BGC Post 2040 File 1 – 4: 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 10: Role of a Lifetime
The dignified and elderly Jae-Hong Chang stared by the window of his study and stared out at the luxurious flower garden at the heart of the family compound. It was such a beautiful sight for such a sad day.
A soft tapping at the thick oak door signaled that his appointment was here.
“Enter,” he commanded as he took his place at one of the two chairs set up before the fireplace.
The door swung open to reveal the large, imposing presence of Kou, a personal bodyguard and assistant to the Chang Family for over twenty years. Dressed in the black business suit with the white armband, he stepped aside to let the woman he escorted enter.
Reika walked in, dressed in a black dress with the white armband. She bowed and said, “You wished to see me, Grandpa?”
The older man motioned for her to sit in the other chair as he sadly took in the stress and strain that marred her beauty. “How are you doing, child?”
“The funeral helped. But I will always miss them,” she answered softly, clearly struggling to keep from breaking down into tears once again.
“That is to be expected and nothing to be ashamed about,” he declared, trying to fight back his own tears at the loss of his remaining child. “However, as extremely cold-hearted as this may seem, there are some urgent matters I must discuss with you.”
Reika looked at him expectantly and waited for him to continue. Her resigned expression showed that she was not at all surprised at the timing or purpose of the meeting.
“Your father’s passing has left our family empire in a vulnerable state such we have not experienced in over four hundred years. Part of our success is that we’ve always had a smooth and quick succession of strong and respected leadership. The other part is that we’ve been a formidable presence due our loyalty and commitment to each other and our legacy. As you know, we do not now have a leader who can fulfill publicly and privately both parts.”
“What about Sho?” Reika asked.
Her grandfather took a deep breath and stroked his white mustache for a moment. “I know your father had high hopes for grooming Yamada as the next successor. But the fact is that we’ve not had a chance to test his skill or loyalty in the matter.”
“Loyalty?” she repeated, mildly alarmed by his choice of words.
He looked at her directly and stated, “We have not yet received confirmation that your parents’ deaths were indeed an accident.”
Reika’s eyes widened in surprised. “But the police already closed their investigation as conclusive.”
“It is also part of our legacy that we never believe someone else’s truths until we have confirmed them for ourselves. We’re having our own resources investigating the matter and will hopefully provide confirmation one way or the other by the end of the week.”
“All right, then let’s say it’s proven to be a murder set up, why would we question Sho’s loyalty to our family because of it?” she persisted.
“Yamada may have passed our initial background check on him but there was one glaring detail which stood out: he is currently a scientist working on a top secret project for Genom Corporation. We were willing to overlook the detail at the time because we thought it was to our advantage that he proved to be a man who could keep secrets when necessary. Now, it may have cost us.” The elder Chang took a breath and added, “It was brought to our attention that the truck which hit your parents limousine belonged to a subsidiary company to Genom. It may be an extreme coincidence but that is why we are continuing with our own investigation. We have not yet ruled out the possibility that he could have had something to do with the staging of the accident to accelerate his personal successorship to our empire.”
Reika stood and shook her head as she began to pace. “This makes no sense with the Sho I know. I admit I don’t know him that well; but I do trust Irene’s judgment in people. She wouldn’t associate with much less want to marry such a character.”
“Child, love can blind even the best of judgments,” he pointed out sadly. “And I am honestly hoping that he is not associated. But in our world, betrayal is a common risk. Though your father probably never told you, the death of your Uncle Ken was not an accident. He was secretly drugged so he would have that skiing accident. We eventually uncovered the murder plot and brought his killers to our own form of justice. To be a leader of the Hou Bang Clan risks a short lifespan. I am only this old because I am far more suspicious than most.”
She paused and looked at him. “So is that why you wished to talk to me? To ready myself as the successor should he prove guilty?”
“No, actually, I am asking you to take over successorship now, regardless of the outcome of our investigation. I trust in your ability and loyalty the most of all of our options. If you so choose down the road, you may eventually groom Sho to take over permanently after giving him a suitable trial period. But your father was in the middle of negotiations for some very crucial deals that are in jeopardy with his departure. Also, some of our strongest allies are waiting to see how we’re going to handle this change in leadership. We need to secure their continued confidence as soon as possible to insure there are no unnecessary losses to our prestige and power. I have been able to step in and buy some time during this transition period, but the longer we wait on establishing our next leader, the more our empire is jeopardized. And you are our best option for the smoothest and quickest transition.”
Reika didn’t say anything as she stared at the fireplace. Her mind was racing with all of the information she had just absorbed.
“Child,” her grandfather began softly, “You know I love you and would not ask this if I did not feel it was necessary in the support of our family legacy. And you know how much your father believed and supported the Clan. Do not let his efforts go to waste. Kou and I will be there to guide you when necessary. It is the one bittersweet positive part of this whole mess is that Kou was not in the accident because he had been following you instead of taking his normal place at your father’s side.” He gave an acknowledge nod to the man who stood patiently by the closed door of the room.
Reika asked, “Does Irene know anything about this investigation into either the accident or Sho?”
“No, I thought to spare her until we had something conclusive. As you know, she’s already agreed to postpone the wedding so there is no issue there.”
“Then I’ll do it. I’ll take over the leadership of the Hou Bang Clan,” she said softly, still staring at the flickering flames. “On the condition that you drop the investigation, especially into Sho. Let it remain an accident. No good will come out of researching it further.”
He widened his eyes in surprise and asked, “You have that much faith in Sho?”
“I have that much faith in Irene,” she answered, looking at him directly. “I will do and be everything you need to carry on our family legacy. If Sho really had the intention of wanting to secure an accelerated successorship for himself, then that opportunity goes away if me and my own children carry on the legacy blood line… And I won’t risk the possibility of a future where Irene would have to mourn her own children. I am willing to give up everything to insure her happiness is untouched.”
The elder Chang said nothing as he studied his granddaughter’s face carefully.
“Grandpa, if you designate me as the new leader, then you must have faith in my instinct and judgment, and no time is better to start than now,” she stated firmly.
He smiled slightly but the pride in his eyes was evident. “Very well. I will give the order to close the matter and no one else needs to be involved.”
She bowed and said, “Thank you, Grandpa. Is there anything else you wish to discuss for now?”
“No. Kou and I will bring you up to speed tomorrow morning on everything that is happening so you may continue your father’s work next week. In the meantime, I recommend that you settle your personal matters as quickly as possible. Knowing your father’s schedule as well as the extra damage-control which needs to be done, you will probably not have significant personal time for another two months at least.”
“Yes, Sir. If you’ll excuse me, I have some phone calls to make,” she said with an additional bow. Then she turned to leave, giving an acknowledged nod to Kou, who returned it with a bow of significant depth.
When the two men were left alone, the older man looked at the Hou Bang Clan loyalist and asked, “So do you feel she will succeed in what we’ve asked of her?”
“I have seen her act, sir,” he admitted, “And she can be quite believable.”
“Which is fine as long as no one calls her bluff,” he commented softly as he stared at the ebony tiger ring on his hand.
— End Chapter 10 —
Chapter 11: The Burn of Desire
Linna waited on the sidewalk as she anxiously glanced at any car that looked like it might pull up to the front of the office building. Even though she had agreed to a short meeting with Reika, she had belatedly realized she had no idea what kind of vehicle she was looking for as she waited.
The last time Linna had seen Reika was on that night when Reika received the news of her parents’ untimely deaths. She vividly remembered the sight of the clearly distraught woman as she disappeared into a waiting car to go to an emergency family meeting. Linna’s lack of patience had almost driven her crazy in the past week because she wanted to call and check up on the grieving woman, but she knew the situation was far too sensitive to approach with her usual bull-by-the-horns style. So Linna had no choice but to force herself to wait, as torturous as it was.
On the other hand, Irene hadn’t been at the gym since the news and according to the front desk personnel wasn’t scheduled to return for another week. Therefore Linna could not check on her friend either.
So naturally, she was both thrilled and worried when she had finally received a message from Reika the previous night.
Reika had sounded haggard and a little scattered as she left a message apologizing for not calling sooner, saying that she had been occupied with the preliminary funeral service in Tokyo followed by a visit to the family compound in Hong Kong where her parents’ ashes were going to be housed. She also mentioned that she had some bad news but wanted to see Linna to tell her in person. Unfortunately, the only time she could see her was a maximum of fifteen minutes on the way to the airport for another out of country trip.
“Linna, are you going to join us for lunch?”
She turned to see two of her O.L. coworkers approach her. “Not today, thank you. I’m meeting someone.”
“Oooh! Is he handsome?” one of them teased, expecting the usual denial of anything romantic in the other woman’s life.
Linna said with a gentle smile, “I wouldn’t quite use the word handsome.”
Clearly floored and fascinated, her coworkers were about to barrage her with questions when a long, gray limousine suddenly pulled up to the curb beside them, causing all three women to stare with complete amazement and shock.
The back door opened and a tall, imposing man in a black business suit stepped out. He had very chiseled, hard features that were matched by the salt and pepper crew cut of his hair. Linna’s jaw dropped to the ground even further when she realized that he was her would-be stalker from a week ago.
He bowed deeply and greeted, “Miss Yamazaki.” He held the door open for her, clearly indicating that she should get in.
“I’ll see you after lunch,” Linna declared to her coworkers as she stepped into the limo and the bodyguard closed the door firmly behind her.
Kou then gave a bow of acknowledgement to the other amazed women, who hastily responded in kind. Without another word, he disappeared into the cab to occupy the passenger side of the front seat.
“I’m so glad you’re able to meet me on such short notice,” Reika explained as the two women sat in the back of the car. “I was afraid I’d miss you with such a limited window.”
“I would have found some way to free myself so we could meet,” Linna answered softly as she tried to get used to the idea of being in a limousine. It helped a little bit that Reika herself was dressed in jeans and a casual shirt so the mood didn’t feel so formal even though Linna was dressed in the standard Office Lady attire.
Linna tried not to be too obvious as she took in the details of the woman who sat next to her, yet she was appalled at how gaunt and unhealthy Reika looked. She wanted to hug the woman, or at least touch her in some way to show support but she kept to herself based on instinct.
“How are you doing?” she finally asked.
Reika shrugged a little helplessly. “I’m surviving at the moment. I’ve been so busy with trying to fill my dad’s shoes that I haven’t had much time to think about anything else. And I’ve been so exhausted otherwise. I guess it’s a good thing because it keeps me from being completely depressed. How are you?”
Linna looked a little startled at the shifting of the focus to her but she answered, “I’m doing okay. I certainly haven’t had quite the… traumatic experiences you’ve had lately. So when you say you’re filling in for your dad, does this mean you’ve agreed to run the business after all?”
Reika was quiet for a moment as she stared at the ebony ring that was engraved with a tiger’s head on her right hand.
“That’s why I needed to talk to you,” she finally said, barely keeping her voice firm as she spoke. “It turns out that Sho wouldn’t be a suitable successor to the business after all, so I’ve agreed to take over. Permanently. I’m getting by right now with approaching it as a glorified acting job, but it will change once I’m used to my new role – no pun intended. With my acceptance, however, there are certain conditions which determine what my life path is going to be. And unfortunately, it does not include the possibility of the two of us.”
“Oh.” Linna felt her heart freeze but she kept her composure even though she was struggling to remain focused. After all, she had only seen this woman for a total of three times over the course of a week. It shouldn’t hurt this bad, should it?
“I mean, we could have continued dating,” Reika added, her gaze focused on the traffic scene through the window, “But I know there would have been a point where we couldn’t progress further in terms of becoming serious, should things have worked out. I don’t think it’s fair to you to lead you on without being honest about that. And I already realize how awkward this is going to be at first since you are friends with Irene, which I fully encourage you to continue… You have no idea how sorry I am about this.”
Linna swallowed and tried to fight back the swell of tears as she stared down at her hands, which were clenched together on her lap. “No, I — I think I understand. And you’re right about it not being fair to me. So thank you.”
“I mean, it’s probably just as well we end it now before we got too serious about each other,” the other woman said as if she was trying to convince herself that this was the right thing to do, her tone sounding shakier by the moment. “After all, I’m not expected to come back to Tokyo for another month, and it’s only for a couple of days to conduct some meetings. After that, I don’t know when I’d be able to come back to Tokyo for a visit, much less live. My grandfather assures me it won’t always be this crazy but even he doesn’t know when our current crisis period will be over. And–”
“Reika,” Linna interrupted softly. “Could you tell your driver to drop me off a couple of blocks up the road, please? I need to go for a walk.”
“Of course,” she responded as she quickly relayed the order through the intercom.
In the overwhelming silence, Reika studied Linna’s profile and then reached out hesitantly. She saw Linna stiffen as the fingers came close, but she didn’t say or do anything that indicated that Reika should stop. Feeling as if permission was given, Reika gently ran her fingers through Linna’s hair, seeing the other woman close her eyes but still not doing anything else. Keeping her hand on the back of the other woman’s neck, she leaned forward and tenderly kissed her cheek.
By then, tears were already starting to trickle down from beneath her closed eyelids, but Linna didn’t care as she leaned against the contact. She had one chance left and she was going to take it. With her eyes still closed and guided by instinct and heat, she turned to plant her mouth against Reika’s.
The women kissed, definitely with more passion or hunger than needed for closure, but neither one of them stopped. It wasn’t until the driver announced through the intercom speaker that they had reached Linna’s requested drop-off point when they finally parted.
Wordlessly, they collected themselves before giving each other a look of farewell as Linna stepped out of the limousine.
— End Chapter 11 —
— End of Part 1: “Stripes in the Jungle” —