City Series:Volume1 Chapter 5
Chapter 5: The Legend Leaps
Oscar sighed when he saw the two who were brought to the Bladlikburg Eins’s bridge.
“You certainly caused us a lot of trouble, Professor Wagner and Walter.”
Walter smiled at that. He faced Oscar without even glancing at the soldiers restraining him on either side.
“More importantly, you should probably check what we’re carrying, Oscar.”
“I am aware. I will not let my guard down twice.”
Oscar nodded and the two soldiers on either side of the two men checked through their clothes. Their hands moved quickly and professionally.
“Are they carrying anything?”
“Only a license, a wallet, and a seal, commander.”
“You’d better give those back afterwards,” warned Paul.
“If you want them back, why not tell us what we want to know?”
“That’s a pretty sad offer.”
“I know you two. You have nothing else.”
“You’ve got us there.”
As soon as Paul smiled, the soldier searching Walter’s clothes let out a low scream and was knocked away.
Oscar reached for the handgun at his waist.
“Walter, what did you do?”
The young man did not answer. He only stared down at the soldier who was groaning and holding his stomach. Oscar realized Walter was holding the chest of his lab coat.
“What are you hiding?”
Walter returned his gaze.
“A memento from my mother.”
He showed off what looked like a scrap of paper.
…Is that a photograph?
Oscar frowned again.
“I would like to apologize for my soldier’s rudeness, but I can’t.”
He turned to a nearby soldier who had nothing to do.
“Carry the fallen soldier out.”
“Sorry about that. I tend to lash out without thinking.”
Walter gave a quick nod to the man being carried away and then turned back to Oscar.
Paul crossed his arms and looked up at Oscar.
He was acting like he owned the ship, so Oscar frowned and looked outside the window.
A dark shadow obstructed the sun in the western sky. It was another Bladlikburg flying alongside the Eins.
A sword-like form could be seen on the Zwei’s deck.
It was the dp-XXX and it was strapped to the deck with thick wires. Both the ship and the metal wires shined in the evening sun.
“What is it, Oscar?” asked Paul.
But Oscar did not look away from that ship filled with advanced technology.
However, he did speak.
“I will say the dp-XXX was shot down after engaging my unit in combat.”
He turned around and brought his gaze to the two men.
“You have not hidden any documents related to the dp-XXX, have you?”
“I am trying to be serious here.”
“I don’t want to hear that from someone trying to look cool by staring into the setting sun.”
“If you want anything out of us, you’ll have to force it out. You’re good at that, aren’t you?”
The two of them held out their chests proudly.
When Oscar spoke again, some weariness had entered his voice.
“If that is what you want, that is what you will get.”
“Wow. You sure give in easily. You’re probably easy to trick.”
Oscar snapped his fingers.
“Take these two to a guest room. A first-class one.”
After a sharp reply, the soldiers restraining the two of them grabbed their arms and walked out.
Walter and Paul made no attempt to resist as they were almost dragged off of the bridge.
Oscar sighed as he watched them leave.
Paul must have heard because he stopped walking and looked over his shoulder.
“You must have it tough.”
That was all the elderly engineer said before facing forward again. The back of his blue work outfit seemed to want to say something more as he began walking once more. The soldiers on either side of him briefly glanced back at Oscar.
But he remained silent.
“Whose fault do you think that is?”
His quiet comment sounded a little exhausted.
Behind him, red filled the setting sun.
The Bladlikburg Eins was primarily a command ship, so it was equipped with little weaponry. Instead, it had an abundance of patrol equipment and guest space. The vast metal box even contained a café lounge.
It looked like a city’s café had been placed on the ship as-is. Twenty table and chair sets were attached to the floor and intentionally dim lighting filled the brown space.
The window on the outer wall was shuttered and it was a nice place to relax if one ignored the stuffiness.
Late at night, those with the night shift would often stop by to escape their drowsiness. At this time, it was relatively empty.
The young officer in a dress uniform sitting by the window was the only person there.
It was Mayer.
He was blankly trying to kill time. Not long before, he had been resting in his room.
Kaffee was good for waking one up and a bit of tension was perfect for his next job.
He avoided alcohol. He had not had a drop of it since Walter and Paul had sent him to the hospital during the university lab’s freshmen welcoming party. As a German, this made him quite unusual.
He checked his wristwatch and found it was 6:12.
…Still too soon.
He had to descend to the surface at 6:30. He was going to greet and apologize to the Breuer family for all the trouble they had caused.
The military or police would normally just send out a brief document, but Oscar did not accept that. He would always talk it out without looking down on the other party or debasing himself.
Mayer was certain the true form of a soldier could be seen in that man.
He had a feeling everyone in Air Force Division 5 had felt the same thing in Oscar.
But his thoughts were interrupted.
He looked up at the familiar voice and found Oscar.
The man held a white cup of kaffee.
Mayer quickly began to stand and salute, but…
Oscar sat across the table from him and tilted his body a little to look out the window. He looked somehow weak.
“You aren’t going to drink any beer?”
“After so many of my men died, I am not in the mood.”
“What is the matter?” asked Mayer.
“Nothing. I was just thinking.”
His words lacked his usual sharp strength.
“If it is about the Breuer family, do not worry. I will handle it. You please focus on your job.”
“The moon will be out tonight, so do not travel in a spirit craft. …Got it?”
“Yes, sir. I was not planning to.”
On nights with strong moonlight, spirit engines could lose control, so gliders were used instead. Gliders were powerless ships with only floating emblems carved into them. They were a slow but safe means of transportation.
“But that ship does not have to worry about the moonlight,” muttered Oscar.
Mayer followed his gaze out the window and to the moonlit dp-XXX on the Zwei’s deck. The lance of light called a Lanze still skewered its back.
“Are you curious?”
He turned to the voice and found Oscar facing him.
Strength had returned to his eyes. The sharpness in his gaze seemed like it would pierce through everything and see through any lies, so Mayer gave a definite nod.
“I was working to build that ship just a few years ago.”
He hesitated for a moment.
“And the people I look up to are piloting it.”
“I see.” Oscar sighed. “That is the ship created by Huber Talstrasse’s son and friend so they can reach space.”
“I think it is an amazing piece of technology.”
“But it is too much for this age.”
The military was essentially controlled by a madman known as the Führer. That man would undoubtedly try to use the dp-XXX for war. The man had a strong love of heroes, so a one-of-a-kind ship like the dp-XXX would seem quite attractive to him.
They wanted to avoid that.
“What will we do?”
“I have a mountain villa in Munich. We can dismantle it, take it there, and store it away.”
“It seems to me using the ground forces would be a problem.”
“Of course. That is why it will be done in absolute secrecy. The dismantled parts will be boxed up, labelled as items left behind by the deceased, and sent to the homes of those we can trust.”
Twelve had died in the previous encounter with the dp-XXX. That was small for the size of the commotion, so it would not draw suspicion if they exaggerated the number killed.
“From there, the boxes can be transported to my home during the time for New Years’ greetings. If they are carried to my mountain villa as materials for building a horse-riding field, no one will suspect a thing.”
“The secret police have grown more active lately, so we can’t let our guard down.”
“No.” Oscar’s expression loosened a bit. “Turning the villa into a storehouse will ruin the summer breaks, though.”
“Your daughter is going to cry.”
Mayer had never met Oscar’s daughter. Oscar did not like to mix his work with his private life, so he rarely mentioned her. The previous spring, Oscar had suddenly asked him a question.
“Mayer, I only ask because you are young, but what do you think I should send my daughter who is about to enter middle school?”
That was the first he had ever heard of her.
He could only guess, but Mayer had a feeling Oscar was not working for his country or the military. He was probably working for the people, be they his family, soldiers, or simply citizens.
Mayer doubted the man himself had realized what he worked for and he would probably refuse to admit it even if he had. Nevertheless, Mayer was certain of it.
After all, an old soldier approaching retirement had once told him something.
“That man is only harsh when he’s in the military.”
Mayer had seen a few scenes since then that supported that.
Currently, Oscar gave a small smile.
“You’re right. Maybe I should take her to Italy this year.”
Mayer had a thought while watching the man.
A question occurred to him and he simply spoke it aloud
“Is he pursuing his father?”
“He? You mean Walter?”
Oscar admitted it surprisingly readily.
“I do understand. I heard some things about Huber while investigating the Wagner Laboratory, but it did not seem he was a man who showed much concern for his family.”
Mayer knew that as well. Walter would sometimes fall silent and it was almost always when his father came up.
“Would you choose a father like that to pursue and set as your goal?”
Mayer came from an old noble family, so he had been blessed by his family. He had long ago decided to take a different path from his father who managed a farm and his father had accepted his decision. When he had entered the military, his father had even asked him to bring honor to the family name.
That left him unable to even imagine living in a family like Walter’s.
“Soon after he lost his father, his mother passed away from the emotional burden. It was only then that he began to think seriously about going to space, but it almost feels like…”
“Like he is doing it to spite his father?”
That response brought a short silence.
After three heavy breaths, Oscar looked up into Mayer’s eyes.
“What is it?”
“Aren’t Huber and Walter a lot alike?”
That comment shocked Mayer.
“They both rush forward even if it means sacrificing those around them, don’t they? And isn’t that exactly why you looked up to him? Am I wrong, Mayer?”
“You are exactly right.” Mayer sighed. “I undoubtedly looked up to his way of doing things. But…”
I can’t do things the way he does, he thought.
He had always run along the path laid out for a chosen one, so he could not recklessly believe in his own strength like Walter and Paul.
Nevertheless, he was now opposing the two of them.
And that was why he asked a nervous question.
“What would happen if I fought them head-on now?”
“If you used their way of doing things, you would lose.”
“Then how am I supposed to fight?”
He leaned forward as he asked and Oscar fell briefly silent.
“Are you not satisfied with that previous fight?”
“I do not want to think that was my true ability. …I simply caught them off guard.”
“Then what will you do when you fight with everything you have and still lose?”
This attack from an unexpected angle made Mayer look up. He found Oscar staring directly at him.
“If you are to fight them head-on, you will need to use everything you have. Even so, you may still lose. Can you endure that loss?”
What could he do if his own strength was rejected?
He had never used his full strength or experienced a loss, so he had no way of immediately answering that question.
However, he doubted Oscar was actually expecting an answer. The man slowly said something more.
“And if you still wish to fight after hearing all that, remember these words.”
He took a breath.
“What matters most is determining what exactly it is you should be.”
A moment of silence followed.
“Do you understand, Mayer?”
“…I do not.”
“You are still young, so take your time and give it plenty of thought. You do not need to rush yourself like those two.”
Once Oscar crossed his arms, Mayer realized something.
“No, um, I just mean… Don’t you mean three?”
“What do you mean?”
The look in Oscar’s eyes and his tone completely changed.
Mayer felt a chill run down his spine.
“When I faced the dp-XXX, there were three people in the cockpit.”
“You mean three people didn’t leave the ship!?”
Mayer had heard Walter’s group had been taken into custody, but he had not heard the number of people. It had seemed so obvious an issue he had not bothered to ask.
“But only Walter and Paul spoke over the radio,” groaned Oscar while wrinkling his brow.
Mayer realized what had happened.
The Bladlikburg had been too far from the dp-XXX to see inside, so they only had to avoid mentioning the third person’s presence and then hide them.
They had not counted on Mayer noticing the third person, but that miscalculation had proved meaningless since he had not reported it.
The two of them stood up simultaneously.
At the same moment, the Zwei’s deck lit up outside the window.
The dp-XXX was preparing to take off.
One of its engines could not run with the Lanze still skewering it, but the other engine was fine. As long as it did not try anything too difficult, it could at least glide through the sky.
A few string-like objects shot through the moonlight on the deck. The wires holding down the dp-XXX were snapping at set intervals.
“Commander Oscar!” said a ship-wide announcement. “We have an emergency! Please hurry to the bridge!”
“Commander!” shouted Mayer.
“This was my oversight,” clearly stated Oscar. “Do not worry about it.”
“You do your job. Besides, we have no fighter craft that can fly tonight.”
With that, Oscar ran from the room. Mayer began to follow him but stopped. There was nothing a fighter pilot like him could do.
He looked out the window and saw the nearly full moon in the night sky.
It was the strength of its light that prevented them from scrambling the fighters. There was a danger of the engines losing control and destroying the fighters.
Covered in that moonlight, the dp-XXX’s nose quickly rose. Nothing was restraining it any longer.
That collection of advanced technology rotated and flew into the sky like a leaf in the wind.
Mayer almost pressed against the glass to keep his eyes on the ship.
The Lanze skewering it glowed in the darkness and the clouds spread out below.
Small dots of light were visible far below the gaps in the clouds. Those were the lights of Berlin.
It took only a few seconds for the Lanze’s light to dive between the gaps in the clouds and blend into the city’s lights.
“They got us,” muttered Mayer as he pulled his face from the window.
He then sighed and saw his own face reflected in the glass.
It was only when he saw his face that he realized something.
That reflected face contained a small but satisfied smile.
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