Disclaimer: Tenchi Muyo!/No Need For Tenchi is a product of
Pioneer/AIC. As such, I'm getting no compensation for writing this
fiction other than my own enjoyment and to bring pleasure to the fans
of this wonderful series.
Disclaimer: The X-Flies is the product of Chris Carter and 20th Century
Fox. As such, I'm getting no compensation for writing this fiction
other than my own enjoyment and to bring pleasure to the fans of this
excellent series.
Disclaimer: Oh My Goddess is the product of Kosuke Fujishima and What's
Michael is the product of Makoto Kobayashi. As such, I'm getting no
compensation for writing this fiction other than my own enjoyment and
to bring pleasure to the fans of both of these excellent series (this
is here because Keiichi and Belldandy appear in one scene and Michael
in another).
Disclaimer: The copyright holders own the songs and poems that appear
in this series. All characters 'I' have created are purely a work of
fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is pure coincidence.
Notes: This is Book Two in my crossover series, Strange Days. I would
appreciate any C&C about this work. My current E-mail addresses are:
V_Bashaw@hotmail.com
Horosha@RC_Books.zzn.com
The events in Book Two occur just after Episode Four ("Mihoshi Falls To
The Land Of Stars") and in the first season of the X-Flies (both taking
place in 1992). If anyone is interested in using any of the characters
I have created here, please contact me first (especially about Anthony
MacClean). I don't know much about the training and organizational
structure of law enforcement in Nihon and have assumed that it is
similar to ours. If you have questions about the story or how I
portrayed the characters please read the notes at the end of this story
and Book One, contact me at my e-mail addresses or post a message at
the AFC message board. I have created a glossary of Nihongo words,
idioms and titles to help readers understand them. You can get it at
TMFFA (under Crossover) or send me e-mail requesting it.
Dedication: This series is dedicated to the people who brought Tenchi
Muyo to life: Hayashi Hiroki, Kajshima Masaki, Hasegawa Naoko, and
Kuroda Yosuke. We also honor Chris Carter for his great series.
Warning: Just like the Tenchi Muyo OAV and the X-Flies this work
contains adult language and situations (including some ecchi scenes),
so any minor should get parents' permission before reading it.
**********

Tenchi Muyo/X-Flies Crossover
Series Title: "Strange Days"
Book Two title: "Fire and Rain"
A Fan-Fiction by Horosha
Copyright: January 10, 2001

Prologue: North-Forty Ranch, Kurashiki, Nihon.
Mogami Sunao sat behind the love hotel's front desk, his brown eyes
kept switching back-and-forth from the five-inch television in a covey
hole just below the top to the light pink-tinted glass front door. The
young man's associate had just stepped out to get a couple of bento
boxes for them so he was the only one, minding the store, when the
couple came in.

Sunao's left hand hit the mute button on the remote control as he faced
the new clients. A small smile appeared on his lips as he recognized
Shimizu Isao, a rich man's son who is a regular, but then his gaze
locked on the girl. While her face spoke of Asian heritage, her hair
was blond, eyes blue, wearing a white Stetson hat, matching rhinestone
rawhide vest, tight blue jeans and cowboy boots. 'A tsunbi (virgin)?'
Sunao wondered, he could see anxiety and resolution fight in the girl's
rouged face, then continued, 'It explains the outfit. She's trying to
be a feast for his eyes to cover up how green she is.'

"Konnichiwa, Lee-san," said Sunao, using the regular customer's alias
while he gave the couple a short bow.

"Konnichiwa, Sunao-san," the black-haired man replied while both
returned the bow properly. Lee's brown eyes glance at his silent female
companion and added, "This kaugaru (cowgirl) and I need one of your
finest rooms."

"Number 40 will match your companion's outfit. Would you like one of
our regular girls to join your roundup?" Sunao noticed the girl's eyes
go wide.

"Not tonight, Sunao-san," a wide grin on youth's handsome face as his
right hand slowly drifted over her firm butt. "I think this chichi
kurushii will be all I need for tonight."

"Hai, Lee-san," Sunao returned, he deposited the room key in Lee's left
hand while making the required monetary notes disappear with a
flourish. While the clients head for the elevator, next to the stairs,
Sunao noted the icy glare from the female. 'Protective of her yen is
she,' he glared back. 'I'll tell Yachitoro (Bog Master) to teach her
the rules after Lee-san is gone. She'll learn freelancers don't make it
in soapland.'

Ten minutes later his associate returned with their food. Both ate the
chicken from the bamboo skewers while making comments about the anime
on television.

"The akurei always has a kine (a huge penis)," commented Sunao. "I
wished mine was that big."

"Hai, the women would go crazy," replied his associate as his black
eyes flashed with amusement.

"And they have this yachigari (twat kid) taking it all in," a look of
disgust on Sunao's face. "If that happened for real, she'd become
twins."

"Hai, twins with half of an omeko (vagina) each," a short bark comes
from the man in the chair next to him.

When Sunao finished his meal, he got up to dump the container in the
trash. As he walked by, his companion handed his box to the smartly
dressed man to get rid of. When the sound of wooden items echoed up
from the metal can, the piercing siren of the North-Forty's fire alarm
hit the two men's ears.


"KYA, FIRE!" fear reflected in Sunao's eyes. "FAST, call 911, then
start calling our customers. I'm going up the stairs to knock on their
doors."

"Hai, Sunao-dono," his associate answered as his left hand grabbed the
receiver while right fingers jabbed the buttons.

Sunao's quick feet reached the stairs, where he took them three at a
time, moving with a tiger's courage to reach the first floor. At each
door, his left fist banged on the wood and his right hand rattled the
knob as he shouted, "FIRE!"

Soon, the hall behind him was filled with naked and half-naked people,
arms full of clothes, making a speedy exit for the stairs. The sight of
ripe ass, flagpoles and bouncy breasts would be funny to Sunao if it
wasn't for the fact it was happening on his watch. Stepping onto the
second floor, the sweating man's sight revealed some customers already
flying past him to safety. He followed the same routine but limited
himself to unopened doors. It is on his way up to the third floor that
Sunao caught the first scent of smoke. As fast as his tired legs can
more, he followed the trail of smoke coming from the fourth floor.
Holding a handkerchief to his mouth and nose, Sunao headed for the only
occupied room on the fourth floor, number 40.

Upon seeing the gray haze gliding from under the door, Sunao's right
hand reached for the doorknob only to yank his hand back when the hot
metal burned his hand. Picking up his pluck, he took two steps back and
threw a sharp kick into the door with his right leg. The momentum took
Sunao's body to the threshold as the door swung inward. The new air
caused an explosion of flame to boil out of the room engulfing Sunao's
frame. His reflexes prevented the heat from catching his clothes on
fire but the red fingers whipped across his face, burning the light
from his eyes. Staggering in the world of darkness, Sunao luckily
reached the stairs and stumbled down them as he held onto the railing.

A few minutes later Sunao's ears hear heavy steps coming up the stairs
and a familiar voice in his ear, "Sunao-dono, what's wrong."

"Oni," Sunao's face covered with tears falling from sightless eyes. "An
oni onna dressed in flames."

Sunao's associate helped him down the stairs as the sound of booted
feet and the dragging of heavy hoses echo up to them.
**********
Masaki Residence
Katsuhito calmly walked in the soft moonlight of the early night to his
adopted son's house. The chance to watch his favorite program without
interruption was something he couldn't pass up. With the family in
Bisei, he would have the house all to himself. After taking his geta
(wood sandals) off in the genkan, the elder mumbled, "How fresh the air
is even though I haven't been in the house all day."


On soundless feet Katsuhito checked each room but found nothing until
he reached his grandson's room. As he examined the bed, a drop of fresh
blood on the window's still caught his eye. The priest opened the
window to look out. There he found two smears of dirt running
horizontal on the outer wall. The gray-haired man lightly dropped to
the ground, making sure to land five feet away from area below the
bedroom window. Carefully touching the ground, Katsuhito could feel the
grass springing back up from where a man had landed on it just minutes
ago.

When Katsuhito stood up, the heavenly radiance around the elder
suddenly dimmed. Looking up, his red eyes caught sight of a huge
silhouette move across the face of the Moon. Turning to his left,
Katsuhito noted a small spark of green in the area of Ryoko's cave. "So
Isekiwari (Ruin Breaker) has finally arrived," the wiry man commented.
After a few minutes pass by, the ship pulled out of the orbit between
the Earth and the Moon.
**********
The Soja
Before a huge screen, Kagato studied the Jurain Tree Ship revealed by
the glare of the Sun. His eyes narrow as he recognized the ship and he
said to himself, "So she has come. Well, Ryoko, I'm going to let you
have a few more days of freedom until your visitor leaves. But don't
worry, I haven't forgotten how much you enjoyed playing with my other
creations. By this game, I will know how well your abilities have grown
over the past seven hundred years and the skills of the others." The
tall figure's mind touched Soja's controls, sending the craft on a
course to Jupiter. Then he close his red eyes as his mind extended down
a neglected path as his cold words leave his lips, "Awaken Kuraihoshi.
I have a little task for you to do."

At the Gokoku-jinja (shrine) in Fukuyama, Yoshihiro Yonezawa noted the
greenish glow coming from under the door of the Honden Hall (Hall of
the Kami). Curiosity perked in his mind and his feet carried to the
door. He was high enough in the priest's hierarchy to enter the
holy-of-holily without offending the resident Kami. As his left-hand
slide the door open, he found the room bathed in a radiant glow coming
from a ruby set in a gold necklace, resting on the altar. Awe flooded
his spirit while a soundless voice entered his mind, 'Yonezawa-sama,
you are great in spirit. You have shown to me that you are the prefect
vessel to carry forth my words and deeds. Come to me, touch my ki and
we will be one.'

Trained to obey, trained to believe without question and proud to be
the chosen of the shrine's Kami, Yonezawa walked to the altar and
closed his left hand on the glowing gem. A muted scream parted from his
lips as he felt his soul consumed bite by bite by the invading
creature. 'It has been centuries since I've had such a tasty morsel.
This shell will make it possible for me to carry out Kagato-tono's
command.' The body that once was Yoshihiro Yonezawa left Gokoku Shrine
never to return.
**********
The Masaki Residence
Katsuhito came out the dark woods, heading for the house again while
his thoughts continued to play in his mind, 'Funaho-Ki's senses allowed
me to track his path but by the time I reached the dirt road on the
hill south of the lake, the person was gone. When I asked her why she
hadn't discovered him earlier, she shamefully replied her passive
sensor hadn't detected him. Interesting, a being able to avoid a first
generation Ki's perception. Well, maybe I'll get a chance to see my
second favorite show.'

Still dressed in his priestly grab, the tan-faced man came around the
south corner of the house only to see a figure walking up the dirt
driveway from the main road. 'It seems this is a night for late
visitors.'

As Katsuhito slowly walked to meet the visitor near the starry lake,
the moonlight washed the colors from his eyes but he could tell the
person was a woman about his height, whose single ponytail almost
stroked the ground. She was in a causal dress with an ankle length
skirt, a dark heavy coat and a Russian styled fur hat. At a few feet
from the woman, the elder stopped, gave a short bow and told her, "I'm
sorry, the shrine is closed for the day. I can offer you the
hospitality of segare's home for the night so you don't have to catch
the bus back to town."

Before he could react, the woman covered the space between them and
embraced Katsuhito. The air in the priest's lungs is forced out by the
massive hug as the lady's amused words find his ears, "Yosho-chan, have
I changed so much that you can't recognize me?"

The recognition of her voice triggered a wave of fear in his spirit for
his greatest opponent has arrived on Earth, the Oni Hime Jurai (Demon
Princess of Jurai). Katsuhito had just enough breath to reply,
"Konnichiwa . . . obasama (grandmother)."

The Jurain princess held her breathless grandson out at arms' length
and said grinning, "Kya, you look older than Hajime-dono and he's just
over two thousand years old."

"Is . . . he still . . . guarding otousama?" the priest's lungs
refusing to give up its air.

"He still carries Misaki-dono's load when it comes to protecting
Azusa-dono's," answered Seto as she turned her Katsuhito around,
draping her left arm over his shoulders and strongly gripped his left
arm.

"And Misaki-okasama's garden?" Katsuhito tossed out a question to give
him some time to organize his thoughts.

"Like a rainbow brought down to earth," her words matched the knowing
look in Seto's eyes. "But that's not what you want to know, ne?"

"Honto ni?" asked the gray-haired man as the two walked toward the
darkened house.

"I might see old bones but I feel young flesh," amusement danced in her
red eyes.

"Oi . . ." this one word encompassed Katsuhito's fears.

"Don't worry, Yosho-chan," Seto tightened her grip on his left arm. "I
carry a thousand secrets no one knows about."

A sigh of relief escaped Katsuhito's thin lips.
**********

Onsen, Bisei
The air crackled with electricity as Mihoshi's blond head came up to
view the broken cement, bare wires and shattered plaster around her
prone body. Her sapphire eyes water from the heavy smoke but she
ignored all the destruction around her except for one item, the slender
arm in a blue tattered shirtsleeve sticking out from under a huge block
of pseudo-marble.

"Kiyone?" her pink lips speckled blood on the ground in front of her.

"Kiyone!" she tried to shout but only got blood choked words out.
Mihoshi's mind filled with confusion over why her body won't take her
to her dearest friend. Her pointed ears detect the sound of running
feet and she commanded in slow words, "Help . . . Kiyone."

Her vision started to darken at the edges as several sets of black
booted feet and a pair of knees comes into view. "MEDIC, OFFICERS
DOWN," shouted a voice just above her head. "Bring the LIFE SUPPORT
GENERATORS, NOW!"

"Please . . . Kiyone," tired words sighed from Mihoshi's pretty mouth
while her consciousness disappeared.

The sound of Sasami opening the outer sliding door, to the room the
sisters shared with the officer, brought Mihoshi out of the shadows of
the past. She knew it was only a remembrance but she couldn't stop the
tears from trickling out of her closed eyes as one word leaked from her
cringing lips, "Kiyone."
**********

Chapter One: Landslide
Masaki Residence
In the kitchen, Katsuhito poured water in the steel teakettle and
placed it on the blue flame of the right front burner, then turned back
to his most recent visitor and calmly said, "So the Oken Iinkai Jurai
received Funaho-Ki's signal."

"I don't really know," replied his grandmother with a sly look on her
beautiful face while she sat on a tall stool next to the kitchen's
island. "I'm here on my own initiative."

"Oi . . . so you're here in your other capacity," the elder's sly look
matched Seto's.

"I just came to see how my grandchildren are doing," her voice equal to
the amusement in her red eyes.

"You know about Ayeka and Sasami?" asked the priest.

"Yosho-dono, someone would have to steal my eyes for me not to see
Ryu-oh at the bottom of the lake," a small smile graced her lips.


"But that's not the only reason, na?" Katsuhito asked as he opened the
cover's door to get the container of green tea.

"I've come to warn you," a serious tone entered the tall lady's words.
"Kagato-san is here."

"I know," replied gray-haired man.

"Ara . . ." fear in Seto's one word.

"He went to Ryo . . ." Katsuhito is unable to stop his words but saw
the flicking smile on Seto's face and gave his grandmother a stern
look.

"So the story you told Azusa-dono was not true," calmness in the
blue-haired lady's words.

"Not completely," Katsuhito sighed. "I defeated Ryoko-dono but I hid
her in a cave near the shrine."

"But why lie to your otousama," a touch of curiosity in Seto's words as
she noted the honorific Katsuhito used.

"To defeat Ryoko-dono, I had to merge her Gems with Tenchiken," a trace
of the emotion of that day entered his voice. "When I succeed, her
memories flooded into my ki, some she didn't even remember."

"And what did they tell you?" prodded the lady in the light blue dress.

"That she was not responsible for her crimes," Katsuhito tried to
control his emotions. "She was controlled like a puppet by Kagato-san."

"How did it happen?" wonderment in Seto's voice.

"I learned Ryoko-dono was created by someone close to you, obasama,"
sadness entered the elder's words. "She was lovely nurtured by this
person into a kirei ojosan (a pretty young girl) but then Kagato-san
caged her creator and erased Ryoko-dono's original ki, replacing it
with what became the akurei of hakai."

"Who created the akurei?" a dangerous tone entered the beautiful lady's
words.

"Hakubi Washu," Katsuhito answered.

"Washu-chan!" Seto cried with a mix of unsurpassed affection and
sadness.

"Hai," continued the gray-haired man. "I couldn't destroy Ryoko-dono,
not after what Kagato-san had done to her but I couldn't restore her
first ki nor could I turn her over to otousama because he would have
treated her like a weapon. The only thing I could do was to seal her in
a cave and pray to Tsunami-megami that something could be done to save
her."

"Were your prayers answered, Yosho-dono?" Seto's eyes full of hope.

"Hai. In the form of your great-great-grandson, Tenchi," replied
Katsuhito as he prepared himself for her reaction.

"An HIMUSUKO (great-grandson)," shouted Seto as she leaped from her
seat to embrace her grandson with her strong arms. After a few minutes
of motherly joy and the sound of bones popping, Yosho's grandmother
held him at arms' length and happily asked, "When do I get to see him?"

"He's . . . with . . . Ayeka, Sasami, Ryoko-dono and his otousan,"
Katsuhito struggled to regain his breath. "They went to an onsen in a
nearby town and will be back tomorrow morning."

"Gu," the joyful music in that one word is quickly replaced with
concern. "The akurei is with our children?"

"Without Ryoko-dono's presence we would've lost one of those children,"
guilt encased his words.

"Ayeka-chan," a cold gaze entered Seto's eyes.

"When Ayeka discovered I had betrayed her koi (romantic love) for me by
remaining here and marrying another, it destroyed the plans she had
crafted for the last seven hundred years," confessed Seto's grandson.

Seto's eyes grew wide with dread at what Katsuhito was implying and she
asked, "But Ryu-oh would've comforted her."

"Mo. In her obsession to find me, she tortured Ryoko-dono and made it
quite clear what she planned to do to the uchu kaizoku," every fiber in
the man's body could feel Seto's hard gaze. "Ryoko-dono had no choice
but to crash Ryu-oh and the crash damage temporary suppressed the link
between Ayeka and her bondmate until it could repair itself."

"You didn't help her?" an accusing tone in Seto's words.

"Mo, I thought Ayeka's ki to be like iron but I discovered too late her
despair made her want to cry tears of blood," the elder lowered his
head.

"If you didn't save Ayeka-chan then who . . ." Seto's anger faulted.

"Ryoko-dono," Katsuhito's head snapped up to face his grandmother.

"The akurei?" Seto wondered.

"That 'akurei' saved Ayeka's life, that 'akurei' prevented a great
dishonor from staining our kazoku and that 'akurei' has done everything
to atone for the blood on her hands," deep respect echoed in the
priest's words.

A small smile appeared on Seto's face before she said, "You show deep
feelings for her."

Katsuhito's eyes roll upward when he realized he had fallen for one of
his grandmother's tricks. He released a sigh and countered, "By
touching Ryoko-dono's mind, by living her memories, I couldn't deny
salvation to her."

"So your magomusuko (grandson) is her salvation?" Seto asked.

"Originally I didn't think so," deep sorrow entered the elder's tone.
"Eighteen years ago I believed my musume, Achika, was destined to free
Ryoko-dono from her prison but it was a false hope. Her life was given
for something I couldn't see."

"I feel the pain in your heart, Yosho-dono," soft words left her sad
lips as she reached forward with her right hand to remove the tiny gem
of love from his tanned cheek for she knew how much pain it took to
bring this kind of emotional display from her grandson.

"Before Achika died, she gave birth to Tenchi," Katsuhito gained some
control over his feelings. "Eleven months later as I was grinding my
mind over how to help Ryoko-dono, I saw my musume carrying Tenchi in a
haversack on her back, near the entrance to Ryoko-dono's cave. Because
of my training as a Shinto priest, I could see a ghostly image of a
young woman with long cyan hair at the cave's mouth."

"Ryoko-san?" a tone of amazement in Seto's words.

The priest nodded and continued, "But I wasn't the only one who could
see her. When Achika started to pass the opening, Tenchi let out a
little cry as his left hand reached out to Ryoko-dono's astral body."

Seto's face went slightly pale at her grandson's words before she
stated, "For him to see and react to Ryoko-san like that, there has to
be a deep link between the two."

"Furthermore, someone had to help Ryoko-dono to project her astral body
for she had tried so many times before without success," acknowledged
the gray-haired man.

"Tsunami-megami!" the tall lady added as she got off the stool while
Katsuhito removed the whistling kettle and turned off the burner. "But
Ryoko-san attacked Jurai, murdered her people and destroyed her ships.
Why would she bond an enemy with your son?"

"I'm not certain but I do have a question for you, obasama," requested
the elder as he poured the hot water over the tealeaves into a ceramic
teapot. "I know Sasami went through the Seijingi (Spirit Concern) but
was the Seikizuna (Spirit bond) performed with her."


"Hai," enlightenment entered the blue-haired lady's eyes. "With
Tsunami-megami."

"Then Tsunami-megami is now a ship?" asked Katsuhito as he led his
grandmother out of the kitchen to the chabudai (a low table) in the
living room. In his leathery hands, he carried the teapot and a pair of
small white cups on a tray decorated with the images of pink cherry
blossoms.

"Hai, the most powerful ship in the universe," nodded Seto but then she
frowned, "but the ship disappeared seven hundred years ago."

"The same time Sasami went with Ayeka to search for me?" questioned her
grandson.

"Hai, although Tsunami-megami continued to communicate to us though the
Trees' group mind," answered the tall lady as she knelt on the blue
pillow at the front of the table while her grandson knelt on her right.

"With Sasami being the bondmate of Tsunami-megami, it could explain a
few things that have left me feeling like I was fooled by a fox,"
Katsuhito added while he filled the cups with the green liquid.

"Let me guess," Seto said as she accepted the cup from her grandson.
"Tsunami-megami decisions have always been coldly logical, but now that
has changed. Besides her decision to help Ryoko-san, she has stopped
giving commands to your otousama. Instead she gives him advice as does
the Trees to their bondmates."

The elder nodded, took a sip of his drink and replied, "Tsunami-megami
is showing an almost human nature and I think it's because something
happened during Sasami's Seikizuna."

"What?" concern in her red eyes as she took a small sip and savored the
tea's flavor.

"I don't know for sure," replied the elder. "The only thing I can be
certain are both Sasami and Tsunami-megami have the same aura."

"How do you know this?" shock in Seto's voice.

"Sasami's petto was accidentally killed during Ryu-oh's crash-landing.
We did the Wakare Ni Shindeiru for it and Sasami did the sacred dance,"
replied the gray-haired man. "When Tsunami-megami entered her body,
Sasami's aura grew stronger instead of being overshadowed and when
Tsunami-megami left her, her aurora decreased slowly instead of
immediately."

"For them to have the same aura, Sasami-chan would have to become a
part of Tsunami-megami and the Seikizuna only creates a psychic link
between the Tree and the bondmate," countered Seto, she took a sip from
her blue teacup.

"Under normal conditions this would be true," admitted the priest, he
offered more tea to the tall lady. "But Sasami bonded with
Tsunami-megami, Saishono Ki Jurai (First Tree of Jurai)."

"Yosho-dono," Seto's red eyes fill with comprehension as she held out
her cup to accept the offer. "You believe because of Tsunami-megami's
special nature, the Seikizuna went beyond the regular bonding."

"Hai but this led me to a question which brought pain to my head," the
elder added while pouring the tea.

"Why Sasami-chan?" guessed the blue-haired woman, she takes a small sip
from the hot tea.

"If Tsunami-megami had chosen someone of greatness to bond with, I
could understand it," the sip of the tea covered the visible concern on
his old lips. "But her choice was a kochan of no power or influence,
whose future is likely a cold marriage bed with an ambitious man."

"There is probably a reason, Yosho-dono," Seto calmly retorted, she
took another sip of the green drink. "Each Tree selected by
Tsunami-megami to bond with a Masaki family member has been special.
Within Azusa-dono's Kirito-Ki is the ki of Mitsuki-sama, Funaho-dono's
and my musume's bonding with Nijumi-Ki (Mizu-ho and Kar-in) gave to
them the closeness of lovers, your Funaho-Ki's motherly nature is
similar to Funaho-dono's and there is an unshakable loyalty between
Ayeka-dono and Ryu-oh."

"Well, it's getting late and we can puzzle over these questions during
the rest of your stay," suggested Katsuhito as he stood up and offered
his right hand to his grandmother. "Let me show you to our guestroom."

Seto gave the offered arm a contemptuous smile, then bounced up on her
legs and said to him, "Yosho-dono, my years haven't reduced to needing
a cane."

The priest suppressed a little smile as he led her up the living room
stairs. When they reached the second level, the red-eyed man asked, "I
always wondered how you met Hakubi Washu. Can you tell me?"

Seto's eyes gain a distance gaze in them and replied, "The first memory
my mind has is the sad face of a redheaded girl holding me in her firm
embrace as I cried on her soft chest."

"What happened?" concern in Katsuhito's voice as he took her to the
guestroom's door.

"Before Kamiki Ushio became my satooya (foster parent), I was the child
of a Jurain treasure hunter named Yokai. He was searching the ruins on
a planet called K1190 when the world was attacked by uchu kaizokus. I
was six years old thus the savagery of the attack destroyed my memory.
I only know that both Ushio-dono and Washu-chan found me wandering over
the ravaged landscape," Seto's voice filled with sorrow. "The little
scientist tenderly took care of me for two years while Ushio-otousama
searched for my relatives but he couldn't find any."

"Gomen nasai, obasama" Katsuhito's tone matched hers as his left hand
slid the door open for the blue-haired woman.

"Since Ushio-dono's offspring were all grown up, he decided to bring me
into his family," tears made the tall lady's eyes glisten. "My heart
broke when I had to leave Washu-chan because we both lost something
precious on that planet, I lost my past and she lost her best friend,
Akara Naja."

"Maybe we can help Washu-dono?" words of comfort leave the gray-haired
man's thin lips as his weathered right hand rested on her left
shoulder.

"I hope so, she was once an okasama to a lost child," answered Seto as
her right hand patted his hand entering the room.

"Oyasumi, obasama" added Katsuhito, he closed the door behind her.

"Oyasumi . . . Yosho-dono," a sob fragmented Seto's reply.
**********
'Seto-chan,' echoed within the mind of the little prisoner in the
crystal monolith. 'So you have come to see what Tsunami-megami has
helped bring into being on that little blue marble, but please don't
help me. A thousand tears fill my ki and I don't think I could live
with one more . . .' Washu's mind dropped back down the path of days
already gone by to find herself standing on a flat plain with two hot
suns burning down from the white sky. Next to her stood the Jurain
noble, Kamiki Ushio, his craggy face wet but the stinging particles of
sand in the wind weren't the reason for his tears. In front of them are
several clear glass headstones, each with a name of a person who
shouldn't have to die so young. Behind the tall sky-blue-haired man and
the fiery-haired girl were the remnants of the scientists and treasure
hunters the two had rescued from the uchu kaizokus' attack.

"Gomen nasai, Washu-chan. I couldn't save her," his words barely
recognizable over the howling east wind. "Naja-dono and you were my
friends as well as my sensei. The rest of my life will be a little more
empty without her."

"I knew Naja-dono was dead the moment her ki screamed across the void
to me," her voice deadened by grief, her green eyes unable to shed any
more tears.

Just then the sound of heedless crying reached the small group's ears.
From behind the farthest headstone a blue-haired child stumbled out to
land on all fours. The little one struggled to stand but the wild wind
yanked the babe off her feet and went tumbling into a marker. Washu
could feel the rag-covered tot's howls of agony rip across her soul and
without knowing how she got there, the ageless girl was on her knees
with arms full of a weeping girl.

"Does anyone know the kazoku this child belongs to?" Ushio shouted over
his shoulder.

"She was with her father," replied a scientist, his right arm in a
magno-cast. "He died helping Naja-sensei against the murderers."

"Without their sacrifice we wouldn't be alive," stated a female
treasure hunter with jet-black hair.

"I'll find someone to take care of her while we search for her
relatives," there was certainty in the noble's strong voice as he came
to stand next to Washu and the child. "We owe him that much."

"There is no need to find someone," answered the kneeling Washu, her
head buried in the little one's tangled hair as her own salty rivers
mingled with the child's own. "I'll take care of the akachan."

Sudden understanding hit Ushio's mind and he replied, "Hai."

Washu's mind rebounded back out of the land of yesterday with a
desperation born of affection, 'For once I plead to whatever controls
our fates, spare my Hoshi-chan (little star) from whatever curse is
riding my back that denies happiness to those I love.'

A light breath blew over the ocean of her consciousness then vanished
as quickly as it came. The threat of tears disappeared as the warmth
the breeze left behind dispelled Washu's fear. 'Domo arigato
gozaimasu,' thanked the woman in children's guise.
**********
Langly looked at the glowing numbers on his watch as he waited for the
witching hour to arrive.

"Late as usual?" Frohike's words mumbled by the plastic straw in his
mouth.

"In about three minutes he will be," answered blond longhair after
swallowing the last bite of his chicken fingers.

"He wouldn't be the Single Bullet if he was on time," countered Byers
as he deposited the foam container that once held his dinner.

"You know when Mulder requested information on the Single Bullet, I
didn't realize how little we know about him," Langly stated. "The false
birth record threw us off at first, but then we contacted the mother,
who told us the infant died in childbirth."

"The first real bit of information is his participation in NICAP before
going to Japan in 1972," added Byers. "Before that we have only rumors
about him being in Russia, China, Vietnam and other countries around
the globe."

"A real globetrotter," voiced Frohike as he made a three-point shot
with his emptied paper cup. "I wonder why he left NICAP to join us?"

"Well, the Lone Gunmen is a smaller organization with very limited
contact with each member," replied Byers. "Unlike NICAP which has been
infiltrated by the different shadow governments a long time ago."

"I find it strange he would select Japan to be his home turf,"
continued the short bald man. "A place where a round eye would stick
out like a sore thumb, especially with the guise he took on."

"A high profile position which his antics made more so," as Langly
words leave his lips, the computer's monitor came to life.

SB: What happens when Socks meets Buster.

LG: The dog has cat for dinner.

SB: Well, at least I don't go to any eatery near an animal shelter.

LG: What's the scoop?

SB: Operation Catwoman is up and running. The family left for a weekend
splash at a hot spring so I built my blind and placed my eyes and ears
in every important location about the house and property but I couldn't
get the shrine because the old priest stayed behind. I also didn't
touch the sacred tree or the cave because both places give me the
creeps.

LG: Anything else to report.

SB: Just that I got really lucky. While placing the bugs in the house
the old man walked in and almost caught me. I got out through a third
story window and you know what, the priest dropped out of the same
window just minutes behind me. God, he must be in great shape to pull
that off at his age! It took a UFO to distract him long enough for me
to get away.

LG: A UFO!

SB: Something gigantic passed between the Earth and the Moon. I didn't
get a good look because I was making tracks. You might want to check it
out.

LG: Will do. Is there anything else?

SB: My beeper went off just before I logged on. One of my many
listeners reported a strange occurrence near the town of Bisei.

LB: You're going there?

SB: It might be interesting.

LB: Keep us posted.

SB: Roger Wilco, over and out.
**********
Kuraihoshi worked his way out of the park surrounding the Shinto shrine
as his brown eyes beheld the buildings of brick and mortar embraced by
a land of concrete and asphalt. "These primitives are more interested
in making copies of themselves instead of making a better world," the
body snatcher muttered in disgust. "Well, more nourishment for me."

The body's ears heard an approaching noise to the right. The creature
turned the shell to behold a blue metal box on wheels. "Ah . . . basic
transportation with a snack in it," the words matched the evil smirk on
the body's lips. When the car reached spitting distance of the body,
Kuraihoshi moved it into the vehicle's path.

Irie Hamaji was listening to Komo Toko on her Mitsubishi's CD player
when a figure of white and blue appeared in her high beams. A widening
of her brown eyes is all she could do as a heavy thump told her the
result. The young girl with black hair with a dusting of gold flakes
upon her face screeched her car to a stop, threw the driver's door open,
got out and ran to the body on the road. A pure look of horror gripped
her spirit as she crouched to shake the broken form with her left hand.

"SOMEONE! GET THE KEISA . . . " her screamed words freeze in her throat
as an icy hand gripped her outstretched hand. Her mind felt a presence
entered her body and started to consume her consciousness. Unlike the
previous feeding Kuraihoshi slowly sucked in pieces of her being so he
could delight in the whimpers escaping her painted lips, whimpers
caused by the waves of pleasure and pain on her petite body. Later, the
cold hand of the broken body dropped to the ground while a female body
stood up and commented, "I've forgotten how luscious a female spirit
was. Their fears, their lusts and their hopes are so open, so
unrestricted."

The body in the short red miniskirt walked back to the car, entered it
and closed the door. "Ahhh . . . what is that horrible sound," pain
lashed Kuraihoshi's being. The body's eyes catch sight of the spinning
dish in the CD player and without thought Kuraihoshi had the right-hand
smash repeatedly into the device, ignoring the ripped skin and flesh.
Once the noise stopped, the creature focused the body's senses back on
the rest of the machine's interior. At each button or switch the being
found, he activated it, watched the result and then turned it off. With
methodically patience, the inhabitant learned the how the machine
function. He tested the steering wheel in front of him and felt the
vehicle's front wheels match its movement. When the body snatcher
pressed the pedals on the floor, the body's ears told him the right one
caused the machine's propulsion system to make more noise and one of
the many dials to register something called rpms stick, but the left
pedal seemed to do nothing. Finally, the creature noted the stick
between the front bucket seats and noted the settings along its side.
He grabbed the stick with the wounded hand and pulled it down one
setting. No response came from the vehicle so he used the slender right
leg to push on the right pedal. The black device sluggishly moved
forward with a grinding noise. Checking the settings again the body's
brown eyes saw a lever next to the left hand pulled all the way back.
The hand with the gold painted fingernails grasped the lever and tried
to push it in be it wouldn't bulge. Then the feeling in the hand told
him the lever had a button on it. He pushed the button on it and the
lever went in with ease. Again the right foot carefully pressed the
right pedal, this time the big mechanism moved smoothly forward and
quickly picked up speed. Because of the response of the vehicle's front
wheels to the round object in front of him, the creature took hold of
the wheel with both hands. The long fingered hands made small left and
right turns with the steering wheel and noted with satisfaction the
corresponding responses from the car. 'This machine isn't much
different from the other ground movers I've used and these black paths
are similar to other ones designed for such transportation devices,'
arrogance in the being's thoughts.

Kuraihoshi turned the car one-eighty to put it on the course his master
commanded him to go, barely missing a parked car and a black van, with
speakers on top, moving the opposite direction. Hearing the angry
shouts from behind him, the being smirked, "You are lucky I have to put
business before pleasure." The black car disappeared into the early
morning night.
**********
6:55 a.m. NZK Headquarters, Tokyo
The city bus dropped Mulder and Scully in front of the glass and steel
mountain, which represent law and order in Nihon. As the two walked
toward the front entrance, the brown-haired man asked, "Did you get the
paper?"

"Yes," replied the redhead as she offered a copy of the 'Matsumoto
Standard' to him. The green-eyed man found his partner had already
opened the modest-sized paper to the want ads, with a bright red circle
around one of them.

"Is this what you were looking for, Mulder?" curiosity in her voice.

"So you guessed, Scully?" a sly look on her partner's face.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the only reason
you would want the local paper is that Matsumoto was Hideyuki's
hometown," explained the emerald-eyed lady.

"So you put two-and-two together and came up with this ad for a room
for rent," a small smile appeared on Mulder's lips as both went through
the well-balanced glass doors.

"By Hideyuki Noryuri," added the puzzled woman as she pushed the button
for the elevator. "I just wonder why such interest in his family?"

"Just something I need to take care of, nothing more," replied the man
in the brown suit and matching tie.

"We'll see, Mulder," her words made Mulder's attempt at an angelic pose
look more like a cat who swallowed the carney.

When the elevator's door open Scully entered first followed by Mulder.
As the small room made it way up the guts of the tower, the short lady
is unable to see the taller man's face or she would have noticed the
smile of before has dropped away. Guilt touched his spirit as his
memory conjured up the words he had heard in the glass tower after
young Hideyuki's funeral, 'his okasama has a musume and ojiisama to
take care of . . . she will lose the house unless she can find a good
boarder . . . the gaijin won't carry his responsibility . . .' Words
spoken only because those around him thought he couldn't comprehend
them.

The sudden feeling of weightlessness told Scully that the room had
reached their destination. The metal door opened to a wide room where
her eyes could see multiple desks and her eyes could hear the chaotic
noise of voices and machines. The short lady stepped onto the white
tiled floor and headed toward their office on the other side of the
room but stopped when she noticed something is wrong. Turning
one-sixty, Scully sight beheld Mulder's unmoving form. "Mulder, aren't
you coming?" concern in the tone of her voice.

"Oh . . . just woolgathering, Scully," replied Mulder as he scooted
between the closing door to join her.

The pair walked down the room's main lane to their private office.
Mulder could tell from the knowing glances Scully kept giving him along
the way he needed to knock her off that train of thought. As they
neared the door, the clean-shaven man asked, "When is your first date
with Nobuyuki going to be?"

Scully's right hand froze halfway to the door, her emerald eyes as big
as saucers while her mouth dropped open and said, "What . . ."

"Well, it's been three weeks since you two danced together, although
usually the first dance is part of the initial date," a thin smile
touched Mulder's lips. "But I don't count the party at the Masaki home
unless you plan to put this on the fast track."

"Mulder, what weed did you smoke to get such fantasies," Scully replied
under her breath.

"Scully, you know the only smoked things that past through these lips
are oysters," Mulder smirked.

"Which could explain this fixation on other people's hormones," Scully
frowned as she reached again for the door.

"Let me get that for you, Miss Scully," an out-of-breath voice came
from behind them, spoken in English. A young lady rushed between the
pair, spun on her heels, bowed to each of them while her well-manicured
left hand opened the door.

"Late again, Miss Tac . . ." Mulder's composure disappeared as he
fumbled over her name.

"Tachibana Reiko," Scully remained her partner.

"Miss Tachibana," Mulder finished.

"I had to make sure Michael was fine before I left this morning," a
tone of shame in the black-haired woman's voice.

"Don't worry, Ta . . . chi . . ." Mulder bungled again, then said,
"Hell, can I call you Reiko."

Her right hand came up to cover the tiny smile on her red lips and
replied, "That would be fine, sir."

"Call me, Mulder," added the brown-haired man.

"Yes, Mr. Mulder," Reiko returned, she walked quickly to her desk in
the outer office and turned on the computer.

"Reiko, just Mulder, okay," Mulder's friendly smile removed the edge
from his retort.

"Okay," a touch of blush came to Reiko's round cheeks. With Scully a
few steps behind him, Mulder is unable to see the smile on her red lips
as she thought, 'Mulder doesn't realize what he just did.'

Mulder turned and headed for the inner office door with Scully on his
heels. When his hand grasped the doorknob, he commented to his fellow
American, "This Michael must be something special for her to be late at
work every day."

"Especially here in Nihon where being on time is a national obsession,"
added the redhead, she walked through the opened door.

"He must be really good in bed for her to be reluctant to leave in the
morning," continued the man with mischief in his pale green eyes as he
followed her in and closed the door.

Scully rolled her eyes but then the lopsided smile reappeared on her
face, "Nothing says it couldn't be female."

The laughter in Mulder's soul stumbled over Scully's words, "Er . . . I
wonder when we get our first case?"

"Unknown Mulder but at least we're no longer in the basement," Scully
responded as she looked out the window to see the glass and steel
mountains with concrete valleys and paths of black ribbon.

"I don't know about that, Scully," Mulder frowned. "It STILL feels like
a cage to me."

"Even a gold cage is still a cage, is that it?" asked Scully, she made
her way to her own desk.

"Something like that," answered the suspicious man, he made his way to
his desk.

"At least we're ranked high enough to have a private secretary," her
right hand turned on her desktop computer.

"Or a private spy," Mulder countered.

"You don't trust people do you, Mulder," a disappointed Scully
commented.

"Trust must always be earned, not blindly given," Mulder's eyes flash
with conviction.

"Has anyone ever earned your trust?" Scully's words shot back to her
partner.

"Yes, a handful," Mulder's tone softened as his mind's eye envisioned
two figures, one with amber eyes and the other with pools of pink.
**********
Nobuyuki guided the brown van down the country road from Bisei with the
stormy words of the old lady still ringing in his ears, but those words
drop away as his mind filled with more beautiful images. Ryoko's
interception of his attempt to get his son to view the lady's section
of the onsen was unexpected but the results were magnificent. From his
perfect position near the corner of the bamboo fence, his brown eyes
could see every spot in the forbidden land. He could see Tenchi's pale
face of shyness turned away from the approaching naked Ryoko while both
were in the hot water. The uchu kaizoku knelt just behind his son and
draped her self upon the boy, which drained whatever color still in his
son's face. Nobuyuki's ears couldn't catch the exchange between Ryoko
and Tenchi but he could tell, from the small smile on the ample lady's
lips and his son's continued embarrassment, they were sweet on each
other.

When Sasami came out of women's dressing room with a pink towel around
her preteen body and Ryo-ohki on her head, the middle-age man was glad
the child had covered herself for he didn't want to miss any of the
events due to the child's appearance. The little one gave a happy
greeting to the couple, then shouted to her sister to come. Nobuyuki
frowned at his son's attempt to escape and thought, 'Does he need to be
that bashful?'

Nobuyuki had to choke back his laughter when Ayeka came out took one
look at Tenchi and bolted back indoor. A puzzled Sasami went to see
what was wrong with her sister. His ears detected notes of argument
between the two princesses as the smile on the ample lady's face became
sly while his son's eyebrow twitched. The curvy woman floated up and
away from the youth and passed through the wall. One of the feminine
voices reached a new level of pitch when Ryoko pulled Ayeka back into
view as Sasami followed by the normal way. He could tell from Ryoko's
tone and gestures she was goading Ayeka to join Tenchi but everything
went quiet when something seemed to pass between his son and the older
princess. Ayeka let out a girlish cry while a goofy grin spread across
her face but Nobuyuki's vision saw Ryoko's left hand stealthily pull
Ayeka's towel away. The scream of modesty, the splash of his son
falling back in a faint, the chortle of female laughter and Sasami's
voice of concern came in rapid succession while the older man softly
commented, "Ayeka's chichi (tits) are kawaii but chiisai (small), maybe
she's still developing."

Ryoko continued to laugh as Ayeka wrapped the towel back around and
Sasami took Tenchi behind the boulder. Tenchi's father could plainly
hear the child playfully accuse his son of being a naughty boy. The
young man tried to lie his way out of it but his words only aroused
both the girl's and the cabbit's curiosity to the point where he
confessed his naughtiness and the little one forgave him. 'Well,
Sasami-chan knows about the birds-and-the-bees,' Nobuyuki commented
mentally.

Exchange of words from Ayeka and Ryoko drew the trio's attention back
to them. Again Nobuyuki couldn't make out what Ryoko or Ayeka was
saying but when Ryoko brought her face just inches from the princess'
bosom Ayeka slapped the uchu kaizoku's left cheek which the cyan-haired
woman returned with a double whack. 'Ara . . . I think the neko fight I
told Tenchi about is about to start,' a touch of fear edged his
thoughts as he remembered a certain bridge was demolished the last time
these two tangled.

When Nobuyuki saw Ryoko called up the demon to answer Ayeka's attack,
he decided his perverted nature was well satisfied and he headed down
the rocks as quick as his big feet allow him to. He barely reached the
room him and Tenchi was sharing when the sounds of screams, shattered
bamboo and splintering wood bombarded his ears. In minutes, Tenchi
burst into the room, made his way to his suitcase, opened it, slipped
on the pants he took out and grabbed Tenchiken.

"OTOUSAN! Stay here!" shouted the brown-eyed youth. "An AKUREI is on a
rampage!"

"Ryoko-san's belly is boiling over?" asked Nobuyuki, trying to look
innocent.

"Hai . . . mo . . . I mean the akurei she called up, is in a rage,"
Tenchi replied over his shoulder as he hurried out the room.

The noise of ruin continued for about another ten minutes before
silence reached Tenchi fathers' ears. Leaving the room, the nearly
naked man worked his way down the hall with eyes full of amazement at
the broken onsen. The bespectacled man is half through the facility
when his ears hear voices of Ryoko, Ayeka and Sasami.

"Oi . . . this woman weighs a ton. Why didn't you help us carry her,
Ryoko-san?" came the voice of Ayeka.

"My hands were full," replied the voice of Ryoko.

"You could have teleported Tenchi-sama here then come back to help us
instead of walking all the way here while Sasami and I struggled to
bring her along," Ayeka countered.

"But it's so fun this way," amusement in the uchu kaizoku's voice.

Nobuyuki followed the voices to the onsen's lady's dressing room where
he pressed himself against the doorway to catch every word the trio
spoke.

"Oneesama, isn't that a uniform she's wearing?" asked the voice of
Sasami.

"Hai, it looks familiar but I can't place it," a thoughtful tone in
Ayeka voice but the thump of flesh against wood quickly brought
sharpness to it, "RYOKO-SAN! Why did you take Tenchi-sama's PANTS OFF?"

"Kya, do you want Tenchi to get sick from the wet clothes?" retorted
the cyan-haired woman.

"Sasami! Don't look!" ordered Ayeka while the rustle of cloth could be
heard.

"Ara . . . oneesama, you don't need to cover my eyes. I know where
babies come from," a frustrated tone in Sasami's words. "Besides I
think Tenchi-neechan's mono is kawaii."

"Sasami! Where did you pick up such language?" shock making Ayeka's
words very sharp.

"Don't glare at me, oujosama," Ryoko retorted in a playfully accusing
tone. "You're the one who used bad language in front of her, Remember."

"Eh . . . just get some underwear on him," a touch of embarrassment in
the ruby-eyed lady's words.

"I can do that before breakfast," the amber-eyed woman replied. "I just
happen to have one of Tenchi's boxers here."

"What were you doing with Tenchi-niichan's underwear?" asked a
perplexed Sasami.

"Don't answer, Ryoko-san!" Ayeka sternly commanded.

"Oujosama, your words say no but your blush says yes," Ryoko gleefully
countered, again the sound of flesh thumping against wood told Nobuyuki
of Ryoko placing Tenchi's shorts on the youth.

"Ayeka-neechan, you're blushing," then a mirthful tone hit Sasami
words, "You're both being yancha (naughty), just like Tenchi-niichan!"

"Sasami, don't be baka wa," her words betrayed by the darkening of her
red cheeks which produced a tinkle of giggles from the blue-haired
child and a chuckle from Ryoko's lips.

Just then Nobuyuki heard a moan from a voice he had never heard before.
As the conversation started the unknown voice identified herself as
First Class Detective Kuramitsu Mihoshi of the Galaxy Police, the
person who was now sitting in the shotgun seat next to him while he
drove the van. She was a tall, buxom, dark skin woman with non-Asian
features similar to Ryoko's, including the incisors whose white tips
are just visible against her dark lips. The top of her head is crowned
with wavy blond hair tied into place by a short dark brown ribbon.
While the older man could appreciate the beauty in the GP uniform, it
was the haunted look in those lake blue eyes that drew sympathy from
Nobuyuki's heart for he had seen such a look twelve years ago, in the
reflection of a bathroom mirror.

For the first couple of hours, Mihoshi vibrated with excitement over
the new sights and sounds her senses showed her, the craggy mountains
covered with trees, the deep valleys with well-crafted farms, orchards
with fall leaves and the peaceful towns with friendly people. Added to
this are people within this vehicle, people willing to let her stay
with them. There was Tenchi, the brown-haired youth that saved her
life, sitting on the right side of the backseat and dressed in a dark
green suit with a matching heavy coat. Next to him were the two Jurain
princesses, the proper Ayeka in her dark blue kimono and light blue coat
and the merry Sasami dressed in her green and pink children's kimono
with a bright yellow coat; upon of the little one's head is the fuzzy
criminal, Ryo-ohki. With a blue pillow comforting Ryoko's head, the
former uchu kaizoku dozed on the suitcases in the van's rear luggage
compartment, simply dressed in her blue/gold stripped dress with a pale
green coat. But as blond bombshell became accustomed to her
surroundings, the remembrance the crash had jolted to the surface
started to play again. Again the dark lady was surrounded by
nothingness she couldn't touch, taste, see or feel.

'Himawari (Sunflower), can you hear me,' a soundless voice she
recognized as her grandfather's using her nickname.

'Hai, ojiisama,' her thoughts replied. 'What is wrong with me, why I
can't see you?'

'You're in a life support bed located in the GP Hospital, at the main
space station,' sympathy echoed in his words. 'We're using a telepathy
transmitter/receiver to communicate with you.'

'Is Kiyone all right?' Mihoshi asked. When silence only reached her,
the young lady's voice gained a hysterical tone as she repeated 'IS
KI . . .'

'Keibu Saisho Kaikyu (Detective First Class) Makibi Kiyone is sleeping
forever,' her grandfather's tone hard but caring. 'I feel your loss,
mago (grandchild).' After a few minutes pass her grandfather continued,
'Your body from the neck down was damaged beyond repair, it was a
miracle you were still alive when your backup found you.'

'Did the criminals escape?' a hard tone came out of the speaker.

'Hai, they used the explosion to cover their theft and exit,' answered
the blond man. 'We can offer you three . . .'

'What happened to the CHILDREN?' angry words interrupted him.

'The explosion killed them,' his words barely a whisper.

Time passed before her grandfather could gain control over his emotions
again, 'the three options we can offer you are: to let nature follow
its course, transplant your brain into a clone or use a top
secret . . .'

'I want the GPCB,' hard determination plainly heard in Mihoshi words.

'How do you know about the GPCB?' unfamiliar voice asked.

'Tekkoko was my friend,' Mihoshi evenly replied.

'Besides curiosity wears a police officer's uniform,' added the GP
Marshall.

'Oi . . .' replied the other voice.

'Mihoshi, are you sure of this decision?' concern in her grandfather's
words.

'Hai, death is not an option and a cloned body would take sixteen
months to grow with a 23 percent possibility of rejection by my brain,'
strength in Mihoshi's words. 'The GPCB is fully compatible.'

'But there are risks involved, the learning curve to use the GPCB is
high and the possibility of psychological change is still there,'
informed the other voice.

'I'm a Galaxy Police officer, I hold the sword of justice in my right
hand, the scale of truth in the left and danger is my business,' her
words ring from the speaker.

'Then rest, Himawari . . .'

"Putting your heart into something, Kuramitsu-sama?" Nobuyuki's words
yank her mind out of the past.

"Ara . . . just touching a few memories," her bright blue eyes sparkle
in the morning light. "But please call me Mihoshi, we don't need to be
so formal since you were so kind to me."

"It's easy to be nice to such a pretty person like you," countered the
man in the driver's seat.

Mihoshi stated between giggles, "You're . . . such . . . a flirt."

"One of my many talents," A grin appeared on the older man's tan face
as he changed the topic, "I must say, you handle our language quit
well, Mihoshi-san."

"Well, Juraigo is the commerce/diplomatic language of the Ginga Yunion
(Galactic Union). So I'm very lucky your language is so similar to it,"
a light to the serious lady's voice. "But even if it wasn't, I would
master the words. Because of my work as a Galaxy Police officer, I've
learned Hazardgo, Lumgo, Otakugo, Zeongo, Oriongo . . . "

As Mihoshi rattled off the languages she knew to the increasing
astounded Nobuyuki, Tenchi head swam with questions over the events of
the past twenty-four hours but each one of them pointed at the same
source, Ryoko. 'Why did Ryoko bring Ayeka-san out? Ayeka-san would have
waited and Sasami-chan's prodding wouldn't make any difference,'
soundless words bounced in his head. 'But Ryoko brought her out, kidded
her about trying to seduce me at the storage shed and even goaded her
into entering the pool with me. Even through Ryoko pulled her towel
away I wonder what would've happened if Ayeka hadn't overreacted and I
hadn't fainted. What happened afterward was just as much Ayeka's fault
as Ryoko's with things getting out of control. Yet I still wonder over
Ryoko's intentions. Was she just playing with our feelings or was she
testing me, testing Ayeka or testing both of us?'

As the youth tried to answer his own questions the lady with purple
bangs was struggling with her own puzzlement. 'Why can't I keep my
thoughts away from Tenchi-sama? I love my itoshii oniisama yet each
time my mind wandered I would find my eyes would drift to Tenchi-sama,
to his kind brown eyes, to his shy smile, to his strong bo . . . I'm
doing it again!' Ayeka snapped her head in the other direction and
locked her ruby eyes on the passing landscape. 'And I let my blood boil
because of that Ryoko-onna . . . yet why did she do it? Was the
bakemono making fun of me or was it something else? She already knew my
attraction to Tenchi-sama so the only thing her actions did was
revealed my interest in him to him.' The adult princess let out a sigh
and continued, 'I've got to get hold of myself and continue my search
for Yosho. Once I find my inazuke this will all be resolved. I'll have
my otto (husband), we can go back to Jurai and Tenchi-sama can come
with us, to gain his birthright.'

Sasami's head swiveled from one side to the other as her little ears
picked up sighs from Ayeka and groans from Tenchi. Constantly her large
eyes would catch her sister staring at their cousin with more than
friendship in her ruby eyes. She knew her sister was being naughty but
when she asked Tsunami about it, the goddess just smiled and told the
little princess she would understand when she was older. Just by that
clue alone Sasami deduced it had something to do with sex but what
exactly it was only left her pouting. 'Even Tsunami-megami treats me
like a kochan,' the little one's thoughts growled which brought a
tinkle of laughter from the heavenly moth that danced around the light
of her spirit. Stopped cold by Tsunami's vague answer, Sasami changed
the conversation to her dream and the ship in the sky. 'Your dream and
the ship are one and will come to pass,' Sasami remembered the
blue-haired goddess' silent words. 'But in what form I cannot tell.
Like you, I can see only one past but a multitude of futures. I just
hope that your neechans, your niichans and we can give the best future
to all.'

As Sasami wondered over Tsunami's second answer, she saw Tenchi's body
stiffened. The little one looked up and grinned at the cause of the
young man's reaction, in her sleep Ryoko had intertwined the youth's
little ponytail in her right hand. Her quick glance at Ayeka discovered
her sister's eyes glued to the passing scenery. So the freckle-faced
girl held her right trigger finger to one corner of her lips and drew
it across to the other corner. Tenchi's let his body relax, gave Sasami
a conspirator's smile and returned to his own musings. Sasami could
feel her heart's lightness when she saw the unconscious smile on
Ryoko's lips and the way Tenchi seemed to accept the cyan-haired lady's
physicality. Sasami was proud Tsunami had asked her opinion about
Yosho's prayers on behalf of Ryoko and happy Tsunami had accepted
Sasami's advice to help Ryoko. But the very action of Tsunami
soliciting for her advice left the little one confused. 'Why would
Tsunami-megami need to ask for my advice, Am I not one of her
creations, just as Jurai is, just as the Trees are?' Sasami's
unanswered questions weigh down her heart. 'Wouldn't she already know
my words, my ki? It's not like I'm the real Sasami.'

"Miya?" Ryo-ohki's one word of concern touched Sasami ears as the fuzzy
cabbit's right paw touched the little princess' nose, allowing her to
look directly into the left pink orb. The sight of the upside-down
face brought uncontrollable giggles from the child's body, which caused
Ryo-ohki to lose his footing. "Miya!" escaped from the gray-furred
animal but the fall was short because Sasami's pink hands caught her.
The blue-haired child raised the floppy-eared being to eye level,
giving Ryo-ohki a chance to lick the princess' upturned nose, her
sandpaper tongue produced another cascade of mirth from the little
noble. After Sasami gave Ryo-ohki a reassuring pat, she placed Ryoko's
friend back on her blue head.

Ryo-ohki settled back down on Sasami's head but she turned her
attention on her companion of five thousand years, Ryoko. Within her
OS, the cabbit contained the memory of her previous incarnation and for
the last two weeks she had been comparing Ryoko behavior before her
imprisonment and now. Gone was the killing machine, gone was the war
lover and gone was the akurei of destruction. A being full of
conflicting emotions replaced the one she helped destroy twenty-eight
planets and sixty-eight colonies. The battleship saw a kindness,
tenderness, in Ryoko's actions that her companion tried to hide with
the old pride, the old devilishness. The first tip off of this new
nature was Ryoko's mental request to the just hatched Ryo-ohki to help
Ayeka. Ryoko flooded her psychic link to Ryo-ohki with images of the
week before the white-socked animal's rebirth, especially the
purple-haired woman's attempt at taking God's breath from herself. It
took some work to drive the clouds away from the older princess' spirit
but it was worth it, for it revealed a sun just waiting for the dawn.
Then Ryoko asked Ryo-ohki to stay with Sasami, to protect the
fleet-footed child. At first the cabbit was confused by the little
one's twin nature but quickly concluded both is Sasami and the things
she did with carrots made the job a thousand delights.

" . . . then there was the little known language of English which has
become the rage in the Galactic Union since Hyperspace Entertainment
and the Jurain Aza (Black Eye) Productions released Monty Python's
Flying Circus and Dark Shadows to GC2 and JC11. Our execs at
Headquarters even changed our name from Ginga Keisatsu to Galaxy
Police. Now our logo is a GP instead of GE," concluded Mihoshi.

"Well, you'll find most people here know at least a few English words
and English music is very popular," Nobuyuki finally got a few words
in.

"Goody!" the happy blond squealed in English then switched back to
Juraigo. "It will give me a chance to swallow the tune of the words."

When Nobuyuki stopped the van at a crossroad, a light green truck moved
across from the other direction and the older man waved with his left
hand at the other driver who responded by raising his left fingers from
the steering wheel. Ayeka saw the silent exchange and asked, "Someone
you know, Nobuyuki-san?"

"You remember, Ayeka-sama," flashed a smile over his shoulder at her.
"Kawatta-san."

Ayeka flashed back to the last time Tenchi had last played the type and
a small smile graced her plain lips as she said, "The man with the
music." Then the smile changed to a curious look as purple-haired lady
continued, "You and Katsuhito-sama mentioned he was something more.
What did you mean?"

"We're fairly sure he was a third party in the fight over a certain
videotape and otousama believed he could be something more, since he
has been in Nihon for twenty years yet still has the physique of a
young man," answered the brown-eyed man as he moved the vehicle
forward.

"Ara, you mean he might not be an Earthling?" the ruby-eyed woman
asked.

"Don't know," responded the older man. "The two Amerikajin kaku
(American detectives) said they would look into it but I haven't heard
anything from them." Purposely left out by Nobuyuki was his certainty
as to why Mulder and Scully hadn't been around since that faithful
night, Mulder's secretive disposition and Scully's unwillingness to
rush things between her and him.

"Well, maybe if I asked them, they would tell me?" a touch of a fire in
Ayeka's eyes at what she perceived as a snub by the two officers.

"You don't need to go out of your way, Ayeka-sama," Nobuyuki hastily
reassured. "I'm sure their new positions within the NZK are keeping
them busy."

"It's no trouble at all, Nobuyuki-san," Ayeka's voice full of imperial
tone. "Besides I was going to ask a favor from you and this will give
me a chance to repay it."

"Oi?" the brown-haired man puzzled.

"Hai, Katsuhito-sama told me the complete records of Nihon's past are
kept at the Tokyo University and in the National Archives. If I'm to
continue my search for Yosho, those two places would be a good place to
start."

"Tokyo is a huge city and segare won't be able to guide you or protect
you because he is going to school," Nobuyuki frowned.

"I'll be fine," Ayeka smiled at the tanned man's concern.
"Katsuhito-sama furnished me with the addresses for both places and
some funds to pay for my daily expenses."

"Can I come, oneesama?" Sasami cut in.

"Mo, Sasami. You would find my search through dusty records very
boring," Ayeka's absoluteness produced a pout on her sister's face.
This brought sympathetic words from her older sister, "I know this will
be the first time we've been separated but it's for the best. Besides,
Tenchi's ojiisama asked me if you might be interested in doing a few
things with him and I said you might."

Sasami face brightened at Ayeka words and asked, "Did he say what?"

Ayeka leaned her head down to her sister's and replied, "I'll let you
find out on your own, Ii ne (alright)?"

"Ii ne, oneesama," Sasami not completely satisfied with Ayeka's
decision.

"Don't worry, Sasami-chan," chipped in Nobuyuki. "The whole family can
go some other time."

"Hai, it would be much more fun that way, Sasami-chan," Tenchi added
with kindness in his eyes.

"Oke," Sasami smiled at the young man.

"Ayeka-sama, I'll drop you off at the train station tomorrow, when I go
to work and Tenchi goes to school," Nobuyuki informed her.

"Domo Arigato, Nobuyuki-san," Ayeka thanked him. The slim lady turned
to smile at the rest when her eyes narrowed at the sight of Ryoko's
hand intertwined with Tenchi's black ponytail. A dangerous look filled
her face and she opened her mouth but at the last moment, she yanked
her head forward, slammed down her anger and crushed her half-formed
words. 'Mo! I must find my niisan, my itoshii. If Tenchi-sama can
accept the bakemono's touch then why should I object to it.' Then her
body relaxed as another thought filled Ayeka's mind, "Still, the onna
is Sasami's friend and I can think of no one else able to protect her
while both Tenchi-sama and I are gone. I don't know enough about this
GP officer to trust her with Sasami's life.'

Tenchi and Sasami missed Ayeka's reaction but two pairs of eyes, one
blue and one brown, could see the fleeting look of respect on Ayeka's
face from the rearview mirror.
**********
Eight-year-old Togashi Osamu stared down at the two objects just a few
steps below him, a twisted wreck of metal, glass and rubber and the
motionless body of torn cloth, flesh and blood. From the bus stop next
to the road, he had seen the sport car fly off the sharp corner near
his parent's farm. First checking both directions, the little
black-haired boy ran across the street as his sharp ears could hear the
impacts of metal against earth and rock. Quickly the child worked his
way down to where he now stood. Although damaged, the slim boy saw how
pretty the lady was and felt he had to help her. With that thought, he
jumped down to land just inches from the wounded woman, went to one
knee and pressed his left hand to her neck to check for a pulse, just
like Blackjack had done in last night's episode. A sharp intake of air
was the only response the brown-eyed child could manage before his
spirit was gone in one swallow.

"By the Three Whores! To lose that body, that machine and end up with
this small fragile bag-of-bones were stupid!" cold anger dropped from
the childlike voice. "Now, I've got to find some other means to reach
my mission's target!" The boy in the dark blue school uniform climbed
back to the roadway and walked in the direction the car was going while
a childish voice muttered, "Got to find something to get rid of this
taste. Children's souls are so sickly sweet."
**********
7:55 Office of Sato Hitoshi, NZK Headquarters, Tokyo
The first thing Scully noticed was how the spotlessness of the office
reflected Sato's own perfect bearing. Not a hair on his head was out of
place, his brown suit perfectly pressed, the correct tie and bright
white teeth. "A perfectionist," concluded the redhead as she glanced at
her silent partner. "Mulder's going to like this."

In very accented English, Sato told them, "We have received a request
for assistance from the Kurashiki Police to investigate the death of a
young man in a soapland hotel."

"Why would this concern the NZK?" asked the suspicious Mulder.
"Wouldn't it be a waste of your resources?"

"Hyakutaku Shigeru was the only son of a rich industrialist, whose
support is critical to the national government," Sato answered calmly.

"Money talks," Sato inclined his head as his only response to Mulder's
words.

"I also know you've had some dealings with the Kurashiki Police and
know the city," added the much older man.

"True but why our department?" asked an inquisitive Scully. Sato looked
at his private secretary who responded to his silent command by handing
Scully a folder.

"The manager of the pink hotel made a curious statement," his eyes
showing no emotion. "He said a flaming demon woman was responsible for
the fire that killed Shigeru-sama."

Interest gleamed in Mulder's eyes while Scully's head jerked up in
response to her boss' words. "Surely you don't believe him, sir?"
questioned Scully.

"No, I don't but it will take more than the time and skill of the local
police to find the truth," answered Sato. "Especially when it involves
the Yakuza."

"Anything else you can add, sir?" asked a puzzled Mulder.

"Nothing else, Mulder-san," replied the brown-eyed man.

"Then we better get going," said Mulder as he and his partner stood up,
gave a short bow which was returned by Sato and the secretary and left
the room.

"Scully, why is the Japanese Mafia involved?" asked a perplexed Mulder
while the pair walked toward the elevator.

"Mulder, a pink hotel is the Nihonjin version of a brothel," a
professional's look on the redhead's face.

"So these brothels are owned by organized crime," Mulder guessed, his
left hand rubbed his chin.

"Prostitution, loan-sharking, protection and drugs are run by criminal
clans known as the Yakuza," coworkers' ears perk up as they hear Scully
words as the two walked by. "All crime in Nihon is organized into clans
but the Yakuza clans are the most powerful, with their influence
stretching into legitimate businesses and right-wing political
parties."

"Why only those parties," Mulder frowned as his right hand hit the down
button.

"The Yakuza has adopted the mantel of Bushido, the code of the samurai,
and see themselves as protectors of traditional Nihon culture," a
warning look covered her face. "They see the westernization of their
homeland as a cancer that can only be stopped by reviving Nihon's
military past."

"Their version of traditional values," Mulder commented, the elevator's
door opened.

"Being Americans, we might have some trouble with the Yakuza
witnesses," Scully chewed on her lower lip while both entered the large
box.

"Well, maybe talking shop will loosen them up," a playful look on his
face.

"Talking shop?" she turned her head up to look at her partner.

"I wonder how much they charge for a lap dance?" Mulder pretended to
look at the elevator's ceiling for he could feel his annoyed partner's
glare.
**********
Masaki Residence
The morning air still had the crisp chill of November when the brown
van pulled up to the house by the mirror lake. Nobuyuki saw Katsuhito
passing under the red torii near the shrine's stone staircase and head
toward them. Tenchi looked out the window and commented, "A woman is
with jiichan."

"Anyone we know?" Nobuyuki wondered if it was Ninjin-chan.

"No one I know," replied the black-haired youth. Both Sasami and Ayeka
look but Katsuhito's frame blocked their view of the other person.

Even with the noise of the opening of car doors, it is only after
Tenchi's ponytail slipped out of Ryoko's grasp, did the amber-eyed
woman awoke from her pleasant sleep. Stretching her limbs and arching
her back with a yawn, the uchu kaizoku faded from her seat and
reappeared behind the others. Nobuyuki stood in front with Ayeka and
Sasami just behind on his right and Mihoshi a few steps from his left
and Tenchi brought up the rear along with Ryoko. No one could get a
clear look at the lady because Katsuhito purposely blocked his or her
view.

"I had an unexpected guest drop in on me last night," amusement in his
old eyes. "I believe she is a relative of ours, at least it's what she
claimed to be." With those last words the priest made a right sidestep
and revealed a woman in a light blue kimono with a pattern of orange,
red and brown leaves drifting down its length and a red mon of the
Kamiki clan on her left breast.

Tenchi and Nobuyuki heard the sharp intake of air from all the women
around them. Both could tell why the two princesses reacted like they
did because even with the long blue hair, they could tell the
stranger's face was the same as Ayeka's, but both wondered at the look
of happiness on Mihoshi's face and the jaw-dropped shock on Ryoko's
face.

"It's my OBASAMA!" Sasami gave a joyful shout as her little feet
brought the little one to the woman with arms outstretched.


The ruby-eyed lady knelt down, embraced the little one and said in a
sad voice, "Sasami-chan, it's been a long time since you've given your
obasan a hug." These words made Sasami's hug fierce. A happy sound from
the little princess' blue hair brought the lady's eyes up to meet a
pair of yellow eyes within a little furry body with floppy ears. A
little surprised, Seto asked, "What is this dobutsu (animal)?"

"Oi . . ." Sasami was brought back down to earth by her grandmother's
question, Sasami took a step back, picked the cabbit from her head,
held it out to Seto and replied, "This is my friend, Ryo-ohki."

"Miya!" Ryo-ohki joyfully responded as Seto took her from Sasami's and
brought the cabbit close to her face, which allowed the white-socked
being to rub against the lady's perfect chin.

"Ara . . . she's so kawaii," responded Seto as she patted the cabbit's
silky fur. A slight clearing of the throat made the tall lady aware of
her surroundings again and she stood up to greet her other grandchild,
who was just a few steps away.

"Ohayo, obasama," Ayeka greeted Seto with a smile and a proper bow.

With Ryo-ohki still in her left hand, unconsciously stroking the little
creature's back with her right, Seto smiled, returned the bow and
stated, "Ohayo, mago. I understand there are three new additions to our
kazoku. I've met Masaki Katsuhito, could you introduce me to the
younger members."

"Hai," replied the purple-haired lady as she turned left and waved her
left hand for Tenchi to come forward. A curious frown touched Ayeka's
face as she saw the looks on Ryoko's and Mihoshi's faces. With the same
hand, Ayeka guided Tenchi to her side, turned to face Seto and said in
a proper tone, "Kamiki Seto Jurai, the only obasama I've ever had, this
is Masaki Tenchi, a true descendant of my oniisama, Masaki Yosho
Jurai."

"Konnichiwa, Seto-san," Tenchi welcomed Seto but his eyes widen as the
tall lady stepped up to him and held his smooth chin with her right
hand.

Seto turned the youth's head left, then right, then gave a oblique
glance at Katsuhito before she looked at Ayeka and said, "He does
resemble Yosho at this age. What do you think Ayeka-dono?"

"Hai . . . he does . . . obasama," Ayeka's embarrassed words matched
her crimson cheeks just as Seto believed they would.

"Is there anything else confirming his heritage?" asked the noble lady.

"Ten . . . Tenchiken accepted him," Ayeka regained her composure with
her answer.


"Then I'm assured by your sharp eyes and Tenchiken," Seto confirmed.
"From the bottom of my kokoro, I welcome this lost lamb into the fold."
Then the blue-haired woman looked over Tenchi's shoulder at the older
man behind him and asked, "I'll bet you're his otousama."

With a grin on his face, Nobuyuki took a step forward, bowed and
replied, "Konnichiwa, Seto-san. By adoption, I'm Masaki Nobuyuki."

"Then I welcome you into the Oken Kazoku Jurai (Royal Family of
Jurai)," a sound of finality in Seto's voice.

Seto turned her head even further to the right and beheld an ebony body
barely held in restraint by its owner, the light of joy in her blue
eyes. With a small smile on her lips, the ruby-eyed woman handed
Ryo-ohki to Ayeka, then walked over to Mihoshi. At three feet in front
of the officer, Seto stopped, gave a short bow and said, "Konnichiwa,
Mihoshi-dono."

The properness of Seto's act broke Mihoshi's ecstasy and allowed the
blond to snap to attention, gave a sharp salute to the Jurain princess
with her right hand and returned the greeting, "Keibu Saishono Kaikyu
Kuramitsu Mihoshi of the Ginga Police here to offer salutations to
Kubiha Seto, my ojiisama's closest friend."

As Mihoshi right hand dropped down, Seto grasped it with both hands and
asked with a cheerful tone, "How is the old nozarubo (a field-monkey
priest), years have passed since I've last seen him?"

With her face aglow with happiness, Mihoshi's other hand came up to
join the others and replied, "He still talks about the most beautiful
odoriko (danseuses) to ever escape his hands but not his heart."

"If it wasn't for the fact I was already married, you would be my
magomusume instead of my nazukrgo (godchild)," certainty in Seto's
voice. "He cut such a dashing figure in his uniform and I see you've
inherited his good looks just as I thought you would."

"I understand you were the one who named me," Mihoshi's body seemed to
float upon the ground.

"Not really," modesty in Seto's voice as her head leaned forward.
"Hoshi has been part of a Kuramitsu name in each generation. I just
reminded them, especially after I saw the blaze of your white curls
around your little ebony head."

Mihoshi's head leaned forward, allowing both foreheads to touch, before
she said, "Ojiisama still wished you hadn't left. He would like your
visits to be more formal instead of the midnight sojourns you used."

"It was an embarrassment for me to be caught by a rookie on his first
case," Seto has a knowing grin on her face. "Add to this the scandal of
a Jurain oujosama being bailed out by her own family and the GP being
forced to drop all charges. Thus, my leaving was for the best."

"I loved it when you visit me in my room and told me in hushed words
about your latest caper," both saw the memory in each other's eyes.

"Your okasan worried I was a bad influence on you," Seto's voice gained
a touch of wonder. "Why did you become a GP officer?"

"Because of a kodomo's dream," Mihoshi's sky blue eyes gave Seto a
knowing look. "A dream of catching you, so my kazoku wouldn't have to
keep your love in a closest."

"You could've come to me, anytime," amusement returned to Seto's voice.
"I'm a Jurain oujosama after all."

"It's not the Jurain oujosama we know," countered the blond bombshell.

During the exchange of words, an angry pout filled Sasami's face over
the two women's slangy words while Ayeka's ruby eyes bulge at the hints
in both women's words. Katsuhito placed a hand over his mouth and
turned his head enough so the morning sun would reflect off his glasses
so to cover the laughter in his old eyes. Tenchi's head turned to look
at each person's face until he reached Ryoko, where he found the
cyan-haired woman as white as chalk. With concern the young man asked,
"Ryoko, what's wrong?"

No answer came from Ryoko but Tenchi's question drew Seto's attention
and she asked Mihoshi, "So Ryoko-san is your prisoner, ne?"

"Mo, Seto-dono," replied Mihoshi as she turned to face Ryoko. "The
Statue of Limitations on Ryoko's crimes has come. So she is no longer
considered a Most Wanted Criminal."

"Oi," commented Seto as she released the officer's gloved hands and
walked over to Ryoko.

With the Jurain princess in front of her, Ryoko dropped to one knee,
bowed her head and said in a fatalistic tone, "Kubiha Seto, by
attacking Jurai, by attacking your kazoku, I have broken the Kaizoku
Hoten (Pirate Code). I offer myself up for your judgement."

Twin grasps left the two princesses and the sound of tiny feet could be
heard as a bolt of blue and pink passed by Seto to embrace Ryoko's
bowed head and a tearful voice could be heard by all, "MO! OBASAMA!
Ryoko-neechan is my FRIEND!"

"Don't! Sasami-chan," countered Ryoko in a sorrowful voice as her head
came up, her hands took hold of the little princess' waist and moved
her to one side, her tiny trembling hands still reaching for her friend
before they dropped to the child's side.

None of this exchange went unnoticed by Seto. Like an outer skin
dropped from her body, the blue-haired lady's legs move apart, her
hands squared on her hips and in strong voice she asked, "Stand on your
legs, Ryoko-kun! Face me for there are only equals in the Brotherhood."

Ryoko floated up and stood on shaky legs. Silence surrounded the trio
as Sasami looked in Seto hard eyes, knew what Ryoko had done but still
pleaded for her friend's life with her silent tears. With a
flourish, Seto reached within her kimono and brought out a twelve-inch
flask made of green glass with a KS on it. Seto kept her eyes on Ryoko
while she unscrewed the lid, took a big swallow of some clear liquid
and offered the container to the Ryoko. No longer shaking and with a
small smile to show she recognized the ritual Seto was invoking, Ryoko
took the green object and took an equal draught while Seto asked, "Did
you know I was a member of Jurai's Royal Family?"

"Mo, I did not," answered Ryoko as she returned the flask to the tall
lady.

Seto took another mouthful and gave it back to the amber-eyed woman.
Ryoko took another drink while the slightly flush-faced lady asked, "If
you had known, would you have still attack?"

"Hai, I was under the control of Kagato-san. When his hand held my
strings, his will command my will," answered Ryoko as she handed back
the item.

Seto tilted her head to get another shot from the flask, gave it back
to Ryoko so she could take another drink and then proclaimed with a
Cheshire Cat smile, "Then it's by my judgement, Kagato is responsible
for breaking the Kaizoku Hoten, not you, Ryoko-oneesan."

Sasami gave a little whoop of joy as she embraced Ryoko's waist as the
ample lady returned the green container while commenting, "Alderan
Sunburst. The really good stuff."

Seto tipped her head all the way back to get the last few drops, then
brought her arm back and with her whole body, threw the flask over the
lake. "The . . . very . . . best," added the very flush-faced Seto.

"What is the meaning of this?" shock echoed in Ayeka's face and words
as she came up to stand next to Seto. "What is all this talk of
Brotherhood, equals and oneesan?"

"She doesn't know?" Ryoko asked, her own cheeks gaining a reddish
appearance.

"She . . . went looking for . . . Yosho . . . dono before her . . .
otousama . . . could initiate her . . . in the . . . Secrets of
Jurai . . ." replied the glassy-eyed lady while her left-hand grab onto
her younger self for support as the full effect of the Alderan Sunburst
hit her system.

A burst of laughter lifted out of Ryoko's chest while Ayeka hotly
shouted, "What is it I don't know?"

"That's right, Ayeka-oneesama was in her room when you talked about the
Jurai and the Kaizoku's Guild," Sasami reminded Ryoko.

"Will someone please tell me what these two are talking about?" an
incensed Ayeka asked.

"Ayeka-san, let me introduce you to Kubiha Seto, the greatest uchu
kaizoku in the universe," answered Ryoko with a Cheshire Cat grin
plastered on her face.

"WHAT!" Ayeka eyes bulge from both the news and the fact Seto turned to
face her, threw her arms over Ayeka's shoulders and let the rest of her
body collapse into the younger princess' frame. Before anyone could
move, the two women foundered to the ground in a mess of blue, purple,
arms and legs.

After a burst of laughter from Ryoko and giggles from Sasami, Ayeka
shouted to everyone, "Would someone please get obasama OFF OF ME?"
Tenchi moved forward to give aid while Mihoshi commented, "Ojiisama
said Seto's only failing was she couldn't handle her drink."

When Ryoko saw Tenchi moved to Ayeka's aid, she floated over and
carefully lifted Seto off the flustered princess, this allowed Tenchi
to take Ayeka hands and lifted her up. This simple interaction brought
a frown to Katsuhito's face. Whenever Ayeka had an accident where
Tenchi could give aid, Ryoko would beat the youth to the princess and
help Ayeka, much to the purple-haired lady's distaste. But now Ryoko
purposely picked up Seto so Tenchi could help Katsuhito's sister. 'Why
the change in Ryoko's pattern?' the old priest thought to himself. 'I
better ask Nobuyuki about what happened at the onsen.'

"I better get choshoku ready," called out Sasami as she ran ahead of
them, her heart as light as her small feet and bouncy blue ponytails.
As the group moved forward, Tenchi walked next to Ayeka, a floating
Ryoko cradled the unconscious Seto with Mihoshi on her left and
Nobuyuki on her right, Katsuhito brought up the rear.

"Ryoko-san, what exactly is Alderan Sunburst?" Tenchi's father asked.

"It's a key export of the tiny star kingdom of Alderan," Mihoshi
answered for Ryoko. "Your average drinker will have a shot or two of
Sunburst before moving to something less potent. I'm surprised it took
three minutes for her to pass out from downing a half-a-pint."

"I'm not," countered Ryoko. "She was giving me a chance to live if I
answered any of her questions with a lie."

"You mean she could've effortlessly killed you?" Nobuyuki voiced his
surprise.

"When Kubiha Seto took her seat on the inner council of the Kaizoku
Guild, she ruthlessly eliminated those who tried to challenge the
direction she wanted to take the guild in," Ryoko answered with some of
the old pride in her voice. "She also handed out punishment for those
who went out of their way to butcher helpless people."

"Hai, Seto-dono helped obasama and me several times to capture such
slaughterers," Mihoshi looked down with affection at the blue-haired
lady.

"Not someone you want to get on the wrong side of, na?" Nobuyuki
commented.

"She doesn't hold that title because she's some Jurain princess,"
Ryoko confirmed.

"I wonder how she is after a hangover?" Nobuyuki wondered.

"Seto-dono will sleep for five hours, then you better have something
ready for her," Mihoshi answered with an amusing tone.

"Maybe that American cure will help her," Katsuhito suggested to them.

"Gu idea, otousama," Nobuyuki answered back. "Sasami-chan can fix it
for her."
**********
Onsen, Bisei
MacClean closed the door to his light green truck, put the key in the
ignition and started up the engine. As the vehicle moved down the dirt
road to the main street, his ears still ring with the anger of the old
woman over the condition the Masaki family and their guests had left
her onsen in. When he had pulled in, the blond-haired man was surprised
by the damage done to the place and his original conclusion was the UFO
did the demolition. At first the old woman wouldn't answer his question
but when MacClean mentioned he was an acquaintance of Nobuyuki, she
unloaded her outrage onto him. To get away from her tongue, the
gray-eyed man quickly gave her the phone number to the Masaki Shrine
and told her to call Masaki Katsuhito, the head of the family. Looking
back through the left rearview mirror, MacClean couldn't help to think
about how the ruined building and grounds stood in contrast to the
fields of autumn flowers and the cold mountain air. 'Well, I wonder
what the old priest will tell her and who was the blond she kept on
mentioning? Was it the same one I saw seated next to Nobuyuki?'
MacClean thought.

The truck was five minutes down the road to Kurashiki when MacClean
sighted an unmoving motorcycle on the road's far shoulder, with a man
crouched down on the left side of it and a young girl in the
motorcycle's sidecar, at least that what the passenger's clothing
suggested to the older man. "I'll be late to the station if I stop and
help them," the blond man reluctantly voiced. "Let me call Triple A,
they can help these two."

As MacClean reached for his cellphone, the tinkle of metal caught his
attention and he thinks, 'That sounded like wind chimes but where did
it come from?' Just then his gray eyes touched upon his Timex and the
numbers on it told the American he had ninety-four minutes before he
would have to be at the radio station. His own indecision melted away
as he saw the radiate smile directed at him by the young girl as she
waved her right hand at him. 'Well, I haven't done my good deed for the
day yet,' he concluded.

As MacClean pulled over the road, he saw the girl's left hand touched
the man's bowed head and he heard her shout, "See, Keiichi-chan! Your
good luck star brought a knight errant to help us!"

MacClean brought the truck to a halt next to them and asked politely,
"Konnichiwa, can I be of some service?"

"Hai, my BMW just conked out and I can't figure out why?" McClean heard
a young man's voice come from the man as he stood up and turned to face
the American. Short, even by Nihonjin standards, the youth continued,
"I hate to impose upon your time but could you please give us a lift to
our destination?"

"Where would that be?" a little edge entered MacClean's voice.

"We are going to an onsen just up the road from here," answered the
teenager as he popped the chinstrap and removed his white motorcycle
helmet.

The answer produced a toothy smile from the American as he open the
truck's door, got out and stated, "Well, I'm sorry to tell you but the
onsen is closed for major repairs."

"But we made reservations just four days ago?" the youth's slim frame
sagged as the turned to face the girl, who took off her helmet. It was
the first time MacClean got a good look at her face and he saw
perfection in the expressive gray eyes and the dishwater blond halo
surrounding her Scandinavian features.

"Ara . . . an accident happened just yesterday morning, so no one could
be warned about it," MacClean added after he had pulled his eyes back
into his head.

"You work at the onsen?" asked the young man in the black sweater.

"Mo, I just came from there," the man in dark green pants replied as he
walked by the shorter man to examine the bike and its lovely cargo,
whose light smile on perfect lips seemed to suggest to MacClean she
could detect his honest feelings. He rapped the gas tank with his right
hand, the sound it produced brought a small smile to his face and he
called over his shoulder, "I think I've found your problem, eh . . . "

"Oi . . . we haven't introduced ourselves," an embarrassed tone to the
young lady's honey sweet voice. "He is Morisato Keiichi and I'm
Belldandy."

Both gave him a short bow, which MacClean returned and the American
said, "I'm Anthony MacClean and your problem is an empty fuel tank."

"Kya! Ome honto ni ei eichi boku o da na! (Oh! What a ying yang I truly
am!)," Keiichi as his right fist thumped his head.

"It's oke, Keiichi-chan," her sparkling smile seemed to ease her
boyfriend's frustration. "As long as we're together, it's all I want."

Old memories touched the edge of MacClean's mind but he pushed them
away and said to the couple, "We can put your bike into the back of my
truck and I'll take you to the closest gas station?"

"Hai," replied both of them to the suggestion, although MacClean
noticed a shadow seemed to have passed over the girl's sunshine face,
like she had felt the stab of pain in his thoughts.

Belldandy got out of the sidecar and MacClean was hit by how graceful
she was in the light blue and green, full-length dress with billowing
white sleeves. The blond-haired man shook his head and turned his
attention back to helping the young man roll the motorcycle to the back
of his truck. He lowered the tailgate, took out a metal rail and locked
it into place so they could roll the bike up into the back. Once done,
MacClean took out some rope and securely tied the bike down so it
wouldn't be damaged during transport. During the whole operation, the
shorthaired American noticed how Belldandy always stood as close as
possible to Keiichi.

MacClean got in the driver while Keiichi helped Belldandy into the
passengers' side and closed the door after he got in. As the older man
started the truck, he could smell the sweet odor of fresh cut flowers
and from the corner of his right eye he could see the two secretly held
her right hand and his left hand. To distract himself from the
bittersweet memories it brought him, MacClean asked, "So where are you
from?"

"We're from Nekomi," answered the young lady with a voice like spring's
sparrows.

"A college town," remembered the man at the wheel.

"Hai, we're both students at Nekomi Institute of Technology," informed
Keiichi as he leaned forward a little to make eye contact with
MacClean. "I'm a second year student and Bell-chan is an exchange
student from Sweden."

"Ara, that explains the blue marks on her face," a cheerful tone in
MacClean's voice.

"Oi . . . " Keiichi tried to suppress to fear in his voice while
curiosity entered Belldandy's face.

"Hai, those marks mean Belldandy-sama follows the old ways," informed
the driver.

"The old ways?" the young man voiced his confusion.

"In the land of the Norse, the practitioners of the land's ancient
religion wear those marks upon their faces," MacClean gained some
comfort from showing his knowledge. "It's a way to show their devotion
to the old ways."

"You are very perceptive, MacClean-sama," her praise brought pleasure
to his soul while her left hand touched the marks. "The emblems allow
us contact with the old powers and to show they haven't been forgotten
by the new ways."

"Gu to hear," but his tone changed from happy to concern. "Although it
must have been scary for you when the ritual was done. You were
probably very young then."

"Hai, MacClean-sama," innocence in Belldandy's words. "Like a new born
Kami."

"Please, call me Anthony. Oke you two?" both gave him a reassuring nod,
then he continued, "If I remember my pagan rituals, a cut is made on
the forehead and two smaller ones on each cheek. Then a blue dye is
rubbed into the fresh wounds, so when they heal they produce the marks.
Am I correct?"

"Hai, you're correct, Anthony-san," admiration in the young lady's eyes
and words. "I find it refreshing someone your age would know such
things."

"I know a hodgepodge of things due to the fact I'm a voracious reader
of nonfiction, especially history and religion," MacClean acknowledged.
"It's just I don't get much chance to show it."

"I think it's wonderful," genuine tone in Belldandy's voice. "So few
remember the earth they sprang from."

"Arigato," the older man returned the praise. "But enough of me. What
are you two studying at Nekomi Tech?"

"I'm majoring in Mechanical Engineering while Bell-chan is working on
her General Ed.," MacClean heard relief in Keiichi's reply.

"Oi . . . then I can assume you belong to the auto club," a half-formed
idea bubbled up to the surface of MacClean's mind.

"Hai, we're both members of the NIT Motor Club," a mix of apprehension
and pride in the short man's brown eyes. "I built the motorcycle and
sidecar to show my mechanical skill."

"I'm the club's team girl," Belldandy joyfully added.

"So this radiant Polaris is the club's good luck," the effortless way
the older man spoke triggered a jealous twinge in Keiichi's spirit but
a reassuring squeeze from gray-eyed beauty's left hand banished the
feeling.

"I try to help in my own way," said the longhaired girl, MacClean saw
the knowing look she gave her beau.

MacClean's eyes pick up on the love the two young bodies gave to each
other, and then he saw the service station appear around the next bend.
"You still interested in going to a hot spring?" he asked them.

"Hai," both happily replied.

"Gu. After we fill your gas tank, I'll drop you off at a natural hot
spring I found a couple of weeks ago," the pair nodded in agreement to
his plan. It took only five minutes for the service station attendants
to fill the truck's gas tank as well as the motorcycle's. They also
checked the oil, the air filter and cleaned the windshield. Keiichi
reached for his wallet but MacClean waved his right palm at the young
man and paid for everything. Once the vehicle is back on the road, the
American asked, "I was wondering if your fellow members might be
willing to do a special project for me?"

"Eh . . . I don't know," hesitation in the black-haired youth's reply.

"What if I say, money is no limitation," a sly look on MacClean's
smooth face.

"Oi, in that case my senpai would gladly do it," certainty in Keiichi's
tone.

"A greedy lot?" more a statement than a question from the driver.

"I don't know how many times our club's buchou (leader) and his joshu
(assistant) has got us involved in their money making schemes," the
youth in the dark brown baggy pants sighed.

"Let me give you an outline of what I would like your club to build for
me," the shorthaired man informed his passengers. Fifteen minutes
later, in a little rocky valley with warm vapors revealed in the cool
morning air, MacClean and Keiichi rolled the motorcycle off the back of
the truck.

"Domo arigato for your help, Anthony-san," enthusiasm in the young
man's voice as the two followed the American to the diver's door. "I'm
very sure my senpai will accept your offer but I like it because it's
going to be fun building it."

MacClean turned around to face them as his left hand clutched the door
handle and he said to Keiichi, "Gu, one should always have feelings for
their work."

Belldandy's took a small step forward and commented, "I've noticed your
ears are pierced."

Her words produced a lopsided smile on the face of the man with the
bright yellow shirt and he replied, "It's a reminder of my wilder
days."

The girl with sunshine in her smile reached into her shirt pocket and
withdrew a small gold earring with tiny crosses of various types
hanging from it. She held it out to him and simply said, "For helping
us."

MacClean returned the smile, took the sparkling item from her soft
hands and attached it to his right ear. "How does it look?" he asked.

"It gives you a roguish look," answered a smiling Keiichi while
Belldandy gave a happy nod.

"Eh . . . I got to get going," MacClean told them as he opened the door
and got behind the wheel. "Enjoy yourselves, you two love birds

"It's that obvious?" surprise in Keiichi's tone while Belldandy's gray
eyes brightened.

"I feel your young love in every look and in every touch you two
share," MacClean answered. "Sayonara for now, Keiichi-san,
Belldandy-san."

"Sayonara, Anthony-san," MacClean could hear the couple's happy words
over the engine's noise.

In a pine tree above the truck, a pair of amber eyes watched the events
play out below her. Ryoko came up here to take a bath in the pool's
soothing water and to go over her own mixed thoughts. Now with the
young couple here, the cyan-haired woman didn't want to interfere with
their use of the hot spring for even from her perch her sharp vision
could see them holding hands. The ample lady looked over her shoulder
at the morning sun glittering off a distant lake but shook her head,
'Mo, this is for my Tenchi. Besides, I can make it through one day with
them together.' But because their farewells identified the driver,
another idea entered Ryoko's mind.

As MacClean drove the truck back to the main road, he again heard the
tinkle of wind chimes in the vehicle's cab. "I'll bet one of those
Clamp girls put something behind the seat. They're such pranksters.
Well, let see how late I'm going to be for work," he sighed as he
looked at his Timex. Confusion filled his eyes and with his left hand
he tapped the watch's crystal while his words continued, "Oh, great! My
watch got busted helping them. I'm sure more than thirty minutes passed
while I helped those two. I'd better put the pedal to the metal."

As the two walked toward the bike, Belldandy looked over her shoulder
just in time to see a floating figure appear over the truck and dropped
into its rear. 'I didn't know Ryokoakurei had awakened,' puzzlement on
her pink face. 'He must be her friend too, it would explain his unique
aura.'
**********
Notes:
Characters:
Mihoshi: This is probably the hardest character to write for because
her behavior follows a very complex psychological profile. The other
main characters have understandable psychological profiles but
Mihoshi's mix of childlike spirit and professional attitude is very
hard to balance. It also doesn't help that her character was the only
one not further developed in the Second OAV Season. Yet some facts have
been made clear:
1_She has an excellent record as a Galaxy Police officer. She
successfully completed her cases but at a cost (property damage and
misconduct reports). This seemed to get worse when she was demoted.
2_She have highly developed skills. She can memorize every detail not
only in her cases but also her daily life, can write very detailed
reports and she knows a lot of things. But at the same time, her
ability to use this information under stress is poor due to the
unorganized nature of this data and she has become very depended on her
instinct and luck to get through combat situations.
3_Enough hints have shown up that Mihoshi is the favorite granddaughter
of the Galaxy Police Marshall and every commander in the GP knows it.
As such they're attempts by them to shield her from harm and to gain
favor with the GP Marshall. Yet Mihoshi's total disregard to physical
harm and to internal politics makes this task impossible.
4_Originally I had Mihoshi addressing Kiyone as Kiyone-dono but a
review of the subtitled Tenchi Universe showed me that she addressed
Kiyone as Kiyone. This seemed strange to me since she used the
honorifics for the other characters (Washu-dono, Sasami-chan,
Ayeka-san, etc . . .). In the OAV and TU, the non-use of honorifics
usually means a special relationship between those characters, Tenchi
and Ryoko don't use them for each other and neither do Yosho, Ayeka and
Azusa. As I have said before in my notes in Strange Days Book One, the
non-use of honorifics between characters can show a deep, loving bond
between them (personal love between Ryoko and Tenchi, family love from
Yosho, Ayeka and Azusa). A careful examination of Mihoshi's feelings
for Kiyone suggested a lesbian love on Mihoshi's part for her partner (especially the Time and Space episodes, which are based on the OVA
radio episodes). Now the question is, did Kiyone have the same strong
feelings for Mihoshi. In TU, Kiyone's wiliness to withstand her
partner's disasters, her non-use of honorific for Mihoshi and the warm
smile she would give her partner's sleeping form could mean such a
relationship could've developed in the Tenchi OVA.
There are many explanations for Mihoshi's behavior and I originally
came up with one I thought was correct and original, but I found other
fanfic writers had also come to the same conclusion (example: Lita
Eagle's "Confess to You"), so I decided to try to develop another
possible reason. I'm trying very hard to keep Mihoshi from turning into
the stereotype creature we see in the Tenchi Universe Mihoshi.

Seto: Most of the character for Seto is based on the True Tenchi Novels
and on the behavior of her daughter, Misaki, and her nephew, Azusa (she
raised Azusa after both of his parents were killed by space pirates).
Washu's statement toward the end of the "Here Comes Jurai" episode
suggested she knew someone like Misaki and I took this to mean she knew
Seto. She is probably the oldest member of the Jurai Royal Family (at
five thousand years old) thus the head of the family (but not the
government) with a lot of influence over the family decision making
process (including the decision for the marriage between Yosho and
Ayeka. It was meant to prevent a romantic tangle between Yosho and
Misaki, yet at the same time she helped instigate a love affair between
Yosho and Magma Airi). The True Tenchi Novels also stated she had her
own intelligence network separate from the one under Funaho's control.
I took this to mean she controlled the Pirate Guild, thus making her a
space pirate.

Belldandy: The introduction of Belldandy and Keiichi is meant as a slow
incorporation of OMG into the series, since I'll be doing an OMG-Tenchi
OVA story later on in "Strange Days".
While Belldandy's physical color is based on the anime, her behavior is
based on the manga (just before the Terrible Master Urd cycle). The
anime was based on OMG 'lost episodes' (now being published in Dark
Horse's "Super Manga Blast") with a few changes her and there by
screenplay writer, Naoko Hasegawa (the writer for the first Tenchi OVA
Season). Donald Dortmund and I got into a discussion over the
differences between Belldandy anime and Belldandy manga. Unlike the
anime version, Belldandy is more aggressive in helping Keiichi and
shows her affection for him more openly, although Donald believed this
is because of Keiichi's wish but that might not be completely true.
Early on Belldandy stated to Keiichi's sister, Megumi, "I am here on
this Earth for Keiichi alone. I will never leave his side, 'til death
do us part." At NIT, everyone became concern when they see Keiichi
without Belldandy at his side. After a bug temporary stopped the Force
System from enforcing the wish, Belldandy is concern Keiichi won't want
her at his side but Keiichi made it clear to her he wanted Belldandy
always at his side. After the battle with the Fenius Wolf at the end of
OMG:TMU, the wish was erased by the crash of the Yggdrasil system.
Keiichi asked Belldandy if she was going to leave him since the wish no
longer bonded her to him. She replied, "No, because I love you."

Keiichi: As with Belldandy, Keiichi is based on the manga. In the
manga, Keiichi's main concern is to show Belldandy his love for her
isn't because of the wish and to protect her secret (this became even
harder once Urd and Skuld show up).