"Miko this really sucks! I hate not having my own spinner!" Amara Asano punctuated her outburst by slamming her fist on the spinner's dash.
Miko Akizuki sighed inwardly before turning to look at her taller companion. Amara may technically have been an adult, as well as a fully-fledged AMP officer, but that didn't stop her from acting positively childish from time to time.
"Amara-san, it is not your fault. Your spinner was destroyed by an Entity and the replacement has not yet arrived; you will just have to be patient."
Amara sighed deeply, resting her chin in her hand, "I know Mi-chan, but I can still bitch about it, can't I?"
Miko gave a slight grin, "Yes, if it makes you feel better."
With a loud roar and a swirl of wind blown debris, the AMP spinner settled itself in the alley's narrow confines. After a moment's pause, the vehicle's canopy hissed open, revealing AMP officer Amara Asano, hand resting lightly upon the hilt of her sword.
"Where is it?"
Glancing at her cockpit readouts, Miko studied the sensors carefully, "About 20 meters north of here, straight up the alley."
Amara glanced at her fellow AMP officer and gave her a wolfish grin, "Cool."
Stepping away from the spinner, Amara hopped to the ground, drawing her katana. Switching her sword to her left hand, and drawing her .454 Casull with her right, Amara began trotting up the alley, searching for any sign of movement. "Cover me Mi-chan!" she called, without bothering to even turn her head and ensure her order had been followed.
"Amara!" Miko yelled vainly, "Wait!"
Shaking her head at her friend's foolishness, Miko quickly drew her blaster, thumbing the selector to "creature". Reaching behind her back with her other hand, she unsnapped the cover to her Graviton; she had a bad feeling she'd need it. Pushing away from the spinner with her telekinesis, Miko drifted down the narrow, junk strewn alley, trying to keep both Amara and the Entity's presumed location in sight.
It was with a sinking feeling that Miko landed a few moments later at garbage strewn alley intersection. Choked with boxes, pallets, trash, two dumpsters and an abandoned car, it seemed a perfect place for an ambush; it had also been the exact spot where she had lost sight of Amara.
*Amara?* Miko spoke into her collar comlink, *Where are you?*
*Right here, Miko.* Amara's voice sounded oddly distorted, and the speaker crackled with static.
*Where is 'here' Amara? I can not see you.*
*Right hand alley, I'm about a 100 feet from the intersection.*
Miko entered the mouth of the indicated alley as she continued speaking. *Any sign of the Entity?*
There was a pause and then Amara gave a slight chuckle, *Depends on what you consider 'sign'. I've got what looks like a body here, so I guess that counts, neh?* Miko noticed with some concern that that Amara's voice had a somewhat strained quality to it.
After entering the alley proper, Miko was relieved to see that it opened up and was reasonably clear of debris, although covered with a thin layer of mud and water. She could plainly see Amara standing near a pile of crates some distance ahead. Using her telekinetic power to take to the air again, Miko began to quickly close the gap separating the two. *I can see you now Amara, please wait until I get there.*
*Yeah, okay, whatever.*
*Thank you, Amara. I—LOOK OUT!*
The Entity slithered more than stepped from an adjoining alley mouth, a deep bass rumble heralding its appearance. Vaguely worm shaped, it glistened slightly in the dim light. Turning to face Amara, it whipped out with one long, ropy arm, missing the woman by scant inches as she frantically rolled to one side. There was a splintering of wood as the arcing limb smashed through the piled crates, sending fragments flying.
Dropping to the ground, Miko began firing at the Entity's vast bulk, her blaster shots lighting up the alleyway. Amara had come up on one knee and was firing as well, the reports from her Casull almost deafening amid the close confines of the alley's walls. The Entity recoiled, bellowing its pain, lashing out to all sides with its long arms. Miko was safely out of range, but Amara wasn't so lucky. Attempting to dodge one flailing limb, she was struck across the chest by another. Amara crashed to the ground in a tangle of limbs, her pistol landing on one side of the alley, her sword the other.
"AMARA!" Throwing caution to the wind, Miko ran forward, firing as she went. The Entity turned from its desired prey to face this new threat, lashing out with yet another of its seemingly innumerable arms. Miko, intent upon reaching Amara's still form, found herself snatched into the air, the Entity's thigh-thick tentacle wrapped around her chest and waist with bone crushing force. Drawing a painful breath through clenched teeth, Miko pointed her blaster at the creature's arm. Pulling the trigger, her heart sank as nothing happened. The weapon's energy cell was dry, and in her haste she hadn't bothered to reload it. Any further thoughts of regret were cut off as the Entity squeezed, sending a wave of pain shooting through Miko's body, almost causing her to black out.
Dropping her now useless gun, Miko strained to push back with all her telekinetic might. It was with some relief that she felt the creature's tentacle shift, loosening it's grip upon her body. Unfortunately, it seemed that was all her psychokinetic power was capable of, and the two were now locked in a lethal stalemate, with the Entity unable to grip any tighter, but Miko unable to escape. Puzzled, the creature stopped trying to drag Miko into its gaping maw, but instead settled for wrapping more limbs about her body, trying to overcome the protective telekinetic bubble created by the tiny AMP officer.
On the other side of the alley, Amara tried to rise. Slowly, painfully, she pushed herself out of the alley muck. It hurt to breathe and a touch to the side of her face confirmed that the wet sensation was blood. Rising to her knees, she took a moment to steady herself, blinking in an attempt to clear her vision. The Entity loomed before her, swaying slightly as it struggled with the small figure held amid a mass of flailing limbs. Within the writhing mass of tentacles, Amara caught a brief glimpse of Miko, eyes tightly shut, face glistening with sweat as she strained to hold back the creature's seemingly tireless, crushing embrace.
"miko..." Amara whispered hoarsely, "Miko! MIKO!"
Struggling to her feet, Amara stumbled over to where her katana lay Falling to her knees, she picked the weapon up, and gripping it tightly in front of her began to chant in a strange sounding language.
Within the confines of the Entity's arms, Miko was dimly aware of hearing Amara's voice. Opening her eyes, she managed to catch sight of Amara kneeling amid the mud of the alley floor, sword held in front of here, shouting words in a language that was nether English or Japanese. Amara's chant reached a shrieking crescendo that culminated in a howl of pure fury. Rising, Amara seemed to be looking directly at where Miko hung entrapped, and Miko couldn't help but shudder at Amara's maniac expression and glowing red eyes. It was with some apprehension that she recalled something Noriko had said concerning Amara's so-called "battlerage"; that when under its effects, her aura turned black, as black as the Entities the AMP fought against.
Striding towards the Entity's noisome bulk, Amara allowed herself an almost predatory grin. The berserker fury of her ancestors was upon her now, and all her injuries of just a few moments ago no longer troubled her. She felt strong, stronger even than Kiddy, and she almost felt sorry of the mindless, worm-like thing in front of her. With a howling scream of rage, Amara stepped and cut, slashing through the creature's flailing tentacles in a spray of blood and ichor. The creature howled in pain and rage, dropping Miko as it turned to deal with this new enemy that was armed with such a sharp sting. Amara, laughing wildly, unleashed a backstroke that cut deep into the creatures trunk, black blood jetting in a powerful stream across the alleyway.
Miko, preventing herself from falling with her telekinetic power, pushed up and away from the fight, throwing off the Entity's now limp limbs. Gasping for air as she tired to get her wind back, she watched the now one-sided duel from the safe vantage point of a nearby roof. Steadying herself one hand, she drew her Graviton with the other, just in case.
The Entity responded to this Amara's assault with a savage slashing of arms and a snapping of its dripping maw. But, unlike its normal prey, Amara was able to avoid its attacks with ease. The swinging arm she blocked with her own, while the bite she merely ducked, and third and fourth cut from her sword ended the battle soon after, leaving the creature's enormous length twitching weakly amid the alley's more mundane debris.
Dropping back down to the alley floor, Miko approached her partner carefully, for Amara didn't always emerge from her fighting frenzy when the last opponent fell. "Amara?" Miko called hesitantly, "Are you okay?"
Standing over the slain Entity's still form, her chest heaving with each panting breath, Amara simply shook her head. Stepping back, she sheathed her sword, pushed tangled locks of hair out of her eyes and drew a final, deep breath of air before turning to Miko and responding. "Yeah, I'm okay Miko, how about you?"
"I am fine Amara, I..." Upon catching sight of Amara's condition Miko broke off, grinning in spite of herself.
"I what?" Amara snapped, "Now what's wrong?"
Trying to restrain her mirth, Miko gestured in Amara's direction, "Your front..."
"What the hell?" Amara muttered, looking down to see what Miko found so amusing.
It seemed that the creatures initial strike, besides sending Amara flying, had also slashed open her uniform, cutting through jacket, shirt, bodysuit and bra, leaving a thin bloody line ran straight down the deep valley between her full breasts. In vain, Amara tried to refasten the tattered remains of her jacket, cursing all the while.
"Ah, hell! Miko, why does this stuff always happen to me! Linda's gonna kill me!"
With a sigh of relief, Amara stepped into the changing room shower and under the warm cascading water. Wincing slightly as the water ran across the wounds she had suffered in her recent encounter with a Lucifer Folk, Amara turned her face upwards in order to catch as much of the relaxing spray as possible. Running her hands through the thick mass of her hair, Amara pushed it back off her shoulders, combing out the assorted knots and tangles with her fingers. Letting the water sodden mass fall heavily against her back, Amara reached for the soap, only to encounter another hand; a hand that tightly gripped her own. Startled, Amara turned quickly, to find Katsumi standing behind her, looking slightly flushed, her eyes downcast.
"Amara," she whispered, almost inaudibly.
Surprised by this unexpected but long desired encounter, it took Amara a few moments to respond. Swallowing repeatedly in a vain attempt to get the dryness out of her throat, she slowly wet her lips with the tip of her tongue before answering.
Katsumi took a step closer and leaned forward, whispering softly into Amara's ear, "Can I ask you something?"
Amara swallowed again as she felt the tips of Katsumi's breasts brush her own, "Sh... sure, anything.
Katsumi took a deep breath before responding, glancing about the otherwise empty shower room. Turning back to face Amara, her face had noticeably reddened.
"Can I borrow sixty dollars till payday?"
The AMP office was, in Takahashi Jones' opinion, far to impersonal. The towering ceilings, widely spaced work stations, and unconventional floor elevations did little to encourage contact between officers. The scattered plants did barely broke up the monotonous color scheme of white, gray, chrome and steel; and the enormous bay windows made the already overly large office seem colder than it was. Of course the worst thing about the office was getting stuck with cleaning it, a chore usually assigned to the most junior officers, which usually meant him.
Takahashi's musings were interrupted by the opening of the main office doors. Leaning back in his chair, Takahashi tired to catch a glimpse of the new arrival. Miko Akizuki, an AMP officer stationed in LA was supposed to arrive today, and Takahashi was curious as to what she looked like in the flesh. Looking down towards the entrance lobby, Takahashi spotted Chief Rally immediately, her height and snowy white hair were unmistakable. Miko on the other hand...
A moment later Miko walked into view, and Takahashi couldn't help but grin and shake his head. The file has said she was short, but he didn't realize how short. It seemed that she came barely past Rally's waist, and file information not withstanding, she looked more like a girl of 12, not a grown woman of 30. Turning back to his monitor, Takahashi punched up the file entry for Amara Asano. Comparing Amara's jacket straining, well endowed figure to Miko's tiny form, Takahashi sighed; he knew exactly who he would have called in if he had had a choice.
Staring out of her hotel room window, Aye Tehano realized that she was more than happy that the AMP's mission to Hong Kong was most likely over. There was something about the incredibly over-populated city-state that, well, depressed her. It wasn't anything she could point to directly, there was no obvious source, but still, to Aye, the entire city seemed to suffer from a thinly disguised case of rot. All the neon, flashing signs and towering office buildings gave one the illusion of progress, but deep down, hidden by all the glitz and glamour, Hong Kong has a soul as black as any of the Lucifer Folk. Pulling her coat tighter about her, Aye turned from the window, shivering slightly. Not even MegaTokyo or Los Angeles had made her feel this way, and the sooner they left the better.
Gassosa's cell was, by comparison to other cells in the police building, fairly spacious. Considering that it was to be his place of residence for as long as the AMP desired to keep him here, it seemed only fair. Not, Gassosa reasoned, that the AMP concerned itself with such concepts in their war upon the Lucifer Folk. Not that it mattered much to him anyway. The cell may be sealed with a variety of mystic wards, and be well guarded against supernatural intrusion, but such barriers were only a minor hindrance to one such as himself. Floating in the center of his cell, eyes closed and his body relaxed, Gassosa sat silently, casting his mind out, searching and probing the surrounding walls for any sign of weakness. It was only a matter of time.
Far from the realms of men, in the dark and forbidding land humans called Nemesis, something stirred. Its name had been called, promises made, bargains struck, and now, it waited. Soon the way would be open for it to come to the other world, where it could strive to bring about the domination that he and his kind so greatly desired. But for now, it would simply watch, and wait.
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