It all started out perfectly normally, which probably should have been our first clue.  But as with our usual luck, we soon had all hell breaking loose …


An Outlaw Star fanfiction by Vikki

Disclaimer:  I don't own it, and I'm not sure who does.  Whoever owns this, please don't sue me!  I'm making no money.

Flame Policy:  I have Gene's caster gun and a Number Nine.  Don't mess with me.  ^^x

Note:  The chances of my finishing this are slim to none, so stand forewarned.  I'm posting this mostly as an experiment.  This takes place about one year before the adventures of Outlaw Star, so Jim is ten and Gene is nineteen.  Just so you know.

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"Good morning, West Virginia, and welcome to this beautiful spring Monday!  It's 9:31 AM here at WKML, and—" Click.

The bedside alarm clock was silenced as a small hand emerged from the mound of sheets on the couch that served as a bed and struck the 'snooze' button.  A muffled groan followed, and the sheets were thrown aside as a compact-built boy with dirty blond hair and dark blue eyes blinked blearily at the clock.

[My name is James Hawking, but I prefer to be called Jim.  I'm ten years old, but just because I'm young doesn't mean I'm naïve!  I'm the co-owner of Starwind and Hawking Enterprises with my partner and aniki Gene Starwind. We fix everything from engines to relationships, so if you're ever in a pinch, why don't you call us?]

With a yawn Jim stood and stretched luxuriously.  He wore an oversized t-shirt that slipped off one small shoulder and dropped nearly to his knees.  He meandered his way to the bathroom, relieved himself, splashed cold water on his face, and stuffed a toothbrush in his mouth with one hand while finger-combing his hair with the other.  The mirror was cracked in the corner, but the bathroom in general was clean.

After a few minutes of attending to his personal hygiene, Jim pulled the too-large t-shirt over his head, revealing dark blue boxers, and tossed it into a heaping hamper of dirty clothes.  Looking more awake now, Jim returned to the room he slept in, turned off the alarm clock (which had turned back on while he was in the bathroom), and began to pull on another set of clothes – khakis with numerous pockets, a faded red t-shirt, and a dark blue jacket.  The pants he had to cinch in place via a black belt; like all of his clothes, they were oversized, suggesting that they were hand-me-downs from someone much larger.

The boy began to turn into the kitchen, but hesitated and instead poked his head around the corner, looking into the other 'room' of the open flat that he and Gene shared.  The older boy lay on the only bed, hidden entirely except for his mop of unruly red hair.  He snored quietly.  Snorting and shaking his head, Jim crossed the room into the kitchen and began to crack eggs into a bowl.

[My aniki and I have been partners for about eighteen months now.  He's pretty useless until noon, and even then he usually doesn't want to do anything but flirt and go bounty hunting, but he took me in when I was all alone, so I owe him a lot.]

When the eggs were nearly finished and the sausage was sizzling on a plate, Jim finally called out, "Gene!  Breakfast!"

Muffled protests emerged from the bed, but shortly thereafter Gene appeared in the kitchen doorway looking tired and rumpled.  "What're we having?" he asked, rubbing his dark eyes with a clenched fist and attempting unsuccessfully to smooth some rumples out of his pants.  His bare upper body was very scarred for one so young; Gene, after all, was only nineteen.

"Omelets and sausage, if I can just get this omelet to flip," the younger boy answered, trying to get the spatula under the mixed egg.

Wordlessly Gene gently shoved Jim out of the way and effortlessly flipped the egg with the spatula.  "There you go," he said.

[Besides, I can't flip an omelet to save my life, literally!  Aniki's good at silly things like that.'

Breakfast started out silently as Gene and Jim wolfed down their food (as per custom), but soon Juim began to list the schedule for the day.  "… I've got to go to the Chrissen Foundation by eleven o'clock, and who knows how long that'll take.  Are we still going after Blake tonight?"

"Yeah, sure," Gene mumbled around a sausage.  "You didn't book me today, did you?"

"No, because I wasn't sure you'd get up at all today," Jim said as bitingly as he could manage.  "Where were you all night?"

"With Casey," Gene said absently before he smirked (showeing off perfect white teeth) and leaned over the table to leer at Jim.  "Why?  Did you want to come?"

Jim blushed a rosy pink.  "S-Shut up, Gene!  Just make yourself useful today and go get a job or something.  We're gonna run out of food before the end of the month at the rate we're going," the ten-year-old pointed out.

"Not if we kill Blake tonight," grinned Gene.  He stood, stretched, and yawned.  "I'm going back to bed.  Oyasumi."  Gene waved his hand as he walked back towards his room.

"Oi!" Jim jumped to his feet and shouted after Gene.  "Didn't you hear anything I just said?  Oi!"

Gene ignored him; Jim grumbled under his breath and began to gather up the dishes to dump them in the sink.

[Despite how lazy my aniki is, we make a good team.  I do jobs related to computers and machines; Gene usually goes bounty-hunting to boost our income when we hit critical lows (Aniki spends more than I do, but I spend a fair share too, so I can't complain.)  We complement each other; he's happy-go-lucky while I think things through, but he's brave when I'm scared – not that I am, very often.]

                Jim retreated back to his 'bed', shoved his feet into a pair of snug black boots and his hands into padded black gloves with cutoff fingers, grabbed his bag of supplies, and headed out the door.

                Just outside the back door of Starwind and Hawking Enterprises was an old classis model of the Katsu Viper.  Painted a vibrant red and polished to perfection, the Viper was the car Jim climbed into, revving the engine with practiced ease.

[The Ehufrau is my car – not Aniki's.  I rescued it from a junkyard and reccessitated it a year ago.  Most of my half of the income goes to my Ehufrau.  She's probably the oldest running care on Sentinel III, and probably in the best shape, too.]

By 10:55 AM Jim had arrived at the Chrissen Foundation.  The building was huge and classy-looking, a strong contrast to the baggy, casual clothing and grease-stained pants of the boy.  With a shrug and a glance down at his own outfit, Jim sighed and walked up the front steps, stepping inside the door to a huge reception room with blush carpeting, wall murals of gallant knights on horses rescuing damsels in distress, and gigantic, carved glass sunroof.  At the far end of the room a young woman with a crisp air about her stood up from behind an ornate desk and stared down at him.  "Who are you, young man?"

                "Jim Hawking from Starwind and Hawking Enterprises," Jim answered, mustering a charming smile in the face of the secretary's skeptical look.  "I'm here to look into the problems with the security system?" he made it a question.

                She blinked with recognition.  "Oh!  I just wasn't expecting someone so, well, young.  Please, come this way Mr. Hawking."  She led Jim down a mute-colored hallway, then into a small room that was empty except for two plush chairs.  "Mr. Pemmington will be with you shortly.  He'll brief you on the trouble with the system."  With that she stepped out and shut the door behind her.

[When I think about it, that should have been my first clue that something was wrong.  But big, pompous companies like Chrissen had lots of funny customs, so I didn't think much of it at the time.

Nonetheless, that was when things started going down the tubes.]

                The chair was big enough that the small-built Jim had to literally climb into the seat.  His feet dangled a few inches off the ground – the seat had been designed for someone more Gene's size.  Only a minute or so later, a tal man with dark hair, ice blue eyes, and a clipped beard stepped into the room with a sour look on his long face.  "Where is Mr. Starwind?" he asked in clipped tones.

                Jim got an uneasy look on his face.  "Um, I'm the computer expert, so I decided to take this job.  Gene really wouldn't be of any help in this case, so—"

                "I'm afraid you don't understand," the man cut Jim off.  "We require Mr. Starwind."

                Jim scowled slightly.  "No, no, no, you don't get it.  Gene can't help with your security system – he doesn't know the first thing about sentinel equipment."

                At that the man bristled, obviously offended.  "Young man, I expected Gene Starwind to come here and instead I got a disrespectful, messy little boy!  Show some respect, child!"

                Jim's scowl deepened, and he slid off the huge chair, pointing an accusing finger at his harasser.  "There's nothing wrong with your security system, is there?  If you wanted Gene to come, you could have just said so.  I don't know what you need him so badly for, but unless you're willing to cough up a lot of dough, you're not getting him.  You've wasted almost an hour of my time just driving here!  I should make you foot the bill for my gas!"  With a huff Jim crossed his arms and stomped past the sour-faced man towards the door.

                The man desperately grabbed for Jim's arm as he passed; the boy spun out of reach and pulled away.  "Don't be stupid, boy!" the man exclaimed.  "We'll pay whatever you ask – we must consult with him!"

                Jim snorted.  "That's a lame excuse.  I'm leaving now; get out of my way."

[Now that was a crock story if I ever heard one.  Consult with Gene?  My aniki is street smart and good with a gun, but giving advice isn't his thing.  Their desperation alone was enough to put me on guard.  By then I just wanted to get out and warn Aniki.  If this guy thought he was being subtle, he was painfully wrong.  Besides, I admit it – I was a little scared.  Why did I have to go through this sort of crap!?]

                The man did not get out of Jim's way; instead he threw his weight forward to grab at Jim again.  The ten year old yelped in surprise and scrambled out of the reach of his grabbing hands, yanking the door open and feeing down the bland hallway towards the lobby.  "Stop, boy!" the man shouted.  "We don't mean any harm!  We'll give you anything!"

                The secretary gasped and rose out of her seat when Jim scooted past, reaching for him as if to stop him, too.  The boy dodged easily.  In an instant he was out the door and fleeing to the Ehufrau.  He jumped into the ancient car, fumbled for the keys, and gunned the engine before blasting out of parking lot under the falling traffic gate.

[I had to tell Gene.  Aniki!  Look out!



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SNAFU – Situation Normal All F'ed Up

FUBAR – F'ed Up Beyond All Recognition

Aniki – 'older brother' or 'mentor'.  Jim calls Gene this in the Japanese version of the series (which is infinitely better than Cartoon Network's version.  Trust me on this.)

Oyasumi – 'Good night'.

Ehufrau – a German word meaning 'wife'.  Don't ask. Really. I don't know, nor do I want to know, why Jim calls his car 'wife'.

Author's Notes:  Like I said, chances are I won't finish this.  In fact, chances are no one is reading this, so it's all good!  ^^x;;

Jim will be, without a doubt, the main character in this story.  Basically, I was wondering how Jim might handle having to play 'hero' for a while rather than just standing at Gene's side.  We'll see.

I made up the model number and reference for Jim's car off the top of my head.  If you know better, let me know and I'll fix it.  For that matter, let me know about any mistakes.  I can always use the help.

As to point of view – I honestly haven't decided what to settle on, though right now I'm leaning towards third person limited (we can only see inside Jim's head).  That could play out well.

Anyway, please review.  PLEASE review!  As the number of reviews goes up, the more likely I am to finish the story.  What can I say?  I'm a crowd-pleaser.  ^^x;;