Even late into the night there was almost always one figure burning the midnight oil in his favorite space when free of engagements. The room was long and packed with everything and anything he wanted to work on when he had the time. Only one wall remained free of organizers, made of solid glass it gave him a full view of his appointed domain. The rows and rows of the conglomerate servers meticulously set up and run with the utmost of efficiency.
As the man in charge of overseeing them it was his call ultimately what the resources are used on at any given time. Including a very specific set of calculations running on one of two machines specifically rigged with shaped charges to detonate in case anyone unauthorized attempted to access the encrypted input and output files. Sitting in his chair in the dim light his eyes were locked on the progress numbers informing him that after almost a whole week of grinding away the single percentage value he wanted was almost done.
He'd been running the same equations for years now. Always watching for any changes in the variables he needed to account for. Always questioning himself over the ethical ramifications of even trying to distill this number into black and green text. Down to the last two percent left his tired eyes were locked to his laptop screen. One twitched when a rumble broke his critical vigil. His phone was buzzing for his attention. At such a time deep after hours he would usually let such disturbances go to voicemail, on his work phones.
Still not pulling his eyes away from the screen lighting up his face he dug into his pockets to pull out his private cell buzzing away. Exceedingly few people had it's number and if any of them were calling him near midnight it was likely something too important to ignore. Swiping across the screen with his thumb to answer he brought the device to his ear still unaware of the bold texted name of the caller ID. He tried to sound professional, but his annoyance still came through.
“who could possibly be calling- Hello?”
The cool level voice that came back through the speakers shot enough adrenaline to wake him up and pay attention. It was a bodily response conditioned over years of answering to the woman who was his commander, queen, and now boss.
“Ah, good evening Houka.”
The CEO of a family business she was attempting to raise from the ashes of the largest corporate scandal in history against the advice of literally every stock analyst around the world.
“You have my deepest apologies for calling so late and this will sound strange so please bear with me, but I need a costume for the Star Wars release coming up. The movie to be precise. I think.”
As the progress meter dropped down to just one percent remaining he swallowed his frustration and forcefully hit the delete key bringing the whole calculation to a premature end. Leaning back in his chair he pinched the bridge of his nose and put his mind to work deciphering what was going on in a very particular household comprised of two very particular individuals, that as usual remained excessively difficult to quantify in numbers.
The variables had changed, and by a probable rather significant margin to be so out of nowhere, yet again.
“This is irregular behavior ma'am. I'm assuming you're being dragged out by Matoi?”
“Willingly. She cares a lot about it and I want to make it a memorable outing.”
The words delivered in an uncharacteristically soft voice knocked the careful mental adjustments in his formula out the window. Her private emotional state and demeanor had been constant for months after the island was finally finished off for good. Finally back to a fire of her old self that made hardened business men quake in their overpriced shoes at just a mention of her weighty family name.
He'd only heard such a voice from her two previous times. The first when Earth's champion was wrapped firmly in her arms after an absurdly dangerous catch. The second when the other technical Kiryuin had come back to Tokyo, stepped off the train, and immediately got crushed into the only full hug he could remember Satsuki being a part of. To speak in such a way while referencing an outing could only imply one possible thing. It was going to be a private affair between them.
They were finally doing it.
And he had just been given the proverbial keys to controlling a portion of the variables involved directly.
Navigating the folders of his computer he was being forced into a split second decision that had been in the making since an event referred to in his calculating as first contact. Puling up the results of the last attempted run of the numbers he let the numbers decide.
“Memorable costumes then. Which was her favorite of the six so far?”
And hoped beyond hope that it would be the correct course of action.
“Six... She was praising the antics of a Solo Ford?”
Pulling up a data set that took even his prized laptop a minute to load he scanned the third column solely dedicated to the observations of only one individual. The statement lined up rather nicely. With a confirmed sense of the current overall situation he already had a good idea of just what to do.
“I take it she has no idea that you have absolutely no idea what she invited you to?”
“Regrettably I may have neglected to mention this. It was late. She was excited. Please help. I need something, anything.”
“Well, there is one rather iconic outfit you could wear from the original female lead that should work but it could be fairly difficult to pull off.”
“I fully trust your judgment Houka. Email the designs to Iori. I'm still swamped with paperwork from the Federal review and have to clear it all to get that night off. Sincerest thank you in advance. Goodnight.”
Pulling phone away from his ear after she hung up abruptly he stared at the screen as it flashed off to black and became a mirror reflecting his furrowed brow. Years of observation and number crunching were possibly becoming reality. It had been inevitable, the mathematics were determinate. All he could do now was attempt to ensure it succeeded. Preparing a list of calls he now needed to make he set the phone down and got to work editing the data set in preparation to receive a mountain of new values.
“So this ridiculous request is real then Houka?”
“They're finally going on something resembling a date and we have full control to make anything for her Iori. We're not gonna get another chance at this.”
“I was briefed and went over your preliminary design this morning. Out of everything we could do in such a situation, you're not suggesting we put her in this are you?”
“That's exactly what I'm suggesting.”
Outside under the night sky the two of them awkwardly stood side by side waiting in a long line for a ticket booth as it slowly inched along. Like many others present they were in full costume. One with her arms crossed over bare midriff ignored the masses of looks stolen toward her, her attention firmly on a young woman nervously fidgeting in an outfit significantly more casual. It would pass for normal clothes if it weren't for the small otherworldly accents yet the wearer was significantly more nervous. Her hands buried in her pockets and face firmly focused up at the skyline above. And she was being awfully quiet for once. Suspiciously so after all her enthusiasm building up for days.
Nudging the woman with an elbow she got her blushing attention. The supersonic flicking of her eyes focus up and down drawing a concerned raised brow.
“Something wrong Ryuko?”
Visually gulping she managed to answer with anxiousness in her voice.
“N-Nothing! Nooo problems at all... Iori, uh, did a good job on that brass yeah?”
Smiling she uncrossed her arms and put her hands over delicate metal plates on her hips that held the heavy maroon skirt showing miles of leg together. The long stare stuck on the metal bra carefully fitted to her breasts also noted before the pair of blue eyes examining her got to her face.
“Indeed. Organa's totally-not-a-Kamui seemed amusingly appropriate given... Us. It's very much an interesting logistical challenge to wear though I will admit, it was made fully authentic to the in universe design. I hope the line moves and we get to sit down soon enough, its a... tad bit drafty out here.”
Turning her eyes back downward toward Satsuki's waist hands moved to let her see it clearly. Staring as a light breeze blew in she studied the visible construction and how the fabric moved when they got to take a step forward. Realization of what didn't lay beneath turning up the intensity of the light pink dusting her cheeks into a full blown glowing fire from within.
“Ryuko? Earth to Captain Matoi. Your hair is glowing and there are cameras around. Are you that excited to see this one?”
“...There's some excitement going on- I m-mean!! I'm uh, good. Good... Just fine!”
Humming with something of a knowing smile back she let Ryuko go back to her idle staring around at anything other than her. As the line continued to move though she took the excuse to stand just a little closer to the woman each time. Thumbs hooked down into her waistline putting them even closer together as they rubbed elbows.
She knew what Ryuko's eyes felt like, and when the stolen glances taken by the one person who she wished to give them to found her she was sure to smile off toward the distance and occasionally shift on her feet making her odd brass jewelry jingle from movement.
They hadn't even gotten into the theater yet, but she still already considered the trip a success.
Soon enough Imouto soon enough. Never soon enough for the fire yearning for kindling I know, but soon. We need to be ready and there is so very much to do now that you're back and here to stay. I need to be sure the spark will take before striking the flint and steel.