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The city was slowly rising from its near-slumber after experiencing the nightly rush of people going home from work and partygoers visiting clubs and high-profile events. The futuristic office buildings that mainly dominated the skyline was about to turn off the last of the visible lighting that helped workers during their often-vexed night shift get through documents without much trouble. As well, aerospace traffic remained busy as ever as starships continued to send goods between Earth and the rest of the Core Systems, and the often-lawless Frontier where a war between the much-respected Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation, the entity responsible for the success of the Frontier's colonization by mankind, and the Frontier Militia, considered as 'ungrateful bandits' by many.
In an apartment building, the digital alarm clock was ringing vigurously. The person sleeping felt some vexation but she knew it was a common occurance, as she had some duties to do. She raised her left hand to press the snooze button. Despite that, she will be out of his home for a while as her schedule will require two months of work.
After stopping the alarm, she raised her pajama-clad body out of her blanket. She rubbed her eyes and stretched her arms while yawning. Beyond those near-daily movements, she will be preparing breakfast to restore her energy.
For the meal, a generous bowl of tamago kake gohan was considered. The simple dish of steamed rice topped with a raw egg remained popular to the Japanese despite the prevailance of automation. Those that chose to retain the techniques of the past were rewarded warmly as those that experienced these techniques continued to ask.
Aftet the food was made, the young woman said a prayer before eating. She finished with the saying, "itadakimasu," as a sign of thanks and humility. Once the prayer was performed, he began to eat.
With breakfast finished, she began to clean her body with a warm bath to help her stay calm for the job ahead of her. After doing so, she brushed her teeth and combed her short black hair neatly. With those done, she chagend to her civilian clothing consisting of a blue-and-white shirt and black cargo pants. Before leaving, she picked up her backpack containing spare clothing, toiletries, and other personal items.
The next thing she did was to turn off all unnecessary power within her apartment unit and lock the door securely. Without worry or something to be concerned with, aside from a few issues with other matters, she left for the nearest IMC branch to catch a ride for the newly-discovered planet that was similar to Earth in terms of its surface structure and atmosphere.
Unbeknownst to many, she has a secret that her family had kept away for centuries. The planet was part of that.
(IMS Olympus, above the planet of Eris - 5 years ago)
In response to a recent disappearance of an IMC expedition team on the planet, the ship was assigned to carry a search-and-rescue team consisting of three Titan Pilots. Second Lieutenant Eri Hiraga was walking alongside her two colleagues, First Lieutenant Liam Peeters of Belgium and Captain Rolando Velasques of America. The Pilots were talking to one another on outside matters.
"Sir, I would like to say congratulations on your daugter's first successful performance." Hiraga said warmly.
"Thank you, Lieutenant." Velasquez responded with a nod. "If we have time, I would like to buy some tickets for us to watch. Trust me, her most memorable was when she played the pieces for Don Giovanni."
"Is she really into classic opera?" Peeters asked.
"More into the music. That's why she chose to play the violin rather than play one of the main roles. She said her fingers were more suited for that."
"Speaking of which, when did she first took interest in classic music?"
"When she was eight. One time, I accidentally left the TV on and she took interest in the music. Man, she raised the volume to the beat that she caused our old neighbors to complain. In the end, I scolded her for that and after some time, she asked if she can take violin lessons." He explained.
"That's a bit anticlimatic, Captain." Hiraga commented.
"Indeed, but hey...sometimes, that would help spark interest." Velasquez shrugged.
After some time of casual chatting, they reached the ship's briefing room. The group took their seats and waited until an officer arrived to brief them. They stood up and saluted.
"Please, be seated." He cleared them before beginning the briefing. He turned on the screen in behind him to showcase the map where the last position of the expedition team. "For the last 72 hours, SAR teams had tried and failed to locate any traces of the 318th Expedition Team. As far as we are concerned, we have managed to locate their footprints and followed them until it reached location X=149.23, Y=237.12. That is where things turned unexpectedly weird."
The last sentence intrigued the Pilots. "What's going on there, sir?" Peeters asked.
"Their footprints stopped midway through the route. There were no signs of directional changes or any environmental ones. That's why we need you to help out in the search."
"We will, sir." Velasquez accepted for the team.
"Be warned - we also picked up unexpected energy readings near the site in the past 17 hours. We also lost contact with one of the drones assigned for the search. Exercise caution when approaching there. Dismissed."
The team saluted after they stood up. After that, they exited the briefing room with the unique situation dominating their minds.
"Footprints that stopped mid-way? Weird energy signatures?" Hiraga asked. "What is Eris doing?"
"That's a very good question, Eri." Peeters began to step in. "It's not just Eris we are talking about, it's also our own Earth."
"Are you serious, Peeters?" Velasquez asked.
"I'm serious, sir. I heard rumors of people and, often, aircraft disappearing without a trace. One time, I'd read some declassified information regarding two Japanese fighters disappearing in thin air during World War II, and shortly after…"
Suspense took hold of the other Pilots.
"What?! What is it, Peeters?"
"...one of them returned back to base. As for the second, it's completely gone...poof, no one saw it or its pilot again." The first lieutenant finished.
If the briefing regarding the mission was not weird enough, the account of the two Japanese fighter pilots raised more questions than answers, especially since that this event and the one in Eris were connected to the unending mystery of their disappearance.
"I hope that we can find them soon." Hiraga prayed.
"Yeah, I agree." Peeters nodded. "And let's just hope we are not part of this as well. I don' want to worry my family too much."
While they continued to walk towards the Titan hangars, Hiraga suddenly stopped after beginning to experience something weird in her mind.
In her mind, she can see images of a young couple surrounded by people of different appearances and creatures never before seen. Except for the young man who was wearing modern clothing that consisted of a blue, loose, long-sleeved jacket and a pair of black jeans, the rest was wearing what looked like to be costumes reminiscent of the Medieval Period. As well, fighting and the results flashed before her.
It was enough to catch the attention of the other Pilots. As she bowed in agony while placing her right hand on her head, they rushed to help her.
"Hiraga! Are you okay?" Velasquez asked her worriedly.
"Krgh...I'm okay." She replied.
"What just happened?" Peeters followed with his question.
"I...I don't know. Regardless, I'm still going with the mission." She mostly shrugged it off.
"If you need help, just give us a holler."
"I will." She agreed.
With the situation cleared, they resumed. However, Hiraga felt uneasy after experiencing the weird images that flashed to her head a moment ago.
"Just who are they? That doesn't make any sense."
Regardless, she has to complete a mission and hope that good results will be reaped.
(Eris - last known location of the 318th Expedition Team)
The Pilots inside their customized Atlas-class Titans arrived at the expedition team's last known location, now engulfed in thin fog. The last group assigned to continue with the search were relieved for the time being. Captain Velasquez and his fellow colleagues followed the various footprints made from the Titans until it stopped midway through the path.
The Pilots disembarked and proceeded to inspect the footprints even further.
"No doubt about it, the footprints stopped here." Hiraga confirmed the information from their briefing officer.
"And, if the energy signatures that he mentioned are of any indication, this is getting weirder than ever." Velasquez agreed before standing up from his brief kneeling. "That leaves us a few options to take."
"We'll have to check the path further while sticking together. I'm getting a bad feeling about this."
"Yeah, sir." Hiraga nodded.
"Let's roll out!" The captain shouted before returning to his Titan. The rest followed suit.
The group continued to follow the path with some clues being taken. As they continued to move, the instruments inside their cockpits began to register unusual energy readings. They began to think it was the same kind the local IMC outpost had recorded.
"Uhh...I'm getting some weird energy readings." Peeters reported. "Looks like they're concentrating on our eleven."
"Solid copy, I'm also reading the same thing." The captain said the same thing. "Crap, we better be careful.
Suddenly, a roar can be heard from a distance. They were caught by surprise.
"What the hell is that?" Hiraga uttered.
The same roar erupted again. This time, it was distinct enough for the group to decipher.
"That ain't a regualr Flyer's roar…" Peeters uttered.
Then, the creature appeared in front of his screen at high speed. The powerful impact hit the cockpit directly.
"Peeters!" The two Pilots shouted.
"I'm fine...just shoot that fucker off!" He responded with some pain.
"Weapons free, weapons free!" Velasquez ordered them to engage as he began to arm his XOTBR-16 Chaingun.
After Peeters got up and armed his primary weapon, the group formed a defensive three-arrow formation and attempted to scan for the unknown contact. Surprisingly, their scanners were not able to respond to any receiving signal.
"Guys, you see him? I can't find that guy!" Hiraga asked.
"Negative, no visual!" Peeters responded frantically. "Our scanners must be high!"
"We need to head back. We can't stay here any longer." Velasquez suggested.
The squad had enough as they chose to call off the investigation for their own safety. They began to turn back and return to the outpost. As a precaution, they kept their Titan weapons armed.
Before long, the roar came back.
"Fuck, watch your six!" Hiraga shouted after closely hearing the direction of the roar.
The other Titans turned and opened fire in a burst. The creature made a quick pass but the group managed to dash away on time.
"Go, go, go!" Peeters shouted and the group began to make a run for it.
The group continued to race for the safety of the defensive line. The creature repeatedly made more passes, which resulted in the group returning fire. While doing so, the captain attempted to establish radio communications with the outpost; however, they were in vain while within the territory covered in the weird energy signatures.
"This is bad!" He cursed.
Suddenly, Hiraga and her Titan was suddenly snatched away from the group by the creature after making a steep dive.
"Hiraga!" The other Pilots shouted before attempting to shoot down the beast.
The Pilot was under the mercy of the creature as she was taken with her Titan to wherever it will go next. Then, she thought of something that can free herself and her Titan from its surprisingly mighty grasp.
She pointed her chaingun at the belly of the creature and armed her Rocket Salvo System for the finishing blow. For confidence and hope, she breathed calmly.
"Tottoto deke ite!" She defiantly shouted at the dragon before opening fire with the primary Titan weapon. It shouted and screamed in agony before letting Hiraga go from its claws. She then finished it off with a rocket salvo.
Hiraga and her Titan began to fall from the sky. She readjusted her position for a landing on the ground below her feet. Then, in a surprise twist, she kept on falling with her Titan.
"Nanda?" She wondered.
"Warning, warning…" The Titan OS uttered repeatedly.
Her screen continued to display clouds that were blocking her view. It seemed that she was taken high up, but she did not expect the creature to do it that quickly.
After a few moments, the dark clouds disappeared from sight. However, something bright appeared in front of Hiraga's eyes. Patches of green and blue were shown and when she turned her Titan up, a blue sky greeted her eyes. Those things surprised her.
"What the…?" Hiraga uttered. "Since when did I…?!"
Without much time to think of the ever-changing situation, she quickly began preparations for the landing. As streaks of vapor engulfed the bottom of her Titan, she monitored the ground and the altitude very closely until they were near.
Once they reached that point, she positioned the Titan's arms and legs. On impact, the Titan safely landed without major issues. To Hiraga, she was safe for now. She sighed in relief.
However, questions remain about where she was taken. Traces of the largely-tropical planet where she and her allies were sent to investigate the dissapearance of an IMC expedition team were non-existent. All she had left at her disposal were her Titan, remaining portable weapons, and some rations to survive for the next few days.
To be sure, she disembarked from her Titan while holding her R-101C Carbine to see the view for herself. Her Titan's viewing cameras were not deceiving her when the first images were displayed.
"This isn't happening. This isn't happening." She said to herself. In an effort to contact for help, she attempted to radio the nearest units. "To any allied forces, this is Second Lieutenant Eri Hirata - come in…"
No response was received and all she can hear was static. She attempted to do it again.
"...To any allied forces, this is Second Lieutenant Eri Hirata - come in…!"
Without any response, she and her Titan were on their own. The former retuned to the cockpit in disappointment, but she retained hope that she can return back home to Japan.
"Let's go." Almost simultaneously, she suffered a headache. "Agh!" She quickly placed her right hand.
Then, it quickly disappeared. Hiraga felt no further pain and she wondered why.
"Just...what's going on?"
For hours, the Pilot and her Titan moved rather aimlessly. Without any sight of civilization and due to the setting sun, Hiraga will have to improvise for their survival.
One of the only things that she saw with awe was the appearance of two different moons: one with a small appearance and reddish hue, and the other with a larger appearance and more normal bluish hue. Both remained close to each other as if a mother was accompanying her child through the wilderness. It was a majestic sight to Hiraga.
After finding a forest, a bonfire was set up. Hiraga continued to eat her rations with no change in mood She only acted with faith and gratitude. Her primary weapon was stowed at the left for a quick respose.
Then, her Titan picked up something. "Warning: unknown contacts detected."
Quickly, Hiraga armed her rifle and turned her head towards the direction of the contacts. Then, she can hear a male's voice.
"Excuse me!" Surprisingly, Hiraga can understand him.
"Huh?" She cautiously began to approach the source of the voice. "Identify yourself! You are talking to an official IMC member!" Hiraga demanded.
"Please, I just want to help."
The voice was revealed to be a bald man in a robe, holding a staff of some kind. He adjusted his small spectacles after some time passing through the vegetation. He lightly cleaned his robe for a neat presentation.
"Oh, I'm sorry if I bothered you while you are resting." He bowed and apologized.
Hiraga's body froze and her eyes widened in surprise due to the man's appearance. He was one of the people in the mind images while onboard the Olympus.
"No way…! Is this real!?"
"Hmm...are you okay there, ma'am?" He asked her. "You must be scared."
The Pilot remained shocked. In order to help herself, she calmed down and decided to engage in a conversation for any useful information.
"...I'm fine. I'm just surprised that someone would sneak up on me while I try to find a place to stay." She disarmed her weapon and stashed it on her back.
"Oh, good. I'm was about to stay here for the night before resuming my journey back to the Academy of Magic."
"...Academy of Magic…?" She wondered. "You're saying magic is real here?!"
"Indeed." He then wondered about the young woman. "Speaking of which, where do you come from?"
"I come from Earth, more specifically Japan."
The answer surprised him. "Huh...wait, you said you come from Japan, right?"
"Yeah, why?" Hiraga wondered.
"I have to bring you to the Academy right away. We have someone who comes from the same land as you."
"Wait a minute, another Japanese is here?!" She felt surprised at his request.
"Indeed. He has brought blessings to our land thanks to his knowledge from his world. Any item that we come across, he would identify its name and purpose. We though it was magic until he came to help."
"Oh, I see."
The mechanical noises of her Titan caught his attention and he reacted in horror. "Gah! What is that?"
"Relax, it won't hurt you for now." She assured him. "She's been on my side for a while now."
"Oh, good. By the way, is that your familiar spirit?"
"Familiar spirit?" The Pilot felt confused. "What is that?"
"You don't know? Familiar spirits act as companions of nobles who possess magical abilities. You must be one of them since you have that thing."
"To be honest, I'm just a commoner from Tokyo who explores other worlds with my Titan." She confessed.
"Titan?" He wondered.
"Machines designed for a variety of roles. From where I come from, it is commonplace."
"Oohh...you're saying commoners can summon them?" He felt intrigued by her explanation.
"Somewhat. We have to pay for them, of course. They are expensive despite the numbers."
"I see. So from where you come from, these "Titans" can be summoned after paying a certain fee?"
"Yeah, basically." Hiraga nodded in agreement.
"Hmm...I would like to pay a visit myself and see with my very eyes." He closed is eyes in satisfaction.
"Trust me, you will be surprised if you do that."
The two began to sit near the fire before continuing with the conversation. With hostilities now cleared, they can finally talk with a warm reception.
"By the way, we never got to know our names." She said.
"I'm Professor Jean Colbert. I work at the Tristain Academy of Magic." He introduced himself.
"And I'm Hiraga Eri, it's nice to meet you." She gave out her name.
Suddenly, Colbert was caught off-guard. "Your name's Hiraga Eri, right?"
"What's going on, Colbert?" She asked.
"You see...the Japanese whom I have told you about has that last name."
"Who is he?"
"His name is Hiraga Saito."
To Eri, she was stunned. This means that there will be massive repercussions depending on her future actions.
She has inadvertently travelled back in time. She had arrived at the point where her ancestors first met.
"Crap!" She uttered in shock. Panting took over her lungs.
"Eri, are you okay?"
"I'm not…" Eri then decided to find a way to safeguard the past, and the first thing she will do was to warn Colbert. "Listen to me closely, Professor. I am a descendent of Louise and Saito Hiraga, I come from the future where the Titans came from."
"You're from the future?" He felt worried.
"Yes. If I mess up in this timeline, I might not either exist or I'm out of a job. I don't want them to get tangled up by this."
"I understand, Eri. I'll ask help from the other staffs to assist you."
"Thank you, Colbert." She nodded. Then, she thought of something. "So...if I'm in the past, that means that the 318th may be tangled up in this as well. I better hope they don't do anything stupid."
"Now, if we may…" Colbert reminded her.
"Oh...yeah. Sorry for my somewhat rude pause."
The two continued to spend their time talking while under the threat of unintended changes to the timeline.
After spending some time on the road, Eri and Colbert arrived at the sight of the Tristain Academy of Magic. It's elegant design consists of five towers that formed a pentagon shape and to represent the five elements of magic based on the color of the roofs. A central tower that is taller than the five others was surrounded to represent the bulk of the academy.
"Here we are, Eri. I bid you two welcome to the Tristain Academy of Magic." Colbert warmly welcomed the two. He then had a feeling of excitement since the two talked about what Eri's future looked like in terms of living, quality of life and, much to his disgust, ways of war. "This is going to make Saito and Louise proud."
"So this is the Academy of Magic, huh?" Eri wondered while marvelling at her glory.
The lives of the Hiraga family will never be the same again despite what Saito experienced. It could influence Eri and her family's future.
A/N: A quick disclaimer - I do not play the original Titanfall, I only get the knowledge of them by Youtube and the Titanfall Wiki.
So, if anyone played the mission Effect and Cause in the campaign, this inspired this fanfic. And, after seeing the series (though I still have more to know), what better way to change the equation than sending someone to the past and be like Jack Cooper to save the day? Though, the locals wouldn't like seeing mass-produced familiars, would they?
Standby for Titanfall.