DISCLAIMER: Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 and all characters and names are copyright of AIC/JVC.

Author's note: This chapter has been updated and the grammar's errors were fixed, thanks to my friend and beta reader Analogk37. The feedback will be always welcome ^_^.

BUBBLEGUM CRISIS TOKYO 2040

"THE BEGINNING OF ALL THINGS"

CHAPTER 1

By Carrie Asagiri

 Beta Reader: Analogk37

       November, 2038.  

Like every Saturday night for almost a year, Priscilla Asagiri worked at Hot Legs. Actually, performing with Sekiria had helped her a lot. Though they didn't earn much money, she still felt free on stage, undressing her emotions in front of the audience that always acclaimed her. Singing was like a drug she needed to feel alive.

That night while was preparing for the show, she found herself looking into the dressing room mirror in front her. She couldn't help but recall the recent past, both joyful and painful at the same time. The last five years of her life hadn't given much in the way of happiness. But just when she seemed to put the past behind her, the pain took her life over once again.

Her eyes clouded for a moment with tears that she tried to contain. Her gaze was straight into the picture on the mirror. An image from her memories was reflected along with her, an image of someone else who was the love of her life some months ago.

" I wish you were here right now."- she whispered, when a knock in the door awoke her from her trance.

Fox, the Sekiria bassist, strode into the room.

"Priss, on stage in 3 minutes. You ready?"

" Yeah, I'm coming."

" Something wrong?"

" No."

Fox left the room, knowing that Priss usually wasn't very eloquent with her answers.

*****

Darkness, almost a hundred people around her. The adrenaline starts to flow through her body. The lights turn on, the first chords resound and the crowd gives in to the frenzy in order to adore their goddess. Priss closes her eyes while singing the lines of her

favorite song. In her mind, memory flashes start to invade her. Happy moments with friends, motorcycle races in Tokyo's streets, a caress, a cuddle, a kiss. Opening her eyes, her vision is filled with people shouting and jumping with the music.

"kon'ya wa HARIKE-N  anata ni HARIKE-N tsutaetai no Loving You…loving you

kon'ya wa HARIKE-N  mou ichido HARIKEN-N dakishimetai Touch! Burning Touch!"

She can't believe that all these people are here for her. Do they love her? Do they adore her? She doesn't care, this is the present, she's free. The song ends, the ovation is louder, the hands are up imploring, they want more. The night is just beginning. A little

pause, a new song starts. A ballad, it's like a balsam for the public, and for her as well.

She closes her eyes and the memories start to flow in her mind again. The lyrics recreate her past. Shared experiences with someone who can't be anymore. Without realizing it, a tear furrows her cheek.

"kono ame ga subete o nurashite hashaida kisetsu o hodo iteku

 me o tojite nagareru namida ni kasa ha iranai  saigo no ame hitori dakara"

So the night passed, song after song bringing back to life the raw emotions from the past. The show ends, the audience asks for more, and Priss spoils them. At last it all ends and she feels trapped again in the reality that she hates so much. She descends from the scenery. A drink will be perfect to end the night. She sits down at the bar, the goddess descended among the humans.   

While she is drinking her beer, she feels someone touching her hair from behind. Roughly, she turns around to find a grotesque man watching her with lust in his eyes.

"What the hell do you want?"

"Hey, what's wrong babe? Why so bitchy?"

The guy starts to caress her face. Priss grips the hand strongly, pulling him close enough for the alcoholic stench on his breath to turn her stomach.

She pushes him away with a "Fuck you" thrown in for good measure.

His manhood swelled and encouraged by drink, he decides to continue.  

"What's wrong you fucking bitch? I'm not enough man for you?" he asks, grabbing ahold of her left arm tightly. Priss isn't afraid. She's confronted men like him plenty of times. This very kind of situation was all too common, occuring almost every single weekend.

The man continues to hold onto her.  She comes in close and passes her free arm around him like a hug, then leans towards his ear and whispers...

"Fuck you, fucking son of bitch!" At the same time she raises her right knee and kicks him between his legs. Bending and whimpering from the pain, he's forced to leave her alone.

"You'll pay for this bitch!"

Priss didn't pay any attention. She looked over at him, finished her drink, and left. Nobody was aware of what happened. There weren't any rules there. The bustle and untidiness ruled in the club. She knew that her sanctuary was on the stage. However, once out, she became just another prey for the hunters.

Deciding that enough was enough for the night, she headed to the dressing room to change her clothes. She was thinking of going home and resting, maybe starting work on a new song.

In the corridor that leads to the rooms a figure lurked in the shadows. Priss noticed but cautiously kept going. Was a taller man judging by the silhouette.

"You're quite brave" said the man.

"Who's there?" Priss asked, recognizing something familiar in his voice.

The man walked out of the corridor's shadows and lit a cigarette, showing his tall and sturdy figure, dark skin and long and black hair tied with a ponytail. He looked at Priss for a long while, bordering on eternity. 

"...and you sing pretty well too," he added, finishing his complement.

Priss stared at him with astonishment. She knew who he was, but this was the last place she expected to meet him. She had known him for a year now and, thanks to him, hadn't had to buy a new bike. He knew her motorcycle very well as he had made it with his own hands. In addition to being her mechanic, he was a good friend as well.

"What's wrong? You don't seem happy to see me."

Priss was still silent, unable to avoid the embarrassment.

"No... isn't that... it's just I didn't expect to meet you here..." she wavered without finding the right words. "What the hell are you doing here anyway?" she asked with particular rudeness.

"I saw your show advertised in a street poster and I was curious to see you actually sing."

"Come on! I thought you weren't interested in these kinds of places... I always invited you, but you never came."

"I'm sorry that I didn't accept before, but Hiroshi was always there..."

"Nigel..." Priss' embarrassment grew worse with the fact that Hiroshi's name was mentioned, momentarily paralyzing her.

"Hiroshi?"

"You were with him then."

Priss was ready to open her mouth to ask him, when Nigel finished his cigarette and promptly dropped it. He looked at Priss for a moment before slowly approaching her. An uncomfortable silence fell between them until he took Priss' face into his hands. Her heart started to beat more loudly, trying to guess the thoughts of this mysterious man who she had found herself attracted to for quite a while.

"At last I found you! I heard you had some problems in the bar and..." Maxon's comment was lost in the air as he discovered that the singer wasn't alone. Priss' expression was a mix of anger and embarrassment at the same time. Her band partner finally realized the interruption that he had caused.

"I'm sorry! Priss, meet us in the lounge when you're ready. We've got to talk about the next show."

"Wait, I'll come with you."

Maxon was uncomfortable with the presence of the unshakable man. Priss' evasive attitude wasn't helping either.

Nigel simply stood and watched them in silence as Priss and Maxon left.

In the dressing room, the three Sekiria musicians were arguing about the songs they were going to play in the next gig. Meanwhile, Priss was lost in her thoughts. She couldn't get the recent encounter out of her mind. Nigel Kirkland really was a mystery.  That aura seemed to grow the attraction she had for him. For a couple of months now she hadn't been able to stop thinking about him. Nigel knew of and had supported her through the worst moments. She had tried approaching him before, but it felt as if she were colliding into a brick wall. Perhaps it was the fact that he was older than her. Or was it Hiro? What did he mean exactly by saying he hadn't accepted her invitations because of Hiroshi? Hiro... those memories again.

"Hey Priss, which way do you want it? Do we play "Kon'ya wa hurricane" again, or "Bug list"?"

Maxon didn't get an answer.

"One, two, three…Earth to Priss" said Jaid.

"Both," replied Priss without looking back at her pals. She got up, took her jacket and walked to the door.

"Where are you going?" Fox noticed the attitude of the singer and suspected that something had her distracted for the last few hours.

"Home."

"We're supposed to be talking about the next concert."

"I said I want both songs. I'm leaving."

Maxon was about to argue but Fox stopped him. After all, it wasn't uncommon for Priss to act this way.

"Bye," she added, slamming the door closed.

She was afraid of finding Nigel waiting for her in the corridor. She didn't know why she was acting like such a coward. Priss found it strange that he had the initiative to actually start a conversation with her. He was normally very quiet and reticent. To get an answer at all from him was quite an achievement. In that way, they were both very alike...She mounted the bike parked in the alley next to the club.  After putting on her helmet, she left.

*****

For the last five years in Tokyo, the Voomers did the work that humans hadn't wanted to do. But everything has its price, and the damage caused by mad voomers grew larger and more expensive all the time. Countless human lives were lost in those incidents.

Genom hid the truth and in some cases played down the facts. The corporation that was owner over all of Japan didn't want to endanger its power because of problems caused by its own creations.

Mad voomer accidents occurred almost every day. This particular evening wasn't going to be an exception either. A garbage collecting voomer lost control, panicking the civilians nearby and drawing the general public's attention shortly afterwards.

*****

In a prominent building located in Tokyo's centre, a young woman watched the incident from a large wall screen TV. Her expression of incipient concern shifted into one of deep wrath. All the while she nervously drank from a bottle of whisky held in her left hand. Once finished with the drink, she removed her silky robe and quickly picked out some clothes. Combing her long blue hair, she announced her departure via the intercom.

"Henderson, I will out for a moment. If something happens, please call me."

"As you wish, my Lady."

*****

While on the road to her home, Priss had more than enough time to think. Although thoughts consumed her most of the day; when she was singing or driving her motorcycle, she felt the peace and freedom that she needed. Accelerating, she wanted to get home quickly. At the intersection of two streets, a red Porsche crossed at high speed, forcing her to brake hard.

"Shit!"

She could see the driver was a woman.

"Fucking bitch!" she shouted out from the middle of the street, though the driver kept going, ignoring the insult. Even so, the woman watched Priss through the car's mirror, a satisfactory smile drawn across her face.

Priss started back up and continued on to her home. Reaching the highway that linked Megalocity with Old Tokyo, she was forced to drop her speed. There she found traffic sealed off by the A.D. Police.

"Great!" She thought "First, a crazy bitch in a car and now these idiots."

The barricade made by the officers wouldn't allow her to pass. There were many cars waiting with her. She could hear several comments from all around.

"Seems that a voomer went mad," said a man sticking his head out of his car's window.

"Again? Why doesn't that surprise me? It's becoming a bad habit," replied someone else.

"God damned voomers!" said Priss for herself. The barricade's officers were trying to calm down the people.

"The A.D. Police are working the problem at this moment. The situation is under control."

"Idiots!"

The voomer would destroy half of Tokyo before they could stop it. Another one of Genom's frustrating creations, a private police force that was useless.

Priss wasn't one to wait.  She knew it would be a longer road to get home.  However, she didn't care about speeding. She knew no police officer would stop her since most were tied up with the voomer incident anyhow.

Before leaving, she stayed for a while watching the spectacle. The place was a mess. Overturned cars and the garbage that the voomer was collecting were scattered everywhere. The voomer was mutating into some kind of monstrous shape that weapons didn't seem to effect. The zone was cleared leaving only the voomer and the officers fighting like a modern Roman circus.

Suddenly, Priss saw something that almost stopped herheart.

A 6 year old little girl was behind the voomer. She was terrified and had something in her hands, but Priss couldn't tell what it was. She dismounted the bike and threw off her helmet.

"There's a girl right there!" she yelled to the barricade's officers, while trying to cross over to the other side.

"You can't pass. Keep yourself behind the line please."

"There is a girl behind the voomer!"

The police officers ignored her warning. Priss realized the girl would be in the middle of the crossfire at any moment. Once again, fragments from her past assaulted her mind.

"Not again!" she exclaimed.

She tried one more time to cross the barrier, but the officers wouldn't budge.

"ARGHH! How can you be so stupid!"

Without warning, Priss punched the officer in front of her in the stomach. Taking advantage of his painful distraction, she passed by him and into the middle of the battle.

The officers in K-suits started to yell for her to get out of the battlefield. Priss didn't listen to them as she was focused on the objective in her mind. That objective was the little girl... the same objective as the voomer. The stench of garbage was disgusting and she had to be careful not to slide on it as well.

The monster was aware of the little human behind it. Growing bored with the useless attacks from the police, it decided to shift targets.The girl was now kneeling, clinging tightly to something while crying. Priss raced against time and the voomer, managing to catch the girl.

She took her in her arms and looked around. She felt trapped. The highway was empty but, if she tried to run away, the voomer would certainly follow her.

While Priss was busy planning, a shadow instantly cast over her and the child. The voomer's hand reached out to them while its two red eyes stared on.

Priss stood motionless. Another place, the same situation, the same fear. But this was different... she was stronger now. This time Priss would win...

To be continued…