HEAVY OBJECT:Volume5 Epilogue
Due to Mariydi Whitewitch’s heroic decision and the many lives she saved as a result, her gold medal would be hers for all eternity.
Some voiced the opinion that her medal should be stripped off her, but the above-mentioned decision was the final answer given and her results in the women’s shootathlon could be summed up in the following words.
“She did an excellent job,” muttered Alicia Sloppyjoes as she stood along of one of the pedestrian pathways across the seven bridges of the Bifröst Arch.
She held a pile of documents in one hand that contained all of the official records for the Technopics.
After Mariydi Whitewitch stopped its destruction, the competition continued amidst all the enthusiasm and profit. Digital values and results continued to be made.
Alicia spoke into the cell phone she held in the other hand.
“This has brought the publicity for the sponsor’s new rifle above the set value. Whatever the fate of Mariydi Whitewitch may have been, it did not bring any losses to us. In fact, we can even assume the beautiful story added to the gold medal brought about even more publicity than the original contract specified.”
Alicia was speaking with someone from the advertising firm she worked for.
They had expressed some concerns, but Alicia stood as tall as ever.
“It is true she took a few actions that are in violation of international law even if she only did so to resolve the situation. Using a captured Harpuiai to perform unauthorized military actions was especially bad. …But that should not negatively affect the view of the new rifle. In fact, if Whitewitch is now taken down as the official athlete used to advertise the rifle, the people could easily interpret it as the sponsor trying to eliminate the athlete who fought to save so many lives. That would do more damage than anything else.”
The person on the other end of the call seemed to think it over, but ultimately gave in.
Leaving the details to the main company, Alicia said, “So that is how we will deal with this. If we can keep these excellent results talked about, we can draw in new sponsors.”
Alicia then ended the call and looked out across the waterway beyond Bifröst Arch’s handrail.
Standing as tall as ever and as expressionless as ever, she said, “And now I must say farewell to you as well, Mariydi Whitewitch.”
Stacy Palmetto the pharmacist was gathering her luggage in her hotel room.
However, her luggage included things like a giant industrial refrigerator. For her, “gathering” her luggage meant attaching numbered stickers to every piece of luggage so that workers could package it all up and carry it out.
“In the end,” she said into the cell phone she held between her cheek and shoulder while attaching the numbered stickers. “This was a failure. A complete failure. Was the problem that little Mariydi came from a military background? I modified the doping so it would be pretty safe, but she still didn’t want anything to do with it. Yes…that’s right. That’s exactly what I mean. Maybe I should choose a pure athlete next time. One that doesn’t try to avoid me like that.”
She was speaking with a contact from her parent company Drug Store Holdings. Pharmacists specializing in strengthening athletes for international events could only have so many clients. Businesses with small numbers of large contracts had very harsh ups and downs when done on one’s own. It was more financially stable to register as a division of a general drug store company.
In other words, Stacy had strategically allowed herself to be absorbed by the large company.
“Hmm. Maybe next time I should advertise myself as someone who strengthens the mind along with the body by providing mental care for the athlete as well. If I do that, I can add any little chat we have onto the bill afterwards. Eh? That would put me in competition with the counselors and stress businesses from other groups? What does that matter? I just have to beat down any rivals.”
After attaching all the numbered stickers and making sure she had not missed anything, Stacy snapped her fingers. As soon as she did, the door opened and men wearing work uniforms noisily stomped into the room.
“Take care of it all like usual,” said Stacy as she grabbed her usual bag and left the hotel room. As she walked down the hallway, she continued the cell phone conversation. “No, wait. Don’t leave me alone. Before long I’ll be off to help…what was it again? Some basketball team, right? There really isn’t any time between one contract ending and another beginning, is there? I don’t like having to renew my relationships like this. I like having some random person to talk to so I can trick my feelings. Especially given the circumstances this time.”
Stacy pressed the elevator button and waited for the light to reach her floor.
The door opened with a soft electronic tone and she muttered, “Well, this is goodbye, Mariydi.”
Lucas Westernrose, the director from Catwalk TV, headed to Olympia Dome’s sole international airport accompanied by cameramen carrying large cameras. They had a single reason for heading there. They were going to film the famous athletes who had gathered there to return home.
“Hello? Yes, yes, after the results these athletes have won, I doubt they will still have any issues with being filmed, yes. In fact, the main problem will be, yes, having our position taken by other stations, yes,” he said within their vehicle. “Yes, yes, our competition will be trying to get rid of as many of our cameramen as possible to ensure the prime spots for themselves. The easiest method to prevent filming is to destroy the camera, yes. Make sure to follow your target of course, yes, yes, but also make sure you do not drop your camera if someone tackles you from behind, yes.”
“Mr. Westernrose,” said one of the cameramen with a grin. “If that’s the standard, that means we can do the same to them, right?”
“…Yes, yes, as long as no one notices, yes, and it is done naturally.”
Lucas Westernrose gave his calm approval.
They fought in a world where people were armed with cameras rather than guns. They had no reason to go easy on their competition while in their own field.
“Hello? Let us go over this again. We will be targeting the entrance to the airport terminal, yes, the fifth moving walkway, yes, and the immigration control gate. Yes, yes, stay in constant contact and make sure to film each of the athletes on the list for more than 30 seconds at some point or another. Yes, make sure not to miss any of them, yes.”
As members of the Information Alliance, they were always greedy for fresh information. As all the new data was produced, older information would be covered over in no time at all and would begin to fade away. There were factions that worked to ensure such information would not fade away, but Lucas and the cameramen gave no thought to such issues as they constantly worked to release new information. It could be seen as the difference between eating fresh grapes right away or letting them age so they could be drunk as wine. It was only a matter of taste; neither side was good or evil.
The stage at which he had pursued Mariydi Whitewitch was over. And he had already put everything in order so he could truly view it as over.
One of the cameramen smiled and said, “We didn’t actually get much we can air, but it was a great job for having stories to tell.”
“The best jobs are those you can view as a hobby, yes, yes. But a fair amount of money is needed for that type of job. Yes, yes, so we must also do less interesting jobs, yes, to prepare an environment where we can do what we want, yes.”
The vehicle stopped.
Lucas Westernrose opened the door and stepped out into the international airport.
“Hello? I am reluctant to say it, yes, but it is over now. Goodbye, Miss Whitewitch.”
The bodyguard arrived at a storehouse on the outer portion of Olympia Dome.
It was not actually part of their job, but he and his men were inspecting the site. They were working with a team from Olympia Dome to check the number and type of weapons in the storehouses so that specific values could be put in the annoying paperwork.
But it was obvious the bodyguard was not very motivated since this was not actually part of his job. He held a cell phone in one hand.
“Yes, that’s right. Can you just stop with the requests for a written explanation? I understand. My job was to protect Mariydi Whitewitch. And we all know how that turned out. I do understand, so just stop. I will prepare the proper paperwork. Just let me finish the work I get to actually move around with first.”
The bodyguard looked over at his men who were using specialized machinery to gather fingerprints and dust.
“What? Why don’t I pass the blame to Whitewitch since she was the one that took action on her own? No, I can’t do that. I just can’t. She is seen as a hero who saved millions of lives on Olympia Dome. It may only be a few weeks before the gratitude wears off and people forget about her, but the timing still works against me. I would take less damage if I just submitted my written explanation like normal.”
After finishing the investigation of the building, they began carrying out the weapons being used as evidence. There were small items like machineguns and explosives, but also large items like armored vehicles, helicopters, and even a fighter.
A Harpuiai fighter.
It was the same model as the one Mariydi Whitewitch had flown. But it went further than that.
It was the exact fighter she had flown.
“You certainly have some luck,” muttered the bodyguard. And then he gave a slight smile. “But that managed to just barely keep us from getting fired.”
Mariydi Whitewitch held the medal she had won in one hand inside a room in the Technopic Village resort hotel. She held the ribbon that would hang from her neck between her fingers and brought the pure gold medal up to her face.
“And there were rumors I was the ace pilot least likely to earn any medals.”
With that casual comment, she tossed the medal into her open suitcase. To Mariydi, an honor given to her by someone else was worth nothing more than that. It was those from the Legitimacy Kingdom who were most desperate to win that kind of honor, but she doubted she could ever come to a compromise with those haughty nobles.
Mariydi placed all her belongings spread throughout the hotel room into her suitcase and thought back to what had happened.
Mariydi had taken action to stop the weaponized laser fired by the Ocean Substation, but she had of course never even considered flying her own fighter into the expected path of the laser.
She had fired every single one of her air-to-air missiles and detonated them along the expected path of the laser.
That had created a massive amount of heat as well as metal fragments of the missile.
The temperature change and metal fragments had slightly bent the laser, preventing it from hitting the Adisshmi.
Due to the great distance between the firing point and the target, even the slightest error could throw the laser off target, but she had not known if it would work. If the temperature and humidity of that area had been slightly different, the result may have been different.
But Mariydi had won her bet.
And so she had been able to return alive with somewhere to return to.
“I guess that’s everything.”
With all of her belongings inside the suitcase, she locked it with various methods. Pieces of the tag attached at the airport still remained, but she was already headed back to the airport to get on another airplane.
She was returning to the Northern European Restricted Zone.
She would once more be participating in those long-drawn out wars as the ace pilot of a PMC air force.
The room now lacked any sense of livelihood like it was a model room. That emptiness combined with the slight smell of life remaining gave her a sense of loneliness. However, her working environment would not allow her to extend her stay here. In fact, she had completely forgotten about the idea of paid vacation. She had no idea how much time she had stocked up.
Mariydi rolled the suitcase toward the room’s exit.
As she did, her cell phone vibrated slightly.
She stopped to check and found an advertisement email from a health device company. Mariydi deleted it without reading it, but her fingertips stopped suddenly right afterwards.
A few new names had been added to her address book.
They belonged to the people she had met at Olympia Dome.
“I didn’t think this was a productive job, but I suppose I did gain something.”
Mariydi gave a thin smile as she put away her phone.
She seemed to be saying those names were more valuable than the pure gold medal.
And she finally opened and closed the hotel room door.