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the loss of a friend

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"Welcome to Phoenix Nest Hayata Shin, Moroboshi Dan, Go Hideki and Hokuto Seiji"

"Thank you for allowing us to be here for Hibino's friends for this rough transition from what they knew"

"Captain, what's going on?"

(Sighs) "I should start by telling you that our loss is greater than you think, we didn't just lose Mirai yesterday in the Ultra Zone but also Ultraman Mebius"

"What, Mebius is missing...how?"

"Because Ultraman Mebius to you was known as Hibino Mirai, he took on a human form when he came to protect Earth. There's more I have to say about it, but it explains his disappearances on occasion"

And so for the next hour Sakomizu simply explained everything he could about Mirai and how he came to protect Earth as Ultraman Mebius, how Sakomizu came to know about him and then he turned to his four guests

"Do you want to explain why you four are here or do you want to simply leave now?"

"No, after they've absorbed the information we want to talk to them as well about something"

"I'm not sure we can be any more shocked right now"

"Actually that's where you're wrong, because we want to take Mebius' belongings back to Kobe with us, and for you to understand why you have to understand the relationship between us and Mebius"

"What relationship?"

"Hayata Shin, also known as Ultraman"

"Moroboshi Dan, UltraSeven"

"Go Hideki, Ultraman Jack"

"Hokuto Seiji, Ultraman Ace"

Once the four revealed their true identities it turned out to be too much for Teppei and he simply fainted. Fortunately he was easily revived and the four explained why they were still on Earth after all this time and also told stories about their time defending Earth as part of their respective defense teams, all of them knowing with the truth now out that the rest of the time was spent as being a wake

"When will we officially announce Mirai's loss? I know we can never reveal the truth about him being Mebius, and we're going to need to practice keeping that close to our hearts, but the base deserves to hear something about Mirai"

"The official announcement will happen tomorrow, according to the Land of Light that's when Mirai's...successor will arrive"

The next day the group discovered that Ultraman Taro would be the one to take over where Mirai left off and he turned into a young man about twenty years old named Tachibana Tobei. After his arrival the group spent hundreds of hours practicing protecting Mirai's secret and also Tachibana's both in surprise and announced drills until it got to the point where the group instinctively protected the identities. During that time they also as a group returned the pocket watch of Ban Hiroto, and while normally they wouldn't have done that, the five Ultra insisted that they do so letting them know that if any trouble arrived they would handle it, fortunately the enemy known as Lesser Bogal didn't cause too much trouble until the group could arrive for battle but it was enough to be worrying about never leaving the base unattended again for something like what they had just done

"So what's the plan for today?"

"Mostly patrols, Tachibana is off today per orders"

"But..."

"Nope, not hearing it Tachibana, when was the last time you actually had a day off?"

"Um..."

"Figured as much"

"Why don't you go to Kobe for the day?"

"No Konomi, I am not allowing him to go there for a day"

"But Captain..."

"That's because hearing he's never actually taken a vacation he's being ordered to take a week off to spend with his brothers. I know full well how quickly you can get back here at need in our planes, besides I was going to send you there anyways soon enough for a day or two, now I am simply doing so a little early is all"

The group helps get Taro ready and finally Sakomizu hears exactly what he's been waiting for

"Good, he's on his way" (goes to the monitor and punches a few buttons) "it's me, we're springing the trap a bit early since he needs a break, tell the others"

The rest of the group look at the captain in confusion and he quickly understands

"Okay, now then as you are probably unaware of the Ultra do not celebrate their birthdays like we do, mainly because they live a very long time. However the four Ultra stuck on Earth decided to give Taro a traditional Earth celebration for two reasons, first off to make him blend in, the second reason is because apparently Taro and Mebius were born close together, though also years apart and all five wanted to do something to remember Mirai by, and as such the senior Ultra made the decision to remember him in the form of a birthday for Taro"

"How early are you sending him to Kobe?"

"A week early, and just like now I am sure that Taro doesn't expect the true reason I was going to send him there"

"He thinks he's being sent there on vacation and the four of them won't reveal the truth until the time is right will they?"

"Exactly, I already let them know the trap is being set early, in a few minutes I will let them know how long he's going to be there so that they can plan accordingly"

"Why wait a few minutes?"

"So that they can get the place Taro is staying at ready"

"Makes sense then"

Taro arrived in Kobe and then the next day was the birthday party which Taro enjoyed and understood why the four older ones wanted to do so. They also spent that time simply catching up to each other and trading Mebius stories, Taro mostly training stories while the other four told other stories about things they had heard from Mebius after the Kobe mission regarding Yapool

"How is GUYS doing in regards to his loss?"

"I think they've accepted it, though they don't like it, they've also taken to specialized training so that if they are ever under alien control whoever is controlling them doesn't realize that they knew Mebius' identity and also know mine, we are a very tight nit group as well, the only reason I am here for a week is under orders from the captain after he heard I haven't taken a break in a very long time"

"Yeah, he told us about that"

"I don't get it, he knows I'm experienced enough to know when I need a break"

"That may be true Taro, but you also have to remember that they're still coping with Mirai's loss, I think you've noticed your teammates getting more time off recently than before. He understands that they need that time, however he also realizes that you're probably coping by not taking a break and that is actually dangerous Taro and you know it"

"I know, but I...I want them to have the same trust in me that they did Mebius, and not simply because I have fought for Earth before"

"Taro, you know full well that kind of trust will come in time, and honestly I think you have more trust then you think, and not simply because you've protected Earth before, there's more probably going on that you don't notice with you trying so hard"

"Ace I..."

The group decides soon after to go to bed, meanwhile back at Phoenix Nest the rest of the crew was up late talking

"Guys is it just me or is Taro trying to hard to gain our trust based on something other than him protecting Earth before"

"That's exactly what's going on, I believe he feels we only trust him because of his previous stint as Earth's protector"

"Can you honestly deny that wasn't true at first Teppei?"

"Not entirely, but within a week he gained my trust, not because he's protected Earth before but because I saw he genuinely cared for us"

"Took me a little longer, but that's because I spent three days unconscious mister I'm going to drug you for minor surgery and then a few days longer just so I don't have to tell you how badly the other one was hurt"

"Captain?"

"He gained my trust second full day at base when he protected a worker from falling objects in the work bay"

"Oh I remember hearing about that incident, he later said he was in there checking out the planes he was going to be flying"

"The point is, all of us trust him for reasons other than the fact that he's protected Earth before, however he isn't seeing it is he?"

"No he's not, but hopefully the other four will help him in regards to that thought process"

"Captain is there any way for us to help Taro understand we trust him for what we personally have seen instead of what we have read?"

"I honestly don't know right now"

"Understood Captain, for now we leave it to his brothers"

"Agreed"

Taro spent the week in Kobe actually relaxing like he was supposed to and the other four also took time off to be with Taro and between the four of them they started to get Taro to see that maybe, just maybe the GUYS team saw Taro not for a former defender of Earth but someone to trust because of who he was around them

"We'll keep in contact Taro"

"I know and appreciate it, by the way what exactly did you guys do with Mebius' things?"

"That's for us to know and in time if we decide for you and Crew GUYS to find out"

Taro leaves Kobe and arrives shortly before Sakomizu leaves for business and of course once the captain leaves that's when trouble strikes. Ryu and Taro were at a festival when red rain was reported and the group was attacked by Yapool, with Ryu being taken and Taro being knocked unconscious with one last effort to reach him before he lost the fight. When he regained consciousness he was in the medical center and the group talked to him one after the other in relief