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Chapter 32 Main Chapters Chapter 34

No Need For Information

Capt. Nobeyama looks out at the audience. "Hello once again, I'm Captain Nobeyama of the Galactic Police. I'm the direct supervisor for Officers Mihoshi and Kiyone. Once again, I fought through the bureaucracy, and have now been authorized to be your D.J. for this episode. I figured non-Earth songs were off-limits since your culture is supposed to be under protective isolation. After some research, I decided that 'Secret Agent Man', not owned by myself, the Galactic Police, or Dragonwiles, was the most appropriate song for this chapter. Please enjoy it- I've got to get some more paperwork done." He presses a button, starting the song playing, and hustles off, checking a checkbox on one of the bundle of forms he's carrying as he goes.

Mihoshi anxiously hailed Yagami and Ryo-ohki as soon as they neared Earth orbit. Her worried image on the screen quickly changed to one of delight as she shouted, "Tenchi! Kiyone! Everyone's okay!"

"Yeah, we're all fine here. We've got Dr. Clay too, so there's nothing to worry about," Tenchi told her.

Kiyone said, in brisk, businesslike tones, "While we were out of the protected zone, I notified the nearest base. They should be sending a prisoner transport ship soon. In the meantime, we're going to be taking custody of Dr. Clay. So, Mihoshi, I'll need all of your help watching him."

"Oh, if we have to!" Mihoshi sighed dramatically. "At least we'll have some time together like the old days! I know- let's both stay together on one ship to watch Dr. Clay! How about on Yukinojo this time!"

Kiyone winced- something was always malfunctioning on Yukinojo, especially after Mihoshi did maintenance on it.

"Yeah, you two have fun," Ryoko bid them goodbye with an evil snicker at Kiyone's fate.

Ayeka kept a dignified vigil upon Dr. Clay. She didn't wish to insult Mihoshi and Kiyone by continuing to guard him after he was transferred to their custody, but she couldn't help but worry about what might happen with Mihoshi on the job. Ayeka would sleep far better once Dr. Clay was in a cell far from here.

Kiyone disembarked from her vessel Yagami onto Mihoshi's Yukinojo, and Ayeka transferred the captive Dr. Clay from Ryo-ohki to Yukinojo. Ryo-ohki then returned to Tenchi's house with Tenchi, Ryoko, Ayeka, and Washu aboard. Kiyone noticed Mihoshi tracing the downward flight of Ryo-ohki with a sad expression on her face.

Some hours later, Kiyone entered Yukinojo's brig. She entered Dr. Clay's cell and activated a recording device. After the interview was complete, it would be able to generate a hologram of the cell and its occupants and play back their voices, thus making an objective recording of the interview.

Going strictly by the book was Kiyone's nature, and she opened her interview with standard questions. If she felt like improvising, she'd do so later.

"What is your name?" was the first one.

"Dr. Clay," he said defiantly.

"What is your profession?"

"I retired," he said irritably. "I still consider myself a researcher at heart, of course," he added, with a pomposity clearly designed to erect a shield of dignity against his humbling defeat.

Mihoshi wandered in as he was saying this and asked, "So, why did you want to kidnap Washu?"

Kiyone was so surprised at her partner's entrance and interference that she didn't say a word. Dr. Clay was also stunned, though more at the question. He looked cunningly at them both and said, "Now really, isn't that entrapment? Such questionable police procedures. Who says I ever tried to kidnapped Washu in the first place?"

Kiyone turned behind her and fixed Mihoshi with a glare. Mihoshi explained, "I just wanted to know! Oh, wait, I almost forgot. Kiyone, we're out of tea leaves."

"Yes, I'm afraid so, Mihoshi," Kiyone agreed quickly, "maybe you can pick up some on Earth." She turned back to face Dr. Clay, painfully aware that the entire exchange had been recorded.

Kiyone hoped the unexpected interruption would work to her advantage, though Dr. Clay's skill at thinking on his feet made that less likely.

At the end of an hour, she had gotten him to admit that he manufactured the Zeros, and Mihoshi's distraction had him off-balance enough to admit that he'd sent one to Earth. He steadfastly refused, however, to answer further questions, and maintained that the Zeros were to deliver an invitation to Washu, not kidnap her, and the others were for defending his ship.

Dr. Clay slept in his cell that evening. His slumber was not peaceful, for he deeply resented his loss at the hands of Washu and assorted simpletons, but he maintained a smug look on his face. Kiyone remembered what Washu had told her, about his having bribed at least one Galactic Police official, and suspected that was part of his self-confidence.

On the next day, a Galactic Police prisoner transport ship arrived at the edge of the protected zone. Kiyone piloted Yagami outside of the zone and transferred Dr. Clay with a relief that was unrevealed in her neutral, businesslike expression. The initial paperwork was completed after some minutes, and Kiyone returned to Yagami, then to Earth orbit, and thence to several hours more of paperwork.

Capt. Nobeyama looked at his desk with some irritation. Mihoshi and Kiyone had only just filed the report on Dr. Clay's capture, and already he dreaded reading the voluminous thing. Why Mihoshi insisted on detailing every little thing was quite beyond him. It had made her last few reports extremely interesting to Juraian intelligence, but he was worried that they were being taken notice of in other quarters, as well. Information was power, and power was valuable. Even after Grand Marshal Kuramitsu's campaign to clean up the Galactic Police, there were many officers selling reports to pirates, and even to minor Juraian lords who wanted an inside edge for political maneuvering. The remaining leakers were hard to detect, and Capt. Nobeyama worried that his officers, as well as the Juraian royal family, were being put in danger by these reports. The reports Mihoshi and Kiyone wrote were often classified, of course, but classification only meant something if it was honored.

He finally got up the nerve to begin reading the report, and after some time, drew in his breath sharply. So it had happened. Somehow Dr. Clay had gotten hold of a report through bribery. Not only a report, but possibly Mihoshi and Kiyone's most important ever, about the destruction of Kagato, and the confirmed existence and location of the former pirate Ryoko, the lost Juraian heirs, and the rogue genius Washu. He hadn't really believed anyone would've leaked that report, but he supposed money worked its own madness.

Where could the leak be? In the direct reporting chain that climbed to the Grand Marshal himself? Or had someone outside that chain misused privileges or employed hacking to steal the report? Could Dr. Clay be lying and the true leak be in the Juraian Intelligence corps? He didn't always trust them, or more accurately, the Intelligence officer who had been assigned to his boss' department for as long as he could remember.

Capt. Nobeyama groaned. Mihoshi and Kiyone were going to kill him with worry and work. Now he'd have to try to comprehend Mihoshi and Kiyone's report, requisition repairs for anything Mihoshi had broken (almost a given,) worry about intrigue and corruption in his beloved GP, meet with his boss for an in-depth review of Mihoshi and Kiyone's report, and spend at least a day being debriefed by that Juraian Intelligence officer. In that time, all of his other paperwork would have grown from its usual neatly pruned and monitored garden residing on his desk to a massive jungle spilling over his desk. He groaned.

Kiyone groaned. Tenchi's house was entirely devoid of tea leaves. Mihoshi, of course, instead of planning to go buy more, or simply going and buying more, had started to cry and blame herself for liking tea too much. Fortunately, it was almost time for her afternoon nap, and so Mihoshi soon went to sleep on the wooden porch. Kiyone almost wanted to groan again, but considered a mental image of Mihoshi, sleeping peacefully, and decided she should either smile at such a thought of her partner, or be grateful that one of her eccentricities had so neatly canceled another.

A few hours later, Mihoshi had taken up patrol on Yukinojo in orbit, and Kiyone had, for once, decided to spend part of her rest period on Earth. She was still vaguely rankled at not having been able to do her job, as she saw it, of bringing in Dr. Clay. She decided, after the tenth time pacing through the house, that the thing to do was at least to pretend that she was doing some investigative work on a big case. What big case? She thought about it and decided that she had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn something about the space trees, the most powerful known ships. They were known quantities, but still rather mysterious to anyone non-Juraian. Kiyone almost couldn't stand anything mysterious, and she had been in contact with more Juraians than ever before in her life, so she wanted to understand them more.

She found Princess Ayeka alone in the living room, and sat down opposite her. She said respectfully, "Princess Ayeka, may I ask you about the space trees?"

Princess Ayeka looked up from the Earth book she was reading and said, "The space trees? Certainly, but I'm not sure what your interest is."

Kiyone stated, "Dr. Clay was after something when he wanted to get Washu. Washu is the only person to have ever made a space vessel, namely Ryo-Ohki, that could even begin to compete with Juraian space trees."

Ryoko interrupted, "Hey, she can do a lot better than that," as she wandered through, looking for Tenchi.

Kiyone continued, "I suspect that Dr. Clay's motive was to obtain that sort of knowledge, but the only way that I'll be able to understand what he was after is if I understand the Juraian space trees he was competing against."

Ayeka looked at her inquisitively. "Is your interest professional?"

Kiyone shook her head. "We already submitted our reports," she elaborated, meaning herself and Mihoshi, "so this is just to satisfy my own curiosity, if you'd be so kind."

Ayeka considered a moment. Kiyone was no longer another Galactic Police detective, she was now a comrade, and Ayeka did enjoy talking with and about space trees. This was, however, sensitive information about a third party that was potentially being discussed, so it would be best to get that third party involved.

"I presume you already learned something basic from your early studies?" Ayeka asked, expecting the answer to be yes. Kiyone agreed, "Juraian space trees are sentient and the most powerful ships in known space. Each partners exclusively with a single Juraian for life. That's more or less the extent of what we're taught."

Ayeka brought out her space tree key and held it a moment. It glowed softly as she murmured to Ryu-Oh, her space tree crashed beneath the lake. Ayeka looked again at Kiyone and said, "Ryu-Oh and I think that a next logical step for you would be to learn something which most Juraians learn early in bonding with a tree. It is a portion of their history."

"Their history?" Kiyone asked, partly to keep Ayeka talking, partly because she was surprised. She had assumed all this time, since no one was taught of the space trees' history, that they had been made or engineered by the Juraians, similar to how Washu presumably made Ryoko and Ryo-Ohki. Ayeka, however, seemed to be saying it like the space trees had their own history, separate from that of Jurai.

"Yes, and we feel it would be most appropriate for Ryu-Oh to tell this story, as usually an older tree does tell the Juraian," Ayeka continued. She then began to speak for Ryu-Oh, saying, "The space trees were made eight in number, long, long ago. They found themselves fully grown, in the midst of space, much as we know them today when they fly from planet to planet. They explored the immediate neighborhood of space and, as they did so, their own capabilities. Deep in the back of their minds, however, they knew that they were to return to a quasar near where they had begun, when the quasar pulsed its thousandth time."

"Though it was difficult to curb their exploration of the intriguing universe about them, and though nothing seemed different about the quasar or the region about it than at any other pulse, the space trees all returned at the thousandth pulse. It was at that moment that Lady Tsunami was born before them."

Ayeka paused, for Kiyone seemed to want to ask a question. Kiyone asked in puzzlement, "She was born from a quasar?"

"Oh, no," Ayeka said quickly, "that was simply where she was born, near that quasar." Ayeka saw that Kiyone still looked inquiring, and Kiyone asked, "Princess Ayeka, I'm very confused. Does this mean that Lady Tsunami isn't a space tree at all?" Ayeka confirmed, "No, she is not. She is simply very similar, like you and I are." Kiyone asked, "But then, why do they serve her, if she is younger than they are?" Ayeka, without any difficulty, said, "She is above them in power and rank. It is like older knights serving a much younger king. It happens commonly enough." Seeing that this clarified things for Kiyone, Ayeka went on. "The space trees listened to her and did as she asked, but as yet, she had little to ask of them, so they explored and explored yet further, now strengthened into a community even more by their union of seeing Lady Tsunami together. And that is the history." She looked expectantly at Kiyone.

Kiyone asked, to get an idea of the context, "We were taught that when Juraians first bonded with the space trees, that was the founding of the Juraian Empire. Would that be later than the story you told?"

"Yes, it was much, much later when Lady Tsunami taught us how to bond with the space trees," Ayeka agreed.

"Thank you for satisfying my curiosity, Princess Ayeka," Kiyone finally said. "Oh, not at all, Ryu-Oh and I enjoy talking about history," Ayeka told her. Kiyone left the room, and Ayeka returned to her book. Kiyone wasn't sure what she had wanted to get out of the encounter, since it was mostly idle curiosity, but she had certainly learned a great deal, and she thought about it from time to time throughout the day.

In a vast grey chamber on a distant world, Lady Tokimi and D3 conversed.

"A great pity, this," Lady Tokimi mused. "I suppose my meeting with Washu will simply have to be postponed."

"If you wish it, Lady Tokimi," D3 suggested, "another of my agents could be sent to Washu."

"Thank you, but don't bother," Lady Tokimi told him languorously, "none of them would have a chance. Washu can be stubborn. She'll come when she feels like it, and not a moment before. In the meantime, keep your agents at their assigned tasks. Appoint some new ones as well, to continue the work Dr. Clay should've been doing."

"I suppose this may be an opportunity," D3 mused. "Dr. Clay was always delaying to wheedle some boon out of you. Now that he will delay us no longer, the fleets for your Chosen One should be ready much sooner."

At that moment, her Chosen One approached. He knelt and bowed to Lady Tokimi.

A ghost of a smile appeared on Lady Tokimi's normally impassive lips. "I am glad to see you are well," she told her Chosen One. "Now that you are here, I'd like to make myself clear to you and D3."

"Yes, my lady?" her Chosen One and D3 responded.

A fierce look was visible in her eyes visible for a moment as Lady Tokimi told them, "Do not harm Washu and her companions. If you do, you shall have me to answer to."

Next Chapter

Dragonwiles icily regards a newspaper clutched in a claw, with a headline reading, "Winged Monkeys Star In Next Fanfiction Chapter!" He now regrets having mentioned winged monkeys to the reporters in the last chapter.

Whilst the author mutters vile imprecations, Misaki, a Queen of Jurai, proceeds to do the chapter preview.

"In the next chapter, Funaho and I will finally get to see our babies after such a long time away from us!" Misaki exults. She returns to herself and says embarrassedly, "I suppose I haven't really got any right to complain. Sasami and Ayeka have only been missing a few months. I don't know how Funaho has gone seven hundred years without seeing her son Yosho. Still, it won't be much longer now! The next episode is No Need For A Royal Family!"

Continuity with Dragonwiles

Dragonwiles reposes in state in the library of his lair. Looking up from his book, he greets, "Welcome to this special segment, in which I give a few brief continuity notes."

"Hm, well, once again, I've almost totally deviated from the series. There is one thing that is constant, though. Lady Tokimi's ending injunction and the Chosen One bowing to her are supposed to be like the ending of the arc in the OVA. But, I don't know that he was ever called the Chosen One in the anime. I'm not trying to be melodramatic or anything- this being has simply been chosen by Lady Tokimi, hence the Chosen One. Well, actually I am trying to be melodramatic- I'm speaking of the being in this way so you won't know who the being is yet."

"Also, I may have changed the identity of the Chosen One from the anime. Or I may have not. You'll have to wait for a long time to find out either way!" Dragonwiles enjoys a good, long, laugh.

After laughing far too long, Dragonwiles adds, "The scene between Kiyone and Ayeka, and the history related therein, was totally, entirely, made up. I just felt like making up some explanations for things, and hopefully I made it cool, or at least interesting."

Chapter 32 Main Chapters Chapter 34