Fated by Holly Quinn
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Author's Chapter Notes:
This is a little something I wrote over the last few days. It was inspired by another story I'm working on, but since it isn't usable as a flashback, it's just a stand-alone story. Harvey's the one who suggested it. If it's well recieved, I may do some more firsthand stories on the elder Asakuras, so let me know what you think.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction, the characters belong to Tatsunoko.

No profanity, violence, or sex (sorry ;-) )

This takes place in the year 1992 (I use on the "2001" timeline); it is not really a 2-part story, I just broke it up to make it more manageable on e-mail.
FATED by Holly Quinn

Dr. Nambu had heard of Mr. and Mrs. Asakura before. The couple lived on the increasingly notorious B.C. Island, a picturesque place that had become searingly poor in the late '70s, only to become more prosperous than before in nearly a blink of the eye. Almost the entire population of the island was employed by a mysterious organization called Galactor. Some called it a cult, others a large organized crime family, but Dr. Nambu had long suspected that it was something more. He had no evidence of it, but he believed they were capable of terrible things. There were rumors of brutality within their ranks, and an unquenchable thirst for power by its unknown founders. They had yet to establish a known leader, but Nambu had reason to believe the Asakuras were as likely as anyone to take the helm.

The phone call was disturbing. Nambu had worked very hard at keeping his association with the ISO under wraps, but Catarena Asakura was clearly aware of his connection. It was confusing; he had only recently gotten his doctorate, had no power, and possessed nothing they could possibly want. But he did study Galactor. And he knew enough about them to know that they were a threat - certainly not friends, as Mrs. Asakura seemed to be suggesting on the phone. For some reason, she wanted to meet with him. It was vitally important, she said. It would be a peaceful, highly confidential meeting. He would be in no danger, she promised, unless he told anyone of her call or the proposed meeting.

It seemed like a joke. Nambu tried to trace the call, but the signal was hopelessly scrambled. He considered staying away - it seemed too likely to be a trap - but it was hard to resist. He had never come face to face with anyone so deeply rooted in the Galactor Organization. And his fears were somewhat abated by the fact that he was just a little flattered that they urgently needed him - perhaps he would be appreciated for his hard work at last.

***

"This was a mistake." Guiseppe was pacing more than usual.

"We made this decision, now we have to go through with it." Catarena sat nervously at the kitchen table. "It's too late to go back."

"He's just a boy," Guiseppe said, staring out the window. "We could be sending him to his own death. Our own boy..."

"He'll die if we keep him here, Guiseppe, you know that."

"I'd rather he died here with me than with some strangers..."

Catarena stood up. "How can you say that? At least with them he stands a chance!"

Guiseppe lit a cigarette and took a long, slow drag. "He belongs with us, not with them."

"Guiseppe, do not ruin this... we've decided..."

"Well, maybe I'm un-deciding."

Catarena walked over to him and plucked the cigarette out of his fingers. "I'm not letting this organization kill another child. With my dying breath, I will see that he's safe." She tossed the smoking butt into the sink.

"We don't know who this Dr. Nambu is. We don't know what kind of man he is - "

"He is a good man."

"But we don't know that! Catarena -"

"We're not going to discuss this anymore." She turned her back to him.

Guiseppe gripped her shoulder. "I'm his father!"

Catarena didn't look at him. She pushed his hand away. "And you will do the right thing as such."

She walked over to the back door. She opened it, and stood, looking out, for a long moment.

"Giorgio!" she called, abruptly.

She smiled faintly as her small son ran towards her.

"What is it, Mama?" The boy asked, stepping inside.

Guiseppe knelt down. "Come over here, son," he said. "Come see your dad."

The boy ran over to him.

"You're a good boy, aren't you, 'Gio?"

"Sure, Papa,"

"You're a tough guy, too. Show me your fist."

Giorgio smiled and made a fist.

"Giorgio," Catarena said, "I want you to go upstairs and play in your room for awhile."

Giorgio frowned. "But I didn't do anything bad! Why can't I stay down here with you?"

Guiseppe shook a finger at his son. "Don't talk back to your mother, Giorgio. You remember our talk, don't you?"

Giorgio nodded, and looked down. "Yes, Papa."

Guiseppe tousled his hair. "You're a good boy, 'Gio. Go on up and play."

The boy looked up Catarena. "Am I being punished?"     She sighed, and knelt down beside them. "No, sweetie, you're not being punished. We just have some grown-up things we have to do, and you can't be down here. But it will only be for a little while."

Guiseppe smiled. "And then maybe we can have ice cream."

Giorgio beamed at his father. "Yeah!"

"Let's see if you can break your record," Guiseppe said, looking at his watch. "One..."

Giorgio took off running.

"Two... three..." He watched as the boy ran up the stairs and listened as he raced down the hallway above and slammed the door. Guiseppe smiled.

Catarena shook her head. "I hate it when you bribe him."

"Oh," he said, waving her away, "he's a little boy who has to spend a beautiful afternoon in his room. He deserves a little ice cream."

"He has to learn that sometimes you have to do things you don't want to, without reward."

Guiseppe frowned. "You don't have to be so cold. At least let him enjoy the time we have left."

Catarena looked at him, and turned away. The stood in silence for a few minutes, waiting. Before long, a car could be heard pulling up outside.

Guiseppe looked out the front window. "Which one is him?" he asked,

"What do you mean, 'which'?" Catarena looked out and shook her head. "He was to come alone!"

Guiseppe pulled out his handgun and checked the bullets.

"No, Guiseppe, no guns! Put that away!"

Guiseppe shook his head. "We have to be prepared."

"No guns! This is to be a peaceful meeting!"

He looked at Catarena. "Do you really think he would come here unarmed?"     "I asked him to trust us. Put the gun away."

Guiseppe made a face, and placed the gun in its holster under his jacket. "If he tries anything, I'll be ready."

Catarena counted to three silently, then opened the door. "You must be Dr. Nambu," she called to the man leading the way towards her.

The man nodded. "Yes. I am Kozaburou Nambu."

She eyed the man behind him. "And who is this?"

Nambu glanced at his companion. "This is Ray. My... bodyguard."

"I told you this would be a peaceful meeting."

Nambu raised his eyebrows. "You didn't expect me to come all alone?"

Catarena feigned a smile. "Well, your friend will have to wait outside."

Nambu shook his head. "I'm sorry, but, under the circumstances, I'd prefer it if Ray accompanied me. I'd hate to have to turn and leave after coming so far."

Catarena narrowed her eyes at him in a way that nearly took his breath away. "Very well," she said, finally. "But you realize it's no more difficult to kill two than one... if you don't trust us, you should have stayed home."

Dr. Nambu wavered. He was starting to see why this woman had become so successful in her organization.

"This will be a peaceful meeting," she said again. "And no one is to know about it."

Nambu nodded, and took a deep breath. "I've sworn Ray to secrecy. He understands that his life would be in danger if he were to repeat anything he might hear here today."

Catarena smiled. "Good." She led the pair into the house. It was a modest little cottage, little more than a kitchen and a living room, with a small dining area between. He guessed there were bedrooms upstairs, and hoped they weren't full of Galactor soldiers waiting to ambush. There was a back door in the kitchen, and through its window he could see that it wasn't more than a few hundred feet to the ocean. Quaint, he thought. But nothing like what he'd expected. Catarena, on the other hand, appeared far from quaint. She had a beauty that he imagined had become more stern over time. She wore her blond hair efficiently short, and even though she wasn't especially tall, her posture and demeanor made her seem nearly as tall as he was. After enduring one scathing look, he had decided to avoid meeting her eyes as much as he could.

"I thought Galactor agents lived on bases," he said.

"We do," said the man Nambu assumed to be Mr. Asakura. "This is where we come to get away from the day-to-day. You're the first to know about it, to be sure."

Nambu nodded slowly. "You have a beautiful island here."

"Looks are deceiving," he said. "I'm Guiseppe Asakura." He extended his hand.

Nambu grasped his hand. "I'm Dr. Nambu," he said. Guiseppe's hand was rough, like that of a fisherman or a soldier. He wore a nice suit, and his mustache and hair were neatly groomed, but he seemed more salt-of-the Earth than businessman. He came off less intimidating than his wife initially, but it was easy to tell that, as the man had said himself, looks were deceiving. There was a long scar across his left cheek, and Nambu was tempted to ask how he had gotten it, but he quickly decided against it.

"Can we get you something?" Guiseppe offered, "Coffee, tea, perhaps some wine?"

"Nambu shook his head quickly. "No," he said. "No thank you. I'd just like to know why you've called me here."

Catarena stood with her arms crossed. Her eyes bored into Dr. Nambu. "I have been doing some research on you," she said. "And I understand you are training a young boy to be a warrior, possibly for the -"

Nambu gasped. "No!"

"Well, of course you are," she said.

"You can't know about that... it's impossible! How could your organization have possibly found out?"

"Our 'organization' hasn't found out," Catarena said. "I have. It's not your concern how. But rest assured, my husband and I will not tell anyone else in Galactor of your plans."

"I don't understand," Nambu said. "How can I possibly believe that?"

The couple looked at each other for a moment. Guiseppe looked down at the floor.

"We have a son," Catarena said. "The same age as the boy you're training. He is quick and brave and a fast learner. I'm sure he'll be an asset to you."

"What?" Nambu looked from Catarena to Guiseppe and back to Catarena again. "You want me to take your son?"

Catarena nodded. After a moment, Guiseppe nodded, too.

"You want me to... train Galactor soldiers?"

Catarena shook her head. "No. We want you to train them to fight Galactor."     Nambu paused. "But that doesn't make any sense. You're _officers_ of Galactor..."

Catarena began to pace slowly. "You're not going to be able to fully understand," she said. "The time of a benign Galactor Organization is coming to an end. You may think you know us, doctor, but let me assure you, you do not. Your ISO is the only one who can stand a chance against us."

"But we're not an army... the UN..."

"The UN will be no match for us. You can't imagine the technology we have. Those... little UN planes and tanks will stand no chance."

Nambu took a deep breath. "Well, the ISO really doesn't have any technology that the UN doesn't have. And we simply don't have the troops. Our specialized teams are skilled, but-"

"You don't need numbers, sir," Guiseppe said. "The more fighters you have, the more the Galactor can destroy."

"And your son?"

"We told you," Catarena said, "He is a good learner."

"But I don't understand why you would want me to train him if it's so hopeless."

"It's not hopeless," Guiseppe said. He looked at his wife. She nodded slowly. "You people at the ISO are scientists. If you were provided with the raw materials, you could come up with technological marvels unseen in your militaries."

"I don't understand. What kind of raw materials?"

Guiseppe paused. "We've developed a sort of chip. Meant for Galactor, of course. It's still in its early stages, but it should give you the basis you'll need."

"Nambu looked at them suspiciously. "Is this a trick?"

Catarena shook her head. "No. You're the only scientist we have confidence in." She smiled. "If this were a trick, we'd be offering you a prosperous life in the Galactor regime."

Nambu looked around the room. "Isn't this an extreme betrayal on your part? You're not afraid of being caught?"

"We have nothing to lose, doctor," Catarena said. "We're in far to deep to ever leave. We can't take them down. If we're going to die anyway, we may as well give them afight... even if it is in the long-term.

"Our fates are sealed," Guiseppe said. "Our son's is not, if you agree to help."

Nambu took a deep breath. "How do I know you even have a son?"

"Because we're telling you," Catarena said.

"I don't know..." He looked up. There was a sound coming from upstairs. Alarmed, he looked at Catarena. "I thought you said we would be alone!"

Guiseppe turned, and ran for the stairs.

Ray reached into his coat.

Catarena ran in front of Ray, blocking him. "No! I _told_ you! It's no trap, he's just a child!"

Nambu raised a hand to his bodyguard. "Wait."

Ray looked confused. "But you said -"  

"Wait," Nambu repeated. "I think I believe them..." He followed Guiseppe and stood beside him. He looked up the narrow stairway. There, on the top step, stood a little boy, no older than seven or eight.

"Papa?" the boy said.

"It's O.K, son," Guiseppe said gently. "But you should stay in your room, now."    "Who's that man?"

"Just a friend of ours."

Nambu smiled. "I'm Dr. Nambu."

The boy descended the stairs carefully, and stood close to his father. "Is somebody sick?"

"No," Nambu said. "I'm a different kind of doctor. I'm a scientist. What's your name?"

The boy looked up at Guiseppe, who nodded at him. "Giorgio," he said.

"Giorgio. That's a good name," Nambu said. "You know, I have a little boy at home just your age. Maybe some time you could come and visit us, would you like that?"

Giorgio shook his head. "No, I wouldn't."

"Giorgio!" Guiseppe scolded. He looked at Nambu. "I'm sorry, he's just -"

"It's OK," Nambu said. "He's honest. I like that."

Giorgio sighed. "Can I go outside now? Please?"

Guiseppe looked at Catarena and nodded. "I suppose you can now," he said. "But don't you run out too far."

"OK!" Giorgio said, and he ran past his mother and out the back door.

Catarena was still blocking Ray, but she relaxed as she realized the danger was long past.

Nambu looked at the couple. "You want me to just take him?"

Catarena shook her head. "No. It's not that easy. If he just disappears, it will look too suspicious. We've made a plan." She walked over to the table and picked up a large envelope. "It's all in here." She looked at him, this time with empathy. "I won't lie to you. It will be dangerous. But he'll die if you don't do it."

Nambu looked out the window at the small boy, running around the yard. It had been easier to consider refusing before he'd seen the child. "I'll try," he said.

"That's all we can ask for, doctor," Catarena said.

Nambu looked at the envelope. "I suppose I have some work to do, then. I should be getting back." He turned, then looked back at the couple, now standing close together. He could almost see death lurking around them, and it left him searching for words. All he could do was say goodbye.

All they could do was thank him..

***

Dr. Nambu looked as Giorgio ran around his car, making exploding sounds.

"What are you playing?" he asked, as Ray got unlocked the door and got in.

"War," the boy said.

"War isn't a game, son," Nambu said.

"I'm not your son," Giorgio said.

"It's just an expression.".

Giorgio clicked his tongue. "Next time you come over, you should bring your kid with you so we can play."

Nambu nodded. "I'll see what I can do." He got into the car, and leaned out the window. "I'll see you, Giorgio," he said.

Giorgio started to run off, then stopped and watched as the car backed away. "Doubt it," he said.

THE END
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