Vandread Volume 1 Chapter 1

“One who hangs their head in the face of hopeless despair, cannot see the brightly lit future.” -Quote from an unknown soldier

Chapter 1: Men are from Planet Taraak, Women are from Planet Majere

Part 1

‘Women are demons!!’

From the speaker there was a hysterical address being broadcast.

A thin atmosphere and red soil. A canyon on a planet where no one could be seen farming, a layer of atmosphere clinging to it. From this unnatural scene, it’s clear that this place is a planet created artificially through terraforming.

On either side of this layer of shaky atmosphere, gun platforms of various shapes and sizes are emplaced. And, the muzzles all uniformly, as though expecting someone to pay a visit from up above, were all set up vertically.

‘Once woman ate men’s innards, ridiculed them, and drained the life from them!’

“UOooo∼∼∼∼!!”

With the voice of the speech a deep shout was heard throughout the base of the canyon.

Spread around the canyon beneath the layer of atmosphere, precisely reminiscent of a construction site for a dam, was a city built of pipes and steel frames.

Through what would be called ‘Urban Planning’ the layout of the cables and pipes was a far cry from disorderly. And then there were the rustic gigantic gears jutting out that were slowly rotating heavily.

Rusty, and moreover the uncomfortable sight of pitch black oil oozing from everywhere, as well as the steam generally wafting through the city, all gave rise to a feeling of oppression akin to being locked up.

At the center of that city, in the place that was apparently the plaza, a crowd of men had assembled. All of the men in the crowd had been organized into groups by by their various ages, with those in their thirties and forties being the most numerous. They each had slightly dirty garments, plain hairstyles, slightly visible stubble, and there did not appear to be any deviation in the level of their height.

In the center of the plaza in which this crowd that had gathered, an enormous bronze statue depicting the city’s founder had been placed. That figure towered over seven others depicting equally brave men of accomplishment, each with a gaze free of hesitation, their left arms were raised in a show of power as they stared straight ahead.

Shown before the figure, with height of approximately five hundred meters, an enormous pedestal stood, at the summit of which, illuminated by countless spotlights, in what at first glance appearing to be a temple, a spaceship had been enshrined.

‘Let me say it one more time! Women are demons!!’

This important address was being shown on multiple monitors placed on this central pedestal.

Illuminating a magnificently smooth shaven head and a rich moustache, clad in a military uniform crammed full of splendid medals, there was a hard faced man, a vein visible on his forehead as he delivered the fervent speech. A display on the lower part of the screen read ‘Taraak Empire Second Generation Prime Minister’, who was apparently the current leader of this city.

‘Throughout several millions of years of mankind’s history, since a long time ago, due to the ‘destructive urges’ of those hateful women they have repeatedly pillaged from men; because of their ‘oppressive nature’ they forced them to perform severe hard labor!’

“UOoooo∼∼∼∼!”

Coming off as a madman with the way he was clenching his fist as he delivered his fervent address, the Prime Minister appeared as though he was getting drunk off his own words.

However, even this could not match the swelling arousal of the crowd. Everyone, clenching their fists in unison, were staring fixedly at the monitor were a strange glint in their eyes.

‘Putting an end to this longstanding history of disgrace and subjugation, having reclaimed our dignity as men……’

“BAH!”

Suddenly, as the Prime Minister began speaking of the men of accomplishment they all yelled and stood at attention.

‘Graciously, our great founding father, it goes without saying I’m speaking of his excellency Gran Pa, the foremost of the first generation ‘The Eight Virtuous Men’!’

Simultaneous with this statement of the Prime Minister, the multiple monitors all displayed a close up of the aforementioned bronze statue.

It appears that the central figure was the one the Prime Minister called “Gran Pa”, and along with the images of seven others surrounding it, it seemed they were each known as “The Eight Virtuous Men”.

‘The revivers of men’s dignity, and moreover for us the ‘fathers of this world’, the time has come for us to repay our great debt to the ‘The Eight Virtuous Men’ who guided us here with our loyalty!’

The Prime Minister’s speech was filled with even more power, as his facial expression changed to one of hatred.

‘Even to you gentlemen it is common knowledge, that today the frequent wrongdoings of those unforgivable women……’

As the crowd that was gazing forward gulped, the image on the monitor changed to one showing a wartime documentary.

In satellite orbit above the the country of men, the red planet that was home to the Taraak Empire, countless space debris, that is to say a large quantity of trash, was floating; the majority of that trash was from the wreckage of spaceships.

As the imaged moved from that upper orbit to display outer space, a blue planet with rings like those of Saturn circling the top and bottom became visible. This was then simultaneously displayed on the television.

‘Our bitter enemy Majere’

This was the planet of “those women” the Prime Minister was speaking of. Judging from their relative positions one could say that the “Planet of Women” was the satellite of the “Planet of Men”.

The Prime Minister’s speech was overlapping with such an image.

‘For the first time on over seventy years our empire is being threatened.’

Taking the Prime Minister’s words as a cue the image changed yet again, showing various violent battles. Although there was no sound, it was easy to perceive from the hectic blurred images that these were intense battles.

‘Those shameless women have impudently started invading the domain of our empire. Naturally our valorous forces will not stand for such cowardly acts and have not dropped their vigilance, but when it comes to those cowardly women, though our empire’s chivalrous spirit turned the tides, of all things those criminals attacked one of our space ships that didn’t even possess any kind of weapons……’

The images shown gradually became propaganda, the voice was replaced, and it began intentionally inciting the target of their emotions by changing the nuances.

A merchant ship was crushed without resistance, the appearance of the wounded crew who were trembling in fear, etc.

And then, the state of mind of those staring as the display that was showing the video manufactured according to the plans of the military leaders, became on of enmity towards “women” coupled with indignation and enveloped by feelings of hatred.

As if to deliver the final blow the Prime Minister raised his tone of voice.

‘Gentlemen! Will we permit such acts to occur? NO!! In no way shall we permit such things.’

“OOH∼∼∼∼!”

Responding to the Prime Minister’s inquiry the crowd responded by shouting their affirmation.

Already there was no room for doubt that things had developed as hoped for by the military officials.

Considering the trend, one would expect the Prime Minister’s speech to become more and more emotional.

‘My brethren! My siblings!! At this time, with the second generation and third generation joining hands, the time has come to raise the flag of our empire, of Taraak!!’

“UOoooo∼∼∼∼!”

Again an audacious shout swelled forth. And then, it happened as the Prime Minister’s tension while delivering the fervent speech officially reached its peak.

‘Even if it is only just us that does not mean we will stand around doing nothing! Rising above our past, for our pride as men, so that we may woon tread this path once more, today, at this moment we have obtained a new power!!’

In anticipation of these words, a close-up of the space ship that had been enshrined in the plaza’s pedestal was displayed on the monitor.

‘Look!! This here is surely our new power, the symbol of Taraak, the gallant figure of the universe’s strongest battleship the “Ikazuchi” has been revived and reborn!!’

{TN: Ikazuchi is Japanese for thunder. The ship name is written in Katekana though.}

“UOoooo∼∼∼∼!!”

Together with the rising fanfare of the orchestra, giving a feeling similar to an inauspicious fate that had arrived on this ship, the ‘Ikazuchi’, ominous steam was spurting out.

Part 2

In each of the urban areas of Taraak, through which a feeling being locked up was hanging in the air, there were multimedia monitors and speakers had been installed, as a result of which the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm-filled speech could be viewed from anywhere in its entirety.

Due to the military authorities being thorough to that extent they were able to spread their teachings. Although, since they were political teachings, nearly all the citizens having gathered in the plaza, and as a result only the people who weren’t there as exceptions were watching through these.

However, there was one person who was an exception…….

 

That man was at a place where there was a sign which read ‘New National Produce Factory’.

Even though it was near the lowest levels of Taraak’s urban areas, the kind of place that it was said that lowlifes would choose to hang out, inside the dark vast interior of the sporting grounds were countless cultivation capsules that had been lined up in rows. Each of the capsules giving off a fluorescent light, and air bubbles would occasionally bubble up suspiciously within them.

The gender of all of Taraak’s citizens was ‘male’ without exception, therefore there was no other method to increase their numbers other than through something similar to cloning.

At the top of the facility in what seemed to be a part of the third floor, a monitoring facility had been established, which was about the size of six tatamis.

The man’s name was Hibiki Tokai, a mechanic who was lodging in this observation chamber.

Illuminated by an unreliable naked light bulb the room had been filled to the brink with mountains of rubbish whose function was incomprehensible.

“HAH∼∼∼∼……”

A miserable sigh escaped from within the mountains of rubbish.

Although he was called a man, Hibiki was only sixteen years old, and when one factored in his short height, due to his looks there were those who would call him a young man or even a boy.

He had unruly hair that stuck up like pins which was indicative of his rash personality. In what could be called his style he had forcibly gathered his unmanageable unkempt hair together by wrapping something like a bandana around his head, though this unexpectedly accentuated it.

As though he was remembering something, his round large pupils that still had their innocence were staring into empty space, and at the same time made it look like there was a rough figure eight hanging below his stubbornly thick eyebrows.

“……Such a thing, I really shouldn’t have said that……”

At that time, when all the citizens of Taraak ought to be participating in the ceremony, Hibiki was reminiscing about the original incident that for some reason made him feel compelled to make preparations somewhere else.

 

The event dated back to a few days before.

At that time Hibiki had been at his workplace, a factory that manufactured weapon parts.

“UU∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼!”

Just then, the siren signaling lunch resounded, and the factory workers began to successively migrate to the dining hall downstairs.

There was an especially concerning sound coming from the large ventilation fans that had been installed along one wall that gave one troublesome thought that they could explode at any moment, and machine oil oozing from the factory was clinging to the walls. It seemed that the word ‘clean’ didn’t exist around here. Moreover, the meal that was provided was nothing but hard, dry pellets and water. It was similar to the type of feed provided to rodents like hamsters or squirrels.

However, when speaking of ‘food’, for everyone on Taraak who from the time of their birth had seen nothing other than these pellets, they were the only things to fulfill the dietary needs necessary to perform their harsh labors.

“A∼∼∼∼∼∼∼∼a, how tiresome……”

“Hurry it up already! Talk about it later!”

Scores of men had formed a line, their gazes fixed upon the three machines whose mechanism was designed to output only a specific amount of pellets. It was a never ending unpleasantly dirty scene, and yet for them this wasn’t unusual but quite ordinary.

Nevertheless in just twenty minutes the line of factory workers disappeared, as they were all seated at the stools and tables that looked like rough pieces of scrap metal, chatting pleasantly in spite of the unusual scenery.

Naturally, Hibiki’s personality being unable to stomach such things the same as everyone else, he didn’t compete with other factory workers during the rush in the dining hall at mealtime.

Today as well he was alone at this time, falling behind everyone as they were gathering in the dining hall.

Someone shouted out to Hibiki who was by himself. Hibiki however didn’t put on any displays of behavior towards the person who called out to him. At this moment though Hibiki’s habitual personality when it comes to human relations should be easy to guess.

With a displeased expression, without saying a single word Hibiki received his his aluminum-made plate of pellets and sat down in a solitary seat separated from everyone else. This was an everyday scene, but on this day something occurred which was different from the norm.

 

As Hibiki was taking his first mouthful, one of the other workers openly stood up on the table, and raised a loud voice that resounded throughout the dining hall.

“Everyone! Look over here!!”

With the exception of Hibiki, every man looked over at what was happening.

Raised up high the man’s arms was what appeared to be a part made of metal. As for what it was, it was something that everyone present recognized at a single glance.

“Whassup! You should forge’ abou’ work during break time!”

“Precise’y! It’s somethin’ we look at all day long, so we don’ want to look at it right now!”

“All day, and probly for the rest of our lives, we polish things just like thdat!”

That the others were fed up was not at all unreasonable. The thing the man on the table was holding was the only thing produced at that factory, a component to a humanoid mobile armament.

However, the man on the table didn’t falter even in the face of the jeering. On the contrary, he smiled and continued speaking with a malicious smile on his face.

“Quite so! Till now we’ve spoken of it. Dis is owr livelihood, the prided new model weapon of our Taraak Empire, one small part of thdat which is called the ‘Type-99 Bangata Strike Fighter’!”

{TN: The closest translation I can get for Bangata is ‘Barbarian-Model’, which seems to be the unit model name (like car models). I believe Tsukumo-shiki (Type 99) is a call out to the Hyaku Shiki (Type 100) from the Gundam franchise.}

Imitating the Prime Minister’s bombastic recitation, the others present laughed at the man’s words despite not comprehending his speech.

“So wha about it!?”

“Drop de superior airs, an git down to business already!”

Seemingly enjoying everyone getting impatient the man again spoke up with the prior dramatic tone.

“Don’t be impatient, things like dis can seldom be rushed! For sure when it comes to dis, there’s no substitute for seeing it. However, when it comes to seeing it, the fact is we have only seen dis one little bit.”

At those words everyone present turned look at the part he was holding up. Prompted by the situation, everyone leaned forward, their gazes focused on one point.

Looking over, they saw that something like a small scratch had been lightly etched into the part’s surface coating. Thus, this scratch which consisted of a couple of lines, could be read as ‘ヒ’. Having gathered everyone’s attention, the man standing on the table again raised his voice.

“Everyday we are tasked with diligently polishing this part, but, because we are third class citizens it would be unreasonable to speak of us seeing the finished product of the Bangata in our lifetime. However. For the sake of us who are so pitiful, one who is the embodiment of a great man has said that he would bring back a finished Bangata with this very part included!”

“Oo∼……”

Not unexpectedly everyone stirred. The Taraak Empire was naturally a place where a disparity in social position was displayed between classes, and for third class citizens whose social status was of laborers, they were treated as subhuman. Although they themselves produced things, when it came to them coming into contact with a Bangata, the first class citizens who were involved in the military authority would never permit it.

“You must be joking.”

“Who in their right mind would be stupid enough to say such thing?”

Everyone present was voiced their thorough disappointment as they laid on the jeers. However, the man on the table had likely anticipated this response, as he spoke once more with a devious smile.

“The most stubborn person in the world, Hibiki Tokai.”

Upon hearing those words, everyone’s gaze became focused upon Hibiki. Since the military wielded absolute authority which could be recognized through the massive five meter weapons and such that they utilized, the ordinary citizens of Taraak felt that such a thing was unattainable. Regardless of whether one succeeded or failed, the very moment the plot was revealed would signify the perpetrator’s ‘death’.

However, the Hibiki in question wasn’t surprised under these circumstances, he merely stared at the part on the table with a glare.

“……”

Hibiki remained completely motionless, while on the contrary the other factory workers were all astir.

“Hey hey, isn’t dis too much even for an oddball like you? You little pipsqueak.”

“This is surely just more of yer usual jesting……”

“I’ve always thought you was a quarrelsome brat, but have you finally broken down and become a demon?”

Apparently enjoying the response of those present, the man on the table slowly thrust the part in Hibiki’s direction, and started trying to provoke a reaction from him.

“Surely dat is what you said……, you who are different from us, you were goin ter show us dung beetles the difference in our status.”

Upon hearing those words, the gazes of everyone present upon Hibiki that had merely been filled with compassion were erased.

“To think you were so conceited!!”

“Hey you, do you really think that we’re that worthless!?”

All at once they were pouring jeers upon Hibiki. Receiving all of that, Hibiki gazed fixedly at the part without so much as a tremor. The man who was provoking them was strengthened further.

“You are capable of something that big; bringing back a Bangata should be simple right!”

Already there was no one in that place that would become Hibiki’s ally. Without exception, everyone was merely waiting for the to respond with a clumsy excuse.

“……”

However, Hibiki didn’t move. Whether he was angry, or if he had been cornered with embarrassment, there was no way to determine which it was.

Having won over everyone present, he had furthermore provoked Hibiki’s pride as man.

“Oh? What the matter, you have nothing to say? I didn’t hear you.”

Hibiki’s hand was trembling violently.

“Surely for someone as prominent as my friend Hibiki-sama, you wouldn’t have been lying……”

As the man was speaking using such a tone, Hibiki interrupted his words as he leapt to his feet.

“I wasn’ lying!!”

Hibiki had his arms folded as he did his best to stretch out his small torso, sticking out his chin. This was a standard pose for Hibiki whenever he got mad. Indeed, even if it was true that he was short at least he would not be overlooked by the others.

He did his best to look menacing towards the men as though he were in charge. However, in order to not be defeated the words that came out of Hibiki’s mouth were said without considering the consequences.

“Well then, that’s just fine isn’t it! I’ll do it!!”

No one was more more surprised by this provocation than the person himself.

“Eeh!?”

Hibiki’s surprising reply caused him to swallow his words, but on the contrary it sent the other factory workers into a clamor.

“Oi! Did you hear that!?”

“Dis is interesting!”

“Attaboy, Hibiki! You’re becoming a gofer that will truly accomplish something in his life!”

“That’s right! Isn’t the commissioning ceremony for that brand new battleship three days from now?”

“OH! That’s also when they said they’re going to unveil the Tsukumo-shiki. During all the commotion there might be an chance to do it.”

As the scheme was gradually formed, Hibiki stood there alone trembling. As the other factory workers were getting riled up he was turning a hazy white, his face turning pale from the blood draining away.

 

“Ha∼∼∼∼……”

029

Returning to the observation chamber Hibiki let out a deep sigh.

Truly, I’m such an idiot……. Because I’m so hot-headed, I end up saying such things in the heat of the moment……”

His own words having come back to bite him for what he had said, Hibiki now found himself being herded into this exact dilemma. His face drooped crestfallen, his expression gave off an an unmistakable sense of regret for his hot-bloodedness.

“……Geez. I’m fed up with the way I am, damn it……”

He hazily gazed in front of him at the bag stuffed full of various types of tools for the sake of slipping into a military hangar. They were things the meddlesome factory workers had prepared for Hibiki’s sake. Presently Hibiki found no pleasure in the men’s tactics for breaking in, as it seemed he had become the object of their betting.

“Those bastards……. What the heck……”

With no way out Hibiki’s spirits steadily sank. Hibiki’s face was half tearstained and his expression was crestfallen; he picked up the tings in his slightly trembling arms.

“……Kuh, guh……. Damn it all!!”

In the next moment Hibiki’s face suddenly rose, his up till now timidness having vanished, and his expression became one of seriousness. His large eyes were now steady.

“Even if I’m useless I’m still a man……that’s right, Hibiki the man never backs down from his words!!”

Shouting that, Hibiki small body jumped up and got started.

Part 3

There was no presence of people within the urban areas that were belching forth their usual depressing steam. From the multimedia screens installed all over were continuing to broadcast the rising tension in the Prime Minister’s address.

The echoes of Hibiki’s agile footsteps filled the narrow rusty alleyways of the metropolitan area.

In his mind having become defiant, he flashbacked to the words of the factory workers from the other day which had influenced much like a heavenly voice.

‘You must be dreamin’, after all we all are jus’ third class citizens.’

‘There’s no other life fer us other than to crawl on the ground all our lives.’

He violently shook his head to shake of these words that would weaken his resolve, causing the ID chip that was dangling from Hibiki’s neck like an amulet to swing tremendously. These chips that were about the size of of a lighter had all of the genetic information of every citizen entered into them, and were used to verify all of their actions, being a part of a system of control. That is to say, under this system, Hibiki who was just a low class citizen, let alone boarding the ‘Ikazuchi’ where the Bangata Strike Fighters were located, he wouldn’t even be allowed to get near it.

“I’m not just going to end up like this……. I’ll break through this, and not let my way of life be decided for me!!”

Hibiki shouted this out loud, driving himself onwards as he travelled higher and higher in the metropolitan area.

 

‘From this point onwards entry of third class citizens is prohibited.’

On the large sign that read as such a small shadow was cast. Hibiki had already reaching the launch facility for the Ikazuchi. However there was still the critical moment of sneaking in to complete.

On the backside of the facility, Hibiki had come to a mechanical service entrance to which he first opened which the combination he had learned. Due to the extreme discrimination between social classes even this small door was equipped with security checking equipment. On the front of it was a spot to insert that ID chip, without which he would be instantly bound for an isolation cell.

To start with what Hibiki took out was what appeared to be a homemade device, its components being completely bared and uneven, with a cord coming out of it. At the end of the cord was a case that had been welded to the handle of what appeared to be a dagger. To be frank there was a meaning for this. Being as the Taraak Empire was a military state, the IDs of the upper classes were engraved onto chips shaped like daggers which were a display of their pride as warriors.

Hibiki inserted his own disguised ID chip into the slot.

‘Beep……’

With trembling hands he flipped the switch and the ID data began to fluctuate. His tension has been rising from the instant he had inserted the chip he had prepared for this situation into the security machine’s case. He shouldn’t have made any mistakes in his planning, however Hibiki’s forehead was nevertheless coated in cold sweat.

‘Beeeeeeep!’

Together with a green indicator light the security machine let out a ‘Social position is accepted’. For the first time Hibiki, whose mouth had become stiff, put on a smile.

 

As Hibiki was making his frantic attempt at infiltration, the Prime Minister was still continuing his address.

The man himself stood within the warship ‘Ikazuchi’, which was in the old section of warship. For the sake of the commemoration ceremony, the rapidly assembled meeting grounds which had been decorated with ornaments was now surrounded by flame cauldrons along its perimeter. In the center was the Taraak crest along with a life-sized statue of of Grand Pa, at the based of which was a platform from which the address continued to be delivered.

“Being the symbol of our wisdom, the proud ship ‘Ikazuchi’ which brought us to this land that fathered this family, has now been resurrected here!”

In addition to the broadcast cameras that were before his eyes there were also a group of generally young people lined up before him. They who appeared to all be less than twenty years old were wearing brand new military uniforms, and were tensely standing almost perfectly still and straight. Like that the Prime Minister faced them all and shouted.

“On this good day you young men of the third generation will carry the future of Taraak as you are permitted to report to your battleship as newly commissioned officers!”

The expressions of everyone stiffened once again in response to those words. At this audacious hour Bart Garsus was stifling a yawn, while the one who wasn’t displaying how completely perturbed he was by these proceedings was Duero McFile.

Both of them will become characters of great influence later in this story, but right now they had no way of knowing such things.

 

At the time that young men of the same approximate age were receiving the blessing of the entire country, Hibiki had already arrived at the pedestal where the ‘Ikazuchi’ was enshrined. It was more than he had expected. As the Prime Minister was delivering adoration with his speech, he himself was hidden from the officers preparing the ship for launch thanks to the vast amount of steam.

“Uhooo∼h, sheesh……”

Upon seeing the huge figure of the ‘Ikazuchi’ for the first time Hibiki reflexively had stopped walking.

There were enough crisscrossing supply cables that he couldn’t see them in their entirety due to ‘that’ which was a thousand meters wide. Since that huge thing was going to be launched into space, the preparations underway were not at all trivial. Due to the steam that was violently gushing out he was hidden from the restlessly working laborers.

Mixing in with all the tumult, Hibiki clung to the conveyor belt carrying supplies, and was able to successfully invade the interior of the warship.

 

The inside of the warship ‘Ikazuchi’, compared to the impression from the enormous external appearance, was even more complex. There were two areas called ‘Old Warship Section’ and the ‘New Warship Section’ which were plainly different in styling. The reason they were called this was that this warship, originally, was apparently made by adding a brand new warship section. The ‘Old Warship Section’ as it was called was the original ship that it was attached to, though currently the majority of it wasn’t being used.

Hibiki who had advanced into the residential area of the New Warship Section was glimpsing more and more of the Prime Minister’s speech which was being shown on the communication panels inside of the ship, slipping behind the crew standing in front of the monitors at attention as he ran towards the ‘Old Warship Section Hanger’ that had been dedicated for launching the Bangata Strike Fighters.

 

“Ha, ha……geez, I knew infiltrating something this huge wouldn’t be easy, but still it’s a pain actually having to walk it……”

Having been composed at the outset, having successfully come further than expected, Hibiki’s excessive grumbling had emerged. Although he would hesitate here and there, Hibiki who had been able to motivate himself to push on despite being out of breath, and while tripping over his own feet, he finally managed to reach the the place he recalled as being labeled ‘The Old Warship Section Hanger’.

 

‘After the iris pattern verification, complete the palm print scanner and the sweat analyses comparisons.’

This was what was displayed; thus far he had so far been able to successfully bypass the complex and strict automatic checks at the security gate since he had expected them. However, Hibiki was not in the least bit perturbed, as he then pulled the next item out of his bag. First, for the provision for the machine that read the iris of one’s eye, he placed a contact lens with a complex vein pattern he’d applied into his eye, and placed his eye before the scanner.

‘Pi∼∼∼∼!!’

Finding nothing suspicious, the machine displayed the two characters ‘Approved’ {TN: In Japanese it’s written with two characters. Should be obvious but I’ll mention it anyway.}, and then the instruction ‘Complete  palm print scan with thirty seconds’ popped up. Apparently pleased with this, Hibiki’s attitude appeared completely composed.

“Hehe……I understand. Well then it looks like even I can only keep the momentum going at this point……”

Even as he said this, Hibiki’s hands were already retrieving the item from the bag for this purpose.

“It’s a good thing I did my homework.”

What he produced as he said this was a thin rubber glove and a small spray bottle. Just like the contact lens, the glove had been carved with vein patterns for the sake of perturbing his palm print, while the spray he had prepared was a type of liquid medicine for the sake of making it believe it was someone else’s sweat.

“All that vacation time I spent coming up with this little trick……”

As Hibiki was singing his own praises, at that point he placed his palm that he had sprayed the liquid medicine on on the security gate while wearing a composed expression, and in the next moment.

‘Pubu∼∼∼∼!!’

Together with the rejection alert, a warning indication reading ‘Incompatible palm print, reenter within 30 seconds’ popped up. As a result of the rhythmic beat that began at this point Hibiki began shaking in his panic.

“Eh!? W-why!?”

Staring at his own rejected palm, he broke out in cold sweat. He tried stretching out the glove’s wrinkles once again, but no matter how many times he applied the spray on it it wasn’t authorized.

“What the heck is wrong with it!”

Irritated, Hibiki waved his hand, struck the mechanism, already he was no longer acting in a meaningful way. As he tried doing this and that the security machine’s countdown proceeded in a cool-headed manner.

Unexpectedly cornered, Hibiki tried a last chance effort of blowing on his palm as the count had already reached the single digits before applying his palm.

‘Pi∼∼∼∼!!’

Like that, at last the machine let out an affirmative sound, and the indicator ‘Social status inquiry completed, unlocking’ popped up.

“Fu∼h……”

Hibiki had reflexively let out a sigh of relief. Having let out that serious sound, he proceeded into the hanger through the gate that had opened.

Gazing intently as his surroundings, Hibiki allowed his lips to slacken in a grin in spite of the cold sweat still on his forehead. Taking on his usual victory pose of crossing his arms, he suddenly stuck out his chin and muttered.

“Heh……, how do like that, an easy victory.”

Part 4

“IKAZUCHI! IKAZUCHI! IKAZUCHI! IKAZUCHI!”

The excitement in the plaza facing the multi-monitors had reached its climax, the men calling out the name ‘Ikazuchi’ with raised fists.

Whether because he was pleased with the shout that had spread throughout the ceremony grounds, or whether it was because he found the speech tiresome, the Prime Minister faced the camera, his grim voice overpowering the chant.

“The voices of you gentlemen have reached us! The time is upon us, our desire is boiling already in anticipation of the instant in which we set sail! Is that not the case gentlemen!?”

The Prime Minister added more force into his tightly clenched fist, and in that overbearing situation raised it high over his head. The graduates in the venue seemed to mimic him as they raised their fists overhead with a shout.

“UOOOOOOH!!”

From the view of an outsider this was a speech of  a reliable leader who understood human nature, but one’s whose eyes opened in astonishment were the noncommissioned officers who had boarded the Ikazuchi.

“Crap!”

“As of yet, it’s still two hours early!”

As all of those that had been lined up before the monitors at every station simultaneously became disturbed, excited voices were emitted from the speakers with the official announcement.

‘A-all hands to your stations!’

That popular voice caused the crew to scatter like spider children as they all started running to their posts. However, their innermost thoughts were dripping with disatisfaction.

“KAH! He’s always like this!”

“Geez, the Prime Minister is beyond unreasonable!!”

This Prime Minister, it would appear, had not properly spoken with the rest of his subordinates.

 

Together with a shocking noise that was reminiscent of a major impact, the cable-like pipes that were attached to the exterior of the Ikazuchi were blown in succession. The mooring mechanisms that were supporting it were also slowly withdrawn, as the launch preparation program was being executed far earlier than had been planned.

A piercing siren resounded throughout the plaza, the orchestra’s fanfare and the people’s shouting noticeably swelled but the Ikazuchi was even more violent as it spouted steam from below, and the enormous hull slowly was elevated towards space.

 

Finding himself in circumstances beyond his expectations, Hibiki was bewildered by the interior of the hanger he had finally managed to reach. There was much lighting at the moment but it should be larger than a gymnasium. Moreover there were the Bangata that were stationed in matching armor like the corridor of an old castle, with dozens of them being stored to both his left and right.

Under the assumption that they would be battling in the weightlessness of outer space, catapults had been installed on both the top and bottom, so if one looked up at the ceiling there were Bangata lined up as though waiting their turn. It was a near impossible task to find the one affixed with the ‘ヒ’ character from among all of the ones that were cleaned to pass quality examinations and to meet the standards.

“Alright……now then. Where is it?”

Nevertheless Hibiki desperately strained his eyes in the darkness as he carefully examined them one by one, and before he knew it he had drawn close to the end of the line of Bangatas. Gradually Hibiki began to become anxious.

“……Not this one either……risky……could they have rejected it because the scratch was too openly visible……?”

Within the darkness, his face quickly becoming stiff as he focused his eyes, in the next moment Hibiki’s gaze suddenly stopped.

“!?”

Rushing forward as though drawn by what was before his eyes, Hibiki instinctually gasped at the single Bangata before him. At the very end of the row, right between the legs of the Bangata that was standing there erect no different from the others, the clearly recognizable character ‘ヒ’ was right there.

“There you are, partner. So you were hiding out in this kind of place……”

Even though his eyes teared up from excessive emotion, this was Hibiki’s first time seeing it with his own eyes so he made sure to gaze at the ‘Bangata Strike Fighter’ from every angle. There was a reason he called that machine ‘partner’. Before the argument, Hibiki who had meager cooperativeness was predictably unable to make friends, after that reaction from being labeled a liar, had been working silently, and towards the reliable machine that was the outcome, a certain kind feeling of trust and fellowship had come into being.

 

‘That’ was an approximately five meter tall humanoid called a powered suit. Installed in the head were the external sensors and the large mono eye camera, which was fixedly gazing into empty space. The power gripping of the three-fingered arm was designed to be capable of delicate movement.

The parts that Hibiki had manufactured had been the connector cables for the external mounted support weaponry. However, those parts were affixed to the humanoid’s groin, and therefore there was pathetically little about it that was impressive.

Nevertheless, for Hibiki for whom this was his first time seeing the workmanship of the completed Bangata, such things were truly not a problem. Completely similar to looking at a lover, Hibiki’s eyes stared unblinkingly at it as he got excessively emotional, to the point that he had already shed a single tear.

“Hehe……. Geez……all that time I spent……. Just you wait, I’ll take you home right now……”

Saying that, Hibiki leapt forward to touch his beloved Bangata with his fingertips, and then it happened. Together with a thunderous roar the wheels of fate that surrounded Hibiki slowly started to turn.

 

“Launch the Ikazuchi!!”

The Prime Minister gave out the order with a grand wave of his arm.

‘DOKADOKADOKADOKA! GUWAAAAAAA!!’

Violent flames were sprout forth from hundreds of nozzles that had been installed surrounding the Ikazuchi, the force from which violently increased even more as from within the smoke Ikazuchi slowly emerged, its grandeur floating up into the vast sky.

“UWOOOOO∼∼∼∼!!”

The thunderous roar which drowned out even the scream of the masses caused shaking, not just in Taraak’s urban areas, but even the red soil was vibrating as the Ikazuchi slowly ascended into outer space.

 

“!?”

At just that moment when Hibiki’s fingertips how come within mere millimeters of the Bangata, the ground became greatly inclined. Suddenly struck by the force of several Gs, far from embracing the Bangata, Hibiki’s body was blown off in the opposite direction.

“Wha, what is this!?”

It was only natural that Hibiki had shouted. It was still two hours before the originally scheduled departure time of the Ikazuchi. His original goal having been to operate the Bangata during that time, after which he expected to calmly leave the ship behind. For the sake of that when the time came he had stuffed a Banagta operation manual he had acquired secretly from the factory workers into his satchel.

What should have been the perfect plan had been shattered like glass by the whims of one man, the Prime Minister.

 

“It’s taken off just now.”

The close aide was kneeling before the man on the far side of the bamboo screen as he delivered his report. Acknowledging this, “……Umu”, the man gave small nod; the founding father of this Taraak Empire Gran Pa who had been extolled not too long ago, that was this man. Though he had deep dried wrinkles befitting a man of his age, the sharp glint in his eye as he stared at the Ikazuchi displayed on the monitor in his hand was the opposite of his outward appearance, as they were filled with a tenaciousness that was unmatched.

Given that he was by all rights the founder of the empire it would be expected that he would be pleased with the Ikazuchi’s moment of triumph, however little it might be, but as he started at the monitor his facial expression did not display any level of pleasure.

“……”

Letting out a sign of what sounded like deep despair, the body of the man referred to by everyone as ‘Founding Father’ sank deep into his throne.

 

‘Bon, bobon, bon……’

The sound of a large explosion spread through the thin atmosphere that clung to the dry canyon. From the cannons installed on either side of the canyon a gun salute was being raised. Exploding in the atmosphere, the shells released small clumps of white smoke that filled the air to adorn the passage of the Ikazuchi. The shells were manufactured to follow the orbital path of the Ikazuchi’s silhouette from below the layer of atmosphere. The clouds that formed were like a giant whale rising towards sea level, thereby revealing its figure.

Having been unseen thus far due to being hidden by the steam, the Ikazuchi’s elliptical shape began to become visible on either side as it drew closer, and as the center travelled over the large trench below, the glimpse one got through the atmosphere showed that its exterior was clearly built into a different shape than that of the the ‘Old Ship Section’. Due to there being at the present a large hull below with boosters attached for the purpose of cruising within the atmosphere, its appearance was like that of a large scale model of the brain.

 

As the Ikazuchi was slowly ascending towards space, there was one man staring up from the barren red soil. His many years appeared to have easily exceeded seventy years of age. However, from looking at the wounds cultivated on his arms and his thick chest, it was clear that he was no ordinary elderly person.

He was holding something like handmade farming equipment. In reality, the soil he was standing was only the outskirts of that which he was leveling. His goal was to eventually turn this dry barren soil into green earth.

His hands stopped, and in complete silence, his sharp gaze peered up at the Ikazuchi from beneath an ancient straw hat.

 

As for Hibiki himself, he was fighting the heavy G forces that had suddenly been born from the Ikazuchi’s act of ascension, and was finally able to reach a window and get a glance of the outside.

He stretched his body out as much as possible to peek through the window. The sight that met Hibiki’s eyes was one in which the red soil of Taraak, which he was seeing for the first time, was growing further away.

“Shit! I-it’s flying……h-how am I going to get back down safely?”

As Hibiki’s eyes being widened with shock at the situation he was in, the boosters for atmospheric flight detached from the Ikazuchi, which continued its flight towards space.

Part 5

“Cheers!”

In the ceremony hall that had until recently been a place with an uneasy crowd, the atmosphere had changed and was now one of complete harmony.

With the ‘Ikazuchi’ having achieved a successful takeoff, the time remaining until the drill was devoted to a celebratory graduation banquet.

“All present, putting aside rank!”

At the sound of the voice of the host which spoke at this opportunity, the tables that had been on standby were brought in, along with heaps of pellets, and they began serving celebratory alcohol. With even the Prime Minister who had delivered that long commissioning speech quenching his thirst in his seat as the guest of honor, the atmosphere was one of good humour.

On the other hand even the graduates who had been accumulating mental strain,  their reaction was to completely let loose, as they were enjoying the party.

“We~ell……thrilling huh. Seems you’re a Bangata commanding officer? So envious!” {Note, throughout this dialogue, the men are calling each other with ‘kisama’, which in modern Japanese is usually derogatory (though in archaism it was polite).}

“Say what, surely if it’s you, someday you’ll be a bridge officer. Would you not be the one giving me orders?!”

“Hehehe……that’d be a nice feeling!”

“How about it? Want to make children when we get back?”

“A child with you? That wouldn’t be so bad.”

Among the graduates who were pleasantly chatting, there were men of frail attitude serving them. Presumably they were third-class citizens. They were moving about busily while being meticulously cautious not to bump into any of the graduates who were upper-class citizens. It happened just as one of these servers was placing the bottle of alcohol he was carrying on the table. Suddenly someone else’s foot slid in unseen underfoot in front of the server.

The unfortunate victim whose footing was lost due to this foot spilled a vast amount of alcohol onto the floor.

“I’m sorry, I’ll clean it up immediately……” {This line was written entirely in Hiragana without any Kanji, normally something typical of young children.}

“Geez! You’re so irritating!!”

Regarding the man with the abusively foul mouth, he was Bart Garsus who had been yawning during the Prime Minister’s speech just before. And now, he was also the perpetrator who had stuck his foot out before the server.

This man who had been raised well whose fair bangs had been evenly trimmed gave the impression of a young warrior who had just come of age. With a nose that was long and straight and upturned eyes like that of an actor, he had a beauty that would make anyone stop and look.

However, while he was outwardly of pleasant appearance, in contrast on the inside he was a rather sly character.

As he was grinning in enjoyment at the server’s flustered appearance something else of particular interest entered Bart’s field of vision. It was a group that even among the numerous graduates were considered to be especially elite.

“Hou……. I wonder if I should give them a little greeting.”

Murmuring that he took out some kind of small box the size of a porcelain bowl, and took a step towards the elite group.

 

“How about you then?”

“Umu, rather that an army commander I’m thinking I’d rather be in the news department.”

“Hou, I have interest in the supply chain myself……”

As one would expect this is the admired group of elites. Even their conversation topics carried a different atmosphere. One man among them however barely opened his mouth other than to consume his alcohol. It was Duero Mcfile. In contrast with the other graduates who had short hair, only this one man had long hair that reached all the way down to his waist. On top of that, even his bangs were long such that they hung down and covered the right half of his face. As for his narrow upturned left eye that was barely visible, it’s sharp glint was filled with an ambience that didn’t miss a thing.

His behavior was not that of one who was participating in the conversation, but rather, it would seem correct from his expression, he simply didn’t feel the need for it. Even the other members paid no mind to Duero, as they continued their conversation.

“So? How about it Duero? A scholarship student like you must have a multitude of admirers am I right?”

“Since it’s practically destined that you’ll have the seat of Prime Minister of our generation.”

As can be understood from this conversation, Duero was the elite of the elite. It was reasonable from that that his scores were excellent, again, that he could achieve any result once he put in the effort, since with the brains he possessed he need only decide on an objective. In other words, anything for him was within expectations, and consequently he was unable to display emotions because of that matter. On the contrary since Duero faced that everyday the ironic reality was that he had lost all interest. For such a reason he had intentionally grown his hair long, what was seemingly some kind of expression of defiance.

“Truly it must be a joke that you aspired to the medical division right? Hehehehehehe!”

“However, apparently this guy submitted his career aspiration form completely blank.”

“What was that!?”

Despite the shock of everyone present, it didn’t disrupt his style as though he was saying it has nothing to do with him. Against ‘the anticipated future’ he had wanted to put on an act of defiance; just as such words were about to be emitted from Duero’s mouth,

“Yo! Everyone, what’s all the excitement?”

The one who had thrust himself onto the conversation with a strangely bright tone was Bart. He held out in front of everyone the small box that he had been holding since before, one sidedly thrusting it before them without giving them the elite group a chance to reply.

“This is the new product within our company! Specially refined by my grandpa, it’s called the ‘Robust Nourishment Pill’. Although I shouldn’t be saying this out loud, the quality of ingredients is superior to pellets elsewhere. Well then? As a sign of our meeting! Come, come, no reason to hesitate everyone!”

Towards Bart who was incessantly rattling on without even stopping to take a breath, they were all literally astonished when finally,

“N-no……I’m stuffed right now……”

That was the best that they could say. Seeing everyone’s unsatisfactory reaction, Bart looked around trying to spot his next target,

“Ah, th……that’s disappointing. You may not get to eat this good quality for the rest of your life.”

Just before he finished saying this he spotted graduates of distinction passing by,

“Hey, hey, won’t you take a brief moment to try? No, but as your special pal I recommend it personally……”

and immediately took his leave of that place.

Though his sudden change of position had left them all dumbfounded, one person came to his senses quickly and muttered in annoyance.

“Who was that guy?”

Thereupon the man next to Duero replied in apparent disgust.

“The third generation of Garsus Foodstuff. So to speak, he’s the guy responsible for making sure our stomachs are all provided for.”

“Humph! He ruined the atmosphere,” said one member of the group, taking a drink from his drink glass to repair the mood. At this time the lighting dropped without prior warning, as a bombastic announcement streamed through the speakers.

‘Gentlemen! If you would face forward and observe the lecture! From here we will be demonstrating the pride of our empire, the new weapon “Type-99 Bangata Strike Fighter”!!’

The atmosphere that had been calm up until now instantly became tense, as the graduates all turned towards the front as they had been prompted to. Thereupon, being brought simultaneously with a ‘Bah!’ sound that spread throughout the surrounding camp enclosure, a large partition appeared with a bust of Gran Pa inside.

While everyone present held their breath as they gazed at it, together with a solemn sound the barrier slowly opened to the left and right. The vigorous announcement has stirred up their excitement.

‘Gentlemen! Put your hands together, and give a respectful welcome! It’s our team of Type-99 Bangata Bokugekikis!!’

A dazzling spotlight was illuminated, and all at once the Banagtas that were lined up side by side made their appearance.

And, the next moment, as they intently stared a different kind of commotion from the cheers of more than a hundred men occurred.

“Wha, what is thaaat!?”

In was understandable that everyone present was shocked. There was the team of Bangatas that had been just announced, and yet for some reason there was a filthy looking man dangling from the front of one of them. As for who this person was, that person was no other than Hibiki Tokai himself.

That hanger he had exquisitely snuck into, it was positioned such that only a single wall separated it from the ceremony assembly hall. Concerning Hibiki, since having blasted off, he had decided he should at least wipe away the evidence that was the part with the ‘ヒ’ engraved in it, but immediately after he had jumped onto the Bangata, he abruptly found himself in the presence of the graduates.

“……Ha……haha……”

At this exceedingly unexpected development, Hibiki let out a laugh having frozen in his unsightly pose.

 

“What’s this, there’s something small hanging from it.”

“Oi! Isn’t that a third-class citizen!?”

As the unexpected tension spread throughout the area, both Hibiki and the graduates remained motionless. Regarding that which cut through the tension that had ruined the ceremony, that would be the Prime Minister who had sprung from his chair with his face flushed bright red.

“Kuh! What are you doing!! Seize him!!”

The security guards regained their senses at that voice and rushed forward as they drew batons from their waist.

Hibiki on the other hand quickly jumped down from the Banagata, but with the security guards rushing in from the left and right he was left bewildered with no path to escape.

“Bastard! How did you get in!?”

With the security guards rushing in brandishing their batons, it was a times like this that a small body proves useful. As Hibiki evaded the blows by mere centimeters, of all things he jumped onto the front of the statue of Gran Pa.

“Hey! How could you do that! That you would jump upon the statue of our awe-inspiring Gran Pa-sama!”

As expected even the security guards became flustered. In the worst case, if were to accidentally strike the statue of Gran Pa, their own lives would be forfeit. Whether or not he was aware of this, as he clung onto the statue like a cornered monkey, the threatening Hibiki had become something of a side show. Even the graduates were clamoring in their amusement.

“O~H! Way to go, whew∼∼∼∼!!”

“Hang in there, shorty∼∼!!”

Everyone that was there seemed to have taken a liking, but Hibiki did not miss the word ‘shorty’. Even in the best of times saying this was the most suitable way to make to make him lose his cool. As he abruptly he jumped off the statue, “Who was that!? The guy who called me shorty just now!?” he screamed, running straight towards the graduates. The distinction was that he was no longer hanging. Still as one would expect this was bad. Before he could leap at the frontmost of the graduates the security guards tackled him, and they pinned him down in a manner not at all gentle.

“Kuh! Sonuvabitch, release me∼∼!!”

Although Hibiki frantically struggled, the security guard struck him with a downward blow from his baton that easily closed the curtain on his infiltration of the ‘Ikazuchi’.

Part 6

When the turmoil caused by the reckless young man, Hibiki Tokai, had settled down, the Ikazuchi was already far from the skies of Taraak, having emerged into outer space. While the Ikazuchi was flashing its signal lights, several spaceships approached. Due to their size the fleet could be interpreted as the Ikazuchi’s tugboats, but nevertheless these were the Taraak’s proud escort fleet.

Indeed, if it was only on this scale it can be said to be understandable they’d be subjected to plunder when attacked by ‘women’. As a consequence of this the military authorities had seemingly responded by placing their hopes on the Ikazuchi’s much larger size, something which can be easily understood.

 

“Escort fleet, currently approaching.”

“Assume ‘Half Moon Formation’ with the Ikazuchi in the center.”

“‘Half Moon Formation’, yessir.”

From the bridge of the ‘New Ship Section’ the second generation crew hastened to execute the strategic maneuver.

Although it had been equipped with the latest technology, the design of a large helm in the center without providing a space for sitting gave an impression of being old-fashioned. As sudden horn sounded throughout the bridge, and simultaneously the crew all instantly stood at attention.

“The captain has arrived!”

Upon hearing that voice the the chair that was the Captain’s seat rose up near the rear center of the bridge. However, the Captain himself was standing beside the chair. This was since someone could be seen sitting there, that person being the Prime Minister whose anger had not yet abated. It was clear from the setting that he had appropriated the captain’s seat for himself. He had hastily been made the commander, and consequently, far from calling him out on it, the crew had remained indifferent when he appeared on the bridge, while the commander himself griped to the Captain.

“What a disgrace that was! All that hard work for that ceremony came to nothing in the end!”

“Hah……”

Even for the Captain accompanying him it had been a terrible disaster.

“Geez, this is irritating! That brat!! I’ll make sure that he pays for all this……I’ll gouge out his eyes while he’s still alive, and then……”

The communication officer timidly approached the Prime Minister who was spouting this monologue in his anger.

“Message from escort warship ‘Maboroshi’! {Like Ikazuchi, this was written in Katekana. In Japanese, Maboroshi means phantom.} Their seeking instructions regarding the mock exercises!”

Hearing this the Prime Minister abruptly faced the crew for the first time, his shout emphasizing how increasingly angry he was.

“Moron! Are we to undertake such a thing in the current situation?! The exercises have been canceled, and all ships are to set an orbital trajectory!”

“H-however Prime Minister, you say that but……”

The captain instinctively interjected in response to this excessively egotistical proclamation, but in contrast the Prime Minister’s mood had been wrecked. Bringing his openly indignant face close to that of the Captain’s, he said “If you say anything more you’ll be spending the rest of your life on garbage separation duty.”

Having cowered before the Prime Minister’s menacing look the Captain cried out in a hollow voice.

“A-all ships set an orbital trajectory!”

 

‘Dongaragassha~~~~n……gon, garagaragara……’

There were noisy sounds within the darkness. Still dazed by the fluorescent beams that had sprung forth, he was finally able to get a grasp on his state of affairs. This was the brig in the ‘Old Ship Section’, which had been previously been a place utilized as a storeroom. The security guards who had been carrying Hibiki by either arm had casually tossed him onto a pile of junk. The beams of light were from the laser shield that was used in place of prison bars.

“Tsu~~~~~h……damn you both, you could be a little more polite!!”

Just by looking at how much his face had swollen up, it was easy to imagine the kind of treatment he’d received. Nevertheless that his mouth hadn’t changed was very much like Hibiki.

“Nyarooh! If you’re going to kill me, just do it now! Don’t just throw me in some storage room!”

Whether or not he was relieved for having been released from their hands, he responded to the security guards with a composed attitude immediately afterwards.

“This was a bonafide cell! We’re merely using it in place of a storage room.”

“Besides it’s been decided that you’ll have a public execution. And it won’t be a comfortable death, fufufu……”

Hearing this the blood drained from Hibiki’s face. Because of the swelling however, the security guards didn’t notice. Becoming crestfallen, the security guards grinned broadly as they watched him hang his head.

As one of them operating a piece of equipment installed in the wall, a robot that until then had been dormant for several decades powered up.

“Hi-Type Number Six!” {I went with the anime’s translation. In Japanese it reads “Hi-shiki Roku-gou”. The translation is fairly literal except for “Hi”, which is left untranslated.  The character for “Hi” can mean ratio.}

Together with the security guards cry, a teardrop shaped machine appeared from the wall in a manner like that of a ghost. Regarding the machine itself, it was something that had been installed for the purpose of navigating the warship. As evidence of this the section that had been used for its face was a monitor equipped with a touch guide panel.

“This ought to be sufficient for guarding this guy for now. Keep a close eye on him.”

PIPI……

The Hi-Type Number Six emitted a short mechanical sound in place of a reply as it turned to face Hibiki. Seemingly content with having confirmed this, the security guards departed at that moment. Keeping his head down, Hibiki confirmed that the security guards’ footsteps had become distant, suddenly raised his head, drew as close as he could to the shield on all fours and spoke in a whisper.

“Hey, partner, why don’t you let me out of here.”

PI!?

As one would expect this appears to be the programmed response for when the robot replies to a human. Finding this reaction hopeful, Hibiki tried a tactic of appealing to his robot companion on emotion.

“It’s true that we were both born in a factory. You could say we’re like brothers, right?”

BIBI∼! Your components are different. Therefore, to say we are brothers would be inappropriate.

As one would expect it wasn’t accepting to appeals of emotion. Changing his persuasion approach at this point,

“The truth is I have a great engine. If you get me out I can install it.”

BIBI∼! Denied!! Observation subject’s remark is in appropriate. ……Escape instigation, as well as attempted bribery are clearly criminal acts. ……Consequently……

“Consequently……?”

In response to the follow up question Hibiki had blankly asked,

Punishment!!

No sooner had it said that when it discharged a shock beam in Hibiki’s direction.

“GUWAAA∼∼∼∼!”

Although it wasn’t to the degree of being life threatening, he was abruptly thrown back by the sudden electrical shock.

“Hey you, w-what the hell!”

Although he himself was at fault, seemingly losing himself over the Hi-Type Number Six’s cool-headed reaction, Hibiki unintentionally started speaking in a caustic tone.

“You, don’t underestimate me! Who exactly do you think I am!?”

This has already been said but the Hi-Type Number Six is after all a machine. Being foolishly honest it aimed its sensor at Hibiki, beginning an enquiry of his social status.

Surveillance subject social status inquiry, commence……”

“Idiot! That’s not what I meant!”

At that response from the Hi-Type Number Six, the one who cut in with caustic word was Hibiki who had lost his frame of mind. However, once it had started its search, it apparently was not possible to reset its functions.

Subject, humanoid. Organism, gender, male……

Hibiki continued to entreat upon the Hi-Type Number Six as it continued to silently lookup the data.

“I’m begging you, as a man I shouldn’t end up in a such a place as this……”

However, without lending an ear to Hibiki’s complaints and such, the Hi-Type Number Six silently looked through the data in its own internal memory. But then, given that it had recorded any data for several decades and there was no reason it should have found Hibiki’s data, the next moment, the Hi-Type Number Six displayed a curious reaction.

BIBI! Inquiry complete!

Such was the response that it displayed.

“Eh? How……”

As Hibiki listened carefully to the next words of the Hi-Type Number Six, it happened.

Instantly, together with the sound of a massive shock, he felt the warship rock, abnormalities affected the entire system, and from that impact the Hi-Type Number Six seemed to be plunged into disarray as it plunged straight into the laser shield.

Pi……bachbachibachi!!

It fell on Hibiki with a violent electrical discharge.

“WAH! Idiot, what was that∼?!”

At that moment, having literally become disoriented by the small impact that happened before his eyes, Hibiki was unaware that a major incident was happening outside that would have a major influence over his future.

7 thoughts on “Vandread Volume 1 Chapter 1

  1. Thanks fopr picking up this novel. The anime was good, but had a rushed ending (which often means that it’s not how it should end). The ending of the manga was equally rushed (and different, dead giveaway of what I mentioned).

    滅志

    We have 滅 for “destroy, extinguish” and 志 for “will, resolve, ambition”. I see that’s read “messhi”. It seems to be an old word that means “destruction of the will”; this would mean that women undermine men’s will and volition (“yes, honey, I don’t like beer”, “yes, honey, it is as you say”).

    BTW 滅私, also read “messhi”, means “unselfishness”, so that can’t be it.

    圧私

    We have 圧 for “oppress, dominate” and 私 for “self” or “ego”. It seems to be read “asshi”, “enshi” or “oushi” (should rewatch the anime to check which). Cannot find the term, but it should mean something on the lines of “dominance”, controlling nature” or “oppressive self”.

    Taken as a whole, they would be the qualities of the wife of a henpecked husband: “destruction of the husband’s capacity of independent thinking” and “the turning of the husband into a puppet”.

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    1. “Hi-Type Number ^ix!” {I went with the anime’s translation. In Japanese it reads “Hi-shiki Roku-gou”. The translation is fairly literal except for “Hi”, which is left untranslated. The character for “Hi” can mean ratio.} <- I shall mention this typo since I don't know how can it be possible unless a very bad mistyping happened, as "s" and "^" are nowhere near and tipying "^" followed by an "i" should render "î" and not "^i"… Also, it's worth noting that the character for "Hi", which also means "equal, match" and has a submeaning of "comparison", is made by a double "hi" katakana (or, to be more exact, the basic kanji for "spoon") and is the basic kanji to represent a generic "hi" (which is the reason it's also employed to represent Philippines), which, by coupling it with the fact that the Bangata Hibiki calls "partner" being "匕", turns him into Hibiki's "second partner" (比).

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      1. You know, I think I finally figured out that typo. It seems I was undecided between using ‘Six’ or ‘6’. I ended pushing the ‘6’ key instead of ‘s’ and since I was holding shift it came out ‘^’.

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  2. Great job you’ve done here in translating the novels of Vandread! I really liked the series when I was watching it years ago! I really enjoyed reading your translations of the light novels and the extra stage novel! Keep it going!

    Like

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