1Disclaimer: 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 and You're Under Arrest are the product of Kosuke Fujishima, What's Michael is the product of Makoto Kobayashi, Ranma 1/2 is the product of Rumiko Takahashi, Sailor V and Sailor Moon are the product of Takeuchi Naoke, Nancy Drew is the product of Carolyn Keene and GTO is the product of Tohru Fujisama. As such, I'm getting no compensation for writing this fiction other than my own enjoyment and to bring pleasure to the fans of these excellent series.

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 Chapter Seven of Book Two in my crossover series, Strange Days. I would appreciate any C&C about this work. My two E-mail addresses

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). My knowledge of the training and organizational structure of law enforcement in Nihon has increased but at times I'm still assuming 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 each chapter and Book One, contact me at my e-mail addresses or post a message at the Ayeka Fan Club 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. My prereaders for Book Two are K.T.K. (carryover from Book One), Donald Dortmund, Fuzzy-Bunny (another carryover) and TopQuark. Also, Luriko-Ysabeth helped me on usage of Nihongo in fanfiction.

Dedication: This series is dedicated to the people who brought Tenchi Muyo to life: Hayashi Hiroki, Kajishima 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: July 20, 2003

Chapter Seven: Every Picture Tells a Story

Ureshii Yume Isho (Happy Dream Costumes)

Mihoshi wasn't sure who was more nervous, she or Kiyone. It was the first lesson of Aikyoiku and the blond bombshell wanted this night blissful for both of them. It had taken three days of careful planning to work out all the details with her mother, Mitoto, and her godmother, Seto. Normally this kind of preparation would be done by the two love-friends but because Kiyone was Seniwa by choice instead of blood, the teal-haired girl didn't know the intricacies of the Aikyoiku. It only took a little white lie on Mihoshi's and Seto's parts to get Kiyone onboard the Akakani, a three-day stay at the Rator Pleasure Planet as an Aikyoiku gift from Seto, the gift part was true but no one told the fourteen-year-old that Seto was going to make some special stops along the way so the normal three-day trip would extend into an eight-day cruise. Mitoto refreshed Mihoshi's knowledge of the six lessons of the Aikyoiku: Skin, Hands, Lips, Vagina, Words and Openness, the mother making sure her daughter was ready.

"Beautiful Star?" Mihoshi jumped a little at the questioning voice in Seniwago that came from behind her and the ebony lady turned to find Kiyone, in the silvery slip she wore for bed, at the entrance to Akakani's observation deck, "Niji told me you wanted . . . to . . . meet . . . me . . . here, " her cobalt eyes widen as she saw the light spider weave of the bustier, flared panty and negligee her love-friend wore, it took the teenager a moment to recognize the thick forest green comforter in the blonde's right hand and the small, square container in her left.

Kiyone stepped up to Mihoshi like she was in a warm dream and her love-friend explained in Seniwago, "It's time for our first step, Clever Girl."

Kiyone's scarlet bluish upped Mihoshi's attraction to her love-friend as did the teal-haired girl's shy question, "I thought . . . eh . . . we were going to start our lessons when we reached Rator?"

"I know," Mihoshi wanted so much to kiss Kiyone's full lips, to let her tongue intertwine Kiyone's, yet the blonde quieted her desire and continued, "I wanted to surprise your heart."

"Ahhh . . . Niji . . . Minaho . . . they could . . . they could . . ." Kiyone's tongue-tied by the sight of Mihoshi going to her knees where she spread out the comforter.

"This is the first step that Aikyoiku teaches the Golden People," Mihoshi looked up at Kiyone with sapphire eyes burning with love's power, the ebony lady knew it had taken all of Kiyone's willpower to ask Mihoshi to be her love-friend, to place her ring on Mihoshi's ring finger in front of Mikumo and for the fourteen-year-old to declare she wanted to be Seniwa, then Mihoshi added, "to open our hearts without fear or shame."

"My heart would NEVER feel shame for loving you!" Kiyone dropped heavily onto the comforter with her cobalt eyes matching her passionate words.

"I know," Mihoshi put the small container on the ground, "but my mind remembered the first time you walked upon my homeland," the ebony lady allowed her negligee to slip from her slim shoulders as she tilted her head, "how pretty your rosy cheeks were when you saw the openness of our love."

"I . . . I . . ." Kiyone's face doing the same thing she did on the aforementioned day.

"Don't tie your soul in knots," Mihoshi pulled her arms loose and allowed her see-through negligee to pool around her, "for I know most see the Golden People as lustful."

"Not true, Beautiful Star," Kiyone's gaze touched over every inch of Mihoshi's elegant beauty, "I just couldn't believe anyone would do something so vulnerable, so exposed . . ." a flash of her white teeth as she bit her lower lip.

"Because the scars upon your heart," Mihoshi reached behind her back with both hands, "have taught you such trust meant pain," Kiyone's ears heard the twin metallic snaps from the same area.

"I put to sleep the first boy who tried to make me his whore," Mihoshi saw the same hard look she remembered seeing in Kiyone's eight-year-old eyes, "the streets of Kathalli taught me love was a weakness, my sex was a weakness."

"Yet it is the Golden People's strength," Mihoshi countered, the sixteen-year-old with the sun in her hair wanted to throw her arms around Kiyone, let her physicality show she felt her love-friend's pain but she couldn't, the moment Kiyone walked into the room the first lesson of Aikyoiku had started, "being of the Golden People has taught us to open our hearts to others and to heal all wounds with love," with first one hand and then the other Mihoshi brushed her bra's straps from her shoulders and allowed it to drop down to join her negligee.

"I was as tough as any boy twice my age," Kiyone's mind full of stiletto sharp memories, "I took food from the weak to fill my stomach, I rolled drunks for their booze, I pimped girls for a few coins and I killed," her voice ringed with loathing but then its tone changed as the young girl's gaze filled with love for the ebony beauty, "but the six years with you, with Mikumo, with Mitoto has shown me I was a beast feeding on the living to survive," with both hands, Kiyone took hold of her slip's collar, pulled it over her head and off before she finished, "you three awoken inside of me something better than food, water and shelter, I WANT to be human."

"That's why I wouldn't let you go, Clever Girl," Mihoshi's voice reflected the loveliness of her love-friend's full round breasts, the teal tint of her carefully trimmed pubic hair and the ripple of muscles that removing her slip showed, "it's why my feet searched for you and my hand reached out for you to grasp, to the core of my soul I knew you wanted to be human even if you didn't understand why," with both hands, Mihoshi carefully pulled the strings to untie the bows that kept her panties on, the white fabric dropped down between her legs.

"At first I slept next to you because I trusted no one," Kiyone's cobalt eyes hungrily took in Mihoshi's carefully trimmed blond pubic hair, "I walked close to your side because I trusted no one," then her voice became haunted, "I made you my hostage against them."

"I know," Mihoshi blushed at Kiyone's touching gaze, "yet those chains of fear were replaced by chains of love."

"The openness of you and Mitoto and Mikumo," loathing was very much in Kiyone's tone, "the unconditional acceptance you each gave shamed me."

"It is the way of the Golden People," Mihoshi's voice showed how proud she was of Kiyone's honesty, "we carry each others' burdens so the weight is light."

"Yet my heart almost broke when your time for Aikyoiku came and I was moved to another room," remembered pain was in every inch of Kiyone's features, "I thought you didn't like me anymore."

"And when you told me this," Mihoshi remembered the anguish upon the girl's twelve-year-old face, "I told you it was my time to move from childhood to adulthood."

"It was then I declared with all my soul, with all my body, I wanted to be of the Golden People," Kiyone's tone changed to determined love, "I wanted to feel as you do, I wanted to care as you do and I wanted you, Beautiful Star, to never be parted from me."

"And I waited two years for you to reach Aikyoiku," Mihoshi touched the plastic container next to her, "and I was proud of your steadfastness," the ebony lady's smile showed her pride before she asked, "Are you ready for your first lesson?" No hesitation in the teal-haired girl's nod and so the blond-haired girl continued, "The first lesson is called Skin," the ebony girl knew she was only two years older than Kiyone but she kept her words mature, "from it we learn to be sensitive to our bodies' lightest sensations and to detect those same feelings in others," then the blond bombshell smiled wickedly, "for example I can tell by the rosy skin of your cheeks that you like what you see before you."

Kiyone gulped and her bluish spread down to her neck and up to her ears but still she asked, "What do we do first?"

"First lay down on the comforter, on your back with legs parted," Mihoshi's tone vibrated with nervous excitement, Kiyone gave a slight nod then neatly folded her slip before following her love-friend's instruction, then the ebony girl continued, "Now relax, close your eyes and don't be tense, just let your mind be like a quiet winter day," Mihoshi grinned down as the teal-haired girl tried very hard to do as her love-friend told her, "don't worry if you having trouble doing it, Kiyone, I'm new to this too."

"Easy for you to say, Ole Golden Child of Seniwa," both girls giggled at Kiyone's witticism with their right hands to their lips but the humorous moment did the trick and Kiyone was able to calm her emotions.

"During this lesson we can't use our hands or mouths in the normal way," the purr in Mihoshi's voice almost caused Kiyone's control to disappear and the teal-haired girl's anticipation raised a few notches when she felt Mihoshi place her hands on either side of her love-friend's head and the blonde blew lightly on her plain lips, instinctively Kiyone opened her lips and inhaled, her nasal sense filled her soul with Mihoshi's sweet smelling breath, then little puffs touched each of her closed eyes. Kiyone hitched her breath when a wave of sensual pleasure washed through her being when she felt Mihoshi's cheek lightly slide down her left cheek while one of her love-friend's legs brushed over her own left leg, both actions told the fourteen-year-old that Mihoshi's eyes were closed too. This little bit of rational thought evaporated into a little joyful moan as a precise funnel of breath touch her neck just under her ear before working its wispy way along the left side of her throat. Kiyone pulled her head back and arched her back to exposed her neck more fully to Mihoshi's light blow and another pleasing moan came from the depths of her soul as her already hardened dark pink nipples rubbed across Mihoshi's black pair which the blonde bombshell rewarded by causing a gratifying sigh to vibrate against the younger girl's right ear. Taking this as a sign of want by the girl on top, the girl on the bottom pulled her legs up and used her feet to lift her hips up just enough so she could undulate them. Kiyone's body shook with unbelievable pleasure thanks to Mihoshi's delicate breath working its way along her love-friend's collarbone while their breasts fondled each other, which brought throaty moans from Mihoshi.

When the nipples slipped off of each other as Mihoshi light blow reached the spot just above Kiyone's breasts, the teal-haired girl let out a disappointed whine but she was surprised when Mihoshi giggled just before the fourteen-year-old heard the sound of the plastic container opening. 'What's holding things . . .' suddenly Kiyone's thought was shredded by a wave of near orgasmic pleasure as something freezing and wet touch the spot where her love-friend's breath had stopped. The younger girl let out a soul-happy moan as she felt her love-friend's chin push between her rock hard tits as the icy wet moved down, only when the edges of a grinning smile touched the inner of her goose bumped skin did she realized that the ebony girl held a cub of ice with her teeth. When Mihoshi's face slipped out from between Kiyone's twin mounds, the fair-skinned youngster let out a pleasing moan as her love-friend slowly worked the ice underneath her left breast then the long-haired girl's hands grabbed the comforter as she felt Mihoshi lightly blow from the left side of her grin, up between her breasts over the still chilled skin, the combination of hot and cold once more sent Kiyone near her orgasmic threshold, a threshold she almost went over as she felt the sixteen-year-old other leg brush over the fourteen-year-old left leg.

Kiyone trembled with Mihoshi kneeling between her legs with the ebony girl's hands just under her armpits, the teal-haired girl's soul burned thanks to the ice, the little puffs of hot breath and the touch of the ebony girl's face slowly circled up the fair girl's left breast, then her back arched as ice and fire played upon her left nipple which triggered a deep chest moan from her love-friend when Kiyone's flat tummy pressed into Mihoshi's two dark mounds. Keeping her head even with the buildup of mind-blowing euphoria, the teal-haired girl's left hand reached for where she believed the plastic container was located. The touch of her hand upon the cold container instantly told her what was inside and she picked up a frozen cub of water and fueled by another surge of erotic joy, produced when Mihoshi moved to Kiyone's right breast, she slammed the ice against the floor, neatly fracturing it in two. Kiyone gave a silent thanks that she had an innee instead of an outee as she dropped her body to the comforter to insert the piece of ice into her bellybutton.

Mihoshi's disappointment rumbled wordlessly when the quakes of Kiyone's body stopped sending spikes of wonderful sensations from her breasts to every part of her being, then the blond-haired girl paused in surprise when the teal-haired girl's strong legs wrapped around the dark body just beneath the ribcage and pulled her tummy back up, then came a quick intake, hold and release of a cloud-nine sigh when Mihoshi felt the cavity between her breasts invaded by icy wetness.

Kiyone used the cool and hot sensations to undulate her hips so she could copy Mihoshi's technique but in reverse, starting with the right nipple and slowing circling down, soon both girls were in rhythm in both motion and moan. First it was Kiyone who peaked with her legs tightening around Mihoshi's waist and her body bucking up against her love-friend's body. When the first of Kiyone's warm love juices frosted Mihoshi's belly, the stimuli of hot and cold moisture caused the ebony girl to join the fair girl in a mind-emptying orgasm, the girl on the top collapsing onto the girl on the bottom, body's intertwined and lungs shouting to the moon.

Once the passion was spent, Mihoshi opened her eyes and looked at Kiyone's face, into her love-friend's cobalt eyes and found another reason to give thanks to all the divine beings of the universe. The public face Kiyone wore at school and at social events was the iron-willed street kid who made it out of the gutter, but there were moments at home when Mihoshi's hugged a nightmare haunted Kiyone, the terror in those eyes told of a girl who saw the ghosts of every person she had killed to survive, yet what the blond girl found right now in the teal-haired girl's gaze was a soul reborn.

With a voice reflecting a soul freed from captivity Kiyone asked, "So what grade do I get?"

Mihoshi's head dropped down and her blond hair covered both their faces as her ruby lips engulfed Kiyone's lips like they were lemon drops, then when they parted the ebony girl answered in Nihongo, "An A as in ai."

"Himawari, I think you are being little too responsive," said an amused voice that Mihoshi recognized as belonging to Seto.

Mihoshi's sapphire eyes popped open to find she was once more dressed only in her panties, standing in front of a middle-aged woman holding a cloth tape measurer that went around her chest, when the policewoman realized what she had just done, her whole body went all rosy as she stammered, "Go . . . go . . . gomen nasai."

Standing next to Seto, Kujirakawa Fuyumi's black eyes got bigger and bigger and her mouth got wider and wider as the high school student watched Mihoshi let out little pleasurable moans each time the tape measurer touched her skin, Seto spotted the daydream look on her godchild's face earlier and was pleased. Saito Oakiko, the owner of the store and the one holding the tape measurer, just took the occurrence in-stride, saying, "Thirty-four, double-D, just as I thought," she let go of the end of the tape measurer before adding, "normally it takes me and my assistants two weeks to produce four bustiers but since Kuramitsu-san is a friend of Fuyumi-chan," the giantess had recovered enough to give a nod when Oakiko looked in her direction, "we should have them ready in nine days."

Mihoshi sopped down to Oakiko's level before asking, "Could . . . could you make one special change in them?"

"What would that be?" Seto could tell Oakiko was already half convinced because of Mihoshi's puppy dog expression.

"I'm a police officer," Mihoshi clapped her hands together in a pleading gesture, "so could you add a holster to my bustiers?"

"Lefty or Righty?" once more Oakiko didn't bat an eye at Mihoshi's admission but Fuyumi's jaw would have hit the floor if Seto hadn't whispered softly in a teasing way, "Kujirakawa-san, what do you find so surprising about my nazukego?"

"I'm right-handed," Mihoshi replied.

A bucket of cold water couldn't have done a better job than Seto's words, "I just never pictured Mihoshi-san as a police officer," Fuyumi gave a nervous reply.

"A mistake many criminals have made," a serious look on Seto's face before adding some teasing words, "but I'm sure you can see Himawari has many attributes that has boosted my pride for being her nazukeoya."

Fuyumi silently agreed with Seto, the schoolgirl not trusting her tongue from making an unchangeable mistake for she had a bad feeling that Seto's was looking for a lover for her godchild and gender wasn't an issue, the giantess was relieved when the blue-haired lady returned her ruby eyes to Mihoshi and said, "Himawari, if you hurry I'm sure we can reward," the special emphasis Seto put on 'reward' caused Fuyumi to sweat bullets, "Kujirakawa-san with a hearty lunch before she leaves to return to Tokyo."

"Oke!" Seto saw Mihoshi's face brightened at the thought of food but then her innocent look returned as she asked Oakiko, "Do you have some place where I could freshen up," the long fingers of her right hand pulled the front of her panties down a little to reveal her glistening blond pubic hair before she added with a blush, "I had an accident."

The Oakiko smiled and the head seamstress went to an oak cabinet where she opened the top drawer, "Hai and you can use these," she turned around and held out in her right hand a carefully folded saffron yellow bra and panty set.

Mihoshi's smile equaled the brightness of her hair as she bounced over to Oakiko where she politely took the panties and then bowed while saying energetically, "Domo arigato gozaimasu!"

"Do itashimashite," Oakiko returned the bow then added as she looked in Seto's direction, "Kubiha-sama, I must congratulate you on how well you have helped raise this sweet, polite girl."

"I can only take partial credit," once more Seto's voice showed her feelings for her godchild, "because I'm sure the Creator-Of-All-Things must've been indulging in his partisan to something sweet when he thought of Himawari."

Mihoshi giggled at Seto's praise before giving a grinning counter, "Niji-dono, I'm not that sweet."

"Ara?" Seto's sly glance at Fuyumi made the giantess uneasier, "I've heard people say just looking at you made their cavities ache."

Mihoshi couldn't stop from blushing from hair to toe while Oakiko grinned good-naturedly while saying, "Kuramitsu-san, you better pickup your clothes before I show where you can cleanup."

"Hai!" Mihoshi scooped up her clothes and followed the head seamstress toward a hallway in the back of the shop, just before leaving line-of-sight the ebony lady looked over her shoulder, made eye contact with her godmother and nodded. Seto returned the nod, once again the eldest princess of Jurai was pleased with her godchild's perceptive abilities, the only reason Seto hadn't said anything earlier during Mihoshi's daydream was because she understood the daydreams true purpose, it was the inner Mihoshi way of telling the outer Mihoshi that even with a man-made body, she was still the golden child of Seniwa.

Soja

Once more in her crystal prison, Washu found her present consciousness reliving a memory from her past for next to her stood Kagato, the white-haired son she created from her dead friend's DNA, both were in a brand new created section of her planetary lab, a circular control room with two windows on opposite sides, one window revealed a pedestal with one of Washu's Gems suspended a few inches over it with several needle-like lasers surrounding it, the other window showed a copy of the same room except the pedestal was empty, the control room was filled with mainframes and consoles with screens but no chairs since both occupants sat on hovering pillows of red or purple.

"Washu-okasan," Washu's heart warmed whenever her six-year-old son called her mama, "even with what you already taught me, I'm still can't understand everything you've told me about what we are doing here."

"It's alright, Kagato-chan," Washu's placed a comforting arm around Kagato's small shoulders, "a child's mind is designed to be taught mountains of data but to understand that same information takes time," then the redhead removed her arm and held her hands out in front of her and instantly her transparent laptop appeared, "what I placed in your mind before your 'birth' was equivalent to what I had learned before going to the Oken Uchu Akademi plus my own personal history."

"It's just I get mad when my feelings and my body make me act so childish," then he smiled up at his mother, "but I do notice you like me to do those things."

"It gives me a chance to be a mother to my son," a motherly smile appeared on Washu's lips, "something I wasn't allowed to be with my first son."

Kagato nodded his head in agreement before he returned to the original subject, saying, "I'm still wondering why you selected one of your Gems as a part of this experiment?"

"Let me answer your question with a question," Washu suggested as she started to type on her laptop's keyboard, "What is the greatest source of power in the known universe?"

Kagato thought, his right hand slowly drifted to his face where his white teeth slowly chewed on his thumb, then he answered, "The Space Trees."

"Naze wa?" Washu gave Kagato a quick glance but didn't stop her typing.

After a moment of thumb chewing, Kagato said, "Because they can make the Ko-Oh-Yoku," it was now the slim boy noticed what he was doing to his thumb and let out a frustrated sigh.

"Well done, Kagato-chan," another motherly smile appeared on her preteen face, "and you answered your first question."

Kagato gave Washu a confused look before his eyes grew wide and he squeaked, "The Gem can make a KO-OH-YOKU?"

"Tadshii!" Washu was proud of her son's deduction and she prodded him with another question, "Do you remember the incident I had when traveling from Kanemitsu to the Oken Uchu Akademi?"

"Hai," Kagato answered quickly, "the ship you were on was attacked by an uchu kaizoku ship while an assassin tried to kill you but both were stopped by a Juraijin warrior and his bondmate."

"That is what I thought," a look full of knowing on Washu's pink face, "but when I decided to begin this experiment, I did some hacking into Juraijin security mainframes and I found the report of Asakura Mori, Kishi Jurai."

Kagato made a face as he pushed his mind to remember the name before saying, "Wasn't he and his bondmate the ones who saved your life?"

"You are both right and wrong, akachan," some mirth entered Washu's next words due to the Kagato's pouting face, a look that always occurred when the child was confronted by the illogic of adult logic, "while Mori-sama bondmate's Ko-Oh-Yoku stopped the ship, they weren't the same ones that saved my life."

"Ara?" Kagato's face screwed up while trying to concentrate his young mind on what his mother just told him, it didn't take long for his eyes to open with the glow of realization and he said, "It was the Gem that created the Ko-Oh-Yoku!"

"For that piece of deductive reasoning, you get a treat," Washu hit a special button on her keyboard and a tray appeared before her son, on it was a stack of the boy's favorite dessert, sweet mochi, along with a glass of soya drink, Washu kept a tight rein on Kagato's diet so the only time her son had any sweets was as a reward.

With greedy delight the white-haired boy grabbed the top mochi with his right hand and took a big bite while his left hand picked up the blue tinted glass full of milky liquid, Washu too selected one of the rice-syrup-covered treats and nibbled at it while she elaborated on Kagato's answer, "Mori-sama reported he was surprised, when the three Ko-Oh-Yoku appeared and shielded both him and me from the blast of the assassin's self-destruct, since his bondmate's Ko-Oh-Yoku was aligned against the spaceship."

"So something else saved your life, Washu-okasan," Kagato took a big sip of his soya drink and started on his second mochi.

"Not something, Kagato-chan," Washu grinned at the white liquid mustache on her son's upper lip, "someone."

A thoughtful look appeared on Kagato's face and after the youngster swallowed his mouthful of chewy delight, he posed, "They're alive, the Gems, just like in Okage-san's stories?"

The mentioned of the name Washu given to the mysterious gray-eyed woman caused her to pause and stare at the half-eaten mochi, her voice was strangely calm, "Hai, her stories and the way the Gems acted when she was there that made me start to think about them as something more than pretty playthings."

Kagato felt a pang of child jealousy at the longing in Washu's emerald eyes for another person lost to the heartless universe, it caused his next observation to have an edge of pleasure to it, "I wonder where Okage-san is now?"

"I don't know," Washu heard not the gout in her son's voice, "I haven't seen her since the night I left for the Oken Uchu Akademi."

Kagato bit down on his third mochi when a new thought came to him and he voiced it, "Washu-okasan, do you think Okage-san put Mori-sama on the ship to help you?"

"Ee," a new understanding caused Washu's eyes to burn brightly, "Ee! Mori-sama told of a spy within Shank's people, who informed him of the plan to kill me!"

"Didn't Okage-san say she couldn't go with you?" Kagato's mind was too caught up in his own musings to notice the glow coming from Washu's left pocket.

"Okage-san said it was time for me to fly with my own wings," Washu's felt her fondness for her childhood friend, "and she kissed my cheek before stepping back into the shadows."

Kagato finished his last mochi in silence while Washu quietly downed the last part of hers before she continued to type in the last part of her experiment, at this point Kagato asked, "Because the Gems created the Ko-Oh-Yoku, you believe they must have great power."

"Hai," Washu's scientific fervor had returned to her voice, "and anything created by nature I can duplicate with these machines."

"You are going to use copies of the Gems to power the android you're making for the Galactic Union?" Kagato drank the last of his soya drink, put the glass on the floating tray, which promptly disappeared.

"Not just power them," a frantic fire lit up Washu's child-woman face, "but to fulfill the other requirements."

Kagato's eyes grew wide with coveted glee as he licked his cupid lips but his next thought dampened his hunger and he said, "But didn't other people examine the Gems and found nothing?"

Washu let out a loud cackle before saying with contempt, "Those same 'people' classified me a Class C psychic," her typing paused as her left hand reached into her vest pocket and pulled out a glowing vial, "yet I'm able to do THIS!"

Kagato felt like his heart was hit by a hammer when he saw the a dozen tiny lights drifting in the clear glass container, there was enough definition in the sparkles for the youngster to say in a squeaky voice, "Micro-galaxies!"

"Close, Kagato-chan," a Cheshire Cat grin on Washu's face, "they're micro-universes."

It seemed like forever for Kagato to break the hypnotic effect the awesome sight had on his eyes, when the six-year-old did his words matched the eager look he gave his mother, "Warriors armed with Ko-Oh-Yoku."

"Un!" a tone of righteous anger in Washu's tone, "Soldiers to protect what is rightfully mine!" With these last words the redheaded scientist pressed the button marked enter on her laptop.

Needle nodules appeared from the walls in both rooms, pointed at the pedestals and beams from them begun to bathe the Gem, the screen on the console in front of Washu and Kagato showed them scanning the red crystal on the subatomic level. Kagato heard Washu gasp and her emerald eyes fill with wonder, which caused the boy to ask, "Nani?"

"The scans are showing the Gem has multiple dimensional existence," Washu's voice ringed with excitement, "not just organic, astral and ethereal but also a higher dimensional existence!"

"Higher dimensional existence?" Kagato still had trouble with some of the psychological-philosophical terms the little scientist would use.

"Look!" Washu turned to look out the window behind them while Kagato turned and stood up on his floating cushion, both saw a millimeter sliver of red, a quick glance at her laptop screen by Washu showed the object was growing one subatomic particle at a time.

As the clone of the Gem reached completion Kagato started to hoop up and down on his cushion with unrestrained elation, a beep from Washu's laptop signaled the experiment's ending but a second later the laptop started to beep like the devil was chewing on it and Washu was horrified by the sight of every sensor in the creation room going into the red. Kagato was confused by how pale his mother's face was next to her rich red hair but then his own face matched his hair when the alarms went off. The first energy surge rippled off the crystal clone and made the walls rattle along with three cracks appearing in the six-inch thick concaved window. With speed-of-light dexterity Washu's fingers typed on the laptop's keyboard in an attempt to activate Level Omega energy dampeners, since the automatic Level Alpha energy dampeners had burned out due to an overload, then her sensors warn of another surge going off, one two-hundred-and-thirteen percent greater than the first.

Washu's mother instinct kicked in and the redhead leaped sideways off her purple cushion, her arms grabbed the frozen Kagato off his cushion and she jumped over the console to use its metal bulk as a shield, the little scientist was in midair when the control room wall shared with the creation room took on the characteristics of torn tissue paper and the cracked window looked like a spider web just before it exploded, sending several razor fragments into the control room.

Washu curled around Kagato as both impacted against the remaining intact window with bone breaking force and several small glass shards cut her clothes to ribbons, punctured wounds in her flesh and left streaks of red on her preteen body. The little scientist fought to remain conscious, fought to keep her mind cleared enough to summon her laptop, and it was now the first temporal wave broke against her mind.

The first image before Washu's eyes was of two women standing in front of her, one was a brunette with cobalt blue eyes and green markings on her face while the other had azure-colored hair with pink eyes and two blue dots on her forehead. The blue-haired woman faced the brunette and asked, "Was it really necessary for the Enlil to die?" Washu heard deep regret in a young sounding voice.

"Yeah, I like to know your reasoning too," Washu heard the mature version of her voice asking.

"Their existence was an accident," iciness to the brunette's voice, "They weren't a part of our design."

"Maybe not our plan but what about the one who gave us life," firmness in the azure woman's voice, "the Enlil might have been his addition to our cosmic design."

"And things were just starting to get interesting," disappointment heavy in Washu's voice, "the Enlil had left their own planet and created two races to seed other solar systems."

"You are both pandering to your own interest," not a hint of reconsideration in the brunette's purple eyes, "they were a pollution to the perfection of our creation, a disease that needed a cure."

"But we are creators," the azure woman waved her hands at the brunette, "not destroyers."

"You are both wrong, there is no such thing as perfection in the lower dimensions and in a way we are destroyers," Washu's voice pointed out, "Suns and worlds are created in the furnace of heat and dust, take a brief taste of existence before being sucked in by a black hole and returned to the great ball of being."

"Balance must be maintained for the cycle of existence to work," the brunette pointed out, "add anything to the scale and the cycle will cease and chaos will reign."

"What about the Utu?" the azure woman's heart could be heard in her voice, "even now they grieve for the loss of the Enlil, for the genocide you caused."

"The Star People will recover and learn from it," no compassion in the brunette's reply.

"Learn what?" the azure woman's eyes glared at the brunette, "That we are unbending and ruthless in our determination, unworthy of their worship as creators."

"I think both of you getting too caught up in this debate," an even tone to Washu's voice, "what's done is done and we have not the ability to change it."

"I can't help it, when I walk amongst the Utu, they ask one question," regret returned to the azure woman's voice, "Why?"

"You have allowed yourself too much contact with them," the brunette's cold logic in her assessment, "remember their existence is fleeting."

"It is better than being the Ice Queen," the azure woman countered, "They're our children and we mustn't turn a blind eye to the Utu's grief nor their pleas for understanding."

"Okay, you two, enough with the personal attacks," Washu's voice showed she was getting impatient, "we still have something to decide upon here," and then she gave the brunette a hard look before she added, "and all THREE of us will be involved in this decision."

"I assume this is about the Enlil's creations," the brunette's voice sounded like she was talking about a waste byproduct, "in my opinion they should return to the dust they came from."

"I have listened to the Utu's prayers for mercy for the Humans, for the Wu and the others," a crystal clear determination in the azure woman's voice, "and I have decided to prove they are worthy enough to exist in this dimension and they have a purpose for being here." With those words the azure woman slowly faded from Washu's emerald gaze.

The image shifted and Washu found her still with the brunette but this time they had someone new between them, a dishwater-blond-haired man whose charcoal black body was held captive in glowing bluish-white bands, the man was dressed in a lime green yukata with a pine green hakama tied to his waist by a white obi embroidered with the golden images of trees, his gray eyes peered from his rock hard face and he repeatedly gave angry glares at the brunette and at Washu, in a moment his graveled voice asked, "Okay, GIRLS, you've got me all dressed up like a Thanksgiving Turkey, now what?"

Washu felt all giddy inside at the fighting spirit the blonde was demonstrating, she could tell by his body posture that the tall man knew he was at their mercy but he wasn't going to give them the satisfaction of showing it to them. With an ear-to-ear smile on her face, Washu sensed her hand give the man's right ass cheek a pinch.

"Great, I've been captured by the S&M Sisters!" the blonde's response to Washu's stimuli.

"Tsk, tsk," Washu heard her mature voice once again, a voice full of mischief, as she walked around and turned to face the blonde, "is that anyway to talk to your betters?"

"Boy, I must be really far down the evolutionary chain for that to be true," the blonde sneered down at the redhead.

"I agree with the assessment," a stony tone came from the brunette's pink lips.

"Everyone's a comedian," the blonde rolled his eyes before he added with false wonder in his tone as he looked at the brunette, "although I was wondering if you had a TONGUE after all or if you were a MUTE."

The brunette's eyes narrow but Washu intervened by reaching between the blonde's yukata and his hakama with her left hand and cupped his family jewels before she commented with a grin, "Hmm, jockey shorts."

"Hey, hey, careful down there," the blonde broke his staring match with the brunette to look down at where Washu's hand was, "I'm still using them."

Washu caught the quick flash of humor in the brunette's eyes before it disappeared behind her icy stare, the redhead felt surprise at the other woman's reaction to the blonde's words in the same way when the brunette deadpanned a joke, Washu could only assume it was very unusual for her female companion to show any emotion or interest in a male. The redhead returned her gaze to the blonde, who looked puzzled at the startled expression on his tormentor's face, and quickly hid behind her next words, "We have a proposition for you."

"Sorry," no apologetic tone in the blonde's decline, "I'm already working for one of your kind."

Washu felt her estimation for the blonde's abilities go up a notch before she asked, "So you know where we come from?"

"If you smelled one upper dimensional being," point-blank bluntness in the blonde's voice, "you smelled them all."

A lustful smile was on Washu's face as she worked her left hand between the flaps of the blonde's jockey shorts, cupped the fleshy sack and said with sweetness, "Ooohhhh, nice and hairy."

The blonde growled out a warning at Washu, "Why don't you just send me back and we'll call it even?"

"That is not a logical solution since we have filled your role in our sister's project with another," the brunette replied.

"I saw the double," the fire was back in the blonde's words, "I assume Tsunami isn't privy to what you are doing?"

"We are incorporating into our little experiment," Washu allowed her fingernails to lightly play with the blonde's family jewels, "what Tsunami has already done."

"Tsunami wants to prove biological sentients, who were created upon grains of sand, has a place in this lower dimension," the brunette's tone showed what she thought of Tsunami's venture.

"The hard work Tsunami has done so far will be the catalyst for our experiment," Washu could tell the blonde was responsive to her handiwork, "while what we add will prove or disprove her goal."

"But why do you . . . you need me," the blonde was fighting to keep his baser self in check.

"For our experiment to succeed," Washu grinned up at the blushing blonde as her left index finger stroke the area just behind his family jewels, "we must take into account of any X factors that we cannot foresee."

"I thought . . ." the blonde took in a ragged breath before he could muster his self control, "I thought upper dimension beings could see the future?"

"Like leaves on a tree," the brunette replied in an even voice, "but for each future that would confirm Tsunami's faith in your race and the other races, there are ten that would deny Tsunami's faith."

"Personally I think you guys are as fun as a barrel of monkeys," Washu ran her left hand's index and middle fingers along the side of the blonde's stiff flagpole, "while my companion over there thinks you and the others are a bunch of losers."

The blonde was having a lot of trouble controlling his breathing, let alone talk, "Do I . . . do I . . . have . . . a . . . choice."

"Always," Washu grinned wickedly as her left thumb teased the velvet end of the blonde's flagpole, "you can say yes and we can get this experiment going, you can let me use the lollipop method to seduce you which I personally recommend," Washu knelt in front of the blonde and her right hand took hold of his obi, "or you can say no, in which case I turn you over to my companion, she has a real talent for making things dead, permanently."

Washu saw the indecision in the blonde's sweating face so she gave the obi a mighty yank. Off came the obi, down came the hakama and boing, boing, boing the man's flagpole went with the redhead's eyes following each boing. Looking up at the chagrined man with tasty victuals eyes, Washu heard the mature lust in her voice, "Tell you what," then she noticed the man get taller and her voice became its preteen version, "I'll bet you're the kind who likes to bang young virgins."

Immediately Washu felt the blonde's flagpole go limp in her left hand and she saw it had gone to half-mast, the redhead felt disappointed and said, "Damn!"

When Washu's gaze looked up, she found the man giving the brunette a measured look, like Washu it was obvious he had also noted the earlier look of interest in those cobalt blue eyes, those same eyes gave no hint what the interest was but the expression on the man's face suggested he consider it something worse than death. When the blonde's gaze met the redhead's gaze there was resignation in his gray eyes, "These futures you mentioned, the ones where Tsunami's faith is confirmed, they have a better chance of occurring if I help," Washu nodded with a hook-line-and-sinker grin on her face, the man let out a soul-weary sigh, "Where do I sign up for this chicken outfit," he said.

The image shifted and Washu found her head held tight by an iron grip on her hair and her gaze filled by the crazed features of a young cyan-haired woman armed with a black six-inch dagger. Washu felt her mind struggling to activate her Washu Doll maneuver but her gray matter was foggy and confused, then she heard a sinister feminine laugh followed by a proud voice coming from her left, "The needle of the dart I hit your leg with was covered in a Witch's Five biotoxin, strong enough to render your vaulted psychic powers impotent for the short-term, Washu-chan," the little scientist's periphery vision caught the image of an older redheaded woman in a white lab coat.

"Enough time for me to show my haha," the woman knelt next to Washu, her words full of malevolence, "how much I love her," the preteen felt the dagger's blade against her neck and saw the soul sucking glee in the woman's amber eyes, at the same time the girl-woman felt a wetness trickling down her neck.

Washu sensed tears streaming from her eyes, sensed her soul ready to scatter into a thousand pieces and sensed her will-to-live all gone, then suddenly the pressure was gone from her neck and her ears heard an angry hiss from the red-and-black battlesuited woman as she let go of the little scientist's hair and jumped back. Washu felt her body impact against the cold tiled floor but the sight her unmoving eyes saw made her spirit sing like an angel for framed in the glow of a doorway was another cyan-haired woman, dressed in the same battlesuit as the other one, but unlike the crazed lust Washu saw earlier, the amber eyes of this young woman flowed with tears and one word, a word full of love, passed her lips, "Okachan."

"This will prove interesting," the smirking voice of the older woman reached Washu's ear, "the original akurei no hakai versus Tomoe-sensei's legion of egg enhanced clones."

"Ryoko-san will have help!" a husky feminine voice came from behind the silently crying woman and out stepped on the woman's right was a tall woman with short choppy blond hair, "A promise given by the Senshi of the Sky, Sailor Uranus!"

"And I will guarantee that promise," a silky soft feminine voice came from the same direction and taking a wide stance on the tearful woman's left was a well-shaped woman with ocean colored long hair, "with the oath of the Senshi of the Sea, Sailor Neptune!"

The image shifted, what Washu now saw was an angry golden-skinned girl in her mid-teens, her hair the color of fire with eyes like twin suns, the youth was wearing three-inch sole shoes, floppy white knickers, a modest tie-dyed skirt and blouse combo along with black half-fingered gloves, both of which were in tight fists while the girl thundered, "Chijo-chan! Keep your paws off my Daddy!"

"Can't a girl have a little fun?" the teen's eyes narrow at Washu's pussycat tone, "Besides I thought your 'Daddy' would have a thing about nurses, him being a Vet and all that." At the same time Washu noted they were in the life science section of her lab, an examination table to her left.

"Daddy is quite happy with Rumiko-mama, so keep your poking and prodding on a professional level," the golden girl placed her right fist right under Washu's nose, "or you'll find out how pissed a Sailor Senshi can get!"

Washu's gaze noticed a reflective screen of one of the console's behind the redhead showed the scientist in her preteen body wearing her angel-of-mercy outfit, then she saw her half-smile become a mad scientist grin before she gave the golden girl's fist a big wet noisy kiss, which put a freaked out expression on the teenager's face that became even more wigged out when the little scientist said, "Doze, if you do I'll show you my shell collection."

Again the image changed and Washu found her gaze showed she was crouched behind a man-sized boulder, her left hand held a three-by-three inch square black box with a big red button on top. The sounds of small arms fire and explosives were all around her and then she heard a gleeful sound come from her right side, there beside her was a bouncy little girl with big pink eyes. It was now the redhead noticed that she and the girl were dressed in US Army desert fatigues along with the standard helmets. Next came the sound of running feet from somewhere on the other side of the big rock and she heard her excited voice say, "You get the honor, Sasami-chan."

"Ee," the little girl held her right fist up above the button while she eagerly stared at the little scientist.

Two young men shot pass the two concealed females, one a black-haired youth with fear filled almond-shaped eyes and the other a thirty-something blond Western, who held up a four-foot circular bluish-white energy shield to cover the youth's back, behind them Washu heard a voice call out in a language she didn't recognize and in response the two running men leaped behind another group of boulders which seconds later were chipped and holed by submachine gun fire, it was now Washu shouted, "IMA!"

The little girl hit the button as hard as she could and voices of surprise were heard from the other side of the boulder followed by several heavy electrical discharges and screams of Hell bound agony. Washu and the little one peeked around the corner to find smoldering bodies surrounded by six-inch popup Washu dolls.

"Yaappii!" shouted the little girl as she and Washu exchanged high fives behind the rock, the redhead noticed azure strands of hair dislodged from under the bouncy child's helmet.

"It TOOK you long enough!" an irritable tone came from the fair-faced man as both males cautiously stood up from their concealment.

"I had to make sure my trap would work PERFECTLY!" Washu heard the ecstatic tone in her retort before she added with a fiendish grin, "Besides if you two did suffer any physical trauma while waiting, it would give me a chance to experi . . . aaa . . . to repair my favorite guinea pig and my favorite lab rat," just then a screech of battle lust mixed with the other sounds of mayhem caused Washu to happily comment, "Ryoko-chan sounds so happy!"

The shorthaired young man and the shorthaired older man exchanged alarmed looks with the blonde saying, "You know, Tenchi-san, it's less dangerous out there than it is in here."

"Hai!" the youth agreed as he ignited the lightsabre in his right hand.

The little girl was giggling up a storm as both men charged out and Washu gave them a sour expression while complaining, "No appreciation for my genius."

The image changed to where Washu found her hands typing on her transparent laptop's keyboard, its screen showed her mainframe was interfaced with another powerful mainframe, then she heard her preteen voice say, "Ami-san, these encryption codes would've stopped even my genius if it wasn't for the memories you and the other Sailor Senshi regained."

"Encryption codes based on personal knowledge are the hardest to solve," a soft feminine voice came from Washu's right side along with another source of typing, "yet only Usagi-chan has complete memory of her past as the Moon Princess, the rest of us have recovered only partial knowledge of our past selves due to flashbacks while Ohiten-sensei is restricted from revealing what she was taught about the Moon Kingdom."

"I can tell Ohiten-san isn't happy about withholding information from you and the other Sailor Senshi," Washu kept her eyes on the screen while typing, "although I think she tries to use MacClean-san as a way to get around her Sailor Sol's restrictions."

"Washu-chan, I'm curious about one aspect of Ohiten-sensei's symbiotic relationship with MacClean-san," Washu heard the interest in the pleasant sounding voice, "as demonstrated by what has happened with Usagi-chan, Minako-chan and is occurring with me and Rei-chan and will take place with Makoto-chan, we are going through a metamorphosis, our human bodies are changing into our past humanoid bodies, yet this hasn't occurred with Ohiten-sensei."

Washu felt a spark of excitement ignite from the voice's words and she hit the pause key as she turned around on her floating cushion to face the source of the voice, on another floating cushion was a teenager with a page hairstyle, whose indigo hair made her pale face look almost white, she wore a Prussian blue skirt piped with British scarlet along with a long-sleeved white blouse and a green-blue fluffy scarf around her slim neck, the youth's sapphire eyes sparkle with the same scientific interest as the redhead knew was in her own emerald eyes and in her hands was a blue notebook computer. After thinking things over Washu replied, "The data I have on Sailor Senshi hasn't been updated in five-thousand-years, so to answer your query one-hundred percent I will need to do a physical examination of a Sailor Senshi."

There was only a slight delay before the indigo-haired girl stood up and begun to brush her skirt strips from her shoulders but she stopped when Washu held up her right hand while saying with amusement, "Iie, iie, that won't be necessary."

"Oi?" the teenager's eyes wide with surprise, "But I thought . . ."

Washu grinned at the confused youth and she pressed a couple of buttons on her laptop while saying, "I only does that to my male patients," then she saw the expression on the fourteen-year-old's face and she asked, "you look disappointed?"

"It's just I'm so fascinated to see your methodology, Washu-chan," the little scientist got off her cushion and turned to face the twelve-inch subspace hole that had opened while the youngster explained, "because of my duty as a Sailor Senshi and my responsibility as part of the Moon Princess' bodyguard, I've turned down scholarships to study at the great universities in Yoroppa (Europe) and in Beikoku (United States)," a round object about the same size as the hole popup into Washu's hands as the pale girl continued, "so I resign myself never to know the limits of my genius," then her voice took on a tone Washu knew very well, "yet in all the dreams I've drawn in my mind, I couldn't imagine I would get the chance to work with the greatest genius of the universe."

As she approached the indigo girl, Washu used a joke to keep her ego under control, "So Ohiten-san's been telling horror stories about me and I'll bet you ojosans drew straws to see who would have to come here wa?"

"Actually, I broke my straw in half," the girl's white skin made her blush look like a five-alarm fire.

Again the image shifted and Washu found she was looking at an oblong pill in the palm of her right hand before she shifted her sight up to the woman standing before her, a tall woman with long white hair, light brown skin with blue markings on the cheeks and forehead, wearing a skin-tight lime green shirt matched by some skin-tight pale purple pants, then the little scientist looked at the man to her left, the same black-skinned man she had seen earlier, before her vision shifted to her right where a dishwater blond girl with limitless kindness in her gray eyes stood, she had the same facial markings as the other woman. Finally her eyes returned to the woman in front of her and she asked, "So this will return my memories to me ne?"

"Hai, Washu-chan," there was note of respect in the white-haired woman's voice, "it's a key activation formula, designed to unlock your previous life's memories."

"My previous life's . . ." Washu felt a shock hit her mind as something she never thought of before came to the fore.

When the black man saw the expression, he smirked, "Oi, you cried like any other newborn babe," the dishwater blonde lightly giggled behind her right hand while the white-haired woman fought to keep a straight face.

"So I had," excitement bubbled up out of Washu's shock as her emerald gaze locked on the black man in the heavy lemon yellow sweater, "an okasan and an otousan?"

The man looked uncomfortable but the young fair girl in the straw-colored dress answered the question, "Ee, Washu-chan, in a very special way you had an okasan and an otousan."

The images flickered and pain burned in Washu's body and mind, the little scientist once more found Kagato in her arms and the sound of alarms ringing in her ears, the screen on her laptop showed the Gem clone's physical structure going unstable, from his mother's arms Kagato saw the same thing and cried out, "OKACHAN!"

The blast disintegrated the walls, the glass windows and consoles, but the Gem clone's destructive conversion from matter to energy didn't reach Washu and Kagato because three Ko-Oh-Yoku appeared and formed a cocoon around them. Washu pushed through the pain to reach into her lab coat's pocket and pulled out three glowing gems, her own psychic senses felt their musical humming while a child's awe filled her ears, "Washu-okasan, your Gems are protecting us!"

Once the spots from the blast left Washu's eyes, the redhead stood with Kagato sliding out of her grasp, her words laced with pain filled fatigue, "Kagato-chan, I think you going to need to help your haha to the regeneration tank."

"Hai, okasan," the six-year-old placed his mother's right hand on his tiny shoulders he tried his best to use his left hand to pull Washu close.

As the two walked over a blast-scared floor with the smell of burning wires and plastic in the air, Washu's mind buzzed with the information shown to her by the temporal images, the little scientist knew how tricky temporal waves could be, the images they produced could be about her past and her future or they could be about an alternate Washu existing in one or several alternate dimensions, yet in the darkest depths of her soul where she kept chained her inner demons, to the bright sky where angels sang to her conscious, she felt her heart fill with a resolve to claim what the images showed her. This resolution was interrupted when Kagato asked in a confused voice, "Okasan, why didn't the experiment work?"

For the rest of the journey Washu used Kagato's question to keep her body going, when they reached the regeneration tank and Washu laid face down on the medical bed that would take her inside the huge machine, the mother answered, "Kagato-chan, I think the clone wasn't made right."

Kagato thought for a moment as Washu called up her laptop and pressed a series of buttons to activate the restoration program, then he asked, "How was the clone not made right?"

"I think the Gem has to be alive to keep the power stable," Washu explained then she asked, "You remember how to use the kitchen program?"

"Hai," Kagato nodded, his face was a mix of worry and hope.

"And take your nap and go to bed when you are suppose to ne?" Kagato nodded again and Washu bushed the few strands of white hair out of her son's face, "That's a good son, I won't be long."

"I love you, okasan," Kagato's red eyes glisten with emotion.

"I love you, akachan," Washu returned as the lower part of the regeneration tank parted and the medical bed slid in with its passenger.

Washu's mind slipped back into the present as her mind went over again the information brought up. Like before this memory was bittersweet, it reminded her how her and Kagato had started out as mother and son, how wonderful it was to have a loving son whose genius had the potential to be his mother's equal. Like before she still wondered about the validity of the temporal images yet she felt a touch of fear at those images that suggested they might be from a time before she was found at the abbey's entrance, a time she wasn't supposed to remember until something happen. 'I want so much for these images to be a part of my life,' a mix of anger, loathing and hope filled her imprisoned spirit, 'but do I have the right to hold the key of my past in my hand, do I have the right to stand before the door to my future, do I have the right to open the lock of the present.'

Funao Forensic Lab, Funao

"I can see what caught your interest, Scully-san," the black-haired man with the horn-rimmed glasses commented as he stood next to the American detective, both were carefully examining the photos of the stained tissue from the brain biopsy on the dead found in the passenger car, "there is almost total disruption of both hemisphere's synapse web, only the area covering automotive responses like breathing, walking, eyesight and hearing were left intact."

"Hai, Sakaki-isha," Scully nodded slowly, "only the boy and those bodies closest to his show this kind of cellular destruction, the brain biopsies of the other bodies show a different pattern of synapse web destruction."

"The one thing I can't get over is the emaciation of the child's body," Sakaki's voice sounded older than his thirty-five-year-old body, "the local police reported him missing only yesterday."

"The local police," this new piece of information caught Scully's attention, "not his ryoshin?"

"Hai," the head of the forensic department saw the new interest in Scully's emerald eyes so he flipped open the file he had on the boy, "it was originally believed by the Konko Traffic Police that the youth was involved in a traffic accident while waiting for his school bus."

"Why did they believe he was still there when the accident occurred?" Scully's mind was carefully fitting the clues together without forcing them.

"His school books were found next to the driver's body and the bus driver reported he wasn't at the bus stop, so the police believed he was dazed by the accident and wandered off," then the possibilities hit the doctor's mind and he said, "You don't think he was exposed to something at the accident."

"To paraphrase the Great Detective," Scully remembered Mulder would annoy her by using this quote, "when all possible solutions are ruled out one by one, what is left, no matter how inconceivable it is, is the truth."

"I'll call Konko Forensic Lab to see if the driver's body is still there," Sakaki's white lab coat billowed as he quickly made his way to the telephone.

"If it has already been turned over to the deceased's relatives," Scully suggested as she made her way toward the lab's exit, "find out which mortuary the body has been sent to and have them stop any embalming or cremation until I can take brain tissue samples."

Scully heard the affirmative answer from Sakaki as she opened the door, her right hand was already going to her cellphone in her pocket while her left hand pulled out her notebook. With her right thumb she pressed the necessary buttons and held the device to her ear, in seconds a male voice answered in Nihongo, "Moshi-moshi, Sugoru here."

"Sugoru-san, Scully here," her gaze checked the information in her notebook to make sure she didn't make any verbal mistake, "I need a haz-mat team sent to the scene of a traffic accident that occurred near the Togashi farm, located just outside the city of Konko," then she made a hard decision while her assistants joined her, "also have the team quarantine the farm and check for contamination and use the cover story to explain it to the family there."

"You found the trail?" questioned Sugoru.

"Hai, I believe I have," Scully answered as she left the building, "I'm going to Konko, then to the farm, I'll let you know if I find found anything."

"Anything else, Scully-san?" Sugoru asked.

"Hai," Scully acknowledged, "I want you to send all unclaimed bodies to the medical research lab located near Hakui, in Ishikawa-ken, they have advanced equipment even our NZK forensic labs don't have."

"It will be done," Sugoru replied.

"Gu, Scully out."

Once Scully was in the long black car, the redhead decided to inform Mulder about the progression of this case, so she pressed her cellphone's address book function and activated Mulder's cellphone number, in two shakes of a lamb's tail, Scully heard a familiar voice, "Hello, Mulder here."

"This is Scully," the background noise the redhead heard suggested her partner was in a restaurant, "just letting you know I could be out of cellphone range for a while."

"Scully," a little mirth in Mulder's voice, "You're following the trail of bread crumbs?"

"NINJIN-CHAN!" the American slightly pulled the phone from her ear and frowned at the female voice.

"Tell Ryoko," annoyance in Scully's voice as she noticed the varied looks from her assistants, some puzzled some amused, "this isn't a social call."

"You know, Mulder," a hint of naughtiness in Ryoko's English words, "Scully sounds uptight, how about we get her and Nobuyuki a love motel room."

That last comment put wind in Scully's sails and she said, "Mulder, will you please point out to Miss Hakubi that if she spreads rumors about my so-called love life, I will take away her toy badge."

Background noise came over the receiver before Mulder said, "C'mon you two, be nice," then he added, "Ryoko, a detective doesn't stick her tongue out."

"I'm non snichin' in oup," Ryoko's speech was badly slurred, "You're holdin' ip."

A small smile graced Scully's face as she was fairly certain it was Ryoko and not Mulder who had a hold of the errant appendage, then the redhead remembered why she called so she asked, "Anyway, how is it going with your murder investigation?"

"It looks like we are dealing with a vigilante," Mulder explained.

"Yeah and she doesn't like what she doing either," Ryoko piped in.

"So the suspect is female," Scully's comment more an observation than a question.

"An eye witness definitely identified her as a female," Mulder confirmed.

"I was always certain it was a woman," Ryoko added, "my nose never lies."

Scully opened her mouth to comment about Ryoko telling the truth but thought better, so instead she asked, "Do you know who it is?"

"Not yet," Mulder replied, "she is using a disguise to prevent identification but we were able to get her disguise intact this time, so we hoping forensics can give us some clues."

"Didn't the eye witness give an accurate description of the suspect?" slight confusion in Scully's question.

"The guy was watering his pants so bad," Ryoko got in the first shot, "the only thing he saw was her boobs."

Scully heard gaffs from her assistants and there was a pause before Mulder added in an irritated tone, "the witness did say he saw tears in her eyes."

"That's true," Ryoko admitted but there was a grin in her voice.

Changing the subject, Mulder commented, "We've been listening to the new reports about the Funao Toxic Spill."

"Yeah, some really bad medicine happened over there," Ryoko added her two cents.

"I can't tell you anything about it over an unsecured line," Scully tried to keep her voice neutral, "except we are following every lead we can find to reveal the whole truth about the spill."

"Well," Mulder's confidence in Scully's skill was in his voice, "I wish you luck."

"Break a leg," Scully wasn't sure if Ryoko's comment was a vote of confidence or wishful thinking, then she heard the cyan-haired woman's laugh.

"I'll get back to you and the funny girl later," a dangerous tone in Scully voice, "Bye."

"Bye, bye," replied two voices.

Scully cut the connection but then thought about what Ryoko had said and how right now the redhead felt like needing to hear a certain voice, even if it might corroborate to her assistants what the ample woman had said, so with some steeling of willpower, the American pressed in another set of numbers.

Kenminno Design Group

Nobuyuki was in his open door cubicle with his computer on and using a draw pad and etching pen to add some finishing touches to the drawings for the new proposal that he had been working on for the pass two weeks, it was one of the reasons he had taken his 'family' up to the onsen, a chance for him to let his brain soak up the heat and minerals from the bubbling water so he would come to work with a fresh mind and it worked, he was certain the developers would love the idea of a private onsen for the condo they were looking to build, even the telephone ringing couldn't break his good mood, "Moshi-moshi, Masaki Nobuyuki."

"Masaki-san, there's a call from a Scully Dana for you on line six," the voice of the office receptionist informed him.

"Domo arigato, Shimizu-kun," gratitude in Nobuyuki's words before he pressed the button for line six and his voice gained scarlet warmth, "Konnichiwa, Ninjin-chan."

"Konnichiwa, Inkushimi," Scully's greeting reflected the same affection as Nobuyuki's.

"Genki desu ka? (How are you doing?)" Nobuyuki heard about the Funao Toxic Spill and knew Scully might be involved in the investigation.

"Genki desu yo, Anata wa? (I'm fine, you, darling?)" Scully decided to up the ante in the touching-feeling department.

"I was a little worried about you," Scully calling Nobuyuki darling caused his voice to deepen then he cleared his throat before adding, "and Mulder-san."

"You've heard about what happened at Funao," Scully probed.

"Hai," the middle-aged man concern increased.

"Dewa because of my medical training," Scully careful to give only what Nobuyuki would hear on the news, "I've been split from Mulder to head up the investigation."

"Subarashii! I'm so proud of you!" Nobuyuki's joy was tempered with mild confusion, "But why isn't Mulder . . ." his voice trailed off because he realized his favorite girl might not be allowed to answer.

"Our other case is still open," Scully valued Nobuyuki's tact, "but don't worry about either of our safety, I have plenty of help and Ryoko-san is helping Mulder."

"Ryoko-san?" this revelation caught Nobuyuki totally by surprise, when he left this morning with Tenchi, Mihoshi, Seto and Ayeka, Ryoko was supposed to baby-sit Sasami.

"Hai," Scully let her voice note her mix feelings about the development, "by happenstance Ryoko-san became our first recruit for our department," then Scully remembered the shock she heard in Nobuyuki's question, "Is something wrong with that?"

"Mo," Nobuyuki didn't want to rat on the uchu kaizoku, "it's just with Ryoko-san's background, I didn't think she would want to be a keisatsukan."

"Believe me, Inkushimi, when Ryoko-san showed up yesterday I thought she was there to pull our proverbial leg," then Scully's annoyed tone became thoughtful, "but she helped us find clues in her own unique way and her wild attitude has kept Mulder-san from hiding inside of his own body."

"A foul-weather-friend," suggested Nobuyuki.

"I'll keep my eyes long before I accept Ryoko-san without reservations," Scully sounded like she hoped Nobuyuki was right, "once the newness wears off we'll see how long she sticks around."

"I don't know, Ninjin-chan," Nobuyuki's faith in his words, "from the first night they met, there seems to be a special bond between Ryoko-san and Mulder-san," then he decided to add a little intrigue to his statement, "one that spark a bit of jealousy in my musuko."

"Tenchi-san?" now it was Scully's turn to be surprised, "I know he is sexually attracted to Ryoko-san but I thought your son only wanted to be nice to her like he is with Sasami-chan and Ayeka-san."

"You know us, Masaki men," a teasing tone enveloped Nobuyuki's words, "when someone pulls on our heart strings, our asoke jumps."

Scully couldn't stop her cheeks from blushing and her voice became silkily soft, "When I and Mulder finish these two cases, do you think we could maybe . . ." she waited to hear him say the magic word.

"Go out on our first date?" Nobuyuki finished.

"Ee!" hope within hope in Scully's assertion.

"I don't see why not," Nobuyuki's happiness in his declaration, "you're as pure and as bright as a water drop."

Scully's bluish reached new levels of brightness and she mumbled, "I'm not that special."

"To the person whose heart you've stolen and to everyone who cares about you," Nobuyuki grinned, "you are."

I'll keep that in mind," Scully's words all fuzzy and warm, "and I'll call you when I get back, Sayonara, Inkushimi."

"Sayonara, Ninjin-chan," Nobuyuki put the phone down and let out a happy sigh.

"It looks like there's a wedding in Nobuyuki-kun's future," a voice came from his cubicle's entrance.

Startled from his joyful thoughts, Nobuyuki looked up to find the firm's owner, Ikegami Eiichi, the firm's senior secretary, Reiya, and Nobuyuki's office friend, Owatari Ryo, looking at him with various levels of smiles and grins. With his right hand going to the back of his head, Nobuyuki asked with a nervous laugh, "How long have you been standing there?"

"Long enough to know you're not a widower anymore, Nobuyuki-kun," humor in Ryo's reply.

"And here I was," a false pout on Reiya's pretty face as she crossed her arms, "hoping to be the lucky girl to snag our best senior architect."

"Na, Watakushi-tachi! (C'mon, Guys!)" Nobuyuki stood up on weak legs, "this is embarrassing."

"That's what happens when you accept personal calls on company time," there was no hostility in Eiichi's voice, Nobuyuki noticed his boss was holding a new folder in his right hand as the older man added, "So who is the lucky girl?"

"She an old friend of the family," Nobuyuki's discomfort changed to knowing confidence, "I knew her when I was a teenager and she was a kodomo."

"A friend of Achika-san?" Reiya had known Nobuyuki and Achika when she was a teen and was one of the mourners at her funeral.

"Hai," Nobuyuki's acknowledged then the black-haired man reached down and used the computer's mouse to save the file to floppy disk before he continued, "Dewa, I better take this file over to the printers and have them produce the blueprints."

"Before you go, Nobuyuki-kun, I've got a bit of good news for you and the company," Eiichi held the folder out to Nobuyuki.

With uncertainty Tenchi's father took the folder and noticed it was labeled, Kurashiki School of Industry and Arts, this produced a surprised, "Nani?" from the tanned man.

"We've won the contract to rebuild the school," all three of the people in front of Nobuyuki were grinning from ear-to-ear while Eiichi continued his statement, "and I've decided to make you the chief architect for the project."

"Oi . . . ano . . . but Johji-kun is your most senior architect," Nobuyuki was confused by his boss' logic, "shouldn't he be in charge of the project?"

"Johji-kun is planning to retire at the end of this year," Eiichi held up one finger, "you've told me about going to that school and complained about how old the design was," he held up a second finger, "you also mentioned that you had already done some blueprints of the school the way you would've done it," Nobuyuki's boss held up a third finger, "and you told me your son was going to the school and I can't imagine a greater motivator than a father building something for his son."

All three there saw the ambition on Nobuyuki's face but the trio noticed a touch of a little sadness too, which in turn caused Reiya to nudge Eiichi with her right elbow. Eiichi gave a tentative look to the bespectacled woman who frowned slightly, because of this motivation Nobuyuki's boss cleared his throat to draw Nobuyuki's attention before saying, "So, Nobuyuki-kun, when is the Manabe Project going to be finished?"

"By the end of today," Nobuyuki tried to put up a brave front although he was thinking, 'I was hoping for a few days of light work so I could get home in time for dinner.'

"Gu," Eiichi nodded before adding, "I want you to dig up those old blueprints and ideas you had for your old school and update them," then he added with a wink, "I'm sure you can do this at your home as well as you can do them here."

Nobuyuki felt like his heart was about to burst and his enthusiasm caused him to go soldierlike while he shouted, "Hai! Buchou!"

"Gu," Eiichi nodded some more before he finished by saying, "I'll expect you to come in on Friday with a preliminary proposal so we can put our heads in order for next Monday."

"HAI!" Nobuyuki's excitement went up another notch then he added with a little more control, "If you will excuse me, I'll get this quickly to the printers."

The trio made room so Nobuyuki could pass between them, which allowed the man in the green shirt quickly leave the room, it was now Ryo said, "It's like what they say in the movie: love heals all wounds."

"Although I was hoping Nobuyuki-kun would solve one of my little problems," Eiichi sent a nervous glace Reiya's way while Ryo bit his tongue to keep from grinning.

"Aaaaa, anata, don't you like me anymore," Reiya's hurtful tone made false by the witchy look in her greenish blue eyes as her curvy body leaned against Eiichi, "I mean, I know parts of you still do."

"Dewa . . . ano . . ." Eiichi fumble-footed before his instinct for self-preservation kicked in, "of course I do, Rei-chan! Aya-chan, Yuki-chan and Chiaki-chan would never forgive me if I hurt you in any way!"

"You're so sweet, my samurai with his danbira (broad sword)," Reiya stood on her toes and kissed Eiichi on the left cheek, much to Ryo's amusement and a few gawks from the other office workers, then the woman in the sky-blue business suit walked around her boss while saying, "let me get your afternoon ocha ready and then I'll place your call to the Ministry of Education so you can tell them about your decision."

Eiichi and Ryo watched Reiya sashay toward her boss' private office, "Reiya-kun knows I dance to the tune she plays," the older man moaned, "and it's with Aya-chan's approval."

Ryo studied the moment before he guessed, "Aya-san is your official okusan and Reiya-san is your official aijin (love person)?"

"Aya-san and Reiya-san met at a New Year's party ten years ago," a mix of pleasure and pain on Eiichi's face," and I made a mistake of leaving them alone while I got both of them a drink."

"Oi," an eye-opener-look on Ryo's face, "they compared notes."

"I didn't know anything was going on until Aya-chan and I took the children to the Achi-jinja three days later," Eiichi face now took on the fear he felt on that day, "and I found Reiya-san waiting for us at the top of the stairs."

"You really lost your face da," Ryo gave his boss a sympathetic look.

"I remember thinking how kawaii Reiya-san looked in her sunshine yellow kimono with images of koneko-tachi (kittens) chasing each other on it," a dreamy look on Eiichi, "and I asked Reiya-san where her parents were, both she and Aya-chan giggled at my question and Aya-chan told me she invited Reiya-san to come to the jinja for New Year's blessings."

Something said by Eiichi earlier in the conversation caused Ryo's eyebrows to rise, "Ten years! That means Reiya-san was . . . aaa . . . young when she became your aijin."

"Doze! Keep your voice down," Eiichi whispered harshly as he looked around, those who were leaning out of their cubicles to caught more of the conversation suddenly found the work on their desk more important, the barrel-chested man returned his gaze to Ryo before he continued, "Since that day Reiya-san has become part of our family and our children call her, Reiya-mama."

"I'm surprised your okusan accepted Reiya-san so easily," the mix of pleasure and pain was back on Ryo boss' face, so the younger man inquired, "there's more to this than just Reiya-san being an official member of your family da?"

"Hai," Eiichi admitted with a broken smile, "once Reiya-san graduated from high school, Aya-chan 'convinced' me to hire her as my private secretary."

"To keep an eye on you?" Ryo wasn't completely surprised by this admission because for a forty-one-year-old man, his boss was a ramrod straight man with very little body fat.

"Partly," Eiichi sighed, "but also because Reiya-san has an excellent business mind which would ensure the survival of this company and provide a stable economic future for 'our' family," then he added with grin, "an example of her ability is my hiring Masaki-kun, she recommended it, I did it and this company has benefitted from it ever since."

"Even after your little comment," Ryo saw the care in Eiichi's black orbs, "you still sound like you in love with her."

"My whole body is scorched with the passion for Reiya-san as it does for Aya-chan," Eiichi's eyes never left the door to his private office, "and Reiya-san commitment, to Aya-chan and our children, is unweaving."

This last statement by Eiichi awoke another thought in Ryo and he asked, "Ten years and no shitei da?"

"Reiya-san can't have shitei," old sadness touched Eiichi's face as he replied, "my smart aijin has a six-inch scar on her belly but she won't tell me how it happened."

"Aya-san feels sorry for Reiya-san," new insight in Ryo's gaze, "and is willing to let her and your shitei to be Reiya-san's."

"Hai," Eiichi agreed as he took a deep breath, "Dewa, I better get back in there and drink my Sencha."

Ryo watched Eiichi leave him before the junior architect said, "The more I watch people, the more wonderful strange they become."

Akies Restaurant, Kurashiki

"Domo Arigato," said a perky waitress with Chinese silk hairnets that looked like twin buns in her deep red hair, "I'll bring your order here as soon as it's ready."

As the young girl bouncy walked away from the booth where Mulder sat next to Ryoko with Aoi was on the other side, the uchu kaizoku commented in English on where the American's pale green eyes were looking, "You know, Aoi, there should be a law against girls being that cute."

"She is nice looking," Aoi gave a calculating look at the departing waitress before returning her gaze to Ryoko, "but after the initial meeting I think a man will find the woman of proper manners more appealing."

Ryoko's amber eyes narrowed as her annoyed gaze locked on the policewoman, "Aoi, you sound like a certain prissy prin . . ." further words from the ample woman were stopped when Mulder placed his left hand on her right thigh.

"I want to thank you for helping me with the menu, Japanese looks like chicken scratches to me," Mulder's grateful words picked up the slack of Ryoko's interrupted words.

The uchu kaizoku tilted her cyan-haired head, allowed a savoring look to capture her features as she rested her right hand on his left, her inner temptation softened her voice, "you could've used the pictures to order."

"And miss that protective look you gave Futaba when she tried to help," Ryoko gave the American a you-got-to-be-kidding look before she picked up his hand and placed it back in the agent's lap.

Aoi watched the warm smile appear on Mulder's face equaled by the little grin on Ryoko's face and the arm motion by both of them suggested a little hanky-panky going on underneath the tablecloth, but before the green-eyed lady could say anything, a call of nature occurred, "Excuse me, sir, but I need to use the washroom to freshen-up."

Mulder nodded but Ryoko watched Aoi head for the bathrooms, letting out a little laugh when the policewoman almost hesitated at the men's bathroom before going into the women's.

"Hmmm?" Mulder gave Ryoko questioning looking.

"Nothing," Ryoko shook her head before adding, "You have very interesting why of stopping someone from spilling the beans."

"Well, I didn't want you to frighten the horses," Mulder glanced around to make sure no one was listening to them, "besides you have such nice firm thighs."

"Ahhh, I'll bet you say that to all the female aliens," Ryoko grinned before adding, "and here I thought you were into the-truth-is-out-there jazz."

"I am," the humor in Mulder's eyes turned somber, "it's just since Scully and I ran into you and your 'friends', your presence has reinforced my belief that what happened to me and my sister could well be the tip of a very dirty iceberg," with unconscious thought Mulder's left hand sought out and held Ryoko's right hand, "and the truth I will find is going to be a nightmare I won't wake up from."

"We'll help you find her, Mulder," Ryoko turned her left hand over and returned the squeeze, "just as we agreed to do and Goddess Tsunami will support us too."

The mention of the Juraijin goddess reminded Mulder of the little azure-haired princess and he asked, "Sasami is special to this goddess, this Tsunami?"

"Sasami is Tsunami's bondmate but that is only part of the reason why the goddess was angry," Mulder's expression went from questioning to confusion which prompted Ryoko to say, "What?"

"Eh . . . what is a . . ." Mulder's question is left unfinished as his mind locked on something his eyes saw, a long black Cadillac stopping in front of the Yashi No Ki Udon Shop, his profiler instincts clicked on and he asked Ryoko, "How common are American-made cars?"

"Rare actually, in fact expensive American cars are associated with the Yakuza," Ryoko remembered a mildly interesting television program she watched with Tenchi and the others, "Why you ask?"

"The black Caddy in front of eatery we left," Ryoko turned so she could stare out the window next to their booth, "you think your eyes can get a good look at its occupants?"

Mulder watched as Ryoko's eyes glowed with amber fluorescence before a cat's hiss escaped her red lips with words right behind it, "It's that Benkie guy from the hospital!"

"I'll bet they aren't getting the House Special," Mulder scooted out of the booth and shouted over his shoulder as he headed for the closest exit, "Get Futaba and tell her to come in as my backup for the front door, I wait you to cover the backdoor and prevent anyone from leaving!"

Ryoko whooped for joy, saying, "At LAST! Some ACTION!" Ryoko jumped into the air only to remember barely in time than she was in a restaurant, so with some trickery she appeared to run along the booth's backrest and she used her momentum to leap from one table to the next table so she could take a short cut to the women's bathroom, the shouts of surprise and anger from the parents mix with squealing delights from the children disguised the fact that Ryoko's footfalls didn't even disturb the liquid in the customer's drinks. Once Ryoko entered the washroom, her extended senses showed only one person was inside besides her, someone in the farthest stall whose body gave off male pheromones.

Futaba Aoi was on the toilet with her hose and panties down at her ankles, her left hand was giving her ding-a-ling a final shake when a cyan-haired head phased through the cubicle's door, came nose-to-nose to her brown-haired head and said in Nihongo, "Break a bone, Aoi-san! The Yakuza is over at the udon shop and Mulder-san wants you as backup for the front door!" Aoi stared at the spot where Ryoko's head was until the head reappeared, took one look at the policewoman's crotch before girlishly saying, "Anata no gobo oishiso, Aoi-san, zenzen Tenchi no pinpin-chan muri kawaii wa yo (Aoi, your burdock looks quite tasty but Tenchi has the cutest, little Mr. Bong-Bong!)!"

Aoi had to grab onto the door of the stall with both hands as the policewoman forgot to pull up her hose and panties up before attempting to bolt from the enclosure.

Just before Mulder spotted the Cadillac, Mihoshi, Seto and Fuyumi were walking on the sidewalk in search of a nice place for Seto to treat the two girls to lunch before her godchild's new friend took the train back to Tokyo. When Mihoshi spotted Akies' big red lettered sign, she asked, "Fuyumi-san, is Akies a good place to eat?"

"Hai, they're a big chain," Fuyumi's words full of humor, "although one of their places in Akasaka-ku did get wrecked by a couple of disgruntled employees."

"Let's try . . ." Seto was interrupted when she saw a tall foreigner rush out of the aforementioned restaurant with a gun held high in his right hand, a badge held up with his left and shouting over the noise of the traffic, "POLICE! POLICE! POLICE!"

Those pedestrians and drivers who didn't understand what the man was saying did understand the gun and the badge, both meant getting out of the way, people cleared a path and cars stopped as the brown-haired man ran across the street and take up a position on the right side of the front door of a udon shop.

"Ano . . ." Mihoshi's was about to comment when her ears went up due to the sound caused by teleportation and she looked up in time too caught the pink-clad figure of Ryoko dropping on top of the udon shop's roof. Seto had followed her godchild's line-of-sight and saw the cyan mane before it dropped out of sight.

"Ara?" Maybe because of instinct Fuyumi kept to a one word utterance which was followed by the sight of a brown-haired woman charging out of the same exit as had the foreigner, holding up her own badge with her right hand, shouting, "KEISATSU! KEISATSU! KEISATSU!" As before people stepped aside and cars stopped although the looks of some of the males betrayed thoughts conjured by watching what some considered to be a well-shaped woman in a tight-fitted policewoman's uniform.

The trio watched the two police officers take up the usual stance for going into a room, the blue uniformed woman going in low while the plainclothesman going in high, with a timed move to go with the female officer turning the doorknob and lightly pushed the door open, the man jumped in first to be followed by his female partner.

During this whole event Seto kept glancing at Mihoshi, the Jurain saw the mix of excitement and longing in her godchild's features, besides her own inquisitiveness was stirred so the tall princess whispered softly into Mihoshi's left ear, "Himawari, why don't you go and find out why Ryoko-dono isn't taking care of Sasami ne?"

It was like every candle in the universe lit up behind Mihoshi's baby blues and she hugged Seto before taking off. Car drivers and their passengers must have thought a marathon was taking place as they watched an ebony woman dressed in green go zigzagging from one car hood to another car hood before landing beside the udon shop's opened door. Careful to peek in, the GP officer found the room held several cowering patrons along with a foreigner and the policewoman, who were on each side of the noren-covered entryway to the kitchen.

Seto smiled with pride at her godchild's dedication but her thoughts were interrupted when she felt a call from her bondmate. Fuyumi was stunned by Mihoshi's display of athletic skill before turning back to Seto, saying, "Seto-san, please accept . . . Oi!" The giantess discovered that Seto was gone.

Neither Mulder nor Aoi realized someone was following them, their attention was rightly focused on what was happening in the kitchen, two middle-aged couple were in the far right corner, seated in the middle of the prep table was a three-feet-tall man slurping down noodles from a ceramic bowl that was almost as big as his head, standing beside him was a mountain of a man, who was easily six feet tall and weighting in at Refrigerator Perry level. Beside the prep table there was the huge vat of boiling water used for the udon noodles, the freezer box, numerous bags of flour as well as various other items you would find in a noodle shop's kitchen.

The short guy slurped down another mouthful of buckwheat noodles before saying, "Ima, don't worry so much about your son, our boss won't harm one hair on his head as long he answers some questions," from the doorway to the living quarters came the sound of breaking glass and the black-haired man added with a grin, "it looks like your son isn't being very cooperative."

The older woman gave a motherly cry which brought Mulder and Aoi out of their cover, with the American taking up a firing stance with his gun on the man-mountain while Aoi was opposite the small guy but neither of their targets was taken completely by surprise because the next thing Mulder knew a bowl of hot udon hit him in the face. The speed the man-mountain caught Aoi's attention and Mulder just cleared the noodles from his dripping face when a meaty hand backhanded the gun out of the American's numbed fingers. The buzz of something close by caused Aoi to step back and her right hand picked up the rolling pin from the prep table, the short man almost nailed the policewoman with a stun gun he had pulled out of his coat pocket. The short man made another stab at Aoi before rolling onto his feet so he could stand on the table but it was a mistake on his part because it allowed the green-eyed woman to use her wooden weapon to pin the stun gun to the black-eyed man's chest and depress the trigger at the same time, the short one's body took on the characteristics of Jell-O and he flopped head first onto the table's top.

Mulder's part of the melee wasn't going in his favor, the loss of his gun and the man-mountain's athleticism caused the FBI agent to say one of the few Nihongo words he knew, "Sumo?"

The big guy stopped for a moment and gave Mulder a slight bow before his massive left hand barely missed smacking the agent's head off his shoulders. Seeing he was outweighed by a couple of a hundred pounds of muscle and fat, Mulder deduced it was time to bring out the other equalizer and in the same moment as his opponent's miss, the policeman jammed his right foot into the man-mountain's gonads. The mass of bone and tendon froze but then a shark's grin appeared on the big man's ugly face.

"HOLY BRASS MONKEY BALLS!" this was Mulder's reaction to his ineffective blow followed by him dropping onto the tiled floor to avoid the grab of two huge hands and he rolled underneath the man-mountain, there the agent wrapped his arms and legs around the tree trunk-sized legs. The American tried regain his composure as he looked for where his gun fell but his head stopped moving when a massive hand clapped down on his neck, Mulder had a bad feeling he was about to find out what a chicken felt when the farmer wrings its neck.

Aoi saw the predicament Mulder was in, so putting every bit of speed and muscle she could summon, the policewoman rammed the man-mountain's butt with her right shoulder, the results were what she had hoped for, the big guy's attempt to get at Mulder left him in such an awkward posture that he fell halfway into the vat of boiling water. The dreadful roar from of the kitchen broke the morale of the customers and the shop's dinning area was instantly deserted except for the green-clad woman looking underneath the hanging noren of the kitchen entrance. Mihoshi knew she had only seconds to react, her police instincts told her the policewoman had done would only delay the massive man from snapping Mulder's neck in two, in the vastness of her soul, the ebony lady knew a life had to be taken to save a life.

On her hands and knees, Aoi watched the man-mountain try to lift his blistered head out of the raging water only to have an ebony woman leap come through the noren and use both of her hands to plunge the somo wrestler's head back into the scalding liquid. The policewoman jade eyes watched as one hand let go of Mulder's neck and the massive body quaked while both hands slapped and clawed at the blond-haired woman, the sounds of tearing cloth and watery screams filled the air. Aoi rolled to her feet and tried to reach the blonde but was batted down onto the ground by the man-mountain's left hand and she lay there with stars in her eyes. Time seemed to move at a snail's pace before the colossus sag against the vat, drop to his knees and his arms fell to his side.

Mulder let out a sigh, "Thank God," and tried to wiggle out from underneath the dead weight but then the agent cursed, "Shit!" He was pinned under those muscular knees.

Up on the roof, Ryoko watched the backdoor and the alley, the cyan-haired woman was sure Mulder believed her abilities would allow her to capture anyone trying to leave with ease but she also feared Mulder didn't trust her enough to take her into the heat of battle, that she might kill first and ask questions later. 'I've got to prove to Mulder,' a little pain mixed along with the confidence Ryoko felt, 'I do remember what Handover taught me.'

This train of thought was interrupted when a chair shattered the window belonging to Nakayama's bedroom with the youth right behind it. A voice Ryoko recognized as Benkie's ordered, "Bring him back in one piece!"

When Nakayama landed a gasp of pain came from his lips and Ryoko watched the young man favoring his left leg as he limped away, then leaping out the same window dropped two men dressed in tailored business suits. Ryoko's orbs took on a cat's hunting gaze and in a bounding leap she landed facing the made men with their target a few feet behind her, the pink clad woman looked over her right shoulder and told Nakayama with a confident air, "Naka-san, sit down and get with a bag of popcorn," she looked back at the Yakuza with glee, "this is going be fun!"

Both men paused to look back at the window where Benkie stood flanked by two of his senior lieutenants, this pause gave a moment for Ryoko to think, 'I can't pound these guys like I want to but watching my double having all that fun with Sasami-chan is really putting ants-in-my-pants,' the man on Benkie's left gave a nod so they returned their attention to the lady-in-pink where the men the uchu kaizoku had taken up a boxer's stance, her ample body bobbing-and-weaving as she bounced on her toes. The two men exchanged looks that suggested they thought the woman was a nut which in turn brought a taunt out of Ryoko, "I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, no flies on my face unlike yours, because I'm Ryoko Hakubi!"

Of the two made men facing Ryoko, the one who looked like he was having a love affair with some dumbbells seemed to know enough English to take exception to Ryoko's flies-on-shitface comment, he charged forward while the other man waited. Up in Nakayama's room the man on Benkie's right said with contempt, "This shouldn't take long, after all she's only an akapori."

"I don't know, Shinichi-kun," the man on Benkie left commented, "she doesn't look afraid."

"A 10,000 yen note that Eiji-san will lay out the poriman . . ." Shinichi's mouth stopped moving when a blurred left uppercut from Ryoko lifted the bald man's jaw up and sent the rest of him down onto the blacktop.

"Done," Benkie said with a studious expression on his face, the butch-haired man on the right still looked like a gasping fish while the man on the left with every finger fitted with heavy gold rings just chuckled.

The remaining made man couldn't believe his companion had been dropped by one blow, his stick-like body looked thinner than bamboo and was doing its best to keep clear of Ryoko as she leaned over the unconscious man before she looked up at Benkie to say with disgust, "Kuso! Don't you have anything better than these uke (receivers)?"

Being called a cunt by a woman was all the motivation the thin man needed, with precise steps the made man closed with Ryoko and aimed a straight finger jab for the woman's throat. The woman's eyes were amber bright as she slipped left, his pinkie finger of his jab brushed her skin but his instincts became mushy as her right hand landed a counterpunch to his right ear. Bells and lights were what his senses told his brain as his body staggered backwards and his right hand went to his ear and felt something wet there.

"Chikusho!" Ryoko was angry with herself as she waited for her opponent to clear the cobwebs from his mind, "I want this to last at least to the second round!"

The thin man stared for a half-a-minute before he saw the blood on his hand, then his awareness was pulled to Ryoko saying in English as she continued her bob-and-weave, "Ring-ding-ding, we're in a fight but you're no Smokin' Yosho, indeedy not!"

It had to be in the blood or maybe it was his Nihonjin macho male attitude that told him that no woman could beat a man, although the evidence to the contrary was on the ground. Whichever way you want to look at it, the thin man attacked Ryoko, first a faint with a right haymaker that allowed him to use its momentum to create a right-to-left spin kick with his left leg. It probably would have worked against anyone who didn't have any hand-to-hand combat experience but Ryoko saw it coming from a-mile-away so she crouched under the swinging leg, sprigged up like a Jack-in-a-Box and turned the man's head into a punching bag.

The thin man just stood there, if he had any sense in his black-and-blue head he would be on the ground, keeping company with his unconscious buddy, instead he just stood there with gazed puffy eyes. For her part, Ryoko studied the man for a moment before deciding the match was almost over, so the uchu kaizoku lined up her right fist with the man's jaw, cocked her punch before saying in English, "Say goodnight, Gracie."

Nakayama had watched for a second before he decided the cyan-haired woman was a suicidal maniac and hobbled away as quickly as he could in hopes of getting out of the alley and disappearing into the bipedal traffic. Fuyumi was wandering around the city block where the udon shop was located, the giantess had mixed feelings about looking for her companions, she really wanted to get back home but she didn't want to abandon her two new acquaintances, both Mihoshi and Seto were nice people although both acted strange at times, the blonde acted strange at random moments and Seto would ask personal questions, like did she have a sweetheart, yet what mattered most for the fourteen-year-old was neither one of them treated her like a freak. So Fuyumi was using her height to look for a blond-haired head or a jade green-haired head in a sea of black heads when she neared the right side of the alley's entrance.

The first thing Nakayama discovered when he rounded the corner was his face buried in a field of brown cloth while hearing a startled gasp from above. The young man looked up and up and up to a pair of smoldering black eyes surrounded by a halo of brown hair, his surprise caused him to say, "Girilla?"

It was the wrong thing to say. Fuyumi didn't put anything behind her right uppercut, it was all arm strength but it was enough to lift Nakayama out of his shoes and put him into La-La-Land.

Fuyumi's body was shaking with fury as she looked down at Nakayama but she jumped when a relieved voice said, "There you are!" The giantess stood there as she watched a woman in a pink business suit walk up to the unconscious young man, reach down with her right hand and took hold of him by the collar while she continued to talk, "You should've eaten that popcorn like I told you to, Mitsu-san," bright amusement in her catlike eyes.

"Ryoko-dono finds such joy in her work," Fuyumi jumped again and turned in midair to find Seto at her right elbow, like the blue-haired lady had appeared from out of nowhere.

Back in the kitchen Mulder scanned the room for anything within reach to lever the dead weight that pinned him to the white tiled floor, Aoi was gently consoling the couple, while the blond newcomer sat on a stool next to a stack of floor bags, the American would have made a compliment of the ebony woman's gorgeous breasts peaking out of her green shirt's tattered remains but her grief-stricken stare stopped him.

"It seems I'm minus a few men," Mulder craned his neck back to see the source of those English words, it was Benkie coming down the stairs with his one made man in front while another brought up the rear.

"You can always stay and file a police brutality complaint?" suggested Mulder; the FBI agent spotted his gun underneath the refrigerator.

"Me," a predatory smile on the Yakuza's face, "inside a police station, I don't think so."

"What," Mulder returned the smile, "you don't trust us?"

"The first step into a police station is the first step into a prison," Benkie waved an index finger at Mulder.

"What about your injured men?" Mulder watched Benkie make his way across the kitchen.

Benkie looked at his soldier's corpse before saying, "The loss of manpower has been replaced by the gain of knowledge," one of his lieutenant's parted the noren while his boss paused to give Mihoshi a leer while saying, "and I must say your women have been most entertaining, especially the tough talking one," suddenly Aoi stepped in front of Mihoshi and gave Benkie a very disapproving look, the criminal gave the policewoman a measured look before adding, "a most entertaining group."

"What about Nakayama?" Mulder shouted at Benkie's back.

"Just ask the kid about his normal patrol route," Benkie said over his shoulder and everyone in the kitchen heard the front door open and close while at the same time the backdoor opened and closed.

"Futaba!" fear knotted Mulder's stomach at what might be Benkie's clear-up-crew, "My gun is underneath the freezer!"

Aoi made a drive for the icebox, her nose banged hard on the floor as her left hand reached under the machine and touched the gun's handle, then the brown-haired lady let out a sigh of relief when she heard Ryoko's voice, "Boy, it looks like you guys had as much fun as I did!"

Mulder saw the happiness in Ryoko's lively orbs as well as her dragging Nakayama by the collar, it was with this image in mind the agent commented, "I hope you didn't hurt our witness?"

"Nah!" Ryoko waved her free hand dismissively, "But there is a couple of Benkie's flunkies outside whom I rope-a-doped."

Knowing Ryoko must've watched the special on Muhammad Ali that TV Ashi showed a couple of weeks ago, Mulder grinned as he said, "You're the greatest."

"That's what I keep telling Tenchi . . ." Ryoko's voice stopped as her amber eyes locked on Mihoshi for the first time, she let go of Nakayama and bounced over to the ebony woman while asking, "Blonde! When did you join the party?"

Mihoshi gave no response, her eyes never leaving the corpse and her face a prisoner of her inner demons. Ryoko followed the GP officer's gaze, the cyan-haired woman knew instantly what cage the ebony woman's soul was in because she had occupied it once too and she knew the solution.

Aoi noted Ryoko's interest and said as she stood up with Mulder's gun in her left hand, "The woman saved us," her jade green eyes glance at the corpse.

The policewoman's answer showed to Ryoko that Aoi and most likely Mulder didn't know Mihoshi was an intergalactic peace officer, so the ample woman replied, "Her name is Kuramitsu Mihoshi and I know how to snap her out of this funk," Ryoko pulled back her right hand and backhanded Mihoshi's face, "Ouch!" Ryoko shook her hand to vent both her surprise and her pain, "Mihoshi, what's your jaw made of, spent ultra-energy?"

Both Aoi and Mulder were shocked by the extreme of Ryoko's action but the uchu kaizoku was satisfied by the surprised hurt look on Mihoshi's face although the unshed tears in the blonde's eyes did bother her. Out of the blue an idea popped in Ryoko's mind, she didn't know where it came from but she did like it, so without warning the cyan-haired woman bent down and licked the tears away from the Galaxy Police officer's eyes.

Surprise compounded surprise for Aoi and Mulder as both saw Ryoko's second act followed by Mihoshi's second reaction, gone was the pain and despair from the ebony woman's face as she threw her arms around the ample woman's neck and hugged the cyan-haired head to her bare chest, her words electrified with a million-watt-joy, "THANK YOU, THANK YOU, thank YOU, thank you!"

"You . . . you're welcome," Ryoko was taken aback by Mihoshi's strong gratitude although the uchu kaizoku did savor the softness, warmth and pleasant aroma of the policewoman's round mounds.

"How did you know?" Mihoshi's voice was honey sweet.

"Know about what?" Ryoko was also thinking what Mihoshi would do if she nibbled on the nipple that was just an inch away from her mouth.

"About the Seniwa's way of sharing grief," it might or might not have surprised Ryoko if she knew Mihoshi was enjoying the feel of the silky cyan hair against her bare skin.

"I just knew," Ryoko decided on a safer option and returned Mihoshi's hug.

'Lucky stiff,' Mulder thought, when he noticed Aoi was getting all misty eyed, the American decided it was time to bring everyone back to reality, "So Ryoko, you know this blonde bombshell?"

Ryoko opened her mouth to reply but another voice answered the question slowly in phonic English, "She is Detective Mihoshi Kuramitsu, formerly of the River Heights Police Department."

Mulder craned his neck once more and saw a blue-haired woman reading from an opened folder, beside her stood a young girl who was well over six-feet in height, then the American remembered his own situation, "Could someone help me up?"

Makoto's Apartment, Azabu Juuban, Tokyo

It had taken Hoshi Nanase five seconds to conclude that the story told by the two girls in front of her was the truth because she easily recognized Kino Makoto's spidery handwriting on the note. The wife of the apartments' manager took pride in her motherly attention she gave the boarders and Makoto was a special case, a fourteen-year-old without parents and the rest of her family living in Kyoto was such a sad thing, especially since the tall ginger-haired girl was kicked out of her school but even this dark cloud had a silver lining, Nanase saw the new friends Makoto gained at Juuban Junior High School and now two more seemed to have joined this little group. Furthermore the two girls anxiously waiting for her judgment fitted the collection of strange girlfriends Makoto was attracting, the older girl with the purple hair and ruby eyes had the pose of a well-trained lady while the youngest girl with the flaming red hair, gold skin and colorless eyes screamed yankee to the middle-aged woman. With a small smile the salt-and-pepper haired woman asked, "So Makoto-san did get to her train on time?"

Ayeka decided it was prudent to find the landlord first and tell him or her about Makoto allowing them to use the apartment while the girl was gone. The first princess was somewhat disappointed that the apartments were owned by an absentee landlord but was glad the manager's wife had the authority to make decisions on the owner's behalf, so with the proper tone, the Jurain said, "I believe so, Hoshi-sama, since Kino-san seemed very determine to get to it."

"I have a hunch Makoto-san wouldn't let the train leave without her," Ohiten put in her two-cents with a grin.

Nanase chuckled lightly while Ayeka gave Ohiten a disapproving smile but before anything else happened, the elder said, "Let's go to Makoto's apartment ne."

"Hai," both women answered and followed in the older woman's wake.

Going up in the staircase Nanase asked, "So Ohiten-san, you've had the same luck with school as Makoto-san ne?"

"You mean fighting and getting kicked out?" shortest of the three nodded and the golden girl added, "Ee."

"I didn't know Kino-san had such troubles," Ayeka was taken aback by this revelation because she couldn't believe how such a helpful person like Makoto was also a troublemaker.

"It's because of her royshin death," up the stairs the trio went as Nanase spoke, "they died four years ago and from her visiting relatives I've learned she took it hard."

Once more, the feathery sweep of death's black wing left a chill in Ayeka's soul, once more, her dark fears of the past month seep into her spirit, its seductive words of melancholy filled her mind so much that it wasn't until a voice called her name that the princess realized a pair of golden arms were holding her by the knots of her shoulders. Ayeka looked up into the concern face of Ohiten, who simply asked, "Grace, you're oke, you looked like you're about to faint?"

"Gomen nasai," Ayeka saw the worry on Nanase's face, "today's excitement must be catching up with me."

"I'll bring a kettle of yarrow ocha after you two have settled in," relief was in Nanase's voice but her dark eyes showed approval of Ohiten's care for Ayeka, the elder's opinion of the yankee girl went up a notch.

"Domo arigato, Hoshi-san," Ayeka then felt the vibration of Ohiten's silent giggles and so she asked, "What's so funny?"

"Nothing, Grace," Ayeka's eyes narrow at Ohiten's vague answer so the golden girl sighed before asking, "Oneesama, how's your period?"

Ayeka opened her mouth to tell Ohiten it wasn't any of her business when she remembered the sisterly roles they had assumed, with a glare at her 'sister', the princess made-a-do of counting on her fingers before answering, "It's six days away."

"Dewa, the yarrow ocha will still help balance your ki, Ayeka-san," a puzzled tone in Nanase's words for she wondered how the youngest sister, the one who seemed all caught up in today's trends, knew about the medicinal benefits of yarrow flowers for the female body, while the oldest sister, the one who seemed to have immersed her persona in traditional values, didn't.

To say the least Ayeka's thoughts were confused, 'my period, my ki, what are they talking about?' But this distraction did lessen the fear of despair and depression from the princess and she decided a little truth here would clear things up, "It's just I was raised with loving ryoshin and who were always there to help me and my sisters but now that we are staying with our relatives here in Nihon, I'm finding children without an okasan or an otousan or without both, in some cases it's the ojiisama and/or the obasama have taken up the burden to raise their grandchild."

"You were born under a lucky star, Ayeka-san, many children don't have the chance to know their ryoshin," Nanase observed, the elder also perceived an intent look on Ohiten's face and she thought, 'Hen ne, the youngest seem very interested in her sister's words, like she hadn't heard them before.'

It was Ohiten who noticed the awkward silence and clicked into yankee mode, "Ne ne, Grace, let's get to the apartment, I want to see if Makoto-san has any nauii clothes."

Ayeka rolled her eyes and Nanase smiled and then Ayeka blushed as she found Ohiten helping her up the stairs, the princess' words had a whiny plea, "Suzuri, you don't have to help me, I do not have snake legs."

"I wasn't the one who almost kissed the stairs," Ohiten tightened her grip on Ayeka as she added, "Besides oneechan, this allows me to repay for the number of times you carried me upon your back wa yo."

The retort Ayeka was going to use died on her lips, the princess' blush was as red as her lips and with little conscious effort the purple-haired lady's right arm slipped around Ohiten's waist and gave the golden girl a half hug. This act caused Nanase to think, 'They are bonding,' then she put her thought into words, "you act like you haven't seen each other for a long time?"

"Iie," Ayeka replied first, "It's just we have drifted away from each other, our staying with our ojisan is the first time we have been under the same roof in a long time."

"Although sharing the same room with my oneesama and my imoto," a hint of mischief in Ohiten's voice, "does put a kink in my wings."

"So you have an imotosan?" the small group reach Makoto's apartment door and Nanase fished out the spare key.

"Hai," Ayeka replied happily, "Her name is Sasami."

"Ee," a huge grin on the golden girl's face, "she's a real eye of ocha."

The giggles of Ayeka and Nanase were added to by the metallic click of a key in a lock, the elder opened the door and walked in with both girls right behind her, the gray-haired woman saying, "I'm glad Makoto-san is making such good friends, especially after I heard rumors that she once joined a bosozoku (a motorcycle gang)."

"Ara?" Ayeka's words matched her confused look.

"A bosozoku is a band of juvenile delinquents that drive either motorcycles or gaudy painted automobiles," Nanase explained then a puzzled look appeared on her face as she asked, "Don't you have them where you grew up?"

"Iie," Ayeka shook her purple-haired head, "otousan wouldn't have put up with them."

"Ne ne, Grace," Ohiten jumped in to stop Nanase next question, "you know Papa wouldn't do anything to them, just look at me."

Ohiten quick thinking caused Ayeka to realize her slip-of-the-tongue so the princess quickly retorted with tongue-in-cheek, "That is only because you are otousan's favorite."

"But you're Mama's favorite," Ohiten countered with a wide grin, "her Oujo-chan."

"Suzuri!" Ayeka fired back but the sight of dancing laughter in Ohiten's colorless eyes dissolved the princess' straight face into giggles, which were matched by her sister's giggles.

'It will be amusing to see how you will interact with Makoto-san's other friends especially Usagi-san and Rei-san,' Nanase thought as she led them into the family room, the furniture was totally Western with a long couch, corner tables, end tables, a long oak coffee table and several multicolored beanbags. Ohiten was about to ask Nanase about Makoto's friends when her attention was captured by what she saw on the tables, plants. Both Ayeka and Nanase were caught off-guard by the golden girl's quick motion to the closest plant then to the next plant and the next plant before she let out a squeal of excitement before saying, "This yellow tsubaki (camellia) is a Saint Marie and that white yuri (lily) is a Casablanca Velvet and those purple-blossomed orchids are Alexia's Love, they're all awarded plants!"

Once more Ayeka was caught up in the paradox of Makoto's personality, a tall girl full of rage and full of the knowledge about beauty, the princess came out of her spell when Nanase asked with a knowing smile, "Ohiten-san, would you like to know the reason?"

"Ee, ee!" Ohiten turned to face Nanase and gave several vigorous nods.

Nanase gave an underhand wave with her right hand and both young women followed the elder woman to a door where she led them in, Ohiten led out another excited squeal while Ayeka gave a more dignified sound of awe, the room was full of tables, some with mini-greenhouses with low power sunlamps over them and a forest of tiny saplings inside of them, one table had a ton of glass beakers with a layer of gray material and a layer of spiky green shoots inside them. A couple of tables had clay and plastic pots of various sizes and bags of potting soil leaning against their legs. Amongst the tables was a bookcase in the far right corner a three-by-three alcove next to it.

It took superhuman effort for Ohiten and Ayeka to hold their tongues while Nanase took them over to this room's bathroom, once more sounds of awe left them when the opening of the bathroom door revealed it had been converted to a clean room with various types of lab equipment including an electro-microscope. The elder turned to face her companions before asking, "Ojosans, what do you think?"

"It's a horticultural lab!" Ohiten was the first out of the starting gate

"I agree with my imoto's assessment," Ayeka seconded, "our family is responsible for similar facilities."

"My otto helped Makoto-san convert this spare bedroom into what you see," Nanase black eyes full of approval, "and he told me most of the equipment you see belong to her ryoshin."

"So Makoto-san is honoring them by continuing their work?" the tone in Ayeka's question showed she felt a kinship for the tall girl.

"Partly," Nanase guided them over to the alcove, "but I've seen Makoto-san's green eyes glow when she is with her plants, she truly loves them."

Ohiten was the first to react at what she saw inside the alcove mostly because Nanase wanted to gauge their actions, the golden girl clapped her hands twice and bowed her head over them in silent prayer, like many times before Nanase felt warm inside whenever a youth showed respect for their ancient ways and she followed suit. Ayeka was surprised but quickly followed the others' lead, after five minutes all three looked up, in the alcove was a picture of two people, a young woman with ginger hair and a man with brown hair with both dressed in traditional clothing, to the left of the picture was a memorial tablet with spidery written kanjis upon it, on the picture's right was a six-inch tall stature of the Buddha, draped over the picture was a string of black beads and the last item stood in front of the picture, a highly decorative oblong brass incense burner. It was Ayeka who spotted the box of incense and a box of matches on the bookcase and to make up for her tardiness, Ayeka stepped over, carefully opened the container, pulled out the long gray rod, inserted it in the burner and lit it.

As the scent of wildflowers filled the air, Ohiten touched the memorial tablet and read the words, "Although we are separated, we are still together."

Taking another moment to enjoy the fragrance the trio left the room and in the hallway, Nanase said, "Dewa, I'll leave you two to settle in but I must say I've enjoyed meeting such nice ojosans like you two," Nanase's face showed no deceit, "so many of our youth have forgotten our traditional ways yet even with your gaijin features, you each have shown honor and respect for them."

"To forget one's traditions is to become a tree without roots," Ayeka's smile matched her knowing tone, "even the most gentle of breezes will topple it."

"Besides Daddy would tan our hides when we did," Ohiten dropped in the kicker.

It was too good of opportunity to waste so Nanase teased, "Is that why your skin is golden?"

Ohiten laughed loudly while Ayeka giggled behind her right hand, then the golden girl said, "I left myself open to that one."

Nanase grinned before saying with a bow, "Sayonara."

"Sayonara," replied Ayeka while Ohiten said, "Mata ne," both returned the bow.

Once the door closed, Ohiten faced Ayeka and asked, "Grace, where do you want to start?"

"I should call home to let them know I have arrived safely," Ayeka said.

"Oke," Ohiten agreed as she slipped between the crouch and the coffee table, "while you're doing it, I'll be setting up Daddy's laptop."

Ayeka's eyebrows went up when she saw Ohiten take off her coat and open compartments located in the lining, one after another several dark gray plastic sections were taken out which caused the princess to think, 'Because of my enhancements, I didn't notice Ohiten's coat was heavier than normal.'

Ohiten saw the look on Ayeka's face, the golden girl had a hunch what caused it and decided to deflect the princess' line of thought before she wondered how a twentysomething woman could carry forty plus pounds of computer equipment without showing any fatigue, "Would you like me to make the call for you, Grace?"

Ayeka's back stiffened and her voice was indignant, "I'm not that dependent on servants, Suzuri," the princess stalked to where she had seen the telephone, with her back to Ohiten the Jurain effectively hid her apprehension as she picked up the receiver, Tenchi showed her how to use the phone and taught the purple-haired lady the Masaki home phone number but this would be Ayeka's first time, it would be a lie if she didn't feel a little apprehension as she held the receiver in her left hand while carefully pressing the buttons with her right.

Ohiten smiled when Ayeka's shoulders slump in relief but as she connected the computer's components together, a serious look took over the golden girl's features as she thought, 'After I decided to save the child, Daddy's instincts told me I needed to move faster but I didn't have time to henshin, then I felt a sharp pain from my right ear and suddenly I knew of another way,' once the pieces were together, the golden girl lifted the LCD screen up, the reflection showed her face but her attention was on the collection of tiny crosses hanging from her lone earring, 'before bullets, shrapnel and blasts would knock Daddy off his feet and shed his clothes but leave no wounds on his body,' her colorless eyes full of worry, 'Daddy was always sad the experiment changed him so much and now he knows why it did,' her right hand reached up and ran the crosses through her fingers, 'but I know Daddy doesn't blame me for what happened and I'm happy he accepted me as his daughter,' the teenager looked at her left hand like it was something to be fearful of, 'yet I'm afraid the future will hurt him.'

Ayeka's return caused Ohiten to bury her concern yet the golden girl saw the surprised and pleased look on the princess' face, so Ohiten asked, "You seem happy ne?"

Ohiten's voice pulled Ayeka out of her deep thinking, "I had some doubts about the komori I picked to take care of Sasami, but Katsuhito-sama assured me she was doing an excellent job."

With a light tap Ohiten turned on the laptop but at the same time she noted the slight disappointing tone in Ayeka's answer, "You hoped something bad would happen to your imoto?"

Ayeka opened her mouth but stopped her denial from coming out for she felt her soul stirring, something telling her she shouldn't lie to kin, even to one who was only pretending, "I'm supposed to forgive her, Suzuri," the princess' voice touched with guilt, "I'm supposed to scoop up the oni onna feelings with my hands and understand she was only a tool used by another," a diamond hard anger filled her ruby eyes, "but I can't, I remember the beauty she destroyed, I remember the people she killed."

From MacClean's memories Ohiten knew Ayeka was talking about Ryoko, since he recorded Ryoko's conversation with Mulder at the bar, how the uchu kaizoku told the detective of her feats of death and destruction and the fiend she once worked for, so while the laptop was booting up Ohiten took a deep breath before she begin to talk, "My ojiisan, Daddy's papa, was a polite, good-natured man who would tell me and my siblings stories about his life but one time I noticed he didn't talk much about his mama or his papa, so one night when I was alone with him, I asked about them. He told me about how they would beat him, how his father cared more about his dogs than his children, how his mother would beat him to convince the other children to behave and how his nose was turned into a fountain of blood by his father's fist. When his parents devoiced, ojiisan went to live with his paternal ojiisan and obasan but the terror didn't end. He was afraid he would be forced to live with one of his parents again but it was the berserker's rage his parents sowed in his soul he feared most because it could turn him into them. So instead of hating them for all eternality he tried to care for them, instead of calling for heaven's justice he asked for God's forgiveness, instead of giving into the frenzy of killing his parents with his own hands he tamed his inner beast with understanding. When ojiisan told me about his parents I didn't see a child's love for his parents in his face but the tone showed he understood them, his voice showed he did forgive them."

Listening to Ohiten's story Ayeka's anger was cooled by her own disbelief, it was a foreign notion to the princess of anyone beating a child, her parents never did and she never saw any grownup beat a child. When she was a child, punishment for being bad was sitting in a corner followed by more homework from her tutors along with having a polite conversation with one of her parents, just the idea of something like what happened to Ohiten's grandfather made the first princess sick to her stomach. At the same time her mind grasped the reason the golden girl told her the story, her voice saying, "He took the unpleasant experiences of his childhood and turned it into a good influence for the rest of his life," then a little of her fury returned and she asked, "but what about those who died?"

Ohiten knew she had to be careful here because if she showed her knowledge of Ayeka's and the others' situation, it would jeopardize her mission, so she asked, "Has this person been punished?"

Ayeka wanted to say no but she remembered the cold and the darkness of Ryoko's cave near the Masaki Shrine, the demon's prison for seven-hundred-years, and she closed her eyes, sighed and slowly nodded.

After giving the princess a calculating look and licking her lips, Ohiten said, "Then the first thing you need to do is to forgive the person named Masaki Ayeka."

"Nani?" Ayeka's eyelids popped up, the princess hadn't expected this suggestion.

Again Ohiten decided she couldn't reveal her knowledge and understanding was greater than what a normal teenager would be, the princess would get suspicious, so once more, the golden girl went with an example, "Makoto-san's little shrine to her ryoshin is very typical of her culture, ancestor worship is the oldest of the three pillars of Nihonjin religion. The picture showed she remembered her ryoshin, the Buddhist prayer beads showed her grief for their parting but also the solace she has found in ritual, the words on the memorial tablet showed she knows they are still a part of her life, the stature of the Buddha showed her faith that her ryoshin will find a better life when they are reincarnated and the incense burner showed her ongoing respect for them, her lab and her plants is a physical expression of her love."

For about five minutes Ayeka chewed on her lower lip as she though over what Ohiten had said while the golden girl put on a telephone operator's headset before the room filled with the sound of typing, then the First Princess of Jurai frowned before saying with distaste, "Suzuri, are you trying to tell me I will come out a better person because of that oni onna?"

Ohiten decided some humor might make a good cap to this line-of-thought, "How would I know, Grace," the golden girl glanced up and winked at Ayeka as she slipped on her yankee personality, "I'm just a koneko-chan (a little kitten) when compared to my oban oneechan (auntie big sister)."

With DOS up, Ohiten plug in the telephone jack and begin to type in the command to activate the modem so she didn't see the depth of emotion in Ayeka's ruby eyes. Down into the darkness of Ayeka's soul plunged the golden girl's words, the princess knew Ohiten was only pretending to be her sister and she knew once this mission was done Ohiten would leave, yet the impulse burning white her spirit told her only the present matter. If Ohiten had known what was going on next to her then she wouldn't have been surprised when something soft and wet kissed her forehead just below the hairline. The redhead's hands hovered over the laptop's keyboard, her mouth ready to catch flies while her ears heard the princess' heartfelt words, "I hope Sasami will grow up to be just like you."

The brain behind the bug-out colorless eyes thought, 'What did I do?'

Shiba-kouen Junior High School, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

"Rainy days and Mondays really suck," said the seated Minako in English, the normally perky blonde had her English language book open in front of her but it was the picture of Saijou Ace she used as a bookmarker that sank her spirit lower than her voice. Like many classes in Nihon, a causal observer would have noticed the room's walls were decorated with students drawn posters of upcoming school events and students made props.

Kasahara Hikaru inner self felt the pain she saw on Minako's face, the bright collection of Sailor V stickers on her friend's desk and the handmade Sailor-V chair cushion the dark-haired girl had given Minako only seemed to make her childhood friend's expression more gloomy. Since their English teacher was busy talking to their homeroom teacher, Hikaru plastered a happy expression on her pale face before saying in Nihongo, "It was a wonderful weekend, Mina-chan!"

Instead of knocking Minako out of her funk Hikaru watched with horror as her blond friend's face became sadder, in desperation Minako's closest girlfriend surged ahead, "I mean, it's just your life become like a fairy princess', Minako-chan," her words coming out faster and faster, "you went on a trip to Greece with your parents, you got to go to Britain on your own where you stayed with your aunt and her kawaii son, you won that talent contest and got to do that movie with Saijou . . ." Hikaru stopped when she saw tears pooling in Minako's eyelashes, then fourteen-year-old realized her mistake and continued, "Gomen nasai, Minako-chan, I didn't realize my words were silently killing you."

With superhuman effort Minako used the back of her right hand to rub the tears from her eyes before she flashed a reassuring smile to Hikaru, "It's oke, Hika-chan, I'm just a little down because I won't be able to go to police training until Wednesday."

"You know you surprised me when you applied for the junior police program," Hikaru detected the forced good humor in her friend's voice but decided to play along, "and the superintendent-general and her assistant were overjoyed a famous aidoru wanted to be a policewoman."

"Na, Hika-chan," the stress in Minako's face lessened, "I'm just a sparrow amongst eagles."

"Oi, Mina-chan?" a lollipop grin appeared on Hikaru's face, "I don't think Nakayoshi, Nintendo nor Toei would agree with you, since your performance in the movie convinced them to hire you to play Sailor V in the promotional ads for the manga, the arcade game and the anime series."

Minako gave Hikaru a long measured look, "You're trying really hard to cheer me up ne?" the blonde accused her dark-haired friend.

"Even when I'm biting a stone, you're my friend, Mina-chan," a serious smile on Hikaru's face.

A warm feeling banished the gloom from Minako's soul but then her eyes narrow slightly, "Is that a comment about my cooking, Hika-chan?" Hikaru giggled, she was happy to have her spunky friend back.

"Alright, students," the English teacher voice stopped everyone's conversations, "Front and center, that includes you, Minako."

"Hai, sensai," Minako covered her mouth with right hand, she forgot the English teacher's rule of only speaking English once the class started.

"What was that?" asked the teacher in a dangerous tone.

"Yes, teacher!" Minako gave dark looks at those students laughing at her gaff.

The teacher let out a sigh before he continued, "Now that we have had our Minako Moment, let us begin the reading assignment," the teacher looked at the roll call sheet on his desk for saying, "Let's start with Miss. Hikaru."

"Yes . . . Mister . . . Bashaw," Hikaru worked hard to pronounce the teacher's name correctly.

Although her baby blues were upon the text and her body language suggested she was listening to Hikaru, Minako was really thinking about what the picture of Ace and what Hikaru's comments meant to her, how she had gone from being a perky thirteen-year-old junior high school student to a wet-behind-the-ears superheroine to a heartbroken veteran, whose mind contained not only the memory of the loss of Saijou Ace but every friend she had when the Moon Kingdom was destroyed by Queen Beryl. Minako remembered how at first she didn't want to be Sailor V, how Artemis had to cajole, trick her and use happenstance to get her to transform into Sailor V and kick butt, if it wasn't for the fact her parents and her friends were usually caught up in the Dark Kingdom's plots, she would have shoved her henshin pen up the white cat's you-know-what by now, then things started to change the moment she went to Britain to find the Druid Sun.

England was the first moment Minako begun to remember her life as the commander of the Moon Kingdom's forces, which included a royal guard made up of Sailor Soldiers. At first it was just a feeling of loneliness that the blonde had put down as homesickness but it became more severe when she went by herself on a tourist trip to Normandy, in short order the teenager found herself carried from the white English Channel beaches to the white gravestones of a cemetery. The words she told Mr. Nikko in front of those headstones were as much truth she was willing to give, the blonde experienced a loss she didn't fully understand, her parents were alive, her friends were alive, yet in the pit of her young soul, the youth knew someone had been taken from her and she missed them very much.

Her aunt's goodwill, the dating of her cousin Alan and the jazz of London's nightlife acted as aspirin for Minako's pain but that all changed when she found the Druid Sun. The nighttime battle between Sailor V, Mr. Nikko and Kumonaga had left the blonde spitting bullets and determined to recover the Druid Sun by breaking every bone in the American's body. The thirteen-year-old chance at evening-the-score came when she cornered Mr. Nikko in Merlin's Cave, but instead of getting the holy relic back and putting the blond American in traction, Minako suffered her first flashback.

Later Artemis told Minako that it was okay to lose, not every battle against the Dark Kingdom could be won, and he bluntly added his charge should be glad Mr. Nikko hadn't killed her while she laid helpless upon the cave's sea-worn floor, but for the blonde it was only the beginning because with each new encounter with the Dark Kingdom, another fragment of her previous life would surface. Luckily these flashbacks occur while the blue-eyed girl was safe at home but that wasn't true when it came to her final encounter with Saijou Ace and Lin-Lin. During that encounter the rest of her reincarnated memories came crashing into her psyche: the sight of Ace as Adonis, the handsome long-haired Malachite, her fellow Senshi friends and holding the dead body of Princess Serenity. The goodness and the grief of those memories brought to Minako also gave the answer for her mysterious feeling of loneliness but feelings aren't the only thing those remembrances brought with them, her body started to change.

Minako's body still had all the right bumps and curves that attracted a lot of lustful gazes wherever she went and even her close friends like Hikaru and Amono hadn't notice any physical changes but they were there because the blonde sensed them and what happened over the previous weekend was a prime example. After the half-day of school on Saturday, Minako and her two friends went to a free music festival in Yoyogi Koen. At more than 133 acres the park was known for its wooden trails, glassy lakes and the Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine), and neither the birds nor the squirrels or the Shinto priests seem to object to the loud music or the frenzy teenage dancers that filled the park from Saturday afternoon to late Sunday evening. It had taken the whole week to sweet-talk Hakaru's parents and Amono's parents into letting them go to the weekly festival on Saturday, but Minako parents' response was to tell their daughter to make it home before midnight.

The noontime bell rang on Saturday and Minako, Hikaru and Amono quickly headed home where they changed into their festive duds, Minako decided to go with a retro Seventies look with bellbottom blue jeans, white platform shoes, metallic yellow vest and a tie-dye blouse with a matching hair ribbon. The two girls and one boy reconvened at the Crown Game Center where Motoki Furuhata, employee-son of the arcade owner and big brother friend of the trio, made a few amusing compliments about their getups, Hikaru had gone with a less-is-better look with a mini-mini-skirt and transparent white blouse that showed her pink pushup bra, while Amono had gone with the all black look, black pants, black shoes, black leather coat, black gloves and greasy black hairdo. The three teenagers took the bus to the park and got off at the bus stop next to the Harajuku Police Station, where a couple of the police officers recognized Minako from the combined PR announcement by Nakayoshi, Toei and the superintendent of the Metropolitan Police of the teen movie star joining the junior police program, both cops joked about the threesome going undercover and the two girls returned the favor with two feminine raspberries while the boy looked embarrassed.

It was like one gigantic party hooked on LSD for at all compress points and in-between there were bands playing every type of music you could think of, mimes do their usual performances, the puppet shows you find at festivals and food stalls selling every kind of product, the fantasy atmosphere was further increased by the partygoers' otherworldly dress. It didn't take long for Amono and Hikaru to immense in the perpetual motion and their excitement prevented them from recognizing what was happening to Minako. At PE, during volleyball practice and while playing at the arcade Minako noticed she wasn't tired out let alone winded although her friends and fellow teammates titled her playing style, the Blonde Hammerer. Now with her surroundings filled by pulse pounding music, gyrating bodies and the mixed odor of sweat, perfume and food, Minako found her spirit in a Rocky Mountain High, an instinctive current flowed into her consciousness and her body obeyed it.

At first Amono and Hikaru grinned and laugh as they danced alongside Minako but as the minutes changed to hours their mood turned from surprise to perplex to worry as they watched their blond friend dance and dance and dance, only taking five-minute breaks to chug down a jug of water, juice or soda. Finally, as the cold light of the moon replaced the sun's hot blaze, Amono and Hikaru took Minako by the elbows and gently but firmly led the swaying girl out of the park. Time and again Minako kicked-up-her-heels whenever a night breeze would carry the park music to their ears while they waited at the bus stop.

The bus driver was wary when the three costumed teenagers boarded his bus and that fear was confirmed when the psychedelic dressed blonde stayed in perpetual motion, belting out songs like Janis Joplin and putting on her own concert for her friends and the other bus riders. Hikaru and Amono took turns trying to get Minako to take a breather and the bus driver kept giving the bouncy blonde a dark look but it was like she was the Energizer Bunny, hopping, skipping and spinning.

Even with the television on Aino Minato and Aino Naohite heard a ruckus going on outside the house. A puzzled look was shared by wife and husband before the two got off the couch and walked to the entryway, both stopped short as the front door was flung open and they saw their daughter strike a Sailor V pose in the yellow porch light. Artemis, who was coming out of the kitchen after finishing off what was left of his tuna fish dinner, froze at the sight of Minako singing the intro song for the Sailor V anime as she leaped onto the genkan, the blonde kicked off her shoes and then continued to sing as the teen bump-and-grind passed her parents and down the hallway toward the white cat, where in a spin she scooped up the goggled-eyed feline and begin to prance in a circle as she held him out at arms' length while singing in English:

I love to catch mice

I love them in the morning

I love them in the evening

I love to nibble on their tails

I love to nibble on their tails

I love to nibble on their heads

Minako's parents gave quizzical looks at Hikaru and Amono, both teens respond by holding out their hands while reporting what happened at the festival. After listening to the two teens' story as Minako kept prancing with the tongue-tied cat, Minato and Naohite put their heads together before telling their daughters' friends everything was okay. The boy and the girl sighed with relief and said their goodbyes. Minako tried to takeoff after them much to Artemis' terror but Naohite snagged his daughter. This interception only changed the recipient of the blonde's hot griddle attention and she dragged her parents into the living room where she turned the television off, pick up the wireless mike and turned on the entertainment center.

To Minato and Naohite it was as if Minako was an eight-year-old again and doing a live performance for them, singing, dancing and telling jokes, the one with Minako pretending Artemis could talk was quite good although the cat seemed not to enjoy it. The parents decided to enjoy their daughter's impromptu concert but their concern for their livewire daughter kicked in when it looked like she was going for a second hour. After a quick whisper between the adults, Minato slowly stood, stepped forward, gently took the mike from Minako and told her daughter it was time for bed. The mercurial display of emotions on the blonde's face caught both parents' attention but before another word could be said by either one, the teenager chirped a goodnight, scooped up the skittish Artemis and tap dance to and up the stairs.

Artemis watched in total amazement from the bed as Minako leaped about her room like the floor was covered by red-hot coals, one minute she is doing her homework, the next minute she's changing the channel on her radio while changing into her lemon yellow nightie, these things plus several other projects kept the living dynamo going until three o'clock in the morning, when Minato came in and told her daughter she was awaking them up. Once more, the full spectrum of emotions played across the teen's face before she chirped an okay, jumped into bed, pulled the covers over her body and closed her baby blues. Standing at the door with her black-haired husband in the hallway, the black-haired woman was worried about what was going on inside their blond-haired daughter. Since coming back from China they noticed Minako was having mood swings that went from cloud-dancing joy to the bottom of the sea depression, both parents thought it was normal teenager angst but as they headed back to their own room, Minato and Naohite were beginning to think that their daughter's busy life was taking a toll on her psychological stability.

Even with her eyes closed and her trim body limp in sleep's embrace, Minako's mind raced at a feverish pace and it was now her dream slipped into a flashback, once more she was in the cave below Castle Dore, once more she was Sailor V, her eyes reflected the steadfastness in her voice, "Give me the Druid Sun."

Sailor V's resolve slipped into impatience when nothing happened and she was about to shout another challenge but then her surrounding went from dusk's dim to daylight brightness and in the middle of her gaze came dropping a girl dressed in a sunlight white fuku with its pleated skirt embroidered with intertwining bands of rainbow colors that matched the same colors on her boots. The Senshi took a half step back as the girl landed a few feet away and then jumped toward the blonde, her long fire-born hair swirled around her golden face with its devil's own grin upon her red lips as she called out, "Alexia-chan!"

Sailor V froze in the trills of indecision, her soul recognized the name called out but her mind didn't, and in that moment the golden girl hugged the Senshi. This time the flashback's contact wasn't jumbled and jammed together like the first time, instead Sailor V found herself knelt behind a myrrh tree, her baby blues watched the Moon Princess follow a teenage girl with a composite bow in her right hand into a labyrinth constructed of white monoliths, her vision showed the ground around the maze wasn't the greens and grays of southwest England instead the ground was the white and sandy of sandstone. Once the two disappeared into the entrance, the blonde was up and quickly followed them in but the commander of the Senshi made sure she remained a safe distance so they wouldn't hear her. After several twits and turns the Senshi found the ground before her covered in rich green grass and the sound of a distant fountain filled the air, with extreme caution the blonde peeked around a corner, what she saw put Cupid's smile upon her ruby lips for there were the Moon Princess embraced and kissed by the Earth Prince.

The Senshi of Love wanted to hoop for joy while watching the Moon Princess and the Earth Prince disappear behind the red rose bushes but her thoughts of celebration were cut short when a whispered voice said, "Come on out or you will take on the features of a unicorn."

Unlike the first time Minako had this flashback, the blonde understood the girl's language but she was still puzzled by the devilish smile appearing on her lips and with hands held high she entered the flower garden and turned left to face her foe, the brown-haired teenage girl dressed in fine silk pants and blouse of reds and greens with an arrow notched to her bow. It took a second for the missile-armed teen to identify the stalker and when she did her reaction was immediate, she let her weapons fall, dropped to her knees, bowed her head and said, "I'm sorry, Commander! I should have known a member of the Princess' bodyguard would be close by."

The heavenly energy coming from the chestnut-haired girl caused Minako to instinctively lick her lips but her eagerness was tempered by the tint of shame in that same energy, so the Senshi stepped forward and went to one knee where her right hand lifted up the young girl's head by the chin while saying with a happy voice, "Please, don't be so formal with me, Fatima."

"You . . . you know of me?" Fatima's modesty made her blush.

"Why wouldn't I know the name of the new bearer of the Star Seed," then a conspirator's tone entered Minako's voice, "especially since you are the go-between for the Moon Princess and the Earth Prince."

"I . . . I . . . hope you are not mad at me, Comm. . . . ah . . . Sailor Venus?" the fear in Fatima's aura made Minako's stomach queasy but she kept on smiling as she stood up and pulled the youngster up with her, it was now Minako noticed Fatima was shorter than the Moon Princess.

Without effort Minako's left her arm looped around Fatima's slim waist and led the girl to a marble bench next to the fountain, "Me, Mad? You've further the cause of love," a fox's glee in those words, because of the fountain's reflected water Minako noted she no longer wore the red-white-and-blue fuku of Sailor V instead her pleated skirt and a sailor collar was a rich orange and her bow was a dark-blue but she still had the red bow in her blond hair, she also noticed that her face looked like someone in their late-twenties, "besides I'm not your commander, no one commands Sailor Sol except maybe your Mama."

"Goddess Ota . . . Otaiyo is Oi . . . Oiroke's mother," Fatima's tongue fumbled over the foreign names, "my mother was a serving maid," the suntanned girl turned her face away from Minako as the two sat on the white bench, "who caught the eye of the Emir of Riyadh."

"Look at me," the energy of Fatima's negative emotions was really twisting Minako's guts so when the girl wouldn't look, the Senshi put some steel in her words, "Look at me, Fatima!" The teenager's head jerked and she gazed up, the old ache in the youth's black eyes put a frown on the blonde's face and finality to her next words, "I don't ever want to hear you put yourself down just because of your birth, I know Otaiyo wouldn't have selected you if she thought you to be a flawed vessel."

Before the smile appeared on Fatima's face Minako felt the teen's positive energy but the Senshi sensed there was something else in there, anticipation, which was confirmed when the chestnut-haired girl right hand took the blonde's right hand while saying, "Thank you, Sailor Venus, blessed are Nefertiti memories for they declare you her closest friend."

Thunder at midnight was the shock that bolted through Minako's soul followed by waves of negative energy from the Senshi of Love's own remembrances, causing her to double over in gut wrenching pain and the blonde heard Fatima cry out, "SAILOR VENUS!" Minako's pain laced mind was barely aware of her body pitching forward, then backward before two hands reached around her shoulders and pulled her left, thus she collapsed onto the bench. Grief was the maker of the black poison, grief the Commander of the Moon Kingdom felt for Nefertiti, Sailor Sol, who was already a wife and a mother when Sailor Venus and the other young trainees came to the Moon Kingdom after the veteran Sailor Soldiers had died during the Jormungandar Incursion. The raw recruit from the second planet could still feel her face blush because her body was enticed by the solar energy of the redheaded beauty, the person asked by Queen Serenity to train them and that Sailor Sol did, running them over the volcanic rocks of Mars, swimming through the undersea of Mercury, floating in the thick atmosphere of Jupiter and mountain climbing the spirals of Mazeran, yet for all her drillmaster demands, the original Senshi for this solar system became a big sister for these seven young females, some who were away from home for the first time in their lives.

It was the brightening of the light through squint shut eyes that thinned the black ache in Minako's brain, in its footsteps she felt once more the familiar luminosity and a voice said in the softest of whispers, "Alexia, relax and feed."

The voice wasn't Nefertiti's but the commanding tone was, so Minako summoned her willpower and tried to relax, the swirling inkiness of her emotions sent her body trembling but then a warming sensation flowing over her skin and her body responded like a babe suckling on her mother's tit. Ever so slowly the positive energy balanced the negative energy within the Sailor Soldier and her eyes fluttered open, the first thing she saw was a golden face with colorless eyes framed by red hair, while it wasn't Nefertiti's face she still said, "Sorry for worrying you, Teacher."

"Fatima didn't mean to cause you any pain, Alexia," gentleness in the feminine voice while her soft lap cradled the yellow corn-haired woman's head, "her unfamiliarity with Nefertiti's memories left her unknowing of your uniqueness."

This last statement left Minako totally confused, "Wha . . . how?"

A serious look matched the tone of Sailor Sol's voice, "Do you remember what happened to Nefertiti's family?"

The negative energy coursed but was kept at bay inside Minako by the positive energy Sailor Sol was feeding her, the blonde nodded while saying, "How could I've forgotten that day, finding Nefertiti kneeling in the ruins of her home, dirty tears trickling down her ash-covered face, her arms and lap holding the dead bodies of her loved ones."

"You decided on your own authority as Commander of the Moon Kingdom to take Nefertiti to Mazeran," Sailor Sol's right hand patted Minako's hair, "although Queen Serenity later supported it, she selected you as Commander because you think with your heart as well as with your mind."

"I wasn't about to leave a helpless target," hate burned in Minako's mind, "for the Hosekijin to finish off," then happiness bloomed, "and for seven years Teacher stayed with my family."

"Nefertiti became the big sister for you and your mates' children, didn't she," Sailor Sol's words more a statement than a question.

"Teacher became a part of my family, a part I didn't want to lose," Minako reached up and used the back of her right-hand fingers to stroke the right side of Sailor Sol's jawbone, "but I knew there would come a time when she would return to her duties as Sailor Sol."

"With all the loving you and your mates gave her," Sailor Sol's right hand clasped Minako's right hand and held it against her cheek, "there was still darkness hidden deep in her psyche."

Minako felt tears leak out of her baby blues and her voice was acidic, "Six months after Teacher returned to her duties, the Moon Kingdom received an emergency distress call from the Suiijin community at Mount Gilboa, saying Sailor Sol had gone insane."

"Nefertiti discovered the locations of the Hosekijin cells," Sailor Sol's voice as cold as the North Pole.

"By the time we tracked her down," the energy coming from Sailor Sol kept her going, "Teacher had attacked the communities at Mount Gilboa, South Cadbury and Mount Showa-Shinzan," her voice revealed her heart sickness, "she was attacking without warning, eliminating the Hosekijin and anyone else who got in the way," then she choked with emotion, "Tea . . . Teacher wouldn't stop . . . bu . . . but she . . . she wou . . . wouldn't fight us," Minako let go of Sailor Sol's hand so she could hug the Senshi midsection and the blonde buried her face in the golden girl's abdomen, "we . . . We . . . WE!"

"Shhhh," Sailor Sol's right hand tenderly rubbed Minako between the shoulder blades as her left hand played with the crying Sailor Soldier's hair ribbon, her voice bittersweet, "When Kitane, the Star Seed of Nefertiti, returned to our home, she couldn't bear the anguish of her loss, so she dispersed her being back into our mother and her memories were shattered amongst us, it is the reason why I choose to become a Star Seed and why Fatima knew of your love for Nefertiti."

The muffled sobs of Minako continued for a while until she sniffled before looking up, saying, "Teacher used to let me lay my head in her lap and she would feed me cherries."

Sailor Sol grinned, asking, "You mean cherries like this one?" the golden girl held her right hand in front of her colorless eyes and a one-inch ball of energy formed between her fingers where it took on the deep burgundy color of the before mentioned fruit.

Even with puffy red eyes, Minako grinned back, laid her head back on Sailor Sol's lap, closed her eyes and opened her mouth. It was a couple of seconds before the blonde's lips felt the texture of the pretended fruit, then she closed her mouth and let the cherry flavored energy dissolve on her tongue. The Senshi of Love opened her baby blues and smiled while teasing, "No pits?"

"And have you spit them and give me a black eye like you did the last time I fed you real ones, no way!" both Senshi laughed but stopped when they heard a nearby giggle and they looked.

Coming around the fountain was the Moon Princess and the Earth Prince, it didn't take a Sherlock Holmes' deduction from Minako for her to concluded what the two royals had been doing in the rose garden, not with very visible grass stains on the Moon Princess' white dress or the brown twigs in her long sunshine hair, the lipstick all over the Earth Prince's face was a dead give-a-way too. In half-joke-half-serious tone Minako said, "Princess, we better get your dress in the wash before Luna sees it or you're end up with a celestial chastity belt and I'll be pulling KP for the next century."

At that moment Sailor Sol shimmered and faded back into Fatima, who said, "If that happens, you can come and stay with me," there was excitement in the teenager's voice that had Minako worried.

"And Alexia can always get a copy of the key for Endymion," the Moon Princess said with a giggle, Minako became very worried.

"Minako-chan!" the harsh whisper of Hikaru awoke Minako from her recall and the blonde was still trying to blink the cobwebs away when she let out a squeal as a piece of chalk tagged her little nose.

"Now that you have daydreamed saving the world, Miss Minako," Teacher Bashaw tossed another piece of chalk up and down with his right hand, "you will begin on page thirty-four, paragraph two, of the reading assignment."

"Yes, Teacher!" Immediately Minako turned to page thirty-four, of her copy of the Hobbit, and begin to read aloud, thoughts about her past and future banished for the rest of the period by her fear of getting detention.

Notes: If people tell you Windows XP won't crash, don't you believe them for one minute! It did it to me and I lost all except the first eight pages of this chapter. So instead of having this chapter out in October, I now end up with this chapter coming out in December/January.

How different is this version from the original?

Because none of the scenes are planned out in detail beforehand, each scene's dialogue and prose is unique. Furthermore to get the chapter out early, I decided to delay the GXP mini-story and the introduction of the other Sailor Senshi to the next chapter (hopefully).

Storyline:

Mihoshi and Kiyone: No, I'm not going to do the Karma Sutra of Seniwa with Mihoshi and Kiyone. As before the reason for this scene is to remind others that there are other ways to depict sexual relationships other than the Western way. Cultures around the globe have developed their own understanding and rituals concerning sexual relationships between individuals besides the Western model.

Complexity: Fuzzy Bunny brought up a concern that MIB/OIK was going to get squeezed out of the picture because of my inclusion of so many anime/manga series in this series. As I told him, the Tenchi Muyo OVA/X-Flies is the main continuity for my series with OMG and Sailor V/Sailor Moon brought in to fill in holes. Any other anime/manga series that appear in this series are there to do two things: cameos and/or comic relief (only Futaba Aoi from "You're Under Arrest" will be the exception to the rule). I'm also going to be very selective of those manga/anime series that appear here too. Furthermore only a few of the characters from OMG and Sailor Moon will appear on a regular basis (Minako/Sailor V and Skuld) while the others will appear when necessary.

Sailor Moon: The reason I decided to go with the idea of the other planets being colonized by refugees from outside our solar system was three fold. First I wanted to give a logical reason for our solar system having so many Sailor Senshi, second I wanted the Senshi to fit seamlessly into the Tenchi Muyo and third I wanted to give another a possible reason for the origins of the inhabitants on the other planets. In most Sailor Moon fanfics, because each Sailor Senshi is called a princess and each has a fortress orbiting their home world, some writers have logically concluded there were inhabitants on these planets and many writers have made these people colonists from Earth although some writers have given them strong fantasy connotations. By the time the modern period occurred, these inhabitants don't interact with Earth for various reasons (the writers have come up with various reasons: they were eliminated by Queen Beryl before her attack on the Moon Kingdom, the loss of the Moon Kingdom caused a breakdown of the interplanetary alliance between the planets which brings about civil wars on the planets and/or wars between the planets which left them uninhabited, the loss of the Moon Kingdom caused a Dark Age to occur, etc. . . . etc . . . ). Since Tenchi Muyo OVA has the current interstellar political system existing for the last twenty thousand years, I decided to give a reasonable explanation for the origins of the Moon Kingdom and how it and the other planets of our solar system are connected to Jurai and the Galactic Union.

True Tenchi Novels and Kagato: Kryo is translating Kajishima's and Kuroda's True Tenchi Novels. Kryo isn't doing a word-for-word translation like Kaz and Radhaz did for their excerpts of TTN, this person is doing a synopsis for each chapter and he/she has confirmed some of the things that Oni-shin and a few other people have been talking about concerning Kagato:

The Kagato killed by Tenchi is actually using one of the failed bodies that Washu made while trying to create Ryoko. During the battle between Azusa, Kagato and Ryoko, it is revealed that Kagato had moved his personality into one of these prototype bodies (there are supposed to be three prototype bodies, one male and two females, I think) but it is left unclear if Kagato moved his complete being into the body or only a copy of his original personality.

Kagato was fascinated by the display of destructive power Azusa and his bondmate, Kirito, was able to do to the Soja and their ability to match the Ryo-ohki and Ryoko. The battle was so vicious that a tear in the time-space continuum occurred and Tsunami had to intervene to save all the combatants. Kagato wants this power.

Kagato is fixated on the theory of the merging of all dimensions and on the power generated by Kirito and Tsunami. While repairing the damage to the Soja, Kagato decided to try to kidnap Tsunami.

There are a few more pieces of interesting information brought out in the new translation:

1) Azusa was out on a walkabout when Kagato encountered him. Azusa was putting some distance between himself and the future Seto was offering him. While he did like Misaki he didn't want to be forced to become the Emperor of Jurai and forced to marry Misaki, like his parents he wanted to prove to Seto and the others that he was an honorable warrior and he wanted to marry the woman he loved.

2) Azusa and Seto have a love-hate relationship, while he does like the eldest princess of Jurai he hated her manipulative maneuvers.

3) After Tenchi's duel with Seiryo, Azusa sends down other suitors for Ayeka's hand in marriage and Tenchi must face each of them in separate duels with the same result, some lucky circumstance caused by Mihoshi comes along and Tenchi is victorious.

During Azusa's journey, several young Space Trees were onboard Kirito for training.

4) Polygamy is allowed in Juraijin society as a way to form alliances between families, planets and empires.

5) A human bondmate can draw on the power of his or her Space Tree to augment the biotech implants placed in their body. Each member of the royal family and probably other nobles of Jurai have biotech implants to increase their life spans as well as their own personal powers, the implants are also there to act as surge breakers so the Space Tree's power won't burnout their human bondmate's body. In GXP it is mentioned Galaxy Police officers are given biotech implants if their bodies don't have the fortitude to handle the physical exertions.

Ryo-ohki's energy attacks can pierce a Space Tree Ship's Light Hawk Wings. In theory only a planet-sized ship could penetrate a Space Tree Ship's Light Hawk Wings. It is not explained but most likely explanation for this ability is either Ryo-ohki's own gems are designed based on Washu's Gems thus having a very high power level or Ryoko can channel the power of Washu's Gems into Ryo-ohki or a combination of both.

8) Ryoko recognized Tsunami when the goddess made an appearance at the end of the battle to close the rift but Ryoko doesn't know why she knew the name.

It seems Seto's Scouts has existed for some time with members coming and going. There are officially Seto's ladies-in-waiting and Azusa's mother, Masaki Amane, was a member. It is mentioned that Seto's followers helped defend Azusa father's homeworld against space pirates when Seto was trying to convince the eight-year-old to come with her to Jurai.

10) A member of the Jurai royal family can give up their rank and privileges but it is hard. The person seeking to abandon their membership to the royal family must allow their Space Tree be planted on Jurai, thus breaking the bond between that person and the Space Tree. Furthermore, it takes the approval of two of the three leaders of the royal family to accept descendants from those who have left the family. Besides Amane, there are several former members of the royal family floating about.

11) Azusa discovered that Earth had been registered twice as a Jurain colony, the second time was recent but the first time was more than 10,000 years ago.

12) Azusa picked up a strange energy reading from Earth. Although the energy isn't identified, I believe it is Funaho he picked up on since she and her family are the descendants of the exiled sister of the first King of Jurai.

13) While the slave trade is illegal in the Galaxy Union, there are those who still buy and sale humanoids. The first meeting between Azusa and Funaho is he saving her from such criminals although their appearance seemed suspicious to me. Azusa believed Funaho's father is still alive and being held captive by these people.

14) Azusa was still injured from his battle with Kagato when he saved Funaho, so she and her grandfather, Asumi, had to take care of the bedridden young man for several days. Both Azusa and Funaho are attracted to each other but Asumi is fearful that because Azusa is high caste, his granddaughter won't be allowed to marry him and she will suffer a heartbreaking loss.

15) It seems Jurai is a planet of warriors since both men and women are trained soldiers. There is a Galaxy Police subdivision on Jurai but it is looked upon with contempt by the Jurains since they are no need for them on Jurai. Officers assigned to the Jurai station must go through a hazing ritual to prove their worth, which is how Azusa's parents met (Amane rescued her future husband, Yotsuga Kazuki, when a mistake was made during the ritual).

The Jurai Royal Family Tree: Recently an update of the Jurai Royal Family Tree Chart shows that Tenchi has a sister. Now those who have seen the synopsis of GXP know that Nobuyuki's new wife, Reiya, is pregnant, the chart showed that Tenchi's mother, Kiyone, had a daughter named Tennyo. The question is where is Tenchi's sister and why haven't we seen her in the OVA?

Hakui, Ishikawa-ku: This place is UFO center for Nihon. There are more reports of Unidentifiable Flying Objects here than anywhere else on these islands.

Characters:

Ayeka and Ohiten: Ohiten is learning what it means to live as a human being and how much we are social animals, while Ayeka is learning how much she wants the closeness of true friends.

Ryoko and Mulder: I'm allowing Mulder's and Ryoko's attraction for each other to define her love for Tenchi.

Nobuyuki and Scully: Two souls joined as one, each a half of a whole.

Washu: Remember, what you see isn't always what is real, what the future might look like doesn't mean it will happen this way. The problem, we within the mechanics of time have, is trying to find the right path to reach the goal we desire.

Kagato: The shared opinion of most is Kagato is a clone of Akara Naja but why he was created is totally unknown. Is this how Naja extended her lifespan (she is at the Royal Academy before Washu's arrival and she is Washu's friend for fifteen-thousand-years) or was the clone created by Washu to try to prevent the loss of Naja's genius?

Mihoshi: A gem of many facets.

Seto: The great mover and shaker behind the throne of Jurai yet she is a caring person.

Makoto: In most fanfics Makoto's cooking is emphasized yet Naoko showed the fourteen-year-old also had a passion for flowers and it wasn't just for their beauty, she was a member of the botany club at school, helped at some of the botanical gardens as well as going to them with her friends. For a time I work for a wholesale orchid grower, so I used my knowledge of flower growing to give Makoto's the trappings of a hobbyist who might one day become a professional florist.

Reiya: Yes, this is the same Reiya from the Third OVA. I'm not really sure how to handle her since she is Nobuyuki's sweetheart in the Third OVA (they could be living together although they are married by the time GXP occurred).

Sailor Sol and Sailor Venus: Another lesbian relationship? Not necessary. In the Naoko's manga Minako/Sailor, Venus is placed in some suggestive poses with the other Sailor Senshi but while some take this to mean there is something going on here, I take it to show the friendship and closeness between them (except for Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune, everything I have seen suggested they are lovers although both Haruka and Michiru play the flirt game quite well). This friendship and closeness are shown in a more Western way in the anime (all the girls hang out with each other and each of them have other friends besides the Senshi). Since Sailor Venus is titled the Senshi of Love by the computer holograph of Queen Serenity, I believe Sailor Venus' job is to protect and reinforce the love of the other Sailor Senshi, to protect the love of the people they know and to protect love in general. Of course you have Sailor Mars, who has forswore any feelings of love for any man yet her love for Usagi and the other Sailor Senshi is probably the strongest. Makoto has a boyfriend, both Minako and Ami have shown an interest in Motoki (in the manga Motoki is let in on the girls' little secret, after all the Crown Game Arcade is Sailor Senshi Headquarters, and neither Minako nor Ami seem bothered by the fact that Motoki does have a girlfriend, although the girlfriend in question does seem a little jealous over the two junior high school girls making eyes at her boyfriend) and Usagi has Mamoru. I'm going to give a detail description of the relationship between Sailor Sol and the other Sailor Senshi but it won't appear until the next chapter, I will only say at this time that the relationship is very complex.

Horosha: Drop a few more hints about how he got involve in this whole mess.

Hoshi Nanase: She is a minor character who will appear from time to time.

Bits and Pieces: A big debate broke out at the AFC message board over world construction in fanfiction. The dividing line came between those who supported the idea of staying close to a series' canon and those who supported the idea of taking the characters and building your own canon. What started this debate was someone posting a link to a fanfic they posted at and the response was quick, several people gave some helpful feedback while others were critical about not sticking to the Tenchi Muyo canon. Now arguing over a canon can get a little silly since you can have nine different series to deal with (the OVA, the two Tenchi Muyo television series, the GXP television series, the Hasegawa's novels, the Kajishima's and Kuroda's True Tenchi Novels, the Okuda's manga series, the Pretty Sami OVA and the Pretty Sami television series) and trying to stick to one of them can be hard because most of them have something in them that a person can like, so there is a temptation to do mix-and-match when someone writes a fanfic. I have done this in the past and I'm still doing it as demonstrated by having Kiyone in Mihoshi's flashbacks although this is a kind of OVA series. Many also have a tendency to clomp the OVA, GXP and TTN together because they use the same continuum but this can be confusing for some fanfic writers because they only know about the OVA and Cartoon Network produced even more chaos when they ran the OVA and the TM television series together. My POV is to concentrate on one of the continuums and you are usually safe but if you do add something from another continuum or something from another anime series or one of your own ideas, you shouldn't leave the reader in the dark. What I mean is you will need to explain or show why it is in your fanfic story. This is even more important in a crossover series where the writer must thoroughly explain how these different continuums were merged together. Examples of successful crossovers are Platinum Dragon's Tenchi Muyo/Castlevania series, John Biles' "Dance of Shiva," and my own "Strange Days" (at least I think this is a successful series, only you can tell me if it is good or not). World construction is also important if you plan to write an epic series because only a long running series like Sailor Moon or Cardcaptor Sakura have enough background material for the writer to work with, most anime/manga series will have holes that will require the writer to close if the writer is planning to go into an area where the anime/manga series barely touched. Some of this world construction might include learning something about Nihonjin culture, after all the creators of most anime/manga series are Nihonjin and there are some things in them that can only be explained if you know something about the creators' culture.

Writing Humor: A reader of my series, who is writing his own Tenchi Muyo series, pointed out the way I add jokes and humor to my stories. Since most anime series have some humor in them, I figure I should attempt to do the same thing with my stories. Tenchi Muyo OVA has a ton of jokes that cover the full spectrum: punch lines, puns, slapstick and sexual innuendo. Sometimes these jokes are not as obvious to an English viewer because they can be lost in the translation because some of them depend on the viewer's knowledge of Nihonjin culture. Here are some examples:

What student hasn't at some point wished his school would burn down? In the first episode, in the middle of his 'battle' with Ryoko, Tenchi lamented studying so hard during the summer break, all that time wasted since a gas leak is about cause an explosion that should take him and the school to heaven in a fiery explosion. Since many Nihonjins see and remember school as a prison, some of them probably grinned at seeing Tenchi's school end up as an 'unfortunate' causality.

The classic talk-about-someone-and-they-sneeze gag. Every anime series used this gag and we have an example of it when Ryoko is bad-mouthing Ayeka and we have Ayeka sneeze and then the princess looked around to see who was talking about her.

Another gag occurred when Ryo-ohki became curious of Ayeka and tried to pass through the living room glass wall and bounced off, then correctly passed through while Sasami tried to follow the cabbit and ended up bumping her head.

Another sight gag occurred when Ryoko is searching Tenchi for Tenchiken (Tenchi Sword) and she slipped her hand into his pants and fondled the young man's manhood. In Nihonjin slang a man's penis is also called his sword.

Mihoshi's gung-ho attitude is used numerous times as a springboard for humor. Her absolute determination to arrest Kagato when her commander only wanted her to find him and him sweating bullets over her being the marshal's granddaughter is a not-so-subtle jab at nepotism (a common occurrence in Nihon).

When Ryoko and Ayeka are drinking in the onsen, Ryoko poured Ayeka her sake and held the bottle out for the princess to return the favor (as required by Nihonjin manners) but because of Ryoko's joke, Ayeka gabbed the bottle away and started to pour her own drinks and became really drunk in no time. In Nihonjin culture, one is forgiven for what one say and act while drunk, so the gloves come off for both Ayeka and Ryoko and we get a real look at their inner selves as we do when Mihoshi joined them, of course Sasami's comment about the onsen stinking of sake is clear evidence of how drunk our three females are (as does the floating dish full or empty sake bottles).

The Tenchi Muyo Special (now known as Episode Seven) is one long gag from start to finish. You have Sasami pull a fast one on Ryoko, with our local space pirate trying to seduce Tenchi Earth style. This gag worked so well that both Ayeka and Washu are inadvertently drawn into it while Mihoshi innocently turned the tables on Ayeka, Ryoko and Washu. What little girl can boast of blowing up their home by accident?

Because I read several manga and watch other anime, I incorporate their jokes into my stories but at the same time I try not to make the characters look too dumb (my only gripe with manga/anime creators is how sometimes the characters appear too dense). Furthermore, I always enjoyed the comedies of the Sixties and Seventies with such shows as "I Dream of Jeanie," "Bewitched," and the "Beverly Hillbillies," as well as the humor you find in Westerns (the spaghetti Westerns and John Wayne's movies especially). My paternal grandparents raised me so I was exposed to the great comedians of movies and early television like Jack Benny, Jackie Gleason, Bob Hope, the Marx Brothers and many others. I will first visualize a scene in my mind in a serious manner then I will look at ways to add a joke here, a pun there. As I said before, I am trying to recreate the flow of fantasy, sci-fi, romance, humor and action you find in the Tenchi Muyo OVA. The X-Flies also had a touch of humor in most of its episodes (although sometimes the jokes got left on the cutting room floor).