|Muv Luv: One Last Time into the Loop
Author: PaulXion PM
Shirogane Takeru struggles against reality as he returns to the past one more time to change the fate the Alternate World,Armed with only the knowledge of the future and his incredible skills as a soldier,he prepares for the inevitable clash against BETARated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Sci-Fi - Chapters: 73 - Words: 788,771 - Reviews: 861 - Favs: 305 - Follows: 266 - Updated: 04-19-13 - Published: 06-24-11 - id: 7112821
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 53: Battle For Japan (Part 1) (City of Giants)
(Takeru's POV) (December 31, 2001 Monday) (05:10 AM) (U.N. Command Post north of Tokyo)
Everything was in chaos. I can hear people arguing all around me like a never-ending buzz. After the feed from the royal family came into light the soldiers have begun to question themselves about their own loyalty and their opinions about this whole operation. There have been large in-fights amongst the Eishis and security personnel have been busy for hours. There have also been some delays on the operation. We were supposed to begin ten minutes ago but so far… nothing. It's as if the whole country has been turned inside out.
I followed Yoroi's advice and went straight to my Fubuki and kept myself on standby. But I'm really not much of a patient person. The anxiety building over this silence is really unnerving at best.
"Shirogane, can you read me?"
"Hmm? Marimo sensei?" She's contacting me through radio?
"Good. Switch to this channel for a better reception. (Roger) (Beep) That's better. I was worried you might've gotten caught in all that confusion"
"I'm fine. How's everything at the command post?"
"It's… hectic. The Chief was worried about the developing situation so he transferred us to the plane where the Prime Minister is residing. It shouldn't be any different from the command post. I should still be able to relay information to you from here. Once the operation starts we'll be flying overhead to get an aerial view of the city but just out of the battle zone. There have been some delays on the operation but we've been able to sort things out. The first phase of the mission will be carried out soon. I'll be relaying your orders from here on end. (Yes ma'am) Um… (Hmm?) How are you feeling? (Eh?) I understand if you're taking stimulants to keep yourself awake but be careful on your dosage. Too much of them and you might get the opposite effect of what you want"
"I understand. But I'm more worried about you, Marimo sensei. (…?) It's probably not easy for you to play this part after hearing what the royal family thinks"
"Heh… you're right. It's not. There have been some squabbles amongst the soldiers around the base. Major Komaki is trying to bring them under control but right now she's being transferred to the front. But we both understand our duties nonetheless. We will follow what we believe in until the end. The royal family may be a part of this but we follow our orders only. That's part of being a soldier after all. But let's not talk about that. I'm sure that you must be worried about everyone else in this matter" Heh… am I really that transparent or is it because she knows me too well? "To be honest I was actually able to get a hold of Captain Isumi and the others earlier. (Heeeh!) Don't worry. I didn't tell them what we were doing. They simply wanted to know if you were into any trouble. 1st Lt. Hayase was actually looking forward for a rematch until this incident occurred"
"Heh… that does sound like her. Oh wait… are… are they going to be participating in the attack as well?"
"Yes. I just confirmed it with my contacts in the U.N. The A-01 Special Task Force will be participating in retaking Tokyo. They'll be going in with Shark Company" The assault force from the sea? I guess that's to be expected. Only high risk missions for the Special Task Force. "Don't worry about them. The squad already proved they can handle themselves in Kyoto. You should keep your head here with your own safety. They wouldn't want you to bar your strength just because you can't keep an eye on that"
"Ahehe… yeah I guess you're right. But it can't hurt to worry a little"
"You're either here 100% or not at all, Shirogane. Focus on getting yourself out alive then you can help others. Focus on your mission. And once this is over… I'll make that lunch that I promised"
"Heh… I'll hold you on to that promise, Marimo sensei"
There it is. The signal that begins the operation.
"This is HQ to all units. Operation is now in effect. We are now moving to DEFCON 1! All available combat teams, assemble to your designated positions and await further orders!"
And just as that order came in, the main hanger doors opened up in front of me. I guess that's my cue. (…!) Ugh… I guess the weather forecast they had earlier wasn't wrong either. It's really hailing out here. It's actually even worse than Kyoto. But I guess this kind of weather works both ways. It'll be a lot harder for the enemy to track me once I breach through their perimeters.
I just hope the others will be having a better situation than I am.
(U.N. Forward headquarters near Tokyo)
"So… it finally comes to this" Radhabinod mumbled to himself as he saw the operation went underway on his table. As a military officer he always expected the worse kinds of situations but this was one of the few he actually wished he could avoid. He knew that the tensions between Japan and the foreign powers are fragile at best but he never expected to resolve it with violence.
"General…" One of his advisors motioned the weary soldier to the map. "All of our forces are in position. Hammer and Shark are waiting for the execution"
Radhabinod looked around and saw the faces of the officers in the room. There was a heavy sense of doubt lingering among them. They were wavering in this fight but they were still prepared to see it to the end. There was not a doubt in his mind that this will probably be the toughest battle they have to face yet.
With a heavy heart, the man spoke. "Commence with the operation…" And with those words alone, the whole room buzzed with chatter. "Let us pray that this battle will not last too long…"
Down by the ocean, Captain Kozawa who led the operation in Sadogashima let out a grumbling noise. He and a few of his entourage had to admit… that this battle had neither honor nor victory in it. There was just a sense of meaningless slaughter.
"I never imagined the day that I would actually fire my own weapons at my own homeland. (…) Tell the fleet to ready all weapons and fire for maximum effect. Activate CIWS and load main guns with explosive shells. Target… Odaiba Island and Tokyo port! And… fire…"
"All guns, fire!"
With every shot that fired, the admiral felt a sting creeping up his heart. To see the former residents of their own country fire upon their own home was simply… heartbreaking. In just a matter of seconds both targets that he designated were set ablaze. Homes and old offices were torn down.
"To think that it would take only a few minutes to level down something our countrymen took years to accomplish. Heh… I guess this must be… our destiny"
"All shots met their target. Odaiba Island and Tokyo Port are in flames! Enemy forces are retaliating with the firebase in Shinagawa"
"We have incoming missiles. Four salvos! CIWS and anti-missile chaff flares are holding steady!"
Kozawa nodded. "Good. Once the second wave of salvos has been delivered we will engage the Eurasian rogue fleet docked at Chiba. Prepare the TSF motherships for landing and watch their backs. (Yes sir!) Have our aegis cruisers suppress the enemy counterattack while our ground forces establish their forward post in Odaiba Island"
(Honor Guard Headquarters)
The royal guards of the capital scrambled into full mobilization when the first shells landed on Tokyo Port. Tanks, soldiers and TSFs were going off like it was the end of the world.
"Alert! All units: Emergency scramble! Enemy forces have begun attack. Vanguard 9 and 10, deploy in arrowhead formation. Artillery division standby and await for targeting data"
"What are our losses?" Lt. Col. Tekoro questioned as he looked upon the screen with his advisors.
"Our defensive units at the harbor were scattered during the first salvos. Communications with Odaiba defense line is cut off. We're counting at least two companies of TSFs and mobile armor marching on from _. They're advancing eastward towards the capital. They appear to be a combined force of both the U.N. and the turncoat Imperial Army. The enemy fleet is also coming in from the south. Our countermeasure fleet is holding but insufficient. They'll lose their position in a matter of hours"
"So it's true" Tekoro muttered. "They're really trying to overwhelm us with numbers. What's the status of our defense bases?"
"All sectors are holding. The Imperial Army is engaging the advancing army coming from the west. Nerima, Suginami and Setagaya are facing stiff resistance"
"We're also getting some minor attacks on Ota Ward. Should I send reinforcements?"
"No… (…?) This is a ruse. No matter how many they send, our defense line is strong enough to withstand anything. The Imperial Army will be sufficient. Deploy our reserves to Kita and Adachi wards and have them scout the area for any oddities. I have a feeling that our enemy is preparing some kind of ploy. (Yes sir) Inform his Excellency of the situation and have the 5th Division ready for combat in case the enemy reaches us here. (Understood) We just need to hold this city for a few hours. As long as we hold this City by New Years day, victory will be ours"
(Takeru's POV) (Imperial Army Outpost) (Saitama)
Geh… this is ridiculous. Asking me to wait like this in my TSF, while the rest of the army fights on the frontlines. I never imagined that they would actually ask us to attack Tokyo of all place. But why would the royal family start a coup now of all times? We just won a battle against the BETA. We should be using our remaining strength to fight off the aliens, not each other. They say that Yuuhi herself is issuing this command and each and every one of the Honor Guards soldier are fighting in her name. I can hardly believe Yuuhi would give such a command on this crucial moment. I know she wouldn't resort to violence… not unless she has no other options.
There's no point thinking about it now. I'll have to ask her myself when I get the chance. Right now… I have to focus on the mission. The weather forecast was accurate. The heavy rain was now mixed with the snow creating a blizzard. This will lower my heat signature while out on the attack and keep nosy eyes away.
"This is Valhalla to Zeus. (…!)" It's begun Marimo's face appeared on my screen. "Operation is now switching to Phase 2. Your attack will commence in 10 minutes. Commence final checkup on the systems. We will only have one shot at this"
"Zeus, roger that. All systems check" The cockpit of a Fubuki was about the same as the Shiranui but the maneuverability is more extreme due to the light-weighted engines. I can practically travel faster than any kind of TSF.
Mairmo nodded before continuing. "All systems are green. I will now review the objectives of your mission. (Beep) Remember: The objective of your mission is to infiltrate and destroy the Firebase located north of the Adachi and Katsushika Ward. You will be flying below radar so remain below 200 feet to keep the enemy's tracker to lock onto you. (Roger…) Once you've reached the halfway milestone, we will launch a supply crate into the city equipped with the 1200mm Trans-Horizon Cannon in your projected area. You will then use the weapon provided to disable two radar dishes providing targeting data for those fire bases and proceed to destroy the main weapons of the bases themselves"
In other words… the whole mission is riding on my performance.
"Once that is fulfilled, the strike force, Orochi, led by Major Komaki Sayoko will assault the city from the Arakawa River capturing both wards with little resistance. Once that's been done, advancing troops will establish a foothold in Toneri Park where we can use to gather casualties and forward intelligence on the enemy" So we really are going through with this.
Everyone can tell that this battle will be nothing short of a long siege. Tokyo was a big city… a really big city. With the amount of resources the Imperial Army and Honor Guards have been piling to its defense, they won't give this place without a brute fight. Our army will be fighting from ward to ward, building to building, street to street. Even an amateur soldier like me can tell that the defenders will always have the home-field advantage. Even if we did have superior numbers they know these streets like that back of their hands.
We'll have to take things slowly.
"The next phase of the operation will be capturing the dry docks. Once the assault team is in, Orochi will begin to systematically destroy enemy strong points within the city and assist with the capture of Edogawa and Koto wards. This will pave the way for Shark Company to land and from there on we will launch a pincer attack on the city itself. The primary objective is secure the Imperial Army Headquarters in Taito, the U.N. consulate in Bunkyo, the water pump station in Minato, the Honor Guard Command Center in Chuo and the commercial district in Shinjuku. Once we've secured these areas a special task force will infiltrate and secure Her Highness, the Shogun, Kobuin Yuuhi from the Imperial Royal Palace located in the Chiyoda ward"
"In other words… the U.N. will be holding the last living relative of the Emperor as a hostage asserting their dominance over Japan and its people"
What the Prime Minister said there bothers me. If what he says is true then Japan will be under the U.N's rule permanently. All this… just for one person? It sounds almost too good to be true.
"However…" Marimo chan continued. "All of this is only factored if everything goes according to plan. We don't know what you'll be encountering in there. The Imperial Army and the Imperial Honor Guards are to be expected but you can't underestimate the abilities of the Eurasian Army assisting them. Remember Shirogane… prioritize your survival above all else. I'll be here to provide you tactical and logistical support and inform you of the situation that's developing. Section Chief Yoroi and Sergeant Isumi Yayoi will also be providing information of our enemy"
"Understood. I'll do my best"
"Just… be careful… alright?"
"Heh… I will"
Right… time to get this show on the road. I have a clear road ahead of me now. The snow won't be a problem. (Ruffle) The last vial of that serum Yuuko sensei gave me. I'll have to make it count. I don't know how long the effects last but as long as I don't collapse while in battle should be just fine. (Pssst…) Ahh… well… here goes nothing.
"This is Orochi Leader to infiltration team" Eh? It's… the Major. "Hold your launch. There's new development in your attack route. Scouts have reported an increase of patrol in your entryway. Hold position until they pass. It will be difficult to enter with that much added security"
"Valhalla to Orochi Leader, roger that. We'll hold on for now"
"Belay that. (…!) The operation will proceed as scheduled. The longer we delay, the more time our enemy will have in tightening their defenses" Yoroi…
"But Chief… my scouts have reported at least three battalions up there. If Zeus gets spotted he'll be surrounded!"
"I'm certain it's nothing our esteemed Legendary Rookie can't handle. Neh… Shirogane kun?" Is he really asking for my opinion in this matter? Does he really have that much faith in my abilities or is he just so cornered that he'll be risking anything? Well… I guess asking a favor from Yuuko sensei must've made him really desperate.
With a sigh, the Major submitted. "Understood. But I'll have my forces ready just in case"
"Thank you for understanding. (…) Well then… Shirogane. You may begin"
"Understood. Proceeding with plan"
I revved up my engine and made one last check on my jump unit. It only has six charges before it becomes useless but basic speed boost shouldn't be a problem at all. As long as I don't exceed the supersonic limit I should be able to keep it working.
"This is HQ to all units. Operation is switching to Phase 2. All personnel clear the launch platform"
"Valhalla to Zeus. Remember… you must remain below 200 feet at all times to prevent the enemy to track you on radar. Use the urban terrain to your advantage. Don't rely too much on the computer trajectory plan either. Everything will come down to your skills in the end"
"Zeus to Valhalla, roger that. Bracing for catapult launch. Confirming all systems ready"
"Your course is clear. Shirogane… take off!"
"Zeus has taken off. Approximate time of arrival is four minutes" Yayoi reported to me. To my surprise, Shirogane was going a lot faster than I anticipated. At this rate… he'll reach the city in no time.
"Launch crew, ready the Trans-Horizon Cannon on the catapult" I'm sure Shirogane will be fine. If he can survive a horde of BETA while inside the mouth of a BETA Carrier, then getting through those defenses should be child's play.
Still… I can't get rid of the uneasiness I have for this mission.
Wooooooohh! Now this is what I call speed! I'm traveling over 500mph! It's not supersonic but that's what makes it so cool! This is the kind of speed I can actually get used to! It's just like riding Yuuko sensei's sports car back in my world… just… faster!
But I have keep focus. Traversing through these buildings is just like the simulator. Back when I was a cadet we've been training in urban combat for months but after we joined up with the Valkyries we were more engrossed on fighting with the BETA on open ground and in Hives. It shouldn't be that hard to switch back to my original training methods.
My screens are blurry but I can still make out the shapes of buildings and structures. Right then… let's see what this thing can do.
Back on the forward lines of the Imperial Army, a patrol unit was passing by when one of them noticed a blip appearing on his screen.
"This is 501E. I'm detecting a feint signal on my radar. I can't seem to pinpoint its location but it appears to be coming just outside our defense line. Does anyone have a visual?"
"This is 504E. Negative. It could just be another electronic flux. Thermal scans are impossible with this blizzard and not to mention the heat signatures coming off the buildings"
"Do we have any visual from the air? Tell the firebases to deploy UAVs and switch to auto-lock. The Lt. Col Suspects that the enemy might make a surprise attack. Keep your eyes peeled for anything. (Yes ma'am) 05, 06, take point"
"This is 502E. I see something! There's a fast moving object moving along the buildings. Ah! It's… a TSF! (What!-?) It's traversing through buildings keeping itself below radar. It's moving fast. I can't identify the type but there's no mistaking it!"
"Combat alert! All units move in and intercept! Warn the firebases in the area as well. How many do you see?"
"I… I'm only seeing one. It must be a single attack strike"
"They send one unit on a suicide mission? Heh… I guess the Lt. Col was right after all"
"This one should be—(Whiirrrr!)… easy?"
"RAHHHH! Get out of my way!" Shirogane barged in unarmed without a single thought of hesitation. He flew past the guards before any of them could even lift their weapons up to bear.
"Damn! He got passed us! This is 501E. A single enemy TSF has broken through. It appears to be a fast mobile unit but it doesn't appear to be armed. Be careful, it maybe a suicide unit equipped with an SD"
"This is 665A, roger. We got him!"
Another cohort of TSFs reemerged from the city and spotted the boy. "We found him. Take him down!" Their Gekishins unleashed a volley of bullets but to their surprise, Shirogane dodged them all like he was just riding against the waves. "What the!-? That's… not possible!"
"I don't have time for any of you! Get out!" Takeru forced his way through their lines ramming the two adjacent Gekishins to the ground. "This is Zeus! I'm near the half way margin. Ready the container!"
"This is 664. Enemy is trying to get through our defense line! Firebase, don't allow it to get any further!"
"Negative. We can't target him from here. He's moving below our weapons' range. Response team, deploy! Find the intruder and destroy him"
That's the firebase? It's huge! Who would've imagined they would make something like that inside a city? They're even camouflaged within the building to avoid getting spotted from the ground. A single one of these can stop an entire BETA herd on its own. Those giant guns must be my target.
Keh! I'm too close. They're getting a fix on my position. I can't go any higher than some of these tall buildings. I have to rely on the main roads to get to where I need to be. As long as I keep it down here they won't be able to use their missiles or their guns against me.
At Arakawa River, Komaki let out an irritated groan when she noted the enemy's movements. She knew that their patrols were too thick and that their infiltrator would be spotted almost immediately. But as expected, the Chief gave the go signal anyway. She wondered if the man put too much faith on one Eishi.
"Tch… I knew it. They're on to him"
"Major…" One of her subordinates contacted her. "What do we do?"
"We proceed as planned. We'll travel through the coastline of the river and make our way towards the metropolis. The speedboats will have to make it through to establish a foothold on the ward. Keep out of the enemy's radar range. If the pilot fails… then we'll have no other choice but to force our way in. (Roger!)"
"This is Valhalla to all units. Zeus has reached the half way margin! (…!) Launch container!"
"Shirogane. Your weapon has been launched from the base. Here's its projected course. The storm should mask its drop point but the container has a built in tracking system. Get to it before the enemy realizes our plans"
"Roger that. I see it!" The container carrying the gun flew overhead before it dropped onto the ground. So far I've been able to avoid the patrols even though they've already spotted me. I have no doubt that these people are skilled fighters of the elite divisions like Sagiri but it seems like they're not used to chasing a single pilot through the streets of the city. They're more used to fighting from building to building, not playing a game of hide and seek. If I keep this up I can lose them in the next intersection. Right then… time to use that trick…
Just as the boy's pursuers were gaining on him, a gust of smoke suddenly appeared fogging their views. "Wh… what the? Where did this fog come from?"
"Tch! He must've used his boosters to create a smokescreen. This is 3201B. The target has eluded us. Create a perimeter around the area and spread through 8 blocks in all directions. We'll corner him here before he has a chance to escape. B Platoon, D Platoon, cover the south entrance. Keep your IFFs on to differentiate signal and keep us from shooting at one another. (Roger!) C Platoon, split up and search the area. Be careful… this doesn't look like any ordinary pilot. The frame he's using appears to be a Fubuki 3rd Generation Class unit equipped with special armaments. Don't underestimate it"
"Captain. There's something else. (Hmm?) During our chase, our scouts reported that the enemy base launched an unknown object into the city. It wasn't an artillery shell or missile"
"It could just be debris. Find the intruder first then we can search for the object. 664, your troop is to continue keeping watch over the area. This might just be a decoy for all we know. (Yes sir)"
Phew… I lost them. I can't believe that actually worked. Mikoto's technique of distracting predators was simply top notched. It's going to be hard to laugh at him once I get back to my world. No time to lose. I have to find that container. It's only a few blocks away. As long as I keep myself between these buildings I can avoid them.
Whoa! That was close. They're not just using TSFs but small mobile vehicles as well. This might be tougher than I thought. Sneaking through this city is like trying to play hide and seek with only a few actual hiding spots.
I was supposed to get through here without being spotted. But thanks to that patrol they responded before I could get myself together.
(Tokyo Bay) (U.N. TSF Carrier 'Shoko') (05:50 AM)
"…" Meiya let out a sigh that morning as she turned her head towards the darkened city of Tokyo by the horizon. Even though the sun was already rising in the distance, no could see it. The only way she could tell what the time was is by looking at her headset. The smoke and soot made by the never-ending fires that burned around Japan had blotted the sun from the land that was named after it. Even though it's only been a few days… some people were having a difficult time remembering what the sun looked like.
But right now that wasn't the main thing that bothered Meiya. No… other than the dark sky, the impending battle coming… what preoccupied her mind was the face of her sister who she knew was staying somewhere in that city. She heard the declaration made by the member of the royal family a few hours ago. A lot of people were really beginning to wonder if what that man said was true. It got soldiers and Eishis alike thinking and questioning their own loyalty to their country. Some were beginning to be conflicted with the whole incident, herself included. But even so… she still had responsibilities to take care of.
The situation was spiraling out of control. Japan was losing its grip on the world and even after their victory against the BETA, humanity continued to gripe over petty ideals.
But what Ikaruga said on television got her to thinking. Was she really on the right side of this war? What if what that man said is true? What if the U.N. was responsible for Shikoku? If that's true then she would be fighting against her own people, her own family. Would she truly have the courage to raise her sword against the royal family she swore her life to? If the U.N. really was responsible for those deaths then it seems only logical that the royal family retaliates. There was much going through her head right now even more so than before the speech.
"Sister… is this… is this truly what you desire?" But her train of thoughts quickly came to a halt when she sensed a presence behind her. "Who goes there? (Bwah!) Ah… Tamase? What are doing sneaking around like that?" The pigtailed girl had her hands up in the air as if she was being pointed with a gun.
"Ah… I umm… I was just wondering if you wanted something to eat" She showed her hand which had carried a box of juice and some cheese and crackers. "Kyozuka san gave them to be right before we deployed from the Yokohama base. It's not synthetic so it has a great aftertaste. Mikoto chan said it was the best thing he had all week"
Meiya let out another sigh. It was plain to see that her friend was just trying to cheer her up by the looks of her sullen mood. "I see. I appreciate the offer but I already have the needed nutrients for my body to last the day. Right now… I would prefer to be alone"
"You can't have that" Tama insisted. "When someone is struggling inside, it's better to have someone to listen to instead of just keeping it inside of you at all times. It's not easy letting things out and sometimes we want to keep it with us… but honestly… there's just so much one person can take before you fall, Meiya san"
"Tamase…" Meiya had a somewhat surprised look on her face when she saw the child's determination in her eyes. "I apologize. I shouldn't have been so rejecting. But it is a… personal matter at this moment. But I do appreciate your thoughts. I really do"
"I might not be as good as Takeru san… but I do try my best. Usually when I have something bothering me I go to him for advice. He's really smart. Even though he doesn't always have an answer he knows what to say to all of us"
"Ahuhu… true. Takeru does have that trait. I supposed that's one of the reasons why Sakaki seeks his council before doing anything rash. He usually does know what to say… even if he is quite naïve"
"Ahehehe. Takeru san can say the funniest things. He never fails to make me laugh or get my confidence back up. And whenever I'm with him… I get the feeling that everything will be ok. (…) He kind of reminds me of papa. (…?) Ah! No I don't mean he's old. But he's kind of like a wiseman with a great sense of humor. He's our age and fun to be with but also a good person to ask advice from"
"If he heard you say that he would be shock to be compared to an elderly man. (Ahehehe) But I understand what you are trying to say. He is… mature in his own way but for some reason—he is unable to rid himself of his inner child" It was true. The boy was an experienced soldier who had the skills of an ACE pilot but there were times that he can be really childish. The boy was a kid and acted like one but when the time comes for him to make a choice, he often delivers with excellent results.
"Ahehehe… I should remember to say that the next time I meet him. Anyway, if you need to talk to someone, I'm always open, Meiya san"
"Thank you, Tamase… but there are still some things that I need to worry about"
"Worrying won't really get you anywhere" Miki added with a widened smile. "Takeru san once told me that worrying about something that's not within your control is useless. (…?) I stopped worrying about I things I have no control over and just go along with it whenever possible. And besides… if I did worry about it again… Takeru san will probably just scold me again. Uuuu…"
"Ahuhu… thank you, Tamase. I appreciate your comfort"
"Ahehehe… any time, Meiya san. We're a team so we have to look after one another, neh?"
(Tokyo) (Royal Palace bunker)
Ikaruga… the mastermind behind the coup sighed with a bored expression as he watched the battle occurring on the map screen with Makabe, his most trusted guard stood vigil as ever by his side. The plan was going smoothly as they expected. The combined force of the U.N. and the loyalist Imperial Army were attacking in almost all directions, spreading their defense force rather thin. But despite their lack of numbers their entrenched positions made it easy for a handful of soldiers to defend a district against a large army.
"It seems like the information that the Ministry of Intelligence has been able to acquire was accurate after all" Makabe stated seeing how easily they were holding the defense lines. "The Imperial Army is holding its ground just right across the entrenched lines. As we expected, they don't seem to be inclined in using their heavy weaponries against the city itself. I supposed they would want to capture the facilities on the surface to be put on a latter use"
"Even if they did use them, it won't really matter" Ikaruga added. "The city layer can still withstand a bombardment for weeks. The underground factories will be unharmed. (…) So… my opponent is truly is the infamous General Paul Radhabinod. I've never met the man in person but I hear that he's a dedicated soldier with a list of achievements dating back since the first contact with the BETA 30 years ago. It's a shame that I have to face such a capable commander. He would've made an excellent piece"
"Yes my lord. But you must admit that the information gathering was top-notched. We have the details of the enemy numbers, resources and attack plans. Holding the city until New Year should be easy"
"Don't be so sure" The madman insisted. "The tides of battle can be changed in an instant. I'm sure the infamous General has a few trick up his sleeves. Not to mention that his naval attack force hasn't even begun moving. No… that man is waiting for something. He's trying so hard to hide something that he's throwing everything he has at us. This may prove interesting yet"
"Should we intervene?"
"No. Let Tekoro do his part. As long he holds the main army at bay we can use the Eurasian force to do the other menial tasks. But… just in case… have the mindless drones ready"
"But sir… do you think that's wise? The experimental forces are said to be extremely unstable. The program of their development was supposedly used for Hive infiltration units. We have no idea what it would do to soldiers fighting soldiers"
"It matters little to me. As long as they can do their duties they'll be fine. A force that has no fear, no remorse nor any hesitation. Only pure rage drives them. Hypnotic therapy really is a marvel, isn't it?" But the man's grin came to an end when he noticed their formation broken. "Hmm? What's going on over in the north? Why are our forces stretched thin there?"
A call answered his question. "Sir. It appears that the enemy has launched a single unit to infiltrate our ranks. (…?) We don't know of its objective but it has managed to avoid our defense perimeters"
"A single unit broke through?" Makabe had a rather surprised expression on his face. "What were our perimeter-guards doing?"
"S… sorry sir. It maneuvered through the buildings at such speed that no one could get a lock on it. A response team has already been deployed. We will have the situation under control soon"
"Very well. I expect results soon" Ikaruga added before turning the monitor off. "This is unexpected. I never imagined they would send a single unit to breach our defenses"
"Our radar should've picked it up the moment it entered the city" Makabe analyzed. "But if it was able to enter without being detected means that it must be traveling below radar, navigating through the city streets at high speed"
"So even our famed firebases have a blind spot. (Yes sir…) How distasteful. Even so… that pilot must be extremely talented to traverse through the city at such speed. It seems like we will be swimming in the blood of our people after today"
(Takeru's POV) (Adachi Ward)
Tch…! Damn it all. I couldn't get there in time. The container is completely surrounded by the enemy. If I move to get it then they'll spot me for sure. There's no chance they'll be leaving it and if they discover what's inside they'll try to destroy it.
"This is Zeus. Enemy forces have spotted the container with the weapon. There's no way for me to get it without being spotted"
"Valhalla here. I see it. Be careful. The enemy appears to be trying to create a perimeter around you. They're trying to box you in one location. However it looks like they don't have the manpower to fill in all of the gaps. But if you delay any longer they'll surround you completely. Retrieve the weapon at all cost"
Keh that's easier said than done. The only things I have are my two combat-knives and they have guns. Judging from this point, it can hardly be called a fair fight. But even so… Marimo's right. I can't delay. A lot of lives are depending on me. If I hesitate now then it's over.
Hmm… it looks like they're trying to open the container. Good. That way I can just grab the weapon and bolt off before any of them have a chance to respond. I might only get one shot at this. I have to make it count.
"This is 664, we've secured the unknown package. It appears to be a weapon of some sort" The officer opened the weapon container stated on her radio as she analyzed the weapon in the box. "I've never seen it before but it looks like it has enough power to crack a TSF in two"
"Roger that 664. Standby at that location while we continue our sweep. The intruder might try to retrieve it"
"664, copy that. We'll stand guard until sweep is complete. All units keep on alert"
"Heh. Why do we need to worry?" One of the officers gave out an arrogant response. "There are 6 of us against one pilot. It hardly seems like a fair fight. That guy knows that if he shows up, he's as good as dead"
"Be careful what you say Hideyoshi. Remember what happened in Susono. (…) Remember how a single Fubuki took down a whole company on its own"
"Don't tell me you still believe in those rumors. It hardly seems possible. One pilot against all of us is like signing a death—(Beep beep!) Eh?" But the man stopped when he noticed his radar tracking going off.
"Enemy!" Another pilot yelled out before clocking his weapon. "He's coming from the main road!"
"Damn it! Where the hell did he come from? All units open fire! Take him down!" The 6 Gekishins quickly unleashed a hail of bullets at the intruder but to their amazement, the boy dodged them like they were stone throws away.
"Wh… what the hell? I can't get a lock on him! (WHAM!) Grahhh!" The man fell down head first with his whole frame locking its movement. "D… damn it! My frame's locked up!"
"03, 06, cover 05. 04, 02, with me! (Roger!) Spread out and surround him!" But Shirogane was too fast. He leaped in right below them and with his superior CQC training he disarmed all five pilots before any of them had a chance to blink. The squad leader was horrified to see her whole unit taken down in just a few seconds but she remained calm and quickly drew out her blade to counter. "Damn you! DIE!"
"Tch!" But her sword barely even touched the boy. He was faster than her computer could locate and every punch and kick he delivered was marked on the spot. "Take this!" Shirogane delivered an uppercut causing the woman to stun for a moment giving him time to grab the trans-horizon cannon from the container.
"Not so fast!" The rebel squad leader recovered from the sucker punch and charged in with sword in hand but she only got herself beat when the boy knocked her down with the butt of his weapon. "Keh…! Th… this can't be…!" Her Gekishin fell back first right onto a nearby restaurant, crushing it under its weight. She closed her eyes and braced herself for the killing blow to be delivered but it never came. When she recovered, the boy was gone. "Wha? What was with that pilot?" She was confused. The boy had them in his mercy. All it would take was for him to give one good stab in the exposed cockpit block but he simply left like he wasn't even concerned about them.
"664! What's going on over there? 664, respond!"
The girl quickly recovered herself and answered. "Th… this is 664. Target has escaped—heading eastward. Be alert: This is no ordinary pilot. It… it wiped out my entire squad! The intruder has made off with the unknown weapon in the container"
"Roger that. All units, divert eastward. If you spot the intruder radio in immediately. Don't underestimate him! (Roger!)"
Phew… that was easier than I thought it would be. They weren't expecting head on attack like that so I took them by complete surprise. I was right… these guys are complete amateurs. Even though they're the capital elites, they've gotten rusty fighting in tight quarters like in the city. Their numbers also make it difficult to search. The main road only has enough space accommodate 3 TSFs standing side by side so it won't be easy for them to maneuver.
But I'm also at a disadvantage. The Trans-Horizon Cannon that I got was a lot heavier than I imagined. It's no wonder why it can only be fired in a static position. One shot and you're bound to fall over by the recoil. The gun is just as I remembered it when I first saw it in action years ago during the HSST Destroyer incident. It was about ¾ the size of a TSF with its barrel sticking up just below the shoulder. It was 5 times heavier than a regular 36mm gun and the rounds there were used on it were the size of train cars. A single one of these things can cut through even the steel armor of a Destroyer Class BETA and killing another one behind it. The thing was made to act like a bolt-action sniper rifle so I need to change the bullet every time I take a shot.
But this isn't the time for nostalgia. I have to end this battle quickly before it spreads further. "This is Zeus. Weapon retrieved. Moving on to objectives"
"Valhalla, roger that. I'm updating your computer with the locations of the firebases and the radar sites. Remember, the 1200mm Trans-Horizon Cannon is capable of super-armored-piercing rounds. It's the only weapon capable of penetrating the firebase's 200mm howitzers. The cannons have a limited firing angle so you don't have to worry about retaliation. However… the moment you fire, the bullet will leave a trail of pressurized elements that the enemy will be able to trace on plain sight—not to mention the loud noise it makes too. So once you've fired be sure to relocate immediately"
"Roger that! Leave it to me!"
This isn't good. The response teams are getting thicker by the minute. I'm getting a lot of radio traffic just trying to contact Shirogane from here. That can only mean that the rebels are pulling everything they have to find him. Fortunately, Shirogane has some experience fighting against Imperial soldiers. He knows their tactics and maneuvers and so did I. But that wasn't a guarantee. The soldiers that he's facing are also professionals. The best of the best the Imperial Army has to offer. Gekishins, Fubukis and Type-94 Shiranuis will be his opponents so it shouldn't be any problem for him. But if the enemy deploys a Takemikazuchi then that will be a different story.
"Shirogane, your first radar target in 5 kilometers ahead of you. The Trans-Horizon cannon should have more than enough destructive power to disable the facility itself. But you need to be in a static position before you fire otherwise you'll risk falling from the recoil"
So far Shirogane has been 1 or 2 steps ahead of the enemy. With the new OS still not employed by the regular army, he has a head advantage over their maneuverability. His natural talents in piloting a TSF also provides him with some breathing but that can only get him so far. The rest will be up to how he handles the mission.
"I'm glad Shirogane's skill hasn't dropped since Sadogashima" I heard Chief Yoroi inquired behind me. "This is good. I was worried that he may have gone rusty. I'm glad to know that I was wrong" Rusty? Shirogane? Heh… I doubt that'll happen. The boy has been an excellent specimen of a soldier ever since he was a cadet. Everything he did he did it beyond the average scoreboard. What people were best at he could do better but only if he puts his mind into it. "Yayoi san. Please inform the Major to begin moving at once"
"This is Zeus" I heard Shirogane spoke back on the coms. "I see my first target and I've lost my pursuers. Targeting now"
"Understood. Remember: You only have six rounds in the Trans-Horizon Cannon. Don't waste them. The mission is proceeding as planned. Orochi Company will be marching onto the city soon"
Right… this is probably a good position as any. Now I understand how nervous Tama felt when she used this gun in the first try. One miss-shot can actually make a difference between life and death. But at this range, I won't be able to miss.
"The targeting reticule is off by a few centimeters and the wind pattern is good. No unforeseen difficulties" Heh… I can't believe I actually said that out loud. Maybe it's because I spent so much time with Tama when I dated her in one of my loops. I learned all sorts of tips and tricks when I was with her. She taught me everything I needed to know about sniping. Wind patterns, elevation and all that. I have all these knowledge of firearms but some of them are a bit blurry to remember.
"Be careful Shirogane" Marimo warned me. "Once you fire, you have to get out that area immediately"
"Roger that" Alright… remember Takeru. Control your breathing, keep your hands still and focus only on the target. (…) Phew…
And with a squeeze of a trigger the large bullet train spouted from the gun barrel faster than anyone could think. Within milliseconds the target lower anchor of the radar dish had a giant hole on it. And with nothing to support the heavy dish the whole thing came crashing down, blowing up in a fiery inferno.
"What the?" The commanding officer gasped in shocked having a difficulty believing of what she just saw. "What just happened!-? 232, respond!"
"This is 232A. I… I don't know. The radar just collapsed. I think it may be sabotaged!"
"This is 604C. I spotted the intruder. He used the unknown weapon on the facility. He must've destroyed the support structure to bring the whole place down!"
"All units converge on the target's location. Take him down now! If he's targeting our radars then he must be trying to blind us! Alert the firebase. Tell them to keep a watch for anything suspicious! (Roger!)"
"This is 604! (What is it?) H… he's gone! The target disappeared! (What!-?) He was here just a second ago"
"Damn it! All units, spread out and find him! Recon team, take to the skies. 232, 408, your units are to remain guard on the last radar in the area. He's bound to target that structure!" But her orders came too late when the second radar exploded in the distance. "What the?"
"Ma'am! The facility in Katsushika has been leveled!"
"What!-? That's impossible! How can he go from one district to another in just a few seconds?"
"What do we do? Captain! We're walking blind out here!"
"Get yourselves together and get back in formation! We need to find that intruder! He couldn't have gone far! Alert the other units as well. If they spot him they have to—(Beep beep!) What now!-?"
"Captain! Emergency alert from the Adachi Firebase! (…!) They've spotted another force. It… it's a full scale attack! They're counting at least 40… no… 60 TSFs. Maybe even more! We're also getting report of infantry and light armored vehicles coming from the Arakawa and Sumida Rivers. We're being outflanked!"
"Don't panic! The firebases are tough enough to hold them off even without the radar tracker! As long as we have those we can fend them until reinforcements get here. (E… emergency!) Damn it! What is it? Are there more of them!-?"
"We just got report on the firebase in Katsushika! Their 200mm guns were just knocked out by the intruder! They're completely off line!"
The whole army was in panic mode. To have just one soldier cut through their defenses and hit their most sensitive areas was a disgrace. Their commander couldn't live with such an embarrassment. "Assemble all remaining forces at Adachi! We have to defend that base at all cost! Move out now before the intruder has a chance to fire! (R… roger that!)"
This is turning out to be a lot easier than I expected. I was able to take out three targets in a span of only a few minutes. The only delay is finding a suitable position to shoot the Trans-Horizon Cannon. Without their giant surveillance uplink these guys will be walking blind. Their guns will be inaccurate against moving targets.
Now all I need to do is take care of that last pair of guns and I can call this a day. The Imperial Army can handle the rest.
Hmm? What the? The storm… it's… lifting up? Not good. At this rate they'll—(Beep beep!) Huh?
"Target found! Engaging!" Crap! That was careless of me! I shouldn't have dallied. (Beep beep!) Huh? More of them? "We have him boxed in a corner! Take him down! Don't let him escape!"
Geh! There's too many of them. I'm gonna have to make a jump for it! (Beep beep!) Damn! Missiles? Of all the time! Keh! No choice I have to use the gun!
And with quick thinking, Shirogane fired a round of his weapon in midair causing his TSF to swing out of harm's way like an annoying fly.
"This is 550. We have the intruder. He's apparently heading straight towards the firebase!"
"Roger that. Keep him occupied while we deal with the new enemy force. We can't afford to let this base fall into enemy hands. Firebase, this is 003A. Load up main weapons! Even without targeting reticules we can scare them off! Ready all guns and prepare to fire on my signal! (Roger!)"
Damn it! These guys are persistent! I have two shots left. I can't waste anymore. They're firing wildly, trying to pin me down so I can't move. At this rate I won't be able to reach Adachi.
"Shirogane!" Eh? Marimo? "What's the delay? Major Komaki is already on the move. We need that last firebase taken out before the assault force reaches their range of fire!"
"I'm working on it!" There's no choice. If Komaki's men get within range of those cannons they'll be massacred. Even without their radar it's still a dangerous weapon. The firebase will prove too much for a small force.
Let's do this… Shirogane!
Gathering his courage up, Shirogane holstered his gun and drew out his knives for combat. There wasn't really much thinking needed for a fight like this. With his overwhelming skill and talent he outmaneuvered the rebel forces with relative ease. Before any of them could even get a lock on his frame he would cut through their limbs like they were made out of butter. The Gekishins with their thick hide made easy target for the boy and the Shiranuis with their superior combat performance made little difference.
What they threw at Shirogane he simply dodged it and countered with a close range stab right on the leg.
Yoroi, who was watching the boy's performance from afar, was impressed. Not because the boy had the guts to actually challenge against the enemy but the fact that he didn't kill any of them. The boy made it look so easy to disable his opponent just by cutting the limbs. He made little effort in getting to his target and even less effort just cutting the enemy to pieces.
Back during the first coup, the man had been impressed by his talents alone. Talented pilots appear from time to time and they always get astounding results by the end of the mission. But Shirogane was different. The boy was unlike anything he has ever met. He was naïve and often showed a sense of incompetency in public but when the fight comes he would tear down anything that got in his way.
His fight with Sagiri alone showed his determination to achieve victory. He showed how far he was willing to go and what he was ready to give to achieve it. The thought of facing the boy alone made Yoroi break a sweat. With a TSF in his possession the kid can already be considered invincible. No matter how large an army was… against him… it was probably just a delay of their defeat.
After a few seconds, Shirogane found himself surrounded by his fallen enemies. They put up a fight but it was nothing he couldn't handle. It almost scared him how easy it became to take down the elite pilots of the Imperial Army. He knew that they were rusty but he never imagined that they would be this easy to defeat.
With great haste, the boy armed his rifle and readied its tripod to get better aim. Everything looks perfect.
But right before he could pull the trigger a hail of gunfire pinned him down. "Damn it! Where did that come from? (Beep beep!) A whole squad of Shiranuis? You've got to be kidding me! Now of all times!"
Eight TSFs quickly surrounded the boy blocking all of his escape routes within seconds. "We have you now! This is 003A to all units. Converge and attack. Don't give him any room to breathe! (Roger!) Don't underestimate him either. He took out twelve of our TSFs already!"
Grrrr! Damn it. I don't have time for this. Get off! (WHAM!) Tch! They're skilled fighters. Not like those I fought with earlier. These must be the mainland capital defense force, the same unit that followed Sagiri in the last coup.
Damn! It looks like they know my weakness as well. I can only attack them when I'm in close range. They're keeping their distance yet they continue to attack me.
Geh! Damn it! More of them? (Ratatatatat!) Geh! Damn, I'm being pushed back. At this rate I'll run out of room to run! (Boom!) Crap! No! They're really going to get me! (Ratatatatatat!) Arghh!
Eh? What the? Those are… Takemikazuchis? Did they just… help me?
In that time of need three heavily armed Takemikazuchis appeared from the blues catching the rebel force off guard.
"What the? What's going on?" The enemy captain ducked when she noticed one of her men get blown to bits.
"Captain! It's another enemy force! It's… the Imperial Honor Guards!"
"What? But why are they shooting at us!-? (GRAHHH!) Keh! Hold your grounds and take them in pairs!"
What the heck is going on? Those three… just saved me.
"What are waiting for Shirogane!-?" Huh? That voice… is it… Tomoe? "Hurry up and finish your mission! We can't hold them forever!"
"Ah… r… roger that!" I quickly readied my gun and aimed it at the cannons. I didn't even bother to look at the conditions before I shot. Within seconds, the last of my objective went off with a bang. Phew… that was too close. "This is Zeus! The last of the enemy defenses are down"
"Valhalla here, roger that. We confirmed the last of the enemy anti-TSF weaponries have been destroyed. All units are to engage immediately"
"C… captain!" The guards began to panic at the sight of their last defensive position taken out. "What do we do?"
The captain that they were referring to gritted her teeth in anger. All of their positions were being overrun by the enemy. Their defenses were taken down by a single enemy soldier. She can never bear this disgrace.
"Captain! The last of the firebase is gone! What are our orders?"
With a heavy heart she made the tough decision. "Retreat. (…!) All units fall back. A battle here will just be a waste of time. Withdraw to our defensive positions in Arakawa. Maintain combat status and gradually withdraw our battle lines. (…) We have to face the facts here… we lost this round. (Y… yes ma'am!) But at the very least… I'll take that bastard down with me!"
That's it. The enemy forces are falling back. We've won this battle. (…) But that was too close for comfort. If it weren't for those three… I would've been shot for sure. But why are they fighting on our side?
"Valhalla to Zeus. Do you copy?"
"Huh? Ah… yes ma'am"
"Enemy forces appear to be withdrawing from Adachi and Katsushika. They appear to be rallying over at Sumida and Arakawa wards to prevent us from advancing any further. Hold position for now and await further orders from Major Komaki"
"Zeus, roger" Well… so far so good. We've managed to get in without a single casualty. I have to say I'm quite surprised how I was able to do all of this on my own. I'm starting to feel some measure of fatigue creep up to me. Is this how Tama felt when she shot down that Cruiser from orbit? Heh… I might not be cut out to be a sniper like her. (Beep beep beep!) Huh?
"In the name of His Excellency! DIE! (WHAM!)" Whoa! What the hell? Where did she come from? "Teeeeeehh!" Damn! I can't dodge that hit! "I got you now! (Wham!) What the?" Grahh! That was close. My armor actually took the blunt of that attack. "I see… so that's no ordinary Fubuki after all. But even so… I cannot allow you to live! You and I will perish here and now!"
Whoa! This girl is serious! She's a skilled fighter and she's really aiming to kill me. But I a surprise like that won't work! (Clang!) Right… block, kick and uppercut! "Take this!"
"Gaahhhh!" Yes! It worked. "You're good. But a basic move like that won't work on me! I'll take you down even if I have to die doing so! (Clang!)" Gah! She cut my Trans-Horizon Cannon in two! "This next blow is your last!"
"No! That won't happen!" I quickly parried her sword using one of my knives and stab her shoulder with the other one.
"Geh! Not yet!" Damn it! Now she pulled out her gun? Doesn't she know how to quit? "Take this!"
If that's how you want it, fine! (WHAM!) I tackled her hand off and grabbed her gun and aimed it against her. Even if it isn't registered to my system, I still know how to pull a trigger.
Wait… what am I…? What am I doing?
"What's the matter? Aren't you going to kill me?" That girl… she's… she's talking to me on an open channel just like the others. "If you don't hurry and claim my life now I will be the one who will take yours" Take… her life? I can do that. It sounds so simple to just… pull the trigger and let the gun do the rest. But… if I take her life then… no. If I do that then I'm no different from… but… "NAÏVE!" Geh! Damn it! She had another gun? Crap! I can't dodge it from this angle!
"Gahhhhh!" Huh? What just… happened?
"This is Major Komaki Sayoko of the Imperial Army 1st Division 2nd TSF Armored Regiment. All units, move in and secure a perimeter around Adachi and Katsushika. Do not engage the enemy in the adjacent wards. Entrench yourselves around the area and set up a forward defense line. Once we've established a supply route to the city we can begin our advance towards the docks. (Roger!) Infantry unit 5 and 7 are to secure the firebases in case the enemy tries to retake those strong points. Light Armored divisions are to set up a guard post at Katsushika and prepare to advance southwards. Be ready to encounter anything. (Understood!) As for the cadets. Have them watch our rear at all times. We can't afford to bring them into a firefight. (Yes ma'am)" The Major… she… saved me. "Orochi Leader to Zeus. Fall back and regroup with the supply unit. Report back once you've refitted for combat"
"Y… yes ma'am!" A platoon of TSFs with friendly IFFs passed through my screen. Before I even realized it… the whole ward came under our control.
Still. Why did I hesitate just now? Why did I hesitate to pull the trigger?