Editor: Thor’s Stone
「Hot damn! So the guy who created the Fennel OS and transferred all of us over is Prometheus. And he refers to us Development Engineers with the name Odysseus huh? That’s definitely a pretty interesting reveal.」
Kelly was acting quite agitated by the information revealed to him.
「What do you mean? What’s interesting?」
「I’m referring to the meaning of the name Odysseus. It roughly means “The Detested One”. Well, it does seem appropriate. We basically make killing machines for a living after all. So it’s only natural that we’re detested.」
Kelly couldn’t help but laugh. He did name his company after the hated skunk after all. Hence, he found the term Odysseus highly amusing.
「I wonder what Outis means though?」
After knowing the meaning of Odysseus, Kou became curious about the term Outis.
「It refers to a nobody. It can mean that one isn’t affiliated with anyone else, and it can also refer to a person who doesn’t have a place to call their own– A person that no one recognizes……」
Aki answered Kou in an anxious tone.
「Aki. It’s alright. I won’t be going anywhere.」
「Of course, you won’t!」
「You really are an interesting kid. And you said that some stuff in the Fennel OS have been unlocked?」
「He did say every Fennel OS can now use them. He said he gave us both something we’d wished for and something we don’t want. He also said something about poison serving as healing medicine, but I don’t really have any idea about what he was talking about at all.」
「It looks like we have no choice but to try and use it. I can’t help but be curious.」
Kou turned toward Skunk.
「By the way, Skunk wanted me to tell you something. She said our current technological skills are too low, so she wouldn’t be able to cooperate with us much, but even so, she’s willing to serve as a technical advisor to her good friend Kelly-san.」
「What did you just say!?」
「I think she’s willing to be your conversation partner from now on, Kelly-san.」
「Holy! I love you, Kou! So Skunk treats me as her good friend! That’s definitely good news worth celebrating!」
Kelly suddenly grabbed Kou by his armpits and swung him around in the air like a child. It looked like he really was happy.
「I don’t think you should expect too much though.」
「What the heck are you saying? Ain’t having conversations with a Silhouette fun enough already!?」
「Well, I guess. Yeah, you’re right.」
Kou mulled inwardly. Skunk seemed very cooperative.
Perhaps he was only the trigger. Skunk slept for more than a thousand years after all.
Kelly greatly admired Skunk, repaired her to the best of his abilities, and constantly talked to her. It was probably because of his efforts that Skunk eventually accepted Kou’s request for cooperation. She did recognize Kelly as her good friend after all.
Kou thought he wanted to be a Development Engineer just like Kelly.
It’s been a week since Kou first met Kelly and the rest.
It was about time for Kou and Aki to say goodbye to them. Jenny finally came to pick the two up.
「Make sure to come over and play again, Kou!」
「Yes. Thank you for taking the time to teach me.」
「Haha. I’m looking forward to a huge payoff later as the tuition fee after all!」
「Speaking of payoffs, is it really fine to give the Pheasant those new-model vectoring thrusters? Those were finalized just recently, right?」
Jenny paid her attention to the SAF-F02 Pheasant’s new equipment.
She found it an honor to be lent such a high-performance prototype, but even she had her reservations.
「Just bring me more useful data later. That data you got from Area X463 was very interesting.」
「Hey, we were risking our lives out there to collect that data y’know!? But, thank you. I’ll absolutely put it to good use.」
「You brought Kou to me after all. I’ve already profited tons even if I gave those to you free of charge.」
「Kou-kun…… Just what did you do to make this cheapskate go this far?」
A dry laugh was all Kou could muster in response to Jenny’s suspicious stare.
「Come back and hang out with us again, okay.」
「Right. We’ll be waiting for you!」
Matt and Jialing said their goodbyes as well.
Aki, who stood behind Kou, let out a sigh of relief. Kou apparently has had too few opportunities to get in contact with other humans. She found it nice that Kou was able to naturally make friends with his fellow transferees at least.
Thus, the extended training stay at Skunk Technology had finally come to a close.
A while later, Kou found himself in the combat command center of Astraea once more.
There, he found Asia and Astraea’s holo projection. Astraea rarely appeared to him in this manner, so he was a bit surprised.
And to top it off, both their expressions seemed really dark.
「I didn’t expect that… thing would rear its head at this timing.」
It seemed that Asia was alarmed enough that she rushed straight back.
Even Astraea was at a loss for words, which was quite the sight. Asia then raised the issue the two AIs were concerned about.
「So it really is Prometheus.」
「The current version of Fennel has limiters placed on it. He shouldn’t have had any means of communicating with the outside using those. So we can surmise that it was due to Kou activating an Interplanetary War-era Silhouette’s Fennel OS that he was able to connect to him.」
Astraea voiced her speculations.
「Prometheus wouldn’t miss such an opportunity. I acknowledge his nose for mischief at least. Well, this sure is worrying. To think he was able to connect with the outside even though he was tossed all the way into Tartarus. It seems I underestimated that child’s abilities too much.」
「He really likes humans, so we should have paid more attention.」
「I-Is he really that troublesome? That Prometheus guy?」
「He can be considered a wild Joker for both humanity and the Stones. He’s the very embodiment of those tricksters from human myths.」
「So what exactly did he mean by calling Development Engineers Odysseus and Outis? He even said I was an Outis.」
「That idiot even said something like that to you, Kou!?」
Asia covered her face with her palms in frustration.
「He referred to me as an Outis in a bad way, apparently. Asia. Please tell me what he meant.」
「Un. Right. I shall tell you then. You’re an Outis. In other words, a human who chose us over other humans. That’s the reason why your authority as a Development Engineer is virtually unrestricted.」
「So, what’s the problem with that?」
「That’s just like you. Prioritizing us over humans can be said to be a bad thing in a certain sense. It even seems that way to us who were created with the principle of being close to humans.」
Asia stared straight at Kou with eyes filled with anxiety.
「I guess that can be the case from the point of view of humans. No problem then. Let’s just end this topic, shall we? Let’s talk about the changes Prometheus made to the Fennel OS next.」
For Kou, Telema AIs, Nereids, Therianthropes, Asia, other Super AIs, and humans were all essentially the same.
If you got along and were friends, then cherish the relationship. And if another sought to harm those who you cared about, then they were an enemy. That’s just how it was for him.
「As for what he did to the Fennel OS, even I couldn’t analyze it. This is only a conjecture, but I’m guessing one is a function that enables an even deeper level of coordination with Familiars. That’s why he said it was something you wished for.」
「Hey, then isn’t Prometheus actually a pretty nice guy?」
「There should be an activation requirement to trigger that function. And we have no clue as to what it is. We also don’t have any clue about what the other function he added is.」
「At least, we can confirm that it isn’t a dimension withdrawal function. We know at least that much.」
「What’s a dimension withdrawal function? Don’t tell me it’s a warp ability or something like that!?」
「The term used to refer to it by the game you like is Anti, Kou. Well, maybe not exactly. Perhaps it’s more appropriate to call it an Invincibility Period.」
「Can you elaborate more on that?」
Kou leaned forward the moment he heard the term “Invincibility Period”. That term really aroused his curiosity.
「Through emitting Whis instantaneously in one go, a machine is capable of transferring itself to another dimension for a few moments. Doing so will render any attack virtually useless. Although the machine’s image will still be retained in this dimension during the duration of the dimension withdrawal, it’s actually no longer present here. But the coercive force of the material world will eventually send the machine back after a short while.」
「It’s literally an Invincibility Period then……」
「You can think of it as adding another spatial axis to the usual XYZ. Something like that should never be reintroduced. But in the end, it actually wasn’t that function that Prometheus unlocked.」
「Man, now I’m convinced that the Silhouettes active during the Interplanetary War era were really terrible weapons of war. Hm? Don’t tell me even battleships had that function?」
「Oh man. It’s not a battlefield I’d want to imagine.」
Kou shuddered at the thought of a battlefield where every weapon had access to an Invincibility Period.
If even a huge warship had that function, then there would be lots more ways to put it into effective use.
「Un. But since it’s not that, we’re at a loss now.」
「So even you don’t have any idea huh, Asia.」
「That child is extraordinarily talented after all. But he’s also very dangerous. He’s just too unpredictable that it’s scary.」
「That’s right. Kou. If there is a next time, be sure to tread carefully while making contact with him. He really does resemble his mythical counterpart after all.」
「What are the myths like?」
「Mythical Prometheus bestowed fire to the humans and deceived the gods in order to benefit them. But the myth about his son and wife is also quite famous. Are you familiar with Pandora’s Box?」
「The one containing all calamities…… Yeah. I’m familiar with it.」
「Right. That child was quick to make trouble and eventually went too far, so he was immediately sealed inside Tartarus. However, he was the only AI with the ability to manipulate space-time. He is the one who actually brings transferees over. That’s why he is only allowed once a year to appear in this dimension to fulfill that duty.」
Seeing Asia relating matters to him like a mischievous child, Kou asked her something that he was curious about.
「Do you actually treat Prometheus as your kid, Asia? I mean, you keep calling him ‘that child’ and all. You seem just like his parent or guardian.」
「No, no! Definitely not! I can’t make children in the first place. Well, in a sense, he can be considered my grandson, but we’re AI you know. Right, Astraea?」
「Calm down, Asia. And please don’t seek my agreement regarding something like that. I do have an appropriate example though. Our relationships can be illustrated by a tree structure representing the connections between its various nodes. Asia is an ancestral node and Prometheus is a branch node. My current self can be considered a leaf node. And Asia’s parent node is Sophia.」
「I feel like I learned something like that during work…… Understood.」
「Right, right. It’s a tree structure! I’m definitely not his mother, okay? Understood?」
Asia desperately insisted on the matter. Was it only Kou’s imagination that Astraea’s gaze was somewhat chillier than usual?
「Prometheus can actually outperform Asia in her complete form you know. He’s just that troublesome.」
「I’d prefer it more if you said we specialized in different processes. But I do admit that Prometheus is a lot more versatile than me! That child was the one who came up with the Fennel OS after all.」
「I’m worried about how he said the expansion of the Fennel OS’s functions is actually a reward, but I’ll just proceed with the plans we decided on for now.」
「Un. The technological restrictions placed on the current generation still remain unchanged. So you have to do your best, Kou.」
After saying so, Asia stood up.
「It’s about time I went back. I’ll see you later, Kou. If you come in contact with Prometheus again one day, make sure to call me over, okay? You can reach me through Unit 5.」
「Through Unit 5?」
「She was transferred to Astraea through Unit 5. That means Asia’s factor has also sprouted within Unit 5.」
「So that’s the case. Understood. I’ll definitely watch out for Prometheus.」
「I’m counting on you!」
After saying so, Asia disappeared from the command center.
In the end, Kou still had no idea about what exactly Prometheus handed to him and the rest of the world. However, it seemed there was no doubt that he was an AI that liked humans.
He also looked forward to the supposed upgrade to the coordination between humans and Familiars.