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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, '09, 7:08 am
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Fun in the Sun, or A months-early salute to summer partially inspired by, of all things, the theme song from Red Dwarf.

(AW 1285, Saya Beach, Oputa)

It's a shame Nei's not around anymore, a blue-haired man thought as he watched the sun reflecting off the crystal-clear waters of Motavia's Great Sea. She would have loved a day like this.

Indeed, he was right- Motavia's ever-present warmth, combined with the seaborne breeze and the various scents and sounds of beachgoers made for a very pleasant day. As he took a sip from his glass of tea, the man continued to think, This many people on the beach, and it's only nine in the morning. Hope everybody can come.

"Yo, Rolf! There you are!" A baritone voice called from down the boardwalk, pulling the blue-haired man from his thoughts. Turning around, he smiled at the source of the deep voice: A very tall blond man dressed in a dull gray Hawaiian shirt and swim trunks. Even if his hair weren't spiked vertically, he still towered over his companion, a woman with frizzy blond hair.

"Oh, hey, Rudo! And Anna, too!" Rolf said, rising to meet his old friends. "How's that hunters' guild idea you two had coming along?"

"Rolf," Anna replied, looking over her mirrored sunglasses, her cobalt eyes locking on to Rolf. "It's more my idea than Rudo's, and even then, it's not going all that well."

"Four members, besides me and Anna. We're kinda hurting for jobs right now," Rudo added. "We're so desperate for work, someone in Zema offered us two thousand Meseta to clean her house."

"Not our finest hour."

"I'd imagine so," Rolf replied. "Still, there's something to be said about no work- you get a day like today off."

"That we do." Anna looked at the beachgoers, then smiled.

"Yep!" Another female voice chimed in, uncomfortably close to Rolf's back. "Ah, there's nothing like feeling the wind blowing through your hair, or around your midriff, isn't there, Anna?"

"...I'm wearing a one-piece, Shir," Anna said, her voice returning to its ever-present monotone.

Ignoring Anna's response, Shir took a sip from Rolf's iced tea, plopping herself into the chair that he had vacated. "Ah, that hits the spot! So, Rolf, when's everyone else getting here?"

"Well, I'm... not really too sure," Rolf said. "I honestly thought Hugh and Amy were going to be here first."

"Maybe they're already on a date?" Shir asked him.

"At nine in the morning?"

"Maybe they got together for breakfast," Anna said. "They're both doctors, so they're early risers."

"Oh, sure, take all the mystery out of it," Shir groused. Picking herself out of the chair, she approached Rolf, energetically saying "Like my bikini, Rolf? I got it yesterday!"

Rolf sweatdropped as he turned to Shir, who was trying her best to strike a pose in front of him. Her cheongsam-like bikini fluttered in the seaside breeze, giving Rolf a tantalizing (if brief) look at the green-haired woman's thighs.

"Uh, Shir? Didn't that bikini used to be a cheongsam?" he asked.

"Naah- found it at one of the malls downtown. Only 2500 Meseta, too! Of course-" She beamed with pride at her friends. "If you're a certain someone, you could say it was a steal, heh heh."

"Shir, have you ever considered seeing someone about that kleptomania of yours?" Anna asked. Rudo only shook his head, his amused disapproval obvious.

"Look, Anna, Shir doesn't actually steal anything really valuable," Rolf started to tell the blond.

"Tell me about it! That stupid Opa-Opa painting I filched three years ago- what a piece of crap! My fence only got me fifty Meseta for it!"

This time, Anna and Rudo sweatdropped. Rolf sighed and continued, "Anna, I've known Shir a long time. She's my best friend, and she wouldn't intentionally steal something if she knew it would do real financial harm."

"Besides, Anna, if I remember right, you were a little too happy when Shir stole that Laconia boomerang for you last year," Rudo added.

Sighing and sweatdropping, Anna nodded. "All right, I'll concede that."

"See? My thievery is so useful. Go ask Hugh- he's right behind you."

Rolf laughed a little, noticing the purple-haired man approaching Anna from behind, accompanied by a red-haired woman. Rolf waved them over, and smiled as the man returned his wave.

"Good to see you all again," the man said. Rudo couldn't help but notice there was a newfound edge of confidence in Hugh's voice, something that he had lacked in their first meeting the year before. I guess fighting Mother Brain and those Earthmen helped him mature, the large man guessed.

"Great seeing you two again!" Rolf replied, shaking Hugh's hand. "How's everything?"

"Pretty good, thanks, but it's been a bit hectic lately."

"Well, you know what they say about doctors, Hugh," Amy replied, giving Hugh her ever-present sweet smile. "Always on call, never without borders."

Hugh nodded, returning Amy's smile. "Even still, it's nice to have a day like this to ourselves- no patients, no stress. A day to relax."

"I know the feeling- Governor Paulus wants us to keep Paseo safe as best as we can, now that the Polezi robots are offline," Rolf replied. "We can only do so much though..."

"Same thing with the army," Rudo added. "Made us enjoy the leave all the more."

"That's the spirit, everyone!" Shir clapped her hands once, then turned to the two newcomers. "And now that you're here, you can just sit back, have some drinks, and loosen up! And speaking of loosening up..." The green-haired woman took a step towards Amy, examining her closely. "Aren't you a bit overdressed for the boardwalk?"

With a confused look on his face, Rolf sweatdropped as he, Rudo, and Anna looked to Hugh and Amy. Hugh was wearing a pair of green swim trunks and a dark green shirt emblazoned with a dragon pattern, as well as his familiar red scarf. "Um, Hugh's dressed just like Rudo and I are," he told Shir.

"I'm not talking about Hugh, silly- I meant Amy!"

Amy sweatdropped. The straw hat she wore barely concealed the small ponytail she started growing recently, but Rolf knew that wasn't what Shir was talking about. The redhead was wearing a concealing white shirt, which looked totally out of place among the bathing suits and bikinis of Saya Beach. "Oh, this," she stammered, nervousness becoming clear in her voice. "I bought a bathing suit, but... it's a bit skimpy..."

"Aw, c'mon!" Shir urged. "You're on a beach, for God's sake, Amy! Live a little!"

"It's... it's very skimpy, actually..."

"Doctor Sage, Rolf and Rudo actually convinced me to get out of my rut and wear something unarmored," Anna told the doctor. "I think you can go one day in a bikini."

"But..."

"Amy, you're among friends. Relax. I'm sure Hugh thinks you look great in it."

Spurred on by her friends' comments, Amy nodded, then removed her jacket. She swore that the music and sounds of the boardwalk stopped dead as she revealed a pale yellow bikini, decorated with a red rose design. Tied around the woman's slim waist was a thin white sarong, which gently fluttered with the slight breeze. Blushing quite deeply as she unveiled her bikini, Amy lowered her head and stammered, "It... it's a bit revealing, I think. Isn't it?"

Rudo and Rolf said nothing, their jaws simultaneously dropping as their eyes widened in shock and surprise. Anna and Shir both stepped between them and Amy, while Hugh said, "You look wonderful, Amy."

"Oh, thank you, Hugh, but-"

"Amy, honey, it's just a bikini. It's not underwear or anything."

She took a moment to think about what her boyfriend had said, then Amy laughed, embracing Hugh. "You're right," she said cheerfully. "Oh, what would I do without you all?"

"Sit around in some exam room back at Sisters of Mercy in lab scrubs, I think," Rudo joked.

"In other words, your job, Doctor Sage- your modern stressful life, which Rolf and Kain convinced us we should all take a break from this weekend."

Ever since their defeat of Dark Force, Mother Brain, and the Earthlings, Rolf and his six companions couldn't help but stay in touch with each other over the past year- whether to share concerns for Algo's future, or to reminisce about days gone by, or even to share a case of beer and watch football and chess boxing (a frequent pastime of Rudo and their missing comrade, Kain), the "Magnificent Seven," as most of Motavia's news networks called them, remained a tight-knit group of friends.

"Speaking of Kain, where is he?" Rolf asked.

"Knowing him?" Hugh asked. "Kain's probably at one of the arcades, trying to overclock one of the skeeball machines."

"Now hold on there fer a sec, Hugh!" A Kueran-accented voice from behind Rolf and Shir addressed the group, and everyone turned to see a lanky young man with slicked teal hair, dressed in a battered pair of jean shorts and a red plaid shirt that was a near-perfect match for Rolf's own blue shirt. From behind a pair of sunglasses, he glared at Hugh as he told him, "Everyone with a technical degree knows that those dern skeeball machines ain't worth overclockin'- it's them crane games you need to jury-rig! Ah should know- the arcade downbeach won't let me near their crane games anymore after whut I did two years ago!"

"Okay, I'll bite," Rolf said. "What happened?"

"Well, Ah tried to rig one of the claws to actually, y'know, grab things. Those scoundrel game owners keep the screws loose sos' a feller like me can't win anything worth half a damn."

"Sounds like something Shir would do," Anna said. She ignored Shir's annoyed glare.

"'Sactly right, Annie! Now, Ah'm starin' at the game, wonderin' just how Ah'm gonna get in there and fix that claw, then out comes mah portable toolkit. The arcade's security guys caught me, we had some words- mostly stuff Ah wouldn't say in front of Miss Amy-"

"Oh, dear," Amy said.

"Right." Kain paused for a second to crack his knuckles, then finished his tale: "Theys grab me, but Ah figure Ah'm not goin' down without a fight. Fists flew, one of the security guys goes for his baton, and next thing Ah know, Ah'm buried from the neck up in that dern sand, and some kid's hitting me in the * with a frisbee!"

Rolf raised a skeptical eyebrow at Kain's story, as the rest of the group sweatdropped. There was a second of uncomfortable silence before Hugh said, "I think you're exaggerating a bit, Kain."

"Prolly. And now that we're all here, what exactly are we gonna do, Rolf?"

"Hmm... I hadn't really thought about that, really," Rolf realized. "What did you guys want to do?"

-=-

Next Episode Preview: Shir shanghais Amy into an impromptu battle of the bikinis, Hugh confides a personal dilemma with Rolf, Rudo and Anna put their targeting skills to the test, and Kain tries his hand at the most blatantly unfair Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! clone Motavia has to offer!

Shir: Summer has never been so much fun! ^_^
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