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Psychro Always Gets His Man...Dora
Part One

Present day

"You know, I've always fancied myself to be something of a magician. Do you like magic shows?" he asked. Psychro was at one of his favourite establishments on the Royal moon. Sure, there were better places on some of the other moons, but on the Royal one this place couldn't be beat. The decor was classy but not too fancy, with modern wooden furniture in that antique flavour that he was so fond of. There was a pleasant atmosphere and very little in the way of offensive odours. There wasn't a band playing, either, which he was glad for as it drew attention away from himself. All in all, a very nice place.

"I do," the woman replied, bringing to mind the other reason he loved this place; the women. The finest university on the moons was just around the corner, and all the pretty young things escaped to here for their liquid refreshment. This one appeared to be native to the moon, though he suspected she wasn't directly connected to anyone important given the less than fashionable clothes she wore. The people of this moon were weird that way. Everyone could trace their roots to the royal family, no matter how obscure the connection. It wasn't like that on the Ice Moon where he was from. The Ice Moon was simple. They were divided into Houses. The oldest blood member of the House ruled it. If you didn't like playing by those rules, you branched off to your own House.

He took her hand gently in his own and stared deeply into her eyes, his other hand lightly playing across her wrist and forearm. "Good. Then come up to my room tonight for a special one time performance. You let me work my magic on you, I'll give you the show of a life time." Her face flushed and she eagerly pocketed his hotel room information.

Sometimes it was too easy. His rugged good looks on their own had captured the hearts of many a lass, but combined with the powers his Psion blood gave him he found himself more often interested in the chase versus the catch. He possessed a charming ability, one that could sway an opinion; it worked better in close proximity and even better when there was physical touch involved. He couldn't outright change someone's mind, but influence it yes.

"How do you do eet?" A voice asked. The voice belonged to the reason he had come to the moon in the first place. Tug Mug of the Graviton moon, whose people believed that girth equalled status, and that the worst kind of beer was the kind that hadn't been consumed.

"Ah, a good magician never reveals his tricks," Psychro replied. There was a complicated system of tricks he used to obtain his women, and it was largely based on knowing one's subject and gauging reactions. It was far too complex a system to get into over beer, and he didn't want too much competition anyway.

"I mean the hokey lines. How do you get away weeth eet?"

What the hell, maybe he'd give out a tidbit, besides he'd gotten the idea for the hokey line in the first place from his Graviton friend. He had overheard two women talking and one had made reference to Tug Mug being like a magician after sex, having a disappearing act once he was done. "With a woman like that, the secret is to make it obvious that you know you're being hokey, it shows you've got a sense of humour while getting your point across. I know her type. She loves hearing stuff like that. Doesn't work on everyone though, some women are no nonsense types, not a drop of humour in them."

"Speaking of wheech. You'll never guess who I ran eento; the reason I asked to see you. I'll geeve you a hint, she's a cop," Tug Mug said. Psychro had always found the other man's accent a little difficult to comprehend at times, and it got worse when either had been drinking, but generally found it almost endearing.

"You'll have to be more specific. I've slept with at least six cops." Which was true, though one of them hadn't told him she was a cop so he wasn't sure that one counted. When it came down to it, he was an admitted womanizer. It wasn't that he didn't *want* to settle down, it's just that he became restless when he was in a relationship. His longest relationship was a month, and he considered that to be some kind of record.

"Two words. Man... Dora." Psychro's thoughts stopped instantly, and he knew exactly what Tug Mug was talking about. The legendary officer for the Interplanetary Control Force; Mandora. His grin widened and Tug Mug burst into laughter. He hopped over to the bar and purchased two pitchers of ale and a pair of mugs and set them down.

One week ago

Tug Mug was conducting some business on his home moon, pleased with reports that his blend of beer was being used by one of the bigger distilleries. 'Chug a mug of Tug Mug's jug' was going to be the new slogan when it came out. Suddenly his sensors blared at him. Orbiting the moon was an asteroid, the only moon he knew of that had its own moon, and on it was a ship of some kind. One life reading. It was highly unusual to find anyone on the asteroid, so it was probably either someone in need of help or someone doing something illegal. Either way he could be a hero and probably milk that for a free round of beer.

He wheeled his ship down and realized just who was there. Mandora, lying flat on her stomach next to the Electrocharger, her famed motorcycle. What would an evil chaser of her legendary status be doing laying on an asteroid? Moving as swiftly as his wheels would allow, he approached her side. She was alive, conscious and... drunk? Mandora, the most dangerous law enforcer, a woman who was rumoured to be a cleverly designed robot, was drunk? He snapped a picture with his camera and then bent down next to her, touching her shoulder gently.

"I've failed, I'm a lousy cop who let personal needs get in the way of the law," she mumbled softly, her normally flat monotone voice cracking with sorrow. "Damn that Psychro. Damn him to hell."

Present day

Psychro leaned further back in his chair, feeling rather smug. For Mandora, the proud and mighty Mandora, to have sunk so far because of him... "I have that effect on women," he said, as though that explained everything.

"You deedn't..." Tug Mug started, then look at the smug look again, "you deed. You banged the evil chaser."

"Yup. Number two hundred and thirty three."

"Thees ees a story I have to hear," Tug Mug poured himself a second glass of beer and gestured for a waitress to bring another pitcher.

"To do that, I should start at the beginning..."

Eleven weeks ago

Chilla sat in the pilot's seat of the Psi-Blade class fighter. Built, naturally, on the Psion moon it typically took two people, traditionally so that one Psion could use their powers while the other piloted. She had been assigned the biggest pain in her neck as co-pilot Psychro of House Myntaello. From the day she'd met him, almost a year ago now, he had been trying to get into her tights to no avail. Every time they talked it was nothing but sexual innuendo and romantic advances, even freezing him in ice didn't seem to slow him down. Unfortunately, her commanding officer, a Darkling named Stalker, had complained that her flight hours were low and Psychro was the only one available. What was more infuriating was that if the whole matter had only waited an extra few days he wouldn't be around. He was heading back to the Royal Moon to visit his family.

"Come on, Chilla, you're like the black mark on my record, a black spot on my soul that needs you to fill it. I can get any woman to sleep with me except for you, and I don't understand it," he said from the passenger seat. He was good at his job, keeping her updated on the ship's status when he wasn't making dirty remarks.

An idea occurred to her and, though she figured she might regret it later, she knew that it would blow him off for a while. "Then prove it."

"Port heat sink is at ninety-six percent and holdi... what?"

"What you said. That you can get any woman to sleep with you. If you can sleep with a woman of my choosing, I'll go out with you on a date." Her tone implied that, in the unlikely event he won the bet, it would be dinner and nothing more; not even a kiss goodnight. And, as she knew his ego so well, he accepted.

"You're on. Conditionally. First, no one underage, married, or otherwise illegal or immoral," he said. It was fair enough, there had to be some kind of standards to prevent her from choosing someone like his sister. "Second, we employ the three strike system. I get to veto up to three people of your choosing. Otherwise, everyone is fair game."


Present day

"She peecked Loona, didn't she," Tug Mug said, guffawing. He, of course, realized where the story was going, and couldn't help but wonder if Chilla had heard the news yet. She would be mortified to find out that he had won the bet.

"First one she said, followed by Robear Belle, whom I disqualified." The reasoning was obvious. Robear Belle probably didn't technically have sex organs, and it was still uncertain whether she was married in some fashion to Robears Bill, Bob or any of the others. Though Chilla didn't like it, she had conceded the point. Her third pick, and his second disqualification, was Mumm-Rana. Angry fathers were something he didn't like dealing with, but angry gods was probably worse. Fourth had been Mandora. He had fallen for Mandora when he'd first seen her, and so he didn't employ his third strike, to her surprise. He was confident in his abilities, and already had the workings of a plan.

"So you tracked down Mandora?" Tug Mug asked, incredulous.

"No, no. One does not simply track down Mandora," he said, "one makes Mandora come to you. Step one was to do something that catches her attention and forces her to come to you. Nothing illegal, mind you, because that's the wrong kind of attention and she might bring back-up. No. I went for her sister."

"I deedn't know she had a sister," Tug Mug said. By this time the waitress had settled down at the table too, curious about how anyone had managed to nail Mandora. She herself knew how convincing Psychro could be, he'd convinced his way under her skirt after all, but Mandora? That should not have been possible.

"She does. Two of them in fact. There's her older sister Sondora and a younger sister Gundora."

"Wait. Sondora, Mandora, and Gundora?" the waitress asked.

"I didn't name them. Their parents must've been hippies or something. Anyway, thanks to a few plans that I set in motion, I knew that once I had my way with Gundora that I would soon be receiving a visit from her big sister. Two weeks later, I was proven right."

Ten weeks ago

Another bar, Mandora was hardly surprised. Her informants had gotten her to the Plundarr system, and told her that this seedy looking place was the place to look for Psychro. She disliked this part of her route, there weren't many laws on Plundarr or its moons, and the lawlessness of it all disgusted her. As she walked up to the building she spotted all manner of things that would be illegal anywhere else; mostly things like building code violations and public indecency. But then, this was the Graviton moon and everything about their population was indecent to her way of thinking. Overweight slobs poisoning their minds with intoxicants. She shook her head disdainfully and entered the bar.

There he was, chatting with some floozy. The woman was a Graviton woman with bright pink and green striped hair who was chatting amiably with him. She noticed Mandora framed in the entrance and said something to Psychro.

For a second, Mandora thought she had a runner; someone who would bolt at the first sign of the law, someone she would have to chase down and wrestle to the ground. Somewhat to her disappointment, Psychro waved her on over instead. "Mandora, I'd like to introduce you to Heavy Bevy, she's the president of my fanclub," he said cheerfully when the evil chaser got close enough.

"Hit the bricks, missy, I want a word with Mr. Myntaello," she said. She was focussed on Psychro and it was only for the sake of her sister's reputation that she wasn't discussing Gundora's indiscretions in front of strangers.

"Actually, it's Psychro. The Myntaello isn't really used in introductions," he said, gesturing that Heavy Bevy had his consent to leave. She had been something of a mistake. When he'd received a message from a woman announcing that she was president of his fanclub, and asking for a private rendezvous, he had been so flattered that he had made the mistake of agreeing before seeing her. His word was his bond, though, and he'd sent her on a wild ride; one that had a special prize at the end. All those women bedded and only two pregnancies, though the first one hadn't come to term. He shook his head to clear the thought away, that way lay bad memories and lots more beer.

"I don't care what you call yourself, I heard how you defiled my sister, so I've come to issue a warning. Keep your nose very clean, because if I catch you doing even the smallest infraction in my territory I'll have you in jail before you know what hit you," she said, leaning forward and staring at him hard through her visor.

"First of all," he announced, speaking slowly, "I didn't do anything to her that she didn't want me to do, she was a screamer, crying my name so loud people a block away heard it. Second, leaning down like that is giving me a great shot at your cleavage." She jerked upright faster than anyone he'd ever seen before. "Let me explain something to you, officer Mandora. You and I are going to find out just how much like your sister you are, I'm going to have you begging me to make love to you in every position I know, and I know a lot. The sooner you come to terms with that, the easier and more enjoyable this will be for both of us."

"How dare you talk to me like that, if we were on any one of six planets... You disgust me. Just remember that you were warned."

Present day

"Okay," Psychro said, "my first approach didn't work. I figured a hard nosed cop would want a tough guy, but also want the plain and honest truth. Apparently not. I ran into her almost every day that week, and I'd always try something new. But I was very careful not to do anything that would give her a valid reason to incarcerate me."

"Why not use your powers?" Tug Mug asked, and the bar maid nodded.

"Because that might give her an excuse. These evil chasers are allowed to arrest people if they try to attack them in any way, which means messing with her mind is dangerous. I couldn't even put a finger on her in case she tried to argue that I had assaulted her."

Nine weeks ago

Psychro was back on the Ice Moon, working in the family garage. It was a small shop, but they made money. The place had been in the family for three generations, even though the current crop barely used it. His twin sister, Psikaris, had moved on to bigger and better things within Queen Luna's government, and most of the rest of the immediate family weren't interested enough in mechanics. Psychro had considered closing the place down once or twice, but the dedicated clientele was there and he'd made some close friends through it.

At present it was only himself and one of his near cousins working. It was getting close to dinner time, and they only had the one little project left to finish. Some higher up had left his vehicle behind for an oil change before going on a scientific expedition elsewhere in the frozen wastes. The red-black liquid started to flow into the waiting pan beneath the truck, so the two headed to the sink to wash up. Then the bell chimed to indicate someone had come in. Psychro gestured that he would take care of it and went into the front.

It was her. He'd been wondering if she would follow him to his home moon once his business on the Graviton moon was finished, and wasn't surprised to see that she had. Mandora was dressed in a heavier winter coat, though he wondered where she had picked it up from, but still had the same nasty demeanor. She belonged here, he thought to himself, the ice water in her veins matched the frigid temperature outside. She was currently eyeing the place critically while he eyed her. "I've been researching Ice Moon infractions. I should probably report this place to the local authorities for poor ventilation," she said crisply.

"Ehn, what's another inspector bribed. This is the Ice Moon, Mandora, things are different here. You know, you look cold. Why don't I take you out, buy you a nice hot meal..." he started

"And get me in your nice warm bed, I bet. Not a chance, perpetrator, just reminding you that you can't get away from me that easily," she said, walking over to where he stood and jabbed a finger in his direction. She didn't get it. He didn't want to get away from her, he wanted to get close to her. Very close. Closer than her own skin. He watched her leave, trying to think of some way to crack that shell.

That night he dreamt that he was on a desert island, he wandered the beach alone for a while until he realized that there was another island almost attached to this one. On that other island were dozens of scantily clad Mandoras, prancing about collecting coconuts and bananas. They were giggling and singing in rich beautiful voices. Suddenly the fruit turned into pillows and the sand turned into pudding, as an impromptu pillow-fight started. But before he could join in, because every pillow-fight needs a referee, a solid brick wall arose around him, blocking his way no matter how hard he tried.

When he woke, it was in a cold sweat. He reached for the light and stared at his shaking hands. That blasted woman, she was in his head, she was his drug and he needed his fix. But if he was going to succeed, then he would need to take drastic measures. He would have to do something he had hoped never to do, but first he had to take care of his body's needs.

Present day

"Speaking of which, I thought you were supposed to take your annual bath," Psychro said, turning to find the waitress returning now that the vivid description of his dream was over.

"Nah, why bother wasting this great smell? I have a date next week," Tug Mug replied.

"How your species manages it, I'll never understand."

Eight weeks, six days ago

She was watching him from a distance, safely disguised as a mound of snow. Her specially designed visor allowed her to see quite clearly despite the cover, and her uniform generated its own heat to keep her warm. Even still, her legs were cramped, her arms were stiff, and she was quite frustrated with waiting for him. No, she wasn't frustrated. Frustration wasn't a helpful emotion and therefore was not allowed in her thought processes. Besides, she chided herself, she'd been on worse stakeouts than this. There was the month long stakeout of that biker gang where she'd had to disguise herself as a rock. That had been worse.

That one hadn't been personal either.

A good officer is not bound by personal emotions. Opinions can not influence an officer's behaviour. Only the facts matter, and the fact was that Psychro was a crime waiting to happen. She was doing the sector of space a service by waiting for him to commit one, and bringing him before a court of law.

Keep telling yourself that, you might believe it yet.

Even as she watched, Psychro emerged from the machine shop in a small shuttle that looked like it could hold a half dozen people. He made a turn and stopped it, opened the back hatch and stepped out into the brisk air and looking around. He looked in her direction and smirked. How had he done it? How had he known precisely where to look? Thermal scans! That was a novice mistake to not disguise one's body temperature in an environment like this. Mandora saw him carrying a steel rod which he brought crashing down on the taillight nearest her, smashing both casing and bulb in one clean shot.

He was provoking her! Trying to goad her in to making an arrest, but why? What did he have in mind? Besides, she sternly told herself, this wasn't technically her jurisdiction. Icewalker laws were lenient when it came to vehicle conditions and there was only a very small fine for having a broken taillight. But he seemed to know that fact too. He waved at her as he climbed into the shuttle, his look screaming 'come and get me' as the ship raised off the ground and vanished into the sky.

By all rights she should have ignored it, or at least called it in so that another evil chaser could deal with it. She would be playing right into his hands if she hopped on the Electrocharger and chased him down. And yet... The law was the law; it was unbendable and unbreakable. Offenders had to be punished, there could be no lenience. Her choice was only too clear. She got on the Electrocharger and gave chase.

It was working. Psychro couldn't believe it, but his plan was actually working. Mandora was such a dedicated cop that she couldn't allow even such a small infraction to slip, especially when she already had a personal vendetta against him.

His star charts told him that the nearest penal colony was almost a day away, and that would be a full day during which he would be in very close proximity with her and be able to pour as much charm as he could on her. He wondered if they would stop en route for sleep, or whether she would insist on pushing onwards. Maybe she didn't need sleep, that was entirely possible. Or maybe she would make sure he was sleeping before allowing her guard to be down that much. After all, she did everything by the book, and the book would tell her that the prisoner should never be trusted. He wondered, suddenly, what the book said about officer/criminal relationships.

He was just barely outside the Plundarr system when his scanners started blaring out a warning, Mandora's ship was pulling alongside his own, so he opened the airlock to let her in.

Mandora didn't trust Psychro, not as far as she could throw him, but to finally have an excuse to bring him in was a chance that couldn't be passed up. She tethered the Electrocharger to the plain gray ship with 'Space Babe' written on the side in blocky purple lettering, and entered through the rear airlock, boomerang drawn and ready to use. He was waiting, as she expected, on the other side. She wondered, looking at his face, whether he any facial expressions other than cocky. "Psychro, of House Myntaello," she began, a subtle jab at their earlier conversation, "you are under arrest for knowingly operating a vehicle with a broken taillight in this district of space. According to the charter of the Interplanetary Control Force I am required to inform you of your legal rights."

"Don't bother on my account," he sighed. This was hardly his first arrest, and the reading of the rights was one of the most boring aspects of it. He didn't know why they bothered with them, they were so straightforward and painfully obvious. Still, it was probably to cover their butts.

"Let the record show that the perpetrator has waived the listing of his rights. Now, come quietly or I'll be required to use force."

She had that tone of voice, the kind that suggested that she really wanted him to make her use force. The kind that suggested that she was looking to vent a lot of frustrations on his person. He was tempted to let her. But there was something about the way she stood, delivering her words, that excited him. "When I come, it's never quiet," he leered, enjoying the disgusted look on her face. "You know, you're very beautiful when you're angry, you should let people see that side of you more often. By the Lunar gods, that's it! I've got a new pet name for you. Mandorable, get it? Because you're Mandora and you're adorable?"

And that was when she hit him, an act she instantly regretted. She wasn't easily provoked, ever, so why was he having this kind of effect on her. She cursed herself mentally. Psychro could easily bring her up on charges of police brutality, and there was nothing she could do about it. But he wouldn't do it, she could see it on his face that he was quite pleased with himself. Instead he held out his arms, waiting for the handcuffs to be placed on, which she did gratefully.

Present day

"You see, I knew that using my powers to make her love me was out, I would never get her in my arms in such a short time, but anger... Anger is an easy emotion to play with. Everyone has that point where they can be brought to the brink of losing control and then gently be pushed over the edge. The whole time, I was flooding her brain with a desire to hit me, which admittedly wasn't hard. I was about to suggest to point out to her that I could press charges, which would ruin her career and probably have mine dropped. All I required was a kiss," Psychro said, noting that a few other patrons had wandered over and were listening in.

Experience had taught him that his charming powers worked better with physical contact, as his closest friends knew, but what they didn't know is that certain kinds of physical contact enhanced his powers. On his own he was a great lover, coupled with his ability to make people believe they were having the best sex ever he became excellent. He'd often wondered if a state of high arousal on his own part added to the strength of his suggestions, and had considered on more than one occasion going to a proper Psion school to learn more about his skills. But it was more fun to experiment. He took a few nachos, dripping with five different kinds of cheese and ate them, letting his audience wonder what happened next.

Eight weeks, six days ago

With her prisoner in custody, all that remained was to bring him to the nearest facility. She would place him on her Electrocharger and arrange for a towing service to collect his ship and impound it. All very neat and tidy, as the law was meant to be. Sure, he wouldn't be incarcerated for very long, he'd probably be clogging the space lanes again within a month, but it would get her point across, that neither her family nor the law could be messed with.

The arrogant worm was about to say something, doubtless either crude or cocky, when the ship rocked violently to the side. Mandora pushed past Psychro to the cockpit and saw a Mutant ship readying its weapons for a second volley. This was Mutant space, but why were they fighting the Lunataks? The latest intel suggested that the two races were still on peaceful terms. Was there new information that she wasn't privy to? Either way, she doubted that the 'Space Babe' could withstand too many shots, so she grabbed the radio. "This is officer Mandora, Interplanetary Control Force! Cease your attack immediately!" she said.

Instantly the picture of a Reptilian Mutant appeared on the tiny screen built into the dashboard. Behind him was another Reptile, while a pair of Jackals were at the front controls. They were hideous, all four of them, and she knew she had to be careful. The Mutants of Plundarr were cowardly and respected shows of force, but it was dangerous to underestimate them and judge their intelligence by their looks. More than one Control agent had lost their lives doing just that.

The two Reptiles conferred with each other for a moment before the larger of the two spoke. "I am Reptos and this is my brother Geckren, give Psychro to us and we will let you go on your way."

Mandora looked back at Psychro and saw a guilty look cross his face. Beneath her visor she glared at him, was there nothing humanoid he wouldn't sleep with?

Present day

"You slept with a Mutant?" a Darkling asked, looking every bit as disgusted by the prospect as he sounded.

"In my defence, I was drunk. Honestly, though, I don't remember too much about it except that I ended up calling it off after she did this thing with her tail. I've never been so nauseated by something a girl has done, and believe me I've done a lot." Psychro shuddered visibly and washed the thought away with another swig of beer.

"Slythra now works in a strip club thanks to him," Reptos said.

"Really?" Psychro asked, startled. "That surprises me. Your sister wasn't much to look at, and even worse against the wall. How does she manage..." The ship rocked as the Reptile fired again. Both Psychro and Mandora knew that it was only the presence of the evil chaser that kept them from obliterating the ship.

As much as Mandora was tempted to turn the rogue over to the Mutants, she knew she couldn't justify it. While Mutant justice was barbarous, universal justice took precedence. Besides, she'd already read his rights and cuffed him. He was hers until such time as the penal planet took custody of him. "I'm sorry," she said, "but he's mine. Once his time is finished on the penal planet we will be more than happy to turn him over to your courts for questioning."

"Oh, we don't intend to take him to court. Just to a back alley where we can repay his actions, yesss?" Geckren sneered. "And if you aren't going to turn him over, we'll just have to take him by force."

It didn't look good. A heavily armed Mutant craft against a ship with an unknown quantity of weapons. As much as she didn't like to do it, she turned to Psychro. "Can you get us out of here?" she mouthed. He nodded, so she deactivated his cuffs and stepped aside so he could get to the controls. Instantly the Mutants fired again, throwing the evil chaser violently to one side, but the second barrage went wide as Psychro banked the 'Space Babe' and prepared to return fire.

If there was one thing, other than women, that Psychro knew about, it was mechanics and ships. Mutant ships were as bulky and ugly as the Mutants themselves, but they were strong. Their weapons systems were top of the line and hulls as thick as a Jackalman's head, but get behind their ships and the shields were virtually non-existent and the weapons were useless. The 'Space Babe' on the other hand was designed for speed. He'd made his bed through the life he led, and knew that there came a time when he'd have to lie in it. Angry relatives were just one of the side effects to his promiscuous lifestyle.

The 'Space Babe' rocketed away from the Mutant ship and circled sharply to make a strafing run on the Mutant's engines, scoring a direct hit. The scanners informed him that the main thruster onboard that ship was toast. He pivoted his own ship to make another run, when the alarm began blaring warnings. Mandora looked over in concern. "What's wrong?" she asked.

"I'm losing power. One of their shots must done some wicked damage to my relays. Life support is going down. I can fix it, but it means shutting just about everything else down. I'm going to try something really stupid, and pray that it works," he said. There was the option of using the Electrocharger, still tethered outside, but he doubted they'd be able to get there before the Mutants blew them apart. His only hope was to point the 'Space Babe' towards vacant space, floor it, and then kill all the power so that he could safely get to the life support systems. The inertia would keep them going away from the Mutant ship, hopefully long enough to get the repairs done before they hit something.

"This had better work..." she warned him, realizing what he was doing as the ship roared off.

"Well, if it doesn't, then you get to lecture me about it in the afterlife. Now hold on to your hat, and try to warn me if you see any planets coming up. If we're lucky I'll have about five seconds to get everything back up and running before we hit," he said, running to the a side panel.

As he tossed the panel aside he could see that the damage was far more intensive than he'd thought; several parts would need to be replaced, and many more could only be temporarily fixed. It was almost cheaper to buy a whole new ship than to purchase all the parts he would need. Still, buying another ship wasn't an option. He set about his work, praying to all four Lunar gods that he would get out of this alive.

Aboard the Mutant ship Geckren and Reptos watched angrily as the 'Space Babe' and its immoral occupant got away. Their own ship, they knew from listening to the damage report, would never be able to keep up with them. "There will be another time, yesss?" Reptos growled. "Set a course back to Plundarr for repairs, but keep track of their course."

Present day

"It looked grim. Life support was fading fast and I could feel the oxygen supply getting a little low. I had to work fast," Psychro said, pleased to be the centre of attention at the bar. There were only six people around him, but they seemed fascinated by the story, and someone seemed to be paying for all his food and drinks. "Mind you, as Halleya can tell you, working fast around the ladies is not something I'm used to doing." The barmaid flushed, and he continued.

Eight weeks, six days ago

While Psychro conducted the necessary repairs to the ship, Mandora took the time to take stock of things herself. She was a little banged up from the jostling, but didn't seem to be otherwise injured, a few bruises, nothing more. Her helmet had taken some minor damage, but she didn't think there was anything seriously wrong with it. She considered briefly taking it off for an inspection, but decided not to give Psychro any distractions.

Besides, she had a job to do. While there was no power flowing through the control panel, her helmet's scanners worked fine, she could see better through the front window with them than she would have with just her eyes. For all his bragging and cockiness, Psychro did seem to occasionally think with his brain because, from what she could tell, he had picked a good course. Space was big, but sloppy calculations could still send one hurtling into a star or other celestial body. They passed a meteor, but that was about the worst of it.

Actually, the worst of it was the faint sensation of being lightheaded. The oxygen levels were getting lower, her helmet helpfully providing her with the exact ratio of oxygen to carbon dioxide and cheerfully telling her that another hour of this and she would be dead. Ugh. Spending the last hour of her life with Psychro, unable to bring him to justice because they would both be dead. Then again, if he got them out of this mess he would lord over her the fact that he had saved her life. Horrible fate no matter what happened.

"Dammit!" she heard him curse, followed by a distinct hammering sound.

"Having troubles?" she asked, a faint trace of sarcasm entering her voice. It was unusual, since she usually found that humour wasn't useful in crime fighting.

"Just a few. Nothing I can't handle, though. Keep your eyes peeled," he snapped. She heard a creaking noise and then the sound of something snapping into place. "There. That's better."

It was truly amazing. Beneath the bravado and the womanizing, there was a man who could focus and do good work when he wanted to. He put the same focus into his mechanical work as she did when she was on the case, an admirable trait if it wasn't so covered up by his machismo. It was a shame. If he would only show that side instead of what he normally showed she might actually have considered... What was she talking about? There was no room at all in her life for anything resembling romance.

When she had first joined the Interplanetary Control Force, it had been strongly discouraged. Women simply didn't enter Control, and they certainly would never achieve any great success. The people in charge at the time were very old school, very much of the belief that a woman's place was in the kitchen or in the bed. Perhaps that was why Psychro's attitude bothered her so much; it reminded her of the nonsense she had had to fight through to get where she was.

Determined not to let such sexist politics get to her, Mandora had dived into her work, ignoring the sexual advances made. She'd heard them all. "Why don't you play with my nightstick?" "I'd like to give you a boomerang." "Are you a good cop or a naughty cop?" It bugged her so much that when a story had crossed her desk about a new experimental procedure she had jumped at it.

A small chip, implanted at the base of the skull that blocked her hormones and hindered the emotional side of her brain. It didn't stop her from having feelings, it just required stronger feelings to get through and influence her thought processes. The change was dramatic, suddenly all those unwanted advances were ignored, and her success rate rose astronomically. As the years went by, the old guard slowly retired and newer people came in, fewer people remembered the old Mandora and her legend grew. She allowed the rumours to circulate, feeling that they only served to make her a better cop. The more the populace feared and respected her, the less likely they were to break the law and incur her wrath.

But then there was Psychro. He was determined, she had to concede, and he went out of his way to catch her attention. But why? She was attractive, she had been told on far too many occasions, and kept her body in perfect condition. Was it the bragging rights that would come with it? Was that all there was, or did he genuinely care? She almost snorted at the thought. The odds of him actually wanting a proper long term, caring, and nurturing relationship with her were as minuscule as they got. And yet, the rational part of her brain reasoned, he was a fairly attractive specimen himself. For anyone to obtain as many lovers as he had, it was only natural to assume that he was good looking, after all. And Gundora had positively gushed over the way he had treated her physically.

Why was she thinking along those lines, anyway? It didn't make sense. They were in a crisis situation and she was with a criminal. Maybe it was the reduction of oxygen that was doing it. "Hey Mandorable, check it out. Everything works!" he said. She turned and caught sight of his naked buttocks pointing and waving in her direction.

"Everything apart from your pants, I see," she said. She didn't turn away simply because that was the kind of reaction he wanted out of her. She had seen many buttocks in her time processing criminals, so one more was not going to phase her.

"Ah, you're no fun, Manny," his voice trailed off.

"Don't call me..." she started before he was rushing towards her, pulling up his pants. Instantly she dropped into a defensive crouch and punched him hard across the jaw. He went sprawling backwards on to the floor, and she jumped on him, twisting his arms so that she could cuff him again. "That was a stupid mistake, perpetrator. Attacking an officer of the law can be twenty years to life."

"No... Planet!" he gasped as the arm was wrenched hard.

She turned to see that indeed there was a small greenish planet coming up fast. She had been so focussed on her own thoughts that she had missed it approaching, and then misinterpreted his actions as being hostile. There was no time to turn the power back on before impact. All they could do was brace for it and hope for the best.

On to Psychro Always Gets His Man...Dora - part two
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