Theme Song: Linkin Park's "Somewhere I Belong"

CH 1
"Vhat?! Impossible!"
"Listen to me, Kostian, I know that this sounds crazy, but we ARE escaping!," Veronica hissed forcefully into her hidden communication device within her gold watch. "Don't you want to be free again, and better yet, don't you want to get back at that bastard, Spike Spiegel?!"
"Vell yes, but-"
"Can't you just SEE the headlines?! It'll be international news: Veronica Stiles and Kostian Van Chlokavich.....the murderers of the seemingly indestructible Spike Spiegel!," Veronica interrupted enthusiastically, her eyes shimmering with an unrequited bloody-thirsty yearning as her crimson lips curled up into a sadistic smirk.
Kostian sat back in his bunk with anxiety, rubbing the blonde whiskers on his chin before replying tentatively into his watch, "Sounds vonderful, my dear. Vhen do we make this......escape?"
Veronica's ebony-brown eyes flashed over, her lips curling up into a sinister smirk as she drew the watch up to her mouth and whispered in a voice so cold that it could freeze the night air about her, "Tonight, my dear Kostian.......tonight." **************************************************************************** **********************
"...that's right, Judy! Veronica Stiles and Kostian Van Chlokavich are on the loose!"
Spike instantly spewed out his whiskey in pure astonishment, sputtering urgently, "Bartender.....turn it up!"
The bald, elderly man did as he was told, admiring Judy's risque', snug-fitting outfit to a nauseating degree of perversity as Punch continued, "...the police have no leads as to where these criminals are, but what we DO know is that they are considered to be armed and dangerous, so be careful, mis amigos!"
"And we're counting on YOU GUYS to get them back alive, cuz if they die, no woolongs for yoooou!," Judy cooed in a teaseful manner, making sure to give the camera a seductive wink.
"The bounty for these two crooks is 100 million woolongs a piece....not bad, eh?," Punch added, grinning from ear to ear as Judy held up their pictures for the camera to see. "Veronica Stiles is 5'1" with a caramel-colored skin tone, freckles, dark brown eyes, and black hair. For additional information, it has been reported that she has a guardian angel tattooed on her right shoulder and that she calls many by the name of "hun". Kostian Van Chlokavich is a Russian assassin with a thick Russian accent-"
"Shut up, Judy!," Punch barked with a deep, unanticipated bite to his tone. Receiving awkward glances from the camera crew, he edgily cleared his throat, then continued, "ANYWAY, Mr. Van Chlokavich has fair blonde hair, deep blue eyes, and a distinctive scar beneath his left eye due to a rough knife fight that he had gotten himself into at age 15. It is pretty safe to say that he won, so I again warn you, mis amigos...BE CAREFUL!"
"OOOH, he is SOOO cute!!!," Judy swooned, placing her right hand over her heart as she continued to ogle over the picture of the young man in her hand. "Do you think that he has a girlfriend, Punch?"
He snorted. "Big Shot is now officially OVER, so go out there and do justice, you bounty hunters! Adios!"
Spike grunted, placing a half-used cigarette between his lips and puffing on it furiously, his brow knitting up in disdain as he realized, "They've returned........those smarmy fags have actually come back for more."
"Something wrong?"
Spike looked up in anticipation, only to see none other than Faye Valentine standing before him, a wry smile twisting up her crimson lips as she placed a delicate fair-skinned hand upon her hip.
He smirked. "Hey.....didn't think you'd make it."
Her smile only widened as she had a seat beside him and gave his cheek an affectionate kiss, replying slyly, "Of course I would! Why on earth would a girl pass up the offer for a free drink?"
"Who says it's free?"
Faye's smile melted. "You're not serious."
"No, you're right.....I'm not," Spike acknowledged, grinning. "It's just that you're so cute when you get mad."
Faye blushed as red as a cherry blossom, averting her gentle gaze from his as she replied numbly, "Oh.........ok."
"Hey, what's wrong?," Spike demanded, his smile instantly fading as he looked his dejected comrade over with concern. "It's not somethin' I it?"
"'s not you," Faye assured him softly, her beautifully manicured fingers tracing over the deep gashes within the cedar wood of the bar table with disinterest. "It's just that-that I got to thinking........what if I had never gotten into my accident? What if I had never been cryogenically frozen in a deep sleep and then was awakened in the year 2071? Would I have even met you? Would I have ever found love and have had a child as beautiful as Aurora was?"
Spike smirked, replying dryly, "Well no offense or anything, but the answer to your last two questions are definitely no. I mean, there's no way in hell that I'd have been interested in an old bag that was born way before the year 2000, let alone have a freakin' kid with her."
"ASS!," Faye wailed, shooting up from the bar stool as she burst into tears, her heart shattering in bewilderment as his hurtful words began to seep in and take their full effect. "Why the fuck are you interested in me NOW, then?! Technically, I AM an old bag, but I was preserved at the age I was when the accident occured!!! What are you trying to say, Spike?! That you don't love me anymore?!!"
Spike's smirk instantly faded. "Sorry....I-I just.......sorry."
Faye gaped at him in sheer bewilderment, then shook her head dejectedly, tears stinging along her lashes as she hissed, "Whatever.......your apology sucked, so I'm going back to the Bebop!"
"Fine....I'm not standin' in your way," Spike agreed sharply, a painful twinge of guilt burying its way within the depths of his stubborn heart as he watched his love storm out of the bar in a haughty huff, her violet hair swishing freely about her face due to the fact that she had torn her yellow headband off in frustration.
Spike sighed, downing the rest of his whiskey in one forceful swig as the bartender pried nosily, "Women trouble?"
Spike, extremely agitated, slammed down his empty shot glass, growling, "It's none of your damn business, old man! Your job is to pour the freakin' drinks, not to be a goddamn psychologist!!!"
The bartender held his hands up in surrender, grumbling sourly, "Ok, SORRY! I was just tryin' to help ya out a bit."
"Yeah? Well I'm sorry, but you're not....I plan on marrying that girl someday, and there's sure as hell nothing that you could do to possibly convince her to go through with such a thing," Spike muttered, placing the now almost completely used cigarette between his lips in disgust.
"Yeah, 'specially since you're a low-life bastard," the bartender muttered in agreement under his foul, whiskey-scented breath. "The poor woman must be confused beyond all words of common sense." **************************************************************************** **********************
"What am I to him, anyway?," Faye wondered miserably, wiping away at her tears as she continued to gaze into her bedroom mirror at her reflection in disdain. "A piece of ass like every other man thinks? An easy ticket into bed? Does he even truly LOVE me?!"
Knock! Knock! Knock!
Faye gasped, immediately shooting up from her bed as she demanded warily, " that you? If so, go away! I don't want to talk to fact, maybe I never want to talk to you AGAIN!!!"
There was a slight pause, then a small voice replied softly, "No, Miss's Tracey. Can I come in? It's rather important."
"Yeah.......sure," Faye agreed heavily, her spirits clearly dejected as she slumped back down onto her bed like a loose liquid.
Tracey tentatively entered the room, then shut the door behind her, beginning softly, "It has come to my attention that Mr. Spiegel has not been truly upfront with all matters towards you."
"Meaning what?," Faye demanded, eyeing her with suspicion.
Tracey, noticing her comrade's sudden irascible manner, acknowledged quickly, "Oh, well...uh...what I mean, Miss Valentine, is that Veronica and Kostian have apparently escaped prison, yet he has disregarded the urge to tell you so. I found this out from Ayame, who was snooping around with Spike's electronic planner. Apparently every day this week has been booked for capturing those two."
Faye frowned. "That still doesn't explain why Spike hasn't told me. I'm his girlfriend, for God's sake! We're supposed to TRUST each other!!!'
"Perhaps he's acting out of love," Tracey offered softly. "That's what most men tend to do, after all."
Faye snorted. "Yeah? Well Spike ISN'T most men! He's not exactly the type for such upfront generosity, even though he HAS had his moments. He tends to be reserved in general, so I don't even know why this whole situation comes as a surprise to me, anyway."
Tracey let out a heavy sigh, averting her soft, gentle gaze down to her large, glossy black boots as she mumbled, "With all do respects, Miss Valentine, Mr. Spiegel reminds me of my dear, departed Travis. Both are strong and show their affection by subtle means, fore it is not in their nature to be so abroad with their undying love. Even if this may be upsetting to you, when you both are alone, I am sure that he would try to make every moment nothing less than magic for you. I honestly, truly believe that Spike is protecting you, Miss Valentine........he loves you."
Faye's gaze blurred over with tears, a small whimper escaping her throat as she murmured whistfully, "I hope you're right, Tracey.....I honestly don't know what I'd do without him."
Tracey gave her a small smile, then gave her shoulder a gentle pat, replying, "I'd love to stay and help you out, Miss Valentine, but Spike has requested for me to go into town for some groceries. I'll be back in a bit."
"Oh, ok," Faye agreed, thinking nothing of the situation at hand. "Hurry back."
"That I will," Tracey agreed, cheerfully humming a lulling tune as she opened up the door and closed it behind her with a loud and final click. **************************************************************************** **********************
Tracey shivered, letting out a weary sigh due to the night's deep stresses, the blustery wind continuing to snatch at her leather jacket like possessive fingers as she ambled along down the sidewalk within the obscure, dreary town of Kanza.
She gasped, stopping dead in her tracks, her pale blue-gray irises enhancing her distending ebony pupils as she began to tremble, her breath instantly catching in her throat as she suddenly found it very hard to breathe in the cool air around her.
Straining to hear, Tracey looked about her wildly with the frantic hope of catching sight of the culprit who was the owner of the eerie noise, only finding the silence of the night greeting her ears with an unbearable derisive tone of mockery upon its frequent shrill winds.
"This is getting ridiculous," she thought, shaking her head in disgust as she pulled her jacket closer about her delicate frame and continued on her way towards the small grocery store that was supposedly just two more blocks ahead. "I can't believe I am, 21 years old, and I'm ALREADY hearing things."
Just as Tracey passed by an overcast alley, a silent figure appeared within the depths of the misty shroud that it bestowed, its movements swift and fluent as it slowly followed the young woman down the cracked pavement, making extra care not to bring attention to itself.
Suddenly, Tracey stopped, feeling a presence that deeply bothered her.
"What could it be?," she asked herself aloud, a cold sweat prickling upon her brow as she tremulously re-adjusted her black purse upon her shoulder. "Am I going crazy? There's clearly no one here!"
"Yes, my dear....there's only me," a cold, harsh voice announced from behind.
Before Tracey could respond in time, a rag drenched with chloroform was pressed up roughly against her nose, her eyelids growing heavy as she let out a weary gasp and crumpled down to the sidewalk into a deep, unconscious sleep. **************************************************************************** **********************
Tracey immediately jolted awake in surprise, a deep shade of scarlet rapidly spreading its way across her cheek from where she had been so ruthlessly struck. "Who.......wha?"
"Listen, you traitor, and listen good.....I have had it up to HERE with your loyalty towards Mr. Spiegel so I am not asking for you to join me, I am DEMANDING it!!!," Veronica hissed, seizing her ex-comrade by the shoulders and giving her a dictatorial shake. "I mean, my GOD, Tracey, don't you realize how damn wonderful things would be if we'd FINALLY annihilate Spike Spiegel?!"
"What are you talking about, Veronica?!," Tracey demanded, sending her nemesis such a fiery, piercing gaze that it seemed to excavate the very bowels of her deep, coal-black irises. "Spike is a very sweet, honorable man! I could NEVER kill him and you damn well can't make me!!!"
Veronica gave her a venomous smirk, placing a hand on her hip as she replied acidically, "Apparently I had a very good reason to doubt that you would come through for me. Kostian is far too trusting, while I, on the other hand, trust NO one. Now that you are fully aware of my plans to assassinate Spike Spiegel, my dear Miss Baldwin, I have no other choice but to kill you."
Tracey gasped, the blue-gray waves of the raging sea below the cliff that they were currently occupying crashing about like deep blasts of thunder, her soft voice quivering as she choked audaciously, "Th-then do as you must, fore I will never, EVER betray Mr. Spiegel or Miss Valentine! I have learned to hold them dear as close friends, unlike YOU, you nefarious snake!!!"
Veronica's smile melted off of her lips like a blob of misshapened candle wax, her mouth continuing to twist about as if she were sucking on an extremely sour lemon. After regaining her composure, she demanded sharply, "Is that your final answer?"
Tracey bit her lip, nodding. "Yes, Miss Stiles, it most certainly is."
"Then may God rest your soul," Veronica acknowledged stiffly in a voice barely above a whisper, motioning towards Kostian to carry out her ex- comrade's death sentence.
The dutiful young man nodded, then somberly eased Tracey up into his arms and held her high above his head, the young woman squeezing her eyes shut as the ocean continued to taunt her with its terrifyingly rapacious roars.
Within moments, Kostian had thrusted the young woman out into the cool, misty night air over the ocean, a sharp cry escaping forth from her rosy lips as she began to plummet down towards the depths of the seemingly never-ending ethereal abyss below, the wind whipping through her hair as a vision of her dear, sweet Jason appeared before her eyes, causing her to wear a peaceful smile as she finally came in contact with the adamant cruel surface below.
"Adios, cowgirl," Veronica breathed, shaking her head in disgust as she refused to look down towards the body of water beneath her. "Just remember that your death was caused by your own foolishness of becoming a goddamn bounty one one true hate."
"It appears that she has hit zee rocks below," Kostian announced softly, immediately averting his gaze from the unforgivable crime as he respectfully took off his cap. "I know that it may seem rather veird, madame, but she appeared to be very peaceful and at rest......happy, even."
"Well good for her!," Veronica hissed, a deep rancor fluctuating within the tremors of her voice. "Put your damn cap back on.....this isn't someone who deserves such reverence!"
"But-but madame-"
"How DARE you defy me!," Veronica bellowed, pointing an accusing figure towards his being in distaste. "You will do as I say, so come! We have much to do!"
Kostian let out an inaudible growl, trudging after his accomplice as the moon seemed to cast a denuciative beam down upon the partners in crime, thus leaving them stained with the indelible sin that they had so ruthlessly committed. **************************************************************************** **********************
As soon as Spike entered the Bebop, he instantly knew that something was very wrong. Edward was not dancing around the halls, Faye was not bitching about being hungry, and the other two young women weren't in sight.
"Faye?," he called uneasily, clearing his throat as he took a tentative step forward. "I came back and I.......I wanna apologize for earlier....."
"Oh, Mr. Spiegel!," a wretched voice lamented, Ayame immediately appearing in the doorway as rivers of liquid crystal tears continued to rain down her flushed cheeks like a heavy storm. "She's dead! OH, SHE'S DEAD!!!"
Spike gasped. "Faye.....WHAT?!"
Ayame tearfully shook her head, letting out a pitiful whimper as she wailed in contradiction, "NO, Mr. Spiegel! It's Tracey! A few hours before your arrival she sent me an urgent message over the communicator warning me about Veronica and Kostian.....but then.....she fizzled out and I couldn't read her position! She said she was falling and.....OH, GOD!!!"
Spike snorted, his fists clenching tautly by his sides as he hissed in disdain, "Don't you worry, Ayame......that bitch will pay with her MISERABLE LIFE!!!"