I don't own these characters or profit from them. Please, please sue the other authors before you sue me.

By, Clayton Overstreet

Melfina smiled and shook her head. For the last six weeks everyone had been fussing over her. "You know you don't have to do this." She started as Gene brought her lunch. "I like to cook and I want to do my own chores."
Gene smiled at her. "Sorry Mel, I guess I am getting a little carried away. It's just... I'm not sure how to handle it."
Melfina giggled. "Well neither am I, but..."
Gene laughed, "In that case you'll take your rest and like it!"
Melfina sighed and took her sandwiches and juice. "Well all right. Not that it will do me any good. Morning sickness is really awful."
Gene kissed her cheek. "You're telling me."
Melfina grabbed his cheek and pulled it to the side, looking at him playfully. "What was that?"
"Ow! Um... nothing." Gene said. Melfina let him go and he rubbed his cheek. "Anyway it's not like I'm the worst one."
Aisha peeked in from the kitchen. "Oh yeah Gene? Who was it that insisted that we take over all her chores."
Gene looked at her. "And who was it who tried carrying her around for a whole day?" Aisha sniffed and ducked back into the kitchen.
"I can solve this," Suzuka said. "You're all impossible."
Jim laughed and looked at her. "Oh? And you weren't absolutely insisting on cooking for her last week?"
Suzuka tried to look dignified. "Well I didn't want her to be subjected to Aisha's cooking."
Aisha growled from the kitchen and Melfina giggled. "Well I am glad that you all are helping me out, but I can still do things on my own."
The Gilliam robot by Jim's hand looked at her. "Well Melfina from what I can tell your life functions are normal for someone in your condition."
Melfina smiled. "Thanks Gilliam."
Gene looked over at Jim. "Hey Jim, do you have any jobs lined up for us yet?"
Jim shook his head. "Sorry Gene, but since we're at the edge of the Tai pirates territory we're not in the main lanes."
Gene nodded. "Well we can't go in any farther. The closer we get to Earth the more the laws are enforced and a lot of the things we do bend them a little too much to take the chance."
Jim nodded. "Like when we bribed that guy to let you into that contest. So we'll have to wait until someone wants to hire us. We should be all right for a while though. After all, we still have some of the Kae pirate's treasure left."
Suddenly there was a knock at the door. Everyone looked at it. "Jim, pull up the security cameras."
Jim pushed some buttons on his computer and four separate images appeared. Jim stared in disbelief as Gene walked up behind him. "No way! He's supposed to be dead!"
On the screen was Shimi, the first of the Onten seven that they had gone up against. Also the one that had kicked their butts. He was standing outside the door. "Gene Starwind! I want to talk to you."
Gene ran to the door and hit the large red button. Blocks of three-floor thick solid steel dropped down over the windows and door. "Speaking into the intercom by the door Gene said, ""What do you want?"
On the screen Shimi smiled and looked up at the camera. "I want to hire you. Don't worry, I left the pirates after our little skirmish."
Gene looked at Jim. "Think we should trust him?"
Jim shrugged. "I don't know Gene. It could be a trick. In fact it probably is."
Gene nodded. "You're right." Backing up from the door he hit the button again and the blocks rose out of the way. He opened the door and let the ex-pirate in. "Well Shimi, what do you want?"
The man smiled. "It's just Lealong now. And like I said, I want to hire you."
Gene smiled and led him into the makeshift living room. Since they had converted the place from a warehouse it had a very big living room. Aisha and Suzuka watched Lealong closely as he sat down on the couch. Turning he smiled at them. "Um... sorry about blowing you up and that knife to the gut."
They stared at him in silence and Jim said, "Yeah, about that. Aren't you dead and buried?"
Lealong laughed. "I rigged the fight. I think I'm going soft." He looked at Gene. "Besides it wouldn't have been fair with the way you were hurt."
Gene gritted his teeth. "Well as I recall we also buried you."
Lealong nodded. "Yeah, and deep too. It took me a half-hour to dig my way out of that hole you put me in. What I can't figure out is how you are all still alive."
Gene smiled. "Well the short version is we beat those Onten guys, found out way into the galactic ley line, then once we got out we helped some people loot the Kae pirate's treasure vault."
Lealong's eyes widened in shock. "You what? How did you... I mean I've been there. Are you sure it was really the vault?"
Gene nodded. "Big asteroid, lots of traps, guards like you wouldn't believe, and only lets you visit once a year?"
Lealong nodded. "That's the place." He sighed. "You are one lucky man Gene. You know I was supposed to captain the XGP. If Hilda hadn't stolen it and Melfina..."
Aisha laughed. "Well she did and now it's ours."
Gene looked at her. "It's who's Aisha?"
Aisha grumbled something and sat down. Jim laughed and smiled at her. Aisha winked and grinned at him.
"So what's this job you've got for us?" Gene asked.
Lealong smiled. "Oh that. Well it's no big deal really. I've been trying out being an Outlaw for a while and I have recently ticked off a few of the local Tai pirates. I need you to protect me from them."
Gene shook his head. "I can't do that. Even when I agreed to protect Fred Loa I told him I couldn't do it forever."
Lealong nodded. "I didn't mean forever. You see these guys have a very strict policy. Any grudge they have has to be dropped after forty-eight hours. If they haven't killed me by then they have to give up and go home."
Gene rubbed his chin. "All right, but you and I haven't discussed the fee."
Lealong smiled. "Well I only have forty hours left. What do you think would be a fair price?"
Gene smiled. "I am thinking five thousand wong an hour..."
Lealong nodded. "... and we each get to hit you in the face one time."
Aisha grinned. "Yeah! That sounds like fun!"
Lealong looked around the room. Both Jim and Suzuka were running their fingers along the scars they had from Lealong's knife. Aisha was pounding her fist into her hand. And Gene was smiling evilly.
From the couch Melfina said, "Gene, I'm not sure about that."
Lealong held up his hand. "All right, it's a deal. Melfina you don't have to if you don't want to, but it is fair considering." He stood up and looked at them. "Get it over with."
Aisha and the others gleefully lined up. Gene waited until the end. Jim went first, hitting Lealong in the jaw. The man barely flinched. Next came Suzuka. She hit him in the cheek, and actually caused him to step back a bit. Shaking it off he waited. Aisha punched him in the forehead, knocking him onto his back. "Ah!" Lealong pulled himself up and smiled at Gene. Gene waited until he was standing up, then punched him in the stomach. Lealong grabbed his gut and doubled over. "You were supposed to hit my face!"
Gene smiled and Lealong realized his mistake. "As you wish." Gene leaned back and punched Lealong in the eye. The man fell back and moaned. "Now we'll take the job."
Lealong smiled and pulled himself up. "Thanks... I think."
Melfina looked at Gene. "Are you done?"
Gene smiled. "Yeah. So what can we expect from these guys?"
Lealong sat on the couch, still rubbing where they had hit him. "Well they are not too big on magic, but their fighting technique is unmatched. I know because I trained with them and had to join the Kae pirates because I wasn't good enough to get past their first level."
Suzuka's eye twitched slightly. "You mean that compared to these people I'm..."
Lealong nodded. "Below apprentice level, yes. Though I suspect that you may be a lot better than I am guessing, you still aren't at their level."
Aisha smiled. "Well what about me? I won the title of strongest woman in the universe."
Lealong looked her over and rubbed his forehead. "You, might give them some challenge. You see the secret to their technique is that they originally based it on Ctarl-Ctarl training techniques, then added magic. But instead of attacking with the magic, they use it on themselves to hold their bodies together as they train in increasing amounts of gravity."
Gene glanced at the huge pack Lealong carried. "I see. What gravity were you at?"
Lealong smiled. "I made it to fifty times normal gravity." He looked at Suzuka who was gripping the handle of her wooden sword.
Gene smiled and looked at Jim. "Think we can do it?"
Jim smiled. "No problem. All we have to do it keep him hidden for forty hours. How hard could that be?"
Melfina looked at Gene worriedly. "Are you sure about this? I mean what if the pirates find him?"
Gene smiled at her. "Don't worry Melfina. I'm sure everything will be fine. Just relax all right?"
Melfina smiled. "Well I suppose."
Gene smiled and kisses her cheek. "Melfina I promised to protect you and I meant it. I won't let anyone here get hurt." He looked around at the others who smiled back.
"Besides Melfina, with me and Suzuka around you know we can handle anything, right Suzu?"
Suzuka grit her teeth. "Stop calling me that Aisha, or else."
Aisha stuck her face in Suzuka's. "Or else what?"
Suzuka looked her right in the eyes. Or else I'll hide the food where you can't find it."
Aisha bit her lip. "Fine... Su-zu-ka."
Jim smiled and tweaked the end of her tail. Aisha looked back and saw him grin at her. She smiled and shrugged, backing away from Suzuka.
Lealong looked at Gene. "I think I might have been safer with the pirates."

The first pirates arrived about five hours after that. Gene had blocked off the doors and windows again by that time. "We know you're in there Lealong! Come out now or we'll drag you out." A man yelled.
Gene walked over to the intercom. "I'm sorry, but you must have the wrong building."
"Don't give us that. We've had people following him and he is definitely in there." The man yelled.
Gene shut off the intercom. "Well so much for that plan."
Suddenly something began pounding against the door. Watching on the monitor Gene saw a guy pounding on the door. The disturbing part was that his fist was making dents and the hinges seemed to be giving way. "Gene, these guys are tough." Jim said.
Gene nodded and looked at him. "Start up the security system Jim."
Jim hit some keys on his computer and a red light began flashing. Lealong looked at Gene. "What kind of security system is this?"
Gene smiled. "Well first we shoot twenty thousand volts through the door and these metal blocks. We don't like using it because it costs a lot to get that much energy." On the monitor the guy took another swing at the door and shot back twenty feet, twitching on the ground. "Next we do this." Missile ports opened along the outside walls and aimed at the pirates. A recorded voice began to count down. "Five... four... three... two..."
Several of the pirates ran, but a large group simply stood there looking annoyed as the missiles fired. When the smoke cleared they stood there shaking their head. Gene looked at Lealong, "Please tell me they were using a light shield or magic."
Lealong shook his head. "They don't need them."
One of the men on the screen walked forward and looked closely at the doors and windows. Jim smiled. "Ha, there's no way in."
The man on the screen pulled back his hand and punched into the wall. Everyone looked up as they saw his fist begin to tear through the steel walls. He leaned in and looked at Gene. "Give us Lealong and we might let you live."
Gene shrugged. "Sorry, but he's paying me a lot of money for me not to do that." He pulled out his caster and aimed it at the man's head.
"A caster!" The man began pulling his head out, but was too slow. Gene shot him right between the eyes, leaving him slumping there dead.
Turning to the others Gene said, "O.K. everyone. Time for a field trip."
Jim and Melfina ran towards the bathroom, followed by Gene and the others. Lealong was in the middle of the group. "Where are we going?"
Jim reached the bathroom and opened the underside of the sink. Pushing down on the faucet a trap door opened in the bottom and Jim jumped through.
Aisha sneered. "I can't believe you're running away again Gene."
Gene smiled at her as he helped Melfina down. "If you want you can stay here and face them Aisha."
Aisha looked behind her and saw more pirates tearing their way through the walls. "Um... I think I should come with you guys... to make sure you're safe." She jumped down the hole after them and Gene hit a button. Above them the bathroom exploded and buried the place in rubble. Gene smiled and led the way to a small track.
Lealong looked at the rusty cart sitting there and said, "It looks like an old roller coaster."
Jim smiled at him. "It is. We bought it from a guy at the junkyard and hooked it up to the sewer system. It leads to three other buildings that we own in the area."
Lealong reluctantly got into the cart with the others. Gene flipped the switch in front and is began to take off. From behind them the last thing they heard was someone digging through the rubble.

By the next day Gene had about had it. The pirates had already beaten them to their other buildings. At the last one they had gotten word about the track and had ended up chasing them through the sewers. Finally Gene had found a manhole leading up to the street.
There was what looked like an abandoned fair ground near by and he had lead the others into the fun house. With ten hours left to go they had agreed to take turns sleeping, but it had ended up with Gene being the only one to stay awake the entire time.
He looked over at Gilliam. "So what do you think? Think they'll find us in here?"
The robot shrugged its tiny arms. "I don't know Gene. Most of the information I have is on the Kae pirates, who would have used their magic by now and found you. But these pirates seem to use it solely for physical purposes."
Gene nodded and looked around. He saw Lealong open his eyes and look up at him. "So what did you do to piss these guys off?"
Lealong smiled. "I got caught with their leader's wife."
Gene laughed. "Figures."
Two hours later everyone was wide-awake, except Gene who kept nodding off. "Are you all right Gene?" Melfina asked.
He nodded and yawned. "Yeah, I'm just tired Mel. And after this I say we get out of this place."
Aisha looked at him. "Why? We flew all the way here through space and now you want to go back?"
Gene yawned again. "Yes. Look, the Kae pirates are totally split up now. And at least the Ban pirates can't tear through solid steel like it was toilet paper. Besides we have no contacts here and these guys tore up all of our offices already."
Aisha shrugged and Suzuka nodded. "That seems like sound reasoning Gene."
Suddenly a fist punched through the wall next to Suzuka's head and grabbed her by the throat. She was thrown aside into the wall and fell like a rag doll.
"Suzuka!" Gene yelled and turned back to the arm. Slowly a body followed it and a man who stood about seven feet tall stood there. He eyed each of them and focused on Lealong. "You. Come here."
Gene jumped in front of him and fired his caster directly into the man's chest. The energy bounced off him harmlessly and he swatted Gene aside.
Melfina ran to his side. "Gene! Gene wake up. Please Gene." A drop of blood spilled onto her hand from the wound in his forehead.
Meanwhile the other man had begun working his way through the others to get at Lealong. "You shouldn't have touched my wife."
Melfina grit her teeth and reached into her dress pocket. Then she picked up Gene's caster. Slipping in a shell she pointed it at the enormous man. "Hey you!" The man turned to look at her. "Don't hurt my family." She fired the caster and it jerked in her hand. A ball of black energy shot out and slowly flew towards the man. He barely had time to scream before he was sucking into it.
Suddenly what looked like black lightning shot out of the ball and into Melfina. Gene, who if you'll recall was linked to her by the ley line, twitched on the ground and screamed at the same time she did.
As Melfina toppled over she looked into Gene's eyes and smiled. Gene looked back at her, "What... what have you done Melfina?"
Melfina whispered back. "I saved one of those number fours. I thought we might need it."
Gene closed his eyes. "But what if it hurt the baby?"
Melfina reached out weakly and rubbed his cheek. "I think the baby would understand... I can't loose you or any of the other's Gene. You are my..." She closed her eyes and lost consciousness.

Three days later in the Outlaw Star, Gene and Melfina sat side by side as Suzuka and Aisha fed them soup. "I can't believe this. You don't need to baby me like this you guys." Gene complained.
Melfina giggled and looked at him. "Welcome to my world." Suzuka tapped her on the forehead with her spoon. "Ouch! What was that for?"
Suzuka frowned at her. "For almost getting yourself, Gene, and the baby killed. Next time discuss this stuff with us first."
Aisha nodded. "Yeah, in case you forgot I'm immortal. I could fire those casters off as much as I want. But no, you had to play Mrs. Hero."
Gene smiled and put his arm around her. "Well you don't think she can hang around me and not pick up a few thing do you? I'm just glad those other pirates decided that once their leader was gone they didn't have a beef with us any more."
Jim nodded from the tabled across the room. "Yeah, and the money Lealong paid us should just about cover our trip back to Ban space."
Gene sighed. "Well this has been a total waste. Make a note Jim. We don't take cases involving nearly unstoppable killers."
Jim typed it into the computer. "Duly noted. So where do we go now Gene?"
Gene shook his head. "Well let's see if we can get our old place on Heifong back. If not we can try someplace else."
Jim sighed. "Your problem is that you don't plan anything Gene."
Aisha smiled and rubbed Jim's head. "Cheer up, at least he has you to keep him in line."
Jim smiled at her. "Thanks Aisha."
Gene grinned. "All right, enough of that. Let's hit the ether drive and get back home." The others cheered and ran to the cockpit. Gene took Melfina's hand and they both managed to limp to their places. Gene took one last look back the way they had come, and then they were gone.


Hey, it's me Gene. Well we're back on Heifong. Seems some of the Kae pirates are there waiting for us. They trashed our old office and it looks like we're going to have to fight them. After those Tai guys this should be easy. But that's not the only thing. That pirate girl who Jim thought was so hot has shown up too. It seems she's ready to pledge undying love to my young partner. How's he going to tell her that he's seeing Aisha? How is she going to take it? And how is Aisha going to handle this?
You'll have to wait until Clayton Overstreet's next fic: CAT GIRLS IN HEAT.

Author's note
So what do you think? It moved a bit fast I'll grant you, but still it's a good story. If you didn't think so I'm sorry, the next one should be better. If you did, email me and tell me what you thought at clayton_n@hotmail.com