Editor: Thor’s Stone
It looks like the so-called mobile arsenal platform can be entered using a carry-in entrance that doubles as a well-dock that vehicles as large as hangar carriers can enter and exit from as well a rampway from the side.
The stern gate was currently closed shut.
「Let’s use the rampway to enter, Kou.」
Kou moved Unit 5 to the side of the hull and headed inside the hangar through an inclined bridge called a rampway.
The moment Kou approached, the door opened automatically and folded down to become a bridge.
There was a huge hangar carrier inside the arsenal platform’s hangar, similar to the one owned by Metal Iris.
By that alone, you could already tell it was a very humongous ship. It had an atmosphere similar to a battleship, but it was currently not armed.
「So the only equipment that’s left is this huh.」
「Just a hangar carrier huh. It lacks any weapons despite being a weapons factory.」
「Yes. It looks like all the weapons from the Interplanetary War era have already been brought out. Alright, Kou. Please move to that corner over there and park.」
Kou made Unit 5 move to a corner of the hangar and parked it there.
He then got off the Silhouette and followed after Master who led the way.
「Now, we’ll be heading to a section of the ship called the combat command post. I shall tell you everything once we’re there.」
The room Master led him to was quite large. It was dark inside, but he could still make out the multiple monitors installed within the room.
As soon as Kou entered the room, the central monitor lit up.
The two proceeded further inside the room while relying solely on the monitor’s illumination.
「Kou, please take a seat over there.」
「This looks like the captain’s seat. Is it really okay?」
「Of course. I’ll sit on top of your lap.」
Kou obediently sat on the seat and placed Master on top of his lap.
The moment he sat down, various character strings appeared on the main screen.
『Welcome, Mozuya Kou. I am the Weapons Development Integrated System Astraea. I serve as this facility’s custodian. Please excuse me, but I am required to read your personal data first.』
A female voice rang out. Surprisingly, the voice didn’t sound artificial at all.
「Nice to meet you, Astraea. It’s fine. I don’t mind.」
『Systems have been optimized for ease of use by a Japanese person from the 21st century. I have also integrated the information shared by the Familiar you address as Master. Master, you have journeyed far. Thank you for your earnest efforts.』
「Yes. I have finally managed to find a proper and worthy owner for this facility. Astraea, I’m sorry for making you wait so long.」
「Whoah! Hold up a bit. I’m gonna be the owner of this mobile arsenal platform thing? What’s going on here?」
『You have been registered as the owner of all the facilities I administer. I will proceed to get the approval of the other AI as well. You, a Development Engineer (Bricoleur) personally chosen by Asia herself, are completely qualified.』
Kou knew that Master wanted him to activate the facility, but he wasn’t told he was going to become its owner.
Suddenly making him the owner of such a large factory resulted in a lot of pressure.
「I shall talk to Kou about the details. Please go on standby for the meantime, Astraea.」
Master closed its eyes in a languid manner. It totally resembled a normal relaxed cat.
「I’ve guided you all the way here because of the fact that you have become a qualified Development Engineer. Otherwise, I would have urged you to join Metal Iris and ended my journey there and then. I wish for you to inherit this facility.」
「But I already have my hands full piloting Unit 5. I don’t think I can handle managing this facility as well.」
「That’s totally fine. You can just use Astraea solely to strengthen Unit 5. Or you can just leave it sitting here and pretend that all this didn’t happen. It’s up to you.」
「This facility is humanity’s…… No, it’s a legacy of the Super AI that transferred the human race to this place, right?」
「I’m glad that you’re quick on the uptake.」
「What do you really wish for, Master?」
「I have two things I wish to happen if possible. One is the continued progress of Silhouettes. The other is the spread of technology. I hope that Silhouette technology will continue to progress in your hands. According to Astraea’s forecast, humanity will be completely overwhelmed by the Stones in less than 50 years.」
「And why did you hand it to a total noob like me?」
「Even if the Stones are defeated, the technology and weapons that spread out in order to fight them will ultimately lead to new conflicts arising. That is a heavy responsibility. Since ancient times, the development and spread of weapons have always invited conflict. This will not change, no matter the era.」
Kou was stunned to silence.
And then, he let out a sigh. He already had an idea somehow. Yes, the reality was that humans haven’t changed, even in the far future.
「There might be others like you. The other Development Engineers might already be working toward similar goals as we speak. Hence, you can just do as you like.」
Kou went silent again and called out to Astraea after a few moments.
「I see. Astraea, I want to extend Master’s life. What should I do to make that happen?」
『Master is a considerably old Familiar. The biological parts of ‘her’ brain are reaching their operational limits, and it would not be strange for her to deactivate at any moment. Please think of your plan in this way. What you wish to do is akin to extending a person’s life while disregarding the immense agony that person will have to constantly endure as she continues to live. Do you still wish to extend Master’s life despite that?』
He wasn’t aware that was the case. Kou couldn’t help but gently stroke Master’s back as she laid on top of his lap. She squinted her eyes in comfort.
「You see, I was always searching for someone to inherit this facility. But I didn’t get any opportunity to get in contact with any suitable Development Engineer. I was planning on quietly waiting for my deactivation in that scrapyard. But I was blessed enough to encounter you before I stopped completely.」
「But I have no idea what I should do.」
「There are Therianthropes and other Familiars sleeping in this facility as well. I’m sure they will do their very best to support you.」
「But I want you to continue looking after me yourself, Master.」
「Fumu. I see. So this is what it feels like to have a child become quite attached to you huh.」
「Yeah, just call it whatever you want. Geez.」
Kou cried out sulkily. He was acting more and more like a big baby.
Master couldn’t help but softly smile.
「I see. –I may be deactivating soon, but please take care of my daughter. Then I will truly have no regrets. I suppose this is another wish of mine as well.」
「Yes. She is the daughter who will inherit my memories, feelings, and experiences. I’m sure she will support you together with everyone as well. So it’s not like I will be disappearing completely.」
「I’m happy that there is someone who feels sorrow for my sake. For a pet such as me, this is a wonderful blessing.」
「Don’t be happy about something like that……」
「Haha. I’m sorry. But I really am at my limit. Even I am surprised that I was able to hold on until now. In truth, I should have deactivated in that junkyard.」
「Did Asia wake you up and lent you a hand so you could help me as well……?」
「It’s quite possible.」
「Thank you, Master.」
「You’re very welcome.」
Without Master, Kou felt that he wouldn’t have survived.
Kou didn’t want to acknowledge that he was about to part from Master for good.