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Interlude 7 Main Chapters Interlude 8

Chapter 8

The full moon shone brightly overhead as Ayuko strode quickly across the garden. She stepped down a slope and came before her destination, a stone building, resembling a rather small pyramid. Ayuko guessed that Kumu was rather impatient, for she found herself abruptly being transported underground.

Ayuko knew perfectly well where she was. She had been transported into one of the subterranean hollows of this battleship so large that it appeared to be an island. Ayuko wanted to talk to Kumu about what had happened all that day, and she was pleased that Kumu wanted to speak about it too. Kumu would probably be angry, but if Kumu was willing to talk, then Kumu was probably willing to be persuaded.

Most observers would've assumed the blue circle in the floor before Ayuko Rara was an ordinary pool of water. These ordinary observers would've been astonished when they saw one portion of the pool glow, then distort upwards into the air as though someone was poking a stick into a sheet of elastic. There was a shattering noise, and several small fragments of the distorted pool fell back to the pool in a solid form and then melted. Kumu had emerged from underneath the pool.

In the synthesis world, Kumu was now a dog who belonged to Dee and actually seemed to like her former enemies, except Kazuki. In this world, she was still an unrepentant and implacable foe. Her physical form was a hovering sphere and tail that appeared to be made out of fine glass. Like D, Kumu was one of the last survivors of the civilization that had made the artifact technology: the battleship they were now on and the giant robots. Kumu chose to ally herself with Ayuko, and thus indirectly with the RaRa Army.

Kumu's sphere was bright red, and her discordant voice lanced into Ayuko, "You supported making that man a pilot!"

Ayuko came back: "Kumu, when a person with a Life Sympathy score near 65% practically falls into your lap, you ask only one question: Will you please be a pilot for us?"

Kumu was unconvinced. "You have many capable pilots, and many robots far more destructive than the ones you used today!" she accused.

"Many of which," Ayuko countered, "are still being manufactured or repaired. In any case, having a lot of pilots already might be a good reason to turn down bad or average pilots, but not good pilots."

Always Kumu beat around the bush, but she now found herself forced to state her real grievances. "Men are destructive! They cannot control their violent impulses! Together we finally managed to create a perfect fighting force. Accepting that man may ruin all of our plans; he could destroy us all!"

Ayuko knew that was Kumu's real reason for opposing hiring Slade as a pilot, because Kumu had said the same things about men in general many times before. Ayuko had never understood her on this point, but it had never mattered before. Kumu had tolerated the hiring of men and women for every role other than pilot. Everything she knew, from her husband and Sanada's tests to Kumu's confirmation, had indicated that a man could not pilot a robot, so this had never been a difficulty between them until now.

Slade couldn't possibly be as dangerous as Kumu thought, Ayuko reasoned as she shook her head at Kumu. Did she really imagine that one person could possibly render powerless an entire army?

Kumu was now pronouncing vehemently, "Males are too violent to be used as pilots. I prevented them from using the robots with my limiter. They are the enemy, the enemy, the enemy..."

Ayuko had never seen Kumu so angry.

"...the enemy, the enemy..." Kumu repeated.

"Yes, I know, but-" Ayuko tried to speak.

"...the enemy, the enemy, the enemy..." Kumu said without pause.

"Kumu, now, hey, wait, wait, look, listen," Ayuko choked out, trying to get Kumu's attention.

"...the enemy..."

"He is a male, Kumu-" Ayuko said in rising annoyance.

"...the enemy, the enemy, the enemy..."

Ayuko snapped. "Kumu will you stop that!" she bellowed.

Kumu halted her repetitive monologue abruptly.

"Kumu, he's on our side. His story checks out entirely. Why do you assume that his destructive powers will be used against us instead of for us? You make him sound like some sort of killer. He's a mild-mannered boy. The only time Slade could harm anyone is when he's piloting a robot. I've introduced elements into all our robots that allow us to control them remotely, or even shut them down if required. If Slade ever went berserk or betrayed us, we'd simply turn off his robot. It's not as though we're making him our only pilot. He can't stop our victory, he can only hasten it."

"Possibly you may be right. He is still dangerous in ways you don't understand," Kumu uncertainly replied. Her sphere changed color to yellow.

"Then perhaps you ought to be telling me more. I'm ready to hear your explanation of why this male can pilot a robot."

"Theory suggests," Kumu explained irritatedly, "that his nonexistence in this world creates an energy imbalance that allows him to overpower my limiter."

Kumu was a consummate absolutist; she never qualified any of her statements. Her indecisiveness here made Ayuko suspect that Kumu didn't know how Slade could defeat the limiter. That was startling, for what Kumu didn't know she almost always could find out.

"I'm not trying to defeat my own cause, Kumu," Ayuko was able to say calmly. "We'll both just wait and see how he performs. If he is ineffective, as you say, we have many other pilots. If he is a great pilot, he'll help us win."

"If his destructive impulses are strengthened," Kumu completed for her, "he will be very difficult to handle. I shall watch him closely."

Ayuko smiled her cat's smile at Kumu. One of their greatest similarities was their inability to admit to a defeat or a change of mind. "I'll be watching him too, Kumu. I always enjoy our visits, but I need to get to sleep now."

Kumu, typically, did not respond, but simply transported Ayuko back to the garden. Ayuko walked the short distance back to the base.

Dr. Sanada slammed his fist against the desk in the world Kent Slade had originally come from. The last test had been a failure, too. There was no doubt now. Dr. Hiroshi Rara moved from behind the console to stand next to Dr. Sanada.

The cellphone probe they had just sent out had returned intact. Its signaler was working properly. There were no malfunctions with any equipment here in the lab. Everything was working perfectly, except that no sign of Slade, not even his two signalers, had returned to them.

"He's-gone," Dr. Sanada croaked out. He desperately needed some water, but made no move to get it. His eyes dully encompassed the parallel world transporter and the clock informing them that the two men had worked through the night and into the wee hours of the morning.

Dr. Rara wordlessly handed Dr. Sanada a handkerchief. Dr. Sanada daubed his bloodshot eyes as Dr. Rara sighed with fatigue and despondency.

"We won't turn it off," Dr. Sanada choked.

"We'll leave it on," Dr. Rara agreed, "in case he can signal us later."

There was quiet in the lab a moment, until Dr. Sanada blew his nose.

"I don't think we ought to send anyone after him," Dr. Rara suggested, and was startled when Dr. Sanada thumped the desk again.

"I couldn't send anyone there now," Dr. Sanada angrily elocuted, "not if the same thing might happen to them. I should've listened to Slade, should've done more tests, made it safer. I might've killed him."

Dr. Rara couldn't say anything to that, but just stood there a moment longer.

"Thanks for your help," Dr. Sanada turned to Dr. Rara.

"Don't mention it," Dr. Rara assured him with a sad and sympathetic smile. He waited a moment more, then asked, "Sanada, do you want to tell the family, or shall I do it?"

All the muscles in Dr. Sanada's face seemed to jump in several directions at once. "I'll do it-" Dr. Rara said quickly.

"No, let me handle it," Dr. Sanada said loudly and confidently. "It'll be fine."

"Okay," Dr. Rara hesitantly affirmed.

The two doctors trudged up the stairs in hope of getting some shuteye.

Kent Slade awoke, slowly remembering that he was in his new quarters on the premises of the RaRa Army. He climbed into his uniform, which felt like a stranger. Ayuko had ensured that it fit very well; Kent was simply unused to wearing a uniform and having it be a part of his identity. The uniform seemed to reciprocate the feeling. It seemed to Kent that at any moment, it might abandon its unfamiliar wearer and bolt off down the hall to say hello to an old friend.

He had awoken early enough that no one was in the corridors. He quietly began to explore the base. It would be for Kent nearly a home for some time, and he wanted to have some idea of its layout. Kent only made a few exploratory forays and returned to his room. He didn't want to be thought of as a spy so soon after being cleared, and someone might want to talk to him.

Kent determined that no one had left any messages in his room, and emerged from it. He caught sight of four beautiful women in what appeared to be RaRa Army uniforms for females. They were walking towards his door, and the one in front called out, "Oh, you're awake. We were just looking for you."

"Hello," Kent responded, advancing towards them quickly. "Pleased to meet you: I'm Kent Slade."

The woman in front laughed, holding her hand before her mouth. "But we've already met! Don't you remember?"

Kent paused, totally confused. He reexamined her and could not recall ever meeting her.

"No one's ever recognized her before," commented one of the other ladies.

"I'm Ms. Rah," explained the first woman.

She was quite obviously telling the truth, and now that she had given him the hint, Kent saw that it was quite true. The woman standing before him was indeed his new commander. The main differences, which had prevented him from recognizing her, were that she had abandoned the gaudy habiliment, makeup, and insanely and eternally forceful mannerisms of Ms. Rah for more practical clothing and restrained personality.

"Let's all introduce ourselves more properly," suggested another one.

Ms. Rah nodded and gestured to each person. When she wasn't Ms. Rah, she both saw people and reacted to them. Her reactions and relaxation indicated that these were her friends. First she gestured to the person who had suggested introductions. "This is Ryla Phoenix, Mena Fitzgerald, and Alice Sharome. They're some of your fellow pilots. My real name is Mitsuki Rara."

"Pleased to meet you," Kent said again, because there didn't seem to be anything else to say.

Kent had thought he'd seen everything when he saw that there was indeed such a thing as a parallel world, when he had seen giant robots engaged in melee combat, and when he had seen Dr. Sanada and Dr. Rara become feuding warlords. Now he was part of an army of attractive women and had a Jekyll and Hyde propagandist for a commander.

"Can you really pilot a robot?" Alice asked curiously.

"I really can," Kent affirmed.

"Where are you from?" Alice questioned quickly.

"California," Kent told her. She certainly seemed enthusiastic about this interrogation, and seemed about to ask another question, but someone else had gotten ahead of her.

"How many callsigns have you gotten?" Mena asked, then added, "Oh, wait, you wouldn't have gotten any yet."

"What's a callsign?" Kent wondered aloud.

"Oh, my," Mitsuki Rara said. "It's easy to forget that you're new to all of this."

Kent must've looked at her oddly, for she added, "I've been fully briefed."

"And she told us!" squealed Alice, prompting glares from Ryla and Mena.

Mitsuki Rara explained, "To begin a battle, we send out a trailer in which I, as Ms. Rah, declare the attack location and time and advise everyone to evacuate. Then whoever opposes us brings their robots at the appointed time and we fight. Our robots are piloted remotely, and we lose the battle if all of our robots are destroyed. The Earth Defense Force's Core Robots have pilots inside them. They send a callsign to surrender if a pilot can't keep fighting. We allow them to remove all of their robots and pilots, and we keep the territory."

"A callsign is therefore a surrender," Kent sought confirmation.

"Exactly," nodded Ryla.

That was rather a relief to Kent. That meant he hadn't killed anyone in the battle yesterday, and he wouldn't have to kill anyone in any further battles.

"My father asked that you come for another test," Mitsuki Rara finally suggested.

Kent began to follow the four of them down the hall. Who was her father, and- wait, her last name was Rara, so her father must be Pres. Rara, and her mother Ayuko Rara. Kent hoped that she hadn't gotten her position through nepotism.

Their destination was a good step from where they were, and it was filled all the way with chatting. It was a continuation of their conversation before they had found Slade in his rooms, about a battle that had been fought the week before. This battle turned out to have been fought in the same city that the cellphone probe had been sent to, and Kent realized that was why the cellphone probe had shown him deserted streets. The foursome had quite a bit of corps d'espirit.

Kent was included in the conversation, and elicited the information that Ryla, Mena, and Alice had just graduated high school, while Mitsuki was a few years older than the three of them. Kent told them in turn that he was studying for a master's degree. He was glad he had the sense not to ask their ages directly. Kent found their friendliness enabled him to grow more comfortable with the four, even his commander.

Finally they all emerged into a predominantly red room. Kent had the impression of having gone underground to get here. Pres. Rara and Ayuko had arrived before them, and so had another beautiful young woman working at a console. Kent was greeted warmly by the Raras, and was swiftly introduced to the young woman at the console, Ms. Kaoru Hayase. The three pilot friends of Mitsuki Rara stood beside Ms. Hayase as Pres. Rara briefed Slade on the test.

This would be Kent Slade's first test of an actual RaRa robot instead of a simulation. The robot itself, named Himc, was parked in a hanger next to them. It was a different kind of RaRa robot than most. The pilot actually would be inside it during battle, instead of remotely piloting it. Pres. Rara first wanted Slade just to activate the robot, and warned him not to rush, as Himc wasn't yet completed and might be dangerous to a pilot. At that, Kent noted Ms. Hayase's mouth turned downwards a little bit. Kent recognized that look; it was one he had whenever someone insisted on pushing ahead with experiments despite the current state of the experiment being unknown. Scientists and engineers both preferred certainty.

Kent had a chance in the hangar to get some impression of what the robot looked like: basically a huge cone for a body, a sort of belt about the waist, and a head with a gold piece almost like a crown. A large white sheath, anchored to the back of the cone, partly encapsulated the robot's middle. For some reason, the room was very dark, except for a pinkish glow at the bottom, and surrounding the room were metallic helixes imprinted and shaped like leaves and branches, of all things. Though he had no way of knowing it, he was in the chamber where Ayuko had met Kumu the evening previous. Down at the bottom of the chamber was the blue pool, directly beneath the knifelike tip of Himc.

It was not a robot that walked, Kent knew immediately from its lack of legs and the tip pointed groundwards; he guessed that it must fly or float. He was glad he wouldn't have to make it do that this time.

He entered the cockpit of Himc, which seemed positively gargantuan in comparison to that of the white robot. Kent seated himself and his hand automatically fumbled for a seat belt. Not finding one, he consciously turned his head and looked. Then he looked to his left and right. There was nothing to keep him in the seat. He stood up to look behind the seat.

Pres. Rara's voice resounded inside the cockpit: "Slade, are you all right?"

Kent spun around in surprise, his knee still resting on the seat of the chair. Whipping his head about made his injuries on his head and side throb, and he cringed in pain. He saw a video screen alight with the president's face, and said, "I was just looking for the seat belt, sir."

Everyone in the red room was confused.

"Isn't there a seat belt, sir?" Kent plaintively plead.

"No," Pres. Rara shook his head slowly, staring oddly at Kent.

"Well, sir, could we have one? I mean, I was just remembering how in that other robot I was being flung all over the place. It seemed pretty dangerous, and I thought that a seat belt would make things a lot safer."

"A seat belt," Pres. Rara said, chagrined. "Why didn't I think of that?" Everyone else felt just as embarrassed. "Um, well, yeah, we'll get one put in."

Kent shrugged and settled into the chair, placing his hands upon the sympathy orbs.

Ms. Hayase leaned forward and began to adjust controls. Alice, looking at the console over Ms. Hayase's shoulder, squealed and pumped her fist in the air in delight. "He's really doing it," was Ryla's surprised comment. "Ow!" exclaimed Mena.

"Please excuse me," apologized Pres. Rara; he had accidentally jostled Mena.

"Mitsuki, I can't see," complained Ayuko, trying to peer at the console over both her daughter's shoulder and Ms. Hayase's arm.

Ms. Hayase was growing frustrated; her arms kept bumping into people as she tried to work. "Would everyone please step back?" she demanded.

Kent was growing bored, just sitting there with his hands on the controls. How long would this take? He heard faintly on the communication system Alice crying, "No fair! I wanna see too!"

Pres. Rara finally ordered, "That's enough now! The test is over. We've got to get everything ready for the battle this afternoon." Immediately Kent stood, moving his legs to get some kinks out of them. He had been sitting for some time. The little crowd around Ms. Hayase's console finally and slowly dispersed. Pres. Rara and Ayuko left first after thanking Slade through the intercom and Ms. Hayase in person for their work. Mitsuki Rara and Ms. Hayase exchanged a sad glance as Mitsuki left the control room with her trio. Kent by this time had disembarked from Himc and entered the control room from the hangar. He looked about, wondering what he was supposed to do now.

Ms. Hayase looked up from studying the test results and said helpfully, "You should be able to meet up with them at the main exit." Kent thanked her. "You're welcome. A pleasure meeting you." Kent's parting shot was, "The pleasure is mine."

As she continued to examine the results, Ms. Hayase wondered whether to be happy or unhappy that he was on their side.

Kent was at the main exit, and felt it remarkable that in such a short time he had gone from entering this room in handcuffs to being dressed in the base's uniform. Kent noticed Pres. Rara and Ayuko enter and stare at the door to the interior of the base, which soon opened. He caught sight of a procession, consisting of Mitsuki, now in Ms. Rah attire, another woman whom he presumed was a pilot, with Ryla, Mena, and Alice bringing up the rear. This group saluted to the Raras, and Kent saluted to them as well, as well as he could.

Ms. Rah and the pilot were the only ones to leave the building. Pres. Rara and Ayuko repaired to the control room. Mitsuki Rara's friends advanced towards Slade and invited him to the pilot's lounge. They informed Slade that it was a tradition for those pilots not fighting to observe the fight in real-time and critique it.

The lounge was very comfortable, and there was plenty of time for everyone to settle before the battle began. On the huge screen, there was an establishing, low-angle shot of Ms. Rah standing atop a building in an urban zone, ordering the RaRa pilot to begin the fight. The pilot was in a green chair beside her, and the sympathy orbs on the chair now began to glow. Kent was surprised when the screen turned totally dark. He had just enough time to wonder if there was some sort of malfunction with the cameras when the screen turned light and showed the camera rising. Soon Kent could see enough to see that the camera was also in a highly urban area, surrounded by skyscrapers like those he had seen Ms. Rah and the pilot perched atop.

"Did we just see the robot come out of the ground from first person perspective?" Kent deduced.

"Yes, we always watch the battle from the robot's perspective to help us get into the pilot's shoes," said Ryla, "though the main war room can use other views too."

Kent could only see murky, incomplete reflections in the skyscrapers' windows, so he asked what the robot looked like. Mena told him that it looked a lot like the dinosaur with plates on its back, but walking on two legs. Kent decided she meant it had some resemblance to a stegosaur, apart from its gait.

The robot had continued advancing all this time, and the tension in the room was growing. Contact with the enemy had not yet been attained. Usually there was immediate pitched battle. This time-"It's an ambush!" was the alarmed cry of Alice.

All three of the Earth Defense Force's Core Robots stepped out from behind buildings and opened fire on the RaRa Army robot. The Core Robots were arranged roughly in a triangle surrounding the RaRa robot. It was thickly armored, though that did not prevent it taking damage. The RaRa Army robot turned, raised its hand and fired its own machine gun behind it at D's robot, Unit 3. D, in her robot, ducked back behind the building. The other two units maintained their fire.

Wildly swung the camera as the robot turned to its right and charged the closest Core Robot, the white Unit 1. The RaRa Army robot's plates on its back were actually missiles, which it now fired at the machine gun Unit 1 carried. Lines extending from the rear of the missile looped around the rifle, and Kent was astonished to see these wires begin to melt the rifle. Unit 1 quickly threw the rifle away, and it exploded. This distraction had given the RaRa Army robot time to get close to Unit 1. The RaRa robot picked up Unit 1 in one hand and turned about to face Unit 2, which had pursued it. Unit 1 feebly scrabbled at the enemy hand, unable to break its grip.

Kent was the only person in the pilot's lounge who was surprised by what happened next, but doubtless the Earth Defense Force was surprised as well. The chest of the RaRa robot opened up, revealing a bank of rockets. They fired upon Unit 2, striking it to the ground. Unit 2 had, however, gotten some shots into the RaRa robot's chest area after it had opened and become vulnerable. The robot was therefore unable to control itself as Unit 3 ran up behind it and fired its machine gun.

There was a shriek from behind Ms. Rah as the RaRa pilot experienced the pain of a Life Sympathy backwash. Ms. Rah moved over to the seat to check on the pilot: unconscious but otherwise uninjured.

"That was a tough one," Cmdr. Sanada sighed as he sank back into his seat in the Earth Defense force war room.

"Staff Officer Shibata's idea for a trap worked very well," observed Inspector Yamano.

"Pilot status confirmed," an officer reported, "Units 1 and 3 well, and Unit 2 backwashed."

The commander sighed. It looked like he'd need yet another of their candidates to replace Unit 2's pilot.

In the lounge, Kent was still staring at the Rara robot's transmission of a picture of the sky, which had interference it didn't have before, but the others were already sure of what had happened.

"Awwww!" whined Alice.

"Not even thick armor like that can hold out forever," sighed Mena.

"Too bad," agreed Ryla.

"So, we lost and we're just seeing the robot stare blindly at the clouds?" Kent asked. The others nodded. Kent sighed as well. Everyone despondently pulled themselves off the comfortable furniture.

It was much later that evening when Mitsuki Rara walked down the corridors to Kent's room. Kent heard a knock and was glad he was still in uniform. He opened the door when he heard a knock and stepped out into the hallway, facing his new boss.

Her face was troubled as she began: "Slade, I'm not saying any of this to blame you. You're new here. You have no idea what the RaRa Army is really doing."

The only emotion Kent revealed was confusion; deep inside him, he began to know fear.

She continued without pause: "My parents insist I hypnotize myself to become Ms. Rah, to deliver their message and help in their fights. Ms. Rah says many things, but I know all the RaRa Army really is doing is taking what belongs to others. All my parents really want to do is conquer the world."

This was precisely what Kent had been nervous about, she was confirming his deepest fears- but no, he had been convinced it was all right. He had given his word and signed the mercenary contract. Kent had helped draft the contract himself. Kent was certain about this. What she was saying could not be true.

"I can help you escape," Mitsuki Rara was saying, "but I can't go with you. They might accept it if you left, but they'd probably search very hard to get me back." She swallowed. "They are my parents, and I have to try to convince them to change."

Anger suddenly arose against her. She was his commander! She should not be doing this! It was her duty to maintain morale, to reassure him that what they were doing was right. This was mutiny, it was treason!

Could this be a trap or a test? Kent's wrath cooled. That had to be it. He had never seen either Mitsuki Rara or Ms. Rah act this way before. She and her parents were testing his loyalty; she was only pretending. That had to be it; there was no other possibility. Of course it was. There was no way he could be wrong on something this important.

She had stopped speaking, and was awaiting his decision.

He made a sound for the first time in this conversation. "Commander, I didn't expect the RaRa Army to be perfect. There's always something wrong that happens. But, commander, even good people do bad things sometimes." His voice was so certain that it became strained. "I trust your parents, commander. I think that they're trying to do what is right."

It was now Mitsuki Rara's face that was confused, to which she added surprise. Kent Slade was now completely confident. Now, as she regarded the unmoved Slade, horror began to flood her being. She had taken a great risk, but had been certain he would listen. Some people in the RaRa Army were as deceived as he, and some were truly evil. Mitsuki Rara had never attempted to convince anyone to abandon the cause, and had only chosen to do it now because she was certain Slade, an outsider with decency, would listen.

Slade had listened to her, but he had not followed her. She had placed herself in terrible danger.

In a very small voice she asked him, "Are you going to tell my parents?"

Immediately he responded.


As soon as the word had left him, he knew he had doomed himself. For what had he said such a boneheaded thing: sympathy for a pretty girl, or pity for such a pathetic plea? Slade had nearly been free of the net, almost out of the obstacle course, but had now failed at the very end. His loyalty should've been to the father, not to Mitsuki Rara. Her father was, after all, the higher-ranking officer in the command chain. He should've mercilessly proceeded to seek out Pres. Rara and attempt to denounce her. Then he could've had the happy experience of Pres. Rara and Mitsuki Rara explaining to him that she had only been pretending to test his faithfulness. It was all an act, they would assure him, and Slade would know that he had indeed chosen the correct course when he signed on with them.

Unfortunately, he had wavered at the last, and agreed to shelter a traitor. Now Mitsuki Rara would throw off her act and gaze upon him with disappointment; Pres. Rara or some minor functionary would appear from wherever they were spying on him, watching the scene, and throw him out, or imprison him yet again.

This had all occurred to Slade very quickly, and none of it appeared on his face; for he quickly realized that nothing of the sort was happening. He was alone, except for Mitsuki Rara, in a totally silent corridor. Her face was confused anew, still very frightened, and somewhat disappointed, but she wasn't informing him that he was fired.

Perhaps it wasn't a test.

In any case, having committed to his course of not telling her parents, he decided to continue in it. He smiled casually. "No," he said again, and went further, "I won't tell them, commander. I'll let you and your parents work out this disagreement. You are the ones in charge, after all. Besides, commander, I'd say that your great concern for morality will help us all to conduct ourselves appropriately when we fight."

The fear had now left her face, leaving only the disappointment. "Then I shall leave," she proclaimed sadly, and began to slowly walk away.

"Good night, commander," Slade replied, reentering his room. Closing the door, he paused a moment. Had they decided not to flunk him for his last mistake? Maybe. Perhaps she was simply uncertain about whether she was in the right, and had meant all she had said to him. That was seeming more likely. He wouldn't be certain until tomorrow, but Slade felt confident that he was safe and in the right.

Mitsuki Rara looked back at the door to Slade's room with bitter sadness, and left.

Dr. Sanada stopped typing the letter to Slade's family on the computer for a moment to consider his idea. He stated it aloud, "If only my daughter, my little Mitsuki Sanada had lived, I could say that he had eloped with her!" He laughed, laughed, laughed, and laughed for another quarter of an hour, incapacitated by his own hilarity.

Author's Note:

I'm not trying to mock "..the enemy..." bit, it was actually one of my favorite scenes from the show. On the other hand, I couldn't resist pitting the two most insane characters against each other.

Enjoy the interlude: the main characters will return to the main plot in 8 chapters!

Interlude 7 Main Chapters Interlude 8