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Part 9: Working Today, Too
When she was excited, Homura Akaneno had a scream that could wake the dead. From two floors away.
Mmm... alright, I'm up, I'm up...
I woke up to see most of the rest of the group around the table playing a card game. Youka was doing pushups.
There's no way you're just this good at this!
um, the beautiful satsuki is a very multi-talented girl, actually. i'm kind of a hanafuda expert
Come on! You can't keep beating me like this!
I have no idea how anyone gets good at luck-based card games.
It's all about the mind games, Richter my dude.
What are we doing?
Schooling your ladyfriend at card games.
I'm getting schooled.
That makes sense.
Specifically, we were waiting for you to wake up before we got to work. Miroku has reported that President Hikasa has an assignment for us when we head to the Laboratory.
...With the addendum that we may take any odd jobs from Sharon if we see fit, of course.
Yeah, she's got you to a T there, babe.
What is that supposed to mean?
Means you're—hrgh!—a chronic do-gooder, sweetheart—eleven—
You're the sort of girl who doesn't understand why anyone would ever skip school, yes?
W-well, I... no. No, I'm—
The sort of girl who doesn't understand why anyone would ever skip school without societal or personal reasons making school an undue stress on their mind for the day. Wholly for pleasure.
What's the difference? The rigidity of our institutionalized school system is an issue that causes plenty of students to simply not go, or to attend free schools or alternative schooling methods. Whether it's skipping school 'for pleasure' or because one simply can't handle it, it all comes from the same root of a given set of restrictions being placed on children that they can't handle.
So, no, Koron, I am perfectly well aware of the reasons one would skip school, even if I personally never did so. I was high school student council president, I wasn't going to be lax on something that affected a great deal of my own classmates—and it's only gotten worse since I graduated, so I still keep a pulse on it and do my best to—
I'll admit I was wrong, but you've proven the point more beautifully than I could ever manage.
I remember she always had this fan club back in high school. They'd make these photo collages of her to stare at in unused clubrooms of the school, and then when someone saw me and her kissing behind the school once they all freaked out and went,
"What?! Our beloved Chisa-sama?! With that trash otaku, Akaneno?! There's no way!! She's far too pure!!!"
Joke's on them. I'd laid claim to her before any of them even laid their pathetic human eyes on her.
OK so like otoh I get it, she is very pretty and cool, but that's kinda weird.
Yeah, high schoolers—forty-eight—can do strange things at that age—forty-nine—so it doesn't really surprise me—fifty—
What sort of things did you get up to in high school, Youka?
—fifty-three—oh, the usual—fifty-four—rebelling from my parents with strange fashion—fifty-five—thinking I was in love—fifty-six—fooling around—fifty-seven—getting disowned—
Haha, I s
Wait what was that last part?
sixty, okay, how many was that, Richter?
In this case, I think the others just hadn't really been listening. Satsuki had pulled out some absurd hand and, shall we say, high schooled Mio.
You've logged two hundred and sixty this morning.
Okay, I can work with that. What was that, Chisa?
...Um, I'll ask you later.
So, off to see Sharon?
Yes, let's. I'd rather not leave anyone wanting here, if I can help it.
Perhaps it'll be entertaining.
It was much harder to keep track of time properly at this point, seeing as many of our electric clocks were deemed excessive to what electricity we had. With that said—
Yo, Miya-chan! It's a genki feeling shichijihan, ne?
It became much easier with Sharon around, as she had one of the most accurate internal clocks I'd ever seen.
Yes, we will. Sorry for skipping out yesterday.
Aw, it's fine! Taichou-san needs her kirei sleep to stay kira-kira!
Yeah, she's just not the same when she hasn't slept for days. Her hair gets all wild and her pupils dilate, she starts getting all disaffected and depressed, and she starts compulsively tapping her finger on her desk in some rhythm I never know. And then when she gets really bad, she starts talking funny—
Aaaand let's not talk about this anymore!
Aww, but I wanted the deets! Oshiete me the deets!
Don't worry, Sharon. One way or another I will oshiete you those deets.
A true seigi no ally you are, SATSUKI-chan!
Think of these as a grand collection of feelings! Come and ganbatte whichever ones you like! All together now—
So here's the quests menu. There's no limit to how many quests you can take on at a given time, so like, there's no real reason NOT to accept them all. Pretty consistently, new quests will pop up each time Unit 13 takes a nap in-story. While a few quests can be admittedly a bit annoying, quests not only give you good rewards (including unique quest midboss dragons that you can't get to spawn otherwise,) but can also regularly give you some extra development for story characters. We will, of course, be doing all of them.
Oh, and incidentally, Sharon's VA actually does say "LET'S WORKING!!" in English when you open up the quest menu. It's one of the voice clips that will be stuck in my brain forever, along with Reimi saying "We've got new products" and Youka yelling "BYE BYE, INVADER!"
Did you see? Did you see? You saw, right? I'll explain, so kitte kudasai! This one's from a guy who smells like trash! You know, the garbage guy?
Oh, yes, I do know him. He... did he not bathe?
He's still in the same clothes.
Why is he still in the same clothes?!
Wakarimanot. I forgot most of what he said, but you get the idea, right, hero-tachi? Go see him yourself on Residential A! Good luck, and ganbarimasu hard!
Oh, this one's from you.
Yeah, 'cause it's a dai pinch! Shibuya is filling up with monsters!
And this is different how?
But like, today is really taihen, though! Today they're freakin' YABAI! So, hero-tachi, gear up and head for Dogenzaka! Work it like a real senshi!
Dogenzaka... hopefully we don't run afoul of SKY again.
Who cares about the good-time charlies?! My babies could be in trouble!
We can't let that stay happening.
Did you see? Did you see? You saw, right?
That elegant onee over there!
The woman in question was standing elsewhere in the entrance, looking listless and concerned. She carried herself with quite the transfixing air—even at a time like this, it seemed grace and poise were ineffable.
She left her medication in the shelter when y'all moved here! Isn't that trouble? I'm worried, but civilians can't go outside! She says it was a bottle of little blue pills!
Oh! Shaped like an American football, except really tiny? Little line in the middle?
SATSUKI-chan does the big wakarimasu, yo!
Yeah, I know what I'm looking for.
I mean, if I lost mine, I'd be freaking out too, for reals. Don't worry, though, y'all, as the queen of the Shelter I've got this handled.
You can recognize it just on that little description?
Couldn't mistake it for the world.
Good luck and ganbaru hard, hero-tachi!
Right, we will!
This wasn't strictly necessary, but heading over to speak with one of our clients seemed like good practice.
Hey, don't worry, ma'am. We took your request and we'll be out in just a bit to go get it.
Transfixing Lady: Those armbands... you aren't the ladies who took City Hall in the first place?
Transfixing Lady: And you, sir.
Thank you, ma'am. Yes, we are.
Transfixing Lady: It feels a bit odd to be receiving the personal attention of our biggest heroes...
You joking? We'd be pretty bad heroes if we ignored stuff like this. 'Sides, I'd get the worst empathy pains at night if I didn't. I mean, I had to go without mine for like a week once and I freaked out like every night, so.
Transfixing Lady: ...You're a very sweet young lady. Do you need any—
Nope. 's in my brain, y'know. Like a steel trap.
It's nice seeing you so enthused about this, Satsuki. Um, as her captain, I'd also like to offer my promise that we'll help you, ma'am.
Transfixing Lady: People really are so kind these days.
Ah yes, the concept of 'disaster utopia'. You know—
And that's where we end this discussion!
Alright, we need to find the...
Did anyone catch his name?
Cowering Man: Um, w-who are you looking for?
Ah, we're looking for the man who... um...
Actually, this is a good time for us to take a look around the floor, I'm sure we'll find him.
Cowering Man: Oh, um, okay. Well... t-there's a flea market being held down that hall...
Oh, you hadn't heard?
A few people were, true enough, milling about in a makeshift market in one corner of the floor. The first person we saw was a forlorn-looking girl with an incredible pack of first aid supplies.
We've got plenty, whatcha asking?
Forlorn Girl: I just need 200 Az...
A primary benefit of the Residential floors is these flea markets. The residents, as you rescue more people, will offer packs of consumables or unique items for certain selling prices. In this case, it's a pile of consumables for cheap, and you can't complain about that.
This pack has 5 Nano Aids, for revival, and 5 Medicine 2s. Very nice.
You can never have too many supplies. I'll take them.
Forlorn Girl: Thanks... you seem like you need it. I'll do my best to find some more...
Crafty Woman: But enough about that, right? C'mon over here and check out the other wares on offer!
Well, how can we ignore a sales pitch like that?
This is six Paracels to cure Paralysis, Blinols to cure Blind, and Poisonols to cure Poison, for 100 Az. It's a decent enough deal, and Crafty Woman here will have much nicer stuff later, and also 100 Az is chump change.
Stop, stop! You're going to make Chisa explode into glee.
It never hurts to be prepared!
From here, we headed into the two rooms used as active resting areas.
Old Softy: It'll be a relief when more residences are built.
I'm really sorry we can't go any faster.
Old Softy: There's only so much you can do at any time. You folks do seem awfully understaffed for going out there...
Well, we'll make do.
Tiptop Tinker: I mean, I don't need to take up any more space in here, you made that laboratory, right? I mean, if you can hack the things then they must be mechanical, those Dragons, right? I'm fighting on my own turf! Gimme a spot in there!
I can put in a request with Mr. Ayafumi, but I'm not sure how well that will go over.
We found the floor's matron working in the back here.
Oh, Mrs. Nagare! Yup, this is them.
Mrs. Nagare: Miki Nagare, yes. I understand you knew my husband.
...B-briefly, yes. I'm... I'm so sorry I couldn't help him—
Mrs. Nagare: Oh, don't think like that. He was a soldier in wartime. I was prepared for this as soon as I heard about his mission. Of course, I'd have wanted to spend more time with him, but it was an honor to know my husband was out there fighting for everyone here. I didn't want to see you so I could guilt you, Captain.
Right, of course. Thank you for your hard work, Mrs. Nagare.
Mrs. Nagare: Actually... it's the girl with the green hair who's the survivalist, right? I thought I could show you a few of his old tricks.
Special attention for meeeee?! The beautiful Satsuki adores to having an instruction!
Mrs. Nagare hands us the Stealth I Field Skill, which lowers the encounter rate for something like 200 on-screen steps. It's nice to have.
Maybe this way, my scarf won't get so slimy...
Amiable Man: The watchword of my life is 'casual', and it's a bit too late to change that.
The watchword of my life is 'darkness'.
Amiable Man: Yeah, sure, Mio.
Robbed Man: Hey! Hey, Murakumo! How do you plan to keep the peace here, huh? Huh?!
Amiable Man: Oh, come on.
Robbed Man: I am TELLING you that my entire food stash was stolen! Someone here did it!! They all look suspicious... You, with the big muscles! Guard my food! It's the only way to—
ABC Manager: I'm telling you that you probably just lost it all when all the trees started sprouting up in Shibuya.
Are my muscles really the most notable thing about me? I'd think it was my charming good looks.
(He totally just nibbled at it and forgot, by the way.)
(No doubt about it.)
Ah. Here we are. Unmistakable, really. Hold your breath, Richter.
Privy Man: And now I'm safely at City Hall, thanks to you! Please, uh, let me shake your hand?
It was Koron he went towards first, and she reacted as could be expected.
No. We're here on business.
Privy Man: Oh—ohhh, you're here about the request! Okay! Well, there's this girl I met while I was out in Shibuya who isn't at City Hall yet. We met while we were on the run, but we got separated before you found me. Sheee'll probably be somewhere around my old trash can—could you go and look for her for me?
Am I the beautiful Satsuki?
Privy Man: ...Uhhh... well... I mean, you know, like... a-are there multiple Satsukis here right now?
Privy Man: 'Cause I mean, if there's only one then I don't know whether or not you're the beautiful Satsuki, you know? You know, like as opposed to "the clever Satsuki" or "the cool Satsuki" or "the green-haired Satsuki". I mean, you could be a beautiful and clever and cool and green-haired Satsuki, but? You know?
Yes, we're going to go look for her, and yes, you are a good-looking woman. For god's sake.
...to make a long story short, once we got Satsuki to stop exploding in embarrassment, we left.
Alright, I'm gonna go try and make sure Mom doesn't rub her face all over Mr. Kirino's files again.
Good luck there.
Our first order of business should be in here. Satsuki?
As the queen of this Shelter, I declare this scavenger hunt ON!!
It only took about ten minutes to comb the Shelter sufficiently for Satsuki to find what she was looking for.
BEEP BEEP! The asset has been located!
She held up the bottle of small blue pills and shook it. The pills inside made a charming little shaking noise.
Ain't I a genius?
At this point, she opened up one of the many pockets on her outfit to slide it in.
Er, don't you keep weapons in those?
Well not that one. I've got a system here!
She does. I've seen it.
Alright, let's roll, do-gooders! Back to City Hall!
Probably a good idea. We could die, after all.
I absolutely could.
Sliding into City Hall with a flourish, Satsuki flipped over to our client and produced the prescription.
Babam! Conflict Resolved!
Transfixing Lady: Goodness me, that was fast! Wasn't it dangerous at all?
The Shelter is very easy for us to get to from here these days. It wasn't any trouble at all.
Transfixing Lady: The rumor around some people in here is that you all look like yetis, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I suppose you really wouldn't make for very good heroes if you weren't kind young ladies.
Transfixing Lady: And you, sir.
Thank you, ma'am.
At a time like this, we all have to help each other out to the best of our abilities.
And technically, I'm not much of a young lady anymore.
Transfixing Lady: Oh, that's all relative. It's just... very nice. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that people are so kind. Er, but just in case—
On the DL. I get it.
In case you missed it, for this quest we get two Heal Aeros and an SP Up 100. Yay!
Transfixing Lady: And one more thing before you go—your name was Satsuki, you said?
Satsuki tilted her head and nodded.
Transfixing Lady: You're a lovely young woman, yourself.
Satsuki paused to think. Then, after a moment, she grabbed my hand and yanked me back into the discussion as the rest of us were turning to leave, leaning us both in for a conspiratorial whisper.
And so's our Captain.
Tell her she's a lovely young lady, too, I think she needs to hear it.
Transfixing Lady: ! Ah, I see. Having a bit of a rough time, is she?
This one's got some shaky self-confidence. Tried to tell me once she didn't count.
were you or were you not assigned male at birth, chisa
I mean—well, I mean yes, I was—
Then she counts, right? Weigh in here, ma'am.
Transfixing Lady: Well, I can't claim to be a complete expert myself, but have a bit of confidence in yourself, Captain. No matter your circumstances, you definitely 'count'.
Um... thank you. It means a lot that you care.
Why wouldn't I care about the mental health of my good pal Chisa?
Well, it's just... I don't really...
Allow me to guess.
You've never discussed this particular aspect of your relationship to gender with anyone aside from Mio, who you view as predisposed to take a charitable light towards thinking about you. As such, Satsuki's frank, blunt thinking and desire to include you fills you with saccharine feelings. After all, an understanding of one's actual complex relationship toward gender is oft more fulfilling by a long shot than a simple understanding of one's pronouns, so to speak.
How do you keep doing that?!
You are an open book, Captain. It's rather charming. You and Mio are both incredibly easy to read—it's no wonder you go so well together.
it's true, the damn normies
...It's been a long time since I've had this many friends. It's nice.
By the time our discussion concluded, Youka's fists were covered in monster blood.
Alright, you three done?
Yes, it was a very productive conversation. Thank you both for giving us our privacy.
Richter gingerly stepped around a dead slime.
I-I hope for your sake that you are very dead!
Alright, here's our man's trash can.
What's his name, again?
See? I told you there were turtles!
That's a tortoise.
The Chelterrar resemblance is appreciated, but I will not be cuddling this one.
I wouldn't recommend it now, anyhow.
Somehow I never ran into any Green Turtles on the first sortie in Shibuya. To make a short story shorter, they can buff their physical defense and hit you. Koron mulches them. End quote.
BEEP BEEP BEEP person located!
It's a good thing we haven't run afoul of SKY yet.
Lost Woman: Oh, that's wonderful! I was in a real pickle—but how did you know where I was?
Well, we got a tip from...
The man who made that trash can his home.
Lost Woman: Oh, him. That makes sense. Despite the smell, he really is a nice guy.
My and Koron's heads turned to the side at the same time—I imagined she felt the same thing I did. We caught the barest hint of a bright blue in the trees.
Lost Woman: Er, are you okay?
Has anyone else been through here?
Lost Woman: Well, I haven't met anyone else, soooo...
I really hope I'm not being haunted again.
At any rate, we headed back to City Hall to escort the lost woman back.
Lost Woman: So he's on the eighth floor?
Lost Woman: Thank you, I'm really grateful!
We went and escorted her back up. As it turned out, he hadn't yet left that spot, and had instead been pacing about waiting for us to come back.
Lost Woman: Ugh—yup, there he is.
Privy Man: Oh! It's you! You went and found her for me! Okay, now I really need to shake your hand.
Do it to someone else!
Privy Man: Huh? Well, if you insist... Anyway, here, here's a reward.
When he pulled out the shining, golden thread from his pocket, I felt my world freeze for a moment.
OH MY GOD
I reached out and grabbed it tight with my hands. I hadn't felt one of these in ages—though this one seemed tougher than they'd ever used to.
It's an Ariadne Thread
It's a real legitimate shining perfect beautiful Ariadne Thread
Privy Man: Oh, you know what it is? Yeah, it lets you escape from anywhere and get back home with a tug! You've gotta sleep to make it work again, but—well, anyway...
I WOULD BE HONORED, SIR!!
Making a mental note to scrub that hand as hard as I possibly could, I shook the man's hand.
Lost Woman: You're braver than me, lady...
We also get an SP Up 100 for our troubles.
Oh, I'll never let you leave me again. They all laughed at me, but soon they'll see how useful you are, how invaluable you are to any good adventurer.
I'm glad you're happy, Captain.
I'm so happy, Richter.
Heads up, y'all!
Three SDF soldiers were engaging a larger tortoise at the far end of Dogenzaka.
Private Senba: Damn it, how tough is this guy?
Sergeant Yoshino: I don't think we can beat it... As soon as we get a chance, retreat!
Private Kagawa: Yes, ma'am!
Won't be a need for that!
Sergeant Yoshino: Wait, Murakumo?!
Let's do it!
Youka! Don't flinch.
I'm pretty good at that.
The air around Youka began to distort and warp with heat.
This is Koron's new Too Hot to Touch skill, which allows her to place a buff on any party member that has a very fun effect. Give us just a moment.
And this here is Satsuki's new Hiding skill, which she can use when she has her guns on. It decreases the likelihood that enemies will target her for attacks, as well as boosting the critical hit rate of her regular attacks pretty high. It also allows her to actiavte one more fun little skill.
That won't be an issue.
Youka! Draw its attention!
Ready to roll?
Following up is Koron's new Plasma Jolt spell. Much like Satsuki's gun skills, Plasma Jolt is an Aerial attack that deals extra damage to enemies off the ground. This Green Tortoise is not off the ground, but I wanted to hurl lightning at it anyway.
SO, here's what happened here. Youka used Counter Stance as normal. Too Hot to Touch, when a contact attack hits someone who's Veiled, lashes out with a Fire-type counterattack that can also inflict Burn. When Satsuki is Hiding, she can use Bush Trap, which lets her counter attacks on other party members with auto-crit attacks.
Thus did three attacks pop off of a single hit on Youka. Against contact-heavy dragons, use of Koron's veils and Bush Trap means that six hits can pop off of a single round of people hitting Youka—not to mention, of course, that once the veil is set up Koron can do whatever she wants. Thus is the ethos of Counters Party.
To say the least, Green Tortoise here doesn't make much of an impact for the rest of the fight.
That was a neat trick, Koron.
I'm full of them.
Private Senba: Yeah, you really helped us out. That was getting dangerous for real.
The head of the unit came up and bowed her head to us.
Sergeant Yoshino: I'm Yoshino, of the fifth platoon. We're very grateful for your help.
Ah, the search and rescue squadron?
Sergeant Yoshino: You're well-informed. Thanks to your courageous intervention, we'll be able to keep on with only minor injuries. Well, let's resume the search. We won't miss even the slightest traces!
Search and rescue squadron?
They were a recent formation, after the attack.
Ah, I see.
Arigato, hero-tachi! What a relief! So so so so, did anything neato happen while you were out there?
The fifth platoon of the SDF helped out, too. Apparently they do search and rescue.
Whoa, search and rescue? Thinking of others is mondo cool! Every rescued person is cause for celebration in my book!
Haha, same here!
So, what's the sugi for my friendly hero-tachi? No more quests yet, so get out there and ganbatte, yo!
Sharon gives us two SP Up 100s. Thanks, Sharon.
With all of our business concluded, we headed to the Laboratory floor.
Mom, Aunt Natsume wants you in the main lab, we should—
LOOK AT ALL THESE BOXES! They've got STUFF in 'em!
Following the sound of Mom's voice, I got hailed over by a man in a labcoat.
Shibuki: Hello hello, and good morning! A pleasure to meet you, Unit 13. I'm Shibuki, the Murakumo lab department's most senior researcher. Hi, Richter.
Hello, Dr. Shibuki.
Shibuki: Could I bend your ear for a second? There was a matter I wanted to discuss with you, Captain Chisa.
Me, sir? What's the problem?
Shibuki: Haha, oh, you know, little of this, little of that. It'll be fun! I imagine you'd do it anyway, but I'd like to appoint you as lifesavers for the remaining survivors.
Shibuki: Now, perhaps your curiosity has already turned to a pertinent question—why would a scientist ask you to partake in a mission of mercy? But of course, we are quite understaffed here at City Hall, and every fresh name on an ID card is one more pair of hands to have deployed.
We would be—
Shibuki: Now, as a researcher who works with empirical issues, I do grasp your practicalities. But! More people means more aid, more resources—why, a total of fifteen people rescued would be enough to justify an exceptional set of equipment for you. So, please do think of us while out in the field.
Oh, that Shibuki. Always a chatterbox!
Shibuki: And yourself, Dr. Akaneno!
The two of them laughed together.
What is it with scientists...?
I wish I knew.
Speaking of rescuing people, Shibuki here will reward us for every fifteen people we pick up in the field. He's got some quite good rewards for us, if we actually need a gameplay reason to rescue people instead of just being a good person.
So, uh, you guys done with helping out Sharon?
It was a scintillating bit of work.
Good to hear! They're inside the main room. There's just one room this time, so you can't miss it.
The six of us filed into the Laboratory—well, seven, as I think I heard Mom slide in through the other door to eavesdrop.
Thank you for your work on the Laboratory, Unit 13. We've begun researching the Dragons accordingly.
Kirino was about vibrating out of his shoes with excitement, so the moment my eyes looked over to him—
So I know you've been needing to use your wits, but I'm happy to inform you all that I've been working on this Map Function for Richter's Gauntlet that is sure to come in handy—oh, he's already filled in part of that, look at that!
I leaned my head over to look at Richter's Gauntlet. Sure enough, there was a small map of the floors of City Hall on it, as well as an incomplete map of our footpaths in Shibuya.
I left it on auto-fill, sir.
Ahh, that's great. Great! That's fantastic. Field testing is the best, it just can't be beat!
Oh, but wait, there's more, let me just—ehehehe, let me just go show you, here I'll be right back.
Picked a real good one there, eh?
He's the same as ever.
I like the kid! He's got spunk! Moxie! Good taste in manga! What else do you need?
I respect his opinions.
He has, of course, spent hours and hours perfecting something else for you, so I imagine he'll want to talk your ears off about that. While he's gone, though, let us move on to the next strategy meeting.
Of course. Do you have any idea why they'd be so adamant about not working with us?
Whatever the reasons, they're compounding the harm done to the people of Tokyo. We cannot forgive these actions. I'm sure you will agree, Chisa, that right now humanity must come together and cooperate as one.
Yes, of course! And that's why—
So, those who won't must be cut off.
With all due respect, Ms. Hikasa, I don't think that's the due process here.
All of the members of SKY we encountered were our age, or younger. They're children—we can't just leave them out there by themselves. And you didn't answer my question. Do you know why the members of SKY would be so adamant?
Do I look like I am the sort of woman who troubles myself with the affairs of Shibuya street gangs?
Ah, geez, she's getting all uppity.
Even if they would fight against the Dragons, if they would fight against us, they are traitors to humanity, Chisa. Please understand.
If we can open up proper negotiations and get answers as to the root cause of this grudge, then we can come to a mutual understanding. I know they're not completely unreasonable—two of their members rescued me at City Hall during the initial attack. Their leader even seems to actively not want for his subordinates to damage the welfare of the citizens.
I'm certain that if we could cooperate with them for any length of time at all, they could prove to be powerful allies. Humans shouldn't be fighting each other at a time like this, Ms. Hikasa.
So, as Captain of Unit 13, while we may enter into conflict with the members of SKY, I am personally vetoing your order to root them all out of Shibuya. They're civilians, too.
You're vetoing it.
Unless you'd like to give me a salient reason as to why I shouldn't. You know, like maybe why the members of this Shibuya street gang might hate us.
Though the Navigators had been silent up to this point, I could tell Miroku had gotten a kick out of seeing Natsume lose an argument from the snorting he was trying to stifle.
Right. I forgot for a moment you were a chronic do-gooder.
Quit looking at me like that.
Big bad Nacchan just got beat by my daughter
I'm going to pour coffee in your hair.
I was going to say most of that myself, too, so good work, Chisa.
Thank you, I try.
(Has she always been like that?)
(A bit Machiavellian.)
(Oh, yeah, you get used to it.)
Well, I suppose a bit of willfulness is good in a subordinate, occasionally.
My gaze immediately flicked over to the two children, who'd been standing and waiting patiently for this part of the discussion.
It will allow you to work more closely together and understand each other better to have a consistent Navigator. 3.6 and 3.7 are both top-percentile combat navigators—please do select one.
Despite the difference in numbering, there's not a statistically significant difference in ability.
We are twins, after all. So, I think you should choose whoever you find it easier to work with.
I turned my head to the rest of the group.
Um... any input?
good kids, those two
I'm fine with whatever our captain chooses.
I hemmed and hawwed, standing there for what must've been over a minute. It wasn't as though I disliked either of the Navigators—actually, I found them both rather endearing. The idea of giving a proper answer to this question made my anxiety flare up something fierce. My gut had an answer for me, though, and it was the only decisive part of me in this instance.
Um, if it's alright... I'd like to continue working with Mina primarily.
Oh! Um, there's no problem with you, right, Miroku?
Oh phew. I thought you were going to—you know, I didn't want you to think it was personal—
I'm not that easy to offend, geez.
...Oh, um... well, while we are asking. I'm sorry, I wasn't really briefed very much, so... about the numbering. I know you're Navigators '3.6' and '3.7', but... are Miroku and Mina your actual names?
Yeah, it's one of Nacchan's things, is these Navigator kids. They're born in a lab and all.
Seriously though, you didn't even give them names?
It didn't seem like it was necessary. Their serial numbers worked well enough.
Oh. I'm... I'm really sorry. I... I didn't mean to be rude earlier.
If our headstrong Captain would like to give her Navigator a proper name, though, it's not as though I would stop her.
I... wouldn't mind.
All of a sudden, everyone was looking to me. I was now charged with naming the young girl I'd chosen to work with, giving her a name which, presumably, she would continue using for as long as she remained satisfied with it.
I um uh ummm
Oh man. I get to be here for when Chisa names her first kid!!
I'm pretty sure people continued to say things around me, but the rest of the world seemed to vanish as I stood there, heart pounding in my chest. I hadn't been prepared for anything like this when I woke up this morning, and I could hardly even meet her gaze as I stood there, thinking about what sort of label to give this girl.
Of course, 'thinking' was a big word. My mind was nearly completely blank—any inklings of a thought were eaten by the cloud of worry in my mind that told me, what if I give her a bad name? What if I give her a name she doesn't like? What if it's not good? This is important, this is her name! I'd never thought about what to name a child, let alone what to name them to their face!
A name to give a young girl... I looked the Navigator over. She was small, and still seemed entirely too young to be out here even close to combat. If I was being honest with myself, the reason my gut probably told me I'd rather work with her was... well, I had only ever had younger brothers in the Inomiko family.
Then, as my eyes met hers, I had an answer.
If you need a name, that can be your name. Jeanne.
She muttered the name a few times under her breath, feeling it out with her mouth. I saw the sides of her mouth curl up into a little smile the more times she did it.
Something about it goes well with your eyes, I think.
It feels weird to say it out loud.
Not bad weird, I hope.
No, no! Just... weird.
Oh, haha, I know that feeling. Well... I hope it serves you well. And, um, let's do well together, Jeanne.
I smiled at Jeanne, and she smiled back at me. There was something picturesque about that moment, despite all of the circumstances. Seeing a young girl smile like that—it made me think back to my own childhood as Chisa Inomiko, and wonder if at that age, I had ever smiled so brightly as Jeanne did in that moment. It was the kind of moment that felt like it could last forever—the sort of moment that, when I died and saw my life flash before my eyes, I felt sure that I would see with perfect clarity.
And then Kirino ran back in.
Aww, it's just so darn exciting to see this running! See here, this is the Enemy Radar, it'll give you a picture of how close you are to running into a group of monsters, and it'll also show you people who need saving! Look! It's great, right? Right?!
Right, um, thanks?
Then please leave for Shibuya whenever you feel you have a moment to stop daydreaming.
The perils of motherhood, eh, Chisa?
Next time, we go roughhouse some ruffians.