A Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki fan fiction story
chronicled by Dro'gan NiteFlier
Disclaimer: Tenchi Muyo!, its characters and settings, © Hitoshi Okuda, AIC / Pioneer LDC, and Viz Communications, Inc. Some elements taken from the Shining Spiral, used without permission but with great respect.
The merchant looked up from putting money from his last deal away. Yep, that girl was still there.
"Hey, kid," the elderly man called.
The kid started, then looked at him. "Y-yes?"
The merchant gave a wry grin. "You gonna buy something, kid? Or are you just going to look at my wares and sigh like you can't make up your mind all day?" The girl gave a small smile of her own at this, and the merchant wondered at her odd eyes and hair. He'd never seen anything like them before, and he had traveled a bit around this sector before settling here. “Listen, I'll even give you a discount, a cute girl like you distracts from my customers, and I'll lose more from them sighing over you than if I take a hit from your sale. Well, kid? What are you looking for?"
The blue-haired girl grinned now, and pointed out one of his crystalline theorem/structures. With a mock grimace the merchant carefully picked up the creation and wrapped in concealing, protecting paper. "If I didn't know better, I'd say I'd been had. But then, no one really understands these, not even me, and I make them!" The grimace turned into a true smile. "You did play me, didn't you?"
The girl just grinned even wider, and accepted the crystal. She passed the merchant a coin, and scampered off, hidden by the crowd in seconds.
The merchant turned to put the coin into his box, when he noticed the golden sheen in the dim lighting of the bazaar. He held the coin close to his eyes, and to his surprise, saw a curious figure and strange script on it, but quickly realized that it was not the credit that he had asked for, but a golden Ducat, that was perhaps equal in worth to the theorem/structure.
"Well, I'll be damned."
The blue-haired girl wandered out of the bazaar, and headed forward, toward the docking bays. The station was built strangely, compared to others in this sector of space, with the rotating section build long-ways, but then, the station's history was strange.
The girl shook her head, and changed course, heading for the room they had rented for their time here, even though the cost was exorbitant. And, she sighed to herself, if she was not always paying full for things instead of taking them cheaper, or stealing them outright, money would not be as big a problem as it was now. But, as her sister said repeatedly, one should only save such measures for when they were needed.
Damn Ryoko for her conscience, anyway. And for being hers, too.
Information was the lifeline of living and working in space. It was thus that Ryoko was glued to the datascreen while her sister was out, trying to find any jobs on the station or on outgoing ships. There were a few opportunities here, but even more leaving every day on the ships.
She sat back in her chair and considered the small room around her. It was meant for one person, and was rather cramped between the two of them, but there were no paired jobs leaving the station for quite some time. At least if they stayed in one spot, they needn't be forced to do the same work. And besides, cabins on ships were so much smaller!
But it had been far, far too long since she had looked up and seen sky.
She was distracted out of her reverie by the grating noise of the door opening, and looked over to see her sister with a package in hand. Ryoko groaned aloud as she almost heard the sound of more of their diminishing funds slip away.
"Its not that bad, Ryo," the blue-haired girl complained. "It only cost me one coin!"
Ryoko snorted as her sister put the package down on the table. "Sister-mine, you've got to understand economics! Do you know how much it will cost us to move something of that size when we leave? Probably ten times as much as it cost; more if you didn't spend the coin that I'm thinking of. And that was our last Ducat, too! Now we're just down to credits and other less accepted monies…"
"Well, at least look at it before I take it back," she demanded.
"I didn't say that we were going to take it back!" Ryoko started unwrapping the paper covering the object. "I just said that it'll cost us a bundle to take it any…" Her eyes grew wide as she saw what was under the plain covering.
"I knew that you would like it, sister." She smiled, and hugged Ryoko, although the slit pupils never left the crystal statue.
"Where…" Ryoko licked her dry lips and turned to her sister. "Where did you find this?"
Her red eye winked at Ryoko. "Where I find all things that you find special, sister. All things."
Ryoko shook her head and hugged her sister tightly. "Ah, one of these days, sister-mine. One of these days, Sasami."
"Well, at least we have some money coming in!" Sasami said. "You were right, that last jump almost killed our bank, especially with that crystal! You sure you want to keep it? I mean, you were right, it's going to hurt our funds every time we move somewhere."
Ryoko rolled her eyes and walked over to the other girl. "So pessimistic! We'll find a way; we always do!" Ryoko looked at the display Sasami was working on. "Sister-mine, that's bank data. It's supposed to be quite secure, if I am not mistaken."
Sasami pouted. "Oh, come on! We need money, and if I just alter it, I can make it so that I take a few cents from a lot of other accounts, and put them all into one for us. I can do it so that even the bank won't notice it!"
Ryoko looked the other girl in her eyes. "Sasami."
The girl winced at her tone. "Yes?"
The taller girl shook her head slowly. "No, Sasami."
"But—!" Sasami started.
"No," Ryoko said firmly.
"Forget it, sister-mine. We'll work with the system, not around it," Ryoko stated. "And speaking of such, it's time you got ready for work!"
As the aquamarine-haired girl trudged off to get ready, Ryoko looked at the display once more. Then she shook her head, and turned the computer off.
There would be no shortcuts for them. Not one at all.
The sight of the stars winking through atmosphere.
The scent of flowers and growing things.
The sound of children playing in the grass.
The feel of the wind as it brushed across skin.
It had been far too long since either of them had looked up and seen the sky.
The crystal statue sat in the darkness of the cabin, waiting quietly for its owners to return. Its creator had made many such as it, but it was the only one that had ever left the small stand in the bazaar for any real length of time. As Ryoko had said, the price of something even so small was not to be considered by those who normally traveled the bazaar. But the collective had never thought that after so long being in one place, stuck through chance creation, that one of them would be placed so far away on the whims of two seemingly ordinary teenagers.
The key there being "seemingly".
The theorem/structure began to glow softly as it initiated contact with others that had been made by the same creator. The pair, one bearing marks that indicated great power, and one who had begun showing a different sort of power, were anything but "ordinary".
"How long has it been, sister-mine?"
"Since what? Our coming to this station? About a year."
"The longest we've ever been in one place, yes?"
"Yeah… has it been worth it? You never let me near the accounts nowadays, so I have no clue how well we're doing. We could be so far in debt that we could be digging ourselves out for the rest of our lives, because you haven't told me! So, has it been worth it, sister?"
"Oh, come on! Tell me how much we have to work off!"
"Not much, not much… After, that is."
"After…? After what?"
"Well… After the trip to… hmm… Lets say Hope—"
"But that's a whole sextant over!"
"Yes, but its also one of the best places for shipbuilding, you know."
"Ship… Shipbuilding? We…"
"We are going to save up just a bit more money, and then go there, and you and I are going to pick out a ship for ourselves, and go wherever we want! No more waiting for jobs to open up, no more downtime where there isn't anything to do, no more doing what others tell us! We will be let loose, with no one but ourselves to stand between us and our dreams! We will—"
"As long as you ain't 'pposed to a short… stopover… in 3491 by 7883 by 937, I c'n get you ta Hope Yards quick and cheap."
"We're not exactly concerned about speed. More concerned about getting there safely. If you catch my meaning?" Ryoko raised her eyebrows.
"Ah get 'cha. Jes' be ready ta leave tomorra." The rock miner waved her away and went back to his drink.
Ryoko sighed, and wished to the goddess above that there had been a more reputable ship going to Hope Shipyards. It just seemed like there was no ship willing to cross that particular area of space because of the war between the Republic of Iteral and the Sidevale Confederacy. It could have been easier to hitchhike around the Core, even if it meant going through every sextant to get to Hope. But that would have taken time, and it would have meant going through Jurai.
She shuddered as she walked back to the cabin that they had rented out. For some reason, any mention of Jurai always sent a shiver up her spine, and neither she nor Sasami could figure it out. Her sister always got a warm feeling when referencing the Jurai Empire, while she always felt as if someone had walked over her grave.
It was disquieting to say the least.
When she reached the cabin Sasami and she shared, she checked it over once more for listening devices. Paranoid of her, to be sure, but for what she had found of herself, dangerously necessary.
She hadn't yet told Sasami of this, but she suspected that her sister knew all the same. There were very few secrets they kept from one another, ever since the two of them had awoken in the orphanage, so long ago, without any recollection of who they were before they had arrived. They had bonded then, becoming friends because of circumstance, and had remained that way even after running away from the orphanage when they were both barely ten years old.
It had been shortly after that that she had discovered something about herself. She had been locked out of the building they were hiding in, and she could hear the siren call of security forces coming nearer and she needed to get inside, to get away from those who would contain her!
She had phased through the door.
She had been so startled that she had forgotten to put her feet back on the floor.
But she hadn't fallen.
Now she could float, and perhaps fly, if she had enough room. She could phase through solid objects with ease, and due to an unfortunate encounter with a group that had tried to rape her… had found other, less pleasant abilities.
Now she practiced in the dim lighting of the cabin, honing her abilities, making sure that they could be called when needed.
Even if she hoped that she never did.
Sasami looked over to the bunk where Ryoko was sleeping. They had been on this ship for nearly a week now, and they were almost to the sector that the miner had been so enthused about. It was worrying her, how much he wanted to go there, almost as if he were driven by something.
Unfortunately, such things could only be endured, and hoped that the voice in the back of her mind was right, and that this would turn out well.
To be continued.
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