Chapter 10

        Somewhere in the dark void, Scout watched as FemScout was sent backwards by the shotgun blast. Scout then raised his aluminum bat and reached for something else he was carrying.
        "Batta-swing!" he called out.
        Scout used his bat to send out a baseball toward the attacker, only to see the ball get deflected by an oncoming glowing red ball of energy.
        "Argh!" he groaned.
        As the ball of energy faded, Scout then saw a visor-wearing figure, holding a shotgun in her right hand, shuffling closer toward him and FemScout. The figure was none other than Neru Akita, who still wore her vibrant flower above her yellow visor.
        "I told you. That wasn't gonna work anymore," growled Neru in her synthetic English voice. "Don't you boggets ever learn?"
        "Wuss!" called FemScout.
        A blast from her double-barreled Force-a-Nature gun sent Neru into a slight flinch.
        Neru quickly aimed her shotgun toward FemScout and let loose a volley.
        KBLAM! Splat!
        Neru didn't need to be close to her target for her shotgun's blast to make its mark. FemScout collapsed onto her knees with a pained growl as her gun clattered beside her.
        Scout raised his bat and began to charge at the Opposition Member.
        Neru pressed her left hand against Scout's chest and stopped him in place. Then, her hand glowed with a red light that suddenly exploded.
        "Aaaauuughhh!!" Scout screamed as the explosion blasted him backwards. He landed very close to his female counterpart.
        "I'm sick of this," muttered Neru. "If you won't put up a real fight, I'm not gonna bother."
        Neru took a short breath as if she let out a cough. She let her shotgun fall onto the ground and eagerly pulled her yellow smartphone off of her left leg. She made a few presses and swipes on the phone's touchscreen, and then started rapidly pressing her thumbs against it. The smartphone emitted a distinctive series of rapid beeps.


BEEP-Beep-Beep Beep Beep beep-beep-Beep Beep beep
BEEP-Beep-Beep Beep Beep beep-beep-Beep Beep beep

        After a short moment, however, Neru began to frown.


*   *   *

        At the inhibitors, Engineer, still wearing his headset and vest, had one of his red toolboxes beside him. He held his wrench in his gloved right hand and struck the primary inhibitor with it.
        The signals scrambled and showed a live view of Neru texting on her smartphone instead of finishing off the two Scouts.
        "Dominated, little feller," muttered Engineer.
        "Yes!" came a sharp female voice from behind him.
        Engineer turned around and saw a blonde-haired girl with a black Gothic-like dress. This girl was in fact the same one who had been in the footage of the weekend gathering. She wasn't in the mood to bow to Engineer, though, let alone even wave at him, because she seemed to be holding a black notebook behind her.
        "You look a mite tongue-tied," noted Engineer.
        "Even I put some thought into my actions!" the girl retorted. She pointed at the Opposition Member on the viewscreen. "If you want me to kill her, then I'll kill her!"
        She marched over to the inhibitor machine and leaned toward the viewscreen. Then. she began to focus her stare at the Opposition Member... when a crackle rang out from something to her left.
        An electric bolt from the destroyed Inhibitor 2 made contact with the girl. Her body froze up as a bright light surrounded her and dragged her away from the inhibitors...
        Engineer was unaffected by the energy bolt. He looked at the primary inhibitor, and then at the one to the left with a glowing slash on it-- the one that still pumped out smoke. Whoever destroyed Inhibitor 2 in the first place was once again using it to zap out someone who was on neither major side of the conflict.
        From what Engineer understood, the blonde-haired girl was actually a famous model who happened to visit that gathering, and more than a few times, if he remembered correctly. That girl's name was Misa Amane, and she had an acquired sight-power that would reveal people's real names to her if she looked at them or any photo of them for a few seconds. Thankfully, Misa's rather-twisted sense of justice seemed more focused on the Opposition Member than on Engineer, but that electric bolt didn't even give her power a chance to kick in. After all, as the Fugitive put it, "The Opposition doesn't want anyone else" to fight them, except for those in the Resurrection Movement.
        "How'd that plan turn out for you, dummy?" Engineer said to thin air.
        Engineer checked the viewscreen and saw that Neru was now thumbing her smartphone with one hand. He then slammed down his toolbox and pulled out his camera-equipped PDA as he made his way to the fight.
        The toolbox was now unfolding to reveal a portable machine inside it....


*   *   *

        Meanwhile, in the dark open spaces, Homura, Mami, and Miku were standing around holding sets of teacups all provided by Mami's magic. While Miku was in her silver, black, and turquoise part-spy outfit, the two magical girls were in their school uniforms. The three had nearly finished their impromptu teatime when the team's ringtone sounded from the walkie-talkie attached on Mami's hip.
        Mami took a long sip, and gently placed her now-empty cup on top of its saucer.
        "Need help defending this point! Get while the getting's good!" Engineer's voice called out over the comm, along with some particular beeps from a cell phone.
        Mami tapped her walkie-talkie with her fingers before speaking to Homura and Mami.
        "Thank goodness," she sighed happily. She then turned to the other two and spoke. "This is getting serious," she noted in an unusually enthusiastic tone of voice.
        She moved her cup and saucer behind her back, where they disappeared in the blink of an eye.
        Homura placed her hand to her chin in thought, just before a gunshot rang out over the comm.
        It almost made Miku shake her teacup off its saucer, but Spy's voice released any tensions about that gunshot.
        "Oh dear. I appear to have murdered your toy, you amateur," declared Spy.


*   *   *

        Spy had used his Ambassador to shoot the flower off Neru's head. He was still wearing his black headset-mounted hat.
        Scout and FemScout couldn't help but release a few chuckles. Spy then carefully aimed at Neru's smartphone, but FemScout had her Force-a-Nature gun back in her hands and let loose two quick volleys at Neru.
        BANG BANG!
        Neru flinched and dropped her smartphone to the ground.
        "I broke your stupid crap, moron!" taunted FemScout.
        Neru glanced down and then at the mercs. "Uh, no. Don't you see my phone's still on?" she sneered.
        Spy stepped over to the two Scouts and nodded at them.
        "Many thanks," he said.
        "No problem!" replied Scout.
        Spy then saw a fiery red ball coming at him. He dived to the ground to avoid it, and then looked up.
        Three white rifles in the air soared in toward Neru and aimed themselves at her. Their percussion locks made contact.
        The rifles blasted a barrage of fire. Neru was thrown backwards a great distance compared to the shotgun, the flower, and the smartphone that lay on the floor where she was seconds before. To the delight of the three mercs, Homura, now in her magical girl outfit, had appeared in front of them, holding two more rifles in her hands. She let the rifles drop to the floor. The rifles sounded a clatter before they faded away.
        "It's a fate all magical girls can look forward to, eventually," Homura told the mercs as she gestured to someone behind them.
        "I can hardly believe that I'm surrounded by friends I can rely on now," said Mami. She then swung her arms forward in elegant gestures. Soon, more white rifles appeared in the air and zoomed at Neru.
        "Yeah, yeah, yeah!" cheered the two Scouts. Scout followed up with a call of "Keep it moving, guys!"

        "Gotta move that gear up!" called Engineer as he arrived with a yellow-tipped shotgun with a small monitor mounted onto it. He looked up and watched as more of Mami's rifles hovered into place.
        "Cream gravy!" he cheered. His protegee was finally taking his advice of using "more gun" to heart.
        However, a red fiery burst scattered the rifles and blasted them out of the air. Neru stood back up, with the palm of her outstretched right hand facing the mercs and magical girls.
        "I don't care what you think," Neru sneered, still in her synthetic English voice. "You were talking about friends? Those you call your friends will eventually go against you. Oh, it won't be your fault. That's just how they always are. Now can I finish you off already?"
        "You disgust me," scoffed Spy. He aimed his Ambassador at Neru's head, but saw even more of Mami's rifles in midair.
        The ringtone sounded. Homura took her phone out from behind her shield, while Mami looked down at the walkie-talkie on her hip, and the two Scouts raised their heads attentively and focused on what would soon be transmitted on their headsets.
        The Fugitive's voice was heard over the team's various communication devices.
        "Resurrection Movement, that thing Miss Neru said? I think she just talked about herself. I mean, we're lucky she's not sitting in a shopping cart like a wheelchair and cussing people out. That'd make it even worse. All right, team, throw everything you got at her."
        "Yeah, gotcha," agreed FemScout.
        Scout and FemScout then stepped over to where Spy was, with his bat and her gun at the ready.
        Homura and Mami nodded in unison. They went over to the Scouts and Spy, while Mami had her arm out in front of her, and Homura had another of the rifles in her right hand, Before they could fire the rifles, either by magic or by hand, the both of them saw a streak of pink light fly right at Neru.
        The light exploded onto the Opposition Member, sending her into a backwards stumble. Neru then clutched her chest as if an arrow had actually pierced her there.
        The teammates turned around and saw Madoka, in her pink magical girl dress, readying another arrow of pink light within her bow. Suddenly, they all heard the crack of a rocket in midair.
        Neru began to charge another red glow from her left palm.
        FemScout watched as the rocket drew closer. The rocket was one of the green onion missiles that the Fugitive mentioned the other day. Come to think of it, FemScout recalled that there had been another green onion missile when the team was fighting off Black Rock Shooter a year ago, just after that Opposition Member detransformed Sayaka and suppressed her powers with the pink wand that had a winged birdlike head on it. And that would mean...
        The missile, propelled by its twin green end, soared over the Resurrection Movement teammates and within a few metres from where she stood. Suddenly, it spun around and deactivated itself.
        It harmlessly tumbled to the ground and against Neru's thigh-high boots.
        Neru looked up and saw none other than Miku herself, that green-haired rival always getting the fame, soaring into the area. But... Miku had made the missile fall to the floor instead of making it blow up in her face.
        Miku landed on the ground, feet-first, among the teammates and gestured in friendly waves to each of them. Even Spy couldn't help but chuckle.
chan?!") Neru gasped in her Japanese voice. The red glow began to fade from her hand, when...

        Pew pew POW!
        "Uuuhhhh!" came the drone of the spacesuit-wearing subordinate leader as he fell from the air, crashed onto Neru, and rolled onto the ground.
        Neru collapsed to her knees, with the stunned expression now back on her face just underneath her yellow visor. She shook her head, opened her eyes, glared at the spacesuit-man, and began to jeer the protester... only to find that nothing was coming out of her mouth.
        The artificial voice she had was gone.
        But the one the spacesuit-man had wasn't.
        "Hey, Meguka!" he called out.
        There was a pause.
        "Meh-goo-ka, I'm talking to you," the protester spoke.
        "Uhh..." was all Scout could say.
        Spy once again laid his head against his palm.
        "Team, I think the frigging spacesuit guy means Madoka," suggested the Fugitive.
        Of course, Scout realized. Those protesters were so weird, they probably refused to even get people's names right. Hell, they'd probably keep calling him "Scoot" if they got the chance.
        "Madoka, go up there, but be careful," commanded the Fugitive.
        Madoka loosened her hold on her bowstring and took a few steps toward the spacesuit-wearing subordinate leader.
        "I've heard it said," the man recited, "that to be an angel, first you must be dead. But... you look like these angels do, and angels look just like you. Higher. Higher and higher!"
        Homura had a look of surprise on her face as she let go of the rifle she was holding. That idiot spacesuit-man could not possibly get so many things right about Madoka, could he? He wasn't there when Madoka made the wish that made her disappear forever--

        ("Geez!") yelled Neru. She then gestured wildly at the Resurrection Movement teammates to draw their attention.
        Neru flinched as something caught her in the leg against one of her boots. She pulled the thing off and threw it to the ground. Only with a second glance downward did she notice that the thing was a clawed repair-bolt with a battery mounted inside.
        As Neru looked up from the pair of black boots that appeared in front of her, she saw that her own shotgun was pointed at her. The second-Homura, the twin-from-another-time, had taken hold of it while the others weren't looking, and had returned to deal the finishing blow to another Opposition Member.
        Neru then watched as the rest of the Resurrection Movement... teammates... pointed everything else they had at her: a yellow-tipped shotgun, a double-barreled scattergun, a metal bat, a revolver, a pink arrow within a magical bow, and a lot of white engraved musket rifles.
        Soon, even Miku's green onion missile floated away from the ground. It soared up and around, and slowed into a midair hover among the rifles.
        Neru stood up and slowly took a bow toward the Resurrection Movement. Then, she spoke once more in her Japanese voice-- the one she hated, but was a true part of her no matter what-- as a sad smile appeared on her face.
        ("Everyone,") she pleaded, ("Miku-chan must be kept safe. Please.")
        The way Neru referred to the turquoise-haired singer as "Miku-
chan" meant that she had finally accepted that her so-called rival was a friend of hers once more.
        Neru quickly charged up a red glowing ball in her right hand. She closed her eyes contentedly, and threw the glowing ball down where she stood. The ball exploded, and the red glow faded into blue as a time-screw teleport appeared in its place.
        An eerie drone filled the area as the portal faded.
        The third Opposition Member has been defeated.
        "Whoooooo-wee!" cheered Engineer. It was one of the multitude of cheers and laughs the mercs made while the magical girls smiled in relief.
        As the many musket rifles faded away and the green onion missile soared harmlessly out of the area, Mami and Miku both happily winked at Engineer and then smiled to each other, while the second-Homura slipped Neru's shotgun into the shield on her left forearm and took it for herself before she began to leave.




Chapter 11 >