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No Need for Friendship

[Notes and Disclaimers: Mihoshi, Kiyone, and the rest of the Tenchi crew are property of AIC. In no way am I profiting from using their names or concepts, unless you count having fun as a profit. This story takes place after the end of Tenchi Universe/Tenchi Muyo! TV before Mihoshi and Kiyone rejoin the "carnival" on Earth.]

A tall young woman, seemingly especially young for one wearing Galaxy Police officer's blues, stepped into her her office at the Seventh Headquarters. Straight greenish-blue hair was swept back business-like behind her shoulder; every pip and stripe on her uniform was in place, and she moved with an energy that didn't seem to quit–until one noticed her eyes, heavy-lidded, slightly dark circles growing beneath them. Detective-Sergeant Kiyone Makibi grumbled slightly to herself as she looked at the collection of papers and data disks piled–neatly, of course, but piled nonetheless–on her desk. The mountain of paperwork seemed to have grown since she'd been at the officer's staff meeting.

They ask us to finish the quarterly report by tomorrow morning, and then hold us in a pointless meeting for three and a half hours. She sighed, clenching a fist and then releasing it. I was supposed to have a break tonight, dammit.

Anyone who knew Kiyone knew she wasn't the type to slack off, to say the least–quite the contrary, she'd been accused by more than a few of being a workaholic. So if she was looking for a break, she needed it. But, as always, duty came first. She reached for a disk with a blue label on it, the one which contained her report, and popped it into her desk terminal.

Instead of her report, a smiling image of a character from a popular holovid, "Handle with Care!" appeared on screen instead. The program's theme song began to play as the character, a little girl named Hanako, climbed to the top of a mountain: "Come with me, let's go on a great adventure! Let's journey to places strange and new! Together we can't be stopped by anything!" Kiyone's jaw hit her desk.

Shaking her head, Kiyone backed out of the program and checked the disk's index. It was filled with files of the holo-program. Her report was no where to be found. She scrambled around, looking for any other disk that looked like the one she needed, but that was the only one. She even popped in other disks, just in case she had forgotten which one contained the document, but to no avail. Kiyone began to tremble. Her eyes narrowed. Her hands formed into fists once more; she had to force one of her hands open again so she could tap a code into the comm unit on her desk.

A cheery voice began to chirp over the unit, "This is the Chief of Criminal Preven-"

"MIHOSHI!" Kiyone interrupted her.

"Oh hello, Kiyone, what can I-"Mihoshi and Kiyone talking on their comm links

"Mihoshi, you get over to my office right now!"

"Is something wro-"

"NOW, Mihoshi!"

"Okay! I'll be right there! Bye!" Kiyone heard a series of "oops"es and some paper shuffling before the comm connection was broken with a click.

Moments later, Mihoshi Kuramitsu, Chief of Criminal Prevention and Kiyone's former partner, appeared in the door of Kiyone's office. Mihoshi hadn't changed much since her promotion; only she could manage to make her chief's uniform look informal with her tousled blonde ponytail held back by the usual lopsided maroon bow. She beamed at Kiyone. "Hi, Kiyone! Did you want to see me?"

Kiyone had been taking several deep breaths in order to keep herself calm. "Mihoshi," she said very slowly. "Do you know what this is?" She held up the disk with the blue label.

Mihoshi smiled. "Oh!" she said gleefully. "That must be where my disk with "Handle with Care!" went. Thank you, Kiyone, for finding it!"

"Why was it here to begin with, Mihoshi?"

"Well, see, Mobira had sent me the episodes over digital mail, but you know how they delete things from our personal files in a few hours for security reasons, right? So I wanted to save them to disk, but then I spilled tea on my computer, and had to let it dry out. I was afraid the files would get deleted in the meantime, so I thought maybe you'd let me use your terminal, so I came over to your office, and you weren't here, so I just quick got in and saved them on an old disk that was lying around. I guess I left the disk here–sorry!" Mihoshi finished with a slightly nervous giggle, noticing that Kiyone's hand had begun to shake rather violently.

"Mihoshi..." Kiyone growled.

Mihoshi broke out in a nervous sweat. "Um, Kiyone, you're not mad, right? I mean, I know we're not supposed to receive personal mail, but you know Mobira, he doesn't really pay attention to-" "MIHOSHI!" Kiyone slammed her fist down on her desk. Veins protruded on her forehead.

Mihoshi swallowed nervously. Beads of sweat appeared on her forehead.

"My quarterly report was on this disk! You saved your damn holovid over my report! There's nothing left! I have to write an entire new report and turn it in at 0800 tomorrow morning. THAT'S GOING TO TAKE ME ALL NIGHT, MIHOSHI!"

"Is there a problem, ladies?" Captain Fumo, a tall, dark-skinned, dark-haired main with slightly pointed ears appeared in the doorway to Kiyone's office. Both immediately faced him and saluted.

"I wanted to see how you were coming along with that report, Sergeant Makibi. I was hoping you might have it done early so I might be able to take it with me on my way to the commander's office," he said, offering the wide-eyed women a polite, cold smile.

"Erm." Kiyone said awkwardly. "Not–you see..." she began, not knowing how to finish.

Mihoshi raised her hand as if she were volunteering an answer in school. "It's my fault, sir! I seem to have used Kiyone's disk-"

Fumo silenced Mihoshi with a marked "Ahem." He looked at Kiyone. "Is the report not ready, Kiyone?"

Before Kiyone could answer, the captain had taken the disk from her hand and popped it into the terminal. Hanako's grinning face appeared on the screen once again, ready to take her friends on a new adventure. Fumo halted the program and glared at Kiyone. "I see," he said coldly.

"Sir! There's been a mistake-" Kiyone started, but Fumo cut her off with a sharp look.

"I don't care what excuse you have to give me. You're a high-ranking officer at this station, and what's more, you're a role model! I don't want to know why you have this running on your machine, and I don't care to know if it's Mihoshi's fault or not!"

Kiyone's face went rather pale.

"You have an important job, and it's high time you stopped blaming your problems on other people. This isn't a light-duty deep space patrol, Kiyone, this is headquarters, and you're a decorated officer! There's no time for this kind of dillydallying." He looked at Mihoshi. "Even Chief Kuramitsu got her report into me this morning! I expect at the very least the same kind of performance from you! Now have that report on my terminal by ten hundred hours tomorrow morning. And if this foolishness happens again, consider yourself demoted!" Fumo spun on his heel and exited the room.

Kiyone waited for the captain's footsteps to fade before she turned on her old partner, face growing scarlet first with embarrassment, then rage. "Dammit, Mihoshi! What the hell do you think you're doing? I finally get promoted and in a good place and you're still making my life and career a living hell! Is that what you live for, Mihoshi? Just keeping me down and miserable? I wish I'd never met you, you damnable IDIOT!"

Tears appeared at the corners of Mihoshi's eyes. "I-I'm sorry, Kiyone. It was an accide-"

"It's always an accident!" Kiyone snapped. "_You're_ an accident! We're not partners anymore, Mihoshi, so I wish you would JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!"

Mihoshi sniffled, eyes watering even more. "Do- do you mean it, Kiyone?"

"YES!" Kiyone shouted, slamming her fist on the desk once again, causing Mihoshi to jump. She looked at the piles of paper on her desk, the idea of all the paperwork and the threat of demotion from the captain overwhelming her, so much so she actually grew physically dizzy.

"Kiyone!" Mihoshi cried as she saw Kiyone grab her desk for support. She instinctively moved to help, but Kiyone pushed her away.

"Don't touch me, you clutz!" Kiyone moved away from the desk and headed for the door.

"Where are you going, Kiyone?" Mihoshi called after her.

"I'm going to go down to Rylas Station to clear my head. And if I see you here when I come back..." Kiyone shook a warning fist at Mihoshi and headed for the door.

"But Kiyone..." Mihoshi called to her, reaching out her hand as if to try and catch her. Kiyone ignored her, exiting and shutting the door behind her with a slam. Mihoshi stopped, rubbing her chin with concern. Her eyes lit. "Wait a minute! Kiyone!" She opened the door and ran out down the hallway, hoping to catch up with her former partner.

************************************

I've never been this angry this before, Kiyone thought to herself, trying to calm herself down as she headed toward the shuttle bay. Her hands were still trembling. I've been through some pretty bad things, and I've never been this upset. And over what? Paperwork?

Well, and my career. You'd think I'd get used to that by now. Mihoshi... Kiyone rubbed her temples as the image of the smiling blonde entered her head. Of course, she never means to do anything wrong...

But I am sick of it, the other part of her mind said. She doesn't plan ahead, she doesn't look where she's going, she never thinks about the consequences of anything, and she ends up being one giant roadblock to everyone else's life. To my life, anyway. The road to promotion should have never been this difficult. And if you're not careful, and she keeps getting in your way, you might have to start all over again at ground zero.

Kiyone paused again as the memory of the tears in Mihoshi's usually starry eyes appeared clearly in her mind. But why should I care? She's just one big stumbling block to my career.

The officer took several deep breaths. I still shouldn't have yelled like that. Fumo's right. It's... it's my responsibility. Kiyone shook her head. This isn't how I imagined my life in the big chair to be. I've never had to do this much damn paperwork in my life, and I don't get to do much else. I guess break on Rylas could be a good idea, before I go back to writing tonight. She sighed, punching in the code to requisition a shuttle, wishing in a way it could have been good old Yagami. I wasn't planning on sleeping anyway.

*********************************

Rylas Station was a commercial spaceport located between Galaxy Police HQ and the planet Katar. Starting off as a small re-supply station for the many ships that traveled through this area, Rylas had slowly grown into a fully self-supporting city-in-space, with all the splendors and problems popular cities have.

Kiyone hadn't visited Rylas in ages. She had spent the better part of a year on Earth and then as a refugee in space with the Masaki crew, and once she had returned to HQ, she was far too busy for much recreation. Most of her recreation had, as a matter of fact, been having tea breaks with Mihoshi.

As a rookie, Kiyone had discovered the Galaxy bar, where she and some of her old academy friends used to go after a long patrol to relax. It wasn't the nicest place in the world, but the workers were friendly, the music was good, and the drinks were cheap. Probably not the best place for a decorated sergeant to be relaxing, but... she wasn't in uniform anyway, and at least maybe she could relive some fond memories.

A pint of Alphan ale later and Kiyone was slightly more relaxed due to the depressant hitting her system, but she wasn't feeling much better. The memories had returned, of her and Mitsuki and Niwase hanging out here, having a great time, laughing and dancing and singing drunkenly at the karaoke machine... they were good times, but Kiyone also remembered that as soon as Mitsuki started going somewhere on her career, she pretty much abandoned Kiyone and everyone in hopes of impressing the top brass. Kiyone held back tears as she remembered Mitsuki holding a gun on her like she were a pathetic felon, without question believing Kiyone was involved in Princess Ayeka's "conspiracy." Mitsuki had been smiling as she had prepared to arrest Kiyone, even as she crooned, "This isn't easy for me, you know." What medals would she have gotten for capturing Kiyone the traitor?

Kiyone closed her eyes, trying not to think about it anymore. Niwase wasn't much better. She'd never betrayed anyone, but once she'd got in with Chief Kamesuke and his buddies, she never thought once of saying hello to an old friend, even in passing.

Kiyone stood up, tossing some money to the barkeep, and headed out the door. She thrust her hands in her pockets and started to walk, mind more on her troubles than on where she was going. With friends like those... After her reward of a promotion, it was satisfying, ordering Mitsuki around like a ball-busting drill sergeant, but only for about a week. Mitsuki downright hated Kiyone. And it wasn't because she had ordered Mitsuki around either. It's because Kiyone had been promoted first. That's all. Petty, petty envy. And yet, Kiyone knew, she was envious of Mitsuki when she had heard she was assigned to Special Investigations when Kiyone had only been assigned to Criminal Investigation Team Nine. But she wouldn't have tried to hurt Mitsuki. If someone had asked her to arrest her, she'd want to know why. She'd have thought something was wrong. Wouldn't she?

Or would she had done what she always did, followed her duty above and beyond anything else? The only time she hadn't was when she had helped Princess Ayeka and the others, and she had done that because Mihoshi had blundered into the old sergeant's office and aroused his suspicion, forcing them both to go on the run.

Would Kiyone have helped Ayeka if she had been able, otherwise, to continue on in her career at the Galaxy Police? Would she have chased down Ryo-ohki and arrested Ayeka and Ryoko if she had been ordered to? What would they have done when Ryo-ohki ran out of energy, and there had been no Yagami to teleport to?

The truth was, Kiyone had never even thought about this until now. She was too busy... too busy to consider her friends, perhaps. Do I even have any friends anymore? Thoughts drifted back to Mihoshi, and the tears in her eyes that appeared as Kiyone had yelled at her. "Just leave me alone," Kiyone had said. Guess not. And the only other friends I had... well, they're all back on Earth, aren't they? All back in the middle of nowhere, where when I was there, I spent all my time trying to get out.

"You're looking a little lonely, lady. Care for some company?" The male voice startled Kiyone out of her reverie. She looked up to see a tall, wiry young man with messy, spiky red hair grinning–or perhaps leering was a better word–at her.

The cold lump which immediately formed in the pit of Kiyone's stomach told her to get away from him. There was something in his eyes she didn't like, nothing she couldn't describe explicitly, just something she knew from years of work in the field tracking down criminals of all sorts. She forced a smile at him. "No, thanks, I'm fine." She continued to walk, looking around at the "streets" (massive corridors) of the space station. The cold lump grew as she realized she didn't quite recognize where she was. It had been a long time since she had visited Rylas, and recent renovations to the space station even made formerly familiar areas look strange. The ale probably hadn't helped her sense of direction either. Dammit! What the hell was I thinking? Kiyone cursed herself.

"Now where do you think you're going?" The red-haired man grabbed Kiyone's arm, squeezing just a little too tight. "I was just being friendly. You look like you could use a friend or two." He smiled another greasy smile as Kiyone heard shuffling nearby. He wasn't alone. Still trying to get her bearings, Kiyone had realized she had walked the wrong way, opposite in direction to the transit areas where there was heavy tourist traffic. She was in a storage area, and with a sinking heart, she figured she was the only one in this corridor who wasn't one of Red-Hair's friends.

Don't panic, Kiyone warned herself, forcing field training to take over. She pushed her way out of the man's grip and continued to walk, as her other hand began to reach inside her jacket. "I don't need any friends, thank you."

Suddenly, Kiyone was on the floor. Something had barrelled into her out of nowhere–another man, a small one, with slicked-back black hair and reddish skin. Red-Hair cursed under his breath; the little guy had perhaps jumped the gun, but it didn't matter now for any of them. As Kiyone shoved the man off of her, yet another one, this one a big guy with a blue, star-shaped tattoo on his face, grabbed her wrist and yanked her onto her feet. Her arm socket did not appreciate the treatment. Out of the corner of her eye, a fourth figure appeared, this one dark-skinned and all in black.

Red-Hair smiled. "Good thing for us you don't have any, then, I guess." All of the men were smiling, and Kiyone knew exactly what they were planning to do. Blue Star placed his hand across her mouth. They started to pull her off into another corridor, with her struggling all the way, but everytime she'd almost pull herself free, another hand would come out of nowhere to incapacitate her again. They were very careful to keep her conscious, however, and the most likely reason why made Kiyone's stomach lurch.

"No point in struggling, mis-AAH!" The man in black grabbed the side of his head. Red laser beams ricocheted through the corridor. He'd been shot, if only in the ear, but Kiyone allowed a bit of hope to enter her heart as she watched the man pull away from her, moaning as blood gurgled from underneath the hand clapped to his head.

"Freeze!" A new, yet familiar, voice yelled. It was a woman's voice, slightly high-pitched, though at the moment unusually hardened by anger. "Galaxy Police! Unhand that woman!"

All four men and Kiyone looked to see a blonde woman in full dress Galaxy Police Blues, the kind officers at the central office wore, training a small laser pistol at the crowd. Her hands were trembling, just barely, but her eyes gleamed with a determined focus Kiyone rarely ever saw. Mihoshi for once meant business.

The man in black was still clutching the side of his head, and Kiyone used the opportunity to swing away from him. She proceeded to kick the big guy, working herself free from him as well. Red-Hair still had a good hold on her other wrist, but Little Guy looked like he was about to wet his pants, so knocking him over wouldn't be too difficult.

"One move and I'll shoot again," Mihoshi warned. Kiyone inwardly smiled. At least they didn't know she couldn't aim to shoot fish in a barrel, she thought. Mihoshi continued, very professionally. "Release the woman and put your hands up. You are all under arrest."

Kiyone had almost struggled her way free, and the little guy was ready to bolt. Red-Hair wasn't convinced, however. "Guys, it's one cop, and she looks like a cream puff. We can handle her."

Completely free from Blue Star, Kiyone gave the big guy a solid groin kick, effectively disabling for a moment their strongest opponent. Sliding behind the injured man in black–boy, was he a wimp, he was still crying–she drew the blaster she still habitually carried inside her jacket, even though she no longer regularly worked in the field. "That's no cream puff, buddy. That's my partner." Okay, she is a cream puff. But they don't know that. And hell, the way she's got them covered, she'd almost fool me. She gave Red-Hair a leer of her own.

Little Guy did bolt, ducking quickly into a side corridor. Mihoshi fired at him but missed. "Never mind him, Mihoshi!" Kiyone said, kicking the guy in black over, firmly planting one foot on top of him. "You heard her! Put your hands up!" Mihoshi re-trained her blaster on Blue Star as Kiyone held off Red-Hair. The two raised their hands in surrender. Kiyone shifted so she could hold her blaster on both men. "I've got these two, Mihoshi. Cuff'em."

Mihoshi dug through her jacket, producing a device shaped sort of like a yo-yo. She tossed it at the feet of the two men still standing. The device activated as soon as it hit the ground, and they were immediately bound hand and feet with energy lines. As Kiyone stepped off of the third man, Mihoshi slapped more conventional-looking cuffs on his wrists.

"You have the right to remain silent..." Kiyone rattled off. She grabbed the "string" of the "yo-yo" and pulled it out so that it transformed into another energy leash, with which she jerked the two men down the corridor like they were little more than disobedient dogs. Mihoshi picked the man in black up, immediately almost knocking him over, then pulled him up again and walked him down the corridor as well, alongside Kiyone.

"You bitch! You had this planned, didn't you?" Red-Hair screamed as they escorted him back to the docking area, going toward Kiyone's shuttle. "Damn Galaxy Pigs!"

"Shut up," Kiyone said.

"Kiyone, I'm sorry about letting the other one get away," Mihoshi said. She looked down. "Guess I'm not much of a Criminal Preventer, am I?"

"Don't worry about it. We have his description. He'll be caught. You did a good job, Mihoshi. You came in right on time," Kiyone looked at her old partner, offering her a faint smile. Mihoshi responded with a huge, relieved grin.

Mihoshi and Kiyone secured the criminals on Kiyone's shuttle, and Kiyone escorted Mihoshi back outside the ship so Mihoshi could return to the one she had taken to get to the station. Mihoshi paused once they had exited Kiyone's shuttle.

"I'm confused, Kiyone." Mihoshi gave her one of those child-like wide-eyed looks.

"About what?"

"You said... back there you said we were partners. But before you said we weren't. And we're not, are we? I mean, you're a detective-sergeant and I'm a section chief and... we don't work together anymore. So why did you say it?"

Kiyone looked at the ground a moment before meeting Mihoshi's gaze. "Mihoshi. Why were you wandering around Rylas Station?"

Mihoshi shrugged. "That's where you said you were going, remember?"

True. She had told Mihoshi where she had headed, hadn't she? "You came looking for me?"

"Well, yeah!" Mihoshi said, as if to say, "Duh!" "I wanted you to know that... I talked to the captain and told him what happened, that it really was my fault, 'cause I know you get in trouble for me sometimes, and I know you were having a hard time with that report. You shouldn't have gotten yelled at, you know? So I told him next time if he wanted to demote somebody, he could demote me, because your job is really important to you, and you don't deserve that. You're the best police officer on the whole force, Kiyone!" Mihoshi smiled in that look of admiration she often gave her ex-partner, for reasons Kiyone didn't completely understand.

"I-but. But. I." Kiyone shook her head. "What about your job, Mihoshi? Isn't it important to you?"

"Oh, I love being a police officer, Kiyone, you know that. But to be honest, this whole 'Chief of Criminal Prevention' thing is getting boring. I mean, I like writing reports and all, but it's all I do! And go to meetings, and talk to people who all they care about is more meetings and reports, and assign things to field officers. I liked the good old days, when we were out there, bagging the bad guys ourselves!" Mihoshi's eyes shone.

"You also miss falling asleep on Tenchi's front porch," Kiyone said, chuckling.

"Well, yeah! I miss Earth! And Tenchi and Sasami and Ayeka and Ryoko and Washu and Ryo- ohki and..." Mihoshi's sky-blue eyes watered with a different kind of sadness. "We had such a good time there, Kiyone!"

Kiyone shook her head and crossed her arms. "Mihoshi, we were working three part time jobs and going out on patrol. We were living on Cup Ramen and getting 6 hours of sleep a night, and that's if we were lucky! We were going nowhere, no one knew what we were doing, we had no chance of promotion..."

"You miss it, too, huh?" Mihoshi smiled at the blue-haired woman. Kiyone had to smile back, in spite of herself. Mihoshi added after a moment, "Besides, that's how we did get promoted, Kiyone! 'Cause we met Tenchi and Ryoko and Ayeka and Sasami and Washu and then Ayeka and Ryoko got kidnapped and then we were on the run, trying to prove Ayeka's innocence, and we went to Jurai, and Tenchi stopped Kagato, and we got medals and commendations for loyalty to Jurai and for bravery above and beyond the call of duty! And all we did, really, was help out our friends! We stuck beside them no matter what!" Mihoshi emphasized her last point, slapping her fist into her other hand. "Just like I'll stick by you, Kiyone, whenever you need me!"

Kiyone was silent for a moment, staring at Mihoshi, that "death-or-glory" gleam in her eye. She thought about Mihoshi rescuing her from Mitsuki. Kiyone had been mad at her for interfering later on–if she hadn't gone looking for her, Kiyone never would have gotten caught or suspected of anything, and she could have gone onto... being a detective in the petty crimes solutions corps? "Don't worry, Kiyone, everything will turn out all right in the end," Mihoshi was always saying during that crazy time. It had gotten on her nerves, but Mihoshi had been right. She was following her heart, and she had turned out to be right. And now, in true haphazard Mihoshi style, she had randomly wandered into a dangerous section of a space station to find her ex-partner to let her know she had taken the rap for her. And Mihoshi ended up rescuing her from a fate worse than death, Kiyone having been too self-absorbed to notice what was going on till too late. In many more ways than one, Kiyone thought ruefully.

Unlike Mihoshi, Kiyone was not a touchy-feely person. So there was a reason for Mihoshi to look rather shocked when the other officer threw her arms around her, burying her face in her neck. Hot tears were quickly absorbed into Mihoshi's collar. The blonde returned the hug, gently pulling Kiyone close. "Kiyone, are you all right?"

"No one would have come looking for me, Mihoshi," Kiyone sobbed into her shoulder. "No one would have missed me, except Captain Fumo would have wondered why I hadn't turned my report in on time. No one would have cared except you."

"Of course people would have cared. And besides, you're my friend, Kiyone," Mihoshi said matter-of-factly. "You're the best friend I ever had."

Kiyone looked up at her, teary azure eyes meeting pale sapphire. "Why, Mihoshi?What have I done to deserve your friendship?" Kiyone lowered her eyes. "I figured you'd get tired of me yelling at you eventually."

Mihoshi shrugged, still hugging Kiyone. "I know you just want me to be a better police officer, Kiyone."

"That's not..." true, Kiyone thought. Not entirely...

"That's not what, Kiyone?" Mihoshi interrupted her thought.

"That's not... that's not a good reason for me to yell all the time." She sighed. "Well, sometimes it is." Kiyone sighed yet again, and looked at Mihoshi. "Look Mihoshi, quite frankly, a lot of the time you're a pretty lousy police officer. But... you're dedicated, and you're loyal, and you always do the best you can, and never, ever for selfish reasons. And... you're the best friend I've ever had, too. You're the only friend I've had for years and, and..." Kiyone took a deep breath. "I'm sorry if I hurt you."

Mihoshi squeezed Kiyone. "Don't worry about it. All that paperwork makes you even more irritable than usual, you know?"

Kiyone chuckled in spite of herself. "Thanks."

"And Kiyone, I'm not the only friend you've had... what about Tenchi and the others? They all care about you. I'm sure they miss you, too. Remember the postcard Sasami sent us last week?" She smiled at Kiyone, wiping away the tears on Kiyone's cheeks. "I worry about you, Kiyone, now that we're not partners. You work so much, you're going to make yourself sick."

Kiyone shook her head and smiled back. "Probably."

"Well," Mihoshi said, removing one arm from Kiyone's shoulders to scratch her head. "Those gangsters aren't going to take themselves back to HQ, are they?" She stepped back. "I guess I'll see you back there. We'll have to write the arrest report together, and hey... you've got to finish that other report, don't you?" Mihoshi paused, her eyes lighting. She slapped her forehead. "I almost forgot, Kiyone!" She produced a GP data disk with a blue label from inside her jacket. "It was on my desk, Kiyone. I took the wrong one, silly me! Anyway, I think it has your report on it, so I thought you'd want it back."

Kiyone took the disk from Mihoshi's hand, staring at it as if it were a lost ancient Juraian artifact. Good old Mihoshi. It always works out in the end... She shook her head. "Mihoshi... I don't know whether to hug you again or kill you."

Mihoshi gave her a serious frown. "I think I'd prefer the hug."

Kiyone laughed and gave her friend another quick squeeze before she turned back toward her shuttle. "I'll see you at HQ, Mihoshi."

********************************

Captain Fumo received three documents in his computer mail terminal first thing the next morning, the first two from Detective-Sergeant Kiyone Makibi. The first was the report she was to have finished yesterday, turned in at her original deadline of 0800 hours. The second was a letter which had been sent not only to him but to the commander as well. It read,

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Dear Sirs,

I have turned in my quarterly report this morning to Captain Tenshiro Fumo, which includes the details of the Ryuen incident. I hope you will find the report satisfactory for your needs. I also hope it is the last report I have to write as Detective-Sergeant of the Seventh Headquarters of the Galaxy Police.

Captain Fumo reminded me yesterday not to confuse how I spent my time as a detective in the field with how I ought to spend my time as a detective-sergeant here in the central office. I have considered his words at great length, and while I certainly do not confuse the two jobs, I've realized that I'm much more suited for field work than office duty. I fully realize the honor I've received by being promoted to such a position, but it is difficult getting used to a desk after one is used to chasing criminals (or being chased as one, for that matter) through deep space. Quite frankly and perhaps frighteningly, I've discovered I'd rather be out there living on space rations dodging blasts from space pirates (especially since I'm worried that I'm growing a bit soft). I'm sure there is someone else on the force who would be much happier sitting behind a desk than I am. Perhaps Investigator Mitsuki Fujiwara? Her performance seems to have improved greatly over the past few months.

In the meantime, I am requesting a new assignment as a field officer.

I respectfully ask you to consider re-assigning me to my position in the Sanctuary Zone of the System of Sol. It is my understanding no one currently occupies that position, and with increased recent space traffic in that area due to the construction of Union Observation Station #9, I believe a continued Galaxy Police presence there would be prudent.

Even if you choose not to assign me to the Sanctuary Zone, I recommend that if you do assign anyone there to find a way convert the officer's pay to local Earth goods or currency, as that is likely where the officer will be stationed. Earthlings, being mostly out of communication and entirely out of trade with the Galaxy Union and the Empire of Jurai, do not accept Galaxy Yen as valid currency, and the cost of living on that planet is very high.

I look forward to speaking with you regarding my request.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,
Detective-Sergeant Kiyone Makibi

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The third message was from the office of the Chief of Criminal Prevention. It read,

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Dear Sirs,

If Kiyone gets to go back to Earth, can I go with her?

Thank you,
Mihoshi Kuramitsu

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Captain Fumo stared at the two letters for a long time, shaking his head. Finally, he started to laugh. He flipped open his keypad and linked it to his office comm link, punching in a local office code.

"Sergeant Makibi?"

"Yes, sir?" The voice over the comp link replied.

"Did you get hit on the head during your little adventure on Rylas yesterday? Are you out of your flipping mind?"

He could hear Kiyone sigh and then respond very matter-of-factly. "It's possible sir. But," she added, "honestly, I feel more clear-headed than I have in my whole life."

"As far as I'm concerned," he replied, "if you want to go back to that backwater sinkhole of a planet, that's fine by me. Regular patrols by the new station will be a good idea–information pirates will be happy to try to disrupt and steal the research going on there, and someone should be their to waylay them. Not to mention the regular traffic going through there should be watched. It won't be as an easy patrol as it was before, Kiyone. Unofficially, you also can check out the rumors whether the Princesses Ayeka and Sasami have run away there are true or not. But if anything interesting happens, I'd better receive an accurate and timely report on the situation."

"Yes, sir."

"I'll have to get the commander to okay the reassignment, but I don't see why he wouldn't approve it. I think he kind of likes you girls."

"Girls?"

"Women. Ahem." The captain paused. "If you're going back to Earth, you're taking that blonde bubblebrain with you. You're probably the only person on the force who can stand to work with her for more than a brief period of time. And to be quite honest, we created the position of 'Chief of Criminal Prevention' to keep her out of our hair. So it'll save us some resources as well; you'll be doing us a favor, Kiyone."

The line was silent for a moment, and then she said, "I understand sir. I'll await official instructions from you and the commander. Did you need anything else, Captain?"

"That's it. I'll talk to you in a few hours. And thank you for the report."

"Yes, sir." There was a click and the comm link was broken.

**********************************

In her office, Kiyone punched the comm code to the Office of Criminal Prevention.

"Hey Mihoshi. You there?"

"Yeah, Kiyone?"

"We're going back to Earth."

"YAAAAAAAAAAY!" Kiyone had to cover her ears to dampen the cry.

The part of the Kiyone's mind which was forever searching for new job opportunities and career boosters was screaming bloody murder, wondering where the sense her common sense had gone and why she would ever want to go back to that dingy little planet and with that fruitcake. Because for better or worse, it's where I belong.

*********************************

The commander of headquarters approved Kiyone's request for reassignment, although he expressed his disappointment that he would be losing such a valuable sergeant at headquarters.

"But," he had confided to her, "I know how you feel. Sometimes I think I wouldn't mind getting out in a patrol ship myself. I know you go-getting types. Go out there and have some fun and make the Galaxy Police proud, Kiyone."

Kiyone smiled. "Yes, sir."

On her way back to her office to finish cleaning it out, she ran into Mitsuki. Or rather, Mitsuki had been standing in front of the office door, apparently waiting for her.

"What did you do to deserve this?" Mitsuki asked, barely concealing a smirk on her face, indicating the box Kiyone had requisitioned to pack her office belongings in. "I heard they're sending you back to the Sol System," she said, making "Sol System" in her tone sound roughly equivalent to "landfill."

"Yup," Kiyone said, grinning at Mitsuki. She pointed to the doorway Mitsuki was blocking. "Can I get in so I can finish cleaning out my office?"

Brow furrowed, Mitsuki moved to let Kiyone by. After a moment, she followed her in. "Well, I guess I should thank you for doing whatever it was you did–I had heard you'd pissed off Captain Fumo pretty badly yesterday. But it looks like it's going to be me in that chair next week."

Kiyone nodded, appearing to concentrate on putting photos and papers and coffee mugs in her box. "Yes, Mitsuki, you should thank me. After all, I was the one who recommended you."

Mitsuki's eyes widened, confidence peeling off her face the way old paint comes off a wall. "What?"

Kiyone managed her best smile to the red-head. "Yes, Mitsuki, I've noticed since I've been your superior that your performance has improved immensely. I thought you might like a turn in the big chair. Me, I realized that I'm the type to prefer roughing it in deep space patrol. You know, they say once you get the stars in your blood, you can't get them out."

Mitsuki blinked. "You mean you chose this?"

Kiyone nodded. "Yup. In fact, since we requested reassignment, we're not really losing much standing. Our new ranks are field sergeant; that's about parallel on the tree to where we were before. Come to think of it, actually, I'm flattered that Captain Fumo and the Commander arranged our request for transfer so quickly. They're really respecting our desires, you know? It's not often the higher-ups pay attention to you like that."

Mitsuki shook her head. "But Kiyone, you had... you had everything! You're a sergeant and a decorated hero! If you wanted to go out in the field, you could have at least requested something interesting, like MidPoint Station on Alpha Moon, not that stupid system around that dim yellow star and with that even dimmer bubblehead!"

"Mitsuki, I'd prefer that star to the moon any day," Kiyone replied. She leaned in closer to Mitsuki, "And don't you dare ever call my partner names again. Too many people underestimate her around here." Mitsuki nodded, still confused. "By the way, that stack of paperwork's yours," Kiyone added, nodding to the pile of papers she left on the desk. "I did as much as I could, but couldn't get to that part. Nothing terribly time-consuming though, just requires signatures mostly." She looked down at her box. "Well, I'm done here. The office is all yours. Enjoy!" Kiyone gave Mitsuki one last smile and headed for the door.

"Erm. Kiyone," Mitsuki called to her as she reached the door.

"Yes?"

"Thanks... for the recommendation." Mitsuki was staring at the floor.

Kiyone shrugged. "What're friends for?" She managed to give Mitsuki her biggest smile, then turned and left, letting the door shut behind her before Mitsuki could make a response. Mitsuki had been a little too stunned to try anyway.

She met Mihoshi in the shuttle bay, where the blonde had finished loading her belongings aboard the Yagami II. "I'm so excited, Kiyone! I can't wait to see everyone. It will be so nice to be back with all our friends!"

Kiyone smiled at her partner. "Yes it will."

[Author's Notes: I know it's a bit on the corny side. What can I say? I'm a sentimental fool. I always wondered why Kiyone would give up her promotion to the central office at the end of the Tenchi TV series to go back to Earth, and yet she obviously does that. I know she cares about her friends, but I figure she's the kind of person that needs that fact bonked over her head from time to time. Some have felt I made Kiyone too irritable at the beginning, but I was trying to reflect the level of stress–and the fact that she wasn't finding her promotion satisfying–she was going through, and all on top of the fact that she really does miss being with the gang on Earth, and yes, even with Mihoshi. Despite how Mihoshi can seem to get on Kiyone's nerves, Mihoshi is still a true friend and a very good-hearted person, and frankly, I think Kiyone needs her. I could go on, but this is supposed be brief. The story was long enough! Please end your constructive comments and criticism to me and thanks for reading my first fanfic.]

I am honored to have received from Tenko Masaki of the Tenchi Muyo Fan Fiction Writer's League (now Tenkoymuyo.net the "Group Award" and the "Kiyone Award" for this fan fiction:

Group Award Kiyone Award

 


Death Quaker's Realm All original materials © 2003 R. Pickard. Tenchi Muyo! and all related concepts belong to AIC.
Last updated: 1/25/2003
Contact: mistress@deathquaker.org