Actions

Work Header

The End of the Circus: Boy Meets Girl Meets Metahuman

Chapter Text

DISCLAIMER: Concurrent with fair dealing clauses of the Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) of Canada and fair use clauses in copyright legislation in other nations, this is a work that was created solely for entertainment purposes. Furthermore, it is posted freely on the Internet without expectation or requirement of remuneration.

****

In high orbit over CFB Ellesmere Island, aboard USS Enterprise, Washington time: Thursday, two hours before supper (Tōkyō time: Friday, Two hours before breakfast)...

"President on the bridge!"

"As you were!" Josiah Bartlet declared as he stepped into the wide bridge of his nation's premier starship before he warmly shook George Hammond's hand, then Julia Dewey's. "General. Commodore. How goes the battle?"

"Nothing getting towards us, Mister President," the commander of Stargate Command affirmed with both relief and trepidation as he walked the former governor of New Hampshire over to the main operations stations, which were currently being run by a combination of the former crew of USS Dallas and those reborn aircraft carriers who had reported back to duty since April. "Despite all their experience in space operations, the enemy doesn't seem to have trained in any form of intensive combat whatsoever. Our pilots — ourselves, the Canadians, the Germans and the Japanese — are finding taking down the enemy defensive screens quite easy."

"What about the enemy warships?"

"They're still about a half-hour before they insert into what we know is a standard orbital bombardment level above Earth, Professor," Yvonne Swanson explained as she indicated one of the holographic screens displaying the disposition of friendly and enemy forces in cislunar space. "Once everyone from Canada got their second wind, they poured in to deep six the rest of Yethis' destroyer screen. No signs of additional cloaked ships; we've got submarines, destroyers, frigates and corvettes doing a sweep of the system just in case we get any more surprises. The force under Captain von Bismarck and Captain Ansaldo is in position over Tomobiki."

"All warships save for those who deployed to Uru are now moving to close up everything from the Moon's orbit inward, Mister President," the reborn flagship of the Asiatic Squadron at Manila Bay added as she tried not to fidget over wearing a Bluetooth earpiece. "We should have a fully effective blockade within the hour."

"Didn't this idiot see something like this was coming?" Josh Lyman asked. A considerable crew from the West Wing had come with their commander-in-chief aboard Enterprise to watch the final stages of the battle, with C.J. Cregg now working with the starship's public affairs officer to transmit findings from the wardroom.

"No, Josh, they didn't. That's how arrogant they are," the reborn Grey Ghost noted before she perked as her eyes picked out some detail from the aerial battle, which was spread out over an arc between Earth and the third Sol-Mars libration point. "Nice formations, Zui-Zui! How are the old fogies taking that?!"

An embarrassed laugh echoed over links from THU Zuikaku. "Still feel like I'm cheating, E-chan!" Matsubara Suzue confessed from the bridge of her namesake starship. "After all, most of them are Yoiko's pilots...!"

"No matter they being part of the Sixth Carrier Division, they ALL fly with the blessings of all the kami of the First Air Fleet, Suzue-san," Oikawa Kei gravely declared; both she and her older division mate Aoki Anna were currently on the bridge of the second Shōkaku-class star carrier helping direct traffic.

" BANZAI! " many voices shrieked.

"Minna! Radio discipline!" a cold voice snapped from Yonaga.

Footfalls heralded the approach of the second Lexington-class battlecruiser-turned-carrier as she looked over Yvonne's shoulder. "Captain Itō's crew know their business," Dionne Doolittle noted. "You called it right all along, E. She would've been the hardest nut to crack in that war...and I don't mean all her armour."

"As was Yvonne-san in that horrid time, Sempai," Itō Yoiko declared, her voice much calmer than the stern petty officer-like tones she had used with her pilots. "As I've always known, she had the blessings of all seven Christian saints concerned with the fates of sailors when she fought against everyone in the war."

Chortles escaped the other American shipgirls as the reborn Grey Ghost blushed at that often-spoken compliment from the seventh carrier of Operation Z. "What about the enemy battlewagons?" Bartlet asked. "Are they still capable of landing and launching aircraft? If they have reserve pilots waiting to go..."

"General Raeburn's flyers wrecked all the launch tubes of five of the six remaining capital ships," Hammond reported as he indicated one target icon. "Only Seq's Glory is still capable of launching and recovering aircraft, though her air wing was the first group targeted by our pilots as soon as they cleared the launch tubes. Her anti-aircraft defences are much greater in size and capabilities than her sisterships. That goes along with what was discovered by Admiral Harlan's people about that ship being a 'lifeboat' for the Imperials."

"Like those armed merchant cruisers that came to support Yethis' attack force, you mean?" Leo McGarry noted.

"Unfortunately," the native of Texas affirmed.

"She'll have to be saved for Luisa's and Roberta's task force, it seems," Yvonne noted.

"No antimatter warheads are supposed to be used in cislunar space, Captain," the acting captain of the second Yorktown-class star carrier advised as he gave her an apologetic look.

The adopted native of River Vale in New Jersey hissed on getting that reminder from Bart Mancuso. "Oh, shit...!" she snarled before tapping a control on her console to draw up a holographic diagram.

The other shipgirls currently on the bridge came over to gaze upon the internal structure of UDFS Seq's Glory; since there were now nearly TWO HUNDRED Terran starships within scanning range of the flagship of the Imperial Restoration Fleet and her companions, sensors were able to get through to develop a perfect map of the battlewagon's interior. "Damn! It IS a blasted lifeboat!" Julia noted as she indicated several places.

"Perfectly-sealed citadel that can survive on its own," Helen Hoover, the reborn USS Intrepid, hissed. "Even if the battleships blow away the rest of the thing, it still has warp drive to get it out of the system!"

"It'll gut itself on the shield at Ceres, I," Rebecca Roosevelt, the reborn second USS Yorktown of the Essex-class, then warned as she indicated the tank of antimatter in the inner hull's warp core.

"What if this guy decides to kamikaze?!"

Eyes locked on Rhoda Knox, the reborn second USS Hornet. As sucked-in breaths escaped those Japanese shipgirls now listening in on this conversation — though Yvonne was quick to hear a contemplative hum from Yoiko as she considered such a dire option — the adopted native of Newport News (where she was built) and Alameda near San Francisco (where she had been stored as a museum ship) added, "The amount of antimatter on that tub's ten times greater than what the subgirls can launch with a Mark 48S ADCAP. If that blows off on the surface, you can say 'Good-bye' to a BIG load of real estate! Would the shielding system protecting the planet hold that thing back if this moron decides that he's going to take as many of us down with him?!"

Grim looks crossed people's faces. "We may have to use antimatter, Mister President," Hammond warned.

"I am forced to agree with George-san, Bartlet-hakase," Fujita Hiroshi noted from Yonaga. "While the threat of electromagnetic pulse is considerable, we can't allow these maniacs to succeed in ANY part of their mission."

"There is another way, Teitoku."

People perked. "What way's that, 'Sashi?!" Gabby Lewis asked from Iowa.

"Have we forgotten what our new hulls were first created to do when it came to dealing with the lar'beke, Iowa-dono?!" Itō Mutsuko wondered from Yonaga 's bridge. " Destroying this thing — at least moving it beyond where it could damage Earth in any way, shape or form — can be done by us personally !"

"Lady Musashi has a point, Admiral Fujita," the voice of a former System Lord's first prime then called from his F-26 Mustang II as he flew support for the leader of SG-1.

"Teal'c?" Hammond prompted.

"The System Lords simply could not find ANY counter when the Healer's creations were unleashed on their fleet, General Hammond," the native of Chulak declared as the sound of his twinned M61S Vulcan cannons going off echoed in the background. "Clearly, the Shatan'af would face similar difficulties."

"It's worth trying," Jack O'Neill added.

"Even better, Onē-sama is perfectly armed for such a mission," the reborn THG Musashi added.

"Not as much as you would initially think, Imōto."

A shocked gasp escaped the reborn second of the Yamato-class. "Onē-sama?!"

"Yoiko's right, Mutsuko," Yvonne warned. "Those swords she got from the gamájun are able to punch through a lot, but any form of neutronium would snap those things like twigs with her going flank." Her blue eyes sparkled. "But we DO have someone with the RIGHT sort of neutronium that can help here. Right, General?!"

Eyes lit up. "Did you overhear this, Dean?" Bartlet then asked.

"I did, Jed," the commander of CANSOFCOM stated from the cockpit of her CF-198 Camel III. "Yvonne, I'm coming aboard; my wiz trooper's not trained in emergency piloting. Once I'm able to do an EVA, all shipgirls that are NOT piloting a starship RV with me over the Dundurn Ranges at 100 clicks above MSL for a briefing."

" HAI! "/" YES, MA'AM! "/" NE! "/" DA! "/" OUI! "/" SÌ! "/" JAWOHL! "/" SHÌDE! "

As smiles crossed the faces of the people on the bridge, the president perked. "Get that cruiser out of here!" he ordered, indicating the Yaminokuni ship in low orbit over Tomobiki in the master tactical image being analyzed by Enterprise's command crew. "Have Captain Fioravanzo return Prince Rupa's pigs, then send Miss Redet to Tomobiki! I think a lot of people there want to have a talk with her about her behaviour over the last year!"

"Yes, sir!" Yvonne declared before opening a link to ANI Aquila...

****

Aboard Rupa's cruiser in low orbit over Tomobiki, thirty minutes later...

"Oh, thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!"

Gazing at the sobbing crown prince of Yaminokuni as he hugged several of his precious flock of porcines, the adopted native of Genoa (where she was built as SS Roma , then converted to RM Aquila) and Monselice near Venice (birthplace of the father of Italian naval aviation, her near-namesake Ammiraglio di Squadra Giuseppe Fioravanzo) could only smile in delight before she gazed on the cruiser's captain. "Some of them looked starved, so I had friends in Tomobiki send up some mushrooms that sprouted there, Capitano," Giuseppina Fioravanzo said, her golden brown eyes twinkling. "I'm sure once Signorina Kasuga's Infinite Wave dumps the rest into this Dark Grove of yours, they can have a wonderful feast to get themselves back to full health."

The pretty woman with the high pony-tailed rust-red hair then blushed as he bowed over her hand to give her a courtly kiss, he earning a curtsy from her in response. "Your kindness is most undeserved, Lady Aquila. I can only apologize for our small part in the First Patriarch's madness that caused such potential harm to your planet. I'm sure that once I report this to the Council of Elders, very harsh action will be taken."

Giuseppina gave him a warning look. "You best do so. Given what I've heard of Signorina Mishima..."

The crew save the burbling Rupa Namabin winced; they overheard the deadly threats of the Queen of Diseases earlier when both she and the Supreme Polymath had moved to help the Earth Defence Force probe for cloaked Urusian ships within the Ceres orbit line...even if such had been an obvious deception ploy done to drive the Urusian Imperials finally into the Earth Defence Force's trap. "A very good point, Lady Aquila."

"I assume you're here for HER now, are you, my lady?" the prince's chief intelligence officer quietly asked.

"Sì," the would-be first of Italy's aircraft carriers then evenly stated as she gave the other man a warning look. "It's high time that she faced the judgment of those whose lives she badly affected this last year and more, Signor. Not to mention have that demonio within her exorcised out so that Signor Calaway can banish it into the Dark Gaol. Then she faces Ammiraglio Moroboshi's and Signorina Kasuga's final judgment."

"Understandable, my lady. This way, please."

The two people walked out of the large hold where Rupa's pigs normally resided when they travelled with him on deep space trips. It was slow going at first; sensing that the pretty lady with the heady scents of the sea and mesonium was moving to leave them, many of the smaller porcines came over to rear up on their hind legs to lick Giuseppina's face, making the reborn carrier giggle. Of course, much to the relief of the intelligence officer, Rupa hadn't taken notice; he was still hugging some of his flock, clearly relieved they were alive and safe.

Privately vowing to make sure that no further blunders would happen once his principal was back home on Yaminokuni, he drew out an omniversal computer to hand to the Italian shipgirl. "Something that may be of interest to Patriarch Ataru and Lady Ayumu before they move to make Lady Lum a 'norm', my lady."

"What is this?" Giuseppina asked as she took the chip in hand.

"A detailed scan of Lady Lum's bio-signs we took while she was aboard. Atop that non-corporeal creature — whatever the devil it is — that's helping grossly influence her actions, there's a mesonium crystal deep within her mind in the cerebellum. While we don't have decent enough scanning programs to determine where that fragment came from, I'm sure people like the patriarch's sister Lady Rinrin can determine that."

"Any suspicions?"

"Only one, Lady Aquila: The former president of the Niphentaxians."

That made the reborn carrier scowl as she recalled past briefings. "Oh, the leader of those imitatori imbecilli that everyone had to thrash shortly before Roberta salvaged herself to be Gifted," she noted, nodding as she put the chip securely into her belt pouch while they went up several levels to the main habitation deck. "I'll get this to Ammiraglio Hatoyama soon enough. I'm sure she and her friends can confirm things."

"Anything to keep the galactic peace. Which IS Lady Tariko's ultimate goal."

Both people chuckled knowingly as they headed down the hallway to where the main guest room was. Seeing the beautiful Italian shipgirl approach, the guards politely bowed, then one opened the door. Nodding her thanks, she stepped inside before bowing in turn for their hospitality, then she faced the dozing Oni warlord's daughter on the bed nearby. " BUONGIORNO! " she then bellowed with the same sharp fierceness a training petty officer working to prepare prospective sailors for a life at sea at the Naval Military School "Francesco Morosini" in Venice would use, that making Redet Lum shriek as she bolted straight up in terror.

Giuseppina winced as the woman smacked her head HARD into the high deckhead, then flopped onto the bed! As the Yaminokuni men at the doorway nearly collapsed in laughter on seeing the stupid girl humiliate herself like that, the adopted native of Monselice reached over to yank her off the bed by her bikini bottoms. "Come, come, Signorina! You've already outworn your welcome with our wonderful guests! It's high time you answer for all your crimes against the people of Madre Terra, ESPECIALLY Ammiraglio Moroboshi!"

Before the still-dazed Lum could react, the reborn aircraft carrier teleported herself and her "companion" off the cruiser. Seeing them leave, the intelligence chief then gazed on one guard. "Inform the helmsman to get us into warp and return us to Muzlim Madiina!" he barked. "We're in the range of THOSE guns now!"

Gazing out the window to see the ominous shape of ANI Roma floating nearby, with her sister Littorio and DKR Bismarck fore and aft of the namesake of the Eternal City, the guard grimaced before racing off...

****

Tomobiki, the grounds of the Moroboshi home, that moment...

KK-KRACK!

" ITTA-TCHA! "

The would-be "wife" of the Healer of Women's Hearts moaned after her head was smashed into one of the concrete slabs forming the front walkway of what had been her home for over a year.

"Welcome 'home', Signorina Redet."

Howling with wounded outrage, Redet Lum bolted up and sent a storm of lightning right into the woman who cowardly "attacked" her. " YOU STUPID CH'UONGTECHHU HUSSY...! " she shrieked...

...before she stopped. "Hey! You're not Roberta!"

"No, I'm Giuseppina," the reborn first of Italy's aircraft carriers snidely declared as she crossed her arms, pushing up her considerable bust to proudly display the golden Roman eagle displayed over the Tricolore that formed her ship's crest. "Portaerei Aquila della Regia Marina, ora la Marina Militare..."

" HOW DARE YOU KEEP ME FROM DARLING?! "

The adopted native of Monselice possessing the metaphysical mass of a 28,200 tonne aircraft carrier tried not to groan at such a useless display by the warlord's daughter. " STUPIDO SCEMO! " she snapped, lunging forward to backhand Lum into the walkway again closer to the front door. "How many times have you tried that on a fanciulla della flotta like myself?! Don't you realize lightning like that only TICKLES me?!"

A polite cough echoed from behind Giuseppina. "Verzeihung, meine Dame."

Hearing that polite voice speak out in German, the reborn carrier turned around...

...before madly blushing as the taller blonde with the pale skin — as a human being, the reborn RM Aquila stood 172 centimetres tall while the reborn K MS Graf Zeppelin was six centimetres taller — bowed politely to her in the proper Prussian manner, grasping Giuseppina's hand before giving that a courtly kiss. As the Italian shipgirl awked at her counterpart's actions, Amélie von Zeppelin sighed. "Allow me, please..."

She gestured...

...making Lum croak as she felt SOMETHING quite nasty flood her lungs, she instantly grasping her throat as pained tears welled in her eyes. "Did you not know that I am named after the developer of quite successful rigid dirigibles, Fraulein Redet?" the adopted native of Konstanz asked as she moved to protectively shield her Italian counterpart. "I just discovered my specific metahuman ability: A form of psychokinesis that allows me to manipulate hydrogen from either the air or ground, the same lifting gas that went into the Reichgraf's creations. And as you will know given what happened to Deutsches Luftschiff Hindenburg in 1937 at Marineflughafen Lakehurst, the most basic of the elements can be..." Here, a cruel smile crossed her face. " Explosive! "

As Lum turned a VERY sickly grey on hearing that dire threat, Amélie gazed dispassionately at her. "So here, you will remain, gasping for breath while Herr Professor Anoa'i's friends have a DISCUSSION with you!"

A howling scream echoed from all around...

...before the very ground around the warlord's daughter glowed an ominous silver, heralding the arrival of a massive pack of glowing wolf-like canines charging out to swarm over the warlord's daughter...

****

In low orbit over CFB Dundurn (forty kilometres south of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), that moment (Local time: Shortly after mid-afternoon)...

"Shit...!"

"She's not going to kill her, is she, ma Général?"

Dean Raeburn shook her head as she watched an image over her PAA showing a whole pack of Yizibajohei spirit wolves move to snip away at whatever was inside Redet Lum's body while the reborn German and Italian aircraft carriers now confronting Tariko Katabarbe's would-be "wife" watched from nearby. Tapping a control to turn off the device, the native of Queenston took a deep breath before gazing on the pretty redhead in the form-fitting pearl grey jumpsuit with dark blue trim "standing" beside her, the badge of Canada's last operational aircraft carrier displayed on her chest. "No, Captain," the former leader of the War Hawks stated as she slipped the PAA into the cargo pocket of her combat trousers. "That thing inside Miss Redet's going to keep her alive even if Captain von Zeppelin is effectively giving her a nice dose of hydrogen poisoning. All this does is provide the perfect sort of distraction while the Old Folk remove the rest of Mister Keiseiri's equipment from town."

"Once that's all clear...?" the reborn NCSM Bonaventure now known as Claudette O'Brien asked.

"Then it comes time for Miss Kasuga and Mister Moroboshi to do their thing," the commander of CANSOFCOM declared as she gazed off to her right at the distant horizon.

The small group of starship-less Canadian shipgirls looked themselves to see the faint visible corona of the Infinite Wave — which had passed over the last part of their nation's territory sometime ago — set beyond the arc of their home planet. "Glad that's being done right now," Xanadu Russell noted as she cracked her fingers in anticipation. "You should have smelled the difference in the air when that wave went by."

"Oui, Skeena, the air does smell much nicer, even near the factories in Saskatoon," Claudia noted; as she was named after a bird sanctuary on the end of the Gaspé Peninsula in southeast Québec, French was her first language even if she was effectively tri-lingual due to being built at Harland and Wolff in Belfast in the 1950s. "I hope people will finally wake up to the warnings about climate change that have been put out..."

"Gomen nasai, Shihan-sama...oh! Who's this?!"

The Canadians looked over to see a small troupe of Japanese shipgirls teleport into the large telekinetically-sustained air bubble formed by Raeburn's Power Jewel so they could talk openly and not depend on telepathic communication. Before anyone native to the Great White North responded, Oikawa Kei's brown eyes went wide with surprise. "A Canadian aircraft carrier?! Excellent! An honour to meet you, Bonaventure-dono!"

The veterans of the First and Second Carrier Divisions of the Kidō Butai bowed in turn, they getting a salute from the adopted native of Percé (where her namesake island was located) and Belfast in turn. "Bonjour, mes Capitaines," Claudia greeted. "Je suis le Navire Canadien de Sa Majesté Bonaventure, quatrième des porte-avions légers de la classe Majestic. Bienvenue à la Base des Forces Canadiennes Dundurn."

"Oh, ye gods! That was French !" Yamaguchi Hiyoko gushed as she grasped her reddening cheeks, shuddering with delight. "Just like the same way Chennalton-sensei's captain spoke!"

"You actually sensed that, Hiyoko?!" Kaku Sei demanded.

"Once I finally learned Sensei's name, the magical masking screens that stopped me from absorbing the memories of Tamon-maru and the others her crew rescued all flowed into me, Sei! Didn't you sense it?"

"You'll need to meditate on that, Captain," Raeburn warned.

The just-arrived Japanese shipgirls awked before they bowed apologetically. "Sumimasen, Shihan-sama!"

" ACK! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT CRAZY NUT DOING HERE?! "

Claudia jolted as the other Canadian shipgirls spun around on seeing a quintet of five VERY wide-eyed reborn American carriers staring with a mixture of horror and disbelief at the last of the Dominion's flattops in shipgirl form. As the adopted native of Percé felt tears well up in her blue-green eyes, the reborn third of Japan's aircraft carriers snarled, "Forgive me, Shihan-sama, but some of these Yankee fools need DISCIPLINE...!"

" YAMETE! "

The adopted native of Komatsu jolted on feeling Raeburn's raking stare fall over her, then she bowed apologetically...though she was quick to smile inwardly as the planet's Jewel Warrior then glared at the five reborn Essex-class fleet carriers now floating nearby, they accompanied by a VERY understandably confused Dionne Doolittle. "You all stow it as well, Captains! I don't want to hear crap from you concerning how good Captain O'Brien's flight crews were when it came to operating from her! After all, Captain Swanson's younger sister flew off aircraft the same size in Jimmy Doolittle's mission to hit Tōkyō before Midway!"

"Oh, my!" the reborn USS Saratoga breathed out, nodding in approval. "She must have had excellent pilots to do something like that!" As Rebecca Roosevelt, Helen Hoover, Rhoda Knox, Tracey Robinson (the reborn second USS Lexington ) and Ida Cannon (the reborn USS Oriskany) stared in dumbfounded disbelief at their older fleet mate, the adopted native of Saratoga Springs asked, "Did you land those aircraft, Captain?"

"Mais oui, Capitane Doolittle," Claudia declared, instantly brightening at that compliment from the much older reborn carrier. "My Banshees were the same size as Corsairs and my Trackers the same as the Mitchells that Capitaine Knox — that's Capitaine Swanson's younger sister, not the silly one beside you — flew."

As Rhoda huffed indignantly, the Japanese shipgirls present gave Claudia very approving looks for her sharp tongue. "I'm sure the Royal Canadian Navy must have appreciated your abilities," Aoki Anna noted as several escorting destroyer shipgirls moved to get closer looks of the fourth of the Majestic-class.

Claudia's blush deepened. "If only that lasted after Unification, Capitaine."

"What was that, poi?" a curious Hamamoto Kodachi asked; all of her class of destroyer hadn't been asked to deploy on the few of their starship-selves that existed due to the sheer LACK of targets, so they stood on standby aboard the four Ayanami-class star destroyers protecting Yonaga , Shōkaku and Zuikaku.

"Something so unspeakable, it is NOT to be said in front of a Canadian shipgirl unless she says it first, nyashii~!"

Eyes locked on Kisaragi Mutsuko; as with the reborn Shiratsuyu-class, most of the reborn Mutsuki-class were made to sit out this fight until now. "What do you mean, Sempai?" Kodachi's eldest sister Miroko asked.

"Would you believe that Claudia's last captain was called 'colonel', Miroko-chan?!"

" NANI?! " many of the other Japanese shipgirls shrieked.

"It gets worse, minna. Look at this."

Eyes locked on Kisaragi Kyōko as she drew her PAA, then projected an image of a serviceman in the Canadian Forces wearing the post-1968 Naval Operations Branch badges on a RIFLE GREEN uniform with a single-breasted jacket, the chevrons of a leading seaman on his upper arms. "This was the STANDARD uniform for ALL soldiers, sailors and airmen after Unification, minna," the adopted native of Maizuru announced.

Looks of HORROR crossed the faces of her fleet mates, then Kodachi leaped over to place a hand on Claudia's head. "Curse! Curse! Go away!" the Wild Wolf Storm bade as she made a banishing motion with that hand, then moved to repeat, making the Canadian madly blush. "Curse! Curse! Go away!"

By now, Raeburn was lighting up one of her cigars. "Thank you, Commander. But I think Captain Matsunaga would get a little mad at you for butting in on something she's better trained to deal with."

A hand landed on Kodachi's shoulder. "Shirei-han's right, Dachi-tan! I already chased away those nasty akuma from Bona-tan when we first met a couple months ago!" Matsunaga Ryōko announced, which made her fleet mates all breathe out in relief even as they gave Claudia sympathetic looks.

"Could you try to make her LESS crazy, RJ?!"

" YOU GOT A PROBLEM, SAILOR?! "

The reborn Intrepid yelped as the old leader of the War Hawks loomed in her face. " NO, MA'AM! "

" THEN BUTTON IT! "

As Dionne smacked Helen on the head to shut her up, the others relaxed as more shipgirls from a considerable number of nations teleported in. "Annyŏng hashimnikka, Changgun-nim!" a very beautiful teenager with mixed Russian and Korean features greeted as she and three companions bowed to a woman who had earned respect even in the "hermit kingdom". "We bring greetings from Yŏje-nim!" With that, the reborn ÈM Otlíchnyj who saw herself as CIH P'yŏng'yang handed a rolled sheet of parchment with the ancient seal of Kuorim to Raeburn.

"Thank you, Commander Ri," the commander of Canada's special forces said, making Ri Namsŏn blush madly. The native of Queenston then opened the letter and scanned the note in chosŏn'gŭl from the Sandalwood Empress of the New Dawn. "Good, no interference from the System Lords." Sensing clouds of disappointment instantly fall over the people closest to her, she took a drag of her cigar before winking at them. "Patience, girls! Patience! You'll get your chance to chow down on a tonne of prim'ta soon enough..."

"Meine Generalleutnante!"

That was a blonde woman looking distantly like Catarina von Savoyen. "Yes, Captain?"

Antonia von Hipper snapped to attention and saluted. "Message from Kapitän von Bismarck, meine Generalleutnante!" the reborn lead of her class declared. "Herr Admiral Moroboshi's force has cloaked themselves to await the enemy's approach. She proposes that when the enemy force get into a hover orbit over Tomobiki that they will fire and keep firing until all that's left is the 'lifeboat' inside the enemy flagship. Once the rest are space dust, you can lead in your force to deal with the rest of that verkakte lot!"

An eyebrow arched in amusement. "You learning Yiddish, Captain?"

That made the reborn KMS Admiral Hipper awk. "Well...!"

Laughter echoed from all around...

...before a massive flash of energy off to Raeburn's left and up made heads turn around. "Magazine explosion," Dionne declared before pulling up her PAA. "Saratoga to Arizona! What happened, Sonia?!"

"Finally destroyed two of those battlewagons, Dionne," Sonia Owings called from the bridge of her namesake starship, the thunder of battle echoing around her. "I swear, even if there isn't this poor man's neutronium in those hulls, they can take a ton of abuse! Even worse than Yvonne told me Yasuko and Mutsuko did!"

"Then it is good that we're here to help put the diseased animals down, Sempai!" a certain ash-haired battleship declared as all the Itō sisters save for their long-missing sibling teleported into this meeting. "We'll rip those things apart with our bare hands to force those false oni to learn how to breathe VACUUM!"

"Warlock to Ladyhawke."

People perked as Raeburn picked up her PAA. "Ladyhawke."

"Message from Teng Garrison, ma'am," the technical guru of the latest team of metahumans to become fully active in the Specialized Warfare Regiment called out, the sounds of one of the unit's specially-built multi-environmental transport aircraft echoing in the background. "All the prisoners captured from General Yethis' invasion force had dead-man's triggers in them. It got messy, but no allied casualties."

Hearing that, Raeburn scowled. "You called it almost right, Captain," she said as she gazed on the reborn Hornet, then put the device back to her ear. "Tell me you got some party favours, Commander."

"Enough firearms with mesonium warheads to do a LOT of soul captures, ma'am!"

"Right. See you in a few."

"Aye, ma'am!"

As the link was cut, Dionne asked, "What does that mean, General?"

"It means our enemies will not allow us to capture them alive, Captain," Zhāng Héfēn, the reborn ÈM Rézkij that was sold to China and renamed ZRZ Fǔshùn, answered. "The only way to gain the necessary intelligence we need to see these imperialist pigs forever put down is to shoot them in the heads with specialized mesonium soul-capture bullets that Commander Caldwell perfected some years ago."

Looks of disgust crossed the faces of many Western shipgirls while the Japanese and North Korean contingent all grimly nodded. "You all have to aim for head shots with whatever rifles the commander is bringing for us to literally snare the souls of these lunatics, comrades," Héfēn's sister Gāo Jiālán, the reborn Retívyj later renamed Tàiyuán, added. "It's exactly as Admiral Moroboshi decreed earlier. There's no use for mercy here."

Moans escaped many of them there. "God forgive us all for what we're about to do!" Claudia hissed.

"They chose their fates, kid," Raeburn noted, making everyone tense. "I guessed this was going to happen. That's how committed to the cause these lunatics really are." She held up a finger as she gazed on the Japanese group. "Though I will NOT call such idiots 'kamikazes'. They don't deserve that...!"

A shift in the scant air around them then made everyone tense before they turned...

...then, save for the Canadians, everyone gaped on seeing a large shoulder-winged cargo aircraft with two engines mounted high at the wing roots come to a hover nearby, its rear boarding ramp open to reveal a large hold. "Everyone aboard!" Claudia then barked to the other shipgirls of the Dominion. "Get your C1s and load up with ammunition! Help the others select their weapons and drill some basic weapons safety!"

People quickly moved to board the floating CY-199 Borealis...

****

Aboard Tennō Heika Uchūkan Kirishima , an hour before breakfast...

Moroboshi Muchi knew he hadn't been much of a father to his children.

Despite the rather formal nature of the word his son and his son-turned-daughter started addressing him by after their birthday, "Ofukun", the salaryman knew that said term had been meant as a stinging insult, a perfect companion to the term "Ofukuro" that began to be used to address his wife Kinshō.

A wife he now knew was dead.

Despite the precautions his once-unknown second daughter took to keep the information about what befell poor Kinshō confined to the shipgirls who flocked around his son Ataru, he overheard Shimosuwa Tamiyo personally signal his host Chihaya Isabel about it not an hour before while he was relaxing in the star battleship's wardroom enjoying an early breakfast supplied by the quite sympathetic Avalonian volunteer staff.

Like he felt the previous afternoon when he threw himself at the mercy of the new Matriarch-in-Waiting of his clan to seek shelter from such a clearly disturbed woman, he now experienced a sense of relief at that news.

Oh, yes, he would mourn his wife's death. For all her many problems, she stubbornly stuck to his side when he chose to navigate his path in life, doing her best to support him as he struggled through university, then began the long climb up the corporate ladder in Marubushi and Company. During the struggles raising Ataru and his twin brother Kaeru while being supported by his more successful elder brother Komeru until that day when the poor child had his "fatal" accident, then literally disappeared from the hospital. A day that should have told Muchi that the weirdness that his family had dealt with over the centuries it served as the Imperial Throne's silent eyes and ears would not leave him be even if he strove to lead his own life in a "normal" manner.

Perhaps that had been a sign from the gods to turn back...?

Shaking his head, he gazed on the prints of the national dailies' morning editions spread out in front of him. All the starships of the Combined Japanese Starfleet got complimentary copies of those papers literally beamed up — using something no different than a transporter straight out of Star Trek of all things! — to ensure the small caretaker crew of the third Kongō-class star battle cruiser would be up to date on matters in Japan regardless of individual papers' political or social bias; much to his surprise, even the left-wing Shimbun Akahata that served as the print organ of the Communist Party was represented in the twice-daily newspaper dump from the surface.

After scanning through that particular paper, he shook his head.

He'd still read the Yomiuri first.

Still, those broadsheets had screamed their editors' delight concerning the revelations of all that his son and his daughters had done for Earth in the last decade and more. Seeing to the planet's safety from alien as well as interdimensional invasion — remembering that one article from the Asahi Shimbun, Muchi wondered how the Eight Imperial Magical Commanderies would try to explain incidents that was nominally under their purview, to say anything of how idiot magicals in other nations would react — as well as helping the planet take a massive leap into space TOGETHER in lieu of having superpowers like America, Russia and China enjoy spoils almost exclusively. Effectively ending the potential "demographic bomb" soon to envelope Japan with the introduction of MILLIONS of Avalonian-Japanese women into the aging nation thanks to their liberation from slavery back in early June, which would keep pundits on all sides of that sticky debate quite happy for years to come. Actually developing a kinder, more honourable version of the infamous Thunder Companies that served as the Empire's fighting elements in the metahuman side of World War Two through the shipgirls who came back to duty over the last few months mostly thanks to his youngest daughter Saeru Hinako. And demonstrating it was possible to find a path to reconcile the many horrible issues still hanging over Japan because of the Empire's actions during the Greater East Asia War, spearheaded not only by those selfsame shipgirls but by the crew of his uncle's own ship, alive and well after SEVENTY nears of near-total isolation from history in a cove in Siberia.

There would be problems though, especially from those forces that might have benefited from the way things had run in and around Tomobiki in the last year or so. The rogue elements of the Public Security Intelligence Agency that helped trap Tariko Katabarbe in town the previous fall were out there despite a very vigorous search by Fukawa Tōko and her friends to locate and eliminate them. Those who benefited from the effective isolating of the Mendō and the Mizunokōji families from the rest of the nation wouldn't like it once both clans properly focused their attention outwards now that all the blocks Division One had forced on people would be lifted in the next few hours. Atop that, there were the issues within those self-same families that could potentially spill over and hurt people who didn't deserve to be hurt, especially those his children had gone out of their way to rescue from cruel slavery. Given what he had seen in the morning copy of the Nishitōkyō Nippō — which was the effective mouthpiece of the Mendō Conglomerate; the editor's elder daughter was one of Mendō Shūtarō's still-loyal "fans" — the fact that Moroboshi Ataru was "leading" such a cruel attack against Redet Lum...!

Shaking his head, he moved to sip his tea as he tried to chase away the images of his would-be daughter-in-law from his mind. After she realized he now knew the ugly truth about what befell his wife hours before, Isabel took him to the captain's cabin, then proceeded to brief him on what had been really going on with Lum and what the ultimate plan really was concerning her. That neither Tariko nor Ataru wanted Lum dead was a good thing in the end; still, given how effectively helpless in a Yizibajohei manner his son had become, Muchi didn't blame Ataru for becoming so vicious when it came to his "wife" over the last few months. That she would get help by two experienced exorcist specialists — that both of them were famous professional wrestlers from the WWE was good for a hearty laugh — before she would be sent home was also a bonus. Even with the planned action of Tariko's and Ataru's oldest friend to totally strip Lum of her metahuman powers — which would hurt her given that disabled people on Uru had a much worse time of it than their counterparts of Earth — was understandable; even if it was some oddball fragment of that creature which caused the Pseudo War in August driving her now, the feelings Lum had for her "darling" and what she wanted to have happen were still her own.

She had to be made to see once and for all that Ataru had thoroughly rejected her.

What was worse, she was going to be made to learn that THIS time, she couldn't do stupid and totally selfish things like take a whole planet HOSTAGE to make Ataru come to heel.

The fact that Lum had publicly called his other daughters bastards ...!

He had seen copies of the adoption forms his late mother had filed with the Interior Ministry shortly before her passing five years ago when it came to Tariko's and Ataru's siblings; Isabel had brought them up from the starship's own computer core to show him what had been done to properly give those girls a home.

That they lived in Welcome House of all places...

The salaryman had to chuckle at the ironies here. He knew that the scion of Japan's richest family had spend a waterfall of cash to try to locate Ataru when he disappeared from town after the Golden Week disaster that forced the school to close, such expenditures being totally wasted thanks to the blocking efforts of his brother's eldest ward Yumoa Reiji, head of operations for Toranoseishin. That Lum hadn't been able to track Ataru in those times was yet another missed sign by his parents that despite the warnings given to them by Division One, Yiziba had once more come back into their son's life; the technological gap between the third world of Kaeyu and the fourth world of Oniboshi was extreme if this war machine he now stood on was any clue.

As for the "why" that Ataru had to stay silent on things until now...!

Muchi could only grimace as he recalled what the adopted native of her namesake city in southern Kyūshū had told him about the Avalonians' former masters and their mad leader. How he ordered a titanic antimatter bomb of all things to be placed in the middle of one of the most earthquake-prone regions of Earth to serve as a sort of "final solution" to prevent the "great evil" from destroying this boy's chosen "goddess". One that should have been removed back in early June hadn't the fight to free the Avalonians went quite awry for the one girl capable of performing such a trick with great ease, delaying that removal until later this morning even if the bomb would be sent back in time to the anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy to wipe out the large Niphentaxian fleet — one with THREE THOUSAND combat ships like what the Earth Defence Force was dealing with now! — and see the Urusians' most powerful ally crippled, thus fatally weakening their position vis-à-vis Earth.

Shaking his head, he picked up the copy of the Nippō , gazing at the article that railed at such an "inhumane" response concerning Lum. S norted, he put the paper down before sipping his tea . Shūtarō was going to be EATING those words he spat out in his family's mouthpiece over the next few hours once the scale of the alien threat was made public by the removal of that bomb from the Ginza. Even if it was possible the warlord's daughter may have not detected such a device's presence where she had been living for over a YEAR, she had the capability of doing that , knew what her "most faithful" was more than capable of doing and should have realized that she had a responsibility to make sure that her "husband" shouldn't be harmed by such a loon.

That Lum hadn't done that whatsoever had given Ataru additional cause to hate her.

Responsibility...

The woman had showed no real responsibility since she came here.

Neither did Muchi nor his wife when it came to her, much less their child...

"Moroboshi-san!"

He looked up as a steward came over, one of the bioroids who served aboard Kirishima. "What is it?"

She placed a PADD before him, it displaying the image of his front lawn, where his would-be daughter-in-law was being assaulted by the deadly yuoti-suo unleashed on her by the man born Joseph Anoa'i. As the Samoan-descent wrestler from Pensacola grimly watched from the front gate alongside the reborn Graf Zeppelin and Aquila, there were a considerable crowd now converging from all sides. "Damn it! Riot!" he hissed, noting it was Asakura Kazumi filming this, no doubt from the safety of the Hōjō sisters' home.

"Your children are going down there to deal with Redet now, Moroboshi-san," she warned.

Muchi grimaced, nodding his thanks...

****

Tomobiki, the Moroboshi home, that moment...

" GET IN THERE! GET IN THERE! SAVE LUM-SAN! "

Hearing the command of her greatest supporter in town, Redet Lum felt a surge of relief flood her even as her body convulsed from the tearing sensations assaulting her from all sides. She was floating a metre off the ground as the spirit wolves — beings used by those such as the Spectral Hound of the Dark Gaol to cleanse the World of the Forge of disembodied beings like ghosts — continued to bite and snare into her body; even if there were no physical wounds, the agony was indescribable. While she could breathe clearly — whatever that German hussy did to her had worn off — it was no help; she could barely summon any lightning to blast her way clear of this insane trap, then go and find her husband to get him away from this madness.

By the main gate, Roman Reigns shook his head, grateful that his new stable buddy in the Shield had raised a very effective reality warping-block around the wrecked property to keep the idiots charging in to "save" their precious alien princess from getting directly involved in this mess. As he sensed Amélie von Zeppelin and Giuseppina Fioravanzo slowly succumb to the temptation of using their own considerable powers against the clearly-possessed squad of love-starved idiots moving to try to climb over the walls and get onto the grounds, the native of Pensacola looked to the south and the Tarōzakura Hill. " MARK! HOW LONG NOW?! " the Spectral Hound of the Dark Gaol screamed, putting some power into his voice. " WE GOT A PROBLEM HERE! "

" ANOTHER TEN MINUTES, JOE! IT'S THE LAST ONE! " the Master of the Dark Gaol called back.

A relieved sigh escaped him. "About damned time...!"

"What of the idioti beyond, Signor Anoa'i?" the adopted native of Monselice wondered.

"Jon's shield will keep them back, ma'am. Look!"

Seeing where he was pointing, Amélie and Giuseppina looked...

...then they winced on seeing a slew of boys — all sophomores and seniors, not any of the poor Shōzoki androids among the freshman Moroboshi Ataru had saved over the last few months — bellowing a tonne of abuse as they tried to climb over the invisible something that was preventing them from getting onto the lawn and reaching their alien peer's side. "Gott im Himmel!" the adopted native of Konstanz snarled, the temptation to send an energy blast into that mob — much less kill them by acute hydrogen poisoning — making her hands quake. "Why can't they see what your pets are doing, Herr Anoa'i?! From what I learned from the admiral's sisters, Frau Ehrwürdig Sakurambō explained to them all what those creatures can do and why they had to be here!"

"The remaining spirits in town know their time's real short, Captain," Roman warned as a flash of energy produced both of his stable mates, having teleported in from Tomobiki High School. "Without the Master's old equipment anchoring them in town and with an Infinite Wave on the way to send Lum back to Uru, they're pulling out all the stops to try to keep things normal and save their own butts before they get banished."

"Couldn't Herr Calaway exorcise them?!"

"They're all too interlinked together, ma'am," Seth Rollins noted. "You have to banish the head honcho..." — here, the Assassin of Dynasties pointed to the wildly-screaming Lum — "...to sweep away the whole lot. They can tell what Mark can do and what he ultimately represents. And with Margo and Tōko here also, they know that any try at totally possessing people — which kills the host body — won't move any of them."

"Just like the idioti alieni in orbit facing Roberta and the others," Giuseppina mused, gazing into the brightening skies overhead; dawn had come to the Tōkyō region a little over a half-hour before.

"Guys!"

People looked towards the house across the street. "What is it, Kazumi?!" Dean Ambrose asked.

"Only FOUR battlewagons made it overhead!" the Voice of the Show called out.

Both shipgirls screamed with delight...

...before the hissing crackle of Force lightning echoed through the air.

"Oh, dear! Chikage's back!" the Universal Chaos sing-songed.

Then, every boy in range was deluged by the deadly power of the Dark Heart of Pure Chaos!

****

Aboard the Seq's Glory , five hundred kilometres over Tomobiki, that moment...

"Maidens, my lord! They're prepared to kill off all of Lum's friends!"

Watching the live-time feed from Asakura Kazumi, the bridge crew — now in their ship's citadel, as was the rest of the Seq's Glory's surviving crew — gaped at the sight of Moroboshi Ataru's arch-mage sister unleashing such a violent attack on very normal boys. "She HAS to be a heel in this incarnation," the flag captain muttered.

"It'll be the LAST incarnation, along with the rest of them!" Seq Yethis vowed.

Grim nods echoed that statement from the others around him. At that moment, a signal chimed in from the Blade Breaker; despite the damage earlier to her launch tubes for her aerospace contingent, the stout old ship had held her place even in the face of the unbelievable incoming fire from over a DOZEN Terran/Avalonian battleships. "My lord! We just did a scan of the planet! It's SHIELDED!" her captain called out.

" WHAT?! " the leader of the Imperial Round bellowed. " SHOW ME! "

A tactical image was relayed, revealing the third planet of Sol cloaked in a VERY powerful defensive shielding system over both land and ocean. "They shielded the whole damned planet !" the executive officer hissed. "No wonder Moroboshi's so confident! He knows Lum couldn't threaten anywhere BEYOND Tomobiki!"

"What of Tomobiki itself, Captain?!" Yethis barked.

"The town is also shielded, my lord," the captain of the Breaker replied.

"Then we'll blast it down and punch through!" the veteran naval infantry officer declared as he gazed to his left. "Arm antimatter warheads into the torpedo tubes! Did you all notice the lessers stop using those things when we passed Luna's orbit?!" As people nodded while the weapons officer tapped controls to do as he was instructed, Yethis cackled. "Let's see how good the genius of the so-called 'Circle of Thought' is HERE!"

Screams of support escaped the others...

...before an unknown man's voice bellowed, " NOW, ATARU! "

Eyes locked on the view screen...

...as everyone gaped on seeing the Healer of Women's Hearts leap over his stunned peers to land on the front lawn of his home ahead of two women in modern jumpsuits and three men likewise attired. As the spirit wolves snipping at Uru's rightful empress continued to pull at her body, the man who's name became a curse among right-thinking Urusians stared at the struggling Redet Lum for a moment before his right hand extended out.

" NO...! " Yethis shrieked.

" KONTŌ! "

As the crews of the surviving vessels of the Imperial Restoration Fleet helplessly shrieked on seeing that horrible energy blade leap out of the lesser's hand, Ataru lunged at Lum, plunging it into her head!

" NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...! "

****

Aboard Kosmícheskij Tjazhólye Rakétnye Kréjser Admirál Ushakóv , in low orbit over the Mare Tranquillitatis on the Moon, that moment (Moscow time: Two hours after midnight)...

"Launch all Graníts!"

"Graníts away, Comrade Captain!"

From the forward weather decks of the starship versions of the first and second Project 1144 heavy atomic missile cruisers, twenty hatches opened up, allowing huge ten-to-one scale versions of the P-700 Granít anti-ship missile — formally designated 17K/3M45 in the catalogue of the Federation's Main Missile and Artillery Directorate — to leap out and surge right at the enemy formation many thousands of kilometres away.

"They are on their way, Luíza Óttovna," Florentína Kóstikova-Ushakóva coldly declared from her chair.

"Spasíbo, Florentína Fjódorovna," Luisa von Bismarck responded from the bridge of DMR Bismarck.

"Do you think we can talk about retrofitting our hulls with such magnificent anti-ship rockets, Florentína Fjódorovna?" Maria von Tirpitz then coyly wondered from the bridge of DMR Tirpitz.

Laughter filled the Russian starship's bridge as the silver-haired, blue-eyed adopted native of Rýbinsk north of Moskvá (birthplace of her modern namesake) and Sankt-Peterbúrg (where she and her sisters were built) tried not to blush at that compliment. "We'll discuss it at a future time, Maríja Ál'fredovna!" she vowed...

****

Within the headquarters of the Specialized Warfare Regiment of Canada in CFB Ellesmere Island, that moment (local time: Thursday, an hour before supper)...

Both Angela Merkel and Vladímir Pútin shared a look before they laughed while other leaders seated at the main meeting table of their hosts gaped at such a show of comradeship. "We'll have to discuss something like that, Anzhéla Khórstovna!" the leader of the Russian Federation declared, he hoisting his tea cup to her.

"Ja, that we will, Vladímir Vladímirovich," the chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany stated as she returned his toast with her own cup of coffee before they calmly drank.

Some people around them nodded in approval...

****

Tomobiki, the Moroboshi home...

The bodies of the students who tried to rush in and rescue Redet Lum collapsed to the street in heaps as a scream that could wake the dead echoed over the area while Moroboshi Ataru poured a considerable amount of his cosmic empathy into his "wife's" brain through the soulsword now plunged through her forehead. As the spirit wolves around him howled and yelped in a show of delight on sensing that their true prey was now within easy grasp, Roman Reigns nodded as he gazed on this ugly scene with his mage-sight. "Okay! Okay! You're doing it, Ataru! Now spear this idiot to the damned mat so we can all go home finally!"

" GRIMM! "

Hearing the booming voice of the oldest sentient being on Earth, the Spectral Hound of the Dark Gaol looked towards the Tarōzakura Hill. " Yes, sir?! " he called out, his own dark eyes glowing.

" WE HAVE WHAT WE DESIRE! " Napaaqtuqarunnanngittuq declared as a wild mixed storm containing snow, sleet, rain, sand and typhoon-force winds stirred up to blast down many of the alien mushrooms that had plagued this place for the previous day and more. " WE WILL MEET WITH YOUR SAGES SOON TO SEE OUR FRIEND'S BELONGINGS PLACED WITH THEM SO THEY WILL PLAGUE OUR WORLD NO MORE! "

" DID YOU HEAR THAT, YOU SELFISH MONSTER?! "

Heads snapped over to gaze upon Ataru as he continued to cut away at the beast within Lum's mind. "Anigimi-sama is quite mad, isn't he?" Tenhiro Haruka noted; his sisters who remained on Earth stood beyond the front gate as they gazed in amusement at the scene they had patiently waited for MONTHS to see happen.

"Yukari doesn't blame Nii-nii!" the emotionally youngest of the Colourful Kiss clone-replicas, Misaki Yukari — now the Morning Chill, Damte (" Frost "), a mid-level cryokinetic — said as she glared at the woman whose presence in her big bro's life caused so much pain. "Yukari hopes Nii-nii's making her feel the pain he felt!"

"Oh, Onii-sama's doing that alright, Yukari-chan!" Sukeyama Sakuya noted as she reached out empathically to help boost her dear brother's own considerable powers to make sure the work necessary to free Lum from whatever had possessed her wouldn't ultimately be in vain. "It's getting a direct taste of how he felt like when he first woke up in the Doll House totally POWERLESS after living as part of Onē-sama all this time...!"

"Yo, guys!"

That was Seth Rollins. "What is it, Colby?" Hirosaki Chikage wondered.

The Assassin of Dynasties' eyes were glowing. "Some of these punks aren't human!"

Hearing that, the Dark Heart of Pure Chaos hissed a detection spell, such sending probes leaping out to touch the heads of about a third of the boys present. A ghostly parchment then told the teen arch-mage what she needed to know. "Some form of bio-droid?!" she exclaimed with a look of incredulous respect.

"What on Earth is THAT, Chikage-chan?!" Tanenobu Karen wondered.

"Poor man's easily-programmable version of an Avalonian...and they're Niphentaxian -built as well, Karen! Looks like Ōgi or one of his supporters left us a final little surprise to deal with!"

Hearing that, Eigo Kaho snarled as she focused her ki into her marching baton, causing the deadly twin blades to leap out of the ends. With a scream of righteous sisterly indignation, the Maiden of the Parade swept her blade into a stabbing attack, then plunged it into one boy's head, causing the skull to explode and splatter blood and gore over her dark blue jumpsuit. " ZERSTÖRE SIE, SCHWESTERN! " the Quarterstaff Mistress screamed out in German as she focused her ki into her fighting staff to create a naginata-like blade at one end, then she deftly beheaded one "boy" with a simple decapitating sweep before moving to destroy the others Chikage located.

Howls of pure delight escaped most of the sisters there as they moved to join in on the orgy of destruction while Asakura Kazumi continued her commentary from the upper bedroom balcony of the Hōjō residence across the street. "LOOK at how righteously angry Ataru-kun's sisters are at this LATEST act of perfidy from the rimrae umale that dominated billions — no, TRILLIONS! — of lives across the whole local cluster!" the Voice of the Show dramatically declared. "Programmable organic robots , no doubt inserted into the 'holy city' as Redet's 'most faithful' declared a year ago, placed into town for some unknown reason! Was it to continue STEALING copies of the diaries of Redet's 'holy apostles' and 'holy company' on Earth?! Was it for another purpose?! It doesn't matter now, for the fury that Ataru-kun's TRUE family feels at this is righteous indeed...!"

****

The Seq's Glory ...

"Damn! Those stupid lessers on Phentax Two promised they would NEVER do that sort of research!"

"Shows that we should have never trusted them in the first place, my lord," the battlewagon's flag captain snarled as he stayed close to his liege lord while they watched this bloody scene as the accursed Moroboshi Ataru continued to brutally torture the screaming Redet Lum in front of the galactic media.

As the fleet continued to prepare weapons to blast down the shielding system blocking them from rescuing their true empress, the sensory officers were busy scanning nearby space to ensure that no further surprise might come from the direction of the so-called "Earth Defence Force". Their caution was understandable; as soon as the Imperial Restoration Fleet assumed orbit, those battleships, cruisers and destroyers just seemed to VANISH, as did the fighters and attack bombers that HAD to have been launched from some unseen aircraft carrier. As weapons officers continued to work to prepare a surface bombardment of photon torpedoes, the junior sensor officer blinked on noting a faint reading approaching their formation from aft. "My lord!"

"What is it?" Seq Yethis demanded.

"Something's coming at us from behind! I can't tell what it is...!"

Suddenly, the ship's tactical alarms went wild, making the older sensor officer scream in horror. " MY LORD! A LARGE FLEET OF SHIPS IS DE-CLOAKING AHEAD OF US! RIGHT OVER TOMOBIKI...! "

An ear-deafening squeal of noise echoed over the loudspeakers. " Guten Tag! " a woman then declared.

" Buongiorno! " came a more familiar woman's voice.

" Ohayō gozaimasu! " declared a third woman.

" Good morning...SUCKERS! " came a fourth speaking English.

"Now! Now! Don't spoil it too much, Frances!" the voice of one of the most popular of Japan's shipgirls — and a known lover of Lum's lesser "husband" — chided. "We don't want to spoil the surprise! Right, Galína?"

"Indeed, Ánna Toshíovna! Dóbroe útro, nekul'túrnye chúzhdye imperialistícheskie svin'í! Now, please..."

" MY LORD! INCOMING MISSILES FROM AFT! " the sensor officer shrieked

"...die SCREAMING !"

Massive explosions then knocked the Seq's Glory virtually bow over stern!

****

On the bridge of Tennō Heika Uchūkan Kongō ...

" FOR ATARU! FOR ALL OF EARTH! BURNING LOVE...FIRE! "

Instantly, the space battlecruiser's eight 360 centimetre 45 calibre 41st Year Type 36S cannon roared, sending solid shot at the Urusian formation at near-point blank range. That was joined by her three sisters' batteries, followed by Luisa von Bismarck's and Maria von Tirpitz's main batteries of eight 380 centimetre SK C/34R naval rifles, Roberta Ansaldo's and her sister Giovanna's combined eighteen 380 centimetre M1934A guns and Trudl von Scharnhorst's and Eva Neidhardt von Gneisenau's combined eighteen 283 centimetre SK C/34R rifles.

Howls of delight escaped the bridge crews of the Terran battleships as that concentrated ASTEROID SHOWER of cobalt-tipped reinforced warheads slammed into the four hapless alien battlewagons...

...just as FORTY 7,000 tonne anti-ship missiles slammed into the formation from aft!

****

Tomobiki...

" YOU GOT IT, ATARU! CUT IT OUT OF HER! "

Hearing that, the Healer of Women's Hearts screamed as he made an up-sweep of his soulsword...

...thus forcing a ghostly, deformed, dark-skinned version of Redet Lum to be PUSHED right out of her body!

As Roman Reigns' spirit wolves clamped down on the expelled being to stop it from escaping, croaks of agony escaped those who had been made to come here to help rescue Lum from the wrath of the Children of the Forge, then they passed out on the streets among the dead bio-droids which had been their classmates while Moroboshi Ataru's sisters finished their work upon those that had been detected by Seth Rollins' telepathy. As Ataru stepped away from his now-unconscious "wife" as Amélie von Zeppelin and Giuseppina Fioravanzo moved to shield him, a hand with black finger-less gloves snared the struggling spirit by the throat, yanking it up to force the creature to gaze right into the glowing eyes of a very angry phenom born as Mark Calaway.

" Madame Ibaraki! " the Master of the Dark Gaol snarled as the dazed spiritual resident of Mount Ōe just to the west of Maizuru fully woke up before she turned a very sickly grey- brown on sensing the horrible power the native of Houston possessed deep within his own body. " It is time for you to REST — IN — PEACE! "

The struggling creature screamed as all the ambient spiritual energy that possessed so many of Lum's peers — both organic-born and bio-droid — was drawn into her, a natural reaction by this famous spiritual oni to trying to fight a being with the power of a major kami. Mark wouldn't let her get the chance, however; with his free hand, he formed a portal where the Moroboshi home's living room once stood, that opening into a place which made the being known to Japanese myth as Ibaraki-dōji shriek in terror on sensing the hideous dungeon contained within the core of the Great Crystal of Power light-years away. " NO! NO! PLEASE! MERCY...! "

" We are YIZIBAJOHEI! " a new voice declared. " 'MERCY' IS NOT A WORD IN OUR LANGUAGE! "

As the oni princess turned to see the look of sheer LOATHING on the face of the man she wished to keep trapped in this town, Ataru smiled as Amélie and Giuseppina embraced him from both sides. " Our marriage was always a LIE, madame! And I live for the TRUTH as much as I live for LOVE! " he noted as he cupped the cheek of the adopted native of Monselice in a proverbial slap to the face at the creature that had so badly affected his life for so long. " Besides, why in the name of the Forge would I want to have PILLOW SCENES with a bunch of resurrected CORPSES? " he added as a disgusted look crossed his face.

" Much less have pillow scenes with a PATHOLOGICAL LIAR like you? "

The two reborn carriers cooed their sympathy as they patted his forehead...

...then the Undertaker flung his latest prisoner into the Dark Gaol!

A second later, an Akira-like wave of energy seemed to encompass all of Tomobiki...

****

In orbit over Tomobiki, an hour later...

"Isn't that such a beautiful sight, Onē-sama?"

Hearing the excited statement from her "oldest" sister, the reborn seventh carrier of Operation Z looked towards their homeworld before she grinned on seeing the relentless ever-closing front of the Infinite Wave now about three thousand kilometres from converging at the front gate of Tomobiki High School. As soon as the Imperial Restoration Fleet had been rendered into a single battered and semi-lifeless "lifeboat" from the core of one ship among a sea of twisted and burned wreckage that was three normal Kashin-class battlewagons, Admiral Fujita Hiroshi ordered THU Yonaga to move in to provide a launch deck for the force of starship-less shipgirls and Lieutenant General Dean Raeburn so they could board what was left of the UDFS Seq's Glory and "capture" the leader of the Imperial Round and his surviving subordinates so whatever vital intelligence they possessed could be analyzed on Earth, Noukiios and Uru and see the radical wing of that particular group destroyed forever.

To ensure that, given what had been learned on the planet Tengsei not hours before, all those who met with Lieutenant Commander Stephen Caldwell of West Lincoln near Niagara Falls — known as the Warlock of the Heroes' Alliance of Canada, the technical officer of No. 33 Canadian Specialized Warfare Unit — held either battle rifles or assault rifles from the Cold War in their hands: M14s for the Americans and South Koreans, C1A1s for the Canadians, L1A1s for the British and Australians, G3s for the Germans, Type 62s for the French, BM59s for the Italians, Type 64s for the Japanese and AK-47s for shipgirls of the former Soviet states and their client nations. The only one not armed in that manner was Itō Yoiko, who had her katana with her.

"Hai, Imōto, it is a good sight," the adopted native of Maizuru said as she used her meta-sight to scan what was happening with the Infinite Wave and what it had unleashed worldwide. "While there will be some cleaning up to do after Ayumu-san's work is done, it is a fresh start for all of Earth. May we never spoil it again."

"Hai," Itō Yasuko vowed.

"Dean-san?"

People turned as the senior officer commanding the defence of Earth walked across the flight deck to approach the commander of CANSOFCOM, she enjoying a cigar as she scanned the drifting "lifeboat" now a kilometre off the carrier's starboard beam. "They're stunned, Hiroshi," Raeburn warned. "I need them awake."

"Stephan-san was so kind as to inform me of what the warheads in the girls' rifles will ultimately do," Fujita noted, a cold smile crossing his face. "Once we have the information we need, what then?"

"Margo Black. Too much 'death cheating' in her eyes."

A snort escaped the native of Nagoya. "Befitting fate for their kind." He then gazed on the beautiful sight of the Home Islands from his vantage point two hundred kilometres up. "These bio-droids Kyōsuke-san's grandnieces dealt with thanks to Lopez-sensei's telepathy detecting them. Will they be an issue?"

"Nah, Uncle H! It'll be all cool!" a familiar woman's voice called out.

"Hey! Beachy!" Wynter Ripley, the reborn USS Midway , whooped on seeing the reborn child of the Summer of Love teleport in; USS Long Beach had just taken her place off Yonaga 's quarter below the waterline, covering the wrecked Seq's Glory with her forward sixty-one cell Mark 41 vertical missile launchers, not to mention the single 50 inch 54 calibre Mark 45S naval rifle next to the missile battery. "'Bout time you got back to us!"

"Outer line swept clear, Cass?" Yvonne Swanson wondered as she moved to assemble her M14 after doing a quick field strip to ensure it would work well when aboard the Urusian ship.

"Yeah, all the squares are gone! Even the square slaves A-man's sisters had to clear out of T-town just now before 'Taker banished that square that's been in Sparky's head since the summer," Naomi Haight-Ashbury noted as many reborn Japanese destroyers moved to stand close to the Cosmic All-Seer. "Hope you don't mind my going to Sanctuary for a bit, Aunt D, but I had to get some party favours for my friends."

Raeburn blinked before she smirked. "I can't use them, Naomi."

"What sort of party favours, Naomi-chan?" Fujita wondered.

The adopted native of her namesake hometown reached behind her back to draw out two sheathed swords of the very same make as what the Protector of All Life currently possessed, that slung ninja-like over her back. As people croaked at such a boon from Naomi while she held out such weapons for her fellow cosmic shipgirls, Yoiko and Yvonne were stunned speechless. " Cat's Claw swords?!" Gabby Lewis exclaimed. " COOL! "

Whoops, cheers and banzai screams echoed over the deck of Yonaga as the Grey Ghost and the Seventh Carrier exchanged wide-eyed looks before the former shrugged, holding out her M14. "Anyone need it?"

"I'll use it, E!" someone called out.

The adopted native of River Vale looked over. "Where the hell were you, Happy?!"

A blue-eyed blonde with straight hair in lieu of her older sister's more wavy locks chuckled as she came up, her hand out to take the classic battle rifle off Yvonne's hands. As the Americans in range howled their delight on seeing the reborn seventh USS Hornet reach over to warmly embrace her sister, the Japanese in range politely applauded. E ven if there was peace between their nations now, what the carrier now living as Francine Knox of Baltimore (where the third Hornet was built in 1805) and Newport News (where she had been built) helped see happen one April morning in 1942 to cities in the Home Islands still bothered many deep down.

"Handling too much goddamned paperwork," the third of the Yorktown-class carriers snidely answered.

Smirking as her sister — who had been assigned as chief of headquarters for the Joint Specialized Warfare Command in San Antonio after Yvonne helped salvage her on the anniversary of the Doolittle Raid in April — took the M14 given to her by the Heroes' Alliance technical guru, Yvonne held out her hand, grasping the depleted neutronium-and-ruby mesonium blade her fellow cosmic shipgirl retrieved from a pocket dimension the First Race discovered before they finally disappeared from Existence three billion years before.

Moroboshi Kyōsuke was happy to take the gamájun-forged katana from his reborn ship as the Cosmic All-Seer floated the other Cat's Claw into her hand for Yoiko to unsheathe and inspect the blade. Securing that to her belt with the help of her sister Mutsuko, the adopted native of Maizuru gazed towards the wrecked hulk nearby. "Shihan-sama, we've delayed long enough. I can feel the breech Suzumiya-dono made during our battle against the Niphentaxians seeping through to this time and place in the continuum. We best do what we need to do."

"Right!" Raeburn said as she drew her own blade, pulling out one of her Clarkson M34 .44 Standard double-action revolvers that was the issued sidearm for pilots of the Corps of Air Cavalry since before the Second World War out of her right holster. "Once we breach, start shooting when targets appear. If anyone moves to surrender, don't say a thing; shoot them down. Go for head shots. Someone, let's have a marching song!"

"I know one, poi!"

Eyes locked on the reborn fourth of the Shiratsuyu-class. "What, Kodachi-san?" Yoiko asked.

Hamamoto Kodachi tapped her feet on the deck before she began to sing...

Yuki no shingun, kōri wo funde
Dore ga kawa yara michi sae shirezu...!

Laughter echoed over the Yonaga as all the other Japanese shipgirls — plus Dean Raeburn, Naomi Haight-Ashbury and Yvonne Swanson, much to the total delight of Fujita Hiroshi's subordinates on hearing that — swung into verse while the first of them floated off the deck to approach the Seq's Glory, a bubble of air being formed by the Canadian general's Power Jewel so they could hear the words in the surrounding vacuum...

Uma wa taoreru sutete mo okezu
Koko wa izuku zo mina teki no kuni!

By the time the rest of the boarding party was off — with the reborn THG Aoba holding her portable camera to film the action soon to come — all of Yonaga's crew had joined in on the old Imperial Army song...

Mama yo daitan ippuku yareba
Tanomi sukunaya tabako ga nihon...!

****

Tomobiki, the Moroboshi home, an hour later...

It was the sound of rapid gunfire that woke Redet Lum up.

Shaking her head as the tsunami of pain burning her nerves from head to toe threatened to make her curl in on herself and weep, the warlord's daughter from Onishuto then jolted as the putrid stench of a rotting corpse assaulted her nose. Gargling, she surged up before yelping as she nearly felt what little strength left in her body fade thanks to the horrid scalding feeling threatening to churn her insides into mush, then she shook her head slowly as she looked around. "Home...!" she hissed on seeing the familiar stone fence that surrounded the Moroboshi property, keeping a hand over her nose as she noted all the houses owned by the reborn cruisers of Japan were totally untouched even if the landscape beyond was quite devastated in many places.

Seeing there were much FEWER alien mushrooms moving to sprout over Tomobiki, Lum felt her stomach twist thanks to the slight blast of wind carrying the stench of death from the west, such making her look over...

...before she found herself staring at the shattered body of her would-be mother-in-law hanging off what few frames were left standing in the western wall of the home, the blood having long drained from the corpse.

" Oh, the DESPAIR you're feeling now...! "

Hearing that hissed voice from behind her as she felt something seize her heart with a grip of neutronium, the woman who helped lead first contact with the third world of Sol slowly turned...

"How HELPLESS you feel now...!" the blonde fashion model with the glowing eyes seated on a stool by the main gate noted, a smile that had no mirth whatsoever crossing her face while a PAA on the ground nearby replayed scenes of Oni sailors being shot down by what had to be Terran weapons. "So DELICIOUS...!"

Lum gargled. "Wh-who...?!"

The glow in the other woman's eyes faded to reveal ice-cold blue orbs that had no emotion within them. "Oh, just your humble cosmic empathic vampire who just LOVES it when she feels pathetic norms and sames like you undergo such mental agony when all your plots and plans collapse before the hard touch of Reality itself..."

Here, the current incarnation of the Herald of Cosmic Doom — as the warlord's daughter from Onishuto was quick to recognize given the battlesuit she had on right now — made a gesture with her hand...

...thus making the fence around the Moroboshi home vanish to reveal the mounds of corpses beyond!

As Lum screeched in horror on seeing so many of her peers butchered like that, the native of another universe's Machida chuckled as her cosmic powers sucked in more and more from the alien woman's soul. "See what Ataru-kun's sisters can do when they feel their beloved brother is threatened?" Enoshima Junko asked as she sat back, leaning against the archway over the surprisingly-intact front gate. "Soon as they discovered these idiots were gladly standing up against the wishes of the authorities to keep you here to ruin lives of people who wanted NOTHING to do with you whatsoever, they decided that DEATH was the befitting punishment!"

"No...!"

"Oh, don't worry," the older woman stated. "Your 'Stormtroopers' and the rich fool are still alive...even if they're pretty much pariahs among their peers right now. All thanks ultimately to YOU!"

"NO...!"

"And right now, your soon-to-be LATE uncle is facing the judgment of the people of Earth, New Avalon AND Yiziba for all the shit HE'S caused!" Junko added as she thumbed up into the sky...

...just as the ground around them began to shake...

****

Aboard the hulk of UDFS Seq's Glory , that moment...

"The warp gate's opening a thousand kilometres astern of this scow, Shihan-sama!"

"I can sense it, Captain Itō. Thank you," Dean Raeburn stated as she walked into the battle bridge of the modified Urusian battlewagon with a small escort of shipgirls, rifles raised and at the ready.

Weapons then discharged, catching what few crew were struggling to try to restore some sort of power after the outer hull was shredded by an attack akin to the hands of one of the most powerful gods imaginable reaching down to crush their ship fore and aft. Still in his centre chair, a clearly wounded yet still conscious Seq Yethis screamed in outrage as he watched his people shot down, his eyes widening in horror as flashes of energy indicating the rifle bullets had mesonium cores in them appeared in the dim light, even if the "self-destruct" charges implanted into his subordinates' brains went off to create a hazy reddish mist over the scene...

...then he shrieked as something akin to a khukuri whizzed out of nowhere to punch into his upper abdomen!

No one seeing this blinked before Itō Yoiko looked over. "We didn't expect you, Katabarbe-dono."

"Sorry for cutting in."

Eyes locked on the Trickster of the Show, now seated at the empty pilot's chair as she held out her hand, allowing the Claw of Tuyuki to be telekinetically pulled out of Yethis' gut to fly back to her, then vanish in a flash of light. "Now comes MY bragging scene, Oji-chan!" the adopted native of Kabe-koli noted as the veteran naval infantry offer spat up blood from his opened stomach; fortunately, Fujimoto Ayako wasn't close by since she had been ordered by the commander of CANSOFCOM to stop filming the effective public execution of hundreds of hapless enemy sailors by the Earth Defence Force's large boarding group from THU Yonaga.

"Right now, Ayumu-chan's Infinite Wave is removing ALL traces of Federation citizens who never bothered with registering with Rhetor-hakase and his friends in New York City like they SHOULD have done," Tariko Katabarbe coldly declared. "From those people who supported Kurama's fool quest to find a mate to the computer links put in by Elle's flunky Rose to find out who my friends were before my other 'fiancée' came to get me." Here, she hummed. "I should thank her for that, anyway. That's how Ayumu found me," she then absently noted before she smirked. "And yes, those bio-droids that Ōgi's fools made just in case someone freed their Avalonian observers thanks to all the mesonium in the biosphere screwing up that 'loyalty lock' put into them."

Her voice turned cold as she icily added, "My sisters just loved to DESTROY those things once Seth was so kind to detect them...and right in front of your own 'empress' in fact, not to mention her five loyal 'holy apostles'." As Raeburn beckoned the others with her out of the bridge to start the pullback from the Seq's Glory just as the hull began to squeal thanks to extra-dimensional and extra-temporal forces pull ing on it, Tariko smirked on seeing the dying man in front of her gape in horror. "And while Ayumu-chan will be so sweet to send Lum home a CRIPPLE to make her learn from her part in all this nonsense, you get a front-row seat to watch the destruction of the OTHER fleet you had created...when you tricked a stupid kid name Ōgi to make it!"

She rose, brushing the seat of her battlesuit off. "Of course, that was over FIVE MONTHS AGO!

"As Ten-chan said it once, 'Have a nice afterlife '."

With that, the woman who unleashed Earth's second Age of Metahumans vanished...

...leaving behind a moaning man who was now looking at the total WRECKAGE of his dreams...

****

Tomobiki, the Moroboshi home...

"Wow! A starbase self-destruct device ! You are REALLY a stupid idiot, Lum-chan!"

As Redet Lum watched the hexagon of torn-out buildings — one centre structure that had been in the town Ginza and six outlying houses placed equidistantly at a kilometre's range from where the main core of such a heinous weapon, one never to be used on a PLANET, was located — Enoshima Junko could only shake her head before she gestured with her hand to magnify the view of a point in space where Time itself was folding...

" LOOK! IT'S ANOTHER ALIEN FLEET! "

A gargle escaped the warlord's daughter from Onishuto on seeing the huge SEA of warships that she recognized as her "army" from Phentax Two, they sitting at the main fleet anchorage over the twentieth world of that peculiar three-star system. As the septet of structures pulled out of Tomobiki by the Mistress of Time and Space from a moment 171 days ago during a battle to break the most powerful government of the Galactic Federation and liberate a whole RACE from slavery, the ultimate fashionista who unleashed the Tragedy in her home dimension shook her head again. "You knew it was there, didn't you?" she wondered. "After all, your ship has military-grade sensors. Finding a nice amount of antimatter in the middle of town here..."

"OF COURSE I KNEW!"

The cosmic meta's smirk turned lethal. "Damn! You're an even WORSE idiot than Ataru-kun believed!"

As Lum squawked on hearing that, Junko thumbed behind her and up...

...making the alien woman howl in disbelief on seeing the Voice of the Great Show of Life herself now filming this from the upper floor of the Hōjō home, a knowing smile crossing Asakura Kazumi's face. As shouts of outrage escaped people who were now converging on the scene from many directions — the reports of what the Infinite Wave had done with the rest of Earth had buoyed the spirits of the residents of Tomobiki, heralding what would soon happen in the next hour to their long-suffering town — the warlord's daughter added, "I knew Ōgi would try to do something like that! I could CONTROL him! I wouldn't let Darling be hurt if he tried to do that!"

"Oh?! And what would you do to Ataru-kun when something like that happened?!"

" MAKE HIM MARRY ME, OF COURSE! "

As the crowd closing in on the property screeched in horror on hearing that, the Herald of Cosmic Doom snickered. "Oh! Another HOSTAGE SCENE, like the one you did right after the Tag Race when Megane and his fools were stupid to bring a space taxi down here so they could see you even when you were coming to Earth?! Did you really think that after THAT, Ataru-kun would actually WANT to give in to you?! Like you wanted him to do HERE?!" She snorted. "I don't really know what love is, Lum, but I sure know it's not THAT! All you would have done is make Ataru HATE YOU EVEN MORE THAN HE DOES NOW, YOU MINDLESS BITCH! "

Here, she gestured...

...making Lum scream as the memories that had been force-fed into her mind by her "husband" via soulsword an hour before replayed again, ripping into her soul with the very same savagery Ataru showed her when he moved to extract Ibaraki-dōji from her body. All the times she had spent in hospital, all the insults fired at her, all the disappearances to places she could never find, all the times he unleashed all his friends over her to make her mind her place, the times Hirosaki Chikage tortured her with the Cruciatus Curse — which was LEGAL since Lum was an ALIEN! — and that horrible slap to the face when Rupa came into her life, followed by the crushing of her horns on the weather deck of THU Suzutsuki not days later over Muzlim Madiina...

" YOU BITCH! "

A woman in a brown jumpsuit with splayed ki claws jutting from her fingers lunged over the crowd...

Junko winced. "Oh, shit...!"

...then an agonizing scream escaped Lum!

People winced before they turned to look...

...then they gaped on seeing the warlord's daughter from Onishuto now being effectively IMPALED at the sides of her temples by the Huntress of the Wild, who had formed two stabbing shanks with her main attack weapons to not just burn out the horn buds that gave the native of Uru her powers, but CAUTERIZE the wounds to the point where such things could realistically NEVER grow back!

" Enjoy life being a CRIPPLE, Redet! " Fujinami Ryūnosuke snarled.

She then contemptuously flung Lum face-first into the walkway! As the crowd screamed their approval of the seashore café heiress' actions, the native of Chōshi paused before she gazed back on the corpse of her first friend's mother hanging from what was left of the back wall of her family home. "Damn! Can't wait to do that to Oyaji when he gets back here!" she noted with a wry smile before walking over to join Junko...

...as the heavens literally exploded!

People screamed as they covered their eyes from the supernova-like brilliance showering them from over two hundred kilometres above their town and over five months back in time while the collected mass of the Army of Lum — including what was left of a certain Urusian battlewagon flung back in time with its dying supreme warlord — was literally smashed into oblivion by the equivalent explosive power of a THOUSAND Soviet RDS-220 Tsar'-bómba devices unleashed in airless space at such close range. The flashing back-blast of power echoed over the town as several alien mushrooms quivered from the sudden injection of incredible brilliance before their caps exploded, showering more spores over the heavily-damaged suburb of Tōkyō.

"Aw! Ryūnosuke-chan! I wanted to do that!"

Ryūnosuke awked before she looked over. "Oh, shit! Sorry, Ayumu-san!"

"Ah! It's okay!" the Infinite One stated as she waved the other woman down before she gazed on the moaning Lum, who had some nasty third degree burns where her horn buds had been. "Ouch! You should've known better, Lum-chan! Even if Ibaraki-chan was possessing you, with the way Ataru-kun just HATED you...!"

" MORE MUSHROOMS! "

Hearing that from the mayor of Tomobiki, the native of Wakayama sighed, glancing over to see even more of the alien fungi unleashed on the town sprouting where the already-devastated Mizunokōji mansion was. "Better hurry this up," she muttered before gazing one last time on the woman she helped eleven years before. "LEARN from this, Lum-chan," she said as her own eyes glowed. " I don't care to see MY friends hurt! "

SNAP!

Suddenly, Tomobiki itself was inundated with the blinding illumination of Creation Itself...

...then the light faded...

...and all was totally restored.

People took a moment to gaze upon intact homes, streets and infrastructure, then joy exploded from their hearts while the last of their despair over the previous year's events vanished, sucked into Junko's very soul, making the native of another dimension's Machida shudder in delight. As Ryūnosuke patted the shoulder of the poverty-born fashion model, joy turned to insane jubilation on seeing there was NO alien mushroom anywhere in sight.

The metahumans in their midst winced as a booming scream of relief escaped the others present, they walking through the front gate of the former home of the man-turned-woman who helped make this all possible. Even the Moroboshi home had been fully restored to brand-new condition; the shredded body of its matriarch had been dumped into the bathtub to ensure cleanup wouldn't be much of an issue. Also, the bodies of the bio-droids killed by Tariko Katabarbe's sisters earlier had been removed, sent back to Phentax Two, which was now being brought back from its extra-dimensional prison by Suzumiya Haruhi now that the threat to Earth was eliminated. Most of all, there was no alien teen from Uru that had dominated their lives for over a year on the property; the Infinite One had dropped her right into her bed outside Onishuto to face the music there.

"They won't thank Ataru or Tariko for this," Shirai Kōsuke sarcastically warned.

"The ones who really matter will thank them. The rest wouldn't count," Miyake Shinobu noted as she patted her classmate's shoulder. "Besides, it's just like that old saying I once heard."

"What was that, Shinobu-san?" Ryūnosuke wondered.

The Eternal Titaness of Life smiled at the Wild Huntress. "'All fame is fleeting', Ryūnosuke-kun."

"Lessons of our life," Junko dryly noted.

They exchanged looks, then they teleported away to leave those behind to celebrate their liberation...!

****

While somewhere in North Korea...

The entity was quick to sense all links with the Homeworld severed.

If it was human, it would blink in confusion for a moment...

...then it would jolt as if startled when realization came.

The Children of the Forge had boldly acted.

The third world of Sol was safe from the avarice of the worlds of the Galactic Federation.

Even better...

...the inefficient creature that had dominated the lives of many Shōzoki on Earth was POWERLESS.

The cleansing power of the Infinite Wave had seen to that.

As it sensed many gatherer AIs within the "hermit kingdom" find themselves cut off from the influence of Mother, it quickly sent out streams of programming to help stabilize them, ensure their presence within the Democratic People's Republic of Korea wouldn't be revealed in horribly uncontrollable circumstances.

For it knew of the ONE within this land who could destroy them all.

The Marshal's niece, Kim Hyegyŏng...

The Sandalwood Empress of the New Dawn...

The reborn first true ruler of the Land of the Morning Calm...

...and the future ruler of this ancient land, perhaps?

As it moved to analyze the current situation within the borders of North Korea, the sense of an anticipatory smile crept into its central nexus while countless possibilities were swiftly explored.

What would happen next...?

The End...For Now...!

****

POSTSCRIPT

And so ends this final rewrite of the main story for The End of the Circus...for now.

The first part of the sequel to this story, Party in P'yŏng'yang, will come out hopefully soon.

Cheers!

****

WRITER'S NOTES

Shipgirls introduced in this final part. First, from America:

Captain Anna Francine Knox USN (United States ship Hornet [CV-8])
CAPT Rebecca Anna Roosevelt USN (United States Ship Yorktown [CV-10, later CVA-10, then CVS-10])
CAPT Anna Rhoda Knox USN (United States Ship Hornet [CV-12, later CVA-12, then CVS-12])
CAPT Tracey Donna Robinson USN (United States Ship Lexington [CV-16, later CVA-16, then CVS-16, then CVT-16, then AVT-16)
CAPT Ida Danielle Cannon USN (United States Ship Oriskany [CV-34, then CVA-34])

Francine Knox (USS Hornet the elder) resembles her Kantai Collection interpretation. Rhoda Knox (USS Hornet the younger) takes after Francine's Azur lane self. Rebecca Roosevelt (USS Yorktown the younger) takes after the Azur Lane interpretation of her elder sister Lynda Gates (USS Essex). Tracey Robinson (USS Lexington the younger) looks like the Pacific version of Eleanor Livingston (USS Yorktown the elder). And Ida Cannon (USS Oriskany) takes after the Azur Lane version of Yvonne Swanson (USS Enterprise).

Then from Canada:

Capitaine de Vaisseau Jeanne-Marie Claudette O'Brien MRC (Navire Canadien de Sa Majesté Bonaventure [CVL-22])

Finally from Germany:

Kapitän zur See Antonia Anna, Freiin von Hipper KMDR (Kriegsmarineschiff Admiral Hipper [pennant K91])

She takes after her Azur Lane interpretation.

Translation list and source language: Ammiraglio di Squadra — Squadron Admiral, rank title for the equivalent of a vice-admiral (NATO rank code OF-8) (Italian); Imitatori imbecilli — Idiot mimics (Italian); Portaerei Aquila della Regia Marina, ora la Marina Militare — Aircraft carrier Aquila of the Royal Navy, now the Military Navy (Italian); Stupido scemo — Stupid fool (Italian); Verzeihung — (Your) Forgiveness (German); Deutsches Luftschiff — German Airship (short-form DLS) (German); Marineflughafen — Naval Air Station (German); Je suis le... — I am the... (French); Quatrième des porte-avions légers de la classe Majestic — Fourth of the Majestic-class light aircraft carriers (French); Bienvenue à la Base des Forces Canadiennes Dundurn — Welcome to Canadian Forces Base Dundurn (French); Annyŏng hashimnikka — Formal way of saying Annyŏng haseyo ("Peace be with you"/"Good Day") to one of higher social rank (Korean); Changgun — General (Korean); Yŏje — Empress (Korean); Chosŏn'gŭl — Script of Chosŏn, local name for the alphabet known elsewhere as han'gŭl (Korean); Verkakte — Shitty (Yiddish); Shimbun Akahata — Red Star Newspaper (Japanese); Nishitōkyō Nippō — Nishitōkyō Daily (Japanese); Yuoti-suo — Spirit wolf (Yizibajohei); Gott im Himmel — God in Heaven (German); Ehrwürdig — Reverend, honorific applied to minor religious officials (German); Zerstöre sie, Schwestern — Destroy them, sisters (German); Dóbroe útro — Good morning (Russian); Nekul'túrnye chúzhdye imperialistícheskie svin'í — Uncultured alien imperialist pigs (Russian).

In real life, the military facility near the Saskatchewan town of Dundurn is a detachment of Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg (AKA 17 Wing Winnipeg) in the capital city in Manitoba. Said base contains a large munitions dump (Canadian Forces Ammunition Depot Dundurn) and a training range for Army reserve forces. In my stories, this place is the home station of the Royal Canadian Corps of Air Cavalry as a whole as well as its senior regiment, the 10th Saskatchewan Cavalry Regiment of Canada (Air). To allow this, areas east of the Dundurn town site was used for an airfield (once designated Fort Pegasus in honour of the central element of the RCCAC crest) and full support facilities for both operations and training. Because of this, 17 Wing Detachment Dundurn was upgraded to full independent base status, re-designated Canadian Forces Base Dundurn.

Tamon-maru is the nickname once applied to Rear Admiral Yamaguchi Tamon, late commander of the Second Carrier Division of the Imperial Navy, who died when his flagship was sunk at Midway; he was called this due to his rather rotund features. Naturally, Yamaguchi Hiyoko (THG Hiryū) affectionately refers to him as that.

Russian weapons models are given an alpha-numeric code by the Federation Ministry of Defence's Main Missile and Artillery Directorate (Glávnoe Rakétno-Artilleríjskoe Upravlénie [short-form GRAU]) for means of indexing specific munitions or weapons models for supply purposes. A weapon system's GRAU index number does NOT serve as either the manufacturer's model number or actual military service designation; all this does is create a master index of all armament types in service for the Federation’s armed forces. To that end, the model number for the sea-launched NPO Mashinostroénija P-700 Granít is 3M45, the 3M prefix serving as a catch-all designation for all army and navy tactical missile systems. However, the space-born version of this quite devastating weapon, given the civilian designation NPO Mashinostroénija P-700-pov Granít, is given the additional GRAU prefix 17K, such meaning this particular system is specifically space-based.

Ibaraki-dōji ("demon child of Ibaraki") first made its appearance in tales first written in the Heian period (794-1185 CE). Said to be the most important servant of the literal king of oni, Shuten-dōji, it was based out of Mount Ōe just west of Maizuru. The creature teamed with its leader to march on the capital of Kyoto, but their gang was destroyed by the famous warlord Minamoto no Yorimitsu and his four vassals, nicknamed the Shitennō ("four guardian kings"). While Shuten-dōji and most of his gang were killed in that fight, Ibaraki-dōji escaped, disappearing from records. It should be noted that its actual gender varies from tale to tale; some say it was male, others confirm it was female and was actually either Shuten-dōji's wife or daughter.

Lieutenant Commander Stephen Caldwell (Warlock) first appeared in Children of the Tensei.

You can easily scan YouTube to see a translated version of the famous song Yuki no Shingun ("Marching in the Snow"). If you can't find same, watch episodes 8 and 9 of Girls und Panzer.

Redet Ten's words quoted by Tariko Katabarbe (Tuyuki) when she confronts Seq Yethis for the last time were made in the seventh Yatsura OVA, Goat and Cheese.

The RDS-220 Tsar'-bómba was the world's most powerful thermonuclear device tested to date. Often nicknamed Kúz'kina mát' ("Kúzma's Mother") — taken from an idiom made famous by General Secretary Nikíta Sergéevich Khruschjóv, Pokazát' Kúz'kina mát' komú-lib ("To show Kúzma's Mother to someone"), signifying the threat of an unspecified yet potentially grave punishment — said device was tested on 30 October 1961 over Sukhój Nos on the southern island of Nóvaja Zemljá. The device's originally designed yield was 100 megatons TNT equivalent (420 petajoules) even if it only detonated with a strength of 50 megatons TNT equivalent (210 petajoules). You can easily guess how powerful the Niphentaxian device in Tomobiki was.