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July 9th, 2009

I really took my time here since I was occupied with other things.  But anyway, here is the final chapter of Nick of Time.  Just a warning though, do not read if you don't want to hurt your brain.

Chapter 5: Shooter of Magic Bullets

  The interior of the underground institution being influenced by the expansion of enemy soldiers, Sousuke headed to the deepest part.
  If Kaname safely evaded the enemy, she would be heading to the deepest part and emerge from the opposite exit.  It would be the same for Tessa.  Heading into the same direction as himself, the probability of the two of meeting is not low.
  It is difficult to proceed in this underground maze without a map.  All he can depend on was his compass and intuition.  And his enemies are not stupid, they would eventually discover Kaname and Tessa.  No, they might already be captured.
  He has to hurry.
  Also having the danger of being discovered by the enemy, Sousuke made double time and proceeded on the complex passage and stairs.  The footsteps and light of the Maglight no longer mattered.  He has to push it and look for the girls.
  Proceeding in such manner, having not bumped into the enemy in a place like that was really good luck.
  Then he came into what seems to be a hall in the deepest part of the underground institution.  A wide space.
  While walking a few meters, he discovered a man leaning on the wall.
"Lemon....?"
  Without taking notice of the surrounding he rushed over to Lemon.  Shaking his shoulders, he made a groan on his face.
"Sousuke...."
"Lemon.  Why are you in a place like this?"
"I should also ask that.  Well....a lot of things happened.  Kaname-san and Testarossa-san are together.  Aah...my head hurts.  I want to throw up"
  An indistinct voice.  He looks like he was suffering a hangover.
"Together?  Those two are also safe?"
"Aah.  They're right over there---"
  In the stretch of the center of the hall is a giant dome type installation.
"----They're in there.  I don't know why.  I was also with them, but the inside of my head went crazy.... and wasn't able to go forward.  How shameful."

"Wait.  Look"
  Kaname will soon be beside him.  With only those thoughts he stared.  But when he tried to rush to the dome, Lemon was grabbing his arm restraining him.
"Don't Sousuke."
  Another deja vu came.  How many times was it this time?  Sousuke feeling irritated shook off his arm, but Lemon was grabbing his arm firmly and won't let go.
"Over there is.... strange.  If you go near your head would go become strange."
"What was that?"
"I don't understand the full details, but only those girls can.  Probably, if you're not a whispered"
"If not a whispered....?"
  Sousuke felt a chill, looking at the dome the two went into.  The arrangement of the block unit's form, has the feeling of supernatural drifting.
  It was a godsend that no allies were present, but it is unknown up to when such luck should be depended upon.
  This giant hall might eventually come upon by the enemy.  They can't be slow.
"Chidori! Are you there!?"
  Sousuke called at the dome.
"Did you hear me!?  This place is dangerous!  Come out!"
  Even then there was no reply.  Because this was a silent place, there is no way that it was not heard.  Of course there is worry that the enemy might have heard this voice----
  No, there was movement.
  Sousuke grew impatient and rushed off to the dome, from the entrance are shadows of two persons can be seen.  It's Kaname and Tessa.  Getting closely together, and was heading his way.
  Thank goodness, they are alright---- and let out a sigh of relief.
  Its roughly around 9 months since he saw Kaname, and there seems to be no change.  A tight jeans and a turtle neck sweater.  An impressive long black hair.  Although she was a little skinny, there is no mistake.  It was her.
  They finally meet.  Finally made it this far.
  There are many things he wants to say.  All of those restrained feelings, are exploding without limits.  What would be his first words when they re-unite, he was angry at himself in not thinking of it.  He would say everything that he couldn't say.  No, more than those words, first he would run swiftly and embrace her.  He strongly thinks of this.
  He put his foot forward.
  Being very dangerous to get near the dome, up to where should he jump to.  It would be alright if only a little.  He can't wait any longer----
"Chidori...."
  Muttered, running off to.  But at that time, Chidori pointed the gun in her hand at him, a fired without a piece of hesitation.
"Wha...."
  What is happening right now, Sousuke could not fully understand.
  He was not hit himself.  The bullet fired by Kaname hit right in front of Sousuke's foot, sharp echo and sparks remained and disappeared.
  Even then, it was the truth that she fired on him.
"Chidori.  It's me, look carefully!"
  Standing to a halt, he called on her with bewilderment.  This place is gloomy.  Did she misunderstand something and fired?  That must be it.
"Put down that gun.  It's already alright----"
  Interupting his words, Kaname fired again.  This time the bullet landed much closer to his foot.
"Don't move"
  Kaname said.  With a gentle voice.
".....?"
  He finally noticed.  Kaname and Tessa were not cuddled together.  She was threatening Tessa with a gun, taking her hand behind.  Handling like a prisoner or a hostage.
"What are you doing, Chidori?  What exactly----"
"I told you not to move.  If you get any closer, I would kill Tessa first.  That's why I want you not to come close."
"Sorry, Sagara-san...."
A hazy Tessa muttered.  The tip of her lips were swelling and bleeding.  Was she hit?  Impossible, Kaname did?

"I too don't understand much....but, Kaname-san is probably...."
"Don't, Tessa.  Don't speak indiscretely"
"Ah....!"
  Twisting the wrist Tessa made a small shriek.
"What's the meaning of this?  It’s me, Chidori.  Don't you know?"
"Of course I know.  It's been a long time Sousuke"
  It's not another person after all.  There is no mistake it’s Chidori.
"I wanted to meet you.  Even now, I have full of feelings to jump into your breast"
"...then, why are you in such a behaviour?"
"I have something I have to do, I have an important work.  An important work requested by Sophia.  That's why I have to go.  I love you, but if you get in my way I will have to kill you"
  Sophia?  Work?  What are those?
"Chidori, stop joking.  This is not the place for it."
"Yeah, I know.  It would be good if it was a joke---- such emotions, right now you're desperately clinging right?  I don't think it's unreasonable to be bewildered.  But show some courage, I want you to accept this.  Because, I'm going to take the power to make this world good"
  With Kaname's violent way of doing it, pointed the muzzle at the temple of Tessa, with moist eyes begging Sousuke.
"Please, Sousuke.  Believe me.  Let me go.  If you don't, Tessa is going to be killed and you're going to be killed.  I, don't want that....!"
"Don't say something you don't understand.  Put the gun down and let her go!"
"Why don't you understand!?"
  Kaname suddenly hit the side of Tessa's head with the butt of the gun.  Staggering, and seemingly fainting she brought her up grabbing on her braids, then she said.
"No!  I will decide what I will do!  I won't let anyone control me!  Even if it’s Sousuke, only that is unforgivable!"
"Chidori....!?"
  It's inconsistent.
  She has been feeling it the other day, something hot inside her chest disappearing.  What captured her in its place, was a chill that she has never felt before---- an ominous feeling that is no imagination.  That voice, that vocabulary, that manner of speaking.
  Even though if it is indeed said to be Kaname, the behaviour is really contradicting.  It feels like it was some sort of machine imitating her.  Hitting a non-resisting Tessa, why disgorge such language?
  Dragging along Tessa, Kaname walked towards the exit.  There is no way to shoot her to stop her in her tracks.
"Wait, where are you going"
"You like me right?  Then don't come after"
"Could you at least explain!  Do you know what you're doing!?"
"Of course!  So don't come nearer!"
"Return to your sanity, Chidori----"
  Sousuke made a long straddle heading towards her.
  This is no joke.  Coming this far, will he see her off just like this.  Will she shoot Tessa?  Will she shoot me?  It's a bluff.  She can't possibly do those things.  Jumping off towards her like that, he should seize her.  It may be a little violent, but it's a situation in a situation like this.  It can't be helped.  If he does that they can escape immediately, then talk about the circumstance slowly later----
"Sousuke....!!"
  Gunshot.
  Kaname shot Tessa in the head.
  The 9mm bullet opened a big hole in her temples, scattering her brains on the other side of the head.  Tessa's body in an instant, made a short cramping shot and collapsed.
  Large blood spreading on the floor.  Not even the sound of a death agony.  It was an instant death.
"Te....."
  Tessa.  Impossible.
  Aiming at a frozen Sousuke, again she aimed the muzzle.
"I told you!  You can't come!?  That much---- I told you that much not to come!  You killed her!  Why did it turn like this!!"
  How can this be.  Do you understand.  You have to make her....!
  No more thinking.  Inside the head is completely white.  At any rate in capturing Kaname, Sousuke rushed full force towards her.
"It's your fault!"
  Kaname shoots.  Not even a hesitation.
  A heavy impact on his chest.  Shortness of breath.  Again she shoots.  2 shots, 3 shots, one after another.  The bullet proof function of the AS pilot suits barely managed to defend against the bullets.
"Chidori...."
  Unbelievable.
  Staggering on a halt, she firmly held the pistol with her two hands, and aimed at his defenseless head.
"Sto----"
"Good bye, Sousuke"
  Smile.  Discharge.
  The flame of the muzzle was the last thing he saw.  The bullet hitting immediately above his forehead, part of his brain blown off, Sousuke instantly died in that place.  Not even having the time for despairing abusive language.
  The long silence of the darkness and nothingness.  Aside from that an empty world arrived.

  No----
  A voice from somewhere.
  Don't worry.  But, don't be reckless.
  I'll definitely wait for you, so don't worry.

  He can see a small light in the darkness.
"U...Uaaaah!"
  From one point the narrow field of vision suddenly expanded, he let out a scream and raised his body.  A terrible growling sound leaked out from his throat.  Angry, sand and miserable, and his heart being gripped by a fear like an eagles claw, all his muscles experienced a violent mental strain.
"Sousuke!?"
  Lemon looking into him.  With an expression mixed with dread and weariness.
  This place is the hall.  When did he collapsed.  Lemon was squatting by his side, 5 meters away Tessa lied down.  No wounds can be seen in her head.
  She was not shot...?  Did she only faint?
  In that place there was no trace of Kaname.
"Not....dead?"
  He touched his forehead.  No injury.
  He patted his chest and stomach that was supposedly shot.  There were no traces of being shot.
"What happened....?  Also....where's Kaname?"
"She....went away.  When you rushed over to her, you suddenly lost consciousness and fainted"
"Me...?"
"She thrust away Testarossa-san and ran away.  With this foot I couldn't chase after her, I couldn't do anything....probably"
  Why the pathetic confidence in his voice.  He also seems to be in disorder.  Sousuke took a breath and stood up, and rushed over to the collapsed Tessa.
  Aside from being knocked out there are no other injuries.  Of course it is the same for traces of being shot.  Although it's a blessing that she was safe-----
"Just now you said [Probably].  What do you mean?"
"I saw you being shot to death.  Testarossa-san and you.... by her.  But it was a hallucination.  Possibly....damn, that deja vu.  Thinking of what we have talked about so far, that may have been the [possible future].  Kaname-san happening to be violent, that was what we saw.  Even though the deja vu has been quickly disappearing as of late.  Why is that?"
  He's right.  Sometime ago, that deja vu was gone.  Just before, when he entered the hall, which should be attacking them like raging waves breaking into the shore.
"Chidori...."
  In the exit of the hall where Kaname supposedly disappeared to, Sousuke unsteadily walked toward it.  He has to chase her right away.
  Something is wrong with her.  If not, she would not have shot me.
"Wait, Sousuke.  It'a already been 3 minutes.  It's useless to chase after her."
"Let go....!"
  Lemon restraining his single leg with his hands, Sousuke shook it off.
"Be calm!  We have to control the scattered pieces here."
"S...she's sick.  She must have lost her sanity----"
"Look out!"
  Lemon jumped at Sousuke.  The two of them tangled and fell, at the same time bullets burst open from their surrounding.
".....!!"
  Violent bullets echoed into the hall.  From the exit at the south side enemy soldiers were firing.  Their distance roughly around 100 meters.  Their numbers are clearly unknown.
"They finally found us"
  Being upset, their vigilance were sluggish to the lowest level.  Sousuke smacked his lips with his own foolishness, returned fire with the carbine gun.  Not difficult.  From this position, it's dark and distance.  A state where the enemy could not define in their position.
"Let's run away"
  Firing with one hand made a covering fire, releasing an incendiary grenade.  Flash and explosion.  Obstructing their space, created a strong wall of flame and smoke.  With this the night vision apparatus and infrared would be useless.
  Going through with an uncomfortable foot, Lemon helped raised Tessa.  Sousuke rushed to the two of them, carrying Tessa on the shoulders, and headed to the nearest exit of the hall.
"Hurry!"
  There came shots from another direction.  This hall is encircled.
"Lemon, do you know the direction?"
"Here"
  Getting out from the hall Lemon guided them into a passage.  Reaching a T junction Lemon hurried into the north direction.  Standing to a halt, he called into a hesitating Sousuke.
"What are you doing!? The enemy's coming!"
  Sousuke was looking into the opposite side of Lemons direction.  Illuminating with the maglight, there are new footprints in the newly dust covered floor.  Kaname's footprints.  If he goes immediately alone, he might be able to chase after her with full speed.
"Sousuke!?"
  Leaving Tessa and Lemon, and chase after Kaname?  In the direction that she disappeared, there is no mistake that there would be enemy deployed.  Chasing after her from here would be reckless.  From the way that Leonard spoke, at least he would not kill Kaname.  Then only for Tessa and Lemon, it might be impossible for them to escape.  For Tessa who is useful for information, there is no mistake that Lemon would be killed.
  However, Kaname.  Finally meeting her----
"Damn!"
  Reason having a narrow victory over emotions.
  Sousuke shook off his strong lingering affection, turned his heel and ran towards Lemon.

  Going on like this, unreasonable chasing would only result in dying in vain.  Right now he has to think about the escape of the three of them as a priority.  There will be another chance to rescue Kaname, it will definitely come---- he keeps telling himself.
"Would it be alright here?"
"Probably.  Above the stars at the north, looks like we will exit on the other side of the plant."
  From the corner of the passage he scattered bullets aiming on the enemy whose face appeared.  As much as possible he tried to restrict them from going forward, Sousuke and the others headed to the [backdoor] of the underground institution.

  Whatever she did, Kaname intends to know what it is.
  Sousuke was killed.  Tessa was also killed.
  Surely she shot them herself---- as what she thought.
  Poor Sousuke and Tessa.  Thinking about them, her chest hurts.
  That itself is a hard sadness, but there is no longer the need for those two.  A very thin friendship, and a fated lover, what would come about in its continuation?  After all, this world, in the not so distant future will be restarted.
  What happened, or who ever died no longer needs to be worried about.  Ultimately, it would be fine as long as she herself lives.
  First she has to know the situation.
  <Amalgam's> Leonard Testarossa.  That man would surely accept.  He would definitely made preparations to proceed.  If it was her previous self---- or merely 10 percent of her former self, she would outright refused with all strength any request for that man's collaboration.
  However, right now it is different.
  She finally understood.  A really simple method of solution.  And errand entrusted to her by Sophia.  Being the only person to save this world, she finally comprehends.  Thinking only of the mission's supremity and magnificence, fills her chest with hotness.
  Walking alone in the wide passage, a man was waiting.
  It's Leonard.  In an old pipe chair left behind in the middle of the passage, he sits with both his legs together.
"Did you wait?"
"No, not really"
  Leonard made a complacent smile.
"You're finally awake."
"Un.  Sorry to have kept you waiting"
  She returned the smile, stepping forward with an elegant behaviour, she stood and grabbed his nape with both her hands.
"Did you make the preparations?"
"Just a little more.  It was proceeding for half a year"
"Then lets go"
"Where to.  My Lady"
"I'm a little cold"
  Leonard took of his red coat, and hanged in on Kaname's shoulders.
"Thank you.  You're kind.  you won't be violent anymore?"
"Since there is no longer the need.  Isn't that right?"
"Yes.  I won't say anything selfish anymore."
  There is no need for quarrel.
  The two of them walked towards the passage where the subordinate soldiers were waiting.

  Due to the rough carrying, Tessa regained consciousness earlier than expected.  At first it she looks uncertain to be on her feet, but she completely rethink and insisted on walking on her own.
"Are you alright?"
  Lemon pushed his concern.
"Yes.  Your injuries are much worse than mine.  Anyway, kaname-san...."

"She went away.  She left us behind."
  Sousuke said being hasty towards the exit.
"I don't know the reason but she's not of the right mind.  Exactly what happened?"

"About that..."
  Tessa hesitated.
"Explain!  What happened to her!?"
  A strong irritation.  Raising his voice on her while holding her thin shoulders, Tessa was suddenly surprised, looking in with an expression mixed with regret and resentment.
"....I'm sorry, Captain.  That.... I'm confused"
"It's alright.  I'm also the same"
"Before coming here I met Leonard.  It seems that he knows something.  Even if he gives his hand, Chidori naturally went to that deepest part---- and then met with the ghost."
"That's right.  ....he has that conviction."
"About what"
"Her doing such things.  I did not expect it.  Besides, even now I still can't explain well.  Inside the center of that institution, was the [Shadow] of the test subject of TAROS that was involved in an accident 18 years ago.  The psychic wave that travels from the future and the past, created a crystal that passes the consciousness of the Omni Sphere.  That crystal is the true form of the [Whispering].  The existing relay antenna that relays information to us.  In order for me to destroy that Antenna, I came to this ruins.  If it were not for the [Whispering], at this rate, there would be stoppage of the influx of Black Technology from the future that should exist."
"Leonard called Chidori as the [Whispering]"
"That is so at the moment.  I don't know what kind of method, or what kind of work---- I really don't know.  Even as to why her..."
  Listening to this harsh reality, Sousuke already understood the meaning in her words.  Although he doesn't know the detailed theory, whatever happened, he imagined what she would be doing.
"Was her mind possessed?  By that [Whispering]?"
  Tessa did not affirm or negate.  She only walked forward, shaking her shoulders, and a voice trying to squeeze out of her throat.
"I'm sorry..."
  Regret and shame, and then a deep feeling of guilt.  Those seems to be tormenting her at the same time.
"I didn't take notice.  If I know this would happen, I would not have get her near at any means.... all of it, is all my fault"
  There was no words of comfort.
  Even then, what can happen?
  If you didn't follow, she wouldn't.
  Right now Sousuke is trying his best to suppress the impulse to blame Tessa.  That was already known.  Tessa no longer said anything.  Coming like this, she already know that excuses or apology would be useless.
  Unable to bear the akward silence, Lemon comforted her.
"You're mistaken, Testarossa-san.  Not noticing and being useless would be me.  Besides, it was inevitable that nobody can expect."
"Thank you.  But, we can't put it together."
  Tessa answered with a hollow voice.
  I'm the worst, Sousuke thought.  Why did he not encourage her.  Why did he say [it's not your fault] like Lemon.  Even though he committed countless mistakes, he could not stop his anger.
  I know.
  It was all about her.
  Understanding that much, he couldn't cut off his attachment.
  Proceeding in the dark passage, Sousuke muttered in a small voice that nobody heard.
"Chidori...."
  Just a little more.
  The next time we meet, at that time what shall I do?

  Wireless communication entered into the ears of Kalinin.
[This is Alpha Leader.  3 enemy spotted at limits F3.  2 male, one female.  We lost visual upon combat.  No dead.  One injured.  Currently in pursuit.]
  From the subordinates who finally reached the deepest area, it was a report about failing to catch Sousuke and the others.  The [One female], it is most likely Teletha Testarossa.
"Continue pursuing.  Don't suppress them unreasonably.  You can go slowly.  If possible do not kill the girl.  She is information."
[Alpha roger]
  The wireless communication mixed with the sound of gunfire was cut.
  Even with the use of a relay device the communications was bad.  Moving 10 odd men squad under this underground maze, was an operation that could break bones.  Additionally for a while now, mix with it the difficulty of the soldiers when they get nearer the deepest area.
  There is no other, it was because of that unknown deja vu.
  Aside from the soldiers losing their mind there were no injuries, and the hindrance of the communication and cooperation of every units are enough problems.  Once an order is issued they would continue on, and those who were not able to understand their place and situation were always at the back.  Such confusion, the more they proceed to the inside of the institution the more frequency it occurs.  In the end there are teams that almost nearly killed each other, there was one act that they were on the verge if not for Kalinin's warning.
  That deja vu has disappeared a while ago.
  In the deepest part of the institution, was there something that occurred---- this is what was conjectured on the corner of Kalinin's thought.  Most probably, something that he heard from Leonard happenend.  Chidori was safe from that helicopter crash after all, with such fate being led into the deepest area by her own effort, and then was there with the [Whispering] to----
(No, don't think too deeply....)
  Whatever happened, because of that the mutual understanding of each and every team became smooth.  Although it is forgivable for the preceding team to let Sousuke and the others escape, the neighboring exit of the of the underground are already controlled by another team.  No matter what kind of skill he excels in, there is no means for Sousuke to escape alone.
  The subordinates will shoot him to death without hesitation.  And if Teletha Testarossa resist will meet the same fate.
  Will you be alright dying?
  No matter how many times he repeatedly asks himself this it's like raising a gooseneck.
  It doesn't matter.  If he dies here, that's the end of it.  There is no hesitation in his heart, this would be more convenient.
  During the raid on Melidia island, his previous characteristics to prepare the location data of emergency supplies in the event of the [worst situation], he was not able to delete this from the data bank of the <De Daanan>.  Leonard's prediction---- having knowledge of using the Solar Flare to execute the attack, he was still half in doubt.
  The result, that hesitation gave the <De Daanan> the necessary resupply materials, letting them live on this far.
  However, now is different.  There is not one ounce of mercy.
  Approving the objective of Leonard himself, he decided to work for him.  Simultaneously erasing those physical unease.
  This world shouldn't be like this, this is what he felt.
  Andrei Kalinin strongly feels this.
  That is why from here on, what ever happened, he will execute anyone who tries to interfere with their objectives.  Even if they were his former allies.
  And then Sousuke---- you are of no exception.  If you die here then that is your fate.  But if that is not so---- if you want to stop me on top of that, you would need a resolution.  Any humans that make confrontations, with ultimate resolution and sacrifices.
"Stop!"
  One of the subordinates beside shouted with gun in hand.
  From the hanging dust and direction of the darkness, a pair of man and woman appeared.  It was Leonard Testarossa and Chidori Kaname.
"Don't shoot"
  There was no strong inhibition.  When the form of the two can clearly be distinguished, the subordinate immediately put down his gun.  Leonard in AS pilot suit, Kaname with a red coat on, slowly walking forward.  It seems the confluence was successful.
  However----
  What was it, the unnatural composure of Chidori.  Was it not like a walk of a monarch that controls the world.  For a mere 17 year old girl.
  No, it is the truth.  She is the monarch.
  Fowler and himself, taking charge of the leftovers of their power like a servant.
"It's is good that you are safe"
"Aah. You guys too"
  Leonard cramped his shoulders.
"It seems that Sagara and the others intend to escape to the emergency path in the north side.  They will be immediately encircled."
"Sagara?"

<image=369.jpg>

  Chidori Kaname raised her brow.
"Kalinin-san, You're mistaken.  Sousuke and Tessa was killed by me"
"What was that?"
"It's true.  Right before my eyes, precisely shooting them in the head."
  This is entirely different from the reports of his subordinates, he is perplexed as to how calmly she would say Sousuke and the other's death.
"But, my subordinates just now----"
  Kalinin beginning to say, Leonard brought up his single hand.
"No matter, whatever that is"
"But----"
"It's alright.  Mister K (Kalium)"
  Keeping silent, he abides.  Kalinin did not object further.
"....the three unknown enemy are currently being pursued.  They will be suppressed soon."
"Is that so.  Then.... do what you wish"
"Yes"
"In this irritating ruins, there is no longer anything we need.  prepare to withdraw immediately"
"Roger"
"See you, Kalinin-san"
  Walking calmly from that place he escorted them from behind, Kalinin can feel an unknown omen.
  No, not only that.  But also a feeling of forfeit.
  Kalinin contacted Casper who was standing by above ground.
"Mister Sn (Tin).  Situation"
[Still in control.  Weber still hasn't been seen]
"They will eventually come to rescue Sagara and the others.  Next time you see them, remove them"
[Of course----]
  Casper laughed from the communications device.
[----this will be fun]

<Gunshots of small arms detected.  11 0 clock.  Recognized in E4 (Echo 4)>
  Receiving the report of the AI, Kruz muttered in the cockpit.
"There's activity"
  Now, his M9 is concealed in a site 3 kilometers north east of <Yamsk 11>.  For more than 2 hours, they have not been detected by the enemy, slowly creeping forward getting closer.  Using the ECS and usual camouflage, and suppressing the Data link to the lowest range, they are deeply careful to the utmost limits.
  Barely getting near the site, Kruz stopped the unit, fixing both arms of the M9 in the exposed rock, measuring the noise from the radius with the Super Sensitive vibration sensors.
  There was a reaction.
  There was intermittent gunshots in the underground plant.  Although footsteps were not detected, there was no mistake that there are hostilities with difference in power.
  A specific firing sound---- drawing from the mark E4, amplifying the playback.
  It was not clear because of the echo, but this is the sound of the Carbine gun that Sousuke has.  And this firing rhythm.  Although this is unknown to most people, Kurz knows it.  This is Sousuke's Rhythm.
"That bastard, he's alive after all."
  Snickering, Kruz turned on the voice input.
"Details and distance of E4, estimate the vector"
<Roger.  ...complete.  Estimating, direction 261.  Distance 1800.  Vector 73-10>
  The data is projected in the digital map in the screen, magnified.
  The depth is unknown, but Sousuke is moving towards here.  Running double time firing at the enemy.  If he was alone then he would be running faster, it was natural to think that he is with an injured or a girl.  It would be good to think that he was with Tessa.
  They are coming out from the opposite side of the Plant.
  But this is bad.  From the underground institution of <Yamsk 11> to the neighboring exits in the mountain ridges, one squad of enemy already surrounds it.  If there is no support from here, it is impossible to escape.  The enemy also predicts this, it was natural---- Casper was moving somewhere on his own waiting.
  He captures the weak electromagnetic wave of his allies.
[Ur...to..z6.  ....rz7 to.....6]
  Because of the bad electromagnetic wave digital noise are coming in, but there is no mistake that voice belongs to Sousuke.
[...this is Urz 7.  Can you hear me]
"This is Urz 6.  Situation"
  Dispensing the frivolous talk he responded concisely.  There were no Passcode and concealment of the transmission source, then again the electromagnetic wave coming from here is in the lowest range.
[Escaping from the under.... of the plant.  Curre.....passageway in 32a-71a.  Engaging....enemy heading to West Northwest.  With Tessa (Ansuz) and Lemon.....  Lemon is injured.  What's the situation above ground.]
  He must be talking while moving.  The next electromagnetic wave was stronger.
"Expect enemy at the perimeter 33c-70a.  Roughly around one squadron"
[Can support be made]
  Sousuke asked immediately.  If he can observed, he judged that he can attack.
"Possible, but the Lambda Driver equipped AS is hiding somewhere.  A sniper.  There is a need to take care of it first."
  To start the support of Sousuke and the other's escape, Kruz would compromise his position and fall prey to Casper.  In other words, if Kruz does not take care of Casper, Sousuke and the others could not escape.

[Not only the sniper.  There is the possibility of Leonard’s unit coming out]
  The <Arbalest> receiving serious damage in Tokyo, that strongest unit is here.  Somehow Tessa's brother is alive.  No matter how you look at it this is a harsh situation.
"I understand.  But the first threat is that sniper.  If we can at least destroy him, we can somehow send the <Laevatein> to you"

  This would put Gebo 6 into danger.  First to stop Casper's AS, then completely remove the enemy that lie in ambush of Sousuke.  At the same time the Gebo 6 in invisible mode of the ECS drops the <Laevatein> in front of Sousuke.  Just before Leonard reacts.
  It is unknown whether Leonard's unit can be defeated or not, but as long as the <Laevatein> moves an escape path might open up.
[Roger.  We will hold in the exits as much as possible.  Good luck]
"Aah.  Just wait"
  After replying, Kruz can feel his heartbeat palpitating.
  Me?  That Casper?
  Can this be done?
  But, if he did not Sousuke and the others might end up in the other world....

  In this one day, it can't be guessed as to how many stairs they went up and down.
  Adding fire to the enemy that were chasing them, lending a shoulder to a suffering Lemon, climbing up the stairs and firing.  And repeating this.
"Kruz and the others seems to be safe.  For the mean time"
"Eeh"
  Opening the digital map from the handheld computer terminal, Tessa nodded.

"There are data coming from his unit right now.  It's the situation of the enemy soldiers waiting above.  What can be discovered is one squadron."
  Tessa looks at the optimum magnification in the digital map.  As far as he can confirm there are 11.  At any rate it revealed the enemy soldiers captured by Kruz' passive sensor.
  Sousuke objectively judged.
  If they go up the stairs like this, they would eventually reach the emergency exit constructed at the slope of the hill.  Outside that emergency exit are numerous residence constructed, and those soldiers are scattered to such residences.
  They are in a fan formation enveloping the emergency exit where Sousuke and the others are supposedly coming out.

  With the weight of their own injury, if possible they would capture them alive.  if not, the enemy from the outside would simultaneously come in and make a pincer attack.
  In any case, it is certain that if they went upside there would be concentrated firing from 10 persons.  At the moment that they show their heads.
  Additionally their opponent is Kalinin's subordinates.  Their aim is accurate, and there is no mistake that it is controlled.
"It's impossible to break through"
  Tessa and Lemon are no amateur.  They were not distracted from Sousuke informing them of the situation.
  As long as there is support from the M9 standing by above escape is possible.  Kruz would drive bullets into the surrounding residences, more then half of the enemy would be powerless.  And then smoke and dust would restrict their field of vision.  Riding on that confusion the <Paib Mare> would close in at full speed, dropping the <Laevatein>.  It would not take more than 20 seconds for Sosuke to get on.  With the <Laevatein's> current power, he can at least gain a few moments from Leonard being an opponent----possibly.

  There is only one method for an ordinary AS like the M9 to defeat a Lambda Driver equipped unit, to abruptly attack the enemy.  To stop him in the first shot, then it would be over.  In a manner of speaking, the Lambda Driver equipped unit is rather strong.
"How long will the ammunition last?"
  Tessa asked.  Even her voice was tired.
"In economy mode about 5 minutes."
  Sousuke answered, switching the selector of the Carbine gun from Rapid fire to single shots.  Then taking the out pistol from the holster, turned it and handed it over to Lemon.  Even though he is exhausted, his shot is better than Tessa's.
"It's pistol I've used for a long time.  Be careful using it"
"I know"
"Captain you observe the communications"
"....eeh"
  Tessa didn't even give a single sound of discontent.
  Continuing on the narrow and long ascending tunnel.  There is no more stairs ahead.  The three of them stagger, proceeding in the passage supporting in the darkness.  Sousuke sometimes would look behind and fire, at that moment Tessa lends her shoulder to Lemon and hurriedly proceeded forward.
  They reached a dead end.  Confirming that there are no traps, kicked open the rotten iron doors, ahead was a humid small quarter.  It was a room filled with air conditioning devices and cleaning materials locker.  Meeting them was a bulky door, beyond that was above ground.
"Let's hold here.  Lemon behind"
"Aah"
  The door outside can easily be opened.  From the crack fresh open air leaks in.  Time has passed from sunset, the outside is completely dark.
"!"
  Suddenly there was an impact.  The enemy in battle formation outside the emergency exit shoots.  Just a little more blinding sparks scatters, attacks fiercely buzzing in their ears.  The shooters are shooting from about 50 meters in the houses.
  They returned fire preserving ammunition.  The enemies are not trying to kill them.
"They're coming from the rear too!"
  Lemon sharply shouted pushing through the passage where they came from.
"Stall some time!  As long as possible----"
  Lemon jumped from the bullets flying from the passage, jumping into a small room.
"Damn!"
  Lemon fires.  Sousuke shoots.  Tessa crouching in the corner of the small room.  Fierce gunshots and roaring sounds, the tearing sound of metal enveloping the three of them.
  The succession of enemy is high.  They could see that they are stalling for time.  At this rate, they'll run out of patience and their ammunitions would run out then suppressed.
"Were being pincer attacked!  Kruz, you done yet!?"

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Chapter 5b

  The demand from Urz 7 passes through right to left.
  Even the report from Gebo 4 and 6, and the message from his own unit's AI [Yukari], all of it is passing through his head.
  In a battle between snipers, the one who first discovers the enemy is the decision.
  Fellows who concentrate in careful camouflage, it is a battle of the nerves that pit wit against wit, concentration against concentration.  There is no allowance to have other problems taking the consciousness.
  In the night vision image and neighboring map in the screen, electrical information, climate condition, all of the data can be seen, conjecting the location of the enemy.
  Where----
  What about heat source?
  Even if Casper's unit is equipped with ECS, minimum generator exhaust heat is still present.  In a ruins where there is absolutely no human activity, there is no mistake that there are unignorable traces left.  But the image of the infra red sensors are complexly mixed from blue to yellow, unable to clearly show the location of the enemy.
  How about sound?
  In this silent ruins, the cooling refrigerant of the Palladium Reactors engine can be perceived.  But all the High Sensitive Directivity Mike could catch was the gun fires of Sousuke and the others.  If the enemy is equally silent like this, it is impossible to detect the sound source afterall.
  Electrical means?
  This is also impossible.  An obvious story, but the enemy is also not using Radar.  Using an active type of anti ECS Radar, it was like turning on a searchlight in the middle of the darkness.  And then [Fairy Eyes] could not detect the gravitational field of the Lambda Driver.  In order to avoid discovery it is stopped.  In other words if he can finish it with the first shot then it would be a victory.
  Where is he----
  The difference in terrain and altitude, he can't read the enemy.  Even Scientific Technology is fucked up.
  Think about the location of Casper.
  With the occurrence of battle with Sousuke in the Northeast of the ruins, he would obviously know.  It is the same as him, there is a position where he could give the necessary support firing.  That is why he is the position that would give him a blind spot of Sousuke and the others.  Not in the opposite position of the hills.

  If that's the case, he would take position in a high altitude as much as possible.  There is no mistake.  If it is not in a high position, he would not be able to detect this position.
  Inside the building of the ruins?  east side of the plant, in the crevice of the pipes or silos?
  There were 10-odd places that he could think of.  The elements to be considered are not enough.
  The enemy would not observe himself, but also the approach of the transport helicopter.  And the possibility of other M9 hidden.  That is why he is thinking of taking position in the depths of the plant.  This eliminates half of the choices.  But still not enough.
  What about the weight and foothold of the unit?  What about the movement route after the attack?
  Shooting from a large caliber sniping cannon, the surrounding dust would be swirled up, and it will be difficult to align a second shot.  Thinking of being inside the building.  There is the problem of the building construction being brittle and falling apart.
  Listing up the other details of the elements thoroughly in his head, Kruz made an estimate.
"3 spots huh"
  The rooftop of the administration building in the ruins.  The giant Lenin Statue in the center.  And then the steel pylon rising in the north side of the plant.  There is no other than these.
  Next would be his character.
  He doesn't like to be showy.  Concerning this kind of action, Casper has a steady shooting hand even from the old days.  Hiding in the most obvious places, shooting in the most easiest position.  Even if he used the equipped Lambda Driver, he doesn't rely on pressure or luck.
  If that is so, he would be in the rooftop of that administration building right?
  The foothold is firm, not inconvenient in shielding from the surrounding, and a position that can guarantee a wide field of vision.  And can immediately react from the attacks in a different direction, it has the easiest supporting position for allied transport helicopters taking off.
  However, but is he a man that would take position in a predictable place like that?
"Maximum sight"
<Roger>
  Magnifying the projection of the said building.  Infra-red rays, Light amplification, Passive electromagnetic wave, observing with all of the modes, he still doesn't have confidence.  it can be seen if he is there, and it can be seen if he's not there.  He observed with the passive sensor in the other two places, but it's pretty much the same.  If he observe just a little more, he would know----
  Which one among the three.  Assuming such, this was a battle of intuition from the start.
  Casper was a rational sniper---- there is no mistake about it.  And has a complete knowledge about me.  Following the process of thinking thus far, it's naturally predictable.
  Then, is he in another place?  No, would he even read that?
[Urz 6, done yet!?  It will be bad for Sousuke and the others]
  The urgent sound of Gebo 6.  They are standing by hidden in the mountain ridge.  If Kruz ignores those request then it would be a failure.  In some way or another the feeling of impatience, once again becomes big in his heart.
"Just wait.  Just a little more"
  What the enemy has that he does not, was an element that would decide victory or defeat.
  That is time.
  They were slowly searching for us.  There is no need to feel the danger of your allies.  But for Kruz is different.  No matter how skilful Sousuke is, there is limit to ammunition.  It is only a matter of minutes until they can no longer resist.  Until that time---- no, he has to defeat the enemy now.
  He has to hurry.
  Building in the center, or steel pylon of the plant.
  Kruz now presses these two places as choices.  Casper is in these two.
  In the infrared image in the rooftop of the building, there was an area with a mere temperature that is pea-green high.  Even in the summit of the pylon, there seems to be a different pattern.  Both concurs to the size of an AS.
  Which one?  Where is he?
[Urz 6, hurry!]
  Gebo 6's demand.  Inviting impatience.
The one that has the higher temperature is on the building.  In addition, only there does the wind blow unnaturally.  Doesn't the invisibility of the AS avoid the dance of the dust in the wind.  Even the distribution of heat can be seen like a humanoid ready to shoot.  No, that must be it.  There is no mistake----
  Decision.  Alignment in an instant.
  Infrared mode.  24 times.  Manual Control.  Range, 3390 meters.  Wind speed is 5 knots from the Southeast.  Calculation error within 30 percent.
  Aiming 2 meters to the right of the center of the distributed temperature.  This is most probably the cockpit.

(Casper.  I got you.)
  He muttered inside his heart.  Pulling the trigger.
  Miniature, and heavy impact.  The 76mm Cannon spout out fire from Kurz' unit, making a concentric circles in the surrounding shrubbery.  Before his eyes the firearm pipe blows off, dart like armor piercing bullets cutting though the darkness plunging forward.
  Hit.
  No----
  He can only see concrete smash to pieces.  Large amount of rubble and cloud of dust dances around in the explosion.  But there is no AS.  The shell only blew off the building.

  Then that means----
"......!"
  Immediately there was an aim from the pylon, too late.
  What he saw, hanging from the summit of the pylon, was a red unit that already fired.  Awfully slow, heading this way was the enemy shell.

  Shot.
  From the shot of Kruz, Casper who immediately discovered his location fired, accurately hitting his unit.
  His M9 was in a position lying down. That is why the enemy bullet first entered the M9's head---- for humans this would be the forehead, penetrating the radar, tearing up the engine system and drive transmission system in the back of the head, penetrating from the armor on the upper torso to the cockpit block in the chest, the explosive motion energy and shockwave destroying the interior electrical machinery and the shock absorption system, and spreading into the pilot inside, now advancing to the back of the unit---- flying out from the hips, scattering in the air.
  Kruz did not even have the time to move his brow and smack his lips.

  Cancelling the ECS, and deploying the gravitational field of the Lambda Driver, he was cautious of attack from another enemy.  Confirming that there are no other enemy AS, Casper reported to Kalinin.
"Mister K (Kalium).  Weber has been brought down"
[Is that for certain?]
"He was destroyed.  That kind of damage would result in instant death"
[....is that so.  Then suppress the resisting enemy in the North-eastern side.]
"Capture the girl alive, right?"
[As much as possible.  I don't care if the others are killed]
"Roger"
  After the exchange of communication, Casper's <Erigol> kicked the Pylon and jumped to the Northeast.
  Hearing his former subordinate get killed, there was no sentimentality in Kalinin's voice.  Then Casper himself, after saying this felt no guilt.  Rather, he is stimulated with an exaltation without any recklessness.
  Weber.  How regrettable.
  Certainly that central building would be the [No 1 choice].  If I didn't know that the opponent would be you, I would have also positioned there.  But I avoided it.  It's because I thought that you would stick your eyes in it.  The rooftop of that building, I asked a subordinate to light a small gas burner.  In that minimum heat, you're doubt would have been enough.
  As was expected, you fell for it.
  You didn't have time right.  You were impatient right.
  But it was your miss.  Firing a second shot, that must be what you expected in the corner of your heart right?  The most necessary in that instant, did you not have enough concentration?  That's right, you decided too early.  You should have scrutinized it at least one more minute.  Then even I might have turned my head.
  How unfortunate, my student.  But it was fun.
  They say that you have natural talents.
  5 years ago, one of the employers brought you along and said you were an [interesting kid].  Surely, was it a former Japanese Red Army terrorist?  You said you killed in him in revenge for your murdered family.  Thrown into real battle as a trial, you only saw a portion of it.  Observation skill and powers of concentration, and then the power of imagination to project the image of ballistics, you were a rare genius.
  That's why you were allowed to enter.
  I see, you were a genius.  Carefully absorbing the art and wits that was handed down from 200 years of us snipers.  In one year---- in just one year, you became a shooter that is not comparable in your unit.
  However, you were not called [Ghost].
  Operations Draft, Map comprehension, communication, camouflage, surveillance.... learning the various know how, Rifle and bullets, and then learning the mysteries of ballistics.
  But my student.  You were not called the [Ghost].
  An instant where all of it unified.  The whole creation, confirming the grasping of all things material, the context of time flowing, a moment where you can move the air molecules one by one, before you knew it, it ends.  You can say that you have [seen God].  That happens when it happens.
  But ultimately, this has nothing to do with tactics.  You would not know that.  Because you are like that, the [Ghost] did not come.
  I lent you a hand in your revenge.  Instructing you in all of the arts.  But, you can only go so far as to walk behind your teacher.  Kruz Weber.  You are such a blockhead.
  My student.  How unfortunate.
  Casper's <Erigol> jump two, three times, hurrying to the battlefield in the Northeast of the ruins.

  South side, Sousuke can hear the consecutive sounds of explosion from somewhere far away.  There were 2 shots of large caliber Sniping cannon used by an AS.
  And then---- the sound of a unit exploding.
  This cannot be seen in Sousuke's position, if he peeks outside shots are immediately fired.  That is why he can only guess, it seems that the sniping battle ended in an instant, and looks like one AS was destroyed.
"Urz 6.  Situation"
  No response.
"Kruz, Respond----"
"The link of the ADM (Advance Data Modem) has been interrupted."
  Tessa muttered operating the computer terminal.
"All the data transfers has been stopped.  There is no rescue signal.  This indicates the function of the M9 suspended...."
"Was he killed?"
  Lemon shouted returning fire in the back.
"I don't know. But, most probably.... he was destroyed...."
"he can't be killed that easily"
  Sousuke said shooting at the outside of the small room.
"This happens many times.  Don't worry"
  There are almost no ammunition left.  20 shots more.  After that, it is impossible to suppress the enemy attack.
"Eeh. But, this situation----"
"Don't give up Tessa"
"..........."
"There is still something that can be done.  He will definitely come get us.  Don't whine"
".....yes"
  But to crush the patience of Sousuke, the red enemy AS attacked.  Right in front of their fort, landing in the open passage right in front of them.  A Lambda Driver equipped unit.  An enhanced improved model of an <Codarl>, an AS that was called <Erigol>.
(it can't be....)
  Equipped with a 76mm Large caliber cannon, a sniping type.  The sniper that Kruz warned about, majestically showing its presence like this-----
"Kruz----"
""Weber-san. It can't be...."
"Duck!"
  The red <Erigol> brandishing its arm, sweeps the small room where Sousuke and the others were hiding.  With the worn out concrete wall, the rusted roof shattered to pieces.  The form of Sousuke and the others who barely got away from ducking, was completely visible from the outside.

"Uh...."
  Being covered in the fragments of the concrete, Lemon made a weak moaning sound.
[Rescue will not come]
  A man's voice coming from the exterior speakers of the AS.
[Kruz Weber is dead.  Give up]
  There was no reason to doubt the mans words.  Above all, this sniper has shown himself.  This means that their battle is over.
"Impossible...."
[We save the girl.  Hand her over.  If you do not follow, it would be unavoidable.  You all get killed]
  Tessa's eye came together.  She has already forcibly suppressed her mental shock.  Together with a strong will, made a faint shake of her head with her lips in the shape of [No].
  She would not give up information about her allies---- such meaning, Tessa has already made clear to her followers.  She herself also wished this.  However, if she lived, she would someday be rescued by her allies and has a chance to opposed <Amalgam> right?
  And then, in some ridiculous way somehow end up with Kaname?
  Mostly blind hope moving his heart, Sousuke hesitates.

  At that time, there was a whisper in the FM band in the wireless portable radio in his ear.
[Sousuke.... can you hear me....]
  An intermittent weak voice.
  It's Kruz.  He's alive.
"Aah, I can hear you"
[What a blunder.  The unit is in ruins.  Me too.... probably, won't have long to live.]
  His eyes are darkening.  That's what he was trying to say about his own body.  That must be it.  The M9 was destroyed, and he was fatally injured.
[But.... I can at least make one shot. ....listen, Sousuke.  The pilot of that red AS, somehow....get him outside.]
"Outside?  How do I----"
[Do whatever it takes, just do it]
"..........."
  The red AS was looking down.  The infantry behind it, did not release their caution but stopped shooting.  His ammunitions, the carbine gun only have 15 shots.  Then only one smoke grenade.  What kind of bluff can he make?  That sniper that he doesn't know the face or name, how can he make him get outside?  That sniper is----
  Sniper.  That's it----
[...I'll try"
  Whispering in the wireless radio, Sousuke threw his carbine gun in the ground.  And then took out the knife from his hips, quickly pulled Tessa by the chest, and pushed her in front as a shield.
"Sousuke!?"
  To a surprised Lemon, Sousuke informed him sharply [don't move].  Behind the remaining building materials, putting Tessa in front of the enemy as a shield, he skilfully hid his body.
  Tessa did not make any visible resistance, with an appearance of looking attentively at the development.
[Hmmm.  What are you planning?]
  The pilot of the red AS said.
"I want to negotiate"
[Negotiate?]
"If you want the girl then I'll give her.  But you have to guarantee my safety.  If you can't do that, then I will kill her first."
[I told.  To capture that girl "if possible".  If you resist, killing you together would be unavoidable.  That's your worth.]
"Even then, you can still have her alive.  Let me go.  If you do so I will hand her over unharmed"
[Are you an idiot?]
  The red AS shook its shoulders.  Responding to the sarcastic laugh of the pilot.
[Sagara Sousuke right.  I've heard of you.  Just to save yourself, you will not kill that girl.  Stop with the stupid bluff.]

"Whether it's a bluff or not, it is not the problem"
  Sousuke informed them closely sticking to the body of Tessa.
"I still can't die.  I still have to finish what I have to do.  Open a path now."
[And then let you go like that?]
"If you can't, then just blow us up.  Then that's it"
  How about it....?
  Of course you have no intention of letting us go.  Just as what was said, you think that its alright to just blow us up.  With that AS it would just be an instant.  There's nothing simpler than that.
  That's right.  It's indeed simple.
  That is why, you hated that choice.  Especially this overwhelmingly advantageous situation.
  You don't need to give the challenge [through a human shield, in an attempt to only hit me, you can't possibly to that].  That is an excessive challenge.  Something to stimulate you, this kind of movement would be enough"
  Well, What now?  With your unit and equipment, you can't kill only me.

[Hmmm....]
  Here it comes.
[Oh well.  I have heard stubbornness before...]
  Here it comes.
  A long few seconds passed, the chest block of the red AS made a sharp slide.  The sound of the cockpit hatch opening.  The standing unit was in rigour, the hatch in the back of the head opened.
  It's here.
  The pilot can be seen inside the hatch carrying a rifle.  A sunburned Aryan man.  With just one look it can be discerned that he is a soldier with a face of long military service.  With big eyes, wide forehead and hooked nose.
"Sagara was it.  Doing such mischief, don't you think this is too much?"
  The man said from the shoulder of the AS.
"Say what you want.  I will absolutely live."
  Tessa also had guessed the intention.  With the man showing himself, she could feel another kind of nervousness run past her body.  All that's left is to wait----
  That's right.  This is all that he can do.
  He no longer has a gun.  Only one knife and a smoke grenade.  There is no meaning in throwing the knife towards that man in the shoulder of the AS.  Before that it will become a bee's nest, that man will become prey to precision marksmanship.  Which one would it be.
  There was a dull light in the rifle on the man's hand.  That's the intention of shooting.  Not injuring Tessa as a shield.  There is no mistake he will shoot at my forehead.
  The man makes a stance.  With ruthless eyes.  There is no means of escape.
  Kruz.
  I did what you said.
  But the place where you are at, should be very far from here---

  1650 meters.
  The distance from the target calculated by Kruz Weber from the scope gradations, roughly 1650 meters.  Even without the convenience of Laser range finder, or calculations from observation tools, this number should be right.
  His body was worn out.
  His right foot would not do as he says, his left foot from the knee down was twisted in a strange direction.  On the contrary, he does not know how the lower half of his body is still connected.  Metal fragments torn up his back, his ribs are broken with his internal organs are in disorder.  Blood is still flowing from his head, his right ear could not hear anything.
  There's nothing that can be done.  I will die here.
  He already knows this.
  However, he is not yet dead.  Is there something he has to do?  There is only one thing I can do.
  That is already decided.  The Rifle.
  Using his two hands that can still move, he crawled out of the destroyed M9.  Every time he moves his body, intense pain attacks him, how far can he go.
  Crawling with the weapons rack on the ground, he took out the rifle inside with difficulty.  An old Bolt Action Rifle.  This thing is also still alive.

  Removing the buffer materials, he took the rifle.  And then measured the distance from the scope.
  1650 meters.
  He can't, unreachable.  If he advance 400 meters more, he can somehow do it.
  Inside the scope, Casper appeared from the cockpit of the red AS.  Sousuke did well.  But the distance is too far....
  He can't do it.  This is the end.
  Sousuke.  Sorry.  You do something about this later.  I can't do it.

  Tessa.  Give up on the moody man, a good man has been found.

  Mao.  A really lonely Melissa.  I wanted to be more affectionate.  Will a girl like you cry.  What about it.  Will I want you to cry, would I want you not to cry.  Not embracing you is better after all.

  And then Casper.
  Surely I'm a repeat student.  And a half assed person.  Practically, in the end I can't beat you.  I wasn't called a [Ghost], and was not able to become a true sniper.
  But Casper.
  The one shot of that revenge---- in the battlefield in South Lebanon, capturing in the scope for my families revenge---- I was not able to shoot.  In the back of the man standing in the stairs, there was Lana who had no relation whatsoever.  A girl merely 8 years old.  It is clear that if he pierces that man Lana will get hurt.

  You said shoot.  The first and last chance.  But it's impossible for me.

  And then you shoot.
  Aah, that's right.  Because of that my prey was dead.  The revenge is over.  However, it was in exchange for Lana's life.  You're [Accurate Ballistics] not only blew off the man's head, it took along her spinal cord and other internal organs.
  Even now she is still in the hospital.  If it were an ordinary hospital, she would have already died.
  You shoot knowing everything.
  That is why I left.  If that is the [true sniper], then I wouldn't want to become a monster like that.  That's right, you area monster (Freak).
(then----)
  Kruz thought.
  Will he leave his comrades like that to him?  To that monster?  Will he give up and abandon them?
(Why don't we try....)
  There is only one ammo.  Even the time for consciousness, only little remains.  10 more seconds, or 30 more seconds.  The disappearing fire of his candle.  Right now, even if he peeks at the scope, he was this feeling of being swooped down by the drawing deep darkness.
  He setup the rifle in the most stable firing position.  At most, he can't do it in such posture.  He can't move his feet.
  1650 meters.
  A distance this 308 caliber rifle could not reach.  In the sniping records, he has never heard of it.
  This is even 130 meters beyond the sniping record of Casper.
  He glued the stock to his shoulders.  Handling the grip, Sinking the lower part of the stock to the ground stabilizing it.  Left hand clinging to the right shoulder, painstakingly putting his upper body in position.  Fixing his right cheekbone into the frame, positioning his right eye in a straight line to the scope.
  Reading the wind.  Before it was 15 knots from the Northwest.  From the interior is 10 knots North-Northwest.  There is also turbulence.  Calculating everything necessary to send in the bullet.
  Of course even the temperature and humidity.  Air resistance, Combustion speed of the gunpowder, dilation of the gun and bullet, the many connected elements that would greatly influence the ballistics.
  How many degrees for the bullet's barrel roll/forward roll?  The phenomenon called Tumbling, multiplying it greatly with the distance.  Even with the faint barrel roll, there is no mistake that this distance would have great influence.
  Then there is a large element.  He has to think about the Coriolis that is occurred in the earths rotation.  Especially this place is close to 60 degress north latitude---- the effects of the high latitude coriolis is great.  In this situation then there would be 30 centimeters to the east.
  And there are many others, and the existence of the detailed problems, taking all of it into consideration decides on the final alignment.  This is a complex calculation that current computers are unable to perform.  Only a human could accomplish this risky attempt.

  Kruz entered all the elements into his head, then he clearly forgot it once.  What remains is the image of the ballistic.
  Being guided only by intuition, the image of super calculation, super mathematics.
  The necessary point---- to connect the target to the crosshair who is a number of meters away.
  But, this is not enough.
  Because of the irregular breathing, the crosshair in the scope rubs sideways.  The mere miscalculation would be fatal.  The required concentration, is not to put a thread into the hole of a needle.  But how the eye perceives a needle drawing the image of a dragon.
  There is no reason this aim is possible.

<image=405.jpg>

  Ordinarily this is how one thinks, but floating in the mind of Kruz is another story.
(Aah, I can do it....)
  No surprise nor delight, just silently feeling that.
  Even reading what cannot be seen.  Moving the muscles that have lost its strength.  The burning or ones own blood that has already disappeared.  He can see the colors of the wind.  The image of the ballistic is vivid, the surrounding molecules one by one, grasping the working of all its energy, he could now understand.
  He is no longer thinking of the safety of Sousuke and the others.
  He was not thinking of Mao.  Not even Lana who is in the hospital, nor his dead family, nor the teacher who was the first love during his high school days, of course he forgets everything.  On the contrary, he does not even know what kind of person the target is.
  Who was that?
  No, it doesn't really matter.  Only to send to bullet there.
  That moment will soon come.  The supreme instant that would drive the target the whole life of one's self.
  Aah, I don't like this.
  Aiming at a farther distance----
  What is falling on top of him.  The other side of the materials, something unseen.  He distorts the surrounding air, the context of time became ambiguous.
  Before he knows it he pulls the trigger.
  Shot.
  Everything in accordance to the image.  The firing needle falling as followed, the gunpowder burned as assumed, the bullet swelled as expected, revolving in the gun barrel advancing.
  The magic bullet flies.
  It cuts through the air, completely reading the wind drawing a parabola, like it was being sucked in the fixed position and converging it.

  1650 meters.
  He already knows that it hit.
  Kruz Weber with his last though [serves you right], holding tight the rifle, and falls into the nothingness of darkness.

  It strikes----
  The moment that Sousuke thought, blood dripping from the enemy's chest.
  From the back to the chest.  The bullet coming from nowhere, has actually shot the man's heart.
"Imp...."
  He opened his two eyes in surprise.  He did not see Sousuke.  Turning his shoulder barely with the remaining strength of his muscles, from a long distance---- looking at the distance where Kruz was crushed.
"......"
  It shouldn't have reached.  The man flapping his mouth trying to mutter it.
  But it reached.  Kruz's shot----
  The man lost his strength of both legs, falling from the shoulder of the AS.
  Kruz----
  At the same time Sousuke moved.  With the last remaining weapons, he threw the only remaining smoke grenade, holding down the nape of Tessa's neck, he shouted.
"Gebo 6, the sniper has been dealt with!  Send Al!!"
[Roger...!]
  The Gebo 6's captain, Fisher responded from the wireless radio.  He had already understood the situation.  From the side of the mountain ridge, used ECS and silent mode standing by.  Already getting closer to the detecting distance.

  If the sniper has become powerless, it was not impossible to drop the <Laevatein> in a forceful penetration, immediately taking refuge behind it.  But within the 10 seconds, there was the premise that Leonard's AS would appear----
"Tessa, the Beacon----"
"Yes...!"
  In the swirling smoke, there is a need for the allies to pinpoint their location.  Tessa crawled and operated the computer terminal, sending a wireless signal or their location.
  Recovering from the shot of the AS's pilot, the enemy infantry fires.  Bullets jumping from above their heads.  With the firing from the original underground path, Lemon shouted.
"They're coming from the rear!  I'm also out of ammo!"
"Do something!"
  Without further responding Sousuke crawled forward in the rubble, taking up the carbine gun which he dropped earlier.  It was no more than 15 shots.  In the smoke the shadows of the enemy charge in.  Shots.  One shot did not hit.  Another shot made a kill.  Then an intimidating shot to the succeeding enemy.
"Gebo 6, is it there yet!?"
  Tessa called.  Then faster than Gebo 6, a synthesized voice of a man responded in the wireless radio.

<Just a little more, Captain.  ETA, Five Seconds>
[What's this?  The cargo hatch on its own----]
<Descending>
  With the sound of rotor and the roar of the engine, the sound of the AS detaching from the hydraulic bolt echoed at the same time.  From Gebo 6 rushing in the air, the <Laevatein> descending in the best timing, fired the head machine gun in Full Auto and immediately landed before Sousuke.
<Sergeant, please hurry>
"Al!"
  Leaving the Carbine gun, Sousuke jumped from the thunderous roar and burst of smoke.  The <Laevatein> opened the cockpit hatch and hold out his right hand.  It may not be more than a second.  The <Laevatein> seated him with the hand, with a manner of throwing him in the rear of his head block with his right arm.
  In someway protecting the position sliding him into the cockpit.  Without orders the hatch closed.  Al proceeded with the start up process on his own.  Super Express.  Omitting all the check data.  The usual setup, the usual master mode, the usual enemy search mode.  Like the unit itself is hurrying.
<Alignment wave detected!  Two, one....!>
".......!"
  He jumps.
  Barely avoiding the 40mm shell attack from the Southwest.  A 40mm shell backed up with Lambda Driver.  Leonard's attack.  He must be attacking from somewhere the ruins.  If Al didn't forcibly proceeded with the startup process, they might have been destroyed.
<Enemy AS, 2 O'clock, distance 8.  It's that bastard>
"Aah, it's Leonard"
  Twisting his body in the air, he looks at the enemy infantry in the ground with his head machine gun.  Protecting Tessa and Lemon.  Pouring the 50 caliber shells overhead the enemy squad, with smoke rolling up from the impact.
  Landing.
"Pick up the two"
<Roger>
  He leans over to the front of the small room where Tessa was hiding.  From the side of the <Laevatein> the support arms extended, picking up an exhausted Lemon and a confused Tessa.  Too late to call Gebo 6 that escaped towards the mountain ridge, there is little time to have Tessa get onboard.
  Another attack draws near.  Several 40mm bullets.  As expected, he has no intention of giving mercy.  Leonard was serious.
  Carrying the two he evaded the first bullet, taking shelter in the Lambda Driver protective wall from the following bullets.  Just barely able to turn away.
  He couldn't have defended if it was nearer.  Additionally he doesn't have an anti ECS sensor.  Leonard's AS is already translucent, and there is no means to detect him----
"Can we use the [Fairy's Feather]!?"
<Another risky performance>
"Just do it!"
<Roger....!>
  The two extension unit equipped in the <Laevatein>---- also named [Fairy's Feather] were deployed with a short slide.  The unit's generator roaring, giving maximum output.  large electric charge flows to both shoulders, distorting the exhausted heat in the surrounding.
<Full Power Line maintained.  LDC, Charge rising.  LBS, contact.  First round, startup success.  Second round, startup success.  Interference radius enlarging.  50, 100, 200....>
  On the contrary of its so called name, the [Fairy's Feather] is not a device for flight.
  On the basis of the information left in the Hard Disk Kaname left in the Mansion in Nickelo, this extension unit that Miller and the others produced, was originally called [Lambda Driver Canceller].  All the functioning Lambda Driver in the surrounding area of the <Laevatein>, would be rendered inoperative temporarily.
  With the detailed theory, Sousuke absolutely could not understand.  The [Fairy's Feather] uses a larger amount of electrical energy than the use of Lambda Driver, it was also explained that the <Laevatein> itself would not be able to use the Lambda Driver.
  And then another one.
  In order to finally utilize the effects of the [Fairy's Feather], would have to be related to the consciousness of Sousuke.  An image of a shield defending bullets, is the same as the image of an arrow piercing that gravitational field, and needs to have an image in the head of a [super phenomenon not occurring].
  Such image, could not be imagined at first, but now Sousuke understands.  He only needs to imagine of how he used to think.
  In other words, [Cheating, such things does not exist].
(Disappear----)
  In that instant, the [Fairy's Feather] reacts to Sousuke's thoughts.  A hundred meters surrounding the area are already invoked by the cancellers interruption area, in just an instant all the space dimly distorted.
  That is the only abnormality.
  Nothing occurred after that.  Rather it speaks as the proof of its success.  Because the power of this unit is to [not make anything happen]----
"Was it effective....?"
  In the front of the <Laevatein>, roughly the ruins 300 meters ahead swirled a giant cloud of dust.  The translucent flying black AS of Leonard, came crashing and fell into the building.
  It was effective.  The enemy lost its power of Lambda Driver----
"!"
  Sound of alarm.  Something from the sky falling to the ground, Leonard's unit recovered its position and landed successfully.  Stopping the ECS, immediately fires from the ground.  He has read that he also could not use the Lambda Driver.
  Evasive Maneuvers.  But because Tessa and Lemon were being gripped with the support arms, he can't move recklessly.  He doesn't have enough power.  Because the electrical charge of the unit is being taken by the [Fairy's Feather], he only has minimum mobility.
"Damn....!"
  Sousuke took out the <Boxer> shot cannon from the Hard Point in his back and returned fire.
  He can't use the Demolition Gun.  It was not an article that can fire the Large Caliber cannon without the assistance of Lambda Driver.
  Additionally even without the Lambda Driver, Leonard's AS was quick-witted.  Moving from shelter to shelter, adding fire bit by bit.  Cautioning from his fire, he would not try to get close, pressing him eventually with shots.
  What now----
<Warning.  Abnormal temperature rising in LDC-1.  Interruption area decreasing>
  The left shoulder [Fairy's Feather] could not stand the burden and is overheating.  In the heat of the large electrical power, the cooling mechanism could not catch up.


  It will break down soon.  It is only a matter of time before the second unit on the right shoulder meets the same fate.
  If the Lambda Driver Canceller stopped, it would be over.  There are currently no means to compete and overcome Leonard's unit.  There is nothing that can be done except to withdraw.  Everyone will be killed.  Everyone.
<Sargeant.  I think you already understand....>
"Aah"
  Sousuke responded with a return fire.
  If they escape, it should be now.
  Give Leonard's unit diversionary fire and escape with full power, holding to Gebo 6 that is currently waiting in the mountain ridge, and escape in full speed----
<There is no means to recover Urz 6.  If we conjecture the situation from the data of the last ADM---->
"Stop it"
<----He is already dead>
"Stop it!!"
  Nobody would understand.  Even now, he may still be alive with a faint breath.  If treated immediately, something may be done.  He may be saved.  Even if I were there sustaining heavy injury I may still live.  Who will say that stubborn idiot, that Kruz died in a place like this?
  Leaving him behind and escaping like this.
  How can such think be possibly done?
  What would he say to Mao when they get back?
<LDC-1, function stopped.  LDC-2's temperature is also rising>
  The fuse of the left shoulder finally burned out, losing it's function.
  There is no time.  With the connected position of the digital map in the screen, it was ruthless no matter what.  All the elements, it was trying to tell him that nothing can be done.
  What Al said was true.
  It was the truth.
<Decide.  Sergeant>
  Al no longer pressed after that.
  Patiently waiting for the reply of Sousuke.
"....withdraw"
<Roger>
  He made diversionary shots with the Shot cannon in full auto.  Scattering all the grenade that he has, blowing them in mid air with his head machine gun.  Taking the opportunity from the enemy, the <Laevatein> used all its remaining surplus power to leap, crossing the mountain ridge.
  Gebo 6 waiting in low altitude started to accelerate and rise.
  Ignoring the usual recovery sequence, Sousuke made the <Laevatein> grab the bottom emergency hook of the <Paib Mare>.  The captain of Gebo 6 said nothing and accelerated with maximum power.
  Hanging on to the helicopter with one arm, <Laevatein> withdraws to the east from Yamsk 11.

"They escaped huh...."
  After being confident that the interruption of the Lambda Driver has completely disappeared, the withdrawal of Sagara Sousuke with the helicopter far away has ended.
  Deciding that it was useless to pursue, Leonard turned his unit.
  Although it was possible for him to fly and follow the high speed of the helicopter, he didn't want to risk of being affected by that canceller again.  His <Belial> was not a convenient unit that could stand a fall from 1000 meters without a Lambda Driver.
  But, a canceller?
  Surely the theory behind it is possible, but Tessa being able to complete it was an utter surprise.  Even that white and red AS, he has a feeling that he would be at a loss compare to that <Arbalest> that he fought before.  Speaking from a long distance attack, an attack backed up by a Lambda Driver, that unit barely managed to turn away.
  Of course, his predominance has not change.
  He only noticed on route, but that unit might not be equipped with an anti ECS sensor.  Even with a third generation opponent that uses ECS with minimal effectiveness translucency could be cancelled----
  Well, whatever.
  He will be more prudent in the next battle, perfecting the preparations, and certainly crush him.
"Nevertheless----"
  Casper.  Making a mistake.
  Leonard muttered inside, ringing his nose looking at the corpse of Wilheim Casper collapsed beside the small cabin.  Even the red <Erigol> that he pilots was destroyed.  In the confusion of the battle with Sagara Sousuke, a pilotless <Erigol> would be torn from the bullets.
  Losing Casper dealt a severe hand to him.  Fowler and Sabine have suitable skill as a pilot, but there was no one who can exceed the shooting of Casper.  Doing what he has done up until now, he must be a capable person who longs for fierce battle.
  There was a communication from Kalinin coming out from the ground.
[Airborne troops of the Soviets coming from the Southwest.  Most probably around 2 squads.  Shall we engage?]
  The Soviets draws near.  He doesn't know how the Soviets sensed the battle in the ruins, but that was unnatural.  At any rate it was their territory.
"No.  There is nothing we need here.  Hurry and withdraw"
[Roger]
"Aah.  Also Casper is dead.  However it seems the sniper from <Mythril's> side was killed.  It was your former subordinates right"
  In quite a small moment, Kalinin fell silent.
[If that is so, it was a serious blow to them.  Weber's talent, it is a bigger threat than Sagara Sousuke's AS]
"Does your heart hurt?"
[If it's a grieving heart, I have already thrown all of it away]
  Leonard and his subordinates, quickly recovered the surviving squads into the helicopter, leaving the abandoned city.

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