City Series:Volume5a Chapter4
Chapter 4: Knight
03/19/1944 – 03/20/1944
The records say Grazie is a pretty powerful Barrel, don’t they?
March 19, 1944
German Army Paris Branch Telegram: To General Headquarters
Received documents concerning the Attesor Project to develop the strongest Panzer. Currently investigating using the French military’s internal data network. Over.
Resistance Poster: To the People of Paris
The German army is retreating from the western front!! The time to liberate Paris draws near.
Do not trust the German army’s information restrictions and do not give up hope even if this poster is torn down!!
Beretta’s Letter: To Mallette, My Neighbor who is Probably Asleep Even Now at Midday
Hi, Mallette. I’m currently taking the Lourd de Marionnette lecture for my second morning class, but I’m so damn bored. The art class before this was interesting, though.
And what’s this? Ever since Professor Becarre was arrested, there’s always an Allemande soldier sitting in a corner of the classroom. Is that to keep an eye on things? I don’t like that at all. Especially today’s strict-looking old man whose insignia suggests is an Écrivain. The practice today will apparently be a quick mock battle against that old man.
I guess this means the Germans are gradually tightening their grip. And we only just learned in political science class that control of the media and education is a step toward dictatorship.
Anyway, I’m writing this letter during class, so I’ll drop it in your room’s boîte aux lettres. I’m sure you’ll be asleep until the afternoon anyway.
You might miss out on a lot if you sleep in today. It was pretty noisy outside this morning. While you were sleeping, the Paris Resistance covered the streets with posters to inform everyone that the German military is retreating.
That means the people of Paris will have Ajouter-ed that information. I wonder what everyone else will do.
But, well, the patrols from tonight on are probably going to be a real pain.
You’ll get arrested too if you’re out wandering at night. I know I don’t have to remind you, but you’re half Jewish. And you don’t want them using that as an excuse to harass you, right? That was why the soldiers were hassling you when we first met.
Not that complaining in a letter is going to change anything.
So I’m stuck here in this Lourd de Marionnette lecture and then I have to go through with the practice afterwards, but why are we even doing this? If only the Germans would accuse this class of training the resistance and cancel the rest of the classes just for me. Oh, well.
Besides, the Germans have put power restrictions on every Appareil in France, so there aren’t any in Paris that can fight properly. Without proper power and weapons, an Appareil is the same as a car.
I wonder what they’ll do about the Lourd de Marionnette battle during the school festival. Only a beginner would enjoy Recréa-ing into an underpowered Lourd de Marionnette. A veteran wouldn’t be able to stand it. Even if you can only use it for a short time, I just want to use a Full Drive Start and-…well, you wouldn’t know what any of this means.
Ever since the Germans were stationed here, the Lourd de Marionnette battle at the year-end festival and school festival has had a German Lourd de Écrivain take part as a special guest. A student doesn’t stand a chance against a soldier, but they make it even more unfair because their Appareil isn’t power restricted. The librarian lady at the library I often visit says it’s meant as a show of force.
But at last year’s year-end festival, I kicked the German Lourd de Marionnette’s ass and won, so some people are apparently hoping I’ll do it again this year. A representative of the economics department said I’m their #1 recommendation. I Ajouter-ed a bulletin board earlier and that’s what it said. I’ll probably never hear the end of it from Phillip if I accept.
Anyway, summer break is coming up soon, so classes and life are both getting pretty busy. While everyone at the appartement is heading back home like you are, I think I’ll enjoy a carefree vacance in Paris.
Oh, the practice is about to begin. Like usual, of the three Lourd de Marionnettes in the storage rooms, the instructor gets one and we do some quick mock battles with the male and female one left over. The guys always get so excited. They’re so childish.
Wait, what? The professor is saying I’m supposed to Recréa, too.
His line was pretty amazing:
“Beretta already has a no-limits Lourd de Marionnette license and was given the honor of being selected as the economics representative for the school festival’s Lourd de Marionnette battle, but she is still diligently attending the lesson today. The rest of you could learn a thing or two from… (Bleh, the old man’s talking too fast to write down the rest.)”
But I’m sorry, professor, I wasn’t being remotely diligent. I’ve been sitting here writing this letter.
By the way, the guys’ excitement cooled in a hurry when they heard I would be Recréa-ing. And not because they were moved by my “diligent example” or because of the qualifications the professor listed off. No, I’m sure it’s because I’m the one that won at last year’s year-end festival.
Oh, and most of the girls in the class are fad-followers who only came over to see me after they heard the rumors.
I can’t believe this. If only transfer students weren’t required to take this class.
“We have a special class just for transfer students. Simply attending university will earn you a Lourd de Marionnette license.”
I get that it’s one of their selling points for transfer students, but it’s pretty pointless for me since I already have a no-limits license.
Also, I haven’t been too crazy about piloting Lourd de Marionnettes lately. It probably seems weird to see a Lourd de Marionnette lover like me writing that, but, well, it’s like your period. Women just have those moods sometimes.
Why is it, Mallette? It’s like my personality changes a little when I’m piloting one.
And my opponent this time is the German Lourd de Écrivain sitting so arrogantly in the corner there.
I’m a little worried. Okay, I’ll seal this up before Recréa-ing. Bye.
Beretta’s Write Bring: Entry in Heavy Barrel Grazie’s Memory Bank
And with that, I’ve finished the Write Bring and stepped out into the school’s mock battlefield. I’ll start off with a Point.
<The bowl-shaped colosseum is huge even when viewed from my 8-yard height.>
Has this place been around for a long time, I wonder? I know I’ve heard that Sorbonne University has existed since the middle ages.
Hm. But, well, the girls are there in the stands, but there’s no one else there, not even the professor. Are all the guys still holed up in the eastern storage room? Well, they’re doing a forced Write Bring on someone who isn’t used to it, so I guess it’ll take some time.
I suppose I’ll move around a bit now.
HLP018 77-LL Grazie is the Barrel I used during last year’s year-end festival. It’s a female Heavy Barrel from World War One, so it’s kind of impressive it’s held together so well. In a Heavy Barrel museum, it would rank at a preservation level of B.
The emblems on the shoulders are angel wings.
Grazie’s Over Emblem is a mobility-increasing ability called Ange, but I’ve never activated it. In San Francisco of ’98, Grazie was completely outdated and its modern version, Joie, has an attack Over Emblem called Tout Ange.
But the records say Grazie is a pretty powerful Barrel, don’t they? It inherited the poor wire cylinder output adjustment of the previous model, Sourire, but its instantaneous power can give a modern Barrel a run for its money.
As always, this girl is very well maintained. Despite being such an old model, the arms move just fine and they don’t catch at all. She writes to the memory bank with decent speed, too.
What I didn’t like was when I Pointed in the storage room and saw the armored dress to hide my nudity was the same 20-year-old design from last year and that the Barrel barely had any armor on it. This is a female model, but it’s more like shiny skin than jewel-like skin.
And the legs are a little worrying. They’re a bit skinny, but the lubrication oil used in them is old. I pointed it out before, but it’s still using the same oil as the arms. The legs bear more weight than the arms, so I’d prefer more viscous oil than in the arms. It’s about endurance over mobility.
But I guess there’s nothing I can do about the power restriction. It can probably run, but I doubt it can hold its ground. A few of the wire cylinders would probably be taken out. But they’ve left it with enough power to move around, so is that what they call “German generosity” or are they just stupid? If I gathered spare parts from across France, I could probably build a full Barrel on this level.
But, well, I guess it is true that Barrels are outdated.
The armor is thinner than a tank’s, they make a big target, and they aren’t as maneuverable as an airplane.
They’re intimidating as hell, though. That’s why they’re used in cities and infantry divisions.
I bet the Germans are doing a lot of research to find some tech that will let them rival modern weaponry. After all, that country is gathering Death Techno. Not that I’m much different there…well, I should stop thinking about that. The others might Sign these memories later on.
But I can’t believe this. The joints feel all hollow, which is kind of sad.
Oh, and I can’t stand that my weapon is a wooden sword. The Germans have done a real thorough job of confiscating everything. It was a wooden spear back at the year-end festival, wasn’t it?
I’m a Phalanx. A spear-user. That’s the real difference between me and my grandma, who taught all about Heavy Barrels. She never once performed a Write Bring in front of me, but she’s known as the Sword Lady, so she must have used a sword.
I wonder how she’s doing. I’ve been feeling a bit down lately.
And I know why.
I want to ask someone for advice and I have so much to think about, but there’s no one I can talk with. I’m an outsider in this world and everything I’m thinking is either out of character for me or is something I’m not allowed to say. I can’t be like that old man I saw at the bakery.
I might be worrying Rosetta with all this. She said this in an earlier letter:
<And I am thinking about how you sometimes look like you are lost in thought
If there is something you want to say I hope you will tell me>
If she wants to become human and trusts me, maybe I could tell her. Tell her about this world and the incident I’m involved in. And that I’m a Knight Striker, but I couldn’t protect some people.
Wow, this is getting dark. I need to distract myself.
“Activate Wide-Range Vision: Success”
I had only been using the anti-ground vision, but now my vision spread out to include the sky and the horizon.
My vision was never this wide as a human. This mode uses the two anti-ground sight devices, the one superior eye sight device on the forehead, and the compound eye sight devices on the left and right of the head. There just aren’t words to describe how amazing it is to see from all of those eyes at once.
My view covers approximately 120 degrees in front, up, down, left, and right, for a total of 240 degrees in all. That lets me hold both the heavens and the earth in my hand at once.
I gain that humanly-impossible vision by combining my Lives with the machine.
Right now, I can see the blue sky, the city of Paris beyond the mock battlefield’s walls, and the earthen ground.
This is one of the reasons I like piloting Heavy Barrels.
A Knight Striker has power and is duty-bound to protect, but this vision is the greatest freedom.
That which is filled with the blue sky.
That which is covered by the red dirt.
I name thee heaven and earth.
Where the wind howls bravely.
Where the sand dances gently.
I view thee as heaven and earth.
So that no one would grieve again.
That which is endless and cannot be grasped.
That which is vast and cannot be held.
I am with thee.
I really understand what that Knight Striker song is trying to say.
I mean, the winter sky is so very tall. Well, I’m not sure what I’m Signing here now, but while the skies in America were always unbelievably vast and unimaginably blue, the sky of Paris is something else entirely.
I might just not be used to the rules of Signing since I’m not a resident of Paris, but I feel like you can’t see Paris’s sky unless you’re searching for it. I can probably see it by Pointing an azure sky, but it takes Signing to see the blue sky I really want to see.
So seeing Paris’s sky brings me joy when I look up and see it.
And looking to the sky with a Heavy Barrel’s vision only strengthens that feeling.
If I confirm my own presence here below the sky, I feel like I’ll suddenly find the sky is gone.
I raised my head and looked into the sky. It felt like I could see the wind. Yeah.
But the other side really was slow. What were they doing?
I’ll Point real quick.
<There is still no sign of anything leaving the boys storage room.>
Whelp. Meanwhile, I came out almost immediately and everyone’s waiting. The girls are probably shouting from the colosseum stands by now. I don’t feel like Pointing that, though.
I should’ve claimed I was on my period and skipped out on this.
But I really do like Write Bringing into Heavy Barrels.
I’d better get an S instead of just an A for this class.
Oh, I should Point.
<The side door to the boys storage room is slowly opening to the side and a male Heavy Barrel made from black steel is unsteadily walking out.
It is an HMP035 22-LL Guerre.>
That’s the average male Heavy Barrel from World War One. It looks a little shakier than when I saw it last year, but I guess you can’t expect much when there’s a boy piloting it. Both of these are probably used military models. After all, there were signs of some insignia being scraped off next to the ladder up to the Study on mine.
The other one is probably the same.
And…huh? The instructor’s came out too, but…
<It is an MMP055 07-LC Jagdhund.>
Huh? A Middle Barrel? Even if we have this power restriction, are they mocking us?
And that body. It can’t be…
<There is a sign of major repairs to the center of the Jagdhund’s chest armor.
It was likely damaged in some kind of battle recently.>
Oh, crap. Was that damage from me? If so, this could be bad. It’s going to be really awkward. I hope he doesn’t have any regrets.
Well, no one’ll find out as long as they don’t read this memory bank. I’ll just erase it a bit as I cancel the Write Bring.
I wrote some oddly mellow stuff toward the start.
<The boys and the professor have entered the stands. The professor is speaking in a loud voice:
“Now, please follow the instructor’s lead and engage in some light sparring.”
The Jagdhund nodded and raised its wooden sword.>
He’s aiming it toward me?
Does that mean he chose me as an opponent before the boy? I’m going to remain suspicious and Sign.
Have you heard about last year’s festival from someone? Perhaps that a female Knight Striker from this school humiliated a German Panzer Kavalier?
Well, it doesn’t matter either way. I’ll just say what I have to say.
“I’m looking forward to the lesson you have for me.”
So let’s get this started!!
Lourd de Marionnette Professor Voith Malraux’s Scoresheet: Beretta’s Score
First, I will write down the result of the first battle.
Her skill at making her opponent look good while ultimately winning is completely abnormal.
The way she moved around to cover for the weak legs, which are the one defect of the HLP018 line, reminded me of a musical dance and I completely understand why she was recommended as a Lourd de Écrivain for the school festival.
The first mock battle was a complete victory. She was using a power-restricted model against an MMP055, which is a quite powerful despite being a Forma de Marionnette, but she still managed to remain in complete control of the battle and knock the wooden sword out of her opponent’s grasp. From beginning to end, I have to give her an S rating.
And now we are about to begin a second battle at the instructor’s request.
Beretta’s Write Bring: Entry in Heavy Barrel Grazie’s Memory Bank
Ugh. He wants to fight a second battle? Since when did we start using “first to two” rules? Besides, I think the boy in the Guerre has got to be bored over there in the corner.
A soldier needs to be a little more prepared to accept defeat.
I should probably Point just to be on the safe side.
<After picking back up its wooden sword, the Jagdhund raises it and stops moving.
The atmosphere suggests this will no longer just be some light sparring.>
Looks like my suspicions from before were correct. Well, fine. Let’s do this.
And while I’m thinking that…
<The Jagdhund suddenly moved.>
Oh? You’ve got some skill at surprise attacks.
I thought Germany was supposed to be the country of Kavaliers!? A male Middle Barrel is making a surprise attack on a female opponent right as the battle begins!? Okay, you’ve got guts. That grazed my head, you bastard. But if you’re gonna make a horizontal swing of the sword, aim for my body, not my head. And if you’re gonna make a vertical swing, aim for my head, not my shoulder.
Can you hear me?
Of course you can’t.
<He charges at me.>
He made one attack.
He made two attacks.
He made three attacks.
I could predict them all, so I didn’t bother Pointing.
They’ll all just be over-the-top swishes through empty air. He might’ve cut off the reflexes from his pain sensors. Your Barrel was just repaired, so move around too much and you’ll spew oil.
<Immediately after the fourth jab, a black liquid flows out of the Jagdhund’s right shoulder.
It is lubricant oil.>
See? What’d I tell you? I can hear a stir in the crowd…or so I’ll say.
But a single bind cylinder doesn’t count as an injury for a male Middle Barrel, right? If that was enough to cause a malfunction, it would never be used in actual combat.
<It jabs forward.>
That was nicely done.
But you left an opening. I’ll take out the shoulder of your armored dress and the armor panel below.
And got it.
<I hear the sound of wood on metal.>
See? It was the opposite shoulder.
<I hear another nice sound.>
This is pretty easy. Or rather, the enemy is too naïve.
Come to think of it, Phillip said he hasn’t Write Bringed into a Heavy Barrel for about a decade, but I wonder how he did it back then? Did he go the manly route and jam himself in there all at once?
That phrasing was kind of lewd. Like something Mallette would say.
But it’s not like I’m hoping for anything like that. We did kiss, but I don’t really want to go against what my parents would want. Plus, he’s with the Germans right now.
…And he dies.
<The black Barrel corrects its posture and makes an obvious charge.>
Hold on, hold on, hold on. Wait, wait, wait. You damn enemy, don’t come charging in while I’m thinking. And you don’t have to do that “oryaaaaaaaaaaaah” yell. Are you a city thug or something?
I dodged. Hmm. In thaaat case…
No, you idiot. And that “doryaaaaaaaaaaaah” isn’t any better.
Dodge, dodge. Hmm. Ah, hey, “soryaaaaaaaaaaaah” doesn’t work either.
I’ve only been Signing and saying whatever I wanted without Pointing at all, but since I’m unharmed, that must mean that my Signing has been almost the same as reality.
That means the enemy is moving like I predicted.
I can’t believe this.
I just can’t get into it. Part of that is the pathetic opponent, but I’ve also had too much on my mind. You move a Heavy Barrel with your mind instead of your muscles, so letting your mind wander is a really bad idea.
Fine, then. I’ll just finish this up all at once.
I’ll put some distance between us.
Female Heavy Barrels are generally lacking in power. And that’s made all the worse by the power restriction. The trick to winning is either to make a charge or to use your opponent’s movements for a counterattack.
In boxing terms, it’s like being an out-boxer.
I raised my weapon.
I had to measure the exact distance from the enemy, so I Pointed.
<There are approximately 20 yards between us.
He is charging forward to fill that gap.>
I think I’ll charge forward too and show him a bit of a combat performance.
I held the wooden sword’s pommel inside my fist. My shoulder could not move my hand around well with the decorations in the way, but I only needed a straight-line movement from here.
The enemy arrived within my attack range of 15 yards.
I thrust the wooden sword toward where his face should be.
In fact, I threw it. It was a nice throw.
My aim should’ve been perfect, so let’s Point.
<The wooden sword pierces the Jagdhund’s face windshield.
But that is not enough to destroy a male Middle Barrel’s facial components which are made with a monocoque structure.
The battle continues.
My opponent maintains his momentum as he charges forward with the wooden sword still stabbed into his face.>
I charged in as well. I dodged right before he hit.
At the same time, I swung my leg like I was dancing and knocked his legs out from under him.
He tripped forward. Once he landed on his face, the sword would pierce straight through and out the back of his head.
Ugh, actually let’s not do that.
I grabbed the tripping opponent’s armored dress for just an instant and kicked him to the side.
<The Jagdhund flies through the air and flips face up.>
It’s kind of scary how much my predictions match what happens.
He probably fell to the ground with a loud crash. That’s something you can’t let happen with a machine like a Heavy Barrel. Some parts will break from its own weight and you can’t get out since the Study is located on its back.
But if you’re a Knight Striker, then get up on your own. Surely that didn’t knock you out.
Right? Don’t you think, audience?
<Cheers rise from the stands.>
Okay, okay. That’s what I’m talking about. Is it because I defeated an Allemande soldier that everyone’s so excited?
Yeah. I’ll write that I took a breath and found that the surrounding scene put me in a good mood.
Both heaven and earth filled my vision at once. This is the real purpose for Write Bringing into a Heavy Barrel.
Now, time to end the Write Bring.
March 20, 1944
Heinz Berger’s Journal
Today at 19:02, I arrived in Paris.
At 20:15, I visited the German army’s Paris branch. I received the paperwork for my Panzer unit training duty that was prepared along with the notification of my arrival.
At 21:23, I visited the Panzer unit training ground in the Chantelle region on the outskirts of Paris. It was very quiet as there was no night training being held, but I did see a Mittel Panzer undergoing repairs in the hangar.
The workers told me a soldier had joined in some Kavalier training at Sorbonne University and lost after having his Panzer tripped. I have decided this is worth considering for the training beginning tomorrow.
I also saw an officer assisting the workers in the hangar. Upon inquiry, he informed me his name is Phillip Missel. He wore an earring bearing a sword emblem. I left after confirming that he is related to Jean Missel, the former Chevalier de Paris who earned much fame during the previous Great War.
At 22:05, I returned to the barracks.
Starting tomorrow, I will take part in training three times a week and spend the rest of my time investigating the Attesor Project.
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