Some Years Ago…
"You wanted to see me Minaka?" Takehito entered his room. While they were on Kamikura Island they all lived within the massive space ship that still lay half buried. The room Minaka used was significantly larger than most of the others. They hypothesized it had belonged to the ship's captain, but there was no way to know for sure. "I hope this is something important, I was just about to give number one her physical."
"Ah, yes, it's about that." Minaka said. "I've decided to change the assignments; Takami will take care of the Discipline Squad members from now on."
Takehito gave him a startled look. "What is this?" He demanded angrily. I'm the one who came up with all their enhancements! I created the special adjustments that made them powerful enough to defend this island from invasion!"
"I know all that," Minaka motioned his hands soothingly. "I appreciate your genius, even Takami acknowledges you as the leader in the field of Sekirei adjustments!"
"Then why the hell am I being demoted?" Takehito shouted.
"You're not! I'm just going to move you to where your skills are needed most." Minaka gave him a wide smile. "To a place where you can… experiment to your heart's content."
Takehito's mouth opened to yell, but he checked himself. "Explain," he said sounding suspicious.
Minaka rubbed his hands together. He knew Takehito from his school days; he'd been a classmate at Tokyo U. just like Takami. But while he and Takami had studied pharmaceuticals, Takehito had been Japan's number one upcoming researcher in bio-engineering. His research paper about the possible uses for shark DNA had set the scientific community buzzing. Some called it brilliant while others argued it was madness. Minaka knew that at his heart what Takehito really was a mad scientist, he was in love with experimentation and seeing the limits of what medical science was capable of. His work with the Disciplinary Squad really had been incredible.
"Wouldn't you say you've already done as much with the first five as you can?"
"No," he answered. "There is still a lot more work that can be done with them."
"Well, perhaps, but since they've been forced into early maturation you won't be able to do much more than provide minor adjustments."
Takehito was forced to nod. Other than number one they had been forced to take four embryos out of stasis and mature them at an accelerated rate. That had been unfortunate, but given their security needs there had been no choice. Adjustments to sekirei worked best as their bodies were developing. It was harder to create basic changes once they reached adulthood.
"Wouldn't your skills be put to better use on the other embryos?"
"You've decided to take them out of stasis?" Takehito asked eagerly. His anger at losing the Disciplinary Squad instantly forgotten.
Minaka chuckled, he had him now. "That's right, how would you like to take care of the other three embryos?"
His eyes narrowed. "You mean other four, right?"
"Heh, well, actually I already promised to give one to Miyajima…"
"WHAT?!!" Takehito roared. "You're giving one of the embryos to that dried up old woman?!"
"I sort of had to; it was the price for getting her company's support and funding. Without her it would have been impossible for me to create MBI and build it up as quickly as I did."
"Couldn't you just have given her stock like a normal business man?"
"Actually I had to give her 20% of my company too," Minaka stated.
"Great, that's just great, you know all she's going to do is experiment to her heart's content don't you?"
"Jealous?" Minaka teased.
Takehito gave him a pleasant look as a hannyo mask materialized above his shoulder. "What was that?"
"Nothing! Nothing!" Minaka said quickly.
The mask vanished and Takehito began to slowly rub his chin. "Well… if you had to then there's nothing to do about it now. I do have some interesting ideas for those new single numbers."
"I leave them totally in your hands then," Minaka said happily. "Go get them ready for the S-Plan."
"You're not still going on about that are you?" Takehito complained. "It's an idiotic idea."
"We'll see," Minaka replied.
"Where is Takehito?" Number one asked as she disrobed. "He is the one who always gives me my physicals."
"I've been reassigned to look after you and the rest of your squad from now on," Takami said and smiled at her. "Let's try and be friends."
Number one just stared back at her unblinking. As always her face was an empty canvas. She cared only about her duty, nothing else mattered to her.
"I assume you wish me to sit up on the table?"
Takami sighed, this is going to be challenging. "Yes, now please take a couple deep breaths."
"That's not fair! We're not going to have Takehito taking care of us anymore?" Matsu complained. "I was hoping to have him use my body for an experiment!"
"He already has," Mutsu noted. "He's used all our bodies for experiments." He shuddered at some of those memories.
"You know what I mean!" Matsu glared at him.
"Inappropriate relations with MBI personnel are strictly forbidden," their commander noted.
"You're no fun Miya!" Matsu complained.
"Being a member of this elite unit has nothing to do with fun," she noted primly. "It is a duty and an honor."
From the other side of the room came an amused snort.
"You wish to add something number four?"
At a small table Karasuba was patiently sharpening her sword with a small stone. "Who the hell cares about honor and duty? All that matters to me is that we get to kill."
"Any animal with claw or fang can kill," Miya said coldly. "Without honor, without duty, we become nothing but beasts."
Karasuba snorted once more. "What do you think you are? A samurai? A knight maybe?" She set her sword down and pointed to her. "You're nothing but Minaka's killer and enforcer, we all are. There's nothing 'noble' to any of this, we're just the muscle that lets MBI do what it wants."
Number one clenched her teeth and her right hand drifted to the top of her sword. "I find your attitude highly repugnant, you sicken me."
Karasuba placed her own hand on her sword. "Want to do something about it?" She asked sweetly.
"Now, now, the atmosphere is getting a little heavy in here," Kazehana stepped between them. "Can't we all just get along?"
Chuckling Karasuba returned to sharpening her sword.
Miya took her hand away from her sword's grip. She knew she wasn't like the others. She alone had been an adult when their ship had been sent through space to this world. She alone knew what had happened to their world. To her the concepts of duty and honor were vital and very real. She would never become a mad dog who killed just for the sake of killing. She, and her unit, would always act with honor and loyalty.
Minaka stood atop MBI Tower looking out upon the city of Tokyo. He had spent twenty years getting ready for this day. "108 little birds, let's set them free and begin the S-Tournament!"
Behind him camera bulbs flashed and reporters waited to ask questions. MBI's press releases had been building up to this for the last twelve months. The entire world was sitting on the edge of its seat eagerly awaiting the result.
Standing well above the crowd in the clock tower five figures were looking on, some in amusement some with sorrow some with no feeling at all.
Miya looked at her four teammates.
She felt a sense of pride in the fact she had kept them all together and loyal to the cause they served. It had not been easy! Mutsu had been the first to try and quit. He wanted to have a freer existence and see the world. Then Kazehana had tried to leave when she finally realized that her feelings for Minaka were never going to be returned, her love was doomed to remain unrequited. Matsu had gotten a stupid idea about stealing something from MBI and using it as leverage to secure her freedom. Ironically only Karasuba had never tried to back out of her responsibilities, she felt the life of a Disciplinary Squad soldier suited her.
Miya had personally found and then dragged back both Mutsu and Kazehana when they tried to leave. She'd found out about Matsu's plan and had threatened to chop off her hand if she ever stole from their master. That had put the girl back in her proper place. In the end her will had kept all five members together.
"So what happens now?" Matsu asked. She was looking over sympathetically at Kazehana. The wind sekirei was staring down longingly at Minaka.
"Now we fulfill our original purpose and enforce the rules of the S-Tournament until its conclusion."
"Sounds boring," Karasuba complained. "We probably won't even have the chance to kill anyone."
"I just wish they would let us go and get out own ashikabi!" Matsu complained.
"That would be disruptive to team unity," Miya answered. "If we all had different ashikabi that would cause friction between us."
"I don't want an ashikabi," Kazehana mumbled.
You mean you don't want an ashikabi other than Minaka, Matsu thought. "Well then why couldn't we all have a single ashikabi?"
"Minaka considered that, but I was able to convince him it was a poor idea." Miya stated.
"Why?" Matsu asked petulantly.
"If we had an ashikabi he might consider himself to be in charge of us. I am the one who leads this unit."
The others all looked at her. Miya might try and be stoic but there was an intense amount of pride hiding there just beneath the surface. There was no denying that she was their leader, even Karasuba acknowledged that.
Below them Minaka began to answer questions about the S-Tournament that would actually start in 30 days. Since they already knew all the details they didn't bother to listen. They were after all the designated enforcers of the Tournament's rules.
Takehito came out of the kitchen with a steaming hot cup of coffee in his hand. He was already dressed for work with his white lab coat. The Izumo Inn would be likely receiving some new boarders today. He looked unhappily at the Inn's only current boarder who was sitting at the breakfast table gobbling down food and making his usual mess.
"Seo," he said pleasantly as a hannyo mask appeared. "I ever tell you that you're complete and total scum? I let you live here rent free and I even let you eat my cooking, could you at least not make a mess of my home?"
Seo glanced up nervously. "Damn Takehito why you gotta be so scary?"
"Just clean it up, we have to get to work." The mask disappeared as Takehito sipped some more coffee.
Seo quickly finished off the rice and cleaned up, bringing the dirty dishes into the kitchen and washing them. He then put on his own white lab coat. Having just barely graduated from college Takehito had gotten him a position with MBI in his department.
"It's going to be a mad house today, why don't we just skip work and call in sick?"
"That kind of attitude is the reason you're still just a lab tech," Takehito grabbed his annoying friend and boarder by the arm and marched him out the door.
As they neared MBI Tower it seemed to be under siege. The entire complex was ringed by wheeled fighting vehicles that were parked bumper to bumper. Standing on and in front of the vehicles in their hundreds were MBI soldiers. Up above were a dozen MBI helicopters and almost as many police and news helicopters.
Surrounding the tower was a throng of thousands of, mostly, men shouting and holding up signs. The signs had messages like; 'choose me' or 'please be mine.'
"Will you just look at this?" Seo said in disbelief. "It's not even noon yet and it's already like this!"
Takehito sighed. "Can you blame them? When he announced the S-Tournament and that dozens of gorgeous alien women were going to be released here at noon to seek out, 'masters' how did you think people would react?" Some of the sekirei that were about to be freed, five to be exact, were male. That still meant there would be 98 female sekirei who would be available. Their pictures had been released by MBI's public relations department and had been downloaded by millions of men all over the world. Despite the restrictive rules of the Tournament men from all over the world had flown to Japan just to be here today to try and get their very own sekirei.
"You know Hikari and Hibiki both really like me," Seo began.
"No!" Takehito cut him off sharply. "I've already told you a hundred times that MBI personnel are disqualified from participating in the S-Tournament. Any way you and I both know the only reason those two like you so much is because they haven't met anyone else."
Seo was one of the techs assigned to care for numbers 11 and 12. Since the adjuster and other techs had all been much older men, all of them married, it had been natural for the two twins to focus their affection on him. And it wasn't as though Seo had done anything to discourage them.
"That's really mean," Seo told him.
"Doesn't mean it's not true."
It took longer than it should have but eventually one of the fighting vehicles moved aside temporarily clearing a space and allowing Takehito and Seo to get to work.
"I'm going to be very busy today so I have to leave you," Takami said. "Don't cause any trouble!"
Sahashi Minato grinned at her nervously. "I won't I promise!" He was standing in his usual clothes with a Visitor badge pinned to his jacket. They were on the 80th floor of MBI Tower where the observation deck was. The entire floor had been converted over to a greeting area for the world's media. There were tables filled with food and drink and women in maids outfits circulated through carrying trays with food or drinks. There were hundreds of new crews conducting interviews of sending out reports, many of them were foreign and he heard all sorts of different language with alien accents and vowels in them. Minaka was here, surrounded by a horde of reporters and cameramen. He was clearly enjoying himself; he had always thrived in the spotlight.
"Now remember our deal!" His mom told him. "This is your graduation present! When you get done with Tokyo U. you're not getting anything from me, got it?" He was about to start his second year at the prestigious university as an engineering student. She had tried to keep her connections to MBI a secret but Minaka had forced her to conduct public interviews and so her family had found out about her real job several years ago.
Unlike Minaka she didn't crave attention and would have been happier without the public acknowledgement. But there were some positives to her being a celebrity. Apparently her son's performance on the university entrance exam had been borderline. She didn't know that her name and connections had gotten him accepted.
But given the ten million dollar scholarship MBI sponsored at the school it might have had an effect.
"Don't worry mom there's nothing you could give me that could be better than this! All my friends are dying of jealousy!"
"That's fine then, just stay out of trouble." She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and then waded into the room. She was quickly ambushed by a news crew from Germany and forced to answer some translated questions.
Minato took out a slim digital camera and began taking some pictures to show his friends later. Like most guys his age he'd been fascinated by the sudden announcement from MBI that not only did aliens exist but that they looked like incredibly beautiful men and women and would soon be living in parts of Tokyo and looking for individual 'masters' to 'take care of them.' Websites were created over night just to talk about them and ponder what sorts of 'special powers' they might have. Some of the suggestions were pretty gross even for him.
Many of the sites did nothing but argue over which of the sekirei were the most beautiful. Even lollicons got into it cheering for number 108. He had never bothered to spend much time at any of those sites or even gone over the photos. Being an engineering student at Tokyo U. ate up all his time, and besides his mother had never encouraged him. Despite her position in MBI she had told him practically nothing about her work or what the sekirei were like. This was the first time he'd ever come here and gotten past the lobby. And he'd had to beg and plead and whine for months to get her to agree.
Wandering through the crowd he was satisfied just listening to others talk while snapping off a few pictures. He took a few of Minaka and the crowd but he mostly snapped pictures of the servers. (He was guy after all)
As the morning dragged on slowly towards noon he wandered away from the main reception area to do a little exploring. There were guards on the elevators and stairwells to make sure unauthorized people traveled only from the 80th back to the lobby. But the whole floor was open and the guards did nothing to keep him from walking through it.
As he went he looked through open doors to mostly empty rooms, just looking about. Then he opened one door and was startled to see a young woman standing inside quietly gazing out the window. Hearing his gasp she turned about to look at him.
She was gorgeous, simply beautiful. She had shoulder length black hair and dark brown eyes. She had large, but not huge, breasts and hips that curved like a wine glass. She wore a plain white jacket with a white button down shirt and a black mini shirt that showed off most of her thighs.
She was so absolutely stunning that he couldn't think to do anything but stare at her for a moment. She too said nothing; she just stood there with her hands at her sides looking at him.
"Who are you?" She finally spoke, breaking their weird silence.
He blinked and gathered himself. "Oh, uh, sorry to disturb you. My name is Sahashi Minato," he gave her a slight bow as an apology. "I didn't know anyone was here."
"Then why did you open the door?" She asked him curiously.
He was glad she didn't seem to be upset. "Uh, no reason really, I was just sort of exploring I guess."
When he said that he was rewarded by the most dazzling smile he'd ever seen. Since becoming a Tokyo U. student he'd gotten a few smiles from the fairer sex and gone out on a handful of dates and been to some parties. He couldn't remember ever feeling his heart starting beating like this before though.
"I can understand that," she put a finger to her lips and winked at him. "Don't tell anyone but that's what I'm doing too, I'm not supposed to be here but I wanted to come down and see for a little while."
Hearing that he quickly shut the door behind him. "So you don't have permission to be here?" It wasn't shocking. Lots of people were desperate to get into MBI Tower today. The only surprising thing was the fact that it was beautiful woman who had snuck in rather than a horny teen or lonely middle aged guy.
"I don't have permission to be on this floor," she said.
"In that case here," he clipped off his Visitor badge and walked over to offer it to her. "You can use this and not get in trouble."
She looked at the offered badge in surprise and then he saw that wonderful smile widen just a tiny bit. "Won't you get in trouble though?"
He laughed. "Yes, probably a little, my mom won't be happy. But I can just say I lost it so it won't be that big a deal."
Shaking her head she took the badge from him and clipped it back onto his shirt. "That's all right; I won't get into any trouble if I'm found. Still, it's very kind of you to offer."
"Are you sure," he said weakly. When she had touched his hand to take the badge his knees had gotten weak. And he noticed that she hadn't let go.
"Yes I'm sure," she took his hand and placed it against her cheek. She shut her eyes and gently pressed the palm of his hand to her soft skin. "You're very warm." She whispered. "You… give me a warm feeling here." She lightly touched her bosom over her heart.
"Me… me too," he said trying not to shake. He was still a virgin but he'd gotten a little experience since entering school. He had kissed and necked and enjoyed some fondling. Nothing though had ever had the sense of… intimacy that he felt right now. Standing alone in this room with her, he felt as though they were the only people in all of existence.
"I wonder if this is fate?" She opened her eyes to look at him, still holding his hand. "I have always dreamed of finding my special person and here you are. Do you believe in destiny Minato?"
"Not really," he admitted. "But I think I might change my mind." He swallowed and asked her something. "Would you go out with me?"
"Go out with you?" Her face was questioning, unsure.
"Uh, never mind," he said and carefully took back his hand. "I'm sure a woman like you wouldn't be interested in a second year college student like me. I'm sure you could do much better."
"I am sorry Minato, I don't understand the question." She said sounding a little confused. "Are you asking if I'd like to be yours?"
"Well… yeah," he said. "I mean I know there's no way that…"
He blinked. "What?"
"Yes, I would like to be yours." She again took his hand, this time simply holding it in both of hers. "I believe in fate, that if you stand with your heart open love will find its way to you. You are kind and give me warmth when you are near. I believe that you and I are meant to be together, so yes, I will be yours."
"Really?" he asked just not believing it.
"Yes," she told him again. "I promise to be yours, now and forever."
Of its own will his body began to lean in closer to her, his lips approaching hers. From the look in her eye and that way her cheeks were blushing he thought she was ready to be kissed, but at the last instant she pulled back and stepped away from him.
"I'm sorry," she apologized and hurried to the door. "But we can't do that yet."
"Wait! Where are you going?" Minato was afraid she was about to leave and he would not see her again.
"Please be just a little patient Minato. Will you be in the lobby at noon? When the release is?"
"Uh, yeah, I guess."
"Then I promise to meet you then and we can have our first kiss. Please wait patiently."
"Do you promise? Am I really going to see you again?"
"I promise Minato, I swear it with all my heart." She opened the door to leave.
"Wait! I don't even know your name!"
"Oh! I'm very sorry, I must have forgotten." At the door she placed both hands over her heart and bowed to him. "I am Yume, sekirei number 8, the fate sekirei; I will be with you again soon my dear Minato."
With that she left.
Minato stood there rooted to the spot. Did she just say she's a SEKIREI?!!
The guards heard a loud shriek and quickly investigated. They found a young man with a Visitor's badge passed out in one of the rooms. When he came to he apologized and went down to the lobby.
As noon approached the action moved from the observation level down to the lobby. In order to make the completion as fair as possible all the sekirei who would participate in the Tournament were being released at once. They would have 30 days to find their ashikabis and perform whatever training they wished to in order to ready themselves. It was a unique event for modern times and cameras from all over the world would record it.
"Why are you so nervous?" Takami asked.
"No reason," Minato said and looked about.
"What are you up to?" She asked suspiciously.
"No… nothing, it's just a big event."
"Hmmmm," Takami was obviously having trouble buying it.
Minato was on pins and needles. Had she been telling the truth? Was she really a sekirei? Getting a sekirei wasn't something he thought about except as a fantasy. Becoming the master of a super beautiful alien? Yeah, right, as though that could happen.
But what if she really was?! He looked about the lobby, he saw no sign of her but it wasn't quite noon yet, the sekirei were still being held in a conference room.
"You are definitely up to something and I want to know what it is," Takami demanded.
"Mom I swear…"
"May I have your attention please?" Minaka's voice boomed out over loud speakers. He was speaking not only to those inside the lobby but the vast crowd outside as well. "It is now noon! hereby declare the opening Stage of the S-Tournament to be underway! Release the sekirei!"
From in the lobby came applause. From outside there was a booming cheer.
The guards on the conference room door threw it open signaling the beginning of a new age.
The sekirei inside did not all react the same. Some immediately fled the scene, running out of the building and leaping away in a blur.
Some strutted out and walked up to the cameras, only too happy to be interviewed and receive attention.
Some poked their heads out nervously and appeared afraid to some out. Minato noticed a little blonde haired girl who couldn't be older than 8. There was a young silver haired boy in his early teens standing next to her. She was clutching his leg and he was trying to comfort her.
But finally Minato saw her come out. She soon spotted him and began walking his way. He stood there, unable to see anything but her. His heart was pounding like crazy and he was afraid she was going to see him faint right in front of her. Her smile was so amazing he wondered how anyone like her could be interested in plain old him.
Seeing her approach Takami addressed her. "Number 8, good luck finding your ashikabi," she said politely. Even though she was one of Takehito's she still knew her of course.
"Thank you very much," Yume said just as politely. "But I have already found him."
"What do you…" She saw Yume walk right past her and up to her son. Saw her gaze into his eyes and place both hands on his shoulders. For one of the very few times in her life she was left literally speechless.
"Minato," she said ignoring the hundreds of cameras that were suddenly pointed at her. "I promise to be with you, now and forever."
She leaned in and kissed him as flash bulbs went off in a blinding succession. Wings of light and a crest appeared as her body filled with the most perfect heat.
With that the S-Tournament was fully under way.