With the new gym literally attached to the Base, all the girls made frequent use of it, especially since Polt let them all in for free as 'family'. This meant that Cerea frequently had to drag one or more of the girls out of the climbing course for mealtimes or bedtime...and more than once Caboose himself had fallen asleep on one of the grassy platforms scattered through the course, curled up to Miia, Papi, Suu, Rachnera, or Polt herself. Cerea and Mero quickly grew envious that the new favorite activity was one they couldn't participate in.

One day as breakfast was finished and preparations were made to head to the gym once more, Caboose paused as his head jerked up. The others quickly recognized this as signs he had received a phone call. "Hello?" he asked curiously. "Yes? Yes? You don't say. You don't say! You...don't say? ...yes, I will be there." He nodded, ending the call.

"Who was it?" Papi asked curiously.

"They didn't say," Caboose responded honestly. "I need to go."

"Should I go with you?" Cerea asked curiously, checking clearance on her sword.

"No, I need to go alone," Caboose insisted. "Just Freckle and I."

[What is the objective?] Caboose's Freckle inquired.

"I'm not going on a secret date," Caboose explained readily as he turned and walked out the door.

Silence reigned in the glances were exchanged. Eventually, it was Rachnera who spoke up. "So...was that Caboose trying and failing to deceive us, or trying and failing to be honest with us? Because somehow I know what's going to happen either way-"

"We need to follow him!" Miia yelled out intensely. "We need to find out who's trying to steal Darling away from me-I mean, us!"

Rachnera shook her head as she watched the room empty. She found herself surprised to see that Polt was still there. "Don't you want to know what's going on?" she asked the kobold curiously.

"As First Lieutenant, I have higher data access privileges," Polt explained simply as she filed her claws. "I've already asked my Freckle to stream the events from Caboose's Freckle, so I don't need to follow him to know what happens." She got to her feet. "For now, I need to open the gym. Want to come climb?"

Rachnera smiled mysteriously. "I do have some...climbing to do," she offered playfully before leaping out the nearest window, racing away across rooftops.

Polt shook her head in amusement. "And she tries to pretend she's different," she mused with a wry chuckle.


Caboose sat patiently at the spot he was told to meet the one who called. He remembered what he was told to do. He was to wait there until a woman he knew showed up, and then act like they were on a date together. He could do that. Even if it wasn't a date, he could act like it was. He knew how to do that.

Looking around, he spotted something that confused him. "Freckle, why are all the other Freckles floating over that bush? Where are the girls?"

[The Lieutenants and Private are hiding behind the bush,] Freckle explained readily.

"Rachnera too?" Caboose asked in surprise.

[Unit assigned to Lieutenant Rachnera refuses to give location as stealth protocols have been initiated,] Freckle explained. [Other units have not initiated stealth protocols.]

"Do the girls know about self photo calls?" Caboose asked curiously.

[Unknown. They have not inquired.]

"Sorry to make you wait, Darling!"

Hearing that voice saying those words, Caboose perked up. Agent Smith was walking towards him, dressed in a tight blouse with exposed cleavage, a jacket tied open at her waist, a short black skirt, knee high black socks, heeled boots, and glasses instead of her usual shades. Caboose instantly knew 'Scary Smith Lady' was not the appropriate form of address in this case...even if the situation was very scary. She'd called him Darling, so he should use a pet name. Thankfully, after much thought - and asking Freckle - he'd managed to come up with one. "I didn't wait long, Kuku," he offered happily as he stood up to meet her.

"Kuku!"

Caboose could tell that Smith heard that concerted whisper-shout. He leaned in close. "The girls didn't tell their Freckles to hide like they did," he whispered, letting Smith see where the Freckles floated. She couldn't help but giggle as she led him to a maid cafe for lunch.

As they went, Caboose beckoned Freckle close. "Freckle, tell Suu's Freckle to make sure she doesn't get into trouble cause the girls are enthusiastic, okay?"

[Order received, sent, and confirmed,] Freckle replied immediately.


The rest of the date proved to be quite fun for Caboose. After the maid cafe, they went to an arcade where a cosplay event was going on for a new game, and both Caboose and Smith won several prizes. After that they went to an outdoor patio and had ice cream. When that became too crowded, she took Caboose to a Love Hotel...where Tio, Zombina, Manako, and Doppel were waiting for them. "...is this how dates normally end?" Caboose asked Agent Smith curiously. "Walking into a love hotel to find your other girl friends waiting for you while heavily armed?"

Tio burst into giggles. "Only if you're very unlucky!" she offered playfully.

"Or dishonest," Zombina teased.

"Or very lucky, depending on your point of view," Doppel offered wickedly.

"...meep!" Manako squeaked out.

"So you told the girls this was a sting about the letter, right?" Smith asked, holding up the threatening letter that had been sent for Caboose.

If You Marry Someone

I Will Kill You

D

"But you said I was supposed to act like it was a date, Kuku," Caboose pointed out logically, not quite getting why Smith blushed and the other girls burst into giggles of varying degrees of amusement and wickedness. "You don't tell your girl friends you're going on a sting if you're going on a date." He lifted a hand. "Oh! But I made sure to tell them I wasn't going on a date so they wouldn't get jealous!"

Smith, Zombina, Manako, Doppel, and Tio all facepalmed instantly, the action joined by the sound of three other facepalms nearby.

"Oh hi girls!" Caboose called happily. "Did you want to be bees, too?"