Disclaimer: I don´t own anything about Bubblegum Crisis.

BGC34: Ghost in the machine

A young woman was racing at night on a motorbike over the highways of Mega Tokyo. She was driving at a dangerous speed that would under normally mean risking an deadly accident, even for the most talented driver.

Under this circumstances however, it made perfect sense because of the two combat boomers that were following her. Lasers were hitting the ground left and right from her track. The explosions were to hear for several miles.

As she was finally hit and wounded by one of the shots, it made her attempts to escape even harder. When she had arrived at a broken highway bridge, an dead end on her way, she was just driving her bike over the edge and fell down into the blackness.

The woman was in fact a 33S boomer that was going by the name Sylvie. Only a few weeks earlier, she and four others of her series had managed to flee from the genaros space station, where they had been hold for their entire existence. She was one of the only two who had survived their escape.

During this they, seemingly by coincidence, had also come into possession of the DD battlemover, an experimental combat weapon that had been stored on the station. Whan they had stolen a shuttle, they hadn´t known that the weapon was on board, not until they had landed on earth. But that hadn´t kept them from using it to their advantage later.

The 33S had originally been designed to be a pleasure model, not meant to be more than a highly developed sex-toy.

Like it turned out however, they had a few abilities that they weren´t meant to have. Like the one to merge their systems with other technologies. With relative ease, they could take control of different sorts of devices and machines. For example a large number of newly developed weapon systems. A great threat potential and possibility for misuse, especially in the eyes of politics and military. For that reason the entire model line was outlawed and banned from earth to genaros, becoming even more slaves like they had been from the beginning.

But right now, she was taking full advantage of this supposed design flaw. Under the highway bridge she had just jumped off was one of the many scrapyards in Mega Tokyo. This was the place where she had hidden the DD.

She had hit the ground close to the mover, that was hidden under several pieces of trash. Despite great pain, she managed to reach the machine and activated it.

The DD worked like a heavy exo suit, the pilot was sitting in the middle of the large humanoid shaped construction that looked like a large robot.

She felt the connection to the machine being built up. The combat weapon, she was being in, was now completely activated. Her mind was being bounded to it. She felt the software, the programming of the combat weapon in her mind, as if it were a part of her thoughts, she was ready to fight.

A few moments later, the two battle boomers came looking for her. Since the DD was still buried under the rubble, they didn´t see it at first. Only as the war machine started to move and stood up, they noticed her.

One of the boomers grabbed her motorbike, that was still lying at the ground next to them and threw it at her. Sylvie however activated the weapons of the mover and blew it to bits. Next one of the boomers activated all his weapons, guns shifted out of his chest and stomach and shot her with his entire firepower. The DD however was able to take the assault without greater damage.

Using the larger and far more heavily armed fighting war machine she was sitting in and fired back. While her first salve missed, the two combat boomers had to scatter to evade the shots and were now off guard. She targeted one of them again and shot him with the DD´s missiles. Half the head of the boomer exploded into shrapnel and his arm was nearly ripped off, but he was still moving. The half destroyed boomer charged at her. One last hit from the mover however was able to stop him for good. He literally fell apart. The other boomer tried to get a greater distance between the DD and himself. Probably to mirror the action of the other one and fire all his weapons at once. But this time the DD was faster. It was half a command of the 33S who was piloting it, half a programmed response of the machine itself. The battlemover grabbed the boomer in flight and slammed him down. It´s internal systems were shattered and crunched under the DD´s grip. After a few seconds more it was over. The battlemover held the destroyed remains of the last boomer in it´s "hand" and let it fall to the ground.

But it was already to late. The loss of blood was starting to overcome her and she was losing conscious.

In the last moment where she was awake, she saw that someone else had arrived, another mover that looks as if it belonged to the AD-Police. Then she blacked out…


She woke up again, only to see that the DD was involved in a fight with several people. Instandly Sylvie knew that she had lost control. She realized what had happened.

Through the drop of her hearth rate, the systems of the DD were now thinking she was dead. That had started the automatic self destruct mechanism of the machine. A nuke, she knew as the data about the DD that went through her had. She saw that the self destruct would trigger a micro neutron bomb that could destroy the entire city. The realisation what situation she was in hit her with a shock.

Why had she not seen that danger before? She had bonded with the DD quite often. Was she really that set on her own aims that she had just overseen this or was there something wrong with the DD itself?

She would die, she knew this. Nothing could save her anymore. But if the bomb would explode, she would take her "sister" Anri and Priss, the human friend she had made after she arrived here with her and millions of others she didn´t even knew. The only save way to shut the DD down and stop the detonation sequence was to kill her as long she was connected to it.

She saw that four people in combat suits were fighting the DD. She recognized them, the Knight Sabers. Like anybody in Mega Tokyo she had heard of this team.

A armed combat group who was working in Mega Tokyo as mercenaries and vigilants. It was said they worked for hire for everyone who was willing and able to pay them. But they were still responsible for a long line of good deeds. They were the ones who stopped rampaging boomers on a regular base and they did that without any compensation. The greatest part of the city saw them as heroes because of this. For that reason the most people in Mega Tokyo, even the police, were standing behind them and nobody was actually trying to do something against their activities.

They stopped rampaging boomers, destroyed them, boomers like she herself was one, Sylvie realised.

The Knight Sabers would kill her. She probably deserved it anyway, she had spend the last weeks with hunting down people and using their blood to keep Anri´s systems functional and now her mistake had put the entire town in danger.

Behind the Knight Sabers she actually saw a mover of the ADP lying on the ground. The pilot was either unconscious or dead. Had she or rather the DD done this? Another one of her victims.

Yes, she would die, but that would at least safe everyone else.

She heard one of the Knight Sabers say something, she recognized that voice. It was Priss. She was one of them. For a moment, she was shocked by that revalation. But it didn´t held long. The battlemover was exploding, would kill them all. That was the only thing that was important right now. Even more then what Priss would think if she found out what Sylvie really was.

She opened the cockpit of the DD, so that the Knight Sabers could see her, made it easier for them to take aim.

Even in their hard suits, the shock of them was very obvious as they saw her. The blue Knight Saber who she had identified as Priss, was practically frozen in place. But also the others showed a visible reaction. Sylvie asked herself if that were some of the people Priss had introduced her to in the last weeks.

But also that was not really important right now. All what Priss could really do in that moment was to ask her, ask her why. Why did it had to be her, why had she been doing this?

Why? Because she wanted to be free, something that was only natural for other people, but she had only known for a short time. To do what you wanted, to go where you want without being imprisoned, to have worth, to be more than a product or a toy. That was it what she told her, to be free.

Sylvie asked, pleaded Priss to kill her, to save everyone else. But her friend hesitated.

Somewhere in her mind, Sylvie was actually happy that Priss just didn´t want to hurt her, that she cared about her, even knowing that she was a boomer.

But the countdown was continuing and she knew, sooner or later she would loose control of the DD again. She was simply too weak and the programming of the machine was now fully activated. It was in her head, like she was in it´s.

Then it happened what she was fearing. The DD overcame her. It was attacking and she wasn´t able to stop it. No, she thought, Anri would die, Priss would die and the other Knight Sabers and the millions of people around, only because of her, because she had decided to use the DD, because she had lost control of it. She knew, she had to try everything in her might to stop it.

It was all in her head, the program of the DD, to fight the enemies, to keep fighting until the countdown was over and then to take them all with her. The programming was running through her mind. A part of her was the 33S, who had been named Sylvie, another was the DD battlemover and she knew the wrong part was in control.

She saw helpless as the mover attacked the silver Knight Saber. Even with all her effort, she couldn´t prevent it. The battlemover was preparing for the killing strike. She actually screamed out in desperation,

"DD stop it."

In that moment a shot was hitting the mover and it´s right arm was destroyed. She saw that it was Priss. Her friend was pointing her weapons at her. To get a better aim, the Knight Saber made a jump and fired her weapon directly at the cockpit of the DD. At the same time, while doing that, Priss screamed her name, loud, chilling, sad and desperate.

She loves me, Sylvie thought, even knowing that I am a machine, that I have killed people to survive, she does. I am sorry, she thought I am sorry that you have to do this.

She barely felt the projectile hitting her chest, but what she felt was the giant backlash right afterwards, as the symbiotic connection between her brain and the DD was violently under broken, forcing it to shut down. For a moment, her entire mind was filled with a white light, data transmitted and force apart in split seconds. She saw Priss running to her with tears in her eyes and somehow she was aware how her body fell out of the cockpit, into Priss arms. Then everything became dark.

Priss held Sylvie´s body in her arms. Sadness, despair and guilt were driving her insane. She asked Sylvie again, under tears why she had done this.

She answered, "I only wanted to be free, like you."


The club "Hot Legs" in Mega-Tokyo, march 2034, one year later

Leon was standing under the rest of the guests. The "Hot Legs" was one of the many night clubs in this part of Mega Tokyo. This particular one was especially well know for it´s music and it´s stage show. The band that was playing here regularly was called "Priss and the replicants".

For inspector Leon MacNichols from the AD-Police, this was the main reason to come here, even if he would never say it loud.

The lead-singer Priss and her band were just performing the song "Konya Wa Hurricane". Leon remembered that it had been this song Priss had been singing at the day he had met her the first time in private, that meant not during one of her music gigs, as he first met Priss the woman instead of Priss the singer.

To be honest, they didn´t get very good along from the beginning. For some reason, Priss had a great problem with cops. He didn´t even knew exactly why. She just never wanted to talk about it, even now. They had however overcome their problems over time. Helping each other and saving each others life may had a great part in it.

Priss was in fact also one of the Knight Sabers. Leon had found out about this exactly one year ago. He had recognized her at the incident where Priss friend, who had turned out to be a 33S boomer had lost control of the DD mover and Priss was forced to kill her. After that, she hadn´t been the same for weeks. Something in her had broken at that day.

He had, back then, taken one of the ADP-movers and tried to stop the DD before the self destruct system was activated, but he came too late. After the fight was over, he awakened for a short time from his unconscious and saw Priss in a combat suit with shattered face shield, kneeling over the dieing 33S, the same young woman who had been Priss new best friend in the weeks before.

They were in somewhat of a relationship, depending on what mood she was currently in. With Priss, Leon learned a long time ago, you can never be really sure where you stand, at least if you are a cop.

Like always then she was on stage, Priss was in her usual attire and was wearing her blond wig, inspired by the character "Pris", from Blade Runner, who shared her name. The science fiction movie was the theme of the band and it was the perfect one for them.

Blade Runner, Cyberpunk, was actually in some sense the theme of the entire city.

The old Tokyo had been mostly destroyed in the second Kanto earthquake. It had been known as the greatest disaster in Japan for centuries. The most parts of the original town had been completely devastated. Hundred thousands were homeless, starving and suffering. The genom concern however offered to to rebuild the city and the government happily agreed. And the region of Tokyo was from then on called Mega Tokyo. But all that had also a dark side.

The main product of genom were the so called cyberdroids, artficial creatures, achieved through a combination of robotic and genetically engineered organic components, androids for the ones who wanted to put it in simple terms.

This cyberdroids, boomers as they were soon called, played not only the main role in the rebuilding of Tokyo, they also brought the economy of japan as a whole into a new super boom. Under genom´s influence, japan became one of the new leading powers in the world. That was one side, but there was also another one.

Genom had helped to bring Tokyo back to it´s existence and like every business company, it wanted to own what it had paid for. Through the financial "help" for the entire state and even more it´s construction of the boomers, that were the backbone of the entire economy, genom had fallen into a state of power that made it virtually untouchable. Genom was in total control of Mega Tokyo, probably of entire Japan.

So Tokyo was a town, owned by a company. And the citizens, like the boomers too, were often treated themselves, as nothing but merchandise, only there to be used and abused too serve the aims or satisfy the greed of power hungry and corrupt genom executives. Many times in the last years, boomers had begun to run amok and attacking people, killing cops and civilians. And Leon knew better than most others how many of this incidents were staged by genom itself. To distract the public from criminal actions, to get rid of rivals or similar reasons. Genom of course claimed every time it were technical defects and accidents, whoever believed it.

Leon decided to forget it all for this one night and pay attention to the show. The club was very full tonight. Like always when Priss was singing. The most guests were men, what didn´t surprised Leon in the slightest when he was looking at Priss.

Many different people were crowding the hall before the band. Leon saw a large number standing assembled on the floor and moving to the music. He was seeing a few young men, sitting at a table at the side of the room, drinking beer and looking at the band,in first line at Priss of course, he saw a group of girls who were trying to dance to the music despite the lack of free room.

And he saw another man standing among the many guests. For some reason Leon´s attention was stuck on this one. He had been in the police for many years and had a lot of experience and somehow, at the first look, something felt strange about this guy. It was something off about his appearance, but that was not everything. Leon could just feel it in his gut.

The man was wearing a long jacket, while it was actually too warm for that in the hall. He was obviously trying to keep a distance from the other people in the room and he seemed to be paying absolutely no attention to the music or the band.

Leon had only noticed him through coincidence. But now he could no longer keep his eyes off this guy. Something seemed to be wrong, he just knew it.

After a few seconds, where he kept his eyes on this guy, Leon began to have his doubts. He was thinking that he was just getting paranoid.

You are seeing ghosts, he told himself, you have just worked too much and are now seeing threats everywhere.

After another few seconds however, he saw that the man was opening his jacket and grabbed something inside. Seemingly unconsciously, he looked to the left and the right while doing it.

Damn, that just couldn´t be it true, Leon thought for a moment. He knew exactly what was going to happen. Even before he had actually seen it. This guy was really going to draw a gun, right in the middle of the club.

And here was Leon, thinking that he could just going to enjoy his afternoon.

In the moment the man had taken his weapon out, Leon had already drawn his. The man, he saw, was raising his gun and was trying to point it at the stage. Priss, that was all that was going through his head in that moment, the Knight Sabers.

Before the guy had any chance to pull the trigger, Leon had already shot him, once, then twice.

A few people who were seeing what was going on, began to scream, the others were frozen in their places as they heard the shots. The band had stopped playing.

"AD-Police", Leon said loud, showing his badge, "the situation is under control."

He saw that a man was coming closer to him, he recognised as the owner of the club and of course Priss had come, running off the stage.

"Could you please call the police and an ambulance", he said to the manager. The man nodded his head as he saw what had happened.

"Leon, what is going on, who is this guy?" Priss asked him as all others were out of earshot.

"I have no idea", he replied, "but he was aiming in your direction."

"I understand."

In another side of the hall, a young woman had watched the entire happening and was now using the chaos to leave the place unnoticed. As she had reached a side street and was a safe distance away, she used the small micro, she was carrying with her.

"Boss", she called her employer, "your man had done as he was ordered."

"Had he succeeded?"

"No, Lieutenant Mc Nichols has interfered and shot him before he could do anything."

"Ah, Mc Nichols, like always good too get involved and be a obstacle in a bad time." The voice sounded in fact amused. "It is not so bad, he was actually never meant to succeed, even if I have not expected him to taken out that easy. Anyway, it doesn´t matter, this was never meant to be more than a distraction. Now come back to me, I will explain your next job to you."

At the other end of Mega Tokyo, Largo ended the communication. The first steps of his plans were just beginning.

The first half of this chapter was an interpretation of the final of the episode "Moonlight Rambler", mostly from Sylvie´s point of view. This is, as said in the summary, a sequel to the story "First Strike", that I have written last year.