No Need for Mysteries

Deep space, just beyond the edge of the Jurai frontier, far from Galaxy Police jurisdiction:

"Have you discovered where she was?" the speaker was tall and shadowed beneath a heavy cloak. He was floating cross-legged and looking over the shoulder of a short reptilian humanoid that was busily working three separate holographic keyboards.

"The data indicates Earth," the reptilian answered.

"I do not need to know where she is," the man snapped angrily. "I need to know where she was two hundred years ago. When I know that then I can move on both."

"It is as I said, sir," the reptilian was annoyed now. "It seems she was on Earth, at least she disappeared in that area for a brief period of time."

"And she is there now as well." You could almost feel the smile under the cowl. "Very good, you'll be rewarded as usual." The speaker vanished into thin air, and the reptilian breathed a sigh of relief.

Earth, Rikyu's House of Teriyaki

"Welcome to Rikyu's House of Teriyaki, would you prefer smoking or non-smoking?" The voice was highly cheerful, and the short speech was well rehearsed. No hint of the speaker's irritation at this particular job showed through.

"Non-smoking, please," the man answered.

"Oh," the woman interjected. "And could you make it a booth, please?"

"Why, yes," the teal-haired hostess answered. "That will be no problem. If you'll just follow me." A bead of sweat rolled down her forehead, over the red headband, as she noticed the blonde hostess behind her start towards the sound of opening doors.

"Welcome to Yaki's House of Terikyu," the teal-haired hostess tried not to wince as she seated her customers. "Do you want to smoke?"

"Your waiter will be with you shortly," the teal-haired hostess assured her customers before she turned to stomp on over to attempt yet again to teach her brain-dead partner. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw who the customers were.

"Well I'm hot enough as it is," a silver-haired woman responded smartly.

"Oh, Ryoko!" the blonde chirped happily. "What are you doing here? Oh and Sasami's with you!"

"Ryoko is helping me with the shopping," the little girl explained happily, the cat-rabbit thing on her head meowed in agreement. "Ryoko wanted to stop here to eat."

"You know it's a bad idea for us to socialize while we're working, guys," the teal-haired hostess noted.

"I swear we didn't know you and Mihoshi were here," Ryoko protested. "I was just hungry, that's all."

"Oh in that case, we'll seat you right now," Mihoshi, the blonde, declared sweetly. She grabbed a couple of menus from their case and started for the dining area. In the process she managed to trip over her stool, knock over the hostess stand and spill all the menus across the floor. They mixed with the toothpicks and candies from the hostess stand. "Oh, Kiiiiyoooneee!!" the blonde began balling pathetically.

"Mi-Ho-Shi!!!!" the teal-haired hostess clenched her fist and did her best to control the volume of her voice. Ryoko and Sasami both sweat-dropped as Kiyone turned to them and her sweet exterior returned. "Please seat yourself while I help Mihoshi clean up this mess."

"Okay," Sasami agreed reluctantly. "If you say so." Ryoko caught sight of the manager on his way and quickly agreed.

"Well let's go get our table Sasami," she insisted and herded the girl away from what was about to be an embarrassing situation.

"I don't see how you can mess up as a hostess," Kiyone lectured the sobbing Mihoshi who was gingerly picking up menus. "All you do is ask smoking or non-smoking and seat them. How hard can that be?"

"I'm sorry, Kiyone, I didn't mean it."

"Here let me help you with that," Kiyone looked up at the sound of the voice and saw a tall man with spiky red hair. He was smiling kindly as he bent over to help collect the spilt items.

"You two again!" the manager shouted. "You're more trouble than…"

"Don't worry, Hirata-San," the tall red haired man interrupted, smiling. Looking closely Kiyone saw that he had yellow eyes with vertical pupil slits. "I'm sure it was just an accident."

"R-r-r-ikyu-San!" the manager stammered. "Uh, but sir, it is always an accident with these two."

"I don't mean do to it," Mihoshi wailed. The patrons shrewdly worked to avoid looking towards the commotion. They finished collecting the spilt items and stood up. The red-haired man reached down to help Kiyone to her feet, and she noticed he was wearing a pair of black plastic bracers with silver lines running through it. The item was obviously designed to look like some sort of circuitry.

"Hey!" Sasami yelled from the back, Ryoko was nowhere to be seen. Kiyone assumed she had teleported somewhere. "Where are you going, we haven't even ordered yet!" She was soon rocketing past the scene of the most recent Mihoshi debacle, and out side into the street. Or at least she was rocketing as much as she could while carrying the shopping bags. Kiyone would have followed to make sure she was okay, but Sasami did have Ryo-Ohki with her, she should be fine.

"Exciting day today," Rikyu said with a smile. Kiyone narrowed her eyes, there was something decidedly odd about this. She had more than a few theories, but now was not the time to discuss them.

"What can we do for you sir," the manager asked, still stiff-backed in a stance of attention. He quickly gestured for Mihoshi and Kiyone to do the same, which they did, they needed the jobs after all.

"Oh nothing," he said cheerfully. The manner was as much put on as Kiyone's own welcome speech. "I just thought I might get something to eat after my trip."

"Yes, sir," he said, then he turned to the two women and barked an order. "You heard him!" He jabbed a finger at Mihoshi. "Get Rikyu-San the best seat right now! Makibi clean up this mess!!" Kiyone suspected that the manager gave her the more demeaning job because of Mihoshi's looks. It was almost as disturbing a trend as Mihoshi's constant bumbling.

"Yes, sir! Manager-San, sir," Mihoshi declared officially. "Will you follow me Rikyu-San?"

"I'd be delighted," the man bowed slightly, eliciting a cheerful bounce from Mihoshi who went off to go seat the apparent owner. Before they got far Rikyu turned to Kiyone. "Makibi-San, I like your earring." He winked knowingly before following the blonde.

"What could he mean by that?" Kiyone thought to herself. Then her eyes widened. "He couldn't know about Yagami, could he?"

Outside in the streets of Tokyo

"That was too close," Ryoko sighed leaning against the alley wall. Then she saw Ryo-Ohki and Sasami frowning at her. The little girl, with green hair many shades brighter than Kiyone's teal, set down the groceries and proceeded to try and catch her breath.

"What did you do that for Ryoko?" Sasami huffed.

"I'm sorry about Sasami," Ryoko for once sounded truly apologetic. Sasami was stunned. "I just wasn't hungry anymore."

"Well you could have said something," that tone Sasami reserved for lecturing the supposedly more mature members of her household. "Now you have me starving and it'll be a long time before we get back home."

"I'm sorry kiddo, we'll stop at a McDonalds's and get some American food on the way in. I hear they have those little animal toys you like so much. How's that?"

"Kiddo?" Sasami thought to herself, then forgot it at the prospect of a new beanie baby to add to her growing collection. "Really? Oh that'll be great, thank you Ryoko!" Then Sasami hopped happily ahead of Ryoko who was closely following behind, humming quietly too herself.

A small house on the edge of Tokyo

It had been awhile since the Galaxy Police had been here, it was comforting that they had finally re-assigned the section to someone. Even if they seemed to be somewhat less than competent. Or at least that one blonde was at any rate. The other woman was certainly observant, she had been looking at him strange the entire time. At first he had passed that off as being a side effect of his eyes, they were odd for this planet. When he recognized what the earring was, however, it took on a little bit more meaning.

"I'll have to tell Hirata to give them a little leeway on the hours," he noted to himself. He hadn't been off planet for a long time, since his craft had broken down, and didn't plan to be off for a long time yet. Still it would be good to know where to find the system's resident officers.

"Now," Rikyu cracked his knuckles as he floated over to his PC. "Time to go to work." He held up a piece of hard black plastic laced with thin strips of silver. He reached over and tapped a button. The time display on his monitor started counting the milli-seconds up from zero.

"What we have here is some sort of electrical component, obviously of the same make as most of the other pieces in my collection. Its use at this moment is indeterminate. Obviously it is designed to utilize my natural energies…." Rikyu continued his examination as he set the item on the counter in front of him. Behind him was a small collection of similar items.

Miho-Kiyo Residence:

"Wasn't it nice for Ryoko and Sasami to visit us like that?" Mihoshi asked as she paused from devouring her curry.

"Yeah, but why did she just run off like that?" Kiyone asked, more to herself than Mihoshi.

"Oh, you know Ryoko," Mihoshi waved that off. "She's always disappearing somewhere."

"Yeah, but its still not like her to leave Sasami behind," Kiyone said. "That's one common thread in that household. Everyone keeps an eye on Sasami."

"We, mehbe she juff rehmmbehe somthinn," Mihoshi said through a fool mouth.

"Or saw someone," Kiyone realized. She had already suspected. Now, Rikyu's comment combined with Ryoko's actions made it a surety. Ryoko recognized Rikyu, and she left before he could see her.

"Mihoshi, I'm going up to the Yagami and check some files," Kiyone said. Then she inwardly cringed and put on her sweetest face requested in her sweetest voice. "Can you do me a favor and fold the clothes while I'm gone? It would really help me."

"Oh really, Kiyone?" Mihoshi beamed. "Yes, I'll be glad to help, all the clothes will be folded and ready when you get back!" Kiyone suspected that the clothes would all be in shreds and tatters, but there wasn't much this time and it would get Mihoshi off her back for a little while.

Masaki residence

"It is very good of you to treat Sasami, Ryoko," Ayeka admitted haughtily. "But where, might I ask, are you getting the money?" Ryoko was just staring into space and eating. This was unusual, given the opening for irritation Ayeka had just opened.

"Are you listening to me, Ryoko!!" Ayeka yelled. She stood up and turned to the space pirate. "Ryoko!!" Tenchi shook his head and prayed the property damage wouldn't be too much.

"Onesan," Sasami muttered softly, a little embarrassed.

"Ryoko," Yosho called in his normal quiet, authoritative voice. Ayeka had a lot to learn about leadership. Ryoko blinked.

"Huh?" Ryoko asked, pulling out of her reverie. "What is it?" She sounded a little annoyed, but not to her normal level in dealing with Ayeka.

"I was asking you where you got the money to treat Sasami today!" Ayeka snapped. "Which of us are you stealing it from?"

"The money?" Tenchi caught her blushing a little before she continued. "I…uh…won it gambling."

"Gambling!" Ayeka declared angrily. "Of course you'd be gambling, you couldn't do honest work if your life depended on it!"

"But you don't do anything either, Ayeka," Sasami noted, in her usual way.

"That is not the point," Ayeka said snobbishly. "The point is that she has no sense of responsibility what so ever. She's gone all day, probably watching Lord Tenchi at his school, while we stay here and do the chores, like proper guests." Tenchi kept waiting for Ryoko to step into the argument as she normally did, he already had his escape route planned out.

Ryoko, however, had returned to her reverie and seemed to not even hear the fuming princess.

"Ryoko, are you okay?" Tenchi asked. Ryoko blinked again.

"Oh, I'm fine," she assured him. "Never better, just remembering things. That's all. Thanks for the lovely meal Sasami, excuse me." Ryoko floated up from the floor and vanished.

"Oh," Ayeka fumed angrily. "That woman is up to something!!"

Jurai checkpoint:

The Jurai soldier stared suspiciously at the sleek black and red spacecraft waiting to be shuffled through the checkpoint. The soldier turned from the monitor to look at the captain of the vessel.

"The reason for your visit is tourism?" he asked in disbelief.

"The old stories say much about the beauty of this part of the universe," he smiled. "Call me curious, I wanted to see the places where so much history occurred."

"The first Akuneko to cross the dead zone for several thousand years," the soldier stated. "Is here for tourism?"

"A bit silly I agree, but it is the truth," the man pulled back his head to reveal a set of black spiky hair. "Trust me, sir, the war ended with the death of the Shinku tyrants." If anything the comment made the soldier even more suspicious, it was pure propaganda. What with the Kagato/Yosho thing being so recent it was perfectly obvious to him. Still there was nothing about the man or the ship that was illegal. He'd report this, and the man would be watched, but there was nothing much else he could do.

"Well, what else can I say?" the Jurai soldier asked tightly. "Welcome to Jurai space, Rei Kuroi, enjoy your stay."

"Oh, I most certainly will," the man smiled as he teleported to his ship and made ready to continue his journey.

Return of the Akuneko contents page