“We are receiving the best treatment the school has to offer, so it’s only fair that we take on a few obligations of our own and perform them well. However, it is certainly unhealthy to stay in our room by ourselves. Especially since there’s other people in the same situation,” Aristel said, but Frire frowned.
“But that doesn’t mean that you should all gather in Nakamura’s room,” Frire said.
“Come to think of it, Fudonecchi, why are you here?” Myuhi asked.
“I’m here because I’m in charge of him. Even if that’s just an excuse, or rather, it’s precisely because it’s just an excuse that I have to be here! What if someone comes in? What if something happens? If I’m not around then, the jig will be up!”
“Pufu, gah!? Hey!” Shinichi said.
Perhaps it was because the people gathered here knew about Shinichi, but Frire didn’t hesitate to confess that watching over him was just an excuse, causing Shinichi to choke on his tea, while the other three’s eyes twinkled.
What an excessive amount of trust for a teacher to give a student, and what a brazen confession that was even for the overly honest teacher.
“Oh, wow, to think your relationship has already reached the point where you could say something like that on his behalf,” Myuhi said.
“And so my decision not to leave the two of you alone proves correct,” Aristel said.
“…Huh? Don’t tell me… Teacher Doneju, you too?” Ryou said.
Each one of them turned to Shinichi with a meaningful gaze, but he just ate his sweets and acted as though none of that had anything to do with him.
Contrary his behavior, however, he wore a glum expression that suggested his head was aching.
“In any case, since the gang is all together, then I might as well…” Frire said.
Frire didn’t think she said anything wrong. She just ejected three coin-sized memory chips from her terminal and placed them in front of the students, each with a different color.
Before Ryou was white, Aristel blue, and Myuhi red.
For a moment they wondered what was going on, but then realization dawned on them and their eyes lit up.
“T-Teach, are these?”
“Yep, these are the primary data for your exclusive exoskeletons. The armor themselves were left in your fosters, right? The permission to use them is included in these chips, so you can use them right away upon installation.”
The exoskeletons loaded in fosters could be divided into two type.
The type that stored the armor that has been specially processed by dismantling it, shrinking it, and compressing it, and the type that converted the material into data.
Garesto’s technology made it possible to convert material into data, but the technology itself has not been released to the public, and only a black box version has been lent to Earth.
It is said that it was because other fields were not allowed to see it that it was being monopolized for armament use, though it is also said that it was a technology that did not work for other kinds of materials.
Regardless, before them were lined up chips that belonged to the latter type.
“I was actually planning on give it to you before the Garesto trip, but there was a change in schedule.”
Frire ended up changing the schedule due to all the incidents since the first day.
She glanced at Shinichi, but he didn’t seem to have been bothered by that.
He just spoke his mind.
“So it wasn’t just Teacher Frire? You guys have your own too?” Shinichi said.
“My position calls for it, but I must say, I haven’t actually had a lot of opportunities to use it since coming to the academy,” Aristel said.
She wasn’t allowed to use it, so it really has been awhile.
Personal exoskeletons were different from the old models used by the academy or the latest units deployed by the military.
They could be more or less divided into two types. Those tailor-made to suit the abilities, characteristics, and wishes of the individual, and test units meant to gather operational data and advertise for the company.
In the military, the former was often provided to aces that needed something better than standard equipment, while the latter was rarely deployed other than to experimental squads.
In the academy, half of the students had permission to possess the equipment due to sponsorship, but they couldn’t be used in the classroom.
“Why is that?”
It was curious whether Shinichi was actually interested or not, but regardless, Myuhi and Ryou – in a rare display – responded.
“The academy is fair in that regard, and as much as possible, they try to get rid of any benefits in terms of equipment that a student might have due to their lineage or standing, so those with their own or those that have been contracted by an external company are basically prohibited from using them,” Myuhi said.
“Those exoskeletons were manufactured in a different place and operated for a different purpose altogether, and while there are those meant for group action, they still have higher specs than the old models used by the academy. But that also goes to mean that if those that had them could have used them, then the last incident would have gone much easier,” Ryou said.
There was a bitterness on his face as he said that the school should have just let the students use their personal units.
That opinion seemed to be mostly in regards to the student body rather than himself, however.
For even with special equipment, it was doubtful that he would have been able to fight more than he did.
It was not Garesto’s strength that was required back then.
“…So, in other words, the school’s top brass has to do the heavy lifting?” Aristel said.
Despite his bitterness, his words led Aristel to notice that possibility.
“Exactly. Since we can’t publicize the incident, we can’t increase the school’s security by too much. That’s why the upper brass decided that it would be better to increase the students’ security even if it came at the cost of fairness. But of course, that’s just the upper brass not wanting to take responsibility,” Frire said with a bitter face.
Evidently, the upper brass was hell bent on either blaming the site or the student if a problem were to arise.
Ultimately, it was also Frire who decided to give permission to them and not the upper brass themselves.
Yet Frire still decided to accept that responsibility for the sake of the students’ safety.
But of course, she wasn’t careless enough to say that outright to the students.
Only a few among them noticed the dangerous glint in Shinichi’s eyes.
And one of them, who happened to be a certain fox girl, just laughed to herself, saying, “welp, looks like those big wigs’ days are numbered…Well, that’s exactly why they pine for him so, though.”
“All the students with their own personal exoskeleton will be given permission after the trip to Garesto, but given the situation, I’ve decided to permit only those that are somewhat in the know about what really happened during that exam. That’s just how big the problem has gotten,” Frire sighed.
Since everyone here knew the general situation and has heard a thing or two, everyone chuckled dryly and agreed.
As a teacher, Frire didn’t want to be in the firing line of anything, but she knew that there was a limit to how much she could watch over them. That’s why this measure was taken to allow the students to defend themselves.
“…Who are the others?”
Her criteria made Shinichi tense, but as expected, only Youko noticed that minute change on him.
Other than Shinichi, the students that knew that their recent exam was an incident were the top three students, the Senba siblings, Tomoe, who was in their class, and the technology class’ Wernher.
“The Senba siblings were originally scheduled in July to perform in a mock battle outside as representatives of the normal class. To that end, they’ve already been fitted with the Japanese exoskeleton prototypes. I told them to bring their exoskeletons with them so that they could get used to them. As for Braun, I gave him some permission to keep and use the small guard robot that he made… As for Safina, her case is a tricky one.”
Though it was indeed possible to make her carry, Frire could not prepare a convincing reason.
She turned to Shinichi in search for a good excuse.
Frire had actually wondered if it was even a good idea to make her carry. It was only after seeing her in action that she made up her mind, as she realized that she would likely do decently depending on the specs of her unit.
“In that case, let’s just make one.”
“Let’s make a convincing reason.”