Chapter 3: Yamsk 11
The transport Helicopter that Sousuke and Tessa had ridden flew away, and they visited the neighborhood with an ominous silence. The two Pave Mares and Kurz’s unit were standing by at a third site, five kilometers from the ruins, and would only pick up Tessa when she contacted them. The pilot of Gebo 6 had demanded that they wait in the area, but Tessa had quickly refused. If by some chance the enemy attacked, being hidden at a far away point would allow them to react easier.
The cold wind of the twilight fluttered and weeds shook with a weak whispering sound. The remaining echo of the helicopter’s downward air current echoed a delayed eerie shriek in the nearby pillar of the building.
Tessa, operating a digital map on a portable computer, started walking towards the Northwest direction. She was wearing training shoes, shorts, a thick sweat shirt, and a loose flight jacket. A bag filled with plastic explosives was hung over her shoulders, but she carried no gun. The place seemed like a place to have a picnic, but with the scenery of ruins it would not be enjoyable.
Sousuke wore a black pilot suit with a tactical vest on top. His weapons were a 5.56 mm caliber carbine gun with 6 reserve magazine, a hand grenade, a smoke bomb, and two incendiary grenades. He was also carrying as much C4 explosives as he could hold.
And also the usual Glock 19. After his near death experience in Namsak Lemon’s colleagues had picked it up. Although not an excellent pistol, he had grown attached to it because of using it for nearly two years.
“Where do we go from here?”
“To the Plant at the north side” she answered.
She looked at the distance of the road and quickly walked on with a pondering face. Sousuke fell silent and followed behind. Certainly there were no signs of the enemy, but he thought that it was unnatural to let him be the only guard. In order to have a sure escort, it would have been better to have the armed crew of the helicopter accompany her.
Seeing through Sousuke’s doubts, Tessa said, “Is it a mystery that I brought you along alone?”
“The truth is I intended to come here alone. But if I were to choose someone, I think you would be the most competent.”
“The secret of Whispered sleeps in here.”
Not minding Sousuke’s surprise, Tessa continued.
“You are the only person who uses the Laevatein. The one who created it was Miller-san, using the basic system of Al and the Arbalest. The one who created that Arbalest was a person called Bani Morauta. The one who directly rescued Miller-san was also you. I was also saved by you by a number of times. And the one whom you have to get back no matter what is Kaname-san. The one who has the most encounters with Whispered, even if you search the world, it would be you Sagara-san.”
If she said it that way, it might be so.
Although there was no positive proof, if Nami, who he had lived with him in Namsak, was one, that would be an additional plus in names. Leonard was also the same. He still didn’t fully understand, but he was also a Whispered. With that, in regards to those rare people with special abilities, he had a deep connection to six Whispered.
As usual, Sousuke didn’t fully understand the thing about Whispered. But coming all that way couldn’t be concluded as coincidence. He could feel some sort of destiny.
“I don’t know whether this is coincidence, or a special kind of fate. Even if I look at this, I believe in God. No matter in what shape, if God does exists, Sagara-san, in order to save us, you might be the savior that God had sent us.”
A savior was no joking matter, Sousuke thought. It was certain that there was a strange coincidence, but he was only a soldier. He couldn’t do anything except to shoot bullets at a required place, he was only a man. He was unable to save Nami, and he didn’t know if he would be able to save Kaname.
However, to Sousuke on the ship’s deck, the girl named Miller had also said something similar.
Such words were no jest. She thanked him with regards to Siberia, while he said his thanks for her regarding Al and the Laevatein. Miller herself was generally recovered, and was working in cooperation with Hunter’s Information Department. Sousuke also had explained in summary his own condition.
And then, when she was about to leave, she said with a smile, “Although there is no basis for this, you may be the one who will save us—”
“It’s not that I’m putting pressure on you” Tessa said gently. “It’s just, that is the mysterious feeling that your strength makes. In an old Chinese proverb, there is a saying ‘Before God presents you with a great mission, that person shall be given great suffering to test his strength’. You have continued to suffer all your life. But, overcoming that suffering would cultivate that strength. It is the same as rebuking a useless girl like me. Even though you were living in the madness of the battlefield since you were small, why
have you not lost that gentle heart? There might be meaning in that. Possibly to ascertain our ruin--”
He was surprised at her words saying “useless girl like me”, but he still welcomed her perseverance of such a joke. He did not deny such impossible words, but only expressed it through impression.
“I don’t really understand.”
“Me too. But I am only telling Sagara-san all that I know. That was what I was thinking.”
Tessa stood to a halt, and turned around.
“That is the reason why I brought you here.”
Sousuke was hard pressed for a reply; she only smiled and headed forward. For a time there was only the sound of their footsteps and the sound of the wind.
When they came about the residential district, Sousuke immediately noticed the wreckage of an automobile in the road.
There were bullet holes.
There wasn’t only on that wreckage. If he looked carefully, there were smashed houses and building, and even the road surfaces had traces of bullet holes and explosions. There were also apparent traces of great conflagration.
There was battle in this city....?
The two of them were getting close to the North side of the abandoned secret city.
In that area were the remains of a large chemical plant. Rusted and complex structures intertwined close together. The residential district hung about a different eeriness. There were a number of extended pipes and chimneys that had fallen to a black shadow, and hollowed rows of silos and tanks. It had a sense of a corpse of an unknown giant creature that was long past dead.
“Captain. This city...”
“In the current Russia, there is no one who knows about this city. With coup d’état and civil war, the records are mostly lost. Even in my work, I managed to investigate the existence of this city but- there were no results. But recently, we managed to get a hint. It’s Miller-san. From her observations in the sealed up institution in Siberia, the name of a certain person came out. With the difficulty of that person’s circumstance and the results of Lemon’s investigation in the public documents in Moscow, we managed to ascertain the existence of this secret city, Yamsk 11.”
The chemical plant seemed to have been involved in battle.
The unnatural collapse of the silo was noticeable. Several tanks were lost from the base and considerable fragments of pipes and steel frames were rolling on the ground.
“Please be careful, Sagara-san” Tessa said. “This plant seems to be the center of the explosion. It’s not really harmful to the body, since it’s already been 17 years I think the effect would be little, but it will confuse the mind of those who approach.”
“Yes. The experiments that were conducted here were extraordinarily special. Probably, there are facilities underground.”
Tessa operated the digital map and surveyed the panoramic view of the plant.
“Please be careful, Sagara-san” Tessa said. “This plant seems to be the center of the explosion. It’s not really harmful to the body, since it’s already been 17 years I think the effect would be little, but it will confuse the mind of those who approach.”
Being attacked with an unexplainable ominous feeling, Sousuke interrupted her words.
“What’s the matter?”
“Just now, didn’t you just repeat what you said?”
With an appearance that was not especially surprised, Tessa nodded.
“Déjà vu, right? This is also one of the effects. Even before we landed Weber-san and the others said it. You felt it too, didn’t you?”
“I felt it.”
“Having everyone fall back away was also because of this. This might feel bad, but please endure it. If you preserve your will, usually it won’t happen. There are many occurrences of déjà vu being stupefied.”
Sousuke could feel a drop of sweat on his back. How could she be so composed?
“Then.... are you alright? This...”
“Yes. For us, this usually occurs. We usually don’t tell this to others, you won’t even notice it if you grew accustomed to it. Nevertheless for an ordinary person, they usually experience a light déjà vu right?”
Sensing the manner of Tessa’s speaking, the occurrence of such phenomenon was not frequent. Still, he possibly couldn’t get used to it.
“Let’s go. It is probably just ahead.”
Tessa, minding her feet, entered the plant.
“It might be better to talk about something possible. Did you notice the bullet holes?”
“Yes. Rifle shells, Cannons, RPG Explosions....it seems to have been a considerably flashy gunfight. Exactly what happened...”
“Probably. It’s the cause of the experiment” Tessa said, straddling a rolling pipe on the ground. “I think it was such a pitiful and disastrous occurrence. The residents of this secret city, their minds must have been contaminated by the experiment. Much
worse than this déjà vu, they were in a much more serious condition. When the confused guards started attacking, it must have escalated from then. There are no detailed records, and no people to give testimony, and we don’t know what happened....”
Tessa recited that with a heartbreaking voice. The confusion that occurred there must have been something unspeakable. Did those who lost their sanity commit limitless violence? There was no difference from true hell. Looking at the traces of battle, Sousuke could imagine that much.
“Exactly, what kinds of experiments were conducted here?”
“The Visheojaya Sphero experiments.”
“In English it would be ‘Omni Sphere’. ...although it’s a long story, please listen.”
Tessa made the introduction, and started the explanation as she walked.
“The Omni Sphere is a territory which was made by the mind of men. A world which cannot be touched or seen by the eyes. The Omni Sphere could not be observed by standard physical sensors. It is a totally different dimension from the usual recognized world we have. At the same time, the Omni Sphere mutually interferes with the material world. The chemical circuits that are passing though the brains of humans are able to access this Omni Sphere. The opposite is also affirmative.”
“I really don’t understand-”
Looking at Sousuke’s appearance of being not satisfied with the explanation, Tessa made a smile.
“I’m sorry. It must be too forward. Actually the general idea of the Omni Sphere originated from the past. It is the imaginative and philosophical implications. It may even be called the ‘spirit world’. In the Greek manner it would be the world of
‘Idea’. In the words of Jung it is close to the general idea of a ‘collective unconsciousness’.”
Suddenly speaking of the occult, Sousuke was bewildered. For Tessa, who led a modern war using the latest weapons, it was such an inappropriate topic. However, he did remember hearing of the Omni Sphere before. The de Danaan or the Arbalest, and now loaded into the Laevatein. Words that were related to the man-machine interface called TAROS. Surely TAROS was an abbreviation of “Transference And Reaction Omni Sphere”.
“In the distant past, there were many forms transcending the mental world. The Brain Quantum Theory and Complex System Science, and the development of a super large scale operation device, these were scientifically described, utilized and thought of by a genius. A person called Demitri Valov. He conveniently called that world ‘Domain that comprehends all (Omni Sphere)’. There was no article remaining concerning the Omni Sphere, but before the first half of the 1970s, the Soviet Science Academy was researching Telepathy and Future prediction.”
“Telepathy, you say.”
“The Philadelphia Experiment or the UFO of Area 51. There was a lot of dubious talk about those, right? Surely those talks were questionable, but the American-Soviet institution researching supernatural abilities itself were true. Mostly, the success of either was not achieved. Created from wanting the budget of the army and intelligence institution, there were many random researches made.”
He remembered what the pilot of Gebo 6 had said earlier, “soldiers going mad from the military research and so on and so forth” was another story. While living in Tokyo, Sousuke
remembered that such subjects were present in the TV programs that Kaname and the others watched.
“But, Professor Valov was different. While he contributed to the field of Nuclear Energy, Information Engineering, and Electrical Engineering, he was also a true researcher. Like the first Passive Stealth technology, the basic theory applied was thought out by him.”
Proceeding inside the plant, the footing worsened. The stairs of the sunken half floor were rotting away. Sousuke went down first and held out his hand for Tessa. Because she was slow, she jumped into the arms of Sousuke and safely landed.
“Thank you, Sagara-san.”
“No. Please be careful where you step. Because of the conflagration, everything is damaged.”
Tessa took out her flashlight and then proceeded further inside the plant.
“I don’t know what circumstances made Professor Valov notice the existence of the Omni Sphere. Anyway, for some reason he was convinced of the existence. And with the success of a small scale experiment, he managed to get suitable results in the closing years of the 1970s. At that time, the appearance of Professor Valov’s name was extremely limited in official documents and scientific records. From an outsider’s view it may be seen as if he was an old researcher with his fortune declining, but it was natural to be interpreted that his research would be treated as an important secret for his country. He also seemed to have political strength inside the academy. And so to be able to press forward his research at once, this secret city was constructed....”
He was being attacked again by déjà vu. He noticed that he was listening to the talk about Professor Valov a number of times. Sousuke, shaking his head, asked her a question.
“Why was his research an important secret?”
“The value of using the Omni Sphere. There is a world that would not be restrained by time or space, and be able to move your own mind freely, being able to access our physical world at will, do you know what kind of possibilities there can be?”
“I can’t imagine so.”
While imagining, Sousuke could not understand half of what Tessa said. The explanation of difficult theories and numerical formulas, about time-space or mind, it was a difficult question for a realist like him.
“For example, an extremely high precision prediction can be made. When an enemy will attack with a nuclear missile. When would an important political leader of the enemy die? What would be the weather of the day of the planned attack? Earthquake or, that’s right, when would large scale solar activity occur? If you knew of an accident that the enemy did not know, how will you be able to win a war?”
“You can also use telepathy. Over an area of distance which ordinary communication is impossible, you could exchange a large amount of information. Contrary to that, peeping into the head of another person, and make suggestions to control him. Or if you could ‘hack’ into the head of the president of the United States or Secretary of National Defense, there would no longer be a need for wars. This could be controlled by the superpowers.”
“If these were possible-”
“It may be possible. Speaking in theory, it is possible, there are countless technical hurdles to be crossed. But if you make use
of the Omni Sphere, by no means are these pipedreams. Even the most important secret of a country would no longer be a mystery, right?”
“There are still more. To be comparatively simple, making use of Omni Sphere is an interference technology that affects the physical world. It is a system that converts the image of the user into physical strength. This is already in practical use.”
“Do you mean the Lambda Driver?”
“That is correct. However, the name of that equipment is used as a masquerade. An ‘equipment that drives the Repulsion (Lambda Driver)’, or it can also be called ‘Hollow Cord Repulsion Field Generation Device’, what the device produces is not only repulsion. A device that amplifies the quasi physical phenomenon that was produced by the interference of the Omni Sphere. It’s original name is ‘Omni Sphere High Velocity Connection Interference Reactor’”
“Yes. The general idea of it is of a reactor. Originally, the interference of the Omni Sphere in our physical world is weak. The behavioral effect is to the degree of a feeble molecule. From our habits, even without knowing ourselves, the Omni Sphere passes, affecting the surrounding substance and energy.”
“That is.... in other words, this is how I see it but, it moves the surrounding substance?”
“Yes. That itself is being done unconsciously by anyone. The significance of it is that everyone is an ESPer. However, those effects are not observable and minute, and anything happening could not be seen by the very eyes. What is unfortunate is that with strict experiments such phenomenon could not be observed or verified. If it were possible to isolate in a room the effects of the
outside environment, it might be possible to observe the Omni sphere’s interference reaction to the physical world. But making those observations are humans themselves using scientific and electrical machines, the surroundings will definitely have noise, if that noise was ordinarily measured-”
“I’m sorry Captain. I absolutely cannot understand....”
“Ah...I’m sorry. Anyway, it means that any humans have a small amount of Psychokinetic Power.”
Sousuke thought, even with a bad companion that made the blood in her head circulate, being able to be modest and kind enough to explain was one of her personal virtues.
“And then the ordinary occurrence of micro interference reaction, the Lambda Driver connectively amplifies this. The brain and the nervous system of the Human is like an engine that is produced by the Omni Sphere’s interference reaction. An AS loaded with a Lambda Driver increases the human’s enormous electrical energy that the human nervous system could not bear, which is not possible in the natural world- that is the reason for the drawing out of unusually strong interference reaction. Previously, it was said that the ‘Arbalest was another you’. That is the reason for that. It’s not like it will copy your personality, but the Arbalest or Laevatein traces the many sections of your nerve activity.”
“Sagara-san, you were thinking ‘why aren’t aircrafts, tanks or battleships equipped with Lambda Drivers’ right?”
“I was. That way would be more efficient, right? No.... if that’s the case, then could it be....”
“That’s right. In order to operate the Lambda Driver, a unit that imitates the function of a human is required. Moreover the interference reaction of the physical world created from the Omni
Sphere, such catalyst will be subject to the extreme condition of humans, further more will become evident upon rational behavior. The peerless concentration of an experienced soldier, the circumstance produced from such mental state… in others words, something that is essential in battle. Therefore, the condition for a machine loaded with a Lambda Driver, is having a source of power with a high output, the characteristics of being able to survive when participating a dangerous battle, and a vehicle that imitates a human body.”
“In other words, an AS.”
“That’s right. Because it’s an AS, it is the ideal machine to load a Lambda Driver. Well then- with that, don’t you think that the existence of a weapon called AS itself is strange? Even though it is a humanoid from that would be inefficient in battle, why would the AS take a leading part in land combat? In such a circumstance, unexpectedly becoming the ideal weapon.”
Tessa was speaking in a manner implying that the AS was developed in order to load the Lambda Driver. After Sousuke escaped from North Korea, he remembered Kalinin saying that “these things should not exist”.
“Then....AS are practically useful in the battlefield.”
Surely for an AS, there were weaknesses that were not present in other weapons. It was easily discovered by the enemy at level ground, and could even be easily shot when vertically walking. The maintenance and production of such a complex system were not easy. Even then, the size of firearms and its armor fell short of a tank.
However, compensating for such weak points were advantages. If not, nobody would use an AS.
“That’s right. This is something similar to the saying ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg’, not a single person that exists in the world would be able to ascertain this.”
“I’ve seen it.”
While proceeding with their talk, the two of them moved further inside the plant.
From the cracks of the countless steel frames and plumbing the little illuminating shine of the orange skies would not reach that place. Without change there was a wide hall in the room, in the floor in front of them was the opening of a giant pit.
The diameter was close to 15 meters. The gaping wide pit continued deep underground. Cables, pipes, and maintenance scaffolds were surrounding the pit, on their opposite side was a solid rail installed.
The pit looked like a shaft of a giant elevator. The pallet that moved up and down had fallen down the shaft. If by chance one looked down at the hole, it was engulfed in darkness, with its depth indistinct.
“Will we be descending here?”
“Yes. The target facility is below this shaft- since it is deep underground.”
Of course the elevator had broken down. In the first place there was no electricity in the ruins. In the middle of the shaft an undependable scaffold and stairs were combined with the steel pipe, and then a rusted ladder was present. In order to get down you needed to use the stairs and ladder.
Nonetheless, it was a facility abandoned close to 18 years ago. There was intense deterioration. It had the danger of unexpectedly collapsing.
“Please wait. Can you wait outside?”
“What do you mean?”
“It is dangerous to go down from here. I will go explore myself. Captain please instruct me from up there.”
Even while having the tools for descent like rope and carabiner ready it would not be easy to go down in the pit. He would be able to go down by himself somehow, but Tessa was there. Without having any experience in climbing down… to begin with her athletic ability was, pardon the term, seriously undependable.
Such reasons Tessa could also understand. But she would not accept Sousuke’s proposal.
“I’m sorry. But for only this, I have to go. It may be difficult, but could you also take me down there?”
“I won’t be much trouble as much as possible. If ever you think that there is danger I will give up and turn back. So please.”
“...I understand. However I will be the one to decide if it’s dangerous or not. Please quietly abide by this.”
“Yes. Thank you.”
The two of them put on their night vision goggles respectively, tying both of their bodies together, and descended into the shaft. They went down the stairs for the first few floors, but proceeding from there on, they couldn’t seem to use anything except for the ladder at the inner walls of the shaft.
“On my back....”
Tessa was carried on his back; the rope firmly fixated her body. With her tender breast being glued to his back he felt unsteady.
“Please take care of me, Sagara-san.”
“You sound like you are enjoying this....”
“It must be your imagination. But if you meet Kaname-san, I will keep this a secret. fufu....”
Listening to her joke, Sousuke felt something reminiscent. It was during the short time Tessa was studying at Jindai High School, it was that innocent thought. At that time, she was being ridiculed by Kaname and Mao and had always smiled that way.
Being burdened by Tessa, he climbed down the ladder.
The shaft was suitably deep. After discerning that they had descended four floors, the bottom of the shaft was still further down.
At that time, there was a ringing sound in their mobile wireless radio. It was a communication from Kurz, who was standing by outside the secret city. With the influence of the terrain and structures, there was a terrible noise.
“This is Uruz 6. There’s a terrible weather.”
“What’s the matter?”
“There are a number of helicopters approaching from the West. I can confirm three units. It’s probably the enemy.”
“Dammit. It’s too many....”
♦ ♦ ♦
The three helicopters increased to six and Kurz cursed them inside his cockpit.
The said helicopters were flying behind the sun, and the passive sensor of the M9 had detected them late. When Kurz sighted them, the helicopters were already twelve kilometers away and approaching. And to reach the skies of the secret city, would only take about three minutes.
The second Pave Mare, in order to economize the fuel, landed on top of a small mountain forest, cutting his engine. When
they received the information from Kurz’s unit in Gebo 4, the pilot of Gebo 6 started up the APU (Assisted Power Unit) and prepared to start the engine.
No, this is bad, Kurz’s intuition informed him.
“Gebo 4 as well as 6, don’t start your engines.”
“Why, Uruz 6?”
“Those guys, they probably have ECS. That’s why we were late in detecting them. They probably also have ECCS, if we took off poorly we would be discovered. Just hide in the forest like that.”
If they took off then, there was a high chance that the enemy lookout helicopter would be able to detect them. The Pave Mare was not equipped with Anti aircraft weapons; they would be shoot down by the enemy attack.
“But, what do we do? We can’t be bound here like this” the pilot of Gebo 4 asked. Though objecting, at the moment he had suspended the operation of the engine.
“In the mean time we hide ourselves. One they land with peace of mind there will be an opening. Then, when I commence on them, that is the time you pick up Tessa and Sousuke.”
“hn...that’s right, I understand. But how are you sure if they are the enemy of not?”
“If the locality is Russian, then we would have detected them earlier. With such extravagant equipment coming to a remote place like this-”
“It’s Amalgam, dammit.”
“Nowadays they’re making me boil. Those lice.”
The two pilots cursed. Kurz’s own unit’s ECS changed from Radar Infra-red concealment mode to Invisibility mode. When the M9 was transparent, the scenery across its monitors turned to violet.
The six helicopters were still approaching. He called Sousuke again.
“As you heard, Uruz 7! Hurry and come back. Hide in the deserted houses at the Northwest at Point Echo.”
“Uruz 7 roger. But it will take time.”
“Anyway just hurry.”
♦ ♦ ♦
In the middle of the dark pit Sousuke confirmed the state of the rope and started to climb up.
“Captain. Let’s go back.”
“Wait...” Tessa said from his back, opening her mouth.
“We have to join Kurz and the others. It’s dangerous here.”
“That’s right, it can’t be helped....” she said regrettably.
It seemed that there was something important that was sleeping below the shaft.
But if they were slow, they would lose everything. The enemy infantry would be getting there soon. Sousuke could not protect Tessa alone. She knew that well, and so she didn’t say anything unreasonable.
The ladder was terribly rusted, and considerably not easy to climb quickly.
“Please hold on.”
After saying that, the ladder that Sousuke was holding on to made a strange noise and fell. Right away both of his hands grabbed the hand rail, regaining his balance, but that time the base of the rail broke apart.
Their bodies were thrown down. With the rope fixed at the mouth of the pit, they didn’t fall any further; the two of them were hanging in the darkness.
“Are you hurt?”
“I’m alright. I’m sorry.”
“Please don’t let go.”
Bracing both his legs on the surface wall, he reeled in the rope with the full strength of his body, discretely going up the shaft.
This is bad…
It would take about three minutes until they got out of the shaft. They might be surrounded by the enemy like that-
♦ ♦ ♦
“-Landing Zone (LZ) confirmed. Shall we descend?” the pilot of the transport helicopter informed Kalinin over the com.
“Don’t land yet. Wait until the search for the enemy in the surrounding area is finished.”
The other four units and the transport helicopter that Kalinin was riding over Yamsk 11 were loosely circling. It was organized as four Mi-26 transport helicopters and two Mi-24 attack helicopters.
Although irregular, to land the six units, Kalinin had adopted the method he had used during his time in Afghanistan.
The transport helicopter loaded with AS and personnel would standby in a safe airspace at high altitude; the remaining one unit would be concealed in the distant mountains. And then the two units of Hind, with offensive and high mobility, would be patrolling the skies at 500 meters and 1500 meters.
Even if the guerrillas attacked with anti aircraft weapons, only the lowest altitude helicopter would get hit and they could immediately increase the violent attacks. Additionally, the hidden transport helicopter could be dispatched at any time and give pressure by deploying ground forces.
“The rumors of your firm methods seems to be true, Mister Kalium” Wilhelm Casper said over the wireless circuit.
He was a German sniper. Right then he was inside another transport helicopter, standing by in the Lambda Driver-equipped AS, Eligor.
“If you want to go sightseeing then do it another day. I want to quickly say goodbye to this boring place.”
“This is no sightseeing. You will sortie any moment, so stand by” Kalinin answered bluntly.
Such type of AS and airborne troops, the cooperation of attack helicopters, the regiment attached to Kalinin… that was called “Mouse Trap”. Wanting the cheese no matter what, the mouse would be caught between the metal fittings of the snapping spring. There was no way to escape.
Even the Afghanistan guerrillas known for their valor feared that technique which Kalinin had thought of.
Amalgam had customized the Russian-made heavy helicopter Mi-26 Halo and Mi-24 Hind with ECS and ECCS and loaded them with every kinds of sensor. If the opponents were the normal regular army, they could freely move about and deceive their eyes, no matter what kind of deceiving methods their opponents made they would be immediately discovered.
However, their enemy was not the expected regular army. It was them.
At the moment there were no signs of the enemy. The elaborate search for the enemy before landing was not overkill, no matter how many times it was done.
Then the voice of Leonard Testarossa sounded in the wireless circuit. He was riding with Chidori Kaname and the French spy in another Halo.
“I respect your prudence, Mister Kalium. I’m also in agreement with Mr. Casper’s opinion. It would be better to land quickly.”
“Can you tell me the reason?”
“That’s right.... but the reaction is about to appear.”
Leonard’s voice was full of mischief. Kalinin felt that he had heard that voice before. When was that? No, it was not from the past. On the contrary-
“--Mr. Casper’s opinion. It would be better to land quickly.”
“Can you tell me-”
Just now. There was a bizarre déjà vu, repeating the same words, he was replying to me.
“See. This town is special. The effects of the experiments still remain; if you were careless the feeling of time will be ambiguous. The passengers would be alright, but it would be trouble for the pilots.”
At that time, the Hind that was flying in a low-altitude slope and almost crashed into the chemical plant. The helicopter barely picked up its altitude, and made a sudden rise with maximum output.
The belly of the unit grazed the summit of the big silo rising from the plant; in the twilight large sparks were scattered.
“That condition” Leonard made a tedious voice.
The pilots of the Hind were surprised.
“Idiot, you’re gonna get hit!?”
“No, I’m sure I turned to the left. But then the unit was in the former position....”
“What are you talking about? You were in the same position as before—”
It seems that they were not aware of the nature of the déjà vu. Kalinin ordered the Hind to fly away above the plant and investigate the location where the transport helicopter would be landing. It would be better in a place outside the town. It seemed that it would be dangerous near the plant-
With that Casper communicated.
“The mountainous district three kilometers Northeast, can you see the terrace halfway up the mountain? Rocket missile or whatever. Attack the area of that mountain.”
“It’s possible, but why?”
“Just shoot and you’ll know” Casper answered with an obstinate hard laughter.
Kalinin no longer asked and ordered the pilot of the helicopter to do it.
♦ ♦ ♦
Right then, Sousuke, who was not yet away from the plant, was telling them of the helicopter’s state in the air. Then the sharp alarm inside the cockpit of the M9 sounded.
<Warning. 2 o’clock. Unguided Rockets (UGR). Multiple. Impact in 3, 2....>
In an instant, Kurz thought about barely evading them. At that distance they would not hit-- that he judged.
One shot was 30 meters from the M9. It hit the bare rock and then spread with a thunderous sound. The remaining shots exploded at more distant locations.
The flying earth and sand rained down on the M9, hitting the armor with a dry sound. Kurz’s unit didn’t stir from the shooting position. He saw the situation of the enemy through the smoke.
“Were you discovered?” Sousuke said from the wireless radio.
The two units of allied helicopters were still hiding in the mountain forest.
There were no follow up attacks. He had not yet been seen by the enemy. That was just a test shot. Seeing the place he was hiding as stinky they had randomly fired the rocket. If he stayed there, they might let it go--
No, he couldn’t.
“I’ll be spotted somehow, before that I’m going commence on them. Gebo 4, 6. Prepare for takeoff!”
If it were an ordinary enemy, it would be unimaginable that an AS would be hiding in that mountain. With them attacking like that, they were no ordinary opponents. Then it would be useless to hide. Also the debris that landed on the shape of the M9, with the operational invisibility mode of the ECS it would be an unnatural sight for the naked eye. Anyhow, it would only be a matter of time before they were found out.
Master Mode On.
The precision alignment sensor of the 76mm Sniper cannon made a small roar. Distant Antiaircraft mode. Atmospheric
Temperature, humidity, wind speed data streaming, the ballistic calculation units were trembling with the numerical values.
“Uruz 6, it’s about the formation of the enemy’s helicopters—” Sousuke said, still climbing from inside the shaft. The noise was getting worst.
“Listen. It was a harsh method of the Russian Military of the Afghan. The leader of the enemy is Lt. Commander Kalinin.”
“Damn. That old man...”
He selected the target. Priority was on the target with the highest threat.
First would be the Hind.
The enemy units circled in the air. He pointed on the target box of M (Mike) 3.
He calculated the distance and velocity of the helicopter. [VALID AIM] was indicated on the screen.
You’re kidding. Those calculations are different.
The angle was difficult. The effects of the down current produced by the helicopter were corrected by intuition.
Up 2 millimeters. Left one millimeter.
That’s right, here it comes--
The flame of the shot turned the screen white. The 76mm shell with the super speed of sound would take some time before it hit the target. Roughly around three seconds.
Taking in the high caliber shell, the enemy Hind was in pieces in an instant. The rotor rushing away, the unit was squashed- there was an explosion.
The fragments of the enemy unit fell; there was no time to observe. Immediately the next shell was loaded and aimed at the other Hind.
That time it was a high altitude short distance. He corrected the ballistics.
Aim, fire- hit.
The tail of the attack helicopter was blown away. Without the torque control the unit went out of order, rotating. Going down from that altitude it fell on one part of the chemical plant. Two attack helicopters down. Now the allied helicopters could get away.
The enemy had already accurately got hold of his position. He could bury one more unit, but the remaining three units would be hard to aim at.
One unit was already in between the secret city and was hiding in the hills beyond. The other units were currently diving from a high altitude. Far and fast. They couldn’t be aimed at. Another unit was flying at a low altitude, trying to hide in part of the plant. If he were to aim then, that would be it.
The nose diving helicopter had already disappeared on the ground, throwing an AS out from its opened hatch. Red armor. A developed Codarl type. It could be seen carrying a long sniper cannon. That red AS-
He could feel his heart palpitate.
Would he shoot it immediately after landing? No, it was useless. For an opponent equipped with a Lambda Driver that expected an attack from that direction, ordinary attacks would not be effective. But there were no more seconds left, there was certainty that he would shoot at Kurz.
Kurz made a prompt decision, and aimed at the transport helicopter hiding in the plant cluster.
The large helicopter Halo flew into the side of the silo and water tank, pylon intertwined with various pipes. Estimating the location, he aligned. He aimed carefully, but there was no time.
He fired. The shell in flight could be seen piercing the silo, but whether it hit the target or not was unknown.
A flaming discharge came from the ruins. Incoming.
The unit turned and made a jack knife maneuver. Carrying a rifle with a posture of looking up, with the strength of the back it made a short jump. In the area where the M9 was, the enemy’s shell pierced with a violent cloud of dust scattering.
Controlling the posture he landed on two feet. There was an unforgiving successive shot from the enemy. He stooped his body and barely evaded. It was an absurdly accurate shot. Even with a custom firing control computer, at that distance, the impact point should have been a blur.
The possibility of shooting that far was not the ability of the unit. It was the technique of a human who had mastered the utmost limits of firing, experience, and intuition.
There was no mistake. It was ‘Him’.
♦ ♦ ♦
Kaname was looking at Lemon in the cabin of the transport helicopter. Suddenly there was a sound of an explosion from far away. She looked outside from the portside window. The attack helicopter that had been circling the ruins just then was scattered to pieces.
The unit shook and she was thrown out of the bed. She somehow clung on to the seat with all her might. Lemon’s body was fixed in the stretcher and seemed to be alright.
They were not crashing. With the warning from the enemy attack, the helicopter made a nose dive. The ruins that had looked small below gradually drew close.
“Snipe from enemy AS! We’re going to use the North side of the plant as a shield and hide!” the helicopter’s pilot shouted from the in-flight communications.
“Don’t. Don’t go near the plant. Get to a higher altitude” Leonard told the pilot from the cargo room. It was a calm voice.
“But, we will get hit like this! One unit is already down! From that distance- he’s an unbelievably skillful guy!”
“Go up to a higher altitude. If you do so you will surely be safe,” Leonard asserted.
“Why are you so definite!? I can’t, I’m hiding!”
The helicopter turned. Soon the giant pylons of the plant were within reach. They were hiding from the enemy’s line of sight.
“Fasten your belt, Kaname-san” a bedridden Lemon said with a pale face.
“I’m telling you this for your sake. If you go down from a high altitude it would in turn be dangerous—”
There was an impact, strange noises, and a flash from outside the window. The unit jerked in a slope. The warped parts echoed with a terrible sound inside of the unit.
What was happening, she did not know clearly. Did the enemy beyond the building shield shoot? Was this noise the sound of the drive shaft’s tail Rotor being heavily damage?
The pilot screamed from the in-flight communications.
“But, we will get hit like this! One unit is already down! From that distance—”
She didn’t know the meaning of it. The same words from before were repeated. The unit randomly shook, skidding in the skies of the plant at high speed then diving downward.
The pilot and co-pilot shouted.
“What’s happening, suddenly at this altitude—”
“I can’t, I’m hiding!.... no, what was that? Why is the damage…”
“Pull the stick, you idiot!”
“Help! I don’t understand. I should have sustained a serious injury.”
“What are you talking about!?”
“Why are we still flying? We should have already crashed.”
It was the voice of fear. The unit shook. The plant drew close. Like an elliptically intertwined iron plant. Floating in the middle of darkness was a ghastly form, steadily becoming bigger.
What did the rotor come in contact with?
The metal overhead tore apart; the atmosphere was messily torn up. It was like the screams of a ghost. Terrible impact made them swoop many times, bit by bit. The illumination in the cabin created by the sparks disappeared. There was total darkness. Her body drifted, pushing on the seat, and drifted again. The headset was plucked off from the head. She heard Lemon’s screams of pain.
The helicopter was swallowed up by the structures of the plant, steadily falling downward. That at least they somehow knew. How far were they going to drop? Inside the ruins, there might be no bottom-- that was what Kaname thought.
♦ ♦ ♦
“—s is Uruz 6! Engaging enemy AS—”
Kurz was reporting the situation through the wireless radio. Time to listen to the subject was something Sousuke certainly didn’t have. They were still in the middle of climbing the pit, when suddenly a giant helicopter was falling over their heads.
The helicopter emitted small sparks, furthermore in the mouth of the pit— it was slowly falling from the huge stairwell. The unit was entangled with the warped pipes and steel frames of the plant.
The pipes were close to rope that the helicopter was hanging from. Losing to the weight of the helicopter, the structure was falling apart piece by piece.
It would fall into the pit— 10 seconds or 20 seconds. There was no time to hesitate.
“We getting down, Grab on!”
Informing Tessa, Sousuke fixed the reserved rope on the nearby metal frame with the carabiner, and kicked the wall.
It was no longer possible to ascend and get away. Using the rope he tried to drop down to the bottom of the pit since there was no other place to find shelter in the pit.
They fell two floors in one kick. Then another kick. He wanted to descend faster, but with the weight of two people it would be overdoing it.
There was a roaring sound overhead. The helicopter hit the opening of the pit. It was barely hanging on; it would sink down on them next.
The fragments of the unit and the plant were raining in pieces, grazing Sousuke’s side. It was a black shadow in the night vision scope. A pillow-sized metal fragment was drawing close. Bracing both legs on the surface wall he faced up, covering Tessa
on his back. The metal fragment hit his left arm that was covering his head.
Staggering from catching the fragment, he forcibly pulled back and descended. He kicked the wall two to three times. Tessa was shrieking wildly.
They weren’t yet on the ground. Looking down it was still three floors. They came near to a rounded floor.
Finally, the helicopter fell. There were countless sparks scattering in the whole of the pit. The pit was like a large gun barrel. The wreckage of that helicopter was like an elliptical shell being pushed out of the gun barrel.
Another kick. Suddenly they lost the support of the rope in midair. The metal frame that the rope was attached to broke off.
With Tessa being carried on his back, Sousuke fell from the height of the floor. He somehow turned his body. In a manner to avoid crushing Tessa, half of his right side hit the floor. The air leaked out of his lungs, and his head was dizzy. He ignored the pain. Removing the rope he raised his body. The helicopter was drawing nearer. He no longer had time to look up. Carrying Tessa in his back, he ran off into a passage that entered his field of vision. The helicopter drew close. Just a little more. Another four steps----three steps----
He jumped forward. The metal sound and squall beat into his ears.
Turning his head he saw that, just behind him, the wreckage of the helicopter had plugged the entrance of the passage.
They had somehow survived.
But it was still too early to feel relieved. Sousuke immediately stood up from lying face down and continued to walk forward in the dark passage. There was a smell of jet fuel. If the helicopter exploded in a confined space like that, the two of them would be barbecued. They needed to get away as far as possible.
There was no reply. It seemed she had fainted. In the mean time there was still the sensation of breathing. Her body, which was supposed to be fixated by the rope to his body, was slowly slipping off his back. Although he wanted to support her, he could not do so with his numb left arm that had been hit with a metal fragment moments ago. Without strength, she tumbled down, lying down on the ground.
At that time there was a big jolt in the passage. The ground slanted and the floor in front of them fell down. It was a deep hole.
The underground facility was still further down. Had the shock from the crash made the surrounding structures brittle? While extending his hand to Tessa, who had collapsed on the floor, the ground of the passage suddenly fell to pieces.
He tried to grab at something at once but his injured left hand failed to do so. Being swallowed by the rusted iron panel, he fell into the dark hole.
♦ ♦ ♦
The crash was finally over. And she was still alive.
In the middle of the darkness, Kaname let out a groan.
The seatbelt was eating into the pain of her shoulder and lower back. The seat that she was strapped into was dangling off the floor.
The irritating smell of jet fuel reached her nose. The turbo shaft engine was still making a thundering sound. She had to get out of that place fast.
“Somebody? Are you alive!?”
From the side Lemon’s voice could be heard. Kaname removed the seatbelt, carefully avoiding falling down from the vertical floor. She groped around, looking for Lemon’s body. She grabbed something randomly and he let out a strange shriek.
“Ah, sorry. ....Hyah!?”
When she understood what she was gripping, she let out a strange shriek, rubbing the palms of her hands in her clothes.
“That was such an awful reaction...”
“Anyway, we have to get out of here.”
Kaname loosened the belt that was holding Lemon’s body on the stretcher.
“I agree, but I don’t know if I can walk.”
“Walk! You don’t want to die right!?”
Loosening the restraining belt, she supported Lemon. The wound hurt, but he bore the pain and groaned. Relying only on memory they searched the side of the seats, there was an emergency pocket light. They lit it. The situation of their surrounding was reflected into their eyes. It seemed that they fell down in a nose dive. Stopping short of the cabin, the control room ahead was smashed.
“Over there. Can you go?”
They saw the hatch beside the barrier wall that separated the cabin and control room. It had been distorted from the impact of the crash and was out of place. Using the 90 degree seat as a scaffold, Kaname alighted to the side of the hatch. Lemon, taking care of his injured leg, somehow managed to continue after.
Alighting first, Kaname kicked the hatch. The door only creaked, and did not open. She tried again with all of her might. Even though her knees were hurt and numb from the kicking, it would not open.
“Kaname-san, it’s useless. Let’s find another way out.”
Ignoring the advice of Lemon, she removed the fire extinguisher that she noticed from the barrier wall. Surprised at its weight, she brandished it and hit the hatch. It still would not open. But she felt a reaction. Well, one more time!
“It’s useless. Another place would....”
Thinking of the faces of the people she hated, she beat on the wall. While she was letting it have it, there was a sound of metal bending. The hatch vigorously opened on the other side. It was a crack that would allow one person to pass through.
“Alright, let’s get out of here!”
They could see the outside from the exit. The irritating odor of the fuel hurt their eyes. It would not be strange if an explosion occurred. There was a concrete wall in front of them. The illumination of the light showed that the ground below was around two meters away. They could somehow descend.
“Well let’s go.”
When Lemon said that, there was a faint groan from behind them. Looking from the opposite side of the hatch-- there was a
man collapsed in the corner of the cabin. It was one of the soldiers that had been looking out for Kaname. Although he was injured, he was still alive.
“Let’s go, Kaname-san.”
“They’re the enemy! Come on!”
“I can’t after all. Go down first.”
Pushing Lemon outside the helicopter, Kaname hurriedly rushed over to the man.
“Can you move? Let’s get out of here!”
The man looked half conscious, and could not reply. His leg seemed to be fractured, it would be impossible to stand up.
“This may hurt but please bear it!”
Kaname grabbed the nape of the man’s neck with both hands, and started to forcibly pull him into the hatch.
He was outrageously heavy. Gathering all the strength from her body, she walked back with a waddle. She was immediately breathing heavily but she kept pulling regardless.
The man was moved to the exit, grasping for air in pain. She pushed him out from the crack in the hatch.
Lemon, already down in the ground, beckoned. The upper body of the man casually fell out of the unit, with his lower body hanging up--
The man fell and dragged Lemon into the ground. Then Kaname went out of the unit, using the protrusion of the unit as a scaffold.
Together with Lemon, who was dragging his leg, she supported the man’s shoulder. They progressed away from the unit through a crack in the wall. They could see a large tunnel opened up from the wall. It was a size that a truck could go through.
“What’s this tunnel?”
“In any case this way!”
They dove into the tunnel, staggering. Because of the crash’s impact everything was collapsing.
A panel was hanging from the ceiling, particularly with a creaking sound. After Kaname and the others had proceeded about ten odd meters in the tunnel there were flames from behind them.
“My leg is hurt....I can’t walk anymore.”
“You can’t! Do your best!”
There was conflagration coming from the wreckage of the helicopter.
There was an old worn out truck in one corner of the tunnel. The rusted tires had disappeared from the corrosion. With the last ounce of Kaname’s strength, she pulled Lemon and the man, running for cover in that truck.
If we came this far, will we be alright for the mean time? Following that thought there was an explosion.
The heat wave and shockwave reached their distance. Flooding fragments jumped about inside the tunnel. The aluminum alloy turned to a sharp knife and pierced the wreckage of the truck. The heat of surrounding atmosphere scorched Kaname and the others like a sauna.
Kaname squatted, holding her breath. There was an alarm in her heart, and she could feel the sweat on her back.
It was probably around ten seconds that she stared blankly.
She timidly opened her eyes. She was gasping. There must not be enough oxygen?
It was hard to breath. But at first it was only a few moments. There seemed to be fresh air flowing from somewhere. So as not to inhale the smoke, she crawled up and down.
“Mr. Lemon, are you alright?”
“Somehow” Lemon answered with a weak voice. “But, how do you say this.... I think I know why Sousuke fell for you.”
“An impressive strength. I’m impressed.... haha”
With regards to consciousness, Kaname now recalled her own behavior. She didn’t remember dong something that strange-
“....speaking of which, it’s been a long time, something like this.”
“This kind of action. It was very inconvenient when I was with him.”
Spitting on the ground, she stood up by herself.
♦ ♦ ♦
Leonard’s Belial was suspended in mid air. He was simply observing the escaping helicopter descend into the underground of the plant.
He could have prevented the crash. He could have immediately pulled up the descending helicopter. And then, he could have torn up the cabin and only grabbed Chidori Kaname.
However, he did not execute any of that.
He observed the wreckage of the helicopter which fell to the bottom the large elevator shaft with a high resolution infra red sensor. He looked on as the girl and the Frenchman got out of the
hatch, escaping inside into the underground facility. It was such a touching matter, lending her shoulder to a wounded soldier who she had no sense of duty to save.
Later the helicopter exploded, firstly she was alright. Leonard had also confirmed that. That’s right-- she had to be alright.
“The sniping M9 seems to have withdrawn.” Wilhelm Casper reported after engaging the enemy.
The improved Codarl type AS, Eligor, descended.
“I searched for traces of his Transport Pave Mare but, they also got away. I’ll stand guard.”
“Roger. We are currently landing the infantry. We will secure the town” Kalinin replied.
“Then I’ll leave that to you gentlemen. I will go down” Leonard said.
“To the underground facility? Alone?”
“Aah. I’m going to explore. Chidori Kaname and the Frenchman escaped and got away underground.”
“We will be sending soldiers from here, will that be alright?”
“As you wish” replying simply, he cut off the communication.
Leonard’s unit ascended, comparing the collected data and the actual landscape. He scrutinized the relations of the underground facility in his head. And then he descended, entering the large elevator shaft in the central plant.
At the bottom of the giant pit the helicopter was still burning. Burning like a furnace of death.
The Belial approached the wreckage in flames. The flames and smoke avoided the unit. And then he drew nearer. With an unseen force the atmosphere was pushed back, crushing the
burning wreckage. The conflagration twinkled like a mirror. Heat, smoke, flame, and the pieces of metal— all of it opened up from Leonard’s path.
The legs of the Belial touched the bottom of the shaft. It was a silent landing.
Kneeling the unit, he opened the cockpit hatch.
♦ ♦ ♦
They stayed at a distance barely in range of Tessa and Sousuke’s mobile radio. They were standing by roughly ten kilometers east of the mountain ranges. Kurz and the crew of the Pave Mare were discussing things. After finishing the camouflage, and scattering disposable vibration sensors, the threat of the red AS was currently not urgent.
“....well, how about contact with Sousuke?”
Getting off from the dust stained M9, Kurz walked to the Pave Mare that was parked in the middle of the woods. He listened to the pilot coming out from the rear hatch. Gebo 4’s pilot was an Italian called Salvio.
“We can’t. We don’t know if they’re alright or not. We can’t call them on the frequency, even if it’s an encrypted communication the enemy would perceive our location.”
“How about the de Danaan?”
“Even if we explain the situation, they’re on the other side of the world. They won’t be able to send reinforcements immediately; Mao and Clouseau have their hands full and can’t leave.”
“Dammit, this is the worst.”
“Anyway we can still get away; it’s still not the worst.”
Another pilot of the unit Gebo 6, an American Second Lieutenant named Fisher, bumped in and handed a bottle of Mineral water to Kurz. Casually receiving it he took off his headset and poured the water on his head. Even though they were in an unpleasantly cold climate, it couldn’t be helped as his face was hot.
“The enemy doesn’t know that we are leaving the two of them behind. At any rate, with such messy ruins like that, if Sousuke managed to hide, I don’t think they would be easily found. The Captain also said that they would ‘need a few hours to finish’. If they are also safe, we can wait here for the whole night, right?”
“It’s impossible” Kurz denied, and drank the remaining water in the bottle.
Even though Salvio and Fisher were Second Lieutenants, they did not mind the conscious attitude particularly in rank difference from Kurz who was a Master Sergeant. Their ages were not far apart, and they had had a relationship for nearly two years being together in drop operations, and above all, for the current Mithril, rank was only for conveniences. In a difficult situation like that, Salvio respected the judgment of Kurz, who was accustomed to actual combat.
“....Puha. The enemy had already noticed that Tessa and Sousuke were dropped off into the ruins. Because that was a stormy town, there are still bound to be traces of footsteps to take notice of. A single soldier with good training, a slow moving woman, it could be read that they have entered the plant.”
“They understood that much?”
“The enemy is the Lieutenant Commander.”
Even then, for the people of the de Danaan, they still called Kalinin “Lieutenant Commander”. It was not that they yearned for any lingering attachment; they just couldn’t change the habit.
“Also.... aside from the Lieutenant Commander, that guy is among the enemy”
“That guy? Who would that be?”
“My teacher” Kurz said annoyingly. “Do you know the name Wilhelm Casper?”
“Aah...I think I’ve somehow heard it. I’ve read his name countless times in a special magazine..... He was a German.”
“That’s right. His family was Snipers for generations. His Grandfather killed a lot of alliance soldier in the Second World War; he was an incredible Knights Cross guy. His father was said to be feared in Indochina and Africa. But that Wilhelm— he killed over 100 people in the Russian Civil war, Lebanon and Tajikistan. A former East German soldier, he became a mercenary after the unification.”
“Is he a master?”
“Not that kind of Level. He’s a Devil. ....do you know the world record for an actual combat snipe? It’s 2500 meters. It was achieved by a sergeant in the American Marines. The target was a commissioned officer of the Iraqi Army. Using a 50 caliber (12.7mm) penetrating rifle and the latest Ballistic Predicting equipment, in relatively calm conditions.”
“The Olympics world is really astonishing”
“I’m not saying that this is a bad skill, or this was due to the equipments, and it hit after a number of shots. On the other hand the record of Casper is 1520 meters. It’s short by 1000 meters from the ‘world record’. However, his weapon was a 308 caliber (7.6mm) wooden rifle. At night, raining, with a condition of the wind speed blowing 15 meters directly horizontal. And it was only one shot.”
“Um.... is that really hard?”
“It was quite far. Compared to a 50 caliber shell, the 308 caliber is quite light, and the energy is smaller. In addition it was in bad weather. The parabola of the ballistics was complex. It was a risky hole in one in the middle of the storm. For a person in the same profession they would laugh and not believe it.”
With a dark voice Kurz continued, “But I saw it. At that time, I was beside him as a supporter.”
In the back of his mind the scene of that night was revived.
♦ ♦ ♦
It was a desolate street. The conflagration had caused it to be mostly abandoned. The night sky was stained blood red. It was damp and humid with rain. Roadside trees were swayed by the wind. From far away echoed the roars of cannons from the Israel Army.
There was a room in a partially destroyed western style house. From the wide hole in the wall, he was aiming at the target.
From a western house erected on a hill with a good view to the target, who was visiting a local hotel— that was the distance from the entrance.
The target was a manager of a military organization. The meeting would soon be over and he would come out of the hotel. The delay for him to disappear into the bullet proof limousine waiting in front was merely five seconds.
For someone who was a marksman as an occupation, that condition and that distance would be an extremity in space. It was a world that had nothing to do with him. An area where no hands could reach.
How stupid. He can’t shoot it. That was what Kurz thought. He was jeering him with odious words and kept saying they should return to camp and have a drink.
He did not reply. Kurz’s words really did not enter his ears.
Lying down on the floor wet by the rain in a sheltered altitude, it was like his body was welded to his gun. The scope connected to his right eye. He had very quite breathing. With the Mediterranean Sea that close the night was getting colder and the humidity higher. There remained an awful impression from his visible breath.
There was movement inside the lobby. Sensing that the target was coming out, Kurz informed him.
“The stag is coming.”
In his unit, that was what they always call the target. Although he heard, he did not answer. If he answered his chin would move. If his chin moved, his accuracy will be out of order.
The door of the hotel opened. The roadside trees were swaying. The bodyguards were coming out. Of course they did not take notice of their location. Straightening his thin collar, the “Stag” showed his appearance. An unshaven man over 50.
The target walked towards the waiting car.
It should not have hit— At that time, that was what Kurz thought.
The instant that he pulled the trigger, it was hard to express words. It was no exaggeration, the space around him distorted, a discernment like it was being drawn to the limit. At least that was how Kurz felt. The utmost limits of concentration and the utmost limits of his sensation from a while ago had summoned something that could not be seen.
That was what they called a “ghost coming”.
By no means was it an entreaty to a deity. All the devices- eyes, brains, finger, trigger, firing pin, cartridge, barrel, rifling, muzzle, and then the bullet, conformed to the laws of physics. There was no room for intervention from God or Ghosts.
From thousands of bullets that were shot, in each record, learning, mixing one’s own gunpowder, manufacturing a cartridge, cutting off warheads, all kinds of weather condition and distances, in every angle, failure, failure, and layers of failure, calculations, starting over, calculating. That was the technical skill that was grasped from its end.
Whether mysterious or not, he really had no faith. Everything was mechanically moved, the bullet flew to the calculated position.
However, at that time something certainly came.
There was nothing to be said but a “ghost coming”.
At that moment, the ghost came. There was an indication of something descending. Next, the tip of the weapon made a dazzling radiance, and then a gunshot reached his ears.
It was 1520 meters. He had not heard of it ever succeeding.
But it hit— he felt the ghost, Kurz gradually thought.
The bullet that flew in the middle of the rain and wind, of course could not be seen. But two seconds after the shot the head of the target could be seen spraying blood. The blood danced in the middle of the rain.
The surprised bodyguards shouted at something. The body of the headless target was pushed to the seat by two people, running away from that place.
He struck at the shoulder of a dumbfounded Kurz. He didn’t show any signs of being satisfied of his accomplishment or any boastful behaviors of his skills. Both of them left the western
house and withdrew. While walking in the rain, Kurz excitedly praised his skills.
“Don’t think you can imitate this, boy” Wilhelm Casper said, standing to a halt and turning his head with sympathizing eyes. “You can’t do it.”
In fact, from then on, Kurz was not able to imitate it even once.
One week after that, a decisive incident occurred. Kurz, with young emotions, left Casper’s unit.
♦ ♦ ♦
“It was 4 years ago in Lebanon.”
He did not tell the details to the pilots. For a number of seconds, Kurz remembered secretly the events of that time.
“I can’t do a shot like that. Whether it was experience of sense---- that’s not the dimension. But something more definite, something he has that I don’t.”
“Is it will, resolution, or something like that?” Salvio asked.
“I wonder. I really don’t understand. ....well, if it’s character, then I have it. At any rate, the first time that I touched a rifle, was about five or six years ago.”
“That’s the first I’ve heard of it.”
“It’s not like I was hiding it. In the first year I got mixed as a volunteer soldier in the Middle East, from there I was picked up by those guys— Casper unit. That’s what I remember.”
“Hee. What kind of unit was it?”
“It has no name. Just ‘Casper’s unit’. Fighting all over the world, it was a group of sharpshooters, well..... you might say it was the modern version of Bailey’s South African Sharpshooter.”
“What’s that? Baileys....?”
“It’s from the past, a mercenary unit. But never mind that. The problem is— I probably can’t win against him.”
Of course speaking in terms of tactics, it was not a simple competition of target practice.
If the aiming distance was shorter than the enemy by 100 meters, it would be simple to move 100 meters forward. With other things like camouflage, diversionary tactics, deception, pincer movements, and combining other methods, the chance of surely defeating the enemy would come out. That was tactics. To include all of it, he was saying that Kurz could not win against Casper.
“But, we will be leaving Tessa and Sousuke behind. We can’t just abandon them.”
Kurz made a sigh, and remained in thought. When his comrades were in anxiety, he made an unpleasant sigh.
“Well, one way or another. Anyway, we wait for a chance.”
“Chance, what kind?”
“We pick up the two’s communication, we can still escape. Making diversionary tactics we support them in full force.”
Standing up, he returned backed to his own M9.
Something clanged on the back of his cockpit hatch. Opening a small shock proof firearms container, he took out a rigorously wrapped rifle from inside. Getting back to the ground, he opened the package; the rifle displayed a sullen scene.
After the prelude in AS battle, he thought that there might come a time that it would be its turn.
It was a bolt action rifle that let out a gloomy brilliance.
It was ancient and simple, but that was why it was a beautiful work of art. The wooden part was made of brown walnut lumber. The bulky gun barrel was dark blue. The white granular pattern emerged from the myriad of Teflon treatments. He had
installed a 36 fold scope on its top part, its length was like it was another gun, thick.
That weapon was manufactured 50 years ago in the Winchester plant; it prided itself on having an unattainable precision compared to the latest sniping weapons. The possessors of it so far, there was no mistake that they had poured their affection into its elaborate maintenance. It could be said it was an excellent gun that was the “rifle among rifles”. It has been five years since he had grasped that gun as a greenhorn. It was something that has been passed on to him. That kind of gun was suitable for that man.
If it was that weapon then that may be realized.
♦ ♦ ♦
The man that Kaname saved through her bravery was still bearing serious injuries.
“Fracture in the right arm, lacerations in the right flank. And there seems to be a hit on the back of the head- but we still don’t know how serious this is” Lemon said, roughly inspecting the injuries.
That casualty was a dark man in his 30’s. He was not really largely built but he had tightened muscles. If he were to be fine, Kaname and Lemon would surely be captured.
“Can he be saved?”
“I wonder about that. If we can properly treat him immediately, he can somehow manage.... Unfortunately we have not first-aid set. It is certain that we cannot move him.”
“Is that so...”
The man with a faint appearance groaned. He seemed to be conscious for the time being.
“Hang on. What’s your name?”
“Mr. Brown. The helicopter went down and there was an explosion, but we managed to save you. Unfortunately, I think the others have died. We want to treat you, but we don’t have the tools or medicine here. Do you understand this much?”
The man groaned weakly, moving his lips with an “I understand”.
“I think your friends will be coming here soon. They know where we are right? That’s why, we’re sorry, but we have to leave you behind and run away.”
He was helpless from being injured. The man sluggishly put up his left hand, and grabbed her arm. When she was unable to grant the wish of the man, Kaname somehow felt guilty, even though he was a subordinate of the enemy.
Gently grabbing the hand of the man, she wiped a handkerchief in the man’s face.
“I’m sorry. Here, put this on. It will keep you warm. Do your best.”
Taking off her red down jacket, Kaname put it on top of the man.
“Lemon-san, can you walk? I’ll lend you my shoulder.”
“Aah, I’ll somehow do my best.....ouch.”
Leaving the injured man behind, the two of them walked out of the place, staggering.
Proceeding to the passage, it was a dead end. The collapsed ceiling that had deteriorated over the years was blocking the
passage. After retracing their steps, they headed towards another passage through a branch.
“Are you cold?”
“I’m alright. How about you, lending your jacket to a guy like him…”
“Are you saying that I’m a hypocrite?”
Being offended, Lemon denied in haste.
“That’s not it. It’s just.... you really don’t understand. Since you are clever, you should have already noticed it. You did something dangerous.”
“What do you mean?”
“That Brown guy, leaving him alive in an open place, it’s telling his friends that we’re alive and running away. If that’s so, even if we ran away we can’t get away. We could have let them think that we were burned together with the rest of the crew.”
Kaname unexpectedly stopped.
“I..it’s nothing. Anyway, let’s hurry”
“....could it be that you didn’t notice? You did that without thinking?”
It hit the spot. Kaname really didn’t think that far. Before thinking, that sort of thing had already come up.
“Is that so? You didn’t think about it.”
“Y..you’re mistaken! I thought of it carefully, but it guess I really can’t abandon him!”
“Hm.... Well, that’s how it is.”
“What’s that? In the first place if you were aware of it, why didn’t you say something!?”
“See, I thought so.”
Lemon laughed. While being embarrassed, Kaname sensed another emotion. Being a Whispered, her intelligence would abruptly surface. Increasing the different knowledge, she was becoming a remarkably intelligent person-
Uo, amazing. I was greatly stupefied.
But what is this, this feeling of relief?
I am me. I also make blunders. But saving people… I still haven’t changed—
But those feelings… where did Lemon’s next words go?
“It’s not that. It’s just....You really don’t understand. Since you are clever, you should have already noticed it. You did something dangerous....huh? No, being a hypocrite...eh?”
“What are you talking about?”
In a standstill, Lemon pushed his brows with his fingers and made a short groan. The awful mood seemed to have gotten worse.
Even Kaname was seized with a strange sensation. Lemon being confused like this, how many times did she see it? No, wasn’t that the first time? Aah, that was-
“Déjà vu” she muttered.
It was not another first. She had experienced it a number of times. Also, déjà vu was a phenomenon was also present for an ordinary person. Although she was used to it, since coming to the ruins the frequency of déjà vu seemed to be very high. More accurately the frequency was uncountable, the ruins were strange after all.
Exactly what is in these ruins?
It might be something related to the Omni Sphere. No, there seemed to be no mistake. The déjà vu phenomenon was the strengthened effect of the Omni Sphere. In ordinary living things the reverberation was harmless, even an ordinary person like
Lemon could feel it. Even the pilot of that helicopter, just before crash landing, had said something weird. That too.
Was there another Whispered nearby? Aside from Leonard and herself? Leonard was inside the cargo riding the AS, Belial, when the helicopter crashed. He shouldn’t be dead from the crash. He was somewhere inside the ruins.
The Whispered from somewhere was using an amplification device similar to the TAROS, the Reverberation or some sort of electromagnetic disturbance effect must have been created by that. No-
That’s not it.
It was something more dangerous. There.
The déjà vu had a different sensation. Every time a crisis happened, there was a feeling of someone else in her head, whispering.
Lemon’s voice brought her back.
“....ah, sorry. Anyway are you alright?”
Noticing, the man they saved from the helicopter was lying in front of them. Kaname and the others were on the back of the truck’s wreckage that they took shelter on.
Looking at his injuries Lemon said, “Fracture in the right arm, lacerations in the right flank. And there seems to be a hit on the back of the head- but we still don’t know how serious this is.”
“Can he be saved?”
Aah, enough- expelling such memories from the corner of her consciousness, she asked Lemon.
“I wonder about that. If we can properly treat him immediately-”
Listening to his explanation, she explained this to Brown, wiping his face, covering him with the down jacket, lending her hands to Lemon and leaving that place. Her indiscretion being pointed out by Lemon, she seriously denied it, he smiled.
“What is it?”
“The déjà vu will come a number of times, so please hold on to your thoughts. Probably, the cause is somewhere in this facility.”
“...Aah. I understand” Lemon said shaking his head.
“You seem to have good understanding. Don’t you want to hear ‘why?’?”
“Following the purpose as to why these ruins were created, well, I know a little. Anyhow me and Wraith investigated it.”
Moving together with Wraith and being capture by Leonard, it was mentioned when they were inside the plane. Wraith escaped, after that he didn’t know what came next. But he did not tell her what they were investigating in Moscow. It was because there was an observer.
“About this facility?”
“It was a request from the young woman, Testarossa. She had already conjectured the existence of such secret city, but she didn’t know the location. This was constructed during the 70’s, an absolutely secret research facility. They were doing suspicious experiments on Telepathy or Future prediction. We got the results from our investigation in Moscow. The exaggeratedly excellent scientist named Professor Valov created this, in addition this research facility was seriously a national project.”
“I was half convinced, but I gradually believed. At any rate Amalgam seriously captured and interrogated me, and came to this
secret city. And then- as you’ve said we’re being attacked with a strange déjà vu. Of course we don’t know how much, but this seems to be a bad place.
“Even the crash just now, I don’t think the cause was from an attack by someone. The pilot must have been confused.”
“Aah. Even then, someone attacked.... they even tried to kill us…”
Kaname remembered the subject of communication. “Sniped”. “Unbelievable skill”. And then about the enemy that fought against Amalgam.
Could it be the one who attacked was Kurz Weber?
It seemed that he didn’t know that Kaname was riding that helicopter. If Kurz and the others were close by, there were prospects of escape from there.
Not only that. It may be possible, that Sousuke was somewhere-
“Anyway let’s find the exit.”
“This research facility is interesting but.... we don’t have the luxury for it.”
“That’s how it is.”
The two of them proceeded down the dark passage. To the right. To the left. When they reach a fork they proceeded with suitable intuition. It was a dead end ahead; it seems a shut iron door stopped them. It was like a maze. There was no sketch of the inside of the facility; the corroded plate, which was abandoned for many years, fell to the floor. The indications in the area, whether  or , had indiscernible numerical figures. They were in a state of not knowing how many floors they were underground.
“I give up. We’re completely lost” Lemon said when a collapsed ceiling leaning on the wall plugged the passage.
With not being able to go out the exit the injury in his leg was starting to hurt. Their faces, which were visible in the light from their pocket flashlight, were paler than before.
“That’s not so. For the time being, why don’t we go back to where we came from?”
“Somehow. The map was sketched into my head. Why don’t we go that way?”
Before, this kind of feat would be impossible, Kaname thought.
It was five minutes. Wandering about the maze, Lemon noticed an accident. He grabbed Kaname’s arm, leaning on her shoulder they immediately stopped.
“What’s the matter?”
“Quiet. Someone’s coming. Turn of the light.”
After informing her with a concealed voice he took out a pistol from the back of his waist. He wanted to say “When did this thing get here?”, but nothing came out of his mouth. Probably, they must have taken it from Mr. Brown when they saw him.
She turned off the switch of the pocket light as he said. Lemon stretched his hand, taking the pocket lamp from her. There was a fallen locker nearby and the two of them hid behind it. Surely they could hear footsteps from faraway.
The opponent was alone.
Just before the passage before Kaname, from the “T” crossroad at the corner of the warped passage, someone was slowly getting near. There seemed to be no light. Was he wearing a night vision apparatus?
They concealed their breath. That someone was coming out from behind the corner. In the total darkness the form could not be seen, but they would know by sound.
Lemon turned on the pocket light and illuminated it towards the opponent, with pistol aimed.
“Don’t move!” he said.
The opponent looked startled and had night vision goggles covering their head.
It was a short built girl. Short pants and flight jacket. White slender legs and imbalanced, with large trekking boots. And carefully braided ash blond hair.
Taking of the night vision goggles, she narrowed her eyes in the radiant light from the pocket lamp, which was inquiring towards her.
“Tessa...? Is that you Tessa!?”
“That voice.... Kaname-san?”
“Un. But why are you in a place-”
Before finishing her words, Tessa jumped to hug her. She ignored the existence of a surprised Lemon.
“Thank goodness.... I was so worried....it’s really Kaname-san.”
“Th...that’s right! Aah...Tessa, don’t cry. Hush hush.”
“I’m sorry. But I’m glad that you’re alright. Really thank goodness....”
“Un. Tessa also looks fine. It’s really been a long time”
Burying her face in her chest, Tessa cried for a while. Kaname was also happy, but she was taken aback with her suddenly showing herself in a place like that. She was completely confused with deep emotions.