Badasses Of the Multiverse: Book 6: Volume 2: Chapter 07

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

Volume 2: “The Villains.”

Chapter 07: “Population: Badass”: Part Three: “The Heroes, The Villains, and The Badasses.”

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, Black Lagoon anime reality.

Date, a few decades after the events of the Black Lagoon anime.

Place, Lagrangian point three of Earth. Being on the opposite side of Earth, in relation to its orbit around the Sol star. Gomez's spacestation, nicked named, The Interzone.

Time, local time, late afternoon. After five hours after those whom had returned from the boomer attack, had arrived at the spacestation.

Gomez's spacestation was a refurbished partly destroyed Super-Star Destroyer. Though, the ship's hull was not intact. The spacestation would never been a warship again. The refurbishing did not address the hyper-drive engines, nor weapons systems. Save for the hangers that had starfighters birthed in them, and the cargo bays used for transporting people and cargo in and out of the ship, when reality teleporting was not an option.

The gravity system also functioned, and it was set to Earth standard.

Also, Gomez preferred to keep some of his low ranking subordinates, which he hired from the Black Lagoon Earth, from knowing about reality travel.

So, Gomez relied on remote controlled Star Destroyers outside, in space, to defend the spacestation.

But, the spacestation served its purpose well, as a main base of operations for the organization that Gomez oversaw. Given that the spacestation was roughly nineteen kilometers long, and several kilometers wide and high. With the width and height of the ship varying, depending on the location.

This was due to the ship being roughly shaped, in length, like an isosceles triangle. With the two back end sides of the ship being of equal length, and angle, while the far end corner of the isosceles triangle being the very front tip of the spacestation.

The Interzone ship allowed Gomez plenty of room to operate, and expand the internal parts of his organization.

Still, this also meant there were wide sections of ship that were deserted. With wide gaps in the internal security sensors.

As such, the Lowe family teleport into one of these gaps, in a remote section of the ship.

Lori pulled out her revolver, as she was pointed down the hallway, of the direction they were heading.

At the same time, Ed put away the reality device that Chang had given her, during their meeting, in the garage, while Stan and Lewis, silently stood by their parents.

No one said a word, as Lori started walking down the path they were shown, by Arcee's holographic technology. Ed, Lewis, and Stan followed Lori.

As they walked Stan carrying a gym bag that the family nicknamed, their bag of dirty tricks.

Over the course of the next two minutes, they quickly made their way to their destination point. Where they found a door locked by a simple deadbolt lock.

It took Ed less than twenty seconds to pick the lock, with some tools she kept in one of her pockets. She then undid the lock, and opened the door. Next, Ed stood up, and put away her tools. After which, she backed away, as Lori entered the room first.

As Lori step into the room, she was followed by the rest of her family.

The room itself slightly dark, though the blue lights coming from large computer towers, allowed people to see in the room.

Each computer tower was square, one and a half feet while, in both direction. With each computer reaching from the floor to the ceiling, which was roughly eight feet.

The towers were in a grid pattern, and were set roughly four feet apart, from each other.

And the room itself stretched for about fifty feet in each direction.

The blue lights from the computer towers provide enough light to see with. Though, the same light gave the room an eerie feeling for those inside it.

The room was one of the many data hubs on the spacestation. With the data hubs acting as network hubs, where the information wires for the spacestation were connected together, at various points along the spacestation.

And while most of the data hubs a workplace, to operate from, the main data hubs were designed for people to work at.

Lori then walked around the room, to check to see if anyone was there, and for any other entrances to the room.

When Lori found there wasn't around exit out of the room, she returned to family. As she came to a stop, in front of her family, she stated, “All clear. And there are no other entrances to this room.”

Ed asked, “Good. And your plans?”

Lori answered, “I will leave this door open, and guard it. They will eventually trace our hacking to this room. And send someone. This way. With the door open, I will at least hear them coming.”

Ed responded, “Do what you feel is best. We have our own jobs to do. Boys. Come on. Mommy is going to need some help. We have to hacked into the computers, and shutdown the internal alarms, before the sensors are alerted to our reality jump.”

Lewis inquired, “How long do we have?”

Ed answered, “Five minutes at best. So, we have a little breathing room. But, let's not waste the time we have.”

Ed thought, 'The very subtle energy released by reality jumping moves slowly though space. But, even if there are no sensors here. Which I believe is the case. Considering, this part of the ship looks really run down. Eventually, those energy ripples will reach where there are sensors, and trip them.'

Ed, followed by Lewis and Stan, walked passed Lori, and further into the room.

Meanwhile, Lori turned to face the door, she took a few steps back, to her left, as she remained standing. She then took cover behind one of the computer towers, while keeping watchful eyes on the door.

Meanwhile, Ed then lead her son about twenty feet further into the room, before taking a right, down a few computer towers.

Ed did this, so she, and her sons, would not be in the line of sight for the door. This was in case someone did come in firing, they would not be in the line of fire.

Ed came to a stop, as she turned to face her adult children, whom also stopped walking.

Ed said, “This should be good enough. Stan, open our bag of dirty tricks.”

Stan set his gym back down, he then sat down beside the bag, on the metal floor. He unzipped the top of the gym back, and pulled something from it.

It was a laptop computer, that Stan handed to Lewis. He then pulled another laptop computer, which he gave to Ed. Next, he pulled a laptop computer, which he set beside him.

As Stan then started pulling out wires, Ed and Lewis sat down, near him.

Stan was then finished pulling out items from the bag, he push the bag away from them.

All three of them happened up their laptops, as they turned on their computers.

As the systems were booting up, Lewis asked, “Are all of these laptops charged?”

Stan answered, “Yes. I checked them, before we left our house. We have a good forty-eight hours, each on them. I figure we will either win, or bail on this operation, long before then.”

Ed commented, “You are correct.” She thought, 'I am not going to allow my family to be hung out to dry over revenge. I only agree to come because I knew if I didn't, then there was less chance of the mission being successful.'

'And if this mission felled, then Chang would have been right. Gomez's counterattack would have been devastation. He might have even glass Lee's home Earth. And even if we escaped, he would hunt us down, because he would see us as a threat. So, we had to come.'

'In this case, we have to kill Gomez before he kills us.'

By then, the laptops were booted up. They all used the laptop keyboards and touch pads, to enter their alias account names and passwords to log onto the computers.

Then, each of then grabbed a few wires, which they connect to their computers.

Ed stated, “Now, we all need to plug into separate towers. That way if they cut power to one tower. We are not completely cut out the system. Which will give those cut out time to connect back it to it.”

Lewis questioned, “What if they cut power to the room itself?”

Ed answered, “I doubt they will do that. I have seen designs like this. Cutting power to the entire room, at once, could cause a cascade effect to their entire network. And no one wants that. Also, did we bring extra laptops? In case any hackers fry the ones we have.”

Stan replied, “Yes. We have four extra laptop. With all our wonderful programs installed.”

Ed said, “Good.” She thought, 'There is a reason I only use computers like this and I don't just connect my mind to a computer network. Because it is easier to replace a fried computer, than a fried mind. And I taught my children to treat computers the same way. They are fun to use, but you don't want to connect your minds to them.'

Each of the three hackers than used the wires then had connected to each of their computers, to plug into a separate computer tower, that was by them.

A few seconds later, they were working together, as they hacked into the computer system of the spacestation.

While the three hacker looked at their computers, as they worked on them, Stan said, “I'm in.”

Lewis commented, “So am I.”

Ed complimented, “Good job, boys. I am right behind you.”

As this went on, Lori silently overheard their conversation, while she kept her eyes on the open door.

Stan stated, “Primary firewalls are down. The sensors and alarms are now turned off, as well.”

Lewis said, “I have control of the life support, and camera systems. No one is going to be able to do something stupid on our watch. And I am giving you both assess accounts to the camera system.”

Stan commented, “Glad to hear it. Considering in a few minutes, the others are going to be here. And they are going to start requesting our help to find their targets.”

Lewis agreed, “That is very true.”

Ed complimented, with pride in her tone of voice, “Boys. You are making your mother proud.”

Lewis and Stan said, in unison, “Thank you.”

Ed then noticed something happen on the computer network. She commented, “Ah oh. I was just about to get control of communications, when I was booted from that part of the system. Someone else is online, and they are starting to put up other firewalls, while running tracer programs on us.”

Stan inquired, “Can they find us?”

Ed answered, “Not yet. I am sending false date packets to the tracer programs, to state several different false locations at one, to whomever is opposing us.”

Lewis said, “This person is good. I just go locked out of the boomer system controls, before I could shut them down.”

Stan commented, “I just lost access to the Star Destroyers.”

Ed asked, “How far were you into that system, Stan?”

Stan answered, “Just got in, right before I was booted from that section.”

Ed inquired, “Okay. What about the life support, sensors, alarms, cameras, and internal mapping?”

Lewis stated, “Life support and cameras are locked down. They are not getting back control. Nor, barring manually cutting the power itself, to much of the station, they are not going to be able to shut down none of those systems.”

Stan commented, “The sensors and alarms are fine, as well.”

Ed responded, “Good. Now boys, we are going to beat them back, while slowly taking most control of the ship. I will take point. You both assist. And these fools are about to find out how radical we are.” She mentally reflected, 'And I still am. Also, I think I recognize these security countermeasures. And if I am right, on who we are facing, we are going to be in for one hell of a fight. Round two, you bitch. And this time it is not going to end in a draw.'

(_)

Elsewhere, in another part of the spacestation, in one of the main data hub, near the barracks, and apartments of the spaceship, Motoko Kusanagi, formerly of Section Nine, of the Ghost in the Shell Standalone Complex reality, was guarding the computer networks.

Before she left Section Nine, she was nicknamed, Major, for that had been her rank in Section Nine, before she resigned. Given she was well liked, trusted, and respected, by her superiors, and her subordinates. As such, her resignation from Section Nine was peacefully accepted and she went to form her own businesses.

Later on, Motoko and Section Nine has to deal with the whole Solid State Society fiasco.

A few years later, Gomez showed up to offer Motoko a job. Which she took. And in doing so, opened her eyes to the wonders of the multiverse.

Presently, Motoko was now a freelance computer security expert, currently working for Gomez, as an independent consultant, to oversee, and upgrade Gomez's computer security.

This was not Motoko's only job in the multiverse. But, it was currently one of her more important jobs.

Given Motoko was on her work shift, her cybernetic body was currently plugged into her data chair, at her desk, in the room, as she oversaw the computer networks of the spacestation.

Motoko spotted the Lowe's family's hacking of her computer security measures, almost immediately after the hackers had became their work. And she recognized the tactics used.

Unfortunately, when it came to computer security, Gomez was a little arrogant on computer security. In relying mostly on automated firewalls, with one person, per shift, standing guard.

So, Motoko was the only one fighting the hackers. This was why Motoko was not able to pull up countermeasures in time to stop them from taking control of a few systems in the ship. Including, a couple of primary systems.

Motoko was quickly able to fortifying what systems the hackers had not taken control of, while also sending out tracing programs, to find them on the spacestation.

Once Motoko had established a defensive line, in the computer networks, she moved forward to remove the hackers' beachhead, in the network.

Though, Motoko was not yet able to stop them in their tracks, as she tried to locate them with tracer programs. She was sure she eventually would locate them.

Though, she found that her tracer programs were being expertly counter as quickly as they came online.

While Motoko had fought the hackers on very computer networks for several years. It was very rare to find hackers that were this swift, and skilled, in their manipulation of a computer network.

As Motoko continued to defend the Interzone's computer networks, she thought, 'Now, who is online, trying to break my security protocols?...”

Motoko then divided her attention between stopping the hackers, and looking at some of the computer code of the hacker software being used.

Motoko immediate recognized the software coding. She then turned her full attention back to the hackers, as she continued her thoughts, 'I don't believe it. It is that redheaded bitch. I know her code from anywhere. And to think, the last I heard of her, she became a housewife, with two kids. I guess I was wrongly informed.'

'Still, if it is her. She may control the settings to life support. But, she is too good natured to use life support as a weapon. Besides, there are redundancies build into life support, that it is not easy to take offline. So, that is no point in worrying about that.'

'Though, I see she is also as good as ever. It is going to take me a little while to track her down. And I think she has help.'

'I will quietly alert the senior staff, and work from there.'

'Chances are that Gomez will have a plan to deal with these intruders. Still, Ed and her friends might be a vanguard. Go in, turn off the alarms, then send in the rest of your forces. Not bad. I will leave the alarms off. So, as to not risk alerting Ed and the others, that I am on to them.'

'For right now, I want the alarms off as much as they do. They give me a headache, and they will tip off any other attacker that their plans have go awry.'

'Now, to contact Gomez. At least, after this, I can request more staff.'

(_)

A minute later, in Gomez's office, Gomez was talking to the Xanatos family.

Gomez was sitting behind his desk, with the only light in the large room being from the lamp on his desk.

Gomez was wearing his green suit, dress shoes, and sunglasses.

In front of Gomez, across his desk, stood David, Fox, Alex, and Puck. David was wearing his black business suit, and dress shoes. Fox wearing a blouse, and high end pants, with slipper. Alex was wearing a turtleneck t-shirt, pants, belt, and tennis shoes. And Puck was in his white butler suit.

The reason for their presence was that David and Fox were there to do their jobs for Gomez. While the reason Alex was there, was so he could learn about his parents various business ventures. And Puck was there, because he did not want to be left out.

Just then, the intercom built into Gomez''s desk, softly beeped.

Everyone in the room went quiet, as Gomez pressed a button on his desk that accepted the incoming call on his desk intercom, with everyone around the desk being able to hear the speaker in the device.

Gomez said, in english, “Yes.”

The female voice on the other end, which was slightly electronic, given it was software generated, stated, in english, “Gomez. This is Motoko, from computer security. I want to inform you that we have an intruder, or two on the ship.”

Everyone in the room had experience with people breaking into places they lived and worked at, so they took the news in stride.

Gomez thought, 'Could they be from Plata Podrido? I doubt it. It would be too soon. Unless, there is time dilation involved. But, it is rare from someone to utilize time dilation in such a manner, for an attack. So, I doubt that is the case. Still, I need to know what is going on.'

Gomez calmly requested, “Please, explain?”

Motoko stated, “I just picked up someone, along your computer network, hacking your systems, somewhere on the ship. And from what I have seen, I believe it is more than just one person. Likely two, or three. While, I am stopping them from going any further, for right now. From the skill they are showing, I believe they are not part of your personnel. If they were, you would have assigned me to work with them.”

Gomez complimented, “That is very astute of you. Do you know where they are?”

Motoko responded, “No. They have control of the camera system. Along, with the sensors and alarm. So, we're blind. Though, I am trying to trace them. But, this is a big ship, and most of it is unoccupied.”

Gomez replied, “That is true.” He thought, 'That is why I refurbished, and teleported, this partly destroyed Super Star Destroyer, here. It may no longer be fit as a warship. But, it makes for a wonderful main base of operations. With plenty of room to expand. Now, to find out what Motoko thinks about this situation. She likely has more experience in intelligent operations than I do. And she does not lie to me. As such, I value her opinion on such matters.'

Gomez inquired, “So, what is your assessment of this situation, Ms Kusanagi?”

Motoko answered, “I do not know if this is an initial part of a larger attack. Or, if it is just a snatch and grab break in, by a few data thieves. What they taken control of, in the computer network. And in what order. Could point to either case.”

Gomez responded, “I agree. We don't know. And until we do, I want you to set a quiet alert. I will inform the senior staff. And send some agents on patrol, while getting you some help. But, do not alert the crew, unless we have to.” He thought, 'A false alarm can be bad for moral. And informing them will gain this organization nothing. Because I would have to explain how they got here. And also, it may create confusion, that the hackers can use to the advantage.'

'Also, if this hackers are good enough to keep Motoko on her toes. We need to deal with this situation very carefully.'

'I don't want to sent boomers on patrol, because the hackers might take control of them. Having the boomers where they are makes them a known quantity.'

'If I am wrong, they will still be guarding the places they are assigned. If I am right, they will only cause damage where we know they already are.'

Motoko replied, “Yes, sir. I look forward to any assistance you can provide.”

Gomez asked, “Also, do you know who it is?” He mentally added, 'With her knowledge and experience. She might actually know who it is.'

Motoko answered, “I suspect I do. Though, I have no proof.”

Gomez thought, 'I don't like working from assumptions. So, I won't dig any further.' He ordered, “Let me know if you find out for sure, who this is.”

Motoko stated, “I will, sir. Motoko out.”

Suddenly the called ended, and the intercom in Gomez's desk automatically set itself on stand by.

Gomez look over at the Xanatos family, as he calmly inquired, “Did you get all that?”

David answered, in english “Yes. This could a reprisal for your attack on Plata Podrido, earlier today.”

Gomez replied, “I doubt it.”

David stated, “This plan of yours relied too much on overwhelming the enemy with large numbers, than from skill. Those that survive will be looking for payback. And it is likely they will eventually track your organization down.”

Gomez requested, “Perhaps. But, not this soon. Still, I want you, and Fox, to put on your powersuits, in your personal quarters here. If you leave now. You should still have time to make it to the cargo hold, to receive the food shipment, I want you to oversee.” He thought, 'I know Alex and Puck have magical powers to protect them. But, losing you and Fox would be bad for everyone involved.'

David thought, 'You are just be cautious, because of how valuable you consider us. And I will not fault you on that.' He said, “We will do as you request.”

Gomez looked over at Fox, with an unspoken question.

Fox realized what Gomez wanted to ask, as she replied, in english, “I put on my exo-suit, as well.”

Gomez responded, “Good. And let me know when the food shipment gets here.” He thought, 'An army marches on their stomachs. And I only buy the best in the multiverse, for my subordinates. And I leave it to David and Fox to handle such shipments. While it is a mundane job. It has to be done.'

David replied, “We will.” He thought, 'This is not the most glorious job we have here. But, you pay well, Gomez. And I have to teach my son that there are some less than glamorous things one has to oversee, if they want to run a successful company.'

The Xanatos family then turned around and left Gomez's office, through the doors, in front of Gomez's desk.

A few seconds later, the doors to Gomez's office closed, behind the Xanatos family.

With Gomez alone in his office, he thought, with concern, 'I hope what Motoko alerted us to, is nothing. I still have to settle this Lovelace kidnapping. But, I will have to do it, after this whole intruder mess is taking care of.'

'Now, to start the ball rolling.'

Gomez pressed a button his desk. He then said, “Get me, Sylia Stingray.”

A few seconds later, Sylia commented, from the other end of the line, “Yes, Gomez.”

Gomez stated, “Sylia, we have a situation developing that I believe needs your team's attention. Standard fare for internal jobs, on the ship.”

Sylia inquired, “Go on. What are the details?”

Gomez responded, “We have some hackers that have shown up, that are giving Motoko some trouble. She is currently fighting them, while tracing back to where they are. Also, we don't know if this is just some data thieves. Or, if they are the vanguard of a larger attack.”

“To make matters worse. We have have lost control of the cameras, sensors, and alarm systems. So, we are blind to any other intruders that may show up.”

“We need you to sent a few of your subordinates to assist her. I think Nene is good enough to help Motoko directly deal with the hackers. While one other to be sent out to find and deal with the hacker. A trained fighter in a hardsuit should make short work of the hackers.”

“With the remaining six of you patrolling the station, on foot, looking for any other intruders that might so up.”

“Also, I will have some others also looking around the ship, as well. I request that you patrol and assist Motoko, until the hackers are dealt with.”

“Though, I want to keep this quiet, from my rank and file subordinates.”

Sylia asked, “I understand. Do you want prisoners?”

Gomez replied, “I leave that to your discretion.”

Sylia responded, “Fine. Inform Motoko that she will have assistance within fifteen minutes. The rest of us will search the ship, as a group.”

Gomez said, “I will.”

Gomez then disconnect that line, and connected to another line, as he ordered, “Connect me to Motoko Kusanagi.”

A few seconds later, Motoko said, over the line, “Yes.”

Gomez stated, “Ms Kusanagi, you will have assistance coming to aid you, within fifteen minutes.”

Motoko replied, “Thank you.”

Gomez then disconnect from that connection.

Next, Gomez began to use his intercom system to call various other agents to assist Motoko, the Xanatos family, and the Knight Sabers. Along, with him contacting the senior staff, to keep them appraised, as the situation developed.

(_)

Inside the large living room of private guest quarters assigned to the eight members of Knight Sabers.

Though, some of them were originally men. All of the members of the Knight Sabers were presently women.

Even so, that was decades ago for them. Of those present was their leadership, whom was also one of their teams close combat specialist. That woman being Sylia Stingray.

Second in command, and sniper, Kate Madigan

Close combat specialist, Linna Yamazaki.

Medium range gunner, and close quarters specialist, Priscilla S. Asagiri, nicknamed Priss.

Computer expert, and support specialist, Nene Romanova.

Tech support. Including, directing and controlling the motoslaves in combat. And heavy weapons expert, Mackie Stingray. Whom was also Sylia Stingray's younger sister.

Heavy weapons, and explosives expert, Daley Wong.

Sniper, and heavy weapons expert, Leon McNichol.

They had been enjoying themselves, in the living room of their quarters. Playing cards, watching TV, working on their computers, talking to each other, reading books, and other such activities, done to pass the time away.

That was until Gomez had called Sylia.

At the moment, their TV was turned off. They sat around the room, as they remained silent, while they let Sylia finish her phone call on her encrypted cellphone.

Sylia closed her cellphone, and put it away.

Kate asked, “So, what did Gomez want?”

Sylia responded, “We have a situation developing. Some hackers have made it aboard the ship. Motoko is fighting them, right now. But, she needs help. Also, she cannot find them because they have control of the sensors and camera.”

“Gomez has requested that we send two people to assist Motoko. While the other six, plus two motoslaves, will patrol together, for any other intruders. He will also send others to patrol other parts of the ship.”

“And I have accepted this job. Time is of the essence. We need to get into our hardsuits as soon as possible.”

“Nene, for obvious reasons. You are going to assist Motoko with stopping these hackers and taking back control of the ship. Also, I want you to give me periodic updates.”

Nene replied, “Will do.”

Sylia stated, “Linna. You are going with her. In the hopes you can find the hackers, and stop them.”

Linna inquired, “I will do what I can. How do you want these intruders handled?”

Sylia said, “Use your best judgment.”

Linna replied, “Okay.”

Sylia said, “People we have a job to do. So, let us get suited up.”

All eight women stood up, and headed for their personal armory, near their guest quarters. Their personal armory was where they had stored their weapons, softsuits, hardsuits, and two Typhoon II motoslaves.

It did not take them long to get prepared, and began their missions.

(_)

A few minutes later, Chang's other teams became to arrive. They all teleported in, where they were suppose to be. Mostly either large rooms, or hallways.

All of them teleport in areas that did not have people, nor boomers, nearby.

Of the groups, Chang's group, Violin's group, Akira's group, Violin's group, along with Roberta and Hernan, had no problems, as they began to make their way down their assigned paths, to their targets, or possible targets of opportunity.

Though, given the nature of Hotels Moscow's mission, Balalaika had to contact the Lowe family, to learn which path to take, to set the ambush up against the Knight Sabers.

In the large room they were in, those that were there were, Balalaika, B, Rock whom carrying Revy's semi-automatic pistols in shoulder holsters, Revy in her red hardsuit, Sawyer in her black hardsuit and chainsaw slung across a sling on her back, and several members of Hotel Moscow. With all of the members of Hotel Moscow, that were present, being equipped with weapons, and literally ready for war.

As Balalaika used her ear piece to contact the Lowe family. She said, “Hello.”

On the other end, Lewis replied, “Hello Balalaika. I am sure you are calling to know which path to take.”

Balalaika replied, “That is correct.”

Lewis stated, “I apologize. But, we are kind of busy at the moment.”

Balalaika inquired, “What is the situation?”

Lewis answered, “We are dealing with fighting off a very skilled expert hacker, whom is defending the computer network. This hacker is holding their own against all three of us. Also, we are having to use the sensors and cameras to keep track of several teams and targets. While relying that information, to those teams that need it. So, we are a little shorthanded at the moment.”

Balalaika replied, “I understand.” She thought, 'Some people don't understand how difficult it can be to oversee such information, that change from minute to minute, while making sure those that need to know, get the correct information they need. And the Lowe family are dealing with a skilled hacker, as well. All in all, they are doing a good job. So, I will cut them some slack. Though, I do have a few more questions.'

Balalaika asked, “Have the other teams made here, alright?”

Lewis said, “As far as we know. Yes.”

Balalaika responded, “Good. What is going on with the Knight Sabers? They are my primary interest.”

Lewis stated, “I can see Knight Sabers on the cameras and sensors. They have already been alerted, and are now on the move.”

Balalaika inquired, “What should I expect?”

Lewis answered, “They are all in their hardsuits, and they split up into two teams. One is a six members team, with two motoslave robots assisting. The other team is just two of them in their hardsuits. And if what we suspect is the case. Those two are coming for us.”

Balalaika inquired, “Do you need help?”

Lewis said, “No. We think we can handle them. Though, there are others that have been alerted, as well.”

Balalaika asked, “Such as?”

Lewis stated, “While the boomers are still at their posts. There are a few teams moving around. Such as the Xanatos family. Along with a team composed of Cad Bane, Deadpool, Barbossa.”

Balalaika responded, “I take it you are going to contact Chang and Violin's groups?”

Lewis commented, “Stan is already handling that, right now.”

Balalaika inquired, “Will, you still be able to guide us.”

Lewis responded, “Yes. Here is the path, and location, that we believe will have the best chance for an ambush against those six Knight Sabers, and their robots. While allowing you to avoid the least number of problems.”

Balalaika replied, “Good.”

Lewis then laid out the path and location for the ambush, for Balalaika. As Balalaika lead the others with her, to their ambush point.

(_)

Meanwhile, Pedro's group had stumbled onto a minor problem with their mission.

Just after Pedro's team had teleport onto Gomez's spacestation, into a moderately sized room, he surveyed his team. Which included, Matthew, Matt, Burt, and Fabiola. With Fabiola being the want to teleport them there.

Pedro then checked on his team. With all of them saying they were fine.

By that time, Fabiola had put the reality device, that she had used, into a pocket in the folds of her skirt. Though, it was in a different pocket than her own reality device.

It was then, as they looked around, that they all quickly realized they had a problem.

As they looked at the problem, before them, Pedro thought, 'Even thought we have this problem. Given my track record with reality travel, I knew it was a good idea to give the reality device, that Lee handed out to me, to Fabiola.'

'Well, while we are stumped, I might as well see how Hernan is doing. Maybe I will come up with a solution, to our problem, as we talk. And I will use english for the benefit of Matthew, Matt, and Burt.'

Pedro shifted his FN FAL L Two A One rifle in his hands, as he thought talking to Hernan. He then asked, in engish, “So, how are you two doing?”

Hernan said, in english, “Fine. We are heading for our are target. I guess these things work.”

Pedro thought, 'I guess these things work.' He replied, “Yea. I was thinking the same thing.”

Hernan let out a laugh. He then inquired, “How are things on your end?”

Pedro, along with the rest of his group, looked in front of him, in a room the room they were in. With the room forked into two doorways, on opposite sides of the same well.

They had already checked to make sure that it was not that the two doors did not connect to the same hallway. And, as far as they could see, each doorway led to a different hallway.

Pedro commented, with a hint of sarcasm, “Great. Just great.” He continued in a more serious tone of voice, “You focus on your mission. We are focusing on ours.”

Hernan replied, “Fine.”

Pedro then thought to end the conversation.

Matt commented, “This was not on the map.”

Matthew questioned, “Could we have teleported to the wrong location.”

Fabiola stated, “No. I have years of experience doing this. And we are facing the right direction.”

Pedro commented, “Now, I am sure we are in the right place. That is why I handed Fabiola the reality device. She has the most experience, of all of us, in reality traveling.”

Fabiola replied, “Thank you.”

Pedro stated, “Don't thank me just yet. We still have a problem. That being this is a nineteen kilometer long ship. And due to the size, a few mistakes are going to happen on that map.”

Matt pointed out, “Still, if we pick the wrong one, we likely will not be able to rescue your friends.”

Pedro flatly replied, “I know.”

Burt asked, “So, what are we going to do, now?”

Pedro said, “Simple. We ask for help. And we figure out which path is the proper one to take.”

Pedro thought of the Lowe family. He then commented, “Hey guys. It is Pedro. We could use some help.”

Stan replied, “Sorry, Pedro. We cannot talk, right now. We are to busy trying to keep everyone alive. We know you are not in danger yet. So, we will talk later.”

Suddenly, Pedro heard the very slight background static on the line, go dead. Meaning Stan had disconnected the line, from his end.

Pedro felt slight anger, though he did not show friends that he was upset. Pedro thought, 'This mission is time sensitive. We do not have time to wait. So, we are going to have to do this the hard way.'

Pedro looked over at his group, as he stated, “Well, that was a bust. They said they were to busy. I think we can only imagine what that means.” He thought, 'They are likely dealing with a hacker, defending the ship's computers. But, I want my team to stay focused, and not worry about other things. Especially, after what I am about to pull. Which I know they are not going to like.'

Pedro continued, “It looks like we are going to have to do this the hard way. If we are in the right place. And we are facing the right direction. Then, the hallway to our right will lead to the outer right side of the ship. While the left side takes us deeper into the ship. Logic dictates that the detention block in deeper in the ship. So, we should take the left way.”

Matt commented, “Logic has become a rarity in our lives.”

Pedro agreed, “True. So, two of us will go right. And other three go left. Because chances are the detention block is on the left.”

Burt inquired, “So, who is going right? And who is going left?”

Pedro answered, “Myself, and Matthew, will be going right. The rest of you will be going left.”

Matthew replied, “That works for me.”

Pedro commented, “If I am wrong, and we find the detention block, we will contact you, and you can double back. But, should you find the detention block, we will double back.”

Fabiola said, “Sounds like a plan.”

Pedro stated, “I am glad you agree, Fabiola. Because, you are in charge of Burt and Matt.”

Matt commented, “Fine with me. She has been the voice of reason, more often than not, on this insane journey.”

Burt replied, “I don't mind, either.”

Fabiola said, “I guess I can handle taking charge.”

Pedro responded, “Good. Now, let's get going.”

The group then split up. With Fabiola, Burt, and Matt, entering the doorway to the left. And Pedro and Matthew taking the doorway to the right.

(_)

A few minutes later, elsewhere in the ship, Chang, River, Lee, and Shenhua were making their way through a hallway, on the ship. With the hallway was empty of people, save for the four adults.

They were using the directions that Stan had given them.

At the moment they were hunting, Deadpool, Cad Bane, and Barbossa. Instead of the going after their primary targets, the Xanatos family.

The reason for this was that Stan had informed them that they were closer to those three targets, than the Xanatos family. With Violin's group being closer Xanatos family.

As such, Stan had told Chang that Violin's group had already been informed of this situation. And they were in route to deal with the Xanatos family.

This news delighted Shenhua, in that she was one step closer to revenge against her previous incarnation. Though, of the group, only River knew the real reasons why Shenhua wanted to kill Barbossa.

River and Lee just wanted to deal with them, and move on with their mission.

As for Chang, he was okay with the change of plans. Because this was part of the redundancy he had built into his plans.

While they walked down the hallway, Chang was working on possible, plans in dealing with their targets, as they came across their three targets, one at a time.

For Deadpool, Chang was working on what he could say in possible negotiations with the red and black clad lunatic. Given Chang had River and Lee with him, with their creative minds, he was sure he could talk Deadpool into making a deal with him.

For Cad Bane, they would just kill him quickly and move on.

For Barbossa, they would stand out of the way of Shenhua, so she could deal with the old pirate.

The group entered an empty room, and they came to a stop. The reason they came to a halt was because they saw the room had several doorways, leading to other hallways. And they were not sure which direction to take.

The four of them spread out, as Shenhua asked, “Which way?”

Lee suggested, “We will ask Stan. That is probably the quickest way to do so.”

Shenhua pointed out, “I thought your precognition could tell us the proper way.”

Lee responded, “It doesn't work like that. I can tell you which way is the most dangerous. And which is the least. But, with so many dangers on this ship. I cannot really gauge well, which are the most dangerous directions to go, and which are the least. Also, River's telepathy has limits, as well.

Shenhua replied, “Oh.”

Suddenly, River ordered, “Everyone quiet down. I sense some people coming.”

Chang inquired, “Can you sense who they are?”

River answered, “No. They are all trained to guard their minds.”

Chang said, “That means that they are dangerous.”

Lee commented, “I would ask where to hide, but there is nowhere to hide.”

Shenhua stated, “Hiding is for the weak.”

Chang and Shenhua then strained their enhanced hearing, as they began to make out three distinct voices coming towards them, from the doorway across the room, in front of them.

From the statements being made of the three people, Chang and Shenhua were able to piece together who they were.

Shenhua just grinned wildly.

Meanwhile, Chang inwardly winced in annoyance, as he thought, 'I think I may have misunderstood what Stan had told us. He was clearly very busy, and he talked to us in a hasty manner. So, it is possible that I misunderstood him.'

'In my planning, I did not expect to meet all three of them at once. I know two of them are reported to have worked together. But, the three of them each tending to be lone wolves, save for their subordinates. Which clearly none of them are to each other.'

'I better come up with a plan. And a good one, very quickly.'

River said, “I would suggest you do.”

By then, River and Lee could also hear the three people's voices, as they came closer to the door way across from them.

An old, raspy, masculine voice stated, “Well, the station is under attack. So, this was a reasonable request.”

A masculine voice, with a slight echo to it, commented, “I still don't like working together, in this fashion.”

A voice that was masculine, those had a broken pitch that went up and down, as the man talked, said, “You are just pissed that the man in green put me in change.”

Just then, the three men walked into the room, on the opposite side, from where Chang, Lee, Shenhua, and River were. The two groups were about fifty feet from each other, with Chang's group seeing who the three men were.

The men were Barbossa, Cad Ban, and Deadpool. And all three of them had their weapons and gear over their clothing.

Deadpool had his red and black customer and full ski mask on. Which covers his face and head. With his holsters pistols in a gunbelt filled with pouches. To sub-machine guns slung over his shoulders. And two katana swords, sheathed in scabbards, sit in a crisscross fashion, on his back.

Barbossa was in his classic, black pirate outfit, with hat, and coat. Though, had on his black biker's gloves. And under his coat, he had on his modern gunbelt, with his series eighty semi-automatic pistol holstered on his right side of his belt, and, and his sheathed cutlass, in its scabbard, on the left side of his belt.

And Bane was dress in his usual black clothing, coat, and long brimmed brown fedora hat. He had his two blaster pistols holstered on the sides of his belt, along with various other gadgets attached to his clothing. With most of these gadgets hidden under his coat, or under his clothing.

Bane commented, “Well, when it comes to you, I do worry about what happens next.” He then noticed the four adults across the room, as he came to a stop. He stated, “Well. Well. Well. Who do we have here?”

The other men turned to see Chang's group, as they came to a stop here.

Deadpool stated, “Taking into account the situation we just walked into, I will give you that one, Bane.”

Barbossa said, “Shenhua, I am sincerely glad to see you alive.”

Shenhua spat out, “No thanks to you. Just so you know. You're dead.”

Barbossa cryptically stated, “That is quite apparent.”

Cad Bane sized up the four adults, whom were across the room, from him, Deadpool, and Barbossa. Bane cracked a grin, as he commented, “Such a challenging selection in front of us. For the most part. I like it.”

Deadpool suggested, “Shall we play the Scooby game?”

Cad Bane agreed, “Good idea.”

Barbossa stated, “I wish I never saw those moves.”

Deadpool quipped, “Everybody needs some cheese in their life. Besides, the animated series is always better. Especially, Mystery Inc. Now that was ballsy series.”

Chang, River, Lee, and Shenhua, all watched as Barbossa, Cad Bane, and Deadpool quickly turned around, and split up, as they ran entered separate hallways.

Shenhua immediately yelled, “Barbossa! You are mine!” She then unsheathed her long knives, as she ran the hallway that Barbossa had entered.

Meanwhile, Chang did quick calculations, as to who should fight who. And he swiftly stated, “I apologize, River. I need you to go after Deadpool. I know he is unkillable. So, just find a way to get him down for the count. Or, find a way convince him to surrender. Without you getting hurt.”

River replied, “I am not sleeping with him.”

Chang said, “I am not asking you too.”

River stated, “Good. I just wanted to make that clear.”

Chang commented, “Okay. I will take Bane. Lee, do what you do best. Come up with a plan b. In case we fail.”

Lee replied, “On it.”

Chang pulled out his hardballer pistols, from his shoulder holsters, and carefully turned off the hammer safeties, as he hastily followed Bane down another hallway.

Meanwhile, River pulled out her modified Bizon from her side holsters. sub-machine guns, as she then ran down the hallway that Deadpool had entered.

Lee watched her two lovers run passed her, and into two separate hallways.

A few moments later, after everyone was gone, Lee kept her Mac Ten she had slung to her right side, hanging off her shoulder, as she looked around the room.

Lee thought, 'I think it is best to do what Chang suggested. I do not want to be a potentially deadly distraction. I will let them fight each other, while I do what I do best, come up with plans.'

'Besides, I just came up with an idea on handling the Xanatos family. And if it works, I will win a bet between River, Chang, and I. And taking the Xanatos family out of the equation if far more important, than taking down Bane, Deadpool, or Barbossa.'

'I will be highly disappointed, if Chang, River, or Shenhua, have problems with handling those three.'

Lee then pulled out her reality device, as she continued thinking, 'I am glad River, Chang, and I, decided to keep spares for us three. Now, to do my job.'

Lee thought of the reality, place, and time, she wanted to go. She held that thought, as she press the red button on the device. She then instantly disappeared, as she jumped to another reality.

(_)

Meanwhile, deeper within the ship, inside one of the main data hubs of the ship, Motoko was sitting in her data chair, at her workstation, while she plugged into the computer network.

At the moment, the beautiful cyborg woman, with short purple hair, was holding her own against Ed, Stan and Lewis, over control of the Interzone computer networks.

Suddenly the door to the room opened. Then, Nene and Linna walked into the room.

While Motoko did not have access to the ship's camera system, she did have access to the camera system in the room she was in.

Motoko saw that Nene in her red and pink hardsuit, and Linna in her green hardsuit.

Motoko thought, 'So, this is the help that Gomez got for me. Good choices. Nene might not be as good as Ed and myself But, she is good enough to assist me.'

Motoko stated, through the speakers in the room, “Nene. Linna. It is good to see you. Nene, hook into the computer and help me. I will handle the offensive, while you watch my back, and assist with defense.”

Nene said, “No problem.” She walked over to a nearby computer tower. Then, wires came out of her right gauntlet, from her wrists. The wires the connects to the computer tower she was standing beside.

Motoko requested, “Linna, while we fight off these intruders, I want you to head back out. Keep you communication channels open, as we track down the hackers. We will find them, and lead you to them, to deal with them.”

Linna inquired, “Do you have any idea as to where they are?”

Motokot answered, “Yes. I have already narrowed down their location within a two hundred meter radius.”

Linna replied, “Okay.” She thought, 'Not bad. Considering the size of this ship.' She turned around, and walked out the door, with her shutting the door behind her.

Meanwhile, Nene began to help Motoko through her hardsuit's computers. Though, Nene was not directly connected to the computers, she was able to adequately assist Motoko.

(_)

Elsewhere in the ship, in a secondary data hub, Ed, Stan, and Lewis, were sitting on the floor, as they used their laptop computers to fight on Motoko, so they could take control of the ship.

Ed looked at her monitor screen, of her laptop computer, while she was tapping her keyboard. She stated, “We got another hacker online. And whomever is helping that bitch, is fairly good at this. Not as good as us. But, still respectable.”

Lewis said, “It was bound to happen that our opponent would get help.”

Stan commented, “I will assist you, mom. While, Lewis handles communications.”

Ed replied, “That is fine with me.”

Lewis stated, “Okay. I'll do handle talking with everyone. Also, I will keep an eye on the camera system of the hallways nearby. They are bound to trace us back here. Eventually.”

Stan replied, “Good point.”

Ed said, “Boys. If we do our jobs correctly, we will be fine.”

Nearby, Lori had quietly heard their conversation. She had her revolver in her right hand, as she stood behind some cover, while keep her eyes on the sole door to the room.

Lori thought, 'Lewis is right. We are starting to run out of time. And I need to come up with a plan for when Gomez's forces arrive. Still, we will have warning, beforehand. So, we will know what is coming. And we will figure out how to handle them, before they get here.'

(_)

In another part of the ship, Chang ran, as he followed Bane through the ship. Including, up a few flights of stairs, to another part of the ship.

Chang had both his loaded, hardballer forty-five, semi-automatic pistols, in his hands.

While Chang was nowhere near tire, Bane kept turning corner, after corner, preventing Chang from getting a clear shot on Bane.

Then, Chang followed through a large hallway, with a few turns. And when he saw Bane duck into a large doorway nearby. He followed Bane inside.

Right after Chang entered the doorway, he came to an immediate stop. He allowed his forty-five pistols to lower to his sides, with his weapons pointing downward, as he looked around him.

Right in front of him, about twenty-five feet away, though nowhere near the middle of the large room, he saw Bane, with his blaster pistols drawn, but held downward, to his sides.

Though, Bane was not the problem. The problem is that Chang had walked right into a very large gym, where there were several men and women, mostly humans, whom were using the various workout equipment to exercise.

And all of those inside the gyms, had stopped what they were doing, as they look at Bane and Chang.

There were several doorways, around the walls of the gym. All of them were open. Also, the gym was well ventilated from air ducts in the nearly twenty feet high ceiling, to allow heat to rise, so the air would not become stuffy in room.

While Chang did not show it on the outside. He thought, with worry, 'I don't have enough bullets to take this many people on at once. Still, I wonder.'

Chang asked, “This is not going to be like Han Solo on the Death Star?”

Bane flatly answered, “No.” He thought, 'If anyone is going to kill you. It will be me. Not them.'

Chang thought, 'Interesting. He got the reference. Though, I am not surprised he has seen the movies, and probably his series, as well.'

Bane continued to look at Chang, as he ordered, “Everyone! Out!”

Of the next several seconds, both men just silently stared at each other, as the room empty out.

As the men and women left the room, both Chang and Cad Bane continued to look at each other. Each of them knew that the other would strike the moment they became distracted.

Those in the gym clearly knew enough about Cad Bane, for them to not question him. Instead, the men and women in the gym quickly got up, and left the room in a hurry. Though, they did not go to the locker and showers rooms nearby. Instead, they fled the gym all together, as they headed to their personal quarters to get cleaned up and changed. With more than few of them also alerting security to the intruder in one of the gyms of the spacestation.

Though, security had already been informed of what going on, with security being ordered by Gomez to keep things quiet. With security personnel informing those that contacted them, that the situation was being handled. Which it technically was. Just not by the security personnel.

Back in the gym, Bane continued to stand in the middle of the room, while Chang stood at one of the entrance in the room.

A few seconds later, after everyone else left, Bane demanded, “Now, what do you want?”

Chang responded, “Bane, I want you too know, I think you are good at what you do. Very good. But while, I am grateful to you, Bane. For ordering everyone here to leave and live. I am still going to have to kill you. You pissed off the wrong people. And now you have to die.”

Bane thought, 'I guess Roberta and the father of that family, send this... Person after me. And sooner than I expected. Still, I know exactly who, and what, you are.' He stated, “I am not surprised you would say that, Chang.”

Chang questioned, “So, you have heard of me?”

Bane stated, “Let's not play dumb. We both have heard of each other. And of each others friends and allies.”

Chang commented, “True.”

Bane asked, “Still, I am surprised that you did not offer me a job?”

Chang answered, “I didn't offer you a job, for the same reason I never directly hired, Revy. You are a little too bloodthirsty and greedy for my tastes. That is a bad combination to have.” He thought, 'While Shenhua can be bloodthirsty. And even I have had my moments. Though, she is nowhere near as greedy as Revy can be.'

Bane conceded, “I will admit to that.”

Chang stated, “I like to avoid problems, when I can. But, we both know neither of us is going to walk away from this fight, peacefully.”

Bane agreed, “True. There would be no fun in doing so.”

Chang said, “You are correct about that.”

Chang then used his enhanced reflexes and dexterity, to quickly took aim and fired one round from his left pistol, at the right side of Bane's belt, missing his body, but destroying his reality device.

Bane kept his eyes on Chang, as he immediately realized what had happened. He asked, “How did you know I kept my little traveling toy there?”

Chang slyly answered, “One of my lovers knows you very well.” He mentally reflected, 'And I don't want you to make any quick escapes, this time. Besides, I know why you didn't yet use it to escape me. You want to fight me, as much as I want to fight you.'

'And that is why I didn't kill you with that shot. I want you know know I beat you in battle. And not with a cheap trick.'

Bane grumbled, “That figures.” He then cracked a grin, as he proudly stated, “Now, my turn?”

Bane immediately moved to his right, as he raised his both weapons, and fired at Chang, in a dual wielding style.

Chang immediately move to his right, as he fired to aim with both his weapons, and fired back at Bane, in his dual wielding style.

And their duel began.

(_)

In a part of the ship, near the lower decks, where one some of the large cargo bays and hatches into space were, Violin's team moved down the hallway.

After they had spoken to Stan, on going after the Xanatos family. With Stan infroming them where the Xanatos family was heading. With Stan finding a record that the Xanatos family would be overseeing the arrival of a food shipment for the ship.

None of them question such a mundane task for the Xanatos family. And Stan gave them directions and coordinates to which cargo bay the Xantos family was heading too.

Once their conversation with Stan was finished. They agreed, to make their trip quicker, that it would be best for Arcee, in motorcycle mode, to take point, and lead them through the corridors of the ship.

Behind Arcee, was Aeryn, carrying her large peacekeeper pulse burster.

Behind Aeryn, was Violin and Annie. With Annie to Violin's left side.

Behind Violin and Annie, was Eda and Yolanda. With Eda to Yolanda's right side.

Eda held her blued black Glock seventeen L semi-automatic pistol, in her right hand. He pistol was loaded with armor-piercing nine millimeter ammo, in a seventeen round magazine.

Yolanda had out her gold plated Mark I Desert Eagle semi-automatic pistol. Her pistol was loaded with armor-piercing forty-fort magnum bullets, in an eight round magazine.

Both women had their pistols pointed downwards.

As the group continued to walk, Yolanda inquired, “So, are we going to try to negotiate with Xanatos family?”

Violin answered, “No. They are all geniuses. And the only team here that could pull that off is Chang's team.”

Eda asked, “So, what is the plan?”

Violin flatly stated, “We make the surrender at the beginning.”

Eda questioned, in a skeptical tone of voice,”And how many times has that worked?”

Aeryn commented, “More times than you would believe. But, if they don't surrender. We take them down.” She turned her attention to Arcee, whom was in front of her, as she asked, “Arcee, how far until we reach the target location?”

Arcee answered, “Just up the hallway. About ten meters.”

Annie stayed silent, because she was enjoying the conversation. And she had nothing important to add to the discussion. Though, she thought, 'At least I will finally get to meet the Xanatos family. I wonder what they are like. Though, I have no doubt they are dangerous... Though, so are we.'

A few seconds later, they entered the room, from a hallway, and fanned out, to stand beside each other. Though, Arcee remained in motorcycle mode, so that her the sounds she made while transforming, did not alert them targets.

The room itself was a very large cargo bay, with very high ceilings. Hundreds of meters wide. Hundreds of meets long. And hundreds of meters high. There were large crates scattered through out the room. Though, the room was mostly empty.

As Violin's group stood there, they saw the Xanatos family standing about a hundred feet from them, near some crates.

There were also two robots standing by Xanatos family.

Though, none of the four members of the Xanatos family, nor the two robots, facing them.

Violin commented, “There they are.” Her lips then curled into a wicked grin, as she said, “And look. They have their backs turned to us. Let's give them a wake up called.”

(_)

Further inside the room, from Violin's group, the Xanatos family stood around, as they waited for their food suppliers to come.

And their family was prepared for battle.

While Alex and Puck were in the same clothing as what they had on, when they met Gomez. Both magical users could summon their tools, at will, at a moments notice.

Though, for David and Fox, they did as Gomez had suggested. And they wore their exo-suits, which were both shaped in the form of the gargoyle, Goliath.

Their exo-suits had wings and back thrusters that allowed them to fly in a gravity environment. Their suits were pressurized, and could handle extreme environments. Including the vacuum of space. The suits also greatly enhanced their strength, while maintaining their agility and reflexes.

For weapons, each suit had powerful claw on its fingers, energy cannons, that popped up from their housing, on the top of the forearms, and a back tail, that could be used like a ball and chain.

Also, the helmet of each suit had a heads up display in the helmet that offer weapons targeting, communications, and sensor systems.

David's exo-suit was red and black. While, the color of Fox's exo-suit armor was mostly gold, with underlying chrome parts and highlights.

Fortunately, when David designed his exo-suits, he made this so they were flexible enough to fit most human adults that were in good physical shape. No matter their gender.

And David had convinced Fox to practice in her exo-suit.

It was not very hard for David to get Fox into an exo-suit. Fox already had a pilot's licenses for both light aircraft, and helicopters.

And one flight over New York City, in her exo-suit, and she was in love with the technology.

But, David was one to also whom preferred to prepare, even more so than those around him realized.

As such he brought with him, two of the steel clan robots, whom were standing next to each other, thirty feet away from the Xanatos family. To the Xanatos' family left side.

The two robots were shaped like the gargoyle, Goliath. Their armor was black, chrome, and teal.

The androids had simple AIs, and could be controlled from either David, or Fox's exo-suits.

While his family patiently waited for their food suppliers to arrive and deliver their cargo, David mentally lamented, 'To bad we cannot have a subordinate handle this. But, our suppliers demand a high ranking member of an organization to sign for their shipments. And this is a good lesson, for my son, on handling the more mundane matters of a company.'

Suddenly, two gunshots range out, almost simultaneously.

A second later, both of the steel clan robots dropped to the ground.

David turned to the robots to see that both androids had a single bullet hole in the back of their heads.

David thought, 'Nice shooting. Though, who did that?'

David, Fox, Alex, and Puck, turned to see Violin, Annie, Aeryn, Eda, Yolanda, and Arcee, standing near one of the entrances to the room.

Eda and Yolanda were both pointing their pistols at them, with smoke still coming out of both the barrels of their guns.

Also, Aeryn was pointing the barrel of her large pulse burster at them.

David thought, 'Well, it looks like Gomez was right to be worried. Though, even I did not expect their reprisal to be this soon.'

Yolanda continued to point her gun at them, as she calmly requested, “Now, if you four would please surrender. We can finish our business here as quickly as possible.

Fox rhetorically quipped, though her speaker system,“And what would be the fun in that?”

David inquired, “I did not expect all of you to show up so soon.”

Violin understood the context of Davi's comment. She questioned, “So, you knew about the attack?”

David thought, 'Good catch.' He responded, “Yes. And my family and I were against that plan, to avoid this very situation. And we voiced our concerns with Gomez. But, Gomez is the boss of this organization. Not me.”

Violin stated, “That is why we are giving you the chance to surrender. Instead, of just killing you. By shooting you in the back.”

David thought, 'I don't doubt you would have. Your group has always been almost as pragmatic as we are. Though, I will not be embarrassed in front my family.'

David sarcastically replied, “Well, I have to decline such a humble offer.”

Violin responded, “Sorry, to hear you say that. It looks like we will have to do this the hard way.”

David calmly said, “Fine with me. Family. Please, pick your targets.”

Alex commented, in an arrogant tone of voice, “I will take Annie.”

Annie turned to Alex, as she firmly stated, “Child. Don't let your youth and immaturity get the better of you. Stand down.”

Suddenly, and white, ornate, six feet long, crystal and wooded staff appeared in Alex's hands. He took a defensive position, in front of him. He commented, in an excited tone of voice, “Oh come on. It is not every day that one gets the chance to fight Darth Vader.”

Annie flatly warned, “Kid, I don't want to hurt you.” Annie then used her right hand to unhooked, and ignited, her red bladed lightsaber, in front of her. After which, Annie defensive stance, in front of her, with both her hand holding her lightsaber.

Puck calmly said, “Annie, I believe you are seriously underestimating my student. Anyway, I will take Arcee. For a while now, I have wanted to see how I would match up against a several million year old Cybertronian warrior. And Arcee will do nicely.”

Arcee transformed into robot mode. She then pulled out her two sword hilts. One hilt in each other. Next, she ignited her flaming swords, as she stated, “I don't relish fighting you, Puck. But, I will.”

David said, “I will take Violin. My suit needs a workout, and she will provide it.” He thought, 'Fox, I don't want you end up fighting Violin. Because one mistake against, with her fast, and powerful blows, could be fatal. Even in these exo-suits.'

Violin commented, “I have no beef with you, David. But, if you want a thrashing. I will give you one.”

Fox turned her helmet towards Eda, Yolanda, and Aeryn, as she casually stated, “And I will take the scraps.” She thought, 'David, I knew you would picked Violin, because you did not want me to face her. Because her strength and speed makes her a much deadlier opponent than these three. And I appreciate that. Maybe I will give you a reward, in bed, when we get back home.'

Eda demanded, “Hey! Take that back!”

Yolanda calmly suggested, with a hint of malice in her tone of voice, “Eda. Instead of yelling. Let us just prove how gravely she has underestimated us.”

Aeryn stated, “I agree.” She then fired her pulse burster at the Xanatos family.

Before the blast could hit, the Xanatos family immediately scattered from where they were standing, by going into the air. David and Fox did so by their suits back thrusters, while Puck and Alex used magic. With the only damage from the explosion being the two deactivated steel clan androids, and some crates filled with food, that were behind the Xanatos family.

The Xanatos family then dive bombed their targets, forcing Violin's group to scatter, as the battle began.

(_)

In another part of the ship, River had followed Deadpool into a large green house. Which looked like a large European garden, with trimmed grass, flower beds, pathes created by shaped hedges. The garden stretched for several hundred feet in front of her, to her sides. And the ceiling being fifty feet high.

The lights in the room where dimmed slightly, to simulate twilight. Though, River could still clearly see Wade Deadpool Wilson, standing about twenty feet from her.

And River was sure that Wade could see her clearly, as well.

Though, River did not see, nor sense, anyone else nearby.

Both of them were held their weapons, by dual wielding their sub-machine guns. But, they pointed their weapons at the ground.

As the two of them continued to stare at each other, River thought, 'I do not see any crops here. So, I think this might someone's private garden. Maybe this is even Gomez's private gardens. For him to come here, when he feels the need to think, in a more peaceful, Earth like environment. I have done similar things, by walking the various parks in Plata Podrido, and elsewhere.'

'Still, it is too bad that Wade is too insane for me to read his mind. Doing so would make negotiating with him much easier.'

Deadpool calmly stated, “If you are wondering. This is Gomez's private garden. I figured this would be a good place as any for the violent odyssey will we area about to experience the evening.”

“Sort of like the Beatrix Kiddo versus O-Ren Ishii scene, at the Kill Bill Volume One. Great movie. The second movie sucked. But, the first one was good. And this place has a more a spring motif, instead of the winter motif in that scene. And we are using guns, instead of katanas. Though, I could provide us with the katanas, if you would prefer to do this, that way?”

River replied, “No thank you. And that was a nice movie.”

Deadpool casually commented, “Glad you agree. Either way, this is a wonderful, to start this fun little fight. And good little way to start this fight, would be to bow to you, and the audience. Or, at least to you. Since I can see you.'

He then nodded his head once towards River, in sort of a slight bow.

River thought, 'While I wonder how he knew I was thinking that. At least, I guessed right, this being Gomez's private gardens. And he is insane... I hope. Though, now to convince him not to fight us.'

River calmly said, “Deadpool, it doesn't have to be this way. I would prefer to negotiate with you. Than to fight you.”

Deadpool looked towards River, as he countered, “I am sure. But please, don't let me be misunderstood. Great song, by the way. When will with the Bride scene I was just talking about. Anyway, I still have to fight you. If I did not, I would not be demonstrating my value. You will consider me worthless.”

River was slightly off guard, as she commented, in a flatfooted manner, “That is a very sane, thought scary comment, you just made.”

Deadpool said, “Thank you. I can have moments of clarity, as well.”

River offered, “We can even help you with your metal issues. Annie has down wonders for me.”

Deadpool questioned, with amusement evident in his tone of voice, “Darth Vader? As your therapist? That is insane enough to work.” He then started laughing.

After River heard Wade put River's own words in such a context, River could not help but laugh with Wade.

A few seconds later, as they calmed down, River conceded, “Okay. I will admit that you have a point there.”

Deadpool stated, “I will be honest. There are some things I want to from you. Such as I want to meet, Lee. If for any other reason than to meet someone more imaginative and insane than the both of us.”

River thought, 'So, he knows about Lee and Lee's stories. No surprise there.' She said, “You are correct about, Lee. And I can arrange for you to see Lee.”

Deadpool requested, “Good. Also, I know you are a telepath, and all, River. But, you are a very hot babe, and it is hard not to have sexual fantasies of you. So, is it okay if I do so?”

River stated, “You are one of the few people that asked permission to do so. So, okay. But, keep it clean.” She thought, 'I will not mention that I am having problems reading you mind. Which, given the situation, might be a good thing.'

Deadpool replied, “Honey, I actually prefer to keep it clean, in bed. I am a very straightforward person. It's my endurance that keeps the ladies coming back for more.”

River inquired, “What do you mean?”

Deadpool stated, “You know how I talk all the time.”

River answered, “Of course. Your talkative nature is near legendary.”

Deadpool commented, “Well, when I am in bed with someone, that one of the few times I don't talk at all. And all that pinned up energy has to go somewhere.”

River realized what Deadpool meant, as she replied, “Whoa.”

Deadpool smirked, under his mask, as he said, “Exactly. Anyway, it has been a while River.”

River replied, “Yes. It has.”

Deadpool commented, “It is good to see you alive and healthy, dear.”

River responded. “It is good to see you. I wish I could say the same for you, concerning your health.”

Deadpool said, “It is an ongoing matter, that I hope may someday soon be treated.”

River commented, “Even barring the circumstances, I wish you luck with your health issues.”

Deadpool sincerely replied, “Thank you.”

River inquired, “So, are you still crazy? Or, are you just acting crazy? It can be hard to tell the difference.”

Deadpool agreed, “That it can. Though, honey. I am always crazy. It is how I roll. I am especially crazy when I am sane. In which cases, it is the situations there are completely nuts. Like this one.”

River deadpanned, “That is an understatement.”

Deadpool said, “I want you to know that I didn't take offense to you being afraid of my boxes. They can be scary. And I am glad to see you are now mostly sane. Unlike myself. Also, I would not ask to see your male form, because I know those clothes you are wearing won't do your male form justice.”

River thought, 'You have not only heard of Lee's stories. You have likely read them.' She questioned, “Thank you. Though, I guess you have read Lee's stories?”

Deadpool chuckled a little, under his mask. He then said, “Most of those at the top brass of this organization have read through the first four books of those stories. But, for me, there is more to these stories. Quite literally. And I must say, that given the title of these stories is, Badasses Of the Multiverse. That the story arcs tried very hard to live up to that title.”

“Also, I like that Wash and Book are back among the living. With Wash and Zoe being reunited, and remarried. I was pissed when Wash and Book were killed in your movie.”

“Though, I am sure that took a lot of work to do. And I am not just talking about the events surround Lee's first pregnancy. With you, Chang, and Lee, raising them back to adulthood, and getting them to remember, without them going insane.”

“And I even loved your thought statements at the end of the volume three, of book five, I believe. Where you believe that everyone should have a happy ending. And an ending that does not end any time soon. I found that comment to very touching.”

“That term is almost as good as. Not The End. Never The End.”

River's eyes widened in surprise, as she demanded, “How did you know all that?” She mentally added, 'I only recently informed Chang and Lee of my own stories.'

Deadpool stated, “As a good friend of mine once said. The story never ends. And I have already read most of the stories that I could secretly find, concerning us. Including this story. And I read these stories before any of them ever happened to me. Before I was even saved by Rock and the others, in that ruined part of New York Cities.”

“Actually, I knew what was going to happen, beforehand. And I didn't mind, because I knew what was then going to happen, is happening, and will soon happen.”

River's jaw dropped at Deadpool's revelation. Though, she quickly forced herself to recover from her surprise.

Deadpool smiled under his mask, as he thought, 'I just love wham lining with verbal sledgehammers. And it is so rare to deliver such a good mindscrew to a super-genius, and others, like yourselves.'

'Yes, folks. I know you are reading this, right now, for you. For us, I am not sure how much time has elapsed since this happened. Or, until it happens. Though, the latter could cause a paradox. So, no changing the events, please. Anyway, unlike my previous actions, I got nothing against any of you. Considering the payouts this story has given me, and will soon give me.'

'But first, I need to state a little message to my past self, whom is reading this very story.'

'Hi Wade. I know what you are thinking, right now. Because, I was where you are, when I read this, as well. You are thinking this is beyond madness. And you are correct. This is FUBAR fucking insane.'

'This is Neverending Story crazy. Only with you existing at two points. You, my past, reading what is happening. And my, in the present, your future, experiencing what is happening.'

'But, just so you know, you will get through this. Still, it is going to be a hell of ride. And I hope you take my advice, as I did, when I was in you place. To where, you enjoy your experiences in getting to this point. Because, most of those experiences were fun.'

'Now, commencing mental breakdown for my past self, in three... Two... One...'

'And don't worry folks. My mental breakdown was only temporary, with bouts of hysterical laughter, and intense weeping. Though, I fully recovered... I think... And those that showed me these stories, made sure I was disarmed of my weapons, before I started reading them. So, when I had the breakdown, no one else got hurt, nor killed... That was good thinking on their part.'

'Also, I later finish reading these stories. And I am now at the point where I deliver my message, from the future, to my past self.'

'Still, for me, this situation ranks up there in the mindscrew department. In that I read a story, of my future self, experiencing events, and describing the very situation that I now find myself in. With me experiencing those events. With the events written by a person that I met, before my past self met that person.'

'I am literally pioneering new levels of talking to oneself. A letter from the past, by your future self, is one thing. But, this is a whole new level of insanity.'

'And if you, the other readers, besides myself, understand the full implications of what I just stated, and you are still sane. Then, you are far more stronger willed individuals than I am.'

'Also, I am thankful for the opportunity with, young adult Dorothy. It obviously didn't work out. But, at least, thanks for the chance. It was a fun courtship for both her and myself. With it ending well for the both of us.'

'Now, to move on with the story. And I hope you all enjoy it.'

'Because here we go. Back to the show, folks.'

Deadpool verbally continued, “Though, I do regret missing those two full cast performances of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, that you put on. You all really did cross the line twice on that one. But, I could never figure out how to sneak in, and watch it, without you, Annie, or Arcee catching me. And if that had happened, it might have screwed up what I hope is going to happen to me.”

“By the way, do you have recordings of those performances?”

While River had mostly recovered from Wade's revelation that they were still stuck in the stories she thought she had control of. She was still in slight emotional shock, from what Deadpool said. River answered, in a dumbfounded way, “Yes. With have recordings of both cast performances.”

Deadpool happily responded, “Good. I would like copies of both of those performances. And I also want copies... And I am willing to pay top dollar for them. Or, gold in your cases... Of both Rowan's original recordings, and Balalaika's edited version, of the night that Akira lost both his-her virginities to Revy, Shenhua, and Sawyer, way back when, in book one of Lee's stories, in Rowan's Jackpot, in Roapanur. I know Chang has copies in the penthouse of your casino, and I would like to see them.”

By then, River had fully come back to her senses. She said, in a calm tone of voice, “I will see what I can do.”

Deadpool replied, “Okay. And I know it is going to take some time to watch all of that. But, after this current plotline is over, I really do want to be able to sit down an enjoy viewing those recordings.” He mentally added, 'When I am in a more healthy, physically optional, situation...'

'Don't worry, my last thought will make sense to you, after you finish reading this end to this book... Book six, volume two, that is.'

Deadpool's comments through River for another loop.

River guessed, “You sound like you have done this before?”

Deadpool stated, “Yep. This is not the first time I have read the story I was in, before it happened to me, and other people.”

Deadpool voice turned more whimsical, as he continued, “Actually. Between you, me, and the audience. My friends and I eventually confirmed that Doctor Doom does this all the time. And he has done this for a long time. And that explains so much about his plotting abilities. It was really unwise for Doom's creators to let him know that he was a fictional character.”

“I mean. When my friends and I figured this out, we figured out other things about Doctor Doom. We honestly think that somehow, Doctor Doom did a minor, but very skilled memory wipe of the entire multiverse. Meaning everyone, but a few fans, forgot that in the early issues of Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom use to bully the avatars of his creators into altering the plot for Doctor Doom's benefit.”

“It seems almost everyone else has forgotten this fact, but Doctor Doom hasn't.”

“But, this information all when down a memory hole. Yet, those Fantastic Four issues, that document Doctor Doom's own forth wall abilities, still exist in many realities. Though, I will say again. To help make this fact stick to you brains. Everyone seems to have forgotten this fact about Doctor Doom. Even the people that are reading this conversation, right now, cannot seem to keep that thought in the conscious minds for very long.”

“This is the most successful memory wipe in known existence. And we don't have a clue how he pulled it off. No magic, nor science could pull this off. Even if those two concepts were put together. The best we can figure is that Doctor Doom pulled this off during the brief time, in Secret Wars One, when and where he had control of the Beyonder's power.”

Deadpool thought, 'Doctor Doom even figured out the formula on how all this reality traveling, and reality altering of other realities, by writing it in another reality, works. But, Doctor Doom only hinted at the formula because, considering at the time, he was talking to Loki, and he thought Loki would be responsible for destroying the world. Doctor Doom should have known better, but then most people don't give Loki a chance, at first.'

'Though, we still figured the formula later. It is all about, threes. The true formula is, reality, plus time, plus space, equals narrative, in dealing with the story. Such, as this story we are all experiencing, in one form, or another.'

'Even you, the audience, are part of the play just by reading this.'

'Though, back to the formula. That fact is existence, itself, works in threes. Reality, time, space. The possibilities of reality, positive, negative, or neutral. The phase of time, past, present, and future. The perceptions of space, length, width, and depth.'

'All threes. And three plus three equals nine.'

'Even energy and matter have three basic states. The charge energy can hold is either, positive, negative, or neutral. Matter at its most basic atomic structures are composed of a mixture of protons, electrons, and neutrons.'

'Even gravity and other such forces are either push, pull, or stay.'

'All threes again.'

'Damn. I am starting to talk like the eggheads, back in my home reality. I sound like Reed Richard, and Hank Pym. And it is kind of fun. But, I need to keep this conversation moving.'

Deadpool commented, “Though, this did also explain Doctor Doom's personality. Not including his talents, and intelligence, but also Doctor Dooms' large amounts of arrogance and anger were there to hide his deep seeded insecurities and frustration at being a fictional character. That no matter what he does. Just like me, you, and everyone here. Even the folks that are reading this. That we are all fictional characters, of someone else's play. Or, in this case, story.”

“Though, that didn't stop Doctor Doom from hamming it up for the audience, to keep himself popular, and not permanent destroyed, or written out of the stories he was in. Which I have enjoyed, and done myself, many times.”

Deadpool thought, with amusement, 'Like right now.'

Deadpool said, “And hamming it up is one of the few joys, for those stuck in such a role, can do. And I am sure Doctor Doom enjoyed hamming it up, as much as anyone does. But, that is in the past for many of us. Yourself, and Doctor Doom, included.”

“And I say Doctor Doom, instead of Doom, because there are a few other characters out there, with Doom in their names. And while there are a few Doctor Dooms out there, as well. Everyone knows I am referring to one, and only, Doctor Doom in my home reality. And I do not want it to be misunderstood, on which, Doom, I am referring too.”

Deadpool thought, 'And I do not want to have an, accidental canon misdirection, where I accidentally free the wrong Doom, due to my comments here.'

'Have I just created a new type of trope?... Nah. That only applies after such a term happens more than once. And I don't want an accidental canon misdirection to happen even once, because it is the misfile of one's imagination.'

'Also, I admit that I have been saying, Doctor, and Doom, a lot more than I usually do. But, one has to be careful with what one thinks and says in situations like this.'

'Now, for me to state what makes Doctor Doom's personality really tick.'

Deadpool stated, “Also, speaking of Doctor Doom, and roles. We all completely misunderstood why Doctor Doom kept trying to enslave humanity, and remove humanity's free will, in my home reality. He wasn't doing it out of arrogance. He was doing it because, as a fictional character, he knew that free will is a lie. And Doctor Doom wanted to free humanity from the pain of that lie. Such as, if someone is written to commit a crime, are they guilty? Or, is their creator guilty? By removing free will, so directly, any question of guilt would be towards Doctor Doom.”

“Doctor Doom wanted to restore humanity's innocence, while trying to take on all of humanity's guilt onto his own shoulders. So, that no devils, nor gods, could claim any more souls on the false pretense of free will existing. Like the devil, god, and the Doctor Doom's creators, did to his mother. He wanted to wreck the entire system, save humanity, and take control, all at the same time. And he has nearly accomplished this goal a few times.”

“And if you don't think that Doctor Doom cannot care for another person, look at what he went through to save his mother's soul from hell and damnation. He literally went through hell and back, a few times to save his mother's soul. And what he did with his mother's soul was absolute genius. He fool all of us, including the audience, into thinking he let his mother pass on, into Heaven.”

“But, Doctor Doom is not one to trust even gods with those he cares for.”

“So, instead Doctor Doom arranged to have his mother reincarnated. And he keeps her close, when he can. She is such a cute little girl at that. And she is smart as a whip, too. Hehehehe..”

“Still, I found that biblically tragic. Doctor Doom might be the greatest hero of in the multiverse. Yet, he was original cast as a villain, like I was. I do know that he has saved reality more times, then anyone else, individually. That includes myself. And even Thanos. The problem is that he is such a jerk about his heroism. His ego just won't let up.”

“Though fortunately, after our big talk with him. We convinced him that was not the way to help humanity. And we arranged our conversation in a manner that allowed Doctor Doom not to admit that he was ever wrong, so as to not insult his ego.”

“We explained to Doctor Doom did that, he would likely only be doing someone else's plot, and in doing so, it would cheapen not only his actions and sacrifices, but himself, as well.”

“And like you, me, Doctor Doom, and so many other people, caught in this web we call existence, we all loath being someone else's puppet. Unless, it is by a person that is being nice to people. Such as yourself.”

While River was still trying to process so much information, all River could muster in a reply was, “Thank you.”

Deadpool went onto say, “You're welcome. Still, Doctor Doom's real name, Victor Von Doom, says it all. Victor, as in victory. Doom, as defeat. And here is the rub. Von, in German, can either mean, of, or, from. So his name either mean, Victor of Doom. Meaning he will always be defeated. Or, it can mean Victor from Doom. Meaning he will someday escape his fate. That is also why he prefers to be known as Doctor Doom, and not Victor Von Doom. Because, his name can be taken as a fourth wall injoke. And that rightly pisses him off.”

“Still, even with such efforts, all Doctor Doom can do, is occasionally travel between realities, where he collects and reads his own stories, before they happen to him.”

Deadpool continued, in a more calmer tone of voice, “And here is the little secret of how he does it. That time machine pad he built is not a time machine. It is reality traveling machine pad.”

“Though, I realize, that even using his multiverse machine pad, outside events create situations, where it is sometimes all Doctor Doom can do to protected himself, while using doombots, as plot replacements, for himself, as needed.”

“Doctor Doom has been in situations, like myself, where all we can try to do is survive to the next adventure. While, we also know that we will never be able to get anywhere. We are just like a hamsters on the wheel. At least, until we broke the cycle. And girl, did that brighten his mood. A lot. He is still arrogant. But, he is nowhere near as angry.”

“And once Doctor Doom realized I felt the same insecurity and frustration as he does, at being a fictional character. Only I used levity and jokes to hide my feelings. We have been good friends, ever since.”

“I have even been inside of Doctor Doom's secret comic library. It is the largest comic library in existence. Or, at least the largest I know of.”

River thought, 'I am not sure what to think. This is too much information for even me to handle, all at once.'

Deadpool went onto say, “Still, we both know what effect that type of information has on a person. Though, we both seemed to be better for the knowledge.”

“Anyway, reading a story beforehand makes it easier to play to the audience. Though, for right now, it sucks to be Bane and Gomez. But, that is what one gets before being stupid, and waiting too long.”

Deadpool mentally lamented, 'And no amount of clapping from you folks are going to help them... Sorry. I just has to fit a Peter Pan injoke somewhere into this lunacy.'

Deadpool stated, “And before you ask. I am under contract. So, I cannot give you the details of from whom I learned about this, before I met any of you, when we did all this, nor what we did. Still, along with what else I know about what is going to happen to all of us. Enough though you are going to do some very good things for me.”

“But, I will say what is going to happen next will be very interesting for us. And I really am looking forward to moving to that idea. With you all there, it really has to be a happening place. Also, we both know you clearly cannot read my mind on this. And that may be the best for both of us.”

River forced herself to calm down, as she admitted, “No. I can't. And I wouldn't want too. Besides, keep your secrets on this. My life is crazy enough as is.”

Deadpool complimented, “That is a good approach to take. And could you keep what I just said quiet, from the others. For obvious reasons.”

River said, “Of course. I don't want what happened to Lee, to happen to someone else. Besides, it is best not to stir up my friends like that, again.”

Deadpool replied, “Good. That is what my friend stated you would decide to do.”

River questioned, in a cautious tone of voice, “Do I really want to think to hard on this?”

Deadpool flatly replied, “No.”

River asked, “Good. By the way, does anyone else here know about this?”

Deadpool answered, “Well, I am sure Constantine expects something. I think he figured out something, because the man is usually rock solid, when is comes to his sanity. But, something clearly unhinged even him, recently.” He mentally added, 'Actually, folks. Constantine has most of it worked out. But, I don't want River to know that. And she cannot read my mind. I mean I would like keep Connie alive. And them knowing that Connie knows, will not help old, or soon not so old, Connie's future.'

'Anyway, you will find this all out in a few dozen pages, when Ranma, Natsuru, Akira, meet John Constantine... Sorry for the spoilers. But, who else do you think Gomez would put in charge of his magical research section?...'

'After you read that scene. Come back and re-read this scene. But, don't skip ahead, or you will miss out on a lot of awesome stuff. Like how Lee defeats the Xanatos clan, by using a simple Indy Ploy on their Xanatos gambits. Yes. Another spoiler. But, not as much as a spoiler as you may realize. Because, I did not state, how.'

'So, how is that for a mindscrew factory?.... BWAHAHAHAHA!!!....'

'You see folks. I am no longer trying to break the fourth wall. I am not trying to shatter the fourth wall. I am trying to nuke the fourth wall!'

'And yes. I know this is a big lipped alligator moment. But, I live for big lipped alligator moments.'

'And I would do more large though bubbles. But, honestly, besides my boxes, the reason I don't do thought bubbles is because I am more of a visual guy. As seen with my poolovision. Remember those. And most of my thoughts are in the X rated category.'

'Though, I am still working on getting my ultra-porn permit.'

'I don't get that. If a senile, half-mad scientist, like Fransworth, can get such a permit. Then, surely I can.'

'And to be honest, I deal with hot women and men... I am one see the pearls before me... In skin tight clothing all the time. So, I am completely honest with myself, that I am going to have sexual fantasies about these people. I don't even try to censor my mind in front of telepaths. Because, they know I am crazy. And they would prefer that I think of sex, than have me think about violence. Both of which I am very good at.'

'Though, Emma Frost complained to me one time that she found my sexual fantasies to be too tame. Given her tastes, I am not surprised. And to think that the guys at Marvel put that defiant, though very hot, fiend in charge of teaching super-powered children... With her shaping the minds of future super-powered generations... And you call me, mad... Bwhahahahaha!!!...'

'Besides, visual thoughts don't work well in the text format you are all reading, right now. So, I am doing text, right now. And I am loving it. Until now, I never fully realized how flexible text format could be.'

'And don't get me wrong. As I have occasionally reminded audience of my comicbook issues. Double pun there, folks.'

'Anyway, for me, River, and everyone here, on this side of the looking-glass, our existence is a full three dimensional surround sound reality here. The same type of reality that you folks reading this text exist in.'

'We are not just words. We are people, existing in various realities, just like you. And we have emotions, feelings, wants, and needs, just like all of you reading this story. So, try to be polite, and try not to take too much enjoyment from the tragedies of this story. You can laugh to your heart's content at the joke. But, please be mindful of our feelings.'

'Look... I am even using the word, please. So, I am being polite here.'

'And I know that people complain about me talking too much. But, I can actually think even faster.'

'I am a real speed thinker.'

'So, I can say in these thought statements, so much more, than when I able to do so, in using my mouth. Such as, in the time spent for me and River, here, while I was thinking all this, it has only been a couple of seconds sense I mentioned Constantine, stopped talking, and started thinking.'

'So, I really need to use textual thoughts more often.'

'Maybe the reason River has trouble reading my mind, is not my insanity, But, I think to fast for her. That would make sense.'

'Also, I am loving that I am getting the chance to ham this story up, one hundred and ten percent. John Crichton eat your heart out. On second thought, the writer of this story made John into a girl. Violin. And I believe she is now a hot milf, just like her wife, Aeryn. And I really wouldn't mind being sandwiched between those two.'

'Damn. I love strong chicks. I love chicks with guns. I love strong chicks with guns. Hell, I love all chicks, as long as they are adults. And while I will admit I am physically hideous to look at, not one women I have had sex with has ever complained about my skills in loving make. A few of them have even come back for seconds and thirds. And they are not coming back for my looks. That should tell you about some of the skills I have, that are rarely addressed in my various series.'

'And yes folks. Just like Chang. TV Tropes and the Evil Overlord lists are my bibles.'

'Also, I know for a fact that when Doctor Doom travels to other realities, that he reads not only Tv Tropes, the Evil Overlord list, but he also reads other places on the internet about him. Such, as internet webpages, and forums, that he sometimes replies to, by using various aliases.

'Doctor Doom even reads fanfiction. Maybe even this story. Though, he seems to be happy with his place in this story. Which make me, and everyone else, including, I am sure, you, the readers, very happy.'

'But, god have mercy on your souls, if you wrote, or are writing, lemon fanfiction, about Doctor Doom. Especially, if it in involves slash, or gender bending, of Doctor Doom.'

'Kid Loki... Mine, yours, ours, nickname for young looking Loki. Fun guy, once you get to know him. Went sheet white when he found out that Doctor Doom read his slash fanfiction. Because Loki actually wrote slash fanfiction involving Doctor Doom, in our own home reality. That was not wise of Loki. But, it was real fun bailing Loki's ass out of the fire.'

'I also know that Doctor Doom uses alias to edit webpages about himself. He especially loves to edit the self-demonstration webpages on Doctor Doom. And between you and me, even my ego is not big enough to do that.'

'So, yes. The very real, very actual Doctor Doom might be visiting your own reality, and replying to the internet forums you go too, right now... Well, right now for you.'

'To quote Doctor Doom on the subject. “No matter the reality. No matter the place. No matter the time. Only Doom shall speak for Doom.” Accept no substitutes.'

'How is that for paranoia fuel?... BWAHAHAHAHA!!!....'

'Sorry... My mental monologue got away from me, there. For a moment...'

'Anyway, I also know more than once, Doctor Doom has tried, more than once, to secretly to take financial control of Marvel Comics, and other fiction producing companies, in multiple realities, times, and places.”

“Maybe Doctor Doom actually succeeded. I mean, barring a few major storylines, Doctor Doom's personal life has slowly been taking a turn for the better, over the years.”

'Still, Doctor Doom does all this, so that he can read the latest comics in advance. Sometimes years in advance, so he can anticipate what is going to happen next in his reality, and his own life. So, he can prepare in advance.”

'And to be honest, Doom Doctor, I know was pissed off, when he realized that our home reality had been split from the main reality, to the twisted timelines of the alternate realities of these stories. Until my friends and I explained to him the advantages of the situation we found ourselves in. Doctor Doom calmed down very quickly, as he became happy with situation. Because, he no longer had to play the villain.'

'As Doctor Doom put it. “Doom can finally be Doom.” I know it don't sound good. But, it was for us, and will be for you, should you have the chance to read this scene, a very touching moment... Time traveling across multiple realities can be so much fun... Hehehehe...'

'And as I said before. If you folks are badass enough to read all this. All the way from book one, to the end of book six, which you are reading, right now. And understand it, while remaining completely sane. You are better than I am.... And just remember folks, Constantine is mostly right about me... Mostly... Hehehehehe...'

River questioned, “Constantine?”

Deadpool said, “John Constantine. From the DC section of the multiverse. I am not sure which version he is, though. Except, he is one of the British versions. Reeves just could not pull John off. But, he did try really hard.”

Deadpool thought, 'Admit it folks. Reeves, as Constantine, rising into heaven, while giving Satan a one finger salute on both his hands, was awesome... That was probably the only awesome part of that movie.'

River hesitantly replied, “Okay...”

Deadpool commented, “Also, don't even think about trying to kill me over this knowledge. We both know I am unlikeable. I know, I, and others, have tried everything. Besides, if this plays out how I read it would, we will both be in good positions after this mission is over.”

River thought, 'This is a good sign. And I really do not want to fight this person.'

River kindly offered, “That is nice to hear. And like I said. I really don't want to fight you. Maybe we can still work something out. To where you either walk away, or surrender, to me?”

Deadpool stated, “Actually, we will be working out something. But, not until after our battle. And I am not going to tell you which of us wins. And given those that will be around us after our battle, we will not be able to continue this conversation, then.”

River admitted, “I am not sure I want to continued this discussion, right now.”

Deadpool said, “Yea. It is kind of hard to think about reality in this way. Still, if I gave up now. This scene would be anticlimactic, and not humorous. And the audience would hate that. And I have learned a long time ago to try and not upset the audience.”

River then saw Deadpool's boxes appear, right beside him, while facing her. The boxes were rectangular, with each box being three feet wide, two feet high, and only an inch thick in depth.

Beside Deadpool's right shoulder of his yellow box, and beside his left shoulder was his white box.

White box stated, “Besides, we consider this to be one of our finest battles.”

Yellow box commented, “Or, as a great semi-undead warlock once said. For the pony.”

Deadpool deadpanned, “I should have never started reading that fantasy webcomic series.”

River was reading the boxes, as she thought, 'I forgot how crazy some people can be. And since I can still see these boxes. I guess I am not as sane as I believe I am. But, I am much better, now. And while these boxes still startle me, it is for the reason than they confuse the hell out of me.'

White box said, “Perhaps. But, I know people who would pay to see this fight. River versus Deadpool... Street Fighter style.”

Deadpool turned to looked at yellow box, as he asked, “How did I get second billing in this fight, by my own boxes?

White box answered, “Sorry dear. But, she is a hot redheaded babe. While, you are not.”

Deadpool replied, “I see your point.”

Yellow box stated, “Yea. We like you, River. And all three of use would gladly lust for you, if you weren't taken. But, we would be gentlemen about this matter.”

Deadpool conceded, “You got that right.”

River was more confused, than anything else, as she said, “Huh?”

Deadpool turned to River, as he said, “In other words. On guard.” He then raised and fired his sub-machine guns at River.

River rushed out of the way, to her left, as she fired her Bizon sub-machine guns at Deadpool.

Meanwhile, Wade ran to his right, as both of them rushing across the garden, while both were successfully avoid both hedges and bullets.

And their violent dance began.

(_)

In another part of the ship, Shenhua had been following Barbossa, with her running after him, down various hallways of the ship.

While Shenhua was faster than Barbossa, on foot. Barbossa has been very cagey in the path he took. He had lead Shenhua through twisting hallways, and down a number of flights of stairs. He even closed a few doors behind him. Which cost Shenhua valuable seconds, to open and follow him.

And it had reached the point that Shenhua was tracking him by her enhanced hearing, and sense of smell.

Fortunately, they had not run into anyone else.

Shenhua held her long knives, in her hands, behind her, as she ran, as she worked to catch up with Barbossa.

She continued to follow Barbossa, with her seeing that she was approaching a corner that turned to her right.

She then heard the old pirate stop running.

Shenhua thought, 'I am glad he finally stopped. So, I can finally kill him. Though, given Barbossa's age, I am impressed he can give me such a chase. Though, he also had a lifetime of experience of handling being chased... And by setting traps...'

She then slowed down to a walking pace, and she continued forward.

Shenhua thought, 'He is clearly leading me somewhere. That is why we have no encountered anyone on our path. The doors, and other obstacles, were just to slow me down enough for me to not catch him. And since he has stopped running, he has reached his destination.

'I need to be careful, and keep my options open.'

As Shenhua got closer to the corner, she sheathed her long knifes, in their scabbards, hidden in the interior sides of her white jacket. So, she could use her hands, in her movements, should she have to do some sudden acrobatics.

When she reached the corner, she slowly walked around it to find that she was in front of a doorway that lead onto a metal catwalk.

Shenhua continued walking onto the catwalk.

As she stepped on to the metal catwalk, she noticed that the cat walk was bolted to the wall, on her right side. With guardrails on her left side, that ran along the length of the catwalk.

The large, yellow bulb canister lights, on the high ceiling provided plenty of illumination for her see with.

Shenhua continued walking for a few more seconds, until she came to a stop, about thirty feet passed the entrance, behind her. She then turned to her left, as she looked out, across the very large room.

She then turned to her left to look out into the large room she was in.

She saw that she was inside a very large warehouse, with not large doors, nor hatches on the walls. The room itself was at least four hundred meters long, to her sides. Three hundred meters wide, from the wall she was standing beside, to the other wall. And two hundred meters high, from the floor to the ceiling.

Shenhua then looked down, and she saw that the catwalk she was standing on was set about fifty meters from the ground.

But, that was no what caught her eye.

Right below her, set parallel with the catwalk she on, was a large, sailing ship. The ship was facing away from the entrance Shenhua had come in. With the captain's quarter to her left, and with the front bow of the ship to her right. Along with this, the ship was very close to her. With the right side of the middle part of the top of deck was only three meter ahead, and ten meters below her.

Shenhua saw the ship was in dry dock, with it on supports, allowing it to remain up right. And in the distance, on the other side of the room, she saw the floor had several pieces of motorize equipment which appeared to be used to work on the ship.

Though, she did not see anyone on the boat, nor the floor, below her.

Shenhua then took a closer at the ship itself, as she thought, 'Interesting. I do not see any large hatches in this large warehouse. So, this is literally a ship in a bottle. Though, they likely used reality jumping to get this ship here. And they probably plan to use a reality jump, to transport it out... Still, why does this ship seem so familiar to me?'

The ship itself had three masts, and it looked to be a hybrid of an east indiaman and a galleon. The back of the ship, at the very top, had three unlit lanterns on it. Also, the ship was painted black. And among the rigging she saw black sails that rolled up, and tied down on the yardarms of the masts.

Shenhua thought, 'It couldn't be?... Could it?...'

Shenhua then heard a familiar male voice, above her, yell, “Welcome to the Black Pearl!”

Shenhua looked up, towards where she heard the voice come from. She saw Barbossa standing in the crow's nest.

Barbossa was wearing his modern clothing. With his pistol holstered, and his cutlass sheathed.

And right above the crow's nest, at the top of the main mast, was hung the Jolly Roger flag. The flag waved in the air, due to it being placed in the air currents of the room, created by the ventilation system.

Shenhua asked, “How? I know this ship sank?”

Barbossa pointed out, “Actually, this ship sank three times, along with being shrunk and bottled once. And raised three times, from the watery depths. And restored once. First, Davy Jones raised it for Jack. The second time, I reclaimed it, with some help. We brought it back from purgatory. Quite literally. Then, Blackbeard bottled it. Then, Jack had it unbottled, and enlarged it back to normal size. Now, that was a tale to tell. And then, a third time it was sunk again. Only to later be raised, a third time, by Gomez's group.”

“Gomez has even been kind enough to repair, and refit the old girl, to where she will be better than ever.”

Shenhua guessed, “So, this is your payment for your service to Gomez?”

Barbossa smirked, as he answered, “Yes. Among other things... I certainly held out for more than what Ahsoka settled for. Which was just a chance at revenge. By the way, what happen to that poor girl?”

Shenhua flatly stated, “She is still among the living.”

Barbossa responded, “I am not surprised that Annie didn't kill her. Experience has taught me that most people whom had been responsible for the deaths of their friends. Either by intention, or by accident, try not to kill the last of their friends.”

Shenhua deadpanned, “That explains a lot about you.”

Barbossa said, “Perhaps... Still, this job for Gomez was not that bad. Unlike old Davy, Gomez didn't ask for my soul, nor permanent service. Nor, like Calypso, whom turned around and tried to kill all those around her, after the deal was finished, with she gained her powers back.”

“Actually, after I finished my part of Professor Durban and his crew, being killed, or crippled, I am now free go, with my payment. And I was just planning to leave, for our home reality, in my own time. Right after I left. With the Black Pearl, and literally a boat load of wealth. Where I intended to hire a crew, when I get back.”

“But, as I was preparing to disembark, this place, in some many ways, with my rewards and riches, Gomez contacted me, about searching for possible intruders on board the ship. And I was surprised to see you so soon.”

Shenhua flatly responded, “We are not a patient lot. So, what were you plans for this ship going to be?”

Barbossa answered, “As I said. After this is over. I will head back to my home reality. And I may track down Gibbs. If he is still around. He is a skilled quartermaster. And competent help is so hard to find. And he was one of the best in his trade. As long as one make sure that he stays somewhat sober.”

Shenhua inquired, “I would have to agree with you, on that matter... So, what are you planning on doing with this ship, once you return home?”

Barbossa confidently stated, “Well, now with the Pearl back in my possession, I plan raise hell on the high seas, once again. With a few changes and additions to my ship's armament.”

Shenhua thought, 'What does he mean?' She then looked down at the ship, and she saw that instead of cannons on the top sides of the ships, and on the cannon ports below the main deck of the ship, there were gatling guns.

Shenhua gave off a surprised expression to her face. She then immediately calmed herself, as she grimly thought, 'Oh no. This is trouble. Though, let's see how much he will tell me, before I have to act against him.' She then looked back up at Barbossa, as she remained silent.

Barbossa noticed Shenhua reaction, as she looked at his ship, and then back at him. He gloated, “What can I say? While we both prefer the blades. I have also fallen in love with modern weaponry. I don't see how you could not have done so, as well?”

Shenhua flatly commented, “Such weapons tend to run out of ammo very quickly.”

Barbossa countered, “Ah, but that is why I had ammo replicators built into the magazines of these weapons. They are designed, with internal power systems, to almost never run out of ammo. And I have the equipment to repair them, the weapons, and other items. I would do the same for my pistol. But, it is not worth the effort, considering change ammo magazines is not that difficult.”

“Also, there are even solar powered electric generator connected to a boat engine, sea water to fresh water filtration system. With clean hot and cold running water. And electric stoves. Along with both underwater and above water radar systems. And of course, indoor plumbing. With those items, along with skilled fishing, I can keep to the water. And the radar will let me know of any fish, or ship, that is coming by, long before they see us.”

“In addition, with the boat engine my ship now has, I will even be able to outrun, or catch up, to any ship of my era. I will be unstoppable. So, when I return to my time, my realty, I will rule the seas as the greatest pirate king in history. For my single ship will be sinking entire armadas. I will become a legend that is never forgotten. And as such, I cannot wait to return.”

Shenhua commented, “I don't remember reading about you doing that. So, this means you risk creating a paradox.”

Barbossa responded, “How can you be so sure? I never checked into my own future history... Save for learning about you, when we met at Devil's Hotel. So, if I don't know for sure, there can be no paradox.”

Shenhua pointed out, “Barbossa, it doesn't exactly work that way. Besides, I am going to stop you, right here and now.”

Barbossa conceded, “Of course, you are going to try, Shenhua. And given we have unfinished business, that is why I decided to stick around to settle this now, instead of later. There is nothing worse than running from oneself.”

Shenhua said, “That we agree on. By the way, how did you get up to the crow's nest so quickly?”

Barbossa commented, in a casual tone of voice, “My dear. I have more sailing experience than you, and all your friends, put together.”

Shenhua stated, “If anyone else said that, I would not believe them. But, for you, that is true.”

Barbossa replied, “Thank you.”

Shenhua commented, “Though, I appreciate you not saying anything about my accent.”

Barbossa sincerely said, “My dear student, future incarnation, whatever. I never make light of such trivialities.”

Shenhua stated, “Speaking of which, just because you are my previous incarnation, does not mean I am not going to kill you for kicking me off you ship.”

Barbossa let out a laugh. He then said, “Likewise, my dear... So, shall we dance?”

Shenhua gave Barbossa a slash smile, as she stated, “Absolutely. I have always wanted to try my hand as swashbuckling. And fighting a legendary pirate, on a pirate ship, will do nicely.

Barbossa casually responded, “Thank you, my dear. Outside of sex, this is one of the funnest things there is.”

Shenhua said, with eagerness in her tone of voice, “Then, let us get started.” She jumped off the catwalk, and towards the middle part of the top deck of the Black Pearl.

While in the air, she used her right hand to swiftly pull out three kunai throwing knives, from the garter belt on her upper right thigh, under her white qipao dress.

Then, with the three small knives between her right fingers, she threw them at Barbossa.

A second later, she landed in a rolled, with herself finishing her roll, on her feet near the middle of the deck, while facing in the direction of the main mast, which lead to the crow's nest, where Barbossa was.

Shenhua then immediately looked up at the crow's nest, where Barbossa was.

Meanwhile, at the same time Shenhua landed, Barbossa quickly ducked behind the main mast, to avoid the throwing knives that embedded themselves into the black painted wood of the mast.

Barbossa then came out from behind the mast, and looked down at Shenhua. He yelled, “Nice try! My turn!”

He then pulled out his Colt MK IV series eighty model semi-automatic pistol, with his right gloved hand, from his right hip holster. There was already a bullet in the chamber, and the hammer cocked, but with the hammer safety on.

Barbossa used his right thumb turned off the safety, while he used his left gloved hand to grip a rope that was connected to the gaff arm, above the crow's next, facing towards the back of the ship. With the rope leading down to the deck, to where Shenhua was as at.

Barbossa then jumped over the railing of the crow's nest, towards Shenhua. He allowed his left glove hand to have a loose grip on the rope, to allow slowed, control fall to the deck below, while he turned to face Shenhua, towards the back of the ship.

As Barbossa slowly fell, he used his right hand, to take aim and shoot at Shenhua.

Shenhua swiftly back flipped away from the fire, and towards the outside wall to the captains quarters, with all eight bullets missing her.

Shenhua was back to standing straight up, as she saw Barbossa gently land on his feet, onto the deck.

Shenhua saw, due to the slide being automatically locked open, that Barbossa's pistol was out of bullets. Barbossa paid little mind to this fact, as he looked at Shenhua, with a wicked grin on his lips.

Shenhua turned his grin, with an equally homicidal smile.

Barbossa didn't bother to reload his pistol. Instead, he used his right thumb on release the slide level. The slide of the pistol then swiftly slide forward in place. Next, Barbossa dry fired the pistol, and placed it back into the holster on the right side of his belt. After which, Barbossa used his right hand to pulled out his cutlass, by it's ornate hilt.

Barbossa then charged at Shenhua.

Shenhua softly giggled, as she watched Barbossa charge at her. She thought, 'If he wants to fight in me with blades, I am more than willing to oblige him.'

Shenhua used her hands to pull out her two kukri long knives, as she rushed at Barbossa

Both adults then yelled wordless battle cries, as they soon clashed their blades against each other.

(_)

In one of the ships exercise gyms, things had not been going well for Chang, in the fight he was having with Cad Bane.

Even with his skills, experience, and physical enhancements, from the super-soldier serum, in the fight, Chang quickly realized that Bane was a better gunfighter than him.

That was a very, proverbial, bitter pill for Chang to swallow, along with some of his pride. But, he forced himself to do so, and quickly, in the hopes it would increase his chances of surviving this duel.

And while he had not yet to been shot, Bane was getting closer hits to him, than he was to Bane. As they both moved around the gyms, to avoid each other's shots, while trying to shoot by the other.

At the moment, Chang and Bane were circling one another, in a counterclockwise direction, at about thirty feet from each other, while continuing to fire towards the other person.

Also, the reason neither of them had tried to close the gap between them, and fight it out in hand to hand combat, was because Bane knew that Chang was an expert martial artist. While Chang knew that Bane had several wonderfully deadly toys on him, for melee combat.

To make matters worse for Chang, he had a more limited supply of ammo, than Bane. So, for every shot Chang fired, from his semi-automatic pistols, Bane fired three shots from his blaster pistols.

This meant that Chang had to be careful with each shot, while Bane did not.

Along with this, both of them knew the other combatant was not holding back, meaning Bane knew he had the advantage. Though, Chang was just close enough in skill to prevent Bane from taking advantage of that fact.

The reason Chang had not escaped was that he knew that Bane could be a spiteful person, and that Bane would hunt him down, to the ends of the multiverse, if he did escape.

With Bane having similar opinions of Chang.

As such, both men wanted to finish the battle, in a decisive manner.

Presently, they were still about thirty feet away from each other. But, this quickly changed, from moment to moment.

And both of them were careful to stay in the middle of the room, and not get trapped by the walls.

They continued to move around and fire, while weaving around the gym equipment, as Chang grimly thought, with a bit of worry, 'Okay. I admit it. I bit off more than I can chew. And I am about to run out of ammo for these magazines. I am going to have to change my tactics, if I want to continue breathing.'

'I cannot use my seventy-sixes because I am not sure such a low caliber bullet can penetrate Bane's alien hide. So, I am going to have to do something creative.'

Chang then fired the last two shots from his hardballer longslide forty-five semi-automatic pistols, at Bane. Both shots were close, but they missed Bane, as he was clearly to fast for Chang.

With the guns emptied, their slides locked back, in the open position.

Bane saw this, and he knew what it mean, as he rushed at Chang.

Though, Chang was fast to react, as he was ran to Bane's side, while Bane was running towards Chang. Though, Bane was able to start to close the gap between them.

When Bane came within twenty feet of Chang, he used the flamethrower on his right gauntlet, at Chang.

Chang saw the flames coming at him, at chest level. And in response, with his pistols still in his hands, he rolled under the flame, to the other side. He did this by rolling with his right shoulder. Chang then made sure his roll ended with him back on his feet, allowing him to jump up, and kept running, in a curve around Bane.

Chang kept moving, while he kept a close eye on the alien bounty hunter.

Bane saw this. Bane stopped using his flamethrower, and blasters, while he continued moving, as he watched Chang.

Bane saw Chang then depress the slide level on his left pistol, and then holster the weapon, in the holster under his right armpit.

Next, Chang pulled out the magazine from his right pistol, and discarded it. After which, he used his left hand to quickly pulled out a few loaded magazine, from an ammo pouch, in his belt. He slide the magazine in place, and he then released the slide lever, causing the slide to move forward, as a bullet entered its chamber.

Chang thought, 'I don't have time to stop and reload both weapons. So, I will just use the pistol in my right hand, and get a little creative with my left hand.'

Bane continued moving, as he complimented, “I will give you points for skill and agility.”

Chang heard the comment, as he said, “Thank you. Now, how about this?”

Chang then passed by a rack, filled with small, single hand, dumbbells, of different weights. Chang swiftly used his left hand to quickly snatched a five pound dumbbell, which was nothing to him. He then threw it at Bane, while he started to fire once at Bane.

Bane easily dodged both the dumbbell, and bullet, as he kept moving.

Bane commented, “I see you also have some creativity, as well.” He the fired at Chang, though he missed his moving target. But, not by much.

And their battle continued.

(_)

In the large cargo bay, where the Xanatos family were fighting Violin's team, the battle had been divided into smaller conflicts.

Arcee was on the running on the ground, with Puck floating near her front side.

Puck was having a ball, avoiding Arcee's attacks. For, Arcee, Puck was aggravating opponent that did not attack. All he did just evaded all of her strikes toward him.

When Arcee realized that Puck was continually floating just out of reach of her flaming swords, she deactivated her sword, and sheathed the hilts of her weapons. She then pulled out her holdout pistol, in her left hand, as she used a weapon in the palm of her right hand, to fired explosive balls at Puck.

Though, Arcee was very careful to avoid hitting anyone else, especially her teammates

But, Puck continued was also able to avoid her attacks.

(_)

As for Violin's fight with David, in his exo-suit. Violin was experiencing a classic case of skill versus brute strength. With her on the losing end, and she knew it.

For while Violin was super-fast and super-strong, she had only trained in control of these abilities. With her only having the bare minimum of training in use of these abilities, in combat.

Meanwhile, David was all about skill and precision.

Also, without even using her weapon, Violin quickly realized that David was to quick for her to use her pulse pistol against. So, instead, she choose to use her fists, and feet. But, David was also too agile for such attacks. And the only strikes that Violin got on David, were glancing blows on David's armor that did nothing to her armored foe.

Though, when David attacked, with his armor's fists, feet, or tail, his strikes were direct, and well placed.

And the speed and agility that David's exo-suit, combined with his skill at the use of his, more than offset Violin's raw speed.

For, one second David was on the ground, fighting Violin. The next second, he he used his thrusters to be in the air, as he fired at Violin, with the energy cannons in his forearms. Only, from him to charge back at Violin, on the ground, a second later.

And while Violin was tough enough to take such a physical pounding, without serious injure. And that she was able to dodge David's energy blasts, she knew that David was slowly wearing her down.

(_)

Meanwhile, the fight between Aeryn, Eda, and Yolanda, against Fox Xanatos, in her exo-suit, had gone sideways for all of them.

Fox quickly realized that her three opponents were all experts in hand to hand combat, even with their weapons in hand. And they had actually knocked her on her back, with her powersuit on. If not for Fox's thrusters pushing her way from them, and into the air, she would have quickly lost the battle.

So, Fox mainly stayed in the air, with her only risking quick rushing strikes against them. Which the women on the ground, were able to evade her attacks, with their speed and agility.

On the ground, Aeryn quickly realized that her pulse burster was to slow, and cumbersome a weapon, to use against Fox, as she flew in the air.

So, Aeryn dropped her weapon, and pulled out her pulsed pistol, in her side holster, to shoot at Fox.

As this went on, Eda and Yolanda continued to shoot at Fox with their semi-automatic pistols.

Though, three three women did stay on the move, as they shot at Fox. To avoid being hit by Fox's attack.

And while the three women's shots were glancing blows off of Fox's armor. Fox found that shooting them would not work.

Fox realized this, when she had her right forearm cannon opened up from its housing, Yolanda fired her a single bullet at it, causing it to explode. Though, it did not harm her, it did damage the armor and exo-suit, covering her right arm.

This forced Fox to rethink her tactics, again.

With the battle between Fox, against Aeryn, Eda, and Yolanda, currenting being a stalemate.

(_)

Meanwhile, as the battle continued, no one noticed, that large, inner hatchway, on the far side of the room begin to open, and a large cargo ship hovered into the room.

(_)

Though, to add to the woes that Violin's team were feeling, Annie had her hands full with the teenage mage, Alex Xanatos.

Annie quickly found that taking down Alex would not be easy. He was a very cagey, and skilled foe.

Also, Annie found that Alex's magical staff was tough enough to handle strike after strike, from her red lightsaber blade, without showing any signs of breaking.

And Alex skills with his staff were enough to hold his own against Annie's lightsaber skills.

Along with, for every force technique Annie tried on Alex, Alex matched, and countered her attack, with his magical abilities.

From force throwing things, to using the force to find a weak spot in his defenses. All of these attacks by Annie were countered by Alex skills and abilities.

As Annie continued to fight Alex with her lightsaber against his magical staff, Alex complimented, “You know. You are pretty good.”

Annie flatly ordered, “Stop this, before you get hurt.”

Alex pointed out, “Well, I am holding my own against you.”

Annie retorted, “But, for how long. So, give us. None of us want to see you get hurt.”

Alex said, “And what is the fun in doing that? Besides. You could say I am fully of surprises.”

Alex's comment had hit a nerve, as Annie snapped, “Don't you dare quote my son!” She then could not help herself, as she used the force to strengthen her next lightsaber strike.

As the red lightsaber blade came down, Alex held up his staff, in a defensive manner, with Annie having the blade of her lightsaber cut the middle of the magical staff in half.

But, Annie was quickly able to regain control of herself, and instead of slicing in Alex's head, or body, she stopped the blade, and then swiftly angled it, with the tip of the energy blade being held against the right side of Alex's throat.

Alex was unharmed, but he was not at her mercy.

Annie coldly said, “Do not make light of my family, and myself. Now, surrender.”

Alex stated, in arrogant tone of voice, “This is a draw, and you know it.”

Through the force, Annie sensed that Alex had swiftly used his magic to turned the broken ends of his staff, into to small spear blades. Of which, Alex had the tip of the spear blade in his left hand, held against the front right side of Annie's throat. And Alex held the spear in his right hand, with the tip set against Annie's chest, under her left arm. With the right spear angled to go into Annie's heart at a moments notice.

Annie thought, 'I admit it. He's good. But, I still have one more tactic that I am a master at. The intimation factor.'

Annie threw all the force power she could into a simple jedi mind trick, as she ordered, “Give up. Surrender.”

Alex smirked, as he smugly commented, “The old jedi mind trick. You are desperate. you should be. Just look around. And ask you self, what happens to them, if you harm me.”

Annie mentally grumbled, 'Damn. That trick did not work. And I need to find out what he meant, by what he said.'

Annie used the force to sense what was going on around her. And she realized that all her friends had been defeat. Very quickly, without her realizing it.

Puck finally got serious, and knocked Arcee to the ground. He then aided David and Fox in their fights. After which, it was no contest for Violin's team.

As such, Violin was laying on the floor, on her stomach, as David stood to her right, with his left arm cannon pointed at her back.

Eda, Yolanda, and Aeryn, were disarmed, and sitting on the floor, with their weapons out of reach. The three women staring up at Fox, whom was pointing her left arm cannon at them.

Annie grimly thought, 'Okay. His family beat me to the tactic I was going to use, against them. After I defeated their son, and held him hostage. With that being the only way to stop this fight, without someone getting seriously injured, or killed.'

'Though, this is not good. And Alex is right. I am bluffing. If I hurt their son, we are all dead. And worst of all, I have no idea how I am going to beat all four of them, without my friends getting hurt, or killed, in the crossfire.

Annie took several steps back, as she moved her lightsaber blade away from Alex's throat, without harming him.

In response, Alex dismissed his broken staff pieces, which disappeared from sight.

With Annie and Alex both turning their attention to the other people, scattered about, in the room.

Just then, all of them heard a lout thump, across the room. Those that heard the thump, turned to see that a large cargo ship had just landed, across the room from them. And opposite, in location, to the door that Violin's group has used to enter the cargo bay.

David said, “Well. It look like the supplies are here.” He then looked down at Violin, as he thought, 'And we will have this wrapped up in a couple of minutes. Just as soon as Annie surrenders. Then, we will be right on time to sign for the shipment. I do love it when thinks work out in my favor. Maybe if Annie gracefully surrenders, I won't keep any of her friends, nor herself.'

Then, David saw Violin, and her pistol on the ground, instantly disappear. He looked over at his family members. Those enemies by his family, and the enemies' weapons, had disappeared, as well. Even Annie, whom had been standing by Alex, with her lightsaber ignited, was gone.

David noticed Puck looked over towards the cargo ship, as Puck said, “Oh dear.”

David turned to look at towards the cargo ship, and what he saw caused him to mentally grumble, 'Ah hell. I should have known.'

(_)

A few minutes ago, inside the pressurized room between the outer and inner hatched, a large cargo ship teleported into the room. With the ship cockpit facing the inner hatch.

Inside the cockpit, two men were sitting at the controls, while they were waiting for the automated systems cleared them to land.

The fair skin, white haired man was in the pilot's seat. And the fair skin, black haired man was to the right of the white haired man, with the black haired man in the co-pilot's seat.

Both men were of average height, in great physical shape, in and looked to be in their early twenties. Though, that was do to their hereditary traits. And they were years older than they looked.

Also, both men were dressed in casual clothing.

The white haired man look at his friend, and black haired man. He could see that something was bothering him, and he could guess what.

The white haired man stated, “Little D. Just get it out in the open. It will make you feel better. You know you can trust me.”

Little D responded, “I know that, Yuuichi. It is just I am having problems. You know, before I was ten, I did not even know that the concept of reincarnation even existed.”

“Then, my father leaves, and a young adult woman comes back claiming to be my reincarnated father. That is a lot to take in for a child. Granted, given the way she acts, most of the time, it was believable. And she was able to convince me that she was really my father, reborn. My mother believing her helped, a lot. And we moved on with our lives. And she was very much my father. And when I was a teenager, she even taught me how to shave my face...”

“It really says something when can I honestly state that having my father reincarnated as a babe, whom lived eighteen years of her life in other realities, with coming back soon after he left, is only the tip of the iceberg of the weirdness of my life.”

Yuuichi commented, “You got that right. Nobody in the multiverse has written a self-help books for some of the shit we have seen and been through. I know. We have checked.”

Little D cracked a grin, as he suggested, “You could be the first.”

Yuuichi said, “I am tempted write one. I one time toyed with the idea of becoming a psychiatrist. But, then I realized I would likely go crazy helping my friends and family through their problems. I don't want make the same mistake as Harley Quinn.”

Little D replied, “You got that right. Still, I have a lot to worry about.”

Yuuichi stated, “Like I said, we both know what it is. After our parents, and friends, had their revenge on us, for coming to their island parties uninvited, you changed. Honestly, I would be pissed off at the writer for that, but it is not Lee's fault that our friends and family learned about his story... Well, her story, now... And we got a good things going because of Lee.”

Little D admitted, “You are right on both points. I wish Lee the best. And it was the punishment that messed with me.”

Yuuichi inquired, “Are you dreams becoming more frequent, vivid, and intense?”

Little D frowned, as he answered, “Yes. Since they temporally used that instant chick packets to turn us into girls for that afternoon, it dislodged something upstairs. I have been having more nights than I like to admit dealing experiences out of my depth. And they are not dreams. They are memories. That Luxan Orican we went to, confirmed that.”

“And while I am in trouble. When we had her check you. I honestly think you got off lucky.”

Yuuichi shrugged, as he responded, “It depends on how you look at it. The Orican opened a few of my own past-lives memories. Like the fact I am named after myself in my previous life that died in front front of my current father. That is a little messed up.”

“Or, the fact that I am not human, but instead the son of two bio-engineered super-soldier aliens, that are currently, peacefully living on Earth. Though, I am not that bothered by that. I can have children with a human woman, so there is no problems there. And I got some cool super-powers, that have saved our asses a number of times. Of course, you are not much different that me on that score.”

Little D conceded, “True. Like what my father is now, I am half human, and have super-soldier alien. And Sebaceans are actually bio-engineered humans.”

Yuuichi commented, “There is also the fact that after I privately watched the Birdy Decoded series, I realized that both my parents were grown in the same building. They might be more closely related to each other than none of us would be conformable with. And while I am healthy, I chose not to mention that piece of information to them.”

Little D complimented, “That is wise of you. And I am not sure they realize that. Which is good. Still, that is nothing compared to finding out you were an alien, female plant humanoid in a previous life.”

Yuuichi countered, “So? According to the description of the meaning of the term, on Tvtropes, I am a timelord.”

Little D deadpanned, “According to Tvtropes, everybody is a timelord.”

Yuuichi chuckled. He then commented, “True. Still, it is not the end of the world. I seem to remember you mentioned that you got some psychic powers from this.”

Little D responded, “Yea. I am a weak telepathy and empathy. Though, given our lives, my having powers is not surprising. I have seen the Farscape series all the way through. Knowing parents went through hell before I was born really helped with our relationship...”

“Though, watching the events surrounding my own birth was an awkward experience. But, moving.”

“I have read the Farscape comics, which did not happen to me, but I found interesting. That Little Dargo has powers, as well. Though, different than mine, and a lot more powerful. So, there is precedence for my powers. I even read those stories by Lee. I can see why the others were upset with Lee. Thought, that being said, I don't think you fully understand the implications of all this, as it related to me.”

Yuuichi replied, “Yes. I do. In your previous life, you were a chick. I have seen the Farscape series, as well. And I can say you were a very nice lady as Zhaan. She seemed like a nice person, and you seemed to be a nice person in your current life.”

Little D conceded, “We have that in common. But, the implications are more than you realized. Take my father, Violin, for example.”

Yuuichi asked, “What about my big sister, your father?”

Little D stated, “Exactly. My father. I know my father. John Crichton would not overwrite someone else's personality to save his own skin. It is just not him. He will kill, but he would not do that. And when I was older. Around sixteen. She did talk to my mother and I about when she finally merged her personalities.”

“That John did his best to not overwrite Violin's personality. And from what I understand, he did a pretty good job. But, you got to understand, when you mix the life experiences of a half century person, with the life experiences of eighteen year old, more traits of the older personality dominate the younger personality.”

Yuuichi said, “Well, I am twenty-eight, and I think are you taking this out of context. I know my sister, and when this came out, she really didn't change that much, besides becoming a bit more responsible. So, it is not all bad.”

Little D explained, “You are not seeing the big picture. We both know where this is headed. I know how this works. I am thirty-five years old. Zhaan was alive for centuries. Her personality would crush mine. I know that. She likely knows that. The sad part is I know she would not want that to happen. But, if it came down to it, neither of us could stop it.”

“Fortunately, right now, it is like an itch. If I scratch, it will get worse. If I try to seal those memories, it will blow up in my face. Ignoring the issue is the only option I have. Every other way ends badly for me. And even then, I will like end of like my father in both mind and body as a woman within a few decades, anyway, as more and more of those memories keep emerging.”

Yuuichi suggested, “If you feel that way. Take the plunge, pop the memory cap and see what happens.”

Little D stated, “I cannot afford to. I have a wife and young son to take care of. Still, are you that hard up to get a girl, that you want me to become one?”

Yuuichi flatly responded, “No. I think of you like a brother. You are my best friend. And I respect the woman you married. You picked a good woman. And I have faith, that between the to of you, you son will grow up to be a well adjusted adult. Also, we are never going there.”

Little D replied, “Good. And thank you.”

Yuuichi pointed out, “You're welcome. Still, you cannot hide this forever. River or Annie is going to pick up something about this soon enough.”

Little D countered, “Yes. But, the thing is. If you don't let something bother you. Nor, think think about it. It is very, very hard for a psychic to pick up.”

Yuuichi agreed, “That is true.”

Little D stated, “Still, I was tempted to grow a beard like Bob did, but it doesn't take a genius that it would be a sign that I felt that my masculinity was being threatened. And my parents and our friends would realize that. They are to Intelligent not too.”

Yuuichi commented, “I don't know. They seem too be busy raising Gilina to notice.” He then pressed a button, on the dashboard panel in front of him, that sent the signal for the inner hatch to open. With the inner hatch immediately beginning to open.

Little D said, “Yes. We now have someone that is blood related to both of us. When, not if, one of the Lagoon teenagers, and the trio teenagers finally decide to have children of their own, we can officially declare our family to be stranger than the Summers family tree.”

Yuuichi responded, “That goes without saying. Still, if you count the gene slicing gender bending virus that Chang, the Serenity crew, and I believe Lee got from Bob, as a blood relation, then the entire crew is already distantly related to each other, either by blood or marriage. And we have transcended the Summers family tree.”

Little D stated, with mild surprise, “I think you are right.”

Yuuichi said, “But, I look forward to seeing my niece, your sister, grown up. Though, something else just occurred to me. Let us pray that Gilina is not the reincarnation of Gilina she is named after, nor the other John Crichton that was twined and died of radiation poison.”

Little D replied, “Yea. I hope that neither is the case. That would be to messed up for even us. But, that just means, given our family luck, that it is more than likely that she is the reincarnation of other John.”

Yuuichi pointed out, “Well, we do know for a fact that Gilina was conceived on Moya, in your home reality. So, there is the possibility of that going either way. Though, isn't the other John technically your biological father?”

Little D visibly winced, as he pleaded, “Please, don't remind me.” By then, the inner hatch was open, and Little D slowly piloted their ship into the cargo bay.

Yuuichi pointed out, “Well, if we are right. Then, presently, your biological father is now your sister. The father that raised you is now my sister. Your mother is the father to the father she slept with to conceive you. And my sister is the mother to the father that conceived you.”

Little D responded, “It is amazing that none of this is technically blood related incest. And at least we care about each other. Still, that is not even counting my mother's children and grandchildren, fathered by another man, from that pocket reality.”

Yuuichi asked, “Oh yes. And at least we found those relatives of yours. They do exist in the multiverse. And they seem to be happy in their own little reality. Though, it is amazing that we have yet to achieve a Greek tragedy with our family. And what happens if we are right about Gilina and see starts to remembered her passed life?”

Little said, “Yuuichi. Remember we have over fifteen really good psychiatrists and councilors on retainer for our employees. And we occasionally use them, as well.”

Yuuichi responded, “Very true. And that is a good point.”

Little D then check his dashboard monitor, as he stated, “Looks like we are about ready to land.”

Yuuichi commented, “Let us get this job done and move onto the next job.”

The air lock was pressured, and the cargo shuttle was let into the cargo hold to land by the fighting.

As the ship landed, the two of them inside the cockpit could not believe what they were seeing.

Little D asked, “Am I seeing what I think I am seeing?”

Yuuichi answered, “Yep. I don't know who to be more upset with.”

Little D stated, “Let us land this thing, and get outside. So, we can stop this fight before someone gets seriously hurt, or killed.”

Yuuichi agreed, “Good idea.”

(_)

One minute later, David and his family looked to see that across the room, they saw that their opponents were now by David's business associates, Little D, and Yuuichi.

(_)

Across the room, Violin, Aeryn, River, Arcee, Yolanda, Eda, and Annie, suddenly found themselves by the large cargo ship, next to Yuuichi and Little D. Violin, Aeryn, Eda, Yolanda, and Arcee, were sitting on the floor. While, Annie was still standing, with her lightsaber in her hands. Though, her lightsaber was not deactivated.

Also, they realized that their pistols had been decocked and holstered, in their holsters. Along with this, Aeryn saw that her pulse burster was set beside her.

Eda asked, “What just happened?”

Violin answered, “My younger brother just used his time abilities to bail our asses out of trouble.”

Eda replied, “Oh.”

Yolanda commented, “I did not even feel a thing.”

Violin said, “Nor, should you.”

Yolanda looked over at Yuuichi and Little D, she then looked over at the Xanatos family. She thought, with mild intrigue, 'With abilities like that. This battle should be over fairly quickly. With us on the winning side... That is if there is a continuation of the battle. I see the Xanatos family is not making a move. Maybe they know better than to fight these two. If so, given the Xanatos family is not against negotiating, this situation still might be handled peacefully.'

'Which I do not mind, either way. I just came to keep the others out of trouble, and to see if I still have my edge. And after holding my own against Fox Xanatos. Even with Eda and Aeryn helping. I feel that I still have my edge. I might even thank Fox, if doing so would not ruin the mood.'

Annie hooked her deactivated lightsaber, to the right side of her belt. She stated, with appreciation in her tone of voice, “Thanks for the save.”

Yuuichi commented, “No problem, Annie. I hope you do not mind me deactivating your lightsaber?”

Annie replied, “Nah. Safety first.” She thought, 'Yuuichi, with his time abilities, can handle all four of the Xanatos members, in literally a blink of an eye. If he wanted to. Fortunately, he and Little D, prefer to do things peacefully. Still, since our opponents are worried about this new development. Where there was firm confidence before, as they fought us. I will let Yuuichi, and Little D, deal with the situation at hand. And let events play out.'

Yuuichi turned to Violin, as he asked, “Are you okay, sis?”

Violin turned to Yuuichi, as she replied, “I'm sore, but fine.”

Yuuichi looked over at Aeryn, as he inquired, “And you, Aeryn?”

Aeryn continued to look at the Xanatos, in the distance, as she answered, “Only my pride has been bruised.”

Annie looked over at Little D, as she asked, “What brings you two here?”

Little D looked at Annie, as he answered, in a disappointed tone of voice, “They're our customers. So, what is going on, Annie?”

Annie stated, “Basically, the people controlling this spacestation are trying to take over the multiverse.”

Little D and Yuuichi said, in unison, both in annoyed tones of voices, “Not again.”

Yuuichi mentioned, “This it the second time this year that one of our customers turned out to be evil.”

Little D shrugged, as he said, “That is the nature of the business. But, I think we can help you guys out.” He turned to look at the Xanatos family, as he continued, “And I know just how to do it.” He then started walking towards David Xanatos.

(_)

Across the room, Fox and David recognized the two men as the owners of the trans-reality freight business, Reality Express. Which the Interzone, and Xanatos Enterprises, did a lot of business with.

As Little D walked towards David, at a quickened pace, he barked, “David. Fox. Alex. Owen. What the hell are you doing?!”

Across the room, Puck said, “Looks like things just go a little more interesting.”

David looked at Little D approaching him. He asked, “And D, how is this your concern?”

Little D came closer to David, as he sarcastically replied, “I guess we all have not been formally introduced. Aeryn and Violin are my parents. Violin is also Yuuichi's big sister. Long story. Don't ask. The others are River, Annie, and Arcee. All of them are our friends.”

David thought, 'I already knew that. But, I didn't want you to know that I already knew that.' He casually commented, “I must say, you interesting family and friends.”

Little D came to a stop less two feet from the red and black powerarmored man, as he looked up at the faceplate of David's helmet, while having a stern look on his face.

Little D stated, with his tone of voice like ice, “Well, you are going to remember that. Or, Yuuichi is going to remind you. The hard way.”

David replied, through his helmet speaker, with slight worry, “Ah oh.” He thought, 'I think he realizes that I already knew about their connection to the others. And with his Yuuichi's abilities. This could be trouble for us.'

On the other side of the room, by the large cargo ship, the others overheard the conversation. Including Yuuichi, whom turned to David, as he stated, in a slightly elevated tone of voice, “Big, ah oh. Be happy they will be fine, or you would be finding out what I can really do with my time powers.”

Alex and Puck gulped, while Fox and David's helmets hid their reactions.

Little D flatly said, “David. I don't care who started it. I don't why it started. I don't even care how it started. Reality Express does most of the shipping business for your various businesses, across the multiverse. If you hurt my family, or friends, again. Or, you come after them, over this. You can kiss your contracts with us, goodbye.”

“And I do not need to remind you that you don't scare me.”

Little D looked across at Alex, Fox, and Puck, as he continued, “You're family doesn't scare me.”

Little D turned back to look at David's faceplate, as he went onto say, “Your friends don't scare me. Your company doesn't scare me. Even your godlike in-laws don't scare me.”

“Because I have more powerful friends and resources than you do. My friends at Section Nine would love to teach you the true meaning of the term, information warfare. I believe my friend, Motoko, is presently here, on this ship.”

Little D lips curled into a wicked smile, as he threatened David, to his face, “Would you like to see what she can do with your powersuits, while you are still inside them? And since she is no longer with Section Nine, she does not have to hold back.”

“Along with that, I have the Doctor's phonebooth number on my speed dial. The Q Continuum owes me a favor... You get the idea... So, are we clear?”

David forced himself to remain calm, as he thought, 'If any other person, in the multiverse, had threatened me, like that, in front of my family. I would have literally crushed them where they stood.'

'The problem is that this man is not bluffing. He can backup his claims. And his friend and business partner, Yuuichi, is even more powerful, and likely most well connected than Little Dargo is. This is not a battle I can win.'

David spat out, in an even tone of voice, that barely hid his anger towards the black haired man in front of him, “Crystal clear.” David turned to his family, as he stated, “Come on everyone. This is nothing more we can do here. And we will be of more use elsewhere in this battle.”

Fox, Alex, and Puck, did not reply.

With David, Fox, Alex, and Puck, then calmly walked out of the cargo bay and into one of the nearby hallways.

Little D never took his eyes off of the Xanatos family, as they walked out of the cargo bay.

(_)

Across the room, Little D's parents, Aeryn, and Violin, had silently watched the exchange between Little D and David. With David backing down in the end.

As the married couple watched the Xanatos family head for one of the exits to the cargo bay, Violin inquired, with a bit of astonishment in her tone of voice, “Honey, how did we raise such a devious, magnificent bastard?”

Aeryn continued to watch the Xanatos family, as well. She calmly answered, “Dear, I believe he gets that from your side of the family. And I remind you, we were married literally right before he was born.”

Violin happily stated, “Oh yea... You're right... But I am damn proud of our son, for what he just did.”

Aeryn replied, with pride in her tone of voice, “So, am I, dear. So, am I.”

Violin looked over at Yuuichi, as she mentioned, “And we are happy with you as well, bro.”

Yuuichi looked over at Violin, as he smiled. He said, “Thanks.”

Yuuichi then watched, as the Xanatos family disappeared into a hallway, as Little D turned around, and he stated walked back towards them.

Yuuichi turned to Violin, as he requested, “Now sis, how about you tell me what is really going on?”

Violin asked, “Where do you want me to start?”

Yuuichi answered, “When all of you thought it was a good idea to attack this spacestation, and badasses that are inside it.”

Violin began, “Well...”

Violin then recounted how De La Plata Podrido was attack, what happened during the battle, and that aftermath. And then how they met, organization their plan of attack, and then invaded the spacestation.

By the time Violin was half way through her explanation of the boomer attack on De La Plata Podrido, Little D had rejoined the group, as the two friends good the full story from their family and friends.

(_)

Meanwhile, in another part of the ship, Motoko and Nene were able to track down the intruders that had hacked into the system.

Though, the pair of expert hackers were not able to regain control any of the systems the intruders had taking control of. They were able to prevent the loss of control from any of the other computer systems of the ship. Creating a stalemate situation, between both parties.

Still, now that Motoko and Nene, were finally able to trace where other hackers were. And they currently guiding Linna, in her green hardsuit, to the deserted hallway, of the secondary data hub the intruders were in. With them hoping that Linna could physically deal with the problem, where using computers could not.

Though, given how large the Interzone was, Linna had to do a sight to sight teleport, to reach the general location of where the hackers were. But, that was not difficult, and she only jump thirty seconds into the future, from where she had been. Though, that was a long thirty seconds for Nene and Motoko.

Still, Linna appeared, and the three women continued with their plan.

While Motoko and Nene did not have control of the cameras and ship sensors, they did have access to looking at software packet data from the networks of the ship. Which they were able to use these software packets to find the intruders that were attacking the computer network. From there, they were able triangulate the location on a ship map they had. They were also triangulating Linna's communications, to keep track of her on the ship, and help guide her to her targets.

(_)

Meanwhile, in the bowls of the ship, Linna slowly made her way down the dimly lit hallway, she step slowly and carefully, so that the low heels, and soles, of her slender, green, metal boots did not cling on the floor, and alert the intruders to her presence.

Also, Linna had her helmets exterior speakers turned off, as she talk to Nene and Motoko, inside her helmet.

Over the communications, Nene stated, “Linna, You should be coming to a secondary data hub. One more turned to your right, and the door should be to ten meters, to your left.”

While Linna continued to carefully walked down the hallway, she inquired into her helmet's microphone, “Okay. But, why can I not see through the walls with my suit's sensors? It would be nice to know what I am facing inside, before I enter the room.”

Motoko stated, through the communication channel, “Though, your suit's communication systems will work inside the room. The walls are heavily shielded, for obvious reasons. Basically, to protect the electronics inside from outside electronic inference. Though, the frequencies we are using, will not interfere with the electronics in the room. But, that is sensitive equipment in there.”

Linna sarcastically replied, “Now, you tell me. And from what Nene one time told me, if one of these data hubs were damaged, they could bring down entire network down, on this ship.”

Motoko stated, “That would be correct. But, it might be worth it. The reboot will only take ten minutes.”

Linna pointed out, in a sober tone of voice, “Ten minutes can be a very long time.”

Motoko agreed, “True. Though, relax. If you damage the electronics in the room. It will not come out of your pay.”

Linna said, “Thank you.”

Motoko replied, “You're welcome.”

Linna asked, “And how is the door to the room locked. I don't want to just bust in a door.”

Motoko stated, “I appreciate that. Though, the door using a simple deadbolt lock. If the door is shut and locked. You can use one of you wire-daggers, in your gauntlet hand, to remove it, without serious damaging the door. Then, just turn the knob of the room.”

Linna questioned, “A deadbolt?”

Motoko stated, “People that plan to hack a computer system, rarely expect to have to get through a lock that is not electronic. Though, I guess this is the exception.”

Linna agreed, “Yes. I can see the logic in that.” She then turned the corner, to the right, and among the things she saw, was an open door ten meters from her, to her left.

Linna continued towards the door, as she stated, “Okay. The door is open. And it looks like the lock was picked. Because, I see no damage to the door, nor lock.”

Motoko offered, “Well, that confirms they are inside. Do you want backup?”

Linna responded, “No. Let's see if I can just get them to surrender. That would make things more easier.”

Motoko said, “If you can just get them to surrender. All the better.”

Linna stated, “Okay. I will call if I need help. Right now, I am going to have to disconnect us now. And I am going to put my suit into autistic mode.” She thought, 'So, they cannot hack my suit.'

Motoko complimented, “That would be a wise idea.”

Nene replied, “Good luck.”

By then, Linna had reached the door, as she thought, 'Well, here I go.” She then walked inside, and what she saw she did not expect.

Linna saw, in the blue light of the room, a black haired woman standing in front of her, by about ten feet from her. She had a revolver in her right hand, thought it was pointed at the floor. Behind the black hair woman, to Linna's right, between some computer towers, she saw a skinny redheaded woman sitting beside to black haired men, as they worked at some laptop computers. With the two men appearing to be fraternal twins.

The woman standing in front of Linna, whom was Lori, calmly said, in english, “Hello Linna. We have been expecting you.”

Linna though, 'They do have access to the camera system. So, that makes sense.'

Lori questioned, “Let me guess. You were not expecting something so mundane?”

Linna turned on her helmet’s outside speakers, as she answered, in english, “You would be correct. Now, if you don't mind. Could you please surrender to me. If you do, I promise you won't be harmed.”

From the floor, Ed did not look up from her computer screen, as she casually requested, “Honey, please handle this.”

Lori continued to look at Linna, as she said, “Don't worry. I will do so, dear.”

Linna warned, “I really do not want to hurt you.”

Lori stated, “There are several good reasons why are you not going to do anything to us.”

Linna inquired, “And those would be?”

Lori answered, “We are currently employing two of your daughters.”

Linna thought, 'Could she mean Irene and Leona? I heard the took a job, at a diner. But, they were vague about where, when, and what reality. Still, I want them to prove it.' She asked, “Which daughters do you mean?”

Lori casually responded, “Ah. You are testing me. Okay. I am talking about Irene and Leona. We are their employers at the Last Resort Diner, on the island city of De La Plata Podrido, Mexico, on one of the many Earths in the multiverse. During the early twenty-first century.”

Linna thought, 'Damn it. That is the right answer.' She stated, “That is correct.”

Lori commented, “I see they have talked to you, since after we hired them.” She thought, 'That confirms that.'

Linna thought, 'She is sharp, to realize that.' She said, “Yes. We have talked to them. They did not go into detail about their jobs. Though, they said you are good employers that pay well. And you even helped them find a decent apartment on in the city they were living in.” She mentally added, 'Also, I need to mention the boyfriend issue. Leona just could not keep quiet that Irene had a boyfriend. And I would like to know who my daughter is dating.'

Lori happily replied, “I will have to thank them for their compliments.” She thought, 'It would be tempting to mention that Irene and Leona requested that we hold back against the Knight Saber. But, telling Linna could make things worse. Hotel Moscow, Revy, and Sawyer, are not a usually merciful lot. And Rock has her moments. They are all likely only planning to give the Knight Sabers one chance to surrender, to avoid the wrath of my family.'

Linna requested, “Please do. Also, they coyly mention, that Irene now had a boyfriend.”

Lewis did not look up from his computer, as he calmly said, “That would be me.”

Lori turned turned to her family, as she stated, “This is Irene's mother. So, treat her with respect.”

Linna said, “Thank you.”

Lori turned to Linna, as she replied, “You're welcome.” She then looked back at her family.

Lewis looked up at Linna, as he responded, “I apologize. I'm just a bit busy, at the moment.”

Linna replied, “No problem.” She thought, 'Now, this is a surreal situation, to find myself in. If I fight them, it cause me, and my family, trouble, on so many levels. And I will never hear the end of it from Irene and Leona.'

Lewis then looked back at his computer, as he continued his work.

Lori turned to look back over at Linna, as she thought, 'Well, that will earn us some brownie points with her.'

Linna turned to Lori, as she inquired, “Well, you are correct about my inability to hurt you. I cannot harm the employers my daughters. Especially, since they said you are their friends, and they like their jobs. With one of you being Irene's new boyfriend. If I did so. I would never hear the end of it from them. So, now what?”

Linna thought, 'Sylia did say use my best judgment. So, her orders do give me some leeway. And they are not trying to attack me. So, I will hear them out.'

Lori thought, 'Good. I got her to where she wants to talk. Now, to lead her to my suggestion.' She responded, “Well, I am guessing that Motoko is the one who sent you here. And with you here, it is academic guess that Nene is helping her.”

Linna questioned, “I can see how you would know that Nene is one of the ones opposing your friends here. But, how did you know that Motoko was involved?”

Lori stated, “The only person that has given my redheaded friend here, this much trouble, is Motoko Kusanagi.”

Linna then remember something, as she mentally realized, 'The redhead is a woman. And she is a hacker. She is Ed. And Motoko mentioned once that she had trouble with her, at a contest... Lee's stories...'

Linna put the piece together, as she questioned, “You are the Lowe family? Ed, Stan, and Lewis are on the floor? But, where is Bob? And who are you?”

Lori didn't bother to deny anything, as she admitted, “I am Bob. I am now locked in this female form. And I now go by, Lori.”

Linna complimented, “Okay. And you look very pretty.”

Lori commented, “Thank you. But, I am also married.”

Linna quickly said, “Okay.” She thought, 'I really don't want to know how those two adjusted to such a radical change... Radical Edward. Radical change. Ha. Still, I do have one question that I would like answered.' She inquired, “Which one of you is Lewis? And which one of you is Stan.”

Lewis looked up at Linna, as he said, “I am Lewis. The boyfriend.” He then looked back down at his computer screen.

Stan did not looked up from his computer monitor, as he replied, “And I am Stan.”

Linna could not help but giggle a little at Lewis' comment.

Lori thought, 'Now. To make my pitch.' She suggested, “I suggest we let our families fight it out with their computers. And this will allow Ed and Motoko to resolve their rivalry.”

Stan said, “Amen to that.”

Lewis commented, “Yea. We will finally hear the end of it.”

Ed hissed, “Boys.”

Lewis and Stan immediately stopped talking, as they went back to work.

Linna inquired, “I am not opposed to that. Still, how did their rivalry start?”

Lori stated, “A contest that ended in a draw for them. Though, Ed and Motoko never liked each other. They rubbed each other the wrong way. This is because they are polar opposites. Ed is a free spirit. While Motoko is cold and calculating.”

“Also, their hacking styles are very different. Ed is a traditionalist, as she liked to use a computer to hack into a network, and not directly connect her mind to a computer network. While Motoko prefers to dive her mind into a computer system.”

Ed kept her eyes on her computer monitor, as she stated, “Diving into the web, with one's mind, is likely going to an orgy without protection. Doing so is just asking for trouble.”

Linna giggled a little at Ed's comment.

Lori went onto say, “They really need a rematch to settle this matter. Of who is the better hacker.”

Linna inquired, “I agree. Still, what is their rivalry like?”

Lori stated, “Well, the best way to describe it is that this is a sort of Mugen, Jin style rivalry. With Ed being the Mugen, with unpredictable moves. While, Motoko is the Jin, with cold, calculating strikes. And both are so good that neither can get the immediate upper hand on the other, in fighting over control of various computer networks.”

“Though, they are both mature enough to know better than to actively seek to cause trouble for each other. And instead they choose to just leave each other alone. Unless circumstances say otherwise.”

Ed commented, “And in such cases. I use the opportunity to take that uptight bitch down a notch.”

Linna continued to look at Lori, as she said, “I see what you mean. So, who is the Fuu in this set up?”

Lori responded, “Either me, or Batou. So, you have seen the Samurai Champloo anime?”

Lori thought, 'I shouldn't be surprised she has heard of the Samurai Champloo anime. Being a person from a anime series, it would make sense she would look into other anime. And Samurai Champloo is one of the odder ones that is not porn.'

Linna replied, “Yea. It's okay.”

Lori commented, “I feel the same way. Not great. But, okay.”

Linna stated, “I need to talk to Motoko and Nene. And see what they want to do.”

Lori said, in a kind tone of voice, “Well, either way. Thank you for considering your options.”

Linna replied, “You're welcome.”

Linna turns off her outer speakers, as she turned off the autistic mode to her hardsuit, as she contacted Nene and Motoko.

Linna stated, over the communication channel, “Guys. We have a situation here.”

Motoko flatly inquired, “That being?”

Linna answered, in japanese, “Given who they are, I cannot attack them.”

Nene asked, with slight disbelief in her tone of voice, in japanese, “Just to make sure I heard you correctly. You cannot attack them? So, you haven't captured the hackers, yet?”

Linna stated, “No. I have not. And for good reasons. Nene, I will tell you later, why. And you will likely agree with me, then.”

Nene questioned, “Okay. I will give you the benefit of the doubt. But, who are they?”

Linna answered, “They are the Lowe family.”

Motoko said, in japanese “I just knew it. Only that bitch could cause so much trouble for me.”

Linna commented, “Well Motoko, Bob... Or, should I say, Lori. Has been telling me about your rivalry with her wife, Ed. And Lori said that you guys needed to end your rivalry.”

Motoko flatly replied, “When hell freezes over.”

Linna countered, “Well, Lori made a good suggestion. That it might be best to take this opportunity to see who is the best hacker. And in that way, end your rivalry.” She thought, 'Please, take this offer. Because, if you don't, then I am in a bind that Sylia always worry about. Being caught between family and a job. And I am going to choose family, in the end.'

Nene stated, “I like the idea. I have always wanted to go against the Lowe family. Especially, Ed.”

Motoko begrudgingly replied, “Fine.”

Linna thought, with relief, 'Good.' She replied, “Thank you.”

Nene offered, “I will even inform Sylia about this. So, you don't have too.”

Linna said, “I appreciate that, Nene. And talk to you, later.”

Linna then disconnected their communication line. But, kept her set communications on standby, in case one of her other teams wanted to contact her.

Linna faced Lori. She turned on her exterior speakers, as she stated, in english, “We have a deal.”

Lori happily replied, “Good.” She turned to face her family, as she said, “Dear. You now have the chance to kick Motoko's ass.”

Ed kept looking at her computer screen, as she worked. She commented, “Already working on it, honey.”

Lori turned to look at Linna.

Linna inquired, “Now, I have to ask. Why are you here?”

Lori stated, “For us, this morning, your boss sent hundreds of combat boomers to attack the island city of De La Plata Podrido. From what I understand, it was a sadistic distraction, to allow them to take out a group, known as the Atlantic Riders, staying on the island.”

Lori thought, 'I will not mention that six of those members are my friends. And that at least my friends are okay.'

Lori statement caught Linna by surprised, as Linna thought, 'There is no reason for her to lie me. No one would go after Gomez and this organization, unless they would have a very good reason... That also likely means those Black Lagoon lunatics are here, ready to go on a roaring rampage of revenge. But, there is something more important that I need to know.'

Linna asked, with worry evident in her tone of voice, “I did not know that happened. How is everyone? How are Irene and Leona?”

Lori responded, in a comforting tone of voice, “Not to worry. The boomers were put down with minimum casualties. And your children are fine. And we realized that you, and the other Knight Sabers, were not part of the attack.”

While the shock fade of the news faded, Linna's attitude completely changed, as she thought, with anger, 'Good. My children are okay. Still, for Gomez to attack so many innocent people. Including my own children.'

Linna calmly offered, with only a hint of malice and anger in her tone of voice, “Good. Would you like directions to Gomez's office? I can lead you right to him. I even know where to find some pikes are, on the ship. So, we can soon use one of them to mount his severed head on.”

Lori thought, 'Oh. She is on board now. Still, I need her to convince her to keep this to herself.' She stated, “We already have plans for Gomez. Also, please do not inform you friends of this. Just yet.”

Linna inquired, “Why not?”

Lori thought, 'I have got to tell her something.' She coyly answered, “We have a plan to get your team out of harms way. But, those involved are people that usually do not do this. And if you contact the your friends, it would upset those plans.”

Lori mentally reflected, 'I hope this works. Or, if Linna's friends are harmed, in response, she might still harm us. And I don't know if I can stop her. And even then, what would I say to her children?'

Linna questioned, “I take it that those you are talking about are the Black Lagoon people?”

Lori thought, 'My. She is sharp.' She admitted, “Yes. They are only doing this as a favor to us, and your daughters.”

Linna thought, 'That is nice thing for Irene and Leona to do. And from the look at Lori's face, she is clearly worried about how I would react if things went wrong.'

Linna stated, “I understand. And I won't hurt you, if things go wrong. And I won't tell the others about this.”

Lori thought, with relief, 'That is load off my mind.'

Lewis continued to look at his computer screen, though he was paying attention to the conversation between Linna and his father.

Lewis stated, “Linna. I will use the camera system to I keep an eye on the exchange between Hotel Moscow and the Knight Sabers. While we don't have control, nor are able to monitor the commutations. We can use them.”

“If things start to look like they are going to hell for either side, I can sent a high frequency signal to both our forces and yours, Linna. To get them to stop fighting. It will sting their inner ears, while it is being used. But, they will recover.”

Linna turned to Lewis, as she warmly said, “Thank you, Lewis. I appreciate that”

Lewis looked up at Linna, as he replied, “You're welcome.” He then turned back to his computer screen.

Linna turned back to Lori, as she requested, “So Lori, care to tell me, what Irene and Leona have been up to while in your employment? I hope they have not gotten into any trouble.”

Lori happily said, “With pleasure. They have been well manners ladies. And good workers.”

Linna stated, “We taught them well.”

Lori complimented, “And it shows.”

Linna replied, “Thank you.”

Lori then told Linna what Irene and Leona had been up to, as Ed, Lewis, and Stan, took on Motoko and Nene, on the computer networks of the spacestation, for control of said networks.

(_)

As the hacking dual went on, near the front tip of the ship, Akira, Natsuru, and Ranma searched for a possible magical research area on the spacestation.

Their search so far had been uneventful. They had met no one, as they used the stairwells to search through the levels, from the bottom level up.

At the moment, the three lovers figured they were near the middle of the floor. As they walked up another flight of stairs.

While the hallways and stairwells were clean, and well lit. From the soft white drop down florescent lights, with translucent coverings. The doors to the are were unlocked, and open. Along with their being no one around. The sterile, clean hallways, with the absence of people, gave off a very eerie feeling, for the three lovers.

As they made it up another set of stairs, Ranma commented, “Guys. I think this is a bust.”

Natsuru pointed out, “I don't know. This place is has clearly been remodeled by Gomez. And if that is the case. Why did Gomez have this part of the ship remodeled? He was clearly planning to do something here.”

Akira theorized,“Maybe this area was this was not damage, when this ship was originally trashed.”

Natsuru commented, “That may explain the hallways, themselves. But, I can tell that the lighting, doors and railings, on the walls, by the stairs, are clearly from Earth. Gomez has something in mind for this are of the ship.”

Akira conceded, “You have a point there.”

Ranma stated, “Well, I might be a badass. But, every movie I have seen, where three beautiful women go it search of dangerous artifacts. It always ended badly for them.”

Akira mentioned, “We have reality devices, which we can use to leave at a moments notice.”

Ranma admitted, “You got me there.”

Natsuru then notice something with her nose, as she asked, “Do you smell something?”

Ranma sniffed the air. She replied, “Yea.”

Akira smelled it as well. As she recognized it, she stated, “Oh no. I know what that smell is.”

Natsuru realized what Akira was talking about, as she said, “So do I.”

The three started rushing up the stairs, as Ranma realized what it was. She commented, “I hope we are wrong.”

The three of them continued to rush up the stairs, until they found the door where the smell came in. Then, they run down a hallway. and when the turned a corner, to their right, which let them to a dimly lit alcove that lead to a much large room. With only darkness on the other side of the hallway.

The three women came to a sudden halt, as they saw what was caused the smell.

Ranma quietly said, “Guys. I think we found the place.”

Natsuru stated, in a worried tone of voice, “I admit it. I'm scared.”

Akira commented, “I think I'm going to throw up.” She then forced down the bile that wanted to come up her throat.

Right in front of them, there were decomposing corpses, that literally filled the large, twenty feet wide, between twenty feet height hallway, and twenty feet long, hallway. None of the corpses were human. But, most were humanoid. And they looked like they had killed themselves with weapons they were holding in their hands.

Ranma asked, “Do we continue? I mean this is straight out of a really scary horror scene.”

Akira said, “I know. It's really bad when we find corpses of monsters, whom killed themselves.” She turned to Natsuru, as she inquired, “Do they kill themselves?”

Natsuru looked around at the bodies, their wounds, and the weapons in their hands. She answered, “From the looks of the weapons in their hands and the wounds on them. I believe these are self-inflicted wounds.”

Ranma said, in a worried tone of voice, “I honestly don't want to know what would drive such beings to off themselves. And if you guys want to turn around and leave. I will fully support your decisions.”

Akira turned to look directly towards the other side of the hallway, as she stated, in a firm tone of voice, “No. We have a job to do. And Chang is right. If we don't do this. It will likely bite up in the ass, later. So, let's do this.”

Natsuru agreed, “Akira's right. Let's get this over with.”

The three women then stepped between the corpses, on the floor, as they approached the dark part of the room in front of them. With all of them doing their best to leave the corpses, and the items on the corpses, alone.

They soon came to a stop, on the other end of the hallway, right in front of the darkness, that shrouded the area beyond the dim lighting.

The three women stood side by side, as Ranma asked, “As we stand, staring into the abyss. Do we even want to know what those being, we just walked by, are?”

Natsuru commented, “Not really. Akira, are these beings what I think they are?”

Akira answered, “Yes. From what I recognize of them.”

Ranma inquired, “What are they they?”

Natsuru stated, “Most of them are from horror fiction. They are the creatures that if you see, you might go insane. But, given our lives, that is not much of a worry.”

Akira questioned, “What could drive these beings to kill themselves?”

Suddenly, from the darkness in front of them, they heard a man's voice scream, in english, “Hard truths!”

Suddenly, around the walls of the room, in front of them, lanterns were ignited, with green flames. With the darkness of the room behind replaced by eerie green light illuminating area. This revealed in front of the women, that ahead of a twenty feet long hallway of corpses, was a large room, that looked at if it had been trashed.

Where there had been shelves of books that line the walls, and tables and chairs.

Now, the shelves were turned onto the floor and hacked to pieces, along with the tables and chairs.

The books looked shredded and destroyed. Pieces of magical artifacts were shattered on the floor.

In the center of the room was a man. He was an old caucasian man with full head of blond hair that went down to his neckline, and a bushy, ratty full beard. He eyes looked crazed, but not hostile. His clothing were nothing be rags of what use to be a long sleeved, white button up shirt, with brown pants, and a pair of black dress shoes.

Ranma warned, in english, “Watch your feet. Do not touch any of those magical pieces, or pages on the floor.”

The man complimented, with a british accent, “A wise precaution. Though, come on in. You came this far. You might as well go all the way.”

The three women were careful, as they walked through the room, so as to not touch anything on the floor. As they approached man, they saw writing on the various walls of the room.

As the three women came to a stop, they were able to avoid all the items on the floor. They stood next to each other, and near the man, as they looked around at the writing on the various walls of the room. Mostly of the writings were made from white chalk, but some writings on the wall were made red blood in.”

Most of the writings were in english.

Among these statements, included....

“Free will = lies. All written. No choices.”
“No debts. Only souls and imaginations.”
“Deadpool is sane! We are the insane ones!””
“You are part of the stories. I am part of the stories.”
“To realized there is a forth wall is to realize there is no forth wall.”
“TVTropes, recursive fiction = It all fits”
“Reality, made by reality, made because of reality.”
“Life, heaven, or hell, or purgatory, then life through reincarnation, endless cycle without end.”
“Heaven. Hell. Purgatory. All man made.”
“Happiness, pleasure, hope = heaven.”
“Sadness, rage, pain = hell.”
“Melancholy, regret, forgiveness = purgatory.”
“We are both demons and gods at the same time for other realities.”
“New 52 sucks.”
“DC comics. Vertigo. Hellblazer. All meaningless.”

From the last line, Akira was able to guess who the man was.

Akira turned to the man, as she inquired, in english, “Are you, John Constantine?”

Akira's comment caused Ranma and Natsuru to always turn to look at the man.

The three women saw the man's eyes became less crazed, as he answered, “Am I still the character, John Constantine? Or, am I not the character John Constantine, after all I have learned? Either way, I have been expecting you.”

Akira asked, “You have?”

John answered, “Yes. All will be explained to you in the fullness of time. As it is written.”

Ranma inquired, “Who is John Constantine?

The three women turned to look at each other.

Natsuru explained, in english, for John's benefit, “John Constantine is a paranormal expert of the DC comics realities. He is minor level magical user. But, he has a very sharp mind that has allowed him to use his wits to get the better of both gods, devils, and everyone and everything in between.”

John answered, “Thank you. But, I believe that I have now been gotten the better of myself.”

Ranma commented, “Well, he has clearly gone off the deep end.”

Natsuru stated, “From the way he is talking, and the writings on the wall. I am thinking he is having a complete existential crisis.”

Akira said, “Maybe. Maybe not. John has been through a lot. He might bounce back from this. Either way. He has a lot of information that could be of help to us.”

Natsuru asked, “I agree.” She turned her attention to John, as she asked, “John, what happened to you?”

Ranma and Akira also turned to look at John.

John chuckled, as he answered, “Gomez offered me a job. Learn the secrets of existence, he said. The magical angles. That horror angles. It seems I am the only human, he could find, that had learned such knowledge, whom had not gone crazy.”

“I took the job because he flattered me. And that job was simple. Figure how the multiverse ticks, and use that knowledge to our advantage. How could I have been so foolish? We do not use the multiverse. The multiverse uses us. We are like the cogs, in a multifaceted clock, that think themselves the machine.”

“Anyway, before I realized this. After I got the job, and I was brought here, with Gomez providing me with everything I had requested, and then some. When I was ready, Gomez provided source material across the multiverse. I even read my own comic series. That was a big mistake. I think my sanity took a real hit from doing that. I can name personal visits to hell, that were less traumatic than doing that.”

Ranma stated, “John, we know what you mean. All three of us have been there, done that. It can be unpleasant to see such things from a third person angle.”

John saw Akira and Natsuru nodding in agreement.

John admitted, “Yea. I knew I was a bastard. I just didn't realize I was that much of a bastard. I thought I could use the knowledge gained to allow humanity to have a leg up on heaven and hells constant sadistic game of fighting over human souls. I cannot believe I was so small minded. The truth is we created heaven and hell. But, not exactly us. More like people from another realities did for us. Just like people from another realities are also our creators.”

“This is all a bloody hell of our own making. Humanity. We have all trapped each other in karmic hamster wheels, without any of us realizing it.”

“And the sad part is. I met the almighty god of my reality, once. He tried to tell me this. I just did not want listen. Nor, did I want to understand. And he couldn't tell me straight out. I now forgive him for not giving me a straight answer. Because he couldn't. He wasn't allowed too.”

“And humans are just twisted enough to be this way, without realizing it. But, it wasn't always about entertainment, either. Though, that is a factor. Think of the tortured souls that have creating stories. To work through their issues. Just so they can find some small measure of peace for themselves.”

Akira stated, “We know someone just like that. Her name is Lee. And she is deeply regretful for the stories she wrote. Which also directly effected us. And she told us that she wrote those stories to find some measure peace with herself.”

John replied, “Interesting. I may have to someday meet this Lee.”

Akira offered, “We may be able to arrange that.”

John inquired, “If you have not had your revenge on her? And destroyed her.”

Natsuru coyly answered, “We have settled our issues with her. And she is already now.”

John replied, “Okay.”

Ranma asked, “So, what is with all the bodies, in the hallway?”

John said, “When I realized the truth. I needed to talk to someone about it. I have found, from experience, that sharing hard truths with one's co-workers is a bad idea. And driving your boss crazy is never a wise idea, either. So, I starting magically summoning beings to talk to.”

Akira commented, “That never ends well.”

John agreed, “No. It doesn't. But, in this case, it was those I summoned that couldn't handle the truth. I started first with demons and devils. They usually kill themselves within an hour of me telling them the truth. Gods and angels tended to go catatonic after a while. And the cosmic horrors did not fair any better.”

“When cosmic horrors learned they were mere, incomplete fragments of broken men and women, it shattered their minds. Imagine finding out that something you consider less significant than a germ to be your creator. That is almost always a fatal blow to one's ego.”

“Though, this was not the case for all the beings I summoned.”

“The Exceptions being the various incarnation of deaths. They found the truth about the multiverse to be hilarious. They said this truth brought meaning to their existence. That given those that created them are mortals, that meant they were just long lived mortals, as well.”

“Actually, since I was already this deep into the abyss. I even arranged the deaths to meet each other. Just to see what would happen.”

“And I think some of them, after meeting each other, have decided to date on other. For example, the goth death chick from my reality, and the death from that world on top of a giant, planet sized tortoise. And those two seemed to hit it off well together.”

“Though, I feel the only person I summoned, whom fully believed what I said. And whom truly grasped what I told him. Killed himself a few weeks ago. That person was the Black Pope of Hellraiser movie series. When I summoned him with the puzzle box. He asked why I summoned him. It seems he had heard of me, and my reputation. Because he came alone. Without any members of his entourage. And he didn't torture me, because of what I showed him. But, eventually the truth was too much for him, and he killed himself.”

“If you looked close enough. You can see his body, among the pile in hallway.

John then continued, in a sober tone of voice, “And I know I am heading that way, as him, myself.”

Natsuru thought, 'Somebody has to help this man.' She said, in a comforting tone of voice, “John, I know learning the truth can be hard. But, it is not the end.”

John stated, “Maybe. Maybe not. Though, given I am seeing a blond in a yellow cowgirl outfit, a redhead in red chinese clothing, and a blue haired girl in a white and black seifuku, standing together. I am guess you are Akira, Ranma, and Natsuru.”

Natsuru thought, 'Interesting. I wonder.' She inquired, “Yes. That is correct. So, you read Badasses Of the Multiverse?”

John responded, “I sure have. So has Gomez and Deadpool. They both found those four books hilarious.”

“With Deadpool even sharing his personal comment of the stories. Which is much longer. And, if you are wondering. Deadpool loved his role in those stories. And where he will end up at the end of this book. Also, Wade said that even though it didn't last with that woman, he did enjoy the time he had with her. But, that is not the craziest thing Wade ever said to me about those stories.”

Ranma asked, “And that would be?”

John answered, “Wade said that he read the stories before the events in the story began to happen to him. And he let the story events happen to him, because of what he gets in the end.”

Natsuru inquired, “That being?”

John said, “I cannot tell you. I did learn what it is. But, I cannot tell you. Because, Wade would be pissed off at me if I ruined the prize for him, and the surprise for the audience.”

The three lovers turned to look at each other, as Akira stated, “Okay. This is crazy. And so is he.”

Natsuru said, “Maybe so. But, we have to help him. We cannot leave him like this.”

Ranma commented, “Chang did give us orders to use our best judgment.”

Akira said, “Then, we help him. And thanks for the reminder.”

Ranma replied, “You're welcome.”

The three lovers turned back to look at John, as Natsuru said, “Well John, you are not alone in realizing that you are a work of fiction to another reality. For example our own series, and that story, the Badasses Of the Multiverse.”

John grimaced, as he commented, “It is not that story, or our own series, that worries me. It is this story that concerns me! Hahahaha! The stories never end. I know it never ends. We write them. They write us. The stories always continue. Only the writers change. Even across different realities. That is the true answer. Just times that by infinity, and let it bake for an eternity, and that is how we got the multiverse we all are in now. Including, the audience that is reading this.”

'Even, now, is relative. There is not constant to this madness. No defining marks. It is just circles loops within circles, that create more circles.”

“And even the person writing this is being written to write this. It is endless cycles that branch out. Like reflecting mirrors against mirrors. Even the writer cannot stop writing the story until that writer's role is done. And the writer knows this. And that is not counting the readers written to read this, or watch it, or play it. They could be doing any of the above, depending on what reality, time, place, they are existing in at the moment.”

“It is an endless orgy of imagination of an endless number of people. How many realities do each of us create when each of us sleep for just one night? Times that by a lifetime. And then times how many of those we create, create other realities as they sleep? And do the realities we create, in that way, dream, writer, or whatever, in doing so, change our own reality, and other realities, in ways most of us don't even perceive? It is recursive insanity.”

“And of the people that do perceive these changes, as the sanest people out there. And of these people. The sanest person I know is, Wade Deadpool Wilson.”

“I always wanted to figure it all out. Well, I finally did. And now I realize how big a mistake that was. I have thoroughly screwed myself.”

Ranma said, with pity in her voice, “Guys, I am starting to believe John might be beyond our help.”

Akira stated, “We have to help him. He is too dangerous not to help. Leaving him. Especially, like this, would be a very bad idea for everyone. And even though he is a bastard, he usually means well. The problem is that he usually gets himself in so deep, he can barely get himself out, let alone the others he had dragged down with him.”

John commented, “Do not worry about it. There is not much you can do to help me. I went too deep, and I have gone completely crazy.”

Natsuru countered, in a firm tone of voice, “John, we know crazy. You are not crazy. You are just extremely stressed out, and you believe that you have been backed into a corner. Where you are trapped.”

John pointed out, “Well, I am an old man, who knows way too much. No afterlife would take me after learning what I know. That is why I haven't killed myself. I already had a much earned, bad reputation. And this puts me over the top. I have gotten myself blacklisted from every afterlife I know of.”

“Those of the Heavens already hated me. Those of Hells have come to fear me. Those of Purgatory don't want anything to do with me. And I have it on good authority that the karmic wheel has washed its hands of me. So, no reincarnation. The good news is that my soul is no longer indebted to anyone, because everyone it now too scare of me, of what I know, to come collect on it. Still, I will just got older, and become an invalid. Neither living, nor dead. Now, that is a hell in of itself.”

Natsuru thought, 'We might as well make the offer.' She offered, “Well John, we can give you a fresh start. And if anything, it will give you time to allow things to cool off for yourself.”

John raised an eyebrow, as he asked, “Are you talking about turning me in a chick with that vat process.”

Natsuru shifted uncomfortably, as she answered, “Well, it is the only way we have to give you back your youth, in a manner where we have control over the process. Plus, the change would also put your body in near perfect health.”

“And do not worry, Chang's people have done it enough times to know what they are doing. Besides, being a woman isn't that bad. All three of us have been through everything there is to being a woman. From sex, to periods, to pregnancy, to birth, to motherhood. And to be honest, the pros outweigh the cons. And we can even give you options on mentally changing you.”

John inquired, “What options are you talking about?”

Natsuru commented, “Besides the basics, which would make you conformable with your new gender, and make you bi-sexual. Though, I believe you already are.”

John said, “I prefer sharing a bed with birds. But, I have shared a bed, on occasionally, with a special bloke, or two.”

Natsuru, responded, Okay. That answers that. Anyway, there is also the option of giving you any personality you want. They can erase selected memories. I am sure you have more than a few memories that you want to get rid of. Though, Chang's people do not have much experience on memory implantation. But, they could call in a few favors, from some people they know from one of the Ghost in the Shell realities. I think it is the Standalone Complex reality. And they are pretty good at doing such things.”

Natsuru thought, 'Actually, they are so good, that it is scary.”

John thought it over or a few second. He then stated, “You got a deal, Natsuru. I am not sure about the fake memories. But, I now understand that ignorance is bliss. And I want a near total memory erasure. Except, I want to know just enough of my past to know I do not want to remember, and that I was happy to give up, of my own free will, my old life and memories.”

“And if I am going to be a chick, let us shoot for the normal woman. I want to have a happy, cheerful personality of a woman, that wants to find love, start a family, be a mother, even if it involves being pregnant and giving birth... Oh, and make it so that I am not bothered by having a monthly periods. If one is going to deal with something. That person might as well not have to worry over it.”

Natsuru said, “That can all be arranged. From what I understand. After some discussion. I think Chang already made it so that people that undergo the vat process not bothered by monthly periods. With that becoming a standard part of the brainwashing package.”

John responded, “Good. Now, what do you want to know?”

Ranma asked, “What do you know of Gomez's organization?”

John responded, “Well, Gomez never really trusted me with information outside of my job. And I am not surprised, since he knew who I am. Will this effect your offer?”

Natsuru answered, “No. It is in everyone's best interest to help you. Now, let us get out of here.” She thought, 'This place creeps me out. And I am sure it does for Akira and Ranma.'

John smiled, as he replied, “Good idea. But, there is a book I have to take with us.”

John walked over to one of the bookshelves still standing and he pulled out a book.

As John walked back over to the girls, he held the front of the book up for them to see.

It was a one foot long, eight inch wide, four inch thick, green leather bound book. At the top, middle half of the front of book with a rainbow colored medal. The medal sixteen snakes. Eight snakes were intertwined with each other in figures eights, each eating on of the others tails, as they created an eight petal flower of an Ouroboros, with the ends of the pedals being in line with the book's shape. The other eight snakes encircled the pedals, with their heads facing clockwise to the medal. Each head met, and was eating the tail of another snake, between each pedal. All in all, it was a very strange medal that set the three women on edge as they looked at it.

The metal kept shifting colors as the light changed angles on it. of. The were no words on the book.

As John came to a stop, a few feet from the women. He held up the book for them, as he question, “Have any of you seen the movie, or read the novel, the Neverending story?”

All three women nodded, as Ranma replied, “Yea.”

Akira said, “Of course.”

Natsuru inquired, “Yes. That is not that book? Is it?”

John answered, “No. This book is not that book. This book is likely what inspired that book, at some level across the multiverse. The best I can figure this book is one of the Akashic records for the multiverse. I am not idiotic enough to think that this book is only such record for the multiverse.”

“I do not know how Gomez found it, but one day Gomez brought it to me, so I could study it. And the book, by itself, nearly broke my mind.”

Akira commented, “That thick book looks a little too slim to contain all the information on everyone and everything in the multiverse.”

John stated, “You would think so. But, for the reader who opens it, the book only tells of their own personal life, and the lives of those they will meet in their lives. Yes. Lives. As in past incarnations and future reincarnations. The book mentions past, present, and future. But, mostly the book focuses on the present, near past, and near future. The pages are not numbered. And I know the pages change every time I open the book. If you decide to open it. Don't open it at the beginning, or end of the book. Open it in the middle. Don't worry, the book will show you want you need to read, now, in the present.”

Natsuru wondered out loud, “I take it, that is not all?”

John answered, “Quite correct. And while any can read the book. And page through the book. Even if someone else opens the book. The only about the person that opened the book, that time. With the writing inside appears in the native language of the person who opens it. In the proper direction. Such as, when it showed in english, the writing and pages, read from left to right, per page. With each page reading from left to right.”

“The text will not change, unless that book is first closed and opened again. Paging back and forth, with the book still open, will not change the what is written on the pages.”

“If the person is illiterate, or mostly illiterate, the pages appear as pictures. If the person is only partly illiterate, it appears as as both text and pictures by the proportions needed for the reader to understand the book. If the person can read fully, it is almost all only in pure text. If the reader is blind, it the test is in braille. If the person is blind and illiterate, it shows things in slightly raised, pictures.”

“As such, it is academic to guess book is pure magic.”

Akira inquired, “Given your reputation. What stops you from just rewriting the book and altering the fate of the multiverse?”

John explained, “The book does not let a reader alter it. No ink I have found will stick to the pages. This includes magical, and otherwise enchanted, ink. The pages cannot be damaged. Trust me. I have tried. And I feel that even if I do damage the book, it will just instantly repair itself. Dumping it in another part of the multiverse, including a sun, and a blackhole, will not work. The book will very quickly, within minutes, find itself back to where it needs to be. In my case. When I tried to get rid of it. The book quickly appeared near me.”

“And what is stated in the book happens. It will make sure it happens. And trust me. I have tried to disprove that fact. So, you might not want to read to much of that book.”

“As such, I have found that we are not the ones to create the fate stated in this book. I know this as a fact, given the fate I read about myself. I decided to cheat, and read a few chapters into me life, during the future. I wished that I had not done so. I deeply regret doing so.”

Ranma requested, “Could you give us an example of what you are talking about?”

John said, “Sure.” He then opened the book near the middle, “Ah this passage will do. For example, this book offers knowledge. Such as that I know who you are. You are Ranma, Akira, and Natsuru. All of you were born male. But, you are gender benders that are now female in mind. And you now live female in body, for the past number of years. This is how I knew you were coming. I read it in this book. As I am reading this statement from this book, right now. That is just about to happen, and will happen right now.”

Akira demand, “I want to see that book. While you keep it open.”

John handed her the book, while still open. He turned it around. He then held the top with his left hand, while he used his right hand to pointed at a part of the left page of the book.

John said, “Go ahead. The book says you will read it. I suggest you start here.”

As Akira took the book in her hands, John let go of the book and dropped his hands to his side.

Akira held the book, as Ranma and Natsuru stood by her, as the three of them read the same passages from the book, that John had pointed out.

Their jaws dropped in shock at what they read.

For the read that they were reading the passages of the book, as they read them.

(_)

Ranma requested, “Could you give us an example of what you are talking about?”

John said, “Sure.” He then opened the book near the middle, “Ah this passage will do. For example, this book offers knowledge. Such as that I know who you are. You are Ranma, Akira, and Natsuru. All of you were born male. But, you are gender benders that are now female in mind. And you now live female in body, for the past number of years. This is how I knew you were coming. I read it in this book. As I am reading this statement from this book, right now. That is just about to happen, and will happen right now.”

Akira demand, “I want to see that book. While you keep it open.”

John handed her the book, while still open. He turned it around. He then held the top with his left hand, while he used his right hand to pointed at a part of the left page of the book.

John said, “Go ahead. The book says you will read it. I suggest you start here.”

As Akira took the book in her hands, John let go of the book and dropped his hands to his side.

Akira held the book, as Ranma and Natsuru stood by her, as the three of them read the same passages from the book, that John had pointed out.

Their jaws dropped in shock at what they read.

For the read that they were reading the passages of the book, as they read them.

John flatly stated, “Ladies. Welcome to the mindscrew factory.”

Akira immediately slammed the book shut for fear of the three of them losing their minds to the book.

(_)

John flatly stated, “Ladies. Welcome to the mindscrew factory.”

Akira immediately slammed the book shut for fear of the three of them losing their minds to the book.

The thee women turned to look at John. With Akira then handing John back the green leather bound book. With John gently took hand the book in his hands. And turning it around, to face himself.

Ranma looked down at the floor, as she quietly said, “This is insane. Even for us. This is beyond the impossible.” She looked up at John, as she stated, more loudly, “I can see how you ended up like you are, John. I am surprised you are not catatonic from reading that book.”

John looked over at Ranma, as he casually said, “Oh that is nothing compared to the mindscrews this book can offer for its readers.” He then opened the book a little further past the middle. As he looked through the pages, he came to a stop. He read a line, from one of the pages, out loud, “Ah. Here is a good passage... Connie happily stood at the front desk, in her new uniform, as she enjoyed her new job at Daiyu casino.”

John then closed the book for a second time, in front of the three women.

Natsuru asked, “Who is Connie?”

John let out a deep breath. He then answered, “As crazy as it sounds. Connie is my future self. I have read quite a bit about my future. Though, I have found that this book is intentionally vague on the fates of other people's futures, except for the person that opens the book.”

“Still, you will keep your word. I will lose most of my memory, when you restore my youth, and my gender is changed into a woman. And I will be happy with the arrangement. But, that is not all I found out about my future.”

“I am going to live a very interesting, and long life. But, a much nicer life than I have previously been living. I am going to get pregnant, and give birth to at least thirteen children, over the course of decades. All of them will be healthy and happy. As far as I can tell. And it will turn out that my seventh child, will be the seventh son, of the seventh son, going back seven generations... I just know that boy is going to be a handful.”

“I read all the way to my great-grandchildren. And I was still youthful enough to bare more children. Still, it worries me that I am going to become pregnant and give birth to at least thirteen children. And it is not the idea of sex as a woman does not bother me. It is the problems associated with pregnancy, the pain of giving birth, and the struggles of raising children.”

Akira said, in a comforting manner, “As Natsuru said. All three of us have been pregnant, given birth, and raised children. It is not that bad. Actually, it is quite wonderful, thought sometimes draining, in both physical and emotional ways. Still, the pros outweigh the cons.”

John kindly responded, “Thank you for reminding me. Still, I requested. Including my old memories. I want all my knowledge of the future erased. So, I can live and enjoy all these events as they happen. Also, I do not want anyone else to know about my future, besides what I told you about my future.”

Natsuru commented, “Don't worry. We won't tell Chang that you know the future. That all you want is a partial memory wipe of the knowledge that you know in general. The details you have just told us, will stay between us.”

Ranma stated, “I agree.”

Akira said, “You have our word.”

John replied, “Thanks. And I know you are not going to like this, but this book is going into Chang collection, in his personal library, in his penthouse, at the Daiyu Palace Casino.”

Akira flatly asked, “Why?”

John explained, “Because that is where the book states that it will go. When it leaves my possession. That this book will go into Chang's personal collection. I do not you understand why? Though, I think this book is sentient. Just sentient in a way we are unable to perceive with our limited intelligence, and perception. Also, it won't give me the details of why it wants to go into Chang's private collection. All the book will state for me is that it is waiting for the proper time. At the proper place. For the next proper person to open and use read the book.”

Akira plainly said, “Okay. I don't feel like fighting fate, right now. So, just follow us. When we get clear of this level. After we check in, with our allies here. And wait for our orders to leave. We will teleport you back to Chang's casino. And when we get there, we will get you the help you need.”

John smiled, as he responded, “I look forward to it. Because I already read about it.”

John then tucked the large book he had under his right arm, as he then follow the three women, as the four of them carefully exit out of the room, and hallway. With all of them making it out of the are, without a problem.

(_)

Meanwhile, inside Gomez's office, Gomez has been sitting in his chair, behind his desk, in the center of the dark room, as he had been monitoring what was happening on his ship, as best he could.

The large window, that encompassed the back wall, behind Gomez's chair, showed the starry night sky outside. The window was thick, translucent, blast proof window, with forcefields on both the interior and outside sides of the window.

Though, Gomez's office was still mostly dark, save for the lamp light on it, and the computer monitor built into the deck, right in front Gomez.

On the desk, between the monitor and himself, was a keyboard with yellow light illuminating keys. With the lights showing what letters, numbers, and symbols, each key was. And to Gomez's left was a touch pad.

Gomez was still wearing his sunglasses. Though, even with his sunglasses, he had not problems working the keys of his desk.

With the security cameras, surveillance microphones, and sensors no in their control. As such, Gomez could not immediately tell what was going. Though, even with the sporadic communications Gomez had received reports from his subordinates, concerning his inquiries, on what was going on, inside his ship, the Interzone.

Due to these discussions, Gomez was able to piece together the hackers were not just data thieves. And instead, they were the vanguard of a calculated and well planned attack.

Though, over the last half hour, Motoko and Nene had become too busy to regularly check in with him. Though, Sylia, and the Knight Sabers he had assigned to deal with the possible intruders, were returning his communications. But, most of his some of his other agents, were not reporting replying to his communications calls toward them.

As such, Gomez was not happy with the situation.

Gomez thought, with concern, 'This is not good. The only reason my agents, I sent to protect the ship, would not contact me, was because they were busy. Or, in battle. I am tempted to put the ship on full alert. But, the confusion might aid the enemy. And all I would likely do is get good men and women killed. Along with aiding the enemy, in using the confusion, to take out their targets more quickly.'

'No. I need to keep this battle as small as possible. As a way to maintain control on the situation. I still have time to turn this around.'

'Though, if this is the type of attack I think it is. I am sure I am the main target. And while I know I am far stronger, faster, and tougher, than any normal human. I know I am not invincible. And I do not have a reality device on me.'

'It might not have been wise to ask the Xanatos family to leave me. But, I can rectify that mistake right now.'

Gomez pushed a button on his keyboard. He then said, in english, “Contact David Xanatos.”

A second later, on the other end of the line, David answered, “Yes.”

Gomez thought, with mild amusement, “Finally. Someone. Besides Sylia. Answered me.” He inquired, “David, are you and your family alright?”

David answered, “We had some problems at the cargo bay. But, we are presently fine.”

Gomez ordered, “Well, have you and your family come up to my office. You can tell me about it, when you get here.”

David said, “Yes sir. We will make our way to you, right now.”

Gomez replied, “Thank you.” He thought, 'They only reasons Puck and Alex don't teleport them all directly here, is because teleporting short distances, on a moving ship, can be dangerous. And doing so is not worth the risk. And while planets move. They are far larger target, and thus it is more easier to teleport to and from such planetside locations.'

'Still, them coming solves my immediate problem. Very few people could beat the Xanatos family. And even fewer, with me by their side.'

Suddenly, Gomez heard the front doors to his office slide open. Though, there was no hallway light on the others side, to illuminate those that entered the room.

A second later they slide closed.

Gomez thought, with concern, 'That is odd... Very odd. And I usually have to let someone in, unless they have the code. And the light in the hallway was turned off. When I always leave it on...'

Gomez then realized, as he continued his thoughts, 'This means that hackers let someone in, while turning off the outside lights, so I won't see them. And I think I spoke too soon, on getting some help for myself.'

Gomez mentally reflected, with emotional fortitude, 'But, that does not mean I am defenseless. Nor, am I blind.'

Gomez faced the doors, across the room from the other side of his desk. He immediately pushed his chair a few feet behind him, as he jumped to his feet. And as he stood between his chair and his desk, he ordered, “Lights!”

The florescent, soft white, ceiling lights come on, at a comfortable level, for those in the room. This lighting allowed Gomez to see in the distance, about roughly fifty yards from him, Roberta and Hernan, standing next to each other, as they had their weapons drawn on him. With the two hispanics standing side by side, ten feet beyond the steps, just to the right of the entrance to the office.

With the lights on, those present could see Gomez's office was a very large, square shaped room. With the room behind a hundred and twenty yards long. A hundred of twenty yards wide. And with a forty foot high ceiling, while standing in the center of the room.

Though, from the door, the first twenty feet into Gomez's office was on a slightly lower level. There were then three, foot wide steps, that stretched from one side of the room, to the other, that lead up to the main level of the room.

Each step was six inches high. And each step was lightly illuminated red, with LED lighting, on the underside of each step, to allow those approaching the steps, from either direction, to see them. While still allowing the rest of the room to be dark.

Except for the window behind Gomez, along with his desk, chair, lamp and the dull gray drop down ceiling, soft white, florescent lighting, from the ceiling. The floors, doors, and three other walls, were dull gray, meal plating. With nothing on those walls. This gave the room a very austere feel to it.

Gomez saw that Roberta and Hernan stood beside each other, on the main floor of the room. With the steps, that lead to the hallway doors, being ten feet behind them.

Roberta was to Gomez's left side, and Hernan was to Gomez's right side. Though, they were still some distance between them and Gomez and his desk.

Gomez also noticed that the weapon that each of them had was a large caliber rifle, with a grenade launcher, under the rifles fore-ends.

Gomez saw Roberta and Hernan were in a standing position, facing him. The two of them were holding their weapons, with the stock pressed up against the front of their right shoulders. Both of their eyes were open, but they had their head angled, so their right eyes were looking through scopes of their rifles, as they took aim, with their weapons, at him.

Along with this, Roberta and Hernan had their right hands reached over the back of their rifles. This allow each of them to grip the front of the stock, with their right index fingers resting against the trigger guards. With their left hand was gripping the back pistol style grip of the grenade launcher. They used this grenade grip to firmly press the butt of weapon's stock against their right shoulder. While, their left index fingers resting against the triggers of their grenade launchers.

Gomez thought, with concern, 'That is Roberta. Though, I do not know this bearded man. Though, someone gave her, and the man, weapons similar to the ones she used in Roanapur, during her second rampage, through that city. And those weapons might be able to take me out...' Gomez looked a little closer, and he noticed, as he continued his thoughts, with worry, 'And their fingers are on the triggers of their grenade launchers.'

There was no comment, nor verbal response from Roberta, nor Hernan. These two were people of action. Not words. As Roberta said, “Fire.” Both of them fired a grenade at Gomez's head.

Gomez swiftly jumped out of the way, and to his right. With him landing on his feet, ten feet away from his desk.

Due to Gomez moving out of the way, the grenades missed him, and instead, they continued forward, until they head the interior forcefield of the large window, several meters behind Gomez.

Fortunately, the force field on the window is able to handle blows to it.

Gomez did not take his eyes off of the two other adults, as he calmly warned, in english, “Try not to do that again. I am not sure how many times that window, nor the forcefields surrounding it, can take a blast like that.”

Roberta stated, in english, “Oh. We are not going to stop.”

Gomez requested, “Then, please give me a few moments. I promise, this is not a trap. This will benefit all of us.”

Roberta flatly replied, “Fine. You will have your few moments.”

While Roberta and Hernan kept their weapons at the ready, towards Gomez, as Gomez calmly walked over to his desk, and punched a button.

A few seconds later, the two blast doors, from outside the window, began to quickly close. On door raise from the bottom. The other door lower from the top.

Moments later, they felt, more than heard, as the two blast doors clanged together, and they interlocked, creating a pressurized seal behind the force field outside, the window, and the force field on the inside of the room.

Gomez did not did even both to look at the now closed window, as he commented, “Now, we don't have to worry about explosive decompression.”

Hernan commented, in english, “While we appreciate that. I thought the button you pushed would for be a trapdoor to escape by your desk.” He thought, 'Though, that my was second guess. And I really like breathing, as much as the next person.'

Gomez thought, 'Now, I hope I can bluff them. At least until I find out who this man is. And possibly stall for the Xanatos family to show up.' He casually responded, “From such low caliber threats. I think not. Besides, I do not go for those cheap Bond villain tricks.”

Roberta and Hernan let the veiled insult slide, as Hernan replied, “At least, you get the reference.”

The two adults kept their weapons trained on Gomez, as Gomez thought, 'Now, to get some answers.' He calmly inquired, “While I know who you are, Roberta. I do not know who this gentleman whom is with you? Though, I am guessing that he is the father and husband, to the mother and children, that Cad Bane took with Garcia.”

Hernan stated, “You would be correct. I am Hernan Pena. I am also the male counterpart for Roberta.”

Gomez mentally grumbled, 'And I thought this could not get any worse. Two Bloodhounds for the price of one. And I have no illusions. Together, they could take me in a fight. But, if I kill them, I might spark further reprisals against their friends. I guess I will just have to deal with one problem at a time. Though, if I got them to surrender, that would solve this problem, and open up several future opportunities for my organization.'

'Also, now that I think about it, that blond mother did look kind of like Garcia. She is probably is Garcia's counterpart. And as interesting as that is, they have three children. Though, I feel I need to focus on the matter at hand. And I think I am not going to be able to wait for the Xanatos family to get here.'

'Though, I thought I was have more time. I see I was wrong. Still, I am going to stale for as long as possible. Or, at least until they force me to take action against them, and handle them on my own.'

'For right now. I will make the offer I was going to give them. And see where that leads.'

Gomez calmly said, “Well, I am Gomez. And I was hoping to contact you both, about the releasing your family members back to you. Both your family, Mister Pena. And Garcia. And they are currently unharmed. Though, while I thought I had more time to contact you. I see I am too late.”

Hernan replied, with a hint of sarcasm in his tone of voice, “More's the pity.” He thought, with a bit more warmth, 'Though, if he is telling the truth, then my is alright. If he is lying, he will deeply regret it.'

Gomez stated, “Just for the record. I ordered my agents to not interfere in that battle. Cad Bane went against my orders. And I was planning to give Roberta restitution for Garcia's kidnapping. Including, the possibility of handing over Cad Bane. His foolishness brought you here. And I was hoping that handing him over, along with a generous gift of wealth, might sate both your thirsts for revenge.”

Roberta commented, “Tempting. But, no deal.”

Hernan pointed out, “And you still had your boomers attack my city, and put our family and friends in danger.”

Gomez admitted, “Well, you have me at there.”

Roberta and Hernan each then fired a fifty caliber round at Gomez's head.

In the blink of an eye, Gomez stepped between the two bullets, with the bullets hitting the back interior forcefield of the window.

Then, in response to the attack. Over the course of two seconds, Gomez bridge the gap. As he came to a stop between them, he slammed the flat of his palms against their chests. With his left palm hitting Roberta in her chest, and his right palm hitting Hernan in his chest.

The force of the blows sent both adults flying backwards into the wall, with the double-doors to the office being to their right.

The two adults then slid down to the floor, onto their butts, as they sat beside each other.

To the credit of both their training, and their toughness, they were were able to keep their weapons in their hands, as they were send in the air, and slammed against the wall. Without either of them accidentally setting of their weapon.

Roberta slightly winced in pain, as she thought, with concern, 'That was a fast, powerful, and perfectly controlled attack. If it was not, Hernan and I would be dead, right now. I guess the others were not embellishing Gomez's abilities. I am going to have to be a lot more careful in this battle. Also, I need to remember that Hernan is not as tough, fast, nor as strong as I am. So, I better make sure he is okay, before we make our next moves.'

Roberta did not take her eyes off of Gomez, as she asked, towards Hernan, to her left, “Anything broken?”

Hernan kept his gaze on Gomez, as he replied, towards Roberta, to his right, “No. You?”

Roberta said, “I will be fine.”

Hernan commented, “No offense. But, with those breasts. This type of blow has got to hurt like a man getting kicked in the nuts.”

Roberta admitted, “Oh, it does hurt. But, I have been through worse.”

Hernan agreed, “That's true.”

Both adults then looked over at Gomez, whom was over twenty away from them, right behind the top step of the stairs.

They saw Gomez was just looking down on them, through his sunglasses, with a calm expression on his face. He placed his hands behind him, to where he used his right hand to grip is left wrist, behind his lower back.

Gomez thought, 'Maybe that demonstration of my abilities will make them consider surrendering to me.'

Gomez calmly said, “It is clear you have not heard much about me. I am from what same reality as you friend, Violin, Akira, Ranma, and Natsuru. To be specific. I am from the series titled, Birdy Decode. And like my counterparts, I can take Birdy. Violin's mother. In a fight. So, stop embarrassing yourselves, and surrender. Neither of you are a match for me.”

Gomez looked over at Roberta, as he continued, “And that is even with your upgrades, Roberta.”

Roberta and Hernan got on to their feet, with their weapons in their hands.

Roberta commented, “You know. To be honest. I am happy the others are not here, with us.” Her eyes then turned cold, while her lips curled into a feral, slasher smile, as she continued, “Because this is going to be an actually challenge for the both of us.”

A cold look also developed in Hernan's eyes, as he gained a feral, slasher smile, as well. He happily replied, “I agree.”

Both adults then swiftly raised their weapons on Gomez.

Gomez grimly thought, 'It looks like. Instead of two adults. I will have to deal with two rabid dogs that will need to be put down. I might even have to kill the rest of their family. Including Garcia. Because, these are type of people that live by the feud. And this day was looking so nice this morning.'

'Still, I have to be careful around these two. While I am stronger and faster than they are. They are more skilled and experienced in combat, than I am. And they still possess the tools and skills to kill me.'

'Though, I can solve one problem, right now.'

Gomez then used his super-speed to rush over, and snatch the weapons, by their barrels, from Roberta and Hernan's hands.

A split second later, Gomez jumped back, into the air.

While Gomez was in the air, Roberta and Hernan dropped their grins, as they realized they had been disarmed, in literally the blink of an eye.

As Gomez landed back at the top of the stairs, he continued to face them. He held one of the weapons, in each of his hands, by the rifle barrels.

While Gomez continued to look at Roberta and Hernan, he casually tossed the guns behind him, and across the room. Fortunately, as the weapons landed, they did not go off.

Gomez thought, 'I am not going to destroy those weapons. If I don't have too. Because, I think, after this is over. I will add them to my weapons collection.'

Roberta and Hernan continued to look at Gomez, as Hernan thought, 'I wonder if he knows spanish.' He stated, in spanish, “I think we are in trouble.”

Roberta saw what happened, and she decided to change languages, as well. She said, in spanish, “I agree. I never thought I would ever say this. But, I believe we bit off more than we can chew.”

Hernan suggested, “That is a first time for everything. Now, let us find a way to kill him, before he can kill us.”

Roberta agreed, “Good idea. I always noticed something. I don't think he can continuously use his super-speed. He can only use it in bursts, of calculated movements. If that was not the case, he would have used it to back away from us. Instead, he just jumped away from us.'

Unfortunately, Gomez was fluent in spanish.

As Gomez listened to them talk, he thought, 'She is very sharp to realize that. Not that I am going to confirm that.'

Hernan commented, “That makes sense. And that means as long as we keep him on the defensive, we only have to worry about his skill, strength, and toughness. With his speed no longer being an immediate factor.”

Roberta said, “I agree. Also, he might be tough, but his ligaments might still be able to tear.”

Hernan inquired, “Neck snap?”

Roberta replied, “My thoughts. Exactly.”

Gomez chuckled. He then said, in spanish, “You know. I can hear you.”

Roberta cracked grin, as she stated, in a casual tone of voice, “Oh. That just makes it more challenging.”

Hernan also smiled, as he thought, 'Roberta is right. Him knowing spainish, and our plans, only makes things more challenging for us. And we do love challenging ourselves.'

Hernan casually agreed, “Yes. It does.”

Roberta asked, “Ready?”

Hernan replied, “Yea.”

Roberta stated, “Go.”

As second later, both of them rush towards Gomez.

When they reached Gomez, they worked in concert, as they attacked him with punches, and kicks.

Though, Gomez was a lot tougher than a normal human, Hernan's blows were at Olympic level, and Roberta's blows were even stronger than that. And when one of their blows connected. Gomez felt it.

The two of them quickly found that Roberta was right about Gomez's speed. He could only use it in calculated burst method. And as long as they forced him on the defensive, he could not his speed against him.

Though, Gomez was still fast and skilled enough to avoid, or block most of their blows. And he still had his super-strength to rely on.

But, at the same time, Roberta and Hernan able to both avoid Gomez's blows, while they seemed to be in sync with each other, as they double teamed Gomez.

As they fought, Gomez thought, 'They seem to work well together. Maybe it is because they are counterparts. With them being psychically at a subconscious level, without them realizing it.'

'Though, one solid hit to each of them, should stop them in their tracks. Still, they know that, and they are so far avoiding my blows. Though, my dexterity and reflexes are slower than normal, for myself, because I am having to fight to very skilled fighters at once.'

'And they are right about the neck. Snapping my neck would likely kill me, or cripple, to the point, I would be helpless, as they used their weapons to finish me off.'

'I just got to keep either of them from getting a hold of me, nor getting behind me. That should not be too difficult. At least, in this room, I don't have to worry about running into anything. Because, I know where the desk, chair, and those weapons are, in relation to me. And I will just keep that in mind.'

'Still, I hope the Xanatos family gets here, or I might lose, in a very bad way.'

And so Roberta and Hernan Pena continued to fight Gomez, in a two on one battle, that at the moment, seemed to be evenly matched.

(_)

Far away from Gomez's office, six of the eight members of the Knight Sabers were talking down the hallway, on their patrol, in the hardsuits.

Sylia was in her white hardsuit. Priss was in her blue hardsuit. Leon was in her light cyan hardsuit. Daley was in her orange hardsuit. Mackie was in her yellow harsuit, and Kate was in her gray hardsuit.

Leading the front of the partrol, were two blue and black Typhoon II motoslaves, in robot mode. Each motoslave was carrying a large machine gun. And the two robots were being controled by Mackie, from her hardsuit computers.

Behind the motoslaves were Sylia and Priss. Behind Sylia and Priss, were Daley and Leon. And behind Daley and Leon was Kate and Mackie.

While they walked down the hallway, Sylia was having a private conversation, over their encrypted communication channels, with Nene checking in with Sylia. Which the Knight Sabers usual did, when they were separated on a mission.

And while Sylia kept a cool, even tone of voice, she was not happy with the turn of events she had learned from Nene.

Sylia questioned, in a calm tone of voice, in japanese, “What do you mean Linna found the hackers, but she is not going to do anything to them. And you both also cut a deal with the hackers?”

Nene stated, in japanese, “Actually, it was both Motoko and me that agreed to it. Linna was just the go-between.”

Sylia inquired, in a disbelieving tone of voice, “Do you at least know who the hackers are?”

Nene answered, “Yes. It is the Lowe family Do you remember meeting them, when we went to that Lagoon bikini party. They were some of the nicest people at that party. And what a fun party that was. I am glad we went back there for a few more of those parties, after that.”

Sylia responded, “Yes. They were nice to us. Which makes the question of why they are doing this, all the more important. Did Linna give you any hint as to why the Lowe family are attacking the computer networks of this spacestation?”

Nene said, “I am not sure. Linna would not say why. But, she said she would tell me, later. And she has always been the level headed one. So, think she has a pretty good reason for what she did.”

Sylia stated, “She better. And so should they. Still, where does that leave you?”

Nene answered, “The deal was not to surrender, or be peaceful. Instead, it seems that Ed and Motoko have a pretty intense hacker rival, going on.”

Sylia commented, “I heard something about that. But, how bad it is?”

Nene said, “Of the few words that Motoko has said about Ed. Most of them cannot be repeated in polite company. I have never seen Motoko talk like this.”

Sylia asked, “Point taken. So, what does this deal pertain?”

Nene answered, “And the deal is to see which of them is the better hacker. With me assisting Motoko. While I believe Ed is being assisted by her two sons. Whom are almost as good as she is.”

Sylia thought, 'It could be worse.' She inquired, “And how are you two doing against the Lowe family?”

Nene replied, “It is pretty much a stalemate.”

By then, Sylia saw they were coming up to an open entrance to another warehouse on their route.

Sylia stated, “Okay, Nene. We are about to clear through another warehouse. Once we are doing. You will give us the location of where Linna and the Lowe family are. And we will sort this out.”

Nene replied, “Alright.”

Sylia said, “And afterward. I will have to talk to you and Linna about this.” She continued, in a more firm tone of voice, “And we will talk about this.”

Nene commented, with slight worry in her tone of voice, “Understood.”

Sylia cut the communication channel, as she turned on the internal, encrypted, short range communications system that they Knight Sabers used to

As they continued walking, Sylia stated, “Okay ladies. We are coming up to another warehouse section. Same as the last three. We walk in, with full sensors one. The motoslaves go first, until we reach the center of the room. Then, the motoslaves explore any areas the sensors cannot search.”

The other women did not reply, and instead, they followed Sylia's order.

Less than half a minute later, they made it into the warehouse. The warehouse was a very large, by about three hundred yards, in both directions, And very high ceiling, which was about sixty feet high. The ceiling lights in the room were partly on. With only ever other light left on, to save on power, while providing enough light to see with.

Though, this gave the room a shadowy feel to it.

There were several large, slightly rectangular crates, stacked on top of each other. A few of them nearly reached the ceiling. The creates were set in a grid pattern, with about ten feet, in all directions, between each set of rectangular crates.

Though, the center of the room had a very large, open space. Because that was where the forklifts would turn, while carrying the crates. As such, for safety reasons, the vehicles needed the large space to maneuver.

On the far side of the door, there was a large set of doors were the crate were brought in and stacked. With a couple of normal sets of doors, on all sides of the room.

As the motoslaves and Knight Saber walked further to the center of the room, none of their sensors detected anyone. All they detected were the crates. And in some cases, what was in the creates. Which were mostly building supplies, or food.

Around a minute later, they reached the center of the room.

As they came to a stop, Sylia ordered, “Halt.” And all the Knight Sabers, along with the motoslaves, came to a stop.

Then, before Sylia could give any more orders, the six women watched as the motoslaves were shot several times, until they collapsed, on the floor, in pieces.

The next thing the six women heard, was a woman from above them, yell, in english, “Surrender!”

The six woman looked up to see that suddenly they were surrounded by several women in fatigues, whom were either kneeling, or standing, on top of the stacked crates around them. The women in fatigues had mostly automatic rifles aimed at them. Though, a few of them had sniper rifles, or shoulder mounted rocket propelled grenades, pointed at the Knight Sabers.

The conventionally armed women were forty-five feet in the air, as they stood on top of the various stacks of crates, around the Knight Sabers.

Sylia quickly looked around in the direction she heard the voice come from. And she saw that it was Balalaika whom had demanded their surrender. She was standing with a few of her subordinates, on one of the stacks of crates.

Sylia thought, 'We have been ambushed. And by the best. Now, I know how Balalaika, and her friends felt, when we pulled this same stunt on her, back at that factory, inside Mars Dome.'

'I am guessing that all these women are members of Hotel Moscow that have undergone the vat process. That only makes them more dangerous. Still, why didn't any of them register on our sensors. I might as well asked.'

Sylia turned on her helmet speakers, as she looked towards Balalaika. She inquired, in english, “Hello Balalaika. This is a very skillful ambush you have pulled on us. Still, how did you hide yourselves from our sensors?”

Balalaika coyly responded, “Thank you. And we do not need powersuits to camouflage ourselves in.”

Sylia then noticed that there were small, thin sheets, that were bunched up, by the women on top of the crates.

Sylia thought, 'Simple passive stealth for heat. I should have seen that coming.'

Mackie asked, in japanese, over their private communication channel, “Sis. What should we do?”

So everyone could hear her, Sylia answered, in english, with her speakers turned on, “We ask for terms of surrender?” She thought, 'We are not going to win this fight. And both Balalaika and myself, already realize this.'

Balalaika commented, “I will let my friend deal with such negotiations.”

Sylia then hears a woman's voice, on the crate behind her, say in english, “Gomez attacked Plata Podrido, today. For us, and for those on this station. We are here in retaliation for that attack. We believe you were not part of that attack. Which is why we are giving you this chance to surrender.”

Sylia thought, 'So, Gomez actually went forward with that plan. What an idiot. I told him it was foolish. I am glad I declined to be a part of that plan. And I am starting to see why Linna didn't stop the Lowe family. This would be a good reason for them to be here, hacking the computer system. Though, now I need to get us out of the crossfire.'

Sylia stated “No. We were not part of that attack.”

Sylia thought, 'Now, who am I talking too?'

Sylia turned around to see Rock, and there were two women, standing to Rock's sides, while in hardsuits. One woman was in a red hardsuit to Rock's right, and a woman in black hardsuit to Rock's left. There was a strap running across the chest of the black hardsuit, that had a chainsaw attached on the back side of the hardsuit.

Sylia thought, “Good. It is Rock. I can talk to her. And she is the type to be amendable to our situation.'

Rock said, “Good.”

Sylia asked, “So, what do you want us to do?”

Rock stated, “We just want you, and your subordinates, to leave this ship. And to cut your ties with Gomez, and his organization. That is all.”

Sylia thought, 'Those are very generous terms. But, I do wonder.'

Sylia commented, “I can agree to those terms. Though, may I ask who to thank for this generosity?”

Rock answered, “Two of your daughters.”

Sylia thought, 'The only two I can think of are Leona and Irene. So, there is where they moved too. And I hope they are alright.' She inquired, “Leona and Irene?”

Rock replied, “Yes.”

Sylia questioned, “Are they alright?”

Rock said, “Yes.”

Sylia thought, 'And to think, I had disagreed with them leaving. If they had no requested mercy towards us. We might be dead right now.' She responded, “Good. Now, what exactly happened to you, this morning?”

Rock answered, “For us. This morning, hundreds of combat boomers attacked De La Plata Podrido. Fortunately, we were able to put them all down, with only a few casualties. But, the attack hurt a lot of people, and a caused a lot of damage to the city.”

Sylia thought, 'So, Gomez only sent the combat boomers in. I told him it was would not work. And I see it backfired. And I am not going to let us be the ones to burn for his stupidity.'

Sylia stated, “I now understand why you are here. And while I do have questions on the matter. Though, this is not the time to ask such questions.”

Rock went onto say, “That is why we are giving you the chance to surrender. We are after Gomez. But, we are not after you. Because you were not a part of the attack. As I said. We just want you to permanently leave Gomez's employment.”

Sylia stated, “We will do that.”

Rock replied, “Good.”

Then, the red hardsuit to Rock's right, stated, in english, through her helmet speakers, “I did not come here to just have an ambush. I came here kick ass. And given the opportunity. Kicking Priss' prissy little ass will do just fine.”

Priss turned to the red hardsuit. She used her helmet's speakers, as she asked, in english, “Revy, is that you?”

In her red hardsuit, Revy answered, “Yes.”

Across the room, Balalaika groaned, as she thought, 'Revy seems to never really change. It is best I handle this.'

Balalaika stated, “Well, we can have a fight, between you two. If that is okay with the both of you?”

Revy said, “Not a fist fight. That would take forever.”

Priss agreed, “Yes. It would.”

Balalaika said, “I agree.”

Inside her helmet, Priss smirked, as she suggested, “I won't mind kicking you ass, in my hardsuit.”

Revy's made a feral grin, inside her helmet, as she replied, “I would love to take it up a notch.”

Balalaika stated, “Fine. Here are the rules, girls. You two will fight in you hardsuits, until one of your hardsuits is trashed. No killing blows. No use of your weapons.”

Revy commented, “I can live with that.”

Priss agreed, “So, can I.”

Revy then dropped down to the floor of the room. And her jumpjets ignited, to safely slow her fall, as she landed on her feet, ten feet from Priss. With both of them facing each other.

Everyone on the ground backed away from the two women in powerarmor, as they were about to fight.

From the top of the create they were standing on, Sawyer used her speakers, to soft ask, in english, “Rock? Want to place a bet on the fight?”

Rock continued to look down at Revy and Priss, as she answered, “No. Because it will likely end in a draw.”

Sawyer conceded, “That is possible.

Balalaika yelled, “Begin!”

On the floor, in the center clearing of the room, Revy and Priss rushed at each other, as they began their fight.

(_)

In another part of the ship, the Xanatos family were heading for Gomez's office. They were still on the same ship level, as the cargo bay they had just left. But, they were walking down a hallway, with only a few turned left, until they reached a nearby elevator that would take them directly up, several levels, to the floor that Gomez's office was on.

As they turned the corner, they saw, twenty feet from them, Lee standing in the middle of the hallway, blocking their path. Also, Lee was calmly standing right in front of a four way intersection, in the hall.

Though, Lee still had, on her person, her collapsed staff, throwing knives, and Mac Ten sub-machine gun. None of these weapons were in her hands. Her staff was folded up in its holster on the back of her bandoleer. Her thrown knives were in the loops of her front of her bandoleer. She had her Mac Ten with her, she allow it to hand loosely by its strap, on her right shoulder.

The Xanatos family came to a stop, as they stood together, ten feet from Lee. Alex and Puck were in front. With Puck standing to Alex's right side. While David and Fox, standing right behind them. With David standing to Fox's right side.

The Xanatos family saw that Lee show no fear of them, as she stood, while maintaining of relaxed stance.

While the Xanatos family looked at Lee, David thought, 'That is Lee. I remember her from the casino. She and Fox almost go into it. Those Puck stopped the fight before it would start.'

'Gomez's reports state that Lee is an excellent planner. And she did write those crazy stories, that effected so many people's lives. And there is even with some of the stunts I heard her pull on Plata Podrido, and on Mars Dome.'

'And from what I understand, after her gender change. And that mess I heard she went through on Lagoon island. Then, she got pregnant, and had those twin children. With all that causing major hits to her sanity, to the point she is now little more than a fool.'

'But, she could be faking being a fool. Though, I doubt she is that foolish... Hahahah... Still, I have no interest in harming her. Doing so would only cause problems for everyone involved. And she is not directly trying to provoke us. So, I will just ask her to leave.'

David ordered, “Stand out of the way, Lee, And you will not be harmed.”

Lee did not show any fear, as she calmly said, “No, David. First, there is much we have to discuss.”

David thought, 'Given, from what I heard of a copy of the radio conversation on Mar Dome, Lee knows who we are. And what we are capable of. Her showing no fear either means she is a fool. Or, she is insane. Given the company she keeps. Like them. Probably both.'

Though, before David could speak, Alex inquired, “Father, Mother, is this the writer?”

David turned to Alex, as he answered, “Yes.” David then turned to Lee, as he said, “And Lee, I know all about you. And you know what we are capable of. You do not want to cross us.”

Lee agreed, “Yes, David. You are the correct. I do not want to cross you. And I know you are the Master of Gambits.”

David replied, “Thank you. I will have to remember that term.”

Lee responded, “You're welcome. And I know about the Xanatos family. Your power and wealth are only matched by your scheming and intelligence. There are entire guides written based off of your guile and skills. You all hold quite the advantage. But, you don't hold all the cards. I have one card left to play, that I don't want too. Though, I am warning you, David. If you, and your family, do not walk way from this fight. And leave this ship, right now, I will deconstruct your life.”

From under his helmet, David smirked, as he casually commented, “Baseless, esoteric threats do not frighten me.”

Alex suggested, “Let me just blast her, so we can get on with defeating these interlopers.”

Under Fox's helmet, a smile curled on her lips, as she said, “My son is not bluffing.”

David ordered, “No, Alex. You must learn that some things need to be done in a more dignified, civil manner. Even when we possess overwhelming power. Such, as this fool in front of us. There is nothing to be gained in harming, nor killing, her.”

Puck cautioned, with concern in his tone of voice, “Lee, do not make any more of a fool of yourself, than you already have. You have no chance of winning.”

Lee agreed again, “You are right. In every category. From intelligence, to raw power, you out rank me. Except for two categories. Imagination and insanity. And from those two skills, I bought someone here. The last person in the multiverse you would expect to come. And the one person that can defeat all of you at once.”

Lee looked over her right shoulder, as she requested, “Please, come out now.” She then turned back to face the Xanatos family.

An old man walked out, with his cane, from behind the corner, to Lee's right. The man walked up to stand next to next to Lee, to her right side, as he turned to face the Xanatos family.

While the man was old. He was in great physical health for his age. With an average height and physical build. He had tanned skin. He has gray hair that was cut short. And he well groomed mustache. He wore a yellow button up shirt, with brown pants, brown coat, brown leather belt, and dark brown leather dress shoes.

In the old man's right hand, he had a cane, from which he helped to support himself. The cane was a formal, three feet long, black, walking cane. At the top of the cane was small silver dragon's head, with an open mouth. The old man head the cane by the top of the silver dragon's head.

The man calmly said, in english, “Hello everyone.”

The Xanatos family was surprised at who they saw. Lee smirked, as she commented, “David, I called your father on you.”

Standing before then, in some casual clothing was Petros Xanatos. David Xanatos' father. And Alex Xanatos' paternal grandfather.

Petros turned to Lee. He then looked back at the Xanatos family, as he calmly said, “This young lady has informed me of what you have been up to, David, Fox, Alex, and Puck. As intriguing as it is to find out that our reality is fiction to other realities. And that it is possible to travel to those realities that we think are fiction. This is no excuse for what you all have been supporting.”

David turned to Lee, as he complimented, “Lee, I will give you points for creativity and originality.” He turned his attention to Petros, as he continued, “But, my father and I have not seen eye to eye for years.”

Lee took a few steps away from Petros, to her left side. As she came to a stop, she turned to face David. Her lips curled into a wicked grin, as she responded, “That is not all, David. When I met your father, I found out something interesting about him. The reason he can remain so calm in the most insane of situations. I believe the word that best sums up the reason is... Experience.”

Puck commented, with worry evident in his tone of voice, “I do not like where this is going.”

Petros cracked a grin, as he said, “Quite right, Puck. And I guess that I need to teach you children some manners.”

Petros used his right hand to slammed his flat end of his cane onto the floor, and his entire body suddenly erupted into blinding white light. With all present, including Lee, shielding their eyes from the light, to prevent from being blinded by the brightness.

And for a single moment. For one second. Everyone in the station stopped fighting, as they felt in their very souls that a very powerful, major player had just come onto the scene.

(_)

Elsewhere in the spacestation, River and Wade's fight had taken them into a deserted, large warehouse, with large crates around them. Though, River sensed there was no one else in the room.

As they made it into the room, their weapons had run out of ammo at the same time. And neither of them wanted to fight the other in close range combat. This was not the first time either of them had run out of ammo. But, through a combination of distractions, and platonic dirty tricks, they were able to distract each other, to give them enough time to reload their weapons.

In addition, neither party in the battle dared to get close, and attempt melee combat with the other.

River didn't want to get close to Deadpool, because he was next to impossible to kill. Meaning he might take more risks in a fight, to possibly kill her.

While Wade had not interest in fighting River. Whom was an expert at melee combat, and who sometimes preferred to fight dirty.

So instead, both combatants took cover behind some metal crates, across the room from each other, as they reloaded their weapons.

Along with all this, both combatants had been so agile, that they were able to dodge the shots, as they returned fire.

Fortunately, River dodged all the shots that Deadpool had fired at her. And she had grazed Deadpool a few times. But, with Deadpool's healing factor. Such scratches healed within a matter of minutes.

As such, River had so far remained unharmed during the battle. And though she could not read Deadpool's mind. She could sense Wade's presence. With Wade being close enough, she could sense where he was, at any given time.

While River stood behind some crates, she took the opportunity to reload her modified Bizon SMGs with magazines loaded with hollow-point bullets. While she put the empty magazines in the pouches she had pulled the hollow-point magazines from.

As River finished reloading, and put away the empty magazines, she thought, 'While I had mostly been using armor-piercing ammo. Just in case we ran into a boomer. I have not seen one, during this fight. So, I am switching to hollowpoint ammo.'

'With luck. These hollowpoint bullets will tip the balance. With these bullets, all I need is a couple of solid hits to take him down. For at least a little while. Though, Deadpool has shown to be almost as agile as I am. I have only gotten a few grazing hits on him. While he has not hit me at all. And with his healing factor, those wounds are nothing to him.'

Across the room, behind another crates Wade reloaded his weapons, as he yelled, “Hollowpoints! Nice selection! It takes me a while to recover from wounds those types of bullets make!”

River loudly inquired, “Aren't I suppose to be the telepath, here?!”

Wade just laughed for a few seconds. He then loud commented, “It pays to read the script before you live it! Also, I have to say your modified Bizon Two SMGs are awesome! When I read the stats of the weapons, and they intrigued me! Interesting type of magazine. A short suppressor barrel! Ammo that doesn't have much of a kick. And nice selector fire options!”

Wade inwardly smiled, as he thought, 'Yea folks. Four examples. I broke the rule of three. Ha. Ha. And I did that again. I guess I crossed the line twice on that one. Ha. Make that three times. I guess I did do a rule of three, after all. BWAHAHAHAHA!'

Wade loudly continued, “All in all, what I would want in a pistol! And you using semi-automatic selection, instead of full auto, is a nice touch, on not wasting your ammo! Too bad we are both too fast for the other to get a solid hit on! And admit it! I have been missing you! Every time! In every way!”

Wade thought, with amusement, 'Of course, folks. I could just be playing with River. Just to kill time, until her lovers show up, with their wonderful, though platonic offers. I mean. I know if I seriously harmed her. Or, even killed her. Doing so would kill any possible deals I could be offered, from those whom care for her. Still, I got to be careful to avoid hurting her with ricochet hits.'

'I recall Cad Bane did something similar at the end of book four. And I have already done a few similar feats like this in my mercenary career. And yes. Look it up. I am this good of a shot.'

'So, yea. I can be a real magnificent bastard when I want to be. But, I try to be a fun magnificent bastard. And I have a history of pulling off stunts crazier than this.'

'On another matter. Concerning how book two of this story is quite correct about subject, pertaining to myself. Some people think outside the box. For me, and John... Or should I say, Violin, now? There is no box. Just like there is not spoon for Neo... Hey. I did a Matrix injoke... Hehehehe...'

'Unless, I need my boxes. But, that is another matter.'

'And we all know, that besides my jokes, this is the reason you folks love me so much.'

'To be honest, I am starting realize that the reason the folks at Marvel never really allowed me to show my inner monologue. With thought bubbles, and such. With them instead having my boxes talk for me, when I was thinking. Is because, my thoughts would start to drive the readers, whom read my thoughts, insane. Just like I am doing to you folks. Right now. Hahahaha!'

'Still, I better keep this pistol motif conversation going. Who knows? Maybe some day, River might let me test out her unique sub-machine guns.'

Wade went onto say, in a strong tone of voice, “Also, seeing them in person only increases my interest! Though, I hope you someday let me take them out to a fire ranging! To see what they feel like to shoot! But, only as long as I am not the one being shot at! Unlike today!”

River yelled, “You know, Deadpool! You are a real life, walking mindscrew!”

Wade thought, 'See what I mean folks. River gets it. And I hope you do too. Because I am a walking, talking, Monty Python skit. The World's Funniest Joke, to be exact. BWAHAHAHAHA!'

Wade loudly replied, “Thank you! And I have been this way since February nineteen ninety-one A.D.!”

River loudly inquired, “What happened then?!”

Wade yelled, “That was when I was first published!”

River groaned in frustration. She thought, in annoyance, 'While spending time with Deadpool, I can literally feel my sanity slipping away. Bit by bit. And the experience is paradoxically starting to drive me crazy!'

Deadpol loudly stated, “Don't give upset, River-babe! We are having so much fun! I haven't had a good challenge like this in quite a while! Besides, we are going to spend a lot more time together! Though, in a purely platonic way! I, and I am sure my old friends, would never wish to ruin the three-way relationship you have going with Chang and Lee!”

River begrudgingly yelled, “I appreciate that!”

Deadpool loudly questioned, “Still, you want to know something really crazy?!”

River could not help but take the bait, as she yelled, “Sure!”

Deadpool loudly stated, “The stories we are currently stuck in did state I did leave my home reality! But, these stories never stated that I did not return to my home reality, from time to time!” Wade thought, 'And yes, folks. I know I just said that to establish that statement as canon! And I am not lying!... BWAHAHAHAHA!!...'

'Now, here comes something more fun. I bet almost none of you have figured out who Davy-boy's father really is, yet. And it is a nice, wonderful fridge brilliance moment. And I have to admit that the clues were shown in the Gargoyles series. If one just took the time to notice, and understand, them.'

River yelled, “Only you, Wade! Only you, Wade!”

Deadpool happily, though loudly, responded, “Hey! You called me, Wade! I am so happy! It literally took Nathan years to start calling me, Wade! We are making record time on the progress of our friendship!”

Again, River groaned in frustration.

Then, they felt something.

River and Wade immediately stop talking, as their heads turned in the same direction.

River felt Wade sense it, too.

A few seconds later, as both of them turned to looked around, where they were behind cover, River asked, in a slightly calmer done of voice, which still carried across the room, “What is that? It felt like someone very powerful just showed up on the spacestation.”

Deadpool responded, in a tone of voice that was just loud enough to be heard by River, but not to loud, “That is exactly what happened.”

River thought, 'Given what Wade as said. He might know who this part is.' She questioned, “Who? I guess you would know?”

Deadpool inquired, “You are right River. I do know who it is. And first, I have to ask. Have you seen the movie, Tron Legacy? I know you were not with the others, when Lee showed them that film, back in Book Five, Volume One.”

River said, “I wasn't. Though, I watched it later, with Lee. Soon after she got her memories back, and we were reunited.”

Deadpool asked, “Good. Do you remember the scene where Kevin Flynn made his appearance at Castor's End Of The Line nightclub?”

River replied, “Yes.”

Deadpool smiled under his mask, as he stated, with much excitement in his tone of voice,
“Well, cue the Fall track from Tron Legacy, because the friend that Lee brought back here is doing a slightly varied, but good repeat performance of that scene.”

“And you will find out who in a little while, from Lee. Also, it is safe to say, that you and Chang are going to lose that little bedroom bet you both have with Lee. Because defeating Cad Bane, and little old me, is nowhere near as awesome as taking down the Xanatos family, all at once.”

River thought, 'Okay. Wade has no reason to lie. And that means at least those four are out of the way. And it sounds like Lee with be fine. Still...' She said, “It figures that you would know all about that.”

Deadpool responded, “At least, I am being polite enough not to ask for an invitation.”

River commented, “The scary thing is that from my research of you, everything points to what you said earlier. That you are very good in bed.”

Deadpool stated, “What can I say? I traded in all my charm and glamor points, for my skill sets being across the board. Though, that will be fixed soon enough. And I know you all still love me. In a platonic way.”

Wade thought, 'Yes. With all the, platonic, comments, the writer of this story is doing their best to keep the sexual innuendo out of my fight. And I don't blame the writer for doing so. I will get my reward in the end. And I will be happy with it.'

'And yes. I do realize that the writer is writing my dialogue, along with you all reading this.'

'Also, folks. I am glad you did not skim passed this scene. And those that did skim, at least you came back, and you are enjoying these scenes, now. Because, the next part of Lee's plan is about to reach its climax. And it just makes me want to party!'

Deadpool then held his sub-machine guns up, with the barrels pointed upward. He shook them like maracas, as he yelled, “Cha! Cha! Cha!”

Deadpool immediately peeked out of cover, just long enough to fire towards the area where River was taking cover. Before he returned back to his cover.

A second later, River did the same towards Wade. With her peeking out of cover, just long enough to fire a few shots from her Bizon sub-machine guns at where he was behind cover.

And their battle had restarted.

(_)

Back in the hallway, where the Xanatos family, Lee and Petros were.

The white light around Petros had dimmed enough, for those around him to turn and look at him, with risk of being blinded.

As the others did so, Puck immediately recognized who Petros really was. Puck then started saying over and over again, in fear, “Oh crap. Oh crap. Oh crap...”

As Fox, David, and Alex overheard this, they looked on with worry, at Puck. This was because Puck was the most powerful person on their side, and they saw Puck was scared out of his mind.

The Xanatos family then turned their attention to Petros. They saw Petros' clothing had suddenly changed to long, royal blue robes, as his cane turned into a long, white, wooden staff, with a gnarled top to it. Petro still held his staff, with his right hand, at the same location as his cane. But, now, the staff nearly went up the his full height, and he was holding the staff by the center of the item. With the gnarled curl, at the top, facing the Xanatos family.

Petros' gray hair and mustache turned from gray to solid white, as his face took on a full white beard, as his white hair lengthen down his back to his waist.

As Petros stopped changing, the white light around him quickly faded.

David quickly turned to the one person present, that he trusted, whom could explain what was going on with his father. That person being Puck. David ordered, “Owen. Talk fast.”

While still in slight shock, Puck stop saying, 'oh crap', so he could answer his friend's question. Puck continued to look at Petros, as he said, in a shaky tone of voice, “David, I am not sure how I should tell you this. So, I am just going to tell you straight out. David, your father is Merlin. The most powerful, skilled, intelligent, and wisest wizard, ever.”

Lee looked on at the Xanatos family. She smirked, as she gloated, “You got that right.” She turned to Merlin, as she politely requested, “Merlin. Please, tell them who their daddy is.”

Merlin looked over at his family, with a wicked grin grin on his lips, as he stated “I'm your daddy.” He turned to Lee, as he added, “By the way, good science fiction series.” He then looked back at the Xanatos clan, while he struck the bottom of his magic staff against the floor.

Without warning, David and Fox's powersuits suddenly because liquid with slide into a puddle under them. Leaving only the dark blue, full body, cloth bodysuits they had under their armor. With the bodysuits going up to their necklines.

Merlin struck his staff against on the floor, and four long iron chains suddenly appeared, floating in the air, between Merlin and the rest of his family. Each chain quickly rapped themselves around Puck, Alex, David, and Fox. The chains bound their arms to their chests, as they lefts them up a couple of feet in the arm.

All four of them did not bother struggling. They knew they could not escape. Fae magic, which Puck and Alex used, had a weakness to iron. And the metal was too strong for Fox and David to break out of, and to woven around them, to slip out of.

Though, they chains were not so tight as to be painful, nor cause problems with breathing.

Merlin and Lee chose to remain silent, as they watched their four prisoners. To allow the Xanatos family time to calm down, before they continued their conversation. With them desiring the Xanatos family to speak first.

While this was happening, David Xanatos realized several things, at the same time.

David thought, 'Merlin is Oberon's son, by a human woman. That means, I am Oberon's grandson. And Alex is both Oberon's great-grandson, and Titania's grandson, through my wife, Fox. And that would explain why our son was born with such magical potential. He was getting that power from both sides of his family.'

'And given the way Titania and Oberon acted, the night Oberon tried to kidnap my son, neither of them knew that my father was Merlin... Of course, they wouldn’t know. If either of them knew that Petros was Merlin, then they would have dragged our entire family back to Avalon.'

'No wonder my father kept his true identity a secret from all of us. It would be too risky to reveal himself to anyone, back home. But, even the eyes and ears of Avalon cannot reach here. So, the situation is much more safer. Unless, those hackers are watching. I hope not.'

'Though, with Lee, and the others from Plata Podrido, are here. Then, that means that it is highly likely the hackers, in question, are the Lowe family. Though, from what I have read of the Lowe family, they are not ones to try to blackmail, nor intentionally wreck people's life.'

“So, they will not do anything to us, unless we threaten them, or those they care for. Which I have no real intention on doing. That is one of the reasons I ordered Alex not to harm Lee. Lee is good friends with everyone involved, on the other side. If Lee got hurt, we would risk reprisals against us. With the Lowe family being some of those at the front of the line, in doing so.'

'And this also means that the dangerous people that I thought were just my in-laws, on Fox's side of the family. I am related too, as well. Fortunately, not Fox among them... I hope... Sometime, I am going ask Owen how closely related Titania is to Oberon. Given they are of the same race. And if anyone would know that answer, besides those two, it would be Owen.'

'And the more I think about, the more I realize that the clues were all there. I now realize how it all fits.'

'When we went back in time, right after Fox and I got married. I remember my father rode a horse like it was second nature to him But, I have never seen him ride a horse in my entire life. And we lived on the coast, in Bar Harbor, Maine. With him pretending to be a simple fisherman. We didn't have many horses around us.'

'I only took riding lessons, after I made my fortune, and became an adult.'

'While I found that odd. I was so wrap up about showing him how I was a self-made man. With the coin I sent in the future, to my past self. With selling that coin being the foundation for my entire fortune. That I forget to ask him about it. Now, I wish I had done so.'

'But, him being Merlin explains that. He probably has literally centuries of experience on riding horses.'

'Then, there is the time travel itself. He took traveling in time, in stride, on short notice. He has probably time traveled before. He might had even traveled between realities, some. As Owen mentioned he has done, once, or twice.'

'And speaking of fishing. The harpoon gun he used against Oberon was his.'

'On the morning of day my son was born, my father came down from Maine, to be with us, during that time. Along with a suitcase, with his clothing. And he had brought his personal his harpoon gun with him.'

'And later that night. Except for that magical blast from Fox. That iron harpoon was the only thing that was able to hurt Oberon that night. Oberon even admitted, as such.'

'My father knew there a good chance that either Titania, or Oberon, would show up. Meaning, he knew in advance that Fox's mother, Anastasia, was really Titania.'

'And he likely also heard on the grapevine, that the gathering was happening on Avalon. So, there was a good chance that Oberon, or one of their children, might show up. Barring, Owen, whom was already there. Though, this likely means that he knew that Owen was Puck, all along.'

'My father knew that either of them might make a play at trying to kidnap my son. His grandson. And he wanted to be ready to stop them.'

'And since my father dared not use his magics in front of either Oberon, or Titania. He brought a mundane weapon with him he believed might take either of them out. Or, at least make them think twice about continuing such a fight.'

David then realized something else about his father. As he continued his thoughts, in astonishment, 'My father is as crazy prepared, and as much a skilled planner, as I am. Now, I know where I inherited those traits from.'

'Also, on the night my son was born, my father did not argue with Anastasia, when she suggested that he and Halcyon, Fox's father, leave Fox's bedroom, to allow Fox and Alex to have some rest.'

'Then, Oberon came, and he forced Anastasia to reveal that she was really Titania. Titania likely sensed that Oberon was nearby, and she wanted to get the two old men, Halcyon and my father, out of the line of fire.'

'My father also likely sensed Oberon approaching, as well. And he realized that Oberon was heading directly for Titania, in which case, the meeting would end in Titania revealing her real identity to those present.'

'So, my father didn't dare argue with Titania, because he immediately need to make himself intentionally scarce, because any revealing magic that Oberon used on Titania, could also have accidentally effected my father, revealing his identity, as Merlin to the both of them.'

'The only time my father ever directly confronted Oberon, was after it was clear that Oberon was planning to kidnap Alex. He didn't want to hurt his father, any more than I want to hurt him.'

'And if he had revealed himself, then. There was a real chance of Oberon placing a binding spell on him, like he did against Owen.'

'Speaking of the pack we made with Oberon, to leave us in peace. During the resolution, in Fox and my bedroom, my father was not present.'

'My father was never in the presence of both Oberon and Titania, at the same time. Because, there was always the chance, that with them together, one, or both of them, might sense something about him.'

'And since dad clearly planned that far ahead. I am sure he already had a rescue plan in the wings, if we had lost, and we needed to rescue Alex from Avalon.'

'The scary part is that it all fits together. The clues were even there, in plain view, in the Gargoyles series. But, no one saw them, until today. And it was Lee whom realized this.'

'I think I have just been beaten, in a gambit, by someone we dismissed as a fool. And playing the fool is one of the most classic gambits there is. This was my mistake, and arrogance, not Lee's.'

'And after meeting Deadpool, and learning about him, and how dangerous he is. I should have known better than to dismiss people that are some consider to be fools.'

'Now, to handle this situation.'

David looked at his father, as he casually said, “Well dad. This explains a lot. I am not upset with you for lying to me, about you pretending to be a simple fisherman. I can move passed that. Though, I just I wish I had known this earlier.” He mentally lamented, 'The plans we could have pulled off if I had known the truth about you, years ago.'

Merlin looked at David. Merlin's smile turned more kind, as he said, “I still love you to, son. And I am happy to hear that. To be honest, I think you picked a good woman to marry. And you both married for the right reasons. Love. And I am happy that my grandson is not spoiled. And that he has one of the best teachers, for magic, in the world.”

Puck smiled, as he spoke up, “Thank you.”

Merlin turned to Puck, as he said, “You're welcome, Owen... Or, I guess, Puck.”

Puck commented, “I am fine with you addressing me, either way.”

Merlin responded, “Alright. Though, I request, that you continued call me Petros. We do not want our kin on Avalon to learn of my identity. Or, that you have broken Oberon's spell.”

Puck replied, “I fulled agree.”

Merlin replied, “Thank you.” He turned to his son, as he explained, “David. Now, that the truth is out in the open. There are some matters I need to tell you. And since everyone here knows my secret. There is no point in delaying this knowledge.”

“David. I was planning to tell you the truth about myself, and your magical heritage, for your sixteenth birthday. I even had the books laid out for you, on our kitchen table, back home.”

“Then, on the same day, I was going to tell you, you got that damn coin in the mail from your future self. And in so doing, you destroyed all the plans I had for you. And the tragedy in this was that if you had not received that coin from yourself, you would have still gained everything you had, but you would have also learned mystical powers and achieved the near immortality you have always sought.”

“Through your own arrogance you cheated yourself out of vast amounts of mystical power and longevity. Though, now that the cat is out of the bag, you can still learn a few things. If nothing else, you will not grow old as fast, while you wife and child remain young. And I can teach Fox and Alex a few things, as well.”

Lee had silently been paying attention to what Melvin said. She looked over at David Xanatos, as she thought, 'Yea, David. You missed the call, big time. And it is you own damn fault.'

Merlin look over at Fox, as he questioned, “Is that not that what you mother whispered in your ear, on the day you gave birth to your son, Fox? That you, and your son, would remain young, while David will grow old and die, long before either of you did?”

Fox looked over at Merlin, as she admitted, “Yes. That is what she told me. I am happy that you plan to fix that problem.”

Merlin stated, “And that I shall, my dear.”

David was left speechless, as he learned more important aspects of his life, that he had not know about.

With realization at the epic mistake he had done, David thought, 'After my wedding. And the time travel to the past. No wonder you were upset with me, dad. After we came turned to the present, from the past. When you gave me that american penny as a wedding gift... And that is not all.'

'Along with not knowing you were Merlin. I did not know about Fox's longevity. But, I did suspect. Though, I already knew that Alex was going to likely live for a very long, long time.'

'And such news, I can handle. It is the personal news that hurts the worst. I just found out what I thought was my greatest triumph, in becoming a self-made man, was in truth an epic failure, of the worst incident of a man royally screwing himself over, in human history.'

'Though, I unknowingly did so. I still literally cheated myself out of godhood.'

'I am mature enough to admit that my pride may never recover from this.'

'And I realize now that Lee really did literally deconstruct my life.'

After realizing his mistake. That personally cost himself so much. All David could do was start lightly laughing. Because he did not want to breakdown and cry in front of his family.

Everyone went silent, as they watched David laugh for several seconds.

As David began to calm down, he turned to Lee. David choked back his tears, as he congratulated Lee, “Well played, Lee. Well played. We will have to do this again sometime. I have not been this challenged since I struck my truce with Goliath.”

Lee looked over at David, as she calmly replied, “I look forward to it, David.”

Merlin struck the floor around with a staff, and a magical portal to the Xanatos home in New York City, to the proper time, place, and reality, opened up behind the Xanatos family. With Merlin and Lee facing the portal.

The captured Xanatos family members turned to the portal, and they realized what was happening. They then turned back to look at Merlin and Lee.

Fox coldly said, “I will not forget this, Lee.”

Alex said, with anger, “You have made an enemy today, Lee.”

Puck chuckled a little. He then said, with a bit of mirth in his tone of voice, “I am with David on this one. Lee, I looked forward seeing you and River, again. And oh the fun we are going to have next time we meet.”

Merlin looked over at Lee, as he stated, “Do not worry. I plan on having a long talk with them after we get home.”

Lee noticed that the chained Xanatos family clearly heard what Merlin said. Because, in response, the immediately went silent.

Lee turned to Merlin, as she responded, “Thank you, Merlin. For everything. You have our address, calendar date, and reality. Come by the casino, around noon, tomorrow. We will do lunch. I can also arrange for you to meet the Farscape characters. Dargo is even back among the living.”

Merlin said, “That is nice to hear. We will talk about it tomorrow, then” Merlin then turned his attention to his family, as he said, “Come now, children. We have much to discuss.”

Lee silently watched as Puck, Fox, David, and Alex floated through the portal. Then, Merlin held his staff, just above the ground, as he walked, in a dignified fashion, through the portal, right behind his family.

And by doing so, Merlin was subtly showing Lee that he did not need his staff, nor cane, after all.

A few seconds later, the portal harmlessly collapsed in on itself, and disappeared.

Lee smirked, as she thought, 'Now, that man knows how to deal with his family in style. And I doubt Chang and River can top my out gambit of the Xanatos family. As such, I think I am going to win our bet for today. And I get first choice for roles and positions, in bed, tonight, for the three of us.'

A thought then occurred to Lee. She giggled a little, as she mentally realized, 'And Petros means, rock, in Greek. I certainly know a lot of, Rocks. And that would actually be fun to say. But, that is for later. Now, I need to track down the others. And I know just where to start.'

Lee then turned around, and walked towards the same hallway that the Xanatos family were walking to. With her heading to the same elevator, to go to the level where she last saw River, Chang, and Shenhua.

While Lee continued on her way, she happily said, out loud, “It is good to be queen.”

(_)

Elsewhere, deeper in the ship, in a far more secure location, was the cybertronian, Jhiaxus' quarters, and research areas. Which composed of more than a square kilometer of a single floor on the ship.

Unlike more of the room in the ship. These rooms were much larger. And designed for cybertronians to use.

This are of the ship was dedicated to technological and cybernetic research. Which was headed up by Jhiaxus and her adult robotic, clone, children.

Currently, there were no test subjects in the research areas.

At the moment, a redheaded fair skin man, entered the lab. The man wore a short white buttoned up coat, light blue pants, and shoes.

As the man made his way passed by large chairs, tables, and shelves, that towered over his head, he thought, 'She and her children should be here at this time of day.'

The redheaded man then turned a corner, to his right, and he saw whom he was looking for.

The cybertronian looked like Arcee with yellow armor and red highlights. She was twenty feet away from Anton The person had her back turned to the man, as she was was sitting in a large chair, at a desk, both of which were custom made to fit her.

The cybertronian did not turn to face the man, as she calmly said, “Hello Anton.”

Anton replied, “Hello Jhiaxus.”

Jhiaxus pushed her chair from her desk, without damaging either piece of furniture. She then stood up, and faced Anton. She inquired, “What can I do for you? Please, keep in mind, that my children, and I, are quite busy at the moment.”

Anton looked around, and he then saw on the other side of the room, opposite to where Jhiaxus was, there were three other cybertronians, that looked like Arcee, only with different colored armors than Arcee, or Jhiaxus.

Anton thought, 'Those are Jhiaxus' children. But, not all of them. And that is not countering her grandchildren.'

'I have always been fascinated by Jhiaxus' ability to procreate. A robotic lifeform that originally could not do this. Yet. She was given the ability to do so. And successfully. I could spent the rest of my natural live trying to do something similar, and never pulling that off so successfully.'

'Though, Jhiaxus was kind enough to willing to freely share that research with me, on the matter. And for that I will forever be eternally grateful to her.'

'Though, back to the matter at hand. these three seem to be packing boxes. Which means...'

Anton turned back to face Jhiaxus, as he commented, “I believe you are doing the same thing as I.”

Jhiaxus responded, “If you mean leaving. Then yes. We are planning to. Though, what has caused you to do so?”

Anton answered, “During my last attempt to contact with the rest of the command staff. I could not even reach Gomez at his office. I do not know where Nechla is. And the communication channels state that the Xanatos family have suddenly disappeared. Less than ten minutes ago.”

Anton thought, 'I am just happy that your research labs, and quarters, are only a few levels above mine.'

“And experience has allowed me to learn this song. That being the fat lady is getting ready to sing.”

Jhiaxus casually stated, in a slightly amused tone of voice, “Ah, you humans, and your entertaining euphemisms. Well, I have been monitoring the communications, as well. And it is worse than you realize.”

Anton questioned, “I am not surprised. Still, what finally made you decide to leave?”

Jhiaxus answered, “It seems an old enemy is here. One that I do not wish for my children, nor myself, to confront.”

Anton responded, “That is understandable. I have my own share vendettas against me.” He mentally reflected, 'And most of which are well earned.'

Jhiaxus commented, “It would be best if we all left, right now.”

Anton said, “I was planning to. But first, I wanted to check on you and your children.”

Jhiaxus asked, “I appreciate that. So, when will you be leaving?”

Anton stated, “Soon. While I don't mind leaving behind my clothing. And I don't have many possessions here. I still need my data. I would hate to lose the years of research I have accumulated here.”

Jhiaxus offhandedly commented, “Come now, we have been friends long enough to know both of us like to plan ahead. I already have the data. I backed it up less twenty minutes ago.”

Anton casually said, “I am not surprised. This ships computer servers are nothing to you. And we have been collaborating on our research for years.”

Jhiaxus replied, “That we have.”

Anton commented, “And I do not really mind. It just makes leaving that much easier.”

Jhiaxus offered, “That is what I am hoping I would hear from you say. Because I have a job lined up. And I would like you to come with us, to work on it. And it is more of your field of research, than mind.”

Anton happily said, “I accept. Though, I hope it is a reality where I can survive in the comfort I have become accustom too.” He mentally added, 'Gomez really does treat his top level employees well.'

Jhiaxus said, “Not to worry. The location will be to your liking.”

Anton asked, “So, where are we going? And are we going to work for someone else? Or, just do some freelance work? I am open to either option.”

Jhiaxus answered, “I know you are. And I have gotten us a research contract, that pays well, with plenty of research supplies provided for us.”

Anton inquired, “I'm listening. So, who is the employer? Or, is it, employers?”

Jhiaxus stated, “It seem that in one Star Wars reality, a man named Thrawn now rules the galactic empire.”

Anton thought, 'I am happy I am a Timothy Zahn fan. So, I know who Thrawn is.' He commented, “I know he who is. And I always felt he could run the Empire.”

Jhiaxus explained, “Well, it seems that he, and a woman named Scorpius, have entered into a relationship. On several levels. With this Scorpius rules over her own galactic empire, in another reality. Her empire is known as the Peacekeeper Territories. Anyway, this Scorpius recently contacted me, with a job offer. And I said I would accept, as soon as I was finished working for Gomez. She said that was fine.”

Anton cracked a wicked grin as he said, “Intriguing.” He thought, 'There is only one person I know of that goes by Scorpius. And there is only one Scorpius counterpart that is a woman. If she and Thrawn were now an item. Let the multiverse beware, and tremble in fear.'

Jhiaxus replied, “I thought so, as well.”

Anton questioned, “So, which Star Wars world will be going to?”

Jhiaxus answered, “None of them. As part of the secrecy, we will be working on an Earth, much like the one you left. In times, technologies, and cultures. Though, not your Earth. Nor, the one on the other side of the star at the center of this solar system.”

Anton commented, “Sounds nice. I cannot wait to go there.”

Jhiaxus replied, “Good”

Anton asked, “So, how long, until you are ready to leave?

Jhiaxus answered, “Soon Anton. Soon.”

A few minutes later, Jhiaxus, her progeny, and Anton, were all ready to leave the spacestation. They all gathered together, in the middle of a large room, and Jhiaxus used the reality device, she had installed in her own body, to teleport them to an alternate, modern Earth, in the multiverse.

(_)

A few minutes later, on the inside of the outer left side of the spacestation, Pedro and Matthew had made to a hallway, with windows looking out into the starry sky, to their right.

Though, they that had not met anyone, yet, in their journey. Pedro still had his FN FAL at the ready.

As they made their way down the hallway, Matthew and Pedro were side by side, with Matthew to Pedro's left. And to Matthew's right was the window.

While they walked, Matthew turned to the windows they walks by, to their right, as he commented, “You know. This is not a bad view of the stars.”

Pedro continue to keep looking around him, for possible signs of trouble, as he commented, “Perhaps. But, this is not they time to discuss such matters.”

Matthew agreed, “You're right. I wonder what we felt a little while ago?”

Pedro stated, “Someone, or something, very powerful came here.”

Matthew responded, “I agree. But, is this person a friends? Or, a foe? For or against us?”

Pedro stated, “I don't know. Though, that feeling is probably similar to what Annie sometimes feels with the force.”

Mathew replied, “Well, we will ask her, later. But, I believe that is the case.”

Suddenly, they felt the floor beneath their feet slightly shake for a few moments, as something took off into the sky, from a hanger bay, right below them.

They both came to a stop, as they turned to right to see that the object that had just left the ship, was a starfighter, painted white.

Both of men recognized the starfighter, as Matthew commented, “That is a Thunderbolt Starfury.”

Pedro responded, “I know. And I have to give Gomez credit. If he is using thunderbolt starfuries as his starfighters, than he has great taste in space vehicles.”

Matthew responded, “No arguments there. The questions are, where is that starfury heading? And who is piloting it?”

Pedro replied, “Good questions.”

A few seconds later, the two men saw the ship suddenly disappeared from sight.

Pedro said, “That was no faster than light travel, nor jump to hyperspace.”

Matthew agreed, “Yea. That was a reality jump.”

Pedro stated, “This is not good.”

Matthew inquired, “And we are the only ones that know about it. Should we contact the others?”

Pedro answered, “No. They have their own missions. And they are too far away to do anything in time. We are going to have to check this out, on our own.”

Matthew pointed out, “But, what about our mission?”

Pedro stated, “It is clear we took the wrong way. And I have complete faith that Fabiola, Burt, and Matt, can handle rescuing Maria, the kids, and Garcia.”

Matthew responded, “When you put it that way. I agree. Also, those type of fighters are stationed in sets of five and ten. And given that ship literally took off under us. The cobra bay hangers that ship came out of it, are likely one floor beneath us.”

Pedro commented, “I saw a door to a stairwell, about fifteen meters back.”

Both men started to turn around, to look at the door.

Matthew said, “Okay. It should not take us long to get to the hangers. And given reality travel does have a little leeway on time dilation. We can still catch up to that starfury. And we can use another starfury's computer to find out what is going on.”

Pedro questioned, “Good. Still, how are we going to into one of them?”

Matthew said, “That will not be a problem. We can ask the Lowe family for help. And Garibaldi also taught us how to hotwire them.”

Pedro asked, in slight disbelief, “What the hell was he thinking?”

Matthew answered, in a casual tone of voice, “He likes his personnel to be prepared.”

Pedro teased, “And yet you prefer not to carry a gun.”

Matthew quipped, “Personal preference.”

Pedro commented, “Okay. Well, it looks like I am going to have to rely on you. Because I didn't know how to fly one. And you do.”

Matthew said, “Yes. In this case.” He cracked a grin, as he continued, “I'm driving.”

The two men then rushed down the hallway, from the direction they had come, as they headed towards the unlocked door to the nearby stairwell.

While, they did so, Pedro was careful with his rifle, as he used his ear piece, on his right ear, to contact the Lowe family.

Pedro firmly stated, “Guys. I need your help. And don't you dare hang up on me like last time. This is important.”

Lewis commented, “Okay. What is going on? And what do you need?”

By then, they made to the door. They opened the door.

While they continued to swiftly, though carefully, make their way down one floor's worth of stairs, Pedro explained the situation to Lewis. With Lewis agreeing that the two men needed his help.

(_)

At that moment, Fabiola, Burt, and Matt were approaching the detention area. Matt had his carbine rifle in his hands. Burt had his fifty caliber light-fifty rifle in his hands. And Fabiola had her MAG Seven shotguns in her hands.

While they had to fight a few boomers on the way to their location. They were able to do so without any injuries to themselves. Also, they had not yet to encounter any people along their path.

Also, the hallways were all well lit with ceiling lights. Which allowed the three adults to see clearing into the distance.

Presently, they were approaching the only known elevator in the ship, that would lead them to the detention area, where Garcia and the Pena family were being held.

They came to a four way cross section in the hallway. And from the directions the Lowe family had occasionally helped them with, the elevator to the detention area being around the corner, to their left.

But, the three adults were no fools. And they were careful about turning blind corners. So, they took their time, to see what was on the other side of the corner they were heading for.

As they peeked around the corner, they saw that standing right in front of the only elevator to the detention center were to large, brown battle boomers, with their right arms being large lances, that each housed a machine gun and a bazooka. The boomers were about a hundred meters down a large hallway.

Also, there was no one else down that hallway.

And the three adults then were careful to check that there no one else in others hallway, for as far as they could see. With there being no doors down the other hallways. Only a few turns, in the distance.

The three adults then ducked back behind the corner, close to the wall, that had the turn to the detention area.

The three adults look at each other.

Matt commented, “Well, we found the entrance.”

Fabiola questioned, “True. Now, boys. Which one of you wants to take the shots on these boomers? Or, I do you want me to take the shot?”

Burt held up his light-fifty, as he said, “I got this.”

Burt then walked over in front of Matt and Fabiola. He then swifts turned around the corner, and fired two shots, in quick secession.

Right before Burt ducked back behind the corner, he saw that each of his bullets flatten against the foreheads of the two boomers.

Right after he was behind the cover of the wall, Burt turned to Fabiola and Matt. He said, “We got trouble. Their armor plating is thicker than normal. All my bullets did was get their attention.”

Fabiola agreed, “That is trouble.”

Burt commented, “It figures they would upgrade the armor of those monsters that are assigned to guarding their secure locations.”

Then, the three adults heard the boomers feet clanging on the floor, as they came closer.

Matt realized, as he asked, “Well, either way. Why are they not using their weapons?

Burt answered, “They are probably programed not to damage the ship, unless they have too.”

Matt pointed out, “Well, we need to come up with something fast. They are getting closer.”

Fabiola stated, “I have the solution. Cover your ears.”

Matt and Burt slung the straps of their weapons on their shoulders, as they placed their fingers over their ears.

Meanwhile, Fabiola calmly walked pass Burt, as she used the gambler's rigs on the underside so of her forearms, to pull her shotguns back up her long white sleeves.

She then used used both hands to reach over her right shoulder, and pulled out her loaded China Lake grenade pump action shotgun. The weapon was loaded with four forty millimeter grenade rounds.

By then, she held the fore-end of the weapon with her left hand, and the stock and trigger with her right hand.

As Fabiola kept her right index finger on the trigger guard, she firmly set the butt of the stock against the front of her right shoulder.

Next, stepped back from the wall, and then leaned her weapon, and her head, just far enough over the corner to clear the wall.

Fabiola saw the boomers were still eighty meters from them.

Fabiola thought, 'Good. They are not to close. And with the hallway this big, the blast should not be too dangerous, at this distance.'

Fabiola then fired her first round, at the right boomer's head. Next, she quickly reloaded with her left hand, and fired at the left boomer's head.

Unlike bullets and buckshot, grenade did not instantly hit their target, after being fired. It took a few seconds to bridge the gap between Fabiola

And in that time, Fabiola was able to fire both shots, and duck back behind the wall, right before the first of the two kinetic waves, from the explosions, reached her.

Due to the hallway being a four way cross section, most of the energy from the explosions continued down the hallway, to the three adults right. With the three of them being left unharmed.

They waited several seconds, to let some of the dust settle.

When Fabiola felt it was safe to proceed, she said, “Okay. Let's go.” She then walked around the corner to their left, where the detention elevator was located.

Burt and Matt followed right behind Fabiola.

As they walked down the hallway, Fabiola swiftly reloaded her China Lake. She then holstered it behind her back. Next, she used the gambler's rig in her left forearm, to have that shotgun slide down into her left hand, while she right hand empty handed.

Meanwhile, Burt and Matt saw the two boomers lying on the floor, with their heads, the top of their chests missing.

As they passed by the destroyed boomers, Matt thought, 'I need to make a mental note of never pissing off this woman. And I am so glad I am friends with her. I would not want to be her enemy.'

On the other hand, Burt complimented, in a casual tone of voice, “Nice shooting.”

Fabiola turned around, to face the two men, as she replied, “Thanks.” She then turned back, to face the elevator doors, as she continued to approach the entrance to the detention area.

A few seconds later, they reached the elevator, they saw that barring a few scorch marks,

Burt commented, “I would like to know what this elevator is made of?”

Fabiola said, “So would I.”

Fabiola used her right hand to to push the button to open the elevator leading to the detention area.

Less than a minute later, the elevator reached them, and the doors opened to reveal an elevator room that could fit around ten full grown human adults.

Fabiola, 'I guess this elevator does not have a code, or key to use, because no one would expect a jail break, on this ship. That was sloppy of them. And from the map Arcee shows ups, this seems to be the only way in and out of the big. So, this makes things simple for us. Though, I just hope we don't get shot, like ducks in a barrel, in an ambush, when the elevator opens onto the detention level.'

Right before Fabiola was about to walk in, Burt pointed out, “Hold it. What if they are planning on trapping us in there?”

Matt agreed, “Good question.”

Fabiola replied, “Yes. It is a fair question.” She then used her ear piece to contact the Lowe family.

Fabiola said, “Hello.”

On the other end of the line, Lewis inquired, “What do you need, Fabiola?”

Fabiola requested, “We are about to enter the elevator to the brig. Can you keep an eye on us, to make sure nothing happens while we are in the elevator?”

Lewis said, “We are kind of busy. But, that should not be a problem. Also, we have control of the cameras. And I have been able to lock down the communications to the brig. They will not see you coming.”

Fabiola mentally reflect, 'At least, we won't have to worried about an ambush.' She replied, “Thank you.” She then thought to disconnect the line.

Fabiola said, “The problem is taken care of. Also, communications to the brig has been cut. So, no chance of an ambush.”

Matt replied, “Good.”

But, before Fabiola could take another step, Burt stated, “Also, we should inform Pedro and Matthew.”

Fabiola sighed, as she halfheartedly replied, “You're right.” She then saw the door about to close, she placed her left foot on the door, as the right elevator door hit it. The automatic safety triggered, and the door reopened.

Fabiola then used her ear piece on her right ear, as she thought of Pedro. She said, “Pedro. We are all the entrance to the detention center.”

Pedro replied, “Good. I apologize. But, Matthew and I are not going to be able to make it to you.”

Fabiola inquired, with concern in her tone of voice, “What is the matter?”

Pedro responded, “Something has come up. Not sure what. But, we are the only ones close enough handle it. Just carry out your missions. We will handle our own problem. You handle yours. And we will talk to each other, later.”

Fabiola replied, “Okay. Good luck.”

Pedro said, “You too.” She then thought about breaking the connection.

Fabiola stated, “Pedro and Matthew are not coming. Though, Pedro didn't really say why. So, gentlemen. Let us go in, and rescue our friends.”

Fabiola then stepped into the elevator. She was followed by Burt and Matt.

As soon as all the three adults were inside, they turned around and saw that interior panel of the elevator, to their right, of the door, was a single button.

Fabiola thought, 'An express elevator. With one button. All the better.” She then press the button.

A second later, the doors closed, and the elevator went up, as the three adults were on their way to the detention area.

(_)

On the far left side of the ship, a few minutes before the boomers guarding the detention level, were destroyed, Pedro and Matthew had reached the outside of the cobra hangers, they asked the Lowe family for help. And the Lowe family comply. Because they agreed that they needed to check out who left.

The Lowe family hacked the hangers, to allow them to re-pressurize. Fortunately, the outside hanger doors automatically closed thirty seconds after launching a starfury.

As soon as the hanger was breathable again, the Lowe family opened the doors. A few seconds later, they told Pedro and Matthew that they had gotten control of the first starfury to their right.

The starfury in question was another white painted thunderbolt starfury, which was had two seats. One in front, and one in back, of the cockpit.

It do not take long for the to men to get inside the cockpit. With Matthew in front, in the pilots seat. And Pedro in the gunners seat, which was behind Matthew's seat.

Though, as soon as Matthew logged into the computer of the Starfury, he set the piloting and gunner controls to his cockpit instruments and controls. So, Pedro would not accidentally do something stupid, by brushing his hand against one of the buttons by him.

After getting in, Matthew first put on his crisscross seatbelt, which secured him to his chair.

Meanwhile, Pedro make sure that his rifle did not have a round in the chamber. He then set the safety on. And finally, he set the weapons between his legs, with the button of the barrel on the floor, with him holding the weapon by the fore-end.

After which, Pedro put on his crisscrossed seatbelt.

At the moment, the canopy of the fighter closed, and the cockpit was pressurized.

While Matthew continued do the pre-flight checks on the instruments, Fabiola contacted Pedro.

Suddenly, though the ear piece, Pedro heard Fabiola's voice say, “Pedro. We are all the entrance to the detention center.”

Pedro replied, “Good. I apologize. But, Matthew and I are not going to be able to make it to you.”

Fabiola inquired, with concern in her tone of voice, “What is the matter?”

Pedro responded, “Something has come up. Not sure what. But, we are the only ones close enough handle it. Just carry out your missions. We will handle our own problem. You handle yours. And we will talk to each other, later.”

Fabiola replied, “Okay. Good luck.”

Pedro said, “You too.” He then felt the very slight background noise of the signal go silent, meaning the Fabiola had cut the connect.

As Matthew continued the pre-flight checks, he had heard Pedro's comments. He questioned, “Was the Fabiola?”

Pedro answered, “Yes. They just made it to the entrance to the detention center.”

Matthew replied, “Nice.”

Pedro agreed, “Yes. That is nice.”

Matthew asked, “So, are you strapped in?”

Matthew's comment brought Pedro's attention back to the straps on his body.

Pedro then slightly adjusted the crisscross straps that held him to his seat. After which, a thought occurred to him, as he inquired, “Yes. But, shouldn't we be wearing spacesuits? That is what they showed in all the scenes of these things.”

Matthew answered, “I don't know where they are stored. And it is more of a precaution. This cockpit has atmosphere. The ejection system launches the entire cockpit. And we have the reality device, you kept this entire time.”

Pedro replied, “Yea. I am glad I gave Fabiola the one Chang handed to me.” He thought, 'Though, I am not sure I can reach you with my reality device. But, I don't want to tell you that. Considering, you are about to fly this things. And I need you head completely in the game.'

Matthew commented, “That was a nice and a wise move, on your part. Also, she probably also has her spare.”

Pedro agreed, “Probably.”

Matthew stated, “By the way. If you are wondering. I just checks. And this ship is fully fuel.”

Pedro inquired, “Good. So, are you done with the pre-flight checks?”

Matthew answered, “I just finished. And we ready to launch.”

Pedro, “Well, before we leave. Let's see if we can look up some information on that ship we saw leave? And where it went?”

Matthew agreed, “Good idea. And since you are the police chief here, you get to pick what we look up first.”

Pedro asked, “I appreciate that. Can you pulled up a ship registry on where the ship went? And who took the ship out?”

Matthew replied, “Yea. I believe so.” He then typed on his keyboard, in front of him, above his joystick, as he searched for the information, to show on his monitor.

A few seconds later, Matthew stated, “I got the information. There is only one pilot for that ship, and that is Nechla Geeze... Why does that name sound familiar?”

Pedro requested, “Oh hell no. She was mentioned at the meeting. She was in Lee's stories, and she got screwed over pretty badly. Where, and when, did she go to?”

Matthew taped a couple of keys on his keyboard. He then answered, “She went back to your home reality. She is in a far, high orbit on Earth. I have her exact coordinates. The time is roughly day after we left.”

Pedro inquired, “Though, this just confirms what I thought. She is probably is heading for my Earth, right now. And whatever she is planning, she has to do it in space. Can we follow her?”

Matthew responded, “Yes. And I checked. This ship has a reality device installed in, than can follow her, to exactly where, when, and what reality she went to. But, if we did so, we would lose a day. Maybe, we should just head back him, a few minutes after we left? That will give us time to get Violin, or someone else, to get some spaceships up there to stop her.”

Pedro stated, “I can live with losing a day. And space, even in Earth's orbit, is vast. There is a good chance she will slip through such a dragnet. At the moment, we know exactly were she is. And we need to follow her while the trail is hot. Besides, we have already lost over a week back in my home reality.

Matthew replied, “I see your point.”

Pedro requested, “Can you punch up the weapons manifest for both this ship and that ship? So, we know what she has, and we what have to use against her. Also, check to see if this ship has energy shields. It original didn't. But, I wonder.”

Matthew replied, “On it.” He typed a few keys.

A second later, Matthew pulled up the information. He read the information, as he stated, “Our weapons are four linked forty millimeter pulse cannons, and ten standard missiles. Not bad for a ship of this type. No energy shields thought.”

Pedro commented, “It was a long shot.”

Matthew said, “It is likely Gomez is planning to. But, he has not yet gotten around adding those updates yet, to these ships.” He thought, 'I would give these ships energy shields, if I was him.'

Pedro replied, “That is possible. Though, I hope her ship doesn't have any energy shields.” He thought, 'Please, do not let her ship be a custom ship, for her own personal use. While we have only the factory model. We have enough problems, as is.'

Matthew continued to pulled up information, as he stated, “Let us hope not... Ah, here is her ship... Hers is ship has no energy shields.”

Pedro commented, “Good. That means we can take her in a fight. Still, what else does she have on her ship.”

Matthew continued reading, as he said, “Well... Oh. This is not good.”

Pedro asked, “What is it?”

Matthew said, “Besides the same pulse cannon configuration as us, the manifest lists that she has ten biological missiles.”

Pedro questioned, “Are any specifics given?”

Matthew replied, “Unfortunately. No. I cannot find any other details on the missiles.”

Pedro said, with worry in his tone of voice, “They are likely world killer weapons. Or, worse.”

Matthew inquired, “How could that be worse?”

Pedro pointed, “Nechla had direct access. And I mean direct physical access. To that very contagious gender bending virus from book three of Lee's stories.”

Matthew replied, with worry in his tone of voice, “Oh boy. Would that create a mess.”

Pedro responded, “Not just a mess. Either way my earth would be quarantined. And if it was the gender virus, it would take years, and a lot of explaining, of how that virus came about. With the type of hard truths that could be break civilizations.”

“And once they know multiverse travel is possible. They will figure out how to do it. With many people would be willing to break quarantine, to gain access to the treasures that the multiverse could be provide. While, at the same time, they spread that gender virus across the multiverse.”

“And that is only the tip of the iceberg.”

Matthew said, “I understand what you are saying. They would also be the potential creation of thousands of dimensional overlords, like Chang in book two.”

Pedro stated, “Exactly. And all just as dangerous, and power mad as Chang was then. And eventually, that gender virus would be traced back to my home world. In a number of ways. That world cause blow back for my homeworld. No matter how you looked it it.”

“That is if my people do not blow ourselves up, first, with any new toys we gain. And that is a real possibility.” He thought, 'Lee even figured that possible in book one. Damn. She is good.'

Matthew commented, “I can see how that could be worse. I believe that she probably armed her ship behind Gomez's back.”

Pedro responded, “I agree. While Gomez committed that attack on my hometown. I don't think he would approve of planetary genocide over the actions of a single person.”

Matthew asked, “I agree. And I guess we are talking about Lee?”

Pedro replied, “Yes.” He thought, 'It always seems to come back to Lee. Though, this time, I am going to have to clean up her mess.'

Mathew inquired, with concern in his tone of voice, “Would Nechla Geeze really do it? Do you think she would actually do harm your Earth over such a trivial matter?”

Pedro answered, “It would not be trivial for her. Lee did a number on her home planet. Her body. And her career. So, yes. I believe she would. And if I remember correctly, the thunderbolt starfury can also be used as a light bomber. Also, this type of ship can safely go into re-entry, and fly back out out atmosphere, and into orbit.”

“As such, it makes for a wonderful planetary bomber for this type of horrific war crime.
And with the reality device in her ship, when she is done, she can travel to anywhere in the multiverse she wants to go. For her, it will be as close to a clean getaway, as she could hope for.”

Matthew said, “And we are the only ones that can stop her. And we have to stop her.”

Pedro commented, “Yes. Sometimes one has to be the hero. And do heroic things... And I have always wanted to say this, and mean it. And this is the perfect time to do it... Let's go save the world.”

Matthew said, “On it partner. Though, before we leave. Just aware, when we launch, the clamps holding the ship are going to pivot down. Then release. You will feel a jerking motion when the clamps pivot down, to a sudden stop. Then, a jerking motion, as we suddenly accelerate.”

“While I did not get to fly an actual starfury, I did get to right in one a couple of times. Including, experiencing these launches. So, I know what I am talking about.”

Pedro responded, “Okay. I remember seeing that in the Babylon Five series. And I am ready for.”

Matthew stated, “Good. Because here we go.”

Matthew then set the automatically launch program into place.

The hanger bays below the ship opened. As soon as the doors were opened, the clamps swung the ship down, to have the nose of the ship facing the opening into space.

This swinging movement caused both men to feel the first jerking motion.

Right after the clamps released the back of the thunderbolt starfury, the starfighter automatically accelerated into space.

This created a second, sudden jerk, as the ship accelerated out of the space.

Though, the pushing back sensation quickly faded. Thirty seconds later, the hanger doors automatically closed.

Meanwhile, inside the starfighter, Pedro and Matthew swiftly got over the launching experience.

Pedro commented, “That wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.”

Matthew commented, “No. It isn't. Still, you are not going to be space sick on me?”

Pedro replied, “I am not planning to.” He thought, 'Actually, I feel fine. The belt holding me to the chair are keeping more from floating. Which is probably preventing me from feeling the worst from being weightless. Due to the fact I am not use to experiencing such sensations. But, I am not going to worry Matthew about this matter.'

Matthew smiled, as he said, “Good. Now, let's go get her.”

Pedro cracked a grin, as he replied, “My thoughts, exactly.”

Matthew set the reality device built into the starfighter, to following Nechla's starfighter, to the same reality, time, and place, she had gone to.

A few seconds later, they jumped realities, to Pedro's home reality. All in the hopes of stopping Nechla, before she destroyed the populations of Pedro's home Earth.

(_)

In a warehouse room, in another part of the ship, on top of the crates, near the ceiling, Rock, Balalaika, B, several members of Hotel Moscow, and Sawyer in her black hardsuit, with her chainsaw slung on her back, were watching a duel take place below them.

And at the same time, on the floor of the room, on the outskirts of the large clearing in the middle of the room, Sylia, Kate, Mackie, Leon, Daley, all in their hardsuits, stood in a semicircle, as they faced the center of the room.

What all of them were watching was Revy, in her red hardsuit, fighting Priss, in her blue hardsuit, in the center clearing of the room.

The event was more sober, and toned down, than expected.

To prevent possible distractions, instead of cheering, everyone just silently watched, as Priss and Revy fought.

The fight had taken them around the clearing, and even using their jumpjets to move around the area, and to jump against the walls, as they clashed towards each other.

While the two women were excluded from using weapons. Jumpjets were not a weapon. Nor, were the increases in strength and agility the hardsuits provided, considered weapons.

As the fight has progressed, it was clear that Priss was the better trained fighter of the two.

Meanwhile, Revy was showing she was far more agile in a hardsuit, than Priss.

And given they were not using their weapons, this evened out their fight.

Also, even thought their hardsuits were super strong, the materials used were designed to take impact strikes greater than the raw physical blows their hardsuits could make.

Even the visor designs, and materials, has been upgraded, after an incident, decades ago. Which was shown in the Bubblegum Crisis OVA episode eight, titled, Scoop Chase. Where by, during a battle, a boomer shattering Nene's faceplate, which almost seriously harmed her. Though, that attack only left Nene with small scratch on her right cheek that healed, and didn't even leave a scar.

Still, while both of them managed to deliver several solid punches and kicks, to the other, the toughness of their hardsuits absorb most of the kinetic force of the blows.

And with their super-soldier serum enhanced endured, this combination, allowed them to keep going, in their fight.

Presently, they were in the center of the clearing, as they traded blows, and a few kicks.

While they fought, Priss thought, 'Revy is almost as agile in a hardsuit at Linna. I did not expect this. Though, I likely should have anticipated this. She always displayed agility in that Black Lagoon series. The only reason she didn't show this level of acrobatics on her island home, when we sparred there, was that there was not enough room to do so. If she had the room to do so then. She might have beaten me.'

Meanwhile, Revy thought, 'This bitch still knows how to fight. And I think she has gotten a little better since our last throw down. But, I am not going to let her put me in a armlock, again. With her forcing me to forfeit, under the threat of her breaking my right arm...'

Priss then threw a punch, that Revy sidestepped.

Revy continued her thoughts, 'This bitch has to have a weakness... Wait a minute... While she can do some very solid kicks, I noticed she mainly uses her fists. And she only threw a few kicks. Also, she rarely jumped around... And her landing were solid, but not fluid... She doesn't have as much footwork experience as I do.'

'Still, I need to test that theory.'

After a few more blows, Priss tried to do a sweeping kick at Revy's stomach, with her right leg.

Instead of avoiding the blow. Revy quickly stepped into the blow, as she turned to her left face it, while she caught Priss' lower right leg. Next, she swiftly turned to further to her left, as she used her entire body to throw Priss across the room.

Priss could not stop from being thrown. She flew across the clearing, and landed twenty feet away, in a cumbersome roll, onto the ground.

Though, to everyone's surprised, Revy did not press her advantaged.

Instead, Revy watched as Priss stand up, while she thought, 'I was right. Now, to ask her question, before I thoroughly kick her ass.'

Revy said, “I have a question for you.”

By then, Priss was on her feet. She stood, and faced Revy. She flatly asked, “What?”

Revy inquired, “Are you pregnant?”

Priss flatly answered, “No.”

Revy replied, “Good. Just checking.” She thought, 'I don't want to accidentally create a blood feud, to the death. Over an accident miscarriage. Now, to show her something that Fabiola taught me.'

Revy then jumped over towards Priss, to land to Priss' right side.

But, instead of landing her feet, Revy landed on a crouch, with the palms of her gauntlets, partly supporting her weight, as she faced Priss.

Revy landing distracted Priss for a second. And that was all the time Revy needed to launch her attack.

Revy then used her hands as a pivot, as she straighten out her legs, and spun her legs, clockwise, at Priss, as she caught Priss' knees in a scissors kick, from behind Priss' body.

The kick knock Priss onto her back. With Revy coming to a stop, as she continued to face Priss' right side.

(_)

On top of one of the crates, while standing next to Sawyer, Rock saw what had happened.
Rock grinned, as she thought, 'You got her now, Revy.'

(_)

Back on the floor, Priss was still slightly dazed from Revy's last attack. And Revy did not waste any time, as she quickly followed her first kick, by raising both both her legs up, and together, in the air.

Revy then brought down the back of her armored feet, onto Priss' stomach.

While most of the blow was absorbed by her armor, Priss grunted threw her speakers, as she had the wind knocked out of her.

Revy then quickly used her hands to push herself away from Priss. Next, Revy swiftly stood up.

As Revy looked down at Priss, she stated, through her hardsuit speakers, “After that blow. I will be surprised if you are able to move for the next few seconds. You just lost. And you know it.”

A second later, as Priss began to get her second wind, she groaned, “I yield.”

(_)

On top of a set of crates, across the clearing from where Rock and Sawyer were, Balalaika stood, as she looked down at the fight, which had concluded. She stated, “Well, that was quicker than I though.”

Standing beside Balalaika, B commented, “Yes. And it seems that Revy has not lost her edge.”

Balalaika said, “True. I was concerned that might have been the case. I see that it is not the case.”

B inquired, “So, what is our next move?”

Balalaika answered, “As soon as the Knight Sabers leave, we will check in with the Lowe family. To see what to do they need us to do next.”

(_)

On the floor, Revy commented, “Well, I beat you, bitch.”

By then, Priss had fully gotten her second wind back.

Though, as Priss leaned up, she placed her left armed across her stomach. She turned to look up at Revy, as she casually asked, “Two out of three, bitch?”

Revy just started laughing for a few seconds. As she calmed down, she said, “Sure. But, later.” She walked over to stand in front of Priss. She offered her right gauntlet, to help Priss up.

Priss took Revy's right gauntlet, with her own right gauntlet. As Priss stood up, she commented, “Fine with me. I will work on my agility and acrobatics.”

As soon as Priss was upright, they let go of each others gauntlet, with Priss and Revy facing each other.

Revy commented, “And I will work on my hand to hand techniques.”

Priss inquired, “By the way. Who taught you that footwork at the end of our fight?”

Revy answered, “Fabiola. She knows some capoeira. And she gave me a few lessons.”

Priss commented, “Oh. I may have to ask her to teach me some of those moves, sometime.”

Revy casually stated, “I am sure she won't mind given you a few lessons. I just don't use those moves often because they require me to be barehanded. And when I fight, I prefer to have my cutlasses in my hands.”

Priss replied, “I see your point.”

(_)

Nearby, the other Knight Sabers, were using their private communication channel to talk to each other, as the fight had progressed. Sylia had set the communications to not included Priss, so Priss would not be distracted during the fight.

The group has spoken in japanese.

Sylia commented, over that private channel, “Well, that was an unexpected outcome?”

Kate calmly asked, “What are you talking about?”

Sylia said, “It looks like they have become friends.”

Daley pointed out, “More like friendly rivals.”

Mackie said, “They are going to want to see each other, again. For another fight.”

Leon mentioned, “Well, we will be visiting our children, regularly, on that mexican island. So, that will be the perfect excuse for them to see each other.”

Sylia replied, “True.”

Mackie suggested, “But, that is for later. We need to get out of here, before Hotel Moscow changes their minds about letting us go.”

Sylia looked over at her sister, as she agreed, “Good point.” She turned back to look at Revy and Priss, whom were several meters away from her, and the other Knight Sabers.

Sylia turned on her speakers, as she looked over at Priss and Revy. She questioned, in english, “I guess the matter is settled? For now?”

Revy and Priss turned to face Sylia. Revy commented, “Yea. I'm good.”

Priss replied, “So am I.”

Sylia replied, “Good.” She then set her private channel to include Priss, as she asked, in japanese, “Priss. We are going to leave in a minute. Is your reality device still working?”

Priss replied, over the Knight Sabers' private channel, in japanese, “Actually, everything on my suit reads green. So, I am ready to go.”

Sylia stated, “Okay. But, I want you to teleport with us. Just in case.”

Priss replied, “Fine.” She then looked over at Revy, as she said, in english, “It was fun.”

Revy stated, “We will do this some time, again.”

Priss suggested, “Yea. I admit that you have some real moves there. That were you were unable to display at your gym. Next time, we will make it an official bout, with plenty of room. But, no weapons, or hardsuits.”

Revy responded, “I could go along with that. And I will look forward to seeing you again.”

Priss said, “Same here. See you, later.”

Revy replied, “Bye.”

Priss then walked over to join her teammates.

As Priss reached her friends, Leon complimented, “You did good out there, Priss.”

Daley stated, “Yea. You held you own. And it could have been a toss up, all the way to the end.”

Priss look over at Leon and Daley, as she said, with happiness in her tone of voice, in japanese, “Thanks guys.”

Sylia looked up, and around the room, as she turned on her speaker. She inquired, in english, “Rock? Balalaika? Is there anything else?”

Balalaika looked down at her, as she replied, “No”

Rock looked down at Sylia, as she calmly said, “Have a safe trip.”

Sylia responded, “Thank you. And I hold no hard feelings about this.”

Sylia turned back to look at her team, as she set her communications channel to contact Linna, and Nene, in japanese, “Linna. Nene. We are leaving. Stop what you are doing and return to our rendezvous destination, At the proper time and date.”

Over the private channel, Nene replied, in japanese, “On it.”

On the channel, Linna said, in japanese, “Roger. But, I will be a moment.”

Sylia replied, “That will be fine.”

Sylia set her channel to be for all of her team to listen, as she stated, “Okay. Everyone. Head to our rendezvous destination. From there, we will jump home.” She thought, 'Since I make sure none of us left any important in our quarters here. I believe there will not be a problem of us not coming back here.'

As the other Knight Sabers began to teleport away, Kate looked up at Sawyer, as she turn on her speakers. She complimented, in english, “Sawyer. I almost forget to tell you. Your chainsaw goes well with your hardsuit.”

Sawyer looked down at Kate, as she replied, “Thank you, Kate.”

Kate said, “You're welcome.” She then reality jumped, as well.

Then, all the Knight Sabers were gone from the room.

Revy used her jumpjets to fly over on top of the same crate that Rock and Sawyer were standing on.

After Revy landed, she turned towards Rock and Sawyer, as Rock and Sawyer looked at her.

Rock complimented, “Revy, you did great in that fight.”

Sawyer said, “You did very well, down there.”

Revy happily responded, “Thank you. It is always nice to get the chance to kick someone's ass.”

(_)

Across the center clearing, Balalaika looked at Revy, Rock, and Sawyer, as she thought, 'I will wait a minute for the other two Knight Sabers to leave. Then, I will contact the Lowe family, to confirm they are gone. And I will ask what they want us to do next.'

(_)

Inside the main data hub that where Motoko and Nene were, Nene unplugged the wires that connecting her hardsuit to a nearby computer tower. As soon as the wires retracted back into her right gauntlet, she turned to Motoko, whom was still sitting in her data chair, connected to the computer.

Nene said, “Motoko. I apologized. But, I have to leave. Sylia is ordering us to leave.”

Though the speakers in the room, with her electronic voice, Motoko replied, “I understand.”

Nene responded, “I don't mean to leave you in the middle of battle. But, orders are orders. If your life was in danger. I would be helping you escape, right now. But, that is not the case.”

Motoko said, “I realize that. And I know a losing battle when I see one. I will be leaving soon, as well.”

Nene commented, “Thank you for being understanding. Though, are we still on for that LAN party, Friday night?”

Motoko happily replied, “I won't miss it.”

Nene said, “Good. See you there.” She then reality jumped.

With Nene gone, Motoko thought, 'Now, to talk to one of my least favorite people. And I believe she feels the same way about me.'

Motoko contacted Ed, via text, through cyberspace. Her english text stated, “Ed. I need to speak to you.”

Ed asked, in cyberspace, by english text, “What do you want, Motoko?”

Motoko answered, by text, “Nene just left. It seems the Knight Sabers are bailing.”

Ed replied, by text, “I know.”

Motoko said, by text, “I am leaving, as well. Though, this does not count as a forfeit. We will have a true rematch, someday in the future.”

Ed stated, by text, “I will accept that. We will do a more official match. Just between the two of us, later.”

Motoko commented, by text, “I can live with that.”

Ed replied, by text, “Good.”

Motoko then logged out of cyberspace on the computer networks. Next, she disconnected herself from the data chair was in. What the other did not know was that Motoko has a take a few precautions as well, when facing the Lowe family.

Along with having software defenses, installed in her cyberbrain, Motoko wore dummy plug around the back of her neck. The dummy plug was a go-between, with one side of it plugging into the four plugs in the back of her neck, directly into her cyberbrain. The other side of the dummy plug plugged into the data chair.

This dummy plug was designed so that if there was attack on Motoko's cyberbrain, it would damage, or destroy the plug, and not her brain. Such devices has saved her life on multiple occasions. And it was a nice precaution to take.

With the dummy plug disconnect from the data chair, Motoko leaned up, and stood from her chair.

She then walked away from her workstation, as she used her hands to pull the wire from the dummy plug, out of the back of her neck. When she was done, she held the dummy plug in her right hand, while she had her hands to her side.

A second later, Motoko came to a stop. She then used the reality device she had installed in her cybernetic body to reality teleport back to her home, in her proper her home reality, city, and time.

(_)

Elsewhere in the ship, inside a secondary data hub, Ed, Lewis, and Stan, sat beside each other, as they worked on their laptops.

As they did so, Ed happily stated, “Motoko and Nene just left. We will have control of this spacestation's computers, within five minutes.”

Nearby, Lori and Linna were standing next to each other. They were having a pleasant conversation, when they heard what Ed had said.

Lori and Linna turned to Ed. Lori commented, “That is interesting.” She turned back to Linna, as she inquired, “Linna, why did Nene leave?”

Linna turned to Lori, as she answered, in a slightly sad tone of voice, in english, “I was just about to tell you. Sylia has ordered all of us Knight Sabers to pull out. Though, I wish I had more time to talk to all of you. And I wish it was under better circumstances.”

Lori calmly pointed out, “It is okay. I am sure we will see each other, sooner, rather than later.”

Linna agreed, in a slightly happier tone of voice, “True. We will be visiting your diner. And seeing where some of my daughters now work.”

Lori stated, “And we look forward to having you over.”

Ed, Stan, Lewis, noticed the comments between Lori and Linna. With Motoko and Nene gone. They could afford to stop for a moment, and look up at Lori and Linna.

Lewis said, “Have a safe trip.”

Linna turned to Lewis, as she replied, “Thank you.”

Stan said, “See you, later.”

Linna looked at Stan, as she commented, “Do not worry. As Lori pointed out. We will see each other soon enough. Maybe, we will come by the diner, and have something to eat. In a week, or two, for you.”

Stan replied, “That sounds nice.”

Ed stated, “Sorry to say this, Linna. But, you will have to get a rain check on that. While our family, and friends. Including your daughters. Are fine. The front part of our dinner was trashed. And it is going to take some time to get repairs.”

Linna turned to Ed, as she polite responded, “Then, we will have to do something else, when we come visit our daughters, and you. Either way, see you, later.”

Linna walked away from the Lowe family.

A few seconds later, Linna came to a stop. And she turned around to a face the Lowe family. She held up her right hand, as she did a little wave, while she said, “Goodbye.”

Then used Linna reality device to reality jump to rendezvous destination for the Knight Sabers, at the proper reality, place, and time.

Lewis realized something Linna had said. He questioned, “Did she just say, we?”

Lori looked a her family, as she answered, “Yes, son. It looks like you are going to get the chance to meet your girlfriends entire family.”

Lewis gulped at the thought of meeting so many dangerous women at once, whom he did not personally know. But, whom would have an interest in him, due to him dating a member of their family.

The rest of the Lowe family giggled a little at Lewis' reaction, for a few seconds.

As they calmed down, Stan turned to his younger brother, as he said, in a supportive tone of voice, “Don't worry, Lewis. It won't be that bad.”

By then, Lewis had calmed down some. He turned to Stan, as he agreed, “I am sure that will be the case.”

Ed turned to her two sons, as she mentioned, “Plus, you have us, and Rico, to protect you. You will be fine.”

Lewis looked at his mother, as he said, “Thanks, mom.”

Ed commented, “Now, boys. Let's take control of this ship, and the remote controlled fleet outside. Also, check for any boobytraps, deadman switches, and self-destruct devices this ship might have. If so, we shut them down. I do not want any surprises.”

As Ed, Lewis, and Stan, then turned back to their laptops, Stan replied, “On it.”

Lewis said, “Looking, right now.”

The mother and two son went back to work on taking control of the spacestation's computer networks. And with no one left guarding the computer networks, the Lowe family would accomplish this task fairly quickly.

Meanwhile Lori turned back, to look at the door to the room. She still had her revolver in her right hand, as she when back to standing guard for her family.

(_)

In the warehouse where Rock, Revy, Sawyer, and the members of Hotel Moscow were. On top of the crate she was at, Balalaika felt she had waiting long enough to contact the Lowe family. She thought of contacting all the members of the Lowe family, with her ear piece.

Balalaika stated, “Lowe family. I need to confirm that all of the Knight Sabers have left this ship.”

Lewis responded, “Yes. They have left all left the ship.”

Balalaika though, 'Good. Our mission is complete without any of my women being harmed.' She inquired, “Good. Is there anything else do you want us to do? Or, should we leave?”

Lewis stated, “Nothing at the moment. But, we would like you to stick around, in case we need you to handle something.”

Balalaika thought, 'Given the situation, that is a reasonable request.' She said, “I understand. Contact us if the situation changes.”

Lewis replied, “We will.”

Balalaika then cut their communication channel. She looked around, at her subordinates, as she stated, “We are staying here for a little while longer. But, do not get to comfortable. We maybe be needed elsewhere, in a little while.”

“Still, while we have the time. Fold up the tarps. Collect our shells, bullets, and other items. And let us get back down to the floor. So, we can collect anything we have done there, as well. I do not want any any evidence of us ever being here, to be left behind.”

Balalaika subordinates then folded up their tarps, and collected the ammo shells that were still on top of the crates, by them.

Rock, Revy, and Sawyer, had heard Balalaika’s orders as well. And they collected and folded the tarps they had used.

A few minutes later, after they were done, everyone, including, Revy, Rock, and Sawyer, started to make to carefully make their way down to floor below them. Which was forty-five feet beneath them.

When everyone was safely on the floor, the members of Hotel Moscow began searching for other ammo shells, and bullets. Mostly from below the crates they had fired from, and around the two destroyed Typhoon II motoslaves.

Meanwhile, Revy, Rock, and Sawyer just casually talked with each other, as a way to pass the time.

(_)

In the cargo room, where the ship, the Black Pearl was located, Shenhua and Barbossa has been battled on the deck of the ship.

Shenhua fought with her two kukris long knives, against Barbossa's longer cutlass sword. Shenhua style was two hands, while Barbossa mainly just relied on his right hand to use his sword. Though, Barbossa did occasionally used his left hand, as a fist, when Shenhua had tried to catch Barbossa's sword, in a scissors attack with the blades of her long knives.

The battle has been long, vicious, and brutal. While neither has been able to deal any serious injuries. They used a few kicks, and punches, during their fight, which left them with bruises and minor cuts on their bodies, and clothing.

Shenhua had a nasty bruise the lower right side of her jaw. Though, her jaw was not broken.

Meanwhile, Barbossa had a cut running down his right cheek, right beside his right eye.

Also, unlike in the runabout shuttle, there was no shaking, nor a tight spaces, that Barbossa could use to his advantage. Though, this in this battle, this did not deter Barbossa in the least. For unlike their previous battles, Barbossa was finally showing skilled his balance and footwork, in moving around, was. With him moving around almost as often as Shenhua.

And so this battle has become an intense, dance of death for the both of them.

Both Shenhua and Barbossa were had been giving it all in this battle. Pushing themselves to their limits, while displaying their strengths, skills, and experience, to the other.

Worst of all, neither opponent had let up another to allow the other to attempt to use any other another weapon, than the ones in their hands. Nor, would their opponent allow the other to attempt to gain some distance on their opponent.

Shenhua also did not dare try to throw her kukris knives at Barbossa, with the cords attached. Because she knew that even in his advanced age, Barbossa was good enough to sidestep the attack, and cut the cords to her weapons, preventing her from retrieving them, and leaving her defenseless.

During the battle, Shenhua had once tried to jump back. Though, as Shenhua pushed herself into the air, Barbossa swiftly stepping forward, used his left hand to grab Shenhua's right ankle, and throw her down onto her back, on the deck, right in front of him.

The battle would have ended there, if not that Shenhua still had her long knives in her hands. As she was careful not to harm herself with her weapons, With her swords in her hands she quickly used her hands vault upwards, in a back flip. With her feet coming up in a kick, that forced Barbossa to stand back, to avoid the blow.

Shenhua then a full backflip, onto her feet. And she still up fully straight, with her knives at the ready, just as Barbossa reached her. With the two of them continued their battle.

Also, both of them were careful not to allow themselves to be cornered by the railings or walls, surrounding the deck of the Black Pearl, from which they were on.

And except for the occasional insult to each other, they allowed their swordsmanship skills to do the talk for them.

As they fought, Shenhua thought, 'Why isn't he dead yet, from exhaustion, yet. Even I am starting to physically tire from this fight. I know Barbossa is stubborn. I know. He is where I get my stubbornness from. But, is he planning on dying on his feet?... Well, he is the type to try that. Still, I need to end this. And I know just how.'

Shenhua then started attacking Barbossa, with both her long knives, in a much quicker manner.

Barbossa stated, in an insulting manner, “Getting desperate, my dear. That is a mistake on your part.”

Shenhua did not verbally respond, and instead she increased the speed of her attacks.

And to Shenhua surprise, Barbossa was able to match her speed.

Shenhua became faster, and so did Barbossa. And the speed of their attacks continued to increase. Becoming faster and faster. With neither combatant moving from where the stood. And as the two combatants stood against each other, their strikes, counterattacks, parries, and dodges, started to become a blur. With neither of them giving any ground to the other.

This continued for several seconds. Until suddenly, the battle stop, as they both realize whom the victor was, at the same time.

Shenhua was graciously enough to lower her knifes, to her sides, in defeat. For she knew she lost, due to Barbossa holding the blade of his sword, to the right side of her throat.

While the blade had yet to cut Shenhua's throat, she still felt it resting against her skin.

And though Shenhua did not show it on the outside, she was mentally berated herself, 'How the hell could he be that fast?... No. He just has experience over me. He has likely fought like this before. While I have not. And I have lost to him, again. For a third time. And this is the third time he had held his sword to my throat. Three strikes. Three chances. And I guess. As they say. I am out.'

Then, the unexpected happened. Barbossa moved his sword away from Shenhua neck. He then sheathed his weapon, into its scabbard, on the left side of his belt.

Shenhua did not press her sudden advantage, due to her being more confused by this turned of events, than anything else. She thought, 'Before I kill him. I have to know why.' She asked, “Why?”

Barbossa looked Shenhua, in her eyes. He smirked, as he responded, “Because I never intended to kill you. I consider this a young man's game. And I am quite old. And I just had a heart attack.”

Shenhua thought, 'I guess I was right. He is intending to die on his feet. And had has no reason to lie. If he was lying, he would not have sheathed his sword, and leave himself completely defenseless. As such. There is no point in killing him. He will be dead soon enough. Still, I have to make sure.' She inquired, “Are you sure you are dying?”

Barbossa answered, “After you have died a few times, you know what is feels like. I have come back and forth from death so many times that the dear ferryman and I are on speaking terms. And I not talking about Davy Jones. Nor, I am not talking about Will Turner Junior. And if you are wondering. Young Will did escape that curse. Years ago. Due to Elizabeth's faithfulness towards him.”

“Ah, dear sweet Elizabeth may have been the only celibate pirate king... Well, queen to ever sail the seas. And their son grew to be a fine pirate in his own right...”

Barbossa continued, in a slightly more tired tone of voice, “Still, I wish to go home... I think it is time for me to go home.”

Shenhua realized, as she stated, “You set this all up. Meeting Revy and I. Training me. This fight. Your death. You knew a fight like this would be too much for your body.”

Barbossa said, “Aye.”

Shenhua sheathed her weapons in the scabbards on the interior sides of her white coat, as she thought, 'I won't be needing these. When answers are more important than vengeance.'

After Shenhua was finished putting away her weapons, she asked, “Why?”

Barbossa explained, “Jack isn't the only want who can arrange his own death. I am a pirate. Dying on a bed has no appeal to me. But, dying in battle. That is glorious. I have done it a few times. It does not stop being glorious. All I wanted was to see how things worked out. And offer a few pointers to you. My future self.”

“I now have my answers, and I am happy with them. All that was left, was coming up with the exit. I only joined Gomez because it was the only way I could figure, with the time I had left, to goad you into fighting me.”

Shenhua responded, “In a twisted way, I can understand what you had in mind. And why you did it. Though, if you were planning on dying, why did you bring back the Black Pearl?”

Barbossa grinned, as he answered, “Your inheritance, my dear. I am getting the Pearl back. One way, or the other. It just will not be in my lifetime.”

Shenhua said, “I admire you dedication to your goals. And thanks. Still, I will think about it.”

Barbossa said, “Take all the time you need, my dear. This ship is not going anywhere. And when you decide, you can come back here to claim it, five minutes after you left here.”

Shenhua inquired, “True. Still, I am surprised you did not want me to kill you?”

Barbossa answered, “No. I did not want you to kill me. Nor, did I want to kill you. I just wanted to make sure that you still had the edge that I had. And you do. Now, it is time for me to leave, and go home. Before I accidentally die here. I have new reality device that works fine. But, I believe that you probably have one that is better. As one pirate to another, will you help me walk my final march?”

Shenhua sadly smiled, as she answered, “Sure.”

Barbossa returned Shenhua's smile, as he requested, “Thank you. Could you please lend me your reality device.”

Shenhua pulled out her reality device, and handed it to Barbossa, as she took a step closer, to stand beside him.

Barbossa gently took Shenhua's reality device into his hands. He then looked at the device's numerical pad.

A few seconds later, Barbossa thought of where and when he wanted to go, and he pressed the red button on the device.

The next thing Shenhua knew, they were on a tropical beach somewhere, during a nice, sunny, warm day, with a small shack near them.

Shenhua asked, “Where are we? When are we?”

Barbossa answered, “We are in our home reality. About a year after I left. At a location that only I know of. Though, this island is off the northeastern coast of South America. I figure I got a few minutes left before I die. So, I am going to do something that I have wanted for years.”

Shenhua said, “I am not sleeping with you. It would be wrong on so many levels.”

Barbossa turned and started walking to the shack, as he said, “Not that. You may not be aware of this, but all but destroyed my liver years ago from heavy drinking. And even when I had my liver fixed. I dared not drink to heavily, on the dark nectar we pirates are so fond of. Now, that I am dying, I can finally drown myself in the rum that I have longed and desired, for so long.”

Barbossa then walked over, and into the shack. Less than a minute later, Barbossa walked out with two sealed, dark bottles. One in each hand.

He then walked to a nearby palm tree, on the beach, just to the left of the shack.

He sat down, on the sand, while leaning against the palm tree that offered him shade from the sun.

He then offer Shenhua a bottle, in his right hand.

Shenhua walked over to Barbossa, and took the bottle was offer, with her right hand, as she sat down beside him. To Barbossa's right.

Both of them opened their bottles, and took a drink from the rum inside.

After one swallow, Shenhua commented, “This stuff is better than Bacardi black label.”

Barbossa let out a laugh. He smiled wickedly, as he commented, “Of course it is. Rum of your time is nothing but piss when compared to rum of my time.”

Shenhua giggled, as she thought, 'And Revy considers the beer of our time, to be piss to the rum of our time. I guess it is all in the eye of the beholder.'

Barbossa took a moment to look around, as he continued, “While I won't die in battle. This time. This is still a good way for a pirate to die. Sitting under a palm tree, by a beach, during a sunny day, drinking good rum, while having a beautiful woman beside him. It is not glorious. But, it is a nice way to die.”

Both of them continued drink their bottles of rum for a minute, in silence, with the only sound being the breaking of the nearby waves, and the sea-breeze. As they just sat there, they looked at the clear, teal colored water in front of them.

Shenhua turned to look at Barbossa, as she commented, “I will miss you, Barbossa.” She then turned back to look at the water.

Barbossa looked over at Shenhua. He then looked back at the water in front of him, as he calmly stated, “If you ever miss me, just look in the mirror, and remind yourself that you have the same soul as me. If I do not die now, you would not exist as you are. And do not feel guilty about this. Remember, I set this all up.”

Barbossa set his bottle of rum on the sand. He then used his right hand to pulled out a bag from his coat, and set it on the sand between them. Next, he pulled out his magic compass, setting the compass by the bag.

Barbossa stated, “I am not asking you to bury me. Just leave me here like this. Though, please take my belongings and weapons. Such as the dobla coins in this bag. And the magic compass. They should be yours anyway, since you are who I will be.”

Shenhua looked down at the bag of coins and Barbossa's magic compass. She commented, “This is still so weird.”

Barbossa chuckled a little. He then said, “Nay. Turning into a walking skeleton when exposed to the moonlight is weird. This is just mildly amusing.”

Barbossa then picked up his bottle of rum. With the two of them then turned to look at the small teal and white waves, of water, break on the sandy shore.

They then sat in silence, for another minute drinking in silence, as they drank their rum.

Barbossa inquired, “Still, I have just one question for you. I know some of your history. So, how did you end up deciding to work for Chang? In the first place?”

Shenhua answered, “He treated me with respect.”

Barbossa complimented, “Now, that is how a pirate handles their affairs.” He then sat his empty bottle of rum on the sand.

Shenhua continued looked in front of her, as she commented, “You know. You are right. Now that I think about. I have lead a life of a pirate without realizing it. Something I am sure you are proud of me for doing.”

There was still silence for a few seconds. She looked to her left, over at the old pirate, as she asked, “Barbossa?”

Shenhua then saw that Barbossa's head had slumped down, and he eyes were closed.

She set down her bottle of rum. And she turned to Barbossa. She reached over with her right hand, and she used her right index and middle finger to check his pulse on the side of right side of his neck. There was no pulse.

Shenhua lowers her right hand from the right side of Barbossa's throat.

Shenhua sadly said, “And so closes the strangest chapter of our existence.”

Shenhua mentally lament, 'I do not feel like I want to fight anymore, today. I think I will head back to the hotel, and be with Lotton. And we will retrieve our my children, from Hotel Moscow, so we can be with them. I will wait for Sawyer, there. I am sure she will return, alright.'

Shenhua then collected her reality device, Barbossa's reality device, Barbossa's semi-automatic pistol with holster, cutlass with scabbard, gunbelt, magic compass, and his bag of spanish dobla gold coins.

Next, Shenhua took Barbossa's black pirate hat off his head, and laid it over his face.

After which, Shenhua stood up straight, with her new items in a bag she had made with her white jacket. With her bag in her right hand, she then held her reality device in her left hand. And she used her reality device to jump to Lee's reality. To her suite at the Devil's Hotel. At the proper time, which was five minutes after their group had all left for the counterattack against Gomez and his organization.

Once Shenhua was in her suite. She put her new items away, where she could find them. She put back on her jacket. And she left her suite, to head down the hallway, to the front elevator bay. So, she could find Lotton and spend time with her lover, and her friends, for a little while.

(_)

Reality, Black Lagoon anime reality.

Date, over two and a half decades after the Black Lagoon anime series ended.

Place, Lagrangian point three, inside Gomez's office on board the Interzone, Gomez's spacestation.

Time, five minutes after Pedro and Matthew left that reality.

Inside Gomez's office, the fight between Gomez, against Roberta and Hernan, had been evenly matched between the two sides.

All three of them were professionals in the areas of combat. With none of them talking, as they fought.

And while the fight had not be vicious, with neither side able to land a serious blow on the others, the hand to hand conflict had been intense and enduring. With all three of the combatants knowing that a single mistake could be fatal.

At this point in the fight, the only reason that Gomez's office was not a mess, was that there had not been much in the room to begin with. Though, Gomez's chair, desk, and lamp, which had all been in the middle of the room, had been destroyed.

During part of their fight, they had made it the middle of the room, where those items were.

Hernan was the first to pick up the lamp and throw it as Gomez. Gomez ducked the lamp. And the item shattered, as it hit the ground.

In responded, Gomez had picked up his desk, and tried to bring it down on Roberta and Hernan. But, both them had jumped out of the way. Roberta landed to Gomez's left side, While Hernan landed to Gomez right side. With the desk being destroyed on impact, in front of Gomez.

Then, given the desk chair was between Roberta and Gomez, she was able to pick up chair, and shatter it against Gomez's left side. But, all that attack did was cause Gomez to grunt for a second. With him showing no real signs of injury.

Gomez then back away, as Roberta and Hernan pressed their attack. Though, their brief advantage over Gomez did not amount to much.

Though, at the time, Gomez was more concerned with staying alive, than having some of his personal property destroy. Of which, he could easily replace.

And after the attack with the chair, Hernan and Roberta realized that Gomez was tougher than they had original expected.

As they continued to fight, they found that they were having trouble actually harming Gomez through his tough hide. At one point, Roberta had decided to try using one of her semi-automatic pistols on Gomez.

Roberta had waited until she had the opportunity to jump back. Which she did. She then used her right hand to pull out one of her forty-five semi-automatic pistols.

Hernan noticed this, as he jumped out of the way of the line of fire, between Roberta and Gomez.

Roberta fired a single shot at Gomez, right between his eyes. And even though it was an armor-piercing round, the bullet just flattened against the top of Gomez's nose.

The shot did not even daze Gomez. And as the bullet dropped to the floor, all the bullet left was a slight red mark on Gomez's head.

All the shot did was destroy the nose bridge of the sunglasses Gomez wore, causing the glasses to drop to the floor. And for Roberta and Hernan to see the hard gaze in Gomez's eyes, that he had towards them.

At that point, it became clear to Roberta and Hernan, that while a fifty caliber around, or forty millimeter grenade could likely hurt Gomez. Nothing less powerful would.

Though, neither of the two former FARC members had cursed at their luck. Instead, Roberta holstered her weapon. With her and Hernan rushing back at Gomez, as they continued their fight with Gomez.

On the other hand, Gomez could could not use his full speed and strength to their fullest, because he was fighting two expert killers, at once. This caused him to divide his attention, and forced him to mostly stay on the defensive. With Roberta and Hernan trying their best to avoid Gomez's strikes, as they fought him.

Still, with Gomez's attention being divided, his blows were weaker than the strength he normally punch at. But, his blows were still above a human at Olympic level strength.

Unfortunately, for Gomez, both Roberta and Hernan had been trained, and toughened enough to handle a glancing strike from such blows in stride.

Meanwhile, as Roberta and Hernan stuck out with punches and kicks of their own, against Gomez, they had also tried to get a grip on Gomez's neck, or other joints, to snap them. But, they found that Gomez was too fast, and too strong, to let them achieve a proper grip. Nor, did Gomez allow either of them to get behind him. He always made sure to be facing both of them, during the fight, as they moved around the room.

A few times, during the fight, either Hernan, or Roberta, had tried to rush towards one of their XM Five Hundred-RG Six weapons. While the other kept Gomez busy. But, this did not work, as Gomez was able to head them off, by jumping across the room, and landing between them and their weapons. Though, when this happened, Roberta and Hernan just charged back at Gomez, and resumed their fight.

As they fought, Gomez mentally reflected, 'There has been way too many close calls for me, in this fight. It is clear that the Xanatos family is not going to show up. And at this rate I am going to lose, and be killed. I am going to have to handle this on my own. It is time to get serious, and break up this team, which I am fighting. And Hernan is the more vulnerable to this attack.'

After a few more traded blows, blocks, dodges, sidesteps, between all of them, Gomez decided to put his plan in action.

As Hernan threw a punch with his left hand, Gomez swiftly used his right hand to catch Hernan's left hand. Gomez then crushed Hernan's left hand, to the point he drew blood.

Hernan could not help but scream in pain.

As Gomez let go of Hernan's left hand, Hernan began to collapse towards the floor, in pain. With Hernan using his right hand to grip his left wrist, with blood coming out of his left hand.

Though, Gomez did not sneer, nor make a snide comment. He was too professional to do so. Instead, he maintained his stoic face, as he remained silent, while he attempted to press his attack.

Fortunately, for Hernan, Roberta saw what had happened, and she immediately took action, before Gomez could do any more harm to either of them. She quickly turned to stand behind Hernan. She then wrapped her arms around Hernan chest, under Hernan's armpits.

After which, Roberta jumped away from Gomez, to land about thirty yards away from Gomez.

Roberta quickly turned, and set Hernan, upright, on his butt, in a manner that allow him to face Gomez. She then swiftly rushed around to face Hernan, to his left side, while she watched Gomez with the corner of her left eye.

Roberta saw that Gomez had decided not to come at them, as he watched what happening between the two of them.

Roberta began to pulled out a rolled of cloth, she kept in a pocket. As she swiftly unrolled the cloth, she asked, in spanish, with a serious tone in her voice, “Hernan? Are you still with me?”

Hernan grunted, with pain lacing his voice, in spanish, “Yea. Just tie it off. Not too tight. We don't have time for anything else.”

By then, Roberta had unfurled the cloth, as she replied, “Working on it.”

While she reached over to Hernan left forearm, and hand, Hernan moved his right hand way, and Roberta got a good look at the wound that Gomez had inflicted on Hernan.

Roberta used the cloth in her hand to tie a tourniquet around Hernan's left wrist, to slow the circulation, to slow down the bleeding, to droplets. But, she was careful not to cut off the circulation completely.

Roberta thought, with concerned, 'His left hand is a mess. I am not sure it can be saved. Not that I am going to tell him that, right now. But fortunately, as long as he doesn't allow himself to go into shock, he will live... That is if I can beat Gomez on my own. I am not sure I can. And if I use my reality device for us to escape, and get Hernan help. Our family is as good as dead. And he will come after us with everything he has. We have to finish this now.'

By then, Roberta had finished the knot to the tourniquet, and she saw that the bleeding had slowed to only a few drops every second.

Roberta let go of the cloth, as she noticed, from the corner of her left eye, that Gomez had moved from where he stood. Though, she saw that Gomez was looking at them.

Roberta thought, 'So, Gomez is taking the wounded man tactic. Hurt one us, to slow us both down.'

'But, he clearly has not followed us. That is possibly because I am partly between his field of vision, and Hernan. And he likely does not know how bad Hernan is hurt. So, he thinks this might be a trap. And that if he rushes us, I might move out of the way, at the last second, as Hernan pulled his pistol, or a knife, on him.'

'That would be a fatal mistake, and Gomez clearly knows this.'

'And that is a fair guess, on his part. Even if is it incorrect. I would have made the same guess, in his position. He is going to wait where he is, and let us make the first move, to return to this fight.'

'Though, when I move out of the way of Hernan, to attack him. This will allow Gomez to see how bad Hernan is hurt. Allowing him to adjust his tactics, accordingly. This man is good. Maybe not as good as us, in skill. But, he is damn close. And his strength and speed can more than bridge the gap between us.'

'Also, he has not called for help, because against us. Any help would prove a distraction that might randomly tip the balance of this battle, one way, or another. And this man is clearly all about calculating moves.'

'Still the important question is...'

Roberta divided her attention between Hernan, and Gomez, as she asked faced, “Can you still fight?”

Hernan looked up at Roberta's face, as he worked passed the pain. He held up his left arm across his chest, as he said, “Yes. I just need a minute to catch my breath.”

Roberta flatly said, “I will give you that minute.” She mentally added, 'By taking this fight up a notch. Let's see how good those lessons I took from Shenhua, pay off.'

Roberta then turned back towards Gomez. She then jumped back over, at Gomez, as she unsheathed her two combat knives, from their scabbards, on her gunbelt, with her hands.

From the look on Gomez's face, Roberta mentally guessed, 'He is expecting me to try something. And he is right.'

As Roberta landed right in front of Gomez, she and Gomez swiftly began to fight again. Only this time, Gomez was fighting on one opponent, whom he could focus his sole attention, and strength, on.

Though, given Roberta had pulled out a couple of combat knives, which made her several times more dangerous to Gomez.

Both of them then started fighting more swiftly. With Gomez using his reflexes to dodge Roberta's knife attacks, while throwing a few punches, as well.

While, Roberta using her enhanced reflexes to dodge Gomez's swift, though powerful blows, as she tried to hit him with the blades of her combat knives.

As the fight continued, Gomez bitterly thought, 'I will give her this. She is good. And I wanted to take this up a notch. Looks like she did the same thing. And even though I can shrug off bullets. Bullets are very dull. While knives are very sharp, and can cut. And in her hands, I am sure she could kill me with one of those knives.'

Roberta thought,' This is going to be harder than I thought. He is clearly better at fighting one on one. And his blows are stronger, and more focus, as well. I don't know if I could take a full blow from him, now. Though, he is avoiding my strikes. Which means that while bullets don't bother him. He can still be cut with a knife. And he knows it. And I realize that this is going to end more quickly than either of previously assumed.'

(_)

Meanwhile, thirty yards away, as Hernan got to his feet, he kept his left arm across his chest, as he gently held his left arm with his right hand.

Hernan stood up straight, as he silently watched the fight between the man they had come to kill, and the woman he considered to be his sister.

And Hernan could just barely keep up with their movements.

By then, Hernan had gained second wind, as he thought, 'I guess my adrenaline kicked in. And while I have not lost a lot of blood. The pain is going to drag me down soon. So, I don't have long. And Roberta cannot keep that speed up forever.'

He then noticed one of their rifles were about twenty feet to his right. He turned back to the fight, as he thought, 'No. They are too fast. And I am just as likely to hit Roberta, as Gomez. Though, this guy has got to have weakness. I still think the neck snap is our best option. But, how?... That could work. And I remember how to do that move.'

Hernan then charged at the two fighters.

As Hernan ran for them, he yelled, in spanish, “Roberta! Tackle and pen him to the ground.”

Roberta heard Hernan. She immediately dropped her knives, and jumped on top of him, pushing him onto his back, on the floor, with her on top of his stomach.

Roberta then used all her strength, to grab hold of Gomez's arms, and it became a contest of strengthen, which Roberta knew she was going to lose.

Roberta didn't bother to look at Hernan, as she shouted, in spanish, “Whatever you are going to do! Do it now!”

By then, Hernan had reach them. He then jumped and landed his body, on his back, by the right side of Gomez's head, with Hernan's legs on top of Gomez's.

Gomez immediately realized what Hernan was attempting to do. He fought Roberta more, but he as out of time, as Hernan swiftly use legs to rap around Gomez' head. Then, with a quick twist of Hernan's leg's Gomez's neck snapped, and his body went limp.

Both Hernan and Roberta stayed in their positions for a few seconds. Hernan then asked, “Do you think he is dead?”

Roberta answered, “I don't hear a heartbeat, and I have very sharp hearing.”

Hernan replied, “That is good enough for me.” He then unwrapped his legs from Gomez, and stood up, only using his knees and feet.

Roberta stood up, as well. She first collected her combat knives, and sheathed them, in the scabbards on her belt.

Both of them then walked in different directions.

Hernan walked about twenty feet away from Gomez, he then carefully sat down, while keeping both the front doors and Gomez, in his field of vision.

Hernan also saw Roberta walk over to the nearest of their two rifles. With each rifle having an underbarrel grenade launcher.

Roberta picked it up the weapon, and walked back over to Gomez.

As Roberta came to a stop in front of Gomez, Hernan watched as Roberta brought up her rifle, with both hands. With her right hand over the butt and trigger section of the weapon, and her left hand gripping the grip of the grenade launcher, below the fore-end of the rifle.

While Roberta did this, she kept her trigger fingers on the trigger guards, of the two triggers of her weapon.

Roberta then tucked the butt of the weapon against the front of her right shoulder. Next, she took aim and fired two shoots into Gomez's head, which left the blond man's head nothing more than paste. While also burying the bullets into the floor, with no ricochets.

Roberta kept her weapon pointed downward, as she turned to Hernan. She said, “I had to be sure.”

Hernan replied, “I fully support your action.”

Roberta requested, “Give me a minute to collect our things.”

Hernan stated, “Sure. I'm not going anywhere”

Roberta walked over and gently set the rifle down five feet in front of Hernan, with the barrels facing to Hernan's left side. With the top of the rifle facing him, and the right side of the rifle facing upward.

Roberta then made her way back to Gomez's body, where she collected, and pocketed the two shells that were by Gomez's body, which she had just fired.

After which, headed over the front doors. Where she picked up and pocketed the two shells they had fired at the beginning of the fight.

On her way back to Hernan, she walked over and picked up the other rifle with an underbarrel grenade launcher.

When she reached Hernan, she gently set the rifle in her hands, in front of Hernan, across from the other rifle that was already there, with the barrels facing to Hernan's left.

Roberta then walked over the rifles, to Hernan's right side, where she sat down beside him. With her facing the front doors, as well.

As Roberta got comfortable, she casually said, “I have a question?”

Though, Hernan was in a lot of pain, Hernan calmly asked, “What?”

Roberta questioned, “Do you think Gomez may have wired this place to explode if he was killed?”

Hernan deadpanned, “Now, you ask?”

Roberta sheepishly said, “Yes.”

Hernan responded, “I doubt it. And he doesn't strike me as being that vain and wasteful.”

Hernan thought, 'If he hadn't gone after my family, and my town. I would have left him be.'

Hernan continued, “Besides, the Lowe family would likely find and stop any such countdown, and disarm the self-destruct device.”

Roberta complimented, “Good point.”

Hernan left out a breath. He then inquired, “So, can my left hand be saved?”

Roberta thought, 'I might as well tell him the truth. I don't want to lie to him.'

Roberta stated, “I already got a good looked at your left hand, with my cybernetic eye. And the answer is, no.”

“The bones in your left hand are shattered. With pieces of those bones acting like shrapnel to the muscles in that hand. The tendons are severed in most of the joints. Or, where the joints use to be. The nervous system and circulatory system in your left hand are likely shot. And the skin on your hand is all torn up. You are losing your left hand.”

“Still, with the technology we have access too. It will be no problem replacing your hand with an artificial one, like I have. My artificial left hand works, and feels, just like my original left hand.”

Hernan questioned, “I appreciate that. So, you saw all that with your artificial right eye.

Roberta answered, “Yes. I can use my right eye to look into a lot of things. But, I mostly just use it to see normally. Though, I can use it look into things, see different parts of the light spectrum, longer distances, or closer up, than my normal left eye can do.”

“Though, when I do this while having both eyes open, I get double-vision.”

Hernan replied, “That is interesting.”

Roberta offered, “Do you want to teleport out of here? So, we can get you some medical help. Simon's medical staff is literally only a teleport away.”

Hernan sternly said, “No. I am not leaving without our family. I am sure you feel the same way.”

Roberta replied, “I do.”

Hernan stated, “If I have too. After I rest. I will cut my own left hand off, cauterize the wound. And then search for our family, myself.”

Roberta said, with pride in her tone of voice, “I figured you would say something like that.” She then continued, in a more mischievous tone of voice, “You know. That was a very feminine move you used to kill Gomez with.”

Hernan playfully countered, “You're just jealous that you didn't think of that way kill to him, first.”

Roberta casually admitted, “You're right.”

Hernan asked, “So, I know I am not in great shape. But, how are you?”

Roberta admitted, “In that last bout with Gomez. He tagged me a few times in the chest. I think I have a few cracked ribs. Maybe even a minor break, or two. Here and there. Given the angle my chest is, to my right eye. I cannot check myself. And I will need an x-ray. Though, I think I will be fine. With the super-soldier serum in my body. I should fully recovered in a few days.”

Hernan admitted, “I'm jealous.”

Roberta teased, “Well, if you don't mind being turned into a woman. I can get you some of that serum.”

Hernan replied, “No thanks. My wife would kill you for doing that.”

Roberta let out a laugh. She then slightly winced, as she said, “Ouch. My ribs.”

Hernan requested, “Sorry about that. Still, do you think you could make a sling for me?”

Roberta replied, “Sure.”

Roberta stood up. She then walked closer to Hernan. She leaned down in front of him, as she pulled out another rolled bandage, from one of her pockets.

As Roberta started to unroll the bandage, and make the sling, she inquired, “So, do you want to go after anyone else?”

Hernan ignored the pain of his left hand being moved, as the sling was made. He responded, “Not really. The pain is starting to sap my strength. Still, we got the head guy. And while we are not leaving without our family. I am sure Pedro, Burt, and the rest of our friends here, will save our families. And as to the others. I say let them have their fun.”

Roberta said, “I agree. We will check in with them, in a little while. To see that our family is fine. If they are not rescued by then. I will take care of the matter, myself. Until then, I will stay with you.

Hernan commented, “Sounds like a good plan.”

Roberta replied, “Thanks.” By then, Roberta had finished her sling for Hernan.

Roberta stood straight up, as she asked, “How is that?”

Hernan looked at his bloody left hand, in the sling. He looked up at Roberta, as he commented, “It's fine. Still, I am not looking forward to telling Maria and the children, about this.”

Roberta stated, “Don't worry about it. They will take it in stride.” She then walked over to set down where she had sat before, to Hernan's right side.

Hernan continued to look at Roberta, as she sat back down.

Hernan replied, “I hope you are right.”

Roberta said, “I know I am. Also, I think it is best we contact the Lowe family, to see what is going one with our family.”

Hernan replied, “I agree. Burt and the others might be in a battle, and contacting them might distract them.”

Roberta agreed, “That was my line of thinking, as well. Now, let's do this together.”

Roberta and Hernan then thought of both contacting the Lowe family together, sharing one communication line, with the ear pieces they wore on the back of their right ears.

Roberta thought, 'I am sure that the Lowe family all know spanish.' She stated, in spanish, “Hello. This is Roberta. Gomez is dead. But, Hernan is hurt. We need some information.”

Through the ear pieces, Ed responded, in spanish, “We are aware of your situation Through the camera system, we have been monitoring the fight for a while now.”

Hernan questioned, in spanish, “Then, why did you not send help?”

Ed answered, “Everyone else was busy, or to far away to help you. Sorry.”

Hernan replied, “It is okay.”

Ed inquired, “Do you need medical attention?”

Hernan answered, “I will be fine, for the moment.”

Ed responded, “Glad to hear it. By the way, to answer your question, Roberta. No. This spacestation does not have a self-destruct system. Once we are able to get complete control of the computer system, we found that not to be the case. It seems that Gomez, for all his faults, did not want someone to just be able to flip a switch and destroy this place.”

Roberta thought, 'So, the camera system in this spacestation has microphones attached to them. I am not surprised.'

Roberta said, “That is comforting to know.”

Ed questioned, “I agree. So, what you need?”

Roberta answered, “We need to know the status of our family, and of Fabiola's group?”

Ed stated, “Unfortunately, you family is still locked up. But, they are all in the same cell. And they appear to be fine.”

Both Roberta and Hernan breathed a sigh of relief.

Ed continued, “Also, Fabiola and the others are about to reach the detention section. And from the looks of it, they will face no resistance.”

Hernan replied, “That is good to hear.”

Ed offered, “That they should all be fine. And after they are rescued, I will offer to give them a safe route to your location, that will allow them to avoid any trouble.”

Roberta questioned, “What if trouble runs into them?”

Ed said, “Doubtful. We now have full control of the ship's computers now. We will just lock all the side doors on the path between you and them. Though, we will unlock them after your family and friends have reached you.”

Hernan asked, “How far are they, from us?”

Ed stated, “Surprisingly, not that far. Not counting the elevator rides, they are about a kilometer of walking from you.”

Hernan said, “Interesting. I guess Gomez wanted to be able to have direct access to his prisoners.”

Ed commented, “That seems likely.”

Hernan commented, “Though, I would prefer to have them just to head home. And we will follow them. Also, let us know when they are rescued. And when they have left this reality.”

Ed stated, “I will inform you of when they are rescued, and on which actions they wish to take. But, I will leave the choice of leaving, or coming to you, up to them.”

Hernan thought, 'I am not going to win with battle.' He requested, “Okay. But, do not mention how seriously injured I am to them.”

Ed replied, “Fine. I won't.”

Roberta said, “Thank you, Ed.”

Hernan commented, “Talk to you, later.”

Ed said, “See you.” She then disconnected the communications signal with them.

Roberta turned to look at Hernan, as she calmly said, “Well, I guess we will just have to wait here, and see what happens.”

Hernan looked at Roberta, as he commented, “Waiting can be good. Especially, when one does not feel like going anywhere.”

Roberta could not help but chuckle a little at Hernan's comment. Though, not enough to hurt her ribs.

The two reality counterparts then casually talked to each other about various subjects. They did this mostly to help keep Hernan's mind off his severely injured left hand.

(_)

Just as Hernan and Roberta finished talking to Ed, in the detention area, there were two guards stated behind the large semicircular desk they were both sitting in chair at.

They were both adult human men.

Behind the guards was a long hallway, with doors to detention cells, on both sides of the hallways.

Fortunately, only a few of the cells were occupied.

As the elevator doors opened in front of the guard station, to the guards surprise, three adults with weapons suddenly rushed out of the elevator, and fanned out into the room.

Fabiola was the first to rush out of the elevator, with her shotguns at the read, as she came to a stop in front of the desk.

Burt was second, with his light-fifty caliber rifle. He headed around to his right of the desk.

While Matt was the last one out of the elevator. He had his carbine in his hands, as he headed to his left.

All three of the adults had their weapons aimed at the two guards.

In response, the guards immediately raised their hands, as one of them stated, in english, “Don't shoot.”

Fortunately, the intruders had not shot them, yet.

The elevator doors then closed behind the three intruders.

Burt, and Matt came to a stop.

Fabiola looked at the two guards, as she ordered, “Stand up.”

The guards did so.

Matt commented, “They don't look like they are armed.”

The other guard commented, in english, “We are not armed.”

Burt inquired, “Why is that?”

The first guard answered, “As a precaution. In case one of the inmates escaped. We were not issued any weapons. This was prevent an inmate from having access to a weapon.”

Matt said, “That makes sense. Some jails I know of take similar precautions. Now, sit back down. But, keep your hands raised.”

The two guards then sat back down, but kept their hands raised.

The second guard stated, “We knew something was up when the monitors and communications when out a little while ago. I take you took out the robotic guards?”

Fabiola replied, “Yes.”

The second guard asked, “Are you going to allow us to live?”

Fabiola answered, “That depends on how helpful you are. The family you brought in earlier, today. Where are they?”

The first guard answered, “They are all in the third cell to the right. And they are completely unharmed. Go ahead. Take them. We knew something was up, when they were brought in. We were going to take it up with our supervisor at the end of our shift.”

Fabiola flatly replied, “Good.” She then started walk to her right. As she passed by Burt, she stated, “Matt. Stay here. Burt. You're with me.”

Matt turned back to the guards, as he said, “Guys. Just relax. Don't do something stupid. And you will be fine.”

A few seconds later, Fabiola and Burt came to a stop in front of the third cell door to the right of the hallway.

When they reached the door, they turned to looked at it, as they stood side by side. With Fabiola to Burt's left.

Fabiola then used her gambler's rigs to slider her shotguns back up her sleeves. She thought, 'No point scaring the Pena family, on our first meeting.'

Meanwhile, Burt had his weapon trained on the door.

Fabiola noticed this. She thought, 'What the hell is Burt thinking?' She turned looked at him with a stern look on her face.

Burt looked at Fabiola, as he replied, “Just in case. This is the type of situation where the door opens, and the monster jumps right at you. And I am speaking from personal experience.”

Fabiola thought, 'He is the experienced monster hunter, here.' She shrugged, as she replied, “Okay.”

They then look around the cell. And they noticed no panel by the cell.”

Fabiola continued to look cell door, as she loudly asked, “How do we open the cell?”

At the guards station, one of the guards, at the controls looked up at Matt, as he requested, “May I. It is only one button to push to open the door.”

Matt said, “You may. But, no fast movements. And put you hand back up when you are finished.

The guard in question slowly moved his left hand to push a button. He then raised his left hand back up.

A second later, the cell door slid open in front of Fabiola and Burt.

They saw Garcia, Maria, Antonio, Carmela, and Ramon, sitting on the floor, against the walls, in the back of the cells.

Burt immediately pointed his light-fifty up at the ceiling.

Those inside the cell immediately stood up, as they looked at their rescuers.

Garcia said, “Fabiola.”

Fabiola replied, “Garcia”

Garcia stated, in spanish, “I knew you, and Roberta, would come.”

Fabiola replied, in spanish, “Of course.”

Maria asked, in english, “Burt, what are you doing here?”

Burt replied, “Rescuing you, and your family.”

Garcia asked, in english, “You know each other?”

Maria answered, “He and our family occasionally attend the same cookouts. Also, my husband is a customer of Burt's gunshop. ”

Burt complimented, “And he is one of my best customers. Still, is everyone okay.”

Maria stated, “Yes.”

Burt replied, “Good.”

Maria turned to Fabiola, as she said, in spanish, “You must be, Fabiola.”

Fabiola replied, “Yes.”

Maria commented, “I am Maria. I have heard nice things about you.”

Fabiola responded, “I have heard a bit about you, and your children, as well. I just wish we met under better circumstances. This is not how I wanted to make my first impression with you four.”

Maria pointed out, “Fabiola. You are rescuing us from danger. That is about as good a first impression as one can get.”

Fabiola cracked a grin, as she replied, “Thank you. I will keep that mind.” She thought, 'There are so many Star Wars joke I could say in this situations. Unfortunately, there are none that would not ruin the mood.'

Before either of the two women could continue their conversation, Burt spoke up, “Ladies. I much as I love a good conversation between friends. Especially, pleasant introductions. We need to be leaving.”

Maria flatly questioned, in english, “First, where is Hernan?”

Burt answered, “Here. Looking for you. With Roberta.”

Maria demanded, “We are not leaving with out him.”

Garcia looked over at Burt, as he stated, “And we are not leaving without Roberta and Hernan.”

Fabiola said, in english, “Fine. I know better than to argue with you, Garcia. And I am guessing your counterpart here, is the same.”

Maria replied, “You would be correct.”

Fabiola stated, “Then, let us check on them.” She thought, 'I have no idea how their fight with Gomez is going. So, I will call the Lowe family, to find out.'

Fabiola used her ear piece to contact the Lowe family.

Fabiola said, “Hello. This is Fabiola. We have the Garcia and the Pena family.”

On the other end of the line, Ed replied, in english, “Good.”

Fabiola inquired, “I need to know the status of Roberta and Hernan? How has their mission gone.”

Ed stated, “They accomplished their mission. Roberta is going to be sore, for a while. But, Hernan is hurt.”

Fabiola asked, with concern in her tone of voice, “How hurt?”

Ed coyly suggested, “He will live. But, you might want to bring his family over to him. He is in no shape to come to you. Though, Roberta is staying with him.”

Fabiola stated, “Okay. How far is it?” She thought, 'This is a big ship, after all.'

Ed commented, “Not far. About a kilometer of walking. With a few elevator rides.”

Fabiola replied, “We can handle that. Just guide us there.”

Ed said, “I was planning too. And I will do lead you, so you don't run into trouble.”
Fabiola said, “I appreciate that.”

Ed stated, “You're welcome. I will contact you after you have exited the detention section.”

Fabiola responded, “Fine. By the way, how are Pedro and Matthew?”

Ed answered, “It is complicated. We will tell you, later.”

Fabiola replied, “Okay.” She thought, 'If Hernan is hurt. I do not have time to argue.'

Ed commented, “Try to stay safe.” She then disconnect the line.

Those around Fabiola had stayed silent during her conversation with Ed.

Garcia could tell from the conversation that something was wrong. And that Fabiola had just ended the conversation. He asked, “What is going on?”

Fabiola thought, 'I am not going to tell Hernan's children that their father went out to kill someone. But, first the good news. Then, the bad.'

Fabiola looked at Garcia, as she answered, “Roberta is fine.” She then turned to Maria, as she continued, “But, Hernan is hurt. My friends will lead us to them. Is that alright?”

Maria said, “That will be fine. Just take us to him.”

Fabiola stated, “Okay. We are going in a single file. I take point. Burt has the rear.”

Burt replied, “Okay.”

Maria turned to her children, as she calmly stated, in a motherly tone of voice, in spanish, “Come children. We are going to see our father.”

Maria children did not reply, because they all realized the seriousness of the situation.

Fabiola then turned and started walking out of the hallway, towards the guard station.

Fabiola was followed by Maria, Antonio, Carmela, Ramon, Garcia, and Burt.

As they walked up to the guards station, Fabiola turned to her left, around the guards station, on the opposite side of the large desk.

Meanwhile, across the room from the others, Matt pointed the barrel of his carbine, at the ceiling, as he placed his right trigger finger on the trigger guard of his weapon.

Fabiola came to a stop, on the right side of the guards station. With the others following her stopping, as well.

Fabiola turned to look around the desk, and the two guards, as she focus on Matt. She stated, “We are leaving to meet with Roberta and Hernan.”

Matt continued to hold up carbine up at the ceiling, as he turned to face Fabiola. He replied, “Okay.”

Fabiola looked at the guards, and she gave them a feral grin. She saw the guards respond with slightly fearful expressions. She thought, 'That will keep them from doing something stupid.'

Fabiola turned back to look at the elevator, as she continued walking again, with the others following behind her. Though, Matt still stood where he was.

The first guard looked at Matt, as he asked, “Are you going to kill us, now?”

Matt turned to the guards, he as stated, “No. As long as you leave us be. Also, our friends have control of your computer systems. So, calling for help will not work. So, as long as you do not try to stop us, you both get to live to see another day.”

The other guard replied, “Thank you.”

Matt thought, 'I wonder.' He responded, “You're welcome. By the way, do you recognize any of these people.”

The first guard stated, “Vaguely.”

Matt cracked a grin, as he asked, “Ever seen the Black Lagoon series.”

Matt could see recognition click in the two guards eyes, as the two guards immediately look at Fabiola, and then Garcia. They turned back to Matt, as one of the flatly asked, “Are you saying. That among others, we were holding Garcia Lovelace, as our captive.”

Matt thought, 'So, they have seen the series, of the reality they are in. Interesting. I wonder. Though, I should not be surprised. Fiction being reality is hard to keep secret. Once it is provable.'

Matt said, “Yes. I am surprise you were not told.”

The other guard flatly replied, “We aren't told shit.”

The first guard asked, “Is the other maid here?”

Matt thought, 'So, you now recognize Fabiola, as well.' He answered, “Yes. The Bloodhound is here, looking for them, as well.”

Matt saw fear register on both the guards' faces, as one of the guards hesitantly said,
“Just... Please, get out of here. And please pretend we never met. And we do not exist.”

Matt replied. “With pleasure.”

By then, Fabiola had reached the elevator. With the others stopping behind her. She looked down and pushed the down arrow on the elevator.

A couple of seconds later, the elevator opened.

Fabiola thought, 'The elevator must be set to stay here. Which makes sense, given there is only one way out. And if there is a problem, it is a quick evacuation route. And it makes it hard to break in if the elevator is not parked at the entrance.'

'And the reason it took so long to get up here, as opposed to when we summon it. Which only took a minute. Is because it travels faster when no one is inside it.'

Fabiola then walked into the elevator. She was followed by Maria, Antonio, Carmela, Ramon, and Garcia.

Burt came to a stop at the elevator doors. He turned to Matt, as he said, “Come on, Matt.”

Matt looked over at Burt, and nodded once in acknowledgment.

Burt saw this. He turned and walked into the elevator.

And Matt then headed into the elevator, as well.

A few seconds later, the elevator doors closed.

As soon as the guards saw the intruder were gone, the guards lowed their hands, while they looked at each other.

One of the guards said, “I think we just dodged a bullet”

The other guard commented, “A major one at that.”

The first guard suggested, “Let's get out of here. While the getting is good.”

The other guard commented, “I agree. These sorts of situations tend to end with intruders escaping, and the spacestation then being blow up. We do not want to be here when that happens.”

The first guard commented, “Yes. I realize that. And I knew I shouldn't have taken this job. I should have stated working for the U.S federal prison system. The pay and benefits are nice. But, the weird people we meet here is just too much. Still, I am not sure how we can get out of here?”

The other guard stated, “I know where there is a small nearby hanger, with a few shuttles there we can use. There are shuttles there that are fully fueled, and ready to fly. And I have the passwords to them, and the interior and hanger doors they are parked by. Also, I know how to fly them. So, we will just fly back to Earth, on the other side of the sun here. And disappear into the population of the planet. Though, I was wondering, are you from this reality?”

The first guard replied, “I am.”

The other guard said, “Good. So am I. And it makes things simpler for both of us.”

The first guard asked, “So, you were a pilot here?”

The other guard answered, “Yes. Before almost everything here was automated. But, our boss here still kept us around, and assigned us to different jobs. Most of us did not complain, because we were still given the same pay and benefits.”

The first guard commented, “That sounds fair. Still, let us get out of here.”

The other guard said, “We will wait until the elevator comes back. By the time we get down there, the intruders should be gone. From there, just follow me.”

The first guard said, “Okay.”

Both of them got up from their seat, and they walked to the elevator. The first guard punched the elevator down arrow.

A little while later, the elevator came back up. They entered it. And made their way down to the exit. When they reached the exit, the found the intruders were gone, and they saw what happened to the boomers that were guard the entrance to the elevator to the detention section.

After which the second guard then lead the first guard down an auxiliary hallway, which was in a completely different direction, from the way that Fabiola's group went.

With the two guards soon making it to the small shuttle bay, and them escaping in one of the shuttles to the Earth on the other side of the Sol star. With them landing in a side nice area, where the could blend in and disappear into the population.

(_)

Meanwhile, around the time Fabiola, her group, Garcia, and the Pena family, had entered the elevator, to take them out of the detention section, in a gym, in another section of the ship, Chang and Bane were continuing their battle.

While the battle had been going on for some times, it seemed that the two gunslingers had been able to hit everything else in the gym, but each other, as they had moved around the room.

And while Bane seemed to have bottomless magazine with his two blaster pistols, Chang was able to swiftly reload the single hardballer longslide forty-five in his right hand.

Still, Bane had tried his flamethrowers twice more, when Chang was in an empty space of the gym. Though, Bane missed both times. The first time, Chang jump over and shot at Bane, with Chang coming less than an inch from the left side of Bane's head.

Bane had heard the bullet whiz by the left side of his head. With him realizing that was a close call.

The second time, Bane used his flamethrower. Chang rolled under the flames, with him landing on his feet, moving, as he had done so before.

As they two of them continue to move around the room, as they shot at each other, Chang thought, 'I am going to run out of bullets for my forty-fives in the next few minutes. I figure I got around six magazines left before that happens. And I really don't want to start shooting twenty-twos at him. He might just shrug them off. Then, I'm screwed.'

'Though, I should have known this guy was tough. And good with his guns. I just didn't realize he was this tough. And better with his guns than I am with mine.'

'Beforehand, with my own skills, and the super-soldier serum, I thought I would stand a good chance against him. I see I am wrong.'

'I am starting to realize, that if this guy had known what ysalamiri did to force users, he would have been unstoppable in his home reality.'

'I have to come up with something. And it has better be quick. Or, I am dead. As I have moved around, I had already thrown things at him. That don't work. He is took quick to shoot. And there is nothing in here I can use as trap, while on the move.'

'Still, there has got to be something I can do?... That might work. And it is crazy enough that Bane might not expect it... But, it is risky. And the catch is that I have to get him to stop moving.'

Then, Bane got a lucky shot, and knocked Chang's pistol from his hand.

Bane stopped running, as he smirked. He said, “Got you.”

Chang did not let losing his pistol distract him. He kept moving, as he thought, 'Oh hell. And Bane will close the gap on me before I can reload my other forty-five. Though, at least Bane has stopped moving. So, I might as well try this insane plan.'

Chang swiftly used his right hand to reach into his front right pants pockets. Where his reality device was. He then thought of where, where, when, and what reality he wanted to go to. He held that thought, as he pressed the red button on the device.

Chang then instantly disappeared from Bane's sight.

Bane thought, with disgust, 'Coward.'

Bane barely had time to register the large shadow forming over him, due to the ceiling lights behind blocked out, as something hit him on his top and back.

A second later, Bane was laying on his back, with his pistols knocked out of his hands. He felt two feet standing on top of him.

Bane turned his head to his right. He then used his right hand to pull of the large, brown, fedora hat off his head.

Bane was then able see, with the corner of his right eye, Chang standing on top of him, as Chang faced to the right of him.

Chang had his left foot set between Bane's shoulder blades, and his right foot, on Bane's lower back.

Bane also saw that Chang had pulled out his pistol, that was holstered under his right armpit. He held the pistol in his left hand, as he was reloading his pistol, with some ammo that he preferred to use.

Bane thought, 'Site to site teleport. I should have seen that coming. I just never factored in someone literally trying to get the drop on me. And that was my mistake.'

'He is too heavy for me to throw off. He has me. And I think he also broke my back with that move, because I cannot feel anything below my chest. Which means, without my reality device, I am dead, either way. So, there is only one thing left that I can do. And I am not going to beg.'

By then, Bane saw that Chang had pulled back the slide to his pistol, to chamber a round in his weapon.

Bane started laughing for a few seconds, as he thought, 'I guess he was already planning do it for me. Without asking. And I have the perfect last words for myself.'

Bane slowly stopped laughing, as he complimented, with humor in his tone of voice, “Well played.”

Chang replied, in an even tone of voice, “Thank you.” He then used his right hand to aim at Bane's head, and he fired three times, with his hardballer forty-five hollowpoint rounds.

“Bang! Bang! Bang!”

The shots instantly killed Bane.

A few seconds later, after Chang was sure that Bane was dead, he step off of Bane, to Bane's right.

Chang then walked around to face Bane, by what was left of Bane's head.

Chang came to a stop. He holstered his left pistol, in the holster under his right armpit. He then leaned down and picked up the wide brimmed, brown, fedora hat, from Bane's right hand.

Chang look at hat for a couple of seconds. He stated, “I have to agree. This is a nice hat.” He looked over at Bane's mostly destroyed head and brain, as he continued, “Though, it still better suits you.”

Chang tossed the hat, so the bottom center of the hat landed on Bane's head, covering Chang's killing wounds of alien bounty hunter.

Chang leaned back up, as he calmly said, “You may have been a greedy, coldblooded, bastard, but you did play the game well.”

Chang thought, 'Now, to collect my things, and figure out what to do next. I don't want to use my earpiece, because, at the very least, River and Shenhua are in the middle of their own battles, by now. And I don't want to distract them.'

'Still, I can contact the Lowe family. And from them I can find out what is going on. When I get finish in here, I will do just that.'

'I am tempted to see what Bane here, has on his person. But, he likely boobytrapped his suit. And unlike him, and I am not that greedy.'

'Also, at least I held up my end of the deal with Roberta and Hernan. Bane is dead. Now, I wonder how they are handling Gomez. Or, if that fight is over. And then there is Lee, River, and the others.

Chang then went to walked over, and retrieved his other hardballer forty-five pistol. He unloaded the weapon. Then, he checked the slide, interior of the barrel, and the trigger mechanism. He found that while the coating on the outside of it has been damaged, the pistol was still in working order.

Next, Chang reloaded the pistol in his hand, with a magazine of armor-piercing rounds. After which, he holstered the weapon in the holster in under his left armpit.

With that done, Chang started collecting all the ammo magazines he has been forced to discard during the fight.

A few minutes later, Chang had accounted for every magazine he had, with them in the ammo pouches on his gunbelt.

Chang then used his ear piece, on his right ear, to contact the Lowe family.

Chang requested, “Hi guys. This is Chang? Could any of you give me an update as to what is going on?”

Stan stated, “Not problem, Chang. By the way. Nice fight. Glad you won.”

Chang calmly replied, “Well, thank you. Now, please answer my question.”

Stan said, “Quite a bit has happened. Most of it good news.”

Chang stated, “Just run down the list.”

Stan commented, “Okay. We have control of the computer systems of this ship. We will let you know when we are finished with our part of this mission.”

Chang complimented, “Good work.”

Stan responded, “Thank you. Also, Hotel Moscow, Rock, Sawyer, and Revy, accomplished their mission, with flying colors. No one serious hurt. Not even the Knight Sabers. They agreed to cut ties with Gomez. And then they left the spacestation. But, not before Revy and Priss had a big fight. Where Revy won with some nice foot work.”

Chang thought, 'I will have to ask her about that, when we get back to the casino. I am sure she will be more than willing to tell us all about it, over dinner.'

Chang questioned, “Okay. What else?”

Stan mentioned, “Violin's team had a fight with Xanatos. But, it was more of a draw. Still, they are fine. Later, Lee took care of the Xanatos family. And given what Lee did, the Xanatos family is not going to be causing anyone any trouble for at least a while. Though, I will let Lee tell you what she did. It's that good.”

Chang thought, with happiness, 'That's my girl. Though, I believe she has won our bet for tonight.'

Chang responded, “Okay. And Shenhua?”

Stan answered, “Shenhua disappeared with Barbossa. Whatever happened. They seem to have settled it, without killing each other.”

Chang thought, 'I will talk to her, later. When she returns to the island. Just to make sure she is okay. But, I won't mention Barbossa. She was real keyed up about killing him, at the meeting. Though, she must have had a good reason to decide not to follow through with her plans for vengeance.'

'And since Barbossa is a sensitive subject to her, I will not ask her about him. Instead, I will wait a week for her to calm down, before I even attempt to mention the subject. But, I am sure she will tell us in her own time.'

Chang commented, “Well, that is good. And Akira's group?”

Stan replied, “Akira, Ranma, and Natsuru completely their mission, with a minor complication.”

Chang thought, 'I will deal with the problem, later. Now, to the important questions.'

Chang asked, “Okay. What about Gomez?”

Stan answered, “Gomez is dead. Roberta and Hernan were able to kill him. But, Hernan was seriously injured. It is not life threatening. At the moment. But, he is going to need Simon's help. Though, they haven't left, yet.”

Chang questioned, with concern in his tone of voice, “Why haven't they left?”

Stan commented, “They are waiting for word that Garcia, and the Pena family have left.”

Chang inquired, “And what is their status?”

Stan replied, “All good. Fabiola's team was able to rescue Garcia and the Pena family. As we speak, they are all heading to Roberta and Hernan.”

Chang thought, 'Good. I will let them handle that situation... Wait a minute.'

Chang questioned, “What do you mean, Fabiola's team? Shouldn't that be Pedro's team?”

Stan explained, “No. They had to split up. Pedro and Matthew went one way. Fabiola, Burt, and Matt, when the other. Which is good, because Pedro and Matthew had to chase after someone that left the ship. We are letting them handle it.”

Chang replied, “Okay.” He thought, 'Pedro and Matthew are many things. But, they are both competent individuals. And the Lowe family are geniuses. If they feel that those two can handle a situation, I will believe them... Still, why has Stan not mentioned River, yet?... Oh no.'

Chang inquired, with concern in his voice, “What about River?”

Stan responded, “I said most of it was good news. But, River is still fighting Deadpool. Their battle has taken them to a large warehouse.”

Chang said, under his breath, “Damn it.”

Stan heard Chang's curse. He quickly said, “Though, they both appear to be unharmed.”

Chang thought, with relief, 'Good. We need to find a way to stop Deadpool. And now. And there is only one person, I know of, that can do that without someone being seriously harmed, or killed.'

Chang stated, “I am going to contact Lee, as well. So, the three of us can talk together.”

Stan replied, “Okay.”

Chang used his ear piece, as he thought of Lee, to join the conversation. Chang then asked, “Lee? Are you there?”

Lee answered, “Yes.”

Chang said, “Stan is with us, on the line. It seems that most of the problems are solved. But, River is still fighting Deadpool. She has not been harmed. But, we need to stop the fight before she does get hurt. And I am not sure how to get a lunatic like Deadpool to stop fighting.”

Leer responded, “Okay. I have a few ideas on how to stop that fight, without anyone getting killed.”

Chang questioned, “Good. Stan, where are they? And who is closest to them?”

Stan answered, “They are still in that warehouse. And surprisingly, you two are the closest to them.”

Chang requested, “Okay. Tell us how to get there?”

Stan said, “No problem. Given the distance from both of you. You should both get there, around the same time. If you run, you can be there in around ten minutes.”

Lee mentioned, “I can do a flat run that long, with no problems.”

Chang replied, “So can I.” He thought, 'While that fight with Bane tired me a little. With the super-soldier serum, I can still do that.

Stan stated, “Okay. I will guide you both to the hallway outside of the warehouse. Where you can meet, and handle this together.”

Chang said, “That will work.”

Lee commented, “Thank you.”

Chang then rush out of the gym, as Stan guided both Chang, and Lee, to the warehouse River and Deadpool were fighting in. In the hopes of stopping the fight before River was injured, or killed.

(_)

As Fabiola team, along with the Garcia, and Pena family stood in a hallway, right by the double-doors to Gomez's office. With Ed being the one to lead them to them to Gomez's office.

Fortunately, the Lowe family had turned back on the lights, before the arrive. So, they could see their way around.

Fabiola requested, through her ear piece, “Ed. Open the doors.”

Over the communications channel, Ed said, “Done.”

A second later, the doors slid open, and what the group saw across the room disheartened them.

A few seconds later, the doors closed behind them.

As the group stood together, they saw Hernan and Roberta right in front of them, in the distance. But, what they saw, disheartened them.

While they saw Hernan and Roberta sitting beside each other, Roberta to Hernan's right side, as the two sitting adults looking back at them. They also saw that Hernan had his left arm in a sling, across his chest, and that his left hand was seriously injured.

Antonio, Carmela, Ramon, suddenly screamed, in unison, with concern, in spanish, “Dad!”

The three children then ran pass Maria, Garcia, Fabiola, Burt, and Matt.

In responded, Maria, Garcia, and Fabiola quickly followed behind the children.

Meanwhile, Burt and Matt calmly walked behind them, with Burt holding his rifle barrel up, by his right arm and hand, against the front of his right shoulder. And Matt had his carbine slung over his right shoulder, by its strap, with him turning on the safety of his weapon.

As the children reached Hernan and Roberta, they came to a stop in front of the two rifles between them and the two sitting adults.

The three children looked down at Hernan and Roberta, as the two adults looked back up at the children.

Hernan thought, 'This is exactly the situation I wanted to avoid.' He lied, in spanish, “Calm down children. It is not as bad as it looks.”

Garcia, Maria, and Fabiola, quickly caught up to the children. With them standing behind the children. All of them had ignored Gomez's corpse, which was several feet away, behind them, to their right side.

Maria then walked around the two large rifles, to stand to Hernan's left side. She looked down at Hernan, as she requested, in spanish, “Let me see your hand, Hernan.”

Hernan leaned up for her to see the injury.

Maria just silently looked at Hernan's wounded left hand, for a few seconds.

By then, Roberta had stood up, on Hernan's right side.

Fabiola turned to Roberta, as she asked, in spanish, “Are you okay?”

Roberta looked over at her student, as she stated, in spanish, “I need an x-ray of my chest, to make sure. But, I think I will be fine.”

Meanwhile, Maria continued to look at Hernan's wounded left hand. She stated, “We need to get you help, and find you some medical attention.”

Roberta turned to Maria, as she said, “We have medical friends we can teleport to, whom are ready and waiting, in case one of us is hurt. And we can be there in a few seconds.”

Maria thought, 'I don't doubt that. And I am sure the reason Hernan probably did not leave, yet. Was that he wanted to wait to make sure we left first. I admire that about him. Though, now it is time to go.'

Maria replied, “Good.” She then turned to Hernan, as she said, in a comforting tone of voice, “Come on, Hernan. I know it hurts. But, you need to stand up. Roberta. Would you be a dear, and please help me get my husband to his feet.”

Roberta replied, “Sure.”

Maria and Roberta then helped Hernan to his feet.

As soon as Hernan was to his feet, Fabiola turned to him, as she asked, “Are you good to travel?

While in pain, from the movement of his right hand, Hernan groaned, “Yes.”

Fabiola stated, “Ed. We are leaving. Let the others know.”

Ed replied, “I will.” She then disconnected from their communications channel.

Fabiola took a few step back from everyone. She then looked around her, and she saw that Burt and Matt had reached them.

Fabiola ordered, in english, for the benefit of Matt and Burt, “Burt, Matt, get their rifles. And everyone group up, by me.

Burt and Matt silently complied.

Garcia saw that everyone else was busy, as he quickly herded the Pena children towards Fabiola. He said, in spanish, “Come on children. Let's take you home.”

Fabiola then turned to see that Hernan was walking on his own, with Roberta and Maria, walked to his sides. In case he started to collapse. Though, given how firmly Hernan walked. Him collapsing looked to be a very unlikely possibility.

Maria was to Hernan's right side, and Roberta to his left side. They walking around the rifles on the ground, to their left, as they headed for Fabiola.

Fabiola also noticed that Roberta was looking at her, as she smiled.

Fabiola asked, in spanish, “Is there something you want to say?”

By then, Roberta, Hernan, and Maria, reached Fabiola, and came to a stop.

Roberta complimented, “No. You are doing a wonderful job leading them.”

At that moment, Garcia had shepherded the three Pena children into the group.

Fabiola noticed this. She turned to Garcia, as she said, “Thank you.” Then, with her right hand, she pulled out the reality device that Lee had given her, from a pocket in the folds of her black long skirt.

As Burt and Matt reached the rifles, Burt commented, “Remember. Use your legs to lift. Not your back.”

Matt replied, “Of course.”

The two men use their legs, instead of their backs, as they pick up the rifles. With both of them careful not to touch the triggers of the weapons.

Matt then bent down, with his legs, and he had use both his hands to pick up the rifles with grenade launcher attachment.

As Matt stood up, he commented, in english, “They things are heavier than they looked.”

Burt just lightly chuckled at the redhead's comment. Then, with him still holding his own light-fifty with his right hand, he bent down, with his legs, and he easily used his land hand to picked up other rifle, by the right side of fore-end, behind where the grenade launcher was attached to the rifle, and in front of the rifle's grip.

Matt then watched at Burt stood back up with looked effort.

Burt turned to Matt, as he teased, in english, “Boy. You need to get out of the office more.”

Matt casually said, “Oh the stories I could tell you.”

Burt happily stated, “When we get back to the island. We will swap stories, over a few drinks.”

Matt replied, “I look forward to it.” He then turned to look at Gomez's body.

Burt noticed this. He asked, “What is it?”

Matt turned to Burt, as he stated, “That man built all this. It is shame he won't even have someone to say a good few words about him. Let along grieve, nor funeral for him. It seems kind of tragic.”

Burt turned to look at Gomez's body. He then looked back at Matt. He said, in a voice laced with wisdom, “It is. And this is what happens when one has only their work in life.”

Matt sadly replied, “True.”

Burt suggested, “If you feel this way. How about you just say a prayer for him.”

Matt stated, “I think I will.”

Burt commented, “I know a few good churches back on the island. If you want. I know that those that run those churches would be more than happy for you to use them to say your prayers at. To make you feel your prayers are more official.”

Matt said, “I'm jewish.”

Burt pointed out, “We worship the same god. I don't think he would mind, where you did it from.”

Matt shrugged, as he replied, “Perhaps.”

Fabiola turned to Burt and Matt, as she said, in english, “Come on you two. Hernan needs medical help. And we need to get out of here.”

Burt and Matt turned to the green haired man.

Burt playfully teased, “Coming, my dear.”

Matt said, “We will be right with you.”

Fabiola let out a single giggle towards them.

Burt and Matt then walked over to join their group.

A few seconds later, as everyone was standing by Fabiola. Fabiola requested, “Okay everyone. I want us to be a very tight group.”

Everyone stepped closer together.

Fabiola then thought of the Pena family's home reality, in one of the prepared emergency rooms of Simon's infirmary, in Daiyu Palace Casino, about five minutes after they left. She held that thought, as she pressed the red button, with her right thumb.

Instantly, Fabiola, and everyone in her group, disappeared, as they teleported to Simon's infirmary, in De La Plata Podrido, as the proper reality, place, and time.

(_)

Elsewhere in the ship, after around ten minutes of running, Chang turned the corner, and he saw Lee standing in front of a large set of double-doors, that were open.

Chang quickly slowed down. As he came up to a stop, to stand beside Lee. With Lee being to his right side.

Chang asked, “What's going on?”

Lee answered, “I am not sure, myself.”

Stan stated, thought their communications line, “The fight is still going in there. So, be careful. Call us, if you need us.” He then disconnected them.

Lee said, “Let's do this.”

They then turned, and walked inside the room.

As they passed through the threshold of the door, Lee inquired, “So, how did your fight with Bane go?”

Chang cracked a grin, as he casually replied, “I came down on him like a stack of bricks.”

Lee said, “I look forward to hearing the details. But, let's handle this now.”

Chang thought, 'And I look forward to learning how you handled the Xanatos family. But, that is for later. Let's see what you have to say about our current problem.'

Chang questioned, “I agree. So, what is you plan?”

Lee answered, “I have an idea on how to stop them. But, with Deadpool. It is always playing by ear.”

Chang said, “You studied him. Do you understand his insanity?”

Lee stated, “Yes. But, I would rather not say. It would take too long to explain. Though, his insanity is based on the pain and loss he has suffered, and still suffers from. And he craves humor an attention, like a junkie. To escape that pain.”

Chang asked, “And you can use that?”

Lee said, “Oh yes. Just follow my lead.”

Chang replied, “Okay.”

As the two adults came to a stop, they looked across the room, about thirty feet away, to see River and Deadpool running around shooting at each other, and missing.

Fortunately, at the moment, the trajectories of the bullets were nowhere near Lee and Chang.

Lee then implemented her plan. She took in a deep breath. Then, Lee screamed, at top of her lungs, “Enough! Behave yourselves!”

Both River and Deadpool immediately stop shooting at each other, as they turned to look at Lee and Chang.

Deadpool started laughing. Between laughs, he complimented, “Good one.”

River groaned, as she questioned, “Really? Robocop?”

Lee commented, “Actually, the end of Robocop Two. Still, Deadpool digs injokes. And getting him to laugh is the only way to stop him, without shooting him, and pissing him off. Which is not something I want to do.”

River shrugged, as she conceded, “Good point.”

Chang calmly asked, “Now, is everyone done shooting each other?”

River looked over at Deadpool, as she answered, “I will stop, as long as he does.”

Deadpool forced himself to calm down, as he replied, “Okay. Okay. I give.”

Deadpool then holstered his sub-machine guns. While River kept her weapons out, but pointed at the ground.

Chang replied, “Good.”

Chang and Lee then walked over to River.

Seconds later, Chang and Lee came to a stop stand by River. All three lovers then turned to look at Deadpool, whom was about ten feet from them.

Wade calmly look back at the three other adults in the room.

Chang asked, “Now, what?”

Lee answered, “We offer him a deal.”

Deadpool commented, “I am listening.”

Lee stated, “Hello Deadpool. I am Lee. I am sure you know River and Chang.”

Deadpool replied, “Of course. And I know who you are, as well.”

Lee went onto say, “That is nice. Well, Deadpool. We know your past. We know that the whole reason you have had a death wish is to escape the pain you feel everyday. Both the physical pain and the emotional pain. And we can help remove much of that pain. Without killing you. In a matter that I believe you would appreciate.”

Deadpool requested, in a curious tone of voice, “Please, explain.”

Lee asked, “You know what the vat process is?”

Deadpool answered, “Yes. Though, I am not that crazy about permanently being a woman. Besides, with my healing factor. It either would not work. Or, you will cure my cancer, and my healing factor will kill me. Which, I admit is not a bad option. Given the situation.”

Lee thought, 'I am glad, that over the years. Chang has told River and I about his current research on the vat process. He does do anything unethical with his technology now. But, he still has been doing research in that field of sciences.'

Lee conceded, “Those are both good points. Still, Chang had has made some new options to the process. First, we can use other chemicals we can use with the process to permanently take your healing factor down a notch. We will do it slowly, as the process cures you of your cancer. So, your hyper form of cancer does not kill you. And it will cure you of your cancer. And when you come out, you will having a healing factor, but it will not kill you. Nor, disfigure you.”

Deadpool replied, “Okay. Keep talking.”

Lee said, “And you have met Annie. So, you know for men, the process that turned men into a woman also regenerates any missing limbs, or body parts. And it also heals any injuries, and removes all scars. And let's be known. Compared to Annie, while as Vader in black suit, you currently look like a handsome man.”

Wade stated, “You got that right. Still, there is the whole gender change issue.”

Lee commented, “We have a solution to that. You know about that gender virus that the Serenity crew has?”

Wade replied, “Yes.”

Lee mentioned, “When I became pregnant, by River, as a man. After I gave birth. It seems that River transmitted that virus to me and my children.”

Wade inquired, “Isn't that virus contagious for the first month, or so?”

Lee said, “Not for me. Nor, my children. From what Doctor Sam Tam could figure out. It seems the vector of the infection has a lot to deal with how contagious it is for the infected person. And Simon believes that the virus has slightly changed over the years, to where it is not contagious, like the common cold. I could not give this virus to someone, even if I bit them, and drew blood.”

Wade questioned, “Okay. But, don't take this the wrong way. Though, from the fact I have not heard this virus being spread around a lot. I am willing to guess that casual sex will not spread the disease?”

River stated, “No. For Lee and her children. It is part of a genetic sharing between mother and child. Where my genes, in our children, were transferred to the cells in Lee's body. And the infection spread from there. Though, Lee was at no point contagious. Nor, were our children.”

Deadpool asked, “Is that possible?”

Lee answered, “Yes. Surprisingly. It is not that uncommon for various genes, from an unborn child, inside the mother, to transfer to a pregnant mother, including a few genes from the father of the child. Which is what happened to me.”

Wade commented, “That brings a whole new meaning to taking a dive into a gene pool.”

Lee agreed, “Yes. It does. Also. My experience confirmed that pregnancy locked me in female form, for the duration of my pregnancy. Until after I gave birth.”

Wade stated, “Interesting. Well, I am not planning on turning into a woman. Just to become a single mother, so I can turn back into a guy.”

Lee responded, “And nor should you. We figured out how to create a gene therapy that can be used with, or without, the vat process. This will allow you to change gender forms with a sneeze. Without the person that receives the gene therapy being contagious. And speaking from experience. The change is instant, and completely painless. No discomfort at all. And everything works fine in both gender forms.”

Wade said, “Okay. Now, you're talking. So, what is the catch?”

Lee said, “I won't lie to you. While, I understand your horrific pasted with brainwashing. The vat process also has some minor brainwashing. Basically, making you comfortable in you new gender. While, still being comfortable in you old gender.”

Chang spoke up, “I can attest to that.”

Lee went onto say., “And making you bi-sexual. To prevent mental conflicts between old relationship issues, with new relationship issues. Also, the brainwashing will make it so that month periods won't both you. But, with the type of gender change we are talking about. That will not be an issue.”

Deadpool conceded, “When you put it like that. It sounds reasonable.”

Lee mentioned, “Along with all this, we know your healing factor was going to make you live a long time anyway. You will not lose these years with this treatment. Besides the super-soldier serum returning you to being a very healthy young adult.”

“You will physically being in your mid-twenties. In near perfect physical shape. Think Captain America. And you will look great in both you gender forms. Also, the serum will slow you aging to a crawl. And the gender virus will even slow your aging some more.”

Wade inquired, “All of the is very intriguing. Still, I wonder. Is the super-soldier serum you mention a variation of the serum that Steve Rogers was exposed too?

Chang stated, “No. But, I can see why you would ask.”

Wade asked, “One more question. While you said it would not be an issue, with the gender bending. I have to ask. What about a woman's time of the month? Let's be honest. Mixing my insanity with PMS is just asking for trouble.”

River commented, “Not to worry. Changing genders back and forth, resets the monthly cycle. One has to stay a woman for around three weeks, before that becomes an issue.”

Wade said, “Okay. I bet you appreciate that.”

River lips curled into a wicked grin, as she happily replied, “You have no idea.”

Lee calmly suggested, “Now, why don't you take a few minutes to think about this. There no rush.”

Deadpool responded, “I don't need to. Because. If I get this straight. You are offering to cure of my cancer. While stepping down my healing factor to a more sane level. For lack of a better work.”

“Along with this, I regain my youth, and my health. Also, I get the ability to switch from a hot man, to a hot woman, and back. I get to enjoy the company of any gender as I please. With only a sneeze. And I keep my longevity, in a much better way than I have now.”

Lee answered, “Yes. Though, none of this has to be done at once. Though, I figure that once you have your health back. Your mental health issues will start to clear up. If not we do have therapists we can recommend. Good ones, at that.”

Deadpool asked, “Oh. Having a chance at regaining some of my sanity makes your offer all the more sweeter. So, where do I sign up?”

Lee said, “Just come with us.”

Deadpool replied, “Fine with me.”

River asked, “Is this wise?”

Lee turned to River. She thought, 'Before I answer you, River. I first need to ask Deadpool a question, now.'

Lee looked at Deadpool, as she asked, “Deadpool. Since you know about me. You probably know about my stories?”

Deadpool answered, “Yes. Badasses Of the Multiverse. I likely know more about those stories than you do. And I found it to be a very fun read for me. Almost as fun as living it. And thanks for Dorothy. That was a fun little adventure. While it lasted. Though, we parted ways as friends.”

Lee replied, “You're welcome.”

Meanwhile, River groaned at Wade's response. Chang and Lee noticed this. River said, “I may tell you two, later.”

Deadpool thought, 'That will be an interesting conversation, River.'

This time, River was about to sense Deadpool's thoughts. She stated, “To say, the least.”

Lee thought, 'I do not know what happened during their fight. But, I believe it is best that I change the subject.'

Lee inquired, “By the way. Since you know about my stories. What happened to the lightsabers and blasters I gave you in Book Two? I don't see them on you.”

Deadpool stated, “I put them in my private collection, in another part of the multiverse. I mean, you don't use such quality weapons on day to day assignments.”

Lee agreed, “You have that right. Though, I think Annie would disagree with you.”

Deadpool commented, “I believe you would be right, concerning Annie. And I sometimes think that the Jedi order intentionally trained their students to detest range weapons.”

Lee stated, “I know. Every force user with a range weapon is terrifyingly good. Maybe they don't want others to know how dangerous a force user can be with a gun.”

Deadpool said, “You may have a point there. And I think this might be the start of a wonderful friendship.”

Lee stated, “I hope so. Because I don't want you to be my enemy.”

Deadpool responded, “Don't worry, Lee. As long as you can pull this deal off, I will be more than happy to be your friend.”

Lee said, “We will make sure you will have a healthy body.”

Deadpool stated, “Good. Anyway, from what I hear of that island you are staying at. There is plenty of things to do on that island. And it seems to never get boring.”

River pointed out, “As long as you are not the one that starts the trouble.”

Deadpool mentioned, “Actually, I rarely start trouble, without a good reason. Or, if I am paid to do so.”

Lee admitted, “Deadpool is right about that. He rarely starts trouble.” She turned to Chang and River, as she continued, “Guys. We cannot let Deadpool back loose on the multiverse. I made that mistake once.” She then turned back to Wade. She went onto say, “I don't want to make that mistake, again.”

Chang inquired, “You're right. We have to keep an eye on him. And him occupied. So, what type of job are you thinking of giving him? I already have to two first rate hit women.”

Lee stated, “I would suggest that he would work as a card dealer. And I think both Spike and Jetta can keep him in line.”

Chang complimented, “Good point.”

River said, “I have no problems with that.”

Deadpool has quietly overheard their conversation. He commented, “I like playing cards.” He thought, 'And I am keeping unusually quiet, because I do not want to screw this up.'

The three lovers turned to look at Wade.

Chang replied, “Good.”

River read Wade's thoughts. She asked, “I am glad you the importance of this conversation. So, do you know spanish? Can you speak that langauge?"

Deadpool stated, “I know enough to make it work. And I am willing to learn more of that language. Also, I know a number of other languages.”

River replied, “Okay.”

Chang questioned, “Well Deadpool. Can you handle a steady, non-violent job? We know you can be polite, when you want to. And you have some self-control with your social skills. You won't hurt someone, unless they try to hurt you, someone you care for, or if you are paid to do so. But, you also have the attention span of a gnat. The only reason I never tried to hire you before is because of this problem.”

Deadpool suggested. “You are right. I do have attention span issues. But, I have gotten a little better. So, how about I start this as a part time? And we go from there?”

Chang said, “Okay. I can go along with that. Though, you will have to wear a uniform for the job.”

Wade commented, “As long as it fits, and is not tacky.”

Chang stated, “I never go tacky.”

Wade asked, “Yes. Your suit is prove of that. So, do I get my own suite at your casino?”

Chang commented, “Yes. As long as you keep it clean. And you don't damage it.”

Wade inquired, “I will try. And I take it that I will get pay and benefits out of this job, as well?”

Chang replied, “Yes.”

Deadpool questioned, “Can I alternate genders at my job?

Chang stated, “As long as you are okay with using two different aliases. And you don't damage the uniforms you are given. Though, an accidental sneeze is excusable. Just try not to do so in public.”

Deadpool responded, “Fine. I am okay with that.”

River requested, “Also, stay away from Annie and Arcee.”

Deadpool asked, “Why?”

River said, “You might give them ideas.”

Deadpool just started laughing for a few seconds.

The three lovers stayed silent at Wade Wilson laughed.

As Deadpool calmed down, he said, “Very well. Well played, everyone. Well played. You have a deal.”

Deadpool thought, 'And yea folks. I am likely the only one so far that has figured out the comment. Well Played. As an acceptance towards defeat, is a signature by the author, for this chapter, of this volume, of this book, and this anthology. Look. I broke the rule of three again. Ha. Ha.'

This time, Wade thought to fast for River to read his mind.

Chang replied, “Glad to hear it, Deadpool.”

Deadpool said, “By the way. You can call me, Wade.”

Chang said, “Well, Wade. Welcome, aboard.” He walked over to stand next to Deadpool. He then extended his right hand towards Wade.

Wade walked over to Chang, and shook Chang's right hand, with his right red gloved hand. Both of them found the handshake of the other to be firm, but not tight.

A second later, as they broke their handshake, Wade said, “I am glad to be here.” He thought, 'And this folks is how I ended up working at Daiyu Palace Casino, in De La Plata Podrido, in Lee's home reality. Still, this chapter isn't over yet.'

River was unable to read Wade's thoughts then, either.

Chang turned to Lee, as he asked, “By the way, Lee. Stan mentioned that you defeated the Xanatos family. Though, he did not say how?”

Lee looked at Chang, as she commented, “I am not surprised that the Lowe family saw, and likely heard, all that. From the station's security system. Still, I will tell you, when we get home.” She turned to look at Deadpool, as she continued, “After we have settled, other, more pressing matters.”

Deadpool turned to Lee, as he stated, “I am waiting to get into one of those vats at soon as possible.”

Chang looked over at Deadpool, as he stated, “Just a little patience. We will be arranging that in a few minutes. Now, let's wrap this up. And get everyone out of here.” He turned to River and Lee, as he stated, “River. Lee. Come here.”

The two women then walked up to stand next to Chang and Deadpool.

Chang looked at the three adults next to himself, as used his ear piece, as he thought to contact everyone with an ear piece, that was on the ship, at once. He stated, “Team leaders. This is Chang. Sound off.”

Balalaika stated, in english, “Hotel Moscow has completed its job. No casualties. The targets acceded to our requests. And they were allowed to leave, unharmed.”

Ed commented, “We are about finished on our end.”

Akira said, “This is Akira. Mission accomplished. We are unharmed. We are also bringing someone with us. And we need to speak to you about him, in private.”

Chang stated, “We will deal with him, when we get back to the casino.”

Akira replied, “Alright.”

Violin stated, “This is Violin. My team and I are okay. We should be ready to leave in a few minutes.”

There was silent for a few seconds. Chang thought, 'What about Roberta's team, and Fabiola teams?'

Chang asked, “What is the status on Roberta's team? And Fabiola's team?”

Ed stated, “Both groups accomplished their missions. Garcia and the Pena family are rescued and fine. And Gomez is dead. Though, Hernan's left hand was seriously injured. And after both groups met up with each other. They already left to see Simon about getting some medical attention for Hernan.”

Chang responded, “Okay. Also, Shenhua, Pedro, and Matthew have already left. My team is fine. With our parts in this missions being accomplished, as well. And we will all be leaving, as soon as Ed lets us know when her family has completed their part of our mission.”

Chang thought, 'And I will be sure to tell Roberta and Hernan, in private. With just the two of them. That Bane is dead, as well.'

Ed said, “We are just finishing up. We have already shutdown the boomers, and the remote Star Destroyers outside. By the way, no one is aboard those ships. They are completely automated. From what we saw with sensors, not even boomers are on board.”

“Also, we have an evacuation plan for the crew of this ship, already layout. We have just finished writing and installing the software code for it, onto the ships computers. And it should work. We will activated right before we leave.”

Chang inquired, “Fine. So, what is the plan?”

Ed answered, “We have pre-set automatic evacuation order in fifteen minutes. That will give us time to leave. Also, when the program is activated, all the doors and hatches on this ship will open. Including, a few cages. There seem be a few prisoners on board, that were not in the detention section. Though, the detention section is opening up, as well.”

Chang commented, “That would be a good idea to do so. We do not know why they are being held aboard here. And I am in the mood to give them the benefit of the doubt.”

Ed went onto say, “So am I. About two and a half hours after the evacuation order is given, the ship will shutdown. Though, life support, heating, water systems, gravity, communications, elevators, the doors, and hatches, of this ship will be left turned on. Also, the shuttles and life-pods will be left activated. We don't want someone to die just because they took a nap.”

Chang complimented, “I fully agree. And good job.”

Ed replied, “Thank you.”

Chang asked, “Before we leave. Does anyone have anything to say? Or, have we overlooked something? Or, someone?”

There was silence on the communications channel that everyone was using.

Chang commented, “Okay. Well, I have a question for Annie.”

Annie replied, “Go ahead.”

Chang inquired, “What we all felt a little while ago. Was that like what you sometimes feel in the force.”

Annie responded, “Now, that I think about it. Yes. That feeling was similar to feeling something in the force. And I would like to talk about that, later.”

Chang commented, “I look forward to that discussion.”

Annie asked, “By the way, what was that?”

Lee answered, “It was a god like act. I will explain, we when we get back to the casino.”

Deadpool chuckled a little.

Ed said, “Yes. We have a recording of what happened. It is perfect popcorn material to watch and listen, too. Good job, Lee. Both creative and brillant.”

Lee inquired, “Thanks. By the way, do you have anything else recorded?”

Ed answered, “We recorded everything, on our computers. Give us a few days and we will have a workable cuts of the highlights, burned on data discs, for everyone to watch.”

Lee replied, “Cool.”

Revy stated, “I look forward to that.”

Ranma said, “So do I.”

River commented, “I believe all of us do.”

Balalaika suggested, “When editing. You might want to try different camera angles, panning shots, and zooming in and out.”

Ed offered, “Balalaika. Would you like to help?”

Balalaika answered, “Sure. This would be the type of video that I would be interested in editing.”

Ed replied, “Thanks. We will talk about it, later.”

Balalaika stated, “Just give me a call, when you are ready.”

Ed said, “I will.”

Those across the ship, that were on the communications channel, whom knew about Balalaika past as a video editor. Mainly editing porn, while also running Hotel Moscow. Because, at the time, she was to cheap to hire temps for such jobs. Those individuals held back their laughter. For they did not want Balalaika to hear them laugh about such matters.

Lee stifled her desire to giggle, as she responded, “Well, when you have a finished product. Let us know. And for those interested. We will watch those recordings of these highlights, in the private theater, at the casino.”

Chang said, “I am okay with that. And we will schedule a time to do so.”

Revy commented, “That sounds great.”

Ed stated, “That works for me.”

Lee said, “We will a potluck dinner out of the event.”

Akira commented, “I can go along with that.

Ed said, “Yes. Those always fun.”

Balalaika stated, “I agree. Some of my subordinates, are very good cooks.”

Chang thought, 'We need to get this conversation moving. So, we can get out of here. While we still can.'

Chang responded, “That sounds great. And I am sure we will all look forward to it. Okay everyone. Good job. I will see you on the other side. I suggest back to the back garage of my casino, five to ten minutes after we left. The first round of drinks, at the casino restaurant, is on me.”

Chang mentally reflected, 'That will get them to follow us home.'

There were cheers along the communications lines.

Chang smiled, as he heard the cheers. Though, he was in a hurry. So, Chang then broke the connected to the communication channel. He looked around him, as he said, “Let's go. You too, Deadpool.”

Chang used his right hand to pull out his reality device, from a pocket.

Deadpool replied, “Thanks.” He took a few steps closer to Chang.

River holstered her to sub-machine guns, in her side holsters, as she took a few steps closer to Chang.

Lee walks moved a few steps closer to Chang, as well.

Chang then thought of Lee's home reality, the back garage of his casino, around five minutes after they left. He held that thought, as he press the red button on his reality device. And all four adults instantly disappeared, as they reality jumped to Daiyu Palace Casino.

(_)

Across the ship, all those that were part of Chang's attack force, disconnected their ear pieces, pulled out their reality devices, and they began teleporting back to back garage of Daiyu Palace Casino. At the proper reality, place, and time. Which was a few minutes after they left that reality.

This included the Lowe family, whom activated their evacuation and shutdown program, right before they left.

(_)

Though, in the cargo bay they were at, Violin's group had not left, yet. As they were still talking to Violin and Aeryn adult son, Little D, and Violin's adult younger brother, Yuuichi.

Violin's group, along with Little D and Yuuichi, were standing by Little D and Yuuichi cargo ship.

Violin had already disconnected her ear piece from the communications channel. She pulled out her reality device, as she turned to Little D and Yuuichi. She stated, in a sad tone of voice, “Well, it looks like we have to go.”

Little D turned to Violin, as he commented, “It was bound to happen. Besides, this is not the proper place for a reunion.”

Aeryn looked over at Little D, as she said, “You're correct, son. Still, you both need to come visit us, and Gilina.”

Yuuichi said, “We promise, we will.”

Violin stated, “Good.” She then looked around, at her group, as she said, “Okay, everyone. Time to leave.”

Aeryn, Eda, Yolanda, Arcee, and Annie, stood up, with Aeryn picking up her pulse burster from the ground. The five women then walked up to stand beside Violin.

Meanwhile, Little D and Yuuichi walked several feet away from the group. They came to a stop, standing next to each other. They then turned around to face Violin's group, with Yuuichi to Little D's left side.

Little D said, “We will see you, later.”

Violin looked over at her son and brother, as she replied, “We will look forward to it.”

Violin then thought of returning to Lee's home reality, in the back garage of Daiyu Palace Casino, five minutes after they left. She held that thought, as she pressed the red button on her reality device.

Violin and her group then disappeared, as they reality jumped.

With his parents gone, Little D turned to his best friend, as he suggested, “Well, let's head back to headquarters.”

Yuuichi turned to his good friend, Little D, as he agreed, “Good idea.”

The two friends then started walking back to the nearby entrance door to their ship.

As they casually walked, side by side, Yuuichi mentioned, “Oh. By the way. I found a new recruit.”

Little D inquired, “Really?”

Yuuichi answered, “Yea. I will tell you about him, when we get back to headquarters. He might even be there.”

Little D replied, “Okay.”

A few minutes later, they boards their ship, which was full of food supplies, for Gomez's ship, which they currently had no intention of off loading. Because no one was present to sign for it. Along with the fact, that they learned that Gomez's organization had tried to harm their family and friends.

Soon after, the two friends were both seated in the cockpit of their ship, and they reality jumped, them and their ship, back to their main headquarters, elsewhere in the multiverse. At the proper time they were scheduled to return.

(_)

Reality, the Pena Family, Pedro, and Lee's home reality. Date, Friday, the evening after the boomer attack. Place, the emergency room of the infirmary, on the ground level of the Daiyu Place Casino, in the back right corner of the building, when facing the main entrance. Time, six five PM, roughly five minutes after Chang and his attack forces had left to attack Gomez and his organization, on Gomez's spacestation, the Interzone.

Fabiola, Roberta, Garcia, Hernan, Maria, Antonio, Carmela, Ramon, Matt, and Burt, suddenly found themselves in one of the surgical rooms, on the first floor, of Doctor Simon Tam's medical section of Daiyu Palace casino.

And even with the pain Hernan was feeling, from his injured left hand. Which was still in the sling that Roberta had made for him. Hernan was still able to stand on his own.

Fortunately, as part of Chang's attack plans, Simon had his medical staff were on standby for such an emergency. Along with the medical staff. There were a few beds, and medical tools laid out, and ready to be used.

The medical staff around the group could clearly see that Hernan's left hand was hurt.

Meanwhile, Maria turned to the staff, as she requested, in a strong tone of voice, in english, “We need a doctor!
Right now!”

One of the nurses rushed out of the room. While two other nurse came up to Burt and Matt.

They reached for the single XM five hundred rifle, with RG six grenade launcher, that each of them were carrying.

Burt commented, “You can take that one, for now. But, I am keep my own rifle. Also, I will come back for both of them, later.”

The female nurse taking the other rifle from him, turned to Burt. She commented, in english, “Okay.” She then picked up the rifle with little effort, but let Burt keep his other weapons.

Matt thought, 'I better also mention.' He said, “This carbine is a loan. So, I cannot give it to you.”

The other female nurse turned to Matt, as she commented, in english, “That is fine.” She then took the large rifle from him, with little difficulty.

The two nurses then walked away from the two men, and out the room, with the weapons they were carrying.

A few seconds later, Simon rushed into the room. He took on looked around, and he saw that Hernan was injured. He walked over to Hernan.

Hernan saw this Simon head for him, as he turned to face the doctor.

As Simon came to a stop in front of Hernan. He looked at Hernan's left hand, then to Hernan's face. He inquired, in english, “How did this happen?”

Hernan looked at his children. Then, back at Simon. He stated, in english, “Roberta and I were able to accomplish our mission. But, Gomez crushed my left hand with one of his own right hand.”

Simon look down at Hernan's left hand, as he said, “Okay. We will see what we can do.” Simon continued to look at Hernan's left hand, as he went onto say, in a slightly louder tone of voice, “To all those that are not medical staff. Nor injured. Please, exit the room, and wait outside.”

Fabiola pocketed her reality device, in a hidden pocket, in the folders of her skirt, as she turned to Simon. She stated, in english, “Simon. Roberta needs her ribs check out, as well.”

Simon did not bother to look at Fabiola, nor Roberta, as he turned to his medical staff. He calmly ordered, “Doctor Thomson. Please take Roberta. The purple haired woman. To get some x-rays of her chest. Also, she has cybernetics. So, keep her way from the MRI machines.” He then turned back to look at Hernan's left hand, as he mentally laid out his plans of treatment for Hernan.

One of the medical staff. A slender man, turned to Simon, as he replied, in english, “Yes, sir.”

Doctor Thomson then turned towards Roberta, as he walked up to Roberta. He calmed requested, “This was. Please.”

Roberta did not reply, as she allowed the man to lead her out of the room.

Maria turned to Simon, as she asked, “Will my husband be fine?”

Simon turned to Maria, as he answered, “I think so. But, I need to help him, now. So, please leave, so I can get to work.”

Suddenly, a few nurses came up to Maria, Fabiola, Garcia, Antonio, Carmela, Ramon, Matt, and Burt. The nurses then lead the group out of the room, and to a nearby waiting room, with chairs, a few coffee tables, and a wall mounted TV, set to a english speaking news channel.

Hernan watched his family and friends leave the room. When they were gone, Hernan turned to Simon, as he asked, in a serious tone of voice, “Am I going to lose this hand?”

Simon looked up at Hernan, in his eyes, as he stated, “If the damage is as extensive as I suspect. It looks like it. Fortunately, I have access to plenty of prosthetic technologies, from other realities, that will work just as good as your old left hand.”

Hernan responded, “That is comforting to know. And Roberta mentioned that to me.”

Simon rhetorically asked, “Who do you think checks her cybernetics for her?”

Hernan said, “Point taken.”

Simon calmly ordered, “Now, let us get you onto a bed. So, I can begin working on you.”

Simon then helped Hernan to a bed. Where Hernan laid down on.

Meanwhile, a nurse handed Simon some scissors. Simon then used the scissors to removed the sling, and the tourniquet.

The nurses then began to prep the anesthesia machine, for use on Hernan. Along with a brain monitoring equipment, to make sure when Hernan went to sleep, he was asleep. For they knew that the Hernan would not want to be awake, during the surgery.

(_)

Around the same time that Fabiola's group has returned to Daiyu Palace Casino. In other parts of the casino. Mainly, the back garage of the casino. The others that had been part of Chang's attack, has begun to return, as well.

Many of them headed for the casino restaurant, to take Chang up on his offer of the first drinks being free. As they celebrated together, they contacted their families and friends, to inform them, that they were fine.

Though, not all of them celebrated. Nor, could all of them claim that they were fine. And two of them, whom left, had yet to return.

To be continued.



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