Previous Chapter: Chapter 19: The Wounded Wolf                Next Chapter: Chapter 21

 

*Izu Base*

Aqua: Huh? Really?

Seolla: Yeah… Though we weren’t there…

Arado: Didn’t you hear anything about it from Hugo?

Aqua: I knew he was a member of the Cry Wolves, but I hadn’t heard anything about that…

Arado: Ah…

Seolla: People outside of the squad were forbidden to talk about it… I thought you would know something, being a member of the Tsentr Project…

Aqua: I haven’t heard anything…

Latooni: Lt. Aqua, you have a message. The Unit 7 TE Absorber is going to be 2 hours late in arriving…

Aqua: …Thanks, Latooni. I’ll tell Hugo. (If I don't confirm it directly with him…)

*elsewhere*

Aqua: Hugo, I want to talk about something….

Hugo: …

Aqua: What’s wrong? You look pale.

Hugo: I’m sorry… but could you get me some water?

Aqua: Huh? Hey, I’m your partner, not your maid!

Hugo: …Please.

Aqua: What’s with that face? Are you really feeling that bad?

Hugo: …

Aqua: Fine, fine. Water, right?

Hugo: Yeah…

Aqua: Wait a second.

Hugo: (I can’t feel my legs… Is the medicine becoming less effective…? Or did they change the medicine they gave me?

Aqua: Here, your water.

Hugo: …Thanks.

Aqua: Are you thirsty?

Hugo: No… I need to take some medicine.

Aqua: What medicine?

Hugo: …Just some cold medicine… And what did you want to talk about?

Aqua: Well, I came to ask about… Well, it may be a touchy subject, but… The unit you were in, the Cry Wolves…

Hugo: …

Aqua: They were destroyed by the living weapon Jetzt. And… that weapon was related to the Tsentr Project…

Hugo: And?

Aqua: Wha- I hadn’t heard that you had that kind of past relationship with the project, so why…

Hugo:  Why am I working for the people who created the monster than destroyed my squad?

Aqua: I-I meant…

Hugo: I got involved with the Tsentr Project because those were my orders.

Aqua: That was the same for me, but… Thinking about what happened with the Medius Locus, and why they were making the Jetzt…

Hugo:  The people at our level don’t get told everything. Don’t go looking for trouble. Just complete the tasks assigned to you.

Aqua: What about you? Professor Zapad is…

Hugo: I told you not to look for trouble. For your own sake.

Aqua: …

Lamia: Lt. Hugo, Lt. Aqua. Please go to the number 12 briefing room.

Aqua: Roger. Is there a new mission?

Lamia: One more group of transfers is coming in from Antarctica. We’re meeting them.

Hugo: (Antarctica…?)

*Briefing room*

Kai: I see everyone is accounted for. I’d like to introduce you to our new test pilots.

Joshua: …Joshua Radcliff. Call me Josh.

Rim: I’m Cliana Rimskaya… I go by Rim. I help my brother.

Aqua: Brother? Your last names are different…

Joshua: Rim’s my adopted sister.

Aqua: I see… (They look younger than me…. I never would have guessed I’d be older than our new members…)

Kai: Joshua and Rim are civilians, not soldiers. They’re from Re-Technologist.

Joshua: Actually, Major Kai, my dad may have said so, but I’m not actually part of Re-Technologist.

Kai: I see…

Arado: Re Techno…what now?

Joshua: A research lab that focuses on reclaiming “Lost Technology”. They research the ruins discovered in Antarctica.

Arado: There are ruins in Antarctica?

Latooni: And what do you mean by “Lost Technology” …?

Seolla: This is the first I’ve heard of it.

Joshua: If it had been a group like the LTR Corporation who found those ruins, the discovery would have been published long ago…. But my father’s crew wanted to be the only people there researching them. They wanted to finish all their investigations first. I guess you could say that’s a noble quality for researchers. But that made the research take too long. Eventually, my father’s crew ran out of funding, and they had no choice but to borrow from people who wanted to use the ruin’s over technology for military purposes.

Rim: (Josh…)

Latooni: Over technology… Were there more EOT artifacts at the South Pole’s ruins?

Josh: Unrelated to the Aerogaters or the Inspectors, but yes. In the end, we don’t know who created those ruins, or why.

Aqua: So… the machine you brought with you…

Joshua: It’s used in the Aile Chevalier, and we call the system Res Arcana, which means “mysterious secret.[1] In any case, we knew it could be used instead of a normal generator, so Cliff, my father’s assistant, suggested we put it in a mech.

Hugo: So basically, you were used as a guinea pig.

Josh: …

Aqua: Hugo, don’t say that…

Josh: I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be a test subject for a machine that wouldn’t move unless a person was inside of it, but there was a reason I had to pilot the Aile Chevalier.

Hugo: Because your father asked you to?

Josh: … A lot happens down in the remote regions. Not only the Antarctic Incident, but the Einst attacked as well.

Hugo: …!

Joshua: Because the Federation couldn’t respond to the monsters, we had to protect ourselves with whatever units we could.

Hugo: (Meaning he did what he had to, to survive….)

Joshua: (And unless we figure out what the Sympathia loaded on the Aile Chevalier really is, Rim will...)

Kai: Regardless, though it is unprecedented, we got orders from Commander Kenneth.  We’re to cooperate with you in collecting data from the Aile Chevalier. We’ve had Yokijin attack Tesla Labs, been targeted by groups of unknown mechs, and now there’s been the incident with the Medius Locus. Don’t let your guard down.

Seolla: Yes, sir.

Latooni: Understood.

Lamia: Roger-dodger.

Rim: Dodger…?

Joshua: …

Arado: Oh, Josh ignored it. Usually people have something to say to that.

Joshua: (At least I can understand her…)

Kai: The ruins in Antarctica and Re-Tech are secrets. Don’t share the information with people outside the squad.

Seolla: Understood.

Kai: Moving on, today we are going to the training area on Mizutori Island. Bring the practice gear. The mechanics will bring each machine to the transport ship.

Aqua: Major, sir. We’re…

Kai: Ah, yes, the adjustments for that will take some time. You can leave after you set everything up.

Aqua: Thank you.

Joshua: …Well then, I’ll leave it to you. Re-tech’s sponsor has demanded battle data from PTs and Super Robots.

Hugo: … So you’ll be fighting against us? You seem at ease about it.

Aqua: Hugo, we’re doing the same thing. We’re taking data from the Garmraid…

Joshua: Lt. Hugo Medio, was it? Since you’re a professional, I’m sure you find this kind of thing boring.

Hugo: You seem just as out of your element as I am.

Joshua: We all have our reasons, it seems.

Hugo: Right, we have to collect data for a new model. Even if you’re civilians, we won’t hold back.

Joshua: I understand.

Aqua: (Is Hugo irritated? Because the Medius Locus got away…? Or maybe…)

Chapter 20: The Knight who Wished to Fly

Seolla: So that’s the TE Absorber Unit Number 7, Garmraid…

*Yes it is*

Arado: When it was being transported, I couldn’t really tell what it looked like…. It’s very much a Super Robot. I’m sure if Ryuusei saw it, he’d be overjoyed.

Latooni: Y-yeah…

Arado: Ah… S-sorry, Lat.

Latooni: No, I’m fine… I know that Ryuusei, Mai, Lt. Kyosuke, and all the people of the Steel Dragons are safe. So right now, I’m taking pictures of the Aile Chevalier and Garmraid…

Seolla: So you can show them to Ryuusei when he returns?

Latooni: Yeah.

Joshua: Res Arcana, Sympathia, FCS, check. Alright, it feels good.

Hugo: Aqua, don’t slack on the power levels. If the power fluctuates from the middle of the yellow zone…

Aqua: It’s got more power than the Cerberus, and the fluctuations are greater too, so I can’t control it as well yet!

Hugo: Mitarl’s not going to accept those excuses. You have to try.

Aqua: I know that!

Arado: Josh’s unit… It doesn’t look like it’ll fair well against a Super Robot.

Lamia: Our objective is to collect data. It doesn’t matter who wins or loses.

Kai: Well then, you two, start round one. Fight!

Hugo: Let’s go, Aqua!

Aqua: R-roger!

Joshua: (The enemy is a Super Robot… But I don’t plan on letting that discourage me. I’ll show them!)

Chapter 20: The Knight who wished to Fly

Victory: Bring the Garmraid to below 7200 in 3 turns.

Defeat: Josh is defeated

SR point: Complete the Winning Condition without the Aile Chevalier being damaged.

*Josh Vs Hugo*

Joshua: Aile Chevalier… Let’s go!

*YEAH YOU SAVE SCUMMED YOUR WAY TO AN SR POINT!

Joshua: Garmraid's movement has…!

Hugo: Guh…! (My hand and leg…! Dammit, it shouldn’t be that time yet!)

Aqua: Hugo, what’s wrong?!

Hugo: (As I feared, the medicine’s effect is getting weaker… This isn’t funny. If my legs and hands were to seize up in a real battle…!)

Aqua: Hugo, hurry up and move!

Josh: Now’s my chance!

Hugo: Aaaargh!

Kai: Round one has been decided. Josh 1, Hugo 0.

Josh: …

Hugo: Ugh…

Aqua: Hey, what’s wrong? I know the output was in the yellow zone…

Hugo: I know that…

Josh: (The Garmraid is moving strangely. But it doesn’t look like machine trouble…)

*SIRENS*

Latooni: Unknown responses from 8 o’clock! There’s….

*OH SHIT IT BE PLANTS*

Kai: Those are…!

Latooni: They’re in the data from Tesla Labs. Demons… Yokijin.

Lamia: Why are they here?

Kai: Hugo, Josh, get back!

Josh: I can, but the Garmraid…

Aqua: Hugo…!

Hugo:  I tried everything… but it’s too soon…

Aqua: Hey, are you really alright? Is there something wrong with your body?

Hugo: (You don’t know the half of it…!)

Kai: Hurry and fall back!

Joshua: I need to collect real battle data. I’m going.

Hugo: Josh….

Joshua: I can’t get the data I need when I fight people who aren’t at 100%.

Hugo: …!

Kai: I understand… But don’t be reckless. All units, attack!

Victory condition: Defeat all enemies,

Losing condition: Any allied unit is shot down

SR point: None

*Battle quotes*

Josh: These aren’t Einst… they’re Yokijin!

Lamia: Target: "demon". Beginning extermination.

Kai: What are they after…?

Arado: Yokijin… I’ll get rid of you!

Seolla: Th-they’re so gross looking…

Latooni: Yokijin… With this, we’ll collect a bit more data…

*Kill ‘em all*

Lamia: All enemies have been destroyed.

Kai: Alright… Confirm the area is safe, then fall back.

*At the base again*

Latooni: Major Kai, I sent the data on the Yokijin to the Tesla Labs.

Kai: Good. Before the mock battle, I heard about the Yokijin, but I didn’t expect them to show up...

Lamia: Unlike Tesla Labs, we didn’t have a Mechanoid with us… What was their objective-ive?[2]

Kai: I don’t know, but I don’t think they were here by accident.

Seolla: So they came for us…?

Arado: But why?

Kai: Josh, Hugo, do you have any ideas?

Hugo: No…

Joshua: It could be that one of us newcomers is the reason.

Kai: That is just speculation. But the Aile Chevalier uses unknown technology… There might be a connection there.

Josh: If that were the case, wouldn’t they go straight for Antarctica?

Kai: That’s true… Just to be safe, send Re-Tech the data on the Yokijin, and have them be on the lookout.

Josh: I’ll do it, but I don’t think it’ll come to anything. They have no interest in anything but the ruins.

Kai: I still want to do what I can.

Josh: …Understood.

Kai: That’s all. You’re dismissed.

Josh: …Lt. Hugo.

Hugo: What?

Josh: In that practice battle… Were you giving me a handicap?

Hugo: Yeah, you could say I was holding back.

Josh: …I see. It didn’t look like machine trouble, at least.

*He leaves, smug as shit*

Hugo: (Seems like he has good intuition. And he’s strong.)

Aqua: You had no reason to go easy on him, Hugo. Was it because you lagged behind during the fitting?

Hugo: …

Aqua: Then… it was my fault.

Hugo: No, it wasn’t… It was me. (I have to pay attention to the intervals of my medicine…. If it runs out too fast, then I could lose control in the middle of a battle.)

*He leaves, sad as shit*

Aqua: (Hugo…)

Seolla: Did something happen?

Aqua: No, it’s nothing. Also, I have something to ask you all, if it’s okay.

Seolla: What is it?

Aqua: The Steel Dragons’ main port is Izu, right? I haven’t seen the Hagane or the Hiryuu Custom, are they on a mission somewhere?

Seolla: The truth is… The Steel Dragons and all the crew have made no contact with us.

Aqua: What, really?!

Seolla: Yeah… Without any notice, they suddenly disappeared after a routine exercise over the ocean.

Arado: And before that, Lt. Kyosuke Nanbu and Ryuusei Date disappeared along with their units… Our friends in Asakusa[3] and a princess we know are gone, too….

Aqua: Th-that’s terrible….

Seolla: We’re trying to figure out what happened, but we can’t find any clues.

Arado: The acquaintances of ours who have disappeared have fought alongside us in our battles up till now… I’m sure they’re safe.

Aqua: (They’ve dealt with more than just the Yokijin, huh…)

*in a room*

Rim: Josh! Welcome back!

Josh: Sorry I took so long.

Rim: Bro, how was the battle?

Josh: Liana, Don’t change so suddenly like that.

Rim: Sorry, sorry. I was shut up for so long, I got antsy.

Josh: Sorry if this place makes you feel cramped.

Rim: Nothin’ I can do about it. If they knew about me and Chris, they’d be shocked.

Rim: When we were in the cafeteria earlier… When I talked to Riana, the soldiers looked at me funny…

Josh: Be careful. This isn’t Mother Base.

Rim: I know that, Bro. But how long can you keep this a secret?

Josh: At least for now. We don’t know what kind of people the Aggressors are.

Rim: I don’t think they’re bad people…

Josh: I guess not.

Rim: Hey, Josh… I’m worried about Dad and the others…

Josh:  Because we didn’t tell them you were coming with me?

Rim: Y-yeah…

Josh: There’s been no contact from the team. They must know I was the one who brought you with me. Probably, if dad’s worried about anything, it’s the Sympathia.

Rim: Don’t say that…

Josh: No matter what, I won’t let them put you two in that thing. The only people who will touch the Sympathia are me and Dad. I won’t let them use you as a guniea pig again…!

Rim: …

 

Previous Chapter: Chapter 19: The Wounded Wolf                Next Chapter: Chapter 21: Blazing Black Huntress


[1] Literally Mysterious Mystery, but fuck that shit. HOLY SHIT JOSH RIDES IN THE MYSTERY MACHINE HES SCOOBY

[2] Speech error joke.

[3] Grass friends!