Vandread Extra Stage Chapter 1

“Time and values exist pluralistically”

~From ‘Space and Spirit’~

Chapter 1: The Cornered Beast

Part 1

In the huge vacuum of space, there extends an ocean of countless stars. Humankind calls it ‘the universe’.

 

In a star system that was far away from Earth, there was the female-only planet of Majere and the male-only planet of Taraak.

Each had respectively set up their own country and, henceforth, the antagonism between them made them mutual rivals. Speaking of their origins, they had embarked from earth as part of an immigration fleet but the top brass had purposefully decided to separate them, resulting in the current situation. Naturally, the antagonism mentioned was also part of the scheme contrived by the top brass. For the sake of humanity on earth who had lost the possibility to evolve, they isolated men and women, the goal said to be a way for developing pure healthy reproductive organs. However, the second generation and on who were born and raised on these planets that were their homeworlds are unaware of this reality. Because of the complete guidance of the top brass, the men and women whose numbers were increased through cloning mutually hated each other as adversaries and suspected nothing.

In high planetary orbit over ‘Majere’, those who had arrived from Earth by ship had constructed floating urban dwellings that were linked together. Although the surface had been colonized, due to an accident that had happened a few years back the terraforming had been delayed.

Taraak was the third satellite of the planet Majere. Regarding the first and second satellites, they had both collapsed long before they had arrived here, the remains of which had formed giant asteroid belts that encircled Majere. Strangely as a result these asteroid belts had come to serve as the boundary line separating the states of men and women.

The manufactured antagonism between Taraak and Majere was still being preserved, but community was dealing with its own respective problems. Within this was the existence of the pirate crew ‘Magno’s Family’ which frequently appeared in the boundary region. It was a thieving crew of exclusively females led by Magno Vivan who was originally a priestess. They were originally part of Maejere’s national fleet but, with Majere’s terraforming plan getting off to a slow start, half of the citizens’ units were forced to practically be cut loose. In short they were reduced to refugees, and Magno established a camouflaged base in the asteroid belt, from which they navigated the outskirts of both countries attacking resource transport ships which they repeatedly looted.

As far as Magno and company were concerned, this was only natural as a means of self-sustaining themselves in order to survive, but for Taraak and Majere they were surely just a thorn in their sides.

Both countries became irritated and frequently plotted extermination plans for Magno’s Family, but they would always end in complete failure. Even finding their elusive hideout proved to be a near impossible task.

 

In the asteroid belt, right now, a single small ship was navigating it’s way through the asteroids that were floating there like a countless number of muddy streams both big and small. This small ship that was advancing as though weaving through the masses of rock that would come and go, it suddenly approached a relatively large asteroid.

This asteroid was certainly the hideout of Magno’s Family. The exterior of the asteroid was rugged in appearance, but the interior was a splendid space station with the potential to to dock several spaceships.

Due to the pirate’s precise maneuvering, the small ship seemed to glide as it made its landing approach to the docking port. The partition on the side of the small ship opened, and from within haggard looking women tumbled out and proceeded to enter the hideout.

The next to descend from the small ship was one of Magno’s Family’s leaders, Gascogne Rheingau, who had just rescued refugees from Majere. Having been ejected from their unit that was shut down a few years back, they had been aimlessly wandering through space.

“Gascogne!”

A voice called out to the last pirate to appear. With a haughty physique, this woman who was holding a toothpick in her mouth turned her head, and there was a smiling beautiful women dressed in a costume of that was tied in the front similar to a kimono.

“Rebecca!? ……Isn’t this unusual, for you to have come to greet me yourself.”

Gascogne who had been called out to by the woman faced her with a smile that was mixed with cynicism. However, the one named Rebecca was not the least bit perturbed.

“You’re so softhearted huhh……. Don’t think you can just lead every strange newcomer abandoned in space to this place!”

Rebecca’s manner of speaking contained maliciousness that was unbefitting her well featured looks. It seemed that these two both would exchange jests like this all the time, but to those listening nearby it was intolerable. Particularly for those people who had been lead to the hideout for the first time, whose facial expressions paled. Magno’s Family was intimidating. It was only natural that they wouldn’t find this amusing.

Everyone’s facial expressions had uniformly hardened, however there was only one among them, Barnette Orangello, who was scoffing as see watched the exchange between the two.

“Well then, this way everyone! Just to be sure we have to inspect your belongings. We are wanted women after all. It would be a serious matter if a spy were mixed in among you.”

As Rebecca urged the refugees with a courteous attitude, Gascogne gazed at her half-stunned.

“……Geez, if only you didn’t open your mouth you’d be such a good woman……”

“Surely that’s you! Surely you’d be more popular if you didn’t always say one phrase too many!”

While the two of them made sharp exchanges, the refugees dejected followed the pirates instructions. Somehow or another, Rebecca and Gascogne purposefully took on shy attitudes. Surely if anyone was told about their conversation they would it was a burst of excessive insubordination without composure.

During this, only Barnette’s expression showed dissatisfaction as she passed before Gascogne’s eyes while carrying her large luggage. Her gait was visibly wavering, and when she revealed the heavy clattering contents of her luggage the situation became clear.

“What is this? You didn’t try to carry your entire house in here right?”

Gascogne had spoken ridiculing Barnette, but Barnette merely hastened past while ignoring her. She remained silent when the crew offered to help carry her luggage, and vanished through to the other side of the door. Staring at that girl’s back, Gascogne floated a bitter smile and muttered.

“……Once again I’ve increased the number of dependents huh……”

Part 2

“Of the twenty-eight people we brought in this time, ten were from the second generation, eighteen were from the third generation.”

Rebecca was reporting what she had read on the data plate she had been previously given. The one listening was the chief of ‘Magno’s Family’, Magno Vivan herself.

Holding a cane in her rough and bony hand, her body wrapped in a hooded priestly garb, Magno, who was silently reclining in her seat in the tactical room, inclined her head as she listened to Rebecca speak.

“The number of refugees is increasing more and more. It’s becoming considerably cramped even here……”

Gascogne who was seated at Magno’s side let out a sigh mingled with her muttering. Thereupon Magno raised her face as though bored, and opened her mouth to speak.

“So many people without a place to go……. Furthermore, to say nothing of Taraak those people from Majere merely observe as they sit around and do nothing……. Geez, it’s like it’s the end of the world……”

Just as Magno had spoken, ‘Magno’s Family’ was no mere pirate crew. Due to the mutual hostilities, both countries were stockpiling resources morning and evening for military expansion, to the point that even the next day’s food to be distributed to the people was lost; so thus it could be said they were chivalrous thieves.

“As much as I would like to keep them here, we cannot hope to do so with our current supplies. Our current rate of weekly supplies would be quickly depleted.”

Rebecca followed up with more words while knitting her eyebrows.

“However, wouldn’t sending the crew out on more sorties than currently to bring back supplies put their health at risk am I right?”

Even though the completely understood Rebecca’s suggestion, Magno raised both hands in show of how she could not grant her approval. At this point, Gascogne turned and spoke to Magno.

“What if we were to divide them into two sortie teams?”

At the unexpected suggestion Magno’s wrinkled eyes widened as she looked at Gascogne.

“What is that you’re suggesting? I’m not yet considering retiring you know!”

Towards Magno who got offended like a young child, Gascogne spoke while smiling bitterly.

“Naturally you Captain are still the Captain of the entire force. Fortunately there’s the ship we retrieved a few days ago. If you were to entrust this warship to Rebecca it would be possible to augment our earnings.”

The occasions when Rebecca would sortie for the sake of assisting Magno, she would assume the duties of executive officer. However, if she were to be installed as captain of the second warship, it would be necessary for there to be someone else who would serve as advisor to Magno.

“Then Gascogne, the one you would have become the Captain’s advisor?”

Rebecca sought to ascertain Gascogne’s intentions. Gascogne spoke apathetically.

“Being a stagehand is what suited me from the beginning. I have no desire right now to climb up onto the stage.”

“Then is there someone you say should be the Captain’s advisor?”

Towards Gascogne who was not readily revealing her true thoughts, Rebecca strengthened her tone in apparent impatience. Gascogne grinned broadly as though she had been waiting for that.

“How about we place Buzam as executive officer?”

The moment she heard the name of that person, Rebecca’s expression hardened.

“Buzam A. Calessa, huh……? However, she’s still……”

“It hasn’t been long since she came here? However on the occasion of our previous earnings it was her quick thinking that got us out of a pinch. I think she’s quite the whiz.”

Regarding the topic of Buzam that was just brought up, she was someone who had just recently been welcomed into the hideout. Having been within an escape pod that was drifting through space, she was a strong person who had grown up living all alone. Even with this personal history, even Magno had placed her trust in this person at first glance.

“……I see, that might not be a bad idea……”

Hearing Buzam’s name, even Magno didn’t find it wholly unlikely. However, even if Magno seemed to be satisfied, Rebecca’s expression of rejection indicated that she was not completely satisfied.

“If she’s good to be the Captain’s advisor, who then would there be for the Dread Team? The only one from among the rookies that I’ve seen that gives me peace of mind in Meia! Besides what would those guys say if we were to make changes to the veteran team……”

As Rebecca’s tone implied, each of the veterans were not those who could be dealt with by ordinary means.

Originally Magno’s Family would sortie with a single mothership, which was equipped with fighters called ‘Dreads’ which would be deployed, which would conventionally attack the transport ship that was the target. In other words, with the Dread Team being the vanguard their attack was an important factor.

In contrast to her authoritative manner of speaking, Rebecca was the cautious type. Unless she understood every possibility she would not nod her head in agreement. Knowing her character all too well, Gascogne’s lips bent into a broad grin as she spoke.

“The veterans will stay as is. We’ll continue to entrust Valore as their leader. {TN: This is spelled ヴァロア in Japanese (Lit: Valoa/Varoa) but I’m assuming it’s supposed to be Valore, which is the name that appears in the anime.} For their backup, why don’t we have the rookies play a leading role in its formation, and then have Meia be their leader? That way, I think things would would go smoothly if I’m there backing them up with Reg……”

Regarding the name Meia mentioned above, when Magno had been visiting her homeland of Majere incognito the other day, she had personally scouted that person. Originally having been a young celebrity on Majere, Meia herself had even been extravagantly praised as the mascot of the terraforming project. However, because of the surface accident a few years ago she was orphaned, and by then she had completely closed of her heart. As such Magno had taken pity on her, and facing down Gascogne and Rebecca’s objections, had brought her back to the hideout.

Though at first she had no communication with anyone else, due to her obstinance at increasing her Dread piloting skills, her abilities nowadays had even astonished the veterans.

 

“…………”

At the plan Gascogne had laid out, even Rebecca who one would expect to reply had nothing to add. Originally an officer from Majere, for Gascogne when it came to the responsibility of force composition it was ‘something she’d learned in the old days’.

“……It’s agreed then……”

Having seen the situation of the pair of them Magno grinned broadly and spoke. Somehow or another it seemed as though she had been thinking the same thing. Although, since those close to her such as Gascogne and Rebecca had struck first before Magno could make the proposal, Magno’s Family as a group would not be disdainful about it.

“However, immediately splitting our forces in two is unreasonable. It would be prudent to continue gathering resources in our current state for a short while, and then during that time slowly transition to the new formation.”

Rebecca was staring at Gascogne as she spoke declaring what could be called a compromise, to which Gascogne replied with a satisfied nod.

Thus, the result was that Magno’s Family became an even larger family.

 

“EH!? Is that true!?”

“Positive since the attendant in charge of checking everyone’s belongings said so!”

“But for nearly all of her luggage to be filled with weapons!?”

“Moreover they even appeared to all be antiquated projectile guns!”

The conversation in the hideout’s cafeteria was nothing but gossip about the newly arrived members. Although this had half become an established practice whenever new members arrived, this time an especially novel appearance had caused the crew to become excited. Naturally the subject of the rumor was Barnette.

According to the information about Barnette, after her unit had shut down, she had lived a life of isolation having been separated from her parents. This itself wasn’t such an unusual thing among Magno’s Family, but what had surprised them was what Barnette had been carrying in her luggage. What Barnette had been carrying in her luggage had been different types of firearms numbering well into the scores. Furthermore, they were mostly vintage items as they were called that had been manufactured on Earth in the twentieth century. While the crew had greeted her with smiles, Barnette’s attitude showed nothing but disappointment, with the only object of interest to her at the present being her peculiar personal effects.

“Hasn’t she stood out as an impertinent child since she arrived?”

This husky voice resounded throughout the atmosphere of the cafeteria. Just as the crew’s countenances hardened, silence instantly enveloped the surroundings. This was because they understood who the owner of that voice was.

“……Jura……”

The crew fearfully turned and raised their faces and there, shaking her wavy beautiful blonde hair, one of the Dread Pilots, Jura Basil Eldin was the one they caught sight of as she stepped forward. Each time she took a step, from inside of the slit of the flowing dress that hugged her hips, her voluptuous thighs kept appearing and disappearing. For Jura who boasted the best proportions among Magno’s Family, her personality was such that she couldn’t be satisfied if she wasn’t always drawing attention to herself. For this reason she would relentlessly check up on newcomers.

Most of the crew perceived Jura as having a haughty personality, and tried as best as they could not to damage her mood. Therefore, although so far there hadn’t been any major strife, it now seemed that she was checking up on the topic of Barnette the crew had been monopolizing and she did not appear to find it amusing.

“Well? ……Where has that child been assigned?”

無題021

Speaking calmly as she approached the crew member who had been gossiping, Jura wore a smile on her lips as she spoke. However, that sharp glint in her eyes, it could clearly be understood that she was jealous of Barnette’s being the object of the rumors.

……R-Reg, that was it……”

Like a frog being watched by a snake, the crewmember whose body had stiffened answered in apparent fear. Upon hearing this Jura’s narrowed eyes narrowed even more as she snickered.

“……Reg, huh…………fufu……so she’s been dispatched to such a convenient place huh……”

‘Reg’ was a unique designation on Majere, which referred to a common military division who were assigned duties similar to maintenance.

The Dread fighters used by the pirates of Majere, whose base unit was nothing but a core engine and a cockpit, it’s versatile ‘plain body’ had been constructed to be able to exchange various equipment such as beams, missiles, and even boosters. When the pilots would sortie they visit ‘Reg’, where they would use an ‘order’ system to select the equipment they desired. The people who accepted those orders were the ‘Reg Crew’, and that was the place to which Barnette was assigned.

 

“B-but, Gasco-san is currently the shop manager……”

The crew member had guessed Jura’s plan, and added a few words while timidly peeking at her expression. For Gascogne who had a good disposition as an older sister-type, to Magno’s Family she was an existence akin to a crime lord’s henchman. To create turmoil under the nose of that Gascogne was unappealing to say the least.

However, in Jura’s case she did not appear to be concerned at all.

“Ara? Did you say something to me? Hey now……however the principal of this rumor, you should be glad that I would come into contact with such ‘ordinary’ work.”

Contrary to her language, she, who was just thinking of a way to pick on the audacious newcomer, suddenly changed as her beautiful face became distorted with ugliness.

“…………”

For the crewmember who was silently staring at Jura’s back, those parting words gave her a premonition of strife. At the table along the wall, Meia, who was drinking coffee alone in silence, let out a sigh at all this trouble and, feeling that it had nothing to do with her, turned her face towards the window facing outer space.

 

At that time, not being at all aware of herself being at the center of this strife, Barnette was sighing in front of a large mirror in the ‘Reg’ changing room.

“……Why do I need to have this kind of appearance?”

Regarding the girl in the mirror who was muttering with a fed up look, her body was currently garbed in the costume of the ‘Reg Crew’ she’d been assigned to. It had a pink miniskirt with frills attached to it and a large ribbon. This was some kind of quite old fashioned waitress. For Barnette to be dressed up this way that was far from her style, she felt nothing other than embarrassment.

However, “Being one of Magno’s Family’s pirates I can’t voice any more complaints, huh……,” she persuaded herself, and opened the door to the Reg Booth.

 

“SMILE, SMILE∼∼∼∼!”

Just as Barnette opened the door she was shocked by the great chorus that resounded throughout ‘Reg’. Her colleagues, under Gascogne’s leadership, were practicing their voices there.

“Never forget that the job of us who work behind the scenes is to make that group of pilots feel comfortable! When that group works perfectly, we’re able to return with an abundance of earnings! However, to begin with that only holds true are perfect with the preparations! Isn’t that right!?”

“YE~~~~AH!”

Barnette had been instantly dumbfounded, but managed to reign in her surprised and astonished expression as she gazed at the crew members  with composure. Noticing this Gascogne smiled over at her as though with ridicule and spoke.

“Oya? Miss newcomer seems excessively nervous, or is it that you’re unable to be separated from the wall?”

At Gascogne’s provocative words, Barnette merely faced her with an expression of open disappointment.

“I’m Barnette Orangello! Moreover I’m not at all nervous!”

Towards her getting worked up Gascogne responded by shrugging her shoulders.

“Not very composed huh, Barnette. The first step of your job at Reg is to smile.”

Somehow Gascogne was able to remain calm, but apparently she hadn’t conveyed everything she wanted to Barnette.

“I’m able to smile at all times! More than that please teach what my work responsibilities are! Therefore if you could show me to the kitchen!”

At Barnette’s attitude, her Reg Crew senpai {TN: Seniors if you weren’t aware} put on displeased expressions. Without trying to think, Barnette appeared like a cornered beast baring its fangs at its surroundings, an emotion Gacogne remembered and was deeply sympathetic towards. It wasn’t just her, others had strayed into Magno’s Family, and without exception the reason could be said to be due to them having born some kind of emotional scar.

“……I see, Barnette. ……Well then, to start with there are some words you need to drive into your head. Is that okay?”

Thinking that scolding her would backfire, Gascogne switched over to an energetic business tone. In response Barnette fixed her glare upon Gascogne and asked again.

“What is it then?”

At which point Gascogne spoke with a quiet voice as though admonishing her.

“Even with sharp ice, if it is placed under the light of the sun it eventually becomes rounded……”

“Even I’m fed up with trying to be friendly with her!”

 

At the end of Barnette’s first day working with the Reg Crew, Gascogne who had returned to her room annoyed was spouting abusive language while stripping.

“Although I thought I could break in anyone who came here without resorting to violence……. Unexpectedly that was a false impression.”

Unable to restrain her resentment, as she wandered around the room restlessly she raised a complaint with someone as though jeering. It’s for certain that for her the work of ‘Reg’ wasn’t something that could relieve her boredom. Besides that she had also resented being coerced into cooperating with the all important smile.

Barnette’s original character was one that preferred reasonable measures. She was quick deprecate others. And then, the unfortunate thing about her was she was someone with the ability to master any skill. For that reason, if she was taught something once she would immediately understand it as though it was her own craft. Even with the Reg work manual she had understood it after glancing through it once, and she even understood the Dread part swapping system. It was to the extent that even Gascogne who was teaching was amazed. However, even if those around her praised Barnette, she was unable to obediently accept it. When it came to words of praise, one couldn’t sense her as being able to understand such a simple thing as anything other than the excuses of people with low ability.

If you have a hundred people you’ll have a hundred people’s values it seems. That is to say, it was not merely her own standards, there also exists the standards of others upon which their value systems were based and whose conclusions couldn’t be altered.

However, when it came to Barnette on this occasion she was unable to measure anything by anything other than her own value system. To put it in other words, for her to not honestly accept the praise from those around her, the reason was that she had no confidence in herself.

Barnette it seemed was a great complexity.

Regarding this, the cause was how in the past she had to support her mother and sisters. Born as the third of five sisters, the result was she had been born into the most disadvantageous position. The older sisters had their instructions for her, while the younger sisters were dependent on her. Furthermore even here her skilful disposition was her ruin, as even from her parent’s perspective she wasn’t a child that they needed to lift a hand for. That is to say, being part of such a large family, she was constantly without the ability to assert herself and thus had to look after herself in isolation.

Of course she had asserted herself, but her efforts to assert herself went unnoticed. Her impatient feelings of not going along with this reality where she had no say lead to the outbreak of violent impulses within her. However, when it came to the matter of such dangerous emotions even she was capable of understanding. And so, she stifled her emotions in order to restrain that impulse. The resentment that couldn’t be put into to words turned into increasingly more stress within her, a vicious cycle that continued to repeat.

 

Her Oma, the existence that holds the position of father from a normal parent’s perspective, had worked at a archives unit that had been closed down. It was for this reason that she had come across vintage firearm items. Oma had a common saying about the wordlessly silent display of items, and it would not be an exaggeration to say this helped to determine the character of her descendant.

‘What these historical historical relics tell us, no matter how many complain of how uninteresting it is, is what proves the veracity of history.’

Hence, for these firearms that had been born by the vanguards of humanity’s foolish history, they became something that she herself would repeatedly look over. And thus before she knew it, without allowing for compromise, she developed a strange personality that wasn’t interested in anything else.

The firearms she had brought with her to the hideout, they were forgotten in the confusion of the unit being close down and she had retrieved them from the museum. Simultaneously she disappeared from her family, and in order the satisfy the aggressive impulses that had been building up within her body she joined Magno’s Family.

 

“There really isn’t anybody who understands how I feel huh! Even if they act all friendly on the surface in the end they’ll end up betraying me someday!”

Her empty abusive language continued.

It was nothing but impatient unseen venting, but with no one around to listen it merely swirled around inside Barnette’s mind.

Part 3

‘Taraak troops ships confirmed in the asteroid area! All available crew members please prepare to sortie!’

The voice of the operations crew member resounded from the speakers within the hideout. That was the time that Magno’s Family began to mobilize. Starting with the Dread Crew, the engine crew and Dread pilots simultaneously ran towards the women’s mothership, Eden.

‘Is Buzam there?’

Buzam brought up the monitor in the radar control room, displaying the figure of the Executive Officer Rebecca.

“Yes, I’m here……”

To Buzam who had replied in a calm tone, Rebecca took on a solemn tone as she made her short transmission.

“……Understood.”

Receiving Rebecca’s request, Buzam replied in a manner devoid of emotion without any astonishment, and then left the radar room with a resolved attitude. It was only the other control crew members who had been taken aback at the situation. That was the extent of the great promotion in Buzam’s position.

Even though it was a quick pace, towards Buzam who was advancing through the passageway with her chest puffed out, the crew members passing by would look at her with envious gazes. Turning around a bend, as she arrived at the embarkation gate, what appeared before her eyes was the mothership Eden that was in possession of Magno’s Family.

“…………”

Until then Buzam had been pretending to be completely expressionless, but seeing the mothership was enough to make mouth slacken slightly.

‘She’ in reality was a spy dispatched from Taraak, a lieutenant colonel of Taraak’s Special Intelligence Division, Uragasumi Tenmei. {TN: Interestingly, this is one of the few names that’s actually written in Kanji.} However, the pirates at this moment had not been made aware of ‘her’ true colors.

Regarding how ‘she’, or rather ‘he’, would divulge those true colors, that was something that happened later, as this was approximately two years prior to that.

 

“Main engine start, all systems are booting up favorably……”

“Gantry lock release, autobalancer, condition green!”

While the bridge crew were gazing at the console data, they were communicating the status of the warships departure.  Within this hurried atmosphere, Buzam who was visiting the Eden’s bridge for the first time was standing completely still in hesitation. Thereupon, from her right side, “You’re seat is over here,” a voice cried out to her gently. The owner of the voice was Ezra Vielle, one of Eden’s operators. Within the tension floating in the bridge, her character was such that she was the only person whose calm atmosphere wasn’t disturbed. Merely seeing her gently smile was enough to win almost everybody over, and even Buzam let out a sigh.

“All ships advance slowly! Set course 3-7-3!”

As Buzam lined up by the left operation seat that Ezra had indicated, from behind Rebecca raised an official announcement with a lively voice. Hearing that Buzam looked over her shoulder in apparent astonishment.

“Wouldn’t that be reversing our course!?”

Thereupon which Rebecca, seemingly having expected Buzam’s inquiry, put on a broad impish smile.

“I don’t remember permitting you to ask questions.”

“However……”

Yet nevertheless, towards Buzam who seemed to want to voice her lack of consent, Ezra whispered some timely help to her from the adjacent seat.

“Buzam-san, it’s because we’re pirates……. If we were to set a direct course wouldn’t many others successfully stumble upon the hideout?”

That is to say, by purposefully taking a roundabout way they would repeatedly point their course towards different landmarks, is what one could say. It was this caution that was the reason Magno’s Family had become known as the Phantom. Compared to the ideas of Taraak of facing everything head on it was a completely opposing mindset.

“Please excuse me……”

Having appreciated everything, Buzam faced forward in bewilderment and obediently obeyed her instructions.

 

On the other side of things, the awkward one who has yet to understand how to cooperate with others, namely Barnette Orangello, had been permitted to embark upon the Eden for the first time under the order from the Manager of Reg, Gascogne Rheingau. Her mood had improved as a result. Concerning the impulsive urges that were beyond her control, this ‘sortie’ had been the greatest stimulation.

“As soon as we capture our prey, we’ll be launching the assault without stopping. In order to prevent any commotion this time be prepared to follow your orders from here on out!”

Gascogne raised her voice in order to boost the morale of everyone present. Barnette heartbeat was pounding at her first time on the frontlines.

 

As the Eden was weaving through the asteroid belt that served as camouflage towards the marked Taraak party of resource transports that was heading on a directly opposing path, it changed course several times. Nonetheless, their ‘prey’ wasn’t going to be waiting around for them. Even as the warship was taking this distorted route through space, Buzam as the operator never once took her eye off of their ‘prey’s’ position. With these dizzying changes in both route and coordinates, she was so busy her eyes were literally spinning.

Even so Buzam was silently engaged in her work. As for Magno and Rebecca who were staring at her from behind at this time, they exchanged a glance in silence and nodded to each other.

When they had made their sixth course alteration, at last the group of Taraak transport ships was visible in front of the Eden.

 

Having confirmed the warship’s silhouette on the radar sight Rebecca began raising her voice from her seat.

“Place the entire ship on combat readiness! Gascogne! Dread Team standby!”

 

Receiving Rebecca’s announcement, Reg became just as busy. At the same time at several places throughout Reg the entrance gates all opened simultaneously, after which the Dread pilots began to pile in with Valore and Meia taking the lead.

“IRASSHAIMASE∼∼∼∼! {TN: This is a form of welcome usually used for shops. Roughly translated it’d be like “Welcome to our establishment”.}

In response to the pilots, who were rushing towards the ten odd counters placed there with tense expressions, the Reg Crew members received them with smiling faces. The exception was Gascogne the Shop Manager who sat it the big chair as she stared at them with a look of satisfaction.

“Valore Starke! Close combat kit with added timer-equipped missile pods!”

Valore who was the Dread Team Leader was the first to announce her desired equipment. Simultaneously she presented the Reg Crew member facing her with a card. It was obligatory for the pilots to present one of these when they received their equipment.

Although they caused a lot of uproar among the people of both Majere and Taraak, that didn’t mean that Magno’s Family had infinite resources. Since there was a need to conserve resources, the pilots were obligated to use a system called the ‘Point System’. The way this worked was that, when they would place the order for their ship’s equipment, the system was that they needed the points to exchange for that equipment. In other words, it was a type of shopping. By performing meritorious deeds with that equipment, it became a structure where those points could be reclaimed. Because of this system in which the pilots were restrained from wastefully expending weapon ammunition, they were able to successfully economize their resources.

“That comes out to forty points! How about adding a blitz back-shield to that?”

To this Reg Crew member’s advice, Valore spoke with a wide grin as she turned to look at the one beside. The one who was ordering at the counter neighboring hers was Meia.

“That’s not necessary for me, but if you like why don’t you treat Meia, huh?”

Given how she had distinctively pointed out Meia Gisborn just now, together with how the team’s number one Valore had tipped her hat to her so to speak, implied that she saw her as some kind of rival.

“……No, thank you……. My pace isn’t slow enough that I can’t avoid Taraak beams.”

It was a jest to oppose Valore’s provocation, in which Meia retaliated with naught but words without so much as a chuckle. Towards this attitude of hers, Valore became sullen in apparent disappointment. Towards Meia, who had closed off her heart, avoiding contact with others, Valore was concerned in her own way, however she could not understand her way of thinking. As far as Meia opening her heart, it seemed that more time was needed for that.

 

“For me I’ll take the homing laser set with multi warhead missiles, and also an additional diffusion shield if you please!”

Standing before the counter with a composed attitude, Jura spoke while brushing her beautiful blonde hair. The other party receiving her order was Barnette. Ever since showing up at the hideout, it had become irritating how she had been the sole topic of conversation. In terms of higher position, surely Jura who was a pirate was in a position of superiority. Jura’s goal was to instruct this impertinent girl from a ‘Position of Superior Title’.

However, Barnette who was facing her was not smiling. Rather than because the other party was Jura, behaving in a way to earn the favor of others was something she couldn’t do for anyone. To this attitude of hers, Jura was openly displaying her discomfort, and then, regarding the words that were then spoken by Barnette, they were shocking to everyone else who was in Reg.

“I think that equipment is much too useless. You had better take another moment to reconsider your order.”

“Just a minute! What in the world is this!?”

To Barnette’s unexpected reply, Jura raised a shocked voice that was beyond angry.

It was not unreasonable that Jura was surprised. Once the pilots have placed their orders, it had never happened that the Reg Crew working behind the scenes refused them.

The pilots were the ones constantly putting their lives in danger. That they were always the ones in the best position to decide upon the equipment that matched their abilities was considered a natural right.

However, Barnette who wasn’t shy at the situation continued speaking in a subdued manner.

“Your equipment uselessly focusses excessively on defense. Even if you don’t harden your guard so much you shouldn’t take that much damage if you use sufficient evasive maneuvers. Moreover, using a homing laser in close quarters combat is quite capable of bestowing damage upon your allies as well. Besides……”

Against Barnette who was listing off her matter-of fact reasons, a vein began to sell in Jura’s forehead in indignation.

“You, do you know who you’re speaking to!?”

Jura already had twice as much high pride as most others. So since, far being shown respect as a senior, she was now being spoken to with openly critical thoughts, it was not unexpected that she was exposing her anger. It has to be said that even those nearby were sympathetic to Jura’s side in this case. Nevertheless Barnette did not apologize. This was due to the conviction within her. Since the time it had been decided that Barnette would be assigned to the Reg Crew, she had studied the entire Dread equipment exchange system. From the beginning when she was collecting antique firearms, Barnette had held a great interest in weapon systems.

Her personality of not flattering others has a tendency to show from time to time, but she won’t show any opening to exploit when it comes to her theories on weapons. That was the current Barnette. If she believed she was right, she look upon others as fools.

“It is useless in many ways, that’s all I’m saying.”

Without caring about the danger that was spreading through the surrounding, Barnette obstinately did not concede. Indignant, Jura was about to seize her, and that’s when it happened. A hand extended from Barnette’s side, and Jura’s order was approved.

“!?”

Barnette turned her face having been taken aback, and there was Gascogne with a calm smile.

“How awful, Jura. We have been very busy of late……. I did say that we’re economizing due to a lack of inventory.”

Of course this was Gascogne’s quick wittedness at work. However, for the haughty Jura it was impossible to appease her even with a direct apology from Gascogne who was an executive within Magno’s Family.

“Fu……fu∼∼∼∼n. I-Is that so,” she said, her cheeks stiffening as she obediently stepped aside. However, Barnette who was not satisfied with this situation opened her mouth to say something to Gascogne. However, before she could say a word Gascogne firmly gripped Barnette’s shoulder and urged her into the interior of Reg.

 

The place Barnette was brought was the upper level of Reg that was the hanger for the Delivery Ship. The pirates designated their supplemental ammunition supplies to the Deli. Since the delivery ship cannot help but to face the dangerous front lines as its resupplying, it would be an understatement to say that it demanded of the one steering it the skills that were no less than that of a Dread Pilot.

This was Gascogne’s main role. Given that this time the opponent was a convoy, they had just finished preparations ahead of time for the Deli Orders that were to come.

“I need you to carefully listen to what I’m saying. No matter how many sound arguments you make not everyone is going to just nod their heads in agreement.”

Having said this, Gascogne seemed to toss angry Barnette into the Delivery Ship’s cockpit as though imprisoning her.

 

Under Gascogne’s splendid piloting, the Delivery Ship sharply accelerated as it launched itself into outer space. The feeling was precisely like boarding a jet-coaster. Although her body was jolted by the intense Gs, Gascogne merely hummed calmly.

Truthfully, this was something Gascogne excelled in, namely a method for placating problem children. Now and again there were young people full of youthful vigor, however there were cases where that was accompanied by a purely impatient attitude that took precedence over their true ability. In such situations, only objections and complaints emerged from their mouths, and let alone distancing themselves from the group, there was concern they might even put their lives in danger. Whenever Gascogne sees such young women, she’ll speak to them plenty before placing them in the Delivery Ship, where regardless of whether they agree to it she shows off the difference in their abilities. For most of the young women in these cases she admonishes them for their pride.

However, it was slightly different with Barnette this time. Rather than feeling timid at her first time experiencing such extreme Gs, not to mention her first time seeing a battle with her own eyes, on the contrary she felt even more exalted.

“Oya? I did think you had a stronger than average backbone……”

Even Gascogne raised her eyebrows in surprise. The girl this time was quite interesting, as Barnette was leaning forward in ever increasing excitement.

“The opponent’s counterattack is concentrated on the port side! They’re currently gathering together so as to lay down a barrage!”

Although she was in an excited state, Barnette’s analysis was to the point.

“So missy, why do you think so?”

As Gascogne skillfully operated the Delivery Ship, she posed this question to Barnette out of curiosity. Thereupon which Barnette replied joyfully as she gazed intently at what was before her eyes.

“While studying the Reg equipment exchange system, one ought to learn Dread formations and organization, or at least that’s what I believed……. Until yesterday I thought I understood the main points, however only being in the simulator a few times doesn’t convey the feeling……”

“Well then missy, you can pilot a Dread then!?”

She had certainly recognized that Barnette was highly skilled, but not only was she delighted at the flashy battle, Gascogne was further shocked that she had calmly assessed the state of affairs before she herself had realized it.

“I, I don’t like it if the situation in incomprehensible to me, nor do I want to accept such a thing. Up until now, it has been my plan not to be someone who voices complaints in such on such occasions, and it continues to be my goal going forward.”

Even if it was Gascogne, she was still astonished by how obstinately strong her competitive spirit was. Certainly it was as Barnette had said, she had pledged for her speech and conduct to be flawless; hence it seemed as though she had the sufficient requisite support. However, Gascogne recognized that what she was lacking was and objective view of herself and respect for the individuality of others.

“……Certainly everything single thing you said may be reasonable. Nevertheless though, it would be a great mistake to believe that everyone else thinks the same as you do.”

“……? In what way would that be?”

Barnette, who was unable to understand what Gascogne was trying to say, for the first time looked over with a puzzled expression. Subsequently, Gascogne jerked her chin as she flew forward having seen an opportunity to bring up the issue with Jura.

“Jura has many of her own views for example. If you look at it from her view, wouldn’t a reliable shield be useful for providing backup to her comrades?”

As Gascogne said, although Jura usually behaves with a haughty attitude, in battle she understood precisely which parts would get the job done.

“That child certainly has a lot of pride. However, compared to that she is surprisingly rather tender-hearted……. You can’t judge someone based solely on their appearance.”

However, Barnette was still unable to understand what Gascogne was trying to say.

“All that matters is results. If they’re just going to lick each other’s wounds, it means they’re weak.”

Seeing that Barnette wouldn’t say any other than subjective remarks of that sort, Gascogne felt something similar to pity. And then, a fresh plan simultaneously merged within her.

5 thoughts on “Vandread Extra Stage Chapter 1

  1. Hi! Thank you so so much for translating this novel! I’ve liked this anime for many years now and I have always wanted to read the sequel but there was nothing online, just the other day I felt like rewatching the anime and trying to see if there was a translation of the novel now, already expecting nothing as usual since it is a pretty old series and sorprise there was! I’ll read the entire thing ASAP once I’m done rewatching, again than you so so so much!!!

    Like

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