The telephone rang cheerfuly. Everything always seemed to be cheerful in the small house that Meagen and Draegos had bought to live in, when she abandoned her position as Head Nurse and he - as YLF commander.
They had changed their typical attires when they became civilians - they mostly wore jeans and t-shirts now. Draegos favored black clothing, and his pantlegs always seemed to get ripped and torn in various places. He looked pretty much the same as always, especially on the rare occasions when he put on his old holster and armor for some reason. Meagen had always had the fashion sense of a Power Ranger whose hero costume was blue. Jeans and a seasonally-appropriate top in some shade of blue was her attire most of the time.
Today was no different, and the aforementioned phonecall found her in a light blue t-shirt proclaiming that the wearer was cute. She finished dripping cranberries over her meat before answering. "Hello?"
Her face changed to a look of alarm. "What?!" She cried, then listened for a while, nodding occasionally. "Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Right.... Uh-huh. I understand." She hung up.
"Who was that?", Draegos asked, looking up from his part of the dinner.
"Wrong number", Meagen said unconcerned, sitting down and starting to cut into her roast.
"Ah. That reminds me...!", he said suddenly. "Rei-chan called when you were busy cooking. She wants your help with something. Sounded pretty upset..."
"Hm. Prolly important, then." Meagen considered this for a moment as she finished cutting a small piece of the meat. She ate it, then stabbed her fork into the rest of the dinner and ate it in one gulp - mashed potatoes, garnish and all. "I'll get over there now."
Meagen was on her way back home, nodding thoughtfully to herself. Her own scan had confirmed Magical Rei's impression, but didn't reveal anything beyond that. Afterwards, she helped tend to the Main Character for a while, feeding her high-sugar foods (since CPAE would not work on her), and generally giving her the treatment for energy drain victims.
Erika was recovering, albeit slowly, from the drain-caused apathy, but there was a haunted look about her that suggested there was something more traumatic about her experience. When Meagen had asked, however, Erika said she felt tired and wanted to sleep, so she had left her in the nurses' care.
Her steps carried her up a rather steep slope. At the top, there was a nice view of part of the city, with the sun setting behind it. Meagen stopped to take it all in - the black outlines of buildings, punctuated here and there by the yellowish light of a window, and the deep red color of the sky beyond.
A shadow grew slightly bigger in the street behind her. The red-haired woman smiled silently as she watched Meagen, considering her next move.
"Excuse me, 'mam", said a voice behind her, "But this is a No Lurking zone."
She turned, startled, to find the brown-haired girl standing there, smiling at her in a polite, but inquisitive way. Despite herself, the woman whipped her head around to look at where Meagen had previously been, and saw no-one there. She turned back, composed herself, and said: "Ah, yes. Your powers are quite remarkable indeed..."
"Powers?", Meagen looked genuinely surprised. "What powers?" She gave a wide, disarming smile.
The woman opened her mouth, closed it, then shook her head slightly. "In any case", she began, getting back on track, "it's because of your nature that you've been chosen to be the agent of change."
"Chosen?", the ex-nurse blinked. "By whom?"
"Well, mostly me", the woman admitted with a grin. "You may call me Sayaki, by the way. I'm what you might call a freelance meddler - and this plane will soon need some serious meddling. I think you're the best person to do this, Meagen Image."
"Who?", Meagen asked, with the disarming smile again.
"Ah, yes, pardon me... my mistake. You're not the *same* person as her, but..." Sayaki paused. "... Meagen. Just Meagen. Am I right?"
"That's more like it!", she nodded happily.
Sayaki smiled. "The first thing you should know is that what happened to Erika Hayasaka was only the first of a series of attacks. There will be more attacks, and they will target the female Main Characters." She lifted up a hand, stopping Meagen's next question, and added, "And if you figure out why Erika was the first, then you can probably guess who will be next. Farewell... for now." Sayaki turned around, and vanished in a shower of blue sparks.
Meagen blinked slightly. "Whaaaa...?"
Despite her cute and rather infantile exterior, Meagen was not stupid. Her mind was working as well as when she had been a more serious character, and her mastery of the Silly gave her an acute awareness of the world around her, especially when it came to clichees.
Still, she could only do things that were *funny*. She considered going to where Sayaki was and asking for clarifications, but then shook her head. The mysterious woman's base of operation had not been revealed yet, so having that kind of outside knowledge at this point wouldn't be funny, it would just be stupid.
*What did she mean by that...?*, Meagen wondered, as she went on her way down the other side of the slope, towards her home. *If I figure out why Erika was the first target, I'll know who's next... What makes Erika special among the Main Characters, from the point of view of an attacker?...*
Meagen stopped, then broke into a run. *Security! Erika has a faction, and all the time she spends there, she's virtually untouchable.* With one bound, she was on the rooftops, and hopping along to a nearby part of town. Thoughts raced across her head. *If they didn't get her by the time the pattern of the attacks was established, she could lock herself in and be safe. That means they'll go after the second well-defended character now...*
She was nearing her target now. *No-one knows where she lives. Can't attack her at school, too many people. But the perfect opportunity is when she finishes classes and goes straight to...*
*The Cave of Evil!*, Meagen finished her reasoning, her last jump landing her directly in front of this building. The last rays of the sun were quickly dying down, and strange multi-colored light was sipping out into the street from within the rave hall.
As she was considering her next move, she heard a familiar voice from a nearby dark alley, though the words weren't directed at her.
"<What do you want?>", Miho was asking someone, her voice threatening, with just a small undertone of fear.
There was a short pause, and a man said simply, "Remember."
The next thing Meagen noticed was a very bright flash from that alley. She got there just in time to catch the falling Miho by the shoulders, and ease her onto the ground. Perfectly on cue, various Mihoists began pouring out of the Church, attracted either by the flash of light or the sudden surge of power that had come with it. A thickening crowd of them began to form around their prone Mistress, laying with her head on Meagen's knees. They stared in collective shock while Meagen had an acute sense of impending doom. She began counting under her breath.