Chapter 91:

The Back of the Leviathan - Part 3

Gloudhaus


As it was proper for a discussion with so many important people (which Anna listed herself as one of), the admiral led everyone to a more secluded space.

This place was a small room with bare furniture, a simple table, chairs, and a single cabinet, and no real cover for the soundproofing work made on the wall. It wasn't a luxurious area at all and neither it seemed to be a proper place for guests, but it was good enough.

As the table had more than enough space, though, it ended with everyone arranged as if they were in the bureau room. Nominally, Annabeth with Minako and Colette, one on each side, Moem and Alya, and then Karim between the two groups.

Why someone that was the inquisitor’s partner was seating as if she was unrelated was a mystery, but that was how the petite cop did things. Also, a biased mediator would be helpful, so there wasn't anything to complain about.

“Well, I guess we can start by hearin’ yer problem, ay?” The redhead opened the discussion as all seemed to be ready for such. “We already know ‘bout the surprise assaults and ‘bout usin’ us as bait, by the way, so jumpin' to what matters ain't no problem.”

“Can I take it that you four are here to help us clean the house, or am I mistaken?” The serious man asked in return, never breaking his expression. "I would not complain, but this is not you girls' work."

“We also have other duties for sure,” Karim answered before her partner could open her mouth. Another instant agreement like the one with Minako seemed to not be good for her. “But we're still meant to help each section whenever needed. And I believe this situation fits.”

“Our priority’s always what’s faster to solve first, by the way,” Anna added while nodding to the blondie’s words. “We can’t do much without the proper information and access, y’see? Havin' free access to a ship'd help too.”

“One where I could make a holy site if possible. I can't feel a single one in the area, so it would be good to have...” The shrine maiden that was trying to pay as much attention as possible to everyone’s words also added her request. Hers came a bit from nowhere though.

“We do have a place of worship on the Leviathan. In fact, I believe there are three of them in locations where the sailors and marines use the most.” Moem answered in his usual tone as if the request was no problem at all. “Each and every one of them was made by a proper priest too, so I do not believe in the need of doing anything more, Ms. Chiron.”

“Being built by a priest is different from being made properly! To begin with, if they were, I would sense their draw even from this far.” A weirdly energetic Minako shot back. “To begin with, setting the furniture to create the proper form is very hard and very few can do it well. Which is why I’m sure these are all made to look visually pleasing instead of practical.”

The kitsune’s outburst seemed to take the admiral by surprise, even if only for a moment. And as he recovered, he turned pensive.

“I see we will need to check the reports on these... And about the other request, I will prepare a proper vessel for you. I am unsure of who I can tell to commandeer it, but it can be done.” He continued, going through each issue one by one and then turning to his aid. "Can you manage the papers, Alya?”

"Hmmm... A modification lease and... One task force request?" The white-haired girl answered without ever raising her face. "W-would those do, admiral?"

"They should be enough. Have them ready ASAP, and see if your experiment is ready too. We may be able to use that one..."

"U-understood!"

"Sorry again, but..." The kitsune opened her mouth with a displeased expression that reacted to the word ‘procedure’ and 'formal. “Will we have to fill a bunch of papers like the ones in that room?”

“Exactly those. It is the procedure.”

“Can’t we pay someone off and be done with it?”

“Minako!” Karim jumped off at the mention of bribery and started to glare at the fox girl. “Remember what I said about the navy? Could you PLEASE not play around like this?”

“But I’m not… Wait. Right… Yes, it was just a joke. I’ll follow the… Protocol? Or something of the kind…”

“Good. Now, if we could continue, ladies… Having a ship and a shrine will not help if you don't hear the problem at all.” The admiral nodded and then, once again, tried to go back to the subject. “As you know, something wrong must be happening for those attacks to go unpunished like this. Our system may not be the fastest when the matter is about reports and relaying information, but our first response action is perfect. It takes a long time for big decisions to go through, but our readiness is second to none.”

“Can you explain this system fer us, Admiral?” Annabeth asked in her unusual, but not known, serious tone. “In detail, please.”

“It will not be a problem… Alya, if you may.”

The white-haired girl jumped in surprise after the sudden call, which was somewhat unexpected, but she still went to answer. It took a moment this time though and it wasn't a clean speech like before. Maybe it had to do with who she was answering, but it was hard to be sure.

“W-well, i-in an emergency, any local officer w-will receive the authority to take command of the situation. The first order is to, to send a report through radio a-and, if possible, request immediate reinforcements...” She explained what, for now, didn’t seem to be anything novel or especially efficient. “Any and, and all, ships in the short-range are expected to either join the combat or intercept the fleeing enemies. Each squadron acts independently in this situation, so orders from high-ups are unnecessary. Be it a kaiju or, or a pirate, all ships in the area will engage them… T-that’s the idea.”

“Changing the deployment of forces or requesting anything from outside our theater is very time-consuming, but fights should always go seamlessly.” The dragonoid concluded after acknowledging his aide’s summary. “Since each ship and squadron is, in some ways, a fast-response force, assaults are very rare. Even more ones in which the enemy could not be spotted at all.”

“Couldn’t it be a malfunction on the communication devices?” Karim asked a question that was both important and likely had an obvious answer. “Either that or some sort of interference would so, right? Sometimes the radios on the DP go berserk too, so if it happened there…”

“Once or twice? Maybe. But we were attacked more than five times.” Moem spoke back with a disagreeing head shake. “I cannot believe that our enemies are lucky enough to hit in such perfect timings this many times.”

“And what about those metallic coffins? If I understood it right, then they fall on the target, and the people inside attack right away. Wouldn’t it make things fast enough to avoid any reports?”

“Now you are understanding the idea, young lady. We do not know much about them though, in fact, we were yet to see more than the craters left by them... Which is why a chance to capture their troopers and equipment was so important.”

“A chance to… Ah! The trap?!”

Moem nodded again at the unraveling of the situation, taking a glance toward Annabeth after he did so. The girl seemed deep in thought while her partner was doing most of the talking right now.

Which was exactly why the Leviathan's captain had to call her out.

“And now that we came to it… Could our inquisitor lady explain why their ‘assault coffins’ were so similar to the device you used to bring your friend here?” “Heh! That’s an easy one, admiral lizard…" The redhead smirked at the question that broke her line of thought. It wasn't as if she needed a line of thought anymore though, for she had already reached a conclusion.

"How’d they be different when we both use the same damn thing?”