Authors notes: Sorry for the delay in writing this chapter. Kept writing myself into corners that I couldn't get out of then I lost my muse. Ironicly I found that muse when I discovered a member of my family has been diagnosed with cancer. A sick way to get your muse back huh. Well hopefully I can continue putting out more chapters and have this story come out as I'm hoping. Thanks. Also later on in the chapter there is a bunch of underlining. Don't know how it happened. Will fix later. Now enjoy. LouEthelip

Chapter 4


Priss didn't remember when she fell asleep or how long she had been asleep. She also didn't remember having a blanket placed over her body when she had her siesta. Wiping the remaining sleep from her eyes it took several seconds before she noticed that the song sheets she had been working on had disappeared.

"Welcome back to the living Sleeping Beauty.", came a voice nearby.

Let her eyes focus further near the counter of what she called her 'kitchen' sat Linna on one of the stools. Next to her was another person. One she hadn't seen in a long time.

"Vision?" ,Priss asked.

"Been a while hasn't it. I got a call from Linna a short while ago saying you had written a song that she thought was pretty good and asked if I might take a look at it." ,the rock singer informed.

On one hand Priss was honored that someone as popular as Vision would take time out of what she was sure would be a very busy schedule to look at her work. However she wondered if the visit might contain another purpose.

"I've got to admit this is some great work you did. I'm actually surprised though at the subject matter. After all its pretty well known you're not a fan of the A.D. Police."

"Yeah, that's true. But you have to admire what that person did. Even if I don't like the police as a whole."

Vision nodded at the logic.

"I'd like to record this song. With the support of the whole Hu Bang company behind it, this song could be a very big seller."

Priss couldn't believe her ears. One of her songs actually being published and performed. There was a moment of unbridled joy coursing through her body. Then her mind thought about something else and the smile went away.

"I'm sorry Vision. I have to turn you down." ,answered Priss.

Both Linna and Vision seemed more than a little surprised by the response. Using their silence to her advantage Priss continued.

"Look I know you'd do an incredible job with the song. However this means a lot to me and if I can't be the one to sing it….."

She paused for a moment for effect before continuing.

"…..I'd rather bury it and let the worms have it. I just don't want to sell the song and let someone else sing it."

Linna looked on in both amazement and confusion. After all what singer wouldn't want their music to be shared with the world? Vision however had a different look. It was a expression of some new knowledge having been given to her.

"Priss, I think you've misunderstood my intent. I didn't come here to buy the rights to your song for me to sing it. My fans would know the first time they heard it that it wasn't a song written by me and I wouldn't insult their intelligence to try to pass it off as such. What I was talking about was having you record the song and the Hu Bang corporation push its distribution. However if were going to do this we have to move fast. I would classify this song in the novelty category since it is based on current events and the lifespan of such songs is very short indeed. Three to six months of selling legs at best before it would be forgotten. So are you still willing to give this to the worms?"

Priss sat there. Trying to figure out a way to avoid feeling incredibly stupid.

"I'm feeling so stupid having you accompany me here like I was a 3 year old." ,remarked Leon McNichols toward his partner Daley Wong.

The red haired Wong snickered at the remark. For the past several days he has had to put up with the frustration Leon let out at their apartment. How frustrated he was that all these day's later he would sooner confront an army of boomers than confront little Nene and her parents. Finally Daley had heard enough moaning and stated that he would come to the hospital with him and force the issue. Now in the early morning hours at hospital each with flowers in their hands Daley could see the nervousness etched in every crevice of Leon's body as they got closer to the room. When the pair was about 3 feet away from entering the room Leon's feet refused to move any further as if a force field was preventing further movement. Daley knew better. The only field that was holding him back was his perceived guilt over what happened to the young lady in the room.

"Come one Leon. Just a few steps to go. Then you'll be there"

He could see Leon's struggle to move forward. At least he wasn't moving away so that was a degree of progress. If he gave up now he might never be able to go in. Now it was time for some 'tough love'. He grabbed Leon by the arm and would drag him if need be into the room. However he first wanted to see if his partner would take the final steps on his own.

Since the incident Leon had been plagued by nightmares involving Nene. The nightmare's were quite violent and in each of them Nene would wind up hurt badly and Leon unable to prevent it. One dream had her run over by a boulder, another where she'd be hung up and crucified. The worst one however was he was forced to watch her being drawn and quartered in an execution. Each dream resulted in his waking up screaming. The screams were so loud that he'd wake up his fellow apartment mate Daly. The nightmares were having a negative effect on his ability to do his job.

It is one thing to know when there is a problem. It was something quite different to confront that same problem and look for absolution from the guilt.

The final steps were taken very slowly but Leon managed to transport himself into Nene's room. Yet his head was held low, unable to look directly at her. As he stood near the foot of the bed he forced his head to raise up, seeing the covers of her bed until they parted and he was finally able to see her innocent but unconscious face. The last time he saw her all he could remember was the blood coming out of her. Now the figure looked prepared for a trip with angels. Going up the side of the bed he held her hand which was still cool to the touch like it always had.

He stood there feeing conflicted. Part of him wanted to cry and beg forgiveness from the comatose figure. That however couldn't be done with so many people nearby. He had to be strong and stay that way no matter what.

"Congratulations on finally making it inside." , came a voice from his right side.

When Leon turned towards the voice he saw the Chief Todo who was sitting next to Nene's mother.

"Chief Todo. Haven't seen you since your Mike Tyson impersonation. Sorry about your suspension. I still think you were ripped off."

"I appreciate that. Still I did have the option to appeal the decision. I just wanted to do the time and start fresh. The real question should be are you all right?" ,he legitimately queried.

"I'm doing better than she is." ,Leon responded in a dry tone as he looked at her body.

The room was soon joined by another figure. It was a female in a doctor's smock, her stethoscope poking out from the pocket. She looked at everyone with her brown eyes as she smiled before looking over all the reports on Nene's vital signs. Then a pair of orderly's brought in a gurney and they began to move Nene onto it.

The action of the orderlies took Leon by surprise but the lack of a response from Nene's mother indicated that this was expected. As the mother stood up she asked the doctor to notify her when Nene was finished. Then turned to Leon and spoke.

"Mr. McNichols, care to share a cup of coffee?"

Sylia was part way downstairs when her brother Mackie rushed passed her heading in the other direction. His face was had the look of sheer panic that she couldn't understand. However she also knew that only one thing right now could cause this reaction. A couple more steps down and it was confirmed. The hidden camera in Nene's room showed that everybody was gone. Not just Nene but the people who had been watching over her.

Had Nene died during the course of the night? It was a thought that she didn't even want to think about. She had no idea what Mackie was about to do but she was going to find out right now. Heading towards his bedroom she found the door wide open which definitely not like her brother. She saw him at his private computer screen typing away as fast as his fingers were able to fly across the keyboard. After hitting the enter key he sat there waiting and muttering.

"Come on. Move faster damn you."

"What are you doing?" ,she finally asked.

Mackie turned around realizing for the first time that his sister was in the room. He turned back to his computer screen and continued to type as he talked

"Oh, hi. I'm just hacking into the hospital computer system to find out what's happened to Nene. Normally this would take several hours but actually I first hacked into their system several days ago soon after Nene was admitted in. Don't worry though. I've already set up several firewalls to prevent them from finding out I'm in their system. I just need to do a little typing and… we are. Romanova, Nene."

Scanning the data for a few moments he let a sigh that sounded like one of relief.

"It would appear she is being tested this morning. They are going to run both a cat scan and an MRI. If the results of the tests are to their liking they'll begin to terminate the drug induced coma."

The calm matter of fact tone used by Mackie surprised Sylia. It showed her once again how quickly her younger brother was growing up and maturing.

"That's amazing Mackie. Great work." ,she praised.

He comeback was a simply shrug of the shoulders.

"It was easy. After I was taught how to hack into almost any system by…….Nene."

Linna sat with Priss in a meeting with the Hu Bang heads to discuss the deal that would have Priss's song recorded. Before leaving Priss's domicile the rock and roller Attorney's that had never done business with the company to make sure there was no biases in their judgment were suggested several possible attorney's to Linna to help them in their representation. After all Hu Bang would be doing their best to make the best deal for the company. As they talked she was glad to have taken Vision's advice. The brass of Hu Bang talked in terms she had never heard of before. It was obvious after only minutes that she would have been over her head in these matters. Luckily the attorney she chose to represent Priss was more than a match for the job. Before the meeting the women gave her an important piece of advice. That no matter how good the offer would sound like do not in any circumstance take an offer that is based of the net profits of sales. That corporations were well known to take the any sales and magically turn all sales into a profit loss which would allow them to not pay any money to the recording artist.

Vision was not on this meeting. She felt it would be a conflict of interest if she appeared. It would have given Linna comfort to have a friendly face on the other side of the table. The meeting lasted for 2 hours yet even in the end the legal representative for Priss was not happy with the terms. Finally a temporary adjournment was agreed to for lunch so they could discuss options further later. During the break the mouthpiece tried to put what had happened inside in terms that could be understood by the two ladies. She expressed confidence that they might be willing to come closer to their desires for a contract after the lunch break but to not make any agreements with them without her being there. She would protect the assets and property of Priss. Linna felt confident she made the right choice for the person who was representing them.

Back at the hospital coffee shop Leon and Nene's mother sat at a table drinking coffee and ate some light snacks. The talks were superficial but one thing was obvious to the cop. That Nene had obviously gotten a lot of her good looks from her mother but her charm as well. He could easily imagine Nene looking and behaving exactly like this in 20-25 years……if she survives.

"You know Mr. McNichols my Nene has talked about you a lot to me. She respects you quite a bit. Not that she sometimes doesn't find fault with some of the things you say to her but overall she finds you to be quite a gentleman. She also thinks you'd make someone a fine husband."

Almost choking on his snack Leon wondered if the comment was made because the mother was hoping that if Nene recovers she might want Leon to propose marriage to her.

"I see the look in your eyes Mr. McNichols and the answer is no. I'm not trying to match you two up. My Nene isn't ready to settle down just yet. Not with you or any man. She still has too much of that wild streak in her that my husband and I tried so hard to suppress but failed to achieve. I guess I'm just not saying this right. I'm just trying to say is that I know you're hurting inside over this. Even though the words were never spoken when I ask about you to Mr. Wong I could see the discomfort in his eyes."

Softly, gently the mother put her petite hands onto Leon's. Her hands were cool to the touch, The touch was soft, gentle, motherly.

"I just want to assure you that you don't need to feel guilty about this. No guilt towards me or my husband. No guilt to anybody. I don't want to think about losing my Nene but thanks to you and the quick actions you took you've given my baby a chance to live. Think about that Mr. McNichols. You were the one who gave my baby a chance to live by your quick actions, by the donation of your own blood. When you leave this hospital today. Leave the guilt behind. You owe it to no one. All I ask of you is if she recovers from this watch over Nene and try to protect her when you can all right?"

At that moment Leon had no doubt where those wonderful qualities of Nene Romanova he respected so much came from.

Sylia cracked open the door to Mackie's room to announce lunch was ready. Expecting him to be hard at work on his computer. Instead she found him stretched out across his bed unconscious to the world. She thought back to what Mackie has been going through during this ordeal. Working at the garage 8 hours a day. Coming home eating just enough to keep his energy going then heading to the TV or it appears his computer. How long could any person withstand such a pace. Granted he had the energy level of a teenager but even that didn't mean he wasn't capable of succumbing to complete exhaustion. Grabbing an additional blanket from the closet she began to spread it out over the clothed body of her brother. As she put it over his shoulders a hand came over the top to hold her. It would have been easy enough for Sylia to break free without waking up the slumbering sibling until she heard a weary voice murmuring.

"Nene. Nene."

She waited until the hand began to relax and fall back down to the bed before finishing the covering. Giving him a kiss on the cheek she heard a bit of mumbling that she could not decipher. She was certain that he'd be ready to go with renewed vigor after sleeping a while.

As Priss, Linna and their attorney walked down the hall to begin round two of the negotiations they plotted the strategy and what the attorney thought would happen. In the afternoon sessions a couple of times it looked like the negotiations were going to break down without an agreement. However before things got out of hand cooler heads prevailed and by the end of the day an agreement was reached that both parties could live with. Priss would get a percentage of the gross sales plus a generous signing bonus.. Then if sales were strong enough a concert tour would be arranged where Priss would be given additional money and perks. Linna as her manager would receive 10 percent of all monies and the attorney another ten percent.

No sooner had the contract been signed when the power of the Hu Bang corporation sprang into action. A studio to record the song was secured for the next morning within one minute. A few minutes after that a band was obtained and a fax of the sheet music sent for them to practice. While all this took place another figure was on a separate line calling up various radio stations to let them know of a new song that would be coming to them within the next 48 hours and for them to give it heavy airplay immediately.

The machine style efficiency of the Hu Bang corporation make Linna feel very small. In mere minutes they had done more to make Priss a star than her years of efforts had ever achieved. At least now Linna had the pleasure of knowing that Priss was finally going to be known by more than her small group. A new congregation of fans would be able to hear just how good she was. By the same token Nene would be forever remembered by her unselfish act.

In the group Nene was the brains of the group where as Priss provided the pure muscle, Sylia the money and the hardware. Linna considered herself the most well balanced of the four. She was in better cardiovascular condition than Priss though not able to match her strength. She was proud of her flexibility and that ability allowed her to fight at the higher level's of Sylia's hologram battle simulators. However in sheer technological brainpower she was nowhere near Nene's league and she knew it. Though she would tease her for her lack of exercise and eating habits. She also knew that Nene's knowledge of computers and the ability to hack into them had saved both them and society in general on several occasions. Of course she was still suffered from the curse of her youth which also made her naïve in more mature matters of the world. Though she was as important as any member of the group her petite status would make Linna think of her as a 'kid sister'. How she wouldn't mind having that kid sister around right now.

Back at the hospital Nene was being transported back to her room via her gurney. Her mother was already in the room having been signaled that the tests had been completed. Leon had left soon after the coffee with the mother while Chief Todo had to run to film another Public Service announcement to donate blood. The orderlies carefully placed the unconscious red head back into he bed before covering her body. The doctor waited until Mrs. Romanova and herself were the only two people left in the room. The mother looked upon the doctor hoping and praying to hear some good news about her daughter. It was a look the doctor had seen from countless parents over the years about their children. It had never mattered how old he parent was. No matter how old their offspring was the parental instincts never died when their child was hurt. The doctor gave a small smile.

"Well the test have shown enough improvement in Nene's condition that we can start to wean her off the drugs that have kept her in a coma. We expect that in about 48-72 hours she will be able to regain consciousness."

From outside the room a couple of loud cheers were heard. It was the two men who were standing guard in Nene's room who overheard the conversation and who no doubt would report the results to the rest of the department once they were relieved of duty.