1. Fourze (Alt)
Yuki was thrown back against a tree, white fiery pain erupting up her back. She dropped to one knee, gasping, then sprang up with the Hayabusa Switch in her hand, which was one she'd made Kengo-kun design for her. She grinned, striding towards the Sirius Zodiarts, currently battling Meteor-san. "Hayabusa-kun will stop you!"
Hayabusa's mini-asteroids combined with Meteor-san's giant planet attack (which was SO COOL) and Sirius retreated.
"That was awesome!" Yuki said happily, running over to Meteor-san. She held out her gloved hand. "Thanks for helping out, Meteor-san!"
"I didn't do it for you," Meteor-san said sniffily.
"Ah, come on, I know we're going to be friends!"
Yuki broke into a run as the monster shot past overhead. At least it wasn't attacking. As long as no civilians got injured it'd be a good day, even if the chief would prefer it that no buildings or equipment or land got injured, too, and that last went double for Kengo-kun. He got very angry about the land in particular. She wasn't sure why Kengo-kun had such a problem with protecting the people and animals on Earth along with protecting Earth itself, but that was a problem for another time.
XIG planes zoomed into view, and she grinned, waving as she sprinted up the path to the top of a sandy hill. Team Lightning! Ah, they had a new pilot, that's right, Georgie-chan had told her. Someone cute, tall, with a way of moving her hips. . . Yuki had blushed and hidden her face in her napkin when Georgie-chan had described it, while Atsuko-san chuckled in the background and she stole choice morsels of curry off Georgie-chan's plate.
What was her name? Miu-san? She was obviously pretty good. The monster shot some kind of beams from its eyes, but all three of Team Lightning's planes peeled off instantly, safely out of the way.
Yuki ducked behind a tree. No one in sight. She could transform.
Well, if the rest of Lightning hadn't told Miu-san already that Yuki was Ultrawoman Gaia, she was about to find out.
"She what?!" Yuki yelled at JK.
He shrank back against Horiguchi, who patted him absentmindedly.
JK swallowed. "She went to negotiate with Lucia, nee-san," he said in a small voice, flapping a piece of paper around. "She left this note. Do you think we should go after her?"
Yuki snatched the note out of his hand, aware that she rarely got this angry, but really! Miu-san was their leader, she was important, she was an idiot, she. . . she had a strategy. She was still going to get herself killed, because the strategy was to offer herself up to Lucia as a sacrifice to get her and her subordinates to leave Earth alone.
Miu-san was ridiculously brave but also smart. Generally, anyway. If it'd been anyone else, Yuki would've stopped them, too, because lives mattered and no sacrifices were allowed. But, as she was only beginning to realise, it mattered even more with Miu. Even if Miu-san's Equip face was so silly it made Yuki laugh every time. Miu-san in particular was not allowed to die, not here, not now, not like this, and Yuki would see to it that it didn't happen.
She dragged the back of her hand across her eyes, acknowledging but not caring that she was crying. "We're definitely going after her," she said shakily. "We're going after her and we'll stop Lucia for good, this time, I don't care what it takes."
"Good luck, Mithras," Horiguchi told her. "Be careful. I'll gather the others."
She hugged him briefly, then yanked her brother out of his office by the wrist.
Yuki strode down the hill with her sword over her shoulder, long red coat billowing around her. It'd been an awful few weeks, but she was doing what she had to do. Continuing AkaRed's work.
Oh, now that just wasn't *fair*. A woman in blue, wearing a shock collar, fighting coolly but with absolutely no hope against overwhelming odds. Damn Zangyack. Yuki paused for a moment to admire her form with a sword, then opened fire.
Commander Jojima of Deep Space Nine watched thoughtfully as her fiery new Bajoran first officer, Major Kazashiro Miu, stalked out of her office. They'd clashed, and Jojima'd had to pull rank, but she had to admit the woman had the strongest set of principles she'd ever seen.
+1. Fourze (Prime)
"Gentarou's stopped the first one, and he's after the second with JK and Shun. We think that's the real one," Tomoko-chan said breathlessly. "Kengo and I will help you from this end in a moment."
Yuki looked up and touched the screen for a moment. From the looks of it, Tomoko-chan was running after them too. "Thank you! That's really good."
She went back to her work. The stupid pathway had been knocked out of alignment by the cosmic energies from the Zodiarts. They weren't meant to go through the locker! Oh, well, at least now she knew.
Yuki had to hurry up with this or Miu was going to get flame-grilled. There were only so many places Miu could lead (or chase) the Phoenix Zodiarts in the Rabbit Hatch, and there was only so much a hockey stick weapon could do as a weapon. The Rabbit Hatch just wasn't big enough.
She spared a moment to wonder briefly when Miu had become "Miu" instead of "Miu-senpai" or "Miu-san". She was still awesomely intimidating, smart, assertive, gorgeous, funny, brave, but she was also caring and kind and -- and somehow she was just Miu, now.
If only they'd had Power Dizer so Shun could've helped more, then they could've defeated the other copy much more quickly and could be helping Yuki and Miu by now. But they'd been *stuck*. Stupid Phoenix had targeted it instantly and it was down for the count, until Kengo had a chance to fix it.
It'd only been Miu's quick thinking that'd made them realise that the copies got weaker the further they went from the original. Only Miu who gave them a strategy at all.
Yuki dropped to the floor underneath a blast from the Zodiarts that heated the air just above her head. At least it only hit the wall, not the computer system. She squeaked. It hadn't just heated the air, her hair was on fire! She patted it out quickly.
They would've been RAMEN if it'd hit the computer system. Or possibly natto. She wasn't sure yet about a good food-based analogy. Which made her think about the next Foodroid. Natto would be a difficult design challenge but it'd make Tomoko smile, which was worth a lot. . .
Yuki absently stuck a foot out, tapping her cheek as she thought. The Phoenix Zodiarts copy sprawled flat on its face, and Miu hurtled over her to stand astride it.
"Let me tie you up, or I'll knock you out," she said sweetly. She was breathing hard, but not a hair was out of place.
The Phoenix turned over, glaring up at her. It really was a beautiful design, Yuki thought from behind Miu-san's legs. Which were also a beautiful design. The Phoenix had a long feathery tail springing out of its rump, and a large beak, and it was all sorts of shiny variations on purple, red, orange, and pink.
"No," the Phoenix growled.
Miu tchhed at it. "You saw how tough Gentarou is. And he's only a member of this club. I'm the president, and I've had a long, tiring day. All I want to do is put my feet up, read a magazine, and maybe have a swim, but no! I have to deal with you threatening me and my friends. Do you really want to test me?"
Her voice was light, conversational, with pure steel underneath it. Yuki quailed even though she knew it wasn't directed at her. Miu pointed a finger at Phoenix, and Yuki copied the gesture.
Phoenix made a whimpery sound, then sat up, pointing at its head resignedly. "Knock me out. The real Ryouta will never believe me otherwise, and I know it sounds weird but he gets annoying when he's mad at me."
"So you ARE Ryouta!" Miu said triumphantly, bringing her hockey stick around with a big WHANGGGGG.
* * *
Yuki did a double fist pump in the air at Tomoko's words. She turned to excitedly tell Miu, "Fourze will be done soon, then they can go and put the locker back into alignment."
"I need to get out of here," Miu-san murmured.
Yuki smiled, and nodded. "I know. Me too."
"No, you don't understand. I need to get *out* of here."
Yuki squeaked. Oh, no, Miu's face was pale, and her hands were clammy -- well, she thought Miu's hands were probably clammy, so she picked one up to inspect it, and yup, clammy. Yuki cradled Miu's hand in both of her own, then looked up at her face again, and pulled Miu into a hug. "Let me take care of you," she said earnestly. "Claustrophobia's pretty scary. I had it for a while when I was little, and it took lots of work to get better at controlling it."
Miu nodded unevenly against her shoulder. "Yes, it is scary."
Yuki leaned back a little, holding Miu by the upper arms. She smiled up into Miu's beautiful face. "You would've been working hard on all the things that make you amazing while I was working on that," she said softly, wondering if it was selfish to use this as a distraction to comfort Miu. She craned up on her toes and brushed her lips lightly across Miu's.
Miu stumbled back, fingers to her lips. "Oops!"
Yuki smiled, because Miu was smiling, too. "Is that okay?"
Miu nodded, eyes wide. "You're very good at distractions."
"Oh, you haven't seen anything yet!" Yuki told her cheerfully. They probably had a few minutes before the others arrived. "I've been working on a new song about Hayabusa-kun! One, two, three, four. . ."