Merry Feckin' Christmas one & all!

Shinji: And one or two in particular.

Hikari: Seems like ages since the last time.

Shinji: Hopefully Kyugan can update more this year.

Hikari: Doubtful, I heard him talking about 'rewriting' a few. And even if he wasn't he's got a job now.

Shinji: True enough...hey, where's Lelouch? a bitchin' party

Nappa: EY! Lulu! Ya made it!

Lelouch: Why the hell am i here again?

Kyugan: Because shut up and drink your eggnog.

Lelouch: *Is about to speak up when he spies something*...Is that Youichi & Halibel & Erza & Minerva making out in Miss Claus outfits?!

Nappa: *Filming the whole thing* Yes. Yes it is.



Orihime stood, looking around in fear at the multitude of men on motorcycles and hovercraft, the roar of their engines like being caught in the middle of a swarm of wasps.

Behind her, standing back to back, was a tall figure in black and silver armour. Red lines ran down his limbs, framing the chestplate and the yellow light of his visor, which resembled a circle split vertically down the middle by two parallel lines.

Kamen Rider Faiz.

As one, the men on cycles raised a hand to their hearts, calling out "Henshin!"; their features blurring, revealing them to be Hollows, even as bronze armour washed over them, the mass-produced Rider Troopers revving their engines as they poured into the canyon en masse.

"Inoue-!" Faiz called out, the Rider shoving her to the side before running, intending to put as much distance between them as possible, in order to prevent her from coming to harm.

After all, what did the Rider Troopers care for a defenseless human girl? It was HIM, more accurately his Rider Gear, that they were after.

One by one they charged him, Faiz lashing out with his Faiz Edge, the lightsaber-esque weapon cleaving through a pair of troopers, only for four more to rise in their place, ramming into him and knocking him off balance.

A shot fired out from behind, catching the Faiz Gear in the side, tearing the buckle from the Rider, who yelled out in alarm, reaching for it desperately, only for another Trooper to fly over the ridge, ramming into him, sending him flying away from the gear, even as his transformation wore off, revealing a tall young man with stern features, blonde hair and brown eyes.

"Kurosaki-kun!" Orihime called out, lying on her stomach so as to present a smaller target, crawling towards the downed teen, her eyes wide with concern, heedless of the gunfire and roaring engines.

"Inoue…!" the teen grunted, rolling over onto his back, crawling towards her awkwardly, as that last blow had doubtless injured his chest, the deactivated Faiz pointer lying nearby as he reached out for her.

Just as their fingers were about to touch, the teen felt a length of chain wrapped around his ankles, looking up in horror to see a Trooper clambering back onto its bike and riding off, the chain dragging along behind it.

"Shit! Inoue!" he swore, reaching desperately for the girl, Orihime's eyes widening as she grasped his fingers, only for them to slip through, the mud staining both their hands conspiring to separate them, the strawberry-blonde looking on in horror as her friend and protector was dragged off, screaming her name "INOUE-!"


End Flashback...

"That was the last I saw of him…" Orihime murmured, looking down at her knees, Lelouch's jacket resting on her shoulders, the sun now a red lump on the horizon "We looked everywhere…but there was no sign of him, or the Faiz gear anywhere."

Lelouch sat in silence, having listened to the girl's tale in silence, not visibly breathing, his face lined with concentration.

"You…you don't think he's really dead…do you?" Orihime asked at length, the strawberry-blonde looking desperately at the teen as she spoke "I mean…I know it's a long shot, but…"

"If Smart Brain wanted Faiz, that is, Kurosaki-san dead, they wouldn't have bothered taking him alive." Lelouch pointed out, his tone calm, but filled with a certainty that was startling to behold "You told me that they'd been chasing him for a while, right? Well, other than the Faiz belt, could there be any reason for keeping him alive that you can think of?"

"Not really…" Orihime countered, shaking her head uncertainly "I mean, I know the Rider system can only be used by humans with Hollow DNA and all, but Kensei-san has one and they never tried to capture HIM."

"Can't imagine why…" Lelouch muttered, smirking wryly to himself, earning a look of adorable confusion from the girl "Never mind, it's nothing." He assured her, climbing to his feet with a grunt, before offering his hand to the girl "In any case, it's time we were getting back."

"Do…do you really think there's a chance he's still alive?" Orihime asked, accepting the offered hand, looking into the teen's mismatched eyes as she spoke "You really think so?"

"I won't get your hopes up." Lelouch stated, not looking at the girl, but rather, at his jacket, which hung over her shoulders, more accurately the logo on the breast "But I've a pretty good idea of where to start looking."

Orihime blinked, missing the look in the teen's eyes in the dark, only to gasp as he took her hand in his, leading her down the path towards the town.

Comes the dawn...

"Morning Lelouch-san…" Shinji called out in greeting, the last Ikari covering his mouth in a vain attempt to suppress a yawn as he stretched, eyeing the elder Rider in concern as he all-but limped into the room "Sleep well?"

"Like the dead…" Lelouch muttered, the elder Rider grimacing as he straightened up sharply, the joints in his back popping audibly as he rotated his shoulders to work out the kinks "How the hell can anyone sleep on the floor?"

"It's called a futon, Lamperouge-san." Hikari corrected, blushing slightly at the glare the elder teen sent her way even as she finished pulling her own hair into their trademark pigtails "Most traditional Japanese houses use them."

"Tradition my ass…" Lelouch muttered, thumping his shoulders with his fist, an irritable expression adorning his features "What's the point of modern conveniences if people insist on living in the past?"

"S'matter beanpole?" a crass voice demanded, the trio looking round to see two children, a boy with spiked red hair and an annoyed expression, and girl with her black hair done up in twin pigtails and a morose expression on her face "Too good to sleep in a futon like everyone else? Suppose you Smart Brain types are used to getting breakfast in bed too."

"Jinta-kun…" the pigtailed girl murmured, a look of nervous disapproval adorning her features as she turned to the boy, Jinta, as if to say more, only to flinch back as the redhead turned to glare at her, stepping back with a sigh.

"I suppose you must be room service then." Lelouch retorted, his tone mocking as he regarded the cocky brat with apparent distaste "In that case, I'll have my eggs sunny-side up, two slices of toast, and no pulp in my orange juice."

"You want fries with that, your majesty?" Jinta sneered, the redhead eyeing the elder teen with a mocking leer, as if daring him to try anything "Tough shit, all we got is soup again, but then I doubt you'd want any, seeing as it's not served on a silver platter."

"Jinta-kun…" the pigtailed girl protested once more, reaching out a hand to try and convince the redhead to back off, only to yelp as his hand lashed out and began tugging on one of her pigtails "OW!"

"Would you shut it Ururu?!" Jinta demanded, his features lined with annoyance as he somehow managed to stretch the girl's head into funny shapes "Where the heck do you get off telling me what to do, huh?!"

"LAUGHING PREASSURE POINT!" Hikrai exclaimed, jabbing her thumb into the side of the boy's neck, the class Rep standing over him as he released his grip on the girl's hair & collapsed on the floor, cackling incoherently "You shouldn't treat girls like that! Now apologize!"

"L-Like hell!" Jinta countered, the redheaded brat, either out of stubbornness or the inherent ignorance of mortality children possessed, leaping to his feet, one hand clamped over his neck, his eyes narrowed in suspicion "Who the heck do you think you are, you old hag?!"

"LAUGHING PREASSURE POINT!" Hikari yelled, once again sending Jinta tumbling to the floor in peals of forced laughter, her expression bordering on murderous as she stood over the redhead "I'll have you know I'm all of thirteen you little brat!"

"In dog years maybe…" Jinta muttered, though it was apparent from the look of horror that quickly replaced his annoyance as Hikari's silhouette suddenly sprouted horns that the redhead had meant to keep THAT particular retort to himself.

"Ah, nothing like a little early morning comedy to lighten the mood." Lelouch mused, the elder Rider looking on with palpable amusement as Hikari reduce the annoying little twerp to a quivering pile of flesh "Rather refreshing I'd say."

"If you say so." Shinji sighed, rightfully suspecting that Lelouch was glad to see someone ELSE experiencing Hikari's Secret Technique, the last Ikari wisely deciding to keep from voicing such thoughts aloud "Shouldn't we do something?"

"Why?" Lelouch asked, waving a hand dismissively as he watched the scene before him with a decidedly smug smirk as Hikari began to lecture Jinta between sessions, the redhead's features slowly turning blue from lack of oxygen "Hikari can take care of herself."

"Um...Ex-excuse me..." a shy voice spoke up, the Riders turning to find the pigtailed girl, Ururu if memory served, standing just behind them, one hand holding onto Lelouch's sleeve imploringly "Urahara-san wants to see you."

"Does he now?" Lelouch noted, his expression unreadable, his eyes calculating as he regarded the girl carefully, Ururu flushing & lowering her head to avoid his gaze, fidgeting nervously with the hem of her dress "Alright, we'll be right there, coming Shinji?"

"What about Hikari?" Shinji wondered, the last Ikari looking over his shoulder in concern as the normally reserved Class Rep continued to discipline Jinta with a paddle she'd pulled out of nowhere "Uh…never mind…"

Kisuke's playhouse, enter at your own risk...

"Ohayo!" Urahara Kisuke called out, the Geta-sporting storekeeper smiling at them as they walked into one of the rooms in the store, or more accurately, a room in the REPLICA of the store, Urahara having built an exact duplicate in the shanty town, which acted as a makeshift town-hall on occasion "I trust you slept well?"

"Aside from the floor, yes." Lelouch shot back, his tone jovial, with only a hint of sarcasm as he stepped towards the older man, Shinji blinking as he looked around the room, which was filled from floor to ceiling with wires, screens and various electronics "You building something in here?"

"Could be, could be…" Urahara teased, waving his little fan before his face tauntingly, ignoring the annoyed glare Lelouch sent his way "I've been working on a few things here and there…trying to even the playing field as it were."

"I heard you were responsible for developing those Spiral Anti-Hollow Rounds." Lelouch opined, quirking a brow at the sight of several discarded casings "Guess they weren't as effective as you thought they'd be."

"Trial and Error my good man." Urahara countered, a knowing smile on his face "Rome wasn't built in a day, as they say." He sighed "Still, it would help if I had access to better resources."

"Why don't you just come out and say it." Lelouch cut in, the raven-haired teen eyeing the clearly-not-an-ordinary-storekeeper with a mocking smirk "You want me to try and infiltrate Smart Brain, right?"

"Lamperouge-san, please!" Urahara exclaimed, the blonde's tone making it clear he was deliberately piling on the drama for shits & giggles as he pulled out a fan for emphasis "I would NEVER-!"

"I'll be sure to keep an eye out for anything useful while I'm there." Lelouch assured him, cutting the storekeeper off mid-exclamation "I'll be a bit busy, what with looking for information on Kurosaki and all, but if I can spot any data you might find useful, I'll try and snag a copy."

"Hmph…spoil my fun why don't you…" Urahara muttered, looking like a child denied a precious sweet as he pouted behind one of his fans "And here I was building up to blackmailing you for freeloading."

"I always repay my debts, WITHOUT being asked." Lelouch informed him "Besides, considering the service I got, I should be charging YOU, unless Asano-san's life only amounted to so much."

"Kisuke-san…" a voice called out, the Riders turning to see a MASSIVE man with a beard and moustache holding a terrified Keigo off the ground by the back of his shirt, the poor boy looking distinctly terrified.

"Ah! Asano-san! So good of you to drop by!" the storekeeper exclaimed, beaming at the terrified brunet as the man set him down "Well Lamperouge-san, I guess I'll be seeing you around then." The storekeeper chirped, skillfully changing the subject, much to Lelouch's amusement, the storekeeper waving at the pair as they walked out the door, the big man keeping Keigo from trying to sneak out after them "Try not to get caught! Now then Asano-san, let's see where we left off our testing yesterday…"


Exit stage GTFO...

"Man loves to hear himself talk." Lelouch muttered, shaking his head in mild annoyance as they stepped back out into the shanty-town, pulling on his Smart Brain coat in an attempt to block out Keigo's screams for mercy.

"You sure you don't want me to tag along?" Shinji inquired, looking over his shoulder with a wince, wondering just what crazy experiments Urahara was up to before eyeing the elder teen in concern "I mean, anything could happen."

"Shinji, do you know the first thing about Corporate Strategy, Computer Technology, or Biochemistry?" Lelouch asked, earning a look of confusion from the teen "I thought not. Those are some of Smart Brain's major strengths, the other being that they're bloody devious bastards that managed to put a girdle around the world without anyone noticing."

"All the more reason for you not to go in alone!" Shinji persisted, interposing himself before the elder teen, his concern palpable "I mean, uniform or not, they're going to figure you out!"

"I don't just have a uniform." Lelouch countered, holding up what appeared to be an ID card, a computer board visible within "I'm apparently the knew head of Information and Intelligence…convenient how these things just fall into place, isn't it?"

A little TOO convenient for Shinji's tastes, but the Last Ikari wisely decided not to make an issue out of it. Whatever guiding force that was helping Lelouch through the worlds, it seemed to position the teen exactly where he needed to be to complete his mission.

"Why not?" a deep voice demanded, the Riders looking up from their discussion to see a crowd gathering near the market square, some of them looking rather alarmed by this latest development "We're willing to pay, dontcherknow!"

"What's going on…?" Lelouch wondered , the elder Rider stepping around Shinji & towards the crowd, a frown, adorning his features as he employed a liberal use of elbows to fight his way through, towards the center of the disturbance.

"I got nothing to sell to the likes of YOU." An old man declared, glaring up at a trio of, one female and two males male, his arms crossed before him as he stood before his vegetable stall "My food's for humans only, you Hollows can just bugger off to wherever the hell will take you!"

"Why that's discrimination!" the skinnier of the two men exclaimed, waving his arms in the air energetically, giving him a rather comical appearance "We should report you to the authorities-!"

"Pesche…Dondochaka…" the lone female of the group cut in, reaching out and placing a hand on their shoulders, her features solemn as she shook her head "Let's just go. It's not worth it."

"But Nel-sama…!" the larger one, Dondochaka Lelouch presumed, exclaimed, turning to face the woman head on, actual TEARS, of all things, falling from his eyes "Our Money's just as good as any of theirs, dontcherknow!"

"Yeah!" the scrawny man, Pesche undoubtedly, complained, nodding his head hurriedly in agreement alongside his larger friend as he pointed at the vendor "What gives him the right to turn his nose up?"

"Leave it." The woman ordered, her solemn tone not changing, but still managing to convey an order as she turned on her heel and made to walk off "Let's just go." She urged, sighing exasperatedly, as if she'd been expecting this, only to yelp as a stone almost caught her at the side of the head.

"WHO DID THAT?" Dondochaka snapped, his comedic air vanishing as he rounded on the crowd, his markings appearing in full force as he glared at them, the crowd backing away nervously, several resistance members stepping forwards, weapons in hand.

"Dondochaka-san!" a familiar voice called out, the crowd turning just in time to see Inoue Orihime rushing towards them, the buxom strawberry-blonde looking decidedly alarm by the Hollow's, for what else could he be, reaction "You mustn't! They're just scared!"

"Ah! Orihime-chan!" Dondochaka exclaimed, the large Hollow's markings vanishing as he turned his back on the crowd, looking sheepish as he scratched his head "Sorry about that, but one of them hit Nel-sama with a rock, dontcherknow!"

"That'd be the kid on the far left hiding behind his mother then." Lelouch called out, the trio & Orihime turning just as the Rider was walking up to them, following his gaze to where, true enough, a woman was trying to pull a slingshot out of her son's hands, the youth glaring at them angrily.

"Lookit that, Dondochaka…" Pesche declared, the skinny man & most likely Hollow's tone reprimanding as he slapped his larger friend upside the head "You've gone and scared the little mite!"

"Completely lost my head Dontcherknow…" Dondochaka muttered, rubbing his bald head in embarrassment as he nodded to the woman "Over a bunch of moldy old vegetables for that matter." He added, ignoring the old man's protests that his produce was fresh, to blink at Lelouch "By the way…who're you again?"

"Don't be daft Dondochaka." Pesche sighed, shaking his head in disbelief as he placed a hand on the larger man's shoulder "Anyone can tell that's Renji." He insisted, only to blink, turning to regard Lelouch in confusion "When did you start working for Smart Brain, Renji?"

"I'm quite happy to say I have no clue who Renji is." Lelouch countered primly, quirking a brow at the pair, wondering if, when they revived as Hollows, they'd left more than a few brain cells behind "And I could ask what business a group of Hollows have here."

"Everyone, this is Lelouch Lamperouge-san." Orihime introduced, the buxom strawberry-blonde introducing the elder rider to the hollows with a wide smile "He's helping us look for Kurosaki-kun."

"Ichigo?" Pesche repeated, his comical air vanishing as he looked Lelouch up and down, as if evaluating him as a potential threat, his eyes decidedly sharper than they were a moment ago "I thought Smart Brain took him away…"

"To the best of our knowledge, they did." Lelouch agreed, looking the taller man in the eye as he spoke "I'm trying to find out what they did with him. Shall I assume your use of his first name means you know him too?"

"We've met…" the woman thus-far known only as as Nel-sama supplied, her tone distant as she looked off to the side, gripping her arm beneath her rags "He really helped us out, back then."

"Too right he did!" Dondochaka exclaimed, turning to Lelouch with a kind of desperation in his eyes, like he was about to burst into tears "You gotta find him Renji! If anything happens to him, I don't know what I'll do Dontcherknow!"

"My name isn't Renji…" Lelouch muttered, a bead of sweat adorning the side of his head as he fended off the Hollow's hands with a look of irritation "But I'll let you know if I find anything, alright?"

"That's all we can ask for." Nel murmured, nodding her head to Orihime "We'll be in touch." She offered, before walking past, Pesche and Dondochaka waddling to catch up with her long strides, the crowd opening a path for the Hollows as they sauntered off without a word.

As the Hollows leave...

"I take it those three Hollows are Friends of yours?" Lelouch inquired, the elder Rider turning to Orihime as the crowd went about their business, several of them sending nervous or suspicious looks his way.

"Mmhm! Nel-san helped us out a few times when we were first setting up here." Orihime explained with a nervous smile "She doesn't trust human's much, but then she doesn't trust Hollows much either. She says there's no reason for us to be fighting one another."

"An idealist." Lelouch deduced, glancing after the retreating forms of the Hollows with a wary expression, a shiver racing down his spine as he briefly locked gazes with the enigmatic Nel "What about the other two?"

"I'm…not actually sure." Orihime admitted with a blink, scratching the back of her head in embarrassment at the admission "Pesche-san and Dondochaka-san have always been with Nel-san, they say they're her guards."

"What, is she someone important then?" Lelouch wondered. While the other two hadn't seemed particularly bright or all that impressive, Nel had given off an air of command that suggested, at the very least, she was used to taking charge. "They seemed to know a bit about Smart Brain too."

"I think they used to work for them, before the main attack." Orihime opined, looking uncertain, only to perk up as she turned to the pair "In any case, have either of you any plans for today?"

"I don't know about Shinji, but I'm planning to see what I can find in Smart Brain HQ." Lelouch replied, meeting the girl's eyes head on, repressing the slight flinch "I don't guarantee they'll have anything, but with my security clearance, I can at least find out what the hell's going on in there."

"Be careful." Orihime offered, the strawberry-blonde looking at the elder teen with concern, her hands clasped together as if in prayer "Urahara-san and Mugurama-san barely made it out alive."

"I'll be alright…" Lelouch assured her, catching Shinji's eye as he winked "If worst comes to worst, I'll just RIDE out of there."

Orihime blinked in confusion while Shinji rolled his eyes, the last Ikari shaking his head at the pun, even as Lelouch walked off into the crowd, leaving them alone. "So what do you need my help with?" Shinji asked, smiling at the older girl encouragingly as she blin"I'm a pretty good cook if I say so myself."

"Oh!" Orihime stamered, snapping out of her confusion "No, it's not that!" she smiled nervously "Besides, Yuzu-chan would throw a fit if anyone sets foot in her kitchen ever since that time I tried to help."

"I see…" Shinji noted, the last Ikari internally forcing himself not to ask the question that was dancing on the tip of his tongue, all-the-while wondering what the hell the girl had done to piss off such a cute little girl "So what do you need me for?"

"Here!" Orihime offered, the buxom girl holding out a stack of paper she'd seemingly pulled out of thin air, Shinji blinking as he looked down to see what appeared to be a flyer for a Dance Party.

One Mirror-ride Later...

"Welcome to Smart Brain!" a pair of girls sang out in greeting the moment Lelouch stepped into the lobby of SMART BRAIN. From their near-identical white uniforms & features, it was clear the pair were twins. The only way to really tell them apart was that one had short blonde hair & the other long & black done up in pigtails.

"Nice to be here." Lelouch responded, the Rider nodding his head towards the pair in greeting as he walked up the steps, thankful that he took the time to stop by a quick laundromat to have his suit cleaned on the way.

"I have to say you're earlier than we expected," the blonde one, Menoly according to her nametag, noted in surprise as she brought up Lelouch profile "You must have just missed the morning rush."

"It's a talent." Lelouch replied cryptically, smirking to himself as this left the duo all the more flustered and impressed. Ryuki's powers were so useful, especially when it came to avoiding the morning traffic.

"In any case," continued the brunette, Loly, the two of them rising to their feet before gesturing towards the elevator "The Director asked us to show you in as soon as you got here, so if you'd be so kind as to follow us?"

"Lead the way," Lelouch submitted, nodding his head as he fell into step just behind the pair, so as to keep an eye on their movements.

Before even approaching the main entrance, the Passing Through Rider had used Ryuki's ability to travel between reflective surfaces to get the layout of the Smart Brain Building, a massive Skyscraper that, on the outside, could pass for an everyday office building.

In fact, most of the floors WERE offices, filled with the usual humdrum of everyday office life, from phone calls to printouts. It was only the higher you got that things took on a distinctly different turn, with various computer technicians, lab-coat sporting scientists, and armed guards patrolling the hallways, FAR more security than any ordinary office building required.

The duo led him to a private elevator; one which he knew led directly to the penthouse, where the director of Smart Brain resided near indefinitely. There'd been no reflective surfaces in there, not even a tinted window, so Lelouch hadn't been able to get a glimpse of the man.

"Director!" Loly called out, her tone laced with far more affection than was considered appropriate for an office employee meeting her boss, stepping aside in order to flank the doorway as they entered the room "We've brought him as you asked!"

"Thank you, Loly, Menoly." A cultured voice offered, Lelouch's brow quirking as he detected a certain…bubbly-quality, as if the voice was underwater "And Welcome, Lelouch Lamperouge-kun, I've heard great things about you in our European Branch."

"The honor is mine." Lelouch offered, bowing briefly before stepping forwards, taking in the elaborately designed white marble room with a hint of approval. Whoever this director was, he had a sense of style.

"Have you breakfasted yet?" the director inquired, his voice coming from somewhere near the staircase leading up to a room upstairs "I apologize if you haven't, but there's some lovely tea here if you don't mind."

"I've eaten," Lelouch assured the older-man's voice, stepping towards the stairs "Though I'll take you up on the tea if that's alright-!"

He trailed off, struggling to keep the surprise from showing on his face as he stared at the sight before him in alarm.

"Excellent." The Director smiled, turning his head slightly to look at the tall, silver haired man standing nearby "Gin, would you be so kind as to pour the man a drink?" he turned back to Lelouch "I apologize for the informal greeting, but I feel that in order to get ahead in this life, one needs to let ones subordinates in."

'I wouldn't think you found it too hard to get ahead…' Lelouch muttered, though he kept his lips firmly shut, his eyes never leaving the sight before him 'Hell its pretty much all you've GOT!'

The director of Smart Brain was a handsome man with strong, charismatic features and brown eyes, who wore his long brown hair swept back in a stylish mullet, with a cowlick at the front to cover his forehead.

And that was about all that could be described, as from the neck down there was nothing much to speak off. Unless you counted a small gurney on wheels, atop which rested an autolung, what looked like a dialysis machine, and a giant jar, within which rested the man's head.

"I must apologize again, for the abrupt summons." The director offered "You see, we've recently found ourselves lacking in certain departments at such a critical time, and as you're one of the brightest our branches has to offer…"

"Quite understandable, Director." Lelouch assured the man, accepting the cup of tea from the silver haired man with a nod of thanks, shivering slightly under his vulpine expression, for some reason feeling as if he'd touched a snake.

"Oh please, don't mind Gin." The director assured him, smiling as the silver haired man stepped behind him once again "He's been my retainer for some time now, I can assure you he's quite harmless…when he has to be."

"Director Aizen!" a voice called out, the head turning, a frown marring his handsome features, as three people stepped into the room. One was a man with pink hair and spectacles, the other two both shared black hair, but while one was tall & lanky with buck teeth & an eye-patch, the other was handsome, in a rough kind of way, with scruffy black hair.

"Szayel…Nnoitra, Aaroneiro." Aizen muttered, the Director's displeasure apparent as he eyed the trio before him with eyes that could have frozen mercury "What is the meaning of this…intrusion?"

"The hell is this?" Buck-tooth demanded, his one visible eye flashing with outrage as he stepped forward and slapped a pink slip of paper on the table for all to see "The hell do you get off firing me?!"

"I believe that should be obvious, Nnoitra." Aizen replied coldly "You were in charge of security, and yet your men allowed six humans to infiltrate the facility, almost making it to the labs." He turned to the other brunet "And as for YOU, Aaroneiro, despite being chief of the Information Department, you allowed information on the Emperor Belts to reach the rebels…" he shook his head with a sigh "Good grief, there's no word for such incompetence."

'Belts?' Lelouch repeated, the Rider's eyes narrowing in suspicion as he looked between the director and his none-too-pleased subordinates with understandable alarm 'You mean there's more than one?'

"But Director Aizen!" the last of the trio, Szayel by process of elimination, exclaimed, his pink hair framing his face in tangles, so great was his distress as he held up an identical, if more wrinkled, pink slip "What did 'I' do to merit a dismissal? After all my years of service…after everything I've done-?!"

"Your work is FINISHED, Szayel." Aizen cut in, his tone calmer than when he addressed the other two, though not by much "The Emperor Belts have been completed, as such, we can't have their creator wasting up resources when he could be putting himself to better uses."

"But my work is HERE!" Szayel insisted, looking distraught as he waved his arms wide as if to embrace the entirety of the building from within "What do I care for the other branches? I never even got to see the belts in action!"

The moment the words left Szayel's mouth, Lelouch knew that the trio's days were numbered. There was this feeling in the air, some sense of premonition that must have been felt by the others, as they shivered in apprehension.

"Ah…" Aizen smiled, and despite how charming it looked, you couldn't help but feel as if you were looking a snake in the eyes "How very fortunate then, that you decided to come here…Tousen?"

"Yes, Director Aizen." A voice declared, Lelouch and the Trio looking up as a door opened at the top of the marble staircase, a tall, black man in what appeared to be basketball gear stepping into view, his hair done up in dreadlocks & a ponytail at the back of his head, a pair of white sunglasses hiding his eyes from view.

Szayel let out a small, choking noise, like a mouse that's just been trodden on, backing away from the man in terror as he descended, the pink haired hollow's finger aimed at the belt adorning his waist "D-Director Aizen…" he stammered, looking at the smiling head in alarm, while the other two shifted uncertainly "D-Don't tell me…?!"

"You wished to see the power of the Emperor Belts you designed in action, didn't you?" Aizen queried, his smile as dangerous as it was charming "I'm merely giving you what you wanted."

While the pink haired Hollow gibbered in fear, Nnoitra and Aaroneiro shifted into their Hollow forms, stepping forward to meet the threat head on. Tousen, on the other hand, with an air of almost boredom, casually flipped open the silver and purple mobile phone he'd been holding all this time, dialing in 3-1-5, earning a mechanized call of "Standing By…"

"Henshin." The man declared, tossing the phone into the air, catching it nimbly before sliding it into the waiting buckle, earning a mechanized cry of "COMPLETE!", blue lines hovering over his form, only to be replaced with a flash of light, a tall figure in White armour with blue highlights standing before them, a purple light shining from his visor.

Szayel screamed and ran, even as his fellow Hollows rushed the Rider, who moved to meet them, kicking Nnoitra in the chest whilst delivering a savage backhand to Aaroneiro's face that sent the smaller Hollow Reeling, grabbing Nnoitra by the throat & hurling the larger Hollow bodily across the room.

"You little bitch!" Nnoitra swore, clambering to his feet, only to scream as the Rider, who'd drawn his phone from his belt again, converted it into its Blaster form & fired off a round, the Mantis Hollow's hands reaching up to cover his face with a scream even as he dissolved into blue fire, the Rider casually firing another round into Aaroneiro's back as he tried to run, before turning to face Szaayel.

"S-Stay back!" the pink-haired Hollow shrieked, backing away fearfully from the Rider as he went, looking imploringly over at Aizen as his executioner stepped ever closer to him, either to scared to assume Hollow form or not seeing the point after his colleagues' deaths "D-Director Aizen-!"

"You should be proud, Szayel…" Aizen offered, his tone charismatic as ever as he smiled at the Hollow "You finally created the PERFECT Rider Gear…" his smile shifted slightly, becoming more menacing "However, that DOES make you rather…obsolete, doesn't it?"

Szayel screamed, turning to run, only for the Rider to lash out, his hand grabbing the Hollow by the back of the head.

There was a snap, a cut off shriek, and then only the sound of dust falling to the floor.

Lelouch: Well...that was disturbing.

Nappa: I have the strangest boner right now.

Kyugan: Oh God please tell me that's because of the smut.

Next Time, on Code Decade:

An alarming revelation...

Aizen: Indeed, there are TWO Emperor Belts.

Causes distress for the heroes.

Tatsuki: If we don't act now we'll never have a chance to end this!

However, the enemy seizes the initiative...

Pesche: Ride-Troopers are storming the Camp!

The Riders prepare for battle...

Shinji: Lelouch-san!

Only to be separated by an old foe.

Zero: I cannot allow you to interfere with things anymore.

And a new ally...

Kensei: Hope you liked that dramatic entrance poser, cause I'm sending you off in style!

Meets an old friend.

Tousen: It's been a long time…Chief Muguruma.

Destroy Everything! Connect Everything!