Mecha Wars: Chapter Sixteen
Flying far above the surface of the ocean, the private jet soared onward, a sleek, powerful craft with a mission. Adorning one of the rudders, a stylized logo was visible in the sunlight: a woman singing, and the name just below was Vision.
"Reika, are you sure you want to do this?" the dark haired man asked her quietly. The cabin they sat in was luxurious, filled with all the comforts of home, but the brow haired woman seemed very uncomfortable, somehow restless.
Reika Chang raised her hand, looking at the finely crafted engagement ring that glittered on her finger. "I don't know if I really want to, Kuo," she admitted to him quietly, "but I just can't seem to get her out of my mind."
In an opulent office of the Genom Tower Madigan looked at the report she had been just handed with a expression of pure dismay. She shot a glance at the young man and said harshly, "You have got to be kidding me."
"No, ma'am," he shook his head glumly. He activated a monitor and brought up a live security feed onto the screen.
Almost as soon as she saw the images Madigan groaned softly, "I'll go tell the chairman." She picked up the report and data disk before she strode down the hallway, her expression deeply troubled. 'I hope he doesn't shoot the messenger for this,' she thought to herself grimly. She nodded to the secretary outside his office and said coldly, "Please tell the Chairman that I have the report on the latest special project."
"Yes, Ms. Madigan," the girl put the message through, the smiled up at her sunnily. "The chairman says come right in."
"Right into the lion's den," Madigan muttered softly but headed inside, leaving a confused looking secretary behind her.
"What progress to report, Madigan?" Quincy demanded.
"It's gone to hell on us," she answered him simply.
"What?!" Quincy blurted out.
The phone call caught Linna just as she was heading out the door to her apartment. She picked it up and asked the caller, "Yes?"
"It's Priss," the slightly rough voice said. "Have you seen the new video by Vision yet?" she demanded without giving any explanation.
"No, I haven't," Linna blinked in surprise. She knew that Priss had no fondness for Vision or her music, considering everything that had happened between the two of them. "Why do you ask?" she tentatively requested.
Priss gave a dramatic sounding sigh and said, "Just see it, you'll know why." With that she disconnected, leaving a mildly perturbed Linna listening to a dial tone.
"Why that," Linna growled softly, then shook her head. She checked her watch, noting that she had some time to spare, and sat down at her computer terminal. It was an older model, pretty slow compared to one of Sylia's, but it did the job.
Linna checked her list of bookmarks, hit one of her favorite Vision fan-sites, and quickly found a link to the latest music video. It took a second to load it up, but once it did, Linna gaped at the screen in honest surprise.
Vision played herself, of course, and the other figure was only a computer rendering, but the resemblance to Linna was astounding. As a soft song about finding something that was thought forever lost played, Vision searched for 'Linna' but always seemed one step behind. Threatened in an alley, she was rescued by 'Linna' who held her gently for a moment, slipped a ring on her finger, then she was gone once again.
Linna returned to the beginning and noted the title: 'Desperately wanting.'
"What on Earth is going on?" Linna asked herself softly.
Over in the living room of Sylia's suite above the Silky Doll, the sounds of mirth could be heard. Sylia almost hooted with laughter, even as Tony walked over to take a look. "What's so funny?" Tony asked her curiously.
"I heard rumors about the Steel Angels being in town," Sylia smiled up at her from her seat, "I was worried we might just have to do something about it."
"I take it we don't need to?" Tony asked with a grin.
"Quincy launched a full strike team against the Angel," Sylia was clearly enjoying this, "but it seems he didn't know that there were two of them in town."
"A bit of a oversight," Tony smirked.
"They let one boomer go, and followed it back to the base," Sylia waved to the screen, "and now they're proceeding to trash every boomer on the property."
Tony grinned, watching the image of the red and brown haired figures trashing a small army of boomers with a great deal of enjoyment. "How did you manage to pull this off?" she looked over at Sylia curiously.
"Just a wee bit of hacking of their systems," Sylia said modestly, "nothing much to it." A bit more seriously she said, "This is going to cost him big-time. Maybe enough to give me the edge to move against him in Genom at last."
Tony put her hand on Sylia's shoulder, "You know it there's anything I can do, just ask me." She hesitated a moment, "Quincy won't let himself be voted off the Genom board without a fight."
"Which is why I'm using the shell companies to purchase the stock," Sylia agreed. "I'm protected as long as he doesn't know who I am," she said.
"I just hope no one at Genom's clever enough to trace you," Tony said quietly.
Sylia nodded, "So do I."
Quincy looked at the image sent to his desk in utter disbelief. The boomer storage facility had been reduced to a pile of rubble in the two Steel Angels' wake, along with the hundreds of boomers that had been stored in there. A conservative estimate of the cost of repairing or replacing the facility would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
"How did this happen?" Quincy finally asked weakly.
"The last boomer in the strike team we sent after the Steel Angel," Madigan said grimly, "was so severely damaged that it attempted to return home for repairs. They followed it back there, and decided to send us a little message."
Now that her own dismay was beginning to fade Madigan found herself getting angry. 'How dare they,' she thought furiously, 'strike at a Genom facility! What gives them the right?' And under that anger, if she was honest, was a bit of fear. 'What if they come here?" was the question bothering her the most right about then.
"The shareholder's meeting is in less than two weeks," Quincy growled out, "I can not afford an embarrassment like this on the books!"
"It's too big of a financial loss to try and bury," Madigan said quietly, wondering for a moment if the old man wasn't going to have a coronary.
"I know that," Quincy snarled. He called up files on his desktop, reviewing the information intently before saying, "But we can spread the damage across many different divisions, reduce the apparent impact on the company."
Madigan reviewed the data on her personal organizer and finally nodded thoughtfully, "It could work." She frowned, "But we'll need a fresh infusion of significant amounts of money as well, to help justify the movement of the different costs."
"I'll just have to sell more stock," Quincy shrugged, calling up his portfolio file. He nodded thoughtfully, "I still will have a majority of the stock, even with the sale."
Madigan noted the numbers, and her eyes widened. 'Only by a very slim majority,' she thought grimly. And if someone else acquired a majority? She rather suspected that her job security would very quickly disappear.
"I'll start making the necessary arrangements," Madigan said with a little bow to the chairman. The files and her personal organizer in hand she left the office, completely ignoring the cheerful greeting of the secretary. 'Investigating the companies buying up Genom stock just became a priority,' she thought to herself grimly.
"Vision put you in her video?" Nene blinked, sitting up in Akiko's arms with the phone pressed to her ear. They were being bad, slipping away to be together like this, but it didn't bother her too much. Linna's news, on the other hand, was a bit of a surprise.
"Certainly looks like it," Linna sighed. Her stockbroker's office was busy as usual, and she was working on her terminal even as she talked. "What I don't know is what to do about it," she said to her friend quietly.
"Have you talked to her at all, after what happened?" Nene asked. She giggled softly, from gentle fingers sliding across her ribcage. "Stop that," she whispered to Akiko.
Akiko tried to look innocent, but a little smile tugged her lips.
"I can tell what you've been doing," Linna said teasingly. More seriously, "I haven't talked to her. Vision had to go on with her tour, and it's not like we got to know each other all that well when I got caught up in her vendetta against Genom."
"Maybe you should try to see her, now that she's in Japan," Nene suggested. She tried not to moan, even though what Akiko was doing to her was pretty nice.
"She's in Japan?" Linna squeaked in surprise. "How come I didn't hear about it on her fan sites?" she quickly asked.
"It's been kept pretty quiet," Nene said, "I only found out because the AD Police keeps a close eye on her because of what happened."
Linna sighed softly on seeing a call from a client coming up. "I've gotta go," Linna said regretfully and they said their good-byes.
Akiko held Nene in her arms and asked, "What was that all about?"
Nene finished setting the phone back in it's cradle and said, "Vision visited Japan on tour a few months ago, but she also had another agenda." She snuggled in close to Akiko as she explained, "Her sister had been killed as part of a Genom plot, and she wanted revenge. She kidnapped a Genom scientist and tried to use him to get at Quincy."
"So how did Linna get involved?" Akiko asked.
"Linna had known Vision's sister, and saw the family resemblance. She followed Vision and got caught by people working for her," Nene edited the truth slightly.
"So she and Vision spent some time together," Akiko mused.
"And it looks like Linna made quite the strong impression," Nene agreed. Part of her wanted to tell Akiko everything, but she hesitated. It wasn't just herself that she'd be putting at risk, it would be all of the Knight Sabers.
"Lets hope that Vision hasn't just come to Japan looking to fulfill some curiosity or something," Akiko murmured.
"Hmm," Nene agreed. She looked up at Akiko, "My friend Sylia is getting ready to hold another one of her parties in a week or so. Would you like to go with me as my date?"
Akiko smiled happily, "I'd love to."
'I'll tell her at the party,' Nene thought, relaxing in her arms.
Linna sighed with relief as she shut the computer down. The trading had ended a few hours ago, but there was always more paperwork and messaging to do with various clients. She stretched, gasping slightly at the stiffness of her back.
'At least back when I was working at the gym,' Linna thought to herself as she picked up her briefcase and locked up her office, 'I could get a massage easily enough.' She considered some of the people around here who would likely volunteer to massage her and fought back a shudder.
"Someone walk over your grave?" the security guard asked sympathetically. The black haired woman had a pleasant smile, but Linna was too distracted to really notice it.
"Odd thought," Linna smiled back and with a little wave 'bye entered the elevator bound downstairs. She walked through the lobby and fought down an strong surge of distaste at the boomer standing guard there. The doors swung open easily and she took a few steps to where her car was usually dropped off for her, only to freeze.
The woman sat on the hood, sunglasses concealing her eyes, Short, styled brown hair framed an attractive face, her body sheathed in good quality clothing. She saw Linna there and smiled slightly.
Linna forced herself to take the remaining steps towards her and softly said, "Reika."
Reika Chang smiled back, pushing herself off the car smoothly. She slid her sunglasses off and said, "It's good to see you, Linna."
The engagement ring that Linna had slid on Reika's finger months ago was still there, and looking into Reika's dark eyes she didn't seem to be so terribly haunted anymore. "You look better," Linna managed to get out.
"Thanks to you," Reika said softly.
"I didn't do much," Linna looked away shyly.
"Only saved my life, and maybe my soul," Reika answered her. She hesitated, "I wanted to ask you out to dinner, maybe make up a bit for how I treated you last time?"
Linna just knew this was a bad idea. She hardly knew anything about either of the woman's identities, Reika or Vision. So even she was mildly surprised when she found herself saying, "I'd love to go out to dinner with you."
To be continued...