Story by Tsumori Tokio
Lucifard has an odd relationship with his father, Olivie Oscarstein (known as O2). They only lived together for three years before Lucifard's mother took him with her to live in space as a bounty hunter. O2 never showed much affection for his son, except for one time when Lucifard was kidnapped by scientists. They performed experiments on him because of his powers and were just about to dissect him when O2 showed up and rescued him, destroying the lab in the process. Because of that, Lucifard can't help admiring his father, even though the man never really *acted* much like a father.
Since Lucifard's powers are so strong, he has a great deal of destructive potential--and his powers react to his emotional state. There are two levels of safeguards against mass destruction. First, he was born with particularly weak emotional responses--he rarely gets excited or angry--which reduces the likelihood that he will blow up everything around him. Second, the military devised special psychic control bracelets that sound an alarm and deliver a strong electrical shock if he uses more than a certain amount of power. He must wear a bracelet on each arm pretty much at all times. A side effect of this is that he is constantly sleepy and tends to lapse into slumber the instant his level of stimulation wanes. A third measure of control is that he can use his power with much better precision when he is affecting something with which he is in physical contact. He has grown his hair down to his knees to allow him more "him" with which he can contact material. He can manipulate his hair as if it had a life of its own.
The story begins as he is demoted and transferred to a base on the planet Vermillion way out in the middle of nowhere. Although he has a distinguished record, having received the highest military honor three times, there are factions that disapprove of his lack of the "proper" military attitude. He has a rather immature personality in that he often says exactly what is on his mind, whether or not it is appropriate or polite. He also has quite the potty mouth, using words that are reportedly so obscene that they are only heard about once a year or so among the troops and never from a commanding officer.
Lucifard has a second-in-command, a female officer named Lilah Kim, who acts as his caretaker. She is responsible for getting him to do what he's supposed to do (instead of, say, sleeping all the time). They aren't *romantically* involved, although she has gotten him to sleep with her by means of sneaking into his bedroom, climbing on him, and threatening to keep him awake all night unless he performs. He has very little romantic interest in women, since his emotions are weak to begin with plus he would much rather be sleeping than doing anything else. He has no interest in men--rather, he has an extreme aversion to attention from men, due to constant harrassment based on his physical attractiveness and long hair. Despite his apathy in the romance department, he has a dream of one day getting married and having six children.
This new duty on Vermillion is intended to be somewhat of a punishment for him. It is a planet that has few inhabitants and zero potential for coming under attack from alien enemies. The budget is small, the equipment is old, the technology is outdated, and the soldiers have a "dead end" attitude. The capital city of the planet is called Carmine. There are two other populated areas--Purple Town (a business district) and Yellow Town (a residential district). There's a sizeable slum right outside Yellow Town that is ruled by crime gangs.
There is a female-run monthly gossip magazine called Purple Heaven that is published on the military base. It is half tabloid, half slash fanzine. The characters in the stories are all men who are stationed there. This causes the men a lot of grief, because their names and likenesses are used without their permission. The women contend that they have labelled every story as "fiction," so if a character "happens" to resemble someone real it is merely coincidence.
While there, Lucifard encounters the head of external medicine at the base hospital, Saladin Alamoot, whom he recognizes as a Houraijin due to his pearly skin, cat-pupiled amber eyes, and blue-green hair. (Saladin's counterpart, the head of internal medicine, is a Hakushi named Kaja.) Intrigued by meeting a man as attractive as he is, he sends a request for information about the Houraijin. He is contacted by his father, who warns him against getting too deeply involved, although he also advises Lucifard to protect the doctor. His father contacted him personally because someone tampered with the Central Intelligence computers about a hundred and fifty years previously, erasing a lot of the Houraijin data. Lucifard receives what there is left about Houraijin and Saladin, though he doesn't have the chance to read it quite yet.
Lucifard goes to the medical facility to donate blood, because his is a special type that isn't available and he must store some in case of future need. He has a rather long conversation with Saladin, who is fascinated by Lucifard's curious eyes. They are black with a thin ring of gold around the pupil that makes them look like a complete solar eclipse. Saladin at first teases Lucifard and tries to provoke reactions from him. He is famous for "tormenting" people. Lucifard figures out that it is because he hates humans and is getting some kind of satisfaction from watching them react to his teasing. Saladin apologizes and agrees not to treat Lucifard that way any more--though he will continue with anyone else.
Lucifard warns him that he will run into someone angered into harming him if he keeps it up. Saladin admits that he has been stabbed before and has learned knife-throwing in self-defense. Lucifard offers to be his protector, which Saladin finds very comforting after spending his whole life hiding and running from Hunters. Lucifard is attracted to Saladin's amber eyes, which lighten or darken depending on his mood, making the officer feel like a moth drawn to a flame.
On a shamisen he inherited from a human woman he loved long ago, Saladin plays the title song "Kill the Crows of Three Thousand Worlds" for Lucifard and explains its meaning. It is a short, traditional Japanese song that's supposed to be from the perspective of a prostitute. She's with a client for whom she has feelings, so she wants him to stay with her as long as possible. However, she knows that he must leave in the morning. Since morning is signaled by bird calls, she wishes she could kill all the birds everywhere so that they won't call out and she can have just a while longer with her lover. Lucifard is fascinated with the notion of love that powerful, since he has never felt it himself.
As he prepares to leave, Lucifard smells something sweet and pure that reminds him of roses. His pulse races and he feels an excitement he has never before experienced. Without thinking, he pushes Saladin down on the hospital bed and starts kissing him, not stopping until Saladin knocks him a few times on the head. Returning to his senses, Lucifard passes it off as revenge for the earlier teasing. He asks about the strange rose scent, which shocks the doctor, who comes up with the excuse that it must be a combination of chemicals he was working with in the lab.
After Lucifard leaves, the shaken Houraijin reflects on what just happened. Apparently the scent is a type of sophisticated pheromone that he gives off instinctively to ensnare the person he wants as his mate. First of all, he is amazed that he released the pheromone perfume for Lucifard. Second, he is surprised that the officer didn't react as he would have expected someone affected by the scent to do, which could be because of his mixed heritage. The pheromones are dangerous in that they trap the "victims" into being love-slaves forced to protect the Houraijin regardless of their will. Saladin doesn't want that to happen to someone as free-spirited as Lucifard.
Lucifard, for his part, doesn't quite accept the doctor's explanation. He decides to read the Houraijin information his father sent him. He feels that if he then offers to tell Saladin an equivalent amount about his own race, that will be "fair."
End Volume One
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