Erika Hayasaka knew a great deal about Megatokyo. She knew that some of its inhabitants were idolised by various fanboys and fangirls. She knew that those same fanboys tended to fight amongst themselves, and she realised that there was profit to be made in selling them weapons. She knew that reality seemed to favour storytelling conventions over laws of physics. She also knew that an outright attack on her by one of the faboys was not a normal thing. Erika knew something was up.

But most of all, she knew that there was no way the Rei Ayanami nurses would let her out of the hospital so she could set her people to work investigating this.

Fortunately, the hospital's staff wasn't all female. As soon as the door closed behind the last nurse, Erika was up, and a few minutes later doctor Will Trent found her almost completely dressed in the Miyu outfit she had arrived in the previous day. "Miss Hayasaka!", he said reproachfully. "You shouldn't be out of bed. Your energy is still dangerously low, and-"

"I have important buisness to attend to", she cut in sharply, glaring at him. "You will sign my discharge now."

Will sighed internally. *First Lightsider, and now this...* "I really can't do that, Miss Hayasaka", he said plaintively. "I can't let you out of here if there's a chance you'll pass out in a few hours. It would be bad publicity for the Hospital."

"You're as stubborn as your idol of choice, doctor", Erika said impatiently. "And your ire is just as misguided. I feel perfectly fine. You *will* sign my discharge."

"Stubborn? Misguided?", Will blinked slightly.

To his surprise, Erika smiled a bit. "He is chivalrous, I'll give you that. Certainly different from all the men I've known in my life..." Snapping out of it, she glared again. "Now, about my discharge?"

"Different from... *Oh*. You mean Largo." Will paused a bit, then grinned. "Well, since you feel this strongly about it, I suppose I have no choice..." He browsed through his clipboard until he found a particular form, and quickly filled it out.

As Erika finished adjusting the costume, he handed her the paper with a bow. "Here you go. Remember to eat a lot of sugar for the next few days, and don't do any heavy lifting or such."

The nurse at the front desk was surprised, but didn't protest as Erika showed her the discharge and walked out. As soon as the Main Character was out of sight, she quickly dialed a number on the intercom and waited.

"M'am? I think Dr. Trent needs a talking to..."


Erika arrived at Megagamers late and with a day of absence behind her. Her boss was not pleased, but he hid it well. He didn't want to anger the violent girl, after all, and besides, she worked cheap.

Sometime later, keeping one eye out for customers, she opened her private communication relay to EM. She was soon talking to Ancestral Hamster, the old rodent who was the head of PR and like most of her fans, a brilliant poet.

"I don't care, make something up", she was saying. "News of this attack would cause panic among the stockholders." she paused, listening to a voice at the other end. "Yes", she said patiently, "but all those people are in a different reality. We just need to keep the two aspects from mixing." Another pause. "As I said, I don't care. Make up a good lie and keep them happy." She smiled. "Keeping a facade... yes, I'm quite good at that."

She disconnected, and briefly wondered what else she had to do in each of the reality levels she was present in. Suddenly, she heard a noise from the back room. She twirled around - she couldn't see much of it from her current position, though. Erika reached under the counter for the EEK alarm, hesitated, and closed her hand over the railgun lying there instead. Hefting this, she went around to investigate the noise.

It sounded like various books and occasionally CDs were being tossed around. The intruder was searching through the merchandise, looking for something...

Suddenly, there was a crash, and a girl screamed in terror. Erika burst into the back room, railgun in hand. "<Who's there?>", she demanded.

The room was empty, save for a huge mess. An overturned bookcase moved, and Piro crawled out from underneath it. "Ow...", he moaned. "Oh, good morning, Hayasaka-san." He surveyed the damage he had done, and sighed heavily. "I'm sorry... I hit my head on the shelf, and that must've unbalanced it..."

"<What were you doing in here?>", Erika asked, a bit weak-kneed with relief.

"I was looking for my bag", he explained. "I *know* I had it this morning when I left home, but now I can't find it... I thought maybe I put it down in here when I was restocking the shelves this morning, but I can't find it here either." He looked at Erika a bit more closely, and briefly wondered why she had such a strange taste in unweildy acessories.

He quickly forgot about it when she spoke again. "", his co-worker asked him. ""

"Uh... yeah... but I really have no idea why she did it!", Piro quickly fell into defensive blabbering mode. "I mean, first she has my bag and runs away, then she brings it back, then asks for art lessons, it's like she's following me or something, I have no idea who she is..."

Erika tuned him out, wondering about something.


[AN: Here we go again, folks!]

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