18. Game Over

Ever since she came to Earth, Kiyone has been desperate for a promotion back to headquarters, and finally, fate has thrown an opportunity in her lap. The Class A wanted criminal Bent Cougar has stalled his spaceship near the Earth, and Kiyone plans to bring him in and reap the reward.

Desperate to capture Bent Cougar, Kiyone fires wildly at his ship, and naturally, he begins firing right back. Fortunately, Kiyone and Mihoshi’s shuttle is easily able to withstand his attacks, and soon they are close enough to capture his ship in a tractor beam. After a futile attempt at resistance, Bent Cougar surrenders, and the two GP officers celebrate a job well done. Unfortunately, in her excitement, Mihoshi manages to knock the controls, sending both ships tumbling into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Despite being slightly singed, Mihoshi and Kiyone manage to make it back home, where Sasami is busy grilling fish. The young princess soon realises that she has cooked too much- she made a portion for Washu even though the genius scientist is currently locked up in the lab. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem as Ryoko would just eat the extra portion- but she isn’t around these days either.

In fact, Ryoko is already far from the Earth, having returned to a life of crime with her new partner Hotsuma. For their debut robbery, they have chosen the prestigious and well-guarded Federation bank, a challenge to even the most accomplished criminals.

As they infiltrate the bank, Ryoko takes down the first set of guards, whilst Hotsuma applies himself to disabling the main security system. Despite their nominal partnership, it is clear that Ryoko is not willing to treat Hotsuma as an equal, instead regarding both him and his advances with disdain.

With main security down, Ryoko and Hotsuma head into the depths of the bank via a force field protected elevator. Ryoko is surprised by the lack of guards, but as she soon discovers, there is a far more effective criminal deterrent on these lower levels- all of the air has been pumped out.

Eventually, the duo reaches the lowest level of the bank, only one corridor away from the outer vault. Ryoko is ready to teleport in, but Hotsuma warns her that she might trigger the sensors- which would mean instant paralysis and incineration. They will have to tread carefully until they can get close enough to access the controls for the back up security systems.

After navigating the ‘stone age’ laser web, Ryoko and Hotsuma reach the control panel for the inner security doors. Eager to get the job done, Ryoko rips off the outer panelling and tries to override the door controls- only to discover that the computer is not ready to co-operate with her. After failing to make any headway, Ryoko ‘allows’ Hotsuma to hack into the controls, and to her annoyance, he manages to get the doors open almost straight away.

Ryoko and Hotsuma have finally made it to the last set of security doors, where Hotsuma’s skill with the computer systems and Ryoko’s luck in dealing with a singing hologram grant them access to the main vault. Unfortunately, there are a few more obstacles between them and the bank’s money- not only is the money protected by a reality-warping micro black hole, but the area is patrolled by a squadron of bioroid enforcers.

As the enforcers launch an attack, Hotsuma moves to push Ryoko out of the way, taking a hit himself in the process. For the first time since the mission began, Ryoko treats Hotsuma as an equal, and is clearly concerned about him. Hotsuma shrugs off the injury, however, and only requests that Ryoko hold off the bioroids for a minute or so whilst he deactivates the black hole.

Thanks to the effect of the micro black hole, Ryoko cannot accurately use her energy blasts, but she more than compensates for that with some high powered short range moves. Clearly enjoying herself, Ryoko takes out the bioroids, whilst Hotsuma shuts down the black hole and summons his ship. The duo quick make their getaway, only to discover that a Galaxy Police fleet is already waiting for them.

A fire fight soon breaks out between Hotsuma and the GP fleet, and unfortunately, the micro black hole gets hit in the crossfire. The money it was protecting warps out of existence, but even so, Hotsuma reveals that they didn’t come away empty-handed- he swiped a bag of cash from the vault. Unfortunately, the money turns out to be Juraian currency, and much to Ryoko’s annoyance, Ayeka’s grinning face is printed on every note. Nonetheless, despite the poor outcome, Ryoko admits that she did have fun on their mission- perhaps the life of a space pirate is truly what she is destined for after all.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, events have been moving equally fast. Thanks to their arrest of Bent Cougar, Kiyone and Mihoshi have been awarded their long-awaited promotion, along with an immediate transfer to Pluto. Despite her reluctance to leave her friends, Mihoshi has little choice but to go with the jubilant Kiyone, and the duo depart that very afternoon.

The Masaki house is beginning to seem very empty, especially with only Ayeka, Sasami, Katsuhito and Nobuyuki at the dining table that evening. As Ayeka wonders how everyone could have drifted apart so much in such a short time, Katsuhito fears what this means for the future. Could recent events be an indication that something evil is on its way?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *