While the world still did not know that the hostage incident at the department store had already come to a close…
While a certain girl revealed her identity at the temporary HQ of the countermeasure department…
While a certain boy was depressed and was planning for the future with a certain fox…
At a place about 10km away from the department store, within the premises of a shrine unknown to the country but familiar to the locals, past an entrance underground that only those affiliated with the shrine office knew, in a hall where many rooms were lined up, each of which shrouded with a silence unlike the solemn aura of the shrine grounds, was a room from which bellows could be heard.
“The main- and sub-systems are both down! We can’t reactivate them!”
“It’s not accepting signals from outside! The program is a complete mess!”
“It’s not responding to any of our calls!”
“No response from the life support system either. Only the bare minimum vital signs can be confirmed!”
“Where’s the manual for equipping the armor from outside!?”
The operator yelled while slamming the console in front of him.
Mechanics dressed in coveralls moved about restlessly around the steel chair.
At the center of the room with many cables of different sizes was an unmoving figure fixed to position.
It was none other than ‘Crimson’.
It looked as if someone had externally equipped the exoskeleton on Crimson while Crimson had nothing but the Basic Frame equipped.
This was the headquarters of the Japanese branch of the terrorist support organization, Nameless.
No one would ever have expected that something like this could be found under a shrine.
“Damn it! We were just planning on collecting data, so why did it have to turn out like this!?”
“The outer parts aren’t even that broken, so why is the system a complete mess!?”
Crimson has been in this state since returning.
It was hard to remove the exoskeleton from outside once its functions have completely stopped.
If there was at least a functioning part, the armor could automatically remove itself or return to its terminal.
If even that was broken, then the pilot could still easily remove it, but the pilot seems to have lost consciousness.
As unrest and impatience spread, a quiet but solemn voice resounded.
The operator, who was the first to notice his arrival, gulped when he saw him.
Even though it wasn’t hard to imagine how old he was from his gray hair and gray beard, his back stood tall without the slightest crook to it and his back was vigorous with muscles.
This great man was the very man responsible for bringing together Nameless as an organization.
“Your Excellency! We don’t have the details just yet. We could observe until the building was broken into, but there was a jammer inside. We’re still in the middle of testing whether this unit can be used here, so the special codes…”
“Haven’t been equipped, huh? Ryubin, that bastard… He splurged too much. He could be something amazing if he just assumed command, but alas…” The old man made a glum face.
Under the influence of the special communication jamming device developed by Nameless, all communications would be blocked except those using their special communication code.
Naturally, such a special communication code is being handled with extra care, so an outsourced unit couldn’t have possibly been equipped with it.
“10 minutes passed from the moment communications were cut to the moment our pilot returned to us. Counting backwards based on the situation, most of the systems must’ve gone down 488 seconds after our pilot entered the building. The emergency evacuation system must have kicked in upon sensing the urgency of the situation.”
There were several systems put in place to protect the pilot during times of emergency.
Those worked as different systems, so that even when the normal systems were broken, they could still function.
They were especially important for an anti-government organization like them, so they even included an escape function to protect their secrets.
“We were driven this far just after 8 minutes of combat? Are you telling me there was a battalion waiting for us at the department store!?”
The old man could not hide his surprise at the impossibility of the situation.
Everyone here shared his sentiments, but the truth was even more shocking.
“A-Actually, based on our external search and the life signs we’ve detected, it wasn’t a battalion, but a single unknown enemy.”
“…We lost in a one on one duel? But to who? Surely, it couldn’t have been that battle-crazed girl.”
“All the recording mediums have been damaged beyond repair. Ms. Doneju shouldn’t have been able to move from Kutoria.”
A completely unknown enemy. “This will be difficult,” the old man muttered as he walked toward Crimson.
The way Crimson was laid down on the service chair (chair) looked just like a critically-ill patient.
The mechanics restlessly tried to remove the armor from Crimson, but there has been no progress.
“There’s no need to greet me. Feel free to destroy the armor. Just be quick about retrieving my spear.”
All this time, the mechanics have been trying to remove the armor according to the manual, but after receiving that order, they stopped caring about whether or not they would damage the exoskeleton in their attempt to remove it.
“u, a… A… Y-Your… Excellency?”
Was it because of the change in the movements of the mechanics? Or was it because of the sound of a voice of someone Crimson respected? Either way, Crimson was somehow able to wake up and speak.
Already, Crimson’s voice was barely being masked by the voice alteration program.
Based on the damage to the internals, the visual sensors and monitors shouldn’t have even been working anymore.
“It’s me. What happened?”
“Huh? Did something happen? I… Went to clean up… after Ryubin, and then…!? a, NOOooo!! Stay away from me! Stay away from me, monster! No, NOOO!!”
The question of the man they referred to as ‘excellency’ was a given, and he himself also thought that it should be easy to answer considering the state Crimson was in, so when Crimson started hallucinating and screaming out in fear, everyone in the room was stupefied.
“The monster is coming! It’s coming! AHH! It’s going to eat me!!?? UWAH, AHHh… No, NOOO, SAVE ME!!”
Meanwhile, the hallucinations of the evil god (Monster) continued to haunt Crimson.
Screams resounded throughout the room.
They were but mere hallucinations, but the traces of the divine ki made it impossible to realize that.
No one here could understand the fear Crimson felt toward the invisible monster.