Mecha Wars: Angelic Layer Part One
Priss ducked under the kick, but only just barely. 'If that had connected, it would've taken my head off,' she thought, looking over at her odd looking opponent.
To her suit's sensors it scanned just like a typical boomer, but it looked mostly like a human. She wasn't as tall as Priss was, and the red- head was dressed up in a odd, skintight costume. She was incredibly fast and strong, but what really made her dangerous was her fighting skills!
Normally, even the best combat boomers fought badly, with no style or skill at all. But this thing was great, anticipating all her attacks and striking back with a variety of moves. A series of kicks and blows drove her backward, and Priss' head rang with the blows.
Suddenly, the red-head stopped fighting and raised her head, looking off into the distance. It seemed to be considering something, and then it was just gone, bounding over the rooftops to get away from her as quickly as possible.
"Priss, we're on our way," Sylia's voice came over her radio.
"She knew they were coming to help," Priss said under her breath. "We've got a problem," she said more loudly to Sylia.
The figure slowed, then it stopped on one of the rooftops, before kneeling down, seemingly waiting for something to happen. A Genom corporate helicopter swooped down on the roof to collect it, even as elsewhere...
Misaki Suzuhara took off the visor, gently setting it down on the table beside her. She got up and walked over to the Layer to collect her angel, Hikaru. "It's been a long time," she smiled, carefully picking up her angel and cradling it in her hands. The young woman was in her thirties, still slim and boyish, but quite attractive as well.
Madigan smiled at her, "I was quite impressed by how well you did against the new combat drones we've designed for the Layer."
"Thank you very much, for the opportunity to play Angelic Layer again," Misaki beamed at her. "Four against one odds are a bit difficult, though," she pointed out, pushing her hand through her short brown hair. "I'm just glad you gave me the option of performing a retreat," Misaki admitted. She didn't like the idea of running, but facing four computer generated opponents was a bit much.
"We'll be actively recruiting other former Deus for our Angelic Layer revival," Madigan quickly reassured her. "I hope to have news for you when you next come in, in a few days," she said with a cheerful smile.
"I hope so," Misaki smiled over at the executive cautiously. Madigan led her to the exit of the Genom research facility and ushered her outside before locking the door behind her. She smiled slightly, and walked over to the Layer before remembering what she had to do.
Madigan pulled out her cellphone and hit the speed dial before waiting for the pick up. "Sir, our first test of the new Battle Doll prototype went quite well. The Blue Knight Saber was nearly outmatched by Misaki's fighting skills," she reported with a smile.
Madigan listened for a moment to whomever she was calling, "No, she's quite unaware of what's going on, she thinks she's fighting computer generated opponents on the Layer. Thank you, sir." Madigan closed up the phone, looking over at the Layer table.
'Who would have thought that a twenty year old child's toy could become such a powerful weapon?' Madigan mused. She felt a little twinge of guilt, and quickly surpressed it. 'Yes, I used to be a Angelic Layer fan, but that was when I was a kid,' she thought grimly, 'and this is business.'
Misaki walked down the sidewalk, a slight frown on her face. There was something kind of familiar in those simulated opponents, even in the blurring of the computer generated images. 'But what is it?' she frowned.
She shook her head, trying to think about something else. Misaki smiled slightly, thinking about some of the Deus' she had faced back during her day. 'I wonder who they'll recruit to compete in this revived Angelic Layer?' she wondered. A face suddenly appeared in her memory, dark hared with intense eyes that still burned in her mind's eye.
"Hatoko," Misaki softly said to herself.
Priss winced, as Linna helped bandage up her broken ribs, her side black and blue where the enemy had managed to land a blow. "What was that thing, Sylia?" Priss asked, gritting her teeth as Linna pressed down on another bruise.
Sylia pressed a switch, activating a screen and displaying an image of the red-head. "It appears to be a non-intelligent combat drone," she started to say, only to be interrupted.
"It was plenty intelligent," Priss protested that angrily.
Sylia held up a hand, "I mean, it's a remote controlled unit. I've analyzed the data your suit collected, and detected a constant exchange of data with a unknown location."
"So a really good fighter was running it from somewhere else," Linna nodded.
"Where have I heard of that before?" Nene asked herself thoughtfully.
A schematic appeared on the screen, and Sylia began to point out features. "This is just an extrapolation, but I believe it was designed for speed and maneuverability. Observe the joints, here," she pointed, "but I also think it has a great deal of strength as well."
"I could barely land a punch on it," Priss admitted. "It dropped out of the sky at me, then started fighting immediately. We spared for a bit, it felt like she was getting my measure, then she started going all out," she sighed.
"It could be a improvement on the technology that Quincy uses for his decoys," Linna pointed out.
Nene was still staring at the image on the screen, an odd look on her face. "Angelic Layer!" she suddenly burst out.
"What?" Linna and Priss said at almost the same time. Sylia's eyes widened, and she began to work her computer keyboard.
"Angelic Layer was really popular with young girl's in Tokyo for a while before the 'quake hit," Nene explained. "You fight each other with customized remote control dolls," she started to say, when Linna spoke up.
"Just like Priss' sparring partner!" Linna nodded.
Sylia finished manipulating the computer and a stylized egg with angel wings appeared, then images of dolls streamed by the screen only to come to a stop. One doll expanded, matching the image of Priss' enemy exactly.
"Angel Hikaru," Sylia read softly, "and her Deus was Misaki Suzuhara."
Misaki pushed the door open and walked into the Genom facility. The Layer was just as she had left it, but a young woman stood nearby. She looked at the Layer, a broad smile teasing her very familiar looking face.
"Hatoko?" Misaki asked softly.
Hatoko Kobayashi turned on hearing the voice, smiling at her broadly, "Misaki!" The twenty year old ran at Misaki, throwing her arms around her in a fierce hug, "It's good to see you!"
Misaki laughed happily, "You, too!" She pushed Hatoko away gently to look the young woman over. Her black hair was as long as ever, but she had grown, filling out quite well. She was a bit taller than Misaki, and she had to fight feeling annoyed at that. "Is Suzuka with you?" she asked.
Hatoko held up her Angel with a smile, noticing that Misaki cradled Hikaru gently on her arm. "So," Hotoko asked teasingly, "are you still seeing my loser brother?"
Misaki smiled gently, "No, Koutarou and I aren't together anymore."
"I'm so sorry," Hotoko apologized.
"No, you didn't know," Misaki reassured her. "We both just grew up a bit, and discovered we really didn't have as much in common as we thought," she shrugged.
"If there's anything I can do," Hatoto offered, gently placing her hand on Misaki's arm.
"Thank you," Misaki smiled, a bit of a blush appearing on her cheeks. "So what have you been doing?" she asked her curiously.
"News broadcasting," Hatoko smiled, "I decided to take after your Aunt Shouko."
Misaki chuckled softly, remembering how her Aunt used to react to being called that. "Robotics," Misaki admitted. "I got into it after I left Angelic Layer," she smiled.
"Well, look who's here," a cool voice said.
Misaki turned to see the tall blonde walk into the room, a angel cradled in her hands. Her hair was still short, but she wore pants and jacket, not the school uniform of the old days. The expression on her face lived up to her nickname: the Ice Machine. "Sai Jounouchi," Misaki squeaked out nervously.
Hatoko smiled, "It's good to see you."
Sai smiled suddenly, making her look much younger, "Nice to see you, too."
Another young woman with long brown hair walked in, and as she smiled sweetly at them all Misaki was suddenly reminded why the woman was called "the girl with the healing smile." Kaede Saitou didn't look like she'd changed very much at all.
"Glad you made it," Hatoko smiled.
"It's really good to see you," Misaki bowed.
"I'm glad to be playing Angelic Layer again," Kaede smiled.
Sai smiled down at her, holding out the seat for her. Kaede sat with a grateful smile even as Sai said gruffly to the others, "Let's get to it, shall we?"
All took their seats, and pulled their visors on. Misaki sent Hikaru into the layer, then Hotoko and Suzuka, Kaede and Blanche, and finally Sai and Shirahime.
"Let the games begin," Madigan said, watching from a hidden control room.