Story by Tsumori Tokio
Lucifard attempts to contact Saladin over a secure computer connection. He is just about to start talking about the Ra-Phael when someone tries to hack into their conversation. Lucifard traces the hacker down and finds it is the fiancé of the editor of Purple Heaven. Practically all the female officers are trying to get photos and information about the handsome new arrival. On the hospital side, Saladin's nurses and patients keep themselves amused by speculating that he has love affairs with every attractive man that enters the building, so they pay close attention every time the doctor interacts with Lucifard. Lucifard is despairing of having enough privacy to talk about his ancestors, until Lilah suggests that he just close himself up in a room with the doctor so no one can overhear.
Lucifard is invited to play a game of "basketball" with some of the other male officers. When he shows up, however, it turns out that the other men have planned a rough game of "battle ball" as a rite of passage for the new officer. Not only does Lucifard accept the challenge, he plays without any protective gear and winds up winning the game for his team in record time. He then invites all the men to join in on a no-holds-barred grudge match. The female spectators are bemused by the men's primal enjoyment of what is essentially a brawl. After that event, Lucifard's popularity increases astronomically.
When the "game" ends, Saladin helps patch up the participants. A conversation ensues about men who are likely to get chosen as characters in the next issue of Purple Heaven. When it looks like Lucifard is the most probable victim, his response is to say, "No thanks. Pass!" and tap the man next to him. The "privilege" is passed from man to man around the crowd until the last one left is Saladin--also known as Doctor Psycho. When he gets tapped, he simply smiles and says, "Shall I test out this privilege?"--causing every man present except Lucifard to run away in terror. (Lucifard is thoroughly impressed by the doctor's power.) All Terranauts are instinctively afraid of Houraijin. Lilah uses the metaphor that it is like staring at a beautiful, inviting pond--it makes you want to dive in, even though you're certain that you'll drown. There's an inexplicable reminder of death. Lucifard thinks it's some kind of racial memory, because he doesn't feel it.
Later, Saladin speaks with his fellow doctor Kaja about the Ra-Phael. Since that was what Lucfard was going to talk about, he's curious. Kaja explains that the Ra-Phael, who are known for being empathic, were also called "Descendents of the Angels" because of their beauty and peacefulness. Kaja has a very low opinion of most of them, because they have no drive or ambition, they're generally like dolls, just there to be looked at. The only one who was different was Mariliard, the last Ra-Phael prince.
Most Ra-Phael have gold or silver hair. Occasionally one is born with black hair, which is viewed as a bad sign by the others. Mariliard had such black hair, though otherwise he strongly resembled his mother's brother. The crown is passed down through the female line, so Mariliard's mother was the queen. Kaja speculates that Mariliard's similarity to O2 and Lucifard is probably because O2's parents were close friends of Mariliard's uncle--thus, O2 was probably Mariliard's illegitimate biological cousin. What Saladin finds strange is that Lucifard called himself a throwback to an extinct race. Though the Ra-Phael home planet was stricken with an epidemic that devastated them, they are currently recovering and cannot be considered extinct. Saladin wonders if Lucifard meant some race that had come before the Ra-Phael.
Kaja has mixed feelings about Lucifard. The Hakushi tend to be an arrogant race. Though they are allies of the humans, for some reason they see O2 in particular as their enemy. Kaja stopped aging at a point too young to reproduce, yet his powers do not appear to be strong enough to justify is "uselessness." He left his home planet because he didn't like the way he was treated, though he still feels a little racial allegience. He halfway believes that he should gather information about Lucifard that could be used by the Hakushi against O2.
When Saladin realized that he was releasing his rose scent around Lucifard, his first thought was that he was losing control of his abilities. When he gets a moment alone, he tests out his powers. His eyes turn red and he converts one of his fingernails into a wicked knife. He is reassured that he still has full control, which makes his unconscious reaction to Lucifard all the more puzzling to him.
Lucifard is summoned to a briefing section regarding his company's new assignment to guard the spaceport. One of the issues that comes up at the meeting is Purple Heaven and what should be done about it. When Lucifard is called upon to give his opinion, he admits that he has never read it. He is given a sample copy, which contains a story about his predecessor--and was the reason his predecessor lost his temper, nearly shot someone, and was forced to leave. After being entreated *not* to read out loud, Lucifard peruses the story for a while, until finally he collapses in uncontrollable laughter. That was one reaction the other male officers had never expected. For the rest of the meeting, even when reading the latest issue in which a story prologue sets Lucifard up with his "destined" man after they brush shoulders in the hall, he can't stop laughing. He thinks it's the funniest stuff he's ever read. He gets so carried away with playing up the scenario that his hilarity infects everyone else (and he is eventually asked to leave the room before they all die of suffocation).
One side effect of the meeting, however, is that he speaks with his company's commander, who was a "good friend" of his father. Lucifard wonders *how* good. He knows his father had an obsession with Mariliard that monopolized his heart. O2 only started a relationship with Lucifard's mother Frida because her temper reminded him of Mariliard. O2's passion for the prince was so intense that, in his attempt to enact revenge for Mariliard's death at the hands of terrorists, he nearly converted the sun of an inhabited system into a black hole. Lilah, who is a fan of O2 herself, tries to cheer up Lucifard by telling him that what he needs to do is find a significant other for himself and concentrate on that person instead.
The two then proceed to conspire about taking sexy pictures of Lucifard, spicing them up digitally (with light sparkles, flower petals, wings, that sort of thing), and submitting them to Purple Heaven. Lilah borrowed a whole box full of back issues of Purple Heaven from one of the female soldiers. At first she hid them from Lucifard because she was afraid he would make fun of her. When she found out that he liked them too, she was even more convinced not to share them, because it freaks her out that he's so amused by gay porn.
End Volume Two
[Volume One] [Volume Three] [Main Page]