Episode 03:

Chroma

Aika stretched his arms as he made his way through the woods. Making sure to not make any such sudden movements as to what would injure his already-broken harm even more, he made his way through the angry swarm of branches that littered the worn-out path. The wind blew into the trees and echoed.

"I mean, come on. You honestly expect me to believe that was some sort of illusion? If it was just an illusion, explain to me how it caused physical damage."

"There are some kinds of illusions that can cause physical damage. It's a type of magic." Chroma stopped and scratched what appeared to be an ear.

"Right." Aika rolled his eyes. "Let's just see if there's anyone who can help us out here. I can't walk with a broken arm. It'll just get in the way." Aika felt as if he was being watched but he didn't say anything. Given a choice between speaking out or staying calm, Aika would choose the later. It fit him. Despite his outgoing nature, Aika was actually quite conservative in his aptness to speak out.

Aika and Chroma had been walking for hours before they stumbled onto any sort of civilization. What they found in place of what they expected was a round circular building. Surrounding the building were very assortments of odd and exotic plants. They were exotic to Aika, at least. Chroma didn't seem fazed by the plants as it continued walking towards the circular building.

Just as Aika had finally noticed his partner ahead of him, a sudden scream shook the air. The air became cold as ice began to rain down upon Aika and Chroma. Chroma readied itself, raising the two large cannons on it's back into firing position. Aika's eyes widened at the sight before him.

Where the duo had exited the woodland from was now covered in a thick sheet of ice. Aika's body shivered as a four-legged wolf emerged from the forest. It's shape was similar to Chroma's in appearance but the metal surrounding the machination's body but it was just that: Solid, cold metal.

Chroma's cannons loaded themselves as the grinding of gears rang in Aika's ear. Noting his partner's intense stance, fangs and claws bared, Aika readied himself. The thought of having no means of defense ran through Aika's young naive head.

"Duran!"

The 'ice-wolf' loaded it's own cannons. Chroma took this as a sign of weakness. It began to run faster than any living creature Aika had witnessed. What it lacked in power, it made up in absolute speed. The rear legs deployed, it ignited in a pale blue fire. It's entire body was engulfed in blue flame as it dashed toward it's enemy.

Aika tried to make his eyes follow his partner's drastic movements but his eyes could not keep as the two wolf-like creatures furiously launched their own drastic assaults on one another.

"Don't move."

Aika's hairs stood up on end as he felt a pinch on his back. It was tight and felt as if his skin had got pinched between one of his binders at Mr. Daijuuji's house.

"I told you: Don't move."

The voice was stronger than before, as if it was right behind him. It was a feminine voice but at the same time, it was cold, shrill and almost demonic. It was a voice that didn't trust anyone but it's owner. Aika raised his hands slowly as something moved clockwise in his back.

"Good boy," The voice whispered, "Now, answer my questions or otherwise…."

The opposing wolf once again loaded it's own cannons. This time, it was done in such a slow, drawn out transition. It was taunting Aika. 'Make a move,' it whispered. Aika bit his lip. He was done. Whatever reason the strange wolf and it's master wanted was none of his business.

"What is that creature? Are you with the Searrs Foundation? What's your objective? Answer me!""

"Chroma…" Aika whispered underneath his breath, focusing his remaining his energy into arms. "I may be a complete novice but I've been practicing!" He felt his feet move on reflex. He quickly twisted his body and twisted so that a punch would connect with his assailant. He had little choice in the matter. Rather than wait for the end, he had to react.

"Fire!" Aika felt his hands ignite as he heard the explosion of gunfire erupted his ears. His fist missed it's target by a inch but judging by the sound of the explosion of Chroma's cannons, it had hit it's target. Aika's back was pelted by what seemed to be a butt of a pistol. His stomach heaved as he landed, back facing towards the sky. Vision blurred and with no energy left, Aika felt his body go into the darkness.


Aika ran. He ran and ran, as fast as his legs could carry him. It was no use. The black tentacles slowly wrapped themselves around Aika's legs. He frantically tried to escape. He tried blasting the tentacles with fire, he tried pounding on them with his fists but whatever he did had no effect.

It was just when hope had seemed lost, Aika spotted a glimmer of light outside of the corner of his eye. He wanted to scream for help but he couldn't. It was as if his voice had left him.

The tentacles roared as the light drew closer and closer. It wasn't until the creature lashed out towards the light that Aika noticed what it truly was. It was faint but Aika knew what it was in an instant.

"Chroma!" He yelled; feeling the tentacles let go of his legs. The light seemingly looked towards him.

Release the limiters.

Aika held steadfast in his resolve. He couldn't run. He wouldn't run. If he ran now, would everything he studied for be for naught? Aika wouldn't let that happen.

"Chroma! Release limiters one through seven! Load caliber-types one through nineteen! Mode: Gamma!" Aika roared, his voice pulsing a brand new kind of confidence. He wouldn't give up so easily. If this was anyone but Chroma by his side, he could have, and would have, ran. Something struck him about Chroma. It was a feeling he had never felt before. It was even brighter than the fire he held in his hands.

'The Calibre Shot.' You have to use it. Aika, you can't run from this. It's your destiny.

Aika clenched his fists as he stared at his partner. "No matter what happens, I won't lose. I can't lose. Not after I left my job, not after I lost my place at the Londo Bell, not now. I can't possibly lose."

"Initiating Calibre Shot sequences. Loading Caliber-type shells. Gamma Radiators at full power. Exhaust port functioning at nominal range. Rerouting all circuits to full. Firing in 3...2...1."

The twin cannons fired two large shots in unison, which were quickly followed by at least several dozen further bombardments in rapid succession. Aika grinned as he stared at his partner's shoulder cannons.

"That's some ridiculous amounts of fire power packed in the tiny little body. You've got to wonder how something so small can pack so much firepower."


Aika awoke as a short jolt of electricity zapped him back into reality and a conscious state. He moved his eyes slowly across the room. No longer outside, he simply sighed. Tossing over the covers of the bed, he slipped on a nearby set of sneakers.

"I mean, it could be worse, right?" He muttered as he slowly turned around, only to see the barrel of a round, narrow and empty cylinder pointed down his eyes. Aika's eyes themselves were slowly moving alongside the sides of the cylinder until they rested upon a pair of startling green eyes.

"Talk."

It was the same voice that had ordered him to speak only the night prior. It was a girl after all, the thoughts ran through his head.

"You've got to be kidding me."

The girl dropped the twin pistols. She bit her lip. "So, you really don't know anything? That rules you out as being a member of the Foundation. Just leave. Don't come back to this island. It's dangerous."

Just as the girl turned around to leave, Aika felt a tug at his leg. Slowly turning his eyes towards the window, soon followed by the girl doing the same, he noticed the pitch black line etching across the window sill. It was terrifyingly small but Aika knew better than to judge a book by it's cover. The girl raised her pistols again and aimed them at Aika.

"Do not move. No matter what you do, do NOT move."

Aika's body screamed as the grip on his leg began to tighten. It was Aika's right leg that to give. It cracked and slowly tore apart the very tendons that held it together. The pain instantly shot up. He wanted to run. He wanted to scream. The girl standing across the room, with the dark blue hair, was even shocked at the sight of Aika.

"No, this isn't right. This isn't an Orphan. It's something else!"

The girl pulled the triggers as the black line rescinded beneath the window sill. Surely enough, a large black hand scratched up against the window moments later. Beady eyes slowly opened and closes on the hand. The sounds made by the creature made Aika's head scream.

"Chroma! Chroma! Chroma!"

No response. Aika felt his bones again began to break underneath the immense weight of the creature. It wasn't until the bone had finally given way that Aika lost it. His entire body roared up in an instant. His hands became ignited with flame which soon overwhelmed his entire body. It roared with no heat emanating from it.

"Chroma! Chroma! Chroma!"

One sudden crash.

One sudden sound of tearing flesh.

The girl standing there stood stunned, unable to move. "This isn't an Orphan." She poised her pistols in front of her. "Duran!"

A pair of red eyes suddenly illuminated the room as the mechanical dog appeared once again. The window slowly began to crack as the red eyes grew brighter.

It spoke with a computerized voice. It was rasp and rather dry. Despite that, Aika knew very well who, or what, the eyes belonged to. "PiLOt REgiStRatIoN ConFirmAtion: KaZuMa ReSoLuTE"

"Chroma…" Aika slowly outstretched his hands towards the strange red light. He felt as if it was calling him. An all too familiar flame outstretched before his hand.

With little choice in the matter, Aika lunged forward. Pushing strength in his functioning leg, he pushed forward just enough that his hand connected with the bright golden surface where the window had only just stood. As if answering him, the golden surface slowly peeled away, revealing what appeared to be the inner workings of a cockpit.

"What the hell's going on here? Answer me!" The blue haired girl once again ordered her mechanical companion to fire on the golden machine. The wolf would not get a chance as a pale blue fire flame erupted from the sides of the golden figure, enveloping the entire machine. It quickly disappeared into the distant sky.

"That same fire, is that it?" The girl's eyes widened. "There's no way that could be the unit from that project…"

The mechanical wolf looked up at it's shocked owner, as if awaiting a command. The Master of the relationship was too struck by sheer wonder to answer it.

"There's no way that could be that machine. The Hyperion Project's Special Unit, SRM-000, Chroma." The girl's phone was ringing. Why hadn't she noticed it earlier? Of course, one would assume it was because of the loud noise that had just only left.

"Hello, hello." The girl answered, her eyes still wide. The amazement of what she had just witnessed had left. It had was replaced with a sense of despair of the newly formed windowless room.

"I'm going to assume the blue flame in the sky means that that unit is back? You couldn't take care of one simple task, Miss Kuga."

"Shut up. I don't take orders from you." The girl bit her lip. There was no choice. She had to risk it. "It wasn't my fault. I had unexpected…problems."

"The unit's been retrieved and activated, you lost your fight last night and now you mention unexpected problems? I expected more from you, Natsuki Kuga." The voice on the other end of line was calm. It didn't waver in it's conviction. "Truth be told, I expected you to die. Thankfully, that didn't happen. It's an interesting situation. The unit your mother worked on has been reactivated, the very enemies it was made to destroy reawakened, all the while you've been chosen as a HiME? Coincidence? I wouldn't bet on it."

Natsuki Kuuga bit her lip. "What do you know? Tell me, Tanaka. You have to know something." Natuski's patience was growing thin of being toyed with. Her trust in this so called 'organization of justice' was growing thin especially.

"I'd assume the best course of action would be to come to the wonderful island paradise of Dragon Fang Island to see for yourself." Tanaka laughed. Despite being over the phone, his laughs were very individual and recognizable.

"Oh, I'll be sure to come visit." Natsuki stared out into the night sky. "You better have the greeting party ready. I'll be bringing a friend. A very fiery friend."