Owari no Chronicle:Volume8 Chapter 11
Chapter 11: Complicated Power
It becomes such a jumbled mess because it is all gathered together
As fragments, it would simply scatter
The development department on UCAT HQ’s second basement was filled with confusion.
The fact that it was on one of the higher basements was a problem.
“Keep in mind that this is the most important place! Carry down the PCs and all the other physical equipment!”
A woman in a lab coat commanded the others while tapping a meter stick on the wall. The nametag on her chest said Tsukuyomi Shizuru.
She stood in the white corridor in front of the development department. It led to the storerooms and the armory and the walls had opened to reveal the transport rails.
“If we use the armory transport elevators, we can send all the equipment to the fifth basement.”
She glanced over at the elevator console on the wall. It controlled all four large elevators in the armory and the BF5 light was on for the first time she had ever seen.
“But I’m amazed the higher ups removed the limiter on that top secret area.”
A man carrying a bundle of designs walked up and she turned toward him.
“Kashima, throw those on the next pallet. We’re using it for paper.”
“No, these have a divine protection of metal on them, so they’ll be fine with the swords. We don’t want them burning, after all. More importantly, what will we be doing now?”
“Have you seen the map of the fifth basement?”
“I have. It covered the basement itself and the ventilation space that acts like an attic.”
“And if we hack into the communication line from that attic, we can get through even if they jam us.”
“Yes,” agreed Kashima. “I’ll be able to call Natsu-san and tell her I can’t make it home today.”
“And I’m sure she’ll bravely tell me an extra wonderful dinner will be waiting for me the next day! Ahh, I want to let those damn Americans hear what they’re doing!”
“I see you keep going even when people fall silent now.”
“What are you talking about? This is valuable evidence of my happiness. I’m sure your husband used to say this kind of thing while writhing around. The two of you must have been so happy.”
Tsukuyomi recalled the past. Miyako had been young and her husband had still been with her. She then imagined that husband holding a family photo at work while crawling on the floor or wriggling around in the corridor.
“That’s just creepy.”
“I see. Let me take this chance to tell you something important: there is something wrong with you.”
“There’s something wrong with you in the opposite direction, so go check in a mirror. And can’t you carry some more things out while you talk? Like Atsuta’s stuff?”
“His computer probably has nothing but weird songs on it. American UCAT would probably think it’s the mantra of some weird cult, so do you think we could distract them with it?”
Meanwhile, another figure walked down the corridor.
It was an automaton. The black-haired automaton wore a white work apron and bowed once she noticed Tsukuyomi.
“Yes, sir. This floor will soon be purged and hidden. Anyone who has completed their preparations should take the elevator down. The third and fourth basements are already in the queue, so please hurry.”
Her instructions were followed by a small sound.
The sound of tearing paper came from the top and bottom of the walls forming the development department room.
Immediately afterwards, a shaking filled the corridor.
The empty room was removed from the corridor. It and the production rooms connected to it moved away like a ship being rowed out to sea or a car trembling as it began to drive.
Tsukuyomi looked in the gap, but she sensed nothing there.
There was no light or darkness. She could tell nothing beyond that there was nothing there. The development room drifted out on that unknowable ocean as if the unknowable gap were spreading.
The automaton let out a breath much like a sigh.
“After being purged, the areas with primary concept expansion floors will have the normal floor fixed in place and the concept expansion floor hidden. That means the development room will no longer exist in this world.”
“I see. So you hide the floor on such a fundamental level that no information can be restored from residual thoughts or records.”
“Yes, sir. Even if they attempt to restore the floor, the automaton in charge of the purge would be needed to accurately reconnect the severed parent string vibration. All that will remain are the harmless areas such as the cafeteria, the library, and the training rooms as well as the new headquarters as bait.”
“The new headquarters? Is everyone still managing the purge from there?”
“Yes, sir. But the development room was the last major area to be purged, so their work is finished and they will be rewriting everything to normal floors. Please hurry down. Otherwise you will be trapped on a purged floor that may or may not ever be recovered.”
The last of the equipment was being loaded on a pallet situated on the transport rails in the corridor wall. The members of the development department were competing to see just how much of their personal items they could fit on the tatami mat sized pallet.
…This is a war.
She turned to the development room with a bitter smile and noticed a new wall had appeared there. That was how the corridor was meant to look. The concept space development department had been overwritten with the real version. The wall was somewhat transparent and she could see their room drifting away on the other side.
Kashima called for her from down the corridor. The transport pallet had been sent off at low speed and he turned back among the group following it.
“I’ll be right there!”
She began jogging and brought a hand to her hips hoping they would be fine, but then she turned around. The automaton remained in front of the vanishing development room.
Just as she was going to tell the automaton to follow, the automaton bowed.
“I will be waiting for you to retrieve this space.”
She leaped into the room that was drifting away. She jumped over the unknowable gap that had grown to a few meters and she landed in the entrance of that empty room.
“Yes, sir. I have determined there is no need to worry, Director Tsukuyomi. To retrieve the purged floor falling into the enclosed space, the automaton who severed the parent string vibration must reconnect it, but the process will be more stable if there is a voice calling from the purged floor.”
As she spoke, she turned toward Tsukuyomi from the open door of the room.
“A few of the automatons – including me – have difficulty fighting. We specialize in housework, cleaning, or otherwise preserving a room, so I have determined this is the perfect job for us.”
“A doll is meant to be stored in a box, but they are also meant to be taken out once more by human hands. Also, I have heard that the Coppélia recreation rate rises if people wish for it. Of course, it was not until later that I learned what Coppélia meant, but that is why we will be waiting for those human hands. That is what I have determined in order to further affirm my decision.”
Tsukuyomi listened to her and briefly lowered her gaze.
When she looked up once more, there was strength in her eyes and a smile on the corners of her mouth. She decided to emulate the phrase the automaton had been repeating.
“So should I say ‘yes, sir’?”
“And should I reply with ‘Testament’?”
A distortion filled the automaton’s voice and her body seemed to grow fuzzy.
She was falling into the unknowable space and yet she still bowed.
Tsukuyomi could not hear her parting words and she grew too blurry to see.
The next thing Tsukuyomi knew, nothing but a wall lay before her.
“Hurry up, Director Tsukuyomi! Did you hurt your back again!?”
Tsukuyomi pulled a pen from her pocket and threw it at Kashima who was poking his head out from the armory entrance.
On the surface, the battle on the runway was beginning to move in a certain direction.
The mechanical dragons facing Abram and Sibyl had fallen back a bit to draw their two enemies away from Japanese UCAT’s main force.
Something then charged into the slight gap that created.
“Another transport plane!?”
A dark green four-engine transport plane slipped onto the runway and formed a barrier. The Japanese UCAT members watched as Humvees and soldiers in blue armored uniforms left the back hatch.
“Outta the way, damn you! I wanted to see Sibyl-san fight, so why do I have to see these filthy men!?”
The men in white armored uniforms were sent flying by the bullets that answered their anger.
Their spatial barriers formed from defense concepts weakened the bullets somewhat, but…
“We’ll die if they hit the joints! Especially the back of the neck! Everyone, make sure to tighten your collar!”
Everyone obeyed the voice of their commander and moved forward. The ones holding meter-tall shields moved to the front and the ones with submachine guns followed while crouched down.
“Damn,” muttered a young soldier.
The sounds of gunfire, the distant voices of the mechanical dragons, and the unending roar from the transport plane’s engines filled the background.
“Are we really not allowed to use real bullets!?”
He held a shield and his commander covered him from behind and answered his question.
“This is not a clear battle against ‘hostile forces’ like 1st or 3rd were. We’re supposed to be settling things with the people holding onto a past grudge, but this is another UCAT.”
“Then is this what’s going on!? Once things settle down here and everyone cools their heads, they’ll meet on the political front and tell the Americans we were only having a mock battle while they used real bullets!? They’ll say America was at fault and so they need to back off? Are we just pawns in that plan!?”
A middle-aged man firing a sniper rifle next to the complaining man was blown backwards.
He looked over and saw a bullet had made its way into the joint of the armor on the right shoulder.
As the man tried to get up, the younger soldier tried to stop him.
“Stay still! You need medical help!”
“I can handle that on my own. More importantly, hand over your gun. If you’re going to complain instead of shoot, I’ll shoot with my left arm.”
He got up, seemed to ignore his unmoving right arm, and used his left hand to open the first aid pack at his waist.
The younger man tried to help, but he stopped him.
“You’re only talking about the political side. It’s true we’re nothing but pawns on that front, but there’s something we can accomplish here. Look behind you.”
The younger man looked back and saw Japanese UCAT headquarters disguised as a transport control building.
“Not a single member of American UCAT has made it in there. That’s the present issue. If we let even one person through, it means we weren’t able to complete our job. But if we hold this runway until the evacuation is complete, we can turn to those on the political front and tell them it’s their turn to do their job.”
He pressed an emergency pouch on his right shoulder and held out his left hand without even wiping off the blood.
“Give me your ammo and then fall back. If I can protect your retreat, I’ll have accomplished something only I could do.”
A bullet shot past to the side and produced a metallic sound from the commander’s shield. The younger solider listened to it with his back to the older man.
He silently closed his eyes and passed his submachine gun to the middle-aged man.
The man nodded and used his chin to point toward the disguised transport control building.
However, his expression quickly changed to a frown.
He spoke up because of what the younger man had done.
After handing over his submachine gun, he had shrugged, crouched down, and picked up the rifle the other man had dropped. After picking up the bolt-action sniper rifle, he sighed.
“You can’t aim right now, so just spray bullets around with that. I’ll use this since you can’t.”
“Take good care of it. My gun has the name of a goddess carved into it.”
“Mine has a 2nd name on it too.”
The young soldier lowered his hips, pressed the stock against his shoulder, and aimed.
However, he heard a metallic sound before he could fire.
It was thrown down from the sky as if falling and it was loud.
The commander standing before him was slammed to the asphalt.
“What was that?” gulped someone in the back and a certain figure appeared.
A slender old man in a gray suit stood about ten meters away and his blue eyes were turned their way.
“There. I just have to get through there and we’ll have a path to the building behind you.”
His words were followed by the young soldier, the middle-aged soldier, and all the soldiers behind them simultaneously pulling the triggers. The mock bullets with “mock” written on the front flew toward their enemy while receiving the concept protection of 1st-Gear.
However, a snap of his fingers stopped it all.
A splendid metallic noise filled the air between the two sides and a straight line was gouged into the ground.
The bullets were all slammed to the ground and the elderly man’s right hand shot up once more.
“It’s no use. It’s no use, Japanese UCAT. Your false evil cannot stop justice.”
His words were followed by the young soldier with the rifle forcefully rising to his feet.
“False evil and justice are meaningless on the battlefield!”
He stood up and pulled the trigger just as the elderly man snapped his fingers.
And he did so twice.
The same metallic noise filled the air twice.
The first crushed the flying bullets and the second came from directly over the young soldier’s head.
A form flew through the air.
It looked both black and white as it leaped while backed by the sky that was filling with purple darkness.
The form used their left arm to block the metallic noise that had appeared over the young soldier’s head.
The left arm fell from the shoulder and crashed to the ground, but the flying figure was otherwise unaffected. They rotated around once, their skirt filled with air, and they landed on the ground.
The figure was wearing black and white clothes. They were Japanese UCAT’s combat maid uniform and combat apron. Above those two garments was short red hair.
“Welcome to Japanese UCAT, American UCAT Inspector Odor-sama. I am #8 and I am acting as the automaton representative of Japanese UCAT.”
She bowed and turned toward the young soldier and the others behind him.
“The evacuation is complete. Please continue after them. We will cover for you.”
With that, her expression changed to a smile. Her eyes bent shallowly and her red hair blew in the wind.
“As you have completed your mission, we would like to receive you as guests.”
That was followed by more motion.
Maids burst from the entrance to the headquarters while holding heavy machineguns, shields, and various blades. They formed a final line of defense in front of the building.
“We betrayed 3rd-Gear, defected to Low-Gear, and rested beneath Kanda, so we were unable to take part in the Leviathan Road with 3rd-Gear. This is only the equipment the development department was unable to transport down, but we will use it against American UCAT.”
As #8 spoke, her arm rose up from the ground.
It drifted a bit, but it soon flew toward her left shoulder and reconnected with a sound of scraping metal.
Meanwhile, small objects spilled from below her skirt and apron: screws, springs, small metal panels, and plastic panels.
She used precise gravitational control to combine them.
“They are nothing but simple handguns, but there are thirty-two of them.”
They all floated around her as she faced Odor. With the final crimson light of the setting sun in the sky behind her, bullets loaded into all thirty-two of her weapons. With the sound reverberating around her, the red-haired automaton opened her mouth, lowered her waist, and curtsied.
“Now, then. Let the service begin.”
With that, she ran forward.
Her gravitational control and limb output were set to “hard” and she moved her body as she wished.
This gave her a running speed of a few dozen kilometers per hour and a jumping distance of almost ten meters.
…Although the excessive heat production reduces the time I can remain active.
She was a reception model, not a combat one.
Her combat knowledge came from the shared memories of the automatons that had remained on 3rd-Gear’s side. It specifically came from their memories fighting Team Leviathan.
At the time, the automatons on the battlefield had set their movement ability at only a bit above that of a human. That had not pushed their heat production too high and thus allowed them to continue fighting.
But the situation was different now. The opponent was different, the goal was different, and the time available was different.
…And I can use everyone’s experiences for a greater result.
She leaped in order to draw American UCAT’s attention, to jump over them, and to get closer to Odor who was luring her deeper into their battlefield.
She landed on the asphalt and immediately began running. The enemies that had visually followed her began approaching and firing on her.
But she did not mind. This movement pattern had been included in the memories of the thirty-odd automatons she had copied over.
While running, she spread her fingers and swung her hand toward the small approaching unit.
Gunfire rang out as flames burst from the thirty-two barrels behind her that were each tracking a different enemy.
The black handguns moved like bees as they freely flew through the air, charged into the enemy ranks, and began firing from every angle including from above.
Rather than targeting the joints of their mechanized armored uniforms, the flying guns targeted the protruding points. Handguns had poor penetrating ability, so she gave the bullets the power of a broad surface. This was even more an issue with flat-tipped mock bullets.
No matter what kind of armor someone wore, if their raised fingertip was accurately fired on, the impact would knock back their hand. A hit to the jaw would act as an uppercut and a direct hit to the edge of the armor’s exterior would have the same effect as a powerful shove to that spot.
However, most such places were at the ends of body parts that moved around the most and a direct hit required high-speed decision-making and accurate firing.
#8’s abilities as a machine achieved that.
The small unit she charged into was struck all over by pinpoint impacts.
One tripped after a shot delivered a horizontal strike to the acceleration actuator on his lower leg, one was knocked into the air by a shot fired into the chin of his helmet guard from below, another was sent into a spin by repeated shots from the right into his backpack and was tripped by a shot from the left to the kneecap of the leg he was spinning on, and yet another accidentally fired on his fellow soldiers after a shot struck the barrel of his machinegun from the side.
It was all done with the weakest firearms known as handguns, with the weakest bullets known as mock bullets, and by the weakest creation known as a reception automaton.
All that remained was the reverberation of gunfire, the handguns flying through the darkening sky as if they had wings, and #8 who ran ahead of them.
Her eyes were on Odor who took a step back and she ran toward him.
The sky above was changing from purple to dark blue and it was primarily filled with metallic sounds, mechanical dragon footsteps, and the roaring of transport plane engines.
That was proof that the Japanese UCAT members were retreating.
However, there was still something requiring her attention.
American UCAT’s inspector had the ability to crush an opponent from above when he snapped his fingers.
A simple observation suggested it was a strike from a gravity concept, but she did not fully understand its identity and traits. When leaping in to protect the others, she had received the attack with her left arm, but some aspects of it were still uncertain.
If she did not clarify its details, putting together a countermeasure in the future would prove difficult.
She could tell it was a gravity attack rather than a simple impact because its targets did not bounce.
Also, the power flew from his fingertips to the sky where it could be said to “hit” and it was launched diagonally down from there. If another object got in the way, it would strike the obstruction instead.
It was a fast and surefire attack. Japanese UCAT possessed defensive concepts, but this attack crushed the concept along with its target. Its maximum range seemed to be approximately three hundred meters and there was no sign of a limitation on how many times it could be used.
…I have determined that power is unmatched for middle or close range.
However, Odor would quickly use the power to defend against a sniper shot or any other long-range attack.
…Does he have a concept for attacking and for sensing?
#8 spread her arms and lowered down as she approached Odor.
They were approximately thirty meters apart.
A blue mechanical dragon was located about one hundred meters behind him and its pointed snout knocked something into the air.
It was a white god of war.
The god of war’s arms and torso were broken, but Sibyl was nowhere near it.
Five pillars of smoke rose into the sky beyond the barrier formed by a transport plane and #8 determined those were ones that had been shot down by Sibyl and Abram.
Abram was not visible on the runway either and #8 understood that this was her battlefield.
“The guests have already been brought inside, so the only remaining job is cleaning the front walk they used.”
She was only twenty meters from Odor now.
She brought her right shoulder forward and held out her right hand as if to perform a jab.
At the same time, the black handguns in the air moved as if flapping their nonexistent wings.
In place of a flapping sound, the sound of loading bullets rang out and the guns flew forward in four groups of eight.
They approached within five meters of Odor.
One group flew in a horizontal circle, one flew in a circle tilted a little to the west, one flew in a circle tilted a little to the east, and the last revolved in a greatly tilted circle that surrounded all the others.
A model of heavenly bodies was formed from metal guns.
They all rotated while altering their speed in an attempt to throw off Odor’s interception as much as possible.
#8 jumped further while focusing on the movements of the guns.
She performed a spin as she ran, her skirt flipped up toward the night sky, and metal parts launched from it and into that sky.
Gravitational control managed by the movements of her left hand constructed a new firearm that landed in that hand.
“This is the sniper rifle ‘Little Steely’. It is meant for use against small tanks, but there is no need to worry as it is loaded with mock bullets.”
She ran and heard a laugh as she further approached.
It was Odor’s voice and he raised his right arm.
“Amusing! You are most amusing, automaton! Did you think my defenses could not react to a high-speed round from a sniper rifle at point blank range if you were holding me down with rapid handgun fire!?”
She continued on without answering.
Amid the wind her running produced, she swung her right hand to permit the handguns to fire.
She primarily targeted Odor’s extremities with extra focus on his right hand. He would have difficulty defending against attacks from behind, so she also targeted the base of his right shoulder blade and other parts of the human body needed to swing the right arm.
She chose timing that would allow him to intercept one shot. That could allow her to analyze his power.
…If I defeat him here, that will no longer be a danger.
As she thought, she moved her fingers to fire.
Thirty-two distinct gunshots rang out.
She was less than ten meters away and she took the final step.
She then saw the blue mechanical dragon one hundred meters behind the elderly man turn its head toward her.
Its mouth was pointed slightly down to face her, it was opened, and there was light inside.
This was its dragon cannon.
…It can’t be.
She attempted to predict what would happen, but this situation did not exist in her copied memories.
“You’re having the dragon cannon fired on you!?”
That question became reality.
A bluish-white beam of light wide enough to envelop a small house tore across the runway.
A scorching sound filled the air and it moved directly toward Odor.
Just before it reached him, he snapped his fingers. This was the strike #8 had allowed him with her timing.
However, his right hand was pointed behind him rather than at her.
“Ah,” she said without meaning too.
She had predicted his intention.
The power produced by the snap of his fingers had a range of approximately three hundred meters. At only a hundred meters behind him, the mechanical dragon was within range.
A metallic sound erupted from below its mouth as it produced the dragon cannon.
The roar of his power crushed the dragon cannon, but only the lower half of the beam.
In front of the dragon, its attack of light with actual mass was slammed into the ground and spread across the asphalt. Its heat burnt the asphalt, but as if it had bounced off, it did not tear into the asphalt. It simply spread out as it was held down.
However, #8’s high level visual devices saw a strange fact about Odor’s attack.
…It didn’t tear into the dragon cannon!?
It had torn into the space that the dragon cannon was passing through.
…He attacked the space from above?
She wondered why because it had to be easier to attack the light rather than the space. It also should have been easier to form a wall with the power that would have stopped the lower half of the beam.
#8 realized that Odor’s attack had a certain characteristic beyond a mere gravity attack.
If she took advantage of it, she had a chance of defeating him.
But even as she thought that, she saw the mechanical dragon instantly stop firing its dragon cannon.
The bottom half had been cleanly torn away and the remaining half-cylinder was flying down toward her. It had been fired at a slight downward angle and Odor slipped through the gap created by the missing lower half.
However, the remaining top half was going to hit her.
And that was precisely what happened.
She did not feel the damage of the direct hit. In the instant her body was destroyed, all of her sense devices were overloaded and disconnected.
She saw her left arm vanish beyond the elbow, her torso was broken from the lower left chest to the right side, and she felt the inner parts of her back touching the air all the way up to her neck.
…I have determined my face has received considerable damage as well.
She determined she wanted to be repaired, but that brought a question. That was not necessary at the moment, so why had she made that decision?
However, she reached another conclusion as well: she wanted to avoid falling to the ground.
Her memories brought the answer to that question.
It was based on her past experience of a loss.
The boy who had defeated her had not held her down or knocked her to the ground. He had lifted her up onto his shoulder.
Once she remembered that, she accepted her decision.
…A doll naturally wants to be held by someone rather than thrown to the floor.
She decided to release that memory to the others if she was safely repaired. That would give them the answer to accept that they were automatons.
She then gave herself into the fall.
Just before she hit the asphalt, her mind entered sleep mode.
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