A Rare Time

When the arrived, a woman was waiting for them on the landing pad. She was a gorgeous Japanese woman with tattoos covering her body almost from head to toe. She was wearing a thin robe that was open slightly, revealing the red bikini she was wearing. Yet the look in her eyes told Jack she wasn't just eye candy. This must've been Noriko.

She didn't smile when he approached her. "Jack Dark. Nice to meet you."

"And you." Jack said as he watched the Yakuza stitcher wheel his daughter to the entrance. "Where's Cross?"

"Getting some much needed rest." Noriko said. She had a glare in her eyes that told him she didn't much like him. "No thanks to you."

And that would be why, he thought.

"How about we cut to the chase then?" Jack asked brusqely. "Why did you bring me and my daughter here?"

"To help Jhonen." Noriko said. "He sees himself in you. And cares for the well being of your daughter due to his own fatherly instincts. But Jhonen is a man who often focuses on the task at hand with such intensity he forgets anything else... Admirable, but mistaken."

"Sounds like you're soft on the 'Demon Hunter.'" Jack said with a twist of his mouth. The names of the people sounded like something from a fantasy holo. Still... "Interesting, I wonder how the other bosses would react to knowing the heart of one of their leaders belongs to a dragoon peacekeeper..."

Noriko smirked. "My people and Jhonen have a history, one forged through blood and respect. The fact he is of The Law matters little, he's earned his way with us. With me."

That was interesting. Jhonen had connections with the Yakuza... This would probably merit some looking into. "Fair enough. But where does that leave me and my daughter?"

"You both have been marked for death by The Crimson Queen," Noriko said. "Our mortal enemy. Which means you are among friends. No harm will come to your daughter, nor to you. You will be tended to and kept safe. Clarke Island is Yakuza territory and I intend to keep it that way. So for now, rest, enjoy the amenities our resort has to offer, and care for your daughter." She turned and walked away. Leaving Jack to head off to find Joanna.


((A few hours later))

Jack had found her as they were clearing her. After a much needed check up, plus a few immunizations, Joanna was fit as a fiddle.

"This place is nice," Jo said as they looked out from their cabin.

"This place is a viper's nest," Jack responded.

"Dad, can we just have a moment? Where we aren't looking over our shoulders?"

"When Citra, dataDyne, and this Crimson Bitch are burned to the ground, yes," Jack said bluntly to her, already knowing what was next.

"We are surrounded by guards-" Joanna started.

"Yakuza guards," Jack interrupted. "Ones I refuse to turn my back on. You would be best doing the same."

"Who would assault us with this much?" She asked him, annoyed.

"I dunno, Joanna. You tell me," he answered with a pointed stare. She knew what that was for and fell quiet. Her infiltration of the administration building earned her an earful from Jack and now he was not letting her get away. Even though the host of this place had left her a rather beautiful dress for the evening.

"Okay, warden," she muttered. She felt a slap against her head and she whipped around. "That is enough, Joanna! Isn't getting shot enough?" Jack reprimanded her.

"I am nineteen! Last I checked, that was a legal age of being an adult in every major system!" she yelled at him.

The smack to her mouth was a hard sting that was more shocking than hurtful. "It is the age you can be charged with treason. It is beyond the age for slavers, rapists, and everything else. You were lucky that Cross found you when he did. Or did you want to be dead, like your mother?"

Joanna glared her most hateful flare ever, for once hating Jack's existence. The hard look of his eyes matched hers. They had a long silence, which none of them moved. Finally, she said, "I am going to bed then. Since I just got shot."

Jack watched her and let out a thousand-year-tired sigh as the bedroom door slammed shut. He sat in a chair and held his head. The last thing he wanted was her gone, shot dead by some jacked up gun-for-hire who had a hard-on for the trigger. Nevermind that she was better trained than most girls her age but those gunners had far more experience than she had years.

He did not cry but Jack felt close to it. The frustration was almost too much and he regretted laying a hand on her. But her little temper-tantrum and others had no place here. He either had to get it out of her or watch as it destroyed her.


After laying for over an hour, she felt it was safe enough to slip out the window. It was with ease that she crept out and towards the lights of music and festivities.

Her dress suited her perfectly, hugging her just right in all the places. She wondered if this is what it felt like to be pretty, having applied just a bit of eye-liner and make-up to accent it. Finally, as she got closer to the lights, she slipped on some high heels. Feeling very much like a giantess, she walked forward over the little bridge and into the party.


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