Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume10 Chapter 15
Chapter 15: V.S. “The Merciless Scientific Vanguard” Round_07.
Hamazura Shiage had once fought a certain special weapon to protect Fremea Seivelun.
Its name was Five Over, Model Case Railgun.
The weapon had been built to recreate Academy City’s #3 Level 5’s Railgun with purely industrial technology and to provide more power and accuracy than the original.
When Hamazura had fought it, it had been a type of powered suit and thus required someone to pilot it. It had used high-level electronic control, but it had still required a human brain to control it as a weapon. The machine had been dependent on the human.
But reports had said the same model had not used a pilot when dropped on Baggage City. At that point, it was a completely unmanned weapon. Saying that was simple enough, but that change would have required modifying the very framework of the weapon.
They had completed that in less than a month.
“They” being Academy City, that city that gathered all forms of cutting edge technology.
The research lurking in the depths of that city could overturn people’s expectations in extremely short periods of time, much like bacteria going through mutation after mutation.
Kamijou heard an electronic tone followed by a feminine synthesized voice.
“Beginning biometric scan for Othinus and Kamijou Touma. Any interfering elements shall be physically eliminated. All noncombatants, please display your intent to disarm immediately.”
Kamijou initially assumed the voice came from the weapons flying in the air, but it did not. The source of the noise was much lower. It was coming from the surface in the distance.
“That’s coming from the warning speakers on those tanks. Are they being hacked?”
“If you do not display intent to disarm, you shall be eliminated regardless of the reason. To repeat, beginning biometric scan for…”
There were around 150 Five Overs stopped in the white sky. Approximately half of them were descending to the surface.
The soldiers who had fled from the burning tanks could be seen raising their hands, lying on the ground, and placing their hands on the back of their heads. The composite material praying mantises passed right by them. The tanks may have been getting in the way of the scan because one of those 70 ton masses of steel would occasionally be blown away like an empty box of chocolates.
As Kamijou stared blankly at the sight, he felt a powerful grip on his shoulder.
It was the American soldiers who had vanished into the landscape with their white ghillie suits.
“Hey! I thought you talked this out with the president. Why is Academy City attacking the tanks!?”
The female soldier was shouting wide-eyed into his ear, so he shouted back.
“Do they look like they’re on my side!? I may live in Academy City, but I’m just a high school student!”
“Quit complaining and think rationally,” said Othinus. “If that ridiculous warning is accurate, their targets are the boy and me. As long as you disarm, they won’t eliminate you. Can you do that?”
“We’re forbidden to be taken prisoner no matter the circumstances or situation. If we’re captured, we die. We have a bullet in our breast pocket to act as a ‘protective charm’ against capture.”
“Then we should work together. He’ll give you information on Academy City, so you tell us how to survive this.”
Othinus received a loud click of the tongue in response.
After the others started staring at him, Kamijou gave a flustered response.
“I’ve ridden on them a few times, but Academy City’s supersonic planes can carry materiel and personnel around the world at 7000 kph. They can send this kind of firepower to the opposite side of the globe in only a few hours. They used them to fill the skies with parachutes during World War Three and Baggage City.”
“Sounds like something that would infuriate the Company. What about those praying mantises?”
“I saw a few of their remains lying around in Baggage City before they were retrieved. They say Five Over on them and, as hard as it is to believe, each individual one has the power of a railgun and it can fire them like a Gatling gun. Their attacks are as or more powerful than the #3’s famous attack and they can fire thousands of them every minute, so they might be able to slice an Aegis ship in two.”
The Ghillie suit soldiers looked up toward the heavens as they heard that explanation that sounded like it was written in crayon next to a child’s drawing of a superweapon. That ridiculous sounding threat ridiculously blocked the sky from view and they could only curse god in their hearts.
“Why is Academy City actively attacking our troops? Their internal affairs are disturbingly unclear, but they want to defeat Othinus just like us, don’t they?”
“But did Academy City take part in the international coalition? It seemed to me they were acting on their own during the battle in Tokyo Bay.”
Even so, not even Kamijou could tell what Academy City was doing.
Rather than executing Othinus, were they going to capture her like they had Fräulein Kreutune? Or had they simply not trusted all the other world powers to have what it took to kill Othinus?
In that infinite hell, Kamijou had seen a world where Academy City had been defeated and its people were starving.
That may have been a convenient scenario crated by Othinus, but it was relatively accurate that the city could not sustain itself on its own as far as food and resources were concerned.
What was Academy City trying to do while risking that hopeless future?
“Something else caught my attention,” added Othinus. “I don’t know how well these Five Overs’ scans works, but why are they scanning this area specifically? If they had located us by satellite, they would have ignored the tanks and come right here.”
“Hm? I thought they were scanning all over the place because they didn’t know where we are.”
“If they didn’t know where we are, they wouldn’t have narrowed it down to this plain. They have some general information telling them we’re in this area, but they don’t have our exact coordinates. That vague information had to have come from somewhere.”
One of the yeti-like ghillie suits shook unnaturally.
It looked like the awkward behavior of a local mascot after some kind of project failed.
“Don’t tell me the American military’s transmissions were intercepted. It’s true that we hide our location from the operation leaders and president to increase our level of secrecy. The diversion unit doesn’t know we’re here at all.”
Othinus snapped her fingers, made a handgun gesture with her thumb and index finger, and pointed it at the ghillie suit.
“You owe us one now.”
“What!? None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for you, terrorist!!”
Kamijou tried to calm down the two and they both grabbed his collar. Life was tough for the sensible jack of all trades.
“A-anyway, this means the Five Overs know to check this area but don’t have our location yet. We’ll be fine if we escape now. We might be able to avoid having our bodies turned to sponges by a downpour of steel.”
After summing up the situation, the fighting finally settled down.
“Arguing isn’t going to help,” said the ghillie suit. “Let’s get out of here and do whatever we can.”
Their enemies this time were completely unmanned weapons.
Personal emotions and discussions of the overall pros and cons would not work here.
With the yeti-like ghillie suit soldiers in the lead, Kamijou travelled across the snowscape while lending a shoulder to Othinus. They were moving away from their destination, but escaping the 150 Five Overs came first.
“This ain’t good. Once those things start firing, we’re fucked.”
One of the large yetis spoke, but Kamijou could not understand English filled with that much slang.
“Did you know that Denmark is only 150 meters above sea level? The whole place is flat as a board. There’s nothing we can use for cover.”
“Jaguar, I doubt anyone can understand you without living in a rundown Brooklyn apartment for half a year. For some reason, the Japanese are satisfied with their insane English education, so it’s a bit much to expect him to understand.”
“Rumble rumble rumble. And who was it that just said ‘flat as a board’? Rumble rumble rumble.”
“You’re not supposed to say ‘rumble rumble’ out loud, you hypersensitive flat-chested woman! I understand you’ve been reading a bunch of comics to have something to talk about with your niece, but still!!”
“ ‘Flat-chested’? I see someone has a death wish. You’re gonna see hell on the plane ride back home.”
The ghillie suit yetis were whispering back and forth. Kamijou turned toward Othinus, but she only gave an exasperated sigh. It seemed she had no intention of translating.
The snowy plain continued as far as the eye could see and the ghillie suits were trying to get as far away as possible while hiding inside the conifer forest.
Kamijou and Othinus followed them into the forest.
The Five Overs’ synthesized voice was still coming from the warning speakers on the hacked tanks.
“Beginning biometric scan.”
As soon as they started holding their breath, the conifer trees were mowed down with tremendous force.
Rather than a sequence of individual noises, a single great whirl of noise assaulted their eardrums. The instant they got down on the ground in surprise, trees thicker than Kamijou’s waist were sliced through like a lawnmower cutting through weeds. Sharp fragments much like a pencil broken in half rained down. Kamijou lay over Othinus to protect her and scorching pain stabbed into his back.
He grimaced and shouted over the din.
“They’ve already found us!!”
“But we can’t stop here! Jaguar, don’t fight back. There’s no point!!”
Frightened by the explosive noises and almost crushed by his fear, Kamijou pulled up Othinus and pursued the ghillie suits’ backs while staying low. All the while, the horizontal torrent of steel continued.
After a while, the female soldier realized something.
“Wait. None of the shots are hitting us. Are these supposed to be warning shots?”
“They have too much power,” answered Kamijou while crouching and supporting Othinus. “The #3’s railgun bullets melt after about fifty meters, but they’re firing from kilometers away here. When too far away, the air resistance may melt the surface of the bullets and alter their trajectory. Otherwise we’d have been torn to pieces long ago.”
“In other words, we’re safe for the moment?”
“Not necessarily. They’ll have analyzed the situation too. See, they’re approaching all at once!!”
Some tore up the snow on the ground and some vibrated their giant wings to fly through the white sky, but they all moved closer. It looked exactly like the advance of an army of giant insects from an old disaster movie. Kamijou felt a much more primal and raw fear than simply being pursued by accurate unmanned weapons.
They ran with all their might, but they were on foot. They could never play a proper game of tag with the Five Overs that functioned in place of tanks and attack helicopters.
And once those weapons arrived close enough, they would truly be torn to pieces.
Kamijou ran while lending Othinus his shoulder and he called out to the ghillie suits leading the way.
“You all need to surrender! There’s no point in sticking with us any longer!!”
“If we could, we already would have. Do you know why we’re called commandos and not rangers? It’s because we aren’t assigned official ID numbers. We work across borders year round, so we can’t be taken prisoner! It’d be a bigger scandal than a CIA member defecting!!”
“They aren’t taking prisoners. If you put your hands up, they’ll pass right by you. This is your chance to give up your pride and survive. They silenced fifty tanks in a matter of minutes. You have to know how much of a threat that is a lot better than an amateur like me!”
The distance shrank.
The clanking sounds of the insects’ squirming legs gradually approached.
The ghillie suits seemed indecisive for a moment, but after a loud click of the tongue, they stopped and raised their hands. Kamijou passed by them and did not have time to turn around.
“You abandon me too!” shouted Othinus while supporting herself with his shoulder. “You’re only of interest because you sided with me, so you’ll go back to being a normal person if you turn me in!!”
“Don’t be ridiculous. You heard that warning. I’ve already been deemed a target. We’re in the same position now, so I can no longer turn back!!”
Othinus viewed Kamijou from the side as he shouted in desperation and she saw something unbelievable there.
The deep snow was grabbing at his feet, he was trembling from the cold and his own fear, he was supporting the extra weight of Othinus, and he was fleeing with no concern for appearances.
But Kamijou Touma was smiling.
“Let’s find a way to get out of here, no matter what it takes!”
“And what then? Even if we somehow do manage to escape, an even more brutal enemy will arrive next. That will continue on and on. Surely you’ve asked yourself what happens once we really do escape it all!”
“That’s not my question to answer!! It’s your life, so you get to decide!!”
His teeth were chattering as he shouted out.
“You’ll retrieve your eye from that spring, cast aside all your power, surrender with your hands in the air, and make up for all your crimes with a long prison sentence. And after that’s over, it’s your life! That means you get to decide. You can start a bakery or a flower shop or whatever else!! Once it’s all over, there’s no reason for anything to be taken from you in the name of the world or peace!!”
As he spoke, he looked at the girl known as a magic god.
Her cheeks had relaxed ever so slightly.
And even then, the countless deadly weapons approached from behind.
They were reaching the range where they could reliably kill with mechanical accuracy.
Visual identification, gait identification, bioelectric scan, and 47 other identification scans complete. Combined probabilities of 87% and 98%. Identities confirmed.
Self-analysis of Gatling railguns complete. When firing normal bullets with a wind speed of 7 meters and a temperature of -12 degrees, an unallowable error occurs at greater than 1000 meters. Electronic calculations and actual test firing have produced identical results. Altering spec sheet and sharing via network.
Distance to targets: 1208 meters.
Time until altered absolute kill range: 10 seconds.
“Whoops… Now, let’s see. Have I hacked into the system yet?”
Illegal packet format detected.
Infiltration route scan…failed. Subsystem activation…failed. Shared network purge…failed. General threat assessments: 0. The system is free of erorrrrrr
“Okay, time to let that idiot have it!!”
The group of Five Overs swarmed Kamijou and Othinus all at once.
Some came from the white sky and others tore into the group behind them. Anything within range, from a human to an air-to-surface missile travelling at Mach 4, could be shot down with a high level of accuracy. The two of them were targeted with the great “arms” that were the Gatling railgun barrels used to tear their prey to pieces.
In that moment, one Five Over in the air lost its balance. After that, all of the advanced weapons filling the sky began to crash, one after another. Some even collided with the models on the ground.
“Shit! What is going on!?”
Kamijou crouched down while holding Othinus. As he did, the danger pouring down like a meteor shower tore up the surrounding snow and dirt and he heard several explosions.
Finally, the disturbance settled down.
Despite surrounding them from only five meters away, the Five Over barrels did not spew their steel downpour. In fact, the weapons were completely motionless.
However, there was a clear order to it all.
The insects covering the snowy plain all had their heads tilted as if focusing on one fellow machine in particular.
From overhead, their formation may have looked like a strange giant flower.
Kamijou heard a hard clank as someone stepped up on the head of the “queen” receiving all the others’ focus.
The short girl had short brown hair and she wore an expensive-looking duffle coat over a Tokiwadai Middle School uniform.
More importantly, this was the Level 5 the Five Overs were based on.
“Just to be clear, I’m not about to join your side for no reason. I’m not that convenient a girl.”
She spoke indifferently and spread her arms to indicate the army she had made her own.
“I’ve hacked all of this firepower. If you don’t want to die here, then defeat me and continue on.”
Kamijou lowered Othinus to the snowy ground and clenched his right fist once more.
As he prepared to confront the #3 Level 5 while surrounded by 150 Five Overs, he asked a quiet question.
“…Are you mad?”
“Yes, quite a bit! When did you become a spy for Gremlin!?”