Disclaimer: I do not own Vandread. I did make Kagen though. I'm taking Neo out of the story, sorry in advance I just can't handle two new characters at once. I'll probably explain him away at another time.

Kagen arrives at his room to find Meia sitting on his cot. Kagen asks, "So, what brings you to my humble abode?"

"Nothing much, just wanted to see how you're doing." She stands up and moves to the door. "I may as well let you rest for now, seeing as you look like you're exhausted. I'd like to hear what you've been up to since you left, but you can just tell me later."

Kagen thinks, 'Damn, I made her worry. Stupid, stupid, stupid, god am I stupid...' She stops suddenly as he thinks that.

He realizes that she heard his thoughts again and cuts the thought short by saying, "I'll let you know soon enough... once I figure it all out."

She then leaves the room and he plops down on his cot and stares at the ceiling.

5 hours later

Kagen gives up trying to sleep after he wakes up for the third time. 'Guess I can't sleep when I have things on my mind. Guess I'll go and ask the Paksis a few questions.'

He gets up and makes his way to Engineering.

Meanwhile in the Cafeteria

Dita is complaining to Erza about her relationship with Hibiki when Erza starts having contractions.

In the Reg center

Hibiki is muttering to himself about what Misty said about him, when Gascogne starts picking on him. He storms out of the room and ends up running into Dita, who is trying to get Erza (who is going into labor) to the Infirmary. Hibiki uses a terminal nearby to notify Duero of the situation.

In the Paksis room

Kagen touches the Paksis to commune with its spirit. He thinks, 'Hopefully the answers I can get will lead to a better understanding of what has happened and what will happen from now on.'

The Paksis glows and Kagen merges with it.

Meanwhile in Engineering

BC starts trying to decode the capsule that was in Misty's pod. Pyoro informs her that the capsule is encrypted and requires a password. Paiway informs BC of Erza's condition via comm. window.

Pyoro freaks out and tries to break free of the console, but is halted by BC when reminded that they are in the middle of an important task. Pyoro calms down, but shortly breaks down taking most of the ship's systems with him.

The Paksis suddenly becomes dim as it is slowly affected by the hidden virus contained within the capsule.

Kagen notices the interference and immediately attempts to assist the Paksis in sustaining the remaining systems. He barely manages to keep the comm. system running. He checks life support and finds that it is remarkably intact. All other systems are down.

In the elevator

Erza is on the way to the infirmary with the help of Hibiki and Dita when suddenly power to the elevator is cut. He then starts scanning the comm. channels to get a better handle on how badly the system has been affected. He catches Hibiki's call to the Infirmary and attempts to get the elevator moving. He fails to do so. 'Damn, I can't manage all this at once, much less power it. I barely can keep the comm. system working. What bad timing. If I was at my best I'd be able to do more.'

Suddenly the Nirvana is hit by enemy. Kagen flinches and curses his own inadequacy. 'Damn I forgot to get the sensors up, much less the shields.' He tries again to contain the infection and succeeds in confining it to an isolated sector. 'Alright, the comm. system is stable. Gotta get the shields up, or we are finished.'

He suddenly gets a boost of energy. He checks its location and finds Gascogne has switched the reg system to manual power and control. He inwardly smiles and makes a note to thank her, since he now has one less thing to manage. 'Now I can concentrate on the shields. I'll have to do it manually since the sensors are down. With the dreads deployed and the shields partially recovered we might just survive.'

He then manages to get the sensors functional. He takes stock of the situation on the battlefield for the first time. 'Damn, they just had to attack us now, when our systems are down.' He notices that the cable control on the elevator is damaged. 'Damn, that'll cause some trouble when we get power back. I can't fix it from here.'

In the Elevator

Erza finally delivers her baby. The baby's birth cry wakes Misty and through the comm. system unlocks and disarms the virus.

Kagen is finally free of his management tasks with power restored. He disables the elevator's brake release system before it violently releases and drops its passengers down the shaft. 'It won't take long for Parfait to re-enable it, I'll have to get there fast.' The Paksis glows and frees up a circuit path for him to use.

He quickly uses the transmission path to move to the inside of the elevator shaft below the elevator. Shortly after he takes his physical form, Parfait thinks, 'The elevator cables should be locked in place. So resetting the emergency brake should allow us to bring the elevator to this level.'

She resets the brake and the elevator starts to drop. Kagen braces himself before he catches the falling elevator. He then starts climbing the maintenance ladder in the shaft while pushing the elevator back up the shaft.

Once the elevator reaches the previous floor the doors open and they climb out. He then lifts the elevator further up and locks the brakes. He then does a backflip, landing on the deck as the doors close. Shortly after he lands he falls to his knees completely drained of his remaining strength. Parfait asks, "Are you alright?"

Kagen laughs and says, "Does it look like I'm OK? I just lifted an elevator with three people and a baby in it after it fell on my back. Not to mention I had to fight a virus before that while keeping the comm. system working."

Parfait says, "Well what were you doing in the elevator shaft?"

"I was trying to fix the cable control system before you dropped the elevator on me. What were you thinking when you decided not to check all the systems before you reset the emergency locks?"

"I was just trying to get them out as soon as possible." She starts to cry. Kagen grimaces and says, "I'm not trying to chew you out, just be more careful next time."

Kagen passes out then and is carried to the Infirmary so he can rest.

12 hours later

Kagen wakes up to Meia sitting in a chair across from his bed, asleep. He gets up and checks his chronometer. 'I've been asleep 12 hours? Don't tell me she's been here that whole time!'

He hears a thought from Meia's direction as she wakes up. 'What, you thought I wouldn't do that sort of thing? That I just don't care?'

He says, "No, I..." He sighs and thinks, 'I just can't put it into words.'

'Then think it.' Meia replies through the mind link with a smirk.

Kagen frowns and thinks, 'How does one think a feeling, when feelings are not guided by the mind?'

Meia looks baffled by this thought and says, "I never thought about that. Thoughts can invoke emotion but, emotions are not entirely controllable though pure thought. The mind IS separate from the heart after all..." As she speculates this conundrum she walks out of the room.

Kagen suddenly feels extremely hungry and runs quickly to the Trapeza.

At the Trapeza

Kagen enters to find the kitchen empty and the lights off. He checks his chronometer again and sighs. "Looks like I'll have to cook for myself tonight."

In Barnette's room

Barnette wakes up suddenly having an urge to eat something. She checks her chronometer and says, "There won't be anyone there at this hour. I guess I'll have to fix my own food." She heads to the Trapeza to find the kitchen lights on and sounds coming from the kitchen.

'Who would be up at this hour cooking?' She pokes her head in the door and sees Kagen cheerfully cooking some food. She panics and shuts the door. 'What should I do? I'm not ready to face him just yet.'

Kagen, who noticed her when she panicked says, "Come on in Barnette, I don't bite. Honestly. Have you been avoiding me?"

She is startled by the direct nature of the question and says, "Uh, I'm not sure what you mean. Why would I have a reason to avoid you? If anything, I'd say you were avoiding me!"

Kagen laughs and says, "Ah, forget it. You came here because you were hungry, right? Would you like some of this stir-fried rice?"

She blushes slightly and nods.

He chuckles and finishes cooking it and says, "Good, because I made too much for just me."

She takes a bite and suddenly feels a rush of energy. 'Oh my god! This is amazing! The flavors are perfect! He really brought the best out of his ingredients.'

She slowly continues eating, trying to take in as much flavor as possible. Kagen notices her slow pace and asks, "What is it? Is there something wrong with the food?"

She swallows her current bite and says, "No, in fact I'm surprised you can cook so well. Well... considering that you grew up on a planet where food was replaced by nutrient pellets."

Kagen chuckles and says, "Didn't I tell you that I cooked while on Tarak? You've tasted my work before, remember? The Christmas turkey..."

She replies, "Well I thought that was just because I seasoned it. If I had known you were this good, I'd have let you cook way before now."

Kagen laughs a little and starts eating his food. He thinks, 'Maybe dying was a good thing... Barnette was never this nice to me before... then again neither did Meia... wait a minute...' He suddenly asks Barnette, "Did you happen to receive a message that I might have recorded in case I died?"

Barnette blushes and starts eating faster. "Did everyone receive their messages that I recorded or was it just you?"

Again Barnette increases her eating speed and doesn't answer. Kagen sighs and says, "So, that is why everyone has been treating me differently. Damn me and my tendency to build backup systems."

Barnette finishes the food and quickly leaves.

Kagen sighs and says, "Well I guess the cat's out of the bag. They both know I like them. I don't know if I should be happy they know, or worried what will happen now that they know."

Misty steps out of the shadows and asks, "Who is they?"

Kagen dodges the question asking, "So, I guess you're hungry since you made your way here. Do you want something to eat?"

He then stands up and says, "Well if you are hungry, then you can have what's left... I seem to have lost my appetite."

As he leaves the room she tries the food. She finds that she can't stop eating it. As soon as she finishes eating she pokes her head out the door. 'Damn, he trapped me here with that scrumptious food so he could get away. Wait, did he make that?' She smiles and thinks, 'I want him even more now.'

In Kagen's room

Kagen suddenly gets a chill up his spine. 'Is it my imagination, or am I being targeted by someone?' He shrugs and goes to sleep thinking, 'Oh well, it doesn't seem to be an immediate threat. Might as well get some rest.'

5 Hours later

Kagen wakes up to find Misty curled up against his chest. He immediately jumps out of the bed and tucks her in. He then sneaks off to the Trapeza to grab something to eat.

2 Min later

Misty wakes up after trying to feel around for Kagen to snuggle tighter. 'Where'd he go? He'll pay if he thinks he can get away from me.'

In the Trapeza

Kagen gets another chill down his spine again. 'Again? Someone must be plotting against me.' He ponders this for a moment. 'Must be Misty. She must've realized I sneaked off without waking her. Sorry, girl but I'm not so easily trapped.'

He finishes his food while trying to think of where she might be likely to look. 'I think the last place she'd expect me to be is the navigator's pod. Maybe I can convince Bart to take a break for awhile. I mean I should be able to control the Nirvana considering me and it are at compatible frequency.'

Later on the bridge

Kagen succeeds in convincing Bart to take a break for awhile and dives in quickly. He takes stock of the ship's systems and notices a hidden locked system. 'I wonder what that is...' He starts to take a look at it when suddenly a comm. window opens with Misty's face in it.

Kagen is startled by this as she asks, "So, what are you doing in there?"

Kagen sighs and closes the comm. window. It re-opens immediately. She says, "That was rude of you. I didn't even get to compliment you yet." She blushes and says, "Nice bod, by the way."

Kagen closes the window again with a text screen message stating the following: "Leave me alone, I'm working."

She frowns and stomps away furious.

Kagen inwardly sighs and thinks, 'Good riddance. I have enough on my mind without one more love interest. Sorry Hibiki, she'll probably go for you next.'

He gets back to work streamlining the controls and never gets back around to checking that hidden system.

A/N: I had to write this on the spot... I lost all my rough drafts I used to work with. I think I added a lot in this one. Tell me how I did.

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