AUTHOR'S NOTE: Backstory fiction on video game characters is always a bit of a risk. One never knows when the actual developers will go on and provide those details and completely invalidate the story concept. Dead or Alive seems especially risky in these matters, because while the games themselves provide an absolute minimum of detail, there's a fairly developed story behind it (I get a headache sometimes, trying to trace all the relationships among the ninja and their bloodlines). So it's entirely possible that there's already information in the world, available only to those fluent in Japanese, which provides Christie with a completely different background. I can only say that I've tried to create this story to harmonize with what we know of her abilities and personality as seen in the Dead or Alive games themselves.

And with any kind of luck, at least be better than the movie version ;)

-X X X-

She sat up, decadent crimson satin sheets clinging momentarily to perspiration-slick patches of flesh before their own weight pulled them free to slither down across her milk-white skin. The man laying next to her looked up and smiled at the sight.

"Oversight would shit a brick if they knew we were here together."

The woman frowned down at him.

"I can't believe I let you kiss me with that mouth."

Louis Arnholt snorted with laughter.

"I can't believe it either, sometimes."

She ran a hand over the sweat-matted curls on his chest.

"Oh? Am I so unattractive as all that?"

Her voice was husky and sensual; the purr of it sent a pulse of heat to Arnholt's groin despite their recent exertions. Better than Viagra, he thought to himself.

"You must be joking." Unlike women, who so often found a way to convince themselves they were ugly, flawed no matter how beautiful they were, men had a remarkable power of self-deception in the opposite direction. Balding, aging, flabby men were convinced they were God's gift to women and each rejection inevitably came as a surprise. Yet this woman's beauty--no, more the sheer force of her sexuality--made Arnholt look at himself with an unusual clarity of vision. He was acutely aware that despite the fact that he still rigorously worked out with weights three times a week and ran at least a mile whenever he could fit it into his schedule, age was taking its toll. His brown hair and the dark stubble on his chin were laced with gray, and too many years of red meat and three-martini lunches had added thickness to his buttocks and thighs, added a hint of a belly. Oh, his immaculately tailored suits concealed the flaws for the most part, but Arnholt was acutely aware that his most attractive feature was his status as vice-president of R&D for DOATEC. The only whimsical thing about the Dead Or Alive Tournament Executive Committee was its name; the multinat was pure, undiluted power in a world defined by money and technology, and power was still the most potent aphrodisiac.

His wife, for example, thrilled to it, loved the bitter envy of her circle of friends whose husbands' jobs or occasionally their own (though less likely, since women of power tended not to cluster with social ornaments) did not measure up.

That didn't make any difference to Christie, though, Arnholt thought as her lips traveled down his chest in soft bites. She hadn't so much as mentioned his job during the times they were together. Of course, she was with DOATEC as well, attached to field ops, so that may have been part of it. Indeed, he'd half-expected the affair to be prompted by one of his rivals as an attempt to gain information, which was why he'd made damn sure not only to not talk about work but to not even bring along his laptop, PDA, or other vulnerable data. But she'd made no attempts to pry anything out of him--at least none that he'd noticed--over the two weeks.

Then she took him into her mouth and he groaned heavily, all thoughts leaving him but her wet heat and the silken brush of her white hair against his thighs. Only when he felt he couldn't stand it any longer did he reach down, pulling her up so that she straddled him. She smiled wickedly and took him into herself with a slow, sensuous corkscrewing motion of her hips until her lithe body was fully settled on his.

Afterwards, she remained sprawled on him, his big hands stroking her back almost tenderly.

"I don't know what to make of you," he said, his voice heavy with the effort.

"Oh? Am I so complex?" Christie said. She wasn't panting for breath, yet more evidence of her youth.

"You're a woman, aren't you?"

She laughed, teasing his skin with her fingernails.

"Oh, most definitely."

"But there's more to it. You're not just some ordinary employee, not even for security or field ops."

Another laugh.

"Louis, you're not going to say, 'What's a nice girl like you doing in a job like this,' are you?"

"Yeah...well, maybe I am. I mean, take me. Story of my life takes two minutes, tops. College football star, snapped an MCL my senior year, missed my shot at the pros and went to grad school instead. Lucky I had a brain or I'd have been screwed but good."

Christie wriggled on top of him.

"Okay, so I guess I was anyway, in a matter of speaking," Arnholt said with a grin. "You know what I mean. You're half my age, if that, and your life would take ten times longer to tell."

She looked at him, the shades of something stirring in her pale eyes, then glanced at the clock and pursed her lips thoughtfully.

"All right, then. We have the time."

-X X X-

Hong Kong

The Past

Life--and money--had always moved fast in the Crown Colony, and never more so than in the decade leading up to its return to China. Political posturing caused the Hang Seng to sway back and forth like a drunken uncle on his way out of the pub, markets booming and crashing with the latest announcements, accords, and wild rumors out of London or Beijing. No one knew just how far common sense would stand in the path of blind ideology and face among nations. Fortunes were made in such an environment. They were also lost.

Christie had never particularly cared for her mother. From an early age she had perceived that the woman was essentially artificial, a polished creation of society. The right bloodlines, a nanny and governess followed by the right schools had turned out a perfectly polished jewel fit to adorn the household and the arm of a man of power and influence. To Christie's father she had been, in essence, a part of the outfitting of his career, like the Savile Row suits, the platinum Rolex, and the house on Victoria Peak. Christie had never sensed love between husband and wife, nor indeed between mother and herself, both of which to her child's mind seemed wrong and out of place in such a perfectly polished setting. She was perhaps eight when the thought reached her that if she were to cut into her mother's flesh there would be no blood, no bone, just empty air.

It wasn't that Christie hated her mother. That would have been impossible; the idea that the woman could be real enough to inspire an emotion as powerful and tangible as hatred was positively laughable.

Nonetheless, when she looked down at the corpse sprawled in front of the door, the only thought that greeted her ten-year-old mind was that the blood leaking from the two gunshot wounds would surely stain the Aubusson carpet.

Tiny wisps of smoke were still rising from the barrel of the gun, Christie noticed. The ivory-handled Beretta was a prized possession of her father's, an heirloom of his own father, and it had done its work well.

"She was going to leave me," he said. In the dimly lit study his eyes seemed to shift colors, going from gray to pale blue to lavender and back again. "Can you imagine it? She said that she was going to leave me. She couldn't be associated with me any more, that it wouldn't be fitting, under the circumstances."

Christie didn't precisely understand what those "circumstances" were. Her father had been president of the Trans-Pacific Development Bank, and now he was not, though the arcane financial causes for that were beyond her understanding. Though no doubt they had been beyond her mother's, as well, so perhaps this was not important.

She certainly understood her father's incredulity. The entire idea of her mother making a decision about her life was almost laughable, ludicrous.

"I couldn't have that, don't you see? She had nothing of her own. Oh, she had a face, a figure, fine manners, but the ability to provide for herself? She was fit for nothing but to live the life I gave to her, and she thought that she could just walk out when it suited her?"

The gun barrel shook as he pointed it at Christie.

"You understand, don't you, Christie?"

She smiled brightly at him.

"Of course, Papa," she replied at once. It would always nag at her in later years just why she had said it. Had it been from some instinctive sense that it was what she had to say, or had she spoken what was in her heart at that moment? The question usually came to her after a couple of Chivas Regals, but the answer never came at all.

He laughed when he said it, high-pitched and hysterically, but his features settled at once, and he said, very seriously, "I thought you'd understand. You're the only real thing the bitch ever did in her life. Maybe the only real thing I ever did in mine, too."

Her eyes never left his as he turned the gun, pushed the barrel between his lips, and pulled the trigger.