The Android’s Saga

The Android’s Blues

A Dragonball – Cowboy Bebop Crossover Fanfiction by Aoikami Sarah

 

Chapter One

 

Faye raised a brow. "What was that?"

     "What was what?" Jet moaned.

     "Sounds like this hunk of shit hit something. Didn't you hear that?"

     Jet scowled at her. The Bebop may have been a crappy ship, but it was his crappy ship. He went back to repairing his bionic arm. "We hit things all the time, Faye. It's called space junk."

     Faye watched him manipulate the fine tools with his remaining arm. Floating through space on empty was a typical occurrence on the Bebop but its frequency didn’t make it any less boring. She slumped her shoulders and lazily got up. “Maybe watching Ein will be more interesting. I could watch paint dry, I'm so bored!"

     "Sorry I'm not entertaining enough. Why don't you check Bigshots and see about making some money!"

     Faye gritted her teeth and spun around. "Are you kidding? If my ship wasn't outta gas, too I would have blown this popsicle stand days ago!"

     Jet ignored her as she stormed off.

 

     Faye found a window and watched the space junk bobble past. She focused her own reflection and pulled her eyelid down. "Nlah!" she moaned and fogged up the glass. "Wait, was that a wrinkle!?" She quickly rubbed the glass clean with her red shirt and examined herself again. "Oh, come on. It can't be! I'm only 22!"

     "You're really 76."

     Faye spun around. "Spike," she threatened. He grinned, but the smirk soon faded. He looked out the window past her. Faye turned to look too.

     "What is that?"

     Faye squinted. "Space junk?"

     Rotating slowly towards the Bebop was what appeared to be a body wearing a space suit. Its blond hair flowed around it as if it were underwater. As they watched it come closer then saw her face; her perfectly preserved face.

     Spike ran for the hatch.

     "Wait, Spike! Whaddaya think you're gonna do?!" Faye yelled after him. "Bring a dead body in here?!"

     "It can't be a dead body," he called back. "Its face hasn't imploded from the effects of the vacuum."

     "Then what is it?"

     "That's what I'm gonna find out. Maybe it's worth something to someone."

    

     The crew gathered at the decompression chamber and watched the mechanical arm pull the body in. Faye stood behind the others and kept her eyes on the action. Ed bounced up and down trying to get a better view.

     "No one go near this thing for eight hours. It’s too radioactive to be safe." Jet set controls in the airlock to detoxify the body. It rested on the floor awkwardly, still frozen in a semi-fetal position.

     "That's a pretty old suit," Spike commented. It was ruined in several places, but there was no blood on it. In one place on its arm the fabric had been completely ripped open, revealing skin. "She's been out there for a long time."

     "How can that be a person?" Faye asked. "She's not even affected!"

     "Maybe it's a mannequin?" Jet suggested.

     "Maybe it's a 'horrible alien'..." Spike monotoned.

     "Maybe it's an android!!" Ed chimed.

     Everyone looked at her funny. Jet bent down and wagged his finger at her. "No playing with it, whatever it is, got it?"

     "An-droid, Cy-borg, Jinzou-nin-gen!!!" she sang and ran down the hallway.

    

.x.

     Later that evening, Faye was going into the bathroom as she saw Ed disappear around a corner. The girl had her Tomato on her head and Ein at her heals. Faye knew Ed was going to investigate the body, but the idea of a bath suited her better than getting in on the investigation.

     Almost a half an hour later, Faye emerged just as Ed was running back down the hall, giggling like mad. ‘Must be playing with the dog,’ she thought and went to get changed.

     Faye put on her yellow hot-pants ensemble and poked her head out of her door. She sneaked down the hallway. As she passed the bathroom, she heard the water running.  She could also hear Jet humming to himself as he trimmed his bonsai. Thinking the two men of the ship were pre-occupied, she grinned and went to check out the body for herself.

     Faye puzzled over what it could be. She was convinced that it had to be a real dead body. Why else would it be wearing a space suit? She came up on the little window that looked into the airlock and went pale. The lock was empty.

     Faye stuttered and turned to run back down the hall. She slammed into Spike.

     "So curiosity got the better of ya, huh?" he grinned.

     "But, but, but..." She pointed. "It's gone!"

     "What?!"

     He too looked in and made a face. "Shit. Ed?!" he called. The two charged down the hall in search of the girl. They stormed past the bathroom. "Ed?!" She giggled as she ran after Ein towards them.

     "What?" she asked dreamily.

     "Where's the body?!"

     "Body? Body, Body! Anybody, Somebody!"

     Spike groaned and pushed her aside. Faye was getting more nervous with each passing moment. They stormed into Jet's room.

     "What'd you do with the body, Jet?"

     "What the hell are you talking about?"

     "It's gone!!" Faye wailed.

     "Why do you think I’ve got it?!" he asked defensively.

     "It's dead,” Faye reminded him. “It can't just get up and walk away!" Jet got up and stomped down the hall to prove them wrong. Ed was still seated in front of the bathroom. The sound of water flowing stopped all of them in their tracks. Their heads turned slowly to face the door. Jet was silently and begrudgingly elected to be the one to open it. Spike drew his gun. Faye bit her nails and hid behind Spike. They burst in.

     She was in the bathtub still wearing her space suit. Her eyes were closed and her mouth hung open, but as they made their entrance, her head came up and her eyes flickered. "So... cold..."

     All three adults screamed and ran to the other side of the ship to get more weapons. Ed poked her head in. "Oh, Juujuu, you scared them good!" she laughed and helped the android get out of her wet clothes.

 

.x.

     Twenty minutes later, the crew of the Bebop assembled on the bridge and waited. Faye tapped her foot. "She coulda told us," she grumbled.

     "Everything's a game to Ed, you know that," Jet muttered. He leaned back against the stairwell with his arms crossed. Their eyes locked on the woman as she rounded the corner. She blinked bashfully and took a seat on the couch. Jet and Faye began to ask questions at the same time. They cut each other off three times before she spoke. Her eyes were trained on the ground.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you."

     Jet and Spike were stunned into silence, Faye was not. "Just what the hell are you that you were floating around in space like that?!"

     She brought her head up and stared at the petulant woman with her icy blue eyes. "I'm a Jinzouningen."

     "See, Ed was right!" Ed chimed and flopped down next to her. "Juuhachigou," she introduced her, "Spike, Faye, Jet and you already know Ed and Ein!"

     They all raised a brow. "Number Eighteen?"

     She nodded. The crew of the Bebop was quiet as Eighteen told her story.

 

     "Ed woke me up. I was in shutdown. I really don't know what I was doing in outer space." She hugged the blanket Ed had given her tightly to herself. "The last thing I remember there was a commotion in some little town. I was going to see what it was..." Her brows came together. "And now, it's 2071..."

     "That's a surprise to you?" Jet asked.

     "It was 1999."

     "Impossible!" Jet shouted. "How the hell did they make cyborgs as advanced as you that far in the past?!"

     "I'm not a cyborg." She frowned. "I'm an artificial human."

     Faye sneered back. "Political Correctness went out 70 years ago, Sweetheart."

     "It's not PC." She glared back. "A cyborg is part human, part machine. My entire body may be artificial but my soul is not."

     "Machines don't have souls!" Faye barked.

     "I am not a machine, not really, I don’t think." Eighteen sighed and looked back down at the floor.

     Faye huffed and turned her back on the stranger.

     Spike sat down across from her but said nothing.

     "So you were on Earth before the gate disaster," Jet mused.

     "Gate disaster?"

    

     Eighteen’s mind reeled as they filled her in on the last 70 years of history. The Earth was a wasteland. So much time had gone by now that even her grandchildren were probably dead, if she had any. Did she? Deep down all she wanted to do was go home but she didn’t know why or where that was. It must have been on Earth. That sounded right, but if there was anything to go back to, anyone she would have known would be long dead.

     Ed watched her with an uncharacteristically sad look on her face.

     "I suppose I should thank you for rescuing me," she whispered. "Perhaps there is some way I can pay you back?"

     "Got any money?" Jet asked. She shook her head. "Of course not."

     "Maybe she's worth something," Spike mumbled as he stared at her. Eighteen looked up, shocked and offended.

     "Spike! She's a person, not a thing, we can't sell her!"

     "That's not what I mean. Why were you created?" Spike asked.

     Eighteen hung her head.

     "You're a weapon, aren't you?"

     Faye looked over her shoulder.

     "I believe I was."

     "I figured if you were that old, you must have been a covert military project or something. That's the fastest way technology gets developed."

     "I hope you're not going to ask me to kill. I won't do it. And I don't recommend using force on me. If I don't want to do something, I won't."

     Spike nodded.

     "We're bounty hunters, Eighteen, not assassins."

     "Interesting." She stood up. "Maybe I can help you then."

     Faye snorted. "Yeah, right. A 70 year old robot girl..."

     "Actually my last memory is 70. I’m not sure exactly how old I am." Eighteen walked over to Faye. "Put your arms out like this," she asked, bending her own elbows and holding her forearms out. Faye hesitated, but under the glares of her ship-mates, she agreed.

     The android gently put her hands around the underneath of Faye's elbows. "Now tense up," she advised and raised her arms until she had lifted Faye three feet into the air as if she were nothing. When she put her down, Faye was pale.

     "I'm strong, fast and I can fight. If you'd like, set a price and I’ll pay you back. I’m afraid I don't know the value of money now, but..."

     The men stared, slack-jawed. "Sure!" Jet chimed.

     Spike clapped his hands together and rubbed them. "How bout 500,000 Woolong?"

     "Woowhat?"

     Jet laughed. "You help us take down a bunch of bounties, giving us a big cut till you make up 500K. That sounds pretty fair."

     "I'm telling you guys," Faye scoffed. "You're making a big mistake trusting her." She walked leisurely back to her room.

     "Don't listen to that," Jet hooked his thumb at the retreating diva. "She's just miffed there's someone better lookin’ around than her."

     Eighteen blushed.

     Embarrassed, Jet tried to rephrase that. "Er! That is, she's just jealous, you know? Ughhhh."

     "YAY!" Ed screamed as she saw the smile that was growing on the android's face. "Juujuu is a Cowgirl!"

 

Chapter Two

 

     The android was impressed to see there was a television program specifically for bounty hunters. A man named Aristotle Pakele was wanted for grand theft. He had stolen billions of dollars worth of diamonds while they were in transit from the mines on Triton to Mars. He was close by but so were other bounty hunters and mobsters anxious to steal the diamonds themselves. The Bebop landed on Mars and they went to work.

     Faye was noticeably absent when Spike and Eighteen left the Bebop. Jet and Ed relayed information to them over their two-way intercoms. On a tip from an ex-ISSP buddy, Jet led his friends straight to the prize.

     Pakele sat in a coffee shop. His long, greying beard and wide girth made him an easy target. Spike whispered to Eighteen before she crossed the street. “There’s a bounty hunter near that dumpster and probably a handful of yakuza coming up the block. Don’t forget the reward is for the diamonds and Pakele, alive. Wait for my signal.”

     “No problem.” She walked casually into the restaurant. The android was wearing a salmon colored tank top and a pair of bright blue Capri pants Faye had lent her. Eighteen had thought she’d stick out like a sore thumb, but the style here seemed to be consistent. A bell over the door made Pakele visibly nervous as she entered, but her appearance soothed him. Eighteen looked to Spike. Thumbs up.

     “Hi there, this seat taken?” she asked.

     “Heh heh, why no, Baby. Is wide open.” Pakele grinned a fairly toothless grin. Eighteen smiled seductively at him and reached under the table. Before she could grab him in an uncomfortable place, she heard the click of several guns being cocked. Pakele gasped. Outside, Spike was busy with the Yakuza and the other hunter. Inside, the whole shop was filled with the same kind of people.

     “Sorry, I know you guys saw him first, but this is my first time out. I’ve got to get him.” Eighteen stood up and faced the throng. Dozens of muzzles were aimed at her head. She snorted with amusement. “Pakele, get under the table and stay there.”

     “Huh?” he asked, astounded, but did so.

     “Ok,” Eighteen said to her adversaries dryly. “Try to get through me.”

 

     Outside, Spike swung his heel into the eye-socket of the last standing enemy and turned his attention to the cafe just as the shots rang out.

     “Eighteen!” he shouted, pulled out his gun and tried to get inside. Before he could force the door open, the sound stopped. Inside, there were bullet holes everywhere. Gangsters and hunters lay over the tables and on the floor, piled up, unconscious, but alive. Pakele twitched under the table. A neat void of bullet holes framed the area behind the android. She hadn’t let a single one reach the bounty.

     Spike stared at her, dumbfounded. Her fists were still clenched. She relaxed finally and let scores of bullets fall to the ground. “I don’t think I’ve had a workout like that in years.” She looked to the table. “Hey, Pakele, you can come out now.”

     He stuttered and crawled slowly out from under the table. “Holy shit...”

     “You can say that again,” Spike muttered.

     “Ho… Ly... Shit.”

 

.x.

     It wasn’t until after they claimed the 300K bounty that Spike asked her how she did it. Eighteen looked at him funny. “I told you, I’m an android.”

     “Yeah, I know but I didn’t see it. You can really catch bullets?”

     Eighteen smiled. “You’re impressed?”

     “Hell yeah. You’re like Superman.”

     “I saw you fighting out there too. You know your stuff.”

     “I can’t catch bullets, though.”

     “Really?”

     Spike stopped walking. “That surprises you?”

     “Sure.”

     He raised a suspicious brow.

     Eighteen smiled. “Is there a nice isolated place around here somewhere?”

     “Why...?” he asked suspiciously.

     “I could train you.”

     “To catch bullets?”

     “Maybe. Let’s take a walk, shall we?”

Spike shrugged and they wandered out of the city and into a desolate industrial districkt. "Ok," Eighteen stopped, satisfied that an abandoned warehouse was sufficiently out of the way. "I assume you're familiar with Chi energy?"

Spike nodded.

"Just let me know when I've lost you, ok? I want you to channel your Chi as if preparing to take a blow or deliver a punch. Channel it down into your hands." She held her own hands in front of her and slightly apart to demonstrate. "Concentrate that energy till you can actually see it forming a ball between your hands."

"What?!"

"Don't doubt yourself. You can do it."

Spike sweat a little as he pushed. Slowly to his great surprise, a tiny bluish ball began to form.

"There ya go! Now cool down and do that five more times." She turned and began walking away.

"Hey, wait! When do you show me how to catch bullets?"

She looked over her shoulder. "Do it five times today, and ten times tomorrow then ten more times that for the next five days, but never in the ship. I won’t be held responsible for any collateral damage. Then I might teach you something way cooler than catching bullets."

 

.x.

The Bebop crew’s next bounty was a female hacker living in a ship that she was using to control satellites primarily used to transfer funds from planet to planet. It was easy for Spike and Faye to board the ship once Ed had disabled the security matrix and Eighteen blazed them a path through the airlock door. As they ran through the entrance, Eighteen backed away from a sparking cable.

"What's the matter?!" Faye asked, panicked that they had stumbled into a trap.

"Nothing. I just don't get along with that many amps." She followed them towards the cockpit.

"What would happen if you got shocked?" Faye asked, trying to sound innocent.

"I'd probably shut down."

"Would you two quit makin' small talk?" Spike moaned. "We got a job to do."

They came to the last set of safety doors.

"Eighteen, do the honors?" Spike smiled.

"Sure, sure." She gripped the slight gap between the alloy doors and peeled them away like an orange rind. "Hello!" she chimed. The bounty, an obese woman probably in her late forties, was cowering under the ship's console.

"Holy Hanna!” She gawked at the doors. “Don't kill me, man!"

Faye cuffed her. "Just relax and we won't have her rip your arms off." The woman fainted.

"Faye..." Spike grumbled.

"No problem," Eighteen bent and picked the woman up effortlessly.

Spike marveled. "Man, what can't you do?"

"Yeah, you're a regular Swiss army knife..." Faye grumbled and followed them out of the ship.

 

That afternoon, the ship landed on Mars and everyone got some much deserved time off. Faye sighed, exasperated. “Finally!” she groaned. “I haven’t been shopping in I can’t tell you how long!”

     “Three days, ten hours,” Jet answered. “And the crap you bought the last time is still cluttering up the ship. Don’t buy anything stupid this time.”

     “Stupid?” Faye asked and put her hands on her hips.

     “Like the inflatable chair we don’t need…”

     “It deflates, you know!”

     “I’ll deflate it, alright,” Jet growled, cocking his gun.

     Spike rolled his eyes. “Come on, let’s get out of her before you two kill each other.” He looked to their new friend. “Eighteen, would you come with me?” he asked raising a knowing brow.

     She smirked slightly. “I don’t see why not. I’ve got nothing better to do.”

     Faye narrowed her eyes at her. “So what are you going to spend all your Woolong on, hm? Motor oil?”

     Eighteen scoffed but otherwise ignored her. “Let’s go, Spike.”

     Faye smoldered as she walked away. Jet had already taken his leave and Ed waved madly from the ship’s cockpit with Ein jumping up into view occasionally. “Speaking of greasy things,” Faye said to herself, grinned and strolled off into the city.

 

.x.

     In a dim, lazy bar in a bad part of town Faye lounged in a booth and waited. In a moment two men in crumpled suits slid in on the opposite side. “Whaddaya got?” said one. “Better be good,” said the other. Two more men stood in the shadows.

     “I understand you like toys,” she carefully.

     “We’re listening.”

     “I have a hell of a toy for you. An A.I.”

     The men began to get up.
     Faye sipped a soda not wanting to dull her senses around such sharp individuals. “Five foot five, blond and strong as hell.” She raised a brow. “And did I mention, female?” she said and flipped open her phone to show them a picture of Eighteen.

     “You have gained our interest,” said one.

     Faye took another drag off her cigarette and licked her teeth and grinned.

     “What’s your price?” One of them asked her.

     “70K, chump change.”

     “50,” he bartered.

     “65.”

     The man to his left breathed deep. “If she’s as strong as you say she is, why risk getting our men killed? You bring her to us.”

     Faye crushed the cigarette out. “You’re the android experts. You come get her.”

     “70K.”

     She raised her brow. “Done.”

 

.x.

     When everyone came back to the ship, Jet had a list of possible targets here on Mars which he briefed everyone on. Faye retired to her room and was thinking about taking a nice long bath to celebrate her ingenious plan when there was a knock on the door. “Who knocks around here?” she wondered and instinctively located her weapons. “Come in?”

     She was surprised to see the android standing in the doorway. “I’m sorry to bother you,” Eighteen said with that cool, artificial confidence that made Faye nervous and mad at the same time. “Can we talk?”

     She narrowed her eyes at her. “What for?”

     “I seem to have upset you somehow. Since I’m not sure what I did, I’d like to see if I can make it better.”

     “Why?” Faye almost laughed at how preposterous her intentions sounded. “You’re a machine, what do you care about what I think of you?!”

     Eighteen blinked and pouted. “I see.”

     Fayed clenched her fists. “You see what? You can’t possibly have any Idea what human’s feel!”

     Eighteen sighed and sat down. “I may not remember my past at all, but I had thought that perhaps at one point I had been human. I understand that you think of me as an object rather than a person.”

     “You do, huh? You’re more than 70 years old, you told us. You think that makes you human? Look at you! You’re perfect, false! You’re beauty will never fade. You’re strong enough to defend and provide for yourself, forever!”

     “And that’s enviable?”

     Faye growled. “Who said anything about envy?!”

     Eighteen didn’t bat an eye. “You did. My beauty, my strength; these things anger you not because you hate them but because you wish you had them. You are beautiful and strong now but you fear that being human those things will fade.”

     Faye didn’t reply with words but with her hand. She slapped the Jinzouningen across the face and seethed.

     Eighteen was unmoved. “You envy me, and I envy you.”

     “Oh, really?”

     She nodded. “I lost everything I ever knew to the past. If there were humans I knew, they would be long dead now. Anyone who could tell me who I am, where I came from are long gone. If I were human, I would have had a normal life.” She lowered her head. “I wouldn’t feel the way I feel now.”

     Faye stared at her and her posture slowly relaxed. “You’re kidding, right?” When she looked back up, Eighteen looked sad. She found the edge of her bed and sat without taking her eyes off of the android and laughed. “Oh, man. We’re a couple of sad sacks, aren’t we?” she said softly. “You don’t want to be me, honey. I have the same problem you have.” Eighteen took a seat across from her and Faye explained her story of being trapped in cryogenic stasis for fifty years and losing her memory. “Only difference is you have plenty of time to start over. Me, I’m just getting by until the end.”

     Eighteen shook her head. “But you get to change.”

     Faye sort of half-smiled. “Whoopitido.”

    

Chapter Three

 

     Spike tucked a few grenades in his pockets and made sure his gun was ready for action. “You comin’ Eighteen?” he asked the android as she was lacing up her boots.

     “Right behind you. Go ahead and launch the Swordfish.”

     He saluted and headed for his ship’s bay.

     Faye jogged into the room and came to a halt next to the sofa. “Eighteen, maybe you should sit this one out? Let me go instead.”

     Eighteen smiled. “Still jealous?”

     She grumbled. “No.” Faye pursed her lips. “Just… I could use the cash!” she laughed.

     The android shrugged, pulled on her gloves and walked to the airlock. “I’ll be back,” she called and the door slid shut behind her.

     Faye paused and stared at the door for a second before jogging back out of the room.

 

.x.

     Jet called Spike on the two-way as he sneaked into the warehouse. “Be careful, Spike. I don’t like the looks of this place.”

     “Yeah, too many places to hide,” he agreed.

     Eighteen stood very still and looked around. “There are five men in fifty food radius. Nine o’clock, nine-thirty, noon, one and one-thirty,” she stated as she detected their presence. “And three more on the upper level at three.”

     Spike took aim and grinned wide. “All we want is the bounty head, fellas. If you throw him out here we won’t have to hurt all of you to get at him!”

     The sound of guns being cocked and Jet groaning in disbelief into the two-way echoed off the empty warehouse walls. Eighteen burst forward at the group between noon and one-thirty. Spike aimed for the upper floors and fired some shots to get the men up there to scatter. He was surprised to hear Faye’s voice in his ear. “Spike! Get out of there, it’s a trap!” she cried.

     “What?!”

     “Watch out, they’re after Eighteen!”

     He turned to see where she’d gone and saw her lift a pallet off the floor to get at the men behind it. As soon as she touched it the loud crackling sound of electricity arcing filled the space and Eighteen fell motionless to the ground.

     “Eighteen!!” Spike shouted and the place erupted in gunfire. He was forced to run for cover. Jet and Faye joined him but once they were able to get back inside, the men and the android were gone.

     Faye cursed. “Come on, they must have gone out the back!” she cried and ran recklessly through the warehouse. The men followed but after a thorough inspection, they decided there was no trace of her. Faye was still upset and kicked a piece of industrial detritus and set it skittering across the pavement. “Whadda we do now?”

     Jet thought for a moment. “I bet Ed can find her. Quick, let’s head back.”

 

     Back aboard the ship Ed plugged away at her computer and swooned back and forth as she searched the net for signs of Eighteen. “Juuhachi, juu-chan, juujuubee,” she sang as she did. “Aha! Blue Fox syndicate home base just had a major drain on their power usage. Word is they acquired some fancy new tech-weapon.”

     “Is it her?” Faye asked.

     “The Word doesn’t know yet. Blue Fox says ‘none of your business, bai bai!’” she laughed as she lost the connection with the criminals.

     Spike frowned. “Where’s the Blue Fox HQ?”

 

.x.

     When they arrived, it seemed Ed’s poking around had prepared the gangsters. The place was virtually deserted. Spike, Jet and Faye approached from different locations, guns ready to break and enter. To their surprise, Eighteen came out to see them.

     “Hey, she’s ok!” Jet called.

     Spike narrowed his eyes. “No, she’s not.”

     The android had been given a trench coat worn by the Blue Fox gang members. She took strange, almost sleep-walking steps forward and came to a stop. Her head turned mechanically and her left arm pointed at Jet. He was only just able to dodge the energy beam that shot from her hand. “I hate it when you’re right!” Jet shouted and took up a defensive position around the corner of a neighboring building.

     “Just ‘cause I’m right doesn’t mean I know what to do!” Spike shouted back. Before he could think of a suitable plan he noticed Faye out of the corner of his eye coming up from behind. “What are you doing, Faye? Get back! I know how strong she really is. You can’t beat her!” he barked into the two-way.

     “I’m not going to fight her,” she said calmly. “Hi, Eighteen. Remember me?” she asked, drawing the android’s attention who lifted her hand a fired a shot that nearly took the woman’s ear off. Faye paused but continued to approach. “I’m going to make this right,” she said, clenching her fists. “We are the same. We’ve both forgotten. We’re both out of time,” she said carefully.

     “Faye, Stop!” Jet called. “They must have reprogrammed her, she can’t hear you!”
     “I don’t believe that!” Faye shouted. “I know you’re in there, Eighteen, because you’re a person, not a machine, right?” Eighteen showed no signs of backing off and her hand glowed again, readying another attack. Faye cringed, but didn’t back down and didn’t fire her own weapon at her. When the blast failed to take her down, Faye opened her eyes and saw Spike standing in front of Eighteen.

     “You don’t want to do this,” he said, his arms were pressed against hers as if he had blocked her in the blink of an eye. “Listen to Faye, Eighteen. Snap out of it!”

.x.

     Back on the Bebop Ed typed faster than she had ever typed before. “Bebop to Juujuu. Bebop to Juujuu. Come in… Juujuu!” she chimed. “Open says me!”

.x.

     Eighteen narrowed her eyes and relaxed but didn’t answer Spike. For an agonizing second he wasn’t sure he made the best decision until she relaxed and flew up into the Blue Fox’s second-story window. The sound of gunfire and humans screaming preceded an eerie silence.

     Jet came out of hiding and joined Spike and Faye at the front steps. “Spike, I didn’t even see you move, how did you do that?” he asked but Eighteen re-emerged before he was made to answer.

     “Eighteen!” Faye cried.

     She saluted. “Yo.”

     “You ok?” Spike asked.

     Eighteen nodded. “Thanks to Ed, I remember now. I remember everything.”

 

.x.

     Ed, Faye and Eighteen remained holed up in Ed’s room for hours on end when they returned. Faye sat quietly and observed most of the time as Ed tweaked away on her computer which was attached to the back of the android’s head. When she had finished, Ed unplugged and flopped down into a low bow before her. She pressed her forehead to the ground. “Ed is really really really really sorry!” she said loudly.

     Eighteen smiled. “You meant well.”

     Faye made a face. “Mind cluing me in?”

     Eighteen patted Ed on the top of her head and she sprang back up into a sitting position. “When you found me, Ed woke me up. When she hacked into my memory, she saw what I’d been through and realized it was what caused me to shut down. She blocked the memories so that I could function again.”

     Faye pouted. “What happened?”

     “I lost everything. I watched my husband and children grow old and die. I watched the places I lived in grow and change yet I didn’t. I had to move else the humans would start to wonder. Eventually I found some new friends and there was a glimmer of hope that I could find a new existence, but they were destroyed and I was left floating in space. I wonder what ever became of Harry’s head. I was holding I when I shut down…” she said dreamily.

     “Children?” Faye asked. “So you were human!”

     “I think so. I never got to ask my creator, but I’m capable of having children, of feeling love, of feeling loss just like a human.”

     “You’re creator was a genius,” Ed said slowly. “He imported you from someone else and now Ed knows how.”

     Faye and Eighteen blinked at her. “You do?!”

 

.x.

     A few days later Jet was beginning to worry. No one had emerged for more than a moment to get food or use the facilities in all that time. He and Spike milled around listlessly, wondering but every time they tried to find out what was going on they met with Ed’s wrath.

     The three women emerged at last looking tired and giddy, like a girls’ club that has been keeping secrets from the boys. The watched them carefully, but got no clues as to what had transpired. Eighteen was dressed to go out with a leather jacket and a duffle bag over her shoulder.

     “Going somewhere?” Jet asked.

     She put the bag down and looked to the other girls. “I’m leaving.”

     “Leaving, leaving?” Spike asked.

     “Leaving, leaving. I’m sorry I only made you 300,000 woolongs.”

     “Actually,” Jet said and scratched his head. “Those Blue Fox guys had a few heads among them. We got more than enough to make up for it thanks to you!”

     Eighteen laughed awkwardly. “Well, that’s good!” They stood in silence for a moment. Eighteen looked as if she was trying not to tap her foot. “It’s been great! Maybe I’ll come back and see ya sometime!”

     They saw her out to the spaceport where she waved goodbye and blended into the crowd. “That was sudden,” Jet commented. “I was kinda getting used to having a sensible woman around.”

     Faye scoffed. “Sorry about that,” she said and put her hands behind her head. “And Spike,” she said with a sly grin. “Sorry I never got to teach you how to catch bullets.” Faye walked away and they noticed that she wore a pair of slacks, a white tee-shirt and a black vest rather than her usual provocative ensemble.

     Ed giggled at the men’s reactions and chased after Faye as she led them out of the spaceport. “Juujuu is a cowgirl!” she chimed again.

    

 

END


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