Nep A Live

Chapter 8: Nerf Bat


'God dammit…'

For a normal girl Kotori's age the biggest headache one would have is worrying about getting in a book report on time, for the commander though her biggest headache was being called in by her bosses like this on such short notice.

It might not of been so bad if it wasn't for the fact that -she- had to show up while most of the other higher ups besides Woodman himself got to attend through black computer monitors that displayed a small speaker icon while talking.

These jackassess always got on her nerves with idiotic comment after idiotic comment. They didn't care about Shido, they didn't care about the spirit's well being, all they knew were numbers and efficiency. Even if they helped fund and organize this effort it was plain to see that the idea of a peaceful solution to the spirit issue was only secondary in their eyes. They had the eyes of a gang of predators, lusting after a big meal, who had become frustrated that they hadn't found an opening yet. It was not a matter of if but when, who, and how one or more of them would betray the organization and seek to harness the spirit's powers in some profoundly infantile way.

For the moment they were playing the game along with everyone else which meant going along with their demands for answers.

Ignoring outside influences the fact of the matter was that something completely unplanned had happened; a previously sealed and stable spirit had not only been divided into two but now both sides somehow appeared stronger than the original had ever been. Even if she didn't agree with them she knew this was a matter worth discussing.

"What is the net gain?" asked the asshole of monitor 3. His manner of speech and use of business terms suggested a CEO or other executive was behind that number but Kotori could never be certain.

Kotori once again spread out the collected data samples in front of her and read one part Reine had highlighted in red ink "We're looking at both of the new twins wielding power one and a half times over Yosh-Hermit's baseline as she was unsealed" she had to correct herself.

"Impossible!"

"What kind of tests did you-?"

Woodman could be seen silently gesturing for his companions to come to order as the almost sagely man weighed the information he was given, he was never known to be all smiles but to see how seriously he was talking this jarred even Kotori.

"What do we know about what happened to Hermit's body during the battle once she was struck by that beam? Do we know anything about this new weapon system DEM is field testing?"

"Sadly we know enough to be worried but not enough to have any practical countermeasures yet. As terrifying as it sounds, this new weapon appears to have the power to "rip" spirit power into shreds"

"Elaborate" demanded the military type from monitor 4

"In what few readings we got before everything when haywire Yoshino's limited astral dress didn't even slow the attack down. DEM has somehow developed a weapon that destabilizes and dissipates spirit power"

"Similar to our suppressing fields in the containment units?" asked the female from monitor 2, a more intellectual type of person.

"Only about 1000X more focused. The spirit Yuzuru of the Berserk twins took a glancing blow as they fled after the initial hit. She wasn't harmed-"

"Irrelevant" spoke monitor 3.

'Jackasses'

"-But her limited astral dress was punched clean through, no resistance"

"This is troubling" admitted Woodman.

"Indeed, I can't even imagine the costs and power requirements associated with such a system but the ability to totally defeat a spirit's defenses would be worth it" stated Kotori.

It wasn't well known but a spirit containment unit was an extraordinarily expensive piece of hardware. The special realizers built into each could bankrupt a smaller company just in construction costs alone. If DEM had somehow weaponized the damn things there wasn't a chance in hell they could have more than a few of these new cannons in operation; even they had to have limits.

"What about a unsealed spirit? Could they stand a chance?" came a voice.

"Doubtful, this beam breaks down the very basis of a spirit's powers. It would be a danger to any spirit no matter how strong" replied Kotori who suddenly found even herself rather intimidated. Her healing might not do a damn thing against this new type of weapon and god only knew her fiery red astral dress might as well not of even been on her with all the good it would do.

'As much as I loath the idea we might actually need to send brother to warn Nightmare about this. She may be a ruthless killer but having her crystal fall into Wescott's hands would be a bigger problem than she ever could be' she worried.

This new weapon was cause for concern from even the mighty Nightmare. THAT was the level of the threat they now faced.

"So what happened to Hermit's body?" asked the voice of monitor two

"Truthfully? We can only speculate. It punctured her astral dress, there was a unbelievable spike of energy, she fell off the map, and minutes later we discover two twins bearing the same powers as her wandering around a mall with no memories. Based on DEM's reaction I'd say they didn't expect this result either"

"One spirit becomes two… It wouldn't fit with Wescott's plans" spoke Woodman, deep in thought.

"Unless there's something we don't know about DEM had nothing to gain from such an outcome. It appears this was an unexpected result of a mad science experiment. This could be what happens to any spirit hit by the beam or it could a a one in a million freak accident. We can't tell" Kotori revealed as she read her notes once again.

"At the very least this will make him reconsider his plans. He'd never retreat from such a power, this will only be a delay" Woodman assured them with utter confidence.

"In the meantime we believe his next move will either be to capture these new twins for study to determine what went wrong or to just throw caution to the wind and shoot another spirit to see what happens" stated the young commander.

Woodman could be nodding in agreement subtly "I wouldn't put the second option past him but creating more obstacles for himself isn't Wescott's way. These new Hermit twins are rather extraordinary as far as spirits go"

"They defy most of what we know. Their power is both vast and different from the rest" spoke Kotori absentmindedly before realizing that may not of been the best response in front of -this- group.

"Different how Commander?" spoke one of the monitors with a supreme interest...

"*Grrrrr* Based on initial tests- errr…."

"Yes? Commander?"

"*Sigh* Whatever they're fueled by is different from a normal spirits energy. It's much harder to detect from long range, even unsealed those two haven't set off a single sensor on the parameter of the containment facility" Kotori was forced to admit.

"Undetectable by the AST?"

"More than likely. It took our lead analyst some quick thinking to even reconfigure our sensors enough to detect the two when they were actively using their powers. When idle both sisters are virtual ghosts to standard sensing equipment"

Renie had pulled nothing sort of a miracle while they were scanning every nook and cranny for the fallen Yoshino. It took a serious overhaul to finally find a setting that could sense the twin's powers on some level. Kotori still had no idea how she pulled it off, after detecting the temperature changes in the mall Reine randomly tried different configurations until they hit upon one that actually worked.

"Such a trait is...useful…"

"Aside from that both appear unbelievably stable. The standard battery of emotional stimuli couldn't even get them to freeze a cup of water if they didn't want to"

"You mean to tell us that despite being even more powerful this "other" energy is fully under their control?!" came a shout from the group.

Kotori knew this was going to be trouble but was forced to explain "We can't determine their upper limits at this time but we can say with confidence their powers work far more in concert with their wills than the rest. It may be a issue of lower peak strength in exchange for more control but that's only speculation"

After Tohka had smashed a bridge everyone felt it was for the best if a "baseline" was established for what the spirits could take before their emotions got the better of them.

It was a rather interesting test…


"Ok, Tohka is in chamber one. Set the bread on fire!"

*Boom*

"Expected. Alright, Kaguya is in chamber 2 and her sister is in chamber 3. Deploy the spider cage!"

BY THE DARK GODS! KEEP AWAY FROM ME YOU DEATHWEAVERS!

"Oh right, Kaguya doesn't like spiders but Yuzuru is fine with them. We'll have to try something else with her later. Onto Yoshino, chamber 4, play the video!"

*Warning Siren*

"Negative 200 in less than three seconds? Wow. Lastly let's give Miku in chamber 5 a try. Deploy the Yaoi!"


Rom and Ram had been exposed to the same stimuli Yoshino had been tested with; a lovely little film called "Ratatoskr presents three minutes of terminally ill puppies being put to sleep". Despite their less-than-extraordinary reactions (Crying, vomiting, the screams of "Why god?! Why?!") both never lost control of their powers. The testing chamber's thermometer didn't even dip!

"Remarkable…. The combat applications alone could…."

"This meeting is dismissed" spoke Woodman suddenly and with authority.

Kotori wasn't even sure if the members present willingly logged off or if Woodman simply hit the power switch on their monitors but within seconds all were gone, their screens empty and unpowered.

"Now then, commander?"

"Yes sir?"

"I will be very blunt and open with you here. I know Hermit, Yoshino, is a very dear friend to you" spoke Woodman with genuine sympathy

"Y-Yes sir…."

"I loath to give you such as task after already asking so much of you-"

"I-I'm always ready! No matter how hard it is!"

"I know. This time however may be ever harder. We -cannot- allow Wescott to get his hands on these two. The study of whatever spirit mutation has affected them could easily allow him to advance his goals in any number of ways"

"As I am aware sir"

"With that said, we must consider how to handle this situation"

"H-How so…?"

"I am not a monster. You will be given as much time as safely can be allowed and every resource we have in order to find some way to reverse what has happened to your friend Yoshino. However, if nothing can be found and their presence becomes a danger having your brother seal them may be required"

"That would…!"

"Yes, possibly terminate the original personality if what the Berserk sisters said is true."

"Brother will never do it. He won't kill Yoshino by sealing those two"

"I know, we may have to… deceive him on the matter. Possibly by telling him that sealing them might restore her"

"Y-You mean L-L-L…"

"Lie? Yes"

"I see…"

"I don't want this to happen as much as you do commander. I hope and pray you are successful in finding some way to avoid this outcome at all costs. If we casually throw away the lives of those girls we will be no better than Wescott but we cannot be careless here. You will have all my support no matter what happens but…, do you understand?"

This wasn't a matter of a some cold and calculating overseer handing down absolute orders without care. Of all the higher ups Kotori felt that Woodman actually cared about the spirits, he didn't want this either, fate and their enemies left them no choice. God only knew what Wescott could achieve by studying this mutated spirit power.

It was almost a shame. If Kotori was subject to a cruel dictator's whims she might at least have someone to blame. As it stood if they were forced to trick Shido into erasing Yoshino all the guilt would fall on her head.

"Yes sir…." replied Kotori with her head held low

"Good. Now go, do your best for Yoshino"

Steeling herself Kotori gave a salute "I will sir! I swear it!" she promised.

Kotori now had the unenviable task of trying to find some way to fix Yoshino or risk having to do something even worse than putting down her brother if his powers ever became unhinged.

If only she was just a normal girl...


"Um...Ram?" asked Rom as they watched Kotori leave the meeting all mopey.

"Yes?" replied her sister.

"Do you know what any of that means?"

"Not a clue!" sang Ram with zero care.

"Oh…."

"But whatever it was really upset Noire: Red Version!"

"Yeah…" agreed Rom who could see how worried she looked despite trying to act brave.

After watching their friend Uni try and hide her worries under a confident grin so many times it was easy to see through the charade.

"At least we know these guys are basically your standard mysterious organization with unknown, yet probably evil in the end, goals. We're working with the Patriots basically." announced Ram.

Rom tilted her head to the side in thought "I get more Seele vibe from them…"

"Speaking of Seale, I wonder what the heck they were talking about with this sealing thing?"

"They said they wanted to seal us" spoke Rom.

"I don't want to be sealed!" Ram yelled before being hit by a realization " Rom… do you have any idea what being sealed means?"

"No, maybe it's like a skill seal?" her sister in blue suggested.

"Why would they purposely give us a status proc?! What they heck does it do?!"

Looking for answers and knowing they had access to more of Rataoskr's files Rom went to the terminal and began to search "Well lets see here. TypeyTypeyTypey... Sealing… Sealing… Ceiling... Oh! Here we go! Through the process of having Subject Shido kiss a spirit and sealing their powers that spirit becomes stable and open to peaceful co-ex...exsis….co-existance! The spirit is left with 1% of their powers but it rendered safe and manageable to our methods…"

"One percent power!? Oh my goddess Rom, do you know what this means?!" yelled Ram in terror.

"Um…"

"They're going to nerf us!" Ram screamed.

"They're going to make us wear orange foam suits...?"

"No! Balance nerf, the only not-fun kind of nerf! They going to take away our awesomeness and make us soft and not dangerous! This is what they must have done to the rest of our party! That's why these files say they used to be more powerful! They took those other spirits, had that boy kiss them, and nerfed their powers! Now they want to do it to us!"

"Oh…."

"What kind of sick dummy would do something like this?! It's almost as bad as that video of those dead puppies they made us watch!" cried Ram.

"*Sniffle* I keep telling myself they were just napping…*Sniffle*" moaned Rom with her hands to her face.

"We have to stop them!" Ram declared with all the gusto of an idealistic revolutionary.

"But um, Ram? According to this unsealed spirits are kinda dangerous. Maybe they have a good reason to do this?"

"No nerf this bad is justified!" dismissed Ram.

"Well… Not always…. Sometimes things need a balance pass. Maybe they're a bit too strong and…."

"A 99% power reduction Rom! That's Blizzard level nerfing!" argued Ram who looked on the verge of hysterics.

"Perhaps they were too strong early game or in PVP, or mayb-"

Rom's counter-argument was cut off by her sister grabbing her by the collar.

"BLIZZARD. LEVEL. NERFING. ROM" Ram screamed in her face "Do you want to end up like my Heartstone deck?!"

"We did… kinda… one shot a boss…" the timid twin argued while wishing Ram would let go. Her collar was going to get a stretched at this rate and big sister wouldn't like that…

"Irrelevant! Oh I can see the patch notes already!"

"Patch notes?"

"Yeah: Hello everyone, today the following balance changes have been made to the CPU candidates Rom and Ram: HP Reduced 99%, SP Reduced 99%, STR Reduced 99%, VIT Reduced 99%, INT Reduced 99%, MEN Reduced 99%, AGI Reduced 99%, TEC Increased 3%. Ugh! They always do that! They give you some crappy throwaway stat in return and act like it's even better!"

"TEC is kinda useful…"

"No one builds for TEC! NOONE!"

"True…" conceded Rom.

Ram finally released her sister and began to pound on the computer terminal "Q! QQ! Why isn't this working?!" she shouted while smashing the Q button over and over again.

"Are you making an angry forum post?" asked Rom as she saw Ram QQing.

Never letting up on her Q barrage Ram replied "I played that over-hyped game about Dogs with Watches, this is how you make everything explode on a computer right!?"

This worried her sister "Making things explode? Oh dear! That seems too harsh. We just need to keep from being sealed right? We don't need to hurt anyone..." suggested Rom.

Giving up on making the base explode Ram put on her most serious of serious thinking pose!

"So this dummy with the blue hair needs to kiss us in order to seal us right? Hmmmmmm…. I got it! We just don't have to let him kiss us!"

"They might be hard Ram. Look" offered her sister as she pointed to files under "Dates".

"Ugh! These guys seem to specialize in making girls fall in love with this dummy!" shouted Ram who dropped her fist on the keyboard in anger "We need a foolproof way to keep that from happening!

"But how Ram?"

With a devious grin Ram came up with the perfect plan!

"I know! Everytime we feel something towards this boy we need to think about the absolute, utter, worst person we know!"

"Who?" asked Rom.

"Mister big robot perv!" replied Ram while holding out her tongue in a crude imitation.

"Whhhaaaaa! I hate him…." cried Rom who still shuddered at the thought of what the felon "CFW Trick" had done to them.

The perverted robot had brainwashed her, made her attack her friends, destroy parts of Lowee, and even did all sorts of disgusting things to them! Hate and rage wasn't one of Rom's strongest points (That was more of their big sister's forte') but Trick was the one person in the world Rom could say she hated.

Ram also relived everything about the, thankfully dead, felon.

"Just imagine that big pervert coming for a smooch if this Shido boy starts making any moves on you Rom!"

Inside her head the terrible mental image of CFW Trick dressed in Shido's clothes and wearing his blue hair tormented an imaginary Rom.

"HeHeHe! Give your big brother some sugar baby!" he screeched.

"Eh! GrossGrossGrossGrossGrossGrossGross! They even sound alike in some way!" cried a queasy Rom.

"Yeah it's weird. I noticed that too" agreed Ram who had also observed the rather uncanny link between the voice of this Shido boy and their most hated tormenter.

"Eck! I don't think I can even like boys after dealing with him!" muttered Rom.

"Me either! Boys suck! Lets only like girls from now on!" chirped Ram.


*BANG*

"WHO SAID THAT?!"

"Alarm. Comrade Miku?!"

"Whoa! What warrior-like strength!"

As both Kaguya and Yuzuru were searching the hallways of the underground base they had been confronted by a crazed looking Miku kicking down a solid steel door with naught but her high heels.

The idol's eyes fell onto the twin sisters with an almost manic intensity "~Twins~!"

"Um? Miku? Are you unwell of the head? " asked Kaguya as both she and her sister tried to push the other in front of themselves for protection.

"Madness. Miku appears… excited by something"

"Excited?! Yes! I just felt something really, reallygood!"spoke Miku who appeared to be drooling...

"Ok then…?" muttered Kaguya as Miku began to frantically shift her gaze up and down the hallway as if she was looking for something "The sisters of the hurricane will be scrying elsewhere if she doesn't mind…"

"Did you two just say something now?!" demanded the crazed idol before the two could disengage.

"Clarify. Did we make statements in your presence or-" "No! Before I got here!"

The way Miku was storming upon them made Kaguya and Yuzuru really uncomfortable...

"We were in quite running mode to prevent detection by our targets" explained Kaguya.

"So it wasn't you then…" replied Miku.

"Unease. Is Miku ok?"

The Diva spirit looked at the twins like a madwoman and explained "Every fiber of my body says I need to go find those new girls RIGHT. NOW."

"Um...Good fortune?" offered Kaguya hesitantly.

"Rom! Ram! Your big sister is coming!"

As Miku ran screaming down the hallway both Kaguya and Yuzuru were left wondering just what the HELL happened to set her off like this!?

"Worry. Sister, we need to locate subject's Rom and Ram before pursuer Miku can"

"Agreed my sister. Their lives may depend upon it…"

That was going to be easier said than done. The entire base was in lockdown and every spirit plus Shido was looking for them.

Thankfully Yuzuru had an idea "Plan. This is just like when all of us were looking for Natsumi after she escaped her holding cell here, looking for them is pointless, we need to lure the targets to us!"

"I assume by brilliant sister has something in mind?" questioned Kaguya with a scheming smirk.

"Yes. We need to reach the Public Address system…"


"Um Ram? Do you feel that? I'm getting the same feeling we got that time Miss Vert wanted to throw a themed sleepover with us, Miss Uni, and Miss Nepgear" asked Rom who shivered slightly despite her heavy coat

The theme Vert suggested had been wedding dresses.

"That perverted feeling of doom? Eh, I'm sure it's nothing. Vert is all the way in another dimension! What could be wrong here?"

"I'm still worried…" cooed Rom.

"Nevermind that! These guys are trying to play us like a fiddle!" refocused Ram.

"They just want to help…"

"I don't care!" huffed Ram bitterly "They acted all nice to us but just want to nerf us instead! They shall pay for trying to trick us! We will have our revenge!" she delaced as Rom cowered with worry.

"Revenge…?"

"We will have our vengeance!"

"V-Vengeance…?!"

"We will have our... Revengeance!"

"In the end, it has to be this way..." sighed Rom who knew her sister wouldn't be swayed at this point.

"I'll start with this!" announced Ram as she returned to the computer console and began to work, a mad smile upon her lips.

"Ram what are doing to their computers?"

Even if she had given up on making the base explode Ram was determined to use the base's computers to gain an edge on these Rotor-something guys!

"Annnnnnd done! HaHa! They'll never see this coming! I've come up with the perfect insurance in case these guys try to get in our way!"

"What did you do?"

Ram turned to her sister with a most evil grin "The same thing big sister did to Vert's computer in order to make sure she never tries to get us to read her "Special" books ever again"

"Oh… Oh! That's bad!"

"Don't care!" sang Ram.

"We shouldn't make trouble Ram! Even if you don't agree with what they're doing to the spirits those other really, REALLY bad guys are still out there!" Rom argued.

Even if she didn't want to admit it Ram knew her sister was right. These dummies were only half the issue since the main bad guys were still a problem. Right now all she was doing was working on a side quest that would maybe lead to the true ending when the main questline hadn't even been started yet!

Ram returned to her thinking pose "Hmmmmmmm…. We need to blow up those people and this Wescott bully while finding some way to protect these spirits in our party-"

"I don't think we need to protect them. They seem happy being sealed"

"-I got it!-"

"Sigh, you aren't listening to me at all are you…?"

Ram was beginning to act more and more like Neptune, was this a main character thing she didn't know about Rom wondered?

"-The best way to deal with a nerf is just to go and start using the 2nd strongest thing! We just need to change these spirits from their class to our class!"

"You mean make them CPU's? Ummmmm, how?" asked Rom.

"I have no idea at all!" shouted Ram happily "But it's fine! In most games if you wait around long enough the story will just drop the answer right in your lap! We just have to wait for all the answers to come to us! Waiting for all the solutions to your problems to come to you is the best way to handle most things!"

"This is why Mina says you need to study more Ram…."

This was the same logic Ram had been using on their magic tests for a while now.

Before they could speak further a soft beep sounded above them over the base's intercom system.

"Renie: This is small announcement to everyone on base."

"Kaguya: Freshbaked cookies are now being served in the dining hall!"

"Yuzuru: Classification. Chocolate Chip!"

*Bang!Bang!Bang!Bang!*

"Renine: It appears someone is breaching through blast doors 3,5,8,12,18…"

"Kaguya: Well that was achieved far more rapidly than even I thought!"

"Yuzuru: Identity. It's not our main objective. Scans indicate it is...Spirit Princess…"

"Reine: We should've expected this reaction. *Sigh* I'll open the rest of the doors in her way"

"Kaguya: I'd recommend making great haste! Those who are not fleet of foot will not get any cookies before my kinsman devours them like a ravenous dragon!"

"Beep!"

"Cookies Rom! Cookies!" squealed Ram as she closed out the computer and unplugged her handheld.

"What about Reve-Raven-Ravo...?" asked her sister.

"Revengeance!...can wait. Cookies now! Let's go before that blowhard eats all of them and we get stuck with raisin! Ugh! I hate raisin!" ordered Ram.

"Ok…." Rom gave her sister a little nod and followed behind her with a steady skip, leaving behind only Ram's deadly trap in the computer system.


DEM Medical Center A-14

"I am going to kill those little bitches!"

"Miss! Please calm down! Your wounds-"

"I will cut off every. single. limb they have! They will die screaming my name!"

"Miss Mathers! Mr. Wescott is on the phone for you!"

"What?! Give it here you dolt!" screamed the wizard Mathers as she ripped the phone out of the poor nurse she had been tormenting hands.

She reluctantly sat back down in her hospital bed and tried to make herself presentable, forcing a few strands of hair back into place, before answering the call on the video phone.

"So how goes the recovery my finest weapon? I trust you aren't causing problems for the staff at our facility?" joked the leader of D.E.M. as he sat at a desk in his office with his eyes glued to a nearby terminal instead of the screen he was talking into.

Even though he sounded peaceful Mathers gritted her teeth at the "finest weapon" comment. She had just failed and her gut told her that was just to rub salt into the wounds. To Wescott there was no such thing as unpunished failure, this was something only the dead could attest to.

'Don't believe his tone. I know he's upset' worried the wizard with a scowl

"That was quite the encounter you had with this new set of spirits! How unlucky they overpowered you and blasted you right into display of cacti! HeHe! Sounds almost like something out of a cartoon, did you make any bonk or bang noises as you hit?" he asked with faux playfulness.

Oh all the things she could have been thrown against with her realizer field down those two little demons sent her into a danm collection of potted Cacti! She had needles still stuck in her ass from that!

"I am sorry for my failure…" was all Ellen could muster in the face of such an embarrassment.

"Oh? Don't be!" said Wescott with a smile as he touched his terminal to bring up a video of what appeared to be DEM scientists with bags over their heads kneeling on the ground "I'm more angry at our brains in R&D here. I told them I wanted a weapon to kill spirits so we could extract their crystals" Ellen watched as the video began to play "I didn't tell them to make a weapon that would change spirits" without warning an outbreak of muzzle flashes filled the screen and within seconds every scientist was dead with a hole in their heads, executed…

"I see…" muttered Ellen who could already see herself in the same situation if she failed again

"I need those crystals in order for my plan to work. In order to acquire them I need to use the method we have developed after studying Material A. If these crystals are changed we will need to develop new methods to acquire them for me. This will slow my plan down"

Oh god, he was over enunciating, he was THAT mad!

"The spirits were changed that much?" asked Mathers in surprise.

"Based on intercepted transmissions we aren't even sure if they have my crystals anymore. Whatever occurred to them has changed them to the degree that they barely register as spirits. Although studying this new power of theirs is tempting, all our research for the past 30 years has been focused on harnessing the power of the spirits, not these "others". To restart now cannot be allowed to stand"

That made sense, unless the rest of the spirits were altered in a similar way there was nothing to gain here but everything to lose. A dead spirit was useful to them, a sealed spirit was useful to them, a captured spirit was useful to them, a inverted spirit was useful to them. These girls presented a roadblock to all of Wesott's plans just by existing.

No wonder he was secretly furious, he had almost just completely de-railed his own plan by accident when ordering the testing of that weapon.

"What is your plan Issac?"

Finally breaking with his fake cheerfulness Wescott fell back into his chair with a sigh "As much as I hate to admit it we need the Hermit restored to her full condition. Once she is restored we can either proceed with method A or method B to deal with her but until that happens we need these two "mutations" alive" he explained with a childish annoyance.

'Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!Dammit!'

"Is that ok Adeptus one?"

"It's (Grrrrrrrr…..) fine!"

Returning to his creepy smile Wescott finally looked at the screen "Good! That's good! For now your mission is to acquire these new spirits "Rom" and "Ram" as soon as you are healed enough. Once in our loving care we will work on ways to revert the changes that have affected them"

"It will be done!" swore Mathers

"It better. Regardless I'm sending you something new we're working on. More specifically the Basalt"

"The Basalt? It's complete?" asked Mathers who believed that particular project was shelved months ago.

"It's close range systems are still suboptimal but it should be a useful way to "force" the issue with Woodman's group. They may have no choice but to hand them over if it is deployed" explained her boss.

"Are you...certain of this action? A significant portion of our net worth is tied up in that project and it's still experimental. Even if the board if neutered and cannot object to the cost-"

"You worry too much my dear" spoke Wescott with a grin "Nothing in this world can match its power. Our victory is assured"


Lastation Heavy Salvage Yard

"Geeze Gear, as happy as I am you and your sister came over to see us (Even if your big sister did charge into the basilicom just to bug mine) do we really have to hang out someplace like here?" asked the CPU candidate of Lastation Uni as both she and gear trudged through piles of broken mechs and spaceships in Lastation's main salvage yard.

Being as industrious as it was Lastation was always hungry for large quantities of metals so naturally salvage was a big ticket item for them economically.

Nepgear paid her little attention as she gawked at all the broken hulls and crushed circuits around her. To a technophile this was borderline heaven!

"Oh! Oh goodness! It's a scouting lance of Lyran Atlas mechs! Over here is a old Gallente Dominix! I wonder if it's advanced drone control protocols are still intact!? In the distance...are those GDI Mk 3 Mammoth tanks with the railgun upgrade?! Oh my-! A Minotaur Class Terran Battlecruiser! So much neosteel! Eeeeh! A UEF ACU! I thought all those were destroyed! A stack of Medium Anti-Vehicle / Assault Weapon, Bore 102mm, M41 Surface-to-Surface Rocket Launchers!? Who threw these out?! Even a TEC Javelin missile frigate?!" gushed Gear with starry eyes as they danced from one glorious visage from another

Uni was less impressed by the display "Um Gear? These things may have been impressive at one point but now they're all junk"

"It's only junk to those who aren't willing to fix them! Oh, such potential!"

Seeing that Gear had her heart set on this Uni returned to her original question.

"Why are we out here anyway?" asked the mini Tsun

"Oh goodness! Didn't I ever explain?" asked Nepgear, feeling red with embarrassment "I had a great idea after listening to some of the stories Yoshino told us about their word! I just need some parts!"

"Wait…? You're working on something new? What about fixing the Plot Device so we can get Ram and Rom back?" replied Uni who thought Nepgear was all tied up with returning those two.

"This ties into that! Trust me! It'll be great!" assured Nepgear as she took out her handheld and began to scan the hulls around her for measurements

"-What- are you building anyway?" asked Uni again

Nepgear could only smile, her head awash with beautiful schematics and visions of technological domination.

"A weapon to surpass Alloy Gear!"

"Oh? Those things? Pretty sure we have two under a tarp near the back. Someone brought them here a couple months ago after finding them abandoned. I'm pretty sure they didn't even put up a fence around that island. They just kinda….left them there" explained Uni

Instantly Nepgear's face was right next to Uni's, the Lastation candidate turning beet red because of it "SHOW ME! SHOW ME NOW!" she demanded

"Ok! Ok! Follow me. Not sure if they're even important models or anything" replied the flustered Uni as she grabbed Gear by the hand and lead her away

In her mind all she could think was of how perfect this place would be as a dating spot for Nepgear and...whoever would take her out to someplace like this.

This wasn't a date of course...right?


Author Note: Guess what gaming franchise I've really been getting into lately? LOL! Here's the next chapter with every side in this war of madness drawing up their battle plans. Please leave a review if you like. Also I'm looking for someone to do a piece of art for the story to use as it's icon. If anyone has any talent for that stuff please PM me. I can't offer anything but it would be nice to have something to put up.