372 – From Here on Out
Editor: Thor’s Stone
Now then. The routes we can take from the Edge World to the Alein system are…… Hmm. There aren’t that many. That said, it’s absurdly far away if we traveled there normally, so we’re gonna use a gateway instead.
And if we’re going by gateway, there’s almost no room for route selection.
“So, we’re gonna navigate to the nearest gateway from here and take that to the gateway nearest to the Alein system huh?”
“Uh– ……Yeah, basically.”
I replied half-heartedly to Dr. Shouko who was currently operating her tablet terminal beside me on the bed. It was pillow talk, sure. But it certainly doesn’t have an ounce of eroticism whatsoever.
Err, yeah. As you can see, I already got my grubby hands on her.
“You look like you wanna say something?”
Dr. Shouko, who had taken off her glasses, placed her beautiful face near mine. She really was gorgeous.
“I ended up making a move on you the moment you gave me an opportunity, and I was thinking if this really was okay or something like that.”
“Hm? Of course it is. Having you see me like that last night was embarrassing though. Well, I guess it can’t be helped, since there’s a big difference in experience.”
After saying so, Dr. Shouko displayed a content smile.
“Thanks for the meal…… Wait, no, that’s not it. It’s, uh, that y’know? Um, I mean, shouldn’t we have gone step by step first?”
After hearing my words, Dr. Shouko displayed a blank expression for a moment. Then, her mouth formed a teasing grin soon afterward.
“It’s not like we’re teenagers who are first experiencing the bittersweet pangs of love y’know? So, isn’t this fine? I was personally quite satisfied, but don’t you feel the same, captain?”
“Of course, I’m also really satisfied. But, I mean, didn’t you feel like engaging in a bit more romance before we reached this point?”
“Romance. Romance huh……? I don’t really get stuff like that. I don’t have any parents, and I don’t remember experiencing such feelings or getting in contact with it ever since I was born.”
“Huh? Did this just turn into a really heavy topic all of a sudden?”
“Some people might feel that way. But to me, it isn’t anything out of the ordinary, and I don’t really care in the first place because I really can’t say anything about such matters. This is just how I am.”
After saying so, Dr. Shouko placed her tablet terminal on the bedside and slowly changed her position so that she could face me directly.
“You see, I’m actually an android. In a broad sense anyway.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Un. The structure of my body is actually no different from that of a regular human female. This body is also fully capable of giving birth. However, I was born from a womb made out of metal and glass. On a certain planet that no longer exists, at a certain research facility of a certain interstellar company.”
And so, Dr. Shouko talked about her own origins. In summary, she was a child created by a certain interstellar company for the purpose of mass-producing excellent researchers, and she was basically a designer baby created by integrating the genetic information of various smart and talented humans.
Oh, so it’s kinda like those guys huh? Those unfortunate characters who starred in a certain mobile robotic weapons anime franchise. A seed went poof and then they would display amazing abilities. I see, I see. Well, it’s not like Dr. Shouko would manifest a seed that’ll go poof though.
“However, the company that manufactured me was actually engaging in illegal life-creation research or something like that. They made a big mess and were eventually taken down. The empire took custody of me, and after undergoing various tests, I eventually ended up getting taken in by Inagawa Technology.”
“Hmm. So, you also led quite an eventful life huh, Doc?”
“……Is that all you wanna say?”
“Un? Uh, I suppose I now get why you don’t really understand love and romance. And, well, I guess it’s okay to simply take our time and gradually nurture our feelings for one another while uniting our bodies or something like that.”
She’ll probably get upset if I openly told her this, but I think Dr. Shouko being a genetically engineered and modified biological android was kinda cool. In the first place, the Graccan empire nobles including Elma were already engaging in the use of cybernetics and bionics to strengthen their bodies. I mean, ain’t that kinda similar? So, there’s no reason for me to get uncomfortable regarding Dr. Shouko’s origin.
Or rather, honestly speaking, a guy like me who wandered in from a different dimension due to some unknown reason was a lot creepier and weirder in comparison, right?
“Most people get creeped out when they hear my story you know?”
“Well, I guess I’m not one of them. If you think entering into this kind of relationship with me without taking the usual steps is okay, then I guess that’s fine for now. Let’s just let nature take its course, so to speak.”
Come to think of it, it took me a lot of time to lay my hands on Tina and Wiska, but I didn’t have any particular misgivings when it came to Dr. Shouko. She was an independent and mature woman like Elma after all.
Speaking of which, Tina and Wiska actually didn’t lose out to the two of them when it comes to being mature and independent. It’s just that their appearances were…… Yeah. I’m already used to it though. It kinda feels like I opened a dangerous door, but it’s too late to regret anything now.
“Ah, I know that face you’re making. You were thinking about the other girls, right? Well, that’s not good. You’re with me right now after all. Right?”
Dr. Shouko gently pinched my cheek and pulled it a bit. A certain elf would have pinched me a lot harder to the point that I felt my cheek would get torn off. What a difference– Oops. Not good, not good.
“What a hopeless man…… Why don’t you make a bit more of an effort to make me fall in love with you?”
“Okay. I accept that challenge.”
Let’s just treasure this warmth without thinking too much. Yeah, let’s do that.
“I suppose it’s a good thing that it went well between the two of ya, but it still kinda feels a bit frustrating, doesn’t it?”
The next morning, Dr. Shouko and I found ourselves confronted by two little gangsters when we went to the break space of the Lotus after waking up and getting out of bed. They were displaying an intimidating, or rather, a dissatisfied atmosphere, but it didn’t look like they were seriously angry or anything like that.
“You tell ’em off too, Kugi.”
“Um…… Well, I do not have any particular complaints about it.”
Kugi, who got addressed by Tina, displayed a rare wry grin. After all, Kugi prioritized me above anything else. I guess it just wasn’t in her character to criticize and show her dissatisfaction towards me.
“In regard to the two of you, I was hesitant because of the racial differences between us, or rather, the gap between your physical appearances and your actual ages. As for Kugi, I just thought that getting into that kind of relationship with her was a bit dangerous, so forgive me and just let me off, alright?”
“Ah–…… I’ve been thinking about this recently as well, but you’re now fully devoted to me, right, Kugi? I mean, it kinda feels like you’ll simply agree even if I said something black is actually white or something like that…… Get it?”
“Mm. Mmm–…… Well, I do kinda get that, but I think she won’t actually just blindly agree to anythin’ you say. Right, Kugi?”
After hearing Tina’s words, Kugi nodded repeatedly in response.
“That’s right, My Lord. Of course, I still have to fulfill my duties. However, other than those, I now also love My Lord from the bottom of my heart.”
“It kinda feels embarrassing to get told something like that directly though……”
It still kinda felt like I haven’t gotten so close to Kugi to the point of making her truly fall for me though……? Wait. Don’t tell me–
“Was it telepathy?”
Kugi didn’t answer my question and simply smiled. While she couldn’t directly peer into other people’s heads, Kugi was quite good at reading the mental waves that people emit unconsciously. Before Kugi awakened my abilities, my power and mental waves kept leaking out uncontrollably, so Kugi was able to pick them up. So, I suppose it’s no wonder that she had quickly gotten familiar with me.
“Isn’t that cheating?”
“But it’s fine now, correct?”
As I was having a discussion with Kugi, Wiska suddenly jumped on top of my lap. Oops. Did I ignore her for too long?
Wiska, who was now on top of my lap, changed her position and faced me directly. She then mimicked a cat and meowed cutely. W-What is this cute creature?!
“W-Whee–…… How sneaky……! And kinda terrifyin’!”
“I find something like this really embarrassing too, okay……”
Wiska’s face turned bright red as she covered it with my hands after hearing Tina’s reaction.
Meanwhile, Mimi, Elma, and Dr. Shouko were looking at us from the mess area. The three of them gathered around and it seemed that they were discussing something. ……It didn’t feel like there was a tense atmosphere between them though, so there apparently don’t seem to be any problems.
“Don’t get so obsessed by Dr. Shouko and end up ignorin’ us. I think equality and fairness is important in this sort of relationship y’know?”
“Ok, ok. I get it. In other words, you wanna get it on tonight, right?”
“That ain’t it……! I-I won’t refuse though…… Muu–!”
“Guhoo!? Wai- Easy with the punches! They seriously hurt, okay?!”
Tina’s blows that tried to cover up her embarrassment were quite heavy. Well, at this rate, it doesn’t look like I’ll get bored while on the way to Alein. But let’s make sure to do it in moderation.
 A Mobile Suit Gundam Seed reference.