Silent Mobius Fan Fiction ❯ Requiem Knight ❯ Amok Time ( Chapter 7 )
Warning: A little lemon-lime flavour to this fic…skip it if you want.
Chapter 7: Amok Time
'Lady Nemesis has reached a decision,' Lucifer announced. Rally awaited the message behind her desk, flanked by Mana and Avalanche Wong. 'She is bound by Her contract with Ganossa and cannot act directly in this matter until and unless Ganossa makes a move hostile to Her interests. However, She will no longer aid him in any way not required by the contract. Unfortunately, Ganossa has many allies among the more powerful Lucifer Hawks, who have small followings of their own. Combined, they will be able to field a formidable army.
'We Lucifer Hawks do not war amongst ourselves, so none of us will be able to stand with you against Ganossa.' The great Lucifer Hawk paused for a moment, unsure of whether to continue.
Rally urged him to continue. 'Is there something else you think we should know? Even if you're not certain, it may help us.'
'I suspect that Ganossa may attempt something extremely dangerous to both Gaia and Nemesis. His behaviour has been erratic since the destruction of your former headquarters, and his version of Project Gaia does not…feel quite the same as that which you were involved with, Avalanche Wong.'
'Thank you, Lucifer. It feels strange to be fighting for the survival of Nemesis, but I will do whatever it takes to stop Ganossa.'
'That is all I can ask. Be well, my daughter.' Lucifer bowed and dematerialized.
'What did he mean by "my daughter?" I thought your father died years ago.' asked Mana.
'According to him, he is closely related to my father…but he refuses to say just how they're related. I get the feeling that he is much older than my father, though.'
Alex sat scowling at the screen in his desk. It displayed the floor plan of Station 07, specifically the floor he shared with Mobile Division One. Scraps of paper held a single underlined number at the top with succeeding numbers crossed out. No matter how he traced lines on the map, he couldn't get the two numbers to match. Just as he was on the point of smashing his forehead through the screen, Kiddy knocked and entered.
'Hey, if you've got a minute, I have a little problem with my Graviton. It won't shoot straight.'
The silver-haired man rose, muttering, 'Finally, some honest work.' He led the cyborg into the main room, where he kept his equipment. After hooking the weapon to a diagnostic rig, he discovered that the sights were misaligned and that the barrel was badly corroded. As he replaced the barrel, he commented, 'I don't understand…you used the same gun for at least three years with no problems. Yet you've been in here four times in the past week.'
'I lost the original a few weeks ago. The replacement just isn't as durable. By the way, what were you doing when I walked in?'
'Trying to decide how to carve up this floor into temporary living quarters for after the evacuation. It'd be too risky to let everyone stay in their own homes with the city empty like that.'
'Why this floor? And why are you the one doing it?'
'The locker rooms are on this floor. I figured that having everyone live close to the showers would be a good idea. As for why I'm doing it…can you think of anyone else?
'Rally is trying to talk the government into ordering the evacuation of Tokyo; that, along with her administrative duties, doesn't leave much time for much else. Besides, she's the senior partner and gets to delegate the tedious things.
'Mana is the commander of the AMP, so she can't do it unless she wants you running around unsupervised. None of the AMP and Mobile officers can do it with Lucifer Hawk activity as high as it is. The support staff has more important things to do than scribble marks on drawings of empty rooms. Guess who that leaves?'
'You? Just don't put me in the same room as Katsumi.' The sorceress had stayed at Kiddy's apartment for a while once, and her snoring
'Oh, I'm not at that point yet. I'm still trying to decide how to carve up the space available into private rooms and barracks space. It'll be impossible to give everyone a room of his own, but I can't just cram everyone into two-foot wide bunk beds, either. I'm emptying every closet and storage room and I keep coming up one bed short.'
'You have that bed in the back, don't you?'
'That's for me. This is all tentative, anyway. Rally says she's going to be transferring in some extra personnel in the next week or so: officers who've had experience with Lucifer Hawks and a few more doctors for the infirmary.'
'Well, I need to go back on duty. Good luck with the rooms.'
The next day, every TV station broadcast this message from the Prime Minister at eight PM: 'Citizens of Tokyo, I must regrettably inform you that it is no longer safe to remain in this city due to the conflict with the Lucifer Hawks. I must ask you to evacuate the city in an orderly fashion within the next week. Instructions for the evacuation will be sent to you via email later this evening. Take only what you can carry easily-material possessions can be replaced; your lives and your families cannot.
'Again, I ask that you remain calm in this time of crisis. I hope that we will be able to return to a city free of the menace that now threatens it. Thank you, and may God defend us all.'
Over the course of the next week, long lines formed at the airport, docks, train stations, and along the major roads leading out of Tokyo. Police officers in long blue cloaks and dark sunglasses directed the evacuation and maintained order. Alex received the final staff roster for Station 07, with a dozen new personnel to find beds for. Even by arranging for the barracks beds to be used in shifts, he was short one bed. Rally called him in for a conference on the matter during the third day of evacuations.
'Have you worked out the sleeping arrangements?'
'Not quite. We have almost sixty people in here: about thirty officers; a dozen doctors and nurses; and another dozen janitors, mechanics, and the like. I've moved all the supplies and ammo stored on the seventh floor into the basement. I plan to have private quarters for sixteen people, two to a room, to accommodate married couples and such. This room will become a barracks with another fifteen beds that can be used in rotation. Unfortunately, we're still short one bed.'
'That's not a problem. I'm having one shipped up to my office tomorrow.'
'I'll send up a list of food we'll need in the next few days. Also, Mobile Division One's new Gauss rifles arrived today. According to the data the R&D people sent me, they fire antimatter rounds with rune-scribed casings that can penetrate shields…at least, they penetrated the shields used during testing. There's only one way to tell if they'll be any good against a Lucifer Hawk .' Alex laid the report on her desk for Rally to initial.
'Issue them in the morning. And I'll need the report from Simurgh's weapons chief.'
Several hours later, Rally shut her computer off after wading through a sea of reports on the evacuation and preparations for the battle to come. She had shrugged off her jacket and was preparing to spend another night on her couch when a voice suggested from the back of her head, <Why are you sleeping here when there's a perfectly good bed downstairs?>
<Because it's not my bed.>
<It's not like he's in it now. Can you feel his presence there?> It happened that Alex had just stepped out to hunt down some midnight ramen.
<No. He must have gone home, wherever he lives. But…>
<It's probably more comfortable than that couch and it's not like anyone is likely to find you there. It wouldn't hurt you to get a good night's sleep once in a while.>
<I suppose you're right. He did say I was welcome to borrow anything I needed.>
With that, Rally teleported herself into the small room behind Alex's workshop. She threw her jacket over a chair and climbed into the small bed. She almost heard the outer door slide open as she fell asleep.
Alex slurped down the last of his ramen and threw the cup into the trash as he strode into his office. Rally had also placed him in charge of ordering supplies, without stating how long she expected the officers to live in the station. The station had adequate stocks of weapons, ammo, and medical supplies; but food (and possibly water) could be problematic if the Lucifer Hawks decided to besiege the building. Bringing in supplies by air was an option, but the amount that could be brought in was limited by the size of the helipad and the fact that many Lucifer Hawks could fly. Alex finally gave up trying to stay awake about half an hour after Rally had settled into bed. He yawned and half rose from his seat, but thought better of it. A small switch set into his chair's armrest instantly flattened it into a narrow but very soft bed. He pulled a blanket from the air and fell asleep almost instantly.
Around four AM, Kiddy stepped out of the elevator to leave a broken gun for Alex when she saw Rally groggily stumble out of his door in rumpled shirt and pants. The older woman shuffled off towards the ladies' room, giving no sign that she'd noticed the cyborg's presence. As she left, Kiddy thought to herself, Interesting….
About an hour later, Yuki passed by and saw Alex shamble down the hall with an empty glass in his hand. He filled it at a water fountain and returned without greeting her. Alex woke at seven, according to the clock blinking on the desk screen beside him. He made his way across the dark workshop to the bedroom, where he kept his coffee machine. As the water boiled and the aroma of coffee filled the room, a thick woman's voice called sleepily from the bed, 'Make me a cup, too, will you, Yuki?'
The room instantly filled with light as Alex spun to face the speaker, a ball of sapphire flame clenched in his fist. Rally started up at the sudden light and blinked at the man for a moment. They asked each other simultaneously, 'What are you doing in here?'
Rally was the first to reply after an embarrassed silence. 'I thought you'd left for the night, so I decided to borrow the bed. I'm…sorry.'
'It's nothing. I was just surprised to find someone in here. You're welcome to stay here whenever you want-the chair in my office turns into a bed, so that's not a problem.'
'Thank you, but I'll probably be sleeping in my own bed from now on. By the way, the evacuation should be complete today. Are we ready for what comes after?'
'Almost. I'll make arrangements for food, water, and fuel to be shipped in today.' Alex poured two cups of coffee and handed one to Rally. The conversation moved on to other business, including what she planned to do with the police department after the war was finished. After about half an hour, Rally pulled on her jacket and the two left the room in search of breakfast. They found Kiddy beside the door, almost asleep beside the door.
'Morning, Kiddy. Did the Graviton break again?' The cyborg started up with a wild yell, almost shoving her fist through Alex's skull.
'Oh, sorry. No, I just wanted to talk to you about something else. Hey! Morning, Director! What are you doing here?'
The older woman replied calmly, 'I just decided to join him for a cup of coffee this morning while we discussed the direction Cheyenne Corporation should take. Say, aren't you supposed to be on duty now?'
'No, my shift just ended.'
'I'll leave you to discuss whatever business you have with Alex, then.'
Once her superior was out of earshot, Kiddy leered at Alex and asked, 'So, how was she?'
He replied stiffly, 'I wouldn't know. Nothing happened last night, at least not in the sense you think. Now, if you don't mind, I need to get something to eat.'
'Say, Roy, have you ever wondered how that de Winter guy got his job?' commented one Mobile officer to his partner as they supervised the last few hundred evacuees at the airport.
'He's really good with weapons and armours, from what I've seen. Remember the Silver Knight the tabloids were talking about last year? He built that guy's armour.'
'Well, some say that there's a…connexion between him and the woman in charge, if you know what I mean.' A third officer insinuated into his mike.
An officer further down the line laughed raucously. 'That's the way things work in the corporate system: it ain't what you know, it's who you know. And how you know them!'
'I don't think either of them is the type to make that sort of deal. Hey, what's that?' A dark cloud of dust had appeared on the horizon.
'Looks like a Lucifer Hawk. A big one,' reported one officer.
'Looks that way to me, too, Nozomu. Alright, everyone, stay calm but get on those planes as fast as you can. Mobile Police, with me!' The civilians broke into a run as they scrambled into the planes, but left open spaces around the armoured officers as they formed a line between the vehicles and the approaching Lucifer Hawk. It was visible now, flying at great speed over the ground: with a flat wedge-shaped head attached to a lithe grey body, it resembled nothing more than a flying mutant shark. Roy ordered, 'On three, let it have it with the blasters!'
The officers levelled their arms at the monster and stubby barrels popped out from the vambraces. 'Three!' Five bolts of energy shot out at the monster, only to detonate against its shield. 'Alright, Yamamoto. Time to test that new rifle.'
The officer unslung his rifle and aimed carefully. He fired when the Lucifer Hawk was about fifty yards away. At almost the same instant as he heard the rifle's crack, the Hawk exploded in a fountain of grey flesh and green ichor. Yamamoto whistled as the rifle's capacitors recharged. 'Wow…those techies weren't kidding when they said this thing was powerful.'
'The evacuation of Tokyo is complete, sir. Now we can only wait for Ganossa to make his move,' Mana reported to Rally. 'We know that he is reactivating the Cyclotron, and Lebia has detected a great deal of activity there the last few days. Whatever his plan is, he will carry it out soon.'
'Good. The sooner this war is over, the better. We can't live in this station the rest of our lives, after all. Activate the Cerberus system; every sector should be checked at least twice an hour. And have officers patrolling, too. We'll get better coverage that way, and the Simurgh's sensors are the best available.'
'Yes, sir. Oh, Yuki and the girls have organized a "house-warming" party in the AMP office tonight. Will you be attending?'
'Of course. I'll be living here, too.'
The party was a rather subdued affair as the impending battle hung over everyone's head. Since a number of officers were technically on duty, no alcohol was served. Most of the attendees wore uniforms, but Alex showed up in black slacks and a blue shirt. Inevitably, conversations turned to the subject of what the AMP members planned to do after the final battle.
'Ralph! What are you doing here?' Kiddy caught her boyfriend in a headlock and had to release her grip a bit to get an answer.
'Director Cheyenne transferred me to this division since I've had a little experience with Lucifer Hawks before.'
'I remember…that was how we met.' Kiddy grinned but Ralph coughed and tried to change the subject.
'Yeah, well, I'm part of Mobile Division One for now. I need to get fitted for my armour in the morning…and I think we have a room together.'
'You do' confirmed Alex. He held a sandwich in one hand and a glass of some blue liquid in the other. 'Just try to remember that the walls are only temporary and not particularly soundproof.' Even Kiddy blushed at this reminder.
'Oh, I suppose we might as well announce this now…Attention everyone, Kiddy and I have something to say: We're getting married.' Ralph announced to loud applause.
'When?' someone called from the back of the crowd.
'We haven't picked a time yet…no real rush; after all, there's no guarantee we'll survive the next week.'
'Ralph, if you die on me, I'll drag your carcass to the altar if I have to break down the Gates of Hell to do it.'
'So, Katsumi, what are you planning to do after this is all over?' asked Yuki.
'We…we're thinking of getting married and then settling down some place quiet, away from Lucifer Hawks and traffic jams,' Roy replied .
'Don't worry, we won't go too far: there's some open ground near Tokyo that's been abandoned for years. We just need a place where we can retire and raise a family,' added Katsumi. 'This city is great, but I'd rather have a little more space when we have kids. What about you, Yuki?'
'Well…Lum Cheng's a pretty good cook, even if she can be a little over the top sometimes. We've been talking about offering Chinese food at my café.'
'We'll be sure to stop by if you ever do that. It should be a very interesting restaurant.' Katsumi promised .
'What do you plan to do after this war's over, Rally?'
'I've…never thought about that, actually. I've been fighting Nemesis almost all my life and I always assumed that I would do it until I died. Alex and I have been talking, though. We'll sell off a large chunk of the police, though Cheyenne Corporation will retain overall control. I'll probably retire somewhere and live off the money that used to go to the AMP. What will you do, Mana?'
'I'll probably try to get into the corporate world. I've acquired a good deal of…interesting information on many of the corporations that used to own parts of the police department. If you're interested in a third partner….'
'That's a good idea. Alex is a genius at making machines work, but I don't think he really likes dealing with accounts, regulations, and meetings. I'll probably put him in charge of a couple factories we own-through proxies, of course-after this is all over.'
'If he sticks around.' Rally winced at this observation; only Mana's practiced eye caught the movement. 'Speaking of Alex, do you mind if I ask just what is going on with him?'
'We're just business partners…maybe friends, but nothing more. Still, there's always this funny feeling every time I see him. Like my Lucifer Hawk side wants to have him for lunch.'
'Have you ever had a boyfriend before? I've heard the rumours going around about the two of you-I don't believe them-but you two do look like a couple.'
'There was that one guy in college….'Rally mumbled.
Mana snorted in memory of this story told long ago in the wee hours at a Beijing bar. 'He ran away after looking in your fridge.'
'He was an idiot. It wasn't even human blood!'
'How was he supposed to know? Most people don't keep jugs of blood around…even if it is pig's blood. Anyway, I don't think that guy counts as a boyfriend. At least he didn't start a new round of vampire rumours about you.'
Rally grimaced. 'Those cost me so much back then…it was impossible to find a roommate who didn't freak out about my eating habits. How did we get into talking about my college days?' She discreetly took the green-haired woman by the arm and left the room to seek a more private place after noting that the other officers were paying great attention to them.
'It just happened, I guess. Back to Alex. Do you want to get closer to him?'
'I…don't know. He's the first man I've ever met who actually accepts the fact that I'm half Lucifer Hawk, but I don't know if he's going to stay in our world after this. If we do fall for each other, I don't think I'd be able to take it if he left.'
'They say it's better to love and lose than to not love at all. I wish I could agree with them. I miss Genvara so much even after all these years….'
'I'm sorry for bringing this up if it hurts you so much.'
'I've learned to live without him. The important thing is the time we did have together. If we hadn't taken a chance on each other, we never would've had them. Besides, if Alex leaves, you could go with him. You deserve a vacation after a lifetime of fighting, and so does he.'
'Thank you, Mana. I think I know what we have to do now.'
Rally moaned as her lover bent his head to take her breast in his mouth. She ran her tongue over his neck, feeling the pulse beat under the skin. He was so warm and tasted so…inviting. She whispered, 'This won't hurt…much,' before biting down. A trickle of blood flowed into her mouth, salty with a metallic tang and a faintly bitter aftertaste. He pulled away and dipped his head lower, leaving a cool, faintly ticklish trail down her body. One hand rose to caress her thigh, slowly creeping higher.
Rally jerked awake just as the hand reached its goal. She was alone in her bed in a walled-off corner of her office. The sweat-soaked sheets were tangled around her as if she'd been moving violently in her sleep. That's the third night in a row I've had that dream. Does it mean anything? She glanced at the clock on the nightstand beside her. Ugh…might as well get up now and take a shower before everyone else uses up the hot water.
Alex rolled off his bed and woke from a similar dream. He raised one hand to his neck and found the skin unbroken. The clock read 5:30. Too early to get up, too late to go back to sleep. May as well take a shower now before the morning rush. Pulling a towel and robe from the air, he rose and headed off to the locker room.
The two met outside the locker rooms, which were next to each other. Alex spoke first. 'Couldn't sleep either, huh?'
'I've been having strange dreams ever since we moved into the station three days ago.'
'So have I. I keep waking up before they get interesting, though. All of my really good or bad dreams are like that.' For some reason, both of them blushed at that and hurried into the showers. Officers coming off the night shift flooded the locker rooms minutes after they got out.
Alex entered his bedroom and stripped off his suit after spending several hours repairing an extremely battered suit. The owner said that a pack of Category Twos had thrown a tree at him. The dent in the breastplate was certainly large enough to be from a tree. The arm blaster had also been caught in the impact and had needed to be replaced. Alex took the opportunity to make a few adjustments the officer had requested: more movement in the hip and knee joints and more flexibility in the fingers. Alex dropped his clothes into a chair and stretched beside the bed, clad only in black boxers. A woman's voice purred as he felt someone materialize behind him. The voice was deep, with just a hint of the odd resonance of Lucifer Hawk speech.
Alex dove for the pistol in his jacket but instead hit his head on the chair arm. Gentle arms picked him up and the voice whispered in his ear, 'You won't need those for tonight.'
Alex opened his eyes and finally got a look at the intruder. 'R-Rally?! What are you doing in here?' She was wearing a short black night gown; a lacy one that consisted of more holes than fabric.
'Can't you guess?' She licked his neck, trailing her tongue along the carotid artery in a faintly disturbing way.
He pushed her away and fell into the chair. 'What's gotten into you? This isn't how you normally act.'
'I thought it was time for a change.' She smiled, baring teeth that were just short of being fangs. 'This won't hurt either of us…much.' Rally leaned in to kiss him and thrust her tongue deep into his mouth. Alex tasted faintly of Ramen and fried catfish. He nicked his tongue on her teeth and she broke the kiss to savour the taste of blood.
'Not bad, but I think you should try some of mine.' She ran her tongue over a particularly sharp canine; blood welled up along the cut and she grabbed Alex's head for another kiss. Her blood had a salty-sweet flavour with oddly spicy notes. It also brought an old quote to Alex's mind, something a friend had said to him many years ago: 'Passion is rare enough as it is. Touch it when it comes your way .'
The klaxon sounded in the AMP office, jolting Kiddy from a light doze. A large map of the residential floor appeared in the air with a bright red marker indicating the presence of a Lucifer Hawk, possibly Category One.
'How did a Lucifer Hawk get in here?! We've installed new shields and extra wards!' Lebia exclaimed.
'It's in Alex's quarters. He can deal with it.'
'We still need to notify Director Rally, though. That's strange…she isn't in her room. She hasn't left the station, though…at least, no one's seen her go out.' The blonde tapped at her control panel in bemusement.
'Lebia! What's going on?' Mana demanded as she entered at a dead run.
'The sensors have detected a Lucifer Hawk, but it's in the one part of the station where the surveillance cameras have been disabled. I can't seem to find the Director, either.'
Kiddy snapped her fingers. 'Say, isn't she half Lucifer Hawk? I'll bet that's what we're picking up.'
'There's only one way to confirm it, Kiddy. Are you volunteering to interrupt them? It's releasing a great deal of energy, whatever it is.' Mana fixed the cyborg with a raised eyebrow and steady gaze.
'Nah. Alex is old enough to look after himself.'
'Lebia, cancel the alarm, but place the Mobile Police on alert in case this is something hostile.'
'Yes, sir.' The klaxon cut off and the map vanished. A moment later, Mobile Division One's night shift commander acknowledged his orders.
Alex awoke to a very warm body beside his own…and a very sore spot in his neck. A pair of crescent scabs bordered the spot. As he sat up, he noticed that Rally was still asleep. Nothing good can come of this.
'What do you mean?!' she demanded, instantly sitting up beside him. Her voice and fangs had returned to normal.
'Just something another soldier told me almost fifty years ago: "Nothing good can come from sleeping with the boss. No matter how beautiful she is, it's not worth having to deal with everyone else thinking she favours you." Every promotion or decoration is twice as hard to obtain with an image like that, as another friend of mine found out.'
The silver-haired woman laughed. 'We're partners, remember? I'm not your boss.'
'That's not how everyone else sees it. By the way, how did you know what I was thinking? I'm not telepathic, and I'm pretty sure I didn't say it out loud.'
'I don't know. It just popped into my head and woke me up. Try thinking something else.' Alex sat silently on the bed, but his voice sounded in Rally's head.
<What do you want for breakfast?'>
<Bacon and eggs, I think. And blood…doesn't have to be yours, though.> Alex made a flourish with his hand and the meal appeared on the nightstand. As she ate, Rally said, 'I'm sorry about last night. Lucifer said that the mating instinct in strong in Lucifer Hawks, but I never thought it would be anything like that.'
'Don't apologize. There's nothing to regret. Just try not to make a habit of it…A couple of the neighbors were banging on the walls last night.' Rally blushed.
'Were we that loud?'
'Louder, probably. I sound-proofed this place when I set it up since I have a habit of watching TV late into the night.'
'In here again, Director?' Kiddy asked as the two left the workshop wearing robes and carrying towels. She didn't even pretend to have a piece of broken gear for Alex to fix.
'Kiddy, if you keep stalking me, you'll be on cleaning detail for the rest of your life,' Rally stated coldly. The red-haired cyborg prudently retreated at this point.
1) Gauss rifles are a standard sci-fi weapon. They use magnets to propel projectiles at incredible speeds.
2) Katsumi's hair is blue in the TV series (finally saw an episode again…it's been a while) but it's purple in the last couple manga covers (though it's blue on the first one). I think I said it's blue-purple earlier.
3) They wind up doing this in the end of the manga…but I don't think they're a couple per se any more than Alex and Rally are at this point in the chapter.
4) A corrupted version of what Marcus says to Dr. Franklin during their Mars sojourn when the rebel leader started showing an interest in the good doctor. Incidentally, Richard Biggs, the actor who played Dr. Franklin, passed away this week. He also appeared in several daytime soaps.
The title comes from an episode of the original Star Trek, as do certain elements of the plot. Copy and paste this address into your browser window for full details of the Star Trek episode: http://www.ericweisstein.com/fun/startrek/AmokTime.html As a half Lucifer Hawk, it is not unthinkable that Rally would have some odd metabolic/dietary quirks. Or odd-tasting blood for that matter. It is known that Lucifer Hawk extracts can have a…peculiar effect on humans. I'm sure that the surge of hormones produced during the mating season would be just as potent.