*MEANWHILE, IN PARIS*
Graien: Demons, you say?
Nibhal: Indeed. An enemy type we confirmed appearing in the Shura Rebellion. The LTR Corporation calls them Yokijin, and they are said to be the enemies of the Mechanoids… They are described as powerful gods, or evil spirits.
Graien: Huh, It’s always something…. All this has happened in such a short time… I think it would be unwise to label it as a coincidence.
Nibhal: … So this is someone’s plot?
Graien: I don’t want to think that, but… If demons have started showing up, then it looks probable that they are involved once again.
Nibhal: Indeed. It’s possible they will become a threat to us.
Graien: That’s why we have the GS. How is the Grand Christmas?
Nibhal: Currently, Special Officer Steinbeck is in command of it at Aidoneus Island. Unit examinations and deployment are going according to plan. The squad should be organized shortly.
Graien: Even though the organization has taken people from so many sources?
Nibhal: A military force that could work independently of the Federation… It was these prior battles that formed the concept of the GS. To gather people with no relation to the military or the DC is quite a difficult errand… Unless we have an open mind, we won’t be able to recruit brilliant minds to our cause. Mr. President…. You should understand, considering you planned Mission Harpe.
Nibhal: Please do not worry. I am only recruiting those who are faithful to the direction and duties of the GS.
Graien: That is not what I’m worried about.
Nibhal: As I’m sure you know, there are members with certain… blemishes on their record… but everyone was selected by I and Special Officer Steinbeck. We don’t want to mar your name with the squad under your jurisdiction. We won’t allow anyone who plans to overthrow the current leadership in.
Graien: ... You have it under control, then?
Nibhal: Of course. If we don’t keep it under control, we’re the ones who are going to have problems.
Graien: There will be people looking into the backgrounds of GS members. I don’t want any scandals coming to light now, of all times. We can keep some control over this with money right now. But when the full story of the GS comes to light, the conservatives and the military will oppose us. If that happens, the Tsentr Project will be their first target. Supposing those who oppose us were to investigate, they’ll cut us off.
Nibhal: I am well aware of this. However, soon the people of the Federation will celebrate the existence of the GS with applause.
Graien: …The event you mentioned. Are you certain about it?
Nibhal: Yes, the information comes from a very trusted source.
Graien: If you know about it beforehand, why won't you move to stop it?
Nibhal: If I remember correctly, the Federation government expected Bian Zoldark to rebel, but they didn’t act until it was too late… Because certain things would become easier. The ones in question have many factions to their side as well.
Graien: So you’re letting these forces influence their decision?
Nibhal: They aren’t a monolith, either…. We will have our chance.
Graien: Or perhaps they will have their chance. And maybe then, you and Steinbeck will reconsider what you really want.
Graien: You can’t function properly in my job without being suspicious of those around you.
Nibhal: You refused the plan I submitted to deal with the Steel Dragons… Is that due to those doubts?
Graien: They did not disappear because they wanted to. And we need their power as insurance.
Nibhal: But maybe they’re not coming back?
Graien: Be that as it may, we can’t neglect their war record. The private sector already knows about them, anyway. Because of that, we need the debut of the GS to be extravagant, and for them to have a better track record than the Steel Dragons. That’s why I took your bet. We don’t have any time. Military forces outside of the Federation are demanding to be heard, and there are investigations of me overstepping my authority… We need power that can be mobilized at a moment’s notice. To allow Earth’s power to be watched over by Earthlings… In order to have a sovereign power strong enough battle foes from other planets.
Nibhal: Your generosity… and your ability to meld carefulness and boldness into your decisions…. I respect that, and that’s why I serve as your advisor. GS… The Gaia Sabers can move at your will without being restricted by the military or congress, and are the sword that protects the Earth Sphere. The time will come… when the Gaia Sabers show their power, and the voices of those who doubt us will be drowned out.
Graien: Yes… That’s what I hope.
Nibhal: (Graien Grusman…. As I thought, he’s a wonderful individual.)
*MEANWHILE, IN HAWAII*
Mitarl: The results aren’t good, Hugo Medio.
Hugo: As long as it’s incomplete, the TE Engine will only give you that much.
Mitarl: This is a test in order to make adjustments. Because of your abilities, you’ve been appointed as pilot.
Hugo: Sure, sure. All you care about is some new raw materials rolling your way.
Mitarl: I don’t rescue pilots without talents. And you’ve been promoted to Lieutenant. You should be thankful.
Hugo: I don’t remember asking for anything. And the way they were looking at me…
Mitarl: You’re still stuck on that? I’ve told you many times that it was an accident.
Hugo: You think I’d be satisfied with that?! It’s your fault the Cry Wolves were…. That Foglia and my partners were…!
Mitarl: Even if it was an accident, I feel responsible for it. That’s why I gave you special treatment when the rest of the military gave up on you. And at no small cost, mind you.
Hugo: And that’s why I’m in this state. You needed me to wear this collar, like it’s going to shut my mouth. Before I could complete the treatment, you…
Mitarl: I won’t tell you to give up your suspicions, but I was the reason you recovered over such a short time. If it wasn’t for us, you would not have been saved. If you have a complaint, go to a different doctor’s office. Or rather, if there’s a doctor who could have done a better job with your recovery, please introduce me to him.
Mitarl: Do you understand? Your life was saved for the sake of the Tsentr Project. It only makes sense that you work for the project after that.
Hugo: That’s just something you decided on your own.
Mitarl: It seems you misunderstand the Tsentr Project. We seek to protect Earth from outside threats. One part of that is the TE Engine Unit Number 6… The Cerberus that you pilot.
Hugo: …So what about the Jetzt? What happened with that fake Einst?
Mitarl: That was a necessary evil… in order to fight things like the Einst.
Hugo: What was that?!
Mitarl: Research is done by trial and error. I’m sorry that your Cry Wolves were involved in the error part of the process. Besides that, I can’t talk to you about every part of the Tsentr Project.
Hugo: Meaning there’s stuff you don’t want me to know.
Mitarl: Hugo… You and Lt. Aqua both don’t want to cooperate. Currently, the Tsentr Project is operating in accordance with the wishes of very important people. There may come a time when you wish for us to help you with something.
Hugo: I’m not as naïve as that. I only have one goal…
Mitarl: I told you that you can do what you want. But whatever else you do won’t matter. The only people with the power to do anything are our bosses. And they wish to protect the Earth Sphere for Earthlings… A cause we all share.
Mitarl: This is the time when we need to stand together, Hugo. We must move beyond love and hate, discard the loathsome past, and obtain our glory.
Hugo: Not interested.
Mitarl: Well then… If you killed me, would you feel better?
Hugo: … If I could do that, I would have done it long ago.
Mitarl: That’s right, you’re not an idiot. That’s why you’ll complain to me, but won’t make a move. You won’t choose death for yourself.
Hugo: (…That’s right. If I died, you wouldn’t be able to learn anything more from me… in order to accomplish my duty, I need to live on… That’s what I learned from captain Albero… If I don’t keep on living, Foglia’s death will be…)
Mitarl: Our relationship is one of give and take. You’ll give us data from the TE Absorber, and we’ll let you live. Now take your medicine.
Hugo: Isn’t there a bit more than usual?
Mitarl: That’s right. You’re going to Japan.
Mitarl: Yes. You’re joining with the Izu Base’s Aggressors temporarily, and we’ll be monitoring the Cerberus’s fight data.
Hugo: (Izu’s Aggressors…. Major Kai Kitamura’s squad, huh?)
Mitarl: And since Unit Number 7 has just been completed, take it with you. Test it as well.
Hugo: Unit Number 7? That’s...
Mitarl: Unlike the Cerberus, it’s a Super Robot type TE Absorber. Just like your machine, it needs adjustment. It’s called the Garmraid. I’ll send the spec data with the frame.
Hugo: Unit Number 5 , Medius Locus…. Number 6, Cerberus… and Number 7, Garmraid… You’ve already gotten data from the Medius… how many units are in the entire TE Absorber line?
Mitarl: You don’t need to know that. And don’t let anyone else use the Cerberus or the Garmraid. Above all else, those 2 units are being adjusted for your use, so other people won’t be able to operate them.
Hugo: There’s no problem in letting others know about the Cerberus and Garmraid, right?
Mitarl: They will need maintenance. I don’t care. However, if you do anything to harm the Project…
Hugo: You won’t be able to guarantee my medicine will arrive, right?
Hugo: (So I have to stay in line for now? I guess I don’t have a choice. So I’ll do that, Mitarl Zapad… For now.)
*MEANWHILE SOMEWHERE ELSE*
Erde: I see… Your dream is finally coming true, Aqua.
Aqua: Yes, well… It’s not quite there, yet….
Erde: What kind of machine… I’d like to ask, but it’s probably a secret, right?
Aqua: That’s right. Since you have a job in the Federation, there might be people listening…
Aqua: In any case, after you leave the Albiano base, where will you be going?
Erde: …It’s a secret.
Aqua: I... I see. I’m sorry I bothered you.
Erde; No, it’s fine. I wanted to see your face.
Erde: Why are you making that face?
Aqua: I… I never thought I’d hear that kind of thing from you, is all… But I’m happy!
Erde: You were the brightest of all my students… It makes me happy to see you get what you wanted.
Aqua: Th-thank you! To tell the truth, I was a bit worried I’d be bothering you by calling….
Erde: Of course not.
Aqua: Thank goodness…
Erde: By the way, Aqua… Do you have any regrets?
Aqua: Yes. As always, my dad didn’t understand, but….
Erde: You had to leave the nest sometime… I suppose wealthy people have their own ways of doing things.
Aqua: I said it earlier, but I didn’t like feeling like a bird in a cage. I wanted to see what I could do through my own power.
Erde: I see….
Aqua: Well then… I should be going.
Erde: Aqua…. I’ll just say this. The most important thing a pilot needs is the ability to be calm and collected as they gauge the situation and act accordingly.
Aqua: And if they don’t do that, they die…. Right? I remember that.
Aqua: I might not be able to call you for a while, but I’d like to call you again sometime.
Erde: I see… I’ll look forward to it.
Chapter 19: The Wounded Wolf
Aqua: Hey, Hugo! Why are you stopping?!
Hugo: At this rate, we’ll stress the engine. Let’s change the battery.
Aqua: We can’t! We have to test the long range solo capabilities by going from Hawaii to Izu! That was Professor Zapad’s order!
Hugo: But we’re already 2 hours late.
Aqua: I-I know that, and it’s my fault! At this rate, we’re not going to meet Major Kai…
Hugo: Do you know him?
Aqua: Yeah, I met him just once at the Albiano base. I got his autograph. It’s in my luggage.
Hugo: (Yeesh, she’s a poser, isn’t she….)
Aqua: Have you met him before?
Hugo: Yeah. Just like you, at Albiano.
Aqua: Well then… We probably just missed each other at that base.
Hugo: This is no time to be talking about memories.
Aqua: Th-that’s right! If we’re any later than this, They’ll dock points on the evaluation!
Hugo: I don’t care about that.
Aqua: You’ll be fine, you have experience. But for me….
Hugo: If you care about the evaluations, do your job properly. The engine output in the yellow zone, and I don’t want it to sputter out while we’re over the ocean.
Aqua: Uh… That’s right, but I’m a navigator, too. Just follow my directions.
Hugo: If they’re better than my own judgement, I will.
Aqua: You keep on saying that! Why do you think I’m even on this machine with you?
Hugo: To keep an eye on me.
Aqua: That’s right, considering it’s you, who always resists Professor Zapad’s orders… As if! The reason I put on this super embarrassing suit was to be able to use the DFC in the TE engine….
Hugo: Sure. You just worry about the calibration. Leave the rest to me.
Aqua: I’m not your sidekick!
Aqua: Look, I can do things like seeing approaching unknown units… Wait, unknown units?
*So they are*
Aqua: Th-those are…!
Hugo: Seems we really won’t make our appointment in Izu. They’ve opened fire, so let’s respond in kind, Aqua!
Hugo: (Right… this is her first real battle.)
Hugo: Get it together, Aqua! Calmly analyze the situation, and act accordingly!
Aqua: !! (That’s right…. Just like Mitte taught me….) DFC, battle mode! TE Engine, power adjustments… Dammit, it won’t come out of the yellow zone! If we don’t calculate the enemy’s movement patterns…
Hugo: Calm down. Just keep the engine adjustments going.
Aqua: I-I know my other duties!
Hugo: (That’s better than her cowering… in that case!) The yellow zone is fine for this! Let’s go!
Aqua: What?! W-w-wait a minute!
Hugo: I’m going!
Chapter 19: The Wounded Wolf
Victory: All enemies defeated
Defeat: Hugo is defeated
SR point: ???
*After 2 turns*
Aqua: Hugo, there are more units heading this way. There’s 5, and they’re…!
*HEY LOOK WHO IT IS*
Hugo: It’s Izu’s Aggressors!
Lamia: Major Kai, are those the new transfer units?
Kai: Most likely.
Arado: The others are…. The same machine type that Lat ran into during the Schnabel’s testing.
Lamia: We haven’t revived any information on what the new unit looks like. To be safe, should we confirm?
Kai: Yes. You there, blue unit! This is the Far East Branch Aggressors squad leader, Major Kai Kitamura! Tell us your affiliation and identify yourselves!
Aqua: What’s that mean… They hadn’t heard anything about us?!
Hugo: (Hmph, this stinks of Mitarl. He hates doing any prep work.) This is TE Absorber Unit Number 6, Cerberus, of the Tsentr Project. I’m the pilot, LT. Hugo Medio.
Kai: Tsentr Project… Hugo Medio?!
Hugo: It’s been awhile, Major Kai.
Kai: So you’re the one transferring to us…!
Lamia: (Hugo Medio…. When we met him at Albiano, he was part of a 3-machine team called the Cry Wolves… But that unit perished in the fight against the Jetzt…)
Arado: Tsentr Project…
Latooni: The living weapon called Flatfish that the Hiryuu Custom encountered…. And the Wendigo and Jetzt… All of those things were made by them…
Kai: Yeah. I heard the details from Gilliam.
Seolla: Is something big going to happen again…?
Kai: In any case, this isn’t the place to talk. We’ll talk more later, Ensign.
Defeat: Any allied unit is destroyed.
Kai: It’s over. Well then, Lt. Hugo…
Latooni: There’s a large energy reading in the water headed this way! Only one!
Kai: More enemies?!
Seolla: It’s different from the other enemies!
Latooni: Scanning… Identification data… Not found!
Arado: Who, which, what?!
Hugo: Unit Number 5, Medius Locus….
Kai: Is it a Tsentr Project unit?
Aqua: But, why is it here? Don’t tell me, it’s coming to the training squad, too?
Hugo: No, I was told about Unit Number 7 By Mitarl, but Medius was…
Aqua: Th-they shot at us?!
Hugo: Dammit, Mitarl! Is this another of your plots!? Who’s the pilot?!
???: First, let’s get them out of the Cerberus.
???2: The performance is lower than I expected….
???: Considering this is the first battle against them with the Medius, it’s expected. And Kai Kitamura’s squad is with them, too… This is a perfect time to teach AI1 the horrors of a real battle.
???2: Horrors, you say?
???: It should be able to learn about that kind of thing too, right?
???2: My baby doesn’t need to learn that kind of feeling. I don’t know how you treat your children, but…
???2: Oh, that’s right, you never did like talking about kids, did you?
Kai: Lt. Hugo, did you contact them?
Hugo: Yes, t-there’s no response.
Kai: In that case, the warning shots they fired….
*More of those*
Kai: I guess they don’t want to talk! Then let’s answer them with force! Al units, stop that Medius Locus!
Aqua: Hugo, are you sure? At this rate, the Medius will…!
Hugo: I don’t want to die here! We’re going too!
???: It appears they’ve accepted our invitation.
???2: Data collection has begun…. I leave the battling to you, Major.
???: Roger. (Hugo Medio… I have fallen to a demonic path. In order to reach my objective…!)
SR Point: Bring the Medius Locus to less than 18000 HP. It will retreat if it falls below 20000 HP.
*kai on Medi*
Kai: That movement…Whoever is piloting it is a professional.
???: (Heh, Kai Kitamura, huh?)
???2: ! AI1 is refusing...?!
???: Ha… hahahahahaha!
???2: What’s so funny?
???: It actually feels it. The horror of battle.
???2: That is not the case.
???; Well, whatever, that’s as far as we’ll go today. If we make it cram too much, it won’t be good.
???: (Hugo… Rise and see your destiny. If you can do that, the path may open. For you, for me… or maybe for it.)
Arado: Ah, It’s gone!
Hugo: Gah, What speed!
Aqua: Obviously…. They aren’t carrying a TE Engine, so they can use whatever power they want…
Aqua: Hey, Hugo. I wanted to ask you about the Medius Locus…
Hugo: I know. I’ll ask Mitarl about it later.
Lamia: Lt. Hugo Medio and Lt. Aqua Centrum… Welcome to Izu.
Aqua: It’s been a while, Lamia Loveless. Um… Do you remember me?
Lamia: I do. At Albiano, you got my autograph along with Major Kai’s.
Aqua: You remembered! I’m so touched! I’ll remember this moment forever!
Lamia: Well then, let me introduce the other members of the Aggressors.
Seolla: I’m Seolla Schweizer.
Arado: I’m Arado Balanga.
Latooni: Latooni Subota.
Aqua: (S-so young…. I heard the stories… That people younger than Hugo were working with Kai…. I must be above the average age here!)
Seolla: Uh… Lt Aqua… Can I ask you something?
Aqua: What is it?
Seolla: Aren’t you cold, wearing that?
Aqua: (Ah, this old joke.)
Arado: The top half is fine, but the bottom looks like a swimsuit. It’s making my eyes wander.
Aqua: The people who pilot the Cerberus use a system called DFC… Dynamic Feeling Control. It’s why I have to wear these clothes. I don’t wear this all the time, of course. Only when I’m entering the machine.
Arado: Don’t tell me, Hugo’s also wearing that…?!
Hugo: No, I take care of movement and battle. I’d only wear something like that at Carnival.
Aqua: I… I am not wearing these clothes because I like them!
Hugo: But you’re getting a bit used to them, right?
Aqua: Yeah, well, I can go into the bath like this, and… Like I’d say that!
Arado: (…She’s got a good sense for jokes, our Lt. Aqua.)
Aqua: (I never thought I’d be wearing clothing skimpier than Lamia’s outfit…)
Lamia: …Major Kai has requested a meeting. I’ll guide you to his office.
Lamia: (Hugo Medio… This feeling… Could he be….)
Aqua: Um… Sorry to ask, but could I have time to change my clothes?
Lamia: Roger. Seolla, please take her to the locker room.
Kai: …TE Absorber?
Aqua: Yes. It’s the generic name for the manned mechanical weapons that utilize Terminus Energy that the Tsentr Project has released.
Kai: Please give me an outline. Because they are classified as top secret, I haven’t heard anything at all. All I was told today was that a new unit was coming from Hickam.
Aqua: Understood. First of all, Terminus Energy is an energy developed by Professor Mitarl Zapad of the Tsentr Project… You know of the 4 forces of nature: Gravity, Electromagnetism, Strong and Weak forces… There is another energy, beyond that theory, but collecting it and applying it is very difficult. What allows that is the TE Engine in the Cerberus… The Terminus Energy Engine. It’s far from perfect, so it hasn’t gone into production past trial units. Because of that, we can’t safely use all of its output. We have to use electricity, which I can’t control the output of unless I’m wearing the DFC suit.
Kai: I see…
Lamia: If the TE Engine became perfected…. Theoretically, the TE absorbers could run indefinitely?
Kai: What about the Medius Locus?
Aqua: That is the 5th unit, released at the same time as the 6th unit, Cerberus, but it doesn’t have a TE engine in it. In place of that, the frame and armor are made of Lazumunanium.
Kai: What’s that?
Aqua: It’s a material invented by Professor Zapad… To put it simply, it’s a material that can automatically repair itself.
Lamia: It sounds like Machine Cells. Is there a connection there?
Aqua: I haven’t heard anything about that…
Kai: A power source that could last indefinitely and a material that repairs itself…The Tsentr Project is trying to make a maintenance-free mech.
Hugo: …That’s right.
Kai: When I last went to Tsentr Project with a lady named Donna Galagar, she spoke of the same concept, but with unmanned units… They hoped to be releasing non manned units within 10 years.
Aqua: I heard that original plan was unmanned units, but we aren’t privy to all the details of the project. We just now learned of the existence of the number 7 unit…
Kai: Do you have any idea why the Medius Locus fired upon us?
Aqua: No idea… This is just my guess, but it could be someone has betrayed us….
Kai: If that were the case, why go after us…. Is there any reason someone would be targeting you?
Hugo: I don’t know. We are completely in the dark here. When I contact Professor Zapad later, I’ll report back to you.
Kai: Roger. Then after the number 7 unit is sorted out, I’ll approve your transfer.
Aqua: Thank you very much. Sorry to make you wait.
Kai: Actually, we’ve had other transfers recently. They arrive the day after tomorrow, so please greet them with our other members.
Aqua: Yes, sir.
Kai: Lt. Hugo, I want to speak with you. Lamia, Aqua, please go outside.
Aqua: Please excuse us.
Hugo: …I wanted to speak with you as well, Major Kai.
Kai: I thought so. I heard rumors about what happened after the Cry Wolves…
Hugo: After the fight with Jetzt, only I and Major Albero Est were alive…
Kai: I looked at your physical data…. The reason it’s like that is…
Hugo: Yes, that incident…. I would like to keep it a secret from Aqua.
Kai: You don’t want her worrying about it? Lamia has probably already noticed.
Hugo: Still… My past should be avoided. Also, I have an obligation to keep official secrets…
Kai: …So far the Tsentr Project hasn’t left a good impression on me. Especially considering this recent encounter with the Medius.
Hugo: I’m sure you already know this, but I don’t know what the true intent of the Tsentr Project is, either.
Hugo: However, I feel very suspicious of this project. Please remember that, Major.
Kai: But you couldn’t help in an investigation, right?
Hugo: Indeed… Because I am obligated to protect official secrets.
Kai: (So they’re coercing him somehow…) I understand. As you wish, I’ll ask Lamia not to speak of it, either.
Hugo: Thank you very much.
Kai: One last thing. Major Albero Est… Where is he now?
Hugo: That… I don’t know, either.
Kai: I see… That’s all.
Hugo: Ah, you were out here, Aqua.
Aqua: We’re partners. I waited. And I have things I want to ask Professor Zapad, as well.
Hugo: Yeah, I’m going to contact him now.
Aqua: …Hey, what were you talking about with Major Kai?
Hugo: It has nothing to do with you.
Aqua: Ah, I see. Well, I expected an answer like that.
Hugo: …Lets go.
Aqua: The Medius has been stolen… Is that true?!
Mitarl: Yes, when it was being transported here.
Hugo: The transfer was top secret, right? How could an outside party know about it?
Mitarl: We don’t know. It’s possible this was an inside job, and there’s an investigation in progress to find the culprit. We have no leads at the moment.
Hugo: So you failed at your job again?
Mitarl: What merit is there in saying that now? The Medius Locus is lost, and the project is grinding to a halt.
Mitarl: In any case, while we’re dealing with the Medius situation here, the culprit may target Cerberus. Be careful.
Hugo: Unit Number 7 is also being brought here. Isn’t Garmraid going to be in danger?
Mitarl: Because of this incident, I’m going to ask the Federation to put it under close guard.
Hugo: Oh? After you didn’t even tell the Aggressors about us coming.
Mitarl: I told them beforehand. In any case, going back to what we were talking about… Are there any problems at Izu?
Hugo: (I wonder.)
Mitarl: In that case, continue as we planned. Collect better data for Cerberus and Garmraid. That is all.
Hugo: … (Right now… all I can do is study his face for the truth…)
 This is my favorite word in Japanese. 魑魅魍魎。LOOK AT THAT. LOOK AT THAT MOTHER FUCKER.
 A LOT OF BACKS
 THE REINS ARE BEING PULLED
 Something about the figure of opportunity.
 AND NOW THIS IS A SITCOM JUST LOOK AT HIS FACE
 The fuck are you talking about, Hugo.