"Darling, you got mail!!"

Atako lies on her bed as Lum walks into their bedroom. The former's central access hatch is open, Russell monitoring her ASU as she did a diagnostic and recharge. "Who's it from, Lum-chan?" she wonders, unable to move now that she is on secondary power.

"Lee Mi-sohn," Lum sits beside her.

"I haven't heard from Mi-sohn for a couple weeks!" Atako grins. "Open it and read it, Lum-chan."

"Hai," Lum opens the letter, then stares at the beautiful paper with its flowing English script. "'Dear Atako...I'm writing to tell you that I and my classmates at Chon-Bal will be coming to Japan sometime next week. Headmistress Park has told me we'll be staying in Tokyo for about a week. I hope to see you and finally meet Lum and Elle. I have the pictures of them you sent me. You have the prettiest friends any girl could ever ask for. I want to meet Lum and Elle very much. Is it true you want to marry Lum? Can two girls actually marry? Don't you like boys? I hope you'll answer these questions, Atako. I do worry about you at times. Hope to see you very soon. Your friend always, Lee Mi-sohn.'"

"Korean?" Russell wonders.

"Hai," Atako smiles, diagnostic readouts flashing in her eyes. "She goes to this exclusive girl's finishing school in Chollanam-do, somewhere near Sunch'on: the Chon-Bal Young Ladies' School. It's a small academy; at most sixty students plus a small teaching staff. I got to know Mi-sohn through an international pen-friend group; this was just after I became Atako. She's very nice."

"And pretty," Lum nods. "Once Darling and Mi-sohn got to know each other better, she arranged to have everyone in our class get pen-friends in Mi-sohn's class at Chon-Bal. Here's her picture."

She reaches into the desk to draw out a picture. Russell gazes at it, seeing a lovely eighteen year old woman with straight long black hair and glittering blue eyes, her tall, shapely body sheathed in a formal burgundy school uniform. "She is pretty," he whistles. "I remember working in Korea when I was in the Army. I always thought they were some of the nicest people around."

"Well, there's the old animosity between Koreans and Japanese because of what happened before World War Two and all that," Lum sighs. "Mostly that's with the older generation. People our age are more interested in the latest fashions and music; things like that. After all, we're part of the same world culture."

"I never bought any of the bullshit history books say about our role in Korea," Atako adds. "Great-grandma was one of a few nobles who totally opposed annexing Korea back in nineteen-ten. Before and during the war, Grandma paid for private schools that taught Korean traditions and their language. One of the things the militarists running the government back then didn't like."

"Your grandma is one gutsy lady, Atako-chan," Russell sighs. "Hey, why don't you ask Mi-sohn and the others to stay with you and everyone else? Good way to foster real friendships in my eyes."

"That means you, Phil and Mike will have to amscray for the next while," Atako muses. "There's no way that Mi-sohn and the others'd understand how three single American guys in their mid-twenties could live with a pack of five eighteen year old high school students without any parents watching over us. Guess you'll be staying at the apartments." She then nods, primary power coming back to her as she sits up to unhook herself from the ASU. "Okay, we'll put it forward in class later today."

The dark-skinned American android throws up his hands. "Geez, I give one idea and she's kicking me out of the house already!"

"Out, you impudent mechanical jerk!" Atako snaps, pointing out the door. "No talking back to your surei'cha!! Women come first in Tomobiki, remember?!"

"Hai, hai, my lovely robotic Sahib, my feet are like wings," Russell gives her an exaggerated bow.

Lum laughs...

* * *

In an office somewhere in Kyoto, a middle aged executive sits in his chair, gazing blankly out the window at the vast cityscape beyond. The nude woman standing before him gazes emotionlessly at him, then zips up his pants and straightens his clothing. Once he looks normal, she closes his eyes, then turns to dress herself. Once she is again in her form-fitting power suit, she walks out of the office. Stealing a glance at the security cameras she disabled sometime before coming in to be with her target, she heads to the elevator, then proceeds to the ground floor.

Emerging a moment later, she smiles at the security guard. "Heading out," she beams, her Japanese flavoured with the tones of eastern Korea.

He looks up, then smiles. "Hello, Yun-san. Do you know what's going on with the cameras upstairs? All of them haven't been working all day."

She shrugs, looking depressed. "I don't know a thing, Sonsaengnim. I was too busy with the director to notice."

He sighs. It was shameful that the director, a married man with two children, had practically turned a sweet girl like Yun Hyo-kyoung into his private geisha. No wonder most Koreans still looked on Japanese with some distaste. What was wrong with people these days? "I better go up and take a look," he sighs.

"He was in his office when I left him," Hyo-kyoung reports.

"Hai, hai, Yun-san. An-nyong'i-ka-se-yo," he nods.

"An-nyong'i-ka-se-yo," she smiles, bowing before leaving the building. My it was so nice to meet Ilbon-in willing to at least say some things in Hanguk-o.

Moments later, Hyo-kyoung steps into her small apartment, then puts her purse aside as she heads into the bathroom to warm up the furo. Breathing out, she concentrates. Datascreens flash in her green eyes, reporting she should soon recharge. Passing a hand through her shoulder length square-cut black hair, the android heads to her bedroom, undressing before drawing out her ASU from her closet, then hooking it up to a portable solar generator put on the roof of the apartment before opening herself up.

Minutes later, Hyo-kyoung finishes recharging, then secures everything before sealing her central access hatch and slipping on a pair of pyjamas. She pitied poor Oji-san for what he would soon experience; he was a very nice man. There was no visible mark on the director's body to indicate foul play. Her sexual organs and mouth were proficient in cleaning up all signs of orgasm from his body. Besides, the poison which ended his life was a very lethal neural agent inserted into his spinal column by a microscopic laser scalpel built into her index fingers. Unless a coroner had an electron microscope modified to examine the nervous system, all he could conclude was that the director of Shikasa Industries had died of heart failure sometime after having sex with his secretary.

Soon the police would arrive and question her. She would confess to having intimate relations with him, but how could they trace his death, which couldn't possibly be murder, to her? Was it her fault that he lusted after her, ignoring his responsibilities and duty to his family? She was just an innocent girl from Korea looking for a better life in Japan who had been manipulated by the director into being his personal sex-slave; the other secretaries, especially poor Michiko, would confirm his many escapades. If it got too far, she could always go home. After all, what could the Japanese do? If they tried to trace her history, they would be led into a box arranged by her sponsor that would give them nothing. If they persisted even after that, Hyo-kyoung could disappear, her body modified to give her a new look, a new identity. After all, the organic Yun Hyo-kyoung of Kangwon-do was reported to have died a year ago in a house fire that also claimed her family.

A telephone rings. She picks it up. "Hello?"

"Kangwon-Yun-Six-Two?" a voice calls over the line.

Hyo-kyoung tenses. That was her unit number. "Ne?"

"Status report?"

"Mission successful," she reports. "Will call when I am free of the local authorities. New orders?"

"Negative. If social status remains unchanged, remain where you are. An-nyong'i-ka-se-yo."

"Ne, an-nyong'i-ka-se-yo," Hyo-kyoung nods, then hangs up.

A knock is then heard at the door. "Yun-san?" the apartment landlady calls in. "Two police officers are here to see you."

"Hai!" Hyo-kyoung rises, slipping on a housecoat and slippers before heading to the door...

* * *

The Galatea Syndrome - Sisters Across The Tonghae

an Urusei Yatsura fanfic

by Fred Herriot


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

Based on Urusei Yatsura, created by Rumiko Takahashi

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

WARNING: This is a sometimes dark fic with lots of strange lemon scenes in it. If this isn't your style of fan fiction story, go elsewhere. All standard lemon fanfic/ASFR story warnings apply.


1) Sheesh! Inspiration just doesn't leave me alone for a bit. This story comes from a project for an in-class play one of my English students proposed, a battle between two robots, one Korean, the other Japanese. Remembering the bitter blood between the Land of the Rising Sun and the Land of the Morning Calm thanks to the events of 1910-45, I decided I'd work that into this series.

2) All Korean people's names are spelt with the usual English interpretation (I = Lee, Pak = Park, etc). Other terms are written literally. Remember there are two types of "o" and "u" sounds in Korean. In Korean, "O" can sound like mOre or wOrd, while "u" can sound like twO or cOUld.

3) Korean terms:

An-nyong-ha-se-yo - Greeting. "Peace be with you."

An-nyong'i-ka-se-yo - Farewell. "Peace go with you."

Ne, Ye - Yes.

Kam-sa-ham-ni-da - Thank you.

Tonghae - East Sea. Korean name for the Sea of Japan.

Namhae - South Sea. The part of the East China Sea south of Korea.

Hwanghae - Yellow Sea, the sea west of Korea.

Hanguk-o, Hanguk-in - Korean language, Korean person

Ilbon-o, Ilbon-in - Japanese language, Japanese person

chaebol - Large family-owned multi-industrial firms, similar to Japan's zaibatsu.

Amnokkang - Korean name for the Yalu River dividing it from China.

T'aegukki - Korean national flag.

4) Ways of addressing people in Korea (note that these titles always follow the person's family or given name):

Teacher/Elder/Older Adult: Add "nim" to a title like "sonsaeng" (teacher), i.e. Park-sonsaengnim.

Working Colleague or Acquaintance: Use "sonsaeng" without the "nim" ending, i.e. Jung-sonsaeng.

Other People (General): Use "kun" for men, "yang" for single women and "yosa" for married women, i.e. Lee-yang. "Mister," "Miss" and "Mrs." is also used by Koreans, pronounced the same as English.

Classmates: Students address older male classmates with "hyong" (older brother) and older females with "onni" (older sister), i.e. Lee-onni, An-hyong.

Friends: Use "ssi" with either the family name or the given names, i.e. Lee-ssi, Mi-sohn-ssi.

Close Friends: Extend the final syllable by either "-a" (to a name ending in a consonant) or "-ya" (to a name ending in a vowel), i.e. Mi-sohn-a, Atako-ya.

5) Korean province names are shortformed for quick reference. FYI, the provinces ("-do") in the Republic are Kyonggi (the north-west part around Seoul and Inch'on), Kangwon (the north-east part), Ch'ungch'ongpuk and Ch'ungch'ongnam (shortformed Ch'ungpuk and Ch'ungnam; the centre-west part around Taejon), Kyongsangpuk and Kyongsangnam (shortformed Kyongpuk and Kyongnam; the south-east part around Taegu and Pusan), Chollapuk and Chollanam (shortformed Chonpuk and Chonnam, the south-west around Kwangju) and Cheju (a large island off the south-west tip). Seoul, Inch'on, Taegu, Taejon, Pusan and Kwangju are independent cities.

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

"I did not approve of this, Miss Park."

Park Eun-hyok gazes neutrally at her guest. Behind her, the deep blue of the Namhae stretched beyond the shores of Hahwa Island, home of the Chon-Bal Young Ladies' School, the most exclusive girl's private school in the Republic, now even more exclusive since you had to literally die to get into it! "Mister Jong, despite your desire to use the girls as your personal revenge squad for something effectively resolved five decades ago, that doesn't give you the right to dictate EVERYTHING about their lives. They want the chance to get out and look around, stop being cooped up in this dungeon you've created. Just because they're androids doesn't mean they've stopped being human."

"Of course not, Miss Park," the elderly gentleman before her nods. "Still, the risk of an accident is considerable..."

"With precautions, nothing will go wrong," the headmistress replies. "Besides, the girls have pen-pals in Japan, from Tomobiki High School in Tokyo's Nerima Ward. They want to meet them and now seemed as good a time as any."

"Tomobiki...?!!" he exclaims, nearly falling out of his chair in stunned disbelief. "What persuaded you to go there?!!"

"Why not?! The area's world famous because of the interaction between aliens and Terrans. Don't you think we should be a part of that, Mister Jong?" a slight smile twitches her face. "Do you want the Japanese to have exclusive rights to intact with non-Terrans?"

"Of course not!!" he snarls, then blinks as his cell phone rings. Picking it up, he nods. "Jong."

"Kangwon-Yun-Six-Two successfully carried out her mission, Jong-sonsaengnim," a male voice responds.

Eun-hyok's eyes close as she remembers the beautiful woman in question. So, it had finally begun. Oh, Hyo-kyoung...!

"Problems?" Jong wonders.

"None whatsoever, Sonsaengnim. The autopsy reported that death was by heart failure. Six-Two reported to the police that she did have intercourse with the director, but was forced into it. The other secretaries at Shikasa Industries confirmed his sexual escapades, one which led to the birth of an illegitimate child. In fact, the director's wife has publicly forgiven Six-Two, offered to sponsor her continued stay in Japan."

"Excellent!!" Jong smiles. "Shikasa was just a test run. With everyone in place, we could unleash total chaos if we struck all at once. All that remains are to infiltrate the Mendous and the Mizunokoji! Are our agents in place?"

"Yes, Sonsaengnim. There's been a shake-up in both target corporations recently. Hajime Mendou died recently, his wife Haruka taking over company operations. Shutaro Mendou passed away sometime after. Yuujiro Mizunokoji turned everything over to his wife Saeko, then retired to the country with his son Tobimaro."

"I see," Jong hums. "Have our agents observe, then report back on the situation before we do anything further." He cuts the connection, then stands. "Forgive me, Miss Park, but I have to return to Seoul immediately to oversee some financial transactions. Shikasa Industries will soon have a new owner if the other chaebol agree to help me in the takeover bid. I won't object to the class trip as long as you take all the proper precautions."

"I understand, Mister Jong," she nods.

With that, the elderly man walks out. Eun-hyok gazes after him, then sighs, standing to look out the window. Outside, the sixty android students were doing basic physical exercises under the supervision of their three homeroom teachers, themselves also androids. It would be comical if it wasn't so potentially tragic, not to mention morally outrageous. But what could she do? She herself had new loyalties now.

She was an android. Unit Chonnam-Park-Two-Five.

Eun-hyok stares at one girl stretching her arms, smiling. Lee Mi-sohn, president of Class Two. A beautiful young girl who had nearly died in a car accident a year ago, was converted into Unit Chonnam-Lee-One-Nine and given a new life. Like her classmates, she was an orphan; how that ALWAYS happened when new androids came to the school, Eun-hyok didn't know and wasn't encouraged to learn. While she had more autonomy than her students, she had a very good idea what Jong Chung-hee would do if she dared learn too much.

Suddenly, Mi-sohn yawns. One of the teachers notices, then nods, allowing her to head inside to recharge. "Oh, Mi-sohn-a," Eun-hyok smiles, then walks to the door to open it. "You always do that to me, Miss Lee. C'mon in."

"Kam-sa-ham-ni-da, Park-sonsaengnim," Mi-sohn bows to her.

As Eun-hyok opens her drawer to draw out a power cable, then heads over to pull the cover off Mi-sohn's ASU, sitting beside her own, the younger android sits, slipping off her T-shirt and shorts to reveal a well-developed body covered just in panties. That comes off, then Mi-sohn takes a magnetic sealer to open herself up. She then waits as Eun-hyok slips the computer jack and power cable into the appropriate slots, then goes to secondary power as she begins a recharge and diagnostic. "Thanks, Eun-hyok-a."

"How can I deny the woman I love?" the older android laughs.

Mi-sohn blushes, gazing at the still-youthful headmistress. Were this any other school, what she was doing would be the cause of the worst form of shame. How could one sexually desire one's teacher? There were times that Mi-sohn wished things to be normal, that she would be a normal girl back in Naju outside Kwangju with all her friends going to a normal high school and lusting after normal boys. Those wishes were banished from her CCU every week or so when she had to open herself up to recharge and do a diagnostic.

She really didn't mind being an android. She was alive where it counted the most, relatively in control of her destiny and now at the critical crossroads of her life. She, like the others here and already out in the world, owed her very life to Jong Chung-hee, would serve him whenever he beckoned, but in all other respects, Lee Mi-sohn was free to do whatever she wanted. She would only be required for one mission, then once that was over with, the rest of her android existence would unfold naturally...as naturally as one could expect, she supposed; no one had any idea what would happen.

"Yun Hyo-kyoung got to her target," Eun-hyok reports.

"Buddha!" Mi-sohn shudders, then sighs as her internal systems report a full charge, then does her diagnostic. "Is she okay?"

"She made it through," Eun-hyok sits at her chair. "Oh, our sponsor won't object to the class trip."

"Good," Mi-sohn unplugs herself, then closes her body before gazing at Eun-hyok. "I'm looking forward to meeting Atako. Now, Eun-hyok-a," a sultry flash appears in her eyes. "Shall we?"

"Why can't I refuse you?" Eun-hyok throws up her hands.

"Because we love and need each other, Eun-hyok-a," Mi-sohn gazes warmly at her. "And I wouldn't have it any other way."

"Oh, very well then," Eun-hyok makes an exaggerated sigh, then smiles warmly. "Please give me pleasure, Mi-sohn-a."

"I'd love to," the younger android nods as she walks over, kneeling before Eun-hyok as she undoes the belt holding the older android's jean jumper in place, then unbuttons it to reveal a slender form with somewhat nice breasts and a trim triangle of pubic hair in a lower abdomen not marred by pregnancies. Reaching into her quivering love gate, Mi-sohn looks up to gaze at Eun-hyok's slowly flushing face. Save for slight age lines around her dark brown eyes and her salt-and-pepper curly short-cut hair, the android headmistress was still quite stunning.

Eun-hyok closes her eyes as she allows Mi-sohn to trigger her orgasm routines. Damn, it was so hard being both a headmistress of a school and an android built to give sexual pleasure at the same time. Still, this is what she volunteered herself to become when she understood what had happened to Mi-sohn and the others. What they endured, so would she, happily. She wondered what Mi-sohn's pen-pal would think about that. After all, living with and loving an alien couldn't be that much different, could it?

* * *

Two days later.

"Good morning, ladies," Nagaiwakai smiles as she steps into the okonomiyaki shop. Beside her is Yun Hyo-kyoung. "My dear, these delightful ladies are my daughter-in-law Kinshou Moroboshi, her lover Haruka Mendou, Saeko Mizunokoji and her lover Sakura Sakurambou. Girls, this is Yun Hyo-kyoung from Kangnung."

"An-nyong-ha-se-yo, Yun-ssi," Sakura smiles pleasantly as Nagaiwakai and Hyo-kyoung sit down beside them. "Welcome to Tomobiki. First time here?"

"Yes, Sakura-san," Hyo-kyoung bows to the priestess.

"Forgive our shy friend here," Nagaiwakai smiles at the young Korean woman. "Hyo-kyoung was a secretary at Shikasa Industries in Kyoto until yesterday, when I persuaded Namiko Shikasa to let her go and come work with me."

"I heard about that," Haruka shakes her head. "What happened to you was shameful, Yun-ssi. Are you alright?"

"I...I'm fine, Mendou-san," the Korean blushes. "I'm just feeling a little overwhelmed about finding myself here. Shikasa-sonsaengnim said I could stay with them; there was no problem."

"Working in a place with a pig like that is revolting under normal circumstances," Saeko shakes her head. "Gods, is it true that one poor girl actually had a child through that beast?"

"Ne," Hyo-kyoung bites her lips. "Michiko Harawa. She's a very good friend of mine. I wish she could've come up here, too."

"No problem at all," Nagaiwakai beams. "I'll call Namiko-chan and ask her to let Michiko-chan go. You'll both work for me."

"Nagaiwakai-sonsaengnim..." the Korean gazes at her.

"I'll hear no objection," Nagaiwakai shakes her head. "I've always had a special affinity to your people, Hyo-kyoung. It makes me very angry that after all this time, there are those in Japan who still believe our taking control of Korea was a good thing for your people. I intend to show you how good the Japanese people can really be when they set their minds to it."

Hyo-kyoung blinks, her CCU running through the mad torrent of information she just received. Like with her Oji-san in Kyoto, it was very nice to work for someone sympathetic to the basic problem hanging over Korean-Japanese relations. Further, Nagaiwakai was a very powerful and influential person economically and politically, which could make for a prospective target. It would be a shame to kill her; she seemed such a nice woman, even if she was part-alien (now THAT was mind-boggling!) and over eighty years old though she didn't look much older that Hyo-kyoung herself!

"Mother helped sponsor special schools in Korea before and during the war to keep Korean traditions alive and well," Kinshou smiles. "Grandmother herself loathed the idea of tearing your people apart like that."

"Tojo's incompetent internal security lackeys tried to punish us for it," Nagaiwakai smiles at the wide-eyed Korean. "But they were the ones who ended up a head shorter."

"What?" Hyo-kyoung blinks. "Nagaiwakai-sonsaengnim, forgive me...but do you and your grandmother have Korean names?"

"Mine is Hwa Young-ya, Mother's is Hwa Geuk-ya. They're both taken from the Korean readings of the kanji in our names."

The younger android gapes, her eyes wide with disbelief and awe, then she nearly prostrates herself to her employer. "Forgive me, Sonsaengnim!! I didn't even realize it was you...!"

"That's enough, Hyo-kyoung," Nagaiwakai sighs. "What I did then was a simple act of humanity, that's it. There were those in Japan who didn't believe in the war. I was one of them. Now, will you please relax and enjoy dinner with us?"

"H-hai," Hyo-kyoung nods, her mind whirling. If there was ONE person in Japan Jong Chung-hee would never permit to be touched, it was this woman. Nagaiwakai Moroboshi...who operated under the pseudonym Hwa Young-ya when she was in Korea...had organized the school Jong attended in Sunch'on when he was a young man during the war. Many of the civil leaders who had worked to make the Republic a more civil, democratic place had this woman to thank for giving them the moral background to persevere despite Rhee's fifteen years of autocratic tyranny, Park's two decades of iron-fisted prosperity and Chun's and Roh's blood-soaked decade of political "stability." Jong would be very pleased to learn that one of his avenging angels was protecting the woman he made prayers to every day before bed.

"Speaking of new personal secretaries, I just got a new one myself," Haruka coughs as they begin cooking their food. "Another Korean woman, Young Da-sol. Very nice child."

"Young Da-sol?!!" Hyo-kyoung gasps.

"You know her?!" Haruka stares at her.

"H-hai," the Korean inwardly curses herself for losing control like that. Well, might as well put forth the truth to allay any suspicions. "She and I are old classmates from a finishing school in Chollanam-do, the Chon-Bal School."

"Well, isn't that funny!" Saeko blinks. "Dear, do you know a Lim Young-eun? Was she in your class, too?!"

"Hai," Hyo-kyoung outwardly beams. This was getting tight. Damn, why didn't Jong's intelligence forces update her on where everyone in Japan was so she knew when to keep her mouth shut?!

"Isn't this a small world?!" Kinshou laughs. "Atako-chan, my daughter, is pen-friends with a girl that goes there now, Lee Mi-sohn! What a coincidence!"

"Yeah, real coincidence!!" Hyo-kyoung shrugs.

"I have an idea!" Nagaiwakai pats her new secretary's hand. "Haruka-chan, Saeko-chan, why don't you call Da-sol and Young-eun and have them come down right away! We'll have a little reunion, then go down to the bathhouse to wash up and see a movie, okay?!"

"Good idea," Haruka nods, reaching for her cell phone.

"Sonsaengnim, you don't..." Hyo-kyoung stares at her.

"Enough," Nagaiwakai smiles. "You're friends in a strange land that still must seem like no man's land at times. As I said, I'll do everything to make your stay as comfortable as possible. I will hear no objections from you, young lady!"

"Hai!" Hyo-kyoung nods, then smiles. "Thank you."

"You're welcome," Nagaiwakai nods...

* * *

"Konban wa, minna-sama," Hyooko smiles as she steps out from behind the counter at the Seiun Bathhouse, then beams on seeing the three Korean androids. "An-nyong-ha-se-yo, my friends. Welcome to the Seiun Bathhouse. I'm Hyooko Zatsudan, your host. Please, make yourselves at home," she waves them to the change room.

The three Koreans blush. Young Da-sol is tall, as skinny as the proverbial rail, with long black hair framing a very cute face pierced by hazel eyes. Lim Young-eun is more shapely and shorter, her brown hair cut very short and her blue eyes under glasses. As they head inside, Hyooko stares at them. "Do remember to wash and cleanse yourselves down before getting into the bath, please."

"Ne, Zatsudan-sonsaeng!" Hyo-Kyoung and her companions bow.

Setsuna watches from the small apartment behind the counter as she pours tea for her and her lover. Her eyes lock on the young women beside the four androids, her telepathic senses reaching out to probe into them for a quick second, then her eyes widen. Lyna's Soul, it couldn't be! In Korea, too?! Biting her lips, she forces herself to be calm and wait until the strangers were out of earshot before making a discreet call to Makoto.

Inside the change room, everyone sheds their clothes, then wrapping towels around them, head into the washing area. "It's about time, Nagai-chan," Shinobu pouts from the large bath at one end of the room. "I was getting very lonely."

"I missed you too, Shi-chan," Nagaiwakai winks as she takes off her towel, then begins to soak herself with a pail.

Hyo-kyoung sits beside her. "Nagaiwakai-sonsaengnim, who's this?" she watches Shinobu step out of the bath and walk up.

"This is Shinobu Miyaki," Nagaiwakai sighs. Better get some things straight. "Shi-chan, this is Yun Hyo-kyoung, the new secretary I told you about earlier. You may find this impossible to believe, Hyo-kyoung, but we're lovers."

The three Koreans gape at her. "Lovers?!!" Hyo-kyoung gasps, then stares at Shinobu. "You're a...!!"

"Yes, I am," Shinobu sits behind Nagaiwakai to help soap her back. "There's a very simple explanation for this, Yun-san, but even if we could explain it to you, it'd sound way too incredible to believe! But believe me, Nagai-chan and I have sworn ourselves to each other and no power in this universe will break us apart."

Hyo-kyoung blinks, then smiles. "No, I wasn't objecting to the age difference, Miyaki-ssi. Looking at Mizunokoji-sonsaengnim and Sakurambou-ssi, I can see things like that don't bother many people in Tomobiki. What I'm worried about is how your pastor would view you loving another woman."

Shinobu blinks, then remembers she is still wearing a crucifix around her neck. She gapes at the Korean. "You're Catholic?"

"Yes," Hyo-kyoung smiles at the Japanese.

"Why, I'll be...!!" Shinobu smiles. "Don't worry about my pastor, Yun-san! I'll introduce you sometime. He's one of the most forward thinking priests in the Church. You'll love him."

"That's good," Hyo-kyoung nods, then sits up. "Here, let me help, Miyaki-ssi. Nagaiwakai-sonsaengnim deserves to be pampered tonight, don't you think?"

"Hai," Nagaiwakai's bond-mate smiles, then offers her hand. "Please...call me Shinobu."

"Hyo-kyoung," the Korean shakes her hand, smiling contently. "The equivalent name in Japanese would be..."

"Don't bother," Shinobu smiles. "Yun Hyo-kyoung is the name the Lord blessed you with, just as Shinobu Miyaki is my name. We shouldn't change names on a whim. They tried that on your people once during the later years of the Occupation. That was wrong."

"Thank you, Shinobu-ssi," Hyo-kyoung nods, then holds out her hand. "Here, give me a cloth, will you! Our lady can't wait."

"Here you go," Shinobu hands one over. "Oh, Hyo-kyoung-ssi?"

"Hai, Shinobu-san?" the Korean smiles.

"If you must squeeze Nagai-chan's breasts, be gentle," the younger Japanese android winks. "I do like suckling them when I ravage her every night before we go to sleep."

Hyo-kyoung faints! Nagaiwakai rolls her eyes, offering an apologetic shrug to Da-sol and Young-eun, who stare open-mouthed in shock and disbelief at the laughing Shinobu...

* * *

"They were some of the strangest women I've ever met!" Da-sol shakes her head later that evening in her apartment near the Mendou estate, serving out some kimch'i as the three Korean androids enjoy some soup and rice. "Haruka Mendou is a first-class businesswoman, yet put her in the same room as Kinshou Moroboshi and it becomes 'Tiger' and 'Bunny' as they're trying to do each other every which way no matter who's around watching them!"

"Almost the same with Saeko Mizunokoji and Sakura Sakurambou," Young-eun sighs, nibbling on some rice. "And yet, I haven't heard a thing about divorce or anything! What are they tying to do?!"

"This place is strange," Hyo-kyoung sighs, gazing out the window. "You know what they remind me of?"

"What?" Da-sol stares at her.

"Kim Hee-jin and Jung-sonsaengnim," Hyo-kyoung smiles. "Or even better, Lee Mi-sohn and Headmistress Park!"

"Yeah!" Young-eun nods readily. "You'd swear they were...!"

The three stop, exchanging surprised looks as it hits them. "No!!" Da-sol shakes her head. "Androids?! Impossible!"

"Maybe not so impossible, Da-sol-a," Hyo-kyoung muses. "None of us knows if someone else got the the nanites Mr. Jong used to save our lives. What if we aren't the only Shoozooki-type androids in the world?"

"If there were others, he would've found out and told us!" Da-sol muses. "He knows we've been aching to meet more of our kind, especially boy androids, ever since this started!"

"True," Hyo-kyoung sighs, then laughs. "Or maybe it's just because of the aliens that live here! Who knows?!"

"Ye!" the others nod, then finish their meal.

After the table is cleaned up, everyone relaxes on the small bed Da-sol had chose to sleep on in lieu of a futon. "So how was your job, Hyo-kyoung-a?" she wonders. "Too many problems."

"No, it was easy," Hyo-kyoung sneers. "Believe me, I loved killing the slime. They have to make a whole new room in Hell for his kind. Poor Michiko-ya..." she closes her eyes, allowing her tears to flow.

"You're in love," Young-eun whistles.

"Of course I'm in love," Hyo-kyoung sighs. "Michiko-ya is one of the most beautiful women you'd ever meet. Her daughter is an angel...yet because of who her slime of a father is, she'll never know a happy home. And that is so wrong!"

"How old is Mutsuko-ya, anyway?" Young-eun wonders.

"Three," Hyo-kyoung beams.

"Does she know?" Da-sol wonders.

"Oh, yes, they both do," Hyo-kyoung nods. "They deserved to know, especially after I fell in love with Michiko-ya..." she looks down, wiping her eyes. "You know, Mutsuko-ya thinks it's so neat, being able to shut me down and all that. I'm just a big Barbie doll to her. I hope Nagaiwakai-sonsaengnim hires Michiko-ya so I can be with her and Mutsuko-ya again."

"I hope so, too. I want to meet them," Da-sol smiles. "You know, Mrs. Mendou is a very nice person. When I started to work for the Conglomerate, all the secretaries and workers said she was so haughty, not lowering herself to talk to you unless it was through her valet. Then, she and Mrs. Moroboshi got together and she became the nicest person in the world! You saw her in the bathhouse! It's like she's a teenager again!! Don't you think that way about Mrs. Mizunokoji, Young-eun-a?"

"Yeah," Young-eun bites her lips. "I don't want to kill her. She doesn't deserve that. What are we doing here, anyway? We're fighting a war we lost ninety years ago and we should've resolved fifty years ago! I don't want to dedicate myself to trying to revive something that doesn't exist anymore!!"

"We owe it to him!" Da-sol hisses. "If it wasn't for him, we'd all be ashes in our family plots now!!"

"Yes, that's true, but this is really getting far!" Young-eun snaps, then hugs herself, looking down as her tears flow. "Oh, please, God, don't make me do it. Please don't make me do it. I'm not a killer. I want to live, I want to live..."

Da-sol and Hyo-kyoung walk over to embrace her. "We all do, Young-eun-a," the latter whispers. "We all do..."

* * *

"Makoto, if this is a joke, it isn't the least bit funny!"

It is early the next morning. Nagaiwakai, Shinobu, Haruka, Kinshou, Saeko and Sakura stare at Makoto in the bedroom loft the Moroboshi clan matriarch and her life-mate share. Atako and Lum are also there. "Do I look like I'm laughing, Nagai-chan?" the watchmistress wonders. "I'm crying for them. None the less, the scanners can't be spoofed! You new secretaries are androids!"

"My God, how could that be?" Shinobu demands.

"The SCAA did background checking on them at our request," Makoto sighs, pulling up a datapadd. "Yun Hyo-kyoung, resident of Kangnung, Kangwon-do. Killed in a fire that also killed her family a year ago. Young Da-sol, resident of Sogwip'o, Cheju-do. Boating accident victim sixteen months ago. Lim Young-eun, resident of Kyongsan, Kyongsangpuk-do...oh, this is a cute one: she died of a drug overdose in Taegu twenty months ago."

"That would be about the time of the first contact between the Shoozooki and the conspirators here on Earth," Lum gasps. "Gods, how far does this go in Korea, Mako-chan?"

"We can't say," Makoto sighs. "We asked the SCAA to run a check on all girls in the optimum target age group of 15-30 who died in the last two years. We're looking at a hundred probable cases. In seventy percent of them, parents and immediate family also died, which is too much of a coincidence to me. However, the SCAA reported to us that in those cases where the police noticed something, someone VERY high up in the Interior Ministry had the investigations shut down."

"Sacred Buddha!" Nagaiwakai exclaims. "So what on Earth does this mean? Who's doing this?"

"As for that, we've no idea," Makoto sighs. "There's one more thing. They said they were graduates of the Chon-Bal Young Ladies' School. I had it checked out, too. It VOLUNTARILY surrendered its license to the Education Ministry fifteen months ago. According to them, it's now a private girl's camp."

"That's impossible!!!" Atako bolts up. "Mi-sohn's a student there!! How could they be going there if it's shut down?!!"

Makoto gazes at her. "Atako-chan...Lee Mi-sohn officially died nine months ago because of a car crash in Kwangju. Oh, by the way, it also killed her family."

Atako stops, her eyes widening. "Mi-sohn..."

* * *

"An-nyong-ha-se-yo, Sonsaengnim!" Hyo-kyoung calls out as she walks into Nagaiwakai's loft later. "Are you here?!"

"Good morning, Hyo-kyoung," Nagaiwakai gazes warmly at her. "I'm fine. Did you get those notes from Reigi-kun?"

"Hai," Hyo-kyoung nods, walking to the table, then stops on seeing Nagaiwakai dressed in her usual T-shirt and coveralls. Odd, she'd normally be back in her kimono by now. Did she get up late? "Sonsaengnim, are you alright?"

"I'm fine," Nagaiwakai smiles as she flips an omelette, then stares at her. "Hungry? Do you want breakfast?"

"I...well, I didn't get much to eat this morning," the Korean admits. "Sure!"

"Wonderful," Nagaiwakai cuts the omelette in half, then puts it on two plates, then walks over to join her secretary at the table next to the picture windows overlooking the Moroboshi home. Both then relax to eat.

"So tell me," Nagaiwakai gazes at her as they finish. "Do you have any relatives back in Korea?"

"No, none still living," Hyo-kyoung shakes her head, tensing. Had Nagaiwakai had her investigated? What had she found out?

"You lost your family in a fire, right?"

"Hai," Hyo-kyoung nods neutrally. Damn, where did she get THAT information? Her sponsor had done his best to eradicate all connections between her and the old Hyo-kyoung and her family.

Nagaiwakai takes her hand, smiling. "Hyo-kyoung, please. I've no intention of taking any sort of action against you because of the irregularities we've discovered. But I am a woman who values the truth above all other things. You needn't fear any reprisal if you reveal things here you believe will cause you pain. The same goes for Da-sol and Young-eun with Haruka-chan and Saeko-chan. You're our employees...and now our friends."

"Thank you, Sonsaengnim," Hyo-kyoung smiles.

"Now, according to the records friends of mine found buried deep in the Interior Ministry's files in Seoul, you died in that fire," Nagaiwakai gazes at her. "Yet, here you are alive and well. Which means someone did something to save your life."

"Yes," Hyo-kyoung nods. "Everyone back in Kangnung believed I was dead. They advised me not to reveal myself to any of my old friends. Too many questions would be asked which could hurt me. I felt it was the best thing...besides, even though I see myself as alive, many others wouldn't think that way."

"You're an android now," Nagaiwakai muses. "A machine built in human form, designed to exactly replicate Yun Hyo-kyoung's body, then become the vessel for her still-living spirit."

The Korean jolts. "How did you guess?!!"

"Let me tell you a story," Nagaiwakai smiles. "Two years ago, a race called the Shoozooki came to Earth. They were traders, but a very unscrupulous lot. There's a general belief among most races in this galaxy that more advanced cultures can't interact with less advanced cultures. The Shoozooki laughed at that; they didn't care who they gave their technology to. They made contact with certain people in the U.N., offering them their finest achievement. A nanite that could rebuild a person into an android. So this group in the U.N. passes out samples to people who were more willing to test them. One was the person who saved your life, Hyo-kyoung."

"Yes, that's true," Hyo-kyoung nods. "I can't tell you who he is; that's forbidden at all costs, even my life. But I can say he did tell us about the Shoozooki. Sonsaengnim, you said he passed it out to others? Are there other androids elsewhere?"

"Yes, we've confirmed two other places and are searching for more," Nagaiwakai sighs. "One of them is an adult entertainment club in Atlantic City, New Jersey in the United States, the House of Venus. There, half the dancers and performers were converted, some against their will. For you and your sisters, there was no choice. It was either be an android or die, correct?"

"Hai," Hyo-kyoung nods, smiling, then blinks. "You said two places, Sonsaengnim. Where's the other one?"

"You're in it."


"Yes," Nagaiwakai sighs. "You see, we believe that you girls and those poor people in Atlantic City were guinea pigs for what happened here next. The people in the United Nations, in the wake of events over a year ago, decided the time had finally come for Tomobiki's many excesses to be curtailed. Therefore, they targeted the people they believed were most of the potential troublemakers and converted them against their wills into androids."

"My God..." Hyo-kyoung gasps. "How many are here?"

"Nearly forty-five thousand. Almost every woman between ages fourteen and forty-five in Tomobiki were hit."

Silence falls as the Korean android sits there wide-eyed at Nagaiwakai's revelation. "It's monstrous..."

"Yes, it is," Nagaiwakai sighs. "Of us all, two were once men who volunteered to become androids to share our suffering. Five were people dying of incurable diseases. One was a non-physical being who desired her own life. The rest...in essence, we were all raped so we could be timid little house-slaves. The Shoozooki were patriarchal in a way even Confucius would've found horrifying."

Hyo-kyoung stares at her, then smiles. "Strange. Last night, we were talking about what we did in the bathhouse. Young-eun came up with the idea that you were all androids. Guess we were right. Will Da-sol and Young-eun be told this by Haruka-sonsaengnim and Saeko-sonsaengnim?"

"Yes," Nagaiwakai nods.

"Well, that just saved their lives," Hyo-kyoung breathes out.

The Moroboshi clan matriarch blinks, then stares at her, her eyes widening with understanding. "You killed Daisuke Shikasa, didn't you?! Made it look like a natural death?!"

"Ne," the Korean android nods, then sighs. "But I will say this. I enjoyed killing him. Michiko Harawa isn't just my friend, she's my lover. She was disowned by her family, nearly abandoned by that slime Shikasa and forced to raise her daughter Mutsuko all on her own. How would you feel if your lover was raped by someone, then practically abandoned to raise a child on her own?"

"I would be very angry," Nagaiwakai bites her lips, her eyes tearing with sympathy, then crosses her arms. "Well, now you know the whole story. Can you tell me why you're here? I can't assume whoever did this to you didn't just do it out of the bottom of his heart. Did your being with Shikasa have something to do with it?"

"I can't tell you," Hyo-kyoung shakes her head.

"I suspected as much," Nagaiwakai smiles, then leans over to kiss her cheek. "That's no problem; we've encountered this before. It appears you have a block inside you to make sure you don't spill your sponsor's secrets. We just have to get it out of you."

"You can't..." the Korean protests.

Her voice is then cut off as Nagaiwakai swamps her with a deep kiss. Hyo-kyoung gasps as she feels the matriarch's strong arms hold her tight, then shudders as she feels her pleasure routines come on line. No matter what Jong Chung-hee planned for her, if she was approached THIS way, she would always succumb; try as his scientists might, they had yet to suppress the pleasure android programs that automatically came with the nanites.

She then tugs at Nagaiwakai's coverall, yanking it off her shoulders to see the matriarch's inviting pubic region ready for her. Without a second's hesitation, her fingers dive deep into her employer's vagina. Nagaiwakai gasps as she feels those fingers stretch her insides to the limit, then smiles as her vaginal juices coat Hyo-kyoung's hand. "Lick your fingers," she gasps, gazing warmly at the Korean android. "I want to know how good I taste!!"

Hyo-kyoung smiles as she draws her soaked hand to her mouth, then gently suckles each finger. "Mmmm...I'm so glad we're so realistic that we can enjoy this...!" she purrs...

...then jolts as the retro-virus goes to work. Nagaiwakai leans up to hold her steady as Hyo-kyoung shudders, sparks leaping from her ears as she shudders, spewing forth a litany of Korean, Japanese and English for a second before gasping, collapsing into her employer's embrace. Both androids pant for a moment, then Hyo-kyoung gazes knowingly at Nagaiwakai. "God, I never got THAT reaction from lapping some girl's love juices up!" she smiles.

"I'm glad you enjoyed that," Nagaiwakai grins...

* * *

"You were sent to assassinate us?!" Saeko blinks.

Young-eun nods, her eyes turned down in shame. With she and Da-sol now released from whatever programming bonds they had within them, they joined Hyo-kyoung at Nagaiwakai's loft, their employers sitting beside the matriarch. "Yes. We...all of us older women were trained to be secretaries, programmed to speak Japanese and English fluently, so we could infiltrate the major companies here and spy on them, reporting back to Mister Jong. Then, when the time came, we'd be used as assassins to kill whoever was deemed the target most likely to destabilize the company were he or she dead. Hyo-kyoung just did that with the head of Shikasa Industries; she was the first to be employed this way. As to what would happen later, we were never told."

"Still," Da-sol looks down. "I doubt Mister Jong knows you're all androids. You see, we all took a vow before we left Korea; if we found any others of our kind, we'd do everything to protect him or her, bring her back to Korea if at all possible. Mister Jong knows about that and hasn't said anything against it."

"What could he be up to, Mother?" Kinshou gazes at Nagaiwakai.

The Moroboshi matriarch hums, then walks over to her personal computer. Augmented with Zephyrite technology, it had been linked to her CCU when she became an android. It activates as she sits before it, linking up with the Nikkei Exchange's stock purchase records. A second later, a small group of characters scrolls onto the screen. "I'll be damned!" she whistles. "Shikasa is facing a joint takeover by the Samguk Group and Koryo Financing! They both now have at least twenty percent of Shikasa stock on the Nikkei."

"What was that?!" Haruka walks over to gaze at the readout, then sighs. "Oh, so that's what he's doing!! He's manipulating the chaebol into buying out companies here whose stocks are too cheap to chase them away! When Daisuke Shikasa's indiscretions were made public, his company stock went to the cellar!!"

"And Koryo and Samguk are still in good shape even after the IMF got into Korea to make this sort of move," Nagaiwakai hums. "I see now. It's the very same thing we did to the Koreans before nineteen-ten. Subvert our ability to protect ourselves...in this case economically, not militarily...then dominate us. Now, this is what I call a classic case of revenge!"

The Mendou matriarch shudders. "I'm going to put a stop to that right now," Haruka reaches for the telephone.

"Don't, Haruka-chan," Nagaiwakai waves her off. "If you jump in to save Shikasa, our friend Jong will be tempted to make a call to Da-sol to have you put out of the way. And your clan's stock is still too low that you'll be protected in case several of the chaebol decide to join forces and hit you at once."

"I'd never...!!" Da-sol cries out.

"I know that, child, but as far as Jong is concerned, you're still his pet assassin. If he learns you didn't do a thing, he'll realize something's up and send someone else. We have to find all the androids in country right now, then give them the retro-virus to free them. Hyo-kyoung, can you find that out?"

"Sure," Hyo-kyoung nods. "It's considered normal to request a situation report of where everyone is. I haven't even reported that I've moved from Kyoto to Tokyo yet."

"Do so as soon as you can, then confirm where everyone else is," Nagaiwakai nods. "Once we have that, we'll send our Sagussan friends out to deal with them, then we'll have to decide what to do when your younger sisters come to Tomobiki for their visit. That's in another three days, right, Kinshou-chan?"

"Right," Kinshou nods.

"Well, we'll just simply have to welcome our lost sisters with open arms," Nagaiwakai smiles. "In the meantime, I'll make some calls overseas. It's time Jong's allies felt some heat."

"Victoria McTavish alone would scare them into their corner," Haruka muses, grinning savagely. Business was such a bloodthirsty sport after all, more so between the larger multinationals like the Mendou Conglomerate and the McTavish Corporation.

"I don't want to scare them into a corner, Haruka-chan," the Moroboshi clan matriarch smiles. "Just let them know that being allies with Jong Chung-hee is very bad for their financial well-being. After all, national pride can only go so far, you know."

The others nod...

* * *

"Mi-sohn!!!" Atako cries out.

"Atako!!!" Mi-sohn leaps out of the van, then embraces her pen-pal at the front steps of Tomobiki High School. "Oh, Buddha, you look great!! It's so good to meet you!!! How are you?!"

"I'm okay, Mi-sohn!!" Atako kisses her cheek, then gazes at her. Android or no, Lee Mi-sohn was a knockout. No matter what, Atako would do everything to protect her friend.

She then directs the Korean up to Lum and Elle. "Mi-sohn, this is Lum and Elle, two people I love very much."

"An-nyong-ha-se-yo, Mi-sohn-ssi," Lum bows, then embraces her. "It's a pleasure to meet you at last. Welcome to Tomobiki."

"Thank you, Lum-san," Mi-sohn beams, then gazes at Elle before turning back to Atako. "Atako, do you actually sleep with both of them?! I thought you wanted to marry Lum!"

"I still do, but there are many types of love, you know," Atako smiles. "Elle-chan and I've known each other almost as long as I've known Lum-chan. It's a long story."

"I can't wait to hear it," Mi-sohn smiles.

Atako then faces the crowd of twenty-six Korean students, Park Eun-hyok and another young teacher. "Okay, everyone!" she calls out. "Everyone here can...I hope!...speak Korean fluently." That elicits some laughter from everyone else. "Instead of you spending millions of won and in hotel bills for you all, you'll be staying with us in our houses; it's our treat!"

"Oh, please, Atako-san..." Eun-hyok gasps.

"No, Sonsaengnim," Atako smiles at her. "You're our friends now and we're going to show you all real hospitality. Now, I can take six people at my house. Mi-sohn, could you be in that group?"

"Sure!" Mi-sohn grins.

Suddenly, a surprised cry turns everyone's attention to the stairs, where Shooko is now embracing the other teacher from Chon-Bal. "Oh, it IS you, Song-lee!! What are you doing here?!!"

"I'd ask you the same question, Shooko!!" Jung Song-lee laughs as she claps her friend on the back. "You look great!"

"Suriyoku-sensei, you know her?!" Atako wonders.

"I should," Shooko grins. "This girl would've whipped my butt at Seoul hadn't she been sidelined by a hamstring injury!"

"You always say that, Shooko!" Song-lee smiles.

"So that's why you waved the T'aegukki when you received the gold for the high dive!" Eun-hyok gasps. "Everyone in Korea's always wondered why you did that!!"

Shooko smiles. "I was paying respect to the better athlete."

"Oh, you...!!" Song-lee embraces her.

"And where's this lazy kimch'i-eating slacker been?!" a voice beckons from behind them. "Come here, Song-lee!"

"Nat!! Mel!!" Song-lee leaps into Natalie's and Melanie's embrace. "Oh, you're here, too?!! This is incredible!!"

"In more ways that one!" Shooko laughs, then gazes at the Korean students. "I can take another with me; there's no way I'm letting this woman out of my sight!" she indicates Song-lee.

"I'll go!!" a tall girl with short curly red-tinted brown hair and green eyes raises her hand. "I've always wanted to meet you, Suriyoku-sonsaengnim!!"

"I can take a couple at my place," Shinobu volunteers.

Everyone beams as another Korean student runs over to join her pen-friend. "Look, let's get everyone paired up with their pen-pals, then let's see what we can do, okay?!" Atako proposes.

Everyone readily nods...

* * *

"Okay, here we are, home sweet home!" Atako announces.

Five Tomobiki High students and five Chon-Bal students and their headmistress slip off their shoes as they stream into the living room, kneeling around the kotatsu. "What a beautiful home you have, Atako," Eun-hyok smiles. "But where are your parents?"

"They moved out," Atako announces. "Don't worry; my grandma lives right behind us so we're still safe from burglars. Now, to introduce my housemates for those of you who don't know: this is Lum Redet, Elle de Rosenbach, Shutako Mendou and Asako Yutaka. Lum's adopted sister Negau Renning's gone back to Uru with her friend Paula Mason, so two of you'll have a room to yourself."

"Lum-chan, are they here?!" a voice calls out from outside.

"Gods, it's a real tokkaebi!!!" one of the Koreans gasps as Ten-chan and Koishii fly inside, pointing at the young single-horned Oni-Urusian.

"I'm NOT a Tokkaebi!!!" Ten-chan cries out. "I'm an Oni!!"

"Ten-chan, they don't know that!" Lum laughs. "Everyone, this is my cousin Jariten. You can call him Ten-chan if you want; he'll insist on that. And the lovely young lady beside him is Ten-chan's girlfriend Koishii; she's from the planet Sagussa."

"SHE NOT MY GIRLFRIEND!!!!!!" Ten-chan cries out.

"My pet's such a silly little boy, isn't he?" Koishii smiles, embracing him from behind. "C'mon, Ten-chan, let's let the grown ups play! I want to go visit Kotatsuneko!"

"Okay!! 'Bye, girls!" Ten-chan waves as they head out.

"Such a spirited young boy!" Eun-hyok chuckles.

"He grows on you after a bit," Atako grins.

"Okay," Mi-sohn coughs, then indicates her lover. "This is my headmistress, Park Eun-hyok. Outside of the school, she doesn't mind if you call her by her given names. And these are some of my best friends," she waves to her classmates.

"I'm Kwon Yoo-na," a slender woman with wavy black hair to her shoulders and blue eyes bows. "I'm Asako's pen-pal."

"I'm Rhee Mi-sook," a shapely woman with her short brown hair styled in bangs over her forehead and brown eyes behind reading glasses bows next. "I'm Shutako's pen-pal."

"I'm Kim Hyoung-jin," a statuesque woman with red-tinted black hair braided in a waist-length pig tail and hazel eyes then bows. "I'm Elle's pen-friend."

"I'm Yang Yoo-na," a bosomy woman with long wavy black hair and blue eyes bows. "I'm Lum's pen-friend. Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you all," Atako returns their bow. "Okay, Eun-hyok, you might as well take Negau-chan's and Paula-chan's bedroom. Yoo-na, Mi-sook, you can go downstairs; there's a spare bed there beside Shuu-chan's and Asako-chan's. The rest of you can easily fit into our room if you don't mind futons."

"We've had worse," Mi-sohn admits, then smiles. "Atako, thank you so much for doing this for us. We really appreciate it."

"You're our friends, Mi-sohn," Atako smiles. "After all, I want the chance to call you Mi-sohn-a sooner or later."

"Okay...Atako-chan!" Mi-sohn laughs. "Well, let's get set up, then let's eat! I'm starved!!"

The others head upstairs...

* * *

"This is Kimiki?" Song-lee gasps.

Song-lee and her lover Kim Hee-jin (Mie's pen-friend) gaze in awe at Kimiki Miyaki, who just descended from her bedroom dressed in a fashionable white blouse and designer slacks, lipstick and eye shadow adding to her considerable allure. "Hello there, Song-lee, Hee-jin," Kimiki offers her hand. "Welcome to Tomobiki. Please, would you like to place your travel bags in your guest room before we have something to eat?"

"Of course," Song-lee bows, then gazes at Shooko. "Shooko, when you said you had a beautiful girlfriend, you weren't kidding!"

"Kimiki-chan's always been beautiful to me, Song-lee," Shooko grins, wrapping her arm around her life mate's. "C'mon, let's get your things put down, then let's eat! I'm starved!!"

Minutes later, the four sit around the dining room table. "Would you like to do grace, Hee-jin?" Kimiki smiles. "I believe we are all Christians here."

"Okay," Hee-jin nods as everyone clasps her hands in prayer and close their eyes. "Dear Lord, bless this table, its bountiful harvest and the beautiful people who've welcomed us into their home and hearth even for a short time. May we humble travellers prove to be worthy of their friendship and trust...Amen."

"Amen," the others intone, then they begin...

* * *

"This is beautiful milk, Nagaiwakai-sonsaengnim," Cho Eun-hyon smiles as she places her empty glass on the table, her third for the dinner and thirsty for more. Shinobu's pen-friend is a pretty young girl of sixteen (she's the junior student in Mi-sohn's class) with short-cut chestnut hair and indigo eyes. A Korean version of Noa, Shinobu realized on seeing her picture for the first time. "Do you actually milk those cows every morning?"

"Every morning, Eun-hyon," Nagaiwakai butters her bread. She and Shinobu were hosting Ryuunosuke, Nagisa, Eun-hyon and An Ka-ram (Ryuunosuke's pen-pal) for the week. "Don't you have relatives who work on a farm where you lived?"

"Not anymore," Eun-hyon sighs, looking down.

"I'm sorry, my dear; I didn't mean to open your old wounds," Nagaiwakai gazes warmly at her.

"I don't mind," Eun-hyon smiles. "I consider it an honour to share your table, Sonsaengnim. You're quite famous back home in Poun; one of your schools was located there."

"Where's that?" Nagisa wonders.

"In Ch'ungch'ongpuk-do, near Mount Sogni on the border with Kyongsangpuk-do between Taejon and Taegu," Nagaiwakai explains. "A pretty part of the country, I must confess...though not as pretty as Mount Paektu; I visited there many times during the war."

"Mount Paektu?" Ryuunosuke wonders.

"On the border with China at the head of the Yalu River, a part of the country now controlled by that power-hungry mindless moron in Pyongyang everyone treats as a god," Nagaiwakai frowns, eliciting a laugh from the two Koreans. "Hopefully one day soon, we'll all be able to go there and see how beautiful it is."

"We will," Shinobu smiles, then starts to collect dishes.

"Do you want help, Shinobu?" Eun-hyon rises.

"You stay right there, Eun-hyon," Shinobu wags her finger. "Nagisa-chan and I'll handle this."

Nagisa nods as she heads to the kitchenette to clean up. Ryuunosuke smiles at her life mate and best friend, then feels a tap on her arm. "What is it, Ka-ram?" she gazes at her friend.

An Ka-ram is a Korean version of Ryuunosuke, with the hands and body of one who's worked on fishing boats since she was old enough to walk. Her blonde-tinted brown hair is cut very short, her blue eyes reflective of the azure of the Hwanghae, which she saw every day from her house. "I can't believe you didn't try to pair up with Shinobu, Ryuu. She's beautiful."

"Hey, what the heck does that make Nagisa-chan?" Ryuunosuke wonders. "Chopped liver?! Yeah, Shinobu-chan's my best friend, Ka-ram. She'll always be that. I love her as my best friend. But when it comes down to it, Nagisa-chan comes first. My dad wants it that way, Nagisa-chan's dad wanted it that way before he died and that's the way it's gonna be to the end of time."

Ka-ram nods, smiling. "You really show filial piety to your father, you know. I admire that very much, Ryuu. I just hope I could do the same thing for my parents one day."

"Ka-ram's a boy's name," Nagaiwakai muses. "I assume you were raised in the same manner as Ryuu-chan, right?"

"Yes, ma'am," Ka-ram nods. "My dad ran a fishing boat out of Changhang, scooting around places like Och'ong, Oiyan and the like. Fishing was so good out there, you wouldn't believe it...BUT there was no way in Hell that a girl could be accepted out there, so I had to be a boy. It was no problem; I wanted to be the best child my dad could ever ask for. But it still irked me a times. And now...now I'll never be able to settle anything with my parents."

"They were sunk off Anma, right?" Shinobu blinks as she and Nagisa return to their chairs.

"Yeah, Shinobu. And my humanity with it," Ka-ram snarls.

"An-hyong!" Eun-hyon hisses.

"They deserve to know, Eun-hyon," Ka-ram snaps. "And stop calling me 'hyong!' I'm a girl, remember?!"

"Know what?" Ryuunosuke blinks.

Ka-ram sighs, then taps her lower arm to open her cyberlink jack. "I'm a machine now, Ryuu. You're pen-pal's an android, a robot that's sustaining what's left of me after I got pulled out of the Hwanghae after a bomb killed my parents and nearly did me in. And what's worse, the man who killed my parents is also the man who 'saved' my life, Ryuu. Some life, huh?"

"So not all of you have controlling programs, do you," Nagisa gasps, a smile cutting across her face.

"Not really heavy ones...hey, how'd you know?!" Ka-ram jolts.

Ryuunosuke reaches into her pocket and pulls out a magnetic sealer. The Korean androids gasp in shock as she traces it around her face, then pulls off the skin to reveal the wires and circuitry underneath. "Hate to say it, Ka-ram, but you're not alone."

"My God!" Eun-hyon gapes. "How...?!"

"It's a long story, Eun-hyon," Shinobu smiles.

Ka-ram blinks at her android pen-pal, then sighs. "Ryuu, can you please put your face back on? That really grosses me out every time someone does it back at Chon-Bal."

Everyone laughs as Ryuunosuke puts herself together, then each take turns explaining Tomobiki's story, reintroducing themselves via their unit numbers. Eun-hyon and Ka-ram pale as they hear what their new friends have endured, then exchange looks. "Well, I'm Unit Ch'ungpuk-Cho-One-Six and she's Unit Ch'ungnam-An-Six-One," the former begins. "My parents were killed in a skiing accident on Mount Chiri nine months ago. I was barely alive when they found me. The next thing I know, I'm an android living in a school on an island down by Sunch'on. Of course, we're both grateful about being alive and all that, but we don't want to do what some of the older androids have been asked to do. I wish I could..."

"Hold it, Eun-hyon," Shinobu winks, pulling two small vials out of her pocket. "Before you apologize, drink these."

"What's this?" Ka-ram stares at the vial.

"It's the special ingredient Ataru-kun gave us to make us feel a lot better about ourselves," Shinobu smiles. "Try it."

"Okay," Ka-ram nods as the two drink up.

A minute later, both breathe out as the retro-virus settles into their systems, clearing away the programs blocking them from speaking freely about what Jong Chung-hee planned for them. "Wow, that feels so nice!" Eun-hyon pats her heart, then walks over to embrace Shinobu. "Thank you, Shinobu-ya! That's the best present I could ever ask from a friend!!"

"For you, Eun-hyon-a, I'll do anything!" Shinobu kisses her.

Eun-hyon then embraces Nagaiwakai. Ka-ram is hugging Nagisa and Ryuunosuke. "I can't believe you guys'd do that for us," she smiles at them. "Thank you so much, Ryuu-ya, Nagisa-ya."

"You're part of us now, Ka-ram-a," Nagisa kisses her. "We'll never stop until all our brothers and sisters are brought in from the wilderness."

Ka-ram nods, then stares at Eun-hyon. The tomboy gapes wide-eyed as she gazes upon her junior classmate, who seems in her eyes to be surrounded by a beautiful halo. The latter stares at her classmate, then gasps before turning away, her face heating up. "Gods, I never thought it would work THAT fast!" Nagisa gasps.

"What's wrong with me?!" Ka-ram hugs herself. "Ryuu-chan, I just looked at Eun-hyon and I felt as if...!"

"She's the most beautiful woman in the world?" Ryuunosuke grins, then pats her friend's shoulder. "It's cool! When we all become human, you'll have the urge to seek out a woman to be your bond mate, your marei'cha. The retro-virus mentally prepares you for that by giving you that urge now. You're single and Eun-hyon is single. You gotta change it, Ka-ram-a."

Ka-ram gazes at her. "How?"

"Shi-chan, put on some music, please?" Nagaiwakai sighs. "Something nice and soft for our newest couple."

"Hai," Shinobu pulls out a Kenny G disk, then slips it in.

As That Somebody Was You plays over the speakers, Shinobu and Ryuunosuke escort their pen-pals onto the floor. "Look into her eyes, Ka-ram-a," Ryuunosuke whispers, shifting Ka-ram's face to gaze into Eun-hyon's. "She's lost everything, just like you did. She has no home anymore, just like you. She's alone and looking for someone to tell her it's all going to be alright. You can be that one, Ka-ram-a. You're strong. You survived having a boat blown out from under you. You knew who did it and you want to get justice, for you and all the others back in Korea who suffered all sorts of 'accidents' so they could be Jong's pet assassins. Do you want Eun-hyon to kill someone, Ka-ram-a?"

"No...never," Ka-ram hisses. "Not as long as I live..."

"See how strong she is, Eun-hyon-a?" Shinobu smiles at her friend. "See how powerful she seems? It's her defence against a cruel world, a cruel world that dealt more harshly with her than you. But the defence has to be let down sooner or later. She has to be human again, she has to know tenderness and love. You can give that to her, Eun-hyon-a. Do you want Ka-ram to live a cold and impersonal life, a life where she'll be emotionally alone?"

Eun-hyon blinks. "No...she'll never be alone..."

Shinobu and Ryuunosuke draw magnetic sealers. Both Koreans unbutton their shirts and open their skirts so they can open their central access hatches. Their pen-pals hold the hatch plates as Nagisa provides a two-way CSAT jack which they insert into their plugs. Both gaze intently into each other's eyes. "It's you and only you, Ka-ram-a," Eun-hyon smiles. "You and only you."

"I wouldn't want it any other way, Eun-hyon-a," Ka-ram beams.

Both tenderly kiss, then freeze as they go to secondary power, their minds linking up. The others remain quiet as the two Koreans remain still for a minute, then part, smiling. They remove the CSAT jack, then reseal themselves. Both then gaze quizzically into the other's eyes. "I can still feel you inside me," Eun-hyon blinks, then blushes. "Ka-ram!!"

The older android laughs, her own cheeks flaming red now. "What's she thinking of?" Nagisa prods.

"She...she...oh, I'm so embarrassed!!" Eun-hyon turns away, clapping her cheeks. "An Ka-ram, you're such a pervert! Doing THAT with me in front of all our friends?!"

The Japanese androids laugh while Ka-ram looks ready to sink through the floor. "Oh, thinking of doing the wild thing, huh?!" Ryuunosuke slaps her pen-friend in the back, then pumps her hand. "Well, c'mon! The night's young, so let's party!!"

The others laugh...

* * *

Two days later.

Jong Chung-hee grits his teeth in barely contained rage as his limousine drives into the courtyard of the Chon-Bal Young Ladies' School. The Seoul stock exchange was a madhouse today, with a dozen multinationals closing in on various chaebols like hungry sharks on a feeding frenzy. None were Japanese firms fortunately, but that didn't matter. If Korea was to be strong enough to bring Japan to heel and keep the awakening dragon across the Amnokkang at bay, those companies had to be taught swiftly that the Land of the Morning Calm wouldn't be a calm place for the likes of them.

The limousine stops, the driver scurrying to open the door and let him out. "Where is everyone?!" he demands, then storms into the main school building. "Miss Park!!!"

His voice echoes through the empty corridors, eliciting no response. Growling, he storms into the headmistress' office, then stops. "What is this?!!"

Sitting in Park Eun-hyok's chair is a stuffed sandpanther doll. Its eyes flash as sensors detect the presence of its target, then its mouth opens, speaking in Lee Mi-sohn's voice. "Jong Chung-hee...you lied to us. You wanted to use us all to play out your dreams of bringing back Choson and conquering Japan as they conquered us ninety years ago. At the same time, you used us as guinea pigs to test nanites, nanites which were later used on a town of innocent women. You knew this, didn't you? Regardless of what we feel about our neighbours across the Tonghae, we'd never wish THAT on anyone. For that, we all decided to leave you and seek our destinies elsewhere. May your ancestors have mercy on you...for our new friends will not."

He blinks, then cries out as the sandpanther lights up, the bauximite flash-bomb within it detonating...

* * *

"...an interesting story from Korea," the NHK reporter stares at her notes. "A mysterious explosion levelled the small island of Hahwa in Yoch'on-gun, Chollanam-do early yesterday. An Interior Ministry spokesperson in Kwangju reported that the island was once the home of a recently closed girl's finishing school. No reports of casualties or the cause of the explosion has been made..."

Shooko turns off the television, then relaxes in her chair. "Your friends are cruel, Shooko-chan," Song-lee gazes at her.

"When a Sagussan seeks justice for those they've adopted as one of their own, Song-lee-ya, it's best to just wait for the smoke to die down and start counting casualties," Shooko sighs. "You couldn't go back to your old lives, not after that slime destroyed them so thoroughly to ensure you never ran away from him. So it was time to wipe the slate clean and start over again."

Song-lee bites her lips, then nods. "I kinda like that, you know," she grips her friend's hand. "Especially since I can now live with a friend."

"You'll always be that, Unit Inch'on-Jung-Five-Two."

"Thank you, Unit Tee-Doubleyou-Four-Seven-Nine-Two."

"Hey!!" Natalie leans inside. "Are you two robo-babes out of energy or what?! We've got a class now! Let's hustle!!"

"Hai!" both androids rise as they head into the pool.

Class 3-4 of Tomobiki High increased by fifteen new students overnight as the androids of Chon-Bal were welcomed as part of the family, though they retained their old code-numbers to reaffirm their origins. Many other classes welcomed their new sisters with open arms. Right now, the women were waiting by the deep end of the pool, one already on the diving board. "If you think I'm going to give you a perfect score, Hee-jin-a, you're wrong!" Song-lee calls out to her life mate.

"Do I have to strip up here to make you notice me, Song-lee-ya?!" Hee-jin hums.

With that, she does a quadruple flip into the water. "Nice one, Hee-jin!" Atako whoops as she mounts the board.

"Nine-six," Shooko writes on her board.

Everyone whoops as Hee-jin climbs out of the pool. "Go for it, Darling!" Lum calls from the side. "Show 'em how it's done!"

"They'll be showing me, Lum-chan!" Atako winks, then does a backwards triple flip into the water.

"Nine-seven, Atako-chan," Melissa calls out.

"Atako-chan, that was beautiful!!" Mi-sohn claps as she mounts the diving board.

"Let's see you do it, Mi-sohn-a!" Atako laughs.

Mi-sohn relaxes, then tenses as she looks back to see Park Eun-hyok watching her from the glassed-in gallery beside the deep end. Beside the former headmistress is Eun-hyon, waiting to see Ka-ram make her dive. Eun-hyok blows her life mate a kiss, then beams as Mi-sohn does a triple spin jackknife that gets her a nine-six. "Your life mate's very good, Eun-hyok," Makoto walks up to her. "Why'd you refuse to come teach here? You're still a thoughtmistress in the minds of many people at the school."

"True, but I didn't want to be placed in a position where I might be forced to judge the woman I sleep with every night," Eun-hyok gazes at the Sagussan. "Do they have problems like that on your home planet, Makoto-ssi?"

"We haven't had kids yet, so I can't say," Makoto smiles.

Both then watch as Mie mounts the board, then does yet ANOTHER perfect ten. As the students, Korean and Japanese alike, gape in awe as the Gladiator pilot swims to the side, Shooko throws up her hands in surrender. "I shouldn't even bother anymore!"

"I can see that!" Song-lee whistles.

Out in the gallery, Eun-hyon snorts in disbelief. "She did something to make them think that!" she crosses her arms. "There's no way ANYONE can be a perfect ten!!"

The younger android tenses as she hears the pop of knuckles being cracked. She turns, looking up to see two angry green eyes bore like twin lasers into her. "How'd you like to be rendered permanently dysfunctional, kid?!" Makoto snarls.

Eun-hyon shudders, laughing embarrassingly as she tries to discreetly put some distance between her and the pirpirsiw'r. Inside the pool, Ka-ram sighs at her life mate's slip-up. "Hey, Ryuu-chan, when you and Nagisa-chan bonded, did you ever do stupid things like that?" she thumbs Eun-hyon.

"All the time," Ryuunosuke smiles. "It's what love's all about, Ka-ram-a. And that's what makes it so great; it reminds us still that we're all human in the end!"

Both laugh...

*** The End ***