Twilight Suzuka. Known throughout the galaxy as one of the most deadly assassins
in the business. Once she takes a job, it can be considered done, as long as you
can pay. She is known for striking precisely at sunset, hence her name. None of
her targets have anything to fear until that time.
But little else is known about this beautiful assassin. It has been said
recently that she has joined as crew for a private star ship, but these rumors
are unconfirmed.
What drives this woman?
Dose she search for something? Or someone?
What secrets lie within her heart?


OUTLAW STAR: AT FIRST GLANCE
PART ONE
GHOSTS OF YESTERYEAR

NEAR BLUE HEAVEN

Aboard the star craft known as the Outlaw Star, five people, each with
different pasts, work together to get through the endless expanse of space. In
the cockpit, Gene Starwind, the de facto captain, sat in the central seat,
looking over the various indicators of the ship. A tall man with a wild shock of
red hair, he smiled to himself as he looked about the cabin.
In front of him was the ship's chief, and only, engineer, Jim Hawking.
Many would have called Gene insane for giving such an important position to a 10
year old boy, but Gene had known the young boy for a long time and the two had
been through much together. Jim may still be waiting puberty, but all who knew
the duo could and would swear that he was the mature one. Also in charge of the
ships' and the crews, finances, Jim was often planning ahead, since Gene would
not. Gene smiled to himself, he didn't say so often, but he like the boy, and
would not still be alive if not for him.
The outlaw did not need to turn around to know that Melfina, the ships
navigator was in her interface tube. An artificially constructed being, Mel was
often besieged with questions of the meaning of her existence. When she wasn't
floating naked in the tube, a sight Gene often tried to ignore for the good of
his blood pressure, the girl could usually be found in the kitchen, preparing
meals for everyone.
A flash of black to his right reminded him of the elegant woman seated at
ships systems. Twilight Suzuka moved with a clam sense of purpose in everything
she did, making the simplest of movements graceful. One would never be able to
guess from looking that she was also one of the most dangerous assassins in the
galaxy. Thou she had not taken any such assignments for some time, she often
provided a boost the Outlaw Stars' funds by doing some bounty hunting at the
various places they stopped at. Gene allowed himself a small smirk at the
thought of the only time she ever failed an assignment.
A small noise to the left, a happily repeated 'meow', reminded him of the
Outlaw Star's most annoying, in his opinion, crew member. Aisha Clanclan, the
only non-human on board, was a Catarl Catarl, a race of felinoids with a fierce
reputation as fighters. Gene had seen her in action enough times, more then once
against himself, to know the truth behind the reputation to be, if anything,
understated. He suppressed the urge to tell her to shut up as she tapped away at
her station, sensors, knowing that it would only end with a long triad about the
greatness of the Catarl Catarl, and herself in particular.
"Blue Haven is within communication range." Gilliam, the Outlaw Star's
computer informed them.
"Alright Gilliam, open a link." Gene commanded.
"Outlaw Star, this is Blue Haven Approach. Please state your purpose and
the length of your stay." The soft, feminine voice of the Approach operator
sounded over the speakers.
"We read you Approach. This is Gene Starwind, captain of the Outlaw Star,
we just need to resupply. We should only need about five days total."
"Understood Captain Starwind, proceed on approach to hanger 12. Welcome to
Blue Heaven."
Suzuka blocked Gene's voice as he tried to flirt with Approach; she had
other things on her mind. A discreet use of the comm. array, easily overlooked
thanks to Gene's ever reliable libido, got her in contact with Taki, her...
friend at Blue Haven. The tall assassin had met the equally cool brunette years
ago when one of her assignments coincided with Taki's. The man was apparently
more disliked then either had thought. After completing the job, the two women
had stayed in touch with each other over the years, meeting once or twice a year
outside of business. Suzuka was never really sure who found out the others
secret first, but one morning saw her waking with the other girl in her arms.
After a few days of tension, they reestablished their relationship to the
others satisfaction. Though they never made more of their feelings, the two knew
they would always have someone to be with. A few years ago, Taki had retired
from field work and had taken a position in her clan at Blue Haven. She smiled
when Taki's face appeared on her board.
"Well, well. Suza-chan, I didn't expect to see you again so soon. What
brings you back here?" The Ninja Mistress smiled at her.
"We're just passing though Taki-chan." Suzuka told her, "We'll be in for a
few days and I was wondering if you had some free... assignments."
Taki smirked and looked off-screen for a second before looking back.
"Well, I think I could come up with something. See you at the usual place?"
The raven-haired woman nodded with a smile. "I'll meet you there." She
closed the link and resumed listening to her 'captain.'
"...on! I know of a great place near there, we can get a meal, go for a
walk..." Gene got no farther when Approach cut the link. Jim snickered.
"Way to go Gene, you had her eating out of your palm alright."
Suzuka smiled and shock her head; she needed to get away from here as soon
as they docked. All of them needed it she thought, as she prepared the ship of
docking, especially after the near failure of their last job. Behind her,
Aisha's ear twitched.
"Hmmm, so Suzie has an assignment for herself. I think I'll follow her,
maybe get the money myself. Hump, that'll show that stuck up human to look down
on a Catarl Catarl warrior, especially Aisha Clanclan."

****

THE JADE SERPENT
BLUE HEAVEN

To most of the people of Blue Heaven, the Jade Serpent was a great place
to eat a quick but good meal. But to a few, those who had the right connections,
it was a place to hire some of the best assassins in the quadrant. The ninja
mistress of the area, a petite,
slip of a girl named Taki, was often seen walking among the tables as the
hostess of the restaurant. Those who were seeking something not on the menu
would speak to this woman and, after a few days, their problem would be gone.
Sometimes, a customer would not want to pay and, more then once, would assume
Taki was just a pretty middle woman and try to force there way out. Those few
usually found that the Ninja Mistress was just as capable as her field agents.
Twilight Suzuka walked in from the outside street and spotted Taki by the
bar, after politely refusing a table from the waiter; she walked to the bar and
ordered a green tea.
"Suza-chan, so good to see you again." Taki smiled grasping the taller
woman's shoulders and placing a kiss on both cheeks. Suzuka smiled and covered
Taki's hands with her own.
"As always, Taki-chan, it is a pleasure to see you as well." Suzuka
smiled. "Shall we go to a booth?"
Taki nodded and the two women left the bar to head to the back of the
restaurant where other business was often discussed. Suzuka allowed Taki to
enter the booth first before sliding in after her. Once out of casual sight,
Suzuka abandoned her normal aloofness and pulled the smaller woman against her,
her lips seeking Taki's. When they pulled apart, both women were breathing
faster. Taki gave Suzuka a small smile.
"Well now, not that I'm complaining, but what was that for?" Suzuka gazed
into her friend's eyes for several seconds before responding.
"I have missed you Taki-chan, it's been harder then I thought to work with
others again."
Taki looked at her old friend thoughtfully. She had rarely seen Suza-chan
so upset, it was almost like... Taki blinked as a thought occurred to her.
"So tell me what you've been up to. Last I heard, you and the, Outlaw Star
wasn't it, were in the Antiga system doing some job for a company."
Suzuka's mouth twisted into a frown as she remembered, "Yes, a band of
poachers was taking animals from the companies endangered species preserve. We
cornered them in the mountains but that... animal... botched everything up and
they got away. The only good thing about that escapade was that we got the
animals back, so we got half of the reward money."
"By 'animal' I assume you mean that other woman, what was her name?"
"Aisha Clanclan, a Catarl Catarl. She's been something of a thorn in our
sides for as long as she's been with us. She invited herself to join saying
something to the effect that she owned the Outlaw Star." Taki raised an eyebrow,
surprised at the level of emotion this woman could get out of her long-time
friend and sometimes lover. "So you this Aisha is the one responsible for the
problem?"
"She has no sense of subtlety, no tact and most defiantly no sense of
teamwork. She just walked right into the camp after we had already decided to
sneak in. It was fortunate that the poachers were surprised by the stupid move
enough so that the rest of us could get to her in time to prevent the whole mess
from blowing up, literally." Taki recognized the signs of frustration from her
long association with Suzuka and gave her a half-smile.
"I see. So you actually wanted a real assignment then?" Suzuka nodded.
"Yes, I could us a chance to blow off some steam, a nice bounty hunt
sounded like just the thing." The tall assassin smiled at the smaller one, "That
and spending some time with you." Taki smiled.
"You flatter me." She pulled a small notepad from her vest and looked
through it. "Well is an outstanding bounty on a character calling himself
Heaven's Vengeance or some such nonsense. He's managed to escape capture for a
few months now, last I heard. He has a bunch of combat robots to do his biding,
his 'Avenging Angels' if I remember correctly." Suzuka blinked and smiled.
"Sounds perfect. I just have to get by a dozen or so combat robots then?"
Taki sweetdroped at the almost eager look in Twilight Suzuka's eyes. "Um,
yes about that, he had sixteen at the last report I got. I would recommend
taking someone with you though."
"No, there isn't anyone around here that I know well enough besides you
that I would trust with watching my back."
"Aw Suzie, I'm hurt!" A new voice intruded. Both women turned in surprise
to look at a smugly grinning Aisha. "After all we've been through together. I
would think that you would jump at the chance to work with Aisha Clanclan of the
great Catarl Catarl Empire!" Suzuka had paled when she had first seen the
catwoman, but she recovered quickly and frowned at Aisha.
"And why, pray tell, would I want to work with a beast like you?" She
asked scornfully.
Aisha growled her form swelling slightly with her anger. "Who are you
calling a beast? I'll have you know I can do anything you can do, but better.
I'll bring in this bounty by tomorrow morning!"
"Please. This requires grace and subtlety, neither of which you have!"
Taki had looked from one woman to the other through out their exchange, an
idea forming in the back of her mind. With a smile, she slipped out the other
side of the booth and stepped between the two. "Now, now ladies, let's be civil
about this." She turned to Aisha and leaned against the table as she gazed at
the Catarl Catarl. "I normally don't like to send an unknown on any of my
assignments; I'll need to... test you." She told the woman.
"Test me? No problem, bring it on. I'll beat your little test without
breaking a sweat!"
"I was hoping you'd say that." Taki purred, gliding right up to Aisha. Her
arms wrapped around a startled Aisha's lightly furred neck. "Hmm... I had heard
that a Catarl Catarl's ears are sensitive," She whispered, one hand already
tracing one.
Aisha suppressed a shiver as she tried to get her hear rate back down. "I,
I don't see what that has to with anything." She asked in a shaking voice.
Suzuka's eyes were almost as wide as Aisha's at Taki's actions.
"Taki, what are you doing? She's not like us." Aisha, her mind already
whirling and confused by the unexpected touches, took Suzuka's statement in a
way it was not intended.
"What do you mean Suzie? I'll have you know I can do anything just as good
as you!" Taki smiled, that was too good a line to pass up.
"Let's see about that." Without giving the other woman a chance to ask,
the Ninja Mistress leaned up and claimed Aisha's lips with her own. Both Aisha's
and Suzuka's eyes threatened to pop out of their heads, but soon, Aisha's
emerald eyes had acquired a glaze as she was expertly kissed senseless. When
Taki finally stepped back, Aisha continued to stand where she was, a blank look
on her face. Suzuka, however, was not pleased.
"Are you crazy Taki? Aisha is not interested in other women! We need to
get out of here before she comes too, who knows what she'll do." She already had
her bokken out and pointed at the stunned woman as she eased out of the booth.
Aisha's body shuddered as she closed her eyes and lifted a trembling hand to her
lips. Suzuka froze and moved between Taki and Aisha, determined to keep her
friend safe. Aisha opened her eyes and glared around Suzuka.
"What was that all about?" Taki, having not moved since she finished
kissing her, just smirked.
"I said I would have to test you. Congratulations, you passed." Both crew
women blinked and looked at Taki with almost identical expressions of shock.
"That was your test?"
"What sort of test was that?"
Taki leaned against the table and smiled at both women. "My sort of test."
She answered. "So here's the deal. If one of you brings him in, I'll pay that
one." She raised a finger to cut off both as she continued. "However, if you
both bring him in, I'll double the bounty."
"Neow, how much is the bounty anyway?"
"One hundred thousand wong."
Aisha and Suzuka blinked at the smirking woman. "A hundred thousand wong
for one guy? What'd he do? Kill a governor?" Aisha asked incredulously.
"Well no, but not for lack of trying." Taki replied. "He made an attempt
on the life of Governor Salvador about three weeks ago and four other incidents
have been linked to him since then. The local defense forces are, as usual out
here, less then useless so his Excellency made arrangements with me yesterday."
Suzuka raised a brow.
"The governor himself?" Taki chuckled and shook her head.
"No, it was through an intermediary, but I knew who he worked for. Can't
have a notable political figure seen hiring assassins you know. How would that
look at the next election?" She answered with an amused smirk.
"Hmmm... So where is this goof ball?" Aisha demanded. Taki smiled wider at
the impatient woman.
"Last word was that he was in the Field, about thirty klicks out, on one
of the lager rocks. He has an underground base built there. I'll have a sled and
some suits ready for you in an hour. The sled will drop you off with a portable
pulse beacon. When you finish or need to pull out, get to the surface and
trigger it. It has a fifty second life, so you only get one shot at extraction.
If you miss it, you're on your own."
Aisha blinked but said nothing, slightly thrown off by the formally
cheerful, if sardonic, woman's change of demeanor. Suzuka merely nodded, used to
dealing with Taki when she was in business mode. She was actually being more
generous then usual, in most assignments like this, the beacon wouldn't be give.
The assassin either succeeded or was killed.
"I understand. I will be ready in thirty minutes."
"Huh? Hey! You're not gunna get a head start on me Suzie! I'm ready now!"
Aisha proudly told Taki, a thumb jabbed between her breasts and a smirk on her
face. Suzuka sighed and rolled her eyes, causing Taki to smother a giggle.
"Your eagerness is admirable my dear. But weather you're ready now or in
thirty minutes, the sled won't be until an hour. Please, sit and enjoy a meal,
on the house." Leaving the two with a bright smiles and a conspiratorial wink,
though neither woman was sure why, the assassin mistress walked toward the
kitchens. Aisha blinked and tilted her head with a soft 'neow' before looking at
Suzuka.
"You know Suzie," She told her companion, "You're friend is weird."
Suzuka glared at the Catarl warrior next to her before setting herself
back in the booth. "Kettle thou art black." She said, to Aisha's confusion,
"Besides, you have yet to explain why or how you are here." Aisha blinked and
smiled, sliding opposite Suzuka.
"Oh that was easy, I heard you talking to that woman before we pulled in
and I decided to follow you and show you how a Catarl Cartarl warrior handles a
bounty hunt." She told the other woman with pride. Suzuka blinked a few times
before sighing again.
"Only you would be proud of the fact that you eavesdropped." She mumbled.
Not feeling like continuing the conversation, the dark-haired woman picked up a
menu and began to decide on her meal.
Across from her, Aisha smiled a little wider before settling back with her
own menu. Occasionally she would look over the top at the elegant woman she was
sharing the table with. As usual, she felt a slight stab of envy toward the
woman. She always projected such an aura of confidence and grace that Aisha
sometimes wished she could have. Suppressing a sigh, the catwoman glanced back
down to her menu, briefly wondering if this was such a good idea after all.

****

OUTSIDE BLUE HEAVEN
ONE HOUR LATER

As she promised, an hour later Aisha and her reluctant partner were
bundled up in space suits, helmets resting beside them, and on there way in one
of Blue Haven's small asteroid runners. Built to find asteroids with metals and
ice, the small range space craft commonly referred to as sleds are not the most
comfortable of craft for the pilot, let alone passengers. A fact both women were
experiencing first hand as they tightly held the handgrips to keep from floating
away in freefall. Their meal having been eaten in silence, with the exception of
Aisha's 'vigorous' eating habits, the two women waited by the small craft docks
for Taki's sled driver, an old man named Kuan, to finish fueling his craft.
"Ya ready back dar?" Kuan's voice called over the intercom, "Ah'm o'er da
drop point."
Aisha was a second behind Suzuka in getting her helmet on and sealed,
seeing her fitted, Suzuka hit the bulkhead behind her with the metal pipe Kuan
had given them for the purpose of signaling when they were ready.
"All's rig't 'en." He called back. "G'luk!" With that, the floor hatch
opened, showing a small asteroid five meters below them. Letting go, the two
women used maneuvering thrusters to drop to the rock. The sled, doors already
closing, was pulling away almost before they cleared it.

Inside the cockpit, Kuan smiled to himself as he angled the sled back
toward the docks. "I hope Mistress Taki was right about you two ladies." He
said, all trace of the rough spacers speech gone, "I'll be watching for your
signal. Be careful."

****

It took almost an hour for Suzuka to find an asteroid similar to the one
Taki had told them about. During that hour, she reminded herself exactly why it
was she hated space walks. She signaled Aisha, once again cursing that the suit
had no radios, over from the other side of the floating rock they were on and
together expended the last of their fuel on the jump to the likely rock holding
the base of Heaven's Vengeance.
According to the small display on her left arm, she had about fifteen
minutes of air left. Suzuka narrowed her eyes and frowned, they needed to find
his base soon or else signal for pick up and abandon the entire job. The idea of
abandoning a job did not sit well with the dark-haired woman so she pushed the
countdown to the back of her mind and focused on the rockscape before her.
Aisha looked around absently while she kept an eye on Suzie, she knew the
Human woman was in excellent physical shape, but she had to be nearing the end
of her oxygen supply. Aisha wasn't concerned about herself, after all, Catarl
Catarl were immortal, Suzie wasn't. That weird Taki woman would probably not
like it if Suzie died. She wasn't sure if she read things correctly back at the
Jade Serpent between Suzie and that Taki girl, but it looked like they were
mates, or something.
Human relationships always confused Aisha, they would say they liked
someone when their scents clearly said otherwise and acted contrary to what they
say. She had heard something about same gender relationships not being approved
of for some reason, but she failed to see why. If two people liked each other
what was wrong with them getting together? Among the Catarl Cartarl, if two
wished to become mates, they only had to ask the others parents and that was
that. Offspring could be worked out later through either medical assistance or
an intermediary of the family if the two could not do so themselves.
Aisha sighed and shook her head, she would never understand Humans.

****

A large man sat back in a red, velvet chair, his thick hands stroking the
hair of the scantily clad woman sitting on the floor beside him as he watched a
monitor showing the surface of his abode. A whimsical smile crossed his features
as he observed the two suited figures stumble around, looking for an entrance.
"Oh, we have guests! How nice."
"Two humanoids Master," another woman called from her kneeling position by
the sensor panel. "A Human and a Catarl Catarl, both female" The man perked up
at that.
"A Catarl Catarl woman? Oh goodie, I don't have one of those in my
collection! Where is the nearest entrance to her?"
"Sector 5 Master." The woman replied promptly. "Do you wish me to send a
security force to retrieve her?" The man blinked at the woman momentarily, still
smiling, before looking back to the screen, a malevolent glint in his eyes.
"No, open the rock face; I want to see if she can get here on her own. If
she does, lead her into the Chamber."
"Yes Master, what do you want done with the Human female?" The man smiled
brightly.
"I have enough Human women, kill her."
"Yes Master." She nodded and typed at the board before her. The man
climbed to his feet and, in powerful strides, crossed behind her. The woman
shuddered slightly as she felt his hand on her shoulder.
"Such a good Muse." He whispered near her ear. "Come to my rooms in five
minutes and show me how much you care for me."
"Yes Master." She said simply. Somewhere inside her head, the woman once
known as Inspector Rashel, screamed and pounded at the walls that once were her
mind. Muse 28 blinked and shook her head before passing her station to Muse 15;
she needed to please her Master, and being late was not the way to do it.

****

Aisha was starting to get worried; Suzie had stumbled five times in the
last twenty minutes and was walking unsteadily. The Catarl warrior was sure her
air had run out but, being the naturally stubborn Human that she was, Suzie had
not asked for help. Pressing her lips together, Aisha strode up behind the dazed
assassin and slipped one of her arms over her shoulder. The helmeted head turned
to her in surprise and Aisha narrowed her eyes at the face inside it. Suzie was
pale and her eyes were dilating, Aisha didn't even think she could she where she
was going.
"That's it," She told Suzie, even though she knew the other woman wouldn't
hear, "We're pulling out of here now." As she reached for the beacon clipped to
Suzie's waist, her other hand lifted to point unsteadily to the left.
Aisha looked to where Suzie was pointing, her eyes widened at the metal
airlock set back into a rock face, all but invisible between it's recessed
position and the lack of light on it.
"Huh, okay Suzie, you win." She conceded, nearly dragging her companion to
the airlock. She blinked at the control panel in confusion for a few seconds,
wondering what the code could be. An increase of weight on her side caused her
heart to speed up as she turned to Suzie.
"Oh crap!" She swore, Suzie's face was an unhealthy blue and it did not
look like she was breathing. "Aggghhh! I don't have time to find any stupid
code!" Aisha lifted Suzie up and set her beside the airlock. She crouched and
pulled her fist back. With a blood curling howl, her fist shot forward with
enough power to snap this stupid door like tinfoil...
...and passed right under the lifting door, causing Aisha to stumble in
and fall on her face with a startled cry. She pushed herself back up with a
quick shake of her head.
"Neow?" She looked around, the airlock was empty and no one was on the
other side so... how'd it open? She decided to worry about that later, she
turned and pulled Suzie into the airlock, noticing as she did, that the
assassin's elbow had been resting on the open button of the panel. Aisha looked
blankly at the panel then at Suzie for a few seconds before screaming:
"THAT WAS ALL THERE WAS TO IT?!?" Grumbling darkly under her breath she
hit the close-and-cycle button and waited as air filled the room. She tossed her
helmet to the ground and quickly removed Suzie's. Aisha bit her lip in worried
confusion upon seeing Suzie lay there, unbreathing still.
"C'mon Suzie, you got air here, why don't you breathe?" She worried her
hands on the suit; unmindful that she was ripping it to shreds as she tried to
think of was to get her friend breathing again.
"Agghh! Damn it! Why didn't I pay attention to Jim when he was taking
about first aid?" When the last of her suit fell to the ground, Aisha suddenly
remembered that one thing Jim told her about, Seapeare or something like that.
She looked at Suzie's mouth with a faint blush as she lowered her own to her
friends.

****

"Imouto-chan? Can you hear me?"
There was a bright light in her eyes and someone was speaking to her, why
couldn't they let her sleep? It was Sunday; she didn't have any training with
Okaa-san today.
"Come on Suza-chan. You listen to your sister now; you don't want me to
get Okaa-san do you?"
Wait... That voice, she shouldn't be hearing it should she?
"You should practice your forms little one, you don't want Hitoriga-san to
beat you do you?"
A voice, laughing with amusement, one she hadn't heard in so many years...
"Ane-san?"
"That's right. Wake up now Suza-chan."
She opened her eyes, the smiling face and twinkling violet eyes of her
elder sister, Rei was hovering over hers. Seeing her eyes open, Rei smiled wider
and sat back.
"About time imouto-chan, I was wondering if you were planning to sleep all
day." Suzuka sat up; she recognized the room as her old one she used to share
with her sister before...
"Ane-san? But, you died..."
Rei smiled softly and smoothed the hair back from her ten-year old sister.
"I know Suza-chan, but you avenged me. You avenged us all, but it's over
now."
Suza-chan sighed and looked at her bed mat, a strange feeling filling her
heart.
"I'm dead, aren't I?" Rei's smile faded as she sighed, gathering Suza-chan
in her arms.
"Dose that bother you?" She asked softly. Suza-chan gazed at her small
hands, hands that had never taken a life, that wasn't stained with blood. She
was innocent again, she should be happy shouldn't she? So what was missing?
*Whoa. That's a big stick you got there. Wanna see mine? Hahaha...Ow!*
...Gene.
*Oh, hello Suzuka-san. Your tea is on the table already.* ...Melfina.
*Hey Suzuka. I just need to ask what supplies you want me to get for you.*
...Jim.
*Come on Suzie! It'll be fun!* ...Aisha.
"My friends..." She whispered. Rei chuckled softly.
"Always loyal huh? Just like my little Suza-chan. Nothing has changed
that, not even what you had to do to find him."
"Rei-anesan, thank you for understanding and for forgiving me." A bright
laugh, one she had so missed, so full of life's energy filled a room suddenly
too bright, she couldn't see. Where..?
"You certainly took your time, huh itooshi?" A forest grove at springtime,
the flowers were in bloom. Those flowers always were a favorite of...
"Maya?" The smirking blonde was sitting on a branch above her. With a
smile, she dropped in front sixteen-year-old Suzuka and pulled her in a hug.
"Who else? Now we can be together forever! Ain't it so cool?"
"Maya-koi." Eternity with her first love. Why didn't it feel...right?
*Suza-chan! Welcome to my new place. I'm going to call it the Jade
Serpent.* ...Taki.
*Hey Suzie! Let's go see that ice cream place that just opened!* ...Aisha?
"I'm... I'm sorry Maya... I..." A finger placed on her lips cuts her off.
"Don't be my dear one. I will wait for you. And your loved one." She
smiled and winked. "In fact, you had better keep me waiting a long time, you
hear?"
"Maya... ai shiteru." The blonde smiled and leaned in to kiss Suzuka one
last time, as she closed her eyes.
"Okay musume-chan, you can look now." A kind voice, one worn by time but
still beautiful to hear. Suzuka opened her eyes to see the dojo she spent so
many years in. There was a mannequin in front of her, a white kimono, cut to
allow ease of movement was draped over it. She recognized it. It had been
hanging in the closet of her...
"Okaa-san! I can't take this from you!"
"Nonsense." Hitomi told her seventeen-year-old daughter. "I wore it to my
mastery test and I now want you too. It's still in good shape, it'll see a good
many years before it gives out." The elderly matron smiled at her heir. "Maybe
someday you'll give it to your daughter hmm?" Suzuka blushed, how was she to
tell her mom...?
"Oh relax little one. I know about Maya, bring her over tomorrow."
Unconditional love, even knowing what she will be doing. She could stay
here... right?
*Yo Suzie! You coming?* Aisha...
"Okaa-san..." She smiled at her daughter, and no more words need to be
said, except...
"I will always be proud of you musume-chan, no matter what." A swirl of
wind tore the dojo away, leaving a black plain, a faint glow over the far
horizon. Her family was waiting for her, but they would wait for as long as she
needed. Others needed her now. SHE needed her now. Suzuka closed her eyes and
took a deep breath. Twilight Suzuka opened her eyes with a soft smile before she
started to run toward the light.
"Hold on Aisha, I'm coming. Don't start the fun without me."

****

Aisha wasn't sure how long she had been breathing for Suzie as well as
herself when Suzie coughed and began to awaken. She sat back with a bright smile
and her ears perked up happily while she waited for Suzie to get up.
"A... Aisha? Where are we?"
"In that dorks' base. Are you tryin' to kill yourself Suzie? Really,
letting your oxygen run out without telling me." The catwoman sat back with her
arms crossed under her breasts and an indignant expression on her face. Suzuka
looked at her companion with a slightly bemused look and smiled softly. Aisha
cut off her scolding when she caught sight of the strange look in her friends'
eyes.
"Uh... Suzie?" She wasn't really sure what she was asking but Suzuka's
eyes seemed to fill her awareness.
"I'm sorry Aisha." Amazing, Suzuka thought. I never really noticed her
eyes before...
Aisha tried to keep the blush off her face by clearing her throat and
standing up, once again hiding behind the mask of the tough girl. "Well, just
make sure it doesn't happen again. The others would never let me hear the end of
it if I let you die. Now then," Comfortably behind her mask again, she turned
back to Suzuka with a smirk. "Are we gunna get this guy or are we gunna sit here
all day?" Suzuka smiled as she got up, already shedding the suit to reveal her
normal kimono beneath.
"I am ready." She told the warrior. That was stupid Suzuka; she thought to
herself, you know she's not going to be interested. All you did was make her
uncomfortable with you. She quietly sighed as she picked her bokken up, glad
that, like Gene, Aisha failed to look at it too closely before giving it back.
The hall beyond the airlock was plain, double-wide metal and, more
importantly, deserted. Both women ran silently down the passage, keeping an eye
out for opposition.

****

"They are proceeding down corridor 12, Master." Another of his Muses
reported.
The man turned his attention away from Rashel's brilliant red hair to
smile lazily at the woman. "'They?' I thought I said to kill the Human woman. No
matter, send a dozen Angels to take care of it and bring my new girl to see the
Professor."
"Yes Master."

****

Aisha heard the noise first, an almost silent hiss of pneumatics that
heralded a mechanical construct. "Hold up Suzie," She said, stopping and
crouching in her ready stance. "We got the welcome wagon comin' our way."
Suzuka stopped instantly, her bokken snapping before her. "How many?"
Aisha's ear twitched as she tried to sort the sounds out. "Umm... I'd say
at least seven, probably more." Suzuka smiled grimly and nodded.
"No problem."
They both stood ready, waiting for their new playmates to show up. They
didn't have long to wait. A few seconds later, a seven foot humanoid robot
stepped around the up coming turn with its' characteristic steady tread. It
turned its bulky body, thick with armor and spikes, toward them, the red glow of
its eyes focusing on the two intruders. With an equally steady tread, more
robots stepped into view; soon the corridor before them was filled with a dozen
robots. The two groups stood still, gazing at the other until a silent message
was passed, and then they charged each other.



Suzuka ran at the lead robot and with a slight gathering of her chi, threw
a pressure wave at it through the wooden sword. The first robot stumbled
backward, its front platting shattered and internal workings sparking and
useless. The robot behind pushed it out of the way and continued forward. A roar
was her only warning before Aisha shot past her, claws tearing the metal
plating, hair and tail streaming behind her. The felinoid warrior landed in the
between three of them and disappeared in a whirlwind of claws. The robots jerked
about, holes appearing in even lines of four all over their frames.
One of the machines raised an arm and a blade, the edges invisible behind
the ultrasonic field around it, and sliced at Aisha. A shower of sparks fell as
it met Suzuka. Suzuka smirked at the machine before pushing it back and
delivering four rapid slices before turning her back on the new pile of scrap. A
blur passed overhead as a furious Catarl Catarl warrior clamped her arms around
another's head and, with only the slightest effort, ripped the offending object
off. The assassin smiled and to herself and, with the path before her cleared,
spun her blade in a complex series of movements before thrusting forward with a
defiant cry. From the point of her sword, a ripple spread out and down the
corridor, buckling metal and throwing shrapnel into three of the remaining
robots optics and through their bodies.
Almost before the wave faded, Aisha and Suzuka were on the remaining
three. Aisha punched into the chest of the one closest to her, lifted the robot
and tossed it at the second as Suzuka jumped and removed the final ones head
with a lightning fast strike. Both women gave the other a self satisfied smirk
as the last of the robots fell with a hollow 'clang.'

****

"Amazing! Truly a force of nature! I must have her!" The man was almost
beside himself in eagerness.
"Easy Gabriel, we must move with caution, yes, yes caution, that's it."
Gabriel, the self-styled Vengeance of Heaven, turned to the skinny human
man behind him with a growl.
"I must have her Professor; I don't care what you must do to make it
happen. You know our deal just as well as I"
The Professor nodded and pushed his glasses back in place and turned,
leaving the control room.

****

"Say Suzie,"
"How many times must I tell you to not call me that infantile nickname?"
"Whatever Suzie! Anyways, where'd you learn that last attack you did? The
one that ripped up the corridor." Suzuka sighed and glanced at the shorter woman
beside her. Having passed the dozen security robots, the pair had looked about.
Most of the rooms were only storage spaces for various supplies, enough to keep
the station self-sufficient for a couple of years depending on how many people
were aboard. They finally found an elevator down and were waiting for it to stop
when Aisha asked.
"If you must know, it's a move my mother taught me when I was younger. I
don't use it too much because it only really works in close quarters."
"But we've been in plenty of close combat before." Aisha pried.
"Yes, and usually close to the skin of a ship or station. If the passage
broke, we would have lost atmosphere." Suzuka bluntly replied, wishing she would
drop it.
"Oh..." Aisha nodded and remained silent just long enough for Suzuka to
think she was done. "You've never said anything about your mom before. What was
she like?"
Suzuka's knuckles tightened on her sword as she tried to form a reply. She
was saved from an answer by the arrival of the lift however, and she gratefully
grasped the opportunity.
"Come on, we don't have time for useless chatter." Aisha pouted for a
second before entering behind Suzuka.
The lift deposited the two women at the end of a short hallway, two sets
of doors on either side and a set of double doors at the end of the hall lead to
other rooms. Unlike the halls above, this one had deep red carpeting, wooden
panels and soft lighting giving it a much homier feel. Aisha raised a brow.
"Nice. Someone likes his creature comforts." Suzuka nodded and stepped
out, bokken at the ready.
As they moved slowly down the hall, the doors to their right opened.
Suzuka sliced at it as she swung about to face the doorway, Aisha already
waiting for something to come out. When nothing emerged, the two cautiously
approached the arch. Pressing themselves flat against the wall, they made eye
contact with the other and, with a sharp nod, dashed into the room and away from
the door.
Suzuka stood and moved her gaze over the various shelves and tables,
trying to pierce the gloom in the back of the room. Aisha had barely made it in
before she had a hand over her nose.
"Ewww... This place smells terrible!" Suzuka blinked at her friend and
sniffed.
"Laboratory disinfectant. Unpleasant, but hardly to the degree you're
making it out to."
"Quiet Suzie! You don't have my sense of smell."
"Yes, yes, quite right. The Human sense of smell dose not equal that of a
Catarl Catarl. No, no it does not."
Both women looked at the source of the voice as he emerged from the
shadows in the back of the room. Suzuka's eyes widened at the figure, taking in
his dark skin, white hair and wide eyes.
"Professor Khan?!?"



Mirai-Phoenix Presents
-Outlaw Star: At First Glance-
Part One: Ghosts of Yesteryear

Cast
(in order of appearance)

Gene Starwind
James Hawking
Melfina
Twilight Suzuka
Aisha Clanclan
Taki
Kuan
Gabriel
Inspector Rashel
Rei
Maya
Hitomi
Professor Gwen Khan


With the Assistance of
Blue Haven Approach

And
The staff and patrons of

The Jade Serpent


Special Effects by
Your-Brain-On-Drugs

Distributed by
Shoujo-ai.com
And
Fanfiction.net

The story will continue in
-Outlaw Star: At First Glance-
Part Two: Hearts and Mind

See you then!