ff.n ate my at signs, and my quote marks, so I had to work around that. It still ate the extra quote marks "Nanami" leaves on blank lines in her replies . . . grrr.

I don't own BGC, and before it ever dropped into my budget someone else would snatch it up. I just write fanfic.

Jame
A
Bubblegum Crisis 2033
Fanfic
By
St. Suika Fenderson Roberts

-+ 29 April 2033, 0645 Zulu, Genarios Station

I look into her eyes, so blank, their blue slightly greyer, and reach out to close them.

I take her gun, the full-sized pistol light in my hands, tuck it into a pocket. I pull her spare magazines from her pockets, let myself take a moment to caress her still-warm cheeks, plant a kiss on her forehead.

`I promised,' I say, stand, and turn to join the others.

-+ 24 October 2032, 2145 Zulu, Genarios Station

A little flirting never hurt, I decide, and flirt back, fingers flickering over the keys. RET.

Kiryuu: So you like girls?
Jame: That isn't what I said, but yes ^_-
Kiryuu: Any preferences?
Jame: Live ones are nice, but I can't

A slight pause.

Jame: flirt with one face-to-face. I doubt anyone really knows. Or cares.
Kiryuu: A cute girl like you surely must have admirers.
Jame: I've not recognized any.
Kiryuu: You must not have been looking very hard.
Jame: I'm five foot four, a hundred and fourty-nine pounds, and about as

another faint pause

Jame: attractive as a fire-hydrant.
Kiruu: Some fire-hydrants are very pretty, once one takes a look.
Jame: Not me.
Kiryuu: What do you do?
Jame: Not telling.
Kiryuu: Aww! I'll just have to pretend it's something glamorous, then.
Jame: Go ahead. What about you?
Kiryuu: Something medical.
Jame: That's nice and broad. I'll just pretend you're a doctor, then.
Kiryuu: Go ahead, Mz. Security Director.
Jame: That's not it, but I don't think that excludes too many people.
Kiryuu: Nope! What do you do with your spare time?
Jame: Practice.
Kiryuu: Practice what?
Jame: All sorts of things. Martial arts, mostly.
Kiryuu: Ooh! (Images of sweaty, muscular women in loose clothing dancing in her head.)
Jame: Nothing so fine as that, I'm afraid.
Kiryuu: Spoilsport. I'll continue to believe what I want, OK?
Jame: You'll be disappointed.
Kiryuu: Maybe.

-+ 16 January 2033, 0241 Zulu, Genarios Station

From: dreamweaveratanon\.penet\.fi
To: Nanamiatminisoft\.com
Subject: Re: Gums
X-gpg-encoding: almsnet-2048

[message decoded]
||| So, I've a question
||| But I don't have anyone else I can trust with it, so:
|| Shoot
| How can I get a gun on this station?

I've several. It's a matter of who owes you favors, and how much hassle you are willing to put up with, and who you've worked for.

Why do you need one? 'Tis an important factor.

|| Jamethiel Priests-Bane
| who is she? Your namesake, or did you aquire these names yourself?

She's the hero of several novels. P.C. Hodgell is the author, and they were written late last century, early this one. _Godstalk_, _Dark of the Moon_, _The Seeker's Mask_. There are some short stories, most of which were collected in _Blood and Ivory_.

She's not human, and not normal for her kind, either. She has a lovely set of retractible (sharp) fingernails, and likes to wear gloves to hide them. 'Course, she shreds them whenever she gets in a fight, but . . .

Stay safe,
Jamethiel Storm's Eye

-+ 17 January 2033, 0224 Zulu, Genarios Station

From: Nanamiatminisoft\.com
To: dreamweaveratanon\.penet\.fi
Subject: Re: Gums
X-pgp-encoding: almsnet-2048

[message decoded]
|||| So, I've a question
|||| But I don't have anyone else I can trust with it, so:
||| Shoot
|| How can I get a gun on this station?

|I've several. It's a matter of who owes you favors, and how much hassle you
|are willing to put up with, and who you've worked for.

Well, suck.

|Why do you need one? 'Tis an important factor.

I need out, and for that we need weapons, and improvised weapons are most effective when there's a large population to hide in. Here they're just a good way to get killed, as you may have noticed on the news. I knew him, he worked with me, as a clerk.

||| Jamethiel Priests-Bane
|| who is she? Your namesake, or did you aquire these names yourself?

|She's the hero of several novels. P.C. Hodgell is the author, and they were
|written late last century, early this one. _Godstalk_, _Dark of the Moon_,
|_The Seeker's Mask_. There are some short stories, most of which were
|collected in _Blood and Ivory_.

Cool, I've found etext copies. Almost finished with _DotM_.

|She's not human, and not normal for her kind, either. She has a lovely set of
|retractible (sharp) fingernails, and likes to wear gloves to hide them.
|'Course, she shreds them whenever she gets in a fight, but . . .

And she refuses to slit the tips of her gloves, either. Sigh. She is _very_ attractive. Sorta like you.

|Stay safe,

You too.

|Jamethiel Storm's Eye

What color are your eyes? Mine are kinda grey. Hair's kinda grey, too, sadly.

Yours,
Kiryuu Nanami (a hazy dark-haired girl running gentle imaginary fingers along my neck, as she kisses me. Sigh.)

-+ 17 January 2033, 0240 Zulu, Genarios Station

From: dreamweaveratanon\.penet\.fi
To: Nanamiatminisoft\.com
Subject: Re: Gums
X-gpg-encoding: almsnet-2048

[message decoded]
This is getting a bit.

Meet me where we first met.

Jamethiel Dream-Weaver

-+ 17 January 2033, 0247 Zulu, Genarios Station

From: dreamweaveratanon\.penet\.fi
To: Nanamiatminisoft\.com
Subject: Keys
X-gpg-encoding: decnet-4096

[message decoded]
I'm going to burn my old keys, so I hope you've installed the new ones.

||||| So, I've a question
||||| But I don't have anyone else I can trust with it, so:
|||| Shoot
||| How can I get a gun on this station?
||I've several. It's a matter of who owes you favors, and how much hassle you
||are willing to put up with, and who you've worked for.
|Well, suck.

So, I take it no one owes you anything, and you can't hassle anyone.

||Why do you need one? 'Tis an important factor.
|I need out, and for that we need weapons, and improvised weapons are most
|effective when there's a large population to hide in.

And another clue.

|Here they're just a good way to get killed, as you may have noticed on the
|news. I knew him, he worked with me, as a clerk.

You're not human. Wish I could say either, but unfortunately I am.

At a guess, I'd say 33s, since they're the only one's I've met who can pass as well as you do.

I pass, too, normally.

|||| Jamethiel Priests-Bane
||| who is she? Your namesake, or did you aquire these names yourself?
||She's the hero of several novels. P.C. Hodgell is the author, and they were
||written late last century, early this one. _Godstalk_, _Dark of the Moon_,
||_The Seeker's Mask_. There are some short stories, most of which were
||collected in _Blood and Ivory_.

|Cool, I've found copies. Almost finished with _DotM_.

What do you think?

||She's not human, and not normal for her kind, either. She has a lovely set
||of retractible (sharp) fingernails, and likes to wear gloves to hide them.
||'Course, she shreds them whenever she gets in a fight, but . . .
|And she refuses to slit the tips of her gloves, either. Sigh.

Indeed.

|She is _very_ attractive.

Yep. Wish I was.

|Sorta like you.

When I said I pass -
"I'm not a real girl, but I play one on the 'net."
I do, as a guy, well enough to pass an army physical.
I've contemplated fixing that, but . . . I'm kinda lazy, I've given up trying
to talk to people about it, and no reputable doctor will perform the surgeries
without counseling, and I appreciate my body - it doesn't hurt, it works
pretty well, it's just the wrong sex and kinda ugly. Oh well.

||Stay safe,
|You too.

I'm not in immenent danger.

|| Jamethiel Storm's Eye
|What color are your eyes? Mine are kinda grey. Hair's kinda grey, too,
|sadly.

Blue. They shade to grey, or occasionally have a yellow ring around the pupil, leading to an illusion of green.

Yours sound lovely.

|Yours,

Please don't.

| Kiryuu Nanami (a hazy dark-haired girl running gentle imaginary
|fingers along my neck, as she kisses me. Sigh.)

You got the hair-color right. Sigh.

Live forever, or die trying,
Jame

PS: If I'm wrong, you can commence ignoring me. If I'm not, let me help.

-+ 17 January 2033, 0249 Zulu, Genarios Station

From: Nanamiatminisoft\.com
To: dreamweaveratanon\.penet\.fi
Subject: Re: Keys
X-gpg-encoding: decnet-4096

[message decoded]
|I'm going to burn my old keys, so I hope you've installed the new ones.

Done, as soon as you gave them to me.

|||||| So, I've a question
|||||| But I don't have anyone else I can trust with it, so:
||||| Shoot
|||| How can I get a gun on this station?
|||I've several. It's a matter of who owes you favors, and how much hassle you
|||are willing to put up with, and who you've worked for.
||Well, suck.

|So, I take it no one owes you anything, and you can't hassle anyone.

Nope.

|||Why do you need one? 'Tis an important factor.
||I need out, and for that we need weapons, and improvised weapons are most
||effective when there's a large population to hide in.

|And another clue.

It is, now that I look at it.

||Here they're just a good way to get killed, as you may have noticed on the
||news. I knew him, he worked with me, as a clerk.

|You're not human. Wish I could say either, but unfortunately I am.

It's probably a good thing you're human, actually ^_^ Life kinda sucks as a boomer.

|At a guess, I'd say 33s, since they're the only one's I've met who can pass as
|well as you do.

Thanks, and you're right. And if you're corpsec, I'm gonna die, 'cause I trust you.

|I pass, too, normally.

I'd treasure the times I didn't, were I you.

||||| Jamethiel Priests-Bane
|||| who is she? Your namesake, or did you aquire these names yourself?
|||She's the hero of several novels. P.C. Hodgell is the author, and they were
|||written late last century, early this one. _Godstalk_, _Dark of the Moon_,
|||_The Seeker's Mask_. There are some short stories, most of which were
|||collected in _Blood and Ivory_.

||Cool, I've found copies. Almost finished with _DotM_.

|What do you think?

She's cool, the books are cool, you're wonderful for telling me about them.

|||She's not human, and not normal for her kind, either. She has a lovely set
|||of retractible (sharp) fingernails, and likes to wear gloves to hide them.
|||'Course, she shreds them whenever she gets in a fight, but . . .
||And she refuses to slit the tips of her gloves, either. Sigh.

|Indeed.

||She is _very_ attractive.

|Yep. Wish I was.

You are. Maybe not your body, but _you_ are beautiful. You're a nice size, even if you're not pretty, which we will have to wait to make judgement on.

||Sorta like you.

|When I said I pass -
|"I'm not a real girl, but I play one on the 'net."

"I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV" ^_^

Nice quote, anyway.

|I do, as a guy, well enough to pass an army physical.

I'm sorry.

|I've contemplated fixing that, but . . . I'm kinda lazy, I've given up trying
|to talk to people about it, and no reputable doctor will perform the surgeries
|without counseling, and I appreciate my body - it doesn't hurt, it works
|pretty well, it's just the wrong sex and kinda ugly. Oh well.

Mine was just grown in a lab. Other than that niggling little fact, it's a wonderful piece of mushware. Sigh.

|||Stay safe,
||You too.

|I'm not in immenent danger.

I've done nothing yet.

||| Jamethiel Storm's Eye
||What color are your eyes? Mine are kinda grey. Hair's kinda grey, too,
||sadly.

|Blue. They shade to grey, or occasionally have a yellow ring around the
|pupil, leading to an illusion of green.

Nice.

|Yours sound lovely.

I sometimes wish they weren't.

||Yours,

|Please don't.

Why not? You're the nicest person I've meet. Ever, sadly enough. If it's a trap, I'll at least have been happy.

|| Kiryuu Nanami (a hazy dark-haired girl running gentle imaginary
||fingers along my neck, as she kisses me. Sigh.)

|You got the hair-color right. Sigh.

Squee! ^_-

|Live forever, or die trying,

Promise me.

|Jame

|PS: If I'm wrong, you can commence ignoring me. If I'm not, let me help.

How?

B-33-s-457-j-003 Nam

-+ 17 January 2033, 0253 Zulu, Genarios Station

From: dreamweaveratanon\.penet\.fi
To: Nanamiatminisoft\.com
Subject: Re: Keys
X-gpg-encoding: decnet-4096

[message decoded]
||I'm going to burn my old keys, so I hope you've installed the new ones.
|Done, as soon as you gave them to me.

Good.

[gun/clues snipped]
||You're not human. Wish I could say either, but unfortunately I am.
|It's probably a good thing you're human, actually ^_^ Life kinda sucks as a
|boomer.

And we're the cause. Males in particular.

||At a guess, I'd say 33s, since they're the only one's I've met who can pass as
||well as you do.
|Thanks, and you're right. And if you're corpsec, I'm gonna die, 'cause I
|trust you.

I am corpsec, just not in that sort of work. I'm in Domestic Violence.

||I pass, too, normally.
|I'd treasure the times I didn't, were I you.

I do. Haven't had many, recently.

|||||| Jamethiel Priests-Bane
|She's cool, the books are cool, you're wonderful for telling me about them.

Thanks, although that last is overkill.

|You are. Maybe not your body, but _you_ are beautiful. You're a nice size,
|even if you're not pretty, which we will have to wait to make judgement on.

heh. I'd rather you keep your illusions.

|||Sorta like you.
||When I said I pass -
||"I'm not a real girl, but I play one on the 'net."
|"I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV" ^_^
|Nice quote, anyway.

That's why I mauled it.

||I do, as a guy, well enough to pass an army physical.
|I'm sorry.

So am I ^_^

||I've contemplated fixing that, but . . . I'm kinda lazy, I've given up trying
||to talk to people about it, and no reputable doctor will perform the surgeries
||without counseling, and I appreciate my body - it doesn't hurt, it works
||pretty well, it's just the wrong sex and kinda ugly. Oh well.
|Mine was just grown in a lab. Other than that niggling little fact, it's a
|wonderful piece of mushware. Sigh.

It'd be nice to be perfect, wouldn't it ^_^

||||Stay safe,
|||You too.
||I'm not in immenent danger.
|I've done nothing yet.

You're (and I'm, for that matter) guilty of conspiracy. Hard time for me, probably fatal for you.

[eyes] |I sometimes wish they weren't.

I can guess why. Anyone you'd like to see walk out an airlock, drunk, without a suit?

|||Yours,
||Please don't.
|Why not? You're the nicest person I've meet. Ever, sadly enough.

That is pretty sad. I wish you could find someone better.

|If it's a trap, I'll at least have been happy.

On my honor, I'm not trying to trick you.

Why would you be happy?

||| Kiryuu Nanami (a hazy dark-haired girl running gentle imaginary
|||fingers along my neck, as she kisses me. Sigh.)
||You got the hair-color right. Sigh.
|Squee! ^_-

*whimper*

||Live forever, or die trying,
|Promise me.

What?

||PS: If I'm wrong, you can commence ignoring me. If I'm not, let me help.
|How?

However I can. Guns, money, space, distractions, whatever.

|B-33-s-457-j-003 Nam

Ouch. You're very pretty, Nam. I'm sorry.

Give me a place and time, and I'll be there.

your friend,
SGT James, C Co, 3 Plt

-+ 17 January 2033, 0255 Zulu, Genarios Station

From: Nanamiatminisoft\.com
To: dreamweaveratanon\.penet\.fi
Subject: Re: Keys
X-gpg-encoding: decnet-4096

[message decoded]
|||Live forever, or die trying,
||Promise me.

|What?

That you will. Live forever, or die trying.

|||PS: If I'm wrong, you can commence ignoring me. If I'm not, let me help.
||How?

|However I can. Guns, money, space, distractions, whatever.

Oh.

||B-33-s-457-j-003 Nam

|Ouch. You're very pretty, Nam. I'm sorry.

Thanks. Don't be sorry, though.

|Give me a place and time, and I'll be there.

Linear Eight, Ramp Four, 0315. I'll wait five minutes.

|your friend,
|SGT James, C Co, 3 Plt
I should be able to recognize you from your picture. |

Yours,
Nam

-+ 17 January 2033, 0258 Zulu, Genarios Station

From: dreamweaveratanon\.penet\.fi
To: Nanamiatminisoft\.com
Subject: Re: Keys
X-gpg-encoding: decnet-4096

[message decoded]
I promise, and I'll be there.

Jame

-+ 17 January 2033, 0310 Zulu, Genarios Station

An slightly winded young man slows to a stop at the service hatch for Linear Road Eight's fourth gate. He's somewhat short, his brown hair is thining at the front and drawing back from his temples, but people occasionally tell him he looks like he's twenty-two. He doesn't believe them. He isn't fat, but isn't terribly muscular either, and not skinny.

He looks around, then leans back against the coridor wall, closing his eyes.

He opens them again with a start, as an unexpected warm softness presses to his lips. The blurry face clears as it pulls back, just a little bit, strong soft hands cupping his shoulders.

Inches away pale lavender eyes smile at him, framed by a lovely pale face, and steel grey hair.

Despite himself his heart lurches, and he closes his eyes again, `Please don't.'

`Why?' her voice is as lovely as he'd thought it would be, and tinged with pain.

`Because you don't have to. I'll help, anyway. On my honor, I'll help. There's no need to convince me,' his voice is gentle, and he keeps his eyes closed, his face tilted down and to one side.

`What if I want to?' she forces his chin up, and waits for him to open his eyes.

-+ 17 January 2033, 0313 Zulu, Genarios Station

I watch her intently, her chin firm and slightly stubbly against my palm and fingers. Her throat works a little convulsivly, and she gasps. I've been studying her since she arrived, and she's somewhat right - she's not pretty. Face too square, still spotted with acne, a few small scars, a silver hoop in one lobe, up high, through the cartilege. She's broad, and sturdy, rather than the slim elegance we've been built with. She's just the perfect height to rest her head on my shoulder.

She whimpers, and it's just so _cute_, even as she shakes her head in my grip, eyes still closed. I want to hurt whoever did this to her.

`Open your eyes,' I tell her. After a minute and something, she does. Her eyes are a lovely blue-grey, ringed, paler and darker, with a faint trace of yellow around her pupils, which are dialated large, `May I kiss you?'

`No,' she says, eyes shimmering, shoulders tense, hands clasped behind her back.

`Please?' I let my fingers trace the curve of her ear, pausing at the hoop to play with it.

`Don't,' she says, tears spilling down her face.

My hand jerks back, `What's wrong?'

`I,' she gasps, sobbing slightly, `I,' she jerks, trying to pull free, but I wrap my arms around her, pulling her to me, into a hug.

`Please, tell me,' I rub little circles on her back, over the strong muscles.

`You don't want me,' she gasps a little, shaking her head against my shoulder, `So don't pretend.'

`I'm not,' I tell her.

`Liar,' she says, softly, as she continues to cry against my shoulder, not really wanting to believe her accusation.

`I fell in love with the girl behind those blue eyes of yours, and I want to kiss her,' I say.

`I would like that, but you can't. You can only kiss me,' she pulls back, hands still clasped behind her, `And I'm not pretty, not cute, not even _female_, and I know about the 33-s's primary misfeature.'

`You are, where it counts, in here,' and I touch her muscle-curved chest, over her heart, `and here,' and cup her blotchy, tear-streaked face in my other hand.

`Please,' she says, voice breaking, `Don't.'

I pull her back close, and press my cheek against her hair, just holding her, completely at a loss for words. Finally something comes to mind, `I don't get to chose much,' I pause, stroking her firm back, `Not where I work, not where I live, not what I do. So, when I get to chose something, I do it for myself, because I want it. I think you're pretty,'

`Liar,' she says, again, shaking her head.

`And I want to kiss you,' and I twist my head, placing a gentle kiss on her ear.

`May I?' she asks, barely whispering.

`What?'

`Hold you?' and I almost can't hear her.

`Yes,' I tell her firmly, `Please do.'

She clutches me franticly, arms wrapping suddenly about me, hands gently tracing gently along my spine, `Thank you.'

-+ 17 January 2033, 0652 Zulu, Genarios Station

From: dreamweaveratanon\.penet\.fi
To: Nanamiatminisoft\.com
Subject: spaz
X-gpg-encoding: decnet-4096

[message decoded]
Sorry to spaz out on you like that - I just don't deal with people, socially, very well.

Not face-to-face, anyway.

It may not have showed very well, but meeting you was lovely, and I really look forward to more face-time with you, if I've not scared you off.

Thanks,
Jame

-+ 17 January 2033, 2152 Zulu, Genarios Station

From: Nanamiatminisoft\.com
To: dreamweaveratanon\.penet\.fi
Subject: Re: spaz
X-gpg-encoding: decnet-4096

[message decoded]
|Sorry to spaz out on you like that - I just don't deal with people, socially,
|very well.

That's a common problem. Don't worry, it was kinda cute, once I got over panicking about it.

|Not face-to-face, anyway.

It's much easier to deal when one can edit |It may not have showed very well, but meeting you was lovely, and I really
|look forward to more face-time with you, if I've not scared you off.

Tonight? Same place, earlier? About midnight?

|Thanks,
That should be me, thanking you.

|Jame

Love,
Nam

-+ 17 January 2033, 2154 Zulu, Genarios Station

From: dreamweaveratanon\.penet\.fi
To: Nanamiatminisoft\.com
Subject: Re: spaz
X-gpg-encoding: decnet-4096

[message decoded]
||Sorry to spaz out on you like that - I just don't deal with people,
||socially, very well.
|That's a common problem. Don't worry, it was kinda cute, once I got over
|panicking about it.

Cute isn't how I'da described it.

||Not face-to-face, anyway.
|It's much easier to deal when one can edit

Yes, it is. Sigh.

||It may not have showed very well, but meeting you was lovely, and I really
||look forward to more face-time with you, if I've not scared you off.
|Tonight? Same place, earlier? About midnight?

Sounds good. I could be there as early as 2214, if you want me there.

||Thanks,
|That should be me, thanking you.

Why? Genuine bewildered, here.

|Love,
| Nam

*snuggle* Love you, too.

Jame

-+ 17 January 2033, 2157 Zulu, Genarios Station

From: Nanamiatminisoft\.com
To: dreamweaveratanon\.penet\.fi
Subject: Re: spaz
X-gpg-encoding: decnet-4096

[message decoded]
|||Sorry to spaz out on you like that - I just don't deal with people,
|||socially, very well.
||That's a common problem. Don't worry, it was kinda cute, once I got over
||panicking about it.

|Cute isn't how I'da described it.

It was nice to feel important, too. Even if it was kinda backhandedly.

|||Not face-to-face, anyway.
||It's much easier to deal when one can edit

|Yes, it is. Sigh.

|||It may not have showed very well, but meeting you was lovely, and I really
|||look forward to more face-time with you, if I've not scared you off.
||Tonight? Same place, earlier? About midnight?

|Sounds good. I could be there as early as 2214, if you want me there.

Too many people 'til about 2300, unfortunately. If you've got a better place, I'd love to hear of it.

|||Thanks,
||That should be me, thanking you.

|Why? Genuine bewildered, here.

'Cause I just picked up a wonderful, caring, sweet, cute girlfriend, is why.

||Love,
|| Nam

|*snuggle* Love you, too.

*Snuggle* back

| Jame

write back,
Nam

-+ 17 January 2033, 2201 Zulu, Genarios Station

From: dreamweaveratanon\.penet\.fi
To: Nanamiatminisoft\.com
Subject: Re: spaz
X-gpg-encoding: decnet-4096

[message decoded]
|It was nice to feel important, too. Even if it was kinda backhandedly.

Well, that's good ^_^
I'll try to make sure you feel important, without the backhand.

||||It may not have showed very well, but meeting you was lovely, and I really
||||look forward to more face-time with you, if I've not scared you off.
|||Tonight? Same place, earlier? About midnight?
||Sounds good. I could be there as early as 2214, if you want me there.
|Too many people 'til about 2300, unfortunately.

Suck.

|If you've got a better place, I'd love to hear of it.

My rooms are clean, and the hall right outside. We've surveilance a hundred meters on either side, however.

||||Thanks,

|||That should be me, thanking you.
||Why? Genuine bewildered, here.
|'Cause I just picked up a wonderful, caring, sweet, cute girlfriend, is why.

*Blush**Happy wiggle*

|||Love,
||| Nam
||*snuggle* Love you, too.
|*Snuggle* back

Wish you were here,
Jame

-+ 17 January 2033, 2206 Zulu, Genarios Station

SGT James opens his door. Nam is outside, in the grey coveralls of maintenance, her hair tucked under a long brown wig.

`May I come in?' she asks.

James steps back, waving her in.

-+ 17 January 2033, 2206 Zulu, Genarios Station

She steps back, and I step into her lair. She's in naught but a t-shirt and shorts, and her caucasian ancestry shows in the hair covering her arms and legs. I let her shut the door, then gather her into a hug.

I was right, her head does fit perfectly on my shoulder.

-+ 27 January 2033, 2200 Zulu, Genarios Station

SGT James leads the two young women into the game center, `Don't worry, it's kinda fun, really. You run around and shoot things.' He feeds the machine a credit card, tucks it back into his pocket, and hands over the VR gear, helping each of the others into theirs.

`I'm running Iraq, right now, so I've made you characters, new privates, replacements.'

`So we're not expected to know much,' the one with purple eyes says.

`Nope. We're the first three pods.'

`Right.'

-+ 27 January 2033, 2203 Zulu, Genarios Station

`Jame,' I ask, looking around at my squad. Four women, five men. We're tucked behind a wall, bundled in our body armor and armed with M-14s. The woman with a six-pointed star on either collar-tab raises her hand. She's pretty, still short, a little slimmer, face a little differently shaped, but if I'd looked I'd'a recognized her, `Where is this?'

`Iraq, March 2003, near Tikrit. We're part of the Dark Kingdom's Second Army, Fifth Airborne. We need to clear this village. There's rumors that there's an enemy combat-mage around here, but the last few have been hoaxes. If you get a definite sighting, try and shoot them, then tell me, and I'll call for backup. Nam, stick with me for the moment, Meg, go with SGT May.'

SGT May is a pretty woman of indefinite Asian origin. Meg jogs over to her. `Welcome to the front,' SGT May says in a pleasant voice, `Be safe, we'd prefer to keep you here,' she continues with a smile.

`Right,' Meg says.

`More house-to-house, today, girls, sorry 'bout that,' SSG Jame says, `Alpha and Bravo will be searching, Charlie will hang back and guard the vehicles, and be QRF, OK?'

`Gotcha, chief,' or some variant, rattles from each of the soldiers.

`Let's move,' she says, and leads the way out into the dried-mud street.

Almost instantly, someone's shooting at us. I snap the rifle to my shoulder, and aim for the muzzle-flash. The full-auto rifle climbs up and to the right with the short burst, but someone screams and they stop firing. I flick the selector to semi.

`Good aim, kid,' the young man in our group says. He's got the horned moon of a corporal on his collar, where I've got nothing at all.

`Thanks,' I tell him, continuing to follow Jame.

-+ 27 January 2033, 2220 Zulu, Genarios Station

SSG Jame glances up, `Yep, that's our combat mage,' she says, flipping the switch on her helmet's intercom forward, `This is Vigilante 7, I repeat, Vigilante 7. We have a combat mage. Request backup as soon as possible.'

`This is Solstice 5, Vigilante 7, we will have a team there in five, four, break,' the line drops, `two, one.'

A circle of stones lifts from the ground, then falls back, as three people in fancy costumes appear. The one with the orange skirt and long, blonde hair drops to the ground, the B.A.R. to her shoulder, and starts taking short, two round bursts at the combat-mage.

The one with the pink skirt dives for cover, then unslings her shotgun.

The one in the dark skirt flicks her polearm at the mage's position, and it disolves, the mud-brick eroding away before our eyes. The mage doesn't take the hint, and tries an attack, catching a .30-'06 round to the shoulder when he raises his arm. He catches another round with his head as he doubles over.

The Sailors stick around while we deal with the few remaining Iraqis willing to fight in this villiage, right now. Saturn and Chibi-Moon can't seem to keep their hands off each other, or their lips.

-+ 17 Febuary 2033, 2158 Zulu, Genarios Station

`Tso,' I say with a smile, `It's been a month.'

Jame smiles up at me, `I got you a present.'

`Oh?'

`Here,' and she hands me a box.

I unwrap it, to reveal plain brown cardboard, and inside of that, a subgun.

`I've got ammo, too. It's not what I'd chose, but it's got sufficient power for humans, and I could get it.'

`Thank you,' I tell her, and set it down so I can hug her.

I start pulling her clothes off, and she makes only token protest, letting me strip her naked without too much hassle.

-+ 07 March 2033, 2203 Zulu, Genarios Station

`Anri, Sylvie,' Nam waves at the two young women with her, `This is my girlfriend Jame.'

`Um,' Anri grabs Nam, and drags her back to the door of the apartment, saying in a soft, concerned voice, `Your girlfriend is a boy.'

`Not in here,' Nam answers, touching her chest, `Where it counts.'

-+ 07 March 2033, 2204 Zulu, Genarios Station

`I'll go get drinks,' Jame says, `Any preferences?' she asks, then flees the room.

`I'll help,' I say, and follow her into the little kitchen.

Her hands are shaking as she tries to prepare tea, so I slip up behind her, slide my hands down her arms, and twine my fingers in hers. She leans back, so I take advantage of the opportunity and kiss her. `Another reason I don't deal with people much, socially.'

`You don't have trouble at work, though.'

`At work I pretend I'm a guy. It's what they expect, so I don't have to do that good of a job.'

`It'll be OK,' I tell her, and let her finish the tea preparations, keeping my arms wrapped around her middle.

I lead her out, my arm around her shoulders, when the tea is ready. She sets the tray down, and pours gracefully.

-+ 17 March 2033, 2206 Zulu, Genarios Station

`What kept you?' SGT James asks, urgently, as he hussles Nam into his apartment.

`Trouble. There was a little riot in the corridor, one of the maint guys went rogue.'

`Suck.' -+ 17 March 2033, 2207 Zulu, Genarios Station

`Suck,' she says, and gathers me into a hug, rocking me gently.

-+ 05 April 2033, 2201 Zulu, Genarios Station

`So, we've got to keep them occupied while we make our break,' SGT James says, `I'd say hole the station, as close to corpsec HQ as we can.'

-+ 15 April 2033, 2211 Zulu, Genarios Station

`That's the last of the charges,' Jame says, smiling, `Detonators are set, and ready. Let's go.'

I catch her, turn her to face me, and kiss her deeply. She moans happily, then breaks the kiss, pulls back, `We need to go, love,' she smiles.

`Right.'

-+ 29 April 2033, 0644 Zulu, Genarios Station

SGT James dives, shoving Nam out of the way of the corpsec boomer's particle cannon, catching the beam across his chest and belly. The white-hot energy cuts through his armor like a hot knife through butter, and he falls, even as Meg puts a lucky round into the boomer's focusing array, causing the 55c to blow its own fool head off.

Nam turns, drops to her knees, and reaches for SGT James's hand, getting one last pained smile, and gentle sqeeze.

~ Fin ~

-
log:
2003/Dec/6:Started. Read what's up of _Bubblegum Disaster_, and got inspired.
2003/Dec/7:Finished. Yay. Sixty-three years since Pearl Harbor. Sigh.
2003/Dec/7:Title-block added.
2003/Dec/21:Tiny Edit
2004/Jan/1:Finished the previous tiny edit, fixed a couple date-tags, and noticed I'd gotten a bit ahead of myself with the logs. After I'd posted it, of course ^_^
2004/Jan/2:Another tiny edit, that Chris Davies cought ^_^
2004/Jan/3:SkyeFire cought a couple little mispellings ^_^
2009/Jun/23: hassled into something postable on ff.n.