Forward: Cowboy Bebop is the property of Sunrise entertainment. Predator is owned by Paramount Studios.

Chapter 1: Opening

Somewhere on Mars

Lenny hated to wait. He had been waiting in this sleazy hotel room for almost two hours and his contact still hadn't shown. It began to worry him. Lenny had been a small time smuggler, stolen merchandise, laundered cash, simple stuff. He had gotten good at his trade, so good that the ISSP had boarded his ships several times and had not been able to find a thing. His talents eventually caught the eye of some very rich clients. They refused to say who they were, just that they had things that needed to be transported without anyone knowing about them. The stuff they wanted him to smuggle made him a little nervous. Stolen goods and money were one thing, but guns and drugs were another. That kind of stuff would get you shot if you weren't careful, and there were plenty out there, including the cops, that would put a bullet in your head just to get their hands on a fraction of the stuff. The risks were big, but so was the pay. Twenty million woolongs a trip, more for one trip then he would have had made for a dozen trips in the old days.

[The old days.] Lenny thought with a bit of irony. The old days weren't exactly as old as they sounded. He had only been working for his mystery clients a few months when he had received a request from a different source. Thinking he could make a few extra woolongs Lenny had taken the job. When he had reported to the address given to him by his new client he was greeted by a gruesome sight. In the office, tied to a chair was his new client, his throat slit ear to ear. He wasn't bleeding and judging from the pool of blood on the floor he had been dead for some time. Every instinct Lenny had told him to run but he stood stock still, too afraid to move.

"You should consider yourself fortunate." A voice from the shadows said. "We are not in the habit of providing warnings." Turning toward the sound of the voice Lenny saw a tall man with white hair step out of the shadows. It had not been a large office but he had escaped Lenny's detection, he blended into the shadows so well he seemed to be a part of it. That was scary, but what really scared Lenny was the stranger's eyes. They were blank and emotionless, devoid of anything human.

"Who…who are you?" Lenny finally managed to stammer. The stranger's face did not change from its blank expression.

"I was sent here on behalf of the clients you work for." Lenny felt a chill go up his spine. The stranger's voice was as dead as his eyes. "They consider your services to them too valuable to be used on any others. It would be wise for you to remember that, otherwise you will end up like your friend." Lenny gulped and looked over at the dead man, who had a look of horror frozen on his face. He suddenly found the stranger standing in front of him! He had not even heard the man move! The man reached into his black coat and Lenny instinctively raised his hands to protect himself, expecting him to pull a gun. When no shot was fired Lenny cautiously lowered his hands and saw the man was holding out a piece of paper. "This will tell you all you need to know." Hands trembling Lenny took the paper and unfolded it. On the paper was a symbol, one he recognized. It was the insignia of the Red Dragons!! Lenny felt the blood drain from his face and his whole body started to shake. Satisfied with the reaction the stranger walked past Lenny and began to leave. Lenny thought he had recognized the man but did not want to admit it was true. Now he was sure who he was.

"Y…Y… You're V…V… Vicious? Aren't you?" The stranger kept walking, not even acknowledging that Lenny had spoken.

That had been two weeks ago, and since then Lenny had decided he wanted out. He had done some bad things, but he was working for people who killed for any reason they could think of. It was said once you were in you could never get out, but Lenny didn't care. The revelation he was working for a crime syndicate and his encounter with Vicious had made him too scared to care anymore. He had gotten in touch with one of the less corrupt cops at ISSP and had offered to give them information in exchange for protection. They had agreed to meet in a rundown section of town to discuss the terms of their deal. He was beginning to think something went wrong when he heard a knock on the door.

"About time." Lenny said in relief as he went to open the door. He didn't get more then two steps when the door came crashing in and five men in dark suits entered the room.

"Lenny, Lenny, Lenny." Their leader, a man with black hair and a beard, scolded. "We thought you were smarter then this. We pay you good, cover your tracks for you and we even went so far as to give you a warning to dissuade you from any bad business. All that and you still think you're too good for us and try to leave. We are very disappointed in you."

"I'm meeting a cop here." Lenny said, trying to sound brave. "He'll be here any minute." The group of thugs laughed.

"Sorry but your friend won't be joining us." The head thug said. "We convinced him to take a leave of absence. A very permanent leave of absence." The thugs laughed again. The cop in question was now at the bottom of a dumpster and probably wouldn't be found for weeks. "It's ok though, I'm sure this is something he probably would have want to have missed." All five of them pulled machine pistols out of their suits and aimed them at Lenny.

"People will hear!!" Lenny shrieked, screwing up the last of his courage. "The place will be crawling with cops before you can get away!!" The group of thugs laughed again and a sadistic grin spread across the leader's face.

"Not in this part of town, gunfire is so common people have learned to ignore it. You really saved us a lot of trouble in setting this up." He turned on a laser sight and centered it on Lenny's chest. "And don't think the manager will be any help. He's been bribed more then enough to forget we were ever here. I guess this is goodbye Lenny, too bad you had to be so stupid." The head thug fired one shot that struck Lenny in the chest but did not knock him down. Lenny looked down at his bleeding chest and back up to the firing squad in front of him. All the thugs opened up at once, hitting Lenny dozens of times. When they stopped their barrage Lenny stood upright for a second then fell over backwards. The head thug walked over to Lenny's body and calmly put one last bullet into Lenny's forehead. "God I love this job!" He exclaimed as they all reloaded their weapons. They walked out without looking back once.

"Hey boss." One of the thugs asked as the left the hotel into a back alley. "Why didn't Vicious take care of this punk? He was the one who gave him the warning."

"Because Vicious thought offing the little weasel was below him, and for once the elders agreed. That just means more fun for us." As they walked down the alley a large piece of one of the buildings fell in front of them. Looking up to see where the piece of brick came from they saw something else descending.

It was night out and there were very few people walking the street. One of them was a drunk that was wandering around just outside the alley that the hit team was currently in. In his drunken stupor he leaned against one of the buildings to keep himself upright. It was the only thing that kept him from turning down that alley.

From within the alley a high pitched gurgling scream caused the drunk to freeze. The scream ended with the person sounding like they were drowning. The next instant gunfire erupted, a lot of gunfire. Mixed in with the gunfire were more screams and what sounded like an explosion. The drunk then saw the leader of the hit team run out of the alley, a machine pistol in both hands. He fired bursts blindly into the alley until the guns clicked empty. Throwing the now useless guns to the ground the hit team leader began to franticly search around him, either for a weapon or a place to hide. Though his vision was impaired by the booze the drunk saw a look of absolute terror on the person's face. When the man saw nothing useful around him he turned and ran away as fast as he could.

"HELP ME!!!" The man screamed, sounding as terrified as he looked. "HELP ME!!!" As the drunk debated whether or not to answer him something came flying out of the alley and struck the man in the back. The man was lifted off his feet and was slammed into a wall. The man stood there against the wall screaming and coughing up blood, trying to push off of it. The drunk couldn't make sense of it but as his eyes focused he saw the man had been hit by a long piece of metal and been impaled on it. The same piece of metal now held him to the side of the building, like a speared fish. The drunk was about to go help when he literally felt something come running out of the alley. He could tell it was big but he could only make out the outline of whatever it was, the rest just looked like a shimmer of heat above pavement. The hit team leader, although pinned to the wall and half dead, managed to see what was coming out of the corner of his eye and began to scream louder as the thing approached. The drunk saw a flash of metal and then saw the man's head come off of his body, bouncing a few times before coming to rest, its mouth open in a silent scream. The thing then yanked whatever was impaling the man out and the body fell to the ground, flopping and twitching. The drunk slowly worked his way along the wall, not taking his eyes off the thing. He came to the opening of the alley and was about to run when the thing seemed to turn towards him. Two glowing yellow eyes flashed in the darkness and the drunk, overcome by fear, turned down the alley and began running. He got halfway when he ran into a sight just as horrific as the one he had just fled. The rest of the hit team, or more precisely what was left of them, were strewn about the alley. One looked like he had been gutted like a fish, his insides lying on the ground next to him. Another had a row of bullet holes stitched down his chest, shot accidentally by his own team. One looked like his chest had exploded from the inside out. Overcome by the sight the drunk sat down and began shaking. He was vaguely aware as the sound of sirens reached him.

"Hey buddy. What happened here?" One of the officers asked. The drunk continued to stare blankly ahead. The cop raised his voice and tried again "Hey! Anybody home?!" When the drunk still didn't react the cop waved his hand in front of the drunk's face. The drunk started and looked up at the cop, as if seeing him for the first time. "Can you tell us what happened here? Did you see who did this?"

"The eyes." The drunk answered.

"The what?"

"The eyes." The drunk said again and went back to his unresponsive state. The cop sighed and went to the officer in charge.

"The guy's talking junk lieutenant. He's too slammed to have seen anything." He surveyed the carnage around him. "Who the hell could have done something like this?"

"Don't know kid." The lieutenant answered. "But these guys are Red Dragons, and the syndicates can get pretty nasty at times."

"I know that, but I thought their executions weren't this messy."

"This wasn't an execution, an execution is usually nice and neat like you said. This was a slaughter, and it doesn't make sense."

"How doesn't it make sense lieutenant? Couple of their guys got whacked by somebody else's guys. Seems simple to me."

"Nothing is ever that simple kid. Look around. There are shell casings all over the place and bullet holes everywhere, but no bodies except for these poor bastards right here. There's no evidence that they even hit anything. You're telling me that somebody got the drop on these guys, who then started spraying the area with bullets, and then managed to kill all of them without losing one of their own? All this inside of a narrow alley? And then we have that headless guy on the outside of the alley." The lieutenant scowled. "Something about this stinks. There are too many unknowns and I don't like it." The other cop shrugged and walked off. "Something just isn't right, and it's probably going to get a lot worse." If the lieutenant had looked up he might have noticed something suspicious, or he might just think it was a trick his eyes were playing on him. However he didn't look up and went to join the first officer. At that very minute above them on the roofs of one of the buildings someone was watching them, listening in on the conversation. After watching the two cops leave he gazed at the city around him, taking in everything. It then turned and disappeared into the night.

The lieutenant did not know at the time how right he had been. Things were about to get a lot worse.