Chapter 7

        Pew pew POW!
        Engineer, Spy, Scout, and FemScout found themselves in a retro-looking city at night. A dark gray radio tower was in the vicinity among the many gold-tinged buildings in the area, all with lights shining through their windows. The tower's upper section, built along its west side, appeared to be a third of the width of the lower section.
        "Aww, fellas!" Scout exclaimed happily as he turned his head to look around.
        FemScout also had a delighted smile on her face. The city was exactly how she remembered it.
        Engineer and Spy, however, were not so happy about where they had landed.
        "Oh please," groaned Spy, while Engineer silently frowned.
        Just then, one of the spacesuit-wearing protesters stepped out through the radio tower's entrance. "I did not give any of you aeiou any time to go sightseeing!" he declared. "We have to battle!"
        Suddenly, a second protester leaped out of the entrance and tackled Scout. He raised a fist toward Scout's face.
        "Holla holla get dollar!" spoke the second protester with the same identical voice.
        "Hahaha," the first protester laughed synthetically.
        FemScout quickly took out a Force-a-Nature scattergun and aimed it at the first protester. Scout threw a punch without hesitation at the second protester and sent him stumbling onto his feet.
        "Oh no," the two protesters spoke in unison in a very dull manner.
        Nearby, a brown-haired girl who wore a white hat with a red ribbon on it, as well as a red shirt and blue overalls-like shorts, had caught sight of the skirmish between the mercs and the two protesters. She quickly reached for something attached to her hip, but heard the sudden yell of a young girl coming from the radio tower entrance.
        "Me-kara beam!"
        The mercenaries had heard the yell, too. Scout and FemScout dove out of the way as a bright yellow double-beam went straight for the two spacesuit-men.
        An explosion rocked the area and sent the two protesters into the air. They quickly disappeared in a bright blue time-screw portal.
        "Well done, little miss," Engineer praised the girl who had just exited the radio tower.
        It was the green-haired catgirl the mercs just saw on the footage. The girl nodded at Engineer and looked over to the other nearby mercs. The catgirl stifled a mischievous-looking chuckle, and then quickly and happily waved at the group with both her hands.
        "Oh, hell yeah!" cheered Scout.
        Then, the four mercenaries suddenly disappeared in another time-screw.
        The catgirl frowned and looked over to the brown-haired girl with the white hat, who responded by nervously shrugging her shoulders.

        Meanwhile, Neru had her right hand on top of the primary inhibitor's frontal column. She then curled her hand into a fist and slammed it again.

        Pew pew POW!
        The mercs found themselves in a town that appeared devoid of any color. FemScout looked behind her and realized that she and the mercs were in front of the entrance of a tower. The tower was built upon a rock formation and had actually served as a gravesite sometime in the past... which was apparently the very sometime the mercs had been sent to.
        Spy groaned loudly. "Good lord!" he exclaimed.
        "Let's do this Texas style," said Engineer as he took out his antenna-equipped Frontier Justice shotgun.
        "Gotcha," agreed Scout. The first things he took out of his inventory, however, were a roll of red wrapping paper and a red Christmas bauble.
        FemScout giggled at Scout's apparent choice of weaponry.
        Pew pew POW!
        The two protesters then appeared in front of the mercs and began to taunt them.
        "Uhhhh, what?!" the second protester spoke in apparent disappointment. "We sent you aeiou bogs here so your bodies would be possessed by the music."
        "But there's no music here," continued the first protester in the identical voice. "That's just--"
        "Morons," declared Engineer. He fired his three volleys at the first protester.
        BANG! BANG! BANG!
        The first protester was downed with barely a reaction.
        The second protester then leapt at FemScout. "Ehh-brbrbrbrbr," his voice rumbled as he landed onto FemScout... right against her gun.
        The Force-a-Nature's blast sent the protester backwards into the air. The protester hit the ground and slid next to his partner.
        Scout leaped over to the protesters and raised his roll of paper about to strike them with it, but then heard two gunshots.
        BANG! BANG!
        "Waiiiiiii...." the protesters droned as two visible holes appeared in their helmets.
        "Burn in hell, you mumbling abominations!" snarled Spy, who had shot the protesters with his custom-engraved Ambassador revolver.
        "Yeah, yeah, thanks," said Scout.
        "All in a day's work."
        The defeated protesters disappeared in a time-screw.

        "Come here, fellas," invited Engineer. He took out his silver-coiled Eureka Effect wrench.
        "What the--?!" FemScout was surprised. She didn't know Engineer had his teleporting wrench with him the whole time.
        "Hold on!" called Engineer as he reached out his left hand.
        Before long, Spy had his hand in Engineer's, while Scout placed his arm around Engineer's head and held his other hand in FemScout's. Engineer raised his wrench high above his head.
        With a bright flash from the sky, the four mercs disappeared from the town.

        "What?!" Neru exclaimed in her synthetic English voice. "Where'd they go?! Oh well. Time to check on the other group."
        She slapped her palm onto the inhibitor once more.
        Neru smirked as she heard the identically voiced synthetic chants going back and forth between her two remaining spacesuit-men over the inhibitor.
        "What do we want?"
        "The Fugitive dead!"
        "When do we want it?"
        "What do we want?"
        "The Fugitive dead!"
        "When do we want it?"
        Kyoko and Sayaka arrived at the inhibitor room. Both of them wore their school uniforms, though a look of discomfort on Kyoko's face implied that she'd rather be wearing something else. Sayaka had her blue ovoid Soul Gem in her outstretched right hand as a tracker. Though such items were normally used to track the trails of the supernatural enemies that magical girls fought, such as horrific witches or whatever shapeless beings took their place later on, Sayaka's Soul Gem glowed brightly to the negativity that the third Opposition Member seemed to emanate around her.
        Sayaka looked over at Kyoko beside her and nodded.
        "Sure, why not?" said Kyoko. "She won't know what hit her, I promise." She raised her left hand in front of her with her palm down, and summoned her red Soul Gem from the ring on her finger.
        Neru heard a repeated noise behind her. It sounded like a metal chain being pulled tightly, as if someone was trying to pull it apart with their bare hands... and failing. She turned around and saw Kyoko and Sayaka.
        Kyoko had been struggling to make the spear's point extend further from within her Soul Gem. She remembered too late that her spear couldn't extend while she was here. In fact, her spear couldn't extend when she tried to attack that black-haired girl a year ago. That girl had swung a pink wand at her friend Sayaka, forcing her to detransform, albeit temporarily, and leaving her vulnerable to a blast from her cannon.
        "So, you wanna join your little friends, don't you?" taunted Neru in her synthetic voice. She raised her hand above her head and tapped her flower with it.
        Sayaka heard the inhibitor to her right-- Inhibitor 3-- as it began to have a malfunctioning crackle on its viewscreen. She pushed her Soul Gem out in front of her, causing an attached sword to extend out of it, and tried to swing it at Neru. However, the crackle sent out a burst of energy onto Sayaka and Kyoko before the sword made contact.
        Neru quietly humphed to herself as the time-screw portal faded. Then, she turned around to watch the primary inhibitor's screen.


*   *   *

        The city that Madoka, Mami, and the two Homuras found themselves in had more detail than the towns the Codename Fortress mercs had been thrown into. The buildings in this city had yellow outer walls with green rooftops, and there was a tall office building at the center. The few people who were scattered around wearing black uniforms paid little attention to what was happening nearby.
        The girls watched as the spacesuit-wearing subordinate-leader continued to alternate his protest chants with the other protester.
        "What do we want?"
        "The Fugitive dead!"
        "When do we want it?"
        "What do we want?"
        "The Fugitive dead!"
        "When do we want it?"
        Both Homuras each had one of their arms outstretched to their sides in front of a frightened Madoka and a stern-looking Mami. The Homura from the present day, who was still in her uniform, also had her other hand against her throbbing head.
        Pew pew POW!
        "Hey!" called Sayaka as she and Kyoko appeared in the city.
        Madoka and Mami turned around and waved at the two. That was all Sayaka had time to look at, because the protesters' rally was getting on her nerves.
        "What do we want?"
        "The Fugitive dead!"
        "When do we want it?"
        "Think you're so tough, don't you?!" growled Sayaka. She aimed her Soul Gem-mounted sword at the two spacesuits.
        "Your petty remarks will not sway our determination to crush your very lives!" declared the subordinate-leader.
        "Shut up!" yelled Sayaka.
        "I will not aeiou, aeiou. You should have used that sword to cut your own legs off so you can turn into that giant knight helmet mermaid."
        "Wanna stop that?" Kyoko interjected. She stepped forward with her short Soul Gem-mounted spear aimed toward the spacesuit-men.    However, Kyoko had a frown on her face and her other hand clenched into a fist against her forehead. Instead of Sayaka, Kyoko had been the one who noticed that there were two Homuras in the area. Despite the resulting throbbing in her head that was nearly as strong as the one the present-day Homura had, Kyoko was still in the mood to fight.
        "I don't like you coming here and acting like it's a game," she continued. "That pisses me off."
        "You again?!" growled the protester. "You should have jammed that stupid spear of yours into your collarbone, not me!"
        Kyoko blinked. She realized that she confronted this same spacesuit-wearing man just days ago. After a moment's hesitation, she continued to speak. "You gotta be kidding... The hit you took should've put you in a hospital for at least three months."
        The other protester spoke up in an identical voice. "We do not need hospitals, you aeiou. We are simply a movement that people cannot comprehend. Yet, we run on a simple gift that makes them be like us and pick on other people."
        "Aeiou!" the subordinate-leader agreed. "That's why we want the Fugitive dead, you boggets!"
        "You're no good," replied Mami with a sigh.
        Madoka looked over at Mami. "Really? But how come?" she asked.
        Mami pointed to each of the two protesters. "You really are no good," she said. She wasn't concerned about how those spacesuit-men could stay so cruel to others. Mami then looked at the other girls around her and called out, "All right! Let's go, everyone!"
        Kyoko and Sayaka stepped back beside the other girls as they retracted their weapons back into their Soul Gems. The both of them, along with Madoka and Homura, gave a nod of agreement toward Mami. The second-Homura, however, stayed in front of the other five girls and began to reach behind the shield on her left arm.
        Mami was the first to perform some intricate gestures and jumping spins as her magical girl outfit appeared around her in a bright glow, replacing her whole school uniform at once. She even recreated her yellow ribbon on her chest, and a brown hat with a white feather on her head.
        Shortly afterwards, Kyoko and Sayaka performed their own moves and fully summoned their own weapons and their own outfits, with Sayaka having changed her hairclips to those with an "ff" shape with a single flick of her fingers.
        Homura simply made her white and purple outfit appear on herself simply by reaching out her left hand in front of her. However, she took the second-Homura by the hand and sent her into a twirl. Homura placed her left arm back against her chest as her own shield materialized, and placed herself back-to-back with her doppelganger.
        Finally, Madoka pointed with her right hand at each of her four fellow magical girls from the present day, and performed some cute idol-like stances with her hand next to her head. Then, she leaped into the air, which caused a bright flash to change her into her pink and white outfit.
        "Oh, you asked for it!" declared the other protester.
        "The six of you bogs deserve to die for aiding and abetting a Fugitive we want dead!" proclaimed the subordinate-leader.
        Six? Sayaka thought about what that idiot spacesuit-man just said and gripped her sword tightly as she looked around her. She gasped silently as she noticed the second-Homura stepping away from the impromptu back-to-back pose she was in with Homura.
        Sayaka let her sword fall, and then clapped her hands against her forehead. Kyoko let down her guard and stepped over to check on Sayaka.
        Meanwhile, the other four girls were still ready. Mami raised her right hand to the sky. Two white musket rifles with intricate curved patterns dropped in and slowed into a midair hover just above her head, with her arm in between.
        Madoka pushed her left hand forward as a large brown bow appeared in it that was topped with a pink rose. She drew back the bowstring with her right hand, causing a glowing pink arrow to appear between her hands as she took hold of it. She watched as her pink bolt split into two identical ones along her bow.
        Homura quickly reached behind the shield on her left arm and pulled out a pistol. She glanced behind her and saw that her duplicate had pulled out an identical weapon from her own shield.
        "If you wanna run, do it now!" taunted the second-Homura. Then, as if knowing what her present-day counterpart was up to, both Homuras aimed their pistols at the cruel spacesuits.
        The spacesuit-men began to chant another protest rally.
        "Kill! The! Fugitive! Kill! The! Fugitive!"
        "Wait," the other spacesuit-man told the subordinate leader. "Instead of using the word 'fugitive', couldn't we just call him...?"
        "Aeiou! I like what you're thinking," replied the subordinate leader. Then, the two men began to chant an insult-filled version of their protest rally.
        "Kill! The! Bogget-ive! Kill! The! Bogget-ive!"
        Mami had enough of the spacesuit-men's insults. With a grunt, she thrust her right hand in front of her to signal their group's attack.
        Mami's two muskets fired their volleys of singular yellow spheres.
        Madoka let go of her bowstring and unleashed her twin arrows.
        "Take this!" yelled the second-Homura.
        BANG BANG!
        Both Homuras let loose a few volleys from their pistols.
        The barrage of projectiles, magical and otherwise, punched one of the two spacesuits into the air, sending the man wearing it past several of the city's buildings. The downed spacesuit-man was soon on his back with a yell that seemed devoid of any real emotion.
        Kyoko and Sayaka looked up at where the remaining protester stood. Kyoko then raised her fist to the sky with a cheeky grin while Sayaka opened her mouth in a silent happy giggle. Once they both noticed that there was one spacesuit-man left standing, their grins faded.
        "We have to keep this up," announced the second-Homura to the other girls.
        As Homura saw Madoka give a single nod to the doppelganger, she began to consider that maybe her twin-from-another-time wasn't exactly saying the things she would say herself.
        Suddenly, the subordinate-leader spacesuit-man made himself known.
        "No rules, no naps, no shoes!" he declared. "Well, aeiou bunk that last part, but you bogs can suck my asterisk and go bomb yourselves while you jump off a cliff!"
        Madoka gasped and quickly raised her free hand in front of her mouth.
        Homura, unfazed by the death threat, looked over just in time to see her doppelganger turn her shield with her right hand, while still holding her pistol with it.
        A single shot suddenly rang out from the pistol. Only, the shot sounded like it had been amplified tenfold. At the same time, a tremendous force knocked the subordinate-leader backwards. He slid to a stop on the ground, next to the other spacesuit-man.
        The second-Homura slid her finger off her pistol's trigger as she lifted her hand from her shield and took a bow toward the other girls. Homura, upon seeing her doppelganger do this, noted that it was definitely something she herself wouldn't do unless she learned it from someone who sounded almost like her.
        It didn't matter to Madoka either way. She nodded to the second-Homura, satisfied that they defeated the cruel spacesuit-men.
        As Mami looked at her group with a worried look on her face, the subordinate-leader, still lying down, began to sing in his synthetic voice.

"And I say, hey!"

        The six girls looked over to the subordinate-leader.

"What a wonderful kind of day
If we could learn to work and play
And get along with each other..."

        The two spacesuit-men vanished in a single blue portal from the time-screw. As the portal faded, Mami's worried look faded away as she smiled warmly at the others around her, including the two Homuras. She handed Madoka her walkie-talkie for her to activate it so the group could listen for Engineer's cue. Then, Mami twirled around once and created a freshly-made cup of hot tea for herself.
        Mami knew Engineer could get them all back to the inhibitors. They would just have to wait for a bit.




Chapter 8 >