An Unlikely Alliance
"Are we there yet?" Enoki moaned and held on as Kama sped toward their destination.
"For the last time, NO!" Every nut and bolt in his body was starting to ache from carrying her for hundreds of miles.
"Y'know, I don't think you're really as fast as you said. We'd be there by now if you really could break the sound barrier."
"I can't well do it when I've got a passenger, now can I!?" Their argument continued until they reached the gates of Mobile Fortress Three, one of the constantly moving Mod Cities. The guards stationed at the gate helped them up into the scanners to check them for ID and modifications.
"Hikari Kama and Kokoro Enoki? Oh, hey, Kama! It's been awhile since you were around here, yeah? Where've you been?" Kama shrugged.
"Uh, business trip. You know, sort of a short notice deal, but it took me longer than I thought. Just bringin' the missus back home. We're newlyweds." He plugged his elbow in her ribs. "Just play along. They don't trust you. Some of the guards here have seen some sick stuff; they're kinda paranoid." Enoki smiled and put her arm around his neck, slipping her thumb under his pressure point.
"Sure thing, dear." The guards finished checking their ID and opened the doors for them.
"Well, there you go. Congrats, Kama, you old dog! I never figured you'd be the type to settle down, but I guess I was wrong!" The other guard slapped Kama on the back.
"Picked a winner, too. See you later, Mr. and Mrs. Hikari!" Enoki kept Kama's pressure point under her thumb as they walked through the blast doors. "Gee, they're pretty close, huh? Reminds me of high school days…" The doors slammed shut behind them, and Enoki dug into Kama's neck.
"What was that about, perv? I knew it, you just wanted to get closer to me, didn't you! I swear to god, I'm gonna kill you!" He tried to reach high enough to get her thumb out of his neck, but he couldn't move his arm.
"Hey…you wanna pipe down here while all these people are staring at us?" Enoki looked up to find a sea of faces, all watching the scene intently.
"Oh, uh…sorry, folks. Newlyweds, you know. Now come on, honey. We've gotta go find a hotel." She picked him up off the ground and manhandled him through the crowd. Once they were in an alley, she threw him up against the wall. "Can we continue?" He picked her hands off of his jacket.
"Look, short stuff. Apparently you don't like me, and to me, you're just a thorn in my butt. A painful one, at that. Now why don't you go your way, and I'll go mine. Fair enough?" She huffed.
"Fine. Just don't come crying to me the next time you get your butt shot off by a few troopers, perv." She stormed off, leaving him alone in the alley.
"Finally." Kama turned in the opposite direction and, without hesitation, went on his way.
The Medical Center's neon sign still blazed brightly in the deepening twilight. Kama saw "CLOSED" printed in seven different languages on a sign in the window, but he ignored it and opened the door.
"Hey, guys, I'm home. Ya miss me?" A young brunette, previously filing her nails with a tool in her index finger, leapt from the receptionist desk and launched herself at him. A blue-haired number at a computer terminal jumped in unison with the brunette, locking Kama in a hug.
"You're back, big brother! Where'd you go this time?"
"God, you lazy bum! Send us a wire every now and again! We get worried sick about you!" He picked his foster sisters up and set them on the receptionist desk, pulled up a chair, and leaned forward to tell his tale.
"Well, you see, I was surrounded by at least twenty troopers. Not only that, but they had three artillery units with them! I tried to run to a better vantage point from which to begin my brutal and unforgiving attack, but one of the artilleries launched a mortar and blew the building out from under me! So there I was, stuck in midair, when all the troopers started firing at once. I didn't have a chance."
"You dodged all the bullets, didn't you, onii-chan?" The blue-haired girl interrupted.
"No, Kitsune, they shot me thirty times. But it was just a flesh wound. Now don't interrupt." She nodded. "Anyway, as I was saying, I didn't have a chance. But by some miracle of God, they didn't hit me. So do you know what I did, Ahou?" The brunette shook her head no. "Well, I ran right up to the captain and picked his pockets. I got a good wad of dough, too. And do you know what I did with all that sweet moolah? Well, can you guess?" Both girls shook their heads and waited in anticipation. "Why, I got these for my two dearest sisters in the whole wide world, that's what I did." With a magician's flourish, he whipped two genuine roses out from under his sleeve. "You might want to freeze-dry 'em or find a stasis jar; real flowers don't live too long." The girls gasped and took their priceless gifts from Kama.
"Oh, thank you, big brother!"
"Yeah, these are great! You're the greatest brother a girl could have!" He kissed them both on the forehead and replied,
"Yeah, I know. Is the doc in?" Ahou got back to her seat behind the reception desk.
"He's in the back eating his second lunch. Now you'd better come back and say goodbye before you try to sneak out again, you got that, onii-chan?" He smiled and saluted.
"Of course, little miss. Private Kama would never disobey a direct order from the cutest First Lieutenants around, now would he?" The girls giggled and got back to their work.
"Doc? Hey, Doc, you in here?" Kama crunched his way through a lake of wrappers and soda cans, finding the occasional half-eaten Twinkie in the motley landfill.
"Kama? Is that you? Over here, kid!" He rounded a scale replica of the ancient Eiffel Tower, skillfully constructed from soda cans, and sat in a buried office chair. "It is you, my boy! It's good to see your face around here. It doesn't happen too often anymore, you know. So what can I do for you?"
"I'm just here to say hi before I get on my way again. I just couldn't pass through City Three and not say hello to my family, now could I? C'mon, I'm not that irresponsible." Dr. Kin munched on his sandwich in a firm agreement.
"Oh, yeah. I just got something that I figured you might be interested in. Have you ever thought about joining the F.F.?" He pulled up an address and name on his monitor.
"The Freedom Federation? That bunch of ground-pounders? Why are you asking me, doc?"
"Well, I found the address of one of the recruiting agents. He lives in the East district, in 557. His name's Kenkaku Rei, and I think you should talk to him. It'd be good if you joined the army, Kama. They need stronger Mods like you." Kama shook his head.
"No, doc. I'm not gonna join the army. I'm all for our right to live and all that, but not when I've gotta follow orders from a bunch of stuck-up politicians." Dr. Kin sighed.
"Oh, well. Just think about it, will you? It'd be a good thing, trust me." Kama nodded.
"Sure, doc. I'll think about it. It was good seeing you, but I'd better get off." The pudgy doctor stood up and hugged Kama, shook his hand, and saw him out the door.
"So, why are you so busy these days? You really don't visit that often, Kama. The girls can barely stand it when they know you're out there alone, and I get worried, too." Pushing the door open, Kama sighed.
"Doc, I don't know what I'm looking for yet. But you'll be first to know when I find it, okay? I love you guys. You're my family. And nothing's gonna change that." He stepped into a demolished lobby, chunks of drywall and computer terminals strewn across the floor. Kit was lying in a pile of rubble, an ugly cut on the side of her head. And in the middle of the room, a troop of soldiers stood in formation behind a trooper that held Ahou's neck in his fist.