Gender Dislocation

Chapter 12 - Back to the start

Hi guys, it has been a long month:)

My life in SAF has been ok so far, life as a recruit is tough but I am slowly getting used to regimental life.

I have decided to start from Post Amnesia. The thing is this. Before I enlisted, I wrote a beta chapter for Reunion Arc. But the more I wrote, the more I believe that I need to write Post Amnesia first, cause there is a lot of stuff going on that needs explaining. So for those who are expecting Reunion, sorry please endure:)

For those who suggested writing both Post Amnesia and Reunion together... cannot. It's too big for me. I got to squeeze two periods of time together each with a lot of stuff going on. It's hard to keep track of the pace so better to focus on one timeline at a time. It's also better for me since I have lesser time to write so that I can properly focus.

Because of Army life, I have to stay in camp starting from Sunday evening until I book out on Friday evening for each week. So that means I only have Saturday and some time on Sunday to write. Wah Lao eh... writing speed reduced so greatly:(

So got to wait from BMT (Basic Military Training) to POP (Passing Out Parade), better after ORD (Operationally Ready Date) :) If you don't know those terms go watch at youtube 'Ah boys to men theme song recruit theme'

Without further due, let's start:)


Directly after the Prologue of this fanfric, 12th November, unknown island

"Karaka-san! He needs help now!"

"Check his pulse! He already lost too much blood!"

"Ichika-nii! Hang in there!"

"Girl! Get out of the room! This is a surgery!"

"I'm not leaving him! I can't lose him!"

"Bother us and you will! Now get out!"

Bang!

"Mushi-san, lock the door. I don't want any more interference. And that includes Shinonono-san."

"Damn it! His pulse is dropping! We're losing him."

"Charge him."

"3, 2, 1! Clear!"

Zap.

"Again! 3, 2, 1! Clear!"

Zap.

"Get me the platelets. We got to stop the bleeding at the head…"

At the same time, Ichika POV

*Sheve*, *Shove*.

The sea that was swaying with the wind let out that kind of sound.

Attracted by the sound of waves from afar, I'm currently alone on the unfamiliar beach.

I was running.

As I ran forward, the white sand below my feet would let out a sandy sound.

At each step I take, my feet feel the sand and the heat directly.

There's the smell and sound of the tide and waves from the seas, and there's a cool breeze blowing at me.

Everything would be nice at this pace, if not for the cold.

The air around me is cold.

I did not like it, it spells of the end.

It is chilling me slightly on the outside, but on the inside, it is painful.

I felt the cold that belonged to the cold winter as I continued to run.

I need to hurry up.

I need to keep going, but time was not on my side.

The cold of the winter, and the vastness of space around me discouraged me from continuing, as if to say that this stage of me running is no longer needed.

I soon felt that this current stage of my life is over, so what now?

My running legs gradually slowed down.

I told myself to keep going, but the more I ponder, it strikes me as to why am I running.

Why am I even running?

Is there a need to run?

What purpose am I serving to run?

I finally stop.

Before I knew it, my legs drop dead.

It felt heavy, like a ship's anchor that was dropped on the ocean floor.

At this moment, I can feel every part of my body scream.

I can feel myself screaming to keep going, or else I will…

Will what?

What would happen if I stop running?

Then something caught my attention.

There is a well.

And there's a person in front of it.

Or to be more specific, she was sitting on the edge of the grey cement bricks, looking at her left.

She is beautiful, and I think she is around 30.

She has gorgeous Russet brown hair that falls straight down to her waist.

It really matches her brown-yellow kimono and her Rosy brown Obi.

For some reason, I feel that I know who she is, but I failed to identify her.

My will to continue running stop, and time naturally stopped.

She finally turned her face to face me.

And yet, for some strange reason, I couldn't see it.

I know that she's beautiful, and I know that she is important to me, but I don't know whom that face belongs to.

I tried to move forward, to get closer to her, but I can't.

Though my heart yearns to be with her, my body refused to allow me to do so.

Why?

What is wrong?

The women giggled, her right hand on her mouth.

Her smile was one of those motherly types.

She got off the well, and walked towards me.

Then, she knelt in seiza position just a few paces before me.

That's weird, was she actually taller than me?

Even if she is kneeling, I still need to look up to her.

"Ichika, come, one step at a time."

Is she… encouraging me?

"Come on Ichika, you can do it."

Slowly and steadily, I walked towards her, on my heavy two feet.

One step.

Then another.

Then another.

As I went closer, the beautiful lady reached out her hands.

One step.

Then another.

Then another.

I find myself reaching out to her.

As I got closer, her smile widens.

Then, once I just need one last step, she grabbed me by my armpits, stood up, and brought me up high.

Before I knew it, she was cradling me in her bosom.

I remember myself sitting on her left arm, resting my chin on her soft left shoulder.

Wait… remembered?

Then, it hit me.

This happened before.

I was so young back then.

I think I was just two years old.

I was in that nice little garden in some traditional Japanese home.

There are even some butterflies flying around the garden.

As for the person who is cradling me back then…

"Let's go, your grandfather is waiting." She said.

"Mama." I remember myself responding.

2 hours later

"Hmp…"

Pure… white.

… Or not.

Half of what I see is pitch black, but for some reason, the white parts overlaps with the black parts.

I expected a blending of colors at the middle, like grey.

But I am still seeing white over black… or black over white.

What does it mean?

I blinked once.

Eh? …

I closed my eye.

Pure pitch black.

I opened my eye.

White over black… black over white.

What does this mean?

"Ah. You are awake. Good."

Huh?

I turned my head to the right.

IT BURNS!

A potion of my neck burns like mad!

The left side… God what was that?

Out of instinct, my right hand reached for my neck.

What is this… texture?

As I moved my fingers to the right side of the neck, I felt my skin.

But as I moved back to the left side of my neck, my fingers overrun something… smooth.

As I continued to move my fingers, it appears that the left half of my face is covered as well.

"I suggest you better not move too much. You've lost a lot of blood. Your recovery will take quite some time."

A man suddenly entered my vision.

He must have walked from the right side.

He is dressed in a white lab jacket over a standard suit.

He has short straight black hair, black eyes and he wears round glasses.

"I'm Dr. Shimazu Karaka, one of the two doctors who just saved your life. Nice to meet you Orimura Ichika."

Huh?

"Is there something wrong? Orimura-kun?"

"Who… are you? Where am I? … Who is Orimura Ichika?"

"… Amnesia. I feared the worst. Looks like the damage in the brain is way worse than I hoped for."

"Huh?"

"You suffered… one of the most dangerous accidents in the whole of IS history. Some world champions faced this kind of accident before, but not as bad as yours."

"I…S…?"

"Perhaps I've said too much. It will take some time before your mind becomes active. Sleep for now. Just like that girl right next to you."

Huh?

I turned my head slightly to the left so as to not instigate the pain.

There is a girl sleeping right next to me.

She is seated on a chair right next to me, but her head is resting on my stomach, her right hand is clenching my left hand.

She has black hair at shoulder length, wearing some sort of outfit that is rather quite… revealing.

"I'll head back outside. Rest for now. If you need anything, wake her up. She'll help you."

The doctor soon turned his head and left the room.

So…

I am in a room, generally white with some blue and purple linings.

There some electronic stuff and some small tube containers placed around the room in the glass-covered wardrobes.

There is a window, opened.

As I listen closely, I can hear the breeze of… sea waves clashing against each other.

It's so quiet and… peaceful.

It was then that I suddenly realized that my left half of my torso is covered with the same material as my neck and face.

And it does not end there.

My whole left arm is bounded in white.

… What on earth happened to me?

"Hmph!"

The girl right next to me got up and yawned.

When we made eye contact I –

"ICHIKA-NII!"

She jumped at me.

Before I know it, she hugged me, tightly.

"YOU IDIOT! YOU IDIOT! YOU IDIOT!"

She cried.

"I ALMOST THOUGHT YOU DIED."

Though I can't see it, I felt the weight and moist of her tears falling on my left cheek.

"W-Who are... you?"

She stopped moving.

She withdrew herself from that tight hug, and stared at me with a shocked face.

Now that I see it, her eyes were swollen red from the tears.

To further add on, it seems like the tears never stop flowing.

"You… don't remember?"

"Huh?"

"Ichika-nii, it's me, Madoka."

"… Huh?"

"It… can't be… amnesia?"

5 minutes later

"The majority of the damage was directed at your head, considering how your remaining shield energy level is at 29, surviving itself is already a miracle."

After both of us woke up, Madoka brought me to the doctor.

I was surprised I can still walk, considering what happened to my upper body.

So roughly, my left arm is wounded, the left side of my neck burns, and I can't see through my left eye.

In other words, my upper left side is all messed up.

Sigh… just what did I do to deserve this?

The doctor… Dr. Shimazu right?

He was giving me a rough briefing about the damage my body suffered.

"Due to the reflexive properties of the IS's protective shield, your IS was somehow able to spread the damage of the beam shot from a specific spot to the area around it."

"Wait… if it is the area around the spot where I got hit… then why is it that my right side is still ok?"

"The damage doesn't necessarily have to spread around your body in the form of a circle. Your IS seems to spread the concentrated impulse of the beam shot towards the left side."

"Right…"

"Technically, your head received the damage everywhere, but your left side got the worst out of it. With that kind of heavy damage at low shield energy, it counts as natural for your head to suffer brain damage."

"Urgh…"

"Judging by how your brain still functions normally yet you can't remember your past, it is either you are suffering from Retrograde Amnesia or Repressed Memory."

"What does that mean doctor? Does that mean that Ichika-nii can't remember his past?" Madoka raised.

Why is it that I see her a little happy for some reason?

"It really depends on the amount of damage inflicted to the brain. From my calculations, it is either permanent damage or temporary. I can't be too certain yet."

"What happens if it is temporary damage?" I asked.

"Then we have to leave it to time, simply put, long term recovery. In this case, older memories will be easier to recall as the brain strengthens and recovers."

… I got a bad feeling about the other option.

"Wait… what happens if it is permanent?"

"You won't remember anything."

"Thankfully your Hippocampus is not really damage." Dr. Shimazu said.

"Hippo…campus?"

"It is a major component of the human brain responsible for navigation and spatial memory. In other words, it's the part of the brain where new memories are created. Congratulations, its not like you can't remember what happens once each day has passed."

"I see that you are confused. Never mind, it takes time. For now, get some rest."

3 minutes later

After I did my medical checkup with Dr. Shimazu Karaka, I retired to the bedroom that was prepared for me.

Madoka followed me behind as she did before.

"Madoka… can I be honest with you?"

"Of course you silly billy~." She smiled, nudging me lightly in the process.

"Why is it, when you ask Dr. Shimazu about me not remembering my past forever, you look happy?"

"H-Huh? What are you saying?"

"You are thinking of something."

"No I don't."

"Then why did I feel that I… couldn't trust you?"

"…"

"I need you to be honest with me Madoka. We are siblings right?"

I do not know the exact meaning, but according to Madoka, it means we have the same blood in our veins, meaning family.

"Twin siblings yes."

"Twins… what is that?"

"We are born on the same day. That makes us a bit more… special."

"Then all the more reason for us to be honest with each other right?"

"…"

"So you don't want me to trust you, is that it?"

"N-No! Of course not."

"Then?"

"It's… complicated."

"We have time, I have about three to five years to recall my past."

"… I think that there are some things that you are better left not remembering."

"Is it something that you did?"

"A little bit yes and mostly no."

"I see…"

So it is something that she really did not wish to talk about.

Sigh… just what is my past like?

"I'll figure it out for myself then. That is, when my memories come back."

"You won't hate me for not revealing things to you right, Ichika-nii?"

I smiled.

"It won't matter. I think… I want to remember things myself. Without much people telling me who is who."

Now I got to go back and rest.

Dr. Shimazu strongly recommended it as more resting just means speeding up the rate where my damaged brain can recover.

As I returned to the room, I saw a letter on the bed where I used to sleep.

Using my free right hand, it's actually surprising how I managed to recognize the gibberish letters, considering how I failed to remember anything of the past.

Ikkun~! How are you? Feeling good? Hi~ it's your favorite idol Shinonono Tabane daiyo~!

…What? My favorite idol?

Anyways, if you can't remember who you are, just come and look for me within the next hour. I can help you with some memory recovery~

… Is there a need to consult her?

Just look around for Ku-chan. She will bring you to me. It's a no no if you don't want to come, we got a lot of work to do so, unless you want me to break you into nano-size pieces for observation you better come. Fu fu fu~

Just what is with this person? Isn't it already obvious that she is the one trying to make me go to her?

Folding the paper, I turned my attention to Madoka.

"This Shinonono Tabane… just who is she?"

"She is a genius."

"… Ok what is that?"

"Someone who comes up with… extraordinary ideas."

"Ok next question. What does she mean by 'break you into nano-size pieces'?"

"She means putting you in some machine and break you into tiny pieces that even I can't see you anymore."

"… Is that good?"

"Not good."

"Ok… next question. What is this 'observation' thing that she wants to break me apart for any way?"

"It seems that you have an unusual trait that she wanted to study."

"… What kind of trait?"

"It's difficult to explain, but if you do not go and see her she might do something nasty to you."

"Madoka, I know I want to remember things on my own accord, but who is this person to me?"

"You happen to be close to her."

"Happen to be?"

"I never knew that myself. But that's what I came up with after I saw her reaction to your… accident when I woke up."

"What did she do?"

"She was like 'Ara ara Ikkun is so messed up. But no worries, his special friend will save him now~ Ah ha ha ha ha~' and so on."

… For some reason, I don't want to see this Shinonono person.

"You will see for yourself when you meet her. Anyways, I think you better get some rest. You have an hour or so right?"

"… Good idea."

I soon rested my wrecked body on the bed.

Oh well, at least I can have a moment of rest.

But for some reason, I am quite disturbed.

And when I say disturbed, I mean it physically, not mentally.

I can feel another person's body clinging onto my own.

As I look down at the would-be bed invader, I saw Madoka.

She smiled at me without any worry and pulled the blanket over us.

So she snuck into my bed.

Why?

"Madoka… What are you doing?"

"Eh? Sleeping with you."

"Is it a must to sleep in my bed in order to sleep with me? I though there is another bed right next to us so…"

"Ichika-nii~. Don't you know? Siblings share a time where they do sleep with one another on the same bed. Since you lost your memories, I ought to give you a, first, hand, experience."

"… But I am feeling uncomfortable right now."

"This is because you are uncertain, which I can't blame you for since you lost your memories. You can't really tell what is right and what is wrong, like a baby now Ichika-nii~."

"… Will doing this get some of my memories back?"

"Sa dou kana~ (I don't know). But it's worth a try."

… Suspicious…

She immediately got onto me.

Did her face just turned a little pink?

The way she is staring at me is starting to make me feel a little uncomfortable.

As she slowly drew her face closer, I can feel my heart beating faster.

Chu

Her lips connected mine.

It was brief, soft… and short lived.

"What what what did you just – "

She sealed my lips with her index finger, and then she slowly let go.

"Ichika-nii, it's going to be ok. I'm here, so if there is anything you need, feel free to ask me anything. I'm your family after all. Also, since Ichika-nii promised to help me, I will also help you."

"… When did I make such a promise?"

"I'll leave it to your memories. Ichika-nii wants to recall things on his own accordance right?"

"Right…"

"Goodnight~" she said, smiling in the process.

She soon hugged me tightly and sank her head into my neck.

She continued to sink her head into my neck.

Then she fell asleep immediately.

Memories eh?

I listened to the winds through the open window, then my conscious slowly began to sink.

Zzz…

Zzz…

Zzz…

Zzz…

Poke Poke

Zzz…

Zzz…

Poke Poke

"Mm~ Madoka?"

Zzz…

Zzz…

Poke Poke

"Cut it out…"

Zzz…

Zzz…

Poke Poke

Ok that's it.

"I SAID – ?"

I got up expecting to see Madoka's face only to see someone unexpected.

She was short and skinny, and 12 years old, or that was the impression she gave.

The one thing I would be really mindful of was the flowing silver hair and the three part knots of the long hair that fall down to the waist level.

"Umm… Ichika-sama?"

Huh?

Wait… where's Madoka?

She is lying right next to me, still asleep.

Which means…

"W-Who are you?"

"Ku. Shinonono Ku."

"Ku? As in Ku-chan?"

"Ah… hai."

So she is the one I ought to look for if I need to meet this Shinonono Tabane person.

Wait… Shinonono…

"Are you related to Shinonono Tabane?"

"Hai."

"In what way?"

"She's my savior."

"Savior? What does that mean?"

"She saved my life."

I'm going to take that as a good thing.

"Why do you two have the same name Shinonono?"

"Tabane-sama adopted me."

So the two of them are related.

"Mm… huh? Ichika-nii?"

Ah Madoka woke up, about time.

"Hi Madoka, Ku-chan is here to see us."

"Ku?"

"Hai, Madoka-sama. Tabane-sama wants to see Ichika-sama now."

"Now?"

"Now."

"Mu…"

Madoka gave a defiant look puffing her cheeks, but we both got up anyway.

10 minutes later

We both came to a room… none like any other.

There was machinery stuffed all over the room, and the cables extended out like roots.

Moving up the metal, shaped like cables, was a mechanical mouse, and sometimes, screws could be heard dropping like rubber fruits.

*Tatatatatatatata*, it sounded like how ordinary people would use the keyboard to key in data in the first.

This place had a squirrel that identified extraneous parts, analyzed the design, took it in and formed another shape.

*Tatatatatatatata*

Now that I look closely, there is a woman sitting on a strange chair.

It may be weird to describe it as a chair, but it could only be described as that.

The silver chair was giving off a silver glow, and the body of the chair was large and curved, surrounding her body like a cage.

The lady was wearing a western dress that was as blue as the sky, her apron and the huge butterfly waist sash behind her was also eye-catching.

I find her… unusual.

For some reason, there were some black rings gathered below her eyes, which make me feel slightly uncomfortable.

To make her even more unusual, she was wearing a pair of bunny ears on her head.

Her eyes were engrossed over a light blue rectangular… thingy… full of images and words.

Her fingers were busy moving around another light blue rectangular… thingy… that was full of smaller squares.

She seems to not notice our entrance into her weird room.

It only took Ku-chan to come close to her and shake her that she then noticed us.

When our eyes meet, her face brightens.

And before I know it, she jumped onto me and hugged me tightly.

"Ah~! Ikkun~! Ikkun~!"

"Huh?"

I turned my face to Madoka.

She was also shocked.

But she soon smiled.

… And that smile seems to have a lot of pressure directed at me.

Then the weird lady released her hold over me and brought her arms up to her bunny ears and flap her hands to emphasize the movement of her white head band.

"Ostashi-buni dane~?" (It has been a while right?)

"A-Ah…"

Based on how this person is friendly to me, she should be Shinonono Tabane.

It turns out Madoka is right.

I happen to be close to this person.

"S-Shinonono Tabane… san?"

"Ah! So you remember me right~?"

No. It's your letter.

"Anyways Ikkun~, step over here."

She indicated me to a … bed?

It's like a bed as I can see I can lie onto it.

But it is too small, plus it is no straight.

There is also some kind of shape around it, as if it was trying to cover the bed at all four corners.

"Fu fu~ just lie here."

"Um… what is going to happen to me?"

"Just lie here."

I had no choice but to comply.

As I lay down, she covered something above me.

As it connected to the shape around the… bed, I can see through it.

"Now Ikkun, I am going to explain it to you." Shinonono-san said.

"Since you can't remember things, I am going to insert knowledge into your brain through Core No. X001."

"Huh?"

"This machine allows me to insert knowledge into your brain from your IS core. If you don't understand it is ok. You will know once you wake up."

"Wait what?"

"OK~ let's start~!"

She pressed a button then –

"AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!" I screamed.

Images of various kinds began to flow into my head.

Knowledge, mathematics, sciences, languages, Infinite Stratos, Mondo Grosso, Alaska Treaty, [White Knight] incident, Dr. Shinonono Tabane.

These pieces of information were forced into my head.

I can't help but feel dizzy, as if someone is trying to take over my head.

15 minutes later

It lasted for about 15 minutes, then everything stopped.

Ha… ha… ha…

I remembered I was panting heavily, mystified at the vast knowledge imported into my head.

The lid to the cockpit was opened, and I saw Madoka's worry stricken face.

Slowly, she helped me out of the cockpit.

"How do you feel Ichika-nii?" she asked.

Ha… ha…

"So how was it Ikkun~?"

The genius amongst geniuses approached me.

"Tabane-san?"

"Ah you remembered me right~?"

"Yes… a bit though."

"Huh what?"

Now Madoka is dumbstruck.

"Ichika-nii… I thought you couldn't remember anything?"

"It seems that Tabane-san inserted some knowledge in my head so I can recognize her. It's from [Byakushiki]'s IS core right Tabane-san?"

"100 marks Ikkun~! Yup, I added some knowledge from Ikkun's IS core into the Brainwave cockpit."

Oh… so that machine I was just in is called Brainwave cockpit.

As it turned out, the thing that Tabane-san make me lie on is a machine that allowed her to transmit knowledge from an IS core into my brain.

It's a good thing as I don't need to take a long time to learn things from scratch.

"So… Tabane-san…" Madoka asked.

"Huh? Though I have taken an interest in you, who are you? You look a lot like Chi-chan~."

"Chi-chan?"

"She must mean Orimura Chifuyu right?" I said.

Her expression turned dark.

"I am not that woman. I'm Orimura Madoka."

"Madoka? I didn't know Chi-chan had a sister."

"She did, she just did not want to think that I existed."

Ok this is turning bad.

"Umm Tabane-san?"

"Yes Ikkun~?"

"Madoka is my twin sister, and for some reason we did not live together at all."

"Ah, ah, I see."

But Tabane-san clearly showed no interest in my answer.

She is just staring at Madoka.

She appears to be sizing her up… or taking measurements.

She then went into a state of heavy thought.

Then, she smiled.

"Well, it does not matter if you are Chi-chan or not, as long as I have the genetic material it doesn't matter."

… Tabane-san, just what do you see us as?

2 hours later

According to Tabane, she inserted knowledge into my head.

For as far as I can deduced, she influenced my neuron electronic wavelengths to move at such a speed that my mind is able to accept knowledge at a very fast pace.

But how can this knowledge stay permanent though, is beyond my understanding.

After whatever happened back at the lab, I returned to my room to rest.

After that, Dr. Shimazu woke me up to give me another consultation.

He began to further explain my situation to me now that I can better understand biological terminologies.

"So I have two solutions for your amnesia problem."

"Hai?"

"It is either you recall things on your own accord that can be three to five years, or you trust a small number of people to help you remember your past that helps to speed up the process."

...

Its not like I am in a hurry right?

Why is this doctor saying as if I am in trouble if I don't remember things fast?

I must think this carefully.

Firstly, the doctor said that I might have a chance of not remembering anything.

When Madoka raised that question, she looks happy.

Isn't regaining what you lost something you ought to be happy for?

Why is it that Madoka wished for the opposite?

… Suspicious.

I think… perhaps it is best if I look at things when I got back my memory.

"Dr. Shimazu. I think I want to recall things on my own accord. Meaning, I am going to rely on my memories rather than hearing about it from someone. It seems more reliable that way."

"I see, well I can understand. In cases of amnesia, patients needed to rely on their memory recovery until they can go back to being who they are. So I won't stop you."

"Who is the other doctor that helped me?"

"Dr. Touhiro Mushi. A colleague of mine, but he is not here right now."

So there are two doctors that saved my life.

"Where is this Dr. Touhiro Mushi?"

"He's at the IS laboratory. But I suggest you don't approach him. Once he is busy, it is very… hard to approach him."

It looks like this Dr. Touhiro Mushi is someone rather… busy.

Then Dr. Shimazu resumed talking.

"Orimura-kun, if you want my better judgment, I feel that it would be better for you not to go out into the world until you got your memories back."

Until my memories got back?

Isn't that like a long period of time?

"Wait Dr. Shimazu!" Madoka cut in.

"You said that it would take years for Ichika-nii to recover his memories, and you want him to isolate himself within that long period of time?"

"He said so himself, he wants to recover his memories on his own accord."

"But that does not mean that he has to shut himself from the world. He already has bandages on his head. His appearance is already settled."

"I see where you are going. But we cannot ignore the fact that some people might recognize him due to his character."

"Anyone can behave like other individuals naturally."

I can agree with Dr. Shimazu.

Now might not be a good time.

But what Madoka said makes even more sense.

If I can just blend in the natural crowd, I can easily pass by as someone who got into an accident.

But am I ready enough for it?

A part of my head wants to go with what Madoka said.

But there is always another part of my head that leans more to what Dr. Shimazu said for the sake of my own safety.

"If we cannot agree for him, then I think we should let Orimura-kun settle this decision himself." Dr. Shimazu concluded.

"What do you think? Ichika-nii?" Madoka asked me.

"I think." I said.

"I need some time to think."

Both stared at me for a couple of minutes.

Then they nodded their heads in approval.

5 minutes later

"This is so stupid!" Madoka complained.

"What is?" I asked.

"Shutting you up like this, here in this island."

"What would you have rather me do?"

"Get out! Experience the world for yourself rather than having to rely on some brainwave cockpit!"

"Get out eh? But what am I going to do?"

"Madoka?"

"No… its nothing."

For some reason Madoka was quite hesitant there.

She wants me to go out.

But it seems that there is more to just what she proposed.

However, based on Madoka's current mood, I don't think it would be best to inquire further.

19th November

My first week was spent solely on recovery.

I remember myself staying in bed most of the time, just like now, staring at the ceiling.

Usually, Madoka would be at my side.

She would talk to me, discuss certain topics of various sorts, or feed me world information.

They are usually stuff that she believed that I ought to know.

The Infinite Stratos, the state of the world today, and various entertainments such as sports or fashion.

To be honest, I am more interested in knowing where I currently stand in this world, but that is not my current priority.

My priority right now is to recover as soon as I can.

I need to recover in order to start thinking through.

Fortunately for me, the recovery process was sped up by my IS Core.

According to Madoka and Tabane-san, my IS model frame was obliterated during my accident.

But the IS Core, Core X001, was still intact without much damage.

Looking down, I saw the standby form of my IS.

Currently, it is a black bracelet.

Since my IS model frame is destroyed, Tabane-san gave me what she called a [Golem III].

The IS Core is still the same, it's just wearing a different model frame.

According to Tabane-san, this IS Core has unique healing capabilities.

Thanks to that, my wounds are recovering.

My torso has fully healed and so is my right shoulder.

But my face…

The entire left side of my face requires bandaging treatments.

According to the doctors, the damage done to the brain is roughly the main reason for my head's slow recovery.

Even though Madoka has the same blood type as I do, it is not enough to cover the damage inflicted to the head.

But… at least I can now move.

Thinking about that, I got up from my bed, and undid my bandages at my left shoulder that secured a whole network of bandages that covered my torso and left arm.

As the bandages fell, one by one, I can see the skin fully healed.

But outer appearances can be deceiving at times.

Slowly, I got up into sitting position, and placed my feet on the cold floor.

My feet twitched at the cold touch.

This is good, for it shows that the nerve system is fully operational.

Slowly, I stood up, and tried stretching around.

I began at the waist, twisting my torso to the left, and then to the right.

So far, there is no pain.

I straightened my back, to see if there is any nerve reaction.

I felt nothing but released tension between the bones.

If there is no pain, it roughly means that the torso is cleared.

Now for the left arm.

I lifted it up until it becomes parallel to the floor.

No pain.

I then worked my shoulder joint, rotating my left arm into alternate angles.

Then I proceed to stretch my left arm's triceps.

Still no pain.

Since there is still no pain, it should be safe to say that both the torso and the left arm have fully healed.

I soon started to walk around, letting my arms move naturally.

Still no pain.

So I guess my body is ok for now.

I then proceeded to move towards the door.

Just as I was about to reach the doorknob, the door opened.

Madoka stood in front of me holding a tray full of food.

Awkward moment.

But Madoka broke the silence by smiling.

"Ichika-nii~, so you can walk now huh~?"

"Y-Yea…"

"Good. Where do you think you are going?"

"Out?"

"Ah… that's not a good enough reason. It would be best for you to eat first."

20 minutes later, At the island shore

"Alright Ichika-nii, let's start." Madoka said.

"Madoka…" I asked.

"What is it~?"

"Start what? Why are you wearing that? Why do I have to change into this?"

Basically put, after my meal, Madoka forced me to dress into this… thin layered outfit that they called an IS pilot's piloting suit.

After changing, I went out only to see Madoka dressed in the same manner.

Just when I was about to ask her what is going on, she just silenced my lips with her finger and walked me to the island shore, hand in hand.

I was still left clueless until she separated her hand, only to stand in front of me, in a surprisingly good mood.

"Ara Ichika-nii. Start what? Retraining."

"Retrain?"

"Ichika-nii, don't you know? You are special. Don't you remember what I told you about the IS?"

"You said that they are mechanized machines that can only be operated by females."

"Well Ichika-nii, you are the only male who an operate one."

Don't I already know it?

"The whole world thinks you are dead Ichika-nii, it is only a matter of time before they figure out that you are still alive. When that happens, you need to be ready. The whole world can demand a lot from your IS skills once they found out you are alive again."

"So this training session is to buck up my skills?"

"Do you remember how to operate an IS?"

"… No."

"Then we better start now."

"… Ok."

"So let's start with the basics, try to summon your IS."

"Ok."

After being prompted, I start to concentrate.

Once the IS is optimized, it will remain with the pilot in the form of a decoration.

I stretch my right arm out, and use my left hand to grab it.

Come out!

At that moment, I feel a thin layer extending from my right wrist to my entire body.

The time it took to deploy was about 0.7 seconds.

The balls of light scatter out from my body before seemingly combining together to form the IS.

My body instantly becomes lighter, and all sorts of sensors are linked to my consciousness, which raises my line of sight.

In the blink of an eye, my body is equipped with the IS.

By that time, I find myself floating slightly off the ground at about… 10 cm.

I then looked around my body.

Pure solid black mechanic layers formed around my elbows, hands, and legs.

My torso is uncovered as I can still see my IS piloting suit, plus there is no helmet.

At that instance, from the corner of my uncovered eye, I saw balls of light coming from a different direction.

Turning my head, I saw Madoka covered in another IS.

It is not the black [Golem III] that I am using.

It's something else.

It is mostly blue, with black and white tracings everywhere.

Unlike the [Golem III], it has reinforced boosters at her IS leggings.

Madoka's IS also has some additional… packs at her back.

On top of that, she is equipped with a beam rifle, something that my [Golem III] did not have.

Her IS looks alien to me, since I do not now what it really does.

"Ok let's start Ichika-nii."

"Wait Madoka… your IS…"

Madoka gave me a 'eh?' look.

She looked around her body and then she looked back at me, as if she is trying to gauge at my thoughts.

Then, some light appeared in her eyes, and she smiled.

"Ichika-nii, my IS, is called [Silent Zephyrs]. It's a different model frame than yours."

"How did you come by such a model frame? Don't tell me its Tabane-san."

"No. But I will tell you at another time."

"I see."

"So let's start. Ichika-nii, try walking there."

I tried walking to and fro.

To my surprise, the IS corresponded with my thoughts.

I thought my steps would be heavy with all the IS plate armor.

But the IS feel light, as if I was wearing another piece of clothing.

I looked to Madoka, and she gave me a thumbs up.

"Ok Ichika-nii, try flying."

From the moment she ended her sentence, she kicked herself off the ground, and flew into the air.

She only stopped when she is about 10 meters above, then she just stayed at that position.

As she looked down onto me, I realized that she is waiting for me to follow suit.

I soon readied myself, and kicked myself off the ground.

As I feel my body rise up to the air, I knew I succeeded, but my speed of ascent was much slower than Madoka's.

I struggle to speed up, soon I managed to be on the same level as Madoka.

"Good job Ichika-nii."

"Now what?"

"Now here's where the real deal start. We'll have a standard match. You'll only win once you reduce my shield energy to 0."

Wait what?

"Wait! Aren't you going to teach me first?"

"Telling you how to do is one thing. But doing things yourself is another. You learn better if you experience it yourself."

I could not help but feel an icy feeling in my stomach.

Things are going out of the blue for me.

"So let's start now Ichika-nii."

She just threw me into this situation and then expects me to fight like someone who is used to the IS?

I saw Madoka flying backwards, her beam rifle pointing at me.

Oh shit!

Out of pure instinct, I try to fly to the side.

If I can get out of her scope, I can –

Bang!

A beam shot hit me at my abdomen.

I can feel myself being thrown backwards.

Then I fell, hitting the floor with a huge 'Thud'.

Staring up into the air, I can only be shocked of what just happened.

"You got to do better than that, Ichika-nii."

Getting pounded by my own imouto.

That is not up to standard.

I immediately got up, only to receive another shot at the face.

I was further flung backwards.

My mind went into circles, but I still struggled to get up.

"Your enemy won't be so kind Ichika-nii. If you are fighting a hostile enemy, you are already dead."

Shit! This can't go on!

I immediately threw my body upward and forcefully kicked myself into the air.

I kicked out too much, I can feel myself wobbling about.

But I kept continuing forward.

Damn it, if this continues, I'll get beaten up every time.

I stretch my right arm out to my eye level, and clenched it.

At the moment my focus is at its peak.

I fired [Golem III]'s forearm cannon.

I felt my arm jerking backwards, but I did not stop.

I fired the forearm cannon continuously.

Little did I know that my aim is clumsy, plus the more I shoot, the more inaccurate my shots are.

Madoka on the other hand, merely worked her way out of my fired shots.

She merely kept her rifle in front of her.

She did not fire.

But every time she shoots, it is always a successive hit.

As the battle dragged on, I began to realize that I would be loosing if this keeps up.

I soon moved towards Madoka, pinning my forearm cannon onto her.

But she easily avoided the shots, I can't tell how she did that.

At the last minute, she released her focus on her riflescope and spread her arms slightly.

Then four smaller parts of her armor ejected and began flying around me.

I began to focus on these four small pieces of armor, trying to find out what they do.

As I focused my attention onto one of them, I got hit by behind.

Once I recovered, I turned around, only to be hit from the side again.

Looking around, I noticed that these small bits of the armor are responsible for these shots.

Realizing that I am stuck with such the situation, I began shooting at these smaller pieces of armor simultaneously.

I shot at one, then switched my attention to the other.

I kept at this for the next few minutes, keeping up this futile attempt to destroy the smaller bits of Madoka's IS model frame.

But at the last minute, as I aimed at another small bit, Madoka suddenly appeared in front of my eyes.

Before I can react, she activated her bayonet and slammed it into my abdomen.

As I fall back, she thrust her rifle barrel at my chest, and fired her beam weapon at point blank range.

Almost immediately, I was sent back into the ground.

This time, I could not get up.

Ha… ha…

I still lay down on the ground, my body protesting against the part of my mind to continue.

Even as I move, my movements became restricted.

Overall estimation – shield energy remaining 0, cannot pursue further commands

I fell backwards, letting the weight of my exhaustion overcome me.

Even now, I can feel my heart beating crazily.

My breaths became fast, and I even assumed that I couldn't keep up with the breathing.

Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Madoka descending slowly.

From her facial expression, I can tell that she had long expected this outcome.

"That will be it for now Ichika-nii, we'll redo this again in the afternoon. The start is tough, but we'll slowly work your way back up."

24th November

The past five days have been simple and straightforward.

Everyday, I will get up at around 5:10 am and do physical exercises to ensure that my wounds won't bother me anymore.

After that is breakfast at 5:30.

Then my IS training will began again at around 6 am.

Madoka would help me with the basics and moderate skills until 8:30 am.

After bathing and changing, I will visit Dr. Shimazu or the other scientists for my medical consultation.

It's usually meant to check my wounds to see if they can be still be a burden to my IS training, both in the long term and short term.

After my consultation, I will visit Tabane-sensei, who will make me sleep in that brainwave cockpit to help me gain back whatever lost knowledge I needed.

The process in the brainwave cockpit is usually… draining, just like the first time.

After several processing, I find myself more… prone to memory flashes.

It's not like I am able to remember memories covering huge spans of my life.

I am only able to get simple short memory flashes, which usually does not make sense to me at all.

It usually happens each time after I get out of the brainwave cockpit.

Each time I recovered a certain piece of knowledge, some short glimpses of my past just pope out of my mind.

And each time my brain managed to recall some memory fragment, my head will hurt and spin in circles.

How long it hurts… usually depends on the length of the memory fragment.

But as I continued to use the brainwave cockpit for the past five days, each memory flashes only cause more pain in my head.

In order to recover from these… headaches, I have to spend the next hour back in my bed to let my mind rest.

Once I recovered, I would have lunch usually at around 12:45 pm.

Then at 1: 15 pm, I would train my IS with Madoka again until 3:45 pm.

There would be breaks in between to let my body rest.

Simultaneously after each break, Madoka would move on to another area of the IS.

In such training slots, Madoka would usually push me over my limits.

But it is something I am willing to accept if it means to help me get back on track.

Slowly and gradually, I find myself more capable when it comes to the IS.

After the afternoon training session, I would then visit Tabane-sensei, who claims to need some… 'help' with her work.

In such usual cases, I would help Tabane-sensei organize her laboratory or help her make simple parts of the IS.

I call Tabane 'sensei' now.

She did offered to teach me some manufacturing skills so that I can help her make basic parts for the IS.

So I guess that makes my current relationship with Tabane-sensei like a student and teacher.

Such work that I usually help Tabane-sensei includes assembling or disassembling the mechanic fingers or small parts of the IS leggings.

And most importantly, I have to teach Ku-chan how to cook.

Just three days ago, I tried cooking as a means to thank Madoka for helping me out.

I made a dish consisting of mashed potatoes to match the boiled carrots, beans and corns along with steak covered in flavored herbs with brown sauce.

To my surprise, it worked out perfectly.

The texture of the beef is superb with an element of juiciness.

The potato's taste is also not so bad, in considering I had used milk, pepper and butter in the mashing process.

I had half expected the boiled vegetables to be hard.

But boiling them for at least 20 minutes have left a soft structure from the minute the first bite is taken.

I even made Madoka stare at me with astonishment, and I believe I even make her suspect if I really remember anything.

It appears that I am quite an adept cook prior to my accident.

It seems that even with the damage done to my brain, my body seems to remember certain skills.

I had decided to teach Ku-chan how to cook two days ago, when I see her give Tabane-sensei another of her… blackened bread.

I had this sickening feeling in my stomach whenever I see Tabane-sensei consume such a product.

I then tried to taste one myself, only to let Ku-chan see my face turn blue.

In order to not make her cry, I offered to teach her how to cook.

At first, she looked like she doubted me, so I cooked the same meal I cooked for Madoka just to let her have a taste.

Once Ku-chan took the first bite, she immediately requested that I teach her how to make 'such an awesome meal'.

Surprisingly, even with Ku-chan, it is hard to help Tabane-sensei organize herself.

Her hyper activeness would usually result in her moving from one idea to the next.

Surprisingly for a genius, I find that she lacked the sense of a need to organize her materials from time to time.

It's… a real challenge to help Tabane-sensei settle down, but Ku-chan and I managed to organize a significant portion of Tabane-sensei's laboratory by dinner.

After dinner, I had free time.

I had initially thought Madoka would use the time to train me again.

But she said there is no point in continuous training, as it would not help my physical buildup.

So I ended up using such time to relax.

Usually in such free time, I would either talk to Madoka, to Ku-chan, or search the Internet to research my past.

Then I will sleep at 10:30 pm, only to get up at 5:10 and repeat the same process again and again.

It takes time to find out what I need to know about my past.

The Internet had various articles about myself, but they are usually about the same thing.

They are mostly exaggerated news about how I can change the world being the sole male IS pilot, or about my involvements with the recent attacks on IS Academy throughout this year.

There is nothing I need, such as personal information.

There was one such source where I find out a little bit of my past.

There was this interview where I participated with Tabane-sensei's imouto (LN volume 7).

The interviewer is someone called Mayuzumi Nagisako, who appears to be able to interview me through her own imouto who was a sempai in IS Academy.

As to why I agreed to be interviewed, I don't really know.

The contents of the interview mostly… caught me off guard.

Certain stuff like my 'thoughts about entering an all girls school', or 'the harem king not interested in the opposite sex'.

Was I really someone like that?

Then I saw the photo shooting with Tabane-sensei's imouto.

Now that really shocked me.

I saw myself in certain poses with a girl with such a daring make up.

I showed Madoka the photo shoot to let her tell me of her thoughts.

But for some reason, she stared at the photo shoot with total hostility.

She said she did not know of this, since I did not meet her until much later.

I then inquired, why is it that we have never met before until most recently.

She only answered, because of 'family issues'.

And it looks like a taboo matter, one I don't think would help if I dig into it further.

So I chose to keep things quiet in that area while continuing to dig up more about my own past.

Hopefully, I could recall what I need by the next two years or so.

Today, things are slightly different as compared to the normal schedule I had.

Halfway throughout the afternoon practice, Ku-chan came to us and told us that Tabane-sensei wants to meet us.

Curious, Madoka and I ended up walking side by side as Ku-chan leads us to Tabane-sensei's laboratory.

As usual, she is sitting in her… chair, typing away on her holographic keyboard whilst staring at a holographic screen.

On her side I can see… mini copies of ISes, each of a different design.

They look more like toys.

I did not see them during the past five days.

When did Tabane-sensei ever have the time to get them?

Then all of a sudden, Tabane-sensei's fingertips moved at a different pace.

Each part of the chair moved like they were alive as they gave the orders to the small mechanical hands.

Right now, the mechanical hands were quickly moving their tweezers to assemble smaller parts.

The chair was assembling something, attaching smaller parts with even smaller mechanical hands.

After repeating the process numerous times, they finally stopped, and what was formed was a plastic IS model that was created from nano-units.

So that is how she got those mini models.

In my general opinion, it was weird, and useless, and it was so stupid that anyone would want to give her a punch.

This was probably what 'wasting time' meant to her.

"Ah! Its done!" Tabane-sensei suddenly cried out.

She threw her arms up into the air with a triumphed pose.

Her robotic bunny ears twitching in synchronization.

"Um… Tabane-sama?" Ku-chan asked.

Tabane-sensei looked up.

She looked at Ku-chan, then to me and Madoka.

She immediately hopped off her chair and started talking fast.

Damn… she is really like a kid in an adult's clothing.

"Hi Ikkun~! Ok I need your IS right now for a new project!"

A new project… can I say no?

"Nope! A no is a no no. This is very important!"

What the… did she just read my mind?

Sigh…

I held out my right wrist.

The black bracelet open for all to see.

In a split second, she rushed to my side.

She touched a part of my black bracelet and a holographic screen appeared out of nowhere.

It is not a screen I have seen before.

It has no tabs or words, it only has six white boxes.

If I were to guess, it is a lock screen.

But to access what?

Then a holographic keyboard appeared.

This time it has numbers only.

Tabane-sensei began typing on selective numbers.

Once she filled in the last white box, the holographic screen filled with green light with the words 'Password Affirmed'.

Then the black bracelet split at one side and fell from my wrist.

Tabane-sensei immediately caught it and did further adjustments.

Then straight away, a black cube popped out of thin air, only to fall within the grasp of Tabane-sensei's right hand.

The surface of the cube is smooth, save for the fact that there are sizzles of misty figures swirling underneath the smooth surface.

If it were not for the moving mists, the material would be easily mistaken as black marble.

If I am not wrong, that is an actual naked IS Core.

Before I could ask what she was up to, Tabane-sensei turned her body around.

She completely cut me off from talking back to her.

She had my IS Core in her hand, the standby [Golem III] in the other.

Then as she approached her chair, she stopped moving.

Tabane-san looked at her hands, from her right hand to her left, then from her left to her right.

Did she just forget what she was up to?

Then suddenly, she threw the black bracelet over her head like she does not care.

The black bracelet hit the side of the wall before tumbling to the ground.

What countries believe to be the ultimate key to power was treated like dirt in Tabane-sensei's eyes.

From her actions I can deduce that she does not care about completed model frames.

She is only interested in new designs that no human can ever think off.

She proceeded to a platform in her laboratory.

On the platform there is a huge opened white cube just enough to house the IS sitting inside it.

The IS is white and it is in the inactive mode.

It is surrounded by mobile arms and huge tweezers that are most likely used for maintenance purposes.

Tabane-sensei just brought the IS Core to it and just did more adjustments.

Her hands moved so fast that even I had trouble keeping up.

Once she is done, the black cube was gone from her hands.

She must have inserted the IS Core into the IS.

Tabane-sensei then hopped onto her chair and began typing away.

As she typed she began muttering, something about 'frame successful…', 'this is going to be good…'

To be honest, she is starting to make me feel uncomfortable.

"Ok Ikkun! Come over here!"

Oh God, help.

"Jya jyan~! This will be your new personal IS [Shiroshiki]! Its specs are superior to every IS in every way and was made personally by Tabane-san!"

"[Shiroshiki]… as in the [White Knight] from the 'White Knight' Incident from long ago?!"

"Yup! Yup! Ikkun! You know of it clearly!"

"… But why name an IS after that legend?"

"That's because Ikkun's IS Core is the [White Knights] IS Core. So I thought it would be nice to revisit that theme."

"WHAT?!"

I was caught completely off guard.

The IS Core that I had been using has been the same core as the legendary [White Knight]?

I looked at Madoka.

Her eyes were also wide open in total shock.

As I looked back at Tabane-sensei, her back was already facing me.

And as if in response to Tabane-sensei, that white armor was moved out using mobile arms.

The white armor was reflecting the bright sunlight, probably because it's a new IS.

It's really eye- catching.

Since Tabane-sensei made it personally, doesn't that make this IS something unbelievable?

The specs are all superior to the current ISes.

In other words, it's the newest and strongest frame!

It's the real deal, more than I can ever think of.

"Here, Ikkun, it's now time for the optimization! I'll help out from aside, so it'll end soon"

"I'll leave it to you then…"

"Then let's get started~."

Tabane-sensei then summoned another set of holographic screen and keyboard out of thin air.

Soon, the white IS sitting on the platform activated, opening its cockpit to allow the pilot to enter.

It even kneeled down automatically to let the pilot enter it easily.

Ohh, that's rather amazing.

"Ok Ikkun, go and get in."

As I approached the IS, I got Goosebumps.

How can I say, there is something extremely different about this IS compared to what I have seen so far.

As I got closer, I touched it.

Then, my vision blurred.

I feel a great sense of nausea with unfamiliar information pouring into my head.

Unlike the sense of familiarity I got from the [Golem III], this is the opposite.

There is just too much information to be absorbed.

Instead of comfort, I felt confusion.

Feeling that this cannot go on, I immediately let go.

As I started panting, Madoka hurried at my side.

"Ichika-nii! Are you ok?"

Ha… ha…

Who on earth can pilot this thing?

Madoka just kept silent though I can see that she is very worried of my well-being.

Ok think slowly Ichika.

Tabane-sensei said that this is the latest of the latest IS that ever existed.

For one, don't think that this would be a piece of cake.

This IS in front of me ought to be an experimental type.

But based on what I hear from Madoka about the 4th generation [Akatsubaki], it easily passes as a legitimate 4th generation IS.

So since this 5th generation is personally made by Tabane-sensei, it ought to be at the least, complete.

It is complete, but it does not mean that it is perfect.

It might need some changes in the near future but for now it passes as usable in any kind of situation.

The nausea feeling must be due to the fact that this IS is incorporated with tons of information, at least three times more compared to a regular [Golem III].

It might be something I need to get used to.

Or, it could be due to my head injury.

Gritting my own teeth, I touched the IS again.

There is the sense of nausea again.

But this time, I got on.

It was only I relaxed myself in the cockpit that the sense of nausea is reduced.

5th generation IS… what unique changes.

"I've input Ikkun's data to a certain level. Now I just need to update the recent values! Then, *pi, pa, pa*!"

Tabane-san opened a control panel and slide her fingers on it.

She then summoned out 6 screens in mid-air to navigate through the huge amount of data on the screen, and typed out on the emulated keyboard in mid-air.

"It's a close-ranged suit that's adjusted to being an all-around type, so I guess you will get used to it soon! Not to mention there's automatic support equipment! The genius Tabane-san prepared them all!"

"Oh. Thanks."

Based on the great quality of the presentation of the IS, I can tell that Tabane-sensei spent a lot of effort into this new model frame.

I better be grateful.

Who knows how good this IS would be?

At least it is better than the [Golem III] or the [Golem IV].

Then when the adjustments are complete, Tabane-sensei closed off all the holographic screens.

"OK Ikkun! Try walking around."

I walked here and there.

Despite the sense of nausea before, it is surprisingly more comfortable than the [Golem III] that I have been using.

Plus the knees and ankles corresponded faster in synchronization.

I could not help but feel that I can move better in this.

I tried moving my arms around.

And wow!

It feels that the machine can even support my arms if I feel tired.

I have control over it, yet it helps me automatically.

It is completely different compared to what I have been using up to now.

I tried stretching here and there, and jog on the spot.

All movements are crisp and clear.

There is no room for any doubt, and I find it much more stable compared to the [Golem III].

"This is excellent Tabane-sensei!"

"Fufufu! Let me explain. Here it comes~. This model frame is called Fold-Excel Armor. It far supasses the Fold-Out Armor I had created. And it will be the 5th Generation frame's equipment that this genius developed for the 5th generation IS!"

5th generation?

"OK! Now, the kind-hearted Tabane-san will start explaining~. This is for Ii-kun! Hehe, are you happy yet? First, the 1st generation frames were aimed to 'complete the IS'. The 2nd generation is to 'diversify according to the different equipment'. Next, the 3rd generation 'carries unique weapons that're controlled by the pilot's imagination', including air-compressed weapons, BiTs and AIC. And the 4th generation are those 'all-purpose frames that don't need a change in equipment'. Okay, do you understand, Ii-kun?"

"Um… right. I understand."

"Hehe good! Sensei loves the outstanding students best. Now, the 5th Generation IS is an altogether different concept. Even if the 4th generation is still in the planning phase, I just came up with this amazing idea of what the next generation of IS would be."

"Ok…"

"At first I told myself to put that idea on hold since I don't have enough data on 4th generation ISes. But the idea just kept popping out of my head that in the end, I have to start."

"Ah ha…"

"So this is the game plan. The 5th generation IS will include the 4th generation's 'all-purpose frames'. But the main difference is the synchronization ability."

"… Hai?"

"The main focus of the 5th generation IS is to 'fully maximize and expand on the synchronization rate'. With the Fold-Excel Armor, the specs will double when the system's at its maximum ability. But with the reinforced synchronization effects, the performance level will improve ten fold~."

"…"

"I call it! Sync Up!"

"… Perhaps Reinforced Synchronization sounds better."

"Ah… but Sync Up has an extra kick to it."

Oh I see… wait hold on a sec.

I remember that all the countries finally managed to enter the 3rd generation phase after so much experimenting.

Plus there is only one 4th generation so far.

So why have we jumped all the way to 5th generation?

"Fufufu, this Tabane-san isn't just an ordinary genius! This is just an appetizer from me!"

An appetizer.

Doesn't sound nice for some reason...

"So Ikkun, test it out for a few rounds. When you feel that you need an upgrade, come looking for me."

"Oh… ok."

Same day, at night

I moved around in my bed, struggling to sleep.

The nauseous effect is still there, but it is not as strong as before.

For some reason, I feel that my mind and body needs time to adjust to this new IS.

Like what Tabane-sensei said, 5th generation IS specialize in improving the synchronization rate.

The nausea feeling might have been a side effect when one tries to use it.

From the very start, I believe that it is not going to be easy using this IS .

I brought my right wrist high, looking at the white bracelet.

It feels slightly heavy.

Sigh…

I brought it down.

I really hope I can use this IS properly.

Synchronization rate is the most important thing for an IS pilot with its machine.

Even if your IS has powerful specs, you won't bring it to it fullest if your synchronization rate sucks.

I cannot afford to mess up my synchronization rate, not if I want to survive.

Oh well, might as well save the surprises for tomorrow.

I began relaxing my body for one last time.

I readied my blanket with the pure intention of sleeping.

But before I sleep, I double-checked the side of my bed.

Ah ha!

I caught Madoka creeping up onto me from the right side of the bed.

But this time, it is different.

From her eyes, I can tell that she has something different on her mind.

It looked serious, and I believe it is troubling her.

Is she intending to tell me about something that happened in the past?

Is it something she feels that I need to know in order to gain my memories back?

Then, she spoke.

"Ichika-nii."

"What?"

She bit her lower lip.

Then, she finally relented.

"What do you think about going back to Japan, now?"

"… What?"

"I mean, go back home. To Kyoto."

...

Kyoto?


Ok guys so that's it.

I'll do my best to finish the next chapter ASAP, but don't expect it to be up within the next three weeks. Can't write 10 000 words within... six days.

So for now Ichika has mostly recovered, after that he will go back to Kyoto and... you guys know the rest.

Meeting the various faction leaders comes later.

Thanks for reading, love the reviews so far:)