Story by Tsumori Tokio
Lucifard decides to play a practical joke on Kaja by waking him up while mimicking Mariliard. He is taken aback when, instead of leaping up in surprise and annoyance as expected, the Hakushi sits dazedly, his eyes welling up with tears. Lucifard resorts to kissing Kaja to startle him out of his trance. Later, as Kaja leaves with Nicolaroon, he asks the Ra-Phael if he ever mistakes Lucifard for the dead prince. They get into a discussion of Lucifard's ancestry. Kaja had assumed that Lucifard's father, O2, was the result of an affair between his mother and Mariliard's uncle Navalfore. Nicole corrects this impression, explaining that O2's mother was paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. He suspects that O2's father was sterile, so he asked his good friend Navalfore to be a sperm donor. What neither of them realizes is that Olivie was actually the product of a secret genetic experiment; it's a mystery what fate befell his other "siblings." Of the scientists who participated in the experiment, the only surviving member is Al Jafar.
Lucifard heads off for the room set up as the secret headquarters for his new mission to investigate Evil. He is assigned the computer experts Patrick Russell, Makoto "Mecha Kerberos" Mitsugashira, and Bobby Haynes to assist him. He's not thrilled to have to work with the vain Patrick but agrees to give the young officer a chance. Thanks to his promise to help Saladin renew his pilot's license, he had discovered that he can use a pilot's helmet as a normal mode Brain Gear as long as he isn't wearing his PC rings.
Using the helmet, Lucifard hacks into Evil's computers and downloads stacks of disks' worth of data. He then moves on to investigating the computer of the alien spaceship hidden underground. Because the computer was constructed by a race of animate metal life forms, it is extremely difficult--even painful--for him to merge with it. The task is facilitated by his natural lack of emotions, yet even so he mentally likens the process to being turned to stone. He discovers that the metal lifeforms came from another galaxy. They lived as parasites on a humanoid race for the purpose of reproduction, though they were only sentient when they gathered together and combined into one large individual.
By the time the morning's work is finished, he's exhausted and ready for a break. He gives Bobby permission to take pictures of him with his new haircut to Bobby's fiancée, who works for Purple Heaven. Lucifard is going to head out for lunch, but Nicole shows up and informs him that Lilah asked Melissa Langley to take the men some food, so he changes his mind and waits. Nicole is entertained by Patrick and Makoto vying with each other for Lucifard's affection. Lucifard whips out an old issue of Purple Heaven to read for relaxation, and after a few minutes of a story about his friend Walter Schmidt he convulses with laughter and collapses on the floor. The other men in the room scold him for his behavior.
Saladin and Kaja arrive to check up on Bobby's condition, unaware that Lucifard had used his healing ability to fix the man's injured leg. At all the visitors, Lucifard keeps repeating, "This is supposed to be a secret mission." The subject of the conversation turns to what Nicole had mumbled in his sleep the previous night, and Saladin takes advantage of the opportunity to flirt with Lucifard by saying, "I've never heard what things I say in my sleep. Shall I sleep with you sometime and have you tell me what I say?" This results in a chorus of protests from Patrick and Makoto...who have not yet learned exactly how frightening the Psycho Doctor can be when he's angry.
Next Walter comes bearing sandwiches. He wants to turn right around and leave when he spots the two doctors, but Lucifard convinces him to stay by mentioning that his ex-wife, for whom he still has feelings, will be there shortly. Lucifard talks about the piles of disks full of data that need to be sifted through for information, and that it would be helpful if he could gain the assistance of someone trained in intelligence. Walter tells him the base doesn't have an Intelligence division. Shocked that such a vital department would be missing, Lucifard verifies this with Saladin, who recalls that Intelligence was merged with Communications over a decade earlier due to budget cuts. Lucifard finds this incredibly fishy and takes it as one more piece of evidence that the ones behind the conspiracy on Vermillion are in the high-up levels of military command and have been working to sabotage the base's efficiency. He concludes that anyone with a history of working at the Van Dyke Military Headquarters is suspect.
Finally Melissa shows up with onigiri and makizushi for lunch. Saladin is astonished to hear that the sushi is supposed to taste vinegary; he had once thrown some away because the sour taste made him think it had gone bad. As Saladin and Kaja struggle to eat their servings with knife and fork, only to have the rice scatter all over their plates, Makoto explains that it's intended to be eaten with one's fingers. Since Melissa works in Communications, Lucifard asks her if she knows anyone with intelligence training who would be able to help his project, but she doubts it.
Eventually lunch is concluded and all the visitors leave. Lucifard starts to explain what he learned about Evil and the spaceship. Evil has been able to develop a matter transporter using the alien technology, which is how it has been able to smuggle equipment onto the planet without going through the spaceport. He is about to reveal the secret of the spaceship, but he is interrupted by a call from Lilah. She tried to requisition a new overcoat for him to replace the one damaged the day before, but she was refused with the excuse that the rules state Lucifard must come in person to be measured.
Upon hearing this, Lucifard is warned off by both Patrick and Makoto, who tearfully reveal that the male officers who go to have their measurements taken are subjected to horrific sexual harrassment. Lucifard decides to go see for himself how bad the situation is, resolving to report it to someone higher up if it is as awful as they say. On his way out of the building, he meets up with a traumatized Melissa. She had gone back to Communications, where one of the booths had its door closed and marked "in use" even though there was no transmission. Figuring it was a malfunction, the officer in charge opened the door using manual override to discover Bobby and his fiancée in a compromising position. To make matters worse, the fiancée tensed up at the shock of having so many people see them, resulting in Bobby being unable to pull out. Melissa reported it to Kaja, who handled it discreetly, but it means that Bobby will be in no condition to work on the project for a while.
The two are approached by Marcello Arlioni, the MP who had tangled with Lucifard the previous evening. He challenges Lucifard to a rematch to determine which of them is top dog. Lucifard is annoyed and wants to get it over with quickly. Marcello promptly grabs him and pulls him into a kissing contest. Lucifard struggles to get away at first, but gradually he gives in and puts his heart into it, leaving Marcello dazed. Lucifard calls it a draw to protect the other man's pride, though it's clear who's the victor. Lucifard gets the MP officer to join his project team to replace Bobby. When Marcello hears Lucifard's destination, even he, the infamous womanizer, warns Lucifard against going. Lucifard, however, remains adamant in his decision.
End Volume Nine
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