7. The Murderous Bullet Shot with a Wry Smile

As they enjoy a drink at the local bar together, Gento updates Najica on Lila’s condition. Were she human, the injuries she sustained on their last mission would put her out of action for several months, but as a Humaritt, a week should be more than sufficient for her to recover. In the meantime, Gento is happy to have some time alone with Najica, but Najica herself is less interested in socialising than she is in finding out more about the Humaritts. Najica wants to know why the artificial life forms were created in the first place, and how many still need to be recovered, but Gento is either unwilling or unable to answer her questions.

It may only be a week until Lila returns, but Najica cannot help feeling her absence more keenly than she expected, finding herself distracted both at work and at home. At the perfume lab, work on the Sunday scent is going slowly, and Kirala suggests that Najica take some rest- maybe if she stops trying so hard the answer will come to her. As it turns out, however, there is to be little time for relaxation, for as she makes her way home, a driver behind her signals Najica with a rose- it is time to take on her next mission.

Meeting with Majima, Najica receives the details of her next assignment. Dr. Swaney Koronikowa is a fifteen year old mathematical prodigy who until recently has been living in the Socialist Commonwealth of Kirnovf. However, ten days ago, Swaney managed to escape from Kirnovf, and is currently hiding out somewhere in the Zeufa republic. Given Swaney’s astounding abilities, Kirnovf will no doubt be sending agents to bring her back, and so it will be up to Najica to get to her first and bring the young genius to safety. With Lila still recovering, however, Najica will have to carry out this mission alone- just like in the old days before Lila was around.

In Zeufa, Swaney and her guardian Daniela are laying low in one of the country’s hotels, hoping that CRI will find them before their foes do. It will be a close call, however, for even as Najica touches down in Zeufa, two Kirnovf agents also arrive, ‘Fonc’ and ‘Lady’.

Posing as a detective, Fonc begins searching for Swaney at the local hotels, and soon runs into a stroke of luck when a helpful receptionist offers to ask around for him. Meanwhile, Najica drives out to collect Swaney at top speed, only to run into Lady on the roads. After ramming Najica’s car with her own vehicle, Lady swiftly overtakes and begins firing back at the CRI agent. Dropping back out of firing range, Najica revs her engine, and manages to sail right over Lady’s car. As she lands on the ground, Najica ejects a cloud of red smoke from her exhaust, blinding Lady so that she drives right off the road.

Waiting in their room at the hotel, Swaney and Daniela are disturbed by a knock at the door. Drawing her gun, Daniela moves to the door and asks the visitor to identify themselves. In response, the visitor slides a card on the door, and when Daniela sees that it is from a CRI agent, she opens the door in relief- only to see Fonc standing outside.

Delighted with the ease in which he has found his quarry, Fonc steps into the room. A terrified Daniela tries to shoot him, only to waste an entire round by shooting wildly. Easily avoiding Daniela’s attempt to throw her gun at him, Fonc grabs the woman and dangles her upside down, before swinging her around and tossing her across the room.

Horrified to see her guardian so badly hurt, Swaney tries to attack Fonc herself, but he is easily able to toss her aside. As Fonc moves away, however, Daniela finds the strength to stand up once more, holding onto a fork she retrieved from the floor. Amused, Fonc urges to her to try her luck, and Daniela launches herself forwards in an attack, only to be grabbed and restrained by the Kirnovf agent. Desperate to get free, Daniela bites him, and with the pain, Fonc’s good humour evaporates. Drawing his gun, he fires at the woman…

Meanwhile, Najica has arrived at the hotel, and when she hears the gunshot, she rushes to Swaney’s room, only to find Daniela lying on the floor, and an unconscious Swaney in the hands of Fonc. Using Swaney as a shield to prevent Najica from shooting him, Fonc leaps off the balcony and heads for Lady’s waiting motorcycle. Najica tries to follow, but is held back when Lady lays down covering fire whilst Fonc gets into the sidecar. In short order, the agents drive away, leaving Najica behind.

After getting the hotel staff to look after Daniela, Najica chases after Lady’s motorcycle in her car, only to get ambushed on the roads once again- this time by Fonc, who is now alone on the bike. After failing to hit Najica with his machine gun, Fonc switches to a rifle, but even as he aims at Najica, she draws a rocket launcher and fires back, destroying Fonc and his motorcycle. After stopping to pick up his rifle, Najica carries on.

Further along the road, Lady has stopped in a clearing, and is trying to force an unwilling Swaney to get into the plane that will take them back to Kirnovf. As Swaney continues to struggle against Lady, Najica arrives on the scene. Turning away from Swaney, Lady grabs a machine gun and begins firing at Najica’s car, damaging the vehicle and eventually setting it on fire. Grabbing the rifle, Najica leaps out of the car, and gets into position to fire at Lady’s plane. A well placed shot ruptures the fuel tank, grounding the Kirnovf agent and her plans.

As Lady turns back to Swaney and tries to pull her out the plane, Najica approaches and takes her down with a plastic bullet. With the agents down, Najica tells Swaney that she is safe, only to realise that this is far from the case- it is only matter of time before her burning car ignites the spilled fuel from the plane. With little time to spare, Najica quickly convinces Swaney to jump out of the plane and into her arms. Catching Swaney, Najica quickly runs to safety just as the whole thing explodes.

Some time later, both Swaney and Daniela have been brought to safety. Swaney and Najica are visiting Daniela in hospital, and Najica assures the teenager that her guardian will make a full recovery. As they stand there, however, Swaney and Najica are approached by Gento, and to Najica’s surprise, Swaney greets Gento as a friend and hands him a mysterious palm-sized device. Curious, Najica enquires as to what they are doing, but neither Gento nor Swaney are about to give anything away.

After making her final report to Majima, Najica heads home, only to discover that not only is Lila there, but that she is lying unconscious on the floor. Najica quickly moves to rouse her partner, and is relieved to discover that Lila is merely sleeping. After greeting Najica, Lila tells her that she has prepared dinner, and the two sit down to eat a delicious, if by now rather cold, meal. Najica’s solo days are over once again, and Najica, for one, does not seem too unhappy about that…

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