Chapter 20:

Epilogue - The Progenitor

Wings of Unity

Colonel Kyōsuke Ozaki walked down the glamorous hallway, with each step he took echoing through the spacious walkway.

Troopers that stood at guard saluted him as he walked by them. Colonel Ozaki nodded to each and every single one of them with every passerby.

Two Troopers at the end of the hallway that stood guard to a large door moved to the side, and the sound of an exhaust came as the door opened.

Colonel Ozaki walked into the room and it was a large, circular room where individuals sat at a table in the middle of the glamorous and decorated room - for it was the Prime Commander’s meeting room.

After taking a few more steps, he stood at attention on top of an ASC logo printed onto the marble floor and saluted.

Tiredness and exhaustion was written all over Colonel Ozaki’s face, for he was summoned to a meeting by the Prime Commander himself to discuss the most recent Battle of Urasaki and the Harvesters successfully breaching the Lightkeeper Forcefield.

“Colonel Ozaki,” a deep female voice spoke up. The Colonel looked towards the table and saw Fuyu Katō, the Commander of the ASC’s Ground Defense Forces and advisor to the Prime Commander himself. “We’re glad to see you, at ease. We’ve brought you into the Council today to discuss the recent events.”

Colonel Ozaki dropped his salute and stood at attention.

“It’s been a hectic past couple of days,” another female voice that belonged to Fleet Admiral Izumi Nakazawa of the Orbital Defense Forces, a brilliant strategist when it came to ship-to-ship combat, said. “The Battle of Urasaki cost us dearly… but we somehow managed to survive it.”

“Indeed,” a male voice said and Colonel Kyōsuke Ozaki glanced over and saw Chief Yotarō Wakafuzu of the Mechanized Defense Forces who oversaw all the technological advances for the ASC. “With the appearance of this… Leviathan… We’ve surely found ourselves a new dangerous matter at hand.”

“And it doesn’t help with the death toll,” the gruff voice that belonged to Commander Hammer of the Special Defense Forces, a grizzled veteran who’s renowned as one of the most powerful majutsu users in humanity.

These four individuals made up the minds of the Alliance Space Commands forces as their leaders under the Prime Commander himself.

“... How many did we lose?” Colonel Ozaki asked.

“Troopers stationed at the Breach have been cut down to a sixty percent fighting efficiency,” Commander Fuyu Katō said with a small frown upon her face. “A total of four Ashigaru Destroyer-Class and six Denkazō Frigate-Class ships were wiped out. The total amount of loss is still being accounted for, but we’ve been severely crippled.”

“Urasaki was evacuated with an accountable three thousand deaths among civilians, most of which were during the initial crashes of the Meteor Shower,” Admiral Nakazawa said. “With swift response times, we were able to successfully prevent more civilian lives being taken away. But, the same can’t be said for the Troopers we sent to Urasaki… Only thirty-five percent of the total Troopers present at Urasaki survived.”

“The Leviathan made sure of that,” Commander Hammer shook his head. “Damn thing could have leveled the entire city if it wasn’t stopped.”

“It could have done more than that, but we stopped it,” Commander Katō instantly replied.

“But at what cost?” Commander Hammer retorted.

“The Battle of Urasaki has certainly been a pyrrhic victory. However, if it weren’t for certain individuals such as Lieutenant Zenko, we may have lost more than that,” Chief Wakafuzu added. “A victory nonetheless. With the state of humanity, we’ll take any victory we can get.”

“And Kitaru Ozaki,” Admiral Nakazawa added as she turned to Colonel Ozaki. “Your son has proven himself worthy as the guardian of Danketsu - we were right to entrust him as the Progenitor.”

“Indeed,” Commander Katō nodded her head. “Your son is the very key to our survival, Colonel Ozaki.”

“Might we also bring it to attention that you sent the Void Clearers to Urasaki when you weren’t supposed to, Colonel,” Commander Hammer said. “You defied a direct order from the Council, punishable by treason.”

“The Void Clearers turned the tide against the Leviathan, if they hadn’t shown up… Urasaki would have been lost,” Colonel Ozaki said with a grave look on his face. “I couldn’t sit around and watch it happen – something had to be done.”

“Yes, Colonel Ozaki disobeyed a direct order, but the Void Clearers are his to command,” Commander Katō intervened. “His decision has my full support.”

“Then why did you vote to send an Orbital Platform above Urasaki to destroy it if Kitaru Ozaki failed?” Commander Hammer leaned forward from his seat.

“My Platform was to annihilate Urasaki or send relief forces,” Admiral Nakazawa raised a brow. “Destroying Urasaki was the last option, and I’m thankful we didn’t.”

Chief Wakafuzu stared at Colonel Ozaki. “I would consider this as a warning, Colonel. Next time, do not disobey the Council’s orders.”

“Understood, Chief,” Colonel Ozaki nodded.

“The Haven stands, that’s all that matters at the end of the day,” Commander Katō said. “This meeting is also to discuss what is next. The Lightkeeper Forcefield won’t stand forever, it’s about time we act.”

“Any plan of action in mind, Commander Katō?” Admiral Nakazawa asked.

“The power of Danketsu resides in Kitaru Ozaki. He’s the key to our survival.”

“But he can’t do it alone,” a booming voice stated that caught the attention of everyone in the room. It belonged to Prime Commander Akio Kuribayashi, the leader of the Alliance Space Command. “With your son as the Progenitor, he’s going to need all the help he can get.”

“And just how do you go about that, Prime Commander?” Commander Katō asked. “We’re severely underpowered now.”

“The Prime Commanders before me have enacted their own contingency plans in times of great need - the Storm Cannons that defended the planet and the Lightkeeper Forcefield that segregated us from the undead,” the Prime Commander replied. “I know we’re in a dire state of need, which is why I’m enacting the Winged Crusade contingency plan.”

Everyone in the room was in silence as the Prime Commander took a brief pause before continuing.

“With the Lightkeeper Forcefield collapsing and losing a major chunk of our forces, there’s only one real option we can go to from here, Colonel Ozaki,” Prime Commander Akio Kuribayashi said as he propped his elbows up on the table.

“And what is that, Prime Commander?”

“We send Kitaru into the Void with Danketsu. No longer may we remain as prey for the Harvesters, it’s about time we take the fight to them.”

Colonel Ozaki nodded. “I standby your decision, Prime Commander.”

“Good,” the Prime Commander returned the nod. “From this point on, Kitaru will be joining Lieutenant Zenko and the Void Clearers to retake the Void. His life matters the most, Colonel Ozaki.”

“Prime Commander, if I may,” Commander Katō raised a finger. “During the Battle of Urasaki a… training squad known as the Blue Team from the Miyamoto Academy proved efficient in their combat efforts… and it appears that Kitaru is their team leader.”

“I see. We keep them with him and enlist them into the Void Clearers,” the Prime Commander took a brief pause and let out a sigh. “Unfortunately with the amount of loss… I’m going to push through every single cadet at every academy that’s deemed to be combat ready into the Void.”

“Prime Commander, with all due respect...” Commander Hammer folded his armored arms over his chest. “You’re going to be sending them all to their deaths.”

“We have no choice but to,” Chief Wakafuzu said. “At this rate, it’s either we send everything we have into the Void to finally rid the planet of the Harvester menace… or we wait for our inevitable annihilation.”

“My Special Defense Forces lives aren’t going to be put at stake for these inexperienced cadets,” Commander Hammer scoffed.

“You seem to forget that we’re all fighting for the same thing, Commander Hammer,” Admiral Nakazawa said with a small frown. “Don’t let your vision be clouded by your own judgment.”

“Although they’re simple cadets...” Commander Katō said. “They were the ones who stopped the Leviathan and found a new way to combat the Harvesters, let’s not forget that either.”

“With sound...” Commander Hammer replied.

“Supersonic noise.”

“A surprise itself,” Commander Hammer scoffed. “Nevertheless, if we don’t do something - we’re doomed.”

“If we find a way to weaponize the device used to emit the supersonic noise, we’ll have a new way to combat the Harvesters effectively,” Admiral Nakazawa noted.

“And could it be possible that the other Divine Weapons may have their own wielders?” Chief Wakafuzu added. “The Blacksmith crafted Divine Weapons to wage war, not to sit in a trophy case.”

“Double-bladed sword,” Commander Hammer answered. “If the Divine Weapons in our custody fell into the hands of the Insurrection, we’d have more trouble on our hands.”

The room fell silent and everyone looked to the Prime Commander.

“And we can’t risk that,” Admiral Nakazawa said.

“No, we can’t. Get Kitaru to Oshiro,” the Prime Commander said. “I want the best SWORD has to offer taking a closer look at Danketsu and Kitaru. Commander Katō, I want you to oversee the operation.”

“Yes, Prime Commander.”

“Prime Commander… with our forces dwindling… What are we going to do?” Colonel Ozaki asked.

The Prime Commander took a deep breath and paused for a second while everyone kept their gaze upon him.

“We send everything we have into the Void. This is our final push to save humanity.”