4-18-2286

Tsukasa flew out to the asteroid where she met Misao.

"What are we doing here?" Tsukasa said.

"I just got done delivering this mining equipment," said Misao.

"What for?"

"Why, to use it, silly!"

I thought I was done with that, Tsukasa thought.

"But seriously," Misao continued, "this is actually a rogue planetoid that flew in from outside the system. We have reason to believe that this contains exotic materials that will make it easier to form an intersphere rift."

"And they want me to mine this rock?"

Misao shook her head. "No, not by yourself, if that's what you were thinking. I was actually told to stay behind and help."

"I appreciate that." Tsukasa looked out at the equipment. "Do you remember how to set this up?"

After taking several minutes to get everything ready, Tsukasa and Misao were hard at work drilling into the planetoid.

"Just like old days," said Misao.

Just then, Misao's drill shut off. They both looked at the error indicator.

"Whoops, looks like I didn't fully calibrate it." Misao took a few moments to get it working again.

"Is something bothering you?" said Tsukasa. "You've never made that sort of mistake before."

"Nothing you need to worry about. We all slip up from time to time."

I suppose she's right. "Sorry to bother you."

"Don't be. It's nice to see how much like Kagami you're becoming."

"Are you starting to fall for her?" Tsukasa hastily covered her mouth. "Oh, I'm sorry!"

Misao laughed. "I guess I am."

Tsukasa smiled to herself, hoping that Misao would finally find someone to be with.

"Okay, enough about that. I got this working again."

It took several hours, but they were finally able to conclude that this rock held nothing special within it.

"Well, what was a letdown," said Misao.

"At least we know now," said Tsukasa. "Need help taking this all apart?"

"Technically," said Misao, "it's the other way around, since you'll be taking this all back with you to the office."

As they dismantled the mining equipment, Tsukasa thought of something.

"Do you miss it?" she asked.

"Miss what?" Misao replied. "You mean working on that asteroid?"

"Yeah, that's it."

"After all the years I put into that place, well of course I miss it. Still, I knew going into that job that it wasn't going to last forever."

"And I never would've imagined hearing any of that stuff about Konata."

"Well, it's all done and over with."

"I know."

Finally, the last of the machinery was packed away.

"You think we're all going spend time together again?" asked Tsukasa.

"I'd like that as much as you would," Misao said, "but we all have things to do, and not a whole lot of time to do it."

"At the very least, maybe we could spent time together?" Please take the hint.

"Us? Sure, why not?" Misao said. "Are you free this weekend?"

Tsukasa checked her calendar. "Yes, I am."

"I'll meet you at your place, and then we'll decide what to do." Just then, Misao's phone rang. "Excuse me a moment."

She answered the phone.

Tsukasa watched as Misao spoke with Minoru Shiraishi (at least that's whose number she saw as Misao was answering). She was only able to hear Misao's end of the call.

Suddenly, Misao became visibly upset as the phone dropped from her hand.

"Is something wrong, Misao?!"

"I thought I'd be ready for it," Misao said.

What's going on here?