True Colours: A Crossover

Prologue

Three years ago, somewhere in the Middle East…

The hot desert air shimmered in the lenses of the scope on Sousuke Sagara's Dragunov rifle as he took aim at his target, a man shaped silhouette perhaps half a kilometer downrange from his position. Unphased by this familiar phenomenon, the young boy positioned the scope's rangefinder over the target, estimating the distance as being close to five hundred meters, then took note of the stillness of the sands, which indicated that there were no crosswinds to contend with. Dialing in the correct elevation adjustments with a practiced hand, he braced the rifle firmly against his shoulder, placed his finger on the trigger, slowed his breathing, concentrated on the target, and then -in a brief moment of quiet between the discharges of the other weapons that were being fired nearby- pulled the trigger.

The Dragunov's booming report echoed down the range, and a moment later a small hole appeared in the silhouette target, right in the middle of the torso region. For a brief moment Sousuke allowed himself to feel a spark of satisfaction, then quickly repressed it. He'd made a good shot, but it had hardly been a difficult one. The range conditions were almost ideal, so he had no excuse not to deliver such a performance.

Bringing the Dragunov's scope back onto the target, Sousuke fired four more rounds, all of which struck the same region of the target. Satisfied with the results, he was about to switch to one of the other targets when he sensed a footstep behind him and spun to face it, his hand darting towards the grip of his holstered Glock as he did so.

What confronted him when he completed his turn was the tanned face of a young boy –no, on closer inspection it was a girl- with short white hair and oddly pale eyes. She was dressed in grey trousers, a dark t-shirt, a lighter coloured jacket, and a red neck cloth. There was some kind of automatic pistol –it looked like it might be a Beretta- in a holster at her side, and she carried a Heckler and Koch G3-SG/1 sharpshooter's rifle in her arms. Not recognizing the newcomer as anyone he knew, Sousuke glared at her for several moments as he crouched there with his hand hovering above his holster, the Dragunov lying forgotten on the sandbags that were used to form the range's firing line.

"Who are you?" he demanded. The girl just looked at him curiously for a moment.

"You have a funny colour," she noted.

Sousuke blinked, then stared at the girl, completely dumbfounded. Sensing his confusion, the girl smiled.

"You have a funny colour," she repeated. Sousuke just continued to stare at her.

"Uh…"

"I can see people's feelings as colors," the girl explained. "Siam says it's because of something called Synethesia. He says there are sensory pathways in my brain that are fused together, so a reaction along one pathway can end up triggering a reaction along another, and vice versa."

"I see…" Sousuke noted. He'd never heard of such a thing before.

The girl studied Sousuke more closely.

"Where are you from?" she asked. "You don't look like you're from this area."

Sousuke shrugged.

"I'm from Japan," he replied. "Supposedly. I can't remember ever being there though."

The girl smiled.

"Really? I don't know much about Japan. Just that my favorite type of sugar candy comes from there."

Placing her rifle on the sandbags next to Sousuke's, she dug a pair of short, stick like objects wrapped in cellophane from her pocket and held them out to Sousuke.

"Would you like one?" she asked. Realising that they'd gotten off topic, Sousuke glared at the girl.

"You still haven't told me who you are," he reminded her. The girl shrugged.

'Siam calls me Canaan. I don't remember my real name."

"Who's Siam?"

Canaan smiled.

"He's my family. Well, sort of, anyway. We're not actually related. I guess you could say we're comrades."

Comrades. That was a word Sousuke understood. Far moreso than "family" at any rate.

"Why are you here?" he asked Canaan. Canaan shrugged and began to unwrap one of her sugar candies.

"Siam was hired to help rescue some prisoners from a compound near here," she explained. "Your group has been hired for the same mission, so we're going to be working together."

"I see," Sousuke noted. So the girl was an ally. At least for now. The term "allies" didn't really mean much in a place like this, but they were better than nothing. Usually. It depended on how competent they were.

"Siam and some of your people are discussing plans for the rescue, so Siam suggested I should come here and practice my shooting," Canaan explained as she finished unwrapping the sugar candy. "You're Sousuke, right? An older foreigner suggested I should try and practice with you, since you were already here and we'll probably be working together during the mission tonight."

Sousuke nodded. Going by Canaan's description, it was probably Kalinin who had made that suggestion.

"Yes, I'm Sousuke."

Canaan smiled.

"I thought so. All the other people who are here right now are older than I am."

Plucking the now unwrapped sugar candy from her palm with her free hand, she held the other, still wrapped candy out to Sousuke.

"You're sure you don't want one?" she asked. Sousuke paused for a minute, then decided to accept the gesture.

"I'll have it later," he informed her as he extended a hand to take the piece of candy. "Right now we should be concentrating on our shooting practice."

Canaan nodded and placed her own stick of sugar candy in her mouth.

"Alright," she agreed, picking up her rifle as she did so. Kneeling down behind the sandbags, she braced it against her shoulder and surveyed the targets.

"I'm going to start with the closest target first, okay?" she asked. Sousuke nodded and picked up his discarded Dragunov.

"That's fine. I'll be shooting at the mid range targets for the time being. Let me know when you want to change."

Nodding, Canaan took her rifle off safe and began to make adjustments to its scope, the stick of sugar candy still hanging loosely from the side of her mouth as she did so. Sousuke watched her for a few moments, then turned back to his own targets.

What a strange girl, he thought to himself as he shouldered his weapon and prepared to fire.