"What do you mean, they're gone?" Kiyone blurted.
Yuri winced, pushing her long black hair out of her face. "We checked their quarters first," she tentatively reported, "then we went down to the mess hall to see if they were getting an early breakfast. No sign of them."
Kei stood straight, adding with military precision, "Then we asked a discrete friend to run a sensor scan over the ship. He only picked up Minagi, not Ryouko."
Kiyone nodded, keeping her expression carefully blank. "Don't worry," she smiled at them, "I'm sure that the Empress knows what's she's doing."
Both Kei and Yuri looked relieved as they walked out together, Kei muttering to Yuri, "See, I told you we didn't need to tell her."
"It was your idea," Yuri shot back as the door closed behind them.
Kiyone looked around the bridge calmly, "Notify me if anything unusual happens." She looked over at Nicole, "You have the bridge."
The pink haired young man saluted, "Yes, sir!" Kiyone walked stiffly into the bridge lift, the door sliding shut behind her. Nicole blinked as an odd, muffled sound came from there. "Did that sound like a scream of frustration to you?" he asked the other bridge staff.
A few minutes later and Kiyone was hammering on a closed door, loudly yelling, "I know you're in there!"
The door slid open, and a very rumpled looking Washu looked up at her sleepily, "Could you keep it down, please? People are trying to sleep in."
"Where are they?" Kiyone growled.
"Where are who?" Washu tried to sound innocent.
It took all of Kiyone's will power to resist the urge to pick Washu up and shake her bodily, "Ryouko and Ayeka, of course!"
Washu sighed, "Come on in." She called out into her and Yume's set of rooms, "Get dressed, we've got company!"
"Drat," Yume called back to her. Washu sat Kiyone down on the couch and a few minutes later Yume stumbled out of the bedroom, belting her robe around her pixie-like body. "So what's going on?" she asked them.
"It looks like Ryouko and Ayeka have already left on their honeymoon," Washu informed her wife with a shrug.
"Without telling anyone?" Kiyone growled.
"Good for them," Yume smirked.
"You're not helping," Kiyone sighed to Yume. She looked over at Washu with a determined expression, "Do you know where they were headed, at least? I'd like to get a fighter squad out there to watch over them, just in case."
"I suspect that they knew that you'd want to," Washu smiled, "because they didn't tell me." Privately, she thought, 'Not that I couldn't make a few educated guesses.'
"You could go try asking Funaho and Misaki," Yume added, "but I doubt that they were told anything, either."
"Ryouko knows this sort of thing drives me up the wall," Kiyone sighed.
'Part of why she does it,' Washu thought wryly.
The communicator chimed, and Kiyone scowled in irritation. "I'll get it," Yume smiled. She walked over to the small screen receiver and accepted the call. She froze, then turned back to Kiyone and Washu, "I think you'll want to see this."
The large screen flickered a moment, then a grinning Ryouko appeared. "Hi Moms!" she waved at them cheerfully.
"Ryouko!" Kiyone shot to her feet, but Ryouko carried on as if she hadn't heard.
"I just wanted to leave a message that Ayeka and I are going away for a day or so on our honeymoon. We're taking Ryo-Ohki, so if you're hearing this Kiyone, good luck catching up with us," Ryouko smirked.
A sleepy looking Ayeka stumbled into view dressed only in a robe and a very scanty piece of lace, "What are you doing still up?"
"Just recording a message for my Moms," Ryouko smiled.
Ayeka's face went bone pale, "I'm on camera?" She quickly pulled her robe around her body, blushing fiercely.
Quietly, Washu said to Yume, "Ayeka's got a pretty good body, doesn't she?"
"It almost makes me wish that we went along with the nude marriage ceremony," Yume whispered back to her.
Ryouko pulled Ayeka close to her as she said, "We won't be gone too long. Kiyone, I'm depending on you to keep the fleet in line. Moms, back her up wherever you have too." With another cheery little wave Ryouko said, "Bye!" The recording ended, the screen going dark.
Kiyone puffed out a breath, "I really hate it when she does things like this."
Far, far away from the suite on the Washu's Revenge, a small crystalline starship in black and red traveled rapidly through the dark space between stars, riding the currents of hyperspace. Ryouko was chuckling to herself softly, standing watch on the bridge.
"What's so funny?" Ayeka asked her quietly. She wore comfortable casual robes, the loose garments that one of Jurai would only wear around a lover or family.
Ryouko turned, her red and black body suit hugging her closely. "It's about time for that message I recorded to play back," she grinned.
"I expect Kiyone's having kittens right about now," Ayeka actually smirked, walking over to gently take Ryouko's arm. She rested her head on her shoulder a moment before asking, "Will you tell me where we're going?"
"It's not the Pleasure Planet," Ryouko smiled teasingly, "that I can promise you."
"Myah!" Ryo-Ohki scolded her mistress.
"Ryo-Ohki, time to destination?" Ryouko asked.
"Myah, myah myah," Ryo-Ohki answered her.
"And what did that mean?" Ayeka asked curiously. 'It seems I'm going to have to learn to speak cabbit,' she thought, but she was still smiling.
"It means," Ryouko took a firm grip on Ayeka's arm, "that we're there."
There was a short shudder, then a bit of a lurch as Ryo-Ohki dropped out of hyperspace. The stars soon reappeared in the viewport as they returned to normal space once again, and Ayeka began to look around for familiar constellations to try to see where they were. Her eyes widened slightly as she realized that they were nearby a planet.
The blue-green world circled below them, heavily forested and clearly wild even to the naked eye. No great cities rose up here, instead this was a world who's inhabitants lived in closer synch with nature than other worlds.
Ayeka looked down at that world, and instantly knew where they must be. "Manticore," she said softly, looking up at Ryouko.
"My home," Ryouko nodded gravely, holding Ayeka close to her side. She smiled slightly, "I saw your home world, so I thought I'd give you a chance to see mine."
"It's beautiful," Ayeka said breathlessly.
"Beautiful but deadly," Ryouko agreed. Quietly, "I think part of why I'm such a good fighter is that I was raised here, amid the dangerous wilds."
"It's almost as beautiful and dangerous as you are," Ayeka agreed before reaching up to gently cup Ryouko's face in her hand. She quickly turned, pressing her body into Ryouko's as she kissed her passionately.
"Do you want to go to bed?" Ryouko smiled down at her impishly, feeling the fire kindled in her by Ayeka's unexpected aggression.
"No," a fiercely blushing Ayeka said, "let's do it here, in the view of your home" she paused before adding shyly, "and mine, now."
Ryouko smiled, and one could almost see a hint of a tear in her eye. "As my lady wishes," Ryouko murmured, gently sliding Ayeka's outer robes off her shoulders. She lay that cloth along the floor like a blanket, then gently unhooked the undergarments. In moments, blushing, pale flesh was revealed to her hungry eyes.
Ayeka gulped nervously, and Ryouko took a half step backward. A clip at the neck of her uniform was unsnapped first, then one on her chest revealing a swell of tanned flesh. A final clip was released at her waist, and Ryouko let her fighting garb pool at her feet.
Ayeka opened her arms and Ryouko stepped forward, their body's sliding together easily. Tanned and pale flesh slid down to the floor, bodies twining together gracefully, only one thing interrupting their joining.
Ryouko looked up at the fiercely blushing Ryo-Ohki diamond hovering nearby and simply told it, "Get lost."
The diamond computer unit flew into one of the corners, glowing bright pink and emitting an occasional 'Myah," mournfully.
After some very enjoyable and energetic hours had passed, two sweaty, somewhat tired looking young women rested there on the floor. They looked out again at that beautiful world that slowly turned below them, enjoying the silence.
"Let's hope no one heard us down there," Ayeka finally murmured softly, inspiring a short bark of laughter from Ryouko.
"For someone who was a beginner not too long ago," a grinning Ryouko murmured back, "you seem to have some real natural talent."
"Why, thank you," Ayeka smiled back. She rested her head against Ryouko's slightly sweaty bosom and sighed, "I love you."
"I love you, too," Ryouko murmured back softly, holding her close.
Back on the Washu's Revenge, Kiyone sat at her desk and glared at the pile of paperwork waiting in front of her. Not only was she having to deal with her own work, but with Ryouko gone off who knew where, her work was on Kiyone's desk, too!
"Now I know the real reason Ryouko and Ayeka took off," Kiyone muttered, "it was to dump all of this on me!" The door chimed, and she looked up, "Yes?"
"It's Mitsuki," her former partner in the Galaxy Police called out in reply, "I received a message that you wanted to see me?"
"Come on in," Kiyone answered.
Mitsuki strode inside, her red hair gently brushing her shoulders. She was good looking, but a bit overly ambitious, something Kiyone didn't much like. Still, she was quite capable, which was the main reason Kiyone had asked the Galaxy Police officer here.
"I was about to head back to headquarters and report to Marshal Anderson. You caught me just in time," Mitsuki smiled.
"Good," Kiyone nodded. "With Manticore's fleet cooperating with the GP, we'd like to have a liaison officer on board the Revenge," she said calmly.
"Not a bad idea," Mitsuki admitted. "I can pass it on to the Marshal, and have a list of suitable officers for you in a few days," she added.
"I'd like you to be the liaison officer," Kiyone smiled, enjoying the startled look that appeared on Mitsuki's face.
"I'm honored," Mitsuki started to say, "but..." She paused uncomfortably, "Considering our past history, are you sure it's such a good idea?"
"The past is the past," Kiyone gave a little shrug of her shoulders. "I know it'll have to be cleared by the Marshal anyway, but are you interested in the job?" she asked.
Mitsuki wanted to swallow feeling that piercing gaze on her, wondering what Kiyone was thinking. 'I can see why she's become such a good commander,' she thought. "Yes, I'm interested," Mitsuki smiled.
"Good," Kiyone smiled, the power of her gaze lessening. She pulled a piece of paper from the stack, stopping a moment to keep the tower of files from falling right over. She passed it to Mitsuki, "Here's the formal request for you to be our liaison officer."
"Thank you," Mitsuki threw a crisp military salute, one that Kiyone returned. "May I ask whom I'll be reporting to here?" Mitsuki asked as she carefully folded the sheet, tucking it away inside her uniform jacket.
"Minagi or myself," Kiyone said, looking despairingly at the pile of paperwork, "I'm second and she's third in command under Ryouko."
'She's that high in command of the fleet?' Mitsuki looked at Kiyone in awe. "Shouldn't you be an Admiral or something?" she squeaked.
Kiyone gave her a tight little smile, "Lead Captain is title enough for me."
Kiyone bent down over her work, and after a few moments of silence Mitsuki realized she was dismissed. She left the room quietly, striding down the hallway lost in her thoughts. 'Now I really wish she was still a Galaxy Police officer,' she thought, 'with that level of skill in command she'd be running the place by now.'
A young woman came jogging around the corner, nearly running right into Mitsuki. Good reflexes prevented a collision, but the other lady clipped her anyway. Her hair was red like Mitsuki's, but much longer, and her clothing marked her as a high born of Jurai.
"I'm terribly sorry," the young woman smiled, "are you all right?"
"I'm fine," Mitsuki smiled back, noting the pleasing green eyes the girl had. "My name is Mitsuki, what's yours?"
A graceful little bow, "Rhione."
With that, the lady was gone down the hallway, leaving Mitsuki staring after her with a thoughtful expression on her face.