This Tale centers around the period between Part 1/3 and 2/3, which would be the Spring or Summer following the gang war.

This Seppuku Tale contains Part 1/3 spoilers and should under no circumstances be read unless Part 1/3 in its entirety has been read first. This Tale contains alcohol abuse, sexual references, and minor vulgarity (the Lt. Seppuku kind.)

== Hold My Beer =

Hammer, nails, drills, welding tools, paint, and even a forklift. Earl Bendek was a busy sort especially when it came to automobiles, on this day, however, every muscle and sweat gland was being put to the accelerator; alone he built the very foundation of a garage expansion project, one that would triple its size and allow for not two, but three vehicles maximum. It was a daring move for true given the gang war that terrorized the Lower City, for if either the Bloody Chain or Red Star caught sight of this construction, either gang would have the Team Seppuku base stormed over with thugs. Fortunately for Earl and Seppuku, this expansion project did not call for exterior work to the base, it only called for the knocking down of storage room walls to result in one large room. This much had been accomplished, now Earl found himself creating a support structure for the expanded section's ceiling.

The Korean had gone the long mile of putting up and balancing a solid steel support beam from ground to ceiling, but it was atop a tall ladder that he made a frustrating discovery.

"Damn it, are you kidding me?" He didn't want to believe it, but he couldn't doubt his eyes; the support beam was just a few inches too short. "Fine, no support structure, then. Won't find my car ever parked on this side of the garage, though…"

Frustration would quickly fade and have Earl taking off his jacket, then throwing it down to the ground all the way from the top of the ladder. The leather jacket practically parachuted down, and it was at that very moment it landed that the garage door would be kicked open by none other than the Man of Darkness himself.

"Bendek!"

"What?"

With an excited smirk, the lieutenant marched into the expanded section of the garage, impressed, yet without a compliment to provide. He explained while Earl climbed his way down, "It took a while, but I found the old structure blueprints for this heap, and it turns out that the cellar can, in fact, be expanded into a shooting range."

The Korean dropped down in dramatic fashion, "You don't say?"

"The floor of this structure was built to last and also to survive unexpected terrain shifting. We could easily break some holes and get a shooting range going on."

"You really think so, man?"

"It'd be a piece of cake, Bendek."

With a sudden grin and wink, Earl confirmed, "You know, I really wouldn't mind hitting up some targets again. I don't think I've even shot a gun since that one time my battalion and I were ambushed in the Paektu."

The lieutenant punched Earl's arm, "Well, we gotta resolve that. Contrary to what Jody 'the Bat' would tell you, shooting guns is one of the Top Five most mandatory aspects of a man." Earl's brow slowly raised. "John Tanaka doesn't shoot and look at him—he's a total puss!"

"Whatever you say, man…"

The next thing Earl knew, Seppuku had wrapped an arm around him and forced the two together in the direction of the expansion project. There, the Man of Darkness held out a hand with great pride and optimism.

"For just two guys, the progress we're making is impeccable! Soon we'll have room for more vehicles, a shooting range, meanwhile, our weapon supply is on the rise—at the expense of Chain and Blaskovitz's goons…"

"Yeah." Earl turned an insulting eye onto his friend, "Now, how about you go win a Grand Prix so we can go buy one of those Upper City tower mansions."

"What, and put tax credits in the bat's pocket? This place is better than any one of those Gatsby towers. Besides, this place builds character; we don't run from the gang war—we sleep soundly with it around us."

Earl smirked, "Well, at least one of us sleeps."

"That's my point! Why sleep at all when I can go trophy hunting every night? I don't even need any hunting tags for street scum—it's great!"

"I—If you say so…"

Seppuku marched away into the expanded section of the garage, where he proceeded to raise his arms up and optimistically say, "And just think, just you and I alone are turning this place into something really nice; imagine what progress we'll make when we get a third guy in here."

Suddenly feeling threatened, Earl squinted and pointed to him, "Whoever we find, make sure he's not a mechanic—that's my job, got it?"

"Nah. The third guy should be tough as a rushing bullet—like Draq or Bio Rex. You know, someone who'll beat the hell out of one of Chain's goons before I then come in with a baseball bat… …with a nail on top."

"Hm." At that moment, Earl sighed and pointed to the short support beam, "Bad news, the support beam's not high enough apparently, and I have no clue how we'll get one high enough into this place without being spotted by the gangs. Any ideas?"

"Yeah, here's an idea. Think fast!"

Earl's wartime senses kicked in, seeing Seppuku chuck what he thought to be a grenade his way—but it wasn't a grenade. The Korean managed to catch the object with a single hand, suddenly finding himself manned with a beer. At that same moment, Seppuku cracked open a beer for himself and toasted Earl from across the room.

"I say we kick back and chill."

"Wait, you drink?"

"Ha, ha, ha!" Seppuku mocked the man with literal laughter, "'Wait, you drink!?'" he'd repeat in a feminine voice, "Now that we're partners, partner, let me lay down some ground rules… Two rules. In my organization…" he brought up his beer, "We drink," with the other hand he brought up a heavy pistol, "And we shoot stuff. We drink, we shoot, we win. These are the three gold principles of my organization that all members will swear to live by."

Humor was what Earl drew from this, evident by his chuckle, "You'll hear no complaints from me, man." He cracked open his beer and joined the lieutenant in alcoholic festivity. Together, they drank to their success. "Now I'm not saying my life's all that good, but let me tell you, drinking beer, helping you in F-Zero, shooting targets, and being the dream of every girl I meet? I could do a lot worse."

"Heh, Bendek, you and me? We're going places together, buddy…"

:: One year later… ::

Rough Odds—a final frontier for Lower City business, enjoyed by illegal gamblers from the Upper City, the homeless of the Lower City, and both Bloody Chain and Red Star gang members. In a part of Mute City as dark as the Lower City, it was somewhat of a neutral zone and the only place for social activity. Its distance from Jody's immediate jurisdiction also made this one of the few bars in Galactic Space Federation territory that someone with a reputation like Samurai Goroh, The Skull, or Zoda could go without fear of police intervention. Of course, for the alcohol gallon chugging duo of Earl and Seppuku, it was a little more than a place for a quick glass…

Booing filled the Rough Odds establishment as a visibly wasted Lieutenant Seppuku wobbled around on stage with a microphone—his scarf undone and fedora on the wrong way as well.

" E- Even I can feel… th- the powa-ar-err—r..! Wh- Wh- Once- When I think t- of him I see… no f—fe—ear..! "

"Shut up!" a patron shouted.

" Feel! No! Pa—ain..! " Seppuku fell to a knee, "Damn it… " Forever he will eughahahguh hero… feel no pain… anyuah I ughaugh feel no payara und varya …?

From the other side of the bar, an equally wasted away Earl cupped a hand to his mouth and shouted, "Aye, Sepp! I- I don't think… you should keep singing. People… they're becoming mad."

The lieutenant put the microphone to his mouth, "What?" The man took a few seconds to study the booing crowd, then grunted with anger, "Wh- What? Oh, I get it! Yeah well, you're all… idiots! Bunch of… …idiots! How do you all like being objectively… …idiots!"

Unsurprisingly, the lieutenant was soon stripped of his microphone and guided off stage by the bartender, "I think it's time you take a seat…"

"Oh! Oh. Oh, yep, great. Great. Here we go!" Seppuku complained. "Y- You know who else liked kicking people off stages..? Hitler."

Earl crossed his arms and argued, "Come on, let the man sing… It's not like anyone else wants to…" All of a sudden, Earl's mouth bloated up as he blocked a vomit attack. This was enough to put him up on his feet, however. "Okay, I think I'm heading home…"

Seppuku put a hand on the bartender's chest and floored him with ease, "H- Hey, I'm coming with, bro. I'm done with all these… …idiots. They're all so… idiots."

The two drunks convened, to which Earl inquired, "H- Hey, why- what- why are you so much into saying that?"

"Cause… they're idiots."

"Oh, I see."

The lieutenant held onto Earl's shoulder to keep himself from falling, at the same time, forcing a key onto his chest, "Hey, Bendek, listen… Can you drive F-Zero?"

"What?"

"I can't- I- I can't- I- I can't- uh…" Seppuku spun his fedora back into proper position, "Actually wait no I should probably still drive. Can't boost until the second lap anyways."

"Oh."

"Heh, heh…"

:: One year later… ::

The lobby entrance to the base was kicked open, and following this, Seppuku fell through right onto his chin—his hat was missing as was his scarf, also, the top buttons of his coat was left open. He passed out on the floor for mere seconds before managing to regain quick consciousness. This, however, was preceded by Earl, who dragged himself into the base wearing Seppuku's fedora and scarf, of course, bloodshot from drinking and partying.

"I- I dunno man, I don't think it worked without the coat. I- I don't think they thought I was… Seppuku."

Still on the floor, only halfway through the entrance, Seppuku would reply, "Of course no one thought you were Seppuku… You need the coat t- to be Seppuku…" he thus rolled onto his back to examine his own person, "But for some reason, this coat doesn't come off… If only I knew how to get this… belt off!"

The Korean carelessly dropped both the scarf and hat on the floor, dragged himself to the center of the lobby, but gave up on his journey to the bedroom—instead crashing on the floor.

"You know, this room really needs a table to sleep on…" Earl drunkenly argued.

Seppuku grunted and got on his knees, "Wh- Wh- How dare you, asshole!"

Earl flipped onto his side and with thin eyes and a light voice replied, "What?"

"How dare you… insult my sense of housing. If a table was a good idea I would've thought of it but since I didn't it's not a good idea and that's a bad idea because it's not a good idea… err… I mean… err… tables are for chumps, Bendek…"

Earl blew his lips at him before waving him off, "Whatever, man, I'm off to bed… Eh, but it'd take a while to get to my bedroom, I think I'll just crash here for tonight." Seppuku grunted again and shrugged with wide arms, now standing again. Earl flipped onto his other side, facing away from Seppuku, and got in a sleeping position. "Hey, can you turn up… the heat? My ass is cold."

In a high pitch tone, Seppuku whined, "Wh- Wh- What the hell, Bendek! I thought we was- I thought we were watching a movie!"

"Mehyuaghah…"

"What the hell does that mean?"

"Jesus Christ, it's so cold in here…"

Seppuku wobbled his way toward Earl, "Come on, I th- We says we were going to watch a movie and I say we're going to watch a movie! Got it?" Earl didn't respond. "Earl, got it?"

"Eomma, nae dam-yo gajyeowa..."

"I'm pretty sure them were Chinese fighting words…" Ultimately, Seppuku dropped onto his back and yawned, "Eh, whatever, I'm tired, too. …hey, you're right, this is a comfy floor…"

Earl got onto his back with watery eyes and a quivering lip, "Seppuku, can I ask you something?"

"What's up?"

"Wh- Why'd that one girl laugh at me at the bar..?"

Seppuku raised a finger up toward the ceiling, "Oh, yeah, that woman. See now I have a theory if you care to hear, it has a lot to do with Jody…"

The Korean covered his face and groaned, "A- Am I bad with girls?"

"No, Bendek, don't buy that crap. Y- You're great with the chicks… Y- You're gonna… look, you're gonna be a good dad to one of those chicks one day, don't even listen to… Jody… Jody… she's so dumb. Doesn't even have a good F-Zero machine…"

Earl blocked a belch, then with a smile replied, "Ugh, thanks, man."

"Don't worry, I got your back, bro."

"Thanks, man…" Earl's smile remained even as he turned his head with another question, "Hey… do you think… Jody's going to win this year?"

This provoked Seppuku into sitting up on the spot, "Don't even dare suggest that! I will personally blow my brains off before I concede a Prix to the bat…"

:: Yet another year later… ::

The Man of Darkness walked the hallway of his great base, a whole pack of beer being carried to his side like a briefcase. His destination was the garage—now very well-structured and fitted with multiple vehicles. The intention, as so often, was to have a night of carousing with Earl. More drinking, more manly gossip, more laughter, and more problem dodging. The Bendek-Seppuku relationship was an interesting one for sure, it was one filled with occasional fighting, but at the end of the day, usually had the two kicking aside their problems together with a cold one—or rather many cold ones.

Seppuku kicked open the garage door with a finger already out, "Bendek!"

His mechanic, out of his jacket, quickly turned and nodded, "Yeah?"

"You ready or?"

"Ready for what?"

Seppuku brought the pack of beer up with both hands, "To send this down our throats faster than an F-Zero on boost power…" Earl blinked without expression, the Man of Darkness pointed back to the door and added, "Now I got two ideas. One is that we watch this one stupid documentary I found and see if a hundred gallons of beer makes it hot or violent, or, we can do some drunk prank calls and get more tear-jerking hilarious reactions. The night is ours and I leave the choice to you."

"U—Uh, no."

"Huh? What?"

"No thanks, I probably shouldn't do that tonight…"

It took the lieutenant a moment to register this rare and vague response, "Wh- Wh- What the hell does that mean?"

Then, out of virtually nowhere, an energetic Chiya Flower made the scene, "I can now confirm that acrylic paint does not work on the body of an F-Zero machine!"

Seppuku took a step back gasping at Chiya's presence, Earl grinned at Chiya and nodded, finding her discovery rather cute, "Yes, Chiya, acrylic is definitely not meant to be used on vehicles…"

The lieutenant closed his lips, replacing shock with mere frustration, then, he pointed to Chiya and lectured, "Flower! Can't you go get a hobby?"

Chiya slowly turned her head, "I—I co—ould… get a cat…"

"No…"

Suddenly nervous because of this response, Chiya replied, "Ha, ha! Of course, the last thing I'd want to do is bother you with a cat…" she and Earl exchanged quick glances, their secret cat, Mauser, being one of some special bonds the two share.

"Grr…"

Chiya gulped, then, with great optimism snapped her fingers, "Hey! I'll go find out what kind of paint we need online!"

She gleefully skipped away after saying this, Seppuku so angry that he refused to step aside for her. This soon left Seppuku and Earl alone together in the garage and it was easy to tell that the lieutenant was fuming with rage. Still, out of desperation to keep the peace, Earl smiled at the man with crossed arms, then looking over at the Red Dove.

"Well, uh, good news. Chiya and I have finally gotten the frontal hoverboard connected to the reactor again. That incident on Aeropolis almost wrecked the reactor the damage was so deep, but, in the end, looks like -"

Seppuku interrupted, "What the hell's with you? I got a pack of beer with your name on it and you're rejecting it!? Who do you think you are all of a sudden!?" Earl opened his mouth to reply, but had the lieutenant saying, "Let me guess… Flower, right? It's Flower. It's always Flower."

Earl made a series of small grunts and groans, concluding such with a big shrug, "Well, yeah, what do you expect? Chiya's a really innocent girl who likes to have fun and get attention. What am I supposed to do, get blasted drunk when engaging with her?"

"Yes."

"No, man. No."

"Yes…"

"No."

"Listen, Bendek! You seem to forget the three golden rules of this organization… We drink. We shoot. We freaking win…"

"Yeah! I mean… see, like, that was all fun to say years back, you know, before we had a girl like Chiya onboard, but now -"

Seppuku spat on the ground as a sign of disapproval, "She can deal with our drunk asses, that's just life." Again, Earl opened his mouth to speak, only for Seppuku to inquire, "What's your deal anyway? Since when do you care what people think about your drunk ass? Last I checked it doesn't look like you care to get laid by Flower, so, I can't imagine it's a matter of earning her respect…"

"Well! That's… kind of it." Seppuku's brow raised. "See, I don't want to get really drunk and do something I'm going to regret…"

It took Seppuku several seconds to catch his point, to which he ultimately replied, "If she consents it's all good. Besides, she has a gun, she beat Red Star for the love of God… I think she can handle a drunk mechanic if you got aggressive."

"No, I'm not taking the risk. I respect Chiya too much and she respects me."

Seppuku grunted very loudly, going as far as to drop the case of beer in protest, "So what? You're never going to drink again because flowergirl's scared of alcohol? Get a life!"

"Come on, man! I'm not giving up beer! Don't be insane like that…"

"You just basically confirmed that you're giving it up. You're in a sense sacrificing our special bond so that Flower likes you more. This is so sad I could vomit… You as might as well start hanging out with John Tanaka, because both of you have dropped your manhood into a bucket to kiss up to whiny women!"

The insult did nothing to Earl, who simply responded with arms crossed and an argument, "I'm not giving up drinking and we're still going to do stuff. All I'm saying is that I'm on Chiya's schedule right now and I need to be careful with how much I drink from now on. I don't trust myself super drunk with a woman sleeping directly across from my bedroom, even with my code of honor."

"Ugh… I can't believe this nonsense..!" Seppuku picked up the case of beer and immediately turned away, "You know what? Fine. How about this. You and she can watch some chick flick and talk about each other's feelings all night, while I smoke away the night in my office with a case of beers and lots of fun—without you and Flower."

"Seppuku, come on…"

"Kiss my ass, loser."

"Come on, now that's just uncalled for…"

Regardless, Seppuku abandoned Earl in the garage and took his tantrum right into the lobby, where he proceeded to grumble about to himself.

"Damn you, Flower. Why do you got to ruin everything around here… Can't you entertain yourself on the internet and leave the men be?" Then, it hit him. "Wait, Flower doesn't have a computer… How's she looking up info about vehicle paint..?" He stomped a foot down, a fiery rage suddenly consuming him, "Hey! Get the hell off my computer!"

Soon enough the Man of Darkness would have to accept defeat to Chiya—and losing to her left the strongest of bitter feelings as he sat alone in his office. On an average day, isolation behind a desk was all the lieutenant could wish for, but when it came to carousing he could be a very spiteful social butterfly; knowing that Earl was putting Chiya's comfort before carousing with him went so far as to be offensive to him.

With a snarl, Seppuku cracked open a beer and said, "The funny part is that I don't even care! Bendek can go frolic with Flower on Big Blue for all I care, not getting under my damn skin…" he brought the beer to his face so quickly he ended up hitting his visor with it, "I mean, what, double the beer to myself? Bring out the damn confetti, it must be my birthday!"

With his other free hand, Seppuku grabbed a pen and took to writing in a notebook. The content of his writing pertained to budget balancing in the base, however, it was information they had already covered, therefore, redundant. He wrote either way while gunning down a beer; impressively, he'd finish the can in that same go, crush it, and throw it against his office door carelessly.

"Hey, less beer to Bendek means a fifty percent cut of alcohol costs!"

The man tightened his grasp of the pen so much that it began to bend as he scribbled out one aspect of the budgeting to update it. While true that cutting Earl's half of alcoholic purchases would save the organization a lot of money, an irate Seppuku, of course, did well in exaggerating the numbers.

"Yup, amazing work as always. I've singlehandedly come up with a solution to our financial crisis by cutting Bendek's beer from the budget. Now Flower can sleep easy and I can afford that security system. It all worked out in the end… Bendek leaving me hanging turned out to be the best thing ever and I'm so glad…"

Despite this, the man violently pushed the entire notebook off the table and into the trash before grabbing another beer. Then, with a sneer, he gazed upon the small framed photo of Chiya on his desk and put it down on its face.

"Things are finally looking up around here!"

In the hours to follow this, some political discourse was taking hand atop the Mute City Federation HQ. Chief Commander Jody Summer would find herself flanked by Dr. Stewart and faced by two subordinate advisors of hers—both men, one from Mute City, the other from the English city of Bianca.

"What about Megan?" Jody practically hissed.

The English advisor reported, "This referendum on colonial trade autonomy, Major Megan Valhalla is looking to throw a surprise attack on you as we approach the New York congregation."

"Surprise attack? What do you mean? The only politicians to support this would be colonial governors, electoral Federation state leaders are unanimously backing its failure."

The advisor replied, "That is what they want you to think."

"They?"

"It would seem that Megan's Mjolnir Party has formed a secret coalition with other parties that oppose your own," Jody clenched a fist over her desk, "I can assure you that all politicians of the Mjolnir Party are closed lips about this; fortunately, she made the mistake of inviting one of your more softer opponents to this coalition, specifically, one such member of said party leaked this bit of information to me as a warning."

Jody cringed and shook her head, "What is that foolish woman scheming? Colonies like Big Blue and Green Plant currently distribute exports equally amongst the Federation; doesn't she realize that giving colonies the autonomy to choose their trade partners will result in less trade for her?"

With a smirk, Stewart inserted, "That is, assuming Megan hasn't struck some kind of secret trade agreement with our colonial systems."

Realizing this, Jody widened her eyes and smacked a fist down, "That snake!"

"The purpose of the coalition's secrecy is no doubt Valhalla's latest attack on your credibility as designated heir to the Galactic Space Federation. When the Commander is faced with this referendum and finds a sharp split, Megan will likely make an issue out of your inability to unite the realm for an easy consensus."

"A 'consensus' is not a word in Megan's dictionary. I could recommend granting her total independence over her territories and she'd still somehow end up disagreeing." Following a cat-like growl, Jody slapped a hand over her phone and said, "I think it's about time we humor the woman of the hour with a little talk, yes!?"

Stewart put a hand over hers, blocking her phone access, "Calm down, Jody. We can -"

Jody countered this by slapping his hand aside, then with lightning fast dialing, brought a screen down from the ceiling and stood up herself. Both advisors made sure to get out of the way of the monitor and camera, Stewart only brought himself to stand with arms behind his back, presenting himself as professionally as possible. Jody made no secret of her feelings—she was red hot mad.

As if somehow expecting a call, the live image of Megan Valhalla soon came over the monitor, one leg over another, an aggressively positive look on her.

"I am honored to receive your call, 'Chief Commander' Summer."

Jody invoked excited wide eyes from Megan by smashing a fist over her desk, then raising her voice, "Megan! With the referendum on colonial trade autonomy coming up, I just wanted to drop you a call and make sure we are on the same page!"

The European Major winced in confusion for a moment, perhaps playfully, then closed her eyes with a devious chuckle, "Oh, that, yes. I believe we are on the same page."

"Good. I look forward to shooting down this nonsensical suggestion in a bipartisan showing."

To this, Megan continued, "I am on the same page that I represent the will of Europeans everywhere, and my vote on the matter will reflect the will of my people."

Jody sprung a trap, "Last I checked, polling has the Germans, British, French, Italians, and Spanish combined unanimously opposed to granting trade autonomy to colonial possessions."

Megan opened her eyes into slits, but a smile still present as she challenged, "My polling data says otherwise, but, we can discuss this in greater detail whe-"

"Now!" Jody demanded, "Tell me right now and clearly, Megan. Are you or are you not prepared to shoot down this referendum alongside me? So that my mind can be at peace…"

This outburst was met with another chuckle, followed by silent thought, and then, "You can be assured, Chief Commander, that my final decision will be rationally made by the will of people and nothing more." Jody opened her mouth for an immediate response, but Megan was quicker, "I must apologize for my burdensome quick leave, but, I am in the middle of an important meeting and must depart."

"Megan!"

"Farewell."

"Megan! Megan!"

The call was dropped by Megan's doing, and of course, Jody was left with trembling eyes and sound grunts. In conclusion to this, the chief commander put both hands down before banging her head against the desk.

"…putting party before common sense, that fool! Does she not realize that this will open the door to, say, Big Blue trade with the Mysterian Empire!? This is nothing short of insanity!"

Stewart then spoke, "But wait, there's more bad news…" Jody raised her head a bit, only showing Stewart an eye, "During a White Cat performance upgrade, Jack accidentally dropped a welding tool into the reactor fan. It exploded and will require a whole new reactor."

The final line snapped. Jody jumped to her feet and pointed at her party advisors, "Out! Out! Find me the names of these coalition traitors so that I may send a written complaint to the Commander himself!"

Both men saluted her before fleeing with a sense of panic, Jody's teeth grinded like a machine on gears as she watched the two fall into the elevator. Stewart, accustomed to seeing such rage from his boss, remained still with crossed arms in anticipation for more outbursts.

"Worry not, Jody. We'll have that new reactor brought to the garage in no time. The only problem will be stripping the machine of its white hull to get it inside, that may take some time."

"So, what? What you're telling me is that now Seppuku and I are both without working machines!?"

"Jack's okay, by the way."

But she continued, "Knowing the Lieutenant, the first second the media reports about this, I can expect him to call me with that chalkboard scraping voice of his and-"

Triggering fate, the phone rang—a regular call separate from the monitor. The woman didn't even need to turn in order to narrow her eyes with fury, by extension, Stewart hauled himself to the elevator, both getting a sense of who this might be. Still without looking at the phone, Jody threw a hand over it and accepted the call with great reluctance.

"Galactic Space Federation HQ, Chief Commander -"

Seppuku interruptingly greeted, "T- T- Hey, Jody… …what's up..?"

Her temple began to pulsate with naturally fueled rage, as a way of insulting him, she replied, "Please state the specifics of your emergency, citizen."

"Oh, u—uh… uh… herm…" with every passing moment, Jody became less enraged and more so just annoyed, soon she would even go back to her usual strict face rather than agitation. "Wha- What's up?"

She looked at the phone with genuine confusion, away from her ear, "What's up?" she brought it back to her ear and glared, "What do you mean by that? You called me!"

"Yeah… W- Wh- Y'know, wh- what's, uh… what's up with you?" Jody cringed at the phone, her patience thinning, "Hey, listen… I can't find my key…"

"Have you… looked… inside your machine..?"

"No, nah, no, no, no, no, no…" Jody's brow raised, "No, no. No. No, no, no. Jody… no. Not… no… not my machine..." The woman sat through various manly sounds, embracing the challenge of Lieutenant Seppuku's ways. "My office key… where'd it go..? I had it just a minute ago, but… now it's gone forever…" he said in an unusually soft tone.

"Gee, I don't know. Could it be under your hat?"

More silence came by before the sound of something metal could be heard dropping in the background. "N- No, just a gun in there… L- Listen here, Summer! Where's my damn key! G- Give it back…"

"I don't have your damn key! Why would I have the key to your junkyard of a storage home?"

"Li—ies! You took… my key… and my badge… stupid idiot…"

Jody's eyes flashed for a moment, "Wait, you mean, your Federation key? To your office."

"That's the one! Give it back…"

"No, Officer Tanaka owns that room n-"

Seppuku pierced Jody's ear by shouting, "You gave my room to that pencilboy!?"

After slapping her ringing ear a few times, Jody calmly replied, "News flash: You're fired."

"Wh- What are you implying, Josey..?"

She soundly growled, yet answered calmly, "That means you lose your key and badge."

"Bah! I don't want your charity anyway… your badge and key… it's… …an idiot…"

"Lieutenant, are you drunk again?"

Again, he destroyed her ear, "So what!? You drink, too!"

"I did, with you, and mistakes were made by result. Now, we have parted ways and I've taken proper command of my conduct and actions."

He taunted her in a girlish voice, "'Semmuku was too mean to me in bed, so now I gots done with drinking! Also I- I a big idiot!'"

"Are you quite done, Lieutenant?"

"N- No, listen, Summer, I, uh, I, uh… I did call you up for somethin' else…" Jody's brow raised, "Uh… so… what are you up to?"

"What?"

"N- Nah, I mean… what are you doing right now?"

Jody's eyelids dropped, "Dealing with a drunk fool right now."

"W- Well, tell him to hit the road cause I'm calling you out in a… once and a lifetime opportunity to meet Lieutenant Seppuku in the flash..!"

"Flesh," she corrected, "And what exactly are you suggesting? A date? I'd sooner go on a date with Samurai Goroh than your braindead intoxicated likes."

Seppuku faked vomiting, "Go on a date with you? Don't make me laugh! I- I just want you to stop by and solve a little problem I'm having…"

She again dropped her eyelids, "The last time you came to me with a little problem we ended up shooting our way through some of Don Genie's mobsters."

"N- No, this is different, I swear…" Jody enlightened him with silence, to which he briefly explained, "So, me and Earl was going to drink until we drop b- but the guy h- h- he abandoned me for… her…"

"You mean, Chiya Flower?"

"Yeah! That's the one… Listen, Summer… I got all this beer a- and the guy left me hanging… You gotta get your ass over here and help me drink it all be- before it's too late, Summer… got it?" Jody gasped, "Earl gave up our friendship f- for that girl! Chiya! Now I need you to get your ass over here… got it?" Jody's eyes trembled, "Got it..?"

Jody stood up with the phone in her hand, then, following an emotional moment that had a hand to her mouth, she began to shed sound expression to his predicament—a snicker. Seppuku remained silent as snickering suddenly turned into insulting laughter.

"Oh, how the mighty has fallen!" Seppuku was the one left grunting as she kicked her chair aside and brought a hand over the desk with dark joy, "'I don't need your broken team, Summer' he said! 'You're the last person I need as a friend' he claimed! 'So long, bat! Onward to bigger and better things' he said! Well, look at you now! Your pitiful excuse for an organization is on life support now that you can't make bank off of the gang war, and to add insult to injury, you're being tossed aside by your only friend for a young and pretty Mysterian convict!"

"…I'm objectively better looking than Flower…"

She took the phone to her mouth and enthusiastically insulted, "You're a disgrace to the Federation badge and now to yourself as well! Looks like you're not better off away from the Federation as you like to claim!"

"…th- that's a lie—e..! M- My decision to leave your team i- is such a joyous memory that I think about it all the time while banging hot chicks…" the sound of Seppuku falling to the ground could be heard, "Agh… in fact! I think I'll go find myself a fine ass babe to tame right now..! Forget you, and forget your stupid… hair…"

"…my hair..?"

Seppuku slammed the phone, ending the call, only for Jody to grunt in response and do the same. She concluded this conversation by standing with crossed arms and a smirk.

"Another flawless whooping of Lieutenant Seppuku. It's only a matter of time before he comes begging for his job back, pacifier in his mouth and lips to my boots…"

"Stupid Jody… dumb Bendek… …fat… …Flower, who doesn't like to shoot guns, I might add!"

The Man of Darkness dragged his feet along the crime-void Lower City streets, the stock of his rifle was similarly dragging along the destroyed infrastructure as he desperately looked for something to kill or some woman to get to know. For the latter, his drunk mind failed to recognize the fact that he wouldn't be finding any fun time with a woman out in the midnight war-torn Lower City. That didn't stop him from trying though.

"Ma—an…" he whined, "The least Summer could do is release a load of prisoners down into the Lower City. I've pretty much made Lower City crime an endangered species at this point…"

It was upon turning down a new street where he would drop his arms in disappointment, for there was darkness and nothing but to be seen for blocks. Nothing but a distant vehicle buzz could be heard, only the damages of war could be seen through the darkness.

"Heh…" the man unequipped his rifle and pocketed his hands, "I remember when that sort of buzzing meant a good thing. Boar goon or Red Star biker… no more…" There was little more to be said on the matter, however, it would soon become interestingly apparent that the buzzing was getting louder, "Hm?"

Just when all seemed hopeless for Seppuku's night out, hope came down like a gift from heaven—he was soon faced with a fast-moving vehicle, bright lights on, now coming toward him at a radical speed. The Lieutenant only grit his teeth in face of approaching danger, far more curious about the approaching vehicle than fearful of. As the danger soon came right up to his face, the driver would take appropriate action and hit the brakes, putting the machine to a stop in front of him—it was an F-Zero machine, and a very familiar one at that.

"Aw, Flower! You almost ran me over w-" his brow raised upon taking a second look at the machine, "Wait a minute… Where's the large combat side hull?"

The machine stopped in front of him was not the Purring Kitten, however, it did bear similar design, and that is because the chassis of both machines came from a Professor Hollow. The machine sitting in front of him was pinker and thinner than the Purring Kitten in addition to being older and better known. The white arrow on its front said it all.

The cockpit would open, thus bringing modern music into the streets of the Lower City. Soon revealed to him was a cheery blonde Mrs. Arrow, fitted in her red suit and a pink visor, "Lieutenant Seppuku, how do you do?"

"Hey, I know you. You're Mrs. Arrow, the wife of Super Arr-" then in a more disgusted tone, he repeated, "You're the wife of Super Arrow…" Arrow's teeth shined at him, "Just what exactly are you doing in a wonderland like this?"

"Well, funny you should ask…"

A moment later, a second F-Zero machine pulled up, and despite Seppuku's best guess it was not the King Meteor, but in fact, a machine he did not recognize in the slightest. Rounded in a bright aqua color with the cockpit exterior painted pink, he was suddenly faced with a machine by the name Super Piranha. The machine was nothing special to Seppuku, but the same could not be said for the pilot to reveal themselves.

Whereas Mrs. Arrow was a bright-skinned woman with hair so blonde it seemed gold, the pilot of the other machine was revealed to be a dark-skinned with a bright orange latex suit and a stylish dark afro—she came with a black visor much like his own.

"And you're Kate Alen. A year ago I would've said that your music sucks, but because of my protégé blasting it so much throughout my base, I'm practically forced to say I know all your songs…"

Mrs. Arrow soon explained, "We're settling a little dispute coming off last year's Grand Prix."

"The debate of whether I deserved that gold over Summer? If so I can settle the dispute…"

Kate shot her arm forward and waved her finger, "Nah, babe. This dispute's over you."

"Me?"

Mrs. Arrow smirked, "We're fighting over which one of us—if not both—get the privilege of taking you to bed."

Seppuku did not respond at first, only so much as putting a finger into his right ear, "Say again?"

Kate similarly affirmed, "We're racing to see which one of us gets to take a spin on the Red Dove, if you catch me?"

Again, silence, as Seppuku dug into his left ear and repeated, "I don't think I'm hearing you right… are you saying..?"

Arrow winked, "Winner gets to try out a new venue you're hosting… if you catch my drift."

A third silence, before Seppuku finally dropped his jaw and brought both arms up, "Damn right, I hit the lottery!" Arrow and Kate exchanged coy glances, "Go ahead, Bendek, feed Flower grapes, cause I'm busy living the dream, boy!" The Man of Darkness began to rub his hands together, "May I ask what constitutes a tie?"

Mrs. Arrow made a seductive chuckle and shifted her seat forward, "Why don't you tag along and be the judge..?"

Seppuku put a hand over the Queen Meteor, but stopped to ask the obvious, "Wait a minute, this seems too good to be true… Won't your husband be, you know, extremely pissed at me?"

She answered oddly fast, "We broke up."

"Aw yeah!" Seppuku jumped into the Queen Meteor's cockpit like a magnet, "This has gotta be the best day of my life so far!"

"Buckle up…"

This strange and bizarre race was about to resume as Kate and Mrs. Arrow closed their cockpits and lined up. Mrs. Arrow would turn to her competitor with three fingers up. Seppuku took every moment to explore the cockpit of this machine, and despite being built by the same man who designed the Purring Kitten chassis, there was a fascinating discovery.

"Huh, this thing's actually built very differently…" he retracted his chin, finding something very suspicious about there being a seat behind Mrs. Arrow, "Wait… how can this be a two-seater if the Purring Kitten, same design, only has room for one seat?"

Before he knew it, Mrs. Arrow shot off all three fingers and called for the resuming of this race. The Queen Meteor took off much faster and gained immediate ground over the Super Piranha, however, the latter machine would pick up gradual speed afterward and quickly fix the quick start.

A race in the pitch-black streets of the Lower City was a challenge even Seppuku found his heart beating to. He knew the ins and outs of this part of Mute City like the back of his hand and even he wondered how exactly these women were managing to maneuver the war-torn streets.

"Hey, uh, where's the finish line?" Arrow shrugged, "What do you mean by that?"

"Where do you want it to be?"

Seppuku very belligerently answered, "In my office—doors locked and desk cleared."

"You sound… angry."

"I'm not angry, not with hot F-Zero ass coming home with me… possibly two." Mrs. Arrow rammed into Kate in an attempt to blow her off the street, but her opponent's machine was too thick for such an attempt. Seppuku hardly noticed the action, proceeding to add, "I admit, it pisses me off a little bit that who I thought was supposed to be my friend will probably stop me from bragging about this so that wittle Chiwa's feewings aren't offended…"

"Earl?" Arrow mysteriously guessed.

"The guy's been by my side through thick and thin, traditions and brotherhood were formed. Flower should either fall in line and try to embrace some of our interests, or she should go make a friend and let us keep things the way they are. It's not fair that things have to change because of her…"

"I see, so you're hurt."

"No! You completely heard me wrong. I don't care what Bendek chooses to do in his spare time, I care about what he does in my spare time. When the guy chooses to serve some bland chick over partying it out with me, I'm offended, not hurt, get it right. Earl's being mildly offensive is the problem."

The Queen Meteor made a significant error in turning down the former Red Star HQ alley, chipping the right side of the hull on a corner block while at the same time suffering the wrath of a spin attack. Without restoration pads in this street race, there now existed a problem.

"Hey, why don't you focus on the race, yeah? You're letting Kate smoke you."

Oddly enough, Mrs. Arrow turned her head and asked, "What is it you want to do with Earl, anyway? …are you two -"

"Don't even go there," Arrow smirked regardless, "All I want is to get drunk on our backs like we always do, but now that Flower's here all he wants to do is do sober stuff…"

"Why is that a problem?" she said with a side attack on Kate.

"It's a problem because..!" he was speechless for a few seconds, forced to grit his teeth in frustration, "Damn it, I don't know, it's what we do. It's what I do. Bendek, Summer, Stewart… drinking's the game of choice."

Mrs. Arrow chuckled and waved Kate farewell as she regained the lead, then, in dramatic fashion, looked back and said, "Why not go gambling? Or play cards? Adult fun that Earl enjoys, and less consequential… for the most part."

"Hey, wait a second…" Seppuku put a hand on the back of her seat and inquired, "How exactly did you know that Earl likes to -" he gasped, grunted, and gasped again, "Wait! I know what this is..!"

As the puzzle came together at that final moment, the darkness of the Lower City was suddenly left shining with a heavenly light of blinding nature. Seppuku grunted very loudly and shielded his eyes.

In an almost god-like voice, came the word, "Son…"

"No! I reject the Inner Realm!" Seppuku closed his eyes and covered his ears, "Get away! Leave me alone! Don't you understand that I don't -"

The next thing Seppuku knew, he found himself shaking his head wildly on the floor of his office, countless hours after his mass drinking episode. At this point, the buzz was mostly gone, but the powerful after effect of mass drinking was taking its toll on Seppuku, and of course, putting him unconscious was something he always wished to avoid on a daily basis.

With a hand to his head, Seppuku awoke from this involuntary dream and kicked around many of the beer cans surrounding him. The bad news was that he never had any chance at Mrs. Arrow or Kate Alen, even worse news for him was that Mrs. Arrow was likely still happily married to Super Arrow.

"Ugh…" Seppuku rolled over and got to his knees, to which he then commented, "I think that's enough beer for… one day."

The door to the downstairs shooting range was kicked open, with Seppuku came a few boxes of varying ammunition and various types of guns between his arms. He did this just in time for a passing by Chiya Flower to notice, who treated herself to a stick of candy with brows raising upon seeing all the different guns.

Down in the range itself, Seppuku created a pile of ammo and browsed his selection of guns—some acquired legally, some coming from his lieutenant detective days, others from the gang war. In this instance, he was feeling a little more destructive than usual, hence his decision to wrap a bandolier of bullets around his neck and hold up a massive machine gun.

He opened the machine gun box, chained the ammunition, slapped it shut, slammed it into the gun, then readied it solidly from the hip. This wasn't ammunition he was likely to find on Jody's watch, but this in his mind was a day deserving of some expensive shooting.

With one foot forward and another sideways, the Man of Darkness pressed down on the safety mechanism with one hand while wrapping a finger around the trigger.

Before he could fire, the unlikely presence of Chiya, "Seppuku, what are you doing?"

"Gardening."

He again put a finger to the trigger, only to be stopped as Chiya's eyes gained size with a question, "What is that? I don't remember ever picking that up!"

"It's a machine gun," he put a hand off the safety mechanism and held it up for the Mysterian to see, "Anti-freak nonstop firing war machine—Bendek and I ran into this beast when a serious goliath of a Red Star goon breached the door in that big battle."

Chiya placed a finger to her lip, "Is it stronger than Earl's old tank?"

"No."

"But stronger than that assault rifle down there, right?"

"Yep."

Then she pointed to his favorite anti-material rifle, "Stronger than your rifle?"

"Hell no."

Genuinely interested, with puckered lips Chiya requested, "Can I see you shoot it?"

To this, Seppuku's lips condensed with surprise at the request. "Oh. No problem…" Chiya came all the way downstairs but put herself at a safe distance, he, meanwhile, got back into firing position. "See, now, the trick is that you need to have some serious arm to handle this thing. You can't just shoot it like you would a pistol or assault rifle—it just doesn't work that way. In fact, you'd best not fire this thing without a foundation to begin with, you can break your chin or worse if you're not careful." He pointed back at her and instructed, "So no matter what, you never touch one of these. Those little things you call arms would never be able to handle this."

"Okay, Seppuku."

With this cleared up, he tipped his hat, took aim, and unleashed a monster firestorm of bullets. Chiya covered her ears and trembled while watching what was once a clean target get turned into holes and tears. If even Seppuku was suffering from the struggles of recoil, she knew this was a gun-type she'd never dare try and operate—not even recreationally.

Once he got his point across, Seppuku fired and turned to Chiya, "If you need to clean a room, you got this toy; if you're looking to get a thug off your ass, you use a handgun."

A petrified Chiya responded, "I don't think I'll ever find myself using one of those, thank you very much." This response put an offended grimace on Seppuku, however, she'd resolve this by happily bringing out her trusted handgun, "Therefore I'll compensate by becoming better than you at handguns."

Seppuku found himself conflicted between grinning and glaring, "Better than me? Me!? Don't make me laugh, child…"

Unsurprisingly, Earl would soon make the scene, sliding into action with a panicked face, "What are you doing down here, firing a machine gun!?" the two turned to him with their guns, "Oh… you… are firing… a machine gun…"

"Take a note, Bendek. Flower takes a liking to big guns…"

Earl kicked a foot to the wall and kept it there in a cool pose, "Yeah, I know the purr of a machine gun well, after all, every tank has one on its turret."

Chiya blinked in astonishment, "You've operated machine guns, too?"

"Not in war, but in training, yes."

"Wow!"

Earl crossed his arms and smirked, "Hey, man, look, I didn't mean to set you off like that with the whole beer thing yesterday…"

Seppuku put down the machine gun and took command of his usual rifle, "Whatever, the past is the past. I'm just looking forward to what the future brings us… also for the Red Dove to be repaired, that'd be very nice."

Chiya took a single shot at a target—missed—yet turned with a smile and said, "I just can't wait for both machines to be ready so that we can do some serious training."

"Indeed, and I plan to call you out on a rematch, Flower. I still haven't forgotten about that street race we had to Lightning…"

"How could you forget?" Chiya closed her eyes with an egoistic beam, "I beat you!"

Earl took another step down and said, "So, anyway, to make up for last night, would you want to hit up the bar or something?"

An offer Seppuku would almost always accept, but on this one occasion, the very sound of this had him reaching for his stomach—the memory of a massive blackout still too fresh. This left Earl raising his brows in shock at the sight of disgust with the idea.

"Uh…" Seppuku turned to Chiya, then to the target range, "You know… maybe I'll take a rain check on that, try again on a more celebratory day."

"Well, okay…"

Seppuku chuckled and took steps in reverse, "In the meantime, why don't you two clowns entertain me with a little friendly competition…"

Earl faced this suggestion with a low brow smirk at Chiya, "I don't shoot as often as even Chiya, but, we're still talking about a war veteran. This should be interesting."

Chiya, similarly, commented, "I may not be the best shot, but I have a lot of confidence that just might surprise you!"

And so, Seppuku sat atop an ammo box with a hand to his whole chin, watching as Chiya and Earl brushed together in preparation for a friendly contest. Despite what his stomach was telling him, the man soon reached into his coat pocket and took out a warm beer as he watched his two companions begin to strike blows at targets.

The best summarization for Team Seppuku in terms of stability and interests was that… it's weird, to say the least.