Chapter 2: A Reward For the Travelers


Dear Diary,

It's been a year since we left the Earth and except for the location of the first Star Map, no more data was encoded in my body. Still, we're all enjoying the trip, even though we have no idea where we're going. But I'm hopeful we'll find what we're looking for. And with it, more power! And food!!! Anyway ... the only reason I'm writing now is because Zel locked me in my room after I tried to set fire to the bridge in a "temper tantrum" as he calls it. sigh Oh well ...

~ Lina


Taney sure has some gooood food! Lina thought, gesturing to several items she wished to purchase with Zel's credit card. The alien manning the stall wrapped up the items she chose with stubby yellow fingers and handed them to Lina, "These will be delicious."

"Mmmm, yeah. Thanks!" She then dropped the items into the cart she had hitched to Gourry. Lina grinned, with five carts of food, they couldn't go wrong!

Gourry whimpered, "Li~na, can't we go back to the ship now?" He was tired, he was pushing two carts, and had three more hitched to him. Why didn't Lina carry anything?!

"Almost ... oooo, look!! Venusian fries!!!!" Lina darted off on yet another shopping spree, leaving a whimpering, whining Gourry to trail in her wake.


A short cloaked figure in the shadows of a nearby alley watched the two shoppers, almost thoughtfully. The short red head was flashy, dressed in near skin-tight magenta and yellow clothes, a long cape with huge decorations on the shoulder, and wore a short sword. The tall blond was dressed in blue, with odd looking armor and a long sword. Interesting. The figure flicked it's cloak and followed the two as they went in quest of yet more food.


Gourry dragged himself and the carts after a bouncy, enthusiastic Lina. They had finally made it to the ship. Finally. An alien with a Swedish-like accent and long snout met them as they entered the docking bay. "You're the crew of the Starship Zelgadis, right?"

Lina nodded.

"Your ship's loading is complete, please sign," it said, consulting a clipboard.

Gourry perked up as an idea filtered through his rather slow brain. "Hey Lina, I'll take care of this if you take the stuff in."

Lina considered. It'll give me first crack at the food ... "Ok, Gourry, but just don't do anything too stupid," she said as she nabbed the carts and pulled them into the ship.

Gourry looked at the clipboard for a long moment, before signing an X on the dotted line. The alien nodded. "Thanks a lot. You have a request to carry additional transport on your ship. Please negotiate with the interested party yourself."

"Ummm .... Ok."

"Have a good flight." Gourry waved as the alien swished it's tail and walked off to other business.

A cloaked figure stepped up to the waving Gourry. "I've been told that you're the captain of this ship?"

Gourry scratched his head. "If you say so."

"There is something I need you to transport."

"Um ... ok. Come aboard."

The short cloaked figure followed Gourry into the ship.


"So, um, what was it that you wanted me to do?" Gourry asked, after serving some food to the figure. Mainly because he was hungry at the time and it was only polite to share food.

"I want you to transport something."

"What?" he asked, confused.


"You?" Now he was even more lost. The figure nodded.

"I want you to take me to the planet Isna."


"I know it's extremely dangerous, so I'll pay you quite well."

Now this Gourry understood. Zel and Lina were always doing jobs for money. "Ok. How much will you pay me?"

"You can do ... whatever you want to me!!!" the figure said, tossing aside her cloak. It was a girl, a naked girl. Short black hair, big blue eyes, and better built than Lina.

"Ahhhhhh!" Gourry shouted, shocked. He cringed, expecting to be smacked at any minute.

"Yah! Yah! Yah!" the girl lunged forward, grabbed the sword from Gourry's belt and pressed it to his neck. "In the name of Justice ... and I might let you keep your life!"


Lina finally finished her "little" snack and stashed the rest of the food away. Where is Gourry? She shrugged, he'd show up at dinner. She wandered onto the bridge and peeked inside of the "pit". Actually, it was just a rectangular, padded indentation in the wide counter-like rim near the eye ports. As usual, there was Zel, eyes closed and just lounging, wearing a ivory tank top and shorts. He was smiling. Must be some good mechanics at work today.


He smiled. Why did she always watch him when he rested? He didn't need to be physically connected to his body, but it was very relaxing to just lay there in the room and just feel the imperceptible spacial movements wash over his hull. Very relaxing to feel other stock him up and fix all the wounds and breaks in his skin.


Fighters streaked through the barrier around Port Taney and started firing on the huge white ship.


Lina almost fell as the ship rocked from sudden explosions. She heard a loud thud as she struggled to maintain her footing, followed by swearing. Zel pulled himself up, looking around, "What's with all the damn racket this morning?!"

Another explosion went off by the ports. "Quit fooling around!" he yelled, jerking his head to the side.


The ship broke free of it's docking bonds, turning, guns extending from the head and firing on the fighters. They exploded. Several more fighters streaked past and fired again before coming around for another pass.


Zel's head twisted the other way, "Two can play at that game!"


The ship turned again, tilting quickly to slam several fighters into the dock with it's head. Debris slowly drifted around the scorch marked hull.


The frantic voice of the radio man in mission control screeched through the bridge. "This is mission control, what's going on? What's your situation?

"The hell if I know, you're supposed to be telling me!" Zel shouted at them. Lina nodded sagely. Yup, Zel was most definitely pissed.

"C'mon, Zel, it's just a new paint job. Don't be so touchy." He glared at her and she smiled innocently. Him and mornings ... she wasn't even going to go there.

"Just a paint job? Just a paint job!?!" there was a rather dangerous quality to his now too calm voice. She continued with her innocent smile.

Before this particular spat could escalate further, however, the far door slid open with a hiss, revealing Gourry being held hostage by a girl. Gourry, of course, had a rather bemused, all purpose smile on his face, even as he held his hands up. There was a red banded, metal collar around his neck.

The girl was at least half his size, even shorter than Lina herself. Short black hair, big innocent blue eyes, and wearing a short, cream colored dress with pink trim over cream leggings. She held a gun and held a detonator in her hands, determination in her child-like face. "Freeze! I'm taking control of this ship. If you don't listen to and obey every word that I say, I'll explode the collar around your captain's neck!"

"Since when did you become captain, Gourry?" Zel asked dangerously, still in a bad mood.

Gourry looked around, puzzled. "Captain? Where?"

Lina dropped her head into her hands, muttering and sweatdropping, "Should have figured."

The girl's quizzical look over this exchange quickly faded, "I am Amelia from Binius. This ship will take off immediately."

The ship shifted, thrusters firing as Zel slowly moved from the dock and then shot through the barrier.

Amelia looked out the ports, startled. "How - ?"

"None of your business," Zel answered coolly, turning abruptly and walking off the bridge.


Lina sighed as she pushed her bangs back, before carefully slicing the fat from a chicken leg. Amelia was with Gourry in the dining room, both of them drooling mournfully over the food. She had finally managed to get Zel to cool down - with several promises to help fix the damage - and he sat on the other side of the table, intently peeling some onions. Thank goodness! I hate peeling onions! Since he wasn't technically human - the line between human and machine was beginning to blur in her mind - the fumes didn't bother him, which was why she always got him to do the teary eyed work. "I wonder if she's really a negotiator from Binius like she says."

"Why do you ask?" he said absently, eyes on his work.

"If she's an envoy, why were those Isnian ships attacking her?" Lina wondered, chopping up the chicken and dropping it into the bubbling pot that sat on the stove. Since Zel didn't usually eat but could cook the basics and Gourry didn't have a clue, Lina ended up as unofficial cook. The job wasn't too bad ...

"There's a lot of militants and political unrest on Isna. Supposedly the war started because Binuis attacked an Isnian ship. But a lot of people say that radical Isnian militarists pulled the strings."

She glanced over at him, smiling wryly, "You know an awful lot about this. Business?"

He snorted an opinion of that, "Hardly, but friendly skies are clear skies."

"Ah ... So why send an envoy there at all?"

"The chief military commander, Phillonel, is a pacifist. If Binuis shows good faith, I bet he wouldn’t want to go to war," he looked up, placing the last onion on a platter, "I'm finished."

Lina grinned and gestured at a side bowl, "Good. Would you put onions in that bowl, please?

Zel complied, dumping them into a bowl, "Want me to cut them for you?"

"If you would," Lina flashed him a grateful grin as she glanced at the screen that showed the dining room. Amelia was looking mournfully at the food, still pointing her weaponry at Gourry. She's younger than me and she still has a better figure! she thought in a flash of jealousy. At least Gourry's too stupid to care and Zel was too mad to notice the first time around! She sighed, looking down at her own chest, suddenly wishing she'd grow.

"What's wrong?" She started, looking over at Zel.


"What's wrong?" he repeated, looking slightly concerned.

"Um ... well ... " Lina hedged as she looked for an out ... and found one. She pointed at the screen, "That! Isn't it sickening!"

Amelia had finally solved her food dilemma, "Put the food in my mouth."

Gourry moved his attention from his own dinner, "Huh?"

"Please ... put the food in my mouth," the hijacker said, blushing brightly at having to ask for help.

Gourry's mother had taught him to be polite and nice to young ladies, so he smiled and picked up a fork, "Sure ..."

"See!" Lina gestured, looking over at Zel.



"Are you jealous?" he repeated, looking her in the eye.

Lina blushed seven shades of red, "Of course not! Why would I be jealous that she's seducing my friend!"

Zelgadis raised an eyebrow, an oddly intent look on his face, before replying drolly, "Of course."


Gourry sighed, mournfully gazing at the leftover food before hanging his head. He was tied up to his chair, out of reach of all that food ... and Amelia was asleep. Damn. A thunk and then a scraping sound drew his dim attention to the floor, where a panel suddenly lifted and slid across the floor, and a redhead popped out.


"Shh! Well, why don't you get out of here?"

"Here? Why?" Gourry looked around, then remembered he was tied up, "Oh .... "

Lina sighed, sweatdropping.

"You realize, Lina, that it would have been easier to go through the door." the petite redhead blushed scarlet as Zel stepped out of the shadows near the door, looking incredibly amused.

"Yeah .... anyway, we better move quickly," she said quickly, ignoring him.

Amelia shrieked suddenly, jumping up and holding an arm across her chest a she fired at Gourry, "Were you trying to cop a feely?!?! Huh?! How dare you touch me!! How dare you!!"

Gourry may have been stupid, but he wasn't suicidal, every one of his reflexes were in perfect working order as he tipped back in his chair, letting it crash to the floor, and getting him out of most of the fire. Lina ducked back into the floor.

The hijacker soon ran out bullets to fire. Dropping her gun arm to her side, she panted, looking at the wreck she'd made of the dining room. She whirled when a commanding voice rang out from the doorway.


Amelia stared as the cute, furry, little critter that was Zolf squirmed and poked it's head out of her dress's front. She squeaked. Zolf's nose twitched, then he scrambled out of the dress and bounded over to Zelgadis, climbing up to sit on his shoulder. Lina poked her head out of the floor and grinned, Zel had the blandest possible look on his face. It was rather amusing.

The girl's eyes got starry as she looked at him, little hearts dancing around her head. To think she had missed this person at take off! He is so cute ... "Wow ... Oh, thank you! That was truly just and noble of you to get that little pervert out of my dress! How can I ever thank you enough?!"

Zel shrugged, "You can stop firing weapons inside my ship."

"Of course!" she gushed, forgetting Lina and Gourry in favor of glomping Zel. Zel sweatdropped.

Lina glared as she climbed out of the floor and untied Gourry.


He gave his equivalent of a happy sigh. It was nothing more than a light shiver that slid through his hull, nothing more than a contented twitch. The Mapman was fixing that irritating break in the Quadrant 405 energy circuit. It felt very nice to be worked on by competent hands.


Lina tried to shrug the suit into the correct position as she carefully soldered the circuit, doing her best to spare Zel any pain or further problems with shoddy work. Sighing as she shifted again, trying to twitch the suit into a position where it wouldn't crush her chest. Lina glanced over at Amelia, motioning for the clips, wistfully wishing she was in her own spacesuit.

Amelia handed her the clips a little awkwardly, just as uncomfortable in the suit she had borrowed from Lina. Lina was glad of one fact, though, she had been able to use Zel's suit instead of Gourry's, which would have been really awkward. Zel had wider shoulders and was definitely taller than she was, but they were about the same width around the top. Thank goodness!

To distract her body from it's misshapen quarters, she decided to strike up a conversation with Amelia, "We should arrive at Isna with the next jump."

"I'm so relieved. When I arrive at the north pole of the Kenth star, my Isnian escort will arrive," Amelia replied sincerely, "I'll miss Zelgadis-san, though."


"Yeah, he's so ... so ... oh, he's just so perfect!"

"That's one way of putting it," Lina said dryly.

"Huh?" Amelia looked confused.

"Well, I mean, he's crabby in the morning, he's making us repair this stupid circuit, he's arrogant, overbearing, cold, too calm to be human, and thinks he's to clever by half!" she practically yelled, upset with herself for some reason.

"Yeah, I guess ... but he's crabby because you always mess with him and he wants us to repair it because he can't. He's a huge, gorgeous battleship with more power than most planets ... heck, I'd be arrogant too! And the rest, well, I mean, he's kinda been travelling alone for a long time, he's probably not too sure how to act around us." All this was said while she pried a panel back for Lina to get a better view of the circuit.

Lina stared at the hijacker, shocked into silence. She quickly shoved it aside as she dealt with the circuit, reconnecting it to the main body. A shiver ran down the hull as the panel was replaced by Amelia, almost like a sigh of pleasure. Lina hid her small smile by filling the silence, "You talk like an envoy, but you sure don't look like most diplomats I've seen. Are you sure you're a diplomatic ambassador?"

Amelia was unsurprised by the question, "No, I'm not. I'm actually the oldest daughter of Idek, the king of Binius."

"So you're a princess?" she asked, genuinely curious now as to the identity of their hijacker. Motioning for Amelia to follow her, Lina stood, magnetic boot soles keeping her attached to the ship as she walked toward a port.

"It was chief commander Phil's request that I be sent as peace envoy to guarantee the leaders of Isna that we would not engage in trickery or deception and prove our intention to negotiate with honor and good faith."

They were silent as they entered the port and sealed the airlock, waiting for the characteristic hiss of entering air to cease before removing they're suits. "Thanks for letting me borrow your suit, Lina."

"No problem," Lina said, grinning, "Hungry?"

Amelia smiled and nodded as they raced off to the kitchen.


"Thank you for taking care of me for so long," Amelia said, hopping off her perch on the bridge, "Especially you, Zelgadis-san, " she hugged him, much to his chagrin, "Thanks for letting me stay on you, maybe I'll visit later."

"Are you sure somebody will be there to get you?" he replied calmly, tugging at her arm to make her let go. Lina looked like she was going to gag.

"Yes, a ship sent by the chief commander will pick me up."

"Don't worry, I'm going as her escort, she'll be safer than on a battleship," Gourry stated, strapping on a sword he had borrowed from Zel

Lina raised an eyebrow, "It might be more dangerous with you on board."

"Farewell, Lina," Amelia let go of Zel regretfully so she could hug Lina like one friend to another, "You're a great cook." Lina smiled widely and hugged back.

"Take care, Amelia."


A finger of the galactic angel disengaged from the main body, spreading fins and firing thrusters as it shot off toward the planet.


"I don't like this."

"What do you mean?" Lina asked, looking over at Zel.

"The fact that Isna let us enter their territory without a reaction. Something's wrong." Now that he mentioned it, it did seem kinda weird ...


Gourry had let Amelia land since he wasn't too brilliant at it, so he was the first one out of the ship when the sleek, elongated, tear shaped figure of the craft touched down. The terrain was dark colored, rock, and completely barren. Thick clouds covered the planet, making a whitish blanket of fog cover everything.

"Lots of fog, huh? So where's the ship?"

Amelia gestured to the side, "Oh, it's over there," turning to face the bulky, green shuttle three times the size of the one they had taken, her voice rang out in the stillness, "The first daughter of Binuis, Amelia, has arrived."

A door slid open in the ship's side and a walkway extended for them. Amelia walked confidently into the ship, Gourry following.


Zel looked just a little on edge as he peered at a few of the view screens, "Looks like they've gotten into the ship with no problems ..."

"Why so concerned?" Lina asked, peering around him to look at the screens herself.

"Bad for business ... and Gourry took the Star Map."



The Isnian shuttle spread it's fins and lifted into the air. A huge shadow suddenly slid over the ground, like an elongated butterfly. The ship continued it's ascent right into the waiting port of a huge golden ship, right between the folded arms of the man the ship was molded like.


Gourry and Amelia cautiously exited the Isnian ship when it was swallowed up, deciding to face their kidnapper rather than remain inside the dubious safety of their escort. A man was waiting for them. In a vague way, Gourry was reminded of Zelgadis The way he's standing, he decided as he looked him over.

Shorter than Zel by about an inch, their captor was incredibly thin, his loose white pants tied with a red sash and tucked into dark blue boots. An odd, dark blue half-jacket with red trim covered the top half of his chest, leaving the stomach bare and revealing dark stripes. His cheeks also bore the same stripes, giving him a feline look. The slitted gold eyes reinforced the impression. A dark purple cape was thrown over the jacket and a black band held up half of his green hair. The man smirked, one hand on his hip as he regarded them, the right arm was resting at his side, a skin tight ivory bracelet covering his forearm.

Gourry blinked for a moment, then remembered his manners and smiled at the man, lifting a hand to shake the man's hand with. Their captor raised his arm and shot a dart into his shoulder. Amelia tried to grab Gourry before he fell, but another dart embedded itself in her arm.

"Night time," the man said, still smirking, as all went dark for the two.


"What the - ? This is showing a high powered energy reaction! That ship was completely swallowed up by something huge!" Zelgadis suddenly called up more screens as he turned to look out the ports, somehow not believing what his scans were telling him.

The golden ship that rose from the misty clouds of the planet like a butterfly confirmed his fears. Nearly as long and wide as Zelgadis, this ship's features were thinner, it's arms folded over it's chest - almost in satisfaction - the half smile on it's features confirming the impression. Angular, golden wings reminiscent of a butterfly's spread from the bare back and twin gold "antennae" made obtuse angles as they curved from above the shoulder blades and over the head. The legs were encased in a tail very much like Zel's, except it was thinner.

Lina's mouth dropped open, "What is that?"

"It's Valgarv! We've got to do something!" Zel yelped, automatically readying for a fight with his brother.

Lina would've replied with an acidic comment over the "we" except she was thrown to the floor when the ship jerked violently. Pushing herself up, she realized Zel had fallen beside her. Long red gashes marked the outside of his legs as he hissed in pain, carefully standing up and reaching down to give her a hand as well.


He was caught. A giant pincher bit into his tail, scoring grooves along his hull as he jerked to a stop. The pincher was attached to a huge green-gray tinted ship that vaguely resembled a man shaped blob, almost obscene in it's bad taste and tackiness of design. The Orihalcon Golem. Damn.


An image appeared on the screen as they stood. A woman cackled at them, curled green hair bouncing wildly from behind a spiked gold headband. Wide blue eyes gleamed with triumph as the woman stopped cackling, smiling widely at them, black gloved hands on her hips.

"That's ...," Lina searched for an appropriate description, "disgusting fashion sense."

The woman scowled at Lina and poofed her hair absently. Lina was dead on the mark in Zel's opinion. The woman wore a yellow and black bikini top decorated on green gems, black tights with the matching yellow bikini bottom over them, tall black boots, one longer than the other, and a long black cape. She wore shoulder pads over the cape, one was a horned skull of some animal, the other a odd shaped red thing. "I am a universal merchant, Martina. In 49 years, Zelgadis, you have disturbed my business 41 times and rebuffed my offer for a date 1,654 times. I don't forget such things."

"Neither do I, you can't take a hint," he replied dryly.

Martina burst into cackles again, grinning widely, "Have you ever heard of a sacrifice cannon?" at Lina and Zel's blank looks, she continued, "A sacrifice cannon collects potent negative energy; fear, envy, hatred, and despair from living creatures. It channels this energy into a weapon of annihilation."


A ball tipped cannon tipped extended from the Orihalcon Golem. A sickening amalgam of flesh and metal, the cannon was open circuitry liberally spotted with globs of whitish flesh, thick nerves linking the blobs to the globe point of the cannon. The flesh crackled with electricity as the cannon warmed up. Zelgadis had a bad feeling about this.

"This is only a group of inferior beings, but the power generated by their deaths will be more than enough to kill you. Your life will be ripped away from you, just as it was crushed from them!" Martina crowed, gesturing with an arm as her eyes gleamed with manic triumph.


Deep in the bowels of the Orihalcon Golem, a huge glass column was filled with aliens reminiscent of salamanders the size of dogs, scrabbling and clawing at the glass to escape. The lid of the column was studded with sharp spikes. It began to spin, seeming to blur into a wall of metal as the lid lowered into the creatures. They died screaming in a splash of blood, blended into a red soup.

A beam of pure energy shot from the bloated ship, slamming into the galactic angel.


Zel screamed as the ship was bathed in pure light, red gashes streaking down his legs as the ship was blown out of the grip of the pinchers and was engulfed in energy. For the first time Lina summoned a shield to protect them, but it was too weak and too late. The beam punched through the flimsy protection like it was nothing, blowing them away.


Lina felt the ship do it's best to scream in sync with Zelgadis as they fell, blown apart by the beam. She felt it slam into the ground with a bone jarring slam, followed by another crash as the lights flickered in the bridge and went out, throwing them into darkness. Not even the slightest hum of live circuits broke through the silent darkness.


Martina grinned as a huge golden explosion bulged out of the white smoothness of the planet's clouds. Glancing at the scans, Martina saw them register nothing except a straight line. "That'll teach him to rebuff me!" she crowed, flipping her cape as she turned to her waiting crew, "Zelgadis appears to be dead, universal merchant Martina has finally won! Let this year's record will show us firmly in the black!"

A cheer rang through her crew.


Down on the planet, smoke slowly cleared and drifted away from the huge crater in the previously unbroken land. An ivory ship lay in the crater, broken completely in half, the whole tail lying yards away from the scorched and blasted body.


The Orihalcon Golem cruised deep into Isnian airspace, hovering just out of range of the orbital defense station that hung like a spiked crystal over Isna. A com beam lanced between the Golem and the station.

"I shall be arriving there in 20 minutes."

"You're absolutely certain you've killed the Princess Amelia, right?"

Martina made a noncommittal sound that could have be translated either way. The Isnian, a being who looked like a cross between a bird and a man - an ugly man - decided to take it as a yes.

"Good. If the chief envoy doesn't show up, not even the chief commander can stop the war. Once Isna and Binuis are at war, Isna's power will be held by the hands of the military I control."

"Sure, sure, Randy, whatever," she flipped her cape haughtily, "I'll be expecting the 5 billion credits you promised me immediately."

Randy bristled, disgust showing through his pleasant facade, "Universal merchant!"

"Everyone despises my kind anyway, so I do what I do for money alone," she snapped, And cute guys. Yowza! Martina closed the link before Randy could complain anymore. She heard Val's footsteps as he came up behind her.

"Mazoku agent number 303! The test of the sacrifice cannon has succeeded, hasn't it? I need the part that was lent to you for the test. Return it to me immediately," his voice was as cool and controlled as Zel's. He stood loosely, radiating authority with his bored look, though he was shorter than her. And built, oh man! Martina drooled.

"I will take time to remove it from equipment," she said, finding any reason to keep Val within her sights, "it'll take a little while, you'll have it soon." As soon as I get you hitched to me!

"Really? I'm going to look at the Star Map in the destroyed area. Please remove the part from your equipment before I return," at her disappointed look he smirked, "and don't even think about doing something stupid. Am I clear?"

Martina sighed wistfully, "Yes."


The universal merchant sighed even more as Val turned and walked away. Damn, no catch.


The golden butterfly detached from the hull of the Golem and blasted into deep space. He had a Star Map to find in the blasted remains of his closest brother.


The markets in Isna's space station were bustling with buyers. A whole flock of them stood waiting for Martina's shipment of meat from a rather dubious source halfway around the galaxy. Hanging among the racks of meat, Amelia was depressed. "I couldn't stop the war."

That and she was hanging from a hook by her hands, that wasn't too fun either. Gourry turned his head to look at her, trying to be comforting, "Aw, Amelia, it's not that bad."

"Stop trying to cheer me up. I know what's going to happen to me. I'll be sold as a slave." Amelia looked at the ground, feeling despair swallow her up. She had failed, was captured, and Lina and Zelgadis-san wouldn't even know where they were and so couldn't rescue them. Surely Zelgadis-san had seen the golden ship and figured out what had happened! Unless ... unless something happened ...

Amelia was jolted from her train of thought by Martina's entrance and subsequent cackle, "No, sorry, not as a slave. But as food stock! Or, you will be sold as food stock at least. This hunk of a man, however ... "

"You'll never get away with this!" Amelia declared, right before both of them were hosed down by one of Martina's crew. Her words degenerated into choking for air after that.

"Of course I will, the beautiful victimize the ugly, it's the law of the land!"

Gourry looked at her blankly, "Huh?"

"I'm beautiful, you dope!"

"You are?"

"Yes! Are you blind?!?!"


Martina fumed, steam coming out of her ears, "Ooooooooooooooo ... you jerk! Now I'm gonna sell you as food stock too!" she gestured to one of her assistants, "Remove the wrapper!"

At her command, the assistant ripped off Gourry's shirt. The borrowed Star Map clattered to the floor, landing right at Martina's feet. She looked at it, startled, before picking it up. Martina gazed at Gourry suspiciously, "How did you get this?"

"Hey, that's mine!"

Martina's voice was low as she examined the it, "This is definitely a Star Map."

"How did you know that?" Amelia cried, still sputtering. Martina smirked and withdrew an object from her cape. It was also formed of green hexagons, but in a circular form with two half metal endpoints. The center was hollow. Obviously Gourry's Map would fit with Martina's, filling the hole and creating the side.

Gourry's eyes widened, "You have one?"

"The power to make the galaxy tremble is hidden within these maps," the merchant declared, reveling in her luck. She gave Gourry a contemptuous look, "You have nothing to do with this Map!"

"Give it back!"

"No! It's mine!"

"Hey!" Gourry was cut off as an assistant grabbed the collar Amelia had put on him.

The princess shouted, "No! If you break it, it'll explode!"

The assistant yanked it off. The little red light on it blinked, but otherwise nothing happened. Shrugging, he tossed it behind him and leered at Amelia, "I don't think the clothes on this girl are necessary either."

Just as he reached for the front of Amelia's dress, the collar turned red and exploded. A huge fireball engulfed the entire room, sending fried meat into the air to rain down upon the buyers on the other side of the wall. Smoke slowly drifted away as the air cleared, revealing a pile of broken stone, metal, and fried meat where there had once been a supply room.

Gourry pushed aside a chunk of ceiling and sat up, covered in dust and shirtless, but not too much the worse for wear. "Amelia?!"

"Over ... here ... ," her muffled voice coming from a pile of debris, "Under the meat."

Gourry went over and shoved the pile of rubble aside, lifting a big slab of meat to let a dusty Amelia crawl out, "Thanks, Gourry."

The blond looked around for the Maps. If he didn't bring it back, Zel and Lina would kill him. Why'd I bring it anyway? He couldn't remember and didn't try. Amelia suddenly pointed at two green things that glimmered, "Look!"

Sighing in relief, Gourry trotted over and nabbed the Maps. The Map that had come from Martina glowed suddenly, flaring with light as the room was engulfed once again. As the light cleared and they blinked spots out of their eyes, Amelia stared. In Gourry's hands was a glowing sword forged of pure light. He grinned at the sword, testing it's feel and balance. "Cool ... check this out, Amelia!"

"Wow ... "

Gourry nodded happily before sheathing it. As soon as he did so the light went out, covered by a fake blade. "Where's that person with the loud voice?"

"Over there." Amelia gestured to a swirly eyed Martina pinned under a slab of rock, "She should be fine."

"Come on Amelia!" he grabbed her hand and started running through the market, "Let's get out of here!

"Where are we going?" she panted, doing her best to keep up.

"I dunno!"

Amelia suddenly skidded to a halt, as she stared out of the window excitedly, "That's Isna!" She pointed at the blue and white ball that hovered below them. "This is an orbital defense fortress."


"The chief commander should be on the uppermost levels! Maybe I can still make it!"

Gourry's stomach growled as they raced on, following the signs that led them out of the market place and into a area filled with people, "What time is it?" he asked, wondering if it was lunch time, but Amelia took it otherwise.

"Ten this morning," she suddenly spied a clock, "it's 8:46! I can make it!"

Racing around a corner, they were almost shot by Marina's men. "Ahh! This way! Keep running!"

Gourry may not have been smart normally, but his survival instincts were honed to perfection after a year of living with a volatile Lina and a moody Zelgadis, so he knew exactly what to do. Catching Amelia's hand he raced down a side corridor, the air-bikers fast on his heels.


Martina snarled and yelled at the screen and her bikers, "Just use your weapons! Kill them no matter who gets in the way!" She moaned and clamped an icepack to her aching head as her cameras saw them escape her clutches once again.


They jumped into the traffic. Gourry grabbed Amelia and leaped into one of the passing trucks, pushing out the driver, "Sorry!"

He floored it as several more air-biker's swerved into the hall. The tunnel hall narrowed to a small, low, two way street as another truck came their way. One air-biker swerved close, firing into the truck's cabin, only to be hit by one coming traffic. The resulting explosion cleared the way for them as they headed into the shuttle bay.


"Help! I'm trapped and they're shooting and there's a big explosion! Down at the central station and I don't know what they are but they're ugly!" a hysterical voice gibbered into the com that went straight to Randy.

A voice rang out behind the Isnian, "Randy! What's going on down there?"

"Commander Phil! There was an explosion below us in the central station," he said quickly, bowing to his commanding officer.

"Explosion?" the tall, cream colored Isnian asked, tilting a beaked head.

"I believe it to be a terrorist attack from Binius," Randy replied, covering up.

Phil looked out over the screens, "Has the peace delegation arrived yet?"


"I swear I'll get you there, I promise," Gourry said, holding Amelia close, shielding her in the cramped confines of the shuttle.


Martina glared at the screen as her minion reported in, "I'm sorry, they got away, but I saw them escaping into a loading area."

She smiled and ordered lift off.


The Orihalcon Golem blasted from it's stationary orbit. Honing in on the shuttle that had just set off from the central station for the upper levels, gliding speedily through the tunnels of the Needle, the Golem slowed to a halt as Martina sent off her order, "Use whatever lives you can find, even if it's just a cockroach."

One of her minions dared to question her, "But the cannon's power is to strong for - "

"I don't care! I won't be held responsible for anything destroyed by it."

"Emergency contact from Lord Randy!"

"Martina, what the hell are you doing?"

"Shut up!" Martina ignored his subsequent demands as the loading chamber of the cannon was filled and subsequently turned into blood stew. "Perfect! Focus on the target ... "

The tiny focus targets slowly lined up on her prey, perfectly syncing ... now ... Martina stared in shock as a familiar vessel suddenly holed into existence between her and her target, "How did you get here?!"


Like an angel of mercy, the galactic angel spun into existence, glowing in the light of Isna's sun, a broken, shining herald of salvation.


Lina and Zel smiled in grim triumph as Martina stared and sputtered, "I have the ability to shut down my vital signs whenever I'm in danger!" Zel crowed, "Now it's our turn!"

Two voices lifted in perfect sync from the broken and battered ship, "DRAGON SLAVE!" "FULMINOUS CANNON FIRE!"


Martina's eyes widened as the double blast slammed into her ship, "Oh no."


Randy swore loudly as he saw the broken ship blow Martina's out of the proverbial water. He had to stop the envoy before they got here! "Send out the special forces!"


Gourry looked up when he felt something jar the shuttle. Disentangling himself from Amelia, he slid the door to the hall open and peeked out. And almost got it shot off by the Isnian soldiers climbing up through the shuttle corridor. "Gah!"

Jerking back he quickly looked around for some sort of defense. There! Shoving some cargo boxes toward the door, he pushed them out onto the Isnians, knocking them loose and sending them tumbling down the corridor. Grabbing Amelia's hand he jumped out into the corridor and then climbed up into the next car, sliding the doors between the two cars shut and tapping an instruction into the door's key pad. The car they had been in was disconnected from their shuttle and sent off down the Needle.

Amelia and Gourry grinned at each other as they continued riding up.


Randy grinned widely in the dock area for the top levels of the Needle. The moment the envoy stepped through that door she would be shot as a spy by the row upon row of Isnian soldiers he had gathered.

The com signaled the arrival of the shuttle as the display light flashed from red to green, signaling the coming opening of the doors. The soldiers lifted their weapons and trained them on the doors. The doors slid open. "You filthy, Binius spies! You are completely surrounded. Throw down your weapons and come out slowly."

A tall blonde man stepped out, a rather vacant look plastered on his face, "I have the peace envoy from Binius with me."

"Don't listen to him, he's lying to you," Randy shouted desperately as Amelia stepped out.

"That's enough!" Randy felt dread curl in his stomach as he looked up into Commander Phil's beaked face.

"Commander Phil - "

"Randy, I shall have some things to ask you later." Randy drooped, knowing he was in big trouble.

Amelia smiled up at the Isnian, "Commander Phil!"

"Amelia, I am glad you are here," he replied smiling back.

"Commander ... " Gourry just smiled as the two hugged and began to chat like an uncle and his favorite niece.


Marina sighed as her ship drifted far and away from Isna, "If I had fought any longer, my expenses would have gone over budget. Oh well ... there will be other times ... "


Lina smiled as she looked out into the ship maintenance yard. Zel's long, broken body was being fixed and painted, the tail being replaced better than her quick fix on the planet. This is the first time I've seen Zel take it easy ... I guess he can relax since he's in good hands ... and Isna offered to pay for all his repairs.

Still smiling, she turned and went to join the good-byes. The minute Amelia spotted her she released her stranglehold on Zel's waist and hugged the redhead instead, babbling happily over how she was so glad they were alive. Lina carefully detached the hyper princess and smiled wider, "Neh, we're fine. Besides, Zel's a tough nut to crack." Is he ever!

Amelia grinned back, relieved, "I was so worried!"

"So, you're returning to Binius tomorrow?"

"Yes, my mission is done here, Randy has been demoted and thrown in jail, and Zel's being repaired. Not too bad, huh?"

Zel smiled slightly, though he looked pretty worn out, "Not bad at all, Amelia."

The princess grinned and hugged him again. Right before she hugged Gourry, "Thanks for your help, Gourry."

Gourry smiled vacantly, "You're welcome."

After another round of good-byes and hugs, Amelia bounded out to get ready for her trip home. The trio waved and then turned to watch the sky over one of the many balconies. Zel smiled and lightly punched Gourry in the shoulder, "You did better than I expected."

Lina just shook her head fondly and blocked the two out as they went through a moment of male bonding. Zel's pleased voice broke through her reverie, "There's only one more Star Map."

Zel's companions grinned and high-fived each other, doing a victory dance. Lina turned and beamed at him, "That's awesome, I'm ready for whatever's out there!"

"Me too!" Gourry said, grinning, "And I'm hungry, too ... that merchant lady didn't feed us."

"Well, go eat, Gourry. I'll join you later."


As soon as Gourry walked off in search of dinner, Zel dropped his facade of normality and slumped, weariness and pain showing in his clouded eyes. Lina was at his side in a moment, carefully propping him up. Leaning heavily on her, Zel closed his eyes, breathing hard as he took a moment to re-center himself.

Lina watched him worriedly as he closed his eyes, face marked with the pain he had to be feeling from his injuries. Her quick fix on the planet had only kept him together, nothing more. It was the first time she had really used her powers, lifting the huge tail and floating it to the body, welding the hull together with a fire spell. Her efforts couldn't make the slow restoration systems speed up, though, and it showed now.

"Lina?" he asked softly.


"Thanks for your help back there."

"No problem, Zel. No problem at all." He smiled weakly at her before relaxing again, his cheek resting on her hair, eyes fluttering closed. Lina smiled as she noticed him drift off into lala land again, sliding an arm around his waist to prop him better, and carefully turning her head to watch the repairs on his ship.


Amelia smiled as she stared out of the port of the transport that was taking her home. Zel's still banged up but no longer critical ship dipped a wing and spun around the transport, almost like a goodbye as it then pealed off into the stars.


Chapter 3   |   Crossovers   |   Fanfiction