(The following is a non profit fan-written literature. Outlaw Star, Angel Links, and all associated characters, ideas, concepts, and storylines are the property of Shueisha, Ultra Jump, Kadokawa Shoten, Dragon Jr, Sunrise, and Funimation. Please support the official release.)

(Okay so here we go. This is actually my second attempt at an epic Outlaw Star fic. The first one I was originally quite proud of but as I perfected my writing and knowledge of story, I realized that I could have done better. I won't tell you the name. If you read through fanfiction's archives you'll find it and possibly recognize my style but that's all I'll say.

Now then, in addition to Outlaw Star, several characters from Angel Links will have minor roles as well. However, the thing is...my personal headcannon is that the Angel Links series actually takes place in an alternate universe, hence why Duuz and Valeria are so different between the two series. To that end, the Angel Links characters will be somewhat different than they were in their series. IE-Meifon will be a normal human instead of an invincible super android and hopefully less of a Mary Sue as well.)


(The time: Aprox. 5 years before the beginning of Outlaw Star)

This was absurd.

Instead of using his time and energy to find a way to correct their problem, Gwen Khan had been forced practically at gunpoint by Imperial officials all the way out to this god forsaken corner of the frontier. Adrift in orbit over the planet Hoppo, the space station Lóng Chéngbǎo was one of many outposts belonging to the Kei Pirates and was the personal headquarters of the 108 Stars, their most powerful faction. It was to them that the Tendo King had entrusted Project Ki Line; the clandestine joint venture between the Kei and a shadow cabal with the Tempa Imperial government. As a leading authority in nanotech, computer coding, and bio prosthetics, Khan had been brought into the conspiracy so as to decipher the data his benefactors had obtained from some ancient ruins. And upon decoding it, Khan could scarcely believe his eyes. To think that the legends and myths were true. That the Galactic Leyline actually existed. And within the data was the means to obtain everything it promised. Except a complication had arisen. Now Khan stood in the darkened reception room atop the Lóng Chéngbǎo, his very life dependent on whether or not this consultant Lord Hazanko had summoned would be able to solve a problem that stumped even Khan's vast intellect.

Shifting his eyes upward, Khan observed the figure who stood atop the raised dais at the room's rear. Like any pirate leader, Hazanko seemed to enjoy looking down on those he considered inferior. A tall and powerfully built man, even without the sweeping robes that draped his frame and the massive pauldrons that spanned twice the width of his body, Hazanko made an intimidating presence. Small wonder why he was considered second to the Tendo King himself. Atop his head, a headpiece spanned the width of his shoulders while a mask covered the entirety of his face. Khan had met him only once before, back when he had been offered a chance to work on the Ki Line Project. And despite his usual distaste for so-called Tao Magic, Khan never spoke to him with nothing less than utmost respect. The tales he had heard of Hazanko's ruthlessness and penchant for cruelty were the stuff of nightmares.

Finally, a hole in the floor of Hazanko's reception room opened and two figures emerged. The first one Khan knew as Tobigera, a member of Hazanko's personal band of enforcers, the Anten 7. Dressed in gaudy robes and wearing a fanged mask with four eyes, Khan had always found him more comedic than intimidating. Next to him was a man equally as imposing as Hazanko. Only instead of the opulent fare Hazanko wore, this one was simply dressed in rough robes that left one broad shoulder exposed. His head was completely shaven and just above his weathered and chiseled face, a tattoo of a vertically positioned eye had been drawn into his forehead. This is the consultant? Khan wondered. He looks more like a beggar than a scientist. He's not even wearing shoes.

"Lord Hazanko," Tobigera announced, "may I present Master Tenzen, High Priest of the Asura Sect." The Asura Sect? His fate hinged on the whims of a cultist?

"Greetings Lord Hazanko," he said with a bow as Tobigera sunk back into the hole he had emerged from. "It has been far too long."

"Indeed old friend," Hazanko nodded. "And this is Professor Gwen Khan, our chief scientific consultant." Tenzen nodded and Khan curtly returned the gesture. "Have you reviewed the data I sent to you?"

"I did. Show her to me." Hazanko gestured and a light turned on to reveal a wheeled gurney on which a small figure lay covered beneath a sheet. Tenzen approached the gurney and peeled back the sheet to reveal the dead body of a girl. Collar length black hair framed her delicate features save for two sidelocks that draped to just below her shoulders.

"As you can see," Khan explained, "she flatlined the instant she was removed from the maturation chamber. This was our third attempt. I am currently conducting further research into the data to determine the cause of the problem." As he gazed down at the girl's body, Tenzen reached out and laid his hand on her forehead and heart. Closing his eyes, the priest cocked his ear as if hearing something only he could. Finally, his eyes opened and he turned back to Hazanko.

"I fear your efforts were doomed to failure from the start," he told them. "For her Atman is incomplete."

"A what-man?" Khan replied.

"Atman," Tenzen repeated. "It goes by many names. Spirit. Soul. Qi. Vital essence. It is a fraction of the Brahman, the great cosmic will which bestows life and sentience. It is what separates a living being from a lump of meat."

"Now wait just a moment," Khan interrupted. "You don't seriously expect us to believe such a ridiculous idea do you?"

"You would do well not to dispute that which you do not understand," Tenzen advised

"How dare you, you presumptuous..."

"Silence Khan!" Hazanko roared. "You forget that your fate is tied to the success of the Ki Line project as well." Despite his sense of imminent doom, Khan wasn't about to let some superstitious drivel seal his fate. Especially when his pride as a scientist was on the line.

"Lord Hazanko, I implore you to think about it for a moment. Constructs have been manufactured without issue for years. Bio-androids. Synthetic clones. Melfina is just a more advanced version of those two."

"And therein lies the difference," Tenzen pointed out. "She is no mere robotic frame cloaked in artificial tissue. Neither is she a sculpture of flesh. Rather, she is an amalgamation of both. As I understand, you recovered the data showing how to create her and the vessel from an ancient ruin did you not?"

"Indeed we did," Khan admitted. "I deciphered the data myself. Everything about her design and programming was revealed."

"And was there anything else?" Khan hesitated to answer. How could he possibly know about...that?

"Khan answer him," Hazanko ordered.

"Well," he stammered, "there was something in the data that I could not decode. A sort of 'black box' if you will."

"What?" Hazanko asked with a glare. Khan loosened his collar and felt as if he was one misstep away from the chopping block.

"The black box was included in Melfina's design," he hurriedly said. "It's most likely the access program for the Leyline. If the Leyline really is a massive databank as I've theorized then it's possible the program is beyond our current tech to understand. But even so it should still enable her to access it."

"It is no mere program," Tenzen explained. "It is her Atman. But a man like you who clings to only that which he accepts could never understand it. And because she is incomplete, she cannot live." Khan tched in annoyance. Could he really be anymore pretentious?

"Then what is the solution?" Hazanko demanded.

"It will be difficult but not impossible," Tenzen answered. "Since her Atman is uncooperative we must forge her a secondary one. Grant me full access to the data. Meanhile, you will craft her a fresh living body but do not disconnect her from life support. Instead, deliver her to me. The Asura Sect will construct a host Atman to hold her true self and grant her life." This lunatic couldn't be serious. Consultation was one thing but did he seriously think Hazanko would allow an outside to get his hands on Melfina?

"How long will it take?" Hazanko asked.

"Five years."

"Five years!" Khan exclaimed. "Each one of these androids took only a month to grow!"

"Creating an Atman is no small feat," Tenzen replied. "It must be cultivated with care and precision or else it will not be able to support body and mind."

"A puppet with a mind of her own," Hazanko mused. "That could cause complications. But it doesn't seem as if we have much of a choice."

"Just one second Lord Hazanko. Tell me Tenzen. What is it that you want in exchange? Do you have some sort of wish of your own you seek from the Leyline?"

"Not at all. Material desires hold no sway for me. What I crave is enlightenment. And I feel that the biotech you uncovered could be useful in my own endeavors."

"Very well then," Hazanko decided. "Fortunately, it will take that long for our allies in the Tempa government to finish testing and construction of the XGP. I shall assure the Tendo King that our problem has been handled. Tenzen, my subordinates shall provide you with the data. Once a new body for Melfina has been created, I will send her to you. Khan, you are to write an override program for Melfina. Something that can bring her under control in case she gets delusions of her own independence."

"Of course Lord," Khan bowed. With the matter settled, Khan descended down the shaft he had come up and breathed a sigh of relief. But something troubled him. Could the black box actually be a blueprint for a soul? Impossible. Khan was a scientist to his core. He did not believe nor would he accept something as irrational as the existence of a soul. Especially for something whose only purpose was to be used as a living key. In any case, he decided, it's out of my hands now. Still, perhaps I should consider relocating away from both Tempa and Kei territories. Just to be safe of course.

By the time he arrived at his ship, one of Hazanko's servants was already waiting for him. Standing before the airlock was a woman in a tight fitting purple robe that accentuated her voluptuous frame. A open fan was held before her face and as he approached, she smiled from beneath her hood.

"Master Tenzen," she purred. "I am Hamushi. Lord Hazanko has requested I give you this." In her free hand, the seductive assassin produced a data disk which Tenzen accepted.

"Give him my thanks." Before he could step past her, Hamushi extended her fan and teasingly caressed his chest with the frilled edge of her fan.

"I understand you were one of Lord Hazanko's original crew. But you left to perfect your mastery of Qigong. And now you have established your own sect. I myself am a practitioner. Perhaps you could give me a lesson someday. I'd be more than happy to compensate you." With wave of his hand, Tenzen coldly brushed away her fan.

"Save your offers for those weak enough to be ensnared by them." If it weren't for the fact she was Hazanko's vassal, he would have executed her for her brazenness and not given it a second thought.

"Such a pity. Safe journey then." Hamushi stepped aside and Tenzen boarded his ship. In the privacy of his meditation chambers, his thoughts drifted back to days past and the journeys he had shared with those he had called comrades. Now, he and Hazanko were the only ones left. Soon it would be only him. The rhythm of the Akasha was shifting, indicative of a change in destiny. Two individuals were at the center of the disturbance and Hazanko's fate ended with them. And all because of his obsessive desire for something as fleeting as power. Such is the way of existence, he thought as he stared at the data disk. All things are impermanent. Which is why I must surpass all. And this is the key to doing so.