This Is My Home Now & I'm Not Leaving Without A Fight



Original poster
Strapped in, and waiting in the cock pit. The red light still hung above her head, flashing for other mecha operators to get ready. She was already ready and they seemed to take so long. It wasn't going to be any different, but she would always get anxious. Leading the way was such a thrill, along with fighting a battle she knew she would win.

"Come on! How long does this have to take!" She flicked on her screen and screamed into the mic. "We could have won already!" Her face appeared on everyone's screen, blocking the view of the red light.

"Stop being so cocky, Naiji." Growled one of her back up.

Finally the light seemed to change just for her, rewarding her impatience. Everything grew in her favour, and off she went. It was almost as quickly as the lock was undone and the platform unfolded. She almost scraped the paint off her mecha trying to slip in between the narrow exit.

"Naiji! You're supposed to wait for a clear exit!"

She could feel her heart pounding. Her eyes sparkled from the lasers and anger that other ships got to start without her. She was their star fighter and they had left their start to burn up her energy on her tail. Dancing through the ammo that fired off she swiftly tried to make it to her goal. She wanted to follow orders and finish off the wave of enemies as quickly as possible.

But her back up did not follow behind her and watch her back like they should have. They had abandoned her to fight enemies that attacked them head-on. They had no choice. Ambushed by lasers and sharp metal her mecha began to glitch out and become hot. With great speed, her mecha was falling to Earth. Was this punishment for being so eager? She thought. Flames reddened the metal and it started to turn black, cooking like a charred marshmallow.

Across time, something similar was happening. But she was no star fighter, just an average rookie who made a simple mistake and was falling just as hard to her home planet. The battle was so small compared to Naiji's battle. It was nothing that the rookie wasn't trained to handle, but she seem to freeze up.

Eyes wide in fear, one prayed and the other girl just cursed her team. They believed they were going to die as the nausea set in and their skin began to melt on certain places. The ends of their hair would burn and fray. Their bodies tried to sweat off the heat to keep them cool, but it was almost hopeless. The heat shields weren't properly set or maybe the software in the mecha was glitching. The crash was like an instant fracture to their ego's and soul. The mecha that linked them to the battle had scattered into scrap metal. Survival was almost out of reach.
Static. That was all that the mechanic was getting when she tried to contact the pilot. She should have answered by now, Rai thought to herself. The mecha suit would have--It should have protected her! Rai slammed her fists onto the console she sat at.

"Answer me damn it!" she screamed into the mic in front of her. "I swear, if you ruined the machine I'll kill you myself when you get back to base!" Even if the static was all that Rai was getting, maybe the mecha pilot would get her voice and send some kind of signal that she was okay. There were other talking people around her. They were all reporting how one thing or another was either wounded or getting a new enemy to hold off. She didn't care.

Her green eyes were glaring at the static filled machine. A list of things that she should have done--made sure that all the systems were check, locked the stupid girl away in her room to keep her from fighting, not let her hear the call to duty. But that would have been treasonous on Rai's part and she didn't want to be taken away for that. And who was she kidding? Rai couldn't possibly order her to do anything like that. Even if they were lovers, most did not know that and they didn't want others to know unless they were friends.

She bowed her head when nothing came in any form to her ears or through the monitor. She would not cry. She would not. She would wait until the fight stopped and head down to see if she could find the crash site. She could make the excuse that the parts might still be there, or something else to be let down there. Who was going to argue with a mechanic that new mecha's well enough to work on the ones for the government?
Nothing could have been done to prevent this moment's events. At this time the cock pit was still steaming and the girl on the inside was screaming for help. Naiji was in the alternate universe already bandaged and being taken care of. Her wounds weren't as bad. Despite being thrown off guard, she was trained how to crash properly. Vinni on the other hand was still a rookie. She couldn't to much of anything right. But thankfully Rai didn't have much to be upset about. Naiji was alive, just not located in that cockpit.

Steam broke loose when someone was able to break it open. Vinni's burned skin shrivelled up like shrink wrap and turned a glossy read. She was quickly treated and sent to the best hospital. No one would see her for months after that tragic moment. Her mecha was taken apart and salvaged for pieces to bring home and melt down. They would need the scraps to put it back together without wasting material. This place was remarkably more high tech than Earth, but they still couldn't afford to waste anything.

Rubble was removed from the remaining strands of hair on Vinni's head. The state of her would not be released. To the doctors, this was Naiji, so nothing was out of the ordinary. They used what they could to remove toxic smoke and tar from her lungs, skin graphs were applied. But only so much could be done for now, Vinni needed to rely on the health of her body to heal. So her face and body were wrapped up. She was hidden away for a while. No one from the Mecha labs were allowed to see her, but close friends and family. Rai was included on that list, being the famous couple that they were.
Rai spent the time that it took the girl she called Naiji to awake working on the mecha day and night. She feared that if she didn't keep moving that she would cry at the state of the girl. She had gone to see a girl that she hardly recognized because of the different bandages that wound their way around her. People stopped going near the young woman when she worked on rebuilding the mecha from scratch--she sometimes would get violent and throw whatever tool she was using at them if they mention Naiji.

It was a day like most other days--lonely with only the sounds of mecha tools and being with the mecha--that Rai was finally fetched from the hanger in which the mecha stood half done. she was working on getting one of the arms to move properly when the door slammed open and someone came running in.

"Rai, Rai! Come quick--"

"What part of leave me the blasted hell alone do you people not seem to understand. Fixing this mecha is taking a lot of my time and the sooner I get it done--"

"The doctor wants you back at the hospital now!"

Rai froze in mid-throw--she was about to toss a wrench at the young man that stood behind her, for which he was grateful. "Boy, if this is a joke--"

"It isn't! They sent me running to tell you that she may wake soon. Her mind-wave thingies are going into wakefulness," the young man reported.

"Mind-wave-thingies?" Rai repeated before tearing off past him. Oh she had a few choice words she wanted to say to Naiji when she awoke. She slammed through doors and past people without a word of apology. Finally she skidded past the room in which Naiji was located in. Scrambling almost comically back she darted into the room--breathless. The wrappings had been taken off since her last visit. Only, the girl that lay there on the bed looked nothing like the Naiji that Rai knew oh so well. It might have happened in the crash, she tried to logic as she took a few quiet steps forward until she was looking down at the girl.

"N-Naiji?" she whispered, pain evident in her voice, though she kept her face still and emotionless.
The woman groaned softly as she lay still in the bed. Her eyes opened half-way. She didn't seem to react much herself, her breathing was uneven and staggered. Her chest would rise and only fall half way a minute later. Her eyes slowly wandered to the figure that blocked the light in the corner of her eyes. Who was she? Death didn't look so horrible after all, she thought. They sent her an angel, not a dark figure that everyone screamed about in their last moments. This creature struck her right away, a beautiful and refreshing winter's breeze.

"Why does everyone keep calling me Naiji?" Her voice was soft and just barely touched her lips. "I'm Vinni.... Do I look East Indian?" She grumbled about the last part. If she was correct that name meant Daughter Of Wisdom in that language. Vinni herself was as pale as the ash left over from her burnt up mobile suit.

She wished to turn over but the pain was still sharp. But it didn't feel like her own pain, her eyes reacted more quickly this time. She moved her hand to brush away the fresh blond implants to replace the missing strands that were burnt up. "Why do you sound so hurt?" She finally spoke. The pain from Rai's voice didn't get to her right away, but when it did it echoed rapidly. She wouldn't be able to escape it. Ignoring her was impossible.

She weakly pushed herself up to get a better look at Rai. "Who is Naiji?"

The meeting was cut short after one of the nurses noticed Naiji was starting to become worked up. "Miss. Naiji, we need you to calm down. Your friend will have to leave now."

"I'M NOT NAIJI!" She screamed, pulling down the nurse as she approached with a needle. "You need to calm down." Vinni grasped the hand of the nurse, firmly and pressed it down hard into the vein of her neck. The nurse was out quickly and Vinni closed the door, locking it quickly so alarms would not set off. The last thing she needed was more nurses on her.

Her back lightly pressed against the door and clicked it shut. She locked it and pocketed the keys. "I need you to answer my questions. I have no clue where I am." Vinni started to shake, her hands were so badly scarred but her hair looked so healthy. None of it made sense to her. "It's obvious from your voice, you knew i wasn't Naiji. You're someone close to her."
Rai had stared at the girl that spoke--she didn't even sound like Naiji. How could the doctors have said this girl was Naiji? And then things got out of hand. The nurse tried to sedate the young woman and she was scream and the door was slammed shut. But it didn't seem to matter to the mechanic who didn't have any control over her body. It slumped against the nearest wall until she sat, staring across the room like she had lost a part of herself that she couldn't get back.

How could this have happened? There was no way that a crashed mecha could have anyone else but Naiji in it, but here was a girl that was claiming to be a girl named Vinni. The girl was speaking to her. Asking questions. She wanted to know where she was. Rai turned dead eyes on the girl for only a moment before looking up at the ceiling instead. What had happened to the girl that had spent the months in the mecha bay working and yelling at others, she wondered inwardly. You don't have any more hope to hold onto that Naiji's alive, a dark voice inside her said.

Her green eyes focused for a moment and turned to the nurse that lay on the ground next to the bed. "You were found in the cockpit of Naiji's mecha after it crashed to Earth. You were so burned that no one could identify you; I couldn't even say without a doubt that you were Naiji and I--" Rai stopped her words and looked down at her lap where her hands that were streaked with grease and other mecha fluids lay useless. "And I knew her very well. Yes. The moment I entered the room I knew that you couldn't possibly be my Naiji. How did you get in there without ruining the mechas opening hatch? Where's the real Naiji!? What did you do to her?!" The old fire that had scared so many people from the mecha hanger was coming back to the young woman. It was her only defense realy against the injustice of not being given her love back. The only bite she had was to her words as her body remained limply against the wall. This alone dulled the anger in her words.
The confusion left her instantly and boiled over into anger. "What did I do to her?" She repeated in a yelling tone. "You think I'm to blame for her going missing?" She punched a hole into the wall. This frustration was just too much for her. It was a dumb idea though cause pain started to shoot up into her joints when she tore the cracked skin. It had peeled back from the dry wall being so tough and her, so fragile. She started to shake.

"Naiji isn't the only one who's a victim here. Do you think that I would ask you where I am if I hurt your stupid lover?" She voice was soft and distant, the pain distracted her from the main point. "You're not the only one hurt here either. I don't even know where the ones I care for are, if they know I'm alive. My parents could be just receiving my death certificate in the mail.

Vinni felt her pain though and pulled the heart torn Rai away from the wall. Her arms wrapped around Rai gently and Vinni's breathing became levelled. She tried to calm Rai as well as herself. Two birds with one stone, she thought. Her grip wasn't too tight that Rai could push her away if she wanted to.

"I'll help you find Naiji...." She said softly. "But you have to help me get home afterword. I'm needed back at home. I'm still in my training phase."

Finally when Vinni got out of the hospital, she was attacked by news casters. She had hid her face and word of Naiji being released got out. But she was knocked back by excited fans wanting to hug her and wish her well. They all let out a gasp to see that it was a pale blond girl and not their East Indian mobile suit princess. The live feed was cast all over this world and even into the mecha labs where Rai would be working.

"Where is on this planet is Naiji?" The freaked out news caster looked disgusted as she put the signal on to shut off the camera.

Vinni rose and scowled. "She's missing you dumb-ass." She then called a cab and headed towards the Mecha labs.
Rai's attitude only grew worse after the meeting with this girl. People stopped meeting her in the mecha lab where she worked. She practically lived by Naiji's almost done mecha. After that day she had refused to return to the hospital and was focused more on getting the reason behind the switch of bodies. She went over every inch of the reformed mecha and even the pictures of the crash site even if it made her stomach curl to think that Naiji may be in a similar crash somewhere else.

On the day that Vinni got out of the hospital, the whole mecha lab was in an uproar. No matter how many times the young woman yelled at the others working there to ‘shut up and get back to work’, the noise just kept raising as the news reports about Vinni got more and more hysterical.

She had warned the supervisors to leave the young woman alone, but she couldn’t exactly order everyone else away. When the time was coming, Rai put down the pictures she had worked on and stomped forward. The excitement even made the others around her ignore her completely when they previously would be getting out of the way. Shoving her way out of the lab she walked to the cab that pulled up and yanked open the door.

“Come on. The sooner you get in out of the lights the better,” Rai said, though she refused to look at the girl. It wasn’t that she hated the girl exactly. She just disliked the change—the lack of a Naiji to look at the machine that she had worked so hard to get back together; the lack of Naiji in general. She almost blamed the young woman but couldn’t bring herself to do it completely.
Vinni didn't speak a word, she just settled into the car and fingered the strands of unfamiliar hair. She still had some of her original hair, but it didn't feel the same. One felt rather fake and the other, it felt like the soft sands near her home. She worried of the idea of anyone touching her. There were scars all over her. Her body seemed to reject a lot of the treatment, except on the thinner tissues around her face, neck and hands. She made sure to wear long sleeves a lot of the time to be sure not to startle anyone.

She listened to the music in the car, their popular songs were nothing like at home. They seemed to hold a similarity to tech-opera or metallic-echoes. It sent shivers down her spine. Her deep round eyes watched Rai ignore her. It was sort of amusing for her. Her head finally rolled in her direction to see her face full and not just from the corner of her eyes.

"You look pissed off." She made an obvious statement to break the tight silence in the car, the music wasn't doing it. "If Naiji was any better than I am at being a mecha fighter, she's more than likely to be alive. Only a rookie like me would die from an impact crash." She spoke in almost a emotionless tone, but offered her comfort. "So stop looking so bitter. I told you we'll find her."

Out of reflex, Vinni reached her hand out. She touched Rai's hand that rested on the wheel. She used to do this for her husband, her silent way of letting him know they'll make things change. That was right though, she forgot about her husband. With guilt, her hand slipped away and she rolled her head back towards the direction of window. She realised it if they'll find Naiji in the future, what mattered was Rai's emotions right now. At this very moment, Vinni understood the pain to some extent. It didn't pain her to be away from her husband, but the guilt was there. What if he was as torn as Rai was.

"Her name means daughter of wisdom, from where I come from." Vinni spoke up again, the strange background slipping past her mind. Vinni didn't wait for the car to come to a complete stop. She wanted out. She only waited for it to slow down for her to step out and toss the door shut behind her. A few men gawked at her as she climbed the steps to the building, waiting for Rai seemed to be out of her thoughts.
Rai's hands tightened on the wheel and she glared out the front window. She had been about to speak when Vinni jumped from the slowing car. Spatting a curse, Rai stopped the vehicle completely before jumping out of the car and rushing after the other girl. She could already hear the camera people rushing after them, demanding of Rai what her relationship with the new girl was. That made Rai stop as she started to mount the steps which game the newspeople the time needed to envelope her with cameras and mics.

Rai ducked her head, letting her hair fall and hide her face. "My relationship with the new pilot is nothing but that--a mechanic and a pilot." She answered, knowing it would be almost impossible to get out with all these camera's int he way. It would also give the young woman time to make it inside before the camera's turned to her. After all, since the crash of Naiji, their (Rai's and Naiji's) relationship had boomed in popularity and it wasn't a surprise that they wanted to know what was going one.

"What do you mean new pilot? Where is Naiji?!"

Rai looked up for the one that spoke that, her eyes like ice. "Naiji is missing in action as of this point. Her mecha, while found, did not contain her body. We found the young woman that is the new pilot a few yards from it the crash site. She was badly burned and we thought maybe Naiji had gotten out and was trying to get away from the crash. That seems not to be the case. We are putting all our resources to rebuilding her mecha to find out what happened to the pilot. Now if you'll excuse me, I must get the new pilot to the mecha," She said as she saw an exit through three camera people who had winced away from her glare. She slipped through and ran up the rest of the steps to the door and slipped passed the guards that were going to block the door.

"Make sure none of them get in," she ordered the guards as she closed the door behind her. Then she turned to look for Vinni. "Vinni?"
Vinni had seemed to make herself already at home. She had freely walked around the place like she was a new employee looking to get a feel for the building. Her eyes grew vastly wider, taking in what this building had to offer. She found it stunning, and a little hard to understand. She adored the almost completely polished, glass structure. The thin tubes everywhere for messages to be sent like a retro-post office.

She explored what she could get through, but the people were beginning to crowd around her. She didn't notice them until they became a solid mass in her way. She shook her head and took off her hood, looking around at the blurry faces. It made her panic and she felt herself back in the mecha, trying to fight in gravity free void of space. Her eyes narrowed and tears streamed. She hallucinated that the enemy was now physically in her face. Her hands twitched, trying to click and flick at invisible controls. One person tried to reach out and calm her, noticing the signed of Post-traumatic stress disorder. But she took off into the room that held Naiji's mecha.

She seemed to snap out of it on her own when she saw the physical mecha before her. It didn't take long for her to realize that she was safely on the ground and being held tightly by Earth's atmosphere. The screen on the inside of the cock pit was blinking, with shaking hands she climbed in to check the message. By the feel of the seating, she knew this was the mecha she crashed in. Strands of her hair were still half cooked to ash and fused to the material.

"Gross..." She cringed, then turned her face to the message. "Huh... I guess that's Naiji."

A thin, and beautiful face appeared. Her rich chocolate toned flesh was dimmed out by her anger. Her cheeks almost puffed out. Maybe the message was intended for Vinni. Maybe Naiji had come to meet her husband, Jim. She laughed at the idea of Jim blaming Naiji like Rai blamed Vinni for the disappearances.

"Rai, come take a look at this. Is this Naiji?" She poked her head out of the cock pit.
Rai had just been about to grab Vinni when the girl took off. Instead of immediately following the girl, she turned on the people and started to blow at him about how they needed to give the girl some space. When her anger was out of her system she turned and stomped in to the room where the mecha waited. Her eyes searched everywhere but the mecha for the girl. There were no other exits besides the one that Rai had just used to get in and so she knew the girl had to be in the room somewhere. When she poked her head out of the mecha, Rai almost shot out of her skin.

"Vinni, what are you--" Rai asked as she climbed up to take a look at the suit's screen. Her heart leapt when she saw the other woman on the screen. "N-Naiji?" She reached out and pressed a few buttons on the console, trying to retrieve the message that was blinking on the screen. "Oh come on dammit play the damned thing already!" She was so close to kicking the stupid mecha, though she knew that she might just end up destroying the message if she did that. Instead she held the anger in and glared at the screen, hoping that if Naiji could see her, she would know that Rai was very angry with the other woman and would make her pay long and hard for this.
Jim was the master of computer software, always fixing the holes or glitches in them. He would make them error proof and security tight. Jim was presented with many awards over the years for his brilliance and hard work. Many nerds in his generation were jealous and almost worshipped him. They had healthy competition with Jim, always trying to out do him or come up with better, more efficient and more powerful solutions.

Jim couldn't help but laugh them off. He was busy right now, trying his best to bring Vinni back. Both him and Naiji had put their heads together to figure out what happened. Just like Vinni had thought, only a rookie would burn up. Naiji came out of that crash with just a few broken bones. Jim hadn't bothered wasting his time salvaging Vinni's mecha. Instead he tore it apart, finding the bits of information he needed. Naiji was the one that suggested that to him. For security reasons, some information about software and hardware couldn't be reached unless directly from the source. It was the best way to keep aliens from trying to learn how to use their technology.

He sat there for months, with Naiji. His heart growing soft to her mind always at work. A busy little city always on the go. He started to find it quite attractive. But what was he to do, he still loved Vinni, longing for her to come home. Naiji didn't bring up her girlfriend. She thought that would cause Jim to turn back on his idea and start to resent her. But Naiji needed all the help she could get. Her dear Rai was waiting.

"That's sad, just tap the screen. The feed will freeze. She's really only on hold." Vinni snickered a little.

"Rai, sweetie. I'm trying my best to return home." Naiji appeared to be sending the feed in secret. Her anger melted away as soon as Rai's face appeared. Jim was in the background snoring, almost drooling on important wires. That was like him. He'd replace them if he had to.

"I don't know how long it'll take but I'm being forced to fight in Vinni's place. I suggest you do the same. She's your prisoner till I get back."
"I've never been on the inside of the mecha when there is a video message before Vinni," Rai said as she rolled her eyes. "I'm the mechanic, not the tech person. I know how to set things up and do the machine parts. Get a tech person if you really don't like it."

Rai's heart soared at hearing Naiji's voice and she vowed to keep that in her mind for the rest of the time until she returned. Her own face relaxed and she smiled back at Naiji's message. "Get back here soon Nai, you hear me? I'll never forgive you if you get stuck there." she told the console before looking away, feeling tears she had held in fighting forward. She bit the inside of her lip and looked back at the screen. "No one's prisoners here Nai. We only found out that Vinni wasn't you a few weeks ago when she woke up. Which by the way," Rai growled, her face turning dark with fury, "What were you thinking Naiji? How dare you crash this mecha. It took me three months to get it back in working order! Three Months!"

No one could say that Rai didn't care about her work. She'd been seen tearing a mecha pilot apart for denting an arm the first time they used it. That was how Naiji and Rai had met too--Rai stomping up to her wanting to know why in the universes name she came back with a scratch along the back of the mecha. But at the same time, the questions she asked Naiji were also about herself. How could she crash? How come she didn't be more careful?