(Author's Note: Despite it being the most awesome thing ever, I do not own Gunbuster or any of its characters.)
"We would of course be honored to have you as part of our faculty, Miss Freud."
Of course they would.
"But I must confess, I'm confused," Principal Kashihara continued. "Of all the places on Earth or Luna, why did you choose here?"
Aside from the advertised opening? "The best got their start here." Jung said. "Only seems fair to continue the trend."
"But you were never a student here," the elderly principal pointed out.
"This is true." But then, she wasn't 'the best', either.
"It's Tayaka and Ohta, isn't it?"
"I did say the best. And that would be them."
"Can't argue with that," Kashihara added with a shake of her head.
"Good." Jung was glad there was someone else in the Sol system who understood.
"Wouldn't it make more sense to be an instructor at one of the moon bases, since you were trained at the first moon base?"
Jung rolled her eyes. "Honestly, I can't stand the place anymore."
The principal seemed taken aback. "Why?"
Jung sighed. "They've lost sight of everything. It's all 'Freud' this, 'Lunar Daughter' that. They even put up a statue, for Christ's sake. Of me."
Kashihara's eyes gave away her confusion.
"Of me! Not us, me!" She took a deep breath. "Noriko was ready to give her life to save us all. Kazumi gave up any chance of a normal life so that Noriko could live. People want me to be a legend, fine. But not at their expense. They're the real heroes of the Battle of the Galactic Core."
She stood up from her chair, and walked towards the window on the side of the room. Gazing at the marble statue commemorating the sacrifice of her best friends. "Millions died that day," she said quietly, "so the rest of humanity could live on. But without Noriko and Kazumi, humanity would not have made it that far."
"The Battle of the Absolute Defense Line."
"Yes. That. A great many places talked of honoring them for all their deeds." Jung turned to face the old principal. "But this is the only place that ever acted on it," she said, indicating the statue with a nod. "The only place that remembers them, their greatness. That...makes this a place after my own heart. I understand the world is full of weaklings who would rather not recall the prices anyone paid that day, but...My friends will not be forgotten. I will make certain."
Perhaps she was being too open. But it felt right. Kashihara had attended this school herself, alongside Noriko and Kazumi. And had witnessed firsthand Noriko's incredible potential, with the dubious distinction of being the first to be laid low by it. She would understand.
Kashihara snickered. "That's what I said, when I pushed to have the statue made. I had benefit of Coach Ohta's students backing me, I still don't know how they convinced the city council. But they did...as you've seen. I'm sorry you aren't represented there—"
"Oh no," Jung interrupted, "I understand. No need to apologize." She was getting sick of seeing her own likeness, anyway.
"Thank you. Honestly, I'm impressed that you want to do...anything. Were I in your place, I think I'd have been content to retire and live like a queen."
Jung sighed. "Did you know that Noriko and I share a birthday? I'm almost twenty-five years behind the world. I'm not even twenty, and everyone I knew is now old or dead. New trends, new geography, new slang...basically new culture. Trying to adjust to everything being wrong...simply couldn't happen. It was difficult enough with ten years gone, when I spent six months on Earth while the Battle of the Absolute Defense Line was going on. I never really adjusted, but I endured."
She suddenly turned to stare out the window, accepting the tears coming to her eyes. "Once we were back in space, I told myself that at least, when all was done, I would still have Noriko to be with. She had difficulty with the one week she was here before heading off to guard the Absolute Defense Line, and I knew how much she hates loneliness. We could be each other's sanctuary." Her voice started to crack as she went on. "But my dead bones will decay before they come back to Earth. All I can do now, is keep their memory alive."
She took a deep breath, and wiped the tears from her eyes before turning back to the principal, who was now wearing a sad expression of her own. "That is why. There are numerous generations who must be ready for their return. And I'm going to make the first set of suitable carriers of their memories."
The principal blinked, before smiling and extending an open hand. "In that case...We're glad to have you aboard, Coach Freud."
She took her open hand. "Please. Coach Jung."