Chapter 5: Girl Meets Guardian
Yuu and Eriese stood in front of an elevator in their apartment as they waited. No one else was there with them. Only the two of them. The blonde boy and the white-haired girl. They stepped into the empty elevator and waited for several moments for it to close.
"So every elevator in Tokyo can go to Terminal Tetra, is that really true?" Yuu asked her.
"Affirmative." Eriese nodded as she started clicking every button rapidly. "Every junction and elevator connects to Terminal Tetra to smoothen operations. Anyone from DREA can easily come and go as they please. Some smart tunnels in the city are also modified to carry vehicles down with authorization"
"How big is Terminal Tetra to begin with?" Yuu asked as the elevator started to move.
"It spans the entirety of Tokyo." Eriese replied.
"Was it always like that?" Yuu raised an eyebrow.
"Affirmative." Eriese nodded.
Yuu quickly noted how she was wearing the same clothes she wore in the Grimgar. It looked very odd to him but it wouldn't stand out too much at an anime convention. Even so, it would stand out a lot at say, a walk in the city. It was a good thing for the both of them that it was early in the morning and there weren't as many people as there should be.
The elevator doors opened up and Yuu stepped out first. It was a huge white room with pillars protruding randomly with elevator doors on one side of each.
Eriese walked to his right towards a large door. He followed her and just as the two got near the door, it opened up, revealing a monorail track. There was a signboard beside the track that showed where each stop lead to.
They waited there together until a modern day monorail stopped at the station with a loud screech. Its doors slid open and the two entered the rather empty train. Half a minute passed and the doors closed shut. The monorail started to depart again.
"So the next attack is today?" Rin asked the operators.
Kyoji, whose spectacles were cracked for some reason, answered. "Yes. The dimensional divergence has been pinpointed to open up another portal today."
Momo was squeezing her twin buns, checking if they were of similar sizes. "Our supplies are taken care of and the evacuation team is already prepared to go. Our personal air force is also ready and each plane has been well maintained."
"What about the Grimgar?" Rin questioned.
"Maintenance is complete, but the pilots have yet to arrive." Fuyuki rested his feet on the screen.
"I'm here." Yuu blurted out, causing Fuyuki to gasp.
"Creepy ass kid!" Fuyuki shouted.
"Speak of the devil." Rin turned around to them. "Yuunagi, you have to pilot the Grimgar again today. Are you up for it?"
Yuu scratched his cheek as a sweat rolled down his forehead. "Well, I don't know if I-"
"I didn't ask for your opinion." Rin interrupted as she crossed her arms. "The matter at hand is that another Skryye is going to attack and you being a pussy won't be helpful."
"I'm not being a pussy." Yuu confuted with rage. "I'm being reasonable. I haven't the slightest clue what's going on here even with that infodump you threw on me several days ago. Hell, why are the Skryye even attacking Tokyo? Didn't the first one come from the North Pole? What do they want from Tokyo?"
"Don't ask me, I'm not a Skryye." Rin shrugged. "Every major city in the world has came up with their own defences against them, but it beats me why they came after Tokyo. Maybe it's because Tokyo is the centre of the universe? I don't know."
Yuu scowled. "In the end, I have to pilot a giant robot-"
"Her name's Grimgar." Eriese added quietly.
"-that I've never seen or heard of to fight against some alien things I've never known about. Really, I wish this was a dream or something. This isn't how I wanted my life to be."
"This is how the universe wanted it to be, so don't fight the waves." Rin turned around and picked up a set of folded clothes. She then tossed it at Yuu. "Get changed and then get in the hangar."
"Yeah, yeah." Yuu caught the clothes and left the control room with Eriese.
When the doors shut, Fuyuki looked back at Rin. "Didn't want to come clean with the truth eh?"
"He's not ready for it just yet." Rin shook her head. "He'll know when the time is right."
There was only one thing noticeable about the hangar and it was the Grimgar that was placed against the wall with clutches protruding beside it. Yuu and Eriese entered it and were greeted by the various scientists and mechanics that were there.
Yuu was changed into a zipped collared jacket that was white in the middle of the torso and orange around the sides and sleeves to the back. The sleeves stopped halfway through his arm and had an intentional three quarter circle cut out on the front side of the end. He wore a pair of white slacks that went down to his ankles.
"Grimgar!" Eriese was excited to see the giant robot. She ran from Yuu's side and stood in front of the robot with an ecstatic expression. "I'm sorry I've been gone for so long, did you miss me?" She paused for a moment, as if to listen. "Well, I'm back now so everything will be okay."
Yuu stared at the girl awkwardly for several moments.
"This happens every day." A gruff man's voice from behind Yuu made him jump.
"Uwagh!" Yuu shouted with surprise.
"Oh, sorry." The man slapped his back. Yuu looked back to see an olive-haired man in a standard flight suit.
"Mason Aurelius, was it?" Yuu tried to recall his name.
"Not bad, you remembered my name." Mason grinned. "I'll have you know that you are in the presence of an ace!"
"Yay." Yuu muttered without a shred of enthusiasm.
"My noobs are over there." Mason pointed at three pilots who stood together at one end of the hangar, chatting. "Kinda hard to tame them but I manage."
"But since the Grimgar's the only one that can fight the Skryye, doesn't that make the three of you cannon fodder?" Yuu asked bluntly, a metaphorical sword stabbing Mason.
"Hey don't underestimate the power of an ace pilot." Mason tried to regain his composure. "I swear, given the circumstances, I can and will take down a Skryye."
"Boss, the time's almost come!" A pilot shouted.
"Right." Mason ran to the group. He turned around to Yuu and gave him a salute. "Just remember, kid. If you can fight, fight to death!"
"Really helpful advice..." Yuu muttered with sarcasm.
He walked over to Eriese who was still 'chatting' with the Grimgar. When she noticed him, she grabbed his arm. "Look here, this is my wife who I told you about! He's a great cook! But he's always so lazy."
"(Who's the lazy one here?!)" Yuu shouted in his mind.
Luna waved at them as she approached. "Hello pilots! I, the mad scientist, has placed an insane creation into the cockpit of the Grimgar! A... Seatbelt!"
Yuu recalled how there wasn't a single belt or anything to stay attached to the seats in the cockpit the very first time he piloted it. He briefly noted how when she said the word, 'seatbelt', it sounded like a scientific breakthrough. "Shouldn't every vehicle have a seatbelt of some kind?"
"Yes but... Just pretend to be excited for me, please?" Luna looked at us with doe eyes.
"Hooray..." Yuu pumped a fist into the air without any enthusiasm.
The alarms went off and the hangar started to turn red from the flashing red lights. It was a signal that an attack had started.
"Hurry and get in the Grimgar!" Luna flailed her hands about.
Yuu and Eriese nodded and rode on a platform that led up to the open cockpit. Eriese hopped in first and climbed over the front seat and sat at the back. Yuu then jumped onto the front seat and buckled up.
With a push of a button, the cockpit began to close. Yuu let out a sigh as he looked at the controls and was able to tell what each one of it does. "Brain implants huh? My dad did that to his own son..." He then stared behind him at Eriese. "Say, Eriese, how do you know how to pilot this thing anyway?"
"Her name's Grimgar." Eriese replied with a hint of frustration in her tone. "I've been trained from the very moment I can remember to pilot with the use of computer simulations."
"So they trained you as a kid and placed implants in my brain..." Yuu bit his lip. "DREA... They're not trying to make themselves look good in my eyes..." He closed his eyes for a moment. "(My dad built the Grimgar... And they knew him too. He worked with DREA and then just disappeared...)"
"Are you two ready?" A small box appeared on their screen with a live image of Rin.
"Yeah..." Yuu muttered.
"Affirmative." Eriese nodded.
"Excellent." Rin smiled. "The Skryye has appeared in Sector 23. It seems docile at the moment but if it wakes up, there is no doubt that it will go on a wild rampage. Eliminate it fast and easy while its harmless."
"Understood." Yuu sighed.
The clutches on the Grimgar tightened and it was sent upwards. Yuu could only see brief hurtles of light as the catapult pulled the Grimgar away from the hangar at a fast speed.
A junction in the road right beside a row of shophouses opened up, revealing a large metallic door. It slid open as two beams protruded from it and brought up the Grimgar. Yuu felt a turbulence as the Grimgar fell to a sudden complete stop. The clutches let go and the Grimgar was ready to go.
"Evacuation has been complete." Fuyuki said. "Therefore, collateral damage is tolerable but it is highly advised to avoid it."
Kyoji then spoke up. "The target is 32 degrees south. Turn to engage."
"Why am I even doing this..." Yuu mumbled as he turned the Grimgar around.
The Grimgar ran through the city, leaving footprints in its wake. A Skryye was lying dormant on a building, almost as if it was asleep. It looked like a black furless werewolf and its legs had a white metallic plating. A single white mask obscured its face, making only its mouth visible.
"That looks different from the first one..." Yuu narrowed his eyes at it.
Right before they could even start doing anything, the Skryye suddenly snapped awake and let out a spine-wrenching roar. It jumped off the building and landed on the road with a huge crash. Its claw-like arms grew bigger and bigger as it walked to the Grimgar.
Yuu flipped a switch that made the Grimgar's left arm glow green. He then pushed a lever and made the Grimgar punch at the Skryye, shooting a blast of green energy. Just as it was about to hit, an orange barrier formed in front of the Skryye, blocking the shot entirely and spreading it away from its intended target, blasting away at the buildings instead.
"What the?" Yuu was shocked that the attack didn't work.
"The Skryye's QB Barrier is strong." Momo spoke up. "You'll have to break through it before you can harm it."
The Skryye then leapt up toward the air and came slashed at the Grimgar. Eriese quickly pushed her right lever and punched at the Skryye only to have it blocked the green-energy packed punch. With the open left hand, Eriese punched again, only for the Skryye to block it again with its other hand.
Yuu gritted his teeth and slammed on the pedal. The Grimgar swung its knee toward the Skryye and knocked it away from them. It got back on its feet and suddenly just rolled its claws into a fist as a red orb started to pop out of its chest.
"Oh crap, it's that attack." Yuu predicted what would happen. He backed the Grimgar several steps back and jumped behind a building for cover.
The Skryye suddenly shot a powerful red blast through the streets. Just as it crossed the junction Yuu and Eriese used as cover, it stopped for a moment and bent toward the two.
"What the-" Yuu was completely off guard as the blast hit them directly on the chest, sending the Grimgar flying across the street with a burnt armour on the chest. The two screamed in pain as they lay still on the chair.
Yuu found it odd. His chest felt like it was burnt even though he clearly could see that it wasn't. "That shouldn't have hurt me like that... Don't tell me that everything the Grimgar feels transfers to us? "
His train of thought crashed when he saw the Skryye standing over a building just above them. It leapt off and thrust its claws forward as it flew down on the Grimgar.
Yuu started to panic. He could see it claws clearly aimed at them. With an instinctive movement, he pulled the triggers on his levers and pulled them toward him, creating an orange barrier in front of the Grimgar as it guarded itself with its arms.
The Skryye's claw literally shattered the barrier as it pierced through.
The moment Yuu saw that, everything started to slow down. He could see its claw aimed for the cockpit. In fact, it was aimed slightly above him toward the back seat, toward Eriese. He could feel each heartbeat of his occurring at every split-second. With a fast push of a button, Yuu unfastened his seatbelt. He then turned around to Eriese and stood up the very moment the claw of the Skryye tore through the cockpit.
The claw pierced his back as he stood. Blood was flowing down his lips as a he started tremble with tears of pain.
Eriese looked at him with a surprised look. Her grey pupils wire dilating as she saw the youth spitting blood. Her hands were shaking.
"Why would you do this...?" Eriese asked him with a melancholic tone.
"Maybe..." Yuu mumbled as he coughed blood. "Maybe I just couldn't take living in this reality..."