"Friends" (友達 Tomodachi?) is the 60th chapter of the Toaru Kagaku no Railgun manga series.
Shokuhou Misaki recalls her memories with Dolly, and how over a period of time, she began to become truly friends with her. Due to the suggestion of the researchers in the Exterior Project, Misaki brainwashed Dolly in order to make her think that Misaki was actually Mi-chan, her friend who had previously visited her, but who had stopped visiting after seeing the machines on Dolly's body. Dolly asked Misaki to use her powers on a certain container of liquid. Misaki refused, giving the excuse that she was told to stop using her powers so much. Dolly was saddened. She asked Misaki about the world outside of the research facility and asked her if she can take her to see the ocean one day. Misaki said that she can in the future when she is free. Dolly was delighted at this.
The two of them played some games for a period of time. Then Dolly finished a drink and tossed the empty bottle into the trash can. Misaki scolded Dolly for throwing her bottle, claiming that it's rude. Dolly playfully accused Misaki of being unable to throw her juice bottle into the trash bin. Indignant, Misaki finished her own drink and made several attempts to throw the bottle, moving closer each time and only succeeding when she was near the bin. Misaki turned and realised that Dolly has collapsed, so she frantically called for help.
The two researchers at hand discussed between themselves that they knew this would be happening to Dolly relatively soon. While lying in a bed, Dolly asked Misaki for her name: revealing that she figured out that Misaki was in fact not Mi-chan. Misaki hysterically (out of sadness and guilt) told Dolly that her real name is Shokuhou Misaki. Dolly was carried away by the researchers. Soon after, Misaki asked if Dolly will be alright. One researcher explained to Misaki that Dolly's lifetime could not be extended anymore even with the advanced technology of Academy City and that Dolly already knew and was prepared for this.
After this incident, Misaki became somewhat withdrawn and behind on her curriculum. During one rainy day, she was told that Dolly has died. In this way, Misaki lost not Mi-chan's friend, but her own true friend that she had trusted.
The higher up researchers in the institute discussed Misaki's depression, and contemplated the possibility of revealing to her that Dolly was merely a clone, a creation, so that she is not emotionally burdened. They reveal that the higher-ups (presumably of Academy City) had already removed all physical traces and evidence of the project cloning and that no one would believe testimony from Misaki anyway because she was a mind-controlling esper. One of the researchers decided that they will reveal this fact to Misaki if her depression does not improve. Another researcher explained that the Dolly Clone workshop is not some project merely handed down from above, it is instead the crystallization of their greatest wishes and desires. The researchers worried that Misaki would eventually become too powerful for their Mental Guards to be effective against her brainwashing powers. One researcher eventually said that this is not a problem because, as soon as Exterior is complete, Misaki would be disposed of anyway. At this point, Misaki is revealed to be in the room and in control of the researchers.
Misaki thought to herself that she had used a lower level researcher during the experiments by wielding two remotes at once in order to mind control him. This lower level researcher then tampered with the other mental guards of the other researchers. By the time Misaki entered Tokiwadai she had already brainwashed all of them, which should have prevented them from leaking any information even under torture. The flashback ends and Shokuhou asks the question in the present: how did Gensei find out about Exterior?
The chapter finishes with a scene between Saten Ruiko and Xochitl. Saten asks Xochitl about the details of what is happening. Just as Xochitl is about to reveal the details of the situation to Saten, Kamijou Touma returns from the race intending to return the charm Saten. He notices her and heads in her direction. This puts him in a position to hear what Xochitl says to Saten.
- Misaki is revealed to have usurped control of Exterior from its original research team.
In order of appearance:
- Shokuhou Misaki
- Kouzaku Mitori (as "Mi-chan", referenced-only)
- Saten Ruiko
- Kamijou Touma
- Kihara Gensei (referenced-only)
- Mental Out - Shokuhou Misaki, Level 5
This is the first time in the series that Misaki has used 2 remotes at once in conjunction.
- What exactly are Gensei and Mitori after?