HEAVY OBJECT:Volume7 Chapter 3
Chapter 3: Police are a Means of Stopping War >> Liberation Battle in Oceania
“The military scandal shows no sign of ending. The council has made the rare decision to treat the plan to use an Object for a military assassination as attempted murder. The brigadier general thought to be the primary individual behind the plan has been called back from Oceania for…”
The princess sat on a metal staircase of a building near the Object maintenance area. She may have been bored because she was staring blankly at a 1seg TV program on her handheld device. The maintenance base zone was made up of over one hundred large vehicles and their tires measured over two meters in diameter. Stairs were needed simply to enter them.
In the dry desert, merely stepping into the shade felt much cooler. The princess had the front of her special suit open so the wind could reach her skin. As someone who spent long periods of time in an air-conditioned cockpit, her upper limit for heat appeared to be rather low.
A short distance away, the two idiots were using shovels to dig everywhere they could in the hot sand.
“Quenser, you idiot! You don’t remember where you buried them, do you!?”
“I marked it last night! I secretly stuck a stick into the ground.”
“When Myonri dug there, she found a ton of dead cicadas and almost passed out! Damn… What is going on? Where did we dig the canned foods and packaged foods leftover from the victory party!? I thought we were going to be freed from those eraser-like rations for a while!!”
“Hurry, hurry! This maintenance base is mobile, remember? If the entire unit decides to move, we’ll lose all those cans! There was beef stew in there. If we lose that, it’ll traumatize me!!”
“What are those two doing?”
An old woman stuck her head out of the Object maintenance area and spoke to the princess.
The princess looked up from the screen and toward the old woman.
“It looks like a treasure hunt.”
“You aren’t going to join them?”
“I’m not in the mood for food. And I just finished building a cicada grave.”
The old maintenance woman did not quite understand, so she decided to ask them directly.
“Hey, slacking student.”
“Eeee!! One of the lecturers has locked onto us!”
“As long as she doesn’t tell that huge-breasted commander, we’re fine! Seduce her or something to bring her onto our side!! I’ll go dig over there!!”
“No fair! Don’t run off on your own!!”
“What are you doing out here?”
The old woman’s words seemed to nail Quenser to the ground.
She was asking what he was doing “out here” because he was not in the Object maintenance area.
He slowly and stiffly turned toward her.
“W-would two cans of lunchmeat be enough for us to come to an understanding? Or maybe peaches or pineapple!?”
“I’m not asking about that. Have you forgotten why you came out to the battlefield in the first place? I thought it was to spend as much time observing the Object as possible so you could learn as much as possible.”
“Are you seriously saying that?” Quenser sounded surprised as he continued digging around randomly. “They’re repainting the Object in there. They’re using tons of organic solvent in a closed space and I didn’t dodge bullets to end up high on paint thinner.”
“It is true painting an Object does not use any specialized technology. I admit that.”
“It’s the same as a normal warship. The Object’s onion armor is made from special metal plates that have high-heat resistant and reactive elements mixed in like a katana, but that also means the armor will rust when exposed to the elements. We can’t have the pride of our nation rusting, so they’re careful to use techniques of keeping it from rusting, right? They’re not mixing in ferrite to give it high-level stealth ability and they’re not using camouflage patterns based on psychology and research into human cognizance to hide it from the human brain. There’s nothing in it for a student like me.”
Those sorts of techniques had been used for the fighters and tanks of the previous age.
This had been due to the high risk of being shot down or destroyed. But that effort was unnecessary with the colossal Objects which could withstand a direct hit from a nuclear weapon.
Also, it would be exceedingly difficult to hide a 50+ meter armored weapon from radar or the naked eye.
“The technical issues are a factor, but the paint job has more to do with the desires of the higher ups in the military and government.”
“They don’t want their hero sneaking around?”
“When sending an obviously overpowered weapon into battle, they need a tricky argument to silence the pacifists. That’s why they like the symbolism of a hero that defeats an abominable enemy in a fair fight. The Objects brought an end to the nuclear age by force, so they want to maintain the freshness of that impression for as long as possible. Letting it fade into history would be a waste.”
“I suppose they need a simple commercial to gain the massive military budget they need for them. That’s why they want the Objects to always be polished up bright like an exhibit at a motor show. They even have a lovely pilot Elite by its side to play the role of the companion girl. …But none of that is a job for the designer I want to be. Get a PR guy for that.”
“Let me touch the more…well…sensitive parts at the core. Like the JPlevelMHD reactor or the targeting sensor control system.”
“Don’t be silly. You aren’t touching those. Before you even think about it, you need to pass at least fifteen international exams.”
As the princess sat on the metal staircase and stared blankly up into the blue sky, she called out to Quenser.
“??? What is it?”
“Did something happen with that Information Alliance Elite? She said something I didn’t like about what she was going to do with you.”
“Um, that could apply to a lot of Elites. Which one are we talking about?”
“…There are a lot of them?”
The princess’s expression made it clear he had stirred up unnecessary trouble.
Quenser, however, did not understand what she had been trying to ask.
“Anyway, princess, I hope you haven’t forgotten about the karaoke!! During the battle with the Simple Is Best and the Hornet Storm, you had the nerve to say idols were worthless because anyone can sing!!”
“Uuh… I-I remember.”
“Good. These days, you can run a karaoke place anywhere using internet download services. There are even some here in Oceania. During our next day off, I demand to see if you have the skills to back up your bragging!!”
The old maintenance women let out a quiet sigh.
This arrangement was actually almost exactly what the princess had expected to happen and wanted to happen, but she did not seem to know what to do now that things were going more smoothly than expected.
It was an example of a plan coming back to bite her.
The two youths compared their schedules to set up a date and Quenser suddenly spoke up once they had finished.
In that instant, he became a true idiotic designer.
“Oh, right. I need to ask you too, princess. The reactor may be too dangerous, but can I check out the targeting sensor control system or somewhere else that will help me study Object design?”
“Do you not trust me at all?”
“It’s not an issue of your skill,” said the old woman in exasperation. “There are different types of people who work with Object design. There are those who build up virtual models based on theory, there are the academic types that materialize and realize those models, there are the inventor types who have a single idea and go beyond their primary field to gather everything they need to realize it, and there are the craftsmen who use their experience and the unexplainable instincts in their fingertips to produce results greater than precision manufacturing equipment. The targeting sensor control system you’re talking about is a black box that complexly combines all of those together. Not even the princess or I will touch it without reason.”
“So you entrust your life to something no one touches?”
“That is not what she meant,” said the princess. “It is maintained in sessions including more than fifty people. You can think of it like exchanging our opinions to find the right flavor for a cocktail we do not know the recipe to. Bringing in someone who doesn’t know the flavor would distort our opinions and raise the likelihood of the final drink not matching the perfect flavor.”
“An Object has over one hundred cannons, both big and small.,” continued the old woman. “Each of those has multiple sensors and the entire Object has its primary radars and sensors. Coordinating all of those is beyond human ability. Most of it is handled by computers, but there are some situations where that doesn’t cut it. Do you know what I’m talking about?”
“That’s right. Those move at the speed of light, so they can’t be avoided after seeing them fired. What matters is predicting the attack by observing the minute movements of the enemy’s cannons and sensor lenses. You can’t leave that to a computer both when attacking and when defending.”
In a battle between Objects, one could not simply continue to evade. One had to attack and hit.
If an enemy would predict the attack before it was fired, one had to predict where they would evade to and fire there instead.
“Ultimately, the whole system only works when you combine the precise sensors, the high-spec computers, and the fearful fingertips of a human. It seems the Information Alliance is researching completely automated targeting algorithms, but they have a long way to go towards making it practical. Then again, they’re more skilled than anyone when it comes to using information, so who knows how much we can trust what our intelligence division has gathered on them.”
“I won’t lose to something like that.”
This seemed to have worked up an odd sense of competition in the princess because she pouted her lips and took a sip from her drink’s straw.
Quenser then heard an electronic tone from the small radio in his uniform.
When he pulled it out and brought it to his mouth, Froleytia’s voice spoke to him.
“Study time is over for the moment, Quenser. Head over to the briefing room with the others. A pre-mission briefing is about to begin.”
“What do we have to do now?”
“That’s what I will explain to you. But it’s a simple mission. I’m not asking you to make a charge at a cutting-edge Object or anything.”
“I beg you to never ask me to do that!! I haven’t been doing it because I want to!!”
“Toward the end of the incident with the Simple Is Best and the Hornet Storm, a large underground structure was discovered when the ground collapsed. That was from your report, Quenser.”
“Today, you will be investigating the abandoned facility. This is simple post-battle cleanup. I suppose the police would call it a crime scene inspection. I honestly doubt it has anything to do with the war, but we have to control everything in the vicinity of the battle. I will be the one writing the annoying report to the higher ups, so you all can help me out a little.”
“So no other military is involved this time? There aren’t going to be any firefights?”
“That’s right. Unless you’ve heard reports of the Capitalist Corporations or the Information Alliance living in holes.”
“Wait. Wait just a minute. Are you saying you want us to carefully check over this place, but nothing – nothing at all – is going to happen? We just have to drive across the desert as if having a picnic, snap a few photos of these strange ruins, and that’s it? You promise?”
“And surprisingly, you actually get paid. With the people’s tax money, no less.”
“Woo hoo!! Oh, god! I can’t wait!! Please fill my team with a ton of female soldiers! This is perfect for Operation North Wind and the Sun. Partway through, our tension is sure to drop and then they’ll strip down to their thin inner clothing!! Hooray! Hooray!!”
“Yes, yes. I get it. You will be in your usual filthy guy team with Heivia. Have fun in your sweaty world of little clothing.”
“Hah hah hah. If you really do that, I’m starting a coup.”
“Hah hah hah!! Do you really think I’m the type to joke about this?”
The transmission ended with a click.
Since Froleytia said it, there was no doubting that he would end up surrounded by men. However, Quenser was not about to give up. He still had hope.
“On a boring investigation, the investigation team, guard team, and transport team will all move as one big group. Even if my team looks like a boys’ school, there’s still a chance of cute young girls in the other teams!! I haven’t lost yet!!”
“Sigh. Are you sure it will turn out that well?” asked the old woman.
“I am!! After all, the end of February is getting towards the end of the fiscal year!! The top levels of the military need to use up their extra budget or the defense budget will be lowered next year. Sending out tons of unnecessary soldiers for a boring mission could easily happen now!!”
“Why are you only this good at calculations at times like this?”
That was of course because this topic was the most compatible with the pink brain cells of adolescence.
At any rate, Quenser raised his hands in an expression of joy.
“Fwa ha ha ha ha ha!! I won’t let our commander win this time! The amount of girls in skimpy, wet, and see-through clothes would surprise a soft drink commercial! Paradise awaits me!!”