Badasses Of the Multiverse: Book 6: Volume 2: Chapter 05

Badasses Of the Multiverse: Book 6: “The Mexican, The Lawyer, And The Mechanic.”

Volume 2: “The Villains.”

Chapter 05: “Population: Badass”: Part One: “That Attack.”

By Paul Cousins.

Copyright Disclaimer: All copyrighted places, characters, items, and events, within the story, are held by their current owners. No profit is being made on this work of fiction.

(_)

Reality, Pedro and Lee's home reality. Date, Friday, the day after the Atlantic Riders came to De La Plata Podrido. Place, Devil's Hotel and Resort, De La Plata Podrido. Time, seven thirty AM.

In was seven thirty AM on the dot, in the morning. It was partly cloudy, with a cool temperature outside, as the man known as Garcia entered through the front entrance of the Devil's Hotel.

Garcia was dress casually, as he walked into the front lobby of the Devil's Hotel. He wore a dark green turtleneck shirt, brown pants, brown leather belt, dark socks, and brown leather dress shoes. He had his reality device in his right side pants pocket.

As he entered the front lobby of the Devil's Hotel, the wall speakers that were playing music in the room changed. And the new piece of music what that began to play was the theme music from the film, The Dark Crystal.

Garcia stopped in his tracks, as he mentally reflected, 'That is such a beautiful piece of music. Though, I do not know where it is from. Yet, the music sounds like it is about someone on a journey. And that is what I am doing.'

'Now, to fine Roberta. I told Roberta I would meet her, and the Pena family, today, or tomorrow. And there is no time like the present. I know she is staying her, in the hotel. I also know that she is in the habit of getting up early in the morning. So, she is likely at breakfast right now. And she did mention this place has a nice'

'So, she is either here, or at diner the Lowe family runs. Still, I will try here, first.'

'And I also know that Revy, Rock, and the others prefer to start getting up an hour, or so, from now. And to be honest, I just want to visit Roberta and the Pena family. I have no desire to see the others. And I certainly don't want to get mixed up in their adventures.'

Garcia looked around, and he saw to men at the front desk, directly ahead of him. He thought, 'Those two men can probably help me. I feel it might be best to use english, instead of spanish, with them.'

He then walked over to the front desk. As he came to a stop, he looked at the two men standing across the counter from him. He calmly stated, in english, “Hello, I am looking for a guest in your hotel. Her name is, Roberta. She has long purple hair. I believe she is likely having breakfast in your hotel's restaurant. Would it be okay if you could use the phone to call over to the restaurant? So, I could check to see is she is there?”

One of the clerks said, in english, “Sure thing. We will contact the restaurant for you, right now.

The clerk in question then picked up a wireless phone, as he dialed the extension for the phone in the restaurant part of the hotel.

When the clerk finished dialing the number, he handed the phone to Garcia.

Garcia took the phone, as he replied, “Thank you.” He then held the phone to his right ear.

The phone rang twice before it was picked up.

When the phone was picked up, the person on the other end of the line, a male voice, answered in spanish, “Hello.”

Garcia responded, in spanish, “Hello. My name is Garcia. The gentlemen at the front desk have kindly allowed me to use their phone. I am looking for a guest in the hotel. Her name is Roberta. She has long purple hair that is pulled back in a ponytail. Is she there?”

The man on the other end said, “Yes. I believe she is here. I will go get her.”

Garcia replied, “Thank you.”

(_)

At that moment, in the Devil's Hotel restaurant and bar, Roberta, Fabiola, Leigharch, and Matt were sitting at the bar counters.

They had all agreed to meet each other at seven AM, to have breakfast together. And the four adults had set their alarms, they had woke up, gotten ready, and met at the hotel restaurant at seven AM.

While seven AM would be early for most people. As a police detective, Matt was use to altering his schedule, due to shift rotations at his job. Spending years as maids at the Lovelace Plantation had allowed Roberta and Fabiola to get use to awaking early in the morning. And Leigharch did not really have a schedule.

All four of the adults were dressed casually.

Unfortunately, Matt and Leigharch did not get a chance to shave that morning. As they did not have any razors on them. So, they both sported a five o'clock beard shadow. And they were wearing the same clothing they had the day before.

On the other hand, among the fresh clothing Fabiola wore, was in a yellow short sleeved button up blouse, a green long skirt that matched her hair, with boyshorts underneath the skirt. And white socks, with yellow tennis shoes.

Roberta was wearing her usual civilian clothing. Among other things, she wore a short sleeved white button up blouse, black leather vest, black denim jeans, black leather belt, brown cowgirl boots, and a bolo tie around the collar of her shirt, with a blue amulet in the middle of it.

The four adults sat in stools, at the part of the bar counter that faced the left side of the restaurant.

Matt was furthest from the entrance to the restaurant. To Matt's left was Leigharch. To Leigharch's left was Fabiola. And to Fabiola's left was Roberta.

Revy, Rock, and the others had not yet come down for breakfast.

The four adults at the bar counter, had spent the last half hour, eating their breakfast from the breakfast buffet from across the room, as they talked about who they were, and where they have been. And it has been a wonderful, productive conversation, for all those involved.

Their meals and drinks had been generously paid for by Roberta.

Just as all four of them had finished their breakfast, one of the hotel employees, a man, walked up from behind the counter, with a wireless phone in his left hand.

The man stopped in front of Roberta, as he turned towards the purple haired. He asked, in spanish, “Are you Roberta?”

Roberta looked at the man, as she answered, in spanish, “Yes.”

The man said, “There is a Garcia on the line for you.” He then handed the wireless phone to Roberta.

Fabiola, Matt, and Leigharch recognized Garcia's name being mentioned, as all three of them turned to look at Roberta.

Roberta took the phone in her right hand. And the employee walked away, to attend man the cash register. Which Roberta found odd, due to Emily usually manned the cash register, in the morning, at the Devil's Hotel restaurant.

Roberta held the phone to her right ear, as she thought, 'I wonder where Emily is today. She usually works in the restaurant in the mornings. Maybe she is just taking the day off. Still, it is good to know that Garcia is now in town.'

Roberta said, into the phone, “Hello Garcia.”

Garcia replied, in spanish, “Hello Roberta.”

Roberta inquired, “Where are you?”

Garcia answered, “I am actually at the front desk of the hotel you are staying at, waiting for you.”

Roberta responded, “That is good to know. Also, Fabiola returned last night. She is sitting right beside me.”

Roberta turned to look at Fabiola, whom was smiling at her, given the green haired woman had understood every word Roberta had said.

Garcia said, “That is lovely. I look forward to seeing her.”

Roberta mentioned, “Also, Fabiola brought back a few friends with her. They are here, with us, as well.”

Garcia said, “I looked forward to meeting them, as well.”

Roberta stated, “We just finished breakfast. And we will come to you. We will see you in a minute.”

Garcia replied, “See you then.”

Roberta hung up the phone, and set it on the counter.

Roberta continued to at Fabiola, Leigharch, and Matt, as she said, in english, so Matt and Leigharch would understand her, “That was Garcia. He is at the front desk, waiting for us to come see him.”

Fabiola got out of her stool, and she stood up, as she happily stated, “Then, let's go.”

Matt requested, “I would like to come along?”

Leigharch said, “S, would I.”

Roberta stated, “Sure. Garcia said he would like to meet you, both.” She then pulled out some a little money, from one of her pockets. Which she left it on the counter, as a tip.

Then, the adults got out of their stools, and they headed for the front door of the restaurant.

(_)

A minute later, they reached the front lobby. They quickly saw Garcia, as they approached the blond man, whom was standing at the front desk.

As the group came to a stop in front of Garcia, Matt mentally reflected, 'I can see the resemblance of Garcia as a child in the series, to him as a man, now. And Garcia looks good as a man.'

Garcia turned to them. He switched to english for the benefit of Matt and Leigharch, “It is good to see you, Roberta and Fabiola. I hope you had a had a safe trip, Fabiola.”

Fabiola replied, “It was interesting.”

Garcia turned to look at Matt and Leigharch, as he asked, “So, who are these two gentlemen?'

Roberta responded, “Garcia, before we answer your questions. It might be wise if we walk over to the right, front part of the room. Where we could talk in private.”

Garcia looked over over at the right, front part of the lobby. He saw that part of the room was empty. He turned back to Roberta, as he replied, “I agree.”

The five adults then walked over to the right, front corner of the room.

A few seconds later, they came to a stop near the couches in the room. Garcia was in front. With Fabiola and Roberta, behind, and to Garcia's left. While Matt and Leigharch were behind, and to Garcia's right.

Garcia turned to look at the other four adults, as he inquired, “So, who are these two men?”

Roberta mentally reflected, 'There is no point in mentioning the gender bending curse that Garcia is under, to Matt and Leigharch. Also, there is not point in tell them Garcia's full name, and title. Garcia and Fabiola are okay any way I introduce either of them to others. Leigharch seems the type, not to care about titles. And given the life Matt has probably lead, he would likely be more happier if we kept things simple.'

Roberta stated, “Garcia, the redhead is, Matt Bluestone. The blond goes by the name, Leigharch.” She turned to Matt and Leigharch, as she continued, “And Matt, and Leigharch, this is Garcia Lovelace.” She then looked back over at Garcia.

Matt said, “Hello.”

Leigharch commented, “Nice to meet you.”

Garcia looked at the two men, as he stated, “Likewise.” He then focused on Leigharch, as he asked, “Are you the same Leigharch, as from our series?”

Leigharch said, “The very same. And as an adult, you look great, Garcia.”

Garcia replied, “Thank you. We wondered what happened to you.” He thought, 'Since Leigharch and I have never met, it is clear that he has seen the Black Lagoon series. And it is a good guess that Matt here has seen the Black Lagoon series, as well. Now, where have I heard the name, Matt Bluestone, before?'

Leigharch commented, “My tale would be a perfect story to tell over some beers.”

Fabiola said, “I have to agree, with him, on that.”

Matt countered, “It actually wasn't that fun for those of us that were riding with him, at the time.”

Garcia tactfully replied, “We will see what happens.” He then turned Matt, as he inquired, “Matt Bluestone? Where have I heard you name before?”

Matt answered, “I am from the Gargoyles reality.”

Garcia said, “Oh, really. Cool.” He then turned to look at Roberta, as he questioned, “Are our plans with the Pena family still on for today?”

Roberta answered, “Yes. Though, I need to call Hernan, right now, before he takes his kids to school, and he then heads to work.” She then pulled out her encrypted cellphone, and she dialed the number for the Pena family home.

Matt said, “You should have enough time, if you call them now.”

Fabiola replied, “I agree.”

Leigharch commented, “Personally, I never saw the use for schools.”

Fabiola said, “That explains so much about you.”

Everyone quieted down as they saw Roberta bring her phone up to her right ear.

The phone rung a couple of time. Then, a female voice answered the other end of the line, in spanish, “Hello.”

Roberta recognized the voice, as she inquired, in spanish, “Hello Maria. I was wondering, are Hernan and your kids still at home?”

Maria replied, “Yes. Why?”

Roberta stated, “Garcia is here. And he would like to come visit you, and your family.”

Maria happily said, “Wonderful. Tell him he is more than welcome to come over.”

Roberta requested, “I will. And could you put Hernan on the phone?”

Maria replied, “Sure.”

A few seconds later, Roberta heard Hernan say, in spanish, “Hello Roberta. Maria said that Garcia was in town?”

Roberta responded, “Yes. And he is right beside me. And Fabiola is also here.”

Hernan inquired, “How are they both doing?”

Roberta stated, “Fine. Anyway, I know it is a school day, and you usually work today. But, I was wondering. Could you and the kids stay home today, so we can come visit, and show Garcia around town.”

Hernan responded, “Sure. The kids would love a day off of school. Especially, a Friday. Because it means a three day weekend. And I cannot think of a better excuse than when family, from out of town, come to visit.”

Roberta asked, “Good. Though, will Maria be okay with this?”

Hernan said, “Of course.”

Roberta replied, “Good.”

Hernan requested, “And tell Fabiola we would be more than happy if she came along to visit.”

Roberta said, “Thank you. I will let her know.”

Hernan commented, “See you in a little while.”

Roberta replied, “You too.”

Roberta and Hernan then hung up at the same time.

Roberta then pocketed her cellphone, while she looked at the other adults. She stated, in english, so Matt and Leigharch would understand what was said, “Everything is set. And Maria and Hernan will be happy to have us come over, right now. We will head over to the home of the Pena family.” She looked over to Fabiola, as she continued, “And Fabiola, Hernan said you are more than welcome to come with us.”

Fabiola did not reply. Instead, she was unusually quiet.

Yet, Roberta did not noticed this, as she turned to Garcia, as she inquired, “Though, Garcia, I have ask. Have you had breakfast this morning?”

Garcia said, “Yes. I have. And the three of us can catch up on what has happened on our lives, while we have been separated.”

Roberta agreed, “That is a wonderful idea.”

Matt said, “Have fun you, three.”

Leigharch commented, “Yea. We will just hang around here, until you get back.”

Fabiola stated, “I am sorry. But, I cannot come with you, to the Pena home, right now”

Roberta looked over at Fabiola, as she asked, “Why not?”

Fabiola said, “I am responsible for these two men.” She then shrugged in direction of Matt and Leigharch's direction. She continued, “And while I am sure Matt would be fine. We want to help get him home. And none of us are sure what to do with Leigharch.”

Matt replied, “She is right about that.”

Leigharch commented, “I admit that I can be wacky at times.”

Fabiola mentioned, “Also, given Revy and the others are in the hotel. I think it is best I stick around, to keep these two out of trouble.”

Garcia said, “I have to agree with you. That is a wise idea.”

Roberta begrudgingly replied, “So do I.”

Fabiola stated, “You two go have your fun. I will meet with the Pena family, later. Responsibilities come first. You both taught me that.”

Roberta conceded, “Yes. We did. And I am proud of you for showing such integrity.”

Garcia said, “I am proud of you, as well.”

Fabiola gave both Garcia, and Roberta, a warm smile.

There was silence for a few seconds. Then, Leigharch broke the silence, as he asked, “As much as I am enjoying watching this display of love and caring. And I truly admire it. But, I have to ask. What are we going to do today?”

Fabiola turned to Leigharch and Matt, as she answered, “Oh. Don't worry about that. First, we will head to the game room, in the back of the hotel, for a few rounds of pool. Then, we will head to the hotel theater, and request a movie.”

Matt said, “Okay. As long as there is no betting. I don't really have any cash on me.”

Fabiola replied, “That is alright. I prefer to not play for money.”

Leigharch stated, “Even if we are not betting. You guys are about to learn how much of a pool shark I can be.”

Matt replied, “I look forward to seeing that.”

Fabiola said, “So do I. Now, this way, guys.” She then turned, and headed for the hallway entrance, on the left side of the front lobby.

Leigharch commented, “Lead the way.” He then followed Fabiola.

Matt turn to Garcia and Roberta. He smiled, as he said, “Have a nice day.” He then turned, and quietly followed behind the Fabiola and Leigharch.

Roberta and Garcia then silently watched as the three other adults disappear down a hallway, as they headed to the game room, on the back left side of the hotel, on the ground floor, near some of the entrances to the hotel patio, that lead to the beach.

Roberta thought, 'While I am sure Matt is okay to be around. I have a feeling that keeping Leigharch out of trouble, might sometimes be a full time job. Still, that is a worry for later. Now, to get Garcia to the Pena family.' She turned to Garcia, as she stated, “My car is this way.”

Garcia looked at Roberta, as he replied, “Okay.”

Roberta then headed for the front outside entrance of the lobby, with Garcia following right behind her.

Soon, they were in Roberta's car, as Roberta drove Garcia, down the road, towards the home of the Pena family.

(_)

An hour later, at eight thirty AM, Pedro and Matthew walked in front lobby of the Plata Podrido police station.

The two men wore the same clothing as last night. Which was pretty much the same clothing they had on, since they had started their journey through the multiverse. Though, they had occasionally cleaned their clothing, during their journey.

Unfortunately, that morning, they didn't have time to shave their faces, due to their alarms not getting them up when Pedro had wanted them too. Both of them were so tired, from the previous day, that they slept through their alarms.

So, they had to rush in getting ready. And Pedro called a taxi to come get them, to take them to the police station.

But, they were not well rested, to face the day.

On the way to the police station, they stopped by a fast food a drive through, to pick up some breakfast, which Pedro had paid for.

They had finished eaten and drunk what they had ordered for breakfast by the time the taxi driver stopped in front of the Plata Podrido police station.

Pedro paid the fare, with the men exiting the taxi, and heading inside. They carried their trash with them, inside. Where they dumped it in a trash can, by the interior side of the double-doors that made up the front entrance to the police station. With the taxi driving off, down the street.

As Pedro and Matthew made it into the front lobby of the police station, they stood beside each other, with Matthew to Pedro's right side.

The two men looked around in front of them, as the lobby of the police station, which was part of a partitioned room. With the front lobby only part of the room. Then, there was the front desk, with partition, wooden paneled wall, that went half way up to the ceiling. Behind the front desk were several other desks, set out in a grid pattern. On these desks were files, office supplies, and equipment on them.

There were officers, most in uniform, with a few detectives in civilian clothing, sitting at various desks in the room, as they did paperwork.

And on the walls of the room, were various doorways that lead to other parts of the building. Including, among other places, offices, the jail cells, the locker rooms, and restrooms.

Matthew commented, in english, “I guess we have come full circle.”

Pedro said, in english, “And they say one can never come back home.”

Matthew replied, “I guess they were wrong.”

Both men then saw that several of the police officers that were walking around, had come to a stop, as they looked at them.

Pedro turned to Matthew, as he stated, “I have some business to do here. Just follow me. We will likely spend at least an hour, or so, in my office. Where I have to review police reports for the last week, or so. And that is not counting me checking on things around the stations. I am sorry, but I have nothing for you to do here. So, it is going to be boring for you, during your stay.”

Matthew looked over at Pedro, as he commented, “I have been safe, as long as I have been with you. So, I am fine with that. Besides, I am a lawyer. In law school, we took a course on dealing with boredom.”

Pedro started laughing.

Matthew said, “I'm not joking.”

Pedro laughed even harder.

A few seconds later, as Pedro calmed down, he said, “After we get finished, we will get some lunch, and decide how we are going to approach Chang, later this afternoon.”

Matthew agreed, “Good idea.”

Pedro thought, 'Also, while I am here. I can pick up some ammo boxes, of bullets, for my weapons. Which I have tucked away in my office desk. Now, to deal with my job. That I thought I would never have to worry about again. Boy, was I wrong.'

Pedro and Matthew turned to look towards the front desk. Pedro then began walking towards the front desk, with Matthew walking behind them.

When they reached the front desk, they came to a stop, as they looked at the male police officer on duty at the front desk.

The officer on duty, at the front desk, look at the two men. He inquired, in spanish, “Good morning, chief. I trust your vacation was pleasant?”

Pedro lied, in spanish, “It was fine.” He then continued, in a more honest manner, “Matthew, and I, are going to my office. I trust that the all reports for the last week are on the computer network?”

The officer answered, “Yes. They are.”

Pedro asked, “Good. Has anything of note happened while we are gone?”

The officer said, “A few things. There was a robbery at the casino. Thieves got away.”

Pedro questioned, with interest in his tone of voice, “Really?”

The officer replied, “Yes.”

Pedro inquired, “Was anyone injured?”

The officer answered, “No. And as per your instructions, we left those at the casino, alone.”

Pedro said, “Good. Anything else?”

The officer stated, “Some bikers came to town yesterday. Some of them were seen riding hover-bikes. Though, all they have done is ride around, and mostly visit the casino.”

Pedro thought, 'Hover-bikes. They are not of this world. That means they could be trouble for us.' He inquired, “Do you know where they are staying?”

The officer answered, “No. But, we think somewhere out of town, on the island. Also, Mister Chang called. He said he had the situation handled. And since there hasn't been any reports of these bikers causing trouble, we have left them alone.”

Pedro thought, 'Okay. That doesn't sound too bad.'

Pedro complimented, “That was wise of you.” He mentally added, “I will have to talk with Chang about that robbery, and those bikers, later this afternoon.”

Matthew thought, 'I wonder what else happened while we were gone?'

Pedro turned to Matthew, as he said, in english, “Come on, Matthew. We have a long day ahead of us.” He then look in front of then, as he turned to his left, and he headed for one of the gates, on the half-wall, that lead to the other side of the room, and to his personal office.

Matthew silently followed behind Pedro.

(_)

Around an hour later, at the Last Resort Diner, breakfast rush had ended, with the last of the morning customers leaving, ten minutes ago, to continue their daily activities.

Lori, Ed, and Rico, were in their uniforms, as they were handling the morning shift for the diner. Though, Stan, Lewis, Irene, and Leona, were there, that morning, as well.

Everyone was there, because this was when Lori, and her six biker friends, agreed for the bikers to come back to the diner, to visit.

A minute later, the seven adults inside the diner watched through the front windows, as the three motorcycles, two hover-cycles, and one trike, rode into the parking lot, and came to a stop.

A minute later, Lori's six friends walked into the diner, and everyone had a good time, talking to each other.

(_)

Around twenty minutes later, hundreds of blue armored combat boomers began teleporting to various parts of the island of De La Plata Podrido, using reality devices build into their bodies. And the combat cyberdroids then started attacking the locals populace.

Inside an Italian restaurant, in downtown De La Plata Podrido, a combat boomer walked in the front door.

At the time of the morning, there were only handful of customers, and one waitress on duty.

The waitress was a pretty, middle-aged woman of Hindu decent, named Grace. She was slender, and in good physical shape. And like Grace had long black hair, which went down to her shoulder blades, that she allowed to hang loose.

Also, like her slightly older sister, Emily, Grace was a former communist revolutionary, that fled their home country of India. And they eventually settled down in Plata Podrido. Grace was married to the former FARC member, Isandro. Her sister, Emily was married to the former FARC member, Sans. Neither couple had any children. Though, both couples were talking about maybe someday having some children.

As the customers and waitress looked at the combat boomer, they all instinctively knew that this creature was a threat to them.

Fortunately, Grace was only about a dozen feet from the boomer, which nothing obstructing her path to the boomer.

While using both her training, and muscle memory, Grace quickly rushed at the combat boomer, as she unsheathed two combat knives that she had hidden in her waitress uniform.

In the blink of an eye, Grace had decapitated the boomer, before it was able to react. With its head dropping to the floor.

Grace then jumped back, away from the boomer, while still holding her combat knives. With the orange blood of the boomer dripping off the blades of her knives.

The boomer had then rolled to the ground, as the boomer fell down, on its back, with a thud.

The employees in the back of the building had heard the thud, with them coming to see what was going on.

The employees, and customers then silently looked at Grace, then, down at the boomer, and then back towards Grace.

Those people that were still sitting down at either a table, or the bar counter, stood up.

And suddenly, except for Grace, everyone either pulled their concealed, loaded, holstered firearms. Or, they unsheathed their hidden melee weapons.

No words need to be exchanged. They knew if there was one monster like that in town, there were likely more. And these monsters needed to be dealt with, immediately.

The customers then left money on the table, for their meals and drinks.

And everyone, including Grace, then walked around the boomer, as the headed outside, and deal with the combat boomer's many siblings.

While Grace walked out the door, as she thought, 'I better head over to Isandro and Sans' place of business. I believe my sister, Emily is already there. Visiting her husband, Sans, and my husband, Isandro. This business is nearby, and they have more powerful weapons there. It would be safer for me to join them. Then, we can deal with these monsters, together.'

Emily then turned down the sidewalk, as she headed for the building, where Isandro and Sans' real estate business was located. And while she kept her distance, from the other citizens of the city, taking out any boomers they could find.

With most of the boomers not having time to react to such a vicious, well armed, and very skilled, badass populace.

Variations of this scene were happening across the city of De La Plata Podrido. As Gomez's forces inadvertently awakened the single largest badass force on the planet.

For while Gomez, for all his planning, had decided not to include battle boomers in this fight, because he saw no need to use some of his most destructive weapons on a civilian population. And he wanted to limit the amount of possible technology salvaging that might happen after the battle.

But, this oversight was about to cost Gomez dearly. Because what he did not know, and what that the big secret of the population of the Del La Plata Podrido concerned, was that the city was where most badasses of that world went to retire, to live quiet lives, and start families.

That being said, this did not stop the citizens from keeping the weapons of their old lives. Nor, did it stop them from teaching their children how to be badass, as well.

Though, as dangerous as these combat boomers were. And even the battle boomers could be. There was another oversight by their designers at Genom, in Megatokyo, that Gomez was not aware of. This oversight was due to the Japanese culture of being against gun ownership.

The boomer designers never considered their boomers would go up against populations that were completely armed. Such as populations in nations, like the United States of America, and Switzerland.

Also, due to the Genom using the AD Police forces to test out some of their boomers on, they forgot about limitations that they, themselves, had placed on the AD Police forces. Those limitations being, that except for a handful of heavy weapons. And a handful of small, lightly armored, and lightly armed mechs. The AD Police force was only allowed to use light caliber weapons, and they were not armed with piercing ammo.

These flaws in the boomers designs were compounded by the fact that combat boomers and battle boomers were designed to only deal with infantry. Which, from a military standpoint, the combat boomer being classed as a heavy infantry trooper. And the battle boomer was classed as a light armored, highly mobile tank, for mechanized infantry.

Further more, from a combat ratio standpoint, one combat boomer was designed to handle up to eight fully armed, human military personnel. Which equaled a single military squad, or unit. While, one battle boomer was designed to handle up to sixteen fully armed military personnel, or two full military squads, or units.

These boomers were not designed to fight heavily armored tank groups, nor flying tank-killer aircraft. Such as the low flying, air to ground airforce jets, and military combat helicopters. While, Genom had downplayed such battle reports, these weaknesses in their boomers' designs were proven a number of times, when these boomers went up against more powerful, heavily armed and armored forces.

As such, given how heavily armed the population of Plata Podrido were. And due to their concerns of maybe someday being invaded by the Mexican military, all of whom were armed with armor-piercing ammo, which would penetrate the boomers armor with ease. This put the combat boomers, that had invaded the island city, at a distinct disadvantage. Also, there were chinks in the armor that boomers had that allowed for bladed weapons to cut through the boomers, such as at the boomers' necks.

With people, such as Grace being trained to quickly spot such chinks and swiftly take advantage of such weak points.

And so, the local citizenry of De La Plata Podrido were about to go through these hundreds of combat boomers like a hot knife through butter.

With what had happened in the Italian restaurant being only a taste of what was about to come.

(_)

On the deserted part of the beach, where the Klingon Bird of Prey had landed, and was cloaked, thirty combat boomers teleport on the beach, in front of the ship.

For while the ship was cloaked, and far enough away from the water, to not get hit by the gentle waves that usually hit the section of the island, the crew had forgotten that their landing gear made large impressions in the sand that could be seen from a distance, for anyone who know what to look for.

As the boomers attacked, and began to make their way into the ship, the Atlantic Riders whom were inside the ship, which was the majority of the group, quickly realized what was going on, and they swiftly organized. With them retrieving weapons going into battle. With them giving as good as they got, if not more so.

(_)

At the Daiyu Place Casino, measures that had been put in place years ago, were finally being used.

Chang, and his friends, had long since planned out a situation, where they were suddenly attacked by large group of heavily armed personnel, from outside the casino. This was not the only defense plan they had in place, but it was the plan for the situation at hand.

The first part of their plan was to swiftly make sure everyone on the staff, and their families being swiftly accounted for. Though, not everyone could be contacted at the same time.

Chang did not believe in have a single, all encompassing alert system for his employees. Because, such a system could be used to locate everyone it was meant to alert, all at once.

Still, as people were contacted, and informed of which they they were using, they went their assigned locations.

Next, the security staff, along with a few others, grabbed their more power weapons, to deal with boomers. Most were conventional firearms with armor-piercing ammo, while a few people, including Mal and Zoe, were using phaser pistols. As they dealt with the boomers, at Edgar Industries Headquarters, on Mar Dome One, in the Babylon Five reality.

As the battle waged, Chang managed the situation from the main security room of the casino, with a handful of security personal, at their workstations, in the room. While the customers were moved back into the stage theater, and other large rooms, that were deeper in the building.

Chang was even proud of the valets. They were the ones that saw boomers approaching the casino. They rushed inside the casino, while also making sure everyone else got inside, as well. And they continued to have people move further into the casino, as security headed for the front doors, to assist the security personal already stationed there.

Chang planned to give those valets a bonus for their heroic actions in this attack.

Because those involved in the defense of the casino knew about combat boomers, what to expect from the killer machines, and how to destroy these cyberdroids, dealing with the boomers was not that difficult for them.

The security team was deployed around the interior of the building, with them destroying any of the boomers that came inside the casino. And then, the security team moved outside, to deal with the boomers, as they to create a perimeter that stretched from the parking lot, on the interior side of the casino, to the beach, on the other side of the building, which was the same side as the garage doors.

Though the garage doors were on the left back part of the building. With the main the exit, for guests, to the beach, a hundred feet from the casino, was down a main hallway, which was between the right side of the employee pool, and the medical ward, which was on the right back corner of the casino.

And so the casino defense plan work beautifully, in destroying the boomers that came into the casino parking lot, and casino.

Chang even had a little additional help in dealing with the boomers.

That help came from the five parents of the Lagoon family, whom came to the casino, to use the heated, indoor, employee pool, in the back of the casino.

Unfortunately, the boomers attacked before they could even get a chance to change their clothing, in the employee locker room, using their assigned lockers. With each one of them having a key to their own locker.

Though, Revy, with her two Beretta ninety-two FS pistols, was not the only one of her family that had casino, while armed. Due to all the craziness that had happened during the last week, both Dutch and Rock had their weapons on them.

For Dutch, she had her Smith & Wesson Model Six Two Nine revolver, concealed in her clothing. Dutch's revolver was six rounds, that fired forty-four magnum rounds. Dutch also had some speedloaders, for her revolver, on her person.

Rock had her sonic shotgun hidden under the left sleeve, of her long sleeved blouse, in her gamblers' rig, that allowed her to slide her weapon into her right hand, or slide the weapon back down her right sleeve, at a moments notice.

Once Change gave Revy armor-piercing nine millimeter ammo, and Dutch armor-piercing forty-four magnum ammo, they were able to help a great deal more in the battle.

And Rock was careful in her use of her sonic shotgun, so as to only hit the boomers, and not harm any of the people, nor do serious damage to the casino.

Meanwhile, Benny and Janet, were sent to be with the non-combatants that were part of the upper management, or were considered valuable. Such as Inara, and Spike daughter. Julia, whom was being home-schooled by tutors. They were sent to one of the various safe rooms, located on one of the basement levels of the casino.

Though, there was one person, on the security staff that was not present. Jayne, whom was running an errand in town. But, everyone knew that Jayne could take care of himself.

Still, what Chang and the others at the casino did not know was that the casino was not a priority target, nor were the people inside. Save for one person. Which the boomers were not assigned to deal with.

As such, the boomers were only attacking from the front ground entrance, which faced the city, and not the sides of the buildings, the upper floors, nor, the back of the casino, which faced the beach.

Though, Chang did not take chances, and he put guards on those areas of his building, as well. But, Chang made sure those in the parking lot had enough man power and firepower, to protect the casino, and help any civilians that wondered in their direction.

Still, the security staff on guard duty, had infrared glasses, that would inform them if the civilians that were wondering towards them were truly human, or boomers in disguise.

Though, so far, none of the casino staff had face any boomers disguised at humans.

Also, Chang checked to make sure his casino computers were not being attacks. Which he gratefully found not to be the case. Still, he had technicians continuing to monitor the computers, if someone did try to hack into the casino computer networks.

Along with the events taking place on the ground floor of the casino, River and Lee were in the living room penthouse apartment, with high powered rifles, loaded with armor-piercing ammo. Chang had ordered them to stay in the penthouse, and neither felt like arguing with him. Though, between River's telepathy, and Lee precognition, they could sense any boomer scaling the building, towards them, long before the boomers reached them.

Fortunately, that was not happening.

Though, there was a flaw in the casino defense plan. The plan was designed to alert those on the official casino employment list. And Annie and Arcee were not officially employees of the casino.

Even Annie and Arcee's side jobs at the casino, within the casino. Such, as help security, or acting as pit boss, and morale officer, were not on the official books. Because, Chang felt if mexican government ever did try to do a head count of his employ roster, finding out about Annie and Arcee would be the most trouble some part of the situation. As such, Chang kept the two women off the official casino books.

And Kaylee was not high on in the priority list. So, she was not been contact yet by casino security.

And given how well armored the garage doors to the back casino garage were, with doors almost always closed, and sensors put in place to detect if there was a break in, security overlooked sending any people immediately to the garage.

The three women were inside the back casino garage, with Ahsoka.

The boomers had yet to reach the garage. And they would not, because the casino security had already made it outside, with the casino building itself already considered to be secure.

(_)

Within the large, back casino garage, near the middle of the room, Kaylee had just finished working on a car, and put away her tools.

Annie, Ahsoka, and Arcee in robot mode, stood in an open space, near Kaylee, as the four women talked about various subjects.

All four women were several feet apart from each other. With them giving each other space, to create a more relaxing atmosphere and mood for them.

There was plenty of lighting, from the ceilings lights, from everyone to see with.

Kaylee was in her green mechanic's coveralls, and black boots.

While, Annie, and Ahsoka were dressed casually. With Annie and Ahsoka wearing pants, shirts and shoes, among other things. Though, Annie had on her Jedi robe.

Ahsoka had on her red cloak and hood, though, her hood was draw back, to show her face and head.

Also, Annie had her lightsaber clipped to the right side of her belt, while Ahsoka had her two lightsabers clipped to the sides her belt. One lightsaber on each side of her body.

Kaylee enjoyed the company, and the other three women had nothing better to do that morning.

Suddenly, through the force, Annie felt something very wrong happening on the island of De La Plata Podrido. She felt as if the collective will of the entire population of the island had been shifted, and mobilization to fight, something.

Annie turned to Arcee, as she requested, “Arcee, could you check to see if something is going on?”

Arcee then used her communications systems to check with hotel security.

A few seconds later, Arcee's face became a mask of concern, as she stated, “We got a big problem. Combat boomers had been reported appearing and attacking all over the island. Including, the casino itself. Fortunately, Mal, and the security forces are handling this situation here, very well.”

Annie commented, “Still, we need to help them. Where are they at?”

Arcee said, “Around the casino. With Mal, Zoe, and a number of others, in the front parking lot. Also, there have been no human casualties have been reported.”

Annie stated, “Good. Contact the security. Tell them we will be with them in a few minutes.”

Arcee replied, “Okay.”

Annie commented, “I hope you don't mind dealing with the boomers?”

Arcee responded, “Not really. I tend to draw the line on those beings that are built soles to kill. Whom do not think of the consequences of their actions. And whom try not to be better than what they are.”

Annie said, “I will go along with that.” She turned to Kaylee, as she continued, “Kaylee, you better head to one of the safe rooms.”

Kaylee looked over at Annie, as she replied, “Okay.”

Annie turned to Ahsoka, as she requested, “Snips. Go with Kaylee. You will be safe with her.”

Ahsoka looked at Annie, though, she did not reply.

Just as Annie and Arcee were about to head for the closest entrance from the garage to a the casino hallway, an invisible force picked up Arcee, and slammed her against the far wall.

Annie looked over at Arcee, whom was already starting to getting up.

Annie realized, as she thought, 'What a minute. There are only two people here that could do that. Me, and Snips.' She turned to Ahsoka, as she asked, with slight confusion in her tone of voice, “Why?”

Ahsoka looked at Annie, as she unhooked her lightsabers, and ignited them. With the blue bladed lightsaber in her left hand, and the green bladed lightsaber in her right hand. She casually said, “Isn't is obvious. I am part of the boomer attack outside.”

Annie quickly used her right hand to unhook her lightsaber, and she ignited the red energy blade of her lightsaber. She held the hilt of her lightsaber, with both her hands, in a defensive position towards Ahsoka.

By then, Arcee, was back on her feet. And Kaylee clearly understood was about to happen. Kaylee stayed silent, as she quickly walked behind Annie.

Annie kept her eyes on Ahsoka, as she loudly ordered, ““Kaylee, get out of here, and get to the security room. Arcee get outside, and help the people out there. I am sure that the casino staff can handle the boomers here. But, that still means someone needs to be out there, helping the civilians, around the city. Though, be careful. Some of them might mistake you for the enemy.”

Kaylee quickly rushed to one of the exits, to the back hallway to the casino. Within seconds, she had left the room.

Meanwhile, Arcee looked over at Annie and Ahsoka, as she stated, “On it.”

Arcee swiftly used her communication abilities, to remotely open a garage door near her. The garage door opened, she walked through threshold, and closed the garage door behind her.

With everyone else gone from the garage, Annie and Ahsoka continued to look at each other, as they held their lightsabers at the ready.

Ahsoka commented, “How do you like my lightsabers? I built them, myself. I will admit that you were at least a good teacher on that point.”

Annie thought, 'There is no point in upsetting her. Still, I find out why she is doing this. Though, I have a bad feeling I already know the answer.' She casually asked, “They look nice. So, are you going to tell me what this is about, Snips?”

Ahsoka coyly answered, “Justice. Revenge. Kicking your ass. All three.”

Annie inquired, “While I sense you are upset. During your visit, I haven't sense much anger from you. You haven't fallen to the dark side? Have you?”

Ahsoka quipped, “Only during my period.”

Both of them could help but to break out in light laughter, at Ahsoka's joke, for a few seconds.

As they calmed down, Annie conceded, “I will give you that one.”

Ahsoka asked, “You don't experience those? Do you?””

Annie flatly said, “Yes. I do.”

Ahsoka shrugged, as she replied, “Oh well.”

Annie thought, 'If I find what this boomer attack is all about, I might be able to talk Snips down.' She inquired, “What is this boomer attack about?”

Ahsoka admitted, “Honestly. I am not sure, myself. I am just doing my part of this mission. I don't know the whole plan, because my employers were intelligent enough to only give their subordinates only enough information to do their jobs.”

Annie sighed, as she thought, with slight bitterness, 'Well, that is a dead end. I will give her employers credit. They are clearly genre savvy. Though, I can try to reason with her. I will try a different approach.' She questioned, “Snips, why are you doing this? I taught you better.”

Ahsoka sarcastically responded, “Really, Annie Skywalker? How did you teach me better than this?”

Annie tried to answer, with her suddenly finding herself with no answer to give. With there being only silence between them for the next few seconds.

Ahsoka then stated, in a condescending tone of voice, “Exactly. You taught me all the moves. And all the force skills I needed. But, you didn't teach me the moral consequences of my actions. And that is because you never understood the concept of being responsible for your own actions.”

Annie responded, in a sincere tone of voice, “I have since learned that lesson.”

Ahsoka questioned, “And how did you learn that lesson?”

Annie winced, as she answered, “I watched my own movies. All six of them. And even both Clone Wars series.”

Ahsoka smirked, as she sarcastically stated, “Ouch... That much have been rough.”

Annie thought, 'Your reaction only confirms what I suspected. You have not read Lee's stories. Which is good. That would only complicate matters, right now. Now, to try to help explain things to her.'

Annie calmly said, “It was. But, I had a friend that help me get through it.”

Ahsoka asked, “Well, lucky you. Of course, I know you were Vader, when you were fist in black suit. When I saw holovides of you fighting as Vader. I would recognize your lightsaber fighting style anywhere.”

Annie admitted, “Yea. You know me way too well.”

Ahsoka said, “Yes. And I realize that I had to run as far away as possible, to escape.”

Annie commented, “Well, you successfully evaded me.”

Ahsoka responded, “Yes. I did. So, do you still practice aggressive negotiations?”

Annie stated, “No. After much thought, and personal reflection, I came to realize that such tactics were a major part of my downfall. Of the four people I know, whom practiced such tactics, including myself. Aggressive negotiations lead to Qui Gon Jinn being killed in battle. Obiwan becoming a hermit in the desert. Myself becoming a monster. And you ended up an outcast from the Jedi order.”

Ahsoka shrugged, as she said, with slight sadness in her tone of voice, “You right about that. Though, I did leave the order on my own.”

Annie noticed Ahsoka sad feelings, through the force. She commented, “No. You were betrayed by those you trusted, and thrown out. And when you were asked to come back, you rightly refused. I am now proud of you for that.”

Ahsoka countered, in a spiteful tone of voice, “You are just happy, I did not wind up dead, with everyone else, in the Jedi purge.”

Annie replied, in a sincere tone of voice, “Yes. And I deeply regret those actions.”

Ahsoka commented, “I saw the movies, as well. And my series. You were a puppet to both Palpatine, and the Jedi Council. It was just that Palpatine was better at pulling your strings, than the Jedi Council. Though, I still hold many grudges, towards you, during your time as Darth Vader.”

Annie conceded, “And you have every right to do so.”

Ahsoka stated, “But, I am not going to fight you over those grudges, just yet. We are going to talk, first.”

Annie replied, “Good.” She thought, with a little hope, 'Maybe I can talk you down.'

Ahsoka said, in a forceful tone of voice, “I am sure you want to know why I did this. Why I am working for people attacking you and your friends? The answer is very simple. If you had just killed the members of the Jedi council. I would not have minded. Hell, I would helped you, if you had asked.”

Ahsoka continued, with rage evident in her tone of voice, “But, you also murdered the children, and everyone else.”

“While I left the order. I still considered many of them to be my family. And you slaughtered them all, without a second thought...” She yelled, “Even the younglings! You deserve to die for that!”

In contrast to Ahsoka's rage, Annie forced herself to remain calm.

Annie conceded, in a calm tone of voice, “Perhaps. But, not today. And I will not make any excuses for my actions then, either.” She thought, 'Besides. Such excuses would sound shallow. No matter how sincere they were. Still, I need to know what they offered you, Snips, to do all this?'

Annie asked, “So, what was your price in all this?”

Ahsoka answered, “Killing you. Those who hired me, and Barbossa, gave us some information. A rumor that Jack Sparrow's future incarnation was spotted here. And that you were here, and now a woman. To be honest, you look like your own twin sister.”

Annie responded, “I know. And what is your part in all this?”

Annie could now clearly use the force to feel the waves of rage coming off in waves coming off Ahsoka, which were directly towards her.

Ahsoka lips curled into a wicked smile, as she said, in a cold, tone of voice, that hid her rage, “Simple. You should feel honored. My employers feel that you are one of the few people in this city that they believe could pose a real threat to stopping this boomer attack.”

Annie asked, “And what do they want from me?”

Ahsoka continued to smile, as she answered, “They just want me to make sure to prevent you from interfering with this boomer invasion. I figure killing you will accomplish that task. Though, they would be happy if I just delay you.”

Annie questioned, “Do you honestly think you can take me in a fight?”

Ahsoka smile turned into a smirk, as she answered, in a smug tone of voice, “I have gotten a lot better since I was your student. In both the force, and my lightsaber abilities.”

Annie replied, “Well, so have I.”

Ahsoka demanded, “Then, prove it!” She then charge at Annie.

Annie stood her ground. And as Ahsoka reached Annie, their lightsabers clashed.

After several attacks and parries. With neither of them giving an inch, nor being harmed by the other. Annie saw her opening, and she struck out at her first target, at the right side of Ahsoka's pants, less than an inch from Ahsoka's thigh.

Ahsoka sense something just happened, as she jumped back ten feet. After she landed, on her feet, she looked at Annie, as she demanded, “What did you do?”

Annie stated, “I destroyed your reality device. Which you have been hiding all this time. So you cannot escape.”

Annie thought, 'Arcee sense that the moment she met you. And she quietly told me about that, a few days ago, while you were busy.' She continued her thoughts, with more concern towards her friend, 'I am not going to let you escape, Snips. And risk you falling to the dark side on my account.'

Ahsoka risked a quick glance at her the right side of her pants. She saw that the pocket where her kept her reality device was scorched. The smell of burnt electrical wiring coming from the pocket, signifying that her reality device no longer functioned.

Though, Ahsoka felt that her right thigh, itself, was not harmed.

Ahsoka looked back at Annie, as she commented, with a bit of anger in her tone of voice, “And you think that makes me less dangerous.”

Annie responded, “No. It just means you are not going to be dangerous, elsewhere.”

Ahsoka commented, in anger, “As if I have anywhere else to go.”

Annie realized, as she sadly thought, 'Oh Snips. You never found a home, outside of the Jedi Temple. You consider this likely a suicide mission. To die killing the person responsible for destroying the only really home and family you ever had, the Jedi Temple, and the members of the Jedi Order...'

Annie continued her thoughts, with a more resolute feeling, 'Well, I am not going to let you die, nor be crippled from this fight. And I am also not going to let you do the same to me.'

Annie requested, “Snip... Ahsoka. Give this up, before someone is hurt. Trust me. Revenge is not worth it. I know from experience the damage revenge can cause on oneself, and other people.”

Ahsoka spat out, “Annie, all you are doing is proving yourself to be a hypocrite. And that only angers me, further.”

Ahsoka then rush back towards Annie, as their battle continued.

(_)

At the harbor, on the cargo ship, the Maria Zeleska, which served as the current headquarters for Hotel Moscow, the members of Hotel Moscow were having to deal with combat boomers, as well.

Though, like the Daiyu Palace Casino, they were not a primary target. So, they were having to deal with only a few boomers coming, every so often, towards their cargo ship.

Fortunately, there were always guards on duty. And those guards had alerted the others on the ship to the impending attack. And due to decades of training drills, and experience, everyone was organized and ready within three minutes.

Below the deck, a few armed members of Hotel Moscow were guarding the toddler siblings, Dmitri and Alexandra.

Meanwhile, on the deck of the ship, Balalaika, B, and other members of Hotel Moscow, were using their AK forty-seven rifles, and other high-powered weapons, in dealing with the boomers.

As most of the Hotel Moscow members dealt with the closer boomers, they also had snipers stationed on the ship to take care of the boomers, at a distance.

Though, unlike some groups. Hotel Moscow were not pressing their advantage, and moving further into the warehouses and buildings, surrounding the docks. This was because the harbor had several buildings that were close together, which made for excellent ambush points. Instead, members of Hotel Moscow used infrared scopes, on their weapons, to find the boomers, and take them out from a distance.

And given the members of Hotel Moscow had been exposed to the super-soldier soldier serum of the vat process, they had, among other physical abilities, enhanced senses. Such as hearing and sight. And even more steady hands. As such, the distance at which the members could hit a target were mostly limited by the projectile ammunition they used. And they hit the boomers with pinpoint shots to the cyberdroids' heads, killing the boomers instantly.

Still, there were some members of Hotel Moscow that were in town at the time. Though, Balalaika, and B, were confident that those members could take care of themselves.

(_)

As battles waged across the island, the police station of Plata Podrido was no exception.

While not a primary target, at the beginning of the battle, combat boomers had busted into the front of police station, before the police even began getting the first calls for help, by phone.

Fortunately, Pedro had drilled his officers that if the station was attacked, that those near the attackers, where to stall them, while all the other officers made it to the weapons locker.

So, the first bullets were shot, from those officers at the front of the lobby, as they held off the boomers, while the other officers dropped down and made their way to weapons locker.

This included Pedro, whom was sitting in his office, with Matthew. When the attack began. Both dropped to the ground. As Pedro crawled out of his officer, and through the room outside, towards the weapons locker, on the other side of the room.

Meanwhile, Matthew crawled, as he followed behind is friend.

While they passed in the aisle between the office door, and the desks, they took a quick glance towards the front of the room, as they passed by. They saw that the police station was being attacked by blue combat boomers.

As they crawled, there was no officers nearby. And the only sounds were gunfire, from the front of the room.

While still near the floor, and moving towards the weapons locker, Pedro quietly complained, in spanish, “My first day back in town, and all hell breaks loose.”

Matthew heard Pedro, and he had learned just enough spanish to understand what Pedro was saying, as he commented, in english, “That figures. Still, I would be more worried about the citizens here. If this is happening across town, I don't think you will have much of a city left, after these boomers are through with it.”

Pedro continued to looked forward, as he responded, in english, “On the contrary. The citizens of this community are one of the few groups that I am not worried about. They can handle this. I don't expect these boomers to last very long in this city.”

Matthew flatly questioned, with a bit of disbelief in his tone of voice, “Really?”

Pedro stated, “Yes. You have spent most of your time at the casino. You really don't know the people in this town, like I do. As such, I am more worried about us, and my boys. The people in this town can take care of themselves.”

Matthew inquired, “If that is the case. What is the point to this police force?

Pedro answered, “We try to keep outsiders from creating the brushfire that these boomers have likely just sparked.” He thought, 'Because my superiors do not want risk the creation of a firestorm of badass, being created, by pissing off the people on this island. That is why they pay me, and my boys, to keep the peace here. We are not here to just protect the people of this city from outsiders. But, to protect the rest of the world from the people in this city.'

Matthew suggested, “So, you don't want to use our reality device to escape.”

Pedro flatly stated, “Hell, no. I am not going to run, while my boys are fighting. Now, stay down, while we get to the weapons locker.”

Less than minute later, they reached the entrance to the weapons locker. While the door to the weapons locker was usually closed, with a numerical touch pad, by the door, to unlocked it. The numerical pad had a battery to it, so if power was cut, it could be still opened. And one of the officers that knew the code already unlocked the door and opened it.

As they crawled into the room, Pedro turned to Matthew. He said, in english, “You can stand up. The walls and ceiling in here are armored.

While Pedro and Matthew stood up, they saw that several other other police officer retrieving their assigned high-powered weapons, and the loaded magazines that with with those weapons.

Pedro looked at his men, as he thought, 'Unfortunately, we don't have time to get our body armor on. Though, I do have a few orders for them, in dealing with these monsters.'

Pedro stated, in spanish, “Boys. Don't bother with the body armor, just yet. Focus on getting your rifles ready. Pistols and shotguns are not going to do much against these things. Also, get the magazines with armor piecing ammo. And don't bother aiming for the body. Go for these monsters' heads.”

Pedro thought, 'I cannot tell my boys that these are boomers from another reality. Only half of them would understand, and the other half would then I am crazy. Meaning, telling have would damage my authority with them. While it would freak out the other half, whom know how dangerous these combat boomers are. And except for not having mechs, we are better equipped to handle this situation, than the AD Police ever were.'

'Now, to get my own personal rifle.'

Due to the urgency of the situation, none of Pedro's subordinates replied, as they carried out their orders.

Meanwhile, Pedro turned and walked over to the rifle and ammo magazines that he had assigned to himself.

As he reached his rifle, he picked up his FN FAL L Two A One automatic rifle. The reason Pedro had was using such a weapon was a because the arsenal in the weapons locker were not uniform, and varied in types, and styles of weapons. Though, all of the firearms were modern pistols, shotguns, rifles, and a few machine guns.

This was due to the fact, that while his position as police chief gave him the authority to purchase various firearms and ammo. He was only given limited funds, annually, to make such purchases. So, he had to work under a tight budget. Fortunately, over the course of years, along with using his personal connections, Pedro had amassed a respect arsenal of various high-powered rifles, ammo, and equipment.

The FN FAL L Two A One automatic rifle was an inch-gun. Meaning it was built using the British system of measurements, instead of the metric system, that the original Belgium FN FAL rifles used. Though, the rounds the weapon used, which were seven point sixty-two by fifty-one millimeter NATO cartridges, were made using metric measurements.

Pedro's L Two A One had both adjustable iron sights, and a scope, on a raised mount, on top of his rifle. The mount had a hole in it, that allowed him to stop use the rifle's iron sights.

With his rifle in his right hand, by the fore-end, he used his left hand to reach for one of the load ammo magazines, that had armor-piercing ammo in it. Pedro could tell which magazine was loaded with which type of ammo, by the color of the tape on the side of each of the magazine.

The magazines Pedro used, each held twenty rounds of ammo. He preferred the twenty round magazines over the thirty round magazines, for his rifle, due to the more ammo the magazine had, the heavier. And after years of practicing with his rifle, Pedro found he was more accurate with the twenty round magazine than the thirty round magazine.

Pedro used his left hand to slide the loaded magazine he had into his rifle. Next, he used his left hand to pick up a few other magazines, and put them into his left, outer coat pockets.

Pedro then used his right hand to grip the fore-end of the rifle, while he slightly raised up the his right thigh, as he place end of the stock a weapon against the front of his right thigh.

Next, he used his left hand to flipped up the charging handle, on the left side of the automatic rifle. He pulled back to charging handle, as he used his right thigh as leverage, while he chamber a round into the rifle. Pedro allowed the charging handle flipped back, and it closed itself.

After which, Pedro swapped hands, as he used his left hand to grip the fore-end, from the bottom. He then let go of the fore-end with his right hand. Next, turned the rifle to the left side, as he used his right hand to turned off safety, and set the select fire switch to single shot.

Pedro then turned his rifle upright, as he moved his right hand to hold the grip of the rifle, while he rested his trigger finger on the trigger guard.

Pedro then turned to Matthew, whom was nearby, as he said, in english, “Stay behind me.”

Matthew just nodded once, in response.

Thirty seconds later, the police officers were ready, as they came out of the weapons locker, ready to do battle, with their high-powered rifles, with armor-piercing rounds.

The police officers returned to the lobby, to officer cover fire for those police officers that had held off the boomers.

The battle was quick and vicious. Though, for the police, due to Pedro making them regularly practice with their firearms, once they had their heavy weapons, quickly killed the boomers. And all that was left was the aftermath.

A few minutes later, after the end of the station battle, Pedro had quickly reorganized his officers, and ordered them, in spanish, to got get equipped with body armor, riot helmets, some extra magazines for their rifled. And Pedro made sure his subordinates had on the usual radios they had clipped to their belts.

Pedro also found that his police station was not severely damaged, and power was still on.

Once his officers were ready. Except for those taking care of the wounded, they had already found, as best they could, with the station's minor medical equipment, Pedro had the rest of his officers organize in the front lobby of the station.

Matthew stood behind Pedro, as Pedro faced the men and women of his police force.

Pedro gave his orders to his personnel, while Matthew silently stood behind Pedro.

Pedro then had his officers to account for everyone. Both officers, civilians, and prisoners. And for them to check on any wounded, or dead. Including, any of their prisoners, in the station jail cells, that may have been harmed. Fortunately, everyone in the station was accounted for, and there were no dead. But, there were some more wounded they had not accounted for.

Along with these orders, Pedro had his officers, in spanish. He assigned some of his officers to take the wounded to the island hospital. He had them take their rifles with them, as he order them to use the riot van to transport the wounded.

Pedro was not worried about the hospital, because the staff there was just as skilled, and well armed as almost everyone else on the island, and the hospital had their own drills on dealing with outside attackers. Pedro was sure that once his boys got the wounded to the hospital, the officers and wounded, would likely be fine.

Next, Pedro assigned a few guards to guard the prisoners in the station.

After which, he organized the rest of his officers in groups of six, and he ordered them to head out, and hit the streets to take care of any of these killing any of these monsters they find, while helping the civilians as they can. And for his officers to overlook any civilians that had weapons, as it would not be wise to arrest anyone on weapons charges, at the present time.

Though, Pedro warned them, that if they saw large, pink robot, for them not to attack that robot.

Pedro figured that Arcee might be handling a few of the boomers, as well. And he did not want to make an enemy out of her, by upsetting her.

After the officers had left, Pedro turned to Matthew, and told him, in english, to follow him.

Pedro then headed for the communications room. As he decided, he need to oversee command, from there. So, he could keep updated with the situation, and to issue orders to his personnel.

Pedro them planned to order the officers out on patrol to pull out their heavy weapons from the backs of their car trunks, and to assist the local civilian population, in destroyed the blue monsters that had appeared in their home town.

Pedro also planned to get in touch with those at Daiyu Palace Casino, and the Devil's Hotel, as soon as things settled down. Which he guessed would be a few hours. Still, he was sure that the people from those two places, like the rest of the town, could take protect themselves, in need be. As such, Pedro was presently more concerned about the police personnel, than anyone else.

Though, from the communications room, he answered the phones, and issues orders to his subordinates. And in doing so, he did what he could, to both help the civilians of the city of Plata Podrido, and the police that were on duty there, as well.

(_)

As battle waged across the city, when the boomers started coming towards the Last Resort Diner, those inside saw them coming through the weapons, and they swiftly got ready for the attack.

Those inside were Lori, Ed, Rico, Stan, Lewis, Leona, Irene. Lori's six biker friends, Cynthia, Denise, Kyle, Wyatt, Evelyn, and Tommy.

Along with a few a few customers that came in before the attack, along with a few people that ran into the building, for cover, when the attack happened. And those already inside were more than happy to help them.

When the boomers did start to approach the diner, everyone inside saw them, through the windows, coming from a distance. This gave them time to prepare.

While, Lori, Ed, Rico, and the bikers were armed, the others in the diner were not.

The bikers had phaser pistols, while Lori, Ed, and Rico had conventional pistols.

Lori had her three fifty-seven magnum peacemaker top-break revolver, that held six rounds.

Ed used a semi-automatic SIG-Sauer P two two six elite pistol. Her pistol had a safety, and was double action-single action trigger. The pistols was stainless steel with polished, brown wooden grips. The version Ed used nine millimeter bullets in fifteen round magazines.

Rico used a semi-automatic, blued Jericho nine four one pistol, that had a safety decocker and double action-single action trigger. The version of the pistol that Rico used fired forty-five ACP bullets from a ten round magazine.

Lori had extra loaded speedloaders for her revolver. While, Ed and Rico had extra loaded magazines for their pistols. And experience had told the three of them to keep a couple of different types of ammo, for various situations. So, have their ammo was armor-piercing, and the other half was hollowpoint bullets. With them swiftly switching to their armor-piercing ammo, before the boomers reached them.

Everyone in the diner used the center, rectangular counter for cover. With Stan, Lewis, Irene, Leona, and those few people that had fled into the diner to avoid the boomers, being placed against the now, turned off stove.

While those with weapons, were crouching right in front of the counter, as they popped up to fire their weapons at the boomers heads, from the top of the counter, or the sides of the counter, before ducking back down.

Fortunately, the boomers were only attacking from the front, and none of the people in the diner had been harmed. As those defending the diner had killed a number of boomers with head shots. And none of the boomers had gotten closer to them, than the windows, or doors.

The only damage to been done to the doors, the windows, the outer walls, along with a few vehicles being mildly damaged.

Though, these were no cars used by the Lowe family, or other diner employees, as they parked their cars behind the restaurant.

Also, the inter wall and stove, behind the counter were damaged. Due to a boomer ripped off a fire hydrant, and throwing it at them, with it hitting the left side of the inner wall, where the stove met wall.

Though, the hydrant hit the wall, and dropped to the ground, away from everyone that was behind the counter.

And while there was now a water spouting from the broken main outside, the water flowed to the street and drain, while those inside the diner were just happy not to be harmed by the thrown object.

As those with weapons popped up to take head shots at the boomers, before they dropped back down to the cover of the counter, Evelyn asked, “Is this counter armored plated?”

Lori answered, “Yea. When we bought this place, we heavily remodeled the building. There is steel plating, half inch thick sheet, on all sides of the counters, and interior sides of the outer walls. They cost a small fortune, to purchase and have install, but they were worth it. You cannot see steel plating due the paneling over it.”

Evelyn questioned, “So Bob, why are the windows and doors destroyed? I would think, with the armor plating, you would pop for some decent ballistic glass on the windows and doors.”

Lori responded, “We did. The windows are resistant to bullets, but clearly not a boomer's fist resistant.”

Evelyn replied, “Fair enough.”

Lori requested, “So, given my family diner is being destroyed. I have to ask. Are these boomers from your enemies?”

Evelyn said, “Absolutely.”

Ed demanded, “Start talking.”

Denise said, “We might as well tell them.”

Tommy agreed, “Yea. We should. After this, we owe them an explanation.”

Cynthia commented, “As long as we get to continue shooting while talking.”

Rico mentioned, “Don't worry. We are good at it.”

Kyle stated, “That is quite apparent.”

Wyatt said, “Yea. You are doing good.”

Rico replied, “Thank you. I think.”

Leona groaned, as she requested, “Stop with the banter, and just get to the point.”

Evelyn said, “Well, from what we have been able to piece together, it started with this government agent named, Gomez.”

The Lowe family, and Rico immediately realized who they were talking about, as Lori asked, “This Gomez. Is he a fair skinned, big stocky man, very muscular, with short, blond hair? And he likes to wear green business suits?”

Evenly answered, “I haven't see him. But, from what I hear, that is what he looks like.”

Ed stated, “So, that is what happened to him.”

Stan said, “I knew we all should have looked for him, further.”

Lewis replied, “I agree.”

Irene asked, “So, you know who this Gomez is?”

Rico commented, “Yes. We do. And we are going to have a long talk with Lee about this.” She mentally added, 'Damn his... Err her stories. Just another problem caused by Lee. Though, I sincerely hope this is the last problem we have to deal with, from her actions.'

Leona whispered into Lewis' ear, “How is Lee mixed up in this?”

Lewis softly replied, “We will tell you, later.” He thought, 'Last night, my family, and Rico, all agreed, including myself, not to tell dad's bikers about Lee's stories.'

Leona quietly said, “Okay.”

Lori calmly pointed out, “Guys. Do not get to upset. This is not that bad. We at least know who to blame. And who to bill for the damages.” She thought, 'We will blame Gomez. But, we will ask Chang to help us pay for repairs. I am sure he will be more than happy too. Especially, since he and River want to help keep Lee out of trouble. Not that I really blame Lee for this. Still, other might do so.'

Lori verbally continued, “Now, we just need to all survive this in one piece. And on the bright side. At this rate, we will run out of boomers, before we run out of bullets.”

Ed replied, “Good.”

The group then continued alternating between staying behind the cover the counter provided, and shooting at the boomers, as the killed machines approached the diner.

(_)

At the Devil's Hotel, a battle was waging outside of the building. The combat boomers were mostly being fought in the parking lot, though a few tried their luck on the surrounding sides, and lost.

The fight had been going on for the better part of half an hour.

At the beginning of the attack, Aeryn Sun Crichton and Violin Cephon Shinmyou Crichton, along with their young daughter, Gilina Crichton, were walking into the Devil's Hotel, from the front entrance. After they had taken their car to get some breakfast at a restaurant in town, and they had finally returned to the hotel.

The parents had a scheduled a play date, for their daughter, with Lotton's son Thomas, Sawyer's daughter Ivy, and Shenhua's daughter Wenqian. In about ten minutes. And they were going to meet their friends in the hotel restaurant.

As the Crichton family entered, Gilina had looked behind them, and spotted the first few boomers, far, on the other side of the Devil's Hotel parking lot, by the street.

Gilina asked what they were. Her parents turned around and saw the blue armored combat boomers, they instantly recognized what the cyberdroids were. And they saw that the boomers were walking towards the hotel.

Aeryn and Violin turned, and Aeryn picked Gilina, as they rushed through the front lobby, towards the hotel restaurant.

Though, as they passed by the front desk, they told the two clerks on duty to get to the restaurant, as well. The clerks knew the two women well enough to know they should do what the women said, and they did.

Fortunately, there was no one else in the front lobby.

As the Aeryn, Violin, and Gilina reached restaurant, Aeryn set Gilina to stand between her two parents.

Those in the restaurant could see that the two adults of the group were agitated.

A few seconds later, the front clerks also came into the room, and everyone realized something was very wrong.

While, along with a number of their friends, there were a few hotel guests and employees in the room as well, Violin did not bother to choose her words carefully, and she stated they saw combat boomers approaching the hotel from the street. And they had about two minutes before they got the lobby entrance.

Those inside the restaurant that knew was going on and the danger they were in were, Shenhua, Lotton, and Sawyer, whom sitting at a table in back, by the stage, with their three young children. Their children were sitting in booster seats at the table their parents were at.

At a table by Shenhua, Lotton, Sawyer, and their children, were Fabiola, Matt, and Leigharch. The three adults had returned from playing in the hotel game room. And they had decided to come back to the restaurant to find someone to talk to.

Luckily, Lotton, Sawyer, Shenhua, and their children were still having breakfast, and they were more than happily to talk to Leigharch, Fabiola, and Matt. This allowed Leigharch to catch up with Shenhua. Fabiola was happy that the others were happy, and less likely to cause trouble. And Matt was just happy not to be the center of attention.

Their conversation had lasted for a while, before the Crichton family had entered the restaurant with bad news.

Nearby, the five Lagoon sisters, Sarah, Molly, Kristina, Rebecca, and Yukio. With them were the trio sisters, Nodoka, Mikoto, and Yurika.

The eight friends sat between two nearby tables. At one table, sat Molly, Sarah, Rebecca, and Yukio. At the other table, sat Yurika, Mikoto, Nodoka, and Kristina, whom sitting beside her long time girlfriend, Nodoka.

The eight friends had been talking amongst themselves, while they were eating a late breakfast.

They had to order their breakfast from the restaurant menu, because they had come into the restaurant, after the breakfast buffet had been taken down for the day.

Given the week they had. Including, what happened in hotel itself, in the casino, and hose bikers showing up. The five sisters had decided, like Revy, the five Lagoon sister to keep their weapons on themselves, or in their car, when they were traveling.

Sarah had her katana in its sheath in its scabbard, on the left side of her belt.

Molly had her two semi-automatic pistols, in her shoulder holsters. With a few extra magazines, in slots, under where the pistols were placed in the holsters.

Rebecca had her to long knives sheathed in their scabbards that were strapped to her back.

Yukio had set her machine gun, with its hundred round modified c-mag magazine, by her, at the table.

At the other table, Kristina had her two power gauntlets set beside her, on the table.

And the other hand, the trio sisters did not usually use weapons. Though, the did know how to use firearms and melee weapons. This was because they were expert martial artists, and they each had elemental powers.

Yurika had lightning abilities, including creating and projecting arcs of lightning, and electricity.

Mikoto had fire abilities, including generating fire balls and have arcs of flames come out of various parts of her bodies. Though, she preferred to use her hands, when she did that. Though, she was not a pyromaniac, and she preferred to use her martial arts, over her fire abilities.

And Nodoka could generate and control water, ice, and water vapor.

They all had just finished their breakfasts, when the Crichton family had come into the restaurant, with Violin warning them all about the boomers.

Meanwhile, right after the warning was given, Melanie, whom had just come into the restaurant, rush over behind the bar counters, to pick up the wireless phone.

Melanie then dialed an emergencies extension that put out an emergency message to all the phones in the suites, and hotel offices. At once. The recording stated the hotel was under attack, and for those inside to stay where they were, unless the fire alarms went off. In which case, they should calmly exit the building, through the short path out of the building.

The recording played in a few different languages. First was spanish, then english, then in a series of other languages. And the message loops a few times, for a few minutes, before it automatically hung up.

Melanie then hung up the phone, and she turned to the crowd. After the hung up the crowd. She stated for them to not to worry about the money for their meals and drinks. Just for them to handle the matter at hand.

As this went on, Fabiola quickly pulled dialed her encrypted cellphone, and she dialed Roberta's cellphone, to warn her, Garcia, and the Pena family, of the attacking boomers.

But, after a few rings, Roberta did not answer her phone. Which likely meant she, and probably Hernan, were both already dealing with the boomers at the moment.

Though, Fabiola was sure that Roberta and Hernan would be able to protect Garcia and the Pena family.

Roberta was always armed. And considering she knew that Roberta always kept extra weapons in her car. So, Hernan would have weapons, as well. If he did not already carry his own weapon.

Fabiola hung up her cellphone, and put it away.

Then, to everyone's surprised, Shenhua quickly took charge. And no one was going to argue with the Taiwanese woman, whom was a former assassin.

Shenhua stated that she needed few groups to deal with the boomers outside, and a group to stay here and protect everyone else.

Shenhua pointed out that the restaurant was the most defensible position in the hotel. Given the hidden steel armor plating on the walls ceiling, and bar counter. Then, there was the concrete floor. And there were only two entry points into the room, from outside.

Everyone, who knew was going on, agreed with Shenhua's assessments, that this would be the place to stay during the attack, for those not fighting the boomers outside.

Shenhua then turned to Fabiola and told her to go get her weapons. She could tell that Fabiola did not have her weapons on her person.

Though, Matt did have his semi-automatic pistol in a shoulder holster, under his coat.

Fabiola did not reply, as she stood up, and rushed out of the room. She didn't bother to use the elevators, given they did not have the time. Instead, she found someplace private, and she pulled her her reality device. She then did a short teleport to her suite, at the same time she left.

Fabiola did not want to risk time traveling into the future, and missing the battle. Given it was clear that those at the hotel could use her help.

(_)

Once Fabiola was in her suite, she put away her reality device, as took stock of her situation.

Fabiola did not have time to change her clothing. Instead, she quickly retrieved her weapons, which were hidden in the room, in her suitcases, and put them on her bed. Next, she opened them, and then the hidden compartments inside.

She first pulled out shoulder holsters, and put them on, over her shirt. Next, she pulled out her loaded Beretta seventy-sixes semi-automatic pistols. She picked up one of the pistols, pulled back the slide to chamber a round, and then placed the pistol in her right shoulder holster. She then did the same with the other pistol, placing it in her left shoulder holster.

After which, she pulled out a few loaded magazines for her pistols, and she placed the magazines in slots under the places for her pistols, in her holsters.

While Fabiola was fairly sure twenty-two caliber rounds would not doing anything against boomers, but she had them, just in case.

She then retrieved her two Techno Arms MAG-Seven, which were modified semi-automatic loading. The shotguns were already loaded with short twelve gauge buckshot rounds, in five around magazines. She changed out the two magazines with magazines loaded with short twelve gauge armor-piercing rounds.

Fabiola then placed straps on the loops on the left sides of the shotguns. She pulled back the bottom of the fore-end, on each shotgun, to chamber a round. After which, she gently set the two weapons on the bed, by her.

She then pulled out a gunbelt, with ammo pouches on the side, for her shotgun magazines, and a sheathed combat knife, on the back left side of the belt. Roberta had taught how to use a combat knife. Though, she was not that good at it.

Next, she quickly picked out the magazines that were loaded with armor-piercing slugs, for her shotguns, and she loaded those magazines into her ammo pouches.

Fabiola then pulled out out bandoleer with forty millimeter grenade round already in it. She strapped the bandoleer, with the grenade round, across her chest, from her right shoulder to her lower left side.

After she did this, she pulled out her loaded, pump-action China Lake grenade launcher, which looked like an oversized shotgun, with a brown wooden stock. She also pulled out the holster she had for large weapons.

She usually kept that large holsters under the back of her shirt. With her pulling our weapon out by from under the back of the collar. Though, she could use it a couple of different ways. The holster had two sets of straps.

She put on the holster, with the straps running crisscross across her chest, and over the bandoleer. She place the holster itself, on her back, with the hole for the weapon facing up, in a diagonal angle, towards her left shoulder.

The grenade launcher fired the same forty millimeter grenade rounds, as was on her bandoleer. There were already three rounds in the ammo tube, and one in the chamber.

The grenade launcher was in its folded state. Where the stock, right behind the trigger was folded against the right side of the receiver, hammer, and trigger section of the weapons.

Fabiola carefully unfolded the load weapon. She then holstered the weapon, to where the stock was between left shoulder, and her neck.

The only reason she did pull out any hand held grenades, out of her suitcases, was that they would be more a hindrance in this coming fight, than an assets.

Since she was finished pulled out weapons, ammo, and gear, she quickly closed and put back up her suitcases.

She then picked up her shotguns, and hung a shotgun, by its strap, on each of her shoulders.

Her weapons, holsters, and gunbelt made for an interesting contrast, to the yellow short sleeved button up blouse, green long skirt, and yellow tennis shoes, she wore under her weapons and equipment.

She then pulled out her reality device, and teleport back to the hallway, outside of the hotel restaurant, at the same time she had left.

She then put away her reality device, and she entered the restaurant. She had made record time, in returning less than a minute after she had left. Roberta training had paid off against for her.

By the time, Fabiola teleported back her she returned, less than a minutes later, Shenhua was finished organizing everyone. With everyone when to their assigned locations.

Fabiola looked around, and noticed a few things.

Matt had his semi-automatic pistol pulled out, with his trigger on the trigger guard.

Aeryn and Violin, and taken Gilina to sit by where Shenhua, and her family were, near the stage, in the back of the room. both had their pulse pistols pulled out, from their concealed holsters.

Lotton had two concealed semi-automatic C ninety-six Broomhandle Mauser pistols on her person. Of which, she had pulled out, and held one of her semi-automatic pistols, with her trigger finger on the trigger guard.

Also, given Sawyer did not have time to get her chainsaw. Besides which, she knew better than to get that close to a boomer, without a powersuit. So, Lotton had loaned Sawyer her other semi-automatic pistol, which Sawyer had in her right hand, with her trigger finger on the trigger guard.

At that moment, Aeryn, Violin, Lotton, Sawyer, and Matt, all pointed the barrels of their weapons, at the ground, away from everyone.

Melanie had her post-nineteen forty-seven TT-33 Tokarev semi-automatic pistol tucked in the back of her pants, under her untucked shirt.

The pistols held eight, armor-piercing, seven point six two millimeter rounds in the magazine. Though, the chamber of her pistol was currently empty.

Fabiola already knew, from talking to the three lovers, that Lotton long ago taught both Sawyer and Shenhua, how to use her pistols.

Meanwhile, Shenhua was wearing her usual red qipao, under her open, white long sleeved jacket, among other clothing, underneath. She also wore red, flat soled slippers.

Under her white sleeves, on her both her forearms, were armbands, with cords loosely. coiled around them.

On each of her upper thighs, hidden by her clothing, was a garter belt, that held her kunai thrown knives.

And her two kukris long knives were sheathed, in their scabbards, in pockets, on the interior sides of her white jacket, under her arms.

As Shenhua gave the last over her orders, she pulled out her kukris, and connected them to the cords under her sleeves, where were attached to the armbands, on her forearms. So, she could use the long knives, as long distance, thrown weapons.

And even though they were adults, Shenhua cared about the Lagoon children, and the trio sisters. But, she needed them to protect the outside of the building, from the coming boomers. So, she split the difference, and assigned them to the sides of the building, and not the parking. While she and Fabiola would be guarding the front of the building.

Fabiola did not argue with the request, because she knew that of those present, Shenhua and herself, were the best two people to handle the job.

And the Lagoon sisters, and trio sisters, accepted their assignments, without an argument.

Though, Shenhua did admit to herself that Aeryn and Violin could do the job. She wanted to keep those two in reserve, in the restaurant, in case the boomers got passed them. Given Violin's abilities, and Aeryn's training, would make them the only two in the hotel, that could handle close quarters combat with a boomer, without being serious harmed, nor killed. And without becoming extremely destructive.

Though, Shenhua wondered where Barbossa was. But, she knew that the old pirate could take care of himself.

Shenhua then ordered everyone to this assigned locations. She then walked out the room, to the hallway, with Fabiola following behind her.

The Lagoon sisters, and trio sister, got up, retrieved their weapons, and left the room, as well.

Meanwhile, everyone else stayed inside the restaurant.

As the ten adults entered the hallway, the adults in the hallway that were armed, had their weapons at the ready. And Kristina, Sarah, and Yukio then separated from the group, as the headed for the back exit to the hotel, and the beach outside, that exit.

The other seven adults headed for the front lobby.

When they reached the front lobby, they head exited out of the front entrance, of the hotel. They were just in time to stop three boomers, right outside, from reaching the front entrance of the hotel.

The group made short work of the boomers. The group then separated, and fanned out to their assigned locations, where they would stand guard, and destroy any boomers that approach the Devil's Hotel.

Of the various groups Shenhua had created. She had separated the women, based on their combat abilities. Pairing up groups that would be able to compliment each other in battle. And she used fair assessments in doing so.

On the right side of the hotel, Mikoto and Nodoka stood guard. Along with their martial arts abilities, with Mikoto's fire abilities, and Nodoka's water and ice abilities, they would make sure work of any boomers that approached them.

On the right side of of the hotel, Rebecca, Molly, and Yurika were station. Molly would use her pistols to help deal with the boomer at a distance, while Rebecca would her use her long knives to protect Molly from any boomers that came to close to them.

Meanwhile, Yurika would zap any boomers that go close, with lighting. While being careful not to electrocute neither Molly, nor Rebecca. Also, Yurika had her martial arts abilities, to her deal with any boomers that came too close to her.

On the beach side of the hotel, Kristina, Sarah, and Yukio were stationed. They did not need any elemental users, because there was less chance for a boomer to come that way. Still, the plan was that Yukio would take the boomers out at a distance, with her machine gun. While, if any boomers got too close, Sarah, with her katana would protect Yukio. And Kristina, with her two gauntlets that shot out both flames and frost, towards any boomers that closed in on them.

And on the front side of the hotel, in the parking lot, Shenhua and Fabiola were using their weapons to take on the lion's share of the combat boomers that came towards the hotel. And they were both holding their own, without any trouble.

Inside the hotel restaurant, the children were placed behind the bar counter, by Melanie. Because the bar counter had armor plating, as well. Offering further protection from any boomers that might get inside.

Melanie stood behind the counter, closer to the main entrance to the restaurant, that lead to a main hallway, on the ground floor.

Melanie had her pistol out, as well. She pointed at the main entrance to the restaurant. And there was currently seven rounds in her magazine, and one round in the chamber of her pistol, with the hammer cocked back. Though, her trigger finger rested on the trigger guard of her weapon.

The other non-combatants, both the staff, and hotel guests, were huddled in the far, back left corner of the room, where the stairs to the stage were located.

In front of the non-combatants. were Aeryn, Violin, and Matt, whom covered both the kitchen entrance, while also keeping an eye on the main entrance.

And Lotton and Sawyer, were using the pistols in their hands to cover the main entrance to the restaurant.

Also, if necessary, Violin was ready to go hand to hand and fight any boomer that came into the bar. And with her super-strength and super-speed, she stood a fair chance against a single boomer. But, she was not invulnerable, and she had not melee weapons with her. While boomers usually had two pronged claws that popped out of their wrist.

So, if Violin fought a boomer in hand to hand combat, she was taking a very real chance of being seriously injured, or even killed. And the level of danger only went up, with each boomer she fought at once.

Violin figured she could handle three boomers at once, before the situation became too risky, and dangerous, to even attempt to fight the cyberdroids in hand to hand combat.

Everyone in the room just hoped it didn't come to that, and the boomers would not make it inside the building, let alone the room they were in, at all.

(_)

The battle waged outside the Devil's hotel, with those groups on the sides of the hotel were able to deal with a handful of combat boomers, with ease. In the front parking lot of the Devil's Hotel, the area was littered with dead blue combat boomers, with orange boomer blood streaming from the bodies, as the liquid ran down the drain.

Fortunately, the two human fighters in the parking lot, Shenhua, and Fabiola, were unharmed. Though, several cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans, had been severely damaged. Yet, none of the vehicles had exploded.

Still, while the two women were unharmed, sweat ran down the inside of their clothing, from the exertions of the fight. Though, they were nowhere neither tired, as they held their own against the boomers.

All the while the two women were being complete professionals. And they did not have the time talk. No witty quips. No bards. No insults. Because doing so might create a deadly distraction for herself, or the other woman, with her.

The two women were not trying to show off. They were just doing their jobs.

In addition, they both noticed that it seemed that the boomers were not working together.

And the boomers came in waves, of a few at a time. Which made things much easier for those defending the hotel.

Neither woman knew why this was. But, they were not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Shenhua used the kukri in her right hand to swiftly decapitate the boomer right beside her.

While that boomer fell dead to the ground, at Shenhua's feet, Shenhua threw the kukri in her left hand, in a wide, clockwise arc, by the cord attached to the armband on Shenhua's left forearm, like a ball and chain weapons.

As Shenhua used the cord in her left hand to both guide, and control the distance of the arc, so that she use the inwardly curved blade of her left kukri to cleanly slice through the neck of a combat boomer that was thirty feet from her.

With the boomers in the distance dead, Shenhua flicked her left hand and wrist, causing the swinging blade and cord to stop its arc, and jerk back to Shenhua.

A second later, Shenhua caught her left kukri, by its hilt, with her left hand.

She had destroyed all the boomers near here. This offered her a reprieve, for the moment, So, she decided to take the opportunity to take stock of the situation around her.

She saw that the fight had cause her to move to the middle left of the parking lot, when facing the hotel.

Shenhua thought, 'I am a far distance from the hotel. Though, not too far.'

'Now, where is Fabiola? Because, if something happened to her, I really don't want to explain the situation to Roberta and Garcia.'

'Roberta might be more dangerous than me. But, when I look into Garcia, I see a strength behind his eyes that is just begging to be let out.'

Shenhua then jump onto the hood of a nearby, nearly undamaged car, to look around, over the other vehicles.

Next, she looked around, and she quickly saw that Fabiola was across the parking lot. Near the fact right corner of the parking lot, when facing the front of hotel, close to the street.

It was not hard for her to locate Fabiola. All she had to do was listen out for the gunshots.

Fabiola was unharmed, though she was still in the middle of fighting a three boomers. One near her, and two in the distance, whom were approaching her.

Shenhua also noticed that Fabiola had her shotguns in her hands.

Shenhua watched as used her left shotgun, to shoot a boomer nearby, through its right eyes.

As the boomer dropped dead, Fabiola swiftly tossed her shotguns to her side, as she reached from behind her back to pulled out her China Lake grenade launcher, from its holster, that forty millimeter grenade rounds.

Fabiola held the stock of the weapon with her right hand, and the form-end with her left hand.

Fabiola tucked the end of the stock, of her weapon, firmly against the front of her right shoulder, as she took aim, with her dominate right eye, at a boomer about forty yards away from her, near the street. She fired the weapon, and the grenade exploded when it hit the chest of the boomer, causing the boomer to be blown apart in pieces.

Fabiola quickly used her left hand to pull back on the fore-end, causing the empty casing to drop to the ground, as a fresh grenade was loaded into the chamber, from the ammo tube.

Next, Fabiola took aim at the boomer about thirty-five yards, to the her left, by the street, near of the boomer she had just destroyed. She fired her weapon, hitting the boomer in the chest, and destroying it, as well.

Fabiola looked around, and she didn't see any boomers. She used the break in the battle.
as an opportunity quickly reloaded her weapons.

She first reloaded her grenade launcher, from the grenade rounds on her bandoleer. She even had one round in the chamber of the weapon. She then slung the weapon into its holster, on her back.

Next, she picked up shotguns, and she changed out the empty, or near empty magazines that were in the shotguns, with loaded magazines from one of the ammo pouches on her gunbelt. She also made sure that there was a round in the chambers of each of her shotguns.

She then placed the magazines she had just taken out of her shotguns, into the same pouch she had pulled the fresh magazines from.

Though, she was careful to keep track of which magazines she had that were empty and which were full. She could tell which were empty and which were fill, just by the weight.

After which, Fabiola stood back up. And as she held her shotguns in her hands, she was alert to any more boomers that might show up.

While Shenhua watched Fabiola stand there, in the parking lot, Shenhua thought, 'I don't think she has noticed me. Not that it matters. Still, from those moments, when I have had the chance to see her fight out here, I have noticed that she uses her weapons sparingly. With her making each shot count. I doubt she has even gone through half her ammo, yet.'

'Though, I hope this attack ends, before she runs out of ammo. Or, I have to call in one of the others, around the building, to assist me.'

'And she is doing is doing well in this battle. And it looks like we are both handling the situation well.'

Shenhua continued her thoughts, with amusement, 'And while I prefer blades over firearms. It is nice to have friends that like to use firearms. Especially, having friends that prefer to use some of the more destructive firearms available.'

Then, from the corner of her left eye, Shenhua noticed something happening near the front entrance of the hotel.

Shenhua turned, and she recognized a Starfleet runabout shuttle, by its the elongated pylons, one on each side of the ship. She watched as the shuttle slowly landed in the empty lanes, between the front hotel sidewalks, and the parking spots in the parking lot.

The shuttle landed, by the awning, that stretching from the front entrance of the hotel, with it's left side facing the hotel.

The front entrance to the hotel was about forty yards from Shenhua's location.

Shenhua thought, with mild surprise, 'Okay. You don't see that everyday. Though, I am sure that ship, and those on it, are connected to this boomer attack. And that means we can get some answers.'

'Also, they must be well connected to get a runabout. Those things are hard to get. Trying to purchase Starfleet technology, from the Federation, is like pulling teeth. And stealing their technology is just not worth the risk. I should know. A few years ago, Sawyer, Lotton, and I, looked into getting one. And it was just too much trouble do to so.'

'But, maybe I can seize this one. I was a pirate in a previous life. Though, I will have to make sure to disable the self-destructive devices, when I do. To prevent myself from being killed, when I take the ship.'

'Starfleet always likes to destroys their toys, rather than to allow those toys to be stolen by others. Personally, I fund such a stance to be childish.'

Shenhua then watched as she the back ramp of the shuttle lower to the ground.

Shenhua thought, with wicked glee, 'All the better. I do enjoy it when they open the door for me.'

Though, what happened next, caught Shenhua off guard, as a second later, she watched Barbossa, in his biker clothing, and weapons, come out of the front entrance.

Shenhua then saw as Barbossa walked up the ramp, and into the back of the runabout.

Shenhua thought, with confusion, 'What the hell?!...'

Then, Shenhua's emotional state quickly turned to white hot rage, as she realized, in thought, 'He is part of this... Barbossa is part of this... That!...' She yelled, in english, to make sure Barbossa clearly understood what she said. And statement was one word. “Traitor!”

Shenhua swiftly charged at Barbossa, and the roundabout, in a full running dash. With her long knives in her hands, while her arms were outstretched from her, to keep her from accidentally hurting herself with her blades, if she were to trip. Though, she did not.

(_)

A few seconds ago, Barbossa exited the front entrance of the hotel, and walked to the open ramp on the back of the runabout shuttle.

As he walked, he thought, 'It is fortunate that everyone is either in hiding, inside, or fighting boomers outside. It made getting from my suite, to here, very easy. I would hate to have kill anyone that would desire to ask me why I was in the front lobby, during the attack.'

'I am still annoyed that I had to leave this reality in this manner. But, my reality device finally gave up the ghost. And I had to use that little device, Furlow gave me, to signal that I needed a pickup.'

'Though, I am grateful to Gomez, and Furlow, for that little device. And I will get a replacement reality device, when I return to headquarters.'

'Also, standing inside the front lobby, waiting for my ride, watching the battle outside, gave me the opportunity to see how well my lessons for Shenhua, have paid offer for her. I must say, Shenhua is really showing off out there. And I can see how my lessons have improved her fighting style... Ah, if only we had more time...'

Barbossa continued his thoughts, with slight sadness, mixed with a little bitterness, 'But, I have found that my time is quite limited, not matter how I travel through it.'

Barbossa then mentally reflect, with a bit of sarcasm, 'Still, I wonder if Gomez could not have been more flamboyant, in the ride he got me. This is going to attract attention. Though, there is nothing I can do about it, right now. At least, they landed on the correct side of the building. And Gomez knows how to hire competent help.'

By then, Barbossa had made it to the ramp. As he walked inside the runabout
he head Shenhua voice, scream in the distance, in english, “Traitor!”

Barbossa turned back to see, in the distance, Shenhua, with her long knives in her hands, charging towards him, and the shuttled.

Barbossa bitterly thought, 'I guess I was right. I better handle this now. Or, she will track me across the multiverse, in ways I will not be able to plan for.'

Barbossa turned back inside the runabout, as he strongly stated, in english, “Take off, but, leave the ramp open. Also, get us about as high as this building, and start heading for the sea. And go slowly. I will give the order when to close the ramp, and reality teleport to headquarters.

One of the human pilots, in the front cockpit, said, in english, “Roger that.”

Barbossa thought, 'Good. Gomez told them to take orders from me. That man really does know how to please those in his employment.'

Barbossa turned around, towards the open ramp, as he used his right hand, to draw his cutlass, from the scabbard, on the left side of his belt. He then backed away, further into the shuttle, as he faced the ramp.

A few seconds later, the shuttled slowly started to lift off, as it moved forward, in an upper diagonal direction, around the right side of the hotel.

Shenhua reached the ship, by the pointed where the shuttle was five feet in the air, and climbing. Shenhua effortlessly jumped onto the ramp of the shuttle.

Shenhua did not waste time, as she charged inside, towards Barbossa.

As Shenhua reached Barbossa, she did two slashes at once at the old pirate.

While only holding his cutlass with his right hand, Barbossa quickly angle the blade of his cutlass to block both of Shenhua's long knives, at once.

Barbossa then returned the favor, with Shenhua parrying the old pirate's blade.

Neither of the combatants were holding back in their close quarters combat against the other.

Shenhua had the advantage of youth, and physical abilities. While Barbossa's advantages were his skills and experience.

While they fought, they moved around the back cabin of the shuttle, causing the shuttle to start to shake, from side to side.

This was because, the spacecraft, while built using very advance technology, was not designed to be stable, and handle shifting of weight inside, while being effected by outside gravity well, that it was moving over. Such as the planet this shuttle was flying over, so closely.

While, in space, even in orbit around a planet, the shuttle's own gravity system, and navigation system, could compensate for sudden, continuous weight shifts, with its own artificially created gravity well, and inertial dampeners. This was not the case when the shuttle flew right above the surface of a planet.

This was why standard Starfleet regulations stated that all personnel must remain seated, and not stand up, while inside a runabout that was either flying up into orbit, or heading down, into re-entry, towards a planet's surface.

Due to the constant rocking motion, Shenhua suddenly found herself off balance, in this fight she was having.

This was because she was not use to fighting on a vehicle that was moving in more than one direction at once.

On the other hand, Barbossa had spend a lifetime fighting battles on rocking sea vessels, to the point it was second nature to him.

And the experience that Shenhua did have on fighting at sea, only dealt with fighting on medium to large, modern ships. With those ships using modern ballasts. And they were designed only rock as little as possible, while at sea.

In addition, Shenhua did not fight on ships when it was stormy. While Barbossa had fought at sea, during storms, several times.

While they continued to fight, Barbossa noticed that Shenhua was starting to make slight mistakes in both her swordsmanship, and her footwork.

Barbossa quickly realized, in thought, with mild annoyance, 'Shenhua never developed her sea legs. Given she is my future incarnation, this is embarrassing for both of us. Still, I can use this to my advantage.'

Barbossa immediately pressed his advantage, as he force Shenhua back towards the ramp, while he kept her off balance.

(_)

At the fight continued, in the cockpit of the Starfleet runabout, the pilot and co-pilot sat next to each other in their chairs. Both of them were human men.

On a monitor, in the middle of the control panel in front of them, they had the screen set to watch the fight in the back of the ship.

The co-pilot kept his eyes on the control panel in front of him, as he quietly commented, in english, “I hate it when passengers get rowdy.”

The pilot, whom watched his own control panel, softly agreed, in english, “So do I.”

The co-pilot quietly asked, “Are we in danger of capsizing?”

The pilot softly responded, “Nah. We're fine. And even if we were. This ship would automatically right itself.”

The co-pilot whispered, “That is comforting to know.”

The pilot quietly inquired, “Where did you learn to flight shuttle?”

The co-pilot softly answered, “Back at the headquarters. They didn't cover that subject.”

The pilot quietly replied, “Oh.”

The co-pilot softly stated, “I guess that is why you are the pilot and I am only the co-pilot.”

The pilot quietly said, “Thank you. Though, don't sale yourself short. You are doing fine at this job.”

The co-pilot softly responded, “I appreciate the compliment. So, do you think it would be a good idea to just angle ship upward and just dump these two fools out?”

The pilot quietly pointed out, “Not unless you want Gomez to have both our heads.”

The co-pilot softly conceded, “Good point.”

The pilot whispered, “Though, I have to admit that thought crossed my mind, as well. And at least they are so occupied with fighting each other, they don't hear us.”

The co-pilot softly said, “I am glad about that, too. Also, it is a shame that our pickup is fighting such a gorgeous woman.”

The pilot quietly warned, “Don't get any ideas. I have heard about these women. They are crazy, as they are beautiful.”

The co-pilot softly retorted, “Aren't all women?”

The pilot thought about what the co-pilot said for a couple of seconds. He then quietly conceded, “I guess they are. Now, let's focus on doing our job.”

The co-pilot softly replied, “Yes. Sir.”

The pilot and co-pilot then went back to their jobs, as they also occasionally paid attention to the monitor, between them, showing the fight, that was happening so close to them.

(_)

By this time, the shuttle craft was now at same height at the Devil's Hotel, as it passed by the right side of the building. And the ship was slowly making its way over the beach, on the back right corner of the hotel.

At the moment, in the back cabin, Shenhua feet were on the ramp, as her back face the open are, and Barbossa had corned her, with the old pirate being only four feet from her.

Then, after parrying Shenhua strikes, Barbossa swiftly cut the cords that connect her long knives with her armbands. Barbossa continued the motion, as he brought his sword blade to the left side of Shenhua's neck.

Shenhua immediately stopped moving, as she thought, 'It's over.' She then looked Barbossa in his eyes. And she saw firmness behind Barbossa's old, hard eyes.

Since they had stopped moving, the ship finally righted itself, and Barbossa continued to hold his blade to Shenhua's neck, without cutting her skin.

Barbossa ordered, “Drop your blades off the ship.”

Shenhua did not even think twice, as she tossed, her kukris behind her, off the ramp, and into the air. She then allowed her hands to drop to her sides.

Barbossa warned, “And don't even think of going for your throwing knives.”

Shenhua replied, “I wasn't planning to.”

(_)

At the moment, on the beach, right outside the Devil's Hotel, Kristina, Yukio, and Sarah stood together, with their weapons ready. They had only dealt with one combat boomer so far. And they did so without any problems. Still, they are ready for more.

The Kristina noticed something in the sky, to their right. She used her right gauntlet to point at it, as she said, “Look.” She then dropped her hand back to her side.

The three sister turned to their right, to look at the sky, in a diagonal direction from them. They all saw two tiny glints of metal, fall from the sky, and land about a hundred feet from them, near the shore.

And then, they noticed the ship in the sky, above where the to metal pieces had dropped. And that ship was heading out to sea.

Kristina commented, “That is Federation Runabout.”

Sarah said, “Interesting.”

Yukio held up her machine gun, and she aimed it at the runabout. She offered, “Do you want me to shoot it down?”

Sarah, answered, “No. Because, we don't know who it on board.”

Kristina said, “I agree. Besides which. That ship might be armed, and armored. Your bullet will likely not damage it. But, shooting the ship will probably get the pilot's attention. And we are not equipped fight a federation ship.”

Yukio lowered her weapon, as she conceded, “Good point.”

Kristina squinted her eyes, to see a little further, as she used sight part of her sensory enhancements she had inherited from her mother, Dutch. She then saw who was standing on the open hatch, on the back of the ship.

Kristina commented, “I think Shenhua is up there.”

Sarah stated, with concern in her tone of voice, “And I think those two pieces of metal that fell were her kukris. This is not good.”

Yukio replied, “You can say that, again.”

Though, Sarah did not. As they watched what unfolded, in the sky, high above the three women.

(_)

Back on the ship, the shuttled had started to move over water, as Barbossa continued to hold the blade of his cutlass to the left side of Shenhua's neck.

Barbossa ordered, “Now, take a few steps back, my student. As you walk the plank.”

Shenhua took a few steps backwards to the edge of the ramp, with Barbossa take a few steps forward, to maintain the short distance between them, which was only four feet. All the while, Barbossa kept his blade against the left part of Shenhua's neck, without cutting her skin.

Shenhua slid her feet along the ramp, to allow herself to tell when she reached the edge, without looking. She came to a stop, as she felt the back of the bottom of her left heel reach air.

Shenhua continued to look at Barbossa, as she thought, in annoyance, with some rage mixed into her emotional state, 'This is so cliche. Though, I am not going to say that to him, because he might just slit my throat, and dump my body. And I know just because we share the same soul, does not mean that he will not just kill me. Because, I know if our roles were reversed, I believe I would be doing the same thing.'

'Though, where are we, exactly?'

Shenhua risked a glance to her right side, to see that they were no over the water, but not to far out from the beach.

Shenhua thought, 'If I remember correctly, by the eastern side of this island, the dropped off, on sea shelf, is close to the beach. Still, I have one question for my former teacher.'

Shenhua looked up at Barbossa, as she firmly asked, “Why?”

Barbossa smirked, as he casually said, “I'm a pirate, my dear.”

Barbossa then removed his blade, to the left, away from Shenhua's neck and body, as he used his right foot to swiftly kick Shenhua in the stomach, knocking her off the space ship, and into the air, the ocean waves.

As Shenhua fell, she heard Barbossa laughing, as the ramp quickly closed. A few seconds later, after the ramp closed, space ship reality jumped.

Though, Shenhua did not focus on those matters, at the moment.

Instead, Shenhua was focusing on surviving.

Shenhua looked down at the approaching water, as she thought, 'If I land right, I will be fine. I just hope the water is not too shallow.'

She quickly shifted her weight to where her feet were below her, with her legs straighten, but not locked. She then crossed her left arm under her breasts. Next, she crossed her right arm upwards, as she used her right thumb and index finger to pinch her nose closed. Finally, she took a breath, and she closed her eyes, just as her feet hit the water, sinking down like a stone.

Shenhua held her breath, as she came to a slow stop, in the water, without hitting the sea floor.

She then opened her eyes. She looked up to see the sunlight above. And though it was had to judge distance underwater, she saw she was around twenty-five feet underwater.

Shenhua then quickly started swimming up to the surface, as fast she could.

Twenty seconds later, of diligent swimming, she made it to the surface of the water. And just after she broke the surface of the water, she took a deep breath of fresh air.

As Shenhua look around her, she saw she was not that far from the beach.

As she floated in the water, her long, black, loose hair was partly in her face. She used her right hand to pull her hair away from her face, while she thought, with rage, 'I think I might become the only person in the multiverse to kill myself as an act of vengeance. Or, in this case, kill my previous incarnation.'

'My only regret is that I am not going to be able to torture him to death, because I might someday remember the event from his point of view. And that is too messed up, even for me.'

'Now, to get back to shore, and get my weapons. And I think I know what part of the beach my blades landed on. And at least they did land in the water, or it would take far longer for me to find them.'

'Also, I need get these severed cords off, considering they are now useless to me.'

Shenhua swiftly reached up her sleeves, and unhooked the ends of the cords, from her armbands. She then started swimming to shore.

Fifteen minutes later, she made it back to shore. As she walked onto the sand, she found that she still had on her red slippers.

Shenhua kept walking, until she came to came to a stop on dry sand. She then used her enhanced vision to look around, for any reflective glints of metal that would be her weapons.

A few seconds later, she saw both her weapons had landed together, and they were only thirty feet away from her, on the dry sand.

Shenhua briskly walked up to her kukris. When she reached her weapons, she bent down and collected her kukri long knives. She then checked her weapons.

She thought, with relief, “Good. They are undamaged. At least, I don't have to replace them... Again. And this clothing is actually water resistant, so it will be dry in a few minutes. And my hair will dry on its own, within the hour.'

She then removed the severed cords from the bottoms of the hilts of her kukris, allowing the cords to drop to the sand. Next, she sheathed her weapons, in their scabbards, on the interior sides of her wet, white, long sleeved, jacket.

Shenhua thought, 'I don't have time to head to my room, and replace the cords, for my weapons. I will have to do that, later. I need to get back to the parking lot, and help Fabiola, before something happens to her.'

She then continued her thoughts, in a much more grimmer frame of mind, 'And when this battle is over. I will go after Barbossa, and get some much needed payback from him.'

Shenhua then saw, Kristina, Sarah and Yukio approached her.

Shenhua thought, 'Well, it is nice that they are concerned for my well being. They have been nice to me, and followed my orders. So, I better be nice to them, and not take my rage, over what Barbossa, has done out on them.'

As the three sisters came to a stop, Yukio had her machine gun in her hands, with the barrel pointed away from the three other women, whom were present. While, Sarah held her katana, by the hilt, with her right hand, with the blade pointing downward, to her right side. And Kristina held her gauntlets to her sides, towards the ground.

Yukio asked, with concern in her tone of voice, “We saw what happened. Are you alright?”

Kristina commented, “Yea. That was some fall. We are all concerned.”

Shenhua turned to three sisters, as she answered, “Yes. I will be fine. And we still have a job to do.”

Sarah complimented, “That is a good attitude to have.”

Shenhua responded, “Thank you. I need something to kill, right now. And a few boomers will sate by bloodlust just fine. Now, please continue with your duties.”

Shenhua thought, 'Now, that I think about it. While I am worried about, Fabiola. She should be fine, without me, until I get back to the parking lot. Which should be only a few minutes. And honestly, she is almost as good as I am. And she clearly has plenty of ammunition.'

'And after this battle, I will replace my broken cords with my spare set in my room. Then, I will seek revenge.'

Meanwhile, the sisters did not reply to Shenhua, because they were not sure how to reply to the former, or now semi-former, assassin’s comment.

Shenhua turned towards the hotel, and she began to run in the direction of the closest back entrance of the hotel.

While Shenhua ran, she thought, 'It is a shorter distance to go through the hotel, to reach the parking lot, than to go around the building. And I cannot wait to start killing some more boomers.'

A few seconds later, she reached the double-door entrance to the hotel. She pulled open the left door, and ran inside the building, with the door springs, at the top of the door, automatically pulled the door closed.

(_)

Across town, at an in a shopping district, Akira, Ranma, and Natsuru, had decide to do some shopping that morning, they had invited Yolanda and Eda, to come with them. Considering, both of the former spies were very good at picking clothing, for almost every occasion.

When the boomers attacked, Ranma and Natsuru used their powers and abilities to take down several boomers, with little effort. With Eda and Yolanda offering support, with their firearms, from a distance. While, Akira, whom did not have her weapons on her, helped huddle the civilians in the shopping district, into on store for cover, as she did her best to keep them calm. Which Akira was doing a good job of.

(_)

Meanwhile near the middle, eastern side of the island, near the beach, though a block inland, Roberta and Hernan were doing their best to deal with the boomers they and their family, were faced with.

Roberta, Garcia, and the Pena family, Hernan, Maria, their three children, Antonio, Carmela, and Ramon, were in the middle of their day trip, of showing Garcia around the island, when the boomers attacked.

Due to this being planned as a family day for them, they all dressed casually, and Pedro did not even have on his sunglasses, which he usually wore all the time.

Given their were seven people in their group, and they only had cars to take them were they wanted to go. They had to take two cars. Maria drove the first car, the Pena's family car. Garcia was in the front passenger seat, while the three Pena children were in the backseat. Maria gave Garcia the tour of the town, as she drove. And she was an excellent driver.

Roberta and Hernan followed in Roberta's car. Roberta drove, while Hernan sat beside her, in the front passengers seat. They followed the other car, while they kept watch for any signs of danger.

When the boomers first started showing up. With only a few showing up, far down the street, from their cars, Maria saw them. She did not know what the blue robotic humanoids were. But, she did know they were likely trouble for them.

While Garcia did not see the boomers, he did trust Maria on what she was doing. And so did Maria's own three children.

So, Maria did as Hernan had taught her. She quickly got off the road she was on, and backed up between two buildings, with the car facing the room. This was she could hide, while still have the car, and with the car pointed towards the road. So, she could see what was going on, and for a quick getaway.

Roberta and Hernan had also saw the blue combat boomers down the street. And they immediately understood why Maria had just pulled into an alleyway.

Roberta then swiftly parked by the sidewalk, on the street, near the alleyway that Maria, had parked in, with Garcia, and the three Pena children were her, in her car.

Fortunately, as Roberta looked back over at the boomers, she saw that the boomers did not noticed them. And she informed Hernan that they had a few minutes to prepare, before they would have to deal with this trouble.

Hernan know what boomers were, and he agreed with Roberta's assessment.

Due to all the craziness that had happened in the last few weeks. With the bikers coming to town, and the powerarmored man showing up at the Rats Nest, the night before, being the last straw. Hernan had start carrying the pistol he kept hidden in his bedroom.

While, Hernan did not usually carry is pistol. He did take the time to teach Maria, and their children proper gun safety, and how to use firearms.

Hernan pistol of choice was a semi-automatic, pre-seventies nineteen eleven Colt forty-five, that was blued black, with brown wooden grips. The weapon had open iron sights. Hernan's pistol was like the Roberta's Sistema pistols. Including, Hernan's pre-seventies magazines holding seven, forty-five ACP caliber bullets in its magazine.

Hernan carried his pistol in a shoulder holster, under his left armpit. His pistol and holster was hidden under the jacket he were that day.

Meanwhile, Roberta was carrying her two Sistema forty-five pistols in two holsters, on the back of her belt, like Chang used for his personal pistols.

Given Roberta liked to be prepared, she kept several load magazines, for her pistols, under the driver's seat of her car. With the each magazine having a colored piece of tape on it, to show what type of ammo was loaded inside it.

Roberta had experience in dealing with boomers, and she knew that armor-piercing ammo would work best for killing the boomers.

Fortunately, the forty-five magazines that Roberta's used for her Sistemas were interchangeable with Hernan pre-seventies nineteen eleven pistol.

Roberta then handed Hernan a magazine loaded with armor-piercing rounds. He changed out his magazine, which was loaded with hollowpoint bullets, with the magazine that Roberta had given him.

Hernan even said thank you, for letting him use her equipment and ammo.

Roberta then changed out her own magazines, that were in her pistols.

Along with this, Roberta had plenty of magazines, with armor-piercing rounds for the both of them.

Roberta and Hernan then pocketed several magazines.

A minute later, they got out of Roberta's car, and walked over to the Pena family car, by Maria.

Maria rolled down her window. Hernan then told Maria, Garcia, and the kids to stay where they were, unless the boomers either take down Roberta and himself, or they start getting to close to them. In which case, the needed to escape by car. If their car was blocked, they need to get out of the car, and escape from them on foot.

Hernan then mentioned that he had taught Maria escape tactics, based on Guerrilla warfare urban tactics.

Roberta mentioned she had given Garcia similar training.

Next, Hernan stated that the boomers showing up here was likely not an isolated event. And they were would all over the island, right now. So, trying to get back home would be to dangerous. The would just keep running across more and more boomers. And they needed to hunker down for the next few hours, and see what was happening.

Roberta agree with Hernan's theory.

Maria asked what boomers were, and Garcia explained they were mass-produced killing machine.

Then, Roberta and Hernan headed for the nearby street, beside the alleyway, as they waited for the first boomers to show up.

The blue combat boomers they saw in the distance, soon started coming in their direction. Fortunately, the area of the city they were in was usually deserted during the winter. With mostly spring and summer shops. So, Roberta and Hernan did not have to worry much about a stray shot hurting someone. Though, they were very mindful of where each other was, and where their family was, at all times.

Though, even taking that into account, they realized they had breathing room to work with, while they fought the combat boomers.

Roberta and Hernan did have a little trouble with a few boomers. When the first few boomers tried use use their claws, or their other weapons. Such, as their heat panels, or mouth energy cannons. The two former FARC members were able to shoot the boomers dead with one shot each, in to the boomers' heads, before the killer machines were able to take aim, or come at arms reach, of them.

Though, most boomers just tried to attack with one their hands, which made them easy prey for Roberta and Hernan.

Also, early in the battle, Roberta's cellphone started ringing. Though, she ignored the ringing, because she was in the middle of fighting some boomers.

Still, Roberta already knew it was likely Fabiola. And she was sure that all her student wanted to do was warn her about the boomers. Which meant Hernan was right, and that the boomers they were fighting were not an isolated event.

(_)

Presently, from a distance, down the street, further in town, someone was watching Roberta and Hernan take out boomer after boomer.

(_)

Combat boomers were not the only individuals that Gomez sent to De La Plata Podrido, during the attack. He also sent few of his agents to oversee the attack. But, they were ordered not to interfere, only to observe.

The boomers were programed to obey these agents.

One such agent was Cad Bane. He wore his usual clothing. Also, he had his usual weapons and equipment on his person.

Cad Bane had six combat boomers with him.

And given whom Bane saw in the distance, in front of him, he decided he would disobey orders, and interfere, in the name of fun and profit.

In the distance, Bane watched at he saw a purple haired woman, and a black haired man, took out boomers, with their pistols. The purple haired woman used a pistol in each of her hands. While the man had a pistol in just his right hand.

Bane quickly recognized Roberta, as he thought, 'That is Roberta, the Bloodhound. I do not know who that man is. But, he is also pretty good. Now, why are they doing this?'

'From what I know of Roberta, she would not just pick a deserted area to fight boomers. Roberta is to pragmatic to do that. And if the man know Roberta, he would willing follow her lead.'

'If it was just the two of them, they would fall back to a better position. So, what is keeping them here? They must be protecting someone.'

Bane then looked around, and he saw a car, parked between two buildings, in alleyway, off the side of the street. It was near where Roberta and the black haired man was. With the cars parked facing them.

Then, Bane saw who was inside, as he mentally reflected, with amusement, 'Garcia Lovelace. Along with a woman and children. So, that is the reason they are staying and fighting. And Garcia is all grown up. Meaning, I know exactly which reality this Roberta, and Garcia are from. And I heard that in the last few decades, they had amassed a large amount of wealth.'

'I think I can make a lot of money holding Garcia hostage, for a ransom. As long as I am careful about this, I should be fine. I will even take the woman and kids, for more leverage.'

'And I will have to thank Wade, for showing me the Black Lagoon series, and telling me about all the good things that happened, later on, for the Lovelace family. At least, for this section of the multiverse.'

'Still, that means this Roberta is both cyborg, and she was exposed to some sort of super-solider serum. At least, she doesn't have her powersuit with her. Still, I better be careful about the situation. She, and the blacked man with her, seem to be very good at killing things.'

'And I think it is best that I come up from behind. Fortunately, the boomers are a lot easier to give orders to, than droids ever were. They at least have the brains to follow instructions, and not do something obviously stupid, unless ordered to do so.'

Bane then turned to his boomers, as he ordered, “You six are to follow me, as quietly as possible.”

Bane turned and briskly walked towards an alleyway, on the side of the road than alleyway that the car Garcia and the Pena family were inside of.

The boomers with Bane silently turned and followed the Duros bounty hunter.

(_)

Of the course of the next few minutes, Bane, and the boomers with him, swiftly, but quietly, made their way around the fighting, to where they were on the opposite side of the alleyway that Garcia and the Pena family were parked at.

Fortunately, for Bane, and his boomers, Maria has parked in the center of the alleyway, between the buildings. Thus, offering Ban and his boomers plenty of room in the alleyway, on both sides of the car.

Bane and his boomers, then came to a stop, on the other entrance of the alleyway, from the direction that allowed them have Garcia and the Pena families backs facing him.

Bane had the right side of his building, beside the wall of the building, as his head look around the corner, into the alleyway, to see both the car, and the fight on the street, on the opposite side of the alleyway. The boomers with Bane, were hidden behind Bane, by that side of the building.

Bane saw that Roberta and the black haired man were currently in having a break in the battle.

Though, Bane, patiently waiting for his opportunity.

And his opportunity came a minute later, when he saw a couple of boomers approach Roberta and the black haired man.

And as the two adults on the street handled the two boomers near them, Bane saw what he expect from the car, with Garcia and the others inside, having their attention drawn to the battle of those they cared for.

Bane turned around, to face his boomers. He issued his orders to his boomers, including not harming their targets, unless Bane, himself, directly ordered them to do so.

With that done, Bane turned back around. Bane and his boomer then swiftly entered the alleyway, and took action, on his attack.

Bane and his boomers came up behind the car and took those inside, completely off guard.

The boomers swiftly ripped off the doors. Though, as per Bane's orders, they gently pulled those inside the car, out to stand by Bane.

Cad Bane then got a good look at Garcia, along with the woman and three children, with him.

All of those in question were trained not to scream, or freakout in a situation like this, because it would only make things worse.

Besides which, doing so would like stroke the ego of their attackers.

With the five humans captured. Two boomers stood by Bane, and the five humans, while the four other boomers walked to the front of the car they had just opened, to the other entrance of the alleyway.

Bane and the others then watched as the two adults in the street killed the two boomers. With them turning back to see what had happened.

Bane could see the looked of surprise on their faces, as the two adults could not believe what they saw in front of them.

Bane then laugh, as he knew the great Bloodhoud, and the man with her, were completely helpless to stop what was back to happen.

Bane then swiftly reached for his reality device, before the two adults could take aim with their weapons, and kill him where he stood.

Cad Bane thought of heading back to headquarters, at the proper date and time. He then press the reality device, and he, along with the two boomers by him, Garcia, Maria, Antonia, Carmela, and Ramon, instantly disappeared.

The four boomers that were left did as they were orders. They destroyed both the car they had pulled the people from, and the car nearby, on the street. So, Roberta and Hernan would not have transportation.

The boomers then charged at Roberta and Hernan.

Meanwhile, surprised turned to rage, for both Roberta and Hernan. As their family had been kidnapped from under this nose, and their two cars had been destroyed.

And the four boomers, that were there, they were the perfect victims for them to take out their wrath on. As they vented their rage.

(_)

In the distance, as he stood on a roof top, this was one of the very rare times that Deadpool was silent, as he used a set of binoculars, in his left hand, to watch what had just happened. With Bane's kidnapping Garcia, Maria, and the three Pena children.

While Deadpool watched the two former FARC members destroy the four boomers with their guns, with ease, he thought, 'Bane. You idiot! To disobey orders like that. And interfere in probably the most foolish way possible. Though, I am not surprised. Your greed always seems to get the better of you, Bane. And I am happy I decided to secretly follow you, in the hopes of keeping you, my partner, out of trouble.'

'Though, I see I failed spectacularly at doing so. And now, I have to be the sane one, in this situation. And I don't like being the sane one of a partnership. Still, I have to defuse this situation, before is blows up, in our faces, worse than even I can plan for.'

Wade lowed his binoculars with his left hand, as he used his right hand to reach for his reality device, which had had in a pocket, on the right side of his clothing.

Wade then thought of the reality, place and time, he wanted to go to, as he pushed the red button on reality device. And he disappeared in the blink of an eye, as he jumped realities.

(_)

Nearby, on the street, as Roberta and Hernan finish killing the last of the boomers that had attacked them, they looked over at their destroyed cars, and they then at each other.

Hernan could see a mask of rage forming on Roberta's face.

While Roberta was furious, Hernan was only very angry. Becoming a parent, and being responsible for a spouse, and children, had tempered his anger some, allowing him to think.

Hernan thought, 'Roberta is about to go crazy. And I am not that far from doing the same, myself. But, we have to calm down, and form a plan. If we are to have any hope of rescuing our family. And the clock is ticking, and we don't have time to get angry.'

Hernan forced himself to calm down, as he stated, in spanish, “Roberta, we have to calm down. We need to remain calm so we can deal with this one step at a time. First, we need to find a vehicle. Next, we need to find weapons. After that, we will track them down, and rescue our family.”

Over the next few seconds, Hernan could see Roberta forcing herself to calm down, as well.

Hernan thought, with relief, 'Good. You are listening to reason.'

She responded, with a bit of anger evident in her voice, in spanish, “I agree. Getting angry will not help.” She thought, 'I have been down that road, and being angry never really helps in the long run.'

Hernan calmly said, “Good. Now, I recognized who took them.”

Roberta said, “Yea. That was Cad Bane, with those boomers. I saw the Clone Wars TV series. Garcia and Fabiola liked it. I didn't care much for that series. Though, I did watch it with them, for their benefit.”

Hernan stated, “Same here. Maria and kids loved it. I didn't. Movies were good. But, the series just didn't click for me. And what I am trying to say is that is it very likely that Cad Bane knows who you and Garcia are. He kidnap Maria, the kids, and Garcia, to hold for ransom. Still, he is the type of guy who will not harm his hostages, unless he has to. So, we have a little time.”

Roberta agreed, “Yes. We do. Though, he is clearly knows who I am. So, he must be insane to cross us.”

Hernan commented, “Well, he did one time break into the Jedi Temple, on Coruscant. While the temple was filled with Jedi. So, he is insane. But, he also stole a holocron, out from under their noses. And he escaped by using only a jedi robe as a disguise, with him getting away by walking out the front doors of the temple. So, he is also good, at what he does. And while he may not be at our level. He is close.”

Roberta said, “That is a good point. Still, our cars are destroyed. And we need transportation. And we need it now.”

Hernan mentioned, “I would not both trying to hotwire car, around here. Most of the cars here are too modern to do that, without tools. Which we don't have on us. Though, I do know where we can get a car, that is nearby. The location is about a couple of kilometers from here. It would take us about half an hour to get there, if we don't have to stop and fight.”

Roberta stated, “That is nice to know. Also, I need to tell you that I really don't have any weapons in my suite, to storm a military base. Which, taken into account where these boomers likely came from, is probably where our family is being held.”

“And I don't want to jump realities, to the Lovelace plantation, and risk a time dilation effect. So, I suggest we need to head to the casino. We should be able to get weapons there.”

Hernan said, “Okay, And if that doesn't pan out. I know a guy, in town, that runs a gunshop. I am good friends with him. You would like him. He is more a gunnut than we are.”

Roberta not could help but crack a grin, as she responded, in amusement in her tone of voice, “Really? Then, I will have to meet this man. Also, I will be willing to pay for anything I need from him.”

Hernan stated, “Don't worry. He is very reasonable with his prices, and his payment plans. And he will be flexible, because he is helping to rescue our family.”

Roberta replied, “Good.”

Hernan inquired, “Should we contact Fabiola, and the others, for help?”

Roberta calmly said, “We will do so, after we have the weapons we need. And we are prepared to leave. We will then contact them for their help, in finding the reality, location, and date, in the multiverse, of where our family was taking too. Along, with getting some of them to help us rescue them, from our enemies.”

Hernan stated, “I agree.”

Roberta requested, “Now, please lead the way, to where we can find some transportation. I am starting to grow impatient, and I am sure that you are, as well.”

Hernan responded, “You are correct. And the location is this way.” He then turned and stated walking down the street, at a slightly hastened pace.

Roberta followed, right behind Hernan, at the same brisk pace Hernan was walking at. And both adults keeping their weapons in their hands, in case they needed them.

They did not run, because they had been training that rushing into battle, with an unknown number of foes, in an urban terrain, was a quick way to die.

As they walked, Roberta inquired, “By the way, how were you able to remain calmer than me?”

Hernan did not turned around, as he continued to lead Roberta to their destination. He responded, “Simple. I have three children that look up to me. As such, I have to set an example.”

Roberta replied, with intrugue in her tone of voice, “Interesting.” She mentally added, 'I guess having children does change a person. And it seems for the better.'

The two badass counterparts then continue down the street, as they headed to their intended destination.

(_)

As battles waged across the island, the staff of the schools on the island of Plata Podrido were adequately prepared to defend the students, and themselves, from the boomers, with the schools' weapons arsenal.

Though, some teenagers that day had decided to skip school that day.

The six teenager friends were at the family home of one of the teenagers.

These are just six regular teenagers for the island of De La Plata Podrido.

In the living room of said family home, the six teenagers sat in some furniture, around a TV. The TV was turned on, along with a video came console.

Two of the teenagers had video game controls in their hands, as they played a fighting style video game against each other. While, the other teenagers watched, as they waited for their turns.

Suddenly, they heard banging coming from the front door, about ten feet, to their left.

The two teenagers playing the video game, paused the game, as they set their game controls down, while as all six teenager turned their attention to the door.

A second later, the door was busted off its hedges, and fell inward, on the group.

The teenagers then saw, standing in the threshold of the door, facing them, was a large, blue, robotic, humanoid monster stood standing on

The teenagers just instinctively knew this creature was trouble.

And before the boomer could react, all six teenagers pulled out their pistols, loaded with armor-piercing rounds, and they shot at the boomer's head and chest.

Most of their rounds hit, and the dead boomer soon fell forward, onto the door it had destroyed.

The teenagers did waste any time, as they turned back on the safeties of their pistols, and put away their pistols away, on their person.

Then, one of the two teenagers that had been playing the game, asked, in spanish, “Do you think we can sell this for scrap?”

The teenager, whose family owned the home, and who, was the other person playing the video game, answered, in spanish, “I don't see why not.”

Another teenager inquired, in spanish, “Still, how are we going explain the door to your parents?”

The teenager, whose family home they were in, answered, “Well, the evidence is right there. The problem is, explaining why we skipped school.”

The third teenager, whom asked about the door, replied, “Good point.”

The teenager, whose family owned the home, commented, “But, we don't have to worry about this, right now.”

A fourth teenager mentioned, in spanish, “True. And at least we brought our pistols with us, today.”

The first teenager agreed, “Yes. Having weapons come in handy.”

A fifth teenager questioned, in spanish, “If that thing has friends, out there, what are we going to do for lunch?”

A sixth teenager stated, in spanish, “We will worry about that, later. Given what those in this town are capable of. Chances are this will blow over in a few hours.”

The teenager, whose family home they were in, commented, “Still, we will have to board up that hole, and find a place for that corpse... Or, whatever it is.”

The sixth teenager replied, “Don't worry, we will. After we all have a turn playing that video game.”

The teenager, whose family home they were in, replied, “Okay.”

The six teenagers then went back to taking turns at playing their video game.

Though, they did eventually board up the front doorway. And luckily, they were trouble no further by the boomers. Still, other hand, when it came to their parents finding out they skipped school, that was another story. But, that was not too serious for the six teenagers.

(_)

During the morning battle, further into one of the business districts in town, Arcee was in robot mode, as she was having a field day, using her flaming swords, to slice through the much small blue combat boomers.

She then noticed that some of the locals were using their firearms to kill some of the boomers around her. Though, she also saw that none of them were shooting at her.

Arcee thought, 'They must realize that I am here to help them.'

She then looked around saw that the last of the boomers around her were dead.

Arcee mentally reflected, in happiness 'Good. The boomers here are dead. And that was fairly easy for me. Also, it is nice to be out in the open, in my true mode, and have locals be helpful. I think I might do something nice for them, sometime, in the future.'

Arcee turned to the people that had helped her, as she said, in english. “Thank you.”

She then deactivated her flaming swords. Next, she put them away. After which, she transformed into her motorcycle mode, as she sped away, down the street, in search of more boomers to kill.

(_)

Elsewhere in town, not all the members of Hotel Moscow members were on the Maria Zeleska, when the boomers attacked.

Six, pretty, fair skinned, youthful, female, russian Hotel Moscow members had left the cargo ship, by two black painted sports utility vehicles, to go have an early lunch, in town.

All six of them appeared to be youthful women in their mid-twenties, in great physical shape.

In truth they use to be men, why had undergone the vat process and became women. Also, the vat process had then exposed to a type of super-soldier serum that reverse their age to what they appeared now, slowed their aging, gave them great physiques, enhanced their senses, and increased their physical abilities.

Among the six women, the woman with long blond her, in a red long skirt, blue long sleeved shirt, and blue slippers, was named, Yuz. She had a very relaxed personality.

Beside Yuz, was her good friend, whom was a woman with short chestnut brown hair. Her name was, Irakly, and she wore blue jeans, brown leather belt, a red t-shirt, a blue jacket, and black tennis shoes. Irakly also had an easy going personality.

Nearby, was a woman very short, dark red hair, was named, Leonid. She word a brown long sleeved button up shirt, black pants, black leather belt, and brown military boots. She had a no nonsense personality.

Next to Leonid, was a woman with black short hair. She wore a blue pants suit with black dress shoes. Her name was Grisha, and she had a professional, straightforward personality.

On the other side of Grisha was a woman with black short hair, whom also wore blue jeans, like Irakly. She also wore a black belt, a light red long sleeved blouse, and blue cowgirl boots. Her name was Timur, and even after becoming a woman, she had a slightly macho attitude. This her a tomboyish vibe to her personality. Though, she never let her attitude effect her work.

And the woman on the far end of the group, on the opposite side of Timur, from Grisha, was Desya. She had long brown hair. And she was one of the members of Hotel Moscow members the completely embraced the gender change. And her personality had become very feminine. Though, she was still tough as nails when she needed to be.

Like Yuz, Desya wore a long skirt, and slippers. Though, Desya's long skirt was orange colored, and her slippers were red colored. She also wore a yellow short sleeved blouse, and a red jacket.

The six russian has spent the late morning in small coffee shop, where they had some sandwiches, and some coffee. As they ate, they sat at a large table, near the front of the shop, as they talked.

When they saw the boomers, through the shop windows, they immediately recognized what the boomers were, and the danger the boomers posed to everyone. And they decided to do something about the boomers.

The six russians got up from their seats, paid for them meals, and walked out to confront the boomers.

All of them had their loaded semi-automatic pistols on them. With their firearms hidden in their clothing. Most of the pistols the women carried were TT thirty-three Tokarev pistols, loaded with armor-piercing bullets. Though, some of the women did prefer to carry other types of pistols, that were also loaded with armor-piercing ammo.

Still, when the women walked outside, and stood beside either other, on the sidewalk, outside the coffee shop, they had yet to act against the boomers.

This was because, at the moment, they could not believe what they were watching in front of them, as they saw the locals kicking the assess of the combat boomers, with their various weapons.

The locals were doing such a good job, that the six Hotel Moscow members did even feel the need to participate, in helping the winning side of such a clearly one-sided battle.

This battle had been going on for over an hour. And the six russian just watched in awe at what was happening in front of them.

While the battle waged, Yuz turned to Irakly, as she commented, in russian, “Irakly, remind me never to piss off the locals, here.”

Irakly looked over at Yuz, as she agreed, in russian, “Yes. It would be a good idea not to do that.”

While the other four russians did not reply, they overheard their comrades comments, and they agreed with their sentiments.

Yuz and Irakly then looked back at the battle that was taking place.

A few minutes later, of fighting, Yuz then noticed someone across the street, as she said, “Look at the guy across the street.”

The five other russian women did so, and they watch, as among the population that was killing the boomers, there was a large muscular scottish man in shirt, kilt, and boots. The scottish man had a large battle-axe in his hands, while charged at two combat boomers.

When he reached the two boomers, before the boomers reacted, he moved between the boomers, as he swung his axe in a single arcing, counterclockwise arc, that decapitated the boomer to his right first, then the boomer to his left.

As two headless boomers fell to the ground, the scottish man did not stop, as he went after another nearby boomer.

Leonid stated, in russian, “Not bad. Sort of of like Shenhua, with her long knives.”

Grisha responded, in russian, “I agree. And I don't think the people that programed those boomers ever expected someone to come at their boomers with an axe, in such a skillful and swift manner.”

Leonid replied, “You are likely correct.”

Desya commented, in russian, “Any full grown man, whom can were a skirt into battle, and still kick ass, has my respect.”

Timur pointed out, in russian, “It is a kilt.”

Desya said, “In the long run, it is the same thing.”

Less than minute later, the locals had killed all the boomers. And the locals, including the scottish man, appeared to be unharmed. Though, a bit tired.

With the boomers gone, Desya continued to look at the scottish man, with interest in her tone of voice, “I am going ask that man, with the axe, out on a date.”

Timor questioned, “Just like that?”

Desya continued to look at the scottish man, whom was across the street, as she replied, “Yea. Just like that.”

Yuz inquired, with concern in her tone of voice, “Are you sure that is wise? Given the lives we have lead, we each have a lot of baggage, that comes with us.”

Desya scoffed, “Oh come on. Live a little, Yuz. I just want a date. Not a marriage.”

Yuz cautioned, “Just don't get pregnant.”

Desya replied, “I wasn't planning too.”

Irakly said, with encouragement in her tone of voice, “Well, I for one, say, good luck, Desya.”

Garsha commented, with a respect in her tone of voice, “Yes. We are rooting for you, Desya.”

Desya turned to the other women, as she happily said, “Thank you.”

Leonid stated, “Just be careful.”

Desya replied, “I will.” She then turned towards the street. Next, she checked to make sure both lanes of the street were clear. She the cross the street and approached the scotsman, with the battle-axe in his hands. The man had his axe, hanging down, with both hand, at his waist, in front of himself.

When she reached the man, the man turned to look at her, with a relaxed expression on his on his face, as he calmly asked, in concern in his tone of voice, in english, “Are you alright, ma'am?”

Desya thought, 'Such a question, in such a kind manner, is a very good sign. Now, to convince him to go out on a date with me. I know I am pretty. So, looks are not the problem. All I need is the right attitude, and to say the right things. Neither are a problem with me. And since he speaks english, I think it is best that I reply in english. It is good that my english is decent. And oh, how I think this conversation is going to be so much fun for the both of us.'

Desya compliment, in english “Yes. And I much say that I was impressed with the skills you displayed in using your axe.”

The man happily replied, “Thank you.”

As the two adults continued talking, Desya found that the man spoke excellent english. And within two minutes of Desya starting her discussion with the scotsman, she learned the man's name's was Gavin, she had arranged a date with him, that would take place, in a few days.

(_)

At the beginning of the battle, during the morning, near a mid-level motel, Jayne was driving by, in one of the black, four door, casino sedan cars, as he was running errand. That errand being going to a local liquor store he liked, to by some hooch for himself.

When he saw the blue armored combat boomers suddenly appeared in the distance, down the street, from himself, he knew they were not there to be friendly. Jayne swiftly slowed his car down, and stopped his vehicle, by the curb, next to a sidewalk, on the opposite side of the street from the mid-level motel. He then put his car in park, turned off his car, pulled out the key to his car, with a clicker attached it, and he pocketed the items.

While Jayne was wearing his black suit, which was his uniform as a member security, for Daiyu Palace Casino, and he had a conceal semi-automatic pistol, in a shoulder holster, under his coat.

Though, Jayne decide he was going to need something with a little more punching power, than a pistol, to deal with boomers

So, he pulled out his weapon of choice. Which he kept on the passengers seat beside him, with a box of ammo for said weapon.

Jayne called his weapon, Vera

Jayne was not worried about the police catching him with his weapon. Because, a few years ago, Chang made it was very clear that Police Chief Pedro Del Soto had ordered the local police to leave those from the casino alone, unless they stirred up trouble.

Vera was a high-powered rifle, that was fed ammo from a magazine at the bottom weapon. The ammo Jayne had in it was armor-piercing, which was perfect for dealing with boomers. And Jayne was an excellent shot with his Vera.

Jayne then thought, with amusement, 'To quote, Mal. I aim to misbehave.'

Jayne got out of the car, pulled out Vera and loaded a round in the chamber of his weapon. Next, leaned against the top of the car, for support, as he took aim, with the scope on the top of the rifle, towards the first boomer he saw. He then fired, hitting the boomer in the head, instantly killing it.

Jayne then began using Vera to take out one boomer at a time, from a distance.

Jayne's aim was impeccable, as he made one successful head-shot, of the boomers he targeted, and killed. And with his box of ammo, he had plenty of rounds to kill as many boomers as he needed to.

Though, Jayne was careful to angle his shots, so as not to hit anyone he saw. Nor, for him to accidentally hit any buildings, or cars, that might have people in them. Such as the motel, across the street.

Also, he noticed a few locals starting to kill boomers, as well.

Jayne smiled at the side before him, as he happily thought, 'It is go to see people that are willing to fight for themselves. Also, I need to check with my family. To make sure they are not under attack. And if they are. So, help me. The forces of hell, itself, will not stop me from exacting my vengeance.'

Jayne then went back to killing some blue armored combat boomers, he saw, in the distance.

(_)

Nearby, George Benedict was in his suite, when the boomers started to show up. After the bikers, the previous day before, he had decided to take the day off from the weirdness that existed in the town he was in.

George had stepped of his suite, to get some fresh air, when he saw a blue humanoid robot, in the distance.

The blue humanoid robot looked familiar to him, though he could not place it. Though, something in the back of his mind did tell him to get back inside, immediately. That the creature was extremely dangerous.

George quickly ducked back into his suite. He then closed and locked the door.

The curtains on the windows were still closed, so there was no worries there.

George then spent the next few minutes in his suite thinking, And he then suddenly remembered when and where he had seen that blue creature before.

Several years ago, in college, he watched an anime, titled was Bubblegum Crisis. And that being look exactly like one of the killed cybernetic machines in that anime.

He thought he was crazy to have such at thought, but he still went to his laptop, opened it, and surfed the web.

He stood found what he was looking for, and confirmed that was a blue combat boomer from the Bubblegum Crisis OVA series.

George then played a hutch, and he searched the web for those people he had photographed. And he was soon was able to identify several of them, from various fictional series. Though, not all of them.

A good portion of those people were from a series titled, Black Lagoon. Which after reading up on what the series was about, did not improve George concerned mood about the situation he now found himself in.

And things then fell into place for him. Including, the reason why the police was so skittish about going near the Devil's Hotel, Daiyu Palace Casino, and the Rats Nest bar.

They knew. Or, suspected. Either way, they knew that they were dealing with forces beyond their abilities to deal with, and as such, they had tread carefully.

The only question left was, how? He then remembered the, world as myth, theory, which he learned about, years ago. And the implications of that made him very worried for the fate of not only himself, but the world he lived on.

George then admitted to himself that this job he had take was way beyond anything he had believed he was signing up for. He was dealing with people from other realities. Of whom, most of these people were extremely dangerous.

And like all jobs, George felt this job was not worth his life. As such, he was going to escape this island as soon as possible.

Also, all the photographs he had taken were worthless. Because either people would not believe him, and they would discredit him and ruin his career, as an investigative journalist and photographer. Or, they would believe him, and make him disappear for knowing too much. A catch twenty-two, if ever there was one.

Unfortunately, George realized that he had waited one day too late to leave. And now, he was stuck in a warzone. Though, this was not the first time this had happened to him. And he knew that he had to wait for a break in the battle to quickly pack his car, and leave.

While he could not step outside just, yet. He did pack his things. And he figured he could make it to his car in one trip, if he packed everything correctly. With him gripping the items in his hand and arms properly. Including, having a few of his small bags handing by their straps, around his neck.

Given the situation, George did not plan on checking out. Instead, he would leave the motel keys in the room, and just immediately head out town, in the car he had rented.

When he was finished packing, he turned towards the curtains. He then slightly lift the curtains away, so he could see outside. To watch the battle outside, as he waited for the right time to leave the island, and never look back.

George watched the battle wage outside, for over an hour. Then, as the combat stopped, with no more boomers showing up, he waiting another twenty minutes. When that time elapsed, he saw that no boomers had appeared. And by then, the only people he saw were a few locals with some pistols and melee weapons, and the main across the street, behind a car, with what looked like some sort of high-powered rifle.

George guessed was Jayne from Firefly. Though, George was not sure, and he was not going to walk up and ask Jayne. Thus, blowing his cover.

Though, he wondered why Jayne occasionally pulled his cellphone? And who he kept calling?

Whomever it was, Jayne finished most of his calls less than a minute later. With him putting his cellphone back into his black coat. With him going back to guarding the area.

Then, there was a break in the battle. But, George knew he would have to wait a little while longer.

George waited for twenty minutes. Then, with no boomers in sight, for the last twenties minutes, George decided it was time immediately to leave time.

George first left the motel keys, on the chest of drawers, by the TV in his room. Next, he opened the door to his hotel, with the intent of leaving it open. After which, he pulled out his car keys, in his right hand. With that done, he quickly picked up, or hung, all his luggage off his person, as he bolted for his car, which was parked right outside his suite.

When George reached his car, he used the key to unlock the driver's side door. He then opened the door, and toss a couple of pieces of luggage, across the left driver's seat, to the right side passenger seat.

George then unlocked the rest of the doors, and he opened the door behind the driver's side door. He then tossed in everything else, into the backseat. This included pulling off the small items that were hanging from his neck, by their straps. Such as his high priced photographic camera. Though, he was careful on where and how he set his camera down. So, as to not damage it.

George then closed the back door, and get into the driver's seat. He closed the front door, and used his key to stop the ignition. Within thirty seconds, he as on the road, heading off of the island of Plata Podrido.

Ten minutes later, George reached the bridge to the mainland, with no problems. He felt relief when he saw that bridge was intact, with no boomers in sight. And the investigative journalist did not look back, as he headed for the nearest airport, and in his home, in the west coast of the U.S.

(_)

Eleven minutes, before George left the motel in his car, Jayne still had Vera in his hand, as he was about to get back into the car, when he saw, across the street, dark skinned, bald man, rushing out of his motel room, in a hurry, to his car. He was loaded down with various types of luggage.

Jayne stopped in his tracks, as he watched the man then get into his car, and drive off in a hurry. With man heading for the bridge off the island.

While Jayne pulled out his ammo box, from inside his car, to reload his rifle, Vera, he mentally reflected, 'I wonder what he was in a hurry about. Likely, the boomers spooked him. Still, I noticed he had that very expensive camera strapped around his neck... And he don't look like no tourist to me...'

'Also, the man left the motel door open, meaning he was not planning on coming back to check out. Instead, from the direction he went, I am guessing he is heading right for the bridge out of town. Not that I blame him...'

'Still, I need to find out more about his man.'

'I doubt he is part of this boomer attack. He would not rush out of town like that, if he was. Something else might be going on under our noses, without us realizing it. And everyone else will be to preoccupied with this boomer attack to notice this man. So, it is my job to investigate him. I am part of the casino security team, after all.'

The door to the motel room then started to close, and Jayne saw the number on the plate mounted to the top part of the door.

Jayne thought, 'Room number, 108. While there is too much going on to try to chase that man down and detain him. I can still learn about him in other ways. I will check hotel desk, there to find out the man's name, from the clerk on duty.'

'A little cash will loosen the clerks lips real quick. And if that doesn't work, I have Vera. I already planned to keep Vera handy. Just in case anymore of those boomers show up. Those, she also makes for a good intimidator.'

'And it's not like the clerk won't be there. He is likely ducking under his counter, waiting for this mess to be over. He will be happy to hear from me, that it is over. At least in this area. And as such, he will be more than happy to give me the information I need. Then, I will check out the name of that man that just left, with the casino security computers.'

'I doubt that guy used an alias. He was in such a hurry, that he strikes me as a small fry. Whom lacks the connections to have decent false IDs, like we do. Though, I have a feeling that I am not going to like what I find out about him.'

'Also, I need to call my family, and make sure they are okay. I have been calling them occasionally. And it seems the boomers never made it out there. But, until this attack is over. I am going to continue to call. Just in case they need me, at a moment's notice. And I do have my reality device on me. Should I need to be there, at a moment's notice.'

'And I believe, with things calming down, I will call the casino, as well. Though, when I park at the casino, I think I will just park on the left side parking lot, by the casino. And use a side entrance. Chances are, the garage is on lock down, anyway.'

'And I can use my key card to get in from a side entrance.'

Jayne then set his ammo box back inside his car. Next, he locked and shut the black sedan.

Jayne checked both sides of the road. He saw that he as clear, and he then started walking towards the lobby of the motel.

A minute later, Jayne reached the motel lobby. And a minute after that, he had the name, from the motel registry. The name of the person was, George Benedict.

Jayne then left the motel lobby, to his car. After which, he headed to the casino, to the security room. Though, given he was sure the casino was on lock down, he was not planning to return the black sedan, he was driving, to the casino garage. And he would instead, park it in the left side parking lot of the casino, and just walk into the building, from a side entrance, with a key card he had.

(_)

As battles waged across De La Plata Podrido, something very odd was occurring at the Rats Nest. That being that nothing was happening at all.

Inside the bar, there were no customers at that time of day. With the only person inside being the owner of the bar, Bao.

Bao had opened the front door and used a doorstop to keep it open.

Presently, she saw sitting down in a chair, at one of the center table, while facing the front door.

The reason Bao had the front door to her bar open was that, along with having her age reversed to a young adult, and having a gender changed into a woman, due to undergoing vat process and super-soldier serum. She was also gifted her with all the other abilities that those who had gone through the process. This included enhanced hearing.

And with the door open, as she sat at the table, she was able to hear the gunshots being fired in the distance.

When she had first heard the gunshots in the distance, she made a few phone calls to some businesses around town. And from the descriptions of the attacks, by the people she talked to, she guessed that blue armored combat boomers were attacking from all over the city.

After Bao was finished on the phone, she pulled out her pistol from under the bar counter, and tucked it in the back of her pants.

Then, she walked over to her front door, and opened it, outwardly, while using the folding doorstop, on interior sides of the door, downward, on the outside sidewalk, to keep the door open.

Next, Bao calmly walked to a center table, and sat in a chair, in which she was facing the open door, as she quietly listened out for any trouble that might be coming her way.

While Bao continued to listen to gunfire in the distance, she thought, with amusement, 'Well, this is certainly a change. Though, for the better. Experience had taught me that usually, when all hell break loose, my bar was one of the first things to be destroyed. I am kind of happy this is not the case, for right now.'

'Though, if the boomers show up, I'm gone. And I will know if they are coming closer, either by the gunshots getting closer, or I hear the boomers footsteps. Their footsteps make a very distinct clangs that I can listen out for. Once one hears the sound, one never forgets the sound boomers make as they walk.'

'Also, Revy group, Chang's group, and Hotel Moscow might not have to worry about dealing with most of these boomers. Because, after spending a few years in this town, I believe, from the gunshots I am hearing, the locals are going to take care of the problem, by themselves.'

'And when things calm down. And I stop hearing gunfire in the distance, with my enhanced hearing. I will call Melanie, to see what is going on at the hotel. And to check to see if she and the others are fine.'

'I finally found a girlfriend that I love. And she loves me back. And I am not going to lose her over something as stupid as this.'

Bao then patiently waited in her chair, for things calmed down. And she happily found that no boomers had approached, or even come near, her bar, the Rats Nest.

(_)

Meanwhile, an hour and half sense the combat boomers first attack, the battle was over for those on the deserted beach, where the now decloaked Bird of Prey was.

The Atlantic Riders had repelled and destroyed the attacking boomers. But, with the ship damaged, and with causalities. Though, no deaths, only mild to serious injuries, including Durban. They were not going anywhere for the immediate future.

And even though Durban was unable to issue commands, Data and Sally took command of the Atlantic Riders.

First, they contacted Simon at the casino, whom was glad to offer the assistance from his staff, and they started using their ships transporters to directly sent their injured, including Durban, to the casino infirmary.

Then, they had the members of the crew, whom were not harmed, nor tending to the injured, began repairs of their ship. While they had had issue a few of their subordinates to use the their communications to call in those of their group, that were not at the ship during the attack. To make sure those wayward members were alright.

(_)

Across town, about a mile and a half from the eastern beach of the island, Roberta saw that Hernan was leading her to a small building.

The building was about a hundred feet from them, and it was a small, standalone, one story office.

The building was located, down the road, where the road turned to the right. The building itself, was off to the left, at the turn, with a small crescent parking lot, between the building and the road, with a single two lane entry way from the parking lot to the road.

As they got closer, Roberta's enhanced sight allowed her to see in detail the situation in front of her.

There were boomer corpses littering the road leading up to the building. They all had head-shots that killed them. Most of them on had a single shot. Though, a few showed a couple of shots, each. And the boomer furthermost from the building, also showed signs of scorch marks from explosions.

Though, given they had not seen any living boomers in the last twenty minutes, they had holstered their pistols. But, they were ready to pulled out their weapons, at a moments notice.

Roberta then looked over at the building. There were two cars parked in front building. With four people standing in front of the cars. All of whom were carrying weapons.

Though, what Roberta noticed first was that both the building and the cars were undamaged.

Roberta happily thought, 'Well, it looks like we might get a ride, after all. And those four must be very good, to have so many dead boomers around them, without any signs of injury to themselves. Now, to get a better look at these four individuals.'

Roberta then looked in front of the building and two cars parked by it, at four adults standing guard. Two men, and two women. All four of the adults continued to appear unharmed.

And all of them appear middle-aged. Though, the men appeared a few years old than the women, but not by much. The four adults also appeared to be in a good physical.

One of the women was slender and the other woman was slightly more heavier set. Though, the heavier set woman was not fat. She was instead of bit muscular, with a medium physical build. And Roberta could tell that both women were sisters.

The women were both carrying shotguns, and they had bandoleers on, across their chests, that had shotgun slugs in the loops of the bandoleers.

The men were each holding automatic rifles. Roberta immediately recognized the rifles at AKS Forty-Seven Type One rifles. They were a variant of the russian AK Forty-Seven weapon series. The rifle fired seven point six two by three nine ammunition. And the weapon used a thirty round magazine.

The rifle had a selector fire switch that offered either full auto, or single fire, selections. And like the AK Forty-seven, the AKS Forty-Seven Type One had adjustable iron sights.

The made difference between the AK and AKS was that the AKS had a folding stock that folded under the main part of weapon. Though, to fold, or unfold, the stock, required the removal of the magazine.

Both men had had their stocks of their AKS weapons folded inward.

The men also wore gunbelts with hand grenades tied to them, along with open ammo pouches, carrying loaded magazines for their weapons.

Though, due to her not being able to see the bullets of the rounds, she could not tell exactly what type of ammo magazines were loaded with.

Yet, given the boomer head shots were each from large slugs, or small rounds holes, she guessed they were using armor-piercing type ammo.

Roberta then remembered, as she thought, 'To achieve that type of damage, they must be using some type of armor-piercing ammo. Also, those rifles the men are holding. They are the same ones I used in FARC.' She then looked at the faces of the two men, as she continued her thoughts, 'And their faces, they look familiar... No way...'

Roberta quickly caught up to walk beside Hernan, to his right. She continued looking forward, as she stated, in spanish, “Those two men. They look familiar to me?”

Hernan continued looking forward, also, as he responded, in spanish, “Hmm... Interesting... And the weapons? Do they seem familiar also?”

Roberta replied, “Yes.”

Hernan inquired, “Well... Do the names, Isandro and Sans ring a bell?”

The names clicked in her mind, as she remember two such men, from her past. She said, “Yes. They do. I knew the two men during my time in FARC?”

Hernan explained, “That is not surprising. Those two men are the Isandro and Sans, of this reality. They were in FARC, as well. Actually, we left the South America, together, with Maria.” He thought, 'Interesting, Isandro and Sans existed in Roberta's reality. But, unlike Roberta and I, they were not gender-flip. With the counterparts of those two, also being men.'

Roberta commented, “You will have to tell me that story sometime.”

Hernan said, “I will. But, later. After we rescue our family.”

Roberta requested, “Of course. Now, please tell me more about your friends?”

As they continued walking, Hernan stated, “With pleasure. A few years after Maria, Isandro, Sans, and I came here, to Plata Podrido. Isandro and Sans decided to partner together, in starting a real estate business here. And they have done very well for themselves. I know for the fact they even handle the sales for the property Chang bought for his casino and his beach house.”

Roberta inquired, “Interesting. And who are the two women?”

Hernan answered, “They are sisters, from India. The slightly heavy one is Emily. She is the older sister. The younger, slimmer sister, is Grace. They arrived in Plata Podrido about year after Isandro and Sans started their business. Almost a decade and a half ago.”

“Sans and Isandro got set up on a double date with Emily and Grace. And the two couples hit it off very well. Six month later, both couples were married. Sans married Emily. And Isandro married Grace. And after all this time, they are all still happily married.”

Hernan thought, 'And it also helped that before Emily and Grace met Sans and Isandro, that both women were fluent in both spanish and english. And that someone taught those two ladies some manners, before they came to Mexico. Though, Isandro and Sans are gentlemen, as well. When they want to be. And from what I understand, both of them gladly learned Emily and Grace's native language of hindu. And from what they tell me, they are fairly get with that language.'

Roberta commented, “That sounds nice. Very romantic. So, do either couple have any children?

Hernan said, “Not so far. But, I know both couples have talked about it. And they enjoy being surrogate aunts and uncles to my children. Maria and I don't mind. Maria likes all four of them, as well. With her getting along great with Emily and Grace.”

Roberta responded, “That is nice. So, I recognize Emily from the Devil's Hotel? But, does Grace work, or is she a housewives?”

Hernan stated, “Both of them are diligent workers. As you already know, Emily works as a cashier, and maid, at the Devil's Hotel. The pay is pretty good for her. And Grace works as a waitress at an Italian restaurant in town. And she makes great tips there. You may remember her, during that night we met. She was the one that took our orders, and served our drinks.”

Roberta commented, “Oh. That was Grace. Interesting. And now that I think about them. I did meet her, while you, Rock, Revy, and myself, talked that evening.”

Hernan said, “Yes. And that was a very productive conversation.”

Roberta asked, “Yes. It was. So, where did you meet Isandro and Sans?”

Hernan stated, “Isandro and Sans were part of the intelligence group that I worked with, while I was still part of FARC.”

Roberta said, “That was the same for me, and their counterparts.”

Hernan requested, “That is not surprising. Though, only Maria, Emily, Grace, and myself, know that Sans and Isandro were with me in FARC. And I would like to keep it that way.”

Hernan thought, 'Though, knowing Pedro, with his brother, Paciano's previous mafia connections, he likely figured out something with them, by now. But, he likely doesn't know the full story. Because, we never told him the full story. Still, he clearly had not made it an issue. Which is good for all of us.'

Roberta said, “Not to worry. My lips are sealed on this matter.”

Hernan mentioned, “Thank you. Also, Isandro and Sans had have the same training as us. And they have not lost much of their edge over the years.”

Roberta thought, 'From this many dead combat boomers, around us. I can see that.'

Hernan continued, “Their wives are no pushovers, either. They have a revolutionary past, as well. I have gone to a local gun range, with them, to shoot. They are both good with pistols, shotguns, and rifles. Also, I have sparred with both of them. While, they are not as good as I am. One on one, both of them can give me a decent work.”

“Though, I will say that Emily and Grace are both better with knives in combat, than I am. I have seen them do katas with their combat knives. And it is a beautiful sight to behold. Especially, when they do so together.”

Roberta replied, “That is saying something.”

Hernan said, “Yes. And all four of them have great personalities. They are very nice people. Much better than who we are.”

Roberta countered, “We both have gotten better.”

Hernan replied, “True.”

Roberta asked, with a bit of concern in her tone of voice, “Though, while not mentioning their pasts, why haven't you talked about your friends to us?... To me?... Until now.”

Hernan carefully chose his words, as he answered, in a calm tone of voice, “Please, do not take this the wrong way. But, they are good friends of mine. And I do not want them caught up in your friends insanity.”

Roberta responded, “I understand. I may have done the same thing in your position.”

Hernan inquired, “Thank you. So, were you ever friends with your Isandro and Sans?”

Roberta stated, “No. I never really connected with my Isandro and Sans. They just rubbed me the wrong way. Though, they never did anything disrespectful towards me. And they were completely professional during the missions we did, together. But, I guess with the gender gap between those two and I, that was it a bridge too far.”

Hernan said, in a sad tone of voice, “Well, you missed out on two really great friendships.”

Roberta inquired, “Perhaps. How good of a friendship do you have with those four?”

Hernan stated, “I trust them with my life, and the lives of my family. And they feel the same way towards me, and Maria.”

Roberta conceded, in a sober tone of voice, “Perhaps, I should have given my Sans and Isandro a chance.”

Hernan commented, “Live and learn. And now you have a second chance to make a good impression with their counterparts.”

Roberta asked, “That is a good way to look at the situation. Also, look at all four of them. I have to ask. Is everyone in this town a heavily armed badass?”

Hernan shrugged, as he answered, “Pretty much.”

Roberta inquired, “They why have all of you put up with my friends and I, for so long?”

Hernan casually stated, “Well, because you don't go after the locals, and we needed something to talk about.”

Roberta could not help but break into laughter, as they continued to walk towards the four adults.

Roberta calmed down a few seconds later, just as they approached the four adults.

They saw that four adults look at them, those they did not point their weapons at Hernan, nor Roberta.

Hernan and Roberta came to a stop about ten feet from the four adults.

Sans greeted, in spanish, “Hello Hernan.”

Herna said, “Hi Sans. Hi everyone.”

Hernan's four friends could see concern on Hernan's face. And that worried them.

Isandro asked, with concern in his tone of voice, in spanish, “What is it, Hernan?”

Emily inquired, with worry, in spanish, “What is the matter?”

Grace requested, in a calm manner, in spanish, “You can tell us.”

Sans kindly said, “We are your friends. Just tell us.”

Hernan thought, 'I am not going to get any help from them, until I tell them what has happened. But, I need to be careful what I say to them. I don't want to drag this into this mess.' He said, “Maria and the kids have been kidnapped.”

Emily replied, with sadness in her tone of voice, “Oh, Hernan.”

Isandro asked, in an even tone of voice, that was too calm for the situation, “Where are they? And who do we need us to kill?”

Roberta thought, 'I will say this. They are straightforward in their offer of help. I admire that about them.'

Hernan thought, with concerned, 'Even given the situation with my family. I need to keep them from getting to deep into this mess.' He stated, “I already got the rescue party covered. Those that to Maria and the kids are the same group that sent these blue monsters. And the people that are going to help me have experience in dealing with such creatures.”

Roberta did not show it on the outside, but she smiled inwardly, as she thought, 'That is a nice compliment. And Hernan is doing a great job of answering the questions, without giving details.'

Emily asked, “Okay. So, why were they kidnap?”

Hernan coyly answered, “Wrong place. Wrong time.”

Sans commented, “Story of your life.”

Hernan rhetorically deadpanned, “No kidding?”

Sans asked, “So, what do you need from us?”

Hernan stated, “I need to borrow one of you cars. Ours got totaled by those creatures. And we need transportation. But, while we need to borrow it, you four cannot come with us.”

Sans replied, “Okay.” He then left go of his rifle with his left hand. Leaving him holding his rifle, by the grip, with his right hand, while keep his trigger finger resting on the trigger guard.”

Next, Sans used his left hand to reach into his left, front pants pocket.

A second later, Sans used his left hand to toss something to Hernan.

Hernan caught the item with his right hand. He looked at the item to see it was a set of keys, on a keyring. He then looked back at Sans.

Sans warmly smiled at Hernan, as he said, “We trust you, Hernan. Those keys will go to the car to the right of the building. Take it It has half a tank. You can bring is back when you are finished.”

Isandro happily offered, “Yes. Use the car as long as you need it.”

Hernan gripped the keys, as he smiled towards his friends. He said, “Thank you, guys.”

Sans replied, “No problem, at all.”

Grace looked over at Roberta, as she inquired, “So Hernan. Who is this? Except for the purple hair. She looks like your sister?”

Hernan answered, “Yes. She is my sister.”

Emily said, “I didn't know you had a sister.”

Roberta quickly commented, “Long lost sister.” She thought, 'It is clear that Hernan has not told them our connection to each other. And besides. We do view each other at siblings.'

Hernan thought, 'Thanks, Roberta. I will have to thank you later for covering for me.'

Isandro stated, “No wonder you have been cagey for the last few weeks. I would be cagey to if I had a long lost sister come to town, whom was a beautiful woman.”

Roberta turned to Isandro, as she happily replied, “Thank you.”

Isandro looked over at Roberta, as he said, “Still, I am a happily married man.”

Grace smiled at her husbands comment.

Hernan coyly commented, “Yes, Isandro. It is something like that.”

Sans looked between Hernan and Roberta, as he calmly asked Roberta, “What is your name?”

Roberta answered, “I go by, Roberta. And Hernan has already told me about you four.”

Sans responded, “Nice to meet you, Roberta. And I hope what he said about us was nice.”

Roberta replied, “It was.”

Emily turned to Roberta, as she kindly offered, “After Hernan rescues his family. We will have to have you over for a cookout, together.

Roberta questioned, “You seem very sure that he will be able to accomplished this?” She thought, 'I don't want to be negative about this situation. But, it is a fair question. And I want to know why she is so confident in Hernan's abilities? I need to know what she knows.'

Emily answered, “You were not here when Maria was badly hurt by the cartels. To say his reprisal was a roaring rampage of revenge would have been an understatement.”

Hernan slightly groaned at Emily's comment.

Roberta held back a laugh, as she replied, “I can imagine.” She thought, 'Hernan told me about that event. But, given Emily's impression of that event, he clearly glossed over a lot of the details from that event.'

Grace said, “I am sure that Maria and the kids will return, safe and sound.”

Roberta stated, “Well, if that happens, I will have to come over, with a few of my friends.” She then looked over to see Hernan looked at her, with a stern look on his face. She realized what she had just said. She turned back to Grace, as she continued, “With the two people I am talking about being a very kind, blond man. And a very polite green haired woman.”

Roberta turned back to see Hernan's face relax. She thought, 'I guess he is okay with Garcia and Fabiola visiting. Though, I can see why. Though, I wouldn't blame him if he put his foot down if I tried to bring Revy, or the others.'

Both of them then looked back at the four other adults

Grace replied, “I look forward to meeting them.”

Hernan thought, 'We are burning daylight. And we need to get going.' He stated, “As fun as this it. We are on a time table. And we have to leave, now.”

Sans calmly said, “Sorry for delaying you two.”

Hernan kindly replied, “It is okay. Some things needed to be said.”

Sans said, “I am glad you realize that.”

Grace stated, “Goodbye.”

Emily said, “See you two, later.”

Isandro commented, “Nice meeting you, Roberta. And good luck to you two.”

Sans requested, “Let us know what happens.”

Hernan replied, “I will.”

Hernan and Roberta, then started walking towards the car to the right of the building. With was a red, modern, four door, car. With the driver's side door on the left side of the car.

A few seconds later, after they passed by the four people, and made it to the car in question, Roberta complimented, “You have very good friends.”

Hernan said, in a kind tone of voice, “Thank you. They are your friends now, too.”

Roberta smiled, as she said, “And for that, I am truly grateful towards you.”

Hernan happily replied, “You're welcome.”

A minute later. Hernan and Roberta were inside the car, with Hernan in the driver's seat.

A few seconds later, Hernan and Roberta were on the road, as Hernan drove them in towards the Daiyu Palace Casino.

(_)

Roughly an hour and ten minutes into the boomer battle of De La Plata Podrido, the tide had turned against the boomers to the point that victory for the citizens of Plata Podrido was all but certain.

By an hour and forty minutes, after the attack began, most of the boomers were dead.

And within two hours of the initial two invasion, the last pockets of boomers were dealt with.

This is because none of the boomers seemed to not want to hide, and as such, all of the boomers were killed.

As the battled ended, in various parts of the city, the people there then went onto have an accounting of those around them. They checked for the injured and the dead. With them treating the injured, and getting them help. Those that did not focus on the injured, began to clean up, and make repairs on what had been damaged during the attack.

Fortunately, given how well trained, and well armed, most of the citizens of Plata Podrido were, casualties were extremely low. With most of those causalities coming from the handful of people caught by surprise, at the very beginning of the boomer attack. Most of those people were just injured. With those injuries ranging from minor, to serious.

There were only a very few deaths.

Though, even with the all boomers dealt with, this did not mean all the battles had yet ended.

There was still one battle waging in the back garage of Daiyu Palace Casino.

A battle between former teacher and student, over the former teacher's previously unsavory actions, several years ago, against those that the former student cared for.

The battle had left the interior of the garage a giant mess of wreckage that had been literally thrown about the room. With a more than few items having scorch marks on them.

Also, the walls, and support columns in the room, had signs of damages, as well. Though, both combatants were careful not to seriously damage, nor destroy the support columns. Because neither of them desired to have the ceiling collapse in on them.

Though, when Chang remodeled the building, he added more than enough support columns, through out the garage, to handle one or to being accidentally destroyed, by a car crashing into them, or something else happening to the columns.

The only objects in the room that were still mostly intact was the ceiling lighting, which was still functioning, due to the very durable electrical system that Chang had installed, right after he bought the building, and head the renovation of the building which become his new casino.

Both women were near the center of the room, with nothing between them. Thought, they were several feet apart, while they faced each other, with their weapons ready.

Annie had her ignited red bladed lightsaber in both her hands. While Ahsoka, held a lightsaber in each of her hands.

At the beginning of the battle, both of them had brought up their mental defenses up, to kept the other from sensing their opponent’s feelings, and emotions. Save for their most direct emotions towards each other. This was so the other could not tell if the other was tiring, getting desperate, or was injured in a not visible manner. Such as a pulled muscle, or injured joint.

And the two women had maintained those mental defenses since then.

While Ahsoka still had her two lightsabers ignited and her in hands. With her right hand hold her green bladed lightsaber was in her right hand, and her blue bladed lightsaber was in her right hand. Ahsoka held both her weapons in a reverse grip, underhand style that she has spent years mastering.

Both were in defensive stances

The only sound in the room, at the moment, was the hums created by their lightsabers.

And while their was destruction around them, neither woman had been physically harmed the other woman.

Annie was staying mostly on the defensive, during the battle. For Annie had no wish to harm her friend, and former student. So, she tried her best to deflect Ahsoka's attacks, while not harming her former student.

The only times that Annie too the offensive was when Ahsoka was becoming to aggressive and reckless, in battle. As a way to keep Ahsoka from harming herself, by forcing Ahsoka to back off.

Though, Annie remaining unharmed in the dual was not from lack of effort on Ahsoka's part. She tried several different types of attacks to kill her former teacher, Annie.

First, Ahsoka had tried to just killed Annie with her lightsabers.

Annie then quickly reminded Ahsoka of how skilled she was in lightsaber combat, through her lightsaber abilities, by parrying, or dodging, every attack Ahsoka had used against her.

And the reason all of Ahsoka lightsaber attacks fell, was due to the fact that Annie knew most lightsaber styles that Ahsoka tried on her. Because Annie had been the one to originally teach Ahsoka those styles. And those weapon styles that Ahsoka used, that Annie did not know, she was able to easily compensate for.

With her lightsaber attacks a bust, Ahsoka jumped back about ten yards, down the lane, she and Annie had been fighting on.

After Ahsoka's feet hit the ground, she kept her lightsabers at the ready, while she started using the force to throw several things at Annie. And not just small items, such as tools, workbenches, and toolboxes. But, she threw whole vehicles, at Annie. Mostly the cars in the garage, but also the limo, trucks, and anything else not nailed down in the room.

Sometimes, Ahsoka tossed two or three cars at once, towards Annie.

And this was an attack that Annie did not expect. Due to the fact that when Annie was teaching Ahsoka to use the force, Ahsoka did not have this level of power, and skill, through the force.

This oversight almost cost Annie her life. Though, she quickly adapted to the situation.

Annie used her agility, use of the force, and her lightsaber, to keep from being seriously injured, nor killed, by the incoming cars.

Annie mostly was able to jump around most of the objects being thrown at her. Including, the cars.

Or, when she could not avoid the objects, she used the force to push the objects that were being hurled towards her, in another direction, away from her. But, when she did so, she was fighting Ahsoka, whom was using the force to make the multiple large vehicles continue towards her.

In such cases, Annie either used the force to push the objects away from both of them. Or, she used the force, to picked up one, or two cars, at once. To either shield her from objects, or to send a vehicle of her own to slam against a vehicle that was coming towards her, and stop it from harming her.

And even with armor plating Chang had put into the vehicles, the cars, limos, and even the trucks, in the garage, were designed to crumple, at key points, when they were in a collision. This was so the momentum of the crash would be absorbed by the car, and not the people that would have been inside.

Unfortunately, this made the vehicles very pliable, as both Ashoka and Annie used the force to throw the cars around, and into each other. As such, by then, most of the vehicles in the garage were totaled beyond repair.

And given they were inside a room, and not outside, Annie's space was limited. And in some cases, where she could not avoid, or push all the cars, out of the way. In such situations, Annie used a combination of slice the car with her lightsaber, while using both the force, and the momentum vehicle, to push the two new large, separate pieces away from her.

Still, Annie used the force to keep from accidentally hitting the gas tanks and igniting them into an explosion.

These force attacks against Annie lasted for a while. With Ahsoka also maintaining her distance.

Even when Annie tried to bridge the gap between them, Ahsoka would always move around, to keep away from Annie. And Ahsoka always kept her lightsabers ready, in case Annie was able to reach her.

Ahsoka did this, because she could see that Annie was having some problems, as minor as they were, with these types of forces attacks. And Ahsoka wanted to maintain her advantage, and distance, from her force teacher.

Though, Ahsoka did not dare throw one, or both of her lightsabers at Annie, or anywhere else in the room, because she knew that Annie would use that to her advantage, by destroying the spinning lightsaber, while in flight, with Annie's own red bladed lightsaber.

Yet, the most surprising events about this battle, was Annie being able to maintain a calm, emotional state, through Ahsoka's passionate attacks against her.

Eventually, Ahsoka stopped using the force to attacks against Annie. With both of them just standing there, looking at each other, with each of them in defensive stance, while having their weapons in their hands.

Annie was not sure if Ahsoka had stopped because she was getting tired, or if she was planning something else.

Annie had taught Ahsoka not to show exertion, nor exhaustion, in the type of battle they were having. Because doing so would show a wary opponent how much longer she could keep going in battle.

Also, Annie was starting to feel slightly tired from the battle. Though, she was doing a good job in hiding her weariness. And she felt she could keep going for a while long, without stopping.

Though, for the morning, the two of them just stood silence, with their lightsabers at the ready, as they tried to figure out what to do next.

For Ahsoka, she was trying to figure out how to kill Annie.

For Annie, she was trying to plan a way to end the battle, with neither of them seriously harmed, nor killed.

Then, Annie sensed something in the force. And emotion through the force, people around the island. An emotion that was slowly growing in strengthen.

That emotion being, relief.

Annie kept her guard up, as she thought, 'That much relief can only mean one thing. The battle outside is over, and the people in the city have won. I will have to find out what happened, after I deal with Ahsoka.'

'And I figure that by now, Kaylee, or Arcee have informed the others. Though, they likely still have their hands full. And all of them know better than to get anywhere near a battle like this. Between two trained force users.'

'Though, I can just imagine the videos the security cameras are recording of this fight. Depending on how this duel ends, I may ask for a couple of copies myself. To watch, later.'

'Also, along with her lightsaber skills improving. Given Snips has clearly gotten stronger in the force, she has to be able to also sense what is happening outside. Maybe, I can use this to reason with her. And for her to stop trying to kill me.'

'And if she wasn't trying to kill me right now, with her newfound skills, I would be proud of her for her improving her abilities.'

Annie calmly stated, “I know you can sense through the force, what is happening outside. And that you can sense that the attack by your allies has failed. We have won. Now, give up before you get hurt.”

Ahsoka loudly counter, with slight anger in her voice, “You haven't won here!”

Ahsoka then use the force to throw was left of a car, from a pile to her left, that she had already thrown about a few times before, at Annie.

Annie used the force to push the car away, to her right, onto the top of a pile of other wrecked vehicles, that went almost to the ceiling of the room.

Annie thought, 'Let's try this, again.'

Annie stated, with in a firm, though calm tone of voice, “Cut this out. The battle is over. Any more attacks would be meaningless. Your reality device is destroyed. I don't have mine on me. And even if you kill me. After this long a battle, you will be in no shape to take on the others. Let alone escape.”

Ahsoka said, with venom in her tone of voice, “Still, killing you will make me feel better. Even if I die, afterward.”

Though, to Annie's surprise, in response Ahsoka did not throw any objects, nor do anything towards her.

As the two women continued look at each other, from a short distance away, while keeping their guards up, Annie mentally wondered, 'Okay. She still has her death wish. Though, she did not throw anything at me. This is improvement. Still, it looks like I am not going to be able to reason with her.'

'I could mention that dying in another reality would mean she will not see our friends, from the Jedi Order, in the afterlife. But, telling her that could backfire, spectacularly, on me.'

'I wonder if this is how Obiwan felt when he fought me, on the planet, Mustafar?'

'I will admit that Snips has a very large, legitimate grievance against me. Though, I am not going to let her harm, nor kill, me over that grievance. No matter how much she wants to do so.'

'And unlike that jerk, Obiwan. Whom maimed me, burned me alive, and left me for dead. I am going to find a way to stop Snips, in a manner that will leave us both alive, and unharmed.'

'It is fortunate that Snips does not know any direct force attacks. Like force lightning. Or, she would have forced my hand, to take action against her. I could have beaten Snips any time I wanted. But, the only ways I know of that would definitely stop her, would leave her either crippled for life, or dead.'

'And I know she doesn't know such force attacks, because from the way she has been acting, she would have used some attacks against me, by now.'

'I could have cut off her hands, at her wrists. Like I did with Dooku. But, she would likely never get over the emotional scarring of losing her limbs. I never really have. And I have have had my limbs regrown.'

'I could try to force choke her, but that might kill her. Or worse, leave her brain dead. I could crush her bones, but that could permanently damage her nervous system, thus crippling her.'

'Also, if I did any of those things, and she lived, she would never forgive me. Nor, would she ever stop trying to kill me. And it would destroy what little friendship we still might have left.'

Annie continued her thoughts, in a more sober manner, 'I still consider her be the only friend I have left from the Jedi Order. Though, that is due to my actions. Not hers.'

'I have to find a way to end this fight, with neither of us being severely injured, nor killed.'

'And I have an idea, of just how to do it. All thanks to, Lee.'

Just then, Ahsoka taunted, “I am waiting for you.”

Annie calmly said, “I am not going to fall for such childish taunts. And there is something you need to know.”

Ahsoka replied, “What?”

Annie stated, “A little over a year ago, I had a discussion with Lee, over lightsaber combat. You have met her. She is the black haired woman with Chang and River. And after talking with Lee, she mentioned that she had come up with an embarrassingly easy way to end a lightsaber duel. So Snips, I am offering you one last chance to surrender, or you will face a very humiliating defeat.”

Ahsoka flatly declined, “I refuse to surrender to what is clearly a bluff.”

Annie thought, 'This is not bluff. And I did give you an out, beforehand.' She replied, “Alright. Have it your way.”

Suddenly, Ahsoka's two lightsaber energy blades collapsed.

Ahsoka noticed this. She continued to look at Annie. While not taking her eyes off of her former teacher for a second, she tried to use her fingers to work on-off switches on her lightsabers, to reignite the blades. But, doing so was to no avail.

Ahsoka demanded, “What have you done?”

Annie stated, “What I did was so simple that it is scary. I simply used the force to break the connections between the power cell, and the crystal, inside each of your lightsabers. I could have instead messed with the crystals. Causing them to explode, and destroying your hands, with them.”

Ahsoka spat out, “I sincerely appreciate that you didn't do that.”

In spite of everything that had happened, Annie still warmly replied, towards her friend, “You're welcome.”

Ahsoka commented, “Though, I still have the force as my ally. And it has served me well, so far, in this battle. Let us see how you handle a direct attack by the force. With me forcing you to endure an attack that you were known to be so fond up.”

Annie thought, 'I believe know what attack she is about to try. And I no longer fond of using that force attack.'

Ahsoka then tried to use the force to directly force choke Annie.

Though, Annie guessed correctly on what was happening, and she quickly responded, by using her own force abilities, to not only protect herself, but to also knock Ahsoka back, on her butt.

As Ahsoka hit the concrete floor, Annie swiftly rushed to Ahsoka. As Ahsoka came to, in a sitting position, on the floor, Ahsoka saw Annie in front of her, with Annie holding her weapon so that the tip of her blade was a foot away from Ahsoka's chest.

Annie looked down at Ahsoka's face, as Ahsoka looked back up at Annie's face.

Annie casually commented, “Please. Chosen one. Remember. Now, are you going to surrender? Or, is this going to get messy?”

Ahsoka continued to look at Annie, as she let got of her damaged lightsabers, with them being set on the ground. She said, in a defeated tone of voice, “Fine. I surrender.”

Annie happily replied, “Good.” She then deactivated her lightsaber, though she kept her weapon in her right hand, just in case she needed it.

Ahsoka asked, “Still, why didn't you pull that move earlier?”

Annie answered, “Two reasons. I like to hold that technique in reserve. And I believe that you needed to work out these issues with me.”

Ahsoka replied, in a tired tone of voice, “You are correct.”

Annie inquired, in a concerned tone of voice, “So, do you feel better?”

Ahsoka answered, “Even after defeating me. I do feel a little better. So, what are you going to do with me?”

Annie responded, “That depends. First, I still consider you my friend. I understand why you did this. And I do not hold what you have done, against you. As long as you stop this violence. I know what I have done. And it weighs very heavily on my conscience.”

Ahsoka commented, “Find. It is clear I cannot beat you. So, I will stop trying to kill you.”

Annie requested, “I hope you will give me the chance to see that I have changed for the better. And I try to do good now.” She mentally lamented, 'Though, even I will admit that I do not have the best of morally acceptable jobs, right now.'

Ahsoka replied, “If we have the opportunity, I may do so.”

Annie stated, “Good. Though, we are going to have to talk to both Chang, and Kaylee, about all the damage you did here.”

Ahsoka commented, “I doubt that will go very far, because I expect your friends to kill me for being on their enemies side.”

Annie said, in a supportive tone of voice, “No. I won't let them do that to you. And they know better than to cross me. And except for a few of them. Though, they hide it very well. They are still scared of me, because I use to be Darth Vader... Use to be... Not am... Though, they are polite enough not to show it.”

Ahsoka conceded, “There is that. And I will admit you don't act like Vader. Nor, do you even act like when you are Anakin.”

Annie calmly ordered, “I have changed a lot, in the following years. After I was freed of that black suit. And not just my gender. Now please, stand up.” Annie offered Ahsoka her left hand, to help Ahsoka up.

Ahsoka took Annie's left hand, as she stood up. When she was standing straight up, she let go of Annie's left hand.

Annie allowed her left hand to drop to her side, as she stated, “We have a lot to do. Starting with you telling me everything you know about your employers.”

Ahsoka looked away from Annie, as she said, in a defeated tone of voice, “Fine.”

Annie continued to look at Ahsoka, as she commented, “Good. We are going to my apartment to talk. I doubt we will have to worry about anyone disturbing us there.”

Ahsoka looked over at Annie, as she requested, “Okay. But, could we retrieve my lightsabers for me?”

Annie replied, “Sure.” She then used the force to pick up both broken lightsaber, from the floor. And she set the into items in her left hand, where she grip both lightsabers at once.

Annie stated, “I will keep a hold of them, until after we talk.”

Ahsoka said, “That is okay.” She thought, 'It is not like can use them, until I have a chance to fix them. And I might as well not try to push my luck. She beat me, without harming. And then she spared my life. She is clearly no longer Vader, nor Anakin. She is someone else. Someone whom is very emotionally mature, and merciful. Someone that acts in a way that would have made the Jedi order proud of her.'

'Also, it is not like I have anywhere else to go. And after trying to kill her, she is still willing to help me. So, I will let things play out. And I will see if she has become a better person than whom she use to me. And if that is the case, I will completely call off my vendetta against her.'

'And I will let my friends decide what to do with her, after eventually she dies. Though, I doubt that will be any time soon.'

Both women then walked, side by side, towards the closest hallway entrance, where they were at, in the garage. As they walked towards the entrance, Annie used the force, to push some of the wreckage out of their way, for them to get to the door. Though, that was not a problem for a force master, like Annie.

As they walked, Annie was to Ahsoka's right, at a comfortable pace for both of them.

Annie thought, 'When we get to my apartment, I will call Arcee, Mal, and then Kaylee. To let them know everything is fine with me, and Snips. And with the battle over, outside, it should not be that hard to get in touch with them. That is, if they don't already know from the cameras in the room, that the battle is over.'

'Still, it is possible that many, if not all, of the cameras in the room have been destroyed. Or, casino security is just too busy not to worry about us. Considering, there is nothing they could have done about our fight. While they can be helping the injured, and with clean up, after the battle.'

'Though, while I am not going to say this to Snips' face, just yet. I guess she won this fight, in the end. Because, her mission was to keep me out the battle that was happening outside. And that is what has happened. And I need to keep any eye on Snips. Which means I cannot go out there, and help in the aftermath of this battle.'

'Still, that does not mean, I cannot prepare for the next battle, by getting all the information I can from Snips. In humane ways. I know her well enough, that I don't need the force to know she is directly lying to me. And I will know if she is lying to me. Besides, at this point, there is no point in her lying to me.'

'I will get the information I need, and move forward, from there.'

'Within an hour, or so. As soon as I have the information from Snips. I will call Chang, to inform him which what have I learned. And I will offer him a deal. I will give him the information, in exchange for allowing Snips to live here, and let me take care of her, in the casino.'

'And I know Chang will take the deal. He is pragmatic enough to realize that it is better to keep me happy, and for me to keep an eye on her. Than to cut Snips loose, or worse, try to kill her. And in the process, make me very upset with him.'

The two of them then made it to the door. Annie used the force to gently turned the knob and open the door.

Annie said, “You first. We are going to the back elevator back.”

Ahsoka replied, “Fine.” She then walked into the back hallway.

Annie followed behind, with her using the force to gently close the door behind her.

(_)

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the casino building, Hernan had just driven Roberta to Daiyu Palace Casino. When he reached the casino parking lot, he had parked the car he had borrowed from Sans, near the front entrances to the casino.

During their car ride, among other topics, they decided to just speak english at the casino,

Hernan and Roberta then got out of the car, and walked up to the front entrance, and into the front lobby of the casino. They saw that the female valets had returned to their stations, at the front entrance, under the large awning.

As Roberta and Hernan entered the front lobby, and came to a stop in the front lobby, the two adults siblings stood inside the front lobby, side by side, with Roberta to Hernan's right side.

They looked around, to see that while having slightly damaged walls, and furniture. The room had been cleaned up. With the staff now back to working at their stations, in the lobby.

But, there were no customers in sight. Though, Roberta could hear in the distance, the gaming floor was as busy as it usually was. So, the customers were just avoiding the front of the building, for the moment.

And except for a few guards still on duty, at the front door, everyone else that defending the casino had not left, to either resume their duties, or relax. This included, Revy, Rock, Benny, Dutch, and Janet, whom were in the casino restaurant, having lunch, as they emotionally decompressed from the battle.

As they continued to looked around, Roberta asked Hernan, in english, “So, how do you plan to get Chang to meet us, on short notice? I have never been able to meet the man on my own terms. Only when he, or she, depending, on his terms. Even one time. When Fabiola and I came unannounced. We were leave to Chang. Chang did not come to us.”

Hernan answered, in english, “I have a simple plan. Just follow me lead.”

Hernan then turned to their left, and he walked to the check in desk, with Roberta following right behind him.

As Hernan and Roberta came to a stop, by the counter of the check in desk, they saw there were three female clerks on duty, standing across the counter from them.

Hernan saw the three clerks turn towards Roberta, and himself. He then calmly requested, in english, “We would like to see Mister Chang, right now.”

While the clerks did not recognize the man, they did recognize Roberta. And they did as they were ordered to do. Press the silent alarm, and let the security team handle Roberta.

The clerk whom Hernan addressed, said to him, “Members of management will be here to see you, shortly.”

(_)

At the moment, in the back left part of the casino, on the ground floor, Jayne had just returned from the casino. After he had finished at the motel in the middle of the city, and he had called his family. To make sure they were all right. And his family turned out to be fine.

After Jayne finished talking to his family. Jayne had decided to the casino security, with the casino security phone number that only casino security knew. One of the technicians at a computer workstation, in the main security room took his call. The woman told him that the boomers had been taken care of, at the casino. Though, there was fight that was currently happening in the garage, between Annie and her alien friend. But, that fight was being handled, by Annie, alone.

Jayne did not ask for details, but he could guess that by now, everything in the garage was already trashed.

Though, Jayne realized that the black sedan he drove might be one of the first casino vehicles left, that was in one piece. And he felt there was likely going to be a lot of sharing, for the next week. Until new vehicles could be bought, and brought to the casino.

Still, Jayne did as he already planned to do. He parked the car he was using in the left side parking lot, around the left side of the casino. As Jayne got out, pocketed the ammo he had left for his rifle, into his coat pockets, and he grabbed the form-end of his rifle, Vera. When he was out of the car, he locked and shut the driver's side door to his car.

Jayne then headed for a side entrance, on the left back side of the casino.

When Jayne reached the side entrance, he used his right hand to used his key card, and punch in his password, on the electronic lock on the door, to enter the building.

The outside door, in question, like almost all the outside doors, was also an emergency escape route, and did not need a key card, nor password, to exit from. And unlock the garage door, even in lock down, people could escape that way. So, a hacker could not lock the doors to the outside, locking in the people inside casino.

The outside door Jayne used, was close to the security section of the casino. Though, he would still have to use his key card, along with his password, on some electronically locked doors, inside, that lead to the security section.

Though, Jayne had not even had a chance to get main security room, to look up the name, George Benedict, on the security computers, and internet. This was due in part because he had just put away Vera, and the ammo for his rifle, in a weapon's locker, in a secure room, that was near the main security rooms, located in the back part left part of the casino. With the garage being several rooms to the right of the security section of the casino.

Jayne had just finished putting away Vera and his ammo, when his cellphone started to ring.

Jayne held the cellphone to his right ear, as he said, “Hello.”

On the other end of the line, Mal inquired, “Jayne. Are you at the casino?”

Jayne looked into his weapons locker, and Vera, as he commented, “Yea. I am just finished putting some stuff up. What do you need?”

Mal stated, “I need you to bring your pistol, and get to the front entrance of the gaming floor, as soon as possible.”

Jayne replied, “I'll be there.” He thought, there is no point in asking questions. I just need to get there, now.'

Jayne hung up his cellphone, put it away, closed the weapons locker, and rushed out of the secure room, towards the front of the casino.

(_)

Around two minutes later, Hernan and Roberta were patiently waiting at the front deck, when they noticed something to their right.

Both Hernan and Roberta turned to their right, to see four adults, in black suits, come toward them, from the hallway that lead to the gaming floor.

These four adults were part of the security team. All four adults had their pistols draw, though pointed towards the ground, with their trigger fingers resting against the trigger guards of their pistols.

Chang had standing orders, concerning Roberta, for the casino staff. Chang put these orders in place, over two years ago, local time, after Roberta and Fabiola visited him, in his office, unannounced, on the night Lee first left her reality.

Chang's order were, should Roberta, whom the entire staff knew about, ever come to the casino, looking for change. Or, someone with Roberta, request to see Chang. That security should be immediately alerted. And for the heads of security to deal with the situation.

Chang was not going to take any chances that Roberta might finally have decided to come kill him, or someone he cares for, for some reason. And Chang believed that even if Mal and the others could not stop her. They could slow her down, until he get bring in reinforcements to handle her. Such as Annie and Arcee.

Of the four adults, approaching Roberta and Hernan, the man on the far left to Roberta and Hernan, was the head of security, Mal

To Mal's left was his second in command of security, Zoe.

To Zoe's left was her husband, Wash.

To Wash's left, on the other end the group, was Jayne.

Given the security team had already had a long day, in dealing with the boomer attack, and the aftermath. And they were in no mood for more trouble. So, they had their weapons out, just in case they needed to deal with any trouble, as quickly and efficiently, as possible.

As the four adults came to a stop, ten feet in front of them, Hernan and Roberta turned to face, them, with Hernan taking a step to his left, to stand by the desk, so Roberta was beside him, to his right, he was not directly blocking her view of the four other adults.

Hernan looked over at the front desk to see the three female clerks had fled, while Roberta and Hernan were not looking. He then looked back at the four adults, as he thought, 'Well, the clerk didn't exactly lie me. And those here do know who Roberta is. As such, she was likely just following orders, from Chang. So, I won't hold it against her.'

Hernan then heard Roberta mutter under her breath, in spanish, “Not again.”

Hernan thought, 'I will have to ask her about that.' He then took a close looked at the four member security team, as he continued his thought, 'I believe that is Mal, Zoe, Jayne, and a blond haired man. I don't know who the other blond man is. But, I will ask, in a minute.'

Hernan and Roberta silently just looked at the security team, for a few seconds, as the security teams did the same.

Though, the security team had not yet raised their pistols on them.

Roberta thought, 'At least they haven't pointed their pistols at us. Which is a good sign.'

As both groups looked at each other, Jayne started to noticed the similarities, as he thought, 'What is it about them, that is setting me on edge? Besides, on of them being Roberta.'

While Hernan's feel black beard hit his face, Jayne was able to take a closer look at their eyes, and the look they both had in their eyes.

Jayne stated, with concern in his tone of voice, “Oh shit. It's their blue eyes. The hair color is different. The gender is different. Their builds are obviously different. But, their eyes are the same. The rumors are true. That man is the Bloodhound's counterpart for this reality.”

Mal said, “That is not possible.”

Zoe commented, “Actually sir, some of us did hear a rumor that Roberta's counterpart lived in this town. And that he was a guy, whom kicked Revy's ass.”

Roberta stated, in english, “It is no rumor. I was there. And as someone whom fought Revy, I can attest that it was an impressive display of skill on my brother's part, in defeating her, with his bare hands. While she started out being armed with her pistols. Especially, given the fact that he does not have the super-soldier serum, while she does.”

Jayne said, “That is not surprising. Any counterpart of yours has to be able to kick some serious ass.”

Roberta and Hernan responded, in unison, “Thank you.”

Zoe inquired, “How do you consider each other, from a blood relation standpoint?”

Roberta answered, “Sister and brother.”

Hernan thought, 'I think taking a polite approach is our best bet to get what we want from them.' He kindly said, “It is nice to meet you. My name is Hernan Pena. A local mechanic, and family man. And I know who you are. Except for the blond man.” Hernan turned to Wash, as he asked, “Who are you?”

Wash answered, “Wash. Reincarnation. Long story.”

Hernan responded, “I bet. Glad to have you back among the living. You were one of my favorites.”

Wash replied, “Nice to be back, with my wife.” Wash and Zoe turned to look at each other, as they shared a smile on their lips. They then turned back to face Roberta and Hernan.

Mal calmly requested, “Well, please don't take this the wrong way. But, we are very busy, right now. And even on a good day, one Bloodhound, is one too many, for this casino. So, I am asking you both to please leave this casino.”

Hernan thought, 'I guess we are going to have to be a little bit more forceful. Though, only a little bit.' He casually dared, “Make us.”

Roberta turned to Hernan, with a little bit surprised on her face. She thought, 'Now, that is a bold move, against these four.' She then turned back to look at the security team.

Mal turned to his security team. He saw Zoe, Wash, and Jayne, looking back at him.

But, before Mal could issue any orders, Jayne quickly spoke, “Captain. No offense intended. But, no matter how much you and Chang pay me. And no matter much we have been through. I am not going to pick a fight with the Bloodhound. Let alone two of them, at once.”

Zoe commented, “Sir, with all due respect. I have to agree with Jayne, on this. Suicide is not on my schedule for today. And we have been through enough already, this morning.”

Wash stated, “I am not sure who these people are, but I am with my wife on this one.”

Roberta calmly requested, “Now that introductions have been made. And since we are not here to cause trouble. Please, put away your weapons, before you embarrass yourselves.”

That was all the excuse Jayne, Zoe, and Wash needed, as all three of them
put away there weapons, in their holsters, hidden among their clothing.

Mal then spent the next few seconds doing some hard thinking. Where his pride came into conflict with his sense of self-preservation.

Mal thought, 'A mutiny based on self-preservation. I can think of worse reasons.'

Mal finally groaned, as he put away his pistol. He then looked over at Roberta and Hernan, as he relented, “Okay. What do you want?”

Roberta stated, “We need weapons, of the creatively destructive type. And the only two groups in town that I know of, with access to such weapons, are here, and Hotel Moscow. And while I can work something out with Chang. I do not want to owe Balalaika a favor. So, we need to see Chang, about this.”

Mal said, “While I appreciate the way in which you are asking to see Chang, about this matter. As you can guess. Chang is very busy at the moment. And he is the only one whom can give someone outside the casino clearance to have access such our arsenal.”

Wash calmly asked, “Why do you need weapons from us?”

Hernan flatly stated, “It is personal.” He thought, 'I am not going to tell them why. Because of our reputations. They already know about Roberta reputation, of what happens when her loved ones are threatened.'

'And if they did some digging in this town. They would find out that I can be as bad as her, on matters of the family. So, if they learned our family has been kidnapped. They will not only refuse to give us weapons. They might even trying to stop us from getting such weapons, in a misguided attempt to avert the righteous massacre we are going to have, when we rescue our family.'

Roberta looked over at Hernan, then back to the security team, as she thought, 'It is likely a wise idea to keep what has happened, from them.' She said, “Yes. It is personal.”

Mal calmly responded, “Then, I cannot even entertain letting you have access to those weapons.”

Roberta flatly said, “Fine.” She turned to Hernan, as she ordered, “Let's go.”

Hernan turned to Roberta. He nodded once in agreement. He thought, 'I guess we will go with my plan b.'

Both Roberta and Hernan then turned around, and walked towards the front doors of the casino.

A few seconds later, the security team watched the two adults exit the front doors.

Then, all four adults let out a breath of relief.

The four adults continued to look at the front doors, as Jayne commented, “That was close.”

Zoe stated, “Something bad just happened to them. Very recently. You can see that in their eyes.”

Mal said, “Well, they didn't want to tell us what happened to them. So, we cannot help them.”

Zoe sadly replied, “I have to agree with you, captain.”

Wash said, “I just hope this doesn't come back to bite us.”

Mal stated, “Well, if it does. This time, we have powerful friends that can handle them.” He then turned his subordinates, as he inquired, “So, what is are your plans, for the next few hours?”

Three adults turned to look at Mal, as Zoe answered, in a slightly happy tone of voice, “Wash and I will be having some lunch at the casino restaurant, while we spend some time with the Lagoon family. When we finish lunch, we will resume our duties.”

Mal responded, “That will be fine. You have both earned a break... And you, Jayne?”

Jayne stated, “I was planning to head to the security room.” He thought, 'And look up the name, George Benedict, on the security computer.'

Mal replied, “That will be fine.” Mal mentally reflected, 'Well, at least I have dutiful subordinates. '

Wash inquired, “How about yourself, Mal?”

Mal thought, 'I need to talk to Chang, about Roberta, and this Hernan, stopping by.' He asked, “I need to go see Chang. Any of you know where he is? I know he left the main security room, a little while ago. But, I don't know where he went.”

Zoe said, “I believe he in the infirmary, checking on Simon, the medical staff, and the injured.”

Mal thought, 'That is very nice of Chang.' He happily replied, “Thank you, Zoe.”

Mal thought, 'I won't use my cellphone, just yet. Because I don't want to risk disturbing the injured, nor the medical staff. If Zoe is wrong. I will just exit the infirmary, and call Chang, then.'

Zoe said, “You're welcome, captain.”

Mal stated, “Have a pleasant lunch.”

The four adults then split up, as they headed into take care of their own errands. Zoe and Wash headed to the casino restaurant, to get some lunch, together. Jayne headed for the main security room. And Mal headed for the casino infirmary, to look for Chang.

(_)

At the moment, outside the front entrance of the casino, Roberta and Hernan walked together, to their borrowed car.

They soon exited the front awning, as they headed for their car.

As they walked, Hernan said, in spanish, with disappointment in his voice, “Well, that was a bust?”

Roberta agreed, in spanish “Yes. It was. Though, that is what, plan b's, are for.”

Hernan replied, “True.”

Roberta inquired, “So, who is the gun dealer you want us to meet?”

Hernan answered, “Actually, along with selling weapons, he is a master gunsmith. He is both a good friend of mine, and Pedro's. And I am sure he will help us. His is name is, Burt. Though, he is american. And while his spanish is okay. It might be best to use english with him.”

Roberta mentally wondered, 'Where have I heard that name, Burt, before?... Not that it matters right now.' She stated. “That will not be a problem. So, how long will it take us to get to his gunshop? Or, is he at home?”

Hernan responded, “His home is above his gunshop. So, that will not be a problem. I have a key to his place. So, we are fine there. And I am sure the boomers did not kill him. He wouldn't let himself go that way. Though, it will take us around twenty minutes to get to his shop from here. Maybe thirty, to forty, minutes, with all the wreckage on the streets.”

Roberta said, “Then, let's head over there.”

Hernan replied, “Okay.”

A minute later, they had reached the car they were using. They then got into the front seats, with Hernan driving.

Less than a minute later, they were on the road, as Hernan drove them to Burt's gunshop.

(_)

Meanwhile, back in the casino, Mal was in one of the main hallways, as he headed for the casino infirmary.

As Mal walked towards the casino infirmary, his cellphone rang. He continued walking, as he pulled out the cellphone. He held the cellphone up to his right ear, as he answered, “Hello.”

On the other end, Annie stated, “Hello Mal. I take it that you heard about my fight with Snips?”

Mal inquired, “Snips?”

Annie replied, “Ahsoka.”

Mal responded, “Oh yea. Sorry, but I have a lot on my mind, right now.”

Annie said, “I am sure you have.”

Mal stated, “Well, to answer your question. Yes. Kaylee rushed into the front security, and informed the staff of what happened. And they told us. Soon after, Arcee radioed us, as well. We decided it was best to let you handle the fight, yourself.”

Mal thought, 'That reminds me, I need to make sure that all those in the saferooms have been informed the battle is over, and they can come out. Though, I believe that Wash already handled that... It is so good to have Wash back. And the last time Book came to visit, he seemed to be happy with his new life.'

Annie said, “That was wise of you all. And I appreciate that.”

Mal asked, “So, was she part of this attack?”

Annie answered, in a slightly disappointed tone of voice, “Unfortunately, yes. She was here to deal with me. But, defeated her.”

Mal questioned, “Good. Is she alive?” He thought, 'Maybe we can learn something from her, about those that attacked us.'

Annie requested, “Yes. And I already have the information from her, about our enemies. Sooner than I expect. Though, I will handle getting any more information, on this, in my own way.”

Mal casually responded, “Go ahead. It is one less headache for me to deal with today.”

Annie kindly said, “Thank you for understanding. Also, I need to talk to Chang about this. But, I cannot reach him by cellphone.”

Mal thought, 'That could mean a few different things. Chang might be in a shielded area to him just not answering his phone, because he is busy.'

Mal responded, “Okay. If a see him, I will mention that to him.” He mentally added, 'Which should be in a few minutes.'

Annie replied, “That is alright.”

Mal inquired, “By the way, where are you two, right now?”

Annie answered, “My apartment, in the casino.”

Mal commented, “That is about as good a place as any for you two to be.” He thought, 'Also, her apartment is away from any critical areas of the casino. Though, that was by her choice, and request. In case she ever lost control of her powers.'

Annie responded, “I know. Talk to you later, Mal.”

Mal replied, “See you, Annie.” He then hung up, and put away his cellphone, as he continued down the hallway, towards the casino infirmary.

(_)

While Mal was busy heading to the infirmary, Chang was inside the infirmary, near the medical ward, with Simon. Did to this, Chang had his cellphone set to vibrate, and not ring, and he was not taking calls, at the moment, as he handled various, more immediate, delicate matters.

The infirmary was located in the far right corner of the building, opposite to the back casino garage. With the employee gym, employer showers and locker rooms, the indoor employee pool, and the main hallway leading to the beach, to the outside back part of the casino, being between the garage and the infirmary.

On the left side of the casino was the security headquarters, managed by Mal. And further down the left side of the casino, closer to the front, was the spa that Inara oversaw.

Like the rest of the casino, Chang did planned ahead, and prepared accordingly, when he built the infirmary wing of the casino.

The infirmary was like a small hospital, in of itself. Chang had planned the infirmary to handle the aftermath of treating patients, after a direct attack on the casino. Which is what it exactly was admirably doing, at the moment.

The infirmary was fully staff with doctors, nurses, and other personnel. With Simon overseeing, and managing everything that happened infirmary. The only person that could overrule Simon, in the infirmary, was Chang.

The infirmary was was five stories high. With each story being set to perform different medical functions.

There were two large elevators, and a single large stairwell, that were dedicated to the infirmary.

Though, there were access doors, from the casino to the infirmary, on the second, third, fourth, and fifth floors of the casino, these doors were only to be used on in emergencies. Which there had been a couple, in the casino. Mostly in treating either a heartattack, or stroke, that an occasional guess suffered from.

The main entrance, to the infirmary, was located on the ground floor, inside the casino. There was also an emergency door to the outside of the casino.

Right inside the main entrance to the infirmary, there was a patient waiting room, and check in desk, that was staffed around the clock.

There was also a doctor, nurses, and other personnel, in the infirmary, all the time. Though, is was for emergencies. And their standard business hours of the infirmary, for appointments, were between nine AM and five PM, every day, including, weekend. But, barring a few exceptions, excluding holidays.

While the employees of the casino enjoyed free health care, the customers of the casino, and those from outside the casino, were usually charged a fee for any medical services the infirmary staff performed on them.

Though, Chang did not charge them much for such services and medicine. When compared to other doctors and hospitals. And the casino did make allowances, and fair payment plans, in cases where it was an emergency, and the patients, nor their families, did not immediately have the money to pay for the casino medical bills.

The first floor of the infirmary was mainly for just for doctor's visits and check ups. Though, the ground level of the infirmary did have two surgery rooms, in case those that came in needed immediate surgery. Also, there were two skilled dentists on staff, with their offices on the first floor. And the pharmacy was located on the first floor.

The second floor was surgical. Along with labs, that ranged from medical body scanning equipment, to blood analysis equipment and computers.

The third floor was the medical ward, that mostly housed patient beds. Including, intensive care rooms, and post surgery rooms. Though, part of that floor part was reserved personal offices for Simon, and the other doctors that were on staff, to work on paperwork, in private.

The third floor also had a few quiet rooms, with beds. Along with a few break rooms. For the doctors, nurses, and other staff, that were on shift, though they needed a some rest for half an hour. Or, they needed a place to have a snack, for a few minutes.

The fourth floor deal with research, and experimental medical treatments of aliments, or injuries.

The forth floor was where Chang secretly had a few vats stored, and ready for use. Along, with reality transport, and communication equipment, to move sick patients to other realities. In case they could not handle the situation.

The fifth floor held first rate isolation rooms, with proper ventilation system, water circulation system, serialization rooms with backwards pressurized air systems, bio-hazard suits and equipment, decontamination equipment, and waste disposal equipment, to keep any isolated patients from exposed the medical staff, and others, to their aliments.

Also, the waste disposal equipment used for all the sections of the infamy

Fortunately, due to quick thinking and action, on the casino staff, none of customers were harmed. They were all moved further into the building, before the battle had begun. And they were allowed back continue what they were doing, after the battle ended.

Also, given most of the skills, abilities, and weapons, of the security staff, that faced the boomers, injuries were light. With injuries only being a few minor cuts, and bruises.

So, the casino infirmary had plenty of beds, when Data and Sally called the casino, to request that the had a number of injuries, due to the boomer attack.

When Data and Sally were transferred to Simon's encrypted cellphone, Simon talked to them, and found out what had happened. And that while the Atlantic Riders had beaten the boomers, there ship was damaged, and they had a number of injuries.

The problem being that the medical staff on their Bird of Prey were overwhelmed with injuries. And when they had visited the casino, they had heard that the casino had a medical staff on hand. Also, given they did not want to go to the local hospital for various reasons. Such as not wanted to many questions asked about them. They were requesting permission to send the injured members to the casino.

Simon made the call, to allow the Atlantic Riders to use their transporters, to sent their injured to the casino infirmary.

Luckily, the ship's transporters were still completely functional,

Simon told them exactly where to send the injured. And once the location was confirmed and locked, on the Bird of Prey's computers, the Atlantic Riders began sending their injured. From most severe, to least serious. To the casino infirmary.

Among the injured, included the lead of the Atlantic Riders, Professor Johnathan Durban.

Simon and his medically staff immediately began treating the wounded, as they came in.

Fortunately, Simon, and his staff, did not lose any of their patients. And with their advance medical equipment and training, they had treated almost everyone, within a half hour, after the boomer attack had ended in the casino, they had finished treating the Atlantic Riders. And most of those they had treated, were sedated, and resting in their bed. The exceptions for a handful of members that were not serious injured, and whom were transported back to their ship.

Also, as a precaution, Simon called the local hospital, to check what was going on there, at the moment. The local hospital which located near the center of town.

Of the last few years, Simon had developed a working relationship with the doctors and staff, of the local hospital. After he had proven to them to be a very capable doctor, the head of the hospital had allowed him to even teach some advanced surgical techniques, to the doctors there, that had not yet been developed at the present date, of the local reality.

The doctors of the hospital were grateful for what Simon had taught them. As such, the hospital staff had not problems in tell Simon what was happening on their end.

Fortunately, the hospital was not overflowing with patients. While the boomers had injured a number of people. Most of those injuries were minor. This was because of the level of fighting skills, and armaments, that the locals had possessed.

Though, the hospital did request Simon to treat any injured people, that came into the casino, looking for help.

So, Simon also made the call to treat those outside of the casino, in the infirmary.

Given it was no secret that the casino had a first rate medical staff and resources. And those on the south end were sometimes closer to the casino, than the hospital. A few people did come to the casino, looking for medical treatment.

Still, once the injured Atlantic Riders were taken care of, Simon allowed his medical staff to handle the trickle of injured civilians that came into the infirmary, from outside of the casino.

Simon then headed to his personal office. When he reached his office, he shut the door, and he then used his cellphone to call Chang. After Chang answered, Simon informed Chang of had happened to the Atlantic Riders, the request of the local hospital, and what he had done about those issues.

Chang supported Simon's decisions, and he stated that casino would pay for the medical cost. That is would be good for public relations with the islands population.

Also, as a way to smooth things over with everyone, Chang requested that the medical treatment, concerning those injured in the battle, or, for today, would be free of charge. For Simon to just send him the bill. That the casino would cover the charge.

Simon agreed with Chang comments, and request on free serve.

Though, Chang did also request that he wanted to see the injured, and to talk to Simon, in person, as well.

Simon said he could arrange both.

So presently, Simon and Chang were standing next to each other, in a hallway, with dimmed lighing, on the third floor of the infirmary, by a window that looked into the medical ward, where the injured Atlantic Riders were asleep. With that room the injured were in, next to them, being almost dark, to allow those inside to rest, while the vital were being monitored.

Chang looked into the window, at the people in the beds, as he asked, “How are their conditions?”

Simon looked at Chang, as he answered, “All of them are stable, and resting. We have a few critical cases in the ICU. But, they are stable as well.”

Chang thought, 'That is nice to know.' He turned to Simon, as he inquired, “Do any of them required the vat process?”

Simon replied, “No.” He thought, 'Given the circumstances. It is a fair question.'

Chang stated, “Alright. That makes things simpler for us, and them. Still, I would not be surprised that as soon as their ship is repaired. They will want to transport the injured and leave this reality. Not to sound cold. And I don't want them to leave, until they are ready. But, how long until they can be moved?”

Simon thought, 'That is a legitimate question, as well.' He responded, “Barring any unforeseen events. All of them should be strong enough to be moved within a few days.”

“Even the critical ones should be able to be transferred by then. Though, everyone will need to be careful, on both ends, during transport. And they will each need bed, with adequate medical resources and staff, waiting for them.”

Chang questioned, “Do they have those resources on hand?” He thought, 'I do not want one of them dying on us. Because that could start a fight that neither of us really want.'

Simon answered, “While I have not seen their infirmary. Sally, Data, and I, already talked about this subject. And from what they told me, I believe so. A number of the more critically injured that came to us, clearly had signs that very advanced medical technology, and surgical techniques being used on them, before they came to us.”

“The only reason they asked for our help, is that the battle caused their medical staff to be overwhelmed with patients.”

Chang replied, “Good.” He thought, 'The sooner they are out of our hair, the better. Though, I do have one more question.'

Chang questioned, “I believe you said their leader, Durban was also injured? And that he was transported here, as well?”

Simon looked at the window, then back to Chang. He stated, “Yes. He was moderately injured. He has been treated, and resting in the room beside us. He was a little banged up when he got here. But, he should be fine.”

Chang thought, 'Good. Barring his clothing. Durban seemed like he has a good head on his shoulders. And I feel that I can say the same for Data and Sally, as well. Now, to keep Simon happy. While I pay him well. I do not want lose him, and his skills, by upsetting him to the point he will leave. Plus, doing so would upset River.'

Chang responded, “Okay. Thank you again for informing me about what is going on here. And I see from the decisions that you have made, that I was correct in giving you the authority to over see this section of of the casino.”

Simon thought, 'I guess he is just trying to keep me happy.'

Chang requested, “Let me know if there are any change to their conditions. Even if it is late at night.”

Simon said, “I will.”

Chang replied, “Good.”

Chang thought, 'Now, to head up my apartment, and check on River and Lee. I am sure they are fine. But, it makes a much better impression to check on them, in person. Than, to just call them. Though, I wonder is anyone has told them the battle is over, yet. But, with their abilities, they likely already know that.'

Chang then turned, and he headed for the infirmary elevator. From there, he would go to the ground floor, where he would head for the interior exit of the casino, to go to the back elevator bay, and take the back express elevator to his penthouse apartment.

(_)

Meanwhile, in the penthouse apartment of the casino, River and Lee, were putting their weapons away, in a weapons locker, in their home.

Between River's telepathy, and Lee's precognition, they could tell that the battle was over.

River had sensed a few stray thoughts, a few floors below, of some of the guests getting phone calls, that said they could leave their rooms.

Lee precognition informed her that there was no longer any immediate danger in the casino.

So, they no longer needed their large weapons, and they putting them away.

They had just put away their weapons, into a hidden closet, in the hallway, between the living room and their bedroom. The hidden closet was opened by pushing against it, which would undo the latch, and open it forward, into the hallway.

After Lee closed the door to the hidden closet, which was now nearly seamless with the wall, she looked over at River's face, and she noticed something. She thought, 'Something important is on River's mind. Something that is greatly bothering her.'

River could read Lee's mind, and she tried to change the subject. She turned to look at Lee, as she casually asked, “I wonder why we did not get an all clear call from security, downstairs?”

Lee calmly answered, “That was likely an oversight on their part.” She then continued, in a more concerned tone of voice, “Still, I know you are trying to change the subject. So River, what is the matter?”

River was silent for a few seconds. She then looked at Lee, with worry on her face. She stated, “You are still as good as ever, Lee. And yes, these is something important that I need to talk to you about. But, I need to talk to both you and Chang, about it, at the same time.”

Lee suggested, “Fine. We will call Chang, and get this sorted out.”

River responded, “No. I am sure he has his hands full, right now. Though, this cannot wait. We need to see him, in person.”

Lee said, “Then, let's got downstairs and find him.”

River commented, “That is what I was thinking, as well. We will take the back express elevator. Considering, that elevator bay will be less busy. And with everything happening, I do not want to take chances.”

Lee replied, “I agree.”

Both women then headed out of their apartment, down an interior hallway, towards the back express elevator bay.

(_)

At that moment, downstairs, on the ground floor, Chang was walking down a mostly empty hallway, towards the back elevator bay. When he turned a corner, with Mal and himself almost running into each other.

Though, both men were able to stop a few feet from each other.

There being no one else around them in the hallway.

As both of them stood, a few feet from each other, Mal said, “I was looking you.”

Chang thought, 'It figures that Mal would want to talk to me. He likely didn't call me by phone, because he heard that was I in the infirmary.' He responded, “Okay, Mal. What do you need?”

Mal said, “I thought it best to inform you that Roberta, and a man named Hernan, came to the casino, looking for you. And I handled the matter for you, with no problems presenting themselves.”

Chang thought, with worry, 'Oh. This is not good. They would only come to me weapons, and if something happened to people that cared for. Still my plan worked, and Mal was able to handle the matter.' He asked, “I appreciate that. Also, Hernan and I have met. Now, why did they come here, in the first place?”

Mal thought, 'I am going to have had a long talk with both Zoe, and Chang, here, about being the last one informed on such matter, about the counterpart to Roberta living in this town. But, now is not that time.'

Mal said, “They came by, looking for weapons. Though, would not tell us why. They were very cagey about that. So, we turned them away. Fortunately, they were willing to leave.”

Chang stated, “Good job.”

Chang thought, 'Them acting cagey, and not telling us why they wanted weapons, means whatever happened to them, was personal. Adding to the theory that something happened to those they care for.'

'Still, the reason they left so easily is because, I am sure, there are other places in town at Hernan can get them weapons from. And clearly what happened to them, was too important to start a needless fight, that would delay them, and gain them nothing.'

'I will look into this matter, later today. After I handle settling this current crisis. And the first part, for me to do so, is to pull all the information we have, into one place. By calling all our friends in, to have a meeting, on what happened. And what to do next.'

Mal inquired, “That is not all. Were you informed about the fight between Annie and Ahsoka?”

Chang thought, 'Damn. In everything that happen. I forgot about that.' He answered, “I remember hearing something in passing, during the battle. We have been kind of busy, today.”

Mal responded, “That we have. It seems that Ahsoka was part of the attack. Though, Annie called, and the fight was over.”

Chang sarcastically thought, 'And I thought my day could not get any worse.'

Chang asked, “Where was this fight at?” He mentally added, 'So, I know where this months profits will be going to for repairs.'

Mal answered, “The back garage.”

Chang questioned, “I am guessing everything in that garage is now a scrap?”

Mal replied, “I believe so.”

Chang groaned, as he thought, 'It is going to take months to replace all those vehicles, tools, and equipment.' He inquired, “We will start doing an inventory of damages, tomorrow. So, why did Ahsoka attack Annie?”

Mal said, “Save for throwing Arcee against the wall. She only attacked Annie, I am guessing she was here to take care of Annie.”

Chang commented, “I am not surprise. Annie's force abilities would be an unknown factor for this battle.”

Mal pointed out, “Yes. Though, it is clear that the attackers also did not factor in the hostile response by the local population.”

Chang said, “Yes. Even I didn't realize what this population is capable of.”

Mal commented, “I am just happy we haven't yet don't anything to piss off the locals, just yet.”

Chang responded, “I feel the same way. When this mess is cleared up, in a few days. Send out a memo to the casino staff, not to antagonize the locals.” He thought, 'I have already done that a few times. But, it is nice, on occasion, to remind them to do so.'

Mal thought, 'That is something that likely needs to be taken care of today.' He stated, “I will have it done by the end of the day.”

Chang asked, “So, I take it that since Annie talked to you, that she won the battle?”

Mal, “Yes.”

Chang questioned, “Is Ahsoka still alive?”

Mal responded, “Yes. And Annie said that she already got some information from her. And that she requests to be the one allowed to continue to get information from her friend. And she wanted me to tell you that she was trying to reach you by your cellphone, but you did not answer.

Chang thought, 'I was wondering who kept calling me. I just got so caught up with talking to Simon, and going to see River and Lee, that I forgot to check my cellphone. Still, this is good news. And we have the information we need to start to find out who is responsible for this attack.'

Chang guessed, “I was kind of busy, a few minutes ago. And while I am sure Annie will get the information we need. I doubt she will harm her friend. Though, I can guess why she wants to talk to me, right now. Even after this. Annie will likely ask for us to spare Ahsoka. She might even ask me to let Ahsoka stay in the casino. Considering, I doubt she has anywhere else go to.”

Mal agreed, “That is very likely, on both counts.”

Chang asked, “So, where are they?”

Mal answered, “Annie's apartment.”

Chang stated, “Well, that is about as good a place as any for Annie to get information from Ahsoka.”

Mal mentally reflected, with slight amusement, 'My thoughts, exactly.'

Chang inquired, “So, what are you thoughts on this?”

Mal responded, “It is your call. Right now, I could care less. I got too many things happening. From what I understand, Ahsoka only wanted to harm Annie. None of the rest of us. And Annie can take care of herself. And most of the others that know about the fight, probably feel that same way.”

Chang said, “You are likely right. Ahsoka is no a threat to us. So, I will let her live, and stay at the casino. If that is what she and Annie want.” He thought, 'Plus, it will put Annie in a good mood towards me.'

Mal mentioned, “Well, I have things to do.”

Chang sighed, as he thought, 'I might as well ask you, right now, to do this.' He then stated, “Mal, I hate to add to your workload. But, I want to call a meeting about this attack. And I want you oversee organizing it.”

Chang looked at his wrist watch. It was twelve ten PM.

Chang turned back to look over at Mal, as he continued, “It is twelve ten, now. I want this meeting to take place at three PM, here, at the casino, in my private theater.”

Chang thought, 'There should be enough room there. If not, we will move it to the stage theater. Or, the guest movie theater. There is plenty of room in both their areas. But, the other two room are close to the gaming floors. And I don't want a guest accidentally overhearing us.'

Mal thought, 'No point in arguing about this. Though, I expected him to wait a day or two, before calling a meeting.' He asked, “What do you wish to discuss at this meeting?”

Chang answered, “We will be pulling together all our information, on this attack. I figure by then, that Annie will at least have gotten all the useful information she can from Ahsoka, on who attacked us.”

“And then I want to plan, and organize a reprisal for what has happened. And then we attack them, later this afternoon, our time. And for them, we will attack them soon after they attack us.”

“I want to strike while the iron is hot, and before they can be ready for us.”

Chang thought, 'That is what Rock did to me. She attacked me sooner than I expected. And I did not see it coming. And due to that oversight, I lost control of my organization then... Lee really does know how to write a good story...'

'Also, it is possible that Abrego is connect to this. Someone had to give him that powersuit. Unfortunately, I will not get any answers from Abrego, until after all this is over, and she comes out of the vat process.'

'Though, this also means that Pedro, Matthew, Fabiola, Leigharch, and Matt, are involved. But, I doubt those five know what is going on. Because, if they did. They would likely inform me. So, that means they likely were being chased without really knowing why. That occasionally happens. I will see what they have to say at the meeting, And I will go from there.'

Mal thought, 'So, he wants to pull together the people and plans, for a counterattack, this soon, after what has happened. That is ambitious. But, not surprising, on his part.'

Chang continued, “Though, I want to do this in the proper way. Not for us to just rush in. I want a thorough plan. With all those involved having their assignments, and carrying them out.”

Mal thought, with a bit of intrigue, 'Now, that is the Chang I know.'

Chang went on to say, “I want you to invite all our friends, that are in town, to this meeting. Invite the upper management of the casino. You, and the rest of the Serenity crew, included. Along, with Arcee, Spike, Jetta, and Faye. And contact Annie, and have her bring Ahsoka with her. I don't want Annie's little friend left alone, right now. Besides, if she has information, it is best to hear the news from the horse's mouth. As it were.”

Mal thought, 'I cannot argue with that logic.'

Chang requested, “Also, call the Lowe family. I just know we are going to need some computer expertise. And try to get in contact Roberta and Hernan. And convince them to come here, as well. If those two are planning to go on the warpath. Let us put their bloodlust to good use.”

Mal happily thought, 'That is crazy... But, I like it.'

Chang said, “And invite, Revy, and her friends.”

Mal mentioned, “I believe Revy, Rock, Dutch, Janet, and Benny, are in the casino restaurant, having lunch.”

Chang stated, “Good. You can have them contact their friends for us. Though, I am not sure about having their adult children coming along. Nor, those three elemental sisters they hang out with.”

Chang thought, 'Their parents would never forgive me, if something happened to them, during this attack.'

Chang continued, “I do want Shenhua, Sawyer, Lotton, Akira, Natsuru, and Ranma to come. Also, having Violin and Aeryn come, would be good. And having a couple of professional retired spies, like Yolanda and Eda, wouldn't hurt.”

“And call in Balalaika and B. Having her badass, amazon army helping us, would solve a lot of our problems”

Mal questioned, “Don't you think that is kind of overkill? Even for this mission?”

Chang lips curled into a wicked grin, as he answered, “Exactly. I want overwhelming firepower. We are going to make an example out of those responsible for attacking us. So, is does not happen again.”

“And I know Balalaika, and the rest Hotel Moscow, will be more than happy to help us on this little endeavor.”

Chang thought, with amusement, 'Damn. This is like that Farscape episode, Liars, Guns and Money, part two. When John and the rest of the crew of Moya make up their plan, to put together their break in team. Some time, I will have to talk to Violin, about how she felt when she came up with that plan. But, not right now... Still, there are two others we need to get.'

Chang requested, “And contact Matthew and Pedro. I want them in on this meeting, as well. And I am sure they will come, if we contact them over this matter.”

Mal inquired, “I heard they disappeared. But, I don't know why?”

Chang coyly said, “Balalaika leaned too hard on them.”

Mal replied, “That would do it. Still, given the importance of this meeting, they will come.” He thought, 'And it might get them out of trouble with you.'

Chang stated, “Yes. And I feel my lawyer should be here. Along with the highest ranking city official. And that is Police Chief Pedro Del Soto. Those two are likely together. And your best bet to contact them is to try the police station. I am sure Pedro checked in on, his boys, this morning. So, with this attack, they still might be there.”

Mal thought, 'Chang is calling in everyone.' He asked, “Okay. Do you want me to contact the Atlantic Riders? They are likely the reason for the attack.”

Chang stated, “Yes. They likely are. But, no. I don't want you to contact them. They have their hands full. And we can handle this, in house.” He mentally added, 'Beside we didn't really know them. And as such, I would like to keep them at arms length, on this matter.'

Mal replied, “I will have Zoe handle it.” He though, 'Zoe can be more diplomatic, and less gruff with me. And with the day we all have had. We don't need to get on each others nerves.'

Chang said “That will be fine. You're dismissed.”

Mal then turned, and walked away, to carry out his orders. As he headed for the casino restaurant, to Zoe, Wash, and the Lagoon family.

Meanwhile, Chang started heading towards the back elevator bay, so he could take the express elevator there to his penthouse apartment, as he pulled out his cellphone.

Chang dialed Annie cellphone number. He then placed his phone to his right ear.

The phone rang a few times. Then, Annie answered the phone, “Hello.”

Chang said, “Hi Annie. I believe you were looking for me.”

Annie inquired, “Yes. I take you heard what happened in the garage?”

Chang replied, “Yes.”

Annie commented, “I got Ahsoka to surrender, and she is answering my questions. I have some information already. But, we are trying to piece together if she knows anything she might not realize she knows.”

Chang thought, 'Now, to play the game.' Chang asked, “When do you think you will have this information ready for me?”

Annie stated, “First, I need some assurances from you, concerning Ahsoka.”

Chang replied, “It depends on what you are requesting.”

Annie requested, “I want Ahsoka to be spared for her part in this. I want her to come to live in the casino. And I will take responsibility for her. Also, I will be handling getting any information from her.”

Chang thought with mild amusement, 'I love being right.'

Chang responded, As long as the information checks out. I believe those are reasonable requests. Still, you will have to take this up with your friends here.”

Annie replied, “I will do so.”

Chang thought, 'It might be best if I got all the information from you at once. Instead of piecemeal.” Chang said, “Fine. And you don't need to tell me what is going on right now. Let me know in an hour, what is going on. Just call me by phone.”

Annie stated, “I will call you, then. And thank you.”

Chang thought, 'Now for the invite.' Chang responded, “You're welcome. Also, we will be having a meeting in my private theater, at three PM. Over this attack. I request that you and Ahsoka attend. Also, if you hear from Arcee, let her know that she is invited, as well.”

Annie said, “We will be there. And I will inform Arcee, if I here from her.”

Chang replied, “Thank you. And talk to you, later.” He then hung up his cellphone and put it away.

Chang then continued on his way to the back elevator bay.

(_)

Less than a minute later, Chang made it to the back elevator bay, and he used his key to open the express elevator door.

Though, instead the doors immediately opening, the door remained closed. This was odd because to the express elevator, itself, be set to remain on the ground floor, unless summoned.

Chang thought, 'Interesting. Maybe someone is using elevator. Well, it would take longer to walk around to the front express elevator. So, I will just have to wait here.'

A few seconds later, the doors opened, and Chang saw River and Lee standing in front of him. With his two lovers looking back at him.

Lee playfully said, “Fancy meeting you here.”

Chang suppressed a chuckle, as he thought, 'Leave it to Lee to lighten the mood.' He asked, “What is going on?”

River stated, with seriousness in her tone of voice, “We need to talk, in private, in our apartment. Right now.”

Chang thought, 'River, I know you are reading my thoughts. But, I have only seen you like this a few times. And those times were always important. So, I will. Besides...” He said, “I was just heading up there, to see you two.”

Lee commented, “Then, this meeting is fortuitous for all of us. Let's head back up there, now.”

Chang walked into the elevator, with the doors soon closing behind him.

(_)

A few minutes later, Chang, River, and Lee, had entered the living room of their penthouse apartment.

Lee was the last one inside the room. She shut and locked the door behind her. She then went to join Chang and River, in the center of the room, with the three lovers looked at each other, as they stood near one another.

Just as Lee joined them, Chang turned to River. He inquired, “Okay, River. What do you want to talk about?”

River looked to her left, towards the far windows of the room, as she quietly said, “This is not very easy for me to say. I never intended to tell any of this.”

Lee calmly asked, “What is it? You can tell us?” She thought, 'We are not ones to judge.'

River heard both Lee's words, and thoughts. She took a deep breath, and slowly let out it. She then looked over at Chang and Lee, as she admitted, “I have been writing our lives.”

Chang asked, with confusion in his tone of voice, “What do you mean, River?”

Lee thought, 'I have a bad sneaking suspicion as to what you're talking about.'

River said, “I have sneaking off to another reality, whose Earth is during similar time period and cultural advancement, as this one. I have a home there. And no one there is aware of who I am, or what I have been doing.”

Chang inquired, “What have you been doing?”

River stated, “I am getting to that. I have been writing what has been happening to us, and then living, with everyone else here. I proved one of Lee's theories, during that whole time loop mess, was true.”

Chang flatly questioned, “What theory?”

Lee winced, as she requested, “Let, me explain.”

River replied, “Go ahead.”

Lee looked over at Chang, with a relaxed expression on her face. She stated, “The theory is the next logical step to my original writings. Where you write about what happens in another reality. Or, realities. And what is written comes true in that reality. Or, realities.”

“Only, in this case, River has taken my ideas to the next level. She went to another reality, where she wrote what she wanted to happen to us. Then, she returned to us, and lived out those written events with us.”

Chang was slightly surprised at what he heard, as he muttered, “That is insane.”

Lee commented, “Yea. Literally the story of our lives.” She turned to River, as she asked, “How long been going on?”

River admitted, “Since you first left your reality, Lee.”

Lee did not expect River's answer to be that long ago. With Chang and Lee being left speechless, for a few seconds.

Then, Lee said, with slight shock in her tone of voice, “Well, that is longer than I thought.”

River quickly pointed out, with worry in her tone of voice, “Lee, I didn't change your personality much. And I had to figure a way to get the others off your back. If I just wrote that they stopped coming after you. They would have likely figured out something was up. So, I had to write this elaborate story to get them off our backs. So, we can have our happy ending, that never ends.”

Chang questioned, “And the kingdom, and our family?”

River sheepishly said, “I am wrote that too.”

Chang quietly stated, “I don't know how to feel about this.”

Lee softly commented, “Neither, do I.”

River tried to defend her actions, as she mentioned, “Chang, you are better off than where you were. And Lee, you are now in the body and life, where you are happy.”

Chang pointed out, “But, are we happy because we want too be? Or, because we are written to be?”

Lee commented, “Likely both. At this point, I believe free will is more of an illusion, than anything else. And River's heart was in the right place.”

River said, “Thank you.”

Lee pointed out, “Oh, River. You are still on thin ice with me, over this. But, I am not going to get upset over this. I have done worse, myself. Though, I did not know it at the time. Did you write about Pedro and Matthew leaving this reality? And us chasing them?

River said, “Yes. I figured we all needed and adventurous vacation. And it gave me an excuse to solve how Garcia ended up in Plata Podrido, as a teenager, with Garibaldi in his cursed little girl form, while also figuring out an ending to Roberta and Fabiola's hunt for you.”

Lee replied, “Okay. That was not so bad.”

Chang inquired, “Have you written anything else?”

River responded, “No. Not since we got back from the Dominican Republic. That got a little out of control, on my part. I didn't realize that Roberta of Hotel Caracas would be so scary in person.”

Chang stated, with annoyance in his tone of voice, “You should have. Crossing Roberta and Balalaika is about as scary a combination as one can get. But, that is a discussion for another time. What I need to know is did you accidentally cause this boomer attack”

River answered, with worry evident in her tone of voice, “I had nothing to do with this attack. Nor, did I write about Hernan, Barbossa, nor Ahsoka. I don't know where any of that came from. And that scares me. Before that, I have everything under control. No one had died, nor been seriously harmed, among our groups, while on my watch. But, after this attack. I do not know what to do. It is a mess. And to much is on the line for me to just attempt to write us out of this problem. I need help, from both of you.”

Lee asked, “I know about Barbossa and Ahsoka. But, who is Hernan?”

While Chang was still upset, he did not take his emotional state out on Lee, as he answered, “Hernan Pena is an auto-mechanic in town.”

Lee looked over at Chang, as she commented, “Oh yea. Pedro mentioned him a few times. They are good friends.”

Chang said, “Yes. And it seems that Hernan is also Roberta's gender flipped counterpart for this reality.”

Lee eyes went wide for a second, as she understood the implications of this revelation. She forced herself to remain calm, as she responded, “That I did not know. Though, I hope you are kidding. Right?”

River commented, “No. He is not kidding. I read some of the minds of our friends. It seems that not only is Hernan Pena the counterpart to Roberta, but his lovely wife, Maria, is the counterpart for Garcia. And they have three nice, young children.”

Lee looked over at River, as she inquired, “How did this come out?”

River answered, “Hernan kicked Revy's ass.”

Lee said, “At the time, I am sure she deserved it.”

River replied, “That she did.”

Lee questioned, “So, how did Roberta and Garcia handle this news?”

Chang said, “From what we have managed to gather. All four of those adults took the news very well. And Hernan and Maria's children are happy to have a new aunt and uncle. And they all consider each other family.”

Lee shrugged, as she replied, “Well, at least there is that.” She thought, 'And at least this will give Roberta, and Fabiola, a reason to be nice. Also, given the Pena family have three young children. I just know those three are going to be trouble, when they grow up. We will have to keep an eye on them... From a distance... Still, for fictional counterparts to exist here, should be impossible... Unless... Though, that is an issue for later. When we are not pressed for time.'

River overheard Lee's thoughts, though she did not reply.

Lee continued to look at River, as she changed the subject. She stated, “Now, back to the matter at hand.” She turned to looked at both River and Chang, as she calmly said, “Chang. River needs help. And we are the only ones that can help her.”

Chang let out a deep breath, as he forced himself to calm down. He thought, 'Lee is right. River needs help. And getting angry over what she had done will not solve these problems.'

'Besides, I am really not that upset about what happened to us. I am only annoyed that River did this behind our backs. And she did not speak to us, beforehand.'

'Though, I guess that has now changed for the better.'

Chang agreed, “Okay. I will help you, River.”

River said, “Both of you. Thank you. And I hope someday you will forgive me for what I have done to you.”

Lee calmly stated, “We just need some time. But, we are not going to let this wreck our relationship with you.”

Chang agreed, “Lee is right. We just need some time. That is all.”

River replied, in a humble tone of voice, “Okay.”

Chang requested, “Also, we will want a few copies of all the stories you have written. So, we can read them.”

Lee inquired, “Speaking of which. What format did you write you stories on?”

River responded, “Like you, I types them on a computer, on a compatible format for our computers here. I will be more than happy to give you both a few of my data disc copies, of my most recent backups.”

Chang said, “That will be fine. And we will read them, later.”

Lee stated, “Yes. Also, I would like to know what events you came up with, and what events honestly happen to us, that were unplanned.”

River said, “I was very vague with a lot of details of various scenes, that span several years. So, we had flexibility, and choices, in what we did.”

Chang responded, with a bit of relief in his tone of voice, “Knowing that makes me feel better.”

Lee agreed, with a bit of relief in her tone of voice, as well, “Yes. I guess we did have some free will on those matters, after all.”

River commented, “I am glad you feel that way. And the way I wrote, was that I first read people's thoughts. I figured out what they wanted, and I wrote it, so those events would happen to them.”

Chang stated, with pride in his tone of voice, “River. That is genius. You take manipulation to a whole new level, for all the right reasons.”

Lee said, “Yes, River. You are quickly working you way back into our good graces.”

River smiled towards her two loves, as she replied, “Thank you.”

Lee stated, “Now, let us see what we can do to fix this mess.”

Chang commented, “It is a big job. But, I guess we are the only ones that can do it.”

Lee pointed out, “But first, we are going to have to figure out who is behind this.”

Chang mentioned, “That won't be a problem. Annie already has a line on that. I figure, in an hour, Annie will call me with that answer.”

Lee playfully asked, “Do I want to know the details?”

Chang casually answered, “No. But, I will tell you, later.”

Lee stated, “Okay. Now, River. Let us get a few reality devices. Then, you can take us to your home, in this other reality. And we can then find out what you have done. Next, we will come back here. Find out from Annie, who is behind this, and go from there.”

Chang happily complimented, “Now, that is a plan.”

River said, “I agree. And thanks, Chang, and Lee.”

Chang and Lee smiled at River.

Lee said, “You're welcome.”

Chang replied, “No problem.”

The three lovers then set out to fix the mess they found themselves, those of the island of De La Plata Podrido, and the Atlantic Riders, were in the middle of.

To be continued.



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