Chapter 238: Flying Monsters
Akira once again went up to the rooftop for his usual escort routine when Hikaru suddenly called him.
“Akira, this is from the HQ. It seems that something just fell over ahead of you, so you should be careful.”
“Roger that… Is it normal for things to be falling out from the sky around here Thats pretty dangerous.”
The sky of the eastern district was inhabited by monsters, so it was pretty normal for stuff to be falling from the sky. Although they were sometimes valuable relics, they were still a danger to those on the ground. Thus, transport routes tend to avoid such dangerous areas. Hikaru, who knew that, found it a little bit strange, but she did not dwell on it any further.
“Inter-city routes usually dont go through dangerous areas, but… Considering the giant bugs nests around the original route, I guess they chose this rouse since this is much safer than trying to break through that area.”
Judging from Hikarus attitude, it did not seem to be that dangerous, so Akira did not worry about it too much.
But that was not the case for Alpha. Her usual smile suddenly turned serious. It was as if the current situation was worse than that battle against the giant bug swarm.
“Akira, get ready for a fight.”
“…Alright, Alpha. Is it something bad”
The radar picked up a signal and when Akira turned in the direction of that signal, he could see a white powered suit fall through the thick cloud, plummeting to the ground.
Since it was trying to soften the crash by pointing its booster toward the ground, it blew away all the smaller rubble right under it.
Akira immediately pointed his rifle toward the powered suit. He thought that white powered suit was the reason why Alpha seemed so solemn. Immediately he pumped the C bullet loaded in his LEO multi-rifle with energy. The most important thing for him right now was to get the first shot. If the power used was overkill, he could just reduce it later.
But before Akira finished charging the bullet and pulled the trigger, suddenly, something else attacked that powered suit. A black disk-shaped object split open the thick cloud and charged straight toward the white powered suit. Although the white powered suit tried to shoot it down, it could not stop the black object. The suit received a close-range attack that ended up smashing it to pieces.
After the black disk destroyed its target, it immediately went up to the sky to chase after its next target. It was another white powered suit close to it. White powered suits fell to the ground one by one around the transport convoy. Some crashed into the ground, some that could still fly, flew around the convoy and others landed on top of the transport vehicles. No matter how battered, all of them were fighting back against the black disk.
Akira was still confused by the sudden change of event when suddenly more were coming. The greyish cloud on top of the convoy turned even darker. When Akira looked up into the cloud, he could see something solid. It was similar to a floating ceiling, which kept on ejecting out more black disks from its mouth-like gate.
Akira made a quick guess as to the identity of that thing and wished someone would rebuke him as he mumbled.
“…Dont tell that thing is a monster.”
“Thats one of the monsters living high in the sky. Akira, Lets get to work. We need to repel that thing.”
Akira quickly returned back to himself the moment he heard something that he did not want to hear. But it did not erase his shock as he immediately turned to Alpha. Of course, normally that was a very strange reaction for others, but he had completely forgotten about that thanks to how taken back he was.
“Wait. Fighting that thing! Are you serious! Its not something that I can defeat just by trying harder, you know”
Every single one of the monsters up in the sky was even bigger than the inter-transport vehicle. The transport convoy was fully covered beneath their shadows.
Alpha lightly smiled at Akira who looked at her with surprise rather than worry.
“Dont worry. Were not fighting those.”
Seeing that smile, Akira regained most of his calm. Suddenly, there was an order coming from the HQ.
“To all personnel!! Shoot down all the powered suits!! Or at least get them away from the convoy!! Theyre the reason why those monsters came down here! So, destroy them as fast as you can!”
“Yep, so there, you have it. Akira, lets get to work.”
Akiras bike started moving, it was Alpha who was controlling it. Akira immediately understood what she meant as he banished all the questions in his mind and focused on the incoming fight. He took aim toward the white powered suit using the rifle on both of his hands as the bike ran through the rooftop. Meanwhile, the rifle fixed on the bikes arm was also taking its aim toward the same target.
Due to his time compression and Alphas advanced calculation ability. All the 4 LEO multi-rifle were aimed at the exact same point. They then released the C bullets that they had charged to their limit.
With the accuracy that was raised to its utmost physical limit, countless bullets hit the exact same point at the same time. The combined firepower tore off the leg of the durable-looking powered suit.
“Oh Theyre weaker than they look, huh”
“I bet thats because theyre already damaged from their fight against those monsters. Their energy reserve must be really low.”
“Is that so I guess thats mean that Ill at least have a chance against them.”
The powered suit that just lost its one leg turned and aimed its rifle at Akira. However, with one leg gone, the rough, turbulent wind, and its exhausted energy reserve, it could hardly maintain balance. This was way outside of what its auto-balancer could handle. Moreover, Akira was also keeping it in check with his shots as well. The energy bullets, more like lasers that it shot from its cannon, veered away from where Akira was.
Akira used that opening to jump off the rooftop and landed on the ground. The forcefield armour projected a rail-like platform the moment the tires left the rooftop. This allowed it to land smoothly on the ground without much loss in momentum. After he landed, Akira used the transports as cover as he quickly closed the distance to his target.
“Akira, well use the blade next. So, lets get a good feeling of the blade while we have the chance.”
“Sure, but are we going to test it now”
Alpha smiled and replied.
“Well, will you normally try to get close to another enemy just to use it”
Akira smiled bitterly. He then exchanged the rifle in his right hand with a blade handle. There was no blade extending out from that handle.
The lower part of that handle was connected to the bikes terminal through a wire. Akira flipped the handle on his hand and jammed it into a box that was fixed on the bikes extension arm, when he pulled that out, liquid metal was extended out from the blades handle.
The box was a container for liquid metal, which produced liquid metal blades. The thin powerful blade was exceptionally sharp, it could even cut through forcefield armour. Because of that, it was a time-limited trump card. Time-limited because it could not maintain its sharpness without keeping it connected to an energy pack large enough to power a vehicle. It was a powerful weapon when properly mastered, but most people would instead choose to learn other weapons if they had the time to master something.
Akira knew that but still bought the blade, mostly because Alpha recommended him to. Moreover, he did carry blades before only to get them broken in a short time, so he thought that it was a better idea to use an expendable blade with the assumption that it would be broken after one use right from the start.
Akira held the blade that was slightly longer than his own height horizontally as he drove his bike on the outer wall of the transport vehicle. The route that was formed using forcefield allowed him to scale up the wall to the rooftop without losing much momentum, and just like that, he launched the bike toward the white powered suit.
His strange maneuver, which did not resemble the usual movement of any normal bike, or any flying bike caught the white powered suit off-guard. Akira used that chance to fly past next to the powered suit while he swung his blade. Meanwhile, mid-swing, Alpha controlled the blade to increase its sharpness to its utmost limit.
The blade that was glowing blue dim light, was slowly being consumed as the liquid metal went through the white powered suits leg and dissipated into nothingness a few seconds later. All that remained was a sliced leg crashing to the ground. It showcased an amazing level of sharpness for a blade that was used as a single-use expendable weapon.
“Akira, AF cannon next.”
The AF anti-material cannon on Akiras back unfolded on its own thanks to Alpha and it extended out in front of Akira. He quickly grabbed the cannon, aimed at the white powered suits torso, and pulled the trigger.
Although it was an AF cannon point-blank shot, that was not enough to completely destroy the white powered suit. But even so, that shot was enough to blow the white powered suit away from the transport convoy and into the wasteland.
“Even that was not enough, huh!”
Alpha glanced at the shocked Akira and reminded him.
“Our objective is not to destroy them but to drive them away from the convoy, thats why I set it to focus on spread rather than firepower.”
“Why would you do that”
“Im not sure if its a good idea to destroy the target that the monster up there is trying to kill in this situation, you see. So, lets just leave that powered suit for that monster.”
Akira then saw the white powered suit that had lost both of its legs, only with a damaged booster on its back, trying to get back to the convoy just to get shredded to pieces by the black discs. He then gave a slight nod.
“Well, its true that it sounds like too much work trying to destroy every single one of them.”
“If I have to add, we aimed for its leg first since it would have been difficult to push it away from the convoy while it has its sticky contact leg fixed on the vehicle, you see. Well then, lets hurry up, otherwise, the other transport vehicles would get destroyed first.”
Alpha controlled the bike to quickly accelerate it to drop down. Right after that, the black disks that had finished destroying their original target flew toward the part of the rooftop they were on and just flew past by it, leaving deep cuts on the transport vehicle. Seeing those deep gashes, Akira could not help but frown.
“Isnt that monster now actively attacking us too”
“Nope, judging from its attack pattern, I believe that its still chasing for the rest of the white powered suits.”
“Those black disks left the transport vehicle badly damaged like this, had I still stayed there, I would have died, wouldnt I”
“Akira, do you seriously think that monsters are nice enough not to damage anything other than its main target”
“You have a point…”
Akira quickly turned toward his next target. He returned to his dual LEO multi-rifles and rode straight up. Although the walls of the transport vehicle were badly damaged because of the black disks, the bike was still able to nimbly scale up thanks to Alphas superior driving skill.
“So, basically, if we can drive those white powered suits away, that huge mechanical monster up there would leave us, right”
“My guess is that that monster is only chasing after those white powered suits because it received an order to do so. It should just leave once it accomplishes its order. Maybe.”
“Maybe! Its just a guess!”
In contrast to Akira, who looked slightly surprised while showing his anxiety there, Alpha had a rather serious face as she replied.
“Its not like I know exactly its behavioural logic, so I cant make any promises. After all, in the end, its not up to me to decide when it should leave. What I can tell you is that theres a good chance itll leave us alone once it has destroyed all the white powered suits.”
“I see. In that case, theres only one thing to do.”
Akira recollected his focus and got himself ready for the next fight. Alpha who saw that seemed satisfied.
“Well, if you dont like taking your chance like this, we can try to go up there with this bike, go pass through that mouth, and destroy it from the inside, you know Although, its unlikely that youll survive. Do you prefer that instead”
Akira frowned; it was obvious that he really hated that idea. But thanks to that, his motivation toward destroying the white powered suits received a boost and Alpha was happy with that result.
As Akira rode toward his next target, he closed the distance while evading the incoming barrage of bullets. Using the 4 LEO multi-rifle simultaneously, he shot down another white powered suits arm. While the targeted white powered suit was teetering, trying to keep its balance which made it difficult to handle the huge weapon that it had, Akira closed their distance and once again took out his blade. He then accelerated the bike even more and passed under the white powered suit.
The glowing blade consumed all of its liquid metal in one swing to extend the height of the blade and cut the white powered suit cleanly into two. After Akira passed under it, the powered suit tumbled over, split into two distinct sides.
“Alpha, was that okay We did not cut its legs first.”
“It was tumbling over, so I believe that it no longer has enough energy to maintain forceful contact to the ground, thats why…”
“Ah, I see. I was just only a bit curious, theres no need to tell me about all the detail.”
“Are you sure”
The sliced open powered suit was then ripped to pieces by the black disks. Akira who saw that frowned and thought.
“So, even after being bisection, it is not enough to recognize them as already destroyed I guess that monster just wants to be extra sure, right”
“Or it might want to destroy all its target by its own attack.”
“Basically, it just wants to be the one that finishes off all of its targets.”
“That kind of quirk also shows the special characteristic of its manufacturer, you see.”
Akira and Alpha were having this kind of conversation to extend the gap between each fight in order to relieve Akiras fatigue. Unlike Akira who did it unconsciously, Alpha did it deliberately.
While in the midst of their conversation, a white pillar of light suddenly came crashing down on another powered suit. It was on top of a different transport vehicle. That white light devoured 60% of the white powered suit, leaving a big gaping hole through the transport vehicle. That pillar of light pierced through the thick forcefield armour protecting the rooftop of the vehicle and went deep inside the transport vehicle, leaving it badly damaged.
Akira who saw that, frowned. He looked up to find a huge cylindrical cannon-like object floating near the monster.
“…It seems that I really need to hurry up. For now, lets stop chatting. It would be bad if that thing shoots down from the sky and evaporate me as well.”
Akira once again put back his blade and returned to his dual LEO multi rifle.
A shout from the HQ could be heard from the communication devices.
“Number 4 is badly damaged!! It has lost its mobility!!”
“Tow it and evacuate the crew and the cargo!! Once the evacuation is done, depending on the situation, we might have to abandon number 4! Turn up the forcefield armour on the other transport vehicles to the max! Just forget about the coursing speed and the armour repair!! We cant get away from those white powered suits with our coursing speed anyway! And those armour tiles serve no defensive value at all! Use all the energy reserve to get through the current situation!!”
“Number 6 is gone as well! Injury count is climbing in numbers 8 and 9!!”
“Turn off all the cannons affected by the aiming system!! Dont shoot up! That monster will blow up the transport vehicle the moment it recognizes one of us as an obstacle!! Whats going on with the activation code for the powered suits in the hangar!”
“We already sent a request but still no response!”
The guy who was acting as the commander frowned.
“Dammit! Are they working on regenerating a new code or theyre hesitating to send the code… Just tell them to hurry up!”
Although the hangar was filled with powered suits, all of them were merchandise, so the escort team did not have the right to use them. They might be able to use them right away if they paid for them, but the paperwork prevented the escort team from doing that, hence the guy was irritated.
Shirou and his escorts were also inside the hangar at the moment. Hammerz, who was together with him, rubbed his head.
“Shirou, are you sure were doing this Although its an emergency, this is borderline criminal, you know”
Shirou just chuckled and said.
“It cant be helped, its an emergency after all.”
“If you think that everything is allowed just because it is an emergency, itll definitely destroy public order, its exactly because were in an emergency that we cant resort to crimes, you know”
Shirou chuckled bitterly, seeing that reaction, Hammerz got a little bit irritated.
“Well, to be honest, Im not sure that its the right thing to say considering that were in a perpetual state of emergency in this eastern district. After all, the Corporate Government is robbing the old-world ruins exactly because of that were in the middle of an emergency, right And thats the exact reason why the caretaker AIs are not happy with us, right”
“Are you seriously criticizing the system in this situation”
“Of course not. Even I think that it is necessary in order to survive this monster-filled eastern district, you know We have no other choice after all. So, what Im saying is, compared to that, modifying Saka**a Heavy Industrys merchandise for a bit here is not that much of a crime, right We can just give our best effort to explain to the corporation later.”
Hammerz sighed. He knew that it was nothing but an excuse, but it was also completely understandable considering the current dire situation.
“Ah, just to let you know. If youre saying that youll go out there and destroy them, then there wont even be a need for me to do this, you know”
“…I know, just do it already.”
“Alright, I have your approval then.”
Shirou smirked and used the full extent of his power.
After a short time, there seemed to be nothing happening. Or at least, that was the case from an amateurs point of view. But in reality, there was a huge change in the security system in that area. Because of that, something finally started to happen.
The powered suits inside the hangar that should only be able to turn on with the correct activation code, suddenly started turning on. They then grabbed the weapon closest to them and those who were done arming themselves stood in front of the gate. Right after that, the gate that should only be able to open with approval from the escort team, also started to crack open.
The officer responsible for watching over the hangar was shocked, but before he could give an order, Hammerz suddenly called him.
“This is Hammerz from Saka**a Heavy Industry. Well handle the abnormality inside the hangar on our own, so please forgive us for the trouble.”
The officer quickly understood what might have been going on and held himself back from making any complaints. Though he was obviously displeased.
“…No, its fine. Were thankful for your help in this situation.”
“Thank you and sorry. You can forward any complaints later to Saka**a Heavy Industry. After all, even if you send that complaint to me, its not like I can do anything about it, you see.”
Hammerz then closed the call. Although what Shirou did there was in violation of many security rules, the officer decided to grant him some leeway and planned to pin the responsibility onto Saka**a Heavy Industry.
Hammerz could sympathize and felt sorry for that officer since both of them were bound by their position and their affiliation. He then turned his gaze toward a boy who completely interpreted that compromise in a bad way. He felt conflicted as he saw the power that caused such a security compromise to be possible.
[…Hes as good as ever. Even the security system of the powered suits in the frontline is basically non-existent in front of this guy.]
Shirou was an old-world connector affiliated with Saka**a Heavy Industry. Due to the rigorous training from Saka**a Heavy Industry, he was able to do all kinds of tricks including hacking.
Many of the security systems in the eastern district were made based on old-world technology that was not even fully cracked yet by the current technology. Most of them provided very low resistance toward hacking by those who could connect to the old-world domain. The authentication system that was considered to be nigh impossible to crack in this era was close to non-existent to those who could connect directly to the old-world domain.
Moreover, Shirou was trained by Saka**a Heavy Industry using the information harvested from many different old-world ruins. Normally, Sak**a Heavy Industry would never let such a person out, but this was a special case.
Hammerz shifted his gaze toward the unmanned powered suits.
“…If Im not mistaken, the original autopilot system can only mimic amateurs, right”
“Even if they are, the quality and the ability of the powered suits would do the hard lifting. Well, either way, its better that they get out there and get destroyed in the battle instead of being sitting ducks inside the hangar just waiting to be destroyed together with the whole transport vehicle, no”
“I dont really care. To be honest, lets just return back to the room.”
Shirou then returned back to his room. But before that, he glanced at the powered suits that were flying out the hangar and hoped that they would at least be useful out there.
The transport convoy was quickly enveloped in an intense battle. The cannons on top of the transport vehicles that could even make quick work of a colony-sized giant bug swarm were used to shoot down the white powered suits. Black disks flew around, ripping everything in their way including the transport vehicles. The Hunters were doing their best to destroy the white powered suits and naturally, the white powered suits fought back. White pillars of light came down from time to time, evaporating the white powered suits as well as the transport vehicles that were hit by that ray.
The unmanned powered suits activated by Shirou were then thrown into the mix as well. Although they were able to recognize the Hunters and did not shoot them, they could not differentiate between the white powered suits and the black disks. Thus, they attacked them both. The black disks soon recognized the unmanned powered suits as hostile and started ripping them to pieces.
The area was filled with cannon shells and explosions, the sound of gunshots and explosions were echoing without end. Of course, that much ruckus only caused other monsters to get attracted to the area. Even the sudden route change of the convoy lost its original purpose, all the nearby monster swarms quickly converged onto the convoy.
Originally, the escort crews would have no problem dealing with the swarms of monsters. But their hands were full at the moment. Worse, the transport vehicles had allocated most of their energy for their forcefield armour, which lowered their coursing speed. So those monsters that were normally too slow to catch up with the convoy were slowly closing in on it.
Massive wolves that were approaching the convoy while evading the hailstorm of bullets were beheaded by the black discs. The octopalos looked up and started shooting toward the flying monster, so the flying monsters reacted by evaporating them with a single swing of its ray cannon. Smaller monsters were trying to climb up the transport vehicles, so the unmanned powered suits and the Hunters were repelling them off.
In the midst of all this chaos, the transport vehicle was able to survive thanks to their maximized forcefield armour, they were also able to buy the needed time to destroy the white powered suits. But the thick forcefield armour caused communication between transport vehicles to jam up. The head of the convoy noticed that, but he prioritized on keeping the transport vehicles intact and told them to keep the forcefield up.-