Chapter 12

        Engineer suddenly stopped moving his PDA around.
        He gasped.
        Madoka looked over to where Engineer was pointing his device, and let out a gasp of her own.
        "What? Team, what's going on? Let me see," prompted the Fugitive.
        Homura walked over beside Madoka. They both took out their cell phones that were connected to the team's comm system.
        "Uh, Engineer, just put your thing up," said the Fugitive.
        Engineer raised his PDA in front of his face and then glared angrily at the people in the distance.
        Serah Farron and Nagisa Hazuki were there. But a third person was with them.
        The third person stood with her back to the Resurrection Movement teammates. She had long navy-blue hair with some thin pink highlights, and wore what looked like a bow on her head and a frilly-looking black Gothic-like dress with white trim.
        "Don't mind them. They're harmless, I swear," asserted Madoka on the phone.

        "Wait a minute," said the Fugitive. "Engineer, I think I just saw her a few days ago. You know, that girl who's got a candy cane SWORD?!"
        The Fugitive's suddenly aggravated tone prompted Engineer and Madoka to look up from the PDA. They saw the new girl lean forward for a brief moment.
        Engineer and Madoka heard the rustling of clothes, quickly followed by a metallic scrape. The girl stood up straight and brandished a katana with vibrant blue and white stripes to her side. At the same time, they noticed that one of her legs was now mostly bare.
        "That skunk's starting to smell," teased Engineer.
        "I know! I honestly truly didn't think she would do that!" growled the Fugitive, who was now bordering on anger. "And same with the other two-- I mean, a few days ago, they got away from us!"
        "That's not what happened," insisted Madoka.
        Suddenly, Madoka saw Homura raise an arm in front of her. As Madoka lowered her phone, she also noticed another glaring look on Homura's face.
        "No. Get back," ordered Homura. "Like it or not, you should leave immediately."
        "Wait," pleaded Madoka. "Stop trying to pick a fight--"
        "I won't allow it."
        "Madoka, let her do it," ordered the Fugitive. "Last year, those people over there slapped Homura in the face and slashed up Engineer's--!"
        "No," interrupted Homura, who was now on her phone as well.
        "What 'no'?! Homura, look: Serah and that swimmer dude slapped you and everything!"
        "I already told you once. You're steering innocent people into danger."
        "And now you're just not gonna blast the people who did that to you?!"
        "No, especially since Madoka Kaname's involved."
        "Madoka? Actually, yeah, Madoka, I just thought of something."
        "Huh?" asked Madoka.
        "I don't wanna fight," insisted Homura, "but you leave me no choice."
        With a turn of her shield, Homura vanished.
        "Homura..." muttered Madoka.
        Engineer groaned. Then he told Madoka, "Come on! I need help defending this point!"

        Madoka raised her phone to her ear.
        "So then, what do you think I should do?" asked Madoka over the comm.
        "Madoka..." The Fugitive's tone of voice became cold and aggressive. "Madoka, let's just say: Those three are gonna find themselves with an arrow of light right through them..."
        "What did you say?"
        "An arrow of light right through them, and they won't even know."
        "But then that's... That's even worse!"
        "Madoka, go ahead. Do it!" ordered the Fugitive.
        Engineer called out. "Start praying, missy!"
        Serah and the navy-blue-haired girl turned around. Nagisa delayed for a brief moment before turning around himself. Serah crossed her arms and adopted a stern facial expression, while Nagisa remained confused as he looked back and forth between the two groups.
        "Stop..." moaned Madoka.
        "DO IT, Madoka!" repeated the Fugitive.
        A mischievous sneering grin seemed to appear on the navy-blue-haired girl's face.
        Madoka covered her mouth with her gloved hands.
        "Please stop...!" pleaded Madoka.
        "Get RID of them! RIGHT N--"
        "RAAAAAaaaaaaggghhhhhh..." Engineer screamed.
        A thin white beam had made contact with Engineer's head and knocked it backwards as he began to collapse.
        Suddenly, everything froze in place around Madoka, including Engineer's body. Madoka looked around before she noticed that her free hand had grabbed around someone's left hand.
        Homura had returned for Madoka. Her shield was now parallel to her arm and had its inner gears exposed.
        "Do not let go of my hand," ordered Homura. "You'll be frozen in time if you do. Hurry!"
        Madoka began to squeeze the end-call button tightly on her phone. She escaped the area with Homura, while holding her hand.

        The navy-blue-haired girl blinked. She couldn't understand how two people just vanished in front of her. Nevertheless, she raised her free hand high above her head and then walked over to the hardhat-wearing man who got taken out, leaving Serah and Nagisa where they were.

        The girl took a closer look. She noticed a mechanical box on the ground, where the hardhat-man had fallen, that was projecting a red hologram of the man. She picked up the box while still holding her katana in her right hand, and smiled to herself.


*   *   *

        The two-tone electronic alarm sounded once on the primary inhibitor as Mami reopened the audio recording she discovered. Scout and FemScout were now joined by Madoka and Homura, who were both very upset.
        The high-priority audio archive file from December 16, 2012 resumed its playback, and the Fugitive's panicked voice was heard once more.
        "Okay, look, it was four months ago, but... I made a deal with a devil. A. Devil.
        I didn't know what to do. I was desperate, and this devil... this nightmare mistress was a pretty girl. She's very pretty, and she went up to me that day. No one ever goes up to me anymore, and I wouldn't think she'd try to run a sword through me. Ever. But today, she tried. The nightmare mistress almost killed me. She-- she just-- almost ran me through with a sword that... I don't think the sword's even hers. It was silver and teal-colored, and....
        Ok, anyway, Engineer, I know how awesome you and your people were, and Madoka's all worried about me, too. I do not have any weapons to protect myself with, and Engineer, you-- your people have your weapons, and Madoka's also got some friends with weapons. So, I want you people to form a Resurrection Movement. I want you all to get together and fight anyone who tries to kill us. Otherwise, that nightmare mistress is gonna kill me if she comes back. And if she kills me, she's gonna start terrorizing everyone-- everyone you know, and even the people we don't even know yet.
        That's-- that's all. Just, Engineer, just get back to me when you get your friends together."

        After the recording finished, Homura moved Madoka's right hand and placed her own phone into it.
        "Homura..." muttered Madoka.
        "My fight is somewhere else," declared Homura. Then she turned her shield on its axis and disappeared.
        The remaining team members-- Madoka, Mami, Scout, and FemScout-- could only look at each other and at the phone that Homura left behind.


*   *   *

        Spy and Miku solemnly looked at the comatose Sniper, who was laid on the floor of Medic's operating room beside Heavy. Though Drogentote Medical Hospital was less than hospitable nowadays, Medic still got the job done: he activated two of his Mediguns and had their levers held in place by themselves. In truth, it was Kurisu who came up with the idea, but she currently had her hands clapped together near the two patients as she drooped her head. Medic had even crouched down onto the floor to personally keep a close eye on Heavy.
        As brilliant as Medic and Kurisu were... in their own ways, they could not wake up Sniper or Heavy from their comas, not even with the different heart-pounding or quick-healing Ubercharges they had at their disposal.
        All the mercs could hope for was to come up with ways to defeat the rest of the Opposition so that the headshot-induced comas could come to an end.


*   *   *

        In the dark void, the navy-blue-haired girl held the mechanical box with both hands while holding onto her katana. She walked down the dark halls with Serah and Nagisa, the other two members of her group. The girl noticed what looked like an astronaut in front of them readjusting his helmet. She briefly held her katana to her right side as she motioned for the others to stop.
        But then the girl remembered. Those astronauts weren't astronauts at all. They were weird-sounding men who merely wore spacesuits just to prove some kind of stupid point and then got themselves recruited by someone in the Opposition to protest some guy's life or whatever.
        Suddenly, the spacesuit-man clutched his chest and slowly collapsed to the ground, as if he was dying of a heart attack... which he probably was.
        The girl silently humphed to herself. The Opposition and anyone they got for their cause didn't really matter to her. She would gladly see a few more Opposition Members fall before she'd EVER help whoever's left.
        As for that Resurrection Movement fighting the Opposition, their leader really went and lost it once they showed him the katana she held, too.
        The girl reassured herself that they will know who she is soon enough.
        Then she frowned. She wanted to have chocolate, candy, and cupcakes again.
        The girl shrugged her shoulders. She spun her katana once with her right hand and decided to put it away.
        She looked down at her legs and made sure that she was wearing thigh-high socks on both.
        After all, isn't that kinda her thing: turning her socks into her twin katanas, named Stripes I and II? They weren't "candy cane swords" at all!
        The girl smiled to herself again.
        Without that innate ability of hers, they wouldn't have given her the name she got when she arrived in this world.
        A girl with navy-blue hair, a bow on her head, and a frilly black dress?
        Only one girl with clothes like that could transform her socks into vibrant blue and white-striped katanas.
        And her name was Stocking Anarchy.




End of episode 5.