THE SOLITARY TROOPER

By: rx79guntank.

The characters of of Striker/Spriggan are under the copyright of Hiroshi Takashige and Ryoji Minagawa. All other characters unless stated otherwise are obviously owned by me.

Author notes: I've been a huge fan of the manga ever since it came out in the early 90's but I was recently only able to enjoy the English translations by Viz (Damn you! Where are the other 9 chapters!) and watch the DVD. My passion reignited, I decided to do the next logical step and write a fanfic. This story is based on the 3 translated novels and movie, so for those who have seen or read them, It'll seem familiar. Anyway, please enjoy this fic and please do leave a review.

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"Maybe I'm just being sentimental… But my only connection to normal life is there at school, without school, I'd totally lose my grip on reality. And If I ever forget it, then I am a Berserker. I-I don't want to just become a war machine…" – Yu Ominae

Part 1: Arrival

Mention Japan to anyone and you'd probably get admiration or to an extent, loathing and revulsion. Indeed, nobody can dispute the success that Japan has experienced. Japanese culture, products, language, even the name itself was the rage nowadays. Mention Japan to any teenagers and they'll start waxing lyrical about how they wish they were Japanese, how they wish they were living in Japan, etc… The hub of it all was in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The massive forest of futuristic skyscrapers was the center of all that was Tokyo, housing the main entertainment, shopping and business districts. Not surprisingly, it's a big hit with tourists and the young crowd…

The Shinjuku Park Tower(1) was one such building which represented the image of Shinjuku. One of the most modern skycrapers, It was the perfect equation of style tranquility, a prime piece of modern architecture designed by the legendary Kenzo Tange himself. Unlike most office buildings, it was home to Tokyo's most exclusive hotel; the Park Hyatt, situated strategically on the upper floors and below were the offices of various multinational companies… including the ARCAM Foundation.

It was currently 11pm. Most of the inhabitants in the building had already left for their families back home, or were stumbling drunk in some alley after having one too much to drink. But for the ARCAM Foundation, time was an irrelevant factor.

"Welcome to Tokyo! I trust you've had a pleasant trip?"

The director of ARCAM's operations in Japan; Yamamoto, greeted his guest jovially. The portly middle-aged man was well known among his peers as a firm, just, and caring individual, fond of drink and smoke, hardly looking like the example of the director of field operations for ARCAM Japan. But yet he was, supervising the movements of ARCAM's special operatives in the Far East region. Opposite of him, his guest sat with his legs up on his desk, in a clear display of arrogance. But Yamamoto didn't mind. For him, it was just a regular detraction that came with his job.

"Beats Alaska."

"Of course." Yamamoto laughed. "I forgot you're just back from your last mission." He lighted up a cigarette. "We've gotten a place ready for you. We can start tomorrow-"

"If it's not too much trouble, I'd like to begin the mission now."

Yamamoto arched an eyebrow. He was just like what the head office said…

"I had a feeling you say that," Yamamoto replied, taking out a dossier and tossing over to the mysterious individual. "Are you sure you can find your way around here?"

"I'll manage." The individual replied, examining the file with its myriad warnings of secrecy on the cover. As he opened it, he noticed a photo of a girl flying loose of the file…

Like many major cities and that famous line from that credit card advertisement, Tokyo never really slept. Even if it was past midnight, numerous shops would be open; catering for the insomniacs, late-shift workers and even the odd salaryman out for a late night walk. One such place where these forsaken souls would hang out was the 24-hour game arcade. In one particular one located in the trendier section of Shinjuku, a battle was raging on. Crowded around a large arcade console, were two groups of girls standing across from each other, exchanging hostile glances. It might have seemed like a normal staredown between gangs, but what set it apart were the girls themselves. The group on the left was bedecked in elegant, spectacular frilled dresses. They wore their hair and lipstick in bizarre colors, with pastel, white makeup to complete their 19th century gothic Lolita(2) look.

The other group sported chocolate-dark tans, bleached hair and skimpier clothing, with garish neon makeup and accessories and massive platform boots to represent the popular Ganguro-style(3) fashion trend of Tokyo. to match. On the massive arcade machine itself stood two of the challengers; a chosen one from each group. The game and object of the challenge was the famous dancing simulation game, Dance Dance Revolution(4). The method of playing the game was simple. Players would follow the directions or rather the arrows, displayed on the screen by hitting the corresponding buttons with their feet. By using myriad combinations and fast-paced catchy dance tunes, the game duplicated the very sensation of dancing in a club. As always, a crowd gathered to watch the intense battle. They stood tranxified as the two players pulled off incredible, even acrobatic moves, trying to outdo each other. But even as hard as they tried, it was apparent who the winner was. With a flourish, the player in the black, elegant gothic dress ended her routine with her opponent, a darkly tanned girl in a pink midriff-baring top and miniskirt who was visibly exhausted.

The Gothic Lolitas erupted in cheers as the scores were shown. The Lolita dancer had scored a triple A, the highest score possible in the game, while the Ganguro dancer could only manage two As after fouling up on a complicated combination earlier. Seeing this, the Lolita dancer sauntered over to gloat over their defeat.

"It looks like you girls lost… againNow as you were saying, the loser has to leave…"

With a scowl and a rude gesture, the losers left, fulfilling their end of the challenge. And so once again they had managed to reassert their authority. The gothic dancer, was none other than one of the most popular and skilled DDR players in Shinjuku, Mai Shirahime. As her gang celebrates their recent victory against their bitter rivals, the Ganguro girls, she wandered off to her sling bag in search of a drink, exhausted from her battle against the rival gang leader. But then she knew that they'll be waiting to get back even at school…

Bending over for the bottle, she stopped when she heard the polyphonic melody of her handphone. Fumbling through the tresses of her dress, she uncovers it only to find it was just an important alarm she programmed earlier. Grumbling at her reminder, she got ready to leave.

"You going already, Mai? It's still early you know!" asked Erika, Mai's best friend as she peered out from behind another Dance Dance Revolution machine she was sharing with some other member of the gang.

"Ah, Gomen! For some reason that old fool Uchiyamada wants me at class early tomorrow… I'll see you guys later!" With a bubbly smile and a twirl of her long, black hair, she quickly bid a hasty farewell. Mai lived quite a distance away, and she hurried through the late-night crowd to catch the last bus service. But behind her, trouble brewed.

"Target in sight."

"Roger."

As Shinjuku was a popular tourist destination, it wasn't uncommon to see foreigners strolling around, doing what tourists would do. But for the two Caucasian men keeping a distance behind Mai, they were about as conspicuous as they could get. Blonde, blue-eyed, barrel-chested, and tall, they could be mistaken for male models if not for their determined looks and gaudy Hawaiian shirts; an attempt to blend in with the tourist population. Meanwhile, Mai grumbled at the prospect of her morning class as she fiddled with her Ipod. She vowed she'd get back at the lecturer for proposing something as preposterous as this and depriving her of her lovely sleep, but all thoughts of vengeance vanished as her favorite J-pop tune trickled from her Ipod and into her ear. With one of her senses blind from the outside world, the two men advanced nearer… But first they had to pass by a dark alley. As the man in the trailing position passed the dark abyss, a pair of arms lashed out in a chokehold around his neck and chest, pulling him into the darkness where a muffled beating followed…

It was some time before the lead stalker discovered that his partner was missing. He nearly panicked, but he knew that the mission had to be completed. Following Mai to a road crossing, he waited, and kept a discreet distance. They were alone at the crossing but there was no use capturing her now; that would come later when she was alone and vulnerable, such as her home, which was currently his objective to discover wherever in hell in Tokyo it was. He looked at his watch in an attempt to disguise his movements, which proved to be his undoing. As he looked down, he heard a whistling sound, like an object cutting through the wind… But before he could look back up, a metallic ball hit him on the head with such force that he fell to the pavement unconscious. From another dark alley beside them, a mysterious individual appeared and dragged the body to dispose of it. Mai however, still remained unaware, even with the action behind her…

It wasn't long before the people responsible for sending the tail realized their agents weren't responding. Another group went after her, intercepting Mai as she walked along the large and busy road crossing at Nishi Shinjuku. Despite the crowds, the seasoned agents picked up her trail easily, following her closely. But in the massive miasma of people in the crossing, another important factor in the night's events lurked. Mai's unknown savior; the person that had so casually eliminated her trained stalkers pushed through the crowd, closing in on her new trails. Dressed in an open leather-like jacket and wearing cargo combat army pants he could have easily been mistaken for just any normal fashion-savvy youngster, but his determined eyes and arrogant, youthful looks belied his true character. Once again, the trail agent became his first target. He went up to him and prodded his back.

"Don't move."

Shocked, the agent didn't wait to see if it was a real gun muzzle or a bluff. He had no choice but to follow his orders…

"Don't say a word. Keep on walking wherever I point you to."

Wordlessly, he let the individual lead him off the street and into an alley, where the individual silenced him with a sharp chop to the neck. With one done, he headed off to another direction in the alley. He had a hunch where Mai would be heading.

The bus stop where Mai was heading for was filled with mostly workers, both drunken and sober. Mai groaned heavily at the idea of being pushed into a can of alcohol-smelling black-suited sardines, but at least she knew to her relief that bus wasn't here yet. Or else it would be a long and annoying walk back home… The lead stalker noticed his friend was gone, but kept on pushing. If he could only get onto the bus with her and found out where she lived, his mission would be complete. Quietly, he spoke into his collar microphone.

"Objective point reached. Beginning infiltration-"

Before he could finish, a punch rang out from beside him, knocking him unconscious while in the distance, Mai boarded her long awaited bus home. As soon as it left, the mysterious individual stepped out from behind a vending machine where he had watched her leave. At least with the stalkers gone, she was safe for the time being… but the real threat still remained. It was time to stir up the hornet's nest… Turning, he gave a swift kick to the fallen agent as he searched for his next target.

Hans Mueller was furious. The two teams he had sent out to tail a harmless little girl had failed and weren't responding. How could that be? They were some of the most skilled men he had met and more importantly; of pure Aryan stock… What could have eliminated them? The former colonel of the German Intelligence cursed loudly as the other agents manning the surveillance equipment in he cramped trailer looked on. The Moroha(5) family had assured him that the local authorities would not interfere; had they gone back on their word? But Hans thought against it. They needed us as we needed them. Cocking his Walther P5(6), he motioned to the two agents nearest to the door to follow him. If his agents couldn't get the job done, he was going to do it himself. Before he could touch the door handle of the trailer, it inexplicably opened…

"So this is where you bastards are at…"

Standing in the doorway, was the individual that tormented them for so long. Hans reached for his gun, and panicked as he noticed his unmistakable gear and realized who it was…

"Y-You're a Spriggan!"

The individual smiled. He liked it when they realized they were in trouble.

"Damn right you are." He said, zipping up his jacket. "And now you're going to find out why it sucks when you pick on little girls…"

Han's scowl grew tighter. He would not be insulted. "Kill him!" He roared. Immediately, the agents in the trailer whipped out their knives and lunged at him. The individual caught one as an agent stabbed with his knife, bringing up his knee to break the agent's arm while elbowing him in the head. Still holding on to the agent, the individual blocks another attack with his free arm, and gives the him a vicious kick in the abdomen, sending him flying and impacting on the wall of the trailer, leaving a massive dent.

Outside, a lone passerby notices a parked truck rocking violently but on his better judgment decides to leave it alone… "Must be some karaoke party or something…"

Meanwhile Hans watched as his agents were ripped apart by the individual. The stories about the Spriggan were true… He moved to the radio set to warn about the danger that lurked here, when suddenly, the flying body of an agent slammed into him, knocking him out and destroying the radio as well.

Oh no, you don't. With a final high-kick to an agent's head and a spinning back kick to another, all 5 agents in the trailer were neutralized-including the driver, which had been knocked out earlier.

"You know, you're lucky that Yamamoto told me not to make a mess… If it was up to me, you all would be taking eternal naps by now." With those parting words, the individual exited the trailer and onto the street. But Hans wasn't done yet. Lifting himself up painfully, Hans whipped out his Walther P5 at the individual as he walked away.

"You've think you've won Spriggan? There will be more of us! The Neo-Nazis will prevail!"

Neo-Nazis… The individual stopped dead in his tracks. "So that explains things… So tell me, what the hell do you outdated asshole fanatics want with a harmless girl anyway?" The individual countered, not turning around.

"Like the hell I would!" As Hans touched the trigger, the individual heard it all; the pulling of the levers, the creak of the spring being primed… In a reflex action, the individual reached for his side holster and spun around, releasing and bringing up his weapon, a customized M93R(7) in the process. Blinded by the speed, Hans hesitated, then fired, as did the individual… The sound of their shots rang in concert in the dead of the night. For the individual, it had only been a breeze past his face. But for Hans, he felt a dull impact in his sternum, throwing him back a distance.

"Y-you…"

He had barely had time to contemplate the feeling spreading across his chest when another impact hit him in his forehead. In a blinding flash of pain, everything turned white and he died there, in a futile display of defiance. For the individual, it had been an unremarkable takedown shot. A head shot would be easier at that distance, and would been less painful for the victim, but then again the individual had no love for his type or the organization he belonged to. If what he read in the file was true, there would be more serious shit happening in these few days.

Safing his gun, the individual turned back towards Shinjuku. Hopefully, he thought, he'd remembered the way back.

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Misc. notes:

1) One of the coolest looking places in Shinjuku. For an image of the place, go here: http/markb-photo.que.jp/Tkyarch/0011.html

2) One of the current fashion trends in Japan. Not like western Goths, they usually dress up in Victorian frilled dresses (for girls) and apply bizarrely colored hair and makeup. Image here:

3) The other current fashion trend in Japan. Rather frightening, they emphasize on darkly tanned skin with white makeup rings around the eyes and mouth. However, the Yamanba fashion style is way scarier. Luckily it's in a decline… Images here at your own peril:http/

4) The quintessential dancing game. Girls in Japan like to play it a lot; as do a lot of people all over the world…

5) If you read Striker: The Armored Warrior, this name would sound terribly similar…

6) Fave weapon of the Neo Nazis. A scaled-down version of the famous Walther P38. Images here: http/world.

7)A gun seen in Resident Evil: Code Veronica that can switch into a submachinegun as well. Customized with an added C-more reflex sight, muzzle compensator and black metal stock to increase weight and accuracy. Image here: http/www32.ocn.ne.jp/infinity/gun-beretta-m93r.html

Sorry if you can't see the websites. There's something wrong with the uploading program. If you are unsure or curious of the terms here, please google or e-mail me.