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Orbital Bunker Observation Diary
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|Orbital Bunker Observation Diary|
|Written by||Eishima Jun|
|Printed in||World Guide, A Short Story|
|Date of copy||02.10.2017|
＜WHERE IS THIS?＞
＜WHO IS THAT?＞
2B likens it to trying to climb up a rocky slope.
Her left leg feels heavier than lead, and with just one step, she's already winded. When she's finally able to complete that step, her right leg's joints are the next to begin creaking.
From practically tumbling out of the flight unit, exiting the hangar, riding the elevator, and finally to reaching the hallway, the distance is only about a few meters. But when she thinks about the amount of time it takes her to do just that, she's dumbfounded. The Development Department is right at the end of this hallway. Thinking about how much longer it'll take to get there, 2B feels as though she's going to faint.
The orbiting Bunker is the front line base for YoRHa troops. Although it contains all the necessary facilities for battle and travel between itself and the Earth, as well as living spaces for its inhabitants, it can't really be considered big. Nevertheless, 2B feels as though the distance between herself and her destination is endless. As the floor is merely a gradual slope, there aren't even any steps for her to overcome, so it's a place that should be so easy to walk in that one could do it with their eyes closed.
This only acts as proof that the current problems with her motor functions are serious. She tries to up her pace a little, as she thinks about how badly she needs to reach the Development Department for repairs.
Just then, the Commander approaches her from the front. 2B attempts to move her left hand to her chest for a salute, but she can't even manage that correctly. She grimaces, as it seems that the malfunctions weren't only in her legs like she'd thought, but her arms as well.
"It's all right. At ease."
She'd noticed the extent of 2B's damage through that awkward attempt at a salute, and she gestures for her to lower her arm.
"You look to be in pretty bad shape."
"I wasn't able to receive the necessary repairs on the ground, so I was forced to suspend the mission in order to return here for them. I apologize."
"Your apology is unnecessary. Are there others who've been injured?"
"Due to the battle that broke out with the machine lifeforms during early morning, 1D has taken damage to her right arm and shoulder, and 4B's left thigh has sustained minor injury. However, 12H's first-aid treatment has managed to repair them so that the operation would not be hindered."
With that, the Commander moves to the side, out of 2B's line of sight. This hallway, which connects the hangar to the Development Department, faces the "outside". The darkness of space, the scattered stars, and of course, mankind's original home, Earth, can all be seen from the windows.
Even now, upon that beautiful blue planet, YoRHa androids were engaging in combat against the machine lifeforms. No matter how many times they crush them, just like little mechanical bugs, the machine lifeforms tirelessly reappear.
"There just aren't enough YoRHa troops to handle the number of machine lifeforms ... But calling them the elite few sounds nice, I think."
Although there's an overwhelming difference in their numbers, androids have been able to make up for it through strategy and updated technology. However, they have yet to fully overcome their disadvantage, and thus the fighting has been prolonged. 2B believed that maybe, if they were to just push their efforts further, it could all end, but she realized she was wrong in that idea.
"Just make sure you don't push yourself," the Commander says, her lips forming a smile.
Occasionally, the Commander smiles in such a gentle fashion that it confuses 2B. After all, she tends to be rather cold, her speech is usually as rigid as one would expect from a leader, and her judgement is as sharp as a blade.
There were probably countless amounts of anguish and conflict hidden in the depths of that occasional smile.
2B stops herself from finishing her thought. This is her problem, not the Commander's.
"Never mind. It was nothing."
The Commander's smile vanishes, before quiet words escape her lips.
"No matter how cruel the mission, we must complete it. That is the duty of us YoRHa members."
Those final words echo within 2B's mind. There've always been difficult times for her, or even times when things were so painful she couldn't stand it. But 2B has never been dissatisfied with her duties.
"However, no matter the mission, all responsibility for it lies on my shoulders. Do not forget that."
It's as though the Commander was able to read her mind. 2B had always been thinking that the weight she'd accumulated each time she finished one of her duties was hers and hers alone to carry. No, even now, she still believes that. Even so, the Commander's words echo within her heart.
"Glory to mankind."
This time, 2B manages to salute properly.
"Glory to mankind," the Commander repeats in kind.
2B fights under her command. She always has, and she always will. Until the day Mother Earth returns to the hands of its rightful owners, mankind.
As she listens to the Commander's systematic footsteps fade behind her, 2B continues on towards the Development Department's room.
＜WHAT WAS THAT JUST NOW?＞
＜WHAT WAS THAT? JUST NOW?＞
＜SHOULD WE FOLLOW HER?＞
＜LET'S FOLLOW HER!＞
As the Commander enters the command room, she finds that she can't walk another step. A bunch of operators have rushed over to her and blocked the route.
"Commander! About the arrangement of materials in the Bunker ..."
"Please allow me to report the situation in the city ruins ..."
"Please approve the supply container to be sent to the moon ..."
"It appears the transmission bandwidth in Sector F Ward 3d is failing ..."
It seems that the operators believe that if one merely holds the title of "Commander" then that means their processing power must be higher than anyone else.
"With regards to the material arrangement, submit a map presenting three plans that take into account the movements of everyone in charge. After you've done that, I'll consider it."
"I'll listen to your situation report in 330 seconds."
"Supply container approved."
"Thank you very much!"
"Direct any troops in the F sector to move to the access point and investigate the cause."
"Finally, that's finished ..." the Commander thinks to herself, but in actuality, it's not. None of the operators move from where they're standing. It seems there's still something they need.
"Is there something else?"
"Yes," the operators answer in unison.
"Commander! Please accept this!"
All at once, they present her with small gold and silver packages.
"What are these?"
"Today is February 14th! That date is also known as Valentine's Day, which is a day where you give brown objects to those you adore!"
"Valentine's Day? A custom from the Old World?"
"Yes! It appears that both the senders and receivers of gifts were made very happy by it. It also appears that it was customary to give brown objects wrapped in gold and silver paper."
"Ah, no wonder," the Commander thinks to herself. All of their packages are different shapes and sizes, but all of them shine brilliantly. Indeed, it seems that humans gave presents like this long ago.
She opens one of the presents to test out its contents, and it ends up being a dark brown ribbon. She wonders what to do with it, but for the time being, answers with a "thank you" instead of voicing that.
Many of the customs of the Old World elude her. While humans are the ones who created androids, it's ridiculous that they try to understand them, and not recommended that they mimic them. Therefore, she cannot officially authorize this attempt at mimicking Valentine's Day customs, but ...
She won't say such cold things for now. The operators here have very different hardships from those units fighting on the front lines.
"Commander, um ... may I ask for your permission on something?"
The one who asked that is an operator known as 6O, the one in charge of communications with 2B.
"What is it?"
"I'd like for your approval on experiments regarding implementing new equipment for flight units."
Regarding the matter of new equipment, the Commander had received reports from the Development Department several times about that. When dealing with experiments like this, a back and forth between operators and other members is required. It seems that 6O here is in charge of compiling those communications.
"Ah, yes. That. The preliminary investigation. The one who was assigned to that operation was ..."
"9S, ma'am. If no problems occur with the preliminary investigation, it'll be the descent force's final experiment."
Upon hearing that, the image of 2B from not long ago appears on her mind.
"I see, 9S ... That's right."
The words that she'd repeated so many times before echo within her heart, "all responsibility lies on my shoulders".
"Thank you very much!"
6O gives a bow and leaves the room. The Commander then turns her head to look over her shoulder.
"Now then ..."
It's been exactly 330 seconds.
"Let's hear that situation report on the battleground."
＜BATTLEGROUND? SITUATION REPORT?＞
＜BATTLE ON THE GROUND? TO REPORT ON THE SITUATION, RIGHT?＞
＜AH. WHAT DOES NEW EQUIPMENT MEAN?＞
＜WE DON'T UNDERSTAND.＞
＜SHOULD WE TAKE A LOOK?＞
＜LET'S TAKE A LOOK!＞
Operator 6O rushes to the hangar. She believes she'll be in trouble if she misses them. Well, actually, if she does, she can just contact them through a transmission, so she won't be in that big of trouble.
She slides herself through the door she'd just opened — it feels like the more in a hurry she is, the more slowly it opens. Because quick movement is necessary for a quick installation, she believes it's a point of hers that she should improve on.
"21O, are you there?"
From behind a flight unit equipped with a catapult, 21O's face emerges. She's still in the middle of her inspection work, it seems. What good timing. 6O immediately gets down to business.
"The implementation experiment's been approved!"
However, 21O's reaction is unexpectedly weak. 6O wonders if she's just forgotten about what the experiment entails.
"You know, the new equipment? For the flight unit!"
21O knits her eyebrows in an almost shocked expression.
"What do you mean ... that's all?"
This time, it's 6O's turn to show a strange expression on her face. She can't figure out what's up with 21O's expression.
"You could've just told me that through one single transmission. You didn't have to come all the way here."
"Yeah, but ..."
21O wears an expression that suggests she believes she's done something useless, while 6O tries to think of how to refute that.
"But, but! We're always just talking through transmissions, I need more exercise!"
21O raises an eyebrow at that, as if to say, "so, what?"
"And besides! Isn't it more important to check the actual equipment with my own eyes? What is it we say again ... It's our duty? To do it perfectly? Er, what was it ... um ..."
"It's the duty of us operators to carry out everything we do with perfection."
"Right, that was it!"
21O finally nods her head at 6O's spirited response.
"I guess you're right. Whenever he asks about new equipment, he seems guilty. 9S is just a ball of curiosity."
21O's tone may sound like she's verbally shrugging her shoulders, but in actuality, it's meant to be gentleness. She's always like this when she talks about the unit she's in charge of, 9S.
6O leans over, suggesting she understands just what she means. Even though they serve different units, operators share the same sorts of feelings.
"2B's the same way, always doing unreasonable things."
S-Type's tend be guilty due to their intense curiosity, while B-Types are guilty of their lack of consideration for themselves. Though that's probably why they're able to fight on the front lines without hesitation.
"I guess you could say they're running us ragged."
"I get that there's no helping their characteristics, however ..."
"You wish they'd act with a little more restraint, right?"
"But even if we tell them that ..."
"It won't change a thing!"
"So," the two of them speak in unison. "Advanced preparations are especially important!"
As is the exchange of information between operators. Even if it's an insignificant conversation, there could be information within it. The accumulation of all that meager information could inform important decisions, or help units avoid danger. In short, everything in an operator's everyday life can connect back to a mission. Every day is their duty.
After checking some notes and changes on the new equipment, the two of them chat a bit. Of course, 21O never stops working, however.
"Okay, sorry to keep you waiting."
21O returns the flight unit to a fixed position after the inspection, and makes room for 6O. Since the catapult can only be equipped to one flight unit at a time, they'll have to be checked one by one.
"Well then, I'll go ahead and contact 9S."
"Okay! I'll leave you to that."
6O fixes 2B's flight unit in the open space, and begins her inspection work.
＜THAT MACHINE SURE IS BIG!＞
＜IS THAT THE NEW EQUIPMENT?＞
＜WHERE SHOULD WE GO NEXT?＞
＜WHERE SHOULD WE GO NEXT?＞
Locating 9S is an easy task for Operator 21O. When he's on Earth, there may be issues with the satellite resolution or the communication area, so sometimes the position information can be wrong. However, when he's within the Bunker, there's no mistake. "9S is right here," 21O thinks to herself, as she stands in front of the door.
The server control room — the room within the Bunker where a large terminal is installed. 9S has been in here analyzing enemy barriers and new hacking patterns. He loves that sort of detail work.
Whenever he isn't being sent out on missions, he's always, always, always guaranteed to be working in this room. Due to his intense concentration, he doesn't even hear the sound of the door opening.
"I knew it," 21O mutters, as she enters the room, without even gaining the attention of 9S, who's focused on the terminal. Despite being unable to see his eyes, she's sure they're shining as he immerses himself in his work.
Often, human beings seem to have become absorbed in the act of playing with their toys, forgetting about time entirely, and that's exactly how 9S feels in this very moment.
Actually, even before heading to the hangar, 21O had stopped by here. Since he seemed so absorbed in his work, she didn't call out to him, but even at that point in time, he'd already been in the room for over three hours.
She feels as though she should tell him to cut it out and take a break already, but all of a sudden, his shoulders tremble in shock, like someone had just come up from behind him and shouted in his ear.
"Oh, it's just you, operator."
He drops his shoulders, and turns his gaze towards 21O.
"What do you mean 'it's just you'? You've been working in here without even a single break for how many hours now? You need to quit doing that sort of thing."
"One confirmation will suffice."
"Fiiiine," he responds, as though he's dissatisfied.
"Please disconnect from the terminal. I need to brief you on your next mission."
"Seriously? I can just listen like this!"
"That's unacceptable. You won't get sufficient exercise like that."
Suddenly she finds herself diverting the conversation in the same way 6O did not long ago. Though it is true that 9S requires exercise more than 6O does.
"Let's take a little walk."
9S reluctantly disconnects from the terminal.
"Soooo, where's the next mission?"
"Within the factory ruins. You'll need to survey the ruins as well as their surroundings."
"So that means I'll be alone again, huh? Sure is lonely like that."
9S drops his shoulders in a manner that suggests he's uninterested, but in the next moment, he lifts his head to look over at 21O.
"Think you could come with me, operator?"
21O knows he's not being serious with that. It may be true that he's lonely, but bringing an operator along on a mission is completely out of the question.
"Absolutely not. This is your job. Stop behaving like a child and just complete it on your own like you're supposed to."
"All right, all right! Sheesh ..."
9S puffs his cheeks up. She can hear he's a bit disheartened. She wonders if she should give him some "candy" to cheer him up.
"The next mission will also serve as an experiment for the newly implemented equipment."
She can hear the liveliness in his voice now. Just as she thought, the word "new" would have tremendous effect on him.
"I'll provide you with a more detailed explanation in the hangar while we check out the equipment."
Suddenly, 9S makes a strange expression, like he's taken aback by something.
"Is something wrong?"
Come to think of it, he seemed a bit strange a little while back, as well. She'd thought it was because she surprised him by suddenly being in the room with him, but at the time, his gaze wasn't even facing towards her, but in another direction entirely. Something else had his attention.
"Er, I just feel kind of uneasy."
9S turns his gaze towards the interior of the room, like he feels as though someone's watching him from it. He shakes his head a few moments later.
"No, there's no way. It's probably just my imagination. I wonder if I'm tired or something ..."
"That's why I've been telling you to take regular breaks."
"One confirmation will suffice!"
After finishing the explanation of the new equipment, she'll have to remind him again to rest. If his fatigue accumulates, it may compromise the mission.
While thinking about that, she and 9S leave the server control room. But before she leaves entirely, she turns to look about the room one last time. Of course, there's no one there.
＜That was a close one!＞
＜We were almost caught!＞
＜But what does "lonely" mean?＞
＜Androids are just full of mysteries, aren't they?＞
＜That's right. Full of mysteries ... and very interesting.＞
＜We want to play with them a little more.＞
＜Yes ... Play with them a little more.＞
Two words appear on the large terminal within the server control room, despite the complete lack of anyone's presence.