Almost As Good

The first draft of this story appeared on the newsgroup on 20 November 1998 under the Subject line [Fanfic] Almost As Good (was: Mostly for the purpose of starting a new thread but oh well...). The current version appeared on the same newsgroup on 14 January 1999 under the Subject line [Fanfic][revised] Almost As Good. It has also appeared on the rec.arts.anime.creative newsgroup under the Subject line [BGC][Fanfic] Almost As Good on 15 January 1999. That posting is, of course, in the rec.arts.anime.creative fanfic archive, at

Characters and situations in this fanfic were inspired or borrowed from works copyright by Artmic, Youmex, and AIC. The plot is based on a suggestion by "Linna Yamazaki" (linnayamazaki{at}

This story is much grimmer than the ones I've written before. If you're looking for a light-hearted BGC fanfic, go read "Deep Space Nene" (Despite the name, it isn't a "Bubblegum Trek" story - honest!)

An earlier version of this story appeared on the group on 20 November 1998. Thanks to all who gave C&C.

As is usual with my fanfics, this is based on the OAV version of the appropriate show.

Almost As Good

Another story of the Knight Sabers
         by Rob Kelk

The battle had been long-fought, but most of the Boomers were finally in pieces around the construction site. The Knight Sabers were starting to get tired - that's the only way to explain the mistakes they made.

Sylia was sure that their last opponent was no match for Priss and Linna, so she started to relax. That was the mistake she made that night.

Since there was only one Boomer left, Nene stopped monitoring its transmissions, choosing simply to jam any signal it could possibly send farther than a few meters. That was the mistake she made that night.

Priss concentrated on disabling the Boomer's on-board weapons, at the expense of ignoring its mobility and communications ability. That was the mistake she made that night.

The Boomer didn't make any mistakes - it was simply outclassed. It wasn't stupid, though. Its final act was to jump to the construction site's crane and take control of it, causing it to dislodge a load of steel girders from the building's fourth floor. With any luck, it reasoned, its successors would have one less vigilante to worry about. Simultaneous attacks from Priss, Linna, and Sylia ensured it couldn't last long enough to see how much damage it had done.

Linna was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's funny how some small mistakes are worse than other big ones, isn't it?

The surgeons finally came out of E.R. Only one of them made his way to the three women waiting in the corridor. "Are you the ones who came in with Ms. Yamazaki?"

"That's correct," answered Sylia for the group. "How is she?"

"She's alive, and she'll stay that way." When they heard this, all three of Linna's friends breathed sighs of relief, which changed to gasps of dismay when they heard his next words. "But there was some damage we couldn't cure. There's no easy way to say this - we had to amputate her legs."

"Oh, Linna ..." began Nene, before her tears overtook her. Priss didn't cry, but anyone who knew her could tell the only thing keeping the sorrow at bay was her anger.

When Sylia replied, her voice was subdued. "What is her prognosis, Doctor?"

"With the proper cybernetic limbs, she should recover ninety per cent of her mobility. Odds are that she'll never notice the difference between the robot legs and her old ones."

"She'll notice. Linna is ... was ... a professional dancer."

"Oh, dear. That poor girl."

Rehab was like Hell for Linna. She was used to being able to move gracefully, and now she had to plod along like ... well, like someone whose legs had been cut off. She barely paid attention to the therapist any more; he never said anything new.

"Miss Yamazaki, you'll never make any progress if you just sit there." The therapist thought it was a shame that this beautiful young woman wasn't trying to put her life back together. "Please get up and walk to the end of the room."

The door behind the two of them opened, and the therapist turned to see who was interrupting one of his sessions. The visitor got the first words in, though. "Would you mind leaving us alone, Doctor?"

Linna turned when she heard her friend's voice. "Sylia! What are you doing here?"

"I've come to see one of my best customers, of course." The door closed behind the departing therapist. "And I'm wondering when I'm going to get my best Knight Saber back in action. How are you doing?"

Linna looked away. "It's so hard, Sylia. I don't know if I'm ever going to master using these legs."

"Well, you'll never know if you never try, won't you?"

"What have they been telling you?" There was a hint of steel in Linna's voice.

Sylia looked Linna straight in the eye. "They've been telling me that you're spending more time wallowing in self-pity than in recuperating. Are they right?"

Linna thought for a moment. "They were, but not any more!" She got to her feet and walked to the end of the room. She only stumbled once.

After a few weeks, Linna was ready to leave the hospital. Mackie helped her pack her things. "How could you collect so many flower pots in the hospital?"

"You and the others kept sending me flowers, remember? Here, help me get this bag of 'Get Well Soon' cards closed."

"Yeah, sure. Ummm ... Linna, does it still hurt?"

She thought for a moment. "A bit, yes. The therapist said that's normal, though; I'll probably have some 'phantom pain' for a few months more, then every now and then for the rest of my life."

"You're sure taking it well. A lot of people would be freaking out after they found out they lost their legs and had them replaced."

"Why should I be freaking out? I can still walk normally, after all. Even twenty years ago, I'd have been stuck in a wheelchair. Today, I've got something that's almost as good as the real thing. All things considered, I'm pretty lucky."

"You've got a point there," replied Mackie. What he didn't ask was, 'So why do you look so sad when you think I'm not looking at you?'

Phoebe gave Linna every chance she could, but it was obvious after a week that she wouldn't be able to lead the classes that she had before. This was the part of running a business that Phoebe hated the most - having to fire someone who used to be a good employee. She just wished that Linna would have accepted the office job she had been offered, but the girl's pride wouldn't let her do that ...

Doctor Raven watched from the simulator control console as Linna put herself through some limbering-up excercises. He glanced at the clock display on the monitor, then scowled as he realized she had been "warming up" for half an hour. He grabbed the microphone and flipped the intercom switch. "Linna, aren't you ready to begin yet? I can't stay down here all day without people getting suspicious!"

"I haven't worked all the kinks out yet. Just give me a few more minutes, Pops."

"How many time do I have to tell you - call me 'Doctor'! And you've had five times as much warm-up time as even Nene takes! I'm starting the simulation at Level 5 in one minute."

"Level five? I can clear Level eight! Why are you starting me so low?"

"Because Sylia told me to take it easy with you for a while. You did just get out of the hospital last week, Linna."

"Oh, come on, Doctor. Can't you at least start at Level 6?" Linna's voice had lost most of its usual self-assurance by this time.

Doctor Raven, on the other hand, was as irascable as always. "I'm so sorry, but my instructions were quite clear. 45 seconds before the simulation begins."

Linna let out a long sigh, then got into her "ready" position. The simulation began and Linna started defending and attacking it as she usually did. At least, she tried to attack the way she always did, but her kicks were always a bit too slow, and her jabs were never quite balanced properly. The simulation managed to defeat her just before it ended.

"Run it again!" she yelled. And again, she couldn't clear Level 5.

"Again!" she demanded, but Doctor Raven only shook his head. Linna looked like she was about to explode. "Now, damn it!"

"No, Linna. Come on out of there; you're exhausted and not thinking straight. Besides, it's my turn in the simulator."

Linna was so surprised, she forgot to be angry. "You use the simulator?"

"Of course! I can clear Level 2 now, at least most of the time."

Linna stared for a moment, then started to laugh. She left the simulator chamber and headed for the shower.

When he was sure she was out of earshot, Doctor Raven picked up the phone and dialed a well-used number. "It's me. Yes, she just finished her session. The poor girl couldn't even clear Level 5, and she tried twice. Yes, I know she's still recovering, but I think you have to dust off your contingency plans and find a replacement Knight Saber. Yes, that is my professional opinion; those legs will never be as good as the ones she was born with. They're almost as good, but they're not good enough. You said you wanted the opinion of a cybernetics expert; don't get upset when the opinion isn't what you were hoping for. No, I will not watch her fail again. I said no; if you want her to go through any more heartache, you'll have to run the program yourself, Ms. Stingray." He hung up abruptly and left the simulator room.

The door to the change room wasn't as soundproof as Doctor Raven thought it was. The shower did a good job of hiding Linna's tears.

Priss re-read the last paragraph of the note she had found in Linna's apartment. "Don't try to find me, please. I know almost all of you could track me down by following my credit card transactions, but I'm begging you to let me leave. I'm no good to the team any more, and there's no point in pretending any differently. There's nothing left for me in Tokyo any more. If I figure out a way to pull my own weight again, I'll get in touch with you."

'Oh, Linna,' she thought. 'How could you be so stupid? All we want to do is help you! We're your friends! Why are you running away from us?'

Priss called Sylia and read the entire note to her. She then turned off the lights, locked the door behind her, and spent all night on her bike, trying to ride away from her sorrow.

Two years later, the Knight Sabers spent a precious night off at the Tokyo premiere of the latest Hollywood blockbuster musical. Nene stayed to read the credits, and was surprised to see the name of the movie's Chief Choreographer: Linna Yamazaki.

She might not be able to dance, but choreography was almost as good.

Last update: 16 February 2001

HomeAnime FAQsAnime FanficsAnime Meganekko
Ani-Mayhem CardsAnime in RPGsAnime LinksAnime Miscellany