Volume 15

…This one starts out really strange, with Sopp, nearly naked yet, in the middle of the desert trying hard to come up with a good name for the young LED dragon nymph. He runs through a decent sized list of names (including some well known Final Fantasy series summon names…) but can’t think of anything good to fit. The young nymph looks very worried to be leaving Sopp up to this task. Sopp laments not having Ballance around as he was good at names and here we’re greeted to a very short flashback. In the MH bay of the Floating Palace, lots of activity is seen, with Rogner and a multitude of Fatima hard at work on a MH. Sopp asks Ballance what the names of his latest three Fatima are as these are the final ones he’ll make. He gives some names that we’re by now familiar with, Lachesis, Clotho and Atropos, the names of the three mythical Fates. Sopp guesses that they were gorgeous, but Ballance corrects him, saying that the myth had them pegged to be ugly old hags. Great sense of humor, that Ballance. The activity in the MH dock stops as everyone listening in are quite shocked…

Switch back to the desert, Sopp arrives at a name: Suezhou. He remembers the story that the woman on the bus had told, about how the White Dragon was denoting of Fortune and that this name means Child of the Future. He also goes on to say that names like Odin, Bahamut and even Darth Vader were too good for the likes of him, which causes the LED dragon to dash around like an idiot. Does he like it or not…the universe may never know.

Little do they know that they’re being watched, both by a young woman and by Seable’s ground troops, who realize that the young dragon just might be what they’re looking for, having seen the glowing bottle in Suezhou’s hand. Sopp goes to make a run for it, but is shot at again. As he’s still without his powers, he falls quickly and tells Suezhou to make a run for it. The little guy’s fast and runs smack into the woman who had been watching them. A woman with pantyhose! The troops in pursuit can’t believe that there’s another woman (they thought Sopp was one…)and decide to kill her too. The woman puts two and two together as the troops figure out what to do with her. The nymph realizes that she’s here to help out and calls her Big Sister. Suezhou still clinging to her leg, she takes care of them Headdliner style and they retreat, This takes…oh…a page.

She notices the bauble around Suezhou’s neck and realizes how expensive it is. (About a $600 million dollar bauble) She then orders the nymph to take her to this “other woman” the troops were talking about. He does, and Sopp is in terrible shape. She picks him up and takes him back to her place. It’s been 15 years since they’ve last met, and Sopp’s unconscious…

Not long after Atropos spirits Sopp away, Sukat and the Seable brass arrive at the scene of the skirmish. A member of the brass tells Sukat that this could have only been handled by a Headdliner and that they should be careful from here on out. Sukat is angry because Braford is scouring the grass as if looking for something. Kyo walks out to where he is, saying that Sukat has decided to set up camp here. Braford is trying to make sense of what he’s seeing. As his eyesight is extremely good, he can make out the constellations even during daylight. He then asks Kyo what she males of some footprints…which are so faint she can’t even see them. Braford then gives his observations, a female who’s very short for a Headdliner and another woman who is of royal blood. When asked to explain about the royal, he tells her that the second one had bare feet and the alighnment of the toes indicated that this individual has never done labor of any kind. He’s also not sure if “she” is really that. (Sopp, the poor bastard gets this from EVERYONE.) After outlining the shapes, Kyo is about to comment on the shape of the foot when Braford tells her to keep quiet for the time being on what she knows.

A short time later at dinnertime, Sukat gets his options and wonders if Braford will join him for a meal. Braford declines, saying that he’s camping out. Kyo brings him a duck for her to cook and Braford once again goes into his process of elimination to figure out who those footprints may have belonged to. He goes on to say that relatives have similar footprints to others in their families…and that the same would go for Fatima created by the same meight. He also says that there are only a few fatima with the high class fighting skills of a Headdliner, narrowing it doen further. Those fatima would be: Queen, Majer, Lele-ist-Hotos, Hathsno-Hortes and Hugtrang. There are only four with full Headdliner abilities. Paltenon is ruled out as some hair found at the site wouldn’t match hers. Clotho is sealed with Junchoon, and Lachesis has light brown hair. This only leaves Atropos.

Finishing dinner, Sukat, his fatima Linsa and Di-Barrow are having a talk about what to do next. Since there’s a good chance that the Para-Guild is preparing to go on the offensive agains Seable, Barrow offers to call in some Mercenaries to help search for the Water of Life and suggests the Pied Pipers. Sukat is in shock as they’ve gained quite the reputation. Barrow is pleased that Sukat’s heard of them and tells them that once there, they will be under his command. As if eavesdropping, a light is seen in the sky that both Braford and Barrow sense: the Thunder Dragon! Barrow has no intention of having the same misfortune of the Mejojo, saying that all he’s really after is some Water of Life. Barrow also senses that he’s getting some new powers from someplace at which time we’re shown an apparition behind him of a ghastly looking Dis Bosjathfort.

At her place, Atropos is trying to teach the young nymph to use silverware to eat. She tries to take the bottle in Suezhou’s hand but it glows mysteriously. She offers to make a bag for it and looks anxiously to Sopp, who’s still out for the count. As he seems to be dreaming, we’re next granted another flashback of Sopp in a similar situation…

The next time we see Sopp, it’s him as an infant. Members of the Para-guild are seen talking to former Empress Mikado about the fact that her child has no senses at all and is unresponsive. He was the product of a Virgin Birth and possesses only one set of chromosomes. The Prince also has no set gender, which chages several times a year. The members suggest that Mikado remove him from the line of succession. Mikado isn’t happy to hear them talk like this and tells them not to say such things or to be killed. Before she can do this herself, a demon materializes and kills them itself. They call out for help, as she wonders where this came from. She can’t do anything either as it picks her up. As she prepares to sacrifice herself to save Sopp, she hears him call out to her telepathically. It would seem that he summoned the monster but has no control of his powers. Mikado wonders why no one has come to help, but then realizes that they are in a different dimension. She then offers herself in exchage for help, saying that she’s still a virgin. What this would do is beyone me.

She is heard as she hears some small voices in the background. What she’s hearing, she soon sees: the Four Great Faeries, elementals. Slyph, Undine, Salamander, Kobold. They don’t much care to help her out, but a loud voice in the background tells them to do just that. A few panels later, the demon is dead and Mikado is free! She wonders who came to her aid, thinking it’s demonic itself but not this time. What appears before her is a physical manefestation of her universe….Joker! (Odd looking thing, bat and angel wings, devil’s horns, pants with card suits on it and…..a very long winged phallus. Not joking about this one. The one of the faeries is perched right on it and looks very happy too….) He’s a bit of a flake however and apologizes to Sopp for having destroyed his monster buddy and that he’s “switched the boy on”. He’s also amazed that he has a body now, and more so that he can be seen by others. Havign done his good deed, he departs. The faeries tell the Mikado that the boy’s powers must not be used in this universe. Joker then goes on to see the events to take place 1,000 years later, Sopp preparing to go to the Fatima Debut.

On a battlefield a good distance away from the previous scene, we see the remnants of a horrible fight. (This would be probably right around the time of the Fatima Fates debut as Joker has taken off for this time period. It never says but is implied.) At the scene of this battle, a fatima on the verge of death lays on the ground. She’s in really bad shape: her midsection gone, hard to even tell that she’s a Fatima. There is some talk of body and MH recovery, but this is being abandoned due to danger still on the battlefield. The fatima in question is resigning herself to death as she’ll be gone in 2 minutes. Instead, she hears a voice asking her what she is and if she wants to live. She says that in her state that it would be impossible, but the voice reassures her that it can be done and asks her that question again. She says she wishes to live more, a thought she can’t possible have as she’s a Fatima. In the skirmish, her mind control has been released and so she makes the choice to live and that her name is Potar. In a flash of light, she’s revived and the one speaking to her is Joker, who in return wants to know more about the galaxy and what has been going on in it. (A good trade for life, right?) He tells her that he’s an observer and wished to understand about the time period that she’s from.

Note: She’ll go on to call Spector her Master although he’s technically no Headdliner. Considering how much he seems to know about the forces protecting the Floating Palace and Amateratsu like the ARCH and Kallen, you wonder if he has some connection to Joker. They dress very similarly. Just asking.

Back in the previous flashback, time seemed to have stopped at the point of Mikado screaming at the members of the Para-Guild. They have no recollection of anything even though she does. She asks them once again to check the infant Prince. To their shock, he moves his eyes and aknowledges them. A miracle, no doubt.

A very short time later, great scientist Dr. Uranium Ballance arrives at the palace and looks over the young prince. He offers his observations: that the prince has great knowledge of politics and matters of the country even in infancy…just that he has no “human” emotions. Rather unusual, but he believes that this will help him in his research. Mikado asks him for more information on his research, to which he believes that his grandshildren will perfect it. Beings with superhuman abilities and intelligence who work as machines. He says such beings would have been known in history as Faeries or Hommunculus but that he prefers Fatimas, to which Sopp glances at him. He then takes his leave. Empress Mikado tells the prince that she’ll protect him as best she can but that he must remember that he was born from her.

Back in the present day, Ian Konig is testing his weapons on the Vai-O-La to ill effect. (Telling his fatima Orchestro that he’d rather “go home and fuck”, then threatening to strip her for not tuning it right. Might be that he’s shitface DRUNK.)Over looking this display is General Piper and Sukat. (Piper apologizes for the conduct of his men, and rightly so.) Sukat is more impressed with the Vai-O-La, one of the other few in being belongs to Voards Viewlard. Maessen appears, saying that there’s just the tuning of the Blue Armor left, to which Piper laments that the legendary MH Meight Ladios Sopp isn’t there to help out. (In AT’s house, Sopp sleeps restlessly…perhaps he heard it.)

The next day, Sukat suggests that Braford go out on the advance and check out the female Headdliner that attacked the ground troops. Meeting him, General Piper sees him off, offering quietly that he join the Pied Piper Mercenaries. Braford says nothing, saying that he should be off. Piper then suggests that afte this is over that they go to pay their respects to the home of the late Chrome Ballance, suggesting that he knows Kyo is a Ballance Masterpiece. Piper has a Masterpiece of his own, as Est’s younger sister Bild waves to them from the top of Piper’s MH. As they leave, Braford apologizes to Kyo for not having taken Piper up on the job offer, but she’s fine with it. It was an honor to have been asked. They then set off for the village that the female Headdliner was last seen at.

In the village, Atropos is getting some water from the well. She contemplates taking Sopp and some “thing” out of the village.
….And perhaps with good reason. Braford has some fine tricks up his sleeve and uses hypnosis on a young boy to find her whereabouts. Getting his info, he races to the location. Back with the Apache, Kyo is making oms adjustments to the Mh in order to better deal with Atropos, one of her father’s greatest creations.

In At’s house, Sopp finally awakes and finds Suezhou snuggled up to him. He’s surprised that Atropos saved him and she quickly finds him something to wear. He tries on a princess dress, her Opera Pink Fatima suit, before finding something that he’ll have to make do with. (Suezhou finds PANTIES to great comedic effect.) Atropos tells Sopp about the situation, that Di-Barrow and Seable are looking for the dragon nymph. Sopp realizes that it’s the Water of Life, not the Swe that they want. Watching them on a hill undetected is Braford, who with his super hearing catches everything. What he’s not prepared for is seeing Sopp out the window…who he killed with the ship’s laser days ago. A stone falls in his shock, which sets off an alarm at AT’s house. She grabs Sopp and makes for an underground tunnel.