Ami cast a critical eye over her apartment. Somebody had been through here and had done an excellent job of replacing everything as it was but not good enough for someone with her eye for detail. She immediately went to her bedroom closet and pulled out her large hiking backpack, part of the camping supplies she had bought on a whim but had never used.
What are you doing? Hitomi asked.
"Remember when I mentioned taking a bit of a vacation and going camping. I think now is an excellent time." Ami replied, gathering her tent and portable charge, an expensive piece of equipment that provided enough electricity for her, provided it had enough sunlight. "The Senshi are getting too close and we need to vanish for the time being."
You're not telling me you're actually afraid of those stupid cunts, are you?
"Not afraid but wary. I used to be one of them, remember. I know what they're capable of doing. They know too much and are beginning to suspect. It's time for us to disappear for a while and maybe make this a little more permanent."
Not living in the woods, I hope.
"Perhaps a change of scenery, a largish metropolis, big enough to disappear into but small enough to learn easily." She fished a laptop out from under her bed and placed it inside her pack, which she set by the door. She changed into jeans and flannels, setting more of the same inside her pack, and tied on a pair of hiking boots.
Are we ready?
"Nearly." Ami replied. She took several portable memory drives and stuffed them in her pocket before turning on her other laptop. She activated her command prompt and typed in Activate DH_Omega_Thirteen.
Thirteen was a fail-safe she designed when she first began hunting. To only be used in case she had been found, it was a sleeper virus that destroyed all of the information on a computer's hard drive by overloading the system, literally melting the components of any system it infected and making the information contained therein unsalvageable.
Immediately, the CPU began to hum, the noise increasing as the fan fought to cool the feverish system. The screen flickered and went dark just as acrid smoke began to drift from the vents. The silicone had melted, effectively killing the machine.
That was fun, Hitomi commented.
"Anything else you want to take?"
No. That should do it for me.
"Are you sure? We're not coming back."
Positive. Let's blow this roach motel.
Ami went into the kitchenette and reached into the back of the cupboard, withdrawing a bottle of whiskey, "Well, not quite blow."
She opened the bottle and grabbed a dishtowel, which was soaked in the potent alcohol. She tied the sopping rag around the neck of the bottle and lit it with a pocket lighter. The flames quickly ate at the rag and she pitched the bottle, which smashed against her desk, splashing burning liquid all over the place.
Damn, Hitomi said, if only I could cover my tracks like this.
The apartment was fully engulfed and Ami long gone by the time Haruka pulled up in her car, hoping to catch the petite rogue and deal with her. The firefighters were already working to extinguish the flames and save the other apartments in the complex. She pulled out her mobile and dialed her partner, "She's gone and she's torched her place. I don't think she intends to come back."
"Good riddance." Michiru replied.
"No, this is a problem. Not only has she vanished but she knows we're on to her. She'll be more difficult to apprehend."
"I'll call the others and let them know. Should we call the police"
"I think not. If the Senshi advertise that we have a rogue, it will cause a panic and lead to inconvenient questions. Best we keep this quiet."
"If you say so."
"I do. Besides, we're better equipped to handle this then they are. We can deal with her without their interference."
Ami didn't spare her iron horse as she rode into the mountains that lined the northern portion of Japan. Her heavy pack was secured on her back, containing everything she would need to survive outdoors for a while.
Despite what much of the world thought, her nation was not one massive metropolis and there were many isolated spots in which a person could disappear for a while. One such area was a campsite that she and her parents had visited many times. She could remember everything about it and it was close enough to a small town where she could go for supplies.
She had no fear of the police now. The proud Senshi would abhor calling in back-up of any kind, especially from civilian authorities and would try to conceal her activities as much as possible. She found it ironic that those who were trying to capture her were also assisting her.
Just as dawn was beginning to break, Ami pulled off the highway and down a smaller road that led to the town and camp.
The Senshi gathered for a pre-dawn meeting at the Outers' house. These were dangerous times and they met to discuss a subject that they had hoped would never arise. One of their own had gone rogue and could not be reasoned with. A plan was needed to deal with her.
"We can't just let her wander about." Rei pointed out.
"But what can we do about her?" Makoto asked, "She's already proven her willingness to attack us."
Minako chimed in, "And even if we found a way to put her in prison, can we guarantee that she won't find a way to break out?"
"She murdered her father and she's said she'll kill again."
"Who's to say that wasn't a bluff?"
"You didn't see her." Usagi said in a flat voice, "She was so calm, so business-like, so efficient. She knew how to cause as much pain as possible without much blood loss, keeping him alive as long as possible. Besides, we all know she doesn't bluff."
"What do you want us to do?" Haruka asked.
Usagi was silent as she thought for a moment that stretched into an eternity, "We have only one option. As much as it pains me to say this, she's given us no choice. If any of us come across her, we have to kill her."
Each of their jaws dropped as they stared at her, "Do you realize what you've just said?" Rei asked.
"Yes. It's all very clear to me now."
"At her father's house, Ami gave me a choice. I could save her father by killing her or let her finish and save the innocents he would have otherwise destroyed."
"Usagi," Minako said, "Ami is insane because of what her father did to her. That would have driven anybody off the edge. She needs help."
"Can't you just use the Silver Crystal and heal her?" Makoto asked.
"Heal her of what? This isn't some Youma, or possession. This is Ami. Ami is doing this. She's done it before and she'll do it again. The only way we can stop her is to kill her."
Michiru spoke in low, serious, tones, "You're right, Usagi. This is Ami, the woman who stood and fought beside us as a Senshi and, in recent years, had had her life completely uprooted as she became something else entirely. We can't just give up on her like this."
Rei squirmed uneasily and shivered. She knew that it wasn't Ami acting like this, at least, not by herself. Hitomi was either doing the work for her or putting her up to it.
"Are you absolutely certain?" Haruka asked as everyone's attention fell on their blonde leader.
Usagi had tears in her eyes but she spoke with conviction and authority, "Yes. Ami Mizuno must die."
The district of Tokyo in which Minako lived was not especially prone to crime. Still, she considered having extra locks installed for protection against a certain psychopathic cyborg. After leaving the Outers, she and the other Senshi had spread out and spent the day searching the city for Ami but to no avail. The woman had effectively vanished and though Minako doubted the deranged woman was still in the area, she could very well be lying in wait at any one of their homes.
Someone suddenly grabbed her from behind and pressed a sour-smelling cloth to her face. Her first thought was that her attacker was Ami but this individual was too tall and broad-shouldered. She held her breath as she struggled, first pushing back before surging forward, nearly breaking free. He adjusted his grip, holding her tighter. She stomped down on the toe of his boot, her heel connecting with a solid thud, but it had no effect. She kicked back against his shin with the same results.
Her body worked against her and she took an accidental breath. Her stomach churned with nausea and the room spun. She couldn't control herself as her oxygen-starved brain tried to pump in air but only got more of the powerful narcotic. Her limbs began to grow heavy and her vision dimmed. Finally she sagged forward and a voice proceeded the darkness.
"They've never fought as hard as you. You're going to be fun to break."