Chapter 16:

On the way to retrieve Setagaya ( Part 1: The fall )

The Dusk of Revenge

“… Shinji!”

“… Wake up! Shinji!”

I slowly opened my eyes. I gazed around me searching for the source of voices. Nobody was there. “… Eh? Was it a dream?” I wondered.

“… I am surprised how you were able to sleep with all the noises near your camp! Was sleeping on the chair that comfortable?!” I looked around once more to realise that Asahi was the one talking with me using my connection with Ai…

I rubbed my eyes quickly and tried to stand “… Ah, how long have I been?”

“… Four whole hours! You sure took your sweet time!” Asahi seemed a bit nervous as he tried to inform me of the news. “… You were right! They have been hiding their true plan!”

“… I know that this is an emergency but there is no meaning in talking with that tone with my master!” Ai interrupted him for a few seconds. That gave me the time to stretch my body and be fully prepared mentally and physically to hear him. Outside of the tent where I was taking a nap, the voices of people running and helicopters in the sky echoed in my ears. “… What happened?” I asked quickly as I ran towards the exit to see what was happening.

“… They have breached through the Setagaya dome!” I couldn’t believe my ears but the scene that was displayed before my eyes made my mind go blank.

I stood in shock, looking at the sky covered in military helicopters. My muscles froze although the blood in my veins started boiling. The military helicopters were the last resort in this mission to save the citizens and transfer them to a safer dome in case… we fail.

“Shinji! Shinji! Do you hear me?!” Asahi kept screaming but that was in vain. I felt speechless! Should I get angry? Cry? Get depressed? Seek revenge?

My mind couldn’t give the correct order to my body to move. I kneeled down while my eyes kept looking at the sky.

“… Get yourself together!” A scream woke me up from that situation. The commander stood beside me and continued talking with a serious voice: “… This isn’t the end of the war! We need to retrieve what is ours! Stand up! Immediately! I didn’t train a weak soldier! If the strongest soldier in my squad gets on his knees from the very start, then who’s supposed to take the enemies down!”

I shifted my look towards him. He was tending his right hand towards me to help me stand up. I pushed his hand away and stood by myself. He smiled at that reaction and said: “… I wonder when you will accept a helping hand!”

“… I am still too young for that!”

He pushed his left hand toward me. “… Then the only things you need are these!” I look at his hand to see my weapons gathered in one bag: My sword, knife, rifle, and two guns.

“… Go! The others are waiting for you! You are the leader after all!” I looked at him with a surprised face. My mouth became wide open, but I couldn’t find the proper way to answer him. “… What is that awkward expression of yours?! Don’t tell me you thought that I am going to throw myself to death knowing that an old man like me can't do much on the battlefield? I will be nothing but an extra weight in the car that will take you to Setagaya! Go!” I gave him a salute and ran to join my comrades.

The six of us will invade the Setagaya ward and take all the standing enemies there down. We left all the agents in the first and fifth squad holding the enemies down. They were trying to keep them busy in order to prevent them from aiming at the helicopters with their EMP guns. Although they were doing a pretty good job, I saw from time-to-time parachutes that get opened and a helicopter that descends slowly to the ground.

“… Am I imagining things, or the enemies got really a bit stronger?” I wondered as the car drove us away from the scene.

“… Things changed suddenly on both sides.” Asahi answered me immediately.

“… Oh! Sorry for ignoring you earlier! I got distracted by the terrifying scene!” I waited for an answer from Asahi but he seemed busy so I turned to the rest of the team to get some useful information that can help us.

“… So, what exactly happened?” I asked them as I opened a holographic map of the area. Everyone kept silent for a moment until Akira ended that short awkward moment by coughing: “… So, how should I say this?”

I glared at him as he kept looking around as if he was searching for something. He was obviously under the shock of what happened earlier. I looked at the others and all I was able to notice was the expression of fear and sadness…

“…This isn’t looking any good!” I pulled the gun out and fired a shot in the air quickly. The Loud voice made them all look towards me in surprise. I was able to shake their senses a bit.

“… Akira! Rin! Kazuto! Shuna! Rintaro! And… Asahi!” I screamed their names out loud then looked behind to verify if the camp was still visible to the naked eye. I needed them to forget the scene they saw there and for Asahi to stop freaking out. He was working from a safe distance while watching everything that happened. Anyone in his position would freak out…

“… Freaking out, getting scared, or even losing your composure won’t solve the situation… The enemies broke the Setagaya dome. This is a fact that you need to understand! If we want to win everything back from them, we need to face this reality and think of a solution.”

Akira replied immediately: “… It’s easy for you to say that!”

I looked at him with a puzzled face silently.

“… You know what I am talking about! Don’t look at me like that! 6 years ago, you fought one of the enemies in Saitama and you know how strong they are. Only one made a mess of Kawaguchi! Now the reports say that there are at least 20!” As I heard his words a devilish smile appeared on my face. They looked at me as I laughed like crazy. “… Is that really what is bothering you? You think that what I did 6 years ago is impossible for you now to pull off? I can take them down all by myself if you wish. No! Really, let me take them down all by myself! I already happened to have some business to settle with their leaders!”

That wasn’t an act I was trying to pull to get them out of the state they are in. I actually meant every word I said there. But luckily, it had a good effect on them. They started asking about the source of all the confidence that I had.

“… What is happening with Asahi?” While everyone was having a small chat in the car, I asked Ai to fill me with information.

“… Since the surprise attack on the dome happened, he started searching for the traitor. He believes that one of the technical supporters of the other team was leaking the information all the time.”

“… I have the same feeling!” I nodded “… What happened exactly?”

After seconds, she sent me a map with the new positions of the enemy. “… Master, I think with the map in your hands now everything became clear!”

“… Of course! The enemy simply used the other gangs as a decoy as he sneaked his way behind the whole 7 squads and launched a direct attack at the dome to break it." I answered while looking at the map.

After hearing my reasoning Asahi replied immediately: “… Something like that can’t be simply pulled off without a traitor on our ranks to share our exact locations with them.”

“… Asahi, are you feeling alright?” I asked him.

“… Yeah, I’m busy trying to identify the traitor. We can’t get any help from the other groups until we identify him.”

“… We just have to do it by ourselves then.” I looked at the rest of the team who now started laughing again and then continued: “… Leave the traitor’s matter to Ai and focus with us on the enemy annihilation.

“… Roger that.”

Shuna looked at me as I was talking to Asahi then asked: “… So, what is the plan, leader?”

I laughed at her question then took a deep breath then answered: “… We just have to smash them!”

She looked at me closely in the eyes for a few seconds then asked: “… You’re not serious?” I smiled as I kept silent for the rest of the road…

As we approached the Setagaya ward, we saw that the seven squads were having a hard time trying to deal with the enemy. The situation was awkward. They were using the same strategy the first and fifth squad were using but something wasn’t going smoothly which put them in a dire situation…

When someone from the front line gets tired, he usually switches places with someone from the back lines. For that to happen smoothly, the agent who uses long range weapons leaves his position first to join the front line. When that happens, the tired agent retreats to use a rifle, a sniper, or even a gun.

The problem with them here was that whenever someone moved from the second line of defence to advance, he got immediately targeted by the enemy’s snipers. And so, no one was able to switch positions for a long time.

“… It looks as if they knew every time who’s going to advance before he even moves!” Rin said as she watched the scene. I clicked on a button to stop the car and said: “… They know who’s going to move in advance!”

Everyone looked at me surprised except for Rin who already knew about the spy. I continued talking as I opened the door to leave the car: “… We have to do something here quickly before moving inside the city!”

Shuna and Akira, who seemed to have already understood the general idea, asked: “… We’re going to join the front line?”

“… Yes, but not all of us!” I walked toward Kazuto and put my hand on his shoulder: “… You’re the key for this mission to succeed! Can I rely on you?”

“… Finally, my turn has come!” He smiled and gave me a salute: “… You only have to give me orders and I will execute!”

I turned to the rest of the team and announced the details of the unexpected mission: “… Asahi, ignore any call you receive from the other squads’ technical support while we’re in the middle of the mission. Akira, Rintaro, and Rin will join me on the front line. This will change the balance immediately to our favour. Shuna, don’t join the back line. Search for a perfect position to hunt the enemy’s snipers down.” I looked at Kazuto once again and said: “… Your job is to receive the enemy hits!”

Everyone looked at me in surprise, so I continued explaining: “… Your job exactly is to verify the safety of the agents of the other squads as they retreat from the front line. With our support on both sides, it won’t take a time before we see the good results. Our mission ends when one of these two conditions is met: Shuna takes down all the snipers or all the tired agents retreat safely, and they are able to successfully switch their position with agents from the back line. May the force be with you all!”

As everyone equipped themselves with their weapons, we departed for what seemed to be the last moments in our first mission.