Nothing truly ever ends. It is simply the return of a new beginning.
Devil Arms: ReturnerS
Amidst the eternal waves of time
From a ripple of change shall the storm rise
Out of the Abyss peer the eyes of a shadow
Behold the Devil, it's wings a black sheath
Chapter 1: Return to Start
In the middle of a empty steel room with the only source of light coming from the single bulb in the center of the room above a table. There, sat a woman wearing the uniform of the maximum security prison, handcuffed, looking extremely bored and impatient, occasionally looking away from her nails and toward the door at the opposite end of the room.
Finally, the door opened and an extremely exhausted looking young man walked through.
"About time!" the woman said, slamming her hands on the table. "How long does it take to get through the security check on a routine visit?"
"I'm sorry Miss Kimura," the man said pushing his glasses up. "But I was accosted in the middle of the check..."
"Accosted? By who...oh no..."
"Hi!" A cheerful woman wearing a dark blue uniform with mint green hair popped out from behind the bespectacled man. "It's been a while...Aoi is it?"
"Lindy..." Kimura Aoi, said as she placed her hand over her eyes and slid it down her face. "What are you doing here?"
"Come now," Admiral Lindy Harlaown said as she sat down across from Aoi. "Is that anyway to greet a friend you haven't seen in over twenty years?"
"It's the only way you could possibly greet one," Aoi said indifferently. "So? What are you doing here?"
"Is it too difficult to just believe I wanted to say hi to an old friend who played matchmaker for me?"
"It is when you are interrupting my monthly free time with idle chat."
She tossed a glare at the man as if saying this was all his fault, and he recoiled badly.
"Uwaaa...if looks could kill," Lindy said, looking between the two.
"I'd be here for the rest of my life. So? What's this month's news, Nathaniel?" Aoi said leaning back on her chair.
"Right..." The man called Nathaniel said as he looked through his data pad.
"The Aizawa couple still hasn't contacted anyone so they're still probably engrossed in a dig site on some random planet...again. Miss Aizawa has finished her pilot's school and received top honors in her courses. Miss Nakajima is continuing her work as a member of the Gulf Special Rescue Unit. Your daughter is keeping her grades up in her courses and has expressed a desire to join the TSAB armed forces. Your husband has also asked me to book him a shuttle so that he'd be able to visit Mid-Childa for your daughter's birthday. Mister Dalton is keeping close contact with the last two and continues to be a vital part in your daughter's emotional stability. As for Miss Lanster and Mister Kaufman, everything they touch becomes classified, so I can only assume they are in the middle of a big case."
"I see," Aoi said as she sighed. "So there aren't any new developments."
"You're keeping tabs on friends and family while you're in prison?" Lindy asked.
"Is that bad?"
"Not really. Even prisoners should be able to know what's going on on the outside. And its not like you're contacting an evil terrorist group or anything."
"How is it that in all this time, you haven't changed a bit? Neither physically or mentally?"
"It's the mystery of life!"
"So? What did you want?"
"How much longer is your sentence?" Lindy asked with a smile on her face.
Aoi shrugged her shoulders and glanced at Nathaniel who checked his data pad.
"About seven more years," he replied.
"Well?" Aoi asked.
"Check again," Lindy said, her smile growing.
"I don't see...huh? That...what?" Nathaniel raised his glasses and started pressing a lot of buttons on his data pad.
"What's wrong?" Aoi asked.
"It suddenly got reduced to...seven days...?"
"What did you..." Aoi quickly turned toward Lindy looking incredulous.
"If you are willing to return to the TSAB, we are willing to drop the rest of your sentence, provided that you remain on active duty until you are physically and or mentally incapable of doing so," Lindy said as she took out a piece of paper along with an insignia of a captain. "You'll be provided with a ship and you can pick whatever crew members you desire, provided they are not unavailable due to 'special' circumstances."
"What...I...I...how...why...huh?" For the first time in her life, Aoi was completely speechless.
"I believe she's trying to ask, 'Why are you doing this?'" Nathaniel said helpfully as Aoi nodded her head.
"To be frank, we do not have that many skilled commanding officers anymore," Lindy said with a sigh, pouring herself a drink from the tea set on the side of the table. "The more...realistic...of our officers believe that the only reason the TSAB still even exists is because we have quite a small collection of 'One Man Armies' enlisted. Should they all become incapacitated, we may eventually lose a lot more than we can afford."
"But I'm still just one person," Aoi said picking up the sheet of paper and looking it over before handing it to Nathaniel for a twice over.
"But you also have the respect of over seven admirals and twenty vice-admirals," Lindy pointed out, now scooping sugar into her tea. "Of course, that includes my son and myself as well. You're actions two years ago have also made you somewhat of a legend among the soldiers as well. A former Ace rising from the dead after twenty-three in front of the military force that condemned her to save the day and then turns herself in for the crime she once committed. Sounds...inspiring don't you agree?"
"If that's the case, why only give her the rank of captain?" Nathaniel asked. "If she is that admired, shouldn't she return to her former rank of Admiral?"
"Let me guess, bureaucracy at its finest?" Aoi asked.
"There's only so much one can do for a 'convict' without completely ruining their image after all. This was as far as we could get them to slide."
Aoi nodded then looked at Nathaniel who returned the paper to her.
"Everything seems to be in place, ma'am," he said as he folded his hands behind him.
"I see...tell them I accept the terms," Aoi said signing the paper with a pen that Lindy gave her and handing the paper back to Nathaniel.
"I'll go and process this," Nathaniel said folding the contract and placing it in his pocket. "You still have an hour left ma'am. Feel free to spend it however you wish."
As he left, the atmosphere between the two women lightened up considerably
"Where did you find him?" Lindy asked, referring to Nathaniel..
"He was my assistant during my trial," Aoi said as Lindy poured her a cup of tea but she refused to let her put any sugar in it. "I'm sorry about Clyde."
"He did his duty," Lindy said simply. "Like your son."
"Humph...his duty was always to come back home. He's failing so far."
"You think he's alive?"
"I know he is. I wonder if he's not coming back because he fears...punishment."
"You really have changed," Lindy noted with a smile. "You never used to joke like that."
"Is that so?" Aoi asked raising an eyebrow. "I guess being a mother changes things."
"I know that feeling all too well. So about your crew...?"
"I already have people in mind. I can take whomever I wish, correct?"
"Then please prepare their transfers for me..."
At the far edges of the galaxy, a shuttle was moving across the sky toward a flashing beacon on the planet.
"I can't believe they're all the way out here," a man wearing a black uniform of the Enforcers said as he looked at the monitor. "You sure this is the right place, Tea?"
He turned to the woman sitting in the co-pilot's seat next to him. She had long orange hair and was wearing the female variant of the Enforcers' uniform.
"They did say they had to bounce the signal off of fifteen relays to get to us," she said, sharing her partner's disbelief. "Just make sure you don't end up hitting a mountain while navigating through this sandstorm, Edward."
"One time! One time!" Edward replied shaking a finger at her. "One time, during a freaking electrical storm, that fried all of our sensors and navigation equipment!"
"And we were left on that mountain for five days before rescue arrived..."
"And I apologized and bought you dinner for the love of..."
"Wait...what the heck happened down there!"
Edward turned toward the monitor that finally had the excavation camp in view, or at least what remained of it.
"Hurry and take us down!" Tea ordered him as he pushed hard on the controls.
They landed a little ways away from the ruined camp and carefully made their way to it, on the look out for whatever it was that destroyed it. All the tents and crew housings were completely destroyed, but the damage was not natural.
"No signs of damage by animals or anything," Edward said as he pressed against a wall, only for it to fall backwards, revealing a perfect diagonal cut. "Yeah...definitely not natural."
"But where is the team?" Tea asked. "You don't think they're..."
"They better not be, or he would never forgive us," Edward said before covering his mouth with his hand. "Ah...sorry. Didn't mean to bring him up like that...
"It's fine..." Tea insisted. "Let's find that stupid couple before...who's there?"
She drew her device, Cross Mirage, and turned toward someone who had just arrived.
"Don't point that thing at me! I am not in the mood for it right now!" the woman said.
"Kasumi?" Tea asked as she deactivated Cross Mirage.
"Whoa...what happened to your eye?" Ed asked as he ran up to them.
Aizawa Kasumi stood in front of them, her left eye covered by a patch.
"I dunno," she said, filled with sarcasm as she threw her hands up into the air in frustration. "Probably punched by the same jerk ass who vandalized the excavation site!"
"It was just a question..." Ed said softly.
"Is everyone else okay?" Tea asked, ignoring him.
"Thankfully, despite using extremely deadly force, he didn't actually kill anyone," Kasumi said as she motioned for them to follow her. She lead them to a building that had been hidden by the planet's sandstorms where the rest of the team were trying to rest. Every single one of them had an injury of some sort. "He just felt the need to break a few bones as well as a stab or a concussion here and there while he trashed our findings."
"Are you okay with medical supplies?" Tea asked as she stepped over someone that was sleeping on the rock hard floor.
"We're making due. There's nothing urgent but some people might be more comfortable in a real hospital. Shou's doing the best he can. Frankly, I'm more concerned about this temple collapsing, but it's been holding strong for over a thousand years, and even then, the stone shows no sign of deteriorating."
She lead them towards an inner chamber where there was rubble everywhere.
She sadly picked up a rock before it crumbled in her hands.
"Kasumi!" A man wearing a white coat and glasses ran up to them. "Oh, Teana-san, Edward-san, it's been awhile."
"So...you broke your arm?" Ed asked. "And you managed to still patch everyone up?"
"Isn't he the best?" Kasumi asked as she wrapped her arms around her husband.
"Later, dear...we managed to translate what was engraved on the wall," Shou said as he shook her off. "Come over here."
"Translate? Did the assailant leave a message?" Tea asked.
"At first we thought it was some form of ancient language, since he didn't speak in one we recognize...but the characters are from the English alphabet...just in some kind of code."
"So what does it say?" Ed asked.
"'Hosedjkhisk. Horahkx. Hokihd'" Shou read. "Reconstruct. Rebirth. Return."
"How alliterative, any idea what it means?"
"Hmm...while I have no idea what the other two means...wasn't a certain king reborn recently Two of them in fact?" Kasumi asked looking at Teana.
"The Saint and Flame Kings..." Teana replied softly. "So...what was reconstructed and what is returning?"
"If I may make a savvy guess," Ed said as the other three turned to him. "Whatever made these ruins in the first place, or it could be the guy that attacked you."
"Or it could be talking about the Mariage," Shou said. "They were rebuilt, then the Flame King was reborn, and they returned to cause havoc."
"Graaaahhh...this is so frustrating!" Kasumi screamed, scratching her head with both hands furiously. "Can't we just ask him?"
"Who?" Tea asked.
"The Flame King. He might be able to make heads or tails out of this. Not to mention he owes us a favor for saving him and...he's a girl isn't it?" Kasumi added looking at Tea's face. "Damn it...why did people insist on calling women rulers 'Kings?' What's wrong with 'Queen?' Damn sexual inequality."
"The problem is something else entirely," Tea said shaking her head. "She's currently in a coma and she probably won't wake up for a long time..."
A member of the excavation team came hobbling up to them holding a small device.
"Damn it, I told you to stay off that leg for two days!" Shou said stopping the man.
"I apologize sir, but we managed to recover something from the camera."
The man turned on the device and a screen popped up and revealed the room they were in.
There were flashes coming from the doorway along with screams as the security mages were trying to fend off an unknown attacker. The assailant, dressed in jet black clothing was walking through their fire, ignoring the small arms fire and warped to each mage and incapacitated them with either a stab through their arms and legs or a strike to their heads and necks with his hands. And then he walked to the center of the room and looked up at the camera, revealing a two faced mask. One half was a skull and the other plain metal.
Everyone jumped as they turned to Ed who had called out.
"That's the guy! That's the guy I saw way back when!"
"What are you talking about?" Tea asked.
"Remember? Back on Planet Earth? When I was gonna die in that bunker! I saw that guy before I blacked out and then woke up in that weird dark dome thing and saved your butt!"
"Then what the heck is he doing all they way out here?" Kasumi asked.
"Maybe he's trying to hide something?" Shou asked. "He appeared two days after we uncovered this chamber after all. And he also destroyed most of our recording equipment. Everything that we found in the last week is gone.
"Not everything...per se."
Everyone turned back to the cryptic message the man had left behind.
"Reconstruct. Rebirth. Return."
Hai gaiz I'm back!
Really, that last chapter was filled with so much denial I wonder how many of you actually bought it? Maybe I should stop asking for reviews. I mean, the majority of the fanfics are geared toward yuri pairings after all (something that didn't really bother me until some jack ass left me a pretty little review saying that I sucked for having an OC and not a pairing between Teana and Subaru but meh...). There are only twenty of you, based on the traffic stats, that actually read it. Of course not everyone can read it day one so there might be a few more of you out there, but hey...thanks for sticking around. This series will answer everything.
Also as you may have noticed, I'm dropping first person perspective in this writing. Third person is so much more free and I can do so much more with it. Like...have fun.
Cookies to anyone who knows where the poem at the top comes from. Oh and keep it to yourself okay?
Oh and the Three Rs are important. So important that I'm gonna be referencing it a lot in the next one or two chapters. Think about it as you read okay? Some of the character's theories might be right, or they might not. But there is the possibility that I already answered what they mean.
Updates will be around once a week or two. I am having a lot of fun with this right now and am high off of inspiration reading other fanfics. So i ask that you give me your patience for another year or so. I hope to please.