Chapter 8

        March 13, 2015.
        At the Warmfront base, Spy left the futuristic dagger and a written note nearby for an ally to retrieve as part of the Resurrection Movement's plan. He wanted to surprise the team by having someone else use the dagger on the Opposition Member. He didn't know what to make of the ally when she ran down the hallway back in December 2013, but she did help take down an Opposition Member over a year ago, after all.
        Spy used his Cloak and Dagger watch, and became invisible.
        Sure enough, Black Gold Saw soon arrived. She read the note:


We have decided that this dagger
is to be used against Strength.
I would like you to do the job.

        and picked up the dagger as requested. Now that she knew that the team actually wanted to defeat Strength, she could happily help them do so.
        Engineer had looked up the details of the inhibitor room meeting and was aware of the team's plan to use Spy's futuristic dagger on Strength's back. He took Madoka out for a walk near a RED Team base. He had some of his firearms with him in case of an attack, and Madoka had her Soul Gem to transform herself if she needed to.
        Suddenly, the ringtone sounded.
        Engineer took out his PDA, and Madoka took out her phone.
        The Fugitive gave his order. "Team, we got three groups after us, each having their own reasons. Now's our time to strike before we lose anyone else or they realize they can work together to kill us. That means, whatever comes your way, team, you deal with it right then and there, okay?"
        They noticed Sayaka just in front of them, with her phone out as well. She had been examining a half-finished box of Pocky sticks she found on the ground nearby. Sayaka then looked over.
        "Madoka?" asked Sayaka.
        Madoka smiled and nodded. She gave a little wave.
        Sayaka held up the Pocky box she was examining. "Pathetic, right?" she asked with a grin. She and Madoka knew that Kyoko wouldn't leave a snack half-finished on purpose.
        "Over here," prompted Engineer as he pointed to more Pocky boxes littering the ground.
        The boxes were empty, unlike the first one.
        The three of them soon found empty take-out containers littering the ground, as well as two wooden skewers that had been thrown into the ground with such force that they were embedded into it.
        "I'll keep you safe," said Sayaka. "Just follow my lead and you'll be okay, I promise."
        Soon, they also found a crude sketch of a mental inhibitor that had a gash across its paper, as if someone had mockingly scrawled the design in an upset manner and shoved a spearhead through it several times.
        Near the BLU Team base, Engineer, Madoka, and Sayaka found Kyoko, who was already transformed and holding her spear at her side.
        "Quick as a hiccup, ain't ya?" called Engineer.
        Kyoko turned around and scowled at the three. "Okay, hold it. What do you think you're doing? Playing tag?!"
        The ringtone sounded again. As Madoka and Sayaka raised their phones to their ears, Kyoko wanted to reach for hers, too, but decided to resume her stance.
        The Fugitive's voice returned to the comms. "Resurrection Movement, we got trouble. One of our teammates, Kyoko, might have something against us."
        Kyoko quipped, "Yup. Me." She overheard the Fugitive's voice just fine.
        "Apparently, someone named Annie Leonhart made her think we're not worth anything," explained the Fugitive.
        Kyoko didn't even need to reach for her phone to know what he was talking about. "Oh, now don't tell me," she sneered. "You don't really believe in all that 'fighting for justice' crap, do you?"
        Sayaka essentially shoved her phone into Kyoko's ear as the Fugitive groaned, "Ugh... Kyoko, what do you think you're doing? You're supposed to be helping us fight."
        Kyoko replied, "You get a once-in-a-lifetime chance at having anything you want and you go and waste it on that?"
        Sayaka took her phone back and yelled at Kyoko, "Oh yeah? What do you know about anything?"
        "I know a lot more than you, dummy! I don't like you coming here and acting like it's a game. That pisses me off."
        "The hell, man...?" groaned the Fugitive. "Resurrection Movement, get ready."
        Just then, a silvery-blonde-haired woman stepped out of the BLU Base. Elsa, who was wearing a green-colored flower-themed version of her dress, was surprised at what was going on. She stopped in place as she overheard Kyoko offering a dangerous proposition.
        "If all you want is to get the boy to love you, there's better ways of doing that," said Kyoko.
        Engineer took out his shotgun and aimed it in front of him.
        Madoka spoke up. "Think about what you're doing! This can't be right!"
        "How about this?" continued Kyoko. "If you don't got the stomach for it, I could always mess him up for ya. It'd be really easy to do."
        The Fugitive's order arrived swiftly. "That is it. Team, attack Kyoko right now!"
        Engineer yelled at Kyoko, "I'm gonna lay you out!"
        BANG! BANG!
        His shots missed as Kyoko vaulted high into the air with her spear.
        But a loud rumbling arrived very quickly. Kyoko looked up just in time to see a giant black robotic fist heading straight for her.
        The fist slammed Kyoko out of the air. A girl with a black hood and white hair then landed next to Kyoko. Using the fists that were attached to her amputated arms, she followed up with a brutal beating with both fists at the same time.
        Another order arrived from the Fugitive. "Team, forget about the last order. Opposition Member Strength is in the area. Take her down!"
        Madoka and Sayaka raised their Soul Gems and began to transform.
        Strength slammed her fists on Kyoko.
        And again.
        Elsa gasped at the brutal pounding that Strength was giving Kyoko, and shoved her hands in front of her without a second thought.
        Strength's fists suddenly slowed to a stop as a thin layer of ice froze them and her arms into place above her head.
        Engineer remembered the team's plan he looked up the details for, and began to speak into his headset. "Spy, get over here!"
        "Magnificent," replied Spy over the comm.
        Madoka and Sayaka finished transforming and readied their weapons. Madoka had her rose-topped bow, while Sayaka had one of her identical swords.
        Scout and FemScout arrived in the area. "Let's waste 'em!" they yelled in unison.
        But to FemScout's surprise, Scout took out his bat and hit a baseball at Elsa.
        A pillar of ice sprung up from the ground and deflected the baseball.
        "Excuse me!" yelled an annoyed Elsa with her hands on her hips. She turned to head back into the BLU base.
        "Aw, crap," muttered Scout.
        "Let a real Scout get to work!" taunted FemScout as she fired her Force-a-Nature gun at Strength's back.
        BANG BANG!
        Strength, unaffected by the attack, turned around in place, still with her fists and arms stuck above her head.
        Suddenly, the Fugitive gave another command. "Resurrection Movement, Annie Leonhart's in the area. She gave Kyoko a reason to have something against us, so you might as well take her down."
        Madoka and Sayaka turned around and found Annie just behind them wearing her usual scowl.
        "That hurts me. It really does," muttered Annie. She had overheard the Fugitive's voice as well.
        "What are you doing?" asked Sayaka. "You shouldn't be here."
        "Who cares?" Annie told Sayaka. "Tell me something: If someone ordered you to die, would you do it?"
        Sayaka could only bare her teeth at the one who made Kyoko ditch the team.
        Annie pulled Madoka's phone out of her hands and spoke into it. "And what about you?"
        The Fugitive was even less impressed than Annie. "Look, I don't know what you told Kyoko to make her have something against us, but I'm gonna send the team to fight you if I have to."
        "So what?" replied Annie. "I wouldn't expect a suicidal maniac like you to understand. You don't know what it is to be an ordinary girl, crippled with fear."
        Madoka snatched her phone back and yelled at Annie. "Leave him alone. Why are you trying to hurt him?!"
        "What's the point?" muttered Annie. "I think if a do-gooder like you was actually put in charge of this... regiment, you'd quickly find yourself working alone."
        "He was asking me to help him!"
        "Don't get me wrong. You're not the first person I've met who thought they could take on the world and change things for the better."
        Meanwhile, on the giant viewscreen, someone watched as Engineer, Scout, and FemScout threw their gunfire barrage at Strength, who still couldn't move her frozen arms or fists. As the viewscreen displayed Kyoko getting up to her feet despite the brutal beating she received, the unknown viewer thrust the stolen Lambent Light sword forward as a loud eerie green glow appeared.


*   *   *

        Kyoko raised her hand toward Annie and managed to call out the name of a magical technique she used before.
        "Latticework Barrier!"
        She watched as a series of small red diamond-shaped chains soared down from the air and began to form a wall between Annie and the two girls who were fighting for a lost cause.
        But before Kyoko knew it, a thin white light zoomed right at her from far away.
        That was the last thing she saw before everything went dark.
        "Damnit dagnabit!" Engineer yelled as he looked over at where the electric crackle sounded.
        Madoka and Sayaka turned around. They, like Engineer, also saw Kyoko crumpled onto the ground. Her spear had disappeared, and her outfit had been replaced with her vest and shorts. The barrier she summoned faded away and never formed.
        Though her Soul Gem was intact, Kyoko had become the next victim of a coma-inducing headshot.
        "Stupid, stupid, stupid!" grumbled Scout and FemScout.
        Suddenly, an amplified gunshot rang out.
        Madoka and Sayaka turned back and watched as Annie also collapsed to the ground.
        But it wasn't an elusive assassin who shot down Annie.
        It was Homura.
        Two empty pistols clattered onto the ground next to her, while Homura held the Back Scatter in her hands once more.
        As Homura, Madoka, and Sayaka watched, Annie began to smile seemingly to herself. But then...
        A time-screw portal appeared behind Annie and dragged her away to parts unknown.
        During this moment, the Fugitive took the time to talk over the comms. "You'd think that Kyoko wouldn't ditch us like that if Annie didn't show up and started telling her things. Now look what happened."
        Sayaka quietly made her way to Kyoko and knelt down next to her comatose body. She took out the half-finished Pocky box and carefully laid it in Kyoko's open hand. But before she could have a quiet moment, there was a loud metallic crash.
        Strength managed to lean forward and smash her fists to the ground, freeing them from their icy shell.
        "Team!" commanded the Fugitive. "We gotta get back on track. There's-- we got incoming. Someone named Charlotte is-- Wait. Wait a minute..."
        Despite the Fugitive trailing off as he spoke, Engineer raised his shotgun as he scanned the skies. Soon enough, he saw the small humanoid girl with pink pigtails soaring in. It was the same humanoid who was sent into the inhibitor room months ago with that unconscious girl.
        Strength swung at Engineer and knocked him to the ground.
        But just as Strength began to move in towards Scout and FemScout, some radio-filtered voices sounded over the team comms.
        "All units, move in."
        "Contact with priority-two."
        "Position to contain."
        The team members saw a group of ten gasmasked Time Police officers move in around the corner, all armed with submachine guns.
        At the same moment, Elsa emerged from the BLU base once more, and was joined by Mami, who was in her magical girl outfit. Mami immediately raised her hand to summon a musket rifle as soon as she saw the officers.
        "Pressure, prosecute, fire!" ordered one of the officers.
        But the officers weren't attacking the Resurrection Movement.
        Instead, they were attacking Charlotte, the humanoid girl who had just arrived.
        The rapid gunfire shot Charlotte out of the sky.
        "Sentence delivered," said the officer.
        But the Time Police did not expect what happened next.
        Charlotte's alternate form, a giant black worm with red and blue wings on its head, red polka dots on its body, multicolored irises, and a giant mouth with sharp teeth, emerged from the humanoid.
        "Take cover!" ordered the officer.
        The giant worm decimated all ten officers with one crunch, leaving a cacophony of radio-filtered screams and feedback.
        The ringtone sounded again, and the Fugitive talked to the team once more.
        "Well, there's that taken care of. And... Wait, is Mami Tomoe there already?"
        Mami happily pumped her fist upon seeing the overwhelming defeat of the Time Police group. Her gesture didn't go unnoticed by Elsa, Madoka, or Homura. Or Engineer, who was now next to them.
        Unfortunately, so were Scout and FemScout.
        "Hey, knucklehead!" they yelled in unison at Charlotte. "Talking to you!"
        Scout struck his baseball at the worm. It bounced off its body, drawing its attention.
        "Uhh, team?" stuttered the Fugitive. "I don-- I don't think that was a good idea."
        Strength landed in front of the team with fists raised, as Charlotte soared in above her. The giant worm slowly began to open her sharp jagged mouth.
        "It's happening!" yelled Scout. "Oh God, it's happening!"
        The others felt they were cornered.
        Even Madoka readied a pink arrow within her bow, and Homura placed her hand onto her shield.
        But Mami was confident that nothing would happen.
        This time.
        And the Fugitive explained why, over the walkie-talkie attached to her hip. "Wait a minute! Mami Tomoe, remember that panel you folks did last year? Nagisa said she would never do anything to hurt you."
        "What?!" yelled FemScout.
        Suddenly, Charlotte backed off and closed her giant mouth. Her giant worm body then shrank behind Strength and disappeared.
        "Actually, now that I think about it," admitted the Fugitive as his voice went dark, "she got away from us, too."
        Madoka and Mami silently gasped once they became aware of the Fugitive's mood-shift.
        The Fugitive continued, "There's no way Nagisa would ever think of--"
        "Let me explain it from my own lips," came a voice from behind Strength.
        A young girl with long white hair emerged. The girl's outfit seemed disjointed, as her brown cat-eared headband and brown shorts were paired with what appeared to be a long pink overcoat cloth. The girl, who the magical girls recognized as Nagisa Momoe, was a friend of Mami and had hung out with them once. She took a bow toward the team and slowly made her way beside the members.
        The Fugitive muttered over the comm, "Frigging runaways. Never tell us anything. Can't--"
        He was interrupted by the voice of a young man with wavy blonde hair and a particular outfit with a green headdress.
        "I was holding everything back for a long time! I could never say everything I wanted to! That's because I was weak, and I'd given up before I even tried! That's why I don't wanna run away anymore!"
        The team noticed Nagisa Hazuki around the corner. He was screaming at them, hoping that somehow his voice could get through their comm devices and reach that supposed Fugitive commander.
        He was joined by Serah herself, the girl who had slapped Homura in the face. But she just kept quiet, as if she was either regretting her actions or thinking to herself about something.
        Nagisa H. continued. "That's why I want you to listen to what--" He cut his passionate speech short when he noticed someone else coming in fast.
        And that someone leaped onto Strength's head and scissor-kicked it, causing her to stumble.
        FemScout burst into cheerful laughter upon seeing that Black Gold Saw was here to help the team take down another Opposition Member.
        The Fugitive spoke up in his normal voice. "All right, team. I'm seeing that there's more people where you are, but we have to execute our plan now."
        As Strength tried to turn around to punch Black Gold Saw, FemScout received the Back Scatter from Homura and fired off a shot at Strength's back.
        Strength recoiled in pain as she turned her attention away from Black Gold Saw and back toward the team.
        Then, Black Gold Saw took out the futuristic dagger that Spy left her, and held it high. She focused on an area on Strength's back, and then...
        The dagger clattered to the floor as Black Gold Saw collapsed to the ground.
        "Oh, merde! I feel like an idiot!" groaned Spy as he emerged from his invisibility cloak and began to pick up the dagger himself.
        Madoka finally let loose an arrow at Strength to prevent her from attacking Spy.
        Mami and Elsa then nodded to each other as soon as Strength raised her fists at Madoka.
        Strength's fists and arms were frozen together above her head once more, leaving her unable to attack.
        FemScout, having sneaked around behind Strength, then fired a few volleys with the Back Scatter into Strength's back as planned. Strength staggered forward, almost losing her balance with her fists stuck above her head.
        "I got it, I got it, I got it!" cheered FemScout.
        A bright yellow flash then emerged above the team as Mami held onto a giant silver percussion-lock gun in midair. Mami cutely winked her eye, and the gunbarrel began to glow a bright yellow.
        "Tiro Finale!" called Mami.
        The percussion-lock swung down instantly as the giant shot exploded on Strength, finally toppling her to the ground.
        "Ah, c'est magnifique!" cheered Spy. He raised the dagger up high above Strength's back and spoke once more. "I'll see you in Hell."
        The dagger made its mark. Spy then quickly pulled the dagger back out and stepped away.
        The team watched attentively for a final reaction from Strength.
        Sure enough, Strength weakly turned her head and finally spoke.
        "Thank you... my friends."
        A time-screw portal dragged Strength away from the area with a bright flash and sent her back where she came from.
        The fourth Opposition Member has been defeated.
        The people in the area silently watched in satisfaction as they achieved another victory for the Resurrection Movement.
        However, Madoka noticed a small board that Strength left behind. She picked it up and had a look.
        Madoka was uncertain what the number written on the board meant, but it would be a long time before the team could find out. After all, there were still three more Opposition Members to defeat.
        The Fugitive's voice was broadcast over the team comms. "Well done, Resurrection Movement. You managed to defeat a very tough opponent. Speaking of opponents, though, I'm seeing that frigging Stocking's at your location."
        Engineer and FemScout quickly aimed their weapons at Stocking, who was beside Serah and Nagisa H.
        "Uh huh, excuse me?" snarled Stocking, who still had a sock on only one of her legs. "This looks like pretty sh*tty business!"
        "You don't have to get so freaked out..." muttered Nagisa H.
        Stocking could only shrug as the Fugitive continued to speak to the Resurrection Movement.
        "I've looked into her attacks on Kurisu and Sasha back in December, and... this is troubling. Since the striped swords are only supposed to affect supernatural spiritual beings, we can only assume that Kurisu and Sasha must be anomalies."
        "Medic! Medic!" spoke Scout into his headset. He was with Sayaka, who had been with the comatose Kyoko the whole time. Scout had also dragged Black Gold Saw next to them and helped accompany the two latest headshot victims.
        "Ok, you can call Medic, but just remember," urged the Fugitive, "we have to talk about what's been going on lately."
        In the meantime, Spy looked up at one of the rooftops and noticed a black-haired man, wearing a black trenchcoat and a white Pierrot-like mask, who had been watching the battle. Spy raised the dagger for the man to see, and gave the man a thumbs-up. The man gave a thumbs-up in return.


*   *   *

        In the Drogentote Medical operating room, Kurisu silently kept her hands clapped together as she stood over the comatose bodies of Heavy, Sniper, Pyro, Demoman, and Soldier. Medic had just gone out to get supplies, but had left behind a comm PDA that Engineer lent him.
        The ringtone sounded on the PDA. Kurisu pressed a button on it.
        "Hello," she answered.
        "Yo, where's Medic?" asked Scout.
        There was the sound of another electric bullet and Medic's pained scream before Kurisu could answer.
        Outside the building, Medic was sprawled on the ground, still and seemingly lifeless.
        Yutaka slowly placed herself next to the entrance. She now wore her pink-and-white school uniform, though there was nothing to be done about her blonde hair and her black and red hair-ribbons; she didn't have any other ribbons on her. Yutaka stood in place as she glanced at the comatose Medic.
        Suddenly, an electric bolt shot down from the sky and struck her. Yutaka fell onto her knees.
        She quickly stood back up, but her appearance had been changed again. Her hair was now in shades of blonde and light-blue, and her uniform's colors had been changed once more; this time it had a bright pink appearance with a red ribbon and a gold shirt collar.
        Yutaka finally felt like she knew who she was.
        From the words she spoke and the softer voice she now had, it was certain.
        "Why is it that you fight?"




End of episode 7.