BGC Post 2040 File 1 – 22: 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 64: One Mind, One Heart
With her helmet in one hand and guitar case slung over her back, Priss stepped into the Silky Doll and looked around. It was Sunday and the shop was closed as was its normal schedule, but she browsed around the shop instead of walking through it. Then she came across the pink dress hanging on the rack and held it up with a wistful look.
“For you, I’m willing to sell it at cost,” Sylia commented from behind with a giggle.
Priss blushed and frowned, immediately putting the dress back. “Isn’t it a little unfashionable to keep a dress that hasn’t sold in the four years?”
“For most of the shop inventory, yes. But I don’t allow other customers to buy that particular dress since it has a certain personal value to me.”
Priss narrowed her eyes at her and then muttered, “Let’s get on with it. My time’s precious too, you know.”
Sylia didn’t bother hiding her smirk as she led Priss down to the secret elevator.
“So what are these enhancements you’ve made to the hardsuits?” Priss asked as she watched the floors whiz by.
“Well, we’ve only upgraded yours for the time being as a beta test. Increased reflex reactions as well as some automatic defense systems to protect your blind spots in battle.”
“Sounds intriguing…” Priss mused, ever aware of the fact that she hadn’t been in a hardsuit since that fateful day two weeks ago, when everything felt like it came crashing down. “So are there any safeguards against me potentially freezing again?”
“There just might be,” Sylia said with an evasive tone.
Since the original remark was said almost as a joke, Priss narrowed her eyes again as the other woman didn’t elaborate.
“It looks the same except that it’s obviously the pre-formed version,” Priss commented upon seeing her hardsuit ready and waiting for her in the middle of the pit area.
She noted that the hardsuit equipment had been fixed, and that the extra equipment that had been used for Sylvie had been pushed off to the side to be out of the way.
“All of the enhancements affect functionality. As far as actual visual design, I’ve decided sleek works best.”
“So we’re stuck with the clear abdomens permanently?” Priss commented with a frown.
“Well, you will be having your picture taken a lot more,” Sylia said with a grin. “I’ll be up in the command booth when you’re ready. No one else is around so take your time.”
Now naked and ready to proceed with the test, Priss closed the locker door and already felt her heartbeat start to increase rapidly. She frowned and sighed, knowing it was just the first step to be conquered.
With slow forceful steps, Priss walked out to the Pit area and approached the hardsuit waiting for her. She pressed her fingers firmly against her chest as she felt herself start to tremble along with her beating heart.
Instead of readying herself to climb in, Priss knelt and placed her hand on the helmet and said softly, “This has been a pretty pathetic comeback as a Knight Saber and I realize it’s mostly my fault. Even though you aren’t the exact one from back then, you’re still my hardsuit, and you’re still going to be there for me no matter what. It’s up to me to live up to my end of the bargain. So please just be patient, old friend.”
Priss then took a fortifying breath and stood, ever aware of the frenzied rhythm of her heart. It was by sheer willpower that she forced herself to climb into the suit, focusing all of her concentration on completing this task that had felt so easy and comfortable in the past.
Once she was enclosed inside the suit, she felt herself once more trembling uncontrollably from the beating of her heart and the frenzy of mental and emotional turmoil churning within. Instead of fighting it this time, she let the emotions, memories and thoughts come, knowing that this battle could only be won by going in head first.
Watching Priss finally envelop herself in her hardsuit, Sylia sat in the command booth and studied the read-outs on the monitors. Priss’s bio measurements were the most chaotic she’d ever seen for anyone. A part of her worried that she should call off this test if it seemed like Priss was showing symptoms of a heart attack mixed in with all of these data readings.
Since waiting was never Sylia’s strong point if she had other options, she then tapped into her keyboard and opened up a chat session on the screen. She spoke into the microphone, which then turned her speech into visible words on the monitor: “Are you getting any further information beyond what’s being show on the monitors?”
There was a pause and then the words came back: ‘She’s flooded with feelings of fear, anger, guilt, betrayal, hopelessness and insecurity. Some of these seem to have specific instances related to them, and others seem to be a by-product of general experiences.’
“But no essence of Galatea?”
‘There is nothing that I sense that would indicate that Galatea is harboring herself as a hidden entity in Priss’s mind. However, some flashes and thoughts are showing identity confusion within Priss herself. She is feeling conflicted over whether she should protect boomers or destroy them, which accounts for a good portion of her feelings of anger and betrayal. I’m sorry, Sylia, but if I tell you more details, I feel it would be truly violating Priss’s privacy.’
Sylia frowned and then relented with a smile. “Understood. Just let me know if you think she’s going into such a dangerous area that we need to stop this.”
‘Of course. I can tell you right now though, it does seem that she is making progress with sorting herself out right now. It may just be a matter of time and — .’ The sentence abruptly stopped, and nothing changed on the screen for a few seconds.
The woman sat up in alarm and demanded, “What is it?” She couldn’t see anything different in the readings on the monitors or by a glance at Priss down in the Pit below.
There was a pause and then the chat feed continued: ‘I’m sorry for that. Apparently, her feelings about me had just surfaced.’
Before she could respond, a beeping sound came from inside Sylia’s skirt pocket and she pulled out her phone. “Hello?”
“It’s me!” a frantic Detective Daley Wong greeted from the tiny screen. “We’ve got some trouble downtown with some bank robbers who have hostages. Word has it that they’ve got a couple of enhanced pre-Revolution boomers in there with them to help break into the safe. Our combat unit is at a standoff with them because of the innocent people inside. I don’t know if this is something you think your team can help with.”
Sylia glanced at the motionless Priss in her hardsuit before responding, “I need to ask Priss first. If she passes, I’ll go. Is Nene with you?”
“She’s already heading over.”
“I’ll give you a status report when she gets here. Bye.”
Priss watched the lights of the launch tube flicker in their countdown. Her heart was racing, but this time a strong sense of enthusiasm and confidence flooded through her in a way that had been missing for quite a while. The other emotions and thoughts were still there, but they didn’t seem as strong or as loud as they had been just a few minutes ago. There was a light at the end of the tunnel after all.
She smiled to herself and murmured, “Okay, old friend, let’s rock ‘n roll!”
As if in response, the countdown ended and the Knight Saber was launched into the bright Tokyo sky.
Sylia sat back in the command chair as she watched the screen that tracked Priss and Nene as blips across a digital map of Tokyo. Their stealth mode kept them from being viewable so the casual (or not so casual) observer wouldn’t be able to see where they came from, but also helped with the element of surprise. She looked at the bio readings from the suits and smiled.
She then tapped into her keyboard and opened up a chat session on the screen. She spoke into the microphone, which then turned her speech into visible words on the monitor: “Priss’s readings are excellent. Do you concur?”
There was a pause and then words appeared in response, ‘All signs are optimal. This mission should be a success.’
“Let’s wait and see what happens before jumping to conclusions,” Sylia answered back. “Just remember your end of the bargain is to look out for them when they need it, and even if they don’t.”
‘Of course. I do not plan to fail any of you. They will arrive on the roof in ten seconds. I must focus on their mission.’
“Understood, Sylvie. I’ll be monitoring from here if anything comes up.”
Sylia mused that her private lab housed all of her deepest secrets for the moment, this one being latest, and most likely not the last.
With a sip of her tea, Sylia Stingray leaned back to enjoy the show.
— End Chapter 64 —
— End Part 5 —
Epilogue: The Least That I Can Do
“This is wonderful!” Linna said as she gently tested how much range and flexibility she had in her left hand and arm. “Getting the neck brace off yesterday pales in comparison.”
Mrs. Takeuchi smiled as she started to walk out of the room with her hands full of the plastic and metal pieces of the braces. “Let me put these away first. Then I’ll give you a good massage in both your arm and leg when I get back.”
Linna nodded and smiled as she focused on having control of her limbs again, at least on the side that was just recently freed of the bindings. Her right side was still firmly in a cast but every bit of freedom signaled a milestone in the return to normality.
“Well, it looks like you’ll be running a marathon in no time,” a familiar female voice commented from behind.
Her heart skipping a hopeful beat, Linna turned to see a casually dressed and gently smiling Reika leaning against the doorway.
“You’re back!” Linna greeted with a genuine look of joy. “How was the trip?”
“Overly long but productive,” she answered as she walked in and sat down on the edge of the bed next to the other woman. “Still, the London rain was nothing compared to Tokyo monsoon season.”
“And how are Irene and Sho?”
“Settled quite well. Sho’s actually speaking more fluent English than Irene, much to her dismay. But her competitiveness will close the gap shortly.”
Linna chuckled and remarked, “Boy, you two really are opposite ends of the spectrum, aren’t you?”
“Now, who says I’m not competitive?” Reika answered with a look of feigned seriousness.
“Well, maybe I just haven’t seen that side of you yet,” Linna said.
Reika didn’t answer as she openly studied Linna’s face.
Suddenly extremely aware of how close they were, Linna focused her attention on flexing her fingers in the hopes that it would distract from the blush in her cheeks.
Reika then cleared her throat and said, “Speaking of hidden sides, I had an interesting phone call from Sylia when I was in London. She told me that you called your supervisor to discuss when you should go back to work.”
Linna shrugged and said, “Obviously I can’t return for a couple more months but I figured I should get a start on living my own life again. It’s not as if I’m here permanently after all.”
“Well, she also mentioned that you really don’t like being an O.L. to begin with and that you don’t seem enthused about going back.”
She nodded sadly. “Who wants to spend their days serving tea and doing boring computer work? I can’t be a Knight Saber all the time, even if the team is more active because of our increased scope. And I still have bills and rent to pay.”
Reika then looked out the window and leaned back as she said, “Now that my curiosity is piqued, I have a extremely nosy question to ask you.”
Having no idea where this conversation was going, a puzzled and intrigued Linna responded, “Fire away.”
“Why haven’t you thought about going into computers, such as in the area of programming or support?”
Linna blinked at what she considered to be a question from left field. “I don’t know. I guess I always just considered all computer work to be the same. And I wasn’t interested in the training and education programs required to take on a career like that. It’s still time spent in front of the terminal doing something that really didn’t interest me.”
“Perhaps because you just never had a decent challenge in a job task before?” Realizing that Linna was still not getting the gist of why this was even coming up, Reika explained, “I’m asking because you met Nene by hacking into the ADP server, which was something originally set up by no less than Genom personnel. It takes some natural talent and ingenuity to accomplish something like that, especially with no formal training.”
“It does?” Linna responded, clearly not convinced. “When I hear the word ‘programming’, I think of all of the wild things Nene and Sylia do. I know I can’t do anything anywhere near as sophisticated.”
Reika actually chuckled and said, “Well, I guess if you’re surrounded by two people who have a natural genius for such things, you may lose sight of the fact that your average Jane Doe on the street couldn’t do what you’ve personally done.”
Linna’s expression started to change as it was clear that she was starting to see what the other woman was getting at. Then she gave her a joking frown and said, “So are you just bringing this up to make me feel even more unenthused about going back to being an O.L.?”
The other woman laughed outright at that point.
“No,” Reika said, clearly enjoying the easy flow of the conversation. “I’m asking if you would consider quitting as an O.L. and come work for Chang Enterprises as an entry-level programmer, with a guarantee of on-the-job training and challenging assignments. After all, my family’s legitimate business specializes in security, and that does include a lot of internet support for our clients. White-hat hackers with potential like yourself are invaluable.
“Our office building is just four blocks away from Hugh-Geit. There’s no tea-serving involved to anyone but yourself, nor required uniforms, even though I thought you looked kind of cute in that O.L. outfit. And if you’re worried about nepotism, well, I’ll pretend I don’t remember your first name if we ever run into each other in the hallway. If you still think that’s too close for comfort, there are some subsidiaries we own in the city where I’m sure I can pull a string or two.”
Linna was clearly stunned as the words started to sunk in.
Reika glanced sideways at her and said, “I’m just saying think about it. After all, you mentioned you don’t have to report to Hugh-Geit for another couple of months, so I would hope you’d consider this option as well in the mean time.”
“Th-Thank you,” she said softly, her amazement clearly overwhelming her.
Reika then blushed and gave an evasive shrug. “Hey, I hate to see wasted talent, especially if I can get some benefit out of it. For the family business, of course.”
“No, I really mean it, Reika,” Linna said with a swallow of the lump forming in her throat. “Thank you for everything. On top of caring for me and this job offer, you’ve managed more than once to give me hope when I always think there isn’t any. I just — I just wish there was some way I could show how truly grateful I am, but I don’t think there is one.”
The other woman opened her mouth to speak, but she stopped as she tried to blink away the tears starting to brim in her eyes. Looking down at her lap, she cleared her throat and said, “Linna, just don’t lose the hope that you’ll finally meet someone who’s allowed to get the girl in the end, okay?”
Reika then froze when she saw out of the corner of her eye the hesitant fingers approach her. She then closed her eyes and relish the gentle way they ran through her hair, carefully brushing it out of the way.
“You do remember that I’m an engaged woman, right? To a man, of all things,” she pointed out both softly and hopefully.
Linna tenderly kissed her cheek and whispered, “I won’t care for the next five minutes if you won’t.”
Reika opened her eyes and turned but stopped just short of having their lips brush against each other. She quirked her mouth into a wry smile and said, “Only five?”
Linna giggled and said, “Well, I’m not going to be looking at my watch. And I’ll be pissed if you do.”
Reika laughed in response. And with that, they both relented and closed the gap.
Mrs. Takeuchi stood quietly at the doorway and watched them finally kiss. She smiled softly and stepped back out into the hallway, silently closing the door behind her.
— End Epilogue —
— And thus ends “BGC Post 2040 File 1: Dominant Species” —