Editor: Thor’s Stone
「The last transferee-founded company on our list is Skunk Technologies. It’s the company led by Kelly Rich. They were the ones who designed Blue and my personal units. I’ve already met with them a couple of times previously, so just take it easy.」
「So it’s the place that made your Silhouette huh. I wonder if they have any quirks?」
Master had said that Jenny’s personal machine was a good example of the completed form of the current era’s Silhouettes.
Hence, Kou was very interested in the developers of such Silhouettes.
「Their insistence on great aesthetics, I suppose. Their designs are a marriage of sophisticated elegance, beauty, and functionality.」
「They employ a completely different design philosophy from what was applied to the TSW-R1. The design of Jenny’s SAF-F02 Pheasant is a great example.」
「Another one is their propensity for sharp and edgy designs. It’s that kind of quirky company.」
Jenny’s Silhouette was certainly pretty slim compared to other models. Blue’s SAS-F02 Snipe was also made by the same company, but the design concept was completely different.
「There certainly are some pretty weird engineers sometimes. I kinda get the image.」
「Kelly’s a nice enough uncle most of the time, but he’s also a weirdo. That’s why he’s nicknamed The Skunk. He can be a bit off-putting for some after all.」
「The slang “skunk” has a lot of different meanings after all. It can refer to a person that others often avoid. It can also mean a trickster or swindler. It’s also used to refer to a woman who often sleeps around with different men.」
Fuyuki elaborated further while smiling bitterly.
「It’s also a name that holds a lot of significance from the perspective of the weapons industry. There probably isn’t any other company name that could encapsulate what they’re all about other than Skunk.」
「That goes for the person in charge himself too. We’re not going to engage in any formal business talks this time around by the way. We’re going there in the name of handing over my accumulated combat data to Kelly. He’s especially looking forward to the combat data gathered during our counteroffensive on X463.」
「Skunk Technologies is basically composed of a small group of elite Development Engineers. They leave the business side of things to another company specialized in management.」
「So it’s a gathering of Development Engineers?」
「Yep. Mostly B and C-class Development Engineers. Kelly mentors them with the express purpose of dispatching them to Fortress Areas. I think it’s a pretty good place to learn the basics of Development Engineer design techniques. However, they’re a pretty rowdy bunch.」
「Is that so……?」
Kou, who had a pretty shy and reserved character, got a bit worried.
A Caucasian man with a headful of white hair enthusiastically greeted the group. He was a pretty well-dressed elderly man.
「Hi there, Kelly! Here. I brought the data you wanted. It’s data collected from all our units to boot.」
「That’s why I love you, Jenny! Like I thought, beautiful women really are a great match for beautiful machines.」
「Thank you. Your beautiful machine really has helped me out a lot.」
Jenny and Kelly behaved like old friends having a lively exchange.
「This kid here is Kou, I presume? Hello there. The name’s Kelly.」
「I’m Kou. I’ll be in your care today.」
The two then shook hands.
「Yes. Then, just like what I told you in the e-mail……」
「Okay. Just leave the kid and your machine here. C’mon then. You can go back, Jenny!」
Right after shaking hands, Kou was immediately dragged away by the smiling Kelly.
「Um. Ah, please hold on a bit, sir!」
Kou’s words weren’t headed and he continued to be dragged away.
「I’ll contact you guys once everything’s over and done with, so just come pick this kid up afterward! Be seeing you then! Time waits for no man after all.」
Kou was taken away in front of his three stunned companions.
「Um. Jenny. I’m also going to stay here. I’ll be contacting you later.」
Aki declared her intent to remain behind and then chased after Kou and Kelly.
「Is Mr. Kelly always like that?」
Fuyuki, who had already snapped out of the shock from the sudden events, curiously asked Jenny.
「Haa…… Yeah. Let’s just unload the Pheasant and go home. I don’t think something bad’s gonna happen to those guys while they’re here anyway.」
With a resigned expression on her face, Jenny headed to the transport plane to unload her machine.
「This here’s our good old lab, kid. Heeey! Guys! The hero’s arrived!」
Kou was led to the laboratory and received a rather perfunctory introduction to the place.
He a point he noted was that there were actually several women among the lab members. There were also a couple of Familiars among them.
「This is the Development Engineer who managed to save Asia. I heard it from Asia herself, so there’s no mistake!」
「So it’s this person!」
Kou was flustered by his rough introduction and the reactions to it.
The people previously busy with work all stopped what they were doing and focused their gazes on him.
「It’s nice to meet you all. I’m Kou. The lady behind me is Aki. She’s my assistant.」
「Ou. Best regards, you two.」
「Ara, he’s actually rather cute for a hero!」
「Nice to meet you–」
Kou was reminded of the catchphrase “homely workplace”.
「Oh, right. I wonder who’s perfect for the job? One who’s good with newbies…… Oi! Jialing! You go and take care of them when I’m not around.」
「Ye〜s, Boss! You’re Japanese, aren’t you? I’m Taiwanese! Hu Jialing. I was transferred just recently! Looking forward to working with you!」
A woman who previously sat on the side stood up and approached Kou. She then stretched her hand out for a handshake. She had black hair that was cut short. She was a bubbly Asian woman who Kou felt was younger than him.
Kou grabbed the offered hand and greeted her back.
「So you’re from Taiwan huh. I’m looking forward to working with you too.」
「You can definitely count on this girl. Yosh, Kou. I’ll give you a lecture about Silhouette basics first. Let’s start from the very basics.」
「I would rather work on learning to improve my personal Silhouette if possible……」
「What the heck are you saying, kid!? Don’t tell me you wanna mess with others’ designs without even the proper grasp of the basics!? Messing with someone else’s design is way harder than coming up with a design from scratch, I’ll have you know. To think you don’t even know something as basic as that. That does it. I’m gonna pound as much knowledge and common sense into that noggin of yours, sonny. C’mere!」
Jialing saw Kou off with a wry smile on her lips. Seeing that, Kou surmised that what was happening was just a usual affair in the lab.
It’s just that he was being swept by the flow without even a chance to resist.
After dragging Kou to another spot in the lab, Kelly started his lecture.
「Kou, I’ll check your knowledge base first. Do you have any experience with designing Silhouettes?」
Kelly immediately shot Kou with a pointed question.
「How much do you know about Silhouettes?」
「……Come to think of it, I actually don’t know much about them. I know they operate by using Whis as a power source at least.」
「Yosh. That’s good. It’s way better than you bragging about some half-assed knowledge. Over here, kid.」