DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To thedatajunkie[at]gmail.com
SERIES: Part 2 of BGC Blues.

By The Datajunkie


Priss tossed the wrench back into the toolbox and sighed. The sound was a strange combination of relief and pleasure. There! Okay, let's see if I've learned anything from Sylia these past weeks. She swung her leg over the bike and turned the engine over. The growl was eager and Priss listened carefully, not hearing the slight tremor that she'd been trying to fix.

"All right!" She shut the engine down and climbed off of the motorcycle. Priss knew a great deal about bikes, but Sylia knew more and she had been teaching her how to perform more complex adjustments. Looks like I get a gold star. She smiled as she began to clean up the rest of the tools she'd used. Smiles came more easily now, but she didn't realize this. Only Sylia and the others had seen this slow change in her.

Priss carried the toolbox back to its place, passing in front of the large window that ran the length of one wall. The sun streamed in, flashing off her arm. Priss didn't notice. She had come to accept this part of her, as impossible as it had seemed at first. Her fear of cybernetics was fading, but she still hated boomers with an intensity that could surprise the others even now.

Priss set the box down and straightened, feeling the muscles in her back protest. She'd started work this morning and a quick glance at her watch revealed it to be late in the afternoon. "Damn time flies!" She went to get her jacket and left the garage. Sylia would be back soon and they were going to have dinner then go on to Hot Legs for Priss' show. The elevator dinged quietly as it deposited her on Sylia's floor and Priss slipped through the half open doors.

Sylia tightened her arms around Priss' waist and leaned into the curve as they flew around a corner. The bike hugged the road, refusing to be thrown off and the wheels screamed in protest. The low sound of laughter filled Sylia's helmet and she smiled at Priss' pleasure.

They arrived back at Sylia's place and Priss tugged her helmet off and leaned over the bike. She ran a loving hand over its side and whispered softly as Sylia dismounted. "There's a girl! The wind's no match for us."

Sylia pretended she didn't hear this as she keyed in the code for the elevator, Priss being a little touchy on the subject of her relationship with the cat. Sylia wondered if she should be jealous of the large hunk of metal, but Priss' arms came around her from behind and she knew better. She leaned back into Priss' embrace and felt the soft touch of her lips on her neck.

The elevator chimed and Priss moved them inside, but didn't let go. She reached out a hand and hit all of the floor buttons. As the doors slid shut Priss slipped Sylia's jacket off and began to unbutton her shirt.

The soft glow of the lamp beside the bed wasn't strong enough to light the entire room, but Sylia could see Priss clearly. She was lying on her back, her face turned to Sylia. Priss had drifted into sleep a little while ago, but Sylia was in no hurry to join her.

It was in these unguarded moments that she could see Priss without all of her walls and defenses. Without her anger driving everyone back. Sylia lightly stroked the line of her cheek and realized how young Priss was. She'd seen so much, but then they all had. She traced the lines of Priss' face, careful not to wake her. The soft skin of her throat beckoned and Sylia let herself explore her lover's body freely. The steady throb of her heart vibrated through her fingers as she moved over the pulse in Priss' throat. She followed the line of her collarbone and paused at the beginning of the artificial implants.

Sylia let her fingers glide over the warm metal, pausing when Priss mumbled in her sleep and tossed the arm up over her head. Hmm. A little sensitive. Might need to make a few adjustments. She went back to the base of Priss' neck and began to work her way down again.

Her fingers found the soft hollow between her breasts and her hand brushed the sides of the valley she was traveling. Priss' body reacted and Sylia resisted the urge to climb those tempting hills. She continued downward, following the silky stretch of skin under her breasts and down her side.

The raised edge of the scar ended Sylia's exploration. She knew why Priss had not had this blemish removed like all of the others. This was the lingering reminder of Sylvie and Anri. The thought of the secrets that still remained between her and Priss caused Sylia to wince. How do I tell her? Do I really want her to know?

The subtle change in breathing alerted Sylia to the fact that Priss was awake. She looked up from the scar and found Priss watching her. Priss raised her hand and ran it down the length of Sylia's body. "Can I play, too?"

Sylia bent over her and pushed all of her doubts and lies into the back of her mind. The time of judgment would come all too soon.

Priss watched Sylia dart in to strike the boomer and scowled. That wasn't what they'd planned. Sylia was leaving herself wide open and Priss raced across the rooftop towards her. The boomer's fist was inches away from her helmet when Priss' kick knocked it back several feet. Linna zipped through and sliced the boomer into pieces with a defiant toss of her head.

The flowing ribbons made short work of the machine and she turned to see Priss and Sylia standing toe to toe. "I can't believe you did that! Where's your head?" Priss' low voice growled over the com link and Linna tried not to laugh as she continued to admonish Sylia for something she herself was wont to do.

Sylia waved her arm in a quick gesture of impatience. "I knew what I was doing, Priss. Let's get out of here." They left, but Priss wasn't finished.

Sylia stowed her helmet and turned to find Priss waiting for her. Damn. She said nothing and pushed past her. Priss grabbed her arm and turned Sylia to face her. "Talk to me, Sylia. What's going on?" Sylia shook her head, but Priss was determined. "Damn it Sylia! That stunt was worthy of me. You're the rational one, remember? What's wrong?" Sylia jerked free and left the room without answering. Priss watched her go and slapped the wall in frustration. The sound of crumbling plaster didn't register as she went after her.

Sylia let the door slam behind her and immediately chided herself. This is childish. You aren't a child anymore, Sylia. The phone rang and she hit the activate automatically. Sylia bit back a groan as she saw who it was.

"Hi." There was a long pause. "You haven't told her have you?"

Sylia frowned. "No. It's proving to be more difficult than I expected."

"You could always stop this. She doesn't have to know."

"I can't do that. I would know. That type of lie eats away at you and it would always be there.... waiting."

"You're running out of time, Sylia. You have to make a decision about Sylvie." The sound of Priss' gasp had Sylia turning and Nene terminated the link when she saw her. "Uh...Bye."

Priss had heard everything. "What about Sylvie?"

Sylia's voice was low. "I have to show you something."

Priss stepped into the lab and stared. The room was filled with electronic equipment. Every wall was covered with computers, monitors, consoles and a dozen other machines that Priss couldn't identify. A large metal case was positioned in the center of the room and Priss followed the tangle of cables that was running form it to the machines around it.

Sylia went to a terminal and began to key in commands. The huge video screen mounted to one wall began to scroll information in a dizzying rush. The display suddenly changed and Priss saw the thermal outline of a body.

The series of numbers that scrolled past meant nothing to Priss, but one caught her attention. 33-S. She looked at the container again. She wouldn't have... Priss didn't remember moving, but she was beside Sylia instantly. "What have you done?" Her voice was high and angry.

Sylia flinched and cursed herself for not telling her sooner. She could feel Priss' outrage and she slowly turned to face her lover.

Priss made a dismissive gesture with her hand. "Tell me this is not what I think it is."

Sylia raised an eyebrow and shrugged. "I told you I wouldn't lie to you again."

Priss gasped and turned to the container. A touch slid the top back and she found herself staring down at Sylvie. She was floating in a clear fluid, her nose and mouth covered by some kind of mask. Hoses ran to the side of the tank and beyond. Priss heard the rattled hiss and realized that it was a respirator. She laid her hands on the glass cover and tried to make sense of what she was seeing. "What is this?"

Sylia sighed and wondered where to start. Priss was going to ask the impossible. "About two months ago, I was alerted to the fact that Genom was making inquires as to the whereabouts of Sylvie's body. I knew Genom had to have reason, so I made sure that I found her first."

Priss gritted her teeth. "You didn't want Genom get anything you might want, right? So you swiped the body of my-..." She broke off as she realized what she'd been about to say.

"Actually I had a nobler intention. You won't believe this, but I had wanted to make sure that she wasn't broken up for spare parts and that she received a decent burial."

Priss' laugh was derisive. "Then what is she doing here? Alive!"

Sylia came around to the other side of the tank and stared at Priss over Sylvie's body. "She's not alive, Priss. Her neural relays were severely damaged. Only the motor systems are still working." Sylia touched the glass. "She's brain-dead. Her memories are gone." Priss made a small sound of pain and Sylia continued. "I found out were she was being stored and broke in. It was fairly simple as the ADP evidence vaults are about as secure as a child's toy box. I brought her back here, intending to arrange for a burial, but I was curious as to why Genom suddenly wanted her."

"No one was more surprised than I was to find most of her systems intact. There had been a great deal of deterioration to the outer shell and I decided to repair it before burial. I used the information from the data disk and began the repairs. I admit that part of me thought she might be revived, but when I discovered the amount of damage to her logic circuits, I knew there was no hope. Whatever Genom may have wanted was gone, along with her memory."

"Why didn't you tell me about this?" Priss was crying. Sylia touched her hand and tried not to let it hurt her when she pulled away.

"I didn't want you to see her in that condition. You have enough nightmares already. Once the shell had been repaired, I waited only for the right moment. I also wasn't sure how to tell you."

Priss wiped her eyes and looked at Sylia. "Are you sure you can't save her?"

Pain blossomed in Sylia's chest. Did she realize what she was asking? Sylia saw the despair in Priss' eyes and wondered if she could hurt her again. "The chances are so slim as to be almost non existent, Priss. Even then, she wouldn't be Sylvie. She might even go rogue." Priss said nothing, just continued to watch Sylia with the same steady gaze she'd had the night Sylia had approached her about joining the team. It was look of someone who had been badly hurt and was calmly waiting to see if you were going to finish the job. Sylia sighed. She couldn't do it.

"I'll try."

Sylia watched Priss leave the stage. She had been good tonight, but the edge that had been in her voice was obvious to everyone. She lit a cigarette and drained her glass. Somehow, she had to perform a miracle. Sylia thought of Sylvie's relationship with Priss and wondered if that was why Priss was doing this. Did she hope to regain her lover? Sylia winced. What about her?

Priss climbed onto her motorcycle and roared away from the club. She didn't see Sylia raise a hand as she stepped out into the street. She didn't see the flash of pain that crossed her features as she left her behind.

The streets rolled out in front of her in an endless black stream. She passed cars and buildings, the city whipping past her in a kaleidoscope of dark blurs and bright lights. Priss watched the needle climb as images of Sylvie crowded her mind. Her laughing eyes haunted Priss and she tried in vain to out run them.

The instant that Priss had tightened her finger and fired that fatal shot was like a slow burning ember that refused to die. Tears streamed down her face and the road became obscured. A million times Priss wanted to call back that action. To stop herself. There must have been another way to stop the DD. It didn't have to end like that. Sylvie didn't have to die.

When she could see nothing but the tears she slowed and pulled off of the road. Priss removed her helmet and wiped her eyes. She was startled to find herself in the same spot where she had caught up with Sylia months before. The thought of Sylia was like an electric shock and Priss groaned. She had left her at the club! They had ridden together on Priss' bike and she had left her stranded. Priss felt a wave of shame wash over her and she hurried back onto the road. Sylia would be home by now.

Sylia heard Priss come in and watched the clock tick off another minute. She'd called a cab and returned home when she realized that Priss wasn't coming back. The bedroom door opened and shut, but Priss didn't speak. Sylia had lain there for hours, wondering if Priss would ever come here again.

Priss saw Sylia lying on her own side of the bed and winced. The neatly folded covers where Priss usually slept were a silent reproach. Sylia was turned on her side, away from Priss, a gesture of dismissal. Priss undressed quietly and pulled the covers back. Sylia didn't move as she slid into bed and Priss watched her back for long minutes.

She sighed and touched Sylia's shoulder. "I'm an ass."

Sylia said nothing, but silently agreed.

Priss moved closer and wrapped her arm around Sylia's waist. "I needed to think, but I shouldn't have done that to you. I'm sorry, Sylia." Priss buried her face in Sylia's neck and inhaled deeply. "I didn't handle this well, did I?" Her lips brushed Sylia's ear and she felt her shiver. Priss permitted herself a tiny grin, but kept it out of her voice. "I don't now how you put up with me." Priss punctuated her words with light kisses along Sylia's neck. " I'm stubborn. Rude. Arrogant. Willful. Temperamental. A reckless fool. A lost soul." Priss' teeth scraped her skin and small gasp escaped from Sylia's lips.

She rolled over and stared up at Priss. "Sounds like very good reasons for throwing you out."

Priss saw the fading pain and the beginnings of desire. She smiled down at Sylia and let her hand slip up to her breast, feeding the desire. "Yeah, but you won't."

Sylia arched into the caress and forced herself to speak normally. "Why won't I?"

Priss' voice was a playful whisper just before she took Sylia's lips. "Because I'm too good in bed."

Priss felt Sylia leave the bed and groaned. Her words were garbled as a pillow blocked half of her mouth. "Whruging?"

Sylia looked back at the tangled mound that was Priss and laughed. "What?"

The mound shifted and Priss' tousled head appeared. "Where are you going?"

Sylia tightened the belt on her robe. "I'm going to shower and then I have some business to take care of." She left the room and Priss sank back against the pillows. A glance at the clock showed the time to be a little after seven. Priss heard the water come on and imagined Sylia standing under the spray. A mischievous grin formed and she tossed the covers back. "I bet I can make you late."

There was a startled exclamation and a half-hearted protest that was quickly silenced. Then only the sound of the shower could be heard.

Linna watched Nene's fingers fly over the keyboard and shook her head as 'Access Granted' flashed across the screen. She made it look so easy. "What are you doing?"

Nene didn't look away from the monitor, but she smiled at the sound of Linna's voice. "I'm trying to hack into a couple of government files for Sylia. She needs some information on the 33-S and the way they store memory."

Linna frowned. "Why?"

Nene's fingers faltered and she glanced at Linna. "She's trying to revive Sylvie."

There were several moments of stunned silence as Linna absorbed this. "I think you'd better explain."

Sylia stared down at Sylvie and idly wondered if she could just switch her off. Immediately images of Priss' reaction pushed the thought from her mind. "I wonder if you realize how much trouble you're causing." Priss hadn't spoken of Sylvie again, but Sylia knew better than to hope that she'd changed her mind. They were playing a game with each other now. Priss was being very careful not to slight Sylia in any way while Sylia pretended that she wasn't bothered about trying to bring Sylvie back. She felt like they were balancing on a knifepoint. One misstep....

The door behind her opened and she turned to see Linna enter the room. Sylia observed her worried expression and the quick looks she sent Sylvie. She's talked to Nene. "Did you need something?"

Linna frowned at Sylia and pointed to the boomer. "A better explanation for why you're doing this would be nice."

Sylia smiled at her expression and began to check the system settings again. Which she had just done, but she suddenly needed something to do with her hands. She didn't look at Linna as she spoke. "Priss asked me to."

"Oh. Well that makes perfect sense. Priss asked you so you're going to attempt something that could blow up in our faces! Good grief, Sylia! If Priss asked you to shoot yourself, would you do that too?" Linna scowled at Sylia's grin. "You know what I mean! When did you suddenly become Dr. Frankenstein?" The slight stiffening of Sylia's body told Linna that she'd hit a nerve. "I don't understand, Sylia. Have you thought about what will happen if you actually manage to pull this off? What will happen to you and Priss?"

Sylia's fist struck the console and Linna jumped. "I know the risks, Linna!" She turned and Linna could see what Sylia couldn't hide. The same person was tearing her in two directions. "I would like nothing better than to pull the plug on the chamber and end this now, but I can't. Between my own guilt and Priss' request, I've been put in the unenviable role of reviving my lover's lover."

"Surely you can talk Priss out of this?"

Sylia's laugh was flat and just a little desperate. "Priss is playing the considerate lover role to the hilt. I hold the all of the cards, you see. Without me, there can be no resurrection. Priss needs me to perform the miracle. Every time I try to talk to her about it she just smiles and says that she has faith in me." Sylia rubbed her face and stared at Sylvie. "That's the truly terrible part, Linna. Now I don't know if she means it when she says that she loves me. I only know that I still love her and I can't deny her this. So I'll do my damnedest to bring Sylvie back and pray that when Priss is given the choice.... she'll choose me."

There was nothing Linna could say.

Priss slipped into the lab and approached the chamber slowly. The outer lid slid back and she stared down at the woman she'd killed. She was a boomer, but that had never really meant anything to Priss. She was Sylvie. It was hard to grasp the fact that this woman had been Priss' lover and yet was a boomer. The wild conflict of love and hate that raged in Priss would have given Freud a field day. She traced the glass above her face and spoke softly. "I wonder if you realize how much you changed me? Sylia thinks I'm doing this because I want you back, but she's wrong. I keep reliving that moment over and over again, trying to find something I overlooked, missed. There should have been another way, Sylvie. You shouldn't have had to lose your freedom." She closed her eyes and whispered, "I want you to have that chance for freedom, Sylvie."

"I can't think of an easy way to tell you this, but Anri is dead. Maybe if I practice it enough while you're like this, I can find the courage to tell you face to face. She was killed by a rogue boomeroid named Largo. He'd conned her into believing a lot of crap about a new race of boomers and taking over the world to make it a better place. I tried to save her, Sylvie." Priss didn't notice her hand slip under her shirt to trace the scar on her side. The unconscious gesture was a part of her mannerisms now. Anri's blade had sunk deep and Priss had welcomed the pain. Memories would surface and she would reach for that puckered reminder that she had failed. "I'm sorry, Sylvie."

Her voice dropped even lower and she focused on her friend's face. She didn't notice Sylia enter. "I love you."

Sylia froze and backed silently from the room.

Nene downloaded the information to Sylia's computer and briefly considered changing the data. The things she had discovered would help Sylia restore Sylvie's memory. Which would probably cause Sylia to lose Priss. Nene wondered how everything had gotten so out of control.

Her video link buzzed and she hit the button to see Sylia on the other end. "Hi. Did everything come through okay?"

Sylia's voice was subdued, but that was normal now. "Yes. Thank you for your help, Nene. This should be the last of what I need."

Nene frowned and opened her mouth, but Sylia's expression stopped her. It wasn't fair for Priss to do this to her. Sylia terminated the link and Nene went to find Priss.

Priss saw Nene pull up outside and groaned. She set her guitar down and opened the door before she could knock. "Hi Nene. Something happening?"

Nene pushed past her and didn't answer. She waited until Priss had closed the door and then let her have it. "I can't believe you! You obviously haven't thought about what you're doing, have you? This is crazy, Priss. You can't bring back the past and you're killing Sylia." Priss scowled at her, but Nene stood firm. "Did it for one instant cross your mind what you might be doing to Sylia? Or do you even care?"

Priss grabbed the front of Nene's jacket and lifted her from the floor. "Shut up! You know I love-" Nene slapped her across the face and Priss dropped her in surprise.

"No! I don't know if you do or not! All I see is the look in Sylia's eyes and the fact that You put it there!" Nene shoved her fists into her pockets to keep from striking Priss again. "I can't understand how you could do this to her. You're playing a dangerous game, Priss. Pitting your lovers against each other."

"But I'm not..." Priss shook her head, but Nene went on.

"Yes you are! You've asked Sylia to bring back a ghost; one she knows will take her place in your life. It's unfortunate that she loves you as much as she does. Otherwise she could ignore whatever pain it might cause you and finish Sylvie off, once and for all!"

Priss sank onto the couch and stared at Nene. "I.... love...Sylia."

"Then show her! Put the past behind you and let the dead rest! You've got everything in your hands, Priss, but if you keep reaching for the impossible you're going to lose it all." Nene was breathing heavily and she ran a trembling hand through her hair. She hated confrontations, they made her sick.

Priss was shaking her head again and Nene groaned. "You don't understand, Nene. I just want to bring her back..."

"And lose Sylia!" Nene strode to the door and flung it open. "You really don't care, do you?"

Priss didn't answer and Nene slammed the door behind her.

Sylia's finger hovered over the delete button as she read the file. It would be so easy to erase this and bring this to an end. She hit the print button instead and turned to her enemy. "Why can't I kill you? The temptation is very strong, but I can't seem to bring myself to stop this madness." The printer beeped as it finished and Sylia tore the paper away with a sigh. "So now I have the answers. A way to bring you back. It could still backfire. There's no way to determine what deterioration has occurred, but I guess I'll just have to try it and see."

Sylia had changed into surgical scrubs and sterilized the lab. She pulled back the metal shield and began to drain the tube. The clear shield slid back and Sylia moved the tray of surgical instruments nearby. She checked the respirator and energy monitors, and then reached for a scalpel.

She made an incision just under the hairline on Sylvie's forehead and down behind each ear. Sylia replaced the blade and peeled back the synthetic skin and hair, revealing the metal casing that housed the boomer's brain. She picked up a screwdriver and began to remove the access plate. Once the plate was removed she could see the small black unit easily. This was the reason that Genom had wanted Sylvie. She had been a prototype, a 33-S.c, with a separate backup memory unit. The adjustment to activate that unit was extraordinarily easy and Sylia watched the brain patterns increase with a dull sense of irony. "Welcome back, Sylvie."

Nene groaned as her stomach lurched again and Linna knelt beside of her. She slipped one arm around Nene's waist and held her forehead, as she was sick. After a few minutes the nausea faded slightly and Nene sat back against the bathtub. Linna soaked a washcloth in cold water and pressed it to Nene's face. "Are you all right?"

Nene turned her face into the cool cloth and sighed. "Yeah. Just nervous stomach." She got up and Linna steadied her as she found her feet. Nene brushed her teeth and didn't look at Linna.

"You want to talk about it?" She watched Nene grip the sides of the sink and moved to stand behind her. Nene met her eyes in the mirror and brushed away a smear of toothpaste.

"I went to see Priss."

Linna sighed and hugged her. "She chewed you out."

Nene's laugh was forced. "Actually I didn't give her much of a chance to say anything. I sort of chewed her out." Linna didn't say anything, waiting for her to continue.

"I had just talked to Sylia and she looked like hell, Linna. I... got...angry. I told Priss what I thought of her and what she was doing to Sylia. Then I...slapped her."

Linna grinned at the thought of mild little Nene facing down Priss. Nene frowned at her mirth and she quickly schooled her features into a more serious face. The smile broke free again and Nene scowled. "Sorry. I just can't get the image out of mind. This huge Doberman being knocked flat by a Chihuahua!"

Nene stamped her foot. "Linna!"

Tires screamed as Priss brought the bike to a fast stop and jumped off. She burst through the doors of the building and ran to the private elevator. Impatient fingers hammered in the code and she yanked her helmet off as she waited for the doors to open. "Come on!" The bell dinged and Priss pushed the metal doors open and squeezed inside. She hit the button inside and began beat her hand against the helmet quickly, her body fairly vibrating with nervous energy. "Hurry!" She'd been such an idiot.

Priss raced down the corridor and shoved open the door to Sylia's lab. She could see Sylvie lying on a table; she'd been removed from the liquid. Sylia had just pulled her scrubs off when Priss burst in. She said nothing and Priss ignored Sylvie and went to her.

"Don't do it! Turn everything off and let her go." Priss hugged Sylia and felt her tremble. "I keep saying this, but I'm sorry, Sylia. I had no right to do this to you." She pulled back and smiled sheepishly at Sylia. "I'm sorry."

Sylia started to speak, but Priss wasn't finished. "I felt guilty. I ended Sylvie's life. I pulled the trigger. I wanted to bring her back, correct my mistake. Fix the past." Priss shook her head and cupped Sylia's cheek. "I didn't realize that I was destroying my future. I wasn't thinking straight and I put you in the worse position possible."

Sylia wasn't sure how she was feeling. Elation and joy seemed the most obvious emotions, but dread and anger were right there in the thick of things. "Nice time for you to realize this. What caused the sudden change?"

Priss laughed and hugged her again. "Nene knocked some sense into me. It's time to let the past go."

A escalated beeping filled the room and Priss frowned as she glanced around. Sylia backed away from her and went to Sylvie. "I'm glad you've decided to end this, but I'm afraid you're a little late."

Sylvie opened her eyes and blinked rapidly against the bright lights. Priss moved as if in a trance, moving to look down at her. "S-Sylvie?" Her voice broke and she watched her focus on her presence.

Memory flooded Sylvie's mind and she remembered where she'd seen this woman before. "Priss." Her voice sounded the same, but there was something missing and Priss frowned. Sylvie remembered seeing this face staring at her over the surface of a weapon and flinched. There was an odd popping sound and Sylvie's logic circuits redefined the threat that was leaning over her. Her fist shot out and sent Priss reeling back.

Sylia gasped and reached for the power link that was keeping Sylvie alive. She jerked it out, but Sylvie had absorbed more than enough energy. Her hand closed around Sylia's throat and tossed her across the lab where she crashed into the video screen and fell to the floor in a shower of sparks.

Priss staggered to her feet and wiped the blood from her cheek. She saw Sylia and her stomach clenched. Sylvie got up from the table and advanced on Priss. Her head was making little jerking motions as she repeated one word over and over. "Priss. Priss. Priss."

Priss stared at the boomer as it neared and knew that Sylvie, her Sylvie, was dead. This was just another boomer gone bad and she reacted accordingly. At least that's what she told herself as she extended her claws and charged the boomer. The boomer swung wildly and Priss ducked low, thrusting her fingers into the machine's side. Sparks flew and red fluid began to seep from the wound, but Priss wasn't finished. She let the energy saber slide into place and slashed backwards. The blade sliced a path from shoulder to waist, cutting across the boomer's back. There was a muffled scream and the boomer exploded, sending Priss flying.

The smoke began to clear and Priss sat up with a groan. She touched the side of her head with tentative fingers and wasn't surprised to feel blood. Her head was pounding and she glanced around, spotting Sylia across the room. The explosion had knocked several large pieces of equipment over and she began to climb over them to reach Sylia.

Absolute terror gripped her as she rolled Sylia over carefully and laid her hand over her heart. For a moment, she could feel nothing, but then the sensors began to relay the precious sound of a beating heart. Priss ran her hand over Sylia's body quickly, wincing as she discovered each injury.

Sylia made a small sound and opened her eyes. Priss was above her and she frowned at the blood on her face. Sylia slowly lifted a hand touched her. "H-Hurt?"

Priss laughed in relief and shook her head. "I'm fine. You on the other hand, have several busted ribs." She caught Sylia's hand and pressed her lips against her palm. "God, you scared me!"

Sylia looked around and back to Priss. "Sylvie?"

"She's dead."

"S-Sorry...logic circuits..."

Priss picked her up gently. "It's okay. Sylvie died a long time ago. That was just a boomer."

The faint sound of her name reached her, but she ignored it and carried Sylia from the ruined lab.

The power was draining away quickly and the audio line trailed off.


Priss stared down at the plain headstone and felt Sylia slip an arm around her waist. The day was cool and overcast, fall stretching to snatch time out of summer's grasp. Soon the leaves would turn and then winter would bluster its way through. Seasons change, time passes... endlessly.

She opened her hand and let the rose fall onto the black marble.

In the distance, she could see Linna and Nene. They were at Irene's grave. Priss saw Linna kneel and place her flowers. Nene's hand was on her shoulder and Priss was struck by how fleeting life really was. "It's all an illusion, isn't it?"

Sylia looked at Priss and her eyes drifted to the small white scar on her temple. She shook her head and smiled. "No. Not always."

Priss slid her arm around Sylia's shoulders and they turned to leave. Nene waved and the two girls hurried to catch up with them. They left the cemetery as the rain began to fall softly over the past.


The End

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