Toaru Majutsu no Index:RailgunSS2 Chapter6
“A nuclear bomb!?” Misaka Mikoto yelled into her cell phone in the backroom of the occult convenience store.
Shirai Kuroko was on the other end.
“Yes. I don’t know how the rumor ended up changing like that. …It may have simply been that the original story had to do with a uranium crystal, so it made people think of a nuclear bomb.”
“…I wonder if this change was part of their plan.”
The problem was who it was that was going to intentionally cause an incident related to the urban legend.
And there was the fact that there were currently terrorists hidden in Academy City who were armed with weapons that used ultra high frequency electromagnetic waves. Not to mention that they had been brought in from the Russian shopping mall.
The ultra high frequency electromagnetic rifles were enough of a threat, but the possibility of the danger being much, much higher had just gotten a lot more likely.
“The shopping mall used the Code EIC system to spread the rumor. If the uranium ornament is part of the plan of the shopping mall’s higher ups, then they will cause an incident related to it. If their plan is to cause catastrophic damage to Academy City so the value of their unreliable scientific information on developing psychic powers rises astronomically, then the bigger the scale of the incident, the better for them…”
“It’s true that this would resolve everything much more simply than just creating small bits of damage with the ultra high frequency electromagnetic rifles and the harmful electromagnetic wave detector.”
“The ones trying to cause the incident may have revised the contents of the urban legend in order to detonate a nuke…”
Lessar operated the screen of a smartphone with her index finger and then lightly struck the table with a corner of the device. When Mikoto looked over, Lessar showed her the screen.
It showed the search results from a search engine.
There was a list of sites and boards that had the keywords “uranium ornament” in them. The number of results was already beyond 100,000.
Mikoto started thinking that the rumor must have really started to spread through the Russian shopping mall too, but then she realized she was wrong.
The search engine Lessar was using was not a local one that only searched the shopping mall. It was a worldwide one.
(…What? Are the effects of Code EIC expanding?)
“Kuroko, have any actual nuclear materials or bombs been found in Academy City?”
“Not yet. But Uiharu is…a colleague of mine is tracking their escape route. I assume they have not already made into a bomb and I do not think they can put one together while on the run.”
“But it’s still possible. There’s even the risk of damage caused by having the enriched uranium leave its container in the process of suppressing them.” Mikoto thought for a bit. “What about evacuating the residents of Academy City?”
“This wouldn’t be so difficult if we could do that. If we made this information public, it would cause a panic throughout the city which would create secondary damages. If all 2.3 million residents tried to leave at once, the transportation facilities would be paralyzed and it would all fall apart near the gates.”
“Also, the majority of Anti-Skill is skeptical of the existence of the nuclear bomb. They are interpreting this as the terrorists with the ultra high frequency electromagnetic rifles trying to bring the city into a panic so Anti-Skill will be unable to function properly allowing them to escape.”
Mikoto felt that was being too calm given the situation, but it was true that they had no proof of a nuclear bomb in Academy City. It was just an urban legend.
“Understood. Contact me again once Anti-Skill begins their suppression operation.”
“What will you do, onee-sama?”
“I’ll do what I can,” Mikoto sighed. “The people truly behind this are in this city. If I defeat them, I should be able to get accurate information on what the terrorists in Academy City have and what they plan to do.”
She hung up.
The situation had gotten even more serious. The new crisis made the living bombs using special ants pale in comparison.
“That certainly seems bad,” said Lessar as her fingers raced across the smartphone once more.
She sounded as if the situation did not affect her. For a foreigner like Lessar, it may have seemed like nothing more than a war in a distant country.
“The urban legend that had been spreading through both the shopping mall and Academy City has begun to spread throughout the entire world. Someone is clearly behind it. I don’t know what they’re trying to do, but it seems the window to ‘outside’ has been opened in Code EIC. …They likely can’t conveniently control the media outside the shopping mall in the same way, but they can provide a stimulus through various media with a time delay by using ‘foreign news’ as a substitute.”
Even just within the shopping mall, Code EIC had caused a rather large problem.
If its effects spread to the entire world, the scale of the incidents would skyrocket.
Baseless data could have an effect on the physical world.
Just by adding in data, they could destroy people’s minds.
“Before, you spoke like you knew how Code EIC was controlled. You said you wanted to explain it, but that there wasn’t enough time.”
“I wasn’t trying to put on airs of importance or anything. That just happened to be when the remote controlled snowplow drove into the building.”
“But now’s fine, right?” Mikoto said cutting her off. “Tell me right here and now what is at the center of Code EIC. We need to go directly destroy the source of the urban legends.”
Mikoto exited the occult convenience store and sensed that something was off. It was an unpleasant prickling feeling in her skin. It was an odd sense of tension where the slightest sound seemed as if it would set off bloodshed like during a standoff between a police squad and a group of people about to riot.
“Wait, what is going on out here…?”
“Well, Academy City is not the only place filled with urban legends,” Lessar said and laughed. “Nee hee hee. The people in this shopping mall have reached their mental saturation point. They can’t distinguish between the truth and lies, so when they hear a rumor that a nuclear bomb in an unknown location could detonate at any time, they have begun to take it seriously. That’s how it seems to me, at least.”
Suddenly, Mikoto heard a slight noise.
They were in an area filled with small tenant-owned shops and a large white man had come out of one of those shops.
There was an odd light in his eyes.
Fear, anger, and joy at being permitted to destroy could be seen in that light.
When he saw Mikoto, he first muttered something in Russian.
Then, he let out an explosive shout.
“He’s shouting ‘I’ve found her’.”
“You don’t have to tell me that! I can understand Russian!! More importantly, what’s with that reaction!? Did the security guards release a picture of me as the suspect in the orange case!?”
“Hmm, it seems the details of the uranium ornament story were altered for easiest use for the Academy City version and the shopping mall version. But I think that change happened in the process of spreading from person to person rather than by using Code EIC to control it.”
“Just saying the people of the shopping center are villains running a black market wouldn’t hold much interest here, so the story ended up changing. Here the story says some enriched uranium was sold here, but that it was brought in by someone from Academy City who is trying to cause a nuclear explosion here in order to get rid of the shopping mall.”
“In other words…”
As Mikoto started to take over the explanation, the large shouting white man reached for his waist. There was a holster attached to his belt.
“…they may have been keeping my personal information a secret up to the day of the demonstration, but there could still have been some partial rumors such that I was a girl and around middle school age.”
While looking at an oddly small handgun that did not suit the large man, Lessar spoke.
“I suppose right now any Academy City Asian middle school girls will be treated like terrorists in this city.”
Mikoto and Lessar moved at the same instant as if being repelled by the other.
As they moved quickly to the left and the right leaping behind nearby pillars, a dry gunshot exploded out.
“I don’t like this society of guns!! Why would you let just anyone have a gun!?”
“That’s not really something a girl who can fire a coin at three times the speed of sound should be saying.”
“The problem is,” Mikoto said changing the subject, “less about this cheerful man and his gun and more about whether these gunshots will rouse up the rest of the people.”
“Then what are you going to do?”
“I will of course…”
While multiple bullets caused sparks to fly from the pillar she was using as a shield, Mikoto calmly watched the motions of her target without shutting her eyes.
“…quickly silence him.”
Immediately after she said that, an electronic noise came from right beside the white man.
What looked like a human figure jumped in his peripheral vision.
The man immediately looked over there, but then he froze.
There was only a wall there.
The man had turned his vision to an image of Mikoto on the Semipublic AR.
(His aim has gone astray!!)
Immediately afterwards, the sound of building materials breaking could be heard.
It was coming from above.
A power cable as thick as a thumb ran across inside the ceiling. And that cable was attached using iron fixtures at even intervals.
Mikoto magnetically manipulated those fixtures to indirectly move the power cable.
The white man stopped moving again more in shock over the fact that the cable was unnaturally floating than at the destruction being done.
The sound of something slicing through the air could be heard.
A strike swooping up from below knocked the handgun from the man’s hand. However, that was not enough to neutralize him. Mikoto continued to swing the cable around.
Five consecutive strikes assaulted the man.
The man used his thick arms to cover his face and upper body and Mikoto darted from behind the pillar and dashed toward the man. By ducking under his guarding arms, she tackled him as if trying to embrace his waist which knocked the man to the floor.
A dull sound exploded out.
“Okay!! Now I—!!”
Mikoto was about to bind the man’s arms and legs using some smaller cables, but she suddenly froze in shock.
The man who had been struck to the ground was still stretching out his arms.
Normally, the blow should have knocked him out.
At the very least, he should have been having trouble breathing.
“He’s in a riotous state! He’s full of adrenaline, but his reason has been compromised!! The Code EIC rumors have agitated him. It’s possible that he can’t feel normal pain!!” yelled Lessar from a short distance.
In order to avoid having her legs grabbed, Mikoto stepped back and put some distance between her and the man.
With his body leaning to the side, the white man slowly tried to stand back up. Also, the handgun was now back in his hand.
“What am I supposed to do about this…?”
Just being prepared to knock someone unconscious or stop their movements was not enough.
Most likely, they would still come for her even if she broke their arms and legs. Most likely, even if she damaged their organs, they would keep moving until the moment their hearts stopped. To stop the rioters for sure, she would need even more violence.
In other words, she could not stop them unless she killed them.
And she did not have time to hesitate.
She saw a few more men and women peering around a corner.
They had most likely headed over after hearing the gunfire. At first, they looked shocked upon seeing Mikoto and the white man, but their expressions soon changed.
(This is bad.)
Mikoto felt a chill run down her spine.
She could practically see an illusion of a small fire spreading throughout the area.
“Help me out!! She’s a monster! She suddenly came and struck me while I was just walking along!!” the white man yelled out in anger to clinch things.
Mikoto had no time to cry out in protest.
The expressions of the men and women who were glaring at her (the terms peering or looking no longer accurately expressed what they were doing) from around the corner were so twisted they barely looked human.
Mikoto took swift action upon seeing one of them holding the kind of axe that was used by firefighters or for emergency escape.
She magnetically manipulated the rebar at her feet to cause the floor to cave in.
With a great noise, Mikoto fell down to the next floor down.
“If you’re going to run, give me a sign first,” Lessar said in a carefree voice.
Mikoto had no idea when the girl had managed to get so close to her.
But she had no time to worry about it.
“Oh dear. This is bad, this is bad. …I’m not even close to joking when I say this area is really, really bad.”
“It looks like everyone came rushing here hoping to turn their life around in one shot. The gun shop corner is pretty much being looted.”
“Ugehgeh!! Why did we fall down into an area full of guns!?”
Mikoto’s eyes widened.
It seemed to be a place packed full of all the gun shops registered with the shopping mall, but they were selling ice cream like normal right next to it all. It was being treated just like the bookstore corner. The feelings toward guns were completely different than in Japan.
“I thought the shopping mall was supposed to be divided between necessary daily items and the entertainment or luxury items!”
“What are you talking about? A rifle is necessary for daily life.”
“In this country, things don’t get to the level of entertainment or a hobby until you get up to a rocket launcher or a Gatling gun.”
“Oh, god damn it… Next you’re gonna tell me people here fire railguns for fun.”
“Anyway, things could get bad if this looting continues.”
“Are you saying something even worse is going to happen!?”
“With their blood rushing to their heads like this, I doubt they’re intentionally going for it, but there is a large vault in the underground space further back in the gun shop corner. It’s about the size of a hangar from a private airport.”
“What’s inside the vault?”
“Viner,” Lessar quickly responded. “It’s filled with weapons scheduled to appear in a summer weapons show that specializes in ground weapons. There are weapons from the 14 major companies in the world as well as Academy City. There is more of a difference than you would ever want to know between these ‘everyday necessities’ out here and what is in there.”
“You’ve gotta be kidding me…”
Tons of rifles were neatly lined up in large glass showcases as if they were brand name bags. The storage areas in the back were packed full of guns and ammunition.
But the glass had been smashed to pieces.
High-pitched alarms hurt their ears.
No one had turned around when Mikoto had come crashing down from above because they were causing similar noises themselves.
Dozens of pairs of hands grabbed at brand new rifles like people fighting over items during a good sale. Ammunition was spilled all over the floor. Some people ran around while shoving multiple guns into shopping carts, some people stuck handguns into their belts, and some people grabbed up a bunch of rifles and then were punched from the side by someone else who took all the rifles from them. No mercy was shown to anyone regardless of age or gender. Guns were flying all over the place like when each customer was limited to one package of eggs so people had their kids line up to buy some, too.
Mikoto’s face paled at that scene that was outside of common Japanese knowledge.
“…Are they stupid? I could understand one or two, but what are they planning to do with an armful of guns!?”
“I wonder if the precious metals are being stolen in the same way or if the people here are leveling themselves up in order to attack stores with more value. At any rate, it does not look like things are going to be quiet.”
It may have been a mistake to start speaking in Japanese.
The people had not reacted when the ceiling had come crashing down, but their gazes and the barrels of their guns all pointed in Mikoto’s direction when she spoke.
“Wow. An enemy sure is a powerful thing when it comes to justifying crimes!”
“This is no time to be giving carefree commentary on the situation!!”
Mikoto pulled on Lessar’s arm and jumped behind a nearby shelf. After she did, she came to the shocking realization that the shelf was filled with ammunition, but it was too late to hide elsewhere.
Immediately afterwards, the sound of gunfire followed them.
The relatively heavy looking shelves and the products lined up on them were mercilessly pierced by the bullets. Their opponents were firing military rifles rather than handguns. The shelves would not act as a shield against that.
Mikoto complained quietly as she jumped behind another shelf that had everything from ammunition accessories to something like a tripod.
“What the hell!? That old man is firing at us with a monstrous look on his face!! Someone needs to stop him before he collapses from high blood pressure!!”
“It’s lucky those are downgraded civilian models. If they had proper full auto functionality, this truly would’ve been bad.”
“Even with semi-auto, it’s still pretty much a constant stream of bullets with that many guns.”
Their opponents were not soldiers under a unified command. They were just worked up rioters. It seemed a few of them were trying to circle around, but Mikoto was more worried about them taking each other out in friendly fire.
Mikoto looked around the area while rushing out of the area lined with shelves, across the open hallway, and into another area lined with shelves.
“Where are the security guards?”
“They won’t be able to put out this fire. The fire has already spread to the dry grass. As the number of people with guns grows, not even the security guards will be able to do anything about it. All they can probably do is isolate the fire so it doesn’t make its way to the truly important petrochemical complex.”
That city was noisily crumbling.
The instant the power balance between those protecting the peace of the city and those destroying it reversed, it was as if oil scattered on the floor had caught fire. The curtain opened on a nightmarish stage where people devoured other people.
Mikoto realized her entire body was trembling.
That violence was in a completely different dimension from the times she had gotten in fights with delinquents in the back alleys of Academy City. If it gained enough momentum, it would just swallow everything up. Both the good and the bad, both the assailant and the victim, and everyone else would sink down into the sea of blood they had created with their own hands.
“I have to stop this…” Mikoto muttered as she stopped her feet that were carrying her from one row of shelves to another. “I have to stop this before those guns make it everywhere in this city!!”
“Personally, I think that’s rather pointless,” Lessar said in an almost ridiculing manner.
It was possible that was not the first time the mysterious girl had been in a situation like that.
“Things are already flowing in that direction. It has permeated every nook and cranny of the city. Even if you manage to suppress everyone in this gun shop corner, it will not stop the overall disturbance. Plenty of people already have handguns.”
“Then what?” Mikoto said speaking overly quickly due to her nervousness. “It’s true that there are probably people who already have handguns and that defeating the people in this gun shop corner will not stop all of this primitive violence. But if all the guns here get scattered around, the density of the violence will rise significantly. It will get to the point where no one will even be able to survive even by a miracle. That’s why I have to at least stop that from happening. I need to bring the violence down to a level where the word miracle can at least still have its place.”
“…Um. Are you aware that you’ll be doing nothing more than satisfying yourself as long as you don’t resolve the fundamental problem?”
“I know, I know.”
“And are you aware that you’ll be risking your life in order to satisfy the feelings of a single individual?”
“I know that too,” Mikoto said while looking Lessar in the eye. “That’s why I’m not asking you to stay with me. You need to head to the facility with Code EIC’s centralized control in it as originally planned. We can’t let this riot spread any further, but that’s also why we can’t just ignore Code EIC either.”
“You say it likes it easy…” Lessar thought for a bit and then spoke quietly. “You’re suggesting we split up, but how am I supposed to escape in this situation? All of those rioters have rifles. Not to mention that we’re pretty much surrounded.”
Lessar frowned and Mikoto tapped her foot on the ground.
“There’s a convenient duct passing through down below. However, if we both went inside and disappeared from view, they would notice right away.”
But if they split up there and one of them went on a rampage, the rioters’ focus would be drawn to that one. In that time, the other could safely sneak to the center of Code EIC and destroy it.
“…At the base, these rioters are in a panic stemming from the urban legend of the uranium ornament, so they may calm down if Code EIC is stopped.”
“We have no proof of that. That many people is enough to wear even you down. If you go all out and run around expecting them to stop, it may be too late by the time you realize they aren’t going to stop.”
Mikoto understood that danger.
After all, she was the primary target of the rioters. If she made a mistake, she would definitely be given a long, painful death in a flood of primitive violence.
Understanding that quite well, Mikoto spoke.
“…That isn’t for you to worry about.”
“Seriously? This kind of hot-blooded mood just isn’t part of my character, so I’m not going to go along with it.”
“Then get going.”
“Chehh,” Lesser muttered before pulling a four-bladed spear-like weapon from somewhere.
She stabbed it into the floor and one of the blades passed through the gap around the square duct cover. She used the principle of leverage to easily open it.
“I won’t shed any tears if you die, so try to stay alive.”
“I’ll haunt you if I do, so at least tell me where the center of Code EIC is.”
“It’s in an underground facility called the stock market center. The stocks of all the countless stores registered in this shopping mall are traded there and deals are made using money from all over the world.”
“I see. A large scale communications network needs a processor that can calculate that massive amount of data instantly. That would be perfect to act as the center of Code EIC.”
“Given the location, it really does seem like they intended to spread their reach beyond the shopping mall in the end. It gives me a bad feeling and it fits with this disturbance.”
After saying that, Lessar jumped into the square hole.
Just her head was sticking out.
“Okay, I look forward to seeing you again assuming it isn’t as a ghost.”
“Sorry, but people from Academy City don’t believe in spiritual phenomena, so if I’m going to haunt you, I’ll do it scientifically.”
Lessar ducked her head down and Mikoto moved the square cover with her foot so it closed up the entrance.
Mikoto then heard a creaking sound.
It was not coming from just one place. The sound seemed to be surrounding her and it seemed to be slowly approaching her.
“Now then…” Bluish-white sparks flew from her bangs. “I thinks it’s time for a fun demonstration of just how powerful Academy City’s #3 is.”
The security guard named Enirya G. Algonskaya shouted into her radio.
“I already told you!! Bring down all the functioning shutters!! Cut off all the communication connections!! Don’t let those taking part in the riots gather beyond a certain level! They’re only civilians! We don’t need to be afraid of them if we can get them in a situation where we can attack and restrain them individually!!”
She instinctually ducked down when she heard some dry gunshots.
Sparks flew from the barricade made from a car dealer’s display model.
(…Dammit. They’re using handguns, but those aren’t normal bullets. If I hadn’t packed that stuff into the car, they would be piercing straight through.)
The normally spacious inside of the car was filled with iron scraps. They were square masses of packed together crushed cans that had been gathered for recycling. Even something usually weak like that could be effective if you gathered together enough of them.
And it was the same with the civilian rioters.
“The riots are even now cropping up in more areas!! They’re mostly around the north and east gates, but they’re heading inward. At this rate, it’s going to spread throughout the entire city!!”
“This is Unit C. It seems they have realized that we are using nonlethal rubber bullets! Their actions are clearly getting bolder!! We can’t deal with rapid fire handguns with this equipment!! Even if we’re wearing bulletproof vests, we’ll be unable to continue if we keep getting hit!!”
(So we’re at our limit…)
Enirya’s face turned bitter.
Protecting the peace was only effective in a situation where one chased after the minority that broke the rules while the majority followed the rules. If every single person in the city stopped listening to them, their effectiveness became paralyzed.
Once that happened, all that was left was to use weapons until one side was silenced.
And on top of that…
(We’re being pushed back more by the difference in numbers than in the quality of our equipment… They have more strength right now. If they realize that, the rioters will gain the sense of superiority that being in the majority brings. Then words and actions will not be able to get through to them!!)
“God damn it…” Enirya spat out. “What are we doing!? Following the manual as to what gets top priority? Escorting the VIPs to safety? How many civilians do you think will be killed while we’re protecting those old men that can only think of their own safety!?”
“I can’t contact those higher ups,” said a colleague of hers who was hiding behind the makeshift barricade. “They ordered us to secure escape route C and allow the priority members to escape to safety, but ever since then I haven’t heard a word from them. They’re supposed to have transmitters on them to tell where they are, but….”
“Do you think they were swallowed up by the rioters?”
“I don’t want to think they’re that stupid. If they were, I’d want to kill myself for following their orders for so long.”
“Same here,” Enirya said while checking on how many spare magazines she had. “Most likely, the higher ups are doing something in secret that they don’t feel the need to inform us of. They’re probably carrying out some master plan that does not involve stopping the rioters. In other words, they’re probably just leaving us here to die.”
“What do we do?” said her colleague while carefully choosing his words. “Do we just carry out the role of the dog that follows the order of ‘stay’ until it starves to death?”
“Our duty is to protect the peace of this city,” Enirya responded without a second’s delay. “I didn’t quit my job as a police inspector and come here just to curry the favor of some old men.”
If they could quit guarding the escape route for the higher ups who probably weren’t even coming, they had a lot more options. As she had said before, the rioters were civilians. Just by laying traps and falling back, they could neutralize and corner a group that size.
What should they do in order to rob the rioters of their fighting spirit without killing them while at the same time avoid having any of the security guards getting swallowed up by the rioters?
Enirya was envisioning the layout of the facility in her mind when she heard a new piece of information.
“I have a report from Unit G that is working to suppress the rioters near the gun shop area!!”
“Dammit, has that area fallen to them!? All the ground weapons for the weapons show are being stored there!!”
“No, the samples for Viner are safe.” Her colleague sounded as if he could not believe what he was saying. “I can’t confirm it on the surveillance cameras, but…it seems a single civilian is fighting to hold back the rioters attacking the gun shop area!!”
“It’s Misaka Mikoto.”
Enirya was completely dumbfounded and her colleague continued.
“It seems she’s working to prevent those deadly weapons from spreading through the very shopping mall that was chasing after her.”
Enirya had a few thoughts in that instant.
“…Is there a path to the gun shop area?”
“Are you planning to get her help? Despite what she’s doing, she’s still the primary suspect, you know!?”
“No, not that.” Enirya spat out. “These riots seemed to have been sparked by the urban legend of the uranium ornament. And their goal is the death of the girl who is supposedly trying to detonate a nuke.”
“You don’t mean…”
“All of these rioters have their eyes on that girl, so we need to restrain them before the worst happens.”
Most likely, the riots would not stop even if Misaka Mikoto were truly killed. Once that primitive violence gained momentum, it would continue for some time before their desires died down.
But at the same time, that girl was at the center of the riots.
That girl could greatly change the direction of the riot. She could lead to a method of controlling them. They could not lose that. They needed to use it.
“The target is continually moving around rather than staying in one place.”
“Of course she is. If she didn’t, she would be swallowed up by the waves of people,” Enirya said with a look of disinterest. “Use the surveillance equipment to determine where the rioting is at its strongest. That will be where we will find that girl.”
Misaka Mikoto jumped out from behind a battered shelf.
At the same time, multiple gunshots chased after her.
Intense bluish-white sparks flew from her entire body starting with her bangs. The flash and roar were just like that from actual lightning. The tremendous light and noise pounded an extremely primal fear into the hearts of the rioters that were staring at her through their gun sights.
Simply put, it was similar to a stun grenade.
However, the problem was that they held rifles or handguns in their hands. The flash and roar did make them flinch away and it succeeded in taking a few of their senses from them, but at the same time, their trigger fingers pulled back almost reflexively.
Even more bullets flew through the air.
Mikoto had been heading for a nearby shelf, but she gave up on that and used magnetism to forcibly pull the shelf closer.
The rifle bullets could easily pierce straight through the shelf.
However, Mikoto used magnetism to crush the shelf raising its density. As a result, it just barely managed to stop the deadly bullets.
Mikoto then threw the crushed shelf at the group of rioters.
Multiple people were knocked away as if they were bowling pins.
With a universally understood cry, men and women continued to charge for her despite having blood flowing from their foreheads. It did not matter whether they held guns. Mikoto had been determined to be pure evil, so they were mercilessly heading for her as if they enjoyed the fact that they had made that determination.
(The lowering of their ability to think has dulled their sense of pain… Dammit, this is practically a scene from a zombie movie!!)
The crackling of bluish-white sparks exploded out.
A high voltage current flew straight ahead and finally stole the use of his limbs from a rioter and knocked him unconscious.
Or so it should have.
Despite having collapsed, the rioter’s fingertips were wriggling which caused even Mikoto to gasp in surprise.
Mikoto heard a creaking sound from the side.
As soon as she heard it, multiple shelves from the gun shops collapsed all at once as if they had been hit by heavy machinery.
At that time, Mikoto remembered a documentary on tropical oceans she had seen.
More accurately, she recalled the sea anemones.
What reminded her of them were all the hands, hands, hands, hands, hands, hands, hands, hands, hands, hands, hands, hands, hands, hands!!!!!
“…!! What happened to your guns!?”
Mikoto magnetically manipulated one of the shelves that had been knocked over. She sent it sliding across the floor at high speed as if it was sliding on ice. It took out the rioters’ feet knocking them over.
But that was not enough.
She then heard a metallic click behind her.
“I didn’t say that because I was hoping you would bring the guns back!!”
Multiple gunshots rang out.
Mikoto dropped down her hand that was up in the air while magnetically manipulating the rebar in the ceiling. A large amount of building materials came crashing down like a shutter creating a shield against the bullets.
An unpleasant sweat appeared over Mikoto’s body.
There were some rioters as well as Mikoto along the path where the bullets would have gone. They truly were just a gathering of strangers, so they did not care about friendly fire.
She could not continue stopped in one place.
She had to stop the guns from being spread out from that gun shop area, but getting swallowed up by the waves of people would not help anything.
Mikoto gritted her back teeth and moved swiftly. She fired a few more flashes and roars in the place of stun grenades and used all her speed to leave that gun shop area.
She cut across a grocery corner and into a do-it-yourself carpentry corner while a few bullets were fired nearby.
(I can’t do anything if I don’t neutralize their guns.)
Mikoto ducked down and ran between shelves while covering her head from the remnants of the products being blown away by the rifle bullets.
(My power can do a lot of things, but it’s easier to use by strengthening it with items gathered from the area than just using it by itself. Even its namesake, the Railgun, is like that…)
Mikoto practically slid into the corner she was headed for and grabbed the package she was going for. It was a large plastic bag about the size of a bag of rice.
(And so is my magnetic control using iron sand.)
Inside the bag were business use hand warmers.
The package held a few dozen of them and Mikoto used magnetism to rip them apart from the inside.
There were multiple types of hand warmers, but those ones had iron powder inside.
“Personally, I find iron sand easier to use, but I guess this is no time to be picky.”
She heard a sound similar to when an insect flew by her ear.
The advantage of iron sand or iron powder was that it could easily be interfered with using magnetism. If she made it vibrate at high speed, she could cut objects as if with a chainsaw and she could change it into the form of a sword, a spear, or a whip at will.
For example, it was not difficult to send out orders that caused masses smaller than a speck to be fired into the barrels or the ejection ports of the guns to tear them apart from the inside.
The sound of objects slicing through the air continued.
However, the sound was not that of rifle bullets.
It was the sound of the “bullets” of iron powder Mikoto was firing being swallowed up by the barrels of the rioter’s guns.
(This will work.)
She was now sure of that as she started to run again.
This time, she was not trying to flee. She was running in order to fight.
(This way, I can neutralize all of the guns being looted from that area! I can avoid the worst possible situation!!)
Just as she thought that, Mikoto sensitively felt an invisible current in the atmosphere. It was not a physical current of air. It was the current of emotions that had spread throughout the area and given rise to that rioting.
It had chaotically spread through that area like a giant balloon being filled to its limits within an airtight room.
However, it was now as if a gap had been created.
The flowing feelings were leaving for somewhere else. The tense feelings started to move off into the distance.
At first, Mikoto thought it was just the rioters faltering at the beginning of her counterattack.
But it was not that.
That current of emotions was…
(The target of the violence…has changed to something else?)
Mikoto frowned while continuing to destroy the rioters’ rifles from the inside.
(The Russian version of the uranium ornament story had me as the ultimate villain. Why would they start to leave their primary target alone…?)
Had the violence advanced to the point where their original reasons no longer mattered? If so, it could be a major problem in its own way, but…
Mikoto suddenly realized something.
(It’s possible this rioting is being caused by Code EIC. What if it was caused in order to stop us from reaching the center of the incident…?)
Mikoto stopped running without even realizing it.
(That would mean the target of the rioting had moved to Lessar who’s even closer to the center of it all!!)
Mikoto was not the one who was truly in the most danger.
It was Lessar who was heading for the center of Code EIC.
She had finally realized that fact, but dozens of rioters were still heading her way like an avalanche.
“Out of the way…”
Sparks crackled around Mikoto.
A large amount of iron dust writhed like a living being.
“Get out of my waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!”
Lessar was running down a long narrow passageway.
The narrow duct had not continued on straight to her destination. There were areas where she had to come out above ground. And even if it had continued on, she would not have just headed through it. If the rioters had noticed her while she was travelling through that narrow area, she would have been trapped.
As such, Lessar had headed a certain distance through the duct and then come back up onto the first floor.
“I expected this wouldn’t be exactly easy…”
She ran at full speed without even glancing behind her.
“…but actually experiencing it is something else entirely!!”
It was like the scenes common to adventure-style action movies where the hero was chased by a giant steel ball.
However, there were dozens of men and women chasing Lessar in place of the steel ball. As they had legs, they did not need to roll, but the front row would be knocked down and trampled and then the next row would get tripped up in the same way. This made it look like she was being chased by a giant sphere made of human beings.
Lessar could feel something rather cold running down her spine while an enjoyment of the thrill somewhere in her heart caused a smile to come out on her face.
(This is bad. Very, very bad. I’m pretty sure I’ve still got a ways to go before I reach the stock market center where the center of Code EIC is.)
She could feel a vague sense of cruelty chasing after her in addition to the physical pursuers.
(It looks like my approach was detected and they divided up the rioters to have some go after me.)
Lessar had so readily split up with Mikoto because she had expected that to happen.
But suddenly Lessar saw a large group of rioters flowing out up ahead in the long passageway. She was being attacked from both sides. The knives and fire extinguishers in their hands seemed even more dangerous than guns that could kill in one shot.
(Wow! Their fingers are fidgeting around like crazy!!)
Lessar suddenly changed directions and leapt to the other side of a metal door partway down the passageway. She sealed the door with the table and other heavy objects within and was finally aware of just what kind of situation she was in. She was fed up with it.
The room was small.
It was not a place for customers. Most likely, cleaning supplies were stored inside the room. There were no other exits.
She was isolated.
But Lessar completely forgot about that kind of issue.
A greater danger lay before her eyes.
“Why…?” she muttered. “Why is there a magical bomb set up in this city of science?”
A stone big enough to just barely be held in one arm lay in the center of the room. No, technically, it was not a stone. It was a stone of charms that was created from dozens, hundreds, even thousands of parchments glued together.
(…It’s using a misinterpretation of Revelation. I guess it’s a large scale bomb that uses the sulfur fire. Well, it’s a fairly popular method to change that description to an attack method.)
Sulfur fire was of course not something physical or chemical.
In that case, it was easier to think of it as something that gave one lasting and intense pain by giving a burning pain to the skin and damage to the internal organs.
It could not be seen.
It ignored all obstacles.
And yet it was a means of attack that would definitely damage every person within range.
The bomb did not kill. Instead, it gave people incurable pain.
(If this “invisible bomb” were detonated here while there is a rumor going around of someone hidden in the city trying to detonate a nuclear bomb, it’s clear what the rioters would mistake it for with their dulled judgement.)
While looking at the sulfur fire made up of a giant mass of charms, Lessar stuck her hand into her pocket. She pulled out a card-shaped communications spiritual item made out of thick paper.
“What is it, Lessar?”
“I’ve found a bit of a Revelation-ish bomb. Is this you or the others’ doing by any chance?”
“How about you ask me again? I’ll give you 100 spankings.”
“Hmm, I see…”
“So are you saying there’s another cabal hidden here besides us?”
“Pretty much,” Lessar said before smacking herself on the forehead. “Achahh!”
A banging noise could continually be heard. The rioters were touchingly acting as a group in order to destroy the metal door.
“This means this whole situation is likely to get a bit more complicated…”
“Lessar,” Bayloupe cut in stopping Lessar’s thoughts. “Sorry for cutting in while you were getting heated up, but I don’t think the merits for us outweigh the risks here.”
“Even though this has spread beyond a purely science side problem and has begun to involve the magic side as well?”
“That would be a job for the official groups like Necessarius. It does not fit our goal. There is some kind of plan being carried out in this city and some magicians besides us may be involved, but there is no need for us to clean up for them. There are no merits to match the risks, so we need to quickly retreat.”
“…I’m guessing this means I can’t expect any reinforcements.”
“Even if we save the people in this city, it will not benefit us in any way.”
“Then I have no choice,” said Lessar admitting her colleague was right. “Bayloupe.”
“Let’s have a real fight once this is over. You can use your Gjallarhorn or whatever else you want.”
Having said what she had to say, Lessar cut off the connection.
She did a general analysis of the sulfur fire’s construction by sight.
(…The construction itself is simple, but the amount will make dismantling it take some time. It looks like it’ll take between 15 and 30 minutes.)
She heard a great thud coming from the metal door. The door was beginning to dent inwards.
(The problem is that they don’t look like they’re going to give me that much time.)
But she could not just leave it alone and wait for it to detonate either.
Lessar pulled out a few Nihon Daruma “souvenirs” from her pocket. She smeared a yellow chemical on her thumb, muttered a spell under her breath, and then traced her thumb across one of the charms making up the stone-like object.
The charm fell off like a dried leaf.
(I estimate there are about 30,000 of them. I’ve simplified the dismantling ceremony down as much as possible, but I still may not make it in time.)
As Lessar’s fingers raced along, the charms peeled off one by one.
However, she was indeed going to be too slow.
A violent din rang from the metal door clearly declaring her time limit. The door was already bent and multiple pairs of eyes could be seen peering through the gap.
She guessed the straining sound she heard was coming from the hinges.
Suddenly, an L-shaped crowbar stabbed through the gap between the door and the wall. With a cracking noise, the gap started to widen due to the principle of leverage.
The door was not going to last.
If the rioters came pouring in before she had dismantled the sulfur fire, all of the civilians in the area would take the full brunt of the magical bomb.
Lessar was thinking that, but…
Suddenly, a gunshot rang out and the crowbar was knocked away.
The gunshot had not come from outside the door. It had clearly come from within the room. But there was no one inside the room besides Lessar.
Lessar turned toward the source of the noise in shock.
“Moving through ducts is a basic part of action movies.”
A square portion of the ceiling was removed and the upper half of a woman appeared upside down through it. They were in a Russian facility but the handgun the woman held was a foreign gun, so it may have been a favorite of hers.
(So this city has ducts running through both above and below.)
“Who are you?”
“I am Enirya G. Algonskaya of the security guards,” said the redheaded woman giving a simple introduction. “I rushed over here thinking Misaka Mikoto was here, but it looks like I was wrong. At any rate, it seems you’re trapped here. I’ll protect you, so grab onto my hand.”
“I’d really, really like to do so, but…”
“Do you know what this is I’m dismantling? Nn, I guess you wouldn’t. Well…just think of it like a time bomb filled with a liquid explosive. If I just leave it here, those vigorous rioters will be completely blown way.”
“A bomb? …God damn it,” Enirya cursed.
She pulled her upper body back inside the duct and then dropped down into the small room right side up.
“Do you have the skills to dismantle it? Since you’re already touching it, I sure as hell hope you’re a specialist.”
“You don’t need to worry about that. More importantly…”
A great din started coming from the metal door once more.
“Could you do something about them?”
“I’ll do my best.”
Enirya stuck the barrel of her gun into the gap between the door and the wall and pulled the trigger without hesitating. Dry gunshots rang out and a sense of faltering could be sensed from the other side.
“How long is it going to take to dismantle that thing!?”
“Fifteen minutes if we’re lucky. Thirty if we’re not.”
Even as Lessar said that, her hands were sending charm after charm falling from the stone-like mass. The great amount of fallen parchments looked like a pile of feathers.
Enirya fired through the gap in the door and seemed to be contacting someone over her radio. She was likely sending a security guard unit to the passageway outside the door. But would they make it in time? Could they prepare enough strength to restrain the group of people who had become a mass of cruelty?
Suddenly, a new grinding sound became audible.
It was coming from the other side of the wall.
The wall opposite the door.
“Uuh… I have a very bad feeling about what that means.”
“You’re one of the security guards that was there back then, right? Then you should recognize that sound. Don’t you remember hearing that when the remote controlled equipment showed up?”
“That’s the sound of…treads…?”
Enirya stopped firing and turned around toward the opposite wall.
Immediately afterwards, the heavy equipment plowed through the reinforced concrete wall and appeared amid a cloud of dust.
It was a small snowplow.
This time it was not equipped with a light machine gun and it had no explosives on it. It was simply being driven by one of the enraged rioters.
Lessar and Enirya jumped to the walls on the left and right as the snowplow cut through the center. It plowed through the table and metal door on the other side of the room and continued into the passageway filled with rioters.
Even so, the next noise was that of cheering.
The rioters were letting out joyous voices at the fact that they could resume their violence now that the door was out of their way.
Enirya fired a few shots, but it was meaningless.
Countless rioters charged in through the two holes opened up in the walls.
Lessar did not stop her dismantling job and she was forced to wrap her arms around the bomb as if she were trying to protect it.
She felt her throat dry up, but there was nowhere left to flee.
She would be swallowed up.
It was pointless to ask Enirya for help. The woman was about to disappear amidst the crowd just as she was.
They both flew at her and pain exploded just beneath her skin. Before the feeling could disappear, the next strike would come. And the next, and the next, and the next. The number of blows accumulated in no time at all. She tried to ball up and protect her organs as much as possible, but she wasn’t sure how effective her efforts were. She was saved by the fact that the rioters were packed in too tightly, so they did not have room to aim their guns at her. However, being driven closer and closer to death by their bare hands was a hell of its own.
The situation may have been truly bad.
Lessar noticed an iron-like flavor welling up from deep in her throat. She could tell her thoughts were growing dull. Her pain exceeded a certain level and she began to feel nothing more than a vague heat.
That thought vaguely entered her head.
The mass she was holding in her hands fell to pieces. The final explosion-causing charm lost its effects and slipped from her hands.
With even her pain in a vague state, Lessar smiled slightly.
And then something flew by at high speed piercing through the walls on the left and the right that had not yet been destroyed.
It ripped through the air at three times the speed of sound.
An extremely tiny projectile pierced through the wall at a point almost at the ceiling. This smashed the entire wall spreading pieces of concrete everywhere.
A glowing orange line remained burned in the retinas of everyone there.
Shortly afterwards, the rioters crowded inside that small space were blown away as if it were an afterthought. Some were hit by the shockwave and some were hit by the whirling concrete fragments. As if that raging violence had been overwritten by an even more sublime violence, the situation was completely turned around in an instant.
A low rumbling noise could be heard.
With the four walls destroyed, the now unsupported ceiling began to collapse.
The rioters that could still move frantically ran from the room, but the tragedy they were expecting did not occur.
Ignoring gravity, the concrete ceiling floated in midair.
It was as if magnetism were being manipulated.
“…Chehh. You stole the best part,” Lessar muttered while still collapsed on the ground.
Enirya looked over in the direction Lessar was looking and discovered who the “ruler” was.
Enirya spat out some saliva mixed with blood and adjusted her grip on her handgun with bloody hands. The incessant violence had left her in a situation where she could not even stand up, but she still managed to hold her right arm out.
Mikoto’s expression did not change despite having the gun aimed at her.
“Aren’t you pointing that at the wrong person?”
“N...no. You are the…highest priority.”
Her hand was trembling, but there was a piercing light in her eyes.
Amid the strange silence, Enirya stared through her gun sight at the suspect and asked a question.
“Misaka…Mikoto. Are you…the leader…behind this…incident?”
Mikoto smiled slightly upon hearing the question.
And then she unhesitatingly responded.
Her response seemed to be directed not just at Enirya but at all the rioters there as well.
“Do you really think that person would come here to save a security guard?” This time, Mikoto asked a question. “Do you have any ideas who could be behind this?”
“That is…what I am currently…investigating. It’s not just…you. I am…thoroughly investigating…every single…suspicious person.”
Her strength must have been at its limit.
After saying that, Enirya’s right hand fell to the floor. It seemed she had lost consciousness.
Silence fell over the room.
Bluish-white sparks flew from Mikoto’s bangs destroying that silence,
“…I am really pissed right now.”
She did not run away. She headed straight into the rioters.
She did it because she knew it was right.
She did not hesitate.
“I am not trying to kill any of you as I head forward, but make sure not to screw up and get yourselves killed.”
Enirya woke up to a stabbing pain.
It was different from the feeling before that could not be distinguished from heat.
She realized it was due to disinfectant and tried to get up from the floor.
“You should stay still,” said a fellow security guard.
“Where…am I?” Enirya said moving her lips that were covered in dried blood.
From the looks of things, she was not very far away from the place where she had been attacked by the rioters. There were a few security guards armed with guns stationed in the long, narrow passageway.
(…What happened? Was I saved by the suppression strategy…?)
Suddenly, Enirya remembered what had actually happened.
Just before she had passed out someone other than the security guards had shown up.
Enirya asked for an explanation of the situation while half-grabbing her colleague’s collar.
“It was Misaka Mikoto.”
“What happened to that primary suspect!? She was here before, right!?”
But her colleague shook his head.
“I don’t know what happened to her…”
Just because the battle ended in one place did not meant that the rioting was completely over.
After all, the disturbance had spread throughout the entire shopping mall. Things had gone beyond the level where just a strong individual like Mikoto could do anything about it. It could not be stopped without the power of a group.
“Didn’t you go a little easy on that security guard?” said Lessar while she spread disinfectant on her wounds. “From how she was acting, I’m betting she’s still going to bare her fangs at you.”
“I don’t need to worry about that. If she truly is trying to find who is behind this incident, she is not my enemy even if she does get in my way.” After saying that, Mikoto changed the subject. “But what kind of people are the higher ups of the shopping mall?”
“I’m sure they didn’t want this much damage. It’s possible they don’t have many cards left to play. They may have started a wildfire with a cigarette butt and now they aren’t able to put it out.”
“They have control of Code EIC and they can send out any information they want, right? …In that case, wouldn’t they be able to use the news and other things to control the scale and flow of the rioting?”
“The people don’t know about Code EIC. It does not send out orders that people are obligated to follow. Instead, it adjusts the direction they head in without them realizing it. If they tried to forcibly change the direction of the people, there’s a danger that the people would notice the inconsistency. If that happened, where do you think the people’s anger would turn? Humans are easily deceived, but a human that enjoys being deceived is a rare thing indeed.”
Lessar led Mikoto to an underground facility within the shopping mall.
Inside were many booths divided by transparent partitions made of reinforced glass. In addition to the normal screens and monitors, the walls, ceiling, and other surfaces were all monitors for the Semipublic AR. The entire space was filled with flowing numbers. The size of the area was around the size of small concert hall. The conspicuous facility was constructed out of straight lines and was colored mainly a pale blue.
“This is like the color scheme of a men’s bathroom,” Lessar commented letting her troubling impression leak out.
Mikoto ignored her.
“So this is it?”
“As I said before, this is the stock market center that centers on the tenant-owned stores within the shopping mall. The stocks for all of the companies in the city are handled here. It’s a market that is connected to the entire world through the network. It’s listed in the shopping mall’s pamphlet as one of the sightseeing spots. It suggests that one experiences its ‘real’ presence.”
When she looked closer, Mikoto noticed that here was a space up high on the wall that circled around the entire area. It may have been similar to how foreigners loved seeing the fish markets in Japan.
Mikoto hung her head down as she thought.
“So there’s a giant computer that can carry out massive amounts of calculations and a large scale server that can exchange data on trading from all over the world with no lag…”
“If the higher ups wanted to extend Code EIC beyond the shopping mall, there’s no better facility for it, right?”
“I know that, but…”
Mikoto looked around.
On the floor, the walls, the ceiling, the partitions, the monitors, the screens, and everything else, there were tons of dizzyingly tiny numbers scrolling across and curving graphs moving up and down ever so slightly. Investors from all over the world would either rejoice or worry based on the changes in those numbers. Depending on the situation, some would hang themselves and some would make baths of banknotes.
Despite the intense changes in the numbers, Mikoto could not detect a single person inside that stock market center. The numbers continued to change, so the trading could not be over. And even if the trading for the day was over, there would have to have been at least one guard.
“What is going on? Why are there no businessmen or operators here?”
“I dunno. They may have left because the city lost functionality. Or they may have run off to find shelter because they knew we were coming.”
“But the shopping mall seems to need Code EIC. Wouldn’t they normally try to oppose us?”
“Maybe there’s some sub system. Or maybe they’re preparing some way to interfere remotely.”
“Well, just speculating isn’t going to solve anything.”
Mikoto looked up at the giant computer in the center of the facility.
Its area alone was greater than 8 school classrooms and its height was on par with a three story building. Because it was installed in the center, the entire facility was built in a donut shape.
“Then I’m going to get all the information I can. We can think this through once we have all the materials.”
Lessar moved away from Mikoto and started to investigate the area.
Mikoto reached into her skirt pocket and pulled out a PDA.
As she was in one of Academy City’s cooperative institutions, they used the same type of connector. She connected the PDA to the giant computer with a cable and started “peeking” inside.
(…Chehh. The calculation area used for the stock trading only takes up a third of it. I guess the rest is related to Code EIC. It reads people’s actions through all the security cameras and estimates what their feelings are. Then it automatically creates a news source that uses the best timing to spread the rumor in waves. It controls people as a mass rather than as individuals…)
She had found the program related to Code EIC, but she did not touch it because she had no manual to tell her if simply shutting it down would be fine or if it would bring even more chaos.
She focused on finding the details of whatever the shopping mall’s higher ups were planning.
After all, they may have brought a nuclear weapon into Academy City.
(They used Code EIC to spread the urban legend of the uranium ornament, so what they are planning to do in Academy City and the details of the incident using the urban legend as its motif may be inside this computer.)
Mikoto used the PDA to search through the massive storage areas of the computer, but her fingers finally stopped moving.
She had found it.
“Concerning the Fluctuation in the Value of Scientific Information once Academy City is Destroyed”
It was generally what Mikoto and Lessar had predicted.
If Academy City was destroyed and it could no longer function as the headquarters of the scientific world, the quality of the world’s “cutting edge science” would drop drastically. If that happened, companies and organizations throughout the world would see great value in the fragmentary knowledge the shopping mall had.
If psychic power development could be successfully created from that information, that was fine. And even if that did not happen and technology branching off from what supported psychic powers was developed instead, it was still fine as long as it made a profit.
The loss of Academy City would of course be a major blow to the world, but it was not as if all of humanity would be immediately destroyed.
After all, Academy City had been hiding its cutting edge technology that entire time. Even if that unreleased technology that no one else knew about was lost, the rest of the world would still be able to live their lives.
Of course, there would be obvious damage when it came to the financial and economic worlds, but the shopping mall was an expert in those fields. They could keep their damages to a minimum and rearrange the network of the market in the confusion in a way advantageous for themselves.
They would create a business model.
That was what the shopping mall was trying to do.
The problem was how they were planning to destroy Academy City…
(…Means of using a Solntse hydrogen bomb?)
Mikoto read those words and then started to feel dizzy.
What was all that about a uranium ornament?
Things had gone beyond the level of mere nuclear fission.
“…The primary plan is to deploy a Solntse within Academy City and then activate a timed detonator. It will detonate after the spies escape.”
That must have been the true identity those attackers armed with ultra high frequency electromagnetic rifles that Shirai had run into.
“If the primary plan runs into problems, we will immediately switch to the secondary plan. That decision does not need to be discussed with the spies carrying out the primary plan. If we decide it is necessary, we will switch over.”
A chill ran down her spine.
The lack of people in the stock market center meaningfully pressed on Mikoto’s chest.
“The secondary plan is…”
After reading that far, Mikoto frowned.
She could not find any text on the secondary plan. It just said that it would only be shown to those with the authority to view it.
(Is there any more text? Or is the rest only told by mouth in order to leave no records?)
She could not make a judgment based on only the information she had.
Mikoto gave up on that report and looked through the giant computer for another file.
As expected, she could not find anything explaining the secondary plan, but she found a few pieces of reference data that supplemented that unseen center. She looked through quite a few encrypted files and a common item began to show itself.
(A modified MIG-21…?)
It seemed to be the designation of a Russian aircraft.
Mikoto looked through one of the reference files.
The file had photos and videos in it.
(It’s a fighter that was originally developed during the cold war. Its defining characteristic is how oddly low the cost for one is. Its functionality can be summed up in the term “old model”.)
Mikoto scanned through the data being displayed on the PDA.
(At the end of the cold war, most of the Soviet weapons were sold at very low prices and the MIG-21 was no exception. One of them has a value of 30,000 dollars. When compared to the American fighters that cost 100,000,000 dollars each, it is an extremely cheap fighter that can be obtained by almost anyone.)
All of that had been the specs of the normal MIG-21.
The higher ups of the shopping mall had purchased one due to its low price and how easy it was to obtain one. They had then independently modified it.
They had modified it to fill a role in their current plan.
Mikoto opened the diagram for the modified fighter and scanned through the desired specs.
That time, she truly thought she had become anemic.
It said the following:
Added suspension for a nuclear weapon.
Modifications to hold a Solntse.
Mikoto concluded that it would be used to force a detonation if the primary plan were to fail.
Lessar lightly clenched her fist and knocked on the wall with the back of her hand.
She slowly moved along tapping accurately along at even intervals.
Lessar listened to the sound it made as she moved along the well, but she eventually came to a stop.
The noise had changed.
The sound was weak. It was as if the impact of her knock was escaping on the other side of a thin wall.
Lessar’s mouth loosened and she smashed the glass case on the wall with her elbow. Inside was an axe in case of emergency. That kind of thing may have been rare in Japan, but overseas they were as common as fire extinguishers.
She grabbed the axe and unhesitatingly struck the wall.
Sparks flew from the Semipublic AR screen, but Lessar paid them no heed. She swung the axe three or four more times. With a cracking noise, the wall finally collapsed in the other direction. It was more like it had been knocked down by a blunt object than like it had been sliced by the axe.
“Oh, it was a sliding door. And I was pushing it forward,” muttered Lessar as she tossed the axe to the side.
It probably had a strict electronic lock, but she did not care.
She stepped inside.
She smelled a nostalgic scent.
The dimly lit area seemed to be a straight passageway. It was not clear whether it led to some kind of secret facility or was just an escape route. Lessar grinned and headed further inside.
The passageway turned at a right angle.
Just as she peered around the corner, she heard Mikoto shouting after her from within the stock market center.
“Wait! Come here a second!! I’ve found some amazing data.”
“Oh, that sounds important.”
“It looks like they’ve given an old fighter the ability to hold a nuclear weapon!! What about you? Did you find anything!?”
“No.” Lessar peered around the corner of the passageway once more. “There’s nothing here. I’ll be right there.”
(…Well, I guess it’s for the best to tell her that.)
Around that corner was another long and straight passageway. Inside that passageway were 9 headless bodies of people that had been killed before they managed to get to the end of the passageway.
All the corpses were wearing high class suits that one would never see on a salaryman. Hanging from the remnants of their necks were ID cards with the highest rank. The ID photos on the cards smiled eerily as if in place of the heads that had been removed and taken away.
The walls, the floor, and the ceiling.
Fresh blood was spread all over like part of a bad joke.
The higher ups were dead.
And the wounds were much too clean to have been done by the rioters those higher ups had created.
But Lessar was not especially concerned by the bodies themselves.
She was concerned by the symbol on the necks.
(…The sword emblem. And since the scroll ornamentation is there too, it must be related to St. Paul.)
“That’s in terrible taste,” Lessar muttered.
(The symbol of a patron saint often designates where that patron saint received persecution such as a gouged out eyeball or a severed breast. But using the emblem of the decapitated St. Paul to behead another… That just reeks of modern Western magic that loves secret tricks.)
But in that case, something inexplicable came to the surface.
Something clearly different had been mixed in with that incident that had progressed based on scientific means.
The other set of laws known as magic had been mixed in.
(Even if the higher ups have been slaughtered, the plan involving a nuke is still continuing.)
Those gears that had remained hanging down continued to turn, so the unit carrying it out would not be stopped easily. At the very least, the option of having an order sent out that would end it all peaceably had disappeared.
(So what idiot is continuing this plan?)
Lessar smiled thinly as she turned around and headed back through the passageway toward Mikoto.
“It looks like this has gotten a bit more interesting.”