Chapter 42: The Manipulated Ones (Part 2)
Sanger: No more running, Jinrai!
Ratsel: (Why didn’t he escape like he usually does…?)
Ratsel: Gah! Sanger, more mass produced units are coming this way!
Sanger: So he still had that many left.
Ratsel: It’s possible there’s even more waiting. This is…
Sanger: I know. We’ll break them, along with their master!
Chapter 42: The Manipulated Ones (Part 2)
Victory: Shoot down all enemies
Defeat: Sanger or Ratsel are shot down
SR point: Defeat all Mass-Produced Jinrai within 4 turns
*Kill a few*
Ratsel: Sanger, our backup’s arriving.
Lefina: The ships will hold position for the battle.
Sean: Roger. From here, we can make sure Jinrai can’t escape.
Eun: Captain, There’s a message from Minaki Toumine. She wants to talk about Jinrai.
Lefina: Okay. Put her through. And let Ratsel, Sanger, and Kai listen in.
Minaki: …This is Toumine. Captain, I have an incredibly selfish request.
Lefina: We’re in the middle of a battle here, but I’ll do what I can.
Minaki: Okay. I want you to capture Jinrai instead of destroying it.
Minaki: If Jinrai is destroyed by Double G here, it will only make my father’s obsession grow stronger…. But I want to try to remake Jinrai, and prove its worth. Not as a machine to defeat the double G…. but to fight who it needs to fight, to protect the earth from whatever may threaten it.
Lefina: Right now, Jinrai is one of those threats.
Minaki: I know that. But even if the goal it was created for was wrong, I want a chance to make it right.
Lefina: …Are you sure you won’t regret those words later?
Minaki: …. Yes. I know you probably don’t believe me, but…
Touma: Captain, Minaki’s serious here! When the mass produced Jinrai attacked Asakusa, she was terribly shocked! That’s why we need to capture Jinrai…!
Minaki: …Thank you, Touma.
Lefina: Jinrai is a threat. But if we could turn it, it’d be a great asset to our forces. …Minaki, can you realistically do this?
Minaki: I can take the S-ZLAI system out of Jinrai, and make it into a mech piloted by humans, instead.
Lefina: Is that really possible?
Minaki: Yes. Bian Zoldark’s plans called for Jinrai to be a machine that combined man and mech. The proposed “JINKI-1” System wasn’t installed, but…. There is the “LIOH System” that allows the pilot to move freely, and Jinrai will respond accordingly.
Lefina: LIOH… System?
Minaki: Currently it’s deactivated, and an artificial intelligence known as the ZLAI System is controlling the machine in its place. So if we remove that, it will be changed back into a manned machine.
Lefina: …What do you think, everyone?
Ratsel: If we can literally change the heart of the machine…. It could become a considerable boon for our side.
Sanger: …I have no objections.
Kai: As long as we have permission to destroy it if capturing it is impossible.
Lefina: Then our objective has changed. Destroy the mass-produced Jinrai, surround Jinrai, and capture it.
Ratsel: Sanger, first we must clean up these mass-produced nuisances!
Sanger: Of course!
Victory: Defeat all the Mass-Produced Jinrai.
Defeat: The Hiryuu Custom is shot down, Sanger or Ratsel are shot down, Jinrai is shot down
*blow up all dem MPJs*
Eun: All Mass-Produced Jinrai units have been eliminated!
Lefina: Then lead Jinrai to the objective area.
Lefina: Afterwards, flank him on two sides and render him unable to move.
Sanger: Guardian 1 to all units. Jinrai is targeting the DyGenGuard. I will lead him to the area. Then, we need to flank him with 2 machines and open fire. Make sure he can’t resist.
Victory: Lure Jinrai into the designated area, have 2 units adjacent to him, and lower his HP below 3000.
Eun: Captain, the target has entered the specified area!
Lefina: Have the closest 2 teams surround it!
Lefina: Now immobilize him!
*Get him down low*
Eun: The target has stopped its actions!
Lefina: Keep him there, and remove the ZLAI system. …Is that okay, Minaki?
Minaki: …Yes. Thank you for this chance, Captain.
Lefina: (Now we just have to worry about the Medius Locus….)
Erde: Albero, Hugo’s followed us, alone.
Albero: Okay. This is far enough.
Albero: Have you gotten rid of your doubts, Hugo?
Hugo: Shows no hesitation when fighting an enemy…. That’s you taught me.
Hugo: But why are you following Mitarl Zapad’s orders? Why are you with the Gaia Sabers? As far as I can see, you have no reason to help out those bastards!
Albero: …I have a reason.
Albero: But you don’t need to know. …No, it’s better if you don’t.
Hugo: What do you mean?!
Albero: I’m done talking. I’ll let you become the Medius’s meal.
Hugo: Its meal?!
Aqua: Hugo, he’s coming! Focus!
Victory: Shoot down the Medius Locus.
Defeat: Hugo is shot down.
Erde: Albero, don’t go easy on him.
Albero: I know. Keep AI1 in check.
Erde: Sure. (AI1…. There’s nothing to be afraid of. With the pain comes knowledge to make you stronger…. So don’t reject it. Take the pain. Even if you get really damaged, I’ll keep you safe. I promise.)
Hugo: Why are you targeting us?! What do you mean, Medius’s meal?!
Albero: You ask too many questions!
Hugo: Of course I do! I know I played right into Mitarl’s hand, but I’m not gonna let that be the end of it!
Albero: If you really want to know the truth, come at me with all you have! If you don’t, you’ll die!
Hugo: You don’t have to tell me that!
Hugo: Guhhhh! Aaaagh!
Hugo: (Not now…. The medicine’s wearing off quicker than before…!)
Aqua: Hey, Hugo!
Hugo: I-I’m fine! You focus on your own job!
Aqua: Hugo, I’m updating the pattern data on the Medius!
Hugo: Keep it at least 80% accurate!
Aqua: Got it!
Erde: (...That’s no good, Aqua. You’re relying too much on the system. If something unexpected were to happen… then you’d become a meal to help AI1 grow stronger.)
Aqua: Is he retreating?!
Hugo: You won’t get away!
Albero: You did well. But now it’s over!
Hugo: Damn, he’s behind me!
Aqua: He’s faster than before!
Erde: (Of course. AI1’s growing in real time….)
Albero: Hugo, you can’t beat the Medius. Especially not with that body.
Hugo: Ughh…. Aaah…
Aqua: What… What do you mean, that body?!
Albero: This is your last chance. Come with me.
Erde: (Albero…. What are you doing…!)
Albero: You’re on your last legs, Hugo. The only one who can fix your body is Mitarl.
Aqua: Last legs?! Fix?!
Hugo: That’s… You’re telling me to wag my tail….! Just like you…. Working for Mitarl! You’re telling me to be the Gaia Sabers’ dog!
Albero: Listen, the real reason I’m working with them is…
Hugo: I’ll hear the story after I rip you out of that Medius! Aqua! Release the TE Limiter! If we want to win against the Medius, that’s our only option!
Aqua: O-okay! Limiter, Release!
Albero: I won’t let you!
Aqua: ! Hugo! 3 o’clock, 10 degrees down! Burn the left shoulder thruster for 2 seconds!
Erde: (She was able to read AI1’s movements?! She was able to predict something beyond the system’s capabilities!
Hugo: Got you!
Erde: Damn! This is dangerous. We need to turn over all control to AI1.
Albero: Don’t be foolish!
Erde: Do you want to lose the Medius and AI1 here?!
Albero: Shut up! This fight isn’t over!
Erde: ….! (I will not let him kill AI1…. I will not let him kill my child. He needs to grow more and more…. I won’t let him get in the way…. I won’t let my baby die.) (! AI1…. You still want to fight? That’s a good boy. You really are my child. I’ll give you a bit more time.)
Aqua: Hugo! We have 34 seconds before we can’t move anymore! Hurry up and destroy the Medius!
Erde: Wait. I won’t let you kill my child.
Hugo: Who’s this woman?!
Aqua: Th-that voice…. It can’t be…. Ms. Mitte?!
Erde: That’s right, Aqua Centrum.
Aqua: N-no! Why are you in the Medius?!
Erde: I joined the Tsentr Project before you did.
Aqua: !! S-so…. You knew from the beginning…?!
Erde: Hahaha…. Thanks to you, my child now knows what pain is. And he’s drawn enough power to continue his existence.
Hugo: Aqua! The power’s falling! Into the Blue Zone!
Erde: I’ll show you the results of your lessons.
Albero: Guh, I’ve lost control!
Erde: Control transfer complete. Lazumunanium CA Limiter, Released. Multiplication and Evolution Limiters, Released.
Albero: Erde! What are you doing?!
Erde: Figure Image, stabilized. Beginning incrementing. AI1…. Show them what you’ve learned… Show them your power!
*evil robot face*
Aqua: The Medius!!!
Albero: What is this?! What’s happening to the Medius?!
Erde: Hehehe, There’s no need to be so surprised. This is Lazumunanium’s…. No, my child’s true power.
Albero: I can’t believe this! No one told me this!
Erde: That’s because… there was no need for you to know.
Albero: You bitch!
Erde: AI1…. They’re yours, now.
Hugo: Don’t cut the controls! Aqua!
Aqua: U-ugghh…. H-Hugo…
Aqua: !!! No! The front seat is…!
Albero: Hugo… What happened to Hugo…?!
Erde: He no longer exists. He has no form. You could call him dead.
Aqua: H-hugo! Where are you?! HUGO!!!!
Erde: Without his protection, the entire cockpit would have been destroyed….
Albero: Erde… You bitch…!
Erde: The professor and I have been giving you plenty of things to keep you occupied. But this is the end, as you can see. Because your involvement has let AI1 grow and evolve even further…. I won’t tell about how you tried to rescue Hugo. For the sake of your son.
Aqua: A-aaahh…. Ms. Mitte….. Y-you…!
Erde: Aqua, it’s your fault Hugo died.
Erde: Your shock gave the Medius time to complete its evolution. In the end, his death was caused by that. Do you know why I never told you I was on the Medius?
Erde: Yes, so I could use your surprise to my advantage. Because I knew you would hesitate.
Erde: And now you’ve learned. I taught you what happens when you can’t analyze a situation coolly and respond.
Aqua: I…. I….
Erde: *chuckle* I guess the lesson came at a pretty high price, though.
Aqua: aah… Waaaah….!
Erde: Thanks to you, I was able to ascend AI1 to the next level faster than I anticipated. As thanks…. I’ll send you to Hugo.
Erde: A rejection …. Why?!
Albero: I’ve regained control….!
Erde: Are you saying you’re uncertain because you only just evolved…? Or….
Albero: … We’re leaving, Erde. In this state, it’d be dangerous to fight the Steel Dragons.
Erde: …. Fine. Let’s go.
Erde: *chuckle* You’re lucky, Aqua.
Erde: There’s one more TE Absorber. Grow from this experience and become its pilot.
Erde: And then come to challenge the evolved Medius. If you think you can, that is.
Eita: The Medius Locus has retreated!
Tetsuya: Where’s Hugo?!
Eita: His machine is heavily damaged!
Tetsuya: Recover it immediately! Send the med team to the deck immediately! Have all other units on guard!
Arado: N-no way…!
Aqua: It…. It’s my fault…. Because I hesitated against Ms. Mitte….
Aqua: Erde Mitte…. When I was at the academy… She was my advisor…. She’s the architecture programmer for the TC-OS… Sh-she… She was part of the Tsentr Project…. And she was riding the Medius…. Sh-she knew…. She knew all along…. A-ahh…
Aqua: And I…. It’s my fault Hugo…. He…
Excellen: Aqua, calm down…
Aqua: But…. But…. He said… his body… was at its limits….
Latooni: Was there something wrong with Hugo’s body?
Kai: … After the battle with the Jetzt, he was mortally wounded. And the Tsentr Project took his body from the wreckage. The missing parts were replaced by Mitarl Zapad.
Josh: Then Hugo was…
Kai: A cyborg.
Rahda: And there was Lazumunanium added into his artificial bones. The medicine he was taking stopped his body from rejecting it, and kept the Lazumunanium from self-replicating…. And only Professor Zapad could make the medicine.
Rahda: He was probably using Hugo as an experiment on Lazumunanium….
Seolla: But when his medicine ran out…
Rahda: His entire body would turn into Lazumunanium, and he’d die. It was what kept Hugo in line.
Aqua: He… He never told me…
Kai: He probably didn’t want to worry you.
Aqua: B-but…. Something as terrible as that….
Kai: …After the Gaia Sabers made their move, he wasn’t able to get any more medicine… He had about 10 days’ worth left.
Kai: Once we reached Iti Iti Island, I had planned to dismiss him, and make him tell Aqua everything….
Aqua: Hugo… He said when we got to the island, he’d tell me the truth…
Kai: I see…
Aqua: He… He was putting me through the Simulator, and having me practice releasing the TE Limiter…. Because he knew he didn’t have much time left…. If I had noticed sooner, then…
Excellen: Aqua, saying that isn’t…
Kai: No…. I was going to have him put on leave anyway. That was my duty….
Aqua: …. Please… Let me be alone for a bit….
Kai: …Of course. Let’s go, people.
Aqua: (Why… Why, Ms. Mitte…. Why are you… I don’t understand… I don’t understand anything…. Hugo… What… What should I do…? Without you here, I…. A-aah…. Hugo….)
Marion: …. This TE Absorber can’t be used anymore.
Marion: How is Aqua?
Lamia: She survived with only light wounds.
Marion: That’s…. strange.
Robert: Huh? What do you mean?
Marion: Look at the damage… Look at the state of the torso. All four limbs have been damaged and crushed, and the hole that looks like it was ripped right out of the body… And the TE Engine was ripped off of the Module.
Lamia: So their goal was…
Marion: The Tsentr project has plenty of TE Engines already. And if they wanted to capture pilots, then… Why would they be pulling the engine out? And Hugo….
Ariel: They pulled it out…?
Marion: I can only think that this wasn’t what they were aiming for.
Lamia: Disregarding the Medius Locus’s evolution, they weren’t able to capture or destroy the Garmraid…. So it was an unfinished job?
Kyosuke: I don’t understand the reason why they retreated. Was there a problem?
Marion: It could be that they didn’t expect to seize the TE Engine and only have Aqua alive.
Robert: Whether it was expected or not, the person controlling the Medius was Major Albero. I can’t imagine him taking the TE Engine without wanting to…
Marion: Try thinking about it alongside the Lazumunanium factor. It doesn’t only regenerate damaged portions of the mech, but it was able to make drastic alterations to the Medius’s shape, size, and power. It’s just like the Machine Cells. If they have the same ability to control the corrosion….
Ariel: Did you have an idea?
Robert: Y-yeah…. If the Lazumunanium detected from Hugo’s body was a sign of that…
Lamia: So Hugo and the TE Engine were taken…. When they turned into Lazumunanium?
Robert: It wasn’t what Albero intended at all…?
Ariel: They took not just the Engine, but Hugo as well…. We don’t know enough to figure out why it happened.
Marion: it could be related to something that can control the Lazumunanium.
Lamia: That’s fine…. But it doesn’t change the fact that Hugo’s gone.
Axel: (Hugo Medio…. You were unlucky. Or maybe….)
*At Grand Christmas*
Kaoru: They stole my Jinrai! Wh-what were you doing?!
Erde: We told you, we were enlisting the help of Delta until we could contact the Target. And it was Jinrai who ran away from the battle first…
Kaoru: It’s what happened after that that’s the problem!
Erde: We did say that after we contacted our target, we would be carrying out our own objectives.
Erde: It was an unfortunate result…. But we were able to get new data for AI0 and AI1. (Of course, he’s not getting the real data for AI1.)
Kaoru: I don’t care about AI1, my ZLAI system is more important!
Erde: …I have to report to Professor Zapad, so please excuse me.
Kaoru: Damn you…. Damn you, Steel Dragons! I will get you! And you, Minaki! Why won’t you answer my calls! What are you doing?!
Mitarl: I see… So Hugo’s dead.
Erde: Yes, sir.
Mitarl: Good work, Major Albero. To be honest, I doubted if you really would be able to do it. I thought when it came down to it, you’d try to save him.
Mitarl: You can continue to leave Foglia to us. …You’re dismissed.
Albero: I want to ask you something first.
Mitarl: What is it?
Albero: The Medius changed forms. You didn’t tell me that AI1 or the Lazumunanium had those kinds of powers.
Mitarl: It was confidential. And there was no reason to disclose it to you. You just need to pilot it. For your son’s sake.
Erde: Is it okay to leave him like that?
Mitarl: Yes, he’s still needed. In case we have another day like today.
Erde: Do you have complaints?
Mitarl: I’ll give you credit for making the Medius Locus evolve. But taking the TE Engine and parts…. Did you really want that to happen?
Mitarl: Meaning…. You weren’t able to control AI1, right?
Erde: To get the result we want, it’s necessary to give him control over his own power. Looking over the results of the tests so far, that was the call I made. I’d rather call it a wonderful sign of growth.
Mitarl: No, it’s a dangerous oversight. If AI1 continues learning like that, and becomes more powerful than you, what will you do?
Erde: It’s a parent’s job to help their child get what they want.
Mitarl: I’m asking if it’s possible he’ll start to act fully independently.
Erde: He can control the Lazumunanium. That’s what he’s there for.
Mitarl: I’m worried about AI1. You’re walking a very thin line with him. There’s nothing I can do about what he took, but put a limiter on him. If you can’t control AI1, then I’ll have to re-think the Model-X project.
Albero: (I can’t believe that happened… I can’t go back now…. With this… When Foglia wakes up, I won’t be able to look him in the eyes… Hugo…. I couldn’t save you…. I was the one who ended your journey…)
Alteur: Hmm…. So the Medius Locus and Jinrai weren’t enough to make them call the Servants.
Nibhal: The Alpha and Beta saviors are pursuing them.
Alteur: If you have the chance, send out Omega as well.
Nibhal: What about Delta?
Alteur: We need the mass produced units for the coming battles. And we can use them as sacrifices. Keep them as they are.
Nibhal: Yes, sir. Also, something very interesting happened to the Medius Locus. Here’s the relevant data.
Nibhal: It seems Professor Zapad isn’t happy about it.
Alteur: He’s worried about how far it’ll go. Once it reaches its next step, it’ll become integral to my plan.
Nibhal: So we should focus on Erde Mitte’s plan?
Alteur: No, stay with Zapad. By doing that, we can rouse her a bit more.
Nibhal: I see.
Alteur: Any other information to report?
Nibhal: Very soon, the second wave of Cylions will begin to roll out. The pilot this time is…. A mercenary we got from Mitsuko Isurugi, Araseli Garcia.
Alteur: Right… Someone was talking about that.
Nibhal: Do you think he’s looking to appease us?
Alteur: Probably. Send him an order to chase after the Steel Dragons. If he wants to join the Sabers, he’ll need more than just the Cylions.
Nibhal: Okay. I’ll tell him.
Operator: Excuse me, sirs. There’s an incoming message for Commander Alteur.
Alteur: Sending a message directly here…? Who is it?
Operator: Someone named… Shu Shirakawa.
Mitsuko: I suppose you contacted me directly because you wanted to ask me a question.
Sleigh: Why was I removed from Araseli Garcia’s team?
Mitsuko: From the beginning, I had no intention of handing over the Vegalion to the Gaia Sabers. Project TD is my company’s project.
Sleigh: …So, what do you want me to do?
Mitsuko: I want you to meet with the Steel Dragons.
Mitsuko: Originally I was just to make contact with them directly, but… Considering all the facets of Project TD, I doubt they’ll be so ready to trust me. And you’re the only person I have with a connection to them, so I thought I’d send you.
Sleigh: …You do know what I’m going to do, right?
Mitsuko: Of course. But haven’t Vega and Altair been waiting too long for their rendezvous?
Sleigh: (Vega and Altair….)
Mitsuko: In any case, this request isn’t just about Project TD or the Steel Dragons, but about our fate as a whole. I don’t mean to exaggerate, but the future of earth rests in your hands.
Sleigh: …If I refuse?
Mitsuko: Oh, but you would have no reason to refuse, right? To achieve your dear brother’s dream, you need the “Hyper 77”, right? You can either try get it yourself…. Or if you accept my request, you would have a guarantee of my support.
Sleigh: (My brother’s dream….)
Sleigh: Fine. I’ll do it.
Mitsuko: Have fun.