Dedicated with affection to all those fan writers out there who transport their alter-egos from this universe into their work....
"Yowza.... Anybody get the plates on that truck?"
Still seeing spots in front of her eyes, she slowly sat up and groaned. Fortunately the ground was soft here, and she hadn't hit her head too hard when she fell.
Soft ground? Wait a minute, I was crossing a parking lot when... when... What happened?
She lay back down, closed her eyes, and tried to think back. OK, I was walking across the parking lot at the mall, and it was raining, and there was this bright flash and a loud bang, and.... She sat up again and looked around in shock at the unfamiliar scenery. 'Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more....'
* * * * *
Several hours later, though still confused as to how and why she had gotten into her current predicament, she at least had a much better idea of where and when she was: Tokyo, Japan. 2035. She frowned a little in thought as she walked slowly along one of the busy downtown streets. OK, this isn't a dream-- and she winced slightly at the memory of discovering that fact, --and I hope this isn't the afterlife.... So... am I really in the future? Or... an alternate universe? She had to laugh to herself at that idea. Geez, I've been reading too much fan fiction again.
What's happened to me?
She continued down the street, now gaping at the sights like a tourist. Small town 20th century America just doesn't prepare one for 20th century Tokyo, let alone 21st century Tokyo. But something about this city seemed strangely familiar to her, and she began to have some sneaking suspicions as to why.
Soon she spotted a kooban, one of those ever-present corner police boxes. Well, at least I know of a good way to get my questions answered. Acting before she could dwell on the implications if her suspicions were right, she approached the officer standing outside.
* * * * *
I don't believe it.... But I have to believe it.
Having followed omawarisan's directions, she now stood on the corner at a busy intersection and stared at the shopping complex across the street. The Lady 633 Building. Amazing. Seeing Genom Tower was enough of a shock, but this.... She mentally shook herself. Well, I guess the question of future or alternate has been answered pretty definitively. I'm not just in Tokyo, I'm in MegaTokyo. Home of the Genom Corporation, Boomers, the AD Police, and... the Knight Sabers.
She took a deep breath, and pulled herself together. Maybe the lady inside that building can help me figure this all out or maybe not, but nothing's gonna happen until I go over there and talk to her. Gathering her courage, she crossed the street and entered the Silky Doll Lingerie Shop.
* * * * *
She immediately noticed three things. One, Silky Doll was much larger than she had thought. Two, they sold more than lingerie here. And three, the person behind the counter wasn't Sylia or Mackie Stingray.
Well, what did you expect, dummy? Just because they didn't show it in the anime doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Of course they'd need help to run this place.
As she approached the counter, a lithe young woman, dark hair held back with a yellow headband, stepped out of the changing room area. Arms piled high with dance leotards, lingerie, and other stock items, she crossed the store and walked through another door marked 'Employees Only.' Finally, someone I recognize! But the stock broker job must have fallen through if she's working here now.
"May I help you?" inquired the clerk working behind the counter, interrupting her thoughts.
"I'd like to speak with Sylia Stingray, please."
Pushing her long, pink-tinted hair to out of the way, the woman picked up a handset behind the counter and held it to her left ear. "I'll see if Ms. Stingray is available. May I have your name, please?"
"I'd rather not say. It wouldn't mean anything to her anyway."
The clerk looked at her in askance for a moment, then asked, "Could I at least tell her what you'd like to see her about. She is a very busy woman after all."
"It's private. Sorry."
The woman sighed, then pushed a button on the intercom and spoke quietly into the handset for several seconds. After a long pause, she spoke again, then replaced the handset on its cradle. "OK, Ms. Stingray will see you for a few minutes. Follow me please."
* * * * *
Funny, I never thought of Sylia having an office. Or a secretary. I'd hoped to get to see her penthouse. But the clerk had left her with Sylia's secretary, who had shown her into Sylia's large, spartan office and poured her a cup of tea from the service on the sideboard. Sylia was running behind schedule, so she was told to "please make yourself comfortable." The tea was very good, the office sofa very comfortable, and against her will she began to nod off. It had been a strenuous day after all, and the warm sun streaming through the floor to ceiling windows felt very good.
Finally, after about 45 minutes, she heard the door open. Immediately awake, she jumped to her feet. A slightly harried looking Sylia Stingray had entered the room and, closing the door behind her, crossed to her desk.
"I'm sorry to have kept you waiting, Ms. ...."
"Please call me Colleen, Ms. Stingray. It's so nice to finally meet you. I've been a big fan of your work."
Sylia sat behind her desk, motioning for Colleen to also take a seat. "My work? I'm sorry, what do you mean?"
Colleen got directly to the point. "Ms. Stingray, you may find this very hard to believe, but what I'm about to tell you is the absolute truth." She paused and took a deep breath as Sylia looked on expectantly. "I know about your, uh, alternative ideas in law enforcement, and...."
Colleen went on, telling Sylia everything: how she had been suddenly transported from 1995 New Jersey, USA to 2035 MegaTokyo, Japan (though she had yet to figure out how or why it was done, let alone why she suddenly understood Japanese), and how Sylia and the Knight Sabers were fictional characters in anime, manga, and American comics where she came from. She detailed the Knight Sabers' battles against their various foes, and even discussed what she could remember of their personal lives.
After she ended her monologue Sylia stared at her for almost a minute, then stood, walked to the tea service, poured herself a cup, walked back to her desk, sat, sipped from the cup, and cleared her throat. "So, I'm supposed to be the leader of a group of... vigilantes?"
"Uh... well... I suppose you could put it that way. But I like to think you're more a counter-balance to Genom's excesses than anything else. And since I seem to be stuck here, I'd like to help you if I could. See, I'm an engineer by profession and...."
Colleen was interrupted as the office door slammed open, banging back against its hinges. "I'm sorry, but the only person you'll be helping is a doctor to help yourself. You need professional help with these delusions of yours."
Colleen twisted in her chair and stared. "But... you... you're... DEAD!"
"Funny, I think I'm pretty lively for a corpse," Irene Chang deadpanned. She turned to someone standing outside the door. "Kou, please escort this young lady to...."
Kou stepped into the office, approaching the now standing Colleen. "I'm not going anywhere with this man," Colleen interrupted.
Something's definitely wrong here.... "You don't have any right to do this to me." She ducked away from Kou, and Irene moved to block the door. "Sylia, help me!"
"I'm sorry Colleen, but Ms. Chang has been monitoring our conversation, and she's right. You do need help."
"But what about the Knight Sabers? What about the Boomers? What about GENOM?" This can't be happening to me. It just can't!
"They are obviously figments of your imagination," Irene said calmly. "The building you describe as Genom Tower is the Government Services Arcology, as I'm sure you well know. Now please, go quietly with Kou. We just want to help you, but we will use force if we have to."
Colleen continued to dodge around the room, trying to find a way out. This is a nightmare. These people are... that's it! The Knight Sabers are a secret organization you idiot. Sylia can't tip her hand in front of Irene.
She dove over the couch, again escaping Kou's advances, and began to move in the direction of the door. "Let me out of here! You can't do this to me! I'm not crazy! Help me, Sylia!!!"
But Irene's supposed to be....
Her increasingly panicked thoughts were interrupted when, at Irene's signal, Kou drew a pistol and took aim.
FLASH FFFFT! ....thud
* * * * *
"How long until the sedative wears off?"
"About an hour, Ms. Stingray," Kou said, as he holstered the tranquilizer gun. He crossed the room and pushed a call button on Sylia's desk.
Irene looked miserable for a moment, then shook it off. "I really hated to do that, but we can't have unbalanced people running free on the streets. Things are violent enough out there as it is. I'm just happy we were here to help you today, Sylia. Remember to keep security tight. I don't want any of my people getting hurt by some loony, especially you."
As Irene spoke, another man appeared in the doorway. Noting his arrival, she turned back to Kou. "Please take this poor girl to Dr. Romanova's office. Perhaps she can help her. We certainly can't."
"Of course, madam." Kou motioned to the other man, who crossed the office to where Colleen lay crumpled on the floor, picked her up, and carried her out the door. Kou bowed deeply to the two remaining women and left the room, closing the door softly behind him.
Sylia sighed loudly and flopped onto the sofa.
"Well, there's something that doesn't happen every day." Irene shook her head as she walked to the nearly empty tea service and poured herself a cup. "Why didn't you tell me your group of vigilantes avenged my death?"
Sylia looked faintly troubled. "I've always heard about people with... visions... but I never thought I'd run across someone...."
"Don't worry about it Sylia. You worry too much as it is; you'll only make yourself sick, and what would I tell your parents?" Irene sat down next to Sylia. "Let alone that handsome new husband of yours? You're not looking for an excuse for more time off to extend your honeymoon are you?" Irene laughed as Sylia blushed a crimson.
Suddenly serious, Irene said, "Speaking of visions, I spoke with Reika last night. She sends her congratulations on your wedding." After a pause to sip from her cup, Irene continued. "She also asked me to pass something else on to you, and I think you should consider it seriously."
Irene smiled slightly at Sylia's curious expression. "She was very happy with the way you helped Vision's world tour staff find office space here. It's going to be a big help to them during the tour's western Pacific swing." Irene stood and walked to the window, gazing into the distance for a moment. She turned suddenly and asked, "How would your husband feel if you took a leave from managing the Silky Doll chain for me and went to work for Reika as coordinator of Vision's WestPac Tour?" Irene winked at her. "With an appropriate increase in salary and perks, of course."
Sylia stared at her employer for a moment, mouth hanging open. Finally she managed to stammer, "I... I don't... know... what to say. Leon's a big fan of Vision, of course, we both are...."
"Good. That's settled then. Reika said she'll be in touch with you, but until then there's this new singer she wants you to audition for the opening act. She's been performing with the house bands in some of the smaller, up-scale rock clubs downtown. Her name is Priscilla Asagiri, and she's supposed to be a class act all the way. Check her out, will you?"
This story, which could be subtitled "Boy, Did I Get the Wrong Alternate Universe," is my first attempt at fan writing, so please be kind. All useful comments and constructive criticisms can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The characters of Colleen, the pink-haired store clerk, and Kou's 'associate' are creations of my own imagination. The remaining characters are property of the rights holders to Bubblegum Crisis and its subsequent sequels. As this is an alternate universe story to the BGC universe, I hope I didn't step on anyone's toes. It wasn't intended.
back to the Short Story Page.We Just Want to Help You, 24 February 1996