Chapter 5

        The color bars silently remained on Inhibitor 3's viewscreen for a few seconds before fading to black. More text quickly appeared:


Archive found:
NOV 28 2014 - NOV 29 2014

        The color bars reappeared before another rapid montage began.
        NOV 28 2014 3:23 PM.
        In the Coldfront base, Soldier, still wearing the brimmed hat, was in a conversation with a girl who had long blue hair and a squid-like hat on her head. He had laid out two shovels, an uprooted wooden sign with a metal post, his blue helmet, and some grenades on the floor around him. Soldier also held out a pixellated turquoise pickaxe in his hands.
        "I will trade this thing to you for another thing that you have," announced Soldier.
        "Am I just supposed to be glad-ius about all this?" asked the girl.
        NOV 28 2014 4:13 PM.
        A man in a red-and-gold metallic armor suit was alone in the snow-covered Construct grounds, apparently singing to himself.


Oh, wish I had a river--


        NOV 28 2014 5:09 PM.
        In a room inside Office Building 52375, Elsa was singing a song to Anna.


I could skate away on...

        NOV 28 2014 8:16 PM.
        In a hallway located at a sector named The Castle, Asuna and France watched as a tall labcoat-wearing man in front of them gestured to a classroom. The room was empty of people, but happened to have its lights on and its door braced open by a white plastic container.
        "Silence!" the man prompted before pointing at the two. "If you knew all of this prior, continue to stare blankly."
        While Asuna and France glanced at each other and then back at the man, they didn't notice that the track-jacket girl down the hallway had stopped walking and turned her head toward the others.
        NOV 28 2014 9:02 PM.
        In the middle of the black voids was an improperly-wallpapered donation room. It was once used for the stockpiling of salvage metals and gold-like ingots in the CODE RED days.
        In the donation room, Mami, in her school uniform, was once again having a conversation with the Fugitive over her walkie-talkie. She was wearing her glasses once more.
        "We can handle it, so leave it to us. Take a break," offered Mami.
        "All right, if you say so," replied the Fugitive.
        Just before the clip cut out, Elsa leaned into view toward the walkie talkie.
        NOV 29 2014 10:26 AM.
        Elsa was shown in a hallway, apparently just in front of one of the classroom doors. She was talking to someone offscreen.
        "Have you been busy with royal engagements?" she asked. She paused, as if she waited for that person to silently nod at her. "Me too!" she continued. "But let's not worry about that."
        NOV 29 2014 11:21 AM.
        The viewscreen appeared to show the inside of the classroom from earlier.
        Two people were nodding at someone in front of them. One of them was bespectacled, had long red hair, and wore a red overcoat, a dark red vest, and a thin bow tie with red stripes. The other wore a formal pink dress with a brimmed hat as a disguise, and had dark gray hair, covering one eye, tied into ponytails as part of that disguise.
        Soon, a third person, a young girl, stepped into view. This girl, with shoulder-length yellow-blonde hair and a white bow on her head, looked over in the same direction.
        NOV 29 2014 12:00 PM.
        In the same room, Asuna herself waved to someone in front of her... and she also had two other people doing the same: a young girl with chin-length blonde hair who had a purple-blue ribbon in her hair, and a white beret on her head; and the teenage track-jacket girl with light brown hair tied into braids from earlier, whose expression seemed a bit troubled.
        Asuna was the one to speak up... nervously. "What are you staring at?" she asked in a curious manner to the unseen person in front of her.
        NOV 29 2014 12:01 PM.
        Asuna held out her "MISSING: Lambent Light" poster in front of her. She then showed it to the two girls behind her. The girls shook their heads.
        NOV 29 2014 12:06 PM.
        In the hallway just outside the room, a tall man with blue hair and a white outfit was holding an Aperture Science personality core in front of him. Two people-- a teenage girl with long black hair and a green and white school uniform, and another teenage girl with long blonde-hair in a small ponytail with the rest of her hair loose-- were paying attention to the personality core.
        The core's British-accented voice declared, "I tell you, this is going much better than I... ever expected it would."
        NOV 29 2014 12:16 PM.
        Anna was just outside The Castle by herself in her winter outfit. She looked directly at the outdoor facade that led into the front hall.
        Then she asked herself, "I wonder what Kristoff and Sven are up to? Probably mountaineering or loner stuff."
        NOV 29 2014 12:18 PM.
        Inside, at the central foyer, Madoka and Homura were wearing their magical girl outfits. They were in front of a worn brick wall corner with a nearby rack full of what seemed to be continuing-education magazines.
        Madoka and Homura happily took a look around the area, but soon Homura faced herself away from Madoka and closed her eyes in thought.
        NOV 29 2014 12:46 PM.
        In front of a purple wall with a matching-color door, Kyoko, Sayaka, Mami, and Homura, all in their magical girl outfits, were each holding Pocky boxes that were just given to them. The four girls had decided among themselves as to which kind they got.
        Of note was that Mami was not wearing glasses at the moment.
        Soon, the girls noticed a tall man, wearing a tweed jacket and a red bowtie, walking past them. They also heard a male Scottish voice nearby declaring, "She can't do that. She can't put pictures of me online!"
        NOV 29 2014 12:49 PM.
        The area at the foyer shown on the viewscreen had a brick column next to an open side-entrance to the front hall.
        Anna was with a man who had a gray toque and fur coat. This man was the Kristoff who Anna mentioned earlier.
        Anna recognized the man in front of them, known as Natsu, who had short spiky pink hair and a bird-like tattoo on his shoulder. Natsu waved to Anna and Kristoff, and the both waved back before he headed offscreen.
        NOV 29 2014 12:53 PM.
        In front of a wall of lockers, a pink-haired girl with a distinctive brass-gold headband-like crown waved at Mami, who responded in kind and appeared to be wearing her glasses now.
        NOV 29 2014 1:10 PM.
        The screen showed a particular inflatable nursing robot in an upstairs hallway near the central foyer. The robot, well-known throughout the area as Baymax, was holding a conversation to someone in front of him. Several people stopped by to take a glance, including a brown-haired girl in a light-blue school uniform who was drinking from a juice box, as well as the blonde-haired girl with the small ponytail and the red-haired individual from earlier.
        "On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your pain?" Baymax asked in a distinct methodical voice.
        A man's voice, which happened to be that of the Fugitive himself, responded. "Well, it's at a 1 right now, 'cause I'm on the verge of going upset actually. Or m-- that could mean I'm-- I'm a 4. Just... yeah," he stammered.
        "Four. I understand."
        NOV 29 2014 1:11 PM.
        "You are physically uninjured," Baymax declared as he raised his index finger. "But... this must be stress-related. Are you under stress?"
        While he made that statement, the man known as France passed by with the tall thin labcoat man from earlier.
        NOV 29 2014 1:45 PM.
        In front of two large frosted windows and a part of a brick wall stood a woman. She had light blonde hair that covered one eye, a silver crown, and a distinct light-blue gown. She was apparently a prominent cosmic figure, and she had a cute yellow star-shaped critter with her.
        The woman waved at someone in front of her, while someone who appeared to be a butler in a black suit began taking a closer look at her.
        NOV 29 2014 2:27 PM.
        Back in the classroom, the labcoat man stood in front of two men: France, and the butler. He had a smug expression on his face.
        "You're a fool to expect I'll talk," he declared to someone in front of him, just before he waved his hand in a friendly manner. This prompted the two men behind him to look at each other in confusion.
        NOV 29 2014 2:36 PM.
        In the front hall, Spy waved to someone in front of him.
        NOV 29 2014 2:51 PM.
        In front of an indoor theatre at The Castle's sector, Madoka, in her magical girl outfit, recognized the blonde-haired girl with a black Gothic dress in front of her as none other than Misa herself. The two girls waved, each unaware of what the other person did six months ago.
        NOV 29 2014 3:08 PM.
        It was Anna's turn again to wave at someone. She was with the bowtie and tweed-jacket man.
        NOV 29 2014 3:09 PM.
        Anna was now in a conversation with the man.
        "We could have... well, your talent and my awkwardness!" declared Anna.
        "Hang on," the man said. "You're obviously not paying enough attention."
        "Wait, what?"
        Meanwhile, two girls-- a rebellious-looking girl with a red streak in her black hair, and the brown-haired school uniform girl from earlier-- walked past Anna and the man.
        NOV 29 2014 3:26 PM.
        The clip playing on the Inhibitor 3's viewscreen was silenced. Its audio was replaced by an intermittent two-tone electronic alarm.
        Back at the central foyer, Kurisu appeared to be facing the person who had filmed this clip and patting his shoulder with her outstretched right hand in a reassuring manner.
        She smiled as best as she could, and then waved in front of her.
        NOV 29 2014 3:29 PM.
        The alarm stopped, allowing the audio to resume.
        Just outside the front hall's entrance, Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff were about to head inside.
        "Wait until I tell Olaf about this place," declared Anna. "He would love it here!"
        NOV 29 2014 4:28 PM.
        Later, at the front hall, Elsa talked to the blonde-haired girl with the small ponytail.
        "I could use a little fun," said Elsa. "What about you?"
        NOV 29 2014 4:40 PM.
        Three people were near an escalator: a woman with neon blue and pink streaks in her black ponytailed hair, a blue-hooded white-haired man with a wooden hooked staff, and the pink-haired girl with the headband-like crown from earlier.
        "So... don't get any ideas," the woman said before the clip cut out.
        NOV 29 2014 5:04 PM.
        Back at the front hall, Elsa stood next to what appeared to be a sports uniform and trophy display. She was talking to someone in front of her and gave them a double thumbs-up.
        "You were fantastic," she told the unseen person.
        NOV 29 2014 5:41 PM.
        The viewscreen then showed a young woman, with pink hair in a single over-the-shoulder ponytail, in the main foyer. She shivered for a bit because of her battle outfit, but managed to smile and nervously wave to someone in front of her.
        This girl happened to be Serah Farron. She was one of the Hostiles who was there the moment Engineer sustained his coma-inducing headshot six months ago.
        But the rapid montage was not yet over.
        NOV 29 2014 6:10 PM.
        At the front hall, a brown-haired man with a curl on his left side of his head was talking to Elsa. This man was known as Italy.
        "I thought you were really mean and scary!" said Italy. "So we can be friends, okay?"
        Neither he nor Elsa seemed to notice two girls down the hallway: a girl with orange-red flame-like hair and a matching dress, and another girl with pink hair in an over-the-shoulder ponytail and a Gothic-like dress.
        NOV 29 2014 7:03 PM.
        The girl with blue hair and the squid-like hat from earlier was in front of an indoor brick wall. She waved at someone in front of her, but then placed her hands on her hips and tilted her head to the side.
        "Humans are such hatchlings if something this squid-iculous is all it takes to captivate their minds," she said to herself.
        NOV 29 2014 9:35 PM.
        In front of another brick wall, a young woman wearing a silvery-blue ball-gown quickly waved at someone in front of her.
        NOV 29 2014 10:01 PM.
        In a dark area, the woman later passed by Mami and Homura, who were still in their magical girl outfits. As Mami and Homura waved at the woman, it seemed like they almost remembered her from somewhere.
        NOV 29 2014 10:10 PM.
        Just outside an unlit room, the girl with the track-jacket from earlier waved at someone while trying to make her facial expression as friendly as she could.
        She glanced off to the side, and then turned her eyes in front of her as she admitted, "We spend too much time in the same building not to have met eventually."
        NOV 29 2014 10:40 PM.
        In front of what appeared to be a basketball court, the girl with the light blue school uniform waved her hand in front of her once again. She raised a finger as if to say something, but chose to give a quick thumbs-up and then headed on her way.
        The color bars showed on Inhibitor 3's viewscreen for a full second, and then faded as text appeared:



        "Lot of interesting people there," the Fugitive told the five team members as the montage ended.
        Madoka was in front of Mami, Scout, Spy, and FemScout. She had a slight frown on her face, almost as if she wanted to meet up with that last girl in the montage.
        "Now I'm thinking about that girl," the Fugitive continued. "Serah, the one with the pink ponytail over her shoulder who was shivering a little bit. She wouldn't have gone all Hostile if she at least showed up half a year... whatever. I'm more concerned about Elsa."
        In a loud electric flash, Soldier, the military man who was in one of the montages, appeared right behind Madoka.
        "Yes!" cheered Soldier. "Reporting for duty!"
        "It's about time, Soldier," said the Fugitive in exasperation. "Some of the others were looking for you, you know."
        "Do not keep me waiting!" responded Soldier.
        Mami let her mouth open as she laid a hand on her cheek. It wasn't long, however, before the Fugitive continued his briefing.
        "All right, team. Elsa, Her Highness from Arendelle, didn't really tell me for fragging sure if she'd join us. She kinda had until today to give a proper answer and... Just... if you find her, get her to talk to me."
        "Affirmative!" shouted Soldier.
        "You know..." began Mami.
        Madoka stepped aside to let Mami go up to the inhibitor.
        "I'm sorry, but I have to say this now before it's too late." Mami leaned toward the inhibitor as if to give the unseen commander a closer look at her bespectacled face. "If you go ahead without making certain first, you're sure to regret it later," she advised. "There's no need to rush into it."
        "Look, Mami Tomoe, like you saw last week, Her Highness kinda promised me something, too. Problem is, she hasn't gone through with it."
        "And I take it you don't like that?"
        Soldier was the one to change the subject. "Sound off if you're ready," he signaled.
        "Yeah!" Scout and FemScout called out in unison.
        "All right, team, get Her frigging Highness to call me," ordered the Fugitive. "And be careful of those who are trying to kill us. Scout and FemScout can tell you on the way. Just go, all right?"
        As the six team members made their way out of the inhibitor room, the second-Homura, who was watching from behind the primary inhibitor, decided that her efforts would not be required in battle for some time. However, she wondered what was so important between the Fugitive and Queen Elsa that begged such an important followup six months later.
        The second-Homura swung around to the front of the inhibitor and began to use it.
        She began by looking up the conversation that Elsa had with the Fugitive nearly two months ago, as well as any further ones they may have had, in order to try to gain perspective on the matter.




Chapter 6 >