Violet: No. 02189
The white light once again falls down from the sky.
Without any warning, the light descends sparing no one.
This time, there wasn't even one person who could know what meaning it had.
The blue-colored buildings that were on the shot's way were much like those colored in violet, washed out by the luminous purging.
All the people that were not on the path of destruction, could not at that moment comprehend how their lives would change from that point onwards.
The Blue City fell down within only minutes of difference from when Violet fell.
"What was that!? Another shot!?" - Mayu says while looking around scared.
Ren who is still in front of the holographic panel looks at it with an astonished expression.
"It can't be..."
"What happened Ren!?" - Asks Kaori, worryingly.
"It seems like, the weapon was shot remotely"
"This is really bad! Where did it fire at?"
Take asks while improvising handcuffs for the defeated guards with hoses taken from the soldier's helmets.
"This is the most surprising part. It shot in Violet and Blue's direction, respectively"
Everyone gets shocked by Ren's revelation as he adds to the information.
"But that's not all, it seems both blasts were directed against both cities' Main Halls"
"I see... That was his objective after all..." - Mayu gazes down as she states that sentence with a melancholic voice.
"What do we do now?"
"Guess there's not much left for us to do Ren, let's just go back to-"
Kaori looks towards the door as her phrase is interrupted by an engine sound.
The noise that comes from a mech's motor can be heard clearly even from inside the control room.
"It seems someone else landed at the hangar" - Take points out.
As everyone begins to leave the room, Ren puts on his helmet again and makes a gesture for his friends to stop where they are.
"We don't know who this could be, let me handle this"
"It's better for you all to keep inside here while I go meet them"
"Ok, but please be careful!"
Ren nods in agreement with Kaede's request.
While approaching the mech Ren notices that it is the same model as the one he piloted in the last mission that's on the opposite side of the hangar.
Ren pointed his machine gun at the mech while waiting for the person inside it to leave.
A few moments after Ren's approach, a figure leaves the mech's cockpit. With just a glance it was quite obvious who that person was.
That cleared up any doubts Ren could still have.
The person in front of his eyes was none other than Hideki Junpei.
Wearing a violet-colored N.R.I.C.A., with his helmet already in his hands, the professor casually greeted Ren.
"What's with this tone? It's almost like you aren't happy to see me"
Ren points his gun down and takes off his helmet as he continues the exchange.
"Hideki-san, it was you the one who shot the weapon remotely wasn't it?"
Hideki's emotionless response makes Ren feel a little weirded out.
The professor then expands on his response.
"It was partly because of you, though"
"Sure enough, I still had my plan B in case you couldn't figure out how to use the nano-bot virus battery"
"But thanks to you, the plan proceeded smoothly"
"Now if you excuse me-"
Hideki tries to pass by Ren, but he's stopped by the young man as he holds the professor by the shoulder.
"What's the problem, 02189?"
"I thought I had already told you my name, we don't need to keep playing pretend since Ophir is already dead"
"Oh! You really got attached to that name, uh? That's cute"
"But if you excuse me, I have some business to attend"
Ren holds Hideki's shoulder with even more strength as he says:
"Why don't we have a little chat before that?"
Hideki slaps Ren's hand off his shoulder as he gazes into the young man's eyes.
"Very well then..."
"What's your plan Hideki? What do you want?"
"What do you mean? I already got everything I wanted!"
Ren narrows his eyes as he faces Hideki with even more intensity.
"If that was really true, you wouldn't have any 'unfinished business' to treat anymore"
Hideki gives an ironic chuckle and touches his chin as he responds to Ren:
"Interesting, I guess you got a little smarter after all"
"Say Renichi-san, what do you think about Neo-Tokyo?"
Huh!? What could he-
"It's hard to give you a concise answer, but, I think it's a nice place where people are actually allowed to be human"
"Not a bad answer at all, but still a bit naïve, and lacking contest"
Hideki opens a holographic panel from his wrist and types on it.
Five gray drones come out from his mech and begin to circle around Ren.
"What I'm about to show you is the true Neo-Tokyo"
The drones begin to project many holograms in the air.
Poverty, diseases, theft, depredation, assassination. Those holograms showed Ren a dark reality he hadn't seen with his own eyes. Of course, as 02189 he did see a lot of messed-up things as he was on a battlefield, but that was different.
Children killing and get killed for some superfluous product, men killing women for unrequited love, and women killing men out of jealousy.
There are no saints, no innocents. Every single person is capable and can do evil, even without a reason. That was the reality that truly shocked him.
As the young man looked away, Hideki taunted him.
"Don't avert your eyes Renichi-san, this is the true face of mankind"
"When not under a tyrannical rule, society degenerates..."
Ren collects his thoughts as he tries to digest and understand what he just saw.
"If you think this way, then I don't get why you'd go against Ophir" - protests Ren.
"You didn't let me finish-"
Hideki snaps his fingers making the feed of the holograms change to show Violet and Blue recordings.
"When the rules get too tight as the people on the top get too drunk in power, society also degenerates, however in a different way"
"On the surface, everything was in place, no one would disturb the established order, however, as time went on, the meaning of even the most basic things began to be eroded"
"Accomplishment became a useless word, religion and faith were erased, the sense of group and belonging outside what was encompassed by Violet was destroyed"
"This continued up until no one had meaning in their lives anymore"
"On the other hand, we have the subterranean"
"A land with almost unrestricted freedom, where people can do whatever they want"
"It's a place where the weaker are eaten by the stronger, so in the end, nobody can be said to be truly free"
Ren continues quietly hearing everything Hideki says without interfering, and when he stops talking, Ren queries him.
"I can't really say you're wrong at your premise, but I must ask"
"You think just destroying everything is gonna solve a thing at all?"
"Please don't insult me Renichi-san" - Hideki answers in a condescending tone.
"I only attacked the root of the problem"
"I obviously don't intend to destroy everything. We just need to create something better after destroying the parts that are causing the degeneration to happen"
"I must say when Take-kun told me about Seraph and its weapon, I got excited because I knew I could one day have the chance to fix everything with only minimal collateral damage"
Ren clenches his hand as he asks Hideki one more question:
"Do you intend to use the Ultio Caelum on Neo-Tokyo too?"
"Look, Renichi-san I'm not doing this because I want. I need to do this for the next step to happen"
"This is the chance I have to make the place I love so much be ridden of crime and become a place where even the weak can thrive!"
"But do you really need to use that weapon? Wasn't the destruction of the Shine already enough?"
"You're wrong Ren, the showing Mr. Amano gave to the people from Neo-Tokyo gave them the exact opposite message I wanna give"
"It give them hope, it showed that even against all possibilities you can still try"
"What I want is fear. The kind of fear that comes from an absolute strength that can decimate anyone that goes against it, much like a natural disaster for example"
"That's the only way the weak can be equated with the strong"
"That's what I want, no! That's what Neo-Tokyo and the world need at the moment!"
"At the end of the day, both the surface with Blue and Violet and the subterranean with Neo-Tokyo will learn from their scars"
"So, you want to become a tyrant just like the ones you criticized just now" - Objected the angered Ren.
"You're wrong, I'll become a mere guide. I'll gladly give up my normal life and stay here as long as it takes to guarantee that everything will be balanced"
"Also, the nano-technology already allows for a seemly endless lifespan, so you won't need to worry about me dying anytime soon"
"The common people, or better saying: the numbers, only had an expiration date because the CEO wanted it that way. Mr. Ophir otherwise, was a lot older than he looked"
Ren shakes his head as he says:
"You've lost your marbles!"
"You disappoint me Renichi-san... after everything I said you still understand nothing"
The professor simply walks by and gives his back to Ren.
"Hey, did you seriously just point that gun at me?" - Hideki says with his back still turned to Ren.
"If you give even one more step in that door's direction I'll seriously shoot you up!"
Tension arises as Ren puts his finger on the weapons trigger and Hideki clutches his hands.
The professor puts his hands on his knees as he sighs profoundly.
"I would never think you of all people to be the last obstacle in my path"
With his body blocking Ren's vision, Hideki once again turns on the panel on his wrist which makes one of his drones open a secret hatch with a mounted machine gun that immediately begins firing in Ren's direction.
Ren jump rolls at the same time the burst is released, and some of the bullets end up scratching his armor.
When Ren looks ahead he sees Hideki running towards the command room door.
Ren puts on his headgear once again, as one of the drone's bullets could end up killing him without the defensive gear. Hideki also puts on his helmet as he runs toward his objective.
While preparing to fire one more spray of bullets in Hideki's direction, Ren begins thinking about the current circumstances.
This is strange if Hideki can remotely activate Seraph's weapon, why did he have to get here? It surely wasn't just to give an explanation of his ideology.
This must mean he cannot just fire the Ultio Caelum from a distance at Neo-Tokyo, so I absolutely can't let him get near the control panel!
The AP bullets fly in Hideki's direction just as he successfully dodge-rolls sideways fleeing all the projectiles.
He wasn't even looking, how did he-
TRRRRRRRRR!, TRRRRRRRRRRRR!, TRRRRRRRRRRRRR!-
Before Ren could collect his thoughts properly, all the other drones began firing at him at the same time. Many bullets hit him as he hadn't time to react. The N.R.I.C.A. is extremely sturdy, but some places in the joints begin to show signs of damage as well as the battery begins to run up since the suit auto-repair itself and keeps producing more ammo.
The vision of the drones is probably shared with him, so he must be seeing everything they see. This will be annoying.
That sound was familiar to Ren. It was the noise that represented the beginning of everything as well as it meant the ending of his old life. That noise was the one a rocket makes when it leaves the shoulder of a mech to pinpoint a target.
Ren never thought of the possibility of Hideki having the ability to remote control his mech as well as the drones. He couldn't even see the motion before the launching.
A hot heat is felt by Ren right in his back. The young man falls to the ground and rolls on the ground from the impact caused by an explosion.
Am I alright!?
Ren shakes his head and gets up despite the pain. Remember about your training on the battlefield Ren! Getting down means death! You must keep moving, even if you don't know what hit you!
Ren leaves the cloud of smoke with his gun in his hands. As he points it back to Hideki he notices something.
Take with his rocket launcher in his hands with smoke coming from it. Ren didn't need to see the whole scene to understand what had just happened. He was able to picture it from that scene alone.
Take with only a visual clue of what the mech was doing was able to launch his own missile to intercept the mech's projectile in midair!
With a smile of gratitude behind his helmet, Ren once more pulls the trigger aiming for the professor who is increasingly closing the control room.
One of the drones tries to get in the way of Ren's shot, but it isn't even near to being fast enough for that. That attack was effectively unexpected to Hideki who couldn't predict Ren would be able to recover as fast as he did.
Hideki's armor is pierced by multiple projectiles. It hits mostly the right side of his body with the most affected parts being his ankle as well as his shoulder along with other grazing shots. The professor ends up falling to the ground after that.
Kaede and Mayu leave the room alongside Take who was already outside, as they point out their guns to Hideki. However, as soon as they do that, Hideki's drones aim all their weapons at the three.
While seeing this scene, Ren can only impotently watch as multiple barrages of bullets are fired at his friends. Hideki immediately takes the chance and enters the room before locking himself inside it.
He didn't even try to talk to them! Even with everyone giving time to him and not shooting him up immediately, he still chose to do this!!
Ren runs in the direction of the drones and shoots them up before they could fire another barrage at his friends.
The young man is able to successfully hit two of the drones who soon thereafter, fall to the ground while the other three remaining point their weapons at Ren while dispersing.
They shoot the young man from all directions but Ren easily brushes off their attacks, however, Ren hears the mech moving yet again. This time the frame points its autocannon in Ren's direction.
KCHNG!! KCHNG!! KCHNG!! KCHNG!! KCHNG!! KCHNG!! KCHNG!! KCHNG!! KCHNG!! KCHNG!!
Differently from what a pilot with experience would do, an A.I.-controlled mech had not the same level of control and precision with its weapon. Ren noticed it in the split second it pointed its autocannon toward him.
With the help of his suit, the young man could predict at a certain level the trajectory of the bullets, which despite being extremely destructive wouldn't do much damage while he was with his armor if he was not directly hit by them.
However, at the moment he was dodging the last bullets, a new tremor affected the whole place.
At that moment, one of the bullets grazed the left part of his torso, tearing apart a good chunk of his armor as well as also damaging his body.
Did he fire up that thing again!?
Dammit! I need to do something about this mech before anything else!
Ren looks at his friends and sees them on the ground, with a pained expression, he gets up, and as soon as he can, runs in the mech's direction.
The lateral cannon points up to Ren as the mech recharges its autocannon magazine.
Zigzagging, Ren is able to jump off successfully jumping the mini explosions caused by the impact of the cannon projectiles.
Ren jumps on its leg and begins climbing it. He jumps and grabs the mech's mechanical knee, Ren then, puts his gun against the back of its left knee and shoot.
The young man discharges two magazines in the area causing the mech's leg to get severely weakened and at the moment it tries to take a step, it falls over.
Ren rapidly checks up the stats of his battery while getting closer to his friends.
Ren feels the nano-bots regenerating his body as he sees Kaori and Mayu sting around Take who is lying on the ground.
The drones once again begin to target him and as Ren points his weapon to rebuke the fire, the drone in his back is destroyed at the same time as the one he pointed his gun at.
With only one drone left, he sees Mayu leaps forward with her gun in hands. She approaches the last drone remaining and shoots it up completely destroying it.
"Take! Mayu! Kaede!"
As Ren approaches even more he sees Take stretched on the ground with a puddle of blood around him.
"He... he shielded us..." - Says Kaede who also got a bullet on her leg.
As Ren kneels down he sees Take's body filled with bullets, he was fast enough to shield the two girls while also avoiding getting hit in his head using his mechanical arm. Despite that, his torso was riddled with bullets. If the caliber of the bullets that hit him was higher, as the ones of an N.R.I.C.A. weapon, he would be dead.
Ren takes off his hat and uses the same technique he used on Kaori in their first encounter. He takes the hose and puts on Takes wounds hoping that they close and stop the bleeding.
[Nano-bot battery at 50%]
As Ren finishes treating Take he also tries to mend Kaede's bullet wound.
As she hadn't seen that before Mayu gets confused about what Ren is doing, and he explains to her about the nano-bots and the healing they can provide even without an N.R.I.C.A. Mayu then, asks him why he hadn't used that before on Kaede's broke arm, so Ren explains that it wouldn't be effective as it takes too much time for the nano-bot adapt themselves into bones, as opposed to only closing wounds and stopping bleeding.
As the three gathered in front of the command room door they once again felt the tremor under their feet followed by the scratching sound of the railgun.
"Again!?" - Ren says astonished.
However, that was not the only problem the trio had on their hands. By the time Ren treated Take's and Kaede's wounds the mech had also fixed its leg and was almost back up.
“Ren right now you’re the only one who can fight the professor on somewhat equal grounds” – Says Kaede as she entrusts Ren back his vibro-sword and clings to him to get back on her feet.
“Don’t worry about that oversized piece of scrap. I and Mayu-chan will deal with it”
“Are you sure it will be okay?”
“What are you saying Ren-kun? Don’t forget you’re talking about the great Mayu-chan here ~ ❤ ”
“I’m still full of energy ~ Teehee” – The girl says while ginning and hopping around.
“Yeah, that’s right Mayu-chan! What happened Ren, don’t trust your friends?” - Says Kaede teasingly.
The trio look at each other and laugh out as the mech is almost back up.
“One last thing before you go Ren…”
“Would it be possible for someone else besides you to pilot the mech you brought here?”
As Ren reaches the command room using his sword to cut down the door, Hideki turns around and shoots at him.
With a glance, Ren sees that Hideki executed the three soldiers that were bound.
Ren rolls in and dodges a great number of bullets but was hit and grazed by some of them too. One of the bullets pierced Ren’s armor injuring his left forearm.
“Why!? Just why are you trying to get on my way!?”
As Hideki reloads his magazine he notices something touching his foot. His eyes widen at the realization that was a grenade Ren had thrown at him while he was rolling to dodge the bullet spray.
The professor quickly kicks the grenade that ends up exploding next to a wall. It makes a gap on the ground, as the floor near the edges of the room seems to be less sturdy than in the center.
That wasn’t a large opening. It was just a few seconds that the professor was distracted by the grenade. It was all that took for Ren to strike a direct hit at Hideki. It destroyed his helmet and opened a hole in his armor's chest at the same time it cut in half his machine gun.
“You damn brat!!” - Hideki’s face warps as his anger begins to consume him.
Hideki instinctively jumps back and reaches for his own sword too.
Ren then gives him a provocative smile while grabbing once again his machine gun. He discharges it on the central floor instead of in Hideki’s direction.
“No! Don’t do that!”
After the fire burst ended, all the panels shut down.
“It’s over Hideki, now you can’t access the control panel anymore”
Mayu and Kaede run from each side of the mech as it tries to shoot down the girls. Without human thought, the A.I. that’s controlling it just tries to do its best course of action, but it doesn’t take into consideration human tenacity.
The moment the mech was fully focused on the threats near it. It was the time it took a rocket to its mechanical face.
“Hufff… huff… I’m still here…” - Says Take while panting and with his back against the wall.
Without its aim sensors, it couldn't detect anyone around it anymore.
The repair drones once again started trying to fix its system, but by the time it came back it was hit by another rocket, this one, however, belonged to Ren’s mech that was being piloted by Kaede.
She used Ren’s helmet to authenticate her identity to pilot it.
The A.I. however, wasn’t still down just yet, it tried a last attack pointing out its auto-cannon in Kaede’s direction-
“Dammit, these controls are really clunky! This isn’t like Valkern-on at all!”
Just as it was about to open fire at Kaede’s mech the last grenade was launched by Mayu who was just by the mech’s feet.
The grenade hadn’t enough strength to damage the mech’s arm, however, it made its auto-cannon change directions and miss all its shoots.
Kaede sees the chance and connects a punch at the enemy’s metallic face, further destroying it.
With the impact, the A.I. operated mech fell backward. Mayu immediately ran away to not be hit by the fallen giant as well as to not get caught in the crossfire as Kaede prepared herself to shoot again and to guarantee the enemy’s mech destruction. Kaede shoots the secondary and more powerful cannon towards its torso.
BOOOM! BOOOM! BOOM!!
Hideki gazes down as he sees all the panels and logs shutting down.
“You don’t even have anything to do with them, are you trying to be a hero, Renichi-san?”
“It’s nothing grand like that, I just don’t want you to sully Mr. Amano’s resting place anymore”
Hideki begins to laugh at the young man’s words.
“You know, that’s really funny coming from you!”
“What do you even know about him!?”
“Not much” – Says Ren with a smile in his face.
“But what I know is that even without knowing me he gave me a place to stay and gave me a job”
Hideki who was slowly approaching Ren stops on his tracks to hear his words.
“And it not only him, everyone gave me something…”
“Mayu-chan gave me a name and taught me the meaning of purpose”
“Take told me about the meaning of family and is now gave his blood to protect the people who are important to him and also for me”
“Kaede showed me trust and taught me what friendship truly means”
“I have even to be grateful to you Hideki-san, as you showed me the darkness I didn’t knew about”
Still gazing down with his sword in hands and a partially ripped armor Hideki advances toward Ren
“Are you finished, yet!?” - The man says while swiping his sword downwards. It slices Ren’s machine gun as he does a side step to dodge the sudden attack.
Using his momentum, Hideki goes to the edge of the room and jumps on the hole made by the grenade earlier.
Ren is taken by surprise by Hideki’s strange and harsh act, however, when Ren approaches the crack, it becomes clear what Hideki’s intentions are.
Don’t tell me… he is planning on activating the railgun manually!!?
“Dammit!” - Seeing Hideki’s desperate move, Ren jumps at the crack following Hideki.