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The Storm Is Set To Rise

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ArsenalXA4

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Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:09 pm

Post Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:02 pm

Re: The Storm Is Set To Rise

Fallout

Characters: 28th Armored Infantry Platoon, 8th Platoon (SDI), D4N1, Anie, Dr. Burke
Locations: Yokota Air Base, an undisclosed location.
Authors: ArsenalXA4, hyuuint
Timestamp: A few days after Recoveries and Aftermath

---

"You know your little stunt caused quite a shitstorm with the SDF, right?" Brigadier Rosoft asked the Major. The general had come over to Yokota Air Base from the G-Dub on a Sea Hawk. His uniform smelled like asphalt coffee and jet fuel.

"They don't seem to care that my people were attacked, and killed, by this Meta Hunter, do they." Jenks replied. He'd asked Pyle to do a search on the man that had attacked Ei and Shiori. Search results came up with the term 'Meta Hunter.' They were in the Major's ad-hoc office in the hangar, partaking of his tenth spare bottle of Jameson.

"I hear they don't care too much about metas in general." Rosoft replied, downing another shot of whisky. "The thing they're focusin' on was the fact that two AFVs chock full of armed soldiers, with automatic weapons and, correct me if I'm wrong, a rocket launcher and a grenade launcher, rolled into a park an' shot the place up. Sound about right?"

"They were in a fight for survival, sir. On that note, I don't see the SDF doing much of anything as it is." Jenks added. He'd sent the notifications of death for Switalski, Kurosawa, and Sharde, seeing the bodies off with the Brigadier at his side as the flag covered caskets were loaded then flown for a final trip home. A trip that would end, not with elation but with sorrow. He had yet to send Ei's death notification out.

"Which reminds me... How the hell did you get SDI's Black Hawk lined up for SAR and a Chinook Chief to haul Georgi's big ass out there?" Rosoft asked as Jenks finished his last shot, capping the half full bottle.

"Three words, sir: Black Ops Bullshit." Jenks replied. He felt well up and buzzed, something a quick five mile run would take care of to sweat out of his system.

"I'll take your word for it." the Brigadier said, Jenks rising to see him off. "I'm headin' back to the carrier. I want you to keep your platoon out of further trouble. We clear?"

"Crystal clear, sir."

"Good. You take care, y'hear?" Rosoft said as he donned his maroon beret then walked back out to the waiting Sea Hawk. Jenks watched him go, leaving when the helo was in the air. He had a rather pressing matter to attend to. Something about relocating D4N1.

---

The platoon had been in a collective depression as it was with the loss of Kurosawa, Sharde, Switalski, and Shiori. The news that Ei had died from a follow up attack only made things worse.

"We shoulda been there! We shoulda been on guard there!" Petro shouted, especially vocal about the loss. "We got him outta that park, only for this shit to happen? It's bullshit!"

"Can't fault us for that. We did the best we could and sometimes that's the best a man can do." Topper said, trying to calm Petro. The corporal had shown his displeasure with the whole thing by caving sheetrock off a wall with his fist. Two inches to the left and he would have broken his fist on the wall stud.

"Petro, calm the fuck down. I'm pissed about what happened too, but you don't see me punching holes in walls." Hannigan said, placing a hand on the Bulgarian's shoulder to try and calm him down. "Look, we're soldiers. When push comes to shove, we get shoved. You think Switalski didn't know that? He knew the risks. So did Kurosawa and Sharde." Petro took a long, glaring look at her. Without any warning, Petro cold-cocked her with an uppercut. Hannigan went airborne, her sunglasses separating from her face as she flew. Hannigan hit the deck and sprawled out. The platoon was quick to rush her aid, Rostok and Khukov grabbing Petro and crawling down his throat in very short order. Guerra and Goleb saw to Reilly.

"You're out of line, soldier! You had no right to sucker punch your fellow Corporal!" Khukov started, Rostok shouting at Petro in Russian. Petro shouted back in Bulgarian, resulting in Khukov screaming in Ukrainian, all three Slavic voices blending into an angry barking of sorts, the rest of the platoon joining the shouting match.

"LOCK IT THE FUCK UP!" Slater shouted, everyone going silent. "You act like death is such a fucking surprise! It's more than an occupational hazard. It's a vital part of life itself."

"I've lost guys. Fallujah hacked my platoon up, badly. Pierce lost guys during Operation Anaconda."

"And my leg." Pierce pointed out. His arm was in a sling to allow the damaged tendons in his shoulder to heal.

"And his leg. And Mac..."

"Benghazi. I knew a couple of the guys who were there." Mac said, very somberly.

"I saw how it went down. Switalski, Kurosawa, and Sharde went down fighting. Yeah, they were impossible odds, but they did their best." Slater paused to let it sink in. "Only thing to be done is remember them as they were in life and carry on smartly."

"Hannigan, I'm sorry..." Petro said, Khukov and Rostok letting him go.

"Hey, I egged you on..." Reilly said, Goleb and Guerra helping her to her feet. "It's partly my fault. We cool, Petro?"

"Yeah, we're cool..." Guerra gave Hannigan her sunglasses back. The lenses were cracked across their surface. "I might have a spare lens somewhere."

"Works for me."

Suddenly, the door behind the group slammed open, and a breathless private came scurrying in, nearly tripping over his feet.

"Hey, calm down, what's got you running on all cylinders?" Pash asked, helping the soldier to his feet. Guerra looked him over. "Aren't you the guy we heard gossiping just the other day?"

"Papers...high ups....Anie...Dani....." He gasped out, nearly doubled over. The way he was sweating, they thought he ran from clear across the base.

"Hey, take a moment to calm down. I am your medical practicioner, listen to my orders." Goleb said, handing him a bottle of water.

"I-I-I thanks...papers! Anie is about to get some papers about Dani, and, uhm....'relocating.' Something about security and information or whatever! Anie too!" He wiped his brow, glancing to each of them in turn. "I-I overheard it from a SDI tech, they're on their way to the hangar now, soon as they clear red tape. She-she doesn't know...."

"Dani and Anie are-" The realization hit Pash like a monster truck. "They're gonna wipe Dani!" The members of 28th Armored Infantry platoon scrambled out of the barracks, piling into two Humm Vees they had been issued as utility vehicles. They drove straight for the hangars, arriving to see technicians loading Lancer weapons into a waiting C-17 cargo plane. Major Wylder was talking to one of the crewmen.

"Sir, what the hell is going on?" Topper asked, hopping off the Humm Vee before Rostok brought it to a complete stop.

"Procedure. When a pilot dies, the AI is wiped." he said. "Anie's working with Colonel Segovia to try to get Dani sent to Fort Irwin to join the AI Weapons Development Team, but..."

"Sir, Dani's all we've got left of the Captain! You gotta do somethin'!" Pash protested.

"There isn't anything I can do. No amount of favors I could call or any influence I may have cannot change this outcome." Jenks said, Anie coming out of the hangar.

"No dice... The Colonel's bein' blocked." she said, looking flustered. She saw the others from the platoon and faced them. "I'm sorry, guys. I tried..." Joey was at Anie's feet, chittering around questioningly. "Joey, it's going to be okay... I promise..."

"Nothin' we can do... Push has come to shove." Topper said, looking into the hangar. Within technicians had finished disabling Dani's external weapons, wrapping them for transport and placing lead wire seals on her internal magazines. She looked at Convoy.

"I hope you're happy..." she snarled at him. "This is what you wanted, right? You wanted me gone because I'm 'dangerous.'"

"That was not my intention." he countered.

"Whatever... I've accepted the fact that I'm gonna die. It was bound to happen, one way or the other." she said, resignation in her voice.

"We're ready to load you up." a technician said. "If you'll please come with me." Dani looked at Convoy one last time.

"Cap's dead because of you, you know that? I hope that fact stays with your spark." she snarled before walking out of the hangar, pausing a moment to snatch up a small shrub. Joey scuttled away from Anie to Dani, giving HER the questioning chitters. He hadn't seen her move like that in days, what was going on?

"I'm going to die, Joey. It's harsh but... Without a pilot, I'm a waste of drive space." she said to the little spider bot, proceeding to a waiting flatbed. Joey squeaked in confusion and skittered after her faster. One of the Operators scooped him up.

"Chief, where you want this?" he shouted at Anie.

"What do you mean?"

"Our orders were to bring this little guy with us."

All the spiderbot heard was "bring this little guy", and he immediately bounced out of the operator's arms and onto the tarmac. Without listening to anyone else, he made his way to Dani's frame and climbed up. A tech was about to protest when Dani leaned over and basically glared at the guy. "He. Stays. Put."

"Y-y-y-y-yes ma'am."

As this happened the other Lancers watched her go then all glared at Convoy.

"He's dying twice now, you know that?" Sturm sneered

"I am disappoint." Georgi said, shaking his head.

"She was a bitch, but she was our bitch." Barrage said. Convoy just looked at him. "I mean, well, she wasn't our bitch, but like, she was a bitch, and she was... I... I'll shut up now..."

"Words fail me, Big Bot. I just hope you can live with this loss." Chainlink mused before Brawl ran into Convoy from behind, causing him to stagger. Brawl had no words, the tank-like instead flipping Convoy a double bird then backing up into the hangar. Convoy looked back outside to watch the flight crew load Dani into the cargo plane. The platoon's soldiers stood at attention and saluted her, holding it until the ramp was raised and the rear doors closed. Anie was ushered in through the side door, dragging a rucksack with her. They had sent a flight crewman to get her belongings from the barracks. Convoy stepped out of the hangar to watch the Globemaster taxi to the runway then take-off.

I hope you're happy... Dani's words echoed through his processor.

"I am anything but..." he mused before walking to a different hangar, resuming his self imposed exile from the platoon's hangar.

---

Back at Atsugi Air Force Base, Segovia sighed wearily. She lost a potential recruit, Ei was killed in a follow up attack, Dani was going to be wiped, Joey likely too, and now Anie was being taken away to some undisclosed location from orders so high she thought they were myth. What else could go wrong today. She took a sip of her coffee when she heard a knock on the door. "Enter."

A lone tech, one of the secretaries in the main office, walked in. He adjusted his Birth Control Goggles and cleared his throat. "Uhhh, where do you want the new arrivals ma'am?"

"New arrivals? What new arrivals?" The Colonel perked up. She hadn't been informed of new staff.

"W-well that's what the p-package said, but they look more like, I dunno, demented mechanical tarantulas." The Colonel's scowl turned into a smile. The kind that could make a grown man weep in fear, which the bespectacled tech nearly did.

"Bring it in here and leave." she ordered.

He quivered a bit, then left very quickly. Soon, a couple burly deliverymen brought in some wooden crates. They gave them a few taps, then left as quickly as they entered. The Colonel rose from her chair and approached the crates, cautiously. What could have been in there, she wondered.

It popped open, and three spider-mechs along with far too much foam peanuts spilled out. They wiped off the packing peanuts that stuck to their frames, and chattered at one another, in a very obvious complaining tone. The other two crates followed suit, and now she had ten of them, with a pool of peanuts, in her office. They ranged from two to three feet in diameter, a couple still sporting top hats and monocles courtesy of the magical girls, and one very interestingly painted in a very awesome black-and-red flame motif.

Each one also had a tampographed name. "Igor, Ness, Olaf, Reginald the First, Quint, Jackie, Paul, Hector, Claus, and...Lucifee? Really?" The black-and-red spider nodded very adamantly. HE IS LUCIFEE!

"You're in charge, aren't you?" she asked of Lucifee.

He looked to the others, who basically gave the mechanical equivalent of a shrug. Then back to the lady who had the same aura he did. Very affirmative chatter.

"Then you know what I expect of you."

If spiders could pose and cackle evilly, then he was doing as close as he could to that. Lucifee turned on his eight heels and started barking mechanical orders at the other nine. They looked a little put off for a second, then decided to go with it. This was his personality after all and they just liked working overall. Except Reginald. He'd prefer it to be as a butler, but such is life. His mechaniacal evil-cackle-chatters followed him out the door as the swarm headed for the hangar. They'll find their way there. Eventually. MWAHAHAHAH!

The Colonel watched them go then went to her laptop, opening up the media player. She pressed play.

"COME MY MINIONS, RISE FOR YOUR MASTER, LET YOUR EVIL SPREAD!!!"

---

Much later, somewhere over an undisclosed location

Anie had been sound asleep when she was shaken awake by one of the SDI operators.

"Chief, it's time." Lieutenant Allen Grant (USN, SEAL) said to her. He was wearing a jump harness and had a parachute pack on. Several other operators were donning similar riggings, a few others hooking jump gear to Dani's frame.

"Time? Time for what?" she asked, groggy. Grant undid her seat harness and handed her a jump pack.

"Alright, this is the MC-6, Maneuverable Parachute System. It is intended for precision infiltration and features the latest in advanced technology for steerable troop parachute systems" Grant started, turning Anie around and strapping her into the parachute pack. "Each chute has a GPS tracker so you can be found by Search And Rescue in short order!" Grant was screaming now, the Loadmaster having opened the rear door. The Lieutenant was dragging Anie over to the ramp, her heart racing.

"W-what's going on? I've never jumped from a perfectly good airplane before!" Anie screamed over the wind whipping around.

"We're over our drop zone right now. We miss it then the pilots have to wheel around for a second shot and waste precious fuel!" Grant shouted back. "Now listen carefully!"

"Red's your back up, blue is your primary! I want you to pull the blue! I need you to pull it really hard, just yank on it!" Anie started to reach for the blue clip then stopped.

"Wait! I saw this movie the other day! YOU'RE NOT FOOLING ME, LIEUTENANT!" she screamed at him.

"Well, I tried to do it the easy way. Guess I gotta do it the Sparta way." Grant said.

"The what way?"

"THIS! IS! SPARTA!" he declared before kicking the poor tech rep out the back of the plane and into the void.

"Alright, into the ozone!" one of the other operators shouted as the soldiers leaped out into the great blue yonder. Grant wheeled around to look at the plane, catching the sight of twenty tons of ambulatory death machine sliding out the back, drag chutes deployed. Following her were the weapons cases for both the Lancer and the soldiers. He wheeled back around and looked for Anie's chute. Sure enough it was out there, albeit slightly off course. The soldiers pulled their ripcords, the chutes deploying. The weapons cases and Dani had theirs already deployed.

Meanwhile, up in Dani's cockpit (She demanded that Joey be in there the whole trip), the poor spiderbot was both beside himself with terror and loving the fact that this was the most extreme bounce test he got to perform with Dani. The descent went down without a hitch, soldiers recovering their parachutes while Dani popped the weapons cases open. She armed herself with a GAR-65A1 Chain Rifle and an M-61A4 Vulcan cannon.

"All accounted for?" Lieutenant Grant asked. He recieved affirmative replies.

"I can't help but feel I'm some pawn in another's game right now, El-Tee. You wanna bring me up to speed?" Dani asked. Joey was trying to calm himself by pressing buttons in the cockpit. But only the ones Dani said he could. Meanwhile, everyone was getting a free light show, what with all her different lights being turned on and off in tandem.

"Later. Right now we've got to recover Anie. She fell off course." the former SEAL said. "Your GPS synched?"

"Yeah. I've got her tracker on my scope. I'll pick her up." the AI weapon replied, starting toward the source of the ping.

"Alright, establish your perimeter!" Grant ordered. The soldiers used the weapons cases to create makeshift fortifications, weapons at the ready. Dani came back twenty minutes later, her Vulcan stowed on the rotarty hangar. Anie was in her off hand.

"She broke her ankle. Landed at a bad angle." Dani said as she set the tech rep down. Anie was shaking.

"I... I'm gonna... gonna kill you..." she snarled at Grant as their Pararescueman went to her side.

"We didn't have a tandem jump harness. That and Dani's cockpit was already taken." Grant said. "Alright, someone find a landmark, get our bearings so we can navigate."

"I can navigate." Dani started. "Wait, no, I can't any more. My GPS just went on the fritz."

"Exactly. Company's here. Weapons safe."

From out of nowhere, a woman's voice spoke to the group. "Would the beings known as D-4-N-1, Joey, and Anie Simms please make their way to between the four trees two hundred human paces North of your current location. All other members are requested not to follow suit. Thank you."

"I can't exactly walk, fuck you very much!" Anie shouted at her.

"Would the being known as D-4-N-1 please pick up the other being known as Anie Simms and carry her to the four trees two hundred human paces North from your current location. All other members are requested not to follow suit. Thank you."

"Got her ankle set. She's good to go." the Pararescueman said before Dani plucked Anie from the ground.

"You guys take care. And... thanks..." she started toward the trees then paused. "Joey, stop pushing my buttons."

The lightshow ceased.

When the three made their way to the spot, the voice spoke again. "Would the being known as D-4-N-1 please reduce the angle of her front left leg by two degrees." Dani adjusted to comply with the parameters.

They stood there for a few seconds, the trees swaying in the ocean breeze. Joey looked around, wondering what was going on.

"So...is something supposed to hap-" Was all Anie could say before the whole lot of them...vanished. Just simply vanished.

"Alright, prep for evac." Grant ordered. The soldiers left thermite charges in the weapons cases then ran from them as the cases were turned into molten slag. They established a new perimeter and set off a distress beacon. About an hour later a CV-22 Osprey picked them up and shuttled them back to Atsugi Air Force Base. Their mission was accomplished.

---

"-pen."

"Where is here and why do I have errors on my TACMAP?" Dani asked as she looked around.

The trio were in a massive, clean, white-materialed room. A constant, low hum filled the air but it wasn't annoying in any capacity. It was actually rather soothing. Up at Dani's eye level was an android, female in design, clicking away at several diferent computers in her own little alcove. She looked up to the mech and gave a polite wave. "Would the being known as D-4-N-1 please deposit the being known as Anie Simms into the provided wheelchair located ten feet from the front left foot's location. A member of our facility will be here shortly to escort Anie Simms to her destination." Dani saw the aforementioned wheel chair and strode toward it, lowering the Tech Rep. Anie winced as she set herself in place.

"This sucks... Where the fuck are we?" Anie asked. Dani stowed her other weapon into the rotary hangar then looked at the android.

"Who the hell are you, See Creepio?" Dani asked.

"I am Stewardess 91OP787YQ876521. Many call me Nancy. All other queries may be regarded to the being that shall escort you presently. Thank you." She said with her continuing polite, if very mechanical, tone, before the whole alcove rotated into the wall. This left the three alone for a short while. Joey was sorely tempted to start playing with the buttons again.

Dani took in their surroundings, taking note of how futuristic it looked, compared to her own, haggard and boxy by comparison appearance. A light flashed on then off. "Joey, knock it off." There was an apologetic chitter from her cockpit.

They heard footfalls from their left. When they turned, they saw a very haggard looking scientists running up to the trio. He skidded to a stop, his labcoat fluttering as he bent over double. "S-sorry! Sorry! I missed my time, I was really into the collision field mechanics when I saw the time, and then I had to get back up here, teleporters off cause of OH LORD MY SIDES energy use, aaaaand oohhh loord..." He gasped and panted, before pulling himself together. He was...not what they expected. His face looked to be that of a Indian gentleman, something that was not usually seen off the coast of Japan. "Hi. OK, real quick, I got us off Schedule. Uhhhhhh Dani, right? Ok, I am gonna need you to come with me, we will get you started on your upgrades, get you cleaned up too, then we can really get started with the new part of your life." He gave an apologetic grin to Anie "Sorry, only her, your escort will be here soon, I promise! I think he got stuck in the greenhouse."

"Hey, I'm the tech rep for Dani. I have to be involved because I modernized her the first time!" Anie protested.

"I know I know I know, but we have your reports we know her tech, it's ok, and we don't have a lot of time, even for us. We've been trying to figure out a way to give us more time, but so far it just melts the cubes we test it on. Not even remotely safe for anything yet." He gave a massive apologetic grin.

"Plus, you're kinda 'limpdick' right now." Dani said, using the derogatory term for LLD, or Light Limited Duty. Anie looked at her broken ankle then back up at Dani.

"Fine... Go..." she relented.

"OK OK, excellent! Just, uh, gotta move you a little..." He strode over, carefully pushed Anie over about fifty feet away, turned her around too. "And now we have to use the, ugh, old method. Blasted energy requirements. Least you three got a chance to use the teleport!" He tapped the ground with his foot, and a slightly dusty control panel on a stick popped out of the ground. He pushed a few buttons, and the whole damn floor started to go down!

"We'll meet up again soon! Promise! This is gonna be really exciting for you!" He called out when Dani was half-way down. Dani watched the floor rise, looking at bulkheads and power conduits as the elevator took her down. The closest thing she could liken it to was being on a load lift on an aircraft carrier. She had been on one, once, when the platoon participated in RIMPAC a few years ago. It was a joint exercise with several nations around the Pacific Rim held in Hawaii. Part of that year's exercise included deploying Lancers aboard warships, a feeling that was murder on Dani's gyrostabilizers. It was not something she wanted to do again.

---

"Well? What about me?" Anie asked the man. "Your escort will be there soon, promise!" He called up just before the floor slammed shut. Anie was left alone in the waiting area. The tech rep sat there for a moment, anxious about what was going to happen.

Then suddenly a voice from behind! "Hello, sorry for the wait." Anie looked over her shoulder to see who was behind her. She nearly fell out of her chair at the sight of him.

Hunchbacked, his two arms almost crossed from the frame, bowlegged, eyes pointing in opposite directions from one another, a massive bulbous wart over his left eye, and hair that was a mess. He was not a very pretty person to look at.

"What? What is it? It is something on my face??" He took a moment to feel it, his right eye widening in horror. "Wait! They said they could fix me!" He pulled out a rather flowery looking flip-mirror. He took a moment to inspect himself, and his jaw dropped in horror. "OH NO! I'm HEEEDEOUS!" He pulled back dramatically, Anie stuttering. "Don't look at me! Don't look at me!!!"

"I-I-I-" Anie started, before she heard the man chuckling

"Heeheeheee, don't worry, I know I'm heeeeeedeous. I just like to play that prank from time to time. My beloved other likes it too. It makes her actually crack a grin sometimes. Ahhh." He nabbed the wheelchair with surprising dexterity and started pushing her down the hallway. "My name is Lewstrom, Lewie for short. I am the Rank Nine botanist of the Cabal, Rank Six overall. You must be Anie, yes? You were recently added into our systems as a Rank Eight Mechanist, Rank Four overall. Very nice position for a newcomer."

"While I do appreciate the theatrics, I gotta ask... Just what the hell kinda organization is this Cabal?" Anie asked, her anxiety bleeding away.

"The Cabal is actually a bit of an unofficial name. We have yet to decide on an official one that doesn't sound so goofy." He explained. As he pushed her along, Anie could catch glimpses into other rooms. Some huge, some small, all of them having people of all sorts of nationalities, ages (to a certain point in terms of youth), and even a few AIs. "We are a collective of geniuses from across the world, sometimes beyond, gathered together for the betterment of the world. No take over plots, no death machines, all things created to make the world better or safer." He stopped near one room in particular. It was completely flooded with giant, green vines that had pink and purple flowers blooming every so often.

"Please tell me you don't have Plant 42 in here..." Anie mused, thinking of Resident Evil now.

"Oh no no, that's in the restricted area." He joked back. "This is the pet project I got deeeestracted with. It's a vine that when fully capable will be able to produce a fruit that should be able to provide most of the nutrients a plant COULD provide for a human. I just can't get the flavor or the growth process right."

"Please tell me it's not Boot to the Head flavor. I'd rather hate that." Anie joked back, finally relaxing.

"Actually, no. It's too sweet. You ever eaten something that was hypersweet? It buuuurrns!" he shook his head. "Not a fun day for me."

"I can't do too many sweets. I've got the Beetus, you see..." Anie explained.

"Fortunately it's a natural sweet, but agreed, that is another thing I must remember. Thank you." He gave an appreciative nod, then pushed her onwards. "You might get to see my other's project too. Hehe, how strange fate is. You already know her seeeester!"

"I do?" Anie was perplexed now. "Only person I knew who had a sister was Sarn't Arcturus and she's an elementary teacher."

"Oh yes. Shiori is definitely one of her favorite seeeesters, right up there with Olivia. Makes Brittany feel at ease." He mused aloud.

"Shiori? She had sisters?"

"Twenty three project seeesters! Could you imagine the parties?" Unfortunately Anie's mind went into the gutter.

"Eh-heh... I got the wrong idea..." she admitted.

"Is ok. Many people do." Lewie chuckled. He stopped soon after at another room, this one without a window. "Now, before we go in, I'm supposed to debrief you."

"What you see here, don't talk about. Especially in this room. Too much at stake. Granted, you may not be leaving here a while, with so much to be done, but still. No revelations. There's a beeeeeg threat out there, and he seems to know everything that gets spoken of, or even just heeeented. OK?"

"I understand. OPSEC is paramount in any organization. Army, General Dynamics, SDI, this place..." Anie trailed off. "I can't help but feel like a pawn in the game of life."

"It eees an overwhelming day, yesss. But give it some time. Then we get to show you your new lab!" He bounced a little with excitement. "But first! You have a veeeesit to make." He nabbed her chair again, and pushed her into the room. What she saw stunned her to silence.

Standing in the middle of what looked to be a giant moonlit field was a lone figure next to a hospital bed. He turned to the noise of the opening door, and peered at the tech-rep. "Anie? What're you doing here? And what's with the wheelchair?" Ei asked. He was wearing ACU fatigues, with the right sleeve of his jacket tied off. Anie said nothing, hands to her mouth as she began to cry.

"I shall leeeeave you two. Nice to see you about, Ei, just don't strain." Lewie waved good bye, and walked out of the room. When the door closed itself, the illusion of the field became flawless.

"It's hard to look at, I know..." Ei said, looking at his missing limb. "It's not going to remain that way, though. I'm scheduled for surgery in a few hours."

"Cap... They were going to wipe Dani..." Anie sobbed. "They were going to wipe her because..." Ei went to Anie's side and knelt down, taking her hand.

"I didn't die... I was extracted. I was extracted for a purpose." he said, squeezing her hand. "Also, it's Major, now." Anie said nothing, leaning in and hugging Ei, holding him tightly. She was just happy to know he was alive.

---

MEANWHILE! IN THE WARMECH AI BUNKER!

Joey was set aside on a nearby stool. He had taken to spinning around like a top, as quickly as he could. Nearby, so to speak, was Dani, getting the best human-done detailing she'd ever had. Joey was good for fixing things up.

Now she was getting scrubbed.

"OK! So, as soon as we're done here, you're scheduled for a upgrade to your tech overall, weapons to be converted from the current ballistics to some really groovy alphas, mostly lasers and stuff of that nature, getting you outfitted with an energy shield of sorts to protect you from lesser weapons overall, then-"

"The Arm Vulcans stay." she snarled. "I like the sound they make. I like to see what the sabots do to unprotected meat and armor."

"I like the sound it makes when others die."

"Aaaaabsoultely ma'am, I'll add that to the notes. Now! You have some pretty bad scarring in a few places. I know how AI like to keep some, but do-"

"Leave the one on my face alone."

"And the rest?"

"Do what you have to."

"Excellent! Full body repair, save the face, though we will have to touch up a few things in there to prevent issues, but the look shall remain. Though admittedly, you are in remarkable shape!"

"This is the strangest decommissioning I've ever been through." she mused, looking at the technician.

"Oh no no no no, that was just your cover. You're actually part of a new regiment now. Congrats!"

"I don't suppose you'd allow me to contact the others... I said a few things that weren't exactly... Well... I burned a few bridges." she mused.

"And, unfortunately, they have to keep thinking that for now. The being that attacked your pilot seems to have the ability to just KNOW things. So, the less info we can keep in overall knowledge-"

"...the easier it'll be to kill him."

"Close enough to what I was thinking, yes. Lessee here. Hm. You have had work done on you before. And good ones too! Anie?"

"After I got worked over by Convoy, yeah. They did their best." she replied. "Prior to that, however, Shiori did her work on me. As did Joey."

"Ah, yes the mini-mecha! I recognized Shiori's work! She's good, very good, buuuuuut don't tell her this, but she doesn't hold a candle to some of the techs here." He waved around to the folks that were working on Dani right now. Infact, another AI was a part of the mix. "Now, before we get you upgraded, we have a visit to make. Must ask that you de-arm yourself, however, just in case the excitement gets too much for you. Mkay?"

"All my internal magazines were emptied. My remaining laser blade was disabled, a lead wire seal on the safety to keep it that way." she said. "They were going to decommission me, remember. Last thing they wanted was a rampaging AI like me on their hands."

"Oh, good, they did follow through. Excellent!" He grinned. "And don't you worry, that is not happening any time soon." The scientist saw a wave or five from the other techs, who moved away from Dani's frame. "Ah, they're finished! Ma'am, would you like your escort to come with you, or is he better off making himself dizzy on the barstool?"

"I'd like him to come along. He's like a little brother to me." she replied, looking Joey's way. He was still spinning like a CD in a player.

"Yes ma'am!" He made his way up and over to Joey, waited till the spider slowed down, and plucked him from the stool. Joey chittered very dizzily.

"Joey, it's time to get to work. Stop goldbricking." Dani said to the little spiderbot.

He gave an affirmative chitter as he was put into the cockpit...and immediately stumbled off the seat and onto the floor. He pulled himself back up and tried to hold onto the world that was spinning around him.

"Well! Onwards!" The scientist waved for Dani to follow him through some of the facility. At Dani's eye-level, she was able to glimpse into a few rooms. One had some people messing with what looked to be a mini blackhole. Another with miniature robots trying to assemble a LEGO bridge. Yet another that was completely engulfed by vines. Soon enough she was stopped at a room that didn't seem to have any windows at all.

"Now, be nice, don't get too excited, and don't get THEM too excited. We have about, oh, thirty minutes, before the tech is ready, so I'll give you fourty-five. Be back soon!" And so the man zipped off as fast as he could hobble. Dani looked around the room, not certain what to expect.

---

"Would the being known as Eikichi Ramirez-Kisaragi please direct your attention to the North, your left. You have a visitor."

Ei and Anie looked. The field partially melted away, revealing a familiar, if scarred, face.

"Captain... You're alive!" Dani said, extremely surprised to see him. "Sir, your arm..."

"It's temporary. And you forgot to write." Ei said, rising.

"They didn't give me a mailing address... CRRZZZ... CRZZZZZZ... CRZZZZZZ...." Ei and Anie both looked at Dani. Joey recognized the sound, and hopped onto her console, giving her an internal eight-legged hug.

"What... what is that?" Ei asked.

"I've never cried before, so I don't know how to do it. Best I can do is radio feeback, apparently." Dani admitted.

"Oh, one more thing, Dani... It's Major now. I'm just as surprised about that." he said, sitting on his bed. "So, what happened since I 'died'?" Anie and Dani took a moment to tell Ei everything since the aftermath of the attack up to Anie's first paradrop.

"So, Convoy beat the hell out of you? I bet he's a pariah in the platoon now." Ei mused, trying to light a cigarette with one hand. It was a weird feeling, doing things left handed. "I wish we could say something, but OPSEC is OPSEC. Apparently Machariah's got some intel network of his own that allows him to listen in on everything."

"I'm going to rend him limb from limb if I get the chance." Dani swore.

"Take a number. He owes me an arm." Ei said, taking a drag on the cigarette. His HUD displayed the compounds he was inhaling, all of them listed in red. "Until then the only thing we can do is get back into fighting shape and train."

"'Hurry up an' wait.' I'm not surprised." Anie mused, reclining as best she could in the wheelchair. Another soundless, unfelt breeze wafted through the field. "Hey, Cap, er, Major, why does this room look like....well, this?"

"They based it off a field in Texas, somewhere near Lubbock, I think." Ei replied. "They know about my aversion to clinical environments. Problem is I'm going to be in one in a few hours."

"A-actually, n-no you're not. Kinda." Came a voice from the doorway. It was a lone scientist, looking a little frazzled. "Wh-what I mean is not to say the surgery isn't gonna happen, it is! B-but we have s-s-s-SOME holotech there too, to help everyone out. It'll start f-fielded for you then go to what it needs to b-b-be for the surgeons a-and so on..." She clarified.

"At least you guys are accomodating." Ei mused, putting the cigarette out on his boot sole. "I don't think I got your name..."

"P-partially. It's really a bit of a t-t-t-TEST! To see if this could w-work for bet-t-ter patient environments." She fidgeted a little. "I-I'm Polly. N-nice to m-meet you Major. I w-was asked to ch-check in on you, and see if you were re-re-READY! Ready for the su-surgery." She grinned meekly "Sorry about-t-t the st-stutter, I can't help it..."

"No surveillance? I would have thought a group like this would keep tabs on it's people remotely." Ei remarked.

She shook her head. "W-we value privacy, and we know not to abuse i-i-it. Only if we d-d-deem it absolutely n-necessary." She gave a coy grin. "S-s-so you d-don't have to wor-worry when SHE comes." She gave a giggle despite herself, and scampered out of the room. Ei was elated for a moment, absent mindedly rubbing his stump.

"I'm in no shape for her to see me right now..." he mused. "I couldn't save her."

"Cap... Major... I couldn't save you either, remember. But..." Dani paused to take a look around the field. "...maybe it's going to be for the better."

A call came out from Dani's feet: "I heard they pushed up the Major's timetable! Means yours is too! Come come, you have a new world of weaponry to be a part of!"

---

"Is the patient under?"

"Ten seconds. Prep the equipment."

"WE-ARE-READY-TO-BEGIN-WHEN-YOU-ARE."

"Good. Vitals stable, the Major is ready."

This was the last Ei heard, before drifting off into slumber. Surrounded by beings to make him better in many ways, in the middle of his dream field.

--

Ei woke up...ugh, he always hated surgery. Always so groggy after the fact. He looked around, found he was back in his room with the field, and noticed someone sitting in a chair a small ways away. Ei recognized who it was, but his face was framed in shadow.

"Burke?"

The old Chief sighed. "Yeah. It's me."

"What's goin on?"

Burke hesitated. "I have some good news, and some bad news."

"...What?"

The old man seemed to shudder a little, shifted in his seat, and continued. "The good news...your arm attached to your system without a hitch. No problems at all, you're good to go."

Ei tested it out a little. It felt weird, but it didn't feel BAD.

"The bad news is...is...I'm sorry Major. There was a problem during surgery, with your face..." He shuddered again. "The doctors did all they could, but..."

"But what? You have a mirror?" Burke held one out. Ei snapped it up and held it so he could see his face.

He looked himself over.

"Burke, what are you-"

Burke's shuddered harder, and Ei could hear very held back wheezing laughter. "They tried all they could, but the doctors couldn't fix the ugly! You and Shiori will have to live with it!" And he couldn't hold them in any longer.

"Oh FUCK YOU BURKE! YOU FUCKING SQUID!!!" Ei shouted, using a term Marines normally used for sailors.

Burke just laughed even harder. "Ohhhh I never get tired of that one! Hahhh, I needed that." He cleared his throat, pulled out another cigarrette, and lit up. "I'd offer you one, but the docs said no nicotine in your system for a week. Will mess with your meds." He took a long, teasing drag. "Here to give you an update. While you were under and out, Dani got upgraded and Anie got fixed up. Both with her ankle and her new living quarters. She's a little sad to be away from her friends, understandable, but her eyes grew huge when she found out the tech she now has access to."

"She's always been enamored by mech tech." Ei replied, looking his arm over again. There was an icon on his hud that read 'PB READY.' "Doc, what's 'PB READY' mean?"

"That's an electromagnetically fired pile bunker. Flex your wrist back and-" The spike emerged from beneath Ei's palm, reaching out to about a foot.

"What can it go through?"Ei asked as the spike retracted.

"At the moment, up to about an inch of reinforced titanium, but it'll go through a SAPI plate and the surrounding flack jacket easily. Of course that's also because it's not fully charged. Additionally, the more you can go through will be determined by how strong you let yourself get. Sooo... when she gets here, you better do what Shiori says."

"So I've got some time until I see her?" Ei asked, elated at seeing her for the first time in what seemed like forever.

"Oh yes, tons." Burke took a final drag of his cigarrette, put it out with his boot, and prepped a second one. "One whole hour in fact."

"Wat" Ei asked, mimicking the meme known as the 'Wat Lady.'

"You've been under for three days, two of them spent getting your upgrades done. You're outta time, boy." He joked to the Major. "She's coming, and word is she's bringing a special friend of hers."

The panic setting in on Ei's face became very noticeable as the blood drained from his face.

Burke got up out of his seat. "Were I you, I'd calmly get ready. Meet me in the hallway when you're done." Thus the Chief left the Major to his devices. No sooner had the door closed then Ei let out a scream, audible across the facility, audible from the George Washington Carrier Battle Group, and audible from the International Space Station.

Burke just took another drag. "You do realize she is gonna let you get back on your feet first, right? Though knowing her, she's gonna knock you off them with a flying tackle hug. Least you'll have padding for that collision."

"At least... Just... let me change..." Ei said, trying to calm down. Within the hour he emerged wearing Multicam fatigues and a Mechanix glove on his right hand.

"You serious? No no no, we got you civvi stuff for a reason, get back in there, young man, and dress like you're meeting the girl of your dreams."

"O-oh... Okay..." Ei went back in to change again. He came back out wearing khaki BDU trousers, running shoes, and a long sleeve shirt with the cover to Fear Factory's 'Mechanize' album on it. And the Mechanix glove.

"Better. More relaxed anyways." He took a drag of his fifth cigarette. "Welp. Follow me. And don't pause too long at the rooms. You'll have specially granted Rank Five clearance, so you can check half of them out later." Burke made a motion for The Major to follow after him. Ei followed after, keeping his eyes front and trying to focus on what was to come.

"Simply put, you're in sci-fi land now." He made a motion to the black-hole room Dani passed days ago. "Super smart beings, saving the world, yadda yadda yadda. They are doin' some good things, sure, but they clam up to themselves too much for me. Kinda glad I haven't formally joined yet."

Burke pointed. "Mess hall, basically. Any food you want, they can get it. They just request nothing horrid, like long pork or fried mermaid. They'll allow some really weird stuff, but too far is too far." Another wave. "Basic living quarters for short-term visitis. You and Shiori are gonna be shacked up in the better facilities, considering. Same goes for her friend if she comes with. They are here to help, but don't you dare think anyone here is your servant. That will get you some rightful glares quick. You copy?"

"Hey, foodwise you think they can prepare REAL haggis? Not the ones the tourists get, I mean the real, wee beastie o' the Scottish 'Ighlands?" Ei asked, mimicking a Scottish accent, poorly at that.

"They could. Just ask politely." Burke admitted with a shrug. "Dani is currenly among other prototypes, warmech and otherwise, and has been swapping stories apparently. They do it on an electonic level, so no one outside can understand them but they have like fifty conversations in a few minutes."

"Not surprised. AI's can work out more problems than the average human." Ei mused. His thoughts turned to Shiori. How she looked on that night and what he had planned before...

Ei grabbed his arm where the port for the prosthesis was installed. The memory of how that night had gone down was still fresh in his mind, the pain still fresh.

"Major. Count down from Ten. Trust me." Ei did so, calming down in short order.

"Sorry... A few... A few memories I'd like to be rid of..." he said.

"Quite alright." He gave a light tap to Ei's noggin. "The Cabal higher ups gave you a prototype chip. Anytime you feel a panic attack coming, just count. It won't impede you but it should help calm you down by activating and deactivating certain neurons ". He waved. "Now that you feel ok, try counting down again." Ei did it again, feeling much better this time.

"So, how much further?"

"Three flights of stairs up, another hallway, two flights down, an elevator, then one boatride. That will get us to the checkpoint."

"Boatride...? I don't do well with boats..." Ei said, remembering when the platoon participated in RIMPAC one year.

"Good, cause I was fucking with you. We just turn the corner and wait." He paused. "I say we. I have to get back to base,'to continue my duties there, keep an eye on things. You can handle her yourself, right?"

"I can." At least I hope. he didn't say.

"Good, 'cause that's a lot of woman, and she is gonna need good handling. Have fun." The dirty old man chuckled before hobbling off. Ei leaned against the wall, wishing like hell he could have a cigarette at that moment. He looked at his gloved hand, flexing the fingers. The senations were certainly akin to that of a flesh and blood limb, but he knew better. He knew it wasn't really part of him. Just something to be swapped out with a spare depending on what was needed.

There was a 'voip' just ahead of Ei, and he heard a familiar voice.

"Oof, now that's a strange sensation...."

"You're telling me." Lola replied, clutching her head.

"Shiori?" Ei saw but couldn't believe, almost like the apostle Thomas. Except there weren't holes in Shiori's sides for which Ei could put his fingers into. And Jesus Christ didn't wear a miniskirt and a t-shirt that looked more like it was painted on than pulled on, nor was he accompanied by a petite bunnygirl. That would have been weird.

Shiori paused in her mild rant, turning to the voice. There a few seconds of silence between the two.

Next thing Ei knew, he was on the ground with a very happy snow leopard girl hugging him tightly. Ei's HUD showed the 'STAGGER' and 'CRUSH' errors. He wrapped his left arm around her, hesitating with the right.

"I missed you... I missed you so much..." he said through the tears.

She didn't say anything, and simply hugged him harder. They stayed like that for a few minutes, until Shiori got up and helped him up too.

"So, this is the boyfriend, huh?" Lola remarked, eyeing Ei. Shiori nodded silently, then stepped aside. She knew Lola was going to "inspect" him.

"I... I'm Eikichi... M-major Eikichi Ramirez-Kisaragi." he said to the bunny girl, hesitantly extending a gloved hand.

Lola took the hand and shook it, before tugging hard on it and flipping him over her shoulder to lay him out flat on the floor. "Heavier than he looks."

"Oww... Was that really necessary?" Ei asked, looking up then suppressing a nosebleed.

"Yes." Lola informed him, peering at him as he lay on the floor. "Don't think I've seen you around the club before."

Ei rose, dusting himself off. "Club? What club? Only thing I can remember is haggis." he replied. "Wait, Shiori said they closed a club down. Was that your place?"

Lola nodded, her ears bobbing as she did so. "The CATastrophe club. Tokyo's only all-kemonomimi strip club and massage parlour."

"Man, that's such a waste... The Major mentioned something about issues between humans an kemonomimi in passing. In Tokyo, I mean." he clarified. Ei kept his right arm behind him.

Lola nodded. "Totally. Bastard TPCD shut it down, along with the OCSB."

"No, not the OCSB! They had awesome food! I gave them a 10/10 on Yelp!"

"I saw the review." Lola suppressed a snigger. "The haggis was a one-off show by the frontman of our house band, but you should probably try the nuclear chicken." She paused thoughtfully. "After you've taken some anti-radiation meds, at least. The name isn't figurative; it really is cooked over a nuclear rocket engine."

"Oh, that sounds soooo good..." Ei said, drooling. "I need sustenance..."

"It's from Sealand. They offer special half-hour duck-and-cover delivery on small items, but, again, the name's not figurative. I tried it with car parts once, and they demolished the garage with it. But you should totally come by when I've got the club running somewhere else. I think we're gonna go with a -punk theme this time." Lola said, somehow pronouncing the hyphen. "Cyberpunk, steampunk, that sort of thing."

Ei pulled the glove off and rolled his sleeve up. "This cyberpunk enough for you?" he asked, flexing his fingers.

Lola leaned in to examine it, reaching out to run her fingers over the plating. "Ohhh, it's so shiny and new. So you mind...?" She asked, peering up at him from behind her ears and batting her eyelashes.

Ei held his hand out to her, rolling the sleeve up past the docking port.

Lola tugged a set of screwdrivers from her pocket and set to work on Ei's arm, deftly unscrewing the casing before probing at the innards with her fingertips. "Ooh, mechanical backups as well as servos. Looks like a power cable, so..."

"Oww... I can feel that..." Ei said, wincing. He wondered if this was what Dani felt like when she had maintenance done on her.

"Oh, sorry~" Lola replied absently; not sorry at all as she traced the cable to the source, peeling Ei's sleeve back and stripping off plating as she went. "Microturbine power system? That's... Unusual choice, but I suppose if you're in the military you have to deal with the best they can scrounge up." She poked at the turbine gently, before using a tiny wrench to tweak the fuel feeds. "And of course they set it up wrong. You were running just a little too rich there, but I've got that fixed right up for you~" She smiled brightly at Ei, green eyes dancing.

"I amost want to introduce you to my AI. Almost."

"Oh, I do hardware, not software." Lola commented as she reassembled Ei's arm.

"I mean to look at her body. Twenty tons of ambulatory weapons platform. They said they were upgrading her. Not sure I'm gonna recognize her next time I see her." Ei replied, rolling his sleeve down and putting the glove back on.

Lola practically squee-ed. "Omg you have to let me take a look at her. I can probably get her running more efficiently even after their 'upgrades'. I've always wanted to poke around inside a Lancer unit, ever since I saw those gundams on the news attacking Tokyo!"

"Her tech-rep is here too. She knows the equipment better than I do. Though, I wonder how the others are doing." Ei paused. "Apparently Dani burned some bridges between my former CO's AI and the others. Given the circumstances I can understand why."

"Circumstances?" Lola canted her head, flicking an ear to distract Ei's attention as she quietly pocketed a leftover screw (there's always one). "Oh, you mean the whole faked death thing?"

"It doesn't sit well with me at all." Ei's mood soured. "The platoon, my brother in 4th Infantry Division, my family in Dallas... I want to tell them something, to at least let them know that everything's okay..."

Lola nodded, and stepped in to hug him, resting her head against his chest as her ears brushed his chin. Ei responded by hugging her back and closing his eyes. He was hating the arrangement, even if it was for OPSEC. He wondered if the CIA had it this badly. "Thank you." he said, breaking off the hug and wiping away a tear. "It's all so overwhelming..."

Lola reached up and patted his shoulder. "It'll work out in the end. And besides; you have a cool metal arm, and your new girlfriend has the fluffiest tail in the city." She commented, picking up the end of Shiori's tail and fluffing it out to demonstrate. Shiori flushed a bit but allowed it.

"I... I'd rather ask to touch..." he admitted, his cheeks flushing red.

Shiori gave a shifty glance to Lola. In a moment, Ei had a handful of tail in his hand. Ei ran the fingers on his left hand through her fluff, gently stroking the tail.

"I honestly like the ears better..." he admitted.

"Y-you have permission to touch th-them anytime....." She managed to whisper out. Shiori then shook her head, stepped back as she could with the Major holding her tail, and held out her arms. "How do I look?" She asked nervously.

"Stunning... Almost like..." Ei paused, memories resurfacing. He took a moment to count down, regaining his composure. "I'm sorry..."

He was already mid-hug with both ladies. "It's ok."

"I've... I've been told to expect rigorous training." Ei said, trying to change the subject. "I'm guessing it'll be worse than the time I tried out for Delta." Army Rangers are given an opportunity to try out for 1st Special Operations Detachment Delta. Most scrub out. Ei was one such person, rather unfortunately.

"Heeee. Ohhh Major, you have no idea. Wanna fill him in, Lola?" During the bunnygirl's short stay at Skorpion's home, Shiori had dragged Lola into a few of her workout sessions.

Lola giggled mischeivously, a grin spreading over her face. "I've seen her punch through six feet of reinforced concrete."

"Is it too late to amend my last will and testament? Because last time I did so was 2007, before the Troop Surge..."

"You nearly died last week, and you haven't updated it since? Baka!" Lola exclaimed, bashing Ei with Shiori's tail in lieu of access to hammerspace.

"Didn't get to talk to a JAG..." he muttered.

Shiori just giggled mightily, which provided a very interesting sensation for the other two. Another interesting sensation was when Shiori picked the both of them up, hauled them over a shoulder each (faces pointed backwards over her tail), and walked off down a hallway. "Come on you two, let's go check out our living quarters. Brittany said it was third right, then third left." She reminded herself. Ei settled in for the ride, watching Shiori's tail. He was mesmerized by it and the booty it was attached to.

Sweet Jesus, lookit dat booty! he thought, blood trickling from his nose.

Lola watched Ei's hypnotised expression with interest, her tail wiggling with thoughts of further mischief. Ei was broken from his reverie when he and Lola were set down in the new room. He quickly wiped the blood from his nose, using the black coloration of his glove to hide it. Shiori beamed at the both of them, then wandered off to check out the massive place.

"So, did she tell you what she does for a living yet?" Lola asked curiously.

"N-no, she did not... I presumed she was a Lancer mechanic because of how good she is with the machines." he replied, having seen her work on the weapons platforms first hand.

"That's more of her hobby." Lola giggled softly. "Mainly, she teaches at the Cute Magical Girls of Yuki-Sama Academy for Cute Magical Girls And Boys." She reeled off, just about managing the mouthful of a name.

"Huh. That's pretty cool. I can see tha-" Ei stopped, remembering the search results when he had Googled her. Blood trickled from his nose again as he appeared to suffer a Blue Screen of Death moment.

"She also dances... Used to dance at my club part-time." Lola added. "She was really quite popular."

"I... I think I know what you mean... I... kinda Googled her..." he admitted. He said he wouldn't show the pics, but he never said he wouldn't admit to having seen them.

"We DID have a strict no-picures rule. The perverts responsible have been tracked down and given a stern talking-to." Lola pointed out. "Of course, they're still out there on the net, but we did what we could."

"Sometimes the best laid policies still falter. Reminds me of when they were filming Transformers. Apparently Bay was going to take a cell phone pic of a sub and an MA pointed his M-4 at him and went 'HEY, YOU CAN'T TAKE A PICTURE!' and Bay was all 'We're going to film this thing in an hour!'" he mused. "So... Tell me about yourself. Only thing I know about you is you owned a club and you're apparently quite mechanically inclined."

"Well, I'm dating DarkTan Canto, who ran the OCSB and ORAZ, until it got shut down. And he hasn't really been seen since, which is kind of worrying. But he's kinda half-vampire, so I'm sure he'll be okay when he turns up again. Otherwise..." Lola looked around, and leaned in close to Ei. "Otherwise, I help run the Kemonomimi Railroad; getting oppressed kemonomimi and metahumans out of the city."

"It shouldn't be that way... Kemonomimi are people too..." Ei said, furrowing his brow. "The few I've met have been extremely decent towards me."

"Japan is a very isolationist place, especially when it feels threatened. The whole global terrorism thing, the thing with HYDRA, alien invasions in America, and the rise of Sealand have put them on edge." Lola explained. "So, we help people get out and to pastures new. Mostly south america, although some stop off on pacific islands now."

"Just how bad is it?"

"The TPCD shutting down the main staging area in a dawn raid levels of bad?" Lola pointed out. "They interrupted me in the SHOWER. I got out with borrowed clothes and my car. If it hadn't been for Shiori, I don't know what I would have done."

"I know you're not supposed to knock on the bad guys' door, but this? This is ridiculous! Why isn't anything being done?" Ei was getting worked up over it. "Who speaks for the Kemonomimi?"

"As of now, there's me, there's some lunatic down in Akihabara, and there's Shiori's boss, who runs the school for magical girls. He's the guy with the stupid accent that served the haggis." Lola explained. "Oh, and then there's Prince Skorpion, whenever he's not threatening people at gunpoint or making a bad name for metahumans by blowing up chunks of the city."

"The accent's not stupid. It's awesome." Ei countered. "He's like an artist with a carving knife."

"And a butcher when it comes to perfectly good languages, or anything with more than two wheels." Lola pointed out. "But he can run a band and he fits the hiring policy. And apparently teach magical girls." Lola shrugged. "I have no idea how he ever got cleared to work with them."

"Lemme show you my traffic citations then show you my qualifications as an Armored Infantryman. Stranger things have happened." he added. "I'd like to try and do something, when I can that is."

"Once Mister Slicey is off the streets, then we'll work on it." Lola promised. "I don't like being an oppressed minority. Especially when my profession stops me being able to mallet people." It was Ei's turn to hug Lola.

"One of these days you'll be free to mallet anyone without fear of retaliation. One of these days..." he said.

"Only if you can change the laws of Feminine Outrage." Lola replied, leaning into him as she returned the hug. "It's not the bunny ears that stop the mallets. It's the running a strip club. They're linked to purity and innocence or something, and I've not been innocent since I danced my way through university."

"I'm unfamiliar with those laws, I'm afraid... Could you perhaps bring me up to speed?"

"You know how in anime, when a guy gropes a girl accidentally she punts him through the scenery with a hammer? Well, that's the sort of thing I mean." Lola explained, releasing Ei in order to tug her phone from her purse, reaching elbow-deep into the small bag and rummaging around before extracting it. "But it's only the sweet young innocent things doing it, rather than the older girls who know about boys and stuff." She held the phone up, showing a clip of a Standard Anime Protagonist being smashed through a skyscraper for walking into a girl while daydreaming about another girl, knocking her over, and ending up with his head stuffed between her thighs.

"Wow. That is some serious power. Dem thighs, though." Ei mused, focusing on the girl.

Lola pocketed her phone again. "But that's the sort of thing malleting is used for. I've got to improvise, so..." She reached into the bag again, drawing out a big black rubber dildo, a stun-gun, and a 9mm Beretta.

"Nine mil? Seriously?" Ei mused, focusing on the pistol. "I prefer the .45 ACP myself. Proven man stopper."

"It's light and easy to use." Lola replied, frowning slightly as she brought the gun up in a two-handed grip. "Unlike you, I'm not super-strong, and I don't have man hands for a big manly gun. This is mostly just to slow someone down so I can hit them with the stunner, or run away. Plus, you don't need stopping power with a headshot." Ei looked at his 'real' hand.

"They weren't that big... Khukov, now, he's got bear paws for hands." He mused with a chuckle, wondering what that giant was doing. He started to wonder what the rest of the platoon was doing then stopped, lest another attack happen.

Lola put the gun away, as well as the stun gun and the dildo bludgeon.

"That bludgeon get used for anything other than bludgeoning people?" Ei asked, out of a morbid curiousity.

"Not that one. That's the 'hitting people' dildo." Lola explained. "This..." She pulled another dildo out, of a slightly smaller size but in a more feminine pink. "THIS is the fun-time one."

"Huh. That one I can understand, I mean, <I> wouldn't try to take the 'hitting people' one. Maybe...." Ei went red. "C-could we... talk about something else..."

Lola giggled, bopping Ei lightly on the head before tucking Mister Playtime away into her purse. "Oh, you're just adorable. AND you're a career man. I see why she's dating you." She smiled brightly. "You're a pretty good catch."

"Th-thanks... Honestly, it was nigh impossible to be this open with my platoon mates, even after the repeal of DADT. UCMJ still covers a few things under, well..." Ei admitted. "I guess I'm still thinking like a soldier. Old habits and what not."

Lola nodded, her ears bouncing and bobbing once more. "Well, you can feel free to come talk to me if you need to. We'll probably be spending a lot of time together anyway, what with my arrangement with Shiori and all..." She trailed off, realising she hadn't told him about that. "Oh, has she told you about that yet?"

"No. I mean, we were dating for a week and talking about a lot of things but she didn't tell me about arrangements." He replied.

"Ahhh." Lola nodded sagely. "Well, we're friends with benefits, since I already have a boyfriend and all. And I suppose she does now too. And, well, I'm sorta staying with her now as well, because my home's still crawling with pigs."

"If I could contact our platoon sniper then maaaaaaybe he could make bacon." Ei suggested with a sly grin. "One hundred and fifty five milimeter bacon. Downside: your house would be gone."

Lola waved a hand dismissively. "It's the OCSB; it's been through worse. Literally; someone with a Gundam demolished it a few years back, the demons took chunks out of it before the food got to them, and, well, DT forgets about Sealand's delivery methods fairly often."

"That delivery method sounds painful. And reminds me of something." Ei started, finally finding a memory that didn't have PTSD induced flashbacks. "I was 82nd Airborne then Rangers before I went 19X and became an Armored Infantryman. They told us a lot about jumping from the back of a cargo plane or a Chinook to drop into a combat zone, so we did a lot of jumping. And, well, they don't tell you about what can happen between the aircraft and the ground. I was asaulted by my own weapons case and a stray updraft once. Didn't land for about a half hour that time. My then platoon sarn't, what was his name... God, I hate that I can't- Ramos! Sarn't Ramos, he landed way off course in a patch of poison ivy once. And Hawkins. Poor Hawkins landed in a festering swamp where something had died. He was in medical for a week while getting stuck with all sorts of antibiotics."

Lola winced. "They just deliver stuff in artillery shells, or drop it from aircraft. Sometimes helicopters if you pick the careful option, but their website's kinda bad for that. Otherwise, there's a reason I don't jump out of perfectly good aicraft. I much prefer to get my kicks on the ground." She paused, grinning as an idea occurred to her. "Okay, as soon as I can get my car up here, I'm taking you for a ride."

"Passenger seat only, please. Weird things happen if I'm in the driver's seat."

"Oh, don't worry, she doesn't let anyone else drive her. Not properly, at least." Lola smiled. "Anyway, I'm hungry. Wanna go check out the kitchen, raid the fridge?"

"God, yessssss! That gas can icon is on my HUD."

---

Lola settled down at the table with a plate of pancakes and waffles, dribbling a copious amount of syrup over the top. "You got enough there, mister super soldier? I know how much you people tend to eat."

"Needs a rack of ribs, some refried beans, coleslaw, fajitas de camaron, carne asada, maybe a bowl of miso, aaaaaaand diabeetus in a baking pan, ie an ice cream sandwich cake." Ei received a peculiar look. "What, I'm a growing boy."

"You sound like my boyfriend." Lola commented, around a mouthful of syrup with some pancake in there somewhere. "You'd probably get on with him, too. But, alas, this is all we have handy. I'll have to go do grocery shopping for you two."

"Hey, remind me one of these days to get you a shopping list. I... I'd like to make something nice for Shiori..."

Lola nodded, giggling softly. "She likes chicken, but she's not a huge fan of cheese. I'll go as soon as I've got my car, or can 'borrow' something from here."

"I've already got an idea. I'll make Abuelo's famous chicken enchiladas for her. Wait, she does like spicy, right?" Ei wanted to make sure he made something that wouldn't be off putting.

"Oh yeah, she definitely likes spicy. Just don't go super heavy on it, and she'll love it." Lola smiled. "She picked up quite a taste for our chicken wings. Best wings in the city!"

"Abuelo has a recipie for our family and a recipie for gueros. I'm sorry, for white people. It's spicy enough to be tasty but weak enough that it won't be off putting. I think you can figure out which is which." He said. "That said, I really want to thank you. I want to make this work and I'll take all the help I can get."

"If you want to thank me, cut me in on the fancy dinner." Lola shot back, grinning impishly. "Just cook me a portion and I'll leave you two to your romantic meal. If you ask me, it's about time she got a boyfriend."

"Of course. You want the family or the other recipie?"

"Bitch, I dealt with hellfire chili on a daily basis. Gimme the full-on spicy!" Lola exclaimed, pumping her fist in the air as the sugar rush hit.

"Deal..." That said, Ei began eating the waffles, not wasting time in gorging himself.

---

Shiori finally finished her examination of the place. "This place is huge! Well, it's not bad if it was a house, but compared to my apartment..." She waved off. "There's a room for each of us, bathroom for each, all our stuff seems to be here already, and the neat thing is they seemed to give us a bed big enough for three in each of the rooms. We'll need to try that out soon."

"A bed for three? That seems a tad excessive. I mean, I'll give you girls your space..." Ei began to protest, part of him kicking himself for suggesting it, the other part trying to play the gentleman.

Lola giggled, looking over and up at Ei. "Oh, I don't know, it might be nice to introduce a man to our playtimes...~" She said with relish, a mischeivous grin spreading over her face as her tail started to wiggle behind her.

"SO! You!" Shiori pointed at Ei. The Ranger had a deer in headlights look as he was pointed at.

"You got two days. Two days to relax, but not get lazy, and get back up on your feet, in the metaphorical sense. But after that?"

Shiori nabbed Ei's collar, and pulled him so he was nose to nose with her.

"You're gonna be getting the workout of a lifetime, mister."

I wonder if it's too late to go back in time and retake that Delta exam..." Ei thought, dreading the next few days.

Lola's giggling intensified as she nearly fell off the chair. "I'll... I'll make sure to call someone to fix your pelvis..."

------------------------------------------------------------------

Summary
-15th28th Armored Infantry is in hot water, again...
-Death Certificates have been sent for Kurosawa, Sharde, and Switalski. Slight pause on Ramirez-Kisaragi, though.
-The Carrier General (is there such a thing?) returns to his flagship.
-The rank and file of 28th AI lament the loss of Ei.
-Minor infighting breaks out.
-This just in: The YLM-27 is to be wiped.
-Platoon rushes to the hangar.
-Neither Major Wylder nor Colonel Segovia can affect the outcome. All the King's horses and all the King's men...
-D4N1 has words with Convoy. Bridge burning words. The other AIs show their displeasure as well.
-Anie, and Joey, are ushered in and taken with Dani.
-Suddenly, an impromptu jump. Anie's never jumped from a plane.
-Attempted pop culture reference. Thwarted.
-THIS IS SPARTA! Okay, so it's a C-17 but you get the idea.
-Jump successful, except for Anie.
-Squad convenes, including a broken Anie. Nothing duct tape can't fix.
-Suddenly, the Voice of God! Okay, maybe not, but still. Only the worthy may follow.
-Dani, Anie, and Joey teleport. Squad relocates and calls for transport.
-So shiny and new! Shiny and chrome? No, not quite.
-Dani and Anie part ways.
stay. They stay because they kill.
-Anie gets a short tour from Lewie and a little background on the Cabal.
-She is going to visit someone.
-News of Ei's demise was premature. Also classified.
-Meanwhile, Dani has detailing done. She is to be fully upgraded in due course. Except the Vulcans stay. They stay because they kill.
-Detailing complete. Time for a quick visit.
-Apparently the AI equivalent of crying is radio feeback.
-Visit over, surgery and upgrades await.
-Waking up from surgery sucks.
-Burke in the shadows.
-Burke is an asshole.
-New arm, new upgrades, new everthing. Even that new soldier smell.
-Burke warns Ei that Shiori is coming.
-The doc leads Ei out and past several slightly unsettling if cool looking rooms.
-Ei is left on his own when...
-Suddenly, a wild Snowleopard girl and a wild bunny girl appear!
-Shiori used Body Slam! It's Super Effective!
-Shiori introduces Ei to Lola. Lola uses Vital Throw. It's also Super Effective.
-Lola inspects Ei's new arm. Minor tweaking done.
-Quick trip to the shared quarters.
-Sustenance. Ei eats like an army.
-Plans to feed Shiori something good, with Lola getting a cut.
-Shiori gives Ei two days of rest before Hell Week(month?) begins.
Last edited by ArsenalXA4 on Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Skorpynekomimi

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Posts: 96

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:06 pm

Post Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:16 pm

Re: The Storm Is Set To Rise

Helix down!
Location: Roppongi District
Timestamp: Sometime during Shiori's recovery.
Authors: Skorpy, Oblivion, Elle.
Characters: Rekko, Alexis, Machariah, Tiffaney, Skorpion, Strider, Rekko, Devin, Arella


---

"We ain't found shit, sir." The sargeant (as identified by having the most miscellaneous pieces of kit) reported, saluting.

Strider frowned. "Damn it, there was definitely activity from one of those hate-groups around here. Start searching the buildings. Ask nicely, first, don't just barge in."

"Uh, yes sir." The trooper nodded, then turned to the squad behind him. "YOU HEARD THE MAN! START KNOCKING ON DOORS, AND ASKING NICELY TO SEARCH FOR CULTISTS! HUT HUT HUT!"

The squad bustled into activity, fanning out into nearby buildings and alleyways. After a while of searching, and some rather angry glares from motorists due to the illegally parked SUV, the men reassembled, the sargeant once again saluting Strider. "We asked, we found a crazy cat lady, one old coot who says the Russians are gonna come and take everything again, and..."

"Again?" Strider asked, raising his eyebrows.

"Yeah, Russo-Japanese war happened around the world war sort of period, never officially ended, they don't like each other much." The sargeant explained. "Anyway. Cat lady, paranoid old dude, and someone had half a dozen AK47s in their living room."

"What. Aren't those illegal here?"

"Yeah, but what're you gonna do? We're not the cops, they don't seem like cultists, they're just regular everyday folk who happen to have half a dozen AK47s on their coffee table, and wanted to place an order for a few RPGs as well. I took the liberty of giving them a brochure."

Strider sighed, rubbing his temples. "I'm never going to get used to trying to arm the populace instead of disarm them."

"Peace through superior rate of fire, sir!" The sargeant saluted.

"Isn't that 'superior firepower'?"

"Not here, sir."

The world took this time to be ironic, as a mortar bomb landed in the middle of the street. The squad dived for cover, leaving Strider standing in the middle of the street, blood streaming out of his ears. There was a pause, broken by the whistle of another mortar round, and Strider was tackled to the floor and dragged into cover. "They're aiming for you, sir!"

"WHAT? SPEAK UP!"

"THEY'RE..." The trooper peered at the officer, and sighed. "Never mind." He tugged out his phone, tapping something out on it and holding it out to Strider, as the second bomb shook the ground.

"BURST EELPLUMS?"

The trooper cursed, tapping away again.

"OH, EARDRUMS. THAT EXPLAINS WHY I CAN'T HEAR SHIT, HUH?"

This was followed by a small barrage of mortar fire, raining down around Strider's position behind an overturned dumpster. There was a pause, and a trooper stuck his head up to check the now-emptied street. "Looks cl-" He was cut off by a small fountain of blood spraying from his forehead as he jerked backwards, frantically tugging his helmet off. "SNIPER! MAN DOWN! NON-FATAL!"

The squad exchanged looks, before sticking a helmet up on the muzzle of an assault rifle. A hole obligingly appeared in it, and the squad leaned out of cover to spray the sniper's general direction with automatic fire. Windows broke, car alarms sounded, and a few birds were knocked from the air. There followed another silence, broken only by the sound of Largoists reloading, and Strider struggling to keep his ears clear.

After a few seconds, someone grabbed the radio from the downed trooper. "Base, this is Charlie two niner. We are in Roppongi, and taking heavy fire, two casualties. Mortars and sniper fire, estimate two, maybe three tubes and one sniper. Request support, reinforcements, and medevac, over."

"Roger, Charlie two niner, dispatching support and medevac. ETA five minutes, over.

"Acknowledged, base. Charlie two niner signing off, over."

---

"We're needed again. Quit eating and let's go, yeah?"

"Screw you. Am hungry, food is in box."

Rekko grunted, waving with his chopsticks before swallowing. "Yeah, we have another bag of these bentos to get through. We'll finish these on the way. Do YOU want to piss off a wolfgirl by not finishing her meals made with love?"

"Ugh. Keep the sappy stuff to yourself."

"Hey, you want the food, you get the sap as well. Just don't get too much kawaii in the turbines, yeah?"

The chopper lifted off from the park, scattering leaves and cherry blossom with the rotor wash.

---

"Wanwan, this is base. Support requested in Roppongi, approximately two miles from your location. Hostile sniper and mortar team confirmed, suspect more forces nearby, over."

"Can I get a cooler callsign?" Alexis asked before mobilizing to her support position. "Like 'Devestator', or 'Destroyer', or 'Super-Pro'."

"You don't get to pick your callsign. Not my fault some weeb decided on all the stuff for this mission, despite the fact that we're IN JAPAN ALREADY." The radio operator replied with a chuckle. "Plus, it's cute. Kinda suits you, over."

"You know. For a princess, I'm remarkably un-spoiled." Alexis complained, as she boarded her expensively armoured SUV, with her expensive cannon that was loaded with expensive ammo, to expensively deploy to support an expensive battle.

"Surprisingly badass too, over. Stay hidden until they open fire; one sniper confirmed, perhaps more."

"Got it. I'll get to a nice perch and put down resistance." Alexis confirmed as she drove to an alley that had a building with good line of sight, before exiting the vehicle and making her way to the roof to set up for cover fire. "In position." She stated as she aimed down sights with her left eye, using her right to spot for herself.

---

"<Very good. They're pinned down, and more are coming. Send the first wave of attackers.>" Machariah instructed from his rooftop. "<They have support inbound, take them before it arrives.>"

"<Yes, comrade! The capitalist pigs shall surely fall on our bayonets! Me... Beings! Charge!>"

In the courtyard below, the previously unruly knot of people shifted, producing rifles and forming ranks. At a whistle from above, they filtered through the building, running out the doors on the other side to charge the pinned Largoists. "BANZAI!"

The Largoists reacted to the cry, leaning up over their cover and opening fire; single shots and short bursts from assault rifles cutting down their assailants easily. Numbers, however, were on the side of the attackers, allowing them to close. The Largoist attempt to withdraw down an alleyway was stopped by more mortar fire landing behind them; forcing them to the exposed mouth of the alley.

"We are being overrun! Base, they have us bracketed with mortars, and they're sending human wave attacks. Multiple casualties, need medevac and support NOW!" The sargeant yelled into his radio between bursts with his rifle. "Repeat, multiple casualties, over!"

"Squad, be advised that medevac is in the area, support is inbound, callsign Wanwan. Pop smoke, let us know where you are." Rekko said calmly into his radio, leaning out the side of the helicopter. "She'll get them off your back long enough to get you out, over."

"Roger that medevac, popping smoke. If your girlfriend's going to be around, they won't be trouble for long. Base, attackers coming from a derelict apartment opposite. Request air support to neutralise, over."

"Squad, we can't just go blowing up buildings." The calm female voice of the Largoist radio operator replied. "We'll drop some artillery in the courtyard, though. Remain in cover, over.."

"Roger that, base, but they're making it hard. We may have to make cover out of the enemy, over."

---

Alexis' ear flickered as she spotted the smoke, opening fire on a clustered group of enemies; the cannon shell exploding as it slammed into the ground at their feet, blasting off legs and feet.

The crowd wavered as the first shell hit, momentum stalling. This allowed the Largoists to make headway on the initial charge before the attack was pushed on by more people joining from the back, shoving the crowd forwards through the remains of their comrades and into the teeth of the Largoist gunfire as someone started to set up a machinegun. "Wanwan! More of that, if you please. Keep them backed up so we can take them down, over!"

Alexis acknowledged the request by peppering the opposition's front line with cannonfire, reloading with unnatural speed. "Anything need singling out?" She asked over comms.

"Yeah, find those goddamn mortars so we can back off a bit. And they've got a sniper someARGH! BASTARD SHOT ME! FIND HIM AND KILL HIM!" The sargeant ordered, as he was knocked to the ground by a bullet punching through his body armour. "MotherFUCKER that hurts!"

"You gonna live?" Alexis asked as she continued to shoot out the enemy troops, her right eye scanning potential sniper nests until she found her mark. "Got 'em." She announced as she sent three rounds into the window of an office building. "Sniper down."

"I ain't got time to bleed, let alone die. Got a Magic tournament coming... Aw, shit, I'm bleeding over my deck! Those card protectors better be watertight!"

"Quit whining. Lexi, get those mortars before they hit us." Rekko advised as his chopper arrived above the smoke. "Squad, keep them suppressed. If they have a machinegun or an RPG, I want it taken out the instant you see it. Heading down now." Rekko kicked a rope out the door before stepping out after it, grabbing on and sliding down next to the squad, the winch hoist following him at it's own pace. "Sarge, you first. You're still bleeding, even if you don't have time to."

"Get Jenkins first; they headshotted him, and his eyes ain't been pointing the right way since."

"On it." Alexis said, resuming suppressing fire until she spotted a mortar crew and promptly shot them down. "One down." She reported as she spotted a second crew on a rooftop and killed them. "That's two." She said, looking for a third for a bit before reporting. "That's all I got L.O.S. on."

---

"<That would be our cue. Anti-air teams, strike now!>" Machariah ordered.

On his command, a pair of garishly-clad figures with purple hair ran out onto the rooftop, dropping into a kneeling position and firing RPGs at the hovering chopper. In the building opposite, a window was smashed to allow the muzzle of a heavy machinegun to poke out, spraying fire at the helicopter.

One of the RPGs spiralled off high, the other destroyed by the active defence system as the chopper swayed to the side to avoid it. The motion jerked the rope, however, causing Rekko to lose his grip and fall the last few feet to the ground as the machinegun started firing. Evasive action was limited by the close confines as much as the dangling rope and winch cable. The tail was the first thing to be chewed up, the cone of fire moving up to throw sparks from the rotor hubs as they bounced off the armour. "We are taking fire! Repeat, taking fire from RPGs and machinegun. Attempting to gain height to maneuvre, over." Jack called out over the radio as he did just that. More rockets arced out from more rooftops as a small truck careened into the street, slewing across the street as the anti-aircraft cannon mounted on the bed opened fire, shredding the curtain-sided container that had been concealing it, spraying fire at the helicopter.

As this happened, the artillery shells started to land in the courtyard, scattering cultists and chunks of shrapnel into the air. A stray chunk of concrete struck the helicopter's rotors, causing it to slew sideways into the path of a rocket. Smoke spewed from the engines as it was hit, the thrum of the rotors starting to stutter. "We're hit! One engine down, the other's on fire. Bringing her down before she falls down. Lexi, get those assholes before they knock us into our own guys!"

"Rekko!" Alexis practically screamed as she saw him fall from the rope, adjusting her focus back to the battle when Jack called for her help. She took aim, firing a few rounds into the AA cannon, before taking out the two with the RPGs, and finally the heavy machinegun along with half of the wall it was sticking out of. "Where's Rekko?!" She demanded to know, firing at a couple others that tried to move along the roofs.

"He's down here with us. A little bruised, but... OH GOD IT'S COMING DOWN RIGHT ON US!" The sargeant shouted, the squad scattering as the chopper hit the street hard after taking an RPG to the rotor hubs. Smoke and dust rose from the crash, soon accompanied by a fireball.

Alexis gasped as the helicopter crashed. "J-Jack? Ivan?" Alexis called out over her com set. "Rekko?"

There was no reply, save for the shouting, flames, and secondary explosions from the crash site.

"Anyone, respond!" Alexis shouted over comms. "I can't see through the smoke, someone talk to me!"

"Chopper is down! Report, choper is down! Need immediate support on the ground! Multiple wounded, some serious, medic is down!" Someone responded, panic edging into his voice.

"Hold out as best you can. I'm on my way!" Alexis said, leaving her cannon on the rooftop as she hastily decended the fire escape to get to her SUV and speed off towards the battle. "Alexis to HQ, we need support. We've been ambushed, multiple wounded, and the medic's down." She called out over her comm set on the emergency channel. "Rekko, please be okay."

"Wanwan, this is base. Ambush acknowledged. Armour support inbound, ETA 30 minutes, 60 minutes for heavy elements and extraction. Initial reinforcements inbound on target."

---

"More of them. Perfect. Send another wave." Machariah instructed, walking over to the edge of the roof. "I shall be back shortly, with a trophy."

The pastel-haired RPG team on the roof saluted and headed back down the stairs to join the next attack. Machariah reached the edge and stepped off, slowing abruptly as he neared the ground, cloak flaring dramatically. Once on the ground, he started off for the Largoist line, his form shifting and vanishing as his cloak took effect.

---

It wasn't long before Alexis' SUV skid to a halt, the wolfgirl exiting the vehicle and pulling Giri (her high velocity gatling cannon) out of hammerspace to mow down a wave of enemies.

"Alexis Maryann Havloc." Machariah stated as he stuck the blade of his polearm into the rotating barrels, causing 10,000RPM worth of torque to turn the rest of the gun instead and twist it's way out of Alexis' grip. "Princess of Sealand. Unofficially adopted daughter of Skorpion. Daughter of Tiffaney Jawoh, scientist and magical girl. Sister of Johnathan Edward Havloc, Devin Greyson, Evangeline Contessa, and Arella Silverstone. Girlfriend of Rekko, the medic my people just shot down. Holder of high scores on 84.6% of the 1¥ Arcade in Akihabara. Cat cutout lingerie, black. Impractical for combat, don't you think? And how is your brother, by the way? Coping well with the loss of his arm?" He stated, reeling it off before appearing in front of her.

Alexis grit her teeth as her cannon flew out of her hands. "He'll feel better after I shoot you dead." The wolfgirl responded, transforming and immediately firing an impact round at her attacker.

Machariah grunted slightly as the round hit him in the chest, embedding itself in his armour. "My dear, you of all people should know I'm harder to kill than that." He smiled at her, displaying a mouthful of pointed teeth as his eyes failed to match the gesture. "After all, I'm like your adopted father, am I not? Only I'm stronger, faster, and harder to kill. And you, Lexi..." He poked her in the chest with the point of his polearm. "Are a ranged fighter in close combat. Didn't you get thrown off a helicarrier last time you tried that?" He grinned again before stepping back. "You have five seconds to run; I'm giving you a sporting chance."

Alexis stared daggers into him for a brief moment before backflipping away, tossing her revolvers to the sides before holding her hand out in front of her. "All or nothing." She thought as a longbow appeared in her hand, a thick fog rolling over the battlefield. Once she was obscured she leapt back onto a lamp post. "I gotta end this fast." She drew back her bow and aimed upward, firing an arrow into the sky that burst into a hailstorm of other arrows, all aimed at and around Machariah.

Machariah moved swiftly, his polearm flashing and sweeping to deflect arrows as they came near him, stepping around into gaps as he cleared them. "You'll have to do better than that, Lexi! Arrows move slowly!" He paused, aiming the back of his polearm at her lamppost and firing, neatly amputating the top half with a razor-disk. "And you should know better than to rely on Tokyo street furniture." He moved in as the pieces started to separate and spark, swinging his polearm to slice the post nearer the ground.

Alexis leapt from the falling lamp post, firing two arrows into his left shoulder. "Stop lecturing me!" She screamed, her longbow changing into a greatbow before she slammed it into the ground and drew back a massive bolt. "Panzer Strike!" She called out, releasing the bolt which flew straight at Machariah and exploded.

"But, my dear, you are beautiful when you're angry." Machariah remarked from behind her, his armour still smoking from the explosion as he stabbed for her midsection. "And the high blood pressure will make splatter marks that will surely draw out your 'father'." He remarked, the quotemarks evident.

Alexis moved swiftly out of the way, her hat flying off her head as she took a cut on her hip. "Then I'll" She started firing a barrage of high vilocity arrows at Machariah as she fell back. "Have to kill you before he gets here!"

Machariah sidestepped and vanished, reappearing next to Alexis. His blade passed neatly through her bowstring before slicing along her arm; the armour barely slowing it. "He isn't coming. Too busy with your mother on the other side of town."

Alexis grit her teeth as the polearm sliced along her arm, blood spattering from the wound. It hurt, but she wasn't about to cry out in pain. "Get away!" She yelled instead, abandoning the broken bow to draw her revolver and fire all five shots at his head as the fog cleared.

"Don't grind your teeth like that; you'll wear down the points." Machariah cautioned her as he sidestepped the shots. As he moved, he swept her legs from under her with the back end of his polearm. "Now, enough playing around. For once, I'd like to finish before I'm interrupted."

---

"No no no." Devin said as he finally located Alexis, dialing Skorpion's number in a flash. "Skorp, Alexis is in danger. Sending coordinates. Hurry up, I'll stall." He said before hanging up and sending Skorpion the information.

"What." Skorpion checked the information, and the radio logs from the incident he'd been ignoring. "This is bait, but I can't just let him kill her." He sighed, turning to Tiffaney. "We're leaving. I know we only just got seated, but Lexi's in trouble and we need to get to a park so we can go rescue her."

"What?!" Tiffaney yelled, before jumping to the back of the room. "Where is she? I knew I shouldn't have let her go alone..."

"Roppongi. We need to get to a park because my Hind is on the way and I can't land it in a building. At least, if I want to take off again." Skorpion replied, shrugging his coat on as he walked to the door.

"Now isn't the time for walking!" Tiffaney scolded with urgency.

"You're right. Now is the time for flying!" Skorpion grinned, pointing upwards as he strode across the street, the helicopter already settling down into a nearby park. "A shame; I was looking forward to a romantic stroll through here. Now I guess it'll have to wait until they fix it."

"Hurry!" Tiffanney yelled as she ran past him to board the helicopter.

Skorpion climbed up into the cockpit, plugging a thick cable into the ports in the back of his neck. "I am hurrying. Just have patience; I'm not going to run towards a running helicopter. We don't have time for me to stick my head back on if I lose it."


"Fine, but keep hurrying. I have a bad feeling..." Tiffaney said as she sat down and strapped herself in.

"We'll get there. He'll toy with her first. Just gotta get there before he moves to chopping bits off." Skorpion stated as the chopper lifted off, the cluster of cannons under the nose swiveling and pivoting.

---

Arella was officially abusing the convenience of her headset when her own call came through; it had been intended to free up her hands during battle, or while riding her ninja (on the extremely rare occasion that she used her phone while driving, anyway). It had not been intended to allow her to talk on the phone while playing Mass Effect in the VR room. That was just being spoiled. Still, why stop shooting Collectors in the face, when you can talk and shoot at the same time? "Hello?" Commander Arella Shepard promptly answered. While shooting a Collector in the face.

Right after finishing his call with Skorpion, Devin called Arella. "No time to chat, Alexis needs you in Roppongi; it's Machariah. I'll run interference until you get there." The catboy said before hanging up and texting her a street address. "Desperate times." He said, the room flashing a bright green as he transformed into his magical girl form. His hair grew longer, the white patches in his hair turning black to match the rest, and his features changing to that of a short girl with an average bust. A skin-tight suit formed around her before light armour formed over it. "I hate this..." She said in her now girly voice before teleporting to a roof near Alexis.

Arella, meanwhile, didn't even bother to shut off her game, or power down the VR room; before Devin could even finish talking, she had hightailed it out of the room, leaving a very confused audience of Largoists behind her, as she ran for her ninja. She'd already lost one best friend back in the demon invasion - she wasn't losing another one now. She also may have been about to break several traffic laws on the way to Roppongi.

---

Machariah stepped in behind Alexis, reaching in as his polearm spun upwards. A quick motion with both hands and the dulled blade in one of them, and he was holding her ear as he stepped away to catch his weapon. "A worthy trophy, in case our little dance gets interrupted. Now, where were we? Ah, yes." He grinned a soulless grin, sidestepping another burst of rounds to slice at Alexis' calf, the cut joining the others slowly weakening her as the battle raged around them.

Alexis screamed in pain as her ear was severed, blood running down her head.

"See, that wasn't so bad, was it?" Machariah asked rhetorically, circling around the wolfgirl like a shark around a kayak. "So, fight. Defend yourself. Or has Sealand turned you soft?"

"Shut up!" Alexis yelled as she held her wounded ear with her free hand as she shot at him.

It was then that Devin appeared on a nearby roof. She quickly looked at Machariah and started to wirelessly hack his systems. "I need to slow him down."

Machariah winced, looking up and around. "What... You." He twirled his polearm, sending a stream of razor-disks towards Devin's rooftop.

Alexis took advantage of Machariah's distraction and shot for his head.

Meanwhile Devin ducked out of sight before teleporting to a different rooftop. "Okay, datamining. The more I dig through the more it'll distract him..." She reminded herself as she dug through Machariah's memory.

Machariah growled as the bullets flattened themselves on his skull. "Oh, I see how it is. Time to see how a real super-soldier fights." He replied, lips curling into a sneer as he charged back at Alexis, blade swinging in for her abdomen. "Don't think I can't see you healing up, there. Has Daddy been experimenting on you?" "Also, don't think I can't see you sneaking around in my head, little thief." Walls snapped down around Devin's intrusions, forced down with as much capacity as he could spare from the fight.

A bead of sweat formed on Devin's brow. "So it's going to be like that..." She muttered, dividing her focus to start a new hack in the cybernetics located in Machariah's legs. "Unlike you. I don't have to worry too much about my surroundings." She whispered as she planted a perimeter alarm at her feet. "Still... This isn't as easy as I was hoping..."

Alexis leapt back, narowly avoiding a fatal blow before firing a flash round at her feet and dodging to the side, the numerous cuts and gashes taking their toll on her speed. "Dad wouldn't do that!" She yelled, firing two more rounds at him as she moved.

"And yet, here you are. Organ and all, fighting me, for him." Machariah pointed out, feinting a high thrust before stabbing in from the side, through her ribs and into her lung. "So, heal. Do your thing. Or does it not work so well on an inferior copy?" He asked, tugging the blade out and swinging for her head.

Alexis coughed up blood as her lungs were pierced, stepping back and holding her side as blood gushed from the wound. Her eyes widened as the blade swung for her neck.

Arella acted without thinking. One minute she was on her bike, and Lexi was in trouble. The next, she was quite literally throwing herself between her friend and the crazy not-Skorp, and her whole world was changing. Again. Then there was a lot of blinding light filling the street, mixed with a rather contradictory oily darkness; a handful of dark feathers burst into the air from somewhere within, to dance dramatically about in the breeze; and somewhere back in TPCD headquarters a shrill alarm went off, only to abruptly fall silent again as the whole system overloaded and crashed, along with several nearby ANFGs. And then there was Arella, standing right where she belonged - between her friend and danger - in full magical girl form. Her short dress was blue, emblazoned with a sigil of dark blue raven wings and trimmed in the feathers of a raven; more feathers adorned her blonde hair, and the edges of a blue wing-shaped mask that didn't bother to hide her blue eyes; her knee-high boots were the darkest blue of her costume, and had en-pointe toes instead of the more typical heels, and the pendant that appeared around her neck was no longer gold or adorned with a winged heart - it was silver and black now, and took the shape of a raven's wings. She was also armed with a glaive which she held as one fully capable of wielding it, and had pulled up a dark shield around herself and Lexi seemingly effortlessly - and just in time to deflect Machariah's swing.

"'Rella?" Alexis questioned, stepping back to lean against a wall before sliding down along it, leaving a smear of her blood along it's surface as her magical girl for dissapeared. "... Don't... Get... Hurt..." She said weakly before coughing up more blood.

Machariah bounced off the shield, frowning. "Arella Silverstone, deputy headmistress at the Cute Magical Girls of Yuki-sama Academy, formerly retired... No underwear? Daring, for a teacher."

"In your dreams, creep," the magical girl accused, taking perhaps a little too much satisfaction in thwarting his creepy information recitation. Apparently, magical girl underthings didn't always register, because she was definitely wearing something under her new skirt. "Devin, get yourself and Lexi out of here," she then ordered, in a tone that brooked no argument. Her shield didn't so much as waver; Machariah wasn't getting through it anytime soon.

A moment later a short magical catgirl teleported behind Arella's shield, resting a hand on Alexis before teleporting back to a nearby rooftop to continue trying to retrieve information from Machariah.

"Devin Grayson." Machariah stated. "Mental hacking and teleportation? Interesting. Get out of my head." He stepped back again, firing an explosive disk at Devin before spraying Arella's shields with razor disks. (Arella's shields, for the record, did not give a fsck.)

Devin rested a hand on Alexis again before teleporting to a different rooftop about a block away. "Dammit..."

"Dev...?" Alexis asked weakly.

For a moment Devin was conflicted on answering that, but ultimately decided to. "That's right. I'll explain later, okay."

Alexis nodded. You gotta save Arella... And find Rekko."

"Shh. You need to save your strength." Devin advised.

In the meantime, Arella took advantage of Machariah's momentary distraction to drop her shield entirely and take a swing at him with her glaive. For someone who couldn't recall ever handling one of the things before, she was handling it quite expertly.

Machariah reacted near-instantly, parrying her glaive with his own. "Impressive, and intriguing. Warrior Angel Elle always preferred the sword."

"I'm not Warrior Angel Elle," Arella quite correctly rebutted, taking another swing at him, the wicked-looking blade of her new weapon beginning to glow with a dark sort of energy not unlike that which made up her shield.

"That much is obvious." Machariah replied, the magic coursing down his blade to his arm; sparks showering from his cloak as he broke contact. "Perhaps now you'll be a challenge worthy of... Oh dear." He glanced up briefly, stepping away before coming in from the side, swinging low at her legs. "I shall make this brief, then."

Arella's shield slammed down between them just long enough for her to bring her glaive up for a rather impressive parry, followed by a shot of magic at his chest. The world seemed to be moving more slowly than usual, for some reason. Or she was processing it more quickly. Or maybe she was just moving really fast? It was handy, whatever it was she was doing.

Machariah barely sidestepped the bolt, his cloak rippling colours and static as it passed. He stepped back again, giving ground as he span his polearm around, firing an explosive disk at the floor in front of Arella's feet, only for it to be deflected as one of her bubble-like shields sprung up around her.

"I see this requires more firepower than a pointed stick." Machariah remarked, detepping back again. There was a brief lapse in the mental walls as an order was sent out for mortar fire. He raised his blade in salute before vanishing from sight, appearing a moment later at the edge of the crowd with a line of parked cars between him and Arella.

Unable to resist, the magical girl swapped weapons in the blink of an eye and took a shot at him with one of her arrows, even knowing full well that he would be able to dodge it. Bloody coward clearly only stuck around for fights he knew he could win. And then she was gracefully leaping up onto the nearest roof to take stock of the battle still raging between the Largoists and Mach's forces, carefully making note of each Largoist's location before pulling up a shield around each and every one of them with an ease she never could have managed as regular old Arella. Hell, she could barely manage even two of her bubble shields as regular Arella.

Machariah caught the arrow as he sidestepped it, throwing it at Devin as the mortars started to fall where Arella had been a second ago, explosions following her around the area. This was interrupted sharply by the mortar positions exploding in a shower of crew, shrapnel, and lumps of building. This was followed by the sound of rotors as Skorpion's Hind passed overhead, gun pods cutting swathes through the waves of attackers.

"Lexi, Arella, I'm here. Where is the bastard?" Skorpion asked, pulling up out of the street in order to turn and start picking RPG teams from the rooftops.

"Got it!" Devin stated trumphantly before being pegged in the shoulder with an arrow. "Fuck!" She cursed, looking at the arrow lodged into her shoulder. "I'll live." She stated before cracking her neck and sending Skorpion her coordinates.

"Oh, hello Devin." Skorpion remarked, making a note not to demolish the building she was standing on. "How's the local comms? I'm not getting any replies, but I see activity down there." His Hind shifted sideways to avoid a rocket, the rocket being destroyed by the defence system on the helicopter before the launcher, crew, and immediate area were riddled with cannon fire.

"I'll link you now." Devin said, going silent for a moment before Skorpion began recieving radio chatter.

"Support is in the area. Mark your position, call targets, and make sure my daughters are safe." Skorpion instructed, settling down close to the ground. "Tiffaney, do you want to get out and help?"

---

I can't deal with that. Not yet. If he has air support, I need air support. Or at least something to swat his from the sky. Machariah mused as he made his way out of the combat zone. As for YOU, sneak-thief, I think it's time to engage you properly, when your sister isn't shooting me.

---

"How's she doing?" a rather scared-sounding Arella had to know, upon joining Lexi and Dev on their rooftop - already moving to check on her arrow lodged in an apparently magical girl Devin's shoulder (and feeling more than a little bad about it). She was also still maintaining shields around the Largoists in the streets below, and would've been feeling really pleased with herself about it if not for Lexi. Her headset, in the meantime, appeared to be somewhat lost in hammerspace thanks to the earlier transformation sequence; that was gonna be fun to find.

"Not good..." Devin admitted as she looked down to her heavily bleeding sister, with Tiffaney next to her doing the best she could with the gunship's medkit.

A door opened nearby, allowing a pair of Largoist troops onto the rooftop with Rekko supported between them. He motioned for them to set him down near Alexis as their shields vanished (they didn't need them anymore, after all), legs sticking out awkwardly as he sat on the roof. "Apologies for the lateness, but my helicopter landed on me." He reached out, taking his medical bag from one of the Largoists and setting it next to him. "But don't worry about me; I'd be walking wounded if I could walk. Lexi, here... That's bad. Very bad."

Alexis, looked to Rekko as he approached. "Rekko...?" She questioned, attempting to sit up only to be held still by Tiffaney.

"Stay still." The worried mother advised.

Abdandoning Devin's shoulder, which was pretty much fine so long as the arrow was still in there, Arella took up her own place next to Alexis and promptly lost what remained of her cool. "Lexi," Arella declared, about as seriously as anyone had ever heard her, "you are not allowed to die. You got that? You're not allowed to die!" And she was definitely NOT going to cry, damnit!

"Arella... I got somethin' ta tell ya." Alexis said weakly, raising a shaking hand to point to her. "You're totally a magical girl." She joked with a laugh that turned into a cough.

"And you're not gonna die," the magical girl informed right back, as if merely saying it could make it be true. It was totally non-negotiable, after all.

Alexis smiled to her friend before turning to Rekko. "Rekko. Are you gonna be okay?"

Rekko reached out to take Alexis' hand, speaking carefully. "I'll live. So are you; your mother's got the holes sealed, and those nanites do amazing things with healing. I'll help them along, as soon as everything stops swirling so much." He shook his head slowly, wincing. "Too much morphine, I think, but I couldn't just lie around in pain when people needed a medic."

"You should... Take better care of yourself." Alexis advised with a pained chuckle.

"So says the girl who ran into combat with a Land Warrior when I got shot down." Rekko replied, stroking her remaining ear as one of the Largoists handed him an IV bag. "And now I have to poke more holes in you to give the nanites something to work with."

"Rekko?" Alexis asked, looking to the sky and taking a moment to catch her breath. "... Am I dying?"

Devin had the misfortune of having her arrow-free shoulder appropriated by Arella for crying purposes at that moment, as the older magical girl finally lost it.

"No, honey. You'll be fine... I promise." Tiffaney said, as she began to tear up.

Rekko slid the needle into Alexis' arm, then turned to look at Devin. "Okay, I'm sure you were a boy last time I saw you. When Arella's done, come down here and I'll take that arrow out."

And then Arella just cried even harder, because she was already crying, and the arrow was totally her fault and she felt really bad about it.

"I'll be fine. It didn't hit anything too important, just take care of my sister." Devin ordered before turning to Skorpion. "I'm sending you some data on Machariah." She informed, taking a moment to send him everything she'd datamined from Machariah. "Also, I get the distinct feeling I'll be the next target."

Skorpion frowned. "I was right; he IS an AI. The same one. And yes, of course he's going to go after you next; you're challenging him on the digital plane. That's where he exists, where he IS. That's an insult he can't ignore." He paused, digging through more of the data. "Ohh, he has notes I don't on projects. SHIELD files, this is great stuff. It's almost going to be a shame to lose it when I turn his head into paste, but a full rip would risk copying him over..." Skorpion trailed off again. "Devin. You have to get this stuff out of your head as soon as possible. He... It. It might be trying to copy itself."

"I was careful, but just to be sure." Devin said, pausing for a bit. "... Done."

Skorpion smiled. "Also, apparently you're my son?" He sent to Devin electronically.

"We can talk about that later. Right now, she's all that's important." Devin sent back.

Skorpion nodded, turning his attention back to the wounded Alexis as he sent for more medevac.

---

"Rekko... I have something important to ask..." Alexis said, looking back to Rekko.

Rekko leaned in, wincing slightly as his legs flexed. "Ask away. Just don't expect me to remember much."

"If I make it through this... Will you..." Alexis started before pausing to take a breath. "Marry me?"

"When. Not if, when." Rekko smiled. "I'd kiss you, but I can't lean down and you shouldn't move."

Well, at least Arella had stopped crying.

"Is... That a yes?" Alexis asked, feeling nervous and drowsy at the same time.

"<Of course it is.>" Rekko replied. "Now don't fall asleep on me. You've survived worse than this, and that's without a nanite organ and extra nanites and fuel being fed into you."

Alexis smiled weakly, tears forming in her eyes as she held up a hand for Rekko to hold. "Love you..."

"Love you too, Lexi." Rekko replied, kissing her hand softly.

Tiffaney couldn't help but smile, her daughter was getting married. "Lexi, dear. We're going to have to move you shortly, so do as Rekko said, and stay awake."

"K, mom." Alexis said with new resolve to survive, the spark of stubborness returning to her eyes.

"I'll take you back myself; save waiting for another chopper to arrive." Skorpion added, as his Hind returned overhead.

"What about... Ivan and Jack?" Alexis asked.

"They'll be out for a while. Jack was touch and go for a whike, and Ivan's arm may have to go." Rekko explained. "But enough depressing stuff. When are we having the wedding?"

"I dunno... You think I thought... That far ahead?" Alexis admitted. "Dummy..."

"Well, you're gonna have to wear the dress. I don't have the figure for one." Rekko pointed out, chuckling softly.

Alexis started to chuckle too, only to discover it hurt too much. "Of course... I'm wearing the dress... I want a pretty, white one..."

"The prettiest. I'm sure your father will make sure you get it. Also, I forgot earlier. Awoo~"

"Awoo~" Alexis replied, although weakly.

---

"Wait a minute." Skorpion commented as something occurred to him. "Wasn't Strider out here? Did he survive?"

"Takes more than that to kill a Largoist." Rekko replied, pointing to one of the Largoists who'd carried him up to the rooftop.

Strider nodded to Skorpion, waving. "Hey boss. I'd salute, but snipers." There was a gunshot followed by an pair of explosions from below by way of punctuation, as a sniper team was blasted from a building by a tank. "One of 'em hit me in that arm. Think I lost an eye, too, but that'll be back after I get some proper treatment."

"You know you should be actually getting that stuff treated, right?" Skorpion asked.

"Oh, like you're one to talk." Strider replied, waving his good hand dismissively. "The m... Troops come first." He nodded down to Alexis. "Plus, her boyfriend's the most mobile medic we had until the armour turned up. With them here, we didn't really need him down with us, so we figured we'd take him to see Lexi."

"Thank you for that, but you really should get some first aid." Tiffaney advised.

Strider shrugged, then winced. "Yeah, I probably should. I'll go find a medic down there, see if they're down to walking wounded yet." He waved, before turning and heading off back down to street level.

"Do avoid any further injury!" Tiffaney called after him.

---

"Wait, nobody warned you this was happening?" Skorpion asked, gesturing to the lines of wounded troopers laid out on beds. "I mean... I would have if I'd got any warning myself, but Alexis was hurt and my people were being hurt."

"No. I never got told about this." Evangeline said, taking a drink of water after her extensive work on Alexis.

"Support got sent out, so I don't know why you weren't told..." Skorpion sighed. "I think we've got communication issues here, and we need to fix them. I'll leave it to Strider once you're done with him." He paused, thinking briefly. "He did report here, didn't he?"

"Strider. I think we saw him briefly..."

"This would be easier if he didn't keep removing his tracking tags, but he's in here somewhere. Or, at least, his gear is. He hasn't eaten here lately, so there aren't any tags on him." Skorpion grumbled.

Evangeline sighed before sitting in a nearby chair. "I can't believe I let this happen..."

Skorpion reached out to rest a hand on her shoulder. "If anything, it's my fault for having them out there able to be ambushed, and not being able to support them."

"Still..." Evangeline said, her ears dropping as she started to cry. "I couldn't protect either of them! If I was there for Alexis and Johnathan, I coulda helped!"

Skorpion leaned down to wrap an arm around her shoulders, hugging her. "Then come with us to take Machariah down. Use your healing on the field to keep people alive, and let us focus on the mission."

Evangeline hugged Skorpion back, crying openly. "I promise. I'll do everything I can!"

"Thank you." Skorpion replied, patting her back gently. "Shouldn't be more than a couple of weeks away, so get yourself some armour made up. How's Lexi?"

Evangeline sniffled a bit. "Right now she's resting... But if it wasn't for those nanites. You wouldn't have been able to save her in time."

"Fortunate she acquired the organ, then." Skorpion mused. "I'm almost tempted to suggest we ask Johnathan to get them, but I don't want to cross that line."

"They're expensive to support."

Skorpion sighed, releasing her and standing up. "I don't want to start modifying people and creating super-soldiers. That would make me no better than the people who made us like this in the first place."

"I don't resent what I am. It helped me save my sister." Evangeline said, releasing Skorpion from her hug.

"But if not for the projects, you wouldn't have needed to." Skorpion pointed out. "A rogue AI controlling a failed, brain-dead super-soldier, and it's hunting us. Hunting me, hunting your brothers and sister, hurting Arella to get to us. I don't think I'm going to stop after dealing with Machariah." He sighed, stepping back and sitting on the edge of a bed, which creaked in protest. "Further up the chain, stop the people making the super-soldiers. Find the people who DID, and make them stop. Bring them to justice. Even without promising Devin, it's time it happened."

"What we could have done if we wren't made for war..." Eva lamented.

"Or who we could have been." Skorpion added.

Eva sighed. "I suppose that's not important anymore." She said, smiling to Skorpion. "Thank you for talking to me."

Skorpion smiled back. "You holding up okay down here?"

"Yeah. It's just busy. With everyone coming in I don't think I'll be able to keep up much longer." Eva admitted, leaning back in her seat.

Skorpion handed her a small stack of blood bags. "That's all I can spare right now. Otherwise, you've got the worst cases sorted out, and everyone's stabilised. You can afford to ease up on the magical healing for a while and take a rest."

"I'll put them to good use." Eva said, accepting the bags before getting up and heading along her way, passing by Devin who had just left Alexis' room.

"Ah, Devin." Skorpion looked up at the catboy as he entered. "Is this a better time for that Talk?"

"As good as any. I don't have an arrow in my shoulder and my sister's life isn't in danger anymore." Devin said as he approached Skorpion.

"It's reassuring to know that I didn't leave enough DNA behind to be cloned from, I have no idea where they got the sperm samples from. Given that you're not regenerating, I assume it was from before the project. So, I guess I'm sorry for missing seventeen years of birthdays, son."

"The odds that we would meet are statistically improbable, but given how well things went as far as your involvment in the Land Warrior project, I'm not surprised I was selected." Devin said, pondering for a moment. "I'd ask if you remembered anything about my genetic mother, but I suppose things like that are unimportant."

"I don't remember anything from before I woke up in that lab. I've had some recovered, but it's just isolated chunks of old stuff. Otherrwise, you don't have the nanite organ that my RNA apparently codes for according to Tali, so they found a sample from before the project. If I had conceived you the natural way, that would have to have been afterwards just going from your age."

"So that's impossible. Not to mention the fact that I'm a catboy." Devin said, his ears twitching for emphasis. "You think they took what DNA they could and spliced it with a suitable donor to create me?"

"Possibly. I think they wanted to stick with the whole kemonomimi theme, so maybe your mother was a catgirl. There's also the genetic tweaks they did to you, don't forget."

"Who makes a being a specific way simply to fit a theme?" Devin asked with a raised eyebrow. "And I haven't forgotten."

"The same sort of person who signs someone's skeleton?" Skorpion suggested.

"Wonderful. If I was birthed, I pity the woman that birthed me."

"If she's still alive, I could probably track her down. Would you want that?" Skorpion asked, tilting his head slightly. "I mean, assuming they didn't dispose of old subjects in their usual manner."

Devin sighed. "Yes and no. It would be nice to know her motives and if she's even alive, but by this point even if she is alive she's moved on... And besides that I've got my family here, I've made friends, own a corporation; a fake one, but one none the less, I've even managed to start a relationship... No. It'd be simpler if we never met."

Skorpion nodded. "Focusing on the here and now is a good start. I am, by the way, still intending to take down the people in charge of your project. But in the meantime, Machariah knows you're a threat now. If he can't beat you in the digital plane, he's going to try and gank you in person. Go get yourself fitted out for some armour; consider it a gesture of fatherly affection."

"I don't think armour will help if he comes after me." Devin said before putting his hands in his pockets. "Hey... Thanks for not. Rejecting me. I know it's probably something small to you, but it really means a lot... Dad."

Skorpion smiled. "Thanks for telling me and not just hiding the data on it. Otherwise, it might slow him down long enough for you to survive."

"I figured you had the right to know, and I'll see to the armour."

Skorpion reached out to pat Devin on the shoulder. "Just make sure he doesn't get you. I'd hate to lose my son right after discovering him. And you're a useful business partner, as a bonus."

"I'll do my best not to die."

---

Arella (or was it Raven now? she certainly looked like a Raven) wasn't really sure how she'd ended up at her Raven's Nest. Or when. She knew she'd seen Lexi safely back to HQ and properly stabilized, knew that her best friend was going to be okay... But she couldn't remember much beyond that. Still, she was clearly in her nest now. Staring at her new reflection in the mirror, as she had, in fact, been doing for the past few hours now. Not moving, or talking, or even thinking, really - just staring. And shaking.

She couldn't seem to stop shaking, in fact. Any more than she could stop staring at this new magical girl Raven in the mirror, blue eyes a little too wide, skin a little too pale. Rather like she'd gone into shock, actually. Perhaps she had. How long had she been here, again? Shouldn't her legs be getting tired, from standing perfectly still for who knows how long? They didn't feel tired. Or she didn't feel tired. Or feel much of anything, at the moment.

I should be feeling something, the magical girl admitted to herself, her first clear thought in hours. She was a magical girl again, only different this time. Darker. Even her pendant had changed.

She'd accepted the power Elle offered her, whether any actual offering had been done or not. If she accepted Elle's power, did that give Elle more power over her? What if she hurt people again? What if she lost control?

What if Arella herself lost control?

She knew what kind of power lurked inside her now, had seen the sort of destruction she was capable of during the demon invasion. Arella wasn't just afraid of Elle, not really. She was afraid of herself.

So she kept staring, and shaking, and wondering if she would ever start feeling anything again.

---

"You won't, you know," a gentle voice assured.

Arella lifted her head from where her arms cradled it on the floor (and when had she ended up on the floor? had she fallen asleep?), to find herself staring at a perfect copy of herself, but for the dark, raven-like wings sprouting from the fallen angel's back, and the weight and knowledge of ages in her blue eyes. Was she sleeping now, then? She'd only ever seen Elle in a dream before. Did that make this real, or not real? Did-- Wait, "what?" the magical girl found herself asking, as she sat up to unintentionally mirror her double. The actual mirror before them made it look as if there were four of them now.

"You won't lose control," Elle promised her.

"How do you know?" was Arella's anxious, yet oddly trusting, reply. As though she knew Elle would never lie to her.

"Because you're better than that." Better than me, the angel seemed to say. Then she canted her head to the side in an oddly casual but curious manner, and cut straight to the heart of the matter. "Can you forgive me?" Elle asked - not begging, there was no pleading look in her blue eyes, no misery to guilt her host into it. She was merely asking, as one might ask another the time.

It was in Arella's very nature to forgive, of course - it was part of what made Elle love her enough to risk damnation for her - and so it took very little thought for the magical girl to answer, even after all that had happened. "Yes," she replied, even going so far as to offer a small smile in reassurance.

Watching her as one who knew her thoughts better than she did, Elle's eyes showed a deep concern that rather belied the casually curious cant of her head. "Then why can't you forgive yourself?"

Arella could only blink in surprise as the truth and weight of Elle's words sank in. She had no answer for that. But perhaps... it was something to think about.

---

'Ah, there ye are.' Lucius commented as he peered through the door of the Raven's Nest. He stepped inside, crouching down to stroke Arella's hair as she lay slumped on the floor. 'Magical girlin' got ye all worn out, aye?' He chuckled softly, lifting her off the floor so he could slide his arms under her, settling her against him. 'C'mon, lassie, off tae a proper bed nae.' He turned, carrying her out of the room; moving carefully to avoid knocking her head on the doorway.

Murmuring something unintelligible in her sleep, the undeniably-a-magical girl instinctively claimed his shoulder as a pillow and continued to snooze.

Lucius chuckled, purring softly and stroking her hair as he carried her. 'Sleep, lassie. Ye seem like ye need the rest.'

---

Summary:
Largoists doing Largoist things, in Roppongi.
Strider's about too.
Mortars! Snipers! AMBUSH! MEDIIIC!

Medevac on the way.

Alexis is now apparently known as 'Wanwan', and is sent in for fire support.
No, you can't pick a cooler one. That's who you are now.
Snipey snipey.

Human wave attack! Bayonet charge! Mortar fire cutting off retreat!
Pop smoke, wait for Rekko.

GET THE SNIPER!
Medevac arrives, and starrts treating people.

Anti-aircraft fire takes down Rekko's chopper. Oh dear.
It lands on the Largoist forces. Oh dear oh dear.
Artillery on the building the human waves are coming from.
Alexis charges into the battle, sans cannon.
But with a gatling cannon!

Machariah heads her off, and engages her in combat after forcing her cannon out of her hands. Careless torque and all that.
(Cat cutout lingerie. Black.)
Lexi is maaaaad. ARROWS!
That polearm is fsking sharp.

Devin finds out what's happening, and contacts Skorp.
Skorp heads off in his Hind, which is able to land nearby.

Devin contacts Arella while she's gaming, then turns magical girl to help Lexi.
Yes, magical GIRL, apparently.
Arella heads off to get all magical girl on Machariah as well.

The fight continues, Alexis getting madder and less controlled.
Devin arrives and literally messes with Machariah's head.
Machariah gets really personal about Alexis' nanite organ.
And fires at Devin a few times to get her off his back.
She can teleport faster than he can shoot.

Machariah takes Alexis' ear as a trophy. Bastard!
Arella to the rescue! With her own polearm!
SHIELDS EVERYWHERE
Machariah's outmatched, and disengages.
TACTICS ARE CHEATING.
Skorp turns up and starts strafing things.
The mortars get an anti-tank missile, though. Nobody artilleries Arella, assholes!

Machariah needs air support. Or something to take down air support.

Alexis is hurt bad. The nanites are pretty much the only thing letting her hand on.
Rekko arrives, borne on two Largoists. One of them's Strider.
His helicopter sort of landed on him and broke both legs, so he's kind of high on painkillers.
He comforts her and gives her a drip, though.
Devin gives Skorp relevant notes.
Apparently Devin's his biological son?!?
DUN DUN DUNNNNN

'Rekko, if I survive, marry me!'
"WHEN you survive. Also, yes."
Eeeee!
Jack and Ivan are... Alive.

Strider wanders off again after reminding people he survived.

Skorp has a Talk with Eva, who is upset she couldn't take care of everyone.
No nanites for John. Modding people is a step too far.
He offers her a spot on the mission to take down Machariah.
She accepts!

Devin, now a boy again, wanders in for a Talk as Eva leaves.
Skorp explains that he can't possibly remember conceiving Devin, because Devin doesn't have what his genes code for after the Land Warrior project.
See also: Tali.
Maybe he's half clone or something?
Either way, Skorp's sorry about the 17 years of absentee fatherhood, even if it wasn't his fault.
Devin is grateful that Skorp accepts him as a son. Yaaay!
Go get yourself some armour, son.

Arella has a Serious Talk with Elle (her magical girl form, not Elle-chan the author), and they make amends.
And Arella figures out how to make the magical girl thing a part of her for good, not just in extremis.
Through dreams, after passing out on the floor in the Raven's Nest.
Lucius collects her when she's done hallucinating wildly.


Disclaimer: Skorpy's keyboard is acting up. Excuse any missing letters.
Skorpion [FGTL]
- Skorpion - Lucius Ogilvy- Lola Usagi- Cathal Jones -
- FGTL/Sealand - CMGY Academy - CATastrophe Club - Kemonomimi Railroad -

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Oblivion

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Posts: 50

Joined: Thu May 01, 2014 10:46 pm

Post Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:26 pm

Re: The Storm Is Set To Rise

Aftermath...
Location: FGTL HQ Infirmary
Authors: Skorp, O-ring, Elle-chan.
Characters: Alexis, Arella, Rekko, Devin, Johnathan, Yakashima and Kawasaki, Strider, Skorpion, Tiffaney. Some of Lucius, too.
Timestamp: The day after Helix Down.


---

"<You survived the night. That's good; that means my mother will be able to stop asking me when I'm getting married.>" Rekko remarked as he wheeled himself into Alexis' room in the medbay.

Alexis turned her head to look at Rekko and smiled. "<I didn't think it through all the way, yet.>" She admitted. "<Are you okay to leave your room? I'm stuck here for a few more days...>"

"<I assessed myself, and decided I was able to wheel myself about.>" Rekko replied, smiling. "<It's mostly just my legs that got hurt, unlike your... Well, your everything.>"

"<You're gonna be okay though. Right?>" Alexis asked, more worried about him then herself.

"<I'll be fine, puppy. Worry about yourself.>" He leaned down to kiss her forehead gently, gripping the side of her bed for support.

Alexis smiled, a faint blush forming on her cheeks as her tail wagged a bit under the blankets. "<Your mother must have been surpised. You should take me to meet her before the wedding. Do you think she'll like me?>"

"<I haven't told her anything about the wedding yet. We need to plan it first, and you need to get well before she tries to get you into a kimono.>" Rekko smiled, reaching up to pet her ear. "<And I want to walk up the aisle, not wheel myself.>"

"<And here I thought we'd be wed in a hospital.>" Alexis snarked, leaning her head towards him as he pet her ear. "<That feels nice~>"

"<Maybe you'll grow the other one back soon.>" Rekko remarked. "<And no, no hospital wedding for us. We need to plan it, and I need to find a ring that... Well, that can withstand the amount of punishment you get into.>"

"'S not my fault!" Alexis protested. "<It's like it's drawn to me!>"

Rekko poked her nose gently. "<You charged into a firefight when I got shot down, and got hurt. Your judgement, your fault. Don't make me retire to keep you safe.>"

"<I was worried about you, and I couldn't snipe through the smoke!>" The wolfgirl argued. "I thought I'd lost you..."

"<I can take care of myself, and it was an obvious trap. More obvious than Skorpion in a dress.>" Rekko replied, leaning down to rest his forehead against hers.

"<I know that, but still. Wouldn't you do the same thing?>" Alexis asked looking into his eyes as their foreheads touched.

"<I'd get backup first, at least.>" Rekko admitted, sighing. "<I just don't want to lose you.>"

"<I don't wanna lose you either.>" Alexis said as she held up the hand that didn't have a needle in it. "<I love you.>"

Rekko reached up, taking her hand and interlocking his fingers with hers. "<I love you too, puppy. Don't ever risk yourself like that again, even for me.>"

Alexis began to tear up. "<Then don't scare me like that again.>"

Rekko shifted to kiss her gently. "<I'll try not to get shot down again.>"

Alexis returned his kiss as a single tear streamed down her cheek. "<Good.>"

Rekko released her hand to brush the tear away; his other hand still holding him to the bed. "<Think you can sit up? I'm going to go get breakfast; the last guy to use this chair fitted a pizza delivery box to the back of it.>"

Alexis nodded before taking hold of the bed frame, wincing as she forced herself into a sitting position. "Still hurts, but I'm fine."

"Atta girl." Rekko assured her, wincing as he moved himself back into his chair. "<I'll be back in a little while. Text me if you... Oh, wait, my phone got broken. I won't be long.>" He blew her a kiss as he wheeled himself out.

Alexis blew him a kiss back with the arm that didn't have a needle in it before resting against the bed frame.

---

Lucius poked at the sleeping Arella. When there was no response save for an unladylike grunt, he poked her again, waving a mug of sugar mobilised into a fluid by milky coffee so she could catch the scent. 'Lassie, wake up. Breakfast time.'

The magical girl just said "mrrmmph" and rolled over away from the attempt to wake her.

Lucius sighed, and resorted to plan B. This was, simply, plucking an ice cube from his glass of orange juice and dropping it under the sheets Arella was curled up in.

Interestingly, this just resulted in the still-in-magical-girl-form-magical girl sprouting up a shield around herself in defense against the cold invader, not bothering to try to say anything this time.

Lucius raised an eyebrow, his ears tilting along with it. 'Interestin'. Didnae know ye could do THA'...' He scratched his chin thoughtfully, wondering how Arella was usually awoken against her will. Then it occurred to him; she was a cat owner. She was, obviously, used to cats demanding attention. A loud and insistent nyaow later, Lucius grinned smugly.

Arella rolled over onto her stomach, burying her face into the pillow in defense of head pounces, and continued to snooze. In respect for potential kitten cuddles, though, she did let down her shield, using it instead to flick the ice cube away.

Lucius reached in to tickle her, leaning down to meow in her ear a few more times.

Batting at him in a rather cat-like manner herself, the magical girl rolled away from the intrusion, claiming her pillow for cuddles as she went. She didn't wanna get up.

Lucius shrugged, stepping back and ducking under the covers from the end of the bed to use his tongue to awaken her instead.

Blue eyes immediately popped open at that, about the same time a moan that wasn't at all complaining escaped her lips. Maybe waking up had its benefits after all.

Lucius snickered, continuing his work.

---

"You're not gonna eat all that, mate. You sure you're not delirious?" The chef protested as Rekko loaded up yet another plate.

"It's for Alexis." Rekko explained, balancing another spoonful of scrambled eggs atop the pile, carefully buttressing it with strips of crispy bacon. "She's got the munchies bad."

"Ohh, okay. Take whatever you need to, then." The chef waved Rekko onward. "She totally saved people's asses the other day. You take care of her, y'hear?"

---

'Ye awake nae, lassie?' Lucius grinned, wiping his mouth clean.

"Mmmm," came Arella's rather contented reply. A moment later, however, and she was blinking rather blearily, wondering, "Where's my coffee?"

'In the pot, lassie. I'll get some fer ye.' Lucius leaned up to kiss her before slipping out of the bed to locate said pot.

"Are there waffles for breakfast?" was the next inevitable wondering. Now that she was getting to be more awake, she was starving.

'Wha' kinda boyfriend'd I be if I didnae hae waffles fer ye?' Lucius asked, levering one out of the iron with a knife. 'If the wee scunner'd come out tae be eaten, a'least...'

The next question was meant to be "and bacon?" but it was rather hard to understand around the yawn. And followed by her looking ready to curl back up and sleep some more instead of getting up.

'Aye, an' bacon lassie.' Lucius replied, translating from 'sleepy Arella'. 'Plenty o' syrup tae, if I can get it tae-' The waffle popped from the iron, sailing upwards and across towards the bed, to be intercepted by a plate frisbeed across the room by Lucius. The fate of the plate was not quite so good, as it bounced off the wall, a wardrobe, another wall, and hit Lucius in the back of the head. 'Ow!'

This earned sleepy giggles, as Arella rather half-heartedly tried to keep her eyes from closing again.

Lucius retrieved the plate from mid-air, added bacon, and then drowned the whole lot under enough maple syrup to drown a beaver before handing it to Arella. 'Here ye go lassie. Donnae know how yer teeth survive all tha' sugar.'

The food earned itself a rather undeserved glare as the magical girl realized eating it would required her to sit up and use and her arms and stuff. She didn't wanna sit up and use her arms and stuff, she wanted to be asleep again. Because tired. But she was also super hungry.

Eventually, a piece of bacon managed to find its way into her mouth. It helped that it was really yummy, especially with the maple syrup.

Lucius settled down next to her with a heaped plate of fried foods, tail wrapping around her waist. 'So, lassie, once ye're fed, howsabout I help ye wake up some more?' He asked, ears flicking suggestively.

Arella just sleepily mumbled something that might have been consent, too busy consuming tasty bacon to actually answer.

---

<OHMIGODOHMIGODOHMIGODWHATHAPPENEDAREYOUGETTINGBETTERWHODIDTHISTELLUSSOWECANKICKTHEIRASSES!>" Kawasaki spouted as she ran into the room, hugging Alexis tightly.

"<She was worried sick when we heard you got hurt.>"

"Ow ow ow!" Alexis muttered in pain as she was nearly choked by the magical girl's hug. "I'm gonna be fine, just banged up a bit."

"<We were so worried!>" Kawasaki exclaimed, releasing her grip slightly.

"<You're missing an ear...>" Yakashima pointed out. "<What happened?>"

"<I saw Rekko's helicopter go down, and I couldn't not see if he was okay. Then Machariah ambushed me on my way.>" Alexis informed, giving Kawasaki a one armed hug. "<He's okay though, so I'm happy.>"

"<Vengeance must be ours!>" Kawasaki exclaimed. "<Honour demands we take his head!>"

"<When did you become Ayano?>" Alexis asked with a smirk before lightly bopping Kawasaki's head. "<No going after him.>" She cautioned seriously before smiling. "<Besides. We have more important things to deal with.>"

"<Then you'd better take it for us!>" Kawasaki replied, pouting.

"<Yes, we do. Things like you getting better.>" Yakashima chimed in, leaning in to hug Alexis as well. "<We brought chocolates. And beef jerky, since protein is good for healing.>"

"<No, no. Somethong 'waaay' more important than that.>" Alexis said, almost giddy as her tail began to wag under the blankets.

"<You're pregnant? Omgomgomg!>" Kawasaki exclaimed, giggling.

Yakashima rolled her eyes. "<You shouldn't ask that so plainly.>" She advised her friend, before turning back to Alexis. "<So, are you?>"

"<Not yet, but I am getting married!>" Alexis exclaimed, practically bursting with excitement.

Both girls squee-ed, hopping up and down excitedly and clinging to Alexis as they bombarded her with questions.

"<When's the wedding?>"

"<Do you have a dress picked out?>"

"<You ARE wearing a dress, right?>"

"<Is he gonna wear a suit?>"

"<Where is it gonna be?>"

"<Is Skorpion gonna give you away?>"

"<Is HE going to wear a suit? He does own one, right?>"

"<I don't know yet, I have someone who I want to make me one, of course I am, he definitely is, don't know yet, I hope so, and probably.>" Alexis answered, feeling really excited to tell people the news. "<I'm planning to ask Arella to be my maid of honour, but I want it to be a surprise.>"

"<Can we be bridesmaids?>"

"<How about Shiori-sensei, is she gonna be one?>"

"<When did he propose?>"

"<What's the colour scheme?>"

"<I'd love you to, and definitely if she's back by then, and I proposed while I was bleeding to death on a roof after being cut up and stabbed in the lungs, and I'm not sure about any details on the wedding itself yet. I wasn't sure I was gonna make it or not when I asked, but when he comes back we'll start talking things over. See if we can get Mom and Dad's blessings and all that.>"

"<OMG YOU NEARLY DIED>" Kawasaki exclaimed, squeezing Alexis tightly again. "<From now on, no fighting crime without us to back you up.>"

"<Yeah, you need to make sure people are watching your back.>" Yakashima advised. "<We can't follow you everywhere because we're not Largoists, but help's just a text away.>"

"<Owww! I get it, I'm sorry!>" Alexis apologized, petting the maagical girls' heads with her available arm. "<But the bright sides are, I'm more badass then I thought, and I'm also getting married.>"

"<You better be getting married; it WAS your idea, after all.>" Rekko pointed out from the door, setting out Alexis' breakfast. "<Girls, let her breathe. And yes, I know, wheelchair. My chopper crashed, and I broke both my legs and got set on fire. I'll be fine.>" He sighed, reaching up to pet Alexis' ear.

"<Can we sign your casts?>" Yakashima asked, pulling out a packet of markers.

"<Go ahead, Lexi needs to eat breakfast anyway.>" Rekko chuckled, letting the girls go to town on his legs as he moved the table over Alexis' bed. "<Eat up, Lexi.>"

"<Can I get this needle out of my arm now?>" Alexis asked, her eyes drawn to the vast array of breakfast foods.

"<Sure, if you're careful.>" Rekko advised, digging into his own plate.

Alexis reached for the needle, and paused for a moment before carefully moving her arm for Rekko to remove it. "<I don't have experience with this kinda thing...>" She admitted.

Rekko slid the needle out slowly, capping it before setting it atop the drip it was connected to. "<There you go.>" He smiled, swabbing the hole with cotton wool even as Alexis' nanites healed it up.

"<Thank you.>" Alexis said with a warm smile before she began eating the breakfast Rekko had brought her, her tail wagging happily.

By the time Alexis was fed, Rekko's leg casts were decorated with unicorns, rainbows, kitties, and other assorted girly magical things.

Alexis let out a contented sigh. "That was good~. <Do you wanna discuss our wedding now or wait till later?>"

"<Later, once I'm off these painkillers.>" Rekko replied. "<I don't trust myself to plan a watermelon chase right now.>"

"<Isn't watermelon super expensive here?>" Alexis asked, her ear stub twitching a bit as opposed to it's usual tilting to the side. "<Actually we can just have dad pay for it!>" She decided with a happy smile.

"<It's a metaphor. Like> organising a piss-up in a brewery." Rekko explained. "<A watermelon chase is when you set a watermelon down on the beach, then blindfold someone, hand them a bat, and they try and smash it while you avoid their wild swings."

"<I think John would be too good at that...>" Alexis wondered aloud.

"<Probably. Anyway, I can't even organize that, let alone a wedding. And of course your dad's gonna pay for it; that's the traditional way. Father of the bride pays for the wedding, family of the groom pays the dowry if there is one. Which there better not be, because I'm not in touch with my family and I don't want to have to explain the whole micronation thing to them.>"

"<I still think I should at least meet them.>" Alexis said, her tail still wagging under the blankets. "<Did anyone tell you how long you're gonna be in that wheelchair for?>"

"<Two months tops, without the nanite injections. With them, could be anywhere from then down to a few days.>" Rekko shrugged. "<Between you, me, and these two magical terrors? Soon as my legs are healed enough to take my weight, I'm out of this thing.>"

"<Just don't over-do it. Wouldn't want you to re-break yourself right after healing.>" Alexis ironically advised.

"<You just focus on getting better yourself. Won't be the first time I've broken anything, probably won't be the last if I keep falling out of helicopters.>" Rekko advised, reaching over to pat Alexis' head.

Alexis blushed as Rekko patted her head. "<Okay, as long as it doesn't get too boring in here.>"

"<Ah, you'll be up and about soon enough. You heal fast, you'll wheeling me around in a week.>"

"<If you're still broken by the time it's safe I'll wheel you to a park or something for a relaxing day to ourselves.>" Alexis suggested with a mild hint of teasing.

"<That sounds fun, actually. Maybe I can help you snipe pigeons, as well.>" He shot back, smirking.

Alexis snrked a bit before leaning towards Rekko for a kiss. "Love you~"

Rekko returned the kiss. "<Love you too, puppy.>"

The magical girls squee-ed, giggling.

---

A half hour later Tiffaney approached Alexis' room, Yakashima and Kawasaki passing by on their way out as she drew near. "<Hello, girls.>"

The girls bowed respectfully.

"<Good morning, Jawoh-sensei.>"

"Ohayo, Tiffaney-sensei~"

"<Visiting Alexis?>" Tiffaney asked with her usual aura of friendliness.

"Haihai!~ <And signing Rekko's casts.>"

"Oh? <You didn't use too much glitter, did you?>" Tiffaney asked with a giggle. "<How is Lexi?>"

"<Lexi-chan is doing well, but she's kinda sad.>"

"<Yeah, and she needs to stop worrying so much, or she won't get better!>"

For a moment Tiffaney's cheerfulness wavered. "<She gets the worrying from her mother.>" She explained. "<Is Rekko with her now?>"

"<Yup. We left them to be sappy together for a while.>"

"<We're gonna go find Lucius-sensei and bug him!>"

"<Tell him I said hi~>" Tiffaney chimed before propping herself against the wall to wait for Rekko, waving off the students.

The magical girls scampered off to hunt the catboy in question. After a while, Rekko ventured out through the door, casts shedding flakes of glitter. "<Damn door... Oh, hello Tiffaney-san. I'd bow, but I can't.>"

"<Hello Rekko~>" Tiffaney said with a cheery wave. "<Would you mind a small talk in private?>" She asked, slipping her hands into her labcoat pockets.

"<Is this about the wedding?>" Rekko asked. "<Because I'm not planning anything for that until I'm off the painkillers. I made that mistake before, and I was never forgiven for the mimes.>"

"<Sort of, but you're in a good enough state for what I have in mind.>" Tiffaney said as she moved behind him to take the handles of his wheelchair. "<Do you mind?>"

"<Go ahead, just watch out. It likes to pull to the left.>"

Tiffaney nodded and began wheeling him to the break room.

A few minutes of quiet walking later and Tiffaney had wheeled him into the break room and pulled up a chair to sit facing him. Taking a moment to come up with a subject to open on. "Soo... <Is she looking forward to it?>" She asked, as she tried to think of what she wanted to tell him.

"<She is; she suggested it, after all.>"

"<Good. Good.>" She said before sighing and collecting herself. "Okay. <I'm not going to tell you 'you better take care of my daughter', I'm not going to give you any subtle threats, or anything like that.>" She said, leaning forward to rest a hand on his shoulder. "<Because I already know you will. Rekko, you've been caring for her since the day you met, and there is no man in the world I can trust more then you to make her happy.>" She said as she began to tear up."<And you have my full concent to marry my daughter.>"

"<Thank you.>" Rekko nodded, reaching out to place a hand on Tiffaney's shoulder. "<Your blessing means a lot to me, and I will do my utmost to keep her safe and happy. You have my word.>"

Tiffaney smiled and wiped away a tear before standing to lean down and give Rekko a gentle hug. "<Welcome to my little family.>"

Rekko returned the hug, slightly awkwardly due to his seated position. "<Thank you. Welcome to what will hopefully be the beginning of mine.>" He smiled, before pausing as an alarmed look crossed his face. "<I still need to get Skorpion's blessing, don't I.>"

Tiffaney released him to stand up straight again. "<Yes, but don't think you're gonna get out of getting me some grandchildren.>" She teased. "<I'm sure he'll accept you too.>"

"<Oh, don't worry, I have plans for them.>" Rekko grinned, waggling what remained of his eyebrows. "<If we have a daughter, I'm naming her Sakura.>"

"<Such a pretty name. Have you thought of one for a boy, yet?>" Tiffaney asked, the subject of grandchildren giving her a sense of joy she'd never experienced before.

"<Johnathan, in the hope that he'll pick up some of his uncle's honour and dignity. Or maybe Alex, after his mother.>"

Tiffaney nodded. "<Thank you, Rekko.>" She said before standing behind him again. "<Is there anywhere you would like me to take you?>"

"<Up onto the roof, please. I need some clear air.>"

"<Of course.>" Tiffaney said as she turned him to the door and started on their way.

---

An hour later a bored Alexis was flicking through the channels on her room's tv. "This suuuuuuuucks." She complained loudly as she tossed the remote on her nightstand where it promptly slid off onto the floor, switching the channel to a Spanish soap opera. "Oh, dear God no." She said as she looked to the remote that was on the floor, then to the television. "No... Nooooooo!!!"

---

'What the hell d'ye want?' Lucius demanded angrily, glowering around the door.

"We found these They're yours, so they're your problem now." The Largoist stepped aside to reveal the two magical girls, one of which was trying to capture the Largoist with her phone.

'Wha're they doin' here?'

"We were visiting Lexi-chan." Yakashima replied. "You put a shirt on, I'll stop Kawa-chan running off."

Lucius nodded, giving a sigh as he shut the door again, emerging a moment later with a shirt on, closing the door carefully behind him. 'Let's gae lookin' fer trouble; 'Rella's, uh, sleepin', an' doesnae need tae be disturbed, y'ken?'

The girls nodded, following him off towards a stairway.

---

Two and a half hours later Devin knocked on Alexis' door. "Alexis? It's Devin." The catboy said as he waited by the door with a DS, a few games, and a charger cable.

"Come in." Alexis said, sounding as though she had been crying.

Devin waited a moment before opening the door, the sound of dramatic music filling the room. "Are you okay?"

Yes." Alexis said before sniffling. "It's just that it's clear that Carla and Gabriel belonged together, but Reggie kept driving a wedge between them and now Gabe has to move away to join the military." The wolfgirl explained with startlingly real emotion.

"Uhhhhh. I'm just gonna turn that off." Devin said as he approached her bedside and picked the remote of the floor to turn off the television. "I brought you some stuff." He said as he offered his sister the games.

Alexis' ear perked as she looked at the assorted games. "Cool!" She declared, feeling better that she had something more exciting to do now.

"I figured you'd be bored in here, but soap operas?"

"The remote fell and I couldn't reach it!" Alexis argued.

"Suuure." Devin said with a grin as he took a seat by her bed.

"How's your shoulder?" Alexis asked as she looked to where he had been pegged with an arrow.

"I'm fine. I didn't pull it out like an idiot so it was pretty easily dealt with."

"Good. Don't want my little brother getting too roughed up." She said with a smirk.

"And you'd know all about that." Devin retorted, the two chuckling a bit over the exchange.

"Thanks for stopping by." Alexis with a smile.

"Not a problem." Devin replied, smiling back.

---

Skorpion nodded to Devin as they passed in the corridor. "Keep your defenses up; this would be an ideal time for him to pull another attack."

"Don't worry, I'll keep safe." Devin said before transforming and teleporting home.

"Oh, you teleport as well, now? That's irritating." Skorpion commented before continuing on to Alexis' room. "Lexi, you awake?"

"Yep." Alexis said cheerfully with her tail wagging under the blankets. "Got any presents?" She jokingly asked before giggling.

"Sort of." Skorpion replied, handing her a fruit basket. "I've got your cannons recovered and fixed, but Eva wouldn't let me bring them in here. Too dirty, she said." He scoffed. "Not like powder residue and lubricating oil isn't already everywhere."

Alexis snrked as she accepted the fruit basket. "Thanks papa!"

"Also, I made you this." Skorpion offered her a small case. "In case your ear heals over rather than growing back properly. It's a substrate for it to grow back onto. It should be replaced with the proper stuff on it's own, but you'll likely have to relearn how to move it."

"Uhh. I don't know how to use that." Alexis said as she looked to the case, her right ear stub twitching a bit.

"Slice off the scar tissue, stick this into the wound, and wait." Skorpion instructed. "The nanites will do the rest. It'll work, I tested it myself." He removed an armoured gauntled, holding up a hand with two fingers looking decidedly pinker and newer than the others. "Ethics are painful."

Alexis instinctively held a hand over her ear stub to protect it, before she looked down to Skorpion's fingers. "You cut off your fingers just to see if it'd work?" Alexis asked, her remaining ear folding back a bit. "I'm sorry..."

Skorpion shrugged. "It's not like they don't grow back on their own, and I'm not supposed to test things on people without telling them. And how many other people around here can just regenerate parts of themselves, and will trust me enough to let me experiment on them?"

"Still, you didn't need to hurt yourself for me." Alexis said, holding out her arms for a hug. "But, thank you."

Skorpion leaned in to hug her as requested. "I did, but you're welcome. Also, don't worry, I will be paying for your wedding. Only the best for my kids." He paused, remembering something. "Also, did you know that Devin's actually my son?"

Alexis smiled happily as she was hugged. "Thanks papa! Are you going to give Rekko your blessings?" She asked before Skorpion's question registered. "Well I'm your daughter and he's my brother, so, yes?" She said, sounding rather confused.

"Yes, and I mean he's my biological son. They apparently used a sample from before they augmented me to create him." Skorpion shrugged. "It was all on files he ripped from Machariah's head during the attack. This means the family tree just got a little more complicated."

"That seems really odd... Mom's DNA was used in our augmentations, is it sort-of like that?" Alexis ask curiously.

"Not quite; I'm his biological father. What makes one good super-soldier will apparently make for another." Skorpion explained. "The ears and tail must have come from his mother."

"But haven't you been a supersoldier for a really long time?" Alexis asked, her ear stub twitching again. "And Dev's only seventeen."

"Yeah. They apparently had a sperm sample frozen. I'd have remembered otherwise.

"Gross."

"At least I don't have grandchildren showing up looking for me.

"At least, not yet." Alexis teased with a grin.

"That's up to you." Skorpion teased back, smirking. "Maybe you'd better get to making some once you're both healed?"

"Not until after the wedding at least." Alexis said, crossing her arms with a smile. "I'm so excited!"

"So is Arella. She's been bouncing and planning things for a while now."

"I hope she visits soon. I wanna ask her to be my bridesmaid." Alexis said as she looked outside. "Plus I'm sure she wants to hear about how cool she looked back there."

"She'll visit; you're her friend. And if she doesn't, I'll drag her over here." Skorpion assured her, chuckling softly. "Also, can you please remind your magical girl friends that ROUS are not pokemon. I caught the perky one trying to capture one with her phone."

Alexis snrked a bit before giggling. "That's priceless." She said, looking up to Skorpion with a big smile.

Skorpion reached out to ruffle Alexis' ear. "Also, Reggie's an arsehole, but he gets what's coming to him." He winked to Alexis. "Otherwise, use the call button if you drop the remote again."

---

"<Oh, thank god, somebody's here. She set the brakes and I can't reach them with my legs like this. I've been up here for ages and I can't reach my phone either.>"

"What?" Skorpion asked as he walked up to Rekko. "<Oh, I thought you were up here to think.>" He reached down to unlock the wheelchair's brakes, and it started to roll towards the edge of the roof.

Rekko grabbed at the wheels, wincing as his fingers caught against the spokes. "<I was. For the first hour or so. Then I found I couldn't reach the brakes.>" He nodded upwards, to where birds were circling above. "<You came just in time.>"

"<I wanted to have a few words with you, actually. About Alexis.>"

<Oh Kami, this is it. He's going to push me off the edge, isn't he?> "<Y-yes?>" Rekko replied, slightly nervously.

"<Basically, I want you to know that you have my blessing to marry her and make lots of grandchildren. This is also where I should give you a ring to give her, but that would require having a family and traditions beyond that which I created myself. Which I don't. So you're going to have to pick out a ring for her yourself, with the injury compensation that you've just received.>"

<Oh thank fuck he's not gonna kill me.[>/i] "<Th-thank you, sir...>" Rekko replied, slightly dazed from the shock.

"<Also, Sealand will take care of all the logistics for the wedding. You just worry about the planning.>" Skorpion assured Rekko, reaching out to pat him on the shoulder. "<One last thing, though.>"

[i]<Here it comes, he's gonna push me, isn't he.>


"<If you hurt her, I'll break your legs again and leave you for Tiffaney. In the meantime, don't fall off the roof; the courtyard is mined, and I'm pretty sure the moat is as well. And watch out for the painkillers you're on; if you take too much, they'll make you paranoid.>" Skorpion finished, before turning and leaving Rekko on the roof.

<So, how much was too much? Have I already overdosed on them?>

---

Alexis had spent the last half-hour or so playing Pokemon on the DS Devin had brought for her when she heard a distinct knock on her door. "Come in!" She said loud enough to be heard through the door as she flipped the DS closed and set it on her bedside table.

In a moment the door opened to reveal Johnathan, who was wearing a tank top due to the prototype replacement for his arm. The prototype being mostly an array of power cells and wires with a steel frame and a usable hand. "Hello, Alexis." He said in his usual tone before approaching her bedside. "How are you feeling?"

"Hey, John." Alexis said with a wave. "Sore." Was the understatement she decided to use. "What about you? How's the arm."

"Slow, imprecise, but it helps with standard tasks like opening doors, and using silverware... Though the latter is more difficult then expected." Johnathan said as he looked to his new arm, the servos making that noise that they're famous for.

"Sorry I couldn't get him for you." Alexis apologized with a sad smile. "I did my best, but I couldn't beat him."

"No need to be sorry. Both of us engaged him without support, we both had someone to protect at the time, and both of us protected them. I am sure he will be dealt with, so currently your only concern should be to heal." Johnathan said as he took a seat next to his sister.

"I shoulda figured you'd say something like that." Alexis said, her smile brightening a bit as she reached over to pet her brother's ears.

"<I'm back! Sorry I took so long; your mother set the brakes on my chair and I couldn't reach them to take them off. Oh, hello Johnathan.>" Rekko nodded to the wolfboy as he wheeled himself back into Alexis' room. "<And I had to help retrieve Kawasaki from the minefield after she wandered into it chasing a pikachu.>"

"<IS SHE OKAY!?>" Alexis asked, leaning foward sharply only to hunch over and put an arm over a deeper wound on her hip. "Sssst." She noised as she slowly settled back.

"<Hello, Rekko.>" Johnathan greeted simply.

"<She's fine, she's too light to set off the mines anyway. They're all cold war stuff; meant to be set off by a man carrying a rifle and armour, or a tank. I just had to stop some idiot driving out onto it to fetch her.>" He assured Alexis, patting her shoulder. "<Someone found their teacher, they'll be fine.>"

"Thank goodness..." Alexis said, letting out a sigh as she placed a hand over her chest.

---

Arella finally leaving the bed proved to be a long, drawn out, and very grumbly process. She was tired all over, and really just wanted to get some more sleep - possibly for a week straight. Apparently becoming a proper magical girl again was super tiring. She'd also been having fun with Luc, before he got dragged away. But mostly it was the tired thing at the moment.

Still, the magical girl did eventually manage to drag herself out of bed to go take a shower and get dressed (in a pair of jeans and a super cute white top, plus her Game of Thrones Doc Martens, obviously), and then it was time to go visit Lexi to make sure she was still okay. Because no, falling back into bed wasn't allowed, and Lexi was her best friend and needed checking in on. And she was only yawning a little bit by the time she made her way to Lexi's hospital room door and knocked! (Hey, it was a pretty big accomplishment, okay?)

"Come in!" Alexis said, slowly setting up after her nap.

"Hiiii Lexi~" came the undeniably tired but cute greeting, as Arella let herself in. She couldn't quite seem to help looking super concerned and worried, because best friend. "How are you doing, are you okay? Does anything hurt?" Pause. "Can I get you anything?"

"I'm recovering, a bit sore, but recovering." Alexis said, her tail wagging happily. "I don't need anything right now."

"Are you sure?" a rather nervous-looking Arella checked, fidgeting a bit from her new place next to the bed. It was difficult to say for sure, but she almost seemed nervous about being in the hospital-environment - a result of her own stay in one before coming to Megatokyo, perhaps?

"What about you? You seem off." Alexis asked, picking up on the fidgeting. "If it's because I got roughed up, don't worry about it. I've literally come back from the dead before."

Her blonde head shook in fierce denial. "Just tired, I guess," Arella lied. And rather badly, too. While fidgeting some more. "I'm glad you're gonna be okay." That was not a lie, though - that was the truthiest truth that ever did truth, and a rather massive understatement. An undertruth? She wondered if she was allowed to give Lexi a hug, or if that would hurt her or something.

"Thanks for saving me. I'd be dead for real if it wasn't for you." Alexis said, holding out her arms for a hug. "And I've got something very important to ask you, too."

"You're my best friend," the magical girl admitted, giving Lexi the gentlest hug imaginable. Just to be safe. "I couldn't let him kill you. I'm... I'm sorry I didn't get there sooner, to keep him from hurting you at all." Because of course she was blaming herself for that, that was just part of how Arella worked.

"Arella, you can't beat yourself up for that. There was no way you could have known." Alexis said, patting her friend's back, before guiding Arella's hand to her chest where she could feel her heart beating. "You can feel my heart beating right now because you were there when you were, and I'm not gonna let you bring yourself down just because you didn't come riding in on a silver horse the moment I got in trouble."

Arella grinned in spite of herself as her rather tired brain somehow interpreted this as meaning Skorp should get her a silver horse. Like Dany's silver on Game of Thrones! And how could a thought like that possibly not cheer a girl up? "Still," she rather stubbornly had to insist. "I wish I'd been there sooner. Are you really sure you're gonna be okay?" Because she really couldn't lose another best friend, she just couldn't. And last night had been terrifying for that.

Alexis lightly bopped Arella's head. "Of course I'm gonna be fine!" The wolfgirl declared, crossing her arms with a grin. "Besides, you still haven't asked about the important thing I was gonna ask you."

"Okaaaay," the now-curious cutegirl consented. "What's the important thing you were gonna ask me?"

"Would you..." Alexis said, clapping her hands together and pausing dramatically. "Like to be..." She continued, pausing again. "The maid of honour at my wedding."

"Oh." Arella looked utterly shocked, as though she honestly hadn't seen that coming. It took a minute for the words to really soak in. "Oh!" And then she was tearing up, looking genuinely touched and more than a little excited. "Oh, yes please," she finally consented, voice just as touched as the rest of her seemed to be.

Alexis' smile brightened immensely at her friend's consent. "Thank you!" She said holding her arms out for another hug, which Arella immediately provided.

The magical girl then found she couldn't quite help it, and let out an excited squeal that bordered on a shriek. "I'm gonna be a maid of honour~!"

"Yup. And you're gonna help me with all the wedding stuff because I'm at a complete loss." Alexis admitted, sounding happier then she normally would when bringing up stuff she didn't know about.

Arella practically did a little dance over that. She definitely couldn't help the "yay~" that escaped her. "We'll make it the best wedding ever!" she promised, before frowning a bit as she gave Lexi a look. "And you're wearing the white dress." Just to be clear.

"Of course! I'll even take you with me to my tailor so we can get one custom made!" Alexis said, her tail wagging rappidly. It hurt a bit being this excited, but she couldn't help it. "And if you want to you could do my hair before the ceremony and everything!" She said, this being the most outwardly girly she'd been for a long time. "I hope he sweeps me off my feet and carries me to the limo for our honeymoon..." She fantasized, placing her hands on her cheeks.

---

"<I like shorts! They're comfy and easy to wear!>" Kawasaki proclaimed as she marched back into Alexis' room, phone held out proudly.

"What?" A genuinely confused Alexis responded, staring dumbfoundedly at Kawasaki with DS in hand.

"<She's gotten really into this phone game where you catch and battle pokemon.>" Yakashima explained. "<Don't you have it yet? I thought with all the patrolling you Largoists do, you'd be all over it.>"

"<No, but I do have a DS now.>" Alexis said, pointing to the DS she had in hand. "<What happened with finding your teacher?>"

"<We found him, then we lost track of him. I think the ROUS got him...>"

"<He'll be fine. He's been through worse. Didn't he cut his arm off last month trying to unjam the mower?>"

"Ouch. <Should I see if I can get someone to take you home?>" Alexis asked as she flipped her DS closed and set it on her bedside table.

"<We got here just fine, we can make our way back. We'd appreciate clearance on the runway, though. Lucius-sensei's told us the stories about why not to play in air traffic.>"

Kawasaki nodded emphatically. "<Yeah! And I've not got the hang of vertical take-off yet, so I kinda need to use the runway.>"

"<Are you sure you don't want me to get you a ride in a helicopter?>" Alexis asked, smiling to the magical girls.

"<That'd be pretty neat.>" Yakashima conceded, smiling.

"TOTALLY AWESOME." Kawasaki exclaimed. "<I wanna keep battling Largoists for a while, though. I don't gotta be back by dinnertime, and we got Miyu and Ayano to cover our patrols today so we could visit you.>"

"<Yeah. They're coming tomorrow to see you and Johnathan-san.>" Yakashima explained. "<How is he, anyway? I haven't seen him since we got here...>"

"<He's doing alright, all things concidered. He stopped by for a bit earlier and he's got a temporary arm.>" Alexis informed.

<Can... Can we see him?>" Yakashima asked shyly. "<We are meant to be dating and all. We just haven't gone out in a while since he's been busy with defending people and dealing with his injuries.>"

"<Of course! I'm sure Eva could tell you where he is. Problem is, though, I don't know where she is.>" Alexis admitted.

"<I am right here.>" Johnathan said from a chair in the corner of the room.

"What the hell!?" Alexis said, jumping. "When did you come back?!"

The magical girls also jumped, Kawasaki managing a good few feet off the ground, accompanied by a "KYAH!".

"Johnathan-san~" Yakashima greeted him as she settled back down to the floor, preparing to glomp him but thinking better of it after a few seconds and merely walking over to hug him.

Johnathan hugged Yakashima back with his non-mechanical arm. "I returned twenty-three minutes ago while you were playing Monster Hunter."

Yakashima snuggled into him, resting her head on his shoulder with a happy sigh.

"<John-kun do you have pokemon yet omg it's so awesome you catch pokemons on your phone and walk around hatching them and catching them and evolving them and battling them and stuff omg it's totally fun!>" Kawasaki babbled, bouncing excitedly. "<But there's like no signal in here so you'd have to actually go outside and stuff...>"

"<I do not.>" Johnathan said, petting Yakashima's hair with his normal arm.

"<You and Lexi should totally get it, I think you'd have sooooo much fun with it...>"

"<Kawa-chan, calm down. Deep breaths.>" Yakashima instructed. "Johnathan-san, how is your new arm?" She asked, looking up at him.

"<Slow, but it works well enough for basic tasks.>" Johnathan explained as he wiggled the prototype arm's fingers.

"<Wow... That's totally awesome.>" Yakashima remarked, leaning over to peer at it. "<It's... It's made of batteries?>"

"<It's to compensate for the electrical needs. The final model is intended to be a lot less... Unappealing.>"

"<This is already state of the art. Are you saying there's something even better in the works?" Yakashima asked, reaching out to trace the wiring with a fingertip. "<That's gotta be, like 20 years ahead. It's not nuclear, is it?>"

"<The power source is of Devin's design while Skorpion and Talitha are responsible for the frame and plating.>" Johnathan explained.

"<Fancy.>" Mused Alexis.

"<Devvy-kun knowing so much techy stuff is totally not surprising.>" Kawasaki commented. "<He's, like, the super smartest guy ever, except when it comes to Whisp.>"

Yakashima giggled. "<Yes, that's Devin-san in a nutshell. Also, don't let him hear you call him that, or you'll probably lose your pokemon.>"

Alexis giggled. "<I'm sooo gonna call him that next time I see him.>"

Yakashima giggled. "<You've gotta tell us how that goes!>"

Kawasaki nodded emphatically. "<He's totes gonna flip.>"

"<You'll be the first people I text.>" Alexis assured with a grin.

"<Take pictures of his face!>" Kawasaki urged, bouncing on the spot.

"<I don't know if he'll let me get away with that, but I'll try.>"

Kawasaki squee-ed, before flash-stepping over to Alexis and hugging her; somewhat more carefully than before. "<You're the best, Lexi-chan~>"

"<I know.>" Alexis joked, returning her friend's hug, even as she was covered in sparkles.

---

"<Are you SURE this is a good idea?>" The Largoist asked, frowning. "<I mean... can't you take off under your own power?>"

"<I can, she has trouble with it.>" Yakashima explained, as her friend ran through her transformation sequence behind the Largoist. "<She needs some space to get up speed, and you just don't have it here. So, she's going to need a tow.>"

"<Can't you tow her? Surely it'd be safer.>" The Largoist asked, scratching his head.

"<I can't accelerate both of us that quickly. And besides...>" Yakashima grinned, leaning in closer to the Largoist. "<Haven't you always wanted an excuse to jump that ramp?>"

"<Okay, you've convinced me. But she HAS to take off before we hit the top, or she'll go down with me and we'll crash.>"

"<I'll catch her if I need to.>" Yakashima assured him.

A few moments later, Kawasaki was being pulled along behind a motorbike as Yakashima ran alongside, taking off halfway down the short runway. Kawasaki started taking to the air as the bike reached the ramp at the end, letting go and climbing rapidly as her magic kicked in. "Bai bai mister Largoist~"

The Largoist, freed of the added weight of the magical girl, turned a graceful backflip in mid-air with his bike before landing on the service road, waving to the girls as they made for the Academy, Kawasaki still trailing sparkles. "Oh, I hope those aren't bad for jet engines..."

---

BIIIIIIIIG Summary:

After surviving the night after her fight with Machariah Alexis gets a few visitors.
Later Tiffaney gives Rekko her blessing to marry Alexis.
Arella visits and Alexis asks her to be her Maid of Honour.
Arella agrees.
Afterwards a bit more visiting then back to resting.
Motorcycle-towed magical girl ramp-assisted short takeoff!

PSA:
Pokemon Go is not to be used to capture actual people or animals. Please do not wander into minefields while playing Pokemon Go. The Pokemon Company is not liable for any injury, death, or comedic mishaps that may or may not occur while playing Pokemon Go. Play safely, stay observant, and remember... Gyarados is watching.
http://overkillgi.deviantart.com/art/Al ... illgi&qo=1
"I heard you like bullets. So i put some bullets, in my bullets, so I can shoot'cha... While I shoot'cha!"
<<

DarkTan

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Posts: 100

Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:14 pm

Post Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:05 am

Re: The Storm Is Set To Rise

Location: Somewhere in Tokyo
Timestamp:[b] Before, During and After the battle with Machariah
[b]Characters:
A NEW CHALLENGER

---

It was a normal evening for the four misguided youths armed with aerosol cans. They had nearly finished thier newest work: A caricatured Skorpion and DarkTan is some very suggestive and unflattering positions. Unless of course you belong to the what could quite possibly be the most misguided group of shippers the internet, nay the world, has ever known.

"<Stop right there!>" A cheery-sounding woman's voice came from the roof above them, "<In the name of Love, Cleanliness and Lavender Scented Restrooms, I will punish you, dirtiers of walls and litterers of alleys!>"

"<Shit, it's a magical girl!>"

"<This close to the Tower?>"

"<No way man, she's too tall.>"

"<Is that a mo->" The fouth one was cut off by the nearly aforementioned mop striking him full in the face, splattering his cohorts with a lemony fresh scent.

"<I am the Custodian of Compassion, Warrior Maid Temporary-Janitor-chan~!>" The magical-woman, for she was indeed well past girlhood, a fact apparent even in her professional-looking maid uniform, "<And I will clean up your act!>"

"<The fuck?>"

"<Dude she's like thirty.>"

"<Shut up and get her!>" The voice of reason pulled out a switchblade while his buddies produced extendable batons before charging the maid as one.

The switchblade shot skywards without warning, ending up in the hand of a smirking ginger-furred and kilted catboy. '<In the name of love and justice, don't you fucking dare young lady.>' He pointed the sword in his other hand at the erstwhile artists.

Warrior Maid Temporary-Janitor-chan, who really needed a shorter name, looked up at the newcomer, "<Thank you for your help, but the power of cleanliness will handle these,>" she then turned to the remaining three hooligans and began to chat, "<By the broom that sweeps and the pan that keeps, cleaning supplies! I call for your aid!>"

There was a low rumble as the ground began to vibrate ever so slightly. It was the feeling one gets when standing next to a running vacuum. It increased in intensity, as if one thousand janitors were closing the lids on one thousand trash cans. It became louder still, akin to the sound of an entire fleet of automatic floor scrubbers. The three youths turns to face the fhe orgin of the sounds and vibrations just in time to behold something no sane person could have ever imagined.

"<Janitor-chan!!>"

"<We shall sweep them off their feet!>"

"<Wel'll mop the floor with them!>"

"<Leave it to us to take out this trash!>"

"<I'll bleach the white of thier eyes!>"

"<Dude!>"

"<Too much?>"

"<Yeah, too, much.>"

"<LEMONY FREEEESH!>"

The three stared in slacked jawed wonder. Or quite possibly their brains had been broken. Nothing could have prepared them for this. Not even a misguided mouse wizard could have pulled this off. The alley was rapidly filling with brooms, mops, buckets, vaccums, trash cans, feather dusters, cleaning gloves, bottles of bleach, ammonia, and Pine-Sol, and behind them all stood a large automatic flood scrubber. Yes. Stood. On feet. They were all standing. And staring. And grinning. And threatening in their horrible cleaning related puns. This would be no battle; In a battle, there was hope. No, this would be spring cleaning.

Lucius facepalmed. He really, really didn't want to have to explain this to Arella.

---

The sound of sobbing could still be heard slightly over the sound of scrub brushes against brick and cement. The Army of Cleanliness was keeping a vigilant watch of the the four vandals as they were forced to clean up after themselves. Janaitor-chan steped away from the roof edge, trailing a lemony fresh scent as she turned to face the Scottish catboy who had come to offer assistance, "<Thank you Mister Catboy,>" The magical maid gave a proper little bow, "<I was worried that the one with the knife would hurt my friends, but you took it away from him.>" She smiled sweetly.

Lucius grinned back, giving a bow. 'Lucius Ogilvy, at your service.' He replied, tail flicking to and fro as he inspected/ogled her.

"Warrior Maid Temporary-Janitor-chan at yours," if she noticed the oogling, she didn't pay him any mind.

'So, lasie, now ye've dealt wi' the wee vandals, how about I take ye somewhere semi-private an' get ye out o' tha apron?' Lucius asked, his grin widening from friendly to predatory by way of lecherous.

Janitor-chan opened her eyes wide with shock, "First of all, I have just met you. And secondly, you smell like what I imagine a strip club would smell like," she made a few mystical hand gestures and Lucius was suddenly shedding glitter and smelling lemony fresh. Janitor-chan gave a sniff and looked slightly less offended than before.

Lucius blinked, looking down. 'Lassie, that was one o' my favourite band shirts. I'd nae washed tha' since I had it signed by Lemmy back in the day...' He trailed off, giving a few monent's silence out of respect for the shirt's patina. Of course, it had ALSO not been washed since the 1980s, so the world was freed of what would have been a severe biohazard if not for the sheer amount of alcohol soaked into it. 'An' aye, we jus' met, but why's tha' any barrier tae a wee bit o' fun?' He grinned again, ears wiggling.

"I could hardly be bereft of my virtue so quickly by one so..." She paused a moment, looking for the proper word, "Lecherous."

Lucius' grin widened, 'Hate tae break it tae ye lassie, but ye donnae hae nae virtue. Made sure o' that myself.' He chuckled softly, his hand moving slightly to reveal a pair of lacy pink panties dangling from his fingers. 'Nae undies, neither~'

This action resulted in an event that the catboy was most certainly not prepared for. Namely, an honest to goodness Mallet of Righteous Female Indignation materialising mid-swing from places unknown and hurtling towards his face at a speed not perceptible to mere mortals. "HENTAI! BAKA!"

Lucius took the mallet like a man. That was to say, he was hurled by the force of the impact through a Bob's Hard Walls showroom, over the top of the 'pillows, puppies, and toilet roll' warehouse, and down though the roof of the 'shrapnel, caltrops, screws, and drywall nails' warehouse. 'Ow.' Lucius commented as the dust settled, getting up and brushing himself off. 'Even Arella doesnae hit like tha'...'

Warrior Maid Temporary-Janitor-chan lightly stepped over and snatched her undergarments from Lucius's hand as he brushed himself off, "I'll be taking those back. And keeping them." Her voice was considerably colder than mere moments ago, and the plunger she was holding looked rather formidable. And oddly sparkly.

Lucius swallowed hard, handing over her bra along with her stockings and a second pair of panties.

Janitor-chan's eyes narrowed with each item as the plunger lost more and more sparkle until it resembled something found in an abandoned Mexican rest stop more than the weapons of the Custodian of Compassion.

Lucius looked at the plunger, than at WMTJ-chan's face. This was followed by some brief mental calculations, in which you could almost hear the gears crunching. He then took off vertically upwards, trailing sparkles and bleach as he headed skywards.

---

"This is JapanAir flight 2703, requesting permission to land."

"Roger JapanAir 2703, permission granted. Approach is clear of Sealand drones and clan activity."

"Control, radar is picking up a small object approaching at speed. Are we being shot at, over?"

"Negative, JapanAir 2703, signature is not that of a missile. Evade. Repeat, evade."

---

Lucius stopped in mid-air, aluminium showering around him like sparkles from an overexcited magical girl. Below him, the airliner slewed across the airport runway, sideways, on fire, and missing most of a wing. 'Ouch.'

"You are cleaning that up," came the voice Lucius was begining to dread. Janitor-chan was glaring down at him from a position slightly above him, yet completely maintaning her modesty. "Right?" Her tone indicated that the question was more of an order. Possibly on pain of death.

'Ye're the maid, lassie.' Lucius pointed out, gathering his energy for another burst of speed.

"Wrong answer." Janitor-chan reached out, snagging Lucius tail before he could attempt to flee, and with a show of strength that would impress even the most jaded of okatu, she flung him to the pavement hard enough that even his kilt left an indentation on the tarmac.

Lucius tugged his sword up to fend her off, somehow managing to retrieve it from under him. 'Who're ye, an why're ye possessin' one o' my girlfriends?'

"I've already given you my name," Janitor-chan replied with an icy glare, "And as if I would ever be your girlfriend." She began to chant, something about Mr Clean and Lysol, as energy began to gather around her.

Lucius held up his phone, displaying a picture of Kat and Arella wearing white and black lingerie respectively, posed together on a bed. 'So, explain tha', lassie.'

The magical girl paused and peered at the phone, "I have no idea who those women are."

Lucius pointed to Kat. 'Tha's ye, tha' is. The other one's 'Rella.' He explained, grinning like the catboy that not only got the cream, but the magical girl and the dhampir.

"Never heard of em," Janitor-chan replied, not looking even the slightest bit concerned. It was almost as if she had no idea what she looked like. "Now either you clean this mess, or things get ugly."

Lucius tapped the phone, holding it up again with the front camera active. 'An' here's ye fer comparison.'

"So we both have blue hair," Janitor-chan replied, "This is Megatokyo, that's nothing special."

'Blue hair, an' red eyes, an' a wee cute fang.' Lucius pointed out. 'Look closer, lassie.'

"I don't have a fang," the magical girl smiled to illustrate this fact, which only served to prove the catboy right. But of couse, she didn't notice that. "See?"

'Ye cannae see it right there?' Lucius pointed to it. 'Yer power o'er cleaning equipment is only eclipsed by yer powers o' self delusion.'

"I don't feel anything there," Janitor-Chan crossed her arms smugly.

Lucius reached out, tapping said fang with a fingernail, earing a bite to his finger in the process. 'See? Cute fang. Sharp, tae.' He concluded, sticking tape over his amputated fingertip.

"Regular teeth are plenty sharp," the magical girl replied, "The average human is perfectly capable of biting clean through bone."

'Aye, but nae my bones. I'm scottish, y'ken?' Lucius pointed out, as if the kilt and accent weren't obvious enough. 'Tougher'n the average catboy, aye?'

"Ken? Did you ask if I was a male barbie doll?" Janitor-chan asked sounding rather confused.

'D'ye nae ken me accent nae more, lassie?' Lucius asked. 'Did ye get hit on the head wi' a broom?'

"What?"

'D'ye nae speak English, lassie? <Howsabout Japanese, stranger-chan? Do you speak that, huh?>' Lucius tried, switching languages. '<Maybe you could stop being such a big ol' meanie and we could hug and make up?>'

"I speak English, and <Japanese, but both of yours are worse than the other,>" Janitor-chan replied, "<You know you sound like a highschool girl right?>"

'<Like, what?>' Lucius replied. '{I speak Gaelic as well, but I wouldn't actually expect you to understand a word of it.}'

"{That's okay, I don't,}" the magical girl responded with out missing a beat.

Lucius' eyebrows furrowed in confusion, his ears flattening out sideways as he tried to reconcile things. This was interrupted by a sweeping machine slamming into an invisible pillar next to him, folding around a small rectangle of nothing.

"Oh, forgot about those," Janitor-chan looked to see a small fleet of street sweepers and moving truck sized vacuum cleaners bearing down on the cat boy. Their bumpers turned up into grins and their windshields filled with googly eyes and malice.

Lucius turned to look at them, drawing his sword and grinning widely. 'Wide open space, naebody aboot, an' big things tae play wi'? Lassie, ye just made my day, y'ken?' He chuckled, before hurling the sweeper into the fleet and charging after it.

She sighed, she had really expected him to notice the foaming degreaser all over the place before he tried making a mad dash directly through it. "Why are we talking about boots?"

Lucius' progress was unhampered, by simple expedient of running an inch above the ground instead of on it. 'Catlike tread, lassie!' He replied, crashing into the first vacuum truck sword-first and vanishing into its innards.

"Hrm..." The magical girl say for a moment in silent thought then decided now was as good as time as any to leave. She could finish punishing him most painfully later. Right now, there was cleaning to do. Janitor-chan turned and started to leave the scene of madness behind her.

---

"Nonononononono..." Cathal protested, backing further into the corner as the cleaning machine advanced on him. "I don't wanna be laminated!"

"It's not a laminator," Janitor-chan replied, "It waxes."

"I'll end up fuckin' laminated, though, won't I?" Cathal pointed out. "Squashed flat an' polished up shiny. Why the hell are you attackin' me inna first place? I didn't do NUTHIN!" He protested, perhaps a little too much.

"Oh? Then care to explain the contents of your pockets?" The magical girl demanded.

"None of your damn business." Cathal shot back, knowing full well that his pockets were full of stolen underwear, gravel, loose change, snacks, bus tickets, subway passes, and assorted sparkles. They were deep pockets.

The machine advanced, the googly eyes and sadistic grin it had making matter worse.

Cathal saw an opening and took it; vaulting off the machine to climb into an overhead air vent and crawl away. "I'll take my chances with the gnomes, lady!"

The tell-tale cackling came from deep in the ventilation shafts, "Teheeheehee! We made a deal with her laddy!" The gnome came around a bed riding a toilet bowl brush with eyes and legs like a it was a small, demented horse from the worst acid trip any janitor had ever been on.

Cathal's response was swift. He produced a switchblade without seeming to move, sticking it in between the gnome's eyes. "You're not real! There aren't hallucinogenic gases at school!

The gnome grinned widely around the wound in it's face, "Aye we're really laddy."

"Yes, they are quite real," Janitor-chan added.

Cathal retrieved his knife, stabbing the gnome again as he grabbed his shield out of nowhere with his other hand. "No, you're just hallucinations.from being stuck in a confined space with ROUS for too long."

"Then what am I?" Janitor-chan leaned in to the vent, "Are you hallucinating me too?"

"Nah, you're real enough. Black lace, by the way." Cathal shot back, waving her panties like a flag as he crawled past the slain gnome.

There was a silence that followed that statement. It was a rather eerie silence made up of multiple parts. First was the sudden lack of sound for both the machine had stopped and the gnome and its steed had vanished. Without their presence, they could not make noise. The second part was a sudden lack of sound where there should be sound. Cathal had not stopped moving, but he could no longer hear the pops and groans of the vents nor the scuff and thud of his pants and shoes. The third part was the largest, as it encompassed the other two. It was the silence of raw, seething, rage that had not yet erupted in to violence and chaos. It was the silences that followed a man about to die.

Cathal paused, looked behind him, and started crawling faster. "I don't THINK she's armed..."

It was at the moment that the ventilation shaft exploded in to a lemony fresh scent.

Cathal let out a girly scream, crawling faster away from WMTJ-chan. "Ain't no crazy cleaning witch gonna stop me!"

It wasn't long before he found himself frantically crawling through the air as her magic had not only caught up with him, but passed on several yards.

Cathal fell to the ground with a thud, scattering small change from his pockets.

"Now. Hand. Them. Over." Each word was puncuated with a spark of raw magic bringing another item in from the janitor's closet to life and sending it to surround the unfortunate young man.

Cathal rummaged in his pockets, offering up an array of knives, forks, sharpened sporks, panties of various sizes, and a crowbar.

"All of it," the magical girl growled.

"B-but..." Cathal wibbled at the maid, trying to scootch away from her.

Several bottles of floor soap surrounded Cathal and started to pour themselves in to the pattern of a "wet floor" sign around the boy. "Now."

Cathal started to drop handfuls of assorted panties on the floor in front of him, trying to interrupt the sign as it progressed, bottles paid him no heed and simply re-drew the symbol. "Enough, already! I didn't even steal most of these, they just appear in my pockets!"

Janitor-chan looked down at him like one might consider an unfortunate gouge in a freshly replaced hardwood floor. "Relax, I believe you," she replied with ice in her voice.

The pile grew, most of them being freshly laundered and folded. "It's not even my fault!"

"I know," Janitor-chan cooed with that voice that was anything but cooing, "But I'm still going to sacrifice you to Mister Clean."

"B-but... You're a magical girl, and I'm a student! Aren't you meant to protect us, and not sacrifice us to the gods of cleaning?"

"Hmm, you make a fair point," Janitor-chan admitted, "So, in the logic, I will protect the many who have had thier virtue violated by your thieving of panties by sacrificing you. The needs of the many out weigh the needs of the fiew after all." There was a sadistic grin that was very similiar to one a certian dhampir tended to wear plastered across the magical girl's face.

"Two wrongs don't make a right." Cathal shot back, finally finding his phone and tapping out a text message.

"It's not wrong, it's punishment," Janitor-chan said in a sing-song voice.

"Killing people is wrong, though!" Cathal complained. "And so is summoning things with magic you don't control! Christ, you were crazy enough already, with the biting and the stalking, but this is taking the piss!"

"Who said anything about killing?" Janitor-chan asked as the floor soap started to glow.

"... Doesn't sacrifice usually involve that?" Cathal asked.

"Not at all," the magical girl answered as a portal began to open, "Never heard of a bishie sacrifice?"

"No, but I'm allergic to tentacles. Can't even eat squid."

The portal was fully formed now and a bright light was shining from it. "You won't have to worry about those," Janitor-chan said. And she was right, soon the portal was filled with the source of the light: it was the reflection of an absurdly shiny and bald head. The head was larger than life. And the forehead came in to view, one would see that it was more like an Eighthead. Perhaps even twelve. Soon the smiling visage of Mr. Clean himself filled the magical portal. He winked.

Cathal screamed and passed out. And then was prombtly covered in white foam.

---

There was a sound of snarling, chomping, growling, slobbering, and gererally sounding like a demon beast feasting one the population of a small village. The microwave dinged. To any frightened bystanders, the sound seemed to either enrage or arouse the appearent creature in the kitchen if the noises that followed were any indication. There was a loud belch-like sound the made the wall vibrate and an empty b33r keg rolled out the doorway.

Lucius stopped the keg as it rolled towards him, tipping it up on one end before following it's path back.

The kitchen was a mess. Empty food containers littered the floor. Including several starting they belonged to Ivan and Rekko as well as at least three others claiming to be posioned. There were three containers marked with hazmat symbols, one nuclear, four biohazard, three empty turkey bags, a staggering fourteen empty cereal boxes, and countless broken dishes and bottles. A ROUS cowered in the corner in fear for it's life. Still the noises persisted, the refridgerator door obscuring their source.

Lucius pulled out his shotgun, shooting the ROUS before heading for the fridge. He jerked the door open, pointing the gun around the edge of it to cover the insides. 'If tha's a livin' pile o' mould, I'm gonna kill it wi' fire.' He cautioned the noises.

The noise was Katrina, and she nearly ate the barrel of the gun, "So damn hungry!"

'Ah, ye're back tae normal nae?' Lucius asked, putting the gun away before kissing Kat.

Katrina tilted her head to one side, "Normal? I dunno what you mean but I had this horrible nightmare. Well except for the part with Cathal, 'cause tormenting him is kinda fun."

'He's my grandson; ye should really be fairer tae him. An' ye were some sort'a warrior maid magical girl.' Lucius explained. 'D'ye want breakfast, lassie?'

"What did you say?" Katrina dropped the entire chicken she had just been eating.

'I asked if ye wanted breakfast.' Lucius replied, offering his wrist as the chicken stopped mid-air.

"No, before that."

'Lay off tormentin' Cathal?'

"After that."

'Breakfast?'

"ABOUT THE MAGICAL GIRL," Katrina was not nearly amused as the present authors were.

'Ohhh. Ye were a magical girl t'other night. Some sort'a warrior maid wi' power o'er cleanin' equipment.' Lucius said, rummaging through the fridge. 'Ach, ye ate my haggis!'

Katrina dropped a half eaten sub, three cups of coffee and a jelly donut. How she was holding them all is a matter for another time. The dhampir's eyes rolled back, exposing the whites as she promptly fainted for the first time in recent memory. Recent memory being at least a century.

'Aw, shite.'

---

Lucius walked into the infirmary, Katrina slung over his shoulder. He looked around, muttering under his breath as he worked out angles; Katrina couldn't go near Arella, or Arella would see her and worry. If he went near Alexis, there would be Trouble, because canine/feline interactions. After examining the available beds, he set Katrina down on one in a corner before taking a seat next to her to wait for her to wake up.

It wasn't long before Evangeline found her way into the room. "Lucius? Did you cut something off again?" She asked before observing Katrina in the bed. "Oh. What happened?"

'Nae, las, she bit it las' night, an it'll grow back fiar quick. An' she jus' fainted.' Lucius explained. 'She's been actin' wierd lately, gone magical girl t'other night.'

"I didn't know Kat was a magical girl." Evangeline said before looking to the dhampir again. "Didn't really think that was possible..."

'Nae did I 'til she attacked me wi' a mop, an' set cleanin' machines on me.'

"That's really confusing. I'd ask mom if she had any ideas, but she's on a date right now."

'She's been cleanin' a; the Academy fer a while nae, could be tha'.' Lucius replied, prodding at Kat's hair and causing it to shed sparkles.

"Well aparently John and Lexi's magical-ness is because mom used her DNA with our experiments, and if Kat has been drinking Arella's blood, maybe that's close enough?" Evangeline speculated with a shrug.

"THE PRICE IS WRONG BITCH!" Katrina suddenly woke up and declared, giving neither warning nor context.

Evangeline screamed and jumped back at the sudden burst of noise, holding her chest as she tried to catch her breath.

Lucius yowled in surprise, trying to stand up and back away at the same time, but ending up in a heap on the floor as his fluffed-up tail caught on his chair.

Katrina cradled her head in her hands with a groan, "Ugh...I had this horrible deam. I dreamed I was a magical girl, and then I woke up and Luc said it was true and then I woke up again and I was Bob Barker and this annoying little prick was talking shit at a golf tounrnament." She looked up, realization set in, "Hey, this isn't my room..."

'Nae, lassie, it's nae.' Lucius answered from the floor. 'Ye fainted. An' ye [i]were[i/] a magical girl las' night.'

"How in the name of Torak's bearded ass did i become a magical girl?" Katrina swore, "I mean I kinda lack all the pre-reqs don't I?"

"It could be the magical girl blood you drink. Assuming you drink Arella's blood." Evangeline suggested. "Mind you, I have no evidence to back this up."

'Ye keep comin' home covered in magical girl sparkles, tae.' Lucius pointed out.

"Yeah, but there was the vampire guy, Whitey? Willey? Wilma?" Katrina looked at Luc, "What his face, with the fangs, you remember?"

'Wanker.' Lucius decided. He didn't really remember the guy's name beyond the 'w'. 'But he wasnae exposed tae the sparkles, an' she wasnae an active magical girl a' the time.'

"Well, you don't just stop, she was hiding it, but it was always there alright," the dhampir pointed out.

'Active use o' the powers means the ambient level o' magic rests a' higher levels. The more ye use it, the more magical ye are all o' the time.' Lucius suggested. 'I've been measurin' the wee lassies' power levels fer a while nae tae help guide their education.'

"What, like on DBZ?"

'Only wi' wee teenage lassies instead o' big muscly dudes, aye.'

"So nibbling on Arella has made me a magical girl?" Katrina sounded rather depressed, "But she's so tasty!"

'Nae like ye cannae get less magical if ye donnae bite her. An' aye, she is fair tasty.'

"Wait...but why wasn't it me?" Katrina asked, "The other magical girl are themselves whether or not they are magicalling about." Katrina looked slightly worried as she pointed this out.

'Peculiarities o' Arella bein' Arella. I donnae know how tha' works. Maybe ye should ask the expert on bein' Arella?'

"No, I mean Janitor-chan, god that's a stupid name," the dhampir/maybe-magical girl sighed, "She was a different person. She had a mallet! And virtue!"

'Least she didnae hae a mullet.'

Katrina facepalmed, "That's not the point!"

'Ye need tae tell her tae nae attack me.' Lucius pointed out. 'Also, a wee hand down here? Scunner's got me, an' I cannae reach tae untangle my tail.'

"Don't you have telekinesis?" Katrina asked, "And how am I supposed to tell her that?"

Evangeline nodded before moving to assist Lucius. "I don't understand how you can have a tail for so long and not be used to it."

'Less'n a decade wi' it.' Lucius pointed out, patting the fuzz back down to normal. 'An' five afore it.'

"Mom got used to her tail pretty quick." Evangeline pointed out as she untangled Lucius' tail. "Wow, it's so soft, and fuzzy~" She couldn't help but say as she pet it a bit, snapping out of it fairly quick. "Err, um. You're free now."

Katrina quirked an eyebrow.

Lucius purred from the petting, turning to give the traitorous chair a Look. 'Thank ye, lass.

"So, communicating with my apparent alter ego?" Katrina asked, "How?"

'Meditation? Lucid dreamin'?' Lucius suggested, shrugging as he sat down on the edge of the bed; not trusting the chair again with anything other than his feet.

"Most of my dreams are lewd, what's that have to do with anything?" Katrina asked.

'Lucid, lassie, nae lewd. In control o' wha's happenin', an' stuff.'

"Mmmm...If i could do that they'd be more lewd."

Evangeline coughed into her hand with a faint blush. "Enough about lewdness, if you want help, I'm sure mom or Arella could help you."

"Well Arella is usually in those already," Katrina pointed out.

Lucius facepalmed.

Evangeline covered her face as the blush spread. "I didn't mean... I didn't need to know thaaat."

"Well, if its just a dream, I could include you too~" Katrina was apparently feeling better now.

"Nooooo." Evangeline said, trying to hide her face in embarrassment.

Lucius snickered, his grin spreading wider. 'Wi' ye an' Arella an' Kat? Tha'd be interestin'. Includin' yer ma'd be fair kinky, though.'

"Mom?!?" Evangeline exclaimed. "That's so wrong!" She said in a manner that made it clear that she definitely did not want to hear that. "And if you're feeling well enough to be perverted then I don't need to be here!" She said with a 'so there' kinda tone with bright red cheeks.

"Don't worry... Your mom kinda scares me," Katrina offered, "Though I don't exactly know why... I mean, not even Skorp or DT's cooking scares me."

"That still insinuates that you have no problems with fantasizing lewd things about me..." Evangeline said, sighing exasperatedly. "Do either of you need my care, or did you come here to mess with me?"

'It cannae be both? Otherwise, 'less ye can get my fingertip from the lassie an' reattach it, ye cannae help much.'

"Did the bleeding stop already?" Evangeline asked with a raised eyebrow.

'Aye, after about half an hour or so.' Lucius shrugged. 'I can slice it open again if ye want.'

"Wait..where do I have your finger?" Katrina asked, looking very concerned.

'Ye bit it off, I presume ye swallowed it?'

Katrina just gave him that 'deer caught in the headlamps of an oncoming train' look.

Lucius sighed. 'Nae mind, then. It'll grow back in a wee while anyways.'

Katrina looked a bit greener than usual. That is to say, she never looked green at all before and was looking quite green now.

"Oh, my." Evangeline said as she stepped out of projectile vomit range. "Do you need a vomit bag?"

"N..no..." The dhampir did her best to lie gallantly.

Evangeline nodded before hastily moving to a cupboard and taking several non-see-through plastic bags and handing them to Katrina.

"'Scuse me," Katrina said, exiting the room and promptly filling at least two of said bags.

Lucius sighed, giving Eva an apologetic look. 'Sorry about tha'.'

"No, no. It's no problem. I'm just glad it was the bags and not me this time." Evangeline said with a genuine smile.

'Still cannae be pleasant, though.' Lucius observed.

"I am a doctor, so I'm used to the less pleasant things the body can do." The elfgirl responded with a shrug.

'I'm more used tae experiencin' them from tother side.' Lucius replied, tail swishing slightly. 'If I wasnae under orders from 'Rella, I'd offer tae take ye out by way o' thanks, but...' He trailed off, smiling and shrugging. 'I'll get ye chocolates or somethin' nice.'

"I already have a boyfriend, but chocolates would be lovely!" Evangeline said cheerfully, clasping her hands together.

Lucius grinned, displaying a mouthful of pointy catboy teeth in the process. 'I'll pick some up for ye.' he proised, flicking an ear.

"Thank you~" Evangeline chimed.

---

"BLAUAUAUAUAERRRRUUUUCK! I'm a magical girl and I ate my boyfriend's finger!"

  Code:
Summary:

Graffiti!
Slash fic graffiti at that.
Magical...woman? Is that even a thing?
Armed with a mop!

Enter the Catboy
Combat Cleaning Agents is my new punk band.
You always go too far Clorox.


Forced clearning.
Intorductions.
Blatant attempt to get under a maid's apron.
Shot down.
Throw back to a tC'er of yore.
Lucius is not dissuaded.
Claim of virtue is made.
Panties are stolen

MALLET OF RIGHTEOUS FEMALE INDIGNATION
Trip to Bob's Hardwalls.
Reclaiming Panties
Sparkly Plunger
Slowly loosing the sparkle
Okay..time to run.

Air port battle!
Street sweepers!
Is Katrina possesed?
Self denial, delusion or a really bad case of DID?
Abandoning the catboy to his playtime.

Cathal stole the wrong panties.
Moar gnomes.
The maid knows about the gnomes.
Time for a sacrifice to the gods of cleanliness.
BEHOLD! MISTER CLEAN!
That foam is a cleaning agent right?

Noises.
Noises on some all consuming creature.
Oh, it's Kat.
She's really hungry.
Lucius explain.
Kat faints.

Logical explanations are had.
Kat sort of ate Luc's finger.
Green face.
Bag.
Scuse me will I throw this up.

Lamentations.
DarTan: The Unspeakable Cook.
Katrina: Bitch, She Eats People
Mimi: Varying Shades of Gray and A Concerning Amount of Red.
Ahab: Hail, Huntsmaster.
Stone: His Rap Sheet Is Better Than Wrapping Papper.
<<

Oblivion

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Posts: 50

Joined: Thu May 01, 2014 10:46 pm

Post Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:21 pm

Re: The Storm Is Set To Rise

Hollowing Out

TimeStamp: Day Before [REDACTED]
Location: The Hollows
Characters: X, Red, Fodder
Authors: DarkTan, O-Ring, Skorp
---

"<Okay, here's where the first squad ended up.>" The first figure announced, waving the squad to a halt.

"<I know that.>" Commented the second figure, trying to scrape something from the sole of their boot with a combat knife. <I just stepped in one of them.>"

"<Ewww.>" The third figure remarked, resting the bipod of the RPK they were carrying on a nearby wall. "<Zombies, I reckon. Brains everywhere.>"

"<Aren't we meant to be bantering in English? With accents?>" The fourth figure pointed out, fiddling with the grenade launcher attached to their rifle.

"Dayum right we are." The leader replied, poking their rifle around a corner and examining the camera feed on their phone. "We're meant ta be Largoists 'member? Loud an' brash, an' drunken."

The third trooper nodded, opening a bottle of b33r on the machine gun's stock and chugging it. "I have no idea how they can drink this swill."

"Go already! Bored standing here!" The grenadier pointed out. "Second team no contact either. Maybe all gone?"

The second trooper shrugged, tugging their helmet off and shaking out a crop of soft brown hair. "Maybe they're just scared of all the posturing?" She remarked, rolling her neck around. "Christ these helmets are heavy."

"STFU n00b!" The gunner replied, reaching out to prod the woman in the side. "K33ps j00r br41n5 1n."

The rest of the troopers looked around in stunned silence.

"... What?"

"Th15 15 g00d 57uff! W0rthy of t3h n4m3!" The gunner insisted, offering the half-empty bottle around. As it was refused, he shrugged and downed the rest. "Th3y w1ll ph34r u5."

"He has a point." The leader remarked, after a long pause. "The helmets are there for a reason, and they stay on. And take that knife off him before he does anything stupid."

"Is good cover! Drunken eediot, very Largoist! All we need is tank, maybe anime girls."

"<Shut the fuck up about your stupid cult! Nobody cares! We don't need to hear another goddamn word about that goddamn mousegirl!>" The woman remarked, rounding on the grenadier, snatching the gunner's knife on the way to point at him.

"But I am bound to spread word of Gadget!" The grenadier protested, holding his hands up for emphasis. "Is sacred oath, taken with chief engineer on ship!"

Meanwhile, on the roof top above the mercenaries a group of vampires were watching them. "<Who the hell are these idiots?>" An apparently elderly man asked before slurping at the head of the last batch to come through.

"<Don't know, better armed and armoured than the the last group,>" a small girl said as she peeked at them through some Hello Kitty themed binoculars.

"<It's like they keep sending better guys in waves, like a video game,>" A third vampire, male with hot pink hair, pointed out.

"<Should have just sent the smart one from the start,>" a woman chimed in, nibbling on a finger that was clearly not hers. "<Not that these are what I would call smart. Not nearly enough guns to be Largoists.>"

"<Never mind the fact we buy our cable and high-speed from them,>" the elderly man said. "<Alice, let's go distract them, the rest of you jump in for the kill.>" The elderly man and the young girl vanished in to the night.

---

"Excuse me," An aged voice could be heard as an elderly man stepped into the flickering light of a damaged streetlamp, "Oh thank heavens, you're Largoists. Can you help me find my granddaughter?"

The squad snapped to attention, looking more like soldiers than a rabble. Aside from the gunner, who was still swaying slightly, the barrel of his machinegun tracing complex patterns in the air. The leader stepped up to the man, rifle held low. "What was she doing out alone, in the Hollows no less?" He asked the man, frowning.

"We were together," The old man replied, "But she seems to have run off. You see, she loves to play hide and seek."

"In the Hollows." The leader repeated. "She likes to play hide and seek, on the streets, in the Hollows." He sighed. "What does she look like?"

"Well...she's about yay high," he held his hand about waist level, "Long black hair and red eyes." The elderly gentleman smiled.

The leader turned to his squad. "You heard the man! Little girl, long black hair, red eyes, keep your eyes peeled!"

The squad saluted, the gunner managing to not hit himself in the face with the bottle, somehow. They then promptly fanned out, checking around corners, in buildings, and inside dumpsters for the girl.

And inside a dumpster she was. There was a yell and snap and the sound of a lid slamming shut.

"Oh dear. I'm afraid she can be quite playful at times," the old man laughed in such a way that send shivers up the spines of more normal people. He smiled wide, baring two long, white fangs before attacking the nearest soldier. At the same time were was several muffled thumps of vampires landing the ground around them.

The remaining troopers backed together, firing at their attackers in bursts as screaming echoed from the dumpster. By the time the gun smoke cleared, the alleyway was a mess of bodies and bits of bodies, with scorch marks, bullet holes, bloodstains, and shrapnel gouges everywhere. The remaining trooper stood up, looking around as he attached another belt into his machine gun. "Here, little girly. Know you not dead. Come out, play, meet mister shooty!"

The dumpster lid popped open with a bang and the girl screamed out something that sounded like nails on chalk board being fed into an industrial shredder falling down the up escalator in the pits of hell. Then she charged him.

The gunner laughed as he opened up, spraying the alleyway with bullets at the girl charged him. His laughter stopped when he realized they were passing straight through the girl without much effect, and he began backing away, still firing.

---

"<Sir, we found team One. And the previous squad.>" A trooper remarked. "<Looks like the locals got both.>"

"<Their losses shall be remembered, then replaced.>" The sergeant replied, chewing on the cigar between his teeth. "<Bring the vehicles up for support; someone made it out alive.>"

---

"Ughhh...the hell is that noise?" X lamented groggily as he sat up in bed. "I don't remember calling in air support," he muttered as the sound of an explosion rattled the empty bottles of champagne. "Hey," he prodded the naked form next to him, "You hear that?"

"Mmmm?" A contented Red mused as she awoke, sitting up while using the blanket to maintain modesty. "What is it?" She asked as she grinned to X.

X pointed up and back just as the sound of large caliber gunfire erupted. "That."

"Oh? Well Largoists are pretty wide-spread though our little Tokyo, but. That doesn't mean they're responsible for every little bang in our city." She said as she stood from the bed. "Perhaps I should dress up and meet the sheep."

"Indeed," X muttered as he got up as well, "Interrupting my beauty sleep is always frowned upon, but I could use breakfast." He reached for his guns and his boxers.

"Surely you're going to get dressed proper first?" Red questioned as she made her way to her nightstand to consider collecting fresh undergarments.

"I only dress up for invited company," X quipped and exited the bedroom, one gun in his waistband in a decidedly unsafe fasion.

"I'll follow the sound of screams and gunfire." Red called after him, before setting about getting dressed.

---

Some screams and gunshots later....

"Who the hell are you people!?" Demanded a nearly naked man with blue hair, black eyes and a firearm that he was periously close to shooting his own dick off with, "And what are you doing in here?"

"We are largoists!" Insisted the man with the fancy hat perched at a rakish angle on his head, seemingly only held on by the spikes gelled into his hair. "Killing things around here because we're being paid to! Cleansing the streets!" He gestured to where a Humvee was spraying a horde of zombies with a grenade machinegun. "Normal everyday, Largoist activities, in the name of the Prince of Sealand!"

"You're not Largoists," X replied, "And no one does anything 'in the name of the Prince of Sealand' either." He strode up and smacked the fancy hat to the ground, "And they don't wear fancy hats!"

The man pointed his rifle at X, stepping back. "We are, we do, and I do... Or did, until you violated the sanctity of my HAT." He prodded X with the muzzle of his rifle. "Now pick it up, peasant!"

X smirked at him before simultaneously grabbing the merc's gun and drawing his own pistol, both bending the rifles's barrel and jabbing the merc just below his throat with his pistol. "I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you over the sound of me kicking your ass."

The squad shuffled away from their leader, another Humvee swinging a machine gun around to cover X. The leader led out a faint high-pitched 'meep', trying to step back again. "K-kill him!"

"Remarkable ammount of stupidity... I haven't felt this nauseous since the time I passed by a Scientologist rally..." Red muttered as she fired a crossbow bolt through the neck of the hummvee machinegunner from a nearby rooftop, wearing a cleavage exposing shirt, and a pair of nice, form fitting leggings; the netting along the side making it clear she wasn't wearing anything underneath.

"I like you more by the minute," X mused.

There was a 'Glark!' and the machinegunner slumped back, spraying blood and bullets as he did so. This was followed shortly after by the rest of the troops opening fire and a renewed surge from the zombies.

Red nearly threw up as the scent of the gunner's blood hit her nostrils. "Terrible..." She muttered as she loaded an explosive bolt and fired it into the shoulder of a trooper that was conveniently bunched up with two others.

The troopers exploded, throwing shrapnel and chaos through the ranks. Between the zombies, Red, and X's shooting, and their own innacurate spraying, the troops were soon reduced to a handful of stragglers and bleeders making a fighting retreat to an alleyway. On entering it, they were promptly ambushed by a werewolf and butchered in short order.

"Well. They wanted monsters..." Red said, keeping place on her perch, away from the bloodshed. "X, is there something you want from that one, because I don't allow pets in my house and that thing is no exception."

"<My leg!>"

"<It's over here you fool!>"

"<I can't see!>"

"Well, I suppose beating some information of out him might prove entertaining," X mused. "Or I could feed him to some fledgling," He jabbed the remaining intact merc in the chest with his gun, "What do you think? Information or meal time?"

"I know hypnosis, if you want to do both." Red suggested, before regretfully hopping down from her perch to approach the two.

"Hypnosis has it's perks," X nodded sagely, "But torture is just so much more fun. I mean no one really tortures for information, right?"

The lone trooper swallowed nervously, reaching for one of the grenades on his belt. "I-I won't talk..."

"Oh good," X grinned in such a manner as to make most grown men piss themselves, "I'd hate for it to be over too soon."

The man's trembling hand managed to unhook a pin from a grenade before moving onto another one. "W-who are you, anyway?"

"Me?" X asked with a grin, "Well I'm certainly not the god damn Batman if that's what you wondering." X reached out and took the grenade from the merc's hand, crunching a few bones in the process, "I'm the fuck mothering vampire."

"Well now we know for certain they aren't Largoists. They aren't too keen on intentionally blowing themselves up." Red said with a grin. "And plenty of people use torture, I like to play games."

The man went for another grenade with his free hand, wincing. "Do... Do you have Monopoly? I fucking... I fucking love Monopoly..."

Red swiftly grabbed the man's wrist, forcing his hand away from the grenade. "No, I'm more a fan of mind games." She said, her eyes glowing red as she looked deeply into the man's eyes. "But before the fun... Who do you work for, and where are they?"

"<M-more afraid of him... Than you...>" The man managed to force out as blood trickled from his ears.

"<But I'm not scary. I'm just an old friend trying to figure out what you've been up to.>" Red said with an eerily kind smile, as she loosened the grip on his wrist. "<You never could keep a secret from me~>" She chimed as she weaved false memories within his mind.

The man's will wavered, and he blinked a few times. "<He'll kill me if he finds I talked, even to you...>"

"I'm gonna kill you regardless," X shrugged.

"<Come on, I can keep a secret. He'll never know it was you, promise.>" Red said holding her left hand pinkie finger towards him on account of his right hand being, well, broken.

The man reached out, looping his finger around her. "<Just don't tell anyone, okay?>"

"<Not a soul.>" Red lied with a childlike smile.

"<O-okay... Your friend's an asshole, by the way.>"

"<I'll tell him off later.>" She whispered to the man, as though DT, sorry... X, wasn't there.

"I didn't come here to impress anyone."

"<Anyway... I work for this creepy guy. He's not one of those factionist assholes. Hired us off the market, gave us guns and uniforms, said to go here and clear the place out...>"

"<Do you know where I can find him? I might need a job.>" Red said as though it were something embarrassing.

"<I don't think he needs maids, but he's at the Temple of Ping. Cleared the dragon out of the place.>"

"<Okay. I'll see if they could use me later, but for now could you do me a huuuge favour.>" Red said, signaling for X to let the man go as she cupped her hands together to make a request.

"<For you? Sure, as long as I get a hug for it.>"

"Oh there will be hugs alright," X chuckled to himself.

"<Of course!>" Red nodded enthusiastically. "<You remember my little puppy, right? Well he ran into that alley, but I'm too scared to get him myself. You know how factionists tend to show up in them.>" She said as she pointed helplessly to the alley currently occupied by werewolves. "<Could you please get him for me? His name is Maxie.>"

X grinned wide, letting the poor bastard go gently. "Not as fun as torture, but close."

The trooper nodded, opening his arms for a hug once he was released.

"I'm not hugging you," X scoffed, "Maxie will hug you."

Red on the other hand obliged him as a parting gift for his departure from the mortal coil. "<Thanks! You're the best!>"

"<You're welcome.>" The trooper replied, reaching down to grab a handful of Red's butt, giving it a firm squeeze before releasing her. "<I'll be back once I've found Maxie for you!>" He smiled, then turned and headed off to the alleyway.

Red maintained composure as the man groped her but, seeing him off with a light slap on the back and an "Oh, you." Waiting until he was on the verge of entering the alley before calling out. "<Be careful! He tends to bite!>"

A few moments later, there was a roar and a series of tearing, splattering, and chomping noises, and the man's gear was hurled out of the alleyway in shreds.

"So, Maxie huh?" X looked at Red before lightly tossing the pinless grenade into a recently abandoned Humvee. "That's his..her...whatever's real name?"

"No, Maxie was a puppy I had before I became what you see. He. Got sick and never made it past being a puppy." Red, or Annice said with real sadness despite the fact that that it was around fourteen-forty-three when Maxie died.

"I see..." X paused, "I find my self in a bit of a conundrum. On hand, I want to comfort you on account fo you being great in bed and mildly psychotic," X opened his left hand, "On the other, I'm an unmitigated asshole and I feel the need to make sarcastic comments." He held open his right hand, "So I think I'm just gonna leave it at that for now."

Red took a breath and shrugged. "So we know where to go, but what do you want to do? Leave them for the Largoists?"

"Let them destroy each other," X shrugged, "Take advantage of the chaos afterwards."

"And for today?" Red inquired.

"Just like every night, Red." X explained, as if it were obvious. "Try to take over Megatokyo!"

"Sorry to disappoint you, but I am not the Pinky to your Brain." Red informed on account of Pinky not being too bright.

"I don't know," X mused, "I am certainly insane. You even notice that in the theme song?" X asked as he re-"holstered" his gun in his boxers before walking over to one of the mostly intact bodies and promptly looting it.

"Though this is true, you're not insane in that way." Red said before making an observation. "You're really going to... Touch those?"

"Grenades are fun," X replied, "Besides, not like I'm just gonna leave all this hardware laying around. If it's free, it's for me."

Red let out a small sigh. "Okay, I'll be here when you're done."

"Hmm...Gonna need a shopping cart," X muttered, "And maybe some wet wipes."

---

Lola's ear twitched, and she let out a low growl as she straightened up from the truck engine she was elbows-deep in.

"What's up?" Asked the mechanic watching over her shoulder, wiping his hand on his fatigues. "Something wrong in there? beyond the original problem, I mean."

Lola frowned, looking over at him. "No, it's just..." She paused, sighing softly. "Boy troubles." I can tell he's up to something, and if he's sleeping around, he's going to be wearing a silver prince Albert for a fucking month when I find him... Lola mused. And I'll have to decide what to do with whatever dizzy slut he's running around with.

The mechanic's brain clicked into place. This was his chance! "Is... Is it anything I could help with?" He ventured, reaching out hesitantly to place a hand on Lola's shoulder.

"Let me go or I suplex you into the concrete." Lola informed him, causing him to snatch the hand back. "But maybe. Do a good job helping me fix this, and I'll see what you can do for me~" She continued, smiling innocently at him.

The mechanic nodded, turning his attention back to the turbocharger he was working on as Lola reached back into the engine block she was sitting on.

---

"<This is a really bad idea.>"

"<Shut up, you've been saying that since we took off. Do you want to come back fully laden and explain why we didn't carry out the mission?>"

"<Why do we have to drop it HERE? Can't we dump it on some other meta ghetto and call it a day?>"

"<He'll be watching. He'll know.>"

"<Worst boss ever. Why do we work for him again?>"

"<Because he's doing all this for the sake of the Cause. Unification of all countries under the one true flag.>"

"<Oh, right, that's why. You drank the kool-aid.>"

The plane continued on towards the Hollows, lumbering along and laden down with fuel tanks hanging from the wings. As it reached the edge of the district, it shuddered as the tanks were released, splitting open on the way down to drop their contents onto the maze of tightly-packed wooden buildings. The liquid caught fire, landing on streets and rooftops to set them ablaze as the plane climbed away, turning slowly back towards the Temple.

---

"Control, some idiot just firebombed the Hollows." Clive announced over the radio, banking the Largoist Tornado around to adjust his circuit in the direction of the aforementioned idiot.

"Roger that Jessica, but pedestrians are not your concern." Control replied, sounding as if they explained that many times a day.

"Ah, but it was an aerial bombing!" Andy pointed out from the back seat, his mustache bristling as he grinned. "That makes them a legitimate target, if you let us!"

"I have a visual, Control. They appear to be communists; red flag on the tail and everything. Almost a shame; that's an old Soviet Colt. Missiles will never lock onto that thing, but we can gun it out the sky, no problem at all.

Control sighed. "Fine, fine, whatever, Jessica. Just be advised you're scheduled for a bombing run at 1900 hours."

"Won't need much. Tally ho!"

Clive banked around, sighting the guns in on the lumbering biplane and squeezing off a burst as they shot past it. Most of the rounds passed harmlessly through the skin of the aircraft, a few of them striking the engine and exploding.

"Good show! We got her good! Go around and get her tail off!" Andy exhorted, looking over his shoulder.

"We'll have to go head-on. Just like a strafing run, eh?"

Another pass, and the biplane dropped lower, holes appearing throughout the tail.

"Jessica, this is Control. Break off; you're using too much ammunition for a target of opportunity!"

Clive sighed, taking a final pass as the de-engined biplane crashed slowly into a warehouse, peppering both with holes. "Bastard things never die, do they?"

---

"Is that my club on fire?" X asked as thick, dark smoke filled the sky, "Why is my club on fire?!"

"Wasn't there an import company warehouse over there?" Red said, feeling relieved that her house, and by extension, her stuff was quite far from the firebombing/plane crash.

"Company?" X asked, "What company?" He turned to stare at the smoke again, "And I just stole that club too."

"Small import/export company. You know, lamps, desks, chairs, people, rugs, tables, tvs, etc." Red listed off as she watched the smoke rise.

"Damn, I could have used a new table," X complained, "The old one was covered in blood."

"Well, we're being rather boring, considering the dogfight and plane crash that just happened..." Red admitted as she continued to watch the rising smoke. "Shouldn't we do something?"

"Well," X mused and crossed his arms thoughtfully, "I'm not wearing any pants, so we're half way to something interesting right there." He gave Red a rather suggestive look, "Or we could go hunting for another lair, but that sounds rather boring as well. And we both know what the readers really want."

"Plot, progression, and wholesome character development?" Red guessed, albeit as more of a tease than anything. "And it's not like we let them watch."

"Arrr, ye could. Braains. Fanservice. Believe it." A ninja pirate zombie remarked as it shambled past, on fire.

"Fanservice? I'm a seductively dressed redheaded vampire. I'm already fanservice." Red said with confidence.

It was then that a voice from the ethereal realm of the writers echoed "You're getting off traaack."

"Prefer blooondes." The zombie remarked, before collapsing; the fire suddenly burning bluer and hotter as it reaches the rum-soaked zombie beneath the pirate outfit.

"I'm sorry, I don't recall inquiring about your carnal taste in women." Red remarked before adding "And do avoid setting anything important on fire."

"Pretty sure the aerial bombing is gonna do more damage than he will," X remarked.

"Yes, but he's closer to my house than the fires." Red said, glaring after the burning zombie whose fire began to burn white.

"Well, I guess you'll have to wander about naked," X pointed out, "Like I said, fanservice."

"Tiiits or Geee Teee Effff Ohhhh," A nearby zombie droned, only to be shot in the head before anyone could blink.

"None of that," X replied, gun smoke trailing from his boxers in a rather suggestive manner.

"We had sex in public once! It's not like I'm an exhibitionist, or anything like that." Red said with a faint blush, her eyes following the gun smoke down to his crotch. "How did you...?"

X waggled his eyebrows, "Wanna make it twice and find out?"

---

Summary:

Some of Machariah's men are trying to impersonate Largoists for an assault on the Hollows.
Their lack of knowledge on how Largoists actually operate makes this a waste of time.
Completely irrelevant entry.
Squad one is wiped out before the post even starts, and squad two isn't much better.
Gunfire wakes Red and X, and brings them to the scene. Sans pant. X gets dressed for no man.
All but one are killed and Red mind controls him into giving them information on where Machariah and his cult are based.
She sends him into a pack of werewolves. Wow. Such blood. Much mauling.
Ninja pirate zombies prefer keelhaulin' blondes.
Followed by Red and X's second case of public intercourse.
Getting to be a habit, huh?
http://overkillgi.deviantart.com/art/Al ... illgi&qo=1
"I heard you like bullets. So i put some bullets, in my bullets, so I can shoot'cha... While I shoot'cha!"
<<

Skorpynekomimi

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Posts: 96

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:06 pm

Post Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:26 pm

Re: The Storm Is Set To Rise

Collateral Brain Damage, or the Elsienappening. Or maybe [Redacted].
Location: CMGY Academy.
Timestamp: A couple of days after the attack on Lexi, which makes it a saturday night.
Authors: Skorpy, Elle.
Characters: Machariah, Elsie, Tali, Devin. Also featuring Lucius, Arella, Cathal, and other students.


---

It was a dark but mostly clear night at the Cute Magical Girls of Yuki-sama Academy for Magical Youth; some swirling clouds overhead showed that at least one magical girl was having a bad dream. Machariah observed the weather with a dispassionate eye as he moved into the Academy grounds, passing the Arella Silverstone Memorial Gymnasium on his way to the dorms. They really needed to rename that thing.

---

The clouds definitely weren't coming from Elsie or her aunt, though. Tali was busily snoring away, face down on her desk and accidentally cuddling (and lightly drooling on) her latest invention while dreaming about how to improve it (seriously, that girl's brain never switches off) - hardly the stuff of nightmares.

Elsie, for her part, was having a wonderful dream about flying, while curled up in Tali's bed rather than her own across the hall, blonde curls fanned out across the pillow, and one little fist curled up right by her face - a leftover from her thumb-sucking days, which just made her look that much younger now. Oh, and she was surrounded by the armful of plushies she'd brought with her; poor Haro-chan had been left in his own little bed, built around his docking station while he recharged.

Machariah prowled invisibly through the corridors, checking rooms as he went. Magical weapons were examined, the few girls still awake silenced with an electrical stun dart, and the crude security system disabled carefully, with Devin's modifications bypassed. Muffled rap music issued from one of the rooms; Kawasaki's headphones still blasting despite her being fast asleep. His target's room was easily located due to the decorations on the door; a sign proudly proclaiming the room to be Tomoe, Sharky, and Elsie's. The original occupants were in attendance, but his target was missing. A brief search of the opened doors revealed her, however, asleep in her relative's bed.

"I could easily acquire both of them. Would that be a wise course of action?" He paused, consulting his files on the girls in question. "No. The older one is too much trouble to take now. I will take the younger one, and return for the elder at a later date. Offer her a place in my new order, along with her..." Another pause as he looked up the family tree, with it's many twists, turns, and adoptions. "Niece. Yes. That is the best course of action."

Tali's snoring hitched for a moment, as though sensing a consensus she wouldn't like had just been reached, then resumed. Elsie, in turn, let out a tiny sound that might have been a whimper in an impossible objection to the idea of being separated from her aunt and best friend. Neither of which should have been remotely possible, as neither girl was capable of reading minds. Must have been something to do with the emotional climate of the room. Maybe?

Machariah reached down, tugging the covers away from Elsie's body. He tugged a sack from under his cloak, lifting the little magical girl to slide her into it, moving carefully so as not to wake her before moving the sack up over his shoulder. The invisibility field flickered for a few seconds before stabilising around the sack, leaving no trace of him there aside from the empty bed. As an afterthought, he added an armful of the plushies from the bed to the sack, arranging the rest to make the bed look occupied. With that done, he turned to inspect Tali's workbench, plucking a few tools from the cluttered surface and pocketing them before leaving the room.

---

Cathal stirred in his sleep, waking up briefly. Something felt wrong. He grumbled, gathering the covers and rolling off the bed before crawling underneath it.

---

Shifting about in her sack, Elsie got a firm grip on the nearest plushie and let out a small "mmmrrmph" that sounded very like her mother, before settling again. She did not wake up.

---

Machariah dumped the sack unceremoniously onto a mattress in the back of the unmarked van waiting for him, climbing in after it before dropping the invisibility.

The driver started slightly at the thud folowed by the shift in suspension, looking back over his shoulder into the cargo area. "<You have the package?>" He asked, nodding to the sack.

Machariah's reply was a single nod as he slammed the door shut.

"<Then the glorious revolution is one step closer! Certainly, we shall soon->"

He was cut off by a curt word from Machariah. "<Just drive.>"

"<Y-yes sir...>" The driver swallowed awkwardly before setting off, picking his way down the twisty road leading to the academy without the benefit of headlights.

---

There was a soft *thud* as Machariah emptied the sack out onto a bed, dumping Elsie and the plushies onto the soft matrress. "Have you awoken?"

A pair of terrified wide blue eyes stared up at him in a clear yes.

"Good." Machariah said, setting down a bowl of cereal in front of her. "Breakfast."

Elsie immediately proceeded to scream for Tali, since he clearly wasn't about to share any of his plan with her. There were also quite a lot of tears, and a storm cloud began to form above the building they were in.

Machariah watched her scream and wail for a few moments, before reaching out to silence her with a slap. However, once his hand neared her, it stopped of it's own volition. Another few tries from various angles gained the same result, and he frowned with disapproval before selecting a plushie at random and pushing it into her arms.

The plushie (a rather large and very round penguin named Luna P) was immediately cuddled, as Elsie buried her face in its fluffiness. The crying did not stop, however, any more than her cries for Tali did.

Tali had a bit of a penchant for rushing off and rescuing her before anyone else even noticed she was missing, after all.

"She isn't coming." Machariah stated. "If she does, I will kill her, causality be damned."

This, rather predictably, made the crying much, much worse. Super-powered worse, in fact (though she didn't realize it) - she was now crying so hard it had turned into a sonic attack that she didn't actually know how to turn off even if she was aware she was doing it.

Machariah winced as the sound hit him, forcing him backwards. He ducked out the door, slamming it behind him and locking it. "Such power... An alternative strategy is required to progress."

The moment Machariah closed the door, Zeit appeared to say hi, but immedately vanished again after his glasses cracked and his coffee mug exploded, showering him in glass and hot coffee. "AHHH! IT BUR-!"

---

Not surprisingly, it ended up being Tali who woke everyone in the dorms. With a scream of what could only be described as rage. Oh, she knew exactly who had done it, too, the creep - she'd caught that bit of flickering from the cloaking device on her Perv Capturing Camera!

"Jarvis, call dad!" she then ordered of her phone, before any of the girls could do much more than get out of bed, that whole rage thing still very much audible. Because let's be fair, she was too smart to go chasing after Machariah alone, when Elsie's safety was on the line.

"Yes, dear?" Skorpion answered, over a background of roaring noises.

"HE TOOK ELSIE!" the raging Tali informed, seeing red more than a little bit.

"That bastard. One more reason to take him down, then, but I guess this means I can't just bomb the hell out of the Temple like I originally planned." Skorpion sighed, and something exploded in the background. "I don't suppose you can tell me how I did it?"

"You never told me!" the young blonde informed, still sounding rather upset about it (she'd never liked not being told things) - not to mention she was still pissed about Machariah getting Elsie. "Where's that stupid temple, I'm gonna kill him!"

"Whoa whoa whoa, no you aren't. He's got a damn army; you'll get yourself killed or worse. Elsie can hold out for a while; the magical cute affects me, so it'll affect him."

"I'm. Going. To. Kill. Him," the magical girl ground out, completely serious. He'd stolen her Elsie, there was no coming back from that.

"You are going to WAIT, young lady." Skorpion replied firmly. "I have a Plan, and that is going ahead regardless in a few days. This is a blatant attempt to provoke an impulsive reaction, and you are NOT taking the bait!"

"I AM TOO!" Tali objected, entirely irrationally and very much sounding like a teenager.

"Don't make me go over there and stop you." Skorpion warned. "We are STICKING to the PLAN, and that is FINAL."

"You can't stop me!" the teenager informed, still seeing red. Being told she couldn't do something wasn't helping, either; this was normally the part of the argument where mom stepped in to manage tempers, but mom wasn't there. Tali was also already turning on her heel as if to head out for her bike in the parking lot.

"Yes I can, actually." Skorpion replied. "I built that bike you're heading for."

"And I rebuilt it - you're acting like I don't know you at all!" Now she was offended - like she'd have left any means for him to control it on her, it was her bike now, damnit! But then a sound of frustration escaped her, audible even over the phone. There was a crowd of magical girls blocking the hallway, all looking alarmed and concerned and (a lot of them) curious. "MOVE!" Tali tried ordering.

"<Elsie-chan is missing!>"

"<OMFG Yakashima-san got shot with something!>"

"<Elsie-chan noooooo!>"

"<By Odin, someone tampered with my axe!>"

"Kyuun!"

The girls refused to move, instead sticking to the original plan of milling about in confusion and concern.

Tali banged her head against the nearest wall in frustration before trying again, with the addition of a shooing motion. "MOVE! I've gotta go get Elsie!"

"<What, now?>"

"<Tali-sama, you're not even dressed! You can't go looking for venegance like that!>"

"<Where is she?>"

"<What's going on? Who moved my sword?>"

"<What was that about Elsie-chan?>"

"I ken ye, lassie, I'll move fer ye. <Did I get that right?>"

It was then that Devin teleported himself to the back of the crowd, changing back before anyone noticed him. "I have no idea how I'm gonna do this, but I guess I have to." He muttered to himself before making his way to the front to confront Talitha. "I understand you're furious, but I don't think killing yourself at the enemy is likely to rescue Elsie."

Silence reigned for a few moments, as Tali seriously considered strangling her older brother. But she ultimately rather liked Devin, and thus decided it wouldn't be worth it in the long run. Plus, paradoxes. "Fine," came her rather acerbic reply. "Then you can just go and teleport her back here." Because of course Tali knew all about that.

Meanwhile, she was silently considering going out the window. Because somebody had to go and get Elsie.

"If I were bullet proof and there were a cellphone there I could. You know the limitations of my abilities." Devin explained. "As we speak Skorpion is preparing a siege, so waiting is the best we can do at the moment."

"And what if Elsie gets hurt in the siege, huh? Or they hurt her because of it?" Tali shook her head. "Nuh-uh, I'm not waiting around for that. I'm gonna go get her." Even if it meant going out the window; she was hardly a stranger to that route, anyway.

"What if she gets hurt because you fell into a clear trap? He beat you once before and he'll do it again. And what if he kills you? How would she feel if she found out you were dead? What would the rest of the family do?" Devin argued. "You're not going, even if I need to make you."

"I'd like to see you try!" the teen girl challenged, already pretty thoroughly up in arms over the matter.

She missed Devin, too. Her Devin, that is, who would've been half-joking about cutting her off from supplies if she didn't calm the fsck down by now. And then she could half-threaten to hit him, and they could snark at each other for a bit, until she felt better. That was what big brothers were for, wasn't it?

"Don't make me do this." Devin protested, he really didn't want to do what he had planned.

Tali just grinned a rather wicked grin, and stood her ground - right in front of the audience of magical girls. "Do it," she dared, knowing full well that hitting was not one of Dev's strengths, and therefore not likely what he had in mind (not that it was likely to hurt if it was). Because she totally knew his secret, and the look in her eyes said as much.

"You know I don't want to. But if it stops you from kiilling yourself, I will." Devin said, stepping forward. "Just give up, Skorpion will take you for the raid."

"I'm not going to kill myself," a thoroughly insulted Tali argued. "I'm going to get Elsie back." Even if she was totally lacking a plan, which was rather stupid. She'd figure it out on the way. Or something. Damnit, she was 16, she wasn't about to admit to being wrong!

"Fine." Devin said, dropping a small pellet to the ground which rapidly filled the hallway with smoke.

"THAT'S CHEATING!" the teen girl immediately objected, before racing for the window to escape.

"Since when do I play fair." Devin said, much like the Devin she knew would, as he transformed in a flash, teleported in front of her to grab her shoulder and teleport both of them in front of Skorpion, then releasing her in order to teleport behind Skorpion where he was far enough to avoid Talitha's rage (which she was currently expressing in the form of a cry of said rage).

In Tali's defense, she made no attempt to kill him now that she'd been caught; she was at least mature enough to know when she'd been beaten fair and square, and not to try to murder people because of it. Also, it would have made Elsie sad. And her, once she'd had a chance to stop and think about it; she really did like her brother.

"Hello Devin. Hello Tali." Skorpion remarked as they appeared in front of him. "Tali, you're still not going to attack this guy on your own. He has an army, you do not. You of all people should know that it's a bad idea."

Tali just sulked, glaring at Devin for such traitorous behaviour as turning her over to Dad.

---

Meanwhile in Tiffaney's lab her Mom Senses were going nuts. "Oh my." She said with worry, putting aside the task at hand to hurry out of the lab, allowing her Mom Senses to lead her towards Talitha, Devin, and Skorpion.

---

"Now if we can take this away from the rocket test stand?" Skorpion added. "Don't make me get your mother."

"I'm fine here." Devin said from her spot a few steps behind him.

"You're lucky it's not the nuclear one." Skorpion replied.

"Lucky black cat?" Devin joked with a shrug as she compulsively sat on a nearby table, blocking off access to a few tools and giving a screwdriver that was near the edge occasional glances. "I'm sorry, Talitha. I don't know you well enough to stop you any other way." She said as a thought crossed her mind. "Why do I want to knock that on the floor?"

"Don't you even think about it." Skorpion warned, raising a finger towards Devin. "I know what catpeople are like."

In that moment Devin locked eyes with Skorpion, the currently catgirl pausing for a moment before nudging the screwdriver closer to the edge to where it was partially hanging off of the table.

"I mean it." Skorpion warned again. "Don't make me get the spray bottle."

A decidedly unladylike snort of laughter escaped the stubbornly sulking Tali as she waited for the inevitable.

Devin continued to maintain eye contact as she placed her hand on the table and slowly slid it towards the screwdriver, pausing again before knocking it to the floor.

"That's it." Skorpion reached into a nearby toolbox, retrieving a large squirt bottle from it. He raised the bottle, pointing at Devin.

Devin's ears folded back, and the fur on her tail puffed out as she hissed loudly at Skorpion. She brought up her feet to stand on the table with her hands and feet, her back arched before she lunged at Skorpion, teleporting mid-lunge to land on his back.

"Argh!" Skorpion exclaimed, reaching back to grab Devin by the scruff of her neck and pull her off him, throwing her bodily across the room. "BAD kittygirl!"

Devin landed on her feet and low growled at Skorpion.

Tali gave up on even pretending not to laugh.

Skorpion reached out with the spray bottle and spritzed Devin. "Bad kitty, BAD. I get enough of that from my real cat, even though it's only mine by default." He sprayed her again. "Bad!"

Devin held up her arms to shield herself from the water. "Ah-jeeze! What the hell?! Stop it!"

Skorpion sprayed her again, unable to resist. "Stop acting so much like a cat, then! Cute as it is, it's a pain in the ass."

"Dammit, stop!" Devin demanded, pointing accusingly at Skorpion. "I don't 'do' cute, Skorpion. I am calm, and professional." She argued, as though the scene that had taken place never happened.

"Of course you are." Skorpion replied, smirking.

"Don't patronize me, or I will find a way to make you pay for it." Devin said as she regained her usual composure.

"You'd better get started planning, then," Tali instigated. She could at least get some revenge by causing mischief.

Skorpion thought briefly, before turning the spray bottle on Tali.

"OI!" the non-cat girl objected, rather reflexively throwing a nearby wrench at him in retaliation.

Skorpion caught the wrench with his free hand. "Are you a Largoist or an Instigator?"

"Well, when I'm not being allowed to run in guns blazing, my options are rather limited," Tali sulked. Again. Stupid rational people, stopping her from rescuing her niece.

Skorpion sprayed her again. "You're not a Mihoist either, stop moping. And we don't DO the rushing in blindly thing anymore; we plan first. Think first, shoot later."

Tali just leaned back against the nearest workbench, crossed her arms over her chest, and sulked some more. She got the point - she really did - but that didn't mean she was okay with being thwarted.

Skorpion tossed the wrench aside and reached over to pat Tali on the head. "We'll get her back. I promise."

"Great! Now that that's settled, I'm going to head home before all this 'family love' stuff has me shedding sparkles." Devin commented, crossing her arms as the tip of her tail flicked irritatedly from side-to-side.

"What, you don't want headpats as well?" Skorpion asked. "Or you could come give your dad a hug." He continued, just about managing not to laugh.

"Ha. Ahaha. Ha. Ha... Ha." Devin sarcastically laughed. "We've yet to confirm if that data is accurate as far as genetics, so we should probably spare time for that on a later occasion."

"Then you can go back to your Manor full of zombies and ghosts." Skorpion replied. "Don't make me sue for visitation rights, though. Even if that damn manor would probably refuse to work for me."

"Don't worry. I'll pop by on occasion." Devin said before teleporting home, leaving Skorpion and Talitha alone.

"I have got to find a way to block teleports." Skorpion mused.

---

Summary:
Shhh. Sleeping magical girls. Tali snores like a chainsaw.
Machariah breaks in, sneaks around, and captures Elsie in a sack. With some plushies to keep her quiet.
Screaming and crying and wailing ensues as soon as she's removed from the sack.

Tali awakes, and flips into MURDEROUS RAGE MODE upon finding Elsie is missing.
Daddy says you can't just go charging in to rescue her.
But!
No.
Magical panic!
Devin says no too!
And teleports her to Skorp.
Who still says no.

Devin goes catlike. Must be a catgirl thing.
Spray bottle!
And for Tali, too!
Do not taunt Happy Fun Devin.
Skorpion [FGTL]
- Skorpion - Lucius Ogilvy- Lola Usagi- Cathal Jones -
- FGTL/Sealand - CMGY Academy - CATastrophe Club - Kemonomimi Railroad -

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ArsenalXA4

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Posts: 61

Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:09 pm

Post Sat Aug 27, 2016 5:36 pm

Re: The Storm Is Set To Rise

Bunnygirl Catgirl Times
Location: [DATA EXPUNGED], several places out in town.
Timestamp: After 'Fallout'.
Authors: hyuuint, Skorp, Arsenal
Characters: Shiori, Lola, Ei.

---

Eikichi, wake up. I hear, several times as he swings the polearm my way. He's leering at me, holding her head under his arm. There isn't anything I can do as I feel my world torn asunder.

Wake up! I hear, more forcefully. I finally open my eyes, finding myself laid next to Shiori. She has her hands on my shoulders as everything comes into focus.

"It... it was a nightmare..." I say, pulling her in for a tight hug.

“That was. But you’re still dreaming.” She says. I try to respond but find myself falling through a forest of massive redwoods. Strangely green colored redwoods at that. It feels like I’m falling forever when I spy what has to be Shoiri standing on a tree branch. But she looks like she’s ten. I bring my arms into my sides and steer myself toward the tree, leading with my prosthesis. I have to hit just right…

I bury my hand in, digging a trench into the bark. I look up to the branch and I climb. I climb for everything I’m worth, not afraid to fall.

“S-shiori, I… I’m here!” I call out as I reach the branch. She isn’t there. I pull myself up and look around.

“It’s not over.” I hear her say as she wraps her arms around me from behind. “Trust me.” She says before we leap. I try to look around and find myself standing in the back of a CH-47D, the rear door open.

“Trust me!” Sergeant Ramos shouts to me. He’s in full kit with a parachute pack strapped on. I can see he's wearing a flak jacket, same as I am. I look out into the void then take the leap. I fall again, feeling the wind whip around me. I suddenly feel a hand intertwine with my left and look.

It’s Shiori, clad in BDUs and parachute pack but no helmet.

“Get ready.” She says, letting go of my hand. I nod then look back to the approaching ground. I pull my ripcord.

Almost instantly I find myself strapped into the cockpit of my Lancer. I see the streets of Mosul as we’re taking fire. Khukov and Georgi are to my left, soaking up and powering through hit after hit of RPG fire. Jenks and Convoy are to my right, providing cover for some wounded soldiers. I look at the main screen and see…

…Machariah… He’s firing that polearm thing at me. I can hear the discs hitting D4N1’s frontal armor, the projectiles bouncing off.

“Kill him. Rip and tear.” Dani says. I bring the GAR-65A1 in her right hand to bear and fire, full auto. He disappears in a cloud of dust and pink mist, the chaingun turning him into chunky salsa.

“It’s over…” I hear Shiori say, feeling her against my back. She has me in a tight embrace, the two of us laid out in a field of grass.

“Shiori…” I mutter, squeezing her hands.

---

I wake up, feeling Shiori’s body against mine. It was a dream. A bizarre dream, but just a dream. Closing my eyes, I give her a gentle squeeze before trying to fall back to sleep.

---

Lola yawned and stretched as she awoke, before nuzzling back into Shiori again.

Shiori meanwhile continued to doze, but the ears tickling her nose made her shuffle in her sleep. Eventually, though, the sensation was enough to make her crack an eye open. "Mmmmmmm-morning."

Lola shifted, leaning up a little to give Shiori a kiss. "Morning, sleepyhead~ Sleep well?"

"You know full well how I slept." Shiori grinned as she pulled Lola into yet another squishy hug. "Very happy to have my fave cuddle-bunny back, especially after..." She cut herself off, not wanting to bring that back up.

Lola nodded, only her ears sticking up out of Shiori's cleavage. "Mmmph. Mm-mm." She replied, before squirming out of the larger girl's grip. "He was screaming again last night."

"C-can't blame him. I'm kinda used to, you know, super people shenanigans. Poor guy was kinda...thrust into it."

"Yeah. I'm kinda new to the whole thing as well, remember;" Lola added. "Usually, the closest I get to any of this faction politics or superhuman stuff is when some nutcase does a guest spot, or Largoists make trouble in the club..." She paused, sighing softly. "I miss my club."

Shiori doled out more snuggles. "I miss your club too. Though...admittedly, I don't miss the whole public nudity thing, but I do miss the...atmosphere?" Even as she said it she didn't sound too sure of herself. Of which part? Yes.

Lola sniggered as she was tugged back into Shiori, this time shifting so she had some breathing room. "Don't lie; you loved it. Towards the end, girls were taking days off just to give you some stage time."

That made her turn completely red "May-maybe a little." She gave a small pause. "Wait. They were taking days off? But..." Oops. Lola triggered concerned-mode.

Lola reached up to rub Shiori's ears softly. "They knew you'd give them the tips anyway, so they were taking days off to relax, or spend time with their kids. Don't you start worrying.

Nuzzling helped cancel out said worrying, so she was good now. "Hm. I think Ei needs a day off. He's pretty much hit the peak for what he can do, especially with how much I've been putting him through."

"Yeah. Take him on another date, don't get ambushed by anyone this time." Lola advised. "Orrr, I could take him somewhere..." She giggled, grinning up mischeivously at Shiori. "And don't worry, I won't molest him or anything."

Actually, the suggestion made some gears turn in her head.

"I can almost hear that..." Lola commented, rubbing Shiori's ears some more.

"Ya know, if he'd be ok with it, I think that might be a good idea."

Lola's grin widened, and she sniggered quietly. "Oh, you do, huh?"

"I do. You two could do with some bonding, seeing as I hog one or the other away from ya'll, and..." Scritches or no, her brain was in total friend-or-more maker mode. "Yes, that is it, you two shall go on a date today! Er, provided he's ok with the idea." She giggled. "And you two can do whatever feels comfortable. Grown adults and all that jazz."

Lola giggled, giving Shiori a big kiss of gratitude. "Yay~ Take my loyalty card for the day spa downtown, and go pamper yourself for a day. I'll take gooood care of Ei for you~"

---

Ei was still asleep, dead to the world. The nightmare had been more than enough to keep him from much needed sleep for at least two hours before it finally came for him. He was actually wishing for his old recurring nightmare, the one with the squid. At least squids didn't try to stab you while holding your girlfriend's head in their hands. Or tentacles.

Lola prodded Ei in the forehead as he snored. "Wake up; I didn't sacrifice a free spa day just to watch you sleep."

Ei woke with a start.

"THAT'S MY QUESADILLA! Oh... I thought I was back in eighth grade cafeteria..." he said, calming down.

Lola smiled brightly, leaning in close to him, her ears just brushing his hair. "Shiori's let me borrow you for the day, so we're gonna have fun together!~"

"Wait, what do you mean 'borrow'..." Ei asked, a notification on his HUD popping up that said 'IT'S A TRAP!' Another popped up that said '...maybe...'

"Weeelllll..." Lola started, her smile turning into an impish grin as she leaned forwards a little further, allowing Ei a glimpse down the front of her nightshirt. "She said we could do with bonding a little, since she keeps leaving one of us alone while with the other. Sooo, she's gone off for a spa day to be pampered, and it's my job to take care of you and make sure we have fun!"

"Okay, I'm going back to bed." Ei said, rolling over so his back was to Lola.

Lola raised an eyebrow. "Very well. I'll just have to get persuasive with you~" She grinned, reaching under the sheets. A good grip, and Ei was soon sailing out of bed in an arc towards the floor, with Lola in the centre.

Ei spun, trying to reach for something to grab onto. He finally did, but only after he hit the floor.

"Oww... There's that world class judo toss of yours..." he mused, sitting up. "Fine, I'll play along... What did you have in mind?"

"Breakfast first. Can't start the day on an empty stomach, not with what I have planned." Lola replied, looking down at Ei. "After that, then we're going for a drive around town. I have a few errands to run first thing, and I could use a man around for that."

"Agreed... I could go for a quesadilla... And maybe some empanadas, huevos rancheros, salsa verde..." Ei paused as he stood up. "...and my sidearm... Not leaving this place without it."

"Smart idea. That reminds me..." Lola trailed off, rummaging around on the bedside table to retrieve her purse, checking inside it. "Yup, the mace is still there. Good."

"Okay, sidearm, knife, and wallet... That's all I'm taking with me. And magazines... One mag isn't going to do much against a crowd." Ei mused, thinking about what he was going to wear. He was almost out of long sleeved t-shirts. Laundry was going to have to be done soon. He couldn't wear his fatigues out in town. That would have been a dead giveaway. To alleviate it he opted for a pair of khaki cargo shorts, his Blackwater hoodie, and running shoes. No t-shirt, because they all needed to be washed. And no boxers, because he had thrown them all into the black hole room, despite the researchers' warnings. For all he knew there were multiped creatures on the other side wondering what they were going to do with shorts made for bipeds. Somehow, buried in all the stuff he was pulling out, was a small watch Ei was told about for disguise and electronic disruptive purposes. He figured he ought to wear that, seeing as he was about to go out in public. Being dead sure can be disruptive to one's life.

"Lola, you got any idea how long we'll be out?"

"Most of the day, I'd say. Especially since we need to get you more clothes." Lola replied, trying to choose between a sailor fuku and a tank top with very short shorts. "I'm running low too, and I could use your opinion on some things."

"<MY> opinion? I'm the last person you want to ask an opinion from when it comes to clothes." he protested. "You've seen my wardrobe!"

"Yes, and that's why I'm going to make sure you get a new one of those as well; that thing's falling apart and clashes HORRIBLY with the decor. But I won't be using you for style advice, so don't worry. I just need to help pick out something that'll look good, and to carry things." She shrugged out of her nightshirt before starting to tug the uniform on.

Ei turned his back, trying to give her some privacy while she changed. He did have to admit that she had a great body. Not nearly as well endowed as Shiori but she was still something to look at.

Stop it, show some respect! He thought, trying to get his mind out of the gutter. He was going to be the gentleman and that was that.

Lola giggled, padding over to him and hugging him, wrapping her arms around his waist as she pressed against his back. "You can look, you know. I did used to run a strip club until last week."

Ei sighed, leaning into her a little. "I'm still thinking like a soldier. No, I'm just... I don't know any more, alright..." he admitted. "I'm still trying to adjust while the world spins on, with or without me."

Lola gave him a squeeze before heading back to finish dressing. "Okay. Just promise me; no screaming, alright?"

"I promise..." he said, trying to smile. He knew it was a fake smile, however. He wondered if his grandfather carried memories that were just as bad from the Pacific Theater of operations. Or if his Tio Martin had the same from Vietnam. Neither spoke about it and he wasn't about to try prying it from them. At this point I may never get the chance to try...

--

Lola pulled over, grinning nearly ear to ear. "You promised no screaming!"

"You drove into oncoming traffic, what was I supposed to do?!" he countered. It had been a long time since he last said a Hail Mary and Lola's driving warranted it. "Are you trying to channel <MY> piss poor driving or something!?"

"It's called a racing line!" Lola protested, pointing to the apex of the corner they'd just passed, now cluttered with scattered cars and marked with a trio of black lines. "And what you're SUPPOSED to do is lean into the turn for stability, especially with that metal arm of yours."

"I'm not a racer! I'm an Armored Infantryman!" he shouted before looking at the devastation left in their wake. "Jesus Christ, would All State cover this shit? Or State Farm? Or would they just say 'oh, it's Lola, again, let's just say 'fuck it' and go for lunch?' I'd rather jump qual without a parachute, <BUT> I have to put up with it because you're my ride back and I can't afford to get back on my own power, so let's get this over with, please!"

Lola grinned, flooring the throttle once more, causing the front of the car to rear up as they set off; slamming back down a little way down the road. "Oh, quit whining. You only just had breakfast, and we have a bar to inspect!"

Ei held on, digging the gloved fingers of his prosthesis into the car body as the vehicle lurched.

"Why a bar?" he asked, realizing the intent almost as soon as he asked. "Steampunk or cyberpunk?"

"Ashpunk right now; it burned down a couple of months back. Suspicious circumstances. Bank wants rid of it quickly, I need a new job, and it's up for auction next week." Lola explained. "I'm thinking more dieselpunk when we get it running; engine parts on the walls, bar staff in oil-streaked overalls, tape over the windows. Can't stand steampunk; airships and corsets do not belong together!"

"But of corsets sexy!" Ei joked, putting a genuine smile on for a change. "Honestly I was looking forward to a cyberpunk theme. I would have been trendy for a change."

"Sure, they're sexy, but you can't bloody pole dance in one. Otherwise, I could just go with a general -punk theme." She replied, somehow pronouncing the dash. "Theme nights, maybe indulge the gaslamp fantasy set a couple of times a month if they actually have any money. And you just want to see Shiori in a PVC catsuit, don't you?" She finished, drifting tightly around a semi truck to overtake it before carving it up to take an exit.

"I do, actually... Been shopping online... Well, browsing, any way..." he admitted. "Not just sexy things, but normal clothes too. I kinda scanned her for her measurements..."

"Kinky." Lola commented, weaving through traffic as they hit the city proper. "You know she dances too, right?"

"Based on the pictures burned into my hard drive, yes. I didn't want to jump into that, yet. Most of what's on the way is pretty modest." he replied. "I want to take it slow."

"Sensible." Lola replied, sliding to a halt outside the burned-out bar before hopping out, reaching into her purse and producing a large flanged mace, painted a in a girlish red and white colour scheme. "In the name of the moon, I punish you!" She cried, before swinging the mace into the closest parking meter; scattering loose change and plastic shards out across the street.

"I could have achieved the same with less splatter and shrapnel..." Ei said, collecting change for the meter. Once paid he looked at the husk, whistling. "What a sorry shithole this is..."

"Yes, but macing things is fun, and this place is a rampage zone. Since the parking meter is destroyed, I get to park for free." She explained, peering into the bar as she tucked the mace back into her purse. "It has potential. Good location, no previous customers to clutter up the new premises, and it's going cheap." She stepped over a fallen beam blocking the door to poke around inside. "And no ROUS!"

"Rodents of Unusual Size? So the legends are true... I wonder what they taste like..." Ei mused, following her in. He almost reached for his sidearm but fought the urge. "Do we have enough duct tape and elbow grease to patch this place up or should I look for some Mexicans?"

"Filipinos here. Although we could probably find some Poles if we look hard enough." Lola corrected him. "And no, I have plenty of kemonomimi who need work. And they taste as bad as they look; they're the size they are because they come from Sealand's sub-basements. The ones they store nuclear waste in. But I don't see anything here a dozen dogboys can't fix in a week or two, especially if they get passes to the opening night."

"Sounds good. All the same I doubt Mexicans can swim the Pacific. I could be wrong, though. I saw lots of Mexicans in Iraq." Ei paused. "Then again, we're the same color as they are, so..."

"Your military's full of Mexicans, though." Lola pointed out as she clambered her way to the bar, standing on it to inspect the ceiling. "Doesn't count if they're wearing the same uniform. Does this look structurally sound to you?" She asked, pointing to a beam burned almost entirely through.

Ei peered at it. "Scanning... It's going to need to be braced. Until then, I wouldn't use it as a load bearing anything." he replied. "I'm amazed there's anything still standing in here. Just what hit this place?"

"Firebomb. Rumour has it, it was the Mihoists, but there's only like two of them now and they're both teenagers." Lola replied, walking down the bar to inspect the jukebox in the corner. "This is still intact, though. I think I've seen enough." She turned back to Ei, extending her arms towards him. "Lift?"

Ei reached out and picked her up by the waist. "What do you see? Something good?" he asked.

"I think there's an untouched bottle in back, but I mostly don't want to jump off the bar." Lola explained.

"Any idea what it is?" Ei asked, adjusting so she could reach it. He had his eyes closed and laid his head against her body.

Lola stretched out to grab it by the neck, peering at the label. "Raspberry liqueur. Looks like it was hidden by the bartender, so it survived."

"Think it's still any good?" Ei asked, waiting to set her down.

"Might be. You can try it if you want; I'm not gonna drink when I'm driving." Lola shrugged, before pointing to the door. "Onwards, my noble steed. Back to the car!"

Ei carried her through the rubble and back outside, setting her back on her feet. "I'll try it later. I prefer to drink at home, unless I'm out with... well, I used to drink with the platoon, but I doubt I'll get that chance any time soon..." he said, thinking about them again. Them and Khukov's cast iron liver.

"You probably shouldn't try drinking with us; Shiori can't even get drunk off methanol, and I'm a lightweight." Lola shrugged, climbing back into her car. "Errand number two, getting the money for this place."

"I'd rather not drink alone. Not now, any way." He replied, slipping the bottle into the glove compartment. "And please don't tell me we're going to knock off a bank... I don't need that kind of record..."

"Do I LOOK like a Largoist?" Lola asked. "I don't go in for actual theft. Tax avoidance, asset sequestration, and money laundering, sure, but no theft." She winked at Ei as she sped off again, heading for the docks. "For example, I have a shipping container rented for storage. In it, there's a safe with my emergency stash inside. THAT is where we're going to get the money for my new project. And my spare tools, which I'm going to use to fix your arm. Those army mechanics don't know a damn thing about prosthetics; I can hear it grinding whenever you move your shoulder."

"Oh, okay... Good..." Ei mused, letting out a sigh of relief. "All the same, I left the OICW back home."

"Aren't those things ungodly heavy and fragile?" Lola asked, taking a shortcut through a crowded street.

"They upgraded it. The Quartermaster, I think he said his name was Ahmad or something, said they used a SouFrican CR-21 and the XM-25 to build a Mark II model. Handles pretty well." Ei explained. "As for the weight, I almost threw it when he handed it to me. It was heavy for him, not for me. Courtesy of Shiori's training."

"Seems like a lot of effort to go to just to rework an old project that didn't work too well in the first place. Why not just go the whole hog and carry around an autocannon?" Lola asked.

"Because I can loot ammo from a battlefield more easily. Also, I already synched with the grenade launcher portion. I'm this close to figuring out how to write messages in the frag pattern." He said, holding his index and thumb close together.

"But you're a super-soldier. Can't you just carry more ammo? And maybe if you didn't use such a tiny round, you wouldn't need as much?" Lola replied, smirking. "Seriously, go see the Largoists. They'll strap a cannon to a gyro harness and stick a pistol grip on it. Could probably get away with a chaingun, too."

"I have to decline... Soon as I'm able I'm going to try to return to my unit. I miss the guys." he started. "I miss Khukov's hardassery. I miss Hayden's jackassery. I miss... that weird shit Topper does, where someone asks why the TV is set to the Wii menu screen and he busts out of a closet to the Pillar Men theme while wearing a Multicam speedo and his sunglasses then proceeds to play Muscle March."

"I miss being able to call my family..."

Lola reached over to pat him on the shoulder. "Can't you at least write to them so they know you're okay?"

"I'm supposed to be dead... No contact. I'm locked out of my email, social media, my youtube... I'm an unperson, like what Stalin used to do." he replied. "It sucks!"

"Fun." Lola commented, her hand moving back to the wheel so she could weave her way through a group of protestors proclaiming that orange lives mattered. "Sounds like you should get on with killing that Machariah guy before he figures things out."

"I'll be able to sleep soundly when that happens. So, bank, then where?" he asked, trying to change the subject. "I know you wanted to do some clothes shopping too. What'd you have in mind?"

"New wardrobe for you; something that ISN'T military issue, or camo. Some formal stuff too, so you can take Shiori on a date without wearing a uniform. Or me, for that matter." Lola giggled softly, winking at him.

"I get that. I would say send someone to pore through my house at Fort Hood but none of it would meet that criteria. Honestly, the nicest clothes I had were my dress uniforms." He admitted, cringing at her driving. "That and they've probably already emptied the place out."

"Then you need a haircut and a proper shave. I know just the place to go for that; very metahuman-friendly." Lola reached out to run a finger down Ei's cheek, which rasped. "You're fuzzy."

"I dunno, I kinda like the look." he said, getting a harsh look in return. "Okay, okay, I'll get it sheared..."

"Shiori will thank you for it." Lola added sweetly. "Oh, wait, here we are!" She slammed on the brakes, the car stopping suddenly enough for the rear to lift off the ground, pivoting around with the steering before dropping back again. Lola then accelerated down a line of containers, sliding to a halt next to one that was entirely identical to the others apart from having been stickerbombed with Hello Kitty stickers.

"I am bringing my helmet next time... I almost, ALMOST, hit my head on the dash..." he said before hopping out. "Any booby traps at all?"

"Yes." Lola replied simply, hopping out of her side and starting to unlock the array of padlocks, chains, and cable locks holding the container shut. "Don't touch anything I don't tell you to."

"Would it be safer if I kept my hands on you?" he asked, winking at her.

"Possibly~" Loa winked back, opening the door slowly. "Depends on how you rate Shiori's retaliation should they wander without permission~"

"'Don't tell me no lies, an' keep your hands to yourself!'" Ei sang, falling in line. He didn't want to test his own recovery abilities against Shiori's fists, at all.

Lola giggled, tail wiggling mischeivously as she stepped inside. The safe was in the back, behind multiple stacks of boxes and a rack of mallets, with a rack of skimpy costumes hiding it from view. Lola crawled under the clothing, opening the safe carefully and rummaging through it on her hands and knees, tail upraised.

Ei tried to keep his gaze turned to the contents of the container but every time he went to look at the other side it wound up pausing on her tail. He shook his head, turning his back to her to look outside. Better safe than sorry... he thought.

Lola emerged from the safe a little while later, stuffing a wad of yen into her purse. "While you're there, you can help me with something. There's a box up the top there that I can't reach." Lola pointed to the box in question, balanced atop a pile of other boxes.

Ei looked over his shoulder, spotting the pile. "Nothing's going to blow up if I touch it, will it?" he asked, carefully approaching the pile.

"It shouldn't." Lola assured him. "That pile doesn't have explosive traps in. You might get arrowed, or bear trapped."

"That I can walk away from." he said, climbing up a little bit in order to reach the box in question.

"Nonono, step right a bit!" Lola called out to him, covering her eyes.

Ei stepped to the right.

"Not that far!" Lola called out, wincing as a bear trap surged up from under the layers of newspaper on the floor and snapped shut around Ei's leg. This locked him in place for the volley of arrows shot from behind him, and for a box to fall off the top of another stack to dump a bowling ball on his head.

Mutiple warnings popped up on Ei's HUD, showing the damage done and what action was being taken to keep him alive, especially since one arrow seemed to have severed his aorta.

"I... I'm okay... Just get me... get me motrin... and water... Actually, get me that liquor..." he managed, carefully setting the box down. While he was crouched he turned his pile bunker on the bear trap, freeing himself. "You wouldn't... happen to have a spare shirt, would you...?"

Lola handed him one about the right size. "You'll just have to deal with the style, and don't tug too hard or it'll fall off all at once." She advised. "Sorry about the traps, by the way. I didn't meant to nearly kill you."

"I survived... Mr. Slicey..." he said, pulling the arrows out before pulling the ruined hoodie off. The wounds were already sealing themselves, scar tissue forming then disappearing before he pulled the shirt on. "Okay... The box that almost killed me... What is in it...?"

Lola opened the box, rummaging around inside before producing a rather large yellow dildo with a bulge in the middle and a suction cup on the bottom. She held it up triumphantly, where it waved around seemingly with a life of it's own. "Pikachu."

Ei's face flushed red as he looked at the toy, turning his head slightly so he wouldn't have to look at it. "T-that's... C-could you... Ehh..." He was at a loss for words.

Lola bopped him gently on the head with it, giggling. "I've been sitting on these for a while now. Now pokemon are trendy again, it's time I released them into the wild."

"C-childhood... r-ruined..." he managed, unable to get the image out of his head. "D-do you have anything... n-normal...?"

"Oh, totally, but my toybox is over there." Lola pointed to a footlocker on the opposite side of the container.

"I want to reach for it, but I'm worried I'll get snared, again..." he replied, looking at the box.

Lola stepped over, tugging the box back with her on the wheeled dolly it was sat on. "What, you wanna dig through it?" She grinned at him, opening the lid slowly to reveal an assortment of variously sized toys, accessories, coils of rope, and modified power tools.

"If you don't mind..." he said, relaxing. "It's been such a long time since I indulged. Even after the repeal of DADT, I still had to be a model soldier, because I was an Officer and a Ranger. There's that image that goes with the rank and that Ranger's tab."

Lola giggled, digging through the box. "Ah, here's something you can use with Shiori. It even has a remote control, see?"

"I'm already thinking of seven ways to use it with her." he replied, looking it over.

"And you can use it with this, too..." Lola added, handing him another toy.

"I should have brought a box." he mused, digging further into the box. "Umm... Is there anything <I> could use... f-for myself..."

"Oh, you want the OTHER toybox, then!" Lola grinned, hauling another, slightly smaller box over and opening it. "See anything interesting in there?"

"A-a couple of things... I-I may need to pick up lube on the way back..."

"Oh, I have plenty of that. Silicone-based or water based?" Lola asked, gesturing to a pallet stacked with metal drums.

"We may have to make another trip... Unless you plan to have me dump those into your hammerspace bag, at which point challenge accepted."

Lola giggled. "I have smaller bottles. It was just cheaper in bulk, y'know?" She turned, pointing out the door to a container on the other side of the aisle. "That one's full of the stuff."

"Works for me. Alright, I'll grab a few things for Shiori and I and a few things for myself... If that's okay with you, I mean." Ei paused, hoping it was.

"Sure. I'll just bill your expenses account for them, assuming you have one." Lola smiled brightly, ears perking.

"I'll get you my paypal when we get back... Best they could do since my bank account was frozen when I 'died.'" Ei had been reimbursed the equivalent of what had been in his account prior to "dying." It was the least the Cabal could do.

"Wait, you aren't claiming expenses for stuff like food and so forth?" Lola asked, frowning slightly.

"Am I supposed to?"

Lola sighed. "They SHOULD be giving you an expenses account to replace all your stuff, since it's their fault you're separated from it." She pulled out her phone, tapping at it briefly. "There. Two receipts; one for you, one to add to expenses when they get it sorted out. Which they will, if I have anything to say about it."

"For a second there I thought I may have been stealing these last few weeks..." he mused, letting out a sigh of relief. "That being the case, I can scan the receipt, just in case the hard copy gets lost. No fuss, right?"

Lola nodded, handing them both to him as the printer plugged into her phone spat them out, listed as 'entertainment accessories'. "You really shouldn't let people get the wrong idea like that, especially in regards to money..."

"I know, I know. Ive had other things on my mind, the obvious being top of the list." he replied. "So, what's the next stop?"

"Clothes shopping, especially if you have an expense account!" Lola exclaimed, grinning widely as she handed him the box of toys he'd picked out and a big bottle of lube. "You've gotta look good if I'm taking you on a date, after all." She hopped past him to the car, tail wiggling.

Ei followed behind, his new 'entertainment accessories' in tow. "Barber before or after? And nothing weird. I'm supposed to keep a low profile but not stand out."

"Before, I think. And no, nothing wierd, I have enough of that from my boyfriend, even IF he's missing right now." Lola decided, setting off at speed once Ei was seated.

Ei held on for dear life, fighting to get his belt on. "WARN ME NEXT TIME!" he shouted, about to recite the Lord's Prayer, the Nicene Creed, and something he half remembered in Spanish but wasn't entirely sure because it was at least twenty years since he last heard it.

"Oh, hush. You're panicky about not being surrounded by tons of armour."

"'NEVER LEAVE THE CORE!' THAT'S OUR SAFETY MAXIM!!!"

---

Way way off in the city, under her own disguise (it was almost flawless. Guess where it faltered), Shiori was doing her best to try and relax to the ministrations of the maseusse.

"<You're really tense; you really need to relax more." The massause commented, rubbing Shiori's back firmly. "Especially down here by your tail.

With a small breath, Shiori tried to calm down or relax or whatever she was supposed to do. Her tail twitched a bit when the hands made contact with the base.

The massause giggled, her hands pressing deeper into Shiori's flesh, squishing as she rubbed at the tense spots in question. "If you've got a boyfriend, send him here and we can teach him how to give proper backrubs. Or a girlfriend, if you're of that persuasion."

"Hehe kinda... both?" She wasn't sure what to classify Lola as, but she was pretty close to that, in Shiori's opinion anyways. "And... sure. I should." Another deep sigh as she tried to lay flat, but considering things, that was gonna be a hard thing to do.

The massause adjusted the table slightly, lowering a central part to account for Shiori's bust.

"Thanks." Now able to fully relax, she proceeded to do just so. "Uhm, can talk as much as you want. I kinda like conversations."

"Alright. Got a subject in mind, then?" The massause asked, moving down to Shiori's legs.

---

"<Oh, I TOTALLY see why you've brought him here. He looks like one of those military cosplayers... Wait, does he speak Japanese?>"

"<He does, so don't do that. Just try and make him look normal. Clean, too.>"

"<Oh, alright.>" The barber sighed softly, turning to look at Ei again, her ears twitching. "In the seat, then."

Ei took his seat, reaching back to take his dogtags off, lest they get snagged by the clippers. He was going to miss the scruffy look, even if it was a good, natural disguise. But, he had to please Shiori and, maybe, Lola.

"<I don't suppose you know what a 'Medium-Low Reg' is.>" he asked.

"<I do, but I'm going to give you a proper haircut instead of just shearing it off.>" The barber smiled, leaning in close to Ei's ear to whisper into it; her sizable bust pressing into his arm. "<Now, don't squirm~>"

Ei shivered, feeling her press against him. He closed his eyes and waited it out, moving his head as ordered and tilting it back when she went to remove his beard. He was half expecting to not recognize himself when he noticed that she hadn't removed all of it.

The barber moved around him, humming to herself as she worked, scissors, clippers, and straight razor working quickly, and finishing up with the application of hot towels and aftershave to Ei's face. "<All done~>" She announced, stepping back and holding up a mirror so Ei could see the back, her fluffy tail swishing behind her.

Ei focused first on the barber's bountiful bosom before taking into account her handiwork. He tilted his head this way and that to look at it before giving her a thumbs up.

"<I like where this is going!>" he said with a smile.

The barber smiled brightly, setting the mirror down. "<Always good to have a satisfied customer! Now, would you like a little something... Extra?>" She asked, her smile turning slightly predatory.

Ei looked to Lola first, as if for guidance. Not finding it he looked back to the barber. On the one hand it had been a while. On the other, he had hoped to give Shiori a good time. At some point. He wasn't trying to rush things, after all.

"Y-yes..." he finally said.

The barber's grin widened, and she turned Ei around to face the a display rack of hair products, aftershaves, and shaving equipment she'd moved next to. "<See anything you like, sir?>"

THANK YOU, GOD! Ei didn't say, relieved that she just wanted him to buy hair products and aftershave. "<You're the expert. Enlighten me, please.>" he said.

"<Well...>"

---

"<... And that's why the badger-hair shaving brush goes best with the monomolecular straight razor.>" The barber concluded, not having lost her smile throughout the sales pitch. "<Of course, we ALSO offer happy endings, should you so desire.>"

"<A complimentary egg roll?>"

"<Not quite.>"

Lola finally lost it, collapsing into a giggle fit, ears shaking and twitching.

"Lola, what the hell? Is there something you're not telling me here?" Ei demanded.

"You... You don't know what a happy ending is?" Lola asked, between fits of giggles, trying to look up at Ei.

"Yes, I know what a happy ending is! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? WHAT DOTH LIFE!?"

Lola managed to compose herself as she stood up, still sniggering occasionally. "Your confused face is adorable."

"Okay... humor me... what... is... the happy... ending..."

"<We offer a range of options, depending on the service sir desires. For example, a simple handjob is our basic option, moving all the way up to paizuri-assisted oral.>" The barber explained, handing Ei a pamphlet that explained the price scale. With diagrams.

Ei looked it over, amazed at the detail that went into it. "Do I or do I not..." he thought. It was times like this that he had wished the Pentagon had seen fit to issue a coin with 'YES' on one side and 'NO' on the other to officers, dubbing it a 'Digital Decision Making Device.'

It was at this moment that Ei's author poked him for deliberately pulling a line from Tom Clancy's 'Red Storm Rising,' even if the line was altered somewhat. And now the OOC Monster is staring down Ei's Author.

"Better not, we have a schedule to keep to." Lola advised, smiling to the barber. "<I'll bring him back here some other time, I promise.>"

"<Sorry... Like the bunnygirl said, next time.>" Ei said as he rose. "Please tell me the next place isn't going to put me in a moral quandry."

"Only an ethical one." Lola answered, smiling enigmatically. "Clothes shopping!"

"I'll defer to you on that one..."

Lola lead him out to the car again, setting off for downtown at her usual pace after making sure he was properly strapped in.

"This place Kemonomimi friendly too?" Ei asked, getting a bit more used to her driving. He was keeping a few prayers on standby, just in case.

"I wouldn't be going there if it wasn't." Lola replied, twitching an ear for emphasis. "It's not like I can just hide them under a scarf, or pretend they're part of my hair."

"My bad. It's easy for me to forget." Ei replied. "Reminds me of what Abuelo went through growing up. The gueros didn't think he'd fight as a Marine given that he was originally from Juarez. Oh, and I have one demand: NO SKINNY JEANS."

"They're a bad idea anyway. Restrict bloodflow to the lower body, and they don't look good on anyone who isn't a skinny teenager." Lola pointed out.

"Good... I may be sterile but I want the boys to at least breathe." he pointed out.

"Breathing is good. Squeezing is bad. Plus, freedom of movement, and ease of access. Nobody's going to want to get in your pants if they have to peel them off you first! Not if they're denim, at least. Leggings are fine; they can just be torn off if needs be, but tight denim is a Bad Thing for leg coverage." Lola winked at Ei. "Besides, jeans are SO last decade. Even if you're American, you need something stylish and fashionable, and not this 90s nostalgia phase everyone's going through."

"I'm Texan, though. I should have at least one pair of jeans to go with the cowboy stereotype, Brokeback Mountain optional." he countered.

"Aren't you supposed to be in disguise?" Lola asked. "And you're NOT wearing one of those damned cowboy hats."

"B-but... Ten gallon hat..." Ei wibbled, trying to give her sad puppy dog eyes. Instead it came across as something incredibly difficult to put into words.

"You're meant to be incognito, not a laughing stock. We don't want you showing up on those idiot tourist rating sites, or have people trying to catch you as a pokemon. I have enough trouble with that myself." Lola grumbled. "And don't give me that look. It makes your eyebrows look like they're trying to escape."

Ei reached up to touch his eyebrows. "Okay, okay... Fine... We'll do it your way." I'm still ordering a cowboy hat when we get back. he didn't say. "Any way, they do alterations on site? If so, is it same day pick up or do we wait for notification?"

"I'm almost insulted." Lola remarked. "You don't spend a few years taking your clothes off for a living without learning to fix and change them. I'll make adjustments myself."

"I see what you did there. I wonder, think maybe you might have been able to fix Khukov's 'problem?' See, when the Army switched from BDUs to ACUs Top Khukov was out of the loop because they didn't make them in his size. He's eight foot two."

"I probably could, given enough regular uniforms and a few hours... Ah! Here we are!" Lola swung the wheel, whipping the car around into a parking space with ease.

Ei braced himself as the car came to a stop. He wasn't cringing anymore. "Before we go in, no offer for a happy ending, right? I don't want another awkward surprise." Ei was curious as to whether or not Shiori could, or would, do what he saw in the brochure he was given.

"Goods, not services, so no."

"Thank you." Ei let her lead, taking a look around once inside. Under normal circumsances he would have done his shopping at the exchange or, when on leave, at Target or Wal-Mart, Wal-Martians be damned.

Lola led him inside, nodding to the security guard as she passed him, ears bobbing slightly. A long walk through racks and shelving later, they arrived at a well-stocked menswear department. "And here we are. You stand there." She pointed to an open space by the changing rooms. "I'll grab some things and check them on you." With that, she scampered off into the racks, returning periodically to hold things up against Ei and either pile them next to him or return them to their shelves, musing to herself all the while.

Ei looked at the growing pile, mulling the clothes over. He hated shopping and saw it as a necessary evil. Unless food was involved, then it was game on. He was going to need to eat after this. The gas can icon was still green but the timer below it indicated that he should be getting hungry in the next half hour or so. Hopefully this wouldn't take that long. Yeah, wishful thinking...

Once the pile was starting to totter, Lola returned to shove Ei into a changing room and started handing him outfit after outfit to try on, eyeing him critically as he modeled each one. The pile started to thin out as she eliminated things, eventually coming down to a pile about half of Ei's height.

"I guess these made the cut. I can live with it." he commented, picking a shirt up to fold it, Army style. "No one is going to recognize me when I get back. <IF> I get back."

"That's half the point!" Lola replied, smirking. "That, and to make you look good."

"I should change before we get back, just to surprise Shiori. She's gonna freak!" he mused, smiling at Lola.

"Yes, you should." Lola grinned, egging him on. "As long as nobody tries to steal you off me. Then it's angry bunny time. Grr!" She mock-growled at Ei.

"You're cute when you growl, you know that?" he said, folding the next article of clothing. Within a few minutes he had everything compressed into an easier to carry, and much shorter looking, pile.

"Yeah. DT says it fairly often..." Lola paused, sighing sadly as her ears drooped down. "I do hope they find him soon. Anyway, more retail therapy, since most of MY wardrobe is either in a TPCD evidence locker or burned by chili." She grinned again, ears perking up once more and her tail wiggling. "And I'm allowed to borrow you in the meantime!"

"On one hand I look forward to what 'borrow' entails. On the other I'd rather go through Army dental again." he replied. When he had got to 82nd Airborne he had been given six years of dental work in two hours time. "Since I'm stuck out here I've got no way out. No Fulton Recovery, can't call a Black Hawk for evac... So, lead on."

"Oh, don't worry, you'll enjoy it~" Lola assured him, winking as she lead on.

---

Lola led on into a store filled almost entirely with lacy scanty things with complex arrangements of straps and equally complex hangars to display them. What floorspace wasn't given to racks of lacy things was devoted to mannequins wearing said lacy things, and attendants hovering around looking helpful and full of helpful advice on sizes. As Lola walked in, they greeted her cheerfully. Lola acknowledged their greetings magnanimously, as a queen greets her subjects, before continuing on into the racks. "So, Ei." Lola gave him a predatory grin. "What do you think would look good on me?"

Ei reached up and plugged his nostrils to prevent the incoming nosebleed. This did nothing to stop the flow as he appeared to cry blood.

"Dios, porque... Por... que..."

"Parce que je suis une lapin. C;est tres bon, oui~" Lola replied, giggling softly. "But seriously, pick out something you like."

Ei pulled his fingers out, the tips stained with blood. A quick wipe with a tissue and it was gone. "Honest opinion, I think we need a montage." he said, hoping that things would fast forward. "Okay, that was a bad idea, I think... I think my brain just got the dumb and cannot process things properly right now."

Lola shrugged, and commenced with the montage anyway, As things were picked out by Ei, the attendants scurried to acquire them in Lola's size for her to try on, and to tend to Ei's blood loss. As the montage progressed, Lola had a few ordered in Shiori's size, Ei was hooked up to a drip, and the pile of outfits grew.

Ei had given his approval and disapproval to a variety of outfits, both for Lola and Shiori. Some made him wonder who got the design greenlighted in the first place and others were... beyond questionable.

Lola preened in front of the mirror, adjusting straps and ruffles and ribbons. "This is way, way, way too complicated to dance in. Some of these ribbons would be like whips on a pole."

"You'd prolly hurt someone if you spun or turned fast enough. Unless they're into that sort of thing. I'd stick to the rubber latex." Ei replied, as someone replaced his blood pack.

"I'll save it for the bedroom, then, or trim some of the accessories. Maybe alter it, like that one with all the chains."

"That one seems like it would be better suited to a GWAR concert. Not sure Shiori would go for it, either...

"Too skimpy for a gig, and too dangly. Tie the chains down and it'd be great for a theme night, though...' Lola paused as something caught her eye. "Okay, that corset number would be perfect for Shiori."

"Yes... Yes it would..." Ei agreed, blood trickling from his nose. "It's a keeper..." He already had an idea of how it would look, piecing together a model based on her measurements and what he had already felt. He could see it on the wireframe displayed on his HUD.

Lola wandered over to it, holding it up and examining it. "A few bits there, a cape off the back, and a slit there for her tail, and perfect." She grinned at the nearest attendant. "If you can get it ordered in the right size, I can make the alterations myself. Ei, your expenses WILL cover this, right?" She turned, batting her eyelashes at him as she leaned over to peer through her ears at him.

"They better. After all, some of this <IS> for the daughter of a General." Ei hadn't considered working the system, but this was a case in which he was damn well going to abuse it.

"Ah, tell them to write it off as another case of missiles, and just cut down on bombing Arabs for a while." Lola waved a hand dismissively. "Especially while my parents are still out there trying to dig stuff up before it gets blown up."

"I think drones are doing the majority of the strikes in Syria. The... Eisenhower just recently resumed flight ops in the Arabian Gulf. Yeah, it's the Eisenhower. Kind of a dangerous profession, archaeology." Most of Ei's own interaction with archaeology had been what he had seen in Indiana Jones.

"Not usually, unless you're just careless about walking across the dig site, or drop a barrow on yourself. And the only time nazis are involved are when you accidentally dig up a bomb instead of an ancient hoard, so don't think it's all airships and gunfights and hats." Lola wagged a finger at him, before wandering over to another rack nearby. "That's never going to stay together."

"I don't think that's going to last longer than it takes to unravel it." he mused, dragging his IV line with him. "Pull one ribbon and it's all over the place."

"That might be the point of it, in fact, but it'd never ravel again in a hurry..."

"Speaking of unravel, you said you wanted to take a look at my arm. My HUD is showing a few errors." he started, placing his left hand on his shoulder and rotating the limb. "I think I can feel some of it. The grinding, that is."

Lola nodded. "Later, though. I'm not doing sensitive repairs in a lingerie shop, and all my tools are at your place anyway."

"Point... So, we ready? Or are there any other stops on this day out?"

"Not this trip. If we need any parts for your arm, I need to hit up Akihabara for them. They have everything." Lola smiled sweetly, directing him to the cashier. "You pay, I'll get changed."

"Of course I will..." Ei sighed, footing the bill as he waited for Lola.

Lola emerged in the schoolgirl outfit again, hugging Ei from behind and tucking something into his pocket. "Done~ Let's go now~"

"What did you just slip my way...?" he asked, feeling his pocket. "Or is it something I should wait until we get into the car to discuss?"

Lola just giggled and led him away, tail wiggling mischeivously.

"Discuss in the car it is..." he mused, going along. He was much quicker to belt in this time.

Lola raced off, heading back to the base at the usual breakneck speed; weaving through busier traffic. "You can look at it now~"

Ei withdrew it from his pocket, taking a good look at-

"L-lola... These are... y-yours..." he stammered, looking up at the road, blood trickling from his nose and streaming back in the airflow.

Lola nodded, winking at him. "Observant, aren't you?"

"Sarcasm detected... Lola... Were... Were you..." Ei was trying to find the words, still clutching her panties. "Were you wanting to do something before... before we got back?"

"Before? No, not while I'm driving. Once we're there, and I've fixed your arm, then you can bend me over a workbench." Lola replied, smirking.

"Works for me..." he said, pocketing her panties. Ei closed his eyes and relaxed into his seat. He didn't remember falling asleep, but he did remembered Lola shaking him awake.

"You passed out!" Lola complained, poking him between shakings. "And you're too heavy to lift out the car!"

Ei undid his belt and climbed out of the car. He stretched and yawned, spasming momentarily. "Okay, I felt that one... Lola, the arm needs attention, and badly..."

"Yes, I can indeed hear it." Lola sighed, guiding him to a chair next to her workbench and sitting on his lap. "Hold still; don't squirm." She ordered, tugging his shirt off.

Ei sat as still as he could with a bunnygirl in his lap. He kept his eyes on her hands, watching her go to work. "I think I can pop it off if I need to. I think..."

"No, no, leave it on. I need feedback from it." She replied, taking up a screwdriver and a pair of needle-nose pliers and setting to work stripping the casing off his arm. "Wiggle your fingers?"

Ei did so, looking at his fingers. "Good or bad?"

Lola sucked air in through her teeth. "It's not good, I'll tell you that." She leaned in, shifting her weight as she peered into the workings of Ei's arm, tail wiggling slightly as she poked around inside it. "Ohh, I see. I see. That's connected there, the power supply is THERE, I had no idea they came that small... Aha! Lowest bidder crap, typical." Lola extracted a string of servos, linked together with frayed cabling. "It rubs."

"I'm surprised it's taken this long for my HUD to notice. I should have been getting errors a long time ago." he said, peering into his arm. It was a lot less squickly than the video titled 'This is How Your Hand Works' in which someone has somehow had the flesh on the back of their hand abraded off and they start wiggling their fingers, showing how the tendons move and oh, GOD IT'S GROSS!

"New cable, half these servos are shot, and there's a bunch of busted stuff in there. Evidently nobody thought to install surge protection or insulators. Gimme... Two hours, tops." Lola hopped out of Ei's lap, scampering off to dig through an array of trays, drawers, boxes, and stacks. "Don't move it, I removed the governors as well to give me room to work." She dug lower, skirt rising up her thighs as she rummaged, her hips swaying to and fro.

Ei sat still, watching her retrieve what she needed. He kept his gaze on her rump, looking her over.

Booty game too strong! he didn't say, fighting himself.

"You... You get a chance to look at the warmech bunker?" he asked, trying to distract himself. "I still haven't gotten a look at my machine."

"Not yet." Lola replied, bending lower. "I'm gonna go poke at them tomorrow, maybe sweet-talk the guards into letting me poke around inside them too... Aha!" She straightened up, holding aloft a box. "Found it!" She twirled, skirt flaring out, before returning to Ei's lap and digging into his arm again. "Tch, you moved!"

"I got distracted..." he admitted, looking away. "If I can get away from Shiori for long enough maybe I could deal with the guards for you. Or I could get you to Anie. She was involved in the YLM-27s modernization. Get on her good side and maybe you'd get access."

"Oh, I have ways of getting guys to do what I want~" Lola giggled.

"Eh, suit yourself."

"I'll see that Anie as well, though. I'm sure she could learn a thing or two from me~" Lola remarked, wiggling her hips as she worked, tweaking and altering things as she fixed others."

"M-maybe... C-could you not... wriggle so much... I-it's distracting..."

"But it helps me work!" Lola protested, shifting position slightly. "Besides, do you REALLY want me to stop?" She grinned up at Ei before delving back into her work on his arm. "Grab me that soldering iron, would you?"

"Not really..." he admitted, reaching for the soldering iron. "Here you go."

Lola took it, reaching back into Ei's arm to finish the job, humming softly as she worked. After a while, she poked Ei's cheek with an ear. "Wiggle your fingers, slowly and gently. I haven't reattached everything yet, so there's gonna be a lot of error messages, but I think I got it."

"I see them." he replied, trying to move his fingers. "A couple errors are in red."

"Same ones as before, or are they to do with that?" Lola pointed to the small pile of parts on the table.

"Some of them. A few I recognize from when I first... from when I lost my arm. It feels weird..." he replied. "It feels weird."

"Of course it feels wierd; I unplugged half your pain receptors." Lola rolled her eyes. "Also, do you want any mods while I'm in here? I could dial back the limiters, turn down pain responses, and so forth. Maybe I can fit a subwoofer in here if I rearrange stuff."

"Dial the limiters back, please. I'm having some difficulty keeping pace with a few of Shiori's exercises."

Lola fiddled with a few things before starting to add parts back in, adjusting and tweaking them as she did so. "If you want a custom paint job, I know a guy who's a god with an airbrush. He did all the fancy stuff on my car."

"Maybe if I get an arm with a Rocket Punch, then I'd like to paint it red. I'd be 'Punished Ei!'" He joked.

"You have too many eyes for that, and you're not old enough." Lola replied. "And we'd need to jam some shrapnel into your forehead." She clipped the last few plates on, before checking the table. Sitting there, looking innocent, was a single tiny screw. "Aw, shit."

"That can't be good..." he mused, spotting the wayward screw.

"Ah, you'll be fine. Just come to me if anything goes wrong, and I'll put it back in." Lola assured him, shifting in his lap to straddle him, placing her hands on his chest as she grinned up at him wickedly.. "So, how about you do something for me, hmmm?"

Ei sighed, testing his arm out. All indicators were green. "What would you ask of me?"

Lola's answer was a very distracting wriggle in his lap.

Ei responded by wrapping his arms around her, closing his eyes and gently butting his head against hers.

Lola gave a soft purr, one hand reaching down between the two of them. "Let's see if they've had anything else augmented..."

---

"Maybe I should turn those limiters back up a little." Lola commented from where she was lying on her workbench. "I'm gonna be feeling that for a couple of days..."

"I was kinda overeager... I should have held back." Ei replied, sitting on the far side of the room and smoking a cigarette. "Hey, at least I'll be ready for Shiori!"

"I wasn't complaining." Lola shot back, giggling softly.

Ei stubbed the cigarette out on the concrete then made his way toward her. "I do hope you had fun." he said, taking her hand. "I can't thank you enough. For today, the arm, just now..."

Lola smiled up at him lazily. "Just now was more a favour for me; it's been a while, and my boyfriend's missing." She sighed softly, stretching. "Although if you want to do it again, I won't say no~"

"You sure? I'm worried I might break you in half. Then I'd have to explain why part of you is here, another part is there." he joked, leaning in and giving her a kiss. "I don't want to have to explain that to your boyfriend."

Lola returned the kiss, leaning into him. "I'm tougher than I look, trust me. Just... Somewhere softer, this time?"

"Left handed it is, then."

"A bed, not this workbench!" Lola clarified, poking him.

"Oh. Ohhhhhh... Right... You got one here?" he asked, feeling a little dumb.

Lola pointed. "Through there. I got one set up so I could take a break on longer jobs."

"Makes sense." he said, picking her up from the workbench. "Anie had a similar set up at Hood. I don't know how she did it but she convinced the motor pool guys that an M-113 in our hangar was derelict and was being sent to SDI for one reason or other. It's probably still there."

"I had an old Caddy for it back at the OCSB, but it's probably evidence now. I'll probably have to get the Largoists to steal it back, and then get their bootprints off the leather. Here, I just scrounged up a couple of beds and made eyes at grunts so they'd carry the lot in here."

"Can I beat the hell out of one? Just because I've had this strange need to bludgeon someone and I'd rather not get on this group's bad side."

"Go find a pro-human thug downtown. Don't hit people that like me, or I'll have nobody but you and Shiori to carry stuff for me, and I'm not even meant to be here anyway."

"A lot of pro-humans have such punchable faces. I wonder what kind of spatter I'll make if I hit one with my prosthesis?" he mused, setting her on the bed.

Lola stretched out, tugging him down with her. "Put that tongue to a better use, why don't you?"

---

Lola sat back down on the edge of the bed, sipping a cappucino and watching Ei sleep. "I think I broke him."

Ei slept soundly, stirring from time to time. There was a moment where he tensed up but relaxed almost as quickly.

"Yeah, next time I get you for a day, you're getting a massage." Lola mused, trying to resist the urge to doodle on him.

---

Lola giggled softly as she tapped out a message on her phone. "I'm sorry, Shiori. I couldn't resist." She sent, along with a selfie of her with a sleeping, doodled-on Eikeichi with a big satisfied grin on his face. That done, she set about hiding the marker and making herself scarce. This lasted about as far as the garage, where she happened upon a scene being made. "GET OFF THAT! I'VE TOLD YOU OVER AND OVER NOT TO DO THAT! BAD JEEP! DOWN! SIT!"

The Jeep in question slunk away from Lola's car, giving a soft whine from the supercharger it had acquired somehow, and leaving a trail of milky-white oil behind it.

"SIT! STAY!"

The Jeep reversed over to where Lola was pointing and settled down on it's suspension.

"Now, roll over!" Lola gestured, her other hand on her hip.

The Jeep obliged, rolling over with a crunch as it demolished a small and very dented hatchback, waving it's wheels in the air.

Lola stepped over to give the Jeep scritches on it's sump, causing it to rev it's engine in appreciation. "Good Jeep. Goooood. You can't stay here, though. This is a military base."

The Jeep whined again, flapping it's tailgate.

"Okay, just for tonight, and stay AWAY from my Corsair, okay? I'll find you a garage to stay in tomorrow. Somewhere you can't cause any... Well, much trouble."

---

Ei woke up feeling better than he had in weeks, especially his arm. All indicators were green. It took him a moment to remember where he was.

That's right, I'm in Lola's garage. he thought, looking for some clothes. Failing that he grabbed the bedsheet and wrapped it around his waist as a stopgap.

"Lola, where did we put the clothes we bought?" he called out, stepping out into the workshop.

"Check the back of my car; that's where the hammerspace goes." Lola replied from another room, still busy trying to bed the Jeep in.

Ei went around to the boot, unaware of the ink on his face.

The boot was a fairly small space, packed with seemingly endless amounts of tools, bags, collapsible plastic crates sealed with tape,and the like. The pile of clothes was in one corner a few feet down, neatly stacked and still in the bags.

Ei reached in, letting go of the sheet around his waist. If it fell, it fell. Lola had already seen him any way.

"Found it!" he called out, pulling items out. "Out of curiousity, just how do you find anything in here?"

"I know where I put things." Lola replied, with a giggle.

Well that makes sense for her... he thought, closing the trunk then regarding the clothes. "Hey, you wouldn't happen to be able to contact Shiori? Maybe find out when she'll be back so we can surprise her?"

"I have her number; I could text her, but she might not be able to answer. Knowing that place, her phone's probably in a locker switched off." Lola replied from the other room. There was a pause before she wandered out, unzipping her oil-smeared overalls to reveal lacy black lingerie beneath.

"That's tru-" Ei paused as he saw her. "I thought we were over this..."

"I never said you were finished." Lola replied, smirking. "But I should probably leave you some energy for Shiori." She winked, continuing past him to the fridge to retrieve a b33r. "Want one?"

"Ooh, what about the liquor you found? I want to try it!" Ei asked, looking up from a pair of slacks that he was contemplating.

Lola held it up for him, a tumbler over the top. "Be my guest, just don't drink it all at once. It's kinda strong."

Ei took the glass and gave it a quick sip. "It's good. Nice taste, smooth, there's the alcohol... I do miss Patron, though." He said before settting the tumbler aside and pulling a pair of khaki slacks on.

Lola settled into his lap once he'd finished putting them on and she'd shed the oily overalls, sipping at her b33r. "A bar?"

"No, the tequila. Abuelo always kept a bottle or two stashed away." He clarified. "As for bars, I miss The Round Up."

"Help me get it running again, and you can hang out at my club." Lola offered. "I mean, it'll be more populated, but once I find the chef again we'll have the best chicken wings in the city." She leaned into Ei, resting her head against his shoulder. "And I'd have to buy all that booze again, or at least steal it back off the TPCD."

"Black bag operation, maybe? Think I know someone who could pull it off. Once I no longer have to play dead, of course."

"Maybe. They'll probably be cheaper than Largoists, and more gentle with my stuff." Lola replied thoughtfully. "Although given you're US military, you might end up bombing your own people into the bargain, or abducting people for interrogation on a ship somewhere."

"Mayhaps... I'd have to get the Major's assurance that he won't use extraordinary rendition to find out what he needs." Ei paused, giving it a moment of thought. "On the other hand I've never heard a 'pig' squeal before."

Lola facepalmed. "No police brutality, especially against the police. If they find out it's connected to me, they'll arrest and brutalise ME."

"Even with the Major being CIA?" Ei asked, trying the puppy eyes again. Yet again his eyebrows looked like they were trying to escape.

Lola reached up to poke his nose. "You don't have the ears to get away with the puppy eyes. Just get in, get what little of my booze they haven't drunk yet, and get out. If I wanted a massacre, I'd hire Largoists."

"I'll be sure to pass that along. Sarn't Arcturus would definitely be up for it. Hell, he may become a patron of the new place if it goes off without a hitch."

"Sure, so long as he behaves himself and doesn't get too creepy around the girls." Lola replied, smiling. "Military types always discourage trouble. It's like having the police around, only without having to pay bribes to avoid them arresting half the staff.

"I would say he's married but they apparently have an open arrangement. Despite that he loves his wife and their two children quite dearly. I'm just not sure how, I mean... Sarn't Arcturus is a downright asshole." he said, taking another sip of his drink.

Lola shrugged. "Some people are just assholes. It's a fact of life." She sipped at her b33r again, sighing. "Tomorrow. I'm going to get my damn club back, an it starts tomorrow." She raised her bottle skywards, giggling lightly. "Tomorrow!~"

"Tomorrow!" Ei paused for a moment before breaking out into song. "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll love you, tomorrow!"

Lola bonked him on the head with her bottle. "You're worse than the house band! How is that even possible?"

"Genetics."

"Ugh." She commented, leaning into him as she took another swig of b33r.

---

Summary
-Ei has a nightmare concerning a certain polearm weilding psychopath.
-Shiori wakes Ei from the dream.
-Or does she...
-Lucid dreaming, skipping all over the place.
-Ei finally wakes up, for real this time, then tries to go back to sleep.

-Lola, first to rise, wakes a sleepy leopardgirl in the best way possible.
-Ei was screaming in his sleep, again. Seems to be common nowadays.
-Chitchat about clubs, strippers, and Shiori.
-A proposal is made: Lola gets to "borrow" Ei and Shiori gets a spa day. It's a deal.

-Ei, finally asleep, is rudely awakened. Not really.
-Lola gave up a spa day. Ei rolls over for more sleep.
-JUDO TOSS!
-Ei was already airborne. He's even more airborne now.
-Ei goes with the proposal, even if he thinks it's a trap. Maybe.
-Lola asks for no screaming. Ei promises.

-Ei's promise for not screaming is broken.
-In his defense she did drive into oncoming traffic.
-Discussion during Lola's daredevil driving.
-First stop: a burned out husk of a bar.
-Protip: parking meters in rampage zones, when destroyed, allow for free parking. When destroyed.
-The place is presently Ashpunk. Because that's pretty much what's left.
-Bring in Mexicans or Filipinos? Kemonomimi would be easier.
-Lots of Mexicans in the Middle East. Most of them American, actually.
-Lots of structurally unsound beams.
-And a hidden bottle of raspberry liquer.

-Bank run. Ei takes it the wrong way.
-Lola has a shipping container full of stuff.
-A booby trapped shipping container full of stuff.
-While reaching for a box for Lola Ei gets bear trapped.
-And arrowed. Lost of arrows.
-Ei was almost killed reaching for...
-...PIKACHU DILDOS!!!
-Additional toys found, including some special interest toys.
-On to the next stop.

-Ei's beard and hair need to be trimmed. Badly.
-The stylist gets close. Very close.
-Ei's new facial hair: chinstrap beard.
-And now, happy ending!
-Not really, just a big sales pitch for hair care products.
-And now, the happy ending...
-Or not, no time for it now. Maybe later.

-Next stop: men's fashion!
-A mountain of clothes becomes a molehill as decisions are made.
-And Ei apparently has an expense account.
-New shirt, US$65. BGM-109 Tomahawk, US$1,000,000. New slacks, US$45. JDAM Precision Guided Bomb, $US56,000. Clothes take precedent over guided munitions.
-And now for Lola's wardrobe.
-MONTAGE!!!
-Ei has to be hooked up to an IV drip for blood loss.
-Decisions made and payment rendered.
-Lola leaves something in Ei's pocket on the way out.

-Ei takes a look at the object in the car.
-Cue another nose bleed.
-Ei asks an important question.
-The answer is yes.
-After maintenance.

-Lola takes a look at Ei's arm.
-While sitting in his lap.
-Parts removed and replaced. Bits and pieces tinkered with.
-Ei asks her to stop wriggling. She asks if he really wants her to stop. He doesn't.
-Reassembly.
-There's always ONE little screw left out.
-Cue Marvin Gaye. Or was it George Michael...
-In hindsight, Lola may need to dial the limiters back down.
-Ei apologizes for being overeager. Then asks for another go.
-Lola has a bed for sleep. And also for other forms of horizontal comfort.
-More "horizontal comfort."

-Ei is sleeping.
-Lola has a Sharpie.
-Evil bunnygirl is evil.

-Suddenly, a wild Dire Jeep appears!
-A naughty Jeep at that.
-Lola lets it stay, for the night.

-Ei wakes, unaware of what Lola did with the Sharpie.
-Time to unpack the car.
-Lola offers b33r. Ei opts for the liquor they found.
-Discussion about Lola's impounded booze.
-Blackbag operation, maybe?
-Army or CIA? Just no police brutality on police.
-Military might like the new place.
-Tomorrow the ball gets rolling!
-And Ei can't carry a tune. At all.

Shorter Summary
-Nightmare
-Lola has a Proposition for Shiori
-Borrowing Ei for a Day
-Ei is at Lola's Mercy
-Checking out a bar
-Bank run
-Unconventional bank run
-Haircut and beard trim for Ei
-Clothes shopping for Ei then Lola
-"Horizontal Comfort"
-Dire Jeep
-End
Image
<<

Saeriva

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Posts: 13

Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:52 pm

Location: In a mitten

Post Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:53 pm

Re: The Storm Is Set To Rise

Airborne! All the Way!
Location and Time: CMGY Academy
Timestamp: A few days after Shiori's injuries.
Character(s): Lucius, Madoka, Arella, Katrina, various magical girls.
Author(s): Skorpy, Saeriva, Elle, Oblivion


Lucius ran, dodging magical girls and discarded sports equipment. A hockey stick caught between his legs at the last minute, sending him sprawling across the ground. He looked up just in time for his target to land on him, knocking the air out of him.

"Domo arigatou, Lucius-sensei~" Tomoe chirped, petting the headteacher's ears before standing up and walking back to where Sharky waited.

'... Ow.' Lucius decided, lying where he'd been pounded into the grassy field by the impact. 'I'm sure the wee lassies are gettin' heavier. Maybe tha' holo-Shiori isnae workin' em hard enough...'

---

“Hey, 'Rella,” Lucius said as the aforementioned not-magical girl picked up the phone. “I ken we hae a wee problem wi' the lassies”

"Did something happen?" the immediately concerned Arella had to know. "Is everybody okay?"

“Aye, the lassies are okay. They're jus' gettin' a wee bit heavier'n usual”' Lucius continued. “I noticed myself when Tomoe landed on me after an accident durin' a hockey match. I donnae think the holo-Shiori is cuttin' it fer the exercise.”

"You are not calling the girls fat," Arella scolded, thoroughly insulted on their behalf.

"They're nae fat, jus' heavier'n normal. I donnae where they're keepin' the weight,” Lucius backpedaled. “I'm thinkin' o gettin' Madoka-chan tae take over gym classes tae make 'em burn off more sugar.”

The not-a-magical girl pondered the idea for a moment or two, before deciding. "That could be good experience for her." Especially since the girls would pretty much be required to give the student-teacher a hard time. "Be sure to ask her about it first, though - don't just drop it on her. She does still have her own classes to worry about, after all, and taking over a class is hardly the same as helping out with one." Arella was still rather worried about Madoka being scared off.

“Aye, I'll try tae warn her about it firs'.” Lucius assured the totally-not-a-magical girl. “When we're nae busy catchin' fallin' students... There's another one.” Lucius trailed off, dropping the phone on the desk as a scream dropped past his window.

A brief rescue later, Lucius picked the phone up again. “Maybe Devin can make us a robot tae catch the lassies wi'.”

Arella tried really, really hard not to laugh, and mostly succeeded. Mostly. "You can always ask him."

“I may as well ask Skorp tae set up an anti-aircraft gun wi' nets instead fer all the good tha'll dae.” Lucius grumbled. “Maybe ye can suggest it tae him when ye get back tae work?”

"I'll try," a grinning Arella promised, though she wasn't sure how much good it would do. Dev really did tend to do as he pleased. Was that Whisp rubbing off on him, or had he always been like that? It was hard to tell sometimes…

“Thank ye’.” Lucius replied, smiling. “Now, ye get back tae recoverin', I need tae figure out how the lassies're gettin' up there.”

---

<NEXT!>" Katrina yelled over the line of magical girls on the roof top; there was a surprising turnout, considering it was break time.

A freckled redhead stepped up, looking around nervously. "<We're awful high up here,>” she said. “<Is this safe?>"

"<Well, look at it this way,>" the dhampir began to explain;" <When Lucius-sensei threw you girls from the high dive, just over a quarter of you learned to fly before hitting the water. We are 125% higher than that, now. So, mathematically speaking, there should be a 125% increase in learning to fly, meaning 150% of you will learn to fly.>" Math was certainly not her strong suit.

"Ano..." The girl's eyebrows knitted together cutely. "<What about the extra 50 percent? That's not how that— wAAAAAH!>" She was cut short, as she was bodily tossed from the roof, arms flailing as she fell. She didn't impact the ground, instead slowing to a halt inches above it. This precarious state didn't last, however, as the next girl plummeted down after her and flattened her into the soft earth of the flowerbed.

"<Owwie...>"

"<See? No crater that time,>" Katrina stated happily. "<NEXT!>"

Cathal was next, looking very skeptical indeed of Katrina's methods. "Yer sure this'll help me fly, yeah?"

"My math is flawless," Katrina answered as she flung her step-grandson off the roof. Wait, they were related right? She would have to ask Luc about that later.

Cathal let out a complaint about her calculations as he was catapulted over the edge, flailing. He was rescued a short distance from the floor by Kawasaki, streaking along at floor height.

Katrina looked down. "<If you keep catching him, he won't learn anything!>"

"<He'll learn not to trust you!>" Kawasaki deposited Cathal in another soft flowerbed before trying to land. She ended up cartwheeling across a bed of shrubbery and into an ornamental pond. Nearby, a thing that went clonk went clonk. (Shishi-odoshi. You're talking about a shishi-odoshi, sometimes called a scaredear. Google is just a tab away, guys).

"<And getting dumped in a rose bush is better?>" Katrina laughed, and turned to the rest of the gathered students, "<NEXT!>"

Before anyone else could step up and become the next victim of gravity (and Kat), a horrified shriek stopped the line sharp. At the rooftop entrance, hazelnut curls fluttering across flushed cheeks, Amagawa Madoka had one hand on the door and one hand balled into a fist. Her eyes were wide, mouth shocked open, fluctuating somewhere between disgust and distress.

“<W-what on earth is going on up here?>”

Katrina paused mid throw, holding a less than enthusiastic magical girl by her collar and the hem of her skirt. "<Flying lessons,>" she said. The magical girl in Katrina's hands squirmed and kicked in attempt to get loose and, at the same time, cover her panties. "<Why?>"

Madoka stood by the door in silence, blinking slowly, so utterly taken aback that it was all she could do but echo in disbelief."<F... Flying lessons? Flying lessons?>" she repeated, growing louder and more hysteric each time she said it. "<This is what you call 'flying lessons"?! Throwing children from the top of a building?!>"

"<Yes,>" Katrina replied, as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

"<What if one of them had gotten hurt?>" Madoka snapped. "<What would you have said to their parents? These are students, not paper airplanes!>"

"<We do have a nurse's office,>" Katrina pointed out, "<Besides, I did the math. There's a 150% success rate.>"

“<That is not what I asked you!>” a split second later, she added; “<And that’s not how statistics work!>” Madoka directed the students to the access door a harsh, whip-crack motion of her arm. “<Rooftop access is prohibited during school hours,>” she snapped. “<All of you, return to your homerooms.>”

"<Auww... But I was just gonna get my turn!>" One of the girls complained.

"Narc!" Another exclaimed.

The queue turned to slog back down the stairs amid a chorus of protests and groans. Madoka held her position as stoic and impartial as statue though it until the last head cleared the landing. Before turning to follow the students, Madoka bolted both hands to her hips. She didn’t say anything, but look she gave Kat was affronted, offended, maybe even maternally disappointed. Without a word, she pivoted on her heel. The roof-top door clanged shut behind her like a ruler to the back of a misbehaving hand.

---

Madoka made a straight line for the headmaster’s office. Or at least as straight a line as she could, dodging housekeeping spiders and sparks along the way. She rapped her knuckles against Lucious’ door in high-strung staccato. Instead of letting her arm drop to her side, she crossed her arms over her chest. She taped her foot at the door as she waited.

A few minutes later, Lucius opened the door. The window on the wall behind him was still wide open. “Aye, lassie? Wha's the problem? Did ye find why the girls're fallin' off the roof?''

Madoka heaved a long, bracing breath. "They are not falling, Mr. Ogilvy. They are being pushed. The janitor is taking students to the roof and then throwing them off the edge."

“I am nae...” Lucius started to reply, before thinking. “Oh, ye mean Kat? Tha's nae like her tae go throwin' cute girls off roofs. It's usually bad guys an' random scunners she does tha' tae.” He paused, brain starting to grind into action. “Oh, is she tryin' tae get them tae fly? Tha's nae the place fer tha', an' nae the time fer it either.”

“She did call them ‘flying lessons’, yes,” Madoka grumbled. “Calling them lessons, however, does not make them lessons.”

“Aye,” Lucius nodded, “I'll tell her tae knock it off fer ye, lass. Nae injuries? She didnae try tae nibble on ye?”

“Oh,” she blinked, “no sir, I’m fine. And none of students were harmed, either. One did nearly hit the ground, but Kawasaki-kun managed to catch him before he was hurt.”

“Him? Tha' wasnae Cathal, was it? 'Wee laddie's nae gonna be able tae fly fer a while yet.”

Madoka nodded. “Yes. It was Cathal. I arrived a bit late to get a good look, but his voice was distinctive.”

'Gottae teach him tae speak properly, tae.' Lucius mused. 'But if the girls hae desire fer drastic flyin' lessons, it's time tae take o'er the divin' pool again.' He grinned, pointy catboy teeth catching the light with an almost audible 'ting', accompanied by a few sparkles. Madoka had to hold up a hand to shield her eyes from the light.

“The… diving pool?”

Lucius' grin widened. “Good. I'll schedule i fer next week, an' ye can help out wi' the pushin'. Got tae take 'em by surprise, though; powers donnae kick in if'n ye know ye're gonnae fall.” Lucius explained, nodding sagely like he knew that from experience.”'Nae pointy rocks a' the bottom tae land on, either”

The relief in Madoka's face drained abruptly.

"P-pushing?" She asked. "You want me to push them?" Several empty seconds ticked by, where the glint off the pretty-boy headmaster's grin was nearly audible. Madoka dropped her eyes to her perfectly manicured nails. "Well," she sighed, just under her breath, "an airbag in the school pool is a more agreeable alternative than a 10 meter drop to solid ground..." She sighed, accepting, and bowed shallowly in acknowledgement.

Lucius nodded, reaching out to pat her gently on the head. 'I'll be catchin' any o' the wee lassies tha' miss the pool or head fer the walls. They'll be safe.”


---Summary---

- Where are all these magical girls raining down from?
- Oh, it’s Kat. Literally pushing students off a 30 story building. Cool.
- Wait, no. No, actually, that’s not cool at all. That’s dangerous!
- Enter Madoka to put her foot down about it.
- Like the goody-two-shoes that she is, Madoka immediately snitches to Lucius.
- Lucius settles on a nice middle ground that makes both sides happy: students will still get pushed off of tall things, but at least there will be adult supervision and safety measures in place from now on!
<<

ArsenalXA4

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Posts: 61

Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:09 pm

Post Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:47 am

Re: The Storm Is Set To Rise

Remanufacture
Location: Yokota Air Base, Atsugi Air Base, [DATA EXPUNGED]
Timestamp: Some time after Fallout.
Authors: Arsenal, hyuuint, O-Ring
Characters: 28th Armored Infantry, Task Force Toolshed, Colonel Segovia, Ei, Dr. Burke, Emmit Nervend

---

"Major, got a moment?" Hayden asked, poking his head into Jenks' ad hoc office. The Major looked up from his laptop, a partially transformed Transformer in hand. There was a Youtube video on the screen of someone transforming that particular toy.

"Sarn't, there is such a thing as knocking." the Major said, setting the toy aside.

"Not sure you'd have heard me." Hayden said, entering the office. "That aside, I gave thought to what you said."

"About advancement?"

"Yessir. There is no way in hell I'll make First Sergeant or Master Sergeant, for that matter." Jenks furrowed his brow at that.

"I'm sorry to hear that. I'd hate to lose you, quirks aside."

"That's why I'm taking a third option, sir." Hayden said. Jenks didn't get it at first but when he did-

"Oh, hell no..."

"Already sent my OCS package in. Unlike my grand pappy I'll get it the old fashioned way." Hayden mused. His grandfather had recieved a battlefield commission after Omaha Beach.

"Since there isn't anything I could possibly do to stop it, good luck..." Jenks said, displeasure in his voice. Hayden gave off one of his signature shit eating grins.

"I'm gonna miss this unit. In fact..."

"No..."

"C'mon, I don't wanna have to break in a new platoon. I've come to love this bunch of assholes and degenerates." the sniper said, referring to the platoon as a whole. "Besides, would you wish me upon a bunch of greenhorns who's only experience with soldiering is in Call of Duty?"

"Point taken. I'll see what I can do. In the mean time, do not do anything to ruin your chances. You're a good soldier, in spite of your quirks and eccentricities." Jenks had to admit.

"No promises." Jenks gave Hayden a death glare. "Okay, okay, I'll swear on my mother's grave."

"Isn't your mother still alive?"

"Fine, my grandmother's grave. Oh, you missed a step." Hayden said, setting the toy on the desk. Hayden had fully transformed it. "There's a tab you have to open in the legs to fold them up..."

"I hate you sometimes, you know that?" Jenks said, picking the Transformer up.

"Love you too, sir." Hayden mused as he walked away from the Major's office, looking up at the platoon Lancers. Convoy was still in self imposed exile. Technicians were inspecting shoulder weapons and installing Active Protection Systems to the hulls. Two of their machines, Pash's Carnotaurus and Pyle's Ceratosaurus were being brought up to new MECHALT standards. Actuators were set to be replaced, new servomotors, software upgrades, new circuit cards for the Fire Control Sytem and Weapons Control Systems, etc. Hayden donned his maroon beret as he exited the hangar, hopping into one of the platoon's Humm Vees and driving to the barracks. He passed by the smoke pit, rendering a salute to Lieutenant Crowley as he entered the barracks. He had to find Sergeant Durant, if only because he had remembered something.

"Hey, Sarn't, remember our dead pool?" Hayden asked, finding Durant in the lounge watching Pash and Vasquez play Halo 3.

"Yeah, I remember- Oh, hell the fuck no, I ain't doin' this." Durant said, shaking his head as Hayden took his wallet out. Hayden had bet that Durant would die before Captain Ramirez-Kisaragi. Durant bet the opposite.

"I'm a man who pays his debts." Hayden said, taking a roll of Andrew Jacksons out and handing them over. "Here's half a grand, my part of the bet."

"That's only five hundred." Durant said, reluctantly taking the roll.

"Yeah, but most people hear 'grand' and they think big money."

"I see what you did. That's how you get people, huh?"

"Only partially. The rest is staying a step ahead of the guy across the table." Hayden explained, putting his wallet back. "Speaking of which, don't get too attached to that wad."

"What, you wanna bet someone else is gonna die? I'm not doin' it, man. No way. I just got over us losin' the Captain, not to mention Kurosawa, Switalski, Sharde, and Doe." Durant protested.

"I'm not making another dead pool. There's a Texas Hold 'Em tournament at the NCO club tonight..."

"No."

"I already signed you up." Durant buried his face in his hands and groaned.

"You're a real motherfucker, you know that?" he said as Hayden produced a ten of spades and tossed it at the Bradley crewman.

"Oh, I know it. I know it and I love it."

---

"Target, two four six, range four hundred meters. T-80, command track." [Claw]Hammerhead shouted to Carbine as he engaged a pair of similar main battle tanks, firing a GAR-65A3 at them. He'd expended all three of his underbarrel LOSAT Missiles and had one Hellfire remaining, not because he was saving it but because a fault in the rocket motor prevented it from leaving the launcher. "Knock it out, now!"

"Understood." Carbine acknowledged, firing an anti-tank missle from one of his shoulder mounts to slam into the designated tank and cause it to erupt into fire and shrapnel. "Target destroyed."

"[Claw], Carbine, fall back to defense line Charlie. 11th ACR is gonna pound that entire ridgeline with artillery." Wilks called out from the operations center.

"We just got here, what gives?" [Claw] demanded.

"There's two Category C units behind that A unit you've been fightin'. Fall back for resupply."

"You heard him, Carbine. Let's go."

Carbine laid down suppressing fire as the two fell back. "This mound of scrap I inhabit is unwieldly." He had to comment, he wasn't designed to be a tank with legs after all.

"Ask the techs to check your algorithms. Warhead has the same problem. He was a biped before they switched him over to a tetrapod." [Claw] replied. "He's still a genocidal psychopath, though. If Geneva found out about him then they'd have an autistic shitfit."

"Maybe. If only I could see my manufacturer. Perhaps then a new body would be viable." Carbine thought aloud.

"That husk? I saw it when they brought it in, It's-"

"Cease operations, say again, cease operations." Colonel Segovia called out over the radio. "End simulation. Carbine, I need to have few words with you."

"I hope you do not intend to call me to your office, for in my present state I fear I could not fit." Carbine said with the sarcasm he'd picked up from the maintainers.

"My office is wherever I'm working, including the hangar you are presently in." she said, the German countryside disappearing around them, replaced with the utilitarian hangar in Atsugi Air Base. The Hammerheads were lined up, computers and equipment hooked up to the AI controlled weapons. "I need you to follow me, Carbine. Something you should see."

"Lead the way." Carbine stated as he approached the woman to follow along. "What is it you will be showing me?"

"When Warrant Officer Simms left with the YLM-27 she left behind several journals with notes and sketches, as well as several memory sticks with gun camera footage and blurry stills of a mechanical canine." the Colonel said, leading Carbine out of the hangar and into the one next to it. "I pored over the data, as well as a peculiar husk that came with that body you're in when you were transferred from 28th Armored Infantry to SDI."

"Does any of it sound familiar?"

"Was that not after the gunship damaged my origional body whilst I was attempting to flee?" Carbine asked.

The Colonel nodded, stopping as they approached something under a tarp. There were mechanical spiders crawling all over and around it, one of which appeared to be painted with a flame pattern on it's hull. "I was about to have it sent back to Fort Irwin for study when an... acquaintance sent me this Spider Force." she said, the fire spider approaching her and rendering an equivalent of a salute. "Lucifee, unveil the husk." Lucifee chittered a cackling affirmative, and turned to bark orders at the other spiders. They pulled the tarp away, reavealing Carbine's original body, rebuilt from...

From what?

---

"<WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO MY JET!?>" an ASDF pilot demanded, staring at what used to be an F-15J fighter. It had been stripped of armor plating, engine components, computer systems, hardpoints, even landing gear, the husk resting on cinder blocks.

"<It was the strangest thing.>" the crew chief started. "<These little spider bot things came in, stripped it down, then left. One of them kept laughing the whole time.>"

"<WHAT?!?"

---

"What do you think, Carbine?" the Colonel asked, turning to face the AI.

"Does it work?" Carbine asked, kneeling beside his rebuilt body.

"I've witnessed a few mobility tests. It has the same, if not greater dexterity as I saw in the file footage." she replied. "We kept the old weapons, although they brought an M-61A1 Vulcan cannon. I surmise they stripped some poor fighter jock's plane to get parts."

"When can I be transferred?" He then asked, eagerness apparent even through his synthesized voice.

"Two hours. Regretfully it means I won't have any use for you." she started. "On the positive, however, I have found someone who can use you."

"You're breaking up with me?" Carbine joked with a hint of snark. "Who will I be working under?"

"28th Armored Infantry recently suffered personnel losses. I believe you'll be a sufficient Force Multiplier." the Colonel replied.

"And people call me a robot. Will I be going alone, or will I be granted a new leash slash tag along."

"I believe he already knows you." she said, watching a Stryker ICV drive onto the flight line then up to the hangar. The rear door opened and a soldier in Multicam and body armor climbed down.

"Oh, fuck no, not you!" Agent MacIntyre said as he looked at Carbine. Gunny Rockwell was right behind him.

"I never did have a dog growin' up. Coyote, yeah, but never a dog."

"Well. This is ironic. When I first got here you threatened to strip me for parts, but now some of your Air Force's parts have been stripped for me." Carbine said with a synthesized laugh. "Delightful, isn't it?"

"Rockwell, please tell me there's a SMAW in the track..."

"Left it at home. Besides, last guy I shot at with it threw it back at us, remember?" Mac rubbed his temples, letting his M-4 hang by its sling.

"Don't remind me... Let's just get this mutt in the track and get back to base..."

"Gasp. A mutt, me? Why I assure you, sir. I am onehundred percent purebred robot." Carbine mocked, placing a hand to his chest in mock offense. "I'm offended!" He finished, joking about being offended being another thing he picked up from the maintainers.

"I hate this... I fucking hate this..." Mac swore, crawling back into the Stryker. "WAKE ME WHEN HE'S BACK IN THE DOG!!!"

"Yeah, Mac really likes you..." Rockwell said to Carbine.

"I like him too." Carbine said with a smile in his synthesized voice. "How is Ei, by the way? I've heard a few... Unpleasent rumours."

"Yeah, Cap's dead. Not gonna beat around the bush, just gonna cut to the chase." Rockwell replied. "We lost Kurosawa, Sharde, Switalski, and Doe, too. I don't think you knew Doe, though."

"I see. Such an unfortunate loss of human life... I do not know what a machine's condolences mean to you, but I offer them regardless."

"I'll take what I can get, bud." Rockwell replied.

"Colonel, we'll be ready for AI transfer." a technician said.

"You heard him, Carbine. Power down and we'll handle the rest." the Colonel said, turning away.

"Very well. I will put myself into your care once more." Carbine said before doing as instructed and powering down.

---

Burke sat at his computer, adding notes to an already large file he'd been compiling over the years. It ran slightly counter to SDI procedure which required all data pertaining to No Ordinary Man to be written up on a typewriter. All the same, the laptop he was using was an older model that lacked wifi and required an external modem. An older model good for nothing but word processing and minesweeper. Especially minesweeper.

Battleshort, Night Optical Device, Thermal Imager, and stealth system installed. Waiting on the General to get the suit the stealth was made for from Aberdeen Proving Ground. he typed, cigarette dangling from his lips. He took drags on it from time to time, pulling it from his lips to tap ashes out into a spent 40mm grenade casing.

I've been watching the Major's training and sparring matches with Shiori. He's coming up on his own but he's holding back too much. He's had multiple opportunities to bring that pile bunker to bear on lethal shots but each time he hesitates. I almost want to see if someone else among the Cabal's already existing combatants would want to step into the pit with him. he typed. Burke paused to light a new cigarette, stubbing the old one out in a full-to-the-brim ash tray. His machine is coming along a lot quicker than he is. Being a machine kind of helps. After all, it's easier to replace damaged or missing parts on a Lancer than it is a human, NOM Land Warrior or otherwise. Burke paused, staring at the screen for a moment before continuing.

On a personal note, the Major has been engaging in some rather risky behavior. During time on the firing range he hopped the bench while others were firing at targets down range, shooting at his target as he approached it. The Rangemaster called for a cease fire multiple times, Ei stopping only when he was right at his target, two empty mags and a lot of spent brass in his wake. He's barred from the range for the next week. Additionally during a sparing match with Shiori he declined to block a left hook. I'm guessing the only thing that kept his spine intact was the computer attached to it. Shiori was beside herself thinking she had killed him, which is very understandable. We didn't armor our Land Warriors because we had wanted them to be as light as an average infantryman. Burke paused to rise and stretch, popping his joints here and there before sitting back down and continuing to type. He's about eighty percent at this time. Healing up pretty nicely but I can't help but feel like he was trying to commit suicide. I'm not about to ask him, though. He might just turn that spike in his arm on me. Burke saved the document then stubbed his cigarette out. He closed the laptop and stepped away from his desk, walking out into the hallway to light another cigarette.

I need a drink. I wonder if they'd let me go to Phuket for some R&R... he thought as he sauntered down the hall.

---

"I hate you so much, you know that...?" Durant said as he and Hayden walked away from the NCO club. Hayden was counting his winnings, depositing them into his wallet.

"First rule when dealing with the Devil: don't deal." Hayden said as he pocketed his wallet. Not only had he won his half a grand back, but he also won a couple hundred from airmen and soldiers stationed on the air base. He had even made it look like a dealer was cheating, when in fact the opposite was true.

"You are a real sneaky son of a bitch, you know that..."

"Yeah. The kids love it, actually." Hayden mused, flicking his wrist and producing a royal flush.

"Gotta admit, though, I am damn glad you're on our side." Durant mused, bringing his fist up to Hayden. The sniper returned the fist bump, flicking his wrist again to stow the cards wherever the hell it was he put them. The hell of it was he had taken his Multicam jacket off, displaying his dogtags over his crew neck t-shirt. Durant had given up on trying to figure out where Hayden stored the spare cards, knives, whatever he produced whenever he flicked his wrists. He had seen the sniper wow his children with what most would consider parlour tricks. He'd also seen him produce an M-16 mag the same way during a live fire exercise and toss it over to Guerra when they were short a few boxes of ammo, per a training scenario.

"I get that a lot." Hayden replied as they approached the barracks. Rostok and Petro were on the smoke pit, the two men holding a discussion in Russian. Both were squatting as they smoked. "Looks like the Gopniks are out in force."

"The what?"

"Gopniks. It's a pejorative used as a social slur in Post-Soviet Russia." Hayden explained. "It's used to describe aggressive, lower-class males. Some people take the label and own it. Rostok already owns the 'gondonka' aspect of the fashion side. The knitcap, I mean." Rostok and Petro looked up at Hayden and Durant as the two joined them on the smoke pit, nodding their way then resuming their discussion. Durant lit up a Pall Mall, Hayden opting for a Marlboro.

"That's a shock. Are you out of cigars?" Durant asked as Hayden put his Airborne lighter away.

"Haven't had a reason to smoke a cigar." he replied. "Not since 'the incident.'" Rostok, Petro, and Durant nodded in agreement as the platoon's Stryker pulled to a stop nearby. The rear door opened and Mac, Rockwell, and a familiar looking mechanical canine dismounted.

"Carbine? Is that you?" Hayden asked, peering at the automaton.

"In the metal, and back in black." The canine drone responded as he hopped from the back to join the others. Hayden put his cigarette out and approached.

"Someone's been teaching you AC/DC, haven't they." he said, smiling.

"He wouldn't shut up." Mac said, walking past the sniper and into the barracks.

"It's part of my charm." Carbine retorted, feeling highly please to be back in his body.

"Either he's going to snap and start killing people or he's going to eat a bullet. I'm kinda leaning toward the former." Hayden admitted. "So what brings you back to the platoon? Colonel Segovia get tired of you or did she weird you out enough?"

"She broke up with me. Apparently I'm too small now." Carbine immaturely stated. "I'll be joining you as a Force Multiplier."

"I can see that, double entendre aside. Pretty damn decent of her, too." Hayden mused. "Wait... Where do we even put you? The hangar or the barracks?"

"Put him next to Mac. See if he snaps." Rockwell joked as the platoon Stryker drove off.

"Carbine, I'll give you a hundred dollars to spoon him." Hayden said, taking his wallet out.

"Spoon him? Am I trying to annoy him or slowly murder him with a highly impractical weapon?" Carbine quipped.

"Okay, see, what I mean by spoon is you crawl in bed with him and-"

"SARN'T, DON'T YOU FUCKING DARE!" Mac shouted from the second story window.

"Rockwell, are the Marines this dysfunctional or is Sarn't Arcturus trying to set a new precedent?" Durant asked the Gunny.

"Given the shit I've seen happen at Mackie Hall an' Twenty Nine Palms..." Gunny Rockwell took a moment to think. "Yeah, I think Hayden is gon' set a new precedent altogether."

---

Summary
-Hayden discusses an important matter with Major Wylder
-Advancing to First Sergeant or Master Sergeant isn't an option.
-Becoming an officer, however, is. The paperwork is in the mail.
-Jenks isn't too happy about it but there's not much he can do to stop it.

-Hayden settles a debt. He also signs Durant up for a poker tournament.
-Hayden's a real asshole. Really.

- He also signs Durant up for a poker tournament.
-Hayden's a real asshole. Really.

-Combat simulation for the Hammerheads and Carbine.
-Simulation cut short.
-Colonel Segovia wants to talk to Carbine.
-It's not you, it's me. Okay, it's you.
-Carbine is going back to his old body.
-Mac is the leash now. Mac hates his life.

-Burke writes notes regarding Ei's progress.
-Some good, some troubling.
-Ei may have attempted suicide.
-He's getting better.

-Meanwhile, at Yokota, Hayden wins his money back with interest.
-The Slavs are squating and smoking. All they need are track suits.
-Suddenly, a Stryker appears.
-Carbine rejoins the party!
-Time to see how long until Mac breaks.
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Arella

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Posts: 129

Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:49 pm

Location: Ontario, Canada

Post Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:09 pm

Re: The Storm Is Set To Rise

Demon Lords Are Better Than Makeovers

Timestamp: Saturday evening/night
Location: the Manor
Characters: Whisp, Yakashima, Kawasaki, Devin, Mimi, Fred (the undead falcon), Fred (the demon lord), Fluffy, Howard, Zeit
Authors: Arella, Skorpy, Oblivion, DarkTan

Whisp honestly didn't know how it had happened. The teen girl had never had or been to a slumber party or sleepover in her life, and had no desire to do so, and yet one minute Kawa-chan had been refusing to shut up about it, and the next she was apparently hosting one of the bloody things - seriously, she wanted to know what had happened. Had she been momentarily possessed by some kind of slumber party demon? Had she somehow gotten drunk without realizing it, in the middle of the school day? Had someone cast a feeble-minded spell on her?

Well, that or Kawa-chan had just proven that annoying about it. Admittedly, this was the most likely option, but Whisp didn't like the idea of being so easily swayed. Even if Kawa-chan could be super annoying when she put her mind to it.

At least she could drag Dev along for the ride.

---

"<Wow, she wasn't kidding about the size...>" Yakashima commented, looking up at the Manor.

"<Totally aw3som3.>" Replied Kawasaki, grinning ear to ear. "<Let's go explore!>" She shouted, setting off at a run. She was, however, brought up short by a firm grip on her hair.

"<No. Remember what happened last time you went to Sealand?>"

"<But... Whisp-san won't have planted mines, would she? Nor would Devin-kun!>"

"<How do you know? Besides, this is an old faction HQ, who knows what those nutcases planted here?>"

Kawasaki deflated into a pout, and slouched up to the door to knock. This was accomplished through a large gargoyle-headed knocker, producing a loud, resonant pounding noise as the magical girl swung it enthusiastically. "<Whiiiiisp saaaaan~ Are you iiiiin?>"

Whisp let out a sigh (fate, apparently, had finally caught up with her), then raced off for the door, hollering at both the Manor and the robot puppies not to kill or maim Kawa-chan and Yakashima. Likely loud enough for the girls to hear it from outside. A moment later saw the front door opening, and Whisp moving aside to let them in, in place of a proper hello.

Manners really weren't her strong suit.

Yakashima bowed politely, offering her a tub of chocolates. "<Hello, Whisp-san. It's not a slumber party without chocolates.>"

Kawasaki was also not so good at the whole 'manners' thing, and glomped Whisp. "<Ohayo~>"

Whisp froze in proper Whisp-fashion upon being glomped. Seriously, she still wasn't good with that whole touching/personal space thing. Unless it was Dev, which totally didn't count.

"<Um... hi?>" the rather freaked out teen tried, aware that she should be taking the chocolates, but currently unable to by way of glomp. Seriously, why did Kawa-chan insist on doing that so often, and when was she going to let go?

Kawasaki squeezed the dark mage tightly, before releasing her. "<I baked cookies!>" She exclaimed, producing a tupperware container and presenting it to Whisp, who was very happy to accept both containers, as it meant further glomping was unlikely to happen.

"<Cool!>" was said dark mage's response, in place of the thank you she never seemed to remember. If she sounded a bit more enthusiastic than usual, it was likely because the glomping had stopped. "<What kinda cookies?>" Technically, there were also chocolate chip cookies from Dev's mom, but if she could get away with not mentioning those and thereby keeping them for herself, she would absolutely do it.

"<Chocolate chip an' raisins an' skittles an' blueberry an' more chocolate chips, Kawe chips, an' pocky.>" Kawasaki explained, pointing to various sections of the cookie box.

"<Ooooh, what kinda pocky?>" Whisp then had to know, already trying to get the container open so she could see.

"<Welllll, I know you like strawberry, so I got a buncha that. Then there was regular chocolate stuff on offer, an' that green tea stuff that's super tasty. Then they were giving free samples an' I kinda lost track. An forgot which box was which an' dropped them all into the mixer...>" Kawasaki concluded, grin wavering. "<But I did it in bunches so there's gotta be some only-strawberry ones in there, or mixed with somethin' neat!>"

There was a loud smacking noise as Yakashima's hand hit her face.

"<Oh! An' I found some dried strawberries in the back of the cupboard! An' made some with them, too!>"

"<Uhh, sure?>" was Whisp's very uncertain response. She knew absolutely nothing about cooking (unless you counted magic potions), and thus wasn't terribly sure whether any of that was good or bad. The dried strawberries sounded a bit weird, though.

"<Try one!>" Kawasaki insisted, hopping from foot to foot impatiently. "<Then the feasting can begin!>" Manners or no, there were Rules for this sort of thing.

With an expression that clearly stated she was not remotely aware of these supposed rules and wasn't yet sure what she thought of them (rules, in general, did not get along with Whisp), the darker teen rather hesitantly did as she was told, if only in the vain hope of getting Kawa-chan to stop bouncing. She tended to glomp more when she was bouncing.

She also managed to find a pink-looking cookie, which turned out to be just strawberry and no other weird flavours mixed in. And it was pretty good! Apparently, Kawa-chan could make pocky cookies. "<It's good!>" Whisp admitted, sounding more than a little relieved.

"<Yay! Then let us proceed to the living room, where we shall make nests of blankets and watch movies and eat sugary things and order pizza, until it's makeover time!>" Kawasaki explained.

"<Slow down a little?>" Yakashima asked, nodding towards the terrified-looking Whisp. "<Also? Pizza before sugar. I was sick for the whole day after Lexi's sleepover.>"

"<Man, that was just the b33r.>" Kawasaki commented, waving a hand dismissively.

"<Also, maybe Whisp can show us things she considers fun?>" Yakashima asked, following along as Kawasaki fairly dragged Whisp off down the corridor.

Looking rather like a deer caught in the headlights, Whisp surprisingly allowed herself to be dragged for a while, while trying to figure out what was happening. "<So... um... pizza next?>" she tried.

Meanwhile, the Manor, without further instruction from Whisp, allowed the corridor to grow increasingly longer.

Kawasaki paused after a while, scratching her head curiously. "<We're not getting anywhere?>"

"<Where are we supposed to be going?>" Whisp had to check. She was feeling decidedly out of her element, and had already forgotten that bit (or more likely, missed it entirely).

"<Somewhere with couches and a TV and floor space?>" Yakashima reminded her. "<It's traditional.>"

"<Oh!>" Whisp allowed, feeling marginally better already - that was where she and Dev spent their movie nights, after all, and was therefore familiar. Escaping from Kawa-chan's grasp, she then walked to the very next door and opened it, revealing their multimedia room - complete with big, comfy couches, a big tv hooked up to both a computer and gaming systems, and a popcorn machine that made popcorn just like the movie theatre did.

It also turned out that Dev was already there, which had Whisp looking and feeling even better. A moment later and she'd set down the containers of food in favour of claiming his hand for support. Because slumber parties were intimidating.

"I tried going to my workshop and turned up here. Which can only mean you need me." Devin said, not at all bothered by that. "Is something wrong?" He asked, looking over to Yakashima and Kawasaki. "Oh."

"We're having a slumber party," Whisp rather forlornly informed, still not terribly happy about it herself.

"Ooh. Well that's. Odd." Devin paused. "Why?"

"Because!" Kawasaki explained, as if that made sense. "She's never had one! Here, have a cookie!" She thrust another box out to Devin.

Devin looked down to the box as if it were some until then unheard of explosive. "Uhh, suuure." He said as he took one, looking to Whisp as if to ask if it was safe.

"They have pocky in!"

"The pink ones are okay," Whisp promised.

Devin then set the brown cookie he was holding back into the basket to select a pink one instead. He took a moment to sniff it before taking a bite, resting his hand on his chest and breathing a sigh of relief when he discovered that it didn't taste bad.

Since the container was open again, Whisp also went ahead and claimed a skittles cookie. Because she was curious. That, also, didn't taste bad - there was a chance Kawa-chan could actually make cookies.

"<Soooo... pizza now? Right?>" the sorceress sought to confirm; she and Dev always ordered from the same place, so that was easy enough.

"<If you want, sure. Order lots; Kawa-chan can go through two XL ones on her own and still have room to steal slices from everyone else.>" Yakashima replied, setting out stacks of tupperware boxes and arranging couch cushions. "<On the upside, she's actually quieter while eating.>"

And that was all the encouragement Whisp needed to order several pizzas. Hawaiian, of course, because that was what she liked, and therefore everyone else must like it, too.

"<Hey hey hey hey hey hey pineapple does NOT belong on pizza!>" Kawasaki objected, halfway through unboxing actual pocky from the tupperware.

"<What she means is 'Can you please order meat feast pizzas for me instead'.>" Yakashima translated. "<Also, margarita for me.>"

"<Yeah, that!>"

"<What's margarita?>" a rather annoyed Whisp then had to ask (she didn't appreciate her favourite kind of pizza being insulted, because clearly Hawaiian was amazing).

"<Cheese pizza on a thin base.>" Yakashima explained. "<Just tomato sauce and cheese, no fatty meaty stuff or onion or anything. Also, you know you can order it online, without having to talk to people?>"

"<Fine,>" the darker teen consented, choosing to ignore the latter comment entirely and just going ahead and changing the order to a large Hawaiian, two cheese pizzas, and a bunch of meaty ones. She and Dev didn't eat nearly as much as the girls apparently did.

"<Pizza pizza pizza!>" Kawasaki cheered, finishing with the pocky and starting to set out bottles of sugary drinks. The room was starting to fill up with magical slumber party clutter, with sparkles falling from Kawasaki to settle across the carpet, forming drifts where they came up against Whisp's magical field; Whisp did not look pleased.

"<Don't break anything you can't afford to replace.>" Devin advised as a light headache began to set in.

"<Sparkles are harmless, and they decay after a while.>" Yakashima commented, moving the remote control away from Kawasaki. "<Want some brownies first?>"

"<Are they nearly as questionable as the cookies?>" Devin had to ask.

"<Kawa-chan's actually a good cook, she just makes some questionable decisions on flavours. And I made the brownies, they're fine. Although the special ones have a doggy on them.>" Yakashima replied, offering him the box.

Devin accepted the box, his ears perking attentively as he opened it. "<Special, how?>" He asked as he took one of the special brownies and observed it, giving it brief consideration before taking a bite.

Yakashima winked. "<You'll see.>"

"<Isn't this that energy drink you promised Johnathan you'd stop selling?>" Devin asked with a raised eyebrow as he took another bite.

"Should you be eating that?" a rather concerned-sounding Whisp interjected. Because it was Dev, and her concern was not unheard of when it came to him. She'd hate to have to kill Yakashima, after all - then there'd be no Weiss in her Team RWBY.

"If normal people can survive it, then I should be just fine." Devin assured as he smiled to Whisp.

The sorceress gave a small shrug that seemed to say "okay," before going to take a seat on the couch that was safely out of the way of the supposed slumber party preparations.

"<I'm not selling it!>" Yakashima protested.

"<Only 'cause you're running out of it and want to keep your stash to yourself.>" Kawasaki pointed out. "Gettin' high on yo' own supply, bruv."

"<You spend entirely too much time with Cathal to be healthy.>" Yakashima shot back, arching an eyebrow.

"<At least he speaks better English than Lucius-sensei. I don't think he even speaks English at all!>" Kawasaki replied, going on the defensive.

"<So what do we do when the pizza gets here?>" Whisp asked, regretfully returning the conversation to that whole slumber party thing before the girls' discussion could turn into a really annoying argument.

"<You eat it while watching a movie or something!>" Kawasaki explained. "<Ya-chan's got a buncha DVDs.>"

Yakashima did indeed have a pack of DVDs, tucked into a case, along with notes on content and genre slipped into the pockets with the discs. "<You can pick, Whisp-san.>" She offered, handing the case to the gothic girl. "<I'm not sure Devin-san's seen enough movies to get a taste in them.>"

"<Are there horror movies?>" the darker teen immediately wanted to know. Because she liked horror movies. Even if they did sometimes scare her silly, like Slender Man.

Yakashima grinned, leaning in and flipping through a few pages. "<Horror movies are traditional for sleepovers. Back half of the case.>"

Wow, pizza and horror movies - two things about sleepovers she actually liked. And also something she did with Dev about once a week. Did that mean she'd had sleepovers before? Either way, it didn't take long for her to pick a movie (largely because she'd already seen most of them - she really did watch horror movies with Dev at least once a week). "<This one,>" the sorceress declared, not bothering to check if everyone else was okay with it. Because she didn't know that was a thing you were supposed to do, and wouldn't likely remember even if she did.

"<Okay.>" Yakashima agreed; she'd picked the movies to select from, and she HAD given Whisp the option. "<Devin-san, can you operate the DVD player?>" Since, being a boy, it was his job.

Devin looked to Yakashima for a moment before taking the disk to the player and pointing out the location of the remote. "<Remote's there.>"

---

"Eeep!" Kawasaki peered up from behind a couch, a half-eaten slice of pizza in her hand.

Not pausing in finishing her own slice of pizza, Whisp made a great show of rolling her eyes at Kawa-chan's hiding behind the couch. Even though she'd done that herself on more than one occasion - nobody but Dev ever needed to know about that. Well, and Mimi and DarkTan, because they'd caught her at it before. Besides, this movie wasn't all that scary.

The fact that she was comfortably curled into Dev's side and holding his hand with the one not currently holding a slice of pizza barely even need be said.

"You kids are adorable," Mimi said as she stepped out of a shadow behind Yakashima.

"And you're nosey." Devin retorted without skipping a beat.

Yakashima shrieked and jumped, leaving a pair of fuzzy dog slippers and a pizza crust behind as her powers kicked in. "<Don't DO that!>" She protested from the light fitting, clinging to it with her knees as the skirt of her magical girl outfit flipped up just enough to hint at possibly compromising her modesty without actually doing so in any way. "<Also, who the hell are you?>"

"Mimi!" Whisp exclaimed happily, abandoning her place on the couch to give the older woman a hug (much to the surprise of everyone, though she had hugged Mimi before). Mimi was, after all, awesome, and always welcome at the Manor.

"<Keep mind of your skirt dear, I might not be as predatory as some, but it's still not nice to tease,>" Mimi replied, "<And I am Mimi,>" the retired officer and newly minted bar owner returned the hug from the young sorceress.

"<It does what it does.>" Yakashima pointed out, starting to swing back and forth on the light fitting. "<It's a secondary power, from what I've been told, but I'm still not sure what ferrets know about skirts.>"

"<Precious little, I'd imagine,>" Mimi looked around and plucked a slice of Hawaiian pizza, "<Sleepover, I assume? Just don't get any ideas about summoning demons or chasing serial killers. 'kay?>"

"<Did you bring ice cream?>" Whisp then needed to know, because Mimi usually came with ice cream. Also, both of those ideas sounded awesome - maybe slumber parties weren't that bad after all!

"<Of course,>" several containers of various flavors appeared from the shadow. "<But seriously, no summoning demons.>"

Whisp just claimed some ice cream (strawberry ice cream, for that matter) for herself and returned to Dev, rather than agree not to do something fun. Though admittedly, summoning demons with Kawa-chan would likely be a bad idea - she'd probably mess up the summoning circle or something.

Yakashima released the light fitting, turning a neat backflip in mid-air to land on the couch in her previous position, the magical girl outfit transforming back to pajamas a second later. "<Ice cream is also traditional. And you'll be glad to hear I hid the ice-cream maker from Kawa-chan.>"

"Mmmrphh." Kawasaki contributed, trying to eat pizza and ice cream at the same time. "mphrph!"

"Delightful..." Devin said, averting his eyes from Kawasaki while wishing he didn't have hypersensitive hearing.

"<What...what is she doing?>" Mimi asked, a hint of concern in her voice as she gestured to Kawasaki.

"<Eating all of the tasty things at once. She'll figure it out eventually, just don't look in the meantime.>" Yakashima advised.

The silver-haired woman gave a sigh and briefly gave thanks that she would never have that particular problem called 'teenagers'. "<Well, have fun, I'll be around, just in case you don't actually listen to me and decide to summon a demon.>"

"<Baibai Mimi-chaan~>" Kawasaki chirped after swallowing a mouthful of pizza-flavoured ice cream and ice cream-flavoured pizza. "<Thank you for the ice cream!~>"

Whisp waved from her spot next to Devin, a mouthful of ice cream preventing her from actually saying anything. Not that she would've remembered to say thank you for the ice cream anyway. She had to admit, though... being told not to summon a demon kinda made her want to summon a demon.

Mimi waved and vanished much the same way she'd arrived.

"<You know what sounds fun?>" Kawasaki asked, an ice cream-smeared grin spreading on her face.

"<What?>" a wary Whisp responded. Just in case the answer was a makeover or something horrible like that.

"<Video games.>" Devin stated.

"<Makeovers.>" Yakashima suggested.

"<Demon summoning.>" Kawasaki suggested at the same time.

"<Demon summoning it is!>" Whisp immediately agreed, perhaps a little too eagerly. Because it meant no makeover. Also, she'd been told not to.

"<Demon makeovers?>" Yakashima attempted to compromise.

"<You can't give a demon a makeover,>" the sorceress of the group informed, before going on to add, "<And Kawa-chan, you can't have any more sugar until after, demon summoning is serious.>"

"<Why not?>" Yakashima asked.

"<Yeah, why can't we give it a makeover? We'll have it bound, right?>"

"<Because it will consume your soul and drag you back into the depths of hell,>" Whisp informed. Which wasn't actually true, she'd make the circle safer than that, but still... "<We can ask it questions, though, and it'll have to tell the truth.>" They could also be great ways of learning new spells, but that was rather more dangerous than she cared to get into with the magical girls present.

"<Like a really dangerous magic eight ball?>" Yakashima queried.

"Superstition." Devin muttered in reference to the eight ball, because apparently demon summoning was a real thing. Which his girlfriend occasionally did in the Manor library.

"<What's a magic eight ball?>" Whisp had to ask in the meantime.

"<It's a ball with a window in it. You ask it a question, shake it, and it gives you an answer.>" Kawasaki explained, starting to come down off the sugar high.

Yakashima leaned down to put her slippers back on. "<We're totally giving it a makeover, though. We have to give SOMETHING a makeover; it's traditional. And it's the demon, or Devin.>"

"<Do anything to make me over and your family is going to be living in a cardboard box.>" Devin threatened, not remotely willing to concede to that.

"<Fine,>" a rather unhappy-sounding Whisp conceded. "<But when it tries to drag you off into the depths of hell, don't come crying to me.>" Because she wasn't going to let them do that to Dev any more than she was going to let them do it to her. "<And you'll have to toss it the makeup to put on itself, because you can't step into the summoning circle.>"

"<Well, we can just organize an epic quest into hell to retrieve whomever it takes. That worked fine for the Largoists.>" Kawasaki suggested. "<I mean, all we'd need is a small army.>"

"<I'm sure Lucius-sensei would love to go back there.>" Snarked Yakashima, rolling her eyes.

Well, Whisp certainly wouldn't be going; demons tended not to like being summoned by someone who knows what they're doing, and she'd summoned quite a few of them in her time. They wouldn't be happy to see her (well, actually, they would be very happy to see her - in their territory, with no summoning circle to keep her safe). Unless they tried to steal Dev, of course - she'd go to hell for Dev.

Not that anyone was going to end up in hell, anyway.

Whisp sighed. "<Alright, so we're doing a demon summoning. No more sugar for anyone until we're done, you do exactly as I say as soon as I say it, and you do not, under any circumstances, mess with the summoning circle. Got it?>" This was such a bad idea.

"<Got it.>"

"<Okay...>"

"Mhmm."

"<Okay,>" the darker teen allowed, before getting to her feet. "<All my stuff is in the library, so we may as well do it there.>" She then opened the door to the hallway, only to have it now reveal the library instead, and lead the way inside, where she began to gather the necessary supplies.

It was a very old-fashioned sort of library, all dark woods and plush velvets and wall-to-wall bookshelves. The table was piled high with spell books and various magical items which Whisp tended to use the most often, and Fred the undead falcon was resting on the back of the sorceress' favourite red velvet chair, which stood right in front of the fireplace.

It was rather telling, perhaps, that her demon summoning supplies were included among those already sitting out on the table, and while Whisp got to work drawing out a summoning circle and the accompanying magic symbols in chalk on the hardwood floor, the girls were given a chance to look around.

Kawasaki flitted from bookshelf to table to bookshelf, peering and poking at things and babbling to herself about cute demon boys. Yakashima, however, merely observed Whisp with interest. "<So, is all this to bind, or just for the summoning?>"

"<Both,>" came Whisp's rather preoccupied answer. "<The symbols on the inner ring of the circle are for the summoning, and those on the outside are to bind it safely.>"

"<Oooh, that makes sense.>" Yakashima nodded, tugging out a sketchpad and starting to take notes.

"<Why are you so interested in demon summoning?>" Devin asked Yakashima, an eyebrow raised as his hands occupied his pockets.

"<It's interesting. And I think I recognize some of the spells. I mean, if we tweak that one and that one...>" She pointed to a couple of sigils. "<And adjust that one to just use hell as a relay, I reckon we could just bounce people through hell to summon them from one place to the next.>"

"<Because nothing could eever go wrong when teleporting mortal souls through the realm that feasts on mortal souls.>" Devin stated with heavy sarcasm.

"<There may be kinks to work out.>" Yakashima admitted, reaching out to tug Kawasaki away from the circle. "<But do it fast enough, and it should be fine.>"

"<Do it too slow and you need to deal with Demon Invasion Mark Two.>" Devin logically pointed out.

"<Only if we leave the portal open. And how many demons are gonna get through a portal the size of a person? Not a lot. Last time it took one big enough to swallow Tokyo Tower!>"

"<The road to hell is paved in good intentions, but experimentation is the life of a scientist. Just be ready to take responsibility should you fail.>" Devin advised, before shifting his attention back to Whisp, who was just about done (with the chalk, anyway).

"<Shiny...>" Kawasaki reached out, poking a crystal ball with a fingertip, eyes wide.

"<Don't touch that!>" Whisp was quick to object, not wanting any of her magic supplies to end up broken, before opting to provide a (albeit momentary) distraction instead, and directing, "<Kawa-chan, pass me the salt on the table, there,>" while expectantly holding out a hand for it.

The box of salt had a nice, thin spout which made it good for tracing over her chalk symbols and circle without losing any of the details.

Kawasaki reached for the box, picking it up and examining it. As she got halfway over to Whisp, she noticed Fred, reached out to pet him, collided with a table, and ended up sprawled on the floor next to Whisp, box held high and safe. "<I got it!>"

The sorceress sighed, even as she accepted the salt and got to work tracing over her previously drawn symbols - this was such a bad idea. But if Kawa-chan was going to be in the room for the summoning, she was going to have to be part of the casting circle, which meant allowing her close to the summoning circle itself.

They were so going to end up with a demon running around the city.

But at least she and Dev wouldn't be forced to endure makeovers.

"This may be the whole cat boy thing, but I'm getting a sense of impending doom." Devin remarked aloud.

Kawasaki scrambled to her feet, watching from a safe distance. "<Not it!>"

Yakashima continued to peer at the circle, hands rummaging through hammerspace for her portable makeup kit.

"<Okay,>" Whisp finally said, having finished her circle and put the salt away. "<Now I need everyone to stand exactly where I place them, and not move until I say so. Under no circumstances do you break the circle, mess up the circle, or enter the circle. Are we clear?>" Saying so, the sorceress set about physically arranging her accomplices equidistance around the circle, before taking up her own position at the head (which only she could likely identify).

"<Clear!>" Kawasaki proclaimed, standing where she was pushed and only fidgeting a little, one foot tapping to try and burn off energy.

Devin quietly took his place with his hands in his pockets.

Yakashima took her place with a nod, holding the large bag of her portable makeup kit behind her bag. Said bag was large enough to hide a medium-sized dog in it, and practically had an aura all of it's own. "<By the way, we're still teaching you to do make-up after this.>"

"<No, we're not,>" the darker teen informed, in a tone that broked no argument, and rather suggested you might end up back in hell with the demon if you tried. To be fair, she didn't really need the stuff, anyway - Whisp was quite pretty, even if she didn't realize or care about it herself. "<Now be quiet so I can cast the spell.>"

"Cthulu ftagn?" Kawasaki ventured.

Whisp paused for another moment, just in case anyone still planned on interrupting, before finally deciding it was safe and beginning to cast her spell.

Without the help of any of her spell books, let alone the Book, because she'd done this just that often; she knew the spell by heart.

After a good bit of chanting, during which her eyes, the circle, and the markings around it began to glow and the room hummed with so much power you could almost taste it, the spell finally reached its zenith and, in a burst of magic, a figure began to slowly coalesce from a swirling mass of pure darkness in the center of the circle. At first it began to take the shape of a man, kneeling, with black wings furled behind him. As he slowly stood, the wings seemed to melt into his body, which was beginning to take on a dark, solid hue. The wings slowly transformed themselves into clothing befitting a time period far older than this one. At last, the demon rolled its massive shoulders and cracked its neck as the shape finally settled on that of a tall, muscular man with skin as black as night and eyes that both seemed to shine in the darkness and devour the light around them.

"*WHO DARES TO FREE ME FROM ETERNAL BANISHMENT?*" the demon demanded in a language not heard by the majority of mankind in over 400 years and a voice that would make most men wet themselves.

Whisp did not look impressed.

Kawasaki went wide-eyed with awe, her foot stopping it's tapping as she bounced on the spot a little. "Eee! <A real demon!>"

Yakashima gave a wicked grin, cracking her knuckles.

The demon focused his eyes on each of the magical girls in turn, "*WHAT DO THE SERVANTS OF GOOD AND LOVE HAVE TO DO WITH DEMONS?*" He turned his gaze to the catboy, and upon registering an utter lack of interest he moved right along to the young sorceress, "*NOT THEM. YOU. YOU BROUGHT THEM IN CASE OF A DEMON ESCAPE,*" the creature began to laugh. It was not a pleasant sound.

The sorceress still didn't look impressed; she did this fairly often, after all, and they all seemed to feel a need to posture. Likely because they were stuck in a circle. At any rate, she usually found it best to let them get it out of their system before attempting any actual conversation.

"<Oh, we're here to give you a makeover!>" Yakashima interjected, waving the makeup kit.

"<Never once did anyone agree to that.>" Devin said, only to be completely ignored.

"<Yeah, Whispy-chan knows what she's doin'!>" Kawasaki added, hefting her spear regardless.

The demon tilted his head, focusing on each speaker in turn. It was rather obvious he had no idea what they were saying at the moment.

"<Japanese, motherlicker, do you speak it?>" Kawasaki asked, leaning in to wave her spear at the demon.

"<Mother licker? Is that a formal greeting?>" The demon asked in heavily accented Japanese. And by heavily accented, I mean you could literally hear the wails of one thousand Japanese language teachers simultaneously committing seppuku.

"We'll go with 'yes' and leave it at that." Yakashima replied, before exposure to Kawasaki could further pollute the demon's language.

"Absolutely not." Devin corrected, wishing he knew which earthly languages the demon knew.

"<Silence, mother-licker!>" Kawasaki exclaimed, pointing dramatically at Devin.

"Your common speech is far easier to understand," The demon noted.

"Your attempt at it is easier on the ears, too," Whisp snarked, finally bothering to join the conversation.

The demon turned again to face the sorceress, and spoke in a lower, more normal (for a demon) voice. "I am the Demon lord of Darkness and Shadows. Why have you freed me?"

The darker teen gave a shrug, as if to say 'just because', before asking her own question instead. "What's your name?" Because there was power in names, though she rarely bothered to use them in these situations. Mostly, she liked asking because the demons didn't like it. It also meant she could summon them again later, if she had more questions.

The demon lord studied the circle in which he was standing before letting out a chuckle. Or at least something that could have been a chuckle. It might also have been the dying gasp of a large animal. "You didn't summon me on purpose. You just so happened to have broken the seal."

"Nuh-uh." Kawasaki insisted, adding a little salt back to the circle to complete the bit she'd stepped on while pointing.

Whisp gave another shrug. "I summoned a demon; I didn't specify the kind. More fun that way." Well, so long as she didn't have a specific reason for the summoning, anyway. "And I do believe I asked your name." Some of those symbols meant he had to answer, after all.

"Yes, you did," the demon acknowledged, "And that symbol right there says I have to answer any question you ask of me," he pointed, "But it does not say when I have to answer."

"And neither does the circle specify how long I keep you here for. Do you really want to test me?" the sorceress pointed out. She could keep him there as long as she pleased, after all. At her beck and call. Stuck in a tiny little circle.

"<Oh, just call him Freddy and get it over with.>" Yakashima grumbled.

The demon ignored Yakashima, "You do realize I am immortal while you are mortal, yes? I've been chained in the eighth circle of hell for the last seven centuries. Do you have any idea how dull that is? I find this change of scenery quite refreshing."

"<Can we start with the makeover yet?>"

"Fine," Whisp seemed to accept, albeit with a rather wicked grin. "But Yakashima's going to toss you some makeup to put on now, and you're going to do it, or I'm going to invoke some of those other symbols." It was a fit punishment, after all - and said extra symbols made for a good threat. They invoked holy magic, which would hurt like hell, even if they didn't destroy him outright.

Whisp may have been overly confident in her summoning skills, but that didn't mean she wasn't cautious. For the most part.

The demon looked somewhat confused at this request, "What is 'make up'?"

"<He has CLAWS. He can't even handle the brushes! I'm gonna have to do this myself.>" Yakashima complained, stepping over the circle. "Hold still." She told the demon, reaching out with a foundation brush.

"<Ya-chan, NO!>" Whisp exclaimed, too late to keep her from breaking the circle. She'd been so busy keeping an eye on Kawa-chan, it hadn't even occurred to her that Yakashima might be the one to break it.

The demon reached out and poked the foundation brush from the magical girl's hand. The implement of facial betterment fell to the ground near a pair of lines and sprinkled the makeup it held in a light dusting that connected those two lines in a way they were never meant to connect. There was a brief flash of light as the circle flared and then faded.

"<No! That brush was expensive!>" Yakashima exclaimed as the brush was consumed in the flash.

Devin looked to Yakashima as he clapped in a very slow and condescending manner. "Brilliant."

Whisp threw her hands up in the air in a show of frustration, and just barely managed to keep from storming out of the room.

"As expensive as your soul?" The demon lord asked, reaching out to take a hold of the magical girl's wrist.

"<IN THE NAME OF THE MOON, CUTE THINGS, AND DOGGIES!>" Yakashima exclaimed, drawing her sword with the other hand and jamming it through the demon's wrist.

The demon just grinned, "You have become part of magic far older than you," he said, "By all rights, you are the one who broke the circle, your soul is mine." He turned, "Sorceress! The circle is broken, so now I must give you my name if you wish to hear it."

Yakashima flailed at the demon with her sword, cursing roundly in Gaelic (with bad pronunciation) as her blade bounced off its skin. Kawasaki's spear head had a similar lack of effect as she jammed at the demon from beyond the circle.

"I think you'll find her soul is MINE." Complained a rich voice from Yakashima's pocket, accompanied by a small fluffy head.

The sorceress just let out a frustrated and exasperated sigh, largely intended for Yakashima. She had warned them that makeovers would get them dragged off to hell. "Let's have it, then," she finally told the demon. Technically, having his name would make it easier to find Ya-chan in hell, if she bothered to go get her (it was the girls own fault, after all).

The demon paid no mind to the flailing magical girls and instead turned to the purple haired teenager, "I am," he pronounced his name in much the same way an industrial shredder explains how it is currently eating a VW Beetle. That is to say, it was utterly incomprehensible and caused physical discomfort upon hearing it, "Demon Lord of Hell." He turned to Yakashima, "And you, oh flailing magical one, by right I could take your soul to the bowels of hell. But, there's a problem. That symbol right there." He pointed to the mark of makeup, "You banished me from hell until someone else summons me. So it would be kind of pointless to take your soul. Also, you are adorable."

"Whisp! Yakashima! Kawasaki! Dev! What did I say about summoning demons inside the house?" Mimi demanded as she strode through a shadow with a half eaten tub of Ben and Jerry's.

"I never summoned a thing. I just stood where I was told to." Devin interjected.

Fluffy leaped out of Yakashima's pocket, scampering over to Mimi and climbing up to her shoulder. "Miss Saneki, you really have to intervene! My charge has inadvertently formed a pact with the demon, and it is interfering with my claim to her soul! The whole balance of cosmic power could be at stake!"

Mimi facepalmed, "Who are you?" She asked the demon lord.

He pronounced his names once again; the lights flickered a bit this time.

"Really?" Mimi repeated the name with ease, the light flickering more and shadows in the room wavered, "I'm just gonna call you Fred."

Whisp actually giggled.

"I am a Demon Lord of Hell, I will not be beli-"

"Fred, calm down," Mimi interrupted him.

Fred the undead falcon, still perched atop the nearby chair, let out a wark of complaint, only for Whisp to correct, "No, not you, the other Fred."

"So be it."

"Whisp," Mimi turned to the young sorcereress with that motherly tone of voice, "What happened?"

"Well, it was going fine, but then Yakashima broke the circle. And messed up the runes with her makeup brush. And now he's apparently stuck here," the teen complained more than explained. Seriously, now it was all going to look like her fault, when she'd done the whole thing perfectly, and it clearly wasn't her fault at all! "Also, Fluffy is entirely too interested in Yakashima's soul." It was highly suspicious.

"I have paperwork!" Fluffy objected. "She pledged to fight for my people and restore cosmic balance! He can't just steal the contract out from under me!"

"Mmhmmm," came Whisp's extremely skeptical reply.

"I can't actually use her soul," the newly christened "Fred" pointed out.

"Okay... So now what?" Mimi asked Whisp.

The teenaged sorceress gave a shrug. "I dunno, we find him a room?" She didn't mean it, of course - 'Fred' had been difficult, and she therefore wasn't feeling particularly generous.

"A room?" Mimi asked, "You want to keep a demon lord of Hell around the manor like a house guest."

"What kinds of demon lords are there, aside from those 'of hell?'" Devin asked sarcastically. If he was going to be ignored, he'd at least be annoying about it.

"I'd rather not," Fred chimed in.

"I was being sarcastic!" the dark teen objected.

"I'm going to go for a walk," Fred ventured.

"Don't let the door hit you on the way out," Whisp snarked.

"So we're just gonna let this happen, now? He asked in vain, as he thought the others had forgotten he was there." Devin self-narrated.

Mimi gave Whisp a look. "You summoned a demon lord of hell and you're just going to let him walk away like that?"

"Well, I can't send him back if he's banished," the teen in question pointed out. "And if he can't use Yakashima's soul, he probably can't use anybody else's, either. So... yeah?"

"And what's to stop him from wreaking havoc across the city the likes of which have not been seen or heard of in centuries?" the retired officer asked, using a tone much like that of a teacher goading a student to solve a problem.

"You mean, 'since the demon invasion,'" Whisp rather snarkily corrected. "And that's hardly my fault, anyway. Ya-chan got him stuck here."

"<It was NOT my fault!>" Yakashima proclaimed, crossing her arms and pouting.

"<I told you to stay put and not break the circle,>" Whisp pointed out.

"<I didn't drop the brush on purpose!>"

"<Freddy-kun escaped because you got impatient.>" Kawasaki pointed out.

"F-Freddy-kun?" The demon looked aghast, as Devin facepalmed in the background.

"Freddy-kun!" Kawasaki confirmed, grinning widely. "That's your name now, and you're gonna like it!"

"I'm not sure I agree with this," Fred replied.

Meanwhile, Mimi had still not let up on the Look she was giving Whisp. "Ahem, you summoned him and you're the only one equipped to deal with it. Now what do you do?"

Whisp was so close to throwing her hands up in the air in a show of exasperation. Because this was totally not her fault. "Well you're the adult, so maybe you should do something!" she tried instead, since Mimi was already giving her the Mom Look anyway.

Mimi sighed, "Cause I'm not the sorcereress that let a demon lord out of hell loose in the Manor. Now, you know his name right?"

"Fine!" Aaaaand there went her hands, right up in the air. This was so the last time she summoned a demon with an audience. Turning to Fred, she then perfectly and impressively repeated his actual demon name, before demanding, "I order you not to cause any trouble, and not to steal anybody's soul. Now can we please get back to the ice cream?" Because she was so done with all of this by now.

"A plus, good job," And with that, Mimi vanished the way she came, and left more ice cream behind - which Whisp was quick to stomp over to and claim, before going to offer some to Dev.

Whom she had definitely not forgotten, because he was Dev, and that would be impossible.

Devin looked up from his phone to check on what the others were doing, to find Whisp in front of him offering him ice cream. "Oh." He said pocketing his phone. "Did we find out the plan for the demon lord of redundancy?"

"What is 'ice cream'?" Fred asked, immediately causing Whisp to look more than a little defensive of her own.

"<She... He didn't...>" Yakashima sputtered, looking after Mimi. "<But...>"

"I ordered him to behave, and now we're having ice cream," Whisp replied to Devin, ignoring Yakashima entirely. "And I never forgot you were here." She always knew he was there.

"Thank you, Whisp." Devin said, actually feeling grateful that at least she was listening.

Much to the surprise of everyone, this was followed by the dark teen voluntarily giving him a quick kiss on the cheek. In front of people. Causing Devin to actually smile. As for Fred, she wasn't about to tell him how amazing ice cream was, in case he then wanted some - she much preferred keeping it all to herself.

The all-too-recently appointed "Freddy-kun" muttered something in a forgotten language, but the tone was all too similar to how an elderly person might mutter the word "teenagers" with disdain. There was what can only be described as the opposite of a flash as the room was suddenly, briefly darker and Fred had vanished.

"Let's go watch RWBY and eat more ice cream," Whisp decided, falling back into her usual patterns. She would've claimed Dev's hand as well, only both her hands were busy with the ice cream now.

"<But she left with Fluffy!>" Yakashima pointed out. "<He can't be away from me for long without either returning to his natural form or turning into an actual ferret...>"

There was the sound of a cry of victory being quickly silenced by a mouth being pinched shut. "<Howard-kun, it's not polite to gloat. I'm sure Mimi-chan will lend Fluffy-kun some of her power until she returns him.>"

Whisp shrugged, already moving to lead the way back to the multimedia room. "<I'm sure he'll be fine,>" she rather easily dismissed.

---

"<Um. Excuse me? Miss Saneki?>" Fluffy ventured as he realized he hadn't been returned to his magical girl.

The bartending former officer looked down to see she was still holding a fluffy ferret, "<Oops. I don't think we've been introduced."

"<Indeed.>" Fluffy extended a paw to her. "<My name is unpronounceable in human tongues, but I have been named 'Fluffy' for the duration of my stay here. I am Yakashima-san's contract handler, or 'animal companion' as you might put it. You, I am told, are Kamimila Saneki?>"

"<Yes, that would be me,>" Mimi replied, reaching out to shake the misplaced animal companion's paw, "<I take it you need to get back to her in a certain time frame, right?>"

"<If it's not too much trouble, yes. Otherwise, I may need to bleed off a small portion of your... considerable magical power in the meantime, in order to maintain my form or my sapience. And possibly somewhere warm to sleep.>"

"<Well, opening the shadows on this side is a bit strenuous,>" Mimi mused, "<How's this magical siphon thing work?>"

"<Well, once you sign the paperwork, I take a very small amount of your magical power to sustain myself, or more to protect myself should I come to harm. I'll add a temporary clause so you're not bound to me after you return me, and that should be that.>"

"<Paperwork?>" Mimi arched an eyebrow.

"<Just so it's all notarized and official.>" Fluffy assured her, handing over a stack of forms half an inch thick.

"<You're shittin' me, right?>" the bartender balked at the stack of forms.

Fluffy turned on the cute, eyes widening and glistening as he adopted a begging pose. "<Oh please, oh please, don't let me go back to being a normal ferret again...>"

"<You know the cute doesn't work that good on a Mihoist right?>"

"<In a few hours, you're either going to have a regular ferret in your pocket, with all THAT entails, or my true form. Which, might I add, is a good deal larger than this one.>" Fluffy pointed out, amping up the cute. "<Or you could avoid that, and let me use a mere handful of percent of your generous power level to maintain myself until you return me to Miss Yakashima..>"

"<The power sharing doesn't concern me so much as the contracts,>" Mimi pointed out, "<Can't we just, you know, shake on it?>"

"<It has to be accountable!>" Fluffy protested. "<I could be hauled up in front of a judge if I take power without a record of authorization!>"

Mimi sighed, "<Behold the wonders of bureaucracy,>" She muttered, "<Where's my pen?>"

Fluffy held it up to her. "<Ignore the claw-marks on it.>"

The silver-haired woman sighed and resigned herself to sign and initial her way through the stack.

Fluffy climbed up to her shoulder, peering down at the form. "<Make sure you press nice and hard on the last one; carbon paper.>"

"<Right.>"

---

"<So, this is a 'bar'?>" Fluffy asked, looking around from his perch atop Mimi's head. "<It's... Dingy. I can see in the dark, and it's STILL dark in here.>"

"<It's supposed the be dark and dingy,>" Mimi sighed as she polished the battered hunk of wood before her.

"<Aren't bars supposed to be lively and social?>" Fluffy asked, hopping down to inspect the bottles behind the bar. "<Oh, you have absinthe! I acquired quite the taste for that on my last outing here. I was, however, somewhat larger then, so I'll have to give it a miss for now.>"

"<Not this one,>" Mimi replied, "<The clientele is a bit darker.>"

As if on cue, a pair of such surly patrons entered the bar and sat down. Mimi brought them their usual and not a word of polite greeting was heard during the entire exchange.

Fluffy regarded them from behind the bar. "<This is one of those 'dives', isn't it?>"

"<Depends on what you mean by 'those' I suppose,>" Mimi said as she returned to her place behind the bar.

Fluffy hopped back up onto her shoulder and curled up there, leaning against her neck. "<Houses of ill repute. Shady decor and shadier customers. Dirty glasses, lingering smells, and patrons who don't ever seem to leave.>"

"<The glasses are clean!>" Mimi sounded quite offended at that, "<Other than that, yes.>"

"<At least it's not a gay bar, I suppose. That glitter gets everywhere. At least with magical girl glitter, it decays and falls out of your fur. I even spent a month dyed pink, for a fashion statement. Pink! So undignified! Also, can you do anything about that field from outside? It itches.>"

Mimi arched an eyebrow about the gay bar comment, but she could empathize with the magical creature's concern with the glitter and pink dye. "<Sadly, the field is apparently there to stay. New and improved even.>"

"<Annoying, but not my problem currently.>" The ferret yawned widely, jaws shutting with a quiet snap of teeth. "<Do you have bar snacks? Perhaps pork scratchings? Then I shall require somewhere to sleep for the night.>"

"<You are very demanding for a ferret,>" Mimi muttered as she retrieved a bowl of peanuts, in the shell, "<That's all I've got. As far as sleeping, just keep away from the glassware.>"

Fluffy dug into the peanuts. Literally; short limbs and a long body made it hard to grasp things properly.

About that time the bell on the door rang, despite it never opening. A tall, muscular, dark skinned man appeared at the bar dressed in what appeared to be clothing far more suitable for a renaissance fair than the middle of Tokyo.

Fluffy stood bolt upright, salt and bits of shell encrusting his fur. "YOU!"

"Me?" the demon lord of shadows and darkness looked at the magical ferret, arching what would have been considered an eyebrow if he had actually possessed eyebrows.

"Him," Mimi replied, pulling down a glass and pouring something dark and old into it, "First one's on the house," the bartendress said, as she slid the container to her newest customer.

"YOU OWE ME A SOUL." Fluffy squeaked at the demon, fluffing up to twice his previous size as his fur stood on end.

"I owe you nothing, small, magical, talking rodent," came the reply.

"You stole it, and I intend to get it back." Fluffy stated, growling. "If our paths ever cross again, I'll eat your godsdamned eyes out. Even if it takes until Yakashima is old enough to visit here on her own."

"From whom did I 'steal' a soul exactly?" the demon crossed his arms.

"From ME, you fool. Yakashima pledged hers in the service of my people, and you took it. Thus, it is in my care."

"You mean the soul freely given to me under laws far older than you or I?" The demon grinned, "Incidentally, the soul that I did not actually take because I am trapped here and have no use for it on this plane?" He paused, "And for a soul under your care, you were awfully negligent with it's actual care. What was your charge doing as part of a summoning circle? And how do you let it enter it and break said circle? Surely you must have know that the soul would be forfeit the moment she stepped inside."

"Laws older than you, maybe." Fluffy remarked. "Your contract is not legally enforceable. Mine is notarized and in triplicate, as per the laws of my people. And I do not control my charge, merely guide her. And I happened to be asleep at the time."

"Mmm, asleep, I can just imagine that defence before a magistrate," the demon continued to mock, taking on a rather archaic tone of voice, "Yessa yer lordship, Ahs know Ahs 'pposed tow watch them prisoners, but Ahs was sleepin." He laughed, "I've seen heads roll for less."

"If it weren't for living off shadow magic right now, I would see you burned." Fluffy snarled, baring tiny little fangs.

Meanwhile at the end of the counter, Zeit seemingly blinked into existence when no one was watching. He sat there, acting as though he'd been there for a while, with coffee in hand.

Mimi arched an eyebrow, but said nothing. This was par for the course, after all, and also the least impressive teleportation sequence she had ever seen. "<No burning my patrons,>" she informed the fluffy magical creature.

Fluffy grumbled, patting his fur down, or at least what he could reach of it. "Curse these tiny limbs. So inflexible, so few joints." He gave Fred the finger before dropping down to all fours and scampering away, using a barstool to make his way to the floor.

The demon lord chuckled (which was not a pleasant sound), and finished his drink.

Summary:
-Whisp (and therefore Dev) are stuck having a sleepover with Yakashima and Kawasaki at the Manor.
-First up, pizza and horror movies! No, not everybody wants Hawaiian.
-Mimi arrives with ice cream! And forbids slumber party demon summoning.
-Hmm, what to do next... Makeovers? Nah, demon summoning!
-Whisp apparently does rather a lot of demon summoning, and lays down the Law before they get started.
-They end up with a demon lord, who had been banished. Apparently, summoning freed him. Oops?
-Yakashima breaks the summoning circle, and gets the demon stuck on the mortal plane. Definitely oops.
-Mimi is disapproving, but nobody loses their soul. And Whisp forbids the demon from, y'know, doing bad things. Because she knows his true name, and there's power in that.
-The demon shall now be known as Fred. And has found the bar.
-Fluffy has also found the bar. And needs to be returned to Yakashima. Shockingly, Mimi is convinced to sign paperwork.
-The girls return to ice cream. And RWBY.

---

"<What are you doing in my underwear drawer!>" A certain retired police office exclaimed, "<And no, that is not a massaging pillow!>"

"<It is now.>"
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