1Swords of Destiny
Drakken and Stacko
LEGAL STUFF: The characters and concepts used here are the property of those people and companies holding the copyrights to the respective storylines, series, and movies. The only exceptions are those created by the demented minds of authors of this story. The use of this material should be seen as the sign of respect that it is. Besides, suing either of us would be a waste of time since we don't have any money to begin with.
We hope you enjoy the story.
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CHAPTER SIX - Kidnapped part II
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May 11, 1999, Drakkenhaus Hotel, Ginza Ward, Tokyo, 5 A.M.
Ami was confused as she woke in a strange place. The first thing to impinge on her consciousness was that she was not at home in her own bed. The confusion this engendered was dealt with by the memory that she was staying in the penthouse of a hotel in the most expensive part of Tokyo. There was still something wrong though, so she tried to get her mind working a little better. Checking all sensations that her brain was receiving against previous experience, she classified all of them except two. One was the sensation of something hard and warm running all along her back. The other was something equal warm resting on her hip. When she had spent what felt like five minutes attempting to classify both sensations she finally decided that the only thing she could do was turn and look.
As she turned, she heard a grunt of complaint, and then gasped at what she saw. Swearing in a way that would have shocked her friends, Ami jumped out of the bed always keeping her eyes on the sleeping form that barely shifted at all from the waves that washed through the waterbed. Her temper flared as she watched the man in the bed sleep on peacefully. Her eyes lighted on the pillow she had until recently been lying on and her hand reached out and grabbed it. With a shriek of feminine rage, Ami jumped onto the bed and started pummeling Scott with everything she had. When the pillow went flying out of her hands on a back swing she continued, using her fist since the pillow hadn't seemed to have any effect on her victim.
As Ami pummeled him with her fist, Scott began to struggle awake. Still only half-awake his mind registered two things at once. Ami was screaming swear words at the top of her lungs that he really hoped she did not actually understand, and someone was trying to beat him through the headboard of his bed. His reflexes took over at this point and Ami suddenly found herself pinned under Scott's body with her hands trapped above her head. When she looked up in shock at Scott, Ami saw his eyes slowly clear of their sleep-induced fog as Scott's mind registered their position. With a gulp, Scott swore viciously then started turning green. In a rush, he jumped off the bed and dove into the bathroom, where he was very noisily sick.After a few moments Ami heard the shower spray come on and she sat up, wondering what had happened the night before. She looked down at herself and blushed as she realized what Scott had seen. She made a quick dive for her book bag and put her bra back on, then straightened the black silk shirt she was wearing. She heard the shower cut off, and then heard a door open and close. Confused that Scott still had not come back into the room, Ami went to the bathroom door and tried to open it. The door opened easily, but there was no sign of Scott and since the only other door in the bathroom would not budge when she tried it, Ami locked the bathroom door and took a short shower herself. Dressed in the clothes she had worn to bed, Ami walked out into the room cautiously, every nerve poised for flight.
As she stepped into the room, Ami looked pointedly at Scott, who was lying on the bed wearing a black silk shirt similar to the one she herself had on as well as black fatigue pants. A pair of black hiking boots rested on the floor next to the bed. As Scott registered the look she gave him, he smiled a little self-consciously. After nervously clearing his throat, Scott attempted to say something twice before he finally got out what he was saying.
"Just as a question mind you, but nothing happened in here last night did it?" Scott asked, blushing lightly at the way the question sounded. "I mean you and I... we didn't... did we?" As the point of his question finally percolated through her mind, Ami blushed heatedly and became rather tongue-tied. Taking her reaction to mean the worst, Scott looked at Ami with horror in his eyes. "Oh, boy," Scott said as he slumped back in the bed with his hand over his eyes.
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Kevin smiled grimly to himself as he made his way to the room he had assigned to Scott the night before, since Ami had taken over his regular room. He wasn't looking forward to waking his good friend up after the drinks he'd had last night. Kevin himself had taken precautions to ward off a hangover last night, but based on the way Scott had stumbled down the hall last night, he very much doubted that Scott would feel at all well this morning. Thinking of the two quarts of Gatorade that he had downed last night just before going to sleep, Kevin grinned.
"I just love modern technology," Kevin said to himself as he knocked at the door. After waiting a few minutes without getting a response he knocked again, smiling even more broadly. When still didn't respond, he simply open the door. When he saw that Scott wasn't in the room, he checked the bathroom, and attached dressing room. No Scott. Muttering darkly to himself, Kevin stormed to the library, and opened the concealed door to the security monitoring room. After making sure Scott hadn't left the penthouse, he began switching from camera to camera looking for his friend. As he reached the firing range, the monitor devices detected a scream coming from Scott's room. Switching to the bedroom audio monitors, Kevin activated the microphones in Scott's room and smiled at the words Ami was using, then realized Scott's name was mixed in with them. When the words were cut off, then followed by Scott's voice cursing, Kevin started laughing as he realized what must have happened. He roared with laughter when he heard running feet, then Scott being sick in the bathroom. Smiling to himself, Kevin shut down the audio monitors, and left the room, shutting the concealed door.
As Kevin left the library his smile broadened as he considered the others got together later for breakfast. He was so caught up in the image that he didn't hear Makoto's door close as she stepped out of her room. In fact he didn't even notice Makoto until he ran into her knocking her off her feet. With a startled apology, he reached down and lifted her back to her feet. Motioning her to silence, as they were right across from Scott's room, he grasped her arm and led her to the kitchen. As they entered the room, Makoto froze and gazed at the huge room in open astonishment. The she turned a looked questioningly at Kevin who was smirking at her surprised look.
"What is this? A restaurant kitchen?" She asked, looking around the kitchen, completely bewildered.
"No, this was just a present I gave myself after finishing college the last time," Kevin said smiling as she explored the huge kitchen. "After graduating from American Culinary Institute, I decided that I deserved a real chef's kitchen. So I had the one here remodeled."
"The American Culinary Institute?" Makoto said looking confused again. "But I thought you were still in High School."
"Makoto, I've graduated from at least ten different colleges in the last 60 years, with degrees ranging from architecture, to cooking, to Medicine." Kevin said, smiling a little self-consciously. "I've spent so many years in school, I don't even remember some of the names. What usually happens lately, is I finish my degree, move to a new town and the truant officer shows up and back to high school I go." Kevin muttered darkly to himself about interfering civil servants.
"You mean you keep getting sent back to high school every ten years, and always back to the second year?" Makoto asked, shocked that he had so much trouble, then thought of something. "Wait a minute, If you move to different towns every time, why don't you just have someone make up a diploma saying you already graduated from high school, or take some kind of proficiency exam?"
Kevin blushed brightly at that. "Well you see there are two reasons for that," he began, smiling sheepishly. "First, I would also have to have the diploma from a high school that had record for me at my apparent age. The second is, they don't force me to go back to school. I go back every ten years so that I don't get behind on all the advances that they make while I'm in college. Quite simple to just register under a new name, with my old name listed as legal guardian, and I'm all set. Ten years later it just starts over again."
"But what if they ask for a meeting with your guardian?" Makoto asked, coming up with the biggest problem she had with schools.
"Real simple." Kevin replied, winking conspiratorially. "I just tell them he's on a business trip. If they get really obnoxious about it, I just hire an actor, who acts as my guardian for the meeting. I just have to keep him on retainer until I graduate in that case. A lot of famous actors got their start that way." Kevin smiled
"Wish I'd thought of that one," Makoto muttered to herself in consternation. Then she noticed Kevin rooting around in the cupboards and pulling out different containers as he whistled to himself.
"What are you doing?" Makoto asked looking at the items he had already set on the counter.
"Just getting ready to make breakfast," Kevin responded, getting more ingredients and utensils out of the other cupboards. "You can help me, if you think you can keep up. I probably won't get done in here by myself until around ten."
"Keep up?" Makoto gasped, outraged. "More likely you would slow me down."
"You think so, huh?" Kevin responded challengingly. "Okay, a contest then. Western breakfast for half the guests, then Chinese food for the other half for dinner. After dinner the others decide who the better cook is, agreed?"
"Agreed, on the condition that the breakfasts be relatively similar," Makoto responded. "And that Scott gets to eat my cooking first."
"Fine with me," Kevin replied, grinning. "How about pancakes, waffles, or crepes, eggs, juice and meat to order, and each serving prepared fresh on order?"
"Great," Makoto responded, getting ready. "May the best cook win."
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Mamoru smelled something delicious as he woke up in the double bed on one side of the bedroom he had shared with Usagi the night before. After a few minutes of confusion, he recalled that he and the rest of the Sailor Senshi were staying in the apartment of one of the most recently discovered members of Queen Serenity's court.
As he pulled himself out of bed, he walked over to the other bed in the room and checked on Usagi. He noticed the dried tracks of tears on her cheeks but, thankfully, she was sleeping peacefully for now. His mouth tightened when he thought about the reason that they had all stayed in Kevin O'Connell's apartment last night. Remembering the pain Usagi had felt earlier, he swore that if any harm came to either his daughter, or to Hotaru, he would not rest until those who had harmed them had paid dearly.
Stepping into the bathroom with his overnight bag, Mamoru removed his pajamas and stepped into the shower. He was surprised to see that it had three nozzles and only one faucet, and then realized that they all worked together. After turning on the water and while he waited for the water to heat up, he looked at the stall, and noticed a set of five small hand pumps set in the wall. On further investigation they turned out to dispense soap, shampoo and conditioner.
After his shower, Mamoru found an electric toothbrush and a number of spare tips obviously for the use of guests, and brushed his teeth. He smiled at himself in the mirror, and then dressed in the spare clothes he had brought along. After knocking on the door into the bedroom and receiving no reply, he stepped into the room, noticing that Usagi was still asleep. After moving her overnight bag into the dressing room off the bathroom, he walked over to Usagi's bed and touched her shoulder, calling her name. When she asked her mom for just a few more minutes, he smiled, then shook her shoulder, and told her she had to get up.
After she was finally out of bed, he helped her into the bathroom and told her where her bag was then closed and locked the door. Shortly afterward, he heard the bathtub start filling. Smiling to himself, he walked over to his bed and started making it to keep his mind off what was going on in the other room. After a few minutes, Usagi called out asking where her bag was. After reminding her of the bag's location, he laid on his bed and read one of the books he had brought from school, until she came out the dressing room door. When Mamoru looked up at her, the first thing he noticed was the tears she had in her eyes. Smiling encouragingly, he walked and hugged her gently. After she had regained her composure, she moved a little away smiling back at Mamoru, and then sniffed the air.
"What smells so good?" She asked wonderingly, glancing at the door. "I'm hungry." She moaned, and then sped out of the room in search of the source of the smell, while Mamoru trailed along behind her.
Mamoru and Usagi were surprised, when they reached the kitchen, to see Kevin and Makoto in matching chef's jackets and hats. They were standing by two identical grills, with piles of ingredients and utensils on opposite counters. When they entered, Makoto smiled at them, then looked to Kevin who motioned her forward. Smiling maliciously at Kevin, she turned back to the new arrivals.
"Good morning you two," She said leading them to the dining room, and getting them seated. "Today, we are having something special for breakfast and dinner, and we hope you like it. Kevin and I are having a contest to decide who is the better cook." At her friends' bewildered looks, she smiled reassuringly, and then looking over her shoulder to make sure Kevin could hear her, explained.
"HE says that he's a better cook than I am," She said, motioning toward Kevin with her head. "So we're having this contest. We will both cook breakfast for half of the people staying here, then dinner for the other half. Then you can decide who made the better meal. Fortunately Usagi, Haruka, Rei, and Scott get to eat my cooking for breakfast. Mamoru, Ami, Michiru, and Minako will have to make do with whatever Kevin makes. Then for dinner it will be reversed." Kevin could be heard chuckling in the kitchen over Makoto's biased presentation, and the dazed look on Usagi's face. After each cook accepted their client's order they returned to the kitchen, where the sounds of cooking could soon be heard.
"Which do you think is better at cooking, Mamoru?" Usagi asked quietly. "I would think Makoto would be better than any guy, but Kevin has had 700 years to learn to cook."
"For my sake, I just hope he can cook half as well as Makoto, or I'm going to have indigestion all day," Mamoru replied, with a rueful look. "And don't forget, he's making your dinner so you won't come out unscathed either."
Usagi's expression of horror was still on her face when Rei, Minako, Michiru, and Haruka arrived. When questioned about her expression, she explained to the others about the contest, getting mixed responses. Rei and Minako felt that Makoto would probably win, while Michiru and Haruka adopted a wait and see attitude. Usagi, Rei, Minako and Haruka asked for pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs orange juice and toast, while Mamoru asked for waffles, link sausage, poached eggs, apple juice, and an English muffin. Michiru requested crepes with strawberries, ham, and fried eggs over easy, tomato juice, and croissants. When Minako's pancakes arrived, she noticed that they looked fluffier than the others' did.
"How did you get these pancakes this light?" She asked after he had brought in Mamoru's food. "I mean they're obviously lighter than Makoto's but I can't taste anything different from her usual ones." She blushed when Makoto glared at her for the comment but still looked questioningly at Kevin.
"All I really did was substitute club soda for the water," Kevin replied, smiling at Makoto's slightly sour expression. "The bubbles make them lighter."
The others ate their food in silence obviously enjoying everything they were given. The clock in the hall was ringing eight o'clock when Scott and Ami finally made their appearance. At the curious glances they got from the others in the room, Ami blushed hotly when Usagi asked about her outfit, which was similar to the one she had been wearing the night before. As everyone else laughed at Ami's expression, Kevin got a wicked gleam in his eye.
"And what, pray tell, have you two been doing all morning, Hmm?" He asked suggestively, laughing openly at the glare Scott threw at him.
"Just talking." Scott grated; the look he was giving Kevin promising retribution in the not too distant future.
After Scott and Ami finished their breakfasts, Kevin motioned them out to the hall and asked the others to go relax in the living room. After the others had left, Kevin led Scott and Ami to the closet in the entry. After putting on his black duster, and taking his hat off the hat rack, he turned to his companions.
"I'm going up to talk to Katsuhito, and then to Marcus's place to see if I can get more information on Annie's operation," He told them.
Scott nodded then glance at Ami. "I've set up an appointment at Claire's for Ami so she'll have something besides my clothes to wear." He said, as Ami blushed. "I'll show the others around the place, and try to keep their minds off the girls as much as I can."
Kevin agreed then glanced at his watch. "Well, if were going to get back in time to do any thing, we had better get going." He said, motioning Ami out into the hall.
"Just make sure she likes what she gets." Scott reminded Kevin who nodded in response.
Ami looked bewildered at the look the two men exchanged then shrugged when they smiled in agreement. "I can always tell him I don't want the clothes if I don't like them." She thought to herself as Kevin led her an express elevator different from the one they had used when they arrived yesterday. When Ami noticed the direction they were going she looked questioningly at Kevin.
"Why are we going up?" She asked, looking at the panel on the wall. "Isn't your apartment on the top floor?"
"Actually, the answer to that question is yes, and no," Kevin replied with a mischievous look at his companion. "It is the top floor of the hotel, but I have a hangar on the roof where I keep my helicopters."
"Helicopters?" Ami said with a screech. "Why do we need to use a helicopter just to go to a fashion boutique?"
"Because Claire moved her showroom to Okayama." Kevin replied, and then smiled at the shocked expression on Ami's face. "We should be back in about eight or nine hours, though most of that time will be spent traveling, but don't worry the clothes she makes are worth the trip."
Motioning her out of the elevator when the doors opened, they stepped into a well lit chamber with numerous vehicles parked everywhere. After asking her to stay next to the elevator, Kevin stepped over to a panel on the wall and pressed several buttons then nodded in satisfaction when several green lights came on. After collecting a very strange looking key from the panel next to the elevator doors, he told her to follow him.
As they walked down the aisle between the aircraft she saw vehicles most people only see in magazines and movies. She was so engrossed in looking at the different helicopters she almost ran Kevin over when he stopped by a dark gray metallic monster that resembled military vehicles she had seen on CNN. Kevin helped her into the co-pilot's seat, then walked around and finished the outside checks for the preflight checklist. He climbed into the pilot's seat and spent several minutes on the interior preflight. After he finished that, he started the engine, then reached up and pushed two buttons on the overhead instrument panel. With a loud metallic clang, gates rose around the Helicopter and the locks on the door in the ceiling released. Then Kevin flicked a switch on the panel and aircraft started rising as the doors above slid out of the way.
"Just who is this 'Claire' person anyway?" Ami asked feeling extremely confused.
"Scott didn't tell you?" Kevin asked, surprised. When Ami shook her head, he shrugged. "Claire is a friend of mine who went into women's clothing design in 1812 back in England. When her shop was destroyed during the Battle of Britain in World War Two, I helped her relocate to Tokyo after the war was over. She moved her shop to Okayama in 1960 when land prices got to high for her taste here." Kevin started talking into the radio he had slid over his head, requesting clearance for take off.
After they reached the roof, the gates around the helicopter fell out of the way and Kevin got clearance and eased the Eurocopter AS 365 into the air. Tokyo quickly faded into the distance behind them as they head southwest over the ocean at high speed only turning inland an hour and a half after they left the hotel. They finally got to the airfield in Okayama an hour later where they were met by a woman who appeared to be in her late twenties who ran over to Kevin and greeted him with a hug when she saw him step out of the helicopter. After a bewildered Ami was ushered into the limousine that was waiting, Kevin directed the refueling of the helicopter then flew out into the heavily forested mountains nearby after reading the note his contact, who was part of the refueling team, had left on the co-pilots seat.
He smiled when he saw the huge tree near the shrine that was his goal, then stared in surprise at the huge house that was sitting in the meadow where he had landed the last time he'd been here. He remembered the old man's daughter living in the house that had looked like that, but it had been on the other side of Okayama. He shrugged to himself and landed in a clearing on the other side of the shrine. Whistling to himself, Kevin made his way up the steps and walked toward the Shrine office. As he approached, he noticed a young woman with dark hair sweeping the courtyard. When she glanced up at him questioningly he smiled, then noticed some similarities between her face, and that of the priest he had come to see. When she asked him if she could help him he smiled and shook his head.
"Don't bother," Kevin told the girl as he continued toward the office. "I'm here to see my old friend Katsuhito Misaki. Please just go back to what you were doing, I'd like to surprise him." When she smiled and nodded, he stepped silently up to the door. Inside the office he heard Katsuhito reciting a Haiku that he had just come up with. Smirking to himself, he slid to the side of the door and suddenly jerked it open, drawing his sword out of subspace as he stepped into the room. When he saw Katsuhito's expression, he sent the sword back and collapsed onto the floor laughing.
When he finally recovered, he looked his friend over. "Your powers are weak old man," he said in a menacing voice, then laughing again at the expression that came over the old priest's face. "But then, after 700 years I figure you're allowed to let them slip once in a while." Smiling at his friend he gave him the bow of equal to equal. After Katsuhito returned it he looked around at the office.
"This place sure hasn't changed much," he said, returning his gaze to his friend. "But what is that house doing in the meadow at the base of the steps?"
"My son-in-law moved his house to the meadow last fall," Katsuhito replied, proceeding to make tea for his guest. "Had some help from my grandson's several girlfriends." At Kevin's startled expression he chuckled softly to himself.
"Our Tenchi?" Kevin asked, shocked. "The kid who had a hard time asking a girl out on a date? He's got more than one girlfriend? Never knew he had it in him." Kevin then remembered the girl outside. "Would one of them happen to be short, have really strange red hair, and look to be about 15 years old?" At Katsuhito's nod, Kevin smiled and waved at the girl who seemed to be looking at a device that looked like a tricorder from Star Trek. She waved back then stared at the device in her hand. She looked from it to Kevin and back again, hit it a couple times then simply stared at Kevin then walked over to the other girl.
"Looks like that device actually does something," Kevin thought to himself, and then turned back to Katsuhito. "The main reason I came was to find out if you had noticed any unusual energy fields in the Osaka area over the last few months. One of my enemies seems to have gotten a lot more powerful lately for no apparent reason." Katsuhito looked gravely at his friend then smiled.
"I did feel a strange pulse in the energies around Nagoya almost five months ago," he said, thinking back to the time. "At the time it felt as if another world had come to exist in the middle of the city, but then it vanished altogether. While it was there though, this New World felt as if it had been steeped in evil for millennia. I was glad when it disappeared. Do you think this could have something to do with your enemy?"
"Could be," Kevin replied. "It would certainly explain the increased power level and the strange abilities." They thought on it for a while then stood up to walk around the shrine grounds. As they stepped out the door the sight of five girls and a boy standing in the courtyard talking to each other greeted them. As Kevin stepped out of the office and a little away from the building he felt a flash of excruciating pain as he was engulfed in a bright orange light.
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Scott walked back into the penthouse and went looking for everyone. He found them in the same room they had had the meeting in the night before, discussing plans of action for getting the girls back once they knew where they were. As he entered the room their conversation stopped as they all looked at him questioningly. Scott walked over to the bar and got himself a soda then asked the others if they'd like one.
"How can you think of sitting around drinking sodas while Chibi-Usa and Hotaru are still missing?" Haruka grumbled glaring at him while Michiru tried to calm her down.
"I can understand your feelings Haruka," Scott said, trying to calm her down himself. "But we can't do anything about the situation until Kevin gets back with the information of where in Osaka Annie is. Until then we need to relax or we will be so wound up with worry and doubts that we won't be able to do those little girls any good at all. Do you all understand that?" At the nods he received from the Senshi, he smiled, and then relaxed a little. "While were waiting Kevin told me to show you around the penthouse. After that you are free to do whatever you want as long as it isn't worry about how we're going to get the girls back." When the others nodded in acquiescence, all be it reluctantly on Mamoru, Usagi, and Haruka's part, they proceeded down one of the halls radiating out from the main hall. The guests were shocked at the number of rooms that were included in the penthouse. They saw 12 different bedrooms, the library, the kitchen and pantry, and the hangar. Then Scott led them down another hall where they found the one lane bowling alley, Usagi's favorite the arcade, and Haruka's favorite the shooting range, with four metal cabinets Scott told them contained weapons and ammunition. When he brought them back to the lounge, Rei, Usagi, and Mamoru took off in different directions except for Haruka, Michiru, Makoto and Minako. When Scott looked at them questioningly, Haruka cleared her throat.
"We want to know how Kevin can afford all of this," She said as the others nodded. "You act as if he owns the entire building or some thing."
"I can understand how that would be confusing," Scott replied chuckling softly as he remembered something. "The reason Kevin acts as if he owns all of this is that for all intents and purposes he does."
"How can he afford all of this?" Michiru asked confused. "He would need several hundred million yen for everything we've seen here."
"Kevin's actual holdings fluctuate day by day but, from what he told me of the last audit his accountant processed, his net worth was in the hundred billion range." Scott said, laughing at Minako's expression.
"A hundred billion yen?" Minako screeched, appalled at the thought of that much money in one person's hands. Scott laughed even louder.
"No Minako," Scott corrected her. "100 billion dollars US. Based on the latest exchange rates that would be about 10 trillion Yen. But then most of his holdings are in corporate stocks and the like so he can't really get to those that easily. His ready cash fund is usually around 250 million dollars, so he doesn't have to worry about paying for most things if he really wants them."
Minako and Makoto looked as if they had just swallowed a fish when they realized the amount of money he kept on hand, and Haruka just stared at Scott in disbelief. Michiru took this opportunity to ask her own question.
"Exactly how long have you known Kevin, Scott?" She asked. "I realize that you knew each other pretty well back in the 1800's, but how did you actually meet?" Scott smiled at this question.
"Well to begin with, you have to remember that we were best friends in the Silver Millennium, but Kevin doesn't remember all that much from that long ago." Scott began. "Around 1296, a friend of mine from Scotland convinced me to join the army that was forming to stop the encroaching English forces. I had been through a couple of battles and was the equivalent of a sergeant when we received word of an army that had been brought over from Ireland. Our leaders were frightened that these troops would be more dangerous than the usual British troops because of the traditional hatred between the Irish and the Scots. They were afraid of them, that is, until a patrol found a group of Irish soldiers who had deserted the force that was marching toward us."
Scott laughed. "It seems that this 'Army of Irishmen' we captured, consisted of 100 footmen. Compared to the English forces we had been fighting, they were poorly equipped, severely disorganized, and, to the English point of view, dangerously unpredictable. The Irish deserters that we found willingly turned their weapons over to our sentries as a gesture of good will then simply set up camp and waited for us to decide what to do with them. When our leaders heard about them, they were confused...
Scotland, Argyle 1296
"How do we know that they can be trusted?" Sir William Brisbane asked, facing the other leaders of the Scottish army. "They could all be spies for the English. They might infect some of our troops with their poisonous words."
"Oh come now Sir William," Scott muttered disbelievingly. "If they were spies, they would have come up with some better reason for arriving here than that they deserted from the Irish troops because of Edward's reinstitution of Prima Noctum here. They would more likely say that they had come here to offer their services after tricking the English to bring them over, or some such nonsense as that."
"And what would a simple man of arms know of the practices of royal spies, Master Schwartzstern?" Sir William asked suspiciously.
"It would seem quite a bit more than you do, sir knight," Scott replied, smiling back at the man. "But that is beside the point in this case. My recommendation, Sir Andrew, is that we give them the freedom of the camp, but form them into their own unit so that they will only damage themselves while keeping them from, as Sir William fears, 'infecting' our otherwise loyal troops. In this way we can utilize them to the best of our abilities while preventing significant damage to our own morale."
"A wise precaution, Master Schwartzstern," Sir Andrew de Moravia said, nodding. "As Sir William has said we cannot risk them turning some of our already few troops against us. This does bring up the problem of who to set over them as a chieftain, since they have none of their own."
"My Lord, since Master Schwartzstern is so positive of the good intentions of these men I suggest that, for services to the Crown, Master Schwartzstern be given command of this band of Irishmen." Sir William's face lit in a smile of victory as Scott realized what he was in for.
"An excellent suggestion, Sir William," Sir Andrew replied smiling in return. "If you are agreeable, Master Schwartzstern, I will place these men under your command in Fortingal's band. Young Connor should do well as a second, don't you agree Sir William?" The knight's gleeful contemplation turned sickly at the mention of his son and heir, but there was nothing he could do without ruining any chance of advancement his son had.
"Of course my lord, Connor is an excellent choice," Scott replied, smiling at his erstwhile enemy. "I will have my equipment moved to the new camp immediately if that will be all." At Sir Andrew's nod Scott left the tent.
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After ordering his squire to move his tent and equipment to the Irish camp, Scott made his way toward the separate camp that the Irishmen had set up after surrendering their swords. As he approached the camp he felt an unfamiliar tingling at the back of his neck similar to the one that signaled the presence of one of his kind. Immediately, Scott shifted to a fully alert posture and faded into the forest to check on the camp's inhabitants.
As he reached the edge of the camp, he noticed several differences between the Irishmen and their Scottish counterparts. First, the Irish had posted sentries around their camp armed with quarterstaves since they had surrendered their swords. Others were practicing with the staves while several sat by a nearly smokeless fire obviously making arrows for the long bows that were leaned against several trees in easy reach. He felt the strange tingling again to his left and spotted one man who was practicing with a wooden sword that was a little thinner than most of the ones that they had confiscated from these men. Watching the man, Scott was surprised to see a number of familiar patterns that he hadn't seen in a number of years. Scott shook off the feeling of familiarity reminding himself that there were many styles of fighting that he had seen in the last thousand years.
Shaking himself to clear the last vestiges of the eerie feeling, Scott moved back to a safe distance then hailed the sentries. When told to come forward, he complied carefully keeping his hands away from his weapons. When he was in the camp, and had given them Sir Andrew's response to their request, he was led to the man who was practicing with the wooden sword. This man was Kevin O'Connell, son of a deposed knight in Donegal County. He was also the one on which the strange tingling was centered.
As Scott approached he noticed that Kevin trusted the men around him only as much as the circumstances required. Kevin smirked at the man that had come into their camp and looked him over. "And who might you be, my fine man? Hmm?" Kevin asked, motioning the guards a little away from Scott. "You're not wear the kilt so, I'm guessing you're not a Scotsman, but the patrols around here are so thick you'd have to be suicidal to be working for the long shanks."
"I was ordered by Sir Andrew to act as your commander when we meet the English," Scott replied. "Your right that I'm not of the clans, but I am a trusted friend of Sir Andrew's family, as well as knowing something of warfare. One of the lairds decided that since I wasn't of the clans, you would be more willing to take my orders."
"Then your laird was wrong," Kevin replied, and then shook his head when Scott was going to protest. "Oh, it's not that we aren't willing to take your orders, it's just that we would be just as willing to take any sane man's orders. Most of us know nothing of warfare, and would be willing to do anything as long as it made sense."
"Then I'll try to make sure that my orders make sense," Scott said, smiling in response to the laughter his reply caused among the group around him. "Since you seem to be the most talkative among this lot, would you care to tell me what skills these men have that would be useful? My name is Scott Schwartzstern by the by."
"Well Master Schwartzstern, these men have several useful talents..." Kevin then proceeded to explain what the hundred Irishmen were capable of.
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
The smoke from the fire Sir William Wallace had ignited at the beginning of the battle was finally starting to dissipate when the runner with orders for the 'Irregulars', as Scott's Irishmen had come to be called in the last weeks, arrived Scott spent several seconds gaping in shock. "And these orders came from whom?" He asked the messenger who had been told to join this unit after delivering the message.
"From Sir William Brisbane, sir...the Irregulars are to fall back to the wood and wait there for additional orders from him." The man replied, looking rather uncomfortable under the stares of the four men. Connor of Brisbane looked at the man in disbelief. Kevin O'Connell and the other man who Scott had taken as a sergeant wore expressions of disgust.
"And what of Sir Andrew de Moravia?" Scott finally asked.
"Dead sir, killed in the first mounted charge."
Scott stared at the man in shock as the disaster-hit home. He simply stood, shaking his head. Then his head came up as the sentry on the right flank called a warning.
"Master Schwartzstern, another rider coming."
The Irishmen blended into the underbrush as silently as ghosts except for Scott and Kevin. The rider saw them, then wheeled his horse and rode back the way he'd come.
"We've been seen," Scott shouted to his men." We have no choice, now we must fight. Prepare to attack the enemy as they come through the trees." The men moved into the forest behind them and prepared themselves.
The enemy first appeared in the form of heavy cavalry. As the mounted men reached the edge of the forest, which was the only barrier between them and the unprotected left flank of the Scottish Army, they were met by a storm of arrows from the trees. The commander of the cavalry unit ordered up the archers attached to the troop he was leading and they unleashed a withering storm of arrows, which drove the Irish back further under the trees. Scott sent the messenger off to demand reinforcements then gasped in shock as he felt an all too familiar tingling along his nerves. Looking around for the source, he saw Kevin O'Connell lying on the ground with an arrow in his chest. Then he felt a rush of pain as another arrow suddenly blossomed from his belly. Scott fell over with a groan and blacked out when the arrow was pulled out by his fall.
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Scott returned to consciousness at night. From the fact absence of smoke in the air, he realized that it was not the same day as the battle. He looked around and saw numerous huddled forms that were the unburied corpses of the dead. From this state her realized that all of the men on both sides had died, including his messenger. The buzz of another immortal presence was still strong, and when he walked slowly over to Kevin, he watched the man shudder violently, then lay still several times. Judging from the arrow's position and Kevin's repeated revivals followed immediately by death, Scott came to the conclusion that the arrow had gone through his heart. Snapping the head that protruded from Kevin's back off, Scott slowly slid the arrow and was rewarded with a rush of arterial blood, which stopped almost immediately. Wrapping Kevin in fur blankets from some of the bedrolls of the fallen, then set about burying the dead. The next night after burying them all, Scott tied Kevin to one of the horses he had captured, and made his way north to the Orkney's.
"And that was how we met," Scott finished. "After I had trained him for about a year on the island where he woke after the battle, we spent about 15 months wandering around Europe and Asia mostly trying to avoid the Inquisition and other immortals. We finally arrived in Japan in the spring of 1298, and went our separate ways in 1301."
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Kevin shuddered into consciousness, as he felt pain memories run through his body. "I wonder if anyone got the license number of the truck that hit me," he said to himself then sat up when he heard voices in the other room discussing him. With a grunt of pain he got to his feet, and made his way to the door where he listened to the conversation.
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
"Who is that man grandfather?" Tenchi asked.
A female voice broke in at this point. "More importantly what is he? He registers as an Immortal, but from these readings he would be nearly immortal without being chosen."
"My dear Washu-chan, that man in there is as human as anyone else on this planet," Yosho said. "He is simply one of the Chosen Ones."
"That's not what the readings say." Washu muttered aloud.
"The 'Chosen Ones' Grandpa?" Tenchi asked his confusion mirrored on the faces of the other occupants of the room.
"Another name for Immortals from Juraian legends."
"But why does he heal so quickly, Grandpa?" Sasami asked, still confused. "James is a chosen one, and he doesn't heal nearly as quickly."
"That would be because of my place of origin," Kevin said walking out into the room. "By the way who shot me?" The occupants of the room spun around and stared at the red head, who crossed his eyes, making the young girl with blue hair giggle.
"Ah, I see your recuperative abilities are just as good as ever old friend." Yosho said, then introduced him to the others. Once the introductions were complete, everyone sat down again.
Kevin smiled at everyone in the room then turned to Yosho. "Now who was that shot me old man," he asked looking around the group questioningly. When he noticed the embarrassed look on Ryoko's face, he had his answer with no one speaking. "What was the big idea shooting me in the back? Did I do something to you in a passed life or something?"
"I thought you were a danger to Tenchi, so I...well blasted you" She said defensively.
"Ryoko, I wasn't in any danger, he was just walking out of the shrine!" Tenchi exclaimed surprised at her excuse.
"Tenchi, now wait a minute," Kevin said cautiously. "If your girlfriend thinks you're in danger and wants to protect you, that isn't a bad thing unless she is incapable of doing the job properly." At Ryoko's angry look and Ayeka's laugh, he smiled.
"I guess the only way to find out if she can do the job is to test her myself." Kevin said rather pompously.
"Fine, I accept your challenge." Ryoko said creating a plasma blade.
"If you would lend us the use of two bokken Lord Yosho we shall see if this girl is worthy to continue protecting Tenchi." At Yosho's nod, the two combatants made there way out to the dojo. Kevin and Ryoko both disdained the use of padding since it would only slow them down.
"Very well then," Yosho said smiling at the two warriors. "The rules are combat to the first touch. All targets are valid, as are all forms of physical attack. Magical attacks are forbidden, but flying is permitted. Are you agreed?" Receiving nods from both, he smiled "Begin."
Ryoko immediately took to the air and began circling Kevin looking for an opening. At almost the same instant they both attacked with blinding speed, their practice blades colliding with a force that would have thrown sparks from metal blades. Kevin redirected his strike but was blocked again.
"Not bad," Ryoko said watching Kevin as she floated around just out of reach. "But not good enough." She slashed at his head then as he instinctively ducked, redirected the strike to hit his leg. To the spectators that there was no way to dodge the blurred practice blade, but to their amazement he suddenly was nowhere near the path of the blade. As Ryoko gaped at what moment before she had thought impossible, her danger sense goaded her into a forward roll. When she had completed the roll she saw Kevin standing in the position she had just vacated recovering from a blow that would doubtless have hit her.
To the spectators, the bout was mostly a blur with many sudden stops as the opponents came together at times. Washu used her computer to analyze the fight in progress, and was dismayed to see that while Ryoko was performing at optimum efficiency, based on hesitation and speed of attacks, this 'Kevin' person was holding back for some reason. Trying to find out why his friend wasn't going all out like Ryoko was she walked over to talk with Yosho.
"Excuse me Lord Yosho, but could you tell me why your friend is holding something back?" Washu inquired, showing her confusion. "Doesn't he realize that if Ryoko notices it, she'll interpret this restraint as contempt?"
"No, he doesn't know that yet, little Washu, but I think there is a more reasonable interpretation than that to his actions." He replied, applauding as Ryoko barely extricated herself from a trap Kevin set. "You see for a long time there have only been two or three people that Kevin has been able to practice with at full speed. In the time that I have known him he has defeated no fewer than forty opponents, many of who were considered masters of the sword. He has even been known to defeat me on occasion, providing me with a much-needed challenge. But then, when you consider that we both have practiced our art for several lifetimes that is understandable that there are very few people that may offer us any kind of a challenge."
"What do you mean by that?" Washu asked glancing at the dueling pair. "Sure, to keep up with Ryoko, he's obviously very good, but he's only an immortal, not a super hero. How skilled could he actually be?"
"My dear little Washu, no matter how strong someone appears, his or her actual power can be surprising," Yosho warned, applauding again as Ryoko nearly caught Kevin in a trap nearly identical to the one he had used on her. "I have it on the best authority that Kevin's fighting style has been developed over 2000 years of nearly constant study. As to his ability, last time he stayed here, our sparing session lasted most of the day and only ended when we each scored a hit at the exact same instant and agreed to take the tie so that we could eat.
"Maybe he can help with my little problem," Washu thought, changing the subject to the problem she had.
As their conversation continued, it began to look as if the fight would take all afternoon. Suddenly Kevin seemed to blur then came back into focus with his bokken touching Ryoko's chest. Then he laughed when he realized that Ryoko had touched him in the stomach at the same instant. "Halt! Bow." Yosho called to the two warriors, who complied and then bowed to Yosho as the other spectators cheered.
"Well it seems that you are worthy of being Tenchi's body guard, as well as his girlfriend." Kevin said to Ryoko as they walked back to the house, ignoring Tenchi's protests.
"Thanks," Ryoko said, blushing a little and smiling back.
"You must be getting old, Ryoko, if a human immortal can almost defeat you," Ayeka said, laughing behind her hand in derision.
"Actually, Ayeka," Washu interrupted, also smiling encouragingly at Ryoko. "Ryoko did very well against Kevin. Especially considering that he has been fighting for his life for decades and uses a style that's nearly as old as Ryoko."
Ayeka looked sharply at Washu, then Kevin, and then back to Washu questioningly. "What do you mean Washu?" She asked looking very confused.
"Hmm...?" the little red head said staring straight back at Ayeka.
"Very well little Washu, will you tell me what you meant by that?" Ayeka asked in a sickeningly sweet tone.
Kevin smiled at the by-play, and then cleared his throat. "I think what she means is that Ryoko did very well for herself to accomplish a tie with someone who has been fighting continuously for the last seven hundred years and practice a style that was developed over the last 2000 years." At the startled gasps this comment elicited from everyone in the room except Washu and Yosho, Kevin simply shrugged.
"How is that possible Washu?" Sasami asked in confusion. "I thought immortals didn't train together, because it would give a potential opponent an insight into their skill."
"They don't normally, but there are a few of them that do," Washu replied. "James is one of them, as is Scott, and, it seems, Kevin. Scott and James train with as many good Immortals as they can find in order to keep themselves in top shape."
"If it's all about energy and knowledge, why don't they all just get together, declare a truce, and share all of the knowledge they have?" Tenchi asked, looking over to Kevin.
"Easier said than done," Kevin replied. "The largest problem with that idea, Tenchi, is that there are some Evil Immortals who look on the rest of us as rightful prey who are only there to give them an advantage. Most of the fights I get into are with people like that, or with new immortals that think it would be useful to takeout the older ones because of the amount of energy we've accumulated."
"New Immortals?" Tenchi asked looking at both Kevin and Washu.
"Approximately ten new immortals are 'chosen' every year, Tenchi." Washu replied. "Chosen how, and by whom, not even the other immortals know, but every year there are ten more immortals in the fighting. Usually only around four or five survive the first year as Immortals especially these days with so few people training in blade combat styles."
"The main reasons for the high attrition rate among the younglings," Kevin said, nodding to Washu. "Are the 'Hunters'. They are the Immortals who are afraid of all new immortals, because they are not under their control, and because of this fear they hunt down every new immortal, they can find, and kill them before they can ally with one of the 'Hunters' enemies. About two hundred years ago, my teacher and I decided that we would no longer kill other immortals, unless they gave us no other choice. We have even gone so far as to train younglings that we found to protect themselves from the 'Hunt' and, lately, to hide themselves from the governments of the world. Unfortunately, this policy of ours has left a number of Hunters as our enemies, and they seem to be getting together now." Kevin said, looking rather disgruntled.
"So why did you come to visit today?" Washu asked, concerned. "From what you and James have told me, I would think your time would be better spent practicing than visiting old acquaintances."
"Well, since you asked so nicely, I'll tell you little Washu," Kevin replied, smiling at the surprised expressions on everyone's faces. "The reason I came to see Yosho today is that some young girls who are friends of Scott's have been kidnapped by one of my enemies, and she seems to have found a way to teleport herself from place to place, even between dimensions. I came here to find out if Yosho hand sensed anything that could explain it, seeing as he was the only resident ALIEN I new of."
"Actually, Kevin, Washu would probably be better able to tell you about any unusual energy readings on Earth," Yosho said, indicating the short scientist.
"Okay, I'll make you a deal," Washu said, rolling up her sleeves and bringing her holo-computer up. "If you give me some pattern samples so that I can finish this project I'm working on to find someone, I'll get you all the information I have on this Dimension traveler your dealing with. I'll tell you the dimensions she goes to, how often she goes there, where she arrives every time, and I'll even set up a subspace dampening field to stop her from teleporting off of the Island. Is it a deal?"
"Must be someone important if your willing to do all that just for some pattern samples," Kevin said non-committally.
"He is," Washu replied.
"Okay, sure," Kevin said after thinking about the possibilities. "You got yourself a deal."
After twenty minutes of poking and prodding, Washu had her samples, and had agreed to send the information to the server address Kevin gave her. As he was leaving he stopped at the threshold and looked back at Washu. "Who exactly is this 'James' person you're trying to find anyway?" He asked, curiosity finally getting the better of him.
"My Fianc1, James Dillinger." She replied. Kevin nodded in understanding, then continued on to the helicopter.
He was in the air on his way back to Okayama after a short stop in Osaka to visit the planning department offices there. After giving the ground crew their instructions he got into the car he kept here for his visits to Claire and drove over to the boutique. After parking the car, he walked into the boutique, where the receptionist waved him into the next room assuring him that they had finished with the lingerie earlier. As Kevin entered the show room, he froze in shock at the vision before him. Ami looked like an angel in blue.
"Claire, you've out done yourself," He said after he had regained his powers of speech. "I hardly recognized her." With a smile he took her hand and kissed it.
"Kevin, you sound as if the girl were a hag," Claire gasped, tapping him lightly on the shoulder in mild reproof. "She has an innate sense of what suits her, and a phenomenal sense of color and style. I merely showed her the possibilities."
"I congratulate you Ami," Claire said smiling at the now blushing teenager. "You have accomplished something few women have ever done. You have struck the great Kevin O'Connell speechless in admiration." Ami blushed even more, then made arrangement for the bill to be sent to the hotel. As they drove back to the airport Ami regaled him with stories of all of the clothes she had chosen, then she asked him how much it cost.
"More than you would think," he replied chuckling at her protest. "Less than I thought though, with Claire setting the prices." Ami had to be satisfied with that since he wouldn't tell her any more.
When they arrived at the airport, Kevin had the ground crew load the clothing that Claire had sent with Ami to hold her over until the custom made clothing was ready, into the passenger section of the helicopter while he did the preflight check. Ami climbed to the co-pilot's seat but it held a rather expensive looking digital camera, which she picked up and looked at. She set it down when Kevin climbed into the cockpit, then signaled the ground crew chief he was ready to start the engines. After the ground crew was clear, he start the engines, and while the rotors spun up, requested and received clearance for take off from the control tower.
"What is the resolution on your digital camera?" Ami asked as they flew back toward Tokyo.
"Only about 300 megapixels," Kevin replied distractedly, not noticing Ami's startled look. "R&D for the company that built it is working on one for me that will reach photographic resolution. They should have it ready for testing in about a year or so. The main problem they are trying to figure out is how to make a low dimension multi-gigabyte storage medium." Ami's eyes grew wider at the thought.
The rest of the flight went by in silence as Ami thought about the effect that company's research would have on the computer industry, while Kevin flew the helicopter.
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
After he landed the helicopter, Kevin disappeared into his computer lab for an hour, while Ami showed her new clothes to her friends. As the girls sighed and giggled over the fashion display, Scott sat in the library and read, Mamoru, Haruka, and Michiru had decided to take a nap to be ready for the fight that night. Ami had just finished her fashion show when Kevin knocked on the door, then asked the girls to come to the war room. Then he walked down the hall to the library and shortly returned with Scott. He then proceeded down the bedroom hall and woke Mamoru up, then knocked on Michiru and Haruka's door. As everyone followed Kevin down the hall, Scott caught sight of Ami in one of her new outfits, and froze with a stunned expression on his face. Kevin walked up to his friend and waved his hand in front of his face. Then he smiled as he motioned to the others to walk down the hall, and he opened one of the closet doors in front of Scott as they proceeded. He kept Ami in Scott's line of sight and motioned the others to stay quiet as they watch Scott following Ami. The look on his face didn't alter for a second as he shuffled along the hall until he was completely in the door's shadow. Then his face registered shock as he walked into the open closet door.
Kevin smiled as Scott got back to his feet accompanied by chuckles and laughter from the others, then he led the way down a passage even Scott had never been down before. When they reached what appeared to be the end of the hall, Kevin drew a painting aside, and inserted a card in to the slot he had revealed. There was a sharp hiss, and Kevin jumped slightly, then the entire wall began to slide up into the ceiling with a faint hum. The lights came up in the room, as Kevin pressed a button next to the opening revealing a massive wooden conference table in the center of the room with an oddly shaped machine resting in the middle of it. He motioned them to their seats then walked to the front of the room.
"From information gathered last night and today, it has been determined that Annie has the girls hidden in a warehouse she owns on the docks in Osaka," Kevin began. "Based on other data received from a reliable source and the time frame you provided Scott, She teleported them directly from Juuban to the warehouse and has not teleported since. Using satellite imagery from a number of spy satellites that the US and China deny exist, I have been able to determine that nothing has gone into the building or left it in the last 36 hours, so there is a very good chance they are still there. How long they will stay there and what's happening to the girls is a complete unknown, so we will attack tonight." After all the Senshi nodded in agreement, he dimmed the lights and activated the projector on the table, which produced a three-dimensional wire frame hologram of a 10-story building.
"This is a diagram of the building, extrapolated from the plans I 'appropriated' from the planning office in Osaka," Kevin continued. "As you can see here," the image shifted to show a level in the building, "there are a number of offices on the third floor, including the chairman's private suite at the end of this hall. The suite has several rooms branching off of it, but this one would seem to be the most likely." He said using a laser pointer to indicate a specific room that didn't have an indicated function, and was cut off from the rest of the building by at least five other rooms. Another image came up. "This is the latest imagery from the last satellite over the area. As you can see it's surrounded by water on three sides, with two entrances visible on the ground floor. Now the plan is this. Ami, Usagi, and Michiru will assault the third floor from the stairwell with Mamoru, Haruka, Minako, and Rei as backup. Makoto, Scott and I will proceed up the stairs to the tenth floor then to the roof to stop any escape by air. The source of the transport information insures me that won't be able to teleport from anywhere within 300 miles of Japan so that's one thing we don't need too worry about. After we have the roof secured, the second team will monitor the outside perimeter to prevent any interference form outside agents." Kevin shut down the projector, and slowly brought the lights back up. "Once the girls have been retrieved, we will all meet at the vehicles and evacuate. Are there any questions?"
"What do we do if they have already moved the girls while we're on the way?" Haruka asked, as the others in the room began to stir.
"Well, I have a portable satellite receiver in the helicopter which Scott will be checking on the way," Kevin replied. "If they move them while we're on the way, we should be able to follow them without much of a problem."
"What do we do if something goes wrong at the building?" Usagi asked, looking very nervous.
"If you get into anything you can't handle, and you've separated, just call the others on your communicators" Scott said smiling.
"But you and Kevin don't have communicators, so how will you know if we need you for something we can't handle?" She replied, even more worried.
"Don't worry about that Princess," Kevin replied. "We'll have Makoto with us to pass on any messages you might have." He then looked at the others in the room. If there are no further questions, we'll meet in the entry hall in fifteen minutes. Scott, I'll need you help with some of the special supplies. You others can relax in the conversation pit in the living room, if you can." Kevin and Scott ushered the others out of the room, then walked down the hall to the armory.
After fifteen minutes, which saw Usagi fidgeting constantly, Scott and Kevin returned with two black duffels, and ushered the Senshi in the elevator. The Senshi, except Ami gasped when the doors opened revealing the black helicopter that they had used for the trip south. It was Ami's turn to gape along with the others when Kevin opened the passenger compartment to reveal the posh interior.
"The flight will last about three hours so make yourselves as comfortable as you can," Kevin said as he placed the two duffels in a specially reinforced compartment, then he started the preflight checklists.
After finishing the checklist, and receiving clearance from Tokyo control, Kevin took the helicopter into the air, flying directly to Osaka, while Scott watched the satellite display, and called ahead to arrange for transportation to be waiting. It wasn't until they were on final approach to the heliport that a new satellite photo showed a helicopter landing on the roof of the warehouse. Kevin swore and then landed the helicopter in a rush. Scott, Kevin and the Senshi ran down to the parking level, and jumped into the Hum-Vees that were waiting. The traffic faded away in front of the two black behemoths as they barreled down the highway. In fifteen minutes they arrived at the entrance and were relieved by the sight of the helicopter sitting on the roof with no one in it and the engines off. Kevin and Scott got out of the trucks and removed the duffels from their cargo containers. As Kevin passed the open window of the car, Makoto reached out and grabbed his arm.
"Be careful," she warned. "We don't want to warn them that we're coming."
Kevin nodded then kept walking toward the main gate where Scott was waiting. The guard walked over to them and demanded to know what they wanted. As Scott tried to convince him that the two Hum-Vees were carrying a delivery for the chairman, Kevin moved into the shadows and pulled something out of his duffel. As the guard went to call the security office in the building, Kevin materialized behind him, and pressed a stun gun t o the junction of his neck and shoulder. The guard twitched a little then collapsed onto Scott, as Kevin walked back over to his duffel and pulled out a tube of white phosphorus compound. Smiling at the look on Scott's disbelieving face, he laid a trail of the gel on the gate lock and retractor chain and strung wire from the gel to a controller he had under his arm. Scott and Kevin moved away from the gate and set the device off in a flash of actinic light. Kevin checked for security device on the gate, disabled them, and then pushed the gate open to allow Scott to drive the first truck through.
Everyone gathered at the side entrance out of sight of the main security desk, after Kevin disabled the security cameras.
"Here, you might need these," Scott said as he handed three cards to Ami.
"What are they?" She asked, looking them over.
"They're the key cards to the emergency entrances, the elevator override, and the chairman's suite. I got them from the gate guard while Kevin was playing with his toys."
Kevin ignored the jibe, as he disabled the door sensor, then pressed a few buttons on the code panel, then waved everyone through the now open door. Once they were inside, the girls drew out their henshin rods, and were about to transform when Scott held up his hand to get their attention.
"Hold it," He said looking around for cameras, then nodded. "A few more seconds, and they would have had evidence of every one of your secret identities," Scott finished, pointing at the camera slowly sweeping toward them. He motioned everyone into the alcove under the stairs out of the camera's view, and then Kevin placed himself directly under the security device. Carefully reaching up, he placed a mini-camera on top of the security camera, and then shivered with impatience as the camcorder in his hands recorded the slow progress of the security sweep. When the machine finished its cycle, he quickly cut the cable to the camera, then quickly spliced in the digital camcorder. With the camcorder repeating the scene it had recorded in an endless loop, he motioned to the Senshi that they could come out.
After the Senshi had transformed Scott led them up the stairs, pausing for Kevin to disable the cameras in their path. They stopped at the third floor and Sailor Mercury got out the first key card.
"Be careful in there," Scott said, stopping Mercury, and looking at each of the Senshi in turn. "Once you go onto that floor, the security force will know that we're here, so make your sweep as quickly as possible. If you run into any Immortals, remember that your attacks will only knock them down for a time. The only ones who can actually kill them are Uranus and Tuxedo Kamen, and that is only if they behead them. I wouldn't try for it though, since most Immortals that Annie associates with are at least 100 years old, and probably know more about sword combat than you do." At the nods he received from the Senshi, he released Mercury's hand and motioned them forward. After they were all through the door, Scott, Kevin, and Sailor Jupiter started running up the stairs with no further regard for the cameras. They had reached the tenth floor Jupiter's communicator beeped insistently.
"Jupiter the enemy has a new kind of Youma that seems to become immune to our attacks after it absorbs the ones we've defeated," Sailor Mars's voice came over the communicator. The negacreeps got away with the package and are on their way to the roof in an express elevator, you have to stop them before they get there." Scott nodded at this, and then remembered an access panel he had seen near the beginning of the hallway. Running back to it he cut it open to reveal a rapidly moving elevator cable. Without a moments hesitation he slashed his sword through the cable, and dove out of the way as the elevator car reached the level he was on by momentum alone then screeched to a halt with the door just above the opening. He saw light from the elevator as the occupants forced the doors open, then jumped back as he heard them talking. Kevin was quickly beside him with his sword drawn as they prepared for their enemies. They sensed that there was at least one Immortal in the elevator, and the fact that they could sense them, meant that their opponent were aware of their presence as well. As they waited tensely, Sailor Jupiter was making her way to the roof entrance side of the opening.
"Suddenly the wall in front of the door exploded outward, blasting both immortals against the wall, and knocking Scott unconscious. Kevin dragged himself back to his feet to see Sailor Jupiter holding off both Youma, and blocking the roof exit, and ran to help her. She had destroyed one Youma, when a man in a dark uniform appeared in its place and blasted her with some kind of energy attack. The two Immortals, who were carrying the captives dodged past her crumpled form as Kevin stumbled from a wave of pain that washed over him.
"Jarosite!!!" he shouted as a brief flash of memory told him who Jupiter's assailant was. "You're a dead man!!" He got back to his feet and raced to the roof, only to be stopped by the last remaining Youma. He was forced back, trying to get past it, when he saw the helicopter lift from the roof. With a yell of frustration he jumped high over the Youma, cutting it in half, lengthwise then landed with green ichor dripping from his blade. Kevin started swearing viscously, then drew a cellular phone from his hyperspace pocket, and made a call, talking in very viscous tone to the person on the other end. He snapped the phone shut, and then gathered some of the dust that remained of the last Youma, and made his way back down to the tenth floor, swearing the entire way.
To be continued...