsuits being boomers… And of course, Galatea had just emerged and all hell was breaking loose. My defined and completed controlled life suddenly felt as if it had been dumped into a blender turned on maximum speed.
“Part of me wanted to quit at that time just to cut my losses and run, to have everything end on my terms, not anyone else’s. But I stayed even though I saw the writing on the wall that it was probably the end of not just my life, but Tokyo and probably the world. It was just a matter of waiting for the countdown to happen, and it felt like it would come sooner rather than later.
“And just when I think things can’t get any worse, I finally found out that the one I wanted was in love with someone else, and always had been. So everything I had to look forward to and fought for was gone: my home, my band… and my heart.
“But through it all, you were there, always letting me know that you wanted a chance. And the issue about conflicting futures didn’t matter anymore since the world was going to end at any moment. So with nothing holding me back, and nothing to look forward to, I thought ‘why not?’ And perhaps a part of me rationalized it with believing you weren’t that serious about it either. When we went up in the skyhook, I honestly thought I’d never see you again, and that would be it for us.
“Meanwhile, I still had my identity as a Knight Saber to keep me grounded. From the start I believed it was a lost cause, but I was going to damn well die fighting. Hell, I went charging off to face Galatea in space without even thinking about how the heck I was going to get back until I got there. A lot of things happened up there that I never told you about. But the fact was that I seriously thought many times that I was going to die, even to the point of giving up a couple of times and just waiting for the end to finally happen. I stopped being able to tell what was real and what was a nightmare.
“So imagine my surprise when I wake up in the hospital from sun-exposure and dehydration to find out that the world was going to be fine after all. And there you were to take care of me. I decided at the time that that was a good thing after all. But I also knew that it was a matter of time until I’d have to face the music and decide whether or not the choices I made during the revolution were really the choices I would have made if life hadn’t been as crazy as it was.
“I knew that staying in Tokyo would mean that it was time to face reality. Even before the white noise problem became the overwhelming issue, I wanted to go off on the world tour almost right away since I knew you would come with me. I guess it was a test, to see if we could make it as a couple, and to see if you really loved me.”
Leon heard a possibility and went for it with as much gusto as he could muster. “Well, then I’ll quit my job. We can go back to London and continue the tour!” Leon said, “We -“
She shook her head regretfully. “Leon, no, we can’t. It’s like a dream. Learning the truth is just like waking up in that you can’t go back. And I’m sorry if it sounds like I was using you. I didn’t want to admit it at the time that’s what it was, but I can’t pretend any longer. It’s the only way I can start being fair to both of us again.”
“You came back because Linna was in trouble,” Leon pointed out. He was fighting the nauseous feeling rising within him, as if someone had given him a hardsuit punch in the stomach.
“I told you that I realized I wasn’t such a loner anymore.”
“Well, if that part of you did change, then what about your vision of the future? Maybe it really changed too?”
Priss sighed and said, “The thing is, Leon, I’ve got a hell of a lot of issues to work through, and I need to do it alone. It was pointed out to me recently that I had been avoiding a lot of tough questions about myself, which I could avoid as long as I stayed away from Tokyo. I’ve been basically functioning on emotional autopilot for the past three years, not just with you but with life in general. Deep down though, there’s always been a part of me still fighting to be heard, and I have to start listening again. It’s time to figure out who I really am after all of this. The only thing I know for certain is that the Priss I’ve been for the past three years is not the Priss that feels real.”
Leon frowned and said, “So, when you accepted my proposal, did you know even then that we weren’t going to get married in the end?”
“I accepted because it was the best I could ever give you. Would you have wanted me to act any differently?”
The man thought it over and then admitted painfully, “No, I guess not. If what you’re telling me is that we should never have gotten together to begin with, then three years of a dream world was better than nothing… So are you going to stay in Tokyo?”
Priss nodded. “One thing I remembered about myself recently is that I am a fighter, and that I don’t back down from a challenge.”
“Then, is there any chance we really could be friends after all?”
Priss looked at him and said with a gentle smile, “Maybe some day. Definitely not right now. I don’t want to give you the idea that being around me is going to help change my mind about us.”
“Oh,” he answered, the red on his cheeks showing that that was exactly what he had thought.
She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out the engagement ring. “I believe this belongs to you. Give it to someone who really is expecting to add a wedding ring to it.”
Leon couldn’t think of anything to say as he held out his hand and watched her place the ring in his outstretched palm.
“Thank you for everything,” she said as she gave him a final kiss on the cheek. “And I am truly sorry. You’re a great guy, Leon. You’re perfect for someone who just isn’t me.”
Swallowing against the lump in his throat, he closed his fist around it and shoved it into his pocket. He then cleared his throat and said, “What about the rest of your stuff? Should I send it to Sylia’s?”
Priss picked up the motorcycle helmet and said, “I’m going to be staying at Linna’s apartment while she’s still recovering at the Chang’s. You can send everything there for now… And before you ask, I do plan to move out when she’s ready to come home.”
Stepping back to give her room, Leon’s face turned red again as he watched climb her on the motorcycle. Once the woman disappeared around the curve in the road, he looked again at the ring clenched in his fingers.
With a deep sigh, he slipped the ring into his shirt pocket and then focused on the view before him.
— End Chapter 62 —
Chapter 63: With A Bang
Daley crouched down on his knees and spied the tiny black disk under his desk. He motioned to Nene to hand him their equipment for the task, which she did with her hand over her mouth to suppress a giggle. The man aimed the opening of the whistle at the bugging device and blew with a full lung of air.
He and Nene then collapsed on the floor in laughter just as Leon walked in with a wince and his fingers pressed into his ears.
“Just what the hell are you two doing? I almost thought it was a new alarm system they installed!”
“And a good Monday morning to you too, Detective McNichol. We’re only saying a proper farewell to our unwanted guests,” Daley said as he plucked out the device and tossed it onto the desktop with the ten others they had found. He then slammed a hammer onto them, satisfied with amount of plastic pieces they broke into.
“There were that many?” Leon said as he took off his jacket and tossed it on the coat stand. “How many were in your apartment?”
“Don’t know yet. We’ll get rid of them tonight,” Daley answered with a smug look. “A Mr. Akamatsu finally came home from Los Angeles Saturday and we had a noisy celebration of his return, as well as of the end of the lack of any privacy for the weeks before his departure. Chances are that whoever was on surveillance duty for us that weekend didn’t enjoy their shift too much.”
Leon’s face turned red as he muttered, “Geez, is that why you helped me move out Friday?”
“A man’s got to have his priorities, you know. And with the official closing of this case, I quickly realized that there are certain things I didn’t have to put up with anymore.”
“So have you and Nene here been basking in the glory of solving the Plaza Slaughter this morning?” Leon remarked.
His coworkers grimaced, showing that the merriment was one-dimensional after all.
“Don’t even touch that one,” Daley muttered. “It just sickens me that when they pulled the big ‘raid’ of the so-called terrorist headquarters that everyone was killed, if they weren’t already dead before our officers got there. Those poor guys were just there to feed a hungry public and it worked.”
“Still, if you had followed the real path, Yuuji’d be a widower. After all, we had no idea there was a Yakuza connection to all of this.”
Daley winced and said, “Don’t remind me. The fear works both ways when you’re married to an investigative reporter.”
“So, Leonardo, how’s the new bachelor pad?” Nene asked as she packed up the bugging device scanner she had borrowed from Sylia. “Heard you’ve got a great view of the bay.”
“Yep. I’m going to have a housewarming party this weekend. You two are invited of course.”
Daley smirked and said, “You should also invite Aya in Records. She perked up quite a bit when she heard you were back. And she just about jumped up and down when she found out you were single again.”
“Ah, I don’t want to rush things,” Leon said with a wave of his hands. “It’s only been a couple of days. And this one’s going to take a while to get out of my system, if she ever does… So, um, Nene, have you seen her?”
She shook her head as she bit into her donut. “Nope. All I know is that she’s settled into Linna’s place and that her band finally arrived. So we just assumed that she’s been hanging out with them, especially since they’ve got show dates at Hot Legs next month… Um, did you want to go with us?”
Leon opened his mouth to answer but then paused. “Let’s wait and see when the concert comes closer. Okay?”
“Okay,” she said with an understanding smile.
Suddenly, their attention was snagged by the sound of loud banging and some heavy things crashing in the hallway.
“God Damn IT!” an angry female voice bellowed clearly through the open doorway of their office. “Piece of a crap that should’ve been flushed down the toilet a long time ago!”
Leon immediately groaned, Daley smirked and Nene just looked at them in bewilderment.
“Come on, Cowboy. It’s only proper to go out and greet the new neighbor,” Daley said with a wink as he got up.
Even though Leon lagged behind, the three of them got up and rushed to see what had just happened.
In the hallway was a woman in a female officer’s uniform struggling with a slightly tilted motorized dolly that had its front wheels wedged into the wall of her office. From a brief glance, it was easy to tell that the dolly had been stacked with ten cardboard boxes worth of items, half of which were now spilled on the floor.
The officer in question was on her knees as she started to gather her spilled contents, but it was clear to see that she was a solid, athletic woman with short red hair. She seemed to be in her late twenties and would have been pretty if her features hadn’t been contorted with the grim frustration that was currently occupying her thoughts.
“Hey, Malso,” Daley called out, “would you like some help?”
She paused at his voice and looked up at the three of them. It was obvious that she lingered the most on Leon, which caused a deeper frown, before she turned her attention back to Daley.
“Dunno how much help you could be, Wong. The girl looks like she could lift more than you can.” Even though there was a certain gruffness in her response, it was clear that a genuine tease was underneath her words.
Daley merely grinned back and replied, “Well, it was her help that I was offering. I never said I was going to lift a finger. Sergeant Jeena Malso, let me introduce you to Assistant Detective Nene Romanova.”
Nene saluted, recognizing the fact that this was the new commander of the NTC Combat unit. “Please to meet you, ma’am!”
Jeena stood and saluted back. “Likewise. So you’re the whiz kid I’ve been hearing about!”
Nene immediately frowned and snarled, “You don’t look old enough to call me ‘kid’!”
The other woman chuckled. “I’m only repeating the nickname I’ve heard. And your spunk is part of the legend, too. Don’t call me ‘ma’am’ and I won’t call you ‘kid’. Jeena works fine for me.”
“Then you can use ‘Nene’,” she grinned as they shook hands.
“And I’m certain you remember Detective Leon McNichol,” Daley said with an undisguised grin.
“Malso,” Leon greeted the woman with a tense twitch of his cheek. The redness in his face betrayed more discomfort but his voice was level.
“McNichol,” she answered coolly. “So are you going to help or not?”
With a grunt of reluctant compliance, Leon dropped down on his knees to start collecting the spilled contents of the box nearest to him. He paused when he realized it was a container of personal knick-knacks. He held up a cracked picture frame and looked at the picture of a young, redheaded boy posing with his baseball cap and bat.
He was clearly stunned at the photo and blurted, “Hey, I didn’t know you have a kid!”
She reddened and snatched the picture from him. “Of course not! I just like putting pictures of other people’s children on my desk! For crying out loud, Cowboy! If you’re going to snoop, then don’t bother helping!”
“How the hell could I be snooping if I saw something that you would have had out for everyone else to see?!” he retorted as he followed her into the office.
“Do they hate each other?” a concerned Nene whispered as she and Daley stayed and cleaned up more of the items from the spill.
Daley just grinned and said, “You know, I think they probably believe they do.”
— End Chapter 63 —