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35518 No. 35518
[x] All-out assault.
----

“Alright, Alpha 2, Alpha 3,” I say, finally deciding on my course of action. It’s going to be a bit of a gamble, but at times you just have to go for a whole mile when you’re given an inch, or you’ll never get anywhere. “No need to be so chaste anymore. We’re going to rush in and coordinate attacks from up close with our beam sabers. We’ll overwhelm her using our numbers, but if we don’t want this to end up a disaster we’ll still need to be careful, so pay attention.”

“What do we need to do, Steyr?”

“To prevent ourselves from hacking at one another, we’ll attack two at a time, rotating so we don’t let up on the pressure. We’ll also keep a decent distance between each of our units. Don’t crowd together too close, but don’t let her lure you into rushing by yourself, either. Was that clear enough?”

“Alright, sounds like a plan, Alpha 1.”

“Alpha 3, we’ll go first. Alpha 2, bring up the rear and attack as soon as I pull out. Right, let’s go!”

Boosters engaged, the pair of Kreuzritters charge forward at the enemy, patiently awaiting their attack. The MK II reaches it first, and it draws its remaining arm back, driving it forward. The Major reacts almost instantaneously. Her machine raises its saber, smacking the other blade up into the air mid-stab, deflecting it. The MK II recovers quickly, bringing its arm down for a vertical slash. The Major evades it, the Commander unit nimbly turning its body so the saber slashes through empty air.

Usami’s Type-R circles around, closing in from behind the Major. The Major detects her, swiftly lashes out with her saber, preemptively attacking Usami before she can, who is forced to defend herself with her saber. With her occupied, I move in for an assault. The Major breaks free from Usami, shoving her back, and turns around. Saber at the ready, I charge at her. But instead of readying to defend herself, she boosts forward and before I can swing my blade, her machine dive-kicks me, the foot connecting straight with the cockpit block.

“Gah!” I grunt, thrown back in my seat by the intense simulated shock.

The MK II goes flying through the air, dropping fast in altitude. In the cockpit, I struggle to get the Kreuzritter back in control, but the emergency thrusters aren’t able to put out enough force to regain balance at this rate of descent. Swearing, I push the output of the thrusters as high as it’ll go, even rerouting some of the power from the beam saber. Finally, it manages to stabilize itself, just as it was about to hit the ground. The beam particle blade is looking a little shaky, though; the rate of particle output has been reduced, and as a result the blade is shorter and less dense.

Up in the air, Hearn’s machine has moved in to engage in my absence, charging saber-first. It strikes like an enraged beast, stabbing at the Major’s machine. The Commander Type-R dodges the strike, spinning about in the air like a graceful dancer. Not wasting any movements, in the same turn the machine takes a swipe at the Kreuzritter. With one clean stroke it lops off the Kreuzritter’s head, leaving only a molten stump of a neck behind. I hear a panicked yelp from Hearn as her mech begins to careen back, disoriented. The Major’s CF pulls its saber back to stab through it, but Usami’s CF swoops in, unloading with its vulcans. The Commander Type-R falls back, blocking several rounds with its right arm.

“I--I can’t see anything!” Hearn shrieks as her headless CF begins to descend to the ground, its arms flailing around wildly like a blind man.

“Mary!” I hear Usami call, “Switch to the backup cameras!”

“Oh, r-right!”

The Type-S manages to regain air, thrusters flaring to keep it hovering once more. Small sparks fly off from the red-hot metal edges of what used to connect the Frame’s head to the body, electrical discharges running through the disconnected circuits and wires in the neck. Nevertheless, the CF boosts upward, its saber drawn again. I can’t be just sitting around either, but with the fuel and energy reserves in the state they’re in now, I’m going to have to make the next go count, or I’m going to be put out of the fight for good. I have to find a way to catch the Major by surprise, but how…?

…I think I have an idea.

----

The Commander Type-R rushes forward, its thrusters carrying it across the air faster than any bird in the sky. Renko grips her controls with sweating palms; she’s never particularly been comfortable with fighting at this close of a range. No, she’s definitely feeling much better at a range where the fighting feels detached and impersonal, but if this is what it takes to win, then she won’t have any complaints. Taking a deep breath as the Major’s CF closes in, she prepares for quick evasive actions.

The Major approaches from the front, charging head on. Just as she’s in striking distance, the young CF pilot pulls her Type-R hard to the side, attempting to boost out of the way of the slash, just as she’s used to doing. But her opponent knew; she knew she would dodge to her left, she always does. Repetition breeds predictability, and predictability means certain death; that is a lesson that the Major would do well to teach her.

“Oh, nuts,” Renko mutters, seeing the blade flash down.

Udongein’s CF brings its plasma blade down, the brilliant edge of the flowing blade crashing down on its target’s right shoulder, slicing through its shoulder armor and down the length of its arm with the same ease as a hot knife through butter. The frontal thrusters on Renko’s CF blow it back, and she attempts to regain some breathing space for herself, but Major Udongein sticks to her like glue, speeding after her as she retreats. Out of desperation, she lashes out with a strike, stabbing forward, but the Major simply turns her machine, causing the other’s CF to overshoot by far, its arm extended. The Major brings her blade down again, this time severing the remaining arm of Renko’s CF, splitting the forearm from the elbow.

Beep, beep! a panel within the Major’s cockpit begins to flash, drawing her attention. She looks to the direction of the heat signal the radar’s picking up. Ensign Steyr’s damaged CF, flying high above in the sky. Before she has the chance to fully grasp the situation, Steyr’s CF begins to drop down toward her, its thrusters unable to produce max output but its descent aided by gravity. The Major turns herself around fully, and brandishes her saber, ready to counter, but…

“He’s attacking from the direction of the sun,” she mutters to herself, smirking slightly, “…Not bad.”

The Ensign’s CF collides with the Major’s, tackling it with the one remaining shoulder it has left. Grabbing the other CF by its face with its one arm, the MK II continues to drop down toward the ground, dragging the other CF with it. The two CFs crash to the ground, kicking up an enormous cloud of dust around them. The Major’s CF lies on the ground, battered from the crash. The MK II is crouched over it, its hand still clinging to the other CF’s face.

“Sorry, Major,” Steyr says, opening his radio to the open channel, “But we win.”

The hidden compartments in the MK II’s chest open up, and the vulcans reveal themselves, pointed straight at the torso of the other Kreuzritter. Without mercy or hesitation, they fire, the rounds ripping through the light armor of the Type-R.

(Battle mastery earned.)

----

BATTLE LOG:

Commander Kreuzritter Type-R (Udongein) was shot down by Kreuzritter MK II (Steyr)
Battle mastery earned (4/4)

----

“You pass,” the Major says, greeting us as we step out of our simulator pods. “Congratulations.”

…It wasn’t easy, though. Amateurs though we may be, the Major was more than able to handle herself in battle against three units with similar capabilities to hers, and even then I get the feeling that she was holding back on us; there were plenty of times that she could have gone for a quick and fatal blow, rather than toy around with us by chopping off limbs and scratching our armor.

“As long as you don’t forget what you’ve learned, most likely you’ll do just fine even on a real battlefield.”

“ ‘Most likely’ ?” Usami says, frowning. “Not ‘for sure’ ?”

“There are no guarantees in war, ever,” the Major coolly responds. “You can be as prepared as you ever could be and still be caught by surprise, so don’t get overconfident just because you did well in simulation. In any case, that concludes the training exercise for today. Dismissed.”

After a brief nod to herself, the Major walks past us, walking up to the sliding door leading out of the room and exiting, a trio of unfamiliar faces entering the room just as she leaves it. When she’s gone, Hearn lets out a sigh, as though it’s emotionally draining for her to even be in close proximity to her.

“Whew,” she says with relief, “I thought she might chew us out.”

“If she did she’d just sound like a sore loser,” Usami says, grinning. “We did pretty good out there, didn’t we Steyr?”

“I suppose so,” I say uncertainly. “…But I don’t think the current data we have on the enemy Tsuchigumo machines are enough to make accurate virtual enemies.”

“We’ll find out if it’s accurate or not soon, I guess,” she replies, shrugging her shoulders.

Only half-paying attention to her, I look at the group that entered just now. Three women. One of them -- the one in the center – is tall, with short white hair. She has the look of a stoic about her, her expression restrained at all times, even while conversing with her company. Like the Major, her youkai features are immediately evident, showing as a pair of canine ears on the top of her head as well as a large, bushy white tail. The other two I remember seeing from the meeting room just this morning, preoccupied with either writing notes or putting on makeup during the conference. The one with the short, black hair notices me looking at her, and winks.

“--Steyr,” Hearn calls me.

“Hm?”

“I asked if you wanted to come to the canteen with us. You know, for lunch.”

[ ] Go with them.
[ ] No, you have some things to talk to the Major about.
[ ] No, you’ll stay here for a while longer.

>> No. 35519
[x] No, you’ll stay here for a while longer.

I want to see the Wild- series
>> No. 35521
[x] No, you have some things to talk to the Major about.
Something feels amiss.
>> No. 35535
[X] Go with them.

You (barely) managed to beat your commanding officer, this calls for a celebration.

>pic
Oh, I do hope you have one more moonrace joke pic for when Reisen betrays the team.

>>35519
Patience. We'll get to see the Wilds in battle.
>> No. 35540
[X] No, you have some things to talk to the Major about.

More Reisen is always good.
>> No. 35541
[x] No, you have some things to talk to the Major about.

I know they are just cosmetic, but I feel we're earning these battle mastery a little too easily. If they start getting harder the more we go along, just feel free to ignore me.
>> No. 35562
[X] Go with them.

Being a bit social wouldn't hurt, not after a pretty big 'win' thus far.

>>35541
Usually early Masteries are easy if you know SRW well, it's the later ones that make you think of new things to deal with them.
>> No. 35563
[x] No, you have some things to talk to the Major about.

I want to see them have a stoic-off.
>> No. 35650
[x] No, you have some things to talk to the Major about.
----

“You don’t have to wait on my behalf,” I say, holding up a hand in refusal. “I’ve got some things I want to talk to the Major about.”

“Oh, okay,” she says, slightly disappointed. “Well… see you later, then.”

With that slightly awkward parting, she turns around, and walks toward the exit to the room, where Usami is waiting for her. The two exchange a few words, with Hearn shaking her head, and the two of them leave together. I watch them walk through the sliding doors, and then look back behind me to the trio that just entered now. It looks like they’re getting ready to use the simulation pods. Figuring that I’d only be a bother if I stayed, I make my exit.

Out in the hallway again, I look around. Hearn and Usami have already turned the corner to head for the cafeteria. I don’t know where the Major’s gone off too, though, but a quick inquiry at one of SMD-00x’s terminals scattered all about the ship tells me she’s standing just outside the officers’ quarters, so that’s where I head for. There, I find her leaning against the wall, her legs crossed together and her arms folded, paper held in her hand. I approach her, and she lifts her chin, her gaze moving up to me.

“Ensign,” she greets me.

“Is that a report?” I ask.

“No. It’s a personal letter, to me,” she says, folding up the piece of paper and stuffing it into her pocket. “Anyway, SMD’s just told me that you were looking for me. What is it?”

“It’s nothing terribly important, but I had a few things that I wanted to ask you, Major.”

“I see,” she says, moving away from the wall. “Well, I do have some time, so I don’t mind talking for a bit. Might as well make ourselves comfortable while we’re at it. Come on in.”

The Major presses the switch to the door of her room, and it slides open invitingly. She walks through it without a backward glance, and I follow her inside. Her room is definitely roomier and lavishly more decorated than the ones issued to us, with a comfortable-looking sofa in the middle of the room and a desk with personal belongings just near the entrance, but the sterile white walls and floor still give off a stripped bare atmosphere. I shut the door behind me as I walk toward the sofa, while the Major herself approaches her desk, fiddling with a small device.

“I hope you don’t mind if I play some music,” she says.

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JC-R_r1hyo

Softly, music begins playing from the device, in a low hum. The Major reaches up, and takes off her beret. She dusts it in her hand, beating it against a palm, and then fixes up its shape before laying it to rest on the table, next to the music player. She pauses, closing her eyes and taking in the melody of the violins. After a moment, she opens them again, and promptly turns around, walking toward the sofa with a relaxed posture; it’s the first time I’ve seen her… so at ease.

“Do you enjoy music, Ensign?” she asks, sitting down on the opposite end of the couch.

“I certainly don’t mind it.”

“I find it soothing, though, in a way different from you humans,” she says, leaning back in her seat. “I can sense it: the wavelengths between each sound, each rhythm, the frequency of every note and beat. It fascinates me, how the waves become wild and uncontrollable at high tempo, and how it becomes so docile and relaxed at a lower tempo, almost like it’s a living thing in itself.”

She pauses, gently tossing her head back, immersing -- losing -- herself in the flow of the song. Her expression is gentle, enlightened. As the song quiets down as it approaches its conclusion, the Major lowers her chin, looking to me again.

“Sorry, you didn’t come here to listen to that,” she says, her tone becoming professional and business-like once again. “What was it that you wanted to speak to me about?”

[ ] Ask her why she went easy on you all.
[ ] Ask her about the development of the psychodriver CFs.
[ ] Ask her about the past war.
[ ] Ask her about the music she played just now.
[ ] Her rank insignia is different from the standard GDA insignias…
[ ] (Ask about anything else.)
>> No. 35653
[x] Ask her why she went easy on you all.
[x] Her rank insignia is different from the standard GDA insignias…
>> No. 35654
[x] Ask her about the music she played just now.

I am rather curious why she was playing another touhou's theme. You just don't do that sort of stuff man. It's like violating their person.
>> No. 35656
[X] Ask her why she went easy on you all.
[X] Ask her about the music she played just now.
[X] Her rank insignia is different from the standard GDA insignias…

>>35654
No reason one can't enjoy it regardless of whose theme it may be.
>> No. 35663
File 131101577556.png - (18.49KB , 520x620 , idort.png ) [iqdb]
35663
[x] Ask her why she went easy on you all.
[x] Ask her about the development of the psychodriver CFs.
[x] Ask her about the past war.
[x] Ask her about the music she played just now.
[x] Her rank insignia is different from the standard GDA insignias…
[x] (Ask about anything else.)
>> No. 35664
[x] Ask her why she went easy on you all.
[x] Ask her about the development of the psychodriver CFs.
...[x] Ask about the music
>> No. 35671
[x] Ask her about the development of the psychodriver CFs.
--Know thyself. And thy machines, too, but still.

[x] Her rank insignia is different from the standard GDA insignias…
--Mainly because I want to see the writefag's spin on this.

[x] Ask her about the music she played just now.
--As we're leaving, maybe?

>[ ] Ask her why she went easy on you all.
This is kind of obvious, and I don't know why it's being asked: Because she could wipe the floor with all three of them if she were so inclined, duh. The point was to give them a fight against a reasonably competent, thinking enemy that was smarter and quicker than normal simulation enemies, and trained in military tactics as well.

>[ ] Ask her about the past war.
A military woman like her probably won't reveal any sweet juicy secrets to a newbie like Steyr so easily. And now I am imagining Steyr pulling some sort of James Bond-esque seduction resulting in him sleeping with her to find out what she knows, but that would mean she'd end up dead. Still, an affair between him and Reisen seems strangely appealing, albeit impossible.
>> No. 35726
[X] Ask her about the development of the psychodriver CFs.
[X] Her rank insignia is different from the standard GDA insignias…

With the enemy compairing psychodrivers to the A-bomb, I'd want to know in what direction the program is going. While a soldier is expected to follow orders, he shouldn't follow ones he believes are morally wrong, especially when he's also responsible for a pair of conscripted teenagers.
>> No. 35753
[x] Ask her about the development of the psychodriver CFs.
[x] Her rank insignia is different from the standard GDA insignias…
[x] Ask her about the music she played just now.
>> No. 35820
[x] Ask her about the development of the psychodriver CFs.
[x] Her rank insignia is different from the standard GDA insignias…
[x] Ask her about the music she played just now.
----

I straighten myself up in my seat, taking a more active posture, leaning forward toward the Major. As I do so, I glance at the insignia pinned to her lapel. It’s been bothering me for a while, but I don’t think I’ve seen one that looks like that amongst the GDA’s ranks. I’ve only seen Major Hakurei’s in passing, but I don’t think hers looked anything like the one Major Udongein has.

“Say, I don’t believe that’s one of the GDA’s rank insignias…” I finally voice my question, leaning back, a hand on my chin thoughtfully.

“Pretty observant of you,” she says, taking a look at it for herself. She reaches up, unpinning it from her lapel, holding it out in her palm. “You’re right. It’s not one of the GDA’s. That’s because I’m not officially a part of the GDA army. Well, not anymore, to be more specific.”

“You’re not with the army?”

“Not the one here. I’m sure you know about the independent colony on Luna,” she continues, pinning the insignia back on her lapel. “I’m part of the Lunar Defense Corps. As a special favor to the Global Defense Alliance, I volunteered to serve as an instructor.”

I see.

“Was that all?”

“No, actually, I had another question. Have you received any word on whether the development of the psychodriver machines will continue, Major?”

She frowns, folding her arms together. “That’s a sensitive question to be asking, Ensign.”

“Sorry.”

“But it’s not unwarranted,” she continues coolly. “As a matter of fact, we’ve received word from Kakutasu that the freeze on the project has been lifted, in light of… recent events. Almost immediately after the Underground’s message was broadcast, in fact.”

“That’s certainly fast,” I say, and Usami’s words about how all of this seems so… pre-scripted come to mind again.

“Mr. Erich is a very shrewd man,” Major Udongein says unconcernedly.

“…And I’d be correct in assuming that once the machines are completed, they’ll be assigned for our use?”

“Of course. They’re designed to be used by no one but you all. Why, does it trouble you?”

“I won’t lie, Major,” I say, taking on a grim expression. “I might be out of my place, saying this, but I have to question the wisdom of giving untested superweapons like that to complete novice pilots. We all saw how dangerous these machines could be when the SR-0 was stolen. I’m not saying that Hearn and Usami would go rogue with the machines, but things as powerful as that I’d have difficulty entrusting to even the most experienced soldiers, much less kids…”

“A valid concern,” she says, but soon thereafter her tone becomes cold and frigid, “but one that can’t be addressed. Psychodrivers aren’t everywhere, Ensign. They are a rare and valuable commodity. We don’t exactly have the luxury of picking and choosing. It’s unfortunate that we’ve lost Subject #1 and the SR-0, but nevertheless the GDA has deemed the potential military use of psychodrivers worth investing in, even with the risks.”

Of course, if the other CFs are even as half as fearsome as the prototype that we went up against, they would be an unstoppable force on the battlefield. I understand that the potential for these units are tremendous -- I saw it, I felt it, myself -- but even so, I have misgivings about this whole project that I’ve just never been able to quash. I don’t exactly like being compared to an atomic bomb, either, or being called a tool of something, even if there is truth to it all.

“….I understand,” I say, with a heavy sigh. Mustering up myself, I stand up from the sofa, turning to the Major and giving a salute. “That’s all I wanted to ask, Major.”

She stands up and returns the salute. “Get some rest and nourishment, Ensign. We’ll be approaching the target zone within just a couple of hours now.”

I lower my arm. “Yes ma’am.”

I walk toward the exit, reaching out to open the sliding door. Behind me, the Major has moved toward her table again, fiddling with the music player there. A thought suddenly comes across me in my mind, and I end up taking a step back into the room.

“Oh, one more thing before I go, Major.”

“Hm?”

“The music you played earlier… It sounded familiar to me.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” the Major says. “It’s a piece by the Phantom Ensemble. I don’t know much about them specifically, but I hear they’re pretty popular.”

“Ah. Well, it was a good listen.”

I knew I recognized it from somewhere. I’ve heard of the Phantom Ensemble as well; consists of three members, sisters, although I believe they recently gained a vocalist. Very popular, recently attracted some ire from some groups of people for holding live concerts in… certain zones unpopular with humans. They played in some of the ghettos, and there were accusations of being sympathizers and race traitors flooding in, or so I hear.

With nothing more to say or ask, I turn back around, and exit the room.

----

Now then, there are still a couple of hours before we have to report in for the mission briefing…

[ ] Head to the cafeteria.
[ ] Catch a nap at your quarters.
[ ] Visit the hangar bay.
>> No. 35821
[X] Head to the cafeteria.

Can't fight on an empty stomach.
>> No. 35824
[X] Head to the cafeteria.
>> No. 35825
[X] Head to the cafeteria.

We should talk to our teamates occasionaly
>> No. 35826
[x] Catch a nap at your quarters.

Hell yeah nap time. Today's been a harrowing day; this'll be great to remove stress.
>> No. 35827
[X] Head to the cafeteria.
>> No. 35831
[x] Head to the cafeteria.
>> No. 35833
[x] Head to the cafeteria.
>> No. 35904
[x] Head to the cafeteria.
----

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrv58Aimh7U

In the cafeteria of the ship, I grab a packed lunch and a cup of juice from the help-yourself dispensers. The cup is sealed, a straw poking out from the top of it. As I walk over to the tables, I take a small sip from it and grimace at the taste. It’s not terrible. It’s definitely not something that I can’t stomach. But there’s something about it that I find revolting somehow; it has a quality to it that just doesn’t sit right with me. I’d best get used to it, though. There’s no use complaining about the quality of food aboard a military ship.

“Hey Steyr!” a call comes from nearby.

Hearn waves me over, and I make to join her at her table. I set down my lunch on the table before sitting down on one of the stools, taking a seat next to Usami.

“Hey there,” she greets me as I sit down. “Food here sucks.”

“Really?” I ask, taking another sip from the cup.

“It’s not that bad, I don’t think,” Hearn says.

I lean over and look into Usami’s lunchbox. Inside, there’s a half-eaten… something. The texture is similar to mashed potatoes, but the color is something else entirely, greenish and goop-like. Certainly not the most appetizing meal I’ve ever seen, and it’s obvious that it’s not exactly to Usami’s tastes, either, as she plays around with what’s left of it with her spoon, pushing and poking at it like a child refusing to eat vegetables. Reaching for my own lunchbox, I peel back the silver cover, and see it full of the same green goop.

“You don’t want to eat that, seriously,” Usami warns me with a grim expression.

“It tastes fine,” Hearn says stubbornly, shoveling the green stuff into her mouth.

I lift my spoon, digging out a portion of the green… thing. I lift it up, taking a careful look at it. I can’t smell anything from it, but looking at it certainly doesn’t make me want to put this anywhere near my mouth. Hearn is certainly eating with great gusto, and she doesn’t seem to be in danger of getting sick any time soon, but she’s not exactly what I’d call a normal person, even past her psychodriver abilities. But, if I don’t eat, I won’t be able to fight at my best, so, holding my breath, I feed myself with the spoon, swallowing the goop as fast as I can so I won’t have to taste much of it.

…It doesn’t taste bad.

But it doesn’t taste good, either. This is supposed to be processed meat, but it doesn’t taste like any meat I’ve ever eaten. It’s like with the juice. There’s nothing inherently terrible or disgusting about the taste, but something about it still strikes a wrong chord. I return the spoon to the box to scoop up some more, chewing on it more thoroughly and swallowing. Again, it doesn’t taste terrible, but there’s something about it that just makes you dislike it more and more…

“It’s synthesized,” Usami says with contempt, “Artificial food. The stuff back at the base wasn’t that great, but at least there they gave us real food.”

“Just bear with it,” I reply, shaking my head as I take in another spoonful of the stuff.

“But you know,” Hearn chimes in to change the subject, “Doesn’t it feel really empty in here, no matter where you go? There aren’t that many other pilots here aside from us, and we haven’t seen any crewmembers, either.”

“It’s probably because the ship’s main functions are all controlled by the A.I.” I say with a bitter scowl.

“You don’t like A.I.s, Steyr?” Usami asks, interested.

“Not particularly, no. I don’t like the idea of computers being able to think for themselves, especially when they’re given such large control over something. If this ‘SMD’ ever went rogue or malfunctioned, we’d all be dead within minutes without ever being able to do anything about it.”

“If it concerns you, Ensign Steyr,” the robotic voice of the ship’s on-board A.I. suddenly rings out, causing us to all jump in our seats a little, “the Brigadier General has access to a failsafe mechanism which will cease all of my functions and transfer all control of the ship to manual configurations.”

“Another thing about A.I.s I hate,” I say, with a louder voice, “They have no idea of privacy.”

The A.I. falls silent.

----

1:30 PM
Samidare Bridge


“Unidentified vessel approaching the ship, Brigadier General.”

“What?” the Captain of the ship snaps to attention, sitting up in his chair. “Can we get a scan on it?”

“Scanning… matching to database. Target identified,” the A.I. drones on in its robotic voice, never changing its tone. [i]“Approaching vessel has been identified as a Stork-class aircraft carrier. Furthermore, the Stork’s ID code matches that of the Stork previously stationed at Victoria Base, before the base was taken by the Underground Resistance.”

“Did it escape the base…” Kirisame mutters, his frown deepening, “…or has it been…”

“The Stork has begun launching F-33 fighters,” SMD-00x reports, one of the panels in front of the captain’s seat lighting up, showing a radar. Several small blips spread out from a larger blip on the radar, flying in the direction of the Samidare. “Missile locks detected.”

“Raise the Absolute Dimensional Barrier!” the captain shouts, reaching out and flicking on a switch to broadcast a message to the entire ship. “The Samidare is under attack! All pilots, battle stations! Stand by in your Combat Frames until I give the order to launch!”

----

I zip up my pilot suit and put on my helmet before leaning back into the cockpit seat, allowing the back of the suit to secure itself to the seat before pulling the seat belts over myself. Reaching up and pressing a button, the light of the hangar bay is slowly shut out as the hatch closes. Instead, the cockpit is filled with the light of the monitors as they come to life, the radio crackling. I reach out and adjust the knob, tuning it into our usual frequency.

“I didn’t think we’d have to go out and fight so soon,” Usami says, nervously.

“It was going to happen sooner or later,” I say, running a diagnostics check. Everything’s in the green. “We’ll do fine, I’m sure.”

“Yeah, I’m sure we’ll do okay!” Hearn says, optimistically.

“This is Alpha Leader,” Major Udongein’s voice comes in, “We don’t have the luxury of stopping to perform repairs on the Samidare. We can’t let it sustain any significant damage here, is that understood? The Absolute Defense System can protect it to a degree, but it can’t sustain through continued firing or a direct hit from a battleship cannon.”

So, we’ll have to keep the bogeys from focus firing on the Samidare, as well as sink the enemy carrier before it gets in range to use its cannons.

“Yo!” an unfamiliar voice announces its presence on the radio, “Alpha team, I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced!”

“Eh?” Hearn gesticulates in surprise.

“Like, we’re the Assault Scout team,” another voice cuts in, “and we’re supposed to back you up, but you guys are psychics or something, so can’t you handle it on your own? Having to fight is such a drag.”

“Assault Scout?” Usami repeats, confused.

“Correct,” a third, much deeper, more serious voice answers. “This is Scout Leader. Our team specializes in spying and information gathering, but in this case, we’ll be assisting in the defense of the Samidare. I’m pleased to be working with you all.”

“Our feelings are mutual,” the Major replies punctually.

“Absolute Dimensional Barrier, offline,” SMD-00x’s voice rings out through the hangar bay, picked up by the sound sensors and broadcast into the cockpit, “All units are cleared for launch.”

“Let’s go,” Alpha Leader commands.

----

ENEMY OVERVIEW

1x Stork
18x F-33

----

UNIT OVERVIEW

Alpha team:

Commander Kreuzritter Type-R/Udongein (Long-range specialist, high mobility, low armor)
Kreuzritter MK II/Steyr (Proficient at all ranges, average mobility and armor)
Kreuzritter Type-S/Mary (Close-range specialist, high armor, low mobility)
Kreuzritter Type-R/Renko (Long-range specialist, high mobility, low armor)

Assault Scout team:

Wildhund/Momiji (Close-range specialist/sniper, high armor, low mobility)
Wildkrahe A/Aya (Close/mid-range, high mobility, low armor)
Wildkrahe H/Hatate (Mid/long-range, high mobility, low armor)

----

EQUIPMENT

Kreuzritter MK II/Steyr (M13 Shotgun, Sniper Rifle)

Available: Beam Rifle, 120mm Machinegun, Hyper Bazooka

----

MISSION OBJECTIVES

Winning condition(s):

1.All enemies destroyed.

Losing condtion(s):

1.All allied units destroyed.
2.Samidare sustains more than 40% damage.

Battle mastery condition(s):

1.Samidare sustains no damage.


----

[ ] Send Alpha team at the Stork and have the Assault Scout team pick off the bogeys.
[ ] Have the Assault Scout team take out the Stork while the Alpha team cleans up the fighters.
[ ] Both teams focus on taking out the fighter planes before surrounding the Stork.
[ ] Rush the stork and clean up the rest later.
>> No. 35907
[X] Both teams focus on taking out the fighter planes before surrounding the Stork.

The Stork's a harder nut to crack, and trying to take it down early gives the fighters more chances to hit the Samidare. Save it for last.
>> No. 35908
[x] Have the Assault Scout team take out the Stork while the Alpha team cleans up the fighters.
-[x]Switch out the M13 Shotgun for the Beam Rifle

The fighters won't be a problem here. They appear to be going for quantity, and not quality. However, we can't afford to chase them around with any of the shorter ranged weapons. We'll only waste time trying, or be swiftly surrounded due to their superior numbers.

Sending the assault scout team to harry the Stork because it's just silly to leave it unattended. We can't afford to take any hits from its battle cannon, so we need to pester it while Alpha team mops up.
>> No. 35914
[x] Have the Assault Scout team take out the Stork while the Alpha team cleans up the fighters.
-[x]Switch out the M13 Shotgun for the Beam Rifle.

By the way, is it possible to have the Samidare move away from the Stork to buy some time while we clean up the fighters? Or is this one of those maps where there are enemy reinforcements to be concerned about?
>> No. 35915
>>35914
The ship might have been mobilized by the surprise attack.
>> No. 36047
[x] Have the Assault Scout team take out the Stork while the Alpha team cleans up the fighters.
- [x]Switch out the M13 Shotgun for the Beam Rifle.
----

“Roger,” I say, gripping the controls.

The MK II slowly comes to life, the light in its visor flashing a bright green color. It moves on top of the catapults as the launch bay door slides open, its feet tightly locked in as the blast deflectors rise up behind its feet. The thrusters begin warming up, preparing for launch. The Type-S and the Type-R align themselves at the catapults next to the MK II, as does the Major’s Commander unit. I breathe in carefully, bracing myself for the acceleration coming up. It’s a good thing that I didn’t eat too much of that processed gunk from earlier.

“It’s our first time using the catapults!”Hearn chimes in excitedly, although she quickly seems to lose enthusiasm as she continues speaking, ”I hope it won’t be as bad as it was in the simulations.”

“Oh no, it’ll be worse,” Usami says with a distinct tone of dread.

“Quiet,” the Major warns sternly, “Alpha team, launching!”

I hold my breath in anticipation of the Gs. The catapults launch, carrying the Kreuzritters forward, building momentum as they hurtle toward the open door. The thrusters behind the MK II’s feet flare at its strongest, and I feel myself tightly pressed against my seat as the machine flies forward. Finally, at the edge of the catapult, the locks disengage, throwing the Kreuzritter at an incredible speed out of the battleship.

My eyes are filled with the sight of the sky as I’m hurled out into it. Engaged in flight, the MK II soars into the open air, proudly showing its black frame in the sunlight. I let out my held breath, feeling almost relieved, before immediately looking around the monitors, to check on my squadmates. I take in a small gasp of air when I see Usami’s Type-R begin careening over, losing height and falling toward the ocean. Damn it, did she pass out? Hearn’s Type-S is still fine, and the Major’s is as well, of course, but it looks like they’ve noticed what I’ve seen as well.

“Renko!”

“What’s wrong, Alpha 3? Come in!” I spit into the radio.

There’s no reply, but the Type-R swoops out of its descent, soaring back up into the air. Usami’s reply comes not too long after, her voice slightly out of it. [i]“Ergh… sorry about that. I—I just lost it for a moment there… made a mess in the helmet.”


“Don’t scare me like that!” Hearn says, relieved.

The Major’s response is a lot less warm. “This won’t be a recurring problem, will it, Alpha 3?”

“No ma’am,” Usami replies quickly. “I’ll power through it.”

I glance once at the radar. A dozen and a half bogeys. F-32 fighters, just like the ones I used to pilot and dogfight. But I won’t be in another plane this time. This will be my first time fighting planes while piloting a Combat Frame, and I can’t say the prospect makes me very excited. Although, this might be a good chance to see whether these ‘robots’ really are worthy of taking the skies from jet fighters. Smirking despite myself, I aim my rifle toward the fighters approaching from the north.

----

“Well, there they go,” Scout 1, Aya Shameimaru, says as she watches the Alpha team taking off. Her face is lit with an eager smile. “Psychodrivers, huh? You don’t really get to see too many of those. I think they’re going to make some pretty interesting coworkers.”

Scout 2, Hatate Himekaidou, replies with a disaffected, unconcerned voice, her helmet lying on the cockpit floor while she checks on her makeup even as she’s in the seat of her Combat Frame. “The GDA is just like, using them as weapons though, aren’t they? That’s so boring. They’re just like us.”

“Assault Scout team, you’re cleared for launch,” SMD-00x’s digital voice rings throughout the launching bay.

“And there’s our orders,” Scout Leader, Momiji Inubashiri, mutters to herself, looking away from a holographic shogi table setup next to her seat, reaching out and gripping the controls at her sides. Tugging on them, she maneuvers her Combat Frame toward the catapults. “Shameimaru, Himekaidou, let’s get this over with.”

“Not gonna tell us to cut the chatter this time?” Scout 1 pokes at her playfully.

“Just don’t blabber into the open channel,” Scout Leader pokes back, annoyed. “I have doubts that Major Udongein would tolerate your usual oral incontinence. That goes for you too, Himekaidou.”

“Like, that’s so rude,” Scout 2 says in a mockingly sour voice, finally putting away her hand mirror.

“Just get on the catapults.”

The Wildkrahes move forward to secure themselves to the catapult launchers. Their frames are sleek and small, with slender, angular limbs. The sunlight glints off their jet-black surface, and as they crouch down in preparation for their flight, their wing fins are raised and spread, like the wings of a majestic soaring bird. Their head is small and pointed, with no neck, shining red eyes serving as the unit’s main cameras. The only difference between the two units, at least outwardly, is the color schemes; Scout 1’s unit, Wildkrahe A, is painted black with red trims, while Scout 2’s, the Wildkrahe H, is black with purple trims.

The sleek grey-silver Wildhund moves in, securing itself to the catapult between the two Wildkrahe units. In contrast to its sister machines, the hound is bulky, and heavily armored, with a massive hand-carried metal chainsword adorning its back. In its arms, it carries a rifle with a unique appearance; along the barrel of the gun, there’s a thick, round sheet of metal folded around the gun. Dual antennae point up from the top of the machine’s head, red lights gleaming from its eyes. On its forehead, there’s a single-lens camera unit meant to slide down over the eyes to provide extra zoom for sniping and reconnaissance.

“Assault Scout team,” Scout Leader begins to announce, “launching!”

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy98VzJ-Hc4

The catapults rocket the three machines toward the open bay door, hurtling them out into the open air. The Wildkrahe A immediately flies about in several quick air loops as soon as it’s in the sky, its movements almost blindingly flitting and fast. The Wildkrahe H drifts along the air lazily, in comparison. The Wildhund immediately drops out of the air, descending toward the water below, too heavy to have as much airtime as its sister units. It gently ‘lands’ on the water’s surface, maintaining a hover just above the sea.

----

The Samidare closes its bay door, all of its units deployed. Brigadier General Kirisame remains seated in the captain’s chair, calmly watching over the battle on the display. He puts his hand on his chin, speaking to the A.I. “SMD, raise the Absolute Defense System and move the Samidare forward at battle speed. I don’t want anything delaying our attack on Victoria Base.”

“Moving forward now may put us in range of the Stork’s cannons,” the A.I. warns.

“It’s fine. I’m quite sure they’ll be able to handle it,” the captain says dismissively. Leaning forward, he brings up the communications screen, displaying a video feed of Scout Leader and Alpha Leader’s cockpits, before speaking into it, “Alpha team, take down the fighters. Assault Scout team, harry the enemy Stork, prevent it from firing on the Samidare.”

“Yes sir.”

“Understood.”

----

An F-32 whizzes by my mech, and I quickly react, turning the machine around to fire a shot at it. The beam rifle lets out a low howl, the particles fired from its barrel hitting its target dead-on, ripping it apart in half before it explodes into a cloud of smoke and hot shrapnel. A lucky shot, wasn’t expecting it to hit. But just as I expected, it’s tough fighting opponents like these in combat frames. They’re so swift and small in comparison to our own machines that it’s proving to be difficult to accurately shoot them down.

“Ahh, geez!” Usami shouts, frustrated. “Just go down already!”

Her Type-R fires short bursts from its VLBR in rapid succession, firing at a fighter circling around her, the shots trailing behind the plane’s path, always just short of hitting it. The F-32 swerves about, nose pointed toward the Type-R, its missiles seeking locks – until it’s blown up by a single shot from the side. The Major’s Commander Kreuzritter swoops by, fresh smoke issuing out from the tip of its own rifle.

“Against mobile enemies like this, your targeting computer is useless,” she says, turning her machine around and shooting down another F-32 effortlessly, “These enemies have predictable flight patterns. Track their movements and lead your shots. That’s all there is to it.”

“R-right,” Usami says, fairly impressed.

…The Major’s right. These F-32s move without formation or any coordination. Their attacks are too simplistic, too formulaic, just like the drones I used to fight during test flights. These must be piloted by A.I. as well, like the enemies that attacked the Far East Base. If the Underground Resistance can convert our military equipment into combat drones of their own, then winning this war is going to be a lot more complicated that any of us thought.

“Hm?”

I make to turn my mech around, when I see Hearn’s Type-S, hovering around without participating in the battle.

“Alpha 2,” I contact her, “What’s wrong?”

“…huh?” comes her confused reply, her machine making such a severe jerk that it nearly falls out of the air. “Oh, um, no, it’s nothing. It’s just… well, I have this really bad feeling. Like something’s about to happen, or…”

“Bad feeling?” I say, about to brush it aside before remembering the reason why we’re here in the first place, “…Precognition?”

“I don’t know…” she says hesitantly, “but I can definitely feel it. Something’s… off.”

I bite my lip. How seriously should I take this? Normally, it would be something that I wouldn’t give even the slightest amount of thought to, but I’ve experienced the sort of thing she’s describing before. An inexplicable feeling that there’s something wrong, that something bad will happen… I felt it myself as well, so I know there’s credibility to it, but part of me just refuses to believe that things like psychic powers could exist.

“Well we’ll deal with it if it comes up,” I say, finally, “Until then, let’s focus on defending the Samidare.”

“Yeah, you’re right, Steyr.”

----

“Ooh, got one on my tail,” Scout 1 says without a concern.

An F-32 trails behind her Wildkrahe A, following its attempts to shake it off. Locked on, the fighter fires off a volley of homing missiles, but even as the missile lock warning sounds ring in her cockpit, Scout 1 displays not even the slightest of fear or worry. The homing missiles draw near – and inexplicably go off trail at close proximity, completely missing the CF.

“Jamming~!” Scout 1 laughs, “Now then, it’s time for payback!”

The Wildkrahe makes a sudden turn, the F-32 swerving drastically to avoid ramming into it, but the former rushes forward. Claws fold over the Frame’s hands from its wrists, fitting over them and glowing orange with heat. It slashes with its heat claw, crushing the plane’s form with a single swipe and sending it spiraling down into the sea. Putting away its claws, the Wildkrahe A swerves around in a fancy display of aerial maneuvers before resuming its flight toward the Stork.

“You are such a showoff, Aya,” Scout 2 mutters to herself, rolling her eyes. Noticing two F-32s coming her way, she sighs before shouting a command, “Go, Crow Familiars!”

From a hole in the Wildkrahe’s shoulders, two small winged machines deploy. Essentially a flying gun turret, the Crow Familiars dart about the sky, guided by their built-in Combat A.I. and locked onto the incoming F-32s. The Crow Familiars quickly pursue them, each firing a high-impact round and shooting down the two fighters before returning to their master unit, fitting inside its shoulders once again. The Wildkrahe H then lazily drifts after its partner unit.

The Wildhund skims above the water, its rifle held in front. The scoped visor drops down on top of its eyes, and it raises the barrel of the rifle toward the Stork. As it does, the metal sheet folded around the barrel of the gun deploys forward, folding outward into a round shield, protecting her front. Scout Leader narrows her sharp eyes, aiming carefully. No one has a sharper vision than she does, even amongst the youkai, and that goes double for her Combat Frame; that’s what makes her unit a perfect scout… as well as a perfect sniper. Braced for the recoil, the Wildhund lets a single shot fly.

Suddenly, nearby, a blinding flash of green light fills the world.

----

“What the--!?” I cry, shielding my eyes with my arm.

“Oh no…” Hearn says fearfully, “I feel… a really strong pressure against my head…!”

This time, I can feel it as well. And I recognize it, it’s…

“The SR-0…!” the Major says.

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHRBFTWSguY

The SR-0 has appeared from that brilliant green light. It hovers in the air, the sunlight shining off its pure white body. Not a single scorch mark or wound mars its surface, completely repaired from its last bout with us… but by whom, by what means? Its proportions are as uneven as ever, primal and beast-like, with its gorilla-like arms. But its torso design looks a little different. It’s wider, thicker, more prominent than before.

“Why did it come here!?” Usami says, panicked.

“…the design of the torso seems a bit different from the original,” Major Udongein says, “And it’s sending out a different ID code from the one it was issued.”

“It was modified?”

Did the Underground get their hands on it? Was Subject #1 a sleeper agent of theirs? But, strange, it doesn’t appear to be doing anything other than just standing there. If it meant to be our enemy, it definitely would have attacked us without mercy, just as it did last time, but it hasn’t. Just what is it up to?

[ ] Forget the fighters. This is more important. Attack the SR-0 and attempt to capture it.
[ ] Ignore it for now.

----

BATTLE LOG:

F-32 (A.I.) was shot down by Kreuzritter MK II (Steyr)
F-32 (A.I.) x 2 was shot down by Commander Kreuzritter Type-R (Udongein)
F-32 (A.I.) was shot down by Wildkrahe A (Aya)
F-32 (A.I.) x 2 was shot down by Wildkrahe H (Hatate)
Neutral reinforcement appeared: SR-0 (Subject #1)

----
>> No. 36048
[x] Ignore it for now.
>> No. 36050
[x] Ignore it for now.

We aren't ready for lunatic mode yet. There are still 12 fighter planes to go, and we still have to worry about the Stork blastfucking us with its cannons. If we can swiftly take those out, however, we should definitely concentrate all forces on capturing this asshole.
>> No. 36052
[x] Ignore it for now.

If it's not attacking us, it's not our problem. If we're lucky, it'll do some of the some of the work for us.
>> No. 36065
[X] Ignore it for now.
>> No. 36067
[x] Ignore it for now.

I should not be voting this vote.
>> No. 36070
[x] Ignore it for now.
>> No. 36124
[x] Ignore it for now.
----

I clench my teeth, disgruntled. We have enough on our plate already without this thing showing its ugly mug to us, so why did it pick now of all times to pop up out of nowhere? Things were going fairly okay up until now, but now an unknown, unpredictable variable’s shown up, and might just end up ruining our entire day. Not to mention, its mere presence is giving me an uncomfortable feeling. The level of “psychoenergy” that thing is emitting, even passively, makes me feel like I’m being smothered with a pillow.

“Let’s leave it be,” I say to my teammates, going against the cynical voice in my head, “It doesn’t appear to be hostile, at least not right this moment. We’ve got our own objectives to fulfill, and it’s leaving us alone for now, so let’s return the favor and not do anything that might provoke it.”

Usami protests immediately, “But Steyr--!”

“The Ensign is right,” the Major promptly cuts her off, “Fulfilling the current objective, that is, to protect the Samidare, is of a higher priority than the recovery of the SR-0. Don’t do anything that might jeopardize that.”

“…I understand.”

Reluctantly, Usami’s Kreuzritter turns its back on the SR-0, boosting away to return to the fray. Mary’s Type-S boosts after her, while the Major’s has already begun tracking another enemy. I stare at the monitor, a section of the screen zooming into the SR-0. It remains still, hovering in the air, like it’s watching us, observing over the battle as though it were some kind of king or a god looking down at his people. Just what is its purpose in being here? Has it sought us out, or…

Shaking off those thoughts, I zoom the screen out, grasping the controls and steering the machine around.

----

“Brigadier General, the stolen prototype SR-0 has appeared on the battlefield.”

“What!?”

The main monitor zooms in on the SR-0’s locations, displaying it in full. Brigadier General Kirisame sinks back in his chair, his mouth gaping slightly open. With a grim, set expression, he silently watches the immobile beast, before turning his gaze to the panel before him.

“Ignore it,” he says, and the screen immediately zooms out to survey over the entire battle once more, “What’s the status of that approaching Stork?”

“Scanners detect 30% to critical damage on the hull. Scout Leader has targeted one of its main cannons with a high impact concussive shot, damaging it beyond function. Overall, the Stork’s fire capability has been reduced by 30%. It is continuing to advance toward us, however, and will be in firing range of our cannons, as well as theirs, within two minutes.”

“And the enemy fighters?”

“Alpha team and the Assault Scout team have currently shot down six—“ SMD suddenly cuts off, a small explosion visible in the distance on the monitor. After a small pause, the monotone, robotic voice of the A.I. continues, “Alpha team has currently shot down seven enemy fighters. The nine remaining are currently on a strafe run around the Samidare. The Absolute Dimensional Barrier has been able to repel their heat-seeking missiles without a significant loss of energy.”

The captain of the vessel nods contentedly. “I see…”

----

“Say, that thing that appeared just now…” Scout 1’s voice is not concerned in the slightest about the anti-air curtain fire flying all around her CF, dodging through the thick swarm of rounds as though it were as easy as breathing, speaking casually, “What’s up with it? Ally or foe?”

“Foe, duh,” Scout 2 answers her, similarly calm even whilst strafing around the flying behemoth’s defensive fire.

The Wildkrahe A pulls up into the air, narrowly avoiding fire from the Stork’s turret. “Really? It hasn’t been doing anything, though!”

“See, that’s like, what gives it away!” Scout 2 says excitedly as the Wildkrahe H swoops around to below the Stork, launching its crow familiars. They zip up around to the bow of the Stork, firing bursts of high impact rounds at the gun turrets at its fore. “It’s going to wait until we’re nice and softened up, and then, pow! Zap! It’s totally gonna start attacking us!”

“Let’s be a little more professional about this,” Scout Leader cuts in on the radio, lining up another shot.

“Right, right,” Scout 1 replies, although immediately she speaks up again, “So did either of you catch that last episode of—”

“Aya, please.”

“Only joking.”

Scout Leader shakes her head, mumbling to herself.

----

“Taaaaaake this!”

Hearn’s Kreuzritter boosts forward to meet a speeding fighter head-on, lashing its arm outward as the beam emitters on its wrist flare on, turning on its saber. The fighter swerves to avoid the Combat Frame, but as it veers to the side, the Kreuzritter brings its blade down, slicing through the plane’s wing with a single, clean strike. Losing its balance, the unmanned fighter is sent spiraling down into a crash toward the ocean surface. Whipping about, the Kreuzritter levels the rifle It’s holding in its other hand, wildly firing at the F-32 circling about her.

“I can’t hit it!”

A shot from the side hits the plane dead center, destroying it. Usami’s Type-R descends down from above, the smoking barrel of its VLBR held up to the air.” ‘Track their movements and lead your shots,’ “ Usami says, “Heh, that really is all there is to it, isn’t it?”

I grin, though I quickly return my attention to my own battle. One of the F-32s has broken away from its cluttered, loose formation to chase after me The radar lights up, wailing to warn me of missile locks. Only an instant later, the F-32 lets loose a volley of seeking missiles, too numerous and fast to attempt to dodge. Instead, facing the volley from the front, I hit the secondary fire triggers. The chest compartments of the MK II open up, and the gatling guns spin, firing at and detonating the swarm of missiles.

“In the end, they’re just drones after all,” I say, hitting the primary trigger.

The MK II fires a single shot from its beam rifle, obliterating the enemy aircraft. That makes four. The Major has five, and Usami and Hearn have two each. Adding them up, and including the three bogeys shot down by the AS team en route to intercepting the Stork, that’s sixteen of the enemy’s eighteen fighters destroyed or disabled. I glance down at the radar, seeking out non-friendly signatures. The remaining two are…

…flying toward the SR-0.

What’s going on here?

The last remaining F-32s soar toward the still, unmoving behemoth. Locking onto its with their missiles, they release a swarm of seekers. The SR-0 stays immobile, dormant, even as the missiles close in on it – but of course it’s not moving, it doesn’t need to! As soon as the missiles are within detonation proximity, the SR-0’s body is surrounded by pale light – the TK field that gave us all such hell when we were forced to go against it. The missiles explode against the barrier, the SR-0 remaining completely unharmed, unscratched, the fighters’ attacks completely ineffectual against it. But I can’t say it had no effect at all. After all, they seem to have finally woken it up…

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHRBFTWSguY

“Ohhhh, crap,” Usami says, her voice filled with dread.

The SR-0 begins moving, slowly, like a beast that’s just barely woken from its slumber. The fighters speed by it, and circle around, firing off more missiles, but almost as though it were an unconscious reaction, that TK field surrounds its body again, protecting it from any and all damage.

Slowly, like a living thing going through its morning routines, the SR-0 raises its large, gorilla-like arms up to the sky – and then, flinging back both arms, it raises its head. The horned tip of it splits apart into a v-shaped fin, like the horns of a bull, and its outer armor separates and opens up to reveal the glowing, pale material underneath the steel plates, surrounding it with that same eerie glow from before. It may look a little different from before, but it’s without a doubt the same thing from back then – it’s gone into T-Link Burst mode.

“The hornets have awoken a sleeping beast,” the Major says with a grim voice.

The SR-0 immediately points its arms out toward the assailing fighters, its palms glowing. The mega particle cannons charge for not even a second before firing off massive beams in their direction. The fighters are enveloped by the stream of particles, breaking apart in the brilliant torrent, leaving not even enough metal to scrap. The SR-0 lowers its arms – and then immediately it turns to us, hovering about, gawking at it.

“I think it’s still angry,” Hearn says nervously.

“Major Udongein,” SMD’s robotic voice suddenly interjects on the radio, “An unidentified aircraft is approaching this location at an extremely high speed, unmatched by almost anything in the GDA’s database…”

Wha…? An unknown?

Major Udongein deals with it calmly, “ETA?”

“It is already here.”

“Ah!”

I look down at the radar, amazed. A single signature is approaching from the west, at a velocity that I know the Kreuzritters can’t possibly hope to match. A 120%... no, more than that, it’s moving at the speed of around 130% of a Type-R’s top acceleration, maybe even more. But what on this Earth can have such high specifications without being in the GDA’s database? Is it a secret prototype from the GDA, or an enemy unit from the UG? With grit teeth, I look back up to the front monitors and turn the MK II in the direction of the fast approaching unit.

My first impression of it is that it must be a plane of some kind, with its long, narrow, and pointed form, like a bird’s. No, in fact, it is a bird, with a beak-like nose and feathered wings – a mechanical bird, painted bright red and white.

But, that’s not correct either.

The bird-like machine shuts off its thrusters, dragging hard against the wind as it slows down to a sudden stop – and as it does, it changes form. From a bird-like mode, it changes into a humanoid shape, through mechanisms too complex to follow with a human eye. A bit taller than our Kreuzritters, the unidentified Combat Frame hovers in the air; the nose of the plane has shaped into its head, the wings have folded back to reveal its arms, and the back boosters have separated to form its legs.

“It transformed!?” Usami says, amazed.

Hearn seems more excited than she should be. “Whoa, cool!”

“A variable aerial Combat Frame…” the Major mutters darkly, “But, there shouldn’t be any ready for testing at the moment. The bugs in the transformations haven’t been worked out yet.”

“Oi, oi, oi, oi!” an unfamiliar woman’s voice hails us on the open channel. “Hey you, GDA dogs, listen to me for a minute!”

“Huh?” Hearn confusedly replies.

Usami seems offended. “Dogs?”

“Identify yourself,” Major Udongein demands of her.

“Yeah, no, I ain’t identifying jack. Can’t risk this job or this machine,” the woman replies, “But anyway, looks to me like that big fella over there is just about ready to start ripping you all apart, so how’s this: I’ll help you take it down, as long as you don’t ask me any questions.”

You must be joking…

[ ] You could use all the help you can get.
[ ] No way, you can’t trust this woman.
-[ ] Tell her to buzz off.
-[ ] Attempt to capture her.

----

BATTLE LOG:

F-32 (A.I.) x 3 was shot down by Kreuzritter MK II (Steyr)
F-32 (A.I.) x 2 was shot down by Kreuzritter Type-R (Renko)
F-32 (A.I.) x 2 was shot down by Kreuzritter Type-S (Mary)
F-32 (A.I.) x 3 was shot down by Commander Kreuzritter Type-R (Udongein)
SR-0 (Subject #1) entered T-Link Burst mode.
SR-0 B (Subject #1) began moving.
F-32 (A.I.) x 2 was shot down by SR-0 B (Subject #1)
Allied reinforcement appeared: ?????? (?????)

----
>> No. 36125
[x] No way, you can’t trust this woman.
-[x] Tell her to buzz off.

I don't think so Tim. Something like this is way, way too suspicious. The SR-0 suddenly showing up is one thing, but to have another mech with advanced tech in it show up out of the blue? That's just crazy. We can't trust someone this unknown.
>> No. 36126
[X] You could use all the help you can get.

>No, in fact, it is a bird, with a beak-like nose and feathered wings – a mechanical bird, painted bright red and white.
Elemental lord of windfire? Hell yes, I'll take your help. Besides, the SR-0 could seriously damage the Samidare, so the more targets to distract it, the better.
>> No. 36127
[X] You could use all the help you can get.

Our objective is to A) take down the mother ship and B) protect ours. The last thing we need is another enemy.
>> No. 36131
[X] You could use all the help you can get.
>> No. 36132
[X] You could use all the help you can get.
Fighting two advanced units? Yeah no.
>> No. 36135
[x] No way, you can’t trust this woman.
-[x] Tell her to buzz off.
>> No. 36145
[X] You could use all the help you can get.
>> No. 36236
File 131366603339.jpg - (277.76KB , 1024x768 , cybuster.jpg ) [iqdb]
36236
[x] You could use all the help you get.
----

“I don’t like it, but I don’t think we have much of a choice here,” I say, setting the comm. frequency to a private channel. “We don’t know a single thing about this woman, but whoever she is, that machine’s sure to be an advanced model. I don’t think we should risk making her our enemy, at least not while the SR-0 is ready to rampage around.” At the end of my sentence, I quickly add, “But it’s your call as field commander, Alpha Leader.”

There is a brief moment of silence, during which the Major takes her time to consider the situation we’re in. At the same time, the SR-0 raises its arms, pointing them in our direction. The unmistakable sound of the arm particle cannons being charged ring throughout the air. Finally, the Major declares to the open channel, “We accept your terms. Alpha team, prepare to engage the SR-0!”

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olqIQ3WFDR0

“Roger!”
”Got it!”

“Let’s get crackin’, then!” the unidentified woman barks.

The SR-0 discharges its cannons, the wide beams spreading out as it travels over the air. Reacting at a flash upon seeing the bright green light of the cannons firing, I pull fiercely to the side, the MK II responding quickly and swerving hard to the right. The others quickly scramble to dodge out of the way as well, breaking apart our loose formation.

The unknown machine takes to the fore, jetting out ahead of the others. With incredible speed, it zooms toward the SR-0, faster than any fighter plane I’ve seen. It lifts up its arms, and the forearm plates lift back to reveal twin hidden gatlings. With a roar, they fire, streams of red sparks streaking across the sky, toward the hijacked prototype. The rapidly fired bullets leave bright blue trails in the air as they shoot through it; she’s probably using incendiary rounds.

“Alpha 1, Alpha 2,” the Major calls, “Close in on the SR-01. Alpha 3 and I will provide long-range fire.”

“Roger that,” I say, pushing the controls forward.

The MK II boosts ahead, beginning to quickly close the distance between itself and the SR-0. The beast isn’t paying attention to me right now; the unknown transforming CF is already keeping its hands full, flying circles around it while unloading its incendiary bullets. The white-red machine pulls up as the SR-0 fires another blast at it, swooping up just in time to dodge the torrent of destruction. At the same time, half a dozen missiles streak out of the back of its hip, zipping through the air as they home in on the SR-0. The SR-0 raises its barrier, and the missiles explode against it, doing no damage to the Frame at all.

“You know,” Hearn begins, her unit flying side-by-side with mine, “I think having a barrier like that is just cheating.”

“I certainly am getting tired of it.”

…Yes, the biggest hurdle in fighting this thing isn’t the sheer firepower it possesses; as far as mobility and acceleration goes, our machines are superior to it, and we can easily anticipate and avoid its slow-firing weapons. That TK field is the obstacle we have to overcome in this battle; if we can’t even land a solid hit on it, we’ll never be able to achieve victory. As far as I know, there are two ways to get past that field; one is to simply break through with brute force; that might be possible if the Major and Usami’s CFs were to coordinate their attacks together with their VLBR at maximum power. The second way is to surround it, and attack it from many different angles at once; that forces the SR-0 to divide the shielding, creating weak spots in the field that can be exploited, like what happened last ti…

Wait—

I lean forward, zooming in on the SR-0’s torso. Last time I fought this thing, I was only barely able to fend it off, but that was because I was lucky and hit the machine’s T-Link System drive. If I can just aim for it – and get in even a single hit – I can disable this thing with just a single shot. Where is it… where’s the pod that houses the T-Link System drive!? Ah…!

“Shit,” I curse under my breath.

The torso’s changed. Of course, it was to correct that design flaw! The crucial drive within the Frame, only lightly guarded before, is now protected under layers and layers of thick armor. Whoever repaired this thing, whether it was the hijacking pilot, the Underground Resistance, or some other unknown benefactor; they studied the machine and improved on its design! And if that’s true, then there’s no telling what other nasty things they might have done to this machine. Is that why it’s here? To test its effectiveness in combat!?

----

“The Stork is entering firing range.”

Brigadier General Kirisame stands up in his seat, scowling. His palms pressed to the desk before him, he barks at the A.I. “Fire the main cannons! We have to sink it before it can fire on us!”

”The Stork’s main cannons have already begun their charge,” the A.I. responds, “Firing now would lower the strength of the Absolute Dimensional Barrier.”

“Can the Barrier withstand the damage?”

“Because of the damage it’s sustained, the Stork’s collective fire output has been reduced by 40%. There is a 67.4% chance that, with the barrier at maximum strength, that all damage will be negated. However, should we choose to return fire at the same time, that percentage will decrease to 28.7%. The Stork will be ready to fire within eight seconds. What is your command, Brigadier General?”

[ ] Attack.
[ ] Evade.
[ ] Defend.
>> No. 36240
[x] Defend
Unless we have Elzam Branstein piloting the battleship, it's not going to evade jack.
>> No. 36241
[X] Defend.
>> No. 36277
[X] Defend
>> No. 36325
[x] Defend.
----

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk0sPhKp75A

The Wildkrahe A pulls out of a dive, looping around the nose of the flying carrier while evading anti-air fire from above and below. Its sister unit likewise flitters about the ship. A sharp whistle pierces through the air as the Stork’s functional cannons begin charging its cannons, each of them aligned so that they point directly at the Samidare. Below, the Wildhund quickly reverses its direction, pointing all thrusters forward to propel itself away from the Stork.

“Hey!” its pilot barks, “Back off, it’s about to fire!”

The flying units quickly scatter, boosting away from the Stork. The bird-shaped battleship continues to lumber forward as its cannons finish their charging. The cannons mounted below the belly of the ship fire first – pale, wide yellow beams that pierce through the air with a powerful roar – before the cannons mounted on its wings follow just a second laser, sending a volley of half a dozen beams at the Samidare.

“Concentrate all power on the Absolute Dimensional Barrier!” the Brigadier General commands.

A light surrounds the Samidare battleship, a pale bubble appearing and enclosing around it. The surface of the bubble-like field is flowing and moving, like the surface of a raging river, swirling about in constant movement. The color of the field is a sky blue, deep – but not so deep, not so opaque that it completely masks the appearance of the ship; its white silhouette can be seen inside the shield. The beams fired from the Stork streak across the sky, and strike against the Samidare’s shield. The shield shakes violently as the current of beam particles rage against it, like a dam trying to hold off a river, and shakes even more as the second wave strikes.

“Nnngh!” the Brigadier General grunts, holding onto the armrests of his seat for support as the bridge trembles fearfully, managing to stay standing. His grip remains strong until the shaking ceases, at which point the captain immediately barks, “SMD, damage report!”

“No hull damage detected. Absolute Dimensional Barrier operating at 12.61% power.”

“So we made it through,” Kirisame sighs, with a look of relief. He doesn’t allow himself much reprieve, however, immediately standing at attention once again, gesturing forward with his arm and commanding with a deep, bellowing voice, “Ready all forward cannons and begin charging energy particles! Fire when ready! I want that Stork out of the skies!”

The Samidare’s cannons align themselves, pointing directly at the Stork still approaching ahead. With high-pitched whistles, they begin to build up particles, the barrels warming to intense temperatures as they ready themselves to fire. With a flash and a roar, more than a dozen narrow beams shoot out from the Samidare, traveling straight ahead toward the enemy carrier, followed by much larger, wider beams fired directly from the bow of the battleship. The Stork makes no attempt to take any evasive maneuvers, continuing to fly straight ahead, and is pelted by the dozen beams, the streaks of light burning through its hulls. The main cannons hit it dead-on, ripping through the Stork, causing an explosion which splits the vessel in half in mid-air, the pieces falling to the ocean.

“Destruction of enemy ship confirmed,” SMD reports, “Only the SR-0 remains on the battlefield.”

----

“The Stork’s gone down…” I say, looking off to the side at the wreckage falling to the ocean.

“Everyone’s clear on their roles, correct?” the Major asks.

“Heh, ‘course,” the unidentified woman says with a nasty chuckle, “I don’t got any problems with your plan, but your little wings are still green, aren’t they? You better make sure they don’t screw up, or we’re all dead.”

“That won’t be a problem. Let’s go.”

Right, let’s get finished up here, too. I reaffirm my grip on the controls. The MK II reaches around to its back for the sniper rifle, holstering the beam rifle behind its hip. As it brings the folded rifle around to its front, it swings the barrel around and locks it into place, holding the gun with both hands. Boosting back, it flies into a formation, between Usami’s and the Major’s Type-Rs. Hearn’s Type-S is to the right, circling around the SR-0, while the stranger’s mystery unit is to the left, baiting the SR-0 for an attack.

The beast itself remains immobile in the air. Even though it’s gone berserk with its attacks, it doesn’t seem to have much motivation for moving from where it is. That’s fine. If it wants to be a sitting target, then I won’t complain. With the rifle at the ready, I wait for the Major to give the order.

“Fire!”

The Major lets her VLBR roar, spraying a concentrated beam of destructive particles at the SR-0. The thick streak of light pierces through the air toward the machine but the eerie field surrounding the beast acts quickly to shield it, concentrating around the front of the immense CF to challenge the beam and to quickly neutralize it; at the same time, Hearn’s Type-S begins to move in. Next, after a single second interval, Usami fires with her own VLBR, to the same effect as the Major’s; at the same time, the unknown CF strafes around behind the SR-0, while closing distance.

Finally, I steady the aim of my rifle, pointing it at the center mass of the enemy machine and pulling the trigger. I have no hopes that the shot will penetrate the barrier. It’s not powerful enough to go through that field. But even so, it’s enough. The fired round soars toward the machine, and as expected, the moment it strikes that glowing TK field, it’s stopped completely, drained of its velocity. However…

“Now!”

From behind, the Type-S and the aerial CF open fire with their beam rifle and forearm gatlings. With the SR-0’s barrier all concentrated at the fore, the shielding on the back is weakened and exposed. The beams and the incendiary rounds penetrate through the weakened field and hit their target: the boosters keeping the SR-0 flying. As though it were in pain, the beast flails around immediately the moment it’s hit, and spinning its body around, it begins to descend, smoke and fire trailing from its backpack as it sinks into the water below. With the main boosters damaged to that extent, not even that thing will be able to surface on its own now.

“Alright! Hearn says happily, “We did it!”

Major Udonge is, for once, willing to acknowledge her abilities, “You did well, Alpha 2.”

...the biggest threat to us is gone, now, but not all of them.

I look to the side, at the unit piloted by the woman we know nothing about. Her CF has its back turned toward me; it might be prudent to shoot her down now. Not only is it highly likely that she has information that we want, but it’s also likely that she’s plotting to shoot us in the back as well. She certainly didn’t come to aid us against the SR-0 out of altruism. If, for example, her mission is to recover the SR-0 for whatever faction she works for, then what we would have here would be a conflict of interests…

[ ] Shoot her in the back.
[ ] Leave her be for now.
>> No. 36326
[x] Leave her be for now.

Even putting aside morals, it's not a very sound strategic decision. We have no idea who we'll be pissing off, or if we are even capable of downing it in one shot. Not to mention that this is certainly not the kind of decision you make on your own, being in a military.
>> No. 36328
[x] Shoot her in the back.

While she's not expecting it.
>> No. 36329
[X] Leave her be for now.

>>36328

No no no, first you wait and see if she makes a hostile move, then shoot her in the back.
>> No. 36330
[x] Leave her be for now.
>> No. 36331
[X] Leave her be for now.

As it is she's a mysterious third party, but shooting her in the back will guarantee that she will become our enemy.
>> No. 36332
[X] Leave her be for now.
>> No. 36337
[x] Leave her be for now.

Let's not provoke her.
>> No. 36346
[x] Leave her be for now.
We did promise her.
>> No. 36350
[x] Shoot her in the back.

I'm greedy, and I couldn't give a single shit less about whatever possible factions we might be pissing off. This mech has advanced tech, and I mean for the GDA to have it. The rest will sort itself out on its own.
>> No. 36356
[x] Shoot her in the back.

Ok.
>> No. 36367
>I look to the side, at the unit piloted by the woman we know nothing about. Her CF has its back turned toward me; it might be prudent to shoot her down now. Not only is it highly likely that she has information that we want, but it’s also likely that she’s plotting to shoot us in the back as well. She certainly didn’t come to aid us against the SR-0 out of altruism. If, for example, her mission is to recover the SR-0 for whatever faction she works for, then what we would have here would be a conflict of interests…

Uh, guys? This is kinda important.

[x] Shoot her in the back.
>> No. 36369
[x] Shoot her in the back.

Go for EX.
>> No. 36370
[X] Leave her be for now.

>>36367
Even if there's a conflict of interests, there's no reason to be a backstabbing dick. She helped us, so she gets one chance to realize she's outnumbered and back off.
>> No. 36371
>>36369
This might be like picking a fight with the Granzon... something generally best avoided unless you're cheating.
>> No. 36373
>>36371
Perhaps you mean the Inspectors, because the Granzon is very beatable whenever it shows up.
>> No. 36375
File 131428722866.png - (178.93KB , 396x400 , graterkin.png ) [iqdb]
36375
>>36373
Except you get special loot for beating the Inspectors.
>> No. 36378
>>36375
and that's only after enduring a long battle against enemies who could easily one shot your units and two-shot your battleship. In this case going for such an option would definitely forfeit the battle mastery, similar to what going after the Granzon in OG1 ends up doing.
>> No. 36379
>>36378
What does Battle Mastery even do? I don't play SWR.
>> No. 36380
>>36379
Determines certain events, secrets and a sign of not being a weaksauce player.
>> No. 36381
[X] Leave her be for now.
>> No. 36509
[X] Leave her be for now.
>> No. 36535
[x] Leave her be for now.
----

…No, no, I can’t act rashly. Although I don’t think it would be wise to just let her go at this point, I also can’t allow myself to act on my own and provoke hostilities. Even if our interests are in conflict with each other, that woman has to realize that we’ve got her outnumbered and outgunned. Even if her Combat Frame is much more advanced than ours, she wouldn’t dare face us head-on with these odds. No one would be crazy enough to try to attack when it’s one against four—no, one against seven. No matter how advanced the machine, there’s a limit to what it can do…

“Yo, good work, military dogs,” the woman radios us on the open channel, her tone that of a bored, disrespectful drawl, “I guess you’re not as incompetent as the rest. Pleasure working with you all, but now I gotta haul that thing back to the boss.”

The Major’s Kreuzritter reacts immediately to the mystery woman’s words, fixing the barrel of its rifle toward the white-red Frame. Major Udongein’s harsh voice answers her on the radio. “I don’t think so. Do you really think the GDA would allow an unknown to gain access to military secrets?”

“Pfft, of course I wouldn’t think that. What are you, stupid?”

Following the Major’s lead, I point the barrel of the rifle toward the aerial CF as well, although I hold my fire for now. With an unshaking, almost commanding voice, I address the woman over the channel, “We outnumber you, four-to-one. I suggest you give up any prospect of recovering that CF for yourself.”

“Really now? Four-to-one?” she says, taking a moment to chuckle. “Heh, is that really the case? I mean, I only count two of you.”

What is she… oh no!

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buOBWm6vnao

“Wha!?” Hearn’s voice comes in a frightened squeak.

Before any of us can react, the aerial Frame changes form, smoothly transitioning into its bird-like configuration as it flies forward in the air, shooting like a bolt of lightning toward Hearn’s Type-S. Drawing near, it changes form once again into its humanoid form, quickly slowing to a stop in front of the Kreuzritter.

Panicking, Hearn’s Type-S raises its arm, beam saber flowing out of it, and swings down but the unknown frame quickly dodges to the side—the same side as the swinging arm—and raises its leg in a kick. The talons on its legs rip through the joint of the elbow, severing it there. The Kreuzritter reels back, attempting to boost away, but the bird-like frame is too fast for it—it quickly pursues after it with a low roundhouse kick. The talons on its foot tear through the joints of the Type-S’s left thigh, cutting off the entire leg.

“N-no!” I hear her cry out.

The Kreuzritter, having lost its auto-balancer functions, spins around haphazardly in the air, its remaining arm and leg flailing about ridiculously as it goes down toward the ocean. It hits the surface of the water with a great impact, and begins to sink into its depths.

“Mary!” Usami cries out. With anger evident in her actions, she and her Type-R move forward, toward the now hostile unknown unit. It raises its variable-length beam rifle, firing bursts from it as it dashes forward. “How dare you--!”

“Usami, no!” I say out aloud to her, although she doesn’t seem to hear me, continuing to advance toward the new enemy.

The unknown mech changes form again, taking flight once again as a fiery bird. Riding the winds with ease, it dodges the beam rifle shots fired at it as though it were child’s play, moving at a speed far too fast for the targeting computer to lock onto. Swerving to direct its “head” toward Usami’s Kreuzritter, from its topside it lets loose a volley of missiles. Usami’s machine darts to and fro, firing at the missiles to destroy them before they reach her, but…

“Oh, damn—”

The unknown unit had closed in using its ridiculous speed, moving around to the Kreuzritter’s back as it was busy shooting at the missiles. Changing form again, it raises its leg and delivers a slashing kick to the Combat Frame’s backpack boosters. An explosion in the backpack sends the machine flying forward as it begins to lose altitude, sputtering and coughing black smoke from its damaged backpack as it falls toward the ocean, just like the SR-0 did a moment ago.

“See?” the mystery woman says, with sickening self-satisfaction, “I told you: I only count two of you.”

In a flash, she’s used her overwhelming speed to disable two of us. And it’s not just a matter of difference in our machines’ specs; she’s cunning, pragmatic. She’d noticed earlier in the battle that those two had the least experience out of us, so she targeted them first. Not only that, but she knows just where to strike to inflict crippling damage to our frames; when she attacked the Type-S, she bypassed its thick armor altogether by attacking the uncovered joints, the structural weaknesses in the machine. She’s not just in an advanced CF; she’s got more than enough skill and experience to make good use of it.

What next…?

[ ] Rescue Usami.
[ ] Rescue Hearn.
[ ] Stay in the fight and back the Major.

----

BATTLE LOG:

Stork (A.I.) was shot down by Samidare (Kirisame)
SR-0B has been disabled.
?????? (?????) turned hostile.
Kreuzritter Type-S (Mary) has been disabled.
Kreuzritter Type-R (Usami) has been disabled.

----
>> No. 36536
[X] Rescue Hearn.

No man gets left behind.

This is top priority given that the Type-S is going to be heavy as all hell due to the much thicker armor plating, even with the loss of a leg and an arm; especially since delicate internal systems are going to be flooded with salt water now. Not to mention the total lose of the stabilizer. Mary is in a much more precarious position than Renko is.

I'm also not sure how much of a help we'll be in battle due to the Mk II being a basic all-rounder type machine, and the opponent being fast as fuck. It's not particularly likely that we'll even be able to hit her. The Major is the most prepared given that she has a Commander Type R, and the most experience of anyone on the team.

Shit, I'm not sure that voting to backstab this bitch would even have done anything more than a glancing blow given just how ridiculously fast her Frame is.
>> No. 36542
[x] Stay in the fight and back the Major.

Merri and Renko aren't stupid. They should have safely ejected themselves from the CF as soon as they were disabled. Considering how fast this thing took them out, our only chance at surviving this encounter relatively intact will be gang up on it.

Remember, she attacked the most inexperienced members first, and there was nothing Steyr or the Major could do about it. What do you honestly expect to happen if we pull a super rookie move and break ranks to help a downed comrade.
>> No. 36544
[X] Stay in the fight and back the Major.

We should give Reisen a hand against the Cybuster expy. Renko and Mary should be safe with the Wild series free from the fight.
>> No. 36545
[X] Rescue Hearn.
>> No. 36551
True, all types of vehicle have some sort of safety feature built in, and I'm positive the military have it more so. (People die in wars all the time, don't need even more dying due to safety precautions on being met.)

If we are really worried about them we can have the Wild's take care of them
[x]Stay in the fight and back the Major.
-[x] Have a Wild check on Hearn and Usami,
>> No. 36689
[x] Stay in the fight and back the Major.
----

“Tsk,” I click my tongue, keeping my eyes on the monitor as I fumble for the radio switch. Flicking the comm. on, I speak into it. “Alpha 2, Alpha 3, status report. Are you alright?”

No response. I don’t know if their radio is just malfunctioning or if something’s wrong. I can’t see if they’ve ejected from the cockpit, either. However, I can’t just leave in the middle of a battle to check up on them. If I show the enemy even the slightest hint of weakness, then she’s going to exploit it for all it’s worth; if I turned my back on her now, she’d shoot me down without hesitation. But that doesn’t mean I have to ignore them either. I turn the dial on the radio, tuning into a private link.

“Alpha 1 to Assault Scout team. Alpha 2 and Alpha 3 have been shot down by the unknown enemy unit. Requesting recovery.”

“Eh?” one of the Assault Scout members reply, “Ah, OK! We’ll go ahead and collect them. Don’t you worry about it!”

A deeper voice joins the conversation, “This is Scout Leader. Scout 1 and Scout 2 will handle the recovery. I’ll provide support.”

“Much appreciated.”

Not even a second after I’ve given thanks, the unknown bird-like machine – for now, let’s call it the Phoenix – aligns its arms toward my MK II. With a sharp breath, I pull my machine to the side just in time to avoid a storm of flaming bullets. The Phoenix’s arms follow my path, keeping me on the run as it sprays its barrage of fiery projectiles after me. A beam of lightning flashes from across the machine, an attack from behind by the Major – but the Phoenix immediately ceases fire and flies up, fancily spinning its body vertically as it does so, as though it were an acrobat.

“What’s wrong, is that all?” the Phoenix’s pilot says with a cruel laugh.

The deafening crack of a high-impact round being fired fills the air, but the Phoenix flits away near-instantly, dodging the round as easily as though it were child’s play. My eyes glance to the side for just a moment – the WIldhund floats over the water, shield-rifle pointed up in the air – so she was able to dodge even a well-aimed shot from a sniper. Her skill is incredible… or is it the capabilities of her machine? Either way, it’s clear that her performance is several notches higher than anything we can offer. It seems almost hopeless, despite the numerical advantage we have.

The Phoenix rushes forward at me—she’s singling me out now, firing a volley of homing missiles from its waist. I pull my machine back, hitting the secondary trigger. The Kreuzritter opens its chest compartments, the vulcans opening fire as the missiles draw near. As the missiles explode, the Phoenix soars through the explosion clouds, transformed into its bird configuration. It’s the same trick she used against Usami – but I won’t fall for it!

Dropping its sniper rifle, the Kreuzritter darts forward to meet the Phoenix head-on. As it reconfigures back into its humanoid form, the MK II swings its arm out, the saber flowing freely from the forearm emitter, aiming to slash from the hip to the shoulder—but as soon as it’s finished transforming, the Phoenix swings its legs out, flaring the boosters on its feet at my machine. The thrusters push against the MK II, pushing it back and out of melee range.

“Damn!” I curse, gritting my teeth. I’d hoped I could get it while it was still transforming and defenseless.

“You’re pretty smart,” the enemy pilot starts, “but your timing was off. You’re still just an amateur too, aren’t you?”

I give no reply as the Kreuzritter drifts back, reaching to its back for its beam rifle. Bringing it to the front, it takes aim – but the Phoenix immediately darts out of the crosshairs, moving from side-to-side in incredible bursts of speed. The targeting computer just can’t keep up with those kinds of movements. Clicking my tongue again, I reach up and flip the gun-cam to my eye. Her speed is a little too ridiculous to really accurately lead my shots, but I have to give it a try. Trying to predict where she’s going to movement, I fire – the beam travels through the air, but misses the Phoenix by a wide margin. With an impatient grunt, I take aim and fire again. Same result. A thicker beam travels from the side, fired by the Major’s VLBR, but the Phoenix dodges that, too, and just in time to dodge another round from the sniper below.

“This is insane,” I mutter, “None of us can hit this thing.”

“Ensign Steyr,” the Major’s voice crackles on the radio, “You’ll have to engage the enemy at close range. Long-range attacks are getting us nowhere. Scout Leader and I will provide cover fire; use that chance to make your way to the target.”

Melee, huh. Well, it’s worth a try.

The Major’s Type-R flies forward, switching its rifle to its short-range mode and letting loose a three-shot burst at the Phoenix – the aerial unit twirls and weaves, dodging the shots, while also pirouetting out of the way of a sniper round from the Wildhund; taking that as the signal for my part I push the thrusters to top acceleration, fighting against the Gs to keep my body upright as the Kreuzritter boosts forward. I make it to within 200 meters to the target before it spins around to meet my charge. The MK II stabs out with its left arm, saber at the ready, and the Phoenix kicks up with its leg – it hits the arm without touching the beam emitter, deflecting the blade away.

But I don’t stop.

The Kreuzritter bodily smashes against the machine, tackling it out of the air, and I quickly press my advantage: it reaches out with its arms, and grabs the unknown machine by its wrists, restraining its arms by pinning them outward. At the same time, the Kreuzritter presses its body tightly to the other machine, so that it has no room to swing its legs. With its arms locked in place, it can’t fire those forearm gatling guns, and at this range, it can’t kick and the missiles won’t be able to hit me, either. I’ve won.

“Wha—”

“Give it up. You can’t use any of your weapons now.”

“Hah,” she scoffs. “…And that’s why you’re an amateur.”

…She’s not concerned?

“This Suzaku can withstand up to 2000°F,” the woman explains, almost gloating, “but I wonder if yours can, too. Probably not.”

What? Oh no…!

The shoulder guards of the Phoenix pull back, revealing a pair of what I’m certain is flamethrower nozzles. I barely have time to even let go of the machine before they spew out a torrent of inferno, filling my monitor with the scene of what must be a fiery Hell before all visuals are knocked out, leaving me in darkness. The inside of the cockpit gets extremely hot, with everything malfunctioning from overheating. I shield my face as a few of the instruments explode in sparks, grunting as I feel myself entering a sudden descent. It’s begun falling. I reach under my seat for the emergency eject system, but the button does nothing – it must have gotten fried…!

Breathing heavily and feeling lightheaded as the machine continues to fall at a high speed, I brace myself for the impact against the water. The cockpit shakes and bangs, with such severity that if I had had a bigger lunch today I’d be sure to have lost it now, but I manage to cling onto consciousness.

Not that it makes a difference, as I find myself surrounded in darkness as the Kreuzritter begins to sink into the ocean.

----

As the Kreuzritter MK II sinks into the sea, the phoenix-like Combat Frame turns to the last remaining Kreuzritter. Inside it, the pilot addresses the other in the most disrespectful tone of voice she can muster. “So, you gonna let me go on with my job, or am I gonna have to send you to the bottom of the ocean too? You’re the field commander, aren’t you? Tell the rest of ‘em to back off and I’ll be on my way – with the big guy in tow though, of course.”

Major Udongein narrows her eyes, looking at the enemy unit with such hate. She carefully weighs her options, pausing for a moment before giving a replying…

[ ] Continue to engage the enemy unit.
[ ] Cut your losses and let her go.

----

BATTLE LOG:

Wildkrahe A (Aya) returned to the ship.
Wildkrahe H (Hatate) returned to the ship.
Kreuzritter MK II (Steyr) was disabled.

----
>> No. 36691
[x] Continue to engage the enemy unit.

She is obviously holding herself back; intentionally disabling all of our units instead of outright killing them. We have nothing to lose in this fight, and everything to gain. We'll either kick her ass and get some sweet technology for the GDA, or we'll suffer a humiliating, but not disastrous, defeat at her hands. She wanted to start some shit, even though you spineless fools voted to leave her be, so now we're committed.
>> No. 36696
Depends, while allowing an enemy to gain our technological prototype is all kinds of bad. We just lost 3 robots, and if we go down too. Then the only thing protecting the Samidare will be the three wild types. This is also not our main objective, we still need to get to Victoria base, and depending on what Phoenix did to our robots will take a while to fix which will cause us either to not get to Victoria Base in time or be underarmed/unrepaired.
>> No. 36698
>>36696
No, it does not depend. We know for a fact that the unknown will not attack the Samidare. We can infer this from supposition, because she didn't immediately attack it upon entrance, when her chances of success were that much higher because our entire side was incredibly distracted. That, and, oh I don't know, the fact that she flat-out said her job was to recover the SR-0?

The rest of your "points" are all moot. Alpha team rolls with rather generic mechs. Their loss is negligible, and will have, essentially, zero effect upon the main mission. Whereas, if we can somehow retrieve the Pheonix, and with it the SR-0, we will immediately procure a decisive advantage for our entire faction. It's a situation where we have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
>> No. 36700
[x] Cut your losses and let her go.

This is like an early Granzon battle in OG1: about impossible unless you're very prepared/overleveled. And last time I checked, there was no preparation on our end.

>>36698
If the fight goes one much longer she WILL.
>> No. 36702
[X] Cut your losses and let her go.

I doubt we could win this one, it's a blatant storyline loss. Even if we -somehow- managed to disable her, she would've still regenerate and finish her own mission, while leaving us that much more depleted.

It's like having our lvl 5 guys fighting a lvl 30 enemy ace. Not impossible if you've fully upgraded all your mechs, but totally not worth it unless it's your second playthrough and you have a score to settle for what's to come in the latter parts of the story.
>> No. 36705
>We know for a fact
>We can infer this from supposition
You're contradicting yourself.
>> No. 36706
[X] Cut your losses and let her go.

Knowing when to retreat is also a tactical skill. This is not a fight that can be won as is - both of the remaining units are long range attackers, which have already proven completely ineffective against the sheer speed and maneuverability of the opponent. The only person remotely close to being skilled enough to win this is the Major, and given that she has had precisely zero reason to hold back against this opponent, and has still been unable to harm them, she does not have good prospects. Losing here would just disable two more of our machines, and cost us valuable time and resources while we are en route to a fully armed and operational military base with no stop overs due to, you know, all our military bases in the region being compromised. It is a blow to our pride, sure, but we have bigger fish to fry at the moment.

We'll have our chance for payback later, I'm sure.
>> No. 36769
[X] Cut your losses and let her go.
>> No. 36932
[X] Cut your losses and let her go.

It was worth the try while we were still at full power, but by now the defeat is obvious. Without savestates to ensure some 1% hits and 99% evades continuing to fight is an exercise in futility. We can smoke her later when we get some overpowered prototypes for ourselves, for now just let her go already.
>> No. 36951
[x] Cut your losses and let her go.
----

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqjbQKeg4yM

“Very well,” she says, managing to keep any hostility out of her tone as she calmly gives voice to her words. Although she didn’t like it – who would, in her situation? – it was clear that this unknown pilot held the advantage; the Type-R was ill-equipped for fighting against an opponent with such superior mobility. “We will not pursue you.“

“Glad to see someone here has a brain,” the pilot of the phoenix-like Frame replies with a smirk, shifting her grip on the controls of her machine.

The unidentified CF leans forward, looking down at the ocean surface below as it shifts to its bird configuration. Streaking through the air with its nose pointed down, it plummets into the water like a thrown javelin, disappearing into its depths. Not long after, the blip representing it on Major Udongein’s radar disappears, indicating that the unknown Frame’s heat signature had either disappeared, or could not be detected.

The Assault Scout Leader puts on a dissatisfied frown, linking with Major Udongein’s machine. With a careful edge to her voice, she speaks, “Was it okay to let her go like that? We don’t know who she’s working for. Military secrets might end up getting leaked.”

“It’s already too late for that,” the Major says, biting her lip. “…But it’s fine. The operation comes before the recovery of the SR-0. That woman was well-informed; if we had tried to continue the engagement, she most likely would have threatened to cripple the Samidare.”

“Ah… I see,” Scout Leader says, leaning back in her seat, comprehension dawning upon her. “Still, it’s really too bad we couldn’t recover the prototype…”

“What’s done is done. Don’t let it bother you,” the Major says, before cutting the link. For a few seconds, she sits in her cockpit, staring straight ahead into the monitor without motion. Finally, she lets out a sigh, and speaks words that only she herself can hear, “…and I already have a pretty good idea of who hired that woman, anyway.”

----

3:30 PM
Medical Bay, Samidare


BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vf8QbnLLRKE

The door slides open, and Hearn quickly passes through the open doorway, while I follow after her at a much more relaxed pace. The cause of her hurry is currently sitting up in one of the clinic beds, a bandaging wrapped around her head. When Usami crashed into the water, the impact was very severe, and because she had taken off her helmet before, she ended up like this. Nothing serious, of course; she needed a few stitches, but she’ll be as good as new in no time, or so they told me. Hearn, for her part, seems both relieved and at the same time distressed.

“Renko!” she cries out, hurry to her bed. “I’m sorry, it’s because of me you got hurt! If I wasn’t so terrible at piloting, you wouldn’t have—”

“It’s fine,” Usami quickly cuts her off, holding up a hand to shush her, “It wasn’t your fault, it was mine. I shouldn’t have let her bait me like that, I should have known better.” Shaking her head, she looks up to me, and raises an eyebrow. “What’s up, Steyr? You’ve got a really scary look on your face.”

I had been scowling for so long that apparently I had even ceased to notice. “It’s nothing. I’ve just been thinking a little about the mystery Frame that attacked us.”

“That thing was insane,” she says, biting her lip. “The computer couldn’t keep up with it. I couldn’t keep up with it. And it just appeared out of nowhere, so fast!”

“Yeah, that was scary…” Hearn says, sighing. “It took off with the SR-0, right? I wonder who sent that woman…”

“That’s what I’ve been thinking about,” I say, folding my arms. “I can say with certainty that it wasn’t one of ours’.”

“What makes you so sure of that?” Usami asks, curious. “Maybe it was a secret prototype.”

“I’ve only heard rumors, but the GDA air force has been trying to develop transforming aerial fighter CFs for a while now,” I explain, unfolding my arms. “But it’s like the Major said. They haven’t worked out the kinks in the exact transformation mechanism yet. The process is too delicate, too precise, and too susceptible to damage and wear to be feasible at this point.”

“And yet, there it was, with all of those flaws seemingly eliminated,” she finishes for me, nodding with comprehension. “So whoever was behind its development must be years ahead of the GDA in technology…”

“Hey, maybe it was that corporation!” Hearn speaks up excitedly. “You know, the one that’s developing the prototype CFs for us! They would have the technology for something like this, wouldn’t they?”

“Unlikely,” I say.

“Yeah, that wouldn’t make sense,” Usami agrees. “That woman was hired to bring back the SR-0, and Kakutasu was the corporation that built the thing, wasn’t it? They gave it to the GDA for testing in the first place. It just wouldn’t make sense for them to hire a mercenary to steal it out from under the nose of the military.”

“Oh…” her friend replies, her cheeks glowing slightly as she looks down at her feet. She looks back up, her face still slightly flushed, but her curiosity exceeding her embarrassment. “So, who do you think it was, then?”

Renko shrugs her shoulders. “Maybe it was from the youkai space colony.”

Is that likely? I don’t really think so. While the youkai colony has officially been granted autonomy some decades back, in practice, it’s still largely reliant on the whims of the Earth to gain their resources. If the GDA were to discover their involvement in this war, they would immediately lose that supply. So unless they were sure that the UG resistance would be able to crush the GDA and had been coordinating for this war for quite some time, I don’t think they would dare to oppose the GDA, but…

“Steyr?” Hearn’s voice jolts me out of my thoughts, and I turn to look at her. “What’s on your mind?”

“Nothing concrete enough to voice,” I say, folding my arms together again. Hearn just looks at me with a confused expression. “Anyway, even if the end of the battle was a little disastrous, we managed to repel the attack without losing speed, and it seems our CFs will be repaired by the time we reach shore, as well.”

“Well, that’s just great,” Usami says with a dull voice. “I was hoping we would have been delayed at least a little bit.”

“Seems luck isn’t on your side then,” I say with a small grin.

Although your face isn’t fixed in a scowl anymore, you still feel a bit disturbed, and uncomfortable. Who – or what – was that pilot working for? What was their purpose in acquiring and modifying the SR-0? Were they working with the UG forces, or are they a neutral party in this war? So many questions were raised by the sudden appearance of those two Frames today, and yet I can’t even see a glimpse of any of the answers…

[ ] Go see the Major. Maybe she’s got a better picture of the situation than you do.
[ ] Check on your CF in the hangar. You could get used to performing maintenance, as well.
[ ] Just take your mind off things and relax for a bit. You’ve gone through a lot, even if it was just one battle.
>> No. 36952
[X] Just take your mind off things and relax for a bit. You’ve gone through a lot, even if it was just one battle.

Steyr'll burn himself out pretty soon if he don't take some R'n'R once in a while.
>> No. 36953
[x] Go see the Major. Maybe she’s got a better picture of the situation than you do.
>> No. 36954
[X] Go see the Major. Maybe she’s got a better picture of the situation than you do.
>> No. 36956
[X] Just take your mind off things and relax for a bit. You’ve gone through a lot, even if it was just one battle.

A mech is easy to fix compared to the spirit and psyche of a pilot.
>> No. 36961
[x] Check on your CF in the hangar. You could get used to performing maintenance, as well.

Who cares where she came from. The only thing that matters is whether or not we'll be able to blast her out of the sky the next time she shows up.
>> No. 36966
[x] Check on your CF in the hangar. You could get used to performing maintenance, as well.
>> No. 37006
[X] Just take your mind off things and relax for a bit. You’ve gone through a lot, even if it was just one battle.

Let's not stress out before a more important battle.
>> No. 37008
[X] Just take your mind off things and relax for a bit. You’ve gone through a lot, even if it was just one battle.

Unwinding after a harrowing experience is important to recovery. We need to be relaxed, and in top shape for when we get to the base.
>> No. 37173
[x] Just take your mind off things and relax for a bit. You’ve gone through a lot, even if it was just one battle.
----

…but it’s not my place to worry about things like that. I’m just a pilot. It doesn’t matter where she’s from, or what reason she had to take the SR-0. All that I need to know is that if she and her Combat Frame appear to us again as an enemy, I need to be able to shoot her down. There’s no point in stressing out about her at the present, and although it’s only been one sortie, I feel drained, both mentally and physically. Deploying for actual combat is… very different from test flights and controlled combat simulations. Shaking my head, I sit down in the chair next to Usami’s bed, folding my arms together.

“But you know,” Hearn starts as she sits at the foot of the bed, practically grinning from ear-to-ear, “we did pretty good, didn’t we? I mean, before that bird Frame started attacking us. The Major praised me, even!”

Usami opens her mouth to say something, but stops herself, pausing for just an instant before nodding with a faint smile. “Yeah, we kicked butt out there, that’s for sure.”

“Just don’t let it get to your head,” I say, though not without a small smile of my own. “Those units were just unmanned drones, following a predictable set of basic algorithms. No different from the generated enemies we’ve been fighting in the simulation battles.”

“Why are they using drones, anyway?” she asks, raising an eyebrow. “And captured GDA equipment, at that.”

“I’m not certain on this, but the UG resistance is most likely a relatively small group compared to the united Earth government. They probably don’t have the resources or the manpower to wage an all-out war with the GDA without bolstering its ranks with those.”

“So they’re throwing anything they can get their hands on at us, huh…” Usami says with a frown.

“But, but,” Hearn speaks up, still grinning, “even if they keep sending those drones at us, we can take care of them easily like today, right?”

If only it were that easy…

“Right,” Usami says, pumping her fist out forward, “we just have to send ‘em packing every time.”

I can’t help but snort. “You sure seem fired up about this war, all of a sudden.”

----

Bridge, Samidare

“I see. It’s unfortunate that the SR-0 has slipped from our grasp once again.”

Brigadier General Kirisame shifts around in his seat. A holographic screen is displayed floating in the air just above the bridge controls, rendering a digitized image of the chairman of Kakutasu Energy, Erich, in his office. The man on the screen folds his white gloved hands together, his elbows resting on the mahogany desk before him. A look of graveness is written in the wrinkled face of the man – or at least, on what’s left of his face. The metal plated half of his face remains static and unchanging, the cybernetic red eye remaining menacing and unblinking.

“The appearance of this unknown variable Combat Frame is troubling news,” Erich speaks through the transmission. He waves one of his hands, and a photographed image of the phoenix-like CF appears next to his screen, floating alongside it. “It is not a model that we at Kakutasu are familiar with, and based on the analysis of the footage you sent us, its max acceleration far exceeds that of any known CF.”

“I see,” the Brigadier General replies, “So even you aren’t familiar with this Frame…”

“I beg your pardon, I’m afraid we are unable to provide any more details,” Erich replies. “However, we can provide you with something else.”

“Oh?” Kirisame raises his eyebrow in interest.

“In light of the involvement of that… extraordinary Combat Frame, we here at Kakutasu Energy feel that the current strength of your battalion may be, shall we say, lacking,” the businessman continues, choosing his words carefully. “Therefore, we have decided to send… special reinforcements to the Samidare.”

The Brigadier General seems unimpressed, narrowing his eyes in suspicion. “What might you be playing at, Mr. Erich?”

“I am not playing anything,” he replies, smiling unassumingly, ”I simply wish to maintain good relations between my company and the Earth government. I would be in quite a predicament should the UG forces prevail and the GDA fall. Therefore, it’s only natural that I would provide whatever may be necessary to combat the enemy.”

Kirisame snorts cynically. “I’m sure you would.”

The transmission ends, and the holographic images blink out of sight with a sound like static.

----

Chairman’s Office, Kakutasu Energy

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqjbQKeg4yM

“Good gracious… what a thing to happen,” Erich sighs, turning his chair around and facing the large window behind his desk, leaning back. “That model was no doubt one of Murasaki’s new Multipurpose Frames. It seems there was a miscalculation.”

“So?” a woman’s voice replies, coming from one of the sofas set in the middle of the office. Lying seductively on it is a woman with long blonde hair, wearing a simple white sundress and fanning herself with a wide-brimmed hat. “What will you do about that woman? You don’t trust her, right?”

“Of course I don’t,” he replies curtly. “She’s dangerous, in more than one way. That’s why I can’t take any actions against her.”

“Wow, she must really be something if she’s got you scared,” she says, laughing. “Mmm, if you ask me, though, I like dangerous women…”

“More importantly,” the voice of a second woman cuts in, from the couch opposite of the seductress’s. A woman with vibrant purple hair in a lab coat sits there lazily, rifling through a thick set of documents in her hands, pausing to push up her glasses as goes, “is it alright to send that to them? The project progress was only 35% complete.”

“Regrettably,” Erich says with a tinge of disappointment. “it does fall short of what we originally envisioned. The features that were omitted weren’t realistically possible with the technology we currently possess. However, what we need right now is reliable combat data, and for that purpose, the project is complete enough.”

“I’m also worried about the pilot we sent,” the woman in the lab coat continues, flipping to a profile page, glancing down at the picture of a young girl with sandy-brown hair. “She’s a sweet kid and all, but I would really rather not put her behind the controls of you-know-what.”

At this, Erich lets out a snort of laughter—although he quickly tries to mask it with a fit of coughing. Regaining composure, he speaks with calm. “She can handle it, I’m sure.”

“Well, if you say so,” the woman shrugs. “Their funeral.”

----

6:30 PM
Jeju Island


“Enemy forces detected,” SMD’s robotic voice echoes throughout the bridge of the Samidare, as flat and monotone as it always is. “Scanning… matching to database. Match found. There are fifteen Tsuchigumo-type Frames on the shore. Furthermore, the enemy has most likely taken control of the eight automated cannon defenses. There are six cannons on the shore, and two further inland. These cannons may be able to significantly damage the Samidare should the Absolute Dimensional Barrier fail, caution is advised.”

“We won’t make it to the base in time for the operation if we try to go around. We’ve no choice but to break through here,” the Brigadier General says, slamming a palm down on the control panel before him. “All pilots are to standby for launch! Samidare…”

[ ] “Full-speed ahead!” (Charge the line and break past the defenses.)
[ ] “Combat speed!” (Destroy the cannons before proceeding.)
[ ] “Full-stop!” (Destroy all defenders before proceeding.)

----

ENEMY OVERVIEW

6x Auto-Cannon
15x Tsuchigumo

----

UNIT OVERVIEW

Alpha team:

Commander Kreuzritter Type-R/Udongein (Long-range specialist, high mobility, low armor)
Kreuzritter MK II/Steyr (Proficient at all ranges, average mobility and armor)
Kreuzritter Type-S/Mary (Close-range specialist, high armor, low mobility)
Kreuzritter Type-R/Renko (Long-range specialist, high mobility, low armor)

Assault Scout team:

Wildhund/Momiji (Close-range specialist/sniper, high armor, low mobility)
Wildkrahe A/Aya (Close/mid-range, high mobility, low armor)
Wildkrahe H/Hatate (Mid/long-range, high mobility, low armor)

----

EQUIPMENT

Kreuzritter MK II/Steyr (Beam Rifle, Sniper Rifle)

Available: M13 Shotgun, 120mm Machinegun, Hyper Bazooka

----

MISSION OBJECTIVES

Winning condition(s):

1.Samidare reaches end of the map.

Losing condtion(s):

1.All allied units destroyed.
2.Samidare is destroyed.

Battle mastery condition(s):

1.Winning condition achieved before turn 7.


----
>> No. 37174
[X] “Combat speed!” (Destroy the cannons before proceeding.)
-[X] Swap Beam Rifle for M13 Shotgun

I'm guessing we're going to take an underwater approach to get close to the cannons, meaning the beam rifle will be useless.
>> No. 37177
[X] “Combat speed!” (Destroy the cannons before proceeding.)
[X] Exchange Beam Rifle for Hyper Bazooka.

We'll need more firepower to reliably bring those towers down before turn 7, with the Samidare providing ammo resupply on the fly should we run out.
>> No. 37179
[X] “Combat speed!” (Destroy the cannons before proceeding.)
[X] Exchange Beam Rifle for Hyper Bazooka.

Well this is interesting, the matter of a rival company, and Yukari at that... though I wonder who the two people are in the office as it sounds like they're moonsues.
>> No. 37181
[X] “Combat speed!” (Destroy the cannons before proceeding.)
[X] Swap Beam Rifle for Hyper bazooka.
>> No. 37185
[x] “Full-speed ahead!” (Charge the line and break past the defenses.)

[X] Swap Beam Rifle for Hyper bazooka.
>> No. 37199
[x] “Combat speed!” (Destroy the cannons before proceeding.)
[x] Exchange Beam Rifle for Hyper Bazooka.
>> No. 37368
[x] “Combat speed!”
----

“…combat speed!”

The bright engines of the white ship flare, growing in intensity as the vessel accelerates toward the coastline, unafraid to meet its challengers head-on. On the beach of the island, the arachnoid Tsuchigumo units await, their sharp, pointed legs dug firmly into the sand beneath them, their cannons ready to fire at the invaders at any time. Their ruby red eyes gleam in anticipation, surrounded by the darkness of the light, as if they were monstrous predators lying in wait for their prey. The automated defense cannons, erected on top of white towers, detect the Samidare’s approach, and begin to slowly rotate their barrels toward the charging battleship.

”All pilots are standing by, Brigadier General,” the mechanical voice of SMD rings throughout the bridge of the ship.

“Good,” Kirisame nods, speaking directly into the announcement system. “All units standing by, you may launch!”

----

“We’re up,” Usami’s voice echoes over the communicator.

Alpha team’s squadron of Frames mobilize, fully repaired and combat ready. Following the Major’s commander unit, the Type-R and the Type-S step up to the catapults, and my own MK II does the same, moving slightly clumsier than usual due to the added weight of the twin bazookas sitting on its shoulders, held in both hands. The Crusaders’ feet are locked in place, blast deflectors raised as the boosters warm up. The launch bay doors slowly open, giving us a view of the dimly lit night sky, the moon peering out at us from behind the clouds.

“Ohhh, I’m really not looking forward to this…”

The boosters ready to go, the Major’s Kreuzritter leans forward, crouching slightly and preparing to take off. “Alpha team, launching!”

I take a deep breath as the MK II begins to accelerate, catapulted forward and out of the open door, engaging its boosters as it’s thrown out into the air. The dark-purple Kreuzritter flies ahead of us, its VLBR already in its hand. Taking a quick glance left and right, I check on the Type-R and the Type-S. Good. They’ve managed to keep in formation; no dropping out of the skies this time. It seems Usami didn’t faint as she was launched like before.

Concerned, Hearn decides to inquire over the radio. “Renko, how are you feeling?”

“Oh, like my body wanted to puke out something but just couldn’t be bothered to,” Usami manages to reply, her voice slightly hoarse. “Other than that, though? I’m doing just peachy.“

”Don’t fall behind now. Let’s go,” the Major brings her foot down on the chatter, her craft speeding up as we soar toward the coastline. The cannons have turned their barrels toward us, and those spider-like frames look ready to rain shells on us as well, so once we enter their range we won’t be able to relax. “Ignore the small-fry and focus on the cannons, but make sure you don’t end up in their line of fire, or you’ll be ripped to shreds. We’ll split into pairs. Usami, you’re with me.”

“Right.”

Usami’s Type-R splits off from us, veering to the side to follow the Major. Left on our own, I take charge, speeding forward to lead Hearn. “Alright, let’s go. They’re taking north, so we’ll take out the ones to the south.”

“Okay, Steyr!”

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lVsbiXLXBg

The MK II steers to the right, its back boosters flaring with a pale light as a burst of speed sends it forward, the Type-S trying its best to keep up. As I thought, the added weight of the twin bazookas throws the machine’s balance off slightly, making it a bit more awkward to maneuver, although it’s not something I can’t adjust to. Rapidly approaching the coastline, I hold my breath and continue to push forward.

The minute the MK II is within range, the Tsuchigumos waiting below open fire with their top-mounted cannons, launching a volley of deadly, fast-moving shells into the air. With finesse, the MK II pulls up into the air, avoiding the hailstorm, the rounds finding not their target but the ocean as they arc down into the water below. The Type-S follows its lead, similarly pulling up into the air – but a stray shell hits it, nearly knocking it out of the air then and there.

“Ahh!”

“Are you alright?” I ask.

“I--I’m fine, it just grazed the armor.”

Maneuvering through the storm of cannon shells being fire up into the air, the Kreuzritter MK II seeks its target – the first of southern turrets. The targeting computer finds its mark, the pale crosshairs glowing red, and the MK II thrusts its feet out forward, engaging its frontal boosters to come to a stop for just a moment, carefully aiming its bazookas down at the cannon on top of the defense tower. Two rockets are launched out, leaving a trail of smoke in the air as they fly toward their target, exploding on contact, ripping through the outer steel of the cannon. Immediately after firing, the Kreuzritter moves again, darting to the side just in time as a Tsuchigumo’s shell round pierces through the air.

“Hearn, follow through!”

“Got it!”

The Type-S advances past the MK II, its beam rifle held at the ready as it enters optimal firing range. The rifle sings twice, firing two consecutive blasts at the cannon. The rifle shots glow a hot-pink as they sear through the air to their target, striking the breach in the cannon’s frame and piercing through. A crackle of electricity runs throughout the automated cannon before it goes up in flames spectacularly, not getting a chance to fire even a single shot.

One down, two more to go.

----

“Honestly, though, aren’t we supposed to be like, just recon units?” Hatate says, looking into her hand mirror and applying makeup on herself absentmindedly even as her Frame soars through the air, seemingly uninterested in the sounds of the battle around her. “I don’t really like this dodging around and returning fire stuff.”

“Oh quit your complaining and live a little,” her teammate Aya says, much more enthusiastic than her partner. “This is the only time we youkai can really be like ourselves, you know. Enjoy the moment and all that. Isn’t that right, Momiji?”

“I’d prefer if you’d call me by my call sign, Scout 1.”

The Wildkrahes fly, dancing about the air as easily as a bird might, keeping just ahead of the Samidare. The space around the Samidare begins to emit a low glow, the Absolute Dimensional Barrier up and running again, surrounding the battleship in a translucent bubble. The Wildhund hovers above the water, skating on its surface and keeping just below its aerial siblings. The visor on its helmet slides down and locks over its eyes, providing enhanced zoom as it looks out toward the battle already unfolding at the edge of the island.

“Alpha team’s going to need some support…” Scout Leader Momiji grumbles to herself.

[ ] Have the Scout team assist Alpha team in taking out the turrets.
[ ] Take out some of the enemy Frames to reduce the amount of fire on Alpha team and the Samidare.

----

BATTLE LOG:

Auto-Cannon (A.I.) was shot down by Kreuzritter Type-S (Mary)

----
>> No. 37375
[x] Take out some of the enemy Frames to reduce the amount of fire on Alpha team and the Samidare.

Alpha team seems to have this under control.
>> No. 37389
>>37179
...Oh. Damn, that would make an unfortunate amount of sense. I thought they were Rikako and Kana.

The purple-haired one still sounds more like Rikako, though.
>> No. 37395
[X] Take out some of the enemy Frames to reduce the amount of fire on Alpha team and the Samidare.
>> No. 37431
[X] Take out some of the enemy Frames to reduce the amount of fire on Alpha team and the Samidare.

Considering there's fifteen Tsuchigumos, cutting some down before taking out all the cannons couldn't hurt.
>> No. 37572
File 132069747348.jpg - (212.53KB , 713x900 , daad7949dd10de470b9bcbe0491f3708.jpg ) [iqdb]
37572
[x] Take out some of the enemy Frames to reduce the amount of fire on Alpha team and the Samidare.
----

“Alright, let’s make things easier on Alpha team. We’re taking out the enemy Frames on the shore. Scout 1 will take north and Scout 2 will take south,” Momiji barks out her commands, her Wildhund points the rifle in its hands forward, raising the barrel toward the Tsuchigumo units waiting at the beach. “I’ll pick them off from here, now move it!”

“Roger, roger!”

“Yeah, okay.”

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy98VzJ-Hc4

The two WIldkrahes veer off from one another, breaking formation as they head off in different directions. They reach the shore of the island in no time at all, soaring through the air with swiftness and grace one would hardly expect from a metallic machine.

Scout 1 Aya’s Wildkrahe dives toward the ground, skimming just above the dirt as it flies directly toward one of the arachnid mechs waiting below. The Tsuchigumo recognizes the aerial machine as an enemy, pointing the barrel of its cannons down and locking on to it – but just as it fires, the Wildkrahe nimbly boosts in one direction, appearing to almost flicker out of sight and dodging the rounds, at an incredibly fast reaction speed. The Wildkrahe’s talon-like hands glow hot with heat, and lunging forward, it rakes its claw across the vulnerable Tsuchigumo, taking out its main camera with a single swipe before stabbing its other claw deep into the body. Retracting its arm, the Wildkrahe pulls away from the Tsuchigumo and flies away into the air, as the mechanical spider shudders and breaks down, disabled.

“Ahhh, so annoying,” Scout 2 Hatate grumbles to herself again, putting away her mirror. “I’m just like, not feeling it today, so I guess you guys will have to do.”

With that said, she releases the lock on her Crow Familiars, a pair of attack drones emerging from the shoulders of her Frame. Extending the black wings of their namesake, the Familiars fly forward, directed by their command algorithms. Locking onto the nearest enemy signal, they circle about the Tsuchigumo, moving so quickly that the Tsuchigumo’s targeting systems are unable to keep up. The drones stop – for just an instant – and let loose a barrage of high powered rounds, one from behind, and one from the front, the bullets ripping through the armor of the Tsuchigumo and downing it. Quickly becoming active again, the Familiars seek out their next target.

Off some distance away, floating above the water, the Wildhund finds its target, roughly twelve-hundred meters away. It steadies its rifle, taking time to aim. As all the Tsuchigumos are focused on firing at the quick and nimble Wildkrahes and Kreuzritter, the hound has no need to worry about being hassled while it takes its shots. Within the cockpit of the machine, Momiji brings the sight of the targeting computer to her right eye, holding her breath as she takes hold of the gun-like instrument. She pulls the trigger, twice. The rifle sings with a loud crack as the sniper round cuts through the air, the recoil of the rifle slightly rattling the inside of the cockpit. Not waiting for even a second’s delay, she pulls the trigger again, and a second round flashes through the air like a bolt of lightning, the back thrusters of the Wildhund emitting a low fire.

The first round hits the Tsuchigumo in one of its long, thick legs, instantly punching through the metal armor and severing it at the joint. Disoriented by the loss of one of its leg, the mechanical spider leans to one side – putting its main camera right in the path of the second bullet, which shatters through the glass, the metal plates underneath, and deep into the inner circuits before travelling out the other end of the machine, taking off quite a bit of the rear armor with it. Fatally damaged, the machine swerves on its remaining legs before its body collapses to the ground, inactive.

Letting out her held breath, Momiji takes in a deep gulp of air as she seeks her next target, narrowing her aiming eye.

----

“Taaaake that!”

The Type-S points its rifle at the second cannon, letting loose quick barrage of beams. The first few beams glance off the metallic surface, the particles dispersing as they’re deflected away by the smooth surface, but the final shot manages to penetrate through the plating, wreaking havoc on the inside of the cannon, destroying it in an explosion. Hearn doesn’t quite have the time to celebrate, however, as almost immediately after the destruction of the cannon, the Tsuchigumo below her open fire at her with their long-range cannons, one of the rounds hitting the torso directly and sending it flying back quite a bit, leaving a dent on its armor.

“Ugh!” she yelps.

I tut, and clench my teeth, and the MK II lowers the end of one of its bazookas toward the ground, firing a single rocket at one of the arachnid menaces taking potshots at us from below. The bazooka shell crashes against its armor with destructive force, detonating in an explosion that blows away half of its body, sending molten shrapnel everywhere as its pieces are scattered in every direction. I can’t afford to expend too much ammunition on these small-fry, though, but if we ignore them too much, we’re going to end up overwhelmed. My MK II isn’t as well-armored as the Type-S, so one lucky hit could be all that stands between me and an instant death.

Out of the corner of my eyes, I see something small and black – not just one, but a pair – dart toward one of the other Tsuchigumo on the ground. With lightning fast movements, they open fire on the arachnid machine, instantly crippling and downing it. At the same time, an aerial Frame flies by the MK II, swooping down and collecting the small crafts that destroyed that Tsuchigumo. The radio crackles, and a woman’s voice hails me. “Hurry up and like, get this done with already, pretty boy. I’ll cover you guys.”

“Ah,” I say, reaffirming my grip on the controls and moving the MK II back into the action. “Right, thanks for the support. Alpha 3, let’s go.”

“Roger!”

The MK II boosts forward as the Wildkrahe scout unit flies down to engage the other Tsuchigumo, the Type-S following a fair way behind. Cutting straight toward the last remaining cannon, the MK II raises its twin bazooka, taking aim while still moving. With my pull of the triggers, the rockets are launched, piercing through the winds as they’re propelled toward the top of the defense tower, exploding on contact and opening a breach. The MK II points its feet forward, flaring the thrusters on its feet as well as its frontal boosters to come to brake. Taking careful aim now, the MK II fires at the breach in the armor, and the cannon explodes in flames.

Letting out a relieved breath, I flick on the comm. “This is Alpha 1. We’ve destroyed the southern defense cannons.”

“Nice work,” “ the Major responds. “We’re just about finished up here, too.”

I look toward the northern section of the island, and sure enough, not long after, I can make out a distant explosion.

“All cannon emplacements eliminated,” the Major continues, “only the hostile enemy forces remain.”

Turning the MK II around, I search for the Samidare. It’s made it to the shore. The remaining Tsuchigumo are firing all that they can at the ship, but it looks like they just don’t have enough power or numbers to get past its barrier. With the cannons destroyed, the remaining enemy forces pose a minimal threat to us, and it should be a simple matter to pick them off from the air using the superior mobility of the Kreuzritter—

“Wait, no!” Hearn suddenly shrieks, sounding panicked. “From behind – no, from below the Samidare, there’s something coming!”

What?

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJj0QqQbVRY

From behind the Samidare, a little over a half a dozen black shadows rise from the water, flying high up in the air. Hurriedly, I turn the Kreuzritter toward them, zooming in on them to get a better look. As I look upon them, I feel myself break out into a cold sweat. They’re aerial Frames, no mistaking that, and what’s more, their overall build looks similar to the Phoenix-like one we fought yesterday – slender, with large, black bird-like wings on its back. Its head is shaped like a bird’s, with a sharp, mean beak. From what’s visible, I can see it has at least two weapons: a giant gatling gun that’s taken the place of an arm on its right, and a missile pod mounted on its left leg. But it’s not the Frame itself that’s disturbing my mind. It’s something else… I can’t put my finger on it.

“Enemy units?” I wonder out aloud, biting my lip.

“Steyr… these aren’t like the ones below,” Hearn says, in a shaky voice. “There are… there are people in them.”

So that’s it, then. Am I… feeling their hostile intentions? Or perhaps, their hatred…

The new units, eight strong, begin their attack on the Samidare. From the pods on their leg, they fire off a volley of missiles, so numerous in quantity that not even the barrier holds out – losing power quickly from the sudden assault, the ADB system is knocked offline, and several of the missiles hit the engine. This isn’t good. If they manage the destroy the engines here, we won’t be able to advance. Cursing, I turn up the boosters, and speed toward the Samidare and its assailants. One of them suddenly breaks off from the attacking group, and dances about the air, before flying in a straight line toward me, raising its gatling arm and opening fire.

[ ] Keep at a safe distance and attack with the bazookas.
[ ] Toss the bazookas; they’ll only slow you down. Go for a close-range kill with the saber and the vulcans.
[ ] Attempt to hail the enemy pilot. Try to communicate with them.

----

BATTLE LOG:

Tsuchigumo (A.I.) was shot down by Wildkrahe A (Aya)
Tsuchigumo (A.I.) x 2 was shot down by Wildkrahe H (Hatate)
Tsuchigumo (A.I.) was shot down by Wildhund (Momiji)
Auto-Cannon (A.I.) was shot down by Kreuzritter Type-S (Mary)
Auto-Cannon (A.I.) was shot down by Kreuzritter Type-R (Renko)
Tsuchigumo (A.I.) was shot down by Kreuzritter MK II (Steyr)
Auto-Cannon (A.I.) was shot down by Kreuzritter MK II (Steyr)
Auto-Cannon (A.I.) was shot down by Commander Kreuzritter Type-R (Udongein)
Enemy reinforcements appeared: Jigoku Garasu (UGR Soldier) x 8

----
>> No. 37581
[x] Attempt to hail the enemy pilot. Try to communicate with them.
[x] Try to buy time for your allies to regather themselves.

I want to see who this ace is.
>> No. 37583
[X] Keep at a safe distance and attack with the bazookas.

There's no good reason to throw them away until we've used up all the ammo.

>>37581
>I want to see who this ace is.
>Enemy reinforcements appeared: Jigoku Garasu (UGR Soldier) x 8
AKA, nameless grunts. Also, trying to talk with an obviously hostile unit that's gunning for you is quite stupid.
>> No. 37585
>>37583
That we know of, and if it's so terrible then why is it a choice?
>> No. 37587
>>37585
>if it's so terrible then why is it a choice?
This is like asking why writers put in choices that lead to Bad Ends. Just because you have the option to do something doesn't mean it's a good option. We're at war, remember? These enemy units opened fire on the Samidare as soon as they appeared, so any attempt at diplomacy will likely fail. Shoot them down before they shoot you down.
>> No. 37589
>>37587
Good writers wouldn't give such an obvious choice, and often in SRW games, good things come of talking to people even if they're not initially swayed. I bet cha you blew up Four/Lalah/Whoever the recruitable enemy was.
>> No. 37605
[X] Keep at a safe distance and attack with the bazookas.

These are grunts. Notable characters would usually get a string of question marks if their identities are to remain a secret.
>> No. 37610
[ ] Attempt to hail the enemy pilot. Try to communicate with them.
>> No. 37640
[ ] Attempt to hail the enemy pilot. Try to communicate with them. Toss the bazookas; they’ll only slow you down. they're almost empty anyways.
>> No. 37670
[X] Keep at a safe distance and attack with the bazookas.

Neither the story nor the Battle Log has convinced me that this guy is anything more than a mere grunt. A mere grunt, who incidentally, has taken the initiative to prove him/herself hostile and is attacking us at this very moment.
>> No. 37680
This reminds me of the mission where Ryoto first appears in OG1, basically he's little more than a glorified grunt, basically tossed out there to basically get shot down. Funny enough in due time, he's a major designer in the Huckbein III project. This isn't including the OGs-only Armorlion he upgraded and designed.
>> No. 37684
>>37680
A glorified grunt is still a named grunt. These ones aren't even given specific names. So unless its specifically pointed out that this one's totally different from the others (at least Z had audio cues), then treating grunts as grunts are entirely acceptable.
>> No. 37729
I think we should try talking to them as we approach to attack at close range... we might get some valuable info from it. For all you people voting bazookas you do realize that a most we have two shots left.
>> No. 37730
I think we should try talking to them as we approach to attack at close range... we might get some valuable info from it. For all you people voting bazookas you do realize that a most we have two shots left.
>> No. 37731
I think we should try talking to them as we approach to attack at close range... we might get some valuable info from it. For all you people voting bazookas you do realize that a most we have two shots left.
>> No. 37732
fuck the thread is glitching out
>> No. 37768
>>37729
>For all you people voting bazookas you do realize that a most we have two shots left.
Your point being? Steyr will drop them if he switches to another weapon, and this battle is moving so quickly that he won't have the luxury of picking them back up. Given a "use them or lose them" choice, I say use 'em.
>> No. 38100
File 132201076167.jpg - (332.65KB , 500x706 , a60e8e7cd8525719c44620ce3742d2ff.jpg ) [iqdb]
38100
[X] Keep at a safe distance and attack with the bazookas.
----

Tugging on the controls, I push the Kreuzritter into action. The MK II’s boosters flare up as it quickly boosts up, barely clearing the stream of bullets fired by the new enemy’s auto-cannon. Lowering the end of one of its bazookas toward its assailant, it takes careful aim before firing a single rocket. The black bird flaps its metal wings, pulling hard to one side, the rocket sailing past it. Its wings give another flap, and it soars toward the MK II, firing rounds from its gatling arm once more. The MK II gives a quick burst of speed, several grazing bullets glancing off its armor, scratching the paint.

“Alpha 2!” I call out, “Support fire! Use your rifle to limit its movements so I can take it out!”

“Huh? O-oh, ri…right!” she replies shrilly.

The Type-S raises its beam rifle, pointing in the direction of the enemy unit. The black bird continues to pursue the MK II, firing in long bursts with its auto-cannon. I try my best to limit any hits to superficial damage, but the thrusters are going to reach their limit sooner or later. I need to finish this before that happens... but Hearn isn’t firing.

“Hearn, what’s wrong? Shoot!”

Why isn’t she shooting!? I take a brief glance at her machine. It’s still, motionless, with its rifle still raised in the air. She’s completely frozen up. But it isn’t because of fear. This isn’t the first time that she’s been in a dangerous situation. So then why? What could be making her act like this? No, dammit, don’t tell me it’s because there’s someone in that thing…!

“Damn it, Hearn!” I shout at her, narrowly making another dodge. “This is war! You’ll have to get your hands dirty sooner or later if you want to survive, so shoot!”

“I—I know that, but still!”

“If you know that, then pull the trig—”

The enemy suddenly charges at me, and shock catches my words at the tip of my tongue. A section of its left thigh opens up, revealing a handle. Reaching down to it, it with draws a CF-sized knife with a serrated edge. In the darkness of the evening, the tip of the knife glows hot with heat, the blade taking on a reddish glow. The MK II points a bazooka in its direction, attempting to score a point-blank hit, but the bird-like CF reacts quickly, bring its heated knife up and slicing through the end of the bazooka, just before the rocket is fired, missing its target by a wide margin.

“Tsk,” I click my tongue.

The MK II throws away the damaged bazooka, activating the saber on its arm. It flies back, and as the black bird chases after it in pursuit, it opens up the compartments for its torso-mounted vulcans, firing directly in front. The black bird raises its arm, several bullets punching holes in its light armor, but it continues to move forward, knife held out. Suddenly reversing the thrusters, the MK II charges forward, swinging its saber, hoping to catch the enemy by surprise. But the enemy reacts at a near-superhuman level, raising its knife in defense. The superheated edge of the blade clashes against the stream of plasma gushing out from the MK II’s arm in a deadlock, when—

A beam pierces through the air, drilling through the side of the unknown enemy. Breaking away, I watch as the limp, critically damaged Frame slowly begins falling to the ocean, sparks flying from the molten hole in its torso, exploding into pieces halfway. Whatever pilot was in there was probably incinerated instantly, even before the explosion. It looked like the shot hit the cockpit block perfectly. Looking to the side, I see Hearn’s Type-S, smoke drifting from the tip of her rifle.

“It… it hit…” Hearn says, in a hollow voice full of disbelief.

“Yeah, that was a good shot,” I say, although she probably wouldn’t appreciate a compliment, right now.

“I killed someone…”

Really not a good time to be agonizing over that, Hearn,” I say, looking to the direction of the Samidare. It looks like the Major and Usami’ve been trying to fend them off, but there’s just too many for them to handle by themselves. “Come on, snap out of it. We’ve got to help the Samidare now.”

It looks pretty bad. These things are persistent as hell, and the barrier’s being taken down each time the Samidare attempts to muster up a defense. The engine’s been taking a lot of hits, not to mention that the remaining Tsuchigumo on the ground are also all focus-firing on the ship. At this rate, the Samidare will end up crashing into the island once its engines are taken down. The Major and Usami are doing their best to drive them away, but it’s just not enough with the two of them.

“…Yeah, okay, let’s go, Steyr,” Hearn says in a quiet voice, still shaken.

----

“Looks like they’ve already gotten into a battle up ahead,” a girl says listlessly, her arms folded together in front of her with her feet up on the control panel before her. She shifts around in her seat to get comfortable, her dark braids, somewhere between brown and purple, bouncing up and down from her movements. “Ahhh~! Why’d I have you get the short straw? I didn’t want to get involved in this war… so much less time to work on personal projects now. Hey, you’re peeved off too, right, White? That Erich guy just does whatever he wants…”

She directs her question to somewhere behind her, making only the barest effort to turn her head around. She doesn’t receive an answer, but she also doesn’t particularly care about that. Turning her head back straight, she lets out a yawn before rubbing at her eyes, staring at the screen displaying the skirmish between the Samidare and its forces against the UGR.

“Let’s just lay low until the battle’s over,” she says, half to herself, making a minimum effort to look back again. “No sense in getting ourselves into danger this early—”

An incredible roar comes from outside the air carrier before she can finish that sentence, the force of the rumbling vibrating the metal walls. The girl remains still for a moment, her mouth still gaping open, before letting out a small sigh as she closes her eyes and shakes her head. Lifting her chin up, she looks at the screen again, narrowing her eyes at a trail of glowing green particles.

“That girl is insane.”

----

”Damn it!” Usami’s frustrated voice crackles on the radio, as her Type-R fires off wild shots at the enemy units, all of them missing. “Every time I try to get a lock on one, another of them gets in the way and throws off the targeting computer! I can’t get a clear shot off like this!”

It’s not a difference in the machines that’s causing us to have such a hard time against them. Their mobility is comparable to ours, with a similar average speed and turning time. It’s because they’re much better organized than any of the drones we’ve faced in our training. When that lone member rashly broke off from their formation and left a hole in their ranks, they immediately closed in together to plug it. They’re well-trained, experienced, and dangerous.

Luckily, or perhaps unluckily for us, though, it seems bringing down the Samidare is top-priority; they’ve yet to fire a single shot at us, focusing all their fire on the Samidare’s engines. Making another pass around the ship, the formation of the unknown enemy units swerve around in the air, dodging beam rifle shots as they unleash another salvo of missiles – half of them detonate against the Samidare’s weakened barrier, while the other half makes it past and strikes against the weakened engines. A small spark erupts from one of them.

“Tsk, we’re not gonna last at this rate,” I mutter bitterly, trying my best to line up a shot with the sniper rifle.

“Don’t get flustered,” the Major says calmly. “We haven’t lost yet. The Samidare has an emergency auto-repair system. There’s still time for a turnaround.”

Through the gun-cam at my eye, I track one of the enemy units busily flying through the sky, trying my best to keep a lock on it. It’s difficult, just staying on target long enough for the computer to get a target lock; it’s another thing entirely to keep that lock long enough for an accurate shot. Finally, I get confirmation, and my finger pulls back on the trigger—

A blinding flash of light fills my vision, causing me to wince away from the aiming device. It was only for an instant, a single moment – but the enemy I was following has been shot out of the sky, only trails of smoke remaining where it flew. But it wasn’t me who shot it down, I never pulled the trigger. That flash of light wasn’t from a beam rifle, either, so what could have done it? Lost in my confusion, I notice something shining near the dissipating smoke of the destruction, slowly descending down. It shimmers and floats, with a light similar to the light emitted by the SR-0’s TK energy… but somehow different. It looks like… a plume?

“Above us!” Hearn’s voice comes in through the radio.

The MK II cranes its head up, allowing the main camera in its visor to take in the image of the sky above it. High up in the air, a white silhouette descends down like an angel, the darkening rays of the sun glinting off its pure, snow-colored surface. Its head is small, and pointed, a single horn extending behind it, with a pair of jewel-like green eyes. The upper section of its torso is round, and wide, slimming down into a curved and slender waist. Its arms are smooth, strong, and end in pointed razor-like claws, and it has a pair of strong, stout legs.

But the most distinctive part of it is the “wings” at its back.

What looks like energy particles are being constantly exhausted out its back, spreading and condensing together in a fiery shape that resembles the wings of a bird, or maybe an angel. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before, and… somehow, it makes me feel uneasy. Something about that machine makes me feel ill, and nervous. It’s dangerous. Definitely dangerous. Maybe not dangerous in the way the SR-0 and its pilot are to us, but…

“Let’s go, Sabo Robo!”

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M23NRARoRkQ

The new angelic CF swoops down, the energy wings at its back increasing in size and intensity as it does so, leaving behind a beautiful white streak across the sky as it does so. Reaching one of the black bird Frames in a matter of seconds, it clenches its sharp claws into a fist, drawing it back. The UGR frame attempts to dodge, to fly away, but it’s simply too slow. The angelic CF smashes its fist into the mech – and the force of the blow completely blows away the upper torso of the machine, sending bits of metal and circuitry flying everywhere.

“W-what the…!?” Usami can hardly contain her shock. “A punch! That thing just – it punched it into pieces, just like that!”

What a monster!

The angelic CF turns away from the falling remains of its enemy, its green eyes glowing menacingly. It turns its attention to the remaining UGR forces. Its wings flare up again, and it soars toward its next target, swinging its arm furiously. A bit more prepared than the last one, the UGR CF manages to boost away in time to dodge the first swing, swerving around to the angelic Frame’s back to avoid the second strike. It raises its gatling gun arm, and prepares to fire at this new incredibly threatening enemy, but…

“SABOTEN BEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAM!!”

The white Frame suddenly whips around, firing a thick beam of energy from its stomach in a wide curving arc as it turns. The stream of energy cuts through the UGR combat frame without resistance, bisecting it torso-to-waist in an instant. The two pieces of what were once a single CF violently explodes in a cloud of smoke and fire, from which the white Frame leaps out of, not a single scratch or a burn on its perfectly white surface.

Holy shit.

“MY SPRINGTIME OF YOUTH HAS ARRIVED!”

“W-what’s the matter with that pilot!?” Usami says, disturbed and frightened.

The remaining UGR forces, seeing that the situation has been completely reversed against them, quickly turn around and begin to flee, flying away at top speed…

“YOU’RE NOT GETTING AWAY!”

The white CF immediately takes off after them in pursuit. Its shimmering wings grow even larger, and thicker in density. It recklessly fires its beam at them, not caring to aim, not caring whether it hits or not, just firing away like a mad berserker! The escaping UGR frames seem incredibly unnerved by its behavior; they’re not bothering with formations, and their flight pattern is irregular and twitchy. They just want to get the hell away from that white thing, and I don’t blame them.

“S-Steyr!” Hearn suddenly speaks out to me, pleading evident in her voice. “You have to stop that thing, please! They’re already retreating, but it’s going to kill them all!”

[ ] Attempt to stop it.
[ ] Leave it alone.

----

BATTLE LOG:

Jigoku Garasu (UGR Soldier) was shot down by Kreuzritter Type-S (Mary)
Ally reinforcement appeared: Saboten Robo (?????)
Jigoku Garasu (UGR Soldier) x 2 was shot down by Saboten Robo (?????)

----
>> No. 38102
oh hi lily
>> No. 38103
[x] Leave it alone.

We don't need anymore super mechs pissed at us and it's better that Mary gets used to this than sooner.

But I can't help but to feel we missed out on something by not trying to talk to the guy as it's unusual for such a well trained group to have someone so rash.
>> No. 38108
[x] Attempt to stop it.

Because I want her to stop berserking and join us. Having a getter on your side is always good news.

>>38102
I was more thinking of VIVIT, what with all that talk about Getter SABOTEN BEEEEEEAAAAAAAM.
>> No. 38130
[x]stop her

what would have happened if we had tried to chat
>> No. 38134
>>38108
I don't think it'd work that way... rather she'd soon turn her attention on to us.
>> No. 38142
[X] Attempt to stop it.

Oh, Lily~
>> No. 38185
>>38108
Saboten energy doesn't imply VIVIT. It's the universal energy source in Seihou. And all the evidence:
>“I’m also worried about the pilot we sent,” the woman in the lab coat continues, flipping to a profile page, glancing down at the picture of a young girl with sandy-brown hair. “She’s a sweet kid and all, but I would really rather not put her behind the controls of you-know-what.”
>"Hey, you’re peeved off too, right, White?”
>“MY SPRINGTIME OF YOUTH HAS ARRIVED!”
points to Lily White.

[X] Leave it alone.

I doubt we'll be able to reason with her right now. Just let her get the hot blood out of her system.
>> No. 38187
[x] Leave it the fuck alone!
>> No. 38194
[x] Leave it alone.

Leaving any of the enemy alive will let them know we've got whatever it is we have and its current location. This is war. People die. If Hearn doesn't like it, she shouldn't have joined up.

This is, of course, assuming brass has nothing to say on the matter. They may be aware of factors that suggest stopping it.
>> No. 38305
Super robot wars logic say we should stop her because we would probably get a bonus item if we do.
>> No. 38315
>>38305
Though that's usually best done on a replay when we have more money for upgrades than normal.
>> No. 38519
[x] Leave it alone.
----

I have no words to answer her with. I understand how she feels, but this is no time for compassion for the enemy. If we let them retreat now, they’ll only regroup and attack us again later. It would likely save us a lot of hassle later in this little campaign if they were all taken down here. Besides that, we still don’t know the identity of the pilot, or the capabilities of that angelic CF she’s brought with her. If she turns out to be as rabid as the pilot of the SR-0, it would be a very bad idea to place ourselves in her way, at least for now.

“Steyr, please!” Hearn begs me, sounding almost desperate.

After a brief moment of silence, I finally decide to speak to her. “They’re the enemy, Alpha 2,” I say simply.

I hear an audible gasp from her, and then nothing. Her Type-S turns its head, following the movements of the unknown new combatant chasing after the retreating UGR forces, still firing its beams everywhere it can as though a madman were at its controls. Soon, the Kreuzritter turns the rest of its body toward the scene, and hunches itself up, leaning forward as its boosters began to gather power. Before I can ask her what she’s up to, she speaks out first.

“If you won’t stop her, I will!” Hearn says in a shrill voice, trying hard not to sound terrified.

The Type-S propels itself forward with a tremendous burst of speed, the boosters at its back flaring at their highest setting.

“Stop it, Hearn!” I shout, a little too late. “Shit…” I mutter, before increasing the output of the boosters and flying after her.

The white CF comes to a stop, continuing to fire blindly at the retreating enemy units. One of the piercing rays of light comes dangerously close to directly hitting one of them, cutting across the air just a meter away from its torso. Even though it was only a grazing hit, the black bird-like Frame quickly loses altitude, sending its flight path spiraling out of control. Just barely, it manages to pull itself back into the air and regain control, but it’s been damaged enough that it’s significantly slowed down. The others are already far ahead of it, seemingly abandoning it to its fate. The white CF throws its arms out to the side, and its abdomen glows white with energy, ready to discharge another beam and cut through the unfortunate enemy Frame, but…

“Private Hearn, what are you doing!?” the Major’s voice blares out from the communicator.

Ahead of me, Hearn’s Type-S charges at the white Frame, tackling it from the side, reaching out with its arms and tightly embracing them around the larger Frame’s upper torso, and I stop, unwilling to get any closer. The moment the metallic giants crash against one another, the charged beam is let loose, cutting a path through the air as the Frame’s torso is forced to twist around by the Type-S. The beam’s path is diverted, mere meters away from ramming directly into the damaged enemy unit. The black bird turns around, its damaged thrusters nearly giving out again – and simply looks upon its savior, seemingly frozen. From behind, one of the other retreating units takes the opportunity to double back, wrapping its damaged ally’s arm around its body before taking off in escape once again.

(Battle mastery obtained.)

“Mary, are you nuts!?” Usami angrily yells. “Get away from that thing, it’s dangerous!”

The Type-S slowly lets go of the white Combat Frame, which seems to have quieted down in its rage, and drifts back. Hearn’s voice sheepishly replies, “I-I’m sorry, Major, I know that was a really stupid thing to do, but I—”

She’s suddenly cut off by her own shriek of pain. At the same time, the cockpit block of her CF rocks with a small explosion, black smoke drifting out of the torso vents. Like a puppet with cut strings, the metal giant begins to fall to the shallow ocean below. Cursing at myself, I flare up the thrusters again, angling the MK II’s flight path down in pursuit of the falling Frame. Accelerating past it, the MK II turns its body around to face the sky, quickly adjusting the thruster output so that it slowly approaches the Type-S as it falls. Carefully reaching out with its arms, the MK II tightly secures its sister unit, slowly decreasing the speed of their descent, until it safely lands in the shallow water. Relieved, I take off my helmet, letting it rest on my lap as I wipe sweat off my brow.

“Mary, are you okay!?” Usami yells, sounding panicked. “Mary!? Mary!?!”

No response.

I bite my lip. “This is Alpha 1, returning to the ship. Please have a stretcher on standby.”

----

BATTLE LOG:

Jigoku Garasu (UGR Soldier) x 4 retreated.
All remaining Tsuchigumos were destroyed by the Assault Scout team.
Samidare reached the target area.
Battle mastery earned.

----

Samidare

I sigh as I walk along the white hallways of the Samidare, a drink held in my hand. Bringing the straw to my lips, I take a small sip of the flavorless liquid in the cup to quench my thirst. I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly picky person regarding food, but the meals and even the drinks on this ship are awful. This ship originally being built for space exploration, they’re packed with nutrients, cheap to produce, and last a long time, but knowing all that certainly doesn’t help the terribly artificial taste.

After the battle was over, I immediately brought the MK II and the Type-S on board. Just from being so close to the white CF while it fired its beam, Hearn’s Kreuzritter had almost fried itself, causing a small internal explosion. We quickly brought the girl out of the Frame; she was unconscious, but she didn’t seem to have any external wounds, it seemed she fainted from the shock of the explosion more than anything else. Nevertheless, she was placed on a stretcher and hurried to the on-board clinic. Once the scans showed nothing and she regained consciousness, the Major had her shut in solitary for the stunt she pulled.

I don’t disagree with the Major’s decision, but it still bothers me.

When she woke up, Hearn had a strange expression on her face, like she had seen something that none of us had, like she had felt something that we couldn’t understand. It was a haunting, disturbing look, an expression of quiet suffering. It wasn’t unexpected, of course. Just minutes ago, she had killed a man. But even I, who saw dozens of people dying or dead so many times, felt goosebumps on my skin, looking at her face.

…As for the white CF that appeared and rampaged around, it seems it was a gift to us by Kakutasu Energy. A little after we had routed the last remaining enemies, it and its transport plane were allowed to board the ship. I didn’t get a good look at the pilot, but it seemed to be a young girl with long, blondish-brown hair, even younger than Hearn and Usami.

While thinking on these things, I notice a movement just up ahead, and I silence my footsteps. Usami’s head cautiously peers out from the corner – and immediately notices me, standing in the hallway. She quickly withdraws herself. Shaking my head, I lift my drink to my mouth and take another sip. Skulking around like that, she’s probably trying to sneak her way to the brig. Lowering my drink, I continue walking, turning around the corner and finding the girl pressed to the wall.

“Going to pay Hearn a visit?” I ask with a dry tone.

She looks defiantly up at me. “It’s not fair to lock her up like this all alone.”

“Is that so,” I reply, slipping a hand in my pocket. “…Go ahead, then.”

“You’re not going to stop me?” she asks.

“It’s not my responsibility.”

As I move to walk past her, she reaches out and grabs the sleeve of my uniform, stopping me. I turn back around to her as she speaks to me. “Wait, um… you want to come with? I think she’d feel better if you were there too. Although, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

I wonder if that’s true…

[ ] Accompany her to see Hearn.
[ ] Go check out the hangar bay.
>> No. 38523
[X] Accompany her to see Hearn.

We need to have a serious talk with her for any number of reasons, both positive and negative, and if we don't do it then no one else will. We're a team. We have to take care of each other.
>> No. 38526
[X] Accompany her to see Hearn.
>> No. 38527
[X] Accompany her to see Hearn.

We need to go yell at Hearn.
>> No. 38528
[X] Accompany her to see Hearn.
>> No. 38574
[X] Accompany her to see Hearn.

This should be interesting.
>> No. 38575
[X] Accompany her to see Hearn.
>> No. 38696
[x] Accompany her to see Hearn.
----

Gently tugging myself from her grip, I fold my arms together as I look at the girl. “…Alright. I’ve got something I want to talk to her about, anyway.”

“Oh,” she says, looking slightly surprised at my words. Going silent, she scrutinizes me with a glance, as if trying to figure out what I’m thinking. Finally, she takes a slight breath before speaking again. “…you noticed too, huh? That she looked really out of it…”

I stay quiet, with Usami taking the silence as a ‘yes.’ Without any further words, she whirls about and turns the corner, beginning to walk in the direction of the brig, much less cautious now. Unfolding my arms and slipping one hand into a pocket, I begin following her steps. I glance up, my eyes locked on a surveillance camera hanging from above. No matter where we go, that A.I. is monitoring us. There’s no point in trying to sneak about like Usami was doing. We’re definitely risking punishment by visiting someone in solitary confinement, but even so…

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3xpNXmmCvA

It’s not long before we arrive at the cells. With Usami leading the way, we locate the cell Hearn is being confined in. Walking right up to the cell door, Usami peers into the small opening. She stands on the tip of her toes, and clicks her tongue. “Tssst, hey, Mary.”

I hear a small, muffled squeak from the other side of the metal door, and Usami takes a step back. Through the small opening, I can see Hearn’s surprised eyes as she stares out at us with a look of shock. “W-what are you guys doing here?” she asks, in a slightly frightful tone of voice. “Did something happen? Is the ship under attack again?”

“No, nothing like that,” Usami shakes her head. “We’re just here to see how you’re doing.”

“Oh,” she says, sounding a bit relieved. Her eyes drift to the side, her eyelids drooping slightly in unease. “…there’s nothing to worry about, really. You two should hurry up and get out of here… if the Major finds out you’re here you’re going to be the ones in trouble.”

“That’s not important,” her friend replies, a bit more firmly. “What do you mean, ‘there’s nothing to worry about’? Your face looked so pale when woke up! Are you sure you’re alright?”

Hearn shakes her head, wearily answering, “I’m telling you, I’m fine. It’s – it’s nothing, I was just a little tired—”

I decide to interrupt her, figuring it wasn’t going to go anywhere unless I directly pushed the issue on her. “Did something happen to you back there? When you ki—when you shot that enemy unit down.”

She goes silent, and takes a single step away from the door, looking down to the floor. I step closer toward the small opening, peering inside the room. Hearn, her gaze not leaving the ground, approaches her bed and sits down with her hands on her lap. She takes several deep breaths, attempting to say something but not quite managing to spit it out each time. Finally, she says it, “…I felt it.”

“What?”

“I—I could feel him die,” she says, looking in our direction. Her whole upper body seems to shake and shiver, and she grips her knees with her hands to keep them from trembling. Taking another deep breath, she continues. “I sensed him fading away when I—I killed him. He was… he was cursing us, with so much anger, so much hate, even as… even as the heat from the blast melted his flesh away and tore his body to pieces, I—”

She stops, and turns white. For a moment, I worry that she might faint, but she manages to hold herself together, although just barely from how bad she looks.

“That’s…” Usami replies in a slow voice, slack-jawed. “That’s horrible… And I—I didn’t even feel anything. And… um, did you feel anything, Steyr?”

I quietly shake my head.

“And not just him,” Hearn continues, her voice filled with emotion, sounding as though she’s about to burst into tears, “I felt the others die, too. When… when that white Frame showed up, and started killing them all. I could feel their fear, their pain as they died…”

Usami takes a sharp breath, biting her lip. Grimacing, I fold my arms together, turning and leaning against the wall next to the door. So it wasn’t just her naivety that led her to try to save those retreating enemies.

What she experienced, it was probably as a result of her psychodriver abilities, inadvertently connecting with the minds of her enemies as they died. Her abilities had always been on a higher level from ours, so it makes sense why she was able to feel it while we didn’t notice anything. I suppose being too sensitive can be a bad thing as well…

“Hey…” Hearn breathes out in a scratchy voice, sniffling. It seems the gravity of the situation she’s in hadn’t fully hit her yet, until now… and it was threatening to burst forth like a torrent, “…why are we here? Why are we being made to kill other people? It’s so horrible, taking a life…”

I respond…

[ ] Coldly.
[ ] Comfortingly.
>> No. 38707
[x] Comfortingly.

And here I thought this was just Hearn being a hippy. Still, as horrible as taking a life is, you've gotta remember that these people are more than willing to do the same to us, our friends, and our family.
>> No. 38717
[x] Comfortingly.

I'd imagine Steyr's not too crazy about slapping girls into mechs and sending them out as even trained prepared soldiers can be terribly affected by war let alone a couple of girls in over their heads.
>> No. 38720
[x] Comfortingly.
>> No. 38721
[x] Comfortingly.

Man now i feel bad about not trying to stop that crazy mech for her.
Still, can't go about wondering about what if's. The best we can do is try to make it through this war, and get these kids back home.
>> No. 38722
[X] Comfortingly.
>> No. 38728
[x] Comfortingly.
>> No. 38747
[x] Comfortingly.

Merry Christmas, by the way.

>>38707
>And here I thought this was just Hearn being a hippy.
I had been thinking something like that, too. It's nice to see that there's something more substantial to her anguish than naive idealism.
>> No. 38790
[X] Comfortingly.

I would vote for comfort hugging if she weren't on the other side of the bars.
>> No. 39197
[x] Comfortingly.
----

…I’ve said it many times before, but this situation is just insane.

Even for properly trained soldiers, psychologically trained and drilled to kill without hesitation, the act of taking a life isn’t something they can forget so easily. I’ve heard of the sleepless nights, the images of dead bodies that stay with them even as they close their eyes, the mental breakdowns that happen as the stress of killing and seeing others die accumulates; even the harshest of military curriculums can’t adequately prepare a human being for the responsibility of taking someone else’s life. No, there might not be anything in the world that can do that. The only thing that can… is to simply get used to it.

But these kids are no soldiers.

Until recently, they hadn’t even considered the possibility that they might be sent out into combat. They were never given time to prepare themselves for what it means to participate in a war. When they chose to participate in the production of the new prototypes, they probably never thought any more of it than a chance to experience something new. And yet, they’re being made to risk their lives to fight and take others’ lives, for the sake of a military they were never sworn to.

It was a heavy enough burden for them to carry, already…

But being made to “feel” the enemy dying… is something that I can’t even imagine. It’s an experience that I think would frankly horrify me, even though I’ve already seen so many people die, under those dim lights. But this girl’s experienced it. She connected with that enemy pilot’s mind, as they were engulfed by their Frame’s explosion. She was already unprepared to pull the trigger. But it would have been easier for her, than it would be in the past. The enemy was a hunk of cold metal, not a person. But her own abilities stripped her of that advantage, so cruelly.

I turn toward the barred door, closing my mouth and instead taking a deep breath. Given all of that, I can’t even think of where to start. I’m not used to giving voice to my emotions, but for now, I can’t rely on logic alone to form my words. Finally, after an uncomfortable moment of silence, I finally speak. “It’s as you say. People killing one another are a horrible thing, no matter the reasons. You understand it now… much better than either of us.”

Hearn’s breathing goes stiff, and her sniffling stops. Her body, looking so small curled up like that, gives a small shudder.

“But people killing people… is a natural part of war,” I continue, proceeding carefully, “…and people will kill, and be killed, so long as war continues.”

“…then why do we have wars?” she asks quietly, her voice still strained. “Why…?”

…She knows the answer to that. She may be naïve, but she’s not so innocent as to believe that everyone can just join hands and get along with one another. But right now, she’s not thinking about that. The pain she must have experienced, when those pilots died… the squabbling between the GDA and the UGR must seem so distant to her in comparison. It’s not that she doesn’t know or understand the reason why war exists… it’s that she can’t accept it.

“Mary…” I call her by the nickname Usami uses, hoping to catch her attention, “you’re not a soldier. So I understand. You wouldn’t know what it means to fight and kill for your homeland. But now, you understand what a horrible thing it is for a soldier to die in battle.”

She remains still for a bit, before slowly nodding.

“If you can understand that, then you should be able to understand this,” I continue to speak. “You have to keep fighting. Not to kill people, but to end this war. If we can end this war just a month sooner, a week sooner, or even a day sooner… then somewhere out there, there would be a soldier who wouldn’t be killed, who wouldn’t have to kill. We may not be able to do anything about the fact that people die in war, but… at the least, we can limit the numbers of those who do.”

Hearn raises her head, and looks at me. I can’t tell what kind of expression she has on her face, but it doesn’t seem as though she’s about to start crying. Turning away, she hugs herself tighter, burying the lower half of her face in her knees.

…I have no idea whether any of the things I just said go through to her, but I don’t think much more I say will really have any more effect. I turn away from the door, folding my arms together and standing in the middle of the hallway. Off to the side, Usami glances at me for a moment before walking over to the brig door, speaking through it in a low, quiet voice. I decide to leave them to themselves, and begin walking down the hallway.

Not too long later, just as I’m turning a corner, I hear a set of hurried footsteps behind me. Usami stops at my side, slowing down to a walking pace. Awkwardly, she tries to say something, but seems to decide against it, glancing down at the floor instead.

“…Hey, Steyr,” she begins uncomfortably, squirming slightly as she walks, “that was… well, that was kind of unexpected of you… I didn’t think you’d say things like that.”

Don’t remind me. I know I’m not good at trying to be sensitive. “What did you expect, then?”

“Weeeell…” she says, fidgeting a bit guiltily, “I guess I thought you’d be… more like the Major. You know, telling her to act like a soldier, or something like that.”

I remain silent, letting out a small sigh. Without looking at Usami, I speak, “Usami, do you dislike the Major?”

She’s taken aback, her eyes slightly widened, startled. “Huh?” She bites her lip, looking troubled by the question. Hesitantly, she answers, “…well, it’s not that I dislike her or anything. I mean, I understand that that’s how a commanding officer should act like… but, even though I know that, it’s still hard to accept.”

“I see,” I take note, nodding. “As long as you understand that, it’s fine. You might not be able to accept her now, but you might be able to, in time.”

With some difficulty, she nods her head.

“Say,” she speaks up, “what are you going to do now? We have some time to kill before the operation.”

“Hm? Well, I was thinking of…”

[ ] Greeting the newcomer from Kakutasu.
[ ] Making adjustments in the hangar.
[ ] Resting in preparation.
>> No. 39198
[x] Greeting the newcomer from Kakutasu.

We should size up our new ally.
>> No. 39201
[x] Greeting the newcomer from Kakutasu while making adjustments in the hangar.

Can't pass up possible upgrades, man.
>> No. 39202
[x] Resting in preparation.

A wee bit of solitude to think things over.
>> No. 39307
[x] Greeting the newcomer from Kakutasu while making adjustments in the hangar.
>> No. 39312
[x] Greeting the newcomer from Kakutasu while making adjustments in the hangar.

If combining the two doesn't work then just

[x] Greeting the newcomer from Kakutasu

Would do.
>> No. 39625
[x] Greeting the newcomer from Kakutasu while making adjustments in the hangar.
----

“I was thinking of making some adjustments to my Frame.”

“Adjustments?” she asks.

“That’s right,” I say, folding my arms together as I walk, “I’ve gotten a little used to piloting the Kreuzritter, so I want to make some changes to the OS.”

“Huh? Isn’t it fine as it is?”

“The default OS is designed for new pilots to learn to pilot the Frame as quickly as possible, but it’s up to the pilot to calibrate and tune the Frame to their liking, and create custom movement patterns. Hmm… for example, under the default configurations, when using the saber, you’re limited to either a basic slash or switching to manual control, right? With a custom macro, you can execute a complex series of movements without losing any focus or time.”

“Ah…” she says, nodding, “…so it’s basically like setting up macros in a videogame.”

I run a hand through my hair, frowning. “I guess you could say that. Although, you can’t rely on using the same movement patterns all the time or you’ll get predictable, so it’s important that you find a good balance of manual and automatic.”

“Hmm…” she says, looking at me with a sort of glow, “You’re knowledgeable, aren’t you, Steyr?”

“Not really,” I say with a smirk, “everything I just told you should be written on the instruction manual we received.”

She makes a sort of choking sound, biting her tongue.

….

It’s not long before I reach the hangar bay, where all the Frames are being prepped for retaking the base. Usami’s followed me along the way. She’s probably got nothing else to do. Anyway, the hangar itself is quite a busy scene, with the mechanics on-board making final checks on the Kreuzritters. To be perfectly honest, I don’t get the feeling that they’re all that fond of us, especially not after taking that plunge into the ocean before. That must have been hell on them. Luckily, this ship’s carrying quite the load of pre-assembled spare parts for the Kreuzritter series, so repairs aren’t too much of a problem, but still…

“The Assault Scout team’s Frames are gone,” Usami notes, looking around the wide hangar.

She’s right. It looks like the Wild Frames have been sortied. “They’ve probably doing recon on the base. Gathering intel on the base’s defenses, how many enemy units are there. Things like that can be crucial to the success of an operation.”

Usami makes a sound of vague interest in response, looking over to one corner of the bay. Following her gaze, I see the small transport plane that brought Kakutasu’s Frame here. A small group of engineers wearing a different jumpsuit are gathered around it. Most likely, they’re from Kakutasu, as well. They brought along their own team of mechanics. Just what kind of machine is that white Frame? There’s no doubt that it’s incredibly powerful; our Kreuzritters would be no match for it. It might be on par with the SR-0… or even greater.

“Kakutasu, huh…” Usami murmurs under her breath, as we pass by the group.

“Oh? Hey, just a sec!” a voice in the crowd shouts to us.

One of the mechanics – a teenage girl with her dark hair tied in twin braids – shoves her way past the group and hurries over to us, incredibly short and young in comparison to her peers. A clipboard in hand, she slows to a walk as she approaches us, greeting us energetically with a wave of her hand. Her face is lightly sprinkled with freckles, and she seems to have an air of unshakable confidence about her. “Hey, you guys are those pilots, right? Those psycho-whatevers?”

“That’s how it turned out,” Usami answers.

“Great!” she says, looking pleased, “you’ve probably guessed already, but we’re from Kakutasu. Our team got a chance to work on some really interesting stuff thanks to you guys, you know.”

“You mean the prototype Frames.”

“That’s right,” she says, folding her arms proudly. “They’re not ready for combat yet, but they’re basically just about done, you know.”

“You were on the dev team?” Usami asks in disbelief, surprised, “But you look so young!”

“Well, I may be young, but I’m still a genius,” she says, looking immensely proud of herself, before carefully adding, “…in-training.”

“A genius-in-training?” I say, with a slightly amused smirk.

She puts on a sour face. “I have this pain-in-the-neck senior with a genius complex who gets all up on my case if I don’t add that last part.”

“Hey,” Usami suddenly says, with eagerness, “you also worked on that thing too, right? The big, white thing.”

“Oh, that,” the girl says, her face turning even more sour, “yeah, we worked on it.”

“Can you tell us about it a little?”

“Well, just a little, I guess,” she says, although she’s clearly not very thrilled about it. “It’s called the Saboten Robo. Not really a very original name, I know. It runs on a special energy source that Kakutasu is researching right now.”

“What kind of energy source?”

“Saboten energy,” she says, folding her arms together. “Even we weren’t really told many details about it, but from what we know, it’s much more efficient and powerful than atomic energy. Well, at least, on paper, it should be. The actual level of output we’ve been getting is much lower than the projected estimate. Not to mention that thing is incomplete. It only meets about half of our intended development goals.”

“Incomplete?” I voice my disbelief. “That monster is incomplete?”

“Yup. The lead designer had some pretty ridiculous ideas about it. Originally it was supposed to be split into three machines that could combine into different forms for use in different terrains, but we haven’t even been able to make variable fighters that don’t tear itself into pieces during the transformation, so there was no way we were going to make that work. So we slapped together what we could, and that’s the result.”

…that’s unbelievable.

“There are some… problems with the reactor, too,” the girl says, looking a bit uncomfortable. “There was an accident a month or so back, when we were working on miniaturizing it… but I probably shouldn’t talk about it.”

“So, who’s the pilot of that thing?” Usami asks, looking around.

“Oh, she’s not around,” the girl replies, “I dunno where she is. But you guys are lucky she’s not here. She’d make your head hurt.”

“She seemed like a pretty reckless pilot.”

“She’s not always like that. Well, she’s a bit annoying, but she’s not too bad. It’s just… whenever she steps into a cockpit, something just seems to possess her,” the engineer girl says, shuddering slightly, as if remembering bad memories, “…and then, well, it’s hard to get her to stop.”

“And… she’s been put in charge of that thing?” I say, more than a little disturbed.

“Crazy, I know.” She shrugs her shoulders, before casting her eyes on the clipboard she’s holding in her hand. “That’s enough chatting for now. I should get back to work.”

“Okay,” Usami says, “sorry to keep you.”

The girl only smiles in return, before hurrying back toward the other engineers and mechanics.

“…we didn’t ask for her name,” I say, after a pause.

“Ah.”

[Obtained High Performance OS (+20 critical rate) ]

----

UNIT STATUS

CF-10 Kreuzritter MK II (Steyr)

HP: 3400 | EN: 120
Mobility: 90 | Armor: 1200
Movement: 6 | Type: Air/Ground/Water
Size: M | Abilities: Beam Coating, Sword Defense, Shoot Down
Air – A, Ground – A, Water – B, Space – N/A
Part Slots: 3/4 (Equipped: High Performance OS)

CF-08 Kreuzritter Type-S (Mary)

HP: 4100 | EN: 120
Mobility: 75 | Armor: 1500
Movement: 5 | Type: Air/Ground/Water
Size: M | Abilities: Beam Coating, Sword Defense, Shoot Down
Air – B, Ground – A, Water – B, Space – N/A
Part Slots: 4/4

CF-10 Kreuzritter Type-R (Renko)

HP: 2800 | EN: 180
Mobility: 105 | Armor: 950
Movement: 7 | Type: Air/Ground/Water
Size: M | Abilities: Beam Coating, Sword Defense, Shoot Down
Air – A, Ground – B, Water – C, Space – N/A
Part Slots: 4/4

----

Near Victory Base

“Tsk.”

The speeding black Wildkrahe pulls hard up into the air, just barely dodging a storm of bullets from the raven-like Combat Frame on its tail. Its pursuer shoots up, following after the Wildkrahe, nearly a match in its speed. The missile launchers mounted on the Bird-like’s legs fire a salvo of seekers, leaving behind brilliant white trails of smoke in the air as they twist and turn in the sky, zeroing in on their target. The Wildkrahe swoops in and out of the swarm of missiles, gracefully dodging each of the missiles. Its sleek black body vibrates slightly, letting out a low hum – the missiles pursuing it suddenly stop, lazily drifting away from the Frame. The Bird-like sees this as no deterrent, however, and raises its massive gatling gun arm, pointing it up at the aerial Frame and opening fire.

“Damn you’re persistent,” Aya hisses under her breath, annoyed.

The Wildkrahe twists itself out of the way, twirling about in the sky. The Bird-like takes aim with its arm again, getting ready to shoot – until a high impact round suddenly smashes into its side, ripping through the steel armor with enough force to knock it out of the air, sending it on a crash course to the ground.

“Nice shot, Momiji!”

“Be more professional, Shameimaru,” Scout Leader replies in a disagreeable tone of voice. “We’re pulling back. It’s unfortunate that they detected us, but we have all we need.”

“Why don’t we just scrap ‘em all here?” Hatate interjects. “We’re going to have to, sooner or later, so, like, why not sooner?”

“Actually, I think that’s a good idea,” Aya agrees. “They were nice enough to follow us here all the way from the base. Why don’t we destroy them all while they’re still isolated? It’ll be one less pain in the neck once we’re retaking the base.”

Assault Scout Momiji weighs her options carefully. With the one she just took down, there are seven of the same type of enemies remaining…

[ ] Destroy the enemy.
[ ] Retreat to the Samidare.

----

MISSION OBJECTIVES:

Winning condition:
1. Destroy all enemies
OR
2. Reach the retreat point.

Losing condition:
1. Any ally is destroyed.

Battle mastery condition:

None.

----
>> No. 39631
Hard decision. Care to post the specs of the ally mechs?
>> No. 39633
[x] Fighting retreat.

If not possible then:
[x] Destroy the enemy.

Unless that Birdlike was weakened earlier, it took just one shot to bring it down. Probably able to take them.

It'd be better to keep headed towards the Samidare so escaping will be easier if something heavier shows up, but that's not one of the given options so I'm unsure if it would count.
>> No. 39637
>>39631

CF-06A Wildkrahe A (Aya)

HP: 2900 | EN: 100
Mobility: 105 | Armor: 800
Movement: 7 | Type: Air/Ground
Size: M | Abilities: Jamming, Sword Defense
Air – S, Ground – B, Water – C, Space – N/A
Part Slots: 3/3

Chaff Grenade | Power: 0 | Range: 1-6 | 3 Ammo | Reduces accuracy
Heat Claws (P) | Power: 2700 | Range: 1-3 | 5 EN | Ignores barriers
Crow Familiars (P) | 3400 | Range: 2-4 | 6 Ammo

CF-06H Wildkrahe H (Hatate)

HP: 2900 | EN: 100
Mobility: 105 | Armor: 800
Movement: 7 | Type: Air/Ground
Size: M | Abilities: Jamming, Sword Defense
Air – S, Ground – B, Water – C, Space – N/A
Part Slots: 3/3

Armor Breaker | Power: 0 | Range: 1-6 | 2 Ammo | Reduces armor rating
Heat Claws (P) | Power: 2300 | Range: 1 | 5 EN | Ignores barriers
Crow Familiars | 3600 | Range: 2-6 | 6 Ammo

CF-07 Wildhund (Momiji)

HP: 5500 | EN: 150
Mobility: 65 | Armor: 1650
Movement: 5 | Type: Ground/Water
Size: M | Abilities: Sword Defense, Shield Defense, Shoot Down
Air – D, Ground – A, Water – B, Space – N/A
Part Slots: 3/3

Assault Pistol (P) | Power: 1900 | Range: 1-3 | 10 Ammo
Buster Sword (P) | Power: 2900 | Range: 1 | 15 EN | Ignores barriers
Shield Rifle | 3700 | Range: 3-9 | 8 Ammo
>> No. 39644
[X] Destroy the enemy.

We've got two agile Reals and one near-Super. Even if we have to pull out before destroying all of the enemies, fighting will put a dent in the base's defenses.
>> No. 39655
[X] Destroy the enemy.
>> No. 39656
[x] Look into getting some name badges for your yukkuri.
[x] Make a list of the stuff that we need to pick up.
[x] Open a few different tabs of applicable porn, and show Alice how to switch between them, and how to start/pause videos, if needed. Set the laptop somewhere out-of-the-way and have Alice find out preferences with them while you're gone, and close it when finished.
[x] Visit the bakery-suppliers.
[x] Pick up stuff on the shopping list.

I find this to be better to my liking.
>> No. 39663
>>39656
wrong thread buddy
>> No. 39761
[X] Destroy the enemy.
>> No. 42195
“Alright, let’s take them down!” Momiji shouts her command, tugging at her controls. The Wildhund responds with a flashing gleam in its Cylops-like visor, raising its rifle high at the birdlike machines circling like vultures overhead.

Aya smirks, as her Wildkrahe swerves around in a sharp turn, flying in a graceful aerial dance toward the enemy units. “That’s what I like to hear.”

“Let’s get this over with,” Hatate says in an unconcerned voice, her Wildkrahe releasing its familiars.

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJ87t6nok7E

The crow familiars soar out into the air in a burst of speed, leaving thin trails of smoke behind themselves as their small thrusters carry them through the sky. The pair quickly spread out from one another, targeting one of the birdlike Frames and approaching from different angles, one from below and another from behind. The enemy Frame lifts up its heavy gatling gun arm, attempting to shoot down the familiars – but they’re too fast, and too small to accurately target. One familiar fires, blowing away the Frame’s leg. The other lets loose a round, a direct hit on the mech’s back, sending it into a spiral toward the ground.

Aya’s Wildkrahe speeds toward the enemy, meeting another of the UGR’s Frames in midair. The UGR Frame immediately draws its combat knife from its thigh, rushing forward with a wide swing. The Wildkrahe twists itself around, rolling in the air as the heated knife slashes through air. Extending its claws, the Wildkrahe runs the machine through the cockpit block. Another UGR mech takes aim at the Wildkrahe, opening fire with its gatling gun – but the Wildkrahe simply spins around, using the machine impaled on its claws as a shield. At the same time, its familiars dart out from its shoulders, flying around the attacking Frame and blowing it to pieces from behind. Almost dismissively, the Wildkrahe swings its arm out, letting the bullet-ridden Frame fall to the ground.

“As if you undergrounders could beat me in the air,” Aya says to herself in a self-satisfyingly.

A shot rings out, and a UGR frame that had been taking aim at Aya’s Wildkrahe from behind goes down in flaming bits and pieces. Momiji’s chastising, exasperated voice follows, “Don’t get so distracted gloating over yourself, Aya. You’re going to get shot down.”

“Well, that’s why you’re watching our back, isn’t it, Leader?” Aya gives a flippant reply with a smirk.

“Always relying on other people…” she grumbles to herself.

A loud beeping alert catches her attention. She immediately looks down to her radar – a single blip is approaching from the side. The Wildhund’s visor lifts up, exposing its eyes again, and it turns its head in the direction of the approaching unit. One of the UGR mechs has broken off from the others, and it’s closing in fast as it opens fire with its gatling gun. The Wildhund lowers its rifle – the barrel shortens into itself, and the round shield attaches to the Frame’s arm. Turning around to face its attacker, the Wildhund raises its shield, the bullets bouncing off the reinforced steel. The UGR frame flies in a circle around the Wildhund, attempting to get around its defense, but it’s no use, it has no opening.

“Hmph,” Momiji snorts. “Just because I’m a sniper, it doesn’t mean I can’t engage in close-range battles.”

The Wildhund reaches back with its free arm whilst still defending against the UGR mech’s bullets. It grasps the handle of an enormous blade, wrenching it apart from its back. The weight of the blade drives it into the ground as the Frame draws it from behind, the tip of the sword burying into the dirt. The Wildhund’s eyes seem to flash with an almost sinister glow.

“I’ll make you pay for that mistake.”

The Wildhund’s main boosters flare, driving it into a sudden charge at the birdlike Frame. With unexpected speed, the heavily armored Frame lunges at its enemy, kicking off the ground and flying through the air using its verniers. Lifting its heavy Buster Sword over its shoulder, it crashes the blade into the UGR mech before it has a chance to dodge. The cold steel bites into the Frame with a nasty crunch, ripping through its metal plating and circuitry and nearly ripping the entire thing in half before the force of the impact launches it toward the ground, sending it crashing into the earth. The Wildhund lowers its vernier output, landing gently on the ground not too far from the wreckage of the UGR Frame, calmly placing its sword on its back once more.

“Scout Leader,” Hatate contacts her, unimpressed, “looks like the last two are retreating. Should we pursue?”

“No, let them go. We can’t let them lure us back to the base. We’re heading back to the Sami—”

She suddenly stops, her wolf-like ears twitching, their fur bristling, standing on their end as though they’re spooked.

“Hey!” Aya suddenly speaks up, surprised, “something’s up with my monitors!”

“…huh?” Hatate mutters, finally sounding concerned, “there’s something wrong with mine, too…”

Momiji keeps silent, her ears continuing to twitch involuntarily. She watches the screen in front of her, a bead of cold sweat running down her brow. The monitor of her CF suddenly becomes distorted, twisted. The image display becomes fuzzy, filled with static… something’s interfering with the camera units. The image before her suddenly becomes even more severely distorted – and for a second the image goes entirely dark. Cursing, she immediately tries to switch to secondary cameras, but before she can even reach for the switches, the monitor comes back online – to a large, shadowy figure in sight.

“What the…!?” Momiji hisses, pulling back at the controls in shock. Her Frame takes uneasy steps back, away from the thing in front of it.

It’s an indistinguishable mass of black, completely lacking a defining shape. Its form constantly shifts around and changes, as though it were made of smoke. All that she can see is that it’s huge, nearly twice the height of her Combat Frame, and about three times as wide. With a trembling hand, Momiji fumbles for the controls – the scan shows nothing, and the radar doesn’t even seem to acknowledge that it exists. How could it have appeared out of nowhere so fast? Such an enormous thing couldn’t have moved around without visual or radar detection!

“Whoa, what in the world is that?” Aya says, circling around in the sky. “I didn’t even see it appear!”

The shadowy figure doesn’t move, staying in place. Whether it’s an enemy Frame or some otherworldly creature, it doesn’t seem to have any intention of making the first move. It’s watching, observing, carefully like a cautious predator. Its billowing smoke-like form continues to shift around and change in shape, staring down the Wildhund.

“…Leader,” Hatate says, in a serious tone of voice, “what do we do? We don’t know anything about this thing.”

Momiji calms herself, taking a deep breath. “We’ll…”

[ ] Retreat back to the Samidare.
[ ] Attempt to gather data on it.
>> No. 42200
This is a great day. I had given up on this story.

[x] Attempt to gather data on it.
-[x] But make sure the Samidare knows about this thing. Radio in about it, or failing that, send the fastest member of the team to report.
>> No. 42203
Rumia, is that you?

[x] Attempt to gather data on it.
-[x] But make sure the Samidare knows about this thing. Radio in about it (and what was learned on the scouting mission), or failing that, send a familiar if they're capable of carrying the message and operating that far away from their mech. If those don't work, send the fastest member of the team to report and then come back to assist.

While investigating this thing is a priority, the Samidare needs to know about it and what we learned on the mission. It won't get that if the giant shadow thing kills everybody.
>> No. 42206
[x] Retreat back to the Samidare.

Discretion is the better part of valor. We've done plenty here so let's go back and deal with this unit with a full party.
>> No. 42207
>>42203
No, this is the other faggot who never updates and just lurks on IRC.
>> No. 42209
[X] >>42203
>> No. 42291
[X] Retreat back to the Samidare.

>>42203
>Rumia, is that you?
No, Rumia's on the mission to retake Matute. It's Nue.
>> No. 43851
“It’ll be dangerous to continue with the operation without any intel on this thing,” Scout Leader Momiji mutters to herself, tightening her clench around the controls of the Wildhund. While keeping an eye on the shadowy object in front of her, she fiddles with the comm. system, trying to contact the Samidare. Now that they had been discovered, there was no risk in long-range communication. “SMD, come in. This is Scout Leader. SMD, come in.”

There’s no response from the ship, no indication that her message is getting through at all. She snarls in frustration, her eyes narrowing as she watches the formless darkness swirl about. Is it because of this thing? Is it interfering with her long-range communication system? It’s certainly a possibility. Given the way the camera was acting up earlier, it would be no surprise if this unidentified enemy possessed some kind of jamming system.

“Scout 2,” she calls out, keeping herself composed. “Report back to the Samidare with the intel we’ve gathered. Scout 1 and I will cover your retreat.”

“…Roger,” Hatate says, biting her lip.

Her WIldkrahe turns about-face, its main boosters flaring as it speeds off, soaring away from the other Frames. The shadowy mass makes no attempt to pursue or shoot down the fleeing craft, instead remaining where it is, swirling about in a sinister way.

“Aya, can you tell me anything about this thing?”

“Nope,” she responds as she fiddles with some equipment on top of her monitor display. “It’s not showing up on any of the sensors, and the visual’s being obstructed by that weird smoke. I have no idea what it even looks like, let alone what it can do.”

“What exactly are we supposed to do about this…” Scout Leader grumbles to herself, frustrated. There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than dealing with an enemy you know next to nothing about.

BGM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkIz7rZjRM4

“…Boooooring,” a voice suddenly comes in through the open channel. It’s deep, incredibly deep, so deep that there’s no doubt that it’s being distorted through some kind of voice changer. Scout Leader’s dog-like ears twitch, and a chill runs down her spine as the voice continues to speak. “You’re not the psychics, are you?”

“Wha...?” she gasps. Did that voice come from… that thing?

”iF yoU’Re nOt ThE pSYchOdRIvERs, yOU cAn gO aHeAd and DIE!” the voice continues, it’s voice fluctuating constantly between high and low pitch. “AhHAhaHAhaaa!”

Momiji’s monitor is suddenly assaulted by a wave of noise, the visuals cutting out to nothing but static for just a moment. During that instant, in the blink of an eye, the shadow disappears. “It… disappeared!?” she cries in disbelief, tugging on the controls. The Wildhund turns its head from side to side, sweeping its camera units across the area, trying to locate the mass of smoke. “Where…!? Where did it--”

“Momiji, behind you!”

The Wildhund turns around, coming face-to-face with the shadowy black mass behind it. The swirling darkness wavers about like flame, before a jet-black arm suddenly emerges from within the smog, carrying a long, pointed trident. A humanoid torso emerges from the veil of smoke, sharp, angular, and menacing in appearance. Long, scythe-like blood-red blades extend out from one shoulder, while its other shoulder is connected to curved, blue appendages with arrow-like tips. Its waist is connected with a second body – a four-legged, animal-like form with a tiger’s head, and a snake-like tail. The entire thing is easily twice as tall as the Wildhund, and many times wider -- it completely dwarfs the Frame.

“What is this thing!?” Momiji exclaims, horrified.

Before she has a chance to break away, the chimera-like machine pulls back its arm, the tips of its trident pointed down at the Wildhund. The smaller Frame raises its shield, and the chimera thrusts its weapon forward. With a horrible crunch of grinding metal, the trident pierces straight through the shield -- as well as its chest.

A woman’s scream of anguish blares out from Aya’s comm. system.

Her eyes widen. “Momiji!?”

Sadistically, the chimera-like lifts the Frame skewered on its trident into the air. The Wildhund attempts to raise its undamaged arm, reaching for the sword behind its back, but it quickly loses power, the lights of its eyes flickering out as the Frame powers down, its limbs hanging limp. The chimera tosses the inactive Frame aside, sending it crashing to the ground, sparks flying from its wound. It then turns its attention to the remaining Frame, its humanoid head looking up toward it.

“You…” Aya mutters, scowling.

The Wildkrahe’s claws extend, glowing with heat. With a burst of speed, it rushes down toward the earth, diving like a bullet at the chimera. The chimera’s “wings” turn, their tips pointed to the sky. A high pitched whistle rings through the air as they begin to glow with scarlet energy, before discharging crimson rays into the air in a shower of light. The Wildkrahe halts in its decent, hurriedly pulling out of its dive as the sky is filled with light, dodging each ray -- until a single stray beam strikes it in the side, sending it into a spiral. The Wildkrahe crashes into the ground, skidding to a stop.

“Damn it!” Aya curses, tugging at her controls. “Move… move! I still need you to fly!”

Like a skulking predator, the chimera’s lithe feline lower body approaches the helpless Wildekrahe, looming over it with its trident raised, as sadistic as a cat playing with its prey. It points the trident down as the Wildkrahe struggles to move -- but it’s no use. The blast earlier had hit its main booster, and the crash scrambled the control system. As it was now, it was truly completely helpless and at the mercy of the chimera. Gritting her teeth, Aya hangs her head, letting go of the controls, bracing herself.

”Oryaaaaaaaaaa!”

Out of seemingly nowhere, a white blur slams into the chimera, knocking it away from the downed Frame, leaving behind a trail of glowing white particles. A white, angelic Frame touches down on the ground, standing over the Wildkrahe, its “wings” flaring magnificently in the air. Aya immediately lifts her head, staring at her savior in incredulity. The Frame Kakutasu sent them!

The chimera recovers from the impact, turning its attention to the new arrival. Its eyes glow with a sinister red light as it hefts up its trident, pointing it at the white CF, seemingly poised to strike. It’s about to lunge forward when it’s suddenly assaulted by a stream of beam fire from above, the blasts striking against and searing its jet-black armor.

“Alpha team, entering the battlefield,” Major Udongein says as her Kreuzritter rushes ahead of the others, firing at the Chimera. “Listen up. Our priority is…”

[ ] The recovery of Scout Leader and Scout 1.
[ ] The destruction of the unknown enemy.
>> No. 43852
File 133633622215.jpg - (690.49KB , 1200x1114 , bf683f708394d2037006e933888ba603.jpg ) [iqdb]
43852
----

CF-09S Commander Kreuzritter Type-R (Udongein)

HP: 3100 | EN: 220
Mobility: 110 | Armor: 1050
Movement: 7 | Type: Air/Ground/Water
Size: M | Abilities: Beam Coating, Sword Defense, Shoot Down
Air – S, Ground – B, Water – C, Space – N/A
Part Slots: 4/4

Saboten Robo (Lily)

HP: 6300 | EN: 240
Mobility: 95 | Armor: 1500
Movement: 6 | Type: Air/Ground
Size: M | Abilities: EN Regen (M), Beam Coating, Sword Defense
Air – S, Ground – B, Water – C, Space – N/A
Part Slots: 2/2

----

?????? (???)

HP: ?????? | EN: 450
Mobility: 65 | Armor: 1950
Movement: 5 | Type: Ground/Water
Size: L | Abilities: EN Regen (S), Jamming, Double Image, Sword Defense
Air – N/A, Ground – A, Water – C, Space – N/A

----
>> No. 43853
[x] The recovery of Scout Leader and Scout 1.

This is what we get for not retreating when the scout team had a chance.
>> No. 43854
[x] The destruction of the unknown enemy.

It would seem to me that this would have the first included with it as a byproduct. Although I worry that the reason a choice is being presented is because there will be consequences if Momiji and Aya aren't hauled back to the Samidare on the double.

At least this way we get to see what Lily's really capable of.
>> No. 43855
[x] The recovery of Scout Leader and Scout 1.

Dangit, now we've got repair costs.
>> No. 43867
>>43854
The difference is either holding off while a tactical retreat is done and focusing on the enemy putting our damaged allies at greater risk.
>> No. 43869
[X] The recovery of Scout Leader and Scout 1.

If the black smoke and jamming didn't scream "hopeless boss fight", taking out the Wildhund in one hit should. Even if everyone had Alert, right now they wouldn't be able to spam it long enough to take down something with 100,000+ HP.
>> No. 43976
[X] The recovery of Scout Leader and Scout 1.
>> No. 43987
[X] The recovery of Scout Leader and Scout 1.