Saturday, January 6, 2018

Gate - Thus the JSDF Fought There! Volume 9 Chapter 4

Translator: Nigel
Editor:Deus Ex Machina

After receiving a report about an armed Chinese group taking over the Ginza garrison, Prime Minister Morita convened a safety committee meeting and summoned the Chinese ambassador for answers.
“I would like an explanation for the events which occurred at Ginza.”
The fact that Morita was asking that question in a rarely-used harsh tone was a sign of his anger. However, since he was not accustomed to taking such a tone, that emotionally-charged statement was overly forceful and lacked finesse when it came to firing the first shot in a diplomatic conflict.
Ambassador Yang had a puzzled look on his face, and he shrugged off Morita’s wrath like a willow tree bending in the wind.
“And here I was worried about why you called me over so suddenly. Regarding the matter at Ginza, I’m afraid I’m not too sure what’s going on. What exactly is the problem here?”
Morita was visibly on the verge of losing his temper after seeing how blatantly he was feigning ignorance. He choked back his anger and did his best to remain calm as he said:
“Don’t play dumb with me! Do you mean to say you have no idea what’s happening in Ginza?”
“I hear an international NGO was mounting a protest. Many of our country’s citizens took part in it, but they were not the only participants. They say organizations from the US, France, Russia, Korea and other countries were also involved. May I ask why I am the only one to be summoned here? Must I be questioned so harshly?”
Morita tossed down a stack of photographs in front of the ambassador.
“See here, aren’t most of these Chinese nationals!? And they’re breaking the law and causing trouble. There have also been many casualties among the police. This is not a protest. This is a riot!”
“Disturbances like these are not uncommon in my country. Also, I do not understand why you keep venting your frustrations on me.”
“How can you even say that after having your country’s people start riots in other countries!?”
“It seems there has been a misunderstanding of sorts. Then, I shall make myself clear. This incident has nothing to do with our government. The inciters of this riot are an international NGO, and while it is regrettable that our citizens have taken part in it, I believe Japan is a democracy. While they might be foreign nationals, I feel that Japan ought to listen to the opinions of free citizens.”
“So you’re saying that the Chinese government has nothing to do with this riot?”
“Of course. Or will I need to explain the definition of an NGO to you, Prime Minister-dono?”
“Let me get this out of the way first. According to reports, some of these rioters possess automatic small arms and rocket launchers.”
“What did you say? Did I misunderstand your Japanese? Could you say that again?”
“Then I will repeat myself. According to reports we have just received, some of the rioters who have taken the Ginza garrison where the Gate is located possess automatic firearms and other such armaments. They have made unlawful demands of our nation and declared that they will destroy the Gate if we do not comply, stranding the 30’000 JSDF servicemen who have been dispatched to the Special Region in another world.
But Ambassador Yang replied with an expression of surprise on his face:
“Is this true?”
“What do you mean, is this true?”
“I mean the fact that the international NGO in question is armed. Could it be that you’re trumping up false charges to suppress the rights of free citizens to express their opinions?”
“There’s no basis for anything you’re saying, what are you getting at!?”
“Is that not true? Are there any news reports of armed rioters?”
“The interior of the garrison has been taken and nobody has been able to approach it yet. If the media personnel have not approached it yet, how could it possibly be reported on the news?”
“In that case, how can I believe what you are saying? How can the citizens of Japan and the citizens of the world believe you? If it has not been reported, it might as well not exist. Nobody will believe you. Before pinning the blame on us, please provide some concrete evidence first.”
“Well, let us assume that things are indeed as you are saying, Prime Minister Morita, and that there are, in fact, armed people in there…”
“They are in there!
Yang had an exasperated look on his face as he continued addressing Morita in soothing tones.
“Assuming you were right, what did that international NGO demand?”
“That we turn over management rights for the Gate to the United Nations.”
“In other words, this means the international community is making a request of your nation, no?”
“Yes. That is true.”
“And how does the Japanese government intent to handle these armed miscreants?”
“Our country will not give in to terrorism. We will not negotiate with terrorists.”
“That is to say, the Japanese government will brand free citizens who have made a proper request as terrorists, and will thus quell them with violence and close the Gate by force?”
“The Japanese government has made its decision. It will not be altered.”
“However, you will need to eliminate those citizens first, and after eliminating these so-called armed citizens, you will then need to withdraw the troops you have dispatched to the Special Region before closing the Gate. Will that not require a great deal of effort?”
“The effort required is not a concern. We will do it if we must.”
“Still, if even a small mistake or error occurs, then the 26’000 JSDF servicemen who have been sent to the Special Region will be unable to return. Is that not so?”
Morita realized that Ambassador Yang had accurately stated the true number of JSDF personnel who had been dispatched to the Special Region. Most of the officials only knew about the rough figure of 30’000, so how had he learned that number? It ate at Morita.
“You do not have to worry about that.”
“Is that really alright? If you accept our country’s requests, then perhaps this matter can be peaceably resolved.”
“Is this a request from the Chinese government?”
“No, it is simply a humble suggestion which I am personally making. How about it? We hope you will not close the Gate, and allow our country to send 500’000 people over to the Special Region every year.”
“5-500’000!? Don’t be ridiculous. Allowing so many people to migrate over will immediately destabilize the Special Region. Or are you saying you want to conquer the Special Region and turn it into a second China?”
“While we do not plan on doing so, we cannot rule out the possibility. However, that would guarantee peace and stability on our side.”
“Can you elaborate?”
“Please consider our nation’s population of 1.3 billion people. That is a vast number. These 1.3 billion are a weapon for our country, but at the same time they are also a liability. This may be an extreme way of phrasing it, but a nation’s responsibilities include killing off the citizens of every other nation on the planet for the sake of the survival of one’s own citizens. We must feed 1.3 billion bellies and fill 1.3 billion hearts with hopes. For the sake of soothing our 1.3 billion people, our nation will gladly take resources and rations where we can find it, even if we are viewed as unreasonable, designated as villains, and hated by other countries.”
“What a pretty way of saying you’ll make trouble for others.”
“Of course, we’ve taken steps on our part to not let this figure of 1.3 billion grow any further, that is to say, the one-child policy. However, such a policy will cast our country’s future into darkness. You should know what will happen if the balance between the number of workers and the number of people that society can support is broken, given that you are the Prime Minister of Japan, which is an aging society.”
There was power in Ambassador Yang’s voice.
“If we can ease this burden, then our country can afford to be more gentlemanly members of the international community. Therefore, we must have Japan’s help, no matter what. Please allow us to migrate into the Special Region. If that can be realized, our nation will repay Japan’s sincerity with an extended period of peace by way of gratitude.”
Whether or not he was correct, the Chinese ambassador’s calm tone allowed Morita to cool down from his own agitation.
“In that case, we hope you will start by stopping your biased, anti-Japan education. The children of your country do not know of the aid we have rendered to your nation and curse us as ‘Japanese devils’.”
“There is no anti-Japanese education in our country.”
“Then there is nothing to talk about.”
Morita rose in preparation to attend the meeting, but the ambassador checked him.
“Every nation has organizations with their own demands, so having to stand in the middle of all of them must be an arduous task. To those on the right, the center leans to the left, and to those on the left, the center leans to the right, and so the center is attacked from both sides. The best way to understand this is through teaching history. One could say the people on the extreme left and right are both very sensitive. What you call anti-Japanese education is commonplace and daily knowledge to us. If we change this, then we might be viewed as capitulating to foreign pressure. The government will be censured more intensely, and it might lead to internal unrest within the nation.”
“Even if what is being taught is clearly wrong?”
“Pardon me for citing another country as an example. In America, there are parties who debate about teaching creationism ー a man-made, scientifically erroneous theory that derives from the Christian Bible ー in school to educate the youth. To these people, the truth is irrelevant. That is because what they want is to teach the Bible they believe in to their children. This problem is in a similar vein to that one.”
“That said, we cannot tolerate being accused of doing things we did not do. Our first request will be to correct your anti-Japan curriculum.”
“This is a very challenging question. I cannot answer it right away. How about this ー can we leave this problem for the future, as a sign of our aspiration for friendship?”
“Calling it an aspiration is probably for convenience’s sake. Our nation has acted with an eye for friendly relations until now, and we intend to continue doing so. This is how it has always been. Therefore, we have not blown up the matter of your country suddenly claiming the Senkaku Islands for your own. However, you have constantly betrayed our efforts. Even so, our nation has borne with it and made concessions in various areas.”
Ambassador Yang had an unhappy look on his face, and he seemed to have something to say. However, he put that aside and simply stated his own request.
“Therefore, you should be able to accept our request for the liberation of the Special Region. You keep saying that you have made concessions to us, but was it not for the benefit of maintaining friendship between our countries? In that case, you should be able to concede in this matter as well. In this way, there will be peace and perhaps even prosperity between our nations. Many Japanese companies have factories in our nation, and our nation is a major market for yours. Friendship is vital to allow these companies to do business smoothly and to guarantee the safety of the Japanese citizens upon our soil. Therefore, your country ought to give in to us. If you do not do so, then once relationships with your nation turn frigid and unease builds, the peace between us will soon vanish. As a representative of your nation, are you saying that such a thing is permissible?”
“I have always hoped that such a thing would not come to pass.”
“Hope alone will not make it a reality. One needs unrelenting effort. Our country would like the Japanese government to put in effort. If you do not want to strand those 26’000 servicemen of yours in another world, then you will do as ordered.”
“What orders, who the hell do you think you are!? How dare you!”
“No, well, now that we’re at this point, I’ll speak plainly. While those protesters are demanding that that the Gate be handed over to the UNSC, that would offer our nation far too few benefits. Our country wants to sign a treaty for mutual development of the Special Region.”
“I refuse.”
“If you are taking your hardline stance because you believe that you can recover those 26’000 JSDF personnel even if you close the Gate, I would advise you to reconsider. The girl who can control the Gate… Lelei, I believe she’s called? You cannot do it without her.”
Saying so, Ambassador Yang took out a bag in front of the Prime Minister. The bag contained Lelei’s staff.
Morita had spoke with Lelei many times. He remembered her staff.
“This, this is! How did you get it!?”
“If you mean this staff, then I shall say that we obtained it through magic. In any case, all the Japanese government can do is comply with our nation’s orders. Surely you understand Japan’s situation now, no?”
“So what! Do it if you’re going to do it!”
Morita very much wanted to shout his anger with those words.
But the weight of 26’000 lives would not allow him to do so.
Morita looked at the arrogant look of triumph on Ambassador Yang’s face, and his body trembled with the rage he could not vent.


United States of America  ー White House.

President Dirrel, whose term was almost over, was currently agonizing about how to deal with the call from the Japanese Prime Minister. That was because the call was a critique of America:  “Are you going to abandon an ally?”
“Certainly not. Our country will never abandon Japan.”
“Then why did you align yourself with China when problems with the Gate and the Special Region came up? While I can understand why you sent that anti-whaling group over…”
“Let me get this out of the way first. To our country, the islands of Japan are our final defensive line in the Pacific Ocean against the expansion of China. The security policies of our nation and that of Japan are one. Therefore, we will not abandon Japan. Even if the Japanese government were to say that they had enough of it, we will not give up on the Japanese home islands. We will continue with this policy even during the reign of upcoming President Mahana. Therefore, please be at ease.”  
“I don’t know whether those words are supposed to set my heart at ease.”
Morita remembered that when Dirrel said they would not give up, he was not referring to either the Japanese government or the Japanese people, but the islands of Japan.
“This is the reality that the East China Sea and South China Sea now face. Maintaining a balance between ourselves and China for the sake of prosperity started from your father’s generation, but it seems we’ve favored China too much and raised an unbelievable monster. There’s a good lesson here; helping a neighboring country become strong won’t turn out well.”
“I know that, and so I do not regret it. However, America’s actions until now have also been quite problematic. Rather than correcting your own errors, your nation was overly eager to judge others and has invaded our country to solve your problems. In order to resist one-sided domination from your nation, our country has had to draw whatever strength we could from the surrounding nations.
“And the result of that was this… no, let’s not talk about that. After all, this is not a suitable place for discussing such things. We’ll talk about how our predecessors shaped the present some other time. What we need to be discussing is the fact that the monster we’ve raised has grown beyond our expectations. Now is not the time for maintaining a balance or anything. That’s because if the US and Japan are not united, we cannot maintain stability in Asia.”
“In that case, why did you choose to support China?”
“That is because when it comes to the Gate and the Special Region, economic matters are more important to our country than ensuring safety. Our nation also wishes to benefit from the Gate. Therefore, our nation feels that it would be more suitable for the Gate to be handed over to the permanent members nations of the UN than for Japan to monopolize all dealings with the Special Region.”
“But Minister Kanou has already explained the reasons for closing the Gate.”
“That news has filtered through you. It is quite worrying. Our nation would also like to mount an independent  investigation on the matter which is standing in the way of your important negotiations. Therefore, we have offered Japan a proposal.”
“By important negotiations,  you mean...?”
“I’m talking about the Gate, Morita. We cannot bear to know that you have monopolized the technology to open a passage to another world. I understand there is a being with superhuman intelligence at work here, But even if that were the case, we cannot tolerate being unable to have a say in the matter.”
“So you intend to manage the Special Region on your own?”
“The Security Council will manage it. That is because the best way to learn the truth is to uncover everything. For that reason, we have allowed the other nations to band together and make a somewhat forceful request of you. If you close the Gate, that will be an admission of your intent to monopolize it. If Mahana takes office under such circumstances, it will be a condemnation of the previous president.”
“Don’t you think this is a little out of line!?”
“Please don’t misunderstand. The disturbance in Ginza has nothing to do with our country. That is because I was only speaking of our nation’s foreign policy.”
“Why is it all the leaders of all the nations are saying the same thing?”
“That’s because it is the truth. The truth is the same no matter who speaks it.”
“I didn’t think even your explanations would be the same. What a surprise. It’s almost as though it had all been planned out behind our backs.”
“I have no intention of bandying semantics, but I do feel a little hurt.”
“And why is that?”
“It’s because you didn’t call me first. That way, you would have said all the other leaders were copying me.”
“We were delayed by the situation on our side. If you say that you had nothing to do with the incident in Ginza, surely you’ll also say you don’t know some of those rioters are threatening to strand the personnel we officially dispatched to the Special Region in another world?”
“Mm, no, not at all. I didn’t know about something like that. It’s really the first time I’ve heard of it. What happened? If you need help persuading the rioters to stand down, we can provide it.”
“No, there’s no need. That’s because it would be better to discuss matters with Ambassador Yang rather than call on another country for help.”
“Then please, by all means. However, I’d advise you to choose carefully regarding the disposition of the Gate. Don’t forget what it means for all the other countries to share the same opinion about the matter.”
“Mm. Of course. Then, have a good day, Mr. President.”
From where he was seated on an Oval Office sofa, the Presidential Secretary looked toward where his boss was talking to the Japanese premier, and he sensed Dirrel wrinkling his brow. He seemed unhappy.
“What happened?”
“Stirring up those NGOs and having them encircle Camp Ginza was well done, and I’m grateful for your hard work. But why did you send that anti-whaling group over?”
“The situation was urgent, and there were no other organizations which intended to protest Japan. Still, things are developing toward an interesting direction. If I’d known it would end up like this, I would have sent more agents over.”
“Things have drifted very far from what we planned at first.”
“External pressures. The plan was originally to insinuate ourselves into the matter and then slowly shut off their options, but it would seem China has done some scheming of their own.”
“The Chinese government seems to have made more demands of the Japanese government than what we arranged on.”
Naturally, the Presidential Secretary had overheard the contents of the telephone conversation, and his conclusion had been drawn from Prime Minister’s comment of “It would be better to discuss matters with Ambassador Yang.”
“Morita called because he didn’t know how to proceed with negotiations, then?”
“He suggested that we band together for this, but now he’s trying to steal a march on us. It fits his style perfectly.”
“But surely this situation should not be a big problem for the Japanese government, given that they know how to open Gates, no?”
The White House had assumed Japan would be following Kanou’s proposal from the start. Therefore, they had decided not to push the Japanese government into a corner. One could say they were counterpointing China’s actions.
“We should assume China is tightening the screws on Japan because they have an ace in the hole of some sort.”
“Yes. But in that case, we won’t be able to put ourselves between China and Japan and take a cut of the profits for being an intermediary.”
“Yes. If this keeps up, the Chinese government will think they can use us to test the waters and dispose of us afterwards.”
“And at the same time, they’ll have sown seeds of distrust between China and Japan.”
“A little quick on the draw, don’t you think?”
“Do you think we can salvage the situation by helping Japan? That call just now seems to be implying that they’re seeking aid.”
“No, don’t do anything until they come out and ask for our help. We should be verifying the nature of China’s trump card now. Investigate the matter with all the resources at your disposal. After all, that’s what we should be getting our hands on. I won’t be the master of the White House for long. At the very least, bringing this back ought to pave the foundation for another term.”
“Yes, boss. I’ll go right away.”
The Presidential Secretary nodded and rose. Dirrel said, “I’ll let you handle this” and watched the man leave.

“What did the President say, Prime Minister?”
Morita put the phone down, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Kogure immediately addressed him.
Morita turned a look of protest on Kogure, and then he glanced at Kanou and Natsume, who were seated on sofas in the corner of the office.
The two of them were waiting for Morita to compose his thoughts. Soon, Morita  broke the silence and succinctly summarized the key points of the situation.
“In truth, America’s cooperation with China isn’t going that well.”
“But of course. Any cooperation between those two countries is going to be like Hitler and Stalin. They might have entered an alliance of convenience, but that won’t last forever. That much is obvious given how they sent that anti-whaling group over by accident.”
“At first, I thought they would be trying to play on our anger at China’s demands to manipulate us into going for joint administration by the UNSC, instead of completely capitulating to China. However… the White House did not respond that way. Perhaps China is acting on their own.”
“Is that so. That would mean…”
Kanou smiled, the corner of his mouth tilting up.
“We should assume they don’t have Miss Lelei.”
“What!? How can you say that?”
Kogure was thoroughly confused as he exclaimed loudly. Natsume nodded to show his agreement with Kanou.
“That’s possible. The fact is, if China really had Miss Lelei, they would not need to bother themselves with the Ginza Gate.”
“You think so too, Natsume-san? I think that if they had Miss Lelei, they would not have started a disturbance like this, but secretly brought her back to Beijing and had her open a Gate wherever they wanted. Why didn’t they do that? Why did they start a riot instead? That’s because they don’t have Lelei-san.”
“I see.”
The rest of the Cabinet indicated their approval of Kanou’s reasoning.
“Of course, I doubt Lelei-san would gladly assist them even if they did seize her. Therefore, the aim behind China’s actions must lie elsewhere. But I cannot imagine what it is.”
If you don’t mind me saying ー Morita readjusted his glasses, which were on the verge of slipping,  and then spoke up.
“I don’t think that’s the case. I feel that there’s a high chance Lelei-san is in China’s hands.”
“Why is that?”
“That’s because the staff Ambassador Yang showed us was the real thing. The wood was the same as what Kogure saw.”
“Kogure? You still remember that?”
“Yes. Back then, I thought that it would be excellent material for a golf club. I’ve checked it before, so I’m sure of it.”
Kanou could not help laughing as Morita praised his own observation skills.
“Was the wood really that good, Prime Minister?”
“Yes, it looked better than persimmon wood.”
The Prime Minister and the Cabinet members spoke about things which did not suit the current atmosphere.
“In that case, what should we do? How did China get to her? How did they pass through the heavy security around the Gate and capture her!?”
Natsume still believed that Lelei had not been taken by China, and his exclamation could not have been more serious.
“There’s no point asking China how they got her staff. Besides, even if we can’t imagine how they got her, that doesn’t mean there was no way. Of course, it might be as Minister Kanou said and she might not be in China’s hands. However, making a decision like this is far too dangerous. After all, you could say this was something China did in order to mislead us.”
“However,” Kanou replied:
“While we might not have any information on this, don’t you think it would be worse to sit around and waste time? The disturbance might be over by the time we finish collecting intelligence, and then it’ll all be for naught.”
It was true that when lacked sufficient information, making hypotheses on top of other hypotheses was very dangerous.  That was because once basic assumptions were changed, the way one saw the situation might be turned around completely. Therefore, one ought to spare no effort in gathering intelligence of the highest accuracy possible.
Even so, there was no way to gather all the information possible during times of danger.
In an emergency, there were many situations where intelligence was both insufficient and inaccurate. It was the lot of those in charge to make decisions under these circumstances.
Even a grade-schooler could make a decision once they had all the necessary information at hand. The true test of a leader was bravely making a decision, and making the correct one, despite having inadequate knowledge of the situation.
The person in charge should not be charging into the heart of the disturbance to learn more, or do nothing until he learned more about the situation.
“That said, I’d still like more intelligence on this. It’s a shame that communications with the Special Region have been cut off.”
The disaster management overseer decided to summarize what they knew.
“In any case, it’s as the Prime Minister said; since Lelei-san’s staff is with China, there are three possibilities. One is that the staff is fake. Two, that they only obtained the staff. Three, that she is in their hands. However, whichever of these is the case, the fact that China is showing us the staff can only mean one thing ー they want to delay our decision. China wants to stall for time.”
“Or perhaps they want us to think that way.”
“That’s true,” the overseer replied after hearing Natsume’s words.
“That said, what are they buying time for? Each country to make an entrance? For their troops to show up? No, they should be trying to get into the Gate.”
“Is there no way to contact the troops in the Special Region?
“If we had line of sight to them, maybe we could use semaphore code or signal lamps with Morse code, or loud sounds and the like. But the Gate is obscured by the dome, so all I can think of is sending a messenger over.”
Morita asked the Chief Staff Officer, “Isn’t there a way for us to pass through the Gate without being seen by that crowd of thousands…” and then he shook his head. “No, huh,” before rounding his shoulders.
However, that was when someone from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ran over with a pale face.
“What happened?”
“We’ve received reports that China has arrested four businessmen for taking photographs in a no-photography zone. Also, they’ve stopped processing the paperwork for all exports to Japan.”
And then, a man from the Coast Guard rushed in.
“The PLN is approaching the Senkaku Islands! They’ll be in our waters within a few hours!”
The Minister of Finance received a note. He read out its contents.
“It’s from the Ministry of Finance. There’s been major purchases of the yen, and its value is rapidly inflating. It’s probably currency manipulation from a Chinese fund! They might be trying to grow our debt by hundreds of millions!”
“There are large mobs protesting outside the Japanese embassy in China. The sheer amount of rocks and molotov cocktails thrown has caused the embassy to shut down. Japanese restaurants have also been attacked in Shanghai!”
“The ATM lines in various financial institutions have been hacked and are unable to function. We’ve lost the ability to transfer funds!”
“The JR train scheduling mainframe has shut down! The rail system is paralyzed!”
“They actually went that far!?”
After hearing this, Morita went pale, and he oozed limply from his chair to the ground.

If one allowed for a measure of inaccuracy… yes, while it was only about as accurate as blood-type personality theory, one could tell the personality of people who went into medical careers like doctors or nurses by the specialties they had chosen.
The best examples of this were probably plastic surgeons.
A plastic surgeon was essentially a carpenter. That was because their basic medical technique was to cut off what protruded and to join up what was broken.
When one asked “what kind of doctor are you” and received the reply, “a plastic surgeon,”one could simply sum up that plastic surgeon’s thoughts and personality as that of a carpenter.
The nurses who worked in a cosmetic surgery practice were the same way. Many of the beds in such places were filled with patients who had been injured in industrial accidents, traffic accidents, who were handicapped by physical defects, and other such people.
Most of the patients had fully functional internal organs, and they did not lack for energy or stamina, and they had strength yet in their bodies. That being the case, there was no way these patients could listen to instructions to lie obediently in bed all day long. This greatly frustrated the nurses who had to tend to them.
Of course, the nurses who continued working in a building like this had straightforward personality types, the kind who did not give up easily and who could nonchalantly take in their patients’ son stories. Such a personality was ideal for the job; or rather, if they did not have such a personality, they would have taken another job.
Similarly, the personalities of pediatricians, psychologists, obstetricians, practitioners of internal medicine, emergency doctors, surgeons and other such specialties tended to change to match their areas of expertise the longer they spent there.
This was the effect one’s environment could have on a person.
In that sense, even a short-term stay in a place like the Special Region could have a great effect on one’s personality. More to the point, the subordinates of  the character known as Itami Youji had been greatly influenced by him, in both good and bad ways.
Kurokawa Mari, or Kuro-chan to her friends, was one of them.
Kurokawa had seen many people die on the battlefield. She had seen people suffer and struggle desperately to live. She had seen the dangerous regions of the Imperial Capital, where humans of all races had given in to their desires and foolishness, or where they had been toyed with and subjected to incredible suffering by forces beyond their greatest efforts.
It was there that she realized something.
People who arrogantly looked down on things like “Life is lived in one’s free time” and “the happy man is the one who wins” would find themselves in for a shock. Perhaps Itami’s way of life, which went along the lines of “overworking yourself is pointless,” was right.
When she had been worrying about Tuka, Itami’s rash methods had been more effective than her own shallow knowledge. That sense of defeat still lingered in her heart.
No matter what, people died when they were killed, and they lived while they were alive. There was no point in being reserved, so one ought to live freely and without a care, because life would always find a way ー that lesson had been drilled into her heart.

JSDF Central Hospital

For some reason, Kurokawa stood in this hospital in her white lab coat.
The reason why she, who had been dispatched to the Special Region, was in this place will be touched on later. However, her skills had not faded. Kurokawa immediately made sure of what she had to do, and launched into her work after grasping the essential elements of the situation, just like before. She had turned in an excellent performance, and the nurses who had worked with her back then had even hoped that Kuro-chan would stay there and work forever. But once Kurokawa began revealing her true nature, the older nurses began worrying about whether they had said the right thing.
When she discovered someone who had been declared NBM (nil by mouth; forbidden food by the doctors) had secretly bought a snack, Kurokawa silently went behind them and mercilessly confiscated the green bean bun they were going to eat before saying:
“You should have been informed that you were going to have a checkup tomorrow, so you’re not allowed to eat. Yet you can’t even hold out for a single night. Are you even worse than a mere beast, perhaps? Is the only thing in that head a limbic system with no cerebral cortex in sight? Or perhaps your blood vessels are narrowed and your frontal lobes aren’t getting enough nutrients. Very well, since you have proven with your own actions that you are inferior to an animal, that you are a being who is unable to rein in his own instincts, then I must reconsider the way I treat you. I shall engrave the expected manner of behavior in this hospital upon your body until it takes the form of a conditioned reflex. Yes, how about tying you down to your bed so you can’t buy food? Oh no, please don’t worry. In order to prevent fluid intake and urination from becoming a problem, I shall give you an IV drip of saline solution. For the sake of hygiene, perhaps I should shave your beard as well. Huh, you don’t like diapers? Well, that makes things difficult. In that case, I shall insert an inflatable catheter through that shrivelled little toy of yours and lodge it in your bladder. While it’s been used to penetrate all this while, now it will be penetrated instead. It will surely be a refreshingly novel experience for you. How about it?”
Her unrelenting verbal barrage would have incapacitated a patient with a weaker heart. The nurses who had rushed over after hearing the disturbance and who had heard Kurokawa’s words all had faces that looked like Munch’s The Scream.
That was not the end of Kurokawa’s ferocity.
When servicemen who had been wounded in the Special Region were sent over and they did rude things like squeezing nurse’s buttocks, they would be hit square on the head by a reflex hammer. When said personnel complained, “You hit me! You’re a nurse and you hit your patient!” to her superiors, Kurokawa would nonchalantly reply, “I was simply performing a reflex examination to see if they would grab their heads with both hands.”
Medical procedures often involved some degree of cutting open the patient with scalpels, penetrating them with needles, striking them and the like. This was a medical invasion of the body and they were permitted in the name of performing treatment. Kurokawa insisted that her actions were of this type.
“I, I’ve never heard of such a reflex examination.”
“Don’t you know? This is known as an octopus reflex, named after the procedure used to determine which of an octopus’ legs function as hands by striking the head. A positive result would indicate the joyous result of the patient having a fully functional sense of nociception.”
“Are, are you kidding?”
“Oh no, I’m deadly serious. If this were the Special Region I would have shot him on the spot. Over here, lewd acts would be referred to the police. This is preferable, no? Fufufufu.”
Since she had been through harsh battlefields in the past, Kurokawa radiated a bone-chilling air around her that made people wonder if she was pissed off.
And so, Kurokawa’s antics dominated the nurses’ conversation.
“Kuro-san was kind of awesome just now, right!?”
“Yeah, she got so worked up. But the department chief didn’t get mad even though she was like that.”
“Still, that can’t be good.”
“Mm, the chief was mad. But she didn’t seem to mind at all.”
“Don’t you think that attitude of hers is fine?”
“You think so too? It feels kind of nice to see her do that too.”
There were many things which upset people during the actual practice of medicine. Kurokawa’s unreserved thoughts and deeds were quite refreshing to many of the ladies and some of the gentlemen.
Alright, now for the reason why Kurokawa ー who had been dispatched to the Special Region ー was serving as a nurse in the Central Hospital. This development requires an explanation.
Before coming here, Kurokawa had just returned to Arnus from Kunapnui and had to deal with the influx of new refugees.
The new refugees were not originally from Coda Village. They were people who had lost their homes and family during the Empire’s guerilla attacks, who were taking shelter in Arnus.
In many ways, the Coda Villagers no longer qualified as refugees, and so the new refugees were treated differently from them. They now lived in temporary homes on the outskirts of Arnus Town. The former 3rd Recon Team, which had a lot of experience in such matters, put a great deal of effort into this.
And then one day, Kurokawa was summoned by Major Higaki of Recon HQ and ordered to proceed to the JSDF Central Hospital.
“What’s the meaning of this?”
“You’ll be briefed in detail once you get there,” he said, and so Kurokawa accepted her orders, exchanged her battle dress for her nurse’s uniform, and headed toward the JSDF Central Hospital.
The person who met her there were the hospital director and the head of nursing.
“Please take a look at this.”
What he showed her were a set of medical consultation records. While a lot of it was covered in “MILITARY SECRET” stamps, the address, birthdate, age, chief complaint and many other fields had been left blank.
“This is the reason we called you here.”
Kurokawa had noted down the patient’s name on its own in the document. One could say it was the only piece of reliable information in it.
“Itami Youji.”
“Indeed. This is a patient who is under observation here. But as you can see, it is blank. Could you treat a patient like this, someone about which you knew nothing about except his name?”
“I couldn’t. If my superior asked me to, I’d reply, “Is your brain alright? You should probably go get it checked.”
Kurokawa’s remorseless statement made the director and the nursing head shrink back for a moment, but it was still permissible, and so they continued:
“Neither can we. Still, this is a JSDF medical facility. Even when someone makes a ridiculous request of us like that, we have no choice but to comply.”
“Oh… Is that what you think?”
“Please don’t misunderstand us. We complained too. We said, ‘We can’t work like this’ and  ‘Frankly speaking, this is really hard for us’. And then they told us that while they could not disclose information on the patient, they would be sending over someone who was familiar with the patient, so please treat them as an ambassador. And then you came.”
“I see. Indeed, Lieutenant Itami Youji is my superior, and to some extent I am familiar with him. However, being categorized as “someone who is very familiar with his condition” for that reason alone fills me with distaste.”
“Still, it would be better than if we did it. In truth, we have all but given up hope of handling his case. Indeed, it is hard to tell whether he is receiving care or being managed or being watched over. Please help us.”
The two managers bowed their heads.
“What do you mean?”
“That’s because he might have a mysterious parasite from another world in his body, so we received news that he was to be quarantined. Did you understand? It’s an alien parasite!”
Kurokawa looked dubiously at the hospital director, wondering if he was right in the head.
“I’m perfectly fine. No, I think I’m alright, but I’m suspicious myself. That’s because it feels unreal. Even so, as someone who’s been to the Special Region, I’m sure you’ve seen an impossible creature or two over there, right?”
Kurokawa recalled the Special Region Class A Dangerous Beast and nodded.
“Mm, indeed.”
“In that case, mysterious lifeforms shouldn’t be strange to you. Of course, whether it’s actually inside his body remains to be seen.”
While this might have been an order from above, it would seem the director could not keep up with the suddenness of those dictates, and his feelings showed.
It would seem Kurokawa was sympathetic to his plight, because she looked on him in pity.
“In any case, please work hard in this hospital for as long as he stays here. You can do that, right?”
And so, Itami was placed in Kurokawa’s care.

However, there was a problem ー on Itami’s side; his attitude towards hospitalization was not a good one.
That said, it could not be helped. That was because Itami did not view himself as a patient. He was in good physical condition was and did not recall being wounded or in pain.
Therefore, he used manga, light novels, and other printed materials to fill up the room assigned to him.
This was somewhat unbearable to the average nurse. That was because to them, a sickbed’s immediate surroundings ought to be kept spick and span.
They put up with him because they sympathized with Itami, who was being quarantined despite not being ill,
However, Itami did not know what they thought. Thus, Itami pulled all sorts of stunts within the range of what was allowed.
As he put it, “I’ve been in the JSDF for 10 years. I might not like it, but I still need to stick to a disciplined lifestyle and exercise my body every day, and I feel uncomfortable if I don’t get to stretch. This must be a government conspiracy too, I’m sure of it.”
However, he had apparently gotten carried away, because one day he suddenly clutched his chest in front of the nurse duty station with a pained look on his face and groaned, “Abbahhhh, dammit, is it coming!?” and thrashed around.
The nurses broke into a cold sweat. Most of them thought there would actually be some sort of parasite bursting out of his belly. The siren rang, summoning the MPs. who subdued the patient running wildly through the hallways and bumping into things. His linens were in disarray and the hospital was in chaos.
However, that was just a joke of Itami’s and the nurses were furious when they realized that. At the same time, they understood. Itami was a man who did not know self-restraint. After discussing various ways to manage him, they decided to post fully-armed MPs to watch him 24 hours a day, with flamethrower-equipped personnel on standby in case of emergency.
And then Kurokawa ended up having to explain this new treatment to him.
“Yo, Kuro-chan. You look good in white.”
“El-tee. It’s good to see you well.”
“Nothing’s wrong with me, after all.”
“That said, this is still a hospital. Please stay in your room.”
“Ehhh, but it’s so boring. At least let me walk along the hallway.”
“So you can be wrestled down in front of the nurse station?”
“That, that was… in order to live up the mood in the air, it was so gloomy…”
“There’s no need for that in a hospital! Listen here, if you pull a stunt like that again, I’ll sterilize you, el-tee. It’s a bit of a shame, but as a medical professional, I believe that’s the proper way to deal with unknown illnesses and parasites. Disinfection with alcohol is too mild, and using formalin would be too troublesome. Therefore, a flamethrower would be the best solution. They do say fire is the best way to purge microbes, after all. Even those spores which can take high pressure steam cleaning will fall before an incinerator. In other words, “you have to clean dirty things~” While I am personally quite opposed to such methods, you and I are both JSDF personnel with a duty to the people, el-tee. It’s unavoidable for the sake of protecting our citizens from unknown parasites and aliens. I hope you’ll understand the importance of your job in protecting our people from an alien parasite. Do you understand? Has the message been transmitted from your auditory nerves to your brain yet? Has the message reached the depths of your brain yet? OK?”
She held a gigantic enema syringe and pointed its tip at Itami, which sent a chill down his spine. Even Itami had to submit to that.
“Good. El-tee, make sure to consider your position before doing anything.”
“Kuro-cha… er, Kurokawa, don’t you think you’re being a little intense?”
Perhaps he was feeling a little pressured, but Itami’s tone was more polite than usual.
“No. If it seems that way, then it must be because of you, el-tee.”
“But you weren’t like that when we went to Kunapnui…”
Kurokawa probably had an opinion on Itami’s words, because she nodded in admission.
“It must be because I haven’t worked a shift in a hospital for so long, so I’m a little excited. And I was never too happy to leave the nursing profession, so maybe I’m just a little happy about this.”
“What would your parents say if they saw you now…”
Itami imagined Kurokawa’s mom would go, “Give me back my daughter! It’s your fault that my sweet daughter ended up like this! Give her back to me!” or something.
“The fact is, my mother’s passed away already, and my father’s a captain on a JMSDF submarine, so he’s hardly at home. He’s probably going in circles on the seabed now.
This was the first time he had heard of this ー Itami’s eyes went wide.
“He, he’s a navy man!?”
“Yes. The JMSDF that complains about, “we don’t have anything to do in the Special Region”. The kind who want to ask everyone around ‘How is it? I said, how does it feel?’ among other things.”
“But, but surely the JMSDF gets a lot of the limelight already, right? Like how they’re always ready for a battle in the East China Sea, and they get a lot of light novels written about them like “Silence” and “Downfall”, so there’s no need to go show off in the Special Region, right?”
“That may be true, but I think the amount of involvement is somewhat unbalanced in favor of the land forces. I’ll just dream about Dad commanding a submarine sinking in the waters of the Special Region, then. After all, given the way of the world, such a thing might be possible in the future.”
“Sink - what do you mean sinks, Kurokawa? Can you really say something that terrible so happily?”
“Well, it’s a submarine, so it’s only natural for it to sink.”
“Surely there are better words for that, like submerge or sailing.”
“Indeed. Well, that was an unpleasant way of phrasing it.”
“I’m glad you understand that.”
“Then in turn, you have to be good, el-tee. I know this hospital bores you, el-tee, so I asked Rory and the others to come over.”
“Eh!? Rory and the others?”
Hang on ー Itami extended a hand.
“Ah, er, this…”
“You don’t want them around?”
No, no ー Itami shook his head. It was not that he did not like it, which is why he did not say he did not like it.
However, it did not make him happy either. That was because their arrival meant that he would have to abandon the feeling of liberation that came from being separated from the world.
Itami had the feeling that soon, he would be forced to make a decision. At the very least, he wanted to forget that while in this place. But he would not be able to speak the words even if people tried to rip them out from his mouth. Since Kurokawa was in contact with them, anything he said would soon reach their ears, and he would be in a tight spot.
“No. Thanks for your concern.”
And so, Itami spent his time in his ward obediently as he waited for the pretty girls to visit him.
According to the nurses’ rumors, there was a girl in a goth loli outfit dancing suspiciously, and she was taken in for questioning by the MPs. However, that was permitted as long as she did not bother the nurses.
Today was no different; Kurokawa came to check on him in her capacity as a nurse. Itami called out to her as he paged through a doujinshi.
“I’m so boooored~ I need to exercise~”
“How about some JSDF calisthenics, then?”
“JSDF calisthenics? That sounds lame.”
JSDF calisthenics… they were based on Channel 1 and 2 exercise broadcasts, but multiplied by two or three times. All JSDF personnel had learned them as recruits.
As Itami said, they were quite lame.
“Why is it all the exercises the Japanese can come up with are uncool things that look like they came from Billy’s Bootcamp?”
(TL Note: Exercise program created by Billy Blanks - popular in Japan for a while. Like Tae Bo in America)
Kurokawa replied to Itami’s complaints:
“El-tee, how about using your frontal lobe a little? If you want to do fashionable exercises, then invent them yourself. Maybe the PT instructors will notice and adopt it as the official JSDF exercise of this generation. The servicemen who are sick of the existing routine will loudly proclaim the name of the Itami Exercise to everyone who can hear it. For all you know, they might publish it on three DVDs and make a killing selling them on the home shopping networks. It’ll be famous the world over. People will hold meetings and everyone will be clamoring for you, Chief Itami. Good job.”
Kurokawa gave Itami a big thumbs up.
“Er, even if you say that, I don’t know what I should be doing.”
“When you have problems with an invention, you ought to change your perspective and copy from people who’ve made it. I suggest doing the JSDF exercises to the beat of Billy’s Bootcamp. Now get a move on!”
“Ah, y-yes!?”
Itami sprang off the bed.
“You want me to do… the JSDF calisthenics? Why that, all of a sudden?”
“I’m hoping that you’ll behave once you’re tired out, el-tee. That would save a lot of trouble later on. The night shift nurses will probably be able to say all’s well too. Now then, start running from there!”
Just as Kurokawa said, Itami began performing the JSDF calisthenics to the beat of Billy’s Bootcamp.
His body could not keep up with the rhythm, and his muscles began to cramp.
Kurokawa put a hand on her waist and looked down on Itami, who was on his knees.
“Since you’re not used to exercise, you might have torn some of your muscles. When you feel pain, you tense your muscles, and when the tensed portions tear, your pain intensifies and so on, in a vicious cycle. Shall I get an anesthesiologist to help ease the pain? No, that would make it meaningless. Maybe paste cooling plasters on you from head to toe. I’ve always wanted to see what a patient would feel when I applied cooling plasters and heating plasters at the same time. Oh no, don’t worry. The expired plasters in the pharmacy have already been labelled NG stock. We can’t let the country’s resources go to waste, no? If we do this, we won’t have to waste effort on disposing of them, and I’m sure they’ll thank us for it. Peeling off the plasters ought to feel good for you too, el-tee. Do you want to peel them off slowly? Or do you want to do it all in one go?”
“I don’t want either of them!”
Itami shook his head and shrank back onto his bed, but Kurokawa reached a silver packet containing the plasters and loomed close, driving Itami into the room’s corner.
“El-tee, this is essential treatment.”
“No way! This is over-treatment!”
“What do you mean over-treatment? It’s a free service.”
“You, you really have changed! You might have been a little sharp-tongued, but what happened to the pure and gentle Kurokawa I once knew!?”
“Ah, no. I’ve always been like this. I’ve simply been too polite all this while. But thanks to you, el-tee, I’ve gone from depressed to cheerful now.”
Itami had collapsed to the ground at some point.
The zipper of his hospital gown slowly slid down.
Itami screamed in the hopes of stopping it.
“Noooo, don’t! Someone! Anyone! Save me, Mr. Policeman!”
Itami looked at the MP stationed in the corner of his cell for help. However, MP Sergeant A simply smiled coldly and unconcernedly at Itami as he was being stripped.
However, just then, the door flew open with a “Yo! I’m here!”
Itami froze up.
“...What’s the meaning of this?”
Beyond the open ward door, the blonde-haired Tuka watched with her eyes wide open. One of Komakado’s men leaned over Tuka’s shoulder to see what was going on. Then there was Kuribayashi, supporting a bruised Tomita.

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