[Departure from the war zone confirmed. Initiating HEXA G-R.A.M shutdown in 180 seconds.]
“What are you doing? You can’t sleep here!”
Rayblade Impulse jumped from roof to roof of abandoned buildings coated with snow.
[Excessive energy expenditure caused by simultaneous oscillation is inhibiting energy output. Shutdown is required until energy output levels are restored. No MSG Valiant Force in pursuit. The group known as Roughnecks possibly in pursuit. I recommend that we join up with them.]
“The Roughnecks, huh…”
[Earthcline Biomechanics’ electronic indicators confirm that they are not the enemy.] Rayblade landed on a suitable rooftop, proceeding with caution to avoid the open spaces in the aged surface. [Battle Mode deactivated. Restart planned in 90 minutes. Please negotiate with them for us, Ash.]
“Okay, I get it. Have a nice nap. I’ll go and check out the surroundings” Ash muttered, jumping down from the machine that had hunched down into a sleeping position. He walked to the edge of the roof, where snow had piled up inside a large crater from a cannon attack, and looked out across the deserted town.
Dingy gray snow began to fall from the gray sky.
A white Liberty Alliance Motor Punisher lightly floated upwards, appearing in front of Ash’s eyes. Its pilot was a Sentinel wearing a white Armor Type, who turned his head to look towards Ash.
On a different rooftop, a video projection expanded in front of different soldier. The optical data was sent from the sighting device of a Blockbuster, and projected in the visor of a Light Armor Type Rose.
“That softy…” the soldier sighed to herself.
In the projection, a lone Pawn A1 was talking to a Roughneck member that had disembarked from a floating Hexa Gear. A cursory scan revealed that the Hexa Gear Eliza had been tracking was on the same rooftop.
The Roughneck leader reflected on the previous battle. The soldier and Rayblade had joined amidst the ensuing chaos, and escaped with not a moment to spare. Despite pushing the Hexa Gear past a reasonable limit, they managed to escape to this rooftop. The sudden timing of their entrance into the battle, and the boldness of the soldier’s character were worth recognizing. But it was unbelievable that he would exert the HEXA G-R.A.M to the point where the machine would shut down on the battlefield. And it was even more ridiculous that he would leave himself so undefended and open to being followed, leaving him completely vulnerable to capture. What would he have done if the enemy captain hadn’t decided to retreat.
A message notification from the Blockbuster’s KARMA system interrupted her thoughts. Searching for the sender’s information in the KARMA database showed Eliza that the message had come from a Rayblade Impulse unit. The message was sealed, and would decompress automatically after 60 minutes.
Eliza returned her sites to the Pawn A1, only for their eyes to meet from 6000 meters apart. Looks like he’s in the palm of a certain AI’s hands she thought to herself.
“Hello, this is the Roughneck’s leader. Can you hear me? You can hear me, right? I don’t know who is listening, but I received contact directly from that Rayblade Impulse.”
“Well, I’m going to keep talking anyways. I’ve acquired the Hexa Gear in question and the young soldier. But the soldier’s entire squad was destroyed.”
Eliza waited a few minutes. The time counter on the edge of her vision continued to count down. Just as the transmission was about to close, she heard a response.
“…Let me hear his voice.”
Eliza frowned. The voice on the other end was altered to hide the person’s identity.
“Before I do tell me who you are.”
“…There’s no need for that.”
“The person who originally contacted us was your captain,” Eliza responded impatiently. “But since he’s gone, we’re currently without an employer. Do you know what that means?”
“It’s not something you need to know.”
“Oh really? Well then, do you even know what’s been going on up until now?”
“The activity log is shared to KARMA’s network, so I can refer to it through there. It seems that the person in question was attacked immediately after leaving the area controlled by our company. It’s safe to assume the attacker was the MSG Valiant Force. The escort troops were trapped, acting as a diversion for the enemy, allowing the person to escape on their own, only to be captured later. Eight hours later, you attacked the building where the person in question was being held, and have now re-captured the person in question.
“A thank you would be nice, but I guess it’s fine.”
“I’ve confirmed that it’s not your fault that the captain was killed.”
“Did you get that from the KARMA network too?”
“It is possible to ascertain from the location and time stamps on the activity records.”
“Anyways, why did you choose this route?” Eliza questioned the mysterious voice. “If you had headed east you would have been able to move within the Liberty Alliance’s territory. Why did you decide to come to this abandoned city?”
“I had advance information that the Valiant Force was gathering in the east. It is likely that that area will become a heavy war zone within the next ten days.”
So he’s trying to avoid unnecessary battles. Eliza thought to herself.
“After that you were attacked immediately after advancing to the south. I don’t want to say it, but it sounds like you have a leak in your company.”
“It is as you say. I was in contact with the southern picket line, but I confirmed some time ago that an entire civil disturbance squad was destroyed. Although the routine communications are still appearing in the log, it seems that the squad was destroyed several days ago.
So it’s come to that.
“There was a Hidestorm.”
“Yes. That fact combined with the information leak, it’s necessary for us to get out of this area as fast as possible.”
“There’s something I need to do before that.”
“The missing Rayblades?”
“Well that’s one thing. But first and foremost, we are Heterodox,” Eliza told the mysterious voice. “We have no memories of being subordinate to the Liberty Alliance or Earthcline Biomechanics.”
“I understand. It would be to my advantage to make a deal with you. I am looking to get back the Rayblades and for an escort for him.
–Earthcline Biomechanics should be aware that the previous escort squad was destroyed. Do they plan to conceal his survival from the company and use the Roughnecks instead of an escort from the company?
“First, hand in your weapons. After that we can talk about what you’re trying to do and where you’re trying to go, his defense escort and whatnot.”
“That is not an issue. I will adjust our meeting point with the transport squad. It will require us to move approximately 100 kilometers.”
“We can talk about that later.”
“I have just cornered the remaining enemy troops. I’m about to get busy so I’m disconnecting.”
“Hey, wait, I before that let me hear his….”
“Alright everyone, listen up. I’m going to explain the new strategy. The target is planning to escape from this area by using the shipping pallets in the old railway system in the tunnels under the city. Several 50 m class pallets have been connected and have already departed terminal 23 and are headed for 11. We’re going to pursue these pallets in order to acquire the resources while they’re in transit.”
“Scarecrow will depart first and install explosives on the rails in terminal 12. The explosives will go off when the target enters the terminal, stopping the transport. At the same time, Motor Punisher and Rayblade Impulse will come in and attack from behind. I will move to the upper area of the terminal with Blockbuster in order to seal the exit and provide backup fire. The terminal is a large underground space but it’s been abandoned for quite some time. I don’t know the condition of the arrival platform or the container yard, so don’t count on it being adequately illuminated. We’ll probably be completely in the dark. They’ve probably recovered their forces, so the cover of darkness will actually be to our advantage if we’re outnumbered. Okay? The goal is to attack retreating MSG and secure the stolen Special Weapon from them. If it goes well, we can expect to get a few HEXA G-R.A.Ms off of them as well.”
“Alright then, let’s get going. Try not to die.”