Dinner, in Takao Miyamoto's opinion, had gone well. Admittedly, he would have preferred to have Yuki Saiko sitting across the table from him than officer Miko Akizuki, but since he still couldn't ask Yuki for more than the time of day without stumbling over his words, he'd take what he could get.

Miko, Takao found, made an excellent dinner companion. She was quite intelligent, an excellent conversationalist, and made it easy for Takao to relax in her presence, which meant he could respond to her questions without mumbling. He still found it hard to believe she was 11 years his senior. His initial impression had been that her height and slight frame gave Miko a child-like appearance. Now, seeing her dressed in more casual clothing, he realized that she had the fully developed proportions of an adult woman, albeit on a four foot frame.

Setting his tea cup down, Takao swallowed in an attempt to clear his throat and looked across the table at where Miko sat, picking through a plate of vegetables. <Miko-san, may I ask you a question?>

<Of course, Takao, what do you wish to know?>

<How did you join the AMP?>

Miko paused, setting her chopsticks down on her plate as she considered Takao's question. Giving him a slight smile, she took a quick drink of tea to clear her throat, <It was several years ago... I was walking down a narrow side street when I was surprised by a large lumpy creature.> Miko paused and shivered slightly at the memory.

<I turned to run, but there was no way out, for I had walked into a creature trap. The Entity reached for me, it wanted to pull me into itself. I hated the thought of it touching me so much that somehow I pushed it away from me with my thoughts.> Miko paused again and smiled, <That's when I first really learned of my esper powers.>

<Then, two women in uniforms appeared and killed it. They had seen it reach for me and wanted to know how I had held it back... That was how I met Katsumi and Kiddy of the AMP. When Chief Rally found out that I had psychokinetic abilities she asked me to join the AMP to help protect people from such creatures. I thought about it for a while, and remembered a dream I saw when I was a little girl. Kami-sama told me that one day, there would be a special job waiting for me. So I had to say yes. I'm glad I did Takao, for the people of the AMP have become good friends.> She paused and chuckled slightly, <Even Amara and Noriko; it is like having a family again.>

Standing at the end of the dock that overlooked the lake near the Yamigumo family shrine, Miko Akizuki shivered slightly. It was cold this morning, and the breeze off of the lake cut right through the thin kimono she was wearing.

A creaking behind her signaled the arrival of Nami, dressed, as usual, in the white robes of a Shinto priestess. Stopping beside Miko, she set a large sake jug down. <Miko-san, it is time.>

Nodding, Miko removed her kimono, and slowly stepped down into the shallow water. Gritting her teeth against the cold, she still gave a hiss of displeasure at the feel of the chilly water against her skin. Turning back to the dock, Miko picked up as small wooden bucket. Filling it with water, she upended the container over her head, her gasp at the shock of the cold water drowned out by the sudden cascade. Shivering with cold and trying to ignore the breeze, Miko stood quietly by the dock as Nami picked up the sake jug and stepped forward.

<With this, become completely pure,> Nami intoned, pouring the sacred sake over Miko's head and body.

<Waaa! Nami, that's even colder than the water! There's no need for such a thing!> Miko exclaimed.

Setting the jug aside and kneeling down on the dock, Nami extended a hand to help Miko out of the water. <I am sorry, Miko-san. I wanted to wash away every evil.>

Standing on the dock, slowly retying her kimono's obi, Miko stared out across the still surface of the lake. Her near death at the hands of an Entity in Los Angeles, and the horrific destruction wreaked by the Lucifer Folk at the Tokyo airport had made Miko feel unclean, hence the need for this morning's purification ceremony. But still... <A bit remains.> Miko said soberly.

Nami didn't comment, and instead busied herself by gathering the jug and bucket. Miko, her naturally good spirits having already returned, couldn't help but to give the wooden bucket a little push with her telekinetic powers. The bucket obligingly tottered on the end of the dock, before falling into the lake.

<Ah, come back here!> Nami cried as she bent down to retrieve the bucket.

Attempting to look as innocent as possible, Miko now gave Nami the same gentle nudge that she had used on the bucket. With a satisfying squawk, and a tremendous splash, Nami joined the bucket in the cold lake water.

There was a few moments of frantic thrashing about before Nami surface in the waist deep water, her white robes plastered to her body, <Waaa! Miko, that you know I can't swim, that was cruel!>

Laughing at Nami's bedraggled condition, Miko bowed her head, <I'm sorry Nami, but I couldn't resist.>

<Ohhh... Miko! Kiddy did that to me once and I didn't like it then either!>

Bending down, Miko extended a hand, a neutral expression on her face, <I said I'm sorry, Nami. Here, let me help you out.>

Standing on the end of the dock, Nami spent a few futile moments attempting to wring water out of her long robes and waist length hair. Giving up, she turned back to Miko. <I forgive you Miko. There are towels back up at the house, let's get dry, warm and eat lunch.>

Stepping away from the end of the dock, Miko grinned at the priestess, <Hai!>

Standing before the entrance to the Los Angeles offices of the Attacked Mystification Police, Takahashi Jones drew a deep breath and did his best to compose himself. So far, so good. Rally Cheyenne has approved his transfer, and his parting with Noriko Kobayashi had been, well, civil. Now, accompanied by Miko Akizuki, he prepared to meet his new fellow officers, an event that he was actually looking forward to.

"Takahashi?" Miko asked, looking up at her companion.


Shaking her head and Miko gave Takahshi a slight grin, "Nervous?"

"Me?" Takahashi looked surprised, "Nervous? No way?"

Miko laughed as she opened the doors, "Right."

Unlike the MegaTokyo AMP offices. the Los Angeles division had their own building, a low structure set near the coast. The main office wasn't the impersonal, cathedral-like structure Takahashi had feared, but an open airy layout of chrome and glass that looked to be a much more friendly working environment. Following Miko's lead, Takahashi entered the room with a cheerful grin, he was going to like working here.

"Chief Maverick! I'm back!" Miko called, "And I have Officer Jones with me."

Chief Linda Maverick stood near the middle of the room, dressed, as Takahashi expected, in full uniform. Beside her, standing at attention, were the rest of the Los Angeles AMP contingent; Katsumi Liqueur, Kiddy Phenil and Amara Asano, all dressed in full uniform as well.

Looking at the assembled officers, Takahashi immediately decided that he had died and gone to heaven. Linda was tall, blonde, well proportioned, and looked like she'd gotten a great deal of California sun. Katsumi certainly didn't look like one of the world's most powerful sorceresses, although Takahashi had to admit he was more interested in her slim, narrow waisted figure then her spell casting abilities. Kiddy, Takahashi found, didn't quite look like what he expected. Where AJ had been a massive figure of steel plate and cable, Kiddy was of average height, with a deceptively attractive build. He'd heard that she more than lived up to her Australian upbringing, being a hard drinking, no-nonsense, take-no-shit type that often dealt with Entities by ripping them apart with her bare hands. Takahashi decided that he liked her already. Amara, standing at the end of the line, towered over her fellow officers. Taller even than Linda, Takahashi was willing to lay odds that she equaled Aye in height. One hand resting on her katana, Amara gave Takahashi an appraising look, then shifted position slightly, pushing her shoulders back and her impressive chest out. Looking directly at Takahashi, she then slowly licked her lips. Eyes widening slightly at the sight, Takahashi felt his grin get a little bigger, he definitely was going to like working here!

<Hello, Ms Zhao,> Yuki nodded to the AMP's newest officer, <How are you today?>

<Fine,> Bo replied guardedly, glancing about the spacious AMP offices.

<Good. I am Saiko Yuki, AMP dispatch officer.> Yuki paused, and gave Bo a questioning look, <Ms Zhao? Do you prefer Japanese or English? I don't speak Chinese.>

<Japanese is fine, Officer Saiko.>

<Oh, great,> Yuki smiled, <Shall I show you to your desk?>

Bo nodded in agreement, <Certainly.>

Unlike her Hong Kong office, Bo found her AMP desk to be a spacious affair, with multiple holographic monitor screens and extensive keyboard controls. Resting next to her new workspace was a vacuum and a broom.

Indicating the pieces of cleaning equipment with one plated hand, Bo turned to look at Yuki, <Officer Saiko? Why was this left here?>

Trying (and failing) to conceal her grin, Yuki handed Bo a sheet of paper, <Commander Noriko has prepared today's duty roster. The lunch room and access hall needs cleaning, and after that you need to do the floor in Rally-sama's office.>

Return to Silent Möbius Zeta