by Michael Surbrook

and you know
this is nothing special
with one slip
and we could lose ourselves forever
one time for all times

and you are
the only thing that shines
the only thing that shines

She was gone.

Gordon glanced about the deserted interior of 93 Underground as if to assure himself that this was so. Slowly, he stepped towards the bar, carefully picking up chunks of shattered bottles and dropping them into a nearby waste bin. The bartop was strewn with glass fragments and spilled liquor. A minor disaster to be sure, considering that on the floor beyond there lay several dead bodies amid the wreckage of a number of tables, chairs and broken flooring.

Shion had killed someone in the Underground before. It had been an amazingly intoxicated thrill-ganger, juiced to the eyeballs on pills and beer. He'd dropped down next to the Empress as she sat in her booth, made a circle with his thumb and forefinger and had asked Shion if she thought she could get her mouth around something that large. Shion had given him an icy cold glare, and the man had collapsed to the floor. Later, Gordon had found out that the man's throat had been crushed.

This time though, things had been... different. Shion had practically blasted her way into the bar, ignoring both Duke and Sean on the way in. She had seemed distraught, her face having a haunted look to it. Approaching the bar, she'd stumbled against someone seated at one of the tables. When the man had stood up to take offense, Shion had turned around and slammed him to the floor with a single swing of her fist. Stepping over his body, she then shattered the table he'd been sitting at and killed his two companions with a gesture. She then turned to everyone else in the room and simply told them all to "get out". Not surprisingly, everyone obeyed.

Gordon had heard about the extent of Shion's power, had even examined the resulting destruction, but he had never seen her actually do anything. Until today. And now that he had, he never wanted to see her do anything like that again.

Finishing sweeping the last of the glass away and mopping down the bar, Gordon activated his radio link to Duke, who still stood out front.

**Duke? Call in some of the help, we've got some cleaning to do here. Get Sylvie, she's strong enough. Oh, and see about getting Bob, he's good with a hammer.**


**No, I don't know what happened... Whatever it was, it sure looked bad.**


**Sonnet's dead Duke, that much I do know.**


**Yeah, right. By the way, you better call in Beetle, we've got some bodies to be taken care of.**

She was dead.

It could be argued that Chairman Quincy, head of the world-spanning megacorporation Genom, was possibly the most emotionless and heartless being on the planet. He was certainly one of the most ruthless. There were very few people he seemed to actually respect. It would have surprised many to know that Shion was not one of them. Quincy regarded her as just another mercenary solo, driven primarily by greed. He'd bedded Sonnet because it had amused him to use the 'Empress' so, and clone or not, she was still beautiful. Besides, such actions had only increased Sonnet's devotion to him.

But now, Sonnet was dead. According to the reports, Shion had met her out in the shattered wastes of the Neo York Zero Zone and had killed her. Well, maybe not. Word also had it that the UNA Special Task Force known as Kazei 5 had been there as well. The same Task Force that Takahashi Shima now belonged to.

Quincy almost felt a measure of sadness at this. He had particularly enjoyed Sonnet. She had been their most successful creation to date and her loyalty had been beyond question. He felt that he might miss her, but he wasn't sure, since he could have another created anytime he pleased.

She was gone.

Brian J Mason, CEO of Genom Neo York, stared out of his office window at the Neo York skyline. Over there, to the east, Quincy's private weapon and devoted slave, Sonnet, had met her end at the hands of the Empress. Or so they said, rumors were circulating that Kazei 5 had been involved. Which meant Takahashi Shima had been involved. Images of the damage done to the Genom Tower came to mind. Shion and Takahashi had managed to wreck several floors in their combined assault. The results had been... impressive.

Pushing such thoughts from his mind, Mason turned to the two men who stood behind him.

"Nezu, Ryu, I want one of you near this office at all times, understand?"

"Hai, Mason-sama."

"Good. Now, report to the armory and draw whatever gear you think you might need. Return here once you are done."


The two bowed and silently faded from the room.

Smiling, Mason turned back to the window, *Your toy is dead Quincy. What will you do now?*

Francis Hamakasu entered into the Chairman's office and bowed low.

<You wished to see me, daitoryo?>

<Yes. I want you to assemble a full strike team.>

<At once, daitoryo. What is our target?>

<Shion Nys. She is to be taken... alive.>

The door slammed inwards with a rending crash, the extensive maglock seal reduced to shambles. Stepping over the splintered remains, Shion stumbled into the hall to collapse upon the floor.

"What's wrong with her?"

Marta shrugged and tenderly swept her sister's hair from her face. "I don't know Chiffon, I don't know." Carefully, she wiped the blood from Shion's nose and mouth. "Here, bring the bowl closer."

Chiffon stepped forward and looked at Shion's still form, "What did she mean by 'they killed her'? Who killed who, and why would she care?"

Marta dropped the bloody cloth into the bowl, took a deep breath and stood up from the water bed where they had placed Shion after she had made her unexpected entrance into Marta's apartment. "I..." Marta paused, she felt rather certain who Shion was talking about, "I don't know that either." Marta took Chiffon by the arm and led her out of the bedroom, "We should let her sleep."

Sitting listlessly at the dinner table, Marta watched as Chiffon unfolded the couch into a bed. Her sister, dressed in her cloak and armor, had come crashing into her apartment about six hours ago. She had been extremely drunk, as well as hot, feverish, bleeding from the nose and apparently totally exhausted. Marta had no idea how she had gotten here, since last she knew, Shion was still in Neo York. The prospect that Shion had teleported to San Francisco from Neo York had been unsettling, to say the least.

Getting Shion stripped and into bed had been simple enough, her sister hadn't resisted in the slightest. After that, Marta had done her best to clean Shion's tear and blood streaked face. Shion had begun rambling about some fight midway through this, babbling about how they had killed her. Most had been incoherent, although she was positive about two things. What ever had happened, it had occurred in Neo York's Zone and it had involved Sonnet.

Marta shook her head and took an absent mined sip from the drink in front of her. The last time she'd seen her sister like this was was over 10 years ago, when Shion had lost control of her power in the middle of sex and had blasted her partner through a wall. Shion had simply freaked, eventually dropping into a catatonic state for the better part of a day.

A sudden thought struck Marta as she sat there, watching Chiffon ready the bed. Sonnet had been made by Genom, and now, she was dead and Shion was apparently on the run. The nearest Genom installation was across the Bay and Shion was in no shape to defend herself. Marta stood and made her way into the bedroom. There she opened a locked case set in one wall. Until her sister was back on her feet, it was going to be up to her.

**All units report in.**

**This is Red Leader, we are in position.**

**This is Gold Leader, we're ready.**

**Copy that. Gold Leader, you are cleared to begin your attack run now.**

She was gone.

The hospital room was silent, the doctors and nurses having finally left. Marta sat on the edge of her seat, holding Chiffon's hand loosely in her own. Cut down by blaster fire, Chiffon never had a chance. Fortunately, the burns were minor and Chiffon would be back to normal in a week or two. Shion on the other hand...

Whomever had come crashing into her apartment earlier that morning had know exactly what they were after. NICO sound and flash grenades, CX 2 stun gas, blasters, the intruders had been specifically equipped to try and take down a psychokinetic. One set had come through the sliding glass door, the other had hit the bedroom directly. She'd been in the kitchen, drinking coffee, when it had happened. Although she hadn't been blinded by the grenades, she'd gotten a good lungfull of gas... At least she'd managed to get a shot off...

When Marta had come to, she had found Chiffon amid the remains of the couch. She had been shot, but was still breathing. The bedroom on the other hand... The room looked as if a small scale war had taken place in it. The windows were gone, all the lights had shattered, the mirrors were all broken and the floor and walls were lined with cracks. The waterbed had been reduced to a steaming ruin. Of her sister, there had been no sign...

Marta looked down at Chiffon and kissed her gently, "It looks like I'm going to have to leave for a while, love. I've got some business to take care of."

this is as much as I know
this is all they told me
all the wicked shapes and lines
taking us somewhere
and you know
this is nothing special
with one slip
we could lose ourselves forever
one time for all times

and you are
the only thing that shines
the only thing that shines
the only thing that shines

Only Thing That Shines

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