Chapter 4

        "Shall we?" called Spy as he stepped up to the primary inhibitor, while Scout and FemScout followed him. Spy tapped the machine with his hand.
        As the machine activated, he tapped it a few more times and sent out a call to their unseen commander. Then, the team's ringtone sounded, not only on the inhibitor, but also on the three mercenaries' headsets.
        "Hi again, Mr. Spy," greeted the Fugitive. "Good to see you here, Scout and FemScout. All right, now before we begin, do any of you know where Madoka and Mami Tomoe are? They kinda agreed to be here today."
        "Umm... Spy, let's go!" called FemScout.
        "Urgh!" groaned Spy. He placed his hand against his headset and spoke into it. "Come to the dispenser points," he prompted, using the mercs' special term for the inhibitors since the old CODE RED missions.
        The second-Homura froze time again. She didn't realize that there were more people coming in, and now she had to change her hiding spot. She wasn't about to let the people she helped know she was back. The only other issue was the noise her shield made when she moved from place to place, but it didn't matter that much.
        The doppelganger crept past the three team members stuck in time and hid behind the machine that was pumping out smoke. She made sure to keep her head away from the smoke before she reset her shield with a turn.
        "We don't have all day," finished Spy.
        "O... kay, now we gotta wait," sighed the Fugitive.
        Scout gulped down one of the cans of Bonk! Atomic Punch he brought before he jogged in place. "All right. I feel good," he said.
        Spy stepped away from the inhibitor and practiced some fencing moves with his butterfly knife.
        FemScout looked around once. Then she saw Madoka and Mami stumble into the room. Mami was the only one of the two who was in her magical girl outfit. Besides the fact that Mami was wearing glasses now, it seemed like both she and Madoka ran into some trouble on the way over.
        "Oh, hey!" called FemScout.
        Mami waved at the group during the approach.


*   *   *

        "So, wait," the Fugitive spoke, "you had to bring in your many guns to distract Miss Strength--"
        "It's fine," Mami interrupted calmly.
        "Okay, well anyway, Resurrection Movement: Miss Strength only just came here on December 1st, so... don't worry about her now. I want you to look over some stuff from the past few months; see if any of the frigging Hostiles are in there. And... I also want to see if there's anyone else in the footage we should know about."
        "But of course," agreed Spy.
        "Just go behind you over there to Inhibitor 3 and use it."
        Scout was the first one there, while Madoka made her way over as well.
        The second-Homura took her chance. Unnoticed by the team members, she sneaked out from behind the damaged Inhibitor 2 and hid behind the primary inhibitor without using a time-freeze.
        She then peeked over the machine and watched Scout.
        Scout placed his hand down onto Inhibitor 3's frontal column.
        "Let's go, let's go, let's go!" he chanted.
        The viewscreen displayed some text:


Archive found:
JUN 24 2014 - JUL 13 2014

        Color bars appeared on the viewscreen with a disorienting warp. As the rest of the group made their way over, another rapid-footage montage began on Inhibitor 3 for the Resurrection Movement to review.


*   *   *

        JUN 24 2014 8:10 AM.
        A man in a blue military uniform known as Soldier was in a quiet street. He wore Demoman's red brimmed hat and a penguin on his belt.
        "The eagle has landed," he declared before taking a look around. "No, wait."
        JUL 3 2014 10:13 PM.
        The viewscreen showed Mami in her magical girl outfit, but instead of her regular feather-marked hat, she wore a straw cowgirl hat with a pink ribbon. She was beside a stage area with a big red barn-shaped backdrop mounted against the wall.
        Mami laid her hands in front of her as she looked to her right.
        "My stomach is turning now..." she said.
        JUL 3 2014 11:57 PM.
        Kyoko, who wore a teal-colored vest and blue jean shorts, was with Sayaka, who was in her uniform. They were hanging out together at a local midway at this late hour, and they seemed to have just gotten off the Ferris wheel behind them, which lit up brightly as it rotated.
        JUL 6 2014 8:41 AM.
        In a silent clip marked "AUDIO CORRUPTED", Mami, again wearing her cowgirl hat, appeared to be in an audience-filled grandstand area between the seating and a large oval dirt track. There appeared to be a breakfast event behind her.
        Mami glanced over to her left before she placed her arms on her hips. Then she mouthed a stern or desperate warning to someone in front of her.
        JUL 6 2014 8:41 AM.
        Mami was now in front of a black-bar fence in front of the dirt track. She watched some small chuckwagons pull away from the main staging area that was offscreen.
        JUL 6 2014 1:20 PM.
        The viewscreen showed Madoka in a ride high above the midway in a teal-colored seat. She looked over at someone to her right and smiled happily.
        The view then cut to an opposite angle. Homura was now onscreen and was presumably sitting beside Madoka on the same seat. She looked over to Madoka with a soft smile herself.
        JUL 6 2014 9:57 PM.
        Mami, Madoka, and Homura appeared to be riding one of the gondolas of the Ferris wheel. The midway and the city buildings passed by in the background as the three girls smiled and took in the view around them. After a moment, Homura placed her right hand against her head.
        JUL 13 2014 7:27 PM.
        The midway was shown with the Ferris wheel, the teal-seated ride from earlier, and a giant swing-ride that tilted and spun in the background. Mami was in the foreground, listening to the Fugitive's voice on her walkie-talkie.
        "There's supposed to be that fireworks show again tonight," said the Fugitive. "Just go check it out."
        Mami quietly nodded as the connection ended. As people passed by, she looked toward the giant swing-ride behind her.
        JUL 13 2014 8:29 PM.
        The viewscreen showed a tall ride mounted on a giant yellow pole. The ride had a white construction crane-like bar that spun at the centre and had two seats with restraints at each end that travelled at high speed in a giant circle.
        After a short moment, the circular-seated capsule of another ride, mounted on several spring-cables, launched into the air and into view.
        The view then panned down to the booths and small crowds below. Among the people were Kyoko and Sayaka. Kyoko was pointing excitedly at the rides in the air, while Sayaka was waving her hands in protest to try to dissuade Kyoko from going on that tall spinning ride.
        JUL 13 2014 10:36 PM.
        Mami was on the opposite side of the barn-backdrop stage. She paid attention to her walkie-talkie and the Fugitive's voice being broadcast through it.
        "So, after tonight," the Fugitive said, "you can go wherever you want."
        The viewscreen then cut to an area of the midway with the Ferris wheel and a rapidly-spinning circular ride in the background. Among the crowds there, Kyoko and Sayaka were listening to the unseen commander's voice on the team-issue phone that Kyoko held out in front of her.
        "But if there's trouble, you gotta let me know," concluded the Fugitive.
        "Man, you're so cramping my style," said Kyoko smugly.




Chapter 5 >