The door to the Coffin Club swung open as a tall woman entered. She towered over even most of the male patrons, and her powerful frame could be noticed even beneath the black motorcycle leathers she wore.
Spying a pair of softly glowing blue eyes in the distance, she strode in to the light, revealing long silver-blue hair that hung around her face and shoulders. Her face was an almost alien beauty with mixed features of the Northmen and the Easterners. Softly glowing blue eyes shone from her face as well, and if one looked deep enough into them, one could see the soft red light deep within each pupil.
The silver-tressed giantess strode past the other patrons who quickly stepped out of her way, to a table where sat a young girl in her early twenties. The girl had bright blue eyes and a soft face with rosebud lips and a nicely shaped aquilline nose. Her eyes also were exotically slanted as if to make her look like the product of breeding between a Northerner and and Easterner. Long, fiery-red and blonde hair spilled down her back in long streams like sparks from an arc welder, and a small hank of unruly hair covered one softly glowing blue eye.
The giantess sat down at the table and stared at the smaller woman menacingly.
"Welcome to The Coffin Club, Nova," she said as a small flash of her long white fangs shone from her half-smiled greeting, "I am Bethlehem."
Oderint dum metuant. - Atreus
Let them hate me, just so long as they fear me.
Nova looked at the powerful girl sitting in front of her. She felt stunned. She had known that the warrior androids were designed to be intimidating and even horrifying to some, but this was unexpected. The warrior was both beautiful and terrifying. Her features easily able to make a person feel aroused and yet the powerful muscular build and the fangs could kill the arousal almost instantly.
Beth smiled pleasingly and ordered drinks for them both as she looked at her opponent.
"Your flight was comfortable?", she asked in the manner of the perfect host.
Nova nodded, "It was."
Beth nodded, "Good. You can relax if you like. I'm not going to attack you here in such a public place. That would not do well to keep our little secrets."
Nova frowned, " I'd say you've done quite enough to ruin those. You will bring them down on us."
Beth looked innocent, " Moi? Oh please. All I've done is kill trash. Worthless, raping and thieving scum who needed killing."
Both girls stopped the conversation as two glasses of red-wine and a bottle were set before them. Beth waved the attendent away and poured them both a glass. Beth sipped at in and then set the glass down a little too hard.
"I seem to recall that you've been involved in a little murder yourself", Beth sneered.
Nova frowned and made no move to touch the drink, " I did those things under company programming and orders. But you're right. I'm not proud of it, but I have tried to stop."
Beth laughed, "Tried to stop? You sound like an alcoholic! What's the matter little killer? You just can't stop killing people? Is that why you want to be reborn? Want to forget all the death you've dealt, all the pain you've caused? You can't! It's done! All you can do now is give in when the urge takes you."
Nova felt stung by Beth's callousness and replied coldly, "I kill to protect what I love. When you've finished your drink, we will go and finish this. Killing you will help protect who I love."
Beth grinned and sipped her wine a little more, "You mean the cyborg woman? The company knows about her. They've sent one droid to recover the technology. There will be more."
Nova frowned then asked, "It's said your kind drinks blood. Why?"
Beth stopped sipping for a moment then smiled at Nova, "Because my regeneration system is slightly more advanced than yours."
Nova nodded, "Human blood contains iron, minerals, and proteins. Your regeneration system uses these as materials to fuel themselves and repair damages."
Beth nodded, "My system is nanite based in that regard. An improvement over yours, but even the magic of nanites cannot make something from nothing. There must be materials in at least raw form for them to use. I am capable of consuming whatever substances I require in order to facilitate repairs. Most often these substances are contained within the bloodstream. That is why I drink blood."
Nova grimaced, "You'd eat their flesh and bones too if it required it."
Beth smiled, "Of course. I am programmed for survival, just as you are. I will do what I must to live."
Nova said nothing as she watched her nemesis sip at her wine. Tense moments of glances and stares between both girls went on as Beth drained her glass but as she was about to stand Nova suddenly poured her another.
Now it was Beth's turn to be worried. Why was the assassin so calm and cool about this? Didn't her body feel the building tension of the fight?
Beth sat and looked puzzled at Nova as she took a sip.
"Are you always like this Beth?", asked Nova gently.
"Always like what?", asked Beth setting the glass down and looking mystified at Nova.
"Always so tense and preadatory. Always so aggressive and vicious.", answered Nova looking the larger gynoid in the eyes.
Beth blinked and for a moment the beast left her, "No...just at times...I can't really explain it."
Nova felt a twinge as she realized that this girl was basically innocent, but with a darkside that made her what she was, "If I could help you...show you how to control it. Would we still have to fight?"
Beth shook her head, "No...", but then the beast leaped back into the forefront and she was again pushed back.
Beth's face became a fanged visage of hate as she replied, " We ARE going to fight, you can do nothing to avoid that, and when I'm finished with you I'll just TAKE any secrets you have."
Beth crushed the glass and opened her hand to let the pieces fall to the table. Synthetic blood and wine ran down her arm and dripped on to the table. The waitress shrieked as Beth stood up suddenly and thrust an Andrew Jackson into her cleavage, and strode out the door with Nova following.
Beth and Nova arrived at railyard. Deserted when the sunlight fled and the long shadows and darkness crept across everything.
The two gynoid girls stood a few feet apart from each other and assumed fighting stances.
Beth stood in a half-bent crouch with her hands extended and palms flat as if to gauge space and distancing between herself and Nova.
Nova took a shifting stance, hopping lightly from her front foot to her back and keeping her hands moving back and forth.
The two stood and circled each other, waiting for an opening. Nearly ten minutes transpired as the two felt each other out.
Suddenly Beth lunged forward shooting low and towards Nova's hips. Nova backpedaled a little and brought her knee smashing upward into Beth's face while her fists struck and pummeled her shoulders and back.
Undaunted, Beth locked her arms around Nova and bore her to the ground bringing her entire weight upon the smaller girl's waist and pinning her to the hard dirt.
Nova brought her legs up and encircled Beth's waist and gripped it tightly to keep Beth from advancing up her body for a more devastating hold.
Beth's fists crashed against Nova's face and chest, attempting to pound the redhead into submission while Nova's smaller arms tied up the larger girl's arms and hands.
In a sudden movement Nova pinned Beth's fist against her side and locked in an armbar. Beth felt her servos stress and as her body struggled a few wires maintaining her elbow snapped out from beneath the skin and sparked.
Beth stood up suddenly, lifting Nova along with her in a feat of inhuman strength, and using her free hand grabbed Nova's hair and leaped straight down bringing her full weight and strength down upon Nova's head.
Nova's optics winked out as the blow took them offline for a moment. She felt her face compress slightly and her audio units had a distortion to them.
Beth wasted no time in lifting her opponent's limp body over her head and then dashing it to the ground like a sack of concrete.
Nova's shoulder socket compressed and broke beneath the strain. As she struggled to stand her arm hung limply from her shoulder with a huge tear in the synthe-skin revealing her mangled shoulder skelton and servo-assembly.
Beth 's eyes turned an almost bright shade of red as she lept upon Nova and sank her fangs deep into Nova's collar.
Nova grit her teeth against the pain data that was scrolling through her now restored vision and brought her good arm up and smashed it down on Beth's head, knocking her loose.
Beth stumbled back as one of her optic shields fell out revealing a dark hole with the glowing eye behind it. Both girls now circled each other again. Sparks falling from wounds and eyes steeled and locked.
Nova slid in quickly with a stepping-side-kick that powered into Beth's midsection, then quickly her other foot spun up and over smashing the side of Beth's head.
Beth stumbled for a moment and Nova lept into take advantage. She grabbed Beth's leg and pulled back suddenly dropping Beth flat on her back and then proceeded to pummel Beth about the face and chest with her good arm. Beth blocked and covered herself as best as she could while she tried to regain her video and audio.
Nova began to feel frustration as she pounded and attacked the larger gynoid to seemingly no effect. Blows that had injured or killed even Andromeda seemed to inflict little harm to Beth whose body was more significantly strengthened to resist punishment.
Beth's senses came back online and she smashed Nova's face with a blow that brought her back up to her feet and sent Nova sprawling. She stood for a few seconds assessing her injuries. then looked at her foe.
Nova crawled painfully to her knees. Her beautiful face was shorn on one side where her hair covered it. Sparks and fluids ran from the ruined eyesocket and torn cheek. Nova began to get a sinking feeling in her stomach as the larger gynoid advanced on her.
Nova regained her feet and assumed a stance. She no longer shifted and moved but instead stood still and waiting. She knew she could not win. Beth was too strong, too well armored, and dangerous. Nova determined that in her final moments she would do her best and hurt Beth like she'd never felt before.
Beth's overdrive processor seemed to gain strength from Nova's anguish. It felt Nova's weakness and prepared to exploit it. Beth seized Nova's ruined shoulder and wrenched down on it, causing Nova to sink to her knees in agony. A few more painful twists and the arm was torn free from Nova's shoulder. A deep hole with ruined servo-motors and wiring as well as the synthetic blood and fluids poured out of Nova's mangled shoulder.
Beth raised Nova's arm and looked at it then tossed it away callously. "An arm for an eye, are you ready to die?", she said in a singsong taunt.
Nova drove her fist as deeply as she could into Beth's stomach and managed to tear into the flexible armor that shielded Beth's delicate internals, but she paid the price as her hand was shattered and the servos within snapped and died.
Beth's hand shot down to Nova's mangled fist and tore it out of her body. Beth howled as Nova's hand came out with a clump of circuitry and tubing. Nova grinned mirthlessly. "I see you lack the intestinal fortitude to finish the job properly!", she taunted back.
Beth raged and kicked Nova in the chest sending her sparking and spinning backward. Nova lay on her back with a fresh hole in her chest and her speech-synthesizer crackling and distorting. She crawled back up to her knees and then stood shakily. Nova locked her knee-joints and swayed as though the breeze might tip her over, detemined to die on her feet.
Beth pushed her insides back in and glowered at Nova's defiance. She walked towards her, ready to strike the killing blow when a figure appeared in front of her. Beth stopped momentarily as she absorbed the data from the newcomer.
The girl was smaller than either of the two combatants and had short, tousled hair and glowing blue eyes. Her body was slender and almost girlish, but the look of hate in her eyes was unmistakable.
"Leave her alone you crazy bitch!", snarled Robyn as she assumed a defensive stance, "Can't you see you've hurt her enough?"
Beth stopped for a moment as the beast pondered how to handle this new threat.
Tears spilled from Robyn's eyes, "Why do you have to kill the only person who wants to help you?"
Beth regained control and looked at the defiant gynoids. One was torn and mangled to the point where her survival was still in question, yet there she stood ready for the final clash. The other was smaller still and weaker, but defiantly protecting her friend.
Beth looked at herself, a hole in her stomach, torn arms and elbows. A ruined eye. For what? Beth reminded herself of the beast, but the beast had gone away hadn't it? It had left when she was with Eric, and when Nova had presented no threat. It certainly wasn't here for the girl defending her friend.
Beth reasoned that perhaps the beast could be kept at bay forever if she avoided such harrowing situations. Perhaps that was how Nova kept her beast in check, after all...she had a beast too didn't she? How else could she be standing amidst the awful wounds inflicted on her.
All of these thoughts took only micro-seconds for the warrior gynoid, and then she slowly turned and walked away from the railyard and the two defiant gynoids. Back to Eric, the man who freed her from the beast.
Robyn helped Nova lie down and tried to make her comfortable. "Wait here Nova, I'll get a vehicle and we'll get you out of here", she said as she cradled Nova's head.
Nova's only reply was a smile, she could not speak.
Robyn kissed her friend then hurried away to find a conveyance that she and her friend could escape in.
Several minutes passed as Nova lay still staring at the stars overhead and the watching moon. Suddenly she thought she heard voices and the approach of others. It was so hard to tell with her audio systems damaged.
People appeared in her line of vision, they wore lab coats and some wore body armor. Horror crossed her face as she saw the symbol of Daikoku on their uniforms. She tried to struggle to get away but one of the men opened her abdomen and shut down her power supply.
Nova's face was blank as the men carried her to the waiting van and secured her to a table within. Some of the men policed the area and picked up parts that had fallen from both gynoids as they fought.
One man looked at Nova's ruined body and smiled, "You can't run forever", he said in Japanese. Genshin Takuma rubbed his calloused hands together as he watched the van leave carrying his prize.
Genshin sat at his office desk and smiled as he filled out the reports for the operation in America. Tracking the girl to Dallas had been a task, but their mission was not over there. Though he and his men had captured a gynoid of Daikoku design, it was not the one they were after.
Takuma smiled as he thought to himself that he knew the other would appear sooner or later. Looking for it's friend, and when that happened...
The door to Genshin's office opened and in stepped his new attendant. She bore a tray of Uchi tea and a few sakura-mochi cakes on a dish, and set them down on his desk.
Takuma nodded and let her pour the tea for him and beckoned her to sit in his chair with him. She complied and smiled at him, it was Nova.
Takuma kissed her on the mouth and she lovingly wrapped her silk-covered arms around him as he loosed her kimono.
Men servasse ut essent qui me perderent? -Armorum iudicium
Did I save them that they might destroy me?
Author's Note: Here ends the tale of Bethlehem, the warrior gynoid. Here also ends the tale of Nova, the assassin gynoid.
Or does it? You decide...