A/N: Hope you enjoy! I'm writing this one for fun, and will be updated as inspiration comes (read: once every year…) This fic will most likely have several 'sessions' with separate conflicts as it runs its course. There will also be alternating POVs.
The main difficulty lies in communicating certain things to the reader, since both Edward and Spike tend to not be very introspective/aware of the people around them. Also, I don't think I've got either of their characterizations quite right yet.
Final note: If you found that you did not like Edward and you watched the dub, try watching the sub. Her coolness might surprise you yet =)
I first became friends with Edward that month.
Of course, I noticed her much earlier. We all noticed when she came on board. She was like Laughing Bull, minus the spiritual babble and plus pills. Lots of pills. Jet had to start a few odd jobs that month. I think the girl triggered his paternal instincts, cause he started buying milk. And fresh vegetables. Unfair. All my bell peppers were canned. But when I told him, Jet just shook his head, like he couldn't believe my pettiness. Though he did shoot down a wild goat the next day. I gutted it.
It was delicious.
Yeah, then came a few slow weeks. It was high summer. I don't really remember much. I probably just slept and smoked. I don't have any especial memories of Edward, either. Sometimes she stayed in her spot at the kitchen, goggles on and arms slowly waving about, her mouth in a small line. Sometimes she would somersault into the ship's passageways, Ein barking at her and her barking back. And she was… Ten? Twelve? Children that age are always loud.
Whatever. She helped us out before, and later on, so she wasn't freeloading. None of us bothered to pry too deeply into her past, and really, none of us cared.
That September, though…
I was lying on the sofa when Jet came in through the door. "Alright guys, we're headed to Earth. New bounty and he's an easy one."
I grunted. We'd just wrapped up a case yesterday – our first real money in a while, and my limbs felt tired. Faye was dumping gasoline into some new hair device, then cranking the knob. I put a cigarette into my mouth and waited for her to leave so I could smoke. No luck though.
"Hm? Is that so?" Faye asked, preening at her reflection. She put more gas. Suddenly her hair frizzed up and she yelped.
"His name's Whitney Hagas Matusmoto."
Faye was bending down but stopped at his words, head still facing the floor. A strange tone permeated her voice. "I'll deal with this one personally."
She muttered something else and left. With some relief I took out my lighter, while Jet turned on the TV. Recently all the news had been focused on Earth, and in particular on its soaring rates of the homeless, or the illiterate, or the unemployed. This was all old though. It was only getting media attention now because of the Regressers, an activist group advocating a return to the twentieth century. A dude came onscreen and started talking enthusiastically.
"I joined the Regressers a year ago. It was the best decision of my life. I'd never realized how much moral decay had rotted our society until I began reading through the archives. So little people know about how great our nations used to be, and how may beautiful accomplishments we had before the Gate accident."
Switch to a female. "Though we've made progress, we still need more people, and most importantly, for the government to recognize our cause and join us. Our movement will only be complete with the full destruction of modern technology, and a new Great Awakening." And then a whole group of people with ugly orange hats. "God bless," they chanted with smiles.
Upbeat music took over. "And onto a newly formulated product by Aquafresh! Did you know that bad breath…"
Yeah right. It'll be a cold day in hell when these idiots take my Swordfish. And Bibles are going to stay in the fiction section no matter how many petitions you write to Parliament. You think they even read these? Hah… My thoughts sort of tapered off and I fell into sleep. Beautiful, blessed sleep.
Yet like all beautiful things, it faded away all too soon. There was a weight on me. I tried to roll over but then I felt a tongue slowly scraping down my arm. Ugh.
"What?" My throat felt hoarse, and I tried to open an eye, but it was too much effort and I gave up.
"Ed wants Spikey to wake up! Wakey wakey Spikey Spikey! Hee~!" Two hands tugged at my hair. I batted Edward off and finally opened my eyes, to see her roll onto the floor with a huge grin on her face.
I yawned. "This better be good." My vision cleared, but there were still some floaters. You know, the squiggly afterimages you see after looking at a bright light? I blinked and then they were gone. Jet was gone too, and the TV had been turned off.
"Hurry, move your things. You're moving and so are your things! Before nine o'clock is the best time to sleep, so hurry to my room! Meeeeeeeeeep!"
Her sing-song voice made my head hurt. It was way too early for this. "What? Why?"
"Carbon monoxide in the hallways, Faye left the gas on yesterday! Unsafe. Can't breathe it in or else… you die…" Edward slid onto the floor with her mouth hanging and eyes rolled upwards. Then her face returned to its normal expression.
Of course the wench would cause trouble even when she wasn't here.
"What about the vents? Doesn't the gas carry throughout the entire ship?"
Edward crawled towards my feet, red hair obscuring her face. Her hair was really red. The hue made my right eye hurt. "No central air system. Broke one year ago." Her neck craned upwards and she looked at me. "Because of you!"
Now that she mentioned it, I vaguely recalled an incident regarding said vents…
"Uh, don't remember." Either way, it looked like I had to relocate. Slowly I moved my torso up and made to get off the sofa. "So which parts are still safe?"
Edward curled into a ball and nimbly rolled about the room. She stuck her arm out into the air, counting down with her fingers. I watched her groggily. "East side! Stairs, entranceway, bathroom, Jet's room, Ed's room."
"Wait… living room not included? Then what the hell am I doing here!"
"Heeheehee!" Edward's face broke out into a huge smile and she wagged her fingers. "I told you to hurry! Carbon monoxide, colorless, odorless, poisonous! Spoooooky!" With that ominous ending, she cartwheeled out of the room, and I quickly followed, making sure not to breathe any more than I had to.
It was the first time I'd been in Edward's room. It was twice the size of mine. Papers cluttered the table, with both maps and musical scores written on them. Laptops were at the back and a mess of cables seemed to be levitating above them. There was a bed – when'd we buy an extra bed? and two fluffy-looking pillowcases. Most of the walls were etched with 'art,' it looked like MPU's drawings made with a 50% margin of error.
"Very… unique." Then something occurred to me. "Actually, I'm going to go to Jet's room. Catch you later."
"No! Don't go!" Something latched onto my ankle and I turned to see Edward with a remote control, and a metal claw. Edward was frowning.
"There's no point in me staying here." Plus Jet might not be pleased with this arrangement, though I kept this thought to myself.
"But Ed is scared." She made a pouty face. I took another step to the door but suddenly the claw pulled me back. About to fall, I regained my balance.
"Scared of what?"
"… You know…" She leered at me.
"If it's the gas, you know that I can't really help, right?"
"No, no!" Edward leaned in closer. I could see a few freckles dotting her cheeks. "The Wrackspurts."
"The Wrackspurts! They come in from outside and float through your ears. They make your brain go fuzzy." She jumped onto the bed excitedly. "It said so on The Quibbler," she added with a nod.
"If you don't believe me, you can find out for yourself!"
Edward had never threatened me before, but now she was holding the door out for me with drawn eyebrows. I sighed and looked up. It seemed like I couldn't get out of this one. Sorry, Jet.
"I'll need to brush my teeth first," I finally said.
"Yay!" The kid clapped as I exited the room.
Once finished with all my hygienic needs, I took a towel to cover my mouth and sprinted towards my bedroom. There was a stack of ongoing reading material, as well as eyedrops. Nothing else I really needed, so I ran back to Edward's room.
I hadn't realized before, but lying next to the door was a basket for Ein. The dog rest there, scratching at its ears. When I came in he started growling. I narrowed my eyes at it.
Most things get better when I kick them. I wondered if Ein was one of those things. I would have liked to test out that hypothesis, but then Edward spoke.
"Ein, stop it. Spike-person is a friend." Ein whined.
I sat down on the floor and stretched, then took the first magazine from the pile. There was a constant hum of electronics from my right. SPACE, Scientific Martian, Booty Hunters… I yawned and flopped down. Better just conserve my energy.
I took a deck of cards from my pocket. I flipped through it idly and as usual, my thoughts began to return to Julia. A familiar pang coursed through my heart. Before I could reminiscence any further though, something caught my eye. I had put the King as the last card, which is what I do whenever I want to remember something. Holding the cards in my hand, I pondered over what it was that I forgot. But it was in vain.
Ah, well, it couldn't have been that important.
An hour later Edward announced, "Night night!" I was already half asleep anyway but I turned my head anyway at her voice. Wrong thing to do. She was pulling off her bra, and it turned out that she was a solid C-cup. How the hell did she hide that under her shirt? Immediately I closed my eyes. Not like I meant to look, after all.
I fell into deep slumber after that.
Today I wake up at 6:33 am. I didn't realize I was awake at first because of the blue swirls. My dreams had them, and so does my ceiling. Because I love blue swirls! And blue fruits. Now Ed wonders if she can have blue fruits today.
But where will Ed find them? Maybe Ein can help her.
"Ein!" I tried to query, but my mouth didn't listen to me, and my brain shut off.
When I woke up again the time was 6:37 am. Everything looked the same. And I remembered. The blue swirls were in the ceiling! Not in my mind. My mind's a fun place. Last month I drew things above me that looked like my mind. And the sky. Only on Bebop, the sky's covered in black. I can still pull up the real sky on Cyberspace but I have more things to do.
There's always cool stuff in Cyberspace. Cyberspace grows and grows, like Spi-Spi's hairnodes. And its old roots are clipped off, like Faye-Faye's toenodes. Clip clip. Everything dies but new things grow. I am not sad, because I love new things.
Yesterday a lot of grapes died. When I was little, I fruitified the agencies, so in my goggles I would see food instead of humans. Air Men were apples, Tax Men were lemons. But I was stuck with the ISSP. I told Father-person and he told me back, "Sour grapes, that lot!" So ISSP became green grapes. I hear green grapes are sour, but I have never tried them. I hope they're better than lemons. I had lemons once. My tongue burned!
This morning I put on my goggles, but the grapes are still not there. There are also some interesting-looking kiwis. I spend some time thinking about which is more fun to explore. Grapes or kiwis? In the end I swim into the last remaining cluster of grapes. They don't like it. They're pushing Ed over! And I'm too weak!
I fall over onto my bed. No, no, unfair! I get back up and input my Boggling password. Then my special Boggling Toggling password. Then my super special Boggling Toggling Clogging password. Finally the grapes open up and I enter the light. I am happy.
Whoa! It's a Recycling Bin. But this Recycling Bin is humongous. Ed's never seen so many ghost files in her life. Thousands of crumpled balls float and moan about. They're transparent, but I know I can touch them. When I do, they tell me who they used to be.
"Jane, is that you?" one paper asks in a weak voice.
I shake my head. "Nah. It's Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivruski IV." I smile, standing on my hands. "But you can call me Ed for short!"
"Oh." The paper curls into itself and heaves a great sigh. Its corners crinkle, and I see that they're burnt. "I'm Wuthering Heights. I was looking for my sisters, but I believe they passed away."
I caress the paper. Some ash flakes onto my hair. "I'm sorry, Miss Heights."
"No need to be. Yet I believe I am the last of my kind…"
I move on from paper to paper. So many strange names! But their stories stay the same. They tell me that they were born centuries ago. I can't imagine it. It hurts my brain.
I'm talking with Nineteen Eighty-Four when something draws me out of Cyberspace. Quickly I wave goodbye and when I tug off my goggles, it's Spi-Spi.
"Spike!" I bare my teeth towards him, but he looks at me with a frown.
"Sorry about that. Anyway, you okay there?"
Spi-person still seems worried, but I start to pop my knuckles and then his face smooths out.
"Have you ever heard of the Regressers?" I shake my head with my arms outstretched, then crawl off the bed. I feel hungry, so I sniff the floor. It looks like food is in the kitchen, but Spike follows me.
"Well, I guess I'll let Jet explain this to you. Oh yeah, lunch's ready."
"Thank you for the meal!" I smile and am about to start eating, then I check for Ein. He's here too so I can begin.
I finish in a minute. Jet's meals are always so good. "Eughhh…" I fall over to stare above me. My stomach is too heavy. Then I see the chess board in the living room. Hex will be waiting!
But it's too tiring to move. Ein is now bouncing on my stomach and he barks once.
I hear from the side, "Jet?"
"This chicken is overcooked."
"It's not overcooked. It's well done."
There's a silence and then dishes clatter on the table.
"Give me back my rare meat."
I clap my feet together. "Ed wants rare meat! Seven, eight, nine, heat! Whee!" Ein paws at my toes.
There's a silence.
"And where's the salt?" Spike adds.
A cup knocks over. Something spills from it and I go to investigate. It is milk!
"Spike, don't forget that this is my ship! If you don't like it, you can damn well prepare your own food! And the salt shaker is right. Here!"
In front of me, Spike's chair grates on the floor. He makes to stand up but then Jet speaks.
"…I stopped cooking rare since that salmonella scare yesterday."
Spike stops. "What? What salmonella scare?"
"See, there you go! Don't be so uppity with me when you don't even know what's going on around you!"
"They don't really know how it happened yet, but there's a bounty already on someone. Apparently this guy was selling eggs with traces of Saturn dust."
Spike slowly sits down. "I can go after this one." His voice sounds a little stifled.
Jet sits down too. "No need. We've already got the Regressers – hey! Ed! Don't drink things from the floor!
"Wahhhh!" I struggle to get out of Jet's grip but he holds me firm. He pours me a bowl of milk and I lap at it contentedly.
"The ISSP contacted me this morning. They're getting real anxious cause the Regressers are planning an inter-solar revolution next month."
Spike loosens his tie. "That's why they're keeping this bounty secret?"
"Yeah, I mean, can you imagine how much havoc would happen if this were public?" Jet sets me down onto the table.
"I'm kinda surprised people haven't done this before."
Jet shrugged. "Revolutions are always happening. And they're always stopped in the end. Speaking of which…" his next words are directed at me. "They think the Regressers' base is hidden someplace on Earth. We get one hundred million for the leader, and fifty grand for higher ups. And get this: the whole thing's doubled if we bring them all related documentary."
Spike's eyes widen and he starts pacing around. The kitchen's small so he goes around in circles. "What the fuck?"
"My thoughts exactly. I talked to Bob a bit more and finally weaseled out from him that they're totally stumped with the Regressers' archives. You know that their main goal is to spread these out to the public, right?"
"So this is where tax money goes. Here I thought it was just for donuts and pizza, but it looks the ISSP is too lazy to even do their own work."
Jet laughs. "You two have something in common. Hey, we'd be some darned lucky cowboys if we even find the Regressers. Right, Ed, I uploaded some possible coordinates. Check them out."
"Yes, sir!" I don't immediately go to Tomato. I haven't finished my milk yet.
"By the way," Spike says, his voice farther away, "what's with the carbon monoxide?"
"Well, I wanted to flush the areas with oxygen, but that would be going into our emergency supply," Jet yells. "We're buying some more when we land on Earth. This is the only time I'm thanking you for breaking our ventilation system, Spike."
I look up to see Spike holding up a couple fingers as he disappears. Then Ein comes into my view and I pet him.
"Ein, have you ever been on Earth?"