A girl rolls around restlessly in her sky blue sheets in bed, her short pink hair swaying across her face and her soft pillow.
"I can't tell if I've slept enough or not," She ponders. "Maybe I'm just really worried..."
The girl turns one last time to stare at the metal door in the darkness. Her purple eyes look like they are drooping, yet her body kept signaling to her that she was not the least bit weary. She exhales and sees her own breath in front of her. Even in her warm lavender pajamas, the girl slightly shivers from the cold.
"If I can't sleep, I could just get ready now."
[ ] Turn back to the wall and try to get some more shut-eye.
[ ] Jump out of bed and get prepared.
[ ] Get up, sit down and think about things for the time being.
[X] Get up, sit down and think about things for the time being.
The girl throws her blanket aside and turns to sit on her bed. She tilts her head down and runs her hands through her hair to try and straighten it out the best she can.
"I'm slightly tired, but I need to remember why I'm here, why we're doing this crazy thing. I need to get my bearings straight." Feeling adequate about the neatness of her hair, she places her hands on her lap, "Right, we ran away from home because I heard from an officer that they were going to militarize the area and I didn't want to get my sister involved in the war at all. The problem is, despite our efforts, we're running out of money now and I have no idea what to do ne-"
The metal doors separate and slide open, revealing a girl with her long messy white hair with a tint of aquamarine and eyes of blue. Her cheeks are red as she covers her small breasts with both her arms. The basic pilotsuit was colored copper with a tinge of olive and skin-tight as well showing off subtle curves of her body.
"G-Geez, Satori!" She jumps back, "You're awake? Who were you talking to? Although right now, I'd like to tell you that this outfit is... a bit embarassing!"
"Just recalling to myself what I've done. For confidence and reassurance." Satori looks up, "Koishi, you're fine. Even if it's your first time in one of those, no one else but Rin and I are going to see you in that anyways and you're comfortable with us seeing you like that, right?"
"Sure, but still," Koishi turns her head to the left, "I feel really naked in this! Why do I have to wear this?"
"Well, because the robot's system is able to effectively monitor your health with that on instead of normal clothes that obscure access to your body, making it more difficult to judge your vitals with." Satori explains. "Besides, when we're done, we can take the suits off and feel a bit ourselves again. For a while, at least."
Koishi looks down at herself. "So do guys have to wear something like these too?"
Satori sighs. "As far as I've read up on it, yes they do."
Koishi blushes again. "I guess I should feel pretty bad for them too!"
Satori giggles, then asks, "Why are you in that now exactly?"
Koishi walks over to the bed and sits down beside Satori. "Orin told me that we're almost at our destination for the mining assignment and that we should get ready. You know how she is."
"She likes that nickname, but her name is still Rin you know."
"Yeah I know, but I like calling her that. It's cute and she likes it."
"She's really happy that we took her in and she's helping us out now by flying the ship and getting us the robots we needed to deal with the assignment. Even if we did technically steal the ship. And the robots in it."
"I'm sure the owners don't mind! They would want the same thing if they still had it!"
"You need to try to understand the world for once, Koishi. That kind of logic is very dangerous if anyone would misinterpret it."
"Don't worry!" Koishi puts her left hand on Satori's right hand and grips it softly. "No matter what happens to us, you'll be there for me and I'll be there for you. We're sisters to the end, isn't that right?" She smiles.
"Yes." Satori smiles and nods. "Sisters to the end." She grips Koishi's hand with her right and places her left hand on top of it.
Koishi lets go of her hand and gets up to head out the door. She turns around and tells Satori, "Get yourself ready and head to the hanger, we should be inside the robots by then since we're getting there really soon!"
"Alright, I'm coming." Satori stands up and follows Koishi out the door.
As Koishi walks away from behind her whistling a familiar tune, Satori goes to the dressing room and locks the door with a click as she grabs her pilotsuit from the closet. She unbuttons her shirt and slides off her pants to fit herself inside the suit.
At a glance with the mirror, Satori also has an incredibly difficult time coping with how revealing the pilotsuit was. It was colored teal with streaks of pink around the areas that Satori would rather not show off. Her curves project themselves noticeably through the suit.
"Even if we took the ship and the robots, we still bought the pilotsuits ourselves and it should have been obvious why these were so cheap with the awkward color schemes and all. No sense in complaining though..." She thought.
Satori hangs her pajamas in the closet, unlocks the door and leaves the dressing room to meet Koishi in the hanger.
When she arrives, Koishi is standing there waving at her in front of the robots. The robots are salmon-colored, they have bipedal legs which look like pegs, their arms are three prongs in a triangle formation on a long shaft, and their booster is a wide tray on their back. The cockpit is in between the robot's legs.
"Hey! How's the suit, Satori?"
"That's great! I'm still not used to it, but I'm surprised they had it so cheap in our size!"
"Yeah, sure!" Satori still had second guesses to whether she felt fine in her suit as it was pretty much her first time too.
"Anyways, get in your robot immediately, Orin told me we're really close!"
"Okay, I'm going, I'm going!"
Koishi and Satori run over to their respective robots, giving the cockpit a light tap and watching the cockpit's protective shell dissolve itself. They jump in and the shell reforms above them, encasing them inside the cockpit. Koishi's face appears above Satori's console to the right while the opposite occurs for Koishi.
"Satori, why is the cockpit here anyways?"
"Uh, Koishi, the location of the cockpit allows the pilot to observe both above and below him or her readily. Being at the top means you can't see below you with ease and being at the middle places you in the most danger as it's the biggest target of the robot."
"That... sort of makes sense, but it still looks very awkward to me. Like it symbolizes something that we aren't supposed to be thinking of when we're inside it."
The console of the robot then activates and glows with an eerie orange color. It next begins to read out the person's body details in text to ensure verification.
>Satori Komeiji - Age 18
>Koishi Komeiji - Age 16
Satori got more and more uncomfortable squirming often as it went on, but she had to read all of it and confirm that all the information was correct. Koishi seemed fine with it and had no trouble at all with it.
After the data confirmation was completed, Rin's face appears above both of their consoles to the left. Her crimson hair was tied into side braids only at the front and her red eyes always had a twinkle in them. She also had a bit of fang showing, cat ears on her head and she wore a dark green dress.
Rin's eyes light up with joy as her cat ears perk up. "Good job, Koishi! You got Satori awake!"
Koishi grins. "No problem, Orin!"
Rin looks directly at Satori. "Rise and shine, sleepyhead!"
Satori tilts and scratches her head with a giggle. "Ahaha, yes I'm wide awake, thanks Rin."
"Ahem," Rin clears her throat. "Both of you have your equipment ready?"
Koishi interrupts quickly, "What's my 'equipment' again?"
"You should know this, silly, your helmet and emergency supplies. Check for those and check carefully!"
"Okay, I'm looking... yes and yes, I've got those!"
Satori chimes in. "Check and check as well. We're ready then?"
Rin puts her hands on her hips. "Both of you should be ready to embark then. We're at the location of the assignment so I'm going to letting you two go at this point. All you have to do is find the ore and bring as much as you can back to the ship so we can give them to the client and get paid. Be safe and don't do anything stupid!"
"Okay, Orin, we'll be careful! I'm really excited to try something new!"
"Of course we will, Rin, these things weren't easy to get by."
Rin's face disappears as the hanger roars, opening up and readying itself for dropoff.
The robots drop a short distance from the ship, slamming into the ground below. It shakes the Komeijis up, but they adjust themselves and assume control of their robots. Satori and Koishi manage to get the robots' legs out of the ground and start hobbling forward slowl in search for ore to finish the assignment.
"These robots are so slow and frail! They're not like the toys I played with when I was young." Koishi announces on the radio.
"Those toys weren't really built with reality in mind." Satori responds.
Rin's face appears again. "Are you two okay?"
"Fine." Both of them respond.
"Did your robots receive any readings for the ore yet?"
Satori looks down at her console, then looks at Rin. "No, not yet."
"Oh, that's irritating." Rin responds, "If a reading does come up, it'll show up on the console so keep checking that, okay?"
Koishi grins again. "You bet! Thanks for reminding me!"
"We'll going to spend a little bit of the money we earn to celebrate our first successful mission! Good luck, I'll be expecting both of you back soon!" Rin finishes and she disappears from the display.
"Maybe we can get some good wine then, a nice drink to top everything off." Satori remarks.
"Just don't drink too much at the party then!" Koishi jests.
Satori jokes, "No problem, I can control myself just fine!"
After two hours of walking around, Koishi becomes agitated with walking around and having no results show up.
"Huh? What's up, Koishi?"
"Are we really supposed to be doing this?"
Satori hestitates, but then she utters her reply, "...No."
Koishi becomes anxious. "What do you mean?"
Satori looks down, muttering under her breath before speaking. "Koishi, legally we need a mining license to mine this ore, but getting one of those means that we have to side with one of the two factions in the war and that's what I wanted to avoid all this time, getting involved in the war."
"Wait, what? But then, we have to do this to get money to scrape by?"
"I'm sorry, but yes, we can sell this ore to the black market and get paid enough to get through for at least a couple months at least."
Koishi's voice starts to break while tears run down her cheeks. "I ... I don't know what to think about this. You did tell me about the assignment, but you never told me we weren't supposed to be doing it, it sounds really dangerous now. You wanted to protect me from the war going on around us. You didn't lie to me, Orin didn't lie to me either, but I'm just ... really conflicted right now."
Satori speaks in a soft tone, "I'm really sorry, I don't want to lose you so I did the best I could. I checked out every source of information concerning this assignment and every one of them reports that this location should be safe as no one should be around to find us out. Trust me on this."
Koishi can be heard crying over the radio, but she sums up her courage to answer, "Okay, S-Satori, we'll get th-through this, right?"
"Yes, yes we will." Satori affirms.
At that moment, the console starts suddenly making several beeping noises as it spits out text that there is a very high reading of energy levels coming from in front of the two.
Satori breaks out of her depression. "Koishi! Koishi! You're getting this too, right!" Look at your console!"
Koishi rubs her eyes and sniffs, but quickly replies, "Yeah, I'm looking, I'm getting the same response from the console too!"
[ ] Satori should check it out first.
[ ] Koishi should check it out first.
"Koishi, I'm going on ahead. Stay close and don't fall behind."
Satori's robot boosts several times over many jagged rocks mixed with bent metal beams as she approaches the source of the pulses of energy that the console detected earlier.
Standing in front of it, the area glows bright yet Satori seems disappointed. "This isn't the Metatron we were looking for, but I still want to find out what's causing the console to make this much commotion." Satori glances at Koishi's face on screen above the console. "Can you help me dig this up?"
"Alright, I'll help you out." Koishi follows suit and lands her robot clumsily beside Satori's robot, tilting to the right before realigning. "Aghh, how do you work this thing? Geez, okay, I got it now."
Both of them slowly pry the site open with their robots' hands and reveal another robot, but it was unlike anything they have seen before. It had a similiar structure to how other robots of the same type were built, yet its body design was completely different from standard mass production models.
"Huh?" Koishi inches her robot closer to the unknown model. "What is this exactly?"
Satori nods her head left and right. "I have no idea, but if it's something that we shouldn't be dealing with, we shouldn't touch it then."
"Satori, I mean, this thing we found," Tears run down Koishi's cheeks again. "if it's worth more than the Metatron we were looking for, it could be enough so that we'll never be poor again." She presses a button to her right and her robot announces to her to put on her helmet. "It'll keep you and Orin alive and that's the best that we could look for, right?"
"Koishi! What are you doing?" Satori screams. "Don't touch that thing!"
"It should be the same as our robots, so it should be easy to get running." Koishi pretends to not listen to Satori as she puts her helmet on and after the machine confirms through her pilot suit that her helmet is successfully secured, the robot's cockpit shell dissolves. "I'll try to get inside the cockpit and pilot it out, okay? When we sell it, we won't have to be in danger anymore. We'll live our old lives again." She leaves her robot's cockpit and pushes herself towards the strange new entity.
"I can't stop her." Satori gives a heavy sigh. "I know she's growing up, but I think what I did that dragged her into this mess was stupid. It was stupid and wrong of me to think that I knew best."
Suddenly, Rin's face appears above Satori's console.
"Satori! Problem! Big big big problem!" Rin panicks.
"What's going on?"
"The place isn't abandoned, the ship detected that there's three Inugami types coming your way!"
"WHAT!?" Satori turns her robot around. "I thought this place was abandoned!"
"I don't know what's goi-" Rin's voice is overridden with static and her face disappears as its image is replaced by a man, presumably the leader of the squad that Rin mentioned.
The gruff man questions Satori, "M'am, who are you and why are you here?"
"Komeiji Satori and why do you have this radio frequency?"
The man glares at Satori, stroking his beard. "Does that concern you at all? After a quick scan approaching your coordinates, we discovered that the Laborious Extra-Orbital Vehicles you and your apparent partner are piloting do not have records that they are authorized with permissions to be here."
"I don't get why you're even here, this place doesn't seem like any concern to you since it's just a hollowed out colony."
"Don't get arrogant with me, miss. If you really want to stay here then, show me your mining license allied with the Enders and maybe I'll pretend you don't exist then."
...what? Why right now? Why did they have to show up right now?
He's asking for that? But... how am I supposed to show him that if I don't have one!?
[ ] Tell him the truth: we don't have a mining license.
[ ] Lie to him: we have a mining license.
[ ] Talk around the problem: we just want to make money for a living.
[x] Talk around the problem: we just want to make money for a living.
"Why do you want to see our license if you're just going to ignore us when we show it to you? We just want to make some money so we can get by. You understand that, right?"
"Guess who's trying to do the same thing, girl!?" The man slams his hand on his console. "I don't get why you're hesitating so much to show me your license, but it probably means you don't have one at all, do you?"
"I already told you before, w-why do you want it so much?" Satori stutters.
"We were given an anonymous tip that a few illegal miners decided to venture in this area, our mining team sent us to check it out and lo and behold, here you are. At least, I assume so, I was told that we would earn a pretty sum for apprehending some illegals, although..." The man then grins, "you could just join us, license or no license. We won't turn you in and we'll all have some good fun."
"No way!" Satori yells at him. "We would never join you, no matter what!"
"So are you going to show us your license to us or what?"
Satori breaks eye contact with the man. "I'll ask my partner if she has it then."
The man shrugs his shoulders. "Alright then, it's your choice, miss. If you don't show it to us by the time we arrive at your coordinates in ten minutes, I would like you to know that even though we're using scouting units, we still have more than enough firepower to tear your crappy mining LEVs to shreds. Just think about it, I trust you and you trust me."
"...Sure." Satori replies with remorse as his face disappears.
Both of us will be killed in less than ten minutes, Satori thought, we will die soon. We have to do something now, but what can we do?
Satori presses the button right of her and puts on her helmet. The LEV confirms that she has her helmet on and dissolves the cockpit's shell. Satori moves over the edge of the cockpit and pushes herself towards the unknown robot.
Koishi is still outside of the unknown robot pounding the shell of its cockpit in distress.
"Open! Open! Just open!" Koishi cries out while she tears up. "Please... open..."
Satori slows down behind Koishi and grabs her wrist before she hits the cockpit with her hand again. "Koishi! Calm down. It's fine."
Koishi relaxes, but is still breathing heavily. "Okay, Sis. Okay..."
"So do you know why it's not opening?"
"No, I don't."
Satori lets go of Koishi's wrist and moves beside her. "We do have to get it open as we have company coming for us fast."
Koishi floats in front of the cockpit. "Company?"
Satori nods. "No other way to say it. I have an idea though, Koishi, I think we should try to get it open together."
"It sounds weird, but it won't matter if we don't try."
"Touch the cockpit with your hand at the same time as me, okay?"
"Sure. Here we go!"
Satori and Koishi place their hands on the cockpit with exact timing and without delay, the cockpit's shell dissolves to reveal...
Satori quickly glances. "Why does this thing have..."
"...two seats?" Koishi finishes.
"We can't hesitate, we need to get in now!" Satori grabs the edge of the cockpit with her left hand and Koishi's hand with her right hand to bring her inside.
Koishi glides down into the back seat. "Sis, what's wrong?"
Satori tilts her head down. "I told the leader of a squad that I'd show them my mining license and if they didn't see it before they got here, they would kill us."
"...They would ...kill us?" Koishi's voice breaks for the second time.
The cockpit's shell reforms and an unknown voice from the robot states, "Security green, all clear." The Komeiji sisters look around in bewilderment as the voice announces another statement, "Current Frame Runners are unregistered for this unit, performing a full scan of new Frame Runners."
The consoles in front of Satori and Koishi activate with a white light, then they started reading out the results like it did before on the mining LEVs. The Komeiji sisters remove their helmets and watch the information fly by.
Satori sighs at having to look at all the information again. "It's going to ask me to confirm this too? It better make this fast then, we're running out of time."
Koishi gently puts her head sideways on her console, silent.
Suddenly, a jolt rises through both girls with a violent shock, causing them to wince in pain.
"I..." Satori blinks several times. "I can feel something hot flowing through my body!"
Koishi feels a tingling in her body. "Hah... I've never felt like this before... It hurts a little, but I..."
"I am surprised that the new Frame Runners have not perished from that trial." The voice interrupts while the consoles' light changes to a pale lavender tone.
Satori manages to calm her nerves and asks who's speaking. "You don't sound like the AI from our mining LEVs. Are you an AI for a combat LEV? Also, Frame Runners? Why did you call us that?"
"Greetings, Satori Komeiji and Koishi Komeiji. I am the advanced AI Dases and to answer your question, you are not operating a combat LEV, but in fact the Orbital Frame Janus. Frame Runners is the term for what we call the ones who use such tools."
Koishi has problems adjusting with the jolt from before. "Nn.... what was that trial you're talking about?"
"I ran a significantly powerful current of Metatron through your bodies so that your potential could be made accessable. It would be just if you were killed fighting back with full force rather than because you were incompetent. If you died from the trial, it would have been clear that you would not stand a chance against anything this machine would fight against."
"What if we actually died!?" Satori slams her fists on her console. "You horrible person! You monster!"
"I am not a person, I am an AI that requires the full power of its pilots to perform efficiently." Dases pauses. "What is your first command?"
Satori looks above and with her new abilities is able to spot the three robots from a fair distance away approaching their mining LEVs.
The man decides to call the LEV that Satori used to be in. "What!?" The man rubs his eyes and looks again. "That stupid girl isn't in her LEV!" We told her what we'd do if she didn't do what we said and she's going to get it now!"
The robots open fire from their rifles a barrage of beams at their LEVs for severe damage. Satori looks behind her as she sees Koishi having trouble staying awake, trembling and having trouble breathing.
Satori glances back at the situation in front of her, her mind racing. She doesn't want to die and neither do I. There's only one thing I want this stupid thing to do right now. One thing.
A cloud of smoke bellows forth from the ground as Janus surges with power, the Metatron within it glowing with the lavender tone along its body's lines. A loud explosion erupts and the cloud disperses outward with an angry giant at the center. The three squad members stop firing to look down with their rifles ready and watch Janus stretch its arms out... then it turn its attention towards the squad and stares them down.
"Enemy detected: Three Inugami frames. Eliminating now." Dases states.
"Don't kill them! Just stop them from killing us!" Satori screams.
Dases pauses, then confirms. "...Affirmative."
Janus engages its boosters and flies upwards in a spin. It then grabs Satori's mining LEV with its right hand in front and Koishi's mining LEV with its left on the side as it charges towards the squad and attempts to break through their meager blockade.
"This power..." Satori watches in amazement.
Another barrage of beams comes forth from the squad's rifles, striking Satori's damaged LEV with enough force to break it apart. Janus then unhooks its grip on the pieces of the destroyed LEV and opens its right hand with a bright light swiftly moving straight at one of the Inugami frames.
"MAGNET equipped." Dases calmly comments.
Within an instant, the gravity field within Janus's palm catches the squad member's frame off guard and with a twirl, Janus swings twice before letting go and hurling it at another.
"Urgh... How the hell did it do that!?" One of the squadmate remarks as both of their robots hurtle into the wall, damaged but not destroyed.
Janus makes a final effort to escape, the squad leader standing in its way. Fortunately, he was no match for Janus's overwhelming capabilities as it dashes through him without even noticing that he was there.
The man leading the squad exclaims "What in blazes is that!?" as he is glanced by Janus's charge and gets smashed aside into the wall. Janus boosts away as the man is surprised by what appeared before him.
Satori's eyes widen as she looks back at the damage Janus caused.
"Do not worry, I did not kill them as you asked, I just merely deterred them from pursuing us." Dases reports.
"How are you so sure?" Satori asks.
"I am incredibly precise in how I adjust my power. Do you not trust me?"
Satori shakes her head left and right. "No, I can't exactly trust a weapon that easily."
"...No one ever trusts me. I wish people had the ability to trust me." Dases responds in a slightly garbled voice.
Satori stares at the console. "Huh?"
"Ahem, I am available right now." Dases pauses. "What do you desire?"
"Open a radio link to Rin Kaenbyou at 2245, I need to talk to her." Satori
Rin's face appears above the console, her bright red hair is unbraided and distraught and her cat ears are spazzing out. She screams, "Satori! Koishi! Where were you two? Are you okay? What's going on!?"
"I... I'll explain later! Just send your ship's coordinates to me!" Satori answers.
"Huh? Alright then, I'm sending them to you!" Rin types in the coordinates and with a final tap, grants Janus the coordinates. Janus takes off at full speed, flying towards the ship.
The man's robot was stuck in the wall struggling to get out. "What was that?" The man was still dumbfounded by what he saw of the incident. "Was that idiot girl Satori piloting it? We've got to report this at once..."
Satori sits down across the table from Rin as she straightens her hair out and does her two front braids with a bit of trouble as her hands are still shaking.
"What happened after I was cut off from you?" Rin asks.
"The squad contacted me and asked me for a mining license I didn't have and then told me they would open fire if they didn't see proof on arrival. They also gave us the option to surrender, but I didn't want them to touch Koishi at all. If we were still in our mining LEVs and they decided to shoot us down, it would have been the end for us." Satori responds.
"Live gunfire? That's merciless of them. I mean, I saw Koishi stumbling to her room with the pilot suit still on. Her face looked pale, like she saw a ghost or something!" Rin tries to laugh it off. "I wouldn't be scared, I'd stand off with all three of those jerks and beat them up, even in a dinky mining LEV!"
"Rin, stop lying. I know you're frightened too."
"What do you me-"
Rin puts her hands on her folded flat ears. "Ugh, I keep forgetting these things react to emotions!"
"Look, I know you like those, but you know they're attached to a neuro headband that will give your emotions away often. I mean, you're a massive kleptomaniac too. I remember you telling me that you stole the ears and with your skills you also managed to take control of the ship, but you should just stop now." Satori rolls her eyes. "After we get this current problem over with, I'm going to teach you to stop your bad habits, alright?"
"Yeah yeah, sure sure. You've told me how happy you were when we got this ship, but I'm sure you want me to stop stealing everything." Rin waves it off and then continues to braid her hair. "So, what are you going to do with this Orbital Frame thing, what's it called anyways?"
"The AI on it, Dases, called it Janus, although I don't know why. I do want to sell it off, but the men back there unfortunately got a picture of my face when they called me and will probably report the authorities to look for me, so I don't know if I can show my face around the colonies when they start searching."
Rin sighs. "The reports would be a big problem, it'd better that we should find a buyer quickly before they hunt us down then!"
"I didn't want to get involved in the war, but now we have... some kind of ancient weapon or something. They might want to drag us into it to help them stop the war." Satori tears up. "I don't want to kill people, I don't want to kill anyone, I just wanted a place to live without destruction, away from all this."
Rin finishes braiding her hair and gets up to pat Satori on the shoulder. "Just relax and think everything through. I'll be taking the ship to a nearby colony to get some supplies, if you know what I mean."
"You need to stop stealing so much, Rin, even it's necessary for us to keep living." Satori shakes her tears off. "...Okay, I'm fine, I'm fine."
Rin gives another pat. "You should comfort Koishi. What I said before was to ease you out, but honestly, she's really shaken up by this. Your presence could help her get through this easier." She then walks away waving goodbye to Satori. "Anyways, I'm off! We'll be at the colony pretty soon!"
Satori puts her head on the table. "It'll be over soon and then I can stop stressing out so much."
[ ] Talk more with Rin.
[ ] Help Koishi out.
[ ] Examine Dases's database.
[ ] Go to sleep immediately.
>>43258 Thank you for your support! I want to say that one vote does not really help determine that what I write next is what the readers actually want. Maybe I'm just really paranoid, ahaha.
>>43264 >Those changes of perspective were a little odd to read, maybe it's just me, tho.
I must apologize very much for this discrepancy! I am trying to write this story in a third person limited perspective, but I've written my stories before in first person so it's been a stumble to get into third person limited without accidentally walking into third person omniscient. Bear with me, I'll get it down soon.
Confirming vote as:
[X] Examine Dases's database.
Update will be online by the end of today. I am sorry for the long delay.
Satori gets herself together, brings her head up and moves her chair out to stand up, crossing her arms.
"As much as I care for Koishi, I'm certain she's extremely angry at me right now because of what I said back there. I told her everything would be safe and I messed up, I panicked. She looked a bit pale after that jolt from the Orbital Frame as well. Speaking of," She looks towards the lit hallway leading to the hangar, "I should find out what that robot is capable of."
Satori pushes her chair in and walks off to the hangar to pay a visit to Janus.
Koishi is in her pilotsuit, trembling with her entire body covered with her blanket in bed. Her face starts to turn bright red while her green eyes dart around in the darkness trying to stay calm.
Koishi gets up in bed and slides her blanket down, her messy light-colored hair swaying in front of her and placing her hand to her chest. "Sis, I know you were trying to protect us, but I think this was a very bad idea." She tilts her head down, a teardrop falling onto her blanket. "Nonetheless, I know what to do. I'll feel better. I'll get better. I'll keep you and Orin safe."
She waves her hand in front of her face, seeing her hand's afterimages in motion. "Why is this happening? I can tell that the blanket is cold, yet my body feels like it's trying harder and harder to burn itself out by melting itself." She then falls back onto her bed, moaning. "Nnn... I'm having a really bad reaction to that energy I had forced into me. I should rest more..."
She closes her eyes, still breathing heavily. "I can't give up. Not now..."
Satori steps into the hangar and looks up at the head of Janus. "This is what we got from that incident. Not any Metatron at all, just... this thing."
She strolls across the catwalk and gives the cockpit a slight tap, watching the shell dissolve quickly, then hops in.
The console comes online as it glows lavender like it did before.
"Hello, Satori Komeiji. What is your command?" Dases greets her.
"Hello Dases. I'd like some answers, if you will." Satori asks while typing on the console.
"Affirmative." Dases responds.
"What are you and what is Janus exactly?"
"I am an AI and Janus is an Orbital Frame. That is all the information I can disclose pending on your permissions."
"Huh? That's all?" Satori then ponders. Even if this robot was an ancient weapon, how would I be able to get the truth out of it if just being the Frame Runner for the machine didn't give me full access to the information in it?
"Then I'd like to ask," Satori continues. "what is that MAGNET thing you used when you engaged in combat mode back there?"
"MAGNET is a subweapon installed in Janus that can attract and repel enemies. In neutral mode, MAGNET reaches out to grab an enemy and seizes them for a short period of time. In dash mode, MAGNET adjusts its strength to placing most of its power into the direction of the dash for longer ranged grabs although it decreases its ability to grab anything outside of that direction. In burst mode, MAGNET repels anything within Janus's range with a strong force outwards consuming a small amount of subweapon energy to do so. Unfortunately, you are not authorized to use burst mode yet."
"A lot to process, but I understand most of that." Satori nods, then becomes cross with Dases. "Wait, what do you mean 'not authorized to use burst mode'?"
"Upon registration of the Frame Runners, I had discovered that the pilotsuits both Runners were wearing at the time are not effectively suited for operation of the Orbital Frame."
"Wait, so you did the trial from before regardless? Why?"
"Because efficient or not, I still required your full potential."
Satori expresses her disgust at Dases again. It's not something I can trust if it's going to treat everyone like garbage.
Afterwards, she searches the database meticulously and finds a curious folder... ADMIN.
Satori grins. "Well, I assume Dases won't mind if I pop this thing op-"
"ACCESS DENIED." Dases blares out.
"What's going on!?" Satori jumps out of her seat. "Dases, I would like to gain access to this folder please!"
"ADMIN folder is locked and cannot be accessed without the correct password. The user that has locked the folder is named Seiga Kaku."
"Can you inform me of Seiga's current status?"
After a long pause, Dases makes two clicking noises and responds, "Unknown."
"I don't want to try guessing the password and I have no idea who this Seiga person either." Satori sighs. "I guess I'll have to ditch that for later, it looked like such a great lead too."
Satori then resumes searching and stops at another folder: VR.
"Huh, this is... Dases, is the VR folder for Virtual Reality?"
"Affirmative." Dases remarks. "It enables Frame Runners to revisit training regimens by creating a Virtual Reality field and allowing them to experience combat without the danger of being destroyed."
"This is what I was looking for!" Satori's face brightens up. "Can you set it up for me?"
"Yes. Are you sure you would like to start now?" Dases flatly replies.
[ ] I'm sure.
[ ] I should take Koishi with me.
[ ] No, I am going to go rest.
"Please make it quick then. I await you and your partner." Dases states as it stands by.
The cockpit shell peels off and Satori jumps out quickly. The cockpit's shell reforms as she runs past the lights in the hallway and stops in front of the door to the room where Koishi sleeps in.
Satori knocks three taps on the door. "Koishi, are you in there?"
Koishi rolls in bed and moans loudly.
Another tap from Satori. "Are you okay?"
Koishi pops out from her blanket with a loud groan. "...yeeeeeeeeeeeeesssss."
"Yes!" Koishi finally shouts. "I'm fine, Sis, just fine."
Satori leans back on the door. "I know that what happened before was really scary to you, but if you are alright with how things are, just open the door and come on out."
The door then splits open and Satori falls backwards before being swiftly caught in Koishi's arms.
"Sorry to make you worry." Koishi apologizes.
Satori's cheeks redden. "Geez! Don't surprise me like that." With a second glance, Satori sees Koishi's face slightly aglow with a red hue as well, but holds back on mentioning it.
Koishi carefully pulls Satori up and gives her a soft hug. "So what's the occasion, Sis?"
Satori sighs. "We're going to learn how to pilot Janus."
Koishi jumps back as she lets go of Satori. "I thought we were going to sell that piece of junk! Why would you want to keep it!?"
"Because," Satori turns away from her sister's gaze, "we can't exactly sell the thing if we're wanted criminals, so the best we can do is to defend ourselves with it."
Koishi looks down at the floor. "Makes sense."
Satori pats Koishi on the shoulder. "You said you were fine, right?"
"Right." Koishi relaxes her shoulders.
Satori then grabs Koishi's left hand. "We've got somewhere to go, remember? Let's get going!"
Satori and Koishi walk into the hangar and stare at the head of Janus.
"Now that I look at it more closely, Janus looks... frightening." Koishi remarks.
"Good to know that we're probably the ones inside it and not against it." Satori assures Koishi.
Both of them stroll over to the cockpit, Satori taps the shell to open it and the sisters jump inside with Satori in the front seat.
Satori taps some more on the console. "Dases, you've never explained to me why this LEV has two seats. Would you mind?"
"Access denied." Dases flatly states.
Satori sighs. "Again with the attitude?"
Koishi looks over Satori's shoulder. "Does it always do this?"
"Yes, it doesn't want to give us full access to everything on Janus." Satori nods. "However, we are going to begin training now. Dases, start it please."
As Satori and Koishi survey the area above them, the cockpit's environment resolves itself into a faintly green area with lines crossing each other in a grid pattern outside of Janus. The console glows lavender and Janus floating in midair stretches its limbs out while in front of the cockpit, a lone robot appears, perking its straight cat ears.
"Reporting status: Orbital Frame Janus - condition green. Frame Runners A and B - condition green. Enemy detected - one enemy, Bakeneko type."
"Huh?" Koishi expresses confusion. "Why are we called A and B? That's pretty rude! Also, what's a Bakeneko type?"
Dases pauses for a moment from that unimpressive question, then continues. "...A Bakeneko is an Orbital Frame based on the spiritual embodiment of a cat, its light thin design emphasizing high agility and destructive melee capabilities. It is usually unmanned, although if it were to be manned, the Frame Runner inside would be probably thought to be 'insane' due to the Bakeneko's very low amount of metatron used for its armor."
Satori steadies herself. "So all we have to do is take it down, right? Sounds easy."
"Do I have to do anything?" Koishi asks.
"No, I think I'm fine. Just wait for any instructions from Dases while I take care of this." Satori listens to Dases's instructions and moves Janus back, left and right before she shifts Janus forward slowly and moves Janus's arm back to swing at the enemy.
At that moment, the bakeneko screams, leans back and lunges with its claws, slashing the frame and shaking Satori and Koishi's cockpit about.
"Satori! What's going on!?" Koishi panicks.
"You actually simulate the damage too!?" Satori shouts at the console.
"When you acknowledge your mistakes, you will assure yourself not to make them again." Dases prompts.
"Ugh..." Satori shakes her head. "Well, Dases, what do you suggest I do then?"
"You can either shoot the enemy from afar or you can try to cut it down again, but be quicker about it this time. Get ready, Satori."
The bakeneko growls as it gives chase after Janus. Satori backs away and uses Janus's right hand to fire several energy bullets at the enemy. It catches up, but Satori reacts in time to rip through its midsection with one stroke of Janus's arm sword, breaking the enemy apart in a series of explosions.
"Congratulations." Dases announces. "It was an average performance, but not bad for a first time without my assistance."
Satori nods. "For a first time, it's probably not good enough though."
"Now currently redirecting control of the Orbital Frame to Koishi."
"That's possible?" Satori rubs her chin. "But if I just did 'average' for a first time, how is Koishi even going to deal with combat then?"
"I told you before, don't worry! I'll do fine!" Koishi reaches over and pats Satori on the shoulder before sitting back down.
"Redirection finished." The console then flashes and changes its color to a pale teal as Janus's weapon composition rearranges itself into a new form of dual arm swords.
"What just happened!?" Satori exclaims.
"A simple task of fitting my arsenal to fully complement the current Runner's abilities." Dases reports. "Koishi, here is your instructions on operating the Orbital Frame. Exact copy as the guide I gave to Satori."
Koishi takes a deep breath and blinks her eyes several times after taking in a long lecture from Dases. "Okay, I'm ready!"
Another Bakeneko frame appears in front and, as known of its primitive nature, flies towards Janus at a frightening rate. Both Koishi and Janus tense themselves as the enemy frame closes in and arcs back both its claws. "Now!" Koishi shouts as Janus pulls its arm back and thrusts forward a glowing hand at the enemy frame's torso, slamming into its faux Metatron barrier and grasping it inside the gravitational pull of the subweapon MAGNET. With a quick horizontal rotation, Janus turns and sends the Bakeneko frame hurtling near a wall before dashing forward and cutting it lengthwise with one of its arm swords, crushing its severed torso and subsection against the wall into pieces.
"Adequate neutralization, Koishi." Dases pauses. "Satori, I am comparing Koishi's results to yours and I processed that you have the same level of ability as her." "Are you hestitating?"
Satori snaps back into reality to answer Dases's question. "What do you mean, 'hestitating'? I've been trying my best, don't think about doubting me, Dases."
"As you wish. As for you, Koishi, how are you feeling?"
Koishi's eyes are wide open watching the parts of the destroyed frame falling slowly. "Fine. Just like I said, I'd do fine." She grabs at her chest and winces quietly, then looks back up.
"Excellent. Well th-"
Dases gets interrupted by Rin as she pops up above the console.
"Hey hey!" Rin waves her hand to both of them. "I wondered where you two were and this is the first place I checked. Great luck, huh? Come down, we've landed already! Don't worry, we're in a pretty safe place." She rubs her chin. "I'm surprised how these colonies are established, considering it takes forever to make the Spheres for them. Makes me feel pretty proud to be an Earthling with how much they've done, yet sometimes I'm also a bit bitter about them. Oh right, drifting off into offtopicness, anyways I'll meet you down there! Wear some warm clothes!"
The green grid arena around the cockpit gradually fades back to the grey walls of the well lit hangar. The shell of the cockpit then dissolves itself and Satori climbs out. Koishi also gets out of the cockpit but stumbles into Satori's arms.
Satori smiles, pats Koishi on the head and helps her up. "Are you sure you're okay from that training? Are you having trouble walking right now?"
Koishi blushes. "Sis, I'm okay. I'm just dizzy, that's all."
Satori takes Koishi's hand and goes near the hallway. "Okay, let's get ourselves into some more comfortable clothes then. I'll go first then you'll get dressed after me, alright?"
"Hey Sis," Koishi grins. "Can I wear the scarf then?"
Satori walks down the hallway. "Sure, you can wear that scarf. It'll be your reward for doing so well."
Koishi jumps up. "Thanks, Sis!"
Rin turns around while waiting in front of the entrance of the abandoned building. "You're here. Also, didn't think you'd let Koishi wear the scarf, Satori." She puts her hands in the pockets of her dark green coat and smiles.
Koishi with her pale goldenrod jacket and a green scarf adorned with rose patterns runs towards Rin and gives her a strong hug. "Orin! Orin! I did really well in the training and that's why Sis let me wear the scarf!"
"That's pretty much it." Satori waves her hand slightly in her eccentric bright blue windbreaker with yellow heart buttons. "Can't say anything else about it, she deserves it, you know."
Rin does her best to get the hug-happy Koishi off of her. "Well, that's great. What are you going to do, you two?"
"I'm going to the bar and seeing if I can get any information on what's happening." Satori remarks. "Maybe a sip of wine too?"
"Okay," Koishi pouts, "I'll go with Orin then."
"Only thing I'm doing is shopping," Rin feels on her arm a soft nudge from Koishi's cheek, "but if you want to, let's go."
Koishi wraps her arm around Rin's arm and Rin with Koishi in tow walks outside the building to the right while Satori takes a left.
"Why is the war even going on, Orin?" Koishi inquires while she and Rin walk through crowds in the colony.
"Don't care, would rather not be involved in it." Rin shakes her head.
"I assume the Earthlings wanted to take as much as they could scrape together to advance farther into space but the Enders think that the Earthlings would mess up again and ruin the planet as they did with Earth, so they fought back to keep their independence and resources away from their dirty hands."
"Can the Enders just apologize and work with the Earthlings?"
Rin sighs. "It's, well, it's really complicated. I can't say anything much for either side."
"Orin!" Koishi's attention suddenly flies towards a particular hat in a shop window as she runs right up to the window and places her hands on the glass. "That hat~!"
Rin follows Koishi and takes a closer look at it. A black brimmed hat with a yellow ribbon attached to it. "Can't exactly steal it if it's easy to notice missing."
Rin and Koishi enter the store and have a little chat with the merchant.
"Wait," Rin looks behind her at the hat and turns to the storeclerk, "so that hat is being displayed in the window yet they're selling it for this little because you think it's worthless?"
"Yes, exactly." The clerk affirms. "It's not exactly fashionable anymore."
"And you still expect to think it'll sell for anything?" Rin argues, "How long has that thing been up there anyways?"
He lowers his head. "For a while. I don't think it's worth having there anymore, yet our boss wants it there until it's gone."
Rin smirks. "Can we take it off your hands and your conscience then?"
"That'd be great."
The clerk walks around the counter, takes the hat from the display window and gives it to Rin. Rin then gently places the hat on Koishi's head.
"Here you go!" Rin congratulates.
Koishi smiles and claps. "It feels strangely natural!"
"Thanks, both of you." The clerk bows.
Rin and Koishi leave out the door, Koishi wearing her new hat.
"See, we've already started off good! Aren't you happy?" Rin pokes Koishi's cheek and giggles.
"Yeah, Orin!" Koishi giggles as well, her scarf fluttering in motion.
Satori strolls along the streets of the city, looking around the crowds and hoping that they haven't discovered the incident at the abandoned colony.
"Just one assignment. I told Koishi that it was the easiest thing ever. I keep having suspicions that Yukari may have messed up somewhere badly..." She scans her surroundings and finds the bar. "Hey, there's the place I'm looking for. Wonder if anyone's around."
Satori enters the bar and gets herself comfortable by sitting down on one of the bar stools. She looks to her left and sees a girl with shoulder-length blonde hair tied with one braid to the left holding a mug half full of beer. She looks really delighted today, doesn't she?
"Miss? Can I get you something?" The bartender in front of Satori clears his throat. "Excuse me?"
Satori turns and jumps slightly from her chair. "Sorry! Uhh, a cup of wine please."
"Of course." The bartender pours Satori the wine in front of her and slides it forward. "Here you are, m'am."
"Thanks." Satori takes a small sip and puts down the glass to look back at the girl when the girl's brown eyes suddenly meet Satori's purple eyes.
"Hey! Didn't know someone was sitting here." She grins. "How are you?"
"Whoa! Um, I'm okay." Satori stutters. "What's your name?"
"Marisa." She grabs Satori's right hand and gives it a good shake. "Marisa Kirisame."
Satori takes a moment to notice her hand was just shaken. "Marisa? What are you here for, just the alcohol?"
Marisa stares at her mug in hand. "Yeah, it's just for occasions, it's not a good thing to imbibe yourself in good things all the time. Doesn't make those things good anymore."
"So is there anything special happening right now?" Satori picks up her glass for another sip.
Marisa puts down another swig of the mug. "Not much interesting stuff. One of the higher up Earthlings visiting to make an announcement. I told my best friend Nitori 'yeah sorry, not very interesting, she's not going to be out there if she wanted to say something really important', you know. She still forces me to go anyways 'just in case'."
"I do understand what this Nitori girl means though, better safe than sorry." Satori's third sip with her wine. "Has anything happened yet?"
"As I predicted, not much. The crowd's showing up to meet that lady, but I still don't care." Down the hatch, the rest of Marisa's beer. "Wow, I'm pretty bad to not gotten your name since I started talking."
"Oh, it's Satori Komeiji."
"Weird name. Are you like, an Ender or something?"
"Why? Is that a bad thing?"
"Well, in this particular Sphere, not really. They're pretty lax and tolerant about t-"
Satori begins to take another sip of her wine when she looks up and her face turns extremely light as she stares down the barrel of the bartender's rifle.
"You Ender scum! You trash are the ones that killed my son!" The bartender yells.
Marisa grabs the rifle out of the man's hands and screams at him, "Huh!" You want a piece of this?"
The bartender tries to take his rifle back. "You're going to defend this piece of crap or something!?"
"What of it? If you feel like it, we can take this outside, hand to hand!" Marisa shakes her fist in front of him.
"I'll kick your ass!"
"Bring it on!"
Marisa hands Satori the rifle as both Marisa and the bartender leave to take it out on each other. Satori puts the rifle over the counter and goes outside to see how Marisa is doing, but immediately she notices the bartender sprawled out on the ground, knocked out.
"Damn, he's pretty bad at this. I better get out of here!" Marisa wipes the dust from her jacket. She then notices Satori just outside of the bar. "I'm really sorry about that, Satori, but don't let it get you down! Just keep on living on, and hey if you don't want to do it for yourself, do it for me then!"
Marisa bursts through the crowd gathering around the unconscious bartender as Satori watches idly.
"What did that girl even do?" One of the civilians running in asks.
"Grabbed him, kneed him in the gut then punched him in the face." A bystander remarks.
The crowd then starts to flow away as they head to presumably see the Earthling announce something important (or not as it seems, as Marisa's said) while Marisa makes her getaway.
Satori sighs as she collapses on her knees and holds herself up with her arms. "Ugh, I haven't had a break since the incident and it's been so tiring. The announcement does seem interesting, but Marisa sounds like someone I could trust to have my back." The thoughts she had swirling in her mind.
[ ] Follow Marisa.
[ ] Go to the announcement ceremony.
Satori picks herself up, jumps over the unconscious man and sprints through the crowds to chase the hurried Marisa, swiftly weaving the streets until she finally runs inside a building through an open hangar door. Satori stops short and peeks around the corner to see Marisa and a girl with blue hair tied into two pigtails with two red beads strung together and wearing a lily green hat. She has on a bright blue dress with seemingly endless pockets and a green backpack behind her. She's sitting on a box, typing on a keyboard wired to an unknown part.
"Huh? Why are you so tired out?" The blue haired girl asks while she removes her goggles from her eyes.
"Heh," Marisa takes a moment to breathe in, "nothing much."
"Something happened at the ceremony?" She pauses. "You... didn't go to the ceremony, did you?"
"Nope." Marisa grins.
The girl gets up and walks towards Marisa with both fists raised and screams at her, "You doofus! Can't you do what people tell you!" AGH!" She calms down and relaxes her shoulders, lowering her arms yet still looking quite distressed. "So what did you do instead of what you were SUPPOSED to?"
"Went to a bar, drank a good mug of beer. The usual."
"Then why were you running?"
"Oh right!" Marisa snaps her fingers. "Met a cute girl there, Satori Komeiji, very polite. The bartender pulled a gun on her, I decide to beat that guy up and of course that's always bad business."
"And why did the bartender pull that gun out?"
"Satori mentioned she was an Ender right in front of him while I was talking to her." Marisa rubs her chin. "If she wasn't aware that mentioning that fact would be a potentially dangerous trigger, there's a good possibility she's probably a fugitive from a recently captured Ender colony."
"Makes sense, it's the harsh reality of war after all." The girl puts her arms on her hips and leans forward. "Still, we can't make any more enemies than we already have. Technically, we're currently neutral in the situation."
"Yeah yeah I know," Marisa tilts her head to the left, then to the right, "but having some girl lose her head in front of me wouldn't be a good memory, you know."
"I understand." The girl walks up to Marisa and gives her a hug. "Can you try listening to me next time? I'd really like that."
"Sure." Marisa hugs her back, then gives her hat a rub and pushes her away. "Well, maybe."
The girl just looks at her pouting.
"Ahaha," Marisa chuckles, "you're adorable when you do that. I can't believe you're younger than me, yet you're such a genius."
"That's a bit too much credit." Nitori looks over Marisa's left shoulder, her blue eyes meeting Satori's purple eyes. "Who's that at the door?"
Marisa turns around and sees Satori. "Hey, there's that girl I met at the bar!"
"GAH!" Nitori jumps up, her boots quickly following her feet upwards. "Sheesh, don't surprise me like that!"
Satori walks up to Marisa and bows. "Thank you for saving my life!"
"Don't mention it." Marisa ruffles Satori's hair.
Nitori sighs. "Are you kidding me, Marisa?"
"Huh? I don't get why you're so stressed out, I'm certain that Satori's harmless, really." Marisa smiles.
Satori glances at the girl. "Marisa, who's this?"
"Oh! Right." Marisa runs behind the girl and grabs her by the shoulders while she blushes. "This is Nitori Kawashiro! Shy gal, but she's quite clever which is why she's the one that maintains my LEV."
"Pfft, that's because I'm positive you don't even know how to keep that thing working without my help." Nitori strikes a direct hit at Marisa's ego.
"Rude!" Marisa lets go of Nitori and walks up to Satori. "Anyways, that's Nitori in a nutshell. She's a nice girl, trust me."
"You two are such a handful..." Satori rolls her eyes. "I'd like to know more about your LEV, Marisa."
"You knew your friend would inquire about that when you mentioned it, Marisa." Nitori walks back to her box, sits down and puts her goggles back on. "Marisa can talk to you all about it if you do come back from the ceremony, I need Marisa's butt over there ASAP because I'm sure she's late now and if she misses the entire thing, I'm going to kick that butt of hers through the stratosphere!" She continues to type on her keyboard, occasionally examining at a small book to the right of her that she pulled out from her backpack.
Marisa slouches. "Geez, okay okay. I'd like to ask though, how far are you with the adjustments?"
"Almost done." Nitori waves her hand while still having her back facing Marisa. "Get moving now please. Thanks."
"So," Marisa passes by Satori and turns around, offering Satori her hand. "want to come with?"
[ ] Join Marisa and head to the ceremony.
[ ] Refuse her offer and look for Koishi and Rin.
"I'm sorry." Satori bows. "I've got some business to tend to."
"Oh, alright then. You know where I'll be." Marisa crosses her arms and shrugs her shoulders. "Have fun at wherever you're going."
"Okay, goodbye!" Satori waves at Marisa and rushes out of the open hangar door.
Marisa waves back. "What a sweet girl. I don't get why she's tied up in all this."
"Don't tell her everything." Nitori replies. "We don't even know what her motives are."
"Well, no matter, she should chase her dream to the fullest. Remember, she's harmless."
Nitori turns towards Marisa and yells at her, "Butt. Move. NOW."
"Alright! Geez!" Marisa runs out the door and heads out to the announcement ceremony.
"The nerve of that girl!" Nitori remarks. "Anyways, time to finish what she asked for. The adjustments on this variable should be..."
Satori manages to catch up to Rin and Koishi whilst traversing the streets.
"Wait up!" Satori reaches out towards the two.
Rin turns to Satori. "Hey Satori! How was the wine at the bar?"
"...Interesting." Satori stops short. "Koishi, where'd you get that hat and where are you and Rin going?"
"Oh, Sis!" Koishi smiles at Satori while adjusting her hat. "Orin got me this hat but we can talk about it later, we heard a commotion going on nearby and I wanted to visit after we finished shopping!"
"Can't argue with that, there's nothing else we have to do now anyways. What did you learn anyways?" Rin smirks.
"I did learn something about the commotion Koishi wanted to look into. It's an announcement ceremony from an apparently prominent Earthling."
"Whoa, really!?" Rin's eyes sparkle as she jumps slightly off the ground, then grabs Satori's hand. "We've got to go then!" Satori gets swept away as Koishi closely follows Rin.
The three arrive at the capital building and scan for anyone in particular that they know. To the left, Satori notices Marisa like she said she would, her arms crossed and carrying an anxious expression on her face. Rin glances to the right and her eyebrows rise as she sees a face familiar to her, the girl's brown eyes and her blonde hair tied into a bun with a black ribbon.
"So what's going on?" Someone asks.
"Big change, apparently." Another answers. "I guess it's pretty big if they're sending someone out to tell us this."
"Who's that?" Koishi casually points at the front of the building, catching Satori and Rin's attention.
Suddenly, cheering erupts amongst the people as a woman steps up to the stand. She has bright skin, her light blue hair tied into two hair loops with an ornate obsidian black hairpin and clear blue eyes looking out to everyone, yet she has a stoic face on. She clears her throat and adjusts her half rimmed glasses.
"Ahem. Greetings, fellow Earthlings." She gazes upwards, then looks at the mass again. "I would like to introduce myself if any of you do not know my identity; my name is Seiga Kaku, head scientist for the Divinity Meisters."
Satori steps back, then takes another look at the woman at the stand. Is this who Dases named that locked Janus's database? This is not a coincidence, right? She thought.
Seiga straightens her posture. "I would like to address the situation of the war amongst my people. We have made quite... significant advances and I have come here to announce that we will not have to advance any time soon due to our amazing and rapid progress. Our current action right now is to hold our ground until we can prepare ourselves for a final strike against the Enders so that no more atrocities shall be committed against our kind.
I will inform all of you that the restrictions on transportation and shipping will be notably reduced to increase the efficiency and union between our colonies. Thank you for supporting our cause to end the war as soon as possible."
She then extends her fist to the heavens. "For Earth!"
"For Earth!" The rally repeats in response.
Seiga steps down from the stand and lowers her head for a moment before raising it again and walking into the building.
Satori takes another glance to her left and catches a glimpse of Marisa turning around and leaving.
Rin puts her hand on Satori's shoulder. "Hey Satori, I've got some business to attend to. I told Koishi to head back to our place, so don't worry about that."
With that, Rin left Satori as the crowd starts to dissipate and disperse itself, speaking with optimism in their tones.
"The war will be over before we know it." "I won't have to worry anymore when we're done." As of many speak of it.
Satori turns to the capital building and looks down.
"If you're this influential, how did you lose something like Janus? Are you really that Seiga Kaku?" She mumbles to herself.
[ ] Pursue Seiga.
[ ] Follow Marisa. Again.
[ ] See what Rin's up to.
[ ] Head back to the ship with Koishi.
Yeah, as if following a high profile person while telling her about how we found her secret superweapon after she made a speech about how she'll end the ender menace (while being an ender) would be a good idea.
Meanwhile Rin seems like an interesting option.
Satori shrugs her shoulders for a moment. "I shouldn't worry about that right now." She then quietly follows Rin through the gradually dispersing crowd.
Rin waves her hand as she walks across the center of the tile floor plaza to the girl she was eyeing earlier. "Hey! Heeeeyyy!"
The girl turns and her eyes widen on seeing Rin. "Whoa, is that really? Rin! Long time no see!"
"Hehe, Yamame, it has been quite some time, hasn't it?" Rin inquires.
"Yeah." She puts her hands on her hips and leans back and forth. "It's been boring nowadays."
"Isn't it a bit chilly outside?" Rin puts her hands in her coat pockets.
"Not exactly." Yamame stands around with a lab coat, a dark brown blouse and a light brown knee-length skirt, smiling at Rin. "I'm broke as ever though, so it's not like I could get anything warmer."
"So you're still stowing yourself away in cargo bays?"
"Unfortunately!" Yamame pouts and looks away. "It's not like the Earthlings have a shortage of medical staff or anything for the war!"
"Ahaha, don't worry." Rin pats Yamame on the shoulder. "I've got a great idea, you can come bunk with us then!"
"You guys have a ship?" Yamame steps back, shocked. "Wait, are you kidding me!?"
"See, my thievery HAS paid off." Rin offers her hand to Yamame. "So you wanna?"
"Alright!" Yamame starts to extend her hand, then halts immediately. "Uh, Rin, who's that behind you?"
Satori stands right behind Rin's right shoulder and flatly states, "Were you going to invite someone I don't know to the ship?"
Rin slowly turns around and jumps with a scream upon seeing Satori. "GAH! WHAT THE HELL!?"
Satori frowns. "Rin, don't do this kind of thing to me, alright? It's not polite."
"Standing behind me isn't polite either!" Rin yells, then calms down. "Okay okay, sorry Satori, I didn't mean to do that without your permission."
Yamame grabs Rin's right shoulder and points Satori out. "So, who's this?"
"This is Satori Komeiji, the person who took me in and stuff. She's very nice."
"And you were about to ask me without telling her?" Yamame gives Rin a light punch at her shoulder. "Rude!"
"Ouch!" Rin yelps. "That wasn't polite either!"
"So you're into medicine, Yamame?" Satori then grins. "I guess that'd be helpful to us, I'll let you join us."
Yamame jumps with joy. "Wow, Rin! She IS pretty nice!"
"I know, right?" Rin is still rubbing her shoulder from Yamame's punch. "Oh, that reminds me, where's crow girl anyways?"
"Hmmm," Yamame puts her finger to her mouth while her eyes glance towards the sky, "she never came with me when we got separated, so I have no idea actually. I'm sure she's fine!"
"Man, it'd be great to get all of us together again." Rin lowers her head in disappointment. "I don't know, Okuu is a BIT dimwitted, but I'll trust your judgement."
In the midst of this conversation, Seiga walks up to the three and leans in closely. "All of you seem to be enjoying yourselves."
"Ah!" Rin scoots back from the personal space invading Seiga. "Please don't do that!"
"I apologize." Seiga gives a slight smile as she handwaves her bad manners away. "I'd like to know what you were discussing, if you don't mind."
"Sure, it was about... uhhh..." Rin ponders in thought to avoid bringing up anything related to Satori.
"We don't think we have enough food left in the colony!" Yamame blurts out.
"Oh." Seiga puts one hand on her hip and takes a moment before replying. "Well, as I announced before, there's going to be a decrease in restrictions and just to make you feel better, I confirmed that the Crown Prince did receive a shipment of provisions a few days ago so I'm certain this Sphere will receive it very soon. It's enough for everyone so don't worry."
Suddenly, a little boy tugs at the bottom of Seiga's sky blue dress and asks, "Can I have your autograph, Miss Kaku?" as he thrusts a notepad towards Seiga's face.
Seiga picks up the notepad, takes the pen out of the ring bindings of the notepad, quickly pens a signature on it, then gives both of them back to him. "There you go. You're welcome."
"Miss Kaku, the Crown Prince is really cool! Super cool! I want to meet him! I'd marry him if he was a girl!"
"That's not a problem, is it?" Seiga grins. "I thought you knew the Crown Prince is a girl, didn't you?"
"What? Really!?" The boy's eyes sparkle as he runs away holding up his notepad. "I'm going to marry the Crown Prince!"
"What a strange boy." Seiga then looks back at Satori, Rin and Yamame and rolls her eyes. "I mean, what I said really is true but everyone knows that the Crown Prince is married anyways."
Satori expresses intrigue. "To whom?"
"A well-structured woman named Tojiko." Seiga smirks. "She's apparently the Crown Prince's childhood friend though, must have admired her for a long time."
"What!?" Yamame laughs loudly. "Couldn't that moron Tojiko actually figure out at all that her husband was a girl? I mean, I've seen the Crown Prince on one of the monitors before and I don't know, with that chest size no one would think th-"
Seiga grits her teeth and sends a swift firm stomp directly on Yamame's foot. "Don't berate the Crown Prince in front of me please."
"YEOW!" Yamame cries out as she falls over and holds her foot in pain. "Ow! Ow ow ow ow! Owwww!"
Rin sighs. "Yamame, as much as I like to usually back you up on your opinions, I'm pretty sure you deserved that."
"That freaking huuuurt!" Yamame rolls around.
"Anyways, Tojiko already knew that the Crown Prince was female, it was simply love." Seiga pulls out an intricately designed narrow tobacco pipe and gives it a flick on the shaft with her finger before putting the pipe in her mouth. "I've finished addressing the concerns of my people now and I have business to tend to. Thank you for this refreshing conversation." She then turns around and leaves, heading back to the capital building.
"Weird lady." Rin remarks. "And she's one of the top authorities around here? Seems unbelievable for her to be that calm about the war."
"One thing's for sure." Yamame sits up on the ground and removes her shoe to massage her aching foot. "She's not nice at all, damn!"
Rin laughs at Yamame. "You brought it on yourself, remember that."
Satori examines the area around their group. "This is some good data to sit on, but I'm still curious on some parts that Seiga mentioned. Maybe I should ask more from her?"
Rin taps her foot on the ground in thought. "You could go ahead and do that if you want, I don't want to since I don't know what more you could get out of her than what she told us."
[ ] Ask Seiga questions about the situation of the war.
[ ] Head to Nitori's place with Rin and Yamame and ask about the details of LEVs.
[ ] Tell Rin and Yamame to get back to the ship and head to Marisa's place without them.
[ ] Go back to to the ship with Rin and Yamame and talk about what to do next.
[X] Ask Seiga questions about the situation of the war.
"I'm going to have a talk with her." Satori answers.
"Alright, be careful." Rin affirms as she kneels and wraps her arm around Yamame's arm. "Uh, Yamame, you've got your shoe on, right?"
"Yeah yeah." Yamame puts her shoe back on, gets up with Rin and lets go of her arm, wobbling a bit before standing straight. "Still hurts, but I think I'm fine. Totally."
Rin smirks. "Are you sure she didn't break your foot? You obviously sound like she did!"
"Oh shut up, I'm a doctor! I should know that!" Yamame complains while little droplets of water form in her eyes.
"Well then, let's get going. I need to show you around the ship anyways." Rin grips Yamame's right hand and walks off to the building where the ship is.
Meanwhile, Satori strolls across the plaza to arrive inside the capital building. The receptionist at the front desk waves to her with a smile.
"Hello there! What is your business here today?" She asks.
"I want to speak with Seiga Kaku please."
The receptionist clears her throat. "Ahem, please call her Miss Kaku. She gets very irate when you refer to her with her first name."
"I apologize for that, I'm sorry!" Satori lightly bows.
"It's okay, m'am. Anyways, I'd like to mention that you have particularly good timing as Miss Kaku is currently free right now." She taps a button on the intercom on her desk. "Miss Kaku?"
"Yes?" Seiga responds through the intercom.
"We have a visitor for you, some girl with short pink hair and purple eyes." The receptionist reports.
"Oh, I've actually met her earlier today, let her in."
The receptionist clasps her hands together. "You heard her, she's in the second room in the left hallway. Thank you very much."
"Thank you!" Satori bows again before heading over to Seiga's room.
Satori knocks three times on the wooden door.
"The door's unlocked, dear! Come in." Seiga announces.
Satori then opens the door, finding a wooden table with a rug under it and an armchair and a sofa on opposite sides. The walls are metallic as of the rest of the building, but for some reason this atmosphere seems... relaxing? There's also an open door inside that leads to an office with a desk slightly cluttered with paperwork.
Seiga sits in the armchair sipping earl grey tea from a teacup, putting it down and writing notes on her paper. The tobacco pipe she had before lies sideways on the table. Even with that pipe around, it doesn't seem like she smokes at all as the room smells only of the aroma of the tea in her teacup.
"Please sit down." Seiga adjusts her glasses. "What would you like to discuss with me?"
Satori sits on the sofa across from Seiga. "First, why were you talking with everyone after your announcement?"
"I need to know the people's opinion, of course. I don't find that strange at all, learning what the public is thinking and engaging in their conversations to make them feel more comfortable about the war."
"Speaking of, Se- Miss Kaku, I want to talk about... the war."
"I assume you have been out of the loop, huh?" Seiga puts her pen down and picks up her teacup again for another sip.
Satori nods. "It would be reassuring to know."
Seiga puts her teacup down and looks at Satori exquisitely. "Interesting of you to ask. So, I'll fill you in then.
The Earthlings were able to create from Metatron a facility called the Urenbeck Catapult which allowed traversing through space within a reasonable period of time to obtain more ore. Although it was fast, it tended to drain a very high number of resources including Metatron itself so it was just used to transport vast amounts of people and tools to those areas so that they can research and develop on it and increase efficiency for such projects.
Soon enough, the Earthlings despised these people and called them Enders, those who lived at the end of civilization, those who didn't believe that the Earth could get better if they tried and decided to run away from their problems. Even if they were out there searching for Metatron and experimenting with its properties, they weren't doing it for Earth but instead keeping it for themselves.
The committee on Earth found this to be quite an atrocity and tried to negotiate with the Enders to compromise. Unfortunately, the Enders shut them out and in a surprising turn for the worse, attacked several colonies which were confirmed to have many civilians sided with Earth. War was declared and we, the Divinity Meisters, were sent out on a special mission to rally the Earth-sided colonists and subdue the Enders.
The Divinity Meisters consist of me, Tojiko, Futo, and the Crown Prince as the leader. It's not something to brag about, but the Crown Prince in action shows that she is indeed a genius level Frame Runner with no equal.
The Enders also have a group within them, aptly named "The Magicians of the Cardinal" specialized to defend all their commodities without hesitation. The four members are Alice, Patchouli, Marisa and Byakuren, the center of both the group and the Enders.
And that's about it, the announcement I made illustrates what we've accomplished and what we will do next. Any questions?" Seiga takes another sip while her hair loops bounce.
"No, thank you." Satori rubs her chin and looks up at the ceiling. "I just need to think about this for a moment."
Satori sits in thought silently. So Marisa is part of the group that wants to defeat the Earthlings? Wait, how did she even get in this city!"
"By the way," Seiga blinks a few times. "do you have a military-purpose LEV, by any chance?"
"Huh, what?" Satori's attention flies back to Seiga with her short pink hair swaying about. "What do you mean by that?"
"Your invested interest in this state of affairs makes me wonder if you do have one. Your friends don't seem to be worried about this, yet you are. Do you want to protect them?"
"I..." Satori shrugs off Seiga's previous question. "Yes, I want to protect my friends. Any way I can, at least."
"Glad to know." Seiga smiles. "It sounds like you wanted to forget all about the war, but you now want to come back and finish it once and for all to save the ones you love. Very caring of you."
Satori blushes. "You could put it that way."
"Unfortunately, even if you did have a Frame that's combat capable, I can't exactly do anything from this colony to help you and it's the last day I'm going to be here." Seiga rummages through a pack to the side of her armchair, pulls out her Handy PC and places it on top of the paperwork on the table. She then taps on the PC, pulls up the map on the PC and shows Satori where they are. "We're right here," Seiga then points to an area southwest of their current location, "and after today, I'll be heading over here. If you're interested at that time, fly over there and inform me in person so I can help you get to your senses."
"I'll keep that in mind." Satori gets up from the sofa and bows. "Thank you so much, Miss Kaku."
Seiga also gets up and offers Satori her hand. "Any way I can help, I'm willing to oblige."
Satori grips Seiga's hand and gives it a good shake. A sudden realization comes over Satori as she looks down at Seiga's hand, then at Seiga's smiling face.
Her hand feels cold, lifeless. Is there something wrong with her?
As Satori leaves the room, Seiga places her Handy PC back in her pack and walks over to the desk in the office. The door closes.
Satori stands outside of the capital building with her arms wrapped around herself in her windbreaker. She lowers her head as tears fall from her cheeks.
"I hate this war. I hate it. Why does it have to make everyone miserable?" She sobs quietly.
[ ] Is Marisa still at her place? I need to know her side of the story.
[ ] I don't want to take that chance, I have to go back and discuss with my friends what to do next.
[X] Is Marisa still at her place? I need to know her side of the story.
Satori runs across the tiled plaza and past the bar back to the dimly lit hangar where Marisa and Nitori were staying at.
Nitori picks up her green backpack and walks up the metal ramp into the ship parked inside the hanger. Marisa follows, but turns around and sees Satori.
"Whoa!" Marisa exclaims. "Satori's back!"
Satori steps back with a surprising thought: Seiga never asked for my name. Did she forget? Or did she not want to know?
Nitori turns around as well. "I thought you already left."
"Hello Marisa and Nitori." Satori puts one hand in the pocket of her windbreaker and scratches her hair with the other. "I just finished my business and wanted to see both of you."
Marisa tilts her head. "Yeah, you've caught us at a bad time tough, we were about to leave!"
"Sorry." Satori sighs with both hands in her pockets. "Marisa, are you involved in the war?"
Marisa leans forward, almost falling on the ramp. "Oh, I guess you'd be the one to ask!" She then stands straight again. "Yeah, I'm involved. I fight for my friends. If I'm not there and I lose one of them, I would never know if being there for them would make a difference."
Satori looks down at the metal floor. "Like for me, right?"
"Yeah, exactly!" Marisa laughs. "We have to watch each other's back and keep ourselves alive."
Satori glances at Marisa. "Wait, you consider me a friend?"
"I don't get why not, you seem like such a great person. You look like you've got a lot ahead of you." Marisa grins.
"Really?" Satori blushes, then shakes her head. "Right, I apologize, one more question, what did you think of the announcement that Seiga gave out?"
"Even if Nitori was right, I still gave her several 'I told you so's about it being not important. We're not worried about it at all."
Nitori pouts. "Don't be so haughty about it!"
Satori takes her hands out of her pockets. "Thanks for telling me your thoughts. Have fun on your trip."
Marisa slowly walks down the ramp and gives Satori a soft hug with a pat on the back. "Don't die. I'd love to talk to you when this dumb war is over."
Satori hugs back and starts tearing up after she lets go of Marisa.
Nitori taps her foot on the ramp. "Marisa, we're ready, right?"
"Yeah!" Marisa runs up the ramp, then turns and waves at Satori. "Bye, Satori! We'll meet again soon!"
Both Marisa and Nitori enter the ship while Satori leaves the hangar, under a night sky.
"I better tell Rin what I've learned today." Satori slouches. "It's been a long day and I feel really tired."
"And that's what happened up to now." Rin recalls her story to Yamame.
"Heh!" Yamame smirks. "All of you are such a handful! Stealing a ship? Using the stolen LEVs to mine Metatron? Salvaging a secret robot?! So much drama!"
Rin sits down on a short long metal crate and sighs. "You make it sound like an action kind of video game, yet it's been really stressful for us all."
Yamame sits on another crate. "I understand that feeling. Like the old times, huh?"
"Not like those times are any better than right now." Rin rolls her eyes with Koishi's hat on her head.
"Rin! Yamame!" Satori walks into the brightly lit hangar and waves at everyone. "Do you two know where Koishi is?"
"Welcome back, Satori, how did things go?" Rin nods her head to the right, towards the ship. "I checked Koishi's room, she's sleeping in right now."
"Well," Satori sits down on the crate beside Rin. "to recap,
Seiga Kaku is part of a group called the Divinity Meisters who are leading the Earthlings to fighting so that they can stop the Enders from keeping their Metatron to themselves. The Divinity Meisters include her, Tojiko, Futo, and the Crown Prince.
Marisa is in a group named the Magicians of the Cardinal, along with Alice, Patchouli, and Byakuren. I never found out what the Enders' main objective is, but Marisa is fighting specifically to protect her friends." Satori tears up again.
"Just calm down and get your head together." Rin gives Satori a pat on the back and puts Koishi's hat on Satori's head.
Yamame scoffs. "Why does she cry so much? She's way too soft, seriously."
Rin glares at Yamame. "She hasn't been the same crap we've been through, you know. Show some respect."
"Sorry." Satori wipes the tears from her eyes. "That's all I have to report anyways."
"This is good information though! Now we know who's fighting for what and what we're up against." Rin rubs her chin. "Where should we head to now?"
[ ] Follow Marisa.
[ ] Meet with Seiga.
[ ] Ask Yukari what went wrong during the mining assignment.
[X] Ask Yukari what went wrong during the mining assignment.
"Rin, we should pay Yukari a visit." Satori suggests.
"Wait, who again?" Rin tilts her head.
Satori sighs. "Yukari's the one that gave us that mining assignment, remember?"
"Oh, right!" Rin scratches her cat ears. "I guess that's true, we need to consult her on why those intruders attacked you at that time. I just forgot because of all the things that's happened after that."
Satori looks away. "I don't think she misled us, but rather that we were sent at the same time as another unit. We have to know what circumstances made that situation, because I doubt that anyone else besides Yukari knew about the site."
Yamame jumps off of the crate she's sitting on. "So we're settled, right? Going to ask that dumb lady what's special about the place you looked for Metatron in?"
"Yeah, it should be south from here." Rin also gets up. "To clear things up, she's not dumb, just rather... brash."
"What makes her seem like that then?"
Rin puts her finger to her mouth. "Well, she didn't immediately report us when Satori told her we didn't have a mining license, so I assume she cares more about the results than the process."
Satori is the last one off the crates. "I found it unnerving, really."
"She let you go anyways, you should be thankful for that!" Yamame leans forward and stands back up. "Anyways, Rin, where am I sleeping in on the ship?"
"First on the right down the hallway." Rin points out the metal ramp leading inside the ship, then as Yamame runs up the ramp, turns to Satori. "Did you really have to tell Yukari upfront about that?"
Satori lowers her head. "I wanted to know so that we wouldn't get apprehended after we completed the assignment."
Rin looks up at the ceiling while her cat ears fold down. "Not unreasonable, but you were probably really stressed out at that point and weren't thinking straight." She then grips Satori's left hand and walks with her in tow up the ramp. "Alright, things you've got to do, you should drop Koishi's hat off in her room and leave her a note to have her pilotsuit on. You have to have it on too."
"The pilotsuits? I hope Koishi has gotten used to it by now." Satori grabs the soft brim of Koishi's hat on her head. "Before the ceremony, you got this hat. How?"
Rin grins. "It was a hat that no one wanted, no one except for Koishi. We managed to get it for free because the clerk wasn't allowed to put anything else on display for the main window until that thing was sold."
"Interesting." Satori feels the big yellow ribbon on the hat. "It's... unusually nice."
"Out of style, yet Koishi still wanted it." Rin remarks as they both reached the top of the ramp and entered the ship. "She told me it reminds her of you."
"Yeah, she told me it's big, bright and nice. Just like you." Rin giggles.
"Am I really that out of touch with Koishi though?" Satori shakes her head and sighs. "She's this old, yet she still acts so... simple."
"You'll teach her to grow up!" Rin flicks her finger on the hat. "She'll be a wonderful girl and she'll live a healthy life. All of us will."
"Sure. We'll settle down and be a happy family."
"That's what we should aim for."
Satori opens the door to Koishi's room and notices Koishi in bed, facing the metal wall. She takes Koishi's hat off her head and leaves it on the counter with the note Rin told her to prepare.
Before Satori leaves the room, Koishi mutters something in her sleep.
Satori turns around and stays for a moment as Koishi mumbles once more.
"Don't die. I don't want you to leave me."
Satori walks out the door and puts her back against it after it closes. She places her hand against her chest and sobs quietly.
After a long sleep, Satori, Koishi and Yamame sit on metal stools at a square table with a pot of stew at the center. The dining room is well-lit, but very small and sparsely decorated. In terms of such, it's safe to assume the previous owners were not fans of elegance or fancy affairs.
"Yamame!" Koishi exclaims. "You're such a great cook!" She smiles as she eats another spoonful from her bowl.
Yamame blushes, then sighs. "I might be a good cook, but I still don't understand how you Enders can stomach your kind of food, really." She depressingly takes a bite and squints.
"I don't know," Satori comments, "I don't think it warrants Earthling food to be so much more expensive than the normal provisions."
"What?" Yamame rolls her eyes. "Did your taste buds die or something?"
"I'm just saying that functionally, it works. It does not have to taste great, but it should be satisfactory in a nutritional sense. Do you understand?" Satori takes a spoonful of the stew and sips it.
"I still prefer Earthling food. Even if Rin did steal most of it." Yamame smirks.
"But you did cook this meal with love, right?" Koishi giggles.
"Heh," Yamame teases Koishi, "your happiness is really infectious, you know that?"
Moments pass by as they enjoy their meal when they're interrupted by Rin from the intercom.
"Satori! Koishi! Are you there!?" She states.
Satori puts her spoon in her bowl and pushes her bowl closer to the pot. "Huh? What's up, Rin?"
"A few Frames are closing in on the ship!"
Koishi looks at Satori in anxiety. "We're going to fight again?"
Satori gets up and takes Koishi's hand. "We'll make it fast, so we can clean that stew out, alright?"
"O-Okay! Sorry, Yamame, we have to save the ship!" Koishi runs with Satori to the hangar.
"So, this is what I'm going to be dealing with now, huh?" Yamame scratches her head. "Feels bad not to help out, but I'm already helping those two enough as is." Another spoonful down.
The two run inside the hangar and jump in the cockpit of Janus.
Dases activates almost immediately. "I suggest that Koishi be the pilot for this current excursion due to her superior ab-"
"Don't care!" Satori smacks the console. "I'm in control right now, you're not telling me what to do."
"Sis, don't treat Dases like that." Koishi complains.
"I still think it's a soulless machine with no ability to sympathize or comprehend feelings."
"Why is my family such idiots?" The garbled voice of Dases speaks before it returns to normal. "I cannot reject your request, so be it. Frame Runner Satori Komeiji, you are currently in charge of Janus." The console and the lights on Janus glow pink.
Satori pauses. "Huh? Family?"
"Hey!" Rin's face interrupts to the right above the console. "Both of you, ready?"
"Go for it." Satori responds.
The hangar drops Janus out of the ship under it and Janus hovers in midair, rotating to face the enemy Frames.
Rin examines Satori and Koishi. "Both of you look fine. Let me see if I can identify the Fr-"
"HEY!!" A strange girl shows up on the left above the console. She has short blue hair with a bright green ribbon tied into it and blue eyes.
"Whoa!" Koishi jumps. "You're bold!"
"Who the heck are you two!?" The girl inquires.
"I'd ask the same of you." Satori sighs.
"My name's Cirno!" She points her thumb to herself. "I'm pretty good!"
"Why can't you just back off and not attack the ship?" Satori asks Cirno.
"No way!!" Cirno's face disappears from Satori's cockpit view after her outburst.
Koishi looks over Satori's shoulder. "What should we do then?"
"We don't have to kill her, we just have to teach her a lesson." Satori places her hand on her face. "Rin, what's the ID for those Frames?"
Rin nods her head while her cat ears perk up. "Right! The ship detected four Frames from the direction you're turned towards. They're all Faerie types, just mid-sized robots that fire a storm of weak bullets. The Faerie that Cirno is piloting has a subweapon named ICICLE which operates just like a javelin. It throws a spear of ice that falls to the ground and explodes into a series of shards upwards when it impacts; if it's thrown while dashing forward, it splinters off in mid-air, dealing less damage but increases the chance of hitting."
Satori glances away from Rin to look forward and see a few numbers with Lv. beside them. "Rin, what are these Lv. indicators on my cockpit view?"
"I think that's the mental strength of the Frames, I assume." Rin assures.
Satori types a few things into the console and gets the value for Janus: Lv.1. "Seriously, Dases?"
"Are you not satisfied with this? I can change it right now." Dases reports.
Satori frowns. "What do you mean, cha-"
Instantly, another surge of Metatron flows into the two Runners.
"Ngh!" Satori winces. "Again!? ...Huh? Koishi, do you hear voices?"
Koishi rubs her head. "I feel a bit of burning again, but yes, I do hear voices. They don't sound like any specific person I know though."
Satori shakes her head. "I can hear things from somewhere unknown, suggestions on my current situation although I don't know if I can trust them." She looks down at the console and re-examines the value for Janus's level: Lv.2.
The four thin limbed Faeries with their light wings quickly approach Janus.
"Never mind that," Satori archs back Janus and stretches its limbs out before moving into a battle stance. "they're heading our way!"
TERM: MAGNET COMBO
Grabs the enemy, swings them once before letting go, then slams them with a repel punch. A technique invented by Koishi during training. Great at stunning, but not very much so at enemy destruction.
[ ] Cut down the unmanned faeries with Sword and grab Cirno with Magnet, destroys unmanned frames and allows conversation with Cirno (albeit the fact she won't be very comfortable in that position).
[ ] Magnet combo all Faeries into each other, disables all of them.
[ ] Write-in.
Now the two can listen to your suggestions if you plan to tell them how to better approach a problem. However, Satori and Koishi have different preferences for their willingness to follow the options their otherworldly denizens "the readers" offer them. If the option you give to Satori/Koishi is highly conflicting of their views, they will instead ignore the write-in and take the next best vote.
By now, it should be easy to tell what Satori will and will not do, although throughout the story you can change both their perspectives and affect how they accept/reject write-in votes.
I'm giving you this ability for a very good reason, so don't forget it!
Hmm, now this is interesting. Been done before, but both of those are dead.
[x] The main threat is that Icicle, but its advantage lies in its spread. Tricky to dodge, but easily blocked. Magnet a drone to block the first salvo, combo it into a second, and grab the third for another shield.
-[x] And you can trust us, possibly more than you can trust one of your acquaintances. Didn't you notice? That guy in the Inugami said he got an anonymous tip that a few illegal miners would be in the area.
[x] The main threat is that Icicle, but its advantage lies in its spread. Tricky to dodge, but easily blocked. Magnet a drone to block the first salvo, combo it into a second, and grab the third for another shield
[x] The main threat is that Icicle, but its advantage lies in its spread. Tricky to dodge, but easily blocked. Magnet a drone to block the first salvo, combo it into a second, and grab the third for another shield.
[X] The main threat is that Icicle, but its advantage lies in its spread. Tricky to dodge, but easily blocked. Magnet a drone to block the first salvo, combo it into a second, and grab the third for another shield.
"That's your plan?" Satori nods her head. "It sounds fine to me. Let's go!" She swings Janus's right arm back and lunges through the air with a glowing palm towards the first Faerie in the front of the formation.
The Faerie immediately flinches upon contact with Janus's palm and struggles to escape while the two in formation behind it put their hands up to fire a spray of bullets at Janus. Janus defends by holding its captive up and forcing it to take the hits. Satori spins Janus once and hurls the Faerie towards another to the left, causing the thrown frame to explode.
"Koishi, do you know where Cirno went?" Satori scans the area but has trouble finding her.
Koishi's eyes sweep across the field. "Sis! She's on our right!"
Cirno in the sky blue Faerie frame then protests loudly, "Eat this, you jerks! Icicle Fall!"
Janus dashes towards the third Faerie to the right with MAGNET ready and grabs it right before the stunned Faerie to the left comes to its senses. It puts its hands up and tries to fill Janus with holes again before it's suddenly skewered by several energy shards from Cirno's attack aimed at Janus and explodes. The second captive Faerie that Janus holds up as a shield is only able to take three unsplit ICICLEs to the back before Janus has to let go of it, avoiding damage from its destruction.
"I feel so much more confident than last time!" Koishi gives a sigh of relief.
"The voices were right in taking a defensive approach, but I don't know if we can take a hit from her subweapon..." Satori comments, but then she looks in front to see Cirno's Faerie frame just flailing her arms forward in vain.
"Why isn't it working!" Throw more icicles! Work!" Cirno yells.
"There's our chance!" Satori lunges with her left arm and grabs Cirno's Faerie frame by the torso while Cirno decides to scream several obscenities afterwards.
Cirno's face pops up above Satori's console. "LET ME GO!" She demands.
Satori glares at Cirno. "Tell me why you attacked us when we told you to back off."
"Not a chance!" Cirno shakes her head.
Satori slowly raises Janus's sword on its right arm closer to Cirno's Faerie cockpit. "Tell me."
Cirno breaks out in a cold sweat and confesses, "Because my commander told me to!"
"Who's your commander then?"
Cirno stutters, "Letty Wh-Whiterock!"
Satori finally throws Cirno's Faerie out of Janus's grasp. "Don't attack us again or I'll seriously kill you."
"Eek!" Cirno's face disappears as her Faerie flies away into the distance.
Rin's face appears over the console, her cat ears folding in. "At least you got that over with. I tried to ask her not to attack three times and every time, she insulted me."
"Well, all we have to do is watch out for this Letty person then." Satori glances at Rin. "Just curious, what were those insults?"
Rin cringes. "Stuff like 'go jump in a lake', 'I'll rip your tail out', and the last one being 'I'll skin you alive'. She's not really subtle with the threats!"
"She's so rude, yet on the inside I bet she's a nice girl." Koishi chimes in.
Satori nods her head. "Maybe, but she's obedient enough to follow Letty's orders to the point and I'm sure that Letty's following the orders of someone else to the same extent. Rin, I'm coming back to the ship now."
Rin presses some buttons. "Okay, I'm getting the hangar open now. Dock safely!" She smiles as her face disappears from view.
"Satori, I have a question." Koishi leans over Satori's shoulder. "If Cirno does come back, would you really... kill her?"
Satori just lowers her head and sighs sadly. "I don't think I have the heart to."
The ship soon lands in a spaceport bustling with people everywhere. It's fairly easy to keep yourself discreet when there's a high amount of activity all the time.
Satori and Rin in their coats walk towards the extended ramp and turn to wave at Koishi and Yamame inside the ship.
"We're going to talk with Yukari, okay?" Satori tells the two of them.
"Besides, you have to get to know each other soon enough anyways, let's make it now!" Rin giggles.
Koishi sulks, then runs over and hugs Satori. "You'll tell me everything this time, right?"
"I will, don't worry." Satori ruffles Koishi's soft hair and pushes her away. "Have fun with Yamame now."
"Alright then, you too." Yamame leans to the left and right and looks up at Koishi's hat sitting on her own head. "Satori, I have to admit that as airheaded as your sister is, she has a good eye on her. This hat's pretty snazzy, albeit a bit messed up in places."
"Don't make fun of my hat!" Koishi complains as she walks up to Yamame and makes a fuss.
Yamame grabs Koishi by the shoulders and gives her a noogie. "Feisty!" Yamame then puts the hat back on Koishi's head and looks over her shoulder to wave back at Satori and Rin. "We'll be fine!"
"Alright." Satori affirms and walks down the ramp with Rin.
"This is the building." Satori looks up at its towering height, then back down at the door. "Again."
"I don't think Yukari's going to be happy that we came back without any ore." Rin remarks.
"With the circumstances, I think she'll understand." Satori replies.
Both of them walk inside and quickly notice a tall lady with short blonde hair in a dark blue suit and slacks. She stands in front of the elevator, waiting while it dings several times.
"Ran Yakumo, are you going to see Yukari?" Satori asks.
Ran turns around and takes a look at both of them. "Oh... It's Satori. And Rin as well. Yes, of course." As she accepts their proposal, the elevator dings for the final time as the doors split open.
The three walk into the elevator and Ran taps the button to the top floor, although this building wasn't very high. Ran stands rigid as her perfume wafts around the room. It's not overbearing, but it doesn't take much effort to notice the noble air it gave.
The elvator dings as the door opens. They arrive at their destination and Ran walks up to the thick double doors and turns the knob of the right door to open it.
"Oh, Ran, you're here. Thank you for co-" Yukari spots Satori and Rin coming through the door. "It's Satori. What brings you here?"
Yukari has a frilly hat with a mahogany ribbon tied in it on top of her long blonde hair tied with red ribbons and her purple eyes staring at the two. The room has two shelves on both sides of the desk Yukari sits at along with two wooden chairs in front of it, a murky red colored carpet and a dark purple ceiling lit with four lamps.
Satori sits down in the left chair. "I'd like to tell you how the assignment went."
Rin sits down in the right chair and puts her hand on Yukari's desk. "No point for formalities, I'll just tell you what happened, we got attacked and we don't know why!"
Yukari becomes visibly agitated at Rin. "Don't make stuff up! Is this an excuse to say you found nothing? Both of you knew the ramifications of mining with no license and I told you that I wouldn't be responsible for that. You should have got one for your safety."
Satori sighs. "I apologize for Rin's behavior, but she's correct." She hands Yukari a log of the intruders at the abandoned colony. "Do you think there's any clues to the circumstances that could lead up to something like that happening?"
Yukari puts her glasses on and skims through the log. "...Urgh, your loud friend's right, this all checks out." She gets up, opens one of the shelves and flips through folders until grabbing a particular article and coming back to put it on the desk. "I knew that the location I assigned to your team would be abandoned and that it would contain Metatron because of this printing. I received recent news from a source that it was cleared and I felt assured that no one would capitalize on it, but apparently someone else wanted to beat me to the punch."
Satori picks up the paper and reads the headline.
Sudden Explosion Disrupts Recently Established Mining Site by Aya Shameimaru
"After scanning the entire article, it looks like this Aya girl doesn't know how to report at all; there's barely any details on who was involved or anything beyond it happening." Satori reports.
Yukari frowns. "I do trust her sense well, so I would say that she was halted from getting those details down rather than her incompetence in obtaining them."
"All I can get from this is that the Divinity Meisters blamed it on the faulty power generator system which had a severe malfunction and blew up in their faces. Many deaths, but the group promised it wouldn't happen again. The Earthlings do trust them on this promise, but some are still very angry with what happened, especially those who had family members killed in this incident." Satori puts down the paper. "I feel like there's more to it, but the Meisters probably stopped Aya from getting anything more out of it."
Yukari sighs and puts her elbow on her desk and her cheek on her hand. "Anyways, you're safe, right? I'm going to take you off the assignment and write it off. As much as I want that Metatron ore, I don't think I can get it if there's other people gunning after the same resources with military level equipment."
"Okay, thank you very much. Can we have a copy of that article also?" Satori gets up and helps Rin get up from her chair.
Yukari stands up and crosses her arms. "Sure. Since you're here, do you want anything else?"
[ ] Ask for other assignments to make some money while we're here.
[ ] Inquire on information on surrounding activity.
[ ] Leave immediately after receiving the copy of the article.
[ ] Write-in.
[X] Ask for other assignments to make some money while we're here.
"I'd like another job." Satori states.
"Heh, you're quite the go-getter, aren't you?" Yukari scoffs. "Not like I have anything for you in terms of a mining job."
"I've recently acquired a military purpose LEV since that incident for protection. Does that broaden my sights for any jobs?"
"Oh ho." Yukari glances at Satori with her eyes wide open. "I didn't know you were that kind of girl! I guess I do have the perfect assignment for you." She walks across the red carpet and opens the left door. "Ran, do you remember the upcoming escort mission? It should be the right fit for her."
Ran bows to Yukari. "Yes, I do remember, my Lady. I will get the details ready for Miss Komeiji."
A sweating Rin grabs Satori by the shoulder. "What are you..?"
"Rin, I have this, okay?" Satori nods slightly to Rin, then looks at Ran. "I'll take it ."
Before Yukari walks through the open door, she makes one more comment to Satori. "Hey Satori? Don't get yourself killed. Besides, I find you endearing, really." She giggles and closes the door.
Rin shivers for a second. "Ran, why does your boss give me the creeps?"
Ran shrugs as she gives Satori the mission details. "Do not mind her, she's just very eccentric."
Rin then rolls her eyes. "Nothing else comes closer than that for the truth."
"Cooperating with three other units to transport a shipment of Metatron ore for the Divinity Meisters." Satori reads the details over. "The only kind of protection for something that precious, huh?"
"That is the gist of it." Ran sits down in the seat behind the desk. "Write down your details and hand it to me so I can finish the rest of the paperwork. I'll give you the location and information on your teammates afterwards." She clears her throat and hands Satori a pen. "Do know that your teammates will receive the information you submit as well, so be as accurate as possible."
Satori presses on the bottom of the pen and gets to work on filling in her details. She squints at the area where she has to write in her Frame's name and details, but then smirks, finishes the paper and hands it to Ran. "Here it is."
Ran takes the paper and leaves it on the desk. "Thank you very much. Here is your information to make the most out of succeeding at the mission." She walks over to the shelves, gives Rin a paper detailing the location of the mission and gives Satori a folder containing information on her team. "If you could not tell, Yukari was not delighted with how your previous assignment went, although the circumstances did make it immensely difficult for you to complete it. However, the clients you are now serving expect the best out of the ones they hire for this job, so please do not disappoint us."
"I won't fail." Satori assures Ran. "Hey Rin, how far is the location?"
"Hmm," Rin looks at her paper. "not far from here, but we should get there early. Anyways, thanks for that, Ran. We'll get your mission done!"
Ran smiles. "Good luck." Satori and Rin leave the room and close the door.
Back in the elevator descending to the ground floor, Rin gazes at Satori. "I saw you make that face when you were writing your stuff down, Satori. What'd you do?"
"It asked me what robot I used, I wrote in 'modified Inugami'." Satori grins. "That'll get them off my back." She then pops open the folder. "Speaking of them, I should see the names of my teammates. Just a peek."
The folder opens up and she shifts through the papers to quickly glance at their names, their portraits and their Frames. "Oyama looks scary in his portrait and pilots an Oni LEV, Ichiro is a young man who pilots a Susanno LEV, and Momoko, she has uh a Kappa LEV." Satori looks at Rin desperately. "What do these robot types mean!?"
"Let me try to remember from the book I read those robots up from!" Rin taps her foot on the elevator's floor as her cat ears perk up. "Oni types have lots of armor and Kappa types are the ones they use in construction so I assume Momoko uses it for LEV repairs."
The elevator stops on the ground floor with a dinging sound and the doors split open as Rin and Satori step out.
"I have no idea what the Susanno LEV does, it's probably a really old model that wasn't listed in that book. Ask Ichiro later if you want to." Rin finishes her conversation with Satori. "When we get back on the ship, you should get some rest." She gives Satori a big hug. "I don't want to lose you, Satori. Koishi too. Both of you, come back safely, alright?"
Satori pats Rin's head. "We'll make sure of it."
Satori feels vacant in her lavender pajamas as she stares at the metal ceiling while she lies in bed. She exhales and sees her own breath in front of her, but when she closes her eyes, she finally falls asleep.
She ends up floating in a white void, empty with all except herself with no clothes on her. Her pink hair and her entire body glows with a light hue as she looks around her, trying to find anything that she can relate to.
A voice booms around her, "What do you desire?"
"My desire?" Satori looks at her hands and her naked body, then searches for the source of the voice in vain. "I want to save everyone."
"Mankind always consumes itself in its madness." A whirlwind swirls in front of her as the voice gathers itself into a sparkling light. "If you know the source of its madness, you can calm any being into refraining from destructive behavior."
She moves her right hand above the light. "What kind of power is that? Where would it come from?"
"It is the power to read minds, the Third Eye. It resonates from the energy of the Metatron within you, sleeping dormant until you decide to awaken it." The light shines brightly. "Take ahold of me and awaken this power. It is your desire... after all..."
Satori squints as the light blinds her. "The Third Eye? That just sounds like a fairy tale to me, but this is a dream, right? Now...!" She closes her hand over the light and grips it tightly.
The light explodes in Satori's hand and surges through her body with agonizing pain as her eyes jolt open. "What's happe- Aaaa!" She screams in pain while shuddering, but it doesn't stop.
The voice booms one more time to tell her what she has to do.
"Close your eyes or you'll never wake up. Close your eyes! Close your e-"
Satori abruptly rises from bed breathing heavily and blinking several times. "Haa, hah, that was just a dream, r-right? A dream." She looks at her right hand, shaking but looking normal. "I'm going to check on Koishi just in case."
She gets up from bed, opens the door, stumbles over to Koishi's room and gives her door three taps.
"Koishi, are y-"
"Yes, come in." Koishi responds quickly.
The door opens and Koishi sits in bed in her bright teal pajamas as Satori asks her, "Why are you awake so early?"
Koishi looks at Satori with worry. "I had a bad dream."
"What was the dream about?"
"I don't want to talk about it." Koishi mumbles. After she stares at Satori for a split second, her eyes widen. "You had the same dream too?"
"Wait, what!?" Satori steps back. "What was your dream about?"
"I was in a white void and this voice started talking to me."
"And it asked you what your desire was, right?"
"Yes! And I saw that you had the same dream in your mind!"
Satori walks up and suddenly grabs Koishi by the shoulders. "Can you promise me something?"
Koishi looks at Satori straight at her eyes. "Huh? Promise what, Sis?"
"Do not let anyone know that we can read minds."
"Wait, you can read minds too? That's awesome!"
Satori hugs Koishi firmly. "Koishi, you just, you need to understand. You need to understand that if people find out that you can read minds, they won't trust you anymore. They won't care how much of their mind you can read, they'll think that you will barge into their minds and tell everyone what they're thinking when they don't want to. Promise me you won't tell anyone about your Third Eye, not even Rin or Yamame or anyone else besides me. Okay?" Her tears drop onto Koishi's bed.
Koishi hugs Satori back. "Okay, Sis, I promise. Sisters to the end?"
Satori lets go of Koishi and smiles through her tears. "Sisters to the end."
Satori opens the door and gets ready to leave when she feels a slight tug on her blouse from Koishi standing behind her. "Sis, can I sleep with you for now?" Koishi asks.
"Sure." Satori tilts her head up. "Feels like when we were just children, huh?"
Koishi blushes. "Don't remind me of those silly times!"
The ship soon lands at the rendezvous point with the other members of the team in an abandoned building where the power still runs. The lights hang on a wire and shake when particularly violent activity vibrates the ground.
Satori, Koishi and Rin enter the building and greet the team in an orderly fashion. Not for Koishi, that is.
"So you're the team? That's so cool!" Koishi exclaims.
"She's the brat they hired for this job? Seriously?" The man with muscles, short blonde hair and a beard comments while sitting in one of the chairs.
Koishi shrinks back because of what he said.
Another man looks at the information about Satori given to him by Ran. "No, the girl left of her is Satori, you big oaf." He remarks, young and energetic with outward red hair.
"Ichiro is correct." Satori nods. "Also, that girl you called a brat? That's my sister. I hope you don't say that again, Oyama."
"Look, Satori, whoever the hell you think you are, I don't think you should drag your sister in this. Not for kids, idiot." Oyama fires back an insult.
"Did you even read what my robot was? Modified Inugami. My sister is my co-pilot." Satori counters.
"Satori's here?" The girl with long grey hair and a distant look on her face stands up from her chair. "And your sister's your co-pilot? That's adorable. Nice to meet all of you, my name is Momoko!" She walks over awkwardly and shakes Satori's hand.
"Nice to meet you too, Momoko." Satori replies back.
"I don't get why they let those two in. They seem like rookies ready to get trashed to me." Oyama scoffs.
Ichiro punches Oyama in the shoulder. "Look, if everyone doesn't get their act together, we'll all get killed and that's not good for anyone."
"See? Ichiro knows what he's talking about!" Rin calls out. "By the way, who's going to be the operator for this mission?"
"I am." A girl with short brown hair and brown eyes enters the room, her cat ears straight out. Her red dress seems to feel out of place with everyone else's clothes, yet she seems fine with it. She grins. "Hello, team. My name is Chen and I am assured that Ran has given you ample time to read over the details of the mission?"
"Yes, Chen!" Oyama, Ichiro and Momoko respond with a salute.
Rin focuses on Chen. "Ran didn't mention you when we were talking."
"There are not many matters to say about myself! I'm feeling fine, if that's what you were going to ask. Focus on your mission, okay?" Chen nods her head. "I'm going to prepare the shipment very soon. When I come back, I want all of you to be ready. Thanks!" Her ears flap once as she leaves the room.
Satori rubs her chin, then speaks up. "Do you mind if I ask all of you some questions?"
"Don't really care." Oyama tells her.
"I'm fine with that." Ichiro laughs.
Momoko just stares into space after saluting to Chen.
I guess this is probably a good way to get some data, but we don't have much time so I'm going to have to narrow it down to questions that'll get them thinking, Satori ponders.
Satori has gained THIRD EYE!
Koishi has gained THIRD EYE!
You can ask each person one question. It's a five part vote.
[ ] How experienced are you in combat?
[ ] What do you think of the war?
[ ] What does your LEV specialize in?
[ ] I don't have any questions for him.
[ ] Write-in.
[ ] What is your LEV exactly?
[ ] What do you think of the war?
[ ] How do you do in battle?
[ ] I don't have any questions for him.
[ ] Write-in.
[ ] What do you think of the war?
[ ] Why did you get this LEV?
[ ] Are you good friends with those two?
[ ] I don't have any questions for her.
[ ] Write-in.
[ ] Are you feeling better from last night?
[ ] Do you remember our promise?
[ ] You're not worried about this mission, right?
[ ] Just pat her on the head.
[ ] Write-in.
[ ] What do you think about Chen?
[ ] Do you think there's anything interesting about our teammates?
[ ] Can you look over Ran's details again?
[ ] Just pat her on the head.
[ ] Write-in.
Ugh, yeah, no new votes coming in so I'm going to call it on the first response post:
[x] How experienced are you in combat?
[x] What is your LEV exactly?
[x] What do you think of the war?
[x] Do you remember our promise?
[x] What do you think about Chen?
Don't like to do this, but no one else is saying anything.
"I guess you're not completely useless." Oyama scoffs as he strokes his blonde beard. "To answer your question, I'll tell you that I'm good enough. If you can't trust me on that, you're better off sitting this one out."
Satori takes another look at Oyama to have a glimpse of his thoughts.
"The kid's asking for trouble if she's going to ask crap like that. I know I'm ready, but my machine isn't in great shape as I am. However, I'm not making her worry about little details like that, either she makes the effort to get it done or she's going to be done for."
She steps back in fear, but relaxes and keeps a calm face and nods.
[X] What is your LEV exactly?
"Oh, my LEV? Heh, I guess that does create a bit of interest!" Ichiro smirks while he combs back his red hair. "It's the Susanno no Mikoto type, a LEV made at the early stages of Moriya Assembly Technologies when Suwako was starting out. Not many are left, but there's a good reason for that... it's aged pretty badly and most of the ones that entered service came back broken down. However, even with that flaw, it's still a reliable military purpose LEV with a stable Arkjet Engine, its booster makes it mobile enough to dodge shots and it can carry some heavy weapons to deal some good damage back without being weighed down."
"It's an old model that I've been fixing up lately but I can't afford to get anything else. Too many expenses, too little time."
Satori grins. "You're very knowledgable about the LEV industry!"
Ichiro crosses his arms. "I know, right? Its signature weapon, the Kusanagi, looks elegant and can cut through armor like no other! It's really cool."
Satori tilts her head and glances at what Ichiro's thinking now.
"But it's just a replica sword that's actually useless... I'm trying to impress her though! Maybe Satori will let me talk to her sister? She never mentioned her name, but she looks so hot! I shouldn't be eye-ing her though..."
Satori blushes for an instant, then clears her throat. "Thank you for your answer!"
[X] What do you think of the war?
Momoko turns while her grey hair sways and her nearly lifeless brown eyes glare at Satori. "The war, huh? I don't understand any part of it."
A dead end, but Satori is able to intercept her true feelings and learn what's with Momoko's attitude.
"I keep losing my friends in battle. Do I have a bad omen? Am I not fast enough to repair their robots and keep my friends alive? This war is tearing me apart slowly, but I'm going to keep trying until it's over."
Satori stands in utter silence. She finally mumbles, "Thank you for telling me."
[X] Do you remember our promise?
"Our promise? I remember our promise!" Koishi hugs Satori tightly and lets go to adjust her hat. "Sis, do you mind if you let me see what you learned?"
"That's fine with me, as long as you don't tell anyone else, alright? Sit in front of me and focus. I'm sure we can talk our thoughts out in this sort of fashion."
Koishi walks over and sits down on a fairly broken wooden chair in front of Satori. Koishi then closes her eyes and in the darkness, the previous messages that Satori obtained from the team members appear clearly.
Satori leans back on the table behind her and looks at Koishi as she concentrates well. Koishi's thoughts write themselves into existence, visible due to Satori's Third Eye.
Koishi pouts. "Oyama seems like he's confident in himself, but not the machine that he pilots. You still think he's a good person though, sister. Your compassion makes me envious.
She smiles. "Ichiro has so much pride for his LEV. He's the glue that holds that team together, but I do see that you're worried about his recklessness in exchange for style.
She... looks down. "That's why Momoko is like that. You're saying that it's an act to make friends when they don't know what befalls them even if it's not her fault. I don't know what else to say about her."
Koishi opens her eyes and sees Satori, her sister with an expressionless face. "Sis, our team is... rather diverse."
"It's probably what will keep us alive in the end, the experiences and perspectives of the many individuals which give us every angle to examine the situation with." Satori responds as she gets off of the table and walks over to Rin.
[X] What do you think about Chen?
"Snobby, but probably more experienced than I am." Rin spits out.
"She's too uptight, she needs to relax a little."
"I guess that's all you can tell about her, right?" Satori snickers.
"Attention, everyone!" Chen strolls back into the room and stands straight while her cat ears perk up. "The mission's going to start very soon, so meet outside in your robots. I'll be operating for the mission. Thanks." She leaves us alone as the three team members quickly leave the building to get ready.
Satori takes Koishi's hand and picks her up from the chair and Rin soon follows her to the ship.
Inside the hangar, Koishi manages enough time to hold onto her hat and wrap the scarf around her neck despite having her pilot suit on.
"You're keeping those on while we're running a Frame now, Koishi?" Satori inquires.
"They're... my good luck charms, Sis." Koishi quietly answers.
"Just this once then." Satori sighs. "I don't want her to have those things on, but we can't stall any longer from the mission." She ruminates.
The Komeiji sisters stand beside the cockpit as Dases prematurely boots up.
"I suggest that Koishi be the pilot for this current excursion due to her superior ability." Dases repeats from before.
"Ugh..." Satori shakes her head. "I mean, yes I understand that, Dases, but seriously." She looks away from the cockpit, turning a slight eye to Koishi. "...But, should I take the chance and let her run Janus this time? I don't want to fail this mission, so I should listen to Dases this time... maybe..."
Choose the main Frame Runner for this mission:
[ ] Satori Komeiji.
[ ] Koishi Komeiji.
"Koishi, I'd like you to hop in the front seat, you're going to be running main this time." Satori nudges Koishi forward.
"Okay then, Sis. I'll do my best." Koishi accepts her sister's command and jumps in. She leans back in her chair as Satori slides into the back seat and the cockpit's shell reforms.
Dases shortly afterwards activates all systems and changes the console and Janus's glow with a vibrant teal hue as two swords assemble themselves on the sides of its arms.
"I have now discovered that the two Frame Runners registered to Janus have further pushed your mental limits." The AI jests. "I will allow Mode Shift then."
"Mode Shift? Isn't that when you redirected control to me during training?" Koishi inquires.
"Affirmative, although that time was not a very stressful situation in itself so it did not require anything on your part. Now, I have given you the ability to initiate Mode Shift voluntarily. It will for a short amount of time redirect control to the sub Frame Runner when their assistance is required."
"So I can call on my sister when I need to, thank you for telling me." She nods.
"Please do use it sparingly as it creates mental pressure on the person initiating the shift when it's engaged."
"I'm worried about that part, Koishi..." Satori remarks.
"I'm okay, Sis." Koishi responds. "When I need you to help me, I'll tell you."
Rin appears above the console surprised. "Satori let you take the helm now, Koishi?"
"Mmhm!" She smiles. "I'm going to do my best."
"Good!" Rin grins with her ears up. "I just have to do a quick check and then I have to get you going." After a moment of tapping on a keyboard, she looks at Koishi again. "Everything should be set. Listen to Chen, alright?" Her face disappears after a brief period of time.
Janus unlocks from the hangar and lands on the ground as Koishi pushes it towards the mission area.
Janus passes by many dilapidated buildings and arrives at a small alcove, where the three other members of the team in their robots were waiting. Chen, Oyama, Ichiro, and Momoko's faces appear to the sides above Koishi's console.
Oyama's Oni LEV has bulky shoulders and holds two machineguns with its hands and a missile pack on its back. Oyama repeatedly checks his machineguns over and over to make sure they're working.
Ichiro's Susanno no Mikoto LEV has a stalky stature with thin limbs. It wields a replica of Kusanagi and a shotgun, along with a bazooka on its back. Ichiro turns to the left and right constantly, a sign of impatience.
Momoko's Kappa LEV has two manipulator hands on the center of its torso above the cockpit for repairs and two large arms coming from its back holding a rifle. It remains completely motionless.
Chen onscreen shakes her head about before addressing everyone. "Sorry, I'm a bit tired right now. To summarize, the mission objective is to escort this shipment of Metatron ore outside of the city. Oyama will be the squad leader for this mission, so follow his commands." She clears her throat. "The Meisters were able to keep this shipment hidden for some time without anyone noticing, but they want to get it out now. If they did bring a large force to take it, it'd cause a noticeable racket and create an opening where many of them would get shot down by the enemy, so the emphasis is stealth."
"Sounds easy." Ichiro thrusts his LEV's shotgun in the air. "We can do this!"
"Don't screw up, Ichiro." Oyama then faces Koishi's face onscreen. "What is that brat doing anyways?"
"Her name is Koishi and I let her run main, so be quiet." Satori counters.
"Stop arguing and let's get the Metatron out of here please." Momoko bluntly requests.
Chen laughs. "Yeah, I think that's a good idea, I'll call the shipment to start moving. My radar isn't detecting any enemies, so if everything goes well, we don't even have to engage in combat." She turns to the right and types in a few keys and comes back to the team. "Okay, the shipment should be following the team now! I've indictated the safe area where your mission should be completed on your consoles. Do your best."
The truck floats forward past a broken down school and several residential areas as the team follows beside it with their weapons ready. Koishi, Satori and Oyama are sliding forward on the left side of the truck and Ichiro and Momoko are maintaining a defense on the right side of the truck.
"Another mission where nothing happens. As usual." Ichiro sighs.
"The mission being uneventful is good when we aren't in danger." Momoko assures him.
Oyama scoffs. "Both of you, stop daydreaming and keep yourself awake. I don't think I have to tell you two that."
"Oyama's right," Koishi frowns. "but he doesn't have to be so harsh about it."
"Combat isn't as merciful when it delivers its messages, so why would I act subtle about telling them what's important at the moment?" He belittles Koishi's arguement.
While they continue with their conversation, Satori closes her eyes and focuses... when she hears a loud voice that she's never heard before.
"And they told me that THEY were the ones planning an ambush so that we couldn't jump in and take that truck over. I guess this does make it a good time to test this new prototype weapon out though."
"Koishi." Satori keeps her eyes closed whispering to her sister. "I feel a disturbance. There's something ominous that Chen can't detect."
"Huh?" Koishi mumbles.
"This lady I'm listening to is concentrating very hard as I can tell. Don't let your guard down." Satori affirms.
"Hey, what are you two talking about?" Ichiro asks Koishi.
"Nothing!" Koishi waves her hands around. "Let's continue the mission."
"You're acting weird..." He leans back in his chair, "but alright, Koishi, if you say so!"
"We're halfway there, so I think we'll be fine now." Momoko smiles.
Satori relaxes and hears the voice for a second time.
"Princess Undine should be heating up now. The amount of energy I can spare for this is just for three bullets at the same time, so I should make this shot count. Aaaand there. That should be the mark. It's at full power now, so all I have to do now is compensate the moving speed of the target and..."
"There's a sniper! Take cover!" Satori screams.
Ichiro and Momoko duck behind a building, but Oyama refuses to follow Satori's order.
Oyama laughs. "Chen didn't warn us about any sni-"
A loud screech breaches the area as three whistling noises echo throughout the buildings travelling at an immense speed. The three explosive bullets wail towards Oyama's LEV, yet at that moment, Koishi's eyes open wide as she takes immediate action to zoom in front of his robot with Janus and take two of the three hits instead. The first two bullets' force knocks down Janus as its Metatron coating absorbs the hits. The final bullet slams through the Oni LEV's arm, blowing it and the machine gun out and scattering the pieces across the road.
Koishi gets battered up as her hat flies off and hits Satori square in the face. Satori grabs Koishi's hat and tries her best to help Koishi stay awake. Ichiro and Momoko scream for Satori and Koishi's safety as Chen's eyes dart around, scanning her screens to see what went wrong.
"What the hell happened!?" Chen panicks.
Satori examines the damage those hits caused and trembles. "Koishi! Why did you do that!?"
"Ughh. Nnn. It hurts..." Koishi moans and winces, but manages to get Janus back up. Her heart feels like it's about to burst as she mumbles, "I didn't want you to cry, Sis."
Dases announces a grave report within the chaos. "Damage levels exceeding 75%."
"Koishi! Why didn't you push Oyama out of the way instead!?" Ichiro yells at her.
"Because it would have taken out his cockpit either way if I didn't block it. I'm surprised Janus was fast enough to do something like that..." Koishi quietly answers. "However, I t-think I may have overdone it."
Oyama stands in silence as he sees Koishi struggling to stay conscious. "...Thanks."
"No p-problem." Koishi was still fairly shaken up.
Satori closes her eyes again and tries her best to focus, but all she gets from the sniper is some lines of thought.
"Wow, that was... interesting to say the least. I thought I had him, but I'm honestly surprised. However, I'm sure the cats will clean them up."
"Satori, don't stay here." Momoko speaks up. "I don't want you or your sister to get injured..."
"Seriously!?" Chen looks at her radar and panicks again. "There's six Bakeneko frames heading your way! Get ready for combat!"
"As much as I don't want to agree with Momoko, she's right." Oyama nods. "Satori, get your sister out of here before the enemy arrives."
Janus twitches, but swings its arms out with its swords and gets into a battle stance.
"I don't want to run away. I'm going to do this." Koishi cries out. "We can't back down!"
FRAME: Bakeneko Lv.2
WEAPONS: Energy Claw
FRAME: Bakeneko Lv.2
WEAPONS: Energy Claw
FRAME: Bakeneko Lv.1
WEAPONS: Energy Claw
FRAME: Bakeneko Lv.1
WEAPONS: Energy Claw
FRAME: Bakeneko Lv.1
WEAPONS: Energy Claw
TERM: MODE SHIFT
Switches control from the main Frame Runner to the sub Frame Runner for a limited amount of time. A unique feature of the Orbital Frame Janus.
[ ] Go after the leader first and cut it down by yourself while the team distracts the rest.
[ ] Divide the Bakenekos by splitting the team and support Oyama in short ranged combat.
[ ] Switch the team into a defensive formation and take each Frame out by focusing on each one before going to the next.
[ ] Retreat like you were ordered to.
[ ] Write-in.
[ ] MODE SHIFT: Satori:
- [ ] Lure the Bakenekos away and shoot them down before they even get close enough with their claws.
- [ ] Straight line firing squad formation.
- [ ] Write-in.
[x] Retreat and try to repair some of the armor with Momoko's help.
-[x] If she shoot before initiating repairs, ask her to do so, while you go back to her.
-[x] If the enemies are clustered together, ask for a bazooka shot to weaken them down.
[x] Remain in defensive formation.
-[x] Try to grab an enemy or two with the magnet, if possible and cut them down.
Let's see how the repair function works. Close combat is dangerous with so little health.
3x2 is good enough, though we need to repair Janus immediatly.
>>44392 The repair function cannot be used on Janus because the manipulators on Momoko's Kappa LEV can only be used on other LEVs and Janus is an Orbital Frame which requires Metatron alloy to repair itself.
[X] Switch the team into a defensive formation and take each Frame out by focusing on each one before going to the next.
"So if you're not going to retreat," Oyama asks Koishi, "what's the plan you're thinking of?"
"We should move into a defensive formation and take them out one by one." Koishi slightly smiles. "Is that a good plan?"
"The first part sounds alright, however, I'm not willing to agree with the second part." Oyama laughs. "You've got a good head on you, kid, but I'm sure my team can handle taking them out two at a time easily. Correct?"
"That's right!" Ichiro shows a thumbs up. "We'll get those Bakenekos a good beating! Just don't worry about it so much and leave it to us, Koishi."
"N-No." Koishi mutters. "I'm sure I can still fight."
"Are you sure?" Satori ruffles Koishi's hair and puts her fallen hat back on her head. "Well, be careful out there."
Koishi adjusts her scarf wrapped around her neck, grins at Satori and turns to the front. "We can do this!"
"That's the spirit, Koishi." Satori giggles.
Chen looks to her right at the radar one more time. "Sorry to interrupt, but the frames are coming in from the north! It looks like you can get some early hits off of them before they arrive at your position."
"Long range interception. Ichiro, Bazooka. Momoko, Rifle." Oyama leans his Oni LEV forward and pops open the lid to its back mounted missiles. "Aim to the right, we should take the weak ones out first."
Momoko points her Kappa LEV's rifle in the direction of the enemies and steadies her aim. "Roger, Oyama."
"This is going to be quick!" Ichiro puts away the shotgun and equips the bazooka. "Okay, get ready to fire!"
The Bakeneko frames jump off a building and land on the roof of another, extending their energy claws and leering at Koishi and her allies with their glowing eyes. They pause in silence to analyze the enemy closely.
Within moments, the silence shatters as Momoko fires a few shots with her rifle into the enemies. The sky then fills with a storm of missiles from Oyama and several bazooka shells from Ichiro as they impact and break through two Frames, destroying them. The squad leader is still alive, but one of the two other Lv.2 Bakenekos were destroyed in that attack. They're damaged, but they remain adamant in their assault as they dash off the roof and onto the road leading to the team.
Momoko fires one more aimed shot as it penetrates through another frame before backing away and defending the stationary truck. Oyama extends his LEV's machinegun forward and fires a stream of bullets, unfortunately only damaging them. Ichiro puts the bazooka on his back and wields his shotgun and Kusanagi, watching the Frames slide their feet along the ground into melee range.
Ichiro brandishes the Kusanagi. "They're here!"
"Here we go!" Koishi moves Janus forward and stands by. She closes its left hand and opens it, its palm glowing with energy as MAGNET is prepared for usage.
Oyama smacks the empty clip out of his machinegun and puts another one inside and initiates another barrage, yet the frames are resilient enough to continue advancing forward. Two of the Bakenekos jump in the air and aim for the same target: Ichiro. Meanwhile, the squad leader scoots to the left swiftly.
Momoko supports with another rifle shot to the right Bakeneko jumping at Ichiro as he also fires two shotgun spreads into it, ripping it apart. The one on the left swings its arm back and gets ready to slice through Ichiro's Susanno LEV.
"Crap!" Ichiro exclaims. The frame almost takes out his LEV's arm before it immediately gets plucked out of the air by Koishi as her scarf flutters. Koishi holds the Bakeneko still and cuts through it with two diagonal slashes through its torso with Janus's right arm sword, shredding it. The Metatron left over from its destruction strangely flows back and merges into Janus's armor.
Koishi celebrates her victory, although rather prematurely as Ichiro sees the squad leader coming right at her.
"There's one more enemy! To your left!" Chen yells at Koishi.
"You idiot, to your left!" Oyama yells as well as he fires his last rounds from his second clip, not dealing enough damage to stop the leader.
She becomes scared frozen as the leader's eyes shine brightly and growls with ferocity.
"Take this!" Ichiro fires his last shot, but it's still not enough to halt the inevitable.
"Koishi!" Satori screams. Before the leader's claws connect with Janus, Satori flicks her wrist and slams Janus's left arm sword horizontally across its middle.
"How'd Sis...?" Koishi gasps, breathing heavily.
"How'd I...?" Satori looks stunned as she watches the squad leader's final moments before collapsing and exploding.
"Good job!" Dases congratulates them in a garbled voice.
"Are you two okay?" Chen sighs with a hint of tears in her eyes. "I think I've worried way too much today, but I'm glad all of you are safe. This ambush was a massive hindrance to the mission, but we're fine now! There's no more enemies on the radar, so just get the truck to the area I mentioned before and then we'll talk."
"Thanks, D-Dases," Koishi smiles as she takes her hat off, "and thanks to all of you. Especially you, Sis." She presses her hand against areas around her chest. "Right now, I'm feeling just a b-bit... woozy..." Her head rests on the console as she quietly nods off, still breathing a bit roughly.
Satori gains control of the Orbital Frame Janus. "I'm sorry, but I have to get Koishi some medical attention. Now. I'm worried about her condition."
Ichiro salutes. "Yeah, I understand! Get going then. We'll meet you on your ship then."
"Thank you." Satori moves Janus away from the truck and heads back to their ship.
"Is Koishi going to be fine?" Satori fidgets as she stands beside Koishi, resting in bed in her room.
"Yeah, don't worry." Yamame pats Satori on the shoulder. "I've checked all her vitals, she's just incredibly tired. Give her some well-deserved rest and she'll be ready for anything, you can bet on that."
"She did fantastic on the mission, but her mind still wanders while she's fighting." Satori lowers her head. "I don't know if she's suited for running main again."
"When the time comes, you'll know!" Yamame laughs with another pat on Satori's shoulder. "You should help Rin out right now though, I don't think she's on good terms with that Chen girl. Her boss must be pretty rich to get her those cat ears, huh? What a rich snob!"
"Yukari's kind enough to pay people with that money to do her jobs, so I guess she's not that much of a snob... maybe. Anyways, I'll go with Rin then." Satori walks out the door and walks to the living room, where Chen, Oyama, Ichiro, Momoko and Rin sit at the metal table, discussing small things. Rin grits her teeth as she stares at Chen.
"There's the person we've been waiting for!" Ichiro announces.
"Thanks for your help." Momoko claps softly.
"How's your dumb sister doing?" Oyama inquires.
"Don't call Koishi dumb, I told you that before." Satori responds. "Also, she's okay, she just needs to get some rest."
"Tell her I said thanks." He cracks a small grin as he strokes his beard, but returns expressionless soon after.
"Hi Satori." Chen waves at her, then puts her elbows on the table and clasps her hands together. "The mission was a success, the Meisters have extracted the Metatron ore from the danger zone and it is now in their possession. You'll receive the pay after you visit Yukari. Now, however, I do want you to answer a big question!" She rubs her chin. "How did you find that sniper? Apparently, they were several kilometers away yet you detected them outside the radar range."
"My Orbital Frame has extra sensors that can scan farther on ground level." Satori shakes her head.
"Also, what was that weapon when your Frame's hand was glowing and pulled that Bakeneko away from me?" Ichiro asks.
"It was a custom modification specialized for that Frame." Satori answers.
"I saw your Frame glow brighter after it destroyed that Bakeneko that Ichiro mentioned. What was that?" Momoko speaks.
"Ummm..." Satori mumbles on.
"Can't we just examine your robot, Satori?" Chen suggests.
"No!" Satori clears her throat. "I mean, no. I'm sorry, but I can't let you."
"Okay okay, I'll leave you alone about that!" Chen blushes. "I would like to mention that the client Tojiko was so grateful for protecting their cargo despite the ambush that she has decided to give Satori some of their Metatron alloy to repair her Orbital Frame with. Anyways, I would like to congratulate all of you for a mission success." She claps with everyone else joining in.
"Okay, we're done? Follow me and I'll get you off the ship." Rin glances at Satori. "I'll take us back to Yukari's place, so you can go to sleep, alright?"
Chen waves at Satori and follows Rin to leave the ship. Everyone else says their farewells to Satori and follows Rin as well as Satori sits alone at the table, staring at the ceiling.
"We're knee deep in this now. No way out besides fighting through it." Satori moves her chair out, gets up and walks into her room.
Satori sighs, then lands in her bed and wraps her blanket around herself. Her lavender pajamas feel unusally soft this time. Her eyelids feel heavy, difficult to hold them up as they fall and send her off into slumber.
Satori falls into another dream, where she once again ends up in a white void with no clothes on, yet now she stands on solid ground. It's a flat white surface with no bumps as she looks around and finds nothing of interest, just like last time. Suddenly, a light blue figure appears in front of her, taller than her and her hair tied in two loops with a hair. Satori opens her mouth to try and say something to her, but the silence stays itself.
"Seiga Kaku? What are you doing here?"
The figure turns around and looks straight into Satori's eyes.
"It's definitely Seiga Kaku, but I don't understand why she's in my dream. What does she want...?"
A wry grin spreads across Seiga's face as she adjusts her tobacco pipe in her mouth and walks slowly towards Satori. She then grabs Satori's shoulders and wraps her arms around her. Seiga moves her right hand away to take the pipe out of her mouth and puts her arm back where it was before.
Satori flinches and squirms to try and get out of Seiga's grip, but to no avail. Trying to grab Seiga's arm to pull it away feels impossible to hold onto before it slips away and pushing Seiga back feels like struggling against a brick wall.
Seiga hugs Satori even tighter, then she caresses Satori's short hair with her right hand. She whispers imcomprehensible sweet words to Satori, although no sound comes out of her mouth. Satori attempts to escape again, but it's hopeless as Seiga puts her pipe back in her mouth, emitting a cloud of fog. Seiga smiles as she moves her right hand from Satori's shoulder down to her hip, then around to her back with a soft rub.
"Seiga, stop it! Stop! Nnn... Get away from me! Aah... Please stop..."
Seiga finally stares intimately at Satori with a perverse smile and a final message.
"Everything will be fine. Trust me." Her lips said.
Seiga closes her eyes and moves in to kiss Satori on the lips. Satori panicks with her tears flowing down her cheeks as the fog eventually engulfs everything in darkness.
Satori rises from bed blushing intensely. Rin opens the door and sees her, fairly flustered.
"Satori, why are your cheeks so red? Did you have a weird dream?"
"Be quiet!" Satori manages to stutter out. "It was a really weird dream, I don't want to talk about it. We're here, right?"
"Yep. Koishi is still sleeping and Yamame went to bed an hour ago, so we can get going now."
"Sure, let's go talk to Yukari then." Satori gets off of the bed and goes to change clothes.
The two walk inside the building and the elevator dings as the doors slide open. After a moment of waiting inside the elevator, it dings again as Satori and Rin see themselves in Yukari's office once more, the red carpet, the purple ceiling and the messy desk in the center.
Yukari straightens herself out. "Congratulations, Satori. You've done very well on this mission with positive recognition from the Meisters. Like Chen said, I'm the person you greet and here's the money you should receive, a reward for your services." She puts down the money, tightly wrapped. "Oh, and because the client duly insisted on it, here's a bonus as well." Yukari slaps the bonus on top of the original wad of money and slides it forward in front of Satori. "You deserve it, you did outstanding with handling that emergency situation."
"Thanks, Miss Yakumo!" Rin takes the money and starts counting the original stack to make sure that it's the right amount. "Yep, that should be correct."
"Anyways, what do you w-" Yukari gets interrupted by a buzzer on her communicator. Beep. "Ran, what's the buzz for?"
"Well, um-" Ran tries to answer her communicator as she also gets interrupted.
"Hey, I'm done! It looks like you're busy up there, but I'll still come in anyways!" The voice yells.
Satori rubs her chin. ...Wait, that voice. It's Marisa!
"Can you keep it down? I don't want to start a commotion here." Another voice replies.
And that's Nitori. Why would they be here? Wouldn't it be incredibly suspicious of them? Satori tilts her head down before putting her attention back on Yukari's purple eyes.
Yukari turns down the volume of the communicator. "Sorry about that, loudmouth there is annoying but is verily reliable on missions. Don't worry about her though. I was going to ask, is there anything you want?"
Satori gives it some thought... We have enough money to suffice, so what should we try to aim for next?
[ ] Wait for Marisa to come to Yukari's office and say hello to her.
[ ] Inquire for anyone related to Moriya Assembly Technologies.
[ ] Ask for the whereabouts of Aya Shameimaru.
[ ] Write-in.
[X] Wait for Marisa to come to Yukari's office and say hello to her.
"Let me think about it." Satori sits in the chair and looks around the room, surveying the bookshelves.
Rin stands near the doors twiddling her thumbs. The elevator dings and Marisa opens the door vigorously, causing Rin to jump back and hit her back on the bookshelf to the right.
"I told you so!" Marisa grins with a thumbs up.
"Ow, my back..." Rin groans.
"Ugh," Nitori sighs, taking her hat off and flapping it several times before putting it back on, "I told you already, keep your butt calm, geez."
"So Yukari, the reward?" Marisa hops up and down.
"Say please." Nitori frowns.
"Okay okay, please!" She walks around the chair and stands in front of Yukari's desk.
Yukari rolls her eyes. "Anyways, here's your reward. Thank you for your patronage, etc etc you know the deal." She yawns while she hands the money over to Marisa.
"Thanks a bu-" Marisa is in mid-turn to give the money to Nitori as she notices Satori sitting in the chair. She instantly freezes in place with a very distressed expression.
"OH CRAP WHY IS SHE HERE DO NOT MENTION THAT YOU MET ME BEFORE AGH"
"Who's that?" Satori asks, pointing to Marisa. Marisa unfreezes with a sigh of relief and gives the money to Nitori.
"Oh, that's Marisa Kirisame," Yukari rubs her chin, "although she says she's only using that name as a pseudonym. Not related to the actual person, 'Marisa the Traditional', but even then that girl's not very popular compared to the allies she's associated with either."
"That Marisa sounds really cool to me, but I guess I can just settle with this Marisa then." Satori waves her hand to Marisa. "Hello, Marisa! I'm Satori Komeiji," She then motions her hand to Rin, who's still patting her back from practically landing on the bookshelf with it. "and that's Rin Kaenbyou."
"Hi there, Satori!" Marisa stutters slightly, but retains her poise. "Also, hi to you too, Rin." She inches closer to Satori. "So who's Rin anyways?"
"She's my radio operator." Satori responds cheerfully.
Rin smiles with a slow wave of her hand. She straightens her back out and lets out a quiet moan with her cat ears twitching.
"She's got some nice ears." Marisa points to Nitori at the back of the room with her right thumb. "There's Nitori, she's my radio operator too. And my mechanic as well!"
"Yeah, all here." Nitori finishes counting the money and looks up to see Marisa pointing at her. "Hey there, Satori. I keep Marisa in line, that's my main job."
Marisa's thumb touches her palm as she closes her right hand into a fist and shakes it at Nitori. "Hey! Don't say it like that!"
Satori giggles. "You two are such a handful!"
"That's pretty much what you said las-" Marisa stops short as she was about to unfortunately mention that they've met before. She changes the subject fairly quickly. "Yukari, do you have another job you need done?"
"No point in keeping you away from anything, you're running this business all the time." Yukari smirks. She takes out her Handy PC and taps on its surface a few times. "Yes, I've got a scouting assignment for the Magicians, nothing serious."
"That sounds fine to me. Hell, I've got a good idea." Marisa pats Satori's right shoulder. "Maybe she should come with us. It'll be fun and I wouldn't mind splitting the pay!"
[ ] I'd love to, Marisa.
[ ] No, I have something I have to get to.
- [ ] Inquire for anyone related to Moriya Assembly Technologies.
- [ ] Ask for the whereabouts of Aya Shameimaru.
[ ] Write-in.
Rin pushes Marisa aside and looks over Satori's shoulder. "Are you sure?"
"It seems risky to team up with someone who's probably allied with the person we just stopped from completing THEIR mission. I hope Satori knows what she's doing."
"Certainly!" Satori stands up and grins.
"So that's that." Marisa relaxes her shoulders. "Yukari, can you get that set up for the both of us then?"
"I'll get to it. It's tomorrow anyways, so you have some time to prepare." Yukari rolls her eyes. "By the way, Marisa, can you call me Miss Yakumo like everyone else?"
"No." She smirks. "Nitori, please pick up the assignment, alright? Also," Marisa points at Satori, "invite Satori to our ship. Thanks, all of you! Hehe!" She leaves the office and walks inside the elevator. A ding sounds as it descends.
"Irritating." Yukari grits her teeth. "Her attitude is incredibly abrasive. Just really." She smiles afterwards, a bit forcefully. "So what do you want?"
"Oh, right!" Satori swiftly snatches the extra stack that Rin was holding onto and hands it to Yukari. "Miss Yakumo, may we request new pilotsuits please?"
"Wha!?" Rin steps back with the rest of the money in hand as her ears flatten. "Satori, you could asked me to give you that first!"
"Sorry, Rin, I didn't mean to surprise you like that." She giggles.
"Sure." Yukari accepts the money. "By the way, do you want it in any specific style?"
"That would be nice." Satori gives Yukari the reciept from the previous purchase for their pilotsuits.
"Hmmm." She analyzes the paper carefully as a wry grin spreads across her face. "This works out fine, but you want two? Do you mind telling me the owner of the second?"
"It's... a friend of mine." Satori clears her throat.
"Alright then." Yukari blinks twice.
"She's obviously not working alone, but she's not going to tell me anything more than that unless she's comfortable with me beforehand. The first mission I gave to her didn't help relations at all, but she'll forgive me."
Yukari moves the money and the reciept aside to grab the printed papers containing the assignment. "Nitori, come here, I have the details Marisa wants you to pick up, along with Satori's profile."
Nitori walks around the left side of the chair to Yukari's desk and takes the papers to flip through them. "You know how Marisa is, Miss Yakumo, haha! Don't worry, she'll get along with Satori even with her flippant inability to behave herself."
"Satori's already met Marisa, so I feel assured they'll do well in the scouting assignment. Marisa's really brash, but she gets things done and that's what matters."
"I hope so." Yukari chuckles while she hands the assignment and Marisa's details to Satori. "Have fun, you two."
"Will do!" Nitori responds, then she walks out of the office and waits in front of the elevator. She turns around and finds Satori and Rin still deliberating over the assignment. "Hey, Satori, Rin, are you coming to the ship?"
Satori notices Nitori calling her, takes Rin's right hand and follows her inside the elevator. She looks at Nitori, blushes nervously and taps her feet on the floor.
"I'm sorry, but can we go to our ship first? We'll join you shortly." Rin asks.
Nitori takes her hat off once more and gives it a good flap before putting it on again. "Fine with me, we're in area E-2. I've got some business to take care of, so be there soon!"
The elevator door opens and the three walk outside the building. "See you later, Nitori!" Satori waves as Rin follows her back to the ship.
After a brief period of time in the ship dealing with waking up Yamame and finding Koishi looking at the spare clothes in the closet, they head over to the ship that Marisa and Nitori own. The group stroll around in their usual cold weather outfits: Satori in her bright blue windbreaker, Rin in her dark green coat with her black/red cat ears on her head, Yamame in her white labcoat and brown blouse/skirt, and Koishi in her pale goldenrod jacket, wearing her black hat and green scarf.
"So we're going to meet Marisa, huh? Couldn't you find a better time to greet her?" Yamame yawns walking with the group. "I assume she's some tall buff lady who's super powerful and super sexy and that kind of made up crap."
"Shhhh." Satori shushes Koishi. "I don't know if we should be really mentioning her name around the crowds."
"Makes sense." Rin looks around at the people walking around the spaceport. "I don't think any Earthlings would be pleased about hearing that sitting right here is someone that notorious... or at least, someone dumb enough to name themselves that."
"She's the one that gave me the information at the bar a couple days ago, so I'm willing to believe that she's who she says she is." Satori nods.
They arrive at Area E-2 and discover that the ramp to the ship is extended, with Marisa walking down it and waving at everyone.
"Whoa!" Marisa exclaims. "You've brought plenty of company, Satori. I didn't think you'd have so many people, but I'm sure we're fine with that. Come on in!" She waves again, then runs inside.
As the group walks up the ramp, Yamame scoffs. "That's her, right?"
Satori nervously looks at Yamame. "...Yeah, that's her."
"You had me worried there," She twirls her finger around, laughing, "but she just seems like such a brat to me!" They enter the metal hallway from the ramp and with a quick examination, the walls and the doors they pass by are immensely clean, difficult to see any dirty spots on any of them.
"I don't know, Yamame." Rin rolls her eyes. "Looks can be deceiving, you know?"
"The important thing is that we'll be great friends, right?" Koishi smiles while she adjusts her hat.
"Right." Satori giggles and then sees Marisa's back in the distance. "We're almost here."
"So there's two others with Satori and Rin? I see." Nitori chats with Marisa. "Sounds like a bundle of joy."
Marisa turns around after noticing the group's footsteps and grins with her teeth showing. "The table's here, we've got some good food, it'll be nice to talk and get to know each other! Sit down, all of you!"
They sit down in wooden chairs while Nitori puts down a large bowl of rice, a bowl of appealing meat and a stack of plates on the metal table.
"Sorry if this seems a bit meager." Nitori nervously smiles.
"No no, we're fine. Thank you very much!" Rin shortly bows to Nitori.
"So, hey, Satori." Marisa sits down in another chair with Nitori doing the same as well. "Who's your two new friends?"
"Umm... Hehe." Satori moves her eyes left and right as she prepares her meal, then looks over to Yamame. "I would like to introduce you to Y-"
"I'm Yamame Kurodani." Yamame interrupts immediately with her eyelids noticeably drooping. "I'm the one who keeps the kids together because they're terrible at keeping themselves from getting killed. They suck at that."
"What!" Shut up!" Satori cries out.
Rin fakes a cough. "You really need sleep, Yamame, you're being a bit too unforgiving."
"So you're the doctor? You're not subtle at all, are you?" Marisa laughs. "I guess I'd be that way too if I was sleepy as all hell!"
"Who's the cute girl in front of me then?" Nitori points to Koishi. "She seems like my age, really. Is she a childhood friend or something dumb like that?"
"That's rude!" Koishi glares at Nitori and pouts. "I'm Satori's younger sister, Koishi Komeiji! I can pilot a robot too!"
A moment of silence.
"What!? Both of them yell out.
"She doesn't even look like she's supposed to be involved in this stupid war! What the hell is Satori thinking!?" Marisa pondered.
"Let's not jump to conclusions. Koishi is Satori's younger sister, that's probably true. However, there's no way to confirm her latter statement right now, but if that's true though, this will probably be the most awkward conversation I've ever had in my life." Nitori thought.
Koishi nervously holds her hand near her chest and alternates her attention between Marisa and Nitori. "Did... Did I do something wrong?"
"No, no," Nitori grins as she pinches Koishi's cheek softly. "we were just surprised, that's all! She never mentioned you when she was talking with us."
"Ugh. Koishi's still adorable though, I can't deny that."
"Huh?" Koishi looks at Satori when Nitori lets go of her cheek. "Sis, why's that?"
Satori sighs. "Because I was looking for you and Rin for the ceremony."
"Right." Nitori nods her head. "I was also pushing Marisa to get her butt over there. She's not very good at listening as you can see."
"Pfft." Marisa raises her eyebrows. "Don't think I'm a terrible person because I can't listen!"
"That... does make you a terrible person." Nitori stares down Marisa.
After a few mouthfuls of the rice and meat, Yamame grins. "This tastes pretty good, it's delicious unlike whatever scraps Satori has to get."
"Don't blame Satori for that, we're trying our best to conserve money." Rin mentions to her.
"Don't be so mean, Miss Kurodani!" Koishi compliments the quality as she takes another bite. "They're both lovely, Nitori and Sis's cooking!"
"Thank you very much for the meal, both of you." Satori bows.
"No problem! It's about treating friends right." Marisa looks up at the ceiling. "Oh right, that reminds me, before we left the city, you asked me about why I'm fighting in the war. What's your thoughts on it?"
[ ] State that you're undecided and that the only goal you have is to end the war soon and save as many people as possible.
[ ] Inquire on what the Magicians are doing right now to quickly bring the war to a close.
[ ] Spark a debate on the actions of the Meisters and if it's right for them to take those actions.
[ ] Write-in.
[x] It makes it hard for people to live. Need to side with someone, and then you're fair game for the other side.
> "Koishi, legally we need a mining license to mine this ore, but getting one of those means that we have to side with one of the two factions in the war and that's what I wanted to avoid all this time, getting involved in the war."
[x] State that you're currently undecided and that the only goal you have is to end the war soon and save as many people as possible.
[x] Remark on the war's impact on your life.
I figure it'd help them see where Satori's coming from with this. Also adjusted it a bit to reflect that Satori is open to changing her mind.
>>44956 I doubt we can pretend we're not involved for too long as in the course of getting the OF, we basically went from "nobody" to "tide changing force". Being neutral would be far more disastrous as both sides would consider the Sisters a risk to be dealt with.
[ ] Spark a debate on the actions of the Meisters and if it's right for them to take those actions.
I honestly don't know if these options are confrontational or supportive. I'm voting for this one in the hopes of it being supportive of the Meisters' cause, and/or simply anti-magician.
If it's not supportive of the Meisters, then ignore it and consider my alternateive vote for:
[x] State that you're currently undecided and that the only goal you have is to end the war soon and save as many people as possible.
[X] State that you're undecided and that the only goal you have is to end the war soon and save as many people as possible.
"I'm still unsure." Satori answers. "The only thing I know is that I really don't want anyone else to die, so I'm trying to end the war here and now."
"Pretty ambitious of you. I mean, just a modified Inugami to take you this far." Marisa spoons some of the rice on her plate along with some meat. "Hey Satori, can you promise me something?"
"Huh? What do you want me to promise you?"
"Don't give up. What you want to chase, just keep chasing." Marisa looks straight at Satori's eyes with a smile. "I don't really like quitters, the kind that hastily throw away their dreams when something hits them hard. You know?"
"Yes, I get it." Satori nods. "I think it'd be common sense to not lose track of it, right?"
"Trust me," Marisa looks to her right, towards the wall, "I've seen a bunch of morons who did just that. You would think they'd known better."
"Well then, they're just trash then." Yamame eats another bite. "Can't blame them for having an unstable ego, it's sort of the point of being human."
"Marisa's still right anyway, Yamame." Nitori shakes her head. "Even if it's an inevitability for some people, those are the ones that Marisa wouldn't be friends with, the kind that let go when they can't handle the heat."
"Yamame, why do you say all these mean things?" Koishi whines. "Can't you think better of others?"
"Not really," Yamame looks away for a moment, "I've seen how a lot of things play out badly and it's difficult to assume otherwise. They never try to help others, they never think of the greater good, a selfish pile of misery." She glances at her plate, then looks at Nitori. "I think you forgot the drinks, heh."
"Oh! Sorry about that! I'll get those then." Nitori laughs nervously as she stands up from her chair and walks back into the kitchen to grab them.
"You're probably thinking that way because of our past adventures, huh Yamame?" Rin turns her head to Yamame. "I don't think Satori's that kind of person. She took me in and took care of me, so I think she's... different."
"So Chen's not our operator?" Satori asks Marisa.
"Nope." Marisa points her thumb back at Nitori. "Yukari trusts my friend enough, so we'll be fine." She then smirks and points at Satori's plate. "Your food's getting cold, Satori! Just enjoy what's in front of you right now."
"Alright, Marisa, hehe!" Satori giggles as she finishes her meal with everyone else.
"It's been a long day, hasn't it?" Satori in her pilotsuit reminisces with Koishi her conversation with Marisa and Nitori while walking through the metal hallway of their own ship to the hangar.
"Yeah, but I still don't like Yamame's attitude." Koishi frowns while wearing her pilotsuit... with her hat and scarf. I guess that's going to be the usual now. "She doesn't... trust anyone at all."
"What is 'for the greater good' that Yamame mentioned when she was talking with Marisa? I've never understood what it meant."
"I think she'll soften up soon." Satori shakes her head. "As for that concept 'for the greater good', it means to think about others, I think? Sympathy, compassion, social interaction."
"What we're doing could be selfish, but like I told Marisa, we don't want to get anyone else involved, we just want this war over."
"I forgot that you could read my mind!" Koishi giggles. "Anyway, the mission's about to start, right? We better get moving. Who's going to be main?"
Satori sighs dreadfully. "After that last experience, I'd rather that I take it this time. Is that okay with you?"
"Sure!" Koishi grins and nods. "Also, we're here!"
"The same routine as usual." Satori stares at the face of Janus. "I'm still sick of you though, Dases."
Satori taps the cockpit's shell to dissolve it, then both her and Koishi jump inside and the cockpit's shell reforms itself promptly.
Dases activates soon after. "Welcome back, master." It says in a garbled voice.
"Huh, it didn't immediately ask me to put Koishi in control." Satori straightens herself out. "A rarity, but okay."
Rin's face appears above the console. "Hey, you two! Did you like the food that Marisa got us?"
"Yes, Orin, it was delicious!" Koishi hops in her seat.
"I'd agree." Satori nods. "So, are you staying with us for the mission, Rin?"
Rin smirks. "Yeah, Nitori said it'll be fine that I hang around. You're both ready?"
"Yes!" They respond.
The Orbital Frame Janus drops out of the hangar and suspends itself in midair. Satori pushes it forward to greet Marisa's LEV... wait, that's a LEV? Marisa's face appears above the console to the left of Rin.
"Marisa, what's that?" Satori inquires politely.
"Didn't you read my details, Satori? Geez!" Marisa laughs.
"I did," Satori blushes, "but all it said was that it was named Silver Hawk."
"That's all you need to know." Marisa grins with her teeth showing. "I mean, do you think that an LEV can't be as good as an OF? Also, your robot doesn't look like an Inugami at all!"
"It is too!" Satori shouts.
"Okay okay then!" Marisa waves her hands around. "Don't be so angry about it, haha!"
"I know she's lying, but I shouldn't push it on her, that'd be mean."
The LEV Marisa was piloting, the Silver Hawk, held in its hands a long barrel vulcan with a large booster engine attached to its back. The weapon also has dual energy blades on the front. The robot itself has two packs of air to ground bombs and a faintly transparent green shield enveloping it.
"Wait, is that Koishi in the back seat?" Marisa examines closely.
"Hi, Marisa!" Koishi adjusts her hat and waves her hand at Marisa.
"Satori, are you serious?" Marisa glares at Satori.
"She handles the frame's secondary features and she's fine with it, so yes." Satori nods once more.
Marisa gets ready to yell at her when Nitori appears above the console to the right.
"Wake up!" Nitori screams at them with a furious tone. "This is a scouting assignment, you two should have already had your butts moving a couple minutes ago!"
"Sorry, Nitori, getting along now." Marisa rolls her eyes and moves forward.
"Oh, right, sorry Nitori!" Satori bows, then follows Marisa's LEV.
Nitori calms down, then looks around Satori's cockpit. "Is that Koishi in there?"
"Yes." Satori answers nervously.
"I was about to scream at her about the same thing, Nitori." Marisa sighs. "Don't yell again, just shake your head and let it sit."
Nitori grits her teeth. "I'll be the quiet sort of angry then."
"We have to survey the area and destroy any imminent danger for safe passage, right?" Satori scans her surroundings.
"Yep." Nitori relaxes her shoulders. "The Magicians don't ask for complicated matters with Yukari's fun babysitting service, really."
"That's terrible to say, I'm sure you probably insulted Yukari with that remark!" Marisa chuckles. "Anyway, there's a lot of things I want to show you two about the Silver Hawk, it's a really cool machine!" She points outside at the coating surrounding it. "I mean, for one thing, there's the Kappa Barrier that Nitori engineered for it. It's very effective an-" Marisa looks down at her console as it makes several beeping noises. "Who the hell is that?"
"Threats detected." Dases responds as the console in Satori's OF makes the same beeping noises.
The offender's face appears in front of Satori and Marisa. He makes a wry grin at Satori. "Oh, lucky us, guess who we found!"
Satori turns ghostly pale. "N-No way... It can't be..."
"The same people from the abandoned colony? How could they have bounced back so quickly?"
"Hey, asshole!" Marisa yells at him. "What's your beef with Satori?"
"That stupid girl wrecked our squad with that inane robot of hers that she found in an abandoned colony!" He and his two cronies in their original Inugami types approach from a lower altitude towards Satori and Marisa.
"You were going to shoot me and my sister down because we didn't have a mining license!" Satori cries out. "Also, you were insinuating something when you said we wouldn't be hurt if we joined you, you disgusting idiot!"
Koishi cowers in fear in her seat, having bad flashbacks of the incident.
"It's that kind of deal? That's just fantastic." Marisa readies Silver Hawk's vulcan. "I'll gun you all down so we'll stop squabbling, that's my deal. Deal?"
Satori glances at Marisa with teary eyes. "But we can't kill them! I don't think we have to!"
Marisa just stares at Satori. "Look, you have to know when there's a point when they won't back off no matter what you do. I hope you learn that soon or I'll be a bit disappointed in you, ahaha."
"There's no time for tears, our problems are about to come to face with us!"
[ ] Stay back and let Marisa do what she wants to. There's no point in stopping her.
[ ] Ask Marisa to try not to kill the pilots. This could compromise the mission though.
[ ] Join Marisa in her assault and shoot them down. We can't risk having them run wild any longer.
[ ] Write-in.
[ ] MODE SHIFT: Koishi: She's panicking too much to attempt this.
[X] Stay back and let Marisa do what she wants to. There's no point in stopping her.
"Marisa, take the offensive." Satori requests.
Marisa gives a thumbs up. "Just what I like, a simple plan!" Her Silver Hawk pulls its legs forward and places its vulcan on its underside. The auxiliary booster on the weapon engages and fires off, taking Marisa into the frontlines immediately.
The leader unit sways to the left while the other two move to the right. "We've got ourselves a fight, huh? Bring it on!" The man in the leader unit scoffs.
"I don't think that other pipsqueak's got anything on us, hehe!" One of the two squadmates that split off from the formation glances upwards and sees Marisa approaching quickly, baring its two energy blades. "Wait, what the f-" He utters as the Silver Hawk slams into his frame, sending it spinning with flakes of its armor peeling off.
"Don't call me a pipsqueak!" Marisa yells, transforming the Silver Hawk back into humanoid form behind him and firing several high powered rounds from her vulcan. They swiftly break the Inugami frame's Metatron coating and rip the frame to shreds. A final scream reverbates from its corpse after its absolute destruction.
"Shit!" The second squadmate shoots a couple of rifle shots at Marisa as he advances forward, readying his heat blade, "Eat this!"
The bullets ineffectively deflect off of the Silver Hawk's Kappa Barrier. Marisa clashes her vulcan's energy blade with the Inugami's heat blade and sends the man's frame flying back.
"Sorry about this." Marisa grins wryly. "Hakkero Bits, activate!"
Three remote bits fly in front of the Silver Hawk and gather into a triangular formation. Within seconds, the center of the formation whirs and projects a thin stream of immense energy, piercing through the Inugami frame's left shoulder. The bits then slowly shift diagonally downwards, sweeping through the cockpit and killing the runner. The frame eventually collapses on itself and is destroyed as well.
Meanwhile, Satori looks at the leader unit moving towards them. "Koishi, get yourself together. We can't back down now!"
Koishi slowly calms her nerves and relaxes her shoulders. "Okay, Sis. I'm feeling somewhat better, but I still can't shake the feeling from before."
"Incoming enemy." Dases flatly announces.
"We have to do this!" Satori puts Janus's arm sword up as the leader closing in spins his heat blade a few times.
Janus's sword and the Inugami frame's heat blade connect with each other with massive force and send both of them flying back.
The cockpit Satori and Koishi were in shakes a bit, but they quickly gather their wits and dash at the leader once more. Marisa watches the fight and holds her vulcan up to aim at the last foe remaining, but later puts it away and continues to watch carefully.
Koishi looks around nervously and clasps her hand to her chest. "We have to get rid of problems, right?" She cringes with her eyes closed.
"I don't want to die. I don't want to die. I don't want to die. I don't want to die. I don't want to d
Suddenly, Koishi's eyes open with tears flying and she takes control of Janus while screaming loudly, "Never again!" Janus bursts into a teal splendor as its palm glows with a pulsating light, sent soaring into the leader's frame.
Rin yells at Koishi. "Koishi! Can you hear me? Koishi!?"
"Not this shit again! I've got you this time though!" The man's frame takes out its heat blade and tries to swipe at Janus, but the heat blade harmlessly flies out of its hand as it's swung around and hurled towards the ground.
Janus moves its hand at the Inugami frame stuck in the ground and fires a very numerous volley of bullets. The Inugami frame soon is not able to take any more damage and starts to break.
"You... you ruined everything... you stupid girl..." The man's last words echo throughout Koishi's mind as his frame finally distinegrates in an explosion.
Koishi sits in silence staring at the damage she did to kill him. Her hat lies to the side of her, flying off during the immediate short bout of combat.
"Koishi, what's wrong with Satori?" Rin asks bluntly.
"Sis is okay. She's fi-" Koishi blinks several times. Satori is slumped over the console, passed out without much movement. "Sis? Sis!" Wake up, Sis! Satori! Wake up! Please!"
"She lied." Marisa scowls.
"I'm not her, you know. It's none of your business anyway." Rin scoffs as her cat ears flatten.
"It should be my business if crap like this happens. Don't play dumb, what is that machine exactly?"
"We don't know, but we do know we're being hounded down for it. That's all, really."
Marisa and Rin sit in Satori's room while Koishi with worry on her mind stays by Satori's bedside.
"I guess I can respect that then." Marisa tilts her head down. "So do you know exactly what happened?"
"My sister accidentally forced a Mode Shift." Satori wakes up from her slumber.
"What's a Mode Shift then, Satori?" Marisa inquisitively asks of her.
"Janus can switch to the second runner if need be." Satori rubs her head. "Unfortunately, due to the past experience we had with the enemy we just saw before, Koishi panicked and took full control without me initiating the shift, so I blacked out." Koishi was still crying on Satori's lap, mumbling apologies every few seconds.
"I assume that's going to be a convincing excuse for you to get used to war so that you don't get killed. Nonetheless, Nitori confirmed that the mission was a success." Marisa chuckles. "What are you going to do now then?"
[ ] Go back to Yukari.
- [ ] Ask for details related to Moriya Assembly Technologies and who to talk to about it.
- [ ] Inquire about Aya Shameimaru and look for hints about Janus.
[ ] Don't go back to Yukari.
- [ ] Lie to Marisa that you have business to tend to and look for Seiga.
- [ ] Tell Marisa that you want to help her cause.
[X] Don't go back to Yukari.
- [X] Lie to Marisa that you have business to tend to and look for Seiga.
"Hey," Satori turns to Marisa, "can you tell Yukari to withhold my paycheck for now?"
"Huh? What's up, Satori?" Marisa responds.
"I have some very urgent business I have to deal with and I'm not sure I can meet up with Yukari while I'm going there." Satori nods slightly.
"Sure, I can get that arranged, I just have to call up Nitori." Marisa gets up from her chair. "Hell, I'll do that right now. Excuse me!" She turns and leaves the room, the door closing behind her.
Koishi finally gets up from Satori's lap after crying her feelings out. "What's this business you're talking about?" She sniffs.
"It's something I have to take care of... myself." Satori assures her sister. "I think I know where I should look as well."
"So what do you want me and everyone else to do then?" Rin asks Satori standing near the lowered ramp.
"Just stay here and let me do my business. That's fine, right, Rin?" Satori responds.
"Yeah, I know." Rin sighs.
Satori starts to walk away when Rin suddenly grabs her by the shoulder.
"Be careful." Rin warns her.
"Of course." Satori smiles.
Tap tap. Ring ring, the bell sounds.
"Is Seiga in?" Satori taps the bell one more time.
"Yes, she is." The lady at the counter replies. "Let me call you in."
Bzzt. "Oh, who's waiting for me?" Seiga inquires.
"It's..." The lady looks at Satori awkwardly. "...some pink haired girl."
"Not busy anyway, I'm finished for today and just relaxing now. Let her in." Seiga's spirited voice comes through.
"As you wish." The lady points to the right. "Through that hallway, second door over."
"Thank you." Satori bows, then walks over to the room Seiga was residing in.
Seiga opens the door with a smirk. "Oh, it's you again. Come on in." She gestures her hand behind her, motioning towards a leather chair. The room inside looks similiar to the one from the last time we met, an elegantly decorated room with an intricate rug and no hint of metallic material on the walls or the floor.
Satori plops herself in the chair as Seiga jumps into her own chair behind her desk and gives Satori a short spiel.
"I remember your face and your appearance, but I forgot your name. Mind reminding me what it is?" Seiga smirks again.
"It's Satori, Miss Kaku. Satori Komeiji." She never asked for my name the first time though. Did she forget?
"Satori, huh. Did you make up your mind then?"
"What do you mean? I thought you'd automatically assume I'd want to join your side."
"I'm giving you a choice here. Look at where we are." Seiga looks up as she spreads her arms outwards. "This is the splendor of Gensokyo right here, better than the wasteland we left behind called Earth!" She calms down and looks at Satori again. "We can have all the resources, all we have to do is remove all threats that aim for our destruction and then we can utilize the Metatron we find here to rebuild civilization and sustain ourselves longer. The Magicians do not trust us with such power and want to remove us so that they can use it better. I doubt their ability, but do you?"
"What if I believe in them to do good?" Satori asks nervously.
"Do you think I'll kill you right here if you agree with them?" Seiga snickers. "That would be a shallow and dumb action to take. I'd rather defeat you in a fair fight." With a quick sly glance at Satori, Seiga snaps her fingers. "So, what do you want to do?"
This girl looks weak, but I see something in her. Something I want, but I cannot figure out or remember what it is. We'll see what she wants.
[ ] "I'll join your cause."
[ ] "...I don't want to get involved with your plans."
[ ] Write-in.
"Good girl. In fact," Seiga smiles, "I'm going to make you my personal assistant."
"...What?" Satori sinks back in her chair and blinks a couple times. "I thought I said-"
"I heard you, you said you would join my cause. Personally, I have a better way to handle the war than my allies believe they do, so I'll be handling your assignments."
"S-Sure." Satori relaxes and straightens her back. "What's the first assignment you're giving me then?"
"That's easy." Seiga pulls out her Handy PC from her bag under her desk and shows Satori a map. "You can see where I'm pointing, correct?"
"Yes, I can."
"It's a colony sided with us located a small distance away from where we met for the first time. Just next to the frontlines of the war."
"So you're going to ask me to defend them from an planned offensive?"
"No, silly," A smirk from Seiga's unusual cheerfulness. "I'm asking you to coordinate an attack on it."
Satori presses her fingers on the armrests as she sinks into her chair again. "I'm starting to think that your logic is very hypocritical."
"Don't worry, I've got it all under control. Besides, you're not harming any civilians as long as you follow my instructions to the letter, I'll mark which buildings you should destroy." Seiga winks.
Satori stands up. "Okay, I understand. It's guaranteed that I won't hurt anyone?"
"Yes, I'm very sure of it. Also, I want you to have this." Seiga gets up from her desk, pulls another Handy PC from her bag and walks over to Satori. "It's going to be the only way I can contact you from far off distances, so keep it safe with you. I'll send this assignment's details to you on that device."
Satori turns towards the door with her new item in hand, then looks back at Seiga. "We'll end the war as soon as possible, right?"
"That's what we're planning, yes. I expect results from your assignment as a report from the colony after at least five days." The Crown Prince's committee doesn't trust me with anything, so I have to create an incident as evidence to persuade them into granting me more resources for my latest project. "Do you have any other questions?"
[ ] "How much do you know about Orbital Frames?"
[ ] "Seriously, how does this plan help out your cause?"
[ ] "I'm fine, I'll get to it now."
[ ] Write-in.
[X] "Seriously, how does this plan help out your cause?"
"Fairly simple." Seiga shrugs as she rolls her eyes. "I'm sure that the Magicians know that we're on full defensive until our final attack, so you're going to rile things up and act as a hole in the wall, an imaginary dent in our armor. Once their forces charge in to take that opportunity, you take as many of them down and ease out their numbers. A honey pot that lowly idiot flies can't escape."
It's not a suicide mission, but it will still be difficult to convince Satori to willingly do this for me, really. If it works out, significant advantage to me.
Satori tries to put her best face on. "That's all I wanted to know, Miss Kaku, thank you."
I'm bait? Is Seiga seriously treating me like this?
"Hold it, you look slightly sick. I mean, you might not trust me, but do you think I trust you? There's no doubt that I do." Seiga smiles, grabbing Satori's shoulders gently and walking her out the door. "You're running late on the assignment though, so I would like you to get along with it. Please don't have anything unusual happen while you're out."
"One more thing," Seiga taps her left foot once, then leans around Satori and kisses her on the lips. "this is how I say goodbye to my lovely assistant~"
Satori looks very flustered while Seiga walks back inside the room, closing the door with a click.
Wait. Her lips. They felt lifeless. Is Seiga even alive?
"So that Seiga lady likes you a bit too much, huh?" Rin twirls a lock of her hair around as she and Satori sit at the living room table. Her ears flap around, unnerved by its owner's restlessness.
"I would say so, but maybe it's normal." Satori blushes, but shakes it off this time.
"She called you her 'personal assistant' and she has that creepy lovey dovey vibe. Why did you side with this person again?"
"It was either that or have both factions hunt us down for Janus and get everyone killed."
"When you put it that way, it's hard to argue against it..." Rin looks at the ceiling, then back at Satori. "So what are we waiting f-"
Satori's Handy PC emits three rings as she picks it up and scans the details. "I was waiting for this." Satori starts to read the instructions out loud.
Along with the details and the map with the building locations, there is a picture of a woman with short green hair attached to the document for the second paragraph.
Operation: HONEY POT Client: Seiga Kaku Here are the locations of the abandoned buildings I would like you to destroy. Think of it as an enjoyable deconstruction project. When your radar detects a sizable amount of enemies wanting to join in on the fun (around eight of them or so), immediately jump into action and destroy as many as possible. An easy assignment that should teach them not to sneak around looking for a shortcut.
Caution: First, please check the parameters for this person. She should be identified as Soga no Tojiko. If you see her, get her away from the area in any way possible. I dislike her being anywhere near any of my assignments.
Seiga is... really blunt, isn't she?
"That doesn't make sense." Yamame walks in during Satori's reading. "That Seiga bitch stepped on my foot for talking about Tojiko!"
"More like you made fun of the Crown Prince." Rin with her ears straight up smacks Yamame on the shoulder. "It's strange that Seiga would mention Tojiko specifically and ask for her to be moved away ASAP. Something there reeks."
"We won't know until we talk to her." Satori assures Rin. "We have to get there to see if she's there, first of all."
"Alright, just give me the coordinates and we're off." Rin takes the Handy PC and walks away to plot the course.
Yamame rubs her shoulder and crosses her eyes at Satori. "I heard everything else you said back there and I think you should back out of that Seiga relationship as soon as you can. She sounds like bad news all the way."
"I know," Satori looks away, "but it's not like I had any other option."
"Listen to what I have to say about it: if there's a way in, there's a way out. Out's where you want to go right now, so make it quick." Yamame points her thumb outwards.
We'll be fine nonetheless with Satori and Koishi wielding that supermachine they found, even if everyone hunts us down. No worries about that. It's a supermachine for a reason!
Satori sighs as the ship shakes and starts moving.
Upon arrival, Satori and Koishi stand by in their civilian clothes at the top of the lowered ramp as Rin hands Satori her Handy PC back.
"No new messages and we've arrived at the general location." Rin pats Satori on the back. "Have fun looking for Tojiko!"
"Sure sure." Satori looks around the metal walls. "You really know how unenthusiastic I am about this, right?"
"Correct, but there's no way out of it and you're the one that agreed to do it. I'm trying my best to be happy about it too, you know." Rin laughs with her ears flicking back and forth.
Koishi adjusts her scarf and her hat. "We can do this, Sis. We're just redecorating the city!"
There's too many things that could go wrong... I'm really frightened...
"Anyway," Satori clears her throat, "we're in a better position than we were last time we were in a city since Seiga's map also illustrates where things are. Where should we check?"
[ ] The capitol building. There's a chance Tojiko could be busy with something else though.
[ ] The local pub. As usual, another cup of wine.
[ ] The park. Could be an interesting spot, but we can relax if she's not there.
[ ] The wall facing the east. We should investigate the colony's defenses just in case.
[ ] We don't need to check, we can just start the plan now.
[X] The wall facing the east. We should investigate the colony's defenses just in case.
"If Seiga thinks it's weak enough for others to invade the colony, then I doubt there's a point in checking them at all." Rin inquires.
"But I still don't trust Seiga on that and I'll check anyway. If Tojiko's there, getting her away from here should be a cinch." Satori nods.
"I agree with Sis on this, Seiga just acts really shady!" Koishi's eyes dart around.
"And if they're strong enough, we can go along with the city redecoration like Koishi mentioned and we'll be fine." Satori grabs Koishi's hand. "We're off then."
"See you later, Orin!" Koishi waves her other hand as the two walk away.
Rin looks down at the floor with a heavy sigh. "There has to be a way out of this. It won't be easy though..."
"So uh, Sis," Koishi sneaks a quick hug around Satori while they walk towards the defense center passing by other civilians. "Are we ever coming back to Yukari's place for anything?"
Satori leans forward from her sister's hug, but steadies her posture. "Other than retrieving our pilotsuits and paycheck, not really."
"What if she could hatch a plan to get us out of this situation?" Koishi pouts.
"She holds useful information, but other than that, not much else. Yukari isn't affiliated with the two factions and honestly, I think with every mission she receives from her clients, the more grim she looks." Satori looks to the right. "She's probably going to back out very soon."
Koishi lets go of Satori and walks beside her while tugging her scarf slightly. "Really? I thought she respectively held everything in her palm."
"That was what I thought too, but after that mining incident, there's something even she can't control." Satori glances at the artificial sky once more. "The only way to get through this is to find our own solution."
"I'll help out as much as I can then!" Koishi raises and clenches her fists with a gleam in her eyes and a smile on her face.
"That's a good girl." Satori lifts Koishi's hat and pats her head, then places it back. "Alright, we're he-" She blinks twice. "Damn it."
"Sis?" Koishi looks at Satori, then at where she's glaring at.
A tall woman holding a large clipboard stands with a strong posture at the entrance of the defense center as several pilots of both male and female genders salute her and walk around to the back. Her short green hair is more neatly trimmed than the portrait that Seiga gave to the Komeiji sisters and her blue eyes express a high attention to detail as she meticulously scans the information on the clipboard. She wears an olive long coat and a deep green uniform with two breast pockets, one of them holding a fancy pen.
"There's no mistaking it." Satori sighs. "It's Tojiko."
[ ] We have to talk to her. There's no other way.
[ ] Ask Koishi to distract her while you immediately begin the mission.
[ ] Ignore Tojiko and just start the assignment now.
[ ] Write-in.
As the lady turns her back to them, Satori runs up the stairs. "Hey!" She shouts.
With her clipboard in hand, she glances at the Komeiji sisters. "What do you want? I don't imagine that the two of you have anything important to address and that you're just calling me out to tell me something obvious."
"Wait! M'am!" Satori clears her throat. "I'm Satori Komeiji and this is my younger sister, Koishi Komeiji." Koishi stands next to Satori, smiling and waving her hand silently.
"Huh." The woman smirks and examines Satori closely. "So you're the Runner that thwarted the ambush on the Metatron cargo. You are... younger than I thought."
"You're the real Soga no Tojiko?" Koishi blurts out.
"Of course, don't doubt it." Tojiko nods. "Satori, you were pleased with the results of the mission, right?"
Satori quickly tilts her head down remembering the painful memory of what happened with Koishi and stutters, "Y-Yes..."
"Excellent. I would like to report to you that the Crown Prince was overjoyed as well." Tojiko smiles. "What's the occasion for speaking to me anyway?"
"I just want to talk about things." Satori looks back up. "That's all."
"That's fine with me, we'll chat it over lunch break. Come inside." Tojiko turns to the building once more and opens the door.
Koishi looks around and pulls down on her scarf. "Wait, inside the base?"
Tojiko snickers. "Don't worry, I made the food myself."
A group of soldiers idle by inside the cafeteria as the three find a table to sit down and converse. As Tojiko gets up, Satori looks over to see them murmuring and pointing at them. Tojiko comes back with two plates of curry and rice and slides them in front of the sisters.
"Bon appetit!" Tojiko cheerfully smiles.
"Mm! Mmm." Koishi gets busy on chowing down the warm succulent curry with the fluffy white rice. "I understand what you mean now! This is... delicious!"
Satori lightly scolds her sister. "Koishi, don't talk while you're chewing."
Koishi frowns as she finishes her next bite. "I'm sorry, Sis."
"It's okay, I'm glad you enjoy it. I won't cook anything less than what the Crown Prince finds satisfactory." Tojiko moves her arm over the table and pats Koishi on her hat. "Anyway, Satori, what did you want to talk about?"
Satori ladles a spoonful of the meal into her mouth and then swallows. "What's your relationship with the Crown Prince?"
"That's pretty bold." Tojiko glares at Satori with her spoon splitting a soft chunk of meat. "Is it seriously that kind of interview?"
The first thing she asks is surprisingly the question no one asks because they're already aware of it. Is she an outsider or just oblivious?
"No!" Satori expresses embarassment while waving her hands out. "No no no, I just want to know."
Tojiko looks confused. "I assumed everyone knew about us being a couple. I didn't feel like getting into that kind of subject with you."
"I don't pay attention to the news very often." Satori twirls her hair around her finger nervously. "Do you mind telling me anyway?"
"Hm. It's not a very complicated situation to explain, so it's fine." Tojiko giggles with a blush on her face, probably thinking of the Crown Prince right now. "She's a really great friend. A lovely spouse? Nothing else I can say that you haven't heard already."
Toyosatomimi no Miko is the Crown Prince's real name, but I would only address her that way when she's physically here. I wish that Seiga would stop talking to her though, it pisses me off. That sleazy slut needs to get her dirty hands away from the Crown Prince. She's a horrible influence. She needs to die. Diediediediediedi
"Uh, Miss Soga? Your face is really red." Satori interrupts her incessant mental complaining.
"S-Sorry. I was just thinking... really naughty thoughts about the Crown Prince! Everyone knows I have a very intimate relationship with her." Tojiko laughs it off, her cheeks still red. "Sorry. Is there anything else you want to ask?"
Satori pulls out the article about the explosion at the Metatron mine. "Do you know anything about this?"
Tojiko skims the article with a frown. "Oh, this incident, written up by that birdbrain Aya. There's nothing more I can tell you about it either, it was an accident with a faulty power generator system and that's all there is to say."
Several days ago, the Crown Prince permitted me to send a search squad to the area for investigation yet they reported back that they were utterly routed by another team. I thought I was the only one who wanted to know what happened there...
Tojiko continues. "You're really asking some interesting questions here. Not the run of the mill kind of runner who just bolts from mission to mission, are you?"
"I don't think you can say that, we're pretty run of the mill, really..." Satori sighs with the next spoon of curry, halfway finished with her meal.
"Done!" Koishi smiles with bits of rice stuck around her mouth. "Tojiko, you should cook for us every day!"
Tojiko giggles. "I wish, dear, but I have a duty to fulfill and I can't go around being everyone's cook."
"Koishi, clean up first, geez." I grab a napkin and wipe Koishi's mouth of food bits.
"I'm sorry, Sis, it was just that good. Hm~hm~hm~" Koishi's happy grin makes it hard for Satori to concentrate.
"Uh hum." Tojiko clears her throat. "Satori, anything else?"
Satori folds the napkin up. "I've got a favor to ask of you."
[ ] "I heard that there's going to be an attack here. Increase the defenses."
[ ] "The front lines are advancing, so you can ease up on the troops."
[ ] "You need to move all personnel to the south, there's a very high chance of an assault right now."
[ ] "Form a defensive line here. We need all the manpower we can to fend off any attackers for today."
[ ] "Ugh, it was on the tip of my tongue, but I've forgotten. It wasn't that important anyway."
[ ] Write-in.
[X] "You need to move all personnel to the south, there's a very high chance of an assault right now."
"Who told you this, exactly?" Tojiko glares at Satori. "It was Seiga, wasn't it?"
"No, Yukari told me about it." Satori shakes her head. "She wanted me to relay the message for support."
"Eh... As much as I don't trust Yukari's intel, her observation results do carry a grain of truth to them." Tojiko rubs her chin. "I'll send half of the team over but that's it, nothing more." She stands up and walks towards the back door.
I'm more worried about this sector than the area Satori's informed me about, but I'm willing to check it out to see if Yukari's discovered anything alarming.
Satori looks up after swallowing the last bite of her meal. "Thank you for your consideration." She gets up and pats Koishi on the shoulder. "I passed the message on, so we should get going now."
"So the fun part is next, Sis?" Koishi blurts out.
Tojiko turns around. "What fun part?"
Satori hesitates for a moment, then answers, "...To the game we're going to play when we get back to our ship! Is that correct?"
"That's correct!" Koishi replies gingerly.
Satori sighs, picking her sister up under her arms. Satori glances at Tojiko one last time with Koishi's hand clasped. "Please have the location I told you covered."
"I'll look into it like I told you already. Have fun with your game and relax." Tojiko walks out the door.
With the Komeiji sisters walking out the door, Koishi starts running towards the ship. "I can't wait any longer! We should play the game now!"
Let's get it over with! The faster, the better!
Satori pursues her a short distance behind. "I don't think we need to rush that much!"
"So why did you want to run Janus this time? I thought you really hated Dases." Koishi inquires.
Satori taps some keys on the console. "Because for one, I can understand the coordinates Seiga gave me for the mission and two," she tilts her head down again, "I still feel like you haven't recovered from the last mission we tackled."
Koishi slightly tears up and stutters. "B-But I'm fine!"
If I lose control again... lose control... again...
Another sigh from Satori. "That's what you say, but your thoughts say otherwise. Just let me handle this one."
If I lose control, I can't guaranteed that the situation will stay stable and I'll have another incident on my hands. Therefore, I must remain calm and carry the mission out as efficiently as possible.
Koishi sits in her seat staring at her stomach as Satori activates the orbital frame and floats Janus outside of the ship.
Rin's face pops up with the coordinates of the buildings to be destroyed displayed under her. "Hey hey h- is Koishi upset again?"
"Yes, she is." Satori rolls her eyes.
"She's being mean to me, Orin!" Koishi whines.
Rin pouts. "Satori, show some sisterly love! What the hell's the problem?"
"I'm... not particularly in the mood, especially if I'm in the hotseat." Satori looks away.
"Even I can feel the tension from here." Rin sighs. "Just get this mission done and we'll all have a nice meal after it's over, okay? The coordinates are under my display, so take note of it." She grins. "Koishi, get yourself up! Just relax and let your body flow through." With that encouraging advice, she disappears from the screen.
"Sure..." Koishi wipes her tears and examines the radar.
"Alright." Satori guides Janus a few kilometers above and scouts the area for the first building to demolish. With a fleeting glide, Janus lands next to it. She laughs it out. "Just a couple cuts with the arm sword will do this building in. Here comes the first swing! Goodbye, useless piece of ju-"
"Sis?" Koishi looks over the front chair. "Are you okay?"
Rin pops back online. "Hey. Satori. What's holding you up?"
It's that voice again!"
Satori closes her eyes and focuses once more.
It can't be...
The prototype weapon Princess Undine has been finetuned meticulously since the last time I used it. That data from before wasn't entirely useless after all, heh! Let's hope that that frame from last time isn't here either, that was such a hangup to not get even one kill during that test run. Today's experiment is going to be pretty exciting as well, Target Practice! Strangely, there seems to be less blips than before in this city when I scanned it before. At least they're all shoddy Inugami frames that will just fall over backwards and explode when they get shot with this version. Alright, adjusting the energy current...
"Rin, run a radar check. Now." Satori's shoulders tense up firmly. "The sniper from before is here."
"Her? I-I... I..." Koishi's face turns bright red, but she holds her breath for a moment and then exhales softly. "Okay. Sis, what are we going to do?"
"This is what Seiga wanted us to catch. We have to attack her before she notices us." Satori turns Janus towards the frontlines' wall.
"Satori, I've located a foreign model outside the walls!" Rin pinpoints the sniper's location to the two sisters.
"She mentioned blips, so she's probably watching all her targets. Despite that, I think we can gather the scouts in the city and outnumber her easily." Satori asserts.
Koishi grabs Satori's shoulder. "But if we do that, one of them might get wounded or even killed! If she's watching the radar closely, we can imitate the patrol routes and sneak up to her before dealing massive damage to her frame..."
Satori shakes her head. "And if we mess up with that plan, we're dead. It's not a feasible strategy, think it through."
"I did think it through!"
"No, you did not!"
Koishi recoils. "Sister..."
Satori crosses her arms. "Here's the deal: We can gather the scouts together and attack the sniper at once assuming that she has no other weapons to take out more than one target or we can wait until she gets inside the city and use the buildings as cover. Either option ensures our safety."
Koishi twiddles her fingers. "We can go around the back and then go full speed to take out a good part of her frame's structure or use my original idea and pretend to be one of the patrol scouts until we get to the wall and ambush her."
"Those plans will get us killed! I told you that already, Koishi!" Satori shouts at her. "Can't you just think about yourself for once!?"
Koishi holds her hand enclosed into a fist to her chest. "...If someone gets hurt, you feel it too."
Satori's eyelids droop. "It's a war, it's a risk that we have to take into consideration."
Rin audibly knocks on her monitor's glass screen. "Wake up already you two, we're running out of time!"
Trembling, Koishi finally puts her hands on her knees, breathing softly with tears falling. Her mouth moves, but no words come out.
A giant wall divides the city from the frontlines, but the sniper is apparently confident enough to not care about the wall at all. The three Inugami frames in the city are from the half of the team that Tojiko left behind to mobilise a defense line to the south. They hover above the city along a network of routes based on the roads on the ground.
[ ] Gather the squadron around the city and formulate a head-on attack on the sniper.
[ ] Bait the sniper inside by moving irratically and take her out with the guards assisting.
[ ] Imitate the patrol routes to trick the sniper into focusing on the radar and ambush her while she's distracted.
[ ] Write-in.
[ ] MODE SHIFT: Koishi:
- [ ] Imitate the patrol routes to trick the sniper into focusing on the radar and ambush her while she's distracted.
- [ ] Go around the perimeter and then go full speed at the sniper from the side for a surprise attack.
- [ ] Write-in.
[X] Imitate the patrol routes to trick the sniper into focusing on the radar and ambush her while she's distracted.
Even my conscience agrees with my sister. There's no way arguing out of this one.
Satori sighs. "I'm going to use your plan, Koishi."
Koishi takes a deep breath, then steadies her nerves. "We'll make it flawless then!"
Thank you, sister.
Janus swiftly takes flight with the Komeiji sisters glancing at the floating frames, moving stiffly along their paths.
"I can't read anything from the runners in the frames. Are they robots?" Koishi inquires.
"I doubt they are, I'm pretty sure they're just bored today." Satori observes the patrols. "I assume that the sniper's getting itchy with their trigger finger, so we're going in now."
She shifts her movement as Janus weaves to and fro along their routes.
Satori focuses once more on the sniper's thoughts.
...and we're almost ready. The list of the targets seems shifty to me though, one of the blips is actually blittering on the radar. The crew fixed the stupid radar, didn't they? That's the problem with experiments, rarely there's that variable outside of the information you've deduced and there's no way for you to control that variable no matter what. That's the kind of experiment I hate, the ones that can get out of hand with no stopping it. Stupid stupid stupid.
"Are we here?" Satori tenses her shoulders.
"We're ready." Koishi answers with a solid tone.
One more check on the sniper...
With that, the firing range's ready and hot. Line them up, shoot them like the dogs they are.
...I just checked the radar. Why the hell is that blittering blip right in front of
"Now!" Koishi yells out.
"Uaaaaaaaahhhhhh!" Satori screams as Janus plummets towards the sniper's assumed position with its arm sword forward.
The blade crashes into a large object, sending Janus tumbling backwards.
A large physical dome shaped shield sits upon the orbital frame's head, imprinted with a sun to the right, a crescent moon to the left, and a sine wave between the two presumably representing the tides. The lavender robot is three times as large as Janus and has four arms, two which hold and stabilize the large railgun used for picking off distant foes and the other two which hold small gatling guns.
"Geez! What the hell is that!?" Satori stares at the monstrosity she just smashed into.
"Sis! We're not out of this yet!" Koishi reminds her.
The sniper's frame moves the two gatling guns from under the shield and sprays a rain of beams at Janus.
Janus's shielding takes some damage as Satori aims her arm. She fires off some bullets of her own, which are unfortunately deflected by the sniper's massive shield.
Satori backs off sweating a bit before she receives contact... from the sniper.
"Koishi... whatever you do, don't let this person see you."
Koishi sinks back in her chair and obeys Satori's order to stay quiet.
The screen that appears before her shows a lady in a dark pilotsuit with waist-long purple hair with several ribbons tied into it and a crescent moon pinned in her hair.
The lady glares at Satori, her brows furrowed. "You keep tampering with the experiments and I never get the results I desire. It's irritating that you keep getting on my nerves, so I would suggest that you cease this behavior."
Satori shakes her head sideways. "Maybe you should stop instead!"
"You are not permitted to talk to me like that. It's disrespectful."
"Who are you to tell me that?"
The lady smirks as she beats her chest lightly with her fist. "That's simple, I'm Patchouli Knowledge, better known as Patchouli the Wise. I obtain information to get things done better."
Satori snaps at her. "Patchouli the Wise? If you're so wise, you should stop being such a bully!"
"Shut up, brat!" Patchouli bites back. "Being aggressive in your field lets you get information others would dream for years of learning." She fans her face with her hand, her smirk returning to her lips. "Besides, if you don't have a little fun in the pursuit of science, you'd get bored out of your mind!"
Science is information and information is power. Who wouldn't have fun with power? Really?
"You're..." Satori clenches her teeth, "You're a monster."
"Plenty of my colleagues tell me that, but you know what they don't get that I do?" Patchouli pushes her hands on her arm rests and leans forward with a grin. "Results." She then sits back down. "Unfortunately, you've been unhelpful in recent experiments and like I've told you before, it's irritating. It'd be nice for you to die from some horrible accident like me shooting you in the face with Princess Undine, you know."
Satori just stares at Patchouli, struck with disbelief.
"The thing is, I find you rather interesting!" Patchouli takes a look at her radar. "I mean, my radar reports that you're running an Inugami frame, but I'm pretty sure that's a complete lie. Look at it! It doesn't even resemble a dog! It looks rather human, to be honest. The runner herself is interesting as well." She rubs her chin in deep thought. "What are you fighting for that makes you fight so hard for it? I'd like to know!"
This runner's so strange. She sounds like she's concerned about someone yet looks so much like a loner.
Satori jolts forward. "That's none of your business!"
"Ah, is it? You act so feisty when I ask you that question. That's adorable!" Patchouli leans back and gets ready to turn off the screen. "You've ruined yet another of my experiments, so congratulations to you I guess. If I see you again, I'll try to shoot you down. If you follow me, I will shoot you down. Now, go enjoy your reprise, whoever you are."
That cockpit looked like it accommodates two runners, but I didn't see anyone in the second seat. I bet this girl piloting that mysterious frame of hers is some lucky person looking to strike it rich in mercenary work to achieve a delusional goal. How naive.
The screen disappears as the frame's arms recline and its boosters prop open to boost away from the area.
Janus returns inside the ship with a loud clank.
"Sis, why didn't you want Patchouli to see me?" Koishi asks.
"Because I didn't want to get you involved." Satori looks down. "I know that you want to protect me, but I want to protect you more and that means that she can't know that you exist. If she did, she'd go after you as well."
Koishi stutters. "B-But..."
I don't want you to leave me.
Satori looks back up and smiles. "Of course I'll stay around. We're sisters and we stay together. A pair that won't be separated."
I just have to remain confident in myself and the rest will fix itself.
Rin's face finally comes on screen as if the two haven't seen her in ages. She starts off with a long groan. "Ugh, I finally managed to get ahold of you. Are both of you okay?"
Satori nods. "We're fine."
"The enemy retreated though." Another groan from Rin. "Anyway, the threat is gone. I should be happy just for that."
Satori closes her eyes for a quick rest.
Do I want to go back to Seiga immediately or ask Tojiko about the Magicians?
[ ] Seiga wanted us back as soon as possible, so we should get moving.
[ ] I want to listen to Tojiko's side of the war. It'll be interesting to know.
[x] I want to listen to Tojiko's side of the war. It'll be interesting to know.
Well I wonder if Marisa knows about Patchy's nasty attitude as it doesn't do her side any favors. I'm glad we were able to do this without getting anyone shotdown, though I don't think Seiga'd be happy about that.
But I do want to hear from someone more dependable.
[X] I want to listen to Tojiko's side of the war. It'll be interesting to know.
"Alright, getting out of the cockpit now." Satori hops out, then grabs Koishi's hand and helps her onto the metal catwalk.
"Thanks, Sis!" Koishi beams with a smile.
"Good job today." Satori gives her a light hug. "Take a rest. You've earned it."
"Mmhmm." Koishi nods, then walks away into the hallway as Rin strolls by her. "Hi Orin! I'm going to go take a nap!"
"Have fun with that, Koishi." Rin with her ears flapping waves goodbye to her. "So Satori, are we returning with our report yet?"
"Not yet. I want to talk to Tojiko again." Satori folds her arms.
"Going to dig up some dirt on Seiga, huh?" Rin snickers.
"Since Seiga is related to Janus's development," Satori glances at Janus, "we could discover a clue that helps us figure out what happened in the colony we tried to evacavate for Metatron."
"Oh right, we also have to visit Yukari before we return to Seiga, she have that order you asked for her. Also," Rin rubs her chin, "try your best not to light a fire under Seiga's behind. If she gets ousted, we're left with few options to go to."
"I know that, you don't have to remind me." Satori pouts. "Anyway, I need to put on my civilian clothes and go greet her. I don't suppose she's going to be happy I lied to her."
"You'll be fine." Rin pats Satori on the shoulder. "Meanwhile, I'm going to bother Yamame and we'll cook up a feast to celebrate your success, alright?"
"Great!" Satori hugs Rin as well. "Thank you so much."
"I should be thanking you instead, but whatever works."
Satori in her coat and Koishi's scarf wrapped around her neck stands in front of the defense center once again, without her sister beside her.
Tojiko walks out of the door and sees her idling. Satori suddenly notices from Tojiko's feet that her legs are actually... prosthetic.
"What's the problem?" Tojiko tilts her head at Satori.
"Your... feet." Satori blurts out.
"Everyone's going to mention that." Tojiko sighs with a grim expression. "Yes, they're prosthetics. I don't understand what's so interesting about them, they're just a byproduct of war and that's all you need to know."
My legs. Just... I keep thinking selfish thoughts about "what if I didn't" yet I wanted the Crown Prince to be better off than I am...
A single tear slides down Tojiko's cheek, then she shakes it off. "Sorry! Anyway, your intel about the assault. I'm disappointed in you, but even so you were half right."
Satori's eyes widen. "Half right?"
"There were a few enemy units attempting to enter the area, but nothing to attribute to as being an 'assault' of any kind. Having more squad members to ensure no casualties was a plus, but I was fairly worried about this area. Thankfully, everyone here reported that no enemies attacked the sector while I was away." Tojiko adjusts her officer cap. "Yukari really needs to evaluate her reports for reliability, it's not enjoyable chasing wild gooses all the time. Thanks for the help, Satori."
"You're welcome, m'am."
"Where's your sister?" Tojiko glances to Satori's side for a moment.
"Oh, Koishi's just sleeping in today." Satori smiles.
Tojiko looks upwards. "You really do care for your sister, don't you? It's not difficult to notice."
"Her safety is my motivation to end this war." Satori affirms.
"So you're not in it for the glory of battle, just for... Hmm. You look rather distressed though."
"I'm okay, it's just that I don't have much time on my hands right now." Satori fiddles with her thumbs.
Tojiko looks behind herself. "Me neither, I have paperwork to deal with. So what do you want to ask?"
"Hmmm..." Satori ponders in deep thought.
I've only got time for one question, so it better be something I can wean a simple strong answer from.
[ ] Can you tell me more about the Crown Prince?
[ ] What do you know about the Magicians currently?
[ ] Why do you hate Seiga so much?
[ ] I'd like to know the situation on the war.
[ ] Write-in.
Tojiko looks at Satori. "Why did you ask me that specifically?"
"I've heard some rumors that the two of you... don't really get along." Satori inquires.
"Hmm," Tojiko rubs her chin, "let me show you how I think of her." She firmly grasps Satori by the shoulders and tightens her grip with a sharp glare from her eyes.
"Don't associate me with her. Ever." Tojiko loosens her hands from Satori's coat and gives her a solid slap across her cheek, dusting her hands off afterwards and expressing a smile insinuating that such an incident never occurred.
I don't understand why Miko trusts Seiga so much. Miko thinks that she's giving sound advice, but I'm sure she's just feeding Miko lies. That accident she was involved in was no mere coincidence, but all she does is deflect my questions every time I ask her. That woman's a conniving plotting bitch and nothing else. She's nothing!
Satori stares at Tojiko for a moment, rubs the area where she was smacked, then shifts her scarf up her neck, holding back the pain with tears in her eyes. "Th-That's all I wanted to know. Sorry."
Tojiko turns her back to Satori. "I'm upset at you asking me that question, but nonetheless I've given you the answer you desire. Good day, Miss Komeiji, as I must return to my paperwork."
Satori grabs her scarf in concern. "Thank y-you."
That answer was simple, but a bit too strong... She's frightening when she's that way...
Tojiko walks inside the building with a sharp clack clack from her feet as Satori turns around and strolls back to the ship.
When Satori returns inside, Rin with her ecstatic cat ears runs up to her and hugs her tightly.
"Did you find anything out? Yamame made the food and it's hot and ready for you on the table!" Rin holds on tight, but slowly lets go to glance at a very worried Satori. "Satori, is something wrong?"
"You remember the area I told you and Koishi we were going to excavate?"
"Duh, of course. Why, what's up?" Rin's cat ears gradually flop forward, then flick upwards. "Satori, your face! Are you okay!?"
"There's something worse, Rin... I think we stumbled on something we weren't supposed to."
Satori stands at Yukari's company building once again. When she enters, no one is at the counter to greet her, so she makes her way into the elevator and heads up to Yukari's office.
Satori quickly sees a familiar face. "Oh, Ran! You're here! Where's Yukari?"
"Yukari's company," Ran groans deeply, "has been ransacked."
"Wh-What!?" Satori steps back, then regains her composure. "What happened!?"
"It's what I've said, all her files have been stolen and nothing has been left behind. Look inside." Ran puts her arm over Satori's shoulder and motions her to the empty room, no papers on the floor remaining. The carpet was shredded apart, the chairs, shelves and the desk were broken with jutting splinters, and the lamps on the ceiling were now shattered on the floor.
"So where's Yukari and Chen? Are they okay?"
"They're fine, a lady with short blue hair came by and said she'd give them shelter for the time being. It was difficult to refuse her in this situation, so we regrettably accepted."
"I'm not exactly overjoyed with that arrangement, but if you can handle it, alright." Satori nods.
"Anyway, Yukari specifically ordered me to stay if you came back so I could give you this." Ran hands Satori a large briefcase with a piece of paper taped to the front.
Satori reads the paper: Pilotsuits. "She got this for me? Thank you so much!" She drops the briefcase and hugs Ran tightly. "I needed this so much. Thank you thank you thank you!"
Ran gently moves Satori's arms around her and pushes her back. "Thank Yukari for that. Anyway, I need to tell her that you've received your package." She pulls out her Handy PC and taps the panel several times. She quickly receives a response back. "Oh. She's not going to send someone to pick me up, she wants you to take me there."
"She's nice, but her laziness is..." Satori groans, "astounding. Okay, come with me and tell Rin the coordinates so we can fly there."
Ran puts her Handy PC away. "Thank you for the ride."
Satori picks her briefcase up. "No problem at all."
Satori lies in bed in her lavender pajamas, her blanket on the floor. "It's nothing, right? I slept fine the last few days, so I'll be fine." She curls up and closes her eyes, quickly falling under.
Yet another dream. White void. No clothes on. Solid ground. Satori walks forward to see a tall light green figure approaching her this time.
"Tojiko! You're here!"
As with the last dream, no noise runs out of her mouth. Suddenly, Satori's body becomes lifeless and she collapses, looking up at the figure as it stops a few feet in front of her.
"I can't move. What's happening to me? Tojiko? Help me up please!"
The figure returns no expressions at her pleas and instead reaches its right arm above. With an open hand, a gun materializes in its palm as it closes its hand and points it straight at Satori's forehead.
Tears well up in Satori's eyes as the ability to voice her concerns quickly ceases to exist.
Expressing a remarkable scowl, the figure adjusts her aim for precision. Its right hand moves slightly to the right, slightly to the left, until the firearm finds its perfect position. The figure's green eyes glean as they focus on Satori's face.
"Satori, I know that you will betray all of us, just like Seiga."
The figure's finger slowly pulls at the trigger of the gun.
"You'll turn out like her, the traitor who can't hold anyone's trust, not even her own family's. There was a rumor though, a rumor that she actually trusted one person..."
Satori closes her eyes, tears running down her cheeks.
"That person was not you, but it was
"Uwah!" Satori rises from bed with all her limbs flailing. She takes a deep breath with her right hand close to her chest. After a quick breather, she grabs a tissue from her nightstand and wipes her face. "It was just a dream, right? Dream. Dreaaaam."
"Rise and shine!" Rin momentarily opens the door and flicks the light switch on. "...Uh, Satori, are you okay?"
"As okay as can be, why?!" Satori abruptly belts out, tossing the crumpled tissue into a bin at the corner.
"Relax! Geez!" Rin crosses her arms while her cat ears pop up. "Anyway, we're here. Yukari and Seiga want to talk. Can you get ready in a few minutes?"
"Sure." Satori picks up her blanket from the floor and folds it to place back on the bed.
"You really need to get your hair straightened out. It's such a mess!" Rin remarks before she leaves.
Satori in her usual coat getup comes into the building by herself and notices Yukari standing next to a sofa idling beside a doorway.
"Yuuukaaariii!" Satori runs up and hugs Yukari tightly. "You're alright!"
"That's nice to know, Satori." Yukari takes her cap off and puts it back on, then motions her right hand to a set of doors. "In there's the lady who's decided to hide us from whoever's out to get me. Probably some rivals that are also sore losers, fufufu!"
If they showed up when I was there, I'd punch them in the face! Pow! Yeah!
"Don't worry, we'll be fine." Yukari plops down on the soft cushions of the sofa and pulls out her Handy PC. "Go finish your business, I've got to recoup my losses right now."
"Also, umm..." Satori bows. "Thank you for getting me my package."
"Nooo problem, pal." Yukari adamantly stares at her device and taps on it multiple times. "It's the least I could do with your pristine record."
"Did you just call me 'pal'?"
Yukari rolls her eyes. "I don't feel like being formal right now, no one's exactly looking."
Satori opens the doors of Seiga's main office and sits down in front of the desk where Seiga stands, dealing with business on her Handy PC.
"So you're here, Satori." Seiga turns around and stares down Satori sitting in a chair. "I received your report. I'm not... exactly satsified."
Satori tilts her head down and twiddles her fingers. "What did I do wrong?"
"You didn't find or destroy any enemy frames. However, the more worrying thing is...!" Seiga slams her hands on her long wooden desk, jolting Satori awake with wide eyes. "You met one of the four Magicians and you couldn't take her out!"
It's not like she had a chance, but maybe she could have gotten lucky!
Satori shivers for a moment, then settles down. "Did... you expect me to?"
"No," Seiga sits down on her dark leather seat at her desk, "but the report says that your performance was... suboptimal. As my assistant, I expect you to get better so you can serve me better."
"Serve you better?" Satori groans. "Why do you keep coming onto me? It's really creepy."
"It helps me maintain a strong relationship with you. The more we get along, the better the rewards." Seiga smiles with her elbows on her desk and her hands holding her chin.
She's adorable when she asks silly questions like that~
Satori blushes and shakes her head afterwards. "How can I improve then?"
Seiga twirls her right hand's index finger in the air. "Well, you have to tell me what you pilot first since I have to know the specs of your frame before I can tell you anything. The report told me that you're piloting an Inugami frame, but that's just a tag, a generalization. Your frame could be customized or lying outright and I wouldn't be able to tell from that alone. So, what is it?"
I doubt that an Inugami frame with nothing attached would get anything done, but maybe she knows more than I think she does. Who knows.
She's still pretty cute though.
[ ] "It's an Inugami frame with... a few customizations."
[ ] "Actually, I pilot a frame named Janus."
[ ] "I barely know anything about Orbital Frames! Can you tell me more?"
[ ] Write-in.