Vividred Operation and related characters are property of Aniplex of America/Studio A-1 Pictures. Original Characters are property of the author. An S3 Fanfiction.
Professor Kenjirou Isshiki, creator of the Vivid System and genius behind the Manifestation Engine, was currently putting the finishing touches on his latest project. It was something the reclusive inventor had spent the better part of the last several years dedicating himself to. That effort showed in the lines etched around his eyes from staring at screens and readouts for endless hours, as well as in his hair, now gone completely gray, verging on white.
But, his youthful exuberance was not tempered in the least, because now he was again on the verge of success. He could feel it in his bones. All he had left to do was initiate the activation sequence. The screen in front of him flashed a yes/no prompt that reflected across his glasses lenses as the Professor's finger hovered over the 'Y' key.
If, no, when it worked, the world would again be a changed place, for the betterment of mankind. He was sure of it. There was no doubt in his mind of that. His granddaughter Akane would be so happy, he thought as he pressed the button.
The large ring standing vertically in the center of the lab behind Isshiki hummed to life. As it did so, a thin line of blue light raced around a groove set into the ring. Massive amounts of power was needed to run the device, and the Energy Rain System was doing just that, shunting wave particles from the Manifestation Engine into his pet project.
A loud hum filled the lab as the activation process continued along. Once the blue light fully encircled the ring, the locks holding the device in place disengaged. Rather than simply fall over with the support removed, the ring continued to maintain its position, now some few centimeters off the thin platform it had been resting on.
The glow of the Rain System intensified and the ring began to spin, slowly at first and then with increasing speed until it was going so fast one would be hard pressed to tell it was moving at all. Attaining the proper speed, a faint glimmer began to form in the center of the ring, growing in exponentially in size until it filled the space within the whirling device.
Professor Isshiki couldn't keep the grin off his face. It was working. After so many trials and false starts, this was the first time that the effect lasted more than two seconds, never mind the successful expansion. "Hah ha, I knew this would be the time," he crowed as he was forced to shield his eyes from the bright light that filled the lab.
"I've finally succeeded-," his cry of accomplishment was cut short however, as the effect fluctuated, shunting a good portion of the resulting energy outward and blasting Kenjirou out of his chair as he was about to stand up and congratulate himself.
The explosion wreaked havoc on the lab, and shook the Isshiki household despite the blast doors and safeguards that had been in place for well over a decade. Unfortunately, the occurrence was nothing new for either the Professor, or his family for that matter.
Such mishaps were par for the course, and had generally done no serious harm, aside from once having shunt his consciousness into the body of a plush doll. That had been an interesting chain of events, Kenjirou recalled with some chagrin as he dug himself out from under a fallen server rack.
Mostly it was his pride that stung, as he dusted himself off and waited for the inevitable sound of the lab doors whooshing open. It was a Sunday after all, and one of his granddaughters was bound to be home. If he was lucky, it wasn't the younger of the two.
His youngest granddaughter, Momo, was like her departed father in many ways, filled with that same no nonsense attitude and serious nature. Both attributes had served her well in school and in helping run the household, though the latter was lessen in recent years with her mother back from a lengthy hospital stay on occasion.
Already almost finished with classes at the New Oshima Academy, Momo was growing up before his eyes, though he still saw her as much younger, to her everlasting dismay. If anything, he enjoyed riling her up now and then, at least as much as her older sister, Akane did. Though the two of them acted out of affection, setting off the youngest Isshiki was purely incidental for the most part.
Dusting himself off, Kenjirou blinked his vision back into focus, once he'd picked up his glasses that was. The ringing in his ears began to subside, and like the thick cloud of smoke in the lab, was clearing up. "What's this," he said with some surprise.
The smoke cleared enough to make out the extent of the damage, and also what had become of his new project. The ring itself was still spinning, though the space inside had changed considerably. Where before a near blinding light had existed, was replaced with something entirely different. An effervescent film stretched to fill the empty space, thin as a soap bubble and just as translucent.
However, the Professor did not see the ruins of his lab on the other side of the ring. Instead, he found himself staring at quite a different scene, though not unfamiliar. Through the interior of the ring, he could see his lab, but undamaged by the explosion. The Dimensional Gateway, could it really have worked as he'd hoped?
Haltingly at first, he stepped forward, moving toward the Gateway, and extended his hand. It was an instinctive reaction, but swiftly tempered by experience, and he put his arm down. If the gateway was active, it was best to test it on something aside from his own body.
The professor looked around the rubble for something suitable, and laid eyes on just the thing. An orange and cream colored figure that he kept around the lab, despite the fact that it originally belonged to his granddaughters. Mr. Otter, the plush doll that had once housed his impressive intellect courtesy of another lab accident, years ago.
Setting the groceries down, Momo Isshiki took a moment to flex her aching hands before she began putting everything away in its proper place. The stores had been a little crowded due to the weekend sale going on, but the inconvenience of having to navigate her way through the throng of housewives was minor in comparison to the savings she'd made.
The pink haired girl moved around the kitchen with ease, despite her diminutive height, though she needed to pull out a step stool to reach the higher cabinets, that too was part of ingrained habit, as much as taking off her shoes when she stepped past the entryway.
Momo busied herself getting lunch ready, humming lightly as she flitted about. She very much doubted that her grandfather had eaten the breakfast she'd left out for him before she'd gone shopping. Usually she would take it directly to his lab, but there had been a note on the door this morning, saying to leave the tray and he would clean it all up later. But, the food still looked like it was sitting on the tray when she'd passed by the hall on the way to the kitchen.
Note or not, she would just have to go into the lab to hand deliver lunch. Her grandfather wasn't getting any younger, though he still pushed himself like he was half his age. It worried her, but the elder Isshiki would have none of it. He continually insisted he was spry and hearty, and that he could still invent circles around those kids at the Science Institution. In that, he was probably right, she conceded.
After all, this was the great Professor Isshiki that had worked on the Infinite Energy Project, which had led to the creation of the Manifestation Engine, the structure that provided clean energy the world over. He was also responsible for the creation of the Vivid System. In Momo's opinion, that was probably his greatest achievement, as the world would have been destroyed six years ago, during an attack by the otherworldly beings known only as Alone.
In fact, her elder sister, Akane Isshiki, had been instrumental in the earth's defense at that time. Their grandfather had designed the Vivid System with Akane in mind. He'd also created the Palette suit to enable Akane to interact with the System.
At the time, Momo hadn't felt left out. If anything, she was grateful that her sister was able to do what she did. But, defending the Manifestation from attack was time consuming, and left little room for outside activities. She'd seen how tired her sister had been, and how Akane's grades had suffered as a result. Yes, saving the world was a fine thing, but not a lifelong occupation. It didn't pay the bills, and didn't give her sister an education to be successful as an adult.
Momo shook her head, if anything, the whole business had added to the family's already considerable debt. Mostly on account of her grandfather's antics than fault on Akane's part. Still, being a hero wasn't quite like it was made out to be on television and in the stories she used to read. Not if Akane was the standard to judge by. It didn't help that the government still refuted use of the Vivid System, preferring to keep it a secret lest another nation seek to take advantage of the technology for themselves.
She understood the politics behind that decision, but Akane hadn't been so willing to let it go. Momo wasn't sure if it was the same with the other girls that had once formed Team Vivid, and it had never felt right to ask.
Of the other girls, Momo really only ever saw the green haired kendo instructor, Wakaba Saegusa, on a regular basis. Though sometimes when Akane visited, Aoi Futaba was with her, which wasn't a surprise. Sometimes, Momo wondered if those two were attached at the hip. Aoi was nice enough, but still painfully shy in certain situations, as far as Momo could tell.
The last former Vivid member, Himawari Shinomiya, was busy juggling life as a University student and on again off again model. Momo saw the shapely blonde on occasion, as Himawari stopped by now and then to study under Momo's grandfather, usually with Wakaba in tow. Though, Momo suspected that the tall kendoist just used Himawari as an excuse to visit, since Wakaba spent the majority of her time at the Isshiki residence hanging out with Momo.
She didn't really mind, though she'd lost count of the times that Wakaba had requested Momo join the Tengen Rishin Dojo as a student. She still politely declined when asked, though it was more due to a lack of necessary time to devote to practice, than any real dislike of the sword art. That, and the little fact that Wakaba sometimes acted a bit strange where Momo was concerned, and the young Isshiki vaguely feared how that would translate in a formal setting that involved weapons.
With lunch prepared, Momo gathered her grandfather's portion and headed to the lab. She scarcely made three steps before the floor beneath her feet trembled almost sending her to her knees. A heartbeat later, a muffled thud echoed through the house, and the tremor ceased.
"Grandfather," she called out, alarmed as the sound had surely come from his lab. Explosions weren't uncommon in the Isshiki household, but this one was stronger than the last time a few months ago.
With her heart hammering inside her chest, Momo raced to the lab, tray somehow still in hand as she reached the door. There was no outward sign of damage, but when she activated the sequence to open the door, a sensor flashed red and took some time before flickering to green and allowing her entrance. It felt like forever, though was in all likelihood less than two minutes.
Several sets of barriers slid open before she could actually enter the lab, and the thinning smoke didn't do much to settle her stomach. "Grandfather, are you okay? What happened," she asked, squinting as her eyes adjusted to the smoke and blue light that lit up the lab.
It wasn't as wrecked as she'd feared, and she caught sight of her grandfather's lab coated form standing near his far work table. The white haired scientist looked none the worse for wear, aside from dusty smudges marring his clothes.
Professor Kenjirou Isshiki turned at the sound of his youngest granddaughter's voice. He'd been expecting one of the girls to arrive, and sure enough Momo hadn't disappointed him. The concern on her face was quite touching, though it was quickly vanishing to be replaced with another expression he was familiar with, exasperation. That was fine, too. He was an expert at deflecting such sentiments after all this time.
"Momo, I've done it," he grinned from ear to ear, glasses flashing in the glow of the active gateway still spinning in the center of the lab. "This is my greatest invention to date," he cried out, almost succeeding in startling the pink haired high school student. "I- Oh, is that my lunch? You're always so thoughtful, Momo," the abrupt change in tone finished the job, leaving his granddaughter flustered, as he'd intended. Better to be confused than angry, he liked to think.
Staring at the tray she was still holding, Momo moved to set it down on the only empty space she could find on the worktable. Seeing the scientist unharmed, she could only humor him at this point. Folding her arms across her chest, she took the time to look around and see just what he was so caught up about. When she saw the giant ring, almost three times her height, and filling the middle of the lab, she boggled wondering how she'd missed it in the first place. "What is that thing?"
"Oh ho, what is it indeed," the old man replied, still maintaining his grin. "Take a closer look, and tell me what you see."
The 11th grader turned to inspect the faintly humming construct. It appeared to be spinning very fast, and it was also floating untethered just barely off the floor of the lab. That wasn't so very surprising, as her grandfather had developed all sorts of anti-gravity propulsion devices over the last decade. What truly caught her eye was the center of the ring.
At first glance, she'd thought she was seeing right through the spinning device, but the view didn't quite match up with the rest of the lab. It was far too tidy for one, and unless she was mistaken, very dirty. Disorder was one thing she could expect from her grandfather, but dust and grime were anathema to his work.
Leaning to look around the side of the ring, she blinked and checked the view a second time through the center of the invention. It was most certainly not showing the same lab. "Where are we looking at?"
"Ah, that's a fair question, Momo. And the answer is, I haven't a clue," Kenjirou replied, still ecstatic. "But, I do know that it isn't in this world. By my measurements and analysis, I've determined that we're possibly seeing into a parallel universe. Though I need to take a clear reading from the other side to be sure. To that end, I'm working on this," he picked up something orange from the table and held it up for Momo's inspection.
"Ah, that's Mr. Otter," she said, recognizing the old plush doll immediately. "But, what are you doing to him?"
It was true that the Professor was in the process of adding something to the doll. Bits of metal and plastic covered the lanky sea otter's right arm and parts of his head. "These are the sensors," he tapped the amalgam of cloth and metal that had replaced the arm. "And this is the control array," he indicated the helmet like attachment that covered the otter's head, and the green lens that hid one plastic eye.
"You're going to toss Mr. Otter through that," Momo asked, waving an arm at the ring. "How are we going to get him back? Tie a string to him?"
"Hah, no, of course not," Kenjiro assured his granddaughter. "I'm going to pilot him through, with this," he picked up something else from the table, a much larger helmet that was otherwise identical to the one the plushie was sporting. "I've been working on this for a long time, and haven't had the chance to test it out. But, now seems like the perfect opportunity," he said, quite pleased with himself.
Professor Isshiki set the doll down on the ground and put the large helmet on his own head. "Now, let's see just how capable you are, Mr. Otter," he cried out, pressing a button on the side of the helmet. The green lenses on each helmet glowed simultaneously, and the Professor crumpled to the ground as the device activated, eliciting a cry from Momo.
"Ha ha, just as I planned," Kenjirou's voice came from elsewhere, and Momo looked down to find Mr. Otter proudly standing on his own, and hands akimbo. "I probably should have sat down first," the scientist admitted from his lower vantage point. "That looks uncomfortable," the Otter said, eying his original body now splayed out on the ground. "Momo, please put me in my chair, if you can. I don't plan to be gone but a few minutes, but I don't want to return and have a crick in my neck."
Momo just nodded, after all, she'd seen him like this once before. "Be careful, Grandfather."
The little otter looked up at his looming granddaughter. "Don't worry, if anything happens I only need to turn off the control array and I'll be back in my body immediately. Probably," he assured her, whispering the last part to himself. "Now, I'm off. Hopefully this body can cross the barrier without being compromised," the professor turned doll saluted smartly to Momo before turning on his heel and marching toward the gateway.
"Good luck," Momo called out as Mr. Otter gathered himself to jump up over the bottom lip of the ring and through the bubble thin barrier separating the two laboratories. She couldn't help but close her eyes as he made the jump...