Editor: PervySageChuck, Nate, Skythewood
Sometimes, things occurred that seemed like tragedies to the people on the scene but appeared as a comical farce to people watching from a distance. The news of how the Japanese government had invited important guests from the Special Region to discuss future relations with them sent ripples throughout the world’s intelligence communities, and they all wanted to be the first to know more. However, the decision to come to Tokyo had been hastily decided, and the guests would only be staying for a brief three days and two nights, so there was no time to learn more about them. The governments of various countries had been given no choice but to plan their next moves based on inadequate information.
When the United States of America heard that Japan had hidden the fact that they had invited guests from the Special Region to their country to form good relationships with them, they were unhappy, to say the least. More precisely, they were jealous.
Perhaps it might be easier to explain the situation this way: Imagine a Japanese boy meeting a pretty girl, and then an American boy — who thinks of himself as the center of his world — also wants to meet the girl as well. However, the Japanese boy keeps the fact that he knew the girl a secret, and responds by playing dumb even when directly asked. However, in matters like these, the first one to make a move was the winner. Even if the American boy could understand and praise the protagonist of Natsume Soseki’s “Kokoro”, he could not understand the feelings of guilt and frustration in his heart. It was only natural to the American boy — who believed that victory justified everything — that he should kidnap the beauty and take her back to his country. Even if the Japanese government protested, all he would need to do was reply, “What guests are you talking about?” and the matter would be settled. After all, the Japanese government was also acting on this in secret, so they could not take too harsh a stance. After that, all they would need to do was build a strong relationship with the guests, and then they could do as they pleased. For example, if Japan wanted to build ties with the countries on the other side of the “Gate”, they would have to get through the US first as an intermediary, and beg them for the right of passage. Because of this, even without sufficient intelligence, the CIA brass ordered their Far East Branch to begin the events which led to this farce, and this way of thought was not exclusive to the Americans.
The thing that made it a comedy was that it was not just the Americans who thought they were the center of the world. Other people had also decided to take action the same way they had.
And so, all the men who planned to snatch the “guests” from their beds revealed themselves at once, in front of the bedroom of the sleeping beauties.
There were only 12 people left from the Japanese branch of the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of State Security. From the Russian Federation, there were only eight of their SVR agents remaining. Nine people remained from the CIA’s task force. And so, the three groups suddenly encountered each other. All of them were involved in illegal activities on foreign soil, so they were all multilingual, and they carried nothing on them which might reveal their national affiliation. Their fatigues were bought from military surplus or survival stores, and they all wore balaclavas. Their weapons were all sourced from different countries. Therefore, even an elite agent would not be able to tell where they came from at a glance.
However, they were very clear on one thing.
That was to say, the other two groups in front of them were the enemy.
After all, they had just been mown down in a one-sided slaughter with nothing to do but die. They would kill anyone suspicious whom they saw. In the past, the three nations had all gone through similar training exercises. Therefore, everyone but their comrades was an enemy.
If an opening appeared, even for just a second, they would take advantage of it and rush in. After staring dumbly at each other for a few seconds, they managed to react at last, and hastily pointed their guns at their enemies. However—
The shutters of a nearby window flew open, and a girl in a black dress landed on a nearby boulder.
“Gentlemen, thank you for coming all the way here tonight.”
Their reflexes, honed through long years of intensive training, were thrown into disarray by the girl who stood just a few meters away.
They were aware that there was a young girl among their targets. However, they had not expected that girl to leap out and stand in front of them. Naturally, they would open fire if she tried to get in the way. After all, they were black ops agents. Such ruthlessness was only to be expected. But if they did not pose a threat, then they would try to avoid harming the other party. Therefore, they pointed their muzzles at her on reflex, but they hesitated before pulling the trigger.
As Rory saw this, a smile crossed her face, an expression which suited her nickname of Rory the Reaper. Right after that, a black maelstrom of death raged forth.
Something unbelievable had happened. Someone who looked like a delicate young girl was swinging a mighty halberd that gleamed in the light of the moon and the agents’ torches. Then, while her opposition was struggling to make sense of this incredible sight, every swing and every hit she made claimed the life of one of the American, Chinese and Russian agents.
In the space of two breaths, the survivors finally managed to regain control of themselves.
All they could do now was retreat behind cover and return fire. However, all this did was add to the confusion.
They pointed their silenced weapons at the girl, intending to fill her with their highly lethal 4.6mm and 5.7mm rounds, but the moment the girl sensed their gun barrels pointing at her, she leapt aside gracefully before they could pull the trigger.
They opened fire on the other men of unknown provenance as well.
If any of the agents were hit, they and their comrades would return fire on the shooters. The three-sided firefight began amidst the black Gothic Lolita’s storm of carnage.
The black Goth girl floated daintily through the air like a feather, turning and tumbling in mid-air to evade bullets. If she had wings on her back, they would be black.
After landing on all fours like a beast, she moved nimbly, pressing the agents into melee range in an instant, and then cutting them down with her halberd.
Even these elite agents forgot their tactics and training amidst the hail of bullets and the black storm raging around them. It was all they could do to stay alive. To them, everyone except their own countrymen were enemies. They fired wildly, and were shot to death in turn.
The destructive power of the girl’s halberd made a mockery of their Aramid-fiber body armor. With every swing, she cleaved a man’s body in half.
The agents had never been trained to deal with this sort of unreasonable destructive power. As they thought, “How do we fight someone like this?”, the urge to flee rose within them.
The resort’s yard had a small pool, lanterns and a large boulder, all dotted with plants and trees and illuminated by the silver moonlight. Before they could reflect on the fact that the landscape accurately reflected the wabi-sabi aesthetic, the agents cursed the fact that there were too many blind spots here, and they were not experienced with combat in such cramped quarters.
The black Goth girl made skillful use of this terrain, swinging behind the large boulder to evade a hail of bullets before coming out from the other side to press her attack.
The hanging lanterns were struck with bullets and sailed gracefully into the pool, where the carp floated on the surface, their white bellies up. The vegetation, carefully tended to by the gardeners, was smashed to smithereens in an instant.
Although they had already been reminded that they were not to point their muzzles at the resort under any circumstances, amidst this chaotic battle, several bullets struck home into the building, leaving bullet holes in rainwater pipes on the outside and smashing wine glasses on the inside.
Exchanging fire, concealing themselves, moving when there was an opening, and then shooting again. These people and their valuable techniques were killed off, one by one.
The American team leader Chuck was hit by a ricochet early on and fell to the ground, but his patriotism and sense of duty would not let him die before he did one last thing for his country. As he watched his comrades fall one by one, he reached for his wireless and softly gasped a report.
“The operation... is a failure. We encountered unexpected resistance and were destroyed.”
“What happened out there? Was it the Japanese?”
“...No... it… it was too chaotic... was the black Goth… girl....”
“What happened? Answer me!”
Deaf to the shouts coming over the wireless, Chuck passed quietly into death.
Heidegger took a hit in his right thigh.
He hid behind a stone lantern and withdrew an elastic bandage from his first aid kit. As he checked his remaining ammunition, Roger, who was taking cover behind the large boulder, took out an enemy trying to circle around him. As he turned back, he saw it.
An indescribable feeling developed in his heart as he saw the merciless slaughter.
Heidegger saw Roger sent flying before his eyes, and fired at the black Goth Loli girl.
“You monster, you monster!”
But the girl blocked the incoming bullets with the huge blade of her blood-soaked halberd. After he emptied his magazine at her, the gigantic halberd cleaved down.
He narrowly evaded the attack, but he still felt like he had been hit somewhere. Heidegger was now lying in the small pond, and the other enemies looked like they were going to follow up and gun him down.
He raised his MP5 to shoot back, but the magazine was blasted away by the enemy and bullets spilled over the ground. He did not have time to change magazines, so Heidegger reached for his SIG P239 with his left hand. This was when he realized that he no longer had a left arm.
He reached for the Makarov in his thigh holster with his right hand. An enemy drew his gun at the same time as he did. He poured his strength into his intact left leg and launched himself away, away from the bullets of his enemy. The enemy too was retreating, and escaped from under the barrel of his gun.
“Son of a bitch…!”
As the bullets flew through the air, Heidegger reloaded his MP5 with one hand, every bullet that went in filling the weapon with his killing intent. He raised his gun to the air, not caring about anything besides shooting. Then, a fiery heat consumed his chest, his face and his waist, and he collapsed to the ground under the weight of gravity. He wanted to change his magazine, but his hands simply clutched his gun and did not listen to him. The strength was draining from his body, and he thought he could smell the scent of death in the air.
“Son of...a bitch…”
After his vision vanished like a switched-off television, he stopped breathing at last.
As silence returned to the resort’s garden, there was nobody left alive who saw the girl fight.
Rory’s skirt swayed gently in the cold winter wind.
The surviving carp in the pool were thrashing on the surface of the water.
Tuka, who had brought a compound bow to help Rory, breathed a sigh of relief.
Itami, Lelei, Tomita and the others were hiding in the depths of the room. When they saw Rory smiling while covered in blood, standing in the middle of the corpse-strewn garden, they could not help but feel a chill down their spine.
When the incident occurred, the Ichinotani Situation Room could only watch dumbly as the unexpected battle unfolded before their eyes.
“Was it infighting?”
“What the hell just happened!?”
The camouflaged dirigible drone — loaded with third-generation night-vision gear, high-definition cameras and directional microphones — was transmitting data nonstop. Of course, that data included how the three teams that attacked the resort had started shooting at each other.
“Oh my god, what just happened? Can someone tell me?”
Kanou was looking for answers, but there were none for him. After all, nobody could make sense of what had just happened.
In addition, the sight of a young girl swinging around a gigantic halberd only intensified the confusion. After all, it was far too unreal a sight for anyone to accept.
“Holy shit! That girl’s one of those people who put on a stone mask and suck people’s blood, right?”
These words suited the manga-reading Kanou very well. His extensive experience with manga meant that he could at least rationalize her abilities in his mind.
The battle ended with the deaths of everyone except the girl.
As time went by, the corpses scattered throughout the garden began to cool down. As the residual heat in the bodies drained away, their signatures in the infrared spectrum began weakening, and their bodies slowly disappeared from the eyes of the night-vision cameras.
“In any case, let’s handle it with Case Three.”
One of the officers snapped out of his stupor, his mind restarting as he began giving orders. Case Three involved specialists from the police cleaning up the scene. Because they were working according to plan, they began their tasks without any delays. The specialists started loading the corpses into body bags and recovering the leftover weapons and ammunition (although for some reason, they did not manage to collect all of them), removing the traces of the firefight and taking any wounded or survivors back to their unit to be taken care of. In addition, they asked any witnesses for their help (silence) and so on. Also, they contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other related parties to ask or hint to them “An incident happened, do you know anything about it?”
Of course, no country would honestly answer that question. Be they Russia, China, Korea, Iran, or France, their embassies would only reply, “We don’t know. It has nothing to do with us. To think a tragedy like this occurred, what a shame.” and similar answers. This time around, they would probably all deny their involvement as well.
The problem was that the Americans answered their question with, “My boss has already discussed things with your boss. What should we do?” Because the Japanese side was still unclear on what was going on, they replied, “Please send someone to take a look at the bodies”. There was no reason to refuse, so they were sure that the request would be accepted. After inspecting and dissecting the bodies, the American Examiner would say “2/3s of the wounds on the body were caused by the Russians and Chinese”. The Japanese coroner would concur as well. They would then classify this incident as an unlucky encounter that turned into a firefight, but that would be a problem for later. The question now was whether they should sever ties with America, or at least, cease all activities against them and deal with the situation neutrally.
As for the resort that became the stage for all of this, the cover-up was fairly easy because they were already cooperating with the government in the first place. After all, this resort was originally run by the Ministry of Defense. Most of its guests were what they called “stakeholders”. The very few exceptions tended to be relatives of JSDF or Ministry of Defense personnel who were lodged here as regular guests. At breakfast time, they asked “What was all that racket last night?” and the explanation was “There were some military otaku playing survival games in the mountains out back, but they must have something wrong with their heads because they ended up taking things into the garden. The police post sent out some people to arrest them, and after a good scolding, they had to clean up the mess they made. Something like that.”
“Really, they must have no sense at all to play wargames in a place like this.”
“Well, I guess the JSDF are all like that~ I hope my Hiroshi will be fine and won’t be led astray.”
As they spoke with what were probably the middle-aged mothers of their servicemen, the staff who knew what was going on felt the ache of not being able to share what they knew.
Elsewhere, Itami’s group was fleeing.
As the hunting hounds began fighting with each other, Rory had slain them all, but Itami was not nearly naive enough to think the hunters behind them would give up. After they swiftly packed their things, they left the resort before the sun came up.
Tomita mumbled, “Seems like we’re always running into this kind of thing.”
After walking along the streets for some time, they found a bread van that was stopped, but had its engine running.
If it was a getaway vehicle for the people who attacked the resort, one van would probably not be enough. It would not be strange if there were similar vehicles around it. However, there were no other vans within line of sight. In truth, having several vehicles with idling engines clustered together on a rural road would probably arouse the suspicion of the local authorities. Therefore, any vehicles used for escape would need to be spaced out of sight of each other. Itami did not know this, and after realizing that thinking too much about this would be pointless, he decided to take action.
After receiving Itami’s signal, Tomita swiftly circled around the van from the blind spot on its right side, staying out of sight of the rear view mirror as he closed in on the foreigner sitting in the driver’s seat. He pointed the muzzle of his looted H&K MP7 at the man’s head while Itami approached from the front. He smiled politely, and said, “Sorry about that, but would you mind getting out of the van?” as he revealed a looted Makarov pistol. The driver was a big Russian man, and he exited the vehicle with his hands up.
“He’s a bad guy so I can shoot him, right? Can I? Can I at least hit him?” Kuribayashi said as she tilted her head up to take in the foreigner who was far taller than her. At the same time, she was holding her looted FN P90 at the ready. The way she spoke suggested that she was still a little drunk.
“In any case, what are we going to do about him?” Tomita said as he forced the man down on the ground. The man realized he was in mortal danger, and obeyed without a struggle.
“But then how are we going to incapacitate him? We don’t have ropes and we can’t knock people out like in manga. We might kill him by accident. Or we could just give him two in the back of the head, that ought to solve our problems. Want to try it?”
As Kuribayashi said this, she removed the big white man’s handgun which he was storing in a shoulder holster. All the weapons and ammo she revealed in her thorough, head-to-toe search were confiscated, of course.
“Thanks for the extra weapon and ammo. And this is a PDW too. This is some cutting edge stuff. Ah, what a haul, what a haul~”
Kuribayashi’s inability to conserve ammunition was her one flaw as a soldier. With all the ammo she had taken, her baggage probably weighed several times as much as her. Just then, Lelei showed up.
“We just need to incapacitate him and not kill him, right?”
“Do you have something in mind?”
Lelei extended her hand at the back of the man who was lying prone on the ground, and chanted a long verse in mixed tones, like a “one-man chorus”. Strictly speaking, this might be like speaking with one’s diaphragm, except the sounds she was making were like bird chirps.
After a while, the white man sighed deeply.
“He will sleep like this until morning.”
“That, that’s awesome!”
Kuribayashi’s exclamation seemed to speak for everyone present. They all felt the same way.
The gasps coming from the Japanese who were seeing magic for the first time might have been like the uninitiated watching an illusionist. Lelei, on the other hand simply got onto the van with a totally unconcerned expression, followed by Rory, Piña, Bozes, Risa and Tuka. Tomita was in the driver’s seat, Itami was in the front passenger seat, and the skinny Kuribayashi was squeezed between them. However, the plan to head for Tokyo was aborted by Itami.
“If we charge straight to Ginza like this, we might run into another ambush.”
“Then what should we do? You’ve got a point, but right now the other side of the “Gate” might be safer than this one. I think it would be better to head there as quickly as possible.”
“What a joke, the war zone’s safer than here. This vacation’s a bust, you’d best compensate me for it, Lieutenant.”
Itami raised a fist to answer Kuribayashi.
“Nonsense, I haven’t rested at all either. I need to get leave on December 29 to 31 from Yanagida, no matter what.”
“I don’t know what you plan on doing for those few days, but I’ll take mine some other time.”
“Same here, I don’t want to get pulled into something else by you.”
Kuribayashi and Tomita thought the same way. Lelei translated their dialogue for the others, and then Piña asked a question in a somewhat reserved tone.
“There is something I would like to know. Why must we run around and hide like rats?”
“I’d like to know too, Lieutenant. It’s been weird since the start, what’s going on?”
After hearing their questions, Itami paused to think.
“I have no idea.”
Kuribayashi’s eyes were narrowed into a straight line as she pointed her P90 at Itami. To repeat what was said earlier, the alcohol still had not worn off, and she seemed quite trigger-happy.
“Watch your words, or I’ll put a cap in your ass.”
Itami raised his hands, like he was calming a wild horse, and then gently said, “I’ll explain.”
“You’re just raising your own death flag,” Risa’s voice came from behind.
“Please wait, Kuribayashi-dono. You are Itami-dono’s subordinate, right? Please, do not be so unreasonable. I believe this is a political problem.”
Piña interrupted them.
“I understand Itami-dono’s situation. There are some things which cannot be publicly admitted to. Of course, this is just a theory on my part, but I hope you will listen.”
“Let me verify something before we start. You will not betray us, right?”
Itami shook his head and answered, “Certainly not.”
“I believe Bozes and myself should have enjoyed a peaceful vacation with you, correct? However, right from the beginning, all sorts of problems have been taking place, like the sudden change in transportation, the frequent changes in destination, and how we had to dismount that hellish subway thing when we were moments from our destination and so on. Granted, that was largely for the benefit of Rory-dono, so it could not be helped. After the inn we were supposed to reside in caught fire, we took shelter in Risa-dono’s home to evade the ones who set the fire. I also believe that was a good decision, However, all these incidents happened in a mere two days, and last night, the resort we were staying in was attacked, forcing us to hurriedly escape. Far too many things have occurred. Our guards have been stripped away and we have been staked before a beastman. Perhaps it has something to do with this country’s decision makers. I came to be a mediator between Nihon and the Empire, and the negotiations I will be mediating will probably pertain to peace. Therefore, I realized that in this world, there are forces which desire this peace, and those who do not, and these two forces are currently in conflict. Am I wrong?”
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