Chapter 4

        May 15, 2014.
        After sleeping the night away, Engineer was back alone in the inhibitor room. Having placed one of his numerous identical-looking toolboxes behind him, Engineer was in front of the primary inhibitor once more, discussing matters with the unseen Fugitive who enlisted his help.
        The Fugitive sounded tense as he spoke. "Well, it's either the person with this blue candy cane... thing that tried to kill your friends, or those spacesuited protesters who just want us dead."
        "They just ain't right," said Engineer.
        "But you know," the Fugitive continued, "those spacesuit guys, I mean, of course they're not astronauts; well, not really. They're just too frigging mean and uncivil to be real actual astronauts." He groaned, and made a request. "Uh, Engineer, just, if you can, please finish up your stuff today and then we won't be so s-s-stressed tomorrow," he stammered.
        Engineer nodded.
        "All right now. Mm-hmm," the Fugitive concluded.
        Engineer hit the inhibitor with his regular wrench to end the conversation.



        However, a purple gradient appeared on the viewscreen with a wide inset of a retro-styled cliff landscape. Homura and Soldier appeared onscreen, as if both had teleported in. Soldier had conveniently forgotten to restock his grenades and was left with just one strapped to his chest. As he and Homura had their conversation, text appeared just beneath them, as if they were in a video game.
        "If God had wanted you to live, He would not have created me!" taunted Soldier.
        "I don't make a habit of telling lies," replied Homura in her cold demeanor.
        "What's that? No, I can't think of anyone who'd want an autograph," said Soldier sarcastically.
        Homura paused. Though Soldier was sarcastic, Homura knew that there was that one guy who kept wandering around looking for people... Maybe that guy, who she met up with last year, was the Fugitive who sent for her and Madoka's help? Homura didn't know for sure.
        Homura finally replied, "I've got some stuff to do." She placed her right arm on her shield.
        "Go about your business," ordered Soldier. "Is that understood, maggot?"
        Homura gave her shield a turn, and disappeared.
        "I will slap the magic out of your mouth..." muttered Soldier. He grabbed his penguin again and whooshed away.

        The viewscreen next showed Tsuruya, Maid Gunner, and Fujii grooving to the LhS they had played earlier. Thankfully, no spacesuit-wearing protesters were creeping around today. Fujii then had a smile on her face as she looked over to each of her fellow maids.

        A retro hillside area with a high flat-topped hill and a floating island was shown. Soldier then appeared and looked around.
        "A battlefield... Much better," he sighed.
        He took another quick look around before another spacesuit-wearing protester appeared in a time-screw teleport.
        Pew pew POW!
        As soon as he appeared, the protester taunted in his artificial voice, "Have I ever told you how much you gay pricks should have died many times over?"
        "This is my world," Soldier taunted back. "You are not welcome in my world!"
        "Oh what, you're gonna grenade me now?"
        "Come here, cupcake!"
        Soldier threw his remaining grenade at the protester.
        The explosion managed to knock the protester to the ground, despite being protected by his spacesuit. The protester continued to taunt, "Haven't we told you yet? We will keep coming back, no matter what!"
        "You fools," muttered Soldier. He grabbed the penguin attached behind him and teleported away.

        The ringtone used by the Resurrection Movement's members was then heard by Engineer on the headset that was mounted to his hardhat. The call was picked up automatically.
        The Fugitive was back on the line. "Wait wait wait," he said. "Engineer, is everything showing up as old video games on the--?"
        "Yes!" replied Engineer. He hit the inhibitor with his wrench once more.
        FemScout was at a grassy area near a body of water, and was in front of a giant checkered loop made of dirt and grass, almost like one on a rollercoaster. She appeared to be holding a game controller against her forehead.
        FemScout chanted, "I'm gonna headbutt ya! I'm gonna headbutt ya! I'm gonna headbutt ya!"
        "FemScout?" said the Fugitive. "Okay, well, I-I heard something about a school academy where some people, who are all dressed up with game controllers on their heads, go into video games like that one you're in."
        Meanwhile, Engineer was confused by the Fugitive's speech as he listened.
        "They earn their credits or something by doing that," continued the Fugitive. "Anyway, I don't think we should mess with those people before their "classes" start. FemScout, get out of there and please put that thing back where you found it."
        "Argh!" groaned FemScout.

        Engineer struck the inhibitor with his wrench again.

        The viewscreen showed a brown-haired teenage girl talking to a small white cat-like creature in the middle of the black void. The girl, Ritsu Tainaka, was the drummer of a high school light-music club band with her friends. Ritsu wore a yellow headband that pushed her hair out of the way in a manner that showed her forehead. She also wore an open dark blue uniform blazer jacket over an untucked white shirt marked with a blue ribbon. The jacket and shirt were above a pale blue skirt.
        The cat-like creature, known as Kyubey, not only had two cat ears, but he also had two floppy rabbit-like ears on each side of his head. These floppy shapes were surrounded each by a floating golden ring and ended in a three-triangle-pointed pink shape with small red dots just above each point. Kyubey's face consisted of circular red eyes and an unflinching catlike smile, and he also had a giant wide flowing white tail.
        Kyubey had spent the past year unsuccessfully trying to assign Ritsu into a contract to become a magical girl. Kyubey remained persistent, even though he knew that Ritsu was uncertain about what to do in her future, and remained this way still.
        "Even though I really want you to," stated Kyubey, "I can't rush you." As he spoke, his mouth remained closed.
        "Hey, you shouldn't let appearances deceive you," replied Ritsu.
        "But it might not be as easy as you think."
        Suddenly, a signal scramble hit the area.
        "Are you nervous?" asked Kyubey.
        Ritsu gestured to herself as she suddenly glared at Kyubey and sneered, "At least... we're not from the realm of dork." She spoke in a voice that wasn't exactly hers.
        Kyubey seemed unfazed by Ritsu's sudden change in demeanour. Suddenly, the both of them heard the scream of another teenage girl who had just arrived.
        "Aah! Oh no!" screamed the girl, whose name was Yui Hirasawa. She also had brown hair but did not wear a headband. Yui was the lead guitarist in the light music band, and her uniform was mainly the same as Ritsu's, but she had her jacket buttoned up.
        "All this craziness has made me forget everything I'm supposed to do!" continued Yui as she stopped beside Kyubey.
        Ritsu crossed her arms, turned her head toward Yui, and sneered, "What are you made of? Gumdrops and sugar plum pie?"
        Just then, Soldier ran up to the three of them.
        "Everyone down!" commanded Soldier. "That is an order."
        "Yeah, or else what?" demanded Ritsu. She was unaware that her friend with long black hair was behind her, with her fist held high.
        Soldier watched as the girl left a visible comical lump on Ritsu's head. He then chuckled to himself and began to turn away.
        "What do you think you're doing?!" yelled the girl.
        Soldier then stopped in his tracks. He thought he was the one being addressed by the very girl who had managed to take her revenge on him after she was thrown into their guys' business.... The girl with long black hair, Mio Akiyama, was in the same uniform as the other two girls, and was the bassist of their light-music band. Mio had been thrown into Codename Fortress's mess by Soldier, back when he was more proudly aggressive and she was more anxiously shy.
        "I bet you're upset with me too, aren't you?" spoke Kyubey.
        While Mio and Ritsu looked at Kyubey, Soldier then reached for his penguin once more and teleported off.
        Mio then noticed two people not far from where she, Yui, Ritsu, and Kyubey were.

        A girl with chestnut-blonde hair was in the middle of her own argument with Homura, who was in her school uniform. The girl's name was Asuna Yuuki. She was one of the few in the vicinity who played immersive virtual-reality RPGs; within them, she had been known for her lightning-fast sword strikes and was all suited up in her red and white outfit from one of these RPGs for an upcoming weekend gathering. Asuna still had her "MISSING: Lambent Light" poster in her right hand.
        "I can't believe you," said Asuna in frustration, with her left hand on her hip. "Do you even understand what's going on?"
        "Don't be stupid," asserted Homura. "You're in no position to question my help."
        Asuna held up her poster and continued to speak. "I'm running this operation. Okay?"
        Homura replied, "It'll be a very long time, before--"
        Mio screamed as she crouched down with her hands over her ears. This caught the attention of both her and Asuna.
        "Mio, why did you scream?" asked Yui.
        "I..." whimpered Mio. She groaned softly, stood up straight, and then brushed down the front of her skirt with her hands. Then Mio spoke to Asuna and Homura. "You guys really worry me sometimes."
        "Sorry," said Asuna. She lowered her hands to her sides and continued, "I can imagine how frightened you are." Asuna shook her left shoulder and tilted her head in a sideways gesture toward Homura, who took notice. Suddenly, Asuna drooped her head.
        "I feel like... something bad's gonna happen again," spoke Asuna softly.




Chapter 5 >