border of a certain country. Twenty-three
A full moon floats in a boundless sky with nary a trace
The wind velocity is 1 meter per second. The temperature
is 19 degrees centigrade. The humidity registers at
Without fog, one cannot hope for a shielding mist.
It is a 3-P night (peaceful, pleasant, and placid);
in other words, the conditions are altogether unsuitable
for this top-secret invasion.
"...Nuts. Hey, Clark. Couldn't you have chosen
another day for this?"
"Don't set your guns on me! Right, Whip?"
"The changing of the border security force comes
but once a month. ...It was Ralf who judged today as
the only opportunity for our raid."
"That's how I remember it."
"See. Even Leona backs me up!"
"Jeesh! Doesn't anyone feel like sticking up for
their leader? Everyone's so freakin' logical all the
There is still quite a hike to the danger zone near
A hint of tension clouds the faces and the behavior
of these invaders, but the true test awaits a few kilometers
down. That is where the carnage will take place.
Though night, the wasteland illuminated by the full
moon's glow is amply bright.
The pace of the mercenaries garbed in field gear is
light, but they fear being fully exposed. Though they
know no watches them, they instinctively seek cover,
from rock to rock and shrub to shrub. His trademark
bandana gives Ralf away. Clark's the one with sunglasses
forever fused to his face. Leona, the laconic lady
warrior, and the master of the bullwhip, Whip, bring
up the rear. The four shadows silently press on.
Whip, taking up the rear, suddenly freezes, produces
her bullwhip, and readies herself. All quickly follow
suit, a reflexive action brought about by their training.
At the slightest indication, the forward three immediately
assume combat positions.
"Hey, what's going on, Whip...ster?"
When Ralf glances back and focuses on Whip, the image
of her immediate vicinity being covered by a dark shadow
hits him hard. A giant darkness grows behind her; and
the "shadow" slowly engulfs the frozen Whip,
followed by Leona, Clark, and Ralf himself.
"Leona, can you make out its speed?"
"Going by the shadow's velocity, I'd judge it
at five to six kilometers per hour."
"Hmm. An observational flight, perhaps? Clark,
what's the objective's height and size?"
"It's altitude's got to be about 1,000 meters.
The total length...."
"Well? What's the objective's size?"
"Four hundred meters. Give or take."
"Four hundred meters?! Don't you think you're
a little off?"
"I'm not off. It's about 1,312 feet, or 1,320
Japanese shaku. That's 212 Ralfs lined up end to end!"
"Uh, thanks. What's that length in cigarettes
placed end to end?"
"Four thousand four hundred forty-four."
"...You scare me sometimes, Clark. So that balloon's
bigger than an aircraft carrier?!"
The massive flying ship drifts through the sky.
The shadow hangs over all four, continuing to obstruct
It seems the objective has cut its engines and is drifting.
It makes no noise. By the light of the moon, it is
difficult to determine the ship's color, but it appears
to be coated in a dark blue tint. The noble and elegant
design is a lithe streamline shape.
"You got pictures, didn't you, Whipster?"
"Whips...Oh, all right, you little twit! Whip!
You did get pictures, didn't you?!"
"Yup. And the data's already encoded and compressed.
Shall I send it to Heidern?"
"It's got nothing to do with the mission directly...but
we can't ignore it. Just that monster nonchalantly
floating near the border's hot zone is one big piece
"Our position may be given away with the momentary
transmission of this data."
"No kidding. How long do you think I've been doing
this anyway? I know the risks. Send it!"
Leona does not avert her gaze from the giant flying
ship leisurely flying on by. She continues to study
it, as if trying to remember something, and whispers
"I've seen that ship.... I just know it."
"You're rationalizing, Leona. You can't possibly
recognize that levitating leviathan."
Ralf and Clark frown simultaneously.
There is no way Leona can know this craft. But this
* * * * * * * *
"Mistress Rose, the four life signs we picked
up previously have begun moving again. It lasted but
a moment, but there's a trace of an electronic transmission
being sent - a transmission of encoded data. Perhaps
agents from some sort of intelligence service?"
"Oh really...? Any word from my brother?"
The answering voice is that of a youthful woman. She
is oblivious to the contents of the report.
The compact control room of the flying machine is packed
with myriad consoles. A blonde girl appears on one
of them. It is likely a closed-circuit system allowing
direct communication with this girl in a separate room.
"Are we to rendez-vous over the Pacific as planned?"
"Yes.... Tedious, isn't it, Gwan?"
The girl called Rose coos to her black panther crouching
at her feet while playing with her blonde tresses.
Rose strokes the beast's brow with her foot, as if
it were but a house cat.
"And what of those four we previously detected?"
"I'm not interested. Leave them."
* * * * * * * *
"Heidern. KOF has just begun in all venues throughout
The one-eyed mercenary Heidern is currently in cahoots
with Interpol, investigating the hidden mystery behind
KOF...the King of Fighters.
"Keep my apprised of the steady progress of our
two participating squads."
"Yes, sir. And here are the estimated specs of
the flying ship from last month's report."
In an exceedingly brief alignment of characters, the
following appeared on the submitted transparency:
'Total length less than 400 meters. Total width, less
than 50 meters. In addition to a maximum speed below
180 kilometers, a flight range of 60,000 kilometers
is estimated. All data computed on the basis of image
"For that amount of investigatory time, we still
don't know the owner of this particular vessel?"
"My apologies. The tangible and intangible hurdles
to attaining such intel were considerable. Further,
the vessel, we surmise, is apparently equipped with
some sort of radar-jamming system. ...This is all just
supposition and conjecture on our part, though."
(This worries me... ...What is this apprehension I
Heidern orders further inquiry into the mysterious
flying ship, but the submission of the official report
from the investigative agency is scheduled for a date
after KOF's conclusion.
Regardless, it was subsequently made known that the
name of the sky ship was "SKY-NOAH."
And its owner...