Chapter 1 - Memories

Yuma City, sunny afternoon, temperature about 35 °C. Hot weather emptied successfully the streets. Three members of the Starsheriffs team could be located in various parts of Ramrod, dealing with high temperature, caused by damaged air-condition and sadness, caused by something else.

April, lying on her bet in her chamber non-seeing eyes staring in the ceiling. Colt, constantly walking from Broncobuster to kitchen, sitting there for a second, standing up, taking his blaster to hands, starting to clean it, recognising he had already done it, sitting down for next few seconds and then starting a new round. Fireball was sitting in his module in control-room, despair written in face. He looked like he went through the hell, survived it and had to do it one more time. His expression was screaming for help. His body speech was saying: "Help, I` m loosing ground under my feet, I` m falling, nothing more could be done. I have to fall. My back-up is gone forever. HELP, please."

Was he eating something in last days? It didn` t seem so. It seemed so, that appetite of the whole crew vanished somewhere. Or better said, someone had token it with him. Fire leaned with elbows against countless buttons and controls in front of him, head in hands. The weakness was slowly overwhelming his sweating body. The pain, the temperature, the emptiness.......the darkness, pleasant, welcoming......NO! Only the idea of the others, finding here his unconscious, helpless body has brought him back.

(Something has to be done right now. But what? This terrible weather...to the hell with it! And to the hell with that stupid damaged air-condition! I can not concentrate! What would help? What would help? Of course, I know, a nice cold shower.....shower.....shower.....there was the first time we......no, away with it! Not now! Be strong! Lets go. What time is it? Fine, more than an hour, no one will enter the bathroom now... (

Something was wrong here. The usually laughing and joking team was now very quiet and sad. Reason of this more then a month during sadness was the fourth member of the team. The fourth member....there was no fourth member of the team more. Saber, their leader, died a month ago, bitten from a snake in desert. What a stupid and useless death!

At first was everything clear, but later, some interesting and mysterious facts occurred. A month was given to his team to accept the fact and give him good bye. All of them became sick from various rumours and guesswork which had they heard and read. Now Commander Eagle decided it is enough and they should slowly accept the new situation and became a working team again.

That means four people. Last two days, he was going through C.V of potentially candidates .Today, in less then an hour, the of the new member should be known. So everybody was giving the last farewell to Saber in his own way, playing with memories.



(Saber, where are you? We are needing you right now. Why, why have you left? You were our pillar, our base, the glue which held us together...hm, the first time we met, you were not very happy by the thought to work together with me...no, it was the appearance of Colt and Fireball, what has changed your mind.

Oh, my. Dad was always wondering, why had it never came to anything more intimate between us. As he was always saying, we two would match wonderfully together. Both of us quite good looking, being successful...He always wished someone like you for me. No, he` s not really against Fireball, but... (

April shifted a little on the bed.

(Nay, he had never noticed...the way you were looking on Fireball, eating him with your eyes, treating him, trying to hide it...unbelievable, to discover feelings like this in you...or maybe not? I` m still asking myself, what would have Fireball done, if he had discovered it?

It had to be terrible, having feeling for someone who not cares... (

First meeting (19 months ago)

Young officer was walking through one of the corridors in the main building of Cavalry Command. He was tall with ash blond hairs and grey eyes. The expression of his face was serious, resolution written in those eyes. His uniform was like the others which had usually been worn by young soldiers after finishing Military Academy, could be described as left the wardrobe just a second ago as bonus.

His target - Commander Eagle. He tried to remember as much as possible about him. It was not very difficult, because Eagle was well known in army circles, from young cadets to old generals. He spared his whole life in the army, one of the fully devoted and loyal, but standing up for peaceful way of politics, not so bloodhungry. Started his career with finishing the Military Academy, slowly continuing in the army hierarchy, until reaching the range of commander on the end. In some circles he was also known as head of some secret scientifical projects. The bigger part of them succeed. The dead of his wife bound him even stronger to Cavalry. His only daughter was also working there.

Good, that` s all fine, but what does he want? And especially from me? Does he know something, or is he just guessing? Maybe it is something else...

In the middle of those interesting thoughts, the young officer reached his target. He knocked on the door of the office. Voice of the secretary invited him to come in, so he entered. A middle aged woman was sitting behind the table, typing something on computer. She only showed the young officer door to inner office and said: "Go in! Commander awaits you already."

He thanked her with a nervous smile and entered. There was sitting a dark haired man, slowly leaving his middle-age behind him, known as Commander Eagle.

"Sir, Lt. Rider is reportin-"

"Good, good, sit down."

"Thank you sir."

Saber sat down on a stool, which was probably prepared there before. Eagle was holding a paper in his hand, now he started to read it loudly.

"So, your name is Saber Rider, you came from Highlands from Earth. You were born in 2485, that means, you are...ahm...22 years old. Correct?"

"Correct sir."

(He is too young that` s sure.(

"You studied on Technical University programming for two years, finished it successfully. Started your military service. Served for two months, than had been taken to our Military Academy. After finishing this school, you worked for Cavalry for 8 months as a special agent and later as a Starsheriff. All your valuations are perfect. Have you ever fought against the outriders?"

"Yes sir, several times."

"Perfect, you seems to be the right."

(Come on now. Say what do you want from me at last! (

"Now, listen carefully to me, Saber. "

Saber shifted on chair.

"The treat of Outriders is becoming more dangerous every day. We have to do something with it. Are you interested into helping us?"


"It` s a secret project, you have to agree first, then I can say you more. I know, a difficult decision. This will be a step into unknown. If you say no, you can leave now and forget it all. I will understand you. None of this happened."

(Hm, difficult situation. It seems, he doesn` t know anything. They are safe and so am I. Maybe, if I accept, it would even help us. We will see... (

"I agree, sir."

"Very well, I hoped, you will decide like this. Look here, on the monitor. This our new project, a secret weapon. A space ship, built from new and exceptional materials, equipped with hi-tech. It will maybe become common in the future, but now it is a prototype."

"And my task will be sir?"

"We are forming a new Starsheriffs team to control it. My daughter April will take care for communication and navigation, "

(And there is nooo protection in Cavalry, ha ha. But maybe I should wait with judging that little one... (

"You will be the leader of the team, it is written here about you" Eagle waved with the paper "you are having well developed leader abilities."

"What about the rest of the team sir? Or are there just two person needed?" (Please say no! (

"No, the team will have four members."

(YES! (

"It means, two more have to be found. But about you. As a leader, you will be promoted to the rank of captain. Orders would come directly from me or general Whitehawk. Do you understand?"

"I do sir. But that was the nicer part. What about the rest?"

"Hm, quite clever you are. Anyway, I will not lie to you. You are young, with minimal experiences. You will work together with unknown people. The risk-number will be very high. Plus, this project is secret, so half of the Cavalry Command will be against it, when it comes to light. They will fell insulted."

"That means..."

"That means, if this project shell survive, you need to be successful from your first mission. Do you understand?"

"I understand sir. And what will be the rest of the team responsible for?"

"We need a pilot and somebody good experienced with weapons. Have you any idea?"

"To be honest sir, no."

"Never mind. Now come with me, I will introduce you to April. She` s the head engineer and can tell you more."

(So, so, also the head-engineer! (

"Oh, I have nearly forgot. This project is top secret. Tomorrow you will move to our building, where the laboratory is situated and you will become all documents, you will need."

Suddenly, the phone rang. Commander took it, excusing himself.

"Yes, Margaret. She` s here? Good, let her in." Eagle put the phone down on table. "April spared us a nice walk. She` s coming here.

(So, the first meeting. Breath in, smile, be nice. (

"Aa, dear, hear you are, come to us, sit down my angel. Let me introduce. Captain Rider, the new head of the team, my daughter April."

(Hm, this is his daughter, his only child if I remember correct. Not very good, this is not very good. Bloody hell, why is she looking on me that way? Like on an favourite ice-cream. (

"Nice to meet you Ms. Eagle." That was easy.

"My pleasure." (So, so. He doesn' t look bad. A little bit cold, but not bad. Hm, we will see, what can we do with it later. The next months will be veeery interesting. (

Saber stand up when April entered the room, now he sat down on the chair again. April sat down on the next one. She looked at Saber and smiled, then decided, she better starts the conversation.

"Captain, I hope we will build a great team together. I see, dad already gave you basic information. If you have any questions, I can answer them,"

"Ms. Eagle, I wan-"

"Oh, no way Ms. Eagle. We will spent a lot of time together in the future. You can call me April. And your first name is?"

"I` m known as Saber Ms. Ea-, hm I mean April."

"Saber? WOW, that` s really interesting. Where it comes from? And are you a good fencer?"

"It was the decision of my parents, but from where they have it? I don` t know." He smiled apologetically. "And I'm good trained to use my sabre. Anyway, what I wanted to ask, this space ship, you know. The used materials and the equipment are great, but I have seen enough of Outrider technology to know, it is comparable with ours. Where` s the difference between this ship and the others?"

(Oh, so he can also smile. He looks very cute, when doing it. Dear Mr. Rider, you will be mine in a few days. Wait until we have some privacy. (

"There are some differences between Ramrod and common fighting space-ship. First the special technologies gave the materials some interesting qualities. Second, most of the technical equipment are prototypes, theoretically reaching 100% of success and third, most importing the Challenge phase."

Sabers face became an astonished expression. "Challenge what?"

"Challenge phase. The second form of Ramrod, a big robot. This new form gives him new possibilities of movements and fighting."

"Ah, you mean something similar to Ouriders Renegades."

"Yes, something like them, but more effective. I hope, this project will finally give peace to our dimension! I think I will rather show you the rest, it will be easier. By the way, dad, what about the rest of the team?"

"I haven` t found suitable candidates yet, but don` t worry my child. Now, I suggest, we all go to our laboratory, children."

(Hm, it looks like she understands a lot of technique, so not only protection brought her here, but why is she looking that way on me? I hope, she doesn` t think, that.....no, no way. Ha, high risk level! Maybe I should tell them, to have prepared a reserve captain of team. Hm, rather not, the fools there have calmed down for now. But for how long? (

After several weeks

Construction of Ramrod went further, so April with Saber were spending a lot of time in laboratory. Work was nearly finished, but there were still missing two members of the team. Although Eagle spent countless afternoons speaking with potential candidates, non of them succeed. This concerned both Eagle and Saber, April was concerned by something else.

She tried various methods, how to catch Sabers attention, managed many meetings, used all her woman charm. Saber was not responding, no, sometimes it looked like he was going through a torture with a patience of a patient in dentists ambulance. Slowly, she became aware of it. So she decided to observe him more carefully, especially his contacts to other women. He treated them like a gentleman, but that was all.

One day, everything has changed. An Outrider named Vanquo, has stolen the plans of Ramrod, while Saber with April were on a test flight. This has became very dangerous. They had to follow to the near town, Yuma-city. Unfortunately, two civilians mixed themselves to the following. Saber was trained to use everything, what could even little help, so, when situation was growing more and more dangerous, together with April they has decided to complete the team with first two suitable person, who will cross their way. A Grand-Prix-driver - Fireball and a Cowboy also following Vanquo - Colt. This test was more successful, than Eagles never ending consultations, so the new team was born - the famous Starsheriffs.

First evening together

All four of them are sitting in the small dinner room of Ramrod. First April told them first about Ramrod and its construction and purpose. Now are they introducing themselves to the others, or trying at least!

"So pals, maybe we should know each other a little bit better, don` t you think? I can start. My name is Colt, I like to shoot and hound especially bad guys.......and nice ladies." he added and grinned on April.

"Colt? You can` t be serious. What is this for a name?"

"Ahm...so...hm.....you know, everybody calls me that and I like it more than my true name."

"And that is?" If she was asking politely first, the answer made her real curious. "So cowboy, I` m waiting."

"Hm....er.....hm.....I` m Bill, Bill Wicox, but promise you will call me Colt.....please."

"We promise.....Bill" was the collective answer.

"Very funny." Colt turned to April and asked "am I understanding right, you are the daughter of our new boss?"

April reddened little in face. "Well cowboy, you are right. What about your parents?"

Colts face expression became sadder. "The Outriders killed both of them some years ago."

"Oh, I` m really sorry....."

"I don` t think it will make you feel better, but they also killed my dad." added Fireball with a sad tone.

"Really? And when?" asked April curious.

"During the war against the Outriders years ago, he was an Cavalry officer."

All were sitting speechless for a while, so Saber decided to break the silence and changed the theme.



"I know that I` m the last who should ask, but this cannot be a true name either."

"But it is."

"Oh, pal, you must be kidding. Come on introduce yourself. I had to say my true name, you are the next."

"Sorry, there is no other name. Take it or let it be."

From the innocent looking introduction a small raw between Fireball and Colt started. Meanwhile, April was observing the "newbies".

(WOW. So, now am I working with three young, good-looking men. This will be interesting. This Fireball looks quite good. Is he aware of it? Hm, hm...If Saber would not be here.....Saber, Saber, why are you not responding? Am I not beautiful enough? Or am I not intelligent in your eyes? Sweet, sweet Saber. Please, look at me! Oh, that` s ridicules. Why is he staring at Fireball THAT WAY? (

To be honest, during the little name arguing, he unfortunately started, Sabers mind was travelling also.

(Fireball. Ha, of course! But where have I seen this face before? I know him, that` s for sure now. Well, the best way is to ask. (

"Ah, Fireball, sorry for breaking your discussion. Don` t we know us from somewhere?"

"No, that` s impossible. We never met before. Now Colt listen to me, my parents named me s-"

(Is he deceiving? I don` t think so, but something is terribly disturbing me on him.. (.

During the raw Colt with Fireball stood up.

(Wait a little, from this angle...oh, of course, now I remember from where I know you Fireball! ( He smiled a little. (Will those two find out? ( He quickly looked on Colt first, then on April and caught her glance. (Oh no, what must that little beast thinking? She doesn` t understand my metacommunication first and now...bloody hell, what must she be thinking? (

(So, so Mr. Rider, you are staring at Fireball and thinking, I will not notice? Hm, so a little gay, aren` t we? I have to observe you more properly... (



Colt was marching through the half of the spaceship, also remembering Saber and trying to give him good-bye.

(Old pal, why you? Why you? You showed me a way how to be useful and now you left. You, our back-up, our pillar. When everything was changing, you stayed the same. I could imagine you in fifty years. I can still imagine that picture, even now, when it is useless...

Topsword, I'm missing you, really, I am. In a while, we will become compensation for you. I don't know, how will he be, but it would not be you. He will not understand us, our memories, you.......Robin says, I should give you farewell a month ago, not now, but it looked like, like.....like you were still with us.

My friend, I should get married last week, we removed it. None of us was happy from it, but to celebrate a ceremony under this circumstances....not a word worth. I always hoped, you will be on our wedding. It looks like you will be there, but watching from a higher position, than the rest of the guests.

Ah, all of this........this should not happened. Now please, please Saber forgive me, it was your decision, what do you feel, you feel. Better said - felt. It was difficult to accept such a thing in your case, but, but, if it made you happy, both of you, I could at least try to understand.... (

Flashback (6months ago)

The war was getting worse every day. Any possibility of holidays has been canceled. The starsheriffs had less and less of free time. Commander Eagle has been still captured by the Outriders, so the whole Cavalry has been trying to rescue him, the Ramrod crew including.

It was the world of April, which changed most. Her daddy gone, suffering in hands of Nemesis and revengeful Jessie Blue. Saber didn't expressed himself, so she slowly but surely lost any interests on him. Her last try was following him to the Highlands and helping him to rescue his parents, but nothing happened. So, April definitely forgot him and concentrated herself on Fireball.

He was also very cute, but the real opposite of Saber. Dark haired and eyed, impulsive, usually first acting, then thinking. He had only one real negative, he was maybe to shy and from the beginning he tried to avoid a near contact with April. This made her not very happy, but she decided a second failure is not acceptable and continued. The progress was very, very slow, still, there was progress and April welcomed it.

Saber..., well something strange was on him. Sometimes, he observed Fireball with a strange glance. April noticed it two times during the period from beginning. The small frequency made her rather curious, than nervous and later, after Eagles kidnapping, she forgot it completely.

Now, all of them were overworked, everybody started to be pessimistic and the mood was turning down, when a small blessing came - a free afternoon. They were thankful for it. Everybody decided to spare it on his own way. April met some old friends from school. There was a lot to say, so the girls sat down in first café. Colt had a visit, for the first time in many, many weeks. Robin came here several days before, but 24 hours long service of Colt prevented the meeting.

It looked, the irremediable Don Juan found real love. They were strolling round the city, speaking about this and that....Slowly, both of them became really hungry.

"Robin, my love, what about an early dinner?"

"Sounds good cowboy. Are you meaning something exactly?"

"Well, not, but look on that small restaurant. It is inviting us, don't you see?"

"Cowboy, cowboy, sometimes you see very...ahm...interesting things,"

"What does it mean sweetheart?"

"Let's go, I'm starving."

"Jihá, I knew you would say that." He opened the door. "Ladies first."

They decided for a small table in the corner, where the light was pleasingly week, providing enough privacy a dating couple. The soup was served in one big plate. It was fun for Robin to feed her beloved with spoon and then for him to return the favour. After soup, biftecs with a piquant souse appeared on table, hot like the fire of the loving couple. They were too tart, so Colt ordered a bottle of red wine to improve the taste.

While waiting for desert, Colts hands were fumbling under the table on Robins knees. She jerked and with one hand turned the full glass of red wine over the table.. Unfortunately a good half of the wine ended on Colts white shirt.

"Oh, cowboy, I-I'm really sorry, I didn't want to, I_"

"Never mind Robin, I should not scared you. Now, I have to run as fast as possible to Ramrod and take a clear one. Will you wait here for me sweetheart? Will you?"

"Of course I will."

"Than vaya con dios my darling. I will be back in a minute, I promise."

He kissed her gently and left quite quickly. He ran as fast as he could. Stopped near the entrance of Ramrod. When he was in, his steps were leading to the bathroom. Colt removed his shirt and threw it away.

Should I clean it now? It is difficult to clean red wine-Bloody hell, you are thinking as with someone else mind. Robin is waiting for me and I'm speculating about washing. Oh no, tomorrow will be the washing day. I have no clean shirt left! What will I do? I have to hurry. I know, let's go to Fireballs chamber, I'm sure he will have something clean for me!

He knocked on the door, waited politely a half second, then entered. "Sorry Turbofreak, I'm disturbing, but I nee-" (Nobody's here. Now, when I'm thinking about it, it is too quiet here, like everybody's gone. April is on that jinx council in café, but where is Turbofreak and Topsword? They should be here somewhere...Ah, never mind. So Turbofreak, let me see, what are you having here. Empty, as my own. Hm, maybe this could fit. I don't remember him wearing this. He took a white T-shirt. I hope he will be not against it, when I borrow it. (

"All devils from the hottest hell!" (This is ridiculous. I'm looking like an idiot. Robin will laugh to the end of our days, when she sees me that way. I'm not wondering, he's not wearing it any more. It look like Aprils tops. He grinned. Maybe he's more far with April than I thought. She forgot it here probably. ( The T-shirt was too short and too tight, except the space, where women usually have breasts. Colt was looking, well, funny. He throw it away as fast as possible. (Nothing more here. Maybe I should try Topswords wardrobe too. (

Door of Sabers chamber was exactly opposite those of Fireball, so only few steps and Colt was opening them. He stepped in, but stopped, like there was an invisible wall, fully astonished. He opened the mouth, but could not say a word. His eyes grew to the size of small plates.

Fireball was sitting on Sabers table, Saber standing opposite him and they were KISSING! Passionately kissing each other, gently touching, exploring the body of each other. Sabers fingers were gently traveling on Fireballs back. One Fireballs hand was hugging Saber, the other was playing with his hairs. No time or space existed round them, there were only they.

Colt took one more step inside, gasped, then turned and ran away as fast as he could, even half naked. Sound of steps broke the passionate kiss.

"Saber, who was it?"

"Don't know, you can see the door. Shall we continue?" He tried to kiss Fireball again, but unsuccessfully.

"No, I'm serious. Who was it?"

"I'm sure it was not April, she would kill both of us and not run away."

"So it was the cowboy."

"What shell we do my love. Maybe we should follow him!"

"No , let it be. He ran away like half of the hell was following him. He will be on the other end of city now."

"Ah, probably you're right Saber, but if he tells someone what had he seen here..."

"Don't worry dear. We can speak to him later."

"You mean, we should tell him tha-"

"No I mean we should let him think what he wants and tell him only we're in love and he should tell no one about our little secret."

Again Saber tried to continue in broken action, but Fireball jumped down from the table.

"No please, not now, I can't. I'm sorry my love. Understand, if Eagle finds out, the consequences... "

So Saber hugged Fireball tenderly.

"Don't worry, nothing bad will happen, my angel."

For a long time, they were just standing there and hugging each other.

Meanwhile, Colt was breaking the galaxy record in sprint. More than memory, instinct was leading him to the restaurant, where Robin was waiting. His entrance could be easily compared to a natural disaster. Not seeing left- right, the half naked cowboy broke in to the restaurant, jumped over several vacant chairs which were in his way. Everybody eyes were on him. In front of Robin he was only able to say: "Oh Gods!" and fainted.


Coughing, Colt woke up, cold water dropping from him.

"cough,cough.....where, where......cough.....am I?" he asked. Someone gave him a towel. He dried his face. "Thanks."

"We're still in the restaurant, cowboy."

Colt looked round him. A small room, clean, with order, an office. 'What happened?"

"You fainted, dear. But before doing that, you looked very upset, or better said worried. Why?"

The whole kissing and touching scene marched before his eyes once again. And again, and again.


"You would not believe, my love."

"Try it."

"No, trust me." (Dear, it was horrible. Saber and Fireball, they are different. Not straight. It was disgusting. Disgusting, disgusting, disgusting. Really disgusting. But I don't feel so disgusted, as........aroused? No that can't be. Two guys kissing each other and I like it? No way. There must be something more. But what? And should I tell Robin? Rather no. ( "Sorry dear, I can't. It' s too entangled. Now, I could say something, what is not right."

"If you feel it that way..."

"Robin please, don't be sad. Now it's too complicated. I don't want to harm somebody. One day, I will tell you everything, I swear. Please, can we leave now?"

"Will you manage it to Ramrod."

"I think so."

Somebody knocked on the door and asked politely. " May I enter?"

Robin answered: "But of course, come in."

An old symphatic man entered the small room. "Are you feeling better now, sir?"

"Thank you for asking, I do. You are the owner I suppose."

"Julio Vesperadza, to your services, Mr. Colt."

"I'm really sorry what happened Mr. Vesperaa-"

"Vesperadza. Don't be concerned about it. Here, I've got a shirt for you."

"Thank you, but it was not necessary."

"Of course it was. You cannot stroll in the city half naked. Especially with such a nice, young lady."

"Once again, I'm really thankful Mr. Vesperandza. I'll bring it back in two days. Good bye."

"Good bye and be careful."

Colt with Robin left the small restaurant. Colt went to the hotel with Robin.

"Love, I'm sorry, I have ruined our afternoon. I didn't want to. Forgive me please......"

"Ah, it's OK cowboy. Do you want to go in?"

"No, this will be not the right time for it. When are you flying home?"

"Tomorrow evening my love."

"Oh when will I see you next time Robin? I will be missing you."

"That doesn't depend from me. Take care about you cowboy."

"Of course I will."

He kissed her for good bye. "I love you Robin. I swear, after the war, we will speak about our common future. Do you agree?"

"You know I agree, my cowboy, I love you so...

They kissed again and would be probably kissing for a much, much longer time, but an other kissing scene occurred before Colts eyes, so he broke the kiss quite quickly.

"Good bye my love."

"Good by, cowboy."

When Colt returned to Ramrod, there was still no sign of April, But Saber was already waiting on him.

"Hi, cowboy, how was your day?"

"Interesting. And yours?"

"Not bad at all. Colt, we need to talk."

"Why, something happened?"

"Don't play it. Come it to my chamber, we need to talk."

Colt only sighed and followed Saber.

"Sit down Colt. Please listen to me. It's not everything as you think."

"I knew, what have I seen." said Colt coldly. 'It really surprised me. How could you?"

"Calm down Colt. You can think what do you want. But please, please, don't tell anybody, especially Eagle."

"Why should I?"

"Colt, you can ruin much, much more than you think. You have the life of one person, who suffered enough in your hands."

"I don't understand you Saber" said Colt with a cold voice, "but you doesn't need to be worried. This not a thing I will say to someone" he turned to sarcastic "even Robin."

"Thank you."

"But what I think about both of you..."

"It's your own business."

"Don't you think, it's unfair against April."

"Unfair? Maybe. But there are many things you don't know about. When the right time comes, we will tell her."

"So good night Saber."


Colt turned Sabers chamber quite quickly, even more puzzled than before.

End of flashback

(So boss, you didn't tell her. The right time did not come for you. Sorry, please sorry. (



Fireball entered the bathroom and locked the door. He started to remove clothes, thoughts far, far away. Picture of Colt or April entering the bathroom occurred in his mind, alarming him and forcing to check the locked door.

( A, locked, OK. Well, who might the new member be? Would he/she find out my little secret? (

Fireball began to strip again.

(Colt and April, we know each other more than a year now and they are still not aware of it. Or have they found out? No, surely, no. But Saber..., he did. Did he told them? I hope no. The one day, when Colt caught us kissing, if he did not find out there, than never. Saber, my love, I'm really missing you. Please come back, come back. You were so different. You understood. You were the only one who knew, that thinks are not black and white, strictly separated, but grey in all possible shades. April, Colt, they are fine, OK, but if they find out...oh, Colt would maybe understand, but never accept and April, hm April would kill me, I'm sure. (

Underwear fell to the ground. Fireball was watching the naked person in mirror.

(Oh, if they only knew! So, I shouldn' t prolong it any more. Hurry, cold water, now I could kill for it. (

Figure, tender shaped, entered under the shower. First drops fell down on the skin of young woman. Her breast had the right size to represent dreams of many men, but could be easily hidden under clothes. Samantha "Fireball" Hikari took the soap, her mind still travelling in past, seeing the now dead leader.

(Saber, Saber, you were the only one who had eyes and could also use them. Those two...., well they see just what they want to see. I still remember, when you told me you know. I didn't fool you for a minute, did I? (

Flashback (7 months ago)

Everybody was enjoying a free day at Yuma. Colt looking for a new big love, Saber saying that he must clear some personal business and disappearing early morning, April doing her favourite personal activity - shopping and (ab)using Fireball for carrying packs. A letter came for Fireball. She took it and when she recognised the writing on envelope, she paled.

(What does he want? (

Luckily?, April was hurrying to the shopping centre, so Fireball decided to read the letter later. April was in a perfect mood (maybe the vision of shopping centre), so she ignored the pallor of her companion. After a 15 minutes long monologue about new collection for spring she became slowly aware of Fireballs surprisingly silence.

"Come on Fire! Why are you so quiet? We have a free day, you should be happy, or should grumbling about wasting time in shopping centre. Say something!"

"Sorry April, I was just thinking..."

"Oh, so thinking and what about? Morning, you behaved normally, grumbling, that it is easier stopping an earthquake than me in shopping centre..."

"Sorry I didn't know, you were listening..."

"Never mind, but since that letter came, you act rather strangely. From who is it?"

Fireball sighs before answering.

"From an old family friend."

"Oh and what is he writing? Bad news?"

"I didn't open the letter yet, but...hm, oh were almost there!"

Arrival to the shopping centre ended this for Fireball rather unpleasant conversation. April ran through the shops like a tornado, for a while forgetting Fireballs strange behaviour. Yuma City was offering a lot of possibilities for people like April, so shopping fever continued for the whole day.

Early evening was she presenting the result to guys, when Fireball excused himself, saying, he's developing a headache and he's going straight to bed. After he had left the room, his strange behaviour occurred to Aprils mind, so decided to tell Saber and Colt.

"He acts very strange after becoming that letter. He's pale, sad and doesn't say a word. Guys, do you really think he's got a headache?"

"Well, I think, he just want to be alone. From who is that letter?", asked Saber.

"Don't kwon, he just said an old family friend."

The third member decided to join the conversation.

"Maybe it's his ex-friend."

"Colt! Only because you are always having troubles with girls, Fireball doesn't have to be the same!"

"Oh, aren't we a little jealous, April?"

Becomes red in face.

"No way!!!"

Colt already recognised, this is not the right time to continue, so he changed the theme a little.

"Don't worry April, if Turbofreak has a problem, he knows, we are his friends and he could ask for help."

"Colt's right, April. Maybe I can go and check him later."

The dinner was rather quiet, but then Colt decided, that to a free day belongs also a free night, so they should be somewhere, having fun and not sitting round the table, acting like on a funeral. Result was half of the team on the way to a near bar, Topsword excusing himself, he's reading an interesting book and want to finish it. Colt with April understood and left quickly. After waiting politely about five minutes, was Saber on his way to Fireballs small chamber. He knocked on the door, but no answer came, so he decided, there are situations, when also a gentleman could ignore the etiquette and entered. Light was on, Fireball was sitting on bed, open letter in hand, tears in eyes and running down the cheeks.

"Fireball? Are you all right? What happened?"

Realising, he's not alone, Fireball wiped tears away and tried to pretend nothing happened.

"I'm fine! What are you doing here? I thought you became my unspoken message - I WANT TO BE ALONE!"

"OK, OK, we were just concerned about you."

"As I said, I'm fine. You can tell the others."

"The others are not here, they are on way to bar."

"Oh, an interesting way how to be concerned about someone. Why don't you join them and tell them I'm fine?"

"Because you are not. You are lying to us, then sitting here with tears in yours eyes. What happened? Is it the letter?"

"No, it's nothing. Why don't you believe me, I'm fine?

"You mentioned it four times during last minute. Come on, who send you that letter? We are friends, you can trust me. If you don't want, I'll not tell the others."

Fireball was thinking for a while, but then signed...

"Good. Let's make a deal. If I tell you, who it came from, would you then PLEASE leave and let me alone?"

"Let it be."

"So, I'm sure, the name would not say anything to you. It's from Mr. Yasaturi Osakura. Happy?"

"Hm,...Osakura...Osakura...that` s the name of your husband, isn't it?"

If before was Fireball pale, now she became deadly white, jumped like bitten and was starring at Saber as if he had two heads. It took more then an minute, when speech returned to her.

"You.....you.....you know? B-but how, who told you?"

"OK, calm down, I'll tell you. Some years ago, I was in a small Japanese village, I can't remember the name now, personal business and so..., you know. I had to stay there for a couple of days and there was no hotel. One of the farmers, or whatever he was, offered me to stay at his home. He was really pleasant and so was his family. At dinner, they were talking about the only daughter of their old friend, a pilot named Hikari. She married last week someone named Osakura. They showed me also some photos. Really nice picture of you.....

Anyway, when I first saw you, I knew, I have seen you somewhere before, but I could not remember where and when. So, I was observing you for a while. Please, don't feel insulted, but to recognize a girl in you took not very long. Once, I was aware of it, I recognized you quiet quickly. Your first name is Samantha, isn't it?"

"You're right! My name is Samantha Hikari. I'm sorry for what have I done, but I had and have my reasons."

"It's OK, your reasons are your reasons. And don't worry about Colt and April. Both of them see, just what they want to see and I would not tell them, I promise."

"Thanks, now please would you leave me alone?"

"Good, but if you need to talk, just remember, I'm here for you, baby."

Saber turned himself to the door and was slowly leaving the room.



"Ahm, you.....ah, forget it."

"Come on now, what was in the letter? I respect your privacy, but maybe I can help."

"You had to be a wizard for that, but good, sit down."

"Maybe I will surprise you."

Saber took a chair and sat down.

"So as you already know, my father was Captain Hikari, my mother....., I don't remember her. Sometimes, I can hear her voice in my dreams. She was no Japanese, that's sure. My first name, Samantha, speaks also for it. The thing is, when happened to dad, what happened, my grandparents took me from my mother (I think) and brought me up by themselves, in harmony with old traditions of our people. At first, they changed my name, to Shinji, Samantha has never been used. We lived in a small community, with only a small contact to the rest of the world. It was forbidden to ask about my parents, especially mother. They didn't have a good word for her.

When I became 14, they decided, it's the right time to marry someone, they have already chosen. Yasaturi Osakura was 10 years older than me, the only son of a rich and respected family. The marriage was not official for New Frontier, I was too young, but official enough for our small community.

So, we were together less, than six months, when I decided to run away. I had enough.....listen to your master, always be three steps behind him, I had only one duty, to be ready whenever he wants and give him as many heirs as possible. Of course, they found me and brought me back in less than two days. Luckily, my husband understood, that my person would harm the name of his family first and he was not very satisfied with me in bed, so after I promised, I never return, I could leave as a free person. You know, no official marriage, no official divorce.

First months of this "free" life were difficult. I was young and had no real education, I could hardly write and read, so I had do thinks, I really didn't want to do, you know. I-I mean, ahm to do a...a..."

She started to sob and tears occurred in her eyes again. Saber removed to bed. He hugged the crying woman.

"Shh, it's OK baby, it's gone.....", when she turned her face away and screamed: "It was terrible, I had no other choice, this was the only thing, which didn't require anything..."

"I understand. Now, try to calm down, we can continue later."

"No, I started it now, I finish it now. So, one of my regular customer was an engineer and he discovered a technical talent in me. He started to educate me for some, hm.....let's say special services. Slowly, I could spare some money and one day, I decided, I have enough to end this terrible life and start a new chapter. This day Samantha vanished and Fireball was born. As a boy, with basic technical knowledge and a lot of luck, I found a job in a formula team. Not in a day, not in a month, I became from a helper the No. 1 driver. Oh, I see in your eyes what you want to ask. Of course I had to lie."

"What about Eagle?"

"In some secret documents, I'm named Shinji Hikari. He agreed to tell no one."

"Oh, and does he know about all this?"

"No of course not. I said, that the name Hikari could be known and I don't want to be put together with it. He accepted it. So, to continue, my grandparents didn't speak to me since I ran away from my husband and I had no real friends, but this was the first time, I was really happy."

Young woman stayed still for a moment, consumed by memories.

"Than came outriders and the whole Starsheriff thing. I had friends, I was member of the team, I had everything, I ever wanted, When that letter came and ruined it all."

"What is written there?"

"My husband decided, he wants his wife back."

"Where is the problem? It was not an official marriage, he can not force you."

"Oh he can! He let me go away, but he was observing me the whole time. Now, if I don't return voluntarily, he will show my past to people from Cavalry Command and discredit me to the end of my life. So, thats it. This is the end of Fireball. He had a short, but happy life, now he has to pay for it. It was too nice to last forever. Tomorrow, I will give you my resignation from Starsheriff team."

"And the reason?"

" I'll write an official one, you are the only person, who knows the truth. Please, don't tell the others."

"As you want, but I'm sure they would understand..."

"No Saber. We both know they would not."

"By the way, where and when are you going to meet your ex?"

"Tomorrow, early morning, he will be waiting at airport. Why are you asking?"

"Just curious. Now come, wash your face and I'll make us some tea."

"Hm...thanks, please, go first, I'm there in a minute."


This few minutes gave Saber time to prepare a plane, that occurred in his mind, when the summary of the letter had been told to him.

In the kitchen:

"Here's the tea baby, you will feel much better after drinking it"

"It tastes good, what sort of tea is i-"

Head of unconscious Fireball hit the table. Saber took her gently and transported her to chamber, saying only "sweet dreams baby", when leaving. Now he had to prepare and realize part two of his plane.

Morning, 10 o'clock, Fireball woke up in her bed. She astonished, when realizing, she is completely dressed. Last impressions of the evening were dimly, but one look on clocks brought all memories back.

(Bloody hell, that idiot must be waiting more then three hours on me. I hope it` s not to late. (

She jumped from bed and ran to the exit of Ramrod, not seeing left - right. Collision with returning Saber was inevitable.


"Auch, would you be more careful next time please!" was Sabers only comment.

"Fire, are you all right?" he asked and offered her a hand.

"I'm fine!" said Fireball coldly, standing up and pretending, she doesn't see the helping hand.

"What was in the tea? Do you know what have you done? This will harm not only me, but the whole Starsheriffs team!"

"Don't worry. I and Mr. Osakura, we had a small chat from man to man early morning and how to say it? You are free, definitively free."


"He decided, he's no more interested into restoring the marriage. At least not with you."

"So, you are telling me, early morning you met my ex- and said: "Listen mister, Samantha is not interested, so please, let her be?" and he agreed?"

"Well, something in this lines."

"And I should believe you?!"

Grinning: "Why not?"

"Why not? You are asking WHY NOT? Maybe I'm not the most intelligent person in universe, but I'm not dumb. What have you done to him?"

"Hm...let's say, it was a business. Have you ever heard about Calishia?"

"Calishia? It's the new discovered small planet system, isn't it?"

"New discovered, as new discovered. To some people it was known for a lot of years. Anyway, bigger part of the income of Osakura family comes from trading with Calishia and it was not always transparent."

"Interesting, but how is it possible, that you know about it?"

"That's not important. Important is, if the Calishians find out, your ex would become many troubles first, they are quite revengeful and it would ruin him and his family second. So he agreed to let you be, if the Calishians don't find out. Great, isn't it ?"

Expressions on Fireballs face were changing from fury to astonishment and ended on irony. She tried to cover her worries with sarcastic tone.

"Really great, I thought, the discredit of a Starsheriff team is the most terrible thing, when you decided you don't want to live any longer. Are you a fool?"

"No, I'm not. But you should lower your voice, or Colt or April will come here. Your ex knows very well, I'm not the only person, who is aware of his trading. If something unpleasing happens to me, people in Calishia would find out anyway. "

He hugged her and kissed her on both of her cheeks. This was really unexpected. Tears of gratitude and relief occurred in Fireballs eyes. But an experienced watcher could see also something more than gratitude in eyes of the young woman. And Saber was an experienced one. This new knowledge made him unsure for a moment. He quickly decided that this is not the right time for a romance and continued.

"Now, away with tears baby, I want to see a smile on your face again."

"H-how can I ever thank you? You saved my life."

"A, forget it, I'm sure, one day you will return me the favor. Lets go for a breakfast, I'm starving."

"So thank you, but please, promise me one thing."

"Of course, Colt and April will never find out. Satisfied?"

End of flashback