Catching Up – Chapter 3: The Afternoon Meeting Wherein the Entire Main Cast Appears
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Five PM.

Time for... the weekly debriefing.

Kyoko enjoyed it back when these meetings were monthly and were mostly about complaining about how few magical girl recruits were any good. Now they were about mechanical design approval processes and statistical performance reports and acquisition proposal management...

Maybe this was just another part of growing up.

When she was fifteen she had a rockin’ time beating up witches and committing robbery and meeting Don Patch from Bobobo bo Bo Bobo at the flea market. Now that she was thirty, all her time was spent worrying about things like a genocidal army of furries hell-bent on taking over Mexico, and making sure the Caribbean Sea would be a safe and prosperous place for her kids and grandkids and beyond.

Now, don’t get her wrong-- Kyoko wouldn’t change a thing about how her life had played out. Madoka was the best thing to ever happen to her, and their daughter Makoto was the light of her life. And the Magical Girl Squad did a tremendous thing in their work, reducing the crime rates in most parts of Mexico and Central America to near-zero.

She just wished her life was a bit more... zany.

“kyoko, do you have an opinion?” Nagisa asked.

“I agree with Madoka.” Her default answer to unknown questions.

“Honey I haven’t said anything yet.”

Shit.

They always held these meetings later in the afternoon because Sayaka was so bad about arrive to work early (or at all, depending on her previous night’s activities) (rhoufgg, back when it was monthly Madoka also too had trouble being wwake in the early mornings, but she was also rarely sober in those days (of course, that’s Sayaka’s problem too most likely) (not trying to be a judgmental person or anything (especially after dealing with the issue with her wife), since it was a serious problem and not one to joke about)(okay even Kyoko enjoyed dark humor now and again (that was an understatement (a big one))). Now, SHE was the one that had trouble paying attention during meetings. She’d always think about these way cooler things she could be doing, like fighting villains (such as the heinous Venom, from the Spider-Man series (though he was more of an anti-hero), or at least--

“Kyoko! Are you going to introspect all day or are you going to let this story actually proceed?” Crispina asked in a rare display of fourth wall-breaking anger. “Oh my Haruhi...”

“I feel like my private life has been needlessly elaborated on,” said Madoka.

Even Madoka had turned on her...

“Let’s just ignore her. That’s what we usually do,” said Sayaka. there were murmurs of vague approval.

Stacker Pentecost stood in front of the others, his eye twitching at all the nonsense going on. “Well, if Miss Kaname here--”

“Mrs.,” Kyoko and Madoka said in unison.

Aww.

“If Deputy Kaname here counts by default as a yes, then the majority has it.”

“Wait, you haven’t even asked me,” said Sayaka, just kidding, it was Madoka, obviously.

“I don’t have to,” Pentecost said. “I already know your answer, and we’ve outvoted you.”

“Well, I’m the Sheriff, and I veto you.”

“Two-thirds majority.”

Kyoko looked around the room. Sayaka, Nagisa, Crispina, Pentecost, Madoka, and... herself. Wait, she didn’t vote yes yet! She should vote with her wife. Except... “Okay, seriously though, what are we voting on?”

“Whether or not to commission the Stark Reality for active duty and hold open tryouts for two new spots on the team,” Madoka said. “You know how I feel about this.”

“Yeah. You told me, ‘That’s how we’re going to win. Not fighting what we hate. Saving what we love.’”

“What? No, I told you, ‘Kyoko. These new guys really suck. We can’t use them.’”

“Then who was I quoting?”

“Uhh... Who ARE you quoting?”

Nagisa chimed in. “Why, Rose Tico from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, of course!”

“Oooooohhhhh,” they said in unison.

“She’s great,” said Sayaka.

“I know, right?” Madoka was giddy with glee. “If we ever do a crossover with Star Wars, we’ve totally got to have her on here.”

Pentecost was perturbed. “Regardless of whether or not any of our trainees are ready, we mus thold tryouts. Even if our future teammates must come from outside the magical girl establishment.”

“What? No! That’ even worse,” whined Madoka. “We’ll lose all our Magical Girl Defense Fund backing.”

“Well, you don’t see General Takamichi picking up the ringer, now do ya?”

“She won’t even reply to my e-mails, even if I put ‘URGENT’ or ‘TIME SENSITIVE’ on them...” Nagisa said.

“Exactly. We’re on our own now.” Pentecost stood up, which always meant the same thing. “Nobody’s going to help us but us. Which means the Magical Girl Squad, the Ryoshi Program-- we’re the last line of defense against the evils that threaten to end the bloody world before us.

“It was nine years ago when Kiiko Kawakami, the Neo-Diablo, attacked out universe. We had luck on our side, but we very nearly got our knickers handed to us. Now, with the furries breathing down our necks with their tyrannical snouts, pillaging villages and ruining the safety of those we have pledged to protect, we have our greatest weapon, Mexi, damaged in a single skirmish. We’re down to two Ryoshi to protect the entire Caribbean region. We can’t afford that.

“Maybe it’s fine for now. Maybe we can protect everyone with what we’ve got. But what when the furries send another building-sized soldier our way? What when they send five? And that’s nothing on if the witches return When that day comes we have to be prepared--” He pounded his fist on the table-- “to throw our metal on the line!”

Everyone but Madoka cheered.

She just crossed her arms and stuck out her lower lip.

“Even you?” she asked Kyoko.

“It was a very convincing speech.”

That did not seem to please her one bit.

“Fine. I don’t like it but do what you want. But if we choose someone bad we could lose a Ryoshi for good and poof goes the entire program.”

“That’s why we’ll pick someone good,” Nagisa said. “Or, two someones I guess.”

The requirement that the Ryoshi be operated by two or more pilots to function was a super annoying one. Counting the currently out-of-commission El Guate, there were six people trained and able to fight in these mecha-- Pentecost apparently had extensive Ryoshi experience as well, but something about his tragic backstory prevented him from doing so anymore. But since they had to work in pairs to share the mental and magical load of a Ryoshi’s power, they could only have three mecha out at a time.

A fourth would be infinitely useful. Kyoko understood Madoka’s reluctance, but it really would be for the best. Kyoko wondered--

“We told you to stop introspecting,” Crispina said.

“Sorry.”

“Well, if all else fails,” Sayaka chimed in. “We could always revive Mami Tomoe and use her somehow, or something.”

...

...

...

“Well, if nobody has anymore feedback or concerns to address,” Nagisa said. “Then this meeting is adjourned.”

Madoka stretched her arms and put one around Kyoko’s shoulders. “Well, time to go home.”

“You’re not... upset at me?” Kyoko asked.

“Only professionally upset. You’re still my little honey bear.”

“I’m not honey nor am I a bear. I’m a decabear of honey at the very least.”

“Let me hit on you, Kyoko. I’m trying my best here.”

Oh yeah. Kyoko had almost forgotten. For helping out with the trainees this morning. “I hope I know what this means.”

“I sure hope you do, Mrs. Kaname,” Madoka said, putting her free hand on Kyoko’s thigh. “It means--”

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