Volume 10

Preparing to descend on the village, Maiyu talks to his advisor about the joy of the spoils of war and the fact that without a fatima, Kaien won’t be able to use the Schepeltor. Figuring that this battle is there, Maiyu speaks of taking the village…and bringing back the leader of the guerillas, who happens to be a beautiful woman. Naturally, he wants her brought to him alive.

The U-thu government fighters have broken through the line around the village and look to advance. AT tells Meeth to find the prisoner, giving her the key to removed the bracelet. Meanwhile, Kaien is dong some snooping around of the village on his own: using his headdliner guide computer to try to find some weaponry for use in his escape. He finds a locked suitcase, but has no trouble opening it. What he finds….is a case full of women’s underwear. Not expecting this, he rifles through, finding something most unexpected. In a cold sweat, he slams the case shut, cursing Ballance and angrily wondering what he was trying to do. Meeth runs into the storage where Kaien is, unlocking hte bracelet so he can move. As they leave, U-thu troops meet them outside, firing upon Meeth. Kaien, furious that they would do such a thing, launches a Sonic Blade attack which instantly kills most of the soldiers who fired. The rest retreat to Sukat’s position to regroup. Kaien then takes Meeth to safety and AT. He asks about Meeth’s parents, who are both dead and aks AT to find people to help him get medical supplies out of his dorrey. She asks him why he isn’t escaping and he tells her with a smile that the only reasons a headdliner would get into a battle would be for a Lord…or a damsel in distress.

As there’s another sandstorm, there’s a lull in the battle where the remaining guerillas talk about their hired headdliners running in fear when they saw the Zakker in battle with their troops. The villagers realize that they don’t stand a chance of leaving this battleground alive and make their stand against the enemy suits. Kaien calls them foolish for even talking this way but admires their bravery. He then offers to help, at which AT tells him to leave before he gets killed. One of the elder villagers realizes at this moment that AT may be a fatima…and tell her that because the villagers have grown to love her…that she should escape too. She’s astounded that they would say such a thing, then watches the villagers leave on their suicide mission. Kaien ponders how he’ll repay U-thu back as without a fatima he can’t use the Schepeltor. In tears, AT tells him that he can still use it…as there is a Fatima there…

Kaien tells her that she’s mistaken as all fatimas are subjected to mind control. He also tells her that the last time he was at Ballance’s lab, Allecto, Tisphone and Maegella had not yet awaken…and that in the corner in capsules, were three babies, also sleeping: Lachesis, Clotho and Atropos.

In the village, the people make their final stand vs the oncoming mortarheadds. They appear, and kill everyone in their sight as expected. Armed with missles and mines, they stand no chance against the Zakker. One of the remaining guerillas remembers that Meeth is still recovering in one of the houses, and rushes to get her. Lester is waiting however, but he helps them as he doesn’t care for the tactics of Maiyu.

Maiyu, on the other hand, calls out Kaien for a battle, which Kaien eagerly accepts. The sandstorm is great cover, as Maiyu has trouble locating him. Finally, the suit comes into view: the Schepeltor! This battle isn’t a long one: after a few whacks, the Zakker is in no shape to battle and Maiyu, like a schoolyard bully, escapes with Linsa for battle another day. (Even making with the cheesy I’ll get you next time line…) Lester is amazed that Kaien didn’t finish him off and ponders where he’s seen Kaien’s suit before. In the cockpit, Kaien is amazed at the fatima who piloted it with him…and the skill and ease that she took to the controls. The fatima, grips the controls and sheds tears….commenting about how the cockpit smells like her big sister Queen.

Outside the fort, Kaien and the fatima exchange words before she leaves. He tells her that she must have learned her fighting abilities from her sister Queen, who was Deimos Hierarchy’s partner and also the co-pilot of the Schepeltor. At this point, it’s revealed that AT is Atropos, one of the Fatima Fates. She then begins a monologue: saying that she never wanted to have wear the fatima suit again and wonders why fatimas can’t reproduce. She then muses it’s because humans were afraid of being second best to fatimas that thier sex organs and minds were manipulated, and how she hates Ballance for not making her and the other fatima fates like other fatimas. He gave them the dreams of all fatimas, and repeats what Clotho told Queen Emelah before her battle:

The wind will blow from all directions, north south east west…and from Fortune. All you humans, gentle, powerful, miserable and stupid alike, I will in the end bid that last greeting to that Wind in your place. While you are choosing the final opporrtunities open to you…Until Fortune is born, I will keep my eyes open for this very short time…I will embrace all the hopes and dreams held by Fatimas everywhere and entrust them to Kallen.

With this, she turns to leave Kaien, telling him that if she had been born a true human, that she would have made him a good wife. She then asks Kaien to look aftre Meeth, which he agrees to. Lester brings Meeth to Kaien, Kaien telling him that he wants no more bloodshed. Lester smile in agreement and then leaves himself. Meeth inquires about AT, and Kaien decides to tell her everything when she’s a little older.

The flashback ended, the setting returns back to Kaien’s bedroom and to Jabo, who now understands what he’s been through better. He then steps out for a drink, leaving Jabo. Lester, having been let go from U-thu for not having taken care of the intruder, cruises Dragon Road with Palsuet, wondering if a real dragon lives there. The scene then cuts to Wax Trax and to the trenchcoated gentleman, who’s relayed a similar story to Muse. Muse is disgusted about the antics of Sukat, while gaining a little more respect for Kaien. The bartender is then asked to relay a story to muse about a ….”jouster” who’s been taking heads of late. Kaien arrives at Wax Trax and sees a woman who looks like the one who was with him earlier talking to some rough looking customers. He brushes it off…

…And speaking of the devil, Lester is stopped at this late hour by a mysterious challenger: the Ashura Temple. Iller’s looking for a fight and gets one in Lester. It’s a good battle, the Ashura’snot quite up to speed with all of it’s facilities, but Fatima Ananda makes the best of the problems. Lester falls not soon after to the beast, but Palsuet lives. As her master dies, she weeps and wishes that he would have pronounced her name right for once. The thugs from Wax Trax, realizing that she’s a fatima alone, decide to have their way with her…

Morning. Ting is up on the roof, enjoying the morning. The thugs were discussing the “time” they had with the fatima and how lousy she was. Muse takes offense and Kaien steps in, bidding them tell him where they were the night before. Getting the info he wants, Kaien and Muse set off for the site of the battle. Kaien can’ believe that Lester got taken out and Muse observe that the indents on the suit are the same as the Mortarheadd he came across earlier. Kaien asks Muse if he and his fatima could take the maniac who did this out..then tells Muse that he has something important to take care of.

It’s been 120 days and he returns to Prisen Corks with Meeth. Prisen tells him that the restoration of Auxo was successful…but that she has no memories of who she was or who her master wss. Kaien asks to see her anyway and Auxo is a true blank slate. He takes a final look at her, says his goodbyes to her and prepares to leave, saying that he’s leaving the headdliner business. Corks tells him that with his skills, she’d call him master again but he won’t have it this way. Auxo then looks at him walking away and speaks in poetry. She closes her eyes and calls out for her master. Kaien drops everything and weeps on her chest. Corks can’t believe that she could possible remember him, horrified at what Ballance has done with these fatimas.