Saturday, December 30, 2017

Gate - Thus the JSDF Fought There! Volume 9 Chapter 3

Translator: Nigel
Editor: Deus Ex Machina

After the JGSDF Special Region Expeditionary Force’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd Combat Groups stomped over the Imperial Army’s defensive lines, each Combat Group made haste towards their original objective, trailing dust in their wake.
However, the accomplishments of Colonel Kengun’s 4th Combat Group left everyone else staring.
Originally, being forced to fight in tandem with the legitimate Empire government’s forces was like shackling them, but their combat performance was more like “taking that ball and chain around your feet and beating the enemy to death with it”. They attacked Imperial bases and then went on to destroy Imperial Army units stationed in various locations.
“Battlegroup Heinkeli has destroyed the Imperial Army’s Second Brigade. They’re going to conduct cleanup operations after this.”
“Battlegroup Selbel has destroyed the middle of the Imperial Army’s Third Brigade. They’re spreading out in the rear!”
The five eye-shaped red tokens were surrounded by several green tokens on the map that was spread out over the ground.
To anyone familiar with Imperial combat tactics, this war was unfolding in a way that made people want to shout, “this is unfair!”
Many tokens moved over the map in a short span of time. When the staff officers sent from the legitimate government forces saw this, they were so surprised that they could not even express their shock, and all they could do was stare in entrancement.
“Normally, wars are fought in an orderly fashion, beginning at the frontline and progressing onward. The people in the front are reassured by the presence of their comrades in the rear, so all they need to do is concentrate on what’s happening to their front. Meanwhile, the people in the rear have faith that the vanguard will stop the enemy’s first strike, so they can gather their strength and resolve before the call to war is sounded. Therefore, attacking the enemy from the rear is the best way to secure victory.”
“But the enemy might have stationed a rear guard.”
“Correct. And coordinating the vanguard, main body and rear guard to fight is known as the two-headed dragon. But with these hellybone operations…”
“No, they’re called heliborne ops.”
“Yes, that’s it. These hellybones have squashed this two-headed dragon flat like it was a bug. Once the commanders in the main body have been killed off, they aren’t a two-headed dragon any more; they’re nothing more than a disorganized rabble.”
The red tokens on the map formed a long, thin defensive line around the fortresses of Wess, Marais and Rekki, possibly to defend against the attack of the coalition army’s blue and green tokens from the west.
However, their vanguards were scattered because they did not know the direction from which the enemy would attack.
They used their vanguards as feelers to contact the enemy, and once combat began, the main body would surge forward to reinforce the battle line.  
However, the main body that should have been waiting safely in the rear had instead been the first to suffer attack.
The three fortresses were stocked with food and weapons, yet two of them had fallen in an instant. By looking at the map, the green tokens in the middle of a sea of red tokens looked isolated and surrounded, but in truth, encircling and exterminating them required extremely high intelligence-gathering ability as well as the ability to delegate command and good decision-making abilities.
Such a thing was impossible of the Imperial generals, who wholeheartedly believed that the enemy would attack from the west.
“Well, the Empire once tried to amass a great host of Wyverns to fight like this in the past.”
“Indeed. However, they could not gather enough of them, so they couldn’t carry out the plan. Also, fighting like this requires the ability for commanders to communicate with each other even when they’re in different locations. The Japanese army has fulfilled both these conditions. See how we can firmly grasp the state of the war even without being in the central headquarters. Thanks to that ability, the officers and men can confidently take part in operations that could very well see them stranded in the middle of the enemy.”
Before the eyes of the two staff officers, the right wing of the green tokens which represented the legitimate government’s army as they advanced on the Imperial Capital crushed the red tokens in their path.
The red tokens vanished with a kachak.
“Just a little more…”
“Yes. If we can bring down Fort Rekki, we’ll have the enemy in the bag.”
On the map, the huge mass of red tokens were gradually encircled by a very small amount of green tokens.
In order to draw the net closed, the green tokens formed the shape of a bamboo-copter as they plunged into the heart of the enemy formation ー Fort Rekki.

As implied by the term “rotary-winged aircraft”, helicopters developed tremendous lifting power and thrust from their main rotors… their enormous propellors, and by so doing they could fly through the air.
Thanks to this unique construction, helicopters could ascend, rapidly descend and suddenly stop in a way that fixed-wing aircraft could never accomplish. The whirling tokens moved in a similar fashion, not just advancing, but moving backwards, to the left and to the right.
Of course, this unique structure was also its weakness.
If the rotor blades were destroyed, they would no longer be able to float in the sky, only lose their balance and crash to the ground.
Of course, the tail also had a miniature rotor to control horizontal direction. The tail rotor was a vital component in maintaining a helicopter’s positioning. The powerful engine allowed the massive main rotor to turn at high speeds, and the tail rotor existed to counteract the contra-rotation experienced by the helicopter’s body as a result of the main rotor. Thus, if the tail rotor was lost, the helicopter would begin to spin around like a teacup ride at an amusement park and plunge to earth.
The Imperial Wyvern Corps had carefully observed that characteristic of helicopters, and they had that principle in mind as they threw down their chain-link nets during their surprise attack.
As they saw the nets spreading in mid-air, the pilots broke formation and got out of their way.
The Wyvernriders immediately moved to pursue. However, it was difficult for heavy chained nets to hit objects moving rapidly through the air.
That said, if they dropped 10 or 20 such nets, they would snare one or two unlucky helicopters.
The chains were made with the Empire’s undeveloped metallurgy and they could not break the rotor blades, but they successfully disrupted the helicopters’ flight stability.
If they managed to snare the tail rotors, their target would cease to function and the helicopter would start spinning rapidly like a leaf on the wind.
“We’re going down! Hang on tight!”
“What, what happened!?”
The world spinning madly before his eyes, the pilot clung to the control stick for dear life as he shouted, and the Elbe Kingdom troops behind him shouted, “We’re falling!”
“Keep quiet, you’ll bite your tongue!”
There was a crash and the sound of metal crumpling, accompanied by an impact that seemed to rise from below their buttocks, and then a voice from behind shouted “Get off! It’s going to blow!” The soldiers broke into a run, as though the words had physically shoved them forward.
Their vision still spinning, the freshly-landed soldiers stumbled away like drunken men.
Of course, they were visible from the air. The helicopter had crash-landed and the passengers had scattered in panic like fleeing spiderlings. The fallen vehicle exploded. The crimson blaze and the black smoke made the Imperial soldiers recall the taste of victory, which they had not savored for so long.

“We did it!”
“Dammit, we don’t have enough nets.”
“Go pick up the dropped nets! We’ll go attack them! Carry on!”
Under their commander’s direction, the Wyvernriders who had finished throwing their nets nimbly broke apart and descended rapidly, attacking from above the helicopters.
The lead Imperial Wyvernrider launched several arrows at a descending UH-1, as though to demonstrate, before couching his lance and plunging into a charge at frightening speeds .
He shouted “With me! With me!” and countless Wyverns followed in his wake.
However, all the arrows he fired were knocked away by the spinning rotors.
“In that case, how about this!?”
He took aim at the pilot seated at the front of the cockpit with his dragonlance.
Thanks to the speed of his descent and the air resistance, the Wyvernriders’ commander trembled along with his prided mount. The dragonlance shook up and down as it cut through the air, but he used all his might to keep it under control, and adjusted his angle of attack at the enemy.
The helicopter he was targeting and the pilot he was aiming for grew rapidly in his eyes.
However, the enemy suddenly changed position in the moment before he was about to hit, and the shaft of the dragonlance disintegrated into sawdust; it had been chopped to pieces by the spinning rotors. In addition, the Wyvernriders’ leader and his beloved dragon had been cleaved in half together.
It was like he had physically exploded, his blood spraying into the air like foam.
After seeing the hideous fate of their commander, who had led the charge, the Wyvernriders behind him realized the danger of rapidly descending and the pulled up on their reins. They orbited several times before launching arrow attacks from the comparatively safer flanks.
“We can’t hit them from above! Attack from the sides or head on! Bring them down!”
After hearing the words of the experienced General Podawon, they attacked from all sides.
In order to keep up with the rapid direction changes of the helicopters, whose aerial mobility permitted them a rapid mix of ascent and descent, the Wyvernriders were forced to fly complicated patterns in their mad quest to attack their blind spots.
And so, the Wyverns dueled with the helicopters in a furious dogfight.
Dogfights involving attack helicopters were more like motocross races,
While helicopters might lack the ability to pull off the stunts that fixed-wing craft could perform in aerial combat, on the other hand, they could capable of exciting aerobatic tricks of their own in the lateral plane.
Flying up and down, suddenly pivoting in place and then showering the enemy trying to catch up with .50 caliber rounds was something which only rotary-winged craft could perform. The helicopters’ engines roared as they slashed through the air, then forcefully pulled away from the Wyverns and intercepted their attack.
However, the Imperial Wyvern Corps were not beaten by that.
They hovered in mid-air as their riders eased off on their reins, or they flapped their wings to rise and fall.
They made skilful use of their flexible bodies and tails, changing their angle of attack from unexpected angles and neatly evaded the machinegun fire from the door gunners.
One of the Wyvernriders leaned out from behind their saddles, turning through a hail of bullets like a circus performer and then stabbing out with his slender dragonlance as he passed below the medium-sized helicopters.
“Got him!”
Simply piercing a helicopter’s outer shell would not impede its flight ability. However, the fact that they had actually struck a helicopter caused the Wyvernriders’ morale to soar.
All prey had their weaknesses. One could not finish them off without hitting them. On the other hand, even a pinprick to that weakness could cause lethal harm. Now that they knew lances were not useless, all they needed to do next time was to continue attacking that weakness.
“Alright! Pierce that wounded belly with your lances!
General Podawon ordered the three Wyvernriders covering him to attack the helicopter which was wobbling and flying at low altitudes.
Since it was alive, attacking the weak point in its belly out to be the correct course of action. However, this foe concealed fearsome claws within its belly.
As the Wyvernriders raised their lances to approach, they were welcomed by a team of the Elbe Kingdom’s elite troops, whose razor-sharp arrows were fully drawn.
“Loose! Don’t aim, just fire! You won’t hit with arrows even if you aim! Just throw those arrows out and hope for a lucky hit!”
The soldiers volleyed arrows under King Duran’s exhortations.
“You there, soldier! Good shooting. You try aiming. Doesn’t matter if you miss. Try and graze their faces with your arrows!”
“Er, yes, yes!”
The Wyverns were bathed in a rain of falling arrows.
Since the Wyverns wore barding, they were unmoved by the storm of arrows, but once an arrow shot past their faces, it was only natural that the impetus of their charge would be blunted.

“Dammit, what the hell are you doing!? Keep going! Charge in and hammer them!”
The Wyvernriders fought fiercely in response to Podawan’s shouts.
Two Wyverns charged in a straight line at the UH-1 in front of them, and then they bared their fangs and launched a pincer attack from the sides. They planned to bodily ram their target.
The pilot saw the enemy coming at him and pulled down on the control stick with too much force in an attempt to evade. The craft lost its balance and its main rotor turned toward the foe.
High-speed rotors were a fearsome thing, and the Wyvernrider was completely disintegrated as the rotor blades scythed him off his saddle. Even the Wyvern’s tough scales were ripped open and its blood burst into the air like fireworks. However, the Wyvern had inherited its deceased rider’s will, and its savage fangs and sharp claws latched onto the helicopter’s fuselage, gouging deep furrows into the outer shell as it clung to its enemy.
“Gah, we’ve lost balance! And in a place like this!”
The pilot struggled to restabilize the helicopter’s flight path
Behind it, the warriors of the Elbe Kingdom hacked at the Wyvern that had wrapped itself around the craft. However, the ground loomed before their eyes. The helicopter took the Wyvern with it as it hit the ground, exploded, and burned.

Though it felt like a massive wave making sport of a tiny boat, the pilot barely managed to control his aircraft’s flight. King Duran watched a crimson blaze and a plume of black smoke rise from the ground, and he shouted to the pilots.
“Those damn Imperials, are they mad? Be careful not to be rammed by the enemy!”
“What did he say?”
The pilot, who was seated on the left, addressed that question of the copilot on his right.
“He’s probably saying the enemy will physically ram us, so be careful!”
While they did not seem to have understood his words, the copilot seemed to have divined their meaning from the tone of the language.
The pilot floored the gas and vigorously worked the joystick and forth with his right hand as he held onto the pitch control lever with his left, and he shouted, “Roger!”
The copilot looked from left to right and sighed:
“Dammit! How long do we have to keep doing this stunt flying!?”
The crew of the UH-1J, who were normally assigned to personnel and cargo transport duties, had not expected to dogfight like this. They had thought that they would be engaging ground targets at most.
“Hurry up and bring it down already!”
The pilot shouted, and the rider on the Wyvern behind them was drowned in a hail of bullets, and the crewmen shouted as his body burst apart.
“We’re trying! But we’re surrounded by friends. We can’t go all-out.”
“Coming from the right, no, this is bad! Dead ahead!” the copilot shouted.
Perhaps the Wyverns had seen through their evasive patterns, but one of them suddenly appeared in front of the helicopter. Its eyes, filled with hostility, peered through the cockpit glass and focused on the pilot.
“Watch out!”
The enemy threw a lance, which penetrated the canopy and pierced into the pilot’s seat… or at least, it should have.
Someone’s right hand had reached past the pilot’s shoulder, as though to push him aside, and stopped the tip of the dragonlance with perfect timing.
“Your, Your Highness…”
If it had been allowed to go any further, the dragonlance would have nailed the pilot to his seat.
The pilot’s eyes were drawn to the fresh blood beading off the old man’s right hand, and he gulped. No, it was not because of the blood, but because he had been overwhelmed by the presence of a man who could subordinate an entire nation to his will.
“After all, if you die, I die too.”
Duran pulled the dragonlance into the cabin, and laughed before bellowing at the warriors around him.
“Who told you to stop!? Shoot! Shoot! Keep shooting those arrows!”
Behind him, the soldiers of the legitimate government’s army loosed arrow after arrow, bathing the Wyvernriders in a storm. But the Wyvernriders rolled out of the path of the arrows and swiftly peeled away.
“Dammit! This is really bad.”
“Sir! The engine!”
The fully loaded helicopter had performed one too many maneuvers at the edge of its performance envelope, and its engine was about to overheat.
“Alright, we’ll set down, then.”
“No, wait!”
King Duran bellowed before the pilot could set his craft down. An old, bald knight was riding a Wyvern that looked more majestic than the average Wyvern, and it orbited above them as it looked down on the battlefield.
“That must be the enemy commander!”
“What’s the king shouting about!?”
“Don’t tell me he wants us to go over there?”
“Do you think we can!? The airframe’s on its last legs!”
“Think of a way to deal with him!”
Duran seized the pilot’s neck with his left hand and pointed at the enemy with the blade of his stolen dragonlance before shouting:
“You over there! You must be a renowned warrior; I challenge you!”
“Is, is he serious, is he actually going to duel him?”
The pilot could not resist the power of the prosthetic hand, which could crush him to bits if he dared resist, and so he turned the aircraft toward the enemy. After that, the enemy Wyvernrider replied:
“This one is General Podawon of Emperor Zorzal’s Imperial Army! You must be King Duran of the Elbe Kingdom, am I wrong!?”
“Ohhhh, Count Podawon!? Truly a worthy opponent!”
Podawon was clearly delighted to receive a challenge from a nation’s monarch, and he readied his dragonlance.
“It is a sublime honor to cross blades with Your Majesty! I tire of battling nameless footsoldiers with no accomplishments of note!”
As he shouted, Podawon faced his Wyvern toward Duran.
The two men stared each other down, pointing their lances at each other as they closed rapidly on each other.
After that, a furious exchange of blows took place in passing.
The king and the general’s dragonlances clashed in mid-air, and sparks flew.
“To the right, to the right!”
The pilot groaned, “my neck’s not a joystick” as Duran gripped it, and he turned the aircraft to the right.
Meanwhile, Podawon’s Wyvern spread its wings and spun left, preparing for another clash.
The Wyvern and the UH-1J approached each other again.
By the time they were close enough to see Podawon’s face, Duran suddenly turned the pilot’s neck leftward.
“To the left!”
Though the pilot’s neck made sounds like he was undergoing some kind of chiropractic treatment, he did his duty and rapidly turned left.
“The bastard, he was planning to ram us!”
Duran bellowed in anger, gripped his sword and looked for Podawon. However, the enemy that should have been behind him was nowhere to be seen.
Everyone turned back to look as the copilot shouted.
Just before the dragonlance pierced through the lower left flank of the fuselage, Podawon skilfully worked the dragonlance through the side opening of the cabin to strike at Duran.
Duran used the bracer on his left arm, which was holding the pilot’s neck, to block the tip of the dragonlance. However, he could not bleed off the momentum, and Duran’s body flew into the air.
“We’re not done yet!”
“Your Majesty!”
Duran, who had been flung out of the aircraft, swung down below the airframe and leapt at Podawon.
Suddenly seized from behind, Podawon clenched his fist and backhanded Duran across the face.
“Damn vassal king!”
“I heard the vassal kings were gathered into that coalition because of that weird proposal of yours! Die!”
Duran hit back.
The two old men segued grappled with each other on the saddle of the Wyvern.
This was a slugfest with both sides stuck to each other. They could not block and they could not dodge, and so their faces immediately swelled up and broken teeth scattered.
“Go blame Emperor Molt for that if you want!”
“Of course I hate him! We’re allies out of necessity, but I’ll have my revenge on him one day!”
Perhaps he sensed that punching each other would not solve the problem, because Podawon’s right hand closed around the dagger at his waist.
I won’t let you get your way ー Duran reached out his right hand to seize Podawon’s right arm, but Podawon used both hands to force Duran’s arm up.
One arm was no match for two. His right arm creaked, and Duran groaned.
Podawon had a triumphant look of pride on his face as he pinned Duran down, and then he glanced at the point of the dragonlance that had pierced Duran’s left bracer.
“Your luck ran out when you took my dragonlance with your left arm…”
He calmly drew his dagger, and its blade flashed as Podawon prepared to stab Duran.
But in that moment, Podawon coughed up blood.
It was a bolt from the miniature crossbow installed in Duran’s left arm.
Having taken a clean hit, Podawon looked down in disbelief at the bolt embedded in his chest. At the same time, he fell from his Wyvern’s saddle and faded from sight.
Duran’s shoulders shuddered tremendously as he looked at his artificial left arm, which rested on the Wyvern’s back,
“So what about my left arm? I lost it a long time ago.”

The Wyverns were still encircling the embattled helicopter flight.
However, a stream of cannon shells tore the Wyverns to shreds, striking them from the air.
“What, what was that!?”
“This is Colonel Kamikoda and friends of the JA! We’re here to help”
The four Phantom jets swooped down into the battlefield like eagles taking aim at their prey.
The savage roar of the fighters froze the Wyvernriders’ hearts in their chests, and the JSDF servicemen cheered as their morale soared.
“They’re allies! They’re Phantoms of the JA!”
Thanks to the intervention of four F-4 Phantom fighters from the JASDF, the whirling dance of death which they thought would last forever came to an end.
There were only four Phantom fighters, but their sheer, overwhelming presence conquered the skies of the Special Region.
They closed with tremendous force, spewed hails of cannon fire, then peeled away faster than the eye could follow ー they were beings the Wyvernriders could not hope to resist.
The Wyverns were immediately plunged into a situation where they were harried all over the place. They took shells from the 20mm Vulcan cannons all over their bodies, snapping their wings off, and they fell from the sky like piles of minced meat.


“Whew~ we’re saved. You came just in time,” Lieutenant Colonel Kengun said as he wiped the sweat from his forehead and looked out the window.
Two pairs of two Phantom fighters traced a large, lazy arc through the sky as they orbited them.
Looking back, it would seem Kengun and his men were in terrible shape.
The helicopter had flown up and down and left and right, bouncing them around inside the cabin, and they looked like they had been through a blender.
Still, it was better than being flung outside. Everyone clung to the floor or a seat, looking like they were about to die. Eventually, they managed to stand up, and they began checking that nobody had fallen out and that no gear had been dropped.
“Kamikoda here. All enemy resistance has been smashed. Are you alright?”
“We’re alive somehow. I need to thank you guys.”
“No need for that. But if you insist… well, invite us to the next mixer of yours.”
“We’ll accept if you insist” sounded a little bit threatening, but it sounded like a plea of sorts. Was there something wrong with his ears?
“A… mixer, you say?”
“I’ve heard the rumors too, Ken-san. They say you’re really close with the girls of the knight order, no? How sly, hoarding them all for yourself. I want to get along with beautiful ladies and pretty girls too~”
Kamikoda had never been able to resist attractive specimens of the fairer sex.
However, most women were taken aback by his bestial, savage demeanour. Almost no girls cared to learn about his strengths.
While some ladies were attracted by the prestige afforded by saying “I’m a JA pilot”, they soon discovered his intense personality once they tried dating, and that would be the end of it. In addition, since he said he was going to quit the JSDF and become a civilian pilot, he could not keep it up for long, and so he had remained single.
“S-Same as always, I see. Don’t you think you should try calming down a little?”
Kengun ー one of several middle-aged single males ー replied with an exhausted jab.
“I need to meet someone in order to calm down!”
“Can’t you do it the normal way? Well, more normal, at least.”
“I’m just a little older than most, but I’m not shrivelled up yet! I’m really thirsty here. ...Ah, shut up, pipe down, will you, Kurihama!”
It would seem his partner in the backseat was trying to lecture him.
However, Kamikoda retorted, “Come on, I can’t just give up like this, this is my only chance! I’ve come all this way to the Special Region, I can’t go back without seeing the hotties on this side! If Ken-san can do it, there’s no way I can’t! He must be using some kind of witchcraft to trick those girls! I’m sure of it!”
“Let me get this out of the way first, I haven’t done anything that would stain my conscience. More to the point, the ban on romantic relationships hasn’t been lifted yet.”
“Are you still saying that with things being what they are? Nobody follows that rule any more! It’s because they keep announcing it that people have secret relationships! Only people who seize the initiative win the day!”
For some reason the sound of crying seemed to be mixed into his protests. Or was it?
“Major Kamikoda. I’ll let you know this first. The girls of the knight order are very young.”
Considering they were all in their mid 40s, going on 50s, there was a clear difference between their ages and those of the girls.
“Do you expect me to believe that coming from a man who’s so close to such young girls? Besides, isn’t a big age gap in marriage the in thing now? It’s fine as we don’t break the law! Come on, Ken-san!”
Perhaps it was because of the Special Region, or perhaps it was because the lady knights were all fairly unique, but they tended to favor mentally mature men. In truth, Beefeater was like that, often saying that men her age were like boys.
“I’ll also throw this out ahead of time, we’re low on fuel because we rushed over here. But I’ll stay until you give me a good answer, Ken-san!”
“Oi, dumbass, what are youー”
“That’s right. If you don’t give me a proper answer, I’ll crash. Then it’ll be on you, Ken-san! Alright, now  give me a good answer. Hurry! Hurry!”
Kengun grabbed his head.
He was negotiating with a terrorist who had Kurihama, the copilot in the back seat as a hostage. And his aim was to get a date… Letting a fighter craft crash for that reason would be the height of stupidity. No, Kamikoda was a man who delighted in such foolishness.
As Kengun grabbed his head, he imagined Kurihama’s face.
“I, I understand. However, I’m only going to put you in contact with them, I’m not going to take responsibility for what happens after that.”
As he said so, his head ached as he wondered how he would explain this to Beefeater.
Given his linguistic skills, it was very difficult to convey difficult concepts to Beefeater. He could express his thoughts without having to say too much because she was honest and straightforward.
Therefore, gathering the girls would probably be very difficult. It was almost certain to cause needless misunderstandings, and there was no telling how much effort would be needed to sort those out. Just the thought of it frightened him.
“Wonderful! Thank you, Ken-san! All I need is the chance to meet them; the rest is all up to me. I’m going to do my best! Let me know the details later!”
After saying so, Kamikoda ceased his orbiting and soared lightly above the clouds, leaving the combat airspace.
“He, he’s a monster.”
Kengun sighed and allowed the pilot to set the helicopter down. After that, he checked the time to see if they could still fight.
“That said, we’ve got some breathing room now.”
“Yes, sir.”
Below him, they saw the chain nets stuck in the tree canopy and the wounded moving amidst the wreckage of helicopters which had been brought down by Wyverns.While there seemed to be walking wounded, there had been fatalities among the JSDF servicemen and the Elbe Kingdom’s soldiers, and the 4th Combat Group might have trouble conducting combat operations.
Kengun alighted from the landed helicopter and looked back at one of his men as he ran over.
“What’s our casualty status?”
“My apologies. We’re still doing a rough tally, so please wait a while.”
“A rough tally is fine… I don’t need numbers. Give me a timeframe.”
Kengun’s subordinate wrinkled his eyebrow and replied:
“While we’re still combat capable, we’ll need about half a day to recover and evacuate the wounded.”
Kengun looked like he had chewed on something bitter.
“Really now. I understand. In any case, make haste to recover and send our wounded back to the rear.”
Even without explicit instructions to do so, his men were carrying out rescue operations like it was the most natural thing in the world.
Kengun knew this, but he had deliberately given those orders because he was going to allocate more resources to rescue and recovery under the pretext of abandoning further combat operations. However, a young staff officer who had just graduated from officer academy saluted him with a terribly pale face.
“What is it?”
“Lieu, Lieutenant-colonel… things are bad.”
“What is it? Don’t tell me Pina-denka’s gotten so bored that she’s turned hysterical?”
“No, that’s not it. Ah, that, er, that is…”
The young staff officer in charge of intelligence could not clearly explain in chaotic conditions and his reply was garbled. His forehead ー as well as the rest of his body ー were soaked in a great deal of sweat. He was clearly confused, and it was almost pitiable. Kengun passed beyond reproach and found himself feeling sorry for him, so he suppressed the impulse to yell at him and slowly said:
“I understand. In any case, just start from the beginning, from the old to the new....”
“All, alright. I got it. Then, uh, I’ll go by chronological order. First, the ‘chef’ we positioned in Zorzal’s staff has reported that the Imperial Army is on Count Formal’s domain.”
“U~mu, as I thought.”
After hearing Kengun’s reply, the staff officers exclaimed in sincere surprise.
“You expected this!?”
“It was one of the first things I anticipated.”
His staff officers laid out a map of the surrounding area, and circled Kengun’s vicinity.
Kengun pointed at a brown mountainous region.
“Zorzal probably crossed over to House Formal’s territory through here, right?”
The path on the map was long and risky, noted the staff officers.
“Why didn’t the chef tell us while they were along the way?”
“I guess he was hiding in the cargo or something, so he didn’t know about the outside conditions, I guess? In that case, he wouldn’t know where he was until he reached his destination.”
“Still, shouldn’t they have been spotted by our recon people?”
“The surrounding forest is very thick, so even aerial recon photos wouldn’t have picked them up. Also, once we began battle preparations, our recon efforts were focused on enemy sectors, and other sectors were… also, there was no enemy activity in this region, so there wasn’t much information collected.”
“How about recon drones? Wasn’t there a plan to use those? What happened to them?”
This could be read as a slight on the intelligence officer, who immediately responded:
“We weren’t issued any Global Hawks, and even if we were, we’d need satellite communication infrastructure to make them work. They could operate drones in the Afghan and Pakistani skies because they could use military satellites for real-time control. We don’t have those in the Special Region, so it would be pointless even if we possessed drones..”
(TL Note: the RQ-4 Global Hawk is a recon drone)
That was why the JASDF had sent the old F4 Phantoms to the Special Region.
It was not simply because it would not be a waste if they were destroyed, but it was also because they had considered that there might be a need for aerial combat, air strikes, reconnaissance and various other activities, and they had the advantage of being usable even without a complete communications infrastructure.
Kengun asked the intelligence officer a question:
“How about Italica? How did Pina-denka react?”
“Ah, yes! According to Lieutenant Yanagida, the legitimate government forces are doing battle outside the city.”
“Good, I expected nothing less of Pina-denka. She knew what to do.” After that, he slapped his knee hard and shouted.
“We will all proceed to Italica immediately! Leave behind the necessary personnel to treat and evacuate the wounded! Everyone else will proceed to Italica to crush Zorzal!”
There was no doubt or hesitation in the JSDF’s judgment and actions. One could say that Kengun’s speedy decision was taken right from the textbooks.
None of his staff officers objected and they nodded as one. Everyone understood that the objective of this battle was to destroy Zorzal.
“Commander Kengun, what’s happened? To think you’re returning all of a sudden… after we’ve come all this way!”
King Duran was limping along on his prosthetic legs as he used a dragonlance as a crutch. He was trailed by several soldiers of the Elbe Kingdom.
“Oi, Kurata! Please translate!”
Kengun summoned Sergeant Kurata and ordered him to translate, then saluted Duran.
“Your Majesty, we have just received a report that Zorzal has led an army to attack Italica. Our target has suddenly come to a place we can reach.”
“What are you saying…?”
“We will be proceeding to Italica with all speed to attack Zorzal. Will you be joining us, your Majesty?”
“Of course I will! The rest of you, gather everyone who can still move! Hurry!”
Duran ordered the lightly wounded to aid the wounded, and then he gathered those of his men who were still fighting fit and had them board the helicopters.
The men’s spirits soared immediately, in anticipation of the final battle, but the staff officer from earlier, looking quite ill-at-ease, tugged on Kengun’s sleeve and said:
“Sir, I’m not done yet. There’s more important news.”
“What, there’s more? Still, this is hardly a disaster. Why do you look so worried?”
“Sir. Actually, the ‘Idaten’ order was just given.”
“Wh-what!? Idaten!? Why didn’t you tell me that first!”
Even Kengun could not stop himself from shouting any longer. He seized the man’s collar in trembling hands.
“My apologies, Receiving all that news at once was a little overwhelming…”
The young staff officer seemed to be comparing himself to a low-end computer, suggesting that he had taken in too much at one go.
As he felt his head begin to ache, Kengun lowered his volume in order to bank the flames of his rage.
“Are you sure you’re not mistaken?”
The young staff officer wiped the sweat on his forehead as he glanced at the notes in his hand, and read from them.
“No, there’s no mistake. The situation is Idaten, and the order to prepare for a retreat has been given. I’m sure of it.”

An Idaten situation… that was one of the potential developments predicted by the government’s emergency countermeasures manual that they had compiled before dispatching the Special Region Expeditionary Force. It was an order issued if there were any abnormalities with the Gate, or if any strange phenomena occurred, which might cause communications between Japan and the Special Region to be cut off. All personnel dispatched to the Special Region would drop whatever they were doing and prepare to retreat with all speed.
In other words, it was a general retreat readiness order, issued when there was a hole in the bottom of the ship and everyone was ordered to prepare to abandon ship even as they tried their best to bail the water out, because they did not know if the vessel could be saved. In addition, the order “White Rabbit” signalled a general retreat. Everyone in the Special Region Expeditionary Force would have to flee back to Japan.
“Why is this happening when we’re so close!”
The order meant that they would have to give up the victory that was so close at hand after what had surely been a great deal of sacrifices. The servicemen’s fists trembled, unwilling to accept that fact.
“Sir, we’re so close! It’s just a little more!”
Kurata, the translator assigned to Kengun’s helicopter, refused to let that go.
“An Idaten situation means there’s a problem with the Gate. If we drag our feet, we might be stranded in the Special Region and be unable to return. We need to return to Arnus right away.”
“But they haven’t given the White Rabbit order yet! In that case, can’t we settle it now? All we need to do is get to Italica in the meantime and take Zorzal’s head!”
“But if they do issue the White Rabbit order, that means the Special Region will be like a sinking ship. We need to get our life vests on so we can jump into the ocean at any time; we don’t have time to waste on wandering around the bottom of the boat!”
“Then what about Italica? How about the Crown Princess and her people? Aren’t Persia and the other people in House Formal fighting hard because they believe we’ll rush to their rescue!?”
The leading private beside Kurata whispered, “Sergeant, you probably shouldn’t say that.”
“What do you mean? Are we supposed to just ignore what happens to another world and its people?”
“No, that’s not it. I’m just saying that there’s no way the Colonel doesn’t feel anything about this.”
Beefeater had pursued Kengun aggressuvely, and he had resisted to the end, but eventually, he had slowly come to have feelings for her. Everyone in the 4th Combat Group knew that. Of course, Kurata knew that too; he felt camaraderie with Kengun for finding love in the Special Region. Therefore, he felt like he had been betrayed.
“In that case, why don’t we just go for it!? What kind man watches women die without doing anything? Don’t you think so too, Colonel!?”
Kengun fell silent for a while, and listened to Kurata’s spiel, Then he nodded in stern approval.
“Indeed, that is true.”
“In that caseー!”
“But even if that was the case, that is merely my personal opinion. Maybe you have all prepared yourselves to stay here, but the others have not. We can’t involve everyone because of us.”
Kurata could not rebut those words.
“I understand. Then I’ll go, even if it’s by myself! Please let me go!”
After saying so, Kurata grabbed a rappelling cord. However, the men around him immediately grabbed him and said “Don’t be foolish.”
“Let me go! I’ve already applied to stay! I’m okay with remaining here! Let me go! Let me go!”
Kengun turned his back to him and told his men to “shut him up”. The pilot asked, “Is this alright?” and Kengun replied, “Hurry up.”

The Idaten Situation message spread throughout the JSDF personnel working within the Special Region.
This applied to the teams working with local collaborators to search for resources and agents assigned to infiltrate enemy territory. Upon receiving that order, anyone who was not in Arnus would have to prepare to return.
In addition, the retreat readiness order had also reached Sugawara, who was stationed in Italica.
He slept in a converted corner of the warehouse, and he tilted his head to listen to the order which came from the wireless transmissions device on the rickety table.
On the bed behind him was Sherry, dressed for travel and loading her luggage into a cabinet. She had already received documents signed in the Emperor’s name, and after this she would be setting out from Italica.
“Are you so afraid to go to Japan?”
“Are you pretending you didn’t notice?”
Sherry looked at Sugawara with tear-reddened eyes.
Faced with a crying girl, Sugawara mustered up the gentlest face he could manage. He knew that Sherry was weeping because she would be separated from him. However, pointing it out would only serve to embarrass her.
“Well, of course I’d say I was scared if you asked. After all, I’ll be parting ways with you for a while, Sugawara-sama.”
“It’s just…”
Just for a while, Sugawara could not bring himself to say the other half of that sentence.
“Sugawara-sama? Is something the matter?”
Sherry looked straight at Sugawara.
Girls were very intelligent. Her teenage sensitivity clued her into a slight change in him.
Even Sugawara, a trained foreign affairs official, had to spend a lot of effort to bluff his way through. As a result, Sugawara did his best not to hide anything from Sherry or lie to her. That was because he did not want to see the hurt and sad look on her face when she saw what he was actually thinking.
Similarly, Sherry felt sad about inconveniencing Sugawara. Thus, they had come to a conclusion ー since both of them felt bad about each other, then they ought not to lie to each other from the beginning. Yet, it was only now that he found himself unable to speak the truth.
“I’ll be going out for a bit.”
“The area near the manor house should be quite dangerous, no?”
“I’m going over to Lt. Yanagida. I won’t go near the Count’s estate, it’ll be fine.”
Sugawara mentioned Yanagida’s name to calm her down. However, Sherry began making a fuss as she heard his name,
“I don’t like him.”
“Sherry, you can’t say that. I’m starting to worry about handing you to him.”
“But he always bullies you, Sugawara-sama.”
Sherry knew that Yanagida made fun of Sugawara for his relationship with her. She felt guilty that Sugawara was embarrassed over the fact that she was so young. Even so, she had no desire to pull out of the arrangement, and the surge of distaste that welled up was instead transferred to Yanagida.
“He’s just jealous that I get to be so close to a young and cute girl like you.”
“But I can’t just…”
Sherry puffed up her cheeks. Sugawara poked her bouncy cheeks with a fingertip.
“In any case, I’ll be visiting him. I’ll be back soon, so prepare to move out before then.”
Saying so, Sugawara ran to the JSDF outpost in Italica, where Yanagida was stationed. There, Yanagida and his men had already begun preparations to flee.
“Lieutenant Yanagida! Is that Idaten order really true…?”
“Oi, feed this document into the shredder. Mm, good timing, Sugawara. Help me get that bag.
Yanagida rose from his wheelchair with a grunt of effort and began sorting out his luggage.
While he had recovered to the point where walking was no longer a problem, it would seem that he would need helpers if he wanted to continue working like this. Sugawara took his bag and tossed it over to Yanagida.
“Is there nothing we can do about the Idaten order? Like say, asking General Hazama to revoke it or something?”
“Please don’t say things that will make things difficult for others. The emergency countermeasures manual was drafted by the Cabinet. Even General Hazama can’t just disobey it if he wants. This is what they call civilian control of the military. You should be subject to it as well, even as a member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
“But if we retreat, what’ll become of the legitimate government forces here? How about the Crown Princess-denka? They’re fighting for their lives because they believe JSDF reinforcements are coming, no?”
Sugawara had befriended everyone of importance in Italica in both a professional and personal capacity. It was only natural that he would resist the idea of abandoning them and fleeing.
Yanagida did not answer right away. He took a deep breath and exhaled his answer.
“Of course I’m worried about them. But since they’ve given the Idaten order, there won’t be any more reinforcements. I guess everyone will be chopped to bits by Zorzal after he wins. Be it Pina-denka, the nobles and councillors here, or all the members of House Formal, it’ll be the end for them.”
As Yanagida delivered that dispassionate reply, Sugawara approached him.
“Are you really okay with that, Yanagida?”
“I’m a JSDF serviceman, so all I can do is obey the orders I’m given. That’s because my life won’t end in this new world. The HMVs are already prepped. You ought to prep soon, Sugawara. Don’t you have a lot of documents to clean up?”
“No… I want to stay.”
“That’s no different from suicide.”
Sugawara accepted the cigarettes and lighter that Yanagida offered. He leaned against the table and lit up, then exhaled a cloud of smoke toward the ceiling before speaking.
“Still, there’s all sorts of problems on this side too. Since I’ve chosen to be an expert on the Special Region, I can’t change my course now. Do you think a diplomat in charge of handling the Special Region will have any work to do if he cuts off all his ties with the country of the Special Region?”
“When you put it like that, it does seem to be the case…”
Officials without a job typically met tragic ends.
They would pat him on the shoulder and then fire him. He would have to join a company and fill in documents all day. He would not be able to work in the place where he was employed. To someone who saw his job as his life, it was the same as being thrown into prison. Sugawara would rather die than go through that.
“Of course, I also have the nation’s interests at heart. When they open the Gate again, any foreign affairs official, no matter how skilled he is, will have a hell of a time once someone points out that the Japanese left the legitimate government to die. But if I stay to show the world our good side, we’ll be able to strengthen ties instead. It’ll also improve my position.”
“If you were a JSDF man, I’d drag you back by force. But you’re from another organization. I have no authority over you.”
“I’m grateful that you understand me.”
“I think you’re a model Japanese diplomat.”
Yanagida patted Sugawara’s shoulder in praise. However, his face took on a teasing expression as he drew closer to add to his words.
“Still, even if you’re okay with it, how about your young bride? Wasn’t she supposed to go to Japan as an ambassador? This might be the last time you see her, you know.”
“Well, I’ve already entrusted her to my family. I’ve already written the letter, so please help me send it.”
“Won’t they reject her?”
Surely his family members would be unhappy if an underage girl came to their doorstep and said, “I’m Sugawara’s wife.” That was what worried Yanagida. For a young girl, it was simple bad luck that she would have to spend her crucial years with unfamiliar adults.
“My dad would welcome her with open arms if he knew she was a countess of Imperial nobility. He’d probably send her off to some kind of finishing school to teach her how to be a bride. After all, he could proudly say, ‘my son’s wife is a noble countess, that means our family will be ennobled too’. And my mother’s always wanted a daughter. They’ll be happy to have her. Don’t worry about that.”
“I understand. In that case, leave it to me. But you’ll have to tell her you’re not going with her.”
There were also things like living expenses, raising expenses, school fees and other things which irked him. Yanagida had the feeling that he had lost here. Perhaps niggling over small details like who should stay with her and who she would be handed to was not a good thing. It was more important to do things without considering the consequences.
Delilah had been watching them from the corner of the room, her eyes gleaming a dull blue. After watching Sugawara leave to persuade Sherry, he called out to her in a half-joking tone.
“What’s with those eyes? Envious of Sherry-chan?”
“Hmph. Going to Japan is just a waste of effort. I’ll wait here for you to return, Master.”
“What’s this, not coming with me?”
After that, Delilah leaned forward.
“No, I told you before, I dislike it. If you want me to go, then I’ll follow, Master. But won’t it give you problems?”
“Don’t worry about that. There’ll be a way. Even if there’s no way, we’ll think about it once you’re there. Therefore, are you coming or not?”
Delilah’s gloomy expression changed in an instant as he shouted:
“Of course I want to go!”

“...What did you say, Yanagida? Please say again.”
“The Idaten order has been given. Did you hear me? Do you need me to repeat myself?”
Furuta, the chef hidden near Zorzal, had also received the order.
“No need, order received. Still, it’ll be very troublesome for me to leave this place right away…”
Furuta had hidden himself in the narrow spaces between a couple of large wooden crates, and he poked his head out to survey the situation.
Zorzal’s army was attacking Pina’s army, which had its back to Italica, and they were in the base camp at the rear.
An army physician approached a casualty with a pair of red hot pliers to pull an arrowhead out of a soldier who had been shot in the face, and the wounded man screamed in agony.
At the same time, one of the supply troops unloaded bundles of arrows from a transport wagon. Simply put, he was in the midst of the enemy.
He had stowed away in a cargo crate in order to see what Zorzal was up to, but this was the end of his luck.  He knew that there would be no way to exit the crate until he reached this place, but by the time he realized it, he was on the battlefield.
“I’ll wait until you return. You must escape, no matter how you do it.”
“Ah, yes, Roger.”
Furuta ended his transmission and tucked his handset back into his pocket, then waited for a chance to help the supply troops carry arrows. While his kantoi was in tatters, it still resembled the clothing of the menial laborers who did odd jobs in the army, so nobody was suspicious of him.
As he walked at the end of the line of supply troops, Furuta looked around and considered how he could escape Zorzal’s camp.
As expected, the security at the camp’s rear was thinner. However, as he took a step that way, a shrill voice rooted him in place.
“Oi, you over there! Where are you going?”
Crap, they’re onto me! Furuta froze, his sweat glands opened to maximum aperture and perspiration flowed forth.
“Over here, come here.”
A centurion in shiny armor beckoned Furuta over.
Frankly speaking, he did not want to go over to them, but Furuta considered that standing there silently without moving would only make him more suspicious, and so he approached the centurion with his burden.
“Sir, is something the matter?”
“These arrows need to go here. Come with me.”
“Er, yes.”
Furuta jogged after the centurion.
“This shooting exchange is really rough. I know it’s hard on you too, but you need to show that you’re a good worker. This way, you’ll have a chance to become a proper soldier of the glorious Imperial Army…”
It would seem the centurion had not been suspicious of Furuta when he called out to him. More than that, he was full of appreciation for him.
In order to avoid further suspicion, Furuta played along with the centurion and replied, “Yes sir, I’ll do my best.”
“Mm, good answer.”
It would seem this centurion was no ordinary centurion, because the assorted soldiers who followed him, the sentries, and even the officers all saluted him.
“Primus Pilus Borhaus!”
“What is it, Optio!?”
Looking back, he saw another man in a centurion’s uniform running over to them.
“Please do something about those demihumans!”
“What’s wrong? They’re simply doing as his Highness ordered.”
“Well, did you know the men can’t stand them? After all, our enemy is Pina-denka’s knight band. They’re all thinking with their dicks and as a result, they’re unconsciously going easy on them. It’ll be terribly foolish if the enemy seizes on that and kills them in turn.”
The frontliners all wanted to capture the lady knights alive. Therefore, it was only to be expected that their attacks with blade and spear slowed down. If the enemy exploited this weakness and attacked, the Imperials would end up taking heavy losses.
Borhaus groaned and nodded.
“Just order them to show no mercy, however fine a woman they see.”
“Primus Pilus. You do know that’s impossible, right?”
War was a situation where one’s life was in danger, which stimulated the instinct to continue the species and reproduce, so men often desired women no matter the consequences. These situations would happen no matter what measures they took. “They’ve gotten horny just standing by, so it was obvious how they would feel and act once they were pitted against female soldiers,” said the optio.
Borhaus sighed deeply, and he turned to a different direction with an annoyed look on his face.
“You wait here.”
Borhaus might have said so, but Furuta followed behind him. That was because he felt that he would not have to worry about being questioned and suspected if he followed someone that everyone knew.
“Why are you following me? Didn’t I tell you to wait?”
“But sir, if I wait there, another commander might ask ‘why are you slacking off’ or something.”
Borhaus felt that Furuta’s words were reasonable, and he replied, “In that case, you can follow me,” and permitted Furuta to accompany him.
After walking for a short period, they reached a farm shed that was almost rotted through. As they drew close, they could hear feminine moans and cries.
“What’s going on?”
“It’s exactly as you’re hearing.”
As a steady, rhythmic sound reached their ears, Furuta felt the urge to leave. It might have been what it was like to watch a movie or TV show with one’s parents and know that they were about to reach a sex scene.
“Ah… we’re in the middle of a battle, aren’t we?”
Borhaus had a resentful look on his face as he replied:
“His Highness’ orders. They’re carrying out torture.”
“What are you trying to find out?”
“Nothing. It’s just to make her suffer.”
Borhaus spat those words out unhappily and approached the shed door.
“Strange, nobody’s on watch.”
They looked in from the door. Borhaus went “ah” as he stood in place.
That was because the scene in the room was completely different from what he had imagined. No, he had expected this. However, the scale was completely different from what he had thought.
“Come on! Next! Who’s next?”
For starters, the position of the interrogator and interrogated were reversed. That was because the men had been drained utterly dry and were collapsed on the floor in exhaustion.
The female looked down in contempt at the collapsed, motionless men.
“What’s this, done already?”
Please… spare us…”
A man who still seemed conscious was kneeling by a wall, trembling as though he was waiting in line to be executed.
What a pathetic excuse for a man. You’re useless. You’re a fucking disgrace. Still, as long as I use my tricks, even a man like that…”

Tyuule approached the man, who was trembling nonstop, and there was a bewitching look on her face as she whispered into his ear. She touched him with both hands, teased him, and writhed like she was taunting him. She used the tip of her tongue, and then her entire body. His shrivelled, unresponsive manhood immediately returned to life, but the man instead wailed piteously.
“Ah! Please, stop! I’m at my limit!”
“Really now. That’s not what your cock is saying. Come, tell me. What’s Bouro up to?”
“I don’t know! What would a mook like me know!?”
“You’re bluffing. Since you’re a mook, you ought to be watching what your superiors are doing, and what they’ve done. If you use your head, you ought to be able to figure something out. Now tell me everything you know! Talk!”
“I got it, I’ll talk. Just hang on, please… Bouro wants the Haryo to enter the Imperial bloodline. He’s been trying all kinds of ways and means to get a Haryo girl to bear Zorzal-sama’s child… after that, once he removes all the human heirs from the imperial family, the Haryo will take over the Imperial bloodline. Bouro told all the girls to serve Zorzal-sama.”
“But the fact is, his Highness has me by his side. And he has a bunch of female slaves too, no?”
“Bouro didn’t count on that. He didn’t think Zorzal-sama would end up favoring you.”
“And so, Bouro approached me, right?”
“Yes. That means you’ve been used by him… ah, urk. guhhh…”
The  man was probably unable to breathe. He clutched his chest, the eyes rolled up in his head and he collapsed.
“Ara, is that all?”
Tyuule looked at the unresponsive man like he was some base and despicable object. Given that he had probably been drained dry of semen, the man relinquished his last dregs of life and died.
“Honestly, these people… still, you did better than Zorzal. I’ll praise you for that.”
Perhaps she was feeling satisfied after gaining the information she was looking for, but Tyuule smiled and rose to her feet.
Every step Tyuule took resounded with the clinking of chains. Both her hands and feet were heavily shackled.
Perhaps Tyuule had sensed the presence of someone by the door, because she raised her head.
“Ara, if it isn’t the Primus Pilus Borhaus. Are you here to question me too?”
Tyuule turned a razor-sharp glare on Borhaus, like she was taking aim at him, and walked past him.
Perhaps Borhaus had been frightened by her aura of lewdness, because he arched his upper body back.
“No, that sort of interrogation would be a bad influence on the men. I wanted to tell them to do this outside the camp… but it seems it’s over. That’s good.”
Borhaus could not completely hide the fear in his heart, and his voice seemed to have changed.
“Indeed. After all, there aren’t any more men here who can give me a hard time. What shall we do? Why not fulfil the orders Zorzal-denka gave, Primus Pilus?”
“No. I’m not a fan of seeking out women before battles.”
“How principled. Still, I like men like that.”
“I am honored. However, this isn’t the time for that sort of thing.”
Borhaus pushed Tyuule’s shoulders back, and he reached for an axe from the side. He held down the shackles on her wrists and began pounding them.
Several metal links which composed the shackles bounced away.
“What’s the meaning of this?”
“I told you before, no? I dislike this sort of thing. Go flee wherever you want.”
However, Tyuule looked lazily around and said, “It’ll be hard for me to run like this, even if you tell me to.” She was completely naked.
“Do you have water? I’m thirsty.”
“It’s just water, find it yourself.”
“Well, I don’t mind walking around like this to find water. But won’t it be a bad influence on the men?”
Tyuule displayed her body to Borhaus as she said, “like this”, implying that he should go find her some clothing.
“Oi, do you have anything to wear or to cover up her body?”
Borhaus looked back and addressed that question to the supply soldier following him. He knew that supply troops ought to have spare uniforms and clothes which could be used to cover up a body. However, it had an unexpected effect on Tyuule.
“Ah, Tyuule-san… nice to meet you.”
Furuta had a bitter smile on his face, as though he had no idea what face he should make. A bitter smile was all he could manage. After seeing a girl he liked having sex with other men, his envy, his anger, his pity, and all his emotions blended together, and after his shock passed, he stood frozen in place… and the sum total of all that was Furuta’s bitter smile.
And then, Tyuule saw Furuta’s expression. A look of shock filled her face and she fell to her knees with a scream.
She hid her body with her arms and turned around, weeping and crying, “No, don’t, please, please don’t look at me!”
“Go over there! Don’t look! Please!”
After seeing a hitherto indomitable woman transform into a fragile beauty in an instant, Borhaus could not help but look at Furuta, the source of all his suspicions.

“And so, what happened?”
After receiving news of an emergency, they began a safety meeting under the Prime Minister’s residence. The message they had received said that it would begin at 1300 hours, and the officials ran over, huffing and puffing, seeking an explanation from the incident resolution committee members.
After organizing his data, the threat management overseer answered them.
“At 9:58am this morning, near the crossroads at Central Ginza 4-chome, a portion of the 3000 attendees of the international NGO ‘We demand compensation for the foreign victims of the Ginza Incident and the liberation of the Special region’ broke free of police control and began rioting. They attacked trucks leaving the Ginza Garrison and stole their cargo, while brawling with the police officers sent to arrest them. This disturbance affected the entire NGO and they began acting up, using thrown rocks and placards as weapons. While our riot units responded with water cannons and the like, the NGO members sealed off the Ginza Garrison and refused to leave. The NGO demanded that we agree to allow the Gate to be communally managed by the United Nations and that the Empire pay compensation to the foreigners killed during the Ginza Incident, saying that they would not leave the Ginza Garrison unless their demands were met. They also said that if we did not settle the problem through negotiation and used forceful methods, they would destroy the Gate.”
“So you’re telling me that they took over the Ginza Garrison!? Why couldn’t you stop a bunch of unarmed rioters? Why did you allow them to enter the interior of the dome!?”
Chief Cabinet Secretary Kogure rose to his feet and bellowed at the threat management overseer. However, the deputy chief of the police force calmly replied to Kogure, like it was not his problem at all.
“While we have not confirmed it yet, there are reports that some of them possess automatic firearms and rocket launchers, explosives, and other weapons.”
“Say what!? Where did they even get those from!?”
Natsume’s face indicated his exasperation at the National Safety Committee Chairman’s ignorance as he explained.
“Japan has a very long coastline, and small boats can approach from any angle. Smuggling weapons into the country is also possible. How do you think North Korea managed to kidnap their victims? During the Great Hanshin Earthquake, we found automatic firearms and mortars in buildings belonging to a certain organization. It was quite famous. Didn’t you hear of it?”
“That’s the first time I’ve heard of that. But in that case, it’s only to be expected that the riot police couldn’t handle them. But surely the JSDF ought to be a different case. What was the JGSDF doing!?”
Kogure turned the hammer of his wrath from police to the JSDF, and pointed to the head of the JSDF’s Chief of Staff
“Not all the rioters were armed. At first, we assumed that they were unarmed civilians, and so we had to avoid opening fire. After that, the opposition used human wave tactics to swamp and overcome us. That was what happened.”
“What the hell! What are your men carrying guns for? Couldn’t you just have shot them!?”
Slacking off on threat management was human error, so he could let it slide, but he could not simply ignore an attempt to push the blame to people on the scene, and so Natsume reproachfully interrupted Kogure:
“Don’t spout that unrealistic nonsense. How can you open fire indiscriminately when you can’t tell the difference between rioters and civilians who were caught up in the matter and who are begging for help? If they did so, we’d be damned for ‘massacring civilians’. We should be praising them for retreating before something like that happened.”
It would seem the representatives from the police and the Coast Guard approved, because they both nodded.
That was because they would have done the same thing in their position.
When ambushed and unable to respond effectively, one ought to draw a line and then fall back. Then they ought to keep the situation from expanding beyond that line while gathering information on the situation and the enemy. After that, they could mount a counterattack. One could say it was a basic response to any surprise attack.
“Still, the situation ended up like this as a result. Natsume-kun, this is arguably your responsibility.”
“Oh yes. As the Defense Minister, I have no intention of shirking my responsibilities. However, I would like you to acknowledge that forbidding firearms use when arresting illegal fishing boats into our waters and only begging us for help at times like this is extremely unreasonable.”
“Surely shutting down illegal enterprises is different from this sort of thing!”
“This is the same as going into denial when afraid and meeting opposition. If you wanted them to mount a credible response, then you should have granted the JSDF and coast guard personnel ー who face all sorts of danger in daily life ー the right to open fire when necessary and then taken responsibility after the fact in your capacity as a government official.”
“But we’re in an incident now, aren’t we!?”
“The rules of engagement on the other side of the Gate are different from over here. Over here, we allow our men to shoot when they have confirmed that the opposition is armed. But on the other hand, as long as we cannot be sure that the opposition is armed, we cannot quell them with military force. In addition, JGSDF personnel are not issued with nonlethal weapons. One or two people might be manageable, but do you honestly expect them to fight an entire mob with their bare hands?”
Now that Natsume had said that much, Kogure realised that his expectations had been quite ridiculous.
“No, I didn’t mean that.”
“Then please don’t make such unrealistic demands. Speaking of which, what about the support staff and servicemen within the garrison? Are they alright?”
The Chief of Staff looked to Natsume, as though seeking his approval, and nodded.
“Mm, yes. Most of them fled into the Special Region and they’re fine. Also, there was a report that about ten or so tourists came to the garrison looking for help and passed into our care. We had to protect those girls, so we couldn’t close the dome gates in time.”
“So, are those ‘ten or so tourists’ alright?”
“Yes, I heard they were unhurt. However, communications with the Special Region Expedition Force cut off halfway, and we can’t get a detailed confirmation.”
“What do you mean by cut off?”
“It would seem the transmission cable was severed. By 10:35am, all forms of communication including fibre-optic were rendered unusable.”
“Why did they do something like that!?”
The deputy chief of the police replied:
“I feel it is best not to take this disturbance as a simple matter of an internationa; NGO going out of control. A few of them exhibited very strange behavior, being organized and coordinated. They might not be in uniform, but they seemed just like an army ー we’ve received reports stating as much from the scene. This was probably all planned out in advance.”
“In other words, that they had to guts to create a disturbance which would hold all 26’500 JSDF servicemen sent to the Special Region hostage?”
“I believe that would be the most appropriate way of looking at things, yes.”
Kanou and Natsume looked at each other.
“This is bad.”
“Ah, very bad.”
“What’s so bad about that?”
Finance Minister Hino moved up beside Kanou.
The JSDF Chief Staff Officer continued:
“In truth, the Special Region Expeditionary Force manuals state that in the event of any abnormality or the breakdown of communications with Japan, a retreat readiness order will be issued to all personnel in order to guard against unexpected circumstances. This is the current situation.”
The officials all rose at once.”
“A retreat order for the Special Region Expeditionary Force? Isn’t that a last resort?”
“Mm, that’s why I said it’s bad…”
Foreign Affairs Minister Kanou patted the photographs on the files he was holding.
“Let’s sort things out. The Ginza Garrison has been taken, is that correct?”
“Yes. While they have stopped looting and throwing stones, they are camped around the garrison and we cannot approach.
“In addition, they have taken the area between the Gate and this place. However, they have not approached the Gate itself ー the area where our servicemen will open fire under any circumstances. Is that correct?”
The threat management overseer turned to Kanou again, and confirmed each of those items.
“Do we know the identity of the rioters?”
The deputy chief of police answered that question.
“According to the report from Public Safety, most of the protesters were Chinese, followed by Koreans. In order of the number of participants, the other nationalities are Russian, British, French, German, American, Australian, Hollanders, and others. They are made up of people working for NGOs, exchange students, tourists and so on… what’s this, what are anti-whaling protesters doing there?”
Upon hearing this, Kogure sighed.
“Why did the Public Safety Committee allow foreign protest groups to go to Ginza?”
“The representatives were Japanese, and they insisted on reparations to the foreign victims of the Ginza Incident. And there were foreign casualties during the Ginza incident. That being the case, it made sense for foreign NGOs to be present.
“And you say there were Chinese tourists in there too?”
“There were also activists and exchange students. In addition, several Chinese tour groups entered the country recently, all of them composed of athletic men, and apparently they were working in unison under a single representative. They were most probably at the heart of the disturbance.”
“Don’t tell me they’re from the PLA! What’s the Chinese government’s response?”
“Prime Minister Morita has summoned their ambassador for questioning.”
“They’re requesting that they want the Gate to be placed under the UN Security Council. Otherwise they’ll destroy the Gate… but can the Gate really be destroyed so easily?”
“Ah, apparently a truck driven at high speeds could cause a lot of problems depending on the angle it hit.”
“The Gate is simply a pile of rocks stacked up like cordwood. It’s not reinforced by concrete. You could probably wreck it with a bulldozer,” the threat management overseer said.
“Wouldn’t that make the Special Region Expeditionary Force drifters in another world?”
“The request for the UNSC and not China to supervise the Gate was truly cunning.”
After hearing Kogure speak, Natsume sighed.
“It’s all the same in the end, but playing the United Nations card means that they’re not doing this for their own country’s benefit, but to prevent Japan from monopolizing it. Things will be extremely tricky if major powers such as the US are all in on this.”
“That much should be obvious at a glance, no? There were people from all nationalities in that protest. Just like Kogure-san said, it would be better to assume some sort of collaboration between them.
The officials picked up the dossiers issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and read through them. The dossiers contained the simulated stance each country would take toward the situation.
“Korea and Russia have stated their firm support of Japan. They would demand that the Gate be taken from Japan by force. In turn, the UK, France, Germany and the US would be in favor of forming an international organization to jointly manage the Gate, with Japan’s consent. That country probably sent in the anti-whaling group for that purpose.”  
“That is to say, they’re taking part in this just to stir things up, then?”
“Europe and America ought to be in favor of closing the Gate.”
We’re not talking about the same thing ー Natsume said in response to Kogure.
“There is no country in the world which does not pursue its own interests. And there is no country in the world which takes what another country says at face value. Even so, they’ve accepted our proposal, because until now, we haven’t given them any openings to exploit. Given  China’s actions, it’s only natural they’ll rush in to take advantage of any weaknesses we show them. If we make any mistakes here, the consequences will be very troublesome.”
“Yes, that’s where the problem lies. Personally, I feel there’s no problem in destroying the Gate. How about it? Without the Gate, they’d have no reason to make demands, and the riots and public disturbance would stop as well.”
All the other officials tensed up at once.
“You can’t be serious, Kanou! What will you do about those 30’000-odd JSDF personnel and their equipment?”
“Regarding their equipment, they’re all antiques scheduled for replacement, so losing them isn’t a problem, no? Incidentally, we have to close the Gate. Less predictable is the servicemen we will be stranding in place in the Special Region… and even that is not a permanent loss. While bringing them back will be very troublesome, all we need to do is imagine that they’re exploring space or something. Also, they will be able to return one day, In any event, Miss Lelei has already agreed to assist us with that.”
As Kanou’s words reached their ears, and the members of the safety meeting took in his overly calm opinion, their stern faces gradually softened. They ー who had panicked upon encountering the difficulty of the situation ー had come to realise that depending on how the situation developed, they would have to earnestly consider Kanou’s suggestion.
Managing a national emergency was like performing surgery on a patient who had been infected by a flesh-eating virus.
Such viruses could invade the body through small scrapes and they spread by the minute, mercilessly killing and liquefying the cells in the victim’s arms and legs. In order to save a life from such a threat, a doctor would need to boldly cut away at the affected region, and even slice off healthy tissue as well.
One could say that threat management was created to make the cruel decisions of how much and how many to sacrifice.
The whole could only be saved with quick decision-making. Delaying a decision in the hopes of saving the whole body would instead result in dearg.
Even if the patient later complained, “What the hell, wasn’t it just a scratch?” and so on, the fact was that if the doctor had not taken action, the patient would have died. Therefore, it was essential to swiftly analyse the situation, steel one’s heart, and take action with a firm will. Surely those who were abandoned would not be able to accept that, but there was no such thing as benevolent rule in this world. That was the true nature of governance.
Territory, people, resources and dignity. And then there were the lives of the JSDF and coast guard personnel.
Normally, all of them would be irreplaceable, but if placed in a situation where something had to be sacrificed, then they would have to draw up a priority list of what to keep and what to discard.
Naturally, when the time came to make a choice, there were many variables, such as the principles of the decision-makers, their priorities, the purpose of the organization, among other things.
For instance, a country’s military apparatus would prioritize the ability to continue fighting and the country’s safety above all others, and perhaps a humanitarian organization would prioritize lives at all costs.
The JSDF was a combat arm of the nation. The individual lives of each serviceman were thus lower on the priority list. Otherwise they would not allow their personnel to fight the enemy.
Even so, it would seem it would be best to act and plan with their lives as the top priority, but that was because there was nothing more important than the lives of those personnel to weigh against them. Perhaps if one could put national security or the nation’s interests on the balance, the servicemen’s lives might be regarded as a necessary sacrifice, and they would be ruthlessly discarded as acceptable losses. Ultimately, all JSDF personnel had signed up knowing full well that their lives existed to be used in such a way.
Kanou’s suggestion was to permit the personnel in the Special Region to be stranded there for an extended period.
This was something which had not been considered during the discussions on closing the Gate and holding onto their newly-acquired territory in the Special Region. That was because doing so implied that the servicemen would be bidding farewell to their families. However, in the face of the present circumstances, they had to consider the option of dividing up 30’000 families between two worlds, under the condition that they would be able to return one day.
Of course, both the nation and the service would support their families until they returned.
Living support and mental support went without saying. Even so, it would probably not be enough, and much hardship would result. However, they had to avoid a situation where their capital was taken over by a foreign army, at all costs. Thus, they had to decide and stick to a course of action.
No matter how things went, once the Gate was no longer around, the lure of the Special Region which had united all the other nations would no longer exist.
Perhaps it had been because of Kanou, but the various officials came to a compromise about the situation and began making plans in their respective areas of responsibility. The Ministry of Finance would handle expenses, while Chief Cabinet Secretary Kogure would think about how to deal with the media.
“No, we can’t even do that.”
A voice which denied Kanou echoed through the entire meeting room.
Having finished his meeting with the Chinese ambassador, Prime Minister Morita entered the security meeting room with a tired expression on his face.
After Morita had taken his seat, Kanou asked:
“Morita-san, what happened?”
“The Chinese have hinted that Miss Lelei is safe. She might be in China.”
“Say what!?”
Without her, there would be no way to bring the 30’000 men and women back. It would be the same as losing their lives. It was a loss which was very difficult to stomach.
Kanou’s suggestion had been a ray of light for them, but now the faces of the safety meeting’s participants were overcast.

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