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The Loon and the Ladies From Avalon, First Chapter Draft
The Loon and the Ladies From Avalon, First Chapter Draft
Just finished now. Comments, anyone?
**** **** ****
Local date and time: Monday 10 May 2011, 12:01 AM JST
Local location: Senshobu-jinja, Tomobiki-cho, Nishitokyo-shi,

"No . . . this is wrong
. . . "

Hearing that moan from the
heiden of Tomobiki's only serving Shinto shrine, Sakurambo Sakura turned from
the kitchen sink to gaze through the connecting doorway at one of her young
wards. Immediately, the older woman
focused her mage-sight upon the ancient device that had saved so many lives
over the previous year, sensing its power building.

"Mizuho . . . " the
shrine miko/part-time school nurse whispered.

As she walked over to try to
comfort the now-shaking Inada Mizuho, Sakura's mage-sight then alerted her to
very powerful tendrils of energy – invisible to the naked eye – emitting from
the transmitter crystal of the Staff of Gihan to probe into the young girl's
mind. After a moment of incomprehensible
mumbling, Mizuho's normally pale blue eyes then snapped open as she stared at
the high ceiling. "NEVER!"

The Staff's focusing crystal
flared to full power and sent a burning bolt of raw energy through the roof of
the heiden – not damaging it, much to Sakura's private relief – and into the
skies over Tomobiki, disappearing behind some clouds as it rocketed into space
. . . and then broke through the dimensional barriers to go Elsewhere.

Sakura blinked as Mizuho
seemed to slump into a barely-conscious daze on the floor as a side door opened
to reveal the younger girl's lover and bond-mate of five months, Niimi
Rena. As the other trainee miko moved to
comfort the would-be Zoroastrian warrior-priestess, Sakura tried not to sigh
too much . . . before her cell phone rang.


"I will be there in ten
minutes, Sakura."

Click. Dial tone.

Moaning as she hung up her
phone, Sakura shook her head. "What

Rena blinked as she gazed at
her guardian. "Mizuho sensed a
wandering warrior caught in the vortex between dimensions . . . and sensed
something dark and evil about to destroy him.
She . . . brought him here for his own personal safety."


Rena gave the older woman a
knowing look. "Wonderful . . .
" Sakura muttered as she moved to head back into her kitchen. Hiromi won't like this . . .!

**** ****
Loon and the Ladies from Avalon
Fred Herriot
**** ****
On The Dark Side (1984), written by John
Cafferty. The Storyman (2006),
written by Chris de Burgh
**** ****
and story suggestions by Robert M. Schroeck and Rob Kelk
**** ****
on the situations depicted in Drunkard's Walk, created by Robert M.
Schroeck; and Phoenix From the Ashes, created by Fred Herriot
**** ****
characters and situations created by Fred Herriot, Robert M. Schroeck, Peggy Schroeck, Helen
Imre, Mike Smith and Gregg Sharp
**** ****
including characters and situations from Gunslinger Girl, created by
Aida Yu; Shin Seiki Evangelion, created by Anno Hideaki and Gainax; A
Megami-sama, created by Fujishima Kosuke; the Valdemar series, created by
Mercedes Lackey; Zenkoku Seifuku Bishojo Grand Prix, created by Lyceen; Ojosama
Express, created by Mediaworks and Seven Bright; Harry Potter, created
by Joanna K. Rowling; Ikkitosen, created by Shiozaki Yuji; Bubblegum
Crisis, created by Suzuki Toshimichi, ARTMIC and Youmex; Urusei
Yatsura, created by Takahashi Rumiko; Battle Royale, created by
Takami Koshun; and Doki Doki Pretty League, created by Xing
**** ****

DISCLAIMER: Concurrent with fair dealing clauses of the Copyright
Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) of Canada and fair use clauses in copyright
legislation in other nations, this is a work that was created solely for
entertainment purposes. Furthermore, it
is posted freely on the Internet without expectation or requirement of

**** **** ****

Local date: Unknown,
Local location: Unknown

I woke up in a tall field of

Blinking as I noted the sun
high in the sky, I then sensed some dirt lying on my face and touching my
lips. Spitting out same as I reached up
to wipe my face clean, I then moaned as I slowly boosted myself into a sitting
position with my elbows. Looking through
my helmet's eye protectors, I was quick to notice that I was in what appeared
to be a well-trampled military training reservation. The worn-down track ruts nearby – while quite
fresh – clearly indicated this was some sort of tank range.

Before I could take a
detailed look around, my ears then picked up something familiar.

A tank's diesel engine going

Sensing the slight tremor in
the Earth under my butt, I quickly turned to look where the noise was coming
from . . . and then gaped on seeing a very impressive-looking machine come out
from behind a thick stand of trees, racing down a nearby path at a VERY good
clip. On recognising said tank as a
Leopard 2 – the main battle tank of the German Army and a few other armies – I
then blinked as nearly-forgotten briefings on such machines came back to
me. Leopards were diesel-driven
machines; they didn't have the turbine engine an M1A1 Abrams possessed. Yet this machine here . . .!

I then winced as said machine
suddenly came to a screeching halt – a "combat stop" as it was called
amongst regular Army boys worldwide – and then the commander's hatch popped
open to allow said commander to lean out and look my way.

Whoo, boy . . .

"There you are!"

I perked on hearing that
shout from somewhere to my left, and then I turned . . .

. . . to find a small group
of women walking towards me, visibly armed in what seemed to be infantry
fighting order and clearly out for a wonderful constitutional in the
boonies. While not recognising the actual
pattern of their camouflage shirts and pants – not to mention their web gear
and even then boots! – I was quick to see the low-visibility flags on
their shoulders. One with a simple
design of dark sides with a pale middle the same width as the flag's height, a
stylised maple leaf placed there.


I was somewhere in Canada.

Or possibly in Germany
butting in on a NATO exercise being run by the First Canadian Infantry
Division, whose 4th Mechanised Brigade was – as I barely could remember in my
universe – based in the Black Forest of Baden-Württemberg near the Rhine River.

A glance back at the tank.

Yep. Black maple leaf on the turret.

"I'm in Germany, aren't
I?" I then asked the person whom I believe called out to me.

A shake of the head as a
"too-cute-for-words" smile crossed her camouflaged face. "No, you're currently in the exercise
area of Canadian Forces Base Niagara, sir," she answered in a polite voice
as she slung her rifle – an M16A2 derivative, not the Canadian-built FN FAL
rifle soldiers of that nation used when I was last on my Earth – over her
shoulder. Her friends were also relaxing
as they slung their weapons.

That struck me immediately as

"You're just outside the
city of Welland in Ontario," the soldier then said. She waved to where I believed was the west
according to the sun's position in the sky, and then she waved northeast. "Niagara Falls is about fifteen kilometres
that way."

Unless . . .

"Am I home?" I

Sympathy seemed to flow out
from all their faces. "No,
sir," the woman who had spoken to me replied, looking as if she wished to
take personal responsibly for my decades-long separation from my home dimension
and my wife.

What the heck . . .?

"Haida detected
the space-warp that brought you onto the exercise range about ten minutes
ago. We were busy enjoying some time out
in the field after coming back to rejoin our battalion after graduating from
trades training at the Valcartier Garrison."

I smiled. Canadian Forces Base Valcartier was the
primary base for Force Mobile Command in the province of Québec, just north of
Québec City. The 5th Mechanised Brigade
of the First Infantry Division was based there.

A grin came back. "No.
Canadian Guards. First Battalion."

A nod. Canadian troops assigned to the Warriors
often came from that youngest of the Dominion's six full-time infantry
regiments. "A unit worthy of its
hire," I then complemented them, which made them blush to their toes even
under the camouflage.

"Thank you," she
replied as she gave me a knowing look.
"I assume you come from a universe where the Regiment also
exists?" she asked.

"It does,
Guardsman," I replied, noting her rank slip-on on her front was blank over
the unit tag CG; obviously, the short-form title of the Regiment of
Canadian Guards. Having lived in London
for a long time, I knew all the peculiarities about the various units of the
Household Guards, which had been replicated with the Canadian Guards when they
were first formed in the 1950s.
"Sometimes frowned on by the boys in the Vandoos, the Royal
Canadians and the Patricias, but they do their job and take pride in
it." I moved to stand. "I apologise for butting in on your
exercise. How is it . . .?"

Turning to gaze to the southwest,
I stopped . . .

. . . on seeing HER.

"Oh – my – GOD!"

The guardsmen all grinned.

"That's Haida,"
the one who had been talking to me proudly declared.

I blinked, gazed on her for a
moment, and then turned back to gaze on the cigar-shaped starship
floating serenely over the ground in the near-distance.

One honkin' HUGE starship to

And incredible as this was
going to sound . . .

. . . it had the Canadian
flag painted on the hull aft of amidships.

"Yeah . . .!" I
breathed out.

THIS was going to be
different . . .

* *

Local date and time: Sunday 9 May 2011, 1:22 PM EDT
Local location: Over Canadian Forces Base Niagara (east of
Welland, Ontario),


I perked on hearing that
voice, and then looked up to see a smiling Navy medic – I assumed she was Navy
given her nearly-black work dress uniform, black beret with the badge of the
Canadian Forces Medical Services on it and the blank rank slip-ons on her
shoulders, though those were decorated with a very nicely-designed unit tag
with the word HAIDA in orange-gold on a dark blue field surrounded by
ship's rope and topped by a British-type naval coronet, three maple leaves at
the base – gazing at me.

"Yeah?" I asked.

"You sure you don't need
to get into Sickbay?" she asked.

For the fifth
time since I got aboard this rather LARGE shuttlecraft – it was called a
"Star Flare" and looked like a weird mix of a Lambda-class shuttle
from Star Wars and the Gemini-class shuttle from Battlestar Galactica
– which had, fifteen minutes before, picked up Mrs. Sangnoir's only son from
the exercise field now over a kilometre below the keel and was now taking me
aboard Her Majesty's Canadian Starship Haida.


You read that right, folks.


In the Year of Our Lord

How the HELL that was
possible, I couldn't BEGIN to guess.

Still, it was a change of
pace compared to other times over the last several decades that I've initially
arrived in other dimensions.

Clearly, the tech – which,
given what I've seen so far, was WAY above Earth baseline for MY dimension, not
to mention the other places I've been to in my travels – could sniff out
dimensional breaches with ease. And
clearly, whoever was controlling the tech was either knowledgeable enough or
experienced enough to make going out to find my lonesome self quite easy. Even better, given that these people seemed
willing to help me in whatever way they could, I didn't have to cook up false
identities and find some way to fit in while I waited for the chance to find a
proper Gate song to move onto the next step of my journey. That told me one good thing about these

They had experience in
dealing with dimensional crossings.

How that would benefit me, I
couldn't begin to guess.

But I hoped to barter my own
experiences for all the help they could give me.

Noting a pair of very lovely
green eyes staring knowingly at me, I gave the medic – her family name was SASAMOTO
as stitched in gold on her left chest under the twin-headed thunderbird ship's crest
of Haida – a smirk. "Most of
the time, when I drop unexpected into a new dimension, I'm normally quite whole
and healthy if not conscious at the time the actual transition occurs, Seaman
Sasamoto," I explained. "I'm
just glad that after doing my latest world-jump, I came to a place where I
could get help right away in lieu of being sneaky about it and being forced
into quasi-legal and sometimes-immoral acts to forge a false identity so I
could interface with the local population."

"Wow! He's roughing it, isn't he?" the
guardsman – I spotted her name, CROCE, on her tunic – who had talked to
me earlier said as she exchanged a look with the medic.

"That he is,
Henrietta-chan," the medic answered.

I then blinked.

They were talking in Japanese
. . .

. . . while my ears picked up
their words in clear English.

field?" I asked in my accented Nihon-go.

field," the medic stated as those green eyes of hers sparkled with
profound amusement. "It can
interpret any language a sentient can speak and translate it automatically into
the native language of the speaker. So
if you're comfortable speaking English, sir, speak in English. We can all understand you."

I nodded. "How come you're travelling from dimension
to dimension?" Guardsman Croce – I felt it a little improper to call her
"Henrietta" even if she struck me as being about twenty years of age
– then asked. "Are you an

A sigh as I decided to honour
their obvious concern with the truth.
"I'm a metahuman warrior who serves in a group working for the
United Nations in my universe," I then explained. "In a battle many decades ago in my
time-line, I was propelled into an alternate universe. Over the following years, I've travelled from
universe to universe in hopes of rejoining my wife." I opened up my jacket and pulled out the
necklace bearing my wedding band.
"It's been quite interesting, but believe me . . . HEY!"

The "hey" came from
something that reminded me a little too much of Minakami Wataru's twelve
half-sisters – save Chikage, of course – and how they reacted whenever
something their "Big Brother" did or said broke their hearts.

An honest-to-goodness Mass
Hug of True Love from the medic and ALL the guardsmen!

I tried not to blush TOO much
on feeling that . . .

* *

The landing of the Star Flare
on the upper flight deck of H.M.C.S. Haida was pretty much like the
landing of any shipboard helicopter aboard any navy vessel that wasn't a
purpose-built aircraft carrier: Come to
a hover over the green flight deck with the yellow landing lines and the white HA
at the aft end, square off on the centre of the deck, and then gently drop down
until solid rubber tires kissed metal deck.
Even better, since the ship was only about a kilometre above the Welland
By-Pass that split her home base from the urban part of the Rose City of
Ontario, the outside atmosphere was breathable . . . as witness the opening of
the Flare's cargo doors aft onto the deck, thus allowing myself and my current escorts
– with Guardsman Croce and Seaman Sasamoto having wrapped one of their arms
around one of mine – to walk onto a very clear day over the Niagara peninsula,
with Lake Erie in the near distance.

As soon as we were aboard the
starship – and my mind was STILL boggling at the idea of a NATION on Earth
having a STARSHIP of all things, set aside the size and sheer level of armament
on this thing from what I've seen of her so far! – proper, the group around me
paused as they straightened to attention, and then saluted the large ensign
flying off what appeared to be a sensor vane sticking up from the fantail of
the ship between the exhaust ports of a pair of ramjet-like engines that could
swallow whole AIRCRAFT CARRIERS from my universe with room to spare! Realising that despite these girls' quite
friendly attitudes that they were still-serving soldiers and sailors of the
Queen of Canada, I straightened myself and gave the flag – a Canadian version
of the British White Ensign with a thin blue Saint George cross and the Maple
Leaf Flag in the canton – a Sandhurst-perfect salute. That caused my companions to all blink in

"Are you a
serviceman?" Seaman Sasamoto then asked.

"Technically, I'm a
colonel in the United Nations Metahuman Peacekeeping Force, code-named
'Warriors Alpha,'" I explained.
"The rank is honorary to me but to those who care for it, it's
quite real." I gave her a wink. "I assume British shipboard rules still
run the Royal Canadian Navy? Or is it
still Canadian Forces Maritime Command?"

"MARCOM for now,"
the medic stated, a smirk crossing her face.
"That might change in the near future; you know how RUMINT can be
at times."

I smirked. RUMINT:
Rumour Intelligence, sometimes the most reliable information one could
get in the military. "Indeed I
do. And . . . " I straightened myself as I properly saluted
her. "Permission to come aboard,
Seaman Sasamoto?"

She returned my salute. "Grated, Colonel . . .?"

"Douglas Q. Sangnoir,
code-named 'Looney Tunes.' Call me

She smiled. "Ordinary Seaman Sasamoto Narumi,
currently assigned to the Medical Division, Executive Department of Her
Majesty's Canadian Starship Haida, flagship of the United Nations Earth
Defence Force. Call me Narumi. We use proper Oriental name-order in the
Earth Defence Force. Welcome aboard,

I shook her hand . . . and
then perked as someone came walking our way from the large hangar deck
structure forward, where the Star Flare that brought us aboard was now being
wheeled into to join three sisters already folded up in their parking
spaces. Said person, I was quick to
note, also appeared Japanese . . . even if her brown hair was done up in a low
bonnet on the lower side of her head and she had amethyst eyes. She was in the same uniform Narumi wore, but
her shoulder boards had the single gold stripe – with that funny circular loop
British navy officers wore on their uniforms; I never did understand why was it
the Royal Navy did that sort of thing – of their equivalent of a United States
Navy ensign over her ship's unit tags.
She also had the anchor badge in a wreath of maple leaves of a naval
operations officer on her beret.

"Our traveller from
another dimension, Narumi-chan?" she asked, smiling.

"Hai, Tomomi-chan. May I present Douglas Sangnoir-taisa of the
United Nations Metahuman Peacekeeping Forces in his home dimension. His battle-name is 'Looney Tunes,'"
Narumi stated. "Doug-san, this is
Yoshino Tomomi-shoi, junior ship's combat warfare director. In case you don't know, her rank is 'acting
sub-lieutenant;' I can hear the London accent in your voice even if your words
are clearly American."

"Yes, I am American,
Narumi-chan," I said as I reached up to unbuckle and slip off my
helmet. I was quick to sense the
appraising looks all the girls around me were giving on unmasking myself. Tomomi's eyes flashed with keen interest
until she focused on my wedding ring, and then she nodded in
understanding. "And believe me,
that I'm in the land of my homeland's brothers born of the same mother does my
heart a world of good."

"Wonderful," Tomomi
stated. "In the meantime,
Hiromi-onesama awaits us. This

She turned and headed to a
recessed stairwell in the middle of the flight deck close to the hangar. "What do you want done with your
motorcycle, Doug-san?" Henrietta asked.

"Could you put it
somewhere safe, Henrietta-chan?" I asked in turn. "And PLEASE, don't take it apart! I had a nosy goddess of the future do that in
one of my longer stays and I prefer not to go through putting it back together

"Which goddess of the
future?" Tomomi asked.


A surprised look crossed her
face. "From A Megami-sama?!"

I blinked in confusion . . .

* *

Somewhere, a different


"Bless you, Skuld! Are you alright?"

A moan. "Someone's talking about me,

Belldandy hummed. "I wonder who would it be . . .?"

* *

Local Date and time: Sunday 9 May 2011, 1:31 PM EDT
Location: H.M.C.S. Haida, Deck A12 Aft, Flag
Officer's Level,

Tomomi knocked at the open
doorway. "One-sama?"

"Enter, minna-san,"
a voice called back in Japanese.
"You found him?"

"Hai, One-sama, we
did," Henrietta stated as she waved me into the room.

Looking around, I was quickly
taken by the somewhat spartan nature of what appeared to be a reception room
for visitors. There was a work desk aft
with a small meeting table in the middle of the room. Bookshelves lined all the bulkheads save for
the main door and a side door that I assumed opened into the personal living
quarters of the – as Tomomi had explained when we came here – Director of the
Volunteer United Nations Earth Defence Force, the senior civilian officer of
the pan-national force assigned to protect Earth from alien threats. Whose insignia – a blue U.N. flag with the
wreathed globe over a cross crusader sword and Japanese katana – was hanging
from the wall, bracketed on both sides by the Canadian White Ensign and the
national flag of Japan.

Which made sense since the
woman who had greeted Tomomi had also spoken in Japanese.

So what was she doing on a Canadian

Starship . . .

Damn! I'm STILL boggling over that!

Said woman – who had been
seated at her work desk typing away on some sort of laptop computer – turned to
gaze at me, and then smiled.
"Welcome aboard, good traveller," she said as she stood up and
walked over, her hand out. "Are you

I was gaping at her.

The Director of
the Force was a teenager?!

Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay .
. . this was DEFINITELY a new one on me . . .

* *

Gazing at the handsome man –
she put his physical age at about early thirties, though his eyes flashed a
look that indicated that he was a lot older; Are the humans of his Earth as
long lived as Vosians or Avalonians? – Moroboshi Hiromi then smiled as she
pulled her hand away on noting he was too shell-shocked to respond to her offer
for a handshake, she giving him a knowing look.
"Never expected something like this?"

He blinked and then
flustered. "Not really . . . "

A chuckle. "Oh, don't worry about that, good
sir," she stated. "You'll find
a lot of things in this universe to be quite unique. But I'm sure that your universe has its own
many mysteries as well, especially given the fact that you are a
metahuman." As he gaped at her, she
smirked. "Our sensors picked up
those interesting quirks in your DNA when we first detected you on the training
range. Natural-born or

He gaped, and then nodded on
realising what she was asking. He
clearly was surprised at the terms though.
Do they actually use that disgusting word 'mutant' where he comes
from? Hiromi mused to herself as she gave him a curious look.

"Um, natural-born . . .
" he finally answered.

A nod. "Well, no doubt whatever Powers control
our lives felt you worthy to gain such gifts," she stated as she waved him
to a chair. "Here, sit! Be comfortable! You've probably had a bit of a harrowing
journey, so you need to relax."

Another blink, and then he
sat. "One-sama, this is Douglas
Sangnoir-taisa, a member of the United Nations Metahuman Peacekeeping Forces in
his universe," Narumi then stated.
"He's known by the battle-name 'Looney Tunes' and he would prefer
to be called 'Doug.' Doug-san, this is
Moroboshi Hiromi-onesama, the Director of the United Nations Earth Defence
Force. Her battle-name amongst those
like her is 'Ryuko Kyorei.' She is also
a third-year high school student at Tomobiki High School, Class Four."

He blinked several times, and
then he gaped. "How old are

He then flustered on noting
that he asked a VERY rude question as it would be seen in the West. Hiromi then chuckled. "It depends on what you actually mean by
one's age, Doug-san. Physically, I'm
eighteen years old. Chronologically – in
this life – I'm only two. And
spiritually, I'm over eighteen hundred years old. Take your pick."

Doug's jaw dropped . . .

* *

THAT answer surprised me like
nothing I had ever heard before.

Without hesitation, my
mage-sight clicked in as I gazed on my host.

The result . . .

Oh, HELL . . .!

"You're a phoenix!"
I then spat out.

Her eyebrow arched. "No, I am not."

"You sure?" I
instantly challenged. "What the
hell's this all about anyway?! What's
your game?! Bringing this high-tech starship
here and offering it to people who may not have any idea how to properly run
it!" Ignoring the shocked gasps
from all the girls behind me, I pointed at her.
"So what's the damned deal here?!"

"Doug-san!" Narumi
cried out in shock.


I jolted as I felt that
powerful wave of ki hit me, instantly cutting out my burning groove of anger
over being YET AGAIN brought into the presence of a Celestial of
all things . . . and then I noticed a knowing look cross her face. "I take it from your outburst just now
that you've had disagreeable encounters with divinities and their ilk?"
she asked with a virtual tidal wave of scorn, which made me blink
in surprise. "Yes, there are some
witless dullards on this planet who've mistaken me as a phoenix given how I
came into this life two years ago, then strove to save those like me from some uncaring
'fate of the sacred bead' the souls of their first-selves were forced into eighteen
centuries ago in the Three Kingdoms period of China!" As my mind nearly crashed from THAT tsunami
of information – as my traitorous mage-sight quickly locked in on the soul or
whatever-it-was trapped in my host's magatama-shaped earring, said thing tied
with links of purest neutronium with the soul of the young woman before me –
she took a deep breath, her own heart billowing with a very ugly anger of her

"I suspect you might be
able to imagine this, Doug-san," she said in a voice full of helpless
outrage. "The noble worthies of the
Latter Hàn when I first walked this life as Liú Hóng. Not to mention the noble worthies of Shu Hàn,
Cáo Wèi and Dong Wú . . . to say anything of the Nánmán and the other tribes
that existed in the Middle Kingdom at that time! Dying regardless of cause . . . yet to have
their very SOULS trapped in these things!"
She pointed to her earring.
"To be worn on the persons of innocents after innocents for dozens
of generations across China, then Korea, then Japan! And for your further amusement, allow me to
tell you this!" She
raised a finger in emphasis. "When
those countless thousands of innocent souls over the last eighteen centuries
DID wake up to what they bore within their magatama, they were forced to
RE-LIVE the lives and the fates of the ones whose souls were
trapped in those things! WHY, I
ASK?!" she demanded.
"Tell me WHY, Doug-san! Why
would the uncaring Fates do that to the many reincarnations of those such as my
own noble cousin Liú Bèi, the truly wise and determined Cáo Cao, the siblings
of the Sun Clan, the every-questing Lu Bù and all the others from that horrible
time in China's history?! Not to mention
the great warriors of ancient Ireland and heaven only knows how many more
throughout history! If I have a phoenix
inside me, Doug-san, WHY WAS I NEVER TOLD THAT?!"

Staring at a now teary-eyed
woman – as my brain finally started to catch up to all the other things she had
said – I found myself simply unable to give her an answer . . .

* *

Cursing herself for her lack
of self-control over someone who desperately needed help – and had no doubt
been dragged into this universe by a well-meaning Inada Mizuho if what
Sakurambo Sakura had just told her an hour before was true – Hiromi took a deep
breath. "You have my deepest
apologies, Doug-san. I did not mean to
heap all that over you," she stated.
"Am I a phoenix? Some
believe so. I personally cannot answer
that, though. Tell me this: Are those divinities and other celestial
spirits who have clearly earned your ire ever been unsure as to
what they are and why?"

Doug blinked before he shook
his head. "Not to my

A nod. "Well, now you've clearly gained a new
experience. Perhaps that will allow you
to overcome your mistrust of myself and those like me – for, if the moronic
dolts who like to harp on such things are to be believed, I happen to count a
spiritual daughter of Mother Earth Herself and the Sagussan Master
of Entropy as my own siblings, to say ANYTHING of the many people like
myself touched by celestial dragons, both on Earth and elsewhere! – so we can
get you on your way back to your true home."

"And his wife."

Hiromi gazed on Yoshino
Tomomi. "You've been separated from
your wife, Doug-san?" she then asked as she gazed on the metahuman before

A tired sigh. "For what seems like forever."

The reborn emperor blinked as
she peered at him for a moment, and then – after moving to wipe her eyes clear
of tears – leaned down to kiss her guest's forehead.

"You are toshi."

* *


If my Japanese was dead on –
and after my experiences in Megatokyo in 2037 with the Knight Sabres; Nekomi in
1997 with the Norns and their friends; Tokyo-3 in 2015 with Shinji, Asuka and
Rei; amid other places, I had to admit that it was good – the word Hiromi just
used on me was written with the kanji ??, meaning "fighting soldier."

while I still felt a deep level of mistrust towards the woman before me now,
that she was willing to call me that made me think over what she had
just been said.

small factoid came back to me right away.

were a Chinese emperor?!" I demanded.

snort. "I was not much of an
emperor, Doug-san. I was more interested
in all my concubines and seeing to my own carnal lusts in lieu of dealing with
matters of state," she confessed with frank honesty, which made me gape.

wasn't lying . . .

she was a phoenix of all things . . .

she DIDN'T know . . .

the HELL was going on here?!

mind then recalled what Tomomi said when she did introductions. "'Ryuko Kyorei?'" I asked. "'Ryuko' is the Japanese way of reading
'Liú Hóng.' 'Kyorei' . . .?"

she supplied. "My posthumous
name: 'Filial and
inattentive.'" A pained smirk then
crossed her face. "Which, if you
are familiar with the times through such wonderful books as The Romance of
the Three Kingdoms, Doug-san . . . I certainly was that. Look how many ultimately suffered for it

why do you keep doing this to yourself?"

perked, and then turned . . .

. . to find myself gazing on a woman that distantly reminded me of Belldandy in
a way: Long silver hair on a
classically-sculptured face over a body that – were Mrs. Maggie Sangnoir's
husband NOT faithful to her, not to mention physically about fifteen years
younger! – was literally to die for. But
that was the only similarities between this newcomer – whom I immediately
sensed had the power of a DRAGON inside her! – and the aspect of
the Norn of the Present I met years ago in another dimension. This woman was a skilled warrior who was not
afraid to take a life; her body's aura hinted at that. She had also mastered the monster inside her
. . . though such mastery had been with cost.
She was quite prepared for a fight; the sheathed katana in her hand was
a dead give-away. And she was most
likely a toshi in the same manner as Hiromi saw herself as; she had a magatama
earring with the same silver shade as my host's.

know my reasons," Hiromi whispered, and then she sighed. "Tomomi-chan?"

gasped. "Hai, One-sama?"

you be a dear and ask Seina-chan to fetch some tea and snacks for Kumomi-san
and myself? What's your choice of
morning drink, Doug-san?"

okay by me." I then smiled. "I assume that since this is a Canadian
starship, the hot drinks are all provided by Tim Hortons?"

Hiromi stated.

Tomomi asked.

breakfast tea?" I wondered.

eager nod. "Hai!"

that, the acting sub-lieutenant headed out of the room. "Girls, we can take over from
here," the newcomer then said as she "gazed" with those closed
eyes at the guardsmen and Sasamoto Narumi.
How the hell was she able to see . . . unless it was a type of ki
sight or mage-sight? "While
Doug-san's considerable anger towards those of a divine nature seems
well-founded, he strikes me as a civilised person. Despite the rapier wit and love for Warner
Brothers cartoons I currently sense he possesses."

I nearly choked on THAT rather frank statement, the newcomer then gazed at me,
her eyes then opening to reveal a pair of pale blue orbs, both now twinkling
with laughter she wouldn't indulge in right now. Before I could wonder what the hell was THIS
one's game, a chorus of "Hai, Kumomi-onesama! Please excuse us!" echoed from behind me
as the girls who had walked me into this situation all bowed and left.

that, the newcomer then took a seat nearby, her eyes closing again. "Welcome to our universe, Master Looney
Tunes," she then stated as Hiromi also took her chair at one end of the
table. "Your actions in other
dimensions echoed into this one long before you were pulled here by a young
lady who simply desired to save a brave, gallant and noble warrior from facing
an attack from quite dark and demonic beings while you yourself were
unconscious and transitioning through your 'world-gate' process from your last
port stop on the next step of your journey." As I gaped at her, she smiled. "I am Koeru Kumomi. My battle-name is 'Choun Shiryu.' Currently attending the Nan'yo Academy in
Kimitsu-shi, Chiba-ken. Year Three,
Class A. In my first life, I was Zhào
Yún of Shu Hàn, styled 'Zilóng.' The
dragon your mage-senses are no doubt picking up from within me calls himself
'Shùnpíng' after my first-self's posthumous title."

blinked. "How did you know?"

wit and your love of Master Bugs Bunny and his friends?" A smirk.
"Your battle-name spoke it out as loud as possible. If you are a metahuman warrior – an arch-mage
if my sense of your total capabilities is anywhere close to being accurate –
yet call yourself 'Looney Tunes' of all things, the conclusion is rather quite

blinked. Damn! Never thought of it that way!

whatever is the matter with liking such wonderful entertainers as they?"
Hiromi then asked as a smile of her own crossed her face. "Given our experiences in the universe
of Star Trek at the turn of the New Year, the chances are there . . .

what happened to Michael Jordan-sensei in Space Jam DID happen

laughter. As I gaped at these two
whatever-they-were, I couldn't help but grin as I recognised their reference to
the 1996 movie where "Air" Jordan actually was pulled into the Looney
Tunes universe to help Bugs Bunny et al defend themselves from a bunch of VERY
not-so-funny creeps called the Nerdlucks.
I then stopped as something else Hiromi just said hit me. "You actually went to the Star Trek

we did, Doug-san. Around the time of the
events depicted in Generations; the year 2371 Earth-time in their
universe," she answered me matter-of-factly. "If this is not true in your universe,
the movie itself was released here in 1994."

exactly did you leave your own dimension, Doug-san?" Kumomi asked.

sigh. "Too long ago," I
admitted while part of me tried to muster ANY sort of conscious mistrust and
anger towards these two beings.

DAMN it all to the lowest pit of Hell – ignoring everything my own mage-senses
were telling me – everything about them screamed TRUTH to me!

what the HELL does that make ME?

wise traveller, Master Looney Tunes. One
who will live to reunite with his wife."

jolted as Kumomi gave me a very knowing look . . .

even with CLOSED eyes!

who has been disappointed many times as you've been shuttled from universe to
universe since you were first expelled from your native Earth. In battle, I presume?" As I nodded, she sighed. "By the way – in case you're wondering –
your body's ki aura well reflects your experiences over the years." As I felt myself relax a little bit more at
that admission, she added, "You've also felt yourself forced to make deals
with various celestials, deals which you later came to wonder were such good
things in the end, right?" As I
nodded again, she shook her head.
"Much that neither my Emperor nor myself would personally never do
anything to hurt someone like you . . . "

"Shiryu-dono . . . "

then seemed to freeze for a moment before she turned . . .

. . to have a VERY pissed-off Hiromi literally LEAN right into her face. "How many times must I continue to say

other girl gulped. "H-h-hai . .

blinked as I gazed at this scene.

THAT was weird . . .!

* *

give a little background information . . .

readers of these chronicles will have long come to note by now, I personally
don't really care too much for Celestials of ANY sort.

if they're of the variety who are often called "gods" or

ESPECIALLY if said gods or deities feel it their Fate-given right to MEDDLE in
the affairs and destinies of humble mortals such as yours truly.

own commanding officer in the Warriors Alpha team back in my own reality, Major
General Helene Diedmeier a.k.a. "Wetter Hexe," excepted of course.

my initial reaction after using my mage-sight on Moroboshi Hiromi.

while she wasn't a true "god" like the three Norns whom I met years
ago and many dimensions behind me, she clearly had the power of such a being
within her.

I will grant one small caveat.

celestial power within Hiromi's body came off as a phoenix to my

while I did have the pleasure to meet a real magical phoenix – Professor Albus
Dumbledore's friend Fawkes while I spent a year being the Defence Against The
Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts some years and dimensions ago – who wouldn't harm
a soul, I DID sense from Hiromi that she was quite willing to cause much harm
to those she loathed.

would NEVER do something like that.

was utterly against his very nature.

I could be very wrong about Hiromi.

be the first time.

as hell wouldn't be the last, either.

about that, I hummed.

Chinese fènghuáng perhaps . . .?

would make sense given her stated origins . . .

* *

for Koeru Kumomi, a.k.a. Choun Shiryu, it was cut-and-dried.

was the living avatar of a celestial DRAGON!

I never had cause to encounter such beings before, I do know about them.

those lessons could be wrapped up in one statement:

them with respect . . . for you are crunchy and would go good with ketchup!"

while I wouldn't trust Kumomi just yet, if ever . . .

. . Mama Sangnoir did NOT raise an idiot for a son!


* *

knock made me turn . . .

the main door was a tomboyish girl in the same type of uniform Tomomi and
Narumi had worn when I had met them, though I'd put this one in her early
twenties. She was brown-haired and had
blue-grey eyes. In one hand, she carried
a tea set on a tray. "Please excuse
me for bothering you, Hiromi-onesama, Kumomi-onesama, Doug-san," she – her
family name was YAMAGUCHI; no doubt, this was the "Seina"
Hiromi asked Tomomi to come by with snacks and food – said as she served
us. "One English breakfast
tea," she said as she placed a cup of tea – with the bag in it, of course
– before me, served in a fine mug with Haida's ship's crest on it. "One cup of gyokuro," she
then said as she placed the next mug in front of Kumomi, that filled with a
jade-shaded green tea that was quite expensive in Japan. "And one cup of spiced Noukiite ginseng
tea," she then said as she placed a cup of golden tea – topped with what
looked like RED CHILLI PEPPER POWDER! – in front of Hiromi. She placed down some milk, cream, sugar and
sweetener on the table between us before bowing politely. "Sandwiches will be ten minutes."

Seina-chan," Hiromi said as she took up her teaspoon and moved to stir the
red flakes on the surface of her tea into the mixture.

Seina walked out of the room, I felt my eyebrow arch. "Spiced tea?"

amused smile came back. "One of the
alien races who control space close to us – they actually control the Alpha
Centauri system; their colony there is called 'Teng-ch'ehek' locally . . .
" – My ears picked up the translation of that phrase from its native
language, which was "Planetary Province of Teng" – " . . . and
'Tengsei' elsewhere – are as passionately in love with the idea of spicing all
they eat and drink as the noble natives of the Land of the Morning Calm do with
their food, Doug-san," Hiromi explained.
"In the days before and after I acquired the body I possess now, I
– and when I was part of the gestalt of souls that existed in my brother
Ataru's body before we were separated – had no choice but to conform to the
local cuisine if we were to be helped become true masters of our
destinies." She picked up the cup
and sipped. "Eventually, the
addictive nature of Noukiite eta . . . " – That word literally
meant "chilli pepper" – " . . . powder became too much for all
of us to resist."

breathed out. "Okay . . .
" Well, when in Rome . . .!

then perked on hearing a whistle – which sounded like the intercom alert from
the original Star Trek series – echo through the room. "Chief Shipwright to the Director,"
a man's voice called out. "Are you
busy, ma'am?"

reached over to tap a control on the table; I was quick to note there was a
touch-screen unit there. Thinking about
a travelling companion who had joined me some universes ago, I wondered what
Eimi would think of this ship and the tech that ran her.

Chief Davidson," she answered.
"What seems to be the problem?"

do you want done with the motorcycle the girls pulled up from the range,
ma'am?" the voice of the chief shipwright – the senior hull maintenance
technician aboard Haida if I recalled how things worked on warships run
under British traditions right – asked.
"The Little Genius is looking at it and he's just SALAVATING to get
at it, ma'am!"

I had a flashback about what a certain goddess of the future had done to my
machine back in a temple in Nekomi, Hiromi moaned. "Kogetsuei-dono!" she snapped.
A squawk coming from someone who clearly was even YOUNGER than Hiromi by several
years echoed from the intercom. "My
E-em-Emperor . . .?" sputtered out next.

if you even THINK of touching our honoured guest's trusty mount, I will see to
it personally that Ryoko-chan will not speak to you for a MONTH!"

silence followed.

I whispered to Kumomi.

his first life, Huáng Yuèying," she whispered back. "In this life, Ki Tsukihana. He's one of the two people who built this
ship and her sisters for all of Earth."

my mind nearly crashed from THAT little avalanche of information, I then perked
on hearing a sob echo from the intercom.
"One-chan . . .!" Tsukihana moaned.

sigh. "Tsukihana-kun, our honoured
guest has suffered at the hands of various so-called 'divinities' many times in
the past. One of them actually – or so
the pilot of the Star Flare that brought Doug-san aboard relayed to me – had
the audacity to rip apart his machine into its parts." As I gaped, she winked at me. "So, please. For our new friend's continued good mental
health, leave the cycle alone."

are SHITTING me!"

I realised, was the chief shipwright.
"What is wrong, Chief?" Hiromi asked.

literally RIPPED this bike apart, Director?!" the other man snapped. "Whoever did that deserves to be shot
and pissed on! And not
particularly in that order!"

my mind interpreted that ribald comment, I simply had no choice.

fell on my ass, laughing my guts out!

* *

a different dimension,


you, Skuld!"

* *

Date and time: Sunday 9 May 2011, 2:16
Location: H.M.C.S. Haida, Deck A12 Aft, Flag
Officer's Level,

soon came in with a tray of finger sandwiches – all clearly hand-made by her
and her friends, I sensed – and then she stepped out of the room. As I relaxed, enjoyed my tea and nibbled on
the fresh-cut Black Forest ham-and-marble cheese sandwich slices with shredded
lettuce and a pinch of mustard in them, I was quick to sense both Hiromi and
Kumomi gaze at me – again, the latter doing it with closed eyes – with clearly
a type of ki sight. "So what
exactly are toshi?" I then asked.
"A type of mutant?"

was quick to note THAT word made both girls wince. "Doug-san, please don't use that
word here," Hiromi then pleaded.
"I'm sure the word is quite accepted in your universe . . . but
here, we're trying to steer away from such terms." She winked.
"Here, we would call you a 'naturally-born metahuman.' Those who gain powers through accidents,
deliberate genetic modification or such are 'fate-gifted metahumans.'"

'mutates,'" Kumomi added.

gaped. "Oh . . . "

your use of such a word, I assume in your universe, those who possess such
powers and gained them naturally are not discriminated against," Kumomi

shook my head. "Of course

you had contacts with aliens?" Kumomi asked.


to Hiromi: "I assume such contacts
have been for the benefit of humanity?"

shrug. "There are the malcontents,
but you get them anywhere."

of artificial intelligences?" Hiromi then asked. "Are they accepted?"

shrug. "Nothing wrong with

Kumomi: "Including androids, gynoids and the

restrictions if they're seen as fully sentient and capable of making their own
choices," I asserted. Where the
hell were these two going with this?

as well, I would assume. Clones,
perhaps?" Hiromi mused.

never encountered bioroids," I said.
"I assume you mean 'biological android' by that. Fully organic beings not born of a mother's
womb?" As they nodded – I spotted
the interest in Hiromi's eyes – I then added, "As for cloning, doing same
without the permission of the DNA donor is forbidden across my planet. But if a clone is created illegally yet
develops a personality, he has the same rights as anyone else."

of them nodded again. "Then you may
relax, Doug-san," Hiromi then stated.
"As you'll probably remember from my words earlier before you
discovered the 'phoenix' inside me . . . " – She made finger-quotes on
saying that – " . . . that I said that I was chronologically only two
years old." As I gazed at her, she
smiled. "I am a bioroid, the DNA
moulded with permission from the pattern of my brother Ataru to make me his
genetic twin sister. My other sisters,
Negako-onesama and Tariko-onesan, are the same.
Kumomi-san's present body is a bioroid as well; it was cloned for her a
year ago in the wake of our first deep-space mission to break her from her

I gaped at them – and my mage-sight quickly locked in on how YOUNG their bodies
really were! – she added, "You wonder why we have the technology that
created Haida and her sisterships with us now in the year 2011,
Doug-san? It is because a RACE of
bioroids who had been treated for the most part as SEX-SLAVES for the last
century Earth-time – on finally gaining their liberation from such an
existence; I will not dignify it with the term 'life' – decided that their
future was best guaranteed by coming to Earth." As my mind rocked from THAT tsunami of
information – and flashbacks of my experiences in Megatokyo in 2037 dealing
with Genom's boomers came back to me – she added, "And thus, effectively
crippling the alliance of local galactic powers that – thanks to their lazy willingness
to adhere to the demands of realpolitik every time something threatened
them in lieu of acknowledging the higher principles they espoused on their
coming together as a group – allowed them to suffer for as long as they

fought down the outrage billowing in my heart.
"What of their former masters?"

"Defeated. Effectively rendered helpless," Kumomi
flatly announced. "Hiromi-san and
her siblings – this was over a month after their souls were pulled from Ataru-san's
mind – joined a force of warriors from the planets Noukiios and Yehisril, aided
by celestial dragons from both worlds, to attack the planet where the bioroid
factory that created our sisters was located." As I gazed at her, a huntsman's smile crossed
her face. "Thanks to the blessings
of the Heavens – though I'll certainly understand if you refuse to acknowledge
such as a 'blessing' – the liberation of our sisters occurred without loss to
any of them. Though their 'masters'
suffered grievously for their grotesque behaviour: Five million died on Phentax Twelve – the
planet where the bioroid factory was one – and over three million in the space
fleet our sisters' former masters possessed; that was destroyed by the ch'uokyek
of Noukiios and the ib'f of Yehisril." I interpreted those terms as "great
dragons" and "dragons" respectively. "As restitution, the space dry-docks and
space factories the Niphentaxians – the Avalonians' ex-masters – possessed were
seized as 'war booty' and brought to Earth."

nodded; obviously, the race-name "Avalonian" was the term used for
bioroids of my hosts' particular type.
"What about possible retaliation?" I then asked.

sighed. "In a way, we were very
lucky, Doug-san. By the time we moved to
free the Avalonians from slavery, the Niphentaxians – who are genetically a
race of mimics similar to the Iotians from Star Trek – had simply become
too lazy. You're an
American. You know the history of your
country from before the War Between the States, do you not? How did the people of the states which tried
to form the Confederacy in 1861 view their lifestyle, supported by slaves whose
ancestors were once imported from Africa?"
As I nodded – even if I was an engineer by training, I did know my
country's past quite well; working in a team of warriors from across the
planet, comments about the bad side of being an American were commonplace – she
smiled. "While there is a chance
that the Niphentaxians might seek some retribution should they shake away their
years of dullardry, there are those amongst their kind who DO understand what
happened and why . . . and are working to make the remainder of their society
conform. For those who – if luck shines
their way – wish to press issues, this ship we're on . . . "

guard against it," I finished for her.

"Hai." Hiromi then looked weary. "When I first truly became my own
person, Doug-san, all I was concerned about at the time was ensuring my family
– Onii-san, One-sama and One-san – was safe and sound. On returning to Earth after helping the Avalonians
free themselves, we met up with Tsukihana-kun and a friend of his, who had
spent the previous several months using an abandoned starship construction
satellite they found in a dead solar system not too far from here to construct Haida
and forty-nine other such ships. And
given Onii-san's experiences with other aliens – provoked two years ago when
the Niphentaxians' allies, the Urusians, threatened to 'invade' us . . . to be
staved off when Onii-san won a game of tag against the Urusian champion – I
realised I had no choice but to help make sure Earth was protected as much as
all the Avalonians needed and deserved to be protected." A smile.
"So – when the United Nations here, in their questionable wisdom .
. . " – I gaped in shock on hearing her say THAT! – " . . . declared
me to be the civilian leader of the Earth Defence Force – I ultimately became
responsible for the continued good welfare of nearly TEN BILLION sentient
beings, Doug-san. Over seven billion
Terrans and nearly three billion Avalonians."

about overpopulation issues?" I then asked, my mind boggling at those

for us, our defeat of the Niphentaxians – and, by the extension, the Urusians;
they are, for the most part, a very arrogant and selfish species – impressed
one of our galactic neighbours: The
Seifukusu Dominion," Kumomi stated.
"So much so, in fact, that they were willing to allow us to take
control of THIRTY Class M worlds – again, using the Star Trek term – in
many solar systems to the galactic 'west' and 'south' of us that they had no
use for anymore. The total territory
area is about two hundred by three hundred light-years in a roughly trapezoidal
shape." As I gaped at her, she
smiled. "And right now, people who
wish to get away from crowded cities and breath clean country air are lining up
to migrate to those new worlds, which are being divided according to overall
Terran population at this time. Japan,
for example, will share a planet named 'Pacifica' with the Koreas, Taiwan and
Mongolia. Canada will share a planet
named 'Vinland' with many Caribbean states.
It goes on and on."

. . .!" I breathed out, and then I perked as something came to me. "Are Terrans and Avalonians genetically

Hiromi said with a smirk. "So atop
a considerable technological leap forward into the future, there's going to be
a considerable evolutional leap as well.
Maybe not to the Yizibajohei extreme . . . " – with the way I could
interpret the word through the ship's translation fields, that word meant
"those of Yiziba;" no doubt, the denonym of a particular planet's
name – " . . . but the chances are that fate-gifted and naturally-born
metahumans will be making their appearance here as well."

the first time since the Second World War," Kumomi added.

. . .!" I breathed out again . . .

. . and then perked as the other door leading into this room opened, revealing
a woman Hiromi's age, though she had long blue-green hair and brown-grey eyes
under reading glasses. She was dressed
in casual civilians in the same general fashion as Hiromi wore – though this
one had a jean skirt in lieu of jeans – and she had a gold headband holding
part of her hair down. As my mage-sight
clicked in, I noted she was also a bioroid – and yes, a toshi as well, though
her earring was gold and not silver – and I was quick to pick up on the
celestial dragon within her. Though in
THIS one's case, the being within her was truly ALIEN and not Terran-type like

aren't you . . . who's this?" she then asked as she gazed on me.

blinked. Shades of Ten'o Haruka and
Kai'o Michiru!

was gay.

if that was accepted here . . .!

chuckled. "A visitor from another
dimension, my wife," she said.
"Doug-san, may I present one of my lovers in this life and my
second wife in my first, Izuku Mioko.
She's known by the battle-name 'Kamikyo Reishi.' In her first life, she was the Lady Hé
Xìxing, the Língsi Empress of Hàn."
To Mioko. "My love, this is
Douglas Sangnoir-taisa of the United Nations Metahuman Peacekeeping Force. He goes by the battle-name 'Looney Tunes' and
he's a sorcerer, arch-mage class."

perked, and then she smiled at me.
"Well met, Master Douglas," she said as she gave me a
classical kung fu-like salute with her hands, though it was the right fist into
the left palm and not the other way around.
"I trust you weren't hurt."

was unconscious when he arrived and we sent down Henrietta-chan and her friends
to go fetch him from the training field, My Empress," Kumomi stated.

was quick to note that Mioko seemed not to mind being called

to self: Read all the history books on
the Three Kingdoms of China ASAP!

is not the first time he's been forced to move from dimension to
dimension," Kumomi added.
"He's been separated from his home dimension – and a most caring
wife – for nearly fifteen decades in his personal time-line." As Hiromi and Mioko gasped on hearing that,
their eyes tearing in honest sympathy, Kumomi added, "No doubt, whatever
fickle Fates decided to force him on such a journey will stop at nothing to
push, push and keep on pushing until he either breaks or they show mercy to

really?" Mioko stated with a look of pure disgust. "Then I suggest we go send Negako-sama
out to thrash the louts for their petty behaviour."

One-sama to do that will be difficult, Mioko-vayae," Hiromi noted.

smirked on sensing the translation of that honorific: "My Beloved." And that made sense to me. Despite my personal preference to avoid
Celestial-type beings like phoenixes and dragons, I knew – thanks to my studies
at the Collegium in Valdemar and with my encounters with beings like Fawkes –
they mated for life. "Well, it
should still be done, Dearest," Mioko stated with the voice of someone
used to commanding others to do her bidding.
What the hell was the difference between Hiromi – who was an actual
EMPEROR of China in her first life! – and Mioko, who was simply Hiromi's wife
and mother to his/her children back then?
"If Master Douglas has remained devoted to his beloved all this
time, he deserves to be returned home as quickly as can be done!"

couldn't you be one of the Fates?" I then pleaded.

filled the room . . . and then a voice called out, "What's so funny,

blinked before I turned . . .

. . and then gaped on seeing what had to be the CUTEST seven year-old kid I'd
EVER encountered in my travels. Clearly
possessing the genetics of both Hiromi and Mioko in her body as given her
green-streaked brown hair and brown eyes behind glasses – and yes, this one was
a bioroid, too; the body was about the same age as Mioko's – she was dressed in
a pinafore with a red T-shirt underneath, the design of which clearly matched
what her parents wore. Given the
sprinting jackrabbit insignia over the kanji ?? for "Tomobiki" – the name was one of
the six days in the Japanese calendar that marked what sort of luck one might
experience – I would assume this was the couple's high school. But WHY on Earth would someone go out and
name a high school of all things after the concept of bad luck
descending on a person's friends?

guest has joined us, Arami-chan," Mioko said as she leaned down to lift
the girl into her arms. "We have a
grand sorcerer with us." She waved
to me. "This is Master Douglas
Sangnoir, who calls himself 'Looney Tunes.'" She blinked.
"'Looney Tunes?'"

mage-gift is centred on music, Mioko-san," I answered her. Yes, she was a dragon – and an ALIEN one at
that! – but hers and Hiromi's child had not been touched at all by Celestial
power . . . and by the feel of pure love Arami's parents felt, they seemed to
prefer Arami lived that way. So clearly,
even if Celestial power was involved with toshi – Arami's earring was a red
shade; she didn't strike me as even a beginner fighter – they seemed to strive
to be as normal human as possible. And
while there was a shrinking yet still present part of me that kept on demanding
to know what the game was, I was starting to realise in THIS universe, it was
possible for mortals to be touched by Celestials and NOT be corrupted or
influenced by such infinite power.

was the secret here?

specific type of music?" Hiromi then wondered, clearly curious by my

type that has lyrics that I can interpret," I answered. "I'm not your normal sorcerer. I can't cast spells like true sorcerers can. However, using any song I can understand as
subconscious inspiration, my body channels my magic to do all sorts of
things." I paused as I wondered if
I should do this in front of these people, and then – despite the part of me
warning me NOT to indulge my deepest desire now, especially in the presence of
three Celestials-in-mortal form – I picked up my helmet and flipped open the
external speakers to the "on" position. Once done, I deployed the keypad and searched
for the song I wanted. As the three
older women in the room patiently waited, Arami motioned with her arms to be
let down to the deck. Once Mioko had
obliged her, the young girl scampered around the table, then got up onto the
chair next to mine to look into my helmet.
I stared at her, and then smiled before I pointed.

what the heck!

press this," I then bade.

did so . . .

Darkside is coming, now nothing is real.
never know just how I feel.
out of the shadows, she walks like a dream.
me feel crazy! Make me feel so mean!

Gorgeous!" that wonderful voice echoed from nearby. "Hey!
What's this place?!"

* *

date and time: Monday 10 May 2011, 3:28
location: Senshobu-jinja, Tomobiki-cho,
Nishitokyo-shi, Tokyo-to,

. . . "

. . . his pain . . . "


Mizuho – who had been hovering on the edge of total emotional collapse ever
since her mind first locked in on the travelling arch-mage sorcerer she had
initially sensed three hours before – gasped on hearing that barked voice, and
then she shook her head for a moment as the powerful empathic link between her
and Douglas Sangnoir faded from her mind.
"I . . . he is so lonely, Negako-sama . . .!" she moaned out
as she gazed with tear-filled eyes at Moroboshi Negako. "He loves her so much . . .!"

took a deep breath. "To answer the
question you clearly wish to ask, Mizuho:
YES, you can bring Margaret to this dimension." She then leaned close to gaze with her
almost-black eyes upon the young survivor of Episode 56-30 of The Program. "But ask yourself this, Mizuho: What can happen to Margaret when she and
Douglas attempt to leave this dimension together and enter those realms
influenced by the beings you believed planned to threaten Douglas' life before
you brought him to Welland?"

blinked, and then she shuddered as her respect and near-reverence for the
grandmaster of Saiko Jinseijutsu-ryu clashed HARD with her own personal sense
of romance, a typical affliction for fifteen year-old Japanese high school
freshmen despite her being psi-bonded to Niimi Rena for the last five
months. Atop that, her own powerful
sense of right and wrong was mixing together with her personal spiritual
beliefs to urge her to give in to her desire to use the Staff of Gihan to reach
out through the Multiverse and locate one Maggie Sangnoir to bring her to this
dimension and reunite her with her husband.
After all, to a devoted Zoroastrian, the supreme deity was the Creator
Himself, Ahura Mazda. The only other
being of near-equal rank to the "Master" – as Mizuho always addressed
Him as – was Ahura Mazda's arch-rival, A?ra Mainiuu, the living Spirit of
Entropy and all that was not good with Creation.

to Mizuho's mind, the idea of a devoted couple being SEPARATED by these
"fates" for nearly FIFTEEN CENTURIES – in the husband's viewpoint –
was WRONG!

could NOT be tolerated!

. . .

misses her so much, Negako-sama . . .!" Mizuho moaned.

nod. "That he should given his
devotion to his own personal beliefs.
But even if deities and other such entities have strict controls over
their actions in OUR sector of the Multiverse, that is not true
elsewhere," Negako warned.
"There are beings out there who desire Douglas to continue to
travel from dimension to dimension and timeline to timeline on his 'quest' to
return to his home dimension. In their
eyes, his interaction with the Knight Sabres, the Nornir living in Nekomi, the
Evangelion pilots and many others, Douglas has contributed most positively to
the lives of those he has been made to deal with. They desire him to continue such a process
within reason." A sigh. "And yes, there are those entities such
as those you sensed three hours ago that would desire Douglas' permanent demise
to prevent him from performing more such deeds."

other words, if you bring Mrs. Sangnoir here, you present TWO targets to those
dark kami you sensed earlier this evening, Mizuho-chan," Sakura added.

blinked. "What should I do . .


perked, and then turned to gaze on Rena. "Beloved . . . "

him what forced you to bring him here, Mizuho-vayae," Rena stated. "And ASK him if he thinks it's okay to
bring his wife here. Once he says 'yes,'
do it."

blinked, and then she nodded before grasping the Staff. In a flash of energy, she vanished from
Japan. Watching her go, Sakura moaned,
and then she gazed in annoyance at Negako.
"Is THIS helping her 'control' that thing?!"

will learn from Douglas, Sakura. Never
fear," the ninjutsu grandmaster noted.

Shinto shrine miko shook her head . . .

* *

Date and time: Sunday 9 May 2011, 2:31
Location: H.M.C.S. Haida, Deck A12 Aft, Flag
Officer's Level,

even TALK to Maggie – even just a magical simulacra of her – hurt so much.

hurt so much . . .

I don't even know what to begin to say to you . . . "

blinked on hearing those words from Hiromi, and then I found myself smiling as
Arami gave me a tender hug. As I turned
to kiss the young girl on the forehead, I gazed on my host for a moment, and
then I sighed. "Director Moroboshi,
I owe you a very deep apology," I then solemnly declared. "I must confess that given my past
experiences with beings I tend to view under the catch-all term 'Celestials,'
the fact that you are touched by a power I believe akin to that of a phoenix –
as your lover and your friend here are touched by dragons – certainly doesn't
take away from the fact that you are all striving to live normal lives despite
your current circumstances. In many
ways, you remind me of my own commanding officer, who – while possessing a
Celestial aspect to her own being – also lives her life as 'normally' as
possible even if she could be seen as an elder storm goddess by some. You clearly desire to assist me in my trip
back to my home dimension and time-line.
I would welcome such help. In
turn, I will gladly offer anything within reason to allow the Earth Defence
Force to better prepare itself for its mission ahead for both Terran and
Avalonian alike."

– hers and Mioko's cheeks were wet from the tears they had shed when they had
seen Maggie's simulacra; even Kumomi had been moved – nodded. "Your apology, I accept, Lord Colonel
Sangnoir," she said. "Though I
ask one thing right now."


wink. "Please do NOT call me
'Director' or anything save my name!" she pleaded, which made Mioko
giggle, Arami – who was trying to fight back the sorrow she felt for me –
snicker and Kumomi smirk. "And if
you may, good sir, please try not to use '-sama' with my
name! Or I will have no choice but to
call you 'Sangnoir-taisa' until you're sick to death of hearing it . . . AND
arrange for proper navy side parties when you step on and off this ship or any
of her sisters while you're with us."

say that as if it's a bad thing," I then cautioned as I raised a warning
finger. Then, after a pause but – before
she could answer – I smiled. "Okay,
it is a bad thing. But
don't assume that everybody hates ceremony, Hiromi-chan."

does have a point, My Emperor," Kumomi noted.

Hiromi grumbled under her breath, I was quick to sense the light smile on
Kumomi's face after she said that.
Noting that despite the ancient bonds of loyalty that drove the latter
girl towards calling my host by her first-life's title, she did have a sense of
humour, I relaxed myself. "It's a
deal, Hiromi-chan," I vowed.

that's a good thing," Mioko stated.
"Though Master Douglas, may I humbly give you some wise
advice?" As I gazed at her,
Hiromi's lover winked. "When you gain
the chance to meet my beloved's sister Negako-sama, please do NOT call her
'sensei' or any other title beyond either the '-sama' honorific or its cognates
in other languages."

advice, my love," Hiromi affirmed.
"One-sama has been often mistaken as a living avatar of Mother Gaia
Herself due to her origins, Doug-san.
Atop that, her viewpoint on life as a whole is as pure a form of Taoism
as Master Laozi himself was said to possess." As I nodded – recognising the reference to
Lao Tzu; no doubt, Hiromi spoke Mandarin in lieu of Cantonese or any of the
other main dialects – she added, "To her, there is the living world . . .
and there is the Te'a. Because
our souls emerge from the Te'a at birth and return to the Te'a upon our
passing from this life, the need of have such titles is ultimately
useless." She then smirked. "Though I will confess there is only ONE
person she will address by rank: The
Heavenly Sovereign of Japan."

blinked. Through the ship's translation
fields, "Te'a" was interpreted as "that which is above mortal
understanding," which made no sense to me . . . until I realised that
whatever its origin, such clearly was an odd interpretation of the Taoist
concept of Non-Being. Perhaps mixed with
the Force concept from Star Wars, but I'd have to dig deeper into
that. Was THIS the big secret of this
universe? "What is she?" I

world's first true artificial intelligence, Doug-san," Kumomi
answered. As I gaped at her, she
smiled. "That which would
eventually become Negako-san was first created by a corporeal immortal being
named Hozan Hirosuke a thousand years ago as a mental storehouse of martial
arts knowledge and experience which could be added onto by memory-copying of
select ninjutsu-ka – to borrow the modern term – from the family that was
giving this 'gift' by the Immortal Master:
Hiromi-san's very own ancestors, so to speak." As I nodded, she added, "Over the years,
the 'databank' eventually acquired the name given to the Art it was meant to
serve as the ultimate library to: Saiko
Jinseijutsu-ryu, one of the accepted daughter-schools of the Immortal One's own
school, the Tensei-ryu. When one was the
host of such a being, one was literally an unstoppable warrior . . . as many
toshi centuries ago learned to their cost."

who bore that which would become One-sama were often used as special enforcers
in the name of the Heavenly Sovereign by the Shogun to kill off toshi and other
such malcontents when they began making TOO much noise after the Battle of
Sekigahara in 1600 united the nation," Hiromi added. "However, in 1808, my ancestors learned
that there was another such database of knowledge – also created
by Master Hozan – held by a then-unknown clan from Hokkaido, the Hana
family. We learned of it this way: In the midst of a tsunami, when they were
rescuing fishermen, the host of the Hana family's version of the Saiko
Jinseijutsu drowned. And in his last
act, he forced his own database into the mind of my ancestor. Once the two databases became one being . . .

sentience threshold was surpassed," I finished. "Negako-san literally 'woke up.'"

"Aye. In that incident, a terrible conundrum for
both families was then presented," my host stated. "While they did understand magicals and
immortals and other such beings, they couldn't – for the most part – comprehend
an artificial intelligence like One-sama. And when she – rightly so, I might add –
decided she wanted to have her own body for herself instead of living in my
ancestor's subconscious mind, that profound incomprehension turned into blind
fear. In the battle that resulted from
that, half of Hokkaido was laid waste until One-sama's then-host made a very
sacred promise."

find some way to give her what she wanted," I concluded.

nod. "Aye. And thus began the Promise of Bunka Go-nen;
that is the Japanese era name and year date that is the equivalent to 1808 in
the Gregorian calendar. Since that time,
One-sama's soul – not to mince words – was carefully preserved by those who took
up the Sacred Promise from the time the soul-transference until the death of
the host necessitated another soul-transference. When One-sama was made a part of Onii-san's
mind eleven years ago, he became the fifty-seventh person to make the
Promise." She then smiled. "And the one who survived to see it

Wow! THAT was a lot to take in!

when you do meet Negako-san, do not be surprised if she is rather curt and
neutral in her behaviour towards you," Kumomi stated. "She has had little cause to trust and
respect human beings over the last two centuries. Her hosts and a few others
notwithstanding." A knowing
smile. "I dare say that your
delightful companion housed now in that laptop computer you have stored in the
cargo compartment of your motorcycle would interest Negako-san MUCH more than
you would." As I gaped at her – How
the hell did she sense Eimi?! I immediately demanded – she opened her eyes
to wink at me. "And speaking of
which, I do believe the Elder Mother of the Avalonians now aboard . . . "

knock. "Enter, Naoko-chan!"
Hiromi bade.

main door opened to reveal a pretty girl of about twenty or so, with shaggy
hair the shade of evergreen and amethyst eyes.
She was also in Navy work dress, the looped stripe of an acting
sub-lieutenant on her shoulder boards.
Her family name TAKANASHI was written on her nametag. She also had a wedding band of some sort on
one finger. "I apologise for
intruding on you like this, One-sama, but Doug-san's guest quarters have been
prepared," she said before she gave me a friendly smile. "Captain Gamblin insisted that he be
quartered in the guest cabin on the senior officer's level in the forward
superstructure given his rank in his universe.
When he's had a chance to rest up and everything, he'll be invited to
the captain's cabin for supper, of course." As I gaped at her, Naoko smiled. "Would you like to get your things
first, Doug-san?"

slowly nodded . . .

Damn! Were everyone in the Earth Defence Force as
efficient as this?

* *

Date and time: Sunday 9 May 2011, 3:23
Location: H.M.C.S. Haida, Deck A10 Forward,
Senior Officer's Quarters,

not there yet, huh?"

not, Eimi," I said in return as I gazed on the cute image on my laptop
computer screen in the spacious room I had been given to rest and relax in for
however long I might be in this dimension.
"But I was detected right away; the local tech is high enough to
detect world-gates. I take it you've
sensed where we're at now."

seemed to blink-blink for a moment as her central consciousness sought out the
modem cable that now connected the device she was in to Haida's part of
this world's Tapestry . . . and then a look of sheer disbelief crossed her face
for a moment as the information finally started to came in; Hiromi had arranged
to grant me unlimited Top Secret access to all the files that were stored in
this ship's mainframe computer.

starship . . .?"

smirked. I rather guessed for all her
sophistication and sentience, she had long got used to the lower levels of tech
that we had encountered since we began travelling together many years and
dimensions ago. To find herself in
Tapestry HEAVEN . . .!

transwarp capable by the Star Trek scale; can hop from one end of the
galaxy to the other in mere minutes," I provided for her;
looking over Haida's schematics had been the first thing I had done
through the desktop machine that was provided for me by the smiling Takanashi
Naoko, who was now moving to unpack my clothing and put it away. "With enough firepower to turn a living
planet Earth's size into a cinder in space.
Though my current hosts wouldn't ever dream of doing something like

starship . . .?!"

I answered.

gaped at me, which seemed to concern Naoko as she came around to gaze over my
shoulder at my friend. "I hope
she's not going to suffer a breakdown, Doug-san."

blinked several times as she focused on Naoko, and then she gaped. No doubt, she had just learned about the
Avalonians. "You're a bioroid?"

Avalonian," Naoko stated.
"Peace, logic and harmony unto you, Eimi-san."

friend gaped for a second, and then she breathed out, "Wow . . .!"

me this, Doug-san: Does Eimi-san like
being in a box?"

jolted on hearing that slightly-cold voice, and then I turned to see a girl
with green-highlighted black hair standing at the open doorway to my
cabin. She was in Navy combat dress – as
the local black work dress was called here – but had Air Force blue epaulettes
on her shoulders, they marked with the unit tag 21 ACCS, which indicated
the 21st Air Communications and Control Squadron, the mobile signals command
and support group for Haida's aerospace contingent, 21 Space Wing of the
First Canadian Air Division. Her family
name ASAI was on her chest under the squadron's crest, a sky blue field
with the two-headed thunderbird of Haida over a trio of lightning
flashes emitting from the Earth under the tail.
"Mayumi-chan!" Naoko then snapped. "Even if you'd want to help Eimi-san
like you did Lal-san when we met up with the Enterprise crew at
Christmas time, there IS the problem of what happens when something from
another dimension transits to this dimension and vice-versa." As Eimi and I both gaped at her – This girl
actually helped Data's daughter during their contact? Wasn't Lal dead? – Naoko added,
"Especially if you decide to create a bioroid body for her!"

is a problem with your theory, oh Ashi'cha of mine," Mayumi stated
as she then slipped off her reading glasses from her brown eyes. I was quick to interpret that word as meaning
"elder mother" in what I suspected was the Avalonian language. "Doug-san shows the signs of residing
for decades on some strops in his journey." As I blinked, wondering how this girl got
hold of my life-scan readings – Did she hack into Narumi-chan's logs? –
Mayumi put her glasses on. "Given
he seems to be shielded by unknown means from being forced back into his home
dimension, the chances are good that if I did create a physical body for
Eimi-san, she will be so likely blessed."

start!" Naoko stated. "While
Eimi-san might like a change of scenery, she was created in her current form
and would probably find the transition to corporeal form traumatic. Try to be more empathic, please! You were built for it,

were you, Naoko-chan," Mayumi noted.
"I AM being empathic about it.
But I have my own morals and beliefs to acknowledge as well." A nod to me, and then she was off.

blinked several times. "You
resident mad scientist, I take it?"

was modelled that way," Naoko confessed.

from?" Eimi asked.

current guide smiled. "Eimi-san, go
into the personnel files section of the ship's memory," she said. "My personal file folder is under my
name in Oriental name format. Passcode
is 'S-H-I-N-O-B-I-4-E-V-E-R.' Access the
files marked under the sub-folders 'Grand Prix' and 'Pretty League.' Look at the pictures there and you'll get the

blinked . . . and then a look of righteous outrage crossed her face. "HENTAI SUKEBE! WHO THE HECK MODELLED YOU AFTER SOMETHING

would-be master." Naoko then gazed
at me. "Though fortunately, unlike
so many of my own sisters on Earth and beyond, I never had the displeasure of meeting
the man."

happened?" I asked.

and Ayami-onesama happened," she replied.
I knew that the latter name hinted at Haida's co-designer and
co-builder, Hakaru Ayami. She had been
the one to ensure things like planet-shattering anti-proton cannons had NOT
been fitted on Haida and her sisters like Tsukihana wanted from the very
start. "As our would-be master –
there were a total of 415 of us he had created – was returning home from a
shopping trip on Zeiwan, they happened upon us in Arizona and Yamato. We were all in our storage tubes, having got
out of gestation aboard the factory on Phentax Twelve before we were programmed
and woken. As to why that happened this
way, I can't say. But when we were
sensed by Arizona's life sensors and identified as having a Sagussan
genetic profile, we were beamed out before our master was any the wiser. After he realised we had been 'stolen' from
him, he contacted Onii-sama and One-sama and threatened us with the retribution
of the 'One True Church of Lum' for their actions."

grinned. "What happened?"

was beamed into one of his ship's own escape pods and it was made to jettison
from his ship . . . just before Yamato's guns wrecked it." As Eimi cheered and I laughed, Naoko stated,
"My first waking moment was finding myself on Haida after Onii-sama
and One-sama met up with Hiromi-onesama and we were inbound to Sol. Over the following months, I became her
major-domo on this ship and was acknowledged as Ashi'cha after my soul
was augmented with the souls of one of the amnesiac toshi then trapped within a
device known as the Dragon Jade."
She pointed to her own earring in emphasis.

looked at it. It was like Hiromi's magatama,
though it was shaped like a maple leaf cut right out of the Canadian flag and
was shaded evergreen. It had a fouled
anchor and a British naval coronet etched on it. A trade badge of some sort, I realised. "So what are you doing right now?"
I wondered. "Haida was just
commissioned last summer. You all came
here last February in your time-line.
Basic training?"

– that's naval operations – training for myself at H.M.C.S. Venture over
in Esquimalt," Naoko stated.
"Ditto with Tomomi-chan and several others. Others have either passed basic trades
training in the ranks or are still going through it. Even if, in some places, they don't need
it." A wink. "Military mentality, I'm afraid."

laughed again . . . and then perked on hearing a knock at my door. I looked over to see an elderly man with a
golden Canadian coat of arms insignia on his shoulder boards. He had the same type of branch badge as
Tomomi wore on his beret. No doubt, this
man was the equivalent of a British Army regimental sergeant-major on this
ship, though I had no idea what it was called in the Canadian Navy. "Yes?" I asked.

to bother you, Colonel Sangnoir, but the lady who actually brought
you to our dimension is now aboard and in the observation lounge," the
other man said. "She's got
everything for a formal tea ceremony set up there. She wants to talk to you."

gaped . . .

* *

Date and time: Sunday 9 May 2011, 4:04
Location: H.M.C.S. Haida, Deck 1 Forward, Main
Observation Lounge,

had been YEARS since I last wore the robes I had acquired on Velgarth.

while I was a little baffled by Naoko's suggestion that I put on such robes in
lieu of my battle-suit, it made sense to me after about five minutes.

the first time for as long as I personally can remember at this time, I would
be participating in an actual cha no yu.

this would be an informal chakai between myself and the woman said to have
rescued me. Which I was grateful for; I
had a ton of research I had to do concerning what sort of universe I was in and
there was dinner coming up soon with the ship's commanding officer, Captain
(Navy) Brian Gamblin. Hence, the
decision to have a chakai in lieu of a full-blown chaji, which
could last for four hours on occasion.

that my rescuer was said to be a fifteen year-old, first year high school
student currently attending Tomobiki High School, I could guess that she hadn't
had the chance to fully study the intricacies of the chaji in her ethics
and home economics classes.

at least, got the name of my "rescuer."
Inada Mizuho.

to my surprise, Mizuho herself – like yours truly – was from another

– and this, no doubt, fuelled part of Naoko's argument with Asai Mayumi
concerning giving Eimi a corporeal body of her own – in this dimension, one
could not transition to another dimension and remain there for more than one
solar year dependant on the orbital cycle of the planet of a traveller's
birth. Or vice-versa

had been proven by the Avalonians' true creators, the Sagussans, millennia ago.

were, however, ways of getting around that, of course.

had happened to me – no doubt, such was what had pegged Mayumi's interest in
Eimi and myself in the first place – was one clear way of doing it.

for a more permanent transition between dimensions, there was another

that Avalonians are bioroids whose DNA can be grafted together
with considerable precision thanks to the incredibly high level of Sagussan
technology – which Haida herself had been built under – it was quite
easy for me to conclude that Mizuho had been given a clone body of her own. No doubt thanks to the bioroid factory itself
– currently at Lagrange Point One between the Earth and the Moon – to give her
and her current lover, Niimi Rena, the chance to have lives of their own here.

both of them weren't the only ones from that other dimension to come here.

at the turn of the New Year in 2011 – right after Haida had encountered
the good starship Enterprise under Jean-Luc Picard – over A HUNDRED
THOUSAND such kids came across the dimensional veils and were resettled in the
Japan in this dimension.

didn't know WHY this had happened, but from the look on Naoko's face when she
spoke of that dimension, it hadn't been any sort of party in that universe.

to what it might have been, I had Eimi – with Naoko's permission – look into

. . .

* *


voice that spoke after Naoko and I stepped out of the turbolift onto
"Recreation Flats" – as the Canadian Navy personnel now aboard Haida
called this part of the ship – was light and sounded somewhat like Eimi's own
voice, though there was a slight edge of maturity for it. Gazing forward, I was quick to see a smiling
girl in the white-and-red robes of a Shinto shrine maiden awaiting me close to
a stairwell leading updeck, which -- since this was on Deck 2 of the main hull
forward of the superstructure, would normally lead onto what Navy people called
the "weather deck." Which, for
a ship designed to fly in deep space – to say anything of flying faster than
LIGHT – would be a very unhealthy place for anyone to be save for those who had
metagifts that would allow them to survive in such an environment. However, from what I had seen of Haida's
basic design schematics after I settled into my guest quarters, I knew there
was a dome-like observation lounge the size of the average person's home
located ahead of the forward superstructure on the upper flat surface of the
main hull behind main gun Turrets A and B.
A place where people could go and simply relax to gaze out into space or
the skies when the ship was in atmosphere, I felt it was a nice little touch to
add onto a ship that was designed to fight other ships in deep space battles.

doubt, Ayami had added that part to the ship.

everything ready, Rena-san?" Naoko asked.

nodded. She had her brown hair styled
like most Shinto shrine maidens did it:
Letting it flow long down past her shoulders, though some parts were
tied together in two thin French braids at the level of her ears to come
together at the back of her neck.
"Hai, Naoko-san.
Sangnoir-taisa?" she then said as she waved me up.

bowed politely to her, and then moved to ascend up the stairwell. Naoko reached over to a slide-sign posted on
the bulkhead by the stairs to mark the observation lounge as being OCCUPIED/PRIVATE. Stepping up the shallow steps into the
lounge, I was quick to note that we were now in space over south-central
Ontario; Haida had, no doubt, cleared the airspace over Welland as soon
as I was safely aboard and everyone was secure in the hull. A glance off to my left revealed a
white-painted ship with the black number 177 written on her hull under
her main bridge and the Canadian flag painted aft of amidships like Haida
had her colours painted there. She was
an unarmed vessel about half the size of the battleship/carrier I now stood
on. The basic hull design of a
cigar-shaped main hull ending in engine exhausts – that vessel only had one
engine to drive her in lieu of Haida's twin drives – with a fore-and-aft
upper superstructure and a long lower superstructure ending in sub-light drive
exhausts, all of which were covered by forests of sensor vanes that also
doubled as flag masts, was the same. I
couldn't see the ship's name from this distance, so I gazed on Naoko.

smiled. "Canadian Forces Auxiliary
Starship Nimiq," she explained.
"Currently assigned to Defence Research and Development Canada's
Niagara laboratories co-located with the Starship Fleet Maintenance Facility
Merrittonia on the east side of the By-Pass Channel north of the Rose City Skyway. She has two sisterships: Canadian Forces Auxiliary Starship Anik
and Navire Interstellaire Auxiliarire des Forces Canadiennes Alouette. Anik will eventually be based
alongside H.M.C.S. Yukon at Whitehorse while Alouette will be
based alongside N.C.S.M. Saint-Laurent at Valcartier."

Yukon and Saint-Laurent . . .?" I asked.

Three – Warrior-class – space frigates."
As I perked on hearing the class name – I knew Haida was
considered the name-ship of the Type One space battleship/carriers of the Earth
Defence Force – she then waved to the Nimiq. "Imagine her with eight triple-gun
turrets and the same number of anti-ship missile tubes."

perked, grinning. "'Warrior-class?!'"

"Hai! After Her Majesty's Starship Warrior,
pendant F31. The first one

giggled. "Naoko-san, Doug-san's
team back home is known as 'Warriors Alpha.'"

gaped. "Oh! I didn't know that!"

did YOU know that, Rimi-san?" I asked.

giggle. "You caught the interest of
my beloved sometime ago, Master Douglas," she said with the same formal
slant of speech Hiromi used. "As to
the 'how,' you're about to find out.
Please understand that her actions which brought you here were done out
of a profound fear for your life when you were unconscious and travelling
between dimensions." As I nodded –
remembering that Kumomi had hinted that to me when I first discovered the power
within Hiromi's body – she waved me with her. "This way."

headed over to the middle of the lounge.
I noticed that given the circular shape of the lounge floor itself, the
seats here were arranged as if we were on the ground floor in the Globe Theatre
in London, with a centre stage raised about a half-metre off the deck. Of course, the "backstage" – facing
aft here – led to the stairwell where we had come up to join Rimi's lover, who
was kneeling on the stage gazing with a mixture of concern and delight at
me. Like Rimi, she was in a shrine miko's
kimono with the red hakama trousers that was normally worn by people like
them. As I stepped up to join her, she
rose to deeply bow to me, which I returned.

to our universe, Master Douglas," she said in a voice that had a strong
fleck of Shikoku in it – like Rimi's voice was pure Kyushu – as she gazed upon
me. "While I'm sure the Great
Emperor has given you something to eat and drink after you were found in the
training ground of the First Battalion of Her Majesty's noble Guards of Canada,
allow me to present you with some refreshments as a way of apologising to you
for forcing you on yet another stop in your journey to rejoin your beloved Lady
Margaret and your wonderful friends back in old London Town in your

bowed my head, trying not to grin too much as Mizuho's speech flowed over me;
unlike Rimi – who did strike me as a normal girl underneath it all – her lover
clearly would feel perfectly at home in the years when Hiromi lived her first
life in China. To say anything of the
Collegium back in Valdemar. As I flashed
Naoko a knowing look – which she returned with a smile – I said, "I would
be delighted, Mistress Mizuho."

that, the tea – I realised it was gyokuro, the tea that Kumomi had
enjoyed at my meeting with Hiromi – was prepared. And while I couldn't exactly remember the
last time I was involved in a Japanese tea ceremony, I was quick to realise
that Mizuho was doing her best to follow the proper etiquette for such an
occasion. Given that the normal tea ceremony
was done in a special tea house, Mizuho clearly elected to use the nodate
outdoor picnic style of the ceremony in this case. I was happy for that; it was yet another
demonstration of the earnest desire everyone I had met so far expressed towards
making me feel comfortable as I got my bearings and moved to find some way to
press on, hopefully to make the one last jump back to my home.

while there were reasons to doubt it, my mage-sight was quick to inform me that
Mizuho did not have ANY Celestial influence inside her; Rimi was likewise

eyes did show a level of deep pain within them indicating that she had
experienced a very recent brush with death, though.

this the reason she had moved to this dimension?

had happened to her?

Asagiri Priscilla, whom you met in the dark city of Megatokyo many dimensions
back – you will probably remember her as 'Lady Blue' of the noble Knight Sabres
– I myself was able to make sure all those I love and care for ultimately
survived their own confrontations with the Master's Final Mystery," Mizuho
then said as she gazed briefly at me.
"In the Lady Priscilla's case, there were several people she would
have gladly done anything to bring back to life. Four of them actually being
boomers." She turned back to the
preparing of the gyokuro.
"You were wise to force her to face up to the ugly dichotomy her
alliance with Sylia Stingray was forcing on her soul. It hurt her like nothing else had ever hurt
her to date, but she benefitted for it.
For one young child-shaped boomer – who was rescued by the Sabres while
you were confronting your own dimensional counterpart in Genom Tower at the
time – became her daughter."

gaped at her as my mind quickly recalled my encounters with the Blue Knight
Sabre, not to mention the night at Hog Legs when my mage-gift fell totally in
love with Priss' signature song, Konya wa Hurricane. "How do you know all that?!"

waved with one hand.

felt my jaw hit the deck on seeing a tall, staff-like device literally APPEAR
in her hand. As tall as I was, it was
topped with a crescent moon-shaped arc of metal encasing a glowing crystal of a
material I had NEVER seen before which was the size of my head. As I looked upon it, the engineer side of me
was quick to see the three layers of material the crystal was made out of: A diamond-like outer casing over a ruby-like
middle casing, the whole surrounding a core of solid onyx-like black material I
would swear came from the heart of a black hole of all things!

even if it was GLOWING like it did.

mage-sight quickly clicked in as I focused on this thing.

be careful before doing that, Douglas.

blinked as my mage-sight faded while my mind registered that echoing male
voice. "Who are you?!" I then
demanded, moving myself to be on guard.
"A Celestial?!"

Douglas Quincy Sangnoir. In the core of
my being, I am an artificial intelligence like your delightful friend Eimi,
though created seventeen thousand of your years ago on a planet thirty-three
thousand Earth light-years from here.
You may address me as the 'Staff of Gihan.' Inada Mizuho is my current controller, having
won my absolute loyalty when she seized me upon her emerging from gestation
over fifteen months ago when the one who wished to enslave her and all her
beloved friends in sexual slavery elected to use her to kill Moroboshi Hiromi
and her siblings on the liberation of the bioroid factory created in
Project: Avalon from Niphentaxian

I nearly winced on the idea of Mizuho being used as some slave soldier to try
to kill Hiromi and her friends – and found myself privately vowing yet again to
learn my rescuer's full story as quickly as I could – the Staff added, As
to my power, I am given but a small fraction of the sum Total Power of the Te'a. The Power first born with the detonation of
the Primal Atom over thirteen billion years ago which created the Multiverse in
all its wonderful complexity . . . and the Power that can only be extinguished
when the Primal Atom reforms however many billions of years in the future, thus
allowing the Multiverse to finally fade into the nothingness of the Final

gaped at it as my mind once more threatened to totally crash over that tsunami
of information – mixed with an earthquake, hurricane, tornado and blizzard to
boot! – that just slammed into me. After
a moment as my mind tried to run through what this thing – which actually
looked like a country-made version of Sailor Moon's magical sceptre grown to
battle-staff size – just told me, I then shook my head as I mentally shoved
away the years of magical training I had endured in my own universe and in my
travels, reverting to my engineering knowledge.
And the hard sciences that came with it.

possess a part of the power that unleashed the Big Bang?!" I
then gasped.


could speak after hearing all THAT?!

the Staff replied. I warned you
off from using your mage-sight on me since – if you DID use that power – you would
behold an entity which would be equal in overall power to any 'Celestial' you have ever met, even your good
friend Helene Diedmeier. Given your many
experiences – both for good and ill by your own personal viewpoint – with such
entities, Douglas . . . and the desire of my controller and those whom she
allies herself with to see you not only comfortable while you are their guest
but to give you every chance to proceed onward to your home dimension, I felt
it only right to 'tone down' my own impact on the various magical fields you
can perceive through your mage-sight capabilities. Magic, after all, is but an expression of the
Te'a which some – like yourself – are gifted with the ability to
manipulate. My controller – and I myself
– do not wish to harm those who do not harm us in return.

blinked several times before I relaxed.
"What made you convince Mizuho it was wise to bring me to this dimension? Kumomi stated I was threatened by 'dark and
demonic beings' that were planning to ambush me while I was transitioning
through my latest world-gate jump – I assume it was her dragon that told her
that – but I've never had that sort of problem before when I've move from
dimension to dimension."

was because your journey was slowly but surely bringing you towards our section
of the Multiverse, Master Douglas," Mizuho answered as she moved to plant
the Staff's base end into a holding clamp in the floor next to her. "Staff, bring our guest's combat helmet
here." As a flash of energy brought
my helmet onto the deck right next to me, she turned to finish with the gyokuro. "Computer: Engage ship's entertainment files. Locate musical song by Chris de Burgh: The Storyman. Play on loudspeakers in the observation
lounge, Level Six," she then commanded before giving me a knowing look.

my God! I gasped in my mind. She knew about THIS . . .?!

guitar riff sounded off . . .

lived my life in the words of a Storyman,
my dreams from the years gone by.
my voice in the songs of a Storyman,
by my side, always by my side . . .

as it happened so many times before when I encountered a new song, my metagift
quickly perked up as the beautiful ballad echoed all around me . . .

. . and then I felt SOMETHING reach into me.

your power and mine show the effects of this gift, Douglas,
the Staff said . . .

saw him first in a castle by candlelight,
round with a golden key.
heard a train far away . . . and a whistle blew
a baby's cry. 'Twas like a baby's cry.

gods!" Rimi then gasped, which made me stare at her . . . to see she was
looking straight up. "What is
THAT?!" she then demanded, pointing.

looked up . . .

stood on the walls of Jerusalem.
danced at the Borderline.
a fire on the road to the Ferryman.
running high . . . in the summertime.

monsters who sought to stop Master Douglas' quest to return to his beloved Lady
Margaret and all his wonderful friends, dearest Rimi," Mizuho answered as
I gaped at the sight of at least a COMPANY'S worth of black humanoid beings
swirling around what was clearly ME on my motorcycle as I drifted through the
vortex between worlds.

since I'm always unconscious when I do world-gate jumps . . .!

me back to the places I've never been!
me back to another time . . .!
me back to a world I have never seen
in my mind! Only in my mind!

. . I wouldn't have known my own DEATH had been just metres away from me!

last night I met up with a lady-love,
in red; didn't say goodbye!
me to the last time I showed her what
hands can do . . . and I'll be missing you!

a tendril of pure white light snared me, encasing my cycle and I in a
protective cocoon of energy, and then began pulling me towards Haida . .


was a REPLAY of what Mizuho had seen with her own mind when she brought me

me back to the places I've never been!
me back to another time . . .!
me back to a world I have never seen
in my mind! Only in my mind . . .!

I fought the urge to stare like a dumb idiot at my host - stunned that this
girl had used a mere fraction of the power that literally created the
universe to save my ass from beings that clearly wanted Mama Sangnoir's
boy to be looking at daisies from the WRONG direction! - I noted that the Big Ugly
Critters who wanted to smoke my ass just hours before had noticed that their
target was being yanked out of their range.

they didn't take too well to that.

the light that's shining on to where we will be going!
to Heaven, Paradise, or to the Heart Divine!
in the echoes of a child, waiting for the journey,
spirit of one world!

as they moved to pursue me, they then seemed to focus on something . . .

. . and then – I would swear this to my dying day! – they looked as if they had
just spotted something that could wipe them out from Existence itself.

in a virtual cloud of cosmic smoke, they vamoosed to wherever they came

made me feel quite relieved . . .

take me back to the places I've never been!
me back to another time . . .!
me back to a world I have never seen
in my mind! Only in my mind . . .!

lived my life in the words of a Storyman . . .

Mizuho then asked as she held up a mug for me to take.

blinked several times as my mind ran through what I had just been allowed to
see, and then I nodded as I took the cup in hand. "Thank you," I said.

was amazed that my hands weren't shaking from what I had just seen.

who or what were they?" Naoko then asked.

Lady Naoko. Servants of the Dark One,"
Mizuho answered. "My Master's
eternal opponent, A?ra Mainiuu. What
forced me to bring Master Douglas to our place within the Eternal Vastness of
the Master's Creation was only just one small battle in the quest to see the
Dark One destroyed once and for all in the Frashokereti."

tried not to gape at this girl.


was a Zoroastrian?!

am one of the followers of the Way prescribed to those who acknowledge the
Master as their own Lord of Heaven by the Great Sage Zarathuštra Spitama, Master
Douglas. And I am glad for it,"
Mizuho stated as she gazed on me.
"Odd for one of those born of the Land of the Wa to follow such a
path, I agree, but my circumstances in discovering the Way were quite unique to
me. And while I do not follow what is
more common for those such as my beloved, I do acknowledge that the Master
presents Himself in whatever way He desires to be accepted by all according to
personal circumstances."

would they seek to destroy Doug-san?" Naoko then demanded.

"Yeah! What she said!" I echoed her.

Rimi giggled, Mizuho smiled.
"Staff, show us Jennifer Asagiri-McNichol."

you wish.

image – like a holoscreen – then appeared over our heads.

Rimi and Naoko gushed together.

was tempted to do the same.

then again, would you blame me?

girl in the image now being cuddled over by the un-armoured Lady Blue and
Officer Cool Shades – as I so fondly remembered Asagiri Priscilla and Inspector
Leon McNichol; no doubt, he and Priss were married – was about Moroboshi
Arami's physical age, though I realised this was the "child-shaped boomer"
that Mizuho spoke of earlier.
Blonde-haired and blue-eyed, she was currently dressed in normal kid's
clothes for her age and time period, which would probably put it sometime after
I left Megatokyo. And while I did
remember Priss' personal hatred of boomers before my lecture after I had made
the deal with the Three to bring two kids back from the dead after one fight
with Genom's cyberdroid slaves – and I also remembered that Leon had been part
of the city's Advanced Police department who had been assigned to bring me in
after I decided to become a vigilante after a boomer rampage at Hot Lips – it made
my heart glow to see them married and starting a family. Though having a boomer as a daughter . . .!

Damn! I must have really done some good there.

type of cyberdroid is she?" Naoko asked.

modification of the 33-S concept," Mizuho answered.

gazed on Naoko as a look of disgust crossed her face. "A Sexaroid . . .?"

my God . . .

Jennifer was a paedophile's wet dream!

to go, Lady Blue . . .!

"Aye. No different than the Ladies Sylvie and
Anri." Mizuho then gazed at
me. "The former of the pair I just
mentioned was one whom Lady Priscilla was forced to shoot down to save all of
Megatokyo from a runaway neutron bomb in 2033, Master Douglas," she then
explained. "The Lady Anri gave up
her life to save Priss from a mad omniboomer named Largo – whose mental
template was the man who murdered the Lady Sylia Stingray's father eleven years
earlier, Brian J. Mason – shortly afterward."

winced. "Damn . . .!"

wonder Priss had begged me to help bring her friends back that one time.

you like to send a message to them, Douglas?

gazed at the Staff's focusing crystal for a moment, and then shook my
head. "I might consider it later –
if it's within your abilities – but not now.
Thank you." I then moved to
sip the tea as the image over our heads was dispersed. "So . . . "

reason I asked to meet you," Mizuho finished for me, lightly smiling.


Avalonians empathic?!

you just saw now, there are those beings out there who would wish to ensure
that you die long before you could enjoy the embrace of your beloved
wife," she said. "Most likely,
this stems from all the side-effects of your journey. All the noble deeds you – as a warrior vowed
to protect all sentient beings who might come to harm – have done to improve
the lives of others. The boomers of
Genom. The Lady Marller when you broke
her free from the grips of the Hell of her dimension. Ikari Shinji and his friends when they were
made the playthings of NERV and SEELE.
Harry Potter and his classmates at Hogwarts. All the others whose lives were made better
thanks to you."

pointed up. "As you know and as you
just saw, there are those forces out there who have watched you on your
journey. Some like the Lady Helene have
watched over you to ensure you survive.
Some like the Ladies Urd, Belldandy and Skuld have helped . . . though
their other aspects have hindered your travels. And some . . . "

me dead," I finished for her.


are those things still out there?"

sighed. "I believe so. Given the Earth Defence Force's experiences
with crossing into other dimensions, I felt it only right to bring you here so
that you could combine your experiences with theirs to make your next world-gate
any interference from other beings, especially so-called 'gods' or
'demons!'" As I grinned at the
scorn in her voice, Mizuho pointed up.
"In other words, you travel from Welland in 2011 to London in 2001,
to a world where so many sentient beings of so many different types and origins
live peacefully side-by-side. Where your
beautiful wife lives." As I felt my
heart squeeze on hearing Mizuho speak of Maggie, she then smiled. "I was actually tempted to use the Staff
to reach out to where the Lady Margaret was shortly after you were separated
from her, and then bring her here so you could be together."

stared at her. "Maggie . . .!"

lover and Negako-sama warned me, however, that if I did that, I could present
TWO targets for those things out there to focus their wrath on and not one,"
Mizuho added, which made me blink before I nodded in understanding. "Rimi suggested that in lieu of simply
giving in to my urge, I consult with you first.
So, Master Douglas . . . "

gazed at me. "Would you wish me to
bring the Lady Margaret here?"

To be continued . . .


1) In Drunkard's Walk continuity, this story
is set near the end of the main Step stories, around Step XII and XIII. In the continuity of Phoenix From the
Ashes, this story is set five months after Avalonians and Questors. As I am writing this story in salute to Bob's
work since I've been a fan of it since DW2 first came out, I am
conforming to the scene indicator titles he uses in his stories.

2) Translations and explanations:

– A combination of Sensho (good luck before noon with bad luck after
lunch) and Senbu (bad luck before lunch and good luck afterward), taken
from two of the Rokuyo ("six weekly days"), also known as Rokki
("six brilliances"), which is where Takahashi-sensei got the name Tomobiki
(days where bad things happen to one's friends).

– A Shinto temple.

– Town (as part of a larger city or prefecture).

– City.

– Metropolitan Prefecture (suffix title only applied to Tokyo itself).

– Offering hall of a Shinto temple.

– Shinto shrine maiden.

– Japanese language.

– Navy captain, Army colonel, Air Force group captain.

– Navy acting sub-lieutenant, Army second lieutenant, Air Force pilot officer.

– Suffix-title derived from tono, an honorific which originally meant
"master" that lies between -san and -sama with the
level of respect it relays.

– Literally "male phoenix and female phoenix," the being in Chinese
cosmology which is the opposite aspect of the dragon spiritually.

– Literally "jewel dew."

– Plural form of "Norn."

Jinseijutsu-ryu – "School of the Way of the Supreme
Life," the Moroboshi family's in-house school of martial arts.

– "School of the Star of Heaven."

– Literally "Cultural Advancement."

sukebe – Perverted sleeze.

no yu – Literally "tea and hot water."

– Literally "tea meeting."

– Literally "tea service."

– Literally "point in the countryside."

– Literally "making wonderful/excellent."

3) Throughout Drunkard's Walk, Bob went
out of his way to hint at the differences between events, places and things in
Doug's home dimension and this one beyond the obvious one of metahumans having
been living on Doug's world since the time of the Great Depression. I decided to follow the same concept.

Doug's world, the senior Canadian Army field formation is addressed by the
World War Two-era title First Canadian Infantry Division lieu of simply First
Canadian Division as exists in the PFTA universe.

in Doug's world, the 4th Canadian Mechanised Brigade of 1 CID is still
based at Canadian Forces Base Lahr outside the city of the same name in
Baden-Württemberg. In the PFTA
universe, 4 CMB was disbanded in 1993 on the Canadian withdrawal from Europe
and reformed in 2010 with Avalonian help as the 4th Canadian Armoured
Brigade, with headquarters at CFB Borden north of Toronto.

reality and the PFTA universe, the Canadian Forces adopted the M16A2
(built in Canada as the Colt Canada C7) as their standard battle rifle
in 1984; in the trials leading to its adoption, the FN Fabrique Nationale
Carbine (FNC) was one of the weapons tested to replace the older FNC1
battle rifle.

both universes, the 5th Canadian Mechanised Brigade Group (in French, 5e
Groupe-Brigade Mécanisé du Canada) is the major French-speaking brigade in
the full-time Army, though in Doug's universe, the brigade is an administrative
part of 1 CID (thus is only a brigade and not a brigade group).

of course, in Doug's universe, the proper name of the Canadian command
controlling all land combat forces is Force Mobile Command. In reality and PFTA, FMC became Land
Forces Command in 1993 and was renamed the Canadian Army in 2011.

4) The HA letter code painted on the
aft end of the upper flight deck of Haida follows the standard Maritime
Command/Royal Canadian Navy tradition of providing a visible identity marker to
be seen by low-flying aircraft when people don't want to get TOO low to read
pendant numbers/hull classification symbol numbers on the sides of a ship's
hull. With Canadian ships, it always is
the first and last letter of the ship's name, i.e. HX for H.M.C.S. Halifax,
VC for N.C.S.M. Ville de Québec and so on. For ships possessing the same first and last
letters, the code varies to match unique syllables, i.e. PT for H.M.C.S.
Protecteur and PS for H.M.C.S. Preserver (as there had
been a PR active at the time of their commissioning in H.M.C.S. Provider).

5) The "funny circular loop" Doug
speaks of on meeting Tomomi for the first time and sees her rank insignia is
the Executive Curl that is worn on the upper-most rank stripe of all
British and Commonwealth officers who bear the Queen's Commission. This design is also called "Elliot's
Eye," said to be named in tribute to a member of the British Board of Admiralty
in the early 1800s. The Canadian Navy
finally got the Executive Curl back in 2010 after it was removed in 1968 after
Unification. Tomomi's hat badge, of
course, is the badge of the Naval Operations Branch of the Canadian
military, which includes maritime and naval combat systems engineering officers
as well as naval operations (or MARS [Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface])

6) Doug's comments about Canadians being
"brothers" to Americans originates from the inscription on the
American side of the Peace Arch located on the international border
between Blaine (Washington) and Surrey (British Columbia): Children of a Common Mother. The Arch itself is located on the expressway
designated Interstate 5 in Washington state and Highway 99 across
the border in British Columbia.

7) Doug's comment about what might happen if
one pisses off a dragon comes from a comment someone made at the Anime
Add-venture about spirit-dragons like the haoryu that haunt the lives of
several of the Ikkitosen cast. I
forget who made it, though.

8) For those unfamiliar with the story of
Hiromi's first-self and his/her family, the true name of the Língsi Empress
has been totally lost to history, though she was of the Hé Clan. The name "Hé Xìxing" is my creation
in this case.

9) The magatama bead colour rankings used

A-Rank: Silver
B-Rank: Gold
C-Rank: Bronze
D-Rank: Red
E-Rank: Evergreen
10) For those unfamiliar with how I depicted how
The Program from Battle Royale was run in Avalonians and
Questors, the actual "episodes" of the show were run FIFTY TIMES
A YEAR due in part to Japan's overpopulation problems after winning World War
Two. The actual events use the following
code, using Mizuho's event as an example:
56-30 (Episode #30 of Republic Year 56 [the year 2000 CE]). Mizuho's event is the last full one that was
run before the Program survivors came back to their home dimension en masse to
take out their tormentors; Rimi would have been a "player" in Event

11) C.F.A.S. Nimiq (pendant SAGR-177),
C.F.A.S. Anik (SAGR-176) and N.A.F.C. Alouette (SAGR-175) are
named after the three models of Canadian communications satellites that have
been launched into space since 1962. Alouette
is the French word for "skylark."
Anik is Inuktitut for "little brother." And Nimiq is Inuktitut for "force
that binds things together." The
hull classification symbol code for these ships is meant to mean Starship,
Miscellaneous Research Auxiliary.

12) N.C.S.M. Saint-Laurent (pendant
SFF-348) and H.M.C.S. Yukon (SFF-349) are named after two of the famous
"Cadillac" destroyer escorts built by Canada in the 1950s and 1960s
that became the trend-setters for post-World War Two small ship designs.

13) The ship prefix titles for Canadian
starships, given that Canada has two national languages (English and French),
were made out this way:

- Her Majesty's Canadian Starship
- Navire Interstellaire Canadien de Sa Majesté

- Canadian Forces Auxiliary Starship
- Navire Interstellaire Auxiliarire des Forces Canadiennes

"starship" is one word in English while being translated navire
interstellaire in French, it was decided to brevity's sake to not
initialise the "I."

14) The Rose City Skyway does not exist
in real life. Being a native of Welland,
I have often wondered what the Ontario Ministry of Transportation is thinking
of by stopping King's Highway 406 at a traffic circle
("roundabout" in the British tradition) of all things on East Main
Street (Niagara Road 27) west of the tunnel that takes the road under the
Welland By-Pass channel of the Welland Canal.
In the PFTA universe, Avalonian residents in Niagara decided to
build a much safer high-level skyway bridge that hooks Highway 406 onto Highway
140 leading south from East Main Street into Port Colborne, thus provoking
increased business in the southern part of the peninsula. In this reality, Highway 406 goes all the way
down to Highway 3 just east of the urban part of Port Colborne. If you look at Google Maps at Welland, you'll
see what I mean.

15) In using the Romanisation of Avestan
(the language of Zoroastrian scripture), I avoided using of Greek letters
brought in to personify certain sounds.
The name of the man who is most commonly associated with Mizuho's faith
is written properly with a variation of the Greek theta (?) letter, which I
rendered as "th" in Zarathuštra. This man, of course, is more commonly known
in English as Zoroaster (hence, the name of his faith), though the
proper rendering of his given name would be very familiar to fans of 2001 -
A Space Odyssey for the use of the initial verse of Richard Strauss' 1896
tone poem opera Also Sprach Zarathustra (literally "Thus Spoke
Zarathustra") as the movie's theme-song, later revised in the sequel movie
2010 - The Year We Make Contact.
Canadian lighthouse to U.S. Warship approaching it:  "This is a lighthouse.  Your call!"
Have a short scene, continuing a subplot that you've already started...

As soon as the two of us were alone, Eimi exploded. (Figuratively.) "That... that... her! Could she have been any ruder?"

Eimi's outburst puzzled me. "'Her'? 'Her' who? And what was so rude?"

"That 'mad scientist'!"

"Oh. Her question about you living in a box? It wasn't that bad, Eimi."

"Not the question! Her addressing you about my feelings when she knew I was right there!" She started to sing - not play back a sound file, but actually sing in her own voice. "He sang as if he knew me, In all my dark despair, And then he looked right through me, As if I wasn't there..."

I didn't even think of that. Yes, looking at the question through Eimi's eyes, Mayumi-chan wasn't a paragon of tact just then. "Oh. Do you want me to talk to her about that?"

"What? No!" As Eimi continued, she started to calm down. "No, that would just make things worse. She'd think she was right in asking you about what I want instead of asking me directly. But thank you anyway."

"Then I don't know what I can do for you."

She sighed. "Don't do anything, Doug. If Asai is going to think of me as a thing instead of a person, then I can simply ignore her completely."

Oh, boy. A lot of misconceptions - on all sides - had to be cleared up before somebody's feelings were hurt permanently. But how?

For the acknowledgments: Lyrics to "Killing Me Softly with His Song", written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox, performed by Roberta Flack, copyright © 1973 Atlantic Records.
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
With your permission, I'll probably start Part 2 with this scene.
Anyhow, I'm in a little touch of pain right now.  I think the IV point going into me wasn't put in right, so I'll go down as soon as I can to the clinic to get a new one in.
Joy . . .
Canadian lighthouse to U.S. Warship approaching it:  "This is a lighthouse.  Your call!"
Sure, go ahead.

And you have permission to use anything else I post to your story threads, unless I say otherwise in a particular post.
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
No problem.  It's always wise and polite to ask.  And thank you again.
Canadian lighthouse to U.S. Warship approaching it:  "This is a lighthouse.  Your call!"
Looking good. Just one correction: "Looney Tunes" is a trademark of Warner Brothers; Doug uses "Looney Toons".
-- Bob
Then the horns kicked in...
...and my shoes began to squeak.
Will correct ASAP.  Thanks, Bob.
Canadian lighthouse to U.S. Warship approaching it:  "This is a lighthouse.  Your call!"
Actually decided to make Kumomi say this:
"Your wit and your love of Master Bugs Bunny and his friends?"  A smirk.  "Your battle-name spoke it out as loud as possible.  If you are a metahuman warrior – an arch-mage if my sense of your total capabilities is anywhere close to being accurate – yet call yourself 'Looney Toons' – obviously, you do not wish to use the word 'tune' as in a type of music so as to not rile up the lawyers who are glad to defend the Warner Brothers' copyrights – of all things, the conclusion is rather quite obvious."
Canadian lighthouse to U.S. Warship approaching it:  "This is a lighthouse.  Your call!"
Wetter Hexe's military rank
BTW, what did Helen say about my proposal for Helene's paramilitary rank?
Canadian lighthouse to U.S. Warship approaching it:  "This is a lighthouse.  Your call!"
I forgot to ask her. That was the night when Comcast was acting more like idiots than usual and I had my birthday dinner, so we ended up covering a million other topics.
-- Bob
Then the horns kicked in...
...and my shoes began to squeak.
LOL!  Yeah, that would be a bit of an issue.
Well anyway, a major general in the Army sense of the term is usually a commander of an army division (approximately 15,000 troops).
Such a person could also be seen as the commander of an independent formation that doesn't require higher ranked officers to lead it.  If you'll remember Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six novel, John Clark was seen as the equivalent of a major general when he was made commander of Rainbow by the Europeans serving under him.  That's what inspired me to make Helene a two-star as the leader of the UNMPF.
In the American Army, a major general is considered the HIGHEST PEACETIME RANK by law.  Those who are promoted these days to lieutenant general or full general are technically seen as being "temporarily" promoted to those ranks to fill a specific command slot (i.e. the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, which is a four-star position).
In the Canadian Army, the commander of 1st Canadian Division (the Red Patch Devils as the Germans once knew them) is a major general.  Deputy Commander of the Army is also that position.  Also, commanders of groups such as the Operational Support Command would be major generals.
In my eyes, putting Helene at this rank would do two things.  One, it would give her the proverbial horsepower to call on resources beyond what her current command possesses.  Two, putting her to that level would made sure the "pure military" senior officers wouldn't feel threatened by her if she was a three-star or four-star equivalent.  I know it sounds dumb, but the old boys' club in the military is like that.  And while I don't know really about the Warriors World as you and your friends envisioned it -- save for what you wrote in DW -- it would have to deal with local militaries (at the very least, coordinate with those forces whenever things go way out of control).
Again, if you or Helen disagree with this, it can be changed, of course.
Canadian lighthouse to U.S. Warship approaching it:  "This is a lighthouse.  Your call!"
Anyhow, the final -- in my eyes -- version of Chapter One of Loon and the Ladies from Avalon, titled "You're In The Army Now, Mister Loon," is pretty much ready to go.  If there are people willing to do some pre-reading before I give it over to Bob to post on his website, by all means contact me at and I'll send you a copy in RTF (Wordpad) format.
Right now, I got my latest IV site yanked out of the back of my left hand and I am being punished fror it, so I'm not doing any serious typing for a bit.  But I can do modificaions if required.
Canadian lighthouse to U.S. Warship approaching it:  "This is a lighthouse.  Your call!"
Since I only see semantics errors and differences in personal preferences at this point, Post her if you wanna Mr Herriot!
Hear that thunder rolling till it seems to split the sky?
That's every ship in Grayson's Navy taking up the cry-

-- "No Quarter", by Echo's Children
What sort of semantic errors?  Could you point them out to me?
Canadian lighthouse to U.S. Warship approaching it:  "This is a lighthouse.  Your call!"
hmmm. The one that keeps sticking out to me is:
Quote:A tank's diesel engine going full-throttle.

Sensing the slight tremor in the Earth under my butt, I quickly turned to look where the noise was coming from . . . and then gaped on seeing a very impressive-looking machine come out from behind a thick stand of trees, racing down a nearby path at a VERY good clip. On recognising said tank as a Leopard 2 – the main battle tank of the German Army and a few other armies – I then blinked as nearly-forgotten briefings on such machines came back to me. Leopards were diesel-driven machines; they didn't have the turbine engine an M1A1 Abrams possessed.

clearly, if the canadian version of the Lep 2 has a turbine, you shouldnt say its a diesil in the line before. Might be others like that, but they arn't as stuck in my mind at the moment
Hear that thunder rolling till it seems to split the sky?
That's every ship in Grayson's Navy taking up the cry-

-- "No Quarter", by Echo's Children
Thanks for reminding me of that.  I'll have to do a quick rewrite . . . when I get my left hand back in gear and can type without pain. ^_-;;
Canadian lighthouse to U.S. Warship approaching it:  "This is a lighthouse.  Your call!"
First Part On the Website
Everyone, Bob just put up the first chapter of Loon and Ladies From Avalon here:
With my PICC line now in me and my left hand coming back into battery, I should have Part 2 ready to go soon.
Canadian lighthouse to U.S. Warship approaching it:  "This is a lighthouse.  Your call!"

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