Sonya's throat burned with rawness and her lungs were swollen in her chest,
but she continued to chase after her assailant. He ran in between
buildings and even cut through a woman's house, but Sonya's persistence
never let him go. Even when she knocked over the coffee table and kicked
the pretty white cat named Anya as she ran through the kitchen. She barely
had time to apologize before she was dodging cars in the middle of a busy
"Goddamn it, will you fucking stop already?!" Another sharp turn to
the left, and soon she ran to a dead end. Her attacker was nowhere to be
"Fuck!" She yelled as she kicked at trashcans nearby. "God fucking
damn it!" Sonya steamed and stalked out of the alleyway, when something
caught her attention. A part of the wall seemed at a wrong angle. Almost
sticking itself out of the wall, it appeared. On closer inspection, she
realized it was a door of some kind. She pushed against it, and it moved
roughly across a dirt surface. Bewildered, but thrilled at the lead, Sonya
pushed harder against the door. Pulling out her flashlight, she found
ahead of her a long, dark corridor. There was a glimmer of light at the
end, and Sonya could barely hear the sounds of heavy breathing and faint
"Gotcha." She moved down the passageway silently to find herself at
another door a few moments later. Voices spoke quietly on the other side.
"I know I lost her, there's no way she could have found this place."
"You better be sure, Inko, or I'll have your head." Sonya frowned.
The voice sounded familiar, but she couldn't be sure. It was too muddled
through the thick wall. "Did you find anything useful?"
"Not really, but this Maeve Freso is most certainly not a local
actress come out of the blue. Her moves are familiar to me; I've seen them
before. in the Marines, I think. Or at least some military branch."
"You think she's working undercover?"
"Definitely, so it'd be wise to watch your back. Now that I've done
your work, how about doing mine. I want my money. Now." He suddenly
grunted, and his voice began to squeak ever so slightly.
"You are in no position to order me around, you piece of shit punk."
There was the sound of feet hitting the floor and a low coughing. "But I
should give credit where credit is due. Oh, before that, have I introduced
you to my brother?"
"Hey, what's he doi-" An echoing gunshot cut him off.
"That information was useless, we already knew that."
"I know, that's why I had you terminate his services. Now, I suggest we
get back to the yacht; your daughter will be getting worried." A few
chuckles faded away, and Sonya pushed the door. It opened swiftly and
silently, and she looked at the body on the floor, pooled in blood.
'Stupid bastard.' Sonya watched two shadows fading down the hall, and she
moved to follow them. They led her to a parking lot outside of an old
abandoned factory. When they weren't looking, Sonya moved behind a pickup
truck that was nearby, and rolled under. The two mystery characters were
discussing something, but she couldn't be sure. Then they were walking
toward her, opened the car doors, and got inside. 'Shit!' Quickly
reaching up to two small bars that would provide close enough support to
handholds, Sonya lifted herself off the ground, and drove her heels into
the muffler to keep herself off the ground. In a moment, they pulled away.
Sonya lost track of time as they drove, concentrating only on keeping
herself under the car. Soon, her muscles began to ache, and she broke out
in a sweat. Then they stopped. Sonya held her breath as the engine died,
and the doors opened. She watched two pairs of footsteps walk away a few
feet and stop. Softly, she lowered herself to the pavement and rolled out
to the opposite side of where the men were standing. Quickly observing her
location, she found herself to be at the Marina. 'Of course, dumbass,
where else would they have a yacht?' In the moonlight, Sonya could only
detect dancing shadows moving across the men's features, but she made sure
to stay behind them at a short, safe distance. Their next stop, by foot,
was at yacht 57, where a huge white boat with the words 'Dragon Cruiser'
written in block letters was in port. It looked really familiar to her.
When they went onto the deck, she followed, stopped under the windows of
the kitchen cabin, and listened.
"Chi-chi! Ojisan!" a little girl shouted happily.
"Tenchi! Have you been good today?" A deep voice laced with age asked.
"Practice your English, Kaoru-chan." Sonya's heart leapt to her throat.
Oh my God!
"Yes, I was good all day."
"Wonderful. Now, I have a surprise for you!" This voice was younger, and
held a Japanese accent.
"Oh, what, chi-chi?"
"Remember when I told you about that very special vault that has a big
present for you?" Vault? Her dowry.
"Well, we're going to go and open that vault tonight, so in a couple of
hours you'll get to have a very big, and very early, birthday present."
"YEAH!" Oh, no you don't.
"Ok. I need you to go and get changed into your best outfit, and then
we'll go to McDonalds for dinner, and then you can open up your present.
Now, go change, quick quick!"
"Yeah!" The little girl's cheerful voice faded, and only the two men
"All right," the older voice spoke again. "Go contact the others. Tell
them to meet us there in 45 minutes. And make sure they have everything."
"No shit. You gonna set up the truck?"
"Yeah. 60 minutes from now, we'll be rich. 120 minutes later, that
brat'll be dead. And 24 hours from now, we'll be the most powerful
bastards alive." The two laughed heartily before splitting up. Sonya
watched one, apparently the older guy, walk out and leave the ship. Sonya
peeked inside to see the other's back to her. He was on the phone. Now,
she thought to herself. Quietly opening the door, she slipped inside,
raised her semi-automatic above her head, and quickly smashed it into his
skull as he hung up. He grunted, fell, and lay still. Not knowing how
much time she had left, she ran through the narrow hallway and heard a
little girl singing to herself. She pushed the door open and found a small
blonde girl in a small kimono, her smiling face all pink and pretty in the
mirror. When she saw Sonya, she turned and screamed. Thinking quickly,
Sonya ran to her and covered her mouth while she tried to use soothing
words. In a moment, the girl became silent, and smiled.
"Hey, you saved my puppy!" Sonya smiled.
"That's right, and now I'm here to save you. You are in danger, and I'm
going to protect you." The little girl cocked her head in confusion.
"Tenshi, get away from her!" Sonya looked into the mirror and saw the
gentleman she knocked down. and stared in shock. Sanosuke? Sonya turned
and looked directly into the Japanese man's eyes. It was Sanosuke, the man
who was murdered by the Devil's Destiny gang.
"Chi-chi!" She ran to him, and clung to his side. "Chi-chi, she's here to
protect me. She saved my puppy, so I know she's a good person."
"No, Tenshi, she is a murderer and a robber, and she is after your money."
Sonya knew this wasn't Sanosuke. He didn't know her. as far as she knew.
The blonde officer stood and trained her gun on the imposter.
"Let her go. I'm a lieutenant for the Special Forces, and you are under
arrest for the kidnapping of Kaoru Sanosuke." The girl gasped and stared
at Sonya with eyes wide and full of fear.
"Chi-chi," she whispered as she pulled at his clothes.
"I am ordering you to hand over the child and come along quietly. You will
be given a fair trial-" Sonya was cut off as he lunged at her, a concealed
knife thrashing at her face. She dodged, but was kicked across the
cheekbone. Throwing her weight to the side, she pivoted on her right foot
and smashed her knee into his stomach. He grunted but came back at her
with a back fist before twisting to brandish the knife over her heart. She
was able to block his punch, but she was unprepared for the knife and it
sliced into her side. Crying out, she jumped back and threw a snap kick
into his chin. He stumbled and crashed into Kaoru's dresser while his head
knocked against the mirror, causing it to shatter.
"Chi-chi!" Kaoru continued to scream and Sonya stepped away holding her
side. Slowly, the man rose to his feet, and when he faced them, Kaoru
gasped and backed into the wall. In a moment, she went into hysterics, her
high-pitched screams echoing around the yacht; before them stood a man with
his face peeling off. Part of the skin was removed around the eye and
cheek where the glass had cut into him. Sonya could detect a hint of
recognition while she stared at him, but gave no more thought as he pulled
out a gun. She rushed him and they toppled onto the floor. Both her gun
and his were knocked away as they wrestled, but Sonya was able to squirm
out of his grasp and sit on his chest. Repeatedly, she let blow after blow
strike him across the face. Soon, he was bleeding everywhere, and her
knuckles were dripping as she pulled away. He lay still, and she checked
for breathing. He was still alive.
"Kaoru," Sonya turned to address the child. She was gone. "Shit!"
Leaving the man in a bloody heap on the floor, she raced out and headed for
the deck. Nowhere could she find Kaoru, until she heard a faint scream in
the distance. There she spotted two figures, one struggling in the arms of
another, and realized Kaoru was taken while Sonya was in battle.
"Kaoru!" Sonya screamed as she quickly proceeded down the ladder. She ran
to where the truck was parked to see it begin to pull away. Putting on an
extra burst of speed, she took a diving roll into the back of the truck.
After regaining her senses, she kicked at the window, and it cracked.
Inside the cabin, the 'grandfather' was struggling to keep his hands on the
wheel while Kaoru kicked and scratched at him. He made a sharp turn to the
left, and Sonya nearly stumbled off the back of the truck. She stood
again, grabbed the wall of the truck, and put one leg over the side of the
truck so it hovered in the air. Then, bending forward a bit, she kicked
her heel to the driver's side window. Twice more she kicked, and she felt
it give way. The driver yelped as glass flew into his face and lap, and he
screamed again as Kaoru grabbed his hand and bit down viciously. He was
unable to keep an eye on the road, and Sonya watched as the car sped toward
Bringing herself back to a standing position, she kicked at the back cabin
window until it, too, broke apart. She hit the old man in the head a few
times with her boot until he seemed to lose consciousness. Reaching into
the cabin, she quickly pulled Kaoru out as they picked up speed.
"Hold onto me and don't let go!" Before Kaoru could even nod, Sonya jumped
off the truck and landed on her right shoulder, rolling for uncountable
minutes as the momentum of her body slowed to a stop. Dizzy but relatively
unharmed, Sonya looked over Kaoru's trembling body to see the car crash
into a brick wall of an Italian restaurant. Kaoru screamed as the
crunching metal and shattering glass filled their ears, and in a moment,
the engine exploded and the car went up in a ball of flame. Sonya rolled
over onto Kaoru to cover her from falling debris, and for a few moments
they just lay there panting. When Sonya moved to check on the girl, she
found her crying silently.
"Hey, hey Kaoru. It's ok. It's all right. You're ok now." She shook her
head and put her hands over her face.
"He hurt me," she sobbed. "Ojisan hurt me. He hit me-" Sonya listened
quietly and looked carefully at the bruise forming on her forehead. "-
wanted me to stay quiet, wouldn't let me go." Sonya let her cry as she
stood up and looked at the flaming wreckage. Well, whoever you were,
you're dead now. Quietly, Sonya reached into the small military pack on
her left leg and pulled out a cell phone. It was still in tact, luckily.
She dialed, but no one answered.
"Come on, come on, pick up the phone Jaxx!" Another 5 rings, and Sonya
pressed end in aggravation. Next, she dialed another number. 2 rings.
Sonya held her breath.
"Oh thank God you're there. Can you pick me up?"
"Sonya? Where are you? Are you all right?"
"I'm fine Johnny. I'm down near the Marina. I found Kaoru. She's hurt,
but I want to explain the situation to her before I get her to a hospital.
Can you pick us up?"
Sonya sat in the backseat, cradling the child as she slept. The police had
arrived at the scene a few moments after Johnny picked them up. The two
had agreed that it would be best to keep Kaoru away from public places for
now, so Johnny drove them off to another beachfront property he had in his
father's name, which was secluded.
"She going to be all right?" Sonya nodded.
"Yeah, I hope. I don't know how I'm going to break it to her." She
stroked the girl's bangs from her eyes. "She doesn't even know us."
"You're strong, Sonya, you'll figure something out. You'll make it through
this, just like everything else." Sonya cleared her throat and looked out
"Yeah, whatever. Hey, what's going on with Nise? She's not mad that you
suddenly left her in the middle of the night?" Johnny shifted in his seat.
"Uh, she's not home. Went over to friend's house for a girl's night out.
Don't know when she'll be home." Sonya chuckled slightly.
"Odd, she seems to be away from the house a lot. She work?"
"So you're supporting her? How much money has she stolen from you?" Sonya
smiled as she teased him.
"Stop." Johnny sounded annoyed when he spoke.
"Look, just- I don't want to talk about it anymore. Nise's not here, and I
prefer we keep it that way. All right?" Sonya swallowed.
When they arrived at the large and isolated beach house, Sonya took
Kaoru in her arms as Johnny led her to a guest bedroom where they let her
rest. Suddenly, he seized her wrist and began dragging her through the
living room down another hallway, stubbornly ignoring her questions and
complaints. He turned at the end of the hall, and Sonya admired the large
white bathroom as he led her over to the sink.
"You look like shit, Sonya. What did you do to yourself this time?" Johnny
joked as he dampened a washcloth and pressed it to the oozing wound across
"Ow. I was threatened in a gym, got in a fight in an alley, got in another
fight on a yacht, jumped on a speeding vehicle, jumped off a speeding
vehicle, etc. You know, the usual stuff. Ow!"
"Is that all?" he questioned sarcastically. "Geez, and I thought this was
gonna be a tough assignment." He checked over the rest of her, determining
the extent of her injuries, before returning his attention to the wound on
her head. "If the gash was any bigger, you'd need stitches," he mummered
when he pulled the cloth away. Moving slightly, he reached into the closet
and pulled out a box of butterfly bandages. Sonya gaped.
"Christ, Cage. What did you do, rob a hospital?" The entire closet was
stacked from wall to wall with medical supplies. He chuckled.
"My father trained me here, when I was little. We'd spar for hours
everyday, out on the beach, and always one of us, if not both, would come
home in need of bandages and Neosporin. So Carla always kept the closet
staked up, just in case."
"Who's Carla?" Johnny paused for a minute, a dark shadow gracing his eyes
before he continued tending her wounds.
"My sister." He said nothing more, and Sonya could detect remorse in his
"I'm sorry." The actor gave her an odd look then shook his head.
"Don't be. She was a wonderful lady, almost as perfect as my mother." He
roughly ripped a bandage to apply to the cement burn on her shoulder.
"Then they died. Everyone just fucking died." Sonya remained silent. She
understood his feelings, though at a lesser extent. He finished wrapping
the wound and tied it firmly.
"How's that bump from today's, uh, accident?" Sonya shrugged.
"Better than the rest of me." He smiled, and patted her good shoulder.
"Glad to hear that." She sighed and spoke again, softly.
"Thank you." They sat in an odd silence for a moment, both trying to look
calm and relaxed, but failing miserably.
"Um, you're welcome to stay here for tonight, or as long as you need.
There's a room down this hall and on the left that you can use. I really
should be getting back, in case Nise calls. She'll be worried if I'm not
home. Or she'll assume things." He turned on his heel and walked out into
the kitchen for his keys. "There should be some non-perishable items in
the cabinets. I'll try and bring some stuff by tomorrow af- oh."
"What?" she asked, casually leaning against the wall.
"You, uh, want to call out sick tomorrow?"
"Oh, work. Uh, yeah, that'd be best." Johnny nodded.
"All right. Call if you need anything." With that, he walked out.
"Where have you been?" Johnny jumped at the voice from the dark living
room. He walked into the room and reached for a light. Sitting in her
pajamas with her legs curled under her and a stuffed dog in her lap, Nise
stared at him with curious and angry eyes.
"My God, Nise, how long have you been up? It's three in the morning!" She
flicked her thick black braid behind her in an act of annoyance.
"You didn't answer me." Johnny was baffled. He didn't expect her to be
home, and now he didn't know what to say. "Johnny."
"I had trouble sleeping, so I went out for a drive," he lied lamely.
Nise's eyebrow arched into an unamused curve.
"A two hour drive?" Johnny's eyes flew to the clock on the wall, and he
realized she was right. He had been gone for two hours. He wondered how
that came to be. Nise suddenly stood and brushed past him. "Well, I hope
she enjoyed it as much as you did."
"Probably not as much as your weekly rendevous." Nise hissed as she turned
on him from the stairs, the anger in her eyes matching the annoyance in his
"How dare you imply such a thing! I would nev-"
"Really? So where do you always disappear off to after dark, without your
cell phone on, and never coming home till three in the morning?"
Surprisingly, a soft smile curved her lips.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" she whispered gently.
"Yes, I would." Her lithe body sank to the carpeted steps, her elbows fell
on her knees and her chin rested in her hands as she looked carefully at
"It's a surprise I've been planning for you, Johnny. A wonderful surprise
to show how much you mean to me. So naturally, I can't tell you what it
is, now can I?" Johnny swallowed as he listened to her. "But there's
something I need you to do for me, lover."
"Get rid of this Sonya bitch." Johnny's head fell back as he rolled his
eyes and through his hands in the air.
"It's not that simple, Nise."
"Of course it is!" she snapped. "The only reason she came crawling back
here is to get you, right?"
"She's always around you, and you don't seem to mind it, Johnny. You
never have a complaint in the world!" Nise stopped as he voice cracked for
a moment. "And I'm scared your going to be more concerned with her, when I
need you." Johnny watched her carefully, unsure of how to respond. He
always hated it when women cried. but something was different. His heart
felt empty, his feelings of love he may have once had now completely
abolished. And Nise saw it in his eyes. She rose to her feet and turned,
swiftly running up the stairs to get away from him.
"Nise." he called after her.
"Fuck you!" He sat patiently at the base of the stairs, trying to figure
out what went wrong, and when. Nise's feet padded softly down, and she
cruised past him without stopping. A small bag was at her side and her
keys dangled from her free hand.
"I'm sorry," Johnny said as she opened the door. She paused, waiting for
him to say something more. But he remained silent. The door slammed after
Sweat rolled from his forehead down his back and into the waistband of his
sweats as he continued to kick at the punching bag. In the background,
Limp Bizkit's "MI:2" theme song blared on the stereo. When Cage finished
his set of Combination kicks, he moved over to the mat on the floor and
began various pushups, the whole time keeping himself in motion. He
collapsed after 300. For a moment, he just lay there in the floor,
breathing heavily. 'Well, this is not one of my better days.' He felt bad
about Nise, but then again, he was glad she left. 'Maybe things will work
out now.' He rose to his knees and stretched, reached for the remote to
silence the stereo, and he set himself down in the Lotus position to clear
his mind for a while.
After twenty minutes of attempted meditation, Johnny gave up. He had too
much on his mind. His fingers ran through his hair as he sighed, and he
looked up into the mirrors lining the wall to see his haggard appearance.
and a little red dot glowing on the glass. It moved across the mirrors
then disappeared behind Johnny's head.
"Shit!" he rolled across the mat as the mirror cracked and the window
shattered. Suddenly, the once quiet room became alive with energy as eight
masked assailants jumped through the small windows and into the training
room. Bullets rained down on Johnny as he tumbled to his feet and jumped
through the doorway into the indoor pool room. He turned off the lights,
leaving the room colored in moonlight and laid low in the shadows. His
heart pounded as he heard footsteps come closer. Then a red light moved
around the room as a figure walked in. Two more red dots followed. Johnny
searched the floor around him for something to fight back with.
"Yeah, a lot of good pool supplies will do against snipers," Johnny hissed
to himself. His hands wrapped around a hard round object. A life saver.
Joy. Next to it was a plastic rope used to make lap lanes in the pool.
Nearby, he felt a rubber mask. Nise's scuba outfit. His hands moved
across the floor till he found the locker, and he quietly opened it up.
Now, the three that came into the room were near the diving board, maybe
twenty feet away. His hand skimmed his surfboard before reaching over to
her wet suit. The first thing he found was the oxygen mask. Next to it was
the oxygen tank. Hmmm. He wrapped the rope around his hand then made a
knot that he tied to the preserver. Johnny placed it on the floor as he
pulled down his surfboard and placed the oxygen tank on top of it. Using
the remaining length of the rope, Johnny tied the tank firmly down on the
surfboard. Then he turned the small handle that opened the canister, and
the oxygen began to flow to the mask. Shit. They were almost on him. As
he moved to the side, his foot grazed some piece of metal, and it scraped
across the floor a bit. He froze. A bullet grazed the wall three feet
from his head. Damn! Reaching down to the floor, he picked up a
screwdriver. Perfect. He followed the red dot on the wall back to the
source, and aiming carefully, he threw the screwdriver at one of the men.
It cracked into his laser sight, shattering the tiny light bulb. Thrown
off guard, the man suddenly fired, hitting another who just entered the
room. He didn't have time to cry out as he fell to the floor dead.
"Shit!" someone yelled, and Johnny leapt into action. He jumped at the
closet one and brought the preserver down over the attacker's head,
trapping his arms at his sides. Johnny kicked the gun away and dove to the
floor as the others fired. His hand grasped the tube connecting the mask
and tank and yanked. The gas hissed loudly as it burst from the canister.
Picking up the surfboard, he tossed it into the pool. It splashed as the
tank landed first in the water, and the oxygen being released caused it to
move quickly across the surface. When the plastic rope became taught, it
pulled the man trapped in the preserver into the pool. Two other men came
running into the room, and they all fired at the body struggling in the
water. Johnny ran out and charged the men who just came in. He shadow
kicked them down. One screamed as his ribs broke, and the other sank down
with a groan. Johnny grabbed his neck and punched him, breaking his nose.
"Agh!" Johnny fell to the cold tiled floor, holding his arm. A bullet
pierced the skin, making it bleed heavily. I've gotta get rid of those
guns! He crawled underneath a lawn chair and waited as he quickly looked
for something to wrap around his wound.
"No! Goddamn it!" Johnny smiled when they pulled the body from the water,
and found it to be one of their own. Now that the snipers were distracted,
Johnny crawled slowly to the nearby bathroom. Once inside, he shut and
locked the door behind him, and made his way to the medicine cabinet.
Tending his wound took no more than a few moments, and he thought of his
opposition. Ok. Eight men altogether. Two dead, two injured. Two where
walking around the Olympic sized pool. so where were the other two hiding?
He put back the adhesive when he accidentally knocked over a bottle. He
looked carefully at it, and began to chuckle. It was a bottle of red dye
shampoo. Johnny used it once as a gag on Nise, pretending he cut his head
in the pool and was bleeding to death. Then an idea went off.
Upstairs, the last two attackers finished the wiring, and pressed the start
button. They ran from the room, one going back to the training room in
search of their target, while the other fled. The number ten blinked
twice, and slowly the numbers began ticking down to zero.