Toaru Majutsu no Index:NT Volume4 Sub.16

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Sub.16[edit]

HsB-07.

An updated version of the Academy City supersonic bombers that fought in World War III shot through the sky above Baggage City.

To protect his body from the massive Gs, the pilot, Rokudou Ryuuichi, had his body mostly frozen. He did not use his fingers to control the giant craft and he did not use his mouth to communicate with his allies.

The distribution of blood in his brain, the amount of chemicals secreted, the flow of electronic signals, and monitoring of the active regions of his brain with sonar were some of the methods of directly gathering information from his brain. The accuracy of each method was low, but that could be overcome by using multiple methods. The technology had also begun to be used experimentally in intelligence and criminal investigations.

“Francisca 3 to all crafts. We will attack the airport on the next turn. 1 and 2, you take the overpasses. We need to destroy every long road that can be used to launch enemy fighters.”

A few dozen praying mantis-looking Five Overs had already been scattered about the area, so the Anti-Academy City Science Guardians already had no means of victory.

However, the Five Overs had a weakness.

They were created in order to target objects on the surface.

They could fly, but that was only to sweep over ground enemies from above like an attack helicopter. They were not intended to be used to shoot down multi-purpose fighters flying at supersonic speeds at high altitude.

Rokudou heard (or at least interpreted it that way) his comrades’ voices.

“It’s crazy for actual people like us to be putting our lives on the line to protect unmanned weapons. I thought those toys could shoot down air-to-surface missiles.”

“If you put a chemical weapon in the warhead, it’ll still rain down on them from above if they shoot it down. Although this is probably us overreacting because we know about that weakness. This is the first time the Anti-Academy City Science Guardians have seen the Five Overs, so I doubt they could come up with that strategy.”

While chatting via thoughts faster than would be possible via mouth and ear, they each arrived at their respective target at 7,000 kph.

They less “dropped” their bombs and more “placed” them in the air.

Approximately 120 precision guided bombs were set at even intervals like streetlights. As gravity started to pull them down, the tail corrected their course sending them into the important points of the airport with accuracy that had a margin of error no greater than 7 mm.

As his body was frozen, Rokudou had no way of turning around, but he could check the destruction on a window displayed at the edge of his consciousness.

“Runways, taxiways, and radar facilities 1-9 have been destroyed. Surface-to-air missiles 1-32, antiaircraft autocannons 1-20, and antiaircraft guns 1-17 have all been destroyed. The airport is essentially nonfunctional.”

“Whew. About 48 of the straight areas of road over thirteen meters wide have been destroyed. I’m going to turn around and take out the remaining 52.”

“I’ve detected about five tunnels that could be used as runways. I’m going to bomb the entrances to fill them with rubble.”

Their results were coming in exactly as planned.

The Academy City supersonic bombers had specs high enough to enter the front lines without any fighters protecting them. Their overwhelming speed and mobility prevented any ground attacks or chasing fighters from getting anywhere near them.

In the current mission, the greatest threat was trouble caused by improper maintenance. That was how inadequate the Anti-Academy City Science Guardian forces were.

It was true they had unmanned weapons borrowed from Academy City.

However, those were merely borrowed.

Also, the speed of technological advancement in Academy City was so fast that those weapons were already obsolete.

It was a flawless victory.

The reality did not stray from the theory in the slightest.

The victors of World War III who used weapons holding the name “Hard Science” seemed to have an elegant formula while within that savage battle. They broke the spirits of all who wished to recklessly oppose that theory.

Or so it should have been.

However…

“What is that?”

Numerous points of light suddenly appeared on the radar. It was not something that had been hiding using some form of stealth. Rokudou checked the cameras on the bottom of his craft and saw something like a large missile shooting up from the surface.

“No…That isn’t a missile. Its form is changing!?”

Whatever it was shot through the sky. It did not move in a gentle arc like a normal aircraft. It almost looked like horizontal-running lightning. Also, when it passed through the side of a skyscraper, the giant building’s top portion was sliced off diagonally.

Before the giant mass fell to the ground, interference ran through Rokudou Ryuuichi’s thoughts. Extreme tension and fear interfered with his connection to the craft.

The reason was simple.

Whatever it was was shooting straight for the HsB-07 like lightning even as the craft turned sharp corners at 7,000 kph.

“This is insane! What is that thing!? That isn’t one of the unmanned weapons Academy City loaned them!!”

As it approached, Rokudou Ryuuichi was finally able to see the visual details of the object.

It reminded him of the early stealth fighters that were made up of a complicated combination of flat surfaces. However, that was only because he knew a lot about aircrafts. Others may have been more reminded of a javelin with an enlarged tip or a delicately cut gem.

However, there was one thing anyone would have been reminded of.

A wireframe.

In fact, the craft was actually made up of a combination of multiple wires. The enemy was not only unexplainable by “outside” technology, but even Rokudou and his specialty knowledge from within Academy City could not understand what he was seeing. English words in orange light unnaturally appeared around it.

“We too love the cutting edge.”

It did not end there.

The first line disappeared and a second sentence was displayed.

“However, that is not your privilege alone.”

“Damn you! Francisca 1 and 2, I need to shake the enemy craft from my tail. You cross my path and leave some bombs in the air! Blow it away with—!!”

Rokudou Ryuuichi’s words trailed off.

He saw something in the camera.

Francisca 1 had been completely swallowed up by a transformed mass of wires and was being dropped down in to the middle of the white city. Francisca 2 had barely managed to avoid getting wrapped up by another one, but the narrow wires had sliced pieces off the edges of the craft, destroying its ability to fly.

They had no way of knowing, but the enemy was a spiritual item known as Loki’s Net. The evil god Loki slipped through the laws, labyrinths, and fate created by the gods with novel ideas, breaking taboos, and sophism and he himself created that self-defeating constraint when thinking about what it would take to surely capture himself, the one who could not be captured by anyone. A true Dvergr that had survived to the modern day had added modern performance to that.

There was no reason a magical net that plugged up even the holes in theory and fate would be defeated by something like speed.

Rokudou desperately tried to escape, but he could tell his craft was being whittled down little by little. Also, the other wires that had taken out his allies were headed for Francisca 3 as well.

“Francisca 3 to AWACS! Send Francisca 4-9 with their ABLs in from patrolling around the outside Baggage City. Let’s use the anti-ballistic missile lasers to see if their secret weapons can play tag with light!!”

He got the order out, but they did not make it in time.

Either the horizontal lightning-like enemy crafts’ movements could not be targeted or Francisca 3’s allies were trying to find a position that would not get Francisca 3 wrapped up in it. Whatever the reason, Rokudou Ryuuichi could tell that few seconds of lag were more than he had.

“AWACS to Francisca 3. Eject! Your engine is about to blow!!”

“Do they look like gentlemen? They’d just slice me to pieces, parachute and all!!”

His altitude dropped significantly.

He was no longer flying; he was falling slowly.

Rokudou Ryuuichi greatly changed his heading. He charged toward the area the eerie wire crafts had first come from.

(The garbage disposal facility? Wait, there’s someone on the roof.)

It was one of the top priority targets. A girl with brown skin and silver hair stood up against a giant smokestack. She wore glasses and nothing else but overalls which was very odd for such an arctic area. With a loose smile on her face, she stared straight at Rokudou Ryuuichi.

The girl knew a supersonic bomber was approaching, but she held up her slender index finger and motioned inward in challenge.

“That bitch. So she’s from Gremlin, our top priority target!!”

Despite his craft being worn down, he opened the throttle and aimed straight for the garbage disposal facility roof.

He could see orange sparks on the cameras.

Then the cameras themselves started to be destroyed and they showed only gray static.

The craft grew smaller and smaller like a pencil being sharpened by a small knife, but Rokudou Ryuuichi focused only on his target.

And…


As she stood atop the garbage disposal facility roof, Marian Slingeneyer stuck a hand into her overalls from the side and pulled out a gold tool. It was a pair of tongs. The tool was used for handling hot blades and the like when they were in the furnace. The pair Marian held was something like giant pliers.

She lightly swung around the two handles like nunchuks before closing the tongs in front of her face.

The end tightly held a sharp fragment of aircraft materials only about thirteen centimeters long.

That was all that remained of Rokudou Ryuuichi’s final efforts.

When she looked at the fragment that caused the blowing snow to evaporate immediately, Marian whistled.

“That was close. I almost tried to grab it with my bare hands, but the friction heated this up to over one thousand degrees I’m betting.”

Marian stabbed the tip of the tongs holding the fragment into the snow piled up on the roof to rapidly cool them. As one who worked as a blacksmith, she was used to the action. After it had been cooled to a normal temperature, she grabbed the sharp fragment directly from the tongs.

“So that’s how it works. Categorically, it’s just a support spiritual item that only seals off one’s escape similar to creating a doll that wards off the target of a curse, but it looks like it got a nice effect of matching the enemy’s speed.”

In fact, there was nothing better when it came to destroying aircraft.

Marian had focused on the aerial strategy first rather than the Five Overs in the city because she did not want any more Kiharas to be brought in.

“To your reckless defiance☆.”

She lightly kissed the side of the sharp fragment and stuck it inside her overalls as a souvenir. She snapped her fingers and a few more Loki’s Nets shot up into the sky from around the garbage disposal facility.

Just as Marian was getting excited, a brilliant beam of light flashed by overhead.

An airborne laser weapon had fired from outside Baggage City and burned away one of the Loki’s Nets. Only glowing orange melted fragments were left behind in the wake of the pure white beam.

“Well, shit! I guess this won’t all be easy!!”

As she frantically escaped from the roof, Marian ordered the surviving Loki’s Nets to continually exterminate the other aircrafts.

That twisted battle developed into a scene in which people could not survive.


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