Kazuha Aoi was only half dressed and was startled when the door to her room burst open and a sobbing child ran up to her and grabbed on to her.
"Kazuya what's wrong?"
Through his tears the boy looked up at his beloved older sister. "Onee-chan don't go! I've heard about the attack and people have already died! I don't want you to die! Please don't go onee-chan!"
Kazuha looked down at her little brother and her heart ached. The reports that had come in about the Eighth NOVA Incursion were extremely bad. She understood that if she went her chances for survival were slim, but she was the strongest of the Pandoras and staying was not an option. A major city was under attack and millions of loves were at stake. She did not want to further upset him, but if these were her last words to her brother they would not be lies.
Kneeling down in front of him she took her little brother into her arms and hugged him. "I'm sorry Kazuya but your sister has to go."
"But onee-chan! What if you die?"
She looked into her brother's eyes with her usual serious expression but still smiled as she gently wiped away his tears. "Kazuya, I am a Pandora. That means I have a special power to protect others that very few people will ever have. That means I am one of the special few who can protect everyone from the NOVAs. I may die, but if I don't go many, many others will die. Do you understand? Do you see why onee-chan has to go?"
To Kazuya's credit he did seriously consider the question and slowly nodded, though his tears continued to stream down his cheeks. "I don't want you to go one-chan but I understand," his little arms tightened around her. "I love you so much!"
"I love you too," she whispered and tried to fight back tears of her own. "You are special just like I am otouto and I know one day you will protect others just as I do now. Always do your best to protect those who need your help and I will always be proud of you."
"I will onee-chan, I swear it!"
She nodded her head and placed a kiss on his forehead. "I know you will, you need to go now Kazuya and I need to finish dressing." She wiped his tears one final time and stood up. He stared up and was surprised to see his always serious sister crying. "Goodbye."
That was the last time he ever saw her.
Four Years Later
West Genetics Academy
Bridgette L Satellizer, (second years, rank one) was sitting in her History class quietly taking notes. As in all her classes the seats directly next to hers were left vacant and those students near her deliberately avoided so much as looking in her direction. When class ended everyone would give her a wide berth to make sure no one accidentally touched her. The 'Untouchable Queen' was feared not only on the practice field but in class and in the hallways as well. Neither the girls nor the boys wanted anything to do with her.
That was just fine with Bridgette. She had given up on trying to find any friends or allies a while ago. She had come to accept the fact that she would always be alone. She really didn't mind it any more. She was so used to being lonely that she no longer noticed it, it had become a dull ache that was always there. A part of her life she had simply come to accept.
She would live and die alone, that was just how it was. It was the price for being who she was, for being the best and the strongest. She would never lose. If that also meant she could never be held or comforted that was fine. It wasn't like she needed love.
As the lecture was going on a young boy entered the classroom and hurried up to the instructor passing her a note. She temporarily halted the lecture to read it.
"Bridgette, Rana both of you report to the Simulation Center, Arena One." The teacher announced.
There was a stir among the class and Bridgette blinked taken by surprise. The Simulation Center was where intensive training took place so she didn't think she was in trouble. But the academy was a rigid place where exception to the routine was always frowned on. Why was she being summoned right out of the blue?
At the other end of the room a girl with long black hair and a small tattoo under her left eye jumped to her feet immediately with a fearsome eagerness. "Yes sensei, de arimasu!" Rana Linchen (second years, rank two) turned towards Bridgette and waved cheerfully. "Let us get going Bridgette-san; we do not want to be late, de arimasu!"
Bridgette swallowed a groan. Why was she stuck with Rana? She deeply respected the girl's strength and had only just defeated her at the Sophomore Carnival. Her constant upbeat cheerfulness was rather grating though, she was about the only one in her entire class who did not actively avoid her.
"Right," Bridgette said as she gathered her things and headed for the door.
Though friendly even Rana knew better than to get too close or touch her.
Both girls were surprised to find a military presence at the Simulation Center. Regular Army soldiers were standing guard around the building and they politely informed the girls to go upstairs to Arena One's observation deck rather than its main floor.
The situation became even more bizarre when they entered the crowded observation deck that over looked the arena below. There were a total of five other Pandoras present; all of them top third years and standing in two distinct groups.
There was Student Council President Chiffon Fairchild (third years, rank one) standing beside her was her friend and associate Tish Phenyl (third years, rank three.) Both girls nodded politely to them upon their arrival.
Separate from them were the other three.
A statuesque blonde with long silky hair and ice cold eyes marked her and Bridgette could sense the girl's open hostility. She was Elizabeth Mayberry (third years, rank two) a strong advocate of order and respect for the chain of command. She had taken an instant dislike to Bridgette who was an exception in so many ways. Standing on either side of Elizabeth were Annette Maximillian (third years, rank four) and Creole Brand (third years, rank five.) Creole sent a disinterested glance her way while Annette grinned and even waved at her.
Along with the other Pandoras there was the Principle, Sister Margaret who was in quiet consultation with three officers in Defense Force uniforms. From their insignia Bridgette could see one was general and the other two colonels.
What is going on here? Bridgette wondered.
Sister Margaret noticed their arrival and nodded to the army officers. "Now that all the Pandoras are here we can begin."
"Begin what, de arimasu?" Rana asked. She was as confused as everyone else but less concerned with admitting it.
"All of you please step up to the viewing area," Sister Margaret said. "We are going to put on a short demonstration for you."
The seven Pandoras did as they were instructed and stepped up the tinted glass that gave them a clear view of the arena below while hiding their presence from anyone looking up. They were all surprised to see only a single boy down there dressed in a Limiter's combat uniform. It was not surprising to have a Limiter here; they trained along with the Pandoras. The surprise was to have only a single Limiter without even his Pandora. Most Limiters had to be within at least a hundred yards of their Pandora just to be able to activate their Freezing ability.
A single Limiter on his own was useless.
"Begin the demonstration please," Sister Margaret said softly.
A klaxon sounded and lights flashed overhead. The girls all leaned a bit closer in spite of themselves wondering just what was going on. (Bridgette included.)
A section of the arena floor slid away and a circular rail appeared. Up on the rail four wood and plastic dummies appeared, they were shaped in the form of miniature R-class NOVAs. They began to spin around the Limiter on their rail.
"Hmmm, what's the point?" Chiffon mumbled quietly. "He can't do anything without his Pandora."
Bridgette silently agreed. This demonstration seemed rather meaningless.
She and the others quickly changed their minds about that.
The Limiter extended his right arm. "Freezing!"
Instantly the four models on their monorail stopped.
More than that though they would see the floor all around him begin to turn white with frost and for his breath to become clearly visible in little puffs. The frost continued to spread out from him in all directions covering the entire floor and staring to rise up the walls. Even the edges of the tinted glass were beginning to ice up.
"He's freezing the atmosphere around him?" Annette said in stunned disbelief.
"I did not know this was possible, de arimasu!"
"It shouldn't be," Chiffon said with a puzzled look. "This is similar to what the NOVAs can do."
"There is more," Sister Margaret said. She nodded to the army officers.
One of the colonels got on a mike and his voice went out into the arena. "Eliminate the targets Kazuya, minimum spread."
What did he say? Bridgette thought startled. Pandoras were the swords and Limiters the shields. Limiters could only use Freezing, they had no offensive abilities.
Below them the boy slapped his hands together. "Four strikes, minimum spread."
Around his body four glowing spheres the size of baseballs appeared. Each gave off a steady bluish silver light. The Limiter spread his hands apart. Each of the four glowing spheres shot out at a different target and struck it dead center.
All four exploded and were completely destroyed.
The reaction among the Pandoras was immediate chaos.
"How did he?"
"Just amazing, de arimasu!"
"He can't have!"
One voice cut through all the others.
"Who is he?" Elizabeth Mayberry's authoritative tenor quieted the others. "And who is his Pandora?"
Sister Margaret nodded once more to the officers and the colonel brought the quick test session to an abrupt end.
"His name is Kazuya Aoi," Sister Margaret informed them. "And currently he has no Pandora. He is the ultimate Limiter capable not only of NOVA like Freezing but of using Volt energy weapons and of using his abilities without an Ereinbar set."
She paused to let that set in. Kazuya was not just the strongest Limiter ever; he was a different animal entirely. If it was possible to replicate his abilities it would mean a huge advantage for mankind in their war against the NOVAs.
Bridgette was string back down at the boy who was now leaving the arena. She didn't care about what his abilities meant to all mankind. What interested her was the fact that he was a Limiter who didn't require an Ereinbar set. He could be my Limiter.
Elizabeth was also looking down at the boy with thoughts of her own. He's amazing, together we would be unbeatable.
"Needless to say Kazuya is very special," Sister Margaret continued after her slight pause. "That is the reason you seven were invited here. I have determined you are the best candidates to partner with him. One of you will be his Pandora."
The girls all looked at each other.
In particular Bridgette and Elizabeth locked gazes and saw the same message in the other's eyes.
He is mine!