“Mayuri, bring the bananas!” Hououin Kyouma, the mad scientist, commanded.
“Eeh, you’re making gel-bananas again? It’s such a waste,” his hostage complained.
Unseen by either of them, the bananya whose fates would be decided by their conversation looked at each other nervously. They had seen what happened when Tabananya was put in the “Phone Microwave (name subject to change)”, and saying that they were not eager to follow him would have been a massive understatement.
“If we’re stingy we’ll never win against the organization!” Kyouma reasoned.
The bananas started to sweat. That argument was scarily persuasive.
“We don’t need to win… You know Mayushii bought those bananas, right?” Mayuri practically conceded.
The bananas panicked.
Mayuri moved to grab them, and for a moment they stood like deer in headlights, watching their doom approach. Within seconds they would be in the hands of that woman and on their way to a painful backwards-spinning death. The humming of the microwave as Tabananya’s body had been morphed beyond recognition rang in their ears. That had been the moment their carefree worldview was shattered. They thought they could trust the benevolent beings that provided them with shelter, but their casual attitude toward murder changed that. It changed everything. The monsters even ate the corpses.
Bananya snapped out of his flashback of watching his jellified littlest brother be consumed, and rallied the other bananya with a warcry. Tabananya’s death had shown them the reality of their situation, and he wouldn’t allow their sacrifice to be in vain! They would live on in his name!
Bananya leapt off the counter and made a mad dash for anywhere away from that woman . The other bananya raised their voices with him and scattered to the four winds. They were going to survive even if it was the last thing they did!
Kyoma and Mayuri stood in shock as they watched their completely normal bananas peel themselves to reveal cat faces and start running aimlessly around the room while mewing at the top of their lungs.
Kyouma chose that moment to answer his phone.
“It’s me,” he said. “The Organization has developed a new biological weapon that has been let loose on the lab…”
Hearing unexpected mewing, Daru, the super haker, took a break from trolling poor souls on the internet to survey the situation.
“Uhm, Mayushii...” he started. “Where did you get those bananas from..?”
(Kyouma started cackling maniacally for a reason only he knew.)
“Mayushii got them from a street vendor,” she answered cheerfully, as if she hadn’t just watched fruit become sapient.
“What kind of street vendor sells banana-cats?” Daru urged her to elaborate.
“Oh, it wasn’t any of the regular street vendors,” she began. “When Mayushii was mumbling that she was sad that the conbini was out of bananas, a nice man in a long coat came up to her and asked if there was anything she needed. Mayushii said that she needed bananas for Okarin’s lab experiments and he said he knew just what she needed and pulled Mayushii into an alleyway. He took the bananas out of the inside of his jacket and gave them to Mayushii and Mayushii hasn’t seen him since.” She looked satisfied with the conclusion of her story.
Daru sighed. Kyouma had gotten off the phone by this point and was looking at her with an air of exasperation as well.
“Mayushii, that sounded really suspicious…” Daru said. “Also can you say “He gave me the-””
“Mayuri, you really shouldn’t follow strange men into alleyways.” Kyouma cut him off firmly.
“Eeh, but he gave Mayushii the bananas for way less than they sell them for usually,” Mayuri countered.
(Daru gave off a wave of perverted energy at Mayuri’s “gave the bananas”)
Kyouma grabbed Mayuri by the shoulders. “He could have been an agent of the Organization, Mayuri,” he warned her.
“He seemed too nice to be part of something shady like your organization, though,” Mayuri continued to deny.
Kyouma scrunched his face in frustration. He knew as well as Daru that Mayuri could be threatened by a man carrying a bloody axe and she’d call him “sweet” after the fact. There had been close calls like this before, but they needed to come to an end.
“Think about it this way:” he said, pausing in the middle of his sentence and swishing his lab coat for dramatic effect.
“If you keep following strange men into alleyways, one of them might try to make you their hostage!”
When Mayuri comprehended what Kyouma had said, she looked horrified. “But Mayuri is Okarin’s hostage!”
“Agents of the Organization won’t care! If I’m not there to protect you, they’ll take you anyway !”
The two worn gears in Mayuri’s head frantically rubbed against each other for a beat. “Yosh! Mayushii will try her best not to go into alleyways from now on! Then she can be Okarin’s hostage forever!” she proclaimed determinedly, raising her right hand in a salute.
Kyouma sighed. That promise didn’t include anything about following random strangers, but it was more than he had ever gotten out of her before.
“So, now that Mayushii has been cured of her habit of randomly curving off onto sketchy sidestreets, what are we going to do about the bananas?” Daru asked as one of them scampered from one side of the room to the other.
“Mayushii thinks they’re really cute and that we should take care of them.” Mayuri said solemnly.
“I agree that they’d be very good targets for prolonged observation,” Kyouma nodded. “We’re going to need some sort of enclosure for them since we won’t want them to keep running around the lab, though. Daru! Let’s go to the pet store to buy a cage that can properly house the first specimens of our yet undocumented fruit-mammal hybrid!”
“It’s hot outside though,” Daru complained. “That cardboard box over there should be fine if we put some newspaper in it.”
“Mayushii can draw flowers on the inside so they can look at them and feel happy!” Mayuri added.
Kyouma sighed again. “Fine, we’ll use the cardboard box. I’ll start catching the bananas while you get it ready. I declare operation Sleipnir begun!”
“Again with the Norse mythology…” Daru protested, more out of habit than any actual desire to complain.
Mayuri shook the contents of the chosen box onto the floor and Kyouma winced as Future Gadget #2 snapped in half.
When Kyouma was done lecturing Mayuri about the proper treatment of Future Gadgets, the cardboard box was declared ready for inhabitants within minutes. The bananas probably wouldn’t choke on the excessive glitter Mayuri added. The box was named “Future Gadget #9: B’s Sweet Home Ver. 2.02”, the 2s respectfully commemorating the fallen Bamboo Helicam.
It took a bit longer for the box to be filled than it had taken for them to prepare it, but when everyone combined their efforts, catching the runaway banana-cats wasn’t that hard.
The bananya trembled in fear as they took in their new excessively sparkly prison. There would be no easy escape if one of their proprietors wanted to eat them alive now. Bananya punched the wall, tears of frustration running down his face. They had been so close to freedom. So very close. He prayed to whatever power was listening that his friends would make it out of this alive, even if he didn’t himself.
The other bananas shared his frustration, but didn’t give up hope. They tried to convince Bananya that they could still make it out of this together; they just needed a plan. What that plan would be they couldn’t say, but they knew they would think of something. They just needed time.
“Is it just me or does a cat being in a banana sound like it should be a euphemism for something?” Daru asked, eyeing the lab’s new pets curiously.
“Daru, stop being a pervert,” Kyouma answered, not answering the question.
Mayuri tried to pet the cat-like heads of the bananas but failed due to them cowering in fear. “Why don’t they like Mayushii?” she asked sadly.
“It’s okay Mayuri, they’re probably just shy. They’ll get used to you,” Kyouma reassured, actually answering her question.
“The bananas are probably just shy…” Daru said to no one in particular.
“We should come up with names for them!” Mayuri proclaimed happily, rejection forgotten.
“Indeed, if we are to study them it would be good to have something to use to tell them apart. The black one will be “Subject #1”, the girl one #2, the old man one #3, the pink one #4, the grey one #5 and the plain one #6,” Kyouma steamrolled.
(Everyone glossed over the fact that they hadn’t noticed anything strange about one of the bananas being pink until it started moving)
“Mayushii thinks that the girl one should be Usagi. And the black one should be Kuroko and the grey one Sabako and the old man one Jiiko and the white one Shiroko and the pink one Pinko,” Mayuri suggested.
“Stop! The banana-cat-hybrids aren’t our pets , so we shouldn’t be giving them proper names!” Kyouma protested. “They’re the first known specimens of an entirely new taxonomic classification! If we’re set on naming them it should be after the members of the Æsir in any case.”
“Mayushii’s names will make us more popular when we post pictures of them all over the internet, though” Daru stated.
“We can’t just post pictures of them all over the internet!” Kyouma exclaimed. “The Organization will catch onto our groundbreaking discovery and try to steal it for themselves!”
“Mayushii thinks the pictures would look even cuter if Daru edited in hearts and rainbows,” Mayuri suggested, ignoring Kyouma completely.
“You’re right, I’ll download some photo editing software now…” Daru agreed, turning to his computer.
“Mayushii will get the camera from the Bamboo Helicam!” she pitched in.
Kyouma let out a hearty sigh for the third time that evening. When had his loyal Lab Members started ignoring his guidance?
With Mayuri’s mad photography skills and Daru’s sick editing, the bananya became an overnight sensation.
As they watched their fame only grow, Daru’s face became fixed in a smirk and Mayuri vibrated with happiness. Kyouma couldn’t help but share in his Lab Members’ success as well.
He was commiserating that internet fame wasn’t as bad as he had thought when the front door was knocked violently.
“Open up, Okabe you deadbeat!” Mr. Braun yelled.
“What do you think Tennouji-oji wants, Okarin?” Mayuri asked innocently.
Kyouma looked thoughtful until he suddenly didn’t. He answered his phone.
“It’s me. Someone has blown our cover to the Organization and one of their agents is stationed outside the door…”
“Ah, we may have forgotten about Tennouji’s no-pets policy, heh heh,” Daru admitted sheepishly.
He and Mayuri looked at each other, then at the bananas whose pictures they had posted all over the internet with plentiful references to the Future Gadget Lab. Their collective gaze shifted to the front door when Mr. Braun yelled: “Open this door or I’ll break it down and send you the bill!”
His yelling didn’t manage to compel either of them to move to answer the door. Instead they did their best to tune it out.
It wasn’t a permanent fix, but it would hold for the moment.