BGC Post 2040 File 6 – 7: The Real Me
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.
Sunday Morning, October 30th
“Irene, you look absolutely beautiful!” Linna exclaimed genuinely as she hugged the bride-to-be. They were in the waiting room filled with various female guests for the upcoming ceremony.
Dressed in a western-style white wedding gown with a long train, the other woman grinned and muttered, “You’re the first person who’s said that today that I honestly believe! And you look great, too!”
Linna blushed at the compliment as she stepped back to look down at her own simple baby-blue dress. “I feel so underdressed compared to everyone else who’s here.”
Irene whispered in her ear, “I assure you that I don’t even know over half the guests. Even though I’m only the second in line, a Chang marriage is a major political event. One of those attendance is mandatory for the sake of alliances.”
“Oh,” Linna responded, her attention now focused on scanning the large gathering of women who were mingling in the room with them.
Irene watched her for a moment and then said, “She’s not here yet. She was supposed to fly back yesterday but bad weather kept her from being able to leave. In fact, she might be late so we’re waiting to conduct the ceremony until she finally arrives. I had heard that she ordered the flight to take off early this morning even though the weather was still bad.”
“Oh,” Linna blurted again, embarrassed that her actions were so easy to read. She then noticed that there was a considerable amount of commotion among the group of women who were flocking around Sylia, addressing her as “upperclassman” while vying for her attention. “I had no idea Sylia would know so many people.”
Irene looked at the crowd and shrugged. “I went to the same school as her and Reika. And I forgot a lot of my older school friends would know them both.”
“So are you nervous about the ceremony?” Linna asked with genuine concern.
She shook her head. “I just want it over with.” She then leaned over and whispered, “I’m already two months pregnant.”
“Oh my god! Congratulations!” Linna exclaimed as she hugged her, causing some curious looks.
Irene flashed everyone else a pleasant smile as the cue for them to go back to their own conversations. She then whispered into Linna’s ear, “You and Reika are the only ones who know.”
Linna’s eyes widened as she whispered back, “You haven’t told Sho?!”
Now the bride rolled her eyes. “I assure you, he was the first to know. I just figured his knowing would be a given. But I’m happy… And I am honestly glad you came.”
Linna gave her a smile and said, “This day is for you. Don’t worry about me.”
Her friend gave her another hug and commented, “Easier said than done.”
* * * * *
Two Hours Later…
Linna stood out on the grass and stared at the koi pond before her. The church grounds were beautiful and provided a soothing atmosphere in contrast to the very noisy crowds in the nearby building.
The wedding had been delayed for an hour already, with a status announced almost every five minutes of Reika’s whereabouts to serve as everyone’s guide for how much longer they would have to wait. As head of the household and the Clan, the ceremony certainly could not start without her.
Linna had had enough of watching the crowd of clearly rich and powerful men and women of all nationalities chatting with each other about anything and everything that didn’t apply to a single woman who grew up on a farm. Sylia tried her best to stay beside her, but she was clearly a very recognized and popular figure, often being snagged by other guests for a brief conversation.
When it was announced that Reika had finally arrived at the airport and should therefore be at the church in half an hour, Linna took a deep breath and decided to get some peace and quiet outside.
“You look like you’re having as much fun as I am,” an unfamiliar male voice commented from behind.
Linna jumped a bit and turned to see that the speaker was an extremely handsome Japanese man in his late twenties. With combed-back hair and a trim mustache, he was dressed in a stylish blue suit. Her breath caught at the site of someone who was actually more striking than Masaki.
She blushed and answered, “Well, I’m a friend of the bride at her old job. Almost everyone else attending seems to be more… affluent than what I’m used to.”
He chuckled and strode over to her. “Those fuddy-duddies tend to forget the rest of the world doesn’t care about money or power. There are much more simple treasures that are often overlooked, like a beautiful woman alone under a clear blue sky.”
Linna blinked and turned even more embarrassed when she realized he was clearly talking about her. When he stopped right next to her, she stepped back a bit because he was in her personal space. “Um, well, thank you very much.”
He gave her a charming smile and reached over and stroked her cheek with his fingertip. “I’m just being honest. It’s clear by your blush that you’re not used to that kind of treatment, which is a shame. Are you doing anything after the wedding?”
Feeling uncomfortable at being touched by this completely stranger, Linna realized she couldn’t take another step back because of the decorative hedge behind her. She tried to blurt, “Um, well, no but -“
“My, I had heard the rumors,” Sylia’s amused voice commented, “But to see this in action is quite a site indeed!”
After an internal sigh of relief, Linna was amazed to see the stunned look on the man’s face and a rising frown as he turned to look at the other woman. She had never seen anyone react to Sylia like that before. Except for Priss, of course.
The man shoved his hands into his pocket and remarked, “Well, your timing is as perfect as always.”
Then as if something dawned on him, he glanced over at Linna, as if seeing her with a more analytical eye, and then smirked at Sylia, “Let me guess, did I tread on your territory again? You do have this knack of getting there first.”
“Not quite,” Sylia said with a cool smirk of her own as she stepped forward and stood next to Linna. “I think you run a bigger risk of Reika’s wrath than mine on what you just had planned.”
Linna blinked as the connection suddenly clicked. “Wait a minute!” she blurted, pointing at the man, “Are you Densuke?!”
With an indignant look, he arched his eyebrow at her and said, “I am. And just who are you?”
Ignoring the question, Linna yelled angrily, “You’re at her sister’s wedding and you’re trying to pick up a woman?!”
Now looking a little amused though still bewildered, Densuke asked frankly, “What does it matter to you?”
“You bastard!” Linna bellowed as she pulled her arm back to belt him.
Sylia snagged her arm in mid-motion and stepped between them, even though Densuke didn’t seem at all prepared to duck.
“Are you certain you want to do this? It is battery, after all,” Sylia seriously asked Linna.
Densuke looked highly entertained as he watched this interaction from only a couple of feet away.
“Yes!” Linna stated firmly, giving the man a death glare.
“Then, allow me, since I have greater protection from retaliation,” Sylia said to her with a wink.
Linna watched in amazement as Sylia whirled on her heel and nailed the man in the jaw with the back of her fist. Densuke spun and fell into the koi pond with a loud splash.
The noise drew servants and bodyguards to come rushing out to fish out the man now floating in the pond.
Linna barely suppressed a smile as she noticed everyone giving Sylia an acknowledging nod but keeping well away from her.
“That felt good,” Sylia commented with a smirk as she flexed her fingers.
* * * * *
An Hour Later…
“… I do,” Irene stated clearly for the hall full of attendees to hear.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” the elderly priest declared. “You may kiss the bride.”
Everyone applauded as Sho lifted the veil and did as he was told.
Sylia gave Linna a wink as they sat quietly with the other guests.
No one had mentioned anything about the fact that Densuke had been quickly taken away in a limo, thereby missing the wedding of his future sister-in-law. Linna had kept her mouth shut about the event, but she had noticed that everyone seemed to know by the way they had given Sylia nods and smiles.
When they had finally seen Reika arrive, she wasn’t able to give either of them more than a look of acknowledgement since the ceremony was set to begin right away, but she had seemed to be disturbed by the lack of her planned escort.
And Irene had appeared even happier.
The priest cleared his throat and then announced, “We have one final part of the ceremony that has been added as a special request by the bride and groom.” He turned to the guests in the front row and said, “Ms. Chang, if you please.”
Linna watched Reika stand as four servants carefully wheeled out a grand piano that had been waiting off to the side. With an embarrassed blush, Reika gave a bow to the audience and then seated herself on the bench.
“Reika plays the piano?!” Linna whispered in amazement to Sylia.
“She certainly does,” her friend answered with a deeply pleased smile as she watch the performance begin.
— End Chapter 24 —
* * *
Sunday Afternoon, October 30th
Linna walked into the reception hall and was amazed at the number of guests, especially since she had thought the attendance to the wedding itself was quite large.
“Do you want something to drink?” Sylia asked, trying her best to stay close.
“Um, sure. A fruit juice will do,” Linna answered as she scanned the crowd, looking for the one person she had been both longing and dreading to see.
Just then, there was a gentle tap on her shoulder.
She whirled to see Kou towering in front of her.
With a kind smile that offset his very polished look, he bowed and said, “Miss Linna, I have come to ask if you are willing to have a private word with Miss Reika?”
She gulped and glanced at Sylia.
The other woman gave her a supportive smile and nod. She added with a wink, “Take as long as you want, I’m certain I find something to occupy myself with.”
“Lead the way, Kou,” Linna said in a weak voice.
After walking through a maze of hallways through the quieter section of the large building, the two of them finally came to a door which had three men in business suits patiently waiting outside. The men stood upon seeing them, giving an acknowledging nod to Kou and a deep bow to Linna.
Kou gently knocked on the door and opened it without waiting for a response from within. Instead of walking in, he bowed and motioned for Linna to proceed.
She entered what was apparently an elegantly furnished waiting room with an open balcony overlooking the gardens and ponds below.
As the door firmly closed, Reika rose from the nearby chair and gave a bow in greeting. “Linna, thank you for coming to see me.”
Out of habit, and uncertain of what else to do, Linna hastily bowed back and said, “I’m, uh, I’m glad you asked me to, Reika. H-How are you?”
“A little jetlagged from a very hectic and bumpy trip,” Reika answered with a wry smile. “Hopefully my performance didn’t suffer too much for it. I was already quite rusty as it was.”
“Oh no! Your playing was beautiful!” Linna insisted.
Reika chuckled and said, “But you were still shocked, nevertheless.”
Linna blushed. “Well, uh, yeah. I had heard piano music every once in a while when I stayed with – at the compound. But it was so infrequent, and I was usually under medication or sleeping so I wasn’t sure if it was a recording or the radio or something.”
Reika looked out the window and was quiet for a moment. Then she said softly, “I played the piano from age nine to age twenty. I hadn’t played it again until this year… I also have a horrible temper and can be extremely jealous. But to keep the peace, I take the path of least resistance more often than not, which just makes my temper and jealousy worse. I procrastinate when it comes to dealing with unpleasant issues. And I’d rather fight than admit I’m wrong… I’m certain there are more faults that I’m forgetting that Sylia will be more than glad to point out…” She stopped with a sigh and then looked at her guest. “If we had actually gotten involved, you would have learned all of this the hard way.”
Linna took a strengthening breath. She met her gaze firmly and said, “I’m sure the experience would have been worth it. After all, Sylia knows more of your bad side than I do and she still loves you.”
Reika winced at the comment. She said softly, “Yes, that may be true. But if you honestly felt that we still should try something romance-wise, then why did you leave my house without saying anything?”
Caught by the dreaded question, Linna blushed and shrugged. “I just… I – I guess that I didn’t really want to say good-bye after all. Not having closure still gave me a bit of hope of … something… could still happen… I guess…”
“You just spent the past few hours in my real world, the one outside of the peace and security of the Chang Compound,” Reika pointed out. “Can you honestly tell me that that’s a world you want to be part of?”
Linna stared at her feet, not able to deny the feelings of discomfort and dread at the people she had been surrounded with for most of the day.
Reika walked over to the balcony and leaned out against the railing as she looked at the peaceful view before her. In a quiet but firm tone, she said, “My primary goal is to be the head of the family and the Clan. I’m probably more motivated by the fear of failure than the willingness to succeed. In April I will marry a man everyone seems to hate in order to produce a successor.”
She let out a sigh. “And through it all, there’s a part of me feeling like I’m watching some bizarre dream that will end at any moment. I’ll wake up in my tiny Los Angeles apartment and walk down the street to the local convenience store for a bottle of soda and a bag of chips, without any care other than satisfying a guilty craving and avoiding muggers.
“Yet, the dream continues, where the reality is that every time I’m in public I have to tell four grown men when I have to pee, with the expectation that they’re going to follow me to the bathroom. I’m just relieved that they don’t actually come inside… And to think that my grandfather didn’t believe four bodyguards would be enough.” Reika stopped and looked at her guest with a sad smile. “That’s not a life to which I want to subject a woman I care about. And it’s certainly not a life for Linna Yamazaki. Wouldn’t you agree?”
Linna stiffly walked out onto the balcony and stood beside the other woman. She was afraid to say anything, feeling tears starting to brim at her eyes and the throb of a pain in her chest. She gave a simple nod in response.
She gasped when she felt Reika turn and hug her. But she hugged her back, feeling the quiet strength and peace this hug had to offer.
Linna cleared her throat and tried to speak despite her shaky tone, “I do want to say one thing though: Densuke is the most disgusting example of jerkdom that I have ever encountered in my life.”
Reika stiffened and then took a step back. Even though tears brimmed in her own eyes, she smiled and said, “Should I be concerned that you’re telling me this so you’ll steal him from me?”
“Wha – ?! No!!!” Then realizing she was being teased, Linna giggled and shook her head.
The jest kept her from crying. Barely.
* * * * *
“Have a wonderful time on your honeymoon!” Reika said as she hugged Irene in the entrance of the still crowded reception hall.
Now dressed for the flight to Hawaii, Irene squeezed her tightly and said, “Mrs. Takeuchi told me you and Linna had a talk. Are you going to be okay?”
Reika nodded. “I think we’ve had our closure, which was long overdue.”
“And how are you feeling about it?” Irene asked, barely hiding the fact that she wasn’t happy at all with the entire situation.
With a passive smile, Reika shrugged and answered, “I’ll be fine. After all, I’ve been hurt worse.”
* * * * *
Linna stopped before the farmhouse and paused. It was hell to walk the gravel driveway from the bus stop in her high heels but she was still dressed in her wedding guest outfit. She didn’t have anything with her other than her purse, since she had told Sylia to drop her off at the train station.
Sylia hadn’t said or asked anything after Linna’s talk with Reika, but she had made certain that it was clear she was there to comply with any request or need her friend had. She hadn’t bat an eyelash when she was asked to take Linna to the train station.
On the trip home, Linna made two calls, one to her boss to arrange for the next few days off work, and one message to Priss to let her know that the apartment was hers for the same amount of time.
She frankly didn’t know how long this visit was going to last, but it something she needed to do. It would either be the shortest trip home, or the longest.
The farmhouse was quiet, but the light was on in the family area, as to be expected since her parents were probably finishing dinner and watching television.
Standing before the front door that she knew would be unlocked, Linna slipped in and took off her shoes. She took a deep breath and then announced she was home.
“Linna?!” her mother Nomi responded in surprise as she stepped into the hallway. “We had no idea you were coming home!”
In the background, her father appeared, looking equally concerned and bewildered.
Linna gave them an apologetic smile. “I, uh, hadn’t planned on it myself until this afternoon. But, Mom, Dad, I just need a place with some peace and quiet in order to sort myself out.”
“What happened?” Nomi asked her daughter urgently.
Linna looked at her nervously and then at her father. She took a deep breath and answered, “Mom, Dad, I’m, um, I – I…”
She stopped and cleared her throat. Taking a deep breath, she tried again in a firmer tone. “I’m dealing with having my heart broken by another woman… I’d really like to be here while I pull myself together. But if you wish, I’ll pack up my things and leave within the hour.”
Her parents stared at her in silence. Then Nomi looked at her husband, who scowled.
He snorted and remarked, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard come out of your mouth, girl. This is your home. Now go change out of your clothes while your mother fixes you some leftovers. I’ll bet you haven’t eaten either.”
Without waiting for a response, her father turned on his heels and returned his attention to the TV in the other room.
Stunned, Linna stared wide-eyed at her mother to confirm that she had heard the same thing.
Nomi merely chuckled and hugged her daughter, “I told you he cares more than you’re willing to give him credit for. Now, he’s right, go change…”
— End Chapter 25 —
* * *
Wednesday Afternoon, November 2nd
Dressed in a long-sleeved shirt, jeans and boots, Priss checked the nameplate once again before pressing the door bell.
An unfamiliar female voice called out from inside that she was coming. The door then swung open, revealing a plainly dressed woman who was roughly twenty years older than the singer.
“Hello. May I help you?” the older woman answered cheerfully even though there was a hint of confusion in her expression.
Priss blinked, then as if remembering some long ago habit, stiffly bowed and asked, “Mrs. Yamazaki? I’m Priss, Linna’s roommate. Is she here?”
The older woman was clearly surprised and a little stunned as she looked her guest up and down. Then she hastily nodded and backed up to let her in, “Yes, she is. Please come in. It’s nice to finally me–”
“Priss?!” a definitely shocked Linna called out from the hallway. “What are you doing here?”
The singer grinned at her and said, “Figured I’d beat you to the train station and offer you a direct lift home, courtesy of the Silky Doll.” She pointed with her thumb at the red Porsche sitting in the driveway in front of the farmhouse.
Mrs. Yamazaki looked extremely impressed.
“You drove out here to pick me up?!” a still bewildered Linna persisted. “I was all set to take the train back.”
Priss then frowned and said, “Well, did you buy your ticket yet?”
“Then you’re riding with me!” she stated firmly, end of subject.
“Would you girls like something to eat or drink before you go?” Mrs. Yamazaki offered. She tried to hide a smirk and not be too obvious as she continued to assess this young woman she had heard about for years but had never seen, much less met before.
Linna shrugged and answered, “Well, if we don’t have to follow a train schedule, I don’t mind. Priss?”
She grinned. “I never turn down free food.”
Then Priss blushed and gave another stiff bow to her hostess, “I mean, yes, I accept your offer, Mrs. Yamazaki. That’s very kind of you.”
“Then follow me,” the elder Yamazaki said as she led the way to the kitchen with the blushing singer right behind her.
Linna followed a couple steps behind, clearly amused and fascinated by the unexpected display of manners.
* * * * *
“ – Okay, so spill,” Linna ordered as she watched the countryside zoom by at a speed well above the legal limit. “Why did you drive all the way out here to pick me up? I would have just met you at home.”
“You make it sound like I’m going to bury you out in the woods somewhere,” Priss muttered as she continued to drive, while keeping an eye out for any signs of the police. “Damn, this car is smooth!”
“Well, it’s quite an extended joyride for you to come all the way out here – “
“You’re my best friend,” she interrupted. “You’re supposed to inconvenience me.”
Not getting a verbal response, Priss looked at her passenger out of the corner of her eye to see Linna staring straight ahead with a pleased smirk on her lips. The driver smiled to herself. “So how was the visit?”
“It was what I needed. Nice and quiet. And it helped that my parents didn’t breathe one word of marriage arrangements for a change.”
Remembering something, Priss cleared her throat and said, “Hey, um, I saw that shrine in the living room… That girl looks like the one you keep on your nightstand…” No response. “Sorry, I’m prying.”
Linna was quiet for even longer before she said, “It’s my older sister Miki. She died in a bus accident when she was going to school. A few other friends were killed too. It was a bad rainstorm. She was sixteen and I was fourteen… I was home sick that day…”
“Oh… I’m sorry to hear that.”
Linna shrugged even though her expression was extremely withdrawn. “It happened ten years ago. And it’s not as if you don’t know what it’s like to lose family.”
“Yeah, well. It’s not like one situation is any better than another. It still sucks when it happens.”
“That’s definitely true…”
Priss shook her head and snorted. “I’m supposed to cheer you up, not bring you down. Boy, maybe it was better if you had taken the train!”
“No, I’m glad you came,” Linna said sincerely. “How much did Sylia tell you?”
“That you met the fiancé. And you seem to have had your closure with Reika. Was she right?”
Linna nodded. “Yeah. I knew it was coming, and I thought I was prepared for it. But… You know, the thing I miss most though is feeling that way about someone, no matter how short it was. And I just keep thinking, ‘wow, if that’s just a hint of what’s it like to be in love with someone, then the real thing has got to be worth the wait.’ Only, I hope I don’t screw it up when, or if, I get another chance.”
“It is nice to feel that way about someone. Even if it is for a short while,” Priss said with a wistful look. “It makes other addictive drugs pale in comparison.”
Linna burst out into a laugh. “You must be a musician to make a substance abuse comparison!”
“Oh, shut up!” a reddening Priss responded. Then she chuckled devilishly. “Speaking of feeling good, I’ve got one more stop in mind before we get home!”
Linna’s eyes widened at the statement. “Oh really?! Where?”
Priss merely grinned back. “You’ll just have to wait until I park the car!”
“We’ve still got miles to go!” Linna declared as she pointed at the lush countryside.
“Hey, you said yourself good things are worth the wait!” she retorted.
Linna opened her mouth to respond, but then folded her arms in a huff and decided to let the matter drop for the moment.
* * * * *
“You’re right! I feel much better!” Linna said, stretching as they stood in the lobby of the women’s spa. “Although, I think you just wanted an excuse to go for yourself!”
After settling the bill with the salesgirl, Priss pulled on her leather jacket and answered, “Hey! I needed to work out the kinks from driving all that way.”
Linna was about to tease her again when a figure emerging from the elevator caught her eye. “Oh, hello!”
Lisa Vanette stopped in her tracks, clearly recognizing Linna. She immediately broke out into a pleasant smile and bowed. “Hello! I haven’t seen you since that very exciting day! Hope your scooter is now fixed.”
“It sure is!” Seeing Priss now staring at the other woman, Linna hastily said, “Priss, this is Lisa Vanette, the reporter I told you about. Lisa, this is Priss Asagiri, my roommate.”
With a cool smile, Priss gave the new woman a nod and said, “You’re the one that wrote the NTC articles, right?”
“Yes, that was me,” she answered pleasantly even though it was clear that she was sizing Priss up as well. “So, um, are you two coming or going? I’m trying to squeeze in some time before they close.”
“Oh, sorry, we just finished,” Linna answered with an apologetic bow. “But since we seem to share the same spa, perhaps we’ll run into each other again some day?”
“I look forward to it!” Lisa said with a pleasant nod and a smile.
Priss narrowed her eyes at the petite woman for a moment. Then she said to Linna, “We’ve got to go. Sylia’s probably waiting for her car.”
“Oh, all right,” Linna said. “Bye, Lisa!”
“Bye, Linna. And it was nice to meet you, too, Priss,” she said as she watched the two women walk into the elevator.
Left alone, Lisa then chuckled and shook her head to herself. She turned to the counter to sign in but stopped in her tracks when the vision came to her.
“Run?!” she said to herself as the memories started to flood her mind. Oblivious to the bewildered stares from the staff and other patrons, she smacked her forehead and declared, “STUPID!”
— End Chapter 26 —
* * *
Friday Evening, November 4th
“That doesn’t look too comfortable,” Linna murmured as she stared at the empty stasis chamber in the large room connected to Sylia’s private lab.
“Probably not,” Mackey said as he looked down at the open tube. “But thankfully I’ll be ‘off’ during my entire time in there.”
Nene didn’t say anything as she kept next to him, her fingers firmly clenched in his.
“So tonight’s the big night?” Priss asked. “Is that why we’re all here for dinner?”
“Consider it a bon voyage party for Mackey,” Sylia said with a small smile that barely hid her own nervous tension. She glanced down at the readings on the monitor. “In approximately three weeks, he should be able to emerge in his new body, looking a lot older and taller than he does now.”
Nigel quietly checked the bank of equipment against the wall.
“But not too tall, right?” Nene asked hesitantly, her tone noticeably serious.
Mackey smiled at her and said, “We’ll still be perfect for each other, even if I’m looking down at you.”
She scowled and stuck her tongue out at him, but hugged his arm tightly.
“Dinner is ready, everyone,” Henderson’s voice announced over the intercom.
“Thank you, Henderson,” Sylia responded back. “We’ll be up shortly.”
“Oh, Linna,” Nene said as they all walked through the lab towards the elevator, “Lisa Vanette called me today. She wants to take us out to lunch, saying that she wants to settle the rain-check she promised us. She also told me to tell you that she remembered where she knew you from.”
Linna looked startled, especially at Sylia and Priss’s curious looks. “Um, did she say anything else?”
“Nope. But she seemed pretty sure of herself so it’s got to be something solid,” she said as they got into the elevator.
“Vanette,” Sylia repeated as she clearly mulled over why the name sounded familiar. “She’s the reporter who covered the NTC stories in the Tokyo Sun, correct?”
“Yeah,” Nene said. “But don’t worry, Sylia, I don’t think she’s made any Knight Sabers connection with Linna. We wear helmets, after all. And she wasn’t a reporter when we were active during Galatea.”
Sylia pursed her lips thoughtfully for a moment and then said, “That may be true. But I still want you two to avoid any Knight Sabers discussions with her, especially if she ‘happens’ to bring up the subject. She’s clearly a sharp one judging by the way she writes.”
“Don’t worry, Sylia,” Linna answered. “I definitely agree about steering clear of that subject with her. A reporter is just as risky as talking to the police.”
The elevator door opened and they walked through Sylia’s living room out to the patio beyond.
“That smells delicious, Henderson!” Nene exclaimed as they approached the table with the ready and waiting feast.
Linna was about to sit down when she noticed how Priss stopped in her tracks, her attention focused on a spot in the Tokyo skyline at night. Ready to tease her, Linna looked herself to see a strange site of black plumes of darkness which had to be smoke with a dozen helicopter lights swarming around it. “Sylia, look!”
Moments later, the group was huddled in front of the large video screen on the wall which showed the live news broadcast of the large fire which consumed the first four stories of a tall building which housed several restaurants and shops. The shots of the firefighters and medical personnel showed people frantically trying to deal with the situation at hand and not being very successful.
“Sylia, we should go help them!” Linna exclaimed, not bothering to hide her concern about the situation.
Sylia looked at the rest of her team, who gave nods of approval. “You three, go get ready.”
The three other women immediately rushed back into the elevator.
She gave an apologetic smile to Mackey, “I’m sorry about this delay.”
He grinned. “I’d like to spend this evening helping other people. Especially if I don’t come back.”
She frowned and hugged him. “Don’t think like that, Mackey. You’re going to be fine.”
He opened his mouth to respond, but then shut it and just gave his sister a quick hug. “You’d better suit up, too, just in case. Nigel and I can run command.”
She nodded as she pressed the button for the elevator.
* * * * *
“Oh, my god!” Linna declared in horror as they stood on the rooftop of the adjacent building to survey the scene.
Lighting up the night sky, a large blaze consumed the first five floors of a forty story building of shops and restaurants. Fire fighting crews were madly scrambling on the ground and in the air to both evacuate the building and put the fire out.
Even though the electricity was out for the building, it was clear that people were running around with flashlights in the upper floors as they made a mad dash for the roof.
“We’ve got to help them evacuate those people!” Linna declared urgently to her teammates.
“Those helicopters can only get a few at a time. And they’re obviously having a hard time trying to avoid smoke and each other,” Priss mused as she looked at the frantic activity at the rooftop. “Our best bet is to help with the evacuation up there.”
“With our suits, we just need a large – that!” Linna cried as she pointed down at the street below crowded with emergency personnel and vehicles. “We could use those buses!”
“Commander, we have a request to commandeer one of city buses to help with the evacuation on the roof,” Sylia asked through the emergency comm-link used by the firefighters.
“Understood,” a male voice responded. “I’ll straighten things out down here. Consider it yours for the taking!”
“Linna and Priss, you take one. Nene and I will work with the fire personnel to try to put on this fire and take care of any stranded people inside,” Sylia said as she dropped from the roof. “Also, everyone, make certain your infrared is on. This smoke is going to make it difficult to see things even if it wasn’t already night time.”
Linna and Priss positioned themselves on each end of the emptied bus as the crowds of onlookers watched anxiously. Once the large vehicle was firmly held, the Knight Sabers launched their rocket boosters to head back up.
With radio instructions, the helicopters steered clear of the east side of the building, allow the Knight Sabers to land on the roof.
As expected a large crowd of frantic employees and patrons were gathered on the roof, grateful at the sight of their new saviors. They madly scrambled towards the Knight Sabers, making it difficult to get clearance for them to settle on the rooftops with their large container.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” Linna announced through the outside comm-link. “Please calm down and get in line. I promise you we’ll get every one of you off the building safely!…”
* * * * *
“…I think that’s it for the bus,” Priss said to Linna through their private comm-link as they watched the latest group of rescued people vacate the vehicle into the arms of rescue workers.
Linna looked up at the now dark building, knowing that there was still a lot of activity going on even though the fire had been put out. Sylia and Nene had made improvised use of water tanks from nearby buildings that the fire fighters couldn’t use with their regular equipment.
“Come on,” Priss said, “Let’s join the hunt for survivors.”
“Right,” Linna said as she followed her lead and turned on her boosters.
From the nearby crowd of rescued people, a smoke-covered and bedraggled Lisa Vanette stood quietly and watched them disappear into the open floors of the gutted building. She had been watching them for some time since she was one of the first batch rescued from the rooftop.
A harsh cough next to her distracted her attention.
“Nathe, are you okay?” she asked softly.
The tall, lanky man with the black ponytail and sideburns nodded as he tried to breathe from the oxygen tank that had been given to him by a medic. “I think this is my final cue to give up smoking. It’ll be worth it though for the headline we’re going to get out of this!”
She smiled and then turned her attention to the gutted building.
In her mind, she replayed the scene of the two Knight Sabers landing on the roof with the bus. She had lost her glasses in the mad shuffle to get to the roof, and the smoke would have obscured her vision anyway.
But that voice from the green Knight Saber was unmistakably familiar.
Lisa Vanette felt as if she had just discovered that the Abominable Snowman existed but had no proof.
— End Chapter 27 —