Mecha Wars: Chapter Nine
"What do you mean, you told her?!" Priss looked over at the calmly smiling Sylia in shock. The other three standing around the small office at the Silky Doll had similar surprised expressions on their faces as well.
Sylia shook her head, "I didn't tell her anything she didn't already know."
"So how badly compromised are we?" Mackie asked softly.
Sylia pushed her hair back from her face wit a hand. "She knows about me as financier, tech person, and member of the Knight Sabers. What she doesn't know," Sylia looked up to meet the other's eyes, "is anything about all of you."
"Why didn't you tell her about us?" Linna asked her quietly.
Sylia smiled wryly, "I'm willing to trust my own safety to my gut, and to an old friendship. It doesn't seem fair to ask you to put yourselves at risk, too."
"So what does she think?" Nene asked eagerly.
"She wants to help," Sylia smiled. 'She and her alter-ego, Iron Man," she thought. Somehow, Sylia hadn't been too surprised when Tony had told her that she was Iron Man. It made sense. She met her fellow Knight Sabers eyes, "Now, what do you want to do?"
"I'm in," Mackie nodded. "I remember Tony from when we were kids, she was a good lady. No way she'd be involved with Genom," he concluded.
"Pass," Priss shook her head, "I want to get to know this lady, first."
"You trust her?" Nene looked at Mackie and Sylia. Both nodded, "OK, I don't mind her knowing about me."
"Sorry, I'm with Priss," Linna admitted, "I'd like to get a feel for the lady, first."
"Good," Sylia smiled.
Priss looked at her and got a sinking feeling. 'Why do I get the feeling I walked right into something she planned?' she thought.
"What?" Linna asked suspiciously.
"I've set up a party for tonight," Sylia smiled, "and Tony, a few guests, and all of you are invited. There will be enough people that she won't automatically know you're Knight Sabers, and this will give you a chance to get to know her better."
Priss shook her head, "You know us too well, Sylia." She frowned slightly, "I may not be able to come though. Something personal has come up."
Sylia instantly went into her command mode. "What is it?" she asked, then somewhat more gently, "Is there anything I can do to be of help?"
"Yeah, maybe," Priss admitted, "you and Nene. Last night I met a woman named Natsumi Tsujimoto, and she thinks she might be my aunt."
"I thought your family died in the quake," Linna looked at her in surprise.
"So did I," Priss sighed. Softly, "Nobody came to the orphanage to claim me, and I lost my memory of anything that happened previously."
"Do you want me to check into her?" Sylia asked.
"Please," Priss smiled. She looked over at Nene, "She said she was with the police, before she went private. Could you look into that for me?"
"No problem," Nene nodded.
"So what was it like, meeting her?" Linna asked curiously.
Priss sighed softly, "Awkward."
The meeting broke up pretty soon afterward, and they each went their separate ways. Priss climbed up on to her bike, and after smoothly sliding into traffic she went on autopilot, considering what had happened last night.
The two had stood there by the stage doors a moment, gazing at each other, then Natsumi Tsujimoto had quietly suggested that they go to a nearby cafe to talk. They walked over to a rear table, ordered coffee's, and sat there silently.
"I'm sorry," Natsumi looked up to meet Priss' eyes, "for not trying to contact you sooner."
"Why didn't you?" Priss asked, curious to hear this stranger's answer.
Natsumi sighed softly. "I've been out of touch from my family for a very long time," she admitted quietly. "I was the black sheep because of my involvement with bike gangs when I was younger, and in my family's eyes joining the police force wasn't enough to make up for it," she finished quietly.
'She's a biker, too,' Priss thought, looking across the table, meeting those very same red eyes. "I don't remember anything that happened before the quake," Priss said to her quietly. She sipped at her coffee, "The only reason I even knew what my name was because of my school id. So I'm not sure..."
Natsumi smiled gently, "You don't know what to make of this stranger who says she's a relative." She finished off her coffee, standing up and drawing a business card from her wallet, "I'm living and working in town." She put the card on the table, hesitantly adding, "I'd like to get to know you, maybe become a real Aunt to you."
With that, she turned and was gone. A few moments later, and Priss heard the distinctive sound of a motorbike start up, and Natsumi drove by the window with a farewell wave.
Priss pulled up to her trailer and glided to a stop before going inside. She opened up her fridge, pulling out a can of beer, popping the top and taking a long pull. Her answering machine light was blinking, and she hit the switch to check the messages.
Sylia's cool voice came over the speaker, "I did a preliminary check on Natsumi Tsujimoto, and her story does seem to check out so far." A pause, "I'd like to see you at the party tonight." She sounded a bit amused, "If you like, you could even invite Natsumi."
Priss made a face, taking another drink. "Sure Sylia, use guilt on me," she sighed. 'No way I'd invite the mysterious Natsumi to this,' she thought, 'but...' Without letting herself think to hard about it, she pulled the business card out of her pocket and dialed.
"Hello?" Natsumi's voice answered quietly.
"Hi," Priss said quietly, feeling nervous.
"Priss, it's good to hear from you," and there was honest pleasure in Natsumi's voice.
Tony adjusted her dress nervously, "Are you sure this looks good?"
"You look fine," Sylia smiled, looking decidedly butch in her ladies suit. There was a familiar knock on the door, and Sylia called out, "Come in."
Mackie looked nervous, his white shirt and black pants starched and crisp. He smiled at Tony, "I'm not sure if you remember me."
"It's good to see you, Mackie," Tony smiled, shaking her hand.
Mackie grinned, "I'm also one of the primary repairmen for the Hardsuits." The surprised look on Tony's face was priceless, and both Sylia and Mackie smiled.
"We talked about telling you this morning," Sylia explained cheerfully.
"Thank you for trusting me," Tony smiled back at Mackie and Sylia.
There was a soft chime, and Sylia checked her watch. "The first guests should be arriving soon," she noted.
"Right," Tony nodded nervously, "I can do this."
Sylia gently took her hand as they walked, "Don't be so nervous. It's just a few of my business associates, friends, and a Knight Saber or two." Softly, she added, "I'm sure you've faced much worse as Iron Man."
"That's true," Tony admitted, "but I'm still nervous."
The door chimed, and Sylia walked over to answer it. "Biko," Sylia smiled at the tall blue haired woman.
"Hello Sylia," Biko smiled. A red head stepped up beside her, and Biko introduced her, "This is my lover, Eiko."
"Congratulations," Sylia shook both their hands. She led them both inside, and noticed a look of recognition pass between Biko and Tony.
"Hello, cousin," Biko nodded to Tony.
"Good to see you," Tony shook her hand with a smile. She tilted her head to the side, "You two are lovers?"
Eiko blushed a bit, "She's a little blunt about it, but yes."
The door chimed, and Mackie got it this time. "Hi, Nene," he smiled.
"Excuse us," Sylia smiled, taking Tony's arm and leading her over to Nene.
"Hi, I'm Nene," she smiled, shaking Tony's hand, and quietly so they wouldn't be overheard she added, "and I'm also the pink Knight Saber."
Tony grinned, "Maybe Sylia and I can upgrade your suit."
Nene got big hearts in her eyes, "Could you?!"
Sylia laughed softly at Tony's surprised expression. "Nene really loves high technology," she explained.
Nene walked over to introduce herself to Eiko and Biko, being careful not to let on that she had met them before. 'Of course, I was in my hardsuit at the time,' Nene grinned.
Another new arrival, and Tony got the door next. "Hi," Linna smiled at her, "I'm Linna. And you're Sylia's friend Tony, right?" Linna hoped she looked good, dressed in one of her better stockbroker business suits.
"Nice to meet you," Tony smiled, "Nene, Sylia and Mackie are over there, and a few of the other guests have arrived."
They talked quietly for a few moments, and Linna quickly came to see why Sylia liked her. She was calm, cool, and kind, Tony's eyes showing honest interest in Linna, but especially focusing on whatever Sylia said to her.
Sylia went to get the door next, and was pleasantly surprised to see the distinguished older woman standing there. She had sent her an invitation, but hadn't really expected an answer. "Good evening, Akiko, it's good to see you," Sylia smiled.
"Thank you for the invitation," Akiko pushed her short brown hair out of her eyes. It had a bit of gray, but other than that the business woman looked fit and attractive. She looked into the room, and her eyes widened in surprise, "Nene?"
Sylia raised her eyebrow, "You know her?"
"Long story," Akiko smiled, "involving my sort of adopted daughter Nuku Nuku."
Nene looked up, seeing Sylia talking to someone. 'What's Akiko doing here?' Nene blinked. Akiko moved her way through the groups smiling and nodding, eventually reaching Nene's side. "Hi," Nene said with a smile.
"Fancy meeting you here," Akiko chuckled softly.
Linna heard the door ring and moved to open it, bumping into Tony. "Sorry," she smiled, then reached over to pull the door open. "Hey, Priss," Linna grinned.
Priss wore a black leather jacket and black pants, a snow white shirt on underneath. It looked sort of formal, but still fit Priss' style. "Hey, Linna," Priss imitated her tone perfectly. She looked over at the woman beside Linna and smiled slightly, "You're Tony, right?"
"Right," Tony nodded.
Priss shook her hand in a firm grip before leaning forward to say, "Sylia is a good friend of mine. You hurt her, you answer to me."
"Priss!" Linna looked at her in surprise.
Tony's glance was respectful as she said, "I'll try my best not to, I give you my word."