Daishinkon Gattai Godannar Kai
Mutsuki began the meeting by asking for a canvas screen, pulling out some sort of camera from his briefcase.
"Now, everyone, please direct your attention to the video that I am about to show you. After it is complete, I will explain everything that has been shown in further detail."
After the room was darkened, the canvas screen was lit up by the camera to show a video of what appeared to be a recording, a miniscule man, his back turned to the camera, was seen instructing a group of orderlies in another room, examining some strange rock on an examining table.
"This is the personal log of Director Oyamada," the man turned about to face the camera, his countenance bearing a few similarities to Mutsuki, but somewhat distinct from him.
"I stand before you on the verge of a major scientific breakthrough," He raised his arm in presentation of the rock in the next room, "This meteorite, codenamed Specimen Six, was discovered off the coast of Tierra del Fuego. Prior to its arrival on our planet, our astronomers were conducting some of our more… outlandish pursuits: The search for extra-terrestrial life, an endeavor which is, without a doubt as of present, mocked by the scientific community. But my specifically chosen team of stargazers has finally borne fruit to my little pursuit. A month ago, our sensors picked up an organic, biological signature coming from a meteorite that appeared to be on a collision course with the Earth. Judging by the readings, it appeared to be some sort of alien life."
The orderlies pulled out some high-powered cutting tools, and started slicing a chunk of the meteorite. Director Oyamada continued his recording, "Thanks to the efforts of our crew, we managed to recover the meteorite before it sank beneath the waves and was lost forever."
"Director, come and take a look at this!"
The orderlies directed his attention towards a mysterious slimy substance that oozed from the cut they sliced into. "Intriguing…" and then a faint squeal, like a newborn animal, broke through from the meteorite as well.
A tiny creature, which could only be described as some kind of worm with bulbous eyes and needle-sharp teeth emerged, writhing about stuck to the meteorite.
"What an interesting specimen we have here. I must end the current recording as of the moment; with this new development I am eager to begin a thorough examination of this creature." The recording ended right there.
Mutsuki stopped the video for now, as he suspected everyone had questions.
Anna was the first to make the inquiry, "What in the world was that?"
"That, Mrs. Saruwatari, is Specimen Six, or, as we currently refer to it – the Progenitor Beast."
Shizuru turned to ask more, "I assume that this Progenitor Beast is, if I'm not mistaken, the first Mimetic Beast that came to our world?"
"Precisely, Miss Fujimura, my father, the previous Director, was the one to discover it, although, at the time, he and no one else had any idea what it was."
"Well, at least now we know how those things got to Earth." Goh cut in, "I assume your father kept it under tight security?"
"Naturally, Mister Saruwatari, it was a one-of-a-kind discovery, and my father was absolutely sure to keep it under tight surveillance." After answering their inquiries, Mutsuki reactivated the camera and started a new recording. "Let us continue. This one skips over to my father's particular application of how he would use the creature."
The display once more came to life as a new recording began, showing Mutsuki's father wearing a HAZMAT suit, "Personal log, Director Oyamada. It has been some time since my last video journal entry. In the time since our analysis of the alien creature, we have discerned some of its unique characteristics, and it is unlike anything we have seen on our Earth. The creature boasts an unusual ability to absorb various kinds of matter, mineral or organic, the creature uses it to build up its own mass and size, but that is not what interests me the most about the specimen. For a long while I have been trying to find some means to use the creature for the benefit of science and mankind, on this video, I shall explain how I intend to apply it. The creature possesses great strength and regenerative capabilities; it is my goal to find a means to develop some method with which to apply these traits to human beings, the leaps in medical and biological fields of science would be unprecedented. Two of my staff have volunteered to partake in my experiment, I will record my results after I have achieved either success, or failure."
"What does this have to do with anything?" Shizuru asked.
"This is where Mister Hana comes into the picture." Mutsuki replied.
Lou turned to Hana, "Hana, what do you have to do with this?"
Hana pecked Lou lightly on the forehead, "Don't worry, Lou, you'll see soon enough where this is going."
Another video was started, this time showing the Director in a somber mood, "Personal log, Director Oyamada. My experiments regarding the application of the creature, Specimen Six, has been fruitless. Time and again we have attempted to create a new generation of man by merging the DNA of my specimen with the reproductive cells of my volunteers, the resulting offspring have developed… undesirable side-effects as a result. My colleagues have grown weary of our experiments and have been asking me to approve their resignation; although I still desire to continue with my procedures, these people are my friends, and they've suffered enough. In a few weeks' time I will seal the specimen away until a later time when I have perfected a more efficient way to realize my goal."
Mutsuki ended the video, but promptly began another one so that they would get the point of what Hana's involvement in all this was.
"Personal log, Director Oyamada. I had just the most amazing news; my two co-workers have informed me that they have conceived a perfectly healthy baby boy. This is most unprecedented news. They have agreed to meet with me to meet with the boy; quite an unusual turn of events, after so many failures at our labs here, they manage to produce a fine newborn free of any form of defect."
Another voice cut in with a sense of urgency, "Director! The specimen has escaped!"
The Director turned towards the orderly in alarm, "What? Quick, secure the building, activate the sensors, we can't let the specimen leave this building! Director Oyamada out."
Mutsuki once more stopped the video to answer their questions, though he started by answering what he felt was the most obvious one, "That was when the first Mimetic Beast was set loose upon the world."
Shizuru nodded, "The video implied that adequately, but that does not quite answer what Mister Hana has to do with all this."
"I'm getting to that. Okay, I'm about to show the final video that will explain all of this."
The last video activated to show the Director once more, albeit with a disheartened look on his face, "Personal log, Director Oyamada. My volunteers, my friends, they were killed when the specimen, having grown to tremendous size after absorbing massive quantities of matter; it attacked the hospital where they were staying and crushed them in debris. I had sent two of our best robot pilots to intercept the creature and see if they were still alive, instead, all we recovered of them was their child. Its saddens me to know the young lad would never grow up with his real parents, sadder still, is the fact they even gave him a name before they passed away. According to our pilot who recovered him, his mother had enough strength left to tell her his name: Hana"
After the video was done, the lights came back on, and everyone stared off into space not sure what would happen next.
Except for Shizuru, who knew what her question was, "You told us about this 'true enemy' that threatens the Earth for as long as it lives?"
Mutsuki nodded, "Yes."
Shizuru continued, "I am assuming that this true enemy is the first Mimetic Beast? The so-called Progenitor Beast?"
Mutsuki nodded, "Indeed, it is."
"What is this thing? Why does it want to destroy the human race?"
"It has no reason to do anything it does, it is a parasite, it lives only to survive, and it survives by feeding on organic and mineral substances, propagating more of itself and repeating the process over."
"What do you mean by 'repeating the process?' It sounds like it's done this sort of thing before."
"It has, or rather, several generations of it has."
"We have developed a theory as to the nature of Mimetic Beasts, and their methods of propagating throughout the universe. As I've stated, these creatures feed in order to survive, correct?"
"Well, suppose that they strip a planet completely of everything that could sustain it, what then, would it do? The answer was in the meteorite, the Progenitor creates a vessel, so-to-speak, and lays the egg for a new Progenitor inside, once it has completed that, the vessel is thrown into space, where it remains dormant until it lands on a new planet. To be perfectly honest, I am rather fascinated by the prospect, like how these creatures could withstand vacuum and solar radiation, their physiological properties are astounding and…"
Hana nudged him with his elbow, "Ahem…"
Mutsuki stopped before he trailed off on one of his scientific ramblings, "Anyway, it is imperative we destroy this creature, because it will not stop until the Earth has been sucked dry, or made barren as a result of the endless warfare it wages upon us."
"That much, you've made clear to us," Shizuru said, "But we need to know, can we depend on you to help us defeat this abomination?"
"How?" Anna chimed in, "We don't even know where it is."
"Well, then that is where our secret weapon comes in."
"What secret weapon?" Goh asked.
"You're looking at him." Mutsuki aimed his thumb at Hana.
Everyone looked at Hana with a puzzled look, "What is his involvement in all of this?"
"Hana knows precisely where the Progenitor is, all the time." Mutsuki replied confidently.
"And how does he know that?" Shizuru asked.
"Well, allow me to explain," Mutsuki started, "You see, the Progenitor controls every Mimetic Beast on the planet with its mind. Think of every Mimetic Beast as, shall we say, a colony of ants or a nest of bees – Mimetic Beasts are the drones, the Progenitor is the Queen. The Progenitor communicates with and controls the other Mimetic Beasts via telepathy. It is through this telepathy that gives them unprecedented levels of coordination and efficiency that surpasses human responses."
"Wait a moment," Goh cut in, "But that goes against the events that occurred after the first war with the Mimetic Beasts. They went rampant and became wild, running amok throughout the Earth in a disorganized manner."
"That one," Mutsuki began, "is where your associate Miss Ackerman comes into the picture. You see, here is another interesting theory I have developed regarding their nature. Prior to their arrival on Earth, Mimetic Beasts arrived on planets inhabited by single-gender organisms with no distinct genetic divergences between them, and then they came to Earth, where, not having encountered the unique properties of divergent sexual characteristics, were unprepared for what happened next. As you recall, the Progenitor only collected the DNA of a male – Hana's. But when it collected the genes of Miss Ackerman, it discovered a similar, but different, genetic structure than that of the pool of genetic material he acquired from Hana, resulting in the creation of an antidote to the Insania Virus."
Shizuru cut in, "But you never said Hana was ever absorbed by this creature when he was a newborn."
"Well, not at first. At one point, when looking for his adoptive father, who had left Oyamada Technical for personal reasons, he was intercepted by the creature and had some of his DNA sucked out, but fortunately, we managed to recover him in time."
"And, just out of curiosity, but who were his adoptive parents?"
Mutsuki pointed to Lou, "Ask her."
Lou looked confused, "Me?"
Mutsuki nodded, "Well, he did teach you how to pilot robots, after all."
Mutsuki seemed to think this was common knowledge, but he knew everyone wes a bit surprised at this revelation. Hana confirmed their suspicions, "Yes, everyone, Ken and Rosa were my adoptive parents."
Goh leaned forward, "So I assume the 'personal reason' Ken left your organization was because…?"
Hana finished his statement, "…He wanted to recover Rosa's robot, which was trapped in the body of one of the Mimetic Beasts." Hana turned to Lou, "It's safe to say that you know how that ended."
Mutsuki proceeded to discuss in detail about certain facts about Hana, such as his own unique biological properties that made him, in a word, more than a mere human. Everyone stepped out into the VR robot-piloting simulation room. Here, Hana was put inside one of the pods and was quickly put through the Level S training course.
"Hana, you comfy in there?" Mutsuki asked over the comms.
"I'm okay, Mutsuki, just fire it up."
Lou was curious to see Hana perform against the Level S scenario. The Level S was the highest practice simulation level in the VR pods; only the most experienced robot pilots could make it through successfully.
The pod was booted up, and started immediately at the Level S scenario; Hana remained calm and focused as the swaying, erratic targets moved about on screen. Everyone was watching intently for his next move; suddenly, Hana made quick responses with his fingers and, in an instant, all five rapidly moving targets were obliterated.
Everyone was dumbstruck by his superhuman response times and speed by which he handled the scenario.
Shizuru was the first to respond, "What amazing response."
Goh followed with his own remark, "The best pilots can, at least, finish Level S in one and a half minutes. But Hana has accomplished it in less than fifteen seconds!"
Hana left the cramped up pod to get a breather. As soon as he was out, Lou came to see him personally about his achievement.
"Hana, that was… that was amazing! Even I can't handle Level S that fast!"
"Yes, well, I've already done this a few times already, to me I've grown practiced at it already."
"Well, I still think you're amazing."
"As a robot pilot?"
"No, as my boyfriend" Lou leaned in and hugged him lovingly; Hana hugged her back with a smile.
Hana and Lou decided to go out for a little alone time while Mutsuki handled the rest of the meeting with the Dannar Base command staff.
"As you've already seen for yourself, Hana is an apex pilot, which makes him the top candidate for our latest and most advanced fighting robot."
"The white Gainer?" Shizuru queried.
"Yes, our brand new Gainer model, the Spear Gainer. It has been customized specifically to suit Hana's performance."
Goh had his own questions, "That teleporting feature of the Spear Gainer, is it one of the unique capabilities of his robot tailored for him?"
"Indeed, it is – the Spatial Compression Shift. We tried numerous times to see if we could use the technology for other pilots, but only Hana shows strong tolerance for continued use to SCS. Most ordinary pilots tend to suffer severe head pains, he doesn't."
"I believe we had nearly forgotten about this, but how is Hana able to know precisely where the Progenitor is at all times?"
"Well, Mr. Saruwatari, as I've said before, the Mimetic Beasts are telepathically controlled by the Progenitor. The Progenitor's ability to direct its underlings, however, depends on whether said underlings have Mimetic Beast DNA. Hana, as the result of my father's attempts at creating the next-generation of human, possesses Mimetic Beast DNA in his being, as such, he is psychically linked with the Progenitor, and knows where it is and where it will go."
"Isn't it a bit dangerous?" Shizuru asked.
Mutsuki raised a brow, "Pardon?"
Shizuru explained herself, "Hana has Mimetic Beast DNA, specifically that of this Progenitor Beast. I'm just suggesting that, with all this information, wouldn't Hana be influenced, in a sense, by the Progenitor if that is the case?"
Mutsuki shook his head, "I assure you, Miss Fujimura – Hana bears the same DNA of the Progenitor, that much is fact, but because of that, he is of the same mental capacity as the Progenitor, he can resist the creature's influence. This is what makes him our secret weapon against the Progenitor."
Lou decided to take Hana back to her room in Dannar Base.
"Come in, Hana, I know it's not much, but please make yourself comfortable, it's the least I can do."
Lou went out to get some refreshments for him, Hana sat down on her old bed, examining her room - it was very plain and didn't have much to offer, just a bed, a wardrobe, a small reading desk, a side table, and a lamp.
"Poor Lou," he thought to himself, the dull emptiness of the room was symbolic of the emptiness she felt when she was younger. He felt, with his latent empathic abilities, very sad in this room, it was like a prison cell with walls made of moroseness and regret.
"Hana, I'm back!" Lou came in, chirping happily as she did so. Hana smiled, he was happy to see that Lou's current personality was nothing like the room's bitter aura.
Lou sat gently on his lap, putting away the tray on the side table, "But first, a little alone time, shall we?"
The two lovebirds cuddled merrily on the bed, enjoying the most out of their current alone time. Hana sniffed loudly as he caressed Lou's neck with his nose, "Mmm…"
Lou glanced at him curiously, "Hm? Hana?"
Hana smiled without thinking, "You smell nice, Lou."
"You have a certain scent about you, very… earthy and natural. I like it."
Lou fiddled in embarrassment, "Oh… um… well, yes, I do smell nice don't I?"
"Uh-huh," Hana continued sniffing her, "What kind of scent is this?"
Lou didn't have the heart to tell him, she was rather abashed that he noticed. Ever since becoming a Menage Zero on her own, Lou rarely, if ever, took baths. She never took notice of her odor and since no one really cared, she never bothers to clean that often. Lou had to admit though; there was something vaguely appealing about Hana enjoying her scent. When you're in love, Lou thought, everything about a person is attractive, even their malodor.
"I'm afraid that's a secret, Hana. There are some things a woman has to keep to herself." Which probably gives you incentive to tear my clothes off to find out, Lou thought to herself, but he was her boyfriend, it was natural for him to lust for her every now and then.
The two lovers continued cuddling for the better half of an hour, until Hana decided to start a conversation.
"You were really very lonely back then, huh?"
"This room… it's so lifeless, there's not a single thing in here that shows you were happy about something."
"Well… what was there to be happy about? I lost my father, I lost my friends, I had nothing left…"
Lou fell silent for a moment, "Revenge…" it was such a strong word, hearing it sent memories flashing through her mind. Memories that burned and tore her soul apart; back then, she hungered for it, she craved for punishing the Mimetic Beasts, the monsters that killed her father and left her completely alone; but the more she satisfied her thirst for revenge, the more empty she felt. Looking back on those dark days, Lou couldn't help but loathe herself; she thought, that by feeding her craving, she could keep the memory of her father within her grasp; she might as well have been holding a lump of red-hot coal. She thought that, after her father died, she could never find joy again; but after meeting with Hana, everything she had ever done had come back to slap her in the face.
The truth was, she could always find happiness again. Happiness, her happiness, was waiting for her to find it, but she turned it away. She could have helped her foster parents, the Saruwataris, during their crisis when Mira woke up. She could've found a new family, and rekindle the flame of life in herself again. Most important of all, perhaps… perhaps, she could've met Hana by now.
'Of all the mistakes I've ever made…" She thought, "Why did I commit the most stupid of them all?'
Lou started crying into Hana's shirt, which caught him unawares.
"Hana… I… I don't like it in here anymore…"
"What do you mean?"
"You know what I mean. It's all around us, this room; it's full of my regrets, all my regrets. I don't like it here anymore, that's why I went with you, you fill my life with purpose, living with you has been the best thing that's ever happened to me, while living here brings me nothing."
Hana brought Lou's eyes to meet with his, "Lou, I would conquer the whole world for you if you'd so much as ask. I've done a good job so far of bringing light back into your world. But I'm afraid I can only do so much."
"No matter what I do, Lou, I'm afraid I can never bring you out of whatever darkness is killing you inside, that is something I can only help you to do for yourself."
"But… but Hana, I can't… I can't do that alone." Lou started to whimper.
"Not now, at least," Hana brought his lips on her head, kissed her softly, and swayed her gently, "One day, Lou, we will fly together to heights greater than Heaven itself, but for now, I will watch over you until you are ready to leave the nest."
Lou smiled, "Thank you, Hana… Thank you for everything…"
Once the sun began to set on their part of the world, Hana, Lou and Mutsuki bid Dannar Base farewell. As they drove away back to Oyamada Technical, Mutsuki palmed his face in exhaustion. Lou was sleeping, propping her head on his shoulder.
"That was a lot of work, Hana. I'm pooped."
Hana chuckled softly, "I thought you were doing rather well, Mutsuki."
Mutsuki looked cross, "Hey, I don't do well in crowds."
"What crowd? They were only, like, four of you discussing the whole thing."
Mutsuki huffed, "Okay, I don't do well with strangers. Besides, I thought you'd have a thing for Miss Fujimura."
Mutsuki blushed, "Well, I suppose she is pretty hot. But she's cold as ice, and I have no appeal for ice queens."
"I don't know about that."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"I think you just need to help her ease out of her old woman act."
Mutsuki shrugged, "Hey, I'm okay with hot older women, but I don't have Christmas cakes if they won't let me have at them."
"That's your job to break open their cake to get at the creamy fillings."
"Easy for you to say, at least you have a girl who's ready and willing to do you in."
Hana shot him a glare, "Hey, are you trying to insinuate something?"
Mutsuki raised his hands and waved in defense, "No, no! I don't mean anything bad!"
Lou shifted in her position, moaning a tired sigh. Hana stroked her silky lavender hair and kissed her lightly on the head. It was good to know that he could help bring a smile on her face again. But she still had dark clouds hung over her head, and although he wished to part those gloomy elements from her heart, he knew that Lou could only do that by herself if she only chose to. He felt that she was on the verge of making that choice; all he had to do was grease the wheels of that decision.
The Next Day…
No sooner had the day begun than an alarm sounded, and a gargantuan Mimetic Beast approached the vicinity of the Oyamada Technical facility. Hana reported quickly to the deployment bay where Spear Gainer was being kept.
Mutsuki was in the control room, checking the Gainer's readings, "All right, Hana, you are clear to go."
"Roger that Mutsuki."
One of the operators observed the attaching of Gainer's support craft – Jet Swan, attach on its back. "Jet Swan unit engaged and prepped."
"Spear Gainer, deploy!" Hana was launched from the catapult bay, Jet Swan activated, leaving a stream of fire behind as it pushed Spear Gainer further away from the catapult ramp, until it was thrown high into the air.
"Mutsuki, do you read me?"
"Loud and clear Hana, all systems have been checked out. I'll upload the coordinates to the hot zone where you'll find… hold on."
"What is it, Mutsuki?"
"Hana, there's something coming your way, and it isn't a Mimetic Beast."
Suddenly, Celle-Blader zoomed alongside Spear Gainer, and inside Hana's cockpit, a digital window showing Lou appeared.
"Lou? What are you doing here?"
"Isn't it obvious? I want to fight with you!"
Mutsuki rolled his eyes, "Well, this is an unexpected surprise."
"Mutsuki, may I have a moment with Hana?"
"I have to maintain radio contact at all times, you never know what might happen…"
"Mutsuki…" Hana started, "…You can cut the communication lines for a couple of minutes."
"It'll be fine, I won't take long."
"Oh, all right, fifteen minutes. No more than that." Mutsuki cut his end of the line.
Hana turned over to Lou, "Now, you had something to speak with me about?"
Lou cleared her throat, "Hana, I want you to make another promise with me."
Hana felt nervous, he hoped it wouldn't be another thing he secretly couldn't keep, "What is it?"
"I want us to fight together, and die together."
"Hana, my father and Ken both died trying to save my life. I don't want you to play the hero; I want to fight with you as your soul mate. If either one of us die, we will both be alone, separated by life and death; I don't want that, I want us to be together, wherever we are. You already could not keep your first promise not to throw yourself in danger, now I want you to promise me that if we have to die, we die together. Will you promise me that much?"
"Hana, please, will you promise me?"
Hana bent his head in contemplation, "All right, but don't be so eager to kill yourself. We still have many things to live for."
"I don't intend to be killed."
Hana smiled, "Then let's go and cheat death, Lou!" The two lovers zipped across the clear blue sky. Whether or not fate was against them, they did not know. What they did know was that they wouldn't stand by themselves against it.
Lou had seen how the power that Goh and Anna shared together overcame tremendous odds, now she was going to feel that power as well.
As for Hana, he knew Lou still had many more leagues to overcome before Lou would overcome her inner demons, but no matter what happened, he would stand with her until the very end.End of Chapter
A/N: See you all in eight and a half weeks!