The Hunted - Part Two
[Anne] Anne sensed her siblings coming closer. Slowly she turned toward the others, her expression grave. "I'm sorry I got you all into this," she said softly at first but then her voice grew firm, "You all have to leave while you can. I'll stall my family. It's me they wanted in the first place." She turned to Eric, "Eric-san, it was nice to meet you, and nice to meet Eva too. Please take Mai and reunite her with Emiko." Then she turned toward her teacher, "Thanks for your lessons, sensei, I hope you and Marie-san have a happy life." She turned to go, but stopped when she felt Jerry's hand on her arm. "I am not going to let you fight them alone!" he said sternly. Mai ran up to Anne and grabbed onto her hands. "Don't go, oniichan!" Anne looked at her teacher and Mai then smiled sadly. "Sensei, Mai, you and the others have been family to one who has never known a positive meaning to the word, but the other's outside need you now. I just 'heard' that Huck and my sister Jurai have been dispatched to deal with them. That leaves only Makendo to deal with." Marie came up and stood next to her love. "That women is much too owerful for you to handle alone. Do not throw away your life." Anne smiled grimly as her body began to glow. "You see," she said as the light intensified, "Makendo was right when she said I had power. In fact, I'm the most powerful of all of us," the light grew to blinding intensity. Everyone shaded their eyes, but they heard Anne's voice ring clearly in their heads, -But the price that comes with the power....- The light faded abruptly and Sailor Tatooine stood garbed in her fuku. She continued aloud, "The price, giving up one's soul to serve the Empire, to destroy lives, was one I could not pay." Tatooine looked down at her garb and frowned. She snapped her fingers and her clothing changed to a blue, green, white jumpsuit. Tatooine pulled out her Xavier cap and placed backwards on her head. The overall effect looked rather strange, but at this moment she didn't care. She turned again toward her stunned friends and addressed them, "Tell the others thanks for me." Before Jerry or Mai could protest Anne snapped her fingers. Jerry and the other's found themselves teleported outside to where Emiko, Rekishi, Remus, Rachael and Susano were. Jerry and Mai heard a final fleeting thought sent to them, -Good luck. Arigato y adios....- -oOo- [Jerry] Jerry then went, "Anne, don't you know that I can't let you go alone, I also have a score to settle..." Jerry immediately teleported back into the fray, and entered the castle. He left Anne to her own battle, partially because that was when Anne wanted but also because he had to stop his brother. Jerry noticed the aerial bombardment going above the castle, it was getting gruesome, several members of the rocketeers had suffered bullet wounds when the guards started using magical bullets. Jerry then ran into Ace on the ground, carrying one of his hooks. Jerry said, "Thanks, Ace, did you get shot down?" Ace said it wasn't that, but that he crashed into one of the ramparts, and his rocket kind of malfunctioned, as in all the fuel leaked out. He then said he was going to make these guys pay for trashing his rocket, because he was "the god of rocketing." Jerry nodded and told him to split up, he had to do some personal business, and drew out his sword to symbolize it... Ace nodded and left, hoping to take out a few more guards. Jerry quickly telported and cast speels through the various defenses the castle put up, but did wonder about how Anne was holding up, but he had confidence in her. He also wondered if any of Mai's friends would try anything, but he didn't count on it, and besides he knew what had to be done, Jay had to be stopped. Before he got to Jay's part of the castle, he saw a beam hit him. Then he saw someone who looked a little like Anne, but wearing a green and white fuku. He then said, "Sorry, sister, I don't have time for you!" and tried to teleport away, but- NOTHING. The woman laughed. "I just kin-ed your teleportation. I can forbid one thing of any opponent. I am the legendary senshi Kenshin, your student's elegant and gifted sister. Prepare to meet defeat at my hands, Jay will love me for it! He is so wonderful, makes me wonder why you hate him so much." Jerry responded coldly. "because he is an evil bastard, and now that I can't run away from you, I have to go through you, and I didn't want to do that." Kenshin sighed, "Ever the phoney, as my brother said. Your sense of chivalry is as fake as your little tricks. You just don't understand true love. If you weren't Jay's brother, I would finish you slowly, but I will be generous." Jerry was mad now, first she has to insult his sincerity of words, but then his sincerity of love, she will PAY, Anne's sister or not. Jerry prepared his spells, orb, and sword, and said, "I didn't want to hurt you, but now I see I have to, I'll make it quick. Let's go." and cast huge darksphere at her, whcih she dodged easily, while Jerry parried several of Kenshin's sword attacks. Jerry thought to himself, "Great, I get a tough fight here, the LAST thing I needed. Oy." -oOo- [Anne] Recap: Anne, not wanting the other's to be hurt, teleported Mai, Eric, Jerry, and Marie to safety before unleashing her latent power. Jerry and company soon found themselves outside where Rekishi, Susano, Emiko and the others were trying to get into the fortress. Meanwhile, Anne went off to fight her oldest sister, Makendo. Jerry teleported back into the base and went off to fight his brother, Jay, but was stopped by Jay's lover and Anne's sister Kenshin. Ace and his friends are having trouble with the base's defense forces, but they're still holding out. (Okay, onto the story). Anne felt her sensei teleport back to into the base. For a moment she thought he was coming after her. "Baka...." she muttered. Then she felt him head in a different direction. She breathed a sigh of relief and cleared her head for the fight that was to come. -This dirty wizard is not as easy as you said, Makendo!- Kenshin's outraged cry came through the mindlink all the sibling's shared. Anne smiled to herself. Jerry was more than a match for her sister Kenshin. -What's wrong, Kenshin-chan? The little punk too hard for you?- came Huck's arrogant mindtouch. -SHUT UP!- screamed Makendo, -SHE can hear us!- -No, she can't,- Kenshin replied, -I set up the most powerful block I have on this mindlink. There's no way she could hear it unless...- Anne grinned. -UNLESS WHAT?- she said, sending searing lightning down each of the other's mindlinks. -You-you didn't...- came Kenshin's reply. Anne felt Makendo shut down her link, narrowly missing the burst of pain that Anne sent to her still connected siblings. -I DID.- She felt Kenshin and Huck scream in pain and then their links closed. -oOo- Jerry watched in surprise as Kenshin dropped her sword and held her hands to her head. Then he felt the sheer wave of mental energy directed at his opponent. He desperately tried to catch his breath and then the wave was gone. "That was from Anne," he thought, "God, what has she done?!" He looked down at his opponent and then hurried on toward the real fight, the one with Jay. Behind him Kenshin moaned in pain. -oOo- "Good show, sister," came a cold but confident voice behind her, "So you finally unleashed your power like the rest of us did so long ago..." "Yes...." Anne replied, not turning around. A blue aura formed around her; it's brightness growing in intensity by the minute. Makendo approached her sister. "So you're going to join the Empire." Anne shook her head. Surprised, Makendo stopped. "But you have to join with us. It is the pact our father made to our mother before he married her. Once the power is unleashed you must either serve the Empire or..." Anne still didn't turn around. The room was as bright as day due to her aura. "Or die? Yes, I know." "But... You can't!" For the first time in a long time she heard her oldest sister scared. She lapped up her sister's delicious fear as a cat does milk. Makendo regained her composure, but a hint of fear still showed in her voice as she spoke. "You must join us. We are your family!" Anne's laughter rang clearly throughout the room. It chilled Makendo to the bone. She had never imagined that this ruthless side of her sister existed. Suddenly Anne turned around and faced her sister, eyes on fire and fists clenched. "YOU ARE NOT MY FAMILY!!!!!" she screamed. "FAMILY DOES NOT TORTURE ONE OF IT'S OWN!" Anne's grin widened and her eyes flashed. "Yes, sister, it was torture. I all knew in my life was pain, sorrow and death, until I escaped. Then I found a new family. I found friends. I realized that happiness isn't just a word. I found a life. But you, Huck, Kenshin, and the Empire.... YOU HAD TO COME AND RUIN IT! AND YOU HURT MY FRIENDS! YOU DESTROYED MY LIFE AND RETURNED ME TO THIS HELL!!!!" Anne's aura grew so bright that it was Makendo could only make out the dim figure in it. Anne grabbed her sister by the neck. "So you see..." she said her voice dangerously low, "I have nothing left to live for." "But your friends, your teacher..." Makendo protested hoarsely. Anne nodded. "Yes, I care about them. That's why I'm going to direct the explosion away from them. And as for Jerry, well, I'll provide him with a shield." Makendo's eyes went wide and she tried to struggle free. "Explosion?! You can't!" Anne's eyes began to glow as she arched an eyebrow. "Wanna bet?" In a last ditch effort to escape, Makendo sent her entire energy supply into a bolt directed through her sister. Anne started shaking and then dropped Makendo, who ran off down a corridor. Anne held the hand that had recieved the jolt. Breathing heavily, she her grin widened. "Nice try, sis..." she whispered and then teleported in front of her fleeing sister, "But not good enough." One punch sent Makendo reeling to the ground. Makendo shielded her eyes with her hands and tried to get a clear look at her sister through the blinding light. Anne noticed this and dropped her aura down to moonlight level. For the first time Makendo could see the fatigue and sadness on her sister's face. "I wish it could have been different..." Anne whispered, "but it's either serve the Empire or die. I made my choice and you made yours." -oOo- Jerry paused in his search for his brother. -Look after the other's, sensei. I know you can beat your brother...- whispered in his mind. Jerry stopped in horror as he realized what Anne was going to do. "Dammit! That idiot!" he shouted and continued toward his own fight. -Goodbye...- -oOo- -Good-bye, Mai,- Anne sent to the girl outside, -Always believe in yourself, ne?- Mai looked up in fear. -What are ya going to do?- she sent. -I'm going to end this, now. Don't worry. You and the other's will be safe,- Anne said sadly, -Tell them all goodbye for me...- Mai jumped up. "No!" she cried aloud, tears falling, "You can't!" -Goodbye...- Anne whispered. -oOo- Tears ran down from Anne's cheeks as her aura became brighter. "Goodbye and thank you...." she whispered. As the light became brighter Anne raised her arms to the sky and screamed out her anquish. Then she let go. -oOo- Jerry struggled to remain upright as the floor under him rocked. "She did it..." he whispered. -oOo- Outside the base, Ace and the other's watched in silence as a fireball burst out of the base and then spread itself to the sky. "Oniichan..." Mai whispered. All of them, including, Jerry thought they heard a whisper in back of their mind. It said, "Goodbye..." -oOo- [Emiko's Agent] [I'm not sure if the above was supposed to be the climax, but I'll just treat is as something like that. If the above passage was like the death of the Emperor/Darth Vadar in Star Wars, all that's left is the destruction of the Empire, ne? ^_- Anyways, on with the story!] "KUSO!!" Eric roared. He didn't know enough about Anne to actually feel anything really personal, but he could see that Mai was hurt as he draped his trench coat around her in comfort. Mai clenched tightly onto his dark grey shirt. "Eric-san!!" Mai weeped, her tears mixing with the torrent rain that had begun to fall. The entire sky returned to it's smoky black colour when Anne's final moments on this planet had subsided with the brilliant ball of fire. "There there, Mai-chan" Eric cupped Mai's head and pressed her onto his chest. "The base, for the most part, has been destroyed by Anne's sacrafice." whispered Eva's translucent hologram which hovered unscathed by the biting rain. Eric lifted Mai's chin to and met her in the eyes. "Mai-chan." "Hai.." she sobbed. "I know how it feels to lose someone close to you. But you have to get over it, and get over it now. If you wish to make Anne's death worth something, you've got to snap together!" "H-hai.." she sobbed some more, but valiantly wiped the tears from her eyes. Still clutching the little one, Eric looked up at Eva's ghostly image. She stood silent, like a spirit from another plane. "Eva." "Hai." "Where is Emiko?" "There she is." Eric stood up, the wind and rain rippling his hair and coat in the wind, getting Mai to look at the oncoming people. "Emiko-san!!" Mai ran into the wind until Emiko met up with her in the middle of the pathway. "Mai-chan! We've been looking everywhere for you!" She pointed to Rekishi who stood quietly by her side, eyeing Eric cautiously. Emiko kneeled and hugged Mai. "Getting along without me, Mai?" "Hai!" she saluted weakly, vainly attempting to supress her tears. Emiko became aware of Mai's current state of emotion, but withheld any comments or encouragement. Knowing Eric, he probably already did that. There he was, her 'big brother' of sorts, watching over them under his dark facade of blue hair. She still wished Eric would leave her jobs to herself, but there were times such as this one where she knew to keep her mouth shut and listen to the more experienced ACD officer. Same rank perhaps, but deep inside Emiko knew she didn't hold a candle to Eric in terms of leadership. Acknowledging his presence, Emiko nodded obediently while putting Mai to her side. She saw Rekishi looking back at Eric, and nudged him in the ribs. "It's okay Rekishi, Eric-san is a friend." Eric approached Rekishi and shook his hand. Rekishi forced a smile and said a quiet hello. There was a lot of power emminating from the elf before him ...where he came from would for the moment have to remain a mystery. "Under the circumstances," Eric nodded to Rekishi, "we'd better get moving." He looked at Emiko and talked about a place Rekishi did not know. "Emiko, we've analyzed this place back at First Tokyo, and we've found out that this entire fortress acts as a beacon to the Empire's home planet. They maintain a closely knit web, and if one of these beacons were destroyed, the Empire would know of it immediately, and send an assault force to scout and destroy if necessary. Unfortuately..." "Anne?" Emiko spoke, following Eric's train of thought. Eric was about to continue with Eva found it necessary to speak up. "Anne's damage to the fortress has caused the beacon to be severed. If we do not re-establish a mock-connection soon, the said Empire will send it's forces. Finding the base destroyed, they will proceed to obliterate the planet in retribution." Her voice was small and quiet as always. "Nani?!" Emiko gasped. "The fatality percentage of another rebellion against the Empire on Dynax III was 100%." "Anne-san!" Mai continued to weep, this new news giving her little comfort. The rain was beating so hard that it was becoming difficult to look at Eva while facing the wind. Eva continued. "I can set up a connection if we can get into the base. But, Anne's death has caused the sending dish at the top of the tower to be unaligned, and the connection to the realignment controls have been severed. The dish is located on the 5th tower of this fortress." Rekishi held onto his staff. "I can teleport up there and move it to which ever position you wish." Eva smiled oddly for some unknown reason, and responded. "My database on magic tells me that you will not be able to teleport, and neither will Emiko, or anyone else. The destruction of the beacon sets up an automatic anti-magic barrier around the base in hopes that any other attackers will be disbursed. I could help you up there, but I must be within the core computer's memory located 123 meters under the surface. This disk is weighs three tons, and will require more than just the strength of one human." Upon seeing the fortress go up in the fireball, Ace saw no need for anymore of his rocketeer friends to get hurt, and they all landed near Eva's ghostly presence. This weather was hell for rockteering, and driving accuracy was almost impossible. "Is there anything we can do?" he asked. Apparently, Eva has broadcast her message to the monitors on all the rockets. Ace looked at Mai and Mai nodded back with a small smile. The 'eye' on Eva's ERU flicked for a brief moment, performing some calulation. "With your grapples, there is a 25.23% chance of realigning the dish to the same position within a 0.01% margin of error which is necessary. Someone will have to secure the dish into place while the grapples are holding the dish in position." Rekishi shielded his eyes from the tormenting rain and howling wind, looking high up at the base before him. All the fire was gone, but the mind energy from the aftermath of Anne's death still cast an eerie glow over the dark desolate castle. It figured that the main portion of the base would be underground, away from the outside view. Scanning the towers, he finally saw through the whipping rain to the dish that seemed to be dangling on it's edge. "I think I can get up there." He shuddered at the thought of standing up there with 100 mile per hour winds trying their hardest to push him off. With the anti-magic shield, all he had to rely on was his physical prowess. "I will help you, Rekishi-san!" Rekishi turned around, to see Emiko's blue eyes staring at him like daggers. His face tried it's best from turning red. "Unlike you magic users, my abilities are not magic related. Eric," she turned, "I believe my Gravity Cancel abilities are active right now. I should be able to get Rekishi up there without a problem." "So then," Emiko winked at Rekishi, "looks like we have a date up there, ne?" Rekishi almost fainted. Ace couldn't believe what he had to do. Looking at where Rekishi was staring, he could barely make out the dish that surrounded itself with high winds and lightning. "Good Lord," one of the other bikers muttered. But Ace turned his anxiety into a challenge. "So, this is the next trial for the number one rockteer, huh? Let's go fellow members, we've got one hell of a task ahead of us." Eva slipped into Ace's monitor as he straddled his repaired rocket. "I will be giving you coordinate corrections once you and your group establish a connection with the dish. You must hold the dish in place while Emiko and Rekishi reconnect the wiring, and strap the dish back down to the surface. This will take approximately 10.1 minutes. Then, your team must move the dish to the proper location. Under normal conditions, this would take 1.01 hours, but you have 5.6 minutes." "Geez." "Once in the proper location, you must hold it there for an indefinate time while I re-establish a link with the Empire. Once established, Emiko and Rekishi must bolt the dish back into place. "Piece of cake." Ace laughed nervously. Rocketing as competition never involved this much accuracy. He only hoped that the recently installed vertical rockets will allow them to hover properly, instead of being in a constant state of forward motion. "Hai." Eva responded quitely to the sarcasm. Her calmness was enough to put anyone on edge. "Ganbatte ne." Rekishi was looking back at the dish, when Emiko slipped her arms around his waist, locking her hands in a vice grip, and pressing her firm body against his back. "E-e-emiko!" he gasped, his face red as hell. "Knock it off wise-guy, I need you grip you firmly if I'm ever to gravity cancel my wait up to that tower and land with you still in my arms instead of billowing away somewhere." "H-h-h-hai!" "Still.." Emiko decided to have some fun with this, and pushed her ample breasts on his shoulder blades. "I could get to like this, you muscle man you, heh heh." Before Rekishi could respond, her feet left the ground, and the two figures flew in the the howling air. Eric gave a disapproving look at Emiko's fleeting body, before turning back to Eva. "Eva, how much time do we have in total to re-establish a connection?" "35.12 minutes, starting now." "Kuso!" Eric grabbed Mai, and headed in the direction of the base. "Let's go Eva, we've only got 15 minutes to get down there!" "There are still presently three other figures outside the complex. They are recognized as Remus, Rachael, and Susano. What shall I do with them?" "Leave them for now, I hope they will know what to do. Ikuzo!" -oOo- Susano, Remus, and Rachael looked up at the destroyed fortress with awe. "Hmph, looks like the battle's over, brother." Rachael mused. Remus saw Mai and a blue cloaked figure dashing into the building. "Hmmm...there seems to be some urgency in their run. Something is afoot, and I think we'd better check it out." Susano didn't see Eric and Mai, but rather Emiko and Rekishi who were struggle to get somewhere. "Go, Remus and Rachael," Susano said, "I will help Emiko and Rekishi. They seem to be in trouble." "Alright, we split then. Sayonara." "Good luck." As Remus and her sister went to join the two figures in the distance, Susano used his powers that extended beyond magic to lift him up to the tower where Emiko and Rekishi were headed. "Emiko, I am coming," Susano thought. -oOo- [Ace] The driving rains and howling wind tore at Ace and his friends as they cruised towards the tower. Lightning crackled nearby and illuminated a solitary figure next to the dish. "We may have lost, but at least I can make it so you can't win!" the mysterious figure said under his breath. "I've infused myself with power from the Dragon Ball Z tapes I finally found and I'll make sure that you can't reconnect the signal." Ace looked in shock as the one man slowly pushed the antenna to the edge. "I thought you said one person couldn't move that three ton thing!" Ace yelled to Eva. "Hai," Eva calmly agreed. "My calculations are correct. No ordinary human could move that antenna, but my sensors detect that he has Dragon Ball Z powers now." Well, that guy looks like Gargoyle from Thickett's files thought Ace. He must be trying to get one last kick in before he goes down. "Bring out the special stuff, we got an overpowered live one here!" Ace yelled into his radio. Cheers went up as the assembled crew grinned widely and brought out the forbidden hooks out of their jackets. Each jockey brought out a different hook that was banned from competition for being too powerful and are reserved for situations for when others are trying to power play. "Come to stop me, huh!" Gargoyle said defiantly. "We'll see about that! BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" He flew straight into the pack and knocked Catherine off her rocket. "Dee yo!" El Muerte exclaimed at the lightning quick assault whizzed by him. Without a second thought, he kicked in the after burners and dived towards the falling jockey. Snagging her and her rocket like a ball on the court he said "Can't have ya dying on non us, ya give? Who would I gloat to if ya were dead?" The battle whizzed on as Gargoyle streaked back and forth between the other jockeys. The battle was reminisent of the debate between the Tie Fighter and Valkeries as Gargoyle whizzed by in blinding speed. "He he comes again!" yelled Ace. "Plan F, plan f on my mark. "Gargoyle tried to blast each of the jockeys from a distance with ki blasts, but for some reason, the anti-magic field dispersed his blasts also, making them ineffective. So, ramming each jockey was his best plan of attack and was flying towards them when Ace shouted "Mark!" Suddenly, grapples were flung everywhere and a web materialized out of the pattern of lines to entangle Gargoyle. "You seriously think that this is going to stop me!" Gargoyle sneered as he started to pull on the lines. Turning super deformed, SD Ace counted, "This web won't, but this hook will!" SD Ace wrapped his special hook around Gargoyle and the turned him super deformed as well, rendering all his power and strength useless. "Donna, you know what to do." "Sure I do sugar," Donna said in a sickenly sweet southern accent. She attached a super bugee cord line between Ace and Muerte and used them to as a giant slingshot to launch the helpless and hopeless entangled Gargoyle over the horizon. "All right everyone, you know that we have a job to do," Ace said. "Get into position everyone and after burners on!" "Ace, let's hope this job will be quick because I burned out most of my fuel rescuing Catherine," Muerte said. "And what a fine job you did of saving little old me," said Catherine as she batted her eyes at him. -oOo- Far below, another figure was waiting in the halls leading to the computer room. Some flaws in the bases design has left this area magically active and magical flames played across the figure's hand as he said, "I'll be waiting..." as he scryed the approaching group. -oOo- [Jerry] RECAP: Anne died, Jerry is going to fight Jay, the Dr.Gargoyle guy and the Tuxedo Ataru are still around, and everyone else is trying to do something... Jerry and Makendo were trading blows left and right. Jerry wasn't taking any serious damage, and neither was Makendo, though she was tiring. Jerry was glad he didn't have to use serious power, he needed to save that for later. Suddenlt Jerry saw Anne's mental force bring down Makendo. Jerry was puzzled at the level of Anne's power, but remembered what she had said about her inner power. Jerry saw Makendo grimacing in pain, and he took advantage, he summoned some chains and a ward to seal off Makendo's pokers and placed the cahins around her body and the wardaround her forehead. Jerry could teleport again, so he decided to teleport right into Jay's room, but then he felt Anne destroying herself. Jerry was stunned and angry. "Why did that idiot have to kill herself? Now I'll have to spend months resurrecting her, there goes my damn honeymoon!" Jerry sighed, but knew he had to destroy his brother before even thinking of resurrection spells. Jerry teleported right into Jay's room, where Jay was standing. "Brother, I underestimated you. First I thought you were a nuisance that could be controlled, now you and your traitorous heart have to be destroyed. Father would be so disappointed." Jay drew out his sword. "Shut up about father! You were the disappointment- you gave your heart in to rage! I will have to stop you to save everyone, even if it means my own life!" Jerry drew out his sword and his orb floated menacingly. Both brothers began to use their various battle tactics, and the cries could be heard throughout the castle. "Hades Destruction Blitz!" "Moonbeam Slice!"- the two projectiles cancelec each other out and destroyed the room. " Good show, now try this one..." Jay sent out his Cyclone Slice, which jerry barely teleported, and Jay then dodged another Hades Blitz. Jay muttered "cheap trick" as he started using his chias invisible fists to pound on Jerry. Jerry felt the blows begin to rain on him, and he had no defense except to apply a barrier, which wouldn't last long. Jerry then pulled out one of his desperation tactics, the Darksphere. The Darksphere hit Jay square in the center and exploded. The blost rocked Jay and he got up slowly, then there was a look in his eyes, something demonic... Jerry had only seen this once before, at Sarazano. Jerry knew the next few minutes were going to be hell. He knew about the inner power of Jay and that he couldn't beat it directly, so he stalled, continually dodging and teleporting out of the way of all of Jay's powerful attacks, but Jerry knew he couldn't take much more. Jay was laughing maniacally. "You know, little brother, you never understood what true power was, dabbling in your childish spells, you were no better than that little brat who just cast food spells. I am going to give you the lesson in pain." Various telekinetic fists ripped through Jay's body, weakening him. Jerry had another desperation tactic in mind, this once very risky, but it just might work. Jerry could teleport in various ways. He could either swich places with the place he wanted to go, when he did this a lod pop sound would occur, or he had a more difficult and riskier teleport, one where he phased in and out. This teleport was risky because if you mess up once, you end up getting your molecules mixed with brick, and that kills you messily and instantly. Jerry then teleported, grabbed on to Jay, and hoped to land the teleport where Jerry would land right outside a wall and Jay would end up a splat. Before doing this. Jerry offered a final prayer for himself, for Anne, and for Jay, in case he didn't make it. He started to wrestle with Jay, Jay then said, "You know your weak body can't hold me for more than a second, what can you do about it?" Jerry said, "SHUT UP!" as he teleported. Horrible paon went through Jerry's and Jay's body as Jay landed inside a brick wall, while Jerry's hand landed inside the brick wall as well, going into another dimension forever. Blood flowed freely from Jerry's hand as he howled in pain. Jay was no more and would never be seen again unless the castle decided to renovate the masonry. Jay knew he was going to die fron the blood loss if he didn't get help fast, so he teleported back to Madoka's bar. Madoka was upset as she saw Jerry passed out on her floor. "You know you are going to have to pay for cleaning this up." Marie cane out and was crying over what she thought was her dead husband, but after Madoka checked his pulse and nodded to her that she was alive, she sighed in relief. Several hours later, Jerry, still very weak from the blood loss, woke up and saw Marie by his side, while he was in one of the guest bedrooms. Jerry was hurt all over broken ribs, a missing arm, several cuts. Madoka muttered something about "I'm a barkeep, damnit, not a doctor!" while Jerry tried to stand up. He mutteres "Must...find....Anne...body...must... revive..." before coughing up blood and passing out. -oOo- Meanwhile Dr.Gargoyle and his creation were slipping past several of the rocketeers. The Doctor told his creation, "The empire will be so disappointed. We must get back and tell them that we have been discovered and we need relief." He then told his creation to harass the people trying to restore the satellite while he tells the Empire what has happened. [I know this battle is very anticlimatic, but Anne's death seemed to be the climax of the story, and Jay will be back, I promise, though it will take a long while for his body to reassemble. he is that TOUGH. Also Jerry knows how to resurrect Anne, but he needs a body or a vessel to put the soul in... Using the original body is much easier.] -oOo- [Emiko's Agent] [Ending part of Ace's posting] "All right everyone, you know that we have a job to do," Ace said. "Get into position everyone and after burners on!" "Ace, let's hope this job will be quick because I burned out most of my fuel rescuing Catherine," Muerte said. "And what a fine job you did of saving little old me," said Catherine as she batted her eyes at him. Far below, another figure was waiting in the halls leading to the computer room. Some flaws in the bases design has left this area magically active and magical flames played across the figure's hand as he said, "I'll be waiting..." as he scryed the approaching group. [Jeff "Tsubame" Jarlett writes something, but I don't have that part. ^_^] 54 floors. 1 more to go. 4 shadows dashed down the a hallway: two tall strong men, a slim athletic female, and one petite girl. Behind them flew a black orb with Eva-ERU etched into its smooth surface. "*huff huff* Eric-san, is it..*huff huff* much farther?" Mai rubbed her tummy, regretting all that food she digested this afternoon. "Gomen, Mai-chan, we're almost there. Just down that elevator shaft." Remus ran ahead of them, tapping at his gauntlet. "Hadoken!!!" The elevator door shattered in blue fire, revealing the dirty hole leading down. "Mai, piggy-back." Eric stopped in his tracks for one moment and let Mai jump onto his back. Remus and Rachael grabbed onto the elevator cable and disappeared below. Flinging himself and Mai onto the cable, Eric gripped tightly and slid down one floor, before leaping out onto the lower platform. Remus and Rachael waited outside a door. "Is this it?" The door was 5 meters high (16.5 feet), covered by this strange hazy gas, emitting some kind of energy. "Hai." Eva paused infront of the large door, her metal lens making some scans. "The door is sealed by magic." "Stand back." Eric waved the everyone away from the door, as he retrieved something from his blue trench coat. "Onee-san, this had better work." He knew better than to trust his sisters potions, but this was a time where he depended upon it fully. He held a tiny bottle in his hand. "Kawaii!" Mai commented. Splashing some purple liquid on his right glove, he flexed a couple times, letting the liquid soak in. "Here goes." Holding nothing back, Eric slammed his palm against the door's barrier. A surge of lightning raced up Eric's arm, but he just gritted his teeth, not saying a word. With his free hand he brushed Mai's arm off his electrified shoulder so she would not get any of the pain on her body. Slowly, the barrier began to fade, until was completely absorbed into the purple liquid. "Yay!" Mai cheered. "Quickly, no time." Eva showed that her ERU was made of sterner stuff as it slammed into the door, letting it fall. Eric whinced as he threw off his soaked glove. "Thanks for the sympathy, Eva," he smirked. Eva paused inside the door, and then hovered back outside. "Gomen nasai." she whispered, before heading back in. "How polite," Rachael said as she followed Eva in. Eric cursed to himself. The potion was supposed to be painless. It figured his sister's potion wouldn't work completely. Mai bore a wide-eyed look of concern, and when Eric saw this, he wiped all expression of pain on his face. "Let's go Mai." "Hai!" she wrapped her arms around his neck and they entered the room. Awaiting them was one huge beast. "What...the....hell?" Eric moved away, knowing that Mai was on his back and could get hurt. Remus was already scoping out the situation. "Who are you?" The beast had four horns, and was half man half snake in appearence. His voice was low and dark when he spoke. "I am Zalam, from the Empire. It it too late, fools. They already know of your treachery. Now you will all die for your betrayal." His long arms were consumed even farther by his magic. Remus could believe this. All this way just to find out that it was all for nothing. But on the outside he wore a smile on his face, while anger built up in his body. "Ha!" he cried. Nodding to his sister, he watched as she raised up her hands. Immediately a huge kinetic barrier erected around the Empire scum. "We'll see who dies first!" Remus had already preprogrammed a power into his gauntlet, and released it. "SHIN_HADOKEN!!!" Brilliant blue power sizzled out of his hands, and at that moment, Rachael released the barrier, watching as the fire hit the snakeman in the chest. He was not impressed. "Fools, you are." Zalam's voice boomed. He held out his hand in front of the beam and watched as the full force of the shin-hadoken landed back onto Remus' arms, sending him flying against the far wall. "Remus-sama!!" Mai cried. Remus got up from the floor, wiping blood off his face. There was nothing he could do. Anything more powerful and the computer's would be destroyed as well. Rachael watched stunned at what happened...keeping her off guard just long enough for Zalam's arm to scretch out and grab her by the neck. "Sis!!" "Rachael-san!!" "Kuso!!" Zalam smiled has he brought the struggling female up to his face, jerking her legs in the air like a puppet. "Go ahead," he smiled, "strike me." "Mother-fucker!!" Rachael gathered all her strength together, her arms struggling to contain all the kinetic energy forming into her hands. Zalem held onto her neck just strong enough as to contain her but not hinder her energy build. Eric was first to realize what was going on. "NO!!" he screamed, but it was too late. "SHI-NEEEE!!!!" Rachael let it all go, a huge white fireball twice her size shot at close range. Before it hit Zalam, she heard him say three words: "I'm a conductor." Rachael's face grew white. -oOo- Emiko made another attempt for the ledge. "Damn it!" she cried as once again the wind pushed her away. Rekishi was grabbing on to her body tightly, and despite the height at which they were suspended above the air...despite the howling wind and cracking thunder....he was silently enjoying this position. "What's wrong?!" he yelled through the wind. "I'm losing it!" she yelled back. "My gravity cancellation powers are decreasing! I don't know how much longer I can float like this!!" Rekishi cursed, looking down as the thought of plummeting to his death settled into his brain. Tilting his head upwards, he managed not to get completely distracted by Emiko's breasts and onto the ledge that was just meters away. "Here!!" he shoved up his dragon rod up to her hand. "Use this to latch on to the edge!!" "What?!!" "I said, USE THIS TO LATCH ONTO THE EDGE!!!" The wind and rain were making it even more difficult for communication. "HAI!" Emiko shuffled the stiff rod and stretched it out to it's full extension, grabbing onto it's tip. The wind ripped the rod away from the ledge and it took all the strength her hand muscles could muster to keep it in her hands. "NO GOOD!!" she cried, "THE WIND IS TOO STRONG!!!" Sudddenly, they dropped 3 meters. "SHIT!!!" she yelled, and made final grab for the ledge. It grappled onto a hand. "SUSANO-SAN!!" Emiko cried, relieved. Susano seemed unaffected by the wind as his cloaked billowed around him. He heaved Emiko and Rekishi onto the tower surface. Rekishi released Emiko and grabbed onto a wall, looking up into the sky. Emiko hugged Susano tightly. "E-emiko-chan." he whispered. Looking up at Susano's wind torn face, Emiko stared with her pretty blue eyes, blue eyes that projected innocence yet also a mesmerizing intensity of power and sincerity. Inside herself, Emiko paused, her conscious analyzing the two figures near her. It didn't take women's intuition to know that they both had the hots for her. There was Susano, the dashing sensitive man who had extreme powers yet also extreme women problems. Then there was Rekishi, the thinking man who didn't say much but had a good heart. Emiko noticed that they were both staring at her, causing her to blush slightly. Sighing to herself, she decided that now was not the time to make a decision. "ARIGATO, SUSANO-KUN and REKISHI-KUN!!!" Grabbing Susano's bewildered face between her two smooth hands, she pressed her pouty lips onto his for what seemed like an eternity. Then, turning to Rekishi, she did the same, implanting as much "thanks" has she could muster. They both collapsed simultaneously. "NOW THEN!!" she yelled up into the sky, not noticing the silent men on the floor, "WE'VE GOT WORK TO DO!!!!" -oOo- Ace grappled onto the dish, and watched as his friends did the same around in a circle around it. Emiko stood handing on to some stone, the fear of the wind slamming on her to the ground gripping her. "HURRY UP ACE!!!!" she yelled as best she could. Her voice was getting hoarse. Ace turned SD for a moment and yelled back. "GIVE ME A BREAK, WILL YOU!!!!" He studied the situation back in his normal form. Too much pull from any of the team would cause the dish to smash apart as if it were being drawed and quartered. Opposite to him about 200 feet/60 meters away Catherine hovered, her rocket being tossed around by the wind. Her chain jerked on the base of the dish, and Ace immediatly eased on his side before the whole thing came apart. "Easy Cath," he whispered into the air. "Okay guys," Ace called into the comm channel. "On the count of three, got it?" "No prob Ace," the called back. "One....two.....THREE!" All the pilots jerked up into the air, heaving the dish away from the ledge on which is sat and hovered it into position. It almost landed on Emiko. "WATCH IT!!!!" Emiko yelled as she almost attempted to hold the thing up by herself. "Whoa!" Ace yanked the rocket up a little, but the wind made it difficult. "EASY....EASY...." Emiko yelled some more. Through an act of God, the dish managed to land in the right spot. Ace released his grapple and zoomed down to Emiko's level. "Ha!" he gave her a thumbs up. "No problem, see?" Emiko grinned as she connected the circuitry. "Yeah, you guys get to adjust the dish. Gooooood LUCK!" She gave Ace the peace sigh. Ace turne SD and gave Emiko a mean look. "I hate you." he groan, before heading back into the air. -oOo- Remus watched painfully as the full force of Rachael's power conducted through Zalam's body, through his arm, and back onto her neck. "RACHAEL!!!" he cried. Her scream seemed to last for eternity, as Zalam somehow managed to administer the energy a little at a time. Her arms, legs, and entire body convulsed wildly, her hair racing with electricity while her eyes stared into death itself. Her clothes ripped apart by the shear force of her own power, and her neck seemed to explode with white light at the point of contact. Eric and Remus watched helplessly, knowing that any attack they attempted would just conduct more pain onto Rachael's body. Tears streaked down Remus' face as he couldn't bare her sisters screams no longer. Finally, after what seemed to be forever, the pain stopped. Rachael hung limp from Zalam's outstretched arm as last moment spasms shook through her body. "Pathetic." Zalem mused, as he discarded her half naked body like garbage against the wall. Blood smeared down to where her limp body rested. All that could be heard for a few minutes were Mai's pathetic sobs on Eric's back. "Rachael-san...*sniff sniff* ...Anne-san..." Remus' looked crazy with rage, but instead of attacking Zalam, he teleported over to Rachael, lifting her head up. "Rachael! Rachael!!" he cried, cradling her in his large arms. "B.....b...brother..." her weak frayed eyes opened. "Don't talk!" he almost yelled it like a command, but there was nothing but concern in his eyes. "Don't talk..." he repeated softly. "I'll get you back to Madoka's. She will fix you." "R....r...Remus....." her eye's dropped close again as she cling onto life with a thin thread. "Hmph." Zalam's eyes cast back with slight amusement. "Amazing, she survived." Remus tore a look at Zalem that could kill any man, but kept quiet. This was no time to be brave...this was a time to make sure his sister stayed alive. Which only left Eric. Zalam figured this also, and a wide smile appeared on his red face. "Ah, so it seems you are next, young man." Eric put Mai on the ground and pushed her away. "Get out, Mai! That's an order!" Mai shook her head in defiance, wiping tears from her eyes. With no time to argue, Eric focused on the opponent. "Solar..." his hands began to tremble with power. "APEX....." green energy consumed his body whole, igniting the air with a strange fire which did not burn his clothes. "STRRRRIIIIIIKK----" Zalam interupted with a move his his own. Lashing out his left arm, a hundred spikes shot out in Eric's direction. "Nani!?" He cancelled his move, the green power evaporating into nothing as his quick legs tried to avoid them all. Using his fingers he deflected some of the shots, but a few passed his defence, stabbing into his legs and one into his stomach. "Kuso!!" Eric fell onto his hand and knees, as he tried to tear out the spike shoved in his abdomen. Mai looked at Eric in shock. "Eric-san!!" "That's right, beg....beg on your hands and knees!" Zalam shot another spike into Eric's shoulder. He somehow managed not to scream out through any of it. He would not give Zalam that satisfaction. "ENOUGH!!!!" Zalem for the first time was shocked, looking at the little girl who finally spoke. "Don't worry little girl. You will die after him." "Stop it!" Mai sobbed. Her hand reached for something in her front pocket...it looked like a pencil. "Stop hurting all my friends!!" Tears flowed freely down her face. "You're a bad person!" The demon-serpent merely laughed "Little girl...what are you going to do. Vandalize me?" Mai just stared...not with hatred...not with evil thoughts...but with pity. "I feel sorry for you, Zalam-san. You are stronger than me...everyone here is stronger than me....but I have something something you don't...something given as the ultimate power to magical girls everywhere.... something I don't care if you conduct or not!" "Oh," Zalam said, amused, "And what would that be?" The pencil extended out a few inches, it's eraser end taking the form of a heart. Pointing it with her outstretched arms, she closed her eyes and yelled for all she was worth. "LOVE.......POOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" In a enormous blast of pink rays, the entire room was filled with a beautiful aura of goodness. The blast having been directed at Zalam's chest, it conducted through him and amplified the power even more. The energy that came from goodness and light was redirected at Mai, but being of pure spirit, the redirected beam merely bounced off Mai and was sent back to Zalem in a never ending cycle. Zalam stared at the small little child. "Y-you!!" he cried in fear. That was the last words he muttered before his legs collapsed, and crumble into dust. The room slowly faded down again to a a dim grey glow, and Mai fainted on the floor. "Mai!" Eric ignored all the pain in his shreaded foot as he ran over to pick her up, getting her clothes wet with his blood in the process. "Mai!" Her eyes opened up brightly, not tired as Eric expected. "Yatta." she smiled. " I did it." "Yokatta." Eric replied. The ERU unit hovered at the console...waiting. Eva was inside the computer. It's AI was dead, killed by Eva's lethal virus. Something inside Eva had snapped, and although it was hard to tell with her soft manner, she was really pissed. Finally, the call came in from Emiko, her face flooding the screen. "All done up here, Ev--whoa!" Emiko's face seemed to look around the room. She saw the faint traces of a monster on the floor. "Hey, Mai, did you use that pencil AGAIN?!" Mai scratched her head and gave an embarresed smile with her tongue stuck out. "*sigh* Anyways, it's good to go...er...Eva..." Emiko noticed that the nodes on Eva's eyebrows were pulsing red, indicating psychological malfunction. Emiko's face retracted from the screen. "Oh boy." "Hai." Eva seemed to be okay. She turned to the battered group, her eyes red instead of yellow. "The Empire had exceeded my calculations, giving us no time to re-establish connection and maintaining peace. They have given me no choice but to execute my backup plan. I did not want to use advanced unheard of technology in this universe, but they left me little choice." Her eyes projected a strange eerie psychotic look. "I have just uploaded a Type-10 relay virus, which will send a autodestruct sequence to all the relays around the Empire's galaxy, where they will cause all relays to obliterate at once." "Err...Eva-chan." Emiko smiled nervously. "What about this station?" Eva closed her eyes and put her head down in shame. The warning light seemed to fade from her eyebrows. "Gomen nasai." "NANI!!!!!!?????" Ace's super deformed face crammed up on the viewer screen beside Emiko's. "SHIT!! LET'S GET OUT OF HERE!!!!!!!!!!" Remus picked up Rachael and teleported Eric, Mai, and Eva away with him. Emiko grabbed the unconscious Susano and Rekishi and somehow managed to muster more gravity cancel power than she thought possible. Ace straddled his rocket and made for the hills like there was no tomorrow. Barely away from the base, the entire complex exploded in a show of fire, a beam from the sky shattering the fortress and most nearby land. Blinding light shed over all the world, and for a moment, time seemed to stop. It was over. -oOo- [Well, I know it was Anne's story to start with, but I hope no one minds me ending it. :\] [Okay, the conclusion at Madoka's bar is supposed to happen here, but I have no idea how to end it...most likely they all continue their lives as if nothing happened. You know, that typical cheesy happy ending? ^_^ Then again, there's also Anne's death that needs to be considered. :\ Results of story that you'll have to consider for the conclusion at the bar. Rachael was near death. Eric has stab wounds in his legs and stomach and shoulder. Mai is probably very hungry now. ^_^ Anne is dead ^_^;; Emiko has just kissed both Susano and Rekishi. Susano first, Rekishi second. Susano and Rekishi were unconscious during the final moments of the story Jerry is ????] [Editor's note: A little difficult with the bar in pieces... whoops! Hasn't happened yet!! Serves me right for missing this story...] -oOo- [Anne] [You all didn't really think I was dead did you?] Recap: The story ended. I'm dead. Some people are injured. The Empire and the base are supposedly destroyed. Mai is hungry. A glowing portal appeared in the middle of the darkened bookstore. Out of the portal stepped a figure. Not many details could be seen, but the figure was short and with big spiky hair. "Nowwwww," said the figure, "we got you back." The figure reached into the portal and led another shorter figure out, then the first figure closed the portal. The first figure approached a wall and appeared to study it for awhile. She found the light switch and flicked it. Light illuminated the room. The first figure was revealed to be a small woman with big spiky hair. Her companion seemed to be an orangutan... "Much better..." the woman said surveying the room, "This place is dusty, but I guess you haven't been much condition to clean up around here, have you?!" "Ook?" "Right." The woman sat down and the ape wandered over next to her. "Now don't go thinking I'm going to bail you out everytime!" she said as she shook her finger at the ape. The object of her derision just cocked its head and looked at her quizzically. The woman smiled and leaned back in the chair. "I guess this does give you a second chance though..." Her smile faded and she sighed. "I envy you. It's better to be a child. And now you get be one again." Her face hardened. "Though it's not as if your first chance was a real childhood..." she trailed off and then noticed that her simian companion was staring at her wearing a very confused expression. "Ook?" The woman sighed again. "Go get some hot water for yourself, and bring me a Douglas Adams book." The ape nodded and ran toward the back of the store. In a few minutes it returned with a kettle and book. The woman took the book and examined it. "This isn't Adams! This is one of those stupid Discworld Pratchett things! Who'd want to read them?" "OOK!" "Point taken. Please, just go get an Adams's novel." The ape sprinted off. The woman sunk in her chair. "I should have done something about that curse..." she muttered. .. Two days later "Com'n, Ace, someone has to do it!" Madoka said as she dragged the rocket jockey down the street. "But why does it have to be us?" Ace asked, "I have mail to deliver!" Mads walked up to Ace and gave him a hard slap. Ace stared at her dumbfounded, hand on his ringing cheek. "Do you care about Mai?!" Madoka yelled at him. Ace nodded. Mads continued, "Well, right now, that girl is very upset over her and our friend's death. Jerry said that finding some of Anne's personal possessions might help with the resurrection, and having Anne back will cheer up Mai greatly. Since we're the only ones healthy we have to go to the bookstore and get Anne's stuff. Capeesh?" Ace sighed and nodded. "Fine, I'll go. But you didn't have to hit me so hard!" Mads snorted. "Right. Com'n." A few blocks and a short time later and they were at the bookstore. The windows were dark and the "Closed" sign hung crooked. "It looks so empty..." Mads said. Ace sighed and pulled out the key Anne had given him for when he made deliveries, but just as he was about to unlock the door, a light came on in the store. "What the-?" he muttered. The door opened to reveal a ten-year-old girl with short blond hair. "Hello," the girl said, eyes wide, "Can I help ya?" The girl looked familiar to both Mads and Ace. Mads even thought she looked like... No, that wasn't possible. The girl blinked (or *piku*ed if you prefer) several times and then looked up at the two outside the door. The girl's face lit up and she grinned. "Uncle Ace, Mad-chan!" she cried grabbing both their hands and jumping up and down. "You've come to visit us!" Madoka put her hand on the girl's head and pushed down until she stopped jumping. "I'm sorry, but you have us at a disadvantage..." The girl looked around wildly. "A disadvantage? Where?!" she cried excitedly. Large sweatdrops formed on both Madoka and Ace's heads. Ace tried this time. "Mads means that we don't know who you are..." The girl frowned. "But it's me!" she said, almost pleading, "Anne!" Mads and Ace glanced at each other. Mads knelt down so she was at the girls height, and put her hand on the girl's shoulder. "You can't be Anne," she replied soothingly, "Anne's gone." The girl backed into the store. "I am Anne!" she cried, "Why do you say I'm not? You're scaring me!" "Anne!" came a call from inside the store, "Invite our guests in!" Anne glanced back in the store and answered, "Hai, oniichan!" Then she gestured to Ace and Mads. "Oniichan will convince you!" A surprised Mads and Ace followed the girl into the store. They sat down where Anne indicated. "I'll go get oniichan!" Anne said brightly. She ran off in the back of the store and returned carrying a tray. Behind her walked a woman. Mads and Ace looked the woman up and down in shock. They took in the outfit, boots, hands on the hips and most importantly, the pink spiky hair. Anne put down the tray and introduced them all. "Oniichan, this is Madoka and Ace. Uncle Ace, Madoka-chan, this is my big sister Washu!" Washu walked over to Madoka and examined her critically. After a few moments she pointed at Mads with an "Aha" gesture, "You run the Lurker's Retreat outside of town don't you?" Mads smiled weakly and nodded. "I thought so. Anne tells me you have good root beer." Mads nodded again weakly, "Um, yes we do." Washu turned her attention to Ace. She walked around him several times, hmmming, and ahhhhing. Ace wriggled in his seat, feeling very much like a lab specimen. Finally Washu stopped. "I know! I've seen you on the Sports Channel!" Ace relaxed and grinned. "Yeah, I'm a rocket jockey." Washu clapped her hands. "Good! Perhaps I could runs some *tests* on you sometime then?" The way she said tests made Ace's blood crawl. "Ah, I, uh...." he replied intelligently. He was saved when Anne asked, "Oniichan? Can I go play now?" Washu turned around in surprise and nodded. "All right. Just be careful with the lab equipment." Anne nodded and ran off. Washu took a seat across from the stunned Capow residents. "Well.... I guess you have some questions, don't you?" "Is that really Anne?" Mads asked disbelieving. Washu leaned back and picked up a cup of tea. "Yes and no. Her spirit and mind are in there yes. But it isn't her body. I've known Anne for a long while now. She has tremendous potential if she learned to use her power properly. The problem was that she couldn't use all of her power if she wished to live without serving the Empire. I created a clone for her that would remove this restriction. Anne refused to use the clone, stating that she would rather not have to deal with the power at all. But when I felt her body die, I was able to get her spirit to enter the clone. She is now free from the Empire, with full access to her power. I have, of course, placed controls and walls on her power until she can control it, if she even wants it." Ace and Madoka digested this for awhile. Washu just sipped her tea and solved some mathematical equations in her head that would have made Ian Malcolm flip his lid if he saw them. Finally Ace asked cautiously, "How come she's a child?" Washu put down her tea. "That's the age her spirit chose to be, though she will gradually attain her former age over the next few months. Remember, she never had a real childhood." Washu's burned with hatred as she talked, "The Empire stripped away her life, used her as a thing. She grew up much too quickly..." Washu shook her head and grinned. "But she won't have any memory of that now. She has essentially started over. Though she still has memories of this town and its people," Washu looked around the store, "Apparently it made quite an impression on her." "But if she is a child, then she can't stay here alone!" Madoka said worriedly. Washu grinned. "That's why I'm staying with her. You all get to be graced by the prescence of the greatest scientist in the universe, Little Waaasssshhhhuuuu!" She glanced slyly at Ace. "I thought I'd get some samples from the local male population while I'm at it..." She grinned wickedly. Ace cowered in his chair. Madoka put her head in her hands. "God help us..." she muttered.