Schulmanator: Yeah, QF is very generous, aren't they?
spursrule14: Thank you very much!
PREVIOUSLY on The Best Defense: Morning Angel is holed up beneath Defenders' HQ (her old home) and is plotting to bring about a perfect, peaceful reality by any means necessary. Her explosive escape from Fort Mison left dozens dead, and while Fearless and Eikyou are still on hiatus following #50, the Defenders are uncharacteristically adrift. I'm combining 82 and 83 because 82 has a large section of filler that doesn't do much to further the plot and 83 was short to begin with. Now we get a normal-sized adventure and everything is relevant to our storyline!
Austin and Laurinette stood next to Kylie Moore's bed in a makeshift infirmary in Fort Mison. The girl was still being kept unconscious, various tubes helping take care of her various life functions. It was not a situation that could continue forever.
Austin: With Gragus having them patrol the island, things seem to have calmed down. We can spend a bit of time here trying to help her.
Laurinette: It's so strange, there were no signs that another girl was going to be revealed. I've checked and re-checked everything, there was nothing.
Austin: There was nothing because that's what we were supposed to see. Think about it. If we were to see that this girl was going to join Hoshi-Hime and the other two, then we would have made contact, we would have brought her in with her father (especially given her situation), we would have opened her powers in stages safely, in a way she could handle them, everything would have been taken care of, there would have been no surprises big enough that we could not have happened.
Laurinette: Instead, you think someone hid her from us and used her as a diversion.
Austin: No, not someone. Morning Angel. This was all about her, about getting her free without the Defenders being able to get here and stop it. Keeping the magical girls wrapped up was part of it, too, because they were part of the reason she was stopped last time.
Laurinette: Well, we have to do what we can now.
Austin: Yes. Did you bring it?
Laurinette: I did. Let's wake her up and see if it works.
A nurse with them pulled the feeding and breathing tubes from Kylie's body, and Laurinette pulled a shimmering jewel out of her pocket and held it over the resting girl. It shimmered more brightly for a moment, then dove into the girl's chest, disappearing beneath the blanket covering her. The beeping of the monitors increased slightly, and the girl stirred.
Inazuma-Hime: Wuuuuh... Where am I...
Laurinette: Kylie? Kylie Moore? Can you hear me?
Inazuma-Hime: Uhhh... Mom? No, no, not you... Get away...
The girl's voice was weak, and her arms were, too, but she still tried pushing away at Laurinette and Austin.
Inazuma-Hime: A- wwwuhwayy....
She rolled over in her bed and fell off the far side, pulling the monitors down around her. There was a terrible crash and Austin and Laurinette rushed over to help her. Kylie was laying there on the floor, her eyes suddenly wide open, glancing fearfully at her surroundings.
Inazuma-Hime: Where am I? Who are you people? What's going on??!
Laurinette: Please, Miss Moore, please don't panic, we will explain everything.
Laurinette moved slowly, her hands up in front of her.
Inazuma-Hime: What? What?? Who are you??
Austin: I'm Austin, and this is Laurinette.
Austin was not surprised she did not recognize him.
Austin: We met before. We're here to help. Relax, we'll bring you with us and explain everything on the way back up to the city.
Inazuma-Hime: Back to the city? What do you mean? Where am I?
Laurinette: This is Fort Mison. You've been asleep for two days, but now it's time to take you home, and to start your new life.
Inazuma-Hime: New life? Oh... I remember... There was that blonde hero-girl, and that guy with the... He... used a taser...
Austin: A taser??
Inazuma-Hime: Yeah. You're not planning on using one, are you?
Austin and Laurinette looked at each other. What would make anyone think that doing something like that was a good idea? What kind of person was this Naruki character?
Laurinette: Come with us, Kylie. We'll explain everything, we're here to help you.
Austin: Actually help, not tase you like idiots.
Kylie looked at them both again (after what she had been through, she did not recognize Austin) and took the hand offered to her. She was pulled to her feet, and while she was always a good athlete, she noticed that she felt incredible.
Inazuma-Hime: This feels amazing. They said I was sleeping for two days? But I feel amazing! Maybe getting tased was something I needed! Well, anyways, let's see what these two weirdos want...
Coyote Versus did not have access to the entire computer network. He flipped through the screens he did have access to (communications, some unclassified files, all information concerning Morning Angel, various single-player games) and sighed out of boredom. He was intensely curious about the files he did not have access to, and after Gragus found that virus or whatever that blocked incoming emergency beacons, he was sorely tempted to scour the system himself to figure out how they had been blocked and by whom. He leaned back and contained his curiosity, not wanting to upset the slowly increasing trust the others were beginning to place in him, even Juliet.
Gragus had switched his communicator (and thus, the GPS locator) off, rendering him invisible. Sensational Girl and Mizu-no-Hime were in Austin's office, apparently meeting the new chick and her zappy powers. Cosmette was speeding over Marquette, no more than a few minutes away at her speed. Juliet and Hi-no-Hime were plodding around Fuji-Cho. Titus was at the Botanical Gardens, apparently Flying Juniper Tree had something she wanted to talk to him about. Or was it the other way around? He sighed and leaned back in his chair yet again. When was something going to happen? Something exciting? Wait, where were Juliet and Hi-no-Hime going? Their GPS signals blinked out near the PM Fuji TV Building. He marked it down on the monitor and then tried to raise them on their radios.
Coyote Versus: Juliet? Juliet, you there?
Coyote Versus: Juliet? Yo. You there?
Coyote Versus: Hi-no-Hime? You're of age, right? Wanna get dinner sometime?
Nope. Why did they turn those off?
Coyote Versus: Titus, Cosmette, my two best friends in the whole universe after Sensational Girl, you there?
Cosmette: Yeah, what do you want?
Coyote Versus thought she sounded annoyed, but Cosmette in the air never sounded anything but like that.
Coyote Versus: Uh... Juliet and Hi-no-Hime, they blinked out of existence in Fuji-Cho. Wanna check it out?
Titus: I'll meet you there, Cosmette. Flying Juniper Tree, she's doing fine. She wants to meet you, Versus.
Coyote Versus: Really? Is she hot?
Cosmette: She's a nine year old trapped in a 27 year old's body. You know what? You guys are at the same level. You should totally meet her.
Coyote Versus: Cosmette, I can't tell if you're cosmically wise beyond all normal earthers, or if you're really just a schoolgirl pretending to be wise beyond all normal earthers.
Cosmette: I stood up for you and you're our teammate now. When I come up with a good one, you're obligated to take it like a man.
Coyote Versus: Fair enough. You guys, you should both get there at about the same time. Wow. You're pretty fast, Cosmette.
Titus: I was holding back. I know how long it takes to get here from Marquette.
Cosmette: I'm super-fast, Titus.
Titus: I'd still be bored waiting for you-
Cosmette: Wherrre aarrre youuu? Are you here yet? Waiting, Uncle Derrick. Waiting!
Titus: You said they were here in Fuji-Cho?
Coyote Versus: Right where you landed, actually. Just disappeared.
There was some radio silence and Versus watched their signals blink in front of the Fuji building.
Titus: Versus, we'll let you know if we find anything when we get back.
Coyote Versus: Alright. I'll just be chilling.
Versus sighed again and wondered if he was ever going to get to have any fun.
Sensational Girl: Inazuma-Hime, huh?
Sensational Girl's face was slightly green.
Sensational Girl: At least I can tell you're actually hooked up to your powers this time.
Inazuma-Hime: What are- are you... Are you turning off my powers?
Inazuma-Hime looked at her incredulously.
Sensational Girl: No way do I wanna be struck by lightning...
Austin: Sensational Girl, there's really no need to-
Austin stopped when Sensational Girl held up her hand and swallowed hard.
Austin: Are you alright?
Sensational Girl: Fine, yes, I'm fine now. She's not really all that powerful. I'll be fine again in a minute.
They watched Sensational Girl for a moment and she finally smiled at them.
Sensational Girl: See? No problem. No way am I boosting her powers any time soon, though.
Austin: Well, alright.
He motioned for Laurinette to continue.
Laurinette: As far as we can tell, our new magical girl here had her powers turned on without actually giving her access to them. That would explain why Sensational Girl couldn't turn them off like she normally would. Being shocked by a taser-
Mizu-no-Hime: A taser?!
Mizu-no-Hime looked at Inazuma-Hime in surprise.
Inazuma-Hime: Yup. Hurt pretty bad.
Laurinette: Yes, but, unbelievably, it shocked her powers on, apparently. We still don't know much about this Naruki character-
Sensational Girl: He's a football player. My friend's like, dating the quarterback, so I went and talked to them yesterday. I guess that Naruki is like, pretty talented, a good athlete, his family is rich, and he has like, this huge ego. He hasn't been around campus much recently, though. Zamba said he was like, skipping team drills or something. I guess around a year or so ago, he started acting like, really strange, skipping practices and weight training, but like getting like, way better at football for no reason. Guy's a major player on campus, too, I mean, like, he gets so many girls.
Laurinette: Well, this is a pleasant surprise.
Mizu-no-Hime: That's why I invited her along. She's probably as much an expert on Matsuzaka as anyone now. I think there's something to this, to his sudden appearance like this. We might finally be on to something.
Austin: That would be nice for once. For now, you two take Inazuma-Hime with you, get her familiar with the computers, and I'll work on her security clearance and get her father here from the police station. I hear Professor Stark's gonna be in this afternoon, too.
Sensational Girl: Yay!
Sensational Girl led the two girls out of the room feeling good about her position for once. The feeling would not last forever, though...