Chapter 5

        The rapid montage proceeded with footage from the gathering's third and final day.
        MAY 18 2014 9:28 AM.
        At the urban street, Soldier, who had his regular military helmet over his eyes and carried a shark-shaped rocket launcher with him, had been stopped by a woman with her bright blue hair in very long braids. Soldier did not like getting stopped in place. However, he had noticed the woman admiring his weapon, and he really loved to talk to people like her.
        "I'm not going to just give it to you," declared Soldier. "You'd like that, wouldn't you? ...Comrade."
        "Aww, c'mon," replied the woman. "What's the worst that could happen?"
        MAY 18 2014 10:01 AM.
        The bowtie-wearing man, now wearing a red fez on his head, had stepped out of his blue police box at the same city.
        A blonde-haired girl who wore a red brimmed hat, white sunglasses on her hat, a black shirt, and a red skirt began to wave at the man while holding a red and white spherical capsule in her other hand.
        MAY 18 2014 10:15 AM.
        Back at the grassy field, the black-haired girl with the scissor blade playfully pointed her blade in front of her with her right hand, and waved at someone with her left hand. That someone turned out to be another girl who had another spherical red and white capsule. This other girl, who wore a pink and white baseball cap, a black jacket over a white shirt, and short jeans, responded with a wave of her own.
        MAY 18 2014 10:40 AM.
        At the field now were Madoka and Kyoko, who were about to open the small Pocky boxes that had just been given to them. They noticed that the blonde-haired Gothic dress girl, from a few days earlier, was waving at them with both hands as cheerfully as she could.
        MAY 18 2014 10:45 AM.
        The viewscreen returned to the urban street. A boy nearby wore blue clothes and a distinctive white bear-like hat that covered his entire head except for his face. His hat gave no hint that he kept his blonde hair underneath. The boy watched from a distance as Vanellope listened to a male voice over a walkie-talkie.
        "...Since you're kinda part of the team now," said the voice, "you can teleport behind the enemies and--"
        Suddenly, the scene shifted within a signal scramble. Vanellope found herself in the teenage form she would remain in until the inevitable attack that night. As Vanellope placed her free hand to her side, the nearby boy looked around in confusion at what had happened.
        The voice continued, "Yeah, you can... glitch-teleport and use one of your cherry bombs on them. Maybe you can glitch-punch them if you want."
        "For you?" replied Vanellope. "Anything."
        MAY 18 2014 11:08 AM.
        Somewhere else in the urban area, Mami, having gotten her walkie-talkie back, stood next to Homura. They noticed Anna and Elsa, who stopped along the way to wave at the two and perform some unusual gestures. Elsa began to blow out kisses with her hands, while Anna pointed at the girls. Mami and Homura nervously returned the greeting with waves of their own.
        MAY 18 2014 11:57 AM.
        In the black void, Kurisu watched as a group of Codename Fortress mercenaries-- Engineer, Scout, Heavy, Sniper, and Medic-- performed various taunts and waves at the same time. Scout and Medic were wearing their costume pieces at the time.
        "At least just don't tell anyone else!" Kurisu shouted. Neither she nor the mercs knew that this was the final day Sniper and Heavy would see the sun before an assassin would cause their downfall.
        MAY 18 2014 12:00 PM.
        Still in the void, Heavy and Sasha began to have their respective sandwiches for lunch.
        "I won't let you have all the good meat to yourself!" she happily declared before she raised her sandwich to her mouth.
        MAY 18 2014 12:11 PM.
        At a corner of a room with large stone bricks, a green-haired girl, who wore a white cat hat and a puffy blue and white dress, waved in front of her. Meanwhile, a girl with orange-brown hair in curly ponytails, who wore an unusual pink-top outfit, was passing by.
        MAY 18 2014 1:21 PM.
        At the field, Mami held her walkie-talkie to her ear as she listened to the Fugitive's voice.
        "Yeah, you might wanna not stay near her for too long," warned the Fugitive. "She could affect your personality just by saluting to you or-- wait wait wait."
        Mami looked up and noticed the black-haired woman in the white military uniform. The woman looked over... and gave Mami a salute, just as the Fugitive predicted.
        MAY 18 2014 1:22 PM.
        The woman looked away in disdainful embarrassment with her hand over her face. Madoka went up to the woman. She was with the brown-haired girl who had gotten the Sealing Wand back from the Opposition months ago. They didn't notice that Mami, behind them, had her hand over her mouth.
        Mami had just realized that the Fugitive she had been talking to moments earlier was the very man in the audience who asked them about a second-Homura during their open-interview session the day before.
        MAY 18 2014 1:38 PM.
        Back at the street, Medic and Spy, in their respective scarf and bowtie costumes, stood nearby as a tall, round man with a giant brown mustache and a red jacket held an Aperture Science radio in his hand. The radio played an infamous quote that was spoken with very unusual emphasis:
        "Snooping as usual, I see?"

        MAY 18 2014 1:45 PM.
        At the field, Anna and Elsa watched as the red-and-pink-haired woman from earlier spoke to them.
        "It's true love," the woman was saying. "That's what makes someone human, right?"
        As the woman formed a heart-shape with her hands, Elsa could be heard saying, "...What?"
        MAY 18 2014 2:00 PM.
        Squid Girl was now with a black-haired woman who wore a white Aperture-branded top and orange pants. As they both waved at each other, they noticed a small cute pink and cream-colored quadruped critter, with pink ears, big round blue eyes, and scarf-like feelers, waving at them as well.
        MAY 18 2014 2:16 PM.
        Mami had her walkie-talkie out again. She listened to the emergency alert that was placed over the team's comm system... which consisted only of an intermittent two-tone electronic alarm.
        There were no spoken details of the alert, not even from the voice of that Fugitive. Maybe he had a personal matter to deal with?
        Mami felt that maybe the two young women who had just arrived, Kurisu and Sasha, could understand the alarm, and held her walkie-talkie in front for them to listen.
        Sure enough, the two of them nodded at each other-- but for reasons even they didn't know-- and then frowned at each other in confusion.
        MAY 18 2014 3:22 PM.
        A young brown-haired girl was talking to someone in front of her. She wore her distinctive clothing style of a yellow ribbon in her hair, a red cloth pinned to her upper sleeve, and a blue and white school uniform. She had just given a wave before she stopped.
        "Why are we even talking right now?" she asked with a confused look on her face.
        MAY 18 2014 3:59 PM.
        The viewscreen showed Sayaka, who was now in her white-caped magical girl outfit. She held one of her swords in her right hand and waved at someone in front of her with her other hand. Two people could be seen from a distance unnoticed by Sayaka: a man in distinctive red mechanical armor with a gold faceplate and a circular light on his chest, and a cartoony-looking girl with a purple hat and dress who rested a hand from one of her thin prosthetic arms, marked with robotic eyes, against her head.
        The footage then showed that Sayaka had waved at Asuna, who was joined by a young black-haired man. Asuna raised her "MISSING: Lambent Light" poster for Sayaka to see, and then chose to wave at her, too, before pointing to the poster.
        "So," the man told Sayaka, "any idea how this could've happened?"
        "Hold up," said Sayaka. "If we're fighting the same enemy, wouldn't it be better if there were more of us?"
        MAY 18 2014 4:17 PM.
        Vanellope, still in her teenage form, waved at someone in front of her, put her hand down, and raised it again to wave once more.
        MAY 18 2014 4:19 PM.
        Sayaka was now beside the woman with the blue hair-braids from earlier. They had just exchanged waves at each other in greeting.
        "Hold on!" the woman prompted. "I'm about to say something really cool."
        "Hey, you're not thinking what I think you're thinking, are you?" asked Sayaka.
        "Wait. Nnnngh... n-- ughh... How do people do this...?"
        MAY 18 2014 5:53 PM.
        While Kyoko held an apple and a pink Pocky box in each of her hands, a teenage girl with brown hair in ponytails, who wore a red outfit with a small black cross on it, was prominently featured on the viewscreen. The girl had a stern expression on her face, which quickly faded into a nervous smile as she waved shyly in front of her.
        Meanwhile, the scissor-blade-wielding girl and the military-uniform woman from earlier walked side by side in the background, followed by Mami and Madoka.
        MAY 18 2014 7:42 PM.
        Luka was once more with the brown-haired man and the tiny black-cloaked man. They had stopped in front of ST 132. Luka had her hand to her chin, as if she was lost in thought.
        "Huh? I have no idea what you are talking about," said the brown-haired man. "Don't try to tell me this was an accident."
        MAY 18 2014 7:46 PM.
        In the field, a well-endowed pink-haired girl with silver headphones waved at someone in front of her. However, her face got a look of concern as she heard the tweed-jacket bowtie man expressing his disappointment once more.
        "They can't have got away from me AGAIN!" the man shouted while offscreen.
        MAY 18 2014 8:19 PM.
        In the black void, a silver-haired man in a dark red jacket stood in the distance. He watched as two young women in jacketed belted uniforms-- one of them who had parted brown hair and looked more mature, and the other who had bright blonde hair and looked younger-- waved at a passing Miku. The brown-haired woman tried to keep a stern expression off her face as best as she could.
        MAY 18 2014 9:32 PM.
        Madoka had her phone to her ear while she, Medic, and Spy stood in front of the room marked "140". She suddenly heard the first bullet.
        "Aaaaaagh!" Sniper's voice was heard on the phone.
        "Sniper's a goner!" yelled Engineer.
        Madoka's mouth fell open.
        MAY 18 2014 9:32 PM.
        Homura was shown in front of ST 132, listening to her phone as well. She heard the second bullet.
        "Aaargh ya-dah..." Heavy's snarl was heard, followed by a dull thud.
        "Heavy's a goner!" yelled Engineer again.
        "Are you freaking kidding me?!" Scout and FemScout's voices were heard in panicked unison.
        "Oh no..." moaned Homura.
        MAY 18 2014 9:33 PM.
        "It's too late now. Never forget what happened here," Homura spoke to Engineer, with her voice carried over the comm lines.
        Medic groaned loudly, while Spy placed his hand onto his face in disappointment.
        The three females who had huddled in the area to listen to the attack watched as Madoka closed her eyes, lowered her head, and made a calm but short declaration:
        "I'm sorry," said Madoka.
        The color bars appeared on Inhibitor 3's viewscreen for a full second. The bars faded to black with another disorienting wave as white text appeared on the screen:







        By the time the rapid montage of archive footage ended, Homura was the one in front of the group of people using Inhibitor 3. Behind her were Madoka, Mami, Spy, Engineer, FemScout, and Scout. The team braced themselves for the Fugitive's comments.
        "Hmm... that blue candy cane sword was somewhere in one of the clips... I think," said the unseen commander. "But... still, I didn't really see any guns... I think the weapons policy took care of that, the one that got introduced a few years back. I mean, even if someone managed to bring a gun, it wouldn't belong to Sniper. I don't know why they'd want to kill us, though."
        Homura stood up straight, but the Fugitive wasn't quite done talking yet.
        "But right now, I'm wondering about that guy in the green hood thing and purple pants..." He groaned, "Urgh. Team, go find out where he is."
        "You do know you're putting innocent people into danger, aren't you?" Homura interjected.
        "Look, Homura, FemScout knows what happened," the Fugitive tensely replied.
        "Yeah," agreed FemScout.
        "Two people attacked you last December: that girl with the pink curly ponytail and that dude with the green hood thing. And someone else just attacked Engineer's friends and probably injured them very badly. You don't call what these people did innocent. I mean, frankly, they're not wearing sunglasses all the time, but I'm the one who almost got killed a year before that girl slapped you in the face."
        Homura and Madoka gasped.
        "Oh no, not again," said Madoka.
        "Dammit!" said Engineer.
        Spy, Scout, and FemScout remained silent.




Chapter 6 >