Toaru Majutsu no Index:RailgunSS1 Chapter6
The turmoil continued into the night.
Saten Ruiko was sleeping within her room.
She had been found in that rocky area by the sea that had been destroyed by missiles. She seemed to have swallowed a lot of seawater and she must have been relieved to have seen Mikoto and Uiharu who had come for her because she passed out as soon as she saw them.
Shirai Kuroko somehow managed to teleport them all back to the hotel, but the hotel was not exactly functioning properly either. It had not been struck by the Mixcoatl missiles, but all the panicked people out on the roads had wanted to at least escape to somewhere with a roof, so the hotel had more people in it than it was designed to hold. Possibly because of all the people rushing into it at once, the entrances had stopped functioning and the glass automatic doors had been smashed.
Everyone had realized that a tragedy was occurring.
They understood that it was not an attraction and that people’s lives could easily be lost. Because of that, the invisible atmosphere hanging over everyone had turned to one of discomfort.
Mikoto, Shirai, and Uiharu had gathered in the hotel room Saten slept in.
They had no idea how long the hotel would stay in operation and there was a risk of turmoil breaking out within the building given all the people gathered there. They had decided it would be better not to be separated.
“This has gotten bad…” Mikoto muttered.
The night scene that had been visible out the window the previous night was gone. Without all the lights, the darkness covering the sea made its usual eeriness all the more noticeable. Also, the orange lights of flames could be seen in places within the darkness.
It seemed the Mixcoatls had focused their attacks on the public transportation facilities and the airfield for the Liberal Arts City fighters. As such, no one had been directly hit and killed by the missiles despite the great commotion they had caused. However, it seemed the turmoil linked to the attack had left some people injured.
(Really, I thought this was just going to be a field trip that I could enjoy like a vacation. Why did we have to get caught up in this war-like situation?)
Mikoto gritted her teeth.
She heard another girl’s voice in her ears.
“I’m not sure we can trust what they say since they try to pass everything off as a show, but it seems Liberal Arts City did not have time to do so with this commotion,” Uiharu Kazari said while acquiring information from the network using the IC card charger.
“But this is odd,” said Shirai Kuroko as she pulled some fruit from the refrigerator installed in the room. “Why would they leave after only doing a certain level of damage when they had such an advantage? If it was me, I would continue to crush the city without giving them a chance to prepare anymore defenses.”
Uiharu shouted in protest, but Mikoto agreed with Shirai. It was not a game or a competition. It was a true fight to the death, so there was no reason to think about fairness.
“So is the mere destruction of Liberal Arts City not the goal of whoever is piloting those Mixcoatls?”
“Or maybe they could not find their true target, so they had to tearfully turn back to resupply.”
Mikoto was about to give an additional view, but she stopped.
She thought her idea was unlikely. And even if it was possible, she felt the destruction would have come at a sooner stage if it were the case.
(What if they already have the overwhelming force needed to finish this and they could do so whenever they want to…?)
“Yeah, I guess it isn’t that.”
Mikoto spoke without thinking and Shirai and Uiharu looked at her with confused looks on their faces.
With the Mixcoatls gone, the turmoil within the city started to settle down. However, it was human nature to be full of dissatisfaction once that happened. It hadn’t been the hotel workers’ faults, but a lot of people (some not even people staying at that hotel) flooded to the front desk or grabbed workers in the halls and yelled at them as if trying to tear them apart.
It may have been the attackers’ intention, but fortunately no one had died yet. However, there were some people injured. That led to a very tense atmosphere.
No one knew when the Mixcoatls would be back. On top of that, the undersea tunnel and the heliports had been destroyed, so there was no way to escape the city. It was difficult to remain calm in that kind of situation, but the atmosphere made it feel like even a slight shout could stir up a great disturbance, so it was about as uncomfortable as it could get.
“…It looks like we were right to order room service,” Mikoto said.
After cheering up the exhausted looking hotel worker by giving him a rather large tip, Mikoto and the others ate a late dinner in Saten’s room.
“Since the direct cause of the disturbance, the flying fish, has left, I think everything should calm down given time.”
“Of course, that’s only if the flying fish do not come back tomorrow.”
They had ordered a simple dinner centered around beef. The flavor was not bad, but it had the impression of being compacted since the space on the room service cart was limited.
Saten must have smelled the food because she started stirring in the bed. Her eyes slowly opened and she sat up like a child waking up.
“S-Saten-san! Are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere?”
“No, I’m more or less fine…Hm? What you’re eating looks pretty good, Uiharu.”
“Sh-should I really let her have some of this? It’s pretty heavy…” Uiharu said looking over to Mikoto for help. “Why don’t you start with this salad and then move on to the meat if the salad sits well with your stomach?”
“Uiharu, come over here. We only ordered food for three, so let’s reshuffle it all into four portions,” Shirai suggested.
When Shirai tried to secretly move only the food on Mikoto’s plate to her own, she got biri biri-ed and the food was then redistributed evenly.
After they finished eating, Saten started to tell the others what had happened to her.
“Earlier today, I met this strange girl…”
Saten was slowly moving her mouth to explain every little thing.
She had met a girl named Xochitl. That girl was one of the people piloting the Mixcoatls. She had snuck into the hidden part of Liberal Arts City to find out if Xochitl was a bad person or not. She had been found by an official and almost killed to make it look like an accidental drowning. In the end, Xochitl had saved her using a Mixcoatl.
Partway through the story, Mikoto brought her fist down on Saten’s head, Shirai did the same, and finally Uiharu did so as well. The path she had gone down was not an adventure. It was like she had pulled the trigger five times in a row in a game of Russian roulette but by pure chance a bullet had not come out. That was how the story sounded to the other three.
Saten suddenly spoke up again as she held the top of her head with tears in her eyes.
“Oh, right. I wonder what she meant when she mentioned Liberal Arts City’s lifeboats.”
“Um, the Xochitl girl mentioned them before she left. She said something called…um…Xiuh…coatl? Well, whatever it was, she said it was coming soon, but she didn’t explain what she meant. It sounded like she was talking about something different from before. Anyway, she said we needed to use the lifeboats to flee before it came. I don’t know how, but apparently Liberal Arts City has some huge lifeboats and the one million tourists can all fit on them.”
Mikoto looked puzzled. She was pretty sure the flying fish were called Mixcoatls. Did they have some other kind of craft?
“Lifeboats for a million people? The scale here is as huge as ever…”
“Could she have been referring to these?” said Uiharu from in front of the IC card charger. A few windows were open on the screen.
“In 12 places on Liberal Arts City’s coast, 200 meter class highly buoyant ships are stored. Each one can hold about 80,000 people.”
“Wait, can a ship like that really hold that many people?”
“Well, they aren’t comfortable cruise ships; they’re lifeboats. It seems each person only has about a sleeping bag’s worth of space and apparently each of those spaces can function as an independent boat.”
“It can be easy to forget, but we’re 50 kilometers from the American mainland here. Just floating in the ocean won’t be enough to save us.”
They would be surrounded by ocean in every direction, but they would dry up without a single drop of water to drink. It was a frightening thought and those giant lifeboats had been prepared to avoid that situation.
“No specialized knowledge of the boats is needed to use them. They are GPS controlled and will automatically avoid reefs and other boats as they head for the American mainland. However, all that is just to allow them to carry out their function as life boats. They cannot carry out the precise movements needed to dock, so a rescue team would have to save the people onboard.”
The large lifeboats were codenamed Salmon Red. Apparently, the way they held a large number of tiny boats with the people on them made them look like salmons holding their roe.
Mikoto felt that name was ridiculous, but it was hardly the time to complain about something like that.
Uiharu spoke while looking at the screen.
“The ocean around Liberal Arts City is still maintained as the environment of 50 years into the future needed for filming the movie, so something like a net is surrounding the area to prevent fish and other creatures in the ocean from coming and going. However, when the Salmon Reds start moving, that net needs to be torn away. That may be one of the reasons the ships are almost never used.”
Mikoto looked over Uiharu’s shoulder at the charger’s screen.
“But will those lifeboats prevent everyone from sinking along with the city if the Mixcoatls attack again?”
“I’m not sure…” Uiharu looked troubled. “It’s hard to say with just the information on the network, but from the data I have, the runways for the fighters and the other defenses for the city have been taken down below 20%. Normally, I would think sending out the lifeboats would take priority in a situation like that, but there is no sign of the officials trying to prepare the Salmon Reds.”
“So they intend to fight here to the end…”
According to Saten’s story, some kind of experiments and research were going on there. It was possible those things were keeping them from leaving or they may have decided that putting the fruits of their research on the defenseless lifeboats would be exposing their weak point to the Mixcoatls that could travel as quickly as a fighter jet.
It was not clear what those piloting the Mixcoatls were planning, but it was unlikely to be over. And there was the possible danger of the Xiuhcoatl that the girl named Xochitl had mentioned.
Liberal Arts City and the Mixcoatls had been fighting evenly, but the Mixcoatls had made a clear invasion that day which had greatly changed the situation. If it was all just left to the Laveze Squadron, the city would be destroyed.
(I know what I have to do.)
Misaka Mikoto’s conclusion was a simple one.
She was not an ally of either side.
Hearing Saten’s story made her want to favor Xochitl’s side, but that did not change the fact that both Liberal Arts City and the Mixcoatls were groups that had no problem injuring or even killing people.
As such, Mikoto had to stand between both groups without joining either side and bring an end to the issue without any more sacrifices.
She had to do it because the normal tourists who had come there were going to get truly involved in it all.
(In the worst case, I might end up having to fight both groups at the same time.)
She wanted to give the Mixcoatls a gift of a Railgun blast too, but even if she was going to resort to that kind of force, she had to let the people trapped in Liberal Arts city escape and secure a battlefield she could get a little violent in.
Mikoto turned to Uiharu.
“At any rate, staying within Liberal Arts City is dangerous. If the officials aren’t going to move on their own, we may have to lead the tourists to the Salmon Red lifeboats ourselves.”
“…That could be difficult. The Salmon Reds are one of the city’s secrets. In order to appear to be a safe and comfortable movie city, they do not want to let their emergency lifeboats be seen if they can help it.”
“So if we take the people to the large lifeboats hidden in a secret area, the officials may try to stop us? I guess they might even just fire into the crowd the instant we cross the line into the restricted areas.”
“…But that also means we cannot just leave this to the officials. If we just wait for them, we might end up waiting until the island has already been destroyed.”
Given the situation, it would be better to let all the people board the Salmon Reds.
No one had been killed in the attack earlier that day, but that would not necessarily be true the next time. Liberal Arts City’s defense network had been damaged, so the next attack would be even worse.
However, the officials would not let them simply lead the tourists to the large lifeboats.
(What do we do…?)
Mikoto looked down at the Railgun coin holder strapped to her sandal.
She thought about suppressing the officials so that they could get the Salmon Reds running, but she shook her head. Liberal Arts City did indeed appear weakened due to the damage done by the Mixcoatls, but that was the result of an organization clashing with an organization. An individual like Mikoto clashing with an organization would not necessarily produce the same results.
It was not an issue of the size of their collective firepower.
For example, each of the 12 Salmon Red lifeboats was located in a different location around Liberal Arts City. It was probably impossible for Mikoto to gain control of each of those docks. She would be out of breath just from running around the outside of that city that had a diameter of around 10 kilometers and that was made up of multiple blocks. She also had no idea how many officials were stationed at each dock. Even if she did gain control of one dock, in the time she spent attacking another, other officials would head to the first one making her efforts pointless.
(If only there was some core I could destroy and take care of everything all at once, but I guess things just aren’t that convenient.)
The scale was different from defeating some gang of delinquents in a city.
There were indeed some things that could not be resolved just by swinging your arms around and going on a rampage.
“Wah!?” Uiharu cried out.
Suddenly, the power went out in the room Mikoto and the others were in. The room went completely dark. Of course, the IC card charger Uiharu was using turned off too, so all light in the room disappeared.
Mikoto immediately looked out the window.
Lights were sparse in the darkness other than the orange flames, but no entire building had its electricity out. She could see some lights on and some off in the windows making the buildings look like mouths with teeth missing.
That hotel or possibly that room alone had suddenly lost its power.
It was as if someone were forcibly cutting off their access through the computer.
(This timing must mean…!!)
Mikoto immediately pushed down Saten whose silhouette she could make out in the darkness and she dragged Uiharu down onto the floor from her position in front of the charger.
“They’ve noticed us!! Get down!!” she yelled.
Something happened at the exact same time, but it was not the enemy breaking through the window with ropes like in a movie.
It came from the wall to the next room.
The other side must have had explosives stuck to it because with a loud boom the entire wall broke to pieces like it was made of glass.
“Kuroko!” Mikoto shouted.
Multiple rifle barrels were stuck into the room through the destroyed wall. No warnings or threats were given. The men holding the guns merely aimed at every form in the room and unhesitatingly pulled the trigger.
But right before they did, the roof fell down like a shutter. Mikoto had used magnetism to forcibly move the rebar and metal ducts. Mikoto cowered down upon hearing the gunfire, but the great amount of building materials acted as a shield. She fired lightning spears from her bangs. She carefully knocked away each attacker on the other side of the destroyed wall with one shot each.
(Dammit!! I thought their superiors told them not to kill me!)
Mikoto cursed silently, but the environment within Liberal Arts City had greatly changed. The city’s superiors, the ones referred to as management, may have changed their plans.
But there was no point in complaining about that.
Mikoto quietly called out two names in the darkness.
The room had no power, but light was leaking in from the destroyed wall and ceiling. No response came, but she saw two forms squirming on the floor covered in wreckage.
Those two were fine at least.
(Where is Kuroko…!?)
Mikoto continued to hide behind the wreckage while she carefully looked around the area for Shirai.
She heard a slight whoosh.
At that time, Mikoto was hiding behind the wreckage of the ceiling she had brought down. The pile of wreckage was only about as high as her waist, so she was crouching down on the floor.
Something approached Mikoto’s throat. It was a nonmetal war pick, a type of pickaxe meant for battle that could be held in one hand. The person holding it was circling around the pile of rubble at high speed bringing the war pick’s tip closer. The motion was so quick and smooth that Mikoto realized what was going on reverse order.
Someone was trying to kill her.
As soon as she realized that simple fact, Mikoto finally started to move.
Still crouched down, she immediately twisted her body. The approaching war pick slightly tore at the skin of her neck and then stabbed into a gap in the rubble behind her. However, Mikoto fell over onto her back because she had tried to evade so quickly.
The attacker ignored the war pick that was stuck in the rubble and reached around behind him or herself.
The attacker pulled out a nonmetal knife and swung the blade down toward the top of Mikoto’s nose.
However, a great crackling noise rang out.
A high voltage current had been fired from Mikoto’s bangs.
Seeing that the attacker had been knocked away, Mikoto breathed a sigh of relief.
“Oh right, where’s Kuroko…?”
“I am over here,” the girl said from the direction of the room’s door.
The supposedly locked door had somehow been opened from the outside. Shirai entered through it using both hands to drag along some collapsed men.
“I took out the spare unit. It seems like having Uiharu’s hacking discovered brought some unwanted visitors. No matter how skilled she is, she simply stayed connected for too long.”
“Uuh,” said Uiharu from within the dark room.
Perhaps because Mikoto had knocked them to the ground beforehand, Uiharu and Saten did not have any obvious injuries. Shirai teleported around to make sure no more officials were around, but they had no idea when reinforcements would arrive. Mikoto decided they should get away from that area when…
“…Really, it seems some rather troublesome people have shown up,” said someone other than the four Academy City girls within the dark room.
The voice was coming from the direction Mikoto had knocked the attacker who had used the war pick. Mikoto tensed up and Saten started to tremble. They recognized the female voice.
“And we are the ones fighting an evil enemy. Not to mention that Liberal Arts City is filled with people like you.”
It was the woman official wearing the racing swimsuit and the lifejacket.
It was Olive Holiday.
When Mikoto stared into the darkness, she saw that Olive had bandages covering her body in places as she leaned against the half-destroyed bed. According to Saten, she had sunk down among the rubble when the Mixcoatl fired its missiles, but…
“An evil enemy…?” muttered Saten Ruiko.
The trembling girl tightly clenched her small fists and stared at Olive.
“You interfered with Xochitl and the others and continually did strange things in secret and whenever it looked like you were going to be found out, you tried to use violence to solve it!! So how can you call them evil!?”
“We are merely doing what we must as the world police.”
Olive’s expression did not change even while being the target of such clear anger.
Something red oozed from the bandages on various parts of her body.
“We must do more than just protect the world as it is. We also need to deal with the various dangers that will occur in the world ten years or even a hundred years from now.”
“What does that have to do with secretly researching psychic powers!?” yelled Saten.
She had a feeling that the power Xochitl and the others used was different from psychic powers, but at the very least, Liberal Arts City had decided they were the same and were trying obtain something from them.
“The problem is Japan’s Academy City.”
“…Don’t tell me you think we’re planning on using military force to take over the world or something,” Mikoto warned, but Olive shook her head.
“I’m sure you are not planning anything so childish. However, Japan’s Academy City is said to have technology 20 or 30 years ahead of the rest of the world. Do you understand what that means? In just 20 or 30 years, the entire world could be like that.”
“Psychic powers are no exception. Seven Level 5s have appeared within Academy City, but if espers spread to entire population of 6 billion, how many monsters do you think will be on the loose? Doesn’t it seem like a new age of wars will begin that cannot be controlled by monitoring the circulation of guns and other weapons?”
In reality, a Level 5 was not something that appeared so easily. The number of them could not be calculated as a statistical percentage like that. However, Olive would likely not accept that even if Mikoto explained it to her. Only people from Academy City like Mikoto who had truly experienced psychic powers could truly understand that fact.
However, it was true that Level 3 powers may become common after 20 or 30 years.
The future could not be predicted like that.
People from an older time had not known what a convenience store was and they would never have been able to imagine a cell phone. However, those things were used by everyone as if they were normal. They had become a basic part of the world.
In that case…
“We have our duty as the world police,” Olive said proudly. “We must not be left behind by the flow of time. If we fail to guide things properly, the world will be filled with unnecessary turmoil. The various types of problems that we have just barely managed to keep under control will erupt into conflicts all at once.”
New dangers of a new era.
Problems that had not existed before espers.
The world police felt they were the cornerstone to fighting those things in the future. They took the initiative and fought in countries and areas with no direct connection to themselves for the sake of ensuring peace.
After thinking through all that, Mikoto laughed.
That idea was just so stupid that it made her laugh.
“That’s no reason for this.”
Hearing those words, Olive looked at Mikoto.
Mikoto continued regardless.
“That’s no reason to kidnap people, to shoot those who get in your way, or to try to silence Saten-san.”
“It is necessary,” Olive laughed scornfully at Mikoto’s words. “We have no choice if we are to continue to maintain control as the world police.”
“Screw that.” With a crackling noise, bluish-white sparks flew from Mikoto’s bangs. “No one has asked you to keep doing these things. The people of the world are fighting in their own respective worlds. You don’t understand that, so you end up coming in with a bulldozer and destroying it all!!”
Mikoto's tone got stronger as she continued speaking.
The anger stored up in her heart was being released.
“If you want to develop psychic powers, then just do it!! Just make some institution for that that’s even better than Academy City if you want to!! How did that desire turn into this? You don’t need to solve every problem in the fastest possible way. You’ve become an organization that controls everything from the top by using incoming problems to your own advantage and by hiding every little thing that’s inconvenient for you!”
Shirai, Uiharu, and Saten averted their gaze upon hearing Mikoto’s words.
She was Academy City’s #3 Level 5.
Her words were not directed simply at the official named Olive.
They may have been something like a small child’s request for the world of adults.
“It’s true that Academy City is not a completely clean organization. And yes, espers do cause problems. But espers in and of themselves are not a type of calamity!! They aren’t some existence that you need to take the initiative to seal away!! They aren’t a problem that you need to resolve so badly that you need to put normal people in danger over it!!”
Mikoto’s tone then grew weaker.
She put as much strength into her hands as she could and slowly spoke.
“Can’t you at least understand that much…? Can’t you think for yourself and realize that you can do something without resorting to violence?”
Olive’s lips moved slightly.
However, the words that came from within were not the ones Mikoto had been hoping for.
“The situation…has changed.”
Her voice was cracking.
However, there was no trembling in her voice.
Mikoto’s words had not reached her.
“We are being attacked. This is no longer a situation where we can handle it by using the interception unit. This has gotten to the point where no one can predict who will be defeated next time.”
Her words supported what Mikoto had vaguely suspected.
Liberal Arts City was truly in trouble.
“That kind of nice reasoning will do nothing but get the island destroyed.”
All the damage Olive had taken must have caught up with her because her body wobbled. She had already been leaning up against the bed, but now she slowly collapsed to the floor. She smiled all the way down. She never once agreed with what Mikoto had said.
Mikoto looked down at Olive like she was looking at something she could not stand.
Previously, Olive Holiday had said that the city was the headquarters for the officials and that they had all the materials prepared needed to succeed in an attack if one was needed. However, that attack had failed. In other words, Liberal Arts City was not perfect.
Mikoto had been saved by that fact, but it did not give her any hope.
If the city was weakened, it meant they had lost the ability to repel the threat of the Mixcoatls.
The number of people that could fight was limited.
Also, Misaka Mikoto was one of the seven Level 5s of Japan’s psychic powers development institution, Academy City.
After remaining still for some time, Mikoto finally shook off her hesitation and headed for the exit of the hotel room.
Saten blankly watched her and then hurriedly spoke.
“Wh-where are you going?”
“To the large lifeboats. I’m going to do something about this.”
After saying only that, Mikoto left the room.
Even if most of the facilities had been destroyed, there were probably plenty of officials left. She could not go around defeating every single one of them. There were simply too many.
However, the officials would not want to waste their numbers. After all, the Mixcoatls would definitely be back. They had no idea if they could fight properly in their current state, so they would have an even harder time of fighting their true enemy if they lost any more of their fighting force.
(…So I’ll aim for that.)
Mikoto walked along the hotel hallway and pulled the coin holder from the strap on her sandal.
(The main force for fighting the Mixcoatls is the Laveze Squadron. If I destroy a few of the remaining runways or hangars, it should get their attention.)
After that, she would make a deal allowing the tourists to use the Salmon Red lifeboats.
Even if she could not defeat all of the officials, it was not too difficult to destroy immobile facilities.
At the same time in a different part of Liberal Arts City, the five men and women known as management sat with their bodies sinking deeply into comfortable chairs. Their council room was extremely spacious for a room to be used by only five people.
Management was discussing in what way Liberal Arts City should move from then on.
That giant institution controlled the resources for a large entertainment industry and it could have an effect on financial markets around the world. However, those five did not look for the opinions of others when deciding how the city should move.
They did not need to.
Not because they could resolve any problem instantly, but because there was no need for them to discuss their plans or intentions with the related organizations.
Dealing with that kind of trivial matter was not their job.
Even if it was necessary, they did not have to do it themselves.
They had hired people to carry out such things.
People had been fighting outside in Liberal Arts City, the Laveze Squadron had been damaged, they had learned anew what the Mixcoatls were capable of, and some tourists had been injured when some facilities had been destroyed, but they did not need to pay any of that any heed.
After all, someone would do something about it.
It was absolutely impossible for them to be truly cornered. Management’s job was just to walk down the path of success and it was the duty of those around them to make the effort needed to carry that out.
This was because the world needed management.
However, the 5 members of management were in utter shock over the response they received over the satellite connection they were just barely managing to maintain.
Their project had been completely frozen.
They were to destroy all the necessary data and have all the personnel escape.
“What is going on…?” someone said.
All of them were thinking the same thing.
Management had been in communication with the military on the American mainland. Liberal Arts City was at the disadvantage so they had requested assistance from the world’s greatest army that had given meaning to the term “world police”.
And that had been the response they had received.
“The research we are carrying out here is greatly advantageous to America as a whole. I see no reason to destroy the data. Why will the military not act on our behalf…?”
Did the military think that taking action would damage the tourists in the city as well? All five members of management felt that was a ridiculous reason. If one thought of the value given to each individual civilian, it was at a level where they could easily be ignored.
Or were they afraid of destroying the main research facility in Liberal Arts City by mistake? That was more realistic, but it was still odd. If they felt the research was important, they would not have frozen the project or told them to destroy the data. They would have at least told them to bring the fruits of their research back with them to the American mainland. Research data would normally not be sent over the network out of fear of it being hacked, but there were other ways of getting it to the mainland.
It did not make sense.
That was why every member of management was confused.
“Why won’t the military comply with our request?”
It was true that the Mixcoatls were powerful. They had thought they were fighting evenly up to that point, but the city had been so easily overwhelmed and they had been forced to go on the defensive. There was no denying the Mixcoatls’ strength.
However, it was not their job to know exactly how to resolve that problem.
Things such as true fear were not needed for management.
According to the tedious reports their subordinates had sent them, the Laveze Squadron was the center of Liberal Arts City’s defenses, but a certain level of damage had been done in the previous attack to the runways and servicing facilities needed to keep using the Laveze Squadron.
“It is true that the frequency of attacks has been rising significantly recently,” said someone within management, “but is it really enough for the entire nation of America to draw back?”
No. Thinking of the value of the research being carried out there, they should want to protect Liberal Arts City even if it turned into a long drawn-out war. Liberal Arts City had a special position within America. That large institution was seen as necessary for America. The leaders of the military and the senators would not abandon the city easily.
“They’re being pressured,” said someone else. “Someone is applying enough pressure from the side to overcome our influence.”
When they thought about it, that was the only answer, but they could not think of anyone who had enough influence to crush a request from management. No, there were actually a few people within America who were more powerful than management, but all those people were directly benefited by Liberal Arts City. They would not go out of their way to crush their request.
What had happened?
Just as every member of management was thinking on that same question, they heard a slight bit of static.
Normally, an outside line could not directly connect via the satellite. A secretary-like operator would be contacted first and management would need to give their permission before the line was put through to them.
This connection ignored all that.
An impudent voice reached managements ears.
“You seem to be troubled.”
With just that short sentence, every single member of management’s faces twisted into the exact same expression at the exact same time. The expression was one of displeasure.
They recognized that voice.
It belonged to someone who could greatly influence the world even more than management.
That person was the head of Japan’s psychic powers development institution, Academy City.
He was Board Chairman Aleister.
“You seem to be having some difficulties with some attacks from an unknown enemy. If you like, we could send some reinforcements.”
Upon hearing that, all of their thoughts moved in the same direction.
With that proposal and with that timing, Aleister had to have been the one who had prevented the American air force from sending reinforcements. They didn’t know how he had done it, but he must have. It was not normal for any Japanese aircraft to take military actions in American territory. Quite a bit of preliminary preparations had to be carried out before that could even be said as a joke.
“Don’t tell me,” said one of the members of management, “that you are the one behind these incidents. I do not think those Mixcoatls are made from normal scientific technology. We were thinking of using them because we thought they were different from the kind of things Academy City uses. But if they are yours…”
“Of course they are not,” Aleister said in an unconcerned voice.
There was no sign of him being surprised at being distrusted.
“But it is true that you have come into contact with one of the truths of the world.”
“You could also call it an agreement. At any rate, there is a world that the likes of you cannot understand.”
He was completely speaking down to them.
Clear hate wrapped around the five members of management who had somehow managed to be given special privileges within the country of the world police.
“Oh, right. I have a question for you,” said Aleister ignoring the awkward silence as if to say it was worthless. “If Liberal Arts City itself were to be turned to scraps floating in the sea, would you be able to play that off as a show?”
District 23 of Japan’s Academy City specialized in research in the aviation and space industries. It had countless runways prepared both large and small. In one area of runways, a number of 100-meter airplanes were lined up.
They were HsB-02s, Academy City’s supersonic stealth bombers.
Those monstrous planes could fly through the air at over 7000 kph, so they could reach America from Japan in just under 2 hours.
Those giant bombers were being filled with various types of explosives including special bombs that could destroy facilities deep within the earth and bombs called synchronous multilayer bombs that would utterly destroy only the area designated. That equipment was a variation known as Style 3. With just that, they could utterly annihilate something like a manmade island.
“…So the time has finally come to use this stuff,” said a young mechanic working on one of the bombers. The pilot sipping cold coffee next to him responded coldly.
“I don’t think something on Level A Standby will be sent out so easily.”
“Well, yeah, but…”
“You put that thing on the nose of the plane, right? From the briefing I received, apparently that’s a prototype AIM sensor. It can detect the location of a specific esper within the wide bombing area.”
“So the plan is to precisely bomb while avoiding the areas with the students?”
“That would be nice.” The pilot must not have been able to stand the flavor of the coffee because he flipped the cup upside down and poured the remaining drink onto the asphalt. “Given the performance of the sensor and the height from which we’ll be bombing, only an exceedingly strong and characteristic AIM diffusion field will be detectable. I’d say only something in the Level 5 class.”
“Wait, but that means…”
“I’m pretty sure there’s one of them down there. It seems they want to at least recover the most valuable one, but they don’t seem to care about the others. And even if we could detect all of the espers by their AIM diffusion fields, what about the teachers leading the trip there? Only the esper students emit AIM diffusion fields. …The higher ups clearly have no intention of saving all the others.” The pilot lightly shook the empty cup. “Just pray that fucking alarm doesn’t ring.”