Editor: Thor’s Stone
Master called out to Kou from the back seat.
「Kou, we’re currently within the enemy’s sphere of influence. We have two options for our next destination. The first is to retreat to humanity’s territory. We’ll be able to integrate with the present human society once we get there.」
「What’s the other one?」
「There is a facility I personally wish to go to. It will also serve to help you as well. You’ll probably be able to breathe easy for a while once we get there.」
「Then I guess we’ll go for the second option.」
Kou didn’t hesitate at all. If Master wished to go to the place, then that’s where he’ll go to as well.
「We probably wouldn’t be able to resupply. We’ll be heading to the heart of enemy-controlled territory. Even so, do you still wish to go?」
「What are the odds of being able to come to the place Master wants to go while you’re still functioning if we head for human-controlled territory first?」
「……I actually planned to entrust you with the task once I’m gone.」
「So there’s no need to choose then. I and Unit 5 will go wherever you wish to go, Master. What kind of place is it anyway?」
「The name of the place has lost all meaning. We’ll find an arsenal factory once we arrive there. It’s a long-sealed facility though……」
「Is there any meaning in going there if the place is sealed?」
「You’re the key. You’re already a Development Engineer. Since you’ve been granted the highest authority level, you will be able to bring it to life once more.」
「You mean a handyman, right?」
Kou grinned and lightly laughed. He liked the sound of ‘handyman’ more.
「So that’s where you wish to go huh, Master.」
「Yes. It’s been a long-held dream of mine, but I’ve previously all but given up. I thought I would never get to fulfill it. I’m sorry for involving you in all this foolishness.」
「Don’t worry about it. I’d just be a reddish-black stain on the ground if you didn’t find and help me anyway, Master.」
「Alright. Our destination is the sealed arsenal factory. It should take us approximately 5 days to travel there while going on a steady 80 kph cruise.」
「It’s quite far……」
Comparatively, it would take about 14 hours to travel the entire 1100 km distance between Tokyo and Fukuoka.
「There’s no paved road available and the way isn’t straightforward. It’s possible that we’ll encounter enemies along the way. With those factored in, it would probably take us more than 10 days.」
「Gotcha. Better get moving then.」
Unit 5 bent its knees and started dashing forward using the rollers.
It was the start of a long journey through an uninhabited wasteland.
Unit 5 was currently on Cruising Mode. It was moving forward at a steady pace.
Kou looked at the time and saw that it was already near dusk. Unit 5 managed to pick up some sort of signal that was subsequently played inside the cockpit.
The cockpit was filled with the sound of music.
『Good evening, everyone in the Ashia C212 area. It’s now time for Dusk Buster. I would like to play some soothing melodies for all you guys working hard on battlefields. I’m your host for this evening, Blue. I’m looking forward to spending a wonderful time with you all today once again. Our first little number is……』
「Hey, it’s a radio program!」
It was a beautiful female voice.
She really sounded like a professional radio host. Kou didn’t expect to encounter a radio program, of all things, so he couldn’t hide his surprise.
「A radio program huh. Hm. If so, then there should be a large force deployed around here.」
「Radio programs are available on this planet?」
「Of course. Sometimes, you can even watch video broadcasts on battlefields. It’s one of our rare forms of entertainment around here. Sometimes, large forces take it upon themselves to perform broadcasts.」
A song Kou was very familiar with started playing.
It was still being played in this far-off era. He felt it was a bit strange.
「Entertainment huh. It certainly doesn’t get in the way of work and feels quite relaxing.」
「That it does.」
The two continued to listen to music while traveling through the wasteland.
「There might be a large human settlement nearby, or a large force might be deployed in the area.」
「Can’t we resupply in that human settlement? Well, it’s not like we’re lacking anything right now though.」
「I think we can afford that much of a detour, at least. You should probably experience interacting with people from this era as well.」
「Yeah. I can’t always go at it alone.」
Machine maintenance and resupplying. Things needed to live in this world. Considering those, it truly was necessary for Kou to meet up with the local populace as soon as possible.
「Do a lot of transferees die here?」
He was convinced by Master’s answer. In fact, he almost died as well.
Without Unit 5, even if he survived inside that ruined facility for a time, Kou still would have died eventually.
「The enemies aren’t just those unmanned murder weapons, the Murders. You would eventually get to face off with other humans piloting Silhouettes as well. There are human forces cooperating with the Stones too after all.」
「I’ll make sure to resolve myself.」
Everyone had different values. As long as they themselves don’t get harmed by them, some humans would probably choose to cooperate with the Stones instead.
In that case, Kou didn’t have any other choice but to fight it out with them.
It was unthinkable for him to cooperate with the Stones that were moving to eliminate the Familia.
He’d swung his sword every single day ever since he started practicing swordsmanship.
He swung it at non-existent enemies.
Of course, it was just for training his spirit. There was no point in bringing a katana around in a peaceful Japan.
There wasn’t any opportunity to actually cut another person down. Still, he needed to master moves that could be used to kill when practicing iai.
Techniques to deal with enemies, techniques for pressing on the attack, counter techniques… He practiced them on imaginary enemies. He practiced them to better himself.
And now, he couldn’t afford to hesitate when using them if he wanted to survive.
In that sense, he knew that he could already be considered a heretic.
「I bet everyone wants to come back home to Earth on some level.」
「I suppose. Is it the same for you, Kou?」
「Me? Well, not so much. My parents are already gone after all.」
「I see. I’m sure you’d still feel a sense of homesickness from time to time, but I do hope you’ll be able to find a place for yourself in this world, Kou.」
「Didn’t I already find one?」
He hit the control lever.
「Yes, you’re right. That was boorish of me.」
After saying so, Master fell asleep once more.
Kou continued listening to the familiar song he wasn’t able to hear for quite some time now and smiled.