AUTHOR's NOTE: Well, it's been a while since my last update. After chapter 6, I went on holidays, and would you believe it, I CAUGHT THE FREAK'N FLUE! It got so bad I couldn't spend more than 5 minutes in front of a computer screen without going haywire. But I'm back now. Enjoy!
"Well I've been runn'n down the road, Try'n to loosen my load,"
"I've got several women on my mind!"
"Four that wanna own me,"
"Two that wanna show me,"
"One says she's a friend of mine!"
The Eagles - "Take'n it Easy,"
Seta applied some small bandages to the holes in his head, before tossing the shard of glass away. He glanced down at Keitaro who still looked like he'd seen a ghost.
"Oh come on now, you really think I'd be dead?"
"Well, yes!" Keitaro said. "The plague killed all the men, so I figured…"
"It'll take quite a lot more than a little plague to do me in, Part-Timer," Seta said, reaching out a hand to help Keitaro stand.
"How come you never told me you knew how to fly a plane?" Keitaro said, looking at the plane, which surprisingly seemed to have little damage.
"Really, Aha ha, ha! I thought I told you." Keitaro shook his head. "Well, a professor in Archaeology has to be able to do these things, Part-Timer."
"Say," Keitaro said, placing his hands on his hips. "How did you know I would be here? And why do you need me?"
"Now that you mention it," the stranger in black butted in, "I would like to know that answer too?"
"All that will be explained in due time," Seta replied, dusting himself of, "But not right now, you see, I'm not exactly alone." At that very moment, a sudden roar filled the sky and the whole group looked up to see two jet fighters screaming in low over the field.
"I told you this would happen!" The stranger in black shouted at Seta. They zoomed in low over the park, before looping back, and driving straight for the group.
"Take cover everyone," Motoko said unsheathing her sword. "I'll take care of this!" She drew her blade arm back, but before she could swing it forward, the two jets started firing their cannons. Bullet's tore up the diamond and fountained up dirt and grass around Motoko.
There was a loud 'SPANG' and when the two jets stoped firing doubled back, Motoko brought her sword forward, but could only gap as she stared at the stump of her sword, which had been shot off.
"Oh yeah, that solved it," Liu snickered.
"Somebody, do something!" Kitsune cried out. As the planes looped back and dove for the group once more, Haitani and Shirai both screamed and dived into the players box. "Somebody do something intelligent!" Kitsune cried out.
The strange woman in the black camouflage gear was already one step ahead of the group. She'd been assembling some sort of rifle all the while. Now completed, she hoisted it to her shoulder and squinted down the scope.
The jets screamed in low, and started firing once more. She stood her ground as dirt, and grass fountained up around her. A bullet zipped past her left ear taking some of her hair with it. She narrowed her eyes, and squeezed the trigger.
The riffle bucked violently as she held the trigger down, firing in rapid succession. Suddenly, one of the jets's exploded in a spectacular fireball, leaving only the nose and cockpit left. The pilot immediately ejected, while the surviving jet banked hard right and screamed away.
"Wow," Keitaro said as she lowered the weapon. "That's one hell of a gun."
"It's not that powerful, really," she replied, scanning the sky to see what the other jet was doing. "I just aimed at what looked like the spear fuel tank, and just kept on firing till I hit something important."
What was left of the jet crashed down to earth and exploded. The pilot came down outside the park. The surviving jet was now beating a hasty retreat.
"They're leaving," Keitaro observed
"And may I suggest that we do exactly the same?" The commando replied.
"I have some transportation just being detained at one of the check points at the edge of the city," Motoko said. "We can take that."
"We have transport of our own," Kitsune said, "I saw we make a run for it."
"What's wrong with the plane?" Keitaro asked.
"Outta fuel," Seta said, grabbing Keitaro by the collar and dragging him along. "So let's go."
"Wait!" The commando said, grabbing Seta's shoulder. "Where is the package?" Motoko seemed interested in that question to.
Seta patted a single shoulder strap bag with something inside. "Right here," he said, "Let's go!"
"What's that?" Keitaro asked, eyeing the shoulder bag.
"I'll explain later," just said, "Come on!"
"What? Oh God, what a waist of a good jet! Now, what about this group of people, hmmm?" Major Kiska leaned back in her seat as the black hawk zoomed low over the landscape. She held a walkie-talkie up to her ear as she listened to Lt. Chian explained to her everything that had happened.
"God Damn it, where the hell do all these people keep coming from?" The Major paused while the Lt. on the other side replied. "It would seem that the ring of steel you said had engulfed the town is a little rusty. I want you to order every available soldier you have to search outside the town now! If they easily slipped into town, they should be able to slip back out!" The Lt. started protesting, and Major Kiska sighed as she listened to the Lt. whine about the lack of soldiers for doing that task.
"Look, I'm on my way, just do the best you can until I arrive, okay?" The Lt. then started talking about something else.
"Of cause I've got some extra fire power, Lt." She replied. "I've got my own special opp's with special abilities. Over and Out!"
She hooked the walkie-talkie back to her belt, and looked over at the woman next to her. "Cutting a Hum vee in half? That sounds a lot like the Gods Cry Clan if you ask me."
"I'm not asking you where she's from, Number 8," Major Kiska said. "What I'm asking you is can you deal with her?"
"They are a tough breed," Number 8 replied, unsheathing her sword just a fraction so she could look at her own reflection in the shiny blade. "But nothing I can't handle. They must be after Keitaro for the sole peropus of prosperity."
"Great," Major Kiska muttered leaning back into her seat as she looked out at the passing scenery. "Just what I need. More unscheduled players."
"Just out of curiosity, just how many factions have we got after this kid now?"
"As far as I know, we have 3, maybe four if you want to count the God Cry Clan."
"Why is this kid so valuable? We have other males who are much healthier, physically fit, and superior to Keitaro. So why all the trouble?"
"That reason is classified, Number 8," Major Kiska said sharply. "The lest people who know why, the better."
"Damn!" Number 8 replied, her eyes widening. "Now I'm more interested than before."
The lone soldier guarding the horse and cart was getting rather edgy. She had been waiting for quite some time, and still her partner had not come back.
She looked up as the headlight of a motor biker began to approach her checkpoint. She walked towards the bike, holding up her hand to block out the light.
"Hey, I remember you!" She said, as the rider came to a stop. "You're that… Huh?" She looked over the rider's shoulder at another horse and cart coming up from behind. "Hey what's…!"
"Look," the rider said, grabbing her attention. "We're in a bit of a hurry, so I'll make this quick. I'm going to knock you out!"
The soldier didn't even get a chance to reply, before Kanako just punched her directly in the face, causing her to summersault into a tree, knocking her out.
Kanako then ripped off the mask she'd been wearing, and turned off her bikes engine. The horse and covered wagon following her came to a stop, and out jumped Motoko.
"Quick," Motoko said, as she hurried over to her own wagon, while Kitsune, and Kanako loaded the bike into the back of Kitsune's covered wagon.
"Okay," here's how we'll travel," Seta said, "Kanako, Liu, Sera Mitsune, and Agent…!"
"A-hem!" The commando coughed rather loudly as she shot Seta a death look.
"Well, you then, you can all ride in Motoko's wagon, while Kitsune, Keitaro, and you three boys will ride in the covered wagon."
"What?" Liu cried out. "How come I can't ride in the covered wagon with Keitaro?"
"Because there's not enough room, that's why," Seta replied. "Plus how much attention do you think four males will draw in plain sight of Motoko's wagon?"
"Let's not stand here and argue this," the commando said, grabbing Liu and dragging her towards Motoko's wagon. "Let's get outta here, now!"
Soon, they were all in their respective wagons, and leaving the city far behind them. Keitaro watched from the back of the wagon, as the city fell behind the hills. He let the flap fall back down, and turned to Seta.
"Hey Seta, where are we going?" He asked, "We're heading East right?"
"That's right part-timer," Seta replied. "We're heading towards the ocean."
"The ocean?" Keitaro exclaimed. "Why?"
"I was in the middle of a mission Keitaro, when the plague hit I kinda got side tracked. But now, I have a promise to keep, and a mystery to solve."
"Mystery?" Keitaro said, "What mystery?"
"Why, the mystery of how we survived the plague, Part-timer, what else?" Seta answered.
"E-Excuse me?" Keitaro asked. Behind them, near the front of the wagon, Haitani and Shirai heard this, and moved closer to Seta and Keitaro, hoping to catch what was going on.
"The plague?" Haitani asked. "On how we survived the plague?"
"Yeah," Seta answered. "The surviving males who did live through the plague were lucky. No matter how devastating the odds, statistically, a few will always survive. Natural immunity helped them with survival, but not us!"
"What do you mean?"
"Allow me to explain," the commando suddenly said, popping up from behind Keitaro.
"What the hell!" Keitaro cried out. "Weren't you in the other wagon?"
"Yeah, but I decided to come back over to this one," she then eyed the shoulder bag around Seta, "Mainly to keep an eye on him."
"So, you were going to explain?" Shirai interrupted.
"Yeah, yeah, like I was saying." The commando cleared her throat. "Before the world collapsed, it was discovered that the virus originated from Iraq, in one of the hidden biological weapons factories of Sadam. After the first Gulf War, Sadam realised he couldn't fight the American's with technology, so he turned to biology. However, using germ weapons against the American's would seal his fate, so he needed a weapon of pure deniability."
"The common cold!" Keitaro cried out. The commando nodded.
"Yeah, but the problem is, how to make it effective enough to stop an full fledged invasion? Through genetic modification, Sadam was able to create a virus that changed it's form, when anti-bodies attacked it, so no matter what your bodies immune systems would do, the virus would still stick. That's how it would infect mass amounts of troops."
"So what happened next?" Haitani asked.
"As far as we can tell, progress on the virus was rather slow, and when George Bush started getting tough, Sadam urged his scientific team to hurry up. Unfortunately, in order to hurry up, you have to cut corners, and safety was one of those corners they cut. On the eve of the war, a test tube was accidentally broken, and the automatic shutdown system failed to respond quickly enough. One of the workers at the plant made it out, and escaped to American lines. He was exposed to the soldiers of both America and Britain. After the war, most of those soldiers went home, and the virus spread from there."
"So how did we survive?" Keitaro asked.
"That!" The commando said, pointing at Seta. Or rather, the shoulder strap bag. "That's how."
"What?" All three of the boys said.
"Oh, she means, this." Seta said, opening up the bag, and pulling out a vase. It was a strange vase with a narrow top, but the most piacular thing about it, were the three eyes on its face, and a small cross in the middle.
"I've never seen that thing before in my life," Keitaro said, pointing a finger at it. "And how in God's name, did that thing save my life?"
"Along time ago, Keitaro, when you were just a baby, and I had just discovered this vase, you accidentally got away from Haruka's care and found this vase." With that, Seta then reached over to the stop per in the vase, and pulled it out. He tilted the vase forward, and to everyone's surprise, the contents was…
"Water!" Keitaro cried out. "I'm alive because I drank some water!"
"Not just any water, Keitaro," Seta said. "This water is all that is left of the once fabled fountain of youth."
Keitaro, Haitani, and Shirai all blinked in surprise. "Excuse me?" Shirai said.
"That's right, the Fountain of Youth." Seta said. "Well, that's its European name anyway. It has many names, but it really depends on which culture you're familiar with. The Japanese name for it, translates into 'The Well of Immortality.' And when you were young, you drank from this vase."
"Wait a minute," Haitani said, "We never drank from that vase, so how come we survived?"
"Oh, you two, you're just freaks of nature." Seta waved their comment away with the flick of his wrist.
Both Haitani and Shirai's faces sagged. "Dude," Shirai said to Haitani, "No matter what happens to us, even in this lousy Fan Fiction, we always end up getting the ass end of the situation."
Seta ignored them, as he continued. "The point is, that I've been searching all my life for this vase ever since it was stolen from me many years ago. Now, I have a promise to keep, and a mission to for fill."
"To return the vase to its rightful resting place, that's what," the commando said. "Now, no more on that, until we meet up with our transport!"
"Transport!" Liu cried out, "What transport!"
"What are you doing here?" The Commando said.
"I saw you sneaking off into this wagon!" She replied. "So I decided to see what you are up to!"
"My mission is top secret! If anyone were to find out about this vase, they would stop at nothing to get their hands on it, or to discover it's scientific secrets!"
"Scientific secrets?" Keitaro asked.
"The water from the fountain is all gone, except for this sample here," Seta said, placing the stopper back in the top. "Around the base of the original fountain, where the water came from, it was discovered the wrecks of millions of tiny Nanno-machines, which is what gives the fountain it's immortality."
Keitaro jerked, as he realised the meaning of that. "Then… Then that means…!"
"You've got those nanno-machines inside your body? Yep!" Keitaro swallowed nervously. "They repair the host body that they live in, repairing any and all damage that occurs to the host as fast as they can. Kinda like having an internal repair system."
Of cause, it all made sense. His immortality. His ability to take hits that would've killed an ordinary man. He never really understood what kept him alive through all those attacks the girls launched on him, but now it was all finally clear. Nanno-machines. Millions of tiny microscopic robots, and they were all inside him.
"Wait a minute!" Kanako said, "If this well was around for thousands of years, where did these robots come from?"
"God, it's getting cramped in here!" Shirai said, moving over to make room.
"That's what I was trying to find out all those years ago," Seta said. "All I've been able to find out, is that it has some kind of connection with the lost Turtle civilisation that once existed on Pararakelse Island."
Keitaro blinked in surprise. There was a name he thought he'd never here again. "So, that's what you were doing there when I found you," Keitaro replied.
"Right again, Part-Timer," Seta said. "However, I lost the vase many years ago, to a an International Art Theft Ring. Ever since then, I've been trying to unlock the clues of the vase with what evidence I had uncovered before the vase was stolen. My recent archaeological dig was not really a dig at all, but a disguise, because sources had located the vase for me."
"Wow," Keitaro muttered, as Sara pushed him aside to make room.
"Unfortunately, the Virus seriously derailed my plans to return it to…"
"Not yet, asshole!" The commando warned.
"Sorry!" Seta answered as he shifted for Mitsume. "But I realised that you still had the nanno-machines in your system, Keitaro, so I had to come and pick you up before continuing!"
"Continuing to where?" Motoko asked.
"None of your business," the commando snapped back at her. "And now that we all know what the vase is for, it's obvious that the God's Cry Clan wants its powers for themselves!"
"Our clan is in danger of dying out," Motoko snapped. "We need just a small test tube of water, that will be all!"
"Sorry, but you get nothing!" The commando said crossing her arms. "If my employers found out I let strangers dip their hands into their goods, they'll never give me the rest of my payment!"
"The government has denied us any use of their males, and without prosperity, the future of my clan is at stake," Motoko growled. "I will do what ever it takes to get some of that water!"
"Hey Motoko, chill!" Keitaro said, grabbing her shoulder. "I'm sure we'll find a way to shear it with your clan." Just then, he paused, and looked around at everyone in the wagon. "Hey, wait a second! Motoko, who's driving your wagon?"
Everyone frowned, and looked over at Motoko. Just then, there was a loud crash from outside. "Uh-oh!" She muttered.
Major Kiska just shook her head is disgust as the unconscious soldier was carried away on a stretcher. The Black hawk was not far away, its rooters still spinning, as Lt. Chian came running up to her.
"Don't bother trying to explain this Lt." Major Kiska snapped turning away from her. "Keitaro got away, that's all you can say to me!"
"At least we know what direction they're going in," the Lt. replied hastily, trying to salvage some pride. "If we send out some air units, I'm sure we can…"
"Expect a repeat of what happened with the jets? Oh, absolutely," The Major snapped back. "We have very few fighter pilots Lt. All our top pilots were males. We've practically had to start again from scratch, and those two pilots we sent up are clearly proof that we still need more practice."
The Lt. frowned. Why was she concerned with airpower? Instead, she asked, "So, what are we going to do?"
"I'll go ahead and take charge of this matter, personally." She said, marching back towards the black hawk. "This chase has gone on for too long, and I can't afford to leave this matter to the incompetence of underlings!"
The Lt. stopped dead in her tracks, seething at the insult, but said nothing. She watched as the Major climbed into the chopper, and its rooters sped up. As it took off, she caught site of a black clad figure sitting in the seat next to her.
Then, the chopper was airborne, and zooming off in the direction the road was going. East.
"What was all that about?" Number 8 asked the Major the moment they were airborne.
"My arse is secure for the moment because the Japanese government has bigger things to worry about at the moment." The Major replied. "It seems the women of China seem to have their male counterparts ambitions for domination." Her eyes narrowed and she gave a glimpse of her teeth. "About twelve hours ago, they launched an amphibious invasion of Taiwan."
"You're joking, right?"
"I wish I were," The Major sighed. "Who knows how it will turn out, maybe the Chines will win, or maybe the Taiwanese will win. Can't say for certain, but we didn't have much in the way of an army before the plague, and what little we do have, we need to preserve."
"You think the Chines can pull it off?" Number 8 asked. "What have they got to gain? No natural recourses, or anything. I heard no males survived the plague in Taiwan. What's to gain?"
"A message, that's what." Major Kiska said.
"That we're large, and in charge, that's what," the Major said. "The UN's broken down, all the first world countries are having the devil's own within their own borders. What ever happens in this part of the world, happens. At the moment, China is the greatest power in this part of the world. They have nukes, and they have the numbers! It's simply a way of saying, we're number one, and you aren't! That could lead to them bullying their neighbours for favours or extortion."
"Thank God North Korea collapsed," Number 8 said with a sigh. "Could you imagine that country still in power?"
"Yeah, but the South moved into the North after the collapse, and now has control over their nuclear program! And they hate both us and the Chines!" The Major shook her head. "So many enemies, and so few friends!" Number 8 leaned back in her seat, and laughed out loud. "What's so funny?" Major Kiska asked.
"Just something I remember reading once." She said. "Albert Enstine once said, As long as there are men, there shall always be wars!"
"Well, there are still some men left around," Major Kiska said with a half smile. "And it was the men who created the plague! There fore, they are the ones responsible for putting us in this mess in the first place, so this is all their fault, not ours!"
"Is it?" Number 8 asked, not looking at her. "Is it really?"
The sun was just starting to break over the hilltops as Keitaro opened his eyes. He yawned, and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, as he stretched, accidentally kicking Hiatani in the head. The guy just grunted and rolled over.
Keitaro chuckled to himself. He'd probably sleep through a gun battle. UP the front, The Commando sat at the reigns of the horse, while Kitsune slept next to her. Seta was snoring happily, while keeping one arm around his shoulder bag.
Keitaro was distracted by the commando, humming an odd tune. With nothing else to do, he focused in on her, listening to her, as she added words to the song.
"Yane no ue de sora o aogu, hizashi wa uraraka!"
"Miageru sora karadajuu genki ga minagitteku!"
"That's so wonderful! Ikiterunda!"
"Yamerarenai, akirameru da nante!"
"That's a weird song," Keitaro said, catching the commando's attention, and causing her to stop signing. "Where did you here that one from?"
"Oh, some animie series called Love H!"
"Hey are we there yet?" Seta called out, cutting her off as he looked out the front of the wagon.
"We'll be there, when we get there," the commando replied.
"Why can't you tell me who you're working for?" Keitaro asked. "It's not like I'm going to plaster it all over the Internet."
"My employers paid me an emperors ransom to not only get that vase back to them, but to keep quite as well. Since my former bosses are all dead and their country collapsed, I've got no other source of income save being a gun for hire! That and they're holding the rest of my payment as a promise I won't blab! So, if I want to get paid, I'll keep my mouth shut about whom I'm working for! They gave inspissate instructions not to reveal to anyone who I'm working for. And since you weren't included in the contract, you're out of the loop!"
"Actually, Keitaro," Seta said, "since you're coming with me, I'll tell you, she works for…" That was about as far as he got, before the commando spun around and punched him in the back of the head, knocking him out.
Seta slumped forward, and fell down into Keitaro's lap. His body twitched, and he lay still. "Was that really necessary?" Keitaro asked.
"I want to get the rest of my payment, so yeah, it was!" The commando replied. "Besides, even though you'll find out eventually, there's no way I could prove to my new bosses that I didn't tell you who they were."
Keitaro opened his mouth to speak, but said nothing. There was no point arguing with her. She wasn't going to tell him, and nether was Seta… Well, at least for the next hour or so. He quickly removed Seta from his lap, and moved to the back of the wagon. Moving it aside ever so slightly, he looked out the back.
Motoko was sitting at the helm of her wagon, with the rest of the girls sleeping in the back. She saw him and waved. Keitaro smiled, and waved back. Motoko quickly looked back at the others, and then turning around, waved Keitaro over to her.
Keitaro frowned. Was that a good idea. He looked back into the wagon. The others were still sleeping and that commando was signing that anime tune again. He looked back to see Motoko waved him over again. There was no other traffic on the road, and no houses anywhere in sight.
Oh, what the hell.
Ever so quietly, he dropped out of the back of the wagon, and quickly hurried over to Motoko's, climbing up into the spear drivers seat. "Thanks for coming over Keitaro," Motoko said as he sat down next to her.
"Eh, it's no biggie," Keitaro said with a shrug. "The others are all asleep in the wagon, and G.I. Jane isn't much of a conversationalist."
"Yeah, it's pretty boring over too," Motoko answered. Suddenly, Liu gave out a snore that sounded like a chainsaw. "Need I say anything else," Motoko muttered under her breath.
A few moments passed, before Keitaro asked, "You're not after just a 'test tube' of the water, are you Motoko." It wasn't exactly a question.
"No," she confessed. "The well of immortality works in my different ways. Depending on how much you drink of the water, means you'll have more nanno-machines in your system. The more you have, the more good they'll do for you." She looked down at his stomach. "You only have invincibility, which probably means you didn't drink very much. Your lack of physical appearance is clearly proof of that."
Keitaro's face sulked. "Thanks," he muttered.
"And as I said earlier, the government has denied us any access to what's left of the male population of Japan. Our clan is dying out once more, Keitaro. If I can drink quite a lot of the water from that vase, I could prolong my life span, long enough to live into the times when things return to normal, or at least to before the plague. That one our clan, and our skills, and our history, can live on, start again from scratch."
Keiaro just nodded. At this particular point in time, all people could think about these days were surviving. How much of the water could she be able to drink to help her last for a long time. How long would HE live for? He decided he didn't want to think about that, and thought about how he could change the subject. "Say Motoko," Keitaro asked. "What was with you back in there when you kisses me like that?" Keitaro asked.
Motoko blushed. "It's… Well, complicated." She said.
"I'm not going anywhere."
"Well, after I put you into a coma, that's when the plague hit. At first, when we didn't know it only effected men, but buy the time that was clear to all of us at the Hinata dorm, the government had cordoned off the hospital. Of cause, buy then, half the patients in the hospital were dead, along with most of the doctors and staff." She looked down at her feet and bit her bottom lip. "Of cause, we all thought you were dead too, and Naru…" She trailed off. "Naru blamed me for your death. If I hadn't put you into a coma, you probably won't have died. Naru keep saying she could've protected you herself, and every time she saw me, she let me know that." Her eyes narrowed at the bad memories. "Dear God, did she let me know that."
"That's okay, Motoko," Keitaro said, putting a hand on her shoulder. "I've forgiven you for the coma incident."
"But Naru didn't!" Motoko shot back. "Before I left, Haruka told me you could here her screaming at me from the market place. I was able to take it at first, but then…" She seemed to stumble a bit. "Then the others started avoiding me. Even Su! They weren't vocal like Naru was, but I could see it in their eyes. The way they turned their heads away from me, every time I entered the room. They blamed me for your death. I finally left when I was talking with Haruka about it, and… and even from the sound of her voice, I could tell she harboured the same feelings as well!"
Keitaro was stunned. The girls all cared for him that much! Even Naru!
"It was clear that the others didn't want me around anymore, so I left and returned to my clan, and my elder sister. I told her everything that happened to me, and why I left. She told me that what happened was not my fault, and it would've been impossible for you to survive if I hadn't knocked you out. She said the others just needed a scapegoat. But… But deep down in side, I couldn't let the feeling go. After being yelled at for so long, and having all my friends blame me like that, even I began to believe that they were right! That I was responsible for your death." She scrunched up her face as her eyes began to water. "That I had killed you!"
"Oh," was all Keitaro could say.
"After I had returned to my sister, I began to realise that Kitsune was right all those times. That I DID have feelings for you, but I never would show them. The truth is Keitaro, I am in love with you! I always was before the plague, and even from the very first day you arrived at the Hinata Dorm, I did feel some attraction to you! I was just too stubborn to show them, that's all! My guilt of having killed you, and never gotten the chance to tell you that I indeed loved you ate away at me for quite some time!"
"I had a feeling you loved me," Keitaro said with a small smile, as he put an arm around Motoko.
Motoko smiled back, and leaned against his shoulder. "So when I saw you, and realised you were alive…" She shrugged. "It all came rushing back to me so fast even I wasn't aware of what I was doing until Liu attacked me." She chuckled. "Oh, by the way, I wasn't kidding when I asked you to have sex with me." Keitaro moved back a fraction and gave a nervous smile.
"Nope," she said moving closer, and placing a single finger on his chest. "That offer's still up for grabs…" she let the finger trail down his shirt to his pants, and the moment she said grabs, she squeezed his pants. Keitaro gave out a small 'epp,' and shot up straight. "Just say the word, and I'll make us both happy!"
Suddenly two hands wrapped themselves around Motoko's neck and started chocking her. Keitaro reared back in time to see Liu, red with anger throttling Motoko.
"Hey, hey HEY!" Keitaro cried pulling the two girls apart. "Liu, what about your arm!"
"What's all the commotion up there!" Kanako muttered rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
"Hey, Dorkster!" Sara snapped, "If you and your girlfriends are going to have a threesome, could you do it somewhere else! I'm try'n to sleep here!"
"A threesome?" Mutsumi said with a chuckle, "Wow, Keitaro, you're really getting into this situation!"
"What!" Kanako cried out loud, looking up at the drivers seat. The angle of the position of Liu, Motoko, and Keitaro, tyring to pull the two of them apart, looked very sexual from Kanako's point of view. "Prepare to die!" She shouted as she leapt at the other two girls.
Kanako leapt into the mess, and all three girls fell of the wagon onto the side of the road, where they continued to duke it out. "Cool," Sara grinned rushing over to watch the fight. "This is better than the WWF!"
Keitaro watched the girls for a while, before turning back to the front. With a sigh he let his head fall into his right hand. "And those guys on the wounder why I haven't had any sex yet."
Number 8 reached over and pulled Major Kiska's sleave to get her attention. The Major took her ear away from the walkie-talkie and shot her a glair.
"What is it? I'm busy!" She snapped.
"My ninja senses are tingling," she said, "We're getting close to Keitaro!" Major Kiska just blinked back at her.
"Your what senses are WHAT!" The Major asked.
"Never mind," she said. "Just take us down here, I'll go the rest of the way on foot! Just make sure to be handy, I'll need some back up, but I want to have the element of surprise when I launch my attack!"
Major Kiska just gave her a hard look. "Fine, We'll stay just behind you, but it will take some time to arrive once you do strike!"
The Black Hawk came down to earth, and hovering just above the ground, allowed Number 8 to jump to the ground. She nodded to the Major. "I'll give you a minute warning before I'll launch my attack. Just make sure you're there in time to back me up!"
"We will," Major Kiska shouted back over the helicopter blades, as she gestured towards the woods. "Move out!"
"Just a sec," Number 8 said. "I've gotta activate my battle gear!"
Before Major Kiska could ask what that meant, Number 8 nodded, then suddenly struck a fighting pose, before yelling, "Sprit of Japan! Give me STRENGHT!" Major Kiska blinked in surprise then jumped, as a bright white light engulfed Number 8. This was followed by a techno music track before the light cleared, leaving Number 8 dressed from head to toe in what looked like a cheap rip-off of a power rangers costume.
"What the fuck…!" The major shouted. Everyone else in the chopper was blinking in surprised shock at the ninja. "That corny line activates your battle gear!"
Number 8 gave a half shrug. "Yeah, the Joint Chiefs of Staff blew the defence budget on a lot of ridicules crap last year." She then smiled as she struck another pose. "But you gotta admit, it's really cool!"
The Major just turned to the soldier next to her and whispered, "I think this story is losing its believability."
"Compared to what?" The soldier said. "A single dorky guy living with seven hottie chicks - who are all after him - in a mansion with a flying turtle and a talking cat!"
"Owie, owie, owie!" Kanako complained as Mitsumi applied a bandaid to her nose. Beside her, Motoko sat nursing her ankle, while Liu sulked at the pain in her wounded shoulder.
"Serves all of you right," the Commando snapped, as Mitsumi finished up. "How many times must I remind all of you that we're on the run from the Japanese military! Do you think they'll sit idle while you three screw each other over!"
The three of them said nothing.
"I think they've learnt their lesson," Keitaro said. "Do you really have to keep yelling at them?"
"Of cause I do!" The Commando snapped. "No where in my contract dose it state, I have to deal with three extra males and three over-sexed girls! My orders are to get Seta and that Vase back to my bosses, no matter what!" She pointed her finger at the three bandaged up girls. "If you three are going to tag along, that's fine, but if you're going to hold me up, and get in the way of my mission, then that's where I draw the line!" She leaned over all three of them with a nasty scowl. "Ether shape up, or ship out! Pull something like this again and you're on your own!"
Then, she spun about, and marched back to Kitsune's wagon. "Come on," Keitaro said to the others, "We'd better get going, before she leaves us behind."
"You, in the back!" The Commando snapped at Keitaro. "If we're not going to be held up, I'm going to have to separate you from the girls!"
Keitaro climbed into the back of the wagon. "Can't he…" Liu started but the commando shot her a deadly look that quickly shut her up.
From the bushes, a pair of eyes watched as they all climbed back into their wagons, and started off down the road. She then raised a walkie-talkie to her ear and pressing the button on the side, whispered a few words into the speaker, before slowly melting back into the shadows.
"Do you here something?" Keitaro asked, looking up at the canvas roof of the wagon.
"If it's those girls again, I'm going to kill them!" The commando spat.
"No, it's not them," Keitaro said, looking out the back of the wagon. "Something else." There was a low, but steady drumbeat, approaching from the west. The others inside the wagon raised their ears to the roof and listened.
The commando's eyes suddenly widened. "Oh shit!" She gasped.
"Is that a helicopter?" Shirai asked.
"Into the woods!" The commando suddenly shouted. "Quick!"
Before anyone could move, there were five loud bangs, and the wagon suddenly began to fill with a thick grey smoke. Keitaro was dully aware of the Commando pulling on some kind of gas mask, before Seta grabbed him around the neck and rushed him out of the wagon.
They hurried off to the side of the road, but before Seta could rush into the bushes with Keitaro, two ninja stars landed before his feet, causing him to come to a screeching halt.
Seta narrowed his eyes at the stars, and looked up, right at some ninja girl, carrying a large sword.
"Well, well, well," the Number 8 said smiling beneath her facemask. "Professor Noriyasu," she said. "My day keeps getting better and better!"
"Chan?" Seta replied, dropping Keitaro and taking a fighting stance. "I suppose running back into you would be inevitable."
"You two know each other?" Keitaro asked, spitting out some grass from his mouth.
"From a while back," Seta said, as the two started circling around each other. "She used to be a gun for hire, before the Japanese secret service convinced her to join their ranks."
"But before then, Seta and I clashed a number of times, over artefacts that my employers desired for their personal collection." She then lunged at Seta with a battle cry.
"Are you after the vase as well, Chan?" Seta asked, blocking the blow by clasping the blade of her sword with both hands.
"What vase?" She said, as she kicked out with her right leg, sending Seta tumbling head over heals. "I'm after the kid and his friends," she then smirked, as Seta used his fall to land on his hands, and vault back upright. "And since you're still alive, I guess that includes you too!"
"I guess I should've seen that one coming too," Seta replied, as he charged at Number 8 with a childish smile.
By now, the others had gathered by the side of the road, watching the battle between Seta, and some ninja chick.
"Wow," Kitsune said to Motoko, "She's got some pretty slick moves herself."
"They're nothing," Motoko said drawing her sword. "In a few seconds I'll…!" Her voice trailed off as she suddenly found herself looking at the shattered stump of her sword. "Oh yeah, that's right," she muttered sheathing it again.
"So what do we do?" Liu asked, looking down at her arm in the sling.
Her question was answered as two missiles slammed into the ground, not far from the group, knocking them all of their feet. They all looked up to see a Black Hawk zoom in low, firing a side mounted gatling gun at them. The all managed to scramble out of the way, before bullets tore up the ground they were resting on.
The chopper zoomed low overhead, and then hovering in mid-air, did an abrupt 180-degree turn, and zoomed back towards them.
"Keitaro!" Liu called out to him and his two male friends. "You guys run for cover, now!"
"But…!" Keitaro protested, before the commando suddenly leapt over him, pistol in hand.
"Better do as she said kid," she cried, firing off a few shots at the Gatling gunner, "Things are going to get very hectic!" The gunner flinched from the shots, stopping her from shooting, and giving the other girls time to run for cover themselves.
For a moment, the chopper hung there in mid-air, not sure of what to do. "Idiot's!" Major Kiska shouted, pushing the gunner out of the way, "Circle back and attack those other girls before they get into the woods!" She then took aim at the commando, and squeezed of a few bursts at her, causing her to run for cover as well.
"W-what do we do?" Hitania stuttered, watching the chopper dive on the Hinata girls.
"We run," Keitaro said, getting up of the ground, "There's nothing much we can do, except get in the way!"
"Awesome!" Sara said, watching everything take place from Kitsune's wagon. "This is better than an action movie!" Beside her, Mutsumi snored peacefully.
"You should just give up, Seta," Number 8 said, as Seta ducked a swipe from her blade. "I don't intend to harm any of you!"
"Just give up?" Seta said in surprise, as he blocked the blow that came back, "Now, where's the fun in that?"
"Still playing games?" Number 8 snorted, as she kicked out, catching Seta just under the chin, knocking him over. "Don't you realise that the survival of our species is at stake?"
"Of cause I do," he said, landing on his feet, and springing back towards her, catching her right wrist. "But I have a mission to fulfil, and a promise to keep." He then pulled hard, throwing her over his shoulder. "So, sorry, I can't go with you just yet!"
Number 8 flipped through the air to land neatly on both feet. "In that case, I'm going to have to do this the hard way!" She muttered some arcane words, before the tip of her sword began glowing. Then, with a low cry, brought it forward and hurled a bolt of purple energy towards him.
Seta wasn't able to doge in time, and the bolt hit him and exploded. When the smoke cleared, Seta stood there covered from head to toe in charcoal black. "Ouch," he muttered, before shaking himself like a wet dog. After shaking all the black soot of him, he whipped some sweat from his forehead and smiled. "It'll take a lot more than that to defeat me!"
In the skies above, Major Kiska fired at the fleeing girls on the ground. She flinched as bullets struck the metal shield in front of her, and she swung the gun towards the other black clad figure on the ground. "So," she muttered, firing a few burst at the woman, causing her to run for cover again. "That woman, she's obviously been trained by a military!" She watched her dive and roll, firing a few shots up at the chopper. "But which one?" She gritted her teeth, firing at her again.
The commando swore as she dodged the murderess fire from the Gatling gun. She needed something heavier, but if she went back to the wagon, to where all her other stuff lay, that chopper would defiantly chew up the wagon and her stuff as well. No, she needed to get its attention focused on something else.
Off in the bushes, she spied two of the Hinata girls. "Can any of you girls grab that things attention?" She shouted at them.
"How?" Kitsune shouted back at her.
"Use your imagination!" The commando hollered as more bullets tried to pin her.
"Imagination!" Kitsune shrieked as a few stray bullets whizzed by her ear. "Like what!"
"I don't know," the commando yelled. "Throw some rocks at the rotor blades or something."
"We're going to need something much more larger than just 'rocks' to throw at them!"
Kanako rubbed her chin as she looked over at Kitsune.
"Where the hell are the other three males?" Major Kiska shouted above the roar of the blades. "They were down there a few moments ago."
A soldier with a sniper rifle who stood beside her pointed at the woods. "Maybe they went into…"
"ARRRRGGGGGGGGGGHH!" They both watched in stunned silence as a woman suddenly flew out of the trees and up into the air. She flailed about as though she'd be thrown, and hit the side of the black hawk. She would've fallen down, had she not grabbed onto the landing gear below.
"What the hell?" The sniper gasped watching the girl swinging about from just below their position.
"Damn it, Goth Girl!" Kitsune screamed down at the woods. "That wasn't an invitation to throw ME!"
"What was THAT for?" Motoko asked. Kanako smiled, as she picked up a rock the size of a baseball.
"To distract them," Kanako said, "But you've gotta admit, it was a good laugh!" She then dashed from her cover, and reaching back her arm, swung it forward hurling the rock towards the machinery just below the main rotor blades.
It struck and something exploded there. Sparks erupted and the chopper lurched violently to the right. The jerk caused Kitsune to lose her grip on the landing gear, and fall all the way to the ground below. Luckily, she landed in the back of Motoko's wagon.
"That was awesome, fox lady!" Sara said, as Kitsune groaned in pain. "Can you do that again?"
"Oh me, oh my," Mutsumi said as she stretched. "What's all the racket?"
"Are you joking, turtle lady!" Kitsune moaned, "We're under attack!"
"Oh, really?" Mutsumi looked over at Seta battling some ninja woman, while the other girls were pelting the chopper with rocks, aiming from the lady arming the gatling gun, while the commando was bolting back towards Kitsune's wagon. "Wow," she said, "That looks very dangerous."
"Yeah, it is," Kitsune muttered sitting up and feeling her back. "Only they're the ones trying to kill us!"
"Really?" Mutsumi asked, a shocked expression on her face. "Well, that isn't very nice," Mutsumi scowled as she reached over to a bag she carried. She opened it, and pulled out a long, black tube.
"Umm," Kitsune said, her eyes growing wide. "Is that what I think it is?"
"Sure is," Mutsumi said with a smile. "A portable mini, ground to air missile launcher." She pulled the ends apart, and flipped up the sights. "You never know when one could come in handy." She said with her cheery smile.
Kistune just blinked. "I should be surprised. I really should, but I've been around you so long now, that anything you do doesn't surprise me."
"Now, let's see," Mutsumi said, pulling out an instruction booklet. "Oh me, oh my, these instructions are in French." She looked back to the rocket launcher. "Oh well, one of these buttons should do something." She looked at both ends of the launcher, before pointing one end at the chopper, and pushing a button.
There was a deafening roar and a bright flash of orange, red, and yellow, as the launcher fired. Backwards.
The commando who'd been running back towards Kitsune's wagon to get something heavier to fight back with didn't see the rocket until it was too late.
"Oh stupid bit!" Was all she managed before it exploded just a few feet away from her. The shockwave from the explosion lifted her a clear six feet into the air before throwing her into a tree. Her head lifted off the ground for a split second, before falling back down again.
"Holy cow!" Sara cried out in excitement.
"Opps," Mutsumi said, placing a hand over her mouth. "My bad."
"Good God," Kitsune gasped, "I hope she isn't dead!"
Inside the black hawk, the pilot was wrestling with the controls. "Major Kiska, I-I can't hold it! We're going down!"
The major grabbed hold of the sides of the door, and shouted, "All hands, brace for impact!" The chopper spun around, out of control as the main rotor was constantly losing speed. Then, it stopped all together, and plummeted 15 feet to the ground below.
From the trees, the three guys watched as everything unfolded. "Come on guys," Keitaro said to Haitani and Shirai. "Let's get those wagon's moving, while they're down!"
They both darted from the woods, towards Kitsune's wagon. Keitaro paused to shout out to Kitsune who was still in Motoko's wagon. "Kitsune!" He shouted, getting her attention, "Let's get the wagon's going, while the others hold them off! Hurry!"
She nodded and climbed into the drivers seat. Keitaro jumped into the back of Kitsune's wagon, while Haitani got that one moving. "Come on guys!" Kitsune yelled out to the others, "We're pulling out!"
The other girls all nodded, but made a beeline for seta and Number 8, surrounding her.
"Give it up," Liu snapped at her, "You're totally outnumbered!" Number 8 glared at the other girls and then to Seta.
"This isn't over yet, Seta," she said, giving the handle of her sword a squeeze. The end popped open, and two small tablets fell out. The moment they struck the ground, there was an explosion, and a dark grey smoke began to rapidly fill the air.
When the smoke cleared, she was gone. The girls looked about, then over at the crashed chopper. Some of the soldiers were stumbling about, dazed and confused. That wouldn't last long.
"Come on!" Motoko hissed, running towards the wagons, "Let's go, while they're still disorientated."
"S-stop the-em!" Major Kiska coughed as she crawled from the wreckage of the chopper. One of the soldiers already outside tried to stand up, back had to lean against the side of the chopper for balance. She fired a burst of her machine gun at them, but all the shots went wild.
"I, I can't…" The soldier coughed, before collapsing.
Just then, there was a shadow overhead, and Number 8 jumped down on the ground in front of the Major. "Damn it," the major snarled. "Why don't you go after them! That's the reason I brought you along!"
"I can't take them all on," Number 8 said, watching the vanishing wagons. "Not with Seta as well as the God's Cry School agent. I'm no match for the two of them."
"If you don't go after them, I'll have you hanged!" The Major snarled.
"Relax, will you," Number 8 said, smiling, as she held up what looked like a ranger finder. "Before launching my ambush, I planted a homing device on the lead wagon." She held it before her face, watching the bleeping screen. "We'll be able to follow them were ever they go." She then turned back to face the major. "That will give us ample time to organise reinforcements, enough to tip the balance in our favour."
"Okay, okay," the major, gasped, trying to climb to her feet. "You've made your point. Pilot!" There were a few coughs from the cockpit. "Dose the radio still work?"
"Yeah!" Came the reply.
"Radio Tokyo at once!" She shouted. "This time, I'm not taking any chances. I'm calling in everything we've got!"
"Hey, major!" Number 8 called out. The Major looked over to see Number 8 over by a tree, looking down at a sprawled figure in black. Number 8 bent down and lifted her head up. The woman was wearing a smoking flak jacket, and was out cold. The Major narrowed her eyes. It was the same woman she'd seen firing at her. The one with military training.
"Excellent," she snarled, and then coughed some more. "Tie her up, and send her back to head quarters for interrogation! I want to find out just who she's working for!"
BENEATH THE WATERS OFF THE COAST OF JAPAN: Five Hours Later…
Captain Thea was growing used to the relatively spacious surroundings of the submarine. It was a monster, stealthy and huge, kitted out to operate far from home and for months at a time. Indeed, her clean fusion drive meant that were it not for the need to re-arm the torpedo bays and refill the galley, the ship could stay out indefinitely.
She casually paced down the corridors to the bridge. She received a somewhat casual salute from an officer working one of the holographic map. She hastily returned the salute before continuing to the large chair, in the middle of the bridge. Beside it, the ships XO stood, keeping watch over the bridge. The captain and the XO saluted each other, before the XO leaned over to the person on the other side of the chair, and said something in a low voice.
"Ma'am," the captain said. "We just received this message about five minutes ago." A light brown skinned arm appeared from behind the chair, and she handed the report to the hand, which snatched it from her, and vanished behind the chair.
"What!" the XO said, her face registering shock. "Our agent has been captured?"
"Yes," Captain Thea replied. "Although I would like to point out the fact I did warn everyone involved against using that Ex-North Korean Agent for our dirty work!"
"Well, she did look Japanese, and she even spoke the language fluently," The XO, replied. "And may I remind you that none of our agents even look remotely Japanese."
"Point taken," the Captain said. "But may I also point out the fact if she signs, we're sunk!" She looked nervously around the room. "Intercepts of radio traffic from Japan, indicates that they firmly believe that our submarine is in fact an Australian ship. We can deny any involvement in this matter, but that agent was a free gun for hire! If the Japanese pay her enough money she might spill the beans and blow the whole lid of our operation, and that could lead to them asking some very dangerous questions we can't possibly afford to answer!"
There was a moments silence, before the XO shrugged her shoulders and asked, "So, then what are we going to do?" No one answered, but made gestures towards the back of the chair.
"We proceed as planed, Dr. Spock!" A young female's voice cried out, as the chair spun around. "Scotty! All engines full ahead! Warp factor 9!"
Both the captain and the Xo bowed deep and low, showing their respect. "At once, Prince Su!" They both said, and hurried away.
Kaolla Su sat loop-sided in the captain's chair, a wild grin on her face as the captain started shouting orders to get the ship underway. "He-heh!" She giggled. "This is going to be sooooo, much fun!" She stopped chewing on the report that had been handed to her to look at it once more. "Keitaro, my little genuine pig! I have not given up on you, just yet!"
AT THAT VERY MOMENT…
Keitaro suddenly shivered. Seta looked over at him.
"Something wrong, Keitaro?" He asked.
"Nothing really," Keitaro said with the small shake of his head. "It's just that I… Well, you know when you get that chill, that runs up your spine when the air conditioning on too cold?" Seta nodded. "Well, I just got one of those!"
"Whoops," Seta said, picking up a remote. "That's my bad, I'll turn off the air con!" He pressed a button and there was a low beep.
"Thanks," Keitaro said. He leaned back against the side of the wagon, and looked up at the roof, thinking about where his life would go from here.
Wow! So many new things I've learnt, and all in one day. Many questions answered, but so many more new ones to boot! Who did that agent work for? Where is she now? Who created the Well of Immortality, and… And what the fuck is a wagon doing with Air Condition!
AUTHOR's NOTE: As you've probably guessed by now, that vase that Seta has, is the same one he had in Love Hina Vol. 13.