Title: One Eye's (1/2)
Feedback: Please be gentle.
Distribution: Gimme credit and a link.
Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.
Spoilers: Up to Chosen and Red Eye's.
Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to a bunch of other people. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
Summary: Things in MegaTokyo start coming together. Sequel to Fifth Knight.
Author's Note: Here's the promised sequel.
Sylia stared at the hardsuit diagnostics on the computer screen, not really seeing them. She'd had to design it from the ground up to fit the intended wearer. Much like Linna's, it was optimized for close combat. Sword blades, knuckle bombers, and a couple of ranged weapons.
She'd denied his request for a battleaxe.
And Linna's suggestion of a shield. A ghost of a smirk crossed Sylia's face at that thought, but it quickly faded.
Alexander's scores on the battery of tests she'd run to properly design and tune the hardsuit to him were quite impressive. He was strong, fast, and almost inhumanly resilient. He'd even beaten Linna on the reflexes test, if just barely. When asked about it, he'd simply brushed it off and told her, "I've been fighting things that could kill me with one hit for thirty years, and I'm still alive."
But that wasn't the memory occupying most of her thoughts at the moment.
Xander rose and looked at her. She knew his cybernetic eye couldn't penetrate her hardsuit, but that didn't make it any less unsettling. It was like he was looking into her soul.
"Why don't you take off that helmet?" he asked evenly. "I won't work with someone who won't trust me."
In that moment, Sylia had seen something... old in him. Sometimes, he acted like he was twelve; he looked like he was twenty-five; and yet, in that moment, she'd caught a glimpse of the fifty-year-old he was.
And what she had seen... scared her.
She was used to fear. Every time she put on her hardsuit could be the last. The DD had nearly killed her, as had Mason in their face-off on Genom Tower. But this wasn't the adrenline-pumped survival instinct. This was a different kind of fear. Deeper, more primal.
Not even Quincy scared her like this.
The ringing of her videophone startled her out of her reverie, and she quickly flicked off the monitor before answering, but the video phone's screen remained blank.
"It's good to finally speak with you, Miss Stingray."
She frowned, "Who is this?"
"A friend of Doctor Raven's... and yours."
"What do you mean?" she asked, her eyes narrowing suspiciously.
"Your pet project consumes a great deal of resources, Miss Stingray. Did you never find it odd how easy those resources were for you to get ahold of?"
"What do you want?"
"To meet you. I'll be in town on business for a while, and I thought it would be appropriate."
Xander spun and flung the vampire at Sylvie, who caught the demonic bloodsucker and held it in place for Xander to plunge a stake in its heart.
"Well," he said, looking around. "That makes eight. Wanna keep going or call it a night?"
Sylvie shrugged, eyeing the dust pile that had once been a vampire uncertainly. "We should get back. Miss Stingray did say she wanted to show you something tonight, right?"
"That's right." Xander grinned at her, "God, it's like fighting by a Slayer again." The smile faded quickly.
"What's wrong?" Sylvie asked.
He shook his head, "Nothing."
She frowned, but he didn't notice.
He'd been honest. It had been like fighting by a Slayer again, but then he'd remembered some of the less pleasant memories. Also, Sylvie wasn't the only one who reminded him of something; nearly all the girls seemed to be giving him a severe case of deja vu.
Every time he was around Priss, he had to suppress a shudder. She was so similar in attitude and temperament to Faith that he could almost picture her hands around his throat.
On the other hand, Nene was almost frighteningly reminiscent of Willow before she'd started her magic studies. If he didn't know better, he'd have suspected reincarnation...
And speaking of reincarnation, he DID suspect that with regard to Anri. She was, in his mind, Tara with green hair.
Mackie was a little sex-crazed, but he didn't blame the guy. He hadn't been a whole lot different himself at that age.
Little Linna-chan hadn't changed much, as far as he was concerned. He'd caught her trying to sneak out the window twice already.
Sylia was the enigma. She was calm, cool, and collected, and he was hard-pressed to get any kind of bead on what she was really feeling or thinking at any moment. In a big way, she kinda reminded him of Sailor Pluto from Sailor Moon... not that he ever watched that kind of show, nope, nope, nope.
That was all Dawn's fault. Yessirree.
Xander's eye twitched as he stared at the hardsuit they'd built for him. This had to be a joke. He shot Sylia a baleful look, but she seemed to shrug it off without noticing.
"I expect you will keep it clean," she said coolly.
Xander looked back at the hardsuit and knew -- just KNEW -- that, somewhere deep inside, Sylia was laughing her ass off, despite the utter lack of any hint of emotion on her face.
Linna, on the other hand, wasn't bothering to hide it, and after she filled them in, neither were Priss and Nene.
It wasn't the basic construction. The hardsuit appeared more heavily-armored than the others, with thicker and larger but fewer interlocking plates and thus, fewer seams and an overall more solid construction at the price of heavier weight and slightly less agility. With his lack of hardsuit experience, the extra armor was... comforting.
It wasn't the armament. Each arm sported a retractable sword blade and a set of knuckle bombers. The right arm additionally had a railgun much like Priss's for when he needed the extra firepower, while the left boasted a simple laser cannon. Perfectly fine there.
No, it was the aesthetics. The entire hardsuit -- head to toe -- was a gleaming, almost painful-to-look-at white. Instead of the smooth and bulging helmets the other hardsuits sported, his hardsuit had a cylindrical helmet with a V-shaped eyeslot and a grill below it in front.
In short, it looked like a stereotypical white knight.
"Linnaaa..." Xander began, whirling on the one he knew was responsible for setting this up.
Xander made a mental note not to antagonize any Summers girls. He'd made similar notes about a dozen times already, but he kept forgetting it...
He shook that thought off as he and Sylvie trudged up the stairs to the apartment they shared with Anri. He wasn't entirely comfortable with the arrangement -- and his discomfort had nothing to do with how lumpy the couch was -- but until the two found some form of income, it would be criminal to turn his back on them.
"Let me GO!" Anri's voice cried out.
That caught their attention. Xander and Sylvie shot each other a look and bolted. Sylvie outpaced Xander, but not by much. Sylvie flung herself at the 55C that had Anri pinned to the wall, but it caught her and flung her aside.
Xander stopped a good distance from the apartment and drew his hand cannon. A fat slug spat out, and a roar whooshed down the hallway as the rocket ignited. A good-sized chunk of the combat boomer's head vanished, and he rushed in.
Xander swept his gaze around the room, and he aimed his gun again. The round slammed into the neatly-dressed man's chest, but somehow did not penetrate. He stared as the man ducked out the window. Xander raced over, but the man was gone.
What the hell was that? Boomer? Demon? Xander wondered, then began cataloging and comparing various boomer models and demons he was familiar with.
He'd come up empty.
Largo silently cursed as he plucked the bullet from his chest. Well, at least he could now put a face to the one who'd meddled with his careful manipulations, but it looked like acquiring the sexaroid and manipulating or reprogramming her was out of the question... at least for now.
Perhaps an alternative plan...
If you're wondering where the title came from, it's because the BGC episode in question is Red Eye's, a reference to Priss, whose involvement will be reduced due to Xander's intervention and presence.