The noise of the bird from the Bavarian cuckoo clock on the living room wall as it gaily announced the hour of midnight. The sound woke the young woman sprawled across the nearby couch. She yawned and stretched hugely, then peered at the digital display on top of the entertainment center across the room. 01.27 hours. I'm going to have to have the timing mechanism of that clock checked, Sylia Stingray thought vaguely.

The old movie she'd been watching had ended long ago, and whatever it had given way to had itself given way to a rebroadcast of the late news. Sylia yawned again, then pulled herself together long enough to turn off the newscast with the remote control, then stand and begin making her way toward her bedroom, shedding clothing as she went.

The sudden shrill ringing of the telephone shocked her wide awake...


SYLIA’S NIGHT OUT

A Bubblegum Crisis
Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Story

by Jeanne Hedge


Does Sylia answer the telephone?
No - go to Part 27
Yes - go to Part 8

* * * * *

Part 1

"Nope," Nene said. "I just checked, and ADP was able to handle it by themselves." The other Knight Sabers could hear the smile in her voice.

"As I said, nice job everyone. Now let's get back to base before something problematic happens," Sylia ordered.

THE END

Top

* * * * *

Part 2

"This is getting old!" she uncharacteristically shouted to the universe in general, then grabbed the cushion from a nearby armchair and launched it at the telephone, knocking it to the floor.

Now why did I do that? The sudden self-realization came that she'd been acting very strangely all evening, from falling asleep while watching that old movie to throwing pillows at the telephone. It bore investigation, but not now.

She resumed her aborted trek to bed, not even bothering to pick the phone from the floor. Her slap at the room's main control panel as she passed surrendered the living room to the shadows.

Go to Part 30

Top

* * * * *

Part 3

Linna approached the boomer from above and to the side, braking and changing her direction in a perfectly timed movement developed over the years to allow her monomolecular ribbons inflict the maximum damage on her target.

Unfortunately, the boomer wasn't nearly as vulnerable as she'd supposed. In a lightning quick move it snapped its head around and fired, the beam from its mouth cannon catching Linna squarely in the chest, blowing a very large hole completely through her body.

When Sylia and Nene arrived seconds later, they found Priss fighting like a berserker, pieces of her hardsuit charred or missing from near hits from the boomer's cannon. A particularly near miss threw Priss head-first into the pavement, where she lay, unmoving.

"Nene, jam it!" Sylia called out as she began her own move against the murderous machine.

Nene, already at Priss's side and dragging her to the inconsequential cover provided by the highway divider wall, replied, "I'm already on it." And then, seconds later, "Sylia, her neck's broken! Priss is dead!" The call distracted Sylia at a critical moment in her duel with the boomer, and she, too, was eviscerated by a shot she was slow in dodging.

Nene never saw the boomer coming for her.

THE END

Top

* * * * *

Part 4

"Then I think that should be more than enough to deal with it, don't you, Nene?" Sylia asked the Knight Sabers' mole at the AD Police Headquarters. "Let it go for now, but call me if things get worse."

"All right, if that's what you want," Nene said dubiously. "Good night."

"Good night, Nene." Sylia carefully set the handset back into its cradle.

What is wrong with me tonight? The sudden self-realization came that she'd been acting very strangely all evening, from falling asleep while watching that old movie to yelling at Nene when she was only doing her job. It bore investigation, but not now.

She resumed her aborted trek to bed, her slap at the room's main control panel as she passed surrendering the living room to the shadows.

Go to Part 30

Top

* * * * *

Part 5

"Sylia, is that you?" Nene Romanova whispered cautiously.

"Yes, Nene, it's me," she replied. "What's wrong?"

"Have you seen the news? There's a group of about a half-dozen boomers tearing things up over in Roppongi," Nene replied with more than a bit of trepidation. "We're sending in six of the Tac squads to handle it, but I've heard a few people talking about bringing in the army."

Fight Boomers or Continue the Job?
Fight Boomers - go to Part 7
Continue the Job - go to Part 19

Top

* * * * *

Part 6

"Yes," Sylia said curtly as she moved to the edge of the roof. "Let's get going."

Go to Part 39

Top

* * * * *

Part 7

"Thank you for calling Nene. Can you still get away?"

"Yes, I think so."

"Good. Meet us here as soon as you can."

"OK, see you then," Nene replied, almost cheerfully, before she disconnected.

Sylia held the handset a few moments longer while she mentally reshuffled her priorities. Then she turned to face Linna and Priss, both looking at her expectantly, waiting for her to fill them in on the change in plans.

Go to Part 39

Top

* * * * *

Part 8

Sylia glared at the offending instrument. For a brief moment she considered not answering, but only for a moment. No one called at this hour unless it was bad news. "Hello, this is Stingray."

A male voice on the other end of the line replied with one word, "Scramble." In response, Sylia enabled the security functions built into her phone's handset. "I'm here," she replied. "What is it, Fargo? It's late."

"I've got an offer for your group," he began, all business for once. "I don't think it's too big of a deal, but it's short-term and pays well. The problem is that they want you right away. You'll only have about two hours to get into position."

Does Sylia accept the job?
No - go to Part 28
Yes - go to Part 35

Top

* * * * *

Part 9

"Nope," Nene said, looking up from a large piece of boomer she was examining with Sylia. "I checked on the way back here, and ADP was able to handle it by themselves." The other Knight Sabers could hear the smile in her voice.

"Amazing, ain't it," Priss said facetiously. "Wonders never cease."

Fortunately for Priss, she was able to duck the swiftly moving boomer part Nene pitched at her head.

THE END

Top

* * * * *

Part 10

The Knight Sabers shadowed the limousine as it sped through the early morning darkness. Sylia couldn't think of any reason the Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister for Cultural Affairs would need extra protection for a trip to Haneda Airport, but someone was obviously concerned enough to hire them.

Sylia and Nene were staying on the rooftops, maintaining actual visual contact with their client's car. Priss and Linna were closer, still out of view, but not so far back that they couldn't get to the limo in a hurry if needed.

As the car neared the airport's exit ramp, a motorcycle roared up behind the limo, seemingly from nowhere, and then held its position about 100 meters from the vehicle's rear bumper. "Nene, are you getting anything?" she asked, indicating the motorcycle.

Nene scanned the motorcycle and rider. "Nothing unusual. Either he's human, or he's really well shielded against scans."

I don't like it at all, Sylia mused. When the motorcycle started to narrow the gap to the limo, she began snapping orders. "Priss, Linna, get up there. Check this motorcycle out, black...."

What does Sylia say?
"...with red stripes." - go to Part 17
"...with gold stripes." - go to Part 13

Top

* * * * *

Part 11

The boomer swerved the motorcycle to dodge Priss's fire, but that put it directly into Linna's path. She approached from above and to the side, braking and changing her direction in a perfectly timed movement developed over the years to allow her monomolecular ribbons inflict the maximum damage on her target.

When Sylia and Nene arrived seconds later, their client having been safely delivered to the airport, all that was left was to take samples from the formerly shape-shifting boomer lying in three pieces on the pavement.

"That was really weird," Priss commented as Sylia, squatting next to the boomer, took the samples for further investigation. "But then it was really slow too."

"Sylia, what's going on in Roppongi?" Linna asked. "Do we need to get over there?"

Is there still a problem in Roppongi?
No - go to Part 9
Yes - go to Part 29

Top

* * * * *

Part 12

"Sylia, got it."

"OK, let's go."

Nene and Sylia reached the door...

Do they open the door?
Yes - go to Part 20
No - go to Part 23

Top

* * * * *

Part 13

"...with gold stripes. Be careful. Nene, come with me."

While Sylia and Nene moved out of the shadows to provide a close and obvious escort for the limo on its final stretch, Priss and Linna quickly bracketed the mysterious rider, Linna moving close from behind, Priss dropping to the road in front of the mysterious biker, and taking aim.

To the surprise of the two Knight Sabers, the rider did not slow in response to their presence. In a matter of moments, the front of his helmet split, the lower half dropping down as if it were the jaw on an opening human mouth. But it continued to open past the point where a human's jaw would have stopped, and a very familiar weapons array appeared in the gap.

"Boomer!" Priss and Linna called out the warning simultaneously, and Priss leaped straight up, firing as the motorcycle passed underneath her.

The boomer....

What happens to the boomer?
...shook as it was struck by Priss's accurate fire. - go to Part 14
...swerved the motorcycle to dodge Priss's fire. - go to Part 11

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* * * * *

Part 14

The boomer shook as it was struck by Priss's accurate fire. Priss fired again, but missed cleanly. The boomer leaped straight up, taking the motorcycle with it, and began shifting form.

It reminded Linna of the transformation sequence of one of their motoroids shifting from motorcycle form into exoskeletal armor. She was certain, though, that what she was seeing wasn't even remotely a 'boomer' on a modular 'motorcycle', but rather some kind of shape-shifting boomer.

No matter, she thought as she deployed the monomolecular ribbons attached to her hardsuit helmet and began her own attack run. It was still shifting, and she was going to see if it was as vulnerable when changing modes as the motoroids were.

Is Linna's attack successful?
Yes - go to Part 22
No - go to Part 3

Top

* * * * *

Part 15

"Nope," Nene said. "I just checked, and ADP was able to handle it by themselves." The other Knight Sabers could hear the smile in her voice.

"Linna, Priss, unless Inspector McNichol needs you for something else, get clear and return to base," Sylia ordered.

"See you in a bit, then," Priss acknowledged as she jetted away from Leon, who stood next to his now upright motorcycle with a bewildered look on his face.

Linna, on following on Priss's heels couldn't resist the easy opportunity. "Oh, Leon needs Priss all right," Linna sent in response to Sylia's message, "but we're on our way."

THE END

Top

* * * * *

Part 16

"Nice-- wha?" Spotlights flashed on, pinning the Knight Sabers in their glare, momentarily blinding them until their helmet visors could compensate. Linna spun back toward the corridor, only to find it filling with heavily armed ADPolice troopers. Firebees and other, heavier, aircraft buzzed overhead. "Sylia, there are combat boomers out there," Nene said, her voice quivering.

"This is the AD Police," a man's voice announced, the loudspeaker rendering it unrecognizable. Almost.

"Leon," Priss hissed. "What the hell is going on here, Sylia? Let's get out of here!"

"Knight Sabers, you are under arrest for armed robbery, industrial espionage, operation of a mercenary group, and other charges."

"This is garbage, Sylia. Priss is right, let's get out of here," Linna urged.

"You are surrounded. You are to power down your weapons and exit your hardsuits. You have 30 seconds to comply."

"Sylia? What do we do?"

"What do you think we're going to do, Nene?" Sylia said mildly. "Knight Sabers... sanjou!"

THE END

Top

* * * * *

Part 17

"...with red stripes. Be careful. Nene, come with me."

While Sylia and Nene moved out of the shadows to provide a close and obvious escort for the limo on its final stretch, Priss and Linna quickly bracketed the mysterious rider, Linna moving close from behind, Priss dropping to the road in front of the mysterious biker, and taking aim.

The rider, startled, laid his bike over and skidded to a stop nearly at her feet. The black-clad motorcyclist slowly sat up as Priss approached, Linna still backing her up, and removed his helmet with a groan. "Oh crap," Priss said, a little disgustedly, over the intercom, "It's Leon. No idea what he's doing here, but his bike is down and he won't be a problem."

"Right," came the reply from Sylia. "Our client has been delivered, the contract is complete. How is Inspector McNichol?"

"Looks like a little road rash, but I think he's fine otherwise. Priss is helping him check out his bike now," Linna observed. "Sylia, what's going on in Roppongi? Do we need to get over there?"

Is there still a problem in Roppongi?
No - go to Part 15
Yes - go to Part 36

Top

* * * * *

Part 18

"Nice job, everyone."

"This didn't take long," Linna observed. "Sylia, what's going on in Roppongi? Do we need to get over there?"

Is there still a problem in Roppongi?
No - go to Part 1
Yes - go to Part 6

Top

* * * * *

Part 19

"Then I think that should be more than enough to deal with it, don't you, Nene?" Sylia asked the Knight Sabers' mole at the AD Police Headquarters. "Let it go for now, but I'll keep an eye on it. If things get bad we can abort the contract and lend a hand later. All right?"

"All right, if that's what you want," Nene said dubiously.

Sylia chose to ignore the doubt in Nene's voice. "Can you still get away?"

"Yes, I think so."

"Good. We'll see you then."

Go to Part 37

Top

* * * * *

Part 20

Nene and Sylia reached the door and opened it. At their appearance, Linna announced, to Sylia's consternation, that Priss was scouting on ahead. "Priss," Sylia radioed, "hold your position. We'll go out together."

The trio traveled swiftly, meeting their fourth member just short of the exit. Her group reunited, Sylia began to feel a little better. Perhaps this wasn't a set-up after all.

Nene quickly scanned the door for any alarms, and found none. "OK, ladies," Sylia said as she pushed it open and stepped out onto the roof.....

What does Sylia say?
"Nice..." - go to Part 18
"Nice-- wha?" - go to Part 16

Top

* * * * *

Part 21

Sylia, now wide awake, stomped back across her living room and grabbed the telephone. "What?!" she snapped.

"Sylia? Is that you?"

Sylia took a deep breath and held it for a quick count of ten, slapping the back of the handset into the palm of her hand with each count. "Yes, Nene, it's me," she finally answered. "What's wrong? Why are you calling this late?"

"Have you seen the news? There's a group of about a half-dozen boomers tearing things up over in Roppongi," Nene Romanova replied with more than a bit of trepidation. "We're sending in six of the Tac squads to handle it, but I've heard a few people talking about bringing in the army."

Do the Knight Sabers fight the Boomers?
No - go to Part 4
Yes - go to Part 40

Top

* * * * *

Part 22

Linna approached the boomer from above and to the side, braking and changing her direction in a perfectly timed movement developed over the years to allow her monomolecular ribbons inflict the maximum damage on her target.

When Sylia and Nene arrived seconds later, their client having been safely delivered to the airport, all that was left was to take samples from the formerly shape-shifting boomer lying in three pieces on the pavement.

"That was really weird," Priss commented as Sylia, squatting next to the boomer, took the samples for further investigation. "But then it was really slow too."

"Sylia, what's going on in Roppongi?" Linna asked. "Do we need to get over there?"

Is there still a problem in Roppongi?
No - go to Part 9
Yes - go to Part 29

Top

* * * * *

Part 23

Nene and Sylia reached the door, but before they could open it an alarm siren began to wail. Linna, who had been waiting as instructed, crashed into the room, and nearly crashed into them as well. "What the hell is that?"

"I'd say somebody missed something." The anger in Priss's voice lent a staccato rhythm to her words as they came over the radio. "Sylia, I'm about half-way to the exit, and there's nothing out here. What do you want me to do?"

"What are you doing out there?" Sylia replied, surprised, as she led the others from the room and into the corridor. "No, never mind that. Hold your position, we'll go out together."

The trio traveled swiftly, meeting their fourth member just short of the exit. Her group reunited, Sylia began to feel a little better. Nothing had happened to them yet, perhaps it would take the token security force a while to respond to this alarm. If they worked for her, she'd fire them for their slow response.

Nene quickly scanned the door for any alarms, and found none. "OK, ladies," Sylia said as she pushed it open and stepped out onto the roof.....

Go to Part 16

Top

* * * * *

Part 24

The Knight Sabers made their way down the darkened corridors of the Asahoryu Cybernetics Corporation's research facility. They'd been guaranteed that no one, save a token security guard force, would be in the building at this hour, and so far this seemed to be the case. Having the schedule of the guard's rounds made entry simple, and Sylia hoped things stayed that way. When things went this easily, she tended to think they'd been set up.

Linna, who had been scouting ahead called out, "Here's it is. The room is clear."

As the others moved to join Linna, Sylia gave them their instructions. "Nene, get those prototype plans and get out of the system. Don't take anything extra this time, I want to get out of here. Priss, Linna, keep watch in the corridor. This shouldn't take long."

Leaving Priss and Linna behind, Sylia and Nene stepped into the computer room. Nene quickly jacked in and started to search for the plans.

It didn't take her long.

What does Nene say?
"Sylia,..." - go to Part 12
"Sylia!..." - go to Part 34

Top

* * * * *

Part 25

"Sylia, I don't believe this!" Nene cried.

"Nene, what's happened?" she replied, slightly concerned. "What's wrong?"

"My motorbike's broken down!" Sylia sighed, closed her eyes and counted to ten to herself, and sighed again. Why couldn't things ever be simple? "I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to have to take a cab, and I might be a little late," Nene continued.

"Yes, well, that's fine Nene. Thank you for letting me know, and I'll see you later."

"Right! Later!" came Nene's cheerful reply, then she hung up.

Sylia turned to face Linna and Priss, both looking at her expectantly. "Nene's motorbike has broken down, and she'll be a little late."

Priss snorted as she went back to work on the hardsuits. "I told her to get something better than that overgrown sewing machine, but does she listen to me? No!"

Go to Part 42

Top

* * * * *

Part 26

Someone, or something, had stepped out from behind an overturned ADP interceptor. It was followed by another, and another, until there were six figures in a closely spaced group, all moving toward them.

“They’re human,” Nene reported, while subjecting the approaching figures to a battery of scans. “Twenty meters. Eighteen. Fifteen. Sylia?”

As Sylia was opening her mouth to warn the group away, they changed direction, moving toward a caved-in storefront, and then stopped. Nene, who had continued her scanning, suddenly exclaimed, “That can’t be right!”

“Nene, what is it?” Sylia questioned. Nene’s response wasn’t directed to her leader.

“This is just too weird. Priss, are they carrying what I think they are?”

Priss shifted her own imaging scan to an enhanced mode and gave the waiting figures a closer look. “What the hell? Those are instruments!”

“Huh? Instruments? Musical instruments? Did someone loot a music store?” Linna wondered with some surprise.

Sylia was just as confused. “I don’t know, Linna. You and Priss get over there and find out what’s going on. Be careful.”

The two Knight Sabers slowly approached their objective, stopping when they were about five meters away. “What are you doing out here? It’s not safe,” Linna told them. “You’d better take cover until the all-clear is announced.”

“We can’t,” one of the women, the one carrying a set of percussion instruments, called back.

“Why not?” Priss wanted to know. “Have you been forced out here?”

“We’re here for you,” the man carrying the bass guitar said as if this was obvious.

“For us?” Priss and Linna looked at each other in puzzlement.

“Sure,” the sax player said. “We're your theme music. Every good hero should have some. Now go get those boomers!”

THE END

Top

* * * * *

Part 27

Sylia glared at the offending instrument. For a brief moment she considered answering, but only for a moment. It couldn't be any of the others - they would not contact her on that line. She was too tired, it was too much trouble to go back across the room, the bed was too inviting. Besides, if it was really important, whoever it was could leave a message. She resumed her slow shamble towards bed, her slap at the light switch as she passed the room's main control panel surrendering the living room to the shadows.

***

High atop the most controversial corporate headquarters building in the world, Chairman Quincy of Genom placed the telephone handset back into its cradle. He had thought that this late, or early, depending on one's point of view, she'd have been home to take his call, especially since there were no reports of her group having made any appearances in the past week. But she hadn't answered, and he wasn't about to leave a message. Maybe one day she'd find out about the opportunity she'd missed, but somehow he doubted she would.

Quincy turned to address the only other person in the room. "Ms. Madigan, you've served this company well and faithfully for many years now."

"I was only doing what was expected of me, sir."

"And if it wasn't what was expected, would you have done anything differently?"

She considered her answer for a moment. "In the details, perhaps, for a few things. But for the ultimate outcome, no. I would never do anything to bring harm to this company."

The Chairman nodded to himself. "Very good. Ms. Madigan, I find myself interested in other activities, things that my current position make it difficult to pursue. I am resigning from my position, effectively immediately. You are the new Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Genom. It has already been approved by the Board." But only as second choice, if Sylia didn't accept, he silently mused. Perhaps it's better this way, but I wonder how long it will be before anyone tells you that story.

"You will do well, I think," he continued to the stunned executive. "But always remember, Ms. Madigan: Genom is a respectable company."

THE END

Top

* * * * *

Part 28

Sylia yawned once again as she considered his words. She wished she had more detail about what was involved, but to protect the client he wouldn't give her that information unless she accepted the job. "Is it an emergency?"

"No, not really. Like I said, they just want it to happen now."

Sylia sighed. "No."

"No?"

"No. Lack of planning on their part does not constitute an emergency on mine," she quoted. "Good night, Fargo." It took moments to disable the security she'd implemented for the conversation, and then she was once again on her way toward the bedroom.

And then the telephone she'd just set down shrilled again.

Does Sylia answer the telephone this time?
No - go to Part 2
Yes - go to Part 21

Top

* * * * *

Part 29

"Yes," Sylia said curtly as she stood up. She stowed the samples into a small storage compartment in her suit's right thigh armor, then turned her attention back to the rest of her team. "Let's get going."

Go to Part 39

Top

* * * * *

Part 30

Sylia Stingray did manage to get her sleep that night, because she'd accidentally disabled the ringer function on every telephone in her penthouse when she'd carelessly slapped at the living room's control panel to turn the lights off.

And so, when six boomers in Roppongi were joined by six others and overran the AD Police, and Nene Romanova's frantic calls to the Knight Sabers leader went unanswered, she slept blissfully on. And when the Self-Defense Forces set up a defense line two blocks from her penthouse atop the Ladies 633 Building, she slept unknowingly on. And when combined fire from the Boomers, the SDF, and the ADP collapsed the Ladies 633 building, Sylia Stingray slept the sleep of the dead.

THE END

Top

* * * * *

Part 31

Nene and Sylia reached the door, but before they could open it an alarm siren began to wail. Linna, who had been waiting as instructed, crashed into the room, and nearly crashed into them as well. "What the hell is that?"

"I'd say somebody missed something." The anger in Priss's voice lent a staccato rhythm to her words as they came over the radio. "Sylia, I'm about half-way to the exit, and there's nothing out here. What do you want me to do?"

"What are you doing out there?" Sylia replied, surprised, as she led the others from the room and into the corridor. "No, never mind that. Hold your position, we'll go out together."

The trio traveled swiftly, meeting their fourth member just short of the exit. Her group reunited, Sylia began to feel a little better. Nothing had happened to them yet, perhaps it would take the token security force a while to respond to this alarm. If they worked for her, she'd fire them for their slow response.

Nene quickly scanned the door for any alarms, and found none. "OK, ladies," Sylia said as she pushed it open and stepped out onto the roof.....

What does Sylia say?
"Nice..." - go to Part 32
"Nice-- wha?" - go to Part 16

Top

* * * * *

Part 32

"Nice job, everyone," Sylia said, as she led them toward the edge of the roof. "We'll deal with the client later, but for now--"

Linna cut in. "Sylia, what's going on in Roppongi? Do we need to get over there?"

"Are you insane?" Priss shouted, and leapt over the side. "Who cares! Let's get the hell out of here!"

THE END

Top

* * * * *

Part 33

Nene and Sylia reached the door and opened it. At their appearance, Linna announced, to Sylia's consternation, that Priss was scouting on ahead. "Priss," Sylia radioed, "hold your position. We'll go out together."

The trio traveled swiftly, meeting their fourth member just short of the exit. Her group reunited, Sylia began to feel a little better. Perhaps this wasn't a set-up after all. But she was definitely going to have a few words with both Fargo and their client.

Nene quickly scanned the door for any alarms, and found none. "OK, ladies," Sylia said as she pushed it open and stepped out onto the roof.....

Go to Part 18

Top

* * * * *

Part 34

"Sylia! I can't find them. There are no plans in here. I think we're being set-up!"

"Damn. OK, Nene, you know what to do."

It took moments for Nene to plant and her special worm virus into Asahoryu's computer system and send it on its destructive way. "OK, Sylia, done."

"Then let's get out of here. Nene and Sylia reached the door...

Do they open the door?
Yes - go to Part 33
No - go to Part 31

Top

* * * * *

Part 35

Sylia yawned once again as she considered his words. She wished she had more detail about what was involved, but to protect the client he wouldn't give her that information unless she accepted the job. "Is it an emergency?"

"No, not really. Like I said, they just want it to happen now."

Sylia sighed. "All right. But it's a triple fee. Lack of planning on their part does not constitute an emergency on mine."

"I don't think they'll go for triple scale," Fargo said dubiously. "I'm fairly certain I can get double, though."

"That's acceptable. Send me the details."

"Transmitting now."

An hour later, Linna Yamazaki walked into the hardsuit storage area in the basement of the Ladies 633 Building, unannounced but not unexpected. Priss Asagiri had arrived only a couple minutes earlier, but was already engrossed in arming the Knight Sabers' hardsuits. Sylia, as usual, was reviewing information at a computer terminal. "Hey, where's Nene?" Linna asked.

"Late again," Priss replied without looking up from her work.

Sylia glanced up at Priss, then turned toward Linna, but her comment was cut off by the ringing of the telephone, and she grabbed the handset instead. "Hello?"

Who is on the phone?
"Sylia, is that you?" Nene whispered cautiously. - go to Part 5
"Sylia, I don't believe this!" Nene cried. - go to Part 25

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* * * * *

Part 36

"Yes," Sylia said curtly.

Priss was surprised. "If it's so bad, why isn't Leon there?" she wondered.

"That's not our business. Linna, Priss, get clear and return to base," Sylia ordered. "Nene and I will meet you there. We'll do a quick charge on the suits and re-arm them, and then go back out."

Go to Part 39

Top

* * * * *

Part 37

Once Nene arrived, Sylia briefed her team, and then the four Knight Sabers climbed into their hardsuits.

"Keep your minds on what you're doing," Sylia reminded them as they moved toward the exit. "This shouldn't be difficult, but there's no reason to be sloppy either."

"Absolutely," Linna agreed.

How does Priss reply?
"It's just a body guard job, what could happen?" - go to Part 10
"What's a little industrial espionage between friends?" - go to Part 24

Top

* * * * *

Part 38

Someone was waving at them from behind an overturned ADP interceptor. "He's human," Nene confirmed, while subjecting the now approaching figure to a battery of scans. "Hey, it's Daley!"

Go to Part 41

Top

* * * * *

Part 39

The street in the southwest section of the Roppongi Ward was in shambles by the time the Knight Sabers arrived on the scene. One look at the battle zone and they immediately separated so that one shot or explosion could not take them all out. Power was out in the area, and it seemed that local emergency power generators were off-line as well. A burning fire engine provided most of what illumination there was in that small part of hell. Nearly every building in sight bore some degree of damage, betraying the fury of the battle that had taken place here.

Priss spotted something beyond the flames. "Hey, what's that?"

What did Priss see?
someone waving - go to Part 38
something moving - go to Part 26

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Part 40

"Thank you for calling Nene. Can you get away?"

"Yes, I think so."

"Good. I'll call Priss and Linna, you meet us here as soon as you can."

"OK, see you then," Nene replied, almost cheerfully, before she disconnected. Sylia replaced the handset into its cradle, then strode purposefully from the room, all thoughts of sleep driven from her mind. There was much to do, after all.

Go to Part 39

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Part 41

By this time, he was more than half-way to their position, and Sylia, Linna at her side, went out to meet him. He was battered and bloodied, and, to Sylia's surprise, had a smile on his face. "Come to help us clean up, have you?" he greeted them cheerfully.

Sylia looked again at the destruction before replying. "It looks like you've had quite a battle here, Inspector Wong," she said over her suit's external speakers. "But from your reaction, I take it that things are under control?"

"Things are over," he answered, smile widening even more. "Once we got our new jamming gear going, the boomers just froze and shut down. It was easy pickings after that. I'm just waiting for the explosive disposal team to get to this block and sweep the site before I can go home."

Sylia smiled in response to his words. The ADP's new jamming equipment was a gift from the Knight Sabers, although no one, save one, at the ADP knew that. Although it was one generation down from Nene's current suite, she was happy to see the ADP make such good use of it. "Well then, since we're not needed, I think we'll just go on our way. Good day, Inspector." Sylia turned back to her team, switching from her suit's speakers to the Knight Sabers' communications channel. "Things seem to be well under control here, ladies. Let's get back to base."

THE END

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Part 42

“Nene! Just the one I was looking for!” Leon McNichol’s booming voice was the last thing Nene wanted to hear as she disconnected her call to Sylia.

“Oh, uh, hi Leon. I was just calling a cab, I have to go home, I’m not feeling well you know?” Nene shuffled her feet a little and tried to look sick.

“That’s odd. You didn’t look ill when I saw you in the cafeteria a little while ago,” Leon said, a little suspiciously.

“Well, it was kind of sudden. You know...” She motioned at him, and he leaned closer. “You know, women’s trouble,” she said softly, playing her trump card. That sort of thing always made men queasy, and she was sure he’d send her on her way immediately.

Unfortunately for Nene, Leon McNichol just smiled as he straightened back up. “Well, then, a little hard work is the best thing you can do for that sort of thing. Puts it out of your mind, my sisters always said. Come on,” and he took Nene by the arm and led her back toward his office, “you can help me get tonight’s raid coordinated, and then organize the after-action reports.”

***

When the reports of the raid began coming in, Nene was still bemoaning the fact that Leon McNichol had sisters. One of the early reports caught her eye, and she blanched as she read it. She contacted the field commanders to confirm it, Leon, to re-confirm it, and then made five outside calls, two which were answered and also confirmed the information she’d received.

Nene carefully stacked the reports on her desk, then boarded an elevator to the roof of ADPolice headquarters. It was a little cold at this time of night, so she pulled her uniform’s dress gloves on, fumbling slightly as two of her fingers tried to go down the same finger opening. Eventually she got things straightened out, and stood quietly on the roof, looking out over the city she’d helped to protect.

And then, very carefully and crisply, as if on parade, Nene Romanova, the last Knight Saber, marched off the top of the building.

THE END

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Author's Notes:
I hope you enjoyed yourself and didn't make any wrong turns along the way. Never let anyone tell you that writing a 'choose your adventure' story is easy.

For those who are curious, if I counted correctly, there are 28 stories, 43 sections, 20 decision points, and 11 different (and not so different) endings.

Thanks to Andy Skuse, Bert Van Vliet, and Shawn Hagen for their time and comments (I still like the version with Priss “dropping the road” in front of things, Shawn). And to Keenan Ivory Wayans for I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.

Comments are always welcome. Bubblegum Crisis, and the characters of Bubblegum Crisis, are owned by other people. I just borrowed them for a bit.


Story Page back to the Short Story Page.

Sylia's Night Out, 28 October 2001