Bubblegum Crisis: Stage Three

Part Seventeen

Reika Chang sighed in contentment as she awoke, snug in her bedroom. The sun was shining, and she could feel the comforting weight of her lover in the bed beside her. Linna Yamazaki looked sweetly content as she snored softly, her head resting on Reika's chest.

With reluctance Reika slipped out from under Linna, easing out of bed. With that she hurried to the bathroom then washed up. Checking the time she headed into the kitchen and started up some coffee, knowing they both would need it.

As the coffee perked the scent of brewing coffee filled the suite, and a few moments later Linna tiredly shuffled out her hair standing up cutely. "Good morning sleepyhead," Reika teased.

"Coffee, please," Linna sighed. "I let you keep me up too late last night, love."

Reika smirked, "You weren't objecting at the time. In fact, I think you suggested a few things..."

Linna stuck out her tongue as she poured some coffee. "You let me sleep in, I see," she changed the subject, "thank goodness for weekends."

"Damn right," Reika agreed. Thoughtfully she added, "We should check in with Sylia, but other than that we've got the day free."

"You're getting to like Sylia, aren't you?" Linna mused. "I wouldn't have expected that, since she nearly blackmailed us into joining her."

"Now that we know her, do you think she would have actually gone through with it?" Reika asked curiously.

Linna looked thoughtful then admitted, "No, I don't think so."

Reika took a drink of her own coffee, hiding a smile. Actually, she suspected that Sylia would have gone through with her threats. They and Priss had been caught with their pants down, so to speak, and if they refused to play ball she could easily see Sylia doing what she had to. But Reika was a business-woman, and she could appreciate a degree of ruthlessness. Still, she wouldn't tell Linna that. She cherished her lover's occasional innocent moments.

"Did you want to go out for dinner, maybe?" Reika suggested thoughtfully.

Linna put her coffee cup down and moved to stand very close to Reika. "I don't know," she purred, "I was thinking we could... stay in, tonight?"

Reika smiled back warmly, "We'll get it delivered..."

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Quincy R Rosencroitz, vice-president of Genom, felt surprisingly powerless considering his lofty title. Only a few weeks ago he had effectively run the company, as well as manipulated politics and economies to his liking. But with the arrival of Sylia Stingray, everything changed.

Quincy had expected Sylia to take some time settling in. Genom was a multinational company with branches across the world, and interests in multiple companies. Just keeping track of it all was a monumental task, so trying to get a grip on it... it should have taken weeks. Instead within a matter of days Sylia started issuing perceptive guidelines on international business and starting to guide the company. It would make Quincy proud, if it wasn't so aggravating for his own plans.

For many years Quincy considered himself loyal to Katsuhito Stingray, and had pursued the businessman and scientist's goals of increased integration of Boomers into every walk of life. Due to his efforts Boomers were in every company, every city, and very nearly in every home. Boomers were becoming part of the everyday fabric of peoples lives.

YES, he had done some dishonourable and even illegal things. To make a cake you had to break a few eggs. But Quincy had expected to have weeks to cover his tracks, then hand over the reins of the company to Sylia. He had already been wrapping up operations in several countries, and had cancelled several schemes in Tokyo itself.

His earlier schedule was now completely invalid. Instead Quincy now needed to simply shut down any of his plans that could come to Sylia's attention, using any means available. He removed any legal connections, first, then... removed anything in the grey areas. It took calls and messages to disagreeable people, but it appeared that he was clean.

Now, the problem Quincy had was covering his tracks within the company itself. He had executive access and computer support, along with his mysterious ally within the computer systems, but it was still going to be a long task to remove the traces of his less ethical activities.

With a certain degree of reluctance Quincy connected to the computer systems in Genom, and found himself in virtual reality. This time he was in a replica of the penthouse suite, the one that had once belonged to Katsuhito himself, and a office Sylia had not chosen to take.

"Why bring us here?" Quincy asked crossly, looking over at the painting of Katsuhito's wife, looking calm and elegant as she usual had been.

"It's a good a place as any," the shadowy figure shrugged casually. Calmly he asked, "You wished to see me?"

"Yes," Quincy agreed, "I finished the tasks left to me by Katsuhito, but his daughter would not approve of the things we've done."

The other man (?) nodded as he said, "Would you like me to eliminate her?"

"NO," Quincy yelped. He calmed himself as he added, "Katsuhito would never forgive me," he added with a sigh.

"He's been gone a long time," the other figure noted, then continued, "Then what would you have me do?"

"There is a lot of evidence of our activities in the system," Quincy said stiffly, "I need them removed, in a unrecoverable way."

The other figure seemed to consider it. "It can be done," he conceded, "but I will need to bring the system down to do it. That will draw attention."

Quincy frowned, then paused as a idea occurred to him. "Not if we handle it right," he mused with a smile.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Fargo was waiting at the usual spot, the brown haired man wrapped in a old coat and puffing a cigarette. Disgusting habit, and he made a mental note that he needed to get his lungs flushed out again. You couldn't be too careful. Finally the car arrived, and his former employee emerged.

Saeko Busujima was as good looking as ever, and Fargo suspected she was just as lethal. The elegant business woman had once worked for him as a 'specialist,' in this case a specialist in violence. She had beaten people nearly to death, for money. Yet she was also incredibly disciplined, having set out to earn a certain amount of money, then quitting when she was done.

'Did she really just... shut off that side of hers?' Fargo wondered as she walked up to him, dressed in a stylish suit and looking perfectly neat.

"Fargo," Saeko nodded, "it's been awhile."

"That it has," he conceded willingly, then Fargo added, "and you're looking good, as usual."

"Thank you," Saeko said. She took out a folder from underneath her overcoat and passed it over, "I need you to investigate someone for me."

Fargo took the folder, flipping it open to see what looked like a still image from security cameras. She had brown hair, was wearing a tux and apparently punching out a older man. "She seems spunky," Fargo noted mildly.

Saeko snorted with amusement. "This is Priss Asagiri," she said, "she was involved in a incident at my workplace. I want you to investigate her background, especially her time running with the Hong Kong Triads."

"Hong Kong is still radioactive, so that'll be tricky," Fargo noted mildly even as he wondered how this woman got from Hong Kong to here. Must be quite a story.

Saeko gave him a withering look over his attempted humour as she said, "You're resourceful, I'm sure you'll manage."

Fargo nodded slightly, knowing he could get his computer experts to work on it. "Why do you want the information, may I ask?" he wondered as he put the files away.

"It involves said incident, I wish to confirm all those involved were telling the truth," Saeko shrugged, "and if so, I will likely fire my coworker and apologize again to Asagiri."

"And if it was a lie?" Fargo had to ask.

"I will beat whichever one was lying to me senseless," Saeko said calmly.

Somehow Fargo knew she would say that. "I'll try to get back to you in a few days," he promised. "Is there anything else I should know before I start?" he asked.

"She's working as a bodyguard for Sylia Stingray," Saeko noted calmly, "discretion would definitely be wise."

"Got that right," Fargo agreed, well aware of how powerful Genom and it's current princess were. Hell, he had personal experience with that power.

DAMN was it strange seeing Saeko the businesswoman, considering how she started out, Fargo mused later that night in his office. When he had hired her she was just a girl gangster, though one with more style and brains than most. But she scrimped and saved her pay, invested, and eventually started her own consulting business.

Madigan tapped on his door, the attractive older woman looking in curiously. "You called, boss?" she asked politely.

"I need a background check, but it's going to be tricky," Fargo admitted as he stretched out tiredly behind his desk.

"Tricky?" Madigan asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Genom's involved," Fargo said with a shrug, "that makes it automatically tricky." He passed the file over, "This is Priss Asagiri. I need a background check, up until she arrived in Japan."

"Without tripping any Genom flags," Madigan noted as she looked through the file. "Where did she come from?" she asked thoughtfully.

"Hong Kong, supposedly," Fargo said.

Madigan snorted with amusement. "You DO know that Hong Kong is now the fave 'place of birth' for fake IDs, right? Because their records are all radioactive ash," she noted.

"Some legit data got backed up in China and Japan," Fargo said patiently, "just do some digging, all right? I'm not expecting the impossible."

"Will do, boss," Madigan conceded as she left with the papers.

Fargo sighed as he sat back. It probably was a wild goose chase, but... he didn't like the hints of things going on in Genom. Quincy hiring them, the new boss and now this. He wasn't sure if it was connected or not, but it seemed strange.

A news flash caught his attention, and Fargo brought up the link. "Fire and Explosion at Genom," the report said, then continued on...

'Strange days,' Fargo thought, tiredly.

To be continued...