Work Header

Light Fandango

Work Text:

Ed lets out a wail of frustration and flops onto her back, sending up a small cloud of dust.  Ein sneezes and curls up into her side.  Ed has been following the meteors as they land, managing to miss meeting up with her father at every single location.  She and Ein have been at it all day and they're exhausted.  Oh sure, sometimes they found tire tracks leading away, but more often the meteor was too far away to reasonably get to in time (maybe she should find a scooter?).  She thought she saw his vehicle driving by on the horizon, once, but the engine was too loud and he didn't notice her jumping and waving around.

Her father isn't even a criminal and he's still the hardest person she's ever had to track.

Ed and Ein are way out in the middle of nowhere - she has barely ever even been to this sector - Ein doesn't look so good.  Ed doesn't feel so good either.  They need a ride, preferably one with a food option.

She opens her computer and pecks half-heartedly at the keys.

"Dear ISSP," she types.

"Radical Edward is here:" and then adds her GPS coordinates, collapsing back into the dirt as she finishes.  She hunts around pitifully for the send with her big toe.  Oh, that it should come to this.

The ISSP arrive minutes later, eager for the chance to put away the infamous hacker.

"There's no one here.  Told you it was a prank call," one cop says, getting out of the car.

"No see, there's a kid and a dog over there," his partner argues.

Ed tilts her head backwards, chin up to the sky.  The cops look funny like that - walking seems bouncier when you watch it upside-down, and the second one has this big moustache.  Ed can just imagine it's one long hairy eyebrow that's eating his face (chomp! chomp!) as he bounces along.

"Hi there, son," says Moustache.

"I'm a girl." Ed informs the facial hair.

"Beg your pardon, Miss.  We received a message from this location that the hacker Radical Edward was here.  Did you send this message?"

"Edward sent the message!" Ed confirms, pleased.

The cops exchange tentatively excited glances.

"Then you saw him send it?  Could you describe this Edward character for us?" cop one asks.  Ed nicknames him Huey after a kid she knew at the orphanage.  Huey liked to make fart noises with his armpits to scandalize the nuns.  Huey was pretty great.  Ed hopes cop one can live up to the name.

"Edward is Edward," Ed sing-songs.

"Well that's extremely usef---" Huey mutters.

"Ein is Ein," Ed is just warming up.  Ein yips at the sound of his name.  "Huey is Huey!  Moustache is Moustac--"

"Okay, kid.  How long have you been out here?" Moustache starts to look concerned.  "Are your parents nearby?"

"MPU is MPU.  Tomato is--"

"Heat exhaustion, probably" says Huey.  "She's just spouting nonsense.  Did you bring any water?"

"Faye Faye is Faye Faye and--"

"Here Miss," says Moustache and lifts her up to mouth of a bottle.   "Slowly!  Slowly!" he warns as she guzzles it down.  He tries to pull it away but Ed growls at him. 

He backs off with his hands up, alarmed.

"Aaaaahhhhh," Ed sighs.  She holds the rest out for Ein, who laps at the trickle.  Huey and Moustache have a hushed conversation to decide her fate.

She is eventually packed away into the back of the police cruiser, along with Ein and Ed's computer, for a ride to the station.  Ed goes quietly at the promise of food and more water.

There's an odd festive mood at the station.  All of Huey and Moustache's colleagues are gathered around the radio, listening to the news.  Ein cocks an ear, but Ed tunes it out.  It's just something happening with the syndicates... boring!   Blah, blah, blah, shooting, blah, blah, blah.  Nothing about offering up huge sums of money for criminals at all. 

Ed and Ein eat and eat, fall into a deep sleep on the kindly offered couch, wake up, and sneak out before Huey remembers she's there and she's asked to give a statement or produce a responsible adult.  Ed's never sure why everyone always assumes that adults are the responsible ones, anyway.

Now that she's rested and fed, Ed has some ideas about how to find her father. 

First, they need to find a hideout.

Ein rejects the first two houses, for no good reason that Ed can see.  She trusts Ein, so she doesn't mock him for his housing snobbery, even though she desperately wants to.  The third one Ein deems acceptable, even though one of the walls has a hole in it.  That's okay, though.  Just makes it easier to get into.

Ed parks herself on the floor (nice soft carpet!) and straps on her goggles.  She dives, knowing Ein's got her back, deep past the ads and the pop-up scams, the legitimate business sites, the public forums and the private records, deep into the heart of government and military secrets. 

"MPU?" Ed calls.

"...Ed, is that you?" MPU answers.

"MPU!!!" Ed screeches down the connection.  "I missed yooooouuuu!!"  Ein barks sharply (too loud!) behind her.

"I am pleased to hear your voice again, Ed," MPU replies.

How cool is it to be on a first name basis with a satellite?  (So cool!) Ed only has about a million questions she would like to ask it if she weren't always facing time-sensitive problems.  One of these days, she promises herself.

"Are you busy, MPU??"

"...Not very," MPU replies.  "Since you told me to stop drawing with the military lasers, I've just been watching the weather, which I can do in my sleep.  Or were you making a joke?  Hah.  Very funny, hah."

Satellites have a sense of humour!  Amazing!

"I have a job for you!  MPU!  Say, MPU, can you tell me about meteors?  You can predict weather patterns - can you predict meteor showers?"

"That is an interesting question.  I have records of weather patterns dating back to the Astral Gate Accident, and I am able to make a pattern of their trajectories."  Ed wiggles her fingers in time to the imagined whirr of MPU's processors.

The wiggle has run its course down to her toes by the time MPU tells her, "I can pinpoint with 95% accuracy the location of the next meteor shower in this quadrant."

"When!?" Ed all but shouts.

"The estimated time of impact with the Earth is 31 seconds."

"What about the next one?" Ed wrinkles her nose.  31 seconds is not enough time to get anywhere without a ship.

"I am uncertain.  There are currently no meteors that have both entered the Earth's atmosphere and are large enough to make it to the surface."

"...No wait," MPU corrects. "There is one now.  The next meteor will impact in quadrant 2 in seventy seconds."

"EeerrrrRRRR!  I can't get there in a minute, MPU.  I don't even have a scooter!  Can't you give me more time?"

"I am sorry, Ed.  My programming only lets me predict weather patterns within the atmosphere."

"What about the lasers up there with you?  Don't they protect you from incoming meteors?"

"Those meteors aren't big enough to reach the surface by the time the lasers are through with them," MPU says drily.

Ed gets MPU to check the defense system's data, and MPU declares the flight path of meteors in space to be "too unpredictable."  She tells MPU to keep working on it and logs out, flinging her goggles across the room.  She latches on to Ein's furry body and wails into his belly.  He scrambles away from her, but comes back to lick her face when she remains prone.

"Ein." Ed frowns.  "Ah no, stop!  Bad dog, bad--"

Ein hits a ticklish spot and Ed convulses.  "Okay, okay Ein, stop!  StoooOOOOooOp!"

She collapses, breathless.  Ein nudges her hand and drops her goggles beside her.  "I lied," Ed heaves herself upright.  "You are the best dog."

She dives back in and checks in on the Bebop.  They're still on Earth.  Actually, everyone's still on Earth.  There's no traffic going in or out.  She hooks into a news feed and ah.. now all the stuff on the police station radio is making sense.

There was a big shoot-out at the Red Dragon HQ, and there's piles of rumours flying around about who's actually left alive to run it now.  No one wants another off-planet syndicate to come in and try their luck, so no one can fly in or out of Earth, for now.

Well, that's good news for Ed!  She can get the Bebop to take her to her father!

She rolls a gleeful somersault while she dials and Ein runs cheerful circles around her.

Jet picks up.  He looks worn out.  "For the last time, Bob, I'm not going to... oh it's you."

"Jet!" Ed grins.  He rubs a hand over his face.

"What do you want?" Jet asks.

Ed's stomach grumbles.  Really stomach?  You were just full.  "Grilled cheese, egg noodles, fajitas and perogi," Ed lists mournfully.  "Pickles and chocolate milk--"

"Alright, I get it.  We're all hungry.  Aren't you with your father?  Go prey on him."

"Ed is with Ein!" Ed says.  Ein barks obligingly.

The Jet in the screen studies her.  She mirrors him.

"Are you okay?" he asks.

"Are you?" she counters.

It surprises him into answering.  "I'm fine.  Faye's-- well... and Spike--" his face falls.  Jet's eyes narrow.  "I asked you first."

"Ed is good.  Ein has Ed's back, and Ed has Ein's."

"That's good," he sighs.  "So why aren't you with your father?"

"He is on the run," she admits.  "Too fast for Ed."

Ed watches Jet's processors whirr like MPU's.

"You need a ride?" Jet guesses.

"Yay!  Thank you Jet!" Ed accepts graciously and hammers out some arrangements to come and pick her up.

In the meantime, she hacks into her friends lives because Jet is obviously hiding something important.  She tries calling Spike's comm, but he doesn't pick up.  She calls Faye, who does, but looks very volatile.  She's outside somewhere and she's got her sunglasses on.  "Ah Ed, did you find your father?" she asks.

Ed explains about Jet helping her.

"So long as he doesn't expect me to take you," Faye says, with her typical brusqueness. "He didn't tell you that Spike is dead, did he?  I don't believe in sugar-coating things for kids, though, so there you have it.  Spike took on the syndicate and now he's dead.  There's a lesson in there for you: don't live in the past... or maybe don't live for other people.  People are hell, and they'll get you killed.  Ah, here we go.  Deadbeat from the bar.  You want a piece of me?--" and the line cuts off.

Ed is stunned, frozen in space.  There's a high-pitch whine in her ears, and it startles her to realize she's making it herself.  "AAAhhhh," she wails.  Ein whimpers at her anxiously.

Spike dead?  Spike is an indestructible bounty hunting legend.  Coming back alive is his whole thing.  No matter what happens, the Bebop crew makes it back.  That's why she picked them in the first place.  They might go hungry, but they're hungry together.

So maybe he's not dead.  But if he's not dead where is he?

She hacks into the Swordfish's flight data, and learns that Spike definitely did land near enough to the Red Dragon building to confirm that that's probably where he went.  She picks up his image on a security cam going in the right direction.  She watches some news feeds of explosions in the building and multiple firefights.  And then... nothing.  No one comes out again, as far as she can tell.

Spike fought hard and the syndicate suffered heavy losses.  If Spike lost, surely the Red Dragon would have issued a statement saying how strong they were so that the other syndicates would back off.  So most likely no one knows who's in charge anymore.  That means that Spike is either alive and injured or captured (since he hasn't contacted the Bebop) or as Faye believes, he really is dead.

Ed likes the injured theory.  Spike often comes back from fights and has to lie on the couch for a week, wrapped up in bandages like a mummy.

Or well... she can't count out that the Red Dragon is playing possum and will attack whoever comes for them.

The one thing she heard over and over again when she was learning to hack, was to stay out of Syndicate nets unless you have a death-wish.  It's always more trouble than it's worth.  She hesitates for only a second.

By the end of the night Ed has a truly shocking amount of blackmail, a good picture of how the organization works, lobby security footage of Spike taking everyone out without breaking a sweat, and more footage from an upper floor that she wishes she could scrub from her brain of Spike limping down stair flight 29A, shooting a finger gun and collapsing.  They take him away minutes later and Ed can identify one of the men as a medic, which is good news unless they're keeping him alive to torture him.

She carefully clears away the traces of her hack, but she should be safe since the Red Dragon really is too shorthanded to bother monitoring its net.

Now for a plan.

Ed has about a dozen really stupid ones that hinge on Spike being conscious and the other guy being dead.  If not, she most likely ends up dead, or at the very least fleeing from Earth.




In the end, she ends up paying homage to Spike by knocking on the front door of the building - what's left of it, anyway.

"Are you Radical Edward's representative?" a mobster looks her up and down and pauses on Ein who is slightly in front of her, ready to attack because it makes Ein feel better.  The mobster's name is Cyrus, Ed is pretty sure she remembers from her jaunt through employee records. 

"Yes," says Ed.  She definitely represents herself.  "You saw the news?"

"Yes," says Cyrus, nonplussed.  "We reply to your reasonable demands and you don't expose our secrets to the world."

"Exactly," Ed beams.  Gold star for Cyrus!

"Demand number one: I would like to pass a message to Spike Spiegel from Edward Wang Hwe Pepel Cybulski the 4th," she says, because she rarely gets to use her full name.

Cyrus narrows his eyes.  "Look, kid, I don't know what you're playing at, but--"

"You can't?" Ed asks.  "That's very disappointing.  I think you should take some time to think about that."  She stares him down, unblinking. 

"Is that it?" he challenges.  "I haven't got all day."

She doesn't say anything and he shifts his weight.  Hah!

"Cyrus, right?" she asks, finally.

Cyrus glares.  Ed has to admit, he's got a pretty good poker face.  She can see why he got put on the door.

"I like you Cyrus, but I think you should be a little more helpful or by tomorrow your wife will know everything."

"What do you mean ever--"

"Everything."  Ed doesn't bother with a poker face; she doesn't need to bluff.

Cyrus goes pale. "What's your message?"

"Just let him know that Ein and I would like to speak with him.  You can hand him this comm," she says, passing over Spike's.  Ed found it in the Stingray, right where Spike left it.

"Chop-chop Cyrus.  Day's wasting."  Ed says.  "Oh and Cyrus," she remembers brightly.  "Edward can see you, and if anything happens to me while I wait out here, Edward will alter the course of a meteor so that it lands on your building and flattens you and most of the buildings around you.  I hope you can run fast!" 

(Okay, so she does bluff a little.  She'd only have Jet and Faye fly up and fire some missiles.  But it would be so cool if she could get MPU to rain down meteors where Ed wanted.)

Cyrus doesn't run away, but he does walk pretty quickly.  He assigns another suit to watch her.  She beckons him over.

"Juan," she says.  Juan looks at her in trepidation.  He's probably super worried about the fraud.  As he should be.

"Demand number two: I would like an item of food in the shape of a flamingo."

Juan's eyes open wide, but instead of protesting, he gets on his comm link and starts talking.  At least someone's suitably impressed, Cyrus.

She sits down and pretends to sleep with her eyes open.

Juan brings her a sandwich on a baguette cut in poor imitation of a bird.

Ed raises her eyebrows at it, pulls off the head at the neck and dangles it at Juan imperiously.  Ein licks his chops.  "For you," she says.

"Um, I've already eaten, "says Juan.

"I insist," says Ed and waves it a little.

Juan miserably stuffs the bird in his mouth, chews and swallows.  A good faith sandwich: no poison, no drugs.

Ed splits the rest between her and Ein.

Her comm buzzes to life and she fumbles her half - Ein snatches it up, that dirty traitor.

"Waaa," she answers.  "You just cost me a sandwich."

"Hey kid," says Spike.  He looks pretty beat up and his voice is really quiet, but the bandage on his face looks like a pro-job.  "Have you come to spring me?"

A voice from off camera says "Mr. Spiegel!" disapprovingly.  "You need to rest!"

"I appreciate Faye's beside manner, now.  Don't tell her I told you that."

Ed claps a hand over her mouth.  This is the best day ever!

"You want to come up? I think I need visitors to keep me from resting."

"Mr. Spiegel!" Ed hears.

"They made you their LEADER!!!" she crows, unable to hold it in anymore.

"Where did you hear that," Spike scowls.  "I am not leading anyone.  Don't let them tell you that."

"Following the leader, the leader, the leader--" Ed sings and dances.  Ein barks along.

"I really want to tell Cyrus to shoot you, but he'd actually do it because nobody here can take a joke.  You might as well come on up."

Juan leads her in and passes her off to Arkady who takes her in the heavily shot up elevator to the 6th floor.  Arkady avoids looking at her.

Ed grins at him.

He leads her towards a hallway dotted with security who are clearly carrying.  She stops and looks up, slightly intimidated.  Arkady turns around when he realizes she's not with him.

"It's for Mr. Spiegel's safety," he explains.  "He tried to leave the building once and tore all his stitches."

"Ooohh," Ed says and trots along after him, eying the guards like mannequins in a haunted house.

Arkady knocks twice and ushers her in.  Her jaw drops.  Spike is in the softest bed in the most plush looking room she's ever seen.  Well.

She runs and jumps on the bed.

"...Ow," Spike winces as she bounces around.  "Ow, ow, please stop."

Hands reach out to pull her off the bed, and she starts growling.

"She's fine, Cyrus," Spike waves him off.  "Just as long as she stops moving," he directs this last part at Ed, and she subsides regretfully.

"Don't suppose you have a cigarette?" Spike wonders.  "No one understands how much worse this is while I'm suffering from withdrawal."

"Noo," Ed says, but....  She turns to Cyrus, inspired.

"Demand number three: bring Spike a cigarette."

"A box of cigarettes," Spike clarifies.  "And a light."

"Cigarettes and a light," Ed repeats, for Cyrus' benefit.

Cyrus looks disgusted, but leaves.

"Interesting," Spike says, clearly taking a minute to re-evaluate Ed's use.  "What are you doing here?  Weren't you off to chase meteors?" he asks.

"Yes," Ed answers.  "We thought you were dead."

"Yeah, they wouldn't give me a comm," Spike says - it is a clear source of contention.

"Their leader's not okay so they're weak.  They didn't want anyone to know."

"I'm not their leader," Spike replies automatically.

"Um," says Ed, and then remembers:  "Oh!  I have to call Jet!"

"The Bebop's still on Earth?"

"Yes," Ed says.  Jet picks up almost immediately.

"What do you think you're doing, you idiot kid?" Jet rages.

"Jet!" Ed says.  "I got you a souvenir!" and hands him to Spike.

 She leaps off the bed with Ein and runs around so they can share their feelings without her.  Old men!  Super emotional!

When she gets back, Jet is trying to pretend he isn't wiping away a tear and Spike is smiling slightly.  She tells Jet to ignore any message he might get telling him to blow up the Red Dragon HQ and Spike adds that he can land on the roof instead, if there's still one left.

"You're a little bit scary, you know that?" Spike says when they hang up.

"Eh heh," she says.  "Call Faye!"

"I'm pretty tired all of a sudden," Spike grimaces.

Ed grimaces back and swipes the comm.  "She's punching gross men in the face.  Take," she hands it back to him.

"And that's supposed to convince me to talk to-- oh hi Faye, you look terrible."

Faye gapes.  She kind of does look terrible, but also kind of more awesome?  Faye is at her best when she's at her worst.  Ed doesn't know how she does it, but she'd like to learn.

"You absolute bastard," the tears flow from her spectacular black eye.   She pulls herself together.  "I guess you decided to live, after all."

"I was given very little choice," Spike says resentfully.

Ed pulls the comm away.  "Faye Faye come meet us!  We're at the building Spike wrecked!"  She disconnects.

A thought occurs to her: "Hey Spike!  Now that you're the leader, are you rich enough to pay off Faye's debt?"

Spike winces.  "I'm still not the leader, and don't you dare go giving that woman any ideas."

Cyrus knocks twice and enters the room brandishing the cigarettes and the lighter.

"That took a long time, Cyrus," Ed notes.

Cyrus glares.

"Thank you," Spike says, apparently laying off on the antagonism now that Ed is there to be way more efficiently annoying than he can manage at his current level of energy.  "Light one of those for me?  I'm expecting two more visitors - a bald guy and a woman with a black eye.  They might land on the roof if there's still a roof.  Don't shoot them, either."

"You're nearly asleep, Mr. Spiegel," Cyrus says.  "You can have a cigarette after you've rested."  As he's leaving the room he hisses to Ed: "Do not let him set himself on fire while he's asleep."

Ed considers Spike.  Cyrus does makes a good point.  "If you die, Ein won't be able to stop him from killing me in my sleep." Ein barks.

"You're all heartless," he complains.  "He really does--" Spike yawns "--n't like you very much, though, does he?"

"Nope!" Ed says, but Spike is already asleep.

That's okay, though.  She needs to stop the countdown that sends the blackmail to the news station, and she really wants to check out the bathroom.  If the bedroom is this nice, can you imagine?




Faye agrees with her, or at least she eyes up every piece of furniture like she's wondering what price it will fetch on the black market. 

Mostly they eat.  There is a lot of food, so they eat a lot.

Otherwise, they gang up on Spike.  Faye claims that it speeds up his healing process.

"You're rich and powerful and I have never been more attracted to you." Faye tells him, slightly bored.

"The feeling isn't mutual," Spike grumbles.

"I'm so glad you have a terrible personality, or I would really be regretting my actions right now."

"I regret everything, but especially this conversation," Spike says.


"Now that you're the leader--" Ed asks.

"I'm not the leader."  Ed exchanges skeptical looks with Ein.

"--does that make Cyrus your minion?"

Okay, so Ed picks on Spike and Cyrus equally.  It's twice the fun, and she's kind of curious to see if she can push them into solidarity through adversity.


"Have you ever given a thought to what you'll do when you retire from bounty hunting?" Jet wonders.

"Jet, no," Spike says, pained.

"Because bounty hunting is not an old man's game and it's not a bad set up here."

"Really?  A crime syndicate is not a bad set up?  The good old drugs and weapons trade?  That's what you're going with?"

"I didn't say it was perfect," Jet admonishes.  "But you really want someone coming in here you don't know and taking over?  I mean, you could really do something with all this loyalty."

"Not happening," Spike says, mulishly.


Ein looks at Spike with his saddest puppy dog eyes and whines.

"For the love of--"



In any case, Faye might have a point about Spike's healing process, because Spike does get back on his feet quickly, if only so he can end conversations by leaving the room.



"You know," Jet says. "If you really don't want to lead the Red Dragon you should probably think about a successor."

"Cyrus can do it," Spike volunteers immediately.

"Cyrus can not do it!" Jet says, outraged.  "Cyrus is twenty-two and has no life experience.  He's seconds away from a nervous breakdown.  Ed would be a better choice than Cyrus."

They turn and look at Ed.

"Mmmm minions," Ed drools, like she can eat them for breakfast.

"Okay, Faye would...," Jet trails off.  "Yeah nevermind.  You know, you did a really good job of getting rid of everyone who could oppose you.  If I didn't know you better, I'd think you planned this."

Spike blows suitably insulted smoke in his direction.  "I'm sure I left a couple. They must have been smart enough to run."

"Aaaah, Jet, I need that ride now," Ed remembers.

"Oh?" says Jet.

"Have to chase a meteor!" Ed says.  Ein barks at her feet.

"...You're going to go find your father now," Jet surmises heavily.

"He can be the leader," Ed says.  She chases Ein around as if to illustrate her point.  Ein is chasing Ed, though, so they just make a tiny, dizzying circle.

"Huh?" says Jet.  "Wait, what does that mean, Ed?"  Ed trips and lands half on Ein.  Ein yelps.

"...Huh," muses Spike.  "No wonder I lost that fight."  Jet looks at him like Ed's craziness is catching, and then--

"...You mean he's syndicate??" Jet says, bowled over.  "But he's a cartographer!"

"Eh heh," Ed says, scratching the back of her head.

"Who else could he have been working for," Spike asks reasonably.  "The government?"

They laugh.

"Okay, kid.  Let's go find your old man."




In the end it's at least twelve times as awesome as she'd thought when she was imagining waiting for her father to find her at the latest fallen meteor.  Ein is there, of course, but Jet and Spike came (Cyrus is there, too, to be Spike's bodyguard), Faye is there (Ed suspects she has money riding on something), and there's a line of Red Dragon security behind her in militarily precise formation.  Do they teach them how to do that or do they share a hive-mind like bees?

In any case she can't tell if the syndicate guys came for Cyrus or for Spike, or because they were thrilled to remember that a moderately familiar face in their organization was still out there.  Whatever it was, they look great!  Very official!  She gives them a thumbs up.  Cyrus' gaze flickers over her briefly.  It was super funny when they realized her name was Ed, although none of the Bebop crew have confirmed that she's also Radical Edward in the event that one of the syndicate would decide she knows too much and take action.  It was even more funny when they found out she was their potential new boss' daughter.  She wishes she'd been in one of the rooms with security footage, so she could look it up and play it back later!  Cyrus is really struggling with how to treat her... disdain or respect?  Disdain or respect?  She's hoping he'll get past that, though, eventually.

They watch her father's off-road vehicle driving up in the distance.  It slows and stops as it reaches them and her father steps out.  His assistant keeps the car running.

Ed takes a running leap at him.  "Found you!"  (She can hear Faye ribbing Spike behind her: "You lost to that guy?")

"Ah, Françoise." He catches her, but doesn't toss her around, after.  "You've made some interesting friends."

"Sir, we need you to come in," says Cyrus, straight to the point, as always.

"Is that so?" Sivus Appledehli says mildly.  "Who's in charge?  I've been hearing all sorts of things on the radio."

"Vicious killed the upper echelon," Spike jumps in before anyone can tell him Spike is the leader.  "And I killed Vicious.  There's no one in charge."

"Hmm," says Sivus.  "I've been out for a long time.  I have no idea how anything works anymore."

"We can help you with that, sir," Cyrus says, probably with more confidence than he feels.

"And what about my work?"

"MacIntire can do it," says Jet.

"Or MPU can," Ed pipes up.

Sivus looks at her curiously.

"Did you have plans for after you finished mapping?" Ed wants to know.  "Or do you just like making maps?"

"Well," Sivus considers.  "There's no real end to map-making - the Earth is always changing, so technically it's impossible to finish.  On the other hand, I did have some ideas about--"

"Great!" says Ed, relieved she hasn't destroyed her father's dreams.  "You should do those!  MPU can map for you."

"MPU's a weather satellite," Jet explains.  "One of Ed's more interesting friends."

"Ahh," says Sivus.  "You and I have a lot to catch up on, it appears.  Will you come with me?" he asks.

Ed smiles and grabs hold of his hand, so he can't run off without her again.  Adults!  So much work!  Ein barks to remind her he's already made his choice to stay with her.

In the end, Faye was right - she does want to know if she belongs with her father, but she already knows that she's found that with the Bebop crew. 

"Okay, visit me or I'll find you," she says to them, gleefully dancing on the spot. 

Ed expects she'll have to hunt them down, and she'd be lying if she said she wasn't looking forward to it.





                                                                                                          ...SEE YOU SPACE COWGIRL