|What We Live For
Author: Furiouswind PM
The continuation of my first story, What We Die For, the SSS2 continue to wage their bloody war but all is not what it seems. The war will end, and the question is by whose hand will it end by? And who will remain after?Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Humor - Chapters: 48 - Words: 242,410 - Reviews: 206 - Favs: 58 - Follows: 54 - Updated: 05-06-13 - Published: 01-01-11 - id: 6614254
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: SOOOO SORRY! I've been apologizing a lot lately but really so sorry! I had a whole month of crazy stuff at work and I've only got two weeks of break. This is the second week of that break so I may not update for another 2-3 weeks! Gah! I hate my job. But then how can I survive without it? Dammit.
Anyway, I wanted to get this out earlier but I was busy with the above mentioned situation, as well as... DRAWING! Yes! I have started to draw characters for this story! I had managed to get Yuki done BUT! BUT BUT BUT! The heavens are aligned and all mighty and great beings from above... HAVE STOPPED ME FROM SCANNING MY PICTURES! My new scanner isn't scanning! Stupid thing just sits there on my desk, staring at me and ignoring the SCAN BUTTON!
Sigh... oh well, until I can get the pictures scanned, then edit them a little some software, you guys would have to wait a while. Sorry!
Ah yes, to the readers who say I am a military fanatic, I'd say you're a little off the mark. I'm not a military fanatic... I'm a WAR NUT (no pun intended). I love reading about wars from all eras, ranging from medieval to modern times. Military biasness just comes with. This does not mean I love wars themselves, I'm a peace loving dude. But by studying wars, you can understand the tactics, the thinking of men and how far people would go for victory. Quite inspirational, if not for all of the dying and other ethical stuff. "It is through war that you can see and understand the true nature of men." Not too sure who said that but I'm sure I heard it from someone. Probably my University Professor.
Ah yes, I also did say that my story is meant to be darker in nature, didn't I? Maybe I should put it down again somewhere to remind people. But don't fret if you believe I did not put in enough humour! I have... THE SIDE STORIES! They will not be released until after this fic, so you will have to wait, but the side stories will be filled with the random stuff that Angel Beats! is known for! There will be sad and dark stories in there as well, but try to enjoy it for what it is!
What We Live For
Unknown location, hill top overlooking school
He squatted down, watching the large formation of NPCs move about on the school grounds below. Not just NPCs but a large number of Shadows were also present. With this number of enemy forces left, could they actually be able to win?
"I see doubt in your eyes. Strange, for an NPC to show such emotion."
A cheeky voice spoke up beside him. He did not bother to turn to the cloaked young man who stood next to him.
"He isn't just 'any' NPC."
The young woman behind them snapped at the cloaked young man, who simply stepped back, raising his hands in a mocking manner.
"Hey hey, don't need to bare your fangs at me."
He said, making the young woman bite her lips. She wanted to shout more, maybe even pummel the cloaked man, but she would abide by his words.
"What worries me is whether the SSS2 are able to win this battle."
He muttered, turning to look at the 'army' he had managed to gather himself. A large number of converted NPCs stood behind him and he made sure they would not be able to be corrupted. That additional little 'program' that he created on the spot and installed was not exactly the best solution to prevent corruption, but it was the best he could do with the time and equipment constraints he faced. He wasn't like the 'creator' and had little experience with handling the administrative side of the program. He was created by it in the first place and spent most of his 'life' living as a human being. It was irritating to even start calculating the number of bugs and errors that could occur with his clumsiness. Why couldn't the 'creator' help out? Even just a little? Oh well, no use berating himself over something like this.
"The SSS2 are already exhausted from the previous battle in the forest. Though the on-site commander was wise enough to keep a large number of troops in reserve, it is obvious that the best soldiers were committed during that battle."
Another young man stepped forward.
"... Yamato. That's so like her."
He smirked, affording a little inward laugh.
"You mean Kusanagi? She's leading the battle?"
"Yes. It is her. I had some scouts track their movements ever since they left the Fortress. While I do know that they are exhausted from the fight, I also know that Yamato isn't the type of person to give up that easily. She will push everything they have to win this fight."
"But the enemy easily outnumbers them. There has to be at least two million Angels down there."
"... They will make it."
He said, getting up to his feet.
"You trust her a lot, don't you?"
The cloaked man mused.
"As much as she trusts me. We have to make preparations. The moment they strike, we will have a chance to enter the tower."
In Back-up Beta World
She looked at them all, lined up in a long role. Most she knew, most had fought with her, travelled with her through many hardships and pain. And they were going back into hell.
"... As all of you know, we will be jumping straight back into hell. There will not be any time to adjust yourselves, or even time to catch a breath. We have little time to practice, we only have our memories of 'that' life to go by. We will be overwhelmed, beaten back and cornered. Even so, are all of you ready to make this decision? It isn't too late to turn back now."
She asked. Some in the line laughed at that.
"We've come this far Yurippe. There's no point in us going back."
"Yeah, and besides, we need to show those young ones what their 'senpai' can really do!"
Several started to laugh at that. She could only smile.
"I see... so all of you are prepared."
They shouted in unison.
"... Soon, we will join up with others from all over the World. Others who suffered and stood bravely like us. This will be the largest joint operation the World has ever seen. ALL OF YOU WHO ARE PREPARED TO JUMP STRAIGHT BACK INTO THE PITS OF HELL, STEP FORWARD!"
Without hesitation or even a pause, everyone in the line took that one step forward in unison. Banging their feet together, thundering their determination. It was stupid to even ask such a question. But she had to. Even if it was just to elevate her guilt of dragging them back into this nightmare, she had to. But with this she was relieved. She wasn't alone. She was never alone.
"Good! We will be going directly to the source! We will go in hard and kill everything in our path! We are the main cavalry for this war and this-"
She pointed behind her.
"Will be our ride."
Forward Command Post, Mobile Command Unit Vehicle, Avalon
Opening a fresh can of key coffee, Fujibayashi Kyou stood over the war map screen on the table, noting the different units starting to move closer to bottle neck point Whiskey. The sweep of the remaining Shadows from the forest battle could be put off till later. It was important to reinforce the intelligence division who were fighting at point Whiskey. Testarossa Iris. That was a name Kyou would normally be irked to listen to, let alone speak it. But this war required everyone to fight. No one would be left behind. The last Kyou heard from the intelligence division was during the distress call when all hell broke loose. Their position was overrun by Shadows and had no means to escape. But seeing as they were here now, Kyou assumed that some of them managed to get away. Just not all. Kyou guessed their current strength to be at 20 percent, and even the soldiers that Iris had with her were surely exhausted. They were not front-line soldiers. They were spies.
As a fighting unit, Iris had managed to transform her 'Sentinels' into assassins, almost ninja-like. But as Kyou pointed out before. They weren't soldiers. The intelligence division was first and foremost a spying and reconnaissance division. Any form of combat they did was kept to small skirmishes and engagements, usually being contained to at most ten enemies. This adds another problem of Iris's involvement at Whiskey. That is the bottle neck, the place where all of the Shadows were coming through into the forest from the school grounds. The intelligence division was completely out of their league. That is why she needed Yamato to pick up the pace and catch up with Iris. She trailed her finger on the screen, before placing her entire palm on its surface, dragging her hand down. The map moved ahead of the army, showing the darkened areas that was once the school.
There were still some signs of its previous form, several buildings still stood as they had been, but the main area was completely gone. Twisted and transformed into the hideous dark tower that now stood before the entire SSS2, looming ahead like some ominous symbol of their demise. No. They will not die here. She brought the can of coffee to her lips, pondering on what could be happening within that tower. Ein and Yuki were inside and Kyou had no doubts that those two were probably making a huge mess of things within. But if that is the case, why aren't the enemy troops heading inside the tower to contain the situation? Unless... there is no situation to contain. Kyou could only think of the worst case scenario. And she did not like it one bit.
"Ma'am, the troops have made contact with the Intelligence Division."
One of the radio operators reported. She looked up and nodded.
"Good. Let us move up with phase two."
The large formation of tanks and troops moved up through the snow, reaching bottle neck point whiskey. The large Type 90 tank, Hammer 1, rolled up to a large boulder where several Intelligence division members stood on guard around their leader, who sat on the boulder's surface, exhausted and wiping blood stains off her cheeks. Popping the hatch of her tank open, Kusanagi Yamato got up, looking to the leader of these Intelligence division fighters.
"Yo, Kusanagi, you're late."
"Testarossa? What are you doing here? I thought the intelligence division was-"
"Wiped out? Well, nearly."
Iris laughed, getting to her feet.
"We knew that it was going to impossible for any form of help to come to our aid, given the situation, so we had to find out own way out."
Iris explained, jumping off the boulder and walking up to the large tank.
"Find your own way out?"
"Ah, you probably don't know it, but we had suffered many attacks before. We were prepared and made multiple tunnels connecting throughout the entire school premise, unfortunately, most of my guys didn't managed to get out. What's worse is that our leader, Kenji, went missing before the attack. While it isn't unusual for him to just disappear on us, we haven't been able to establish contact with him throughout the entire time."
The last line escaped Iris's lips as barely a whisper. Yamato could see that Iris had still not gotten over it. Unlike the other divisions, they had not been able to regroup with any other survivors. Iris had managed to keep her men alive and together throughout all of this time.
"You've done well, Iris."
Yamato said, making Iris blink at Yamato in surprise.
"... Done... well?"
"Yeah, you've done well, keeping yourself and your group alive throughout all of this time."
Yamato nodded. Iris stared at Yamato, somewhat stunned by what she heard.
"Erm... Are you alright?"
Yamato asked, slightly concerned about Iris, till the latter burst out laughing.
"Ha ha ha! This is rich! 'Done well'? This is too much!"
Iris clutched her stomach whilst howling in laughter. It was weird to see the infamous ice queen of the Intelligence division, the doll-faced Testarossa Iris, laugh this hard.
"We have survived through the assault on our headquarters, pushed through tunnels filled with Shadows, moving our hiding place over and over whilst constantly being on the run, fought against impossible odds and all of that is merely a 'well done'? This is too much."
Iris sighed, finally able to stop laughing. Running a hand through her hair, she shook off some snow that clung onto her long light blue hair.
"But well... that is all you can say, Kusanagi. Words cannot describe how we felt throughout the entire time. Lost, abandoned, confused. It wasn't until we saw your entire force move out that we managed to gain some strand of hope... Hope that we would survive after all."
"You don't have to say anything, Kusanagi. Though you may not know it, your presence in itself is more than a relief for us."
"... I see."
Yamato nodded in reply.
"I'm sorry we couldn't get here any sooner."
"No, I understand your position. I'm not as irresponsible and heartless as Kyou may have put me to be. I know sometimes things that happen on the battlefield cannot be avoided."
"Is it in your nature to be self-punishing?"
Iris suddenly asked, making Yamato stop in mid-sentence.
"Not everything is your fault, Kusanagi, and by no means is it also related to your own doings. There will be times when you feel as though you could have done better, or you could have prevented something from occurring. But you should know this, Kusanagi. As long as you have done it, you should hold pride that you had given it some effort. It may not have been much, but you have to understand that not everything can be changed by us alone. The difference we make in the grand scheme of things is both major and minute. Like how something even as small as a tiny gear is important to turn the machine, but at same time by itself it plays no other role other than to turn."
Yamato silently listened to Iris, before smiling.
"It seems that I'm being constantly lectured these days."
Yamato said, remembering the words of Kyou, of Shinobu, of Takanari, and now of Iris.
"It isn't a bad thing to be constantly told what to do. Humans are imperfect beings, and because we are imperfect that we need others to support us to improve our lives and survive. Of course, being lectured on the same thing constantly is a bad thing, which I'm sure you have been doing."
Iris pointed out, which was true. Yamato had always thought of her own actions in a negative manner. She found it hard to forgive herself or to even look at things in a positive way. She was sure Katsuragi was the first one to point it out to her. Katsuragi. That slight pain in her chest. That longing. She was worried... Where did he go?
"If you're wondering about Katsuragi, we last spotted him heading towards the tower."
Iris suddenly spoke up, making Yamato turn in surprise.
"Y-you saw him?"
"Not in person... but I have scouts feeding me information constantly. We are the intelligence division, after all."
Iris replied with some pride in her voice.
Yamato muttered, looking off into the distance in the direction of their destination. The school grounds. Iris wondered if she should tell Yamato the part where Katsuragi was with a large group of Angels. But she guessed it was best not to feed too much information to the current leader of the SSS2 attack force. Everything was now hanging in the balance. The fate of the SSS2, of everything in this World now weighed heavily upon the shoulders of the few. Iris sighed, scratching her head as she picked up her rifle and slung it around her shoulder, climbing up onto Yamato's tank and sitting on the hull. Several other Intelligence division members from Iris's group climbed on-board whilst others flagged down other tanks and climbed onto them as well. Iris offered a hand to another Intelligence division member and pulled him up onto the tank before she turned to Yamato.
"Oi, Kusanagi, you overcrowded your tank with a lot of useless junk."
Iris pointed to the additional fire-power that Yamato had installed.
"Let's just say we need all the boom we can get."
Yamato simply replied, banging her hand on the hull of the tank. The tank jerked to a start, rolling forward through the snow, falling back in line with the rest of the marching SSS2.
"Kusanagi, do you have an additional radio?"
Iris asked. Yamato reached into her tank and pulled out a portable head set, handing it over to Iris.
"Don't shout too loud. We're low on equipment as it is."
Yamato warned. Iris smirked as she took the headset and putting it on.
"That all depends on her... isn't that right, Kyou?"
Forward Command Post, Mobile Command Unit Vehicle, Avalon
"That depends on you as well, Testarossa."
Kyou muttered through her mike with a slight smile. She may hate Iris, but she knew that within her heart she was glad to hear the voice of the Intelligence Division's second in command. Whatever hatred she held for Iris was no longer strong in her heart. Survivors who shared pain, suffering and the despair of being driven into the corner would share a bond. They were the SSS2. Their differences made little sense in the current scale of things.
"I need a status report from you on your unit."
Kyou said, looking down at the tactical map at the blue dots that were making their way through bottle neck point whiskey. They were now starting to move onto school grounds. The next fight is soon.
'"I have with me only 5000 men. We lost 60 percent of our force during the initial surprise attack on our base. Our leader disappeared on us before everything happened and we are unable to locate his location."'
Iris's cold voice replied through the comms, but Kyou could tell that Iris was heavily effected by the loss.
"... I see."
'"... I... I've lost a lot of good men and women, Fujibayashi... A lot of them... sacrificed themselves just to let the rest of us escape..."'
'"I... I still hear their voices... see their faces..."'
Iris was starting to break down, but she probably only did so in her voice. Her face was one that ice cold, stoic and emotionless. She had to be.
"We will take revenge, Iris, I swear it."
'"... Then I'll be the first one to slit their throats."'
"Whatever you say."
Kyou would let Iris go wild. It would probably be for the best right now.
"Commander, the troops are getting into position."
One of the strategists said. Looking at the map, she could see the SSS2 getting past the bottle neck point and starting to form up the line. They were going to begin the second battle. The main assault on the school. They had to form the line properly, otherwise they would risk losing everything. Kyou stepped back, stroking her chin as she studied the map.
"... Now how will this turn out?"
White World Beta
The young man sat on his chair, calmly sipping on tea as he observed the events happening through floating 'screens'. That was what he did not get. Why was this guy so calm?
"... Otonashi, aren't you a little too calm?"
He asked. The enigmatic mastermind merely smiled, taking another sip from his tea.
"It isn't a matter of being calm or not. All the pieces are in place. I have given the best opportunity for them to succeed. Whether they do or not is purely up to them."
"... That sounds heartless."
"Is it? It does not matter. Humans are certainly the most interesting bunch of creatures to observe. They fight when they have no reason to. They argue and bicker when nothing happened. They are able to fabricate lies, sow despair and weave intricate strategies for war and destruction. They are a blight on the land, a parasite that serves no merit to anyone but themselves."
What Otonashi was saying sounded rather... extreme... and evil. Perhaps this part of Otonashi's personality was transferred to his two rampaging NPCs?
"But... at the same time they are capable of astounding feats, surpassing physical limitations and all expectations. Imagination, thoughts, emotions, feelings... these are all important things that make humans... interesting."
"... You're speaking as though you aren't human yourself."
The 'Creator' simply chuckled at his words.
"I was human once... now... I am something else."
"Something else? Not something... more?"
"Oh no no, I do not presume myself to be of a higher nature. If anything... I am lower than a human being. I have made myself so integrated with the system, I am locked by its rules. I am no better than my own creations, acting within the bounds of logic and Java-scripts."
"... That sounds weird, coming from you."
"And maybe it is."
He hated the way Otonashi never answered things properly. It was annoying and down-right irritating.
"... I have to wonder, how did your counter-part managed to get so many people into this World?"
He asked. Otonashi smiled, putting his tea cup down as he pulled out a new screen. This one, however, was not in this Afterlife. It was-
"The Living World? !"
"Yes... I managed to establish a link through my other half. I use it to elevate my boredom from time to time. But onto your question. Do you notice something?"
Otonashi asked. He looked at the screen and noticed something odd. There were strange pod like objects in the image, all linked with cables and screens like some sci-fi alien show. Walking around these pods and monitoring the screens were people in lab coats. A science lab?
"There is an extremely powerful group in the living world, and having funds granted to them by the infamous Kirijou conglomerate, they have no doubt been able to access this World for quite some time though the entry and exit were always extremely complicated."
"You mean, they actually managed to enter here before?"
"They tried, but ultimately failed. They needed the connection, something to link that World to this. That link is me and my counter part. By sharing this connection to the others, they are able to send more people over. If you're wondering why this group can have such resources available, it is because it is their job. Paranormal, demons, magic and whatnot. If I recall, they actually specialise in fighting Shadows."
"Shadows? But they only exist here!"
"On the contrary, Shadows are a manifestation of our despair, our darkness within our hearts. Through certain rare conditions, Shadows can appear in the living World as well, but this group have been able to stamp the Shadows down before it got out of hand. Our situation, on the other hand, is out of hand."
What is up with Otonashi? Is he enjoying himself too much to the point of making lame puns?
"... So this group... What do they call themselves?"
"... I believe they called themselves... the 'Shadow Workers'."
Living World, undisclosed location, Kirijou group secret facility
She looked through the glass window, observing as the lab assistants walked to and fro the rows of pods that held the bodies of young students. Young students who dared to cross the boundaries of life and death. She looked down at the computer monitor one of the lab technicians was working on. The vital signs of one particular girl. The one called 'Kanade'. She was an interesting one, her wavelengths being very much different from the others and it was clear that her mere presence had a profound effect on this entire project. She, and her boyfriend, Yuzuru. Kamiya Yuzuru had sought her out on his own initiative many years back.
She merely dismissed his ramblings as mere child's talk. But then she came realize that what he was saying was strangely... familiar. It wasn't until a few months ago that she was convinced of what he was saying was true. But even before she could initiate test phases, he immediately requested for her to prepare enough machines to field an army. She did not know why he needed so many but she was certain something was going on in the 'Afterlife', as he puts it. And not just here. There were hundreds, thousands of facilities that had to be equipped with the same technology. Copying the signals that were in Kamiya's body was not easy feat, and to duplicate it and send it across to all facilities? That was ridiculous. But somehow, she felt as though it was worth it. Especially when she heard him say a certain name.
His name escaped her lips as a bare whisper. With the loud hums of the machines all around, no one would have heard her. But that name resounded with her so strongly. She could not ignore it. She had believed him to be dead, lost forever. But with this... this is the proof she needed to understand where he was, and how to bring him back. And so she took this gamble. It may be worth nothing in the end, she may not find the answers she seeks... but to her... even if it would bring her just that much closer to being with him again... it would all be worth it.
Afterlife, Front lines
She tapped the hull of the tank with her knuckle, signalling the driver to stop. Other tanks from her division were lining up in a row beside her, all facing the same damn horrible nightmare. Like some sort of twisted Halloween painting done by van Gogh and Picasso in a collaborated work piece, the scene before the entire army was nothing less than hell.
'"Hammer 1 to Steel battalion, do you read me?"'
Her radio set crackled over the slight static feed. Hammer 1, their front-line commander, Kusanagi Yamato, was calling. She tapped her head set.
"This is Steel five. Go ahead command."
She spoke through her microphone.
'"Good, there seems to be some interference running through the air. Can you confirm if Anvil and Argos are to your left?"'
She looked to her left and saw the said tank battalions rolling into position.
"They are accounted for, Hammer 1."
'"Good. I couldn't reach them for sometime. Must be the thick presence of black essences that is interfering with our signals. Relay orders. Steel, Argos and Anvil will push towards the Western ridge and sweep in from there. Go by the dormitory buildings A and C. Have your support infantry clear out each building at a time. I don't want any slip ups for this part."'
'"I will take the bulk of our forces into a direct frontal assault. Steel, you have to ensure the Western ridge is clear no matter what. Understood?"'
"Solid copy command."
With that, she received her orders. She did not mind having Kusanagi as their leader. She herself had seen the skills and ferocity of the former Wolf-turned-Guardian. There was no doubt about her skills. The Guild members had somewhat started calling her their 'battle goddess'. Interesting nickname, but one that suited her well. While she wasn't like some other Guild members who went all 'kyaa kyaa' over their new leader, she did admire Kusanagi's fierce beauty and her calmness in battle. Her tactics in battle were slightly unrefined, coarse and straight forward. And yet it were those simple tactics that made her admire Kusanagi.
Her straight forwardness seemed to dispel any doubts over her when she first saw her down in Big Site. Fighting those gigas without pause or hesitation. She led the Guild troops through the tunnels and stood at the helm of the attack at the siege of the Fortress. She might admit having a little crush on the leader of the battlefield, but it was more towards admiration than anything. Seriously, she wasn't one of those hard-core fan-girls who would wave pom poms and print her face over weird collectable items. She did buy a key chain with Kusanagi's face on it, though. Pretty cheap too. That key chain was now dangling off the stock of her rifle. Strange place to put a key chain with her idol's face on it, but never mind that.
"Lieutenant! Enemy spotted! Straight ahead!"
Her driver shouted from inside the tank. She took the binoculars that were hanging around her neck and used to look ahead. Sure enough, the enemy was coming towards them. Shadows, left over from the previous battle or those that did not participate, as well as Angels. Weapon wielding NPCs. Dolls with human faces, human emotions, human actions... but no human soul. Dolls. Though they could put such thoughts into their heads, it was still another matter to fight them. Killing another human being. That was what this was. They were students, not soldiers. No matter how well trained they were, no matter how their battles work, no matter how much they try to structure themselves to be like military armies, the truth was still there. They were all just simply kids. Kids who were forced to fight in this harsh reality.
They were used to fighting Shadows. The killing of Shadows could be justified as they resembled nothing like humans besides their basic bipedal shape. But Angels... these were different. To kill another human being was to chip away at your own sanity. To have blood on you hands from the pools you have spilt. To make matters worse, after so many decades, nearly a century since this war began, the number of converted SSS2 students was at an all time high. That's right. This means that the large bulk of the Angel force they were to fight... were once their own comrades. She looked through the binoculars once more, scanning the enemy ranks. She spotted a few familiar faces.
"... Taichi... Himiko... Yuuya..."
She stopped herself after a while of naming her former comrades. They were now the enemy. It was hard to do this, but she had to. For her own survival. But... could she really pull the trigger? Could any of them? She looked to her left and right. The infantry troops were all in a nervous wreck. They were afraid. Afraid to fight faces they once knew. Afraid to kill their friends. Afraid to kill another human being. To the SSS2, Angels were the worst enemy to face. That was what the Guardians were created for. They were meant to take out the Angels. At the point of the creation of the Guardians, the Angels numbered no more than the number of Guardians, but there was a sudden explosion. D-day had to occur. Now they faced the entire school... no... this was more than the school's population of students. They had increased their numbers by some weird technique. No, not weird. Expected. The program.
There was no doubt that someone, somewhere, was manipulating the program to create more NPCs. The program was a dangerous, yet powerful tool. One that the SSS2 could not ignore when it was discovered after the battle of Big Site. While she herself was imbued with abilities from the programs, she tried not to use it. It was unstable and frankly speaking, it gave her the creeps. She had seen a number of people go crazy from over-using the program. One good example was the Overall Commander of the battle, Fujibayashi Kyou. Fortunately it did not escalate into anything drastic. But the program was extremely unstable to use. While the medics had created a 'debugging' program, it required all program users to go through a debugging once a month and it would usually take up the entire day. It was never a good feeling to go through.
'"Hammer 1 to all forces. The enemy is in sight. Do not fire until I give the order. I repeat. Do not fire until I give the order."'
Yamato's voice came through the comms unit, snapping her out of her thoughts. Kusanagi Yamato's voice was strong and firm, enough to make anyone who listened to her feel brave, empowered, and capable of doing almost anything. While it was an illusion, a reaction to receiving orders, she knew that in battle, Kusanagi was probably the only person she could count on. And if it was for Kusanagi...
"... Access: Enhance."
She would do anything. Even if it was to lose her own self to insanity.
River next to school, on-board super dreadnought battleship Yamato
"Steady as she goes, Youmu."
Captain Yamamoto Takanari, captain of the warship of Guild told his helmsman as the ship slowly sailed the narrow straits of the river. It was impossible to grasp the idea that the river was actually deep and wide enough for a battleship to sail through but Himura Yuuko, the boss of Guild, had installed a program into the ship, allowing it to travel anywhere as long as there is water. Not too sure how it all works. Portals to another dimension? Creating deep waters where it went? It was all unknown to him. Heck, as long as it moves he did not care if it sprouted wings and flew in the sky with rainbows trailing behind. Takanari was feeling edgy. The previous battle, the battle of the forest, had not seen him or his men any action. Orders from commander Yamato herself had prevented him from taking any action. While he understood her logic of saving their strength for the main battle, it was still a tough thing to sit through, unable to do anything as his comrades fought.
"Captain, we've reached point Echo."
The navigator on the bridge reported.
"Good. Comms, get the commander on the line. Put it on speaker."
After a short moment, the speakers on-board the bridge crackled to life.
'"This is Hammer 1. Go ahead, Yamato."'
Commander Kusanagi's voice came through.
"We've reached point Echo. Awaiting orders."
'"... Good. You've reached just in time. This is where the final battle begins. Are you and your men ready, Captain Yamamoto?"'
He could not help but smile at that.
"Of course we are! We've been sitting on our asses for far too long! Am I right men?"
The men cried in agreement. Over the radio, he could hear a slight chuckle.
'"... Good. Then you know what to do. Don't hold anything back. That is my final order for all of you. Fight to win. Fight to live. For what you had died for. For what you have lived for. Fight, and never give up. That is all. Good luck."'
With that, the radio cuts off. All men on the bridge stood at attention and snapped their hands up to salute. The final orders. So it came down to this after all. After all they went through. After all their struggles. This... this was the final end to it all. The long decades, the long gruelling pain and suffering they went through. Takanari felt a tear roll down his cheek, but he did not bother to wipe it. It was his own proof that those long years meant something. It did not need to matter to others, but as long as it had mattered to himself, then he would be satisfied. He looked to the others on the bridge as they looked back to him, awaiting orders. These men, serving long and diligently under him. They were the Heavy Squad of Assault Division. Created to fight using heavy weaponry of Guild. And this ship, the largest weapon that Guild had made, was their prize. They will use this weapon to fight. They will use this weapon to win. They were right in their prime element. With this, they can give it all.
"... Men! This is it! Our time has come! For us to do battle with destiny itself! You heard the lady, let's go to war!"
" "YES SIR!" "
"All hands to battle station!"
"Condition Red. All hands to battle stations. I repeat, condition red. All hands to battle stations."
"Load the cannons! Twenty degrees Port side!"
"Open all missile hatches! Load all ballistic missiles!"
"Coordinates from Command has arrived! Hotel-niner, whiskey-five, zulu-three!"
"Lock in those coordinates!"
"All weapons running hot!"