Martian Successor Skysaber
Chapter One

by Jared Ornstead
aka Skysaber

It was a fancy pizza restaurant.
One of the only ones of its kind in Japan, it did it's work staying
in business for two reasons: One, it did sushi and okanomiyaki and
other Japanese dishes to perfection. Two, all of the otaku that crowded
in to look at the cook.
Actually, the manager was quite convinced that if he could dump #2
reason, then #1 wouldn't be needed because he could go back to being a
simple sushi bar and wouldn't need all of the extra attention of having
a star cook who wouldn't attend work a single day without dressing in
cosplay and doing weird, western dishes.
Granted the guy was a great chef, one of the best, but the business
was in danger of losing all of its traditional clientele because the
guy looked just like an anime star and wouldn't go a day without
dressing and talking like one as well.
So the star chef who'd drawn so much attention was called out of
the kitchen, given his pay with two weeks severance, and sent on his
way. Jared Saotome stood on the restaurant's back step blinking.
What had I done?
Okay, this was a fairly unusual assignment, in that all the time
he'd spent here was in the background. Actually, he should give up
calling assignments unusual, as every one he'd had was different in
important aspects from the ones that'd gone before.
Heh, even my vacation turned out to be something of an
assignment. Save the world at work and at play. Well, there are
boring lives I could be living. I guess I can't complain. He thought
about certain members of the feminine persuasion his work had brought
to him. And the PERKS are beyond excellent! YUM!!!
Just as he was considering the exact nature of the more delectable
parts of his many job benefits, Jared left the restaurant to walk into
the road, and was almost immediately run down by a car.
"CUT!!"
Jared stood, holding his baker's peel in the air, having used it to
cut the vehicle in question in half so that both parts slid by him on
either side before momentum allowed them to crash.
Luggage from the too-full trunk then rained down on him, flattening
the superspy.
Two heads poked out from the ruined vehicle, both halves sprouting
heads belonging to bodies dressed in attractive military-style
uniforms. A third head appeared as Jared emerged gopher-style from the
mound of fallen luggage, crossing his eyes to look at the pair of pink
panties perched lightly on his nose.
The boy, who'd been driving the car, was caught in a panic
attack, wondering if this guy was a robot Jovian spy or something. He
COULDN'T be normal! He'd just Cut A Car In Half! For crying out loud!
He'd done it with a baker's peel!
Wait, something seemed familiar about that. The boy driver puzzled
a minute in confusion. Something rang a bell with a memory associated
from when he was small...
The girl wasted no such time, rushing out of the wrecked car to
reclaim her fallen panties from this pervert's nose. Still, he seemed
perfectly at ease during her accusations and reflected them all like a
pro, or certainly someone who'd done this before. Which, oddly enough,
made him seem a LOT more blameless while her instincts thought this
really ought to have gone the other way.
No, shortly he was helping her repack her suitcase with her
unmentionables helping to cushion the shock for some of her breakables.
As he did so, the uniformed girl looked more closely at his face and
saw something that got her to thinking. She leaned in close, blinking
intently as she studied him. "Hmm, you're going to think this is
strange, but do we know each other from somewhere?"
Jared had still been adjusting to practicing obscure cooking in a
restaurant, and having to be let go when he wouldn't back down about
being the 'actual' Skysaber, when we all know that's impossible, and
yet experience helped him think more clearly. At her words, he gave a
quick study of her in turn.
Seeing her, it came back.
Jared blinked, remembering. "... Yurika. Your name is Yurika!"
"Jay-chan!" Yurika gasped, then grasped him in a tight hug,
giggling. "Wow! I never thought I'd get to see you again!"
"You know this guy?!" Her companion questioned dubiously. This
stranger had just chopped their CAR in half! That took a bit of getting
over.
"Yah!" Yurika bubbled cheerfully. "He's my knight in shining armor!
Whenever I was in trouble, I just KNEW Jay-chan would get me out of
it!"
"But..." The driver asked, looking down. Their CAR was in half!
And he'd done it with a... and, really, only doing it with a spoon
could have startled the officer more.
Yurika saw her male friend's confusion and bubbled happily,
explaining while still holding tight to hug her Jay-chan. "Well,
Skysaber was the greatest animated series of all time and Jay-chan's
been emulating the main character ever since he was small. He's got to
the point where he can perform the role perfectly. He doesn't even
answer to any other name. He's even clever enough he's worked out a
stash of tricks and devices he uses to do most of the special tricks
flawlessly. If you didn't know it was only an animated series you might
believe it was really him. Only he won't tell any of his friends how he
does it."
"Oh." The other said helplessly.
Jared had nicely recovered himself, able from long acclimation to
do anything that he really needed to do in spite of a girl or three
plastered tightly to his body. Yurika's hug, while tight, was also
fairly low on the bone-crushing scale. During this time he'd come to a
decision of sorts. He'd been doing an experiment on the side, with his
time here on this assignment. He wanted to see if he could get someone,
ANYONE to believe he actually is/was/could be who he really was.
On this world, Skysaber had been as popular as he had ever seen it
being. But that was also a long time ago and regarded as 'old anime'.
There just wasn't the fire, though the knowledge of the show had hardly
dropped a bit among the older generations and movie junkies.
So far NOBODY, especially the kids I grew up with, could be
convinced that I am the actual Skysaber. Even my superspy toys are
thwarted when it comes to this.
Well, it's not like he could use his full means to do it, anyway.
Standing up, automatically adjusting Yurika in his arms, he looked
grandly about he luggage and declared (with a royal nod of the head).
"Milady, pray permit me to undo the indignity I have inadvertently done
thee."
Suddenly the boy in officer's uniform (nametag read: Jun Aoi) was
pointing a startled finger. "You! That line! That was from Portrayal Of
A Superspy! Wow! I recall that play! But it's not in print. That was
six centuries ago when Shakespeare wrote that play. I didn't even think
that anyone outside my school drama teacher had a copy!"
Yurika giggled, still in her childhood friend's arms. "See? What
did I tell you? Jared has all the lines! Why, he lives and breathes
Skysaber every, single day!"
If only they knew.
While Yurika was giggling in his arms, Jared caught a dark motion
out of the corner of his eye, lurking between trash cans in the alley
between restaurants. Seeing it, his eyes narrowed.
Making sure to mask the movement with his body, he turned about,
one of his many Glorious Jade Flower Fans flying out where neither Jun
nor Yurika could see it, slicing the youma to equal halves, then
quartering it on the return trip, slapping back in his hand before the
youma turned to dust and exploded.
"Hmm?" Yurika stopped her prattle, blinking owlishly at him. "What
was that sound I just heard?"
He set her down gently on her feet, bowing gallantly with a hand to
his chest as he fluttered the incriminating fan in one hand. Before he
could even say a word Yurika had it in her hands and was squealing in
wordless glee. She turned to face her fellow officer, flashing the open
fan. "You see Jun? He even has the bulk of the mass-marketed Skysaber
toys!
Jared's eyebrow twitched. What is it? You'd think a GIRL, of all
people, would know the difference between plastic and jade. Wouldn't
you? What happened to all of that interest in jewelry and things?
He looked at their car, and the night settling around them, as
Yurika explained to Jun how the secret catch on the fan was supposed to
work, then startling both of them when real bladed edges actually
did appear, instead of plastic fakes, and the falling fan cut itself
six inches deep in the concrete roadway when she dropped it in
surprise.
Idly retrieving his fan, Jared walked up to their car, holding his
hands out in mystic poses as he summoned a corona of spell energy
around himself in the gathering gloom. "Time that was gone, call back
now as you were..."
As Jun's eye's bugged in amazement, the two halves of their vehicle
hovered over the road, then pivoted to bring the sliced metal edges
together, a flash of light traveling along the seam until the whole car
settled intact down onto its tires, as if never broken.
"You see? Isn't it amazing?" Yurika attached herself to Jared's
arm, pivoting him to face her startled first officer. "That was really
convincing, wasn't it? I'll bet you didn't know that Jared scored Mars'
best scores in Drama and Acting, only on one subject, of course, and
that he got an award for the 'Best Special Effects In The Solar System'
for our school play! I bet he did it all with magnets or something."
Jun's face relaxed from near-fright to astonished pleasure. He
nodded, glad to have it all explained. "Wow! That was intense! For a
moment there I nearly thought you were the real guy!"
"Yes, too bad that's impossible." Yurika said thoughtfully, then
glomped Skysaber again. "Still! It's as much as a girl could ask! Hey,
Jay-chan, how did you do it? Huh? Did you have wires... or, just
probably magnets under the roadway, right? How much time did you spend
setting it up, huh?"
Jared twitched, sweatdropping. "You'd never believe me."
"Oh, my goodness! Is that the time?" The perky girl had checked her
watch.
The boy did too, and was startled, motioning to his uniformed
companion. "Oh No! We're going to be late! C'mon, Yurika, we've got to
hurry!"
"Oh, but I can't just leave my Jay-chan behind!" Yurika shouted
back to her friend in matching uniform. Then she slapped her palm with
a fist. "I know!"
Faster than lightning, Jared was hauled along to a seat in an
already too-crowded car. Seeing how it 1) obviously wasn't going to
work, and 2) Yurika was going to stay at it until she got both points
A) Jared coming along, and B) heading off to whatever her destination
was, Jared chose 3) to summon transportation of his own.
A touch on the wrist computer, a discrete phase of crossed
dimensions, and he got clear of Yurika's determined grasp long enough
to tell her he'd just follow in his own vehicle, pointing to the
advanced, red painted, dashing hover trike that was a complete stranger
to the local technology.
Yurika rode hugging his back the whole ride to their military base.
Jun trailed behind in the luggage laden sedan.

"I Absolutely, Positively, will NOT set a foot on that ship without
Jay-chan!!" Yurika complained to a Mr. Prospector, who, the superspy
noted, was probably some kind of management, given that he'd been
summoned to resolve the fuss raised at the gate.
"But we just don't have any need for cosplayers." Prospector spread
his hands helplessly. The argument was taking place inside a briefing
room deep in the base.
"Ahem," Jared cleared his throat behind them, drawing their notice.
"I do have skills, you know."
"That's right!" Yurika eagerly defended. "Why, with his special
effects knowledge there has to be a place for him in Engineering.
They do work with devices there, don't they? I'm sure he can adapt."
Prospector sadly shoot his head, one hand cupping his chin. "I'm
afraid Engineering has a full crew. And while they're a little
unorthodox, they don't need a special effects tech."
"Well, then he's a great morale officer!"
"There's no need for that, our whole bridge crew can double as
morale officers. That's a part of why each of them were chosen. The one
who can't perform personally has the ability to rapidly program video
games."
"Computer Technician?"
"We've got the best in the whole solar system for that."
"Janitorial?"
"We have robots to handle that. Plus, the kitchen staff doubles in
a crunch."
"Well I know he can't cook. All through our childhood he was
refusing to eat squid, and youcan't cook proper Japanese food without
such a basic component."
"That's true." Prospector agreed.
"Well, then, what if he's useless?" Yurika challenged, balling her
fists and tearing up. "I love him! But if I can't take him with me then
what will I do? He's not fit for the real world. He could get in an
accident, or hurt himself? He's too innocent of the big, wide, world
out there and could get into a ton of trouble if he breaks a bone
trying to pull off one of his many Skysaber stunts. Then what will I
do? I'll be a widow before I even get married? Oh, Jay-chan!" She clung
to him, sobbing wetly into his shirt. "What will it be like without you
there to guide me? To help me pick out underwear or... sniff... plan
our wedding?"
This was rapidly disintegrating into a bawl-fest so the superspy
decided to head it off. "Um, actually, while you were away I kind of
qualified as a medical doctor and so you see, I don't need anyone to
take care of me to be alright."
"A Doctor?!?" Bright, shining, hopeful eyes bored into him, then
swiveled about to pierce Prospector. "There's got to be an opening for
a doctor, hasn't there?"
"A doctor? Let me see." Prospector took out his pocket computer and
touched a few buttons with the pen-shaped wand. Looking up, he smiled.
"You're in luck! We have a reserve medical staff only. There's a
vacancy we haven't filled yet for a chief physician. Are you qualified,
young man?"
"Is he qualified!" Yurika challenged, somehow working herself into
Jared's arms, held by him in classic 'damsel' pose while she dangled
both arms around his neck and glared at the business manager. "Why I
put my life in his hands. Do you realize..." She trailed off,
blinking three times before turning to ask the boy whose arms she
filled. "Jared, do you realize that in your professional capacity you
will be undressing me?"
It was possible to facefault with a woman in your arms and not drop
her. Really.
Yurika blushed, bringing both hands to her face and spouting. "Oh!
I'm so embarrassed! It's so soon. It's so sudden! But, YES, Jared, of
course I'll marry you!!"
"Ahem," Prospector coughed into his hand, making several strokes on
his computer before he was satisfied. "Very well, we'll hire him. But I
warn you, young man. It will be the life of the girl you love if you
aren't up to saving her, if that becomes necessary."
Jared's face was scrunched up in a 'not this' expression as
Prospector left the room.

It turns out captains have duties, and, for whatever reason, Yurika
Misumaru was the captain for whatever ship he'd just been hired as
Chief Medical Officer on. Some of the later connotations of that hardly
bore thinking on, but for the short-term it meant that he got left
alone in the big bay with the ship while Yurika disappeared to do
mysterious female things that preceded her reporting in as commanding
officer.
"The ship isn't due to take off for awhile, so why don't you take a
look around and get to know her?" Had been her parting words,
transforming to a glow. "Then you can meet me in my room! Oh, we have
so much to talk about before the wedding!"
Uh Oh.
Think about something else.
The ship had nice lines, though it didn't seem very optimized. Then
again, he was given to understand that it was the first of its kind,
using a new type of technology. Firsts very rarely looked good. Just
think about the first automobiles and the Wright Brother's airplane. So
from that viewpoint it was a marvel, attractive as it was.
Jared requisitioned from base supplies a full set of officer's
uniforms in his size, threw a lab coat on over it, and was on his way
to check out his medical facilities aboard the ship to see what kind of
gear they'd given him to work with (and the things he'd have to do to
get them in full readiness) carrying twin duffel bags full of surgical
scrubs along with the rest of a space travel basic kit, when a voice in
the landing bay stopped him.
"Let's Go Skysaber!!"
The superspy's attention was instantly riveted to the scene of an
18' tall robot doing multiple martial art and sentai poses, singing
about half a dozen snatches of different theme songs from Skysaber
anime. "Wow! This is great! It's just like on Magic Spy Rayearth!"
Down on the bay floor, an engineer (by the look of him), was
shouting up at the robot through a megaphone. "It's an Aestivalis, not
a Rune Mecha."
The pink robot switched poses. "Silence Fiends! Now I'll crush you
in my wrath!"
Jared winced. At the time that had sounded so cool, but the
various quotes since then had almost made him wish he'd not said it.
"I'll finish you off with my Divine Justice Storm!"
"Wait a second!" The engineer shouted to the robot. "Who are you?!
And how did you get in there? Our pilots aren't suppose to arrive for
three days!"
"Are you kidding?" The happy pilot laughed, posing his pink mecha.
"When I heard that we'd be using real robots I couldn't get here fast
enough! This is the real thing, baby!"
"Will you stop that?!" The engineer shouted. "Play time's over."
"Hey! You're talking to the greatest robot pilot who ever lived!
And to prove it, I'll show you one of my super-amazing Gai killer
moves! Gai Super Upper!!" The robot threw an uppercut punch, emphasized
by the scene of a breaking wave crashing behind him.
Then he overbalanced and fell over backwards.
Jared smirked as base medical teams pulled the pilot from the
mecha, laughing and completely unperturbed. The dark-haired guy
exulted. "It's just like on the second season of Eva Revolution! Every
time I move my arms, the robot's arms move the same way."
The chief engineer who'd argued with him before pointed to the back
of the man's left hand, at the silvery patterns of the flesh imprinted
there. "Actually, due to the advances made in interface technology, a
newborn child would have done just as well."
As if he hadn't heard, the pilot stated. "The name's Gai, Gai
Daigouji. But you can call me Gai."
The engineer took out one of those pocket computers that Prospector
had, bringing up the man's file. "According to this, it says your name
is Jiro Yamada."
"That's just the boring name my mother gave me." The pilot covered
the screen of the tiny computer with his fingers. "But Gai Daigouji is
the name of my soul!" He stood up, posing proudly. "Even Jovians fear
my wrath."
Gai turned blue in the face and sank two inches, then five, then
finally collapsed into the arms of the base medical staff, screaming
shrilly in pain.
"What is it?"
"It's my leg. I think I hurt it quite badly."
"You idiot! It's broken!"
"Nonsense... OOOooOOOOooWW!!"
"How could you not have noticed that?!?"
"Hey, you up there on the catwalk?" The pilot called as they loaded
him onto a stretcher.
"Me?" Jared blinked, surprised to have this focus shift to him.
"Do you see anyone else up there? Look, my most precious possession
in inside that cockpit. Could you get it for me? Pretty please?"
Jared thought about it, then shrugged. Leaping over the catwalk
railing with a triple over-end flip, he fell the thirty some-odd feet
to the bay floor, landing lightly on one foot, lab coat billowing like
a cloak around him as he did so.
"WHAT!?" Said the astonished personnel who'd watched this.
"Hey! You can't do that! That stuff only happens in cartoons!" The
engineer shouted.
The pilot sat up desperately in his stretcher. "HEY! I know about
you! You're that Skysaber-impersonator guy everyone's always talking
about at the anime cons. Hey, what are you doing in a ship uniform?"
"Chief Medical Officer of the Nadesico, Jared Saotome, at your
service." Jared gave a brief nod, laying a hand on the man's leg and
infusing it with chi energy. "Hmm, triple compound fracture. You'll
have to watch more closely where to place your feet in that kind of
uppercut Mr. Daigouji. You've got the moves right for a very powerful
attack, but you don't have the kind of balance you need to pull it off.
I'd recommend basic gymnastics as a basis for perfecting that move.
Anyway, I've put a minor Accelerated Healing spell on your leg. It
should be well in a day or two. Stay off it til then."
"but... but..." Gai whimpered as they took him away.
The redhaired superspy-come-medical officer took a glance in the
open cockpit of the empty mecha when they'd gone, seeing only one thing
out of place there. "A Skysaber action toy? Hey, this is one of those
with the built-in soundtrack players, isn't it? I'm flattered that he'd
think this his most... huh?"
The base shook, the kind of way that signifies a big explosion.

A little earlier...

"Hello everyone! Have no fear, your new captain is here! V!"
Yurika tossed off the finger salute of victory.
"V?!!" Responded the command crew in various degrees of horror,
thinking their new commander either was a hopeless, childlike bimbo and
thereby believed in anime, or had the wits of a radish and believed
they did!
"She's an idiot." Ruri concluded to herself.
There's nothing like a first impression. Yurika thought, still
smiling.

In a far different place...

A dark-gloved hand swirled the red contents of a wine glass with a
crystal wand. "So, that's where they're hiding it? Signal an attack."
In the darkness, a man in a military uniform clicked his boot heels
together and bowed before departing to give the orders.

Back to base

The underground bay shook. Alarms sounded.
"Attention all personnel. Our ground forces are now engaged with
the enemy. All bridge crew, report to command center. Repeat: All
bridge crew report to command center."
Jared looked from the alarm sirens to the mecha and back again.
Tossing his duffel bags in the back and strapping them down, he
slipped into the pilot's seat, bringing up the robot's systems and
engaging the power supply, then turning on the little soundtrack action
toy.
He pulled a purely instrumental piece, one of the combat themes
from Robotech, and put it on speakers, calling up the mecha's stores
list. Its arsenal read: one grenade launcher, one missile launcher, a
rapid fire rifle, wired fists, two knives, four land mines and a
defensive gravity field.
"Well, aesti," he spoke to the machine, bringing up motive power
and closing the hatch. "Looks like my time hiding from the limelight is
over."

Command Center

"The Jovians are focusing their attack directly above us. I'd say
the Nadesico is their obvious target."
One of the Earth Admirals made the suggestion of blowing away their
own guys in order to drive off the invaders.
"You mean to kill our own men?" Minato, the ship Operations Officer
questioned.
"Why not? They're going to die anyway!" The man shot back.
One of the bridge girls turned to another. "Would you call that
cold-blooded, or simply cowardly?"
"Captain," the senior admiral addressed Yurika. "What do you
propose to do?"
Suddenly the silly, airheaded girl Yurika switched to being a
competent officer. "We will take the Nadesico out through the
underwater tunnel, engage the enemy from behind, and obliterate them.
We'll need a decoy."
Blip!
Jared's face appeared on main screen. "Ah, so that's how this thing
works. Pilot Saotome reporting for duty, Captain Yurika. I'm on the
main lift headed for the surface. Give me a bearing on the enemy."
"You don't need one, they're everywhere." Ruri calmly replied.
"Jay-chan?" Yurika turned in concern toward the monitors, hands
clasped before her chest. "But do you even know how to pilot? Of
course, what am I thinking? You take after that anime star so, there's
no way you could've avoided mecha piloting. But I can't let you serve
as a decoy against the enemy. But I know how devoted you are to your
duty. Very well, Jared Darling, if you insist. You may go courageously
fight the Jovians so that we may make our planned maneuver! I know
there's no way the words of a mere, emotional woman could dissuade you.
Alright. I'm entrusting the fate of the Nadesico and all her crew to
you, Jay-chan. Just promise me that you'll come back alive!"
"Good luck and God Speed." Cut in the bridge's attractive
communications officer.
"The elevator will now be reaching ground level." Ruri informed the
superspy.
It did, and Jared was surrounded by low-slung combat mecha.
"You've got ten minutes." The security officer of the Nadesico told
Jared as the lift hit it's end. "Just keep the enemy occupied. Good
luck."
There were hundreds of them; antlike, red, enemy mecha swarming all
over the surface of the base, the installation's defenses already
overrun and silenced. Jared had come out just as the buglike mecha were
swarming toward the elevator shaft, prepared to crawl in.
For about half a second their yellow eye lenses focused on him.
He switched to Ryo-Ohki's musical theme from Tenchi Muyo and simply
began to dodge the enemy blasts as if he knew beforehand where they
were all going to be and had choreographed for months dance moves that
put him between them, out of their way without apparent effort.
Then it was party time.

"Oh wow!" Yurika chimed, watching the monitors.
"You said it," echoed Megumi.
"You know, he does remind me of that anime show." Prospector
remarked. "How many hours did he have to practice to pull that off, I
wonder?"
"He's been practicing this role all his life." Yurika replied. "It
means everything to him. Everything he does is taken from the
perspective that he wants to be Skysaber."
They watched the fight for a few more moments as the submarine dock
around their ship filled with water in silence.
"I'd say he does a decent job." Prospector murmured.

Jared had slipped into a combat fugue.
His priorities were very simple. His entire reality had shrunk to
himself, the enemy, and the sure knowledge that he had been entrusted
with the survival of Yurika, the ship, and all her crew.
Jared dealt very seriously with priorities like that.
All around him things became desperately clear. Perceptions altered
and everything happened in slow motion with plenty of time to plan,
although decisions were near-instant. The clarity of his perceptions
was eerily calm this close to deadly peril. The knowledge of the
reality of the closeness of death was upon him, and it didn't matter.
It was just one more factor to be aware of. There was no personal
significance to it. It was merely to be avoided simply because it would
be viewed as the end of his ability to carry out his present assignment
-which was to protect those lives entrusted to him.
With his perceptions altered it became easy to tell the moves that
would work and those that would not. It was as though time didn't
exist.
Then again, it was not a state conducive to holding back. He
expended all his robot's armaments in the first few blazing seconds.
After that, it was simply not acceptable to be without the ability to
deal out death at the levels required to be preserving his charge. So
he needed a reequip. He hit his Agency call button without even
thinking about it.
They responded.
Because it was a relatively minor situation the request was filled
in a more moderate method than warping in any of the Mega-Powerful
mecha at Jared's command, for example the Thunder Knight.
And the Agency's instructions were very explicit.
Jared's Aestivalis jumped into the air, transforming mid-leap into
a collection of parts that fell away around him, dropping out of sight
as the pilot was caught in the open cockpit of a jet fighter that
swooped up behind him.
His very own, personally modified and vastly upgraded Veritech
transformable fighter. The one he'd had on Mars, back in that Robotech
universe. The one he'd fought literally thousands of Zentraedi
directly, and millions indirectly, in. The same one later upgraded
again when his Sailor Scout wives got to trying to please him.
It was, indeed, party time.
He transformed and began blowing through the enemy like wind
through Swiss cheese, switching modes from fighter to battloid to
guardian configurations and back again so swiftly it was as if his
mecha had no set form at all, smoothly interposing the abilities of one
form over the problems that he met, to change modes and problems with
the speed of thought as he began showing the Jovian machines the
blessings of a custom veritech at full payload.

A group of civilians, watching the fight from the far shore, had
become accustomed to seeing Earth forces on the losing side of any
engagement, and so saw the shift if this battle with renewed interest.
About the time the Aestivalis broke apart to be replaced by an
incredibly famous cartoon veritech, with markings known the world over,
a certain restaurant owner stood up to take notice, then turned away
grumbling. "That anime cook has got to be mixed up in this."

The crew watched as the forest of missiles that was formerly a jet
fighter turned the attacking Jovian bug-drones into so many
interconnecting explosions. They watched in increasing awe as the jet
fighter became a giant robot and spun, smashed, and blasted its way
through the attacking mecha with all the grace of a cartoon hero facing
underlings, from an action cartoon they all well recalled.
The only things to change were the intricate detail of the shots
and the fact that the enemy underlings had been switched out for Jovian
invaders. It was, if anything, a slightly more stylish fight with
fancier moves on the part of the hero than the cartoon recalled. It was
as if it were a more experienced Skysaber making the counter-assault
against the enemy.
But we all knew that was impossible.
After watching the battle for several moments, Yurika shifted her
focus to the ship helmsman. "Cancel the emergency launch, and begin
draining the submarine dock. It looks like we won't be needed in this
fight after all."

Crystal clarity, sensing in all detail still with him, Jared
scanned very carefully, found the attacking forces were entirely
eliminated, and came carefully and gradually out of the combat fugue
that had taken hold of him, gently guiding his veritech into place on
the launch pad, resisting the urge to curl up to sleep once the
elevator took him below ground, starting the trip back into the secret
base.
He wanted to bathe, and he wanted to nap, precisely in that order,
but knew in his heart it would be some time before debriefings and
whatnot allowed him the luxury of rest. Instead, he curled up on his
seat for a quick ten minutes.
And, when the elevator bay doors opened once he was at the bottom
the crew discovered him once more in the Aestivalis he'd launched in,
with no explanation.
Jared awoke to one of the techs shaking him. "Hey, buddy," the tech
demanded. "How in blazes did you do that?!?"
Smiling calmly, recalling earlier days, he replied. "That... is a
secret."

The next morning the medical bay door swished open to reveal
Prospector.
"So, are you finding everything to your satisfaction here?" The
manager asked.
Jared looked up from his notes. "What? All I've got is a couple of
paramedics and systems crew doubling as nurses? What kind of ship are
you running? The guy who needs surgery in this outfit is gunna be
dead!"
Prospector adjusted his glass, unperturbed.
"Well, yes, we were going to hire a full medical team intact.
That way they'd know how to work together in a crisis situation without
extensive training. Unfortunately the military blocked our attempts.
Medical staff is in high demand these days. We'll transfer a few more
doctors and some full-time nurses in from the Nergal space station once
we go by there."
"Yah, it's a good thing, too. A combat vessel with no
anesthesiologist, no specialists, just a handful of trauma techs and
me. A paramedic hardly knows more than to stabilize the patients and
get them to me in a hurry! They're good at what they do, and in a
crunch they'd try real hard, but the first time the ship takes a hit
they'll have their hands full retrieving the bodies. They'll be
nobody left to put them back together except a couple of part-time
staff who don't rate high enough for the army to want them, and me. You
don't even have the full range of medical supplies, and are missing
basic equipment!" The redhead exclaimed in real worry.
"Tell us what you need and we'll send out the requisitions. Nergal
makes most of the medical equipment the army uses so there will be no
problems there." Prospector paused in the door on his way out. "We did
what we could without experts on this end putting together a
comprehensive whole."
Jared tucked a pencil back behind his ear, sighed, and bent to
review more lists. "Yah, well, you've got one now."
"So I see." Prospector added, nodding before he vanished back the
way he came.
The superspy frowned at the screen. Something in his gut told him
to plan on not getting any help. That made it an absolute imperative to
put some preventative measures in place, so the crews' survivability
would be high. That was the only way he'd avoid getting swamped when a
crisis hit.
Nodding to the empty room, he began to make plans.

"So how is he?" Megumi asked, looking up from her boards as mister
Prospector came onto the bridge.
The exec adjusted his glasses thoughtfully. "Mister Tenkawa seems
to be very stable outside his unique fantasy. A very capable fellow, I
must say."
"Excuse me." Yurika chirped up. "But his name is Saotome, or
Inverse, but definitely NOT Tenkawa." She objected. She hadn't liked
the couple that adopted her friend. "I think you'll find that he won't
ever answer to any non-anime name."
"Hmm, you don't say?" Prospector touched a few buttons on his
pocket comp. "But still he's legally registered as a Tenkawa.
Interesting."
Yurika had been through this before. She shrugged. "The security
clearance his family had to have blocked any future attempts at name
changes so they wouldn't lose track of who had what access to the
top-secret technology they worked on. But you'll find that he won't
ever respond to a name Skysaber didn't have in the anime. Go ahead and
try if you don't believe me."
The executive did some thinking, tapping a light pen against his
chin. "You know, as capable as he sounds in medical bay, and despite as
impressive as he was in battle the other day, I think we should be
prepared, just in case this officer turns out to be less stable than we
all hope he'll be. I think I'll call in a favor I have in a certain
institute and let them send up a specialist. It couldn't do any harm to
have a psychiatric specialist on board. It could help considerably to
have one on hand for what might be a stressful voyage."
"Whatever. You'll find Jay-chan does NOT need one." Yurika bounced
out the bridge on her way to medical.
Prospector continued thinking.

"So is this your first checkup? I couldn't find any medical records
on you." Jared asked in a companionable bedside manner calculated in
the best way to help his patient forget she was naked as he did his
work with a stethoscope.
"I'm not surprised." Ruri sat there with companionable disinterest
in her state. "Those files are encrypted Top Secret at the highest
access."
The door chimed and both doctor and patient froze, realizing there
was nothing between the examining tables and the door. Ruri's arms
zapped to covering her privates, her legs snapped together and she
blushed a soft rose color that was nicely offset by her hair.
Fearing for his patient's modesty, Jared's head blurred around and
he quietly directed the young girl to the surgical scrub room where she
presumably had left her clothes. The outer door swished open even as
she disappeared behind the curtain.
It was the buxom bridge queen who entered next, already unzipping
her front. "So, Doctor Tenkawa? I'm here for my medical exam." The twin
orbs that bounced free would have done proud to a varsity volleyball
team, as the balls! As human accouterments they were most impressive.
Jared had to admit to himself in a moment of silence as she finished
undressing that he'd never seen their like, and that was saying
something!
Closing his eyes, he chanted the mantra "Think Kasumi thoughts,"
slamming down a barrier of purity and innocence through which no impure
thoughts could penetrate. He also acquired a somewhat vapid smile and
gentle manner as the price of immersing his mind in a sea of goodly
innocence, but that was a small price to pay for the protection it gave
him.
Automatically closing his stance to hold feet a trifle closer
together, stand just a little straighter, and square his shoulders just
so he assumed the body language of someone of complete virtue, with
something of the air of impervious obliviousness. "Oh my," he set his
head at an angle to indicate a curious politeness. "You would be Minato
Haruka, our ship's operations officer, wouldn't you? Would you like to
make an appointment? I'm afraid this is not the best time."
The now naked bridge queen draped her hands over his shoulders,
acquiring fleshy contact. She breathed huskily. "Oh, but doctor, I need
your help with a... female problem."
Fire turned to ice as the door chimed again.
As Jared stood simply radiating goodness, Minato hurried hid
herself in the supplies closet as seconds later the portal to the hall
swished open, revealing the communications officer of the Nadesico.
Jared simply smiled vapidly until he realized that he had two naked
women now in the room about to be joined by a third, and what that
meant given the genre. That thought was bad enough to shake him
sufficient to sweatdrop.
Even Kasumi could realize that certain things were improper and
liable to cause her trouble. Meanwhile Megumi rolled her panties down
off her thighs, bending to pull the fabric low enough to lift out her
legs from the holes.
Jared was presently examining the wall. "Are you sure that's
perfectly necessary?"
The maiden stood, bare for all eyes to see save the fact the only
eyes present were examining ceiling ductwork in the minutest detail.
"But... you must examine me." The bridge girl murmured soothingly.
In that precise instant the door chimed, freezing them both.
"That's what lab equipment is for." He said, shoving her behind a
stand of heart rate monitors that nicely obscured her from view.
Yurika bounced in all happy to see him. "Oh, hi! Jay-chan, I'm here
for my medical exam!"
Still in Kasumi mode, though somewhat strained, he waved his hands
in negation. "Oh, but Yurika! Stop and think, what would happen if
someone were to come in while you were undressed? This medical bay is
very poorly designed for privacy. Just think, there isn't a waiting
room, or private examination rooms, or anything to preserve a patient's
modesty. Why, the whole crew could just walk in on you!"
Zip!
Yurika's front, almost half undone, was back to prim and proper in
an instant. She looked at the hallway door as if it were some venomous
thing sure to destroy her happiness, which, in a way, it was.
She turned about and began guiding him the arm to the surgical
scrub room, where she pulled aside the curtain to reveal a naked Ruri,
standing there covering herself with her hands while looking awkward
and embarrassed.
Quickly shutting the curtain, Yurika began to lead him behind the
rack of instruments, whereupon the ran into a naked Megumi, looking as
mortified as physically possible.
As Yurika was obviously caught between twin extremes, a pair of
sneezes came from the closet. Resigned, she asked Jared. "Another?"
Shamefaced, he replied. "Another."
She ran out of the medical bay screaming wails and streaming tears.