Kaze ran from her home, still tugging on her new jumpsuit she had bought the day before. Well, it's as good a night as any to wear the thing- though I had wanted to test out my new suit tonight. Oh, well. She slowed her run to a walk, still trying to get her hair dry. God, why'd they have to chase me down on an overpass above a river? Doesn't anyone just do good, old-fashioned drive-bys anymore?

She almost ran into 12 and her guest after just rounding a corner.

"Oh-oops! Sorry!" She stepped back a bit, observing the visitor. He was about medium build, had probably never handled a gun in his life, and was wearing a sweater with a moose and red leaf on the front.

"No, that's okay. Are you the mercenary, Miss..." She frowned at the word mercenary. Sure, that was one of her jobs, but she was a professional, not just some hired gun.

"Yeah. Just call me Kaze." Okashii shook her hand repeatedly, brimming with excitement.

"Oh, thank you for accepting this job! God knows what could happen to me." She pulled her hand from his grasp and cracked a couple of knuckles.

"Ah... no, I've already met a few of your 'friends.'" 12 tugged at a bandage on Kaze's forehead.

"Well, now that we all know each other, why don't we go get something to eat?" 12 walked back to the house with Kaze and her guest in tow.


"Yo, 23, what's for dinner?" Kaze knocked on the counter to get the cook's attention. The robot shuffled up to the counter and knocked right back.

"We've got sashimi, chicken, and a few burgers on the grill. What'll you have?" Okashii asked for the chicken.

"Screw it. I'll have a burger, and try to find some fries with that, could you? I'll go shopping with the truck tomorrow." 23 stumbled.

"But, mistress... you're supposed to be on a diet..." She slammed her fist on the counter.

"I said to hell with it. We have a guest, remember? I can eat whatever I want. On that note, pull out that bottle of sake." The droid reached far into the fridge and pulled out a dusty old bottle with a jolly roger on the side of it. He quivered as he set it on the counter.

"Gee, you seemed a little hesitant when you gave that to me." The robot chattered.

"I remember when you brought that bottle in and drank half of it. I still have nightmares." He shuffled over to Okashii. "You'll want to stay in your room and lock your door tonight. If you hear gunshots, don't come out." The doctor shivered as 23 left to get his food.

That night, Okashii locked his door and let the screams and sounds of buckshot boring through walls put him to sleep.

The next morning, Kaze woke up in her bed with nothing but a splitting headache on her mind.

"Man, we must've had a wild party last night. I hope I didn't drink all of my special sake..." her foot bumped into a bottle lying on the floor. "Oh, god... I did..." She walked from her room and into the long hallway, surveying the scene. The walls were studded with dents and open holes, and an empty shotgun was lying on the ground. Even now, repair bots were putting caulk on the walls and repainting. Upon entering the ballroom, she found a contracer issuing commands to several service drones to repair the flaming chandelier and the hole in the marble floor. He turned and looked up at the woman in her pajamas descending into the wasted battleground.

"You have a rough night, Ms. Josei? We got a call this morning from your maid and came in as soon as we knew you were asleep." He turned back to his work and barked a few orders at an aimless drone.

"Are you feeling better this morning, mistress?" 23 had just given her her eighth cup of coffee. She rocked her head back and forth, muttering to herself that she'd never buy the stuff again. That's what you get for bringing home-brewed sake from Kyoto into your kitchen, she told herself. Okashii sat down next to her and drank from his coffee.

"I have to admit, you had me pretty scared there. I didn't go to sleep until after I heard you screaming about how there was no ammo left for your gun. Do you do that often?" She rested her head on the counter and laughed.

"Wow, I'm wasted. I need to go for a drive. You wanna come?" Okashii stepped back.

"I don't know if that's such a good idea..." Kaze got up and took the keys from 23.

"Look at it this way. I'm supposed to be protecting you, and I can't do that if I can't keep a close eye on you, right? You're coming." He followed her outside to her parking lot. Okashii looked around at all the cars that she owned.

"Which one are we taking?" Kaze's finger tapped a button on her keyring.

"Who said anything about a car?" The lot split open and a streamlined jet ascended above the asphalt. "I always take it out for a spin after a long night."