Author's Note- I do not own Gunslinger Girl which is the property of Yu Aida, so don't sue me I'm just a graduate student who did this for fun. That being said this story picks up where Gunslinger Girl Great Escape picks up so you should finish ready that story first if you haven't already.
Chapter 1- Down but not out
"The situation on the continent continues to destabilize following the terrorist bombing of the vacation home of Hilda Hartman. Hilda Hartman was a world renowned chef with multiple Michelin star restaurants located in over seven countries. Her two daughters are also thought to have perished in the blast. This viscous attack is thought to retaliation by the Padania against the Hartman family for the role her son played in the kidnapping of five Italian girls two months ago. As a result France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia have also dropped out of the Schlendgen agreement to prevent the spread of the Padania menace." A reporter from the BBC said over the din of the early morning rush in Bernice's small coffee shop.
Tea froze her tray clattering to the ground as the burnt wreckage was displayed on the small TV Bernice had hanging in one corner of the shop. No, it can't be them, no not when they finally got free…
"In further news ThyssenKrupp's stock fell plummeted as Hilda Hartman formerly Hilda Krupp was the largest single share holder controlling nearly a third of the company's stock. She was instrumental in Krupp's dominance of kitchen appliances and a staunch supporter of Krupps disengagement from military technology." The TV continued as Tea fell to the ground in tears.
"There gone, my sisters are gone, I'm the only one left." Tea said quietly.
Bernice quickly killed the TV, as Katerina rushed to her daughter. "Tea it will be alright," She said softly leading the distraught girl up stairs.
"What am I going to do now, what's the point anymore, we were fools to think that we could actually get away with it," Tea said softly curled up on the bed.
"Their not dead," Katerina said.
"What that's impossible, the house was a smoking ruin," Tea said.
"Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see," Katerina said taking a seat next to her daughter pulling up several images of the bombing on her laptop.
"Hu," Tea said turning to look at the screen.
"There was a battle at the house, not a terrorist bombing," Katerina said pointing to several craters shown in the background. "See that wheel, it's not from a standard model car or SUV, that's military grade most likely for an up armored vehicle."
"And those look like tire tracks leading away from the house," Tea added focused on the images. "And those look like foot prints leading into the woods, but what about the explosion?" Tea asked.
"Good call I didn't even see those," Katerina exclaimed. "Someone rigged the house to explode alright, but it was a controlled blast and not a random bombing, see how there is less debris in one direction and that part of that house is standing."
Tea nodded in response.
"I bet, that crazy little sister of yours rigged the place to blow to cover her tracks," Katerina explained.
"So my sisters are alive," Tea said with a bright smile.
"Yes and more than likely looking for a little payback." Katerina replied.
"Dr. Zepplin, I trust your other endeavors were more fruitful beyond that disaster plastered all over the news." Mr. Cruest said entering her lab.
"Sir, I thought it would be best to catch them off guard, and I didn't know when they would be moving again." Dr. Zepplin replied nervously from behind her desk.
"While you failed to capture them, the mission was still a partial success, and we can move our plans up significantly as the EU stalls." Mr. Cruest said looking through a window into the next room. "What is the status of the second generation cyborgs?" Mr. Cruest asked looking over four teenage girls currently secured to a complex array of medical machinery.
"The body conversions were a success, and they are currently undergoing the neurological adjustments and conditioning." Dr. Zeppelin replied.
"What is the status of their enhancements," Mr. Cruest asked.
"Their power is 25% less than the generation one cybogs, but their weight has been reduced by 50% increasing their power to weight ratio by fifty percent. As a whole they will be quicker and more agile than the generation one cyborgs. There durability was not affected due to advancements in nanotechnology." Dr. Zeppelin explained.
"Excellent Dr. but what about the neurological enhancements," Mr. Cruest asked.
"Their baseline senses are the same as the first generation but lack the specific enhancements Dr. Bianchi's team tested in each of the girls." The good doctor answered.
"And the special enhancements," Mr. Cruest asked turning to face her.
"I won't know for sure until, the cyborgs are awake." Dr. Zeppelin replied.
Her boss raised an eyebrow in response. "I paid you a lot of money to develop the second generation doctor."
"Some of those enhancements are not humanly possible sir, I don't know how a human brain, even an enhanced one will react to stimuli it never evolved to handle." The good doctor replied starting sweat.
"For your sake I hope that they do," Mr. Cruest replied stepping away from the window. "When can they be ready for deployment?"
"As soon as their handlers come in for the imprinting process the girls will be ready to go," Dr. Zeppelin answered.
"Good, I will have them arrive in three days," Mr. Cruest said as he left the lab.
"You know for being on house arrest these accommodations aren't bad," Bernardo quipped as Cornelia entered the small apartment he was currently squirreled away in.
"You are not under house arrest Mr. Esposito," Cornelia replied.
"And yet I can't leave," Bernardo replied lounging in front of a TV.
"You are a material witness in an ongoing investigation and it is for your own protection," Cornelia replied.
"And I told you I have no idea what you are talking about," Bernardo replied. "I'm just a antique furniture salesman," he groaned in frustration.
"Bullshit, Cornelia cursed tossing a newspaper onto the coffee table.
"What's this," Bernardo asked.
"Read it and then tell me you have no ideas what is going on," Cornelia ordered.
Padania the Governments and Industry
by- Patrica Ricci
As previously reported in the prior segment Padania the Truth behind the Violence, the Padania is an off shoot of the League Norde acting as the military arm for the northern separatist movement. This group burst onto the scene with the violent murder of the entire Croce family save the elder brother Jean, and Jose, now accused of working for the very people that destroyed their family. The Padania was decried by both the government and many of the separatist movements it supposedly supported, and several closed down in light of the violence. What is more striking is the government's response to lump all of the former separatist movements together with the Padania and begin a brutal string of crack downs against them. Within six months the only separatist groups left were the radical Padania faction. It makes one wonder just what the current administration which has been in power since just before the Croce affair is thinking. Not even the British pursued such a violent course of action during the troubles.
The administration's actions are brought further into question when with a little digging it was discovered that the recently formed Nergal Industries, an up and coming weapons and biotechnology firm, has ties to several business's thought to be supporting the Padania, and it has made multiple large donations to the current ruling party. This is no mere coincidence as the donations have been occurring for close to a decade beginning a full four years prior to the Croce affair. It is also worth noting that the current Prime Minister was the founder of Nergal industries and only stepped down several days prior to his appointment. Thus the question remains just what are the goals of the true Padania, movement, their financial backers, and our own government.…
Son of a bitch…. Those crazy bastards….. Bernardo sat in shock as the implications of the article began to sink in. "Those fuckers would screw the world to make a few extra dollars. Their insane….." Bernardo muttered.
"I trust I have your attention now," Cornelia asked.
"You might," Bernardo said regaining his composure as his eyes roved over Cornelia's flawless form.
"Good, now who is Beatrice," Cornelia asked.
"My niece," Bernardo replied still wary of his captor.
"Who happens to have friends that told me to seek out a Dr. Bianchi, for my paralyzed sister and said to stay away from the Italian Social Welfare Agency," Cornelia replied.
Bernardo struggled to keep the shock from showing on his face from her words. Beatrice, what did you tell her...
"I thought you liked the guy," Roberta asked glancing at Patricia as she fidgeted nervously in her seat.
"I do, it's just so much has happened since the last time I saw Marco," Patricia replied.
"I can only imagine," Roberta said knowing that the reporter was persona non grata at the moment.
"Yeah, Marco has a lot to answer for," Patrica said as Hillshire and Marco entered the room flanked by prison guards.
"You have twenty minutes," the one guard replied before closing the door.
No sooner than the door closed Patrica was out of her seat, "You bastard," Patrica yelled slapping Marco across his fate. "That was for lying to me," Patrica said glaring at him.
"Patricia, I'm …" Marco started before she crashed her lips into his.
"And this is for trying to make things right," Patricia said breathing heavy as their lips parted.
Silence descended on the room as Marco and Patrica continued to enjoy each others company once more. "You do realize this is a meeting with your lawyer and not a conjugal visit," Roberta quipped as hands began disappearing up shirts.
"Lucky SOB," Victor muttered glancing over Roberta attractive form causing the woman to blush.
The pair quickly jumped apart, "Sorry about that," they said in unison.
"So how is our case progressing," Victor asked as they took a seat at the small table.
"It's not," Roberta replied.
"What do you mean, last week they were ready to crucify us," Marco asked.
"Mr. Hartman, I hate to bring the bearer of bad news but ….." Roberta began.
"What happened has Triela been captured," Victor asked cutting her off.
"No, I don't know how to say this, but," Roberta hesitated.
"Victor, your mother and sisters were killed when your family vacation home in the black forest was leveled by an explosion. The major news outlets are clamming it was perpetrated by the Padania in retaliation for kidnapping Italian children." Patricia explained.
"Survivors ….." Victor choked out shedding a silent tear for his family.
"None have been reported," Patricia replied.
"Did they recover any remains," Marco asked.
"No, my contacts in the German police force, said the only evidence recovered were, wreckage of car, spent shell casings, blood splatter and some odd explosive residue." Roberta explained.
"Then the girls are still alive," Marco replied.
"How can you be so sure," Patricia asked.
"Their bones and joints are made up of a unique carbon fiber, and titanium composite, which would have survived being immolated in the explosion." Marco replied.
"Thank goodness," Patricia said letting out a sigh of relief at Angelica's apparent survival.
"What about my mother and sisters," Victor asked quietly.
"That is the odd thing," Roberta added.
"Explain," Victor asked his dark eyes boring into Roberta's own.
"There is a push to have Hilda and your sisters declared deceased despite a lack of physical evidence. We know that they were staying with the girls at the house, but there is no evidence that they perished in the explosion and no one has been able to contact them. Normally this process should take several years but there is a movement to circumvent the rules at the present time, which doesn't make sense." Roberta explained.
"Someone wants control of mom's shares," Victor replied with a frown. "Mom's maiden name is Krupp and she has a thirty percent controlling interest in ThysenKrupp. She has continually blocked attempts by the other share holders to resume the production and development of weapons." Victor replied.
"Victor you don't think this has something to do with, …." Marco said.
"I do. We know that a Japanese company is involved and Nergal is a multinational company so it's no surprise that the players behind this want the resources of ThysenKrupp." Victor replied.
"What for, Krupp hasn't been in the weapons business since world war two," Marco asked.
"Mom, had the company move into two new areas, kitchen appliances, and medical technology," Victor explained.
"Ok, but what does this have to do with your case," Patricia asked.
"They want control of the Thysenkrupp medical research facility," Marco said, as Victor nodded his head.
"Shit, we have a bigger problem," Patricia blurted out.
"What," Roberta asked.
"According to the documents you left me the Italian operation was just beta testing. The shadow organization plans on moving to full scale production and needs the Thysenkrupp facility to make it happen," Patrica explained.
"Wait you think someone wants to mass produce them, but why," Roberta gasped.
"Money why else," Patrica said. "Think about it those girls would be the perfect assassins or body guards."
"And the best way to take down our girls," Victor said.
Running a hand through her hair Roberta asked. "True, but it still doesn't explain why the government is trying to bury your case and pretend you don't exist."
"Leverage or bait," Marco added.
"Or they want us to disappear," Victor said.
"Well shit," Patricia groaned as their hole just kept getting deeper.
"Times up," the guards called out entering the room.
"Thanks for all your hard work," Victor said.
"Your welcome and I'll do what I can to see that your inheritance is held in trust," Roberta replied a faint blush in her cheeks.
Marco and Patricia shared a final embrace, "You just stay alive, …,.." They said to each other quietly before separating.
I'm sorry Rico but I don't think I can go on much longer. Marching nonstop for nearly a week Henrietta was at the end of her cyborg endurance. Pushing through the snowstorms that blanketed the countryside, Henrietta focused on placing one foot in front of the other as she stumbled blindly as the sun began to rise. I'll just hide in these vines for a bit. Henrietta pulled Rico close curling the two of them into a ball at the base of the vines before finally losing consciousness.
Ugh, the next time I'll just throw the dam thing. Rico slowly opened her eyes blinking repeatedly as the morning sun shown down on her. Propping herself up Rico began examining her surrounding as Henrietta slept soundly curling up around the sheets. Ok, this is definitely not a hotel room. It was a moderately furnished room not unlike her dorm back at the agency sans the bunk bed. The main difference was the pictures adorning the walls. Imposible,…
"Ah your awake," a young woman with shoulder length blond hair said entering the room holding a cup of coffee. Rico could only stare at the woman before her, to stunned to speak.
"My name is Charlotte Batiel, and I found you and your friend sleeping in my grape wines. You're lucky that I harvesting the grapes for ice wine today. Now could you tell me your name," the woman asked.
No freaking way… Rico, continued to alternate staring at the picture of the frail girl in the bed and the old woman sitting next to her.
"That's my, ….." Charlotte began.
"Daughter," Rico said gauging the woman's reaction.
"Sister, actually, she was my younger sister. Mom and dad had me when they were really young so I wasn't around much when she was younger. Florence was an oops child, mom was in her mid forty's and beginning menopause or so we thought, when Florence was born." Charlotte explained.
"What happened to her," Rico asked.
"She was born with limb girdle muscular dystrophy and slowly lost her ability to move as she grew older. Florence was completely bed ridden by age ten, and was permanently hospitalized a year later. I tried to visit as often as I could but, I was finishing college at the time and couldn't get away that often." Charlotte said shedding a tear.
"I'm sorry," Rico said.
"No it's all right, Florence is in a better place now. Mom and dad gave to an organization in Italy for special treatment, but she didn't survive." Charlotte said with a sad smile. "That's enough about my sister, now could you tell me your name," Charlotte asked drying her eyes.
"Florence Batiel," Rico said grinning. "It's been a while big sister," Rico exclaimed.
"It's not possible," Charlotte said her eyes rolling into the back of her head as she lost consciousness.
"Oh, my head," Charlotte said shaking her head as she slowly sat up. "I haven't dreamed of Florence in a long time, but that girl we found looks just like her."
"Not looks like her, I am her," Rico said.
"Florence, but how it's not possible," Charlotte said holding her long lost sister at arms length.
"It's a long story," Rico said as her older sister pulled her close.
"I don't care, I'm not leaving you again," Charlotte cried.
Sorry, sis, I don't think you'll have a choice in the matter, but I promise to come back this time.
The slow beeps and whirls of medical equipment filled the hospital room as two girls stood in quiet vigil over the sleeping woman sleeping in the bed, and the two younger women sleeping soundly in chairs next to her. Stepping lightly one of the girls laid a tear stained letter on the older woman's chest before leaving the room. Taking one last glance over the women, the young girls silently left the small hospital.
"Where are we headed," Angelica asked as the hospital slowly disappeared behind them.
"I don't know, but we need to get out of the country," Claes said following the signs for Luxembourg.
"Our sisters are still alive and Hilda will recover," Angelica said placing a hand on Claes's shoulder.
"I know, but the sword of Damocles is still there," Claes replied.
"Then it's time to take the sword and fight back," Angelica said.
"But who, we still don't know who is the mastermind behind everything," Claes said.
"Then let's find them. Do you still have the hard drive?" Angelica asked.
"No I dropped it during the firefight, but it's all up here," Claes answered tapping her temple.
"How," Angelica asked.
"Eidetic memory, it seems the doctors gave me some special enhancements as well," Claes replied.
"Excellent, it's about time we put your brain to good use," Angelica said.
Hilda, Mara, and Urd,
Thank you for everything, you took us in and helped us to see that even we who society has used and abused can have a normal life. However our past continues to be a sword of Damocles following us at every turn. You were never meant to be caught up in our problems, let alone hurt because of it. It is our greatest regret that you were nearly killed by our moment of weakness, reveling in the happiness of a normal life. We do not know, what to do next, but we cannot allow anyone else to be hurt. Should we survive, could we celebrate Christmas with you once more, my sisters have never been happier than they were that night.
Claes, and Angelica
PS- I hope you don't mind, but we had to borrow your car
Tears streaked down her cheeks as the morning sun struggled to break through the clouds. Hilda's pain was forgotten as she reread the short letter for the third time tears staining the crude handwritten missive.
"Mom," Urd and Mara exclaimed, bolting awake at the sight of their mother sitting upright in the hospital bed.
"I'll get the doctor," Mara exclaimed jumping from her seat.
"Sit down," Hilda ordered her voice still weak.
"Mom, what's going on," Urd asking looking at the letter clutched tightly in her hands.
"Find them, I don't care what it takes, they will not be facing their demons alone. Triela is, …. no they are all family and no one attacks my family and gets away with." Hilda her quiet voice full of steel as she handed the letter to her daughters. Tears began to scroll down their cheeks as the twins read the heartfelt letter.
"They are not alone," Urd said.
"It's time for some payback," Mara added.
"Good, I trust you girls know what you need to do," Hilda said sharing the same predatory grin as her girls. "Now go get the doctor and find out how long I'm going to be stuck here."
"Feeling any better," Triela asked walking into their room at the small bed and breakfast Triela found after dragging her out of the Black Forest.
"A little sore," Beatrice replied stretching her arms over her head giving Triela an odd look. "Why did you cut your hair, I thought you liked it long."
Triela scowled. "I didn't have a choice, since it was a burnt mess after what you did and if you ever decide that dropping a building on yourself is a good idea, you'll regret it," Triela said taking seat next to her. "And thanks for saving me," Triela said wrapping her arms around the smaller girl.
"You're my sister, and it was all I could think of at the time, to take them all out at once. Plus it is one of those things Bernardo told me not to do," Beatrice replied returning the hug.
"Yeah," Triela looked down at her kid sister. "Well consider the rule back in effect, do not do anything Bernardo told you not to do."
"Nuts," Beatrice spat.
"We don't have time to waste," Triela said tossing handing her a pastry.
"What's the plan," Beatrice said taking a bite of croissant.
"We need to get out of Germany, ASAP" Triela replied.
"What about the others," Beatrice asked.
"I don't know," Triela said sadly. "The last I saw of Henrietta, she was dragging Rico into the woods, while Claes, Angelica, left in the car with Urd, Mara, and Grandma…."
"They will be fine," Beatrice said.
"But Grandma, she isn't like us, and there was so much blood," Triela cried.
"She is a fighter, just like us. She will be up and screaming at someone in no time," Beatrice replied, thinking of their first meeting with the old battle axe.
"You're right. Thanks Beatrice," Triela replied smiling once more. "And if we're fine then that means the others are to. It's going to take a lot more than a bunch of two bit mercenaries to take us down."
"So what is the plan," Beatrice asked.
"For now escape and evade," Triela answered taking stock of their meager supplies.
"And after that," Beatrice asked.
"We end this once and for all," Triela replied checking the slide on her pistols before holstering them.
"How will we know who and what to strike," Beatrice asked getting dressed.
"Claes and I weren't completely idle, the past month," Triela said waiting for a nod from Beatrice before continuing.
"Using the documents our family gave us on the Padania and the Social Welfare agency we were able to trace the main components used in our creation to Nergal industries. Who we know was playing both sides in the Padania conflict. They are the prime suspect in all of this, and have the most to lose if military grade cyborg technology was made public. Also we have discovered that Seboro industries who made those anti-cyborg weapons is a subsidiary of Nergal." Triela explained.
Beatrice subconsciously rubbed her now fully repaired arm. "What about the Akatsuki who killed Mr. Croce's family?" Beatrice asked.
"At the moment I don't know, but I think they are connected to Nergal in some way," Triela answered.
"So where do we start?" Beatrice asked with an eager grin.
"Nergal or its subsidiaries has major operations in nine countries around the world, Italy, Germany, Isreal, USA, Columbia, Russia, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Japan." Triela explained.
"That's going to be a lot of traveling," Beatrice said.
"Consider it a World Tour, it's about time we saw the world outside of Italy," Triela quipped as she began typing away on her cell phone.
Sisters, I am still alive and I know the rest of you are too. We might be physically separated for now, but we are still sisters and it's time for us to strike back. Nergal is at the center of this and it's time we found out what they are really after. Rico and Henrietta, you were heading west from the house, so I want you to search out their facilities in the USA and Columbia. Claes, and Angelica, see what you can find in Russia and Taiwan. Beatrice and I will take Germany, Israel, and Indonesia. We meet in Japan in six months. Update us if and when you find anything, and keep the chatter to a minimum. Stay safe, good luck and good hunting. Love Triela
"Now let's get going, there is a medical research facility in Munich with our names on it," Triela said.
"Welcome gentlemen, please take a seat," Mr. Cruest said as the group entered a small conference room.
"As you no doubt are aware the Italy and by extension has entered a state of crisis due to recent events," Mr.s Cruest said.
"That's an understatement one of the men quipped under his breath.
"Something you wish to add Mr. Ricci.
"No sir," the man quickly replied.
Nodding Mr. Cruest continued. "What has not been released to the media is that these events were caused by the renegade actions of a few individuals operating under the auspices of public safety section 2, known publicly as the social welfare agency." Mr. Cruest explained as the lights dimmed and a projector started up.
"Now the purpose of the organization was to test experimental cyborg technology and work towards wide spread implementation. However the group was high jacked by the Croce, brothers after the death of their father, and they trained the young girls to use their experimental and enhanced bodies to wage a campaign of death against the Padania. The brothers were able to convince several others to their cause as well." the Prime minister explained as images of the girls and their handlers scrolled across the screen.
"When the Minister of Defense finally caught wind of their operation and moved to shut it down, the girls escaped. We need the girls apprehended as soon as possible before they move to further destabilize the continent in a misguided campaign of revenge against us." Mr. Cruest explained.
"How do you expect us to stop for what all intensive purposes is a walking tank," Allasandro Ricci asked.
"Yes, a single person against one of the girls is almost certain death so for the duration of this mission you will be paired with a second generation cyborg that would have otherwise been dead had she not volunteered for the alteration. I believe in your case Mr. Ricci she was a ballerina who tried to commit suicide when the doctors were forced to remove her leg due to cancer." Mr. Cruest explained.
"Now your goal is to capture the girls the girls if possible, but if that is not possible, the escaped cyborgs are to be put down. Your specific mission assignments will be given once you have had a chance to familiarize yourself with your cyborg and give them basic instruction," He explained.
"What kind of basic instruction," another man asked.
"The cyborization process allows us to implant the required knowledge for your mission, firearms, hand to hand, and languages, but the girls have no experience with it. Plus they will not be accustomed to the enhanced abilities granted to them by their bodies. Take a few days to get your partner up to speed and by then I will have your mission assignments."
"Sir, Mr. Ricci's cyborg is awake," a woman said stepping into the room.
"Exceellent, Mr. Ricci, Olga here will take you to your cyborg." the prime minister said.
After Allesandro left the room Mr. Cruest turned to the remaining four men. "Now then gentlemen, while Mr. Ricci will remain chasing shadows here in Italy your job is to eliminate the generation one cyborgs. The two belonging to the Croce brothers were seen heading west into the woods just before the house exploded.
"I want them," Dante said eager for revenge against the pair that killed many of his associates.
"The cyborgs belonging to Captain's Raballo and Toni, left in a car carrying the injured Hidla Hartman and her daughters," Mr. Cruest said.
"Yarrow and I will take them," a man named Lupa replied.
"Very well, that leaves the Hartman and Esposito cyborgs to you. They were not seen leaving the site, and their bodies were not recovered after the explosion so we believe them to still be in the vicinity of the Black Forest." Mr. Cruest said.
"Hartman's girl was reported to be the premire cyborg and Esposito's is a damn bloodhound this won't be easy," the final man said.
"Olga, will be on standby should the need arise, Mr. Lupa," Mr. Cruest replied.
"Good," Lupa replied.
"Are there any other jobs you want us to have our girls carryout," Dante asked.
"Yes, but get your cyborgs up to speed. Once they are ready we will be making the world a much more profitable place." Mr. Cruest said with a wicked smile.
Author's note- The story will have a slightly different setup than Great Escape, as the next chapter will begin a series of 7 chapter mini arcs telling the story of girls journeys, one each for Henrietta/ Rico, Claes/ Angelica, Triela/ Beatrice, and Tea, not necessarily in that order.