A fanfiction series by Erin Lightning

Episode 34: Cats On Mars (Part II)

Disclaimer: Not Mine!

Authors Note: Well, two years and I still haven't given you the end of the story yet, now have I? It's a bit depressing. I can swear to you, however, that time has been well-used. That's all I'll say on that. Otherwise, I'm a huge Broadway fan right now, and I've fallen in love with my school's plays. Next year I'm hoping to become the protege of our drama head, that way I can get one step closer to my goal of becoming a playwright on Broadway. Ah, but you don't want to hear that, do you? You just want me to keep writing, don't you? Don't you?

Let's see, a recap, since I've not updated in ye-long! Faye and Electra, two chicks with barely enough money to feed their faces, let alone to gamble it away, have left the Bebop on an adventure – they plan to compete in the Femme Fatale Battle Royale. While Electra's got enough money to enter, Faye's been forced to barter away Edward's extended family (Appledelhi and Macintire). Things are just about to get heated here, so what do you say we cut the chit-chat, and I'll do the job that I'm not paid to do!

' ' Indicates thinking

" "Indicates speaking

x x Indicates flashbacks

(!)Indicates authors note (usually tells you what music to listen to, or clip to watch)

The crowd was going wild! The ladies were lined up, in bare-thighed, tight-fitting outfits, fancy leather, riding helmets, was easy to tell why the Femme Fatale Battle Royale was a spectator sport, that's for sure. No more hyped up were Faye and Electra, who, while waving to the crowd from the starting line, were casting glaring glances at one another every few seconds. Though there was a good crowd of women there, in various forms of transportation and various uniforms – a good couple hundred sweet little ladies daring to give the course a try, the two found that their most frightful competition to be none other than each other.

"You're going to eat my dirt," Faye snarled, turning to cast a phony smile and wave at the various spectators in the stands along the road. It was an odd course, even from the beginning. Great glass walls enclosed a stretch of highway that was slick as ice and painted a deep chestnut color. This highway, however, wasn't just your normal, drive-down-the-road sort of highway either. It was the craziest thing Faye had ever seen: in the distant, a slope of it could be seen spiraling up, up into the air where it reached so high, so lost track of it. No sir, if the competition didn't get you, the track would. And she was certain it was booby-trapped of course.

"Ha! You? Beat me? Dream on "little" girl; you don't even have a vehicle," Electra retorted, her voice slightly muffled by the sleek rust-red helmet that protected her head. She was a dashing beauty, the true femme of the race, with a sleek body suit, matching in color, and riding gloves, seated on the most beautiful speed motorcycle one had ever seen. This precious vehicle was decked out with every weapon imaginable. It was her baby; her life's treasure. And it was a serious foe.

Faye, indeed, standing without arms, looked as if she wouldn't have a chance. But she knew better. Smirking, she snapped back, "Watch your back, bitch; I've got no problem with shooting a helpless target." Electra returned a glaring snarl, and opened her mouth to say something back, but was cut off by the loudspeaker echoing from overhead; an annoying buzzing noise followed by a cowboy's equally annoying baritone.

"LAAAADIES AND GENTLEMEN," it announced, "Welcome to the fifth annual Femme Fatale Battle Royale! This year we've got competitors from across the galaxy, and these lovely little divas are all here to battle it out for the grand cash prize of ten million woolongs! Will it be a young pup this year, a first-timer to the competition that brings home the gold, or last year's returning champ, the mysterious Miss X?" A spotlight pinpointed the lady in question, who, like Faye, stood unarmed, but was dressed entirely in a black leather body suit, her face hidden by a black mask. From where they stood, the two Bebop women couldn't quite get a look at her, but she didn't seem like a threat. Something about her, however, put Faye's heart to unease. Something just didn't seem "right" about her...something that Faye just couldn't...put her finger on...

BANG! A gunshot resounded, snapping Miss Valentine's attention back to the matter at hand only a second after; but it was a precious second already lost. A rush of wind and the rolling thunder of battle cars, motorcycles, and feet shot past her, including the infamous Electra, who couldn't help laughing as she called back at Faye, "Losing from the start, huh? Good strategy!" Seconds later, the little rust-red streaker was gone from sight, leaving Faye standing with a face no less red.

'Why you-" Faye snarled, her voice seething with her dislike. She lifted her arm, flicked a button or two, and an instant later, saw the great hulking figure of the Redtail descending from high above the course. Jumping from where she stood, Faye's hands gripped the rim of the ship that she was more than pleased to see had answered her transmission, a little fighter that she had always trusted with her life, and would put her faith in this time too. She flicked a few buttons, and the hatch closed with a resounding "click". A few triggers and...WHOOSH! The last contestant went rocketing down the course.

The race had begun.

Autopilot was a handy thing, Faye had decided. Nothing was happening. Three, maybe four hours, and all she'd seen since then was clear skies and that strange, winding road below. The competitors were few and far between up here; she'd passed most of the ones below some time ago, and now only had to keep an eye out for the ones in the skies. What, was this supposed to be the part of the race where everyone kills off everyone else early on to keep the competition from rising? Honestly, it was dullsville.

And where was Electra anyway? Had she been killed or something? Faye hoped not. If anyone was going to kill that bitch, it was going to be- Her thoughts were quite suddenly and fully interrupted as the Redtail's emergency lights began to flash, and a jolt of electricity slammed the vehicle from the side, jarring the pilot and causing her eyes to dart out the side window, a smile coming across Faye's mouth. "Now that's more like it," she said, grabbing the controls in front of her and jerking them from the auto control. The Redtail spun on a dime, tilted this way, tilted that, scanning, scanning...but her prey was nowhere in sight. Faye blinked, and turned again the other direction, then scanned the road below. Nothing.

Until the second missile hit, that is.

"Why you-" Faye growled, and tilted the Redtail immediately upwards in the direction of the blast, just in time to catch a retreating jet of a perfect rust-crimson color...with two long, fighter wings...and a pointed nose...just like..."SPIKE?" Faye exclaimed, training her own guns on the Swordfish that quickly disappeared from her sight once more. She didn't understand. Wasn't this a girls only fight? Why was Spike entering a girl's fight? She'd thought he would have a little more class than that. Oh well; she'd just shoot him down. No use in him ruining a good game, Faye decided. The guns were lifted, aimed, and she let loose a volley of shots. All of which did exactly no damage, as she soon found out when a third missile dropped down on her from above, sending a shower of sparks across her control panel.

"What the hell are you thinking!" Faye screeched. "We're on the same side, you jerk!" In response, another volley of gunfire erupted across the hood of the Redtail, making Faye duck her head slightly as she attempted to pilot the little fighter out of the way of the opposing craft. With her spare hand, the beautiful young woman keyed in the number for Spike's transmission, trying to get a hold of him to tell him off for getting in her way...but she wasn't expecting what really happened, not in a thousand years.

As Faye keyed in the number, her other hand was busy directing the Redtail out of harm's way, which included speeding up and racing off down the course, with the Swordfish in hot pursuit, swinging the jet up against the side wall to avoid the stray blasts of fire. Her voice echoed in the little bubble seat as she piloted, repeating, "Come on, come on..." She could see more competition up ahead, a few more fighters; but something else ahead chilled her even more: the sight of the turrets on the wallsides...a whole army of them, firing constantly what looked to be the special ammunition used to fry a machine's wires faster than you could snap. Needless to say, Faye floored it. And just as she was entering the course, her transmission got through to the swordfish, but it wasn't at all who she thought she was talking to.

"FAYE FAYE!" shouted a voice that rang of disaster. Faye, distracted, shouted into the tiny image on the control panel, "EDWARD, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU-" Three things happened simultaneously. The first was that the transmission was cut dead; the second was that the jet rocked, and this time the electric charge pulsing through it echoed through the control panel and shot a volt through Faye's very body, causing her to cry out with a sharp pain, her vision flooding red. The third was that she gripped the controls so much harder, and, screaming now with not only pain, but with rage as well, kicking the speed and yelling, "GO!"

What a deadly dance ensued! Faye's Redtail, half-fried, pierced the sky with a shriek, sparks shooting off the engine as it was pushed forward, each new hit from the barrage of turret-fire rupturing the sides of the vehicle, and flames bursting to life all around it as other jets, caught in the very same trap, exploded into a thousand tiny pieces. The swordfish, Faye could tell, was neck and neck with her; it's slim form and enhanced speed made dodging these deadly blasts seem easy. But, as for Faye, she was beginning to realize why hardly half the fighters in this competition ever made it back alive. It wasn't a race; it wasn't just a Battle Royale was a fight between life and death. And in that moment, everything changed. The electrifying shots of the turrets became the enemy, pure and simple, and the entire field was death. That far-away edge, where the turrets no longer blasted, that was life. And...And...

"I'M NOT GOING TO DIE HERE!" Faye snarled, kicking the accelerator up that last notch, pushing the throttle as far as it would go, and then even farther. Spike, Jet, Ed, Electra...Macintire, Appledelhi, Ein, the Bebop...Vicious...everything flashed before her eyes, like a montage going five thousand miles a second. There she was, a child again, and her mother and father were there...years later, she was a young woman revived from what was almost death...then a gamblin' lady and now...and now...Why wouldn't the thought of Spike leave her head? Why was it his goddamn, smug, asshole face that kept staring her down even as...Ten, five, four, three, two...she was nearly out! Just...a...little...further...she was going to make it! She was going to live! She was-

Her scream echoed, echoed...fading...and a blinding, searing white light took her down.


Edward: An unexpected winner, a lost love affair, a terrifying conclusion to the Femme Fatale Battle Royale!

Electra: I'm so close; nothing's gonna stop me now!

Spike: I'm lonely.

Electra: O.o I'm not hugging you.

Edward: Next time on le Bebop - "The Road to the West"! See ya bye bye till then!