A/N: Welcome. If you are interested, there is a very short summary of the Daydream setting in my Author page. But it is not strictly necessary to follow the story.

This is my first story published in FictionPress, so I am a bit nervous. Much thanks to DaSkyBurner for helping with proof-reading and ideas.

Also, I probably watch too much Abroad in Japan. Sue me.


Location: Kagoshima

Japan looked as if frozen in time. It had been spared the worst of the many crises of the preceding centuries, and to someone of the pre-spaceflight era, it would look almost untouched, save for what they would call futuristic skylines. It was quite possibly the Alliance's most attractive - and also priciest - tourism attraction, a window into the past, a glimpse at some of mankind's old beauty.

But while most would visit a city or two, and then be on their way back, others liked to be thorough. Such as the two women intent on celebrating their one year anniversary with something special, having put together the time and money for it.

Caitlyn waited alone, watching the base of the Sakurajima as the wind blew past her dark hair. She would have stood out, tall, in a simple dress and with some luggage, but there was no one around to stand out amongst, seeing as she had been left waiting in the outskirts. Her artificial beauty hides her actual age, as well as the weight of her past. It had been over two decades since she had enjoyed a real vacation. She doubted she could ever be at peace with herself, but she hoped to at least get away from it all for a while. For a few weeks, she would not be the powerful metahuman too intelligent for her own good and not a warrior who had seen it all, but just a young woman enjoying her vacation. She closed her eyes and smelled the air. Terra Nova had a pleasant atmosphere, but there was something else about terran air. Clean one, that is.

Her thoughts wandered to her traveling companion. She didn't think she'd ever date again, and she certainly never expected to end up with someone like her. She hadn't even expected to befriend her, just a depressed synth she manipulated to work for her. Over time, the mentoring relationship became one of a more equal standing, and when they were no longer in the same chain of command, there were unexpected feelings.

Speak of the devil and she shall appear, Caitlyn thought amusedly as a car horn went off behind her. The metahuman turned to see a motor caravan enter the parking lot. The one she was expecting.

I hope she remembered this is a left driving country. It looks intact, so I guess she did.

The sole driver stepped out, coming to her full height. As usual, Violet's size intimidates anyone with a sense of self-preservation, but in Caitlyn's eyes, Violet stood out for different reasons, the purple hair, and the shirt and shorts combination that showed off most of her muscles notwithstanding. Most people who had seen Violet in action and lived to tell the tale would describe the precise motions of a trained killer, an arrogant disdain for those weaker, and a psychotic smile. Here, she only looked like a peaceful giant, with a wide smile, and stretched lazily while looking over Caitlyn with an appreciative and over the surroundings with a watchful glance.

"Let's get this show on the road, shall we?" Violet spoke, in a relaxed Novian accent, sounding vaguely Australian to Caitlyn's ears, instead of the standard Alliance one Violet usually forced herself into to disguise her origins. "Didn't take too long, did I?"

"No, it's fine. Was just... Thinking. You're in a good mood." Caitlyn realized she was again, over-analysing. Violet snickered and went to help pick up the luggage.

After they got everything inside, they set up HQ, that being the name they gave to the rented vehicle. Pinning a map of the region and another of Japan proper - paper being a deliberate decision, turning the maps themselves into souvenirs - they decided their route for the day.

The plan was ambitious in scope: Going south to north, across the whole length of Japan, ending in Hokkaido. They had taken the entire month off, but expected to finish the journey in three weeks, at most. Caitlyn handled the "strategy" - route, directions and accommodations - while Violet could handle the "tactics" - "unplanned" detours, and "assorted adventures", an expression that brought back Violet's psychotic grin for just a brief moment. What they would actually see and do would be based more on improvisation and whims than any real plan. But the main attraction for both would be less what they did, but more that they did it together. After a quick stop in Tokyo, they flew all the way south to Kagoshima to actually start it.

While watching Violet eat some fried chicken - the third snack today and it wasn't even lunch time - Caitlyn's sole actual worry was potential boredom for Violet, who had never been so long without combat or anything even remotely related to fighting. But for once, there were no high stakes. No monsters to kill, no horrifying terrorists to stop, no millions of lives dependent on their success. Just entertainment. If it came to that, they would handle it.

Violet's brain seemed to already be in its single-minded laser focus, with the "mission parameters" being "entertain girlfriend". As she finished the chicken, she noticed said girlfriend was deep in thought, yet again. But she had a move that never failed, in its simple bluntness. "Alright, that dress is killing me. HQ's not going until it's off."

It was a success, snapping Caitlyn back to reality, and sending her into a chuckle. Indeed, her white dress was not missing on cleavage and it was having the intended effect. She crossed her arms, pretending to disapprove. "I figured we'd wait until the evening."

Violet pressed a button and the windows began to tint. Violet forced a deadpan tone. "No."

Someone passing outside might notice HQ gently shaking.

Operation: Journey Across Japan was go.